485APOS 1 d248159d485apos.htm 485APOS 485APOS
As filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on October 26, 2021
1933 Act File No. 333-150525
1940 Act File No. 811-22201
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549
FORM N-1A
REGISTRATION STATEMENT UNDER THE SECURITIES ACT OF 1933
[ X ]
Pre-Effective Amendment No.
___
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Post-Effective Amendment No.
314
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and/or
REGISTRATION STATEMENT UNDER THE INVESTMENT COMPANY ACT OF 1940
[ X ]
Amendment No.
316
[ X ]
(Check appropriate box or boxes.)
DIREXION SHARES ETF TRUST
(Exact name of Registrant as Specified in Charter)
1301 Avenue of the Americas (6th Avenue), 28th Floor
New York, New York 10019
(Address of Principal Executive Office) (Zip Code)
Registrant’s Telephone Number, including Area Code: (646) 572-3390
Daniel D. O’Neill
1301 Avenue of the Americas (6th Avenue), 28th Floor
New York, New York 10019
(Name and Address of Agent for Service)
Copy to:
Angela Brickl
Stacy L. Fuller
Rafferty Asset Management, LLC
K&L Gates LLP
1301 Avenue of the Americas (6th Avenue)
1601 K Street, NW
28th Floor
Washington, DC 20006
New York, NY 10019
 
It is proposed that this filing will become effective (check appropriate box)
[  ]
immediately upon filing pursuant to paragraph (b)
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on (date) pursuant to paragraph (b)
[  ]
60 days after filing pursuant to paragraph (a)(1)
[  ]
on (date) pursuant to paragraph (a)(1)
[ X ]
75 days after filing pursuant to paragraph (a)(2)
[  ]
on (date) pursuant to paragraph (a)(2) of Rule 485.
If appropriate, check the following box:
[ ]
This post-effective amendment designates a new effective date for a previously filed
post-effective amendment.

DIREXION SHARES ETF TRUST
CONTENTS OF REGISTRATION STATEMENT
This registration document is comprised of the following:
Cover Sheet;
Contents of Registration Statement:
Prospectus and Statement of Additional Information for the Direxion Bitcoin Strategy Bear ETF;
Part C of Form N-1A; and
Signature Page.


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 Securities and Exchange Commission is effective. This Prospectus is not an offer to sell these securities and is not soliciting an offer to buy these securities in any state where the offer or sale is not permitted.
Subject to completion, dated October 26, 2021
Direxion Shares ETF Trust
Prospectus
1301 Avenue of the Americas (6th Avenue), 28th Floor
New York, New York 10019
(866) 476-7523
www.direxion.com
Direxion Bitcoin Strategy Bear ETF ([ ])
[ ], 2022
The shares offered in this prospectus (the "Fund"), upon commencement of operations, will be listed and traded on the NYSE Arca, Inc.
There is no assurance that the Fund will achieve its investment objective and an investment in the Fund could lose money. No single Fund is a complete investment program.
These securities have not been approved or disapproved by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) or the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC”), nor have the SEC or CFTC passed upon the adequacy of this Prospectus. Any representation to the contrary is a criminal offense.

Summary Section
Direxion Bitcoin Strategy Bear ETF
Investment Objective
The Direxion Bitcoin Strategy Bear ETF (the “Fund”) seeks capital appreciation.
Fees and Expenses of the Fund
This table describes the fees and expenses that you may pay if you buy, hold, and sell shares of the Fund (“Shares”). You may pay other fees, such as brokerage commissions and other fees to financial intermediaries, which are not reflected in the table and example below.
Annual Fund Operating Expenses (expenses that you pay each year as a percentage of the value of your investment)
Management Fees
[ ]%
Distribution and/or Service (12b-1) Fees
0.00%
Other Expenses of the Fund(1)
[ ]%
Acquired Fund Fees and Expenses(1)
[ ]%
Total Annual Fund Operating Expenses
[ ]%
Expense Cap/Reimbursement(2)
[ ]%
Total Annual Fund Operating Expenses After
Expense Cap/Reimbursement
[ ]%
(1)
Estimated for the Fund's current fiscal year.
(2)
Rafferty Asset Management, LLC (“Rafferty” or the “Adviser”) has entered into an Operating Expense Limitation Agreement with the Fund. Under the Operating Expense Limitation Agreement, Rafferty has contractually agreed to waive all or a portion of its management fee and/or reimburse the Fund for Other Expenses through September 1, 2023, to the extent that the Fund’s Total Annual Fund Operating Expenses exceed [ ]% of the Fund’s average daily net assets (excluding, as applicable, among other expenses, taxes, swap financing and related costs, acquired fund fees and expenses, dividends or interest on short positions, other interest expenses, brokerage commissions and extraordinary expenses).Any expense waiver or reimbursement is subject to recoupment by the Adviser within the three years after the expense was waived/reimbursed only if Total Annual Fund Operating Expenses fall below the lesser of this percentage limitation and any percentage limitation in place at the time the expense was waived/reimbursed.
Example - This example is intended to help you compare the cost of investing in the Fund with the cost of investing in other mutual funds. The example assumes that you invest $10,000 in the Fund for the time periods indicated and then redeem all of your shares at the end of those periods. The example also assumes that your investment has a 5% return each year and that the Fund’s operating expenses remain the same. Although your actual costs may be higher or lower, based on these assumptions your costs would be:
1 Year
3 Years
$[ ]
$[ ]
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.
Principal Investment Strategy
The Fund seeks to achieve its investment objective through managed short exposure to CME bitcoin futures contracts (the “Bitcoin Futures”). The Fund does not invest directly in bitcoin.
Bitcoin is a digital asset, sometimes referred to as a digital currency or “cryptocurrency.” The ownership and operation of bitcoin is determined by participants in an online, peer-to-peer network sometimes referred to as the “Bitcoin Network”. The Bitcoin Network connects computers that run publicly accessible, or “open source,” software that follows the rules and procedures governing the Bitcoin Network. This is commonly referred to as the Bitcoin Protocol (and is described in more detail in the section entitled “The Bitcoin Protocol” in the Fund’s Prospectus). The value of bitcoin is not backed by any government, corporation, or other identified body. Instead, its value is determined in part by the supply and demand in markets created to facilitate trading of bitcoin. Ownership and transaction records for bitcoin are protected through public-key cryptography. The supply of bitcoin is determined by the Bitcoin Protocol. No single entity owns or operates the Bitcoin Network. The Bitcoin Network is collectively maintained by (1) a decentralized group of participants who run computer software that results in the recording and validation of transactions (commonly referred to as “miners”), (2) developers who propose improvements to the Bitcoin Protocol and the software that enforces the protocol and (3) users who choose which version of the bitcoin software to run. From time to time, the developers suggest changes to the bitcoin software. If a sufficient number of users and miners elect not to adopt the changes, a new digital asset, operating on the earlier version of the bitcoin software, may be created. This is often referred to as a “fork.” The price of the bitcoin futures contracts in which the Fund invests may reflect the impact of these forks.
In addition to obtaining short exposure by investing in a combination of financial instruments, such as swaps or futures contracts that provide short exposure to the Bitcoin Futures, the Fund may also short an ETF that invests in Bitcoin Futures. On a day-to-day basis, the Fund is expected to hold money market funds, deposit accounts with institutions with high quality credit ratings, and/or short-term debt instruments that have terms-to-maturity of less than 397 days and exhibit high quality credit profiles, including U.S. government securities and repurchase agreements.
The Fund will generally maintain its short exposure to Bitcoin Futures during periods in which the value of bitcoin is flat or declining as well as during periods in which the value of bitcoin is rising. In order to maintain short exposure to
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Bitcoin Futures, the Fund may need to buy futures contracts to close its short positions, as they near expiration and replace its short exposure with new futures contracts with a later expiration date. This is referred to as “rolling” a futures contract. Futures contracts with a longer term to expiration may be priced higher than futures contracts with a shorter term to expiration, a relationship called “contango.” When rolling futures contracts that are in contango, the Fund will buy the expiring contract at a relatively lower price and short a longer-dated contract at a relatively higher price.
Conversely, futures contracts with a longer term to expiration may be priced lower than futures contracts with a shorter term to expiration, a relationship called “backwardation.” When rolling futures contracts that are in backwardation, the Fund will sell the expiring short contract at a relatively higher price and replace it with a short position in a longer-dated contract at a relatively lower price.
The Fund is “non-diversified,” meaning that a relatively high percentage of its assets may be invested in a limited number of issuers of securities or financial instruments. Additionally, the Fund’s investment objective is not a fundamental policy and may be changed by the Fund’s Board of Trustees without shareholder approval.
The Fund will invest up to 25% of its total assets in a wholly owned and controlled subsidiary (the “Subsidiary”). The Fund’s investment in the Subsidiary is expected to provide the Fund with short exposure to Bitcoin Futures within the limits of the federal tax laws, which limit the ability of investment companies such as the Fund to invest directly in such instruments. Unlike the Fund, the Subsidiary may invest without limitation in commodity-linked derivatives and will invest principally in commodity futures and swap contracts, as well as certain short-term fixed-income investments intended to serve as margin or collateral for the Subsidiary’s derivatives positions. The Fund’s holdings will generally consist of short-term fixed income investments while the subsidiary will hold futures contracts. The Adviser will use its discretion to determine how much of the Fund’s total assets to invest in the Subsidiary, however, the Fund’s investment in the Subsidiary may not exceed 25% of the value of its total assets at the end of each quarter of its taxable year. The Subsidiary is a limited partnership operating under Cayman Islands law and is wholly-owned and controlled by the Fund and is advised by the Adviser. The Subsidiary has the same investment objective as the Fund and will follow the same general investment policies and restrictions. Except as noted, for purposes of this Prospectus, references to the Fund’s investment strategies and risks include those of its Subsidiary.
The Commodities Futures Trading Commission (the “CFTC”) has adopted certain requirements that subject registered investment companies and their advisors to regulation by the CFTC if a registered investment company invests more than a prescribed level of its net assets in CFTC-regulated futures, options and swaps, or if a registered investment company markets itself as providing investment exposure to such instruments. Due to the Fund’s use of CFTC-regulated futures and swaps above the prescribed levels, it is considered a “commodity pool” under the Commodity Exchange Act.
The Fund does not invest in, or seek short exposure to, the current “spot” or cash price of bitcoin. Investors seeking short exposure to the price of bitcoin should consider an investment other than the Fund.
Principal Investment Risks
An investment in the Fund entails risk. The Fund may not achieve its investment objective and there is a risk that you could lose all of your money invested in the Fund. The Fund is not a complete investment program. In addition, the Fund presents risks not traditionally associated with other mutual funds and ETFs. It is important that investors closely review all of the risks listed below and understand them before making an investment in the Fund.
Bitcoin and bitcoin futures are relatively new investments. They are subject to unique and substantial risks, including significant price volatility. The value of an investment in the Fund could decline significantly and without warning, including to zero. You should be prepared to lose your entire investment. The performance of bitcoin futures contracts and therefore the performance of the Fund may differ significantly from the performance of bitcoin.
Investment Strategy Risk The Fund invests in bitcoin futures contracts and other instruments that provide short exposure to bitcoin futures. The Fund does not invest directly in or hold bitcoin. The price of bitcoin futures should be expected to differ from the current cash price of bitcoin, which is sometimes referred to as the “spot” price of bitcoin. Consequently, the performance of the Fund should be expected to perform differently from the spot price of bitcoin. These differences could be significant.
Bitcoin Market and Volatility Risk The prices of bitcoin and bitcoin futures are highly volatile. The value of the Fund’s investments in Bitcoin Futures and other financial instruments providing short exposure to Bitcoin Futures could increase significantly and therefore the value of an investment in the Fund could decline significantly and without warning, including to zero due to its short investment strategy. If you are not prepared to accept significant and unexpected changes in the value of the Fund and the possibility that you could lose your entire investment in the Fund you should not invest in the Fund.
Bitcoin Futures Liquidity Risk The market for the bitcoin futures contracts is still developing and may be subject to periods of illiquidity. During such times it may be difficult or impossible to buy or sell a position at the desired price. Market disruptions or volatility can also make it difficult to find a counterparty willing to transact at a reasonable price and sufficient size. Illiquid markets may cause losses, which could be significant. The large size of the positions which the Fund may acquire increases the risk of illiquidity, may make its positions more difficult to liquidate, and may increase the losses incurred while trying to do so. Such large positions also may impact the price of bitcoin futures, which could decrease the correlation between the performance of bitcoin futures and the “spot” price of bitcoin.
Futures Strategy Risk The use of futures contracts is subject to special risk considerations. The primary risks associated with the use of futures contracts are (a) the
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imperfect correlation between the change in market value of the instruments held by the Fund and the price of the futures contract; (b) possible lack of a liquid secondary market for a futures contract and the resulting inability to close a futures contract when desired; (c) losses caused by unanticipated market movements, which are potentially unlimited; (d) the Adviser’s inability to predict correctly the direction of securities prices, interest rates, currency exchange rates and other economic factors; (e) the possibility that the counterparty will default in the performance of its obligations; and (f) if the Fund has insufficient cash, it may have to sell securities or financial instruments from its portfolio to meet daily variation margin requirements, which may lead to the Fund selling securities or financial instruments at a time when it may be disadvantageous to do so.
As a futures contract approaches its settlement date, the Fund may replace its futures contract position with a short position in a similar contract with a more distant settlement date. This process is referred to as “rolling” a futures contract. The successful use of such a strategy depends upon the Adviser’s skill and experience. Although the Fund will attempt to roll from an expiring futures contract to another contract that the Adviser believes will generate the greatest yield for the Fund, the Fund nevertheless may endure a cost to “roll” the contracts. In the event of a commodity futures market where near month contracts to expire trade at a higher price than the next expiring month contract, a situation referred to as “backwardation,” then absent the impact of the overall movement in commodity prices, the Fund may experience an adverse impact because it would be covering its short positon with more expensive contracts and creating a short position in less expense contracts when it “rolls” the futures contracts. Conversely, in the event of a commodity futures market where near month contracts trade at a lower price than next expiring month contract, a situation referred to as “contango,” then absent the impact of the overall movement in commodity prices, the Fund may benefit because it would be covering its short positions with less expensive contracts and creating a short position in more expensive contracts. The impact of backwardation and contango may cause the total return of the Fund to vary significantly from the total return of other price references(such as the spot price). In the event of a prolonged period of backwardation, and absent the impact of rising or falling commodity prices, there could be a significant negative impact on the Fund when it “rolls” its futures contract positions.
Bitcoin Futures Risk The market for bitcoin futures is less developed, and potentially less liquid and more volatile, than more established futures markets. While the bitcoin futures market has grown substantially since bitcoin futures commenced trading, there can be no assurance that this growth will continue. The price for bitcoin futures contracts is based on a number of factors, including the supply of and the demand for them. Market conditions and expectations, position limits, collateral requirements, and other factors each can impact the supply of and demand for bitcoin futures contracts. Recently increased demand paired with supply constraints and other factors have caused bitcoin futures to trade at a significant premium to the “spot”
price of bitcoin. Additional demand, including demand resulting from the purchase, or anticipated purchase, of bitcoin futures contracts by the Fund or other entities may increase that premium, perhaps significantly. It is not possible to predict whether or for how long such conditions will continue.
Market conditions and expectations, position limits, collateral requirements, and other factors may also limit the Fund’s ability to achieve its desired exposure to bitcoin futures contracts. If the Fund is unable to achieve such exposure it may not be able to meet its investment objective and the Fund’s returns may be different or lower than expected. Additionally, collateral requirements may require the Fund to liquidate its position, potentially incurring losses and expenses, when it otherwise would not do so. Investing in derivatives like bitcoin futures may be considered aggressive and may expose the Fund to significant risks. These risks include counterparty risk and liquidity risk. The performance of bitcoin futures contracts and bitcoin may differ and may not be correlated with each other, over short or long periods of time.
Bitcoin Futures Capacity Risk If the Fund’s ability to obtain exposure to bitcoin futures contracts consistent with its investment objective is disrupted for any reason including, for example, limited liquidity in the bitcoin futures market, a disruption to the bitcoin futures market, or as a result of margin requirements or position limits imposed by the Fund’s futures commission merchants (“FCMs”), the CME, or the CFTC, the Fund may not be able to achieve its investment objective and may experience significant losses. Any disruption in the Fund’s ability to obtain exposure to bitcoin futures contracts will cause the Fund’s performance to deviate from the performance of bitcoin futures. Additionally, the ability of the Fund to obtain exposure to bitcoin futures contracts is limited by certain tax rules that limit the amount the Fund can invest in its wholly-owned subsidiary as of the end of each tax quarter. Exceeding this amount may have tax consequences.
Bitcoin Risk Bitcoin is a relatively new innovation and the market for bitcoin is subject to rapid price swings, changes and uncertainty. The further development of the Bitcoin Network and the acceptance and use of bitcoin are subject to a variety of factors that are difficult to evaluate. The slowing, stopping or reversing of the development of the Bitcoin Network or the acceptance of bitcoin may adversely affect the price of bitcoin. Bitcoin is subject to the risk of fraud, theft, manipulation or security failures, operational or other problems that impact bitcoin trading venues. Additionally, if one or a coordinated group of miners were to gain control of 51% of the Bitcoin Network, they would have the ability to manipulate transactions, halt payments and fraudulently obtain bitcoin. A significant portion of bitcoin is held by a small number of holders sometimes referred to as “whales”. These holders have the ability to manipulate the price of bitcoin. Unlike the exchanges for more traditional assets, such as equity securities and futures contracts, bitcoin and bitcoin trading venues are largely unregulated. As a result of the lack of regulation, individuals or groups may engage in fraud or market manipulation (including using social media to promote bitcoin in a way
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that artificially increases the price of bitcoin). Investors may be more exposed to the risk of theft, fraud and market manipulation than when investing in more traditional asset classes. Over the past several years, a number of bitcoin trading venues have been closed due to fraud, failure or security breaches. Investors in bitcoin may have little or no recourse should such theft, fraud or manipulation occur and could suffer significant losses. Legal or regulatory changes may negatively impact the operation of the Bitcoin Network or restrict the use of bitcoin. The realization of any of these risks could result in a decline in the acceptance of bitcoin and consequently a reduction in the value of bitcoin and bitcoin futures. Finally, the creation of a “fork” (as described above) or a substantial giveaway of bitcoin (sometimes referred to as an “air drop”) may result in significant and unexpected declines in the value of bitcoin and bitcoin futures.
Cost of Futures Investments Risk As discussed above, when a bitcoin futures contract is nearing expiration, the Fund will “roll” the futures contract, which means it will generally sell such contract and use the proceeds to buy a bitcoin futures contract with a later expiration date. When rolling futures contracts that are in contango, the Fund would sell a lower priced, expiring contract and purchase a higher priced, longer-dated contract. The price difference between the expiring contract and longer-dated contract associated with rolling bitcoin futures is typically substantially higher than the price difference associated with rolling other futures contracts. Bitcoin futures have historically experienced extended periods of contango. Contango in the bitcoin futures market may have a significant adverse impact on the performance of the Fund and may cause bitcoin futures to underperform spot bitcoin. Both contango and backwardation may limit or prevent the Fund from achieving its investment objective.
Derivatives Risk Derivatives are financial instruments that derive value from the underlying reference asset or assets, such as digital assets, stocks, bonds, funds (including ETFs), interest rates or indexes. The Fund’s investments in derivatives may pose risks in addition to, and greater than, those associated with directly shorting securities, digital assets or other ordinary investments, including risk related to the market, leverage, imperfect daily correlations with underlying investments or the Fund’s other portfolio holdings, higher price volatility, lack of availability, counterparty risk, liquidity, valuation and legal restrictions. The use of derivatives is a highly specialized activity that involves investment techniques and risks different from those associated with ordinary portfolio securities transactions. The use of derivatives may result in larger losses or smaller gains than directly shorting securities or digital assets. When the Fund uses derivatives, there may be imperfect correlation between the value of the reference assets and the derivative, which may prevent the Fund from achieving its investment objective. Because derivatives often require only a limited initial investment, the use of derivatives may expose the Fund to losses in excess of those amounts initially invested.
The Fund may use a combination of swaps on the Bitcoin Futures and swaps on an ETF whose investment objective is to track the performance of Bitcoin Futures. The reference ETF may not closely track the performance of Bitcoin Futures
due to fees and other costs borne by the ETF and other factors, such as an ETF’s premium or discount. Thus, to the extent that the Fund invests in swaps that use an ETF as a reference asset, the Fund may be subject to greater correlation risk and may not achieve as high a degree of correlation with the Bitcoin Futures as it would if the Fund used swaps that utilized the Bitcoin Futures as the reference asset. Any financing, borrowing or other costs associated with using derivatives may also reduce the Fund’s return.
In addition, the Fund’s investments in derivatives are subject to the following risks:
Swap Agreements. Swap agreements are entered into primarily with major global financial institutions for a specified period, which may range from one day to more than one year. The swap agreements in which the Fund invests are generally traded in the over-the-counter market, which generally has less transparency than exchange-traded derivatives instruments. In a standard swap transaction, two parties agree to exchange the return (or differentials in rates of return) earned or realized on particular predetermined reference assets or underlying securities or instruments. The gross return to be exchanged or swapped between the parties is calculated based on a notional amount or the return on or change in value of a particular dollar amount invested in the Bitcoin Futures, a basket of securities representing a particular index or an ETF that seeks to track an index.
If the Bitcoin Futures experience a dramatic move that causes a material decline in the Fund’s net assets, the terms of a swap agreement between the Fund and its counterparty may permit the counterparty to immediately close out the swap transaction with the Fund. In that event, the Fund may be unable to enter into another swap agreement or invest in other derivatives to achieve exposure consistent with the Fund’s investment objective. This may prevent the Fund from achieving its investment objective, even if the Bitcoin Futures market later reverses all or a portion of its movement. This may result in the value of an investment in the Fund changing quickly and without warning.
Futures Contracts. Futures contracts are typically exchange-traded contracts that call for the future delivery of an asset at a certain price and date, or cash settlement of the terms of the contract. There may be an imperfect correlation between the changes in market value of the securities held by the Fund and the prices of futures contracts. There may not be a liquid secondary market for the futures contracts and the Fund may not be able to enter into a closing transaction. Regulations may also limit the number of positions that can be held or controlled by the Fund or the Adviser, thus limiting the ability of the Fund to implement its investment strategy. Futures markets are highly volatile and the use of futures may increase the Fund’s volatility. The value of an investment in the Fund may change quickly and without warning.
Counterparty Risk A counterparty may be unwilling or unable to make timely payments to meet its contractual obligations or may fail to return holdings that are subject to the agreement with the counterparty. If the counterparty
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or its affiliate becomes insolvent, bankrupt or defaults on its payment obligations to the Fund, the value of an investment held by the Fund may decline. Additionally, if any collateral posted by the counterparty for the benefit of the Fund is insufficient or there are delays in the Fund’s ability to access such collateral, the Fund may not be able to achieve its investment objective. The Fund may also not be able to exercise remedies, such as the termination of transactions, netting of obligations and realization on collateral if such remedies are stayed or eliminated under special resolutions adopted in the United States, the European Union and various other jurisdictions.
In addition, the Fund may enter into swap agreements with a limited number of counterparties, which may increase the Fund’s exposure to counterparty credit risk. Further, there is a risk that no suitable counterparties will be willing to enter into, or continue to enter into, transactions with the Fund and, as a result, the Fund may not be able to achieve its investment objective or may decide to change its investment objective.
Shorting Risk A short position is a financial arrangement in which the short position appreciates in value when a reference asset falls in value and depreciates in value when the reference asset rises in value. Over the long term, most assets are expected to rise in value and short positions are expected to depreciate in value. Short positions therefore may be riskier and more speculative than traditional investments.
Obtaining inverse or “short” exposure through the use of derivatives such as swap agreements or futures contracts may expose the Fund to certain risks such as an increase in volatility or decrease in the liquidity of the securities of the underlying short position. If the Fund were to experience this volatility or decreased liquidity, the Fund’s return may be lower, the Fund’s ability to obtain inverse exposure through the use of derivatives may be limited or the Fund may be required to obtain inverse exposure through alternative investment strategies that may be less desirable or more costly to implement. If the securities underlying the short positions are thinly traded or have a limited market due to various factors, including regulatory action, the Fund may be unable to meet its investment objective due to a lack of available securities or counterparties. The Fund may not be able to issue additional Creation Units during period when it cannot meet its investment objective due to these factors. Any income, dividends or payments by the assets underlying the Fund’s short positions will negatively impact the Fund.
Cash Transaction Risk - Unlike most ETFs, the Fund currently intends to effect creations and redemptions principally for cash, rather than principally for in-kind securities, because of the nature of the financial instruments held by the Fund. As a result, the Fund is not expected to be tax efficient and will incur brokerage costs related to buying and selling securities to achieve its investment objective thus incurring additional expenses than other funds that primarily effect creations and redemptions in kind.
Natural Disaster/Epidemic and Market Disruption Risk Natural or environmental disasters, such as earthquakes,
fires, floods, hurricanes, and tsunamis and widespread disease, including pandemics and epidemics have been and can be highly disruptive to economies and markets and have recently led, and may continue to lead to increased market volatility and significant market losses. Such natural disasters and health crises could exacerbate political, social and economic risks, and result in significant breakdowns, delays, shutdowns, social isolation, and other disruptions to important global, local and regional supply chains. A climate of uncertainty and panic, including the contagion of infectious viruses and diseases, may adversely affect global, regional, and local economies and reduce the availability of potential investment opportunities, and increases the difficulty of performing due diligence and modeling market conditions, potentially reducing the accuracy of financial projections. A widespread crisis would also affect the global economy in ways that cannot necessarily be foreseen. Adverse effects may be more pronounced for developing or emerging market countries that have less established health care systems. How long such events will last and whether they will continue or recur cannot be predicted.
Significant market volatility and market downturns may limit the Fund’s ability to sell securities and obtain short exposure to securities, and the Fund’s sales and short exposures may exacerbate the market volatility and downturn. Under such circumstances, the Fund may have difficulty achieving its investment objective for one or more trading days, which may adversely impact the Fund’s returns on those days and periods inclusive of those days. Alternatively, the Fund may incur higher costs (including swap financing costs) in order to achieve its investment objective and may be forced to purchase and sell securities (including other ETFs’ shares) at market prices that do not represent their fair value (including in the case of an ETF, its net asset value) or at times that result in differences between the price the Fund receives for the security or the value of the swap exposure and the market closing price of the security or the market closing value of the swap exposure. Under those circumstances, the Fund’s ability to achieve its investment objective is likely to be adversely affected, the market price of Fund shares may reflect a greater premium or discount to net asset value and bid-ask spreads in the Fund’s shares may widen, resulting in increased transaction costs for secondary market purchasers and sellers. The Fund may also incur additional tracking error due to the use of futures contracts or other securities.
The recent pandemic spread of the novel coronavirus known as COVID-19 has proven to be a market disrupting event. The impact of this virus, like other pandemics that may arise in the future, has negatively affected, and may continue to negatively affect, the economies of many nations, companies, and the global securities and commodities markets, including by reducing liquidity in the markets. It is impossible to predict the full effects, durations and costs of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Market Risk Turbulence in financial markets and reduced liquidity in equity, credit and fixed income markets may negatively affect many issuers worldwide, which could have an adverse effect on the Fund.
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Tax Risk To qualify as a regulated investment company (“RIC”), the Fund must meet certain requirements concerning the source of its income. The Fund’s investment in the Subsidiary is intended to provide exposure to commodities in a manner that is consistent with the “qualifying income” requirement applicable to RICs. The Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) has ceased issuing private letter rulings regarding whether the use of subsidiaries by investment companies to invest in commodity-linked instruments constitutes qualifying income. If the IRS determines that this source of income is not “qualifying income,” the Fund may cease to qualify as a RIC because the Fund has not received a private letter ruling and is not able to rely on private letter rulings issued to other taxpayers. Failure to qualify as a RIC could subject the Fund to adverse tax consequences, including a federal income tax on its net income at regular corporate rates, as well as a tax to shareholders on such income when distributed as an ordinary dividend.
Based on the principles underlying private letter rulings previously issued to other taxpayers, the Fund intends to treat its income from the Subsidiary as qualifying income without any such ruling from the IRS. The tax treatment of the Fund’s investment in the Subsidiary may be adversely affected by future legislation, court decisions, Treasury Regulations and/or guidance issued by the IRS that could affect whether income derived from such investments is “qualifying income” under Subchapter M of the Code, or otherwise affect the character, timing and/or amount of the Fund’s taxable income or any gains or distributions made by the Fund.
Subsidiary Investment Risk By investing in the Subsidiary, the Fund is indirectly exposed to the risks associated with the Subsidiary’s investments. Since the Subsidiary is organized under the law of the Cayman Islands and is not registered with the SEC under the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended, the Fund will not receive all of the protections offered to shareholders of registered investment companies. Changes in the laws of the United States and/or the Cayman Islands could result in the inability of the Fund and/or the Subsidiary to operate as intended, which may negatively affect the Fund and its shareholders.
Early Close/Trading Halt Risk An exchange or market may close or issue trading halts on specific securities, or the ability to buy or sell certain portfolio securities or financial instruments may be restricted, which may result in the Fund being unable to buy or sell certain securities or financial instruments. In such circumstances, the Fund may be unable to rebalance its portfolio, may be unable to accurately price its investments, may incur substantial losses and may limit or stop purchases of the Fund. If there is a significant intra-day market event and/or the value of the Bitcoin Futures significantly increases or decreases, the Fund may not meet its investment objective. Additionally, the Fund may close to purchases and sales of Shares prior to the close of regular trading on the NYSE Arca, Inc. and incur significant losses.
Non-Diversification Risk The Fund is non-diversified, which means it invests a high percentage of its assets in a limited number of securities. Its net asset value and total
return may fluctuate more or fall greater in times of weaker markets than a diversified fund.
Special Risks of Exchange-Traded Funds
Authorized Participants Concentration Risk. The Fund may have a limited number of financial institutions that may act as Authorized Participants. To the extent that those Authorized Participants exit the business or are unable to process creation and/or redemption orders, Shares may trade at larger bid-ask spreads and/or premiums or discounts to net asset value. Authorized Participant concentration risk may be heightened for a fund that invests in non-U.S. securities or other securities or instruments that have lower trading volumes.
Market Price Variance Risk. Fund Shares are listed for trading on NYSE Arca and can be bought and sold in the secondary market at market prices rather than at net asset value. The market prices of Shares will fluctuate in response to changes in the value of the Fund’s holdings and supply and demand for Shares. Shareholders that purchase or sell Shares on the secondary market may trade Shares at a price greater than net asset value (a premium) or less than net asset value (a discount). There may be times when the market price and the net asset value vary significantly. The Fund’s investment results are measured based upon the net asset value of the Fund over a period of time. Investors purchasing and selling Shares in the secondary market may not experience the same investment results as experienced by those creating and redeeming Shares at net asset value. There is no guarantee that an active secondary market will develop for Shares. To the extent that exchange specialists, market makers, Authorized Participants, or other participants are unavailable or unable to trade the Fund’s Shares and/or create or redeem Creation Units, market disruptions or significant market volatility, bid-ask spreads and premiums or discounts may widen.
Fund Shares Trading Risk/Bid-Ask Spread Risk. Investments in Fund shares are subject to risks as a result of their trading in the secondary market. For example, investors transacting in the secondary market may incur costs as a result of there being a (potentially significant) spread (or difference) between the price that purchasers are willing to pay for shares (the bid) and the price at which sellers are willing to sell shares (the ask). This spread, which is known as a bid-ask spread, will vary based on, among other things, market demand for shares, the liquidity of the Fund portfolio and other factors. In addition, like other securities that are listed on an exchange, Fund shares can be sold short. Accordingly, their price can be volatile and they can be subject to pressure from short sales. Further, trading in all listed securities, including Fund shares, can be halted, including due to market volatility triggering “circuit breaker” rules.
Fund Performance
No prior investment performance is provided for the Fund because it had not commenced operations prior to the date of this Prospectus. Upon commencement of operations, updated performance will be available on the Fund’s website at www.direxion.com/etfs?producttab=performance or by calling the Fund toll-free at (866) 476-7523.
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Management
Investment Adviser. Rafferty Asset Management, LLC is the Fund’s investment adviser.
Portfolio Managers. The following members of Rafferty’s investment team are jointly and primarily responsible for the day-to-day management of the Fund:
Portfolio Managers
Years of Service
with the Fund
Primary Title
Paul Brigandi
Since Inception
Portfolio Manager
Tony Ng
Since Inception
Portfolio Manager
Purchase and Sale of Fund Shares
The Fund’s individual shares may only be purchased or sold in the secondary market through a broker-dealer or other financial intermediaries at market price rather than at net asset value. The market price of Shares will fluctuate in response to changes in the value of the Fund’s holdings and supply and demand for the Shares, which may result in shareholders purchasing or selling the Shares on the secondary market at a market price that is greater than net asset value (a premium) or less than net asset value (a discount). Additionally, a shareholder may incur costs attributable to the difference between the highest price a buyer is willing to pay for the Fund’s Shares (bid) and the lowest price a seller is willing to accept for the Fund’s Shares (ask) when buying or selling Shares on the secondary market (the “bid-ask spread”) in addition to brokerage commissions. The bid-ask spread may vary over time for Shares based on trading volume and market liquidity. Recent information regarding the Fund Shares such as net asset value, market price, premiums and discounts, bid-ask spreads, and related other information is available on the Fund’s website, www.direxion.com/etfs?producttab=performance.
The Fund’s shares are not individually redeemable by submitting Shares to the Fund. The Fund will issue and redeem Shares for cash only to Authorized Participants in large blocks, known as creation units, each of which is comprised of 50,000 Shares.
If a market disruption or similar event occurs, making it not reasonably practicable for the Fund to dispose of its securities or to determine its net asset value, the Fund could seek to limit or suspend purchases of creation units. Under such circumstances, the Fund’s shares could trade at a significant premium or discount to their net asset value or wide bid-ask spreads and the Fund could experience substantial redemptions, which may cause the Fund to sell portfolio holdings, experience increased transaction costs and make greater taxable distributions. The Fund may seek to change its investment objective or the Fund may close. The Fund could liquidate all, or a portion of, its assets, which may be at unfavorable prices.
Tax Information
The Fund intends to make distributions that may be taxed as ordinary income or long-term capital gains. Those distributions will be subject to federal income tax and may also be subject to state and local taxes, unless you are investing through a tax-deferred arrangement, such as a 401(k) plan or an individual retirement account. Distributions or investments made through tax-deferred arrangements may be taxed later upon withdrawal. Distributions by the Fund may be significantly higher than those of most other ETFs.
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 or financial advisor), the Fund and/or its Adviser may pay the intermediary for the sale of Fund shares and related services. These payments may create a conflict of interest by influencing the broker-dealer or other financial intermediary and your salesperson to recommend the Fund over another investment. Ask your salesperson or visit your financial intermediary’s website for more information.
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Overview of the Fund
The Direxion Shares ETF Trust (the “Trust”) is a registered investment company offering a number of separate exchange-traded funds (“ETFs”). This Prospectus describes the Direxion Bitcoin Strategy Bear ETF (the “Fund”). Rafferty Asset Management, LLC serves as the investment advisor to the Fund ("Rafferty" or the "Adviser").
The Fund seeks capital appreciation. The Fund seeks to achieve its investment objective through managed short exposure to bitcoin futures contracts (the “Bitcoin Futures”).
Bitcoin
Bitcoin is a digital asset which serves as the unit of account on an open-source, decentralized, peer-to-peer computer network. Bitcoin may be used to pay for goods and services, stored for future use, or converted to a government-issued currency. As of the date of this Prospectus, the adoption of bitcoin for these purposes has been limited. The value of bitcoin is not backed by any government, corporation, or other identified body.
The value of bitcoin is determined in part by the supply of (which is limited), and demand for, bitcoin in the markets for exchange that have been organized to facilitate the trading of bitcoin. By design, the supply of bitcoin is limited to 21 million bitcoins. As of the date of this Prospectus, there are approximately 19 million bitcoins in circulation.
Bitcoin is maintained on the decentralized, open source, peer-to-peer computer network (the “Bitcoin Network”). No single entity owns or operates the Bitcoin Network. The Bitcoin Network is accessed through software and governs bitcoin’s creation and movement. The source code for the Bitcoin Network, often referred to as the Bitcoin Protocol, is open-source, and anyone can contribute to its development.
The Bitcoin Network
The infrastructure of the Bitcoin Network is collectively maintained by participants in the Bitcoin Network, which include miners, developers, and users. Miners validate transactions and are currently compensated for that service in bitcoin. Developers maintain and contribute updates to the Bitcoin Network’s source code often referred to as the Bitcoin Protocol. Users access the Bitcoin Network using open-source software. Anyone can be a user, developer, or miner.
Bitcoin is maintained on a digital transaction ledger commonly known as a “blockchain.” A blockchain is a type of shared and continually reconciled database, stored in a decentralized manner on the computers of certain users of the digital asset and is protected by cryptography. The Bitcoin Blockchain contains a record and history for each bitcoin transaction.
New bitcoin is created by “mining.” Miners use specialized computer software and hardware to solve a highly complex mathematical problem presented by the Bitcoin Protocol. The first miner to successfully solve the problem is permitted to add a block of transactions to the Bitcoin Blockchain. The new block is then confirmed through acceptance by a majority of users who maintain versions of the blockchain on their individual computers. Miners that successfully add a block to the Bitcoin Blockchain are automatically rewarded with a fixed amount of bitcoin for their effort plus any transaction fees paid by transferors whose transactions are recorded in the block. This reward system is the means by which new bitcoin enter circulation and is the mechanism by which versions of the blockchain held by users on a decentralized network are kept in consensus.
The Bitcoin Protocol
The Bitcoin Protocol is an open source project with no official company or group in control. Anyone can review the underlying code and suggest changes. There are, however, a number of individual developers that regularly contribute to a specific distribution of bitcoin software known as the “Bitcoin Core.” Developers of the Bitcoin Core loosely oversee the development of the source code. There are many other compatible versions of the bitcoin software, but Bitcoin Core is the most widely adopted and currently provides the de facto standard for the Bitcoin Protocol. The core developers are able to access, and can alter, the Bitcoin Network source code and, as a result, they are responsible for quasi-official releases of updates and other changes to the Bitcoin Network’s source code.
However, because bitcoin has no central authority, the release of updates to the Bitcoin Network’s source code by the core developers does not guarantee that the updates will be automatically adopted by the other participants. Users and miners must accept any changes made to the source code by downloading the proposed modification and that modification is effective only with respect to those bitcoin users and miners who choose to download it. As a practical matter, a modification to the source code becomes part of the Bitcoin Network only if it is accepted by participants that collectively have a majority of the processing power on the Bitcoin Network.
If a modification is accepted by only a percentage of users and miners, a division will occur such that one network will run the pre-modification source code and the other network will run the modified source code. Such a division is known as a “fork.”
Bitcoin Futures
A futures contract is a standardized contract traded on, or subject to the rules of, an exchange to buy or sell a specified type and quantity of a particular underlying asset at a designated price. Futures contracts are traded on a wide variety of
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underlying assets, including bitcoin, bonds, interest rates, agricultural products, stock indexes, currencies, digital assets, energy, metals, economic indicators and statistical measures. The contract unit (i.e., the total amount of the underlying asset referenced in each futures contract) and calendar term of futures contracts on a particular underlying asset are identical and are not subject to any negotiation, other than with respect to price and the number of contracts traded between the buyer and seller. Futures contracts expire on a designated date, referred to as the “expiration date.”
The Fund generally deposits cash (also known as “margin”) with an FCM for its open positions in futures contracts. The margin requirements or position limits may be based on the notional exposure (i.e., the total dollar value of exposure the Fund has to the asset that underlies the futures contract) of the futures contracts or the number of futures contracts purchased. The FCM, in turn, generally transfers such deposits to the clearing house to protect the clearing house against non-payment by the Fund. “Variation Margin” is the amount of cash that each party agrees to pay to or receive from the other to reflect the daily fluctuation in the value of the futures contract. The clearing house becomes substituted for each counterparty to a futures contract and, in effect, guarantees performance. In addition, the FCM may require the Fund to deposit additional collateral in excess of the clearing house’s requirements for the FCM’s own protection. Margin requirements for CME Bitcoin Futures are substantially higher than margin requirements for many other types of futures contracts.
CME Bitcoin Futures commenced trading on the CME Globex electronic trading platform on December 17, 2017 under the ticker symbol “BTC”. CME Micro Bitcoin Futures commenced trading on the CME Globex electronic trading platform on May 3, 2021 under the ticker symbol “MBT“. CME Bitcoin Futures and CME Micro Bitcoin Futures are cash-settled in U.S. dollars, based on the CME CF Bitcoin Reference Rate (“BRR”). The BRR is a volume-weighted composite of U.S. dollar-bitcoin trading activity on the Constituent Exchanges. The Constituent Exchanges are selected by CF Benchmarks based on the Constituent Exchange Criteria. The Constituent Exchange Criteria requires each Constituent Exchange to implement policies and procedures to designed to ensure fair and transparent market conditions and to identify and impede illegal, unfair or manipulative trading practices. Additionally, each Constituent Exchange must comply with, among other things, capital market regulations, money transmission regulations, client money custody regulations, know-your-client regulations and anti-money laundering regulations.
Each Constituent Exchange is reviewed annually by an oversight committee established by CF Benchmarks to confirm that the Constituent Exchange continues to meet all criteria. CF Benchmarks and the BRR are subject to United Kingdom Financial Conduct Authority Regulation.
Rolling of the Bitcoin Futures
Futures contracts expire on a designated date, referred to as the “expiration date.” The Fund generally seeks to provide short exposure to “front month” CME bitcoin futures contracts. “Front month” contracts are the monthly contracts with the nearest expiration date. CME Bitcoin Futures are cash settled on their expiration date unless they are “rolled” prior to expiration. The Fund intends to “roll” its CME Bitcoin Futures prior to expiration. Typically, the Fund will roll to the next “nearby” CME Bitcoin Futures. The “nearby” contracts are those contracts with the next closest expiration date.
Investment in the Cayman Subsidiary
The Fund expects to gain exposure to bitcoin futures contracts by investing a portion of its assets in a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Fund organized under the laws of the Cayman Islands, the [Direxion Bitcoin Strategy Portfolio] (the “Portfolio”). The Portfolio will be managed and advised by the Adviser.
Equity Securities of Bitcoin-Related Companies
If the Fund is unable to obtain the desired short exposure to bitcoin futures contracts because it is approaching or has exceeded position limits or because of liquidity or other constraints, the Fund may obtain short exposure to equity securities of “bitcoin-related companies.” For these purposes, bitcoin-related companies are companies listed on a U.S. stock exchange that the Advisor believes provide returns that generally correspond, or are closely related, to the performance of bitcoin or bitcoin futures. For example, the Fund may obtain short exposure to U.S. listed companies engaged in digital asset mining or offering digital asset trading platforms.
Shares of the Fund (“Shares”), upon commencement of operations, will be listed and traded on the NYSE Arca, Inc. (the “Exchange”), where the market prices for the Shares may be different from the intra-day value of the Shares disseminated by the Exchange and from their net asset value (“NAV”). Unlike conventional mutual funds, Shares are not individually redeemable directly with the Fund. Rather, the Fund issues and redeems Shares on a continuous basis at NAV only in large blocks of Shares called “Creation Units.” A Creation Unit consists of [50,000] Shares. Creation Units of the Fund are issued and redeemed for cash. As a result, retail investors generally will not be able to purchase or redeem Shares directly from, or with, the Fund. Most retail investors will purchase or sell Shares in the secondary market through a broker.
There is no assurance that the Fund will achieve its investment objective and an investment in the Fund could lose money. No single Fund is a complete investment program.
Changes in Investment Objective. The Fund’s investment objective is not a fundamental policy and may be changed by the Fund's Board of Trustees without shareholder approval.
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Additional Information Regarding Principal Risks
An investment in the Fund entails risks. The Fund may not achieve its investment objective and may decline in value. In addition, the Fund presents risks not traditionally associated with other mutual funds and ETFs. It is important that investors closely review and understand all of the Fund’s risks before making an investment. The Fund is not a complete investment program. Risks of investing in the Fund are described below.
Bitcoin and bitcoin futures are relatively new investments. They are subject to unique and substantial risks, including significant price volatility. The value of an investment in the Fund could decline significantly and without warning, including to zero. You should be prepared to lose your entire investment. The performance of bitcoin futures contracts and therefore the performance of the Fund may differ significantly from the performance of bitcoin.
Bitcoin and Bitcoin Futures Risk
Investments linked to bitcoin can be highly volatile compared to investments in traditional securities and the Fund may experience sudden and large losses. The markets for bitcoin and bitcoin futures may become illiquid. These markets may fluctuate widely based on a variety of factors including changes in overall market movements, political and economic events, wars, acts of terrorism, natural disasters (including disease, epidemics and pandemics) and changes in interest rates or inflation rates. An investor should be prepared to lose the full principal value of their investment suddenly and without warning.
A number of factors affecting the price and market for bitcoin.
Supply and demand for bitcoin It is believed that speculators and investors who seek to profit from trading and holding bitcoin currently account for a significant portion of bitcoin demand. Such speculation regarding the potential future appreciation in the price of bitcoin may artificially inflate or deflate the price of bitcoin. Market fraud and/or manipulation and other fraudulent trading practices such as the intentional dissemination of false or misleading information (e.g., false rumors) can, among other things, lead to a disruption of the orderly functioning of markets, significant market volatility, and cause the value of bitcoin futures to fluctuate quickly and without warning.
Supply and demand for bitcoin futures contracts The price for bitcoin futures contracts is based on a number of factors, including the supply of and the demand for bitcoin futures contracts. Market conditions and expectations, position limits, collateral requirements, and other factors each can impact the supply of and demand for bitcoin futures contracts. Recently, increased demand paired with supply constraints and other factors have caused bitcoin futures to trade at a significant premium to the “spot” price of bitcoin. Additional demand, including demand resulting from the purchase, or anticipated purchase, of futures contracts by the Fund or other entities may increase that premium, perhaps significantly. It is not possible to predict whether or how long such conditions will continue.
Adoption and use of bitcoin The continued adoption of bitcoin will require growth in its usage as a means of payment. Even if growth in bitcoin adoption continues in the near
or medium-term, there is no assurance that bitcoin usage will continue to grow over the long-term. A contraction in the use of bitcoin may result in a lack of liquidity, increased volatility in and a reduction to the price of bitcoin.
The regulatory environment relating to bitcoin and bitcoin futures The regulation of bitcoin, digital assets and related products and services continues to evolve. The inconsistent and sometimes conflicting regulatory landscape may make it more difficult for bitcoin businesses to provide services, which may impede the growth of the bitcoin economy and have an adverse effect on consumer adoption of bitcoin. There is a possibility of future regulatory change altering, perhaps to a material extent, the ability to buy and sell bitcoin and bitcoin futures. Similarly, future regulatory changes could impact the ability of the Fund to achieve its investment objective or alter the nature of an investment in the Fund or the ability of the Fund to continue to operate as planned.
Margin requirements and position limits applicable to bitcoin futures contracts Margin levels for bitcoin futures contracts are substantially higher than the margin requirements for more established futures contracts. Additionally, the FCMs utilized by the Fund may impose margin requirements in addition to those imposed by the exchanges. Margin requirements are subject to change, and may be raised in the future by the exchanges and the FCMs. High margin requirements could prevent the Fund from obtaining sufficient exposure to bitcoin futures and may adversely affect its ability to achieve its investment objective. Further, FCMs utilized by the Funds may impose limits on the amount of exposure to futures contracts the Fund can obtain through such FCMs. If the Fund cannot obtain sufficient exposure through its FCMs, the Fund may not be able to achieve its investment objective.
Largely unregulated marketplace Bitcoin, the Bitcoin Network and the bitcoin trading venues are relatively new and, in most cases, largely unregulated. As a result of this lack of regulation, individuals, or groups may engage in insider trading, fraud or market manipulation with respect to bitcoin. Such manipulation could cause investors in bitcoin to lose money, possibly the entire value of their investments. Over the past several years, a number of bitcoin trading venues have been closed due to fraud, failure or security breaches. The nature of the assets held at bitcoin trading venues make them appealing targets for hackers and a number of bitcoin trading venues have been victims of cybercrimes and other fraudulent activity. These activities have caused significant, in some cases total, losses for bitcoin investors. Investors in bitcoin may have little or no recourse should such theft, fraud or manipulation occur. There is no central registry showing which individuals or entities own
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bitcoin or the quantity of bitcoin that is owned by any particular person or entity. There are no regulations in place that would prevent a large holder of bitcoin or a group of holders from selling their bitcoins, which could depress the price of bitcoin, or otherwise attempting to manipulate the price of bitcoin or the Bitcoin Network. Events that reduce user confidence in bitcoin, the Bitcoin Network and the fairness of bitcoin trading venues could have a negative impact on the price of bitcoin and the value of an investment in the Fund.
Cybersecurity As a digital asset bitcoin is subject to the risk that malicious actors will exploit flaws in its code or structure that will allow them to, among other things, steal bitcoin held by others, control the blockchain, steal personally identifying information, or issue significant amounts of bitcoin in contravention of the Bitcoin Protocols. The occurrence of any of these events is likely to have a significant adverse impact on the price and liquidity of bitcoin and bitcoin futures contracts and therefore the value of an investment in the Fund. Additionally, the Bitcoin Network’s functionality relies on the Internet. A significant disruption of Internet connectivity affecting large numbers of users or geographic areas could impede the functionality of the Bitcoin Network. Any technical disruptions or regulatory limitations that affect Internet access may have an adverse effect on the Bitcoin Network, the price of bitcoin and the value of an investment in the Fund.
Declining mining compensation Transactions in bitcoin are processed by miners which are primarily compensated in bitcoin based on a declining payment schedule and, in some instances, by voluntary fees paid by participants. If this compensation is not sufficient to incentivize miners to process transactions, the confirmation process for transactions may slow and the Bitcoin Network may become more vulnerable to malicious actors. These and similar events may have a significant adverse effect on the price and liquidity of bitcoin and the value of an investment in the Fund.
Forks The open source nature of the Bitcoin Protocol permits any developer to review the underlying code and suggest changes. If some users and miners adopt a change while others do not and that change is not compatible with the existing software, a fork occurs. Several forks have already occurred in the Bitcoin Network resulting in the creation of new, separate digital assets. Which fork will be considered to be bitcoin for purposes of the BRR is determined by CF Benchmarks. Forks and similar events could adversely effect the price and liquidity of bitcoin and the value of an investment in the Fund.
Costs of rolling futures contracts Futures contracts with a longer term to expiration may be priced higher than futures contracts with a shorter term to expiration, a relationship called “contango.” Conversely, futures contracts with a longer term to expiration may be priced lower than futures contracts with a shorter term to expiration, a relationship called “backwardation.” When rolling futures contracts that are in contango, the Fund may sell the expiring bitcoin futures at a lower price and buy a longer-dated bitcoin futures at a higher price. When rolling futures contracts that are in backwardation, the Fund may sell the expiring bitcoin futures
at a higher price and buy the longer-dated bitcoin futures at a lower price. The price difference between the expiring contract and longer-dated contract associated with rolling bitcoin futures is typically substantially higher than the price difference associated with rolling other futures contracts. Bitcoin futures have historically experienced extended periods of contango. Contango in the bitcoin futures market may have a significant adverse impact on the performance of the Fund and may cause bitcoin futures to underperform spot bitcoin. Both contango and backwardation may limit or prevent the Fund from achieving its investment objective. Additionally because of the frequency with which the Fund may roll futures contracts, the impact of contango or backwardation on Fund performance may be greater than it would have been if the Fund rolled futures contracts less frequently.
Liquidity risk The market for bitcoin futures contracts is still developing and may be subject to periods of illiquidity. During such times it may be difficult or impossible to buy or sell a position at the desired price. Market disruptions or volatility can also make it difficult to find a counterparty willing to transact at a reasonable price and sufficient size. Illiquid markets may cause losses, which could be significant. The large size of the positions which the Fund may acquire increases the risk of illiquidity, may make its positions more difficult to liquidate, and may increase the losses incurred while trying to do so. It is also possible that, if the Fund’s assets become significant relative to the overall market, the large size of its positions potentially could impact futures contracts prices and contribute to illiquidity. Limits imposed by counterparties, exchanges or other regulatory organizations, such as accountability levels, position limits and daily price fluctuation limits, may contribute to a lack of liquidity and have a negative impact on Fund performance. During periods of market illiquidity, including periods of market disruption and volatility, it may be difficult or impossible for a Fund to buy or sell futures at desired prices or at all.
Environmental risk Bitcoin mining currently requires computing hardware that consumes large amounts of electricity. By way of electrical power generation, many bitcoin miners rely on fossil fuels to power their operations. Public perception of the impact of bitcoin mining on climate change may reduce demand for bitcoin and increase the likelihood of regulation that limits bitcoin mining or restricts energy usage by bitcoin miners. Such events could have a negative impact on the price of bitcoin, bitcoin futures, and the performance of the Fund.
Derivatives Risk
The Fund uses investment techniques, including investments in derivatives, such as swaps, futures and forward contracts, and options that may be considered aggressive. The use of derivatives may result in larger losses or smaller gains than than shorting the underlying financial instruments. Investments in these derivatives may generally be subject to market risks that cause their prices to fluctuate more than an investment directly in a security and may increase the volatility of the Fund. The use of derivatives may expose the Fund to additional risks such as counterparty risk, liquidity
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risk and increased correlation risk. When the Fund uses derivatives, there may be imperfect correlation between the value of the underlying reference assets and the derivative, which may prevent the Fund from achieving its investment objective.
The Fund may use swaps on Bitcoin Futures. If Bitcoin Futures has a dramatic intraday move in value that causes a material decline in the Fund’s NAV, the terms of the swap agreement between the Fund and its counterparty may allow the counterparty to immediately close out of the transaction with the Fund. In such circumstances, the Fund may be unable to enter into another swap agreement or invest in other derivatives to achieve the desired exposure consistent with the Fund’s investment objective. This may prevent the Fund from achieving its investment objective particularly if Bitcoin Futures reverses all or a portion of its intraday move by the end of the day. The value of an investment in the Fund may change quickly and without warning. Any financing, borrowing or other costs associated with using derivatives may also have the effect of lowering the Fund’s return.
In addition, the Fund’s investments in derivatives are subject to the following risks:
Swap Agreements. Swap agreements are entered into primarily with major global financial institutions for a specified period which may range from one day to more than one year. In a standard swap transaction, two parties agree to exchange the return (or differentials in rates of return) earned or realized on particular predetermined reference or underlying securities or instruments. The gross return to be exchanged or swapped between the parties is calculated based on a notional amount or the return on or change in value of a particular dollar amount invested in a reference asset.
Futures Contracts. A futures contact is a contract to purchase or sell a particular security, or the cash value of an index, at a specified future date at a price agreed upon when the contract is made. Under such contracts, no delivery of the actual securities is required. Rather, upon the expiration of the contract, settlement is made by exchanging cash in an amount equal to the difference between the contract price and the closing price of a security or index at expiration, net of the variation margin that was previously paid.
Forward Contracts. Forward contracts are two-party contracts pursuant to which one party agrees to pay the counterparty a fixed price for an agreed upon amount of commodities, securities, or the cash value of the commodities, securities or the securities index, at an agreed upon date. A forward currency contract is an obligation to buy 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.
Options. An option is a contract that gives the purchaser (holder) of the option, in return for a premium, the right to buy from (call) or sell to (put) the seller (writer) of the option the security or currency underlying the option at a specified exercise price at any time during the term of the option (normally not exceeding nine months). The
writer of an option has the obligation upon exercise of the option to deliver the underlying security or currency upon payment of the exercise price or to pay the exercise price upon delivery of the underlying security or currency.
Options on Futures Contracts. An option on a futures contract provides the holder with the right to enter into a “long” position in the underlying futures contract, in the case of a call option, or a “short” position in the underlying futures contract in the case of a put option, at a fixed exercise price to a stated expiration date. Upon exercise of the option by the holder, the contract market clearing house establishes a corresponding short position for the writer of the option, in the case of a call option, or a corresponding long position, in the case of a put option.
Counterparty Risk
Counterparty risk is the risk that a counterparty is unwilling or unable to make timely payments to meet its contractual obligations with respect to the amount the Fund expects to receive from a counterparty to a financial instrument entered into by the Fund. The Fund generally enters into derivatives transactions, such as the swap agreements, with counterparties such that either party can terminate the contract without penalty prior to the termination date. The Fund may be negatively impacted if a counterparty becomes bankrupt or otherwise fails to perform its obligations under such a contract, or if any collateral posted by the counterparty for the benefit of the Fund is insufficient or there are delays in the Fund’s ability to access such collateral. If the counterparty becomes bankrupt or defaults on its payment obligations to the Fund, it may experience significant delays in obtaining any recovery, may obtain only a limited recovery or obtain no recovery and the value of an investment held by the Fund may decline. The Fund may also not be able to exercise remedies, such as the termination of transactions, netting of obligations and realization on collateral, if such remedies are stayed or eliminated under special resolutions adopted in the United States, the European Union and various other jurisdictions. European Union rules and regulations intervene when a financial institution is experiencing financial difficulties and could reduce, eliminate, or convert to equity a counterparty’s obligations to the Fund (sometimes referred to as a “bail in”).
The Fund typically enters into transactions with counterparties that present minimal risks based on the Adviser’s assessment of the counterparty’s creditworthiness, or its capacity to meet its financial obligations during the term of the derivative agreement or contract. The Adviser considers factors such as counterparty credit rating among other factors when determining whether a counterparty is creditworthy. The Adviser regularly monitors the creditworthiness of each counterparty with which the Fund transacts. The Fund generally enters into swap agreements or other financial instruments with major, global financial institutions and seeks to mitigate risks by generally requiring that the counterparties for the Fund to post collateral, marked to market daily, in an amount approximately equal to what the counterparty owes the Fund, subject to certain minimum thresholds. To the extent any such collateral is insufficient
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or there are delays in accessing the collateral, the Fund will be exposed to the risks described above. If a counterparty’s credit ratings decline, the Fund may be subject to a bail-in, as described above.
In addition, the Fund may enter into swap agreements with a limited number of counterparties, which may increase the Fund’s exposure to counterparty credit risk. The Fund does not specifically limit its counterparty risk with respect to any single counterparty. There is a risk that no suitable counterparties are willing to enter into, or continue to enter into, transactions with the Fund and, as a result, the Fund may not be able to achieve its investment objective or may decide to change its leveraged investment objective. Additionally, although a counterparty to a centrally cleared swap agreement and/or an exchange-traded futures contract is often backed by a futures commission merchant (“FCM”) or a clearing organization that is further backed by a group of financial institutions, there may be instances in which a FCM or a clearing organization would fail to perform its obligations, causing significant losses to the Fund.
Shorting Risk
Shareholders should lose money when the value of the Bitcoin Contracts rises, which is a result that is the opposite from traditional index tracking funds. The Fund may engage in short sales designed to earn the Fund a profit from the decline in the price of particular securities, baskets of securities or indices. Short sales are transactions in which the Fund borrows securities from a broker and sells the borrowed securities. The Fund is obligated to replace the security borrowed by purchasing the security at the market price at the time of replacement. If the market price of the underlying security goes down between the time the Fund sells the security and buys it back, the Fund will realize a gain on the transaction. Conversely, if the underlying security goes up in price during the period, the Fund will realize a loss on the transaction. Any such loss is increased by the amount of premium or interest the Fund must pay to the lender of the security. Likewise, any gain will be decreased by the amount of premium or interest the Fund must pay to the lender of the security. The Fund’s investment performance may also suffer if the Fund is required to close out a short position earlier than it had intended. This would occur if the securities lender required the Fund to deliver the securities the Fund borrowed at the commencement of the short sale and the Fund was unable to borrow the securities from another securities lender or otherwise obtain the security by other means. In addition, the Fund may be subject to expenses related to short sales that are not typically associated with investing in securities directly, such as costs of borrowing and margin account maintenance costs associated with the Fund’s open short positions. As the holder of a short position, the Fund also is responsible for paying the dividends and interest accruing on the short position, which is an expense to the Fund that could cause the Fund to lose money on the short sale and may adversely affect its performance.
The Fund may also seek inverse or “short” exposure through the use of derivatives such as swap agreements or futures contracts, which may expose the Fund to certain risks such as an increase in volatility or decrease in the liquidity of
the securities of the underlying short position. If the Fund were to experience this volatility or decreased liquidity, the Fund’s return may be lower, the Fund’s ability to obtain inverse exposure through the use of derivatives may be limited or the Fund may be required to obtain inverse exposure through alternative investment strategies that may be less desirable or more costly to implement. If the securities underlying the short positions are thinly traded or have a limited market due to various factors, including regulatory action, the Fund may be unable to meet its investment objective due to a lack of available securities or counterparties. The Fund may not be able to issue additional Creation Units during period when it cannot meet its investment objective due to these factors. Any income, dividends or payments by the assets underlying the Fund’s short positions will negatively impact the Fund.
Cash Transaction Risk
Unlike most ETFs, the Fund currently intends to effect creation and redemptions principally for cash, rather than principally for in-kind securities, because of the nature of the financial instruments held by the Fund. As such, investment in the Fund is not expected to be tax efficient and will incur brokerage costs related to buying and selling securities to achieve the Fund’s investment objective. ETFs generally are able to make in-kind redemptions and avoid being taxed on gains on the distributed portfolio securities at the fund level. Because the Fund currently intends to effect redemptions principally for cash, the Fund may be required to sell portfolio securities in order to obtain the cash needed to distribute redemption proceeds. The Fund may recognize a capital gain on these sales that might not have been incurred if such Fund had made a redemption in-kind and this may decrease the tax efficiency of the Fund compared to ETFs that utilize an in-kind redemption process. Additionally, because the Funds are conducting the portfolio transactions rather than receiving securities in-kind the Funds will incur brokerage commissions and other related expenses thus the Funds’ expenses will be higher than funds that utilize in-kind creations and redemptions.
Natural Disaster/Epidemic and Market Disruption Risk
Natural or environmental disasters, such as earthquakes, fires, floods, hurricanes, and tsunamis and widespread disease, including pandemics and epidemics have been and can be highly disruptive to economies and markets and have recently led, and may continue to lead to increased market volatility and significant market losses. Such natural disasters and health crises could exacerbate political, social and economic risks, and result in significant breakdowns, delays, shutdowns, social isolation, and other disruptions to important global, local and regional supply chains. A climate of uncertainty and panic, including the contagion of infectious viruses and diseases, may adversely affect global, regional, and local economies and reduce the availability of potential investment opportunities, and increases the difficulty of performing due diligence and modeling market conditions, potentially reducing the accuracy of financial projections. A widespread crisis would also affect the global economy in ways that cannot necessarily be foreseen. Adverse effects may be more pronounced for developing or emerging market countries
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Direxion Shares ETF Trust Prospectus

