485APOS 1 d818547d485apos.htm WT ESG FUND WT ESG Fund
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As filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on January 10, 2020

Securities Act File No. 333-132380

Investment Company Act File No. 811-21864

 

 

 

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

Washington, D.C. 20549

 

 

FORM N-1A

REGISTRATION STATEMENT

UNDER

   THE SECURITIES ACT OF 1933   
   Pre-Effective Amendment No.        
   Post-Effective Amendment No. 727   
   and/or   
  

REGISTRATION STATEMENT

UNDER

  
   THE INVESTMENT COMPANY ACT OF 1940   
   Amendment No. 729   

(Check appropriate box or boxes.)

 

 

WISDOMTREE TRUST

(Exact Name of Registrant as Specified in Charter)

 

 

245 Park Avenue

35th Floor

New York, NY 10167

(Address of Principal Executive Offices) (Zip Code)

1-866-909-9473

(Registrant’s Telephone Number, including Area Code)

JONATHAN STEINBERG

WISDOMTREE TRUST

245 Park Avenue

35th Floor

New York, NY 10167

(Name and Address of Agent for Service)

 

 

Copies to:

 

W. John McGuire   Ryan Louvar
Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP   WisdomTree Asset Management, Inc.
1111 Pennsylvania Avenue NW   245 Park Avenue, 35th Floor
Washington, DC 20004   New York, NY 10167

 

 

Approximate Date of Proposed Public Offering: As soon as practicable after the effective date of the Registration Statement.

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

 

 

60 days after filing pursuant to paragraph (a) (1) of Rule 485.

 

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

 

75 days after filing pursuant to paragraph (a) (2) of Rule 485.

 

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

 

Immediately upon filing pursuant to paragraph (b) of Rule 485.

 

On (Date) pursuant to paragraph (b) of Rule 485.

If appropriate, check the following box:

 

 

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

 

 

 


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Prospectus
March [ ], 2020
THE U.S. SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION (“SEC”) HAS NOT APPROVED OR DISAPPROVED THESE SECURITIES OR PASSED UPON THE ADEQUACY OF THIS PROSPECTUS. ANY REPRESENTATION TO THE CONTRARY IS A CRIMINAL OFFENSE.
U.S. Equity ETFs
WisdomTree Trust
WisdomTree U.S. Equity ETFs*
U.S. ESG Fund (formerly, “U.S. Total Market Fund”) (RESP)
* Principal U.S. Listing Exchange: NYSE Arca, Inc.
THE INFORMATION IN THIS PROSPECTUS IS NOT COMPLETE AND MAY BE CHANGED. WE MAY NOT SELL THESE SECURITIES UNTIL THE REGISTRATION STATEMENT FILED WITH THE U.S. SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION (“SEC”) 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.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Beginning on January 1, 2021, as permitted by regulations adopted by the SEC, paper copies of the WisdomTree Funds' annual and semi-annual shareholder reports will no longer be sent by mail, unless you specifically request paper copies of the reports. Instead, annual and semi-annual shareholder reports will be available on the WisdomTree Funds' website (www.wisdomtree.com), and you will be notified by mail each time a report is posted and provided with a website link to access the report.
If you already elected to receive shareholder reports electronically, you will not be affected by this change and you need not take any action. You may elect to receive shareholder reports and other communications from a Fund electronically anytime by contacting your financial intermediary (such as a broker-dealer or bank).
You may elect to receive all future reports in paper free of charge. Please contact your financial intermediary to request to continue receiving paper copies of your shareholder reports. Your election to receive reports in paper will apply to all funds held in your account.


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WisdomTree Trust
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WisdomTree U.S. ESG Fund (formerly, WisdomTree U.S. Total Market Fund)

Investment Objective
The WisdomTree U.S. ESG Fund (the “Fund”) seeks capital appreciation.
Fees and Expenses of the Fund
The following table describes the fees and expenses you may pay if you buy and hold shares of the Fund. The fees are expressed as a percentage of the Fund’s average net assets.
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 Fees 0.28%
Distribution and/or Service (12b-1) Fees None
Other Expenses 0.00%
Total Annual Fund Operating Expenses 0.28%
Example
The following example is intended to help retail investors compare the cost of investing in the Fund with the cost of investing in other funds. It illustrates the hypothetical expenses that such investors would incur over various periods if they were to invest $10,000 in the Fund for the time periods indicated and then redeem all of the shares at the end of those periods. This example assumes that the Fund provides a return of 5% a year and that operating expenses remain the same. This example does not include the brokerage commissions that retail investors may pay to buy and sell shares of the Fund. Although your actual costs may be higher or lower, based on these assumptions, your costs would be:
  1 Year 3 Years 5 Years 10 Years
  $ 29 $ 90 $ 157 $ 356
Portfolio Turnover
The Fund pays transaction costs, such as commissions, when it buys and sells securities (or “turns over” its portfolio). A higher portfolio turnover rate may indicate higher transaction costs and may result in higher taxes when Fund shares are held in a taxable account. These costs, which are not reflected in annual fund operating expenses or in the example, affect the Fund’s performance. During the most recent fiscal year, the Fund’s portfolio turnover rate was 22% of the average value of its portfolio, excluding the value of portfolio securities received or delivered as a result of in-kind creations or redemptions of the Fund’s capital shares.
Principal Investment Strategies of the Fund
The Fund is actively managed using a model-based approach. The Fund seeks to achieve its investment objective by investing primarily in U.S. equity securities that exhibit certain characteristics that the Fund’s investment adviser, WisdomTree Asset Management, Inc. (“WisdomTree Asset Management” or the “Adviser”), believes to be indicative of positive future returns as well as incorporating favorable environmental, social, and governance (“ESG”) characteristics based on a model developed by WisdomTree Asset Management. WisdomTree Asset Management employs a quantitative model to identify which securities the Fund might purchase and sell and opportune times for purchases and sales. Generally, the Fund’s portfolio will be rebalanced quarterly according to the Adviser’s quantitative model, although a more active approach may be taken depending on factors such as market conditions and investment opportunities, which may lead to frequent trading, cause the number of Fund holdings to vary, and increase the Fund’s portfolio turnover rate.
WisdomTree Asset Management seeks to identify equity securities that have the highest potential for returns based on proprietary measures of fundamental factors, such as value and quality, and technical factors, such as momentum and correlation. In addition, WisdomTree Asset Management seeks to identify equity securities with positive ESG characteristics based on a Sustainability score, which is a composite score that measures a company’s ESG impact along with exposure to potential controversies. Securities of companies involved in certain controversial products or activities, such as tobacco, small arms, controversial weapons, and fossil fuels are excluded
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regardless of revenue measures. In addition, securities are weighted on a modified market-capitalization basis taking into consideration the Sustainability score (i.e., securities with a higher market capitalization and a higher Sustainability score are more heavily weighted).
As of [____], companies in the [financial and information technology sectors] comprised a significant portion of the Fund.
Principal Risks of Investing in the Fund
You can lose money on your investment in the Fund. The Fund is subject to the risks described below. The principal risks are generally presented in alphabetical order to facilitate finding particular risks when comparing them with other funds. Each risk summarized below is considered a “principal risk” of investing in the Fund, regardless of the order in which it appears. Some or all of these risks may adversely affect the Fund’s net asset value per share (“NAV”), trading price, yield, total return and/or ability to meet its objective. For more information about the risks of investing in the Fund, see the sections in the Fund’s Prospectus titled “Additional Principal Risk Information About the Funds” and “Additional Non-Principal Risk Information.”
ESG Investing Risk. The Fund’s ESG investment strategy limits the types and number of investment opportunities available to the Fund and, as a result, the Fund may underperform other funds that do not have an ESG focus. The Fund’s ESG investment strategy may result in the Fund investing in securities or industry sectors that underperform the market as a whole or underperform other funds screened for ESG criteria. In addition, companies selected for inclusion in the Fund may not exhibit positive or favorable ESG characteristics.
Investment Risk. As with all investments, an investment in the Fund is subject to investment risk. Investors in the Fund could lose money, including the possible loss of the entire principal amount of an investment, over short or long periods of time.
Market Risk. The trading prices of equity securities and other instruments fluctuate in response to a variety of factors, such as economic, financial or political events that impact the entire market, market segments, or specific issuers. The Fund’s NAV and market price may fluctuate significantly in response to these and other factors. As a result, an investor could lose money over short or long periods of time.
Shares of the Fund May Trade at Prices Other Than NAV. As with all exchange-traded funds (“ETFs”), Fund shares may be bought and sold in the secondary market at market prices. The trading prices of the Fund’s shares in the secondary market generally differ from the Fund’s daily NAV and there may be times when the market price of the shares is more than the NAV (premium) or less than the NAV (discount). This risk is heightened in times of market volatility or periods of steep market declines.
Active Management Risk. The Fund is actively managed using proprietary investment strategies and processes. There can be no guarantee that these strategies and processes will be successful or that the Fund will achieve its investment objective.
Cyber Security Risk. The Fund and its service providers may be susceptible to operational and information security risks resulting from a breach in cyber security, including cyber-attacks. A breach in cyber security, intentional or unintentional, may adversely impact the Fund in many ways, including, but not limited to, disruption of the Fund’s operational capacity, loss of proprietary information, theft or corruption of data, denial-of-service attacks on websites or network resources, and the unauthorized release of confidential information. Cyber-attacks affecting the Fund’s third-party service providers, market makers, Authorized Participants, or the issuers of securities in which the Fund invests may subject the Fund to many of the same risks associated with direct cyber security breaches.
[Financial Sector Risk. The Fund currently invests a significant portion of its assets in the financial sector, and therefore the Fund’s performance could be negatively impacted by events affecting this sector. The financial sector includes, for example, banks and financial institutions providing mortgage and mortgage related services. This sector can be significantly affected by, among other things, changes in interest rates, government regulation, the rate of defaults on corporate, consumer and government debt, the availability and cost of capital, and fallout from the housing and sub-prime mortgage crisis.]
Geopolitical Risk. The United States has experienced security concerns, war, threats of war, aggression and/or conflict, terrorism, economic uncertainty, natural and environmental disasters and/or systemic market dislocations (including due to events outside of the United States) that have led, and in the future may lead, to increased short-term market volatility and may have adverse long-term effects on the U.S. and world economies and markets generally, each of which may negatively impact the Fund’s investments.
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[Information Technology Sector Risk. The Fund currently invests a significant portion of its assets in the information technology sector, and therefore the Fund’s performance could be negatively impacted by events affecting this sector. The information technology sector includes, for example, internet, semiconductor, software, hardware, and technology equipment companies. This sector can be significantly affected by, among other things, the supply and demand for specific products and services, the pace of technological development, and government regulation.]
Issuer-Specific Risk. Issuer-specific events, including changes in the actual or perceived financial condition of an issuer, can have a negative impact on the value of the Fund.
Large-Capitalization Investing Risk. The Fund may invest in the securities of large-capitalization companies. As a result, the Fund’s performance may be adversely affected if securities of large-capitalization companies underperform securities of smaller-capitalization companies or the market as a whole. Large-capitalization companies may adapt more slowly to new competitive challenges and be subject to slower growth during times of economic expansion.
Models and Data Risk. While the Fund is actively managed, the Fund’s investment process is expected to be heavily dependent on quantitative models and the models may not perform as intended. Errors in data used in the models may occur from time to time and may not be identified and/or corrected, which may have an adverse impact on the Fund and its shareholders.
Non-Diversification Risk. The Fund is considered to be non-diversified, which means that it may invest more of its assets in the securities of a single issuer or a smaller number of issuers than if it were a diversified fund. To the extent the Fund invests a significant percentage of its assets in a limited number of issuers, the Fund is subject to the risks of investing in those few issuers, and may be more susceptible to a single adverse economic or regulatory occurrence. As a result, changes in the market value of a single security could cause greater fluctuations in the value of Fund shares than would occur in a diversified fund.
Portfolio Turnover Risk. The Fund’s investment strategy may result in a high portfolio turnover rate. Higher portfolio turnover may result in the Fund paying higher levels of transaction costs and the distribution of additional capital gains, which generate greater tax liabilities for shareholders. These factors may negatively affect the Fund’s performance.
Fund Performance
Historical Fund performance, which varies over time, can provide an indication of the risks of investing in the Fund. The bar chart that follows shows the annual total returns of the Fund for each full calendar year since the Fund commenced operations. The table that follows the bar chart shows the Fund’s average annual total returns, both before and after taxes. This table also shows how the Fund’s performance compares to that of a relevant broad-based securities index. Index returns do not reflect deductions for fees, expenses or taxes. All returns assume reinvestment of dividends and distributions. The Fund’s past performance (before and after taxes) is not necessarily an indication of how the Fund will perform in the future. Updated performance information for the Fund is available online on the Fund’s website at www.wisdomtree.com.
The Fund’s name, objective and strategies changed effective [____], 2020. Prior to [____], 2020, Fund performance reflects the investment objective of the Fund when it was the WisdomTree U.S. Total Market Fund and tracked the performance, before fees and expenses, of the WisdomTree U.S. Total Market Index.
The Fund’s year-to-date total return as of June 30, 2019 was 17.52%.
[Updated performance information to be included with 485(b) filing]
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Best and Worst Quarter Returns (for the periods reflected in the bar chart above)
  Return Quarter/Year
Highest Return [___]% [___]
Lowest Return [___]% [___]
After-tax returns are calculated using the highest historical individual federal marginal income tax rates and do not reflect the impact of state and local taxes. Actual after-tax returns depend on your tax situation and may differ from those shown and are not relevant if you hold your shares through tax-deferred arrangements, such as 401(k) plans or individual retirement accounts. In some cases, the return after taxes may exceed the return before taxes due to an assumed tax benefit from any losses on a sale of Fund shares at the end of the measurement period.
Average Annual Total Returns for the periods ending December 31, 2018
WisdomTree U.S. Total Market Fund 1 Year 5 Years 10 Years
Return Before Taxes Based on NAV (7.80)% 7.26% 12.91%
Return After Taxes on Distributions (8.49)% 6.68% 12.43%
Return After Taxes on Distributions and Sale of Fund Shares (4.29)% 5.60% 10.76%
Russell 3000 Index (Reflects no deduction for fees, expenses or taxes) (5.24)% 7.91% 13.18%
Management
Investment Adviser and Sub-Adviser
WisdomTree Asset Management serves as investment adviser to the Fund. Mellon Investments Corporation (the “Sub-Adviser”) serves as sub-adviser to the Fund.
Portfolio Managers
The Fund is managed by the Sub-Adviser’s Equity Index Strategies Portfolio Management team. The individual members of the team jointly and primarily responsible for the day-to-day management of the Fund’s portfolio are described below.
Karen Q. Wong, CFA, a Managing Director, Head of Index Portfolio Management, has been a portfolio manager of the Fund since 2008.
Richard A. Brown, CFA, a Managing Director, Co-Head of Equity Index Portfolio Management and Senior Portfolio Manager, has been a portfolio manager of the Fund since 2008.
Thomas J. Durante, CFA, a Managing Director, Co-Head of Equity Index Portfolio Management and Senior Portfolio Manager, has been a portfolio manager of the Fund since 2008.
Buying and Selling Fund Shares
The Fund is an ETF. This means that shares of the Fund are listed on a national securities exchange, such as NYSE Arca, and trade at market prices. Most investors will buy and sell shares of the Fund through brokers. Because Fund shares trade at market prices rather than NAV, shares may trade at a price greater than NAV (premium) or less than NAV (discount).
The Fund issues and redeems shares at NAV only in large blocks of shares (“Creation Units”), which only certain institutions or large investors (typically market makers or other broker-dealers) may purchase or redeem. Currently, Creation Units generally consist of 50,000 shares, though this may change from time to time. Creation Units are not expected to consist of less than 25,000 shares. The Fund issues and redeems Creation Units in exchange for a portfolio of securities and/or U.S. cash.
Tax Information
The Fund intends to make distributions that may be taxed as ordinary income, qualified dividend income, or capital gains.
Payments to Broker-Dealers and Other Financial Intermediaries
If you purchase shares of the Fund through a broker-dealer or other financial intermediary (such as a bank) (an “Intermediary”), WisdomTree Asset Management or its affiliates may pay Intermediaries for certain activities related
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to the Fund, including participation in activities that are designed to make Intermediaries more knowledgeable about exchange traded products, including the Fund, or for other activities, such as marketing, educational training or other initiatives related to the sale or promotion of Fund shares. These payments may create a conflict of interest by influencing the Intermediary and your salesperson to recommend the Fund over another investment. Any such arrangements do not result in increased Fund expenses. Ask your salesperson or visit the Intermediary’s website for more information.
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Additional Information About the Fund
Additional Information About the Fund's Investment Objective
Since the Fund’s investment objective has been adopted as a non-fundamental investment policy, the Fund’s investment objective may be changed without a vote of shareholders upon 60 days’ written notice to shareholders.
Additional Information About the Fund's Investment Strategies
The Fund will normally invest at least 80% of its net assets, plus the amount of any borrowings for investment purposes, in securities of companies domiciled in the U.S. or listed on a U.S. exchange.
Non-Principal Information About the Fund's Investment Strategies
The Fund may invest in other investments that the Fund believes will help it achieve its investment objective, including cash and cash equivalents, as well as in shares of other investment companies (including affiliated investment companies, such as ETFs).
Temporary Defensive Strategies. The Fund's investment process is heavily dependent on quantitative models which do not adjust to take temporary defensive positions. However, the Fund reserves the right to invest in U.S. government securities, money market instruments, and cash, without limitation, in response to adverse market, economic, political or other conditions. In the event a Fund engages in temporary defensive strategies that are inconsistent with its investment strategies, the Fund’s ability to achieve its investment objective may be limited.
Securities Lending. The Fund may lend its portfolio securities in an amount not to exceed one-third (33 1/3%) of the value of its total assets via a securities lending program through its securities lending agent, State Street Bank and Trust Company, to brokers, dealers and other financial institutions desiring to borrow securities to complete transactions and for other purposes. A securities lending program allows the Fund to receive a portion of the income generated by lending its securities and investing the respective collateral. The Fund will receive collateral for each loaned security which is at least equal to the market value of that security, marked to market each trading day. In the securities lending program, the borrower generally has the right to vote the loaned securities; however, the Fund may call loans to vote proxies if a material issue affecting the Fund’s economic interest in the investment is to be voted upon. Security loans may be terminated at any time by the Fund.
Additional Principal Risk Information About the Fund
This section provides additional information regarding the principal risks described under “Principal Risks of Investing in the Fund” in the Fund Summaries. Risk information may not be applicable to each Fund. Please consult each Fund's summary sections to determine which risks are applicable to a particular Fund. Each of the factors below could have a negative impact on Fund performance and trading prices.
Active Management Risk
The Fund is actively managed using proprietary investment strategies and processes. The Fund is subject to active management or security-selection risk and its performance therefore will reflect, in part, the ability of the Sub-Adviser to select investments and to make investment decisions that are suited to achieving the Fund’s investment objective. The Sub-Adviser’s assessment of a particular investment, company or sector and/or assessment of broader economic, financial or other macro views, may prove incorrect, including because of factors that were not adequately foreseen, and the selection of investments may not perform as well as expected when those investments were purchased or as well as the markets generally, resulting in Fund losses or underperformance. There can be no guarantee that these strategies and processes will produce the intended results and no guarantee that the Fund will achieve its investment objective or outperform other investment strategies over the short- or long-term market cycles. This risk is exacerbated when an investment or multiple investments made as a result of such decisions are significant relative to the Fund’s net assets.
Cyber Security Risk
The Fund and its service providers may be susceptible to operational and information security risks resulting from a breach in cyber security, including cyber-attacks. A breach in cyber security, intentional or unintentional, may adversely impact the Fund in many ways, including, but not limited to, disruption of the Fund’s operational capacity, loss of proprietary information, theft or corruption of data maintained online or digitally, denial-of-service attacks on websites or network resources, and the unauthorized release of confidential information. Cyber-attacks affecting the Fund’s third-party service providers, including the investment adviser, sub-adviser, administrator, custodian, and transfer agent, may subject the Fund to many of the same risks associated with direct cyber security breaches and adversely impact the Fund. For instance, cyber-attacks may impact the Fund’s ability to calculate its
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NAV, cause the release of confidential business information, impede trading, cause the Fund to incur additional compliance costs associated with corrective measures, subject the Fund to regulatory fines or other financial losses, and/or cause reputational damage to the Fund. Cyber security breaches of market makers, Authorized Participants, or the issuers of securities in which the Fund invests could also have material adverse consequences on the Fund’s business operations and cause financial losses for the Fund and its shareholders. While the Fund and its service providers have established business continuity plans and risk management systems designed to address cyber security risks, prevent cyber-attacks and mitigate the impact of cyber security breaches, there are inherent limitations on such plans and systems. In addition, the Fund has no control over the cyber security protections put in place by its service providers or any other third parties whose operations may affect the Fund or its shareholders.
ESG Investing Risk
The Fund’s ESG investment strategy limits the types and number of investment opportunities available to the Fund and, as a result, the Fund may underperform other funds that do not have an ESG focus. The Fund’s ESG investment strategy may result in the Fund investing in securities or industry sectors that underperform the market as a whole or underperform other funds screened for ESG standards.
Geopolitical Risk
The United States has experienced security concerns, war, threats of war, aggression and/or conflict, terrorism, economic uncertainty, natural and environmental disasters and/or systemic market dislocations (including due to events outside of the United States) that have led, and in the future may lead, to increased short-term market volatility and may have adverse long-term effects on the U.S. and world economies and markets generally. Such geopolitical and other events may also disrupt securities markets and, during such market disruptions, the Fund’s exposure to the other risks described herein will likely increase. For example, a market disruption may adversely affect the orderly functioning of the securities markets. Each of the foregoing may negatively impact the Fund’s investments.
Investment Risk
As with all investments, an investment in the Fund is subject to investment risk. Investors in the Fund could lose money, including the possible loss of the entire principal amount of an investment, over short or long periods of time. An investment in the Fund is not a bank deposit and it is not insured or guaranteed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation or any other government agency.
Issuer-Specific Risk
Changes in the actual or perceived financial condition of an issuer or counterparty, changes in specific economic or political conditions that affect a particular type of security or issuer, and changes in general economic or political conditions can affect a security’s or instrument’s value. The value of securities of smaller, less well-known issuers can be more volatile than that of larger issuers. Issuer-specific events can have a negative impact on the value of the Fund.
Market Capitalization Risk
Large-Capitalization Investing
Securities of large-capitalization companies may underperform securities of smaller companies or the market as a whole. The securities of large-capitalization companies may be relatively mature compared to smaller companies and therefore subject to slower growth during times of economic expansion. Large-capitalization companies may also be unable to respond quickly to new competitive challenges, such as changes in technology and consumer tastes.
Market Risk
The trading prices of equity securities and other instruments fluctuate in response to a variety of factors. These factors include events impacting the entire market or specific market segments, such as political, market and economic developments, including, but not limited to, changes in interest rates, government regulation, and the outlook for economic growth or recession, as well as events that impact specific issuers, such as changes to an issuer’s actual or perceived creditworthiness. The Fund’s NAV and market price, like security and commodity prices generally, may fluctuate significantly in response to these and other factors. As a result, an investor could lose money over short or long periods of time.
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Models and Data Risk
The Fund is actively managed based upon the Adviser’s quantitative model, which is heavily dependent on data from one or more third parties and may not perform as intended. If the computers or other facilities of the data providers malfunction for any reason, model calculation and dissemination may be delayed, and trading of Fund shares may be suspended for a period of time. Errors in the model data, calculations and/or the construction of the model may occur from time to time and may not be identified and/or corrected by the Adviser or other applicable party for a period of time or at all, which may have an adverse impact on the Fund and its shareholders. The potential risk of continuing error may be particularly heightened in the case of the model, which will likely not be used by other funds or managers.
Non-Diversification Risk
The Fund is considered to be non-diversified. This means that the Fund may invest more of its assets in the securities of a single issuer or a smaller number of issuers than if it was a diversified fund. As a result, the Fund may be more exposed to the risks associated with and developments affecting an individual issuer or a smaller number of issuers than a fund that invests more widely. This may increase the Fund’s volatility and cause the performance of a relatively smaller number of issuers to have a greater impact on the Fund’s performance. However, the Fund intends to satisfy the asset diversification requirements under Subchapter M of the Code for qualification as a RIC. See the “Taxes Qualification as a Regulated Investment Company” section of the SAI for detail regarding the asset diversification requirements.
Portfolio Turnover Risk
The Fund’s investment strategy may result in a high portfolio turnover rate. Higher portfolio turnover may result in the Fund paying higher levels of transaction costs and the distribution of additional capital gains, which generate greater tax liabilities for shareholders. These factors may negatively affect the Fund’s performance.
Sector Risks
[Sector Concentration Risks to be finalized prior to definitive filing]
[Financial Sector Risk
The financial sector includes, for example, banks and financial institutions providing mortgage and mortgage related services. This sector can be significantly affected by, among other things, changes in interest rates, government regulation, the rate of defaults on corporate, consumer and government debt, the availability and cost of capital, and fallout from the housing and sub-prime mortgage crisis. These factors and events have had, and may continue to have, a significant negative impact on the valuations and stock prices of companies in this sector and have increased the volatility of investments in this sector.]
[Information Technology Sector Risk
The information technology sector includes, for example, internet, semiconductor, software, hardware, and technology equipment companies. This sector can be significantly affected by, among other things, the supply and demand for specific products and services, the pace of technological development, and government regulation. Challenges facing companies in the information technology sector include distressed cash flows due to the need to commit substantial capital to meet increasing competition, particularly in formulating new products and services using new technology, technological innovations that make existing products and services obsolete, and satisfying consumer demand.]
Shares of the Fund May Trade at Prices Other Than NAV
As with all ETFs, Fund shares may be bought and sold in the secondary market at market prices. Although it is expected that the market price of the shares of the Fund will not materially differ from the Fund’s NAV, there may be times when the market price and the NAV vary significantly, including due to timing reasons, perceptions about the NAV, supply and demand of the Fund’s shares (including disruptions in the creation/redemption process), during periods of market volatility and/or other factors. Thus, you may pay more (or less) than NAV when you buy shares of the Fund in the secondary market, and you may receive more (or less) than NAV when you sell those shares in the secondary market. If an investor purchases Fund shares at a time when the market price is at a premium to the NAV of the Fund’s shares or sells at a time when the market price is at a discount to the NAV of the Fund’s shares, an investor may sustain losses.
Additional Non-Principal Risk Information
Trading. Although the Fund’s shares are listed for trading on NYSE Arca (the "Listing Exchange") and may be listed or traded on U.S. and non-U.S. stock exchanges other than the Listing Exchange, there can be no assurance that
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an active trading market for such shares will develop or be maintained. The trading market in the Fund’s shares may become less liquid in response to deteriorating liquidity in the markets for the Fund’s holdings or due to irregular trading activity in the markets. Trading in shares may be halted due to market conditions or for reasons that, in the view of the Listing Exchange, make trading in shares inadvisable. In addition, trading in shares on the Listing Exchange is subject to trading halts caused by extraordinary market volatility pursuant to Listing Exchange “circuit breaker” rules. There can be no assurance that the requirements of the Listing Exchange necessary to maintain the listing of the Fund will continue to be met or will remain unchanged or that Fund shares will trade with any volume, or at all, on any stock exchange.
Costs of Buying or Selling Shares. Investors buying or selling Fund shares in the secondary market will pay brokerage commissions or other charges imposed by brokers, as determined by that broker. Brokerage commissions are often a fixed amount and may be a significant proportional cost for investors seeking to buy or sell relatively small amounts of Fund shares. In addition, secondary market investors will also incur the cost of the difference between the price that an investor is willing to buy shares (the “bid” price) and the price at which an investor is willing to sell shares (the “ask” price). This difference in bid and ask prices is often referred to as the “spread” or “bid/ask spread.” The bid/ask spread varies over time for shares based on trading volume and market liquidity (including for the underlying securities held by the Fund), and is generally lower if the Fund’s shares have more trading volume and market liquidity and higher if the Fund’s shares have little trading volume and market liquidity. Further, a relatively small investor base in the Fund, asset swings in the Fund and/or increased market volatility may cause increased bid/ask spreads. Shares of the Fund, similar to shares of other issuers listed on a stock exchange, may be sold short and are therefore subject to the risk of increased volatility associated with short selling. Due to the costs of buying or selling Fund shares, including bid/ask spreads, frequent trading of Fund shares may significantly reduce investment results and an investment in shares may not be advisable for investors who anticipate regularly making small investments.
Securities Lending. Although the Fund is indemnified by the Fund's lending agent for losses incurred in connection with a borrower’s default with respect to a loan, the Fund bear the risk of loss of investing cash collateral and may be required to make payments to a borrower upon return of loaned securities if invested collateral has declined in value. Furthermore, because of the risks in delay of recovery, the Fund may lose the opportunity to sell the securities at a desirable price, and the Fund will generally not have the right to vote securities while they are being loaned. These events could also trigger negative tax consequences for the Fund.
The Fund may lend its portfolio securities in an amount not to exceed one third (33 1/3%) of the value of its total assets via a securities lending program through its securities lending agent, State Street Bank and Trust Company, to brokers, dealers and other financial institutions desiring to borrow securities to complete transactions and for other purposes. A securities lending program allows the Fund to receive a portion of the income generated by lending its securities and investing the respective collateral. The Fund will receive collateral for each loaned security which is at least equal to the market value of that security, marked to market each trading day. In the securities lending program, the borrower generally has the right to vote the loaned securities; however, the Fund may call loans to vote proxies if a material issue affecting the Fund’s economic interest in the investment is to be voted upon. Security loans may be terminated at any time by the Fund.
Authorized Participants, Market Makers and Liquidity Providers Concentration Risk. The Fund has a limited number of financial institutions that may act as Authorized Participants (“APs”). In addition, there may be a limited number of market makers and/or liquidity providers in the marketplace. To the extent either of the following events occur, Fund shares may trade at a prolonged and material premium or discount to NAV (or not trade at all) and possibly face trading halts and/or delisting: (i) APs exit the business, have a business disruption (including through the types of disruptions described under “Cyber Security Risk” and “Operational Risk”) or otherwise become unable or unwilling to process creation and/or redemption orders and no other APs step forward to perform these services, or (ii) market makers and/or liquidity providers exit the business, have a business disruption (including through the types of disruptions described under “Cyber Security Risk” and “Operational Risk”) or significantly reduce their business activities and no other entities step forward to perform their functions.
Operational Risk. The Fund and its service providers, including the investment adviser, sub-adviser, administrator, custodian, and transfer agent, may experience disruptions that arise from human error, processing and communications errors, counterparty or third-party errors, technology or systems failures, any of which may have an adverse impact on the Fund. Although the Fund and its service providers seek to mitigate these operational risks through their internal controls and operational risk management processes, these measures may not identify or may be inadequate to address all such risks.
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Portfolio Holdings Information
Information about the Fund’s daily portfolio holdings is available at www.wisdomtree.com. In addition, the Fund will disclose its complete portfolio holdings as of the end of its fiscal year (March 31) and its second fiscal quarter (September 30) in its reports to shareholders. The Fund files its complete portfolio holdings as of the end of its first and third fiscal quarters (June 30 and December 31, respectively) with the SEC on Form N-Q no later than 60 days after the relevant fiscal period. Beginning in April 2019, the Funds have ceased filing Form N-Q and have commenced filing Form N-PORT. Part F of each Fund’s Form N-PORT filings for the first and third fiscal quarters will contain the complete schedule of portfolio holdings in the same manner as previously filed on Form N-Q. You can find the SEC filings on the SEC’s website, www.sec.gov, or by calling WisdomTree Trust at 1-866-909-WISE (9473). A summarized description of the Fund’s policies and procedures with respect to the disclosure of the Fund’s portfolio holdings is available in the Statement of Additional Information (“SAI”).
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Management
Investment Adviser
As investment adviser, WisdomTree Asset Management has overall responsibility for the general management and administration of the WisdomTree Trust (the “Trust”) and the Fund. WisdomTree Asset Management is a registered investment adviser with offices located at 245 Park Avenue, 35th Floor, New York, New York 10167, and is a leader in ETF management. As of [____], [____], WisdomTree Asset Management had assets under management totaling approximately $[__] billion. WisdomTree Investments* is the parent company of WisdomTree Asset Management. WisdomTree Asset Management provides an investment program for the Fund. The Adviser provides proactive oversight of the Sub-Adviser, defined below, daily monitoring of the Sub-Adviser’s buying and selling of securities for the Fund, and regular review of the Sub-Adviser’s performance. In addition, the Adviser arranges for sub-advisory, transfer agency, custody, fund administration, securities lending, and all other non-distribution related services necessary for the Fund to operate.
* “WisdomTree” is a registered mark of WisdomTree Investments and has been licensed for use by the Trust. WisdomTree Investments has been issued a patent and has a patent application pending on the methodology and operation of its Indexes and the Funds.
For the fiscal year ended March 31, 2019, the Funds paid advisory fees to the Adviser, as a percentage of average daily net assets, in the amounts listed below.
Name of Fund Management Fee
U.S. ESG Fund 0.28%
Under the Investment Advisory Agreement for the Fund, WisdomTree Asset Management has agreed to pay generally all expenses of the Fund, subject to certain exceptions. For a detailed description of the Investment Advisory Agreement for the Fund, please see the “Management of the Trust” section of the SAI. Pursuant to a separate contractual arrangement, WisdomTree Asset Management arranges for the provision of chief compliance officer (“CCO”) services with respect to the Fund, and is liable and responsible for, and administers, payments to the CCO, the Independent Trustees and counsel to the Independent Trustees. WisdomTree Asset Management receives a fee of up to 0.0044% of the Fund’s average daily net assets for providing such services and paying such expenses. WisdomTree Asset Management provides CCO services to the Trust.
The basis for the Board of Trustees’ approval of the Fund's Investment Advisory Agreement is available in the Trust’s Semi-Annual Report to Shareholders for the period ended September 30, 2019.
Sub-Adviser
Mellon Investments Corporation (the “Sub-Adviser”) is responsible for the day-to-day management of the Fund. The Sub-Adviser, a registered investment adviser, is a leading innovator in the investment industry and manages global quantitative-based investment strategies for institutional and private investors. Its principal office is located at One Boston Place, 201 Washington Street, Boston, Massachusetts 02108. As of [____], [____], the Sub-Adviser had assets under management totaling approximately $[ ]. The Sub-Adviser is an independently operated indirect subsidiary of The Bank of New York Mellon Corporation, a publicly traded financial holding company. The Sub-Adviser chooses the Fund’s portfolio investments and places orders to buy and sell the portfolio investments. WisdomTree Asset Management pays the Sub-Adviser for providing sub-advisory services to the Fund.
The basis for the Board of Trustees’ approval of the Fund's Investment Sub-Advisory Agreement is available in the Trust’s Semi-Annual Report to Shareholders for the period ended September 30, 2019.
WisdomTree Asset Management, as the investment adviser for the Fund, may hire one or more sub-advisers to oversee the day-to-day activities of the Fund. The sub-advisers are subject to oversight by WisdomTree Asset Management. WisdomTree Asset Management and the Trust have received an exemptive order from the SEC that permits WisdomTree Asset Management, with the approval of the Independent Trustees of the Trust, to retain unaffiliated investment sub-advisers for the Fund, without submitting the sub-advisory agreement to a vote of the Fund’s shareholders. The Trust will notify shareholders in the event of any change in the identity of such sub-adviser or sub-advisers. WisdomTree Asset Management has ultimate responsibility for the investment performance of the Fund due to its responsibility to oversee each sub-adviser and recommend their hiring, termination and replacement. WisdomTree Asset Management is not required to disclose fees paid to any sub-adviser retained pursuant to the order.
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Portfolio Managers
The Fund is managed by the Sub-Adviser’s Equity Index Strategies Portfolio Management team. The individual members of the team jointly and primarily responsible for the day-to-day management of the Fund's portfolio are described below.
Ms. Karen Q. Wong, CFA, a Managing Director and Head of Index Portfolio Management, has been with the Sub-Adviser since June 2000. Ms. Wong is the head of index portfolio management. She is responsible for overseeing equity and fixed income indexing and beta strategies, including exchange-traded funds (ETFs). She is also responsible for refinement and implementation of the index portfolio management process. Ms. Wong developed and launched the Carbon Efficiency strategy in 2014, the firm’s first green beta product. Previously, Ms. Wong was the head of equity portfolio management at the Sub-Adviser, responsible for the equity index portfolio management process. Ms. Wong has been working in the investment industry since 1999. Prior to joining the firm in 2000, she worked as a security analyst at Redwood Securities. She is a member of CFA Institute and CFA Society San Francisco, as well as the S&P Index Advisory Panel, MSCI Index Client Advisory Committee and FTSE Russell Policy Advisory Board. She is also a member of the Board of Directors for xBK LLC, an affiliated company. Ms. Wong earned an MBA in finance and a BS in accounting and statistics from San Francisco State University.
Mr. Richard A. Brown, CFA, a Managing Director, Co-Head of Equity Index Portfolio Management and Senior Portfolio Manager, has been with the Sub-Adviser since August 1995. Mr. Brown leads a team of portfolio managers covering domestic and international equity indexing portfolios and is responsible for the refinement and implementation of the equity index portfolio management process. Mr. Brown began his investment career at the firm in 1995. Mr. Brown is a member of CFA Institute and CFA Society San Francisco. He earned an MBA from California State University at Hayward.
Mr. Thomas J. Durante, CFA, a Managing Director, Co-Head of Equity Index Portfolio Management and Senior Portfolio Manager, has been with the Sub-Adviser since January 2000. Mr. Durante leads a team of portfolio managers covering domestic and international equity indexing portfolios and is responsible for the refinement and implementation of the equity index portfolio management process. Mr. Durante has been in the investment industry since 1982. Prior to joining the firm in 2000, he worked in the fund accounting department at Dreyfus. Mr. Durante is a member of CFA Institute and CFA Society Pittsburgh. Thomas earned a BA in accounting at Fairfield University.
The Fund's SAI provides additional information about the Portfolio Managers’ compensation, other accounts managed by the Portfolio Managers, and the Portfolio Managers’ ownership of shares in the Fund.
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Additional Information on Buying and Selling Fund Shares
Most investors will buy and sell shares of the Fund through brokers. Shares of the Fund trade on the Listing Exchange and elsewhere during the trading day and can be bought and sold throughout the trading day like other shares of publicly traded securities. When buying or selling shares through a broker, most investors will incur customary brokerage commissions and charges. Shares of the Fund trade under the trading symbol listed on the cover of this Prospectus.
Share Trading Prices
Transactions in Fund shares will be priced at NAV only if you are an institutional investor (e.g., broker-dealer) that has signed an agreement with the Distributor (as defined below) and you thereafter purchase or redeem shares directly from the Fund in Creation Units. As with other types of securities, the trading prices of shares in the secondary market can be affected by market forces such as supply and demand, economic conditions and other factors. The price you pay or receive when you buy or sell your shares in the secondary market may be more or less than the NAV of such shares.
The approximate value of shares of the Fund, also known as the “indicative optimized portfolio value” or IOPV, is disseminated every 15 seconds throughout the trading day by the Listing Exchange or by other information providers. This approximate value should not be viewed as a “real-time” update of the Fund's NAV because the approximate value may not be calculated in the same manner as the NAV, which is computed once per day. The approximate value generally is determined by using current market quotations, price quotations obtained from broker-dealers that may trade in the securities and instruments held by the Fund, and/or amortized cost for securities with remaining maturities of 60 days or less, based on securities and/or cash as reflected in the basket for a Creation Unit. If applicable, each approximate value also reflects changes in currency exchange rates between the U.S. dollar and the applicable currency. The approximate value is based on applicable quotes or closing prices from the securities’ local market and may not reflect events that occur subsequent to the local market’s close. The approximate value does not necessarily reflect the precise composition of the current portfolio of securities held by the Fund at a particular point in time (e.g., the securities in the basket for a Creation Unit may include securities that are not part of the Fund’s portfolio) or the precise valuation of the current portfolio. The Fund, the Adviser and their affiliates are not involved in, or responsible for, the calculation or dissemination of the approximate value and make no warranty as to its accuracy.
Determination of Net Asset Value
The NAV of the Fund’s shares is calculated each day the national securities exchanges are open for trading as of the close of regular trading on the Listing Exchange, generally 4:00 p.m. New York time (the “NAV Calculation Time”). NAV per share is calculated by dividing the Fund’s net assets by the number of Fund shares outstanding.
In calculating its NAV, the Fund generally values: (i) equity securities (including preferred stock) traded on any recognized U.S. or non-U.S. exchange at the last sale price or official closing price on the exchange or system on which they are principally traded; (ii) unlisted equity securities (including preferred stock) at the last quoted sale price or, if no sale price is available, at the mean between the highest bid and lowest ask price; and (iii) fixed income securities at current market quotations or mean prices obtained from broker-dealers or independent pricing service providers. In addition, the Fund may invest in money market funds which are valued at their NAV per share and affiliated ETFs which are valued at their last sale or official closing price on the exchange on which they are principally traded or at their NAV per share in instances where the affiliated ETF has not traded on its principal exchange.
Fair value pricing is used by the Fund when reliable market valuations are not readily available or are not deemed to reflect current market values. Securities that may be valued using “fair value” pricing may include, but are not limited to, securities for which there are no current market quotations or whose issuer is in default or bankruptcy, securities subject to corporate actions (such as mergers or reorganizations), securities subject to non-U.S. investment limits or currency controls, and securities affected by “significant events.” An example of a significant event is an event occurring after the close of the market in which a security trades but before the Fund’s next NAV Calculation Time that may materially affect the value of the Fund’s investment (e.g., government action, natural disaster, or significant market fluctuation). When fair-value pricing is employed, the prices of securities used by the Fund to calculate its NAV may differ from quoted or published prices for the same securities.
Dividends and Distributions
The Fund intends to pay out dividends on a quarterly basis. Nonetheless, the Fund may not make a dividend payment every quarter.
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The Fund intends to distribute its net realized capital gains to investors annually. The Fund occasionally may be required to make supplemental distributions at some other time during the year. Distributions in cash may be reinvested automatically in additional whole shares only if the broker through whom you purchased shares makes such option available. Your broker is responsible for distributing the income and capital gain distributions to you.
Book Entry
Shares of the Fund are held in book-entry form, which means that no stock certificates are issued. The Depository Trust Company (“DTC”) or its nominee is the record owner of all outstanding shares of the Fund.
Investors owning shares of the Fund are beneficial owners as shown on the records of DTC or its participants. DTC serves as the securities depository for all shares of the Fund. Participants include DTC, securities brokers and dealers, banks, trust companies, clearing corporations, and other institutions that directly or indirectly maintain a custodial relationship with DTC. As a beneficial owner of shares, you are not entitled to receive physical delivery of stock certificates or to have shares registered in your name, and you are not considered a registered owner of shares. Therefore, to exercise any right as an owner of shares, you must rely upon the procedures of DTC and its participants. These procedures are the same as those that apply to any securities that you hold in book-entry or “street name” form. Your broker will provide you with account statements, confirmations of your purchases and sales, and tax information.
Delivery of Shareholder Documents Householding
Householding is an option available to certain investors of the Fund. Householding is a method of delivery, based on the preference of the individual investor, in which a single copy of certain shareholder documents can be delivered to investors who share the same address, even if their accounts are registered under different names. Householding for the Fund is available through certain broker-dealers. If you are interested in enrolling in householding and receiving a single copy of prospectuses and other shareholder documents, please contact your broker-dealer. If you are currently enrolled in householding and wish to change your householding status, please contact your broker-dealer.
Frequent Purchases and Redemptions of Fund Shares
The Fund has adopted policies and procedures with respect to frequent purchases and redemptions of Creation Units of Fund shares. Since the Fund is an ETF, only a few institutional investors (known as “Authorized Participants”) are authorized to purchase and redeem shares directly from the Fund. Because purchase and redemption transactions with Authorized Participants are an essential part of the ETF process and may help keep ETF trading prices in line with NAV, the Fund accommodates frequent purchases and redemptions by Authorized Participants. Frequent purchases and redemptions for cash may increase portfolio transaction costs and may lead to the realization of capital gains. Frequent in-kind creations and redemptions generally do not give rise to these concerns. The Fund reserves the right to reject any purchase order at any time. The Fund reserves the right to impose restrictions on disruptive, excessive, or short-term trading.
Investments by Investment Companies
Section 12(d)(1) of the Investment Company Act of 1940 restricts investments by investment companies in the securities of other investment companies, including shares of the Fund. Registered investment companies and unit investment trusts that enter into a participation agreement with the Trust (“Investing Funds”) are permitted to invest in the Fund beyond the limits set forth in Section 12(d)(1) of the 1940 Act subject to certain terms and conditions set forth in an SEC exemptive order issued to the Trust, including that such investment companies enter into an agreement with the Fund.
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[Updated additional tax information to be included with 485(b) filing]
Additional Tax Information
The following discussion is a summary of some important U.S. federal income tax considerations generally applicable to investments in the Fund. Your investment in the Fund may have other tax implications. Please consult your tax advisor about the tax consequences of an investment in Fund shares, including the possible application of foreign, state, and local tax laws.
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (the “Tax Act”) made significant changes to the U.S. federal income tax rules for taxation of individuals and corporations, generally effective for taxable years beginning after December 31, 2017. Many of the changes applicable to individuals are temporary and only apply to taxable years beginning after December 31, 2017 and before January 1, 2026. There are only minor changes with respect to the specific rules applicable to a RIC, such as the Fund. The Tax Act, however, made numerous other changes to the tax rules that may affect shareholders and the Fund. You are urged to consult your own tax advisor regarding how the Tax Act affects your investment in the Fund.
The Fund intends to qualify each year for treatment as a RIC. If it meets certain minimum distribution requirements, a RIC is not subject to tax at the fund level on income and gains from investments that are timely distributed to shareholders. However, the Fund’s failure to qualify as a RIC or to meet minimum distribution requirements would result (if certain relief provisions were not available) in fund-level taxation and consequently a reduction in income available for distribution to shareholders.
Unless you are a tax-exempt entity or your investment in Fund shares is made through tax-deferred retirement account, such as an individual retirement account, you need to be aware of the possible tax consequences when:
The Fund makes distributions;
You sell Fund shares; and
You purchase or redeem Creation Units (institutional investors only).
Taxes on Distributions
For federal income tax purposes, distributions of investment income are generally taxable as ordinary income or qualified dividend income. Taxes on distributions of capital gains (if any) are determined by how long the Fund owned the assets that generated them, rather than how long a shareholder has owned his or her Fund shares. Sales of assets held by the Fund for more than one year generally result in long-term capital gains and losses, and sales of assets held by the Fund for one year or less generally result in short-term capital gains and losses. Distributions of the Fund’s net capital gain (the excess of net long-term capital gains over net short-term capital losses) that are properly reported by the Fund as capital gain dividends (“Capital Gain Dividends”) will be taxable as long-term capital gains. For non-corporate shareholders, long-term capital gains are generally subject to tax at reduced rates. Distributions of short-term capital gain will generally be taxable as ordinary income. Distributions reported by the Fund as “qualified dividend income” are generally taxed to non-corporate shareholders at rates applicable to long-term capital gains, provided holding period and other requirements are met. “Qualified dividend income” generally is income derived from dividends paid by U.S. corporations or certain foreign corporations that are either incorporated in a U.S. possession or eligible for tax benefits under certain U.S. income tax treaties.
To the extent the Fund lends its securities and receives substitute dividend payments, such payments will not generate qualified dividend income when distributed to individual shareholders and will not be eligible for the dividends-received deduction for corporate shareholders.
In general, your distributions are subject to federal income tax for the year in which they are paid. Certain distributions paid in January, but declared by the Fund in October, November or December of the previous year, may be treated as paid on December 31 of the prior year. Distributions are generally taxable even if they are paid from income or gains earned by the Fund before your investment (and thus were included in the price you paid for your shares).
Dividends and distributions from the Fund and capital gain on the sale of Fund shares are generally taken into account in determining a shareholder’s “net investment income” for purposes of the Medicare contribution tax applicable to certain individuals, estates and trusts.
The Fund may include cash when paying the redemption price for Creation Units in addition to, or in place of, the delivery of a basket of securities. The Fund may be required to sell portfolio securities in order to obtain the cash
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needed to distribute redemption proceeds. This may cause such Fund to recognize investment income and/or capital gains or losses that it might not have recognized if it had completely satisfied the redemption in-kind. As a result, such Fund may be less tax efficient if it includes such a cash payment than if the in-kind redemption process was used.
Distributions (other than Capital Gain Dividends) paid to individual shareholders that are neither citizens nor residents of the U.S. or to foreign entities will generally be subject to a U.S. withholding tax at the rate of 30%, unless a lower treaty rate applies. The Fund may, under certain circumstances, report all or a portion of a dividend as an “interest related dividend” or a “short term capital gain dividend,” which would generally be exempt from this 30% U.S. withholding tax, provided certain other requirements are met.
The Fund may invest in REITs. The Tax Act treats “qualified REIT dividends” (i.e., ordinary REIT dividends other than capital gain dividends and portions of REIT dividends designated as qualified dividend income eligible for capital gain tax rates) as eligible for a 20% deduction by non-corporate taxpayers. This deduction, if allowed in full, equates to a maximum effective tax rate of 29.6% (37% top rate applied to income after 20% deduction). Pursuant to recently proposed regulations on which the Fund may rely, distributions by the Fund to its shareholders that are attributable to qualified REIT dividends received by the Fund and which the Fund properly reports as "section 199A dividends," are treated as "qualified REIT dividends" in the hands of non-corporate shareholders. A section 199A dividend is treated as a qualified REIT dividend only if the shareholder receiving such dividend holds the dividend-paying RIC shares for at least 46 days of the 91-day period beginning 45 days before the shares become ex-dividend, and is not under an obligation to make related payments with respect to a position in substantially similar or related property. The Fund is permitted to report such part of its dividends as section 199A dividends as are eligible, but is not required to do so.
The Fund (or financial intermediaries, such as brokers, through which shareholders own Fund shares) generally is required to withhold and to remit to the U.S. Treasury a percentage of the taxable distributions and the sale or redemption proceeds paid to any shareholder who fails to properly furnish a correct taxpayer identification number, who has under-reported dividend or interest income, or who fails to certify that he, she or it is not subject to such withholding.
Taxes When You Sell Fund Shares
Any capital gain or loss realized upon a sale of Fund shares is generally treated as a long-term gain or loss if you held the shares you sold for more than one year. Any capital gain or loss realized upon a sale of Fund shares held for one year or less is generally treated as a short-term gain or loss, except that any capital loss on a sale of shares held for six months or less is treated as a long-term capital loss to the extent of Capital Gain Dividends paid with respect to such shares. The ability to deduct capital losses may be limited depending on your circumstances.
Taxes on Creation and Redemption of Creation Units
An Authorized Participant having the U.S. dollar as its functional currency for U.S. federal income tax purposes that exchanges securities for Creation Units generally will recognize a gain or loss equal to the difference between (i) the sum of the market value of the Creation Units at the time of the exchange and any amount of cash received by the Authorized Participant in the exchange and (ii) the sum of the exchanger’s aggregate basis in the securities surrendered and any amount of cash paid for such Creation Units. A person who redeems Creation Units 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 U.S. dollar market value of the securities plus the amount of any cash received for such Creation Units. The Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”), however, may assert that a loss that is realized upon an exchange of securities for Creation Units may not be permitted to be currently deducted under the rules governing “wash sales” (for a person who does not mark-to-market their holdings), or on the basis that there has been no significant change in economic position.
Gain or loss recognized by an Authorized Participant upon an issuance of Creation Units in exchange for non-U.S. currency will generally be treated as ordinary income or loss. Gain or loss recognized by an Authorized Participant upon an issuance of Creation Units in exchange for securities, or upon a redemption of Creation Units, may be capital or ordinary gain or loss depending on the circumstances. Any capital gain or loss realized upon an issuance of Creation Units in exchange for securities will generally be treated as long-term capital gain or loss if the securities have been held for more than one year. Any capital gain or loss realized upon the redemption of a Creation Unit will generally be treated as long-term capital gain or loss if the Fund shares comprising the Creation Unit have been held for more than one year. Otherwise, such capital gains or losses are treated as short-term capital gains or losses.
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A person subject to U.S. federal income tax with the U.S. dollar as its functional currency who receives non-U.S. currency upon a redemption of Creation Units and does not immediately convert the non-U.S. currency into U.S. dollars may, upon a later conversion of the non-U.S. currency into U.S. dollars, recognize any gains or losses resulting from fluctuations in the value of the non-U.S. currency relative to the U.S. dollar since the date of the redemption. Any such gains or losses will generally be treated as ordinary income or loss.
Persons exchanging securities or non-U.S. currency for Creation Units should consult their own tax advisors with respect to the tax treatment of any creation or redemption transaction and whether the wash sales rules apply and when a loss might be deductible. If you purchase or redeem Creation Units, you will be sent a confirmation statement showing how many Fund shares you purchased or redeemed and at what price.
Distribution
Foreside Fund Services, LLC (the “Distributor”) serves as the distributor of Creation Units for the Fund on an agency basis. The Distributor does not maintain a secondary market in shares of the Fund. The Distributor’s principal address is Three Canal Plaza, Suite 100, Portland, Maine 04101. The Distributor has no role in determining the policies of the Fund or the securities that are purchased or sold by the Fund.
Premium/Discount and NAV Information
Information regarding the Fund’s NAV and how often shares of the Fund traded on the Listing Exchange at a price above (i.e., at a premium) or below (i.e., at a discount) the NAV of the Fund during the past calendar year and most recent calendar quarter is available at www.wisdomtree.com.
Additional Notices
Listing Exchange
Shares of the Fund are not sponsored, endorsed, or promoted by the Listing Exchange. The Listing Exchange is not responsible for the determination of the timing of, prices of, or quantities of the shares of the Fund to be issued, nor in the determination or calculation of the equation by which the shares are redeemable. The Listing Exchange has no obligation or liability to owners of the shares of the Fund in connection with the administration, marketing, or trading of the shares of the Fund.
Without limiting any of the foregoing, in no event shall the Listing Exchange have any liability for any lost profits or indirect, punitive, special, or consequential damages even if notified of the possibility thereof.
WisdomTree and the Fund
WisdomTree Investments and WisdomTree Asset Management (together, “WisdomTree”) and the Fund make no representation or warranty, express or implied, to the owners of shares of the Fund or any member of the public regarding the advisability of investing in securities generally or in the Fund particularly. WisdomTree Investments is the licensor of trademarks, service marks and trade names of the Fund. WisdomTree Investments is not responsible for, and has not participated in, the determination of the timing of, prices of, or quantities of shares of the Fund to be issued or in the determination or calculation of the equation by which the shares of the Fund are redeemable.
Financial Highlights
The financial highlights table is intended to help you understand each Fund’s financial performance for the past five fiscal years or, if shorter, the period since the Fund’s inception. The total return in the table represents the rate that an investor would have earned (or lost) on an investment in the respective Fund (assuming reinvestment of all dividends and distributions). This information has been derived from the financial statements audited by Ernst & Young LLP, an independent registered public accounting firm, whose report, along with the Fund's financial statements, are included in the Fund's Annual Report, which is available upon request.
[Updated Financial Highlights to be included in 485(b) filing]
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WisdomTree Trust
245 Park Avenue, 35th Floor
New York, NY 10167


