485BPOS 1 e502675_485bpos.htm 485BPOS

 

As filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on September 13, 2018

Securities Act File No. 333-183173
Investment Company Act File No. 811-22733

 

 

 

United States Securities and Exchange Commission

Washington, D.C. 20549

 

 

 

FORM N-1A

 

 

 

  Registration Statement Under the Securities Act of 1933 x
  Pre-Effective Amendment No. ¨
  Post-Effective Amendment No. 20 x
     
  and/or  
     
  Registration Statement Under the Investment Company Act of 1940 x
  Amendment No. 23 x

 

 

 

John Hancock Exchange-Traded Fund Trust

(Exact Name of Registrant as Specified in its Charter)

 

 

 

601 Congress Street
Boston, MA 02210-2805
(Address of Principal Executive Offices)

 

Registrant’s Telephone Number, including area code:
(800) 225-5291

 

Name and address of agent for service:

Kinga Kapuscinski, Esq.

Nicholas J. Kolokithas, Esq.

John Hancock Advisers, LLC
601 Congress Street
Boston, MA 02210-2805

 

 

 

Copy to:
Christopher P. Harvey, Esq.
Allison M. Fumai, Esq.
Dechert LLP


One International Place, 40th Floor
100 Oliver Street
Boston, MA 02110-2605

 

 

 

Title of Securities Being Registered: Shares of beneficial interest ($0.00 par value) of John Hancock Multifactor Emerging Markets ETF, a series of the Registrant.

 

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

 

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

¨ immediately upon filing pursuant to paragraph (b) of Rule 485

x on September 14, 2018 pursuant to paragraph (b) of Rule 485

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

¨ on (date) pursuant to paragraph (a)(1) of Rule 485

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

¨ on (date) pursuant to paragraph (a)(2) of Rule 485

 

If appropriate, check the following box:
¨ this post-effective amendment designates a new effective date for a previously filed post-effective amendment.

 

This filing relates solely to John Hancock Multifactor Emerging Markets ETF. No information contained herein is intended to amend or supersede any prior filing relating to any other series of the Registrant.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

John Hancock
Multifactor Emerging Markets ETF

 

Prospectus 9/14/18

ETF

NYSE Arca:

JHEM





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


 

Table of Contents

Fund summary

The summary section is a concise look at the investment objective, fees and expenses, principal investment strategies, principal risks, past performance, and investment management.

John Hancock Multifactor Emerging Markets ETF

1


Fund details

More about topics covered in the summary section, including descriptions of the investment strategies and various risk factors that investors should understand before investing.

Principal investment strategies

5

Additional investment strategies

5

Principal risks of investing

5

Additional risks of investing

9

Tax-advantaged product structure

10

Who's who

10

Financial highlights

13


Shareholder information

Details regarding buying and selling shares, as well as information about distributions, taxation, and other matters relating to an investment in the fund.

Buying and selling shares

14

Payment to broker-dealers and other financial intermediaries

14

Valuation of fund shares

14

Valuation of portfolio securities

15

Distributions

15

Book entry

16

Creations and redemptions

16

Taxation

16


Index, index provider, and calculation agent

Information on who constructs the index that the fund seeks to replicate.

Index, index provider, and calculation agent

19

Index disclaimers

19


Other information

Additional information regarding the market price and net asset value of the fund, as well as information relating to the continuous offering of the fund's shares.

Premium/discount information

20

Continuous offering

20

Intraday value

20

For more information 

See back cover


 

Fund summary

John Hancock Multifactor Emerging Markets ETF

INVESTMENT OBJECTIVE

To seek to provide investment results that closely correspond, before fees and expenses, to the performance of the John Hancock Dimensional Emerging Markets Index (the Index).

FEES AND EXPENSES

This table describes the fees and expenses you may pay if you buy and hold shares of the fund.

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

Management fee

0.60

Other expenses‌1

0.27

Total annual fund operating expenses

0.87

Contractual expense reimbursement‌2,3

–0.32

Total annual fund operating expenses after expense reimbursements

0.55

 

1 "Other expenses" have been estimated for the fund's first year of operations.

2 The advisor contractually agrees to waive a portion of its management fee and/or to reimburse expenses for the fund and certain other John Hancock funds according to an asset level breakpoint schedule that is based on the aggregate net assets of all the funds participating in the waiver or reimbursement. This waiver is allocated proportionally among the participating funds. This agreement expires on June 30, 2020, unless renewed by mutual agreement of the fund and the advisor based upon a determination that this is appropriate under the circumstances at that time.

3 The advisor contractually agrees to reduce its management fee or, if necessary, make payment to the fund in an amount equal to the amount by which expenses of the fund exceed 0.55% of average daily net assets. Expenses means all the expenses of the fund, excluding (a) taxes, (b) brokerage commissions, (c) interest expense, (d) litigation and indemnification expenses and other extraordinary expenses not incurred in the ordinary course of the fund's business, (e) borrowing costs, (f) prime brokerage fees, (g) acquired fund fees and expenses paid indirectly, and (h) short dividend expense. This agreement expires on August 31, 2020, unless renewed by mutual agreement of the fund and the advisor based upon a determination that this is appropriate under the circumstances at that time.

EXPENSE EXAMPLE

This example is intended to help you compare the cost of investing in the fund with the cost of investing in other funds. Please see below a hypothetical example showing the expenses of a $10,000 investment in the fund for the time periods indicated assuming you redeem all of your shares at the end of those periods. The example assumes a 5% average annual return and that fund expenses will not change over the periods. The example does not take into account brokerage commissions that you may pay on your purchases and sales of shares of the fund. Although your actual costs may be higher or lower, based on these assumptions, your costs would be:

Expenses ($)

1 year

56

3 years

246

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. Because the fund had not commenced operations as of the date of the fund's prospectus, there is no portfolio turnover to report.

PRINCIPAL INVESTMENT STRATEGIES

The fund normally invests at least 80% of its net assets (plus any borrowings for investment purposes) in securities included in the fund's Index, in depositary receipts representing securities included in the fund's Index, and in underlying stocks in respect of depositary receipts included in the fund's Index. The Index is designed to comprise a subset of securities of companies associated with emerging markets, which may include frontier markets (emerging markets in an earlier stage of development). Eligible companies are generally considered to be those with market capitalizations in the top 80% of an eligible country and the top 85% of all companies in eligible countries at the time of reconstitution. The selection and weighting of securities in the Index involves a rules-based process that may sometimes be referred to as multifactor investing, factor-based investing, strategic beta, or smart beta. With respect to each country, companies are classified according to their market capitalization, relative price, and profitability.

Weights for individual companies are determined by adjusting their free-float adjusted market capitalization weight within the universe of eligible companies so that companies with smaller market capitalizations, lower relative price and higher profitability generally receive an increased weight relative to their unadjusted weight, and vice versa.

This process can be summarized as follows:

Adjustments for market capitalization: Company weights are generally determined on a country specific basis and based primarily on market capitalization. Within each country, eligible companies are assigned into size groups, with the intent of increasing the weights of smaller companies within the eligible universe and

 

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decreasing weights of larger companies within the eligible universe. Companies in the smaller market capitalization group will have a larger size-adjustment factor applied to their free-float market capitalization. Companies in the larger market capitalization group will receive a lower size adjustment factor.

Adjustments for relative price and profitability: Adjustments for relative price and profitability may be implemented within each country. Within each country, companies (other than real estate investment trusts (REITs), or REIT-like entities) are assigned to a relative price group and to a profitability group. REITs and REIT-like entities are types of real estate companies that pool investors' funds for investment primarily in income producing real estate or real estate related loans or interests. REITs or REIT-like entities are generally assigned to separate relative price and profitability groups. Relative price adjustment factors are assigned with the intent of increasing the weights of companies with lower relative prices and decreasing the weights of companies with higher relative prices. Similarly, profitability adjustment factors are assigned with the intent of increasing the weights of companies with higher profitability and decreasing the weights of companies with lower profitability.

• Securities are then weighted after taking into account their free-float, size, relative price and profitability adjustments, subject to a cap of 4% on a single company at time of reconstitution. The weight of any single company engaged in a securities-related business will be reduced if such company's weight reaches or exceeds 4.75% between reconstitutions.

The Index is reconstituted and rebalanced on a semiannual basis. The fund, using an indexing investment approach, attempts to approximate the investment performance of the Index by investing in a portfolio of securities that generally replicates the Index. The fund may concentrate its investments in a particular country, region, industry or group of industries to the extent the Index concentrates in a country, region, industry or group of industries.

As of the date of the fund's prospectus, the following countries are currently designated as eligible countries: Brazil, Chile, China, Colombia, the Czech Republic, Egypt, Greece, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, the Philippines, Poland, Qatar, Russia, South Africa, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates. The list of designated eligible countries may vary over time. In addition, the fund may continue to hold investments in countries that are not currently designated as an eligible country, but had been authorized for investment in the past, and may reinvest distributions received in connection with such existing investments in such previously eligible country. The Index may include securities associated with an eligible country, such as: (a) securities of a company that is incorporated and domiciled within an eligible country and that has an issued security that trades on an eligible exchange in an eligible country; (b) securities of a company that derives significant revenues or profits from goods produced or sold, investments made, or services performed in an eligible country; (c) securities of a company that holds significant assets in an eligible country; (d) securities of companies in eligible countries in the form of depositary shares; or (e) securities that provide financial exposure to and derive their value from securities issued by a company in an eligible country. As a result, the value of the securities of such companies may reflect economic and market forces in such other countries or regions as well as in the eligible countries.

PRINCIPAL RISKS

An investment in the fund is not a bank deposit and is not insured or guaranteed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation or any other government agency. Many factors affect performance, and the fund's shares will fluctuate in price, meaning you could lose money.

During periods of heightened market volatility or reduced liquidity, governments, their agencies, or other regulatory bodies, both within the United States and abroad, may take steps to intervene. These actions, which could include legislative, regulatory, or economic initiatives, might have unforeseeable consequences and could adversely affect the fund's performance or otherwise constrain the fund's ability to achieve its investment objective.

The fund's main risks are listed below in alphabetical order. Before investing, be sure to read the additional descriptions of these risks beginning on page 5 of the prospectus.

Active trading market risk. Active trading markets for fund shares may not be developed or maintained by market makers or authorized participants. Market makers are not obligated to make a market in the fund's shares or to submit purchase or redemption orders for creation units.

Authorized participant concentration risk. To the extent that authorized participants are unable or otherwise unavailable to proceed with creation and/or redemption orders and no other authorized participant is able to create or redeem in their place, shares may trade at a discount to net asset value (NAV) and may face delisting.

Cybersecurity and operational risk. Cybersecurity breaches may allow an unauthorized party to gain access to fund assets, customer data, or proprietary information, or cause a fund or its service providers to suffer data corruption or lose operational functionality. Similar incidents affecting issuers of a fund's securities may negatively impact performance. Operational risk may arise from human error, error by third parties, communication errors, or technology failures, among other causes.

Economic and market events risk. Events in the U.S. and global financial markets, including actions taken by the U.S. Federal Reserve or foreign central banks to stimulate or stabilize economic growth, may at times result in unusually high market volatility, which could negatively impact performance. Reduced liquidity in credit and fixed-income markets could adversely affect issuers worldwide. Banks and financial services companies could suffer losses if interest rates rise or economic conditions deteriorate.

Emerging-market risk. The risks of investing in foreign securities are magnified in emerging markets. Emerging-market countries may experience higher inflation, interest rates, and unemployment and greater social, economic, and political uncertainties than more developed countries.

Equity securities risk. The price of equity securities may decline due to changes in a company's financial condition or overall market conditions.

 

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ETF trading risk. The market price of shares may include a bid-ask spread (the difference between the prices at which investors are willing to buy and sell shares), which may vary over time and may increase for various reasons, including decreased trading volume or reduced market liquidity.

Foreign securities risk. Less information may be publicly available regarding foreign issuers. Foreign securities may be subject to foreign taxes and may be more volatile than U.S. securities. Currency fluctuations and political and economic developments may adversely impact the value of foreign securities. The risks of investing in foreign securities are magnified in emerging markets. Depositary receipts are subject to most of the risks associated with investing in foreign securities directly because the value of a depositary receipt is dependent upon the market price of the underlying foreign equity security. Depositary receipts are also subject to liquidity risk.

Index risk. Because the fund is not "actively" managed, its performance could be lower than funds that may actively shift their portfolio assets to take advantage of market opportunities or to lessen the impact of a market decline or a decline in the value of one or more issuers. Errors in the construction or calculation of the Index may occur from time to time. Any such errors may not be identified and corrected for some period of time, which may have an adverse impact on the fund and its shareholders.

Industry or sector investing risk. The performance of a fund that focuses on a single industry or sector of the economy depends in large part on the performance of that industry or sector. As a result, the value of an investment may fluctuate more widely than it would in a fund that is diversified across industries or sectors.

Large company risk. Larger companies may grow more slowly than smaller companies or be slower to respond to business developments. Large-capitalization securities may underperform the market as a whole.

Liquidity risk. The extent (if at all) to which a security may be sold or a derivative position closed without negatively impacting its market value may be impaired by reduced market activity or participation, legal restrictions, or other economic and market impediments.

Premium/discount risk. The NAV of the fund and the value of your investment may fluctuate. Disruptions to creations and redemptions or the market price of the fund's holdings, the existence of extreme market volatility or potential lack of an active trading market for shares may result in shares trading at a significant premium or discount to NAV. If a shareholder purchases shares at a time when the market price is at a premium to the NAV or sells shares at a time when the market price is at a discount to the NAV, the shareholder may sustain losses. Given that the fund invests in foreign securities, shares may trade at a larger premium or discount to the NAV than shares of other ETFs.

Small and mid-sized company risk. Small and mid-sized companies are generally less established and may be more volatile than larger companies. Small and/or mid-capitalization securities may underperform the market as a whole.

Tracking error risk. The fund's portfolio composition and performance may vary substantially from that of the Index due to factors such as the fees and expenses of the fund, transaction costs, differences in accrual of dividends, delays in the fund's implementation of changes to the Index, pricing differences in the treatment of corporate actions, or the need to meet new or existing regulatory requirements (including in local markets). Tracking error risk may be heightened in volatile markets or under other unusual market conditions.

Trading issues risk. Trading in shares on NYSE Arca, Inc. (NYSE Arca) may be halted in certain circumstances. There can be no assurance that the requirements of NYSE Arca necessary to maintain the listing of the fund will continue to be met.

Value investment style risk. Value stocks, as a category, may underperform other segments of the market or the market as a whole and following a value-oriented investment strategy may cause the fund, at times, to underperform equity funds that employ a different investment style.

PAST PERFORMANCE

This section normally shows how the fund's total returns have varied from year to year, along with a broad-based market index for reference. Because the fund had not commenced operations as of the date of the fund's prospectus, there is no past performance to report.

INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT

Investment advisor John Hancock Advisers, LLC
Subadvisor Dimensional Fund Advisors LP

PORTFOLIO MANAGEMENT

 

Joseph Hohn
Portfolio Manager and Vice President
Managed the fund since inception

Joel Schneider
Senior Portfolio Manager and Vice President
Managed the fund since inception

Lukas Smart
Senior Portfolio Manager and Vice President
Managed the fund since inception

PURCHASE AND SALE OF FUND SHARES

The fund will issue and redeem shares at NAV only with authorized participants and only in a large specified number of shares, each called a "creation unit," or multiples thereof, in exchange for the deposit or delivery of a basket of securities (including any portion of such securities for which cash may be substituted). A creation unit of the fund consists of 100,000 shares. Except when aggregated in creation units, the shares are not redeemable securities of the fund.

 

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Individual shares of the fund may be purchased and sold only in secondary market transactions through brokers. Shares of the fund are listed and traded on the NYSE Arca. Because shares trade at market prices rather than NAV, shares of the fund may trade at a price greater than or less than NAV.

A "Business Day" with respect to the fund is each day the New York Stock Exchange, NYSE Arca and the Trust are open and includes any day that the fund is required to be open under Section 22(e) of the Investment Company Act. On any given Business Day, the fund expects to effect creation and redemption orders (delivered in proper form) as follows:

For creation orders:

Received, in proper form, no later than 4:00 p.m. Eastern time: Creation Units will be effected based on the NAV of shares of the fund as next determined and are generally expected to be delivered within two Business Days ("T+2").

Received, in proper form, after 4:00 p.m. Eastern time: Will be deemed received on the next Business Day.

For redemption orders:

Received, in proper form, no later than 4:00 p.m. Eastern time: Redemption proceeds will be effected based on the NAV of shares of the fund as next determined and are generally expected to be delivered within three Business Days ("T+3"), but such delivery may be delayed due to the schedule of holidays and other reasons in certain foreign jurisdictions.

Received, in proper form, after 4:00 p.m. Eastern time: Will be deemed received on the next Business Day.

Additional information about the creation and redemption process, including the process for non-standard orders and orders outside the clearing process, is set forth in the fund's Statement of Additional Information (SAI).

TAXES

The fund's distributions are taxable, and will be taxed as ordinary income and/or capital gains, unless you are investing through a tax-deferred arrangement, such as a 401(k) plan or individual retirement account. Withdrawals from such tax-deferred arrangements may be subject to tax at a later date.

PAYMENTS TO BROKER-DEALERS AND OTHER FINANCIAL INTERMEDIARIES

The advisor and its related companies may pay broker-dealers or other financial intermediaries (such as a bank) for the sale of the fund shares and related services. These payments may create a conflict of interest by influencing your broker-dealer or other intermediary or its employees or associated persons to recommend the fund over another investment. Ask your financial advisor or visit your financial intermediary's website for more information.

 

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Fund details

Principal investment strategies

The Board of Trustees can change the fund's investment objective and strategy without shareholder approval. The fund will provide written notice to shareholders at least 60 days prior to a change in its 80% investment policy.

The fund normally invests at least 80% of its net assets (plus any borrowings for investment purposes) in securities included in the fund's Index, in depositary receipts representing securities included in the fund's Index, and in underlying stocks in respect of depositary receipts included in the fund's Index. The manager anticipates that, generally, the fund will hold all of the securities that compose the Index in proportion to their weightings in the Index. However, under various circumstances, it may not be possible or practicable to purchase all of those securities in those weightings. In these circumstances, the fund may purchase a sample of securities in the Index. There also may be instances in which the manager may choose to underweight or overweight a security in the Index, purchase securities not in the Index that the manager believes are appropriate to substitute for certain securities in the Index, or utilize various combinations of other available investment techniques. The fund may sell securities that are represented in the Index in anticipation of their removal from the Index or purchase securities not represented in the Index in anticipation of their addition to the Index. The fund may also, in order to comply with the tax diversification requirements of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (Code), temporarily invest in securities not included in the Index that are expected to be correlated with the securities included in the Index.

Given the fund's investment objective of attempting to track the Index, the fund does not follow traditional methods of active investment management, which may involve buying and selling securities based upon analysis of economic and market factors. Also, unlike many investment companies, the fund does not attempt to outperform the Index that it tracks and does not seek temporary defensive positions when markets decline or appear overvalued.

The fund may concentrate its investments in a particular industry or group of industries to the extent that the Index concentrates in an industry or group of industries.

Additional investment strategies

Derivatives and other investments

The fund may also invest up to 20% of its assets in securities and other instruments not included in the Index but that the manager believes are correlated to the Index, as well as in, among other instruments, futures, options on futures, and other derivatives to obtain efficient market exposure, and cash, cash equivalents, and money market instruments. The fund may also invest, to the extent permitted by the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended (Investment Company Act), in other affiliated and unaffiliated funds, such as open-end or closed-end management investment companies, including other exchange-traded funds (ETFs).

Securities lending

The fund may lend its securities so long as such loans do not represent more than 33⅓% of the fund's total assets. The borrower will provide collateral to the lending portfolio so that the value of the loaned security will be fully collateralized. The collateral may consist of cash, cash equivalents, or securities issued or guaranteed by the U.S. government or its agencies or instrumentalities. The borrower must also agree to increase the collateral if the value of the loaned securities increases. As with other extensions of credit, there are risks of delay in recovery or even loss of rights in the collateral should the borrower of the securities fail financially. The fund could also lose money if investments made with cash collateral decline in value.

Principal risks of investing

Instability in the financial markets has led many governments, including the U.S. government, to take a number of unprecedented actions designed to support certain financial institutions and segments of the financial markets that have experienced extreme volatility and, in some cases, a lack of liquidity. Federal, state, and other governments, and their regulatory agencies or self-regulatory organizations, may take actions that affect the regulation of the instruments in which the fund invests, or the issuers of such instruments, in ways that are unforeseeable. Legislation or regulation may also change the way in which the fund itself is regulated. Such legislation or regulation could limit or preclude the fund's ability to achieve its investment objective. In addition, political events within the United States and abroad could negatively impact financial markets and the fund's performance.

Governments or their agencies may also acquire distressed assets from financial institutions and acquire ownership interests in those institutions. The implications of government ownership and disposition of these assets are unclear, and such a program may have positive or negative effects on the liquidity, valuation, and performance of the fund's portfolio holdings. Furthermore, volatile financial markets can expose the fund to greater market and liquidity risk and potential difficulty in valuing portfolio instruments held by the fund.

Below are descriptions of the main factors that may play a role in shaping the fund's overall risk profile. The descriptions appear in alphabetical order, not in order of importance. For further details about fund risks, including additional risk factors that are not discussed in this prospectus because they are not considered primary factors, see the fund's SAI.

Active trading market risk

While the fund's shares are listed on NYSE Arca, there can be no assurance that active trading markets for the shares will develop or be maintained by market makers or authorized participants, and there are no obligations of market makers to make a market in the fund's shares or to submit purchase or redemption orders for creation units. Although market makers will generally take advantage of differences between the NAV and the trading price of fund shares through arbitrage opportunities, there is no guarantee that they will do so. Decisions by market makers or authorized participants to reduce their role with respect to market making or creation/redemption activities in times of market stress could inhibit the effectiveness of the arbitrage process in maintaining the relationship between the underlying value of the fund's portfolio securities and the fund's market price. This reduced effectiveness could result in shares trading at a discount to NAV and also in greater than normal intraday bid-ask spreads for shares.

Authorized participant concentration risk

Only an authorized participant may engage in creation or redemption transactions directly with the fund. The fund has a limited number of intermediaries that act as authorized participants. To the extent that these intermediaries exit the business or are unable to proceed with creation and/or redemption orders with respect to the fund and no other authorized participant is able to create or redeem in their place, shares may trade at a discount to NAV

 

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and may face delisting. The authorized participant concentration risk may be heightened because authorized participants may be required to post collateral, which only certain authorized participants may be able to do. To the extent that authorized participants exit the business or are unable to process creations or redemptions or similar activities, this may result in a significantly diminished trading market for fund shares.

Cybersecurity and operational risk

Intentional cybersecurity breaches include unauthorized access to systems, networks, or devices (such as through "hacking" activity); infection from computer viruses or other malicious software code; and attacks that shut down, disable, slow, or otherwise disrupt operations, business processes, or website access or functionality. In addition, unintentional incidents can occur, such as the inadvertent release of confidential information (possibly resulting in the violation of applicable privacy laws).

A cybersecurity breach could result in the loss or theft of customer data or funds, the inability 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 costs associated with system repairs. Such incidents could cause a fund, the advisor, a manager, or other service providers to incur regulatory penalties, reputational damage, additional compliance costs, litigation costs or financial loss. In addition, such incidents could affect issuers in which a fund invests, and thereby cause the fund's investments to lose value.

Cyber-events have the potential to affect materially the fund and the advisor's relationships with accounts, shareholders, clients, customers, employees, products, and service providers. The fund has established risk management systems reasonably designed to seek to reduce the risks associated with cyber-events. There is no guarantee that the fund will be able to prevent or mitigate the impact of all cyber-events.

The fund is exposed to operational risk arising from a number of factors, including, but not limited to, human error, processing and communication errors, errors of the fund's service providers, counterparties, or other third parties, failed or inadequate processes and technology or system failures.

Economic and market events risk

Events in certain sectors historically have resulted, and may in the future result, in an unusually high degree of volatility in the financial markets, both domestic and foreign. These events have included, but are not limited to: bankruptcies, corporate restructurings, and other events related to the sub-prime mortgage crisis in 2008; governmental efforts to limit short selling and high frequency trading; measures to address U.S. federal and state budget deficits; social, political, and economic instability in Europe; economic stimulus by the Japanese central bank; steep declines in oil prices; dramatic changes in currency exchange rates; and China's economic slowdown. Interconnected global economies and financial markets increase the possibility that conditions in one country or region might adversely impact issuers in a different country or region. Both domestic and foreign equity markets have experienced increased volatility and turmoil, with issuers that have exposure to the real estate, mortgage, and credit markets particularly affected. Banks and financial services companies could suffer losses if interest rates continue to rise or economic conditions deteriorate.

In addition, relatively high market volatility and reduced liquidity in credit and fixed-income markets may adversely affect many issuers worldwide. Actions taken by the U.S. Federal Reserve (Fed) or foreign central banks to stimulate or stabilize economic growth, such as interventions in currency markets, could cause high volatility in the equity and fixed-income markets. Reduced liquidity may result in less money being available to purchase raw materials, goods, and services from emerging markets, which may, in turn, bring down the prices of these economic staples. It may also result in emerging-market issuers having more difficulty obtaining financing, which may, in turn, cause a decline in their securities prices.

In addition, while interest rates have been unusually low in recent years in the United States and abroad, any decision by the Fed to adjust the target fed funds rate, among other factors, could cause markets to experience continuing high volatility. A significant increase in interest rates may cause a decline in the market for equity securities. Also, regulators have expressed concern that rate increases may contribute to price volatility. These events and the possible resulting market volatility may have an adverse effect on the fund.

Political turmoil within the United States and abroad may also impact the fund. Although the U.S. government has honored its credit obligations, it remains possible that the United States could default on its obligations. While it is impossible to predict the consequences of such an unprecedented event, it is likely that a default by the United States would be highly disruptive to the U.S. and global securities markets and could significantly impair the value of the fund's investments. Similarly, political events within the United States at times have resulted, and may in the future result, in a shutdown of government services, which could negatively affect the U.S. economy, decrease the value of many fund investments, and increase uncertainty in or impair the operation of the U.S. or other securities markets. The U.S. is also considering significant new investments in infrastructure and national defense which, coupled with lower federal taxes, could lead to increased government borrowing and higher interest rates. While these proposed policies are going through the political process, the equity and debt markets may react strongly to expectations, which could increase volatility, especially if the market's expectations for changes in government policies are not borne out.

Uncertainties surrounding the sovereign debt of a number of European Union (EU) countries and the viability of the EU have disrupted and may in the future disrupt markets in the United States and around the world. If one or more countries leave the EU or the EU dissolves, the world's securities markets likely will be significantly disrupted. In June 2016, the United Kingdom approved a referendum to leave the EU, commonly referred to as "Brexit." There is significant market uncertainty regarding Brexit's ramifications, and the range and potential implications of possible political, regulatory, economic, and market outcomes are difficult to predict. Political and military events, including in North Korea, Venezuela, Syria, and other areas of the Middle East, and nationalist unrest in Europe, also may cause market disruptions.

In addition, there is a risk that the prices of goods and services in the United States and many foreign economies may decline over time, known as deflation. Deflation may have an adverse effect on stock prices and creditworthiness and may make defaults on debt more likely. If a country's economy slips into a deflationary pattern, it could last for a prolonged period and may be difficult to reverse.

Equity securities risk

Common and preferred stocks represent equity ownership in a company. Stock markets are volatile. The price of equity securities will fluctuate, and can decline

 

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and reduce the value of a fund investing in equities. The price of equity securities fluctuates based on changes in a company's financial condition and overall market and economic conditions. The value of equity securities purchased by a fund could decline if the financial condition of the companies in which the fund is invested declines, or if overall market and economic conditions deteriorate. An issuer's financial condition could decline as a result of poor management decisions, competitive pressures, technological obsolescence, undue reliance on suppliers, labor issues, shortages, corporate restructurings, fraudulent disclosures, or other factors. Changes in the financial condition of a single issuer can impact the market as a whole.

Even a fund that invests in high-quality, or blue chip, equity securities, or securities of established companies with large market capitalizations (which generally have strong financial characteristics), can be negatively impacted by poor overall market and economic conditions. Companies with large market capitalizations may also have less growth potential than smaller companies and may be less able to react quickly to changes in the marketplace.

The fund may maintain substantial exposure to equities and generally does not attempt to time the market. Because of this exposure, the possibility that stock market prices in general will decline over short or extended periods subjects the fund to unpredictable declines in the value of its investments, as well as periods of poor performance.

ETF trading risk

The market price of shares, like other exchange-traded securities, may include a "bid-ask spread" (the difference between the price at which investors are willing to buy shares and the price at which investors are willing to sell shares). The bid-ask spread may vary over time based on the fund's trading volume and market liquidity and may increase as a result of a decrease in the fund's trading volume, the spread of the fund's underlying securities, or reduced market liquidity. The bid-ask spread may increase significantly in times of market disruption, meaning that shares may trade at a discount to the fund's NAV. Such discount is likely to be greatest during significant market volatility. In stressed market conditions, the market for a fund's shares may become less liquid in response to deteriorating liquidity in the markets for the fund's underlying portfolio holdings. This in turn could lead to differences between the market price of the fund's shares and the underlying value of those shares.

Shares of the fund, similar to shares of other publicly-traded securities, may be sold short and are therefore subject to the risk of increased volatility and price decreases associated with being sold short.

The fund's underlying securities may be traded in markets that close at a different time than the NYSE Arca. Liquidity in those securities may be reduced after the applicable closing times. Accordingly, during the time when the NYSE Arca is open but after the applicable market closing, fixing or settlement times, bid-ask spreads on the NYSE Arca and the corresponding premium or discount to the shares' NAV may widen.

Foreign securities risk

Funds that invest in securities traded principally in securities markets outside the United States are subject to additional and more varied risks, as the value of foreign securities may change more rapidly and extremely than the value of U.S. securities. Less information may be publicly available regarding foreign issuers. Foreign securities may be subject to foreign taxes and may be more volatile than U.S. securities. Currency fluctuations and political and economic developments may adversely impact the value of foreign securities. The securities markets of many foreign countries are relatively small, with a limited number of companies representing a small number of industries. Additionally, issuers of foreign securities may not be subject to the same degree of regulation as U.S. issuers. Reporting, accounting, and auditing standards of foreign countries differ, in some cases significantly, from U.S. standards. There are generally higher commission rates on foreign portfolio transactions, transfer taxes, higher custodial costs, and the possibility that foreign taxes will be charged on dividends and interest payable on foreign securities, some or all of which may not be reclaimable. Also, adverse changes in investment or exchange control regulations (which may include suspension of the ability to transfer currency or assets from a country); political changes; or diplomatic developments could adversely affect a fund's investments. In the event of nationalization, expropriation, confiscatory taxation, or other confiscation, the fund could lose a substantial portion of, or its entire investment in, a foreign security. Some of the foreign securities risks are also applicable to funds that invest a material portion of their assets in securities of foreign issuers traded in the United States.

Depositary receipts are subject to most of the risks associated with investing in foreign securities directly because the value of a depositary receipt is dependent upon the market price of the underlying foreign equity security. Depositary receipts are also subject to liquidity risk.

Currency risk. Currency risk is the risk that fluctuations in exchange rates may adversely affect the U.S. dollar value of a fund's investments. Currency risk includes both the risk that currencies in which a fund's investments are traded, or currencies in which a fund has taken an active investment position, will decline in value relative to the U.S. dollar and, in the case of hedging positions, that the U.S. dollar will decline in value relative to the currency being hedged. Currency rates in foreign countries may fluctuate significantly for a number of reasons, including the forces of supply and demand in the foreign exchange markets, actual or perceived changes in interest rates, intervention (or the failure to intervene) by U.S. or foreign governments or central banks, or currency controls or political developments in the United States or abroad. Certain funds may engage in proxy hedging of currencies by entering into derivative transactions with respect to a currency whose value is expected to correlate to the value of a currency the fund owns or wants to own. This presents the risk that the two currencies may not move in relation to one another as expected. In that case, the fund could lose money on its investment and also lose money on the position designed to act as a proxy hedge. Certain funds may also take active currency positions and may cross-hedge currency exposure represented by their securities into another foreign currency. This may result in a fund's currency exposure being substantially different than that suggested by its securities investments. All funds with foreign currency holdings and/or that invest or trade in securities denominated in foreign currencies or related derivative instruments may be adversely affected by changes in foreign currency exchange rates. Derivative foreign currency transactions (such as futures, forwards, and swaps) may also involve leveraging risk, in addition to currency risk. Leverage may disproportionately increase a fund's portfolio losses and reduce opportunities for gain when interest rates, stock prices, or currency rates are changing.

Emerging-market risk. Investments in the securities of issuers based in countries with emerging-market economies are subject to greater levels of foreign investment risk than investments in more-developed foreign markets, since emerging-market securities may present market, credit, currency,

 

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liquidity, legal, political, and other risks greater than, or in addition to, the risks of investing in developed foreign countries. These risks include high currency exchange-rate fluctuations; increased risk of default (including both government and private issuers); greater social, economic, and political uncertainty and instability (including the risk of war); more substantial governmental involvement in the economy; less governmental supervision and regulation of the securities markets and participants in those markets; controls on foreign investment and limitations on repatriation of invested capital and on a fund's ability to exchange local currencies for U.S. dollars; unavailability of currency hedging techniques in certain emerging-market countries; the fact that companies in emerging-market countries may be newly organized, smaller, and less seasoned; the difference in, or lack of, auditing and financial reporting standards, which may result in the unavailability of material information about issuers; 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; difficulties in obtaining and/or enforcing legal judgments in foreign jurisdictions; and significantly smaller market capitalizations of emerging-market issuers.

Index risk

The fund will be negatively affected by general declines in the securities and asset classes represented in the Index. In addition, because the fund is not "actively" managed, unless a specific security is removed from the Index, the fund generally would not sell a security because the security's issuer was in financial trouble. Market disruptions and regulatory restrictions could have an adverse effect on the fund's ability to adjust its exposure to the required levels in order to track the Index. The fund also does not attempt to take defensive positions under any market conditions, including declining markets. Therefore, the fund's performance could be lower than funds that may actively shift their portfolio assets to take advantage of market opportunities or to lessen the impact of a market decline or a decline in the value of one or more issuers. The Index is new and has a limited performance history. The Index is constructed and maintained using third party data that is believed to be reliable, but there is no guarantee of the accuracy or availability of such third party data. In addition, the market value of the Index is calculated by a third party, and there is no guarantee that such calculation will be accurate. Errors in the construction or calculation of the market value of the Index may occur from time to time. Any such errors may not be identified and corrected for some period of time. These errors and corrections may have an adverse impact on the fund and its shareholders, including in the form of increased costs and/or tracking error. In addition, neither the fund, the index provider, nor the advisor can guarantee the availability or timeliness of the production of the Index.

Industry or sector investing risk

When a fund's investments are concentrated in a particular industry or sector of the economy, they are not as diversified as the investments of most funds and are far less diversified than the broad securities markets. This means that concentrated funds tend to be more volatile than other funds, and the values of their investments tend to go up and down more rapidly. In addition, a fund that invests in a particular industry or sector is particularly susceptible to the impact of market, economic, regulatory, and other factors affecting that industry or sector. From time to time, a small number of companies may represent a large portion of a single industry or a group of related industries as a whole.

Large company risk

Larger, more established companies may be unable to respond quickly to new competitive challenges such as changes in technology and consumer tastes. Many larger companies also may not be able to attain the high growth rate of successful smaller companies, especially during extended periods of economic expansion. For purposes of the fund's investment policies, the market capitalization of a company is based on its capitalization at the time the fund purchases the company's securities. Market capitalizations of companies change over time. The fund is not obligated to sell a company's security simply because, subsequent to its purchase, the company's market capitalization has changed to be outside the capitalization range, if any, in effect for the fund.

Liquidity risk

The extent (if at all) to which a security may be sold or a derivative position closed without negatively impacting its market value may be impaired by reduced market activity or participation, legal restrictions, or other economic and market impediments. Funds with principal investment strategies that involve investments in securities of companies with smaller market capitalizations, foreign securities, derivatives, or securities with substantial market and/or credit risk tend to have the greatest exposure to liquidity risk. Exposure to liquidity risk may be heightened for funds that invest in securities of emerging markets and related derivatives that are not widely traded, and that may be subject to purchase and sale restrictions.

Premium/discount risk

The NAV of the fund and the value of your investment will fluctuate. Disruptions to creations and redemptions or the market price of the fund's holdings, the existence of extreme market volatility or potential lack of an active trading market for shares may result in shares trading at a significant premium or discount to NAV and/or in a reduced liquidity of your investment. If a shareholder purchases shares at a time when the market price is at a premium to the NAV or sells shares at a time when the market price is at a discount to the NAV, the shareholder may sustain losses. The advisor cannot predict whether shares will trade below, at or above their NAV. Price differences may be due, in large part, to the fact that supply and demand forces at work in the secondary trading market for shares will be closely related to, but not identical to, the same forces influencing the prices of the securities of the fund's Index trading individually or in the aggregate at any point in time. While the creation/redemption feature is designed to make it more likely that the fund's shares normally will trade on stock exchanges at prices close to the fund's next calculated NAV, exchange prices are not expected to correlate exactly with the fund's NAV due to timing reasons, supply and demand imbalances and other factors. In addition, disruptions to creations and redemptions, including disruptions at market makers, authorized participants or market participants, or during periods of significant market volatility, may result in trading prices for shares of a fund that differ significantly from its NAV. Any of these factors may lead to the shares trading at a premium or discount to the fund's NAV. Although market makers will generally take advantage of differences between the NAV and the trading price of fund shares through arbitrage opportunities, there is no guarantee that they will do so. Given that the fund invests in foreign securities, shares may trade at a larger premium or discount to the NAV than shares of other ETFs.

During periods of volatility, a shareholder may be unable to sell his or her shares or may incur significant losses if he or she sells shares. There are various

 

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methods by which investors can purchase and sell shares and various orders that may be placed. Investors should consult their financial intermediary before purchasing or selling shares of the fund.

Small and mid-sized company risk

Market risk and liquidity risk may be pronounced for securities of companies with medium-sized market capitalizations and are particularly pronounced for securities of companies with smaller market capitalizations. These companies may have limited product lines, markets, or financial resources, or they may depend on a few key employees. The securities of companies with medium and smaller market capitalizations may trade less frequently and in lesser volume than more widely held securities, and their value may fluctuate more sharply than those securities. They may also trade in the OTC market or on a regional exchange, or may otherwise have limited liquidity. Investments in less-seasoned companies with medium and smaller market capitalizations may not only present greater opportunities for growth and capital appreciation, but also involve greater risks than are customarily associated with more established companies with larger market capitalizations. These risks apply to all funds that invest in the securities of companies with smaller- or medium-sized market capitalizations. For purposes of the fund's investment policies, the market capitalization of a company is based on its capitalization at the time the fund purchases the company's securities. Market capitalizations of companies change over time. The fund is not obligated to sell a company's security simply because, subsequent to its purchase, the company's market capitalization has changed to be outside the capitalization range, if any, in effect for the fund.