that have less established health care systems. How long such events will last and whether they will continue or recur cannot be predicted.
Significant market volatility and market downturns may limit the Fund’s ability to adjust its required exposure by buying or selling securities or financial instruments or obtaining additional long or short exposure or reducing its long or short exposure to securities or financial instruments, and the Fund’s sales and exposures may exacerbate the market volatility and downturn. Under such circumstances, the Fund may have difficulty achieving its investment objective for one or more trading days, which may adversely impact the Fund’s returns on those days and periods inclusive of those days. Alternatively, the Fund may incur higher costs (including swap financing costs) in order to achieve its investment objective and may be forced to purchase and sell securities or financial instruments (including other ETFs’ shares) at market prices that do not represent their fair value (including in the case of an ETF, its NAV) or at times that result in differences between the price the Fund receives for the securities or financial instruments or the value of the swap exposure and the market closing price of the securities or financial instruments or the market closing value of the swap exposure. Under those circumstances, the Fund’s ability to track the Bitcoin Futures is likely to be adversely affected, the market price of Fund shares may reflect a greater premium or discount to NAV and bid-ask spreads in the Fund’s shares may widen, resulting in increased transaction costs for secondary market purchasers and sellers. The Fund may also incur additional tracking error due to the use of futures contracts or other securities or financial instruments that are not perfectly correlated to Bitcoin Futures.
The recent pandemic spread of the novel coronavirus known as COVID-19 has proven to be a market disrupting event. The impact of this virus, like other pandemics that may arise in the future, has negatively affected and may continue to negatively affect the economies of many nations, companies and the global securities and commodities markets, including by reducing liquidity in the markets. It is impossible to predict the full effects, durations and costs of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Market Risk
Turbulence in financial markets and reduced liquidity in equity, credit and fixed income markets may negatively affect many issuers worldwide, which could have an adverse effect on the Fund.
Historically, market cycles have included long term positive and negative periods. Since approximately 2008, the market has largely moved upward and accordingly, the market may be poised for a correction or downturn, which may adversely impact the Fund. The Fund typically would lose value on a day when the value of the Bitcoin Futures increases.
Subsidiary Investment Risk
Investment in the Subsidiary generally will not exceed 25% of the value of its total assets (ignoring any subsequent market appreciation in the Subsidiary’s value). This limitation is pursuant to the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, and is measured at each taxable year quarter-end. The Subsidiary, which is organized under the laws of the Cayman
Islands, is wholly-owned and controlled by the Fund. The Fund will invest in the Subsidiary in order to gain exposure to the investment returns of the commodities markets within the limitations of the federal tax law requirements applicable to regulated investment companies. The Subsidiary will invest principally in commodity and financial futures, options and swap contracts, as well as certain fixed-income investments intended to serve as margin or collateral for the Subsidiary’s derivatives positions. Unlike the Fund, the Subsidiary may invest without limitation in commodity-linked derivatives, though the Subsidiary will comply with the same 1940 Act asset coverage requirements with respect to its investments in commodity-linked derivatives that apply to the Fund’s transactions in these instruments. To the extent applicable, the Subsidiary otherwise is subject to the same fundamental and non-fundamental investment restrictions as the Fund, and, in particular, to the same requirements relating to portfolio leverage, liquidity, and the timing and method of valuation of portfolio investments and Fund shares, described elsewhere in this Prospectus and in the SAI. By investing in the Subsidiary, the Fund is indirectly exposed to the risks associated with the Subsidiary’s commodity-linked derivatives investments.
The Subsidiary is not registered with the SEC as an investment company under the 1940 Act, and is not subject to the investor protections of the 1940 Act. As an investor in the Subsidiary, the Fund does not have the same protections offered to shareholders of registered investment companies.
The Fund and the Subsidiary may not be able to operate as described in this Prospectus in the event of changes to the laws of the United States and/or the Cayman Islands. If the laws of the Cayman Islands required the Subsidiary to pay taxes to a governmental authority, the Fund would be likely to suffer decreased returns.
Tax Risk
To qualify as a regulated investment company (“RIC”), the Fund must meet certain requirements concerning the source of its income. The Fund’s investment in the Subsidiary is intended to provide exposure to commodities in a manner that is consistent with the “qualifying income” requirement applicable to RICs. The Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) has ceased issuing private letter rulings regarding whether the use of subsidiaries by investment companies to invest in commodity-linked instruments constitutes qualifying income. If the IRS determines that this source of income is not “qualifying income,” the Fund may cease to qualify as a RIC because the Fund has not received a private letter ruling and is not able to rely on private letter rulings issued to other taxpayers. Failure to qualify as a RIC could subject the Fund to adverse tax consequences, including a federal income tax on its net income at regular corporate rates, as well as a tax to shareholders on such income when distributed as an ordinary dividend.
Based on the principles underlying private letter rulings previously issued to other taxpayers, the Fund intends to treat its income from the Subsidiary as qualifying income without any such ruling from the IRS. The tax treatment of the Fund’s investment in the Subsidiary may be adversely affected by future legislation, court decisions, Treasury
Direxion Shares ETF Trust Prospectus
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Regulations and/or guidance issued by the IRS that could affect whether income derived from such investments is “qualifying income” under Subchapter M of the Code, or otherwise affect the character, timing and/or amount of the Fund’s taxable income or any gains or distributions made by the Fund.
Early Close/Trading Halt Risk
An exchange or market may close or issue trading halts on specific securities, or the ability to buy or sell certain portfolio securities or financial instruments may be restricted, which may result in the Fund being unable to buy or sell certain securities or financial instruments. For example, there is a risk that sharp price declines in securities owned by the Fund may trigger trading halts, which may result in the Fund’s shares trading at an increasingly large discount to NAV during part of, or all of, the trading day. In such circumstances, the Fund may be unable to rebalance its portfolio, may be unable to accurately price its investments and/or may incur substantial trading losses.
High Portfolio Turnover Risk
Engaging in active and frequent trading due to Index rebalances, cash purchases or sales of Fund shares, or other reasons leads to increased portfolio turnover, higher transaction costs, and the possibility of increased short-term capital gains (which will be taxable to shareholders as ordinary income when distributed to them) and/or long-term capital gains.
Liquidity Risk
Some securities held by the Fund, including derivatives, may be difficult to sell or illiquid, particularly during times of market turmoil. Markets for securities or financial instruments could be disrupted by a number of events, including, but not limited to, an economic crisis, natural disasters, new legislation or regulatory changes inside or outside the United States. Illiquid securities may be difficult to value, especially in changing or volatile markets. If the Fund is forced to sell an illiquid security at an unfavorable time or price, the Fund may incur a loss. Certain market conditions may prevent the Fund from limiting losses, realizing gains or achieving a high correlation with the Bitcoin Futures. There is no assurance that a security that is deemed liquid when purchased will continue to be liquid.
Market illiquidity may cause losses for the Fund. To the extent that value of the Bitcoin Futures moves adversely, the Fund may be one of many market participants that are attempting to transact in the Bitcoin Futures or correlated instruments. Under such circumstances, the market for Bitcoin Futures may lack sufficient liquidity for all market participants' trades. Therefore, the Fund may have more difficulty transacting in Bitcoin Futures or correlated investments such as financial instruments and the Fund's transactions could exacerbate the price change of the Bitcoin Futures.
Non-Diversification Risk
The Fund invests a high percentage of its assets in a limited number of securities or financial instruments. The Fund’s NAV and total return may fluctuate more, or fall greater,
in times of weaker markets than a diversified mutual fund because the Fund may invest its assets in a smaller number of issuers or may invest a larger proportion of its assets in a single issuer. As a result, the gains or losses on a single investment may have a greater impact on the Fund’s NAV and may make the Fund more volatile than more diversified funds.
Special Risks of Exchange-Traded Funds
Authorized Participants Concentration Risk. The Fund may have a limited number of financial institutions that may act as Authorized Participants. To the extent that those Authorized Participants exit the business or are unable to process creation and/or redemption orders, Shares may trade at larger bid-ask spreads and/or premiums or discounts to net asset value. Authorized Participant concentration risk may be heightened for a fund that invests in non-U.S. securities or other securities or instruments that have lower trading volumes.
Market Price Variance Risk. Shares of the Fund that are listed for trading on NYSE Arca and can be bought and sold in the secondary market at market prices rather than at NAV. The market prices of Shares will fluctuate in response to changes in the value of the Fund’s holdings and supply and demand for Shares. Shareholders that purchase or sell Shares on the secondary market may trade Shares at a price greater than NAV (a premium) or less than NAV (a discount). There may be times when the market price and the NAV vary significantly. The Fund’s investment results are measured based upon the daily NAV of the Fund over a period of time. Investors purchasing and selling Shares in the secondary market may not experience investment results consistent with those experienced by those creating and redeeming directly with the Fund at NAV. There is no guarantee that an active secondary market will develop for Shares of the Fund. To the extent that exchange specialists, market makers, Authorized Participants, or other participants are unavailable or unable to trade the Fund’s Shares and/or create or redeem Creation Units, bid-ask spreads and premiums or discounts may widen and the Fund’s Shares may possibly be subject to trading halts and/or delisting. In addition, disruptions to creation and redemptions, including disruptions at various market participants, and significant market volatility, may result in trading prices of Shares that differ significantly from the Fund’s net asset value.
Fund Shares Trading Risk/Bid-Ask Spread Risk. Investments in Fund shares are subject to risks as a result of their trading in the secondary market. For example, investors transacting in the secondary market may incur costs as a result of there being a (potentially significant) spread (or difference) between the price that purchasers are willing to pay for shares (the bid) and the price at which sellers are willing to sell shares (the ask). This spread, which is known as a bid-ask spread, will vary based on, among other things, market demand for shares, the liquidity of the Fund portfolio and other factors. In addition, like other securities that are listed on an exchange, Fund shares can be sold short. Accordingly, their price can be volatile and they can be subject to pressure
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Direxion Shares ETF Trust Prospectus