The Fund's current SAI provides additional detailed information about the Fund. The Trust has electronically filed the SAI with the SEC. It is incorporated by reference in this Prospectus.
Additional information about the Fund's investments is available in the Fund's annual and semi-annual reports to shareholders. In the annual report you will find a discussion of the market conditions and investment strategies that significantly affected the Fund's performance during the last fiscal year.
To make shareholder inquiries, for more detailed information on the Fund, or to request the SAI or annual or semi-annual shareholder reports, as applicable, free of charge, please:
Call: 1-866-909-9473
Monday through Friday
9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
(Eastern time)
Write: WisdomTree Trust
c/o Foreside Fund Services, LLC
Three Canal Plaza, Suite 100
Portland, Maine 04101
Visit: www.wisdomtree.com    
Reports and other information about the Fund are available on the EDGAR Database on the SEC’s Internet site at www.sec.gov, and copies of this information may be obtained, after paying a duplicating fee, by electronic request at the following e-mail address: publicinfo@sec.gov.
No person is authorized to give any information or to make any representations about the Fund and its shares not contained in this Prospectus and you should not rely on any other information. Read and keep this Prospectus for future reference.
© [____] WisdomTree Trust
WisdomTree Funds are distributed in the U.S. by
Foreside Fund Services, LLC
Three Canal Plaza, Suite 100
Portland, Maine 04101
WisdomTree® is a registered mark of WisdomTree Investments, Inc.
INVESTMENT COMPANY ACT FILE NO. 811-21864
WIS-PR-0331-[ ]


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WISDOMTREE® TRUST

STATEMENT OF ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Dated August 1, 2019, as amended March [ ], 2020

This Statement of Additional Information (“SAI”) is not a prospectus. It should be read in conjunction with the current prospectus (the “Prospectus”) for the following separate investment portfolios (each, a “Fund” and, collectively, the “Funds”) of WisdomTree Trust (the “Trust”), as each such Prospectus may be revised from time to time:

WISDOMTREE U.S. EQUITY ETFs*

 

Value  

U.S. Total Dividend Fund (DTD)

 

U.S. ESG Fund (formerly “U.S. Total Market Fund”) (RESP)

U.S. High Dividend Fund (DHS)

 

U.S. LargeCap Fund (formerly “U.S. Earnings 500 Fund”) (EPS)

U.S. Dividend ex-Financials Fund (DTN)

 

U.S. MidCap Fund (formerly “U.S. MidCap Earnings Fund”) (EZM)

U.S. LargeCap Dividend Fund (DLN)

 

U.S. SmallCap Fund (formerly “U.S. SmallCap Earnings Fund”) (EES)

U.S. MidCap Dividend Fund (DON)

 

U.S. Multifactor Fund (USMF)

U.S. SmallCap Dividend Fund (DES)

 

 

Core

 

U.S. Quality Dividend Growth Fund (DGRW)

U.S. SmallCap Quality Dividend Growth Fund (DGRS)

U.S. Quality Shareholder Yield Fund (QSY)

WISDOMTREE INTERNATIONAL EQUITY ETFs*

 

Developed World ex-U.S.

International Equity Fund (DWM)

International High Dividend Fund (DTH)

International LargeCap Dividend Fund (DOL)

International MidCap Dividend Fund (DIM)

International SmallCap Dividend Fund (DLS)

International Dividend ex-Financials Fund (DOO)

International Quality Dividend Growth Fund (IQDG)

International Multifactor Fund (DWMF)

Europe Quality Dividend Growth Fund (EUDG)

Europe SmallCap Dividend Fund (DFE)

Japan SmallCap Dividend Fund (DFJ)

 

Currency Hedged Equity

Japan Hedged Equity Fund (DXJ)

Japan Hedged SmallCap Equity Fund (DXJS)

Europe Hedged Equity Fund (HEDJ)

Europe Hedged SmallCap Equity Fund (EUSC)

Germany Hedged Equity Fund (DXGE)

International Hedged Quality Dividend Growth Fund (IHDG)

 

Global/Global ex-U.S.

Global High Dividend Fund (DEW)

Global ex-U.S. Quality Dividend Growth Fund (DNL)

Global ex-U.S. Real Estate Fund (DRW)

Asia Pacific ex-Japan Fund (AXJL)

 

Emerging/Frontier Markets

Emerging Markets High Dividend Fund (DEM)

Emerging Markets SmallCap Dividend Fund (DGS)

Emerging Markets Consumer Growth Fund (EMCG)

Emerging Markets Quality Dividend Growth Fund (DGRE)

Emerging Markets ex-State-Owned Enterprises Fund (XSOE)

Emerging Markets Multifactor Fund (EMMF)

India Earnings Fund (EPI)

Middle East Dividend Fund (GULF)

China ex-State-Owned Enterprises Fund (CXSE)

The current Prospectus for each of the WisdomTree U.S. Equity ETFs (except the U.S. ESG Fund) is dated August 1, 2019 and the current Prospectus for each of the WisdomTree International Equity ETFs is dated August 1, 2019. The current Prospectus for the U.S. ESG Fund is dated [            ], 2020. Capitalized terms used herein that are not defined have the same meaning as in the Prospectus, unless otherwise noted. The Funds’ audited financial statements for the most recent fiscal year (when available) are incorporated in this SAI by reference to the Funds’ most recent Annual Reports to Shareholders (File No. 811-21864). When available, you may obtain a copy of the Funds’ Annual Reports at no charge by request to the Fund at the address or phone number noted below.

THE U.S. SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION (“SEC”) HAS NOT APPROVED OR DISAPPROVED THESE SECURITIES OR PASSED UPON THE ADEQUACY OF THIS SAI. ANY REPRESENTATION TO THE CONTRARY IS A CRIMINAL OFFENSE.

THE INFORMATION HEREIN IS NOT COMPLETE AND MAY BE CHANGED. WE MAY NOT SELL THESE SECURITIES UNTIL THE REGISTRATION STATEMENT FILED WITH THE SEC IS EFFECTIVE. THIS SAI IS NOT AN OFFER TO SELL THESE SECURITIES AND IS NOT SOLICITING AN OFFER TO BUY THESE SECURITIES IN ANY JURISDICTION IN WHICH THE OFFER OR SALE IS NOT PERMITTED.

A copy of the Prospectus for each Fund may be obtained, without charge, by calling 1-866-909-9473, visiting www.wisdomtree.com, or writing to WisdomTree Trust, c/o Foreside Fund Services, LLC, Three Canal Plaza, Suite 100, Portland, Maine 04101.

 

 

*

Principal U.S. Listing Exchange: NYSE Arca, Inc. (except DGRW, DGRS, GULF, DXJS, DXGE, EMCG, CXSE and DGRE are listed on NASDAQ and USMF and IQDG are listed on Cboe BZX Exchange, Inc.)