Tracking error risk

Tracking error is the divergence of the fund's performance from that of the Index. The fund's portfolio composition and performance may not match, and may vary substantially from, that of the Index for any period of time, in part because there may be a delay in the fund's implementation of any changes to the composition of the Index. Tracking error may also occur because of pricing differences, transaction costs, differences in accrual of dividends, differences in the treatment of corporate actions, or the need to meet new or existing regulatory requirements (including in local markets) or NYSE Arca listing standards. Unlike the fund, the returns of the Index are not reduced by investment and other operating expenses, including the trading costs associated with implementing changes to its portfolio of investments. Tracking error risk may be heightened during times of market volatility or other unusual market conditions. Because the Index is not subject to the tax diversification requirements to which the fund must adhere, the fund may be required to deviate its investments from the securities and relative weightings of the Index. For tax efficiency purposes, the fund may sell certain securities to realize losses, which will result in a deviation from the Index.

Trading issues risk

Trading in shares of the fund on NYSE Arca may be halted due to market conditions or for reasons that, in the view of NYSE Arca, make trading in shares inadvisable. In addition, trading in shares on NYSE Arca is subject to trading halts caused by extraordinary market volatility pursuant to NYSE Arca's "circuit breaker" rules. If a trading halt or unanticipated early closing of NYSE Arca occurs, a shareholder may be unable to purchase or sell shares of the fund. There can be no assurance that the requirements of NYSE Arca necessary to maintain the listing of the fund will continue to be met or will remain unchanged.

Value investment style risk

Value stocks, as a category, may underperform other segments of the market or the market as a whole and following a value-oriented investment strategy may cause the fund, at times, to underperform equity funds that employ a different investment style.

Additional risks of investing

Derivatives and other strategic transactions risk

The fund may, to a limited extent, invest in derivatives and other strategic transactions. The ability of a fund to utilize derivatives and other strategic transactions to benefit the fund will depend in part on its subadvisor's ability to predict pertinent market movements and market risk, counterparty risk, credit risk, interest-rate risk, and other risk factors, none of which can be assured. The skills required to utilize strategic transactions are different from those needed to select a fund's securities. Even if the subadvisor only uses strategic transactions in a fund primarily to gain exposure to a particular securities market, if the transaction does not have the desired outcome, it could result in a significant loss to a fund. The amount of loss could be more than the principal amount invested. These transactions may also increase the volatility of a fund and may involve a small investment of cash relative to the magnitude of the risks assumed, thereby magnifying the impact of any resulting gain or loss. For example, the potential loss from the use of futures can exceed a fund's initial investment in such contracts. In addition, these transactions could result in a loss to a fund if the counterparty to the transaction does not perform as promised.

A fund may invest in derivatives, which are financial contracts with a value that depends on, or is derived from, the value of underlying assets, reference rates, or indexes. Derivatives may relate to stocks, bonds, interest rates, currencies, or currency exchange rates, and related indexes. A fund may use derivatives for many purposes, including as a substitute for direct investment in securities or other assets. Derivatives may be used in a way to efficiently adjust the exposure of a fund to various securities, markets, and currencies without a fund actually having to sell existing investments and make new investments. This generally will be done when the adjustment is expected to be relatively temporary or in anticipation of effecting the sale of fund assets and making new investments over time. Further, since many derivatives have a leverage component, adverse changes in the value or level of the underlying asset, reference rate, or index can result in a loss substantially greater than the amount invested in the derivative itself. Certain derivatives have the potential for unlimited loss, regardless of the size of the initial investment. When a fund uses derivatives for leverage, investments in that fund will tend to be more volatile, resulting in larger gains or losses in response to market changes. To limit leverage risk, a fund may segregate assets determined to be liquid or, as permitted by applicable regulation, enter into certain offsetting positions to cover its obligations under derivative instruments. For a description of the various derivative instruments the fund may utilize, please refer to the SAI.

The regulation of the U.S. and non-U.S. derivatives markets has undergone substantial change in recent years and such change may continue. In particular, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, and regulation proposed to be promulgated thereunder require many derivatives to be cleared and traded on an exchange, expand entity registration requirements, impose business conduct requirements on dealers that enter into swaps with a

 

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pension plan, endowment, retirement plan or government entity, and required banks to move some derivatives trading units to a non-guaranteed affiliate separate from the deposit-taking bank or divest them altogether. Although the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has released final rules relating to clearing, reporting, recordkeeping and registration requirements under the legislation, many of the provisions are subject to further final rule making, and thus its ultimate impact remains unclear. New regulations could, among other things, restrict a fund's ability to engage in derivatives transactions (for example, by making certain types of derivatives transactions no longer available to the fund) and/or increase the costs of such derivatives transactions (for example, by increasing margin or capital requirements), and a fund might be unable to fully execute its investment strategies as a result. Limits or restrictions applicable to the counterparties with which a fund engages in derivative transactions also could prevent the fund from using these instruments or affect the pricing or other factors relating to these instruments, or may change the availability of certain investments.

At any time after the date of this prospectus, legislation may be enacted that could negatively affect the assets of a fund. Legislation or regulation may change the way in which a fund itself is regulated. The advisor cannot predict the effects of any new governmental regulation that may be implemented, and there can be no assurance that any new governmental regulation will not adversely affect a fund's ability to achieve its investment objectives.

The use of derivative instruments may involve risks different from, or potentially greater than, the risks associated with investing directly in securities and other, more traditional assets. In particular, the use of derivative instruments exposes a fund to the risk that the counterparty to an OTC derivatives contract will be unable or unwilling to make timely settlement payments or otherwise honor its obligations. If the counterparty defaults, the fund will have contractual remedies, but there is no assurance that the counterparty will meet its contractual obligations or that, in the event of default, the fund will succeed in enforcing them. To the extent a fund contracts with a limited number of counterparties, the fund's risk will be concentrated and events that affect the creditworthiness of any of those counterparties may have a pronounced effect on the fund. Derivatives are also subject to a number of other risks, including market risk and liquidity risk. Since the value of derivatives is calculated and derived from the value of other assets, instruments, or references, there is a risk that they will be improperly valued. Derivatives also involve the risk that changes in their value may not correlate perfectly with the assets, rates, or indexes they are designed to hedge or closely track. Suitable derivatives transactions may not be available in all circumstances. The fund is also subject to the risk that the counterparty closes out the derivatives transactions upon the occurrence of certain triggering events. In addition, a subadvisor may determine not to use derivatives to reduce risk exposure. Government legislation or regulation could affect the use of derivatives transactions and could limit a fund's ability to pursue its investment strategies.

A detailed discussion of various strategic transactions appears in the SAI. The following is a list of certain derivatives and other strategic transactions that the fund intends to utilize and the main risks associated with each of them:

Futures contracts. Counterparty risk, liquidity risk (i.e., the inability to enter into closing transactions), and risk of disproportionate loss are the principal risks of engaging in transactions involving futures contracts.

Options on futures. Counterparty risk, liquidity risk (i.e., the inability to enter into closing transactions), and risk of disproportionate loss are the principal risks of engaging in transactions involving options on futures. Counterparty risk does not apply to exchange-traded options.

Large shareholder risk

Certain accounts or advisor affiliates, including other funds advised by the advisor or third parties, may from time to time own (beneficially or of record) or control a substantial amount of the fund's shares, including through seed capital arrangements. Such shareholders may at times be considered to control the fund. Dispositions of a large number of shares by these shareholders may adversely affect the fund's liquidity and net assets to the extent such transactions are executed directly with the fund in the form of redemptions through an authorized participant (as defined in "Shareholder information—Buying and selling shares" on page 14 of this prospectus), rather than executed in the secondary market. These redemptions may also force the fund to sell securities, which may increase the fund's brokerage costs. To the extent these large shareholders transact in shares of the fund on the secondary market, such transactions may account for a large percentage of the trading volume on the exchange and may, therefore, have a material effect (upward or downward), on the market price of the fund's shares.

Tax-advantaged product structure

Unlike conventional mutual funds that are only bought and sold at closing NAVs, the shares of the fund have been designed to be created and redeemed principally in-kind in creation units at each day's market close at the fund's NAV and to be tradable in a secondary market on an intra-day basis. These in-kind arrangements are designed to mitigate adverse effects on the fund's portfolio that could arise from frequent cash purchase and redemption transactions that affect the NAV of the fund. Moreover, in contrast to conventional mutual funds, where frequent redemptions can have an adverse tax impact on taxable shareholders because of the need to sell portfolio securities that, in turn, may generate taxable gain, the in-kind redemption mechanism of the fund, to the extent used, generally is not expected to lead to a tax event for shareholders whose shares are not being redeemed. However, the fund may still realize gains related to either cash redemptions or re-balancing transactions which may need to be distributed.

Who's who

The following are the names of the various entities involved with the fund's investment and business operations, along with brief descriptions of the role each entity performs.

Board of Trustees

The trustees oversee the fund's business activities and retain the services of the various firms that carry out the fund's operations.

Investment advisor

The investment advisor manages the fund's business and investment activities.

John Hancock Advisers, LLC
601 Congress Street
Boston, MA 02210-2805

 

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Founded in 1968, the advisor is a wholly owned subsidiary of John Hancock Life Insurance Company (U.S.A.), which in turn is a subsidiary of Manulife Financial Corporation.

The advisor's parent company has been helping individuals and institutions work toward their financial goals since 1862. The advisor offers investment solutions managed by leading institutional money managers, taking a disciplined team approach to portfolio management and research, leveraging the expertise of seasoned investment professionals. As of June 30, 2018, the advisor had total assets under management of approximately $154.17 billion.

Subject to general oversight by the Board of Trustees, the advisor manages and supervises the investment operations and business affairs of the fund. The advisor selects, contracts with and compensates one or more subadvisors to manage all or a portion of the fund's portfolio assets, subject to oversight by the advisor. In this role, the advisor has supervisory responsibility for managing the investment and reinvestment of the fund's portfolio assets through proactive oversight and monitoring of the subadvisor and the fund, as described in further detail below. The advisor is responsible for developing overall investment strategies for the fund and overseeing and implementing the fund's continuous investment programs and provides a variety of advisory oversight and investment research services. The advisor also provides management and transition services associated with certain fund events (e.g., strategy, portfolio manager or subadvisor changes) and coordinates and oversees services provided under other agreements.

The advisor has ultimate responsibility to oversee a subadvisor and recommend to the Board of Trustees its hiring, termination, and replacement. In this capacity, the advisor, among other things: (i) monitors on a daily basis the compliance of the subadvisor with the investment objectives and related policies of the fund; (ii) monitors significant changes that may impact the subadvisor's overall business and regularly performs due diligence reviews of the subadvisor; (iii) reviews the performance of the subadvisor; and (iv) reports periodically on such performance to the Board of Trustees. The advisor employs a team of investment professionals who provide these ongoing research and monitoring services.

The fund relies on an order from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) permitting the advisor, subject to approval by the Board of Trustees, to appoint a subadvisor or change the terms of a subadvisory agreement without obtaining shareholder approval. The fund, therefore, is able to change subadvisors or the fees paid to a subadvisor, from time to time, without the expense and delays associated with obtaining shareholder approval of the change. This order does not, however, permit the advisor to appoint a subadvisor that is an affiliate of the advisor or the fund (other than by reason of serving as a subadvisor to the fund), or to increase the subadvisory fee of an affiliated subadvisor, without the approval of the shareholders.

Management fee

The fund pays the advisor a management fee for its services to the fund. The advisor in turn pays the fees of the subadvisor. The management fee is stated as an annual percentage of the aggregate net assets of the fund (together with the assets of any other applicable fund identified in the advisory agreement) determined in accordance with the following schedule, and that rate is applied to the average daily net assets of the fund.

Average daily net assets ($)

Annual rate (%)

First 500 million

0.600

Next 500 million

0.525

Excess over 1 billion

0.500

The basis for the Board of Trustees' approval of the advisory fees, and of the investment advisory agreement overall, including the subadvisory agreement, will be discussed in the fund's first shareholder report.

Additional information about fund expenses

The fund's annual operating expenses will likely vary throughout the period and from year to year. The fund's expenses for the current fiscal year may be higher than the expenses listed in the fund's Annual fund operating expenses table, for some of the following reasons: (i) a significant decrease in average net assets may result in a higher advisory fee rate if advisory fee breakpoints are not achieved; (ii) a significant decrease in average net assets may result in an increase in the expense ratio because certain fund expenses do not decrease as asset levels decrease; or (iii) fees may be incurred for extraordinary events such as fund tax expenses.

As described in "Fund summary - Fees and expenses" on page 1 of this prospectus, the advisor has contractually agreed to waive a portion of its management fee and/or reimburse expenses for certain funds of the John Hancock funds complex, including the fund (the participating portfolios). The waiver equals, on an annualized basis, 0.0100% of that portion of the aggregate net assets of all the participating portfolios that exceeds $75 billion but is less than or equal to $125 billion; 0.0125% of that portion of the aggregate net assets of all the participating portfolios that exceeds $125 billion but is less than or equal to $150 billion; 0.0150% of that portion of the aggregate net assets of all the participating portfolios that exceeds $150 billion but is less than or equal to $175 billion; 0.0175% of that portion of the aggregate net assets of all the participating portfolios that exceeds $175 billion but is less than or equal to $200 billion; 0.0200% of that portion of the aggregate net assets of all the participating portfolios that exceeds $200 billion but is less than or equal to $225 billion; and 0.0225% of that portion of the aggregate net assets of all the participating portfolios that exceeds $225 billion. The amount of the reimbursement is calculated daily and allocated among all the participating portfolios in proportion to the daily net assets of the fund. This agreement expires on June 30, 2020, unless renewed by mutual agreement of the fund and the advisor based upon a determination that this is appropriate under the circumstances at that time.

Subadvisor

The subadvisor handles the fund's portfolio management activities, subject to oversight by the advisor.

Dimensional Fund Advisors LP (Dimensional)
6300 Bee Cave Road, Building One
Austin, Texas 78746

Dimensional was organized in 1981 as Dimensional Fund Advisors, Inc., a Delaware corporation, and in 2006, it converted its legal name and organizational form to Dimensional Fund Advisors LP, a Delaware limited partnership. Dimensional is engaged in the business of providing investment management services. Since its organization, Dimensional has provided investment management services primarily to institutional investors and mutual

 

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funds. As of June 30, 2018, Dimensional and its advisory affiliates managed approximately $582 billion in assets under management.

The following are brief biographical profiles of the leaders of the fund's investment management team, in alphabetical order. These managers are jointly and primarily responsible for the day-to-day management of the fund's portfolio. Each manager is employed by Dimensional. For more details about these individuals, including information about their compensation, other accounts they manage, and any investments they may have in the fund, see the SAI.

Joseph Hohn

Portfolio Manager and Vice President

Managed the fund since inception

Portfolio Manager for Dimensional (since 2015)

Joined Dimensional in 2012

Joel Schneider

Senior Portfolio Manager and Vice President

Managed the fund since inception

Portfolio Manager for Dimensional (since 2013)

Joined Dimensional in 2011

Management Consultant for ZS Associates (2010)

Lukas Smart

Senior Portfolio Manager and Vice President

Managed the fund since inception

Portfolio Manager for Dimensional (since 2010)

Custodian

The custodian holds the fund's assets, settles all portfolio trades, and collects most of the valuation data required for calculating the fund's net asset value.

State Street Bank and Trust Company
State Street Financial Center
One Lincoln Street
Boston, MA 02111

Principal distributor

The principal distributor distributes creation units for the fund on an agency basis, does not maintain a secondary market in shares of the fund, and has no role in determining the investment policies of the fund or the securities that are purchased or sold by the fund. The distributor is not affiliated with the advisor, the subadvisor or any other service provider for the fund.

Foreside Fund Services, LLC
Three Canal Plaza, Suite 100
Portland, ME 04101

Transfer agent

The transfer agent handles shareholder services, including recordkeeping and statements, distribution of dividends, and processing of creation and redemption orders.

State Street Bank and Trust Company
State Street Financial Center
One Lincoln Street
Boston, MA 02111

Additional information

The fund has entered into contractual arrangements with various parties that provide services to the fund, which may include, among others, the advisor, subadvisor, custodian, principal distributor, and transfer agent, as described above and in the SAI. Fund shareholders are not parties to, or intended or "third-party" beneficiaries of, any of these contractual arrangements. These contractual arrangements are not intended to, nor do they, create in any individual shareholder or group of shareholders any right, either directly or on behalf of the fund, to either: (a) enforce such contracts against the service providers; or (b) seek any remedy under such contracts against the service providers.

This prospectus provides information concerning the fund that you should consider in determining whether to purchase shares of the fund. Each of this prospectus, the SAI, or any contract that is an exhibit to the fund's registration statement, is not intended to, nor does it, give rise to an agreement or contract between the fund and any investor. Each such document also does not give rise to any contract or create rights in any individual shareholder, group of shareholders, or other person. The foregoing disclosure should not be read to suggest any waiver of any rights conferred by federal or state securities laws.

 

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Financial highlights

This section normally details the financial performance of the fund. Because the fund had not yet commenced operations as of the date of this prospectus, there are no financial highlights to report.

 

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Shareholder information

Buying and selling shares

Shares of the fund may be acquired or redeemed directly from the fund only in creation units or multiples thereof, as discussed in the "Creations and redemptions" section of this prospectus. Only an authorized participant may engage in creation or redemption transactions directly with the fund. An authorized participant is either a "participating party" (i.e., a broker-dealer or other participant in the clearing process through the Continuous Net Settlement System of the National Securities Clearing Corporation) or a Depository Trust Company participant, in either case, who has executed an agreement with the distributor and transfer agent with respect to creations and redemptions of creation units. Once created, shares of the fund generally trade in the secondary market in amounts less than a creation unit.

Shares of the fund are listed for trading on a national securities exchange during the trading day. Shares can be bought and sold throughout the trading day like shares of other publicly traded companies. However, there can be no guarantee that an active trading market will develop or be maintained, or that the fund shares listing will continue or remain unchanged. The Trust does not impose any minimum investment for shares of a fund purchased on an exchange. Buying or selling the fund's shares involves certain costs that apply to all securities transactions. When buying or selling shares of the fund through a financial intermediary, you may incur a brokerage commission or other charges determined by your financial intermediary. Due to these brokerage costs, if any, frequent trading may detract significantly from investment returns. In addition, you may also incur the cost of the spread (the difference between the bid price and the ask price). The commission is frequently a fixed amount and may be a significant cost for investors seeking to buy or sell small amounts of shares. The spread varies over time for shares of the fund based on its trading volume and market liquidity, and is generally less if the fund has more trading volume and market liquidity and more if the fund has less trading volume and market liquidity.

The fund's primary listing exchange is NYSE Arca. NYSE Arca is open for trading Monday through Friday and is closed on the following holidays: New Year's Day, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Presidents' Day, Good Friday, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day.

A "Business Day" with respect to the fund is each day the New York Stock Exchange, NYSE Arca and the Trust are open and includes any day that the fund is required to be open under Section 22(e) of the Investment Company Act. Orders from authorized participants to create or redeem creation units will only be accepted on a Business Day. On days when NYSE Arca closes earlier than normal, the fund may require orders to create or redeem creation units to be placed earlier in the day. Please see the SAI for more information.

Section 12(d)(1) of the Investment Company Act restricts investments by registered investment companies and companies relying on Section 3(c)(1) or Section 3(c)(7) of the Investment Company Act in the securities of other investment companies.

The Board of Trustees has not adopted a policy of monitoring for frequent purchases and redemptions of fund shares ("frequent trading") that appear to attempt to take advantage of potential arbitrage opportunities presented by a lag between a change in the value of the fund's portfolio securities after the close of the primary markets for the fund's portfolio securities and the reflection of that change in the fund's NAV ("market timing"). The Trust believes this is appropriate because ETFs, such as the fund, are intended to be attractive to arbitrageurs, as trading activity is critical to ensuring that the market price of fund shares remains at or close to NAV. Since the fund issues and redeems creation units at NAV plus applicable transaction fees, and the fund's shares may be purchased and sold on NYSE Arca at prevailing market prices, the risks of frequent trading are limited. 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 set forth in an SEC exemptive order covering the Trust, including that such investment companies enter into an agreement with the Trust.

Rule 12b-1 fees

Rule 12b-1 fees may be paid to the fund's distributor and may be used by the distributor for expenses relating to the distribution of, and shareholder or administrative services for holders of, creation units, and for the payment of service fees that come within Rule 2341 of the Conduct Rules of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).

Because Rule 12b-1 fees may be paid out of the fund's assets on an ongoing basis, over time they may increase the cost of your investment and may cost shareholders more than other types of sales charges. Currently, no Rule 12b-1 fees are charged.

Your broker-dealer or agent may charge you a fee to effect transactions in creation units.

Payment to broker-dealers and other financial intermediaries

The advisor or its affiliates make payments to broker-dealers, registered investment advisers, banks or other intermediaries (together, "intermediaries") related to marketing activities and presentations, educational training programs, conferences, the development of technology platforms and reporting systems, or their making shares of the fund and certain other John Hancock funds available to their customers generally and in certain investment programs. Such payments, which may be significant to the intermediary, are not made by the fund. Rather, such payments are made by the advisor or its affiliates from their own resources, which come directly or indirectly in part from fees paid by the John Hancock funds complex. Payments of this type are sometimes referred to as revenue-sharing payments. A financial intermediary may make decisions about which investment options it recommends or makes available, or the level of services provided, to its customers based on the payments it is eligible to receive. Therefore, such payments to an intermediary create conflicts of interest between the intermediary and its customers and may cause the intermediary to recommend the fund or other John Hancock funds over another investment. More information regarding these payments is contained in the fund's SAI. Please contact your salesperson or other investment professional for more information regarding any such payments his or her firm may receive from the advisor or its affiliates.

Valuation of fund shares

The NAV for shares of the fund is normally determined once daily as of the close of regular trading on the NYSE (typically 4:00 P.M., Eastern time, on each Business Day that the NYSE is open). In case of emergency or other disruption resulting in the NYSE not opening for trading or the NYSE closing at a time other than the regularly scheduled close, the NAV may be determined as of the regularly scheduled close of the NYSE pursuant to the fund's Valuation Policies and Procedures. The time at which shares and transactions are priced and until

 

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which orders are accepted may vary to the extent permitted by the Securities and Exchange Commission and applicable regulations. On holidays or other days when the NYSE is closed, the NAV is not calculated and the fund does not transact purchase or redemption requests. Trading of securities that are primarily listed on foreign exchanges may take place on weekends and U.S. business holidays on which the fund's NAV is not calculated. Consequently, the fund's portfolio securities may trade and the NAV of the fund's shares may be significantly affected on days when a shareholder will not be able to purchase or redeem shares of the fund.

The NAV is computed by dividing the total assets of the fund, minus liabilities of the fund, by the number of fund shares outstanding. The current NAV of the fund is available on our website at jhinvestments.com/etf.

Valuation of portfolio securities

Portfolio securities are valued by various methods that are generally described below. Portfolio securities also may be fair valued by the fund's Pricing Committee in certain instances pursuant to procedures established by the Trustees. Equity securities are generally valued at the last sale price or, for certain markets, the official closing price as of the close of the relevant exchange. Securities not traded on a particular day are valued using last available bid prices. A security that is listed or traded on more than one exchange is typically valued at the price on the exchange where the security was acquired or most likely will be sold. In certain instances, the Pricing Committee may determine to value equity securities using prices obtained from another exchange or market if trading on the exchange or market on which prices are typically obtained did not open for trading as scheduled, or if trading closed earlier than scheduled, and trading occurred as normal on another exchange or market. Debt obligations are valued based on evaluated prices provided by an independent pricing vendor. The value of securities denominated in foreign currencies is converted into U.S. dollars at the exchange rate supplied by an independent pricing vendor, generally determined as of 4:00 p.m. London time. Exchange-traded options are valued at the mean of the most recent bid and ask prices. Futures contracts are typically valued at settlement prices. If settlement prices are not available, futures contracts may be valued using last traded prices. Shares of other open-end investment companies that are not ETFs (underlying funds) are valued based on the NAVs of such underlying funds.

Pricing vendors may use matrix pricing or valuation models that utilize certain inputs and assumptions to derive values, including transaction data, credit quality information, general market conditions, news, and other factors and assumptions. Special valuation considerations may apply with respect to a fund's "odd-lot" positions, as the fund may receive different prices when it sells such positions than it would receive for sales of institutional round lot positions. Pricing vendors generally value securities assuming orderly transactions of institutional round lot sizes, but a fund may hold or transact in such securities in smaller, odd lot sizes.

The Pricing Committee engages in oversight activities with respect to the funds' pricing vendors, which includes, among other things, monitoring significant or unusual price fluctuations above predetermined tolerance levels from the prior day, back-testing of pricing vendor prices against actual trades, conducting periodic due diligence meetings and reviews, and periodically reviewing the inputs, assumptions and methodologies used by these vendors.

If market quotations, official closing prices, or information furnished by a pricing vendor are not readily available or are otherwise deemed unreliable or not representative of the fair value of such security because of market- or issuer-specific events, a security will be valued at its fair value as determined in good faith by the Trustees. The Trustees are assisted in their responsibility to fair value securities by the fund's Pricing Committee, and the actual calculation of a security's fair value may be made by the Pricing Committee acting pursuant to the procedures established by the Trustees. In certain instances, therefore, the Pricing Committee may determine that a reported valuation does not reflect fair value, based on additional information available or other factors, and may accordingly determine in good faith the fair value of the assets, which may differ from the reported valuation.

Fair value pricing of securities is intended to help ensure that the fund's NAV reflects the fair market value of the fund's portfolio securities as of the close of regular trading on the NYSE (as opposed to a value that no longer reflects market value as of such close). The use of fair value pricing has the effect of valuing a security based upon the price the fund might reasonably expect to receive if it sold that security in an orderly transaction between market participants, but does not guarantee that the security can be sold at the fair value price. Further, because of the inherent uncertainty and subjective nature of fair valuation, a fair valuation price may differ significantly from the value that would have been used had a readily available market price for the investment existed and these differences could be material.

Regarding the fund's investment in an underlying fund that is not an ETF, which (as noted above) is valued at such underlying fund's NAV, the prospectus for such underlying fund explains the circumstances and effects of fair value pricing for that underlying fund. The fund relies on a third-party service provider for assistance with the daily calculation of the fund's NAV. The third-party service provider, in turn, relies on other parties for certain pricing data and other inputs used in the calculation of the fund's NAV. Therefore, the fund is subject to certain operational risks associated with reliance on its service provider and that service provider's sources of pricing and other data. NAV calculation may be adversely affected by operational risks arising from factors such as errors or failures in systems and technology. Such errors or failures may result in inaccurately calculated NAVs, delays in the calculation of NAVs and/or the inability to calculate NAV over extended time periods. The fund may be unable to recover any losses associated with such failures.

Distributions

The fund pays distributions from its investment income and from net realized capital gains.

Distributions from net investment income and distributions from net capital gains, if any, are declared and paid as follows:

Investment income dividends

Capital gains distributions

Declared

Paid

Declared and Paid

John Hancock Multifactor Emerging Markets ETF

Semiannually

Semiannually

Annually

Dividends and other distributions on shares of the fund are distributed on a pro rata basis to beneficial owners of such shares. Dividend payments are made through Depository Trust Company (DTC) participants and indirect participants (each as described in the "Book entry" section, below) to beneficial owners then of record with proceeds received from the fund.

 

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No dividend reinvestment service is provided by the fund. Broker-dealers may make available the DTC book-entry dividend reinvestment service for use by beneficial owners of the fund for reinvestment of their dividend distributions. Beneficial owners should contact their broker to determine the availability and costs of the service and the details of participation therein. Brokers may require beneficial owners to adhere to specific procedures and timetables. If this service is available and used, dividend distributions of both income and realized gains will be automatically reinvested in additional whole shares of the fund purchased in the secondary market.

Book entry

DTC serves as securities depository for the shares. (The shares may be held only in book-entry form; stock certificates will not be issued.) DTC, or its nominee, is the record or registered owner of all outstanding shares. Beneficial ownership of shares will be shown on the records of DTC or its participants (described below). Beneficial owners of shares are not entitled to have shares registered in their names, will not receive or be entitled to receive physical delivery of certificates in definitive form and are not considered the registered holder thereof. Accordingly, to exercise any rights of a holder of shares, each beneficial owner must rely on the procedures of: (i) DTC; (ii) "DTC participants," i.e., securities brokers and dealers, banks, trust companies, clearing corporations and certain other organizations, some of whom (and/or their representatives) own DTC; and (iii) "indirect participants," i.e., brokers, dealers, banks and trust companies that clear through or maintain a custodial relationship with a DTC Participant, either directly or indirectly, through which such beneficial owner holds its interests. The Trust understands that under existing industry practice, in the event the Trust requests any action of holders of shares, or a beneficial owner desires to take any action that DTC, as the record owner of all outstanding shares, is entitled to take, DTC would authorize the DTC participants to take such action and that the DTC participants would authorize the indirect participants and beneficial owners acting through such DTC participants to take such action and would otherwise act upon the instructions of beneficial owners owning through them. As described above, the Trust recognizes DTC or its nominee as the owner of all shares for all purposes.

Creations and redemptions

Prior to trading in the secondary market, shares of the fund are "created" at NAV by market makers, large investors and institutions only in block-size creation units of 100,000 shares or multiples thereof. Each "creator" or "authorized participant" enters into an authorized participant agreement with the fund's distributor.

A creation transaction, which is subject to acceptance by the transfer agent, generally takes place when an authorized participant deposits into the fund a designated portfolio of securities (including any portion of such securities for which cash may be substituted) and a specified amount of cash approximating the holdings of the fund in exchange for a specified number of creation units. 

Similarly, shares can be redeemed only in creation units, generally for a designated portfolio of securities (including any portion of such securities for which cash may be substituted) held by the fund and a specified amount of cash. Except when aggregated in creation units, shares are not redeemable by the fund.

The prices at which creations and redemptions occur are based on the next calculation of NAV after a creation or redemption order is received in an acceptable form under the authorized participant agreement.

Only an authorized participant may create or redeem creation units directly with the fund. In the event of a system failure or other interruption, including disruptions at market makers or authorized participants, orders to purchase or redeem creation units either may not be executed according to the fund's instructions or may not be executed at all, or the fund may not be able to place or change orders.

When the fund engages in in-kind transactions, the fund intends to comply with the U.S. federal securities laws in accepting securities for deposit and satisfying redemptions with redemption securities by, among other means, assuring that any securities accepted for deposit and any securities used to satisfy redemption requests will be sold in transactions that would be exempt from registration under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (Securities Act). Further, an authorized participant that is not a "qualified institutional buyer," as such term is defined under Rule 144A of the Securities Act, will not be able to receive restricted securities eligible for resale under Rule 144A.

Creations and redemptions must be made through a firm that is either a member of the Continuous Net Settlement System of the National Securities Clearing Corporation or a DTC participant and has executed an agreement with the distributor with respect to creations and redemptions of creation unit aggregations. Information about the procedures regarding creation and redemption of creation units (including the cut-off times for receipt of creation and redemption orders) and the applicable transaction fees is included in the fund's SAI.

The fund typically expects to mail or wire redemption proceeds between 1 and 3 days following the receipt of the redemption request. In unusual circumstances, the fund may temporarily suspend the processing of sell requests or may postpone payment of proceeds for up to three Business Days or longer, as allowed by federal securities laws and the fund's exemptive relief.

Under normal market conditions, the fund typically expects to meet redemption requests through holdings of cash or cash equivalents or through sales of portfolio securities, and may access other available liquidity facilities. In unusual or stressed market conditions, in addition to the methods used in normal market conditions, the fund may meet redemption requests through the use of its line of credit, interfund lending facility, redemptions in kind, or such other liquidity means or facilities as the fund may have in place from time to time.

Taxation

As with any investment, you should consider how your investment in the fund will be taxed. The tax information below is provided as general information. More tax information is available in the SAI. You should consult your tax advisor about the federal, state, local or foreign tax consequences of your investment in the fund. Except as otherwise noted, the tax information provided assumes that you are a U.S. citizen or resident.

Unless your investment is through an IRA or other tax-advantaged account, you should carefully consider the possible tax consequences of fund distributions and the sale of your fund shares.

 

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Distributions

The fund contemplates declaring as dividends each year all or substantially all of its taxable income. Distributions you receive from the fund are generally subject to federal income tax, and may also be subject to state or local taxes. This is true whether you reinvest your distributions in additional fund shares or receive them in cash. For federal tax purposes, the fund's distributions attributable to net investment income and short-term capital gains are taxable to you as ordinary income while distributions of long-term capital gains are taxable to you as long-term capital gains, no matter how long you have owned your fund shares.

Under current provisions of the Code, the maximum individual rate applicable to long-term capital gains is generally either 15% or 20%, depending on whether the individual's income exceeds certain threshold amounts. Fund distributions to noncorporate shareholders attributable to dividends received by the fund from U.S. and certain qualified foreign corporations will generally be taxed at the long-term capital gain rate, as long as certain other requirements are met. For these lower rates to apply, the non-corporate shareholder must own fund shares for at least 61 days during the 121-day period beginning 60 days before the fund's ex-dividend date. The percentage of dividends eligible for the lower rates may be reduced as a result of the fund's securities lending activities, hedging activities or high portfolio turnover rate.

A percentage of the fund's dividends paid to corporate shareholders may be eligible for the corporate dividends-received deduction. This percentage may, however, be reduced as a result of the fund's securities lending activities, hedging activities or high portfolio turnover rate. Given the fund's investment strategies, it is not anticipated that a significant portion of the fund's dividends will be eligible for the corporate dividends-received deduction.

Distributions in excess of the fund's current and accumulated earnings and profits are treated as a tax-free return of your investment to the extent of your basis in the shares, and generally as capital gain thereafter. A return of capital, which for tax purposes is treated as a return of your investment, reduces your basis in shares, thus reducing any loss or increasing any gain on a subsequent taxable disposition of shares. A distribution will reduce the fund's NAV per share and may be taxable to you as ordinary income or capital gain even though, from an economic standpoint, the distribution may constitute a return of capital. Character and tax status of all distributions will be available to shareholders after the close of each calendar year.

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

The fund's transactions in derivatives (such as futures contracts and swaps) will be subject to special tax rules, the effect of which may be to accelerate income to the fund, defer losses to the fund, cause adjustments in the holding periods of the fund's securities and convert short-term capital losses into long-term capital losses. These rules could therefore affect the amount, timing and character of distributions to you. The fund's use of derivatives may result in the fund realizing more short-term capital gains and ordinary income subject to tax at ordinary income tax rates than it would if it did not use derivatives.

Although distributions are generally treated as taxable to you in the year they are paid, distributions declared in October, November or December but paid in January are taxable as if they were paid in December.

The fund may be subject to foreign withholding or other foreign taxes on income or gain from certain foreign securities. In general, the fund may deduct these taxes in computing its taxable income. Rather than deducting these foreign taxes, if the fund invests more than 50% of its assets in the stock or securities of foreign corporations or foreign governments at the end of its taxable year, the fund may make an election to treat a proportionate amount of eligible foreign taxes as constituting a taxable distribution to each shareholder, which would, subject to certain limitations, generally allow the shareholder to either (i) credit that proportionate amount of taxes against U.S. Federal income tax liability as a foreign tax credit or (ii) to take that amount as an itemized deduction.

If you buy shares of the fund before it makes a distribution, the distribution will be taxable to you even though it may actually be a return of a portion of your investment. This is known as "buying into a dividend."

Taxes on creations and redemptions of creation units

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

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

Sales of fund shares

Your sale of fund shares is a taxable transaction for federal income tax purposes, and may also be subject to state and local taxes. When you sell your shares, you will generally recognize a capital gain or loss in an amount equal to the difference between your adjusted tax basis in the shares and the amount received. Generally, this capital gain or loss is long-term or short-term depending on whether your holding period exceeds one year, except that any loss realized on shares held for six months or less will be treated as a long-term capital loss to the extent of any capital gain dividends that were received on the shares. Additionally, any loss realized on a sale or redemption of shares of a fund may be disallowed under "wash sale" rules to the extent the shares disposed of are replaced with other shares of that fund within a period of 61 days beginning 30 days before and ending 30 days after the date of disposition, such as pursuant to a dividend reinvestment in shares of that fund.

 

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If disallowed, the loss will be reflected in an adjustment to the basis of the shares acquired.

Other information

You may be subject to backup withholding at a rate of 24% with respect to taxable distributions if you do not provide your correct taxpayer identification number, or certify that it is correct, or if you have been notified by the IRS that you are subject to backup withholding.

Non-U.S. investors are generally subject to U.S. withholding tax with respect to dividends received from the fund and may be subject to estate tax with respect to their fund shares.

Withholding of U.S. tax (at a 30% rate) is required with respect to payments of taxable dividends and (effective January 1, 2019) certain capital gain dividends made to certain non-U.S. entities that fail to comply (or be deemed compliant) with extensive new reporting and withholding requirements designed to inform the U.S. Department of the Treasury of U.S.-owned foreign investment accounts. Shareholders may be requested to provide additional information to enable the applicable withholding agent to determine whether withholding is required.

Legislation passed by Congress requires reporting to you and the IRS annually on Form 1099-B not only the gross proceeds of fund shares you sell or redeem but also their cost basis. Shareholders should contact their intermediaries with respect to reporting of cost basis and available elections with respect to their accounts. You should carefully review the cost basis information provided by the applicable intermediary and make any additional basis, holding period or other adjustments that are required when reporting these amounts on your federal income tax returns.

 

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Index, index provider, and calculation agent

Index, index provider, and calculation agent

The Index is created and sponsored by an affiliated person of the fund. The Index was developed, and the methodology underlying the construction of the Index is maintained, by Dimensional, which also serves as subadvisor to the fund. Dimensional has entered into a Calculation Agent Agreement with S&P Opco, LLC (a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC) to retain S&P Opco, LLC (Calculation Agent) to calculate and disseminate information about the market value of the Index.

The Index is governed by a published rule-based methodology. Changes to the methodology will be publicly disclosed prior to implementation.

The fund is entitled to use the Index pursuant to a sublicensing arrangement with John Hancock Advisers, LLC, investment advisor to the fund, which in turn has a licensing agreement with Dimensional.

Index disclaimers

Neither John Hancock Advisers, LLC nor Dimensional Fund Advisors LP guarantee the accuracy and/or the completeness of the Index or any data included therein, and neither John Hancock Advisers, LLC nor Dimensional Fund Advisors LP shall have any liability for any errors, omissions or interruptions therein. Neither John Hancock Advisers, LLC nor Dimensional Fund Advisors LP make any warranty, express or implied, as to results to be obtained by the fund, owners of the shares of the fund or any other person or entity from the use of the Index, trading based on the Index, or any data included therein, either in connection with the fund or for any other use. Neither John Hancock Advisers, LLC nor Dimensional Fund Advisors LP makes any express or implied warranties, and expressly disclaim all warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose or use with respect to the Index or any data included therein. Without limiting any of the foregoing, in no event shall either John Hancock Advisers, LLC or Dimensional Fund Advisors LP have any liability for any special, punitive, direct, indirect or consequential damages (including lost profits) arising out of matters relating to the use of the Index, even if notified of the possibility of such damages.