from short sales. Further, trading in all listed securities, including Fund shares, can be halted, including due to market volatility triggering “circuit breaker” rules.
Other Risks of the Fund
Adviser’s Investment Strategy Risk
The Adviser utilizes a quantitative methodology to select investments for the Fund. Although this methodology is designed to correlate the Fund's short exposure to Bitcoin Futures, there is no assurance that such methodology will be successful and will enable the Fund to achieve its investment objective.
Aggressive Investment Techniques Risk
Using investment techniques that may be considered aggressive, such as futures contracts, forward contracts, options and swap agreements, includes the risk of potentially dramatic changes (losses) in the value of the instruments, imperfect correlations between the price of the instrument and the underlying security or index, and volatility of the Fund.
Commodity Pool Registration Risk
Under amended regulations promulgated by the U.S. Commodities Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC”), the Fund is considered a commodity pool, and therefore is subject to regulation under the Commodity Exchange Act and CFTC rules. The Adviser is registered as a commodity pool operator and will manage the Fund in accordance with CFTC rules as well as the rules that apply to registered investment companies, which includes registering the Fund as commodity pools. Registration as a commodity pool subjects the registrant to additional laws, regulations and enforcement policies, all of which may potentially increase compliance costs and may affect the operations and financial performance of the Fund.
Cybersecurity Risk
The increased use of technologies, such as the internet, to conduct business increases the operational, information security and related “cyber” risks both directly to the Fund and through its service providers. Similar types of cyber security risks are also present for issuers of securities or financial instruments in which the Fund may invest, which could result in material adverse consequences for such issuers. Unlike many other types of risks faced by the Fund, these risks typically are not covered by insurance. Cyber incidents can result from deliberate attacks or unintentional events. Cyber incidents may include, but are not limited to, gaining unauthorized access to digital systems (e.g., through “hacking” or malicious software coding) for purposes of misappropriating assets or sensitive information, corrupting data, causing physical damage to computer or network systems, or causing operational disruption. Cyber attacks may also be carried out in a manner that does not require gaining unauthorized access, such as causing denial-of-service attacks on websites (i.e., efforts to make network services unavailable to intended users).
Failures or breaches of the electronic systems of the Fund, the Fund’s advisor, distributor, other service providers, counterparties, securities trading venues, or the issuers of
securities or financial instruments in which the Fund invests have the ability to cause disruptions and negatively impact the Fund’s business operations, potentially resulting in financial losses to the Fund and its shareholders. Cyber attacks may also interfere with the Fund’s calculation of its NAV, result in the submission of erroneous trades or erroneous creation or redemption orders, and could lead to violations of applicable privacy and other laws, regulatory fines, penalties, reputational damage, reimbursement or other compensation costs and/or additional compliance costs. While the Fund has established business continuity plans, there are inherent limitations in such plans, including the possibility that certain risks have not been identified and that prevention and remediation efforts will not be successful. Furthermore, the Fund cannot control the cyber security plans and systems of the Fund’s service providers or issuers of securities or financial instruments in which the Fund invests.
Investment Risk
An investment in the Fund is not a deposit in a bank and is not insured or guaranteed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation or any other government agency. When you sell your Shares, they could be worth less than what you paid for them.
LIBOR Risk
The Fund may invest in certain debt securities, derivatives or other financial instruments that utilize the London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”) as a benchmark or reference rate for various interest rate calculations. LIBOR may be a significant factor in determining the Fund’s payment obligations under a derivative investment, the cost of financing to the Fund or an investment’s value or return to the Fund, and may be used in other ways that affect the Fund’s investment performance.
In July 2017, the Financial Conduct Authority, the United Kingdom’s financial regulatory body, announced that after 2021 it will cease its active encouragement of banks to provide quotations needed to sustain the LIBOR rate, which means that the LIBOR rate may no longer be published after 2021. Although there is still uncertainty regarding a replacement rate, it is anticipated that certain derivatives and other transactions that currently utilize LIBOR will transition to using the Secured Overnight Financing Rate (“SOFR”), which is a broad measure of the cost of overnight borrowings secured by U.S. Treasury securities. However, various counterparties or other entities may be unwilling or unable to utilize SOFR prior to 2021 or may be unable to modify existing agreements or instruments in a timely manner. The transition from LIBOR to SOFR (or any other replacement rate) may lead to a reduction in the value of some LIBOR-based investments and the effectiveness of new hedges placed against existing LIBOR-based investments, as well as significant market uncertainty, increased volatility, and illiquidity in markets for various instruments, which may result in prolonged adverse market conditions and impact the Fund’s performance or NAV.
Money Market Instrument Risk
Money market instruments, including money market funds, depositary accounts and repurchase agreements may be used for cash management purposes. Money market funds
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may be subject to credit risk with respect to the short-term debt instruments in which they invest. Depository accounts may be subject to credit risk with respect to the financial institution in which the depository account is held. Repurchase agreements are contracts in which a seller of securities agrees to buy the securities back at a specified time and price. Repurchase agreements may be subject to market and credit risk related to the collateral securing the repurchase agreement. Money market instruments may also be subject to credit risks associated with the instruments in which they invest. There is no guarantee that money market instruments will maintain a stable value, and they may lose money.
Regulatory Risk
Additional legislative or regulatory changes could occur that may materially and adversely affect the Fund. Such changes could result in material adverse consequences for the Fund. Recently, the regulator for the Fund has proposed changes in the regulation of leveraged funds that could have a material adverse effect on the ability of the Fund to pursue its investment objective or strategy, which could result in the Fund changing its investment objective to comply with the regulations.
A Precautionary Note to Retail Investors. The Depository Trust Company (“DTC”), a limited trust company and securities depositary that serves as a national clearinghouse for the settlement of trades for its participating banks and broker-dealers, or its nominee, will be the registered owner of all outstanding Shares of each Fund of the Trust. Your ownership of Shares will be shown on the records of DTC and the DTC Participant broker through whom you hold the Shares. THE TRUST WILL NOT HAVE ANY RECORD OF YOUR OWNERSHIP. Your account information will be maintained by your broker, who will provide you with account statements, confirmations of your purchases and sales of Shares, and tax information. Your broker also will be responsible for ensuring that you receive shareholder reports and other communications from the Fund whose Shares you own. Typically, you will receive other services (e.g., average basis information) only if your broker offers these services.
A Precautionary Note to Purchasers of Creation Units. Because new Shares may be issued on an ongoing basis, a “distribution” of Shares could be occurring at any time. As a dealer, certain activities on your part could, depending on the circumstances, result in your being deemed a participant in the distribution, in a manner that could render you a statutory underwriter and subject you to the prospectus delivery and liability provisions of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (“Securities Act”). For example, you could be deemed a statutory underwriter if you purchase Creation Units from an issuing Fund, break them down into the constituent Shares and sell those Shares directly to customers, or if you choose to couple the creation of a supply of new Shares with an active selling effort involving solicitation of secondary market demand for Shares. Whether a person is an underwriter depends upon all of the facts and circumstances pertaining to that person’s activities, and the examples mentioned here should not be considered a complete description of all the activities that could cause
you to be deemed an underwriter. Dealers who are not “underwriters,” but are participating in a distribution (as opposed to engaging in ordinary secondary market transactions), and thus dealing with Shares as part of an “unsold allotment” within the meaning of Section 4(3)(C) of the Securities Act, will be unable to take advantage of the prospectus delivery exemption provided by Section 4(3) of the Securities Act.
A Precautionary Note to Investment Companies. For purposes of the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended (“1940 Act”) the Fund is a registered investment company, and the acquisition of Shares by other investment companies is subject to the restrictions of Section 12(d)(1) thereof. Section 12(d)(1) of the 1940 Act restricts investments by investment companies in the securities of other investment companies, including shares of the Fund. Provided, generally, that the Fund’s investments comply with Section 12(d)(1)(A), registered investment companies are permitted to invest in the Fund beyond the limits set forth in Section 12(d)(1) subject to certain terms and conditions, including that such investment companies enter into an agreement with the Fund.
The Trust and the Fund have obtained an exemptive order from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) allowing a registered investment company to invest in the Fund beyond the limits of Section 12(d)(1) subject to certain conditions, including that a registered investment company enters into a Participation Agreement with the Trust regarding the terms of the investment. Any investment company considering purchasing Shares of the Fund in amounts that would cause it to exceed the restrictions under Section 12(d)(1) should contact the Trust.
A Precautionary Note Regarding Unusual Circumstances. The Trust can postpone payment of redemption proceeds for any period during which (1) the Exchange is closed other than customary weekend and holiday closings, (2) trading on the Exchange is restricted, as determined by the SEC, (3) any emergency circumstances exist, as determined by the SEC, or (4) the SEC by order permits for the protection of shareholders of the Fund.
Valuation Risk
In certain circumstances, such as when the Adviser believes market quotations do not accurately reflect the fair value of an investment, or when a trading halt ends trading in a security or closes an exchange or market early, a holding may be fair valued for the day or for a longer period of time. The fair valuation of the holding may be different from other value determinations of the same holding. Holdings that are valued using techniques other than market quotations, including “fair valued” holdings, may be subject to greater fluctuation in their value form one day to the next than would be the case if market quotations were used. In addition, the price the Fund could receive upon the sale of a holding may differ from the Fund’s valuation of the holding or from the value used by Bitcoin Futures, particularly for holdings that trade in low volume or volatile markets or that are valued using a fair value methodology as a result of trade suspensions or halts or for any other reason.
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Direxion Shares ETF Trust Prospectus

About Your Investment
Share Price of the Fund
A fund’s share price is known as its NAV. The Fund’s share price is calculated as of the close of regular trading on the NYSE, usually 4:00 p.m. Eastern Time (“Valuation Time”), each day the NYSE is open for business (“Business Day”). The NYSE is open for business Monday through Friday, except in observation of the following holidays: New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, President’s Day, Good Friday, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. The NYSE may close early on the business day before each of these holidays and on the day after Thanksgiving Day. NYSE holiday schedules are subject to change without notice. Because the Fund is exchange traded, the price an individual shareholder will buy or sell Fund shares at will be based on the market price determined by the secondary market, which may be higher or lower than the NAV of the Fund.
If the exchange or market on which the Fund’s investments are primarily traded closes early, the NAV may be calculated prior to its normal calculation time. Creation/redemption transaction order time cutoffs would also be accelerated.
The value of the Fund’s assets that trade in markets outside the United States or in currencies other than the U.S. Dollar may fluctuate when foreign markets are open but the Fund is not open for business.
The NAV is calculated by dividing the Fund’s net assets by its shares outstanding. In calculating its NAV, the Fund generally values its assets on the basis of market quotations, the last sale or settlement prices, or estimates of value furnished by a pricing service or brokers who make markets in such instruments. Swap contracts are valued based on the value of the swap contract’s reference asset and are marked-to-market each day NAV is calculated. If such information is not available for a security held by the Fund, is determined to be unreliable, or (to the Adviser’s knowledge) does not reflect a significant event occurring after the close of the market on which the security principally trades (but before the close of trading on the NYSE), the security will be valued at fair value estimates by the Adviser under guidelines established by the Board of Trustees. Foreign securities, currencies and other assets denominated in foreign currencies are translated into U.S. Dollars at the exchange rate of such currencies against the U.S. Dollar, as provided by an independent pricing service or reporting agency. The Fund also relies on a pricing service in circumstances where the U.S. securities markets exceed a pre-determined threshold to value foreign securities held in the Fund’s portfolio. The pricing service, its methodology or the threshold may change from time to time. Debt obligations with maturities of 60 days or less are valued at amortized cost.
Fair Value Pricing. Portfolio holdings are priced at a fair value as determined by the Adviser, under the oversight of the Board of Trustees, when reliable market quotations are not readily available, the Fund's pricing service does not provide a valuation, the Fund's pricing service provides a valuation that in the judgment of the Adviser is not reliable, trading in a particular instrument is halted and does not resume prior to the closing of the exchange or other market, the market price is stale, or an event that affects the value of an instrument (a “Significant Event”) has occurred since closing prices were established, but before the time as of which the Fund calculates its NAV. Examples of Significant Events may include: (1) events that relate to a single issuer or to an entire market sector; (2) significant fluctuations in domestic or foreign markets; or (3) occurrences not tied directly to the securities markets, such as natural disasters, armed conflicts, or significant government actions. If such Significant Events occur, the Fund may value the instruments at fair value. Fair value determinations are made in good faith in accordance with procedures adopted by the Board of Trustees.
Fair valuations introduce an element of subjectivity to pricing. As a result, the price determined through fair valuation may differ from the price quoted or published by other sources and may not accurately reflect an instrument’s market value when trading resumes. If a reliable market quotation becomes available for an instrument formerly fair valued, Rafferty will normally use that market value in the next calculation of NAV.
Rule 12b-1 Fees
The Board of Trustees of the Trust has adopted a Distribution and Service Plan (the “Plan”) pursuant to Rule 12b-1 under the 1940 Act. In accordance with the Plan, the Fund may pay an amount up to 0.25% of its average daily net assets each year for certain distribution-related activities and shareholder services.
No 12b-1 fees are currently authorized to be paid by the Fund, and there are no plans to impose these fees. However, in the event 12b-1 fees are charged in the future, because the fees are paid out of the Fund’s assets, over time these fees will increase the cost of your investment and may cost you more than certain other types of sales charges.
Frequent Purchases and Redemptions. Rafferty expects a significant portion of the Fund's assets to come from professional money managers and investors who use the Fund as part of “asset allocation” and “market timing” investment strategies. These strategies often call for frequent trading to take advantage of anticipated changes in market conditions. Investors such as market makers, large investors and institutions who wish to deal in Creation Units directly with the Fund must have entered into an authorized participant agreement (“Authorized Participant Agreement”) with the principal underwriter and the transfer agent, or purchase through a dealer that has entered into such an agreement. The Trust’s Board of Trustees has determined not to adopt policies and procedures designed to prevent or monitor for frequent purchases and redemptions of the Fund’s shares because the Fund sells and redeems its shares at NAV only in Creation Units pursuant to the terms of
Direxion Shares ETF Trust Prospectus
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an Authorized Participant Agreement between the Authorized Participant and the Distributor, and such direct trading between the Fund and Authorized Participants is critical to ensuring that the Fund’s shares trade at or close to NAV. Further, the vast majority of trading in Fund shares occurs on the secondary market, which does not involve the Fund directly and therefore does not cause the Fund to experience many of the harmful effects of market timing, such as dilution and disruption of portfolio management. In addition, the Fund imposes a Transaction Fee on Creation Unit transactions, which is designed to offset transfer and other transaction costs incurred by the Fund in connection with the issuance and redemption of Creation Units and may employ fair valuation pricing to minimize potential dilution from market timing. Although the Fund reserves the right to reject any purchase orders, the Fund does not currently impose any trading restrictions on frequent trading or actively monitor for trading abuses. Transaction fees are imposed as set forth in the table in the SAI.
How to Buy and Sell Shares
The Fund issues and redeems Shares only in large blocks of [50,000] Shares called “Creation Units.”
Most investors will buy and sell Shares of the Fund in secondary market transactions through brokers. Individual Shares of the Fund, once listed for trading on the Exchange, can be bought and sold throughout the trading day like other listed securities. The Fund does not require any minimum investment in such secondary market transactions.
When buying or selling Shares through a broker, investors may incur customary brokerage commissions and charges, and may pay some or all of the spread between the bid and the offer prices in the secondary market. In addition, because secondary market transactions occur at market prices, which typically vary from NAV, investors may pay more than NAV when buying Shares, and receive less than NAV when selling Shares.
Share prices are reported in dollars and cents per Share. For information about acquiring or selling Shares through a secondary market purchase, please contact your broker.
The Adviser may pay brokers and other financial intermediaries for educational training programs, the development of technology platforms and reporting systems or other administrative services related to the Fund. Ask your salesperson or visit your financial intermediary’s website for more information.
Book Entry. Shares are held in book-entry form, which means that no stock certificates are issued. DTC or its nominee is the record owner of all outstanding Shares of the Fund and is recognized as the owner of all Shares for all purposes.
Investors owning Shares are beneficial owners as shown on the records of DTC or its participants. DTC serves as the securities depository for all Shares. Participants in DTC include 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 other stocks that you hold in book entry or “street name” through your brokerage account.
Management of the Fund
Rafferty provides investment management services to the Fund. Rafferty has been managing investment companies since 1997. Rafferty is located at 1301 Avenue of the Americas (6th Avenue), 28th Floor, New York, New York 10019. As of [ ], 2021, the Adviser had approximately $[ ] billion in assets under management.
Under an investment advisory agreement between the Trust and Rafferty, the Fund pays Rafferty a fee at an annualized rate based on a percentage of its average daily net assets of [ ]%.
A discussion regarding the basis on which the Board of Trustees approved the investment advisory agreement for the Fund will be included in the Fund's Semi-Annual Report for the period ended April 30, 2022.
Rafferty has entered into an Operating Expense Limitation Agreement with the Fund. Under this Operating Expense Limitation Agreement, Rafferty has contractually agreed to waive all or a portion of its management fee and/or reimburse the Fund for Other Expenses through September 1, 2023, to the extent that the Fund’s Total Annual Fund Operating Expenses exceed [ ]% of the Fund’s average daily net assets (excluding, as applicable, among other expenses, taxes, swap financing and related costs, acquired fund fees and expenses, dividends or interest on short positions, other interest expenses, brokerage commissions and extraordinary expenses).
Any expense waiver or reimbursement is subject to recoupment by the Adviser within three years after the expense was waived/reimbursed only if Total Annual Fund Operating Expenses fall below the lesser of this percentage limitation and any percentage limitation in place at the time the expense was waived/reimbursed. Rafferty may pay, reimburse or otherwise assume one or more of the excluded expenses, in which case such expense will be subject to the Operating Expense Limitation
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Direxion Shares ETF Trust Prospectus

Agreement and recoupment by Rafferty in accordance with the Agreement. This Agreement may be terminated or revised at any time with the consent of the Board of Trustees.
Paul Brigandi and Tony Ng are jointly and primarily responsible for the day-to-day management of the Fund (the “Portfolio Managers”). An investment trading team of Rafferty employees assists the Portfolio Managers in the day-to-day management of the Fund subject to their primary responsibility and oversight. The Portfolio Managers work with the investment trading team to decide the target allocation of the Fund’s investments and on a day-to-day basis, an individual portfolio trader executes transactions for the Fund consistent with the target allocation. The members of the investment trading team rotate periodically among the various series of the Trust, including the Fund, so that no single individual is assigned to a specific Fund for extended periods of time.
Mr. Brigandi has been a Portfolio Manager at Rafferty since June 2004. Mr. Brigandi was previously involved in the equity trading training program for Fleet Boston Financial Corporation from August 2002 to April 2004. Mr. Brigandi is a 2002 graduate of Fordham University.
Mr. Ng has been a Portfolio Manager at Rafferty since April 2006. Mr. Ng was previously a Team Leader in the Trading Assistant Group with Goldman Sachs from 2004 to 2006. He was employed with Deutsche Asset Management from 1998 to 2004. Mr. Ng graduated from State University at Buffalo in 1998.
The Fund's Statement of Additional Information ("SAI") provides additional information about the investment team members’ compensation, other accounts they manage and their ownership of securities in the Fund.
Portfolio Holdings
The Fund’s portfolio holdings are disclosed on the Fund’s website at www.direxion.com each day the Fund is open for business. A description of the Fund's policies and procedures with respect to the disclosure of the Fund's portfolio securities is available in the Fund's SAI.
other service providers
Foreside Fund Services, LLC (“Distributor”) serves as the Fund's distributor. U.S. Bancorp Fund Services, LLC (“USBFS”) serves as the Fund's administrator. Bank of New York Mellon (“BNYM”) serves as the Fund's transfer agent, fund accountant, custodian and index receipt agent. The Distributor is not affiliated with Rafferty, USBFS, or BNYM.
Distributions
Fund Distributions. The Fund pays out dividends from its net investment income, and distributes any net capital gains, if any, to its shareholders at least annually. The Fund is authorized to declare and pay capital gain distributions in additional Shares or in cash. The Fund may have extremely high portfolio turnover, which may cause it to generate significant amounts of taxable income. The Fund will generally need to distribute net short-term capital gain to satisfy certain tax requirements. As a result of the Fund's high portfolio turnover, it could need to make larger and/or more frequent distributions than traditional ETFs.
Dividend Reinvestment Service. Brokers may make the DTC book-entry dividend reinvestment service (“Reinvestment Service”) available to their customers who are shareholders of the Fund. If the Reinvestment Service is used with respect to the Fund, its distributions of both net income and capital gains will automatically be reinvested in additional and fractional Shares thereof purchased in the secondary market. Without the Reinvestment Service, investors will receive Fund distributions in cash, except as noted above under “Fund Distributions.” To determine whether the Reinvestment Service is available and whether there is a commission or other charge for using the service, consult your broker. Fund shareholders should be aware that brokers may require them to adhere to specific procedures and timetables to use the Reinvestment Service.
Taxes
As with any investment, you should consider the tax consequences of buying, holding, and disposing of Shares. The tax information in this Prospectus is only a general summary of some important federal tax considerations generally affecting the Fund and its shareholders. No attempt is made to present a complete explanation of the federal tax treatment of the Fund's activities, and this discussion is not intended as a substitute for careful tax planning. Accordingly, potential investors are urged to consult their own tax advisers for more detailed information and for information regarding any state, local, or foreign taxes applicable to the Fund and to an investment in Shares.
Direxion Shares ETF Trust Prospectus
20

Fund distributions to you and your sale of your Shares will have tax consequences to you unless you hold your Shares through a tax-exempt entity or tax-deferred retirement arrangement, such as an individual retirement account (“IRA”) or 401(k) plan.
The Fund intends to qualify each taxable year for taxation as a “regulated investment company” under Subchapter M of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the “Code”). If the Fund so qualifies and satisfies certain distribution requirements, the Fund will not be subject to federal income tax on income that is distributed in a timely manner to its shareholders in the form of income dividends or capital gain distributions.
Taxes on Distributions. Dividends from the Fund’s investment company taxable income generally, the sum of net investment income, the excess of net short-term capital gain over net long-term capital loss, and net gains and losses from certain foreign currency transactions, if any, all determined without regard to any deduction for dividends paid will be taxable to you as ordinary income to the extent of its earnings and profits, whether they are paid in cash or reinvested in additional Shares. However, dividends the Fund pays to you that are attributable to its “qualified dividend income” (i.e., dividends it receives on stock of most domestic and certain foreign corporations with respect to which it satisfies certain holding period and other restrictions) generally will be taxed to you, if you are an individual, trust, or estate and satisfy those restrictions with respect to your Shares, for federal income tax purposes, at the rates of 15% or 20% for such shareholders with taxable income exceeding certain thresholds (which will be indexed for inflation annually). A portion of the Fund’s dividends also may be eligible for the dividends-received deduction allowed to corporations the eligible portion may not exceed the aggregate dividends the Fund receives from domestic corporations subject to federal income tax (excluding real estate investment trusts) and excludes dividends from foreign corporations subject to similar restrictions; however, dividends a corporate shareholder deducts pursuant to that deduction are subject indirectly to the federal alternative minimum tax. No Fund expects to earn a significant amount of income that would qualify for those maximum rates or that deduction.
Distributions of the Fund’s net capital gain (which is the excess of net long-term capital gain over net short-term capital loss) that it recognizes on sales or exchanges of capital assets (“capital gain distributions”), if any, will be taxable to you as long-term capital gains, at the maximum rates mentioned above if you are an individual, trust, or estate, regardless of your holding period for the Shares on which the distributions are paid and regardless of whether they are paid in cash or reinvested in additional Shares. The Fund’s capital gain distributions may vary considerably from one year to the next as a result of its investment activities and cash flows and the performance of the markets in which it invests. No Fund expects to earn a significant amount of net capital gain.
Distributions in excess of the Fund’s current and accumulated earnings and profits, if any, first will reduce your adjusted tax basis in your Shares in the Fund and, after that basis is reduced to zero, will constitute capital gain. That capital gain will be long-term capital gain, and thus will be taxed at the maximum rates mentioned above if you are an individual, trust, or estate if the distributions are attributable to Shares you held for more than one year.
Investors should be aware that the price of Shares at any time may reflect the amount of a forthcoming dividend or capital gain distribution, so if they purchase Shares shortly before the record date therefor, they will pay full price for the Shares and receive some part of the purchase price back as a taxable distribution even though it represents a partial return of invested capital.
In general, distributions are subject to federal income tax for the year when they are paid. However, certain distributions paid in January may be treated as paid on December 31 of the prior year.
Because of the possibility of high portfolio turnover, the Fund may generate significant amounts of taxable income. Accordingly, the Fund may need to make larger and/or more frequent distributions than traditional unleveraged ETFs. A substantial portion of that income typically will be short-term capital gain, which will generally be treated as ordinary income when distributed to shareholders.
Fund distributions to tax-deferred or qualified plans, such as an IRA, retirement plan or pension plan, generally will not be taxable. However, distributions from such plans will be taxable to the individual participant notwithstanding the character of the income earned by the qualified plan. Please consult a tax adviser for a more complete explanation of the federal, state, local and foreign tax consequences of investing in the Fund through such a plan.
Taxes When Shares are Sold. Generally, you will recognize taxable gain or loss if you sell or otherwise dispose of your Shares. Any gain arising from such a disposition generally will be treated as long-term capital gain if you held the Shares for more than one year, taxable at the maximum rates (15% or 20%) mentioned above if you are an individual, trust, or estate; otherwise, the gain will be treated as short-term capital gain. However, any capital loss arising from the disposition of Shares held for six months or less will be treated as long-term capital loss to the extent of capital gain distributions, if any, received with respect to those Shares. In addition, all or a portion of any loss recognized on a sale or exchange of Shares of the Fund will be disallowed to the extent other Shares of the same Fund are purchased (whether through reinvestment of distributions or otherwise) within a period of 61 days beginning 30 days before and ending 30 days after the date of the sale or exchange; in that event, the basis in the newly purchased Shares will be adjusted to reflect the disallowed loss.
Holders of Creation Units. A person who purchases Shares of the Fund by exchanging securities for a Creation Unit generally will recognize capital gain or loss equal to the difference between the market value of the Creation Unit and the person’s aggregate basis in the exchanged securities, adjusted for any Balancing Amount paid or received. A shareholder who redeems a Creation Unit generally will recognize gain or loss to the same extent and in the same manner as described in the immediately preceding paragraph.
Miscellaneous. Backup Withholding. The Fund must withhold and remit to the U.S. Treasury 24% of dividends and capital gain distributions otherwise payable to any individual or certain other non-corporate shareholder who fails to certify that the social security or other taxpayer identification number furnished to the Fund is correct or who furnishes an incorrect number (together with the withholding described in the next sentence, “backup withholding”). Withholding at that rate also is required from the Fund’s dividends and capital gain distributions otherwise payable to such a shareholder who is
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Direxion Shares ETF Trust Prospectus

subject to backup withholding for any other reason. Backup withholding is not an additional tax, and any amounts so withheld may be credited against a shareholder’s federal income tax liability or refunded.
Additional Tax. An individual must pay a 3.8% federal tax on the lesser of (1) the individual’s “net investment income,” which generally includes dividends, interest, and net gains from the disposition of investment property (including dividends and capital gain distributions the Fund pays and net gains realized on the sale or redemption of Shares), or (2) the excess of the individual’s “modified adjusted gross income” over a threshold amount ($250,000 for married persons filing jointly and $200,000 for single taxpayers). This tax is in addition to any other taxes due on that income. A similar tax will apply for those years to estates and trusts. Shareholders should consult their own tax advisers regarding the effect, if any, this provision may have on their investment in Fund shares.
Basis Determination. A shareholder who wants to use the average basis method for determining basis in Shares he or she acquires after December 31, 2011 (“Covered Shares”), must elect to do so in writing (which may be electronic) with the broker through which he or she purchased the Shares. A shareholder who wishes to use a different IRS-acceptable method for basis determination (e.g., a specific identification method) may elect to do so. Fund shareholders are urged to consult with their brokers regarding the application of the basis determination rules to them.
You may also be subject to state and local taxes on Fund distributions and dispositions of Shares.
Non-U.S. Shareholders. “A “non-U.S. shareholder” is an investor that, for federal tax purposes, is a nonresident alien individual, a foreign corporation or a foreign estate or trust. Except where discussed otherwise, the following disclosure assumes that a non-U.S. shareholder’s ownership of Shares is not effectively connected with a trade or business conducted by such non-U.S. shareholder in the United States and does not address non-U.S. shareholders who are present in the United States for 183 days or more during the taxable year. The tax consequences to a non-U.S. shareholder entitled to claim the benefits of an applicable tax treaty may be different from those described herein. Non-U.S. shareholders should consult their tax advisers with respect to the particular tax consequences to them of an investment in the Fund.
Withholding. Dividends paid by the Fund to non-U.S. shareholders will be subject to withholding tax at a 30% rate or a reduced rate specified by an applicable income tax treaty to the extent derived from investment income (other than “qualified interest income” or “qualified short-term capital gains,” as described below). In order to obtain a reduced rate of withholding, a non-U.S. shareholder will be required to provide an IRS Form W-8BEN (or substitute form) certifying its entitlement to benefits under a treaty. The withholding tax does not apply to regular dividends paid to a non-U.S. shareholder who provides an IRS Form W-8ECI, certifying that the dividends are effectively connected with the non-U.S. shareholder’s conduct of a trade or business within the United States. Instead, the effectively connected dividends will be subject to regular U.S. income tax as if the non-U.S. shareholder were a U.S. shareholder. A non-U.S. corporation’s earnings and profits attributable to such dividends may also be subject to additional “branch profits tax” imposed at a rate of 30% (or lower treaty rate).
A non-U.S. shareholder who fails to provide an IRS Form W-8BEN or other applicable form may be subject to backup withholding at the appropriate rate. See the discussion of backup withholding under “Miscellaneous” above.
Exemptions from Withholding. In general, federal income tax will not apply to gain realized on the sale or other disposition of Shares or to any Fund distributions reported as capital gain dividends, short-term capital gain dividends, or interest-related dividends.
“Short-term capital gain dividends” are dividends that are attributable to “qualified short-term gain” the Fund realizes (generally, the excess of the Fund’s net short-term capital gain over long-term capital loss for a taxable year, computed with certain adjustments). “Interest-related dividends” are dividends that are attributable to “qualified net interest income” from U.S. sources. Depending on its circumstances, the Fund may report all, some or none of its potentially eligible dividends as short-term capital gain dividends and interest-related dividends and/or treat such dividends, in whole or in part, as ineligible for this exemption from withholding. To qualify for the exemption, a non-U.S. shareholder will need to comply with applicable certification requirements relating to its non-U.S. status (including, in general, furnishing an IRS Form W-8BEN or substitute form). In the case of shares held through an intermediary, the intermediary may withhold even if the Fund designates the payment as a short-term capital gain dividend or an interest-related dividend. Non-U.S. shareholders should contact their intermediaries with respect to the application of these rules to their accounts.
Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (“FATCA”). Under FATCA, “foreign financial institutions” (“FFIs”) or “non-financial foreign entities” (“NFFEs”) that are Fund shareholders may be subject to a generally nonrefundable 30% withholding tax on income dividends. As discussed more fully in the Fund's SAI under “Taxes,” the FATCA withholding tax generally can be avoided (a) by an FFI, if it reports certain information regarding direct and indirect ownership of financial accounts U.S. persons hold with the FFI and (b) by an NFFE, if it certifies as such and, in certain circumstances, that (i) it has no substantial U.S. persons as owners or (ii) it does have such owners and reports information relating to them to the withholding agent. The U.S. Treasury has negotiated intergovernmental agreements (“IGAs”) with certain countries and is in various stages of negotiations with other foreign countries with respect to one or more alternative approaches to implement FATCA; entities in those countries may be required to comply with the terms of the IGA instead of Treasury regulations. Non-U.S. shareholders should consult their own tax advisers regarding the application of these requirements to their own situation and the impact thereof on their investment in the Fund.
More information about taxes is available in the Fund's SAI.
Direxion Shares ETF Trust Prospectus
22

Additional Information
The Trust enters into contractual arrangements with various parties, which may include, among others, the Fund's investment adviser, custodian, and transfer agent, who provide services to the Fund. Shareholders are not parties to any such contractual arrangements and are not intended beneficiaries of those contractual arrangements, and those contractual arrangements are not intended to create in any shareholder any right to enforce them against the service providers or to seek any remedy under them against the service providers, either directly or on behalf of the Trust.
This Prospectus provides information concerning the Fund that you should consider in determining whether to purchase Fund shares. Neither this Prospectus nor the SAI is intended, or should be read, to be or give rise to an agreement or contract between the Trust or the Fund and any investor, or to give rise to any rights in any shareholder or other person other than any rights under federal or state law that may not be waived.
Financial Highlights
No financial information is available for the Fund because the Fund had not commenced operations prior to the date of this Prospectus. The Fund’s fiscal year end is October 31st.
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Direxion Shares ETF Trust Prospectus

  
Prospectus
1301 Avenue of the Americas (6th Avenue), 28th Floor
New York, New York 10019
(866) 476-7523
More Information on the Direxion Shares ETF Trust
Statement of Additional Information (“SAI”):
The Fund's SAI contains more information on the Fund and its investment policies. The SAI is incorporated in this Prospectus by reference (meaning it is legally part of this Prospectus). A current SAI is on file with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”).
Annual and Semi-Annual Reports to Shareholders:
The Fund's reports will provide additional information on the Fund's investment holdings, performance data and a letter discussing the market conditions and investment strategies that significantly affected the Fund's performance during that period.
To Obtain the SAI or Fund Reports Free of Charge or for Shareholder Inquiries:
Write to:
Direxion Shares ETF Trust
 
1301 Avenue of the Americas (6th Avenue), 28th Floor
New York, New York 10019
Call:
(866) 476-7523
By Internet:
www.direxion.com
Reports and other information about the Fund may be viewed on screen or downloaded from the EDGAR Database on the SEC’s website at http://www.sec.gov. Copies of these documents may be obtained, after paying a duplicating fee, by electronic request at the following e-mail address: publicinfo@sec.gov.
SEC File Number: 811-22201


The information in this Statement of Additional Information (“SAI”) is not complete and may be changed. We may not sell these securities until the registration statement filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission is effective. This SAI is not an offer to sell these securities and is not soliciting an offer to buy these securities in any state where the offer or sale is not permitted.
Subject to completion, dated October 26, 2021
Direxion Shares ETF Trust
Statement of Additional Information
1301 Avenue of the Americas (6th Avenue), 28th Floor
New York, New York 10019
(866) 476-7523
www.direxion.com
The Direxion Shares ETF Trust (“Trust”) is an investment company that offers shares of exchange-traded funds to the public. The shares of the funds offered in this Statement of Additional Information (“SAI”), upon commencement of operations, will be listed and traded on the NYSE Arca, Inc. This SAI relates to the funds listed below (each, a “Fund” and collectively, the “Funds”).
Direxion Bitcoin Strategy Bear ETF ([ ])
There is no assurance that the Fund will achieve its investment objective and an investment in the Fund could lose money. No single Fund is a complete investment program.
This SAI, dated [ ], 2022, is not a prospectus. It should be read in conjunction with the Fund's prospectus dated [ ], 2022 (“Prospectus”). This SAI is incorporated by reference into the Prospectus. In other words, it is legally part of the Prospectus. To receive a copy of the Prospectus, without charge, write or call the Trust at the address or telephone number listed above.
[ ], 2022