Table of Contents

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

General Description of the Trust and the Funds

     1  

WisdomTree U.S. Equity ETFs

     1  

WisdomTree International Equity ETFs

     1  

Investment Strategies and Risks

     1  

General Risks

     2  

Specific Investment Strategies

     4  

Proxy Voting Policy

     21  

Portfolio Holdings Disclosure Policies and Procedures

     22  

WisdomTree Index Description

     22  

Investment Limitations

     25  

Continuous Offering

     26  

Management of the Trust

     27  

Brokerage Transactions

     52  

Additional Information Concerning the Trust

     56  

Creation and Redemption of Creation Unit Aggregations

     58  

Regular Holidays and Other Settlement Matters

     63  

Taxes

     68  

Determination of NAV

     74  

Dividends and Distributions

     75  

Financial Statements

     75  

Miscellaneous Information

     75  


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GENERAL DESCRIPTION OF THE TRUST AND THE FUNDS

The Trust was organized as a Delaware statutory trust on December 15, 2005 and is authorized to issue multiple series or portfolios. The Trust is an open-end management investment company, registered under the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended (the “1940 Act”). The offering of the Trust’s shares is registered under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “Securities Act”). Each Fund described in this SAI (except for U.S. ESG Fund, U.S. Quality Shareholder Yield Fund, Emerging Markets Consumer Growth Fund, Emerging Markets Quality Dividend Growth Fund, International Multifactor Fund, and Emerging Markets Multifactor Fund (each, an “Active Fund” and collectively, the “Active Funds”)) seeks to track the price and yield performance, before fees and expenses, of a particular index (“Index”) that defines a specific segment of the U.S. or international stock markets (each, an “Index Fund” and, collectively, the “Index Funds”). The Indexes are created using proprietary methodology developed by WisdomTree Investments, Inc. (“WisdomTree Investments”). WisdomTree Investments is the parent company of WisdomTree Asset Management, Inc. (“WisdomTree Asset Management” or the “Adviser”), the investment adviser to each Fund. Mellon Investments Corporation (formerly, BNY Mellon Asset Management North America Corporation) (the “Sub-Adviser”) is the investment sub-adviser to each Fund. The Adviser and the Sub-Adviser may be referred to together as the “Advisers”. Foreside Fund Services, LLC serves as the distributor (the “Distributor”) of the shares of each Fund.

Each Fund issues and redeems shares at net asset value per share (“NAV”) only in large blocks of shares, typically 25,000 shares or more (“Creation Units” or “Creation Unit Aggregations”). Currently, Creation Units generally consist of 50,000 shares (except Creation Units consist of 200,000 shares with respect to the India Earnings Fund; Creation Units consist of 100,000 shares with respect to the Japan Hedged SmallCap Equity Fund, Global ex-U.S. Quality Dividend Growth Fund, Emerging Markets High Dividend Fund, Emerging Markets SmallCap Dividend Fund, Emerging Markets Quality Dividend Growth Fund, Emerging Markets ex-State-Owned Enterprises Fund, Middle East Dividend Fund, Emerging Markets Multifactor Fund, and International Multifactor Fund; and Creation Units consist of 25,000 shares with respect to China ex-State-Owned Enterprises Fund), though this may change from time to time. Creation Units are not expected to consist of less than 25,000 shares. These transactions are usually in exchange for a basket of securities and/or an amount of cash. As a practical matter, only institutions or large investors purchase or redeem Creation Units. Except when aggregated in Creation Units, shares of each Fund are not redeemable securities.

Shares of each Fund are listed on a national securities exchange, such as NYSE Arca, Inc., the NASDAQ Stock Market (“NASDAQ”) or Cboe BZX Exchange, Inc. (each, a “Listing Exchange”), and trade throughout the day on the Listing Exchange and other secondary markets at market prices that may differ from NAV. As in the case of other publicly traded securities, brokers’ commissions on transactions will be based on commission rates charged by the applicable broker.

The Trust reserves the right to adjust the prices of shares in the future to maintain convenient trading ranges for investors. Any adjustments would be accomplished through stock splits or reverse stock splits, which would have no effect on the net assets of the applicable Fund.

“WisdomTree” is a registered mark of WisdomTree Investments and has been licensed for use by the Trust. WisdomTree Investments has received a patent and has a patent application pending on the methodology and operation of its Indexes and the Funds.

INVESTMENT STRATEGIES AND RISKS

All Funds

Each Fund’s investment objective, principal investment strategies and associated risks are described in the Fund’s Prospectus. The sections below supplement these principal investment strategies and risks and describe the Funds’ additional investment policies and the different types of investments that may be made by a Fund as a part of its non-principal investment strategies. With respect to each Fund’s investments, unless otherwise noted, if a percentage limitation on investment is adhered to at the time of investment or contract, a subsequent increase or decrease as a result of market movement or redemption will not result in a violation of such investment limitation.

Each Fund intends to qualify each year for treatment as a regulated investment company (a “RIC”) under Subchapter M of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the “Code”), so that it will not be subject to federal income tax on income and gains that are timely distributed to Fund shareholders. Each Fund will invest its assets, and otherwise conduct its operations, in a manner that is intended to satisfy the qualifying income, diversification and distribution requirements necessary to establish and maintain eligibility for such treatment.

Each Fund is considered “non-diversified,” as such term is used in the 1940 Act.

Additional Information Regarding Certain Funds

Active Funds

Each Active Fund is actively managed using proprietary investment strategies and processes. There can be no guarantees that these strategies and processes will produce the intended results. An Active Fund may not outperform other investment strategies over short- or long-term market cycles and the Fund may decline in value.

 

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International Equity ETFs

Each International Equity ETF with an investment policy indicating that, under normal circumstances, at least 95% of its total assets (exclusive of collateral held from securities lending) will be invested in the component securities of its Index and investments that have economic characteristics that are substantially identical to the economic characteristics of such component securities may, from time to time, have less than 95% of its total assets invested in such manner in order to comply with the requirements of the Code, to meet regulatory requirements in non-U.S. jurisdictions or to manage major Index changes. In these situations, which are expected to be infrequent and of limited duration, an International Equity ETF may not have less than 90% of its total assets invested in securities of its underlying Index and investments that have economic characteristics that are substantially identical to the economic characteristics of such component securities.

India Earnings Fund

The India Earnings Fund attempts to achieve its investment objective by investing in securities through the WisdomTree India Investment Portfolio, Inc. (the “India Portfolio”), a wholly-owned subsidiary of the India Earnings Fund. References to the investment strategies and other policies of the India Earnings Fund should be understood to also refer to the strategies and policies of the India Portfolio. The India Portfolio is advised by WisdomTree Asset Management and sub-advised by the Sub-Adviser.

GENERAL RISKS

An investment in a Fund should be made with an understanding that the value of a Fund’s portfolio securities may fluctuate in accordance with changes in the financial condition of an issuer or counterparty, changes in specific economic or political conditions that affect a particular security or issuer and changes in general economic or political conditions. An investor in a Fund could lose money over short or long periods of time.

An investment in a 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 impaired or that the general condition of the stock market may deteriorate (either of which may cause a decrease in the value of a Fund’s portfolio securities and therefore a decrease in the value of shares of the Fund). Common stocks are susceptible to general stock market fluctuations and to volatile increases and decreases in value as market confidence and perceptions 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 or 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, generally have inferior rights to receive payments from the issuer in comparison with the rights of creditors or holders of debt obligations or preferred stocks. Further, unlike debt securities, which typically have a stated principal amount payable at maturity (whose value, however, is 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.

An investment in the Japan Hedged Equity Fund, Japan Hedged SmallCap Equity Fund, Europe Hedged Equity Fund, Europe Hedged SmallCap Equity Fund, Germany Hedged Equity Fund or the International Hedged Quality Dividend Growth Fund (collectively, the “Hedged Equity Funds”), and International Multifactor Fund and Emerging Markets Multifactor Fund (collectively, the “Active Multifactor Funds”) should be made with the understanding that these Funds attempt to minimize or “hedge” against changes in the value of the U.S. dollar against the Japanese yen, euro, or other foreign currencies, as applicable. The other International Equity ETFs do not seek to hedge against such fluctuations.

Although all of the securities in the Indexes are generally listed on one or more U.S. or non-U.S. stock exchanges, there can be no guarantee that a liquid market for such securities will be maintained. 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 a Fund’s shares will be adversely affected if trading markets for a Fund’s portfolio securities are limited or absent, or if bid/ask spreads are wide.

Events in the financial sector have resulted, and may continue to result, in an unusually high degree of volatility in the financial markets, both domestic and foreign. Domestic and foreign fixed income and equity markets experienced extreme volatility and turmoil starting in late 2008 and volatility has continued to be experienced in the markets. Issuers that have exposure to the real estate, mortgage and credit markets have been particularly affected, and well-known financial institutions have experienced significant liquidity and other problems. Some of these institutions have declared bankruptcy or defaulted on their debt. It is uncertain whether or for how long these conditions will continue. These events and possible continuing market turbulence may have an adverse effect on Fund performance.

A Fund may be included in model portfolios developed by WisdomTree Asset Management for use by financial advisors and/or investors. The market price of shares of a Fund, costs of purchasing or selling shares of a Fund, including the bid/ask spread, and liquidity of a Fund may be impacted by purchases and sales of such Fund by one or more model-driven investment portfolios.

 

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Authorized Participants should refer to the section herein entitled “Creation and Redemption of Creation Unit Aggregations” for additional information that may impact them.

BORROWING. Although the Funds do not intend to borrow money as part of their principal investment strategies, a Fund may do so to the extent permitted by the 1940 Act. Under the 1940 Act, a Fund may borrow up to 33% of its net assets, but under normal market conditions, no Fund expects to borrow greater than 10% of such Fund’s net assets. A Fund will borrow only for short-term or emergency purposes. Borrowing will tend to exaggerate the effect on net asset value of any increase or decrease in the market value of a Fund’s portfolio. Money borrowed will be subject to interest costs that may or may not be recovered by earnings on the securities purchased. A Fund also may be required to maintain minimum average balances in connection with a borrowing or to pay a commitment or other fee to maintain a line of credit; either of these requirements would increase the cost of borrowing over the stated interest rate.

CAPITAL CONTROLS AND SANCTIONS RISK. Economic conditions, such as volatile currency exchange rates and interest rates, political events, military action and other conditions may, without prior warning, lead to government intervention (including intervention by the U.S. government with respect to foreign governments, economic sectors, foreign companies and related securities and interests) and the imposition of capital controls and/or sanctions, which may also include retaliatory actions of one government against another government, such as seizure of assets. Capital controls and/or sanctions include the prohibition of, or restrictions on, the ability to own or transfer currency, securities or other assets, which may potentially include derivative instruments related thereto. Countries use these controls to, among other reasons, restrict movements of capital entering (inflows) and exiting (outflows) their country to respond to certain economic or political conditions. By way of example, such controls may be applied to short-term capital transactions to counter speculative flows that threaten to undermine the stability of the exchange trade and deplete foreign exchange reserves. Levies may be placed on profits repatriated by foreign entities (such as the Funds). Capital controls and/or sanctions may also impact the ability of a Fund to buy, sell, transfer, receive, deliver (i.e., create and redeem Creation Units) or otherwise obtain exposure to, foreign securities or currency, negatively impact the value and/or liquidity of such instruments, adversely affect the trading market and price for shares of a Fund (e.g., cause a Fund to trade at prices materially different from its NAV), and cause the Fund to decline in value. A Fund may change its creation and or redemption procedures without notice in response to the imposition of capital controls or sanctions. There can be no assurance a country in which a Fund invests or the U.S. will not impose a form of capital control or sanction to the possible detriment of a Fund and its shareholders.

CURRENCY EXCHANGE RATE RISK. Investments denominated in non-U.S. currencies and investments in securities or derivatives that provide exposure to such currencies, currency exchange rates or interest rates are subject to non-U.S. currency risk. Changes in currency exchange rates and the relative value of non-U.S. currencies will affect the value of a Fund’s investment and the value of your Fund shares. Because a Fund’s NAV is determined on the basis of U.S. dollars, the U.S. dollar value of your investment in the Fund may go down if the value of the local currency of the non-U.S. markets in which the Fund invests depreciates against the U.S. dollar. This is true even if the local currency value of securities in a Fund’s holdings goes up. Conversely, the U.S. dollar value of your investment in a Fund may go up if the value of the local currency appreciates against the U.S. dollar.

The value of the U.S. dollar measured against other currencies is influenced by a variety of factors. These factors include interest rates, national debt levels and trade deficits, changes in balances of payments and trade, domestic and foreign interest and inflation rates, global or regional political, economic or financial events, monetary policies of governments, actual or potential government intervention, and global energy prices. Political instability, the possibility of government intervention and restrictive or opaque business and investment policies may also reduce the value of a country’s currency. Government monetary policies and the buying or selling of currency by a country’s government may also influence exchange rates. Currencies of emerging or developing market countries may be subject to significantly greater risks than currencies of developed countries. Many developing market countries have experienced steady declines or even sudden devaluations of their currencies relative to the U.S. dollar. Some non-U.S. market currencies may not be traded internationally, may be subject to strict limitations on foreign investment and may be subject to frequent and unannounced government intervention. Government intervention and currency controls can decrease the value and significantly increase the volatility of an investment in non-U.S. currency. Although the currencies of some developing market countries may be convertible into U.S. dollars, the achievable rates may differ from those experienced by domestic investors because of foreign investment restrictions, withholding taxes, lack of liquidity or other reasons.

The Hedged Equity Funds and Active Multifactor Funds use various strategies in an attempt to minimize changes in the value of the applicable currency or currencies, which may not be successful. In addition, Hedged Equity Funds and Active Multifactor Funds may not be fully hedged at all times in order to minimize transaction costs or for other reasons.

CYBERSECURITY RISK. Investment companies, such as the Funds, and their service providers may be prone to operational and information security risks resulting from cyber-attacks. Cyber-attacks include, among other behaviors, stealing or corrupting data maintained online or digitally, denial of service attacks on websites, the unauthorized release of confidential information or various other forms of cyber security breaches. Cyber-attacks affecting a Fund or the Adviser, Sub-Adviser, accountant, custodian, transfer agent, index providers, market makers, Authorized Participants and other third-party service providers may adversely impact a Fund. For instance, cyber-attacks may interfere with the processing of Authorized Participant transactions, impact the Fund’s ability to calculate its net asset value, cause the release of private shareholder information or confidential company information, impede trading, subject a Fund to regulatory fines or financial losses, and cause reputational damage. A Fund could incur extraordinary expenses for

 

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cyber security risk management purposes, prevention and/or resolution. Similar types of cyber security risks are also present for issuers of securities in which a Fund invests, which could result in material adverse consequences for such issuers, and may cause the Fund’s investment in such portfolio companies to lose value.

FOREIGN SECURITIES RISK. The International Equity ETFs invest a significant portion of their assets in non-U.S. securities and instruments, or in instruments that provide exposure to such securities and instruments. Investments in non-U.S. securities involve certain risks that may not be present with investments in U.S. securities. For example, investments in non-U.S. securities may be subject to risk of loss due to foreign currency fluctuations or to political or economic instability. There may be less information publicly available about a non-U.S. issuer than a U.S. issuer. Non-U.S. issuers may be subject to different accounting, auditing, financial reporting and investor protection standards than U.S. issuers. Investments in non-U.S. securities may be subject to withholding or other taxes and may be subject to additional trading, settlement, custodial, and operational risks (including restrictions on the transfers of securities). With respect to certain countries, there is the possibility of government intervention and expropriation or nationalization of assets. Because legal systems differ, there is also the possibility that it will be difficult to obtain or enforce legal judgments in certain countries. Since foreign exchanges may be open on days when a Fund does not price its shares, the value of the securities in a Fund’s portfolio may change on days when shareholders will not be able to purchase or sell the Fund’s shares. Conversely, Fund shares may trade on days when foreign exchanges are closed. Each of these factors can make investments in a Fund more volatile and potentially less liquid than other types of investments and may be heightened in connection with investments in developing or emerging market countries. Foreign securities also include American Depositary Receipts (“ADRs”) which are U.S. dollar-denominated receipts representing shares of foreign-based corporations. ADRs are issued by U.S. banks or trust companies and entitle the holder to all dividends and capital gains that are paid out on the underlying foreign shares. Global Depositary Receipts (“GDRs”), which are similar to ADRs, represent shares of foreign-based corporations and are generally issued by international banks in one or more markets around the world. Investments in ADRs and GDRs may be less liquid and more volatile than underlying shares in their primary trading markets. In addition, a Fund may change its creation or redemption procedures without notice in connection with restrictions on the transfer of securities. For more information on creation and redemption procedures, see “Creation and Redemption of Creation Unit Aggregations” herein.

LACK OF DIVERSIFICATION. Each Fund is considered to be “non-diversified.” A “non-diversified” classification means that a Fund is not limited by the 1940 Act with regard to the percentage of its total assets that may be invested in the securities of a single issuer. As a result, each of the Funds may invest more of its total assets in the securities of a single issuer or a smaller number of issuers than if it were classified as a diversified fund. Therefore, each Fund may be more exposed to the risks associated with and developments affecting an individual issuer or a small number of issuers than a fund that invests more widely, which may have a greater impact on the Fund’s volatility and performance.

TAX RISK. To qualify for the favorable U.S. federal income tax treatment accorded to RICs, each Fund must, among other things, derive in each taxable year at least 90% of its gross income from certain prescribed sources. The U.S. Treasury Department has authority to issue regulations that would exclude foreign currency gains from qualifying income if such gains are not directly related to the Fund’s business of investing in stock or securities. Accordingly, regulations may be issued in the future that could treat some or all of the Fund’s foreign currency gains as nonqualifying income, which might jeopardize the Fund’s status as a RIC for all years to which the regulations are applicable. If for any taxable year the Fund does not qualify as a RIC, all of its taxable income (including its net capital gain) for that year would be subject to tax at regular corporate rates without any deduction for distributions to shareholders, and such distributions would be taxable to shareholders as dividend income to the extent of the Fund’s current and accumulated earnings and profits.

A discussion of some of the other risks associated with an investment in a Fund is contained in each Fund’s Prospectus.

SPECIFIC INVESTMENT STRATEGIES

A description of certain investment strategies and types of investments used by some or all of the Funds is set forth below.

CURRENCY TRANSACTIONS. The International Equity ETFs may enter into foreign currency forward and foreign currency futures contracts to facilitate local securities settlements or to protect against currency exposure in connection with distributions to shareholders. The Funds, other than the Hedged Equity Funds and the Active Multifactor Funds, do not expect to engage in currency transactions for the purpose of hedging against declines in the value of a Fund’s total assets that are denominated in one or more foreign currencies. Each Hedged Equity Fund invests, and the Active Multifactor Funds at various times invest, in various types of currency contracts to hedge against changes in the value of the U.S. dollar against the Japanese yen, euro, or other foreign currencies, as applicable.

Forward Foreign Currency Contracts. A forward foreign currency exchange contract (“forward contract”) involves an obligation to purchase or sell a specific currency at a future date, 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. These contracts are principally traded in the interbank market conducted directly between currency traders (usually large commercial banks) and their customers. Forward contracts are contracts between parties in which one party agrees to make a payment to the other party (the counterparty) based on the market value or level of a specified currency. In return, the counterparty agrees to make payment to the first party based on the return of a different specified currency. A forward contract generally has no margin deposit requirement, and no

 

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commissions are charged at any stage for trades. These contracts typically are settled by physical delivery of the underlying currency or currencies in the amount of the full contract value to the extent they are not agreed to be carried forward to another expiration date (i.e., rolled over).

A non-deliverable forward contract is a forward contract where there is no physical settlement of two currencies at maturity. Non-deliverable forward contracts will usually be done on a net basis, with a Fund receiving or paying only the net amount of the two payments. The net amount of the excess, if any, of each Fund’s obligations over its entitlements with respect to each non-deliverable forward contract is accrued on a daily basis and an amount of cash or liquid securities having an aggregate value at least equal to the accrued excess is maintained to cover such obligations. The risk of loss with respect to non-deliverable forward contracts generally is limited to the net amount of payments that a Fund is contractually obligated to make or receive.

Foreign Currency Futures Contracts. A foreign currency futures contract is a contract involving an obligation to deliver or acquire the specified amount of a specific currency, at a specified price and at a specified future time. Futures contracts may be settled on a net cash payment basis rather than by the sale and delivery of the underlying currency.

Currency exchange transactions involve a significant degree of risk and the markets in which currency exchange transactions are effected are highly volatile, highly specialized and highly technical. Significant changes, including changes in liquidity and prices, can occur in such markets within very short periods of time, often within minutes. Currency exchange trading risks include, but are not limited to, exchange rate risk, maturity gap, interest rate risk, and potential interference by foreign governments through regulation of local exchange markets, foreign investment or particular transactions in foreign currency. If a Fund utilizes foreign currency transactions at an inappropriate time, such transactions may not serve their intended purpose of improving the correlation of a Fund’s return with the performance of its underlying Index and may lower the Fund’s return. A Fund could experience losses if the value of any currency forwards and futures positions is poorly correlated with its other investments or if it could not close out its positions because of an illiquid market. Such contracts are subject to the risk that the counterparty will default on its obligations. In addition, each Fund will incur transaction costs, including trading commissions, in connection with certain foreign currency transactions.

DEPOSITARY RECEIPTS. To the extent a Fund invests in stocks of foreign corporations, the Fund’s investment in such stocks may be in the form of Depositary Receipts or other similar securities convertible into securities of foreign issuers. Depositary Receipts may not necessarily be denominated in the same currency as the underlying securities into which they may be converted. ADRs are receipts typically issued by an American bank or trust company that evidence ownership of underlying securities issued by a foreign corporation. European Depositary Receipts (“EDRs”) are receipts issued in Europe that evidence a similar ownership arrangement. GDRs are receipts issued throughout the world that evidence a similar arrangement. Non-Voting Depository Receipts (“NVDRs”) are receipts issued in Thailand that evidence a similar arrangement. Generally, ADRs, in registered form, are designed for use in the U.S. securities markets, and EDRs, in bearer form, are designed for use in European securities markets. GDRs are tradable both in the United States and in Europe and are designed for use throughout the world. NVDRs are tradable on the Stock Exchange of Thailand.

A Fund will not generally invest in any unlisted Depositary Receipts or any Depositary Receipt that WisdomTree Asset Management or the Sub-Adviser deems to be illiquid or for which pricing information is not readily available. In addition, all Depositary Receipts generally must be sponsored; however, a Fund may invest in unsponsored Depositary Receipts under certain limited circumstances. The issuers of unsponsored Depositary Receipts are not obligated to disclose material information in the United States, and, therefore, there may be less information available regarding such issuers and there may not be a correlation between such information and the market value of the Depositary Receipts. The use of Depositary Receipts may increase tracking error relative to an underlying Index.

DERIVATIVES. Each Fund may use derivative instruments as part of its investment strategies. No Fund will use derivatives to increase leverage, and each Fund will provide margin or collateral, as applicable, with respect to investments in derivatives in such amounts as determined under applicable law, regulatory guidance or related interpretations.

Generally, derivatives are financial contracts whose value depends upon, or is derived from, the value of an underlying asset, reference rate or index, and may relate to bonds, interest rates, currencies, commodities, and related indexes. Examples of derivative instruments include forward currency contracts, currency and interest rate swaps, currency options, futures contracts, options on futures contracts and swap agreements.

With respect to certain kinds of derivative transactions that involve obligations to make future payments to third parties, including, but not limited to, futures contracts, forward contracts, swap contracts, the purchase of securities on a when-issued or delayed delivery basis, or reverse repurchase agreements, under applicable federal securities laws, rules, and interpretations thereof, a Fund must “set aside” (referred to sometimes as “asset segregation”) liquid assets, or engage in other measures to “cover” open positions with respect to such transactions in a manner consistent with the 1940 Act, specifically sections 8 and 18 thereunder. In complying with such requirements, the Fund will include assets of any wholly-owned subsidiary in which that Fund invests on an aggregate basis.

For example, with respect to forward contracts and futures contracts that are not contractually required to “cash-settle,” the Fund must cover its open positions by having available liquid assets equal to the contracts’ full notional value. The Funds treat deliverable forward contracts for currencies that are liquid as the equivalent of “cash-settled” contracts. As such, a Fund may have available liquid assets in an amount equal to the Fund’s daily marked-to-market (net) obligation (i.e., the Fund’s daily net liability, if any) rather than the full notional amount under such deliverable forward contracts. Similarly, with respect to futures contracts that are contractually required to “cash-settle” the Fund may have available liquid assets in an amount equal to the Fund’s daily marked-to-market (net) obligation rather than the notional value. The Fund reserves the right to modify these policies in the future.

 

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Forwards, swaps and certain other derivatives are subject to regulation under The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (“Dodd-Frank Act”) in the U.S. and certain non-U.S. jurisdictions. Physically-settled forwards entered into between eligible contract participants, such as the Fund, are generally subject to fewer regulatory requirements in the U.S. than non-deliverable forwards. Under the Dodd-Frank Act, non-deliverable forwards are regulated as swaps and are subject to rules requiring central clearing and mandatory trading on an exchange or facility that is regulated by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (the “CFTC”). Under the Dodd-Frank Act, non-deliverable forwards, swaps and certain other derivatives traded in the OTC market may become subject to initial and variation margin requirements as early as March 1, 2017. The Fund’s counterparties may be subject to additional regulatory requirements and/or apply the regulatory requirements more broadly than is required for administrative and other reasons, including, for example, by (i) applying the stricter regulatory requirements to physically-settled forwards that are applicable to non-deliverable forwards even though the stricter rules are not technically applicable to such physically-settled forwards; and (ii) applying smaller thresholds for the delivery of variation margin than required. As such, a Fund using currency forwards, and particularly the Hedged Equity Funds, and the Active Multifactor Funds may need to hold more cash than it has historically, which may include raising cash by selling securities and/or obtaining cash through other arrangements in order to meet margin requirements, which may, among other potential consequences, cause increased index tracking error (if applicable), cause an increase in expense ratio, lead to the realization of taxable gains, increase costs to a Fund of trading or otherwise affect returns to investors in such Fund.

Effective April 24, 2012, the CFTC revised, among other things, CFTC Rule 4.5 and rescinded CFTC Rule 4.13(a)(4). The CFTC has adopted amendments to its regulations of commodity pool operators (“CPOs”) managing funds registered under the 1940 Act that “harmonize” the SEC’s and the CFTC’s regulatory schemes. The adopted amendments to the CFTC regulations allow CPOs to registered investment companies to satisfy certain recordkeeping, reporting and disclosure requirements that would otherwise apply to them under Part 4 of the CFTC’s regulations by continuing to comply with comparable SEC requirements. To the extent that the CFTC recordkeeping, disclosure and reporting requirements deviate from the comparable SEC requirements, such deviations are not expected to materially adversely affect the ability of the Funds to continue to operate and achieve their investment objectives. If, however, these requirements or future regulatory changes result in a Fund having difficulty in achieving its investment objectives, the Trust may determine to reorganize or close the Fund, materially change the Fund’s investment objectives and strategies, or operate the Fund as a regulated commodity pool pursuant to WisdomTree Asset Management’s CPO registration.

With regard to each Fund, WisdomTree Asset Management will continue to claim relief from the definition of CPO under revised CFTC Rule 4.5. Specifically, pursuant to CFTC Rule 4.5, WisdomTree Asset Management may claim exclusion from the definition of CPO, and thus from having to register as a CPO, with regard to a Fund that enters into commodity futures, commodity options or swaps solely for “bona fide hedging purposes,” or that limits its investment in commodities to a “de minimis” amount, as defined in CFTC rules, so long as the shares of such Fund are not marketed as interests in a commodity pool or other vehicle for trading in commodity futures, commodity options or swaps.

Swap Agreements. Each Fund may enter into swap agreements, including currency swaps, interest rate swaps, credit default swaps, and total return swaps. A typical foreign currency swap involves the exchange of cash flows based on the notional differences among two or more currencies (e.g., the U.S. dollar and the euro). A typical interest rate swap involves the exchange of a floating interest rate payment for a fixed interest payment. A typical credit default swap (“CDS”) involves an agreement to make a series of payments by the buyer in exchange for receipt of payment by the seller if the loan defaults. In the event of default the buyer of the CDS receives compensation (usually the face value of the loan), and the seller of the CDS takes possession of the defaulted loan. In the event that the Fund acts as a protection seller of a CDS, the Fund will segregate assets equivalent to the full notional value of the CDS. In the event that the Fund acts as a protection buyer of a CDS, the Fund will cover the total amount of required premium payments plus the pre-payment penalty. Total return swaps involve the exchange of payments based on the total return on an underlying reference asset. The total return includes appreciation or depreciation on the reference asset, plus any interest or dividend payments. Swaps agreements can be structured to provide for periodic payments over the term of the swap contract or a single payment at maturity (also known as a “bullet swap”). Swap agreements may be used to hedge or achieve exposure to, for example, currencies, interest rates, and money market securities without actually purchasing such currencies or securities. Each Fund may use swap agreements to invest in a market without owning or taking physical custody of the underlying securities in circumstances in which direct investment is restricted for legal reasons or is otherwise impracticable. Swap agreements will tend to shift a Fund’s investment exposure from one type of investment to another or from one payment stream to another.

Depending on their structure, swap agreements may increase or decrease a Fund’s exposure to long- or short-term interest rates (in the United States or abroad), foreign currencies, corporate borrowing rates, or other factors, and may increase or decrease the overall volatility of a Fund’s investments and its share price. When a Fund purchases or sells a swap contract, the Fund is required to “cover” its position in order to limit the risk associated with the use of leverage and other related risks. To cover its position, the Fund will maintain with its custodian bank (and mark-to-market on a daily basis) a segregated account consisting of cash or liquid securities that, when added to any amounts deposited as margin, are equal to the market value of the swap contract or otherwise “cover” its position in a manner consistent with the 1940 Act or the rules and SEC interpretations

 

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thereunder. If the Fund continues to engage in the described securities trading practices and properly segregates assets, the segregated account will function as a practical limit on the amount of leverage which the Fund may undertake and on the potential increase in the speculative character of the Fund’s outstanding portfolio securities. Additionally, such segregated accounts will generally ensure the availability of adequate funds to meet the obligations of the Fund arising from such investment activities.

Futures, Options and Options on Futures Contracts. Each Fund may enter into U.S. or foreign futures contracts, options and options on futures contracts. When a Fund purchases a futures contract, it agrees to purchase a specified underlying instrument at a specified future date. When a Fund sells a futures contract, it agrees to sell the underlying instrument at a specified future date. The price at which the purchase and sale will take place is fixed when the Fund enters into the contract. Futures can be held until their delivery dates, or can be closed out before then if a liquid secondary market is available.

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 Funds do 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. The Funds, however, intend to utilize futures and options contracts in a manner designed to limit their risk exposure to levels comparable to direct investment in stocks.

Utilization of futures and options on futures by a Fund involves the risk of imperfect or even negative correlation to the underlying Index if the index underlying the futures contract differs from a Fund’s underlying Index. There is also the risk of loss by a Fund of margin deposits in the event of bankruptcy of a broker with whom a Fund has an open position in the futures contract or option. The purchase of put or call options will be based upon predictions by the Fund as to anticipated trends, which predictions could prove to be incorrect.

The potential for loss related to the purchase of an option on a futures contract is limited to the premium paid for the option plus transaction costs. Because the value of the option is fixed at the point of sale, there are no daily cash payments by the purchaser to reflect changes in the value of the underlying contract; however, the value of the option changes daily and that change would be reflected in the NAV of each Fund. The potential for loss related to writing options is unlimited.

Although each Fund intends to enter into futures contracts only if there is an active market for such contracts, there is no assurance that an active market will exist for the contracts at any particular time.