The Index is the property of Dimensional Fund Advisors LP, which has contracted with S&P Opco, LLC to calculate and maintain the Index. The Index is not sponsored by S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC or its affiliates or its third party licensors, including Standard & Poor's Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC (collectively, "S&P Dow Jones Indices"). S&P Dow Jones Indices will not be liable for any errors or omissions in calculating the Index. "Calculated by S&P Dow Jones Indices" and the related stylized mark(s) are service marks of S&P Dow Jones Indices and have been licensed for use by Dimensional Fund Advisors LP. S&P® is a registered trademark of Standard & Poor's Financial Services LLC, and Dow Jones® is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. The funds based on the Index are not sponsored, endorsed, sold or promoted by S&P Dow Jones Indices. S&P Dow Jones Indices does not make any representation or warranty, express or implied, to the owners of the fund or any member of the public regarding the advisability of investing in securities generally or in the fund particularly or the ability of the Index to track general market performance. S&P Dow Jones Indices' only relationship to Dimensional Fund Advisors LP with respect to the Index is the licensing of certain trademarks, service marks and trade names of S&P Dow Jones Indices, and the provision of the calculation services related to the Index. S&P Dow Jones Indices is not responsible for and has not participated in the determination of the prices and amount of the fund or the timing of the issuance or sale of the fund or in the determination or calculation of the equation by which the fund may converted into cash or other redemption mechanics. S&P Dow Jones Indices has no obligation or liability in connection with the administration, marketing or trading of the fund. S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC is not an investment advisor. Inclusion of a security within the Index is not a recommendation by S&P Dow Jones Indices to buy, sell, or hold such security, nor is it investment advice.

S&P DOW JONES INDICES DOES NOT GUARANTEE THE ADEQUACY, ACCURACY, TIMELINESS AND/OR THE COMPLETENESS OF THE INDEX OR ANY DATA RELATED THERETO OR ANY COMMUNICATION WITH RESPECT THERETO, INCLUDING, ORAL, WRITTEN, OR ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATIONS. S&P DOW JONES INDICES SHALL NOT BE SUBJECT TO ANY DAMAGES OR LIABILITY FOR ANY ERRORS, OMISSIONS, OR DELAYS THEREIN. S&P DOW JONES INDICES MAKES NO EXPRESS OR IMPLIED WARRANTIES, AND EXPRESSLY DISCLAIMS ALL WARRANTIES, OF MERCHANTABILITY OR FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE OR USE OR AS TO RESULTS TO BE OBTAINED BY DIMENSIONAL FUND ADVISORS LP, OWNERS OF THE FUND, OR ANY OTHER PERSON OR ENTITY FROM THE USE OF THE INDEX OR WITH RESPECT TO ANY DATA RELATED THERETO. WITHOUT LIMITING ANY OF THE FOREGOING, IN NO EVENT WHATSOEVER SHALL S&P DOW JONES INDICES BE LIABLE FOR ANY INDIRECT, SPECIAL, INCIDENTAL, PUNITIVE, OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO, LOSS OF PROFITS, TRADING LOSSES, LOST TIME, OR GOODWILL, EVEN IF THEY HAVE BEEN ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES, WHETHER IN CONTRACT, TORT, STRICT LIABILITY, OR OTHERWISE.

 

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Other information

Premium/discount information

There may be differences between the daily market prices on the NYSE Arca for shares of the fund (market price) and the fund's NAV. NAV is the price per share at which the fund issues and redeems shares. See "Shareholder information - Valuation of fund shares" above. The fund's market price may be at, above or below its NAV. The NAV of the fund will fluctuate with changes in the market value of its portfolio holdings. The market price of the fund will fluctuate in accordance with changes in its NAV, as well as market supply and demand.

Premiums or discounts are the differences (expressed as a percentage) between the NAV and the market price of the fund on a given day, generally at the time the NAV is calculated. A premium is the amount that the fund is trading above the reported NAV, expressed as a percentage of the NAV. A discount is the amount that the fund is trading below the reported NAV, expressed as a percentage of the NAV. A discount or premium could be significant. Information regarding how often the market price was greater than (i.e., at a premium) or less than (i.e., at a discount) the NAV of the fund during the prior calendar year and subsequent quarters, when available, can be found at jhinvestments.com/etf.

Continuous offering

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

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

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

In addition, certain affiliates of the fund and the advisor may purchase and resell fund shares pursuant to this prospectus.

Intraday value

The trading prices of the fund's shares in the secondary market generally differ from the fund's daily NAV and are affected by market forces such as the supply of and demand for fund shares and underlying securities held by the fund, economic conditions and other factors. Information regarding the intraday value of the fund's shares (IIV) is disseminated every 15 seconds throughout each trading day by NYSE Arca or by market data vendors or other information providers. The IIV is based on the current market value of the securities and/or cash required to be deposited in exchange for a creation unit. The IIV does not necessarily reflect the precise composition of the current portfolio of securities held by the fund at a particular point in time or the best possible valuation of the current portfolio. Therefore, the IIV should not be viewed as a "real-time" update of the fund's NAV, which is computed only once a day. The IIV is generally determined by using current market quotations and/or price quotations obtained from broker-dealers and other market intermediaries that may trade in the portfolio securities held by the fund and valuations based on current market rates. The quotations and/or valuations of certain fund holdings may not be updated during U.S. trading hours if such holdings do not trade in the United States. The fund is not involved in, or responsible for, the calculation or dissemination of the IIV and makes no warranty as to its accuracy.

 

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Table of Contents

For more information

Two documents are or will be available that offer further information on the fund:

Annual/semiannual reports to shareholders

Additional information about the fund's investments is available in the fund's annual and semiannual reports (if applicable) to shareholders. In the fund's annual report (if applicable), you will find a discussion of the market conditions and investment strategies that significantly affected the fund's performance during its last fiscal year.

Statement of Additional Information (SAI)

The SAI contains more detailed information on all aspects of the fund and includes a summary of the fund's policy regarding disclosure of its portfolio holdings, as well as legal and regulatory matters. A current SAI has been filed with the SEC and is incorporated by reference into (and is legally a part of) this prospectus.

To obtain a free copy of these documents or request other information

There are several ways you can get a current annual/semiannual report, prospectus, or SAI from John Hancock, request other information, or make inquiries:

Online: jhinvestments.com/etf

By mail:
John Hancock Investments
601 Congress Street
Boston, MA 02210

By phone: 800-225-6020

You can also view or obtain copies of these documents through the SEC:

Online: sec.gov  

By email (duplicating fee required): publicinfo@sec.gov  

By mail (duplicating fee required):
Public Reference Section
Securities and Exchange Commission
Washington, DC 20549-1520

In person: at the SEC's Public Reference Room in Washington, DC

For access to the Reference Room, call 202-551-8090.

© 2018 John Hancock Exchange-Traded Fund Trust 9900PN 9/14/18 SEC file number:  811-22733   


 

 

 

JOHN HANCOCK EXCHANGE-TRADED FUND TRUST

Statement of Additional Information

September 14, 2018

 

FUND PRINCIPAL U.S.
LISTING
EXCHANGE
TICKER
SYMBOL
John Hancock Multifactor Emerging Markets ETF NYSE Arca, Inc. JHEM

 

This Statement of Additional Information (“SAI”) provides information about John Hancock Multifactor Emerging Markets ETF, a series of John Hancock Exchange-Traded Fund Trust (“JH ETF Trust” or the “Trust”), referred to herein as the “fund” or “Fund,” unless identified otherwise. The information in this SAI is in addition to the information that is contained in the fund’s prospectus dated September 14, 2018 (the “Prospectus”).

 

This SAI is not a prospectus. It should be read in conjunction with the Prospectus. Copies of the Prospectus or the Annual Report (including financial statements) (when they become available) can be obtained free of charge by contacting:

 

John Hancock

601 Congress Street

Boston, MA 02210

800-225-6020

jhinvestments.com/etf

 

 i  

 

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

ORGANIZATION OF JOHN HANCOCK EXCHANGE-TRADED FUND TRUST 1
EXCHANGE LISTING AND TRADING 1
Investment Policies 2
Other Instruments 5
Additional Investment Policies 8
RISK FACTORS 13
REGULATION OF COMMODITY INTERESTS 27
HEDGING AND OTHER STRATEGIC TRANSACTIONS 27
Investment Restrictions 40
Portfolio Turnover 42
Those Responsible for Management 42
Shareholders of THE FUND 55
Investment Management Arrangements and Other Services 56
RULE 12B-1 FEES 59
FINANCIAL INTERMEDIARY COMPENSATION 60
CREATIONS AND REDEMPTIONS 60
BOOK ENTRY ONLY SYSTEM 73
DEtermination of Net Asset Value 74
Description of Fund Shares 74
Additional Information Concerning Taxes 76
Portfolio Brokerage 82
Transfer Agent Services 85
DISTRIBUTION SERVICES 85
Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm 85
Custody of Portfolio Securities 85
PORTFOLIO HOLDINGS DISCLOSURE 85
LEGAL AND REGULATORY MATTERS 86
Codes of Ethics 86
INDEX DISCLAIMERS 86
Appendix a A-1
Appendix B B-1
Appendix C C-1

 

 ii  

 

 

ORGANIZATION OF JOHN HANCOCK EXCHANGE-TRADED FUND TRUST

 

JH ETF Trust was organized on November 24, 2009 as a Massachusetts business trust under the laws of The Commonwealth of Massachusetts and is an open-end investment management company registered under the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended (the “1940 Act”). John Hancock Multifactor Emerging Markets ETF is a diversified series of the Trust as that term is used in the 1940 Act, and as interpreted or modified by regulatory authority having jurisdiction, from time to time. John Hancock Advisers, LLC (“JHA” or the “Advisor”) is a Delaware limited liability company whose principal offices are located at 601 Congress Street, Boston, Massachusetts 02210. The Advisor is registered as an investment advisor under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940, as amended (the “Advisers Act”), and as a commodity pool operator (“CPO”) under the Commodity Exchange Act, as amended (the “CEA”). The Advisor is a wholly owned subsidiary of John Hancock Life Insurance Company (U.S.A.). John Hancock Life Insurance Company (U.S.A.) and its subsidiaries today offer a broad range of financial products, including life insurance, annuities, investments, 401(k) plans, long-term care insurance, college savings and other forms of business insurance. The ultimate controlling parent of the Advisor is Manulife Financial Corporation (“Manulife Financial” or “MFC”), a publicly traded company based in Toronto, Canada. MFC is the holding company of The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company and its subsidiaries, collectively known as Manulife Financial.

 

The Advisor has retained for the Fund a subadvisor that is responsible for providing investment advice to the Fund subject to the review of the Board of Trustees of the Trust (the “Board”) and the overall supervision of the Advisor.

 

Manulife Financial is a leading Canada-based financial services group with principal operations in Asia, Canada and the United States. Operating as Manulife in Canada and Asia, and primarily as John Hancock in the United States, the Manulife Financial group of companies offers clients a diverse range of financial protection products and wealth management services through its extensive network of employees, agents and distribution partners. Assets under management and administration by Manulife Financial and its subsidiaries were C$1.1 trillion (US $849 billion) as of June 30, 2018. Manulife Financial Corporation trades as “MFC” on the Toronto Stock Exchange, New York Stock Exchange (the “NYSE”) and Philippine Stock Exchange, and under “945” on the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong. Manulife Financial can be found on the Internet at manulife.com.

 

The Fund is expected to commence operations as a series of the Trust on or about September 27, 2018.

 

EXCHANGE LISTING AND TRADING

 

A discussion of exchange listing and trading matters associated with an investment in the Fund is contained in the “Shareholder information” section of the Prospectus. The discussion below supplements, and should be read in conjunction with, such sections of the Prospectus.

 

The shares of the Fund (“Shares”) are anticipated to be approved for listing and trading on the NYSE Arca, Inc. (the “Exchange”) subject to notice of issuance. The Shares trade on the Exchange at prices that may differ to some degree from their net asset value (“NAV”). There can be no assurance that the requirements of the Exchange necessary to maintain the listing of Shares will continue to be met.

 

The Exchange may, but is not required to, remove the Shares of the Fund from listing if: (1) following the initial twelve-month period beginning upon the commencement of trading of the Fund, there are fewer than 50 beneficial holders of the Shares for 30 or more consecutive trading days; (2) the value of its underlying index or portfolio of securities on which the Fund is based is no longer calculated or available; (3) the “intra-day indicative value” (“IIV”) of the Fund is no longer calculated or available; or (4) such other event shall occur or condition exists that, in the opinion of the Exchange, makes further dealings on the Exchange inadvisable. In addition, the Exchange will remove the Shares of the Fund from listing and trading upon termination of the Trust or the Fund.

 

As in the case of other publicly-traded securities, when you buy or sell shares through a broker, you will incur a brokerage commission determined by that broker.

 

In order to provide additional information regarding the indicative value of Shares of the Fund, the Exchange or a market data vendor disseminates every 15 seconds through the facilities of the Consolidated Tape Association, or through other widely disseminated means, an updated IIV for the Fund as calculated by an information provider or

 

 1 

 

 

market data vendor. The Trust is not involved in or responsible for any aspect of the calculation or dissemination of the IIVs and makes no representation or warranty as to the accuracy of the IIVs.

 

The Fund’s IIV is based on a securities component and a cash component which comprises that day’s Fund Deposit (as defined below), as disseminated prior to that Business Day’s (as defined below) commencement of trading. The IIV does not necessarily reflect the precise composition of the current portfolio of securities held by the Fund at a particular point in time or the best possible valuation of the current portfolio. Therefore, the IIV should not be viewed as a “real-time” update of the Fund’s NAV, which is computed only once a day. The IIV is generally determined by using both current market quotations and/or price quotations obtained from broker-dealers that may trade in the portfolio securities held by the Fund. The quotations of certain Fund holdings may not be updated during U.S. trading hours if such holdings do not trade in the United States.

 

The cash component included in an IIV consists of estimated accrued interest, dividends and other income, less expenses. If applicable, each IIV also reflects changes in currency exchange rates between the U.S. dollar and the applicable currency.

 

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

 

The base and trading currencies of the Fund are the U.S. dollar. The base currency is the currency in which the Fund’s NAV per Share is calculated and the trading currency is the currency in which Shares of the Fund are listed and traded on the Exchange.

 

The Fund offers and issues Shares at its NAV per Share only in aggregations of a specified number of shares (“Creation Units”), generally in exchange for a basket of securities and/or instruments (the “Deposit Securities”) together with a deposit of a specified cash payment (the “Cash Component”). Shares are redeemable by the Fund only in Creation Units and, generally, in exchange for securities and instruments. Shares trade in the secondary market and elsewhere at market prices that may be at, above or below NAV. Creation Units typically are a specified number of Shares.

 

The Fund may charge creation/redemption transaction fees for each creation and redemption. In all cases, transaction fees will be limited in accordance with the requirements of the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) applicable to management investment companies offering redeemable securities. See the “Creations and redemptions” section below.

 

Investment Policies

 

The principal strategies and risks of investing in the Fund are described in the Prospectus. Unless otherwise indicated in the Prospectus or this SAI, the investment objective and policies of the Fund may be changed without shareholder approval. The Fund may invest in the types of instruments described below, unless otherwise indicated in the Prospectus or this SAI.

 

Money Market Instruments

 

Money market instruments (and other securities as noted in the Fund’s Prospectus) may be purchased for short-term investment purposes.

 

U.S. Government and Government Agency Obligations

 

U.S. Government Obligations. U.S. government obligations are debt securities issued or guaranteed as to principal or interest by the U.S. Treasury. These securities include treasury bills, notes and bonds.

 

GNMA Obligations. GNMA obligations are mortgage-backed securities guaranteed by the Government National Mortgage Association (“GNMA”), which guarantee is supported by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government.

 

 2 

 

 

U.S. Agency Obligations. U.S. government agency obligations are debt securities issued or guaranteed as to principal or interest by an agency or instrumentality of the U.S. government pursuant to authority granted by Congress. U.S. government agency obligations include, but are not limited to:

 

Student Loan Marketing Association (“SLMA”);
Federal Home Loan Banks (“FHLBs”);
Federal Intermediate Credit Banks (“FICBs”); and
Federal National Mortgage Association (“Fannie Mae”).

 

U.S. Instrumentality Obligations. U.S. instrumentality obligations include, but are not limited to, those issued by the Export-Import Bank and Farmers Home Administration.

 

Some obligations issued or guaranteed by U.S. government agencies or instrumentalities are supported by the right of the issuer to borrow from the U.S. Treasury or the Federal Reserve Banks, such as those issued by FICBs. Others, such as those issued by Fannie Mae, FHLBs and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (“Freddie Mac”) are supported by discretionary authority of the U.S. government to purchase certain obligations of the agency or instrumentality. In addition, other obligations, such as those issued by the SLMA are supported only by the credit of the agency or instrumentality. There also are separately traded interest components of securities issued or guaranteed by the U.S. Treasury.

 

No assurance can be given that the U.S. government will provide financial support for the obligations of such U.S. government-sponsored agencies or instrumentalities in the future, since it is not obligated to do so by law. In this SAI, “U.S. government securities” refers not only to securities issued or guaranteed as to principal or interest by the U.S. Treasury but also to securities that are backed only by their own credit and not the full faith and credit of the U.S. government.

 

It is possible that the availability and the marketability (liquidity) of the securities discussed in this section could be adversely affected by actions of the U.S. government to tighten the availability of its credit. In 2008, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (the “FHFA”), an agency of the U.S. government, placed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac into conservatorship, a statutory process with the objective of returning the entities to normal business operations. The FHFA will act as the conservator to operate Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac until they are stabilized. It is unclear what effect this conservatorship will have on the securities issued or guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.

 

Certificates of Deposit, Time Deposits and Bankers’ Acceptances

 

Certificates of Deposit. Certificates of deposit are certificates issued against funds deposited in a bank or a savings and loan. They are issued for a definite period of time and earn a specified rate of return.

 

Time Deposits. Time deposits are non-negotiable deposits maintained in banking institutions for specified periods of time at stated interest rates.

 

Bankers’ Acceptances. Bankers’ acceptances are short-term credit instruments evidencing the obligation of a bank to pay a draft which has been drawn on it by a customer. These instruments reflect the obligations both of the bank and of the drawer to pay the face amount of the instrument upon maturity. They are primarily used to finance the import, export, transfer or storage of goods. They are “accepted” when a bank guarantees their payment at maturity.

 

These obligations are not insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.

 

Commercial Paper

 

Commercial paper consists of unsecured promissory notes issued by corporations to finance short-term credit needs. Commercial paper is issued in bearer form with maturities generally not exceeding nine months.

 

Variable Amount Master Demand Notes. Commercial paper obligations may include variable amount master demand notes. Variable amount master demand notes are obligations that permit the investment of fluctuating amounts at varying rates of interest pursuant to direct arrangements between a fund, as lender, and the borrower. These notes

 

 3 

 

 

permit daily changes in the amounts borrowed. The investing (i.e., “lending”) fund has the right to increase the amount under the note at any time up to the full amount provided by the note agreement, or to decrease the amount, and the borrower may prepay up to the full amount of the note without penalty. Because variable amount master demand notes are direct lending arrangements between the lender and borrower, it is not generally contemplated that such instruments will be traded. There is no secondary market for these notes, although they are redeemable (and thus immediately repayable by the borrower) at face value, plus accrued interest, at any time.

 

The subadvisor will only invest in variable amount master demand notes issued by companies that, at the date of investment, have an outstanding debt issue rated “Aaa” or “Aa” by Moody’s Investors Service, Inc. (“Moody’s”) or “AAA” or “AA” by Standard and Poor’s Ratings Services (“S&P”) or Fitch Ratings (“Fitch”) and that the subadvisor has determined present minimal risk of loss. The subadvisor will look generally at the financial strength of the issuing company as “backing” for the note and not to any security interest or supplemental source such as a bank letter of credit. A variable amount master demand note will be valued on each day an NAV is determined. The NAV generally will be equal to the face value of the note plus accrued interest unless the financial position of the issuer is such that its ability to repay the note when due is in question.

 

Repurchase Agreements

 

Repurchase agreements are arrangements involving the purchase of an obligation and the simultaneous agreement to resell the same obligation on demand or at a specified future date and at an agreed-upon price. A repurchase agreement can be viewed as a loan made by a fund to the seller of the obligation with such obligation serving as collateral for the seller’s agreement to repay the amount borrowed with interest. Repurchase agreements provide the opportunity to earn a return on cash that is only temporarily available. Repurchase agreements may be entered with banks, brokers or dealers. However, a repurchase agreement will only be entered with a broker or dealer if the broker or dealer agrees to deposit additional collateral should the value of the obligation purchased decrease below the resale price.

 

Generally, repurchase agreements are of a short duration, often less than one week but on occasion for longer periods. Securities subject to repurchase agreements will be valued every business day and additional collateral will be requested if necessary so that the value of the collateral is at least equal to the value of the repurchase obligation, including the interest accrued thereon.

 

The subadvisor shall engage in a repurchase agreement transaction only with those banks or broker/dealers who meet the subadvisor’s quantitative and qualitative criteria regarding creditworthiness, asset size and collateralization requirements. The Advisor also may engage in repurchase agreement transactions on behalf of the Fund. The counterparties to a repurchase agreement transaction are limited to a:

 

Federal Reserve System member bank;
primary government securities dealer reporting to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s Market Reports Division; or
broker-dealer that reports U.S. government securities positions to the Federal Reserve Board.

 

A fund also may participate in repurchase agreement transactions utilizing the settlement services of clearing firms that meet the subadvisor’s creditworthiness requirements.

 

The Advisor and the subadvisor will continuously monitor repurchase agreement transactions to ensure that the collateral held with respect to a repurchase agreement equals or exceeds the amount of the obligation.

 

The risk of a repurchase agreement transaction is limited to the ability of the seller to pay the agreed-upon sum on the delivery date. In the event of bankruptcy or other default by the seller, the instrument purchased may decline in value, interest payable on the instrument may be lost and there may be possible difficulties and delays in obtaining collateral and delays and expense in liquidating the instrument. If an issuer of a repurchase agreement fails to repurchase the underlying obligation, the loss, if any, would be the difference between the repurchase price and the underlying obligation’s market value. A fund also might incur certain costs in liquidating the underlying obligation. Moreover, if bankruptcy or other insolvency proceedings are commenced with respect to the seller, realization upon the underlying obligation might be delayed or limited.

 

 4 

 

 

Foreign Repurchase Agreements

 

Foreign repurchase agreements involve an agreement to purchase a foreign security and to sell that security back to the original seller at an agreed-upon price in either U.S. dollars or foreign currency. Unlike typical U.S. repurchase agreements, foreign repurchase agreements may not be fully collateralized at all times. The value of a security purchased may be more or less than the price at which the counterparty has agreed to repurchase the security. In the event of default by the counterparty, the Fund may suffer a loss if the value of the security purchased is less than the agreed-upon repurchase price, or if it is unable to successfully assert a claim to the collateral under foreign laws. As a result, foreign repurchase agreements may involve higher credit risks than repurchase agreements in U.S. markets, as well as risks associated with currency fluctuations. In addition, as with other emerging market investments, repurchase agreements with counterparties located in emerging markets, or relating to emerging markets, may involve issuers or counterparties with lower credit ratings than typical U.S. repurchase agreements.

 

Other Instruments

 

The following discussion provides an explanation of some of the other instruments in which the Fund may invest, but only if and to the extent that such investment is consistent with and permitted by its investment objective and policies.

 

Warrants

 

Warrants may trade independently of the underlying securities. Warrants are rights to purchase securities at specific prices and are valid for a specific period of time. Warrant prices do not necessarily move parallel to the prices of the underlying securities, and warrant holders receive no dividends and have no voting rights or rights with respect to the assets of an issuer. The price of a warrant may be more volatile than the price of its underlying security, and a warrant may offer greater potential for capital appreciation as well as capital loss. Warrants cease to have value if not exercised prior to the expiration date. These factors can make warrants more speculative than other types of investments.

 

Reverse Repurchase Agreements

 

Under a reverse repurchase agreement, a fund sells a debt security and agrees to repurchase it at an agreed-upon time and at an agreed-upon price. The fund retains record ownership of the security and the right to receive interest and principal payments thereon. At an agreed-upon future date, the fund repurchases the security by remitting the proceeds previously received, plus interest. The difference between the amount the fund receives for the security and the amount it pays on repurchase is payment of interest. In certain types of agreements, there is no agreed-upon repurchase date and interest payments are calculated daily, often based on the prevailing overnight repurchase rate. A reverse repurchase agreement may be considered a form of leveraging and may, therefore, increase fluctuations in a fund’s NAV per share. A fund will cover its repurchase agreement transactions by maintaining in a segregated custodial account cash, Treasury bills or other U.S. government securities having an aggregate value at least equal to the amount of such commitment to repurchase including accrued interest, until payment is made.

 

Sale-Buybacks

 

The Fund may effect simultaneous purchase and sale transactions that are known as “sale-buybacks.” A sale-buyback is similar to a reverse repurchase agreement, except that in a sale-buyback, the counterparty that purchases the security is entitled to receive any principal or interest payments made on the underlying security pending settlement of the Fund’s repurchase of the underlying security. The Fund’s obligations under a sale-buyback typically would be offset by liquid assets equal in value to the amount of the Fund’s forward commitment to repurchase the subject security.

 

Types of Credit Support

 

Mortgage securities are often backed by a pool of assets representing the obligations of a number of different parties. To lessen the impact of an obligor’s failure to make payments on underlying assets, mortgage securities may contain elements of credit support. Such credit support falls into two categories:

 

liquidity protection; and

 

 5 

 

 

default protection.

 

Liquidity protection refers to the provision of advances, generally by the entity administering the pool of assets, to ensure that the pass-through of payments due on the underlying pool of assets occurs in a timely fashion. Default protection provides against losses resulting from ultimate default and enhances the likelihood of ultimate payment of the obligations on at least a portion of the assets in the pool. This protection may be provided through guarantees, insurance policies or letters of credit obtained by the issuer or sponsor from third parties, through various means of structuring the transaction or through a combination of such approaches. A fund will not pay any additional fees for such credit support, although the existence of credit support may increase the price of a security.

 

Some examples of credit support include:

 

“senior-subordinated securities” (multiple class securities with one or more classes subordinate to other classes as to the payment of principal thereof and interest thereon, with the result that defaults on the underlying assets are borne first by the holders of the subordinated class);

 

creation of “reserve funds” (where cash or investments, sometimes funded from a portion of the payments on the underlying assets, are held in reserve against future losses); and

 

“over-collateralization” (where the scheduled payments on, or the principal amount of, the underlying assets exceed those required to make payment on the securities and pay any servicing or other fees).

 

The ratings of mortgage securities for which third-party credit enhancement provides liquidity protection or default protection are generally dependent upon the continued creditworthiness of the provider of the credit enhancement. The ratings of these securities could be reduced in the event of deterioration in the creditworthiness of the credit enhancement provider even in cases where the delinquency and loss experienced on the underlying pool of assets is better than expected.

 

The degree of credit support provided for each issue is generally based on historical information concerning the level of credit risk associated with the underlying assets. Delinquency or loss greater than anticipated could adversely affect the return on an investment in mortgage securities.

 

Indexed Securities

 

Indexed securities are instruments whose prices are indexed to the prices of other securities, securities indices, currencies, or other financial indicators. Indexed securities typically, but not always, are debt securities or deposits whose value at maturity or coupon rate is determined by reference to a specific instrument or statistic.

 

Currency-indexed securities typically are short-term to intermediate-term debt securities whose maturity values or interest rates are determined by reference to the values of one or more specified foreign currencies, and may offer higher yields than U.S. dollar-denominated securities. Currency-indexed securities may be positively or negatively indexed; that is, their maturity value may increase when the specified currency value increases, resulting in a security that performs similarly to a foreign denominated instrument, or their maturity value may decline when foreign currencies increase, resulting in a security whose price characteristics are similar to a put on the underlying currency. Currency-indexed securities also may have prices that depend on the values of a number of different foreign currencies relative to each other.

 

The performance of indexed securities depends to a great extent on the performance of the security, currency, or other instrument to which they are indexed, and also may be influenced by interest rate changes in the United States and abroad. Indexed securities may be more volatile than the underlying instruments. Indexed securities also are subject to the credit risks associated with the issuer of the security, and their values may decline substantially if the issuer’s creditworthiness deteriorates. Issuers of indexed securities have included banks, corporations, and certain U.S. government agencies. An indexed security may be leveraged to the extent that the magnitude of any change in the interest rate or principal payable on an indexed security is a multiple of the change in the reference price.

 

Hybrid Instruments

 

 6 

 

 

Hybrid instruments (a type of potentially high-risk derivative) combine the elements of futures contracts or options with those of debt, preferred equity or a depository instrument.

 

Characteristics of Hybrid Instruments. Generally, a hybrid instrument is a debt security, preferred stock, depository share, trust certificate, certificate of deposit or other evidence of indebtedness on which a portion of or all interest payments, and/or the principal or stated amount payable at maturity, redemption or retirement, is determined by reference to the following:

 

prices, changes in prices, or differences between prices of securities, currencies, intangibles, goods, articles or commodities (collectively, “underlying assets”); or

 

an objective index, economic factor or other measure, such as interest rates, currency exchange rates, commodity indices, and securities indices (collectively, “benchmarks”).

 

Hybrid instruments may take a variety of forms, including, but not limited to:

 

debt instruments with interest or principal payments or redemption terms determined by reference to the value of a currency or commodity or securities index at a future point in time;

 

preferred stock with dividend rates determined by reference to the value of a currency; or

 

convertible securities with the conversion terms related to a particular commodity.

 

Uses of Hybrid Instruments. Hybrid instruments provide an efficient means of creating exposure to a particular market, or segment of a market, with the objective of enhancing total return. For example, a fund may wish to take advantage of expected declines in interest rates in several European countries, but avoid the transaction costs associated with buying and currency-hedging the foreign bond positions.

 

One approach is to purchase a U.S. dollar-denominated hybrid instrument whose redemption price is linked to the average three-year interest rate in a designated group of countries. The redemption price formula would provide for payoffs of greater than par if the average interest rate was lower than a specified level, and payoffs of less than par if rates were above the specified level. Furthermore, the investing fund could limit the downside risk of the security by establishing a minimum redemption price so that the principal paid at maturity could not be below a predetermined minimum level if interest rates were to rise significantly.

 

The purpose of this type of arrangement, known as a structured security with an embedded put option, is to give the fund the desired European bond exposure while avoiding currency risk, limiting downside market risk, and lowering transactions costs. Of course, there is no guarantee that such a strategy will be successful and the value of the fund may decline if, for example, interest rates do not move as anticipated or credit problems develop with the issuer of the hybrid instrument.

 

Structured Notes. Structured notes include investments in an entity, such as a trust, organized and operated solely for the purpose of restructuring the investment characteristics of various securities. This type of restructuring involves the deposit or purchase or specified instruments and the issuance of one or more classes of securities backed by, or representing interests, in the underlying instruments. The cash flow on the underlying instruments may be apportioned among the newly issued structured notes to create securities with different investment characteristics, such as varying maturities, payment priorities or interest rate provisions. The extent of the income paid by the structured notes is dependent on the cash flow of the underlying instruments.

 

Exchange Traded Funds

 

The Fund may invest in ETFs. The Fund could purchase shares of an ETF to temporarily gain exposure to a portion of the U.S. or a foreign market while awaiting purchase of underlying securities. The risks of owning an ETF include the risks of owning the underlying securities it is designed to track. In addition, the lack of liquidity in an ETF could result in it being more volatile than the underlying securities and ETFs have management fees which increase their

 

 7 

 

 

costs. Also, there is a risk that an ETF may fail to closely track the index or basket of securities that it is designed to replicate.

 

Preferred Stocks

 

Preferred stock generally has a preference to dividends and, upon liquidation, over an issuer’s common stock but ranks junior to debt securities in an issuer’s capital structure. Preferred stock generally pays dividends in cash (or additional shares of preferred stock) at a defined rate but, unlike interest payments on debt securities, preferred stock dividends are payable only if declared by the issuer’s board of directors. Dividends on preferred stock may be cumulative, meaning that, in the event the issuer fails to make one or more dividend payments on the preferred stock, no dividends may be paid on the issuer’s common stock until all unpaid preferred stock dividends have been paid. Preferred stock also may be subject to optional or mandatory redemption provisions.

 

Convertible Securities

 

Convertible securities may include corporate notes or preferred securities. Investments in convertible securities are not subject to the rating criteria with respect to non-convertible debt obligations. As with all debt securities, the market value of convertible securities tends to decline as interest rates increase and, conversely, to increase as interest rates decline. The market value of convertible securities can also be heavily dependent upon the changing value of the equity securities into which such securities are convertible, depending on whether the market price of the underlying security exceeds the conversion price. Convertible securities generally rank senior to common stocks in an issuer’s capital structure and consequently entail less risk than the issuer’s common stock. However, the extent to which such risk is reduced depends upon the degree to which the convertible security sells above its value as a fixed-income security.

 

Additional Investment Policies

 

The following provides a more detailed explanation of some investment policies of the Fund.

 

Lending of Securities

 

The Fund may lend its securities so long as such loans do not represent more than 33⅓% of its total assets. As collateral for the loaned securities, the borrower gives the lending portfolio collateral equal to at least 100% of the value of the loaned securities. The collateral will consist of cash (including U.S. dollars and foreign currency), cash equivalents or securities issued or guaranteed by the U.S. government or its agencies or instrumentalities. The borrower must also agree to increase the collateral if the value of the loaned securities increases. If the market value of the loaned securities declines, the borrower may request that some collateral be returned.

 

During the existence of the loan, the Fund will receive from the borrower amounts equivalent to any dividends, interest or other distributions on the loaned securities, as well as interest on such amounts. If the Fund receives a payment in lieu of dividends (a “substitute payment”) with respect to securities on loan pursuant to a securities lending transaction, such income will not be eligible for the dividends-received deduction (the “DRD”) for corporate shareholders. The DRD is discussed more fully in this SAI under “Additional Information Concerning Taxes.”

 

As with other extensions of credit, there are risks that collateral could be inadequate in the event of the borrower failing financially, which could result in actual financial loss, and risks that recovery of loaned securities could be delayed, which could result in interference with portfolio management decisions or exercise of ownership rights. The collateral is managed by an affiliate of the Advisor. The Fund will be responsible for the risks associated with the investment of cash collateral, including the risk that the Fund may lose money on the investment or may fail to earn sufficient income to meet its obligations to the borrower. In addition, the Fund may lose its right to vote its shares of the loaned securities at a shareholders meeting if the subadvisor does not recall or does not timely recall the loaned securities, or if the borrower fails to return the recalled securities in advance of the record date for the meeting.

 

The Trust, on behalf of certain of its Funds, has entered into an agency agreement for securities lending transactions (“Securities Lending Agreement”) with State Street Bank and Trust Company (“State Street” or the “Securities Lending Agent”). Pursuant to the Securities Lending Agreement, State Street acts as securities lending agent for the

 

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Funds and administers each Fund’s securities lending program.  During the fiscal year, the Securities Lending Agent performed various services for the Funds, including the following:  (i) lending portfolio securities, previously identified by the Fund as available for loan, and held by State Street in its capacity as the Fund’s custodian (“Custodian”) on behalf of the Fund, to borrowers identified by the Fund in the Securities Lending Agreement; (ii) instructing the Custodian to receive and deliver securities, as applicable, to effect such loans; (iii) locating borrowers; (iv) monitoring daily the market value of loaned securities; (v) ensuring daily movement of collateral associated with loan transactions; (vi) marking to market loaned securities and non-cash collateral; (vii) monitoring dividend activity with respect to loaned securities; (viii) negotiating loan terms with the borrowers; (ix) recordkeeping and account servicing related to securities lending activities; and (x) arranging for the return of loaned securities at the termination of the loan. Under the Securities Lending Agreement, State Street generally will bear the risk that a borrower may default on its obligation to return loaned securities.

 

Securities lending involves counterparty risk, including the risk that the loaned securities may not be returned or returned in a timely manner and/or a loss of rights in the collateral if the borrower or the lending agent defaults or fails financially. This risk is increased when a Fund’s loans are concentrated with a single or limited number of borrowers. There are no limits on the number of borrowers to which a Fund may lend securities and a Fund may lend securities to only one or a small group of borrowers. In addition, under the securities lending agreement with State Street, loans may be made to affiliates of State Street, as identified in the agreement.

 

Cash collateral may be invested by the Fund in a privately offered registered investment company advised by the Adviser and subadvised by John Hancock Asset Management a division of Manulife Asset Management (US) LLC (“John Hancock Asset Management”) that is part of the same group of investment companies as the Fund and that is offered exclusively to Funds in the same group of investment companies. Investment of cash collateral offers the opportunity for the fund to profit from income earned by this collateral pool, but also the risk of loss, should the value of the fund’s shares in the collateral pool decrease below their initial value.

 

Interfund Lending

 

Pursuant to an exemptive order issued by the SEC, a fund may lend money to, and borrow money from, other funds advised by the Advisor or any other investment advisor under common control with the Advisor, subject to the fundamental restrictions on borrowing and lending applicable to the fund.

 

A fund that is authorized to borrow through the program will do so only when the costs are equal to or lower than the cost of bank loans, and a fund that is authorized to lend through the program will do so only when the returns are higher than those available from an investment in overnight repurchase agreements. Interfund loans and borrowings normally extend overnight, but can have a maximum duration of seven days. Loans may be called on one day’s notice. A fund that is authorized to borrow through the program may have to borrow from a bank at a higher interest rate if an interfund loan is called or not renewed. Any delay in repayment to a lending fund or from a borrowing fund could result in a lost investment opportunity or additional borrowing costs.

 

When-Issued/Delayed Delivery/Forward Commitment Securities

 

A fund may purchase or sell securities on a “when-issued,” “delayed-delivery” or “forward commitment” basis. When-issued, delayed-delivery or forward-commitment transactions involve a commitment to purchase or sell securities at a predetermined price or yield in which payment and delivery take place after the customary settlement for such securities (which is typically one month or more after trade date). When purchasing securities in one of these types of transactions, payment for the securities is not required until the delivery date, however, the purchaser assumes the rights and risks of ownership, including the risks of price and yield fluctuations and the risk that the security will not be delivered. When a fund has sold securities pursuant to one of these transactions, the fund will not participate in further gains or losses with respect to that security. At the time of delivery, the value of when-issued, delayed-delivery or forward commitment securities may be more or less than the transaction price, and the yields then available in the market may be higher or lower than those obtained in the transaction.