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Direxion Shares ETF Trust
The Trust is a Delaware statutory trust organized on April 23, 2008 and is registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) as an open-end management investment company under the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended (“1940 Act”). The Trust currently consists of [ ] separate series or “Funds.”
The Direxion Bitcoin Strategy Bear ETF (the “Fund”) seeks capital appreciation. The Fund seeks to achieve its investment objective through managed short exposure to bitcoin futures contracts (the “Bitcoin Futures”).
Shares of the Fund (“Shares”) are issued and redeemed only in large blocks called “Creation Units.” The Shares offered in this SAI, upon commencement of operations, will be listed and traded on the NYSE Arca, Inc. (the “Exchange”). Most investors will buy and sell Shares of the Fund in secondary market transactions through brokers. Shares can be bought and sold throughout the trading day like other publicly traded shares. There is no minimum investment. Investors may acquire Shares directly from the Fund, and shareholders may tender their Shares for redemption directly to the Fund, only in Creation Units of [50,000] Shares, as discussed in the “Purchases and Redemptions” section below.
Classification of the Fund
The Fund is a “non-diversified” series of the Trust pursuant to the 1940 Act. The Fund is considered “non-diversified” because a relatively high percentage of its assets may be invested in the securities of a limited number of issuers. To the extent that the Fund assumes large positions in the securities of a small number of issuers, the Fund’s NAV may fluctuate to a greater extent than that of a diversified company as a result of changes in the financial condition or in the market’s assessment of the issuers, and the Fund may be more susceptible to any single economic, political or regulatory occurrence than a diversified company.
Exchange Listing and Trading
The Shares, upon commencement of operations, will be listed and traded on the Exchange. There can be no assurance that the requirements of the Exchange necessary to maintain the listing of Shares of the Fund will continue to be met. The Exchange may, but is not required to, remove the Shares of the Fund from listing if (i) following the initial 12-month period beginning at the commencement of trading of the Fund, there are fewer than 50 beneficial owners of the Shares of the Fund; (ii) such other event shall occur or condition exist that, in the opinion of the Exchange, makes further dealings on the Exchange inadvisable. The Exchange will remove the Shares of the Fund from listing and trading upon termination of such Fund.
As is the case with other listed securities, when Shares of the Fund are bought or sold through a broker, an investor may incur a brokerage commission determined by that broker, as well as other charges.
The trading prices of the Fund’s shares in the secondary market generally differ from the Fund’s daily NAV per share and are affected by market forces such as supply and demand, economic conditions and other factors. Rafferty Asset Management, LLC ("Rafferty" or "Adviser") may, from time to time, make payments to certain market makers in the Trust’s shares pursuant to an Exchange authorized program. The Trust reserves the right to adjust the price levels of the Shares in the future to help 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 Fund or an investor’s equity interest in the Fund.
Investment Policies and Techniques
The Fund seeks capital appreciation. The Fund seeks to achieve its investment objective through managed short exposure to Bitcoin Futures.
The Fund will invest up to 25% of its total assets in a wholly-owned and controlled subsidiary, the [Direxion Bitcoin Strategy Portfolio] (the “Subsidiary”). When viewed on a consolidated basis, the Subsidiary is subject to the same investment restrictions and limitations, and follows the same compliance policies and procedures, as the Fund. The Fund, directly and/or indirectly through the Subsidiary, may invest in certain futures and swap contracts, ETFs and other investment companies that provide exposure to Bitcoin Futures.
The Fund’s investment in the Subsidiary may not exceed 25% of the value of its total assets, as measured at the end of the quarter of its taxable year. This limitation is imposed by the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the “Code”). The Subsidiary, which is organized under the laws of the Cayman Islands, is wholly owned and controlled by the Fund. The Fund invests in the Subsidiary in order to gain exposure to the Bitcoin Futures the limitations of the federal tax law requirements
1

applicable to regulated investment companies. The Subsidiary may invest principally in commodity futures and swap contracts, as well as certain fixed-income investments intended to serve as margin or collateral for the Subsidiary’s derivatives positions. Unlike the Fund, the Subsidiary may invest without limitation in commodity-linked derivatives, though the Subsidiary, on a consolidated basis, will comply with the same 1940 Act asset coverage requirements with respect to its investments in commodity-linked derivatives that apply to the Fund’s transactions in these instruments. The Subsidiary is subject to the same fundamental and non-fundamental investment restrictions the Fund and, in particular, to the same requirements relating to portfolio leverage, liquidity, and the timing and method of valuation of portfolio investments and Fund shares described elsewhere in the Prospectus and in this SAI. The Fund is the sole shareholder of the Subsidiary and does not expect shares of the Subsidiary to be offered or sold to other investors.
The Fund’s investment objective is a non-fundamental policy of the Fund that may be changed by the Board without shareholder approval.
Subject to the limitations described in the “Investment Restrictions” section, the Fund may engage in the investment strategies discussed below. There is no assurance that any of these strategies or any other strategies and methods of investment available to the Fund will result in the achievement of the Fund’s investment objective.
This section provides a description of the securities in which the Fund may invest to achieve its investment objective, the strategies it may employ and the corresponding risks of such securities and strategies. The greatest risk of investing in an exchange-traded fund ("ETF") is that its returns will fluctuate and you could lose money.
Bitcoin Related Investments
Bitcoin is a digital asset which serves as the unit of account on an open source, decentralized, peer-to-peer computer network. Bitcoin may be used to pay for goods and services, stored for future use, or converted to a fiat currency. The value of bitcoin is not backed by any government, corporation, or other identified body.
The value of bitcoin is determined in part by the supply of (which is limited), and demand for, bitcoin in the markets for exchange that have been organized to facilitate the trading of bitcoin.
Bitcoin is maintained on the decentralized, open source, peer-to-peer computer network (the “Bitcoin Network”). No single entity owns or operates the Bitcoin Network. The Bitcoin Network is accessed through software and governs bitcoin’s creation, movement, and ownership. The source code for the Bitcoin Network, often referred to as the Bitcoin Protocol, is open source, and anyone can contribute to its development.
Bitcoin Network. The infrastructure of the Bitcoin Network is collectively maintained by participants in the Bitcoin Network, which include miners, developers, and users. Miners validate transactions and are currently compensated for that service in bitcoin. Developers maintain and contribute updates to the Bitcoin Network’s source code often referred to as the Bitcoin Protocol. Users access the Bitcoin Network using open source software. Anyone can be a user, developer, or miner.
Bitcoin is “stored” on a digital transaction ledger commonly known as a “blockchain.” A blockchain is a type of shared and continually reconciled database, stored in a decentralized manner on the computers of certain users of the digital asset and protected by cryptography. The Bitcoin Blockchain contains a record and transaction history for each bitcoin.
New bitcoin is created by “mining.” Miners use specialized computer software and hardware to solve a highly complex mathematical problem presented by the Bitcoin Protocol. The first miner to successfully solve the problem is permitted to add a block of transactions to the Bitcoin Blockchain. The new block is then confirmed through acceptance by a majority of participants who maintain versions of the blockchain on their individual computers. Miners that successfully add a block to the Bitcoin Blockchain are automatically rewarded with a fixed amount of bitcoin for their effort plus any transaction fees paid by transferors whose transactions are recorded in the block. This reward system is the means by which new bitcoin enter circulation and is the mechanism by which versions of the blockchain held by users on a decentralized network are kept in consensus.
Bitcoin Protocol. The Bitcoin Protocol is an open source project with no official company or group that controls the source. Anyone can review the underlying code and suggest changes. There are, however, a number of individual developers that regularly contribute to a specific distribution of bitcoin software known as the
“Bitcoin Core.” Developers of the Bitcoin Core loosely oversee the development of the source code. There are many other compatible versions of the bitcoin software, but the Bitcoin Core is the most widely adopted and currently provides the de facto standard for the Bitcoin Protocol. The core developers are able to access, and can alter, the Bitcoin Network source code and, as a result, they are responsible for quasi-official releases of updates and other changes to the Bitcoin Network’s source code.
However, because bitcoin has no central authority, the release of updates to the Bitcoin Network’s source code by the core developers does not guarantee that the updates will be automatically adopted by the other participants. Users and miners must accept any changes made to the source code by downloading the proposed modification and that modification is effective only with respect to those bitcoin users and miners who choose to download it. As a practical matter, a modification
2