EQUITY SECURITIES. Each Fund invests in equity securities. Equity securities, such as the common stocks of an issuer, are subject to stock market fluctuations and therefore may experience volatile changes in value as market conditions, consumer sentiment or the financial condition of the issuers change. A decrease in value of the equity securities in a Fund’s portfolio may also cause the value of a Fund’s shares to decline.

EXCHANGE TRADED PRODUCTS. Each Fund may invest in exchange traded products (“ETPs”), which include exchange traded funds registered under the 1940 Act, exchange traded commodity trusts and exchange traded notes. The Adviser may receive management or other fees from the ETPs in which the Fund may invest (“Affiliated ETPs”), as well as a management fee for managing the Fund. It is possible that a conflict of interest among the Fund and Affiliated ETPs could affect how the Adviser fulfills its fiduciary duties to the Fund and the Affiliated ETPs. Although the Adviser takes steps to address the conflicts of interest, it is possible that the conflicts could impact the Fund. A Fund may invest in new ETPs or ETPs that have not yet established a deep trading market at the time of investment. Shares of such ETPs may experience limited trading volume and less liquidity, in which case the spread (the difference between bid price and ask price) may be higher.

Exchange Traded Funds. Each Fund may invest in ETFs. ETFs are investment companies that trade like stocks on a securities exchange at market prices rather than NAV. As a result, ETF shares may trade at a price greater than NAV (premium) or less than NAV (discount). A Fund that invests in an ETF indirectly bears fees and expenses charged by the ETF in addition to the Fund’s direct fees and expenses. Investments in ETFs are also subject to brokerage and other trading costs that could result in greater expenses for the Fund.

Exchange-Traded Notes. Each Fund may invest in exchange traded notes (“ETNs”). ETNs generally are senior, unsecured, unsubordinated debt securities issued by a sponsor, such as an investment bank. ETNs are traded on exchanges and the returns are linked to the performance of market indexes. In addition to trading ETNs on exchanges, investors may redeem ETNs directly with the issuer on a periodic basis, typically in a minimum amount of 50,000 units, or hold the ETNs until maturity. The value of an ETN may be influenced by time to maturity, level of supply and demand for the ETN, volatility and lack of liquidity in the underlying market, changes in the applicable interest rates, and economic, legal, political or geographic events that affect the referenced market. Because ETNs are debt securities, they are subject to credit risk. If the issuer has financial difficulties or goes bankrupt, a Fund may not receive the return it was promised. If a rating agency lowers an issuer’s credit rating, the value of the ETN may decline and a lower credit rating reflects a greater risk that the issuer will default on its obligation. There may be restrictions on a Fund’s right to redeem its investment in an ETN. There are no periodic interest payments for ETNs, and principal is not protected. A Fund’s decision to sell its ETN holdings may be limited by the availability of a secondary market.

 

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FINANCIAL SECTOR INVESTMENTS. Each Fund may engage in transactions with or invest in companies that are considered to be in the financial sector, including commercial banks, brokerage firms, diversified financial services, a variety of firms in all segments of the insurance industry (such as multi-line, property and casualty, and life insurance) and real estate-related companies. There can be no guarantee that these strategies may be successful. A Fund may lose money as a result of defaults or downgrades within the financial sector.

Events in the financial sector have resulted in increased concerns about credit risk and exposure. Well-known financial institutions have experienced significant liquidity and other problems and have defaulted on their debt obligations. Issuers that have exposure to real estate, mortgage and credit markets have been particularly affected. It is uncertain whether or how long these conditions will continue. These events and possible continuing market turbulence may have an adverse effect on Fund performance.

Rule 12d3-1 under the 1940 Act limits the extent to which a fund may invest in the securities of any one company that derives more than 15% of its revenues from brokerage, underwriting or investment management activities. A Fund may purchase securities of an issuer that derived more than 15% of its gross revenues in its most recent fiscal year from securities-related activities, subject to the following conditions: (1) the purchase cannot cause more than 5% of the Fund’s total assets to be invested in securities of that issuer; (2) for any equity security, the purchase cannot result in the Fund owning more than 5% of the issuer’s outstanding securities in that class; and (3) for a debt security, the purchase cannot result in the Fund owning more than 10% of the outstanding principal amount of the issuer’s debt securities. A Fund, in seeking to comply with this rule, may experience greater index tracking error because an Index is not subject to the rule.

In applying the gross revenue test, an issuer’s own securities-related activities must be combined with its ratable share of securities-related revenues from enterprises in which it owns a 20% or greater voting or equity interest. All of the above percentage limitations, as well as the issuer’s gross revenue test, are applicable at the time of purchase. With respect to warrants, rights, and convertible securities, a determination of compliance with the above limitations shall be made as though such warrant, right, or conversion privilege had been exercised. A Fund will not be required to divest its holdings of a particular issuer when circumstances subsequent to the purchase cause one of the above conditions to not be met. The purchase of a general partnership interest in a securities-related business is prohibited.

FIXED INCOME SECURITIES. Each Fund may invest in fixed income securities, such as corporate debt, bonds and notes. Fixed income securities change in value in response to interest rate changes and other factors, such as the perception of the issuer’s creditworthiness. For example, the value of fixed income securities will generally decrease when interest rates rise, which may cause the value of the Fund to decrease. In addition, investments in fixed income securities with longer maturities will generally fluctuate more in response to interest rate changes. The capacity of traditional dealers to engage in fixed income trading has not kept pace with the bond market’s growth and dealer inventories of bonds are at or near historic lows relative to market size. Because market makers provide stability to fixed income markets, the significant reduction in dealer inventories could lead to decreased liquidity and increased volatility, which may become exacerbated during periods of economic or political stress. In addition, liquidity risk may be magnified in a rising interest rate environment in which investor redemptions (or selling of fund shares in the secondary market) from fixed income funds may be higher than normal.

FUTURE DEVELOPMENTS. The Trust’s Board of Trustees (the “Board”) may, in the future, authorize a Fund to invest in securities contracts and investments other than those listed in this SAI and in the Fund’s Prospectus, provided they are consistent with the Fund’s investment objective and do not violate any investment restrictions or policies.

ILLIQUID SECURITIES. Although the Funds do not intend to do so, as a matter of policy, each Fund may invest up to an aggregate amount of 15% of its net assets in illiquid securities. An illiquid investment is any investment that a Fund reasonably expects cannot be sold or disposed of in current market conditions in seven calendar days or less without significantly changing the market value of the investment. The liquidity of a security will be determined based on the relevant market, trading and investment specific conditions. Illiquid securities include securities subject to contractual or other restrictions on resale and other instruments that lack readily available markets to the extent the Adviser or Sub-Adviser has not deemed such securities to be liquid. The inability of a Fund to dispose of illiquid or not readily marketable investments readily or at a reasonable price could impair a Fund’s ability to raise cash for redemptions or other purposes. The liquidity of securities purchased by a Fund which are eligible for resale pursuant to Rule 144A, except for certain 144A bonds, will be monitored by each Fund on an ongoing basis. In the event that more than 15% of the Fund’s net assets are invested in illiquid investments, the Fund, in accordance with Rule 22e-4(b)(1)(iv) of the 1940 Act, will report the occurrence to both the Board and the SEC and seek to reduce its holdings of illiquid investments within a reasonable period of time.

INVESTMENT COMPANY SECURITIES. Each Fund may invest in the securities of other investment companies (including money market funds and certain ETPs). The 1940 Act generally prohibits a Fund from acquiring more than 3% of the outstanding voting shares of an investment company and limits such investments to no more than 5% of the Fund’s total assets in any single investment company and no more than 10% in any combination of two or more investment companies although a Fund may invest in excess of these limits in Affiliated ETPs and to the extent it enters into agreements and abides by certain conditions of the exemptive relief issued to non-affiliated ETPs.

MONEY MARKET INSTRUMENTS. Each Fund may invest a portion of its assets in high-quality money market instruments on an ongoing basis to provide liquidity or for other reasons. The instruments in which a Fund may invest include: (i) short-term obligations

 

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issued by the U.S. government; (ii) negotiable certificates of deposit (“CDs”), fixed time deposits and bankers’ acceptances of U.S. and foreign banks and similar institutions; (iii) commercial paper rated at the date of purchase “Prime-1” by Moody’s or “A-1+” or “A-1” by Standard & Poor’s (“S&P”) or, if unrated, of comparable quality as determined by the Fund; and (iv) repurchase agreements. CDs are short-term negotiable obligations of commercial banks. Time deposits are non-negotiable deposits maintained in banking institutions for specified periods of time at stated interest rates. Banker’s acceptances are time drafts drawn on commercial banks by borrowers, usually in connection with international transactions.

NON-U.S. SECURITIES. The International Equity ETFs invest primarily in non-U.S. equity securities. Investments in non-U.S. equity securities involve certain risks that may not be present in investments in U.S. securities. For example, non-U.S. securities may be subject to currency risks or to foreign government taxes. There may be less information publicly available about a non-U.S. issuer than about a U.S. issuer, and a foreign issuer may or may not be subject to uniform accounting, auditing and financial reporting standards and practices comparable to those in the U.S. Other risks of investing in such securities include political or economic instability in the country involved, the difficulty of predicting international trade patterns and the possibility of imposition of exchange controls. The prices of such securities may be more volatile than those of domestic securities. With respect to certain foreign countries, there is a possibility of expropriation of assets or nationalization, imposition of withholding taxes on dividend or interest payments, difficulty in obtaining and enforcing judgments against foreign entities or diplomatic developments which could affect investment in these countries. Losses and other expenses may be incurred in converting between various currencies in connection with purchases and sales of foreign securities.

Non-U.S. stock markets may not be as developed or efficient as, and may be more volatile than, those in the U.S. While the volume of shares traded on non-U.S. stock markets generally has been growing, such markets usually have substantially less volume than U.S. markets. Therefore, a Fund’s investment in non-U.S. equity securities may be less liquid and subject to more rapid and erratic price movements than comparable securities listed for trading on U.S. exchanges. Non-U.S. equity securities may trade at price/earnings multiples higher than comparable U.S. securities and such levels may not be sustainable. There may be less government supervision and regulation of foreign stock exchanges, brokers, banks and listed companies abroad than in the U.S. Moreover, settlement practices for transactions in foreign markets may differ from those in U.S. markets. Such differences may include delays beyond periods customary in the U.S. and practices, such as delivery of securities prior to receipt of payment, that increase the likelihood of a failed settlement, which can result in losses to a Fund. The value of non-U.S. investments and the investment income derived from them may also be affected unfavorably by changes in currency exchange control regulations. Foreign brokerage commissions, custodial expenses and other fees are also generally higher than for securities traded in the U.S. This may cause the International Equity ETFs to incur higher portfolio transaction costs than domestic equity funds. Fluctuations in exchange rates may also affect the earning power and asset value of the foreign entity issuing a security, even one denominated in U.S. dollars. Dividend and interest payments may be repatriated based on the exchange rate at the time of disbursement, and restrictions on capital flows may be imposed.

Set forth below for certain markets in which the International Equity ETFs may invest, consistent with their principal investment strategies, are brief descriptions of some of the conditions and risks in each such market.

Investments in Emerging Markets Securities. Investments in securities listed and traded in emerging markets are subject to additional risks that may not be present for U.S. investments or investments in more developed non-U.S. markets. Such risks may include: (i) greater market volatility; (ii) lower trading volume; (iii) greater social, political and economic uncertainty; (iv) governmental controls on foreign investments and limitations on repatriation of invested capital; (v) the risk that companies may be held to lower disclosure, corporate governance, auditing and financial reporting standards than companies in more developed markets; and (vi) the risk that there may be less protection of property rights than in other countries. Emerging markets are generally less liquid and less efficient than developed securities markets.

Investments in Frontier Markets Securities. The economies of “frontier markets” (i.e., Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates) generally have lower trading volumes and greater potential for illiquidity and price volatility than more developed markets. These markets have a smaller number of issuers and participants and therefore may also be affected to a greater extent by the actions of a small number of issuers and investors. A significant change in cash flows investing in these markets could have a substantial effect on local stock prices and, therefore, prices of Fund shares. Investments in certain frontier market countries are restricted or controlled to varying extents. At times, these restrictions or controls may limit or prevent foreign investment and/or increase the investment costs and expenses of a Fund. Frontier markets may be subject to greater political instability, threat of war or terrorism and government intervention than more developed markets, including many emerging market economies. Frontier markets generally are not as correlated to global economic cycles as those of more developed countries. These and other factors make investing in the frontier market countries significantly riskier than investing in developed market and emerging market countries.

Certain frontier countries impose additional restrictions, such as requiring governmental approval prior to investments by foreign persons, limiting the amount of investments by foreign persons in a particular issuer, limiting investments by foreign persons to a particular class of securities of an issuer that may have less advantageous rights than other classes, and imposing additional taxes. For countries that require prior government approval, delays in obtaining such approval would delay investments, and consequently a Fund may be unable to invest in all of the securities included in the Index until such approval is final. This could increase Index tracking error. Some frontier countries may also limit investment in issuers in industries

 

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considered essential to national interests and may require governmental approval for the repatriation of investment income, capital or the proceeds of security sales by foreign investors, including the applicable Funds. Some frontier country governments may levy certain taxes on dividend and interest income. Although in some countries a portion of these taxes are recoverable, the non-recovered portion of foreign withholding taxes will decrease the income generated from investments in such countries.

Some banks that are eligible foreign sub-custodians in frontier markets may have been organized only recently or may otherwise not have extensive operating experience. There may also be legal restrictions or limitations on the ability of a Fund to recover assets held in custody by a foreign sub-custodian, such as in cases where the sub-custodian becomes bankrupt. Settlement systems may not be as established as in developed markets or even emerging markets. As a result, settlements may be delayed and cash or Fund securities may be jeopardized because of system defects. In addition, the laws of certain countries in which a Fund invests may require that Fund to release local shares before receiving cash payment, or to make cash payment before receiving local shares. This increases the risk of loss to that Fund.

The Funds invest in some frontier countries that use share blocking. “Share blocking” refers to the practice of predicating voting rights related to an issuer’s securities on those securities being blocked from trading at the custodian or sub-custodian level for a period of time near the date of a shareholder meeting. Such restrictions have the potential to effectively prevent securities from being voted and from trading within a specified number of days before, and in some cases after, the shareholder meeting. Share blocking may preclude the Funds from purchasing or selling securities for a period of time. During the time that shares are blocked, trades in such securities will not settle. Although practices may vary by market, a blocking period may last from one day to several weeks. Once blocked, the block may be removed only by withdrawing a previously cast vote or abstaining from voting completely, a process that may be burdensome. In certain countries, the block cannot be removed. Share blocking may impose operational difficulties on a Fund, including the potential effect that a block would have on pending trades. Share blocking may cause pending trades to fail or remain unsettled for an extended period of time. Trade failures may also expose the transfer agent and the Funds to situations in which a counterparty may have the right to go to market, buy a security at the current market price and have any additional expense borne by the Funds or transfer agent if the counterparty is unable to deliver shares after a certain period of time. The Adviser, on behalf of the Fund, reserves the right to abstain from voting proxies in share blocking proxy markets. These and other factors could have a negative impact on Fund performance.

Investments in Australia. The economy of Australia is heavily dependent on the economies of Asian countries and the price and demand for natural resources and commodities as well as its exports from the agricultural and mining sectors. Conditions that weaken demand for such products worldwide could have a negative impact on the Australian economy as a whole. Australia is also increasingly dependent on the economies of its key trading partners, including China, the United States, and Japan. These and other factors could have a negative impact on a Fund’s performance.

Investments in Brazil. Investing in securities of Brazilian companies involves certain considerations not typically associated with investing in securities of U.S. companies or the U.S. Government. These risks include (i) investment and repatriation controls, which could make it harder for a Fund to track its underlying Index and decrease a Fund’s tax efficiency; (ii) fluctuations in the rate of exchange between the Brazilian Real and the U.S. dollar; (iii) the generally greater price volatility and lesser liquidity that characterize Brazilian securities markets, as compared with U.S. markets; (iv) the effect that a trade deficit could have on economic stability and the Brazilian government’s economic policy; (v) high rates of inflation and unemployment; (vi) governmental involvement in and influence on the private sector; (vii) Brazilian accounting, auditing and financial standards and requirements, which differ from those in the United States; and (viii) political and other considerations, including changes in applicable Brazilian tax laws. The Brazilian economy may also be significantly affected by the economies of other Latin American countries. These and other factors could have a negative impact on a Fund’s performance.

Investments in Canada. The U.S. is Canada’s largest trading partner and foreign investor. As a result, changes to the U.S. economy may significantly affect the Canadian economy. The economy of Canada is also heavily dependent on the demand for natural resources and agricultural products. Canada is a major producer of commodities such as forest products, metals, agricultural products, and energy related products like oil, gas, and hydroelectricity. Accordingly, a change in the supply and demand of these resources, both domestically and internationally, can have a significant effect on Canadian market performance. Canada is a top producer of zinc and uranium and a global source of many other natural resources, such as gold, nickel, aluminum, and lead. Conditions that weaken demand for such products worldwide could have a negative impact on the Canadian economy as a whole. These and other factors could have a negative impact on a Fund’s performance.

Investments in China and Hong Kong. In addition to the aforementioned risks of investing in non-U.S. securities, investing in securities listed and traded in Hong Kong involves special considerations not typically associated with investing in countries with more democratic governments or more established economies or securities markets. Such risks may include: (i) the risk of nationalization or expropriation of assets or confiscatory taxation; (ii) greater social, economic and political uncertainty (including the risk of war); (iii) dependency on exports and the corresponding importance of international trade; (iv) increasing competition from Asia’s other low-cost emerging economies; (v) currency exchange rate fluctuations and the lack of available currency hedging instruments; (vi) higher rates of inflation; (vii) controls on foreign investment and limitations on repatriation of invested capital and on the Fund’s ability to exchange local currencies for U.S. dollars; (viii) greater governmental involvement in and control over the economy; (ix) the risk that the Chinese government may decide not to continue to support

 

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the economic reform programs implemented since 1978 and could return to the prior, completely centrally planned, economy; (x) the fact that Chinese companies, particularly those located in China, may be smaller, less seasoned and newly organized; (xi) the differences in, or lack of, auditing and financial reporting standards which may result in unavailability of material information about issuers, particularly in China; (xii) the fact that statistical information regarding the economy of China may be inaccurate or not comparable to statistical information regarding the U.S. or other economies; (xiii) the less extensive, and still developing, regulation of the securities markets, business entities and commercial transactions; (xiv) the fact that the settlement period of securities transactions in foreign markets may be longer; (xv) the fact that the willingness and ability of the Chinese government to support the Chinese and Hong Kong economies and markets is uncertain; (xvi) the risk that it may be more difficult, or impossible, to obtain and/or enforce a judgment than in other countries; (xvii) the rapid and erratic nature of growth, particularly in China, resulting in inefficiencies and dislocations; (xviii) the risk that, because of the degree of interconnectivity between the economies and financial markets of China and Hong Kong, any sizable reduction in the demand for goods from China, or an economic downturn in China, could negatively affect the economy and financial market of Hong Kong as well; and (xix) the risk that certain companies in a Fund’s Index may have dealings with countries subject to sanctions or embargoes imposed by the U.S. Government or identified as state sponsors of terrorism.

After many years of steady growth, the growth rate of China’s economy has recently slowed. Although this slowdown was to some degree intentional, the slowdown has also slowed the once rapidly growing Chinese real estate market and left local governments with high debts with few viable means to raise revenue, especially with the fall in demand for housing. Despite its attempts to restructure its economy towards consumption, China remains heavily dependent on exports. Accordingly, China is susceptible to economic downturns abroad, including any weakness in demand from its major trading partners, including the United States, Japan, and Europe. In addition, China’s aging infrastructure, worsening environmental conditions, rapid and inequitable urbanization, quickly widening urban and rural income gap, domestic unrest and provincial separatism all present major challenges to the country. Further, China’s territorial claims, including its land reclamation projects and the establishment of an Air Defense Identification Zone over islands claimed and occupied by Japan, are another source of tension and present risks to diplomatic and trade relations with certain of China’s regional trade partners.

Investments in Hong Kong are also subject to certain political risks not associated with other investments. Following the establishment of the People’s Republic of China by the Communist Party in 1949, the Chinese government renounced various debt obligations incurred by China’s predecessor governments, which obligations remain in default, and expropriated assets without compensation. There can be no assurance that the Chinese government will not take similar action in the future. Investments in China and Hong Kong involve risk of a total loss due to government action or inaction. China has committed by treaty to preserve Hong Kong’s autonomy and its economic, political and social freedoms for 50 years from the July 1, 1997 transfer of sovereignty from the United Kingdom to China. However, if China would exert its authority so as to alter the economic, political or legal structures or the existing social policy of Hong Kong, investor and business confidence in Hong Kong could be negatively affected, which in turn could negatively affect markets and business performance. In addition, the Hong Kong dollar trades at a fixed exchange rate in relation to (or, is “pegged” to) the U.S. dollar, which has contributed to the growth and stability of the Hong Kong economy. However, it is uncertain how long the currency peg will continue or what effect the establishment of an alternative exchange rate system would have on the Hong Kong economy. Because each Fund’s NAV is denominated in U.S. dollars, the establishment of an alternative exchange rate system could result in a decline in a Fund’s NAV. These and other factors could have a negative impact on a Fund’s performance.

Investments in China A-Shares. China A-Shares (“A-Shares”) are issued by companies that are incorporated in mainland China, and listed and traded on the Shanghai Stock Exchange (“SSE”) or Shenzhen Stock Exchange (“SZSE”) via the Shanghai-Hong Kong or Shenzhen-Hong Kong Stock Connect (“Stock Connect”) programs in Chinese renminbi. Stock Connect is a securities trading and clearing linked program between either SSE or SZSE, and the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong Limited (“SEHK”), Hong Kong Securities Clearing Company Limited (“HKSCC”), and China Securities Depository and Clearing Corporation Limited (“ChinaClear”), with an aim to achieve mutual stock market access between the People’s Republic of China (“PRC”) and Hong Kong. A Fund’s ability to invest in China A-Shares through Stock Connect, or on such other stock exchanges in China that participate in Stock Connect from time to time or in the future, is subject to trading limits, rules and regulations by the applicable regulatory authority. These restrictions and regulations may adversely affect a Fund’s ability to achieve its investment objective.

Quota limitations risk. Stock Connect is subject to daily quota limitations on investments, which may restrict a Fund’s ability to invest in China A-Shares through Stock Connect on a timely basis, and the Fund may not be able to effectively pursue its investment policies. In addition, an investor cannot purchase and sell the same security on the same trading day, which may restrict a Fund’s ability to invest in A-Shares through Stock Connect and to enter into or exit trades on a timely basis.

Suspension risk. SEHK, SSE, and SZSE reserve the right to suspend trading if necessary to ensure an orderly and fair market and manage risks prudently which could adversely affect a Fund’s ability to access the PRC market.

Differences in trading day. Stock Connect only operates on days when both the PRC and Hong Kong markets are open for trading and when banks in both markets are open on the corresponding settlement days. So it is possible that there are

 

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occasions when it is a normal trading day for the PRC market but Hong Kong investors (such as the Funds) cannot carry out any China A-Shares trading. A Fund may be subject to a risk of price fluctuations in China A-Shares during the time when Stock Connect is not trading as a result.

Restrictions on selling imposed by front-end monitoring. PRC regulations require that before an investor sells any share, there should be sufficient shares in the account; otherwise SSE or SZSE will reject the sell order concerned. SEHK will carry out pre-trade checking on China A-Shares sell orders of its participants (i.e., the stock brokers) to ensure there is no over-selling.

Clearing settlement and custody risks. HKSCC and ChinaClear establish the clearing links and each is a participant of the other to facilitate clearing and settlement of cross-boundary trades. As the national central counterparty of the PRC’s securities market, ChinaClear operates a comprehensive network of clearing, settlement and stock holding infrastructure. ChinaClear has established a risk management framework and measures that are approved and supervised by the CSRC. The chances of a ChinaClear default are considered to be remote.

Should the remote event of a ChinaClear default occur and ChinaClear be declared as a defaulter, HKSCC will, in good faith, seek recovery of the outstanding stocks and monies from ChinaClear through available legal channels or through ChinaClear’s liquidation. In that event, a Fund may suffer a delay in the recovery process or may not be able to fully recover its losses from ChinaClear.

The China A-Shares traded through Stock Connect are issued in scriptless form, so investors, such as the Funds, will not hold any physical China A-Shares. Hong Kong and overseas investors, such as the Funds, who have acquired Mainland Securities through Northbound trading maintain the Mainland Securities with their brokers’ or custodians’ stock accounts with the Central Clearing and Settlement System operated by HKSCC for the clearing securities listed or traded on SEHK.

Nominee arrangements in holding China A-Shares. HKSCC is the “nominee holder” of the Mainland Securities acquired by overseas investors (including a Fund) through Stock Connect. The CSRC Stock Connect rules expressly provide that investors enjoy the rights and benefits of the Mainland Securities acquired through Stock Connect in accordance with applicable laws. The CSRC has clarified that (i) the concept of nominee shareholding is recognized in China, (ii) overseas investors shall hold Mainland Securities through HKSCC and are entitled to proprietary interests in such securities as shareholders, (iii) China law does not expressly provide for a beneficial owner under the nominee holding structure to bring legal proceedings, nor does it prohibit a beneficial owner from doing so, (iv) as long as certification issued by HKSCC is treated as lawful proof of a beneficial owner’s holding of Mainland Securities under the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region law, it would be fully respected by CSRC, and (v) as long as an overseas investor can provide evidential proof of direct interest as a beneficial owner, the investor may take legal actions in its own name in PRC courts. However, the courts in the PRC may consider that any nominee or custodian as registered holder of the Mainland Securities would have full ownership thereof, and even if the concept of beneficial owner is recognized under PRC law, those Mainland Securities would form part of the pool of assets of such entity available for distribution to creditors of such entities and/or that a beneficial owner may have no rights whatsoever in respect thereof. Consequently, neither a Fund nor its custodian can ensure that the Fund’s ownership of these securities or title thereto is assured.

Under the rules of the Central Clearing and Settlement System operated by HKSCC for the clearing of securities listed or traded on SEHK, HKSCC as nominee holder shall have no obligation to take any legal action or court proceeding to enforce any rights on behalf of the investors in respect of the Mainland Securities in the PRC or elsewhere. Therefore, although a Fund’s ownership may be ultimately recognized and the HKSCC confirmed that it is prepared to provide assistance to the beneficial owners of Mainland Securities where necessary, the Fund may suffer difficulties or delays in enforcing its rights in China A-Shares. Moreover, whether PRC courts will accept the legal action independently initiated by the overseas investor with the certification of holding Mainland Securities issued by HKSCC has yet to be tested. To the extent that HKSCC is deemed to be performing safekeeping functions with respect to assets held through it, it should be noted that a Fund and its custodian will have no legal relationship with HKSCC and no direct legal recourse against HKSCC in the event that the Fund suffers losses resulting from the performance or insolvency of HKSCC.

China A-Share market suspension risks. Only certain A-Shares are eligible to be accessed through Stock Connect. Such securities may lose their eligibility at any time, in which case they could be sold but could no longer be purchased through Stock Connect. China A-Shares may only be bought or sold where the relevant A-Shares are traded on the SSE or the SZSE, as appropriate. Given that the A-Share market is considered volatile and unstable (with the risk of suspension of a particular stock, and/or the whole market, and/or government intervention), the subscription and redemption of shares may also be disrupted. An Authorized Participant is unlikely to redeem or subscribe shares if it considers that A-Shares may not be available.

Investor compensation. Investments of a Fund through Northbound trading via Stock Connect will not be covered by Hong Kong’s Investor Compensation Fund. Hong Kong’s Investor Compensation Fund is established to pay compensation to investors of any nationality who suffer pecuniary losses as a result of default of a licensed intermediary

 

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or authorized financial institution in relation to exchange-traded products in Hong Kong. Since default matters in Northbound trading via Stock Connect do not involve products listed or traded in SEHK or Hong Kong Futures Exchange Limited, they will not be covered by the Investor Compensation Fund. Further, since the Fund is carrying out Northbound trading through securities brokers in Hong Kong but not PRC brokers, it is also not protected by the China Securities Investor Protection Fund in the PRC.

Trading costs. In addition to paying trading fees and stamp duties in connection with China A-Share trading, a Fund may be subject to new portfolio fees, dividend tax and tax concerned with income arising from stock transfers which are yet to be determined by the relevant authorities.

Operational risk. Stock Connect provides a new channel for investors from Hong Kong and overseas, such as the Funds, to access the China stock market directly. Stock Connect is premised on the functioning of the operational systems of the relevant market participants. Market participants are able to participate in this program subject to meeting certain information technology capability, risk management and other requirements as may be specified by the relevant exchange and/or clearing house.

The securities regimes and legal systems of the two markets differ significantly and in order for the trial program to operate, market participants may need to address issues arising from the differences on an ongoing basis. Further, the “connectivity” in Stock Connect program requires routing of orders across the border. This has and will continue to require the development of new information technology systems on the part of the SEHK and exchange participants. There is no assurance that the systems of the SEHK and market participants will function properly or will continue to be adapted to changes and developments in both markets. In the event that the relevant systems failed to function properly, trading in both markets through the program could be disrupted. A Fund’s ability to access the China A-Share market (and hence to pursue their investment strategy) will be adversely affected.

Regulatory risk. The CSRC Stock Connect rules are departmental regulations having legal effect in the PRC. However, the application of such rules is untested, and there is no assurance that PRC courts will recognize such rules, e.g., in liquidation proceedings of PRC companies.

Stock Connect is novel in nature and is subject to regulations promulgated by regulatory authorities and implementation rules made by the stock exchanges in the PRC and Hong Kong. Further, new regulations may be promulgated from time to time by the regulators in connection with operations and cross-border legal enforcement in connection with cross-border trades through Stock Connect.

The regulations are untested so far and there is no certainty as to how they will be applied. Moreover, the current regulations are subject to change. There can be no assurance that Stock Connect will not be abolished. A Fund that may invest in the PRC markets through Stock Connect may be adversely affected as a result of such changes.

Tax risk. Uncertainties in PRC tax rules governing taxation of income and gains from investments in A-Shares could result in unexpected tax liabilities for a Fund. A Fund’s investments in securities, including A-Shares, issued by PRC companies may cause the Fund to become subject to withholding and other taxes imposed by the PRC. If the Fund were considered to be a tax resident of the PRC, it would be subject to PRC corporate income tax at the rate of 25% on its worldwide taxable income. If the Fund were considered to be a non-resident enterprise with a “permanent establishment” in the PRC, it would be subject to PRC corporate income tax of 25% on the profits attributable to the permanent establishment. The Adviser and Sub-Adviser intend to operate such Fund in a manner that will prevent it from being treated as a tax resident of the PRC and from having a permanent establishment in the PRC. It is possible, however, that the PRC could disagree with that conclusion or that changes in PRC tax law could affect the PRC corporate income tax status of the Fund.

The PRC generally imposes withholding income tax at a rate of 10% on dividends, premiums, interest and capital gains originating in the PRC and paid to a company that is not a resident of the PRC for tax purposes and that has no permanent establishment in China. The withholding is in general made by the relevant PRC tax resident company making such payments. In the event the relevant PRC tax resident company fails to withhold the relevant PRC withholding income tax or otherwise fails to pay the relevant withholding income tax to the PRC tax authorities, the competent PRC tax authorities may, at their sole discretion, impose tax obligations on the Fund.