 

Under normal circumstances, a fund purchasing securities on a when-issued or forward commitment basis will take delivery of the securities, but a fund may, if deemed advisable, sell the securities before the settlement date. Forward contracts may settle in cash between the counterparty and the fund or by physical settlement of the underlying

 

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securities, and a fund may renegotiate or roll over a forward commitment transaction. In general, a fund does not pay for the securities, or start earning interest on them, or deliver or take possession of securities until the obligations are scheduled to be settled. In such transactions, no cash changes hands on the trade date, however, if the transaction is collateralized, exchange of margin may take place between the fund and the counterparty according to an agreed-upon schedule. A fund does, however, record the transaction and reflect the value each day of the securities in determining its NAV.

 

While awaiting settlement of the obligations purchased or sold on such basis, a fund will maintain on its records liquid assets consisting of cash, liquid high-quality debt obligations or other assets equal to the amount of the commitments to purchase or sell when-issued, delayed-delivery or forward commitment securities. The availability of liquid assets for this purpose and the effect of asset segregation on a fund’s ability to meet its current obligations, to honor requests for redemption, and to otherwise manage its investment portfolio will limit the extent to which a fund may purchase when-issued or forward commitment securities.

 

Illiquid Securities

 

No fund may invest more than 15% of its net assets in securities that are not readily marketable (“illiquid securities”). Investment in illiquid securities involves the risk that, because of the lack of consistent market demand for such securities, a fund may be forced to sell them at a discount from the last offer price.

 

Illiquid securities may include, but are not limited to: (a) securities (except for Section 4(a)(2) Commercial Paper, discussed below) that are not eligible for resale pursuant to Rule 144A under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “1933 Act”); (b) repurchase agreements maturing in more than seven days (except for those that can be terminated after a notice period of seven days or less); (c) Interest Only and Principal Only securities of non-governmental issuers; (d) time deposits maturing in more than seven days; (e) federal fund loans maturing in more than seven days; (f) bank loan participation interests; (g) foreign government loan participations; (h) municipal leases and participations therein; and (i) any other securities or other investments for which a liquid secondary market does not exist.

 

Commercial paper issued in reliance on Section 4(a)(2) of the 1933 Act (“Section 4(a)(2) Commercial Paper”) is restricted as to its disposition under federal securities law, and generally is sold to institutional investors, such as the Fund, who agrees that it is purchasing the paper for investment purposes and not with a view to public distribution. Any resale by the purchaser must be made in an exempt transaction. Section 4(a)(2) Commercial Paper normally is resold to other institutional investors, like the Fund, through or with the assistance of the issuer or investment dealers who make a market in Section 4(a)(2) Commercial Paper, thus providing liquidity.

 

If the Board determines, based upon a continuing review of the trading markets for specific Section 4(a)(2) Commercial Paper or securities that are restricted as to resale but for which a ready market is available pursuant to an exemption provided by Rule 144A under the 1933 Act or other exemptions from the registration requirements of the 1933 Act, that such investments are liquid, they will not be subject to the Fund’s limitation on investments in illiquid securities. The Board has adopted procedures and delegated responsibility to the Advisor regarding oversight of the subadvisor’s compliance with the daily function of determining and monitoring the liquidity of restricted securities, including Rule 144A securities and Section 4(a)(2) Commercial Paper, as well as other investments. The Board, however, retains sufficient oversight and is ultimately responsible for such determinations. The Board carefully monitors the Fund’s investments in these securities, focusing on such important factors, among others, as valuation, liquidity and availability of information. This investment practice could have the effect of increasing the level of illiquidity in the Fund if qualified institutional buyers become for a time uninterested in purchasing these restricted securities.

 

Short Sales

 

A Fund may sell a security it does not own in anticipation of a decline in the market value of that security (a “short sale”). To complete such a transaction, the Fund must borrow the security to make delivery to the buyer. A Fund is then obligated to replace the security borrowed by purchasing it at market price at the time of replacement. The price at such time may be more or less than the price at which the security was sold by the Fund. Until the security is replaced, the Fund is required to pay the lender any dividends or interest which accrues during the period of the loan. To borrow the security, the Fund also may be required to pay a premium, which would increase the cost of the security

 

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sold. The proceeds of the short sale are typically retained by the broker to meet margin requirements until the short position is closed out. Until the Fund replaces a borrowed security, it will segregate with its custodian cash or other liquid assets at such a level that the amount segregated plus the amount deposited with the broker as collateral (generally not including proceeds from the short sales) will equal the current value of the security sold short. A Fund will incur a loss as a result of the short sale if the price of the security increases between the date of the short sale and the date on which the Fund replaced the borrowed security, and theoretically, the Fund’s loss could be unlimited. A Fund will realize a gain if the security declines in price between those dates. This result is the opposite of what one would expect from a cash purchase of a long position in a security. The amount of any gain will be decreased, and the amount of any loss increased, by the amount of any premium, dividends or interest the Fund may be required to pay in connection with a short sale. Short selling may amplify changes in the Fund’s NAV. Short selling also may produce higher than normal portfolio turnover, which may result in increased transaction costs to the Fund.

 

A Fund may make short sales of securities or maintain a short position, provided that at all times when a short position is open, the Fund owns an equal amount of such securities or securities convertible into or exchangeable, without payment of any further consideration, for an equal amount of the securities of the same issuer as the securities sold short (often referred to as a short sale “against-the-box”).

 

Investment in Other Investment Companies

 

A fund may invest in other investment companies (including closed-end investment companies, unit investment trusts, open-end investment companies, investment companies exempted from registration under the 1940 Act pursuant to the Rules thereunder and other pooled vehicles) to the extent permitted by federal securities laws (including the rules, regulations and interpretations thereunder) and to the extent permitted by exemptive relief obtained from the SEC by the custodian, the investment advisor and/or the subadvisor.

 

Investing in other investment companies involves substantially the same risks as investing directly in the underlying instruments, but the total return on such investments at the investment company-level may be reduced by the operating expenses and fees of such other investment companies, including advisory fees. Certain types of investment companies, such as closed-end investment companies, issue a fixed number of shares that trade on a stock exchange or may involve the payment of substantial premiums above the value of such investment companies’ portfolio securities when traded over-the-counter (“OTC”) or at discounts to their NAVs. Others are continuously offered at NAV, but also may be traded in the secondary market.

 

Index-Related Securities (“Equity Equivalents”)

 

A fund may invest in certain types of securities that enable investors to purchase or sell shares in a basket of securities that seeks to track the performance of an underlying index or a portion of an index. Such Equity Equivalents include, among others, DIAMONDS (interests in a basket of securities that seeks to track the performance of the Dow Jones Industrial Average), SPDRs or S&P Depositary Receipts (an exchange-traded fund that tracks the S&P 500 Index). Such securities are similar to index mutual funds, but they are traded on various stock exchanges or secondary markets. The value of these securities is dependent upon the performance of the underlying index on which they are based. Thus, these securities are subject to the same risks as their underlying indices as well as the securities that make up those indices. For example, if the securities comprising an index that an index-related security seeks to track perform poorly, the index-related security will lose value.

 

Equity Equivalents may be used for several purposes, including to simulate full investment in the underlying index while retaining a cash balance for portfolio management purposes, to facilitate trading, to reduce transaction costs or to seek higher investment returns where an Equity Equivalent is priced more attractively than securities in the underlying index. Because the expense associated with an investment in Equity Equivalents may be substantially lower than the expense of small investments directly in the securities comprising the indices they seek to track, investments in Equity Equivalents may provide a cost-effective means of diversifying a fund’s assets across a broad range of securities.

 

To the extent a fund invests in securities of other investment companies, including Equity Equivalents, fund shareholders would indirectly pay a portion of the operating costs of such companies in addition to the expenses of its own operations. These costs include management, brokerage, shareholder servicing and other operational expenses. Indirectly, if a fund invests in Equity Equivalents, shareholders may pay higher operational costs than if they owned

 

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the underlying investment companies directly. Additionally, a fund’s investments in such investment companies are subject to limitations under the 1940 Act and market availability.

 

The prices of Equity Equivalents are derived and based upon the securities held by the particular investment company. Accordingly, the level of risk involved in the purchase or sale of an Equity Equivalent is similar to the risk involved in the purchase or sale of traditional common stock, with the exception that the pricing mechanism for such instruments is based on a basket of stocks. The market prices of Equity Equivalents are expected to fluctuate in accordance with both changes in the NAVs of their underlying indices and the supply and demand for the instruments on the exchanges on which they are traded. Substantial market or other disruptions affecting Equity Equivalents could adversely affect the liquidity and value of the shares of a fund.

 

Fixed-Income Securities

 

Investment grade bonds are rated at the time of purchase in the four highest rating categories by a nationally recognized statistical rating organization (“NRSRO”), such as those rated “Aaa,” “Aa,” “A” and “Baa” by Moody’s, or “AAA,” “AA,” “A” and “BBB” by S&P or Fitch. Obligations rated in the lowest of the top four rating categories (such as “Baa” by Moody’s or “BBB” by S&P or Fitch) may have speculative characteristics and changes in economic conditions or other circumstances are more likely to lead to a weakened capacity to make principal and interest payments, including a greater possibility of default or bankruptcy of the issuer, than is the case with higher grade bonds. Subsequent to its purchase by a fund, an issue of securities may cease to be rated or its rating may be reduced below the minimum required for purchase by a fund. In addition, it is possible that Moody’s, S&P, Fitch and other NRSROs might not timely change their ratings of a particular issue to reflect subsequent events. None of these events will require the sale of the securities by a fund, although the subadvisor will consider these events in determining whether it should continue to hold the securities.

 

In general, the ratings of Moody’s, S&P and Fitch represent the opinions of these agencies as to the quality of the securities that they rate. It should be emphasized however, that ratings are relative and subjective and are not absolute standards of quality. These ratings will be used by the Fund as initial criteria for the selection of portfolio securities. Among the factors that will be considered are the long-term ability of the issuer to pay principal and interest and general economic trends. Appendix A contains further information concerning the ratings of Moody’s, S&P and Fitch and their significance.

 

Funds of Funds Investments

 

Certain funds may serve as an underlying investment for one or more John Hancock funds of funds (the “Portfolios”). The Portfolios periodically re-allocate their investments among underlying investments. In an effort to be fully invested at all times and also to avoid temporary periods of under-investment, the Fund may buy securities and other instruments in anticipation of or with knowledge of future purchases of Fund shares resulting from a re-allocation of assets by the Portfolios to the Fund. Until such purchases of Fund shares by a Portfolio settle (normally between one and two days), the Fund may have investment exposure in excess of its net assets. Shareholders who transact with the Fund during the period beginning when the Fund first starts buying securities in anticipation of a purchase order from a Portfolio until such purchase order settles may incur more loss or realize more gain than they otherwise might have in the absence of the excess investment exposure.

 

Short-Term Trading

 

Short-term trading means the purchase and subsequent sale of a security after it has been held for a relatively brief period of time. If and to the extent consistent with and permitted by its investment objective and policies, the Fund may engage in short-term trading in response to stock market conditions, changes in interest rates or other economic trends and developments, or to take advantage of yield disparities between various fixed-income securities in order to realize capital gains or improve income. Short-term trading may have the effect of increasing portfolio turnover rate. A high rate of portfolio turnover (100% or greater) involves correspondingly greater brokerage transaction expenses and may make it more difficult for the Fund to qualify as a RIC for federal income tax purposes (for additional information about qualification as a RIC under the Code, see “Additional Information Concerning Taxes” in this SAI). See “Portfolio Turnover.”

 

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RISK FACTORS

 

The risks of investing in certain types of securities are described below. The value of an individual security or a particular type of security can be more volatile than the market as a whole and can perform differently than the value of the market as a whole.

 

Cybersecurity and Operational Risk

 

Cybersecurity breaches are 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 Fund service provider to suffer data corruption or lose operational functionality. Intentional cybersecurity incidents include: unauthorized access to systems, networks, or devices (such as through “hacking” activity); infection from computer viruses or other malicious software code; and attacks that shut down, disable, slow or otherwise disrupt operations, business processes, or website access or functionality. In addition, unintentional incidents can occur, such as the inadvertent release of confidential information.

 

A cybersecurity breach could result in the loss or theft of customer data or funds, the inability 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 costs associated with system repairs, any of which could have a substantial impact on the Fund. For example, in a denial of service, Fund shareholders could lose access to their electronic accounts indefinitely, and employees of the Advisor, the subadvisor, or the Fund’s other service providers may not be able 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, the Advisor, the subadvisor, or other service provider to incur regulatory penalties, reputational damage, compliance costs associated with corrective measures, or financial loss. They may also result in violations of applicable privacy and other laws. In addition, such incidents could affect issuers in which the Fund invests, thereby causing the Fund’s investments to lose value.

 

Cyber-events have the potential to affect materially the Funds’ and the advisor's relationships with accounts, shareholders, clients, customers, employees, products, and service providers. The Fund has established risk management systems reasonably designed to seek to reduce the risks associated with cyber-events. There is no guarantee that the Fund will be able to prevent or mitigate the impact of all cyber-events.

 

The Fund is exposed to operational risk arising from a number of factors, including, but not limited to, human error, processing and communication errors, errors of the Fund’s service providers, counterparties, or other third parties, failed or inadequate processes, and technology or system failures.

 

The Advisor, the subadvisor, and their affiliates have established risk management systems that seek to reduce cybersecurity and operational risks, and business continuity plans in the event of a cybersecurity breach or operational failure. However, there are inherent limitations in such plans, including that certain risks have not been identified, and there is no guarantee that such efforts will succeed, especially since none of the Advisor, the subadvisor, or their affiliates controls the cybersecurity or operations systems of the Fund’s third-party service providers (including the Fund’s custodian), or those of the issuers of securities in which the Fund invests.

 

Equity Securities

 

Equity securities include common, preferred and convertible preferred stocks and securities the values of which are tied to the price of stocks, such as rights, warrants and convertible debt securities. Common and preferred stocks represent equity ownership in a company. Stock markets are volatile. The price of equity securities will fluctuate and can decline and reduce the value of a fund investing in equities. The price of equity securities fluctuates based on changes in a company’s financial condition and overall market and economic conditions. The value of equity securities purchased by a fund could decline if the financial condition of the companies invested in decline or if overall market and economic conditions deteriorate. Even funds that invest in high quality or “blue chip” equity securities or securities of established companies with large market capitalizations (which generally have strong financial characteristics) can be negatively impacted by poor overall market and economic conditions. Companies with large market capitalizations

 

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also may have less growth potential than smaller companies and may be able to react less quickly to change in the marketplace.

 

Investments in the stocks of privately held companies and newly public companies involve greater risks than investments in stocks of companies that have traded publicly on an exchange for extended time periods. Investments in such companies are less liquid and difficult to value, and there is significantly less information available about these companies’ business models, quality of management, earnings growth potential, and other criteria used to evaluate their investment prospects.

 

Multinational Companies Risk

 

To the extent that the Fund invests in the securities of companies with foreign business operations, it may be riskier than funds that focus on companies with primarily U.S. operations. Multinational companies may face certain political and economic risks such as foreign controls over currency exchange; restrictions on monetary repatriation; possible seizure, nationalization or expropriation of assets; and political, economic or social instability. These risks are greater for companies with significant operations in developing countries.

 

Fixed-Income Securities

 

Fixed-income securities generally are subject to two principal types of risks: (a) interest rate risk; and (b) credit quality risk. Fixed-income securities are also subject to liquidity risk.

 

Interest Rate Risk. Fixed-income securities are affected by changes in interest rates. When interest rates decline, the market value of the fixed-income securities generally can be expected to rise. Conversely, when interest rates rise, the market value of fixed-income securities generally can be expected to decline. Recent and potential future changes in government monetary policy may affect the level of interest rates.

 

The longer a fixed-income security’s duration, the more sensitive it will be to changes in interest rates. Similarly, a fund with a longer average portfolio duration will be more sensitive to changes in interest rates than a fund with a shorter average portfolio duration. Duration is a measure used to determine the sensitivity of a security’s price to changes in interest rates that incorporates a security’s yield, coupon, final maturity, and call features, among other characteristics. All other things remaining equal, for each one percentage point increase in interest rates, the value of a portfolio of fixed-income investments would generally be expected to decline by one percent for every year of the portfolio’s average duration above zero. For example, the price of a bond fund with an average duration of eight years would be expected to fall approximately 8% if interest rates rose by one percentage point. The maturity of a security, another commonly used measure of price sensitivity, measures only the time until final payment is due, whereas duration takes into account the pattern of all payments of interest and principal on a security over time, including how these payments are affected by prepayments and by changes in interest rates, as well as the time until an interest rate is reset (in the case of variable-rate securities).

 

Credit Quality Risk. Fixed-income securities are subject to the risk that the issuer of the security will not repay all or a portion of the principal borrowed and will not make all interest payments. If the credit quality of a fixed-income security deteriorates after a fund has purchased the security, the market value of the security may decrease and lead to a decrease in the value of the fund’s investments. Funds that may invest in lower rated fixed-income securities are riskier than funds that may invest in higher rated fixed-income securities.

 

Liquidity Risk. Liquidity risk may result from the lack of an active market, the reduced number of traditional market participants, or the reduced capacity of traditional market participants to make a market in fixed-income securities. The capacity of traditional dealers to engage in fixed-income trading has not kept pace with the bond market’s growth. As a result, dealer inventories of corporate bonds, which indicate the ability to “make markets,” i.e., buy or sell a security at the quoted bid and ask price, respectively, are at or near historic lows relative to market size. Because market makers provide stability to fixed-income markets, the significant reduction in dealer inventories could lead to decreased liquidity and increased volatility, which may become exacerbated during periods of economic or political stress. In addition, liquidity risk may be magnified in a rising interest rate environment in which investor redemptions from fixed-income funds may be higher than normal; the selling of fixed-income securities to satisfy fund shareholder redemptions may result in an increased supply of such securities during periods of reduced investor demand due to a

 

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lack of buyers, thereby impairing the fund’s ability to sell such securities. The secondary market for certain tax-exempt securities tends to be less well-developed or liquid than many other securities markets, which may adversely affect the fund's ability to sell such securities at attractive prices.

 

Negative Interest Rates

 

Certain countries have recently experienced negative interest rates on deposits and debt instruments have traded at negative yields. A negative interest rate policy is an unconventional central bank monetary policy tool where nominal target interest rates are set with a negative value (i.e., below zero percent) intended to help create self-sustaining growth in the local economy. Negative interest rates may become more prevalent among non-U.S. issuers, and potentially within the U.S. For example, if a bank charges negative interest, instead of receiving interest on deposits, a depositor must pay the bank fees to keep money with the bank.

 

These market conditions may increase the Fund’s exposures to interest rate risk. To the extent the Fund has a bank deposit or holds a debt instrument with a negative interest rate to maturity, the Fund would generate a negative return on that investment. While negative yields can be expected to reduce demand for fixed-income investments trading at a negative interest rate, investors may be willing to continue to purchase such investments for a number of reasons including, but not limited to, price insensitivity, arbitrage opportunities across fixed-income markets or rules-based investment strategies. If negative interest rates become more prevalent in the market, it is expected that investors will seek to reallocate assets to other income-producing assets such as investment grade and high-yield debt instruments, or equity investments that pay a dividend. This increased demand for higher yielding assets may cause the price of such instruments to rise while triggering a corresponding decrease in yield and the value of debt instruments over time.

 

Inflation-Indexed Bonds

 

Inflation-indexed bonds are debt instruments whose principal and/or interest value are adjusted periodically according to a rate of inflation (usually a consumer price index). Two structures are most common. The U.S. Treasury and some other issuers use a structure that accrues inflation into the principal value of the bond. Most other issuers pay out the inflation accruals as part of a semiannual coupon.

 

U.S. Treasury Inflation Protected Securities (“TIPS”) currently are issued with maturities of five, ten, or thirty years, although it is possible that securities with other maturities will be issued in the future. The principal amount of TIPS adjusts for inflation, although the inflation-adjusted principal is not paid until maturity. Semiannual coupon payments are determined as a fixed percentage of the inflation-adjusted principal at the time the payment is made.

 

If the rate measuring inflation falls, the principal value of inflation-indexed bonds will be adjusted downward, and consequently the interest payable on these securities (calculated with respect to a smaller principal amount) will be reduced. At maturity, TIPS are redeemed at the greater of their inflation-adjusted principal or at the par amount at original issue. If an inflation-indexed bond does not provide a guarantee of principal at maturity, the adjusted principal value of the bond repaid at maturity may be less than the original principal.

 

The value of inflation-indexed bonds is expected to change in response to changes in real interest rates. Real interest rates in turn are tied to the relationship between nominal interest rates and the rate of inflation. For example, if inflation were to rise at a faster rate than nominal interest rates, real interest rates would likely decline, leading to an increase in value of inflation-indexed bonds. In contrast, if nominal interest rates increase at a faster rate than inflation, real interest rates would likely rise, leading to a decrease in value of inflation-indexed bonds.

 

While these securities, if held to maturity, are expected to be protected from long-term inflationary trends, short-term increases in inflation may lead to a decline in value. If nominal interest rates rise due to reasons other than inflation (for example, due to an expansion of non-inflationary economic activity), investors in these securities may not be protected to the extent that the increase in rates is not reflected in the bond’s inflation measure.

 

The inflation adjustment of TIPS is tied to the Consumer Price Index for Urban Consumers (“CPI-U”), which is calculated monthly by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The CPI-U is a measurement of price changes in the cost

 

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of living, made up of components such as housing, food, transportation, and energy. There can be no assurance that the CPI-U will accurately measure the real rate of inflation in the prices of goods and services.

 

Hybrid Instruments

 

The risks of investing in hybrid instruments are a combination of the risks of investing in securities, options, futures, swaps and currencies. Therefore, an investment in a hybrid instrument may include significant risks not associated with a similar investment in a traditional debt instrument with a fixed principal amount, is denominated in U.S. dollars, or that bears interest either at a fixed rate or a floating rate determined by reference to a common, nationally published benchmark. The risks of a particular hybrid instrument will depend upon the terms of the instrument, but may include, without limitation, the possibility of significant changes in the benchmarks or the prices of underlying assets to which the instrument is linked. These risks generally depend upon factors unrelated to the operations or credit quality of the issuer of the hybrid instrument and that may not be readily foreseen by the purchaser. Such factors include economic and political events, the supply and demand for the underlying assets, and interest rate movements. In recent years, various benchmarks and prices for underlying assets have been highly volatile, and such volatility may be expected in the future. See “Hedging and Other Strategic Transactions” for a description of certain risks associated with investments in futures, options, and forward contracts.

 

Volatility. Hybrid instruments are potentially more volatile and carry greater market risks than traditional debt instruments. Depending on the structure of the particular hybrid instrument, changes in a benchmark may be magnified by the terms of the hybrid instrument and have an even more dramatic and substantial effect upon the value of the hybrid instrument. Also, the prices of the hybrid instrument and the benchmark or underlying asset may not move in the same direction or at the same time.

 

Leverage Risk. Hybrid instruments may bear interest or pay preferred dividends at below market (or even relatively nominal) rates. Alternatively, hybrid instruments may bear interest at above market rates, but bear an increased risk of principal loss (or gain). For example, an increased risk of principal loss (or gain) may result if “leverage” is used to structure a hybrid instrument. Leverage risk occurs when the hybrid instrument is structured so that a change in a benchmark or underlying asset is multiplied to produce a greater value change in the hybrid instrument, thereby magnifying the risk of loss, as well as the potential for gain.

 

Liquidity Risk. Hybrid instruments also may carry liquidity risk since the instruments are often “customized” to meet the needs of a particular investor. Therefore, the number of investors that would be willing and able to buy such instruments in the secondary market may be smaller than for more traditional debt securities. In addition, because the purchase and sale of hybrid instruments could take place in an OTC market without the guarantee of a central clearing organization or in a transaction between a fund and the issuer of the hybrid instrument, the creditworthiness of the counterparty or issuer of the hybrid instrument would be an additional risk factor which the fund would have to consider and monitor.

 

Lack of U.S. Regulation. Hybrid instruments may not be subject to regulation of the Commodities Futures Trading Commission (the “CFTC”), which generally regulates the trading of swaps and commodity futures by U.S. persons, the SEC, which regulates the offer and sale of securities by and to U.S. persons, or any other governmental regulatory authority.

 

Credit and Counterparty Risk. The issuer or guarantor of a hybrid instrument may be unable or unwilling to make timely principal, interest or settlement payments, or otherwise honor its obligations. Funds that invest in hybrid instruments are subject to varying degrees of risk that the issuers of the securities will have their credit rating downgraded or will default, potentially reducing a fund’s share price and income level.

 

The various risks discussed above with respect to hybrid instruments, particularly the market risk of such instruments, may cause significant fluctuations in the NAV of a fund that invests in such instruments.

 

Industry or Sector Investing

 

When the Fund invests a substantial portion of its assets in a particular industry or sector of the economy, the Fund’s investments are not as varied as the investments of most funds and are far less varied than the broad securities markets.

 

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As a result, the Fund’s performance tends to be more volatile than other funds, and the values of the Fund’s investments tend to go up and down more rapidly. In addition, the Fund that invests significantly in a particular industry or sector is particularly susceptible to the impact of market, economic, regulatory and other factors affecting that industry or sector.

 

Consumer Discretionary. The consumer discretionary sector may be affected by fluctuations in supply and demand and may also be adversely affected by changes in consumer spending as a result of world events, political and economic conditions, commodity price volatility, changes in exchange rates, imposition of import controls, increased competition, depletion of resources and labor relations.

 

Consumer Staples. Companies in the consumer staples sector may be affected by general economic conditions, commodity production and pricing, consumer confidence and spending, consumer preferences, interest rates, product cycles, marketing, competition, and government regulation. Other risks include changes in global economic, environmental and political events, and the depletion of resources. Companies in the consumer staples sector may also be negatively impacted by government regulations affecting their products. For example, government regulations may affect the permissibility of using various food additives and production methods of companies that make food products, which could affect company profitability. Tobacco companies, in particular, may be adversely affected by new laws, regulations and litigation. Companies in the consumer staples sector may also be subject to risks relating to the supply of, demand for, and prices of raw materials. The prices of raw materials fluctuate in response to a number of factors, including, changes in exchange rates, import and export controls, changes in international agricultural and trading policies, and seasonal and weather conditions, among others. In addition, the success of food, beverage, household and personal product companies, in particular, may be strongly affected by unpredictable factors, such as, demographics, consumer spending, and product trends.

 

Energy. Companies in the energy sector may be affected by energy prices, supply and demand fluctuations including in energy fuels, energy conservation, liabilities arising from government or civil actions, environmental and other government regulations, and geopolitical events including political instability and war. The market value of companies in the local energy sector is heavily impacted by the levels and stability of global energy prices, energy conservation efforts, the success of exploration projects, exchange rates, interest rates, economic conditions, tax and other government regulations, increased competition and technological advances, as well as other factors. Companies in this sector may be subject to extensive government regulation and contractual fixed pricing, which may increase the cost of doing business and limit these companies’ profits. A large part of the returns of these companies depends on few customers, including governmental entities and utilities. As a result, governmental budget constraints may have a significant negative effect on the stock prices of energy sector companies. Energy companies may also operate in, or engage in, transactions involving countries with less developed regulatory regimes or a history of expropriation, nationalization or other adverse policies. As a result, securities of companies in the energy field are subject to quick price and supply fluctuations caused by events relating to international politics. Other risks include liability from accidents resulting in injury or loss of life or property, pollution or other environmental problems, equipment malfunctions or mishandling of materials and a risk of loss from terrorism, political strife and natural disasters. Energy companies can also be heavily affected by the supply of, and demand for, their specific product or service and for energy products in general, and government subsidization. Energy companies may have high levels of debt and may be more likely to restructure their businesses if there are downturns in energy markets or the economy as a whole.

 

Financial Services. A Fund that invests in securities of financial services companies may be particularly vulnerable to events affecting that sector. Financial services companies may include, but are not limited to, commercial and industrial banks, savings and loan associations and their holding companies, consumer and industrial finance companies, diversified financial services companies, investment banking, securities brokerage and investment advisory companies, leasing companies and insurance companies. The types of companies that compose the financial services sector may change over time. These companies are all subject to extensive regulation, rapid business changes, volatile performance dependent upon the availability and cost of capital, prevailing interest rates and significant competition. General economic conditions significantly affect these companies. Credit and other losses resulting from the financial difficulty of borrowers or other third parties have a potentially adverse effect on companies in this sector. Investment banking, securities brokerage and investment advisory companies are particularly subject to government regulation and the risks inherent in securities trading and underwriting activities. In addition, all financial services companies face shrinking profit margins due to new competitors, the cost of new technology, and the pressure to compete globally.

 

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Banking. Commercial banks (including “money center” regional and community banks), savings and loan associations and holding companies of the foregoing are especially subject to adverse effects of volatile interest rates, concentrations of loans in particular industries (such as real estate or energy) and significant competition. The profitability of these businesses is to a significant degree dependent upon the availability and cost of capital funds. Economic conditions in the real estate market may have a particularly strong effect on certain banks and savings associations. Commercial banks and savings associations are subject to extensive federal and, in many instances, state regulation. Neither such extensive regulation nor the federal insurance of deposits ensures the solvency or profitability of companies in this industry, and there is no assurance against losses in securities issued by such companies.

 

Insurance. Insurance companies are particularly subject to government regulation and rate setting, potential anti-trust and tax law changes, and industry-wide pricing and competition cycles. Property and casualty insurance companies also may be affected by weather and other catastrophes. Life and health insurance companies may be affected by mortality and morbidity rates, including the effects of epidemics. Individual insurance companies may be exposed to reserve inadequacies, problems in investment portfolios (for example, due to real estate or “junk” bond holdings) and failures of reinsurance carriers.

 

Health Sciences. Companies in this sector are subject to the additional risks of increased competition within the health care industry, changes in legislation or government regulations, reductions in government funding, product liability or other litigation and the obsolescence of popular products. The prices of the securities of health sciences companies may fluctuate widely due to government regulation and approval of their products and services, which may have a significant effect on their price and availability. In addition, the types of products or services produced or provided by these companies may quickly become obsolete. Moreover, liability for products that are later alleged to be harmful or unsafe may be substantial and may have a significant impact on a company’s market value or share price.

 

Industrials. Companies in the industrials sector may be affected by general economic conditions, commodity production and pricing, supply and demand fluctuations, environmental and other government regulations, geopolitical events, interest rates, insurance costs, technological developments, liabilities arising from governmental or civil actions, labor relations, import controls and government spending. The value of securities issued by companies in the industrials sector may also be adversely affected by supply and demand related to their specific products or services and industrials sector products in general, as well as liability for environmental damage and product liability claims and government regulations. For example, the products of manufacturing companies may face obsolescence due to rapid technological developments and frequent new product introduction. Certain companies within this sector, particularly aerospace and defense companies, may be heavily affected by government spending policies because companies involved in this industry rely, to a significant extent, on government demand for their products and services, and, therefore, the financial condition of, and investor interest in, these companies are significantly influenced by governmental defense spending policies, which are typically under pressure from efforts to control the U.S. (and other) government budgets. In addition, securities of industrials companies in transportation may be cyclical and have occasional sharp price movements which may result from economic changes, fuel prices, labor relations and insurance costs, and transportation companies in certain countries may also be subject to significant government regulation and oversight, which may adversely affect their businesses.

 

Internet-Related Investments. The value of companies engaged in Internet-related activities, which is a developing industry, is particularly vulnerable to: (a) rapidly changing technology; (b) extensive government regulation; and (c) relatively high risk of obsolescence caused by scientific and technological advances. In addition, companies engaged in Internet-related activities are difficult to value and many have high share prices relative to their earnings which they may not be able to maintain over the long-term. Moreover, many Internet companies are not yet profitable and will need additional financing to continue their operations. There is no guarantee that such financing will be available when needed. Since many Internet companies are start-up companies, the risks associated with investing in small companies are heightened for these companies. A Fund that invests a significant portion of its assets in Internet-related companies should be considered extremely risky even as compared to other funds that invest primarily in small company securities.

 

Materials. Companies in the materials sector may be affected by general economic conditions, commodity production and prices, consumer preferences, interest rates, exchange rates, product cycles, marketing, competition, resource depletion, and environmental, import/export and other government regulations. Other risks may include liabilities for environmental damage and general civil liabilities, and mandated expenditures for safety and pollution control. The materials sector may also be affected by economic cycles, technological progress, and labor relations. At times,

 

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worldwide production of industrial materials has been greater than demand as a result of over-building or economic downturns, leading to poor investment returns or losses. These risks are heightened for companies in the materials sector located in foreign markets.

 

Natural Resources. A fund’s investments in natural resources companies are especially affected by variations in the commodities markets (which may be due to market events, regulatory developments or other factors that such fund cannot control) and these companies may lack the resources and the broad business lines to weather hard times. Natural resources companies can be significantly affected by events relating to international political developments, energy conservation, the success of exploration projects, commodity prices, and tax and government regulations.

 

Technology. Technology companies rely heavily on technological advances and face intense competition, both domestically and internationally, which may have an adverse effect on profit margins. Shortening of product cycle and manufacturing capacity increases may subject technology companies to aggressive pricing. Technology companies may have limited product lines, markets, financial resources or personnel. The products of technology companies may face product obsolescence due to rapid technological developments and frequent new product introduction, unpredictable changes in growth rates and competition for the services of qualified personnel. Technology companies may not successfully introduce new products, develop and maintain a loyal customer base or achieve general market acceptance for their products.

 

Stocks of technology companies, especially those of smaller, less-seasoned companies, tend to be more volatile than the overall market. Companies in the technology sector are also heavily dependent on patent and intellectual property rights, the loss or impairment of which may adversely affect the profitability of these companies. Technology companies engaged in manufacturing, such as semiconductor companies, often operate internationally which could expose them to risks associated with instability and changes in economic and political conditions, foreign currency fluctuations, changes in foreign regulations, competition from subsidized foreign competitors with lower production costs and other risks inherent to international business.

 

Telecommunications. Companies in the telecommunications sector are subject to the additional risks of rapid obsolescence, lack of standardization or compatibility with existing technologies, an unfavorable regulatory environment, and a dependency on patent and copyright protection. The prices of the securities of companies in the telecommunications sector may fluctuate widely due to both federal and state regulations governing rates of return and services that may be offered, fierce competition for market share, and competitive challenges in the U.S. from foreign competitors engaged in strategic joint ventures with U.S. companies, and in foreign markets from both U.S. and foreign competitors. In addition, recent industry consolidation trends may lead to increased regulation of telecommunications companies in their primary markets.

 

Utilities. Companies in the utilities sector may be affected by general economic conditions, supply and demand, financing and operating costs, rate caps, interest rates, liabilities arising from governmental or civil actions, consumer confidence and spending, competition, technological progress, energy prices, resource conservation and depletion, man-made or natural disasters, geopolitical events, and environmental and other government regulations. The value of securities issued by companies in the utilities sector may be negatively impacted by variations in exchange rates, domestic and international competition, energy conservation and governmental limitations on rates charged to customers. Although rate changes of a regulated utility usually vary in approximate correlation with financing costs, due to political and regulatory factors rate changes usually happen only after a delay after the changes in financing costs. Deregulation may subject utility companies to increased competition and can negatively affect their profitability as it permits utility companies to diversify outside of their original geographic regions and customary lines of business, causing them to engage in more uncertain ventures. Deregulation can also eliminate restrictions on the profits of certain utility companies, but can simultaneously expose these companies to an increased risk of loss. Although opportunities may permit certain utility companies to earn more than their traditional regulated rates of return, companies in the utilities industry may have difficulty obtaining an adequate return on invested capital, raising capital, or financing large construction projects during periods of inflation or unsettled capital markets. Utility companies may also be subject to increased costs because of the effects of man-made or natural disasters. Current and future regulations or legislation can make it more difficult for utility companies to operate profitably. Government regulators monitor and control utility revenues and costs, and thus may restrict utility profits. There is no assurance that regulatory authorities will grant rate increases in the future, or that those increases will be adequate to permit the payment of dividends on stocks issued by a utility company. Because utility companies are faced with the same

 

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obstacles, issues and regulatory burdens, their securities may react similarly and more in unison to these or other market conditions.

 

Initial Public Offerings (“IPOs”)

 

A fund may invest a portion of its assets in shares of IPOs, consistent with its investment objectives and policies. IPOs may have a magnified impact on the performance of a fund with a small asset base. The impact of IPOs on a fund’s performance likely will decrease as the fund’s asset size increases, which could reduce the fund’s returns. IPOs may not be consistently available to a fund for investment, particularly as the fund’s asset base grows. IPO shares frequently are volatile in price due to the absence of a prior public market, the small number of shares available for trading and limited information about the issuer. Therefore, a fund may hold IPO shares for a very short period of time. This may increase the turnover of a fund and may lead to increased expenses for a fund, such as commissions and transaction costs. In addition, IPO shares can experience an immediate drop in value if the demand for the securities does not continue to support the offering price.

 

Investment Company Securities

 

A fund may invest in securities of other investment companies. The total return on such investments will be reduced by the operating expenses and fees of such other investment companies, including advisory fees. Investments in closed-end funds may involve the payment of substantial premiums above the value of such investment companies’ portfolio securities.

 

Investment Grade Fixed-Income Securities in the Lowest Rating Category

 

Investment grade fixed-income securities in the lowest rating category (i.e., rated “Baa” by Moody’s and “BBB” by S&P or Fitch, as applicable, and comparable unrated securities) involve a higher degree of risk than fixed-income securities in the higher rating categories. While such securities are considered investment grade quality and are deemed to have adequate capacity for payment of principal and interest, such securities lack outstanding investment characteristics and have speculative characteristics as well. For example, changes in economic conditions or other circumstances are more likely to lead to a weakened capacity to make principal and interest payments than is the case with higher grade securities.

 

Market Events

 

Events in certain sectors historically have resulted, and may in the future result, in an unusually high degree of volatility in the financial markets, both domestic and foreign. These events have included, but are not limited to: bankruptcies, corporate restructurings, and other events related to the sub-prime mortgage crisis in 2008; governmental efforts to limit short selling and high frequency trading; measures to address U.S. federal and state budget deficits; social, political, and economic instability in Europe; economic stimulus by the Japanese central bank; steep declines in oil prices; dramatic changes in currency exchange rates; and China's economic slowdown. Interconnected global economies and financial markets increase the possibility that conditions in one country or region might adversely impact issuers in a different country or region. Both domestic and foreign equity markets have experienced increased volatility and turmoil, with issuers that have exposure to the real estate, mortgage, and credit markets particularly affected. Banks and financial services companies could suffer losses if interest rates continue to rise or economic conditions deteriorate.

 

In addition, relatively high market volatility and reduced liquidity in credit and fixed-income markets may adversely affect many issuers worldwide. Actions taken by the U.S. Federal Reserve (Fed) or foreign central banks to stimulate or stabilize economic growth, such as interventions in currency markets, could cause high volatility in the equity and fixed-income markets. Reduced liquidity may result in less money being available to purchase raw materials, goods, and services from emerging markets, which may, in turn, bring down the prices of these economic staples. It may also result in emerging-market issuers having more difficulty obtaining financing, which may, in turn, cause a decline in their securities prices.