to the source code becomes part of the Bitcoin Network only if it is accepted by participants that collectively have a majority of the processing power on the Bitcoin Network.
If a modification is accepted by only a percentage of users and miners, a division will occur such that one network will run the pre-modification source code and the other network will run the modified source code. Such a division is known as a “fork.”
Bitcoin Futures. The price of bitcoin futures is based on the expected price of bitcoin on certain exchanges at a future date, specifically, the expiration date of the bitcoin futures contract. Bitcoin futures prices are based on the Bitcoin Reference Rate, which reflects the price of bitcoin on certain exchanges only, and not the bitcoin cash market.
Although the Fund does not invest in bitcoin, events impacting the price of bitcoin across all bitcoin trading venues could impact the price and market for bitcoin futures, and therefore the performance of the Fund.
The liquidity of the market for bitcoin futures depends on, among other things: the supply and demand for bitcoin futures; the supply and demand for bitcoin; the adoption of bitcoin for commercial uses; the anticipated increase of investments in bitcoin-related investment products by retail and institutional investors; speculative interest in bitcoin, bitcoin futures, and bitcoin-related investment products; regulatory or other restrictions on investors’ ability to invest in bitcoin futures; and the potential ability to hedge against the price of bitcoin with bitcoin futures (and vice versa).
The market for bitcoin futures may be illiquid. This means that the Fund may not be able to buy and sell bitcoin futures quickly or at the desired price. For example, it is difficult to execute a trade at a specific price when there is a relatively small volume of buy and sell orders in a market. A materially adverse development in one or more of the factors on which the liquidity of the market for bitcoin futures depends may cause the market to become illiquid, for short or long periods. In such markets, the Fund may not be able to buy and sell bitcoin futures quickly (or at all) or at the desired price. Market illiquidity may cause losses for the Fund. Additionally, the large size of the futures positions which the Fund may acquire increases the risk of illiquidity, as larger positions may be more difficult to fully liquidate, may take longer to liquidate, and, as a result of their size, may expose the Fund to potentially more significant losses while trying to do so. Limits imposed by counterparties, exchanges or other regulatory organizations, such as accountability levels, position limits and daily price fluctuation limits, may contribute to a lack of liquidity with respect to some financial instruments and have a negative impact on Fund performance. During periods of market illiquidity, including periods of market disruption and volatility, it may be difficult or impossible for the Fund to buy or sell futures contracts or other financial instruments.
The contractual obligations of a buyer or seller holding a futures contract to expiration may be satisfied by settling in cash as provided by the terms of such contract. However, the Fund does not intend to hold bitcoin futures through expiration. Instead, the Fund intends to “roll” futures positions. “Rolling” refers to a process whereby futures contracts nearing expiration are closed out and replaced with identical futures contracts with a later expiration date. Accordingly, the Fund is subject to risks related to rolling.
When the market for certain futures contracts is such that the prices are higher in the more distant delivery months than in the nearer delivery months, the sale during the course of the “rolling process” of the more nearby bitcoin futures would take place at a price that is lower than the price of the more distant bitcoin futures. This pattern of higher futures prices for longer expiration bitcoin futures is often referred to as “contango.” Alternatively, when the market for certain bitcoin futures is such that the prices are higher in the nearer months than in the more distant months, the sale during the course of the rolling process of the more nearby bitcoin futures would take place at a price that is higher than the price of the more distant bitcoin futures. This pattern of higher future prices for shorter expiration bitcoin futures is referred to as “backwardation.”
There have been extended periods in which contango or backwardation has existed in certain futures markets in general. Such periods could occur in the future for bitcoin futures and may cause significant and sustained losses. Additionally because of the frequency with which the Fund may roll futures contracts, the impact of contango or backwardation on Fund performance may be greater than it would have been if the Fund rolled futures contracts less frequently.
The CME has established margin requirements for bitcoin futures at levels that may be substantially higher than the margin requirements for more established futures contracts. The Futures Commission Merchants (“FCMs”) utilized by the Fund may impose margin requirements in addition to those imposed by the exchanges. Margin requirements are subject to change, and may be raised in the future by the exchanges and the FCMs. Margin Requirements may be more likely to change during periods of high volatility. High margin requirements could prevent the Fund from obtaining sufficient exposure to bitcoin futures and may adversely affect its ability to achieve its investment objective. An FCM’s failure to return required margin to the Fund on a timely basis may cause such Fund to delay redemption settlement dates and/or restrict, postpone or limit the right of redemption.
The term “margin” refers to the minimum amount the Fund must deposit and maintain with its FCM in order to establish an open position in futures contracts. The minimum amount of margin required in connection with a particular futures contract is set by the exchange on which such contract is traded and is subject to change at any time during the term of the contract. FCMs may require customers to post additional amounts above the required minimums. Futures contracts are customarily bought and sold on margins that represent a percentage of the aggregate purchase or sales price of the contract.
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In addition, FCMs utilized by the Fund may impose limits on the amount of exposure to futures contracts the Fund can obtain through such FCMs. As a result, the Fund may need to transact through a number of FCMs to achieve its investment objective. If enough FCMs are not willing to transact with the Fund, or if exposure limits imposed by such FCMs do not provide sufficient exposure, the Fund may not be able to achieve its investment objective.
There may be circumstances that could prevent or make it impractical for the Fund to operate in a manner consistent with its investment objective and investment strategies.
The price of bitcoin has experienced periods of extreme volatility. The price of bitcoin may change dramatically and without warning. This volatility is due to a number of factors, including the supply and demand for bitcoin, concerns about potential manipulation of the price of bitcoin and the safety of bitcoin, market perceptions of the value of bitcoin as an investment, continuing development of the regulations applicable to bitcoin, and the changes exhibited by an early-stage technological innovation.
It is believed that speculators and investors who seek to profit from trading and holding bitcoin currently account for a significant portion of bitcoin demand. Such speculation regarding the potential future appreciation in the price of bitcoin may artificially inflate or deflate the price of bitcoin. Conversely, evolving government regulation, the perception of onerous regulatory actions, concerns over the potential for fraud and manipulation of the price of bitcoin and other factors may cause a drop in the price of bitcoin. Developments related to the Bitcoin Network’s operations, also contribute to the volatility in the price of bitcoin. These factors may continue to cause the price of bitcoin to be volatile, which may have a negative impact on the performance of the bitcoin futures and on the performance of the Fund.
The trading of bitcoin is fragmented across numerous trading venues. The fragmentation of the volume of bitcoin transactions across multiple trading venues can lead to a higher volatility than would be expected if volume was concentrated in a single trading venue. Market fragmentation and volatility increases the likelihood of price differences across different trading venues.
Market participants trading bitcoin futures may seek to “hedge” or otherwise manage their exposure to such contracts by taking offsetting positions in bitcoin. Fragmentation may require market participants to analyze multiple prices, which may be inconsistent and quickly changing. Fragmentation also may require market participants to potentially fill their positions through a number of transactions on different exchanges. These factors potentially increase the cost and uncertainty of trading bitcoin and may decrease the effectiveness of using transactions in bitcoin to help manage or offset positions in bitcoin futures. Market participants who are unable to fully or effectively manage or hedge their positions in bitcoin futures typically would be expected to widen the bid-ask spreads on such contracts, which could potentially decrease the trading volume and liquidity of such contracts and have a negative impact on the price of such contracts.
Bitcoin, the Bitcoin Network and bitcoin trading venues are relatively new and not subject to the same regulations as regulated securities or futures exchanges. Bitcoin exchanges that are regulated typically must comply with minimum net worth, cybersecurity, and anti-money laundering requirements, but are not typically required to protect customers or their markets to the same extent that regulated securities exchanges or futures exchanges are required to do so. As a result, markets for bitcoin may be subject to manipulation or fraud and may be subject to larger and/or more frequent sudden declines than assets traded on more traditional exchanges. Investors in bitcoin may lose money, possibly the entire value of their investments.
There is no central registry showing which individuals or entities own bitcoin or the quantity of bitcoin that is owned by any particular person or entity. It is possible that a small group of early bitcoin adopters hold a significant proportion of the bitcoin that has been thus far created. There are no regulations in place that would prevent a large holder of bitcoin or a group of holders from selling their bitcoins, which could depress the price of bitcoin, or otherwise attempting to manipulate the price of bitcoin or the Bitcoin Network.
Events could adversely affect the price of bitcoin, reduce user confidence in bitcoin, the Bitcoin Network and the fairness of the venues for trading bitcoin and slow (or even reverse) the further adoption of bitcoin.
Malicious actors could theoretically structure an attack whereby such actors gains control of more than half of the Bitcoin Network’s processing power, or “aggregate hashrate.” If a malicious actor or group of actors acquired a hashrate exceeding the rest of the Bitcoin Network, it would be able to exert unilateral control over the addition of blocks to the Bitcoin Blockchain. This would allow a malicious actor to engage in “double spending” (i.e., use the same bitcoin for two or more transactions), prevent other transactions from being confirmed on the Bitcoin Blockchain, or prevent other miners from mining any valid new blocks. Each of the events described above, among other things, could adversely affect the price of bitcoin; reduce user confidence in bitcoin, the Bitcoin Network and the fairness of bitcoin trading venues; and slow (or even reverse) the further adoption of bitcoin.
The Bitcoin Protocol was built using open source software by a small group of developers known as the “Bitcoin Core” (as defined herein) who help develop and maintain the original version of bitcoin, the underlying asset upon which bitcoin futures are based. The open source nature of the Bitcoin Protocol permits any developer to review the underlying code and suggest changes to it via “Bitcoin Improvement Proposals”, or “BIPs.” If accepted by a sufficient number of miners, BIPs may result in substantial changes to the Bitcoin Network, including changes that result in “forks” (as described herein). The Bitcoin Network has already experienced two major forks after developers attempted to increase transaction capacity.
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Blocks mined on these new “forked” networks now diverge from blocks mined on the original Bitcoin Network maintained by the Bitcoin Core, resulting in the creation of two new blockchains whose digital assets are referred to as “Bitcoin Cash” and “Bitcoin Gold.” Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash and Bitcoin Gold now operate as separate, independent networks. Multiple BIPs still exist, many of which are aimed at increasing the transaction capacity of the Bitcoin Network, and it is possible that one or more of these BIPs could result in further network forks. It is possible that the price of the bitcoin futures subsequent to a “fork” may be linked to the price of bitcoin on only one of the resulting Bitcoin Networks, rather than the aggregate price of bitcoin on all resulting Bitcoin Networks.
The CME considers a hard fork of the Bitcoin Blockchain where both forks continue to be actively mined and traded but may not be fungible with each other, as an unusual and extreme circumstance. The CME has determined, in the event of a hard fork or other circumstance in which the split of bitcoin is expected, CME shall decide what action to take to align bitcoin futures exposure with cash market exposures, as the CME deems appropriate.
It is possible that, notwithstanding the protocols implemented to attempt to address the impact of forks on bitcoin futures, forks and similar events could have an adverse effect on the price of bitcoin and the bitcoin futures in which the Fund invests and may adversely affect an investment in the Fund. The price of bitcoin is highly volatile, which could have a negative impact on the price and trading of bitcoin futures and the performance of the Fund.
It is believed that speculators and investors who seek to profit from trading and holding bitcoin currently account for a significant portion of bitcoin demand. Such speculation regarding the potential future appreciation in the price of bitcoin may artificially inflate or deflate the price of bitcoin. Conversely, evolving government regulation, the perception of onerous regulatory actions, concerns over the potential for fraud and manipulation of the price of bitcoin and other factors may cause a drop in the price of bitcoin. Developments related to the Bitcoin Network’s operations, also contribute to the volatility in the price of bitcoin. These factors may continue to cause the price of bitcoin to be volatile, which may have a negative impact on the performance of the bitcoin futures and on the performance of the Fund.
Since the price and trading of bitcoin futures is influenced by the price of bitcoin and events impacting the price of bitcoin, the Bitcoin Network or the bitcoin trading venues, each of the events described above could have a negative impact on the price and market for bitcoin futures. For example, such events could lead to a lack of liquidity in the market for bitcoin futures or have a negative impact on the price of bitcoin futures.
Changes in the Bitcoin Network could have an adverse effect on the operation and price of bitcoin, which could have an adverse effect on the price of bitcoin futures and the value of an investment in the Fund.
New bitcoin is created when bitcoin “miners” use computers on the Bitcoin Network to solve bitcoin’s “proof of work” algorithm which records and verifies every bitcoin transaction on the Bitcoin Blockchain. In return for their services, miners are rewarded through receipt of a set amount of bitcoin known as the “block reward.” The current block reward for solving a new block is six and one quarter (6.25) bitcoin per block; a decrease from twelve and one half (12.5) bitcoin in May 2020. Based on current processing power, or “hashrate”, the block reward is estimated to halve again in about four (4) years. Because the block reward slowly declines at a fixed rate over time, a user may incentivize a miner to prioritize the processing of their transaction by including excess bitcoin which is collected by the miner in the form of a “transaction fee.” If transaction fees are not sufficiently high or if transaction fees increase to the point of being prohibitively expensive for users, miners may not have an adequate incentive to continue mining and may cease their mining operations.
If the price of bitcoin or the reward for mining new blocks is not sufficiently high to incentivize miners, miners may cease expending hashrate to solve blocks and, as a result, confirmations of transactions on the Bitcoin Blockchain could be slowed temporarily and inhibit the function of the Bitcoin Network. This could have a negative impact on the value of an investment in the Fund.
Additionally, if the price of bitcoin falls below that which is required for mining operators to turn a profit, some mining operators may temporarily discontinue mining bitcoin by either halting operations or switching their mining operations to mine other cryptocurrencies. If miners reduce or cease their mining operations it would reduce the aggregate hashrate on the Bitcoin Network, which would adversely affect the confirmation process for transactions (i.e., temporarily decreasing the speed at which blocks are added to the blockchain until the next scheduled adjustment in difficulty for block solutions) and make the Bitcoin Network more vulnerable to a malicious actor obtaining control in excess of fifty (50) percent of the aggregate hashrate on the Bitcoin Network. Periodically, the Bitcoin Network is designed to adjust the difficulty for block solutions so that solution speeds remain in the vicinity of the expected ten (10) minute confirmation time currently targeted by the Bitcoin Network protocol, but significant reductions in aggregate hashrate on the Bitcoin Network could result in material delays in transaction confirmation time. Any reduction in confidence in the confirmation process or aggregate hashrate of the Bitcoin Network may adversely affect the utility and price of bitcoin, which may negatively impact the bitcoin futures and an investment in the Fund.
A decline in the adoption of bitcoin could have a negative impact on the price of bitcoin and the bitcoin trading venues and, in turn, a negative impact on the price and market for bitcoin futures and the value of an investment in the Fund.
Bitcoin is used as a form of payment both directly and, more commonly, through an intermediary service which converts bitcoin payments into local currency. However, the adoption of bitcoin has been limited when compared with the increase
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in the price of bitcoin as determined by the bitcoin trading venues. This may indicate that the majority of bitcoin’s use continues to be for investment and speculative purposes. The continued adoption of bitcoin will require growth in its usage as a means of payment and in the Bitcoin Blockchain for various applications.
A lack of expansion or a reduction in usage of bitcoin and the Bitcoin Blockchain could adversely affect the bitcoin trading venues. This, in turn, may have a negative impact on the market for bitcoin futures and the performance of the Fund. Even if growth in bitcoin adoption continues in the near or medium-term, there is no assurance that bitcoin usage, or the market for bitcoin futures, will continue to grow over the long-term. A contraction in the use of bitcoin may result in a lack of liquidity in the bitcoin trading venues, increased volatility in or a reduction to the price of bitcoin, and other negative consequences. This, in turn, could exacerbate any lack of liquidity in the market for bitcoin futures, cause increased volatility in, or a reduction to the price, of bitcoin futures and other negative consequences. Each of these events could adversely impact the value of an investment in the Fund.
A new competing digital asset may pose a challenge to bitcoin’s current market dominance, resulting in a reduction in demand for bitcoin, which could have a negative impact on the price and market for bitcoin and, in turn, a negative impact on the price and market for bitcoin futures and the value of an investment in the Fund.
The Bitcoin Network and bitcoin, as an asset, currently hold a “first-to-market” advantage over other digital assets. This first-to-market advantage has resulted in the Bitcoin Network evolving into the most well-developed network of any digital asset. The Bitcoin Network currently enjoys the largest user base of any digital asset and, more importantly, the largest combined mining power in use to secure the Bitcoin Blockchain. Having a large mining network enhances user confidence regarding the security of the Bitcoin Blockchain and long-term stability of the Bitcoin Network. However, the large mining network also increases the difficulty of solving for bitcoins, which at times may incentivize miners to mine other cryptocurrencies. It is possible that real or perceived shortcomings in the Bitcoin Network, technological, regulatory or other developments could result in a decline in popularity and acceptance of bitcoin and the Bitcoin Network.
It is also possible that other digital currencies and trading systems could become more widely accepted and used than bitcoin. In particular, digital assets “Ethereum”, “Ripple” and “Stellar” have acquired a substantial share of the cryptocurrency market in recent years, which may be in part due to perceived institutional backing and/or potentially advantageous features not incorporated into bitcoin. There are other cryptocurrencies, or alt-coins, gaining momentum as the price of the bitcoin continues to rise and investors see the cheaper cryptocurrencies as attractive alternatives. Additionally, the continued rise of alt-coins could lead to a reduction in demand for bitcoin, which could have a negative impact on the price and market for bitcoin and the bitcoin trading venues and, in turn, a negative impact on the price and market for bitcoin futures and the value of an investment in the Fund.
Regulatory initiatives by governments and uniform law proposals by academics and participants in the bitcoin economy may impact the use of bitcoin or the operation of the Bitcoin Network in a manner that adversely affects bitcoin futures and the value of an investment in the Fund.
As bitcoin and other digital assets have grown in popularity and market size, certain U.S. federal and state governments, foreign governments and self-regulatory agencies have begun to examine the operations of bitcoin, cryptocurrencies and other digital assets, the Bitcoin Network, bitcoin users, and the bitcoin trading venues. Regulation of cryptocurrencies, like bitcoin, and initial coin offerings (“ICOs”) in the U.S. and foreign jurisdictions could restrict the use of bitcoin or impose other requirements that may adversely impact the liquidity and price of bitcoin, the demand for bitcoin, the operations of the bitcoin trading venues and the performance of the bitcoin futures. If the bitcoin trading venues become subject to onerous regulations, among other things, trading in bitcoin may be concentrated in a smaller number of exchanges, which may materially impact the price, volatility and trading volumes of bitcoin. Additionally, the bitcoin trading venues may be required to comply with tax, anti-money laundering (“AML”), know-your-customer (“KYC”) and other regulatory requirements, compliance and reporting obligations that may make it more costly to transact in or trade bitcoin (which may materially impact price, volatility or trading of bitcoin more generally). Each of these events could have a negative impact on bitcoin futures and the value of an investment in the Fund.
The regulation of bitcoin, digital assets and related products and services continues to evolve. The inconsistent and sometimes conflicting regulatory landscape may make it more difficult for bitcoin businesses to provide services, which may impede the growth of the bitcoin economy and have an adverse effect on consumer adoption of bitcoin. There is a possibility of future regulatory change altering, perhaps to a material extent, the nature of an investment in the Fund or the ability of the Fund to continue to operate.
Additionally, to the extent that bitcoin itself is determined to be a security, commodity future or other regulated asset, or to the extent that a United States or foreign government or quasi-governmental agency exerts regulatory authority over the Bitcoin Network, bitcoin trading or ownership in bitcoin, the bitcoin futures may be adversely affected, which may have an adverse effect on the value of your investment in the Fund. In sum, bitcoin regulation takes many different forms and will, therefore, impact bitcoin and its usage in a variety of manners.
The Bitcoin Network is currently maintained by the Bitcoin Core and no single entity owns the Bitcoin Network. However, with the growing adoption of bitcoin and the significant increase in speculative activity surrounding bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, third parties may be increasingly motivated to assert intellectual property rights claims relating to the operation of the
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Bitcoin Network or applications built upon the Bitcoin Blockchain. Regardless of the merit of any intellectual property or other legal action, any threatened action that reduces confidence in the Bitcoin Network’s or the Bitcoin Blockchain’s long-term viability or the ability of end-users to hold and transfer bitcoin may adversely affect the price of bitcoin and adversely affect the bitcoin futures. Additionally, a meritorious intellectual property rights claim could prevent end-users from accessing the Bitcoin Network or holding or transferring their bitcoin, which could adversely affect the value of the bitcoin futures. As a result, an intellectual property rights claim against Bitcoin Network participants could have a material adverse impact on the Fund.
An interruption in Internet service or a limitation of Internet access could impact the functionality of the Bitcoin Network.
The Bitcoin Network’s functionality relies on the Internet. A broadly accepted and widely adopted decentralized network is necessary for a fully-functional blockchain network, such as the Bitcoin Network. Features of the Bitcoin Network, such as decentralization, open source protocol, and reliance on peer-to-peer connectivity, are essential to preserve the stability of the network and decrease the risk of fraud or cyber-attacks. A significant disruption of Internet connectivity affecting large numbers of users or geographic areas could impede the functionality of the Bitcoin Network. Any technical disruptions or regulatory limitations that affect Internet access may have an adverse effect on the Bitcoin Network, the price of bitcoin and bitcoin futures and therefore adversely affect the value of an investment in the Fund.
Asset-Backed Securities
The Fund may invest in asset-backed securities of any rating or maturity. Asset-backed securities are securities issued by trusts and special purpose entities that are backed by pools of assets, such as automobile and credit-card receivables and home equity loans, which pass through the payments on the underlying obligations to the security holders (less servicing fees paid to the originator or fees for any credit enhancement). Typically, the originator of the loan or accounts receivable paper transfers it to a specially created trust, which repackages it as securities with a minimum denomination and a specific term. The securities are then privately placed or publicly offered. Examples include certificates for automobile receivables and so-called plastic bonds, backed by credit card receivables.
The value of an asset-backed security is affected by, among other things, changes in the market’s perception of the asset backing the security, the creditworthiness of the servicing agent for the loan pool, the originator of the loans and the financial institution providing any credit enhancement. Payments of principal and interest passed through to holders of asset-backed securities are frequently supported by some form of credit enhancement, such as a letter of credit, surety bond, limited guarantee by another entity or by having a priority to certain of the borrower’s other assets. The degree of credit enhancement varies, and generally applies to only a portion of the asset-backed security’s par value. Value is also affected if any credit enhancement has been exhausted.
Bank Obligations
Money Market Instruments. The Fund may invest in bankers’ acceptances, certificates of deposit, demand and time deposits, savings shares and commercial paper of domestic banks and savings and loans that have assets of at least $1 billion and capital, surplus, and undivided profits of over $100 million as of the close of their most recent fiscal year, or instruments that are insured by the Bank Insurance Fund or the Savings Institution Insurance Fund of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (“FDIC”). The Fund also may invest in high quality, short-term, corporate debt obligations, including variable rate demand notes, having terms-to-maturity of less than 397 days. Because there is no secondary trading market in demand notes, the inability of the issuer to make required payments could impact adversely the Fund’s ability to resell when it deems advisable to do so.
The Fund may invest in foreign money market instruments, which typically involve more risk than investing in U.S. money market instruments. See “Foreign Securities” below. These risks include, among others, higher brokerage commissions, less public information, and less liquid markets in which to sell and meet large shareholder redemption requests.
Bankers’ Acceptances. Bankers’ acceptances generally are negotiable instruments (time drafts) drawn to finance the export, import, domestic shipment or storage of goods. They are termed “accepted” when a bank writes on the draft its agreement to pay it at maturity, using the word “accepted.” The bank is, in effect, unconditionally guaranteeing to pay the face value of the instrument on its maturity date. The acceptance may then be held by the accepting bank as an asset, or it may be sold in the secondary market at the going rate of interest for a specified maturity.
Certificates of Deposit (“CDs”). The FDIC is an agency of the U.S. government that insures the deposits of certain banks and savings and loan associations up to $250,000 per deposit. The interest on such deposits may not be insured to the extent this limit is exceeded. Current federal regulations also permit such institutions to issue insured negotiable CDs in amounts of $250,000 or more without regard to the interest rate ceilings on other deposits. To remain fully insured, these investments must be limited to $250,000 per insured bank or savings and loan association.
Commercial Paper. Commercial paper includes notes, drafts or similar instruments payable on demand or having a maturity at the time of issuance not exceeding nine months, exclusive of days of grace or any renewal thereof. The Fund may invest
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in commercial paper rated A-l or A-2 by Standard & Poor’s® Ratings Services (“S&P®”) or Prime-1 or Prime-2 by Moody’s Investors Service®, Inc. (“Moody’s”), and in other lower quality commercial paper.
Corporate Debt Securities
The Fund may invest in investment grade corporate debt securities of any rating or maturity. Investment grade corporate bonds are those rated BBB or better by S&P® or Baa or better by Moody’s. Securities rated BBB by S&P® are considered investment grade, but Moody’s considers securities rated Baa to have speculative characteristics. See Appendix A for a description of corporate bond ratings. The Fund may also invest in unrated securities.
Corporate debt securities are fixed-income securities issued by businesses to finance their operations, although corporate debt instruments may also include bank loans to companies. Notes, bonds, debentures and commercial paper are the most common types of corporate debt securities, with the primary difference being their maturities and secured or un-secured status. Commercial paper has the shortest term and is usually unsecured.
The broad category of corporate debt securities includes debt issued by domestic or foreign companies of all kinds, including those with small-, mid- and large-capitalizations. Corporate debt may be rated investment-grade or below investment-grade and may carry variable or floating rates of interest.
Because of the wide range of types and maturities of corporate debt securities, as well as the range of creditworthiness of its issuers, corporate debt securities have widely varying potentials for return and risk profiles. For example, commercial paper issued by a large established domestic corporation that is rated investment grade may have a modest return on principal, but carries relatively limited risk. On the other hand, a long-term corporate note issued by a small foreign corporation from an emerging market country that has not been rated may have the potential for relatively large returns on principal, but carries a relatively high degree of risk.
Corporate debt securities carry both credit risk and interest rate risk. Credit risk is the risk that the Fund could lose money if the issuer of a corporate debt security is unable to pay interest or repay principal when it is due. Some corporate debt securities that are rated below investment grade are generally considered speculative because they present a greater risk of loss, including default, than higher-quality debt securities. The credit risk of a particular issuer’s debt security may vary based on its priority for repayment. For example, higher ranking (senior) debt securities have a higher priority than lower ranking (subordinated) securities. This means that the issuer might not make payments on subordinated securities while continuing to make payments on senior securities. In addition, in the event of bankruptcy, holders of higher-ranking senior securities may receive amounts otherwise payable to the holders of more junior securities. Interest rate risk is the risk that the value of certain corporate debt securities will tend to fall when interest rates rise. In general, corporate debt securities with longer terms tend to fall more in value when interest rates rise than corporate debt securities with shorter terms.
The Fund may invest in certain debt securities, derivatives or other financial instruments that utilize the London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”) as a benchmark or reference rate for various interest rate calculations. LIBOR may be a significant factor in determining the Fund’s payment obligations under a derivative investment, the cost of financing to the Fund or an investment’s value or return to the Fund, and may be used in other ways that affect the Fund’s investment performance.
On July 27, 2017, the head of the United Kingdom’s (“UK”) Financial Conduct Authority (the “FCA”) announced that it will cease its active encouragement of banks to provide quotations needed to sustain the LIBOR rate, which means that the LIBOR rate may no longer be published. Also in 2017, the Alternative Reference Rates Committee, a group of large US banks working with the Federal Reserve, announced its selection of a new Secured Overnight Funding Rate (“SOFR”), which is a broad measure of the cost of overnight borrowings secured by Treasury Department securities, as an appropriate replacement for LIBOR. Bank working groups and regulators in other countries have suggested other alternatives for their markets, including the Sterling Overnight Interbank Average Rate (“SONIA”) in England. On March 5, 2021, the FCA announced that LIBOR currency and tenor rates will cease publishing after December 31, 2021, in addition to various other Euro, sterling and Japanese yen LIBOR rates. FCA also announced that 1-month, 3-month and 6-month USD LIBOR rates will no longer be representative after June 30, 2023. This announcement impacted several LIBOR transition dates, including the EU Benchmark Regulations regarding the European Commission designating one or more LIBOR replacement rates. Additionally, fallback language that was voluntarily entered into by contractual parties, including those related to corporate debt or other securities may be impacted by the FCA’s announcement, thereby triggered transition dates for various instruments.
The Federal Reserve Bank of New York began publishing SOFR in April 2018, with the expectation that it could be used on a voluntary basis in new instruments and for new transactions under existing instruments. However, SOFR is fundamentally different from LIBOR. It is a secured, nearly risk-free rate, while LIBOR is an unsecured rate that includes an element of bank credit risk. Also, SOFR is strictly an overnight rate, while LIBOR historically has been published for various maturities, ranging from overnight to one year. Thus, LIBOR may be expected to be higher than SOFR, and the spread between the two is likely to widen in times of market stress.
Various financial industry groups have begun planning for the transition from LIBOR to SOFR (or another new benchmark), but there are obstacles to converting certain longer term securities and transactions. Neither the effect of the transition process nor its ultimate success can yet be known. The transition process might lead to increased volatility and illiquidity
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in markets that currently rely on the LIBOR to determine interest rates. It also could lead to a reduction in the value of some LIBOR-based investments and reduce the effectiveness of new hedges placed against existing LIBOR-based instruments. Among other negative consequences, the transition away from LIBOR could:
Adversely impact the pricing, liquidity, value of, return on and trading for a broad array of financial products, including any LIBOR-linked securities, loans and derivatives in which the Fund may invest;
Require extensive negotiations of and/or amendments to agreements and other documentation governing LIBOR-linked investments products;
Lead to disputes, litigation or other actions with counterparties or portfolio companies regarding the interpretation and enforceability of “fall back” provisions that provide for an alternative reference rate in the event of LIBOR’s unavailability; or
Cause the Fund to incur additional costs in relation to any of the above factors.
The risks associated with the above factors are heightened with respect to investments in LIBOR-based products that do not include a fall back provision that addresses how interest rates will be determined if LIBOR stops being published. Other important factors include the pace of the transition, the specific terms of alternative reference rates accepted in the market and the depth of the market for investments based on alternative reference rates. The risks associated with this discontinuation and transition will be exacerbated if the work necessary to effect an orderly transition to an alternative reference rate is not completed in a timely manner. Since the usefulness of LIBOR as a benchmark could deteriorate during the transition period, these effects could occur prior to the end of 2021. Any such effects of the transition away from LIBOR, as well as other unforeseen effects, could result in losses to the Fund.
Equity Securities
Common Stocks. The Fund may invest in common stocks. Common stocks represent the residual ownership interest in the issuer and are entitled to the income and increase in the value of the assets and business of the entity after all of its obligations and preferred stock are satisfied. Common stocks generally have voting rights. Common stocks fluctuate in price in response to many factors including historical and prospective earnings of the issuer, the value of its assets, general economic conditions, interest rates, investor perceptions and market liquidity.
Convertible Securities. The Fund may invest in convertible securities that may be considered high yield securities. Convertible securities include corporate bonds, notes and preferred stock that can be converted into or exchanged for a prescribed amount of common stock of the same or a different issue within a particular period of time at a specified price or formula. A convertible security entitles the holder to receive interest paid or accrued on debt or dividends paid on preferred stock until the convertible stock matures or is redeemed, converted or exchanged. While no securities investment is without some risk, investments in convertible securities generally entail less risk than the issuer’s common stock, although the extent to which such risk is reduced depends in large measure upon the degree to which the convertible security sells above its value as a fixed income security. The market value of convertible securities tends to decline as interest rates increase and, conversely, to increase as interest rates decline. While convertible securities generally offer lower interest or dividend yields than nonconvertible debt securities of similar quality, they do enable the investor to benefit from increases in the market price of the underlying common stock. When investing in convertible securities, the Fund may invest in the lowest credit rating category.
Preferred Stock. The Fund may invest in preferred stock. A preferred stock blends the characteristics of a bond and common stock. It can offer the higher yield of a bond and has priority over common stock in equity ownership, but does not have the seniority of a bond and its participation in the issuer’s growth may be limited. Preferred stock has preference over common stock in the receipt of dividends and in any residual assets after payment to creditors if the issuer is dissolved. Although the dividend is set at a fixed annual rate, in some circumstances it can be changed or omitted by the issuer. When investing in preferred stocks, the Fund may invest in the lowest credit rating category.
Warrants and Rights. The Fund may purchase warrants and rights, which are instruments that permit the Fund to acquire, by subscription, the capital stock of a corporation at a set price, regardless of the market price for such stock. Warrants may be either perpetual or of limited duration, but they usually do not have voting rights or pay dividends. The market price of warrants is usually significantly less than the current price of the underlying stock. Thus, there is a greater risk that warrants might drop in value at a faster rate than the underlying stock.
Foreign Securities
The Fund may have both direct and indirect exposure to foreign securities through investments in publicly traded securities such as stocks and bonds, stock index futures contracts, options on stock index futures contracts and options on securities and on stock indices to foreign securities. In most cases, the best available market for foreign securities will be on exchanges or in OTC markets located outside the United States.
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Investing in foreign securities carries political and economic risks distinct from those associated with investing in the United States. 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 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 the imposition of exchange controls. The prices of such securities may be more volatile than those of U.S. securities. There maybe also be the possibility of expropriation of assets or nationalization, imposition of withholding taxes on dividend or interest payments, difficulty 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 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, the 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 the 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 Fund to incur higher portfolio transaction costs than domestic equity funds. Fluctuations in exchanges rates may also affect the earning power and asset value of the foreign entity issuing a security, even on 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.
Developing and Emerging Markets. Emerging and developing markets abroad may offer special opportunities for investing, but may have greater risks than more developed foreign markets, such as those in Europe, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Japan. There may be even less liquidity in their securities markets, and settlements of purchases and sales of securities may be subject to additional delays. They are subject to greater risks of limitations on the repatriation of income and profits because of currency restrictions imposed by local governments. Those countries may also be subject to the risk of greater political and economic instability, which can greatly affect the volatility of prices of securities in those countries.
Investing in emerging market securities imposes risks different from, or greater than, risks of investing in foreign developed countries. These risks include: smaller market capitalization of securities markets, which may suffer periods of relative illiquidity; significant price volatility; restrictions on foreign investment; and possible repatriation of investment income and capital. In addition, foreign investors may be required to register the proceeds of sales and future economic or political crises could lead to price controls, forced mergers, expropriation or confiscatory taxation, seizure, nationalization, or creation of government monopolies. The currencies of emerging market countries may experience significant declines against the U.S. Dollar. Inflation and rapid fluctuations in inflation rates have had, and may continue to have, negative effects on the economies and securities markets of certain emerging market countries. Additional risks of emerging markets securities may include: greater social, economic and political uncertainty and instability; more substantial governmental involvement in the economy; less governmental supervision and regulation; unavailability of currency hedging techniques; companies that are newly organized and small; differences in auditing and financial reporting standards, which may result in unavailability of material information about issuers; and less developed legal systems. Shareholder claims and legal remedies that are common in the United States may be difficult or impossible to pursue in many emerging market countries. In addition, due to jurisdictional limitations, matters of comity and various other factors, U.S. authorities may be limited in their ability to bring enforcement actions against non-U.S. companies and non-U.S. persons in certain emerging market countries. In addition, emerging securities markets may have different clearance and settlement procedures, which may be unable to keep pace with the volume of securities transactions or otherwise make it difficult to engage in such transactions.
Asia-Pacific Countries. In addition to the risks associated with foreign and emerging markets, the developing market Asia-Pacific countries in which the Fund may invest are subject to certain additional or specific risks. The Fund may make substantial investments in Asia-Pacific countries. In the Asia-Pacific markets, there is a high concentration of market capitalization and trading volume in a small number of issuers representing a limited number of industries, as well as a high concentration of investors and financial intermediaries. Many of these markets also may be affected by developments with respect to more established markets in the region, such as Japan and Hong Kong. Brokers in developing market Asia-Pacific countries typically are fewer in number and less well-capitalized than brokers in the United States. These factors, combined with the U.S. regulatory requirements for open-end investment companies and the restrictions on foreign investment, result in potentially fewer investment opportunities for the Fund and may have an adverse impact on the Fund’s investment performance.
Many of the developing market Asia-Pacific countries may be subject to a greater degree of economic, political and social instability than is the case in the United States and Western European countries. Such instability may result from, among
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other things: (i) authoritarian governments or military involvement in political and economic decision-making, including changes in government through extra-constitutional means; (ii) popular unrest associated with demands for improved political, economic and social conditions; (iii) internal insurgencies; (iv) hostile relations with neighboring countries; and/or (v) ethnic, religious and racial disaffection. In addition, the governments of many of such countries, such as Indonesia, have a heavy role in regulating and supervising the economy.
An additional risk common to most such countries is that the economy is heavily export-oriented and, accordingly, is dependent upon international trade. The existence of overburdened infrastructure and obsolete financial systems also present risks in certain countries, as do environmental problems. Certain economies also depend to a significant degree upon exports of primary commodities and, therefore, are vulnerable to changes in commodity prices that, in turn, may be affected by a variety of factors. The legal systems in certain developing market Asia-Pacific countries also may have an adverse impact on the Fund. For example, while the potential liability of a shareholder in a U.S. corporation with respect to acts of the corporation is generally limited to the amount of the shareholder's investment, the notion of limited liability is less clear in certain emerging market Asia-Pacific countries. Similarly, the rights of investors in developing market Asia-Pacific companies may be more limited than those of shareholders of U.S. corporations. It may be difficult or impossible to obtain and/or enforce a judgment in a developing market Asia-Pacific country.
Governments of many developing market Asia-Pacific countries have exercised and continue to exercise substantial influence over many aspects of the private sector. In certain cases, the government owns or controls many companies, including the largest in the country. Accordingly, government actions in the future could have a significant effect on economic conditions in developing market Asia-Pacific countries, which could affect private sector companies and the Fund itself, as well as the value of securities in the Fund's portfolio. In addition, economic statistics of developing market Asia-Pacific countries may be less reliable than economic statistics of more developed nations.
It is possible that developing market Asia-Pacific issuers may not be subject to the same accounting, auditing and financial reporting standards as U.S. companies. Inflation accounting rules in some developing market Asia-Pacific countries require companies that keep accounting records in the local currency, for both tax and accounting purposes, to restate certain assets and liabilities on the company’s balance sheet in order to express items in terms of currency of constant purchasing power. Inflation accounting may indirectly generate losses or profits for certain developing market Asia-Pacific companies. In addition, satisfactory custodial services for investment securities may not be available in some developing Asia-Pacific countries, which may result in the Fund incurring additional costs and delays in providing transportation and custody services for such securities outside such countries.
Certain developing Asia-Pacific countries are especially large debtors to commercial banks and foreign governments. Fund management may determine that, notwithstanding otherwise favorable investment criteria, it may not be practicable or appropriate to invest in a particular developing Asia-Pacific country. The Fund may invest in countries in which foreign investors, including management of the Fund, have had no or limited prior experience.
Brazil. Investing in Brazil involves certain considerations not typically associated with investing in the United States. Additional considerations include: (i) investment and repatriation controls, which could affect the Fund’s ability to operate, and to qualify for the favorable tax treatment afforded to RICs for U.S. federal income tax purposes; (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 balance of trade could have on Brazilian economic stability and the Brazilian government's economic policy; (v) potentially high rates of inflation, a rising unemployment rate, and a high level of debt, each of which may hinder economic growth; (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; (viii) political and other considerations, including changes in applicable Brazilian tax laws; and (ix) restrictions on investments by foreigners. In addition, commodities, such as oil, gas and minerals, represent a significant percentage of Brazil’s exports and, therefore, its economy is particularly sensitive to fluctuations in commodity prices. Additionally, an investment in Brazil is subject to certain risks stemming from political and economic corruption. For example, the Brazilian Federal Police conducted a criminal investigation into corruption allegations, known as Operation Car Wash, which led to charges against high level politicians and corporate executives and resulted in substantial fines for some of Brazil’s largest companies. This has had a widespread political and economic impact and may continue to affect negatively the country and the reputation of Brazilian companies connected with the investigation, and therefore, the trading price of securities issued by those companies. GDP has been trending down year over year since 2011 according to World Bank data.
China. Investing in China involves special considerations not typically associated with investing in countries with more democratic governments or more established economies or currency markets. These risks include: (i) the risk of nationalization or expropriation of assets or confiscatory taxation; (ii) greater governmental involvement in and control over the economy, interest rates and currency exchange rates; (iii) controls on foreign investment and limitations on repatriation of invested capital; (iv) greater social, economic and political uncertainty ; (v) dependency on exports and the corresponding importance of international trade; (vi) currency exchange rate fluctuations; (vii) differences in, or lack of, auditing and financial reporting standards that may result in unavailability of material information about issuers and restrictions on issuers’ ability to access the U.S.
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capital markets; and (viii) the risk that certain companies, including those in which the Fund may invest, may have dealings with countries subject to sanctions or embargoes imposed by the U.S. government or identified as state sponsors of terrorism.
For over three decades, the Chinese government has been reforming economic and market practice and has been providing a larger sphere for private ownership of property. While currently contributing to growth and prosperity, the government could technically decide not to continue to support these economic reform programs and return to the completely centrally planned economy that existed prior to 1978. There is also a greater risk in China than in many other countries of currency fluctuations, currency non-convertibility, interest rate fluctuations and higher rates of inflation as a result of internal social unrest or conflicts with other countries. China is an emerging market and demonstrates significantly higher volatility from time to time in comparison to developed markets. The government of China maintains strict currency controls in support of economic, trade and political objectives and regularly intervenes in the currency market. The government's actions in this respect may not be transparent or predictable. As a result, the value of the Yuan (or renminbi), and the value of securities designed to provide exposure to the Yuan, can change quickly and arbitrarily. Furthermore, it is difficult for foreign investors to directly access money market securities in China because of investment and trading restrictions. Chinese law also prohibits direct foreign investments in certain issuers in certain industries. Some China-based issuers establish, effectively, holding companies, which obtain contractual and license rights that mimic equity ownership in certain respects. These structures pose additional risks such as the risk that the Chinese government may declare these structures illegal or refuse to recognize the rights obtained by them.
While the economy of China has enjoyed substantial economic growth in recent years, there can be no guarantee this growth will continue. Reduction in spending on Chinese products and services, the institution of additional tariffs or other trade barriers, including as a result of heightened trade tensions between China and the United States, or a downturn in any of the economies of China’s key trading partners may have an adverse impact on the Chinese economy. For example, the U.S. has added certain foreign technology companies to the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security’s “Entity List,” which is a list of companies believed to pose a national security risk to the U.S. Actions like these may have unanticipated and disruptive effects on the Chinese economy. Any such response that targets Chinese financial markets or securities exchanges could interfere with orderly trading, delay settlement or cause market disruptions. These and other factors may decrease the value and liquidity of a Fund's investments. The Chinese economy may experience a significant slowdown as a result of, among other things, a deterioration of global demand for Chinese exports, as well as contraction in spending on domestic goods by Chinese consumers. In addition, China may experience substantial rates of inflation or economic recessions, which would have a negative effect on its economy and securities market.
There has been increased attention from the SEC and the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (“PCAOB”) with regard to international auditing standards of U.S.-listed companies with operations in China as well as PCAOB-registered auditing firms in China. Currently, the SEC and PCAOB are only able to get limited information about these auditing firms and are restricted from inspecting the audit work and practices of registered accountants in China. In addition, certain China-based issuers, even if listed on a U.S. exchange, may qualify as “foreign private issuers,” which are exempt from certain U.S. corporate governance requirements including board independence and various SEC reporting and certification requirements. These restrictions may result in the unavailability of material information about the Chinese issuers. As a result of this lack of transparency combined with other political conflicts between the U.S. and China, Congress is considering legislation that would force the delisting from U.S. exchanges of securities of China-based issuers.
In January 2020, in response to the ongoing “trade war,” the U.S. and China signed a “Phase 1” trade agreement that reduced some U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods while boosting Chinese purchases of American goods. However, this agreement left in place a number of existing tariffs, and it is unclear whether further trade agreements may be reached in the future. The ability and willingness of China to comply with the trade deal may determine to some degree the extent to which its economy will be adversely affected, which cannot be predicted at the present time.
China A-shares are equity securities of companies based in mainland China that trade on Chinese stock exchanges such as the Shanghai Stock Exchange (“SSE”) and the Shenzhen Stock Exchange (“SZSE”) (“A-shares”). The ability of a Fund to invest in China A-Shares is dependent, in part, on the availability of A-Shares either through the trading and clearing facilities of a participating exchange located outside of mainland China (“Stock Connect Programs”) which currently include the Shanghai-Hong Kong Stock Connect, Shenzhen-Hong Kong Stock Connect, Shanghai-London Stock Connect, and China-Japan Stock Connect, and/or through a QFII or RQFII license and quota allocation from the Chinese regulator. Thus, the Fund’s investment in A-Shares will be limited by the A-Shares quota obtained by the RQFII or QFII licensee and allocated to the Fund and by the amount of A-Shares available through the Stock Connect Programs. On September 10, 2019, the PRC government announced that it would eliminate QFII and RQFII quotas, meaning that entities registered with the appropriate Chinese regulator will no longer be subject to quotas when investing in PRC securities (but will remain subject to foreign shareholder limits). It is currently unclear when this change will take effect.
The Stock Connect Programs are subject to daily and aggregate quota limitations, and 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 the Stock Connect Programs and to enter into or exit trades on a timely basis. The Shanghai and Shenzhen markets may be open at a time when the participating exchanges located outside of mainland China are not active, with the result that prices of A-Shares may fluctuate at times when a Fund is unable to add to or exit a position. Only certain A-Shares are eligible to
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be accessed through the Stock Connect Programs. Such securities may lose their eligibility at any time, in which case they may no longer be able to be purchased or sold through the Stock Connect Programs. Because the Stock Connect Programs are still evolving, the actual effect on the market for trading A-Shares with the introduction of large numbers of foreign investors is still relatively unknown. In addition, there is no assurance that the necessary systems required to operate the Stock Connect Programs will function properly or will continue to be adapted to changes and developments in both markets. In the event that the relevant systems do not function properly, trading through the Stock Connect Programs could be disrupted. The Stock Connect Programs are subject to regulations promulgated by regulatory authorities for both exchanges and further regulations or restrictions, such as limitations on redemptions or suspension of trading, may adversely impact the Stock Connect Programs, if the authorities believe it necessary to assure orderly markets or for other reasons. There is no guarantee that the participating exchanges will continue to support the Stock Connect Programs in the future. Each of the foregoing could restrict a Fund from selling its investments, adversely affect the value of its holdings and negatively affect a Fund’s ability to meet shareholder redemptions.