The Ministry of Finance of the PRC, the State Administration of Taxation of the PRC and the CSRC (collectively, the “PRC Tax Authorities”) issued the “Notice on the Pilot Program of Shanghai-Hong Kong Stock Connect” Caishui [2014] No.81 (Notice 81), on October 31, 2014, which states that the capital gain from disposal of A-Shares by foreign investors enterprises via the Shanghai-Hong Kong Stock Connect program will be temporarily exempt from withholding income tax. Notice 81 also states that the dividends derived from A-Shares by foreign investor enterprises is subject to 10% withholding income tax.

The PRC Tax Authorities issued the “Notice on the Pilot Program of Shenzhen-Hong Kong Stock Connect” Caishui [2016] No.127 (Notice 127)” on November 5, 2016, which states that the capital gain from disposal of A-Shares by

 

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foreign investors enterprises via the Shenzhen-Hong Kong Stock Connect program will be temporarily exempt from withholding income tax. Notice 127 also states that the dividends derived from A-Shares by foreign investor enterprises is subject to 10% withholding income tax.

There is no indication of how long the temporary exemption will remain in effect and a Fund may be subject to such withholding income tax in the future. If, in the future, China begins applying tax rules regarding the taxation of income from investments through Stock Connect and/or begins collecting capital gains taxes on such investments, the Fund could be subject to withholding income tax liability if the Fund determines that such liability cannot be reduced or eliminated by applicable tax treaties. The PRC Tax Authorities may, in the future, issue further guidance in this regard and with potential retrospective effect. The negative impact of any such tax liability on the Fund’s return could be substantial.

In light of the uncertainty as to how gains or income that may be derived from a Fund’s investments in the PRC will be taxed, the Fund reserves the right to provide for withholding tax on such gains or income and withhold tax for the account of the Fund. Withholding tax may already be withheld at a broker/custodian level. If the Fund expects such withholding tax on trading in A-Shares to be imposed, it reserves the right to establish a reserve for such tax. If the Fund establishes such a reserve but is not ultimately subject to the tax, shareholders who redeemed or sold their shares while the reserve was in place will effectively bear the tax and may not benefit from the later release, if any, of the reserve. Conversely, if the Fund does not establish such a reserve but ultimately is subject to the tax, shareholders who redeemed or sold their shares prior to the tax being withheld, reserved or paid will have effectively avoided the tax, even if they benefited from the trading that precipitated the Fund’s payment of it. Investors should note that such provision may be excessive or inadequate to meet actual withholding tax liabilities (which could include interest and penalties) on the Fund’s investments. As a result, investors may be advantaged or disadvantaged depending on the final rules of the relevant PRC tax authorities.

Any tax provision, if made, will be reflected in the NAV of such Fund at the time of debit or release of such provision and thus will impact shares which remain in the Fund at the time of debit or release of such provision. If the actual applicable tax levied by PRC tax authorities is greater than that provided for by the Fund so that there is a shortfall in the tax provision amount, investors should note that the NAV of the Fund may suffer more than the tax provision amount as the Fund will ultimately have to bear the additional tax liabilities. In this case, the then-existing and subsequent investors will be disadvantaged. On the other hand, if the actual applicable tax levied by PRC tax authorities is less than that provided for by the Fund so that there is an excess in the tax provision amount, investors who have redeemed Fund shares before the PRC tax authorities’ ruling, decision or guidance in this respect will be disadvantaged as they would have borne the loss from the Fund’s overprovision. In this case, the then-existing and subsequent investors may benefit if the difference between the tax provision and the actual taxation liability can be returned to the account of the Fund as assets thereof. In case of having excess in the tax provision amount (for example, the actual applicable tax levied by PRC tax authorities is less than the tax provision amount or due to a change in provisioning by the Fund), such excess shall be treated as property of the Fund and investors who have already transferred or redeemed their shares in the Fund will not be entitled or have any right to claim any part of the amount representing the excess.

Stamp duty under the PRC laws generally applies to the execution and receipt of taxable documents, which include contracts for the sale of A-Shares traded on PRC stock exchanges. In the case of such contracts, the stamp duty is currently imposed on the seller but not on the purchaser, at the rate of 0.1%. While overseas investors currently are exempt from value added taxes (currently at the rate of 6%) on capital gains derived from trading of A-Shares through Stock Connect, the PRC tax rules could be changed which could result in unexpected tax liabilities for the Fund. In addition, urban maintenance and construction tax (currently at rates ranging from 1% to 7%), educational surcharge (currently at the rate of 3%) and local educational surcharge (currently at the rate of 2%) (collectively, the “surtaxes”) are imposed based on value added tax liabilities, so if the Fund were liable for value added tax it would also be required to pay the applicable surtaxes. The PRC rules for taxation of Stock Connect are evolving and certain of the tax regulations to be issued by the PRC State Administration of Taxation and/or PRC SAFE to clarify the subject matter may apply retrospectively, even if such rules are adverse to the Fund and its investors. The imposition of such taxes, particularly on a retrospective basis, could have a material adverse effect on the Fund’s returns. Before further guidance is issued and is well established in the administrative practice of the PRC tax authorities, the practices of the PRC tax authorities that collect PRC taxes relevant to the Fund may differ from, or be applied in a manner inconsistent with, the practices with respect to the analogous investments described herein or any further guidance that may be issued. The value of the Fund’s investment in the PRC and the amount of its income and gains could be adversely affected by an increase in tax rates or change in the taxation basis.

The above information is only a general summary of the potential PRC tax consequences that may be imposed on the Fund and its investors either directly or indirectly and should not be taken as a definitive, authoritative or comprehensive statement of the relevant matter. Investors should seek their own tax advice on their tax position with regard to their investment in the Fund.

 

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The PRC government has implemented a number of tax reform policies in recent years. The current tax laws and regulations may be revised or amended in the future. Any revision or amendment in tax laws and regulations may affect the after-taxation profit of PRC companies and foreign investors in such companies, such as the Funds.

Investments in Europe. Most developed countries in Western Europe are members of the European Union (“EU”), many are also members of the European Economic and Monetary Union (“EMU”), and most EMU members are part of the euro zone, a group of EMU countries that share the euro as their common currency. Members of the EMU must comply with restrictions on inflation rates, deficits, debt levels, and fiscal and monetary controls. The implementation of any of these EMU restrictions or controls, as well as any of the following events in Europe, may have a significant impact on the economies of some or all European countries: (i) the default or threat of default by an EU member country on its sovereign debt, (ii) economic recession in an EU member country, (iii) changes in EU or governmental regulations on trade, (iv) changes in currency exchange rates of the euro, the British pound, and other European currencies, (v) changes in the supply and demand for European imports or exports, and (vi) high unemployment rates. The European financial markets have recently experienced volatility and adverse trends due to concerns about economic downturns or rising government debt levels in several European countries, including Greece, Ireland, Italy, Portugal and Spain. These concerns have also negatively affected the euro’s exchange rate. A significant decline in the value of the euro may produce unpredictable effects on trade and commerce generally and could lead to increased volatility in financial markets worldwide. In the event that an EMU member defaults on its sovereign debt or exits from the EMU, especially if either such event occurs in a disorderly manner, the default or exit may adversely affect the value of the euro as well as the performance of other European economies and issuers.

In June 2016, the United Kingdom voted in a referendum to leave the EU. As a result of the referendum, S&P downgraded the United Kingdom’s credit rating from “AAA” to “AA” and the EU’s credit rating from “AA+” to “AA” in the days that followed the vote. Other credit ratings agencies have taken similar actions. On March 29, 2017, the United Kingdom invoked article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, notifying the European Council of the United Kingdom’s intention to withdraw from the EU by March 29, 2019. However, after two years of negotiating the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the EU, this date has been extended until January 31, 2020. Although it is unclear how withdrawal negotiations will be conducted or concluded, United Kingdom businesses are increasingly preparing for a disorderly Brexit, which could have severe consequences for the people, businesses and economies of the United Kingdom and the EU, as well as those of the broader global economy. Withdrawal is expected to be followed by a transition period during which businesses and others prepare for the new post-Brexit rules to take effect on January 1, 2021. It is possible that measures could be taken to revote the issue of Brexit, or that portions of the United Kingdom could seek to separate and remain a part of the EU. As a result of the uncertain consequences of Brexit and the political divisions both within the United Kingdom and between the United Kingdom and the EU highlighted by the referendum vote, the economies of the United Kingdom and Europe as well as the broader global economy could be significantly impacted, which may result in increased volatility and illiquidity, and potentially lower economic growth on markets in the United Kingdom, Europe and globally that could potentially have an adverse effect on the value of the Fund’s investments.

Investments in France. France is a member of the EMU. Members of the EMU must comply with restrictions on inflation rates, deficits, debt levels, and fiscal and monetary controls. The implementation of any such restrictions or controls, the default of an EU member country on its sovereign debt, significant fluctuations in the euro’s exchange rate, or a change in EU or governmental trade regulations could each have a significant impact on the French economy as well as the economies of some or all European countries. These and other factors, including the potential consequences of the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the EU as described above, could have a negative impact on a Fund’s performance.

Investments in Germany. Germany is a member of the EMU. Members of the EMU must comply with restrictions on inflation rates, deficits, debt levels, and fiscal and monetary controls. The implementation of any such restrictions or controls, the default of an EU member country on its sovereign debt, significant fluctuations in the euro’s exchange rate, or a change in EU or governmental trade regulations could each have a significant impact on the German economy as well as the economies of some or all European countries. In addition, challenges related to the rebuilding of infrastructure and unemployment in the former area of East Germany may also impact the economy of Germany. These and other factors, including the potential consequences of the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the EU as described above, could have a negative impact on a Fund’s performance.

Investments in India. Investments in India may be more volatile and less liquid and may offer higher potential for gains and losses than investments in more developed markets. Economic and political structures in India may lack the stability of those of more developed nations. Unanticipated political or social developments in India and surrounding regions may affect the value of a Fund’s investments and the value of Fund shares. Although the government has recently begun to institute economic reform policies, there can be no assurance that it will continue to pursue such policies or, if it does, that such policies will succeed. Monsoons and other natural disasters in India and surrounding regions also can affect the value of Fund investments.

The laws relating to limited liability of corporate shareholders, fiduciary duties of officers and directors, and the bankruptcy of state enterprises are generally less well developed than or different from such laws in the United States. In the past year there have been several significant proposals to tax regulations that could significantly increase the level of taxes on investment. It may be more difficult to obtain a judgment in Indian courts than it is in the United States.

 

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The market for securities in India may be less liquid and transparent than the markets in more developed countries. In addition, strict restrictions on foreign investment may decrease the liquidity of a Fund’s portfolio or inhibit a Fund’s ability to achieve its investment objective. A Fund may be unable to buy or sell securities or receive full value for such securities. Settlement of securities transactions in the Indian subcontinent are subject to risk of loss, may be delayed and are generally less efficient than in the United States. In addition, disruptions due to work stoppages and trading improprieties in these securities markets have caused such markets to close. If extended closings were to occur in stock markets where the Fund was heavily invested, a Fund’s ability to redeem Fund shares could become correspondingly impaired. Each of these events could have a negative impact on the liquidity and value of the Fund’s investments. To mitigate these risks, a Fund may maintain a higher cash position than it otherwise would, or a Fund may have to sell more liquid securities which it would not otherwise choose to sell, possibly diluting its return and inhibiting its ability to track its Index.

In recent years, exchange-listed companies in the technology sector and related sectors (such as software) have grown so as to represent a significant portion of the total capitalization of the Indian market. The value of these companies will generally fluctuate in response to technological and regulatory developments. The stock markets in the region are undergoing a period of growth and change, which may result in trading or price volatility and difficulties in the settlement and recording of transactions, and in interpreting and applying the relevant laws and regulations. The securities industry in India is comparatively underdeveloped, and stockbrokers and other intermediaries may not perform as well as their counterparts in the United States and other more developed securities markets. In some cases, physical delivery of securities in small lots has been required in India and a shortage of vault capacity and trained personnel has existed among qualified custodial Indian banks. These and other factors could have a negative impact on a Fund’s performance.

Investments in Italy. Italy is a member of the EMU. Members of the EMU must comply with restrictions on inflation rates, deficits, debt levels, and fiscal and monetary controls. The implementation of any such restrictions or controls, the default of an EU member country on its sovereign debt, significant fluctuations in the euro’s exchange rate, or a change in EU or governmental trade regulations could each have a significant impact on the Italian economy as well as the economies of some or all European countries. Recently, the Italian economy has experienced volatility due to concerns about economic downturn and rising government debt levels. These and other factors, including the potential consequences of the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the EU as described above, could have a negative impact on a Fund’s performance.

Investments in Japan. Although Japan continues to recover from a prolonged economic downturn dating back to 2000, Japan’s economic growth rate has remained relatively low and it may remain low in the future and/or continue to lag the growth rates of other developed nations and its Asian neighbors. Economic growth in Japan is heavily dependent on international trade, government support of the financial services sector and other troubled sectors, and consistent government policy supporting its export market. In the past, Japanese exports have been adversely affected by trade tariffs and other protectionist measures as well as increased competition from developing nations. Japan has few natural resources and is heavily dependent on oil imports. Higher commodity prices could therefore have a negative impact on the Japanese economy. Slowdowns in the economies of key trading partners such as the United States, China and/or countries in Southeast Asia, including economic, political or social instability in such countries, could also have a negative impact on the Japanese economy as a whole. Despite the emergence of China as an important trading partner of Japan, strained relationships between Japan and its neighboring countries, including China, Russia, South Korea and North Korea, based on historical grievances, territorial disputes, and defense concerns, may also inject uncertainty into Japanese markets. Increased political tension between countries in the region could adversely affect the Japanese economy and, in the event of a crisis, destabilize the region. The Japanese economy is also vulnerable to concerns of economic slowdown from within the Japanese financial system, including high levels of nonperforming loans, over-leveraged corporate balance sheets, extensive cross-ownership by major corporations, a changing corporate governance structure, and large government deficits. Japanese currency fluctuations may also adversely impact the Japanese economy and its export market. In the past, the Japanese government has intervened in its currency market to maintain or reduce the value of the yen. Any such intervention in the currency markets could cause the value of the yen to fluctuate sharply and unpredictably and could cause losses to investors. In addition, Japan’s labor market is adapting to an aging workforce, declining population, and demand for increased labor mobility. These demographic shifts and fundamental structural changes to the labor market may negatively impact Japan’s economic competitiveness.

In March 2011, a massive earthquake and tsunami struck northeastern Japan causing major damage to the country’s domestic energy supply, including damage to nuclear power plants. In the wake of this natural disaster, Japan’s financial markets fluctuated dramatically and the resulting economic distress affected Japan’s recovery from its recession. The government injected capital into the economy and proposed plans for massive spending on reconstruction efforts in disaster-affected areas in order to stimulate economic growth. The full extent of the disaster’s impact on Japan’s economy and foreign investment in Japan is difficult to estimate. The risks of natural disasters of varying degrees, such as earthquakes and tsunamis, and the resulting damage, continue to exist. These and other factors could have a negative impact on a Fund’s performance.

Investments in Korea. The economy of Korea is heavily dependent on exports and the demand for certain finished goods. Korea’s main industries include electronics, automobile production, chemicals, shipbuilding, steel, textiles, clothing, footwear, and food processing. Conditions that weaken demand for such products worldwide or in other Asian countries could have a

 

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negative impact on the Korean economy as a whole. The Korean economy’s reliance on international trade makes it highly sensitive to fluctuations in international commodity prices, currency exchange rates and government regulation, and vulnerable to downturns of the world economy, particularly with respect to its four largest export markets (the EU, Japan, United States, and China). Korea has experienced modest economic growth in recent years, but such continued growth may slow due, in part, to the economic slowdown in China and the increased competitive advantage of Japanese exports with the weakened yen. Relations with North Korea could also have a significant impact on the economy of Korea. Relations between South Korea and North Korea remain tense, as exemplified in periodic acts of hostility, and the possibility of serious military engagement still exists. These and other factors could have a negative impact on a Fund’s performance.

Investments in the Middle East. Countries in the Middle East may be affected by political instability, war or the threat of war, regional instability, terrorist activities and religious, ethnic and/or socioeconomic unrest. In particular, although recent pro-democracy movements in the region successfully toppled authoritarian regimes, the stability of successor regimes have proven weak, such as in Egypt. In other instances, these changes have devolved into armed conflicts, including protracted civil wars in Syria and Libya, which have given rise to numerous militias, terrorist groups, and most notably, the proto-state of ISIS. The conflict has disrupted oil production in Iraq and Syria, destroyed the economic value of large portions of the region, and caused a massive exodus of refugees into neighboring states.

Markets in the Middle East generally have lower trading volumes and greater potential for illiquidity and price volatility than more developed markets. These markets also have a smaller number of issuers and participants and therefore may also be affected to a greater extent by the actions of a small number of issuers and investors. A significant change in cash flows investing in these markets could have a substantial effect on local stock prices. Some Middle Eastern countries prohibit or impose substantial restrictions on investments in their capital markets, particularly their equity markets, by foreign entities such as the Fund. For example, certain countries may require governmental approval prior to investment by foreign persons or limit the amount of investment by foreign persons in a particular issuer. They may also limit the investment by foreign persons to only a specific class of securities of an issuer that may have less advantageous terms (including price) than securities of the issuer available for purchase by nationals. The manner in which foreign investors may invest in companies in certain Middle Eastern countries, as well as limitations on those investments, may have an adverse impact on the operations of the Fund. For example, the Fund may be required in certain of these countries to invest initially through a local broker or other entity and then have the shares that were purchased re-registered in the name of the Fund. Re-registration in some instances may not be possible on a timely basis. This may result in a delay during which the Fund may be denied certain of its rights as an investor, including rights as to dividends or to be made aware of certain corporate actions. A Fund’s exposure to a local currency and changes in value of the local currency versus the U.S. dollar may result in reduced returns for a Fund, and a Fund may also incur costs in connection with currency conversions. In addition, in connection with a security sale and its settlement, there may be limitations or delays in the convertibility or repatriation of the local proceeds which would adversely affect the U.S. dollar and/or liquidity of the Fund’s investments denominated in such currency, impair a Fund’s ability to achieve its investment objective and/or impede the Fund’s ability to satisfy redemption requests in a timely manner. By way of example, certain of the Egyptian holdings of the Middle East Dividend Fund are subject to such controls and limitations. The legal systems in certain Middle Eastern countries may have an adverse impact on the Fund. For example, the potential liability of a shareholder in a U.S. corporation with respect to acts of the corporation generally is limited to the amount of the shareholder’s investment. However, the notion of limited liability is less clear in certain Middle Eastern countries. The Fund therefore may be liable in certain Middle Eastern countries for the acts of a corporation in which it invests for an amount greater than the Fund’s actual investment in that corporation. Similarly, the rights of investors in Middle Eastern issuers may be more limited than those of shareholders of a U.S. corporation. It may be difficult or impossible to obtain and/or enforce a judgment in a Middle Eastern country. These and other factors could have a negative impact on a Fund’s performance.

Investments in Saudi Arabia. In addition to the investment risks associated with the Middle East region and Frontier Markets described above, investing in securities of Saudi Arabia involves certain additional considerations. In particular, Saudi Arabia has only very recently opened its markets to foreign investors, and the ability of foreign investors to invest in Saudi Arabian issuers is relatively untested. The Saudi government could restrict or revoke this ability at any time, which could hinder the Fund’s ability to invest in these securities and/or track its underlying index. Like other Middle East nations, Saudi Arabia is highly reliant on income from the sale of petroleum and trade with other countries involved in the sale of petroleum, and its economy is therefore vulnerable to changes in foreign currency values and the price of oil.

Investments in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). In addition to the investment risks associated with the Middle East region and Frontier Markets described above, investing in securities of the UAE involves certain additional considerations. Like other Middle East nations, the UAE is highly reliant on income from the sale of petroleum and trade with other countries involved in the sale of petroleum, but the UAE also has a non-oil economy concentrated in Dubai. Dubai’s non-oil economy has grown rapidly in recent years, notably in the service sectors, including tourism, real estate, banking and re-export trade, but remains vulnerable to a global credit crisis and/or a decrease in petroleum prices.

Investments in Qatar. In addition to the investment risks associated with the Middle East region and Frontier Markets described above, investing in securities of Qatar involves certain additional considerations. In particular, in June 2017,

 

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Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, and Egypt, among other countries, severed diplomatic relations with Qatar and, working together, these nations imposed a land, sea and air blockade on Qatar. The nations imposing the embargo on Qatar cited Qatar’s alleged support of terrorism as the reason for their actions. Like other Middle East nations, Qatar is highly reliant on income from the sale of petroleum and trade with other countries involved in the sale of petroleum, and although the blockade has ceased the shipping of oil out of Qatar, Qatar continues to provide the UAE with natural gas via pipeline. The blockade has negatively impacted Qatar’s economy, stock market, and the credit rating of Qatari debt, but the long term effects of the blockade remain unclear at this point. In addition, Qatar hosts about 10,000 U.S. troops at Al Udeid Air Base, which serves as the forward base of operations for U.S. Central Command in the Middle East, which could make the country a target more susceptible to terror attacks. Qatar’s economy also relies heavily on cheap, foreign labor, which has led to labor supply issues as well as allegations of human rights abuses against foreign laborers.

Investments in the Netherlands. The Netherlands is a member of the EMU. Members of the EMU must comply with restrictions on inflation rates, deficits, debt levels, and fiscal and monetary controls. The implementation of any such restrictions or controls, the default of an EU member country on its sovereign debt, significant fluctuations in the euro’s exchange rate, or a change in EU or governmental trade regulations could each have a significant impact on the Dutch economy as well as the economies of some or all European countries. These and other factors, including the potential consequences of the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the EU as described above, could have a negative impact on a Fund’s performance.

Investments in New Zealand. Investing in New Zealand involves certain considerations not typically associated with investing in securities of U.S. companies or the U.S. government. New Zealand is generally considered to be a developed market, and investments in New Zealand generally do not have risks associated with them that are present with investments in developing or “emerging” markets. The health of the economy is strongly tied to commodity exports and has historically been vulnerable to global slowdowns. New Zealand is a country heavily dependent on free trade, particularly in agricultural products. This makes New Zealand particularly vulnerable to international commodity prices and global economic slowdowns. Its principal export industries are agriculture, horticulture, fishing and forestry. These and other factors could have a negative impact on a Fund’s performance.

Investments in Russia. Investing in securities of Russian companies involves certain considerations not typically associated with investing in securities of U.S. companies or the U.S. Government. These risks include: (i) investment and repatriation controls, which could make it harder for a Fund to track its underlying Index and decrease a Fund’s tax efficiency; (ii) unfavorable action by the Russian government, such as expropriation, dilution, devaluation, or default from excessive taxation; (iii) fluctuations in the currency rate exchange between the Russian ruble and the U.S. dollar; (iv) smaller securities markets with greater price volatility, less liquidity, and fewer issuers with a larger percentage of market capitalization or trading volume than in U.S. markets; (v) continued governmental involvement in and influence over the private sector as Russia undergoes a transition from central control to market-oriented democracy; (vi) less reliable financial information available concerning Russian issuers that may not be prepared and audited in accordance with U.S. or Western European generally accepted accounting principles and auditing standards; (vii) unfavorable political and economic developments, social instability, and changes in government policies; and (viii) the continued imposition of economic sanctions on Russian individuals and business sectors, or the threat of further sanctions, from Western countries in response to Russia’s recent political and military actions. In addition, investing in Russian securities involves risks of delayed settlement of portfolio transactions and the loss of a Fund’s ownership rights in its securities due to the Russian system of custody and share registration. Investments in Russia are also subject to the risk that a natural disaster, such as an earthquake, drought, flood, fire or tsunami, could cause a significant adverse impact on the Russian economy. These and other factors could have a negative impact on a Fund’s performance.

Economic sanctions imposed on Russia by the United States, EU, and other Western countries in response to Russia’s military intervention in the Ukraine and in response to other events (e.g., cyber activities) may also negatively affect the performance of Russian companies and the overall Russian economy. The Ukraine sanctions target Russian individuals and the Russian financial, energy and defense sectors, while other sanctions impact other sectors, but they have also caused capital flight, a loss of confidence in Russian sovereign debt, and a retaliatory import ban by Russia that could lead to ruble inflation. Coupled with lower worldwide oil prices, Western sanctions have had the effect of slowing the entire Russian economy and may push the Russian economy toward recession. In addition, other U.S. and/or Western sanctions may be imposed based on negative actions perpetrated (or believed to have been perpetrated) by Russia.

Investments in Singapore. The economy of Singapore is heavily dependent on international trade and export. Conditions that weaken demand for such products worldwide or in the Asian region could have a negative and significant impact on the Singaporean economy as a whole. In addition, the economy of Singapore may be particularly vulnerable to external market changes because of its smaller size. These and other factors could have a negative impact on a Fund’s performance.

Investments in South Africa. Although South Africa is a developing country with a solid economic infrastructure (in some regards rivaling other developed countries), certain issues, such as unemployment, access to health care, limited economic opportunity, and other financial constraints, continue to present obstacles to full economic development. Disparities of wealth, the pace and success of democratization and capital market development and religious and racial disaffection have also led to social and political unrest. South Africa’s currency has recently fluctuated significantly and may be vulnerable to significant

 

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devaluation. There can be no assurance that initiatives by the government to address these issues will achieve the desired results. South Africa’s economy is heavily dependent on natural resources and commodity prices. South Africa’s currency may be vulnerable to devaluation. These and other factors could have a negative impact on a Fund’s performance.

Investments in Spain. Spain is a member of the EMU. Members of the EMU must comply with restrictions on inflation rates, deficits, debt levels, and fiscal and monetary controls. The implementation of any such restrictions or controls, the default of an EU member country on its sovereign debt, significant fluctuations in the euro’s exchange rate, or a change in EU or governmental trade regulations could each have a significant impact on the Spanish economy as well as the economies of some or all European countries. Spain, along with certain other EU economies, experienced a significant economic slowdown during the recent financial crisis. The Spanish economy has been characterized by slow growth in recent years due to factors such as low housing sales, construction declines, and the international credit crisis. The rate of unemployment, inflation and productivity in Spain is relatively lower than other European countries. As a result, the Spanish government has introduced austerity reforms to reduce the fiscal deficit. While these reforms may stimulate the Spanish economy in the long term, they could have negative short-term effects on the Spanish financial market. Moreover, the Spanish government is involved in a long-running campaign against terrorism. Therefore, acts of terrorism on Spanish soil or against Spanish interests abroad may cause uncertainty in the Spanish financial markets. These and other factors, including the potential consequences of the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the EU as described above, could have a negative impact on a Fund’s performance.

Investments in Sweden. Sweden’s largest trading partners include the United States, Germany and certain other Western European nations. As a result, the economy of Sweden may be significantly affected by changes in the economies, trade regulations, currency exchange rates, and monetary policies of these trading partners. In addition, Sweden maintains a robust social welfare system, and Sweden’s workforce is highly unionized. As a result, Sweden’s economy may experience, among other things, increased government spending, higher production costs, and lower productivity. These and other factors, including the potential consequences of the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the EU as described above, could have a negative impact on a Fund’s performance.

Investments in Switzerland. Although Switzerland is not a member of the EU, the Swiss economy is heavily dependent on the economies of the United State and other European nations as key trading partners. In particular, Switzerland depends on international trade and exports to generate economic growth. As a result, future changes in the price or the demand for Swiss products or services by these trading partners, or changes in these countries’ economies, trade regulations or currency exchange rates could adversely impact the Swiss economy. In addition, due to Switzerland’s limited natural resources, the economy of Switzerland may be impacted by extreme price fluctuations in the price of certain raw materials. Moreover, the Swiss economy relies heavily on the banking sector. Recent allegations that certain Swiss banking institutions marketed and sold offshore tax evasion services to U.S. citizens may adversely impact the Swiss economy. These and other factors, including the potential consequences of the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the EU as described above, could have a negative impact on a Fund’s performance.

Investments in Taiwan. The economy of Taiwan is heavily dependent on exports. Currency fluctuations, increasing competition from Asia’s other emerge economies, and conditions that weaken demand for Taiwan’s export products worldwide could have a negative impact on the Taiwanese economy as a whole. Concerns over Taiwan’s history of political contention and its current relationship with China may also have a significant impact on the economy of Taiwan. These and other factors could have a negative impact on a Fund’s performance.

Investments in the United Kingdom. The United Kingdom has one of the largest economies in Europe and trades heavily with other European countries and the United States. The economy of the United Kingdom may be impacted by changes to the economic health of other European countries and the United States. The United Kingdom also relies heavily on the export of financial services. Accordingly, a slowdown in the financial services sector may have an adverse impact on the United Kingdom’s economy. In June 2016, the United Kingdom voted in a referendum to leave the EU. For more information about “Brexit” and the associated risks, see the above description of “Investments in Europe.” These and other factors could have a negative impact on a Fund’s performance.

Under normal market conditions, to the extent securities of foreign issuers ever comprise less than 40% of the assets of the Global High Dividend Fund on the annual Index screening date, the Board of Trustees of the Trust will either change the name of the Fund or change the Fund’s benchmark.

PARTICIPATION CERTIFICATES. The Middle East Dividend Fund may invest in participation certificates (“Participation Certificates”) as a substitute for investing directly in securities. These instruments are also referred to as “Participation Notes.” Participation Certificates are certificates or notes issued by banks or broker-dealers and are designed to provide returns corresponding to the performance of an underlying equity security or market. Participation Certificates are subject to the risk that the issuer of the note will default on its obligation, in which case the Fund could lose the entire value of its investment. The use of Participation Certificates can increase tracking error relative to an Index. A holder of a Participation Certificate that is linked to an underlying security may receive any dividends paid in connection with the underlying security. However, a holder of a Participation Certificate does not have voting rights, as the holder would if it owned the underlying security directly. Investing in a Participation Certificate may subject the Fund to counterparty risk. In addition, there can be no assurance that the trading price of a Participation Certificate

 

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will be equal to the underlying value of the company or market that it seeks to replicate. The Fund will be relying on the creditworthiness of the counterparty issuing the Participation Certificate and would lose its investment if such counterparty became insolvent. The Fund will have no rights against the issuer of the underlying security. A Participation Certificate may also include transaction costs in addition to those applicable to a direct investment in securities. The markets on which the Participation Certificates are traded may be less liquid than the markets for other securities due to liquidity and transfer restrictions. The markets for Participation Certificates typically are “over the counter” and may be less transparent than the markets for listed securities. This may limit the availability of pricing information and may make it more difficult for the Fund to accurately value its investments in Participation Certificates. This may increase tracking error relative to the Index.