 

In addition, while interest rates have been unusually low in recent years in the United States and abroad, any decision by the Fed to adjust the target fed funds rate, among other factors, could cause markets to experience continuing high

 

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volatility. A significant increase in interest rates may cause a decline in the market for equity securities. Also, regulators have expressed concern that rate increases may contribute to price volatility. These events and the possible resulting market volatility may have an adverse effect on the fund.

 

Political turmoil within the United States and abroad may also impact the fund. Although the U.S. government has honored its credit obligations, it remains possible that the United States could default on its obligations. While it is impossible to predict the consequences of such an unprecedented event, it is likely that a default by the United States would be highly disruptive to the U.S. and global securities markets and could significantly impair the value of the fund’s investments. Similarly, political events within the United States at times have resulted, and may in the future result, in a shutdown of government services, which could negatively affect the U.S. economy, decrease the value of many fund investments, and increase uncertainty in or impair the operation of the U.S. or other securities markets. The U.S. is also considering significant new investments in infrastructure and national defense which, coupled with lower federal taxes, could lead to increased government borrowing and higher interest rates. While these proposed policies are going through the political process, the equity and debt markets may react strongly to expectations, which could increase volatility, especially if the market’s expectations for changes in government policies are not borne out.

 

Uncertainties surrounding the sovereign debt of a number of European Union (EU) countries and the viability of the EU have disrupted and may in the future disrupt markets in the United States and around the world. If one or more countries leave the EU or the EU dissolves, the world’s securities markets likely will be significantly disrupted. In June 2016, the United Kingdom approved a referendum to leave the EU, commonly referred to as “Brexit.” There is significant market uncertainty regarding Brexit’s ramifications, and the range and potential implications of possible political, regulatory, economic, and market outcomes are difficult to predict. Political and military events, including in North Korea, Venezuela, Syria and other areas of the Middle East, and nationalist unrest in Europe, also may cause market disruptions.

 

In addition, there is a risk that the prices of goods and services in the United States and many foreign economies may decline over time, known as deflation. Deflation may have an adverse effect on stock prices and creditworthiness and may make defaults on debt more likely. If a country’s economy slips into a deflationary pattern, it could last for a prolonged period and may be difficult to reverse.

 

Securities Linked to the Real Estate Market

 

Investing in securities of companies in the real estate industry subjects a fund to the risks associated with the direct ownership of real estate. These risks include, but are not limited to:

 

declines in the value of real estate;
risks related to general and local economic conditions;
possible lack of availability of mortgage portfolios;
overbuilding;
extended vacancies of properties;
increased competition;
increases in property taxes and operating expenses;
change in zoning laws;
losses due to costs resulting from the clean-up of environmental problems;
liability to third parties for damages resulting from environmental problems;
casualty or condemnation losses;
limitations on rents;
changes in neighborhood values and the appeal of properties to tenants; and
changes in interest rates.

 

Therefore, if a fund invests a substantial amount of its assets in securities of companies in the real estate industry, the value of the fund’s shares may change at different rates compared to the value of shares of a fund with investments in a mix of different industries.

 

Securities of companies in the real estate industry include real estate investment trusts (“REITs”), including equity REITs and mortgage REITs. Equity REITs may be affected by changes in the value of the underlying property owned

 

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by the trusts, while mortgage REITs may be affected by the quality of any credit extended. Further, equity and mortgage REITs are dependent upon management skills and generally may not be diversified. Equity and mortgage REITs also are subject to heavy cash flow dependency, defaults by borrowers and self-liquidations. In addition, equity and mortgage REITs could possibly fail to qualify for tax free pass-through of income under the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the “Code”), or to maintain their exemptions from registration under the 1940 Act. The above factors also may adversely affect a borrower’s or a lessee’s ability to meet its obligations to the REIT. In the event of a default by a borrower or lessee, the REIT may experience delays in enforcing its rights as a mortgagee or lessor and may incur substantial costs associated with protecting its investments.

 

In addition, even the larger REITs in the industry tend to be small to medium-sized companies in relation to the equity markets as a whole. See “Small and Medium Size Companies” for a discussion of the risks associated with investments in these companies.

 

Master Limited Partnership (MLP) Risk

 

Investing in MLPs involves certain risks related to investing in the underlying assets of 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 securities. In addition, investments in the debt and securities of MLPs involve certain other risks, including risks related to limited control and limited rights to vote on matters affecting MLPs, risks related to potential conflicts of interest between an MLP and the MLP’s general partner, cash flow risks, dilution risks and risks related to the general partner’s right to require unit-holders to sell their common units at an undesirable time or price. The fund’s investments in MLPs may be subject to legal and other restrictions on resale or may be less liquid than publicly traded securities. Certain MLP securities may trade in lower volumes due to their smaller capitalizations, and may be subject to more abrupt or erratic price movements and may lack sufficient market liquidity to enable the fund to effect sales at an advantageous time or without a substantial drop in price. If the fund is one of the largest investors in an MLP, it may be more difficult for the fund to buy and sell significant amounts of such investments without an unfavorable impact on prevailing market prices. Larger purchases or sales of MLP investments by the fund in a short period of time may cause abnormal movements in the market price of these investments. As a result, these investments may be difficult to dispose of at an advantageous price when the fund desires to do so. During periods of interest rate volatility, these investments may not provide attractive returns, which may adversely impact the overall performance of the fund. MLPs in which the fund may invest operate oil, natural gas, petroleum, or other facilities within the energy sector. As a result, the fund will be susceptible to adverse economic, environmental, or regulatory occurrences impacting the energy sector.

 

Small and Medium Size and Unseasoned Companies

 

Survival of Small or Unseasoned Companies. Companies that are small or unseasoned (i.e., less than three years of operating history) are more likely than larger or established companies to fail or not to accomplish their goals. As a result, the value of their securities could decline significantly. These companies are less likely to survive since they are often dependent upon a small number of products and may have limited financial resources and a small management group.

 

Changes in Earnings and Business Prospects. Small or unseasoned companies often have a greater degree of change in earnings and business prospects than larger or established companies, resulting in more volatility in the price of their securities.

 

Liquidity. The securities of small or unseasoned companies may have limited marketability. This factor could cause the value of the Fund‘s investments to decrease if it needs to sell such securities when there are few interested buyers.

 

Impact of Buying or Selling Shares. Small or unseasoned companies usually have fewer outstanding shares than larger or established companies. Therefore, it may be more difficult to buy or sell large amounts of these shares without unfavorably impacting the price of the security.

 

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Publicly Available Information. There may be less publicly available information about small or unseasoned companies. Therefore, when making a decision to purchase a security for the Fund, the subadvisor may not be aware of problems associated with the company issuing the security.

 

Medium Size Companies. Investments in the securities of medium sized companies present risks similar to those associated with small or unseasoned companies although to a lesser degree due to the larger size of the companies.

 

U.S. Government Securities

 

A fund may invest in U.S. government securities, including securities issued or guaranteed by the U.S. government 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 supported only by the credit of the issuing agency or instrumentality, which depends entirely on its own resources to repay the debt. U.S. government securities that are backed by the full faith and credit of the United States include U.S. Treasuries and mortgage-backed securities guaranteed by GNMA. Securities that are only supported by the credit of the issuing agency or instrumentality include those issued by Fannie Mae, the FHLBs and Freddie Mac.

 

Foreign Securities

 

Currency Fluctuations. Investments in foreign securities may cause a Fund to lose money when converting investments from foreign currencies into U.S. dollars. A Fund may attempt to lock in an exchange rate by purchasing a foreign currency exchange contract prior to the settlement of an investment in a foreign security. However, a Fund may not always be successful in doing so, and it could still lose money.

 

Political and Economic Conditions. Investments in foreign securities subject a Fund to the political or economic conditions of the foreign country. These conditions could cause the Fund’s investments to lose value if these conditions deteriorate for any reason. This risk increases in the case of emerging market countries which are more likely to be politically unstable. Political instability could cause the value of any investment in the securities of an issuer based in a foreign country to decrease or could prevent or delay a Fund from selling its investment and taking the money out of the country.

 

Removal of Proceeds of Investments from a Foreign Country. Foreign countries, especially emerging market countries, often have currency controls or restrictions that may prevent or delay a Fund from taking money out of the country or may impose additional taxes on money removed from the country. Therefore, a Fund could lose money if it is not permitted to remove capital from the country or if there is a delay in taking the assets out of the country, since the value of the assets could decline during this period or the exchange rate to convert the assets into U.S. dollars could worsen.

 

Nationalization of Assets. Investments in foreign securities subject a Fund to the risk that the company issuing the security may be nationalized. If the company is nationalized, the value of the company’s securities could decrease in value or even become worthless.

 

Settlement of Sales. Foreign countries, especially emerging market countries, also may have problems associated with settlement of sales. Such problems could cause a Fund to suffer a loss if a security to be sold declines in value while settlement of the sale is delayed.

 

Investor Protection Standards. Foreign countries, especially emerging market countries, may have less stringent investor protection and disclosure standards than the U.S. Therefore, when making a decision to purchase a security for a Fund, the subadvisor may not be aware of problems associated with the company issuing the security and may not enjoy the same legal rights as those provided in the U.S.

 

Russian Securities Risk

 

The United States and the European Union (“EU”) have imposed economic sanctions against companies in certain sectors of the Russian economy, including, but not limited to: financial services, energy, metals and mining, engineering, and defense and defense-related materials. These sanctions could impair the Fund’s ability to continue

 

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to invest in Russian issuers. For example, the Fund may be prohibited from investing in securities issued by companies subject to such sanctions. In addition, retaliatory measures by the Russian government in response to such sanctions may result in a freeze of Russian assets held by the Fund, thereby prohibiting the Fund from selling or otherwise transacting in these investments. In such circumstances, the Fund might be forced to liquidate non-restricted assets in order to satisfy shareholder redemptions. Such liquidation of Fund assets might also result in the Fund receiving substantially lower prices for its portfolio securities.

 

Greater China Region Risk

 

Investments in the Greater China region are subject to special risks, such as less developed or less efficient trading markets, restrictions on monetary repatriation and possible seizure, nationalization or expropriation of assets. Investments in Taiwan could be adversely affected by its political and economic relationship with China. In addition, the willingness of the Chinese government to support the Chinese and Hong Kong economies and markets is uncertain, and changes in government policy could significantly affect the markets in both Hong Kong and China. For example, a government may restrict investment in companies or industries considered important to national interests, or intervene in the financial markets, such as by imposing trading restrictions, or banning or curtailing short selling. A small number of companies and industries may represent a relatively large portion of the Greater China market. Consequently, the Fund may experience greater price volatility and significantly lower liquidity than a portfolio invested solely in equity securities of U.S. issuers. These companies and industries also may be subject to greater sensitivity to adverse political, economic or regulatory developments generally affecting the market (see “Risk Factors – Foreign Securities”).

 

Hong Kong Stock Connect Program (“Stock Connect”) Risk

 

The Fund may invest in eligible renminbi-denominated class A shares of equity securities that are listed and traded on the certain Chinese stock exchanges (“China A-Shares”) through Stock Connect. Trading in China A-Shares through Stock Connect is subject to certain risks. The Fund’s investment in China A-Shares may only be traded through Stock Connect and is not otherwise transferable. The list of eligible China A-Shares may change from time to time. When a China A-Shares issue is recalled from the scope of securities eligible for trading through Stock Connect, the Fund may only sell, but not buy, the securities, which may adversely affect the Fund’s investment strategy.

 

While Stock Connect is not subject to individual investment quotas, daily and aggregate investment quotas apply to all Stock Connect participants, which may restrict or preclude the Fund’s ability to invest in China A-Shares. For example, these quota limitations require that buy orders for China A-Shares be rejected once the remaining balance of the relevant quota drops to zero or the daily quota is exceeded (although the Fund will be permitted to sell China A-Shares regardless of the quota balance). These limitations may restrict the Fund from investing in China A-Shares on a timely basis, which could affect the Fund’s ability to effectively pursue its investment strategy. Investment quotas are also subject to change.

 

Chinese regulations prohibit over-selling of China A-Shares. If the Fund intends to sell China A-shares it holds, it must transfer those securities to the accounts of the Fund’s participant broker before the market opens. As a result, the Fund may not be able to dispose of its holdings of China A-Shares in a timely manner.

 

Stock Connect also is generally available only on business days when both the exchange on which China A-Shares are offered and the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong (the “SEHK”) are open and when banks in both markets are open on the corresponding settlement days. Therefore, an investment in China A-Shares through Stock Connect may subject the Fund to a risk of price fluctuations on days where Chinese stock markets are open, but Stock Connect is not operating.

 

Stock Connect launched on November 17, 2014. Therefore, trading through Stock Connect is subject to trading, clearance and settlement procedures that may continue to develop as the program matures, which could pose risks to the Fund. Additionally, the withholding tax treatment of dividends and capital gains payable to overseas investors may be subject to change.

 

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Stock Connect regulations provide that investors, such as the Fund, enjoy the rights and benefits of SSE equities purchased through Stock Connect. However, the nominee structure under Stock Connect requires that China A-Shares be held through the Hong Kong Securities Clearing Company (the “HKSCC”) as nominee on behalf of investors. While the Fund’s ownership of China A-Shares will be reflected on the books of the custodian’s records, the Fund will only have beneficial rights in such A-Shares. The precise nature and rights of the Fund as the beneficial owner of the SSE equities through the HKSCC as nominee is not well defined under the law of the People's Republic of China (“PRC”). Although the China Securities Regulatory Commission has issued guidance indicating that participants in Stock Connect will be able to exercise rights of beneficial owners in the PRC, the exact nature and methods of enforcement of the rights and interests of the Fund under PRC law is uncertain. In particular, the courts may consider that the nominee or custodian as registered holder of China A-Shares, has full ownership over the securities rather than the Fund as the underlying beneficial owner. The HKSCC, as nominee holder, does not guarantee the title to China A-Shares held through it and is under no obligation to enforce title or other rights associated with ownership on behalf of beneficial owners. Consequently, title to these securities, or the rights associated with them, such as participation in corporate actions or shareholder meetings, cannot be assured.

 

While certain aspects of the Stock Connect trading process are subject to Hong Kong law, PRC rules applicable to share ownership will apply. In addition, transactions using Stock Connect are not subject to the Hong Kong investor compensation fund, which means that the Fund will be unable to make monetary claims on the investor compensation fund that it might otherwise be entitled to with respect to investments in Hong Kong securities. Other risks associated with investments in PRC securities apply fully to China A-Shares purchased through Stock Connect.

 

China A-Shares traded via Stock Connect are subject to various risks associated with the legal and technical framework of Stock Connect. In the event that the relevant systems fail to function properly, trading in China A-Shares through Stock Connect could be disrupted. In the event of high trade volume or unexpected market conditions, Stock Connect may be available only on a limited basis, if at all. Both the PRC and Hong Kong regulators are permitted, independently of each other, to suspend Stock Connect in response to certain market conditions.

 

European Risk

 

Countries in Europe may be significantly affected by fiscal and monetary controls implemented by the EU and European Economic and Monetary Union (“EMU”), which require member countries to comply with restrictions on inflation rates, deficits, interest rates, debt levels and fiscal and monetary controls. Decreasing imports or exports, changes in governmental or other regulations on trade, changes in the exchange rate of the Euro, the default or threat of default by one or more EU member countries on its sovereign debt, and/or an economic recession in one or more EU member countries may have a significant adverse effect on the economies of other EU member countries and major trading partners outside Europe.

 

In recent years, the European financial markets have experienced volatility and adverse trends 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. Several countries, including Greece and Italy, have agreed to multi-year bailout loans from the European Central Bank, the IMF, and other institutions. A default or debt restructuring by any European country, such as the restructuring of Greece’s outstanding sovereign debt, can 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, and can affect exposures to other EU countries and their financial companies as well. The manner in which the EU and EMU responded to the global recession and sovereign debt issues raised questions about their ability to react quickly to rising borrowing costs and the potential default by Greece and other countries of their sovereign debt and revealed a lack of cohesion in dealing with the fiscal problems of member states. To address budget deficits and public debt concerns, a number of European countries have imposed strict austerity measures and comprehensive financial and labor market reforms, which could increase political or social instability. Many European countries continue to suffer from high unemployment rates.

 

Uncertainties regarding the viability of the EU have impacted and may continue to impact markets in the United States and around the world. If one or more countries leave the EU or the EU dissolves, securities markets would likely be significantly disrupted. In June 2016, the United Kingdom (the “UK”) approved a referendum to leave the EU,

 

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commonly referred to as “Brexit,” which sparked depreciation in the value of the British pound and heightened risk of continued worldwide economic volatility. Pursuant to Article 50 of the Treaty of Lisbon, the UK gave notice in March 2017 of its withdrawal from the EU and commenced negotiations on the terms of withdrawal. The negotiation period could last for two years or more from the notice date, and during that period there would likely be considerable uncertainty as to the arrangements that would apply to the UK’s relationships with the EU and other countries following its anticipated withdrawal. This long-term uncertainty might affect other countries in the EU and elsewhere. It is also possible that the UK could initiate another referendum on the issue of Brexit, or that various countries within the UK, such as Scotland, could seek to separate and remain a part of the EU.

 

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. If implemented, Brexit might 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 would likely 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. Further, the UK’s departure from the EU would potentially cause volatility within the EU, which could trigger prolonged economic downturns in certain European countries or spark additional member states to contemplate departing the EU (thereby exacerbating political instability in the region).

 

Investing in the securities of Eastern European issuers is highly speculative and involves risks not usually associated with investing in the more developed markets of Western Europe. Securities markets of Eastern European countries typically are less efficient and have lower trading volume, lower liquidity, and higher volatility than more developed markets. Eastern European economies also may be particularly susceptible to disruption in the international credit market due to their reliance on bank related inflows of capital.

 

To the extent that a Fund invests in European securities, it may be exposed to these risks through its direct investments in such securities, including sovereign debt, or indirectly through investments in money market funds and financial institutions with significant investments in such securities.

 

Asia Risk (including Australia and New Zealand)

 

The developed Asian economies are heavily dependent on international trade and can be adversely affected by trade barriers, exchange controls, and other measures imposed or negotiated by the countries with which they trade, principally, the United States, Japan, China, and the European Union. The countries in this region are also heavily dependent on exports and are thus particularly vulnerable to any weakening in global demand for these products. The Australian and New Zealand economies are dependent on the economies of Asian countries and on the price and demand for agricultural products and natural resources. Additionally, Australia and New Zealand are located in a region that has historically been prone to natural disasters. Any natural disaster in the region could negatively impact the economies of Australia and New Zealand and affect the value of securities held by the fund.

 

Natural Disasters and Adverse Weather Conditions

 

Certain areas of the world historically have been prone to major natural disasters, such as hurricanes, earthquakes, typhoons, flooding, tidal waves, tsunamis, erupting volcanoes, wildfires or droughts, and have been economically sensitive to environmental events. Such disasters, and the resulting damage, could have a severe and negative impact on the Fund’s investment portfolio and, in the longer term, could impair the ability of issuers in which the Fund invests to conduct their businesses in the manner normally conducted. Adverse weather conditions also may have a particularly significant negative effect on issuers in the agricultural sector and on insurance companies that insure against the impact of natural disasters.

 

Gaming-Tribal Authority Investments

 

The value of the Fund’s investments in securities issued by gaming companies, including gaming facilities operated by Indian (Native American) tribal authorities, is subject to legislative or regulatory changes, adverse market conditions, and/or increased competition affecting the gaming sector. Securities of gaming companies may be considered speculative, and generally exhibit greater volatility than the overall market. The market value of gaming

 

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company securities may fluctuate widely due to unpredictable earnings, due in part to changing consumer tastes and intense competition, strong reaction to technological developments, and the threat of increased government regulation.

 

Securities issued by Indian tribal authorities are subject to particular risks. Indian tribes enjoy sovereign immunity, which is the legal privilege by which the United States federal, state, and tribal governments cannot be sued without their consent. In order to sue an Indian tribe (or an agency or instrumentality thereof), the tribe must have effectively waived its sovereign immunity with respect to the matter in dispute. Certain Indian tribal authorities have agreed to waive their sovereign immunity in connection with their outstanding debt obligations. Generally, waivers of sovereign immunity have been held to be enforceable against Indian tribes. Nevertheless, if a waiver of sovereign immunity is held to be ineffective, claimants, including investors in Indian tribal authority securities (such as the Fund), could be precluded from judicially enforcing their rights and remedies.

 

Further, in most commercial disputes with Indian tribes, it may be difficult or impossible to obtain federal court jurisdiction. A commercial dispute may not present a federal question, and an Indian tribe may not be considered a citizen of any state for purposes of establishing diversity jurisdiction. The U.S. Supreme Court has held that jurisdiction in a tribal court must be exhausted before any dispute can be heard in an appropriate federal court. In cases where the jurisdiction of the tribal forum is disputed, the tribal court first must rule as to the limits of its own jurisdiction. Such jurisdictional issues, as well as the general view that Indian tribes are not considered to be subject to ordinary bankruptcy proceedings, may be disadvantageous to holders of obligations issued by Indian tribal authorities, including the Fund.

 

REGULATION OF COMMODITY INTERESTS

 

The CFTC has adopted regulations that subject registered investment companies and/or their investment advisors to regulation by the CFTC if the registered investment company invests more than a prescribed level of its NAV in commodity futures, options on commodities or commodity futures, swaps, or other financial instruments regulated under the CEA (“commodity interests”), or if the registered investment company markets itself as providing investment exposure to such commodity interests. The Advisor is registered as a CPO under the CEA and is a National Futures Association member firm; however, the Advisor does not act in the capacity of a registered CPO with respect to the fund.

 

Although the Advisor is a registered CPO, the Advisor has claimed an exclusion from CPO registration pursuant to CFTC Rule 4.5 with respect to the fund. To remain eligible for this exclusion, the Fund must comply with certain limitations, including limits on trading in commodity interests, and restrictions on the manner in which the fund markets its commodity interests trading activities. These limitations may restrict a fund’s ability to pursue its investment strategy, increase the costs of implementing its strategy, increase its expenses and/or adversely affect its total return.

 

HEDGING AND OTHER STRATEGIC TRANSACTIONS

 

Hedging refers to protecting against possible changes in the market value of securities or other assets that a portfolio already owns or plans to buy, or protecting unrealized gains in a fund. These strategies also may be used to gain exposure to a particular market. The hedging and other strategic transactions which may be used by a fund, consistent with its investment objectives and policies, are described below:

 

exchange-listed and OTC put and call options on securities, equity indices, volatility indices, financial futures contracts, currencies, fixed-income indices and other financial instruments;
financial futures contracts (including stock index futures);
interest rate transactions;*
currency transactions;**
warrants and rights (including non-standard warrants and participatory risks);* swaps (including interest rate, index, dividend, inflation, variance, equity, and volatility swaps, credit default swaps, swap options and currency swaps); and
structured notes, including hybrid or “index” securities.

 

*A fund’s interest rate transactions may take the form of swaps, caps, floors and collars.

 

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**A fund’s currency transactions may take the form of currency forward contracts, currency futures contracts, currency swaps and options on currencies or currency futures contracts.

 

Hedging and other strategic transactions may be used for the following purposes:

 

to attempt to protect against possible changes in the market value of securities held or to be purchased by a fund resulting from securities markets or currency exchange rate fluctuations;
to protect a fund’s unrealized gains in the value of its securities;
to facilitate the sale of a fund’s securities for investment purposes;
to manage the effective maturity or duration of a fund’s securities;
to establish a position in the derivatives markets as a method of gaining exposure to a particular geographic region, market, industry, issuer, or security; or
to increase exposure to a foreign currency or to shift exposure to foreign currency fluctuations from one country to another.

 

To the extent that the Fund uses a hedging or another strategic transaction to gain, shift or manage exposure to a particular geographic region, market, industry, issuer, security, currency, or other asset, the Fund will be exposed to the risks of investing in that asset as well as the risks inherent in the specific hedging or other strategic transaction used to gain such exposure.

 

For purposes of determining compliance with the Fund’s investment policies, strategies and restrictions, that Fund will generally consider the market value of derivative instruments, unless the nature of the derivative instrument warrants the use of the instrument’s notional value to more accurately reflect the economic exposure represented by the derivative position.

 

Because of the uncertainties under federal tax laws as to whether income from commodity-linked derivative instruments and certain other instruments would constitute “qualifying income” to a regulated investment company under Subchapter M of the Code (“RIC”), no Fund is permitted to invest in such instruments unless the subadvisor obtains prior written approval from the Trust’s Chief Compliance Officer (the “CCO”). The CCO, as a member of the Advisor’s Complex Securities Committee evaluates with the committee the appropriateness of the investment.

 

General Characteristics of Options

 

Put options and call options typically have similar structural characteristics and operational mechanics regardless of the underlying instrument on which they are purchased or sold. Many hedging and other strategic transactions involving options require segregation of portfolio assets in special accounts, as described under “Use of Segregated and Other Special Accounts.”

 

Put Options. A put option gives the purchaser of the option, upon payment of a premium, the right to sell (and the writer the obligation to buy) the underlying security, commodity, index, currency or other instrument at the exercise price. A fund’s purchase of a put option on a security, for example, might be designed to protect its holdings in the underlying instrument (or, in some cases, a similar instrument) against a substantial decline in the market value of such instrument by giving a fund the right to sell the instrument at the option exercise price.

 

If and to the extent authorized to do so, the Fund may, for various purposes, purchase and sell put options on securities (whether or not it holds the securities in its portfolio) and on securities indices, currencies and futures contracts. A fund will not sell put options if, as a result, more than 50% of the fund’s assets would be required to be segregated to cover its potential obligations under put options other than those with respect to futures contracts.

 

Risk of Selling Put Options. In selling put options, a fund faces the risk that it may be required to buy the underlying security at a disadvantageous price above the market price.

 

Call Options. A call option, upon payment of a premium, gives the purchaser of the option the right to buy (and the seller the obligation to sell) the underlying instrument at the exercise price. A fund’s purchase of a call option on an underlying instrument might be intended to protect a fund against an increase in the price of the underlying instrument that it intends to purchase in the future by fixing the price at which it may purchase the instrument. An “American”

 

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style put or call option may be exercised at any time during the option period, whereas a “European” style put or call option may be exercised only upon expiration or during a fixed period prior to expiration. If and to the extent authorized to do so, a fund may purchase and sell call options on securities (whether or not it holds the securities).

 

Partial Hedge or Income to the Fund. If a fund sells a call option, the premium that it receives may serve as a partial hedge, to the extent of the option premium, against a decrease in the value of the underlying securities or instruments held by a fund or will increase a fund’s income. Similarly, the sale of put options also can provide fund gains.

 

Covering of Options. All call options sold by a fund must be “covered” (that is, the fund must own the securities or futures contract subject to the call or must otherwise meet the asset segregation requirements described below for so long as the call is outstanding).

 

Risk of Selling Call Options. Even though a fund will receive the option premium to help protect it against loss, a call option sold by a fund will expose the fund during the term of the option to possible loss of the opportunity to sell the underlying security or instrument with a gain.

 

Exchange-listed Options. Exchange-listed options are issued by a regulated intermediary, such as the Options Clearing Corporation (“OCC”), which guarantees the performance of the obligations of the parties to the options. The discussion below uses the OCC as an example but also is applicable to other similar financial intermediaries.

 

OCC-issued and exchange-listed options, with certain exceptions, generally settle by physical delivery of the underlying security or currency, although in the future, cash settlement may become available. Index options and Eurodollar instruments (which are described below under “Eurodollar Instruments”) are cash settled for the net amount, if any, by which the option is “in-the-money” at the time the option is exercised. “In-the-money” means the amount by which the value of the underlying instrument exceeds, in the case of a call option, or is less than, in the case of a put option, the exercise price of the option. Frequently, rather than taking or making delivery of the underlying instrument through the process of exercising the option, listed options are closed by entering into offsetting purchase or sale transactions that do not result in ownership of the new option.

 

A fund’s ability to close out its position as a purchaser or seller of an OCC-issued or exchange-listed put or call option is dependent, in part, upon the liquidity of the particular option market. Among the possible reasons for the absence of a liquid option market on an exchange are:

 

insufficient trading interest in certain options;
restrictions on transactions imposed by an exchange;
trading halts, suspensions or other restrictions imposed with respect to particular classes or series of options or underlying securities, including reaching daily price limits;
interruption of the normal operations of the OCC or an exchange;
inadequacy of the facilities of an exchange or the OCC to handle current trading volume; or
a decision by one or more exchanges to discontinue the trading of options (or a particular class or series of options), in which event the relevant market for that option on that exchange would cease to exist, although any such outstanding options on that exchange would continue to be exercisable in accordance with their terms.

 

The hours of trading for listed options may not coincide with the hours during which the underlying financial instruments are traded. To the extent that the option markets close before the markets for the underlying financial instruments, significant price and rate movements can take place in the underlying markets that would not be reflected in the corresponding option markets.

 

OTC Options. OTC options are purchased from or sold to counterparties such as securities dealers, financial institutions through direct bilateral agreement with the counterparty. In contrast to exchange-listed options, which generally have standardized terms and performance mechanics, all of the terms of an OTC option, including such terms as method of settlement, term, exercise price, premium, guaranties and security, are determined by negotiation of the parties. It is anticipated that any fund authorized to use OTC options generally will only enter into OTC options that have cash settlement provisions, although it will not be required to do so.

 

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Unless the parties provide for it, no central clearing or guaranty function is involved in an OTC option. As a result, if a counterparty fails to make or take delivery of the security, currency or other instrument underlying an OTC option it has entered into with a fund or fails to make a cash settlement payment due in accordance with the terms of that option, the fund will lose any premium it paid for the option as well as any anticipated benefit of the transaction. Thus, the subadvisor must assess the creditworthiness of each such counterparty or any guarantor or credit enhancement of the counterparty’s credit to determine the likelihood that the terms of the OTC option will be met. A fund will enter into OTC option transactions only with U.S. government securities dealers recognized by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York as “primary dealers,” or broker-dealers, domestic or foreign banks, or other financial institutions that are deemed creditworthy by the subadvisor. In the absence of a change in the current position of the SEC’s staff, OTC options purchased by a fund and the amount of the fund’s obligation pursuant to an OTC option sold by the fund (the cost of the sell-back plus the in-the-money amount, if any) or the value of the assets held to cover such options will be deemed illiquid.

 

Types of Options That May Be Purchased. A fund may purchase and sell call options on securities indices, currencies, and futures contracts, as well as and on Eurodollar instruments that are traded on U.S. and foreign securities exchanges and in the OTC markets.

 

The Fund reserves the right to invest in options on instruments and indices that may be developed in the future to the extent consistent with applicable law, the investment objective and the restrictions set forth herein.

 

General Characteristics of Futures Contracts and Options on Futures Contracts

 

A fund may trade financial futures contracts (including stock index futures contracts which are described below) or purchase or sell put and call options on those contracts for the following purposes:

 

as a hedge against anticipated interest rate, currency or market changes;
for duration management;
for risk management purposes; and
to gain exposure to a securities market.

 

Futures contracts are generally bought and sold on the commodities exchanges where they are listed with payment of initial and variation margin as described below. The sale of a futures contract creates a firm obligation by a fund, as seller, to deliver to the buyer the specific type of financial instrument called for in the contract at a specific future time for a specified price (or, with respect to certain instruments, the net cash amount). Options on futures contracts are similar to options on securities except that an option on a futures contract gives the purchaser the right, in return for the premium paid, to assume a position in a futures contract and obligates the seller to deliver that position.

 

With respect to futures contracts that are not legally required to “cash settle,” a fund may cover the open position by setting aside or earmarking liquid assets in an amount equal to the market value of the futures contract. With respect to futures that are required to “cash settle,” such as Eurodollar, UK 90 day and Euribor futures; however, a fund is permitted to set aside or earmark liquid assets in an amount equal to the fund’s daily marked to market (net) obligation, if any, (in other words, the fund’s daily net liability, if any) rather than the market value of the futures contract. By setting aside assets equal to only its net obligation under cash-settled futures contracts, a fund will have the ability to employ such futures contracts to a greater extent than if the fund were required to segregate assets equal to the full market value of the futures contract.

 

A Fund will engage in transactions in futures contracts and related options only to the extent such transactions are consistent with the requirements of the Code in order to maintain its qualification as a RIC for federal income tax purposes.

 

Margin. Maintaining a futures contract or selling an option on a futures contract will typically require a fund to deposit with a financial intermediary, as security for its obligations, an amount of cash or other specified assets (“initial margin”) that initially is from 1% to 10% of the face amount of the contract (but may be higher in some circumstances). Additional cash or assets (“variation margin”) may be required to be deposited thereafter daily as the mark-to-market value of the futures contract fluctuates. The purchase of an option on a financial futures contract involves payment of a premium for the option without any further obligation on the part of a fund. If a fund exercises an option on a futures

 

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contract it will be obligated to post initial margin (and potentially variation margin) for the resulting futures position just as it would for any futures position.

 

Settlement. Futures contracts and options thereon are generally settled by entering into an offsetting transaction, but no assurance can be given that a position can be offset prior to settlement or that delivery will occur.

 

Value of Futures Contracts Sold by the Fund. The value of all futures contracts sold by a fund (adjusted for the historical volatility relationship between such fund and the contracts) will not exceed the total market value of the fund’s assets.

 

Stock Index Futures

 

Definition. A stock index futures contract (an “Index Future”) is a contract to buy a certain number of units of the relevant index at a specified future date at a price agreed upon when the contract is made. A unit is the value at a given time of the relevant index.

 

Uses of Index Futures. Below are some examples of how Index Futures may be used:

 

In connection with a fund’s investment in equity securities, a fund may invest in Index Futures while the subadvisor seeks favorable terms from brokers to effect transactions in equity securities selected for purchase.
A fund also may invest in Index Futures when the subadvisor believes that there are not enough attractive equity securities available to maintain the standards of diversity and liquidity set for the fund’s pending investment in such equity securities when they do become available.
Through the use of Index Futures, a fund may maintain a pool of assets with diversified risk without incurring the substantial brokerage costs that may be associated with investment in multiple issuers. This may permit a fund to avoid potential market and liquidity problems (e.g., driving up or forcing down the price by quickly purchasing or selling shares of a portfolio security) that may result from increases or decreases in positions already held by a fund.
A fund also may invest in Index Futures in order to hedge its equity positions.

 

Hedging and other strategic transactions involving futures contracts, options on futures contracts and swaps will be purchased, sold or entered into primarily for bona fide hedging, risk management (including duration management) or appropriate portfolio management purposes, including gaining exposure to a particular securities market.

 

Options on Securities Indices and Other Financial Indices

 

A fund may purchase and sell call and put options on securities indices and other financial indices (“Options on Financial Indices”). In so doing, a fund may achieve many of the same objectives it would achieve through the sale or purchase of options on individual securities or other instruments.

 

Description of Options on Financial Indices. Options on Financial Indices are similar to options on a security or other instrument except that, rather than settling by physical delivery of the underlying instrument, Options on Financial Indices settle by cash settlement. Cash settlement means that the holder has the right to receive, upon exercise of the option, an amount of cash if the closing level of the index upon which the option is based exceeds, in the case of a call (or is less than, in the case of a put) the exercise price of the option. This amount of cash is equal to the excess of the closing price of the index over the exercise price of the option, which also may be multiplied by a formula value. The seller of the option is obligated to make delivery of this amount. The gain or loss on an option on an index depends on price movements in the instruments comprising the market or other composite on which the underlying index is based, rather than price movements in individual securities, as is the case for options on securities. In the case of an OTC option, physical delivery may be used instead of cash settlement. By purchasing or selling Options on Financial Indices, a fund may achieve many of the same objectives it would achieve through the sale or purchase of options on individual securities or other instruments.

 

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Currency Transactions

 

A fund may engage in currency transactions with counterparties to hedge the value of portfolio securities denominated in particular currencies against fluctuations in relative value, to gain exposure to a currency without purchasing securities denominated in that currency, to facilitate the settlement of equity trades or to exchange one currency for another. If a fund enters into a currency hedging transaction, the fund will comply with the asset segregation requirements described below under “Use of Segregated and Other Special Accounts.” Currency transactions include:

 

forward currency contracts;
exchange-listed currency futures contracts and options thereon;
exchange-listed and OTC options on currencies;
currency swaps; and
spot transactions (i.e., transactions on a cash basis based on prevailing market rates).

 

A forward currency contract involves a privately negotiated obligation to purchase or sell (with delivery generally required) a specific currency at a future date at a price set at the time of the contract. A currency swap is an agreement to exchange cash flows based on the notional difference among two or more currencies and operates similarly to an interest rate swap, which is described under “Swap Agreements and Options on Swap Agreements.” A fund may enter into currency transactions only with counterparties that are deemed creditworthy by the subadvisor. Nevertheless, engaging in currency transactions will expose a fund to counterparty risk.

 

A fund’s dealings in forward currency contracts and other currency transactions such as futures contracts, options, options on futures contracts and swaps may be used for hedging and similar purposes, including transaction hedging, position hedging, cross hedging and proxy hedging. A fund also may use foreign currency options and foreign currency forward contracts to increase exposure to a foreign currency, to shift exposure to foreign currency fluctuation from one country to another or to facilitate the settlement of equity trades.

 

A fund also may engage in non-deliverable forward transactions to manage currency risk or to gain exposure to a currency without purchasing securities denominated in that currency. A non-deliverable forward is a transaction that represents an agreement between a fund and a counterparty (usually a commercial bank) to buy or sell a specified (notional) amount of a particular currency at an agreed upon foreign exchange rate on an agreed-upon future date. Unlike other currency transactions, there is no physical delivery of the currency on the settlement of a non-deliverable forward transaction. Rather, the fund and the counterparty agree to net the settlement by making a payment in U.S. dollars or another fully convertible currency that represents any differential between the foreign exchange rate agreed upon at the inceptions of the non-deliverable forward agreement and the actual exchange rate on the agreed-upon future date. Thus, the actual gain or loss of a given non-deliverable forward transaction is calculated by multiplying the transaction’s notional amount by the difference between the agreed-upon forward exchange rate and the actual exchange rate when the transaction is completed.

 

When a fund enters into a non-deliverable forward transaction, the fund will segregate liquid assets in an amount not less than the value of the fund’s net exposure to such non-deliverable forward transactions. If the additional segregated assets decline in value or the amount of the fund’s commitment increases because of changes in currency rates, additional cash or securities will be segregated on a daily basis so that the value of the account will equal the amount of the fund’s commitments under the non-deliverable forward agreement.

 

Since a fund generally may only close out a non-deliverable forward with the particular counterparty, there is a risk that the counterparty will default on its obligation to pay under the agreement. If the counterparty defaults, the fund will have contractual remedies pursuant to the agreement related to the transaction, but there is no assurance that contract counterparties will be able to meet their obligations pursuant to such agreements or that, in the event of a default, the fund will succeed in pursuing contractual remedies. The fund thus assumes the risk that it may be delayed or prevented from obtaining payments owed to it pursuant to non-deliverable forward transactions.