Europe. Investing in European countries may impose economic and political risks associated with Europe in general and the specific European countries in which it invests. The economies and markets of European countries are often closely connected and interdependent, and events in one European country can have an adverse impact on other European countries. The Fund makes investments in securities of issuers that are domiciled in, or have significant operations in, member countries of the Economic and Monetary Union of the European Union (the “EU”), which requires member countries to comply with restrictions on inflation rates, deficits, interest rates, debt levels and fiscal and monetary controls, each of which may significantly affect every country in Europe. Decreasing imports or exports, changes in governmental or EU regulations on trade, changes in the exchange rate of the euro (the common currency of certain EU countries), the default or threat of default by an EU member country on its sovereign debt, and/or an economic recession in an EU member country may have a significant adverse effect on the economies of EU member countries and their trading partners, including some or all of the emerging markets materials sector countries. Although certain European countries do not use the euro, many of these countries are obliged to meet the criteria for joining the euro zone. Consequently, these countries must comply with many of the restrictions noted above. The European financial markets have experienced volatility and adverse trends in recent years due to concerns about economic downturns, rising government debt levels and the possible default of government debt in several European countries, including Greece, Ireland, Italy, Portugal and Spain. In order to prevent further economic deterioration, certain countries, without prior warning, can institute “capital controls.” Countries may use these controls to restrict volatile movements of capital entering and exiting their country. Such controls may negatively affect the Fund’s investments. A default or debt restructuring by any European country would adversely impact holders of that country’s debt and sellers of credit default swaps linked to that country’s creditworthiness, which may be located in countries other than those listed above. In addition, the credit ratings of certain European countries were recently downgraded. These downgrades may result in further deterioration of investor confidence. These events have adversely affected the value and exchange rate of the euro and may continue to significantly affect the economies of every country in Europe, including countries that do not use the euro and non-EU member countries. Responses to the financial problems by European governments, central banks and others, including austerity measures and reforms, may not produce the desired results, may result in social unrest and may limit future growth and economic recovery or have other unintended consequences. Further defaults or restructurings by governments and other entities of their debt could have additional adverse effects on economies, financial markets and asset valuations around the world. In addition, one or more countries may abandon the euro and/or withdraw from the EU. The impact of these actions, especially if they occur in a disorderly fashion, is not clear but could be significant and far-reaching and could adversely impact the value of investments in the region.
In a referendum held on June 23, 2016, the United Kingdom (the “UK”) resolved to leave the EU (referred to as “Brexit”). The referendum introduced significant uncertainties and instability in the financial markets as the UK negotiated its exit from the EU. The UK officially left the EU on January 31, 2020, with a transitional period set to end on December 31, 2020. During this period, the UK effectively remains in the EU’s custom union and single market and continues to obey EU rules. However, the UK is no longer part of the political institutions. The effects of Brexit will depend on any agreement the UK makes to retain access to the EU Common Market either during the transitional period or more permanently and whether the UK enters into any trade deals with other countries, such as the United States. Brexit could lead to legal and tax uncertainty and potentially divergent national laws and regulations as the UK determines which EU laws to replace or replicate. Additionally, Brexit could lead to global economic uncertainty and result in significant volatility in the global stock markets and currency exchange rate fluctuations. The UK has one of the largest economies in Europe and is a major trading partner with the other EU countries and the United States. Brexit may negatively affect the City of London’s economy, which is heavily dominated by financial services, as banks might be forced to move staff and comply with two separate sets of rules or lose business to banks in Continental Europe. In addition, Brexit may create additional economic stresses for the UK, including the potential for decreased trade, capital outflows, devaluation of the British pound, wider corporate bond spreads due to uncertainty, and declines in business and consumer spending as well as foreign direct investment.
Brexit may also have a destabilizing impact on the EU to the extent that other member states similarly seek to withdraw from the EU. Any further exits from the EU would likely cause additional market disruptions globally and introduce new legal and regulatory uncertainties.
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India. Investments in India involve special considerations not typically associated with investing in countries with more established economies or currency markets. Political, religious, and border disputes persist in India. India has recently experienced and may continue to experience civil unrest and hostilities with certain of its neighboring countries, including Pakistan, and the Indian government has confronted separatist movements in several Indian states, including Kashmir. Government control over the economy, currency fluctuations or blockage, and the risk of nationalization or expropriation of assets offer higher potential losses. Governmental actions could have a negative effect on the economic conditions in India, which could adversely affect the value and liquidity of investments made by the Fund. The securities markets in India are comparatively underdeveloped with some exceptions and consist of a small number of listed companies with small market capitalization, greater price volatility and substantially less liquidity than companies in more developed markets. The limited liquidity of the Indian securities market may also affect the Fund’s ability to acquire or dispose of securities at the price or time that it desires or the Fund’s ability to track its underlying index.
The Indian government exercises significant influence over many aspects of the economy, and the number of public sector enterprises in India is substantial. While the Indian government has implemented economic structural reform with the objectives of liberalizing India's exchange and trade policies, reducing the fiscal deficit, controlling inflation, promoting a sound monetary policy, reforming the financial sector, and placing greater reliance on market mechanisms to direct economic activity, there can be no assurance that these policies will continue or that the economic recovery will be sustained.
Global factors and foreign actions may inhibit the flow of foreign capital on which India is dependent to sustain its growth. In addition, the Reserve Bank of India has imposed limits on foreign ownership of Indian companies, which may decrease the liquidity of the Fund’s portfolio and result in extreme volatility in the prices of Indian securities. In November 2016, the Indian government eliminated certain large denomination cash notes as legal tender, causing uncertainty in certain financial markets. These factors, coupled with the lack of extensive accounting, auditing and financial reporting standards and practices, as applicable in the United States, may increase the risk of loss for the Fund.
Securities laws in India are relatively new and unsettled and, as a result, there is a risk of significant and unpredictable change in laws governing foreign investment, securities regulation, title to securities and shareholder rights. Foreign investors in particular may be adversely affected by new or amended laws and regulations. Certain Indian regulatory approvals, including approvals from the Securities and Exchange Board of India, the central government and the tax authorities (to the extent that tax benefits need to be utilized), may be required before the Fund can make investments in Indian companies. Foreign investors in India still face burdensome taxes on investments in income producing securities.
While the Indian economy has enjoyed substantial economic growth in recent years, there can be no guarantee this growth will continue. Technology and software sectors represent a significant portion of the total capitalization of the Indian securities markets. The value of these companies will generally fluctuate in response to technological and regulatory developments, and, as a result, the Fund’s holdings are expected to experience correlated fluctuations. Natural disasters, such as tsunamis, flooding or droughts, could occur in India or surrounding areas and could negatively affect the Indian economy. Agriculture occupies a prominent position in the Indian economy, therefore, it may be negatively affected by adverse weather conditions and the effects of global climate change. These and other factors may decrease the value and liquidity of the Fund's investments.
Italy. Investment in Italian issuers involves risks that are specific to Italy, including, regulatory, political, currency, and economic risks. Italy’s economy is dependent upon external trade with other economiesspecifically Germany, France and other Western European developed countries. As a result, Italy is dependent on the economies of these other countries and any change in the price or demand for Italy’s exports may have an adverse impact on its economy. Interest rates on Italy’s debt may rise to levels that may make it difficult for it to service high debt levels without significant financial help from the EU and could potentially lead to default. Recently, the Italian economy has experienced volatility due to concerns about economic downturn and rising government debt levels. Italy has been warned by the Economic and Monetary Union of the EU to reduce its public spending and debt and actions by Italy to cut spending or increase taxes in response could have significant adverse effects on the Italian economy. These events have adversely impacted the Italian economy, causing credit agencies to lower Italy’s sovereign debt rating and could decrease outside investment in Italian companies. High amounts of debt and public spending may stifle Italian economic growth or cause prolonged periods of recession.
Japan. Japanese investments may be significantly affected by events influencing Japan’s economy and changes in the exchange rate between the Japanese yen and the U.S. Dollar. Japan’s economy fell into a long recession in the 1990s. After a few years of mild recovery in the mid-2000s, Japan’s economy fell into another recession as a result of the recent global economic crisis. In December 2019, Japan’s government approved a fiscal stimulus package of nearly $120 billion in order to stimulate its slowing economy, which has been negatively affected by decreased demand from China and by recent political conflicts with South Korea. Japan is heavily dependent on exports and foreign oil and may be adversely affected by higher commodity prices, trade tariffs, protectionist measures, competition from emerging economies, and the economic conditions of its trading partners, such as China. Furthermore, Japan is located in a seismically active area, and in 2011 experienced an earthquake and a tsunami that significantly affected important elements of its infrastructure and resulted in a nuclear crisis. Since these events, Japan’s financial markets have fluctuated dramatically. The full extent of the impact of these events on Japan’s economy and on foreign investment in Japan is difficult to estimate. The risks of natural disaster of varying degrees, such as earthquakes and tsunamis, and the resulting damage, continue to exist. Japan’s economic prospects may be affected by the political and military situations of its near neighbors, notably North and South Korea, China, and Russia. In addition,
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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 markets may negatively impact Japan’s economic competitiveness.
South Korea. South Korean investments may be significantly affected by events influencing its economy, which is heavily dependent on exports and the demand for certain finished goods. South 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 negative impact on the South Korean economy as a whole. The South Korean economy’s reliance on international trade makes it highly sensitive to fluctuations in international commodity prices, currency exchanges rates and government regulation, and vulnerable to downturns of the world economy, particularly with respects to its four largest export markets (the EU, Japan, United States, and China). South 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. The South Korean economy’s long-term challenges include an aging population, inflexible labor market, and overdependence on exports to drive economic growth. 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. Armed conflict between North Korea and South Korea could have a severe adverse impact on the South Korean economy and its securities markets.
Latin America. The economies of certain Latin American countries have experienced high interest rates, economic volatility, inflation, currency devaluations, government defaults, high unemployment rates and political instability which can adversely affect issuers in these countries. In addition, commodities (such as oil, gas and minerals) represent a significant percentage of the region’s exports and many economies in this region are particularly sensitive to fluctuations in commodity prices. Adverse economic events in one country may have a significant adverse effect on other countries of this region. The governments of certain countries in Latin America may exercise substantial influence over many aspects of the private sector and may own or control many companies. Future government actions could have a significant effect on the economic conditions in such countries, which could have a negative impact on the securities in which a Fund invests. Diplomatic developments may also adversely affect investments in certain countries in Latin America. Some countries in Latin America may be affected by public corruption and crime, including organized crime. Certain countries in Latin America may be heavily dependent upon international trade and, consequently, have been and may continue to be negatively affected by trade barriers, exchange controls, managed adjustments in relative currency values and other protectionist measures imposed or negotiated by the countries with which they trade. These countries also have been and may continue to be adversely affected by economic conditions in the countries with which they trade. In addition, certain issuers located in countries in Latin America in which a Fund invests may be the subject of sanctions (for example, the U.S. has imposed sanctions on certain Venezuelan individuals, corporate entities and the Venezuelan government) or have dealings with countries subject to sanctions and/or embargoes imposed by the U.S. government and the United Nations and/or countries identified by the U.S. government as state sponsors of terrorism. An issuer may sustain damage to its reputation if it is identified as an issuer that has dealings with such countries. A Fund may be adversely affected if it invests in such issuers. Certain Latin American countries may also have managed currencies, which are maintained at artificial levels to the U.S. Dollar rather than at levels determined by the market. This type of system can lead to sudden and large adjustments in the currency which, in turn, can have a disruptive and negative effect on foreign investors. Certain Latin American countries also restrict the free conversion of their currency into foreign currencies, including the U.S. Dollar. There is no significant foreign exchange market for many currencies and it would, as a result, be difficult for the Fund to engage in foreign currency transactions designed to protect the value of the Fund’s interests in securities denominated in such currencies. Finally, a number of Latin American countries are among the largest debtors of developing countries. There have been moratoria on, and reschedulings of, repayment with respect to these debts. Such events can restrict the flexibility of these debtor nations in the international markets and result in the imposition of onerous conditions on their economies.
Mexico. Investment in Mexican issuers involves risks that are specific to Mexico, including regulatory, political, and economic risks. In the past, Mexico has experienced high interest rates, economic volatility, significant devaluation of its currency (the peso), and high unemployment rates. The Mexican economy is dependent upon external trade with other economies, specifically with the United States and certain Latin American countries. Additionally, a high level of foreign investment in Mexican assets may increase Mexico’s exposure to risks associated with changes in international investor sentiment. In 2018, the United States, Mexico and Canada signed and ratified the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (“USMCA”), which replaces the current North American Free Trade Agreement among the three countries. The adoption of USMCA may have a significant impact on Mexico’s economy and, consequently, the value of the securities held by a Fund.
The Mexican economy is heavily dependent on trade with, and foreign investment from, the U.S. and Canada, which are Mexico’s principal trading partners. Any changes in the supply, demand, price or other economic component of Mexico’s imports or exports, as well as any reductions in foreign investment from, or changes in the economies of, the U.S. or Canada, may have an adverse impact on the Mexican economy. Because commodities such as oil and gas, minerals and metals represent a large portion of the region’s exports, the economies of these countries are particularly sensitive to fluctuations in commodity prices. Mexico’s economy has also become increasingly manufacturing-oriented. Because Mexico’s top export is automotive vehicles, its economy is strongly tied to the U.S. automotive market, and changes to certain segments in the U.S. market
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could have an impact on the Mexican economy. The automotive industry and other industrial products can be highly cyclical, and companies in these industries may suffer periodic operating losses. These industries can also be significantly affected by labor relations and fluctuating component prices. The agricultural and mining sectors of Mexico’s economy also account for a large portion of its exports, and Mexico is susceptible to fluctuations in the price and demand for agricultural products and natural resources. In addition, Mexico has privatized or has begun the process of privatization of certain entities and industries, and some investors have suffered losses due to the inability of the newly privatized entities to adjust to a competitive environment and changing regulatory standards.
Mexico has been destabilized by local insurrections, social upheavals and drug-related violence. Additionally, violence near border areas, border-related political disputes, and other social upheaval may lead to strained international relations. Mexico has also experienced contentious and very closely decided elections. Changes in political parties and other political events may affect the economy and contribute to additional instability. Recurrence of these or similar conditions may adversely impact the Mexican economy.
Russia. Investing in Russia involves risks and special considerations not typically associated with investing in United States. Since the breakup of the Soviet Union at the end of 1991, Russia has experienced dramatic political, economic, and social change. The political system in Russia is emerging from a long history of extensive state involvement in economic affairs. The country is undergoing a rapid transition from a centrally-controlled command system to a market-oriented, democratic model. As a result, companies in Russia are characterized by a lack of: (i) management with experience of operating in a market economy; (ii) modern technology; and, (iii) a sufficient capital base with which to develop and expand their operations. It is unclear what will be the future effect on Russian companies, if any, of Russia’s continued attempts to move toward a more market-oriented economy. Russia’s economy has been characterized by high rates of inflation, high rates of unemployment, declining gross domestic product, deficit government spending, and a devalued currency. The economic reform program has involved major disruptions and dislocations in various sectors of the economy, and those problems have been exacerbated by growing liquidity problems. Russia’s economy is also heavily reliant on the energy and defense-related sectors, and is therefore susceptible to the risks associated with these industries. Further, Russia presently receives significant financial assistance from a number of countries through various programs. To the extent these programs are reduced or eliminated in the future, Russian economic development may be adversely impacted. The laws and regulations in Russia affecting Western business investment continue to evolve in an unpredictable manner. Russian laws and regulations, particularly those involving taxation, foreign investment and trade, title to property or securities, and transfer of title, which may be applicable to the Fund’s activities are relatively new and can change quickly and unpredictably in a manner far more volatile than in the United States or other developed market economies. Although basic commercial laws are in place, they are often unclear or contradictory and subject to varying interpretation, and may at any time be amended, modified, repealed or replaced in a manner adverse to the interest of the Fund.
As a result of continuing political tensions and armed conflicts, including the conflict between Ukraine and Russia, the United States and the EU imposed sanctions on certain Russian individuals and companies, including certain financial institutions, and have limited certain exports and imports to and from Russia. In addition, Russia is alleged to have participated in state-sponsored cyberattacks against foreign companies and foreign governments. As such, the United States and other nations or international organizations may impose additional, broader economic sanctions or take other actions that may adversely affect Russian-related issuers in the future. These sanctions, any future sanctions or other actions, or even the threat of further sanctions or other actions, may negatively affect the value and liquidity of the Fund’s investments. Russia may undertake countermeasures or retaliatory actions which may further impair the value and liquidity of the Fund’s investments.
Depositary Receipts
To the extent the Fund invests in stocks of foreign corporations, the Fund’s investment in such stocks may also be in the form of depositary receipts or other securities convertible into securities of foreign issuers. Depository receipts are receipts, typically issued by a financial institution, with evidence of underlying securities issued by a non-U.S. issuer. Types of depositary receipts include American Depositary Receipts (“ADRs”), Global Depositary Receipts (“GDRs”) and European Depositary Receipts (“EDRs”). Depository 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. Investments in ADRs have certain advantages over direct investment in the underlying foreign securities because: (i) ADRs are U.S. dollar-denominated investments that are easily transferable and for which market quotations are readily available, and (ii) issuers whose securities are represented by ADRs are generally subject to auditing, accounting and financial reporting standards similar to those applied to domestic issuers. By investing in ADRs rather than directly in the stock of foreign issuers outside the U.S. the Fund may avoid certain risks related to investing in foreign securities in non-U.S. markets, however, ADRs do not eliminate all risks inherent in investing in the securities of foreign issuers.
EDRs are receipts issued in Europe that evidence a similar ownership arrangement. GDRs are receipts issued throughout the world that evidence a similar arrangement. Generally, ADRs, in registered form, are designed for use in the U.S. securities
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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.
Depositary receipts may be purchased through “sponsored” or “unsponsored” facilities, in which the Fund may invest. A sponsored facility is established jointly by the issuer of the underlying security and a depositary, whereas a depositary may establish an unsponsored facility without participation by the issuer of the depositary security. Holders of unsponsored depositary receipts generally bear all the costs of such facilities and the depositary of an unsponsored facility frequently is under no obligation to distribute shareholder communications received from the issuer of the deposited security or to pass through voting rights to the holders of such receipts of the deposited securities.
Fund investments in depositary receipts, which include ADRs, GDRs and EDRs, are deemed to be investments in foreign securities for purposes of the Fund’s investment strategy.
Foreign Currencies
The Fund may invest directly and indirectly in foreign currencies. Investments in foreign currencies are subject to numerous risks not least being the fluctuation of foreign currency exchange rates with respect to the U.S. Dollar. Exchange rates fluctuate for a number of reasons.
Inflation. Exchange rates change to reflect changes in a currency’s buying power. Different countries experience different inflation rates due to different monetary and fiscal policies, different product and labor market conditions, and a host of other factors.
Trade Deficits. Countries with trade deficits tend to experience a depreciating currency. Inflation may be the cause of a trade deficit, making a country’s goods more expensive and less competitive and so reducing demand for its currency.
Interest Rates. High interest rates may raise currency values in the short term by making such currencies more attractive to investors. However, since high interest rates are often the result of high inflation, long-term results may be the opposite.
Budget Deficits and Low Savings Rates. Countries that run large budget deficits and save little of their national income tend to suffer a depreciating currency because they are forced to borrow abroad to finance their deficits. Payments of interest on this debt can inundate the currency markets with the currency of the debtor nation. Budget deficits also can indirectly contribute to currency depreciation if a government chooses inflationary measures to cope with its deficits and debt.
Political Factors. Political instability in a country can cause a currency to depreciate. Demand for a certain currency may fall if a country appears a less desirable place in which to invest and do business.
Government Control. Through their own buying and selling of currencies, the world’s central banks sometimes manipulate exchange rate movements. In addition, governments occasionally issue statements to influence people’s expectations about the direction of exchange rates, or they may instigate policies with an exchange rate target as the goal.
The value of the Fund’s investments is calculated in U.S. Dollars each day that the New York Stock Exchange (“NYSE”) is open for business. As a result, to the extent that the Fund’s assets are invested in instruments denominated in foreign currencies and the currencies appreciate relative to the U.S. Dollar, the Fund’s NAV per share as expressed in U.S. Dollars (and, therefore, the value of your investment) should increase. If the U.S. Dollar appreciates relative to the other currencies, the opposite should occur.
The currency-related gains and losses experienced by the Fund will be based on changes in the value of portfolio securities attributable to currency fluctuations only in relation to the original purchase price of such securities as stated in U.S. Dollars. Gains or losses on shares of the Fund will be based on changes attributable to fluctuations in the NAV of such shares, expressed in U.S. Dollars, in relation to the original U.S. Dollar purchase price of the shares. The amount of appreciation or depreciation in the Fund’s assets also will be affected by the net investment income generated by the money market instruments in which the Fund invests and by changes in the value of the securities that are unrelated to changes in currency exchange rates.
The Fund may incur currency exchange costs when it sells instruments denominated in one currency and buys instruments denominated in another.
Currency Transactions. The Fund conducts currency exchange transactions on a spot basis. Currency transactions made on a spot basis are for cash at the spot rate prevailing in the currency exchange market for buying or selling currency. The Fund also enters into forward currency contracts. See “Futures Contracts, Options, and Other Derivative Strategies” section below. A forward currency contract is an obligation to buy 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 entered into on the interbank market conducted directly between currency traders (usually large commercial banks) and their customers. A currency forward contract will tend to reduce or eliminate exposure to the currency that is sold, and increase exposure to the currency that is purchased, similar to when a fund sells a security denominated in one
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currency and purchases a security denominated in another currency. For example, the Fund may enter into a forward contract when it owns a security that is denominated in a non-U.S. currency and desires to “lock in” the U.S. dollar value of the security.
The Fund may invest in a combination of forward currency contracts and U.S. Dollar-denominated market instruments in an attempt to obtain an investment result that is substantially the same as a direct investment in a foreign currency-denominated instrument. This investment technique creates a “synthetic” position in the particular foreign-currency instrument whose performance the Adviser is trying to duplicate. For example, the combination of U.S. Dollar-denominated instruments with “long” forward currency exchange contracts creates a position economically equivalent to a money market instrument denominated in the foreign currency itself. Such combined positions are sometimes necessary when the money market in a particular foreign currency is small or relatively illiquid.
The Fund may invest in forward currency contracts to hedge either specific transactions (transaction hedging) or portfolio positions (position hedging). Transaction hedging is the purchase or sale of forward currency contracts with respect to specific receivables or payables of the Fund in connection with the purchase and sale of portfolio securities. Position hedging is the sale of a forward currency contract on a particular currency with respect to portfolio positions denominated or quoted in that currency.
The Fund may use forward currency contracts for position hedging if consistent with its policy of trying to expose its net assets to foreign currencies. The Fund is not required to enter into forward currency contracts for hedging purposes and it is possible that the Fund may not be able to hedge against a currency devaluation that is so generally anticipated that the Fund is unable to contract to sell the currency at a price above the devaluation level it anticipates. It also is possible, under certain circumstances, that the Fund may have to limit its currency transactions to qualify as a “regulated investment company” (“RIC”) under Subchapter M of Chapter 1 of Subtitle A of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (“Code”). See “Dividends, Other Distributions and Taxes.”
The Fund currently does not intend to enter into a forward currency contract with a term of more than one year, or to engage in position hedging with respect to the currency of a particular country to more than the aggregate market value (at the time the hedging transaction is entered into) of its portfolio securities denominated in (or quoted in or currently convertible into or directly related through the use of forward currency contracts in conjunction with money market instruments to) that particular currency.
Under definitions adopted by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC”) and SEC, non-deliverable forwards are considered swaps, and therefore are included in the definition of “commodity interests.” Although non-deliverable forwards have historically been traded in the over-the-counter (“OTC”) market, as swaps they may in the future be required to be centrally cleared and traded on public facilities. For more information on central clearing and trading of cleared swaps, see “Cleared swaps,” “Risks of cleared swaps,” “Comprehensive swaps regulation” and “Developing government regulation of derivatives.” Currency forwards that qualify as deliverable forwards are not regulated as swaps for most purposes, and are not included in the definition of “commodity interests.” However these forwards are subject to some requirements applicable to swaps, including reporting to swap data repositories, documentation requirements, and business conduct rules applicable to swap dealers. CFTC regulation of currency forwards, especially non-deliverable forwards, may restrict the Fund’s ability to use these instruments in the manner described above or subject the investment manager to CFTC registration and regulation as a commodity pool operator (“CPO”).
At or before the maturity of a forward currency contract, the Fund may either sell a portfolio security and make delivery of the currency, or retain the security and terminate its contractual obligation to deliver the currency by buying an “offsetting” contract obligating it to buy, on the same maturity date, the same amount of the currency. If the Fund engages in an offsetting transaction, it may later enter into a new forward currency contract to sell the currency.
If the Fund engages in an offsetting transaction, it will incur a gain or loss to the extent that there has been movement in forward currency contract prices. If forward prices go down during the period between the date the Fund enters into a forward currency contract for the sale of a currency and the date it enters into an offsetting contract for the purchase of the currency, the Fund will realize a gain to the extent that the price of the currency it has agreed to sell exceeds the price of the currency it has agreed to buy. If forward prices go up, the Fund will suffer a loss to the extent the price of the currency it has agreed to buy exceeds the price of the currency it has agreed to sell.
Since the Fund invests in money market instruments denominated in foreign currencies, it may hold foreign currencies pending investment or conversion into U.S. Dollars. Although the Fund values its assets daily in U.S. Dollars, it does not convert its holdings of foreign currencies into U.S. Dollars on a daily basis. The Fund will convert its holdings from time to time, however, and incur the costs of currency conversion. Foreign exchange dealers do not charge a fee for conversion, but they do realize a profit based on the difference between the prices at which they buy and sell various currencies. Thus, a dealer may offer to sell a foreign currency to the Fund at one rate, and offer to buy the currency at a lower rate if the Fund tries to resell the currency to the dealer.
Risks of currency forward contracts. The successful use of these transactions will usually depend on the Adviser’s ability to accurately forecast currency exchange rate movements. Should exchange rates move in an unexpected manner, the Fund may not achieve the anticipated benefits of the transaction, or it may realize losses. In addition, these techniques could
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result in a loss if the counterparty to the transaction does not perform as promised, including because of the counterparty’s bankruptcy or insolvency. While the Fund uses only counterparties that meet its credit quality standards, in unusual or extreme market conditions, a counterparty’s creditworthiness and ability to perform may deteriorate rapidly, and the availability of suitable replacement counterparties may become limited. Currency forward contracts may limit potential gain from a positive change in the relationship between the U.S. Dollar and foreign currencies. Unanticipated changes in currency prices may result in poorer overall performance for the Fund than if it had not engaged in such contracts. Moreover, there may be an imperfect correlation between the Fund’s portfolio holdings of securities denominated in a particular currency and the currencies bought or sold in the forward contracts entered into by the Fund. This imperfect correlation may cause the Fund to sustain losses that will prevent the Fund from achieving a complete hedge or expose the Fund to risk of foreign exchange loss.
Foreign Currency Options. The Fund may invest in foreign currency-denominated securities and may buy or sell put and call options on foreign currencies. The Fund may buy or sell put and call options on foreign currencies either on exchanges or in the OTC market. A put option on a foreign currency gives the purchaser of the option the right to sell a foreign currency at the exercise price until the option expires. A call option on a foreign currency gives the purchaser of the option the right to purchase the currency at the exercise price until the option expires. Currency options traded on U.S. or other exchanges may be subject to position limits which may limit the ability of the Fund to reduce foreign currency risk using such options. OTC options differ from traded options in that they are two-party contracts with price and other terms negotiated between buyer and seller, and generally do not have as much market liquidity as exchange-traded options.
Foreign Currency Exchange-Related Securities
Foreign Currency Warrants. Foreign currency warrants such as Currency Exchange WarrantsSM (“CEWsSM”) are warrants which entitle the holder to receive from their issuer an amount of cash (generally, for warrants issued in the United States, in U.S. Dollars) which is calculated pursuant to a predetermined formula and based on the exchange rate between a specified foreign currency and the U.S. Dollar as of the exercise date of the warrant. Foreign currency warrants generally are exercisable upon their issuance and expire as of a specified date and time. Foreign currency warrants have been issued in connection with U.S. Dollar-denominated debt offerings by major corporate issuers in an attempt to reduce the foreign currency exchange risk which, from the point of view of prospective purchasers of the securities, is inherent in the international fixed-income marketplace. Foreign currency warrants may attempt to reduce the foreign exchange risk assumed by purchasers of a security by, for example, providing for a supplemental payment in the event that the U.S. Dollar depreciates against the value of a major foreign currency such as the Japanese yen or the Euro. The formula used to determine the amount payable upon exercise of a foreign currency warrant may make the warrant worthless unless the applicable foreign currency exchange rate moves in a particular direction (e.g., unless the U.S. Dollar appreciates or depreciates against the particular foreign currency to which the warrant is linked or indexed). Foreign currency warrants are severable from the debt obligations with which they may be offered, and may be listed on exchanges. Foreign currency warrants may be exercisable only in certain minimum amounts, and an investor wishing to exercise warrants who possesses less than the minimum number required for exercise may be required either to sell the warrants or to purchase additional warrants, thereby incurring additional transaction costs. In the case of any exercise of warrants, there may be a time delay between the time a holder of warrants gives instructions to exercise and the time the exchange rate relating to exercise is determined, during which time the exchange rate could change significantly, thereby affecting both the market and cash settlement values of the warrants being exercised. The expiration date of the warrants may be accelerated if the warrants should be delisted from an exchange or if their trading should be suspended permanently, which would result in the loss of any remaining “time value” of the warrants (i.e., the difference between the current market value and the exercise value of the warrants), and, in the case the warrants were “out-of-the-money,” in a total loss of the purchase price of the warrants.
Warrants are generally unsecured obligations of their issuers and are not standardized foreign currency options issued by the Options Clearing Corporation (“OCC”). Unlike foreign currency options issued by OCC, the terms of foreign exchange warrants generally will not be amended in the event of governmental or regulatory actions affecting exchange rates or in the event of the imposition of other regulatory controls affecting the international currency markets. The initial public offering price of foreign currency warrants is generally considerably in excess of the price that a commercial user of foreign currencies might pay in the interbank market for a comparable option involving significantly larger amounts of foreign currencies. Foreign currency warrants are subject to significant foreign exchange risk, including risks arising from complex political or economic factors.
Principal Exchange Rate Linked Securities. Principal exchange rate linked securities (“PERLsSM”) are debt obligations the principal on which is payable at maturity in an amount that may vary based on the exchange rate between the U.S. Dollar and a particular foreign currency at or about that time. The return on “standard” principal exchange rate linked securities is enhanced if the foreign currency to which the security is linked appreciates against the U.S. Dollar, and is adversely affected by increases in the foreign exchange value of the U.S. Dollar; “reverse” principal exchange rate linked securities are like the “standard” securities, except that their return is enhanced by increases in the value of the U.S. Dollar and adversely impacted by increases in the value of foreign currency. Interest payments on the securities are generally made in U.S. Dollars at rates that reflect the degree of foreign currency risk assumed or given up by the purchaser of the notes (i.e., at relatively
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higher interest rates if the purchaser has assumed some of the foreign exchange risk, or relatively lower interest rates if the issuer has assumed some of the foreign exchange risk, based on the expectations of the current market). Principal exchange rate linked securities may in limited cases be subject to acceleration of maturity (generally, not without the consent of the holders of the securities), which may have an adverse impact on the value of the principal payment to be made at maturity.
Performance Indexed Paper. Performance indexed paper (“PIPsSM”) is U.S. Dollar-denominated commercial paper the yield of which is linked to certain foreign exchange rate movements. The yield to the investor on performance indexed paper is established at maturity as a function of spot exchange rates between the U.S. Dollar and a designated currency as of or about that time (generally, the index maturity two days prior to maturity). The yield to the investor will be within a range stipulated at the time of purchase of the obligation, generally with a guaranteed minimum rate of return that is below, and a potential maximum rate of return that is above, market yields on U.S. Dollar-denominated commercial paper, with both the minimum and maximum rates of return on the investment corresponding to the minimum and maximum values of the spot exchange rate two business days prior to maturity.
Hybrid Instruments
The Fund may invest in hybrid instruments. A hybrid instrument is a type of potentially high-risk derivative that combines a traditional stock, bond, or commodity with an option or forward contract. Generally, the principal amount, amount payable upon maturity or redemption, or interest rate of a hybrid is tied (positively or negatively) to the price of some commodity, currency or securities index or another interest rate or some other economic factor (each a “benchmark”). The interest rate or (unlike most fixed income securities) the principal amount payable at maturity of a hybrid security may be increased or decreased, depending on changes in the value of the benchmark. A hybrid could be, for example, a bond issued by an oil company that pays a small base level of interest, in addition to interest that accrues when oil prices exceed a certain predetermined level. Such a hybrid instrument would be a combination of a bond and a call option on oil.
Hybrids can be used as an efficient means of pursuing a variety of investment goals, including currency hedging, and increased total return. Hybrids may not bear interest or pay dividends. The value of a hybrid or its interest rate may be a multiple of a benchmark and, as a result, may be leveraged and move (up or down) more steeply and rapidly than the benchmark. These benchmarks may be sensitive to economic and political events, such as commodity shortages and currency devaluations, which cannot be readily foreseen by the purchaser of a hybrid. Under certain conditions, the redemption value of a hybrid could be zero. Thus, an investment in a hybrid may entail significant market risks that are not associated with a similar investment in a traditional, U.S. Dollar-denominated bond that has a fixed principal amount and pays a fixed rate or floating rate of interest. The purchase of hybrids also exposes the Fund to the credit risk of the issuer of the hybrids. These risks may cause significant fluctuations in the NAV of the Fund.
Certain issuers of structured products such as hybrid instruments may be deemed to be investment companies as defined in the 1940 Act. As a result, the Fund’s investment in these products may be subject to limits applicable to investments in investment companies and may be subject to restrictions contained in the 1940 Act.
Illiquid Investments and Restricted Securities
The Fund may purchase and hold illiquid investments. The Fund will not purchase or otherwise acquire any security if, as a result, more than 15% of its net assets (taken at current value) would be invested in investments that are illiquid.
The term “illiquid investments” for this purpose means any investment that the Fund reasonably expects cannot be sold or disposed of in current market conditions in seven calendar days or less without the sale or disposition significantly changing the market value of the investment. The Fund will not acquire illiquid securities if, as a result, such securities would comprise more than 15% of the value of the Fund’s net assets. Rafferty, subject to oversight by the Board of Trustees, has the ultimate authority to determine, to the extent permissible under the federal securities laws, which securities are liquid or illiquid for purposes of this 15% limitation under the Fund’s liquidity risk management program, adopted pursuant to Rule 22e-4 under the 1940 Act. Illiquid securities will be priced at fair value as determined in good faith under procedures adopted by the Board of Trustees. If, through the appreciation of illiquid securities or the depreciation of liquid securities, the Fund should be in a position where more than 15% of the value of its net assets are invested in illiquid securities, including restricted securities which are not readily marketable, Rafferty will report such occurrence to the Board of Trustees and take such steps as are deemed advisable to protect liquidity in accordance with the Fund’s liquidity risk management program.
The Fund may not be able to sell illiquid investments when Rafferty considers it desirable to do so or may have to sell such investments at a price that is lower than the price that could be obtained if the investments were liquid. In addition, the sale of illiquid investments may require more time and result in higher dealer discounts and other selling expenses than does the sale of investments that are not illiquid. Illiquid investments also may be more difficult to value due to the unavailability of reliable market quotations for such investments, and investment in illiquid investments may have an adverse impact on NAV.
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Rule 144A establishes a “safe harbor” from the registration requirements of the 1933 Act for resales of certain securities to qualified institutional buyers. Institutional markets for restricted securities that have developed as a result of Rule 144A provide both readily ascertainable values for certain restricted securities and the ability to liquidate an investment to satisfy share redemption orders. This policy does not include restricted securities eligible for resale pursuant to Rule 144A under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (“1933 Act”), which the Trust’s Board of Trustees (“Board” or “Trustees”), or Rafferty, under Board-approved guidelines, has determined are liquid. The Fund currently does not anticipate investing in such restricted securities. However, to the extent that the Fund does invest in such restricted securities, an insufficient number of qualified institutional buyers interested in purchasing Rule 144A-eligible securities held by the Fund could adversely affect the marketability of such portfolio securities, and the Fund may be unable to dispose of such securities promptly or at reasonable prices.
Indexed Securities
The Fund may purchase indexed securities, which are securities, the value of which varies positively or negatively in relation to the value of other securities, securities indices or other financial indicators, consistent with its investment objective. Indexed securities may be debt securities or deposits whose value at maturity or coupon rate is determined by reference to a specific instrument or statistic. Recent issuers of indexed securities have included banks, corporations and certain U.S. government agencies.
The performance of indexed securities depends to a great extent on the performance of the security or other instrument to which they are indexed and also may be influenced by interest rate changes in the United States and abroad. At the same time, indexed securities are subject to the credit risks associated with the issuer of the security, and their values may decline substantially if the issuer’s creditworthiness deteriorates. Indexed securities may be more volatile than the underlying instruments. Certain indexed securities that are not traded on an established market may be deemed illiquid. See “Illiquid Investments and Restricted Securities” above.
Inflation Protected Securities
Inflation protected securities are fixed income securities whose value is periodically adjusted according to the rate of inflation. Two structures are common. The U.S. Treasury and some other issuers utilize a structure that accrues inflation into the principal value of the bond. Other issuers pay out the Consumer Price Index (“CPI”) accruals as part of a semiannual coupon. Inflation protected securities issued by the U.S. Treasury have maturities of approximately five, ten or thirty years, although it is possible that securities with other maturities will be issued in the future. The U.S. Treasury securities pay interest on a semi-annual basis equal to a fixed percentage of the inflation adjusted principal amount.
If the periodic adjustment rate measuring inflation falls, the principal value of inflation protected bonds will be adjusted downward, and consequently the interest payable on these securities (calculated with respect to a smaller principal amount) will be reduced. Repayment of the original bond principal upon maturity (as adjusted for inflation) is guaranteed by the U.S. Treasury in the case of U.S. Treasury inflation indexed bonds, even during a period of deflation. However, the current market value of the bonds is not guaranteed and will fluctuate. The Fund may also invest in other inflation related bonds which may or may not provide a similar guarantee. If a guarantee of principal is not provided, the adjusted principal value of the bond to be repaid at maturity may be less than the original principal amount and, therefore, is subject to credit risk.
The value of inflation protected bonds is expected to change in response to changes in real interest rates. Real interest rates in turn are tied to the relationship between nominal interest rates and the rate of inflation. Therefore, if the rate of inflation rises at a faster rate than nominal interest rates, real interest rates might decline, leading to an increase in value of inflation protected bonds. In contrast, if nominal interest rates increase at a faster rate than inflation, real interest rates might rise, leading to a decrease in value of inflation protected bonds. While these securities are expected to be protected from long-term inflationary trends, short-term increases in inflation may lead to a decline in value. If interest rates rise due to reasons other than inflation, investors in these securities may not be protected to the extent that the increase is not reflected in the bond’s inflation measure.
The periodic adjustment of U.S. inflation protected bonds is tied to the non-seasonally adjusted U.S. City Average All Items Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (“CPI-U”), published monthly by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The CPI-U is a measurement of changes in the cost of living, made up of components such as housing, food, transportation and energy.
Any increase in principal for an inflation protected security resulting from inflation adjustments is considered by the IRS to be taxable income in the year it occurs. The Fund’s distributions to shareholders include interest income and the income attributable to principal adjustments, both of which will be taxable to shareholders. The tax treatment of the income attributable to principal adjustments may result in the situation where the Fund needs to make its required annual distributions to shareholders in amounts that exceed the cash received. As a result, the Fund may need to liquidate certain investments
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when it is not advantageous to do so. Also, if the principal value of an inflation protected security is adjusted downward due to deflation, amounts previously distributed in the taxable year may be characterized in some circumstances as a return of capital.
Junk Bonds
The Fund may invest in lower-rated debt securities, including securities in the lowest credit rating category, of any maturity, otherwise known as “junk bonds.”
Junk bonds generally offer a higher current yield than that available for higher-grade issues. However, lower-rated securities involve higher risks, in that they are especially subject to adverse changes in general economic conditions and in the industries in which the issuers are engaged, to changes in the financial condition of the issuers and to price fluctuations in response to changes in interest rates. During periods of economic downturn or rising interest rates, highly leveraged issuers may experience financial stress that could adversely affect their ability to make payments of interest and principal and increase the possibility of default. In addition, the market for lower-rated debt securities has expanded rapidly in recent years, and its growth paralleled a long economic expansion. At times in recent years, the prices of many lower-rated debt securities declined substantially, reflecting an expectation that many issuers of such securities might experience financial difficulties. As a result, the yields on lower-rated debt securities rose dramatically, but such higher yields did not reflect the value of the income stream that holders of such securities expected, but rather, the risk that holders of such securities could lose a substantial portion of their value as a result of the issuers’ financial restructuring or default. There can be no assurance that such declines will not recur.
The market for lower-rated debt issues generally is thinner and less active than that for higher quality securities, which may limit the Fund’s ability to sell such securities at fair value in response to changes in the economy or financial markets. Adverse publicity and investor perceptions, whether or not based on fundamental analysis, may also decrease the values and liquidity of lower-rated securities, especially in a thinly traded market. Changes by recognized rating services in their rating of a fixed-income security may affect the value of these investments. The Fund will not necessarily dispose of a security when its rating is reduced below its rating at the time of purchase. However, Rafferty will monitor the investment to determine whether continued investment in the security will assist in meeting the Fund’s investment objective.
Master Limited Partnerships
Investing in master limited partnerships ("MLPs") involves certain risks related to investing in the underlying assets of the MLPs and risks associated with pooled investment vehicles. MLPs holding credit-related investments are subject to interest rate risk and the risk of default on payment obligations by debt issuers. MLPs that concentrate in a particular industry or a particular geographic region are subject to risks associated with such industry or region. Investments held by MLPs may be relatively illiquid, limiting the MLPs’ ability to vary their portfolios promptly in response to changes in economic or other conditions. MLPs may have limited financial resources, their securities may trade infrequently and in limited volume, and they may be subject to more abrupt or erratic price movements than securities of larger or more broadly based companies. Distributions from an MLP may consist in part of a return of the amount originally invested, which would not be taxable to the extent the distributions do not exceed the investor’s adjusted basis in its MLP interest. These reductions in the Fund’s adjusted tax basis in the MLP securities will increase the amount of gain (or decrease the amount of loss) recognized by the Fund on a subsequent sale of the securities. The risks of investing in an MLP generally include those inherent in investing in a partnership as opposed to a corporation. For example, state law governing partnerships is often less restrictive than state law governing corporations. Accordingly, there may be fewer protections afforded investors in an MLP than investors in a corporation. Although unitholders of an MLP are generally limited in their liability, similar to a corporation’s shareholders, creditors typically have the right to seek the return of distributions made to unitholders if the liability in question arose before the distributions were paid. This liability may stay attached to a unitholder even after it sells its units.
Mortgage-Backed Securities
The Fund may invest in mortgage-backed securities. A mortgage-backed security is a type of pass-through security, which is a security representing pooled debt obligations repackaged as interests that pass income through an intermediary to investors. In the case of mortgage-backed securities, the ownership interest is in a pool of mortgage loans.
Mortgage-backed securities are most commonly issued or guaranteed by the Government National Mortgage Association (“Ginnie Mae®” or “GNMA”), Federal National Mortgage Association (“Fannie Mae®” or “FNMA”) or Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (“Freddie Mac®” or “FHLMC”), but may also be issued or guaranteed by other private issuers. GNMA is a government-owned corporation that is an agency of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. It guarantees, with the full faith and credit of the United States, full and timely payment of all monthly principal and interest on its mortgage-backed securities. FNMA is a publicly owned, government-sponsored corporation that mostly packages mortgages backed by the Federal Housing Administration, but also sells some non-governmentally backed mortgages. Pass-through securities issued by FNMA are guaranteed as to timely payment of principal and interest only by FNMA. FHLMC is a publicly
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chartered agency that buys qualifying residential mortgages from lenders, re-packages them and provides certain guarantees. Pass-through securities issued by FHLMC are guaranteed as to timely payment of principal and interest only by FHLMC.
The Federal Housing Finance Agency (“FHFA”) mandated that Fannie Mae® and Freddie Mac® cease issuing their own mortgage-backed securities and begin issuing "Uniform Mortgage-Backed Securities" or "UMBS" in 2019. Each UMBS has a 55-day remittance cycle and can be used as collateral in either a Fannie Mae® or Freddie Mac® security or held for investment. Mortgage-backed securities issued by private issuers, whether or not such obligations are subject to guarantees by the private issuer, may entail greater risk than obligations directly guaranteed by the U.S. government. The average life of a mortgage-backed security is likely to be substantially less than the original maturity of the mortgage pools underlying the securities. Prepayments of principal by mortgagors and mortgage foreclosures will usually result in the return of the greater part of principal invested far in advance of the maturity of the mortgages in the pool.