REAL ESTATE INVESTMENT TRUSTS. Each Fund may invest in the securities of real estate investment trusts (“REITs”) to the extent allowed by law. The Global ex-U.S. Real Estate Fund generally invests a significant percentage of its assets in REITs. Risks associated with investments in securities of REITs include decline in the value of real estate, risks related to general and local economic conditions, overbuilding and increased competition, increases in property taxes and operating expenses, changes in zoning laws, casualty or condemnation losses, variations in rental income, changes in neighborhood values, the appeal of properties to tenants, and increases in interest rates. In addition, equity REITs may be affected by changes in the values of the underlying property owned by the trusts, while mortgage REITs may be affected by the quality of credit extended. REITs are dependent upon management skills, may not be diversified and are subject to the risks of financing projects. REITs are also subject to heavy cash-flow dependency, defaults by borrowers, self-liquidation and the possibility of failing to maintain exemption from the 1940 Act, and, for U.S. REITs, the possibility of failing to qualify for the favorable U.S. federal income tax treatment available to U.S. REITs under the Code. If an issuer of debt securities collateralized by real estate defaults, it is conceivable that the REITs could end up holding the underlying real estate.

REPURCHASE AGREEMENTS. Each Fund may enter into repurchase agreements with counterparties that are deemed to present acceptable credit risks. A repurchase agreement is a transaction in which a Fund purchases securities or other obligations from a bank or securities dealer (or its affiliate) and simultaneously commits to resell them to a counterparty at an agreed-upon date or upon demand and at a price reflecting a market rate of interest unrelated to the coupon rate or maturity of the purchased obligations. A Fund maintains custody of the underlying obligations prior to their repurchase, either through its regular custodian or through a special “tri-party” custodian or sub-custodian that maintains separate accounts for both the Fund and its counterparty. Thus, the obligation of the counterparty to pay the repurchase price on the date agreed to or upon demand is, in effect, secured by such obligations.

Repurchase agreements carry certain risks not associated with direct investments in securities, including a possible decline in the market value of the underlying obligations. If their value becomes less than the repurchase price, plus any agreed-upon additional amount, the counterparty must provide additional collateral so that at all times the collateral is at least equal to the repurchase price plus any agreed-upon additional amount. The difference between the total amount to be received upon repurchase of the obligations and the price that was paid by a Fund upon acquisition is accrued as interest and included in its net investment income. Repurchase agreements involving obligations other than U.S. government securities (such as commercial paper and corporate bonds) may be subject to special risks and may not have the benefit of certain protections in the event of the counterparty’s insolvency. If the seller or guarantor becomes insolvent, the Fund may suffer delays, costs and possible losses in connection with the disposition of collateral.

REVERSE REPURCHASE AGREEMENTS. Each Fund may enter into reverse repurchase agreements, which involve the sale of securities held by a Fund subject to its agreement to repurchase the securities at an agreed-upon date or upon demand and at a price reflecting a market rate of interest. Reverse repurchase agreements are subject to each Fund’s limitation on borrowings and may be entered into only with banks or securities dealers or their affiliates. While a reverse repurchase agreement is outstanding, a Fund will maintain the segregation, either on its records or with the Trust’s custodian, of cash or other liquid securities, marked-to-market daily, in an amount at least equal to its obligations under the reverse repurchase agreement.

Reverse repurchase agreements involve the risk that the buyer of the securities sold by a Fund might be unable to deliver them when that Fund seeks to repurchase. If the buyer of securities under a reverse repurchase agreement files for bankruptcy or becomes insolvent, the buyer or trustee or receiver may receive an extension of time to determine whether to enforce a Fund’s obligation to repurchase the securities, and the Fund’s use of the proceeds of the reverse repurchase agreement may effectively be restricted pending such decision.

SECURITIES LENDING. Each Fund may lend portfolio securities to certain creditworthy borrowers, including the Fund’s securities lending agent. Loans of portfolio securities provide the Funds with the opportunity to earn additional income on the Fund’s portfolio securities. All securities loans will be made pursuant to agreements requiring the loans to be continuously secured by collateral in cash, or money market instruments, money market funds or U.S. government securities at least equal at all times to the market value of the loaned securities. The borrower pays to the Funds an amount equal to any dividends or interest received on loaned securities. The Funds retain all or a portion of the interest received on investment of cash collateral or receive a fee from the borrower. Lending portfolio securities involves risks of delay in recovery of the loaned securities or in some cases loss of rights in the collateral should the borrower fail financially. Furthermore, because of the risks of delay in recovery, the Fund may lose the opportunity to sell the securities at a desirable price. A Fund will generally not have the right to vote securities while they are being loaned.

TRACKING STOCKS. Each Fund may invest in tracking stocks. A tracking stock is a separate class of common stock whose value is linked to a specific business unit or operating division within a larger company and which is designed to “track” the performance of such business unit or division. The tracking stock may pay dividends to shareholders independent of the parent company. The parent company, rather than the business unit or division, generally is the issuer of tracking stock. However, holders of the tracking stock may not have the same rights as holders of the company’s common stock.

 

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U.S. GOVERNMENT SECURITIES. Each Fund may invest in obligations issued or guaranteed by the U.S. Treasury or the agencies or instrumentalities of the U.S. government. Such obligations may be short-, intermediate- or long-term. U.S. government securities are obligations of, or guaranteed by, the U.S. government, its agencies or government-sponsored enterprises. U.S. government securities are subject to market and interest rate risk, and may be subject to varying degrees of credit risk. U.S. government securities include inflation-indexed fixed income securities, such as U.S. Treasury Inflation Protected Securities (TIPS). U.S. government securities include zero coupon securities, which tend to be subject to greater market risk than interest-paying securities of similar maturities.

PROXY VOTING POLICY

The Trust has adopted as its proxy voting policies for each Fund the proxy voting guidelines of the Sub-Adviser. The Trust has delegated to the Sub-Adviser the authority and responsibility for voting proxies on the portfolio securities held by each Fund. The remainder of this section discusses each Fund’s proxy voting guidelines and the Sub-Adviser’s role in implementing such guidelines.

As a registered investment adviser, Mellon is often entrusted with the fiduciary responsibility to vote proxies for shares of corporate stock held on behalf of its clients. Proxy voting is an integral part of the management of the investment in those shares. In voting proxies, Mellon takes into account long term economic value as it evaluates issues relating to corporate governance, including structures and practices, the nature of long-term business plans, including sustainability policies and practices to address environmental and social factors that are likely to have an impact on shareholder value, and other financial and non-financial measures of corporate performance.

For clients that have delegated proxy authority, Mellon will make every reasonable effort to ensure that proxies are received and are voted in accordance with this policy and related procedures. To assist Mellon in that process, it retains Institutional Shareholder Services (“ISS”) to provide various services related to proxy voting, such as research, analysis, voting services, proxy vote tracking, recordkeeping, and reporting. In addition, Mellon also retains Glass Lewis for research services only.

Mellon seeks to avoid potential material conflicts of interest through its participation on The Bank of New York Mellon Corporation’s (“BNY Mellon”) Proxy Voting and Governance Committee (“Committee”). As such, Mellon has adopted and implemented BNY Mellon’s Proxy Voting Policy and proxy voting guidelines. The guidelines are applied to all client accounts for which Mellon has been delegated the authority to vote in a consistent manner and without consideration of any client relationship factors.

Under this policy, the Committee permits member firms (such as Mellon) to consider specific interests and issues and cast votes differently from the collective vote of the Committee where the member firm determines that a different vote is in the best interests of the affected account(s).

Mellon will furnish a copy of its Proxy Voting Policy and its proxy voting guidelines upon request to each advisory client that has delegated voting authority.

Voting BNY Mellon Stock. It is the policy of Mellon not to vote or make recommendations on how to vote shares of BNY Mellon stock, even where Mellon has the legal power to do so under the relevant governing instrument. In order to avoid any appearance of conflict relating to voting BNY Mellon stock, Mellon has contracted with an independent fiduciary (ISS) to direct all voting of BNY Mellon Stock held by any Mellon accounts on any matter in which shareholders of BNY Mellon Stock are required or permitted to vote.

Proxy Voting Disclosure. Clients who have delegated proxy voting authority to Mellon may obtain the proxy voting records for their account upon written or verbal request.

Oversight Activities. Mellon performs periodic oversight of the operational and voting processes implemented on behalf of clients to ensure that proxy ballots are voted in accordance with established guidelines. These activities may include, but are not limited to, monthly account reconciliation between the voting agent and Mellon records and forensic testing of the application of vote instruction in relation to policy vote recommendations at the ballot level. These efforts are completed as a component of Mellon’s Rule 206(4)-7 compliance program.

A complete copy of the Sub-Adviser’s proxy voting policy may be obtained by calling 1-866-909-9473 or by writing to: WisdomTree Trust, c/o Foreside Fund Services, LLC, Three Canal Plaza, Suite 100, Portland, Maine 04101.

The Trust is required to disclose annually the Funds’ complete proxy voting record on Form N-PX covering the period from July 1 of one year through June 30 of the next year and to file Form N-PX with the SEC no later than August 31 of each year. The current Form N-PX for the Funds may be obtained at no charge upon request by calling 1-866-909-9473 or by visiting the SEC’s website at www.sec.gov.

 

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PORTFOLIO HOLDINGS DISCLOSURE POLICIES AND PROCEDURES

The Trust has adopted a Portfolio Holdings Policy (the “Policy”) designed to govern the disclosure of Fund portfolio holdings and the use of material non-public information about Fund holdings. The Policy applies to all officers, employees, and agents of the Funds, including the Advisers. The Policy is designed to ensure that the disclosure of information about each Fund’s portfolio holdings is consistent with applicable legal requirements and otherwise in the best interest of each Fund.

As ETFs, information about each Fund’s portfolio holdings is made available each Business Day in accordance with the provisions of any Order of the SEC applicable to the Funds, regulations of a Fund’s Listing Exchange and other applicable SEC regulations, orders and no-action relief. A “Business Day” with respect to each Fund is any day on which its respective Listing Exchange is open for business. As of the date of this SAI, each Listing Exchange observes 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. This information is used in connection with the creation and redemption process and is disseminated on a daily basis through the facilities of the Listing Exchange, the National Securities Clearing Corporation (“NSCC”) and/or third-party service providers.

Daily access to each Fund’s portfolio holdings with no lag time is permitted to personnel of the Advisers, the Distributor and the Fund’s administrator (the “Administrator”), custodian and accountant and other agents or service providers of the Trust who have need of such information in connection with the ordinary course of their respective duties to the Fund. The Funds’ Chief Compliance Officer (“CCO”) may authorize disclosure of portfolio holdings.

Each Fund may disclose its complete portfolio holdings or a portion of its portfolio holdings online at www.wisdomtree.com. Online disclosure of such holdings is publicly available at no charge.

Each Fund will disclose its complete portfolio holdings schedule in public filings with the SEC on a quarterly basis, based on the Fund’s fiscal year, within sixty (60) days of the end of the quarter, and will provide that information to shareholders, as required by federal securities laws and regulations thereunder.

No person is authorized to disclose a Fund’s portfolio holdings or other investment positions except in accordance with the Policy. The Board reviews the implementation of the Policy on a periodic basis.

WISDOMTREE INDEX DESCRIPTION

All Index Funds

A description of each WisdomTree Index on which a Fund’s investment strategy is based is provided in the relevant Fund’s Prospectus under “Principal Investment Strategies of the Fund.” Additional information about each Index, including the components and weightings of the Indexes, as well as Index Methodology, which contains the rules that govern inclusion and weighting in each of the Indexes, is available at www.wisdomtree.com under “WisdomTree Resources” in the Resource Library.

Component Selection Criteria.

WisdomTree U.S. Dividend Indexes: Each WisdomTree U.S. Dividend Index is derived from the WisdomTree U.S. Dividend Index. Common stocks, REITs (except mortgage REITs), tracking stocks, and holding companies are eligible for inclusion in each WisdomTree U.S. Dividend Index. ADRs, GDRs and EDRs, limited partnerships, limited liability companies, royalty trusts, business development companies (“BDCs”) preferred stocks, closed-end funds, ETFs, and derivative securities, such as warrants and rights, are not eligible.

WisdomTree Core Equity Indexes: Each WisdomTree Core Equity Index is derived from the WisdomTree U.S. Total Market Index. Common stocks, REITs (except mortgage REITs), tracking stocks, and holding companies are eligible for inclusion in each WisdomTree Core Equity Index. REITs, ADRs, GDRs and EDRs are excluded, as are limited partnerships, limited liability companies, royalty trusts, BDCs, preferred stocks, closed-end funds and ETFs. Derivative securities, such as warrants and rights, are not eligible.

WisdomTree Developed International Dividend Indexes: Each WisdomTree Developed International Dividend Index is derived from the WisdomTree International Equity Index.

Common stocks, REITs (except mortgage REITs), tracking stocks, and holding companies are eligible for inclusion in each WisdomTree Developed International Dividend Index. ADRs, GDRs and EDRs, limited partnerships, limited liability companies, passive foreign investment companies, royalty trusts, preferred stocks, closed-end funds, ETFs, and derivative securities, such as warrants and rights, are not eligible.

WisdomTree Emerging Markets Dividend Indexes: Each WisdomTree Emerging Markets Dividend Index is derived from the WisdomTree Emerging Markets Index. Specific country restrictions include: (i) with respect to China, only companies incorporated in China and that trade on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange are eligible for inclusion; (ii) in India, only securities whose foreign ownership restrictions have yet to be breached are eligible for inclusion within the Index; and (iii) Russia: ADRs or GDRs are used. ADRs and GDRs are not used for companies within any other countries. Passive foreign investment companies, limited partnerships, limited liability companies, royalty trusts, preferred stock, rights, and other derivative securities are all excluded.

 

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WisdomTree Global Dividend Indexes: Each WisdomTree Global Dividend Index is derived from the following WisdomTree indexes: WisdomTree Dividend Index, WisdomTree Developed International Dividend Index and WisdomTree Emerging Markets Dividend Index. Eligible and ineligible investments for each of these WisdomTree Indexes are set forth above.

Annual Index Screening/Rebalance Dates. The WisdomTree Indexes are “rebalanced” or “reconstituted” on an annual basis. Except as otherwise indicated by the Index provider, new securities are added to the Indexes only during the annual rebalance. The annual screening date of the U.S. Dividend and Core Equity Indexes takes place in November of each year. The annual screening date of the International Indexes (except for those holding emerging markets securities) takes place in May of each year. The annual screening date of the India Earnings Fund takes place in August of each year. The annual screening date of the International Indexes holding emerging market securities takes place in September of each year. The Indexes are rebalanced in the month following the screening date.

During the annual screening date, securities are screened to determine whether they comply with WisdomTree’s proprietary Index methodology and are eligible to be included in an Index. This date is sometimes referred to as the “Index measurement date” or the “Screening Point.” Based on this screening, securities that meet Index requirements are added to the applicable Index, and securities that do not meet such requirements are dropped from the applicable Index. An Index methodology may indicate that a certain number of constituents may be eligible for inclusion in the Index based on specific eligibility criteria (e.g., the Index will include the top 100 companies by market capitalization that meet specific eligibility criteria). There may be fewer constituents in the Index than the threshold number noted due to fewer companies meeting the specific eligibility criteria.

The approximate number of components of each Index is disclosed herein as of [June 30, 2019].

 

Name of WisdomTree Index

   Approximate Number of
Components
 

WisdomTree U.S. Total Dividend Index

     1,444  

WisdomTree U.S. LargeCap Dividend Index

     300  

WisdomTree U.S. MidCap Dividend Index

     399  

WisdomTree U.S. SmallCap Dividend Index

     740  

WisdomTree U.S. High Dividend Index

     436  

WisdomTree U.S. Dividend ex-Financials Index

     90  

WisdomTree U.S. Quality Dividend Growth Index

     299  

WisdomTree U.S. SmallCap Quality Dividend Growth Index

     265  

WisdomTree U.S. LargeCap Index

     502  

WisdomTree U.S. MidCap Index

     579  

WisdomTree U.S. SmallCap Index

     871  

WisdomTree U.S. Multifactor Index

     197  

WisdomTree International Equity Index

     2,750  

WisdomTree International High Dividend Index

     810  

WisdomTree International LargeCap Dividend Index

     300  

WisdomTree International MidCap Dividend Index

     771  

WisdomTree International SmallCap Dividend Index

     1,677  

WisdomTree International Dividend ex-Financials Index

     90  

WisdomTree International Quality Dividend Growth Index

     300  

WisdomTree Europe Quality Dividend Growth Index

     300  

WisdomTree Europe SmallCap Dividend Index

     507  

WisdomTree Japan SmallCap Dividend Index

     887  

WisdomTree Japan Hedged Equity Index

     520  

WisdomTree Japan Hedged SmallCap Equity Index

     887  

WisdomTree International Hedged Quality Dividend Growth Index

     300  

WisdomTree Europe Hedged Equity Index

     138  

WisdomTree Europe Hedged SmallCap Equity Index

     315  

WisdomTree Germany Hedged Equity Index

     83  

WisdomTree Global High Dividend Index

     929  

WisdomTree Global ex-U.S. Quality Dividend Growth Index

     297  

WisdomTree Global ex-U.S. Real Estate Index

     250  

WisdomTree Asia Pacific ex-Japan Index

     296  

WisdomTree Emerging Markets High Dividend Index

     583  

 

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Name of WisdomTree Index

   Approximate Number of
Components
 

WisdomTree Emerging Markets SmallCap Dividend Index

     990  

WisdomTree Emerging Markets ex-State-Owned Enterprises Index

     644  

WisdomTree India Earnings Index

     420  

WisdomTree Middle East Dividend Index

     90  

WisdomTree China ex-State-Owned Enterprises Index

     142  

Applying the Calculated Volume Factor Adjustment. After applying the initial Index eligibility criteria screens and weighting scheme, each Index component’s “calculated volume factor” is determined. The calculated volume factor is the security’s average daily dollar trading volume for the three months preceding the Index screening date divided by the security’s weight in the Index. If a component security’s calculated volume factor is:

 

(i)

at least $400 million, the security is included in the Index and its weight in the Index is not reduced.

 

(ii)

less than $200 million and the security was not in the Index immediately prior to the Index screening date, the security is deleted from the Index and its weight is allocated pro rata among the remaining component securities. For example, if a security’s weight in the Index is 2%, but its calculated volume factor is only $100 million, the security is deleted from the Index. Accordingly, 2% of the Index’s weight would be reallocated among the other Index components on a pro rata basis.

 

(iii)

less than $200 million and the security was in the Index immediately prior to the Index screening date, the security’s weight in the Index will be reduced in the manner described in (iv) below.

 

(iv)

$200 million or more, but less than $400 million, the security’s weight in the Index will be reduced. The component security’s reduced weight is calculated by dividing its calculated volume factor by $400 million and multiplying this fraction by the company’s weight. For example, if a security’s weight in the Index is 2%, but its calculated volume factor is only $300 million, the security’s weight in the Index is reduced to 1.5% (i.e., the outcome of dividing $300 million by $400 million and multiplying by 2%). The reduction in weight is reallocated pro rata among the other component securities in the Index. Accordingly, 0.5% of the Index’s weight would be reallocated among the other Index components on a pro rata basis.

In response to market conditions and volume factor adjustments, security, country, and sector weights may fluctuate above or below a specified cap between annual Index screening dates.

Index Maintenance. Index maintenance occurs throughout the year and includes monitoring and implementing the adjustments for company additions and deletions, stock splits, stock dividends, spin-offs, corporate restructurings and other corporate actions. Corporate actions are generally implemented after the close of trading on the day prior to the ex-date of such corporate actions. To the extent reasonably practicable, such changes will be announced at least two days prior to their implementation.

For each Index, except the WisdomTree China ex-State-Owned Enterprises Index, should any company achieve a weighting equal to or greater than 24% of the Index, its weighting will be reduced at the close of the current calendar quarter, and other components in the Index will be rebalanced. Should any company achieve a weighting equal to or greater than 20% of the WisdomTree China ex-State-Owned Enterprises Index, its weighting will be reduced at the close of the current calendar quarter to the initial 10% cap, and other components in the Index will be rebalanced. Moreover, for each Index, should the collective weight of Index component securities whose individual current weights equal or exceed 5% of an Index, when added together, exceed 50% of such Index, the weightings in those component securities will be reduced so that their collective weight equals 40% of the Index as of the close of the current calendar quarter, and other components in the Index will be rebalanced.

Index Availability: Although U.S. and European (e.g., Europe and Germany) WisdomTree Indexes are calculated and disseminated throughout each day the Listing Exchange is open for trading, all Global, International, Emerging Markets, Asia Pacific and Middle East Funds’ Indexes are calculated only on an end-of-day basis due to differences in time zone and the fact that these markets are not open during the Listing Exchanges’ market hours.

Changes to the Index Methodology. The WisdomTree Indexes are governed by published, rules-based methodologies. Changes to a methodology will be publicly disclosed at www.wisdomtree.com/etfs/index-notices.aspx prior to implementation. Sixty days’ notice will be given prior to the implementation of any such change.

Index Calculation Agent. In order to minimize any potential for conflicts caused by the fact that WisdomTree Investments and its affiliates act as Index provider and investment adviser to the Funds, WisdomTree Investments has retained an unaffiliated third party to calculate each Index (the “Calculation Agent”). The Calculation Agent, using the applicable rules-based methodology, will calculate and disseminate the Indexes on a daily basis. WisdomTree Investments will monitor the results produced by the Calculation Agent to help ensure that the Indexes are being calculated in accordance with the applicable rules-based methodology. In addition, WisdomTree Investments and WisdomTree Asset Management have established policies and procedures designed to prevent non-public information about pending changes to the Indexes from being used or disseminated in an improper manner. Furthermore, WisdomTree Investments and WisdomTree Asset Management have established policies and procedures designed to prevent improper use and dissemination of non-public information about the Funds’ portfolio strategies.

 

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INVESTMENT LIMITATIONS

The following fundamental investment policies and limitations supplement those set forth in each Fund’s Prospectus. Unless otherwise noted, whenever a fundamental investment policy or limitation states a maximum percentage of a Fund’s assets that may be invested in any security or other asset, or sets forth a policy regarding quality standards, such standard or percentage limitation will be determined immediately after and as a result of the Fund’s acquisition of such security or other asset. Accordingly, other than with respect to a Fund’s limitations on borrowings, any subsequent change in values, net assets, or other circumstances will not be considered when determining whether the investment complies with a Fund’s investment policies and limitations.

Each Fund’s fundamental investment policies cannot be changed without the approval of the holders of a majority of that Fund’s outstanding voting securities as defined under the 1940 Act. Each Fund, however, may change the non-fundamental investment policies described below, its investment objective, and its underlying Index without a shareholder vote provided that it obtains Board approval and notifies its shareholders with at least sixty (60) days’ prior written notice of any such change.

Fundamental Policies. The following investment policies and limitations are fundamental and may NOT be changed without shareholder approval.

Each Fund, as a fundamental investment policy, may not:

Senior Securities

Issue senior securities, except as permitted under the 1940 Act.

Borrowing

Borrow money, except as permitted under the 1940 Act.

Underwriting

Act as an underwriter of another issuer’s securities, except to the extent that each Fund may be considered an underwriter within the meaning of the Securities Act in the disposition of portfolio securities.

Concentration

All Index Funds and U.S. ESG Fund. Purchase the securities of any issuer (other than securities issued or guaranteed by the U.S. Government or any of its agencies or instrumentalities) if, as a result, more than 25% of the Fund’s total assets would be invested in the securities of companies whose principal business activities are in the same industry, except that each Fund will invest more than 25% of its total assets in securities of the same industry to approximately the same extent that each Fund’s underlying Index (as applicable) concentrates in the securities of a particular industry or group of industries.

Active Funds (except U.S. ESG Fund). Purchase the securities of any issuer (other than securities issued or guaranteed by the U.S. Government, or any non-U.S. government, or their respective agencies or instrumentalities) if, as a result, more than 25% of the Fund’s total assets would be invested in the securities of companies whose principal business activities are in the same industry.

Real Estate

Purchase or sell real estate unless acquired as a result of ownership of securities or other instruments (but this shall not prevent the Fund from investing in securities or other instruments backed by real estate, real estate investment trusts or securities of companies engaged in the real estate business).

Commodities

Purchase or sell physical commodities unless acquired as a result of ownership of securities or other instruments (but this shall not prevent each Fund from purchasing or selling options and futures contracts or from investing in securities or other instruments backed by physical commodities).

Loans

Lend any security or make any other loan except as permitted under the 1940 Act.

This means that no more than 33 1/3% of the Fund’s total assets would be lent to other parties. This limitation does not apply to purchases of debt securities or to repurchase agreements, or to acquisitions of loans, loan participations or other forms of debt instruments, permissible under each Fund’s investment policies.

Non-Fundamental Policies. The following investment policies are not fundamental and may be changed without shareholder approval. Prior to any change in a Fund’s 80% policy, the Fund will provide shareholders with 60 days’ notice.

Each applicable Fund has adopted a non-fundamental investment policy in accordance with Rule 35d-1 under the 1940 Act to invest, under normal circumstances, at least 80% of the value of its net assets, plus the amount of any borrowings for investment purposes, in the types of securities suggested by the Fund’s name, including investments that are tied economically to the particular country or geographic region suggested by the Fund’s name.

The U.S. Quality Shareholder Yield Fund has adopted a non-fundamental investment policy in accordance with Rule 35d-1 under the 1940 Act to invest, under normal circumstances, at least 80% of the value of its net assets, plus the amount of any borrowings for investment purposes, in securities of companies domiciled in the U.S. or listed on a U.S. exchange.

 

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The Emerging Markets Consumer Growth Fund has adopted a non-fundamental investment policy in accordance with Rule 35d-1 under the 1940 Act to invest, under normal circumstances, at least 80% of the value of its net assets, plus the amount of any borrowings for investment purposes, in securities of companies in the consumer and consumer-related sectors. Generally, companies in the consumer and consumer-related sectors are companies principally engaged in the manufacture, sale or distribution of goods and services to consumers.

The Emerging Markets Quality Dividend Growth Fund has adopted a non-fundamental investment policy in accordance with Rule 35d-1 under the 1940 Act to invest, under normal circumstances, at least 80% of the value of its net assets, plus the amount of any borrowings for investment purposes, in equity securities of dividend-paying companies (i.e., companies that paid a dividend within the last year).

All Funds. Each Fund’s investment in derivatives will be included in its net assets when determining whether the Fund satisfies the 80% test described above and the Fund values those derivatives at market value.

Various factors may be considered in determining whether an investment is tied economically to a particular country or region, including one or more of the following: whether the investment is issued or guaranteed by a particular government or any of its agencies, political subdivisions, or instrumentalities; whether the investment has its primary trading market in a particular country or region; whether the issuer is organized under the laws of, derives at least 50% of its revenues from, or has at least 50% of its assets in a particular country or region; whether the investment is included in an index representative of a particular country or region; and whether the investment is exposed to the economic fortunes and risks of a particular country or region.

If, subsequent to an investment, the 80% requirement is no longer met, such Fund’s future investments will be made in a manner that will bring the Fund into compliance with this policy.

CONTINUOUS OFFERING

The method by which Creation Unit Aggregations of shares are created and traded may raise certain issues under applicable securities laws. Because new Creation Unit Aggregations of shares are issued and sold by the Funds on an ongoing basis, at any point a “distribution,” as such term is used in the Securities Act, may occur. 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 requirement 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 Unit Aggregations 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-dealer firms should also note that dealers who are not “underwriters” but are effecting transactions in shares, whether or not participating in the distribution of shares, generally are required to deliver a prospectus. 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. Firms that incur a prospectus delivery obligation with respect to shares of the Funds are reminded that, pursuant to Rule 153 under the Securities Act, a prospectus delivery obligation under Section 5(b)(2) of the Securities Act owed to an exchange member in connection with the sale on the Listing Exchange is satisfied by the fact that the prospectus is available at the Listing Exchange upon request. The prospectus delivery mechanism provided in Rule 153 is only available with respect to transactions on an exchange.

WisdomTree Investments or its affiliates (the “Selling Shareholder”) may purchase Creation Unit Aggregations through a broker-dealer to “seed” Funds as they are launched or thereafter, may purchase shares from other broker-dealers that have previously provided “seed” for Funds when they were launched or otherwise in secondary market transactions, and because the Selling Shareholder may be deemed an affiliate of such Funds, the shares are being registered to permit the resale of these shares from time to time after purchase. The Funds will not receive any of the proceeds from the resale by the Selling Shareholders of these shares.

The Selling Shareholder intends to sell all or a portion of the shares owned by it and offered hereby from time to time directly or through one or more broker-dealers, and may also hedge such positions. The shares may be sold on any national securities exchange on which the shares may be listed or quoted at the time of sale, in the over-the-counter market or in transactions other than on these exchanges or systems at fixed prices, at prevailing market prices at the time of the sale, at varying prices determined at the time of sale, or at negotiated prices. These sales may be effected in transactions, which may involve crosses or block transactions. The Selling Shareholder may use any one or more of the following methods when selling shares:

 

   

ordinary brokerage transactions through brokers or dealers (who may act as agents or principals) or directly to one or more purchasers;

 

   

privately negotiated transactions;

 

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through the writing or settlement of options or other hedging transactions, whether such options are listed on an options exchange or otherwise; and

 

   

any other method permitted pursuant to applicable law.

The Selling Shareholder may also loan or pledge shares to broker-dealers that in turn may sell such shares, to the extent permitted by applicable law. The Selling Shareholder may also enter into options or other transactions with broker-dealers or other financial institutions or the creation of one or more derivative securities which require the delivery to such broker-dealer or other financial institution of shares, which shares such broker-dealer or other financial institution may resell.

The Selling Shareholder and any broker-dealer or agents participating in the distribution of shares may be deemed to be “underwriters” within the meaning of Section 2(11) of the Securities Act in connection with such sales. In such event, any commissions paid to any such broker-dealer or agent and any profit on the resale of the shares purchased by them may be deemed to be underwriting commissions or discounts under the Securities Act. The Selling Shareholder who may be deemed an “underwriter” within the meaning of Section 2(11) of the Securities Act will be subject to the applicable prospectus delivery requirements of the Securities Act.

The Selling Shareholder has informed the Fund that it is not a registered broker-dealer and does not have any written or oral agreement or understanding, directly or indirectly, with any person to distribute the shares. Upon the Fund being notified in writing by the Selling Shareholder that any material arrangement has been entered into with a broker-dealer for the sale of shares through a block trade, special offering, exchange distribution or secondary distribution or a purchase by a broker or dealer, a supplement to this SAI will be filed, if required, pursuant to Rule 497 under the Securities Act, disclosing (i) the name of each Selling Shareholder and of the participating broker-dealer(s), (ii) the number of shares involved, (iii) the price at which such shares were sold, (iv) the commissions paid or discounts or concessions allowed to such broker-dealer(s), where applicable, (v) that such broker-dealer(s) did not conduct any investigation to verify the information set out or incorporated by reference in the Fund’s Prospectus and SAI, and (vi) other facts material to the transaction.

The Selling Shareholder and any other person participating in such distribution will be subject to applicable provisions of the Exchange Act and the rules and regulations thereunder, including, without limitation, to the extent applicable, Regulation M of the Exchange Act, which may limit the timing of purchases and sales of any of the shares by the Selling Shareholder and any other participating person. To the extent applicable, Regulation M may also restrict the ability of any person engaged in the distribution of the shares to engage in market-making activities with respect to the shares. All of the foregoing may affect the marketability of the shares and the ability of any person or entity to engage in market-making activities with respect to the shares. There is a risk that the Selling Shareholder may redeem its investments in the Fund or otherwise sell its shares to a third party that may redeem. As with redemptions by other large shareholders, such redemptions could have a significant negative impact on the Fund and its shares.