 

In addition, where the currency exchange rates that are the subject of a given non-deliverable forward transaction do not move in the direction or to the extent anticipated, a fund could sustain losses on the non-deliverable forward transaction. A fund’s investment in a particular non-deliverable forward transaction will be affected favorably or unfavorably by factors that affect the subject currencies, including economic, political and legal developments that

 

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impact the applicable countries, as well as exchange control regulations of the applicable countries. These risks are heightened when a non-deliverable forward transaction involves currencies of emerging market countries because such currencies can be volatile and there is a greater risk that such currencies will be devalued against the U.S. dollar or other currencies.

 

Transaction Hedging. Transaction hedging involves entering into a currency transaction with respect to specific assets or liabilities of a fund, which generally will arise in connection with the purchase or sale of the portfolio’s securities or the receipt of income from them.

 

Position Hedging. Position hedging involves entering into a currency transaction with respect to portfolio securities positions denominated or generally quoted in that currency.

 

Cross Hedging. A fund may cross-hedge currencies by entering into transactions to purchase or sell one or more currencies that are expected to increase or decline in value relative to other currencies to which the fund has or in which the fund expects to have exposure.

 

Proxy Hedging. To reduce the effect of currency fluctuations on the value of existing or anticipated holdings of its securities, a fund also may engage in proxy hedging. Proxy hedging is often used when the currency to which a fund’s holdings are exposed is generally difficult to hedge or specifically difficult to hedge against the dollar. Proxy hedging entails entering into a forward contract to sell a currency, the changes in the value of which are generally considered to be linked to a currency or currencies in which some or all of a fund’s securities are or are expected to be denominated, and to buy dollars. The amount of the contract would not exceed the market value of the fund’s securities denominated in linked currencies.

 

Combined Transactions

 

A fund may enter into multiple transactions, including multiple options transactions, multiple futures transactions, multiple currency transactions (including forward currency contracts), multiple interest rate transactions and any combination of futures, options, currency and interest rate transactions. A combined transaction usually will contain elements of risk that are present in each of its component transactions. Although a fund normally will enter into combined transactions to reduce risk or otherwise more effectively achieve the desired portfolio management goal, it is possible that the combination will instead increase the risks or hinder achievement of the fund’s investment objective.

 

Swap Agreements and Options on Swap Agreements

 

Among the hedging and other strategic transactions into which a fund may be authorized to enter are swap transactions, including, but not limited to, swap agreements on interest rates, security or commodity indexes, specific securities and commodities, currency exchange rates, and credit and event-linked swaps. To the extent that a fund may invest in foreign currency-denominated securities, it also may invest in currency exchange rate swap agreements.

 

A fund may enter into swap transactions for any legal purpose consistent with its investment objective and policies, such as to attempt to obtain or preserve a particular return or spread at a lower cost than obtaining a return or spread through purchases and/or sales of instruments in other markets, to protect against currency fluctuations, as a duration management technique, to protect against any increase in the price of securities the fund anticipates purchasing at a later date, or to gain exposure to certain markets in the most economical way possible.

 

OTC swap agreements are two-party contracts entered into primarily by institutional investors for periods ranging from a few weeks to one or more years. 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, which may be adjusted for an interest factor. The gross returns to be exchanged or “swapped” between the parties are generally calculated with respect to a “notional amount,” i.e., the return on or increase in value of a particular dollar amount invested at a particular interest rate, in a particular foreign currency, or in a “basket” of securities or commodities representing a particular index. A “quanto” or “differential” swap combines both an interest rate and a currency transaction. Other forms of swap agreements 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

 

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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 rate, 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. Consistent with a fund’s investment objectives and general investment policies, the fund may invest in commodity swap agreements. For example, an investment in a commodity swap agreement may involve the exchange of floating-rate interest payments for the total return on a commodity index. In a total return commodity swap, a fund will receive the price appreciation of a commodity index, a portion of the index, or a single commodity in exchange for paying an agreed-upon fee. If the commodity swap is for one period, a fund may pay a fixed fee, established at the outset of the swap. However, if the term of the commodity swap is more than one period, with interim swap payments, a fund may pay an adjustable or floating fee. With a “floating” rate, the fee may be pegged to a base rate, such as the LIBOR, and is adjusted each period. Therefore, if interest rates increase over the term of the swap contract, a fund may be required to pay a higher fee at each swap reset date.

 

A fund may enter into options on swap agreements (“Swap Options”). A Swap Option is a contract that gives a counterparty the right (but not the obligation) in return for payment of a premium, to enter into a new swap agreement or to shorten, extend, cancel or otherwise modify an existing swap agreement, at some designated future time on specified terms. A fund also may write (sell) and purchase put and call Swap Options.

 

Depending on the terms of the particular agreement, a fund generally will incur a greater degree of risk when it writes a Swap Option than it will incur when it purchases a Swap Option. When a fund purchases a swap option, it risks losing only the amount of the premium it has paid should it decide to let the option expire unexercised. However, when the fund writes a Swap Option, upon exercise of the option the fund will become obligated according to the terms of the underlying agreement. Most other types of swap agreements entered into by a fund would calculate the obligations of the parties to the agreement on a “net basis.” Consequently, a fund’s current obligations (or rights) under a swap agreement generally will 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”). A fund’s current obligations under a swap agreement will be accrued daily (offset against any amounts owed to the fund) and any accrued but unpaid net amounts owed to a swap counterparty will be covered by the segregation or “earmarking” of liquid assets, to avoid any potential leveraging of a fund’s investments. Obligations under swap agreements so covered will not be construed to be “senior securities” for purposes of a fund’s investment restriction concerning senior securities.

 

Whether a fund’s use of swap agreements or Swap Options will be successful in furthering its investment objective will depend on the subadvisor’s ability to predict correctly whether certain types of investments are likely to produce greater returns than other investments. Because OTC swaps are two-party contracts and because they may have terms of greater than seven days, they may be considered to be illiquid. Moreover, a fund bears the risk of loss of the amount expected to be received under a swap agreement in the event of the default or bankruptcy of a swap agreement counterparty. A fund will enter into swap agreements only with counterparties that meet certain standards of creditworthiness. Certain restrictions imposed on a fund by the Code may limit its ability to use swap agreements. Current regulatory initiatives, described below, and potential future regulation, could adversely affect a fund’s ability to terminate existing swap agreements or to realize amounts to be received under such agreements. A fund will not enter into a swap agreement with any single party if the net amount owed to the fund under the existing contracts with that party would exceed 5% of the fund’s total assets.

 

Swaps are highly specialized instruments that require investment techniques, risk analyses, and tax planning different from those associated with traditional investments. The use of a swap requires an understanding not only of the referenced asset, rate, or index but also of the swap itself, without the benefit of observing the performance of the swap under all possible market conditions. Swap agreements may be subject to liquidity risk, which exists when a particular swap is difficult to purchase or sell. If a swap transaction is particularly large or if the relevant market is illiquid (as is the case with many OTC swaps), it may not be possible to initiate a transaction or liquidate a position at an advantageous time or price, which may result in significant losses. In addition, a swap transaction may be subject to a fund’s limitation on investments in illiquid securities.

 

Like most other investments, swap agreements are subject to the risk that the market value of the instrument will change in a way detrimental to a fund’s interest. A fund bears the risk that the subadvisor will not accurately forecast future market trends or the values of assets, reference rates, indexes, or other economic factors in establishing swap positions for it. If the subadvisor attempts to use a swap as a hedge against, or as a substitute for, an investment, the

 

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fund will be exposed to the risk that the swap will have or will develop imperfect or no correlation with the investment. This could cause substantial losses for the fund. While hedging strategies involving swap instruments can reduce the risk of loss, they also can reduce the opportunity for gain or even result in losses by offsetting favorable price movements in other investments.

 

The swaps market was largely unregulated prior to the enactment of federal legislation known as the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (the “Dodd-Frank Act”), which was enacted in 2010 in response to turmoil in the financial markets and other market events. Among other things, the Dodd-Frank Act sets forth a new regulatory framework for certain OTC derivatives, such as swaps, in which the fund may be authorized to invest. The Dodd-Frank Act requires many swap transactions to be executed on registered exchanges or through swap execution facilities, cleared through a regulated clearinghouse and publicly reported. In addition, many market participants are now regulated as swap dealers or major swap participants and are, or will be, subject to certain minimum capital and margin requirements and business conduct standards. The statutory requirements of the Dodd-Frank Act are being implemented primarily through rules and regulations adopted by the SEC and/or the CFTC. There is a prescribed phase-in period during which most of the mandated rulemaking and regulations are being implemented, and temporary exemptions from certain rules and regulations have been granted so that current trading practices will not be unduly disrupted during the transition period.

 

As of the date of this SAI, central clearing is required only for certain market participants trading certain instruments, although central clearing for additional instruments is expected to be implemented by the CFTC until the majority of the swaps market is ultimately subject to central clearing. In addition, as described below, uncleared OTC swaps may be subject to regulatory collateral requirements that could adversely affect a fund’s ability to enter into swaps in the OTC market. These developments could cause a fund to terminate new or existing swap agreements, realize amounts to be received under such instruments at an inopportune time, or increase the costs associated with trading derivatives. Until the mandated rulemaking and regulations are implemented completely, it will not be possible to determine the complete impact of the Dodd-Frank Act and related regulations on the funds. Swap dealers, major market participants and swap counterparties may also experience other new and/or additional regulations, requirements, compliance burdens and associated costs. The legislation and rules promulgated thereunder may exert a negative effect on a fund’s ability to meet its investment objective, either through limits or requirements imposed on the fund or its counterparties. The swap market could be disrupted or limited as a result of the legislation, and the new requirements may increase the cost of a fund’s investments and of doing business, which could adversely affect the fund’s ability to buy or sell OTC derivatives. The prudential regulators issued final rules that will require banks subject to their supervision to post and collect variation and initial margin in respect of their obligations arising under uncleared swap agreements. In addition, the CFTC adopted similar rules that apply to CFTC-registered swap dealers and major swap participants that are not banks. Such rules generally require the funds to segregate additional assets in order to meet the new variation and initial margin requirements when they enter into uncleared swap agreements. The variation margin requirements became effective in 2017 and the initial margin requirements are being phased-in through September 2020 based on average daily aggregate notional amount of covered swaps between swap dealers, swap entities and major swap participants.

 

In addition, rules adopted by the prudential regulators that are set to be phased-in starting in January 1, 2019, will require certain regulated banks to include in a range of financial contracts, including derivative and short-term funding transactions terms delaying or restricting a counterparty’s default, termination and other rights in the event that the bank and/or its affiliates are subject to certain types of resolution or insolvency proceedings. The regulations could limit a fund’s ability to exercise a range of cross-default rights if its counterparty, or an affiliate of the counterparty, is subject to bankruptcy or similar proceedings. Such regulations could further negatively impact the funds’ use of derivatives.

Credit default swap agreements (“CDS”). CDS may have as reference obligations one or more securities that are not currently held by a fund. The protection “buyer” in a CDS is generally obligated to pay the protection “seller” an upfront or a periodic stream of payments over the term of the CDS provided that no credit event, such as a default, on a reference obligation has occurred. If a credit event occurs, the seller generally must pay the buyer the “par value” (full notional value) of the CDS in exchange for an equal face amount of deliverable obligations of the reference entity described in the CDS, or the seller may be required to deliver the related net cash amount, if the CDS is cash settled. A fund may be either the buyer or seller in the transaction. If a fund is a buyer and no credit event occurs, the fund may recover nothing if the CDS is held through its termination date. However, if a credit event occurs, the buyer generally may elect to receive the full notional value of the CDS in exchange for an equal face amount of deliverable

 

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obligations of the reference entity whose value may have significantly decreased. As a seller, a fund generally receives an upfront payment or a fixed rate of income throughout the term of the CDS, provided that there is no credit event. As the seller, a fund would effectively add leverage to the fund because, in addition to its total net assets, the fund would be subject to investment exposure on the notional amount of the CDS. If a fund enters into a CDS, the fund may be required to report the CDS as a “listed transaction” for tax shelter reporting purposes on the fund’s federal income tax return. If the IRS were to determine that the CDS is a tax shelter, a fund could be subject to penalties under the Code.

 

CDS on index tranches give the fund, as a seller of credit protection, the opportunity to take on exposures to specific segments of the CDS index default loss distribution. Each tranche has a different sensitivity to credit risk correlations among entities in the index. One of the main benefits of index tranches is higher liquidity. This has been achieved mainly through standardization, yet it is also due to the liquidity in the single-name CDS and CDS index markets. In contrast, possibly owing to the limited liquidity in the corporate bond market, securities referencing corporate bond indexes have not been traded actively.

 

CDS involve greater risks than if a fund had invested in the reference obligation directly since, in addition to general market risks, CDS are subject to illiquidity risk, counterparty risk and credit risk. A fund will enter into CDS only with counterparties that meet certain standards of creditworthiness. A buyer generally also will lose its investment and recover nothing should no credit event occur and the CDS is held to its termination date. If a credit event were to occur, the value of any deliverable obligation received by the seller, coupled with the upfront or periodic payments previously received, may be less than the full notional value it pays to the buyer, resulting in a loss of value to the seller. A fund’s obligations under a CDS will be accrued daily (offset against any amounts owing to the fund). In connection with CDS in which a fund is the buyer, the fund will segregate or “earmark” cash or liquid assets, or enter into certain offsetting positions, with a value at least equal to the fund’s exposure (any accrued but unpaid net amounts owed by the fund to any counterparty), on a mark-to-market basis. In connection with CDS in which a fund is the seller, the fund will segregate or “earmark” cash or liquid assets, or enter into offsetting positions, with a value at least equal to the full notional amount of the CDS. Such segregation or “earmarking” will ensure that the fund has assets available to satisfy its obligations with respect to the transaction and will limit any potential leveraging of the fund’s investments. Such segregation or “earmarking” will not limit the fund’s exposure to loss.

 

Dividend swap agreements. A dividend swap agreement is a financial instrument where two parties contract to exchange a set of future cash flows at set dates in the future. One party agrees to pay the other the future dividend flow on a stock or basket of stocks in an index, in return for which the other party gives the first call options. Dividend swaps generally are traded OTC rather than on an exchange.

 

Inflation swap agreements. An inflation swap agreement is a contract in which one party agrees to pay the cumulative percentage increase in a price index (e.g., the Consumer Price Index (“CPI”) with respect to CPI swaps) over the term of the swap (with some lag on the inflation index), and the other pays a compounded fixed rate. Inflation swap agreements may be used to protect a fund’s NAV against an unexpected change in the rate of inflation measured by an inflation index since the value of these agreements is expected to increase if unexpected inflation increases.

 

Interest rate swap agreements. An interest rate swap agreement involves the exchange of cash flows based on interest rate specifications and a specified principal amount, often a fixed payment for a floating payment that is linked to an interest rate. An interest rate lock specifies a future interest rate to be paid. In an interest rate cap, one party receives payments at the end of each period in which a specified interest rate on a specified principal amount exceeds an agreed-upon rate; conversely, in an interest rate floor, one party may receive payments if a specified interest rate on a specified principal amount falls below an agreed-upon rate. Caps and floors have an effect similar to buying or writing options. Interest rate collars involve selling a cap and purchasing a floor, or vice versa, to protect a fund against interest rate movements exceeding given minimum or maximum levels.

 

Total return swap agreements. A total return swap agreement is a contract whereby one party agrees to make a series of payments to another party based on the change in the market value of the assets underlying such contract (which can include a security, commodity, index or baskets thereof) during the specified period. In exchange, the other party to the contract agrees to make a series of payments calculated by reference to an interest rate and/or some other agreed-upon amount (including the change in market value of other underlying assets). A fund may use total return swaps to gain exposure to an asset without owning it or taking physical custody of it. For example, by investing in total return

 

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commodity swaps, a fund will receive the price appreciation of a commodity, commodity index or portion thereof in exchange for payment of an agreed-upon fee.

 

Variance swap agreements. Variance swap agreements involve an agreement by two parties to exchange cash flows based on the measured variance (or square of volatility) of a specified underlying asset. One party agrees to exchange a “fixed rate” or strike price payment for the “floating rate” or realized price variance on the underlying asset with respect to the notional amount. At inception, the strike price chosen is generally fixed at a level such that the fair value of the swap is zero. As a result, no money changes hands at the initiation of the contract. At the expiration date, the amount paid by one party to the other is the difference between the realized price variance of the underlying asset and the strike price multiplied by the notional amount. A receiver of the realized price variance would receive a payment when the realized price variance of the underlying asset is greater than the strike price and would make a payment when that variance is less than the strike price. A payer of the realized price variance would make a payment when the realized price variance of the underlying asset is greater than the strike price and would receive a payment when that variance is less than the strike price. This type of agreement is essentially a forward contract on the future realized price variance of the underlying asset.

 

Warrants and Rights

 

As described under “Other Instruments – Warrants,” a fund may purchase or otherwise receive warrants or rights. Warrants and rights generally give the holder the right to receive, upon exercise and prior to the expiration date, a security of the issuer at a stated price. Funds typically use warrants and rights in a manner similar to their use of options on securities, as described in “General Characteristics of Options” above and elsewhere in this SAI. Risks associated with the use of warrants and rights are generally similar to risks associated with the use of options. Unlike most options, however, warrants and rights are issued in specific amounts, and warrants generally have longer terms than options. Warrants and rights are not likely to be as liquid as exchange-traded options backed by a recognized clearing agency. In addition, the terms of warrants or rights may limit a fund’s ability to exercise the warrants or rights at such time, or in such quantities, as the fund would otherwise wish.

 

Non-Standard Warrants and Participatory Notes. From time to time, a fund may use non-standard warrants, including low exercise price warrants or low exercise price options (“LEPOs”), and participatory notes (“P-Notes”) to gain exposure to issuers in certain countries. LEPOs are different from standard warrants in that they do not give their holders the right to receive a security of the issuer upon exercise. Rather, LEPOs pay the holder the difference in price of the underlying security between the date the LEPO was purchased and the date it is sold. P-Notes are a type of equity-linked derivative that generally are traded over-the-counter and constitute general unsecured contractual obligations of the banks, broker-dealers or other financial institutions that issue them. Generally, banks and broker-dealers associated with non-U.S.-based brokerage firms buy securities listed on certain foreign exchanges and then issue P-Notes that are designed to replicate the performance of certain issuers and markets. The performance results of P-Notes will not replicate exactly the performance of the issuers or markets that the notes seek to replicate due to transaction costs and other expenses. The return on a P-Note that is linked to a particular underlying security generally is increased to the extent of any dividends paid in connection with the underlying security. However, the holder of a P-Note typically does not receive voting or other rights as it would if it directly owned the underlying security, and P-Notes present similar risks to investing directly in the underlying security. Additionally, LEPOs and P-Notes entail the same risks as other over-the-counter derivatives. These include the risk that the counterparty or issuer of the LEPO or P-Note may not be able to fulfill its obligations, that the holder and counterparty or issuer may disagree as to the meaning or application of contractual terms, or that the instrument may not perform as expected. See “Principal risks—Counterparty risk” in the applicable Prospectus and “Risk of Hedging and Other Strategic Transactions” below. Additionally, while LEPOs or P-Notes may be listed on an exchange, there is no guarantee that a liquid market will exist or that the counterparty or issuer of a LEPO or P-Note will be willing to repurchase such instrument when the Fund wishes to sell it.

 

Risk of Hedging and Other Strategic Transactions

 

Hedging and other strategic transactions are subject to special risks, including:

 

possible default by the counterparty to the transaction;

 

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markets for the securities used in these transactions could be illiquid; and

 

•            to the extent the subadvisor’s assessment of market movements is incorrect, the risk that the use of the hedging and other strategic transactions could result in losses to the fund.

 

Losses resulting from the use of hedging and other strategic transactions will reduce a fund’s NAV, and possibly income. Losses can be greater than if hedging and other strategic transactions had not been used.

 

Options and Futures Transactions. Options transactions are subject to the following additional risks:

 

•            option transactions could force the sale or purchase of portfolio securities at inopportune times or for prices higher than current market values (in the case of put options) or lower than current market values (in the case of call options), or could cause a fund to hold a security it might otherwise sell (in the case of a call option);

 

•            calls written on securities that a fund does not own are riskier than calls written on securities owned by the fund because there is no underlying security held by the fund that can act as a partial hedge, and there also is a risk, especially with less liquid securities, that the securities may not be available for purchase; and

 

•            options markets could become illiquid in some circumstances and certain OTC options could have no markets. As a result, in certain markets, a fund might not be able to close out a transaction without incurring substantial losses.

 

Futures transactions are subject to the following additional risks:

 

•            The degree of correlation between price movements of futures contracts and price movements in the related securities position of a fund could create the possibility that losses on the hedging instrument are greater than gains in the value of the fund’s position.

 

•            Futures markets could become illiquid. As a result, in certain markets, a fund might not be able to close out a transaction without incurring substantial losses.

 

Although a fund’s use of futures and options for hedging should tend to minimize the risk of loss due to a decline in the value of the hedged position, at the same time, it will tend to limit the potential gain that might result from an increase in value.

 

Use of Segregated and Other Special Accounts

 

Use of extensive hedging and other strategic transactions by the Fund will require, among other things, that the Fund post collateral with counterparties or clearinghouses and/or segregate cash or other liquid assets with its custodian, or a designated subcustodian, to the extent that the Fund’s obligations are not otherwise “covered” through ownership of the underlying security, financial instrument or currency.

 

In general, either the full amount of any obligation by the Fund to pay or deliver securities or assets under a transaction or series of transactions must be covered at all times by: (a) holding the securities, instruments or currency required to meet the Fund’s obligations under such transactions or series of transactions; or (b) subject to any regulatory restrictions, segregating an amount of cash or other liquid assets at least equal to the current amount of the obligation. The segregated assets cannot be sold or transferred unless equivalent assets are substituted in their place or it is no longer necessary to segregate them. Some examples of cover requirements are set forth below.

 

Call Options. A call option on securities written by a fund will require the fund to hold the securities subject to the call (or securities convertible into the needed securities without additional consideration) or to segregate cash or other liquid assets sufficient to purchase and deliver the securities if the call is exercised. A call option sold by a fund on an index will require the fund to own portfolio securities that correlate with the index or to segregate cash or other liquid assets equal to its obligations under the option.

 

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Put Options. A put option on securities written by a fund will require the fund to segregate cash or other liquid assets equal to the exercise price.

 

OTC Options. OTC options entered into by a fund, including those on securities, currency, financial instruments or indices, and OTC-issued and exchange-listed index options generally will provide for cash settlement, although a fund will not be required to do so. As a result, when a fund sells these instruments it will segregate an amount of cash or other liquid assets equal to its obligations under the options. OTC-issued and exchange-listed options sold by a fund other than those described above generally settle with physical delivery, and the fund will segregate an amount of cash or liquid high grade debt securities equal to the full value of the option. OTC options settling with physical delivery or with an election of either physical delivery or cash settlement will be treated the same as other options settling with physical delivery.

 

Currency Contracts. Except when a fund enters into a forward contract in connection with the purchase or sale of a security denominated in a foreign currency or for other non-speculative purposes, which requires no segregation, a currency contract that obligates the fund to buy or sell a foreign currency generally will require the fund to hold an amount of that currency or liquid securities denominated in that currency equal to a fund’s obligations or to segregate cash or other liquid assets equal to the amount of the fund’s obligations.

 

Futures Contracts and Options on Futures Contracts. In the case of a futures contract or an option on a futures contract, a fund must deposit initial margin and, in some instances, daily variation margin, in addition to segregating assets sufficient to meet its obligations under the contract. These assets may consist of cash, cash equivalents, liquid debt, equity securities or other acceptable assets.

 

Hedging and other strategic transactions may be covered by means other than those described above when consistent with applicable regulatory policies. A fund also may enter into offsetting transactions so that its combined position, coupled with any segregated assets, equals its net outstanding obligation. A fund could purchase a put option, for example, if the exercise price of that option is the same or higher than the exercise price of a put option sold by the fund. In addition, if it holds a futures contracts or forward contract, a fund could, instead of segregating assets, purchase a put option on the same futures contract or forward contract with an exercise price as high as or higher than the price of the contract held. Other hedging and strategic transactions also may be offset in combinations. If the offsetting transaction terminates on or after the time the primary transaction terminates, no segregation is required, but if it terminates prior to that time, assets equal to any remaining obligation would need to be segregated.

 

Risk of Potential Government Regulation of Derivatives

 

It is possible that additional government regulation of various types of derivative instruments, including futures, options on futures and swap agreements, may limit or prevent the Fund from using such instruments as part of its investment strategy, which could negatively impact the Fund. While many provisions of the Dodd-Frank Act have yet to be implemented through rulemaking, and any regulatory or legislative activity may not necessarily have a direct, immediate effect upon the Fund, it is possible that, upon implementation of these measures or any future measures, they could potentially limit or completely restrict the ability of the Fund to use these instruments as a part of its investment strategy, increase the costs of using these instruments or make them less effective. Likewise, the SEC has proposed regulations that, if adopted, would significantly change the manner in which the Fund must segregate assets to cover its future obligations. The proposed regulations would restrict the Fund’s ability to enter into derivative transactions for speculative or hedging purposes and would require the Board to adopt a derivative risk management and governance framework. These regulations could also limit the ability of the Fund to use these instruments as part of its investment management strategy, increase the costs of using these instruments, or make them less effective. Limits or restrictions applicable to the counterparties with which the Fund engages in derivative transactions also could prevent the Fund from using these instruments, or affect the pricing or other factors relating to these instruments, or may change the availability of certain investments.

 

Other Limitations

 

No fund will maintain open short positions in futures contracts, call options written on futures contracts, and call options written on securities indices if, in the aggregate, the current market value of the open positions exceeds the current market value of that portion of its securities portfolio being hedged by those futures and options, plus or minus

 

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the unrealized gain or loss on those open positions. The gain or loss on these open positions will be adjusted for the historical volatility relationship between that portion of the fund and the contracts (e.g., the Beta volatility factor). In the alternative, however, a fund could maintain sufficient liquid assets in a segregated account equal at all times to the current market value of the open short position in futures contracts, call options written on futures contracts and call options written on securities indices, subject to any other applicable investment restrictions.

 

For purposes of this limitation, to the extent a fund has written call options on specific securities in that portion of its portfolio, the value of those securities will be deducted from the current market value of that portion of the securities portfolio. If this limitation should be exceeded at any time, the fund will take prompt action to close out the appropriate number of open short positions to bring its open futures and options positions within this limitation.

 

Investment Restrictions

 

JH ETF Trust is subject to fundamental investment restrictions in implementing the investment policies of the fund. Fundamental restrictions may only be changed by a vote of the lesser of: (i) 67% or more of the shares represented at a meeting at which more than 50% of the outstanding shares are represented; or (ii) more than 50% of the outstanding shares.

 

When submitting an investment restriction change to the holders of the fund’s outstanding voting securities, the matter shall be deemed to have been effectively acted upon with respect to a particular fund if a majority of the outstanding voting securities of the fund votes for the approval of the matter, notwithstanding: (1) that the matter has not been approved by the holders of a majority of the outstanding voting securities of any other series of the Trust affected by the matter; and (2) that the matter has not been approved by the vote of a majority of the outstanding voting securities of the Trust as a whole.

 

Fundamental Investment Restrictions

 

Unless the fund is specifically excepted by the terms of a restriction:

 

(1)        Concentration. The fund will not invest more than 25% of its total assets in the securities of one or more issuers conducting their principal business activities in the same industry, as that term is used in the 1940 Act, as amended, and as interpreted or modified by regulatory authority having jurisdiction, from time to time, except that the fund may invest more than 25% of the value of its total assets in securities of issuers in the same industry if the index that the fund replicates concentrates in an industry (for the purposes of this restriction, investments in U.S. Government securities and tax-exempt securities issued by state and municipal governments and their agencies, authorities and instrumentalities are not deemed to be investments in any industries).

 

(2)        Borrowing. The fund may not borrow money, except as permitted under the 1940 Act, as amended, and as interpreted or modified by regulatory authority having jurisdiction, from time to time.

 

(3)        Underwriting. The fund may not engage in the business of underwriting securities issued by others, except to the extent that the fund may be deemed to be an underwriter in connection with the disposition of portfolio securities.

 

(4)        Real Estate. The fund may not purchase or sell real estate, which term does not include securities of companies which deal in real estate or mortgages or investments secured by real estate or interests therein, except that the fund reserves freedom of action to hold and to sell real estate acquired as a result of the fund’s ownership of securities.

 

(5)        Commodities. The fund may not purchase or sell commodities, except as permitted under the 1940 Act, as amended, and as interpreted or modified by regulatory authority having jurisdiction, from time to time.

 

(6)        Loans. The fund may not make loans except as permitted under the 1940 Act, as amended, and as interpreted or modified by regulatory authority having jurisdiction, from time to time.

 

(7)        Senior Securities. The fund may not issue senior securities, except as permitted under the 1940 Act, as amended, and as interpreted or modified by regulatory authority having jurisdiction, from time to time.

 

For purposes of Fundamental Restriction No. 7, purchasing securities on a when-issued, forward commitment or delayed delivery basis and engaging in hedging and other strategic transactions will not be deemed to constitute the issuance of a senior security.

 

The following discussion provides additional information about the Fundamental Restrictions set forth above.

 

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Concentration. While the 1940 Act does not define what constitutes “concentration” in an industry, the staff of the SEC takes the position that any fund that invests more than 25% of its total assets in a particular industry (excluding the U.S. government, its agencies or instrumentalities) is deemed to be “concentrated” in that industry. With respect to the Fund's investment in loan participations, if any, the Fund treats both the borrower and the financial intermediary under a loan participation as issuers for purposes of determining whether the Fund has concentrated in a particular industry. For purposes of the Fund’s policy, securities issued by state and municipal governments and their agencies, authorities and instrumentalities are only not deemed to be part of an industry to the extent such securities are tax-exempt.

 

Borrowing. The 1940 Act permits the Fund to borrow money in amounts of up to one-third of its total assets, at the time of borrowing, from banks for any purpose (the Fund’s total assets include the amounts being borrowed). To limit the risks attendant to borrowing, the 1940 Act requires the Fund to maintain at all times an “asset coverage” of at least 300% of the amount of its borrowings, not including borrowings for temporary purposes in an amount not exceeding 5% of the value of its total assets. “Asset coverage” means the ratio that the value of the Fund’s total assets (including amounts borrowed), minus liabilities other than borrowings, bears to the aggregate amount of all borrowings.

 

Commodities. Under the federal securities and commodities laws, certain financial instruments such as futures contracts and options thereon, including currency futures, stock index futures or interest rate futures, and certain swaps, including currency swaps, interest rate swaps, swaps on broad-based securities indices and certain credit default swaps, may, under certain circumstances, also be considered to be commodities. Nevertheless, the 1940 Act does not prohibit investments in physical commodities or contracts related to physical commodities. Funds typically invest in futures contracts and related options on these and other types of commodity contracts for hedging purposes, to implement tax or cash management strategies, or to enhance returns.

 

Loans. Although the 1940 Act does not prohibit the Fund from making loans, SEC staff interpretations currently prohibit funds from lending more than one-third of their total assets, except through the purchase of debt obligations or the use of repurchase agreements. A repurchase agreement is an agreement to purchase a security, coupled with an agreement to sell that security back to the original seller on an agreed-upon date at a price that reflects current interest rates. The SEC frequently treats repurchase agreements as loans.

 

Senior Securities. “Senior securities” are defined as Fund obligations that have a priority over the Fund’s shares with respect to the payment of dividends or the distribution of Fund assets. The 1940 Act prohibits the Fund from issuing any class of senior securities or selling any senior securities of which it is the issuer, except that the Fund is permitted to borrow from a bank so long as, immediately after such borrowings, there is an asset coverage of at least 300% for all borrowings of the Fund (not including borrowings for temporary purposes in an amount not exceeding 5% of the value of the Fund’s total assets). In the event that such asset coverage falls below this percentage, the Fund must reduce the amount of its borrowings within three days (not including Sundays and holidays) so that the asset coverage is restored to at least 300%. The fundamental investment restriction regarding senior securities will be interpreted so as to permit collateral arrangements with respect to swaps, options, forward or futures contracts or other derivatives, or the posting of initial or variation margin.

 

Except with respect to the fundamental investment restriction on borrowing, if a percentage restriction is adhered to at the time of an investment, a later increase or decrease in the investment’s percentage of the value of the fund’s total assets resulting from a change in such values or assets will not constitute a violation of the percentage restriction. Any subsequent change in a rating assigned by any rating service to a security (or, if unrated, any change in the subadvisor’s assessment of the security), or change in the percentage of fund assets invested in certain securities or other instruments, or change in the average duration of the fund’s investment portfolio, resulting from market fluctuations or other changes in the fund’s total assets will not require the fund to dispose of an investment until the subadvisor determines that it is practicable to sell or close out the investment without undue market or tax consequences to the fund. In the event that rating services assign different ratings to the same security, the subadvisor will determine which rating it believes best reflects the security’s quality and risk at that time, which may be the higher of the several assigned ratings.

 

 41 

 

 

Investment Restrictions that May be Changed Only on 60 Days’ Notice to Shareholders

 

In order to comply with Rule 35d-1 under the 1940 Act, the 80% investment policy for the Fund is subject to change only upon 60 days’ prior notice to shareholders. Refer to the Fund’s Prospectus for its “Principal investment strategies.”

 

Portfolio Turnover

 

The annual rate of portfolio turnover may vary from year to year as well as within a year. A high rate of portfolio turnover (100% or more) generally involves correspondingly greater brokerage commission expenses, which must be borne directly by the Fund. Portfolio turnover is calculated by dividing the lesser of purchases or sales of portfolio securities during the fiscal period by the monthly average of the value of the Fund’s portfolio securities. (Excluded from the computation are all securities, including options, with maturities at the time of acquisition of one year or less). Portfolio turnover rates can change from year to year due to various factors, including among others, portfolio adjustments made in response to market conditions. Because the Fund is newly formed, no portfolio turnover rates are available.

 

Those Responsible for Management

 

The business of JH ETF Trust, an open-end management investment company, is managed by its Board, including certain Trustees who are not “interested persons” (as defined in the 1940 Act) of JH ETF Trust (the “Independent Trustees”). The Trustees elect officers who are responsible for the day-to-day operations of the Fund and who execute policies formulated by the Trustees. Several of the Trustees and officers of JH ETF Trust also are officers or directors of the Advisor. Each Trustee oversees all funds of JH ETF Trust and other funds in the John Hancock Fund Complex (as defined below).

 

The tables below present certain information regarding the Trustees and officers of JH ETF Trust, including their principal occupations which, unless specific dates are shown, are of at least five years’ duration. In addition, the table includes information concerning other directorships held by each Trustee in other registered investment companies or publicly traded companies. Information is listed separately for each Trustee who is an “interested person” (as defined in the 1940 Act) of JH ETF Trust (each a “Non-Independent Trustee”) and the Independent Trustees. As of August 31, 2018, the “John Hancock Fund Complex” consisted of 216 funds (including separate series of series mutual funds): John Hancock Collateral Trust (“JHCT”) (one fund); John Hancock Variable Insurance Trust (“JHVIT”) (65 funds); John Hancock Funds II (“JHF II”) (91 funds); JHF III (6 funds); JH ETF Trust (13 funds); and 40 other John Hancock funds consisting of 30 series of other John Hancock trusts and 10 closed-end funds. Each Trustee, other than Andrew G. Arnott and Marianne Harrison, was elected to serve on the Board by the Trust’s initial shareholder. The Board appointed Mr. Arnott and Ms. Harrison to serve as Non-Independent Trustees on June 20, 2017 and June 19, 2018, respectively. In addition, although James R. Boyle initially was designated a Non-Independent Trustee, as of March 22, 2018, he is considered an Independent Trustee. The address of each Trustee and officer of the Trust is 601 Congress Street, Boston, Massachusetts 02210-2805.

 

Non-Independent Trustees

Name

(Birth Year)

Position(s) with the
Trust(1)
Principal Occupation(s) and Other
Directorships During the Past 5 Years
Number of Funds
in John Hancock
Fund Complex
Overseen by
Trustee
Andrew G.
Arnott(2)

(1971)
Trustee (since 2017); President (since 2014) Head of Wealth and Asset Management, United States and Europe, for John Hancock and Manulife (Since 2018); Executive Vice President, John Hancock Financial Services (since 2009, including prior positions); Director and Executive Vice President, John Hancock Advisers, LLC (since 2005, including prior positions); Director and Executive Vice President, John Hancock Investment Management Services, LLC (since 2006, including prior positions); President, John Hancock Funds, LLC (since 2004, including prior positions);  216

 

 42 

 

 

Non-Independent Trustees

Name

(Birth Year)

Position(s) with the
Trust(1)
Principal Occupation(s) and Other
Directorships During the Past 5 Years
Number of Funds
in John Hancock
Fund Complex
Overseen by
Trustee
   

President, John Hancock retail funds(3), John Hancock Variable Insurance Trust and John Hancock Funds II (since 2007, including prior positions); President, John Hancock Collateral Trust and John Hancock Exchange-Traded Fund Trust (since 2014).

 

Trustee, John Hancock Collateral Trust, John Hancock Exchange-Traded Fund Trust, John Hancock retail funds(3), John Hancock Variable Insurance Trust, and John Hancock Funds II (since 2017).

 

Marianne Harrison(2)

(1963)

Trustee (since 2018)

 

President and CEO, John Hancock (since 2017); President and CEO, Manulife Canadian Division (2013 – 2017); Member, Board of Directors, American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI) (since 2018); Member, Board of Directors, Coummunitech, an industry-led innovation center that fosters technology companies in Canada (since 2017); Member, Board of Directors, Manulife Assurance Canada (since 2015); Board Member, St. Mary’s General Hospital Foundation (since 2014); Member, Board of Directors, Manulife Bank of Canada (since 2013); Member, Standing Committee of the Canadian Life & Health Assurance Association (since 2013); Member, Board of Directors, John Hancock USA, John Hancock Life & Health, John Hancock New York (2012 – 2013).

 

Trustee, John Hancock Collateral Trust, John Hancock Exchange-Traded Fund Trust, John Hancock retail funds(3), John Hancock Variable Insurance Trust, and John Hancock Funds II (since 2018).           

216

Warren A. Thomson(2)

(1955)

 

Trustee (since 2015)

Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Investment Officer, Manulife Financial Corporation and The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company (since 2009); Chairman, Manulife Asset Management (since 2001, including prior positions); Director and Chairman, Manulife Asset Management Limited (since 2006); Director and Chairman, Hancock Natural Resources Group, Inc. (since 2013).

 

Trustee, John Hancock retail funds(3), John Hancock Variable Insurance Trust and John Hancock Funds II (since 2012); Trustee, John Hancock Collateral Trust (since 2014); Trustee,

216

 

 43 

 

 

Non-Independent Trustees

Name

(Birth Year)

Position(s) with the
Trust(1)
Principal Occupation(s) and Other
Directorships During the Past 5 Years
Number of Funds
in John Hancock
Fund Complex
Overseen by
Trustee
    John Hancock Exchange-Traded Fund Trust (since 2015).  