Collateralized mortgage obligations (“CMOs”) are debt obligations collateralized by mortgage loans or mortgage pass-through securities (collateral collectively hereinafter referred to as “Mortgage Assets”). Multi-class pass-through securities are interests in a trust composed of Mortgage Assets and all references in this section to CMOs include multi-class pass-through securities. Principal prepayments on the Mortgage Assets may cause the CMOs to be retired substantially earlier than their stated maturities or final distribution dates, resulting in a loss of all or part of the premium if any has been paid. Interest is paid or accrues on all classes of the CMOs on a monthly, quarterly or semi-annual basis. The principal and interest payments on the Mortgage Assets may be allocated among the various classes of CMOs in several ways. Typically, payments of principal, including any prepayments, on the underlying mortgages are applied to the classes in the order of their respective stated maturities or final distribution dates, so that no payment of principal is made on CMOs of a class until all CMOs of other classes having earlier stated maturities or final distribution dates have been paid in full.
Stripped mortgage-backed securities (“SMBS”) are derivative multi-class mortgage securities. The Fund will only invest in SMBS issued by Ginnie Mae®, which are obligations backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government. SMBS are usually structured with two or more classes that receive different proportions of the interest and principal distributions from a pool of Mortgage Assets. The Fund will only invest in SMBS whose Mortgage Assets are U.S. government obligations. A common type of SMBS will be structured so that one class receives some of the interest and most of the principal from the Mortgage Assets, while the other class receives most of the interest and the remainder of the principal. If the underlying Mortgage Assets experience greater than anticipated prepayments of principal, the Fund may fail to fully recoup its initial investment in these securities. The market value of any class which consists primarily, or entirely, of principal payments generally is unusually volatile in response to changes in interest rates.
Investment in mortgage-backed securities poses several risks, including among others, prepayment, market and credit risk. Prepayment risk reflects the risk that borrowers may prepay their mortgages faster than expected, thereby affecting the investment’s average life and perhaps its yield. Whether or not a mortgage loan is prepaid is almost entirely controlled by the borrower. Borrowers are most likely to exercise prepayment options at the time when it is least advantageous to investors, generally prepaying mortgages as interest rates fall, and slowing payments as interest rates rise. Besides the effect of prevailing interest rates, the rate of prepayment and refinancing of mortgages may also be affected by home value appreciation, ease of the refinancing process and local economic conditions. Market risk reflects the risk that the price of a security may fluctuate over time. The price of mortgage-backed securities may be particularly sensitive to prevailing interest rates, the length of time the security is expected to be outstanding, and the liquidity of the issue. In a period of unstable interest rates, there may be decreased demand for certain types of mortgage-backed securities, and the Fund invested in such securities wishing to sell them may find it difficult to find a buyer, which may in turn decrease the price at which they may be sold. Credit risk reflects the risk that the Fund may not receive all or part of its principal because the issuer or credit enhancer has defaulted on its obligations. Obligations issued by U.S. government-sponsored entities are guaranteed as to the payment of principal and interest, but are not backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government. The performance of private label mortgage-backed securities, issued by private institutions, is based on the financial health of those institutions. With respect to GNMA certificates, although GNMA guarantees timely payment even if homeowners delay or default, tracking the “pass-through” payments may, at times, be difficult.
Municipal Obligations
The Fund may invest in municipal obligations. Municipal securities are fixed-income securities issued by states, counties, cities and other political subdivisions and authorities. Although most municipal securities are exempt from federal income tax, municipalities also may issue taxable securities. Tax exempt securities are generally classified by their source of payment. In addition to the usual risks associated with investing for income, the value of municipal obligations can be affected by changes in the actual or perceived credit quality of the issuers. The credit quality of a municipal obligation can be affected by, among other factors: a) the financial condition of the issuer or guarantor; b) the issuer’s future borrowing plans and sources of revenue; c) the economic feasibility of the revenue bond project or general borrowing purpose; d) political or economic developments in the region or jurisdiction where the security is issued; and e) the liquidity of the security. Because municipal obligations are generally traded OTC, the liquidity of a particular issue often depends on the willingness of dealers
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to make a market in the security. The liquidity of some municipal issues can be enhanced by demand features, which enable the Fund to demand payment from the issuer or a financial intermediary on short notice.
Futures Contracts, Options, and Other Derivative Strategies
Generally, derivatives are financial instruments whose value depends on, or is derived from, the value of one or more underlying assets, reference rates, or indices or other market factors (“reference assets”) and may relate to stocks bonds, interest rates, credit currencies, commodities or related indices. Derivative instruments can provide an efficient means to gain long or short exposure to the value of a reference asset without actually owning or selling the instrument. Examples of derivative instruments include futures contracts, swap agreements, options, options on futures contracts and forward currently contracts.
The Fund may enter into derivatives instruments which may include futures contracts, forward contracts, options on currencies, commodities, indices, or futures contracts and swaps which provide long and short exposure to reference assets. Derivatives may be more sensitive to changes in interest rates or to sudden fluctuations in market prices and thus the Fund’s losses may be greater if it invests in derivatives than if it invests in non-derivative instruments. Derivatives are also subject to counterparty risk, which is the risk that the other party in the transaction will not fulfill its contractual obligations.
The use of derivative instruments is subject to applicable regulations of the SEC, the several exchanges upon which they are traded and the CFTC. In addition, the Fund’s ability to use derivative instruments will be limited by tax considerations. See “Dividends, Other Distributions and Taxes.”
Under current CFTC regulations, if the Fund uses commodity interests (such as futures contracts, options on futures contracts and swaps) other than for bona fide hedging purposes (as defined by the CFTC) the aggregate initial margin and premiums required to establish these positions (after taking into account unrealized profits and unrealized losses on any such positions and excluding the amount by which options that are “in-the-money” at the time of purchase) may not exceed 5% of the Fund’s NAV, or alternatively, the aggregate net notional value of those positions, as determined at the time the most recent position was established, may not exceed 100% of the fund’s NAV (after taking into account unrealized profits and unrealized losses on any such positions). Accordingly, the Fund will register prior to commencement of operations as a commodity pool, and the Adviser has registered as a CPO, with the National Futures Association.
The Fund is subject to the risk that a change in U.S. law and related regulations will impact the way the Fund operates, increase the particular costs of the Fund’s operation and/or change the competitive landscape. In this regard, any further amendment to the Commodity Exchange Act or its related regulations that subject the Fund to additional regulation may have adverse impacts on the Fund’s operations and expenses. In October 2020, the SEC adopted new regulations governing the use of derivatives by registered investment companies. Rule 18f-4 will impose limits on the amount of derivatives a fund could enter into, eliminate the asset segregation framework currently used by funds to comply with Section 18 of the 1940 Act, and require funds whose use of derivatives is more than a limited specified exposure to establish and maintain a derivatives risk management program and appoint a derivatives risk manager. There is a transition period for compliance for the new rule and it is not currently clear what impact, if any, the new rule will have on the availability, liquidity or performance of derivatives. When fully implemented, the new rule may require changes in how the Fund will use derivatives, may adversely affect the Fund's performance and may increase costs related to the Fund's use of derivatives.
In addition to the instruments, strategies and risks described below and in the Prospectus, Rafferty may discover additional opportunities in connection with derivative instruments and other similar or related techniques. These new opportunities may become available as Rafferty develops new techniques, as regulatory authorities broaden the range of permitted transactions and as new derivative instruments or other techniques are developed. Rafferty may utilize these opportunities to the extent that they are consistent with the Fund’s investment objective and permitted by the Fund’s investment limitations and applicable regulatory authorities. The Fund’s Prospectus or this SAI will be supplemented to the extent that new products or techniques involve materially different risks than those described below or in the Prospectus.
Special Risks. The use of derivative instruments involves special considerations and risks, certain of which are described below. Risks pertaining to particular derivative instruments are described in the sections that follow.
(1) Options and futures prices can diverge from the prices of their underlying instruments. Options and futures prices are affected by such factors as current and anticipated short-term interest rates, changes in volatility of the underlying instrument and the time remaining until expiration of the contract, which may not affect security prices the same way. Imperfect or no correlation also may result from differing levels of demand in the options and futures markets and the securities markets, from structural differences in how options and futures and securities are traded, and from imposition of daily price fluctuation limits or trading halts.
(2) As described below, the Fund might be required to maintain assets as “cover,” maintain segregated accounts or make margin payments when it takes positions in Financial Instruments involving obligations to third parties (e.g., Financial Instruments other than purchased options). If the Fund were unable to close out its positions in such Financial Instruments, it might be required to continue to maintain such assets or accounts or make such payments until the position expired or matured. These requirements might impair the Fund’s ability to sell a portfolio security or make an investment when it would otherwise be favorable to do so or require that the Fund sell a portfolio security at a disadvantageous time. The Fund’s ability to
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close out a position in a Financial Instrument prior to expiration or maturity depends on the existence of a liquid secondary market or, in the absence of such a market, the ability and willingness of the other party to the transaction (the “counterparty”) to enter into a transaction closing out the position. Therefore, there is no assurance that any position can be closed out at a time and price that is favorable to the Fund.
(3) Losses may arise due to unanticipated market price movements, lack of a liquid secondary market for any particular instrument at a particular time or due to losses from premiums paid by the Fund on options transactions.
Cover. Transactions using derivative instruments, other than purchased options, expose the Fund to an obligation to another party. The Fund will not enter into any such transactions unless it owns either (1) an offsetting (“covered”) position in securities or other options or futures contracts or (2) cash and liquid assets with a value, marked-to-market daily, sufficient to cover its potential obligations to the extent not covered as provided in (1) above. The Fund will comply with SEC guidelines regarding cover for these instruments and will, if the guidelines so require, set aside cash or liquid assets in an account with its custodian, the Bank of New York Mellon ("BNYM"), in the prescribed amount as determined daily.
Assets used as cover or held in an account cannot be sold while the position in the corresponding derivative instrument is open, unless they are replaced with other appropriate assets. As a result, the commitment of a large portion of the Fund’s assets to cover or accounts could impede portfolio management or the Fund’s ability to meet redemption requests or other current obligations.
Futures Contracts. The Fund may use certain options (traded on an exchange or OTC, or otherwise), futures contracts (sometimes referred to as “futures”) and options on futures contracts as a substitute for a comparable market position in the underlying security or index, to attempt to hedge or limit the exposure of the Fund’s position, to create a synthetic money market position, for certain tax-related purposes or to effect closing transactions.
Generally, a futures contract is a standard binding agreement to buy or sell a specified quantity of an underlying reference instrument, such as a specific security, currency or commodity, at a specified price at a specified later date. A “sale” of a futures contract means the acquisition of a contractual obligation to deliver the underlying reference instrument called for by the contract at a specified price on a specified date. A “purchase” of a futures contract means the acquisition of a contractual obligation to acquire the underlying reference instrument called for by the contract at a specified price on a specified date. The purchase or sale of a futures contract will allow the Fund to increase or decrease its exposure to the underlying reference instrument without having to buy the actual instrument.
The underlying reference instruments to which futures contracts may relate include non-U.S. currencies, interest rates, stock and bond indices and debt securities, including U.S. government debt obligations. In most cases the contractual obligation under a futures contract may be offset, or “closed out,” before the settlement date so that the parties do not have to make or take delivery. The closing out of a contractual obligation is usually accomplished by buying or selling, as the case may be, an identical, offsetting futures contract. This transaction, which is effected through a member of an exchange, cancels the obligation to make or take delivery of the underlying instrument or asset. If the original position entered into is a long position (futures contract purchased), there will be a gain (loss) if the offsetting sell transaction is carried out at a higher (lower) price, inclusive of commissions. If the original position entered into is a short position (futures contract sold) there will be a gain (loss) if the offsetting buy transaction is carried out at a lower (higher) price, inclusive of commissions.
Certain futures contracts are cash-settled, meaning the futures contract obligates the seller to deliver (and purchaser to accept) an amount of cash equal to a specific dollar amount multiplied by the difference between the final settlement price of a specific futures contract and the price at which the agreement is made. No physical delivery of the underlying asset is made.
Whether the Fund realizes a gain/loss from futures activities depends generally upon the movements in the underlying reference asset (generally a commodity, currency, security or index). The extent of the Fund’s loss from an unhedged short position in a futures contract is potentially unlimited, and investors may lose the amount that they invest plus any profits recognized on their investment.
Futures contracts may be bought and sold on U.S. and non-U.S. exchanges. Futures contracts in the U.S. have been designed by exchanges that have been designated “contract markets” by the CFTC and must be executed through a futures commission merchant (“FCM”), which is a brokerage firm that is a member of the relevant contract market. Each exchange guarantees performance of the contracts as between the clearing members of the exchange, thereby reducing the risk of counterparty default. Because all transactions in the futures market are made, offset, or fulfilled by an FCM through a clearinghouse associated with the exchange on which the contracts are traded, the Fund will incur brokerage fees when it buys or sells futures contracts. The Fund generally buys and sells futures contracts only on contract markets (including exchanges or boards of trade) where there appears to be an active market for the futures contracts, but there is no assurance that an active market will exist for any particular contract or at any particular time. An active market makes it more likely that futures contracts will be liquid and bought and sold at competitive market prices. In addition, many of the futures contracts available may be relatively new instruments without a significant trading history. As a result, there can be no assurance that an active market will develop or continue to exist.
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When the Fund enters into a futures contract, it must deliver to an account controlled by the FCM (that has been selected by the Fund), an amount referred to as “initial margin” that is typically calculated as an amount equal to the volatility in market value of a contract over a fixed period. Initial margin requirements are determined by the respective exchanges on which the futures contracts are traded and the FCM. Thereafter, a “variation margin” amount may be required to be paid by the Fund or received by the Fund in accordance with margin controls set for such accounts, depending upon changes in the marked-to-market value of the futures contract. The account is marked-to-market daily and the variation margin is monitored by the Fund’s investment manager and custodian on a daily basis. When the futures contract is closed out, if the Fund has a loss equal to, or greater than, the margin amount, the margin amount is paid to the FCM along with any loss in excess of the margin amount. If the Fund has a loss of less than the margin amount, the excess margin is returned to the Fund. If the Fund has a gain, the full margin amount and the amount of the gain is paid to the Fund. Some futures contracts provide for the delivery of securities that are different than those that are specified in the contract. For a futures contract for delivery of debt securities, on the settlement date of the contract, adjustments to the contract can be made to recognize differences in value arising from the delivery of debt securities with a different interest rate from that of the particular debt securities that were specified in the contract. In some cases, securities called for by a futures contract may not have been issued when the contract was written.
Risks of futures contracts. The Fund’s use of futures contracts is subject to the risks associated with derivative instruments generally. The Fund may not be able to properly effect its strategy when a liquid market is unavailable for the futures contract the Fund wishes to close, which may at times occur. If the Fund were unable to liquidate a futures position due to the absence of a liquid secondary market or the imposition of price limits, it could incur substantial losses. The Fund would continue to be subject to market risk with respect to the position. In addition, the Fund would continue to be required to make daily variation margin payments and might be required to maintain cash or liquid assets in an account.
A purchase or sale of a futures contract may result in losses to the Fund in excess of the amount that the Fund delivered as initial margin. Because of the relatively low margin deposits required, futures trading involves a high degree of leverage; as a result, a relatively small price movement in a futures contract may result in immediate and substantial loss, or gain, to the Fund. In addition, if the Fund has insufficient cash to meet daily variation margin requirements or close out a futures position, it may have to sell securities from its portfolio at a time when it may be disadvantageous to do so. Adverse market movements could cause the Fund to experience substantial losses on an investment in a futures contract. There is a risk of loss by the Fund of the initial and variation margin deposits in the event of bankruptcy of the FCM with which the Fund has an open position in a futures contract. The assets of the Fund may not be fully protected in the event of the bankruptcy of the FCM or central counterparty because the Fund might be limited to recovering only a pro rata share of all available funds and margin segregated on behalf of an FCM’s customers. If the FCM does not provide accurate reporting, the Fund is also subject to the risk that the FCM could use the Fund’s assets, which are held in an omnibus account with assets belonging to the FCM’s other customers, to satisfy its own financial obligations or the payment obligations of another customer to the central counterparty.
The difference (called the “spread”) between prices in the cash market for the purchase and sale of the underlying reference instrument and the prices in the futures market is subject to fluctuations and distortions due to differences in the nature of those two markets. First, all participants in the futures market are subject to initial deposit and variation margin requirements. Rather than meeting additional variation margin requirements, investors may close futures contracts through offsetting transactions that could distort the normal pricing spread between the cash and futures markets. Second, the liquidity of the futures markets depends on participants entering into offsetting transactions rather than making or taking delivery of the underlying instrument. To the extent participants decide to make or take delivery, liquidity in the futures market could be reduced, resulting in pricing distortion. Third, from the point of view of speculators, the margin deposit requirements that apply in the futures market are less onerous than similar margin requirements in the securities market. Therefore, increased participation by speculators in the futures market may cause temporary price distortions. When such distortions occur, a correct forecast of general trends in the price of an underlying reference instrument by the investment manager may still not necessarily result in a profitable transaction.
Futures contracts that are traded on non-U.S. exchanges may not be as liquid as those purchased on CFTC-designated contract markets. In addition, non-U.S. futures contracts may be subject to varied regulatory oversight. The price of any non-U.S. futures contract and, therefore, the potential profit and loss thereon, may be affected by any change in the non-U.S. exchange rate between the time a particular order is placed and the time it is liquidated, offset or exercised.
The CFTC and the various exchanges have established limits referred to as “speculative position limits” on the maximum net long or net short position that any person, such as the Fund, may hold or control in a particular futures contract. Trading limits are also imposed on the maximum number of contracts that any person may trade on a particular trading day. An exchange may order the liquidation of positions found to be in violation of these limits and it may impose other sanctions or restrictions. The regulation of futures, as well as other derivatives, is a rapidly changing area of law.
Futures exchanges may also limit the amount of fluctuation permitted in certain futures contract prices during a single trading day. This daily limit establishes the maximum amount that the price of a futures contract may vary either up or down from the previous day’s settlement price. Once the daily limit has been reached in a futures contract subject to the limit, no more trades may be made on that day at a price beyond that limit. The daily limit governs only price movements
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during a particular trading day and does not limit potential losses because the limit may prevent the liquidation of unfavorable positions. For example, futures prices have occasionally moved to the daily limit for several consecutive trading days with little or no trading, thereby preventing prompt liquidation of positions and subjecting some holders of futures contracts to substantial losses.
Risks Associated with Commodity Futures Contracts. There are several additional risks associated with transactions in commodity futures contracts.
Unlike the financial futures markets, in the commodity futures markets there are costs of physical storage associated with purchasing the underlying commodity. The price of the commodity futures contract will reflect the storage costs of purchasing the physical commodity, including the time value of money invested in the physical commodity. To the extent that the storage costs for an underlying commodity change while the Fund is invested in futures contracts on that commodity, the value of the futures contract may change proportionately.
In the commodity futures markets, producers of the underlying commodity may decide to hedge the price risk of selling the commodity by selling futures contracts today to lock in the price of the commodity at delivery tomorrow. In order to induce speculators to purchase the other side of the same futures contract, the commodity producer generally must sell the futures contract at a lower price than the expected future spot price. Conversely, if most hedgers in the futures market are purchasing futures contracts to hedge against a rise in prices, then speculators will only sell the other side of the futures contract at a higher futures price than the expected future spot price of the commodity. The changing nature of the hedgers and speculators in the commodity markets will influence whether futures prices are above or below the expected future spot price, which can have significant implications for the Fund. If the nature of hedgers and speculators in futures markets has shifted when it is time for the Fund to reinvest the proceeds of a maturing contract in a new futures contract, the Fund might reinvest at higher or lower futures prices, or choose to pursue other investments.
The commodities which underlie commodity futures contracts may be subject to additional economic and non-economic variables, such as drought, floods, weather, livestock disease, embargoes, tariffs, and international economic, political and regulatory developments. These factors may have a larger impact on commodity prices and commodity-linked instruments, including futures contracts, than on traditional securities. Certain commodities are also subject to limited pricing flexibility because of supply and demand factors. Others are subject to broad price fluctuations as a result of the volatility of the prices for certain raw materials and the instability of supplies of other materials. These additional variables may create additional investment risks which subject the Fund’s investments to greater volatility than investments in traditional securities.
Forward Contracts. The Fund may enter into equity, equity index or interest rate forward contracts for purposes of attempting to gain exposure to an index or group of securities without actually purchasing these securities, or to hedge a position. Forward contracts are two-party contracts pursuant to which one party agrees to pay the counterparty a fixed price for an agreed upon amount of commodities, securities, or the cash value of the commodities, securities or the securities index, at an agreed upon date. Because they are two-party contracts and may have terms greater than seven days, forward contracts may be considered to be illiquid for the Fund’s illiquid investment limitations. The Fund will not enter into any forward contract unless Rafferty believes that the other party to the transaction is creditworthy. The Fund bears the risk of loss of the amount expected to be received under a forward contract in the event of the default or bankruptcy of a counterparty. If such a default occurs, the Fund will have contractual remedies pursuant to the forward contract, but such remedies may be subject to bankruptcy and insolvency laws which could affect the Fund’s rights as a creditor.
Options. The value of an option position will reflect, among other things, the current market value of the underlying investment, the time remaining until expiration, the relationship of the exercise price to the market price of the underlying investment and general market conditions. Options that expire unexercised have no value. Options currently are traded on the Chicago Board Options Exchange® and other exchanges, as well as the OTC markets.
By buying a call option on a security, the Fund has the right, in return for the premium paid, to buy the security underlying the option at the exercise price. By writing (selling) a call option and receiving a premium, the Fund becomes obligated during the term of the option to deliver securities underlying the option at the exercise price if the option is exercised. By buying a put option, the Fund has the right, in return for the premium, to sell the security underlying the option at the exercise price. By writing a put option, the Fund becomes obligated during the term of the option to purchase the securities underlying the option at the exercise price.
Because options premiums paid or received by the Fund are small in relation to the market value of the investments underlying the options, buying and selling put and call options can be more speculative than investing directly in securities.
The Fund may effectively terminate its right or obligation under an option by entering into a closing transaction. For example, the Fund may terminate its obligation under a call or put option that it had written by purchasing an identical call or put option; this is known as a closing purchase transaction. Conversely, the Fund may terminate a position in a put or call option it had purchased by writing an identical put or call option; this is known as a closing sale transaction. Closing transactions permit the Fund to realize profits or limit losses on an option position prior to its exercise or expiration.
Risks of Options on Currencies and Securities. Exchange-traded options in the United States are issued by a clearing organization affiliated with the exchange on which the option is listed that, in effect, guarantees completion of every exchange-traded
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option transaction. In contrast, OTC options are contracts between the Fund and its counterparty (usually a securities dealer or a bank) with no clearing organization guarantee. Thus, when the Fund purchases an OTC option, it relies on the counterparty from which it purchased the option to make or take delivery of the underlying investment upon exercise of the option. Failure by the counterparty to do so would result in the loss of any premium paid by the Fund as well as the loss of any expected benefit of the transaction.
The Fund’s ability to establish and close out positions in exchange-traded options depends on the existence of a liquid market. However, there can be no assurance that such a market will exist at any particular time. Closing transactions can be made for OTC options only by negotiating directly with the counterparty, or by a transaction in the secondary market if any such market exists. There can be no assurance that the Fund will in fact be able to close out an OTC option position at a favorable price prior to expiration. In the event of insolvency of the counterparty, the Fund might be unable to close out an OTC option position at any time prior to its expiration.
If the Fund were unable to effect a closing transaction for an option it had purchased, it would have to exercise the option to realize any profit. The inability to enter into a closing purchase transaction for a covered call option written by the Fund could cause material losses because the Fund would be unable to sell the investment used as cover for the written option until the option expires or is exercised.
Options on Indices. An index fluctuates with changes in the market values of the securities included in the index. Options on indices give the holder the right to receive an amount of cash upon exercise of the option. Receipt of this cash amount will depend upon the closing level of the index upon which the option is based being greater than (in the case of a call) or less than (in the case of a put) the exercise price of the option. Some stock index options are based on a broad market index such as the S&P 500® Composite Stock Index, the NYSE Composite Index or the NYSE Arca Major Market Index or on a narrower index such as the Philadelphia Stock Exchange Over-the-Counter Index.
Each of the exchanges has established limitations governing the maximum number of call or put options on the same index that may be bought or written by a single investor, whether acting alone or in concert with others (regardless of whether such options are written on the same or different exchanges or are held or written on one or more accounts or through one or more brokers). Under these limitations, option positions of all investment companies advised by Rafferty are combined for purposes of these limits. Pursuant to these limitations, an exchange may order the liquidation of positions and may impose other sanctions or restrictions. These position limits may restrict the number of listed options that the Fund may buy or sell.
Puts and calls on indices are similar to puts and calls on securities or futures contracts except that all settlements are in cash and gain or loss depends on changes in the index in question rather than on price movements in individual securities or futures contracts. When the Fund writes a call on an index, it receives a premium and agrees that, prior to the expiration date, the purchaser of the call, upon exercise of the call, will receive from the Fund an amount of cash if the closing level of the index upon which the call is based is greater than the exercise price of the call. The amount of cash is equal to the difference between the closing price of the index and the exercise price of the call multiplied by a specific factor (“multiplier”), which determines the total value for each point of such difference. When the Fund buys a call on an index, it pays a premium and has the same rights to such call as are indicated above. When the Fund buys a put on an index, it pays a premium and has the right, prior to the expiration date, to require the seller of the put, upon the Fund’s exercise of the put, to deliver to the Fund an amount of cash if the closing level of the index upon which the put is based is less than the exercise price of the put, which amount of cash is determined by the multiplier, as described above for calls. When the Fund writes a put on an index, it receives a premium and the purchaser of the put has the right, prior to the expiration date, to require the Fund to deliver to it an amount of cash equal to the difference between the closing level of the index and the exercise price times the multiplier if the closing level is less than the exercise price.
Risks of Options on Indices. If the Fund has purchased an index option and exercises it before the closing index value for that day is available, it runs the risk that the level of the index may subsequently change. If such a change causes the exercised option to fall out-of-the-money, the Fund will be required to pay the difference between the closing index value and the exercise price of the option (times the applicable multiplier) to the assigned writer.
OTC Options. Unlike exchange-traded options, which are standardized with respect to the underlying instrument, expiration date, contract size and strike price, the terms of OTC options (options not traded on exchanges) generally are established through negotiation with the other party to the option contract. While this type of arrangement allows the Fund great flexibility to tailor the option to its needs, OTC options generally involve greater risk than exchange-traded options, which are guaranteed by the clearing organization of the exchanges where they are traded.
Options on Futures Contracts. When the Fund writes an option on a futures contract, it becomes obligated, in return for the premium paid, to assume a position in the futures contract at a specified exercise price at any time during the term of the option. If the Fund writes a call, it assumes a short futures position. If it writes a put, it assumes a long futures position. When the Fund purchases an option on a futures contract, it acquires the right in return for the premium it pays to assume a position in a futures contract (a long position if the option is a call and a short position if the option is a put).
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Whether the Fund realizes a gain or loss from futures activities depends upon movements in the underlying security or index. The extent of the Fund’s loss from an unhedged short position from writing unhedged call options on futures contracts is potentially unlimited. The Fund only purchases and sells options on futures contracts that are traded on a U.S. exchange or board of trade.
Purchasers and sellers of options on futures can enter into offsetting closing transactions, similar to closing transactions in options, by selling or purchasing, respectively, an instrument identical to the instrument purchased or sold. Positions in options on futures contracts may be closed only on an exchange or board of trade that provides a secondary market. However, there can be no assurance that a liquid secondary market will exist for a particular contract at a particular time. In such event, it may not be possible to close a futures contract or options position.
Under certain circumstances, futures exchanges may establish daily limits on the amount that the price of an option on a futures contract can vary from the previous day’s settlement price; once that limit is reached, no trades may be made that day at a price beyond the limit. Daily price limits do not limit potential losses because prices could move to the daily limit for several consecutive days with little or no trading, thereby preventing liquidation of unfavorable positions.
If the Fund were unable to liquidate an option on a futures position due to the absence of a liquid secondary market or the imposition of price limits, it could incur substantial losses. The Fund would continue to be subject to market risk with respect to the position. In addition, except in the case of purchased options, the Fund would continue to be required to make daily variation margin payments and might be required to maintain cash or liquid assets in an account.
Risks of Options on Futures Contracts. The ordinary spreads between prices in the cash and futures markets (including the options on futures markets), due to differences in the natures of those markets, are subject to the following factors, which may create distortions. First, all participants in the futures market are subject to margin deposit and maintenance requirements. Rather than meeting additional margin deposit requirements, investors may close futures contracts through offsetting transactions, which could distort the normal relationships between the cash and futures markets. Second, the liquidity of the futures market depends on participants entering into offsetting transactions rather than making or taking delivery. To the extent participants decide to make or take delivery, liquidity in the futures market could be reduced, thus producing distortion. Third, from the point of view of speculators, the deposit requirements in the futures market are less onerous than margin requirements in the securities market. Therefore, increased participation by speculators in the futures market may cause temporary price distortions.
Combined Positions. The Fund may purchase and write options in combination with each other. For example, the Fund may purchase a put option and write a call option on the same underlying instrument, in order to construct a combined position whose risk and return characteristics are similar to selling a futures contract. Another possible combined position would involve writing a call option at one strike price and buying a call option at a lower price, in order to reduce the risk of the written call option in the event of a substantial price increase. Because combined options positions involve multiple trades, they result in higher transaction costs and may be more difficult to open and close out.
Caps, Floors and Collars
The Fund may enter into caps, floors and collars relating to securities, interest rates or currencies. In a cap or floor, the buyer pays a premium (which is generally, but not always, a single up-front amount) for the right to receive payments from the other party if, on specified payment dates, the applicable rate, index or asset is greater than (in the case of a cap) or less than (in the case of a floor) an agreed level, for the period involved and the applicable notional amount. A collar is a combination instrument in which the same party buys a cap and sells a floor. Depending upon the terms of the cap and floor comprising the collar, the premiums will partially, or entirely, offset each other. The notional amount of a cap, collar or floor is used to calculate payments, but is not itself exchanged. The Fund may be both a buyer and seller of these instruments. In addition, the Fund may engage in combinations of put and call options on securities (also commonly known as collars), which may involve physical delivery of securities. Like swaps, caps, floors and collars are very flexible products. The terms of the transactions entered by the Fund may vary from the typical examples described here.
Swap Agreements
The Fund may enter into swap and other derivatives to obtain short exposure to an underlying asset without actually purchasing such asset. Swap agreements are generally two-party contracts entered into primarily by institutional investors for periods ranging from a day to more than one year. In a standard “swap” transaction, two parties agree to exchange the returns (or differentials in rates of return) earned or realized on particular predetermined investments or instruments. The gross returns to be exchanged or “swapped” between the parties are calculated with respect to a “notional amount,” i.e., the return on, or increase/decrease, in value of a particular dollar amount invested in a “basket” of securities representing a particular index or an ETF representing a particular index or group of securities.
The Fund may enter into swaps to invest in a market without owning or taking physical custody of securities. For example, in one common type of total return swap, the Fund’s counterparty will agree to pay the Fund the rate at which the specified asset or indicator (e.g., an ETF, or securities comprising a benchmark index, plus the dividends or interest that would have
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been received on those assets) increased in value multiplied by the relevant notional amount of the swap. The Fund will agree to pay to the counterparty an interest fee (based on the notional amount) and the rate at which, the specified asset or indicator would decreased in value multiplied by the notional amount of the swap, plus, in certain instances, commissions or trading spreads on the notional amount.
As a result, the swap has a similar economic effect as if the Fund were to invest in the assets underlying the swap in an amount equal to the notional amount of the swap. The return to the Fund on such swap should be the gain or loss on the notional amount plus dividends or interest on the assets less the interest paid by the Fund on the notional amount. However, unlike cash investments in the underlying assets, the Fund will not be an owner of the underlying assets and will not have voting or similar rights in respect of such assets.
As a trading technique, Rafferty may substitute physical securities with a swap having investment characteristics substantially similar to the underlying securities. The Fund may also enter into swaps that provide the opposite return of their benchmark or a security. Their operations are similar to that of the swaps discussed above except that the counterparty pays interest to the Fund on the notional amount outstanding and that dividends or interest on the underlying instruments reduce the value of the swap, plus, in certain instances, the Fund will agree to pay to the counterparty commissions or trading spreads on the notional amount. These amounts are often netted with any unrealized gain or loss to determine the value of the swap.
The use of swaps is a highly specialized activity which involves investment techniques and risks in addition to, and in some cases different from, those associated with ordinary portfolio securities transactions. The primary risks associated with the use of swaps are mispricing or improper valuation, imperfect correlation between movements in the notional amount and the price of the underlying investments, and the inability of the counterparties or clearing organization to perform. If a counterparty’s creditworthiness for an over-the-counter swap declines, the value of the swap would likely decline. Moreover, there is no guarantee that the Fund could eliminate its exposure under an outstanding swap by entering into an offsetting swap with the same or another party. In addition, the Fund may use a combination of swaps on the Index and swaps on an ETF that is designed to track the performance of that index. The performance of an ETF may deviate from the performance of its underlying index due to embedded costs and other factors. Thus, to the extent the Fund invests in swaps that use an ETF as the reference asset, the Fund may be subject to greater correlation risk and may not achieve as high a degree of correlation with its underlying index as it would if the Fund used only swaps on the underlying index. Rafferty, under the supervision of the Board of Trustees, is responsible for determining and monitoring the liquidity of the Fund’s transactions in swaps.
Common Types of Swaps
The Fund may enter into any of several types of swaps, including:
Total Return Swaps. Total return swaps may be used either as economically similar substitutes for owning the reference asset specified in the swap, such as the securities that comprise a given market index, particular securities or commodities, or other assets or indicators. They also may be used as a means of obtaining exposure in markets where the reference asset is unavailable or it may otherwise be impossible or impracticable for the Fund to own that asset. “Total return” refers to the payment (or receipt) of the total return on the underlying reference asset, which is then exchanged for the receipt (or payment) of an interest rate. Total return swaps provide the Fund with the additional flexibility of gaining exposure to a market or sector index by using the most cost-effective vehicle available.
Interest Rate Swaps. Interest rate swaps, in their most basic form, involve the exchange by the Fund with another party of their respective commitments to pay or receive interest. For example, the Fund might exchange its right to receive certain floating rate payments in exchange for another party’s right to receive fixed rate payments. Interest rate swaps can take a variety of other forms, such as agreements to pay the net differences between two different interest indexes or rates. Despite their differences in form, the function of interest rate swaps is generally the same: to increase or decrease the Fund’s exposure to long- or short-term interest rates. For example, the Fund may enter into an interest rate swap to preserve a return or spread on a particular investment or a portion of its portfolio or to protect against any increase in the price of securities the Fund anticipates purchasing at a later date.
Other Financial Instruments. Other forms of swaps that the Fund may enter into include: interest rate caps, under which, in return for a premium, one party agrees to make payments to the other to the extent that interest rates exceed a specified rate, or “cap”; interest rate floors, under which, in return for a premium, one party agrees to make payments to the other to the extent that interest rates fall below a specified level, or “floor,” and interest rate collars, under which a party sells a cap and purchases a floor or vice versa in an attempt to protect itself against interest rate movements exceeding given minimum or maximum levels.
Mechanics of Swaps
Payments. Most swaps entered into by the Fund calculate and settle the obligations of the parties to the agreement on a “net basis” with a single payment. Consequently, a Fund’s current obligations (or rights) under a swap will generally be equal only to the net amount to be paid or received under the agreement based on the relative values of the positions held by each party to the agreement (the “net amount”). Other swaps may require initial premium (discount) payments
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as well as periodic payments (receipts) related to the interest leg of the swap or to the default of the reference entity. The Fund’s current obligations under most swaps (e.g., total return swaps, equity/index swaps, interest rate swaps) will be accrued daily (offset against any amounts owed to the Fund by the counterparty to the swap) and any accrued but unpaid net amounts owed to a swap counterparty will be covered by segregating or earmarking cash or other assets determined to be liquid. However, typically no payments will be made until the settlement date. The net amount of the excess, if any, of the Fund’s obligations over its entitlements with respect to a swap agreement entered into on a net basis will be accrued daily and an amount of cash or liquid asset having an aggregate NAV at least equal to the accrued excess will be maintained in an account with the Custodian that satisfies the 1940 Act. The Fund also will establish and maintain such accounts with respect to its total obligations under any swaps that are not entered into on a net basis. Obligations under swap agreements so covered will not be construed to be “senior securities” for purposes of the Fund’s investment restriction concerning senior securities.
Counterparty Credit Risk. The Fund will not enter into any uncleared swap (i.e., not cleared by a central counterparty) unless Rafferty believes that the other party to the transaction is creditworthy. The counterparty to an uncleared swap will typically be a major global financial institution. The Fund bears the risk of loss of the amount expected to be received under a swap in the event of the default or bankruptcy of a swap counterparty. If such a default occurs, the Fund will have contractual remedies pursuant to the swaps, but such remedies may be subject to bankruptcy and insolvency laws that could affect the Fund’s rights as a creditor. The counterparty risk for cleared swaps is generally lower than for uncleared over-the-counter swaps because, in a cleared swap, a clearing organization becomes substituted for each counterparty to a cleared swap. The clearing organization takes on the obligations of each side of the swap and the Fund would only to the clearing organization for performance of financial obligations. However, there can be no assurance that the clearing organization, or its members, will satisfy its obligations to the Fund. Upon entering into a cleared swap, the Fund may be required to deposit with its futures commission merchant an amount of cash or cash equivalents equal to a small percentage of the notional amount (this amount is subject to change by the clearing organization that clears the trade). This amount is in the nature of a performance bond or good faith deposit on the cleared swap and is returned to the Fund upon termination of the swap, assuming all contractual obligations have been satisfied. Subsequent payments to and from the broker will be made daily as the price of the swap fluctuates, making the long and short position in the swap contract more or less valuable, a process known as “marking-to-market.” The premium (discount) payments are built into the daily price of the swap and thus are amortized through the subsequent payments. The subsequent payment also includes the daily portion of the periodic payment stream.
Termination and Default Risk. Swap agreements do not involve the delivery of securities or other underlying assets. Accordingly, if a swap is entered into on a net basis, if the other party to a swap agreement defaults, the Fund’s risk of loss consists of the net amount of payments that the Fund is contractually entitled to receive, if any.
Swap Regulation
In recent years, regulators across the globe, including the CFTC and the U.S. banking regulators, have adopted collateral requirements applicable to uncleared swaps. While the Fund is not directly subject to these requirements, where the Fund’s counterparty is subject to the requirements, uncleared swaps between the Fund and that counterparty are required to be marked-to-market on a daily basis, and collateral is required to be exchanged to account for any changes in the value of such swaps. The rules impose a number of requirements as to these exchanges of collateral, including as to the timing of transfers, the type of collateral (and valuations for such collateral) and other matters that may be different than what the Fund would agree with its counterparty in the absence of such regulation. In all events, where the Fund is required to post collateral to its swap counterparty, such collateral will be posted to an independent bank custodian, where access to the collateral by the swap counterparty will generally not be permitted unless the Fund is in default on its obligations to the swap counterparty.
In addition to the marked-to-market collateral requirements, regulators have adopted “initial” collateral requirements applicable to uncleared swaps. Where applicable, these rules require parties to an uncleared swap to post, to a custodian that is independent from the parties to the swap, collateral (in addition to any marked-to-market collateral noted above) in an amount that is either (i) specified in a schedule in the rules or (ii) calculated by the regulated party in accordance with a model that has been approved by that party’s regulator(s). At this time, the initial collateral rules do not apply to the Fund’s swap trading relationships. However, the rules are being implemented on a phased basis, and it is possible that in the future, the rules could apply to the Fund. In the event that the rules apply, they would impose significant costs on the Fund’s ability to engage in uncleared swaps and, as such, could adversely affect Rafferty’s ability to manage the Fund, may impair the Fund’s ability to achieve its investment objective and/or may result in reduced returns to the Fund’s investors.
Comprehensive swaps regulation. The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 (the “Dodd-Frank Act”) and related regulatory developments have imposed comprehensive new regulatory requirements on swaps and swap market participants. The regulatory framework includes: (1) registration and regulation of swap dealers and major swap participants; (2) requiring central clearing and execution f standardized swaps; (3) imposing collateral requirements on swap transactions; (4) regulating and monitoring swap transactions through position limits and large trader reporting requirements; and (5) imposing record keeping and centralized and public reporting requirements, on an anonymous basis, for most
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swaps. The CFTC is responsible for the regulation of most swaps. The SEC has jurisdiction over a small segment of the market referred to as “security-based swaps,” which includes swaps on single securities or credits, or narrow-based indices of securities or credits.
Uncleared swaps. In an uncleared swap, the swap counterparty is typically a brokerage firm, bank or other financial institution. The Fund customarily enters into uncleared swaps based on the standard terms and conditions of an International Swaps and Derivatives Association (“ISDA”) Master Agreement. ISDA is a voluntary industry association of participants in the OTC derivatives markets that has developed standardized contracts used by such participants that have agreed to be bound by such standardized contracts. In the event that one party to a swap transaction defaults and the transaction is terminated prior to its scheduled termination date, one of the parties may be required to make an early termination payment to the other. An early termination payment may be payable by either the defaulting or non-defaulting party, depending upon which of them is “in-the-money” with respect to the swap at the time of its termination. Early termination payments may be calculated in various ways, but are intended to approximate the amount the “in-the-money” party would have to pay to replace the swap as of the date of its termination. During the term of an uncleared swap, the Fund will be required to pledge to the swap counterparty, from time to time, an amount of cash and/or other assets equal to the total net amount (if any) that would be payable by the Fund to the counterparty if all outstanding swaps between the parties were terminated on the date in question, including any early termination payments. Periodically, changes in the amount pledged are made to recognize changes in value of the contract resulting from, among other things, interest on the notional value of the contract, market value changes in the underlying investment, and/or dividends paid by the issuer of the underlying instrument. Likewise, the counterparty will be required to pledge cash or other assets to cover its obligations to the Fund. However, the amount pledged may not always be equal to or more than the amount due to the other party. Therefore, if a counterparty defaults in its obligations to the Fund, the amount pledged by the counterparty and available to the Fund may not be sufficient to cover all the amounts due to the Fund and the Fund may sustain a loss. Rules requiring initial collateral to be posted by certain market participants for uncleared swaps have been adopted and are being phased in over time. When these rules take effect with respect to the Fund, if the Fund is deemed to have material swaps exposure under applicable swap regulations, it will be required to post initial collateral in addition to marked-to-market collateral.
Cleared swaps. Certain standardized swaps are subject to mandatory central clearing and exchange-trading. The Dodd-Frank Act and implementing rules will ultimately require the clearing and exchange-trading of many swaps. Mandatory exchange-trading and clearing will occur on a phased-in basis based on the type of market participant, CFTC approval of contracts for central clearing and public trading facilities making such cleared swaps available to trade. To date, the CFTC has designated only certain of the most common types of credit default index swaps and interest rate swaps as subject to mandatory clearing and certain public trading facilities have made certain of those cleared swaps available to trade, but it is expected that additional categories of swaps will in the future be designated as subject to mandatory clearing and trade execution requirements. Central clearing is intended to reduce counterparty credit risk and increase liquidity, but central clearing does not eliminate these risks and may involve additional costs and risks not involved with uncleared swaps. For more information, see “Risks of cleared swaps” below.
In a cleared swap, the Fund’s ultimate counterparty is a central clearinghouse rather than a brokerage firm, bank or other financial institution. Cleared swaps are submitted for clearing through each party’s FCM, which must be a member of the clearinghouse that serves as the central counterparty. Transactions executed on a swap execution facility may increase market transparency and liquidity but may require the Fund to incur increased expenses to access the same types of swaps that it has used in the past. When the Fund enters into a cleared swap, it must deliver to the central counterparty (via the FCM) initial collateral. The initial collateral requirements are determined by the central counterparty, and are typically calculated as an amount equal to the volatility in market value of the cleared swap over a fixed period, but an FCM may require additional collateral above the amount required by the central counterparty. During the term of the swap agreement, an additional collateral amount may also be required to be paid by the Fund or may be received by the Fund in accordance with collateral controls set for such accounts. If the value of the Fund’s cleared swap declines, the Fund will be required to make additional payments to the FCM to settle the change in value. Conversely, if the market value of the Fund’s position increases, the FCM will post additional amounts to the Fund’s account. At the conclusion of the term of the swap agreement, if the Fund has a loss equal to or greater than the collateral amount, the collateral amount is paid to the FCM along with any loss in excess of the collateral amount. If the Fund has a loss of less than the collateral amount, the excess collateral is returned to the Fund. If the Fund has a gain, the full collateral amount and the amount of the gain is paid to the Fund.
Risks of swaps generally. The use of swap transactions is a highly specialized activity, which involves investment techniques and risks different from those associated with ordinary portfolio securities transactions. Whether the Fund will be successful in using swap agreements to achieve its investment goal depends on the ability of the Adviser to correctly predict which types of investments are likely to produce greater returns. If the Adviser, in using swap agreements, is incorrect in its forecasts of market values, interest rates, inflation, currency exchange rates or other applicable factors, the investment performance of the Fund will be less than its performance would have been if it had not used the swap agreements. The risk of loss to the Fund for swap transactions that are entered into on a net basis depends on which party is obligated to pay the net amount to the other party. If the counterparty is obligated to pay the net amount to the Fund, the risk of loss to the Fund is loss of the entire amount that the Fund is entitled to receive. If the Fund is obligated to pay the net amount, the Fund’s