MANAGEMENT OF THE TRUST

Board Responsibilities. The Board is responsible for overseeing the management and affairs of the Funds and the Trust. The Board has considered and approved contracts, as described herein, under which certain companies provide essential management and administrative services to the Trust. Like most ETFs, the day-to-day business of the Trust, including the day-to-day management of risk, is performed by third-party service providers, such as the Advisers, Distributor and Administrator. The Board is responsible for overseeing the Trust’s service providers and, thus, has oversight responsibility with respect to the risk management performed by those service providers. Risk management seeks to identify and eliminate or mitigate the potential effects of 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 or the Funds. Under the overall supervision of the Board and the Audit Committee (discussed in more detail below), the service providers to the Funds employ a variety of processes, procedures and controls to identify risks relevant to the operations of the Trust and the Funds to lessen the probability of their occurrence and/or to mitigate the effects of such events or circumstances if they do occur. Each service provider is responsible for one or more discrete aspects of the Trust’s business (e.g., the Advisers are responsible for the day-to-day management of the Funds’ portfolio investments) and, consequently, for managing the risks associated with that activity.

The Board’s role in risk management oversight begins before the inception of a Fund, at which time the Fund’s Adviser presents the Board with information concerning the investment objectives, strategies and risks of the Fund. Additionally, the Fund’s Adviser and Sub-Adviser provide the Board periodically with an overview of, among other things, its investment philosophy, brokerage practices and compliance infrastructure. Thereafter, the Board oversees the risk management of the Fund’s operations, in part, by requesting periodic reports from and otherwise communicating with various personnel of the Fund and its service providers, including the Trust’s CCO and the Fund’s independent accountants. The Board and, with respect to identified risks that relate to its scope of expertise, the Audit Committee, oversee efforts by management and service providers to manage risks to which the Fund may be exposed.

The Board is responsible for overseeing the nature, extent and quality of the services provided to the Funds by the Adviser and receives information about those services at its regular meetings. In addition, on at least an annual basis, in connection with its consideration of whether to renew any Advisory Agreements and Sub-Advisory Agreements with the Adviser and Sub-Adviser, respectively, the Board meets with the Adviser and Sub-Adviser to review such services. Among other things, the Board regularly considers the Adviser’s and Sub-Adviser’s adherence to each Fund’s investment restrictions and compliance with various Fund policies and procedures and with applicable securities regulations. The Board also reviews information about each Fund’s performance and investments.

 

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The Trust’s CCO meets regularly with the Board to review and discuss compliance and other issues. At least annually, the Trust’s CCO provides the Board with a report reviewing the adequacy and effectiveness of the Trust’s policies and procedures and those of its service providers, including the Adviser and Sub-Adviser. The report addresses the operation of the policies and procedures of the Trust and each service provider since the date of the last report; material changes to the policies and procedures since the date of the last report; any recommendations for material changes to the policies and procedures; and material compliance matters since the date of the last report.

The Board receives reports from the Trust’s service providers regarding operational risks, portfolio valuation and other matters. Annually, an independent registered public accounting firm reviews with the Audit Committee its audit of the Funds’ financial statements, focusing on major areas of risk encountered by the Fund and noting any significant deficiencies or material weaknesses in the Funds’ internal controls.

The Board recognizes that not all risks that may affect a Fund can be identified, that it may not be practical or cost-effective to eliminate or mitigate certain risks, that it may be necessary to bear certain risks (such as investment-related risks) to achieve the Fund’s goals, and that the processes, procedures and controls employed to address certain risks may be limited in their effectiveness. Moreover, despite the periodic reports the Board receives and the Board’s discussions with the service providers to a Fund, it may not be made aware of all of the relevant information related to a particular risk. Most of the Trust’s investment management and business affairs are carried out by or through the Funds’ Adviser, Sub-Adviser and other service providers, each of which has an independent interest in risk management but whose policies and methods by which one or more risk management functions are carried out may differ from the Trust’s and each other’s in the setting of priorities, the resources available or the effectiveness of relevant controls. As a result of the foregoing and other factors, the Board’s risk management oversight is subject to substantial limitations.

Members of the Board and Officers of the Trust. Set forth below are the names, birth years, positions with the Trust, term of office, number of portfolios overseen, and principal occupations and other directorships held during the last five years of each of the persons currently serving as members of the Board and as Executive Officers of the Trust. Also included below is the term of office for each of the Executive Officers of the Trust. The members of the Board serve as Trustees for the life of the Trust or until retirement, removal, or their office is terminated pursuant to the Trust’s Declaration of Trust. The address of each Trustee and Officer is c/o WisdomTree Asset Management, Inc., 245 Park Avenue, 35th Floor, New York, New York 10167.

The Chairman of the Board, Victor Ugolyn, is not an interested person of the Funds as that term is defined in the 1940 Act. The Board is composed of a super-majority (83.3%) of Trustees who are not interested persons of the Funds (i.e., “Independent Trustees”). There is an Audit Committee, Governance, Nominating and Compliance Committee, Contracts Review Committee, and Investment Committee of the Board, each of which is chaired by an Independent Trustee and comprised solely of Independent Trustees. The Committee chair for each is responsible for running the Committee meetings, formulating agendas for those meetings, and coordinating with management to serve as a liaison between the Committee members and management on matters within the scope of the responsibilities of the Committee as set forth in its Board-approved charter. The Funds have determined that this leadership structure is appropriate given the specific characteristics and circumstances of the Funds. The Funds made this determination in consideration of, among other things, the fact that the Independent Trustees of the Funds constitute a super-majority of the Board, the assets under management of the Funds, the number of Funds overseen by the Board, the total number of Trustees on the Board, and the fact that an Independent Trustee serves as Chairman of the Board.

 

Name and Year of
Birth of Trustee/Officer

  

Position(s) Held with

the Trust, Term of

Office and Length of

Time Served

  

Principal Occupation(s)
During Past 5 Years

   Number of
Portfolios in
Fund Complex
Overseen by
Trustee/
Officer+
 

Other
Directorships

Held by Trustee

During Past 5 Years

Trustees Who Are Interested Persons of the Trust
Jonathan Steinberg
(1964)
   Trustee,
2005 – present; President, 2005-present
   Chief Executive Officer, WisdomTree Investments, Inc. and WisdomTree Asset Management since 2005; President, WisdomTree Investments, Inc. and WisdomTree Asset Management from 2012 to 2019.    [81]   Director, WisdomTree Investments, Inc. and WisdomTree Asset Management.

 

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Table of Contents

Name and Year of
Birth of Trustee/Officer

  

Position(s) Held with

the Trust, Term of

Office and Length of

Time Served

  

Principal Occupation(s)
During Past 5 Years

   Number of
Portfolios in
Fund Complex
Overseen by
Trustee/
Officer+
 

Other
Directorships

Held by Trustee

During Past 5 Years

Trustees Who Are Not Interested Persons of the Trust
David G. Chrencik*
(1948)
   Trustee, 2014-present    Chief Financial Officer of Sarus Indochina Select LP (hedge fund) since 2012; Chief Financial Officer of GeoGreen BioFuels, Inc. (biodiesel fuel producer) from 2010 to 2014; Audit Partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (public accounting firm) from 1972 to 2009 (includes positions prior to becoming Audit Partner and predecessor firms).    [81]   Trustee, Vericimetry Funds (2011 to 2014).
Joel Goldberg**, ***
(1945)
   Trustee, 2012-present    Attorney, Partner at Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP from 2010 to 2018; Attorney, Partner at Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP from 2006 to 2010.    [81]   Director, Better Business Bureau (Metropolitan New York, Long Island and the Mid-Hudson Region).
Toni Massaro***
(1955)
   Trustee, 2006-present    Dean Emerita at the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law (“Rogers College of Law”) since 2009 (distinguished Emerita in July 2009); Dean of the Rogers College of Law from 1999 to 2009; Regents’ Professor since 2006; Milton O. Riepe Chair in Constitutional Law since 1997; Professor at the Rogers College of Law since 1990.    [81]   None

Melinda A. Raso Kirstein****

(1955)

   Trustee, 2014-present    Retired since 2004, Merrill Lynch Investment Management, Vice President; Senior Portfolio Manager, Fixed Income Management; Director, Tax Exempt Fund Management.    [81]   Associate Alumnae of Douglass College, Chair of Investment Committee.
Victor Ugolyn
(1947)
   Trustee, 2006-present; Chairman of the Board, 2006-present    Private Investor, from 2005 to present; President and Chief Executive Officer of William D. Witter, Inc. from 2005 to 2006; Consultant to AXA Enterprise in 2004; Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Enterprise Capital Management (subsidiary of The MONY Group, Inc.) and Enterprise Group of Funds, Chairman of MONY Securities Corporation, and Chairman of the Fund Board of Enterprise Group of Funds from 1991 to 2004.    [81]   Member of the Board of Governors of Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame (2001-2016).

 

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Table of Contents

Name and Year of
Birth of Trustee/Officer

  

Position(s) Held with

the Trust, Term of

Office and Length of

Time Served

  

Principal Occupation(s)
During Past 5 Years

   Number of
Portfolios in
Fund Complex
Overseen by
Trustee/
Officer+
 

Other
Directorships

Held by Trustee

During Past 5 Years

Officers of the Trust

Jonathan Steinberg*****

(1964)

   President, 2005- present; Trustee, 2005-present    Chief Executive Officer, WisdomTree Investments, Inc. and WisdomTree Asset Management since 2005; President, WisdomTree Investments, Inc. and WisdomTree Asset Management from 2012 to 2019.    [81]  

David Castano*****

(1971)

   Treasurer, 2013-present    Director of Fund Accounting & Administration, WisdomTree Asset Management, since 2011.    [81]  

Terry Jane Feld*****

(1960)

   Chief Compliance Officer, 2012-present    Chief Compliance Officer WisdomTree Asset Management since 2012; Senior Compliance Officer, WisdomTree Asset Management since 2011.    [81]  

Ryan Louvar*****

(1972)

   Secretary and Chief Legal Officer, 2013-present    General Counsel, WisdomTree Asset Management since 2013; Vice President and Senior Managing Counsel, State Street, 2005 to 2013.    [81]  

Joanne Antico*****

(1975)

   Assistant Secretary, 2018-present    Assistant General Counsel, WisdomTree Asset Management since 2016; Executive Director and Assistant Secretary, Morgan Stanley Investment Management Inc., 2005 to 2016.    [81]  

Clint Martin*****

(1977)

   Assistant Treasurer, 2015-present    Fund Manager, Fund Accounting & Administration, WisdomTree Asset Management, since 2012.    [81]  

 

*

Chair of the Audit Committee.

**

Chair of the Contracts Review Committee.

***

Co-Chair of the Governance, Nominating and Compliance Committee.

****

Chair of the Investment Committee.

*****

Elected by and serves at the pleasure of the Board.

+

As of the date of this SAI.

Audit Committee. Ms. Raso Kirstein and Messrs. Chrencik and Ugolyn, each an Independent Trustee, are members of the Board’s Audit Committee. The principal responsibilities of the Audit Committee are the appointment, compensation and oversight of the Trust’s independent registered public accounting firm, including the resolution of disagreements regarding financial reporting between Trust management and such independent registered public accounting firm. The Audit Committee’s responsibilities include, without limitation, to (i) oversee the accounting and financial reporting processes of the Trust and to receive reports regarding the Trust’s internal control over financial reporting; (ii) oversee the quality and integrity of the Funds’ financial statements and the independent audits thereof; (iii) oversee, or, as appropriate, assist Board oversight of, the Trust’s compliance with legal and regulatory requirements that relate to the Trust’s accounting and financial reporting, and independent audits; (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 auditors and the full Board. The Independent Trustees’ independent legal counsel assists the Audit Committee in connection with these duties. The Board has adopted a written charter for the Audit Committee. During the fiscal year ended March 31, 2019, the Audit Committee held seven meetings.

Governance, Nominating and Compliance Committee. Ms. Massaro and Messrs. Goldberg and Ugolyn, each an Independent Trustee, are members of the Board’s Governance, Nominating and Compliance Committee. The principal responsibilities of the

 

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Governance, Nominating and Compliance Committee are to (i) provide assistance to the Board in fulfilling its responsibility with respect to the oversight of appropriate and effective governance of the Trust; (ii) identify individuals qualified to serve as Independent Trustees of the Trust and to recommend its nominees for consideration by the full Board; and (iii) provide assistance to the Board in fulfilling its responsibility with respect to overseeing the CCO and overseeing compliance matters involving the Funds and their service providers as reported to the Board. While the Governance, Nominating and Compliance Committee is solely responsible for the selection and nomination of the Trust’s Independent Trustees, the Governance, Nominating and Compliance Committee may consider nominations for the office of Trustee made by Trust shareholders as it deems appropriate. The Governance, Nominating and Compliance Committee considers nominees recommended by shareholders if such nominees are submitted in accordance with Rule 14a-8 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the “1934 Act”), in conjunction with a shareholder meeting to consider the election of Trustees. Trust shareholders who wish to recommend a nominee should send nominations to the Secretary of the Trust that include biographical information and set forth the qualifications of the proposed nominee. The Board has adopted a written charter for the Governance, Nominating and Compliance Committee. During the fiscal year ended March 31, 2019, the Governance, Nominating and Compliance Committee held six meetings.

Contracts Review Committee. Ms. Massaro and Messrs. Goldberg and Ugolyn, each an Independent Trustee, are members of the Board’s Contracts Review Committee. The principal responsibilities of the Contracts Review Committee are to provide assistance to the Board in fulfilling its responsibilities under Section 15 of the 1940 Act, and other applicable Sections, rules and interpretative guidance related thereto, with respect to reviewing the performance of, and reasonableness of fees paid to, the Adviser, Sub-Advisers, and core service providers for each series of the Trust, and to make recommendations to the Board regarding the contractual arrangements for such services. On March 12, 2014, the Board created the Contracts Review Committee. The Board has adopted a written charter for the Contracts Review Committee. During the fiscal year ended March 31, 2019, the Contracts Review Committee held five meetings.

Investment Committee. Ms. Raso Kirstein and Messrs. Goldberg and Ugolyn, each an Independent Trustee, are members of the Board’s Investment Committee. The principal responsibilities of the Investment Committee are to support, oversee and organize on behalf of the Board the process for overseeing Fund performance and related matters (it being the intention of the Board that the ultimate oversight of Fund performance shall remain with the full Board), address such other matters that the Board shall determine and provide recommendations to the Board as needed in respect of the foregoing matters. On December 11, 2015, the Board created the Investment Committee. The Board has adopted a written charter for the Investment Committee. During the fiscal year ended March 31, 2019, the Investment Committee held eight meetings.

Individual Trustee Qualifications. The Board has concluded that each of the Trustees is qualified to serve on the Board because of his or her ability to review and understand information about the Trust and the Funds provided by management, to identify and request other information he or she may deem relevant to the performance of the Trustees’ duties, to question management and other service providers regarding material factors bearing on the management and administration of the Funds, and to exercise his or her business judgment in a manner that serves the best interests of the Funds’ shareholders. The Trust has concluded that each of the Trustees is qualified to serve as a Trustee based on his or her own experience, qualifications, attributes and skills as described below.

The Board has concluded that Mr. Steinberg is qualified to serve as Trustee of the Funds because of the experience he has gained as President, Chief Executive Officer and director of WisdomTree Investments and the Adviser, his knowledge of and experience in the financial services industry, and the experience he has gained serving as President and Trustee of the Trust since 2005.

The Board has concluded that Mr. Chrencik is qualified to serve as Trustee of the Funds because of the experience he gained as an audit partner of a public accounting firm as well as his experience in and knowledge of the financial services industry, including his service as the chief financial officer of a hedge fund and his prior service as a board member of several other investment funds, and the experience he has gained serving as an Independent Trustee of the Trust since 2014.

The Board has concluded that Mr. Goldberg is qualified to serve as Trustee of the Funds because of the experience he has gained as a member of the staff of the SEC, including his service as Director of the SEC’s Division of Investment Management, his experience as legal counsel for many mutual funds, investment advisers, and independent directors as well as the experience he has gained serving as an Independent Trustee of the Trust since 2012.

The Board has concluded that Ms. Massaro is qualified to serve as Trustee of the Funds because of the experience she has gained as a law professor, dean and advisor at various universities, and the experience she has gained serving as Independent Trustee of the Trust since 2006.

The Board has concluded that Ms. Raso Kirstein is qualified to serve as Trustee of the Funds because of her experience in and knowledge of the financial services industry, including her service as a vice president, senior portfolio manager of fixed income management and director of tax exempt fund research of an investment advisory firm, as well as the experience she has gained serving as an Independent Trustee of the Trust since 2014.

The Board has concluded that Mr. Ugolyn is qualified to serve as Trustee of the Funds because of the experience he gained as chief executive officer of a firm specializing in financial services, his experience in and knowledge of the financial services industry, his experience as a member of the Board of Directors of The New York Society of Security Analysts, Inc., his service as chairman for another mutual fund family, and the experience he has gained serving as an Independent Trustee and Chairman of the Board of the Trust since 2006.

 

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Fund Shares Owned by Board Members. The following table shows the dollar amount range of each Trustee’s “beneficial ownership” of shares of the Funds and each series of the Trust as of the end of the most recently completed calendar year. Dollar amount ranges disclosed are established by the SEC. “Beneficial ownership” is determined in accordance with Rule 16a-1(a)(2) under the 1934 Act. The Trustees and officers of the Trust collectively own less than 1% of the outstanding shares of the Trust.

 

Name of Trustee

  

Name of Fund

    

Dollar Range of Equity
Securities in the Funds*

    

Aggregate Dollar Range of

Equity Securities in All Registered
Investment Companies Overseen
by Trustee in Family of
Investment Companies*

Interested Trustee

Jonathan Steinberg

  

Emerging Markets SmallCap Dividend Fund

U.S. SmallCap Fund

Global High Dividend Fund

Emerging Markets High Dividend Fund

Emerging Markets Quality Dividend Growth Fund

U.S. High Dividend Fund

    

[$50,001 –

$100,000][$100,000]

[$50,001 – $100,000]

[Over $100,000]

[$1 – $10,000]

[$1 – $10,000]

     [Over $100,000]

Name of Trustee

  

Name of Fund

    

Dollar Range of Equity
Securities in the Funds*

    

Aggregate Dollar Range of
Equity Securities in All Registered
Investment Companies Overseen
by Trustee in Family of
Investment Companies*

Independent Trustees

David G. Chrencik

  

U.S. LargeCap Dividend Fund

Emerging Markets High Dividend Fund

International SmallCap Dividend Fund

Japan Hedged Equity Fund

Emerging Markets SmallCap Dividend Fund

    

[$50,001 – $100,000]

[$10,001 – $50,000]

[$10,001 – $50,000]

[$10,001 – $50,000]

[$10,001 – $50,000]

     [Over $100,000]

Joel H. Goldberg

  

U.S. SmallCap Quality Dividend Growth Fund

Global ex-U.S. Quality Dividend Growth Fund

U.S. Quality Shareholder Yield Fund

    

[Over $100,000]

[Over $100,000]

[$50,001 – $100,000]

     [Over $100,000]

Toni M. Massaro

  

U.S. Quality Dividend Growth Fund

U.S. LargeCap Dividend Fund

U.S. High Dividend Fund

U.S. MidCap Dividend Fund

    

[$50,001 – $100,000]

[$50,001 – $100,000]

[$10,001 – $50,000]

[$50,001 – $100,000]

     [Over $100,000]

Melinda A. Raso Kirstein

  

Japan Hedged Equity Fund

U.S. LargeCap Fund

U.S. Total Dividend Fund

    

[$10,001 – $50,000]

[$10,001 – $50,000]

[$50,001 – $100,000]

     [Over $100,000]

Victor Ugolyn

   N/A      N/A      [$50,001 – $100,000]

 

*

These values are based on the Trustees’ ownership as of [December 31, 2018].

Board Compensation. The following table sets forth the compensation paid by the Trust to each Trustee for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2019.

 

Name of Interested

Trustee

     Aggregate
Compensation
from the Trust
       Pension or Retirement
Benefits Accrued As
Part of Company
Expenses
       Estimated Annual
Benefits upon
Retirement
       Total Compensation
from the Funds and
Fund Complex*
 

Jonathan Steinberg

     $ 0          None          None        $ 0  

Name of Independent

Trustee

     Aggregate
Compensation
from the Trust
       Pension or Retirement
Benefits Accrued as
Part of Company
Expenses
       Estimated Annual
Benefits upon
Retirement
       Total Compensation
from the Funds and
Fund Complex*
 

David G. Chrencik

     $ 323,097          None          None        $ 323,097  

Joel Goldberg

     $ 332,271          None          None        $ 332,271  

Toni Massaro

     $ 315,761          None          None        $ 315,761  

 

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Name of Independent

Trustee

     Aggregate
Compensation
from the Trust
       Pension or Retirement
Benefits Accrued as
Part of Company
Expenses
       Estimated Annual
Benefits upon
Retirement
       Total Compensation
from the Funds and
Fund Complex*
 

Melinda A. Raso Kirstein

     $ 323,097          None          None        $ 323,097  

Victor Ugolyn

     $ 440,587          None          None        $ 440,587  

 

*

The Trust is the only trust in the “Fund Complex.”

Control Persons and Principal Holders of Securities. Although the Trust does not have information concerning the beneficial ownership of shares held in the names of Depository Trust Company participants (“DTC Participants”), as of [                    ], the name and percentage ownership of each DTC Participant that owned of record 5% or more of the outstanding shares of a Fund is set forth in the table below:

 

Fund Name

    

Participant Name

   Percentage of
Ownership
 
WisdomTree U.S. Total Dividend Fund      [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
       [        ]      [        
WisdomTree U.S. LargeCap Dividend Fund      [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
       [        ]      [        
WisdomTree U.S. MidCap Dividend Fund      [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
       [        ]      [        
WisdomTree U.S. SmallCap Dividend Fund      [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
       [        ]      [        
WisdomTree U.S. High Dividend Fund      [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        

 

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Table of Contents

Fund Name

    

Participant Name

   Percentage of
Ownership
 
     [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
       [        ]      [        
WisdomTree U.S. Dividend ex-Financials Fund      [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
       [        ]      [        
WisdomTree U.S. Quality Dividend Growth Fund      [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
       [        ]      [        
WisdomTree U.S. SmallCap Quality Dividend Growth Fund          
[        ]
     [        
     [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
       [        ]      [        
WisdomTree U.S. tESG Fund      [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
       [        ]      [        
WisdomTree U.S. LargeCap Fund      [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
       [        ]      [        
WisdomTree U.S. Multifactor Fund      [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
       [        ]      [        
WisdomTree U.S. MidCap Fund      [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
       [        ]      [        

 

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Table of Contents

Fund Name

    

Participant Name

   Percentage of
Ownership
 
WisdomTree U.S. SmallCap Fund      [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
       [        ]      [        
WisdomTree U.S. Quality Shareholder Yield Fund      [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
       [        ]      [        
WisdomTree Global High Dividend Fund      [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
       [        ]      [        
WisdomTree Global ex-U.S. Quality Dividend Growth Fund      [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
       [        ]      [        
WisdomTree Global ex-U.S. Real Estate Fund      [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
       [        ]      [        
WisdomTree Asia Pacific ex-Japan Fund      [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
       [        ]      [        

 

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Table of Contents

Fund Name

    

Participant Name

   Percentage of
Ownership
 
WisdomTree Emerging Markets High Dividend Fund      [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
       [        ]      [        
WisdomTree Emerging Markets SmallCap Dividend Fund      [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
       [        ]      [        
WisdomTree Emerging Markets Consumer Growth Fund      [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
       [        ]      [        
WisdomTree Emerging Markets Quality Dividend Growth Fund      [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
       [        ]      [        
WisdomTree Emerging Markets ex-State-Owned Enterprises Fund      [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
       [        ]      [        
WisdomTree India Earnings Fund      [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
       [        ]      [        

 

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Table of Contents

Fund Name

    

Participant Name

   Percentage of
Ownership
 
WisdomTree Middle East Dividend Fund      [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
       [        ]      [        
WisdomTree China ex-State-Owned Enterprises Fund      [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
       [        ]      [        
WisdomTree International Equity Fund      [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
       [        ]      [        
WisdomTree International High Dividend Fund      [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
       [        ]      [        
WisdomTree International LargeCap Dividend Fund      [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
       [        ]      [        
WisdomTree International MidCap Dividend Fund      [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
       [        ]      [        
WisdomTree International SmallCap Dividend Fund      [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
       [        ]      [        

 

37


Table of Contents

Fund Name

    

Participant Name

   Percentage of
Ownership
 
WisdomTree International Dividend ex-Financials Fund      [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
       [        ]      [        
WisdomTree International Quality Dividend Growth Fund      [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
       [        ]      [        
WisdomTree Europe Quality Dividend Growth Fund      [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
       [        ]      [        
WisdomTree Europe SmallCap Dividend Fund      [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
       [        ]      [        
WisdomTree Japan SmallCap Dividend Fund      [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
       [        ]      [        
WisdomTree Japan Hedged Equity Fund      [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
       [        ]      [        
WisdomTree Japan Hedged SmallCap Equity Fund      [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        

 

38


Table of Contents

Fund Name

    

Participant Name

   Percentage of
Ownership
 
     [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
       [        ]      [        
WisdomTree Europe Hedged Equity Fund      [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
       [        ]      [        
WisdomTree Europe Hedged SmallCap Equity Fund      [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
       [        ]      [        
WisdomTree Germany Hedged Equity Fund      [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
       [        ]      [        
WisdomTree International Hedged Quality Dividend Growth Fund      [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
       [        ]      [        
WisdomTree Emerging Markets Multifactor Fund      [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
       [        ]      [        
WisdomTree International Multifactor Fund      [        ]      [        
     [        ]      [        
       [        ]      [        

Certain officers, employees, accounts or affiliates of WisdomTree Asset Management (such as WisdomTree Investments, 245 Park Avenue, 35th Floor, New York, NY), including other funds advised by WisdomTree Asset Management or third parties, may from time to time own a substantial amount of a Fund’s shares, including as an initial or seed investor. Such positions may be held for a

 

39


Table of Contents

limited period of time, including to facilitate commencement of a Fund, to facilitate the Funds’ achieving size or scale or in seeking to track model portfolios of ETFs developed and maintained by the Adviser. Such shareholders, individually and/or collectively, could at times be considered to control the Fund (i.e., own greater than 25% of the Fund shares) and may purchase or sell shares, including large blocks of shares, at any given time. There can be no assurance that any such entity or person would not redeem or sell its investment, that the size of a Fund would be maintained at such levels or that a Fund would continue to meet applicable listing requirements, which could negatively impact a Fund and its shares. In addition, such transactions may account for a large percentage of secondary market trading volume and may, therefore, not be sustainable and/or may have a material upward or downward effect on the market price of the shares.

Investment Adviser. WisdomTree Asset Management serves as investment adviser to each Fund pursuant to an investment advisory agreement between the Trust and WisdomTree Asset Management (the “Investment Advisory Agreement”). WisdomTree Asset Management is a Delaware corporation registered as an investment adviser under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940, as amended (the “Advisers Act”), and has offices located at 245 Park Avenue, 35th Floor, New York, New York 10167.

Under the Investment Advisory Agreement, WisdomTree Asset Management is responsible for the overall management and administration of the Trust. WisdomTree Asset Management provides an investment program for each Fund. The Adviser also provides proactive oversight of the Sub-Adviser daily monitoring of the Sub-Adviser’s buying and selling of securities for each Fund, and regular review of the Sub-Adviser’s performance. In addition, the Adviser arranges for, and oversees, sub-advisory, transfer agency, custody, fund administration, securities lending, and all other non-distribution related services necessary for the Funds to operate. The Adviser furnishes to the Trust all office facilities, equipment, services and executive and administrative personnel necessary for managing the investment program of the Trust for each Fund, including:

 

   

Overseeing the Trust’s insurance program;

 

   

Overseeing and coordinating all governance matters for the Trust;

 

   

Coordinating meetings of the Board of Trustees;

 

   

Devoting time and resources to maintaining an efficient market for each Fund’s shares;

 

   

Coordinating with outside counsel on all Trust related legal matters;

 

   

Coordinating the preparation of the Trust’s financial statements;

 

   

Coordinating all regulatory filings and shareholder reporting;

 

   

Overseeing each Fund’s tax status and tax filings;

 

   

Maintaining and updating a website for certain required disclosures; and

 

   

Providing shareholders with additional information about the Funds.

Each Fund pays WisdomTree Asset Management the Management Fee, based on a percentage of the Fund’s average daily net assets, indicated below.

 

Name of Fund

     Management Fee  

U.S. Total Dividend Fund

       0.28%  

U.S. LargeCap Dividend Fund

       0.28%  

U.S. MidCap Dividend Fund

       0.38%  

U.S. SmallCap Dividend Fund

       0.38%  

U.S. High Dividend Fund

       0.38%  

U.S. Dividend ex-Financials Fund

       0.38%  

U.S. Quality Dividend Growth Fund

       0.28%  

U.S. SmallCap Quality Dividend Growth Fund

       0.38%  

U.S. ESG Fund

       0.28%  

U.S. LargeCap Fund

       0.08%  

U.S. MidCap Fund

       0.38%  

U.S. SmallCap Fund

       0.38%  

U.S. Quality Shareholder Yield Fund

       0.38%  

U.S. Multifactor Fund

       0.28%  

International Equity Fund

       0.48%  

International High Dividend Fund

       0.58%  

International LargeCap Dividend Fund

       0.48%  

International MidCap Dividend Fund

       0.58%  

International SmallCap Dividend Fund

       0.58%  

International Dividend ex-Financials Fund

       0.58%  

International Quality Dividend Growth Fund

       0.38%

 

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Table of Contents

Name of Fund

     Management Fee  

International Multifactor Fund

       0.38%  

Europe Quality Dividend Growth Fund

       0.58%  

Europe SmallCap Dividend Fund

       0.58%  

Japan SmallCap Dividend Fund

       0.58%  

Japan Hedged Equity Fund

       0.48%  

Japan Hedged SmallCap Equity Fund

       0.58%  

Europe Hedged Equity Fund

       0.58%  

Europe Hedged SmallCap Equity Fund

       0.58%  

Germany Hedged Equity Fund

       0.48%  

International Hedged Quality Dividend Growth Fund

       0.58%  

Global High Dividend Fund

       0.58%  

Global ex-U.S. Quality Dividend Growth Fund

       0.58%  

Global ex-U.S. Real Estate Fund

       0.58%  

Asia Pacific ex-Japan Fund

       0.48%  

Emerging Markets High Dividend Fund

       0.63%  

Emerging Markets SmallCap Dividend Fund

       0.63%  

Emerging Markets Consumer Growth Fund

       0.32%

Emerging Markets Quality Dividend Growth Fund

       0.32%

Emerging Markets Multifactor Fund

       0.48%  

Emerging Markets ex-State-Owned Enterprises Fund

       0.32%

India Earnings Fund

       0.83%  

Middle East Dividend Fund

       0.88%  

China ex-State-Owned Enterprises Fund

       0.32%

 

*

Reflects a contractual expense limitation in place through at least July 31, 2020.