 

Independent Trustees

Name

(Birth Year)

Position(s) with the
Trust(1)
Principal Occupation(s) and Other
Directorships During the Past 5 Years
Number of Funds
in John Hancock
Fund Complex
Overseen by
Trustee

Charles L. Bardelis

(1941)

 

Trustee (since 2015)

Director, Island Commuter Corp. (marine transport).

 

Trustee, John Hancock Collateral Trust (since 2014); Trustee, John Hancock Exchange-Traded Fund Trust (since 2015); John Hancock retail funds(3) (since 2012); Trustee, John Hancock Funds III (2005-2006 and since 2012); Trustee, John Hancock Variable Insurance Trust (since 1988); Trustee, John Hancock Funds II (since 2005).

 

216

James R. Boyle

(1959)

 

Trustee (since 2015)

Chief Executive Officer, Foresters Financial (since 2018); Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Zillion Group, Inc. (formerly HealthFleet, Inc.) (healthcare) (2014-2018); Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Officer, U.S. Life Insurance Division of Genworth Financial, Inc. (insurance) (January 2014–July 2014); Senior Executive Vice President, Manulife Financial Corporation, President and Chief Executive Officer, John Hancock (1999-2012); Chairman and Director, John Hancock Advisers, LLC, John Hancock Funds, LLC, and John Hancock Investment Management Services, LLC (2005–2010).

 

Trustee, John Hancock Collateral Trust and John Hancock Exchange-Traded Fund Trust (since 2015); Trustee, John Hancock retail funds(3) (2005–2010; 2012-2014 and since 2015); Trustee, John Hancock Variable Insurance Trust and John Hancock Funds II (2005-2014 and since 2015).

216

 

 44 

 

 

Independent Trustees

Name

(Birth Year)

Position(s) with the
Trust(1)
Principal Occupation(s) and Other
Directorships During the Past 5 Years
Number of Funds
in John Hancock
Fund Complex
Overseen by
Trustee

Peter S. Burgess

(1942)

Trustee (since 2015)

Consultant (financial, accounting, and auditing matters) (since 1999); Certified Public Accountant; Partner, Arthur Andersen (independent public accounting firm) (prior to 1999); Director, Lincoln Educational Services Corporation (since 2004); Director, Symetra Financial Corporation (2010–2016); Director, PMA Capital Corporation (2004–2010).

 

Trustee, John Hancock Collateral Trust (since 2014); Trustee, John Hancock Exchange-Traded Fund Trust (since 2015); Trustee, John Hancock retail funds(3) (since 2012); Trustee, John Hancock Funds III (2005–2006 and since 2012); Trustee, John Hancock Variable Insurance Trust and John Hancock Funds II (since 2005).

 

216

William H.
Cunningham

(1944)

 

Trustee (since 2015)

Professor, University of Texas, Austin, Texas (since 1971); former Chancellor, University of Texas System and former President of the University of Texas, Austin, Texas; Chairman (since 2009) and Director (since 2006), Lincoln National Corporation (insurance); Director, Southwest Airlines (since 2000); former Director, LIN Television (2009–2014).

 

Trustee, John Hancock retail funds(3) (since 1986); Trustee, John Hancock Variable Insurance Trust (since 2012); Trustee, John Hancock Funds II (2005–2006 and since 2012); Trustee, John Hancock Collateral Trust (since 2014), Trustee, John Hancock Exchange-Traded Fund Trust (since 2015).

 

216

Grace K. Fey

(1946)

Trustee (since 2015)

Chief Executive Officer, Grace Fey Advisors (since 2007); Director and Executive Vice President, Frontier Capital Management Company (1988-2007); Director, Fiduciary Trust (since 2009).

 

Trustee, John Hancock Collateral Trust (since 2014); Trustee, John Hancock Exchange-Traded Fund Trust (since 2015); Trustee, John Hancock retail funds(3) (since 2012); Trustee, John Hancock Variable Insurance Trust and John Hancock Funds II (since 2008).

216

 

 45 

 

 

Independent Trustees

Name

(Birth Year)

Position(s) with the
Trust(1)
Principal Occupation(s) and Other
Directorships During the Past 5 Years
Number of Funds
in John Hancock
Fund Complex
Overseen by
Trustee

Theron S. Hoffman

(1947)

Trustee (since 2015)

Chief Executive Officer, T. Hoffman Associates, LLC (consulting firm) (since 2003); Director, The Todd Organization (consulting firm) (2003–2010); President, Westport Resources Management (investment management consulting firm) (2006–2008); Board Member, Senior Managing Director, Partner, and Operating Head, Putnam Investments (2000–2003); Executive Vice President, The Thomson Corp. (financial and legal information publishing) (1997–2000).

Trustee, John Hancock Collateral Trust (since 2014); Trustee, John Hancock Exchange-Traded Fund Trust (since 2015); Trustee, John Hancock retail funds(3) (since 2012); Trustee, John Hancock Variable Insurance Trust and John Hancock Funds II (since 2008).

 

216

Deborah C. Jackson

(1952)

Trustee (since 2015)

President, Cambridge College, Cambridge, Massachusetts (since 2011); Board of Directors, National Association of Corporate Directors/New England (since 2015); Board of Directors, Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Massachusetts (since 2014); Chief Executive Officer, American Red Cross of Massachusetts Bay (2002–2011); Board of Directors of Eastern Bank Corporation (since 2001); Board of Directors of Eastern Bank Charitable Foundation (since 2001); Board of Directors of American Student Assistance Corporation (1996–2009); Board of Directors of Boston Stock Exchange (2002–2008); Board of Directors of Harvard Pilgrim Healthcare (health benefits company) (2007–2011).

Trustee, John Hancock retail funds(3) (since 2008); Trustee, John Hancock Variable Insurance Trust and John Hancock Funds II (since 2012); Trustee, John Hancock Collateral Trust (since 2014); Trustee, John Hancock Exchange-Traded Fund Trust (since 2015).

 

216

Hassell H. McClellan

(1945)

Trustee (since 2015) and Chairperson of the Board (since 2017)

Director/Trustee, Virtus Funds (since 2008); Director, The Barnes Group (since 2010); Associate Professor, The Wallace E. Carroll School of Management, Boston College (retired 2013).

 

Trustee (since 2014) and Chairperson of the Board (since 2017), John Hancock Collateral Trust; Trustee (since 2015) and Chairperson of the Board (since 2017), John Hancock Exchange-Traded Fund

216

 

 46 

 

 

Independent Trustees

Name

(Birth Year)

Position(s) with the
Trust(1)
Principal Occupation(s) and Other
Directorships During the Past 5 Years
Number of Funds
in John Hancock
Fund Complex
Overseen by
Trustee
    Trust; Trustee (since 2012) and Chairperson of the Board (since 2017), John Hancock retail funds(3); Trustee (2005–2006 and since 2012) and Chairperson of the Board (since 2017), John Hancock Funds III; Trustee (since 2005) and Chairperson of the Board (since 2017), John Hancock Variable Insurance Trust and John Hancock Funds II.  

James M. Oates

(1946)

Trustee (since 2015)

Managing Director, Wydown Group (financial consulting firm) (since 1994); Chairman and Director, Emerson Investment Management, Inc. (2000–2015); Independent Chairman, Hudson Castle Group, Inc. (formerly IBEX Capital Markets, Inc.) (financial services company) (1997–2011); Director, Stifel Financial (since 1996); Director, Investor Financial Services Corporation (1995–2007); Director, Connecticut River Bancorp (1998–2014); Director/Trustee, Virtus Funds (since 1988).

 

Trustee (since 2014) and Chairperson of the Board (2014–2016), John Hancock Collateral Trust; Trustee (since 2015) and Chairperson of the Board (2015–2016), John Hancock Exchange-Traded Fund Trust; Trustee (since 2012) and Chairperson of the Board (2012-2016), John Hancock retail funds(3); Trustee (2005–2006 and since 2012) and Chairperson of the Board (2012–2016), John Hancock Funds III; Trustee (since 2004) and Chairperson of the Board (2005–2016), John Hancock Variable Insurance Trust; Trustee (since 2005) and Chairperson of the Board, John Hancock Funds II (2005–2016).

216

 

 47 

 

 

Independent Trustees

Name

(Birth Year)

Position(s) with the
Trust(1)
Principal Occupation(s) and Other
Directorships During the Past 5 Years
Number of Funds
in John Hancock
Fund Complex
Overseen by
Trustee

Steven R. Pruchansky

(1944)

Trustee and Vice Chairperson of the Board (since 2015)

Managing Director, Pru Realty (since 2017); Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Greenscapes of Southwest Florida, Inc. (since 2000); Director and President, Greenscapes of Southwest Florida, Inc. (until 2000); Member, Board of Advisors, First American Bank (until 2010); Managing Director, Jon James, LLC (real estate) (since 2000); Partner, Right Funding, LLC (2014-2017); Director, First Signature Bank & Trust Company (until 1991); Director, Mast Realty Trust (until 1994); President, Maxwell Building Corp. (until 1991).

 

Trustee (since 1992) and Chairperson of the Board (2011–2012), John Hancock retail funds(3); Trustee and Vice Chairperson of the Board, John Hancock retail funds, John Hancock Variable Insurance Trust and John Hancock Funds II (since 2012); Trustee, and Vice Chairperson of the Board, John Hancock Collateral Trust (since 2014); Trustee and Vice Chairperson of the Board, John Hancock Exchange-Traded Fund Trust (since 2015).

 

216

Gregory A. Russo

(1949)

Trustee (since 2015)

Director and Audit Committee Chairman (since 2012), and Member, Audit Committee and Finance Committee (since 2011), NCH Healthcare System, Inc. (holding company for multi-entity healthcare system); Director and Member (since 2012), and Finance Committee Chairman (since 2014), The Moorings, Inc. (nonprofit continuing care community); Vice Chairman, Risk & Regulatory Matters, KPMG LLP (KPMG) (2002–2006); Vice Chairman, Industrial Markets, KPMG (1998–2002); Chairman and Treasurer, Westchester County, New York, Chamber of Commerce (1986–1992); Director, Treasurer and Chairman of Audit and Finance Committees, Putnam Hospital Center (1989–1995); Director and Chairman of Fundraising Campaign, United Way of Westchester and Putnam Counties, New York (1990–1995).

 

Trustee, John Hancock retail funds(3) (since 2008); Trustee, John Hancock Variable Insurance Trust and John Hancock Funds II (since 2012); Trustee, John Hancock Collateral Trust (since 2014); Trustee, John Hancock Exchange-Traded Fund Trust (since 2015).

216

 

 48 

 

 

(1) Because the Trust does not hold regular annual shareholder meetings, each Trustee holds office for an indefinite term until his/her successor is duly elected and qualified or until he/she dies, retires, resigns, is removed or becomes disqualified. Trustees may be removed from the Trust (provided the aggregate number of Trustees after such removal shall not be less than one) with cause or without cause, by the action of two-thirds of the remaining Trustees or by action of two-thirds of the outstanding shares of the Trust.
(2) The Trustee is a Non-Independent Trustee due to current positions with the Advisor and certain of its affiliates.
(3) “John Hancock retail funds” is currently composed of John Hancock Funds III and 40 other John Hancock funds consisting of 30 series of other John Hancock trusts and 10 closed-end funds. The information for the John Hancock retail funds category relates to service as a Trustee of any of these funds for the stated period.

 

Principal Officers who are not Trustees

 

The following table presents information regarding the current principal officers of the Trust who are not Trustees, including their principal occupations which, unless specific dates are shown, are of at least five years’ duration. Each of the officers is an affiliated person of the Advisor. All of the officers listed are officers or employees of the Advisor or its affiliates. All of the officers also are officers of all of the other funds for which the Advisor serves as investment advisor.

 

Name

(Birth Year)

Position(s) with
the Trust(1)
Principal Occupation(s) During Past 5 Years

John J. Danello

(1955)

Senior Vice President (since 2006, including prior positions); and Secretary and Chief Legal Officer (since 2014) Vice President and Chief Counsel, John Hancock Wealth Management (since 2005); Senior Vice President (since 2007) and Chief Legal Counsel (2007–2010), John Hancock Funds, LLC and The Berkeley Financial Group, LLC; Senior Vice President (since 2006, including prior positions) and Chief Legal Officer and Secretary (since 2014), John Hancock retail funds(2), John Hancock Funds II and John Hancock Variable Insurance Trust; Senior Vice President, Secretary and Chief Legal Officer, John Hancock Collateral Trust and John Hancock Exchange-Traded Fund Trust (since 2014); Vice President, John Hancock Life & Health Insurance Company (since 2009); Vice President, John Hancock Life Insurance Company (USA) and John Hancock Life Insurance Company of New York (since 2010); and Senior Vice President, Secretary and Chief Legal Counsel (2007–2014, including prior positions) of John Hancock Advisers, LLC and John Hancock Investment Management Services, LLC.
     

Francis V. Knox, Jr.

(1947)

Chief Compliance Officer (since 2014) Vice President, John Hancock Financial Services (since 2005); Chief Compliance Officer, John Hancock retail funds(2), John Hancock Variable Insurance Trust, John Hancock Funds II, John Hancock Advisers, LLC, and John Hancock Investment Management Services, LLC (since 2005); Chief Compliance Officer, John Hancock Collateral Trust and John Hancock Exchange-Traded Fund Trust (since 2014).
     

Charles A. Rizzo

(1957)

Chief Financial Officer (since 2014) Vice President, John Hancock Financial Services (since 2008); Senior Vice President, John Hancock Advisers, LLC and John Hancock Investment Management Services, LLC (since 2008); Chief Financial Officer, John Hancock retail funds(2), John Hancock Variable Insurance Trust and John Hancock Funds II (since 2007); Chief Financial Officer, John Hancock Collateral Trust and John Hancock Exchange-Traded Fund Trust (since 2014).
     

Salvatore Schiavone

(1965)

Treasurer (since 2014) Assistant Vice President, John Hancock Financial Services (since 2007); Vice President, John Hancock Advisers, LLC and John Hancock Investment Management Services, LLC (since 2007); Treasurer, John Hancock retail funds(2) (since 2007, including prior

 

 49 

 

 

Name

(Birth Year)

Position(s) with
the Trust(1)
Principal Occupation(s) During Past 5 Years
    positions); Treasurer, John Hancock Variable Insurance Trust and John Hancock Funds II (2007–2009 and since 2010, including prior positions); Treasurer, John Hancock Collateral Trust and John Hancock Exchange-Traded Fund Trust (since 2014).

 

(1)Each officer holds office for an indefinite term until his/her successor is duly elected and qualified or until he/she dies, retires, resigns, is removed or becomes disqualified.
(2) “John Hancock retail funds” is currently composed of John Hancock Funds III and 40 other John Hancock funds consisting of 30 series of other John Hancock trusts and 10 closed-end funds. The information for the John Hancock retail funds category relates to service as an officer of any of these funds for the stated period.

 

Additional Information about the Trustees

 

In addition to the description of each Trustee’s Principal Occupation(s) and Other Directorships set forth above, the following provides further information about each Trustee’s specific experience, qualifications, attributes or skills. The information in this section should not be understood to mean that any of the Trustees is an “expert” within the meaning of the federal securities laws.

 

There are no specific required qualifications for Board membership. The Board believes that the different perspectives, viewpoints, professional experience, education, and individual qualities of each Trustee represent a diversity of experiences and a variety of complementary skills. Each Trustee has experience as a Trustee of the Trust as well as experience as a Trustee of other John Hancock funds. It is the Trustees’ belief that this allows the Board, as a whole, to oversee the business of the Fund and the other John Hancock funds (collectively, in this section, the “Funds”) in a manner consistent with the best interests of the Funds’ shareholders. When considering potential nominees to fill vacancies on the Board, and as part of its annual self-evaluation, the Board reviews the mix of skills and other relevant experiences of the Trustees.

 

Andrew G. Arnott — Through his positions as Executive Vice President of John Hancock Financial Services; Director and Executive Vice President of the Advisor and an affiliated investment advisor, John Hancock Investment Management Services, LLC; President of John Hancock Funds, LLC; and President of the John Hancock Fund Complex, Mr. Arnott has experience in the management of investments, registered investment companies, variable annuities and retirement products, enabling him to provide management input to the Board.

 

Charles L. Bardelis — As a director and former chief executive of an operating company, Mr. Bardelis has experience with a variety of financial, staffing, regulatory and operational issues. He also has experience as a director of publicly traded companies.

 

James R. Boyle — Through his former positions as chairman and director of the Advisor, position as a senior executive of MFC, the Advisor’s parent company, and positions with other affiliates of the Advisor, Mr. Boyle has experience in the development and management of registered investment companies, variable annuities and retirement products, enabling him to provide management input to the Board. He also has experience as a senior executive of healthcare and insurance companies.

 

Peter S. Burgess — As a financial consultant and certified public accountant and a former partner in a major international public accounting firm, Mr. Burgess has experience in the auditing of financial services companies and mutual funds. He also has experience as a director of publicly traded operating companies.

 

William H. Cunningham — Mr. Cunningham has management and operational oversight experience as a former Chancellor and President of a major university. Mr. Cunningham regularly teaches a graduate course in corporate governance at the law school and the Red McCombs School of Business at The University of Texas at Austin. He also has oversight and corporate governance experience as a current and former director of a number of operating companies, including an insurance company.

 

 50 

 

 

Grace K. Fey — As a consultant to nonprofit and corporate boards, and as a former director and executive of an investment management firm, Ms. Fey has experience in the investment management industry. She also has experience as a director of an operating company.

 

Marianne Harrison — Through her position as President and CEO, John Hancock, and previous experience as President and CEO, Manulife Canadian Division, President and General Manager for John Hancock Long-Term Care Insurance, and Executive Vice President and Controller for Manulife, Ms. Harrison has experience as a strategic business builder expanding product offerings and distribution, enabling her to provide management input to the Board.

 

Theron S. Hoffman — As a consultant and as a former senior executive and director of several large public and private companies, including a global reinsurance company and a large investment management firm, Mr. Hoffman has extensive experience in corporate governance, business operations and new product development. In addition, his prior service as chair of corporate pension trusts has given him experience in the oversight of investment managers.

 

Deborah C. Jackson — Ms. Jackson has management and operational oversight experience as the president of a college and as the former chief executive officer of a major charitable organization. She also has oversight and corporate governance experience as a current and former director of various corporate organizations, including a bank, an insurance company and a regional stock exchange, and nonprofit entities.

 

Hassell H. McClellan — As a former professor of finance and policy in the graduate management department of a major university, a current director of a public company, and as a former director of several privately held companies, Mr. McClellan has experience in corporate and financial matters. He also has experience as a director of other investment companies not affiliated with the Trust.

 

James M. Oates — As a senior officer and director of investment management companies, Mr. Oates has experience in investment management. Mr. Oates previously served as chief executive officer of one bank and president and chief operating officer of another bank. He also has experience as a director of publicly traded companies and investment companies not affiliated with the Trust.

 

Steven R. Pruchansky — Mr. Pruchansky has entrepreneurial, executive and financial experience as a chief executive officer of an operating services company and a current and former director of real estate and banking companies.

 

Gregory A. Russo — As a certified public accountant and former partner in a major independent registered public accounting firm, Mr. Russo has accounting and executive experience. He also has experience as a current and former director of various operating entities.

 

Warren A. Thomson — Through his positions as Chairman of Manulife Asset Management and Chief Investment Officer of MFC, the Advisor’s parent company, Mr. Thomson has experience in the management of investments, registered investment companies, variable annuities and retirement products, enabling him to provide management input to the Board.

 

Duties of Trustees; Committee Structure

 

The Trust is organized as a Massachusetts business trust. Under the Declaration of Trust, the Trustees are responsible for managing the affairs of the Trust, including the appointment of advisors and subadvisors. Each Trustee has the experience, skills, attributes or qualifications described above (see “Principal Occupation(s) and Other Directorships” and “Additional Information about the Trustees” above). The Board appoints officers who assist in managing the day-to-day affairs of the Trust. The Board met six times during the fiscal period ended April 30, 2018.

 

The Board has appointed an Independent Trustee as Chairperson. The Chairperson presides at meetings of the Trustees, and may call meetings of the Board and any Board committee whenever he deems it necessary. The Chairperson participates in the preparation of the agenda for meetings of the Board and the identification of information to be presented to the Board with respect to matters to be acted upon by the Board. The Chairperson also acts as a liaison with the Fund’s management, officers, attorneys, and other Trustees generally between meetings. The Chairperson may perform such other functions as may be requested by the Board from time to time. The Board also has designated a Vice Chairperson to serve in the absence of the Chairperson. Except for any duties specified in this

 

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SAI or pursuant to the Trust’s Declaration of Trust or By-laws, or as assigned by the Board, the designation of a Trustee as Chairperson or Vice Chairperson does not impose on that Trustee any duties, obligations or liability that are greater than the duties, obligations or liability imposed on any other Trustee, generally. The Board has designated a number of standing committees as further described below, each of which has a Chairperson. The Board also may designate working groups or ad hoc committees as it deems appropriate.

 

The Board believes that this leadership structure is appropriate because it allows the Board to exercise informed and independent judgment over matters under its purview, and it allocates areas of responsibility among committees or working groups of Trustees and the full Board in a manner that enhances effective oversight. The Board considers leadership by an Independent Trustee as Chairperson to be integral to promoting effective independent oversight of the Fund’s operations and meaningful representation of the shareholders’ interests, given the specific characteristics and circumstances of the Fund. The Board also believes that having a super-majority of Independent Trustees is appropriate and in the best interest of the Fund’s shareholders. Nevertheless, the Board also believes that having interested persons serve on the Board brings corporate and financial viewpoints that are, in the Board’s view, helpful elements in its decision-making process. In addition, the Board believes that Messrs. Arnott, Boyle, Thomson, and Ms. Harrison as current or former senior executives of the Advisor (or its parent company, MFC), and of other affiliates of the Advisor, provide the Board with the perspective of the Advisor in managing and sponsoring all of the Trust’s series. The leadership structure of the Board may be changed, at any time and in the discretion of the Board, including in response to changes in circumstances or the characteristics of the Trust.

 

Board Committees

 

The Board has established an Audit Committee; Compliance Committee; Contracts, Legal & Risk Committee; Nominating and Governance Committee; and Investment Committee.

 

The current membership of each committee is set forth below.

 

Audit Committee. The Board has a standing Audit Committee composed solely of Independent Trustees (Messrs. Bardelis, Burgess and Hoffman). Mr. Burgess serves as Chairperson of this Committee. This Committee met four times during the fiscal period ended April 30, 2018. This Committee reviews the internal and external accounting and auditing procedures of the Trust and, among other things, considers the selection of an independent registered public accounting firm for the Trust, approves all significant services proposed to be performed by its independent registered public accounting firm and considers the possible effect of such services on its independence.

 

Compliance Committee. The Board also has a standing Compliance Committee (Mses. Fey and Jackson and Mr. Cunningham). This Committee reviews and makes recommendations to the full Board regarding certain compliance matters relating to the Trust. Ms. Fey serves as Chairperson of this Committee. This Committee met four times during the fiscal period ended April 30, 2018.

 

Contracts, Legal & Risk Committee. The Board also has a standing Contracts, Legal & Risk Committee (Messrs. Boyle, Oates, Pruchansky and Russo). This Committee met four times during the fiscal period ended April 30, 2018. This Committee oversees the initiation, operation, and renewal of the various contracts between the Trust and other entities. These contracts include advisory and subadvisory agreements, custodial and transfer agency agreements and arrangements with other service providers. The Committee also reviews the significant legal affairs of the Funds, as well as any significant regulatory and legislative actions or proposals affecting or relating to the Funds or their service providers. The Committee also assists the Board in its oversight role with respect to the processes pursuant to which the Advisor and the subadvisor identify, manage and report the various risks that affect or could affect the Fund. Mr. Russo serves as Chairperson of this Committee.

 

Nominating and Governance Committee. The Board also has a Nominating and Governance Committee composed of all of the Independent Trustees. This Committee met four times during the fiscal period ended April 30, 2018. This Committee will consider nominees recommended by Trust shareholders. Nominations should be forwarded to the attention of the Secretary of the Trust at 601 Congress Street, Boston, Massachusetts 02210. Any shareholder nomination must be submitted in compliance with all of the pertinent provisions of Rule 14a-8 under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”), in order to be considered by this Committee.

 

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Investment Committee. The Board also has an Investment Committee composed of all of the Trustees. The Investment Committee has five subcommittees with the Trustees divided among the five subcommittees (each an “Investment Sub-Committee”). Each Investment Sub-Committee reviews investment matters relating to a particular group of funds in the John Hancock Fund Complex and coordinates with the full Board regarding investment matters. Ms. Jackson and Messrs. Bardelis, Cunningham, Hoffman, and Oates serve as Chairpersons of the Investment Sub-Committees. The Investment Committee met five times during the fiscal period ended April 30, 2018.

 

Annually, the Board evaluates its performance and that of its Committees, including the effectiveness of the Board’s Committee structure.

 

Risk Oversight

 

As a registered investment company, the Fund is subject to a variety of risks, including investment risks (such as, among others, market risk, credit risk and interest rate risk), financial risks (such as, among others, settlement risk, liquidity risk and valuation risk), compliance risks, and operational risks. As a part of its overall activities, the Board oversees the Funds’ risk management activities that are implemented by the Advisor, the Funds’ Chief Compliance Officer (“CCO”) and other service providers to the Funds. The Advisor has primary responsibility for the Funds’ risk management on a day-to-day basis as a part of its overall responsibilities. The Funds’ subadvisor, subject to oversight of the Advisor, is primarily responsible for managing investment and financial risks as a part of their day-to-day investment responsibilities, as well as operational and compliance risks at their firms. The Advisor and the CCO also assist the Board in overseeing compliance with investment policies of the Funds and regulatory requirements, and monitor the implementation of the various compliance policies and procedures approved by the Board as a part of its oversight responsibilities.

 

The Advisor identifies to the Board the risks that it believes may affect the Funds and develops processes and controls regarding such risks. However, risk management is a complex and dynamic undertaking and it is not always possible to comprehensively identify and/or mitigate all such risks at all times since risks are at times impacted by external events. In discharging its oversight responsibilities, the Board considers risk management issues throughout the year with the assistance of its various Committees as described below. Each Committee meets at least quarterly and presents reports to the Board, which may prompt further discussion of issues concerning the oversight of the Funds’ risk management. The Board as a whole also reviews written reports or presentations on a variety of risk issues as needed and may discuss particular risks that are not addressed in the Committee process.

 

The Board has established an Investment Committee, which consists of five Investment Sub-Committees. Each Investment Sub-Committee assists the Board in overseeing the significant investment policies of the relevant Funds and the performance of their subadvisor. The Advisor monitors these policies and subadvisor activities and may recommend changes in connection with the Funds to each relevant Investment Sub-Committee in response to subadvisor requests or other circumstances. On at least a quarterly basis, each Investment Sub-Committee reviews reports from the Advisor regarding the relevant Funds’ investment performance, which include information about investment and financial risks and how they are managed, and from the CCO or his/her designee regarding subadvisor compliance matters. In addition, each Investment Sub-Committee meets periodically with the portfolio managers of the Funds’ subadvisor to receive reports regarding management of the Funds, including with respect to risk management processes.

 

The Audit Committee assists the Board in reviewing with the independent auditors, at various times throughout the year, matters relating to the Funds’ financial reporting. In addition, this Committee oversees the process of each Fund’s valuation of its portfolio securities, assisted by the Funds’ Pricing Committee (composed of officers of the Trust), which calculates fair value determinations pursuant to procedures adopted by the Board.

 

The Compliance Committee assists the Board in overseeing the activities of the Trust’s CCO with respect to the compliance programs of the Funds, the Advisor, the subadvisor, and certain of the Funds’ other service providers, Foreside Fund Services, LLC, the Funds’ distributor (the “Distributor”), and State Street Bank and Trust Company, the Funds’ transfer agent (the “Transfer Agent”). This Committee and the Board receive and consider periodic reports from the CCO throughout the year, including the CCO’s annual written report, which, among other things, summarizes material compliance issues that arose during the previous year and any remedial action taken to address these issues, as well as any material changes to the compliance programs.

 

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The Contracts, Legal & Risk Committee assists the Board in its oversight role with respect to the processes pursuant to which the Advisor and the subadvisor identify, assess, manage and report the various risks that affect or could affect the Funds. This Committee reviews reports from the Funds’ Advisor on a periodic basis regarding the risks facing the Funds, and makes recommendations to the Board concerning risks and risk oversight matters as the Committee deems appropriate. This Committee also coordinates with the other Board Committees regarding risks relevant to the other Committees, as appropriate.

 

In addressing issues regarding the Funds’ risk management between meetings, appropriate representatives of the Advisor communicate with the Chairperson of the Board, the relevant Committee Chair, or the Trust’s CCO, who is directly accountable to the Board. As appropriate, the Chairperson of the Board, the Committee Chairs and the Trustees confer among themselves, with the Trust’s CCO, the Advisor, other service providers, external fund counsel, and counsel to the Independent Trustees, to identify and review risk management issues that may be placed on the full Board’s agenda and/or that of an appropriate Committee for review and discussion.

 

In addition, in its annual review of the Funds’ advisory, subadvisory and distribution agreements, the Board reviews information provided by the Advisor, the subadvisor and the Distributor relating to their operational capabilities, financial condition, risk management processes and resources.

 

The Board may, at any time and in its discretion, change the manner in which it conducts its risk oversight role.

 

The Advisor also has its own, independent interest in risk management. In this regard, the Advisor has appointed a Risk and Investment Operations Committee, consisting of senior personnel from each of the Advisor’s functional departments. This Committee reports periodically to the Board and the Contracts, Legal & Risk Committee on risk management matters. The Advisor’s risk management program is part of the overall risk management program of John Hancock, the Advisor’s parent company. John Hancock’s Chief Risk Officer supports the Advisor’s risk management program, and at the Board’s request will report on risk management matters.

 

Compensation of Trustees and Officers

 

Trustees are reimbursed for travel and other out-of-pocket expenses. Effective January 1, 2018, each Independent Trustee receives in the aggregate from the Trusts and the other open-end funds in the John Hancock Funds Complex an annual retainer of $220,000, a fee of $22,000 for each regular meeting of the Trustees that he or she attends in person and a fee of $5,000 for each special meeting of the Trustees that he or she attends in person. The Chairperson of the Board receives an additional retainer of $160,000. The Vice Chairperson of the Board receives an additional retainer of $20,000. The Chairperson of each of the Audit Committee, Compliance Committee and Contracts, Legal & Risk Committee receives an additional $40,000 retainer. The Chairperson of each Investment Sub-Committee receives an additional $20,000 retainer.

 

The following table provides information regarding the compensation paid by JH ETF Trust and the other investment companies in the John Hancock Fund Complex to the Independent Trustees for their services during the fiscal year ended April 30, 2018.

 

Compensation Table (1)

 

Name of Trustee Total
Compensation from
JH ETF Trust
Total Compensation
from JH ETF Trust
and the John Hancock
Fund Complex (2)
Independent Trustees    
Charles L. Bardelis $1,139 $381,000
James R. Boyle(3) $1,071 $361,000
Peter S. Burgess $1,208 $401,000
William H. Cunningham $1,139 $381,000
Grace K. Fey $1,208 $401,000
Theron S. Hoffman $1,139 $381,000
Deborah C. Jackson $1,139 $381,000

 

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Name of Trustee Total
Compensation from
JH ETF Trust
Total Compensation
from JH ETF Trust
and the John Hancock
Fund Complex (2)
Hassell H. McClellan $1,618 $521,000
James M. Oates $1,076 $360,000
Steven R. Pruchansky $1,139 $381,000
Gregory A. Russo $1,084 $359,000
Non-Independent Trustees    
Andrew G. Arnott (4) $0 $0
Craig Bromley(5) $0 $0
Marianne Harrison(6) N/A N/A
Warren A. Thomson $0 $0

____________

(1)JH ETF Trust does not have a pension or retirement plan for any of its Trustees or officers.
(2) There were approximately 216 series in the John Hancock Fund Complex as of August 31, 2018.
(3)Independent Trustee effective March 22, 2018.
(4)Appointed to serve as Trustee effective as of June 20, 2017.
(5)Served as Trustee through June 15, 2017.
(6)Appointed to serve as Trustee effective as of June 19, 2018.

 

Trustee Ownership of Shares of the Funds

 

The table below sets forth the dollar range of the value of the shares of the Fund, and the dollar range of the aggregate value of the shares of all funds in the John Hancock Fund Complex overseen by a Trustee, owned beneficially by the Trustees as of December 31, 2017. For purposes of this table, beneficial ownership is defined to mean a direct or indirect pecuniary interest. Trustees may own shares beneficially through group annuity contracts. Exact dollar amounts of securities held are not listed in the table. Rather, dollar ranges are identified.

 

Trustees John Hancock Multifactor Emerging Markets  ETF John Hancock Fund Complex
Independent Trustees    
Charles L. Bardelis None Over $100,000
Peter S. Burgess None Over $100,000
William H. Cunningham None Over $100,000
Grace K. Fey None Over $100,000
Theron S. Hoffman None Over $100,000
Deborah C. Jackson None Over $100,000
Hassell H. McClellan None Over $100,000
James M. Oates None Over $100,000
Steven R. Pruchansky None Over $100,000
Gregory A. Russo None Over $100,000
Non-Independent Trustees    
Andrew G. Arnott(1) None Over $100,000
James R. Boyle(2) None Over $100,000
Marianne Harrison(3) N/A N/A
Warren A. Thomson None Over $100,000

____________

(1) Appointed to serve as Trustee effective June 20, 2017.
(2)As of March 22, 2018, Mr. Boyle is considered an Independent Trustee.
(3) Appointed to serve as Trustee effective June 19, 2018.

 

Shareholders of THE FUND

 

The Fund will commence operations on or following the date of this SAI and, therefore, the officers and Trustees of the Trust as a group beneficially owned no shares of the Fund as of the date of this SAI. John Hancock Life Insurance Company (U.S.A.) and/or its affiliates will own all of the outstanding shares of the Fund on the commencement date and, therefore, may be deemed to control the Fund.

 

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Investment Management Arrangements and Other Services

 

Advisory Agreement

 

Pursuant to an investment advisory agreement between the Trust and the Advisor (the “Advisory Agreement”), and subject to general oversight by the Board, the Advisor manages and supervises the investment operations and business affairs of the Fund. The Advisor provides the Fund with all necessary office facilities and equipment and any personnel necessary for the oversight and/or conduct of the investment operations of the Fund. The Advisor also coordinates and oversees the services provided to the Fund under other agreements, including custodial, administrative and transfer agency services. Additionally, the Advisor provides certain administrative and other non-advisory services to the Fund pursuant to a separate Service Agreement, as discussed below.

 

The Advisor selects, contracts with, and compensates one or more subadvisors to manage on a day-to-day basis all or a portion of the Fund’s portfolio assets subject to oversight by the Advisor. The Advisor may elect to manage the investment and reinvestment of the assets of the Fund directly, subject to the approval of the Board. In directly managing the assets, the Advisor will have similar responsibilities as those of subadvisor under a subadvisory agreement, which are briefly described below.

 

The Advisor is responsible for overseeing and implementing the Fund’s investment program and provides a variety of advisory oversight and investment research services, including: (i) monitoring Fund portfolio compositions and risk profiles; and (ii) evaluating Fund investment characteristics, such as investment strategies, and recommending to the Board potential enhancements to such characteristics. The Advisor provides management and transition services associated with certain fund events (e.g., strategy, portfolio manager or subadvisor changes).

 

The Advisor has the responsibility to oversee the subadvisor(s) and recommend to the Board: (i) the hiring, termination, and replacement of a subadvisor; and (ii) the allocation and reallocation of the Fund’s assets among multiple subadvisors, when appropriate. In this capacity, the Advisor negotiates with potential subadvisors and, once retained, among other things: (i) monitors the compliance of the subadvisor with the investment objectives and related policies of the fund; (ii) reviews the performance of the subadvisor; and (iii) reports periodically on such performance to the Board. The Advisor utilizes the expertise of a team of over 180 investment professionals in manager research and oversight who provide these research and monitoring services.

 

JH ETF Trust bears all costs of its organization and operation, including but not limited to expenses of preparing, printing and mailing all shareholders’ reports, notices, prospectuses, proxy statements and reports to regulatory agencies; expenses relating to the issuance, registration and qualification of shares; government fees; interest charges; expenses of furnishing to shareholders their account statements; taxes; expenses of redeeming shares; brokerage and other expenses connected with the execution of portfolio securities transactions; expenses pursuant to the fund’s plan of distribution; fees and expenses of custodians including those for keeping books and accounts, maintaining a committed line of credit and calculating the NAV of shares; fees and expenses of transfer agents and dividend disbursing agents; legal, accounting, financial, management, tax and auditing fees and expenses of the fund (including an allocable portion of the cost of the Advisor’s employees rendering such services to the fund); the compensation and expenses of officers and Trustees (other than persons serving as President or Trustee who are otherwise affiliated with the fund, the Advisor or any of their affiliates); expenses of Trustees’ and shareholders’ meetings; trade association memberships; insurance premiums; and any extraordinary expenses.

 

Securities held by the fund also may be held by other funds or investment advisory clients for which the Advisor, the subadvisor or their respective affiliates provide investment advice. Because of different investment objectives or other factors, a particular security may be bought for one or more funds or clients when one or more are selling the same security. If opportunities for purchase or sale of securities by the Advisor or subadvisor for the fund or for other funds or clients for which the Advisor or subadvisor renders investment advice arise for consideration at or about the same time, transactions in such securities will be made, insofar as feasible, for the respective funds or clients in a manner deemed equitable to all of them. To the extent that transactions on behalf of more than one client of the Advisor or subadvisor or their respective affiliates may increase the demand for securities being purchased or the supply of securities being sold, there may be an adverse effect on price.

 

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Advisor Compensation. As compensation for its services, the Advisor receives a fee from the fund, computed separately for the fund. The fee for the fund is stated as an annual percentage of the current value of the “aggregate net assets” of the fund. “Aggregate net assets” of the fund include the net assets of the fund and, in many cases, the net assets of one or more other funds (or portions thereof) advised by the Advisor, but in each case only for the period during which the Advisor also serves as the advisor to the other fund(s) (or portions thereof). The fee for the fund is based on the applicable annual rate that, for each day, is equal to: (i) the sum of the amounts determined by applying the annual percentage rates for the fund to the applicable portions of aggregate net assets divided by; (ii) aggregate net assets (totaling the “Applicable Annual Fee Rate”). The fee for the fund accrues and is paid daily to the Advisor for each calendar day. The daily fee accruals are computed by multiplying the fraction of one over the number of calendar days in the year by the Applicable Annual Fee Rate, and multiplying this product by the net assets of the fund. The management fees that the fund currently is obligated to pay the Advisor are as set forth in its Prospectus.