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risk of loss is generally limited to that net amount. If the swap agreement involves the exchange of the entire principal value of a security, the entire principal value of that security is subject to the risk that the other party to the swap will default on its contractual delivery obligations. In addition, the Fund’s risk of loss also includes any collateral at risk in the event of default by the counterparty (in an uncleared swap) or the central counterparty or FCM (in a cleared swap), plus any transaction costs.
Because bilateral swap agreements are structured as two-party contracts and may have terms of greater than seven days, these swaps may be considered to be illiquid and, therefore, subject to the Fund’s limitation on investments in illiquid securities. If a swap transaction is particularly large or if the relevant market is illiquid, the Fund may not be able to establish or liquidate a position at an advantageous time or price, which may result in significant losses. Participants in the swap markets are not required to make continuous markets in the swap contracts they trade. Participants could refuse to quote prices for swap contracts or quote prices with an unusually wide spread between the price at which they are prepared to buy and the price at which they are prepared to sell. Some swap agreements entail complex terms and may require a greater degree of subjectivity in their valuation. However, the swap markets have grown substantially in recent years, with a large number of financial institutions acting both as principals and agents, utilizing standardized swap documentation. As a result, the swap markets have become increasingly liquid. In addition, central clearing and the trading of cleared swaps on public facilities are intended to increase liquidity.
Rafferty, under the supervision of the Board of Trustees, is responsible for determining and monitoring the liquidity of the Fund’s swap transactions. Rules adopted under the Dodd-Frank Act require centralized reporting of detailed information about many swaps, whether cleared or uncleared. This information is available to regulators and also, to a more limited extent and on an anonymous basis, to the public. Reporting of swap data is intended to result in greater market transparency. This may be beneficial to funds that use swaps in their trading strategies. However, public reporting imposes additional recordkeeping burdens on these funds, and the safeguards established to protect anonymity are not yet tested and may not provide protection of the Fund’s identity as intended. Certain IRS positions may limit the Fund’s ability to use swap agreements in a desired tax strategy. It is possible that developments in the swap markets and/or the laws relating to swap agreements, including potential government regulation, could adversely affect the Fund’s ability to benefit from using swap agreements, or could have adverse tax consequences. For more information about potentially changing regulation, see “Developing government regulation of derivatives” below.
Risks of uncleared swaps. Uncleared swaps are typically executed bilaterally with a swap dealer rather than traded on exchanges. As a result, swap participants may not be as protected as participants on organized exchanges. Performance of a swap agreement is the responsibility only of the swap counterparty and not of any exchange or clearinghouse. As a result, the Fund is subject to the risk that a counterparty will be unable or will refuse to perform under such agreement, including because of the counterparty’s bankruptcy or insolvency. The Fund risks the loss of the accrued but unpaid amounts under a swap agreement, which could be substantial, in the event of a default, insolvency or bankruptcy by a swap counterparty. In such an event, the Fund will have contractual remedies pursuant to the swap agreements, but bankruptcy and insolvency laws could affect the Fund’s rights as a creditor. If the counterparty’s creditworthiness declines, the value of a swap agreement would likely decline, potentially resulting in losses. The Adviser will only approve a swap agreement counterparty for the Fund if the Adviser deems the counterparty to be creditworthy. However, in unusual or extreme market conditions, a counterparty’s creditworthiness and ability to perform may deteriorate rapidly, and the availability of suitable replacement counterparties may become limited.
Risks of cleared swaps. As noted above, under recent financial reforms, certain types of swaps are, and others eventually are expected to be, required to be cleared through a central counterparty, which may affect counterparty risk and other risks faced by the Fund.
Central clearing is designed to reduce counterparty credit risk and increase liquidity compared to uncleared swaps because central clearing interposes the central clearinghouse as the counterparty to each participant’s swap, but it does not eliminate those risks completely and may involve additional costs and risks not involved with uncleared swaps. There is also a risk of loss by the Fund of the initial and variation collateral deposits in the event of bankruptcy of the FCM with which the Fund has an open position, or the central counterparty in a swap contract. The assets of the Fund may not be fully protected in the event of the bankruptcy of the FCM or central counterparty because the Fund might be limited to recovering only a pro rata share of all available funds and collateral segregated on behalf of an FCM’s customers. If the FCM does not provide accurate reporting, the Fund is also subject to the risk that the FCM could use the Fund’s assets, which are held in an omnibus account with assets belonging to the FCM’s other customers, to satisfy its own financial obligations or the payment obligations of another customer to the central counterparty. Credit risk of cleared swap participants is concentrated in a few clearinghouses, and the consequences of insolvency of a clearinghouse are not clear.
With cleared swaps, the Fund may not be able to obtain terms as favorable as it would be able to negotiate for a bilateral, uncleared swap. In addition, an FCM may unilaterally amend the terms of its agreement with the Fund, which may include the imposition of position limits or additional collateral requirements with respect to the Fund’s investment in certain types of swaps. Central counterparties and FCMs can require termination of existing cleared swap transactions upon the occurrence of certain events, and can also require increases in collateral above the amount that is required at the initiation of the swap agreement. Currently, depending on a number of factors, the collateral required under the rules of the clearinghouse
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and FCM may be in excess of the collateral required to be posted by the Fund to support its obligations under a similar uncleared swap. However, regulators have proposed and are expected to adopt rules imposing certain requirements on uncleared swaps in the near future, which are likely to impose higher collateral requirements on uncleared swaps.
Finally, the Fund is subject to the risk that, after entering into a cleared swap with an executing broker, no FCM or central counterparty is willing or able to clear the transaction. In such an event, the Fund may be required to break the trade and make an early termination payment to the executing broker.
Developing government regulation of derivatives. The regulation of cleared and uncleared swaps, as well as other derivatives, is a rapidly changing area of law and is subject to modification by government and judicial action. In addition, the SEC, CFTC and the exchanges are authorized to take extraordinary actions in the event of a market emergency, including, for example, the implementation or reduction of speculative position limits, the implementation of higher collateral requirements, the establishment of daily price limits and the suspension of trading. It is not possible to predict fully the effects of current or future regulation. However, it is possible that developments in government regulation of various types of derivative instruments, such as speculative position limits on certain types of derivatives, or limits or restrictions on the counterparties with which the Fund engages in derivative transactions, may limit or prevent the Fund from using or limit the Fund’s use of these instruments effectively as a part of its investment strategy, and could adversely affect the Fund’s ability to achieve its investment goal(s). The Adviser will continue to monitor developments in the area, particularly to the extent regulatory changes affect the Fund’s ability to enter into desired swap agreements. New requirements, even if not directly applicable to the Fund, may increase the cost of the Fund’s investments and cost of doing business.
Other Investment Companies
The Fund may invest in the securities of other investment companies, including open- and closed-end funds and ETFs. Investments in the securities of other investment companies may involve duplication of advisory fees and certain other expenses. By investing in another investment company, the Fund becomes a shareholder of that investment company. As a result, Fund shareholders indirectly will bear the Fund’s proportionate share of the fees and expenses of the other investment company, in addition to the fees and expenses Fund shareholders bear in connection with the Fund’s own operations.
The Fund intends to limit its investments in securities issued by other investment companies in accordance with the 1940 Act. Section 12(d)(1) of the 1940 Act precludes the Fund from acquiring (i) more than 3% of the total outstanding shares of another investment company; (ii) shares of another investment company having an aggregate value in excess of 5% of the value of the total assets of the Fund; or (iii) shares of another registered investment company and all other investment companies having an aggregate value in excess of 10% of the value of the total assets of the Fund. In addition, the Fund is subject to Section 12(d)(1)(C), which provides that the Fund may not acquire shares of a closed-end fund if, immediately after such acquisition, the Fund and other investment companies having the same adviser as the Fund would hold more than 10% of the closed-end fund’s total outstanding voting stock.
Section 12(d)(1)(F) of the 1940 Act provides that the provisions of paragraph 12(d)(1)(A) and (B) shall not apply to securities purchased or otherwise acquired by the Fund if (i) immediately after such purchase or acquisition not more than 3% of the total outstanding shares of such investment company is owned by the Fund and all affiliated persons of the Fund; and (ii) the Fund has not offered or sold, and is not proposing to offer or sell its shares through a principal underwriter or otherwise at a public or offering price that includes a sales load of more than 1 1/2%. If the Fund invests in investment companies pursuant to Section 12(d)(1)(F), it must comply with the following voting restrictions: when the Fund exercises voting rights, by proxy or otherwise, with respect to investment companies owned by the Fund, the Fund will either seek instruction from the Fund's shareholders with regard to the voting of all proxies and vote in accordance with such instructions, or vote the shares held by the Fund in the same proportion as the vote of all other holders of such security. In addition, an investment company purchased by the Fund pursuant to Section 12(d)(1)(F) shall not be required to redeem its shares in an amount exceeding 1% of such investment company’s total outstanding shares in any period of less than thirty days. Also, to the extent that an ETF has exemptive relief under Section 12(d)(1)(J), the Fund may rely on that exemptive relief to exceed the limits imposed by Section 12(d)(1)(A).
Shares of another investment company or ETF that has received exemptive relief from the SEC to permit other funds to invest in its shares without these limitations are excluded from such restrictions to the extent that the Fund has complied with the requirements of such orders. To the extent that the Fund invests in open-end or closed-end investment companies that invest primarily in the securities of companies located outside the United States, see the risks related to foreign securities set forth above.
On October 7, 2020, the SEC adopted rule 12d1-4 under the 1940 Act (“Rule 12d1-4”) to create a regulatory framework that allows funds and ETFs to invest in other funds with various limitation or restrictions. Rule 12d1-4 allows a fund or ETF to acquire the securities of another fund in excess of the limitations imposed by Section 12 of the 1940 Act without obtaining an exemptive order from the SEC subject to certain limitations and conditions. Prior to a fund acquiring securities of another fund that exceed the limits of Section 12(d)(1) of the 1940 Act, the acquiring fund must enter into a Fund of Funds Agreement with the acquired fund. Rule 12d1-4 outlines the requirements of the Fund of Funds Agreements and specifies the responsibilities
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of the Board related to “fund of funds” arrangements. Rule 12d1-4 is effective January 19, 2021 and will be required to be implemented by the Funds that intend to purchase other funds in exceedance of the limits of Section 12(d)(1) by January 19, 2022.
Exchange-Traded Products. The Fund may invest in Exchange Traded Products (“ETPs”), which include ETFs, partnerships, commodity pools or trusts that are bought and sold on a securities exchange. ETPs and ETNs trade like stocks on a securities exchange at market price rather than NAV and, as a result, ETP and ETN shares may trade at a price greater than NAV (premium) or less than NAV (discount). The Fund may also invest in exchange-traded notes (“ETNs”), which are structured debt securities, whereby the issuer of the ETN promises to pay ETN holders the return on an index or market segment over a certain period of time and then return the principal of the investment at maturity. Whereas ETPs’ liabilities are secured by their portfolio securities, ETNs’ liabilities are unsecured general obligations of the issuer. Therefore, ETNs are subject to the credit risk of the issuer of the ETN, which is different than other ETPs. The value of an ETN security should also be expected to fluctuate with the credit rating of the issuer. Most ETPs and ETNs are designed to track a particular market segment or index, although an ETP or ETN may be actively managed. ETPs and ETNs share expenses associated with their operation, typically including advisory fees and other management expenses. When the Fund invests in an ETP or ETN, in addition to directly bearing expenses associated with its own operations, it will bear its pro rata portion of the ETP’s or ETN’s expenses. ETPs and ETNs trade like stocks on a securities exchange at market prices rather than NAV and as a result ETP or ETN shares may trade at a price greater than NAV (premium) or less than NAV (discount). The risks of owning an ETP or ETN generally reflect the risks of owning the underlying securities the ETP or ETN is designed to track, although lack of liquidity in an ETP or ETN could result in it being more volatile than the underlying portfolio of securities. In addition, because of ETP or ETN expenses, compared to owning the underlying securities directly, it may be more costly to own an ETP or ETN.
Additionally, the Fund may invest in swap agreements referencing ETFs. If the Fund invests in ETFs or swap agreements referencing ETFs, the underlying ETFs may not necessarily track the same index as the Fund.
Money Market Funds. Money market funds are open-end registered investment companies that historically have traded at a stable $1.00 per share price. However, money market funds that do not meet the definition of a “retail money market fund” or “government money market fund” under the 1940 Act are required to transact at a floating NAV per share (i.e., in a manner similar to how all other non-money market mutual funds transact), instead of at a $1.00 stable share price. Money market funds may also impose liquidity fees and redemption gates for use in times of market stress. If a Fund invests in a money market fund with a floating NAV, the impact on the trading and value of the money market instruments may negatively affect the Fund's return potential.
Real Estate Companies
The Fund may make investments in the securities of real estate companies, which are regarded as those which derive at least 50% of their respective revenues from the ownership, construction, financing, management or sale of commercial, industrial, or residential real estate, or have at least 50% of their respective assets in such real estate. Such investments include common stocks (including real estate investment trust shares, see “Real Estate Investment Trusts” below), rights or warrants to purchase common stocks, securities convertible into common stocks where the conversion feature represents, in Rafferty’s view, a significant element of the securities’ value, and preferred stocks.
Real Estate Investment Trusts (“REITs”)
The Fund may make investments in REITs. REITs include equity, mortgage and hybrid REITs. Equity REITs own real estate properties, and their revenue comes principally from rent. Mortgage REITs loan money to real estate owners, and their revenue comes principally from interest earned on their mortgage loans. Hybrid REITs combine characteristics of both equity and mortgage REITs. The value of an equity REIT may be affected by changes in the value of the underlying property, while a mortgage REIT may be affected by the quality of the credit extended. The performance of both types of REITs depends upon conditions in the real estate industry, management skills and the amount of cash flow. The risks associated with REITs include defaults by borrowers, self-liquidation, failure to qualify as a pass-through entity under the federal tax law, failure to qualify as an exempt entity under the 1940 Act and the fact that REITs are not diversified.
Repurchase Agreements
The Fund may enter into repurchase agreements with banks that are members of the Federal Reserve System or securities dealers who are members of a national securities exchange or are primary dealers in U.S. government securities. Repurchase agreements generally are for a short period of time, usually less than a week. Under a repurchase agreement, the Fund purchases a U.S. government security and simultaneously agrees to sell the security back to the seller at a mutually agreed-upon future price and date, normally one day or a few days later. The resale price is greater than the purchase price, reflecting an agreed-upon market interest rate during the Fund’s holding period. While the maturities of the underlying securities in repurchase agreement transactions may be more than one year, the term of each repurchase agreement always will be less than one year. Repurchase agreements with a maturity of more than seven days are considered to be illiquid investments.
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The Fund may not enter into such a repurchase agreement if, as a result, more than 15% of the value of its net assets would then be invested in such repurchase agreements and other illiquid investments. See “Illiquid Investments and Restricted Securities” above.
The Fund will always receive, as collateral, securities whose market value, including accrued interest, at all times will be at least equal to 100% of the dollar amount invested by the Fund in each repurchase agreement. In the event of default or bankruptcy by the seller, the Fund will liquidate those securities (whose market value, including accrued interest, must be at least 100% of the amount invested by the Fund) held under the applicable repurchase agreement, which securities constitute collateral for the seller’s obligation to repurchase the security. If the seller defaults, the Fund might incur a loss if the value of the collateral securing the repurchase agreement declines and might incur disposition costs in connection with liquidating the collateral. In addition, if bankruptcy or similar proceedings are commenced with respect to the seller of the security, realization upon the collateral by the Fund may be delayed or limited.
Reverse Repurchase Agreements
The Fund may borrow by entering into reverse repurchase agreements with the same parties with whom it may enter into repurchase agreements. Under a reverse repurchase agreement, the Fund sells securities and agrees to repurchase them at a mutually agreed to price. At the time the Fund enters into a reverse repurchase agreement, it will establish and maintain a segregated account with an approved custodian containing liquid high-grade securities, marked-to-market daily, having a value not less than the repurchase price (including accrued interest). Reverse repurchase agreements involve the risk that the market value of securities retained in lieu of sale by the Fund may decline below the price of the securities the Fund has sold but is obliged to repurchase. If the buyer of securities under a reverse repurchase agreement files for bankruptcy or becomes insolvent, such buyer or its trustee or receiver may receive an extension of time to determine whether to enforce the Fund’s obligation to repurchase the securities. During that time, the Fund’s use of the proceeds of the reverse repurchase agreement effectively may be restricted. Reverse repurchase agreements create leverage, a speculative factor, and are considered borrowings for the purpose of the Fund’s limitation on borrowing.
Securities Lending
The Fund may lend portfolio securities to certain borrowers that Rafferty determines to be creditworthy. The borrowers provide collateral that is maintained in an amount at least equal to the current market value of the securities loaned, marked to market daily. Borrowers continuously secure their obligations to return securities on loan from the Fund by depositing any combination of short-term U.S. government securities and cash as collateral with the Fund. No securities loan will be made on behalf of the Fund if, as a result, the aggregate value of all securities loaned by the Fund exceeds one-third of the value of the Fund's total assets (including the value of the collateral received) or such lower limit as set by Rafferty or the Board. The Fund may terminate a loan at any time and obtain the return of the securities loaned. The Fund receives, by way of substitute payment, the value of any interest or cash or non-cash distributions paid on the loaned securities that it would have received if the securities were not on loan. Any gain or loss in the market price of the borrowed securities that occurs during the term of the loan inures to the lending Fund and that Fund’s shareholders.
With respect to loans that are collateralized by cash, the borrower may be entitled to receive a fee based on the amount of cash collateral. The Fund is typically compensated by the difference between the amount earned on the reinvestment of cash collateral and the fee paid to the borrower. In the case of collateral other than cash, the Fund is typically compensated by a fee paid by the borrower equal to a percentage of the market value of the loaned securities. A Fund may also receive such fees on “special” loans that are cash-collateralized. Any cash collateral may be reinvested in money market funds. Such money market fund shares will not be subject to a sales load, redemption fee, distribution fee or service fee. However, such investments are subject to investment risk.
Securities lending involves exposure to certain risks, including operational risk (i.e., the risk of losses resulting from problems in the settlement and accounting process), “gap” risk (i.e., the risk of a mismatch between the return of cash collateral reinvestments and the fees the Fund has agreed to pay a borrower), and credit, legal, counterparty and market risk. If a securities lending counterparty were to default, the Fund would be subject to the risk of a possible delay in receiving collateral or in recovering the loaned securities, or to a possible loss of rights in the collateral. In the event a borrower does not return the Fund’s securities as agreed, the Fund could experience losses if the proceeds received from liquidating the collateral do not at least equal the value of the loaned security at the time the collateral is liquidated, plus the transaction costs incurred in purchasing replacement securities. This event could trigger adverse tax consequences for the Fund. The Fund could lose money if its investment of cash collateral declines in value over the period of the loan. Substitute payments for dividends received by the Fund while its securities are loaned out will not be considered qualified dividend income.
Short Sales
The Fund may engage in short sale transactions under which the Fund sells a security it does not own. To complete such a transaction, the Fund must borrow the security to make delivery to the buyer. The Fund then is obligated to replace the
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security borrowed by purchasing the security at the market price at the time of replacement. The price at such time may be more or less than the price at which the security was sold by the Fund. Until the security is replaced, the Fund is required to pay to the lender amounts equal to any dividends that accrue during the period of the loan. The proceeds of the short sale will be retained by the broker, to the extent necessary to meet the margin requirements, until the short position is closed out. The Fund will also incur transactions costs when conducting short sales.
Until the Fund closes its short position or replaces the borrowed stock, the Fund will: (1) maintain an account containing cash or liquid assets at such a level that (a) the amount deposited in the account plus the amount deposited with the broker as collateral will equal the current value of the stock sold short and (b) the amount deposited in the account plus the amount deposited with the broker as collateral will not be less than the market value of the stock at the time the stock was sold short; or (2) otherwise cover the Fund’s short position.
The Fund will incur a loss as a result of a short sales or short exposure to reference assets utilizing derivatives if the price of the security or reference asset increases between the date of the short sale or exposure and the date on which the Fund replaces the borrowed security or terminates the derivatives providing short exposure. The Fund will realize a gain if the price of a security or reference asset declines in price between those dates. The amount of any gain will be decreased, and the amount of any loss will be increased, by the amount of the premium, dividends or interest the Fund may be required to pay, if any, in connection with a short sale or derivatives that provide short exposure.
Unrated Debt Securities
The Fund may also invest in unrated debt securities. Unrated debt, while not necessarily lower in quality than rated securities, may not have as broad a market. Because of the size and perceived demand for the issue, among other factors, certain issuers may decide not to pay the cost of getting a rating for their bonds. The creditworthiness of the issuer, as well as any financial institution or other party responsible for payments on the security, will be analyzed to determine whether to purchase unrated bonds.
U.S. Government Securities
The Fund may invest in securities issued or guaranteed by the U.S. government or its agencies or instrumentalities (“U.S. government securities”) in pursuit of its investment objective, in order to deposit such securities as initial or variation margin, as “cover” for the investment techniques it employs, as part of a cash reserve or for liquidity purposes.
U.S. government securities are high-quality instruments issued or guaranteed as to principal or interest by the U.S. Treasury Department (“U.S. Treasury”) or by an agency or instrumentality of the U.S. government. Not all U.S. government securities are backed by the full faith and credit of the United States. Some are backed by the right of the issuer to borrow from the U.S. Treasury; others are backed by discretionary authority of the U.S. government to purchase the agencies’ obligations; while others are supported only by the credit of the instrumentality. In the case of securities not backed by the full faith and credit of the United States, the investor must look principally to the agency issuing or guaranteeing the obligation for ultimate repayment.
Yields on short-, intermediate- and long-term U.S. government securities are dependent on a variety of factors, including the general conditions of the money and bond markets, the size of a particular offering and the maturity of the obligation. Debt securities with longer maturities tend to produce higher capital appreciation and depreciation than obligations with shorter maturities and lower yields. The market value of U.S. government securities generally varies inversely with changes in the market interest rates. An increase in interest rates, therefore, generally would reduce the market value of the Fund’s portfolio investments in U.S. government securities, while a decline in interest rates generally would increase the market value of the Fund’s portfolio investments in these securities. U.S. government securities include U.S. Treasury obligations, which includes U.S. Treasury Bills (which mature within one year of the date they are issued), U.S. Treasury Notes (which have maturities of one to ten years) and U.S. Treasury Bonds (which generally have maturities of more than 10 years). All such U.S. Treasury obligations are backed by the full faith and credit of the United States.
U.S. government securities also include obligations issued by U.S. government agencies and instrumentalities (“GSEs”) that are backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government (such as securities issued or guaranteed by the Federal Housing Administration, Ginnie Mae®, the Export-Import Bank of the United States, the General Services Administration and the Maritime Administration and certain securities issued by the Small Business Administration).
Also, U.S. government securities include securities that are guaranteed by U.S. government-sponsored entities that are not backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government (such as Fannie Mae®, Freddie Mac®, or the Federal Home Loan Banks). These U.S. government-sponsored entities, although chartered and sponsored by the U.S. Congress, are not guaranteed, nor insured, by the U.S. government. They are supported only by the credit of the issuing agency, instrumentality or corporation.
Since 2008, Fannie Mae® and Freddie Mac® have been in conservatorship and have received significant capital support through U.S. Treasury preferred stock purchases, as well as U.S. Treasury and Federal Reserve purchases of their mortgage backed securities (“MBS”). The FHFA and the U.S. Treasury (through its agreement to purchase Fannie Mae® and Freddie
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Mac® preferred stock) have imposed strict limits on the size of their mortgage portfolios. The MBS purchase programs technically ended in 2010 but the U.S. Treasury has continued its support for the entities’ capital as necessary to prevent a negative net worth through at least 2012 and other governmental entities have provided significant support to Fannie Mae® and Freddie Mac®. There is no guarantee, however, that they will continue to do so. An FHFA stress test suggested that in a “severely adverse scenario” additional Treasury support of between $42.1 billion and $77.6 billion (depending on the treatment of deferred tax assets) might be required. Since then Congress has permanently reduced the corporate income tax rate from 35% to 21% starting January 1, 2018. This reduction could cause a substantial net loss and net worth deficit for the year in which the legislation is enacted. Should they experience such a net worth deficit, they could be required to draw additional funds from the U.S. Treasury to avoid being placed in receivership. Accordingly, no assurance can be given that Fannie Mae® and Freddie Mac® will remain successful in meeting their obligations with respect to the debt and MBSs that they issue.
In addition, the problems faced by Fannie Mae® and Freddie Mac®, resulting in their being placed into federal conservatorship and receiving significant U.S. government support, have sparked serious debate among federal policy makers regarding the continued role of the U.S. government in providing liquidity for mortgage loans. In December 2011, Congress enacted the Temporary Payroll Tax Cut Continuation Act (“TCCA”) of 2011 which, among other provisions, requires that Fannie Mae® and Freddie Mac® increase their single-family guaranty fees by at least 10 basis points and remit this increase to Treasury with respect to all loans acquired by Fannie Mae® or Freddie Mac® on or after April 1, 2012 and before January 1, 2022. Nevertheless, discussions among policymakers have continued as to whether Fannie Mae® and Freddie Mac® should be nationalized, privatized, restructured, or eliminated altogether. In September 2019, the U.S. Treasury released its plan to reform the housing finance system, which includes reforms to Fannie Mae® and Freddie Mac®. The impact of these reforms are not yet known. Fannie Mae® and Freddie Mac® also are the subject of several continuing legal actions and investigations related to certain accounting, disclosure, or corporate governance matters, which (along with any resulting financial restatements) may continue to have an adverse effect on the guaranteeing entities. Congress is currently considering several pieces of legislation that would reform GSEs, proposing to address their structure, mission, portfolio limits, and guarantee fees, among other issues.
U.S. Government Sponsored Enterprises (“GSEs”)
GSE securities are securities issued by the U.S. government or its agencies or instrumentalities. Some obligations issued by GSEs are supported by the discretionary authority of the U.S. government to purchase certain obligations of the agency or instrumentality and others only by the credit of the agency or instrumentality. Those securities bear fixed, floating or variable rates of interest. Interest may fluctuate based on generally recognized reference rates or the relationship of rates. While the U.S. government currently provides financial support to such GSEs or instrumentalities, no assurance can be given that it will always do so, since it is not so obligated by law.
Certain U.S. government debt securities, such as securities of the Federal Home Loan Banks, are supported by the right of the issuer to borrow from the U.S. Treasury. Others, such as securities issued by Fannie Mae® and Freddie Mac®, are supported only by the credit of the corporation. In the case of securities not backed by the full faith and credit of the United States, a fund must look principally to the agency issuing or guaranteeing the obligation in the event the agency or instrumentality does not meet its commitments. The U.S. government may choose not to provide financial support to GSEs or instrumentalities if it is not legally obligated to do so. A fund will invest in securities of such instrumentalities only when Rafferty is satisfied that the credit risk with respect to any such instrumentality is comparatively minimal.
When-Issued Securities
The Fund may enter into firm commitment agreements for the purchase of securities on a specified future date. The Fund may purchase, for example, new issues of fixed-income instruments on a when-issued basis, whereby the payment obligation, or yield to maturity, or coupon rate on the instruments may not be fixed at the time of transaction. The Fund will not purchase securities on a when-issued basis if, as a result, more than 15% of its net assets would be so invested. If the Fund enters into a firm commitment agreement, liability for the purchase price and the rights and risks of ownership of the security accrue to the Fund at the time it becomes obligated to purchase such security, although delivery and payment occur at a later date. Accordingly, if the market price of the security should decline, the effect of such an agreement would be to obligate the Fund to purchase the security at a price above the current market price on the date of delivery and payment. During the time the Fund is obligated to purchase such a security, it will be required to segregate assets with an approved custodian in an amount sufficient to settle the transaction.
Zero-Coupon, Payment-In-Kind and Strip Securities
The Fund may invest in zero-coupon, payment-in-kind and strip securities of any rating or maturity. Zero-coupon securities make no periodic interest payment but are sold at a deep discount from their face value, otherwise known as “original issue discount” or “OID.” The buyer earns a rate of return determined by the gradual appreciation of the security, which
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is redeemed at face value on a specified maturity date. The OID varies depending on the time remaining until maturity, as well as market interest rates, liquidity of the security, and the issuer’s perceived credit quality. If the issuer defaults, the Fund may not receive any return on its investment. Because zero-coupon securities bear no interest and compound semi-annually at the rate fixed at the time of issuance, their value generally is more volatile than the value of other fixed-income securities. Since zero-coupon security holders do not receive interest payments, when interest rates rise, zero-coupon securities fall more dramatically in value than securities paying interest on a current basis. When interest rates fall, zero-coupon securities rise more rapidly in value because the securities reflect a fixed rate of return. Payment-in-kind securities allow the issuer, at its option, to make current interest payments either in cash or in additional debt obligations of the issuer. Both zero-coupon securities and payment-in-kind securities allow an issuer to avoid the need to generate cash to meet current interest payments.
An investment in zero-coupon securities and delayed interest securities (which do not make interest payments until after a specified time) may cause the Fund to recognize income and be required to make distributions thereof to shareholders before it receives any cash payments on its investment. Moreover, even though payment-in-kind securities do not pay current interest in cash, the Fund nonetheless is required to accrue interest income on these investments and to distribute the interest income at least annually to shareholders. See “Dividends, Other Distributions and Taxes Income from Zero Coupon and Payment-in-Kind Securities.” Thus, the Fund could be required at times to liquidate other investments to satisfy distribution requirements.
The Fund may also invest in strips, which are debt securities whose interest coupons are taken out and traded separately after the securities are issued but otherwise are comparable to zero-coupon securities. Like zero-coupon securities and payment-in-kind securities, strips are generally more sensitive to interest rate fluctuations than interest paying securities of comparable term and quality.
Other Investment Risks and Practices
Borrowing. The Fund may borrow money for investment purposes, which is a form of leveraging. Leveraging investments, by purchasing securities with borrowed money, is a speculative technique that increases investment risk while increasing investment opportunity. Leverage will magnify changes in the Fund’s NAV and on the Fund’s investments. Although the principal of such borrowings will be fixed, the Fund’s assets may change in value during the time the borrowing is outstanding. Leverage also creates interest expenses for the Fund. To the extent the income derived from securities purchased with borrowed funds exceeds the interest the Fund will have to pay, that Fund’s net income will be greater than it would be if leverage were not used. Conversely, if the income from the assets obtained with borrowed funds is not sufficient to cover the cost of leveraging, the net income of the Fund will be less than it would be if leverage were not used, and therefore the amount available for shareholders will be reduced.
The Fund may borrow money to facilitate management of the Fund’s portfolio by enabling the Fund to meet redemption requests when the liquidation of portfolio instruments would be inconvenient or disadvantageous. Such borrowing is not for investment purposes and will be repaid by the borrowing Fund promptly.
As required by the 1940 Act, the Fund must maintain continuous asset coverage (total assets, including assets acquired with borrowed funds, less liabilities exclusive of borrowings) of 300% of all amounts borrowed. If at any time the value of the required asset coverage declines as a result of market fluctuations or other reasons, the Fund may be required to sell some of its portfolio investments within three days to reduce the amount of its borrowings and restore the 300% asset coverage, even though it may be disadvantageous from an investment standpoint to sell portfolio instruments at that time.
Under current pronouncements, certain obligations under futures contracts, forward contracts and swap agreements to the extent that the “covers” its obligations as discussed in the “Futures Contracts, Options, and Other Derivatives Strategies” section will not be considered a “senior security” and, therefore, will not be subject to the 300% asset coverage requirements otherwise applicable to borrowings.
Portfolio Turnover. The Trust anticipates that the Fund’s annual portfolio turnover will vary. The Fund’s portfolio turnover rate is calculated by the value of the securities purchased or securities sold, excluding all securities whose terms-to-maturity at the time of acquisition were less than 397 days, divided by the average monthly value of such securities owned during the year. Based on this calculation, instruments with remaining terms-to-maturity of less than 397 days are excluded from the portfolio turnover rate. Such instruments generally would include futures contracts and options, since such contracts generally have remaining terms-to-maturity of less than 397 days. In any given period, all of the Fund’s investments may have remaining terms-to-maturity of less than 397 days; in that case, the portfolio turnover rate for that period would be equal to zero. However, the Fund’s portfolio turnover rate calculated with all securities whose terms-to-maturity were less than 397 days is anticipated to be unusually high.
High portfolio turnover involves correspondingly greater expenses to the Fund, including brokerage commissions or dealer mark-ups and other transaction costs on the sale of securities and reinvestments in other securities. Such sales also may result in adverse tax consequences to the Fund’s shareholders resulting from its distributions of increased net capital gains, if any, recognized as a result of the sales. The trading costs and tax effects associated with portfolio turnover may adversely affect the Fund’s performance.
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Cybersecurity Risk
Since the use of technology has become more prevalent in the course of business, the Fund may be more susceptible to operational risks through breaches in cybersecurity. A cybersecurity incident may refer to either intentional or unintentional events that allow an unauthorized party to gain access to fund assets, customer data, or proprietary information, or cause the Fund or a Fund service provider to suffer data corruption or lose operational functionality. A cybersecurity incident could, among other things, result in the loss or theft of customer data or funds, customers or employees being unable to access electronic systems (“denial of services”), loss or theft of proprietary information or corporate data, physical damage to a computer or network system, or remediation costs associated with system repairs. Any of these results could have a substantial impact on the Fund. For example, if a cybersecurity incident results in a denial of service, Fund shareholders could lose access to their electronic accounts for an unknown period of time, and employees could be unable to access electronic systems to perform critical duties for the Fund, such as trading, NAV calculation, shareholder accounting or fulfillment of Fund share purchases and redemptions. Cybersecurity incidents could cause the Fund or the Fund's Adviser or distributor to incur regulatory penalties, reputational damage, additional compliance costs associated with corrective measures, or financial loss of a significant magnitude. They may also cause the Fund to violate applicable privacy and other laws. The Fund's service providers have established risk management systems that seek to reduce the risks associated with cybersecurity, and business continuity plans in the event there is a cybersecurity breach. However, there is no guarantee that such efforts will succeed, especially since the Fund does not directly control the cybersecurity systems of the issuers of securities in which the Fund invests or the Fund's third party service providers (including the Fund's transfer agent and custodian).
Investment Restrictions
The Trust, on behalf of the Fund, has adopted the following investment policies which are fundamental policies that may not be changed without the affirmative vote of a majority of the outstanding voting securities of the Fund. As defined by the 1940 Act, a “vote of a majority of the outstanding voting securities of the Fund” means the affirmative vote of the lesser of (1) more than 50% of the outstanding shares of the Fund or (2) 67% or more of the shares present at a shareholders’ meeting, if more than 50% of the outstanding shares are represented at the meeting in person or by proxy.
For purposes of the following limitations, all percentage limitations apply immediately after a purchase or initial investment. Except with respect to borrowing money, if a percentage limitation is adhered to at the time of the investment, a later increase or decrease in the percentage resulting from any change in value or net assets will not result in a violation of such restrictions. If at any time the Fund’s borrowings exceed its limitations due to a decline in net assets, such borrowings will be reduced within three days (not including Sundays and holidays), or such longer period as may be permitted by the 1940 Act, to the extent necessary to comply with the one-third limitation.
The Fund may not:
1.
Borrow money, except to the extent permitted by the 1940 Act, the rules and regulations thereunder and any applicable exemptive relief.
2.
Issue senior securities, except to the extent permitted by the 1940 Act, the rules and regulations thereunder and any applicable exemptive relief.
3.
Make loans, except to the extent permitted by the 1940 Act, the rules and regulations thereunder and any applicable exemptive relief.
4.
Purchase or sell real estate, except that, to the extent permitted by applicable law, the Fund may (a) invest in securities or other instruments directly secured by real estate, and (b) invest in securities or other instruments issued by issuers that invest in real estate.
5.
Purchase or sell commodities or commodity contracts unless acquired as a result of ownership of securities or other instruments issued by persons that purchase or sell commodities or commodities contracts; but this shall not prevent the Fund from purchasing, selling and entering into financial futures contracts (including futures contracts on indices of securities, interest rates and currencies), and options on financial futures contracts (including futures contracts on indices of securities, interest rates and currencies), warrants, swaps, forward contracts, foreign currency spot and forward contracts and other financial instruments.
6.
Underwrite securities issued by others, except to the extent that the Fund may be considered an underwriter within the meaning of the 1933 Act in the disposition of restricted securities or other investment company securities.
7.
Except for any Fund that is “concentrated” in an industry or group of industries within the meaning of the 1940 Act, 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, 25% or more of the Fund’s total assets would be invested in the securities of companies whose principal business activities are in the same industry.
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Portfolio Transactions and Brokerage
Subject to the general supervision by the Trustees, Rafferty is responsible for decisions to buy and sell securities and derivatives for the Fund, the selection of broker-dealers to effect the transactions, and the negotiation of brokerage commissions, if any. Rafferty expects that the Fund may execute brokerage or other agency transactions through registered broker-dealers, for a commission, in conformity with the 1940 Act, the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, and the rules and regulations thereunder.
When selecting a broker or dealer to execute portfolio transactions, Rafferty considers many factors, including the rate of commission or the size of the broker-dealer’s “spread,” the size and difficulty of the order, the nature of the market for the security, operational capabilities of the broker-dealer and the research, statistical and economic data furnished by the broker-dealer to Rafferty.
In effecting portfolio transactions for the Fund, Rafferty seeks to receive the closing prices of securities that are in line with those of the securities included in a Fund's underlying index and seeks to execute trades of such securities at the commission rates reasonably available. With respect to agency transactions, Rafferty may execute trades at a higher rate of commission if reasonable in relation to brokerage and research services provided to the Fund or Rafferty. Such services may include the following: information as to the availability of securities for purchase or sale; statistical or factual information or opinions pertaining to investment; wire services; and appraisals or evaluations of portfolio securities. The Fund believes that the requirement to always seek the lowest possible commission cost could impede effective portfolio management and preclude the Fund and Rafferty from obtaining a high quality of brokerage and research services. In seeking to determine the reasonableness of brokerage commissions paid in any transaction, Rafferty relies upon its experience and knowledge regarding commissions generally charged by various brokers and on its judgment in evaluating the brokerage and research services received from the broker effecting the transaction. In addition to commission rates, when selecting a broker for a particular transaction, Rafferty considers the following factors, among others: the broker’s availability, willingness to commit capital, reputation and integrity, facilities reliability, access to research, execution capacity and responsiveness.
For purchases and sales of derivatives (i.e., financial instruments whose value is derived from the value of an underlying asset, interest rate or index), Rafferty evaluates counterparties on the following factors: reputation and financial strength; execution prices, commission costs, ability to handle complex orders; ability to provide prompt and full execution; accuracy of reports and confirmation provided; reliability; type and quality of research provided; financing and other associated costs related to the transaction; and whether the total cost or proceeds in each transaction is the most favorable under the circumstances.
Rafferty may use research and services provided to it by brokers in servicing the Fund; however, not all such services may be used by Rafferty in connection with the Fund. While the receipt of such information and services is useful in varying degrees and may reduce the amount of research or services otherwise provided to the Fund by Rafferty, the receipt of such information and these services does not reduce the investment advisory fee paid by the Fund.
Purchases and sales of U.S. government securities normally are transacted through issuers, underwriters or major dealers in U.S. government securities acting as principals. Such transactions are made on a net basis and do not involve payment of brokerage commissions. The cost of securities purchased from an underwriter usually includes a commission paid by the issuer to the underwriters; transactions with dealers normally reflect the spread between bid and asked prices.
No brokerage commissions are provided for the Fund because it had not commenced operations.
Portfolio Holdings Information
The Fund’s portfolio holdings will be, upon commencement of operations, disclosed on the Fund's website at www.direxion.com each day the Fund is open for business. In addition, disclosure of the Fund’s complete holdings is required to be made quarterly within 60 days of the end of each fiscal quarter in the Annual Report and Semi-Annual Report to Fund shareholders and in the quarterly holdings report on Form N-PORT. These reports are available, free of charge, on the EDGAR database on the SEC’s website at www.sec.gov.
The portfolio composition file (“PCF”), which contains portfolio holdings information, and the IOPV, which contains certain pricing information related to the Fund’s portfolio holdings, are also made available daily, including to the Fund's service providers to facilitate the provision of services to the Fund and to certain other entities as necessary for transactions in Creation Units. Such entities include: (i) National Securities Clearing Corporation (“NSCC”) members; (ii) subscribers to various fee-based services, including entities that publish and/or analyze such information in connection with the process of purchasing or redeeming Creation Units or trading shares of Fund in the secondary market; (iii) investors that have entered into an “Authorized Participant Agreement” with the Distributor and the transfer agent or purchase Creation Units through a dealer that has entered into such an agreement (“Authorized Participants”); and (iv) certain personnel of service providers that are involved in portfolio management and providing administrative, operational, or other support to portfolio management
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including personnel of the Adviser and the Fund's distributor, administrator, custodian and fund accountant who are involved in functions which may require such information to conduct business in the ordinary course.
In addition, the Fund's Chief Compliance Officer (“CCO”) may grant exceptions to permit additional disclosure of the complete portfolio holdings information at differing times and with differing lag times to rating agencies and to the parties noted above, provided that (1) the Fund has a legitimate business purpose for doing so; (2) it is in the best interests of shareholders; (3) the recipient is subject to a confidentiality agreement; and (4) the recipient is subject to a duty not to trade on the nonpublic information. In this regard, from time to time, rating and ranking organizations such as Standard & Poor’s® and Morningstar®, Inc. may request such information. The CCO shall report any disclosures made pursuant to this exception to the Board.
Management of the Trust
The Board of Trustees
The Trust is governed by its Board of Trustees (the “Board”). The Board is responsible for and oversees the overall management and operations of the Trust and the Fund, which includes the general oversight and review of the Fund's investment activities, in accordance with federal law and the law of the State of Delaware, as well as the stated policies of the Fund. The Board oversees the Trust’s officers and service providers, including Rafferty, which is responsible for the management of the day-to-day operations of the Fund based on policies and agreements reviewed and approved by the Board. In carrying out these responsibilities, the Board regularly interacts with and receives reports from senior personnel of service providers, including personnel from Rafferty and U.S. Bancorp Fund Services, LLC (“USBFS”). The Board also is assisted by the Trust’s independent auditor (who reports directly to the Trust’s Audit Committee), independent counsel and other professionals as appropriate.
Risk Oversight
Consistent with its responsibility for oversight of the Trust and the Fund, the Board oversees the management of risks relating to the administration and operation of the Trust and the Fund. Rafferty, as part of its responsibilities for the day-to-day operations of the Fund, is responsible for day-to-day risk management for the Fund. The Board, in the exercise of its reasonable business judgment performs its risk management oversight directly and, as to certain matters, through its committees (described below) and through the Board members who are not “interested persons” of the Fund as defined in Section 2(a)(19) of the 1940 Act (“Independent Trustees.”) The following provides an overview of the principal, but not all, aspects of the Board’s oversight of risk management for the Trust and the Fund.
The Board has adopted, and periodically reviews, policies and procedures designed to address risks to the Trust and the Fund. In addition, under the general oversight of the Board, Rafferty and other service providers to the Fund have themselves adopted a variety of policies, procedures and controls designed to address particular risks to the Fund. Different processes, procedures and controls are employed with respect to different types of risks.
The Board also oversees risk management for the Trust and the Fund through review of regular reports, presentations and other information from officers of the Trust and other persons. The Trust’s CCO and senior officers of Rafferty regularly report to the Board on a range of matters, including those relating to risk management. The Board also regularly receives reports from Rafferty and USBFS with respect to the Fund's investments. In addition to regular reports from these parties, the Board also receives reports regarding other service providers to the Trust, either directly or through Rafferty, USBFS or the CCO, on a periodic or regular basis. At least annually, the Board receives a report from the CCO regarding the effectiveness of the Fund's compliance program. Also, on an annual basis, the Board receives reports, presentations and other information from Rafferty in connection with the Board’s consideration of the renewal of each of the Trust’s agreements with Rafferty and the Trust’s distribution plan under Rule 12b-1 under the 1940 Act.
The CCO reports regularly to the Board on Fund valuation matters. The Audit Committee receives regular reports from the Trust’s independent registered public accounting firm on internal control and financial reporting matters. On at least a quarterly basis, the Independent Trustees meet with the CCO to discuss matters relating to the Fund's compliance program.
Board Structure and Related Matters
Independent Trustees constitute at least two-thirds of the Board. The Trustees discharge their responsibilities collectively as a Board, as well as through Board committees, each of which operates pursuant to a charter approved by the Board that delineates the specific responsibilities of that committee. The Board has established three standing committees: the Audit Committee, the Nominating and Governance Committee and the Qualified Legal Compliance Committee. For example, the Audit Committee is responsible for specific matters related to oversight of the Fund's independent auditors, subject to approval of the Audit Committee’s recommendations by the Board. The members and responsibilities of each Board committee are summarized below.
The Board periodically evaluates its structure and composition as well as various aspects of its operations. The Chairman of the Board is not an Independent Trustee and the Board has chosen not to have a lead Independent Trustee. However, the Board believes that its leadership structure, including its Independent Trustees and Board committees, is appropriate
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for the Trust in light of, among other factors, the asset size and nature of the Fund, the number of series overseen by the Board, the arrangements for the conduct of the Fund's operations, the number of Trustees, and the Board’s responsibilities. On an annual basis, the Board conducts a self-evaluation that considers, among other matters, whether the Board and its committees are functioning effectively and whether, given the size and composition of the Board and each of its committees, the Trustees are able to oversee effectively the number of series in the complex.
The Trust is part of the Direxion Family of Investment Companies, which is comprised of the [ ] portfolios within the Trust, [ ] portfolios within the Direxion Funds and no portfolios within the Direxion Insurance Trust. The same persons who constitute the Board also constitute the Board of Trustees of the Direxion Funds and the Direxion Insurance Trust.
The Board holds four regularly scheduled meetings each year. The Board may hold special meetings, as needed, to address matters arising between regular meetings. During a portion of each meeting, the Independent Trustees meet outside of management’s presence. The Independent Trustees may hold special meetings, as needed.
The Trustees of the Trust are identified in the tables below, which provide information regarding their age, business address and principal occupation during the past five years including any affiliation with Rafferty, the length of service to the Trust, and the position, if any, that they hold on the board of directors of companies other than the Trust as of the date of this SAI. Each of the Trustees of the Trust also serve on the Board of the Direxion Funds and Direxion Insurance Trust, the other registered investment companies in the Direxion mutual fund complex. Unless otherwise noted, an individual’s business address is 1301 Avenue of the Americas (6th Avenue), 28th Floor, New York, New York 10019.
Interested Trustee
Name, Address
and Age
Position(s)
Held
with Fund
Term of
Office
and Length
of Time
Served
Principal
Occupation(s)
During
Past Five Years
# of
Portfolios
in Direxion
Family of
Investment
Companies
Overseen
by Trustee(2)
Other
Trusteeships/
Directorships
Held by Trustee
During Past Five
Years
Daniel D. O’Neill(1)
Age: 53
Chairman of the
Board of Trustees
Lifetime of Trust
until removal or
resignation;
Since 2008
Chief Executive
Officer, Rafferty
Asset
Management,
LLC, since 2021;
Managing
Director, Rafferty
Asset
Management,
LLC, January 1999
January 2019.
[ ]
None.
Independent Trustees
Name, Address
and Age
Position(s)
Held
with Fund
Term of
Office
and Length
of Time
Served
Principal
Occupation(s)
During