Pursuant to an investment advisory agreement on behalf of all Funds, except for the U.S. Multifactor Fund, U.S. Quality Dividend Growth Fund, U.S. SmallCap Quality Dividend Growth Fund, Japan Hedged SmallCap Equity Fund, Emerging Markets Quality Dividend Growth Fund, Emerging Markets Consumer Growth Fund, Germany Hedged Equity Fund, Europe Quality Dividend Growth Fund, International Quality Dividend Growth Fund, International Multifactor Fund, International Hedged Quality Dividend Growth Fund, Europe Hedged SmallCap Equity Fund, Emerging Markets Multifactor Fund and Emerging Markets ex-State-Owned Enterprises Fund (together, the “New Investment Advisory Agreement Funds”), WisdomTree Asset Management has agreed to pay all expenses of the Trust, except for: (i) brokerage expenses and other expenses (such as stamp taxes) connected with the execution of portfolio transactions or in connection with creation and redemption transactions; (ii) legal fees or expenses in connection with any arbitration, litigation or pending or threatened arbitration or litigation, including any settlements in connection therewith; (iii) compensation and expenses of each Independent Trustee; (iv) compensation and expenses of counsel to the Independent Trustees; (v) compensation and expenses of the Trust’s CCO; (vi) extraordinary expenses; (vii) distribution fees and expenses paid by the Trust under any distribution plan adopted pursuant to Rule 12b-1 under the 1940 Act; and (viii) the advisory fee payable to WisdomTree Asset Management. The internal expenses of pooled investment vehicles in which these Funds may invest (acquired fund fees and expenses) are not expenses of such Funds and are not paid by WisdomTree Asset Management.

Pursuant to an investment advisory agreement on behalf of the New Investment Advisory Agreement Funds, WisdomTree Asset Management has agreed to pay all expenses of the Trust, except for: (i) brokerage expenses and other fees, charges, taxes, levies or expenses (such as stamp taxes) incurred in connection with the execution of portfolio transactions or in connection with creation and redemption transactions (including without limitation any fees, charges, taxes, levies or expenses related to the purchase or sale of an amount of any currency, or the patriation or repatriation of any security or other asset, related to the execution of portfolio transactions or any creation or redemption transactions); (ii) legal fees or expenses in connection with any arbitration, litigation or pending or threatened arbitration or litigation, including any settlements in connection therewith; (iii) compensation and expenses of each Independent Trustee; (iv) compensation and expenses of counsel to the Independent Trustees; (v) compensation and expenses of the Trust’s CCO; (vi) extraordinary expenses (in each case as determined by a majority of the Independent Trustees); (vii) distribution fees and expenses paid by the Trust under any distribution plan adopted pursuant to Rule 12b-1 under the 1940 Act; (viii) interest and taxes of any kind or nature (including, but not limited to, income, excise, transfer and withholding taxes); (ix) fees and expenses related to the provision of securities lending services; and (x) the advisory fee payable to WisdomTree Asset Management. The internal expenses of pooled investment vehicles in which the New Investment Advisory Agreement Funds may invest (acquired fund fees and expenses) are not expenses of such Funds and are not paid by WisdomTree Asset Management.

 

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Pursuant to a separate contractual arrangement, WisdomTree Asset Management arranges for the provision of CCO services with respect to each Fund, and is liable and responsible for, and administers, payments to the CCO, the Independent Trustees and counsel to the Independent Trustees. WisdomTree Asset Management receives a fee of up to 0.0044% of the Fund’s average daily net assets for providing such services and paying such expenses. WisdomTree Asset Management provides CCO services to the Trust.

The India Portfolio, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the India Earnings Fund through which the Fund invests a portion of its assets, is advised by WisdomTree Asset Management. Compensation for WisdomTree Asset Management in advising the India Earnings Fund (including the India Portfolio) is included in the table below and otherwise as described herein.

For the following periods, the Adviser received the following fees:

 

          For the Fiscal Year Ended March 31, 2017     For the Fiscal Year Ended March 31, 2018     For the Fiscal Year Ended March 31, 2019  

Name

  Commencement
of Operations
    Gross
Advisory Fee
    Advisory Fee
Waived /
Expenses
Reimbursed
    Net Advisory
Fee
    Gross
Advisory Fee
    Advisory Fee
Waived /
Expenses
Reimbursed
    Net Advisory
Fee
    Gross
Advisory Fee
    Advisory Fee
Waived /
Expenses
Reimbursed
    Net Advisory
Fee
 

U.S. Total Dividend Fund

    6/16/06     $ 1,474,991     $ (246   $ 1,474,745     $ 1,684,933     $ (1,350   $ 1,683,583     $ 1,694,647     $ (1,979   $ 1,692,668  

U.S. High Dividend Fund

    6/16/06       4,673,129       (5,874     4,667,255       4,602,234       (10,032     4,592,202       3,608,729       (10,351     3,598,378  

International Equity Fund

    6/16/06       3,060,671       (1,959     3,058,712       3,985,669       (3,264     3,982,405       4,177,781       (2,618     4,175,163  

International High Dividend Fund

    6/16/06       1,443,432       (609     1,442,823       1,832,110       (2,126     1,829,984       1,713,782       (891     1,712,891  

Asia Pacific ex-Japan Fund

    6/16/06       223,304             223,304       218,228       (223     218,005       188,660       (131     188,529  

Global High Dividend Fund

    6/16/06       452,595             452,595       572,765       (176     572,589       568,785       (381     568,404  

Europe SmallCap Dividend Fund

    6/16/06       4,778,122       (5,055     4,773,067       6,176,377       (8,379     6,167,998       5,403,106       (13,255     5,389,851  

Japan Hedged Equity Fund

    6/16/06       37,719,978             37,719,978       40,425,914             40,425,914       24,710,787             24,710,787  

Global ex-U.S. Quality Dividend Growth Fund

    6/16/06       371,754             371,754       343,629       (303     343,326       395,277       (227     395,050  

Japan SmallCap Dividend Fund

    6/16/06       2,506,384       (1,459     2,504,925       3,879,045       (3,157     3,875,888       5,632,155       (11,906     5,620,249  

U.S. Dividend ex-Financials Fund

    6/16/06       3,555,051       (1,766     3,553,285       3,320,076       (7,479     3,312,597       3,032,755       (5,915     3,026,840  

U.S. LargeCap Dividend Fund

    6/16/06       5,283,864       (510     5,283,354       5,540,671       (7,397     5,533,274       5,514,528       (6,895     5,507,633  

U.S. MidCap Dividend Fund

    6/16/06       8,159,937       (3,854     8,156,083       11,335,796       (12,950     11,322,846       12,602,713       (27,393     12,575,320  

U.S. SmallCap Dividend Fund

    6/16/06       6,235,746       (21,097     6,214,649       7,558,121       (26,919     7,531,202       7,869,001       (31,345     7,837,656  

International LargeCap Dividend Fund

    6/16/06       1,723,982       (2,763     1,721,219       1,949,683       (4,123     1,945,560       1,972,934       (3,848     1,969,086  

International Dividend ex-Financials Fund

    6/16/06       1,288,246       (1,913     1,286,333       1,192,440       (5,052     1,187,388       1,068,282       (1,662     1,066,620  

International MidCap Dividend Fund

    6/16/06       908,326       (328     907,998       1,377,136       (1,533     1,375,603       1,583,525       (897     1,582,628  

International SmallCap Dividend Fund

    6/16/06       6,638,588       (9,851     6,628,737       9,628,815       (22,795     9,606,020       10,350,505       (46,259     10,304,246  

 

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          For the Fiscal Year Ended March 31, 2017     For the Fiscal Year Ended March 31, 2018     For the Fiscal Year Ended March 31, 2019  

Name

  Commencement
of Operations
    Gross
Advisory Fee
    Advisory Fee
Waived /
Expenses
Reimbursed
    Net Advisory
Fee
    Gross
Advisory Fee
    Advisory Fee
Waived /
Expenses
Reimbursed
    Net Advisory
Fee
    Gross
Advisory Fee
    Advisory Fee
Waived /
Expenses
Reimbursed
    Net Advisory
Fee
 

U.S. ESG Fund

    2/23/07       169,464             169,464       187,053             187,053       220,942             220,942  

U.S. LargeCap Fund

    2/23/07       337,796             337,796       428,271       (290     427,981       588,799       (1,118     587,681  

U.S. MidCap Fund

    2/23/07       2,691,366       (4,817     2,686,549       3,442,012       (6,326     3,435,686       4,179,065       (6,643     4,172,422  

U.S. SmallCap Fund

    2/23/07       1,569,399       (1,856     1,567,543       1,995,482       (3,669     1,991,813       2,658,288       (1,520     2,656,768  

U.S. Quality Shareholder Yield Fund

    2/23/07       631,224             631,224       172,166       (461     171,705       146,999             146,999  

Global ex-U.S. Real Estate Fund

    6/5/07       498,699             498,699       520,672             520,672       598,553             598,553  

Emerging Markets High Dividend Fund

    7/13/07       9,404,879       (3,936     9,400,943       12,424,961       (102,356     12,322,605       12,869,261       (8,763     12,860,498  

Emerging Markets SmallCap Dividend Fund

    10/30/07       6,105,819       (4,382     6,101,437       8,849,448       (8,717     8,840,731       9,154,487       (7,237     9,147,250  

India Earnings Fund/Portfolio

    2/22/08       11,590,454             11,590,454       14,349,121             14,349,121       12,274,486             12,274,486  

Middle East Dividend Fund

    7/16/08       170,270             170,270       144,754             144,754       157,471             157,471  

Europe Hedged Equity Fund

    12/31/09       58,602,815             58,602,815       49,755,169             49,755,169       28,986,835             28,986,835  

China ex-State-Owned Enterprises Fund

    9/19/12       52,184       (8,283     43,901       513,016       (247,644     265,372       1,057,704       (520,457     537,247  

U.S. Quality Dividend Growth Fund

    5/22/13       2,390,109             2,390,109       4,844,182             4,844,182       6,579,577             6,579,577  

Japan Hedged SmallCap Equity Fund

    6/28/13       479,680             479,680       985,498             985,498       814,121             814,121  

U.S. SmallCap Quality Dividend Growth Fund

    7/25/13       245,370             245,370       389,262             389,262       423,622             423,622  

Emerging Markets Quality Dividend Growth Fund

    8/1/13       234,687             234,687       395,981       (155,836     240,145       468,072       (230,321     237,751  

Emerging Markets Consumer Growth Fund

    9/27/13       110,924             110,924       222,812       (90,225     132,587       230,814       (113,575     117,239  

Germany Hedged Equity Fund

    10/17/13       734,067             734,067       548,588             548,588       337,783             337,783  

 

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          For the Fiscal Year Ended March 31, 2017     For the Fiscal Year Ended March 31, 2018     For the Fiscal Year Ended March 31, 2019  

Name

  Commencement
of Operations
    Gross
Advisory Fee
    Advisory Fee
Waived /
Expenses
Reimbursed
    Net Advisory
Fee
    Gross
Advisory Fee
    Advisory Fee
Waived /
Expenses
Reimbursed
    Net Advisory
Fee
    Gross
Advisory Fee
    Advisory Fee
Waived /
Expenses
Reimbursed
    Net Advisory
Fee
 

Europe Quality Dividend Growth Fund

    5/7/14       92,828             92,828       242,623             242,623       355,616             355,616  

International Hedged Quality Dividend Growth Fund

    5/7/14       2,865,801             2,865,801       3,007,290             3,007,290       2,791,301             2,791,301  

Emerging Markets ex-State-Owned Enterprises Fund

    12/10/14       13,019             13,019       141,377       (61,559     79,818       1,019,893       (457,193     562,700  

Europe Hedged SmallCap Equity Fund

    3/4/15       1,205,893             1,205,893       912,696             912,696       950,073             950,073  

International Quality Dividend Growth Fund

    4/7/16       17,053       (3,553     13,500       72,858       (15,179     57,679       283,897       (59,145     224,752  

U.S. Multifactor Fund

    6/29/17       N/A       N/A       N/A       6,917             6,917       162,383       (72     162,311  

Emerging Markets Multifactor Fund

    N/A       N/A       N/A       N/A       N/A       N/A       N/A       33,004       (30     32,974  

International Multifactor Fund

    N/A       N/A       N/A       N/A       N/A       N/A       N/A       17,495             17,495  

 

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The Adviser, from its own resources, including profits from advisory fees received from the Funds, provided such fees are legitimate and not excessive, may make payments to broker-dealers and other financial institutions for their expenses in connection with the distribution of Fund shares, and otherwise currently pays all distribution costs for Fund shares.

The Investment Advisory Agreement with respect to each Fund continues in effect for two years from its effective date, and thereafter is subject to annual approval by (i) the Board or (ii) the 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 vote of a majority of the Trustees of the Trust who are not interested persons (as defined in the 1940 Act) of the Fund, by a vote cast in person at a meeting called for the purpose of voting on such approval. If the shareholders of any Fund fail to approve the Investment Advisory Agreement, WisdomTree Asset Management may continue to serve in the manner and to the extent permitted by the 1940 Act and rules and regulations thereunder.

The Investment Advisory Agreement with respect to any Fund is terminable without any penalty, by vote of the Board or by vote of a majority of the outstanding voting securities (as defined in the 1940 Act) of that Fund, or by WisdomTree Asset Management, in each case on not less than thirty (30) days’ nor more than sixty (60) days’ prior written notice to the other party; provided that a shorter notice period shall be permitted for a Fund in the event its shares are no longer listed on a national securities exchange. The Investment Advisory Agreement will terminate automatically and immediately in the event of its “assignment” (as defined in the 1940 Act).

Sub-Adviser. Mellon Investments Corporation (“Mellon” or the “Sub-Adviser”) serves as sub-adviser to, and is responsible for the day-to-day management of, each Fund. The Sub-Adviser, a registered investment adviser, manages global quantitative-based investment strategies for institutional and private investors. Its principal office is located at One Boston Place, 201 Washington Street, Boston, MA 02108. MBC Investments Corporation owns between 80% and 100% of Mellon Investments Corporation (Mellon), with up to 20% owned by certain Mellon employees through authorized employee class restricted shares. MBC Investments Corporation is 100% owned by BNY Mellon IHC, LLC, which is 100% owned by The Bank of New York Mellon. The Sub-Adviser manages each Fund’s portfolio investments and places orders to buy and sell the Fund’s portfolio investments. WisdomTree Asset Management pays the Sub-Adviser for providing sub-advisory services to these Funds.

The India Portfolio, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the India Earnings Fund through which the Fund invests a portion of its assets, is sub-advised by the Sub-Adviser. The Sub-Adviser does not receive any additional compensation for sub-advising the India Portfolio.

The Sub-Adviser believes that it may perform sub-advisory and related services for the Trust without violating applicable banking laws or regulations. However, the legal requirements and interpretations about the permissible activities of banks and their affiliates may change in the future. These changes could prevent the Sub-Adviser from continuing to perform services for the Trust. If this happens, the Board would consider selecting other qualified firms.

The Sub-Advisory Agreement, with respect to the Funds, continues in effect for two years from its effective date, and thereafter is subject to annual approval by (i) the Board or (ii) the vote of a majority of the outstanding voting securities (as defined in the 1940 Act) of the applicable Fund, provided that in either event such continuance is also approved by a vote of a majority of the Trustees of the Trust who are not interested persons (as defined in the 1940 Act) of the Fund, by a vote cast in person at a meeting called for the purpose of voting on such approval. If the shareholders of a Fund fail to approve that Fund’s Sub-Advisory Agreement, WisdomTree Asset Management may continue to serve in the manner and to the extent permitted by the 1940 Act and rules and regulations thereunder. The Sub-Advisory Agreement is terminable without any penalty, by vote of the Board of or by vote of a majority of the outstanding voting securities (as defined in the 1940 Act) of the Fund, or by WisdomTree Asset Management, in each case on not less than thirty (30) days’ nor more than sixty (60) days’ prior written notice to the other party; provided that a shorter notice period shall be permitted for the Funds in the event its shares are no longer listed on a national securities exchange. The Sub-Advisory Agreement will terminate automatically and immediately in the event of its “assignment” (as defined in the 1940 Act).

Portfolio Managers. Each Fund is managed by the Sub-Adviser’s Equity Index Strategies Portfolio Management team. The individual members of the team jointly and primarily responsible for the day-to-day management of each Fund’s portfolio are Karen Q. Wong, Richard A. Brown, and Thomas J. Durante.

Including the WisdomTree ETFs, as of [June 30, 2019], the Sub-Adviser’s Equity Index Strategies Portfolio Management team managed [127] registered investment companies with approximately [$105 billion] in assets; [101] pooled investment vehicles with approximately [$87 billion] in assets and [84] other accounts with approximately [$91 billion] in assets.

Portfolio Manager Fund Ownership

As of March 31, 2019, none of the portfolio managers owned shares of the Funds.

Portfolio Manager Compensation

The firm’s rewards program is designed to be market-competitive and align our compensation with the goals of our clients. This alignment is achieved through an emphasis on deferred awards, which incentivizes our investment personnel to focus on long-term alpha generation.

 

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Our incentive model is designed to compensate for quantitative and qualitative objectives achieved during the performance year. An individual’s final annual incentive award is tied to the firm’s overall performance, the team’s investment performance, as well as individual performance.

Awards are paid in cash on an annual basis; however, some portfolio managers may receive a portion of their annual incentive award in deferred vehicles. Annual incentive as a percentage of fixed pay varies with the profitability of the firm and the product team.

The following factors encompass our investment professional rewards program.

 

   

Base salary

 

   

Annual cash incentive

 

   

Long-Term Incentive Plan

 

 

Deferred cash for investment

 

 

BNY Mellon restricted stock units and/or

 

 

Mellon equity

Awards for selected senior portfolio managers are based on a two-stage model: an opportunity range based on the current level of business and an assessment of long-term business value. A significant portion of the opportunity awarded is structured and based upon the performance of the portfolio manager’s accounts relative to the performance of appropriate peers, with longer-term performance more heavily weighted.

Description of Material Conflicts of Interest

It is the policy of Mellon to make business decisions free from conflicting outside influences. Mellon’s objective is to recognize potential conflicts of interest and work to eliminate or control and disclose such conflicts as they are identified. Mellon’s business decisions are based on its duty to its clients, and not driven by any personal interest or gain. As an asset manager operating in a number of different jurisdictions with a diverse client base in a variety of strategies, conflicts of interest are inherent. Furthermore, as an indirect subsidiary of The Bank of New York Mellon Corporation (“BNYM”), potential conflicts may also arise between Mellon and other BNYM companies.

Mellon will take steps to provide reasonable assurance that no client or group of clients is advantaged at the expense of any other client. As such, it has adopted a Code of Ethics (the “Code”) and compliance policy manual to address such conflicts. These potential and inherent conflicts include but are not limited to: the allocation of investment opportunities, side by side management, execution of portfolio transactions, brokerage conflicts, compensation conflicts, related party arrangements, personal interests, and other investment and operational conflicts of interest. Mellon’s compliance policies are designed to ensure that all client accounts are treated equitably over time. Additionally, it has structured compensation of investment personnel to reasonably safeguard client accounts from being adversely impacted by any potential or related conflicts.    

All material conflicts of interest are presented in greater detail within Part 2A of Mellon’s Form ADV.

Mellon manages numerous accounts with a variety of interests. This necessarily creates potential conflicts of interest for us. For example, Mellon or an affiliate may cause multiple accounts to invest in the same investment. Such accounts may have conflicting interests and objectives in connection with such investment, including differing views on the operations or activities of the portfolio company, the targeted returns for the transaction, and the timeframe for and method of exiting the investment. Conflicts may also arise in cases where multiple Mellon and/or affiliate client accounts are invested in different parts of an issuer’s capital structure. For example, one of Mellon’s client accounts could acquire debt obligations of a company while an affiliate’s client account acquires an equity investment. In negotiating the terms and conditions of any such investments, Mellon may find that the interests of the debt-holding client accounts and the equity-holding client accounts may conflict. If that issuer encounters financial problems, decisions over the terms of the workout could raise conflicts of interest (including, for example, conflicts over proposed waivers and amendments to debt covenants). For example, debt holding accounts may be better served by a liquidation of an issuer in which it could be paid in full, while equity holding accounts might prefer a reorganization of the issuer that would have the potential to retain value for the equity holders. As another example, holders of an issuer’s senior securities may be able to act to direct cash flows away from junior security holders, and both the junior and senior security holders may be Mellon client accounts. Any of the foregoing conflicts of interest will be discussed and resolved on a case-by-case basis. Any such discussions will factor in the interests of the relevant parties and applicable laws.

Mellon has a fiduciary duty to manage all client accounts in a fair and equitable manner. To accomplish this, Mellon has adopted various policies and procedures including, but not limited to, policies relating to trading operations, best execution, trade order aggregation and allocation, short sales, cross-trading, code of conduct, personal securities trading, and purchases of securities from affiliated underwriters. These procedures are intended to help employees identify and mitigate potential side-by-side conflicts of interest such as those described above. Mellon has also developed a conflicts matrix listing potential side-by-side conflicts, the compliance policies and procedures reasonably designed to mitigate such potential conflicts of interest, and the corresponding compliance testing program established with the goal of confirming Mellon’s adherence to such policies and procedures.

 

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Performance Fees. The Portfolio Managers have entered into performance-based fee arrangements for certain client accounts and funds. Most of these arrangements provide for an asset-based management fee, based on the market value of the account at month end, quarter end or based on average market value, plus a performance fee based on the portfolio’s net return in excess of a specified benchmark and/or hurdle rate during a designated period of time. The performance is based on both realized and unrealized gains and losses. Some performance fee calculations include a high water mark, which keeps track of the highest level of performance on which a performance fee has been paid and which must be exceeded in order for an additional performance fee to be assessed. For more detailed information on how performance fees are calculated, please see the applicable private placement memorandum or your investment management agreement.

Side-by-Side Management. “Side-by-side management” refers to a Portfolio Manager’s simultaneous management of multiple types of client accounts/investment products. For example, the Portfolio Managers manage separate accounts, managed accounts/wrap-fee programs, and pooled investment vehicles for clients at the same time. The Portfolio Managers’ clients have a variety of investment objectives, policies, strategies, limitations, and restrictions. Side-by-side management gives rise to a variety of potential and actual conflicts of interest for the Portfolio Managers. Below is a discussion of the conflicts that the Portfolio Managers face when engaging in side-by-side management and how they deal with them. Note that certain of the Sub-Adviser’s employees are also officers or employees of one or more the Sub-Adviser’s affiliates (“dual officers”). These dual officers undertake investment management duties for the affiliates of which they are officers. When the Portfolio Managers concurrently manage client accounts/ investment products, and in particular when dual officers or dual employees are involved, this presents the same conflicts as described below. Note that Portfolio Managers manage their accounts consistent with applicable laws, and they follow procedures that are reasonably designed to treat clients fairly and to prevent any client or group of clients from being systematically favored or disadvantaged.

Conflicts of Interest Relating to Side-by-Side Management of Discretionary and Non-Discretionary Accounts. In limited circumstances, Portfolio Managers may provide to a third party for which they provide non-discretionary advisory services the same model portfolio used to manage certain of the Portfolio Managers’ clients’ accounts. In those cases where Portfolio Managers are implementing the model results for only a portion of the assets affected (for example, only the assets over which Portfolio Managers have discretionary management authority) and therefore, they cannot apply their internal trade allocation procedures, Portfolio Managers will (i) use reasonable efforts to agree on procedures with such non-discretionary clients designed to prevent one group of clients from receiving preferential trading treatment over another group, or (ii) determine that, due to the nature of the assets to be traded or the market on which they are traded, no client would likely be adversely affected if such procedures are not established.

Conflicts of Interest Relating to Performance-Based Fees When Engaging in Side-by-Side Management. Portfolio Managers manage accounts that are charged a performance-based fee and other accounts that are charged a different type of fee, such as a flat asset-based fee. Portfolio Managers have a financial incentive to favor accounts with performance-based fees because they (and the Sub-Adviser’s employees and supervised persons) may have an opportunity to earn greater fees on such accounts as compared to client accounts without performance-based fees. Thus, Portfolio Managers have an incentive to direct their best investment ideas to client accounts that pay performance-based fees, and to allocate, aggregate, or sequence trades in favor of such accounts. Portfolio Managers also have an incentive to give accounts with performance-based fees better execution and better brokerage commissions.

Conflicts of Interest Relating to Accounts with Different Strategies. Portfolio Managers manage numerous accounts with a variety of strategies, which may present conflicts of interest. For example, a long/short position in two client accounts simultaneously can result in a loss to one client based on a decision to take a gain in the other. Taking concurrent conflicting positions in certain derivative instruments can likewise cause a loss to one client and a gain to another. Portfolio Managers also may face conflicts of interest when they have uncovered option strategies and significant positions in illiquid securities in side-by-side accounts.

Conflicts of Interest Relating to the Management of Multiple Client Accounts. Portfolio Managers perform investment advisory services for various clients. Portfolio Managers may give advice and take action in the performance of their duties with respect to any of their other clients which may differ from the advice given, or the timing or nature of action taken, with respect another client. Portfolio Managers have no obligation to purchase or sell for a client any security or other property which they purchase or sell for their own account or for the account of any other client, if they believe it is undesirable or impractical to take such action. Portfolio Managers may give advice or take action in the performance of their duties with respect to any of their clients which may differ from the advice given, or the timing or nature of action taken, by their affiliates on behalf of their clients.

Conflicts of Interest Relating to Investment in Affiliated Accounts. To the extent permissible under applicable law, the Portfolio Managers may decide to invest some or all of their temporary investments in money market or similar accounts advised or managed by a BNY Mellon affiliate. In addition, the Portfolio Managers may invest client accounts in affiliated pooled vehicles. The Portfolio Managers have an incentive to allocate investments to these types of affiliated accounts in order to generate additional fees for themselves or their affiliates. In certain instances, Portfolio Managers may enter into revenue sharing arrangements with affiliates where they may receive a portion of the fee, or bill the full fee to the client and reimburse the affiliate. Portfolio Managers may also enter into wholesale arrangements with affiliates where they receive only a portion of the client fee. For certain accounts with affiliates, some of the fees, such as custody fees, may be waived or rebated.

 

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Conflicts of Interest Relating to the Discretion to Redeem from and Invest in Pooled Investment Vehicles. The Portfolio Manager’s clients may give them discretion to allocate client assets to, and/or redeem client assets from, certain pooled investment vehicles they manage or sub-advise. Sometimes, such discretionary authority is restricted by asset allocation parameters which may limit the Portfolio Manager’s discretion to allocate to a percentage range of the value of a client’s account. When a client grants Portfolio Managers that discretion, a conflict could arise with respect to such client, and also with respect to other investors in such pooled investment vehicle. The Portfolio Managers may, for example, have an incentive to maintain a larger percentage of a client’s assets in a fund in order for such assets to act as seed capital, to increase the fund’s assets under management and thus, to make investment by other investors more attractive, or to maintain the continuity of a performance record if the client is the sole remaining investor. Likewise, as the manager or sub-adviser, they will have information that investors will not have about the investments held by a fund and about other investors’ intentions to invest or redeem. Such information could potentially be used to favor one investor over another.

Conflicts of Interest Relating to “Proprietary Accounts”. The Portfolio Managers, and the Sub-Adviser’s existing and future employees may from time to time invest in products managed by the Sub-Adviser and they or related persons may establish “seeded” funds or accounts for the purpose of developing new investment strategies and products (collectively, “Proprietary Accounts”). Investment by the Sub-Adviser, or its employees in Proprietary Accounts that invest in the same securities as other client accounts may create conflicts of interest. Portfolio Managers have an incentive to favor these Proprietary Accounts by directing their best investment ideas to these accounts or allocating, aggregating, or sequencing trades in favor of such accounts, to the disadvantage of other accounts. Portfolio Managers also have an incentive to dedicate more time and attention to their Proprietary Accounts and to give them better execution and brokerage commissions than their other client accounts. The Portfolio Managers also may waive fees for Proprietary Accounts or for certain affiliated persons who invest in such Proprietary Accounts.

Valuations. A majority of the Sub-Adviser’s fees are based on the valuations provided by clients’ custodians or pooled accounts’ administrators. However, a conflict of interest may arise in overseeing the valuation of investments in the limited situations where the Sub-Adviser is involved in the determination of the valuation of an investment. In such circumstances, the Sub-Adviser requires, to the extent possible, pricing from an independent third party pricing vendor. If vendor pricing is unavailable, the Sub-Adviser then looks to other observable inputs for the valuations. In the event that a vendor price or other observable inputs are unavailable or deemed unreliable, the Sub-Adviser has established a Securities Pricing Committee to make a reasonable determination of a security’s fair value.

Other Conflicts of Interest. As noted previously, Portfolio Managers manage numerous accounts with a variety of interests. This necessarily creates potential conflicts of interest for the Portfolio Managers. For example, Portfolio Managers may cause multiple accounts to invest in the same investment. Such accounts may have conflicting interests and objectives in connection with such investment, including differing views on the operations or activities of the portfolio company, the targeted returns for the transaction, and the timeframe for and method of exiting the investment. Conflicts may also arise in cases where multiple Sub-Adviser and/or affiliate client accounts are invested in different parts of an issuer’s capital structure. For example, one of the Portfolio Manager’s client accounts could acquire debt obligations of a company while an affiliate’s client account acquires an equity investment. In negotiating the terms and conditions of any such investments, Portfolio Managers may find that the interests of the debt-holding client accounts and the equity-holding client accounts may conflict. If that issuer encounters financial problems, decisions over the terms of the workout could raise conflicts of interest (including, for example, conflicts over proposed waivers and amendments to debt covenants). For example, debt holding accounts may be better served by a liquidation of an issuer in which it could be paid in full, while equity holding accounts might prefer a reorganization of the issuer that would have the potential to retain value for the equity holders. As another example, holders of an issuer’s senior securities may be able to act to direct cash flows away from junior security holders, and both the junior and senior security holders may be Sub-Adviser client accounts. Any of the foregoing conflicts of interest will be discussed and resolved on a case-by-case basis. Any such discussions will factor in the interests of the relevant parties and applicable laws.

Addressing Conflicts of Interest. Portfolio Managers have a fiduciary duty to manage all client accounts in a fair and equitable manner. To accomplish this, the Sub-Adviser has adopted various policies and procedures (including, but not limited to, policies relating to trading operations, best execution, trade order aggregation and allocation, short sales, cross-trading, code of conduct, personal securities trading, and purchases of securities from affiliated underwriters). These procedures are intended to help employees identify and mitigate potential side-by-side conflicts of interest such as those described above. The Sub-Adviser has also developed a conflicts matrix listing potential side-by-side conflicts, the compliance policies and procedures reasonably designed to mitigate such potential conflicts of interest and the corresponding compliance testing program established with the goal of confirming the Sub-Adviser’s adherence to such policies and procedures.

Codes of Ethics. The Trust, the Advisers and the Distributor have each adopted a Code of Ethics pursuant to Rule 17j-1 under the 1940 Act and Rule 204A-1 under the Advisers Act, where applicable. Each Code of Ethics permits personnel subject to that Code of Ethics to invest in securities for their personal investment accounts, subject to certain limitations, including securities that may be purchased or held by the Funds. Each Code of Ethics is on public file with, and is available from the EDGAR Database on the SEC’s internet site at http://www.sec.gov, and copies of these codes of ethics may be obtained, after paying a duplicating fee, by electronic request at the following email address: publicinfo@sec.gov.