 

From time to time, the Advisor may reduce its fee or make other arrangements to limit the fund’s expenses to a specified percentage of average daily net assets. The Advisor retains the right to re-impose a fee and recover any other payments to the extent that, at the end of any fiscal year, the fund’s annual expenses fall below this limit.

 

Since the Fund is newly-organized, it did not pay advisory fees during the last three fiscal years.

 

Service Agreement

 

Pursuant to a Service Agreement, the Advisor is responsible for providing, at the expense of JH ETF Trust, certain financial, accounting and administrative services such as legal services, tax, accounting, valuation, financial reporting and performance, compliance and service oversight. Pursuant to the Service Agreement, the Advisor shall determine, subject to Board approval, the expenses to be reimbursed by the Fund, including an overhead allocation. The payments under the Service Agreement are not intended to provide a profit to the Advisor. Instead, the Advisor provides the services under the Service Agreement because it also provides advisory services under the Advisory Agreement. The reimbursement shall be calculated and paid monthly in arrears.

 

The Advisor is not liable for any error of judgment or mistake of law or for any loss suffered by the Fund in connection with the matters to which the Service Agreement relates, except losses resulting from willful misfeasance, bad faith or negligence by the Advisor in the performance of its duties or from reckless disregard by the Advisor of its obligations under the Agreement.

 

The Service Agreement had an initial term of two years, and continues so long as such continuance is specifically approved at least annually by a majority of the Board and a majority of the Independent Trustees. The Trust, on behalf of any or both of the Fund, or the Advisor may terminate the Agreement at any time without penalty on 60 days’ written notice to the other party. The Agreement may be amended by mutual written agreement of the parties, without obtaining shareholder approval.

 

Since the Fund is newly-organized, it did not pay the Advisor fees for non-advisory services during the last three fiscal years.

 

Subadvisory Agreement

 

Dimensional Fund Advisors LP (“Dimensional”) is the subadvisor to the Fund.

 

Duties of the Subadvisor. Under the terms of the current subadvisory agreement, the subadvisor manages the investment and reinvestment of the assets of the assigned portfolios, subject to the supervision of the Board and the Advisor. The subadvisor formulates a continuous investment program for each such portfolio consistent with its investment objectives and policies outlined in the Prospectus. The subadvisor implements such programs by purchases and sales of securities and regularly reports to the Advisor and the Board with respect to the implementation of such programs. The subadvisor, at its expense, furnishes all necessary investment and management facilities, including salaries of personnel required for it to execute its duties, as well as administrative facilities, including bookkeeping, clerical personnel, and equipment necessary for the conduct of the investment affairs of the assigned portfolios. Additional information about the Fund’s portfolio managers, including other accounts managed, ownership of Fund shares, and compensation structure, can be found at Appendix B to this SAI.

 

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The Advisor has delegated to the subadvisor the responsibility to vote all proxies relating to securities held by the Fund in accordance with the subadvisor’s proxy voting policies and procedures. The subadvisor has a duty to vote or not vote such proxies in the best interests of the Fund that it subadvises and its shareholders and to avoid the influence of conflicts of interest.

 

Subadvisory Fees. As compensation for its services, the subadvisor receives fees from the Advisor computed separately for the fund.

 

Additional Information Applicable To Subadvisory Agreement

 

Term of the Subadvisory Agreement. The Subadvisory Agreement will initially continue in effect as to the fund for a period no more than two years from the date of its execution (or the execution of an amendment making the agreement applicable to that fund) and thereafter if such continuance is specifically approved at least annually either: (a) by the Trustees; or (b) by the vote of a majority of the outstanding voting securities of that fund.

 

Any required shareholder approval of any continuance of the Subadvisory Agreement shall be effective with respect to any fund if a majority of the outstanding voting securities of that fund votes to approve such continuance even if such continuance may not have been approved by a majority of the outstanding voting securities of: (a) any other series of JH ETF Trust affected by the Subadvisory Agreement; or (b) all of the series of JH ETF Trust.

 

Failure of Shareholders to Approve Continuance of the Subadvisory Agreement. If the outstanding voting securities of any fund fail to approve any continuance of its Subadvisory Agreement, a party may continue to act as investment subadvisor with respect to such fund pending the required approval of the continuance of such Agreement or a new agreement with either that party or a different subadvisor, or other definitive action.

 

Termination of the Subadvisory Agreement. The Subadvisory Agreement may be terminated at any time without the payment of any penalty on 60 days’ written notice to the other party or parties to the Agreement, and also to the relevant fund. The following parties may terminate the Subadvisory Agreement:

 

the Board;
with respect to any fund, a majority of the outstanding voting securities of such fund;
the Advisor; and
the subadvisor.

 

The Subadvisory Agreement will automatically terminate in the event of its assignment or upon termination of the Advisory Agreement.

 

Amendments to the Subadvisory Agreement. The Subadvisory Agreement may be amended by the parties to the agreement, provided that the amendment is approved by the vote of a majority of the outstanding voting securities of the relevant fund (except as noted below) and by the vote of a majority of the Independent Trustees.

 

The required shareholder approval of any amendment to the Subadvisory Agreement shall be effective with respect to any fund if a majority of the outstanding voting securities of that fund votes to approve the amendment, even if the amendment may not have been approved by a majority of the outstanding voting securities of: (a) any other fund affected by the amendment; or (b) all the funds of JH ETF Trust.

 

As noted under “Who’s who — Investment advisor” in the Prospectus, an SEC order permits the Advisor, subject to approval by the Board and a majority of the Independent Trustees, to appoint a subadvisor (other than an Affiliated Subadvisor) or change a subadvisory fee or otherwise amend a subadvisory agreement (other than with an Affiliated Subadvisor) pursuant to an agreement that is not approved by shareholders.

 

Other Services

 

Proxy Voting. Based on the terms of the current subadvisory agreement, the Trust’s proxy voting policies and procedures (the “JH ETF Trust Procedures”) delegate to the subadvisor of the fund the responsibility to vote all proxies

 

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relating to securities held by the fund in accordance with the subadvisor’s proxy voting policies and procedures. The subadvisor has a duty to vote or not vote such proxies in the best interests of the fund it subadvises and its shareholders, and to avoid the influence of conflicts of interest. In the event that the Advisor assumes day-to-day management responsibilities for the Fund, the JH ETF Trust Procedures delegate proxy voting responsibilities to the Advisor. Complete descriptions of the JH ETF Trust Procedures and the proxy voting procedures of the Advisor and the subadvisor are set forth in Appendix C to this SAI.

 

It is possible that conflicts of interest could arise for the subadvisor when voting proxies. Such conflicts could arise, for example, when the subadvisor or its affiliate has an existing business relationship with the issuer of the security being voted or with a third party that has an interest in the vote. A conflict of interest also could arise when the fund, its Advisor or principal underwriter or any of their affiliates has an interest in the vote.

 

In the event the subadvisor becomes aware of a material conflict of interest, the JH ETF Trust Procedures generally require the subadvisor to follow any conflicts procedures that may be included in the subadvisor’s proxy voting procedures. The conflicts procedures of the subadvisor generally include one or more of the following:

 

(a)voting pursuant to the recommendation of a third-party voting service;

 

(b)voting pursuant to pre-determined voting guidelines; or

 

(c)referring voting to a special compliance or oversight committee.

 

The specific conflicts procedures of the subadvisor are set forth in its proxy voting procedures included in Appendix C. While these conflicts procedures may reduce the influence of conflicts of interest on proxy voting, such influence will not necessarily be eliminated.

 

Although the subadvisor may have a duty to vote all proxies on behalf of the fund that it subadvises, it is possible that the subadvisor may not be able to vote proxies under certain circumstances. For example, it may be impracticable to translate in a timely manner voting materials that are written in a foreign language or to travel to a foreign country when voting in person rather than by proxy is required. In addition, if the voting of proxies for shares of a security prohibits the subadvisor from trading the shares in the marketplace for a period of time, the subadvisor may determine that it is not in the best interests of the fund to vote the proxies. In addition, consistent with its duty to vote proxies in the best interests of the fund’s shareholders, the subadvisor may refrain from voting one or more of the fund’s proxies if the subadvisor believes that the costs of voting such proxies may outweigh the potential benefits. For example, the subadvisor may choose not to recall securities where the subadvisor believes the costs of voting may outweigh the potential benefit of voting. The subadvisor also may choose not to recall securities that have been loaned in order to vote proxies for shares of the security since the fund would lose security lending income if the securities were recalled.

 

Information regarding how the Fund voted proxies relating to portfolio securities during the most recent 12-month period ended June 30 will be available (1) without charge upon request, by calling (800) 344-1029 (attention: Secretary) and (2) on the SEC’s website at sec.gov.

 

RULE 12B-1 FEES

 

Rule 12b-1 fees of up to 0.25% of the fund’s average daily net assets per year may be paid to the fund’s Distributor and may be used by the Distributor for any activities or expenses primarily intended to result in the sale of shares of the fund or the provision of investor services.

 

Because Rule 12b-1 fees may be paid out of the fund’s assets on an ongoing basis, over time they may increase the cost of your investment and may cost shareholders more than other types of sales charges. Currently, no Rule 12b-1 fees are charged.

 

Your broker-dealer or agent may charge you a fee to effect transactions in creation units.

 

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FINANCIAL INTERMEDIARY COMPENSATION

 

The Advisor and/or its subsidiaries or affiliates (“Hancock Entities”) may pay certain broker-dealers, banks and other financial intermediaries (“Intermediaries”) for certain activities related to the Fund or other John Hancock funds (“Payments”). Any Payments made by Hancock Entities will be made from their own assets and not from the assets of the Fund. Although a portion of Hancock Entities’ revenue comes directly or indirectly in part from fees paid by the Fund and other John Hancock funds, Payments do not increase the price paid by investors for the purchase of shares of, or the cost of owning, the Fund or other John Hancock funds. Hancock Entities may make Payments for Intermediaries’ participating in activities that are designed to make registered representatives, other professionals and individual investors more knowledgeable about the Fund or for other activities, such as participation in marketing activities and presentations, educational training programs, the support of technology platforms and/or reporting systems (“Education Costs”). Hancock Entities may also make Payments to Intermediaries for certain printing, publishing and mailing costs associated with the Fund or materials relating to exchange-traded funds in general (“Publishing Costs”). In addition, Hancock Entities may make Payments to Intermediaries that make Shares and certain other John Hancock funds available to their clients, for otherwise promoting the Fund and other John Hancock funds, and/or for the receipt of analytical data in relation to sales of Fund shares. Payments of this type are sometimes referred to as revenue-sharing payments.

 

The Advisor has established services arrangements with certain Intermediaries. Under these arrangements, certain funds of the Trust are available through programs pursuant to which the Intermediary agrees not to charge its customers trading commissions when those customers purchase or sell shares of such funds online, subject to certain conditions. The Intermediaries receive remuneration from the Advisor for record keeping, shareholder services and other services, including the development, maintenance and promotion of the program as a whole. As of the date of this SAI, as amended or supplemented from time to time, the Intermediaries receiving such contractual payments include: Charles Schwab & Co., Inc., E*TRADE Securities, LLC and Kestra Investment Services, LLC.

 

Payments to an Intermediary may be significant to the Intermediary, and amounts that Intermediaries pay to your salesperson or other investment professional may also be significant for your salesperson or other investment professional. Because an Intermediary may make decisions about which investment options it will recommend or make available to its clients or what services to provide for various products based on payments it receives or is eligible to receive, Payments create conflicts of interest between the Intermediary and its clients and these financial incentives may cause the Intermediary to recommend the Fund and other John Hancock funds over other investments. The same conflict of interest exists with respect to your salesperson or other investment professional if he or she receives similar payments from his or her Intermediary firm.

 

Hancock Entities may determine to make Payments based on any number of metrics. For example, Hancock Entities may make Payments at year-end or other intervals in a fixed amount, an amount based upon an Intermediary’s services at defined levels or an amount based on the Intermediary’s net sales of one or more John Hancock funds in a year or other period, any of which arrangements may include an agreed-upon minimum or maximum payment, or any combination of the foregoing. As of the date of this SAI, John Hancock anticipates that the Payments paid by Hancock Entities in connection with the Fund will be immaterial to Hancock Entities in the aggregate for the next year. Please contact your salesperson or other investment professional for more information regarding any Payments his or her Intermediary firm may receive. Any payments made by the Hancock Entities to an Intermediary may create the incentive for an Intermediary to encourage customers to buy shares of John Hancock funds.

 

CREATIONS AND REDEMPTIONS

 

The Trust issues and sells shares of the Fund only in Creation Units on a continuous basis through the Distributor, without a sales load, at the NAV next determined after receipt of an order in proper form as described in the Participant Agreement (as defined below), on any Business Day (as defined below). For the Fund, 100,000 Shares of the Fund constitute a Creation Unit.

 

In its discretion, the Advisor reserves the right to increase or decrease the number of the Fund’s Shares that constitute a Creation Unit. The Board reserves the right to declare a split or a consolidation in the number of shares outstanding of the Fund, and to make a corresponding change in the number of shares constituting a Creation Unit, in the event that the per share price in the secondary market rises (or declines) to an amount that falls outside the range deemed desirable by the Board.

 

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A “Business Day” with respect to the Fund is each day the NYSE, the Exchange and the Trust are open, including any day that the Fund is required to be open under Section 22(e) of the 1940 Act, which excludes weekends and the following holidays: New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Presidents’ Day, Good Friday, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. Orders from large institutional investors who have entered into agreements with the Fund’s Distributor (“Authorized Participants”) to create or redeem Creation Units will only be accepted on a Business Day.

 

Fund Deposit

 

The consideration for purchase of Creation Units generally consists of Deposit Securities and the Cash Component, which will generally correspond pro rata, to the extent practicable, to the Fund securities, or, as permitted by the Fund, of cash. Together, the Deposit Securities and Cash Component constitute the “Fund Deposit,” which represents the minimum initial and subsequent investment amount for a Creation Unit of the Fund. The portfolio of securities required may, in certain limited circumstances (such as in connection with pending changes to the Fund’s index), be different than the portfolio of securities the Fund will deliver upon redemption of Fund shares.

 

The function of the Cash Component is to compensate for any differences between the NAV per Creation Unit and the Deposit Amount (as defined below). The Cash Component would be an amount equal to the difference between the NAV of the shares (per Creation Unit) and the “Deposit Amount,” which is an amount equal to the market value of the Deposit Securities. If the Cash Component is a positive number (the NAV per Creation Unit exceeds the Deposit Amount), the Authorized Participant will deliver the Cash Component. If the Cash Component is a negative number (the NAV per Creation Unit is less than the Deposit Amount), the Authorized Participant will receive the Cash Component. Computation of the Cash Component excludes any stamp duty or other similar fees and expenses payable upon transfer of beneficial ownership of the Deposit Securities, which shall be the sole responsibility of the Authorized Participant. The Cash Component may also include a “Dividend Equivalent Payment,” which enables the Fund to make a complete distribution of dividends on the next dividend payment date, and is an amount equal, on a per Creation Unit basis, to the dividends on all the securities held by the Fund with ex-dividend dates within the accumulation period for such distribution (the “Accumulation Period”), net of expenses and liabilities for such period, as if all of the securities had been held by the Trust for the entire Accumulation Period. The Accumulation Period begins on the ex-dividend date for the Fund and ends on the next ex-dividend date.

 

State Street Bank and Trust Company (“State Street”), through the National Securities Clearing Corporation (“NSCC”), makes available on each Business Day, prior to the opening of business (subject to amendments) on the Exchange (currently 9:30 a.m., Eastern time), the identity and the required number of each Deposit Security and the amount of the Cash Component to be included in the current Fund Deposit (based on information at the end of the previous Business Day).

 

The Deposit Securities and Cash Component are subject to any adjustments, as described below, in order to effect purchases of Creation Units of that Fund until such time as the next-announced composition of the Deposit Securities and Cash Component is made available.

 

With respect to the Fund, the composition of the Deposit Securities and the amount of the Cash Component may also change in response to adjustments to the weighting or composition of the component securities of the Fund’s index.

 

On any given Business Day, the names and quantities of the Deposit Securities to be included in a creation or redemption transaction will be identical, and identical to the Fund Deposit, unless a Fund is Rebalancing (as defined below). In addition, the Deposit Securities will generally correspond pro rata to the positions in a Fund’s portfolio (including cash positions), except when a Fund determines to use a representative sampling of the Fund’s portfolio (to generate performance that is highly correlated to the performance of the Fund’s portfolio), for temporary periods to effect changes in the Fund’s portfolio as a result of the rebalancing of its Underlying Index (a “Rebalancing”), or for minor differences due to minimum size requirements, non-tradeable odd lots or items that cannot be transferred in kind.

 

The Trust may also permit the substitution of an amount of cash (a “cash-in-lieu” amount) to replace any Deposit Security of that Fund that is a non-deliverable instrument. The amount of cash contributed will be equivalent to the price of the instrument listed as a Deposit Security. The Trust reserves the right to permit the substitution of a “cash-

 

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in-lieu” amount to be added to replace any Deposit Security that is a to-be-announced (“TBA”) transaction, that may not be available in sufficient quantity for delivery, that may not be eligible for trading by a Participating Party (defined below), that may not be permitted to be re-registered in the name of the Trust as a result of an in-kind creation order pursuant to local law or market convention, or that may not be eligible for transfer through the systems of the Depository Trust Company (“DTC”) or the Clearing Process (as discussed below), or the Federal Reserve System for U.S. Treasury securities. The Trust also reserves the right to permit a “cash-in-lieu” amount where the delivery of Deposit Securities by the Authorized Participant (as described below) would be restricted under the securities laws or where the delivery of Deposit Securities from an investor to the Authorized Participant would result in the disposition of Deposit Securities by the Authorized Participant becoming restricted under the securities laws, and in certain other situations. The Trust may permit a “cash-in-lieu” amount for any reason at the Trust’s sole discretion but is not required to do so. With respect to Fund, the adjustments to the proportions of Deposit Securities described above will reflect changes known to the Advisor on the date of announcement to be in effect by the time of delivery of the Fund Deposit, in the composition of the index or resulting from stock splits and other corporate actions.

 

Procedures for Creating Creation Units

 

To be eligible to place orders and to create a Creation Unit of the Fund, an entity must be: (i) a “Participating Party,” i.e. a broker-dealer or other participant in the clearing process through the Continuous Net Settlement System of the NSCC (the “Clearing Process”), a clearing agency that is registered with the SEC; or (ii) a participant of DTC (“DTC Participant”) and must have executed an agreement with the Distributor and the Transfer Agent, with respect to creations and redemptions of Creation Units (“Participant Agreement”) (discussed below). A Participating Party or DTC Participant who has executed a Participant Agreement is referred to as an “Authorized Participant.” All shares of the Fund, however created, will be entered on the records of DTC in the name of its nominee for the account of a DTC Participant.

 

Except as described below, and in all cases subject to the terms of the applicable Participant Agreement, all orders to create Creation Units of the Fund must be received by the Transfer Agent no later than the closing time of the regular trading session of the Exchange (“Closing Time”) (ordinarily 4:00 p.m., Eastern time) in each case on the date such order is placed for creation of Creation Units to be effected based on the NAV of shares of the Fund as next determined after receipt of an order in proper form. Orders requesting substitution of a “cash-in-lieu” amount or a Cash Creation (collectively, “Non-Standard Orders”), must be received by the Transfer Agent no later than 3:00 p.m., Eastern time. On days when the Exchange closes earlier than normal (such as the day before a holiday), the Fund requires standard orders to create Creation Units to be placed by the earlier closing time and Non-Standard Orders to create Creation Units must be received no later than one hour prior to the earlier closing time. Notwithstanding the foregoing, the Trust may, but is not required to, permit Non-Standard Orders until 4:00 p.m., Eastern time, or until the market close (in the event the Exchange closes early). The date on which an order to create Creation Units (or an order to redeem Creation Units, as discussed below) is placed is referred to as the “Transmittal Date.” Orders must be transmitted by an Authorized Participant via the internet or by telephone or other transmission method acceptable to the Transfer Agent pursuant to procedures set forth in the Participant Agreement. Economic or market disruptions or changes, or telephone or other communication failure may impede the ability to reach the Transfer Agent or an Authorized Participant.

 

All investor orders to create Creation Units shall be placed with an Authorized Participant in the form required by such Authorized Participant. In addition, an Authorized Participant may request that an investor make certain representations or enter into agreements with respect to an order (to provide for payments of cash). Investors should be aware that their particular broker may not have executed a Participant Agreement and, therefore, orders to create Creation Units of the Fund will have to be placed by the investor’s broker through an Authorized Participant. In such cases, there may be additional charges to such investor.

 

Creation Units may be created in advance of the receipt by the Trust of all or a portion of the Fund Deposit. In such cases, the Authorized Participant will remain liable for the full deposit of the missing portion(s) of the Fund Deposit and will be required to post collateral with the Trust consisting of cash up to 115% of the marked-to-market value of such missing portion(s). The Trust may use such collateral to buy the missing portion(s) of the Fund Deposit at any time and will subject such Authorized Participant to liability for any shortfall between the cost to the Trust of purchasing such securities and the value of such collateral. The Trust will have no liability for any such shortfall. The Trust will return any unused portion of the collateral to the Authorized Participant once the entire Fund Deposit has been properly received by the Custodian and deposited into the Trust.

 

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

 

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

 

Placement of Creation Orders Using Clearing Process

 

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

 

The Participant Agreement authorizes the Custodian to transmit to NSCC on behalf of the Participating Party such trade instructions as are necessary to effect the Participating Party’s creation order. Pursuant to such trade instructions from the Custodian to NSCC, the Participating Party agrees to transfer the requisite Deposit Securities (or contracts to purchase such Deposit Securities that are expected to be delivered in a “regular way” manner by the second (2nd) Business Day) and the Cash Component to the Trust, together with such additional information as may be required by the Transfer Agent as set forth in the Participant Agreement. An order to create Creation Units of the Fund through the Clearing Process is deemed received by the Transfer Agent on the Transmittal Date if (i) such order is received by the Transfer Agent not later than the Closing Time on such Transmittal Date and (ii) all other procedures set forth in the Participant Agreement are properly followed. All orders are subject to review and approval of the Distributor.

 

Placement of Creation Orders Outside Clearing Process—Domestic Funds

 

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

 

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

 

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Placement of Creation Orders Outside Clearing Process—Foreign Funds

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Acceptance of Creation Orders

 

The Trust and the Distributor reserve the absolute right to reject or revoke acceptance of a creation order transmitted to it in respect to the Fund, for example if: (i) the order is not in proper form; (ii) the investor(s), upon obtaining the Shares ordered, would own 80% or more of the currently outstanding Shares of the Fund; (iii) acceptance of the Fund Deposit would have certain adverse tax consequences to the Fund; (iv) acceptance of the Fund Deposit would, in the opinion of counsel, be unlawful; (v) acceptance of the Fund Deposit would otherwise, in the discretion of the Trust or the Advisor, have an adverse effect on the Trust or the rights of beneficial owners of the Fund; or (vi) in the event that circumstances outside the control of the Trust, the Transfer Agent, the Distributor or the Advisor make it for all practical purposes impossible to process creation orders. Examples of such circumstances include acts of God; public service or utility problems such as fires, floods, extreme weather conditions and power outages resulting in telephone, facsimile and computer failures; market conditions or activities causing trading halts; systems failures involving computer or other information systems affecting the Trust, the Advisor, the Distributor, DTC, the Clearing Process, Federal Reserve, the Transfer Agent or any other participant in the creation process, and other extraordinary events. The Distributor shall notify the Authorized Participant acting on behalf of the creator of a Creation Unit of its rejection of the order of such person. The Trust, Transfer Agent, and the Distributor are under no duty, however, to give notification of any defects or irregularities in the delivery of Fund Deposits nor shall any of them incur any liability for the failure to give any such notification.

 

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

 

Creation Transaction Fee

 

The following fixed creation transaction fee payable to the Custodian is imposed on each creation transaction: $3,250 for the Fund’s first year of operations and $6,500 thereafter, regardless of the number of Creation Units purchased in the transaction. In the case of cash creations or where the Trust permits a creator to substitute cash in lieu of depositing a portion of the Deposit Securities, the creator may be assessed an additional variable charge of up to 3% of the value of a Creation Unit to compensate the Fund for the costs associated with purchasing the applicable securities (which may, in certain circumstances, be based on a good faith estimate of transaction costs). (See “Fund Deposit” section above.) As a result, in order to seek to replicate the in-kind creation order process, the Trust expects to purchase, in the secondary market or otherwise gain exposure to, the portfolio securities that could have been delivered as a result of an in-kind creation order pursuant to local law or market convention, or for other reasons (“Market Purchases”). In such cases where the Trust makes Market Purchases, the Authorized Participant will reimburse the Trust for, among other things, any difference between the market value at which the securities and/or financial instruments were

 

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purchased by the Trust and the cash in lieu amount (which amount, at the Advisor’s discretion, may be capped), applicable registration fees, brokerage commissions and certain taxes. The Advisor may adjust the transaction fee to the extent the composition of the creation securities changes or cash in lieu is added to the Cash Component to protect ongoing shareholders. Creators of Creation Units are responsible for the costs of transferring the securities constituting the Deposit Securities to the account of the Trust. From time to time, all or a portion of the Fund’s fixed creation transaction fee may be waived and/or the Advisor may cover the cost of any transaction fees when believed to be in the best interest of the Fund.

 

Redemption of Creation Units

 

Shares may be redeemed only in Creation Units at their NAV next determined after receipt of a redemption request in proper form on a Business Day and only through a Participating Party or DTC Participant who has executed a Participant Agreement. The Fund will not redeem Shares in amounts less than Creation Units (except the Fund may redeem Shares in amounts less than a Creation Unit in the event the Fund is being liquidated). Beneficial owners must accumulate enough Shares in the secondary market to constitute a Creation Unit in order to have such Shares redeemed by the Trust. There can be no assurance, however, that there will be sufficient liquidity in the public trading market at any time to permit assembly of a Creation Unit. Authorized Participants should expect to incur brokerage and other costs in connection with assembling a sufficient number of Shares to constitute a redeemable Creation Unit. All redemptions are subject to the procedures contained in the applicable Participant Agreement.

 

With respect to the Fund, State Street, through the NSCC, makes available immediately prior to the opening of business on the Exchange (currently 9:30 a.m., Eastern time) on each Business Day, the identity of the Fund’s securities and/or an amount of cash that will be applicable (subject to possible amendment or correction) to redemption requests received in proper form (as described below) on that day. All orders are subject to acceptance by the Transfer Agent. The Fund’s securities received on redemption will generally correspond pro rata, to the extent practicable, to the Fund’s securities. The Fund’s securities received on redemption (“Fund Securities”) may include, with respect to the Fund, securities in different proportions than securities of the index or may include securities not currently represented in the index. Fund Securities received on redemption may not be identical to Deposit Securities that are applicable to creations of Creation Units.

 

Unless cash only redemptions are available or specified for the Fund, the redemption proceeds for a Creation Unit will generally consist of Fund Securities – as announced on the Business Day of the request for a redemption order received in proper form – plus cash in an amount equal to the difference between the NAV of the Shares being redeemed, as next determined after a receipt of a request in proper form, and the value of the Fund Securities, less the redemption transaction fee and variable fees described below. Notwithstanding the foregoing, the Trust will substitute a “cash-in-lieu” amount to replace any Fund Security that is a non-deliverable instrument. The Trust may permit a “cash-in-lieu” amount for any reason at the Trust’s sole discretion but is not required to do so. The amount of cash paid out in such cases will be equivalent to the value of the instrument listed as the Fund Security. In the event that the Fund Securities have a value greater than the NAV of the Shares, a compensating cash payment equal to the difference is required to be made by an Authorized Participant.

 

Redemptions of shares for Fund Securities will be subject to compliance with applicable U.S. federal and state securities laws, and the Fund reserves the right to redeem Creation Units for cash to the extent that the Trust could not lawfully deliver specific Fund Securities upon redemptions or could not do so without first registering the Fund Securities under such laws. An Authorized Participant, or a beneficial owner of shares for which it is acting, subject to a legal restriction with respect to a particular security included in the redemption of a Creation Unit may be paid an equivalent amount of cash. This would specifically prohibit delivery of Fund Securities that are not registered in reliance upon Rule 144A under the 1933 Act to a redeeming beneficial owner of shares that is not a “qualified institutional buyer,” as such term is defined under Rule 144A of the 1933 Act. The Authorized Participant may request the redeeming beneficial owner of the shares to complete an order form or to enter into agreements with respect to such matters as compensating cash payment.

 

The right of redemption may be suspended or the date of payment postponed with respect to the Fund: (i) for any period during which the Exchange is closed (other than customary weekend and holiday closings); (ii) for any period during which trading on the Exchange is suspended or restricted; (iii) for any period during which an emergency exists as a result of which disposal by the Fund of securities it owns or determination of the Fund’s NAV is not reasonably practicable; or (iv) in such other circumstances as permitted by the SEC.

 

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If the Trust determines, based on information available to the Trust when a redemption request is submitted by an Authorized Participant, that (i) the short interest of the Fund in the marketplace is greater than or equal to 100% and (ii) the orders in the aggregate from all Authorized Participants redeeming Fund Shares on a Business Day represent 25% or more of the outstanding Shares of the Fund, such Authorized Participant will be required to verify to the Trust the accuracy of its representations that are deemed to have been made by submitting a request for redemption. If, after receiving notice of the verification requirement, the Authorized Participant does not verify the accuracy of its representations that are deemed to have been made by submitting a request for redemption in accordance with this requirement, its redemption request will be considered not to have been received in proper form.

 

Redemption Transaction Fee

 

The following basic redemption transaction fee is the same no matter how many Creation Units are being redeemed pursuant to any one redemption request: $3,250 for the Fund’s first year of operations and $6,500 thereafter. An additional variable charge for cash redemptions or partial cash redemptions (when cash redemptions are permitted or required for the Fund) may also be imposed to compensate the Fund for the costs associated with selling the applicable securities. As a result, in order to seek to replicate the in-kind redemption order process, the Trust expects to sell, in the secondary market, the portfolio securities or settle any financial instruments that may not be permitted to be re-registered in the name of the Participating Party as a result of an in-kind redemption order pursuant to local law or market convention, or for other reasons (“Market Sales”). In such cases where the Trust makes Market Sales, the Authorized Participant will reimburse the Trust for, among other things, any difference between the market value at which the securities and/or financial instruments were sold or settled by the Trust and the cash in lieu amount (which amount, at the Advisor’s discretion, may be capped), applicable registration fees, brokerage commissions and certain taxes (“Transaction Costs”). The Advisor may adjust the transaction fee to the extent the composition of the redemption securities changes or cash in lieu is added to the Cash Component to protect ongoing shareholders. In no event will fees charged by the Fund in connection with a redemption exceed 2% of the value of each Creation Unit. Investors who use the services of a broker or other such intermediary may be charged a fee for such services. To the extent the Fund cannot recoup the amount of Transaction Costs incurred in connection with a redemption from the redeeming shareholder because of the 2% cap or otherwise, those Transaction Costs will be borne by the Fund’s remaining shareholders and negatively affect the Fund’s performance. From time to time, all or a portion of the Fund’s basic transaction fee may be waived and/or the Advisor may cover the cost of any transaction fees when believed to be in the best interests of the Fund.

 

Placement of Redemption Orders Using Clearing Process

 

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

 

Placement of Redemption Orders Outside Clearing Process—Domestic Funds

 

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

 

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Eastern time, on such Transmittal Date; and (iii) all other procedures set forth in the Participant Agreement are properly followed.

 

After the Transfer Agent has deemed an order for redemption outside the Clearing Process received, the Transfer Agent will initiate procedures to transfer the requisite Fund Securities (or contracts to purchase such Fund Securities) which are expected to be delivered within three Business Days and the cash redemption payment to the redeeming Beneficial Owner by the third Business Day following the Transmittal Date on which such redemption order is deemed received by the Transfer Agent. Additional transaction fees may be imposed with respect to transactions effected outside the Clearing Process. (See “Redemption Transaction Fee” section above).

 

Placement of Redemption Orders Outside Clearing Process—Foreign Funds

 

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

 

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

 

Deliveries of redemption proceeds generally will be made within three business days. Due to the schedule of holidays in certain countries or for other reasons, however, the delivery of redemption proceeds may take longer than three business days after the day on which the redemption request is received in proper form. In such cases, the local market settlement procedures will not commence until the end of the local holiday periods. In addition to holidays, other unforeseeable closings in a non-U.S. market due to emergencies may also prevent the Fund from delivering securities within the normal settlement period.

 

The holidays applicable to the Fund are listed below. The proclamation of new holidays, the treatment by market participants of certain days as “informal holidays” (e.g., days on which no or limited securities transactions occur, as a result of substantially shortened trading hours), the elimination of existing holidays or changes in local securities delivery practices, could affect the information set forth herein at some time in the future. For the period September 14, 2018 through December 31, 2019, the dates of regular holidays affecting the relevant securities markets in which the Fund invests are as follows (please note these holiday schedules are subject to potential changes in the relevant securities markets):

 

2018

 

BRAZIL      
  October 12 November 2 December 24
    November 15 December 25
    November 20 December 31
       
CHILE      
  September 17 October 15 December 25
  September 18 November 1 December 31
  September 19 November 2  

 

 67 

 

CHINA      
  September 24 October 1 October 4
    October 2 October 5
    October 3  
       
COLOMBIA      
  October 15 November 5 December 25
    November 12  
       
THE CZECH REPUBLIC      
  September 28 December 24 December 26
    December 25 December 31
       
EGYPT      
  November 20    

The Egyptian market is closed every Friday.

       
GREECE      
  December 24 December 26  
  December 25    
HUNGARY      
  October 22 November 1 December 25
  October 23 November 2 December 26
    December 24 December 31
       
INDIA      
  September 20 November 7 November 23
  October 2 November 8 December 25
  October 18 November 21  
       
INDONESIA      
  November 20 December 24 December 31
    December 25  
       
MALAYSIA      
  September 17 November 6 December 25
    November 20  
       
MEXICO      
  November 2 December 12  
  November 19 December 25  
       
PERU      
  December 25    
       
THE PHILIPPINES      
  November 1 November 30 December 25
  November 2 December 24 December 31
       
POLAND      
  November 1 December 24 December 26
    December 25 December 31
       
QATAR      
  December 18    

The Qatari market is closed every Friday.

       
RUSSIA      
  November 5 December 31  

 

 68 

 

 

SOUTH AFRICA      
  September 24 December 17  
  December 25  
  December 26  
       
SOUTH KOREA      
  September 24 October 3 December 31
  September 25 October 9  
  September 26 December 25  
       
TAIWAN      
  September 24 October 10 December 31
       
THAILAND      
  October 15 December 5 December 31
  October 23 December 10  
       
TURKEY      
  October 29    
       
THE UNITED ARAB EMIRATES      
  November 20 December 2 December 3

The Emirati market is closed every Friday.

 

2019

 

BRAZIL      
  January 1 June 20            November 20
  January 25 July 9            December 24
  March 4 September 7 December 25
  March 5 October 12 December 31
  April 19            November 2             
  May 1 November 15  
       
CHILE      
  January 1 July 16 October 31
  April 19 August 15 November 1
  May 1 September 18 December 25
  May 21 September 19 December 31
  July 2 September 20  
       
CHINA      
  January 1 February 8 October 1
  February 4 April 5 October 2
  February 5 May 1 October 3
  February 6 June 7 October 4
  February 7 September 13 October 7
       
COLOMBIA      
  January 1 June 3 October 14
  January 7 June 24 November 4

 

 69 

 

 

  March 25 July 1 November 11
  April 18 July 20 December 25
  April 19 August 7  
  May 1 August 19  
       
THE CZECH REPUBLIC      
  January 1 May 8 October 28
  April 19 July 5 December 24
  April 22 July 6 December 25
  May 1 September 28 December 26
       
EGYPT      
  January 1 June 5 August 13
  January 7 June 6 August 14
  January 25 June 7 August 15
  April 25 June 30 September 1
  April 28 July 1 October 6
  April 29 July 23 November 10
  May 1 August 12  
The Egyptian market is closed every Friday.
       
GREECE      
  January 1 April 29 October 28
  March 11 May 1 December 25
  March 25 June 17 December 26
  April 26 August 15  
       
HUNGARY      
  January 1 June 10 December 25
  March 15 August 20 December 26
  April 19 October 23 December 31
  April 22 November 1  
  May 1 December 24  
       
INDIA      
  January 26 May 1 September 10
  February 19 May 18 October 2
  March 4 August 12 November 12
  March 21 August 15 December 25
  April 17 August 17  
  April 19 September 2  
       
INDONESIA      
  January 1 May 19 August 12
  February 5 May 30 August 17
  April 19 June 5 September 1
  May 1 June 6 December 25
       
MALAYSIA      
  January 1 May 19 September 1
  February 5 June 5 September 9
  February 6 June 6 September 16
  May 1 August 12 December 25
       
MEXICO      
  January 1 April 19 December 12

 

 70 

 

 

  February 5 May 1 December 25
  March 18 September 16  
  April 18 November 18  
       
PERU      
  January 1 May 1 October 8
  April 18 June 29 November 1
  April 19 August 30 December 25
       
THE PHILIPPINES      
  January 1 May 1 December 30
  April 9 June 12 December 31
  April 18 August 26  
  April 19 December 25  
       
POLAND      
  January 1 May 3 December 24
  April 19 June 20 December 25
  April 22 August 15 December 26
  May 1 November 1 December 31
       
QATAR      
  January 1 June 6 August 14
  February 12 June 7 December 18
  March 3 August 12  
  June 5 August 13  
The Qatari market is closed every Friday.
       
RUSSIA      
  January 1 February 23 May 9
  January 2 March 8 June 12
  January 8 May 1 November 4
       
SOUTH AFRICA      
  January 1 May 1 December 25
  March 21 June 17 December 26
  April 19 August 9  
  April 22 September 24  
  April 27 December 16  
       
SOUTH KOREA      
  January 1 March 1 September 13
  February 4 June 6 October 3
  February 5 August 15 October 9
  February 6 September 12 December 25
TAIWAN      
  January 1 February 9 June 7
  February 5 February 28 September 13
  February 6 April 4 October 10
  February 7 April 5 December 31
  February 8 May 1  

 

 71 

 

THAILAND      
  January 1 May 1 December 10
  April 5 August 12 December 31
  April 15 October 13  
  April 16 October 23  
  April 17 December 5  
       
TURKEY      
  January 1 August 12 August 30
  April 23 August 13 October 29
  May 1 August 14  
  June 6 August 15  
       
THE UNITED ARAB EMIRATES      
  January 1 August 11 September 1
  April 3 August 12 November 10
  June 5 August 13 December 2
  June 6 August 14 December 3
The Emirati market is closed every Friday.

 

The longest redemption cycle for the Fund is a function of the longest redemption cycle among the countries whose securities compose the Fund. For the period September 14, 2018 through December 31, 2019, the dates of regular holidays affecting the following securities markets present the worst-case (longest) redemption cycle for the Fund as follows:

 

Country Trade Date End of Settlement
Period
Number of Days in
Settlement Period
2018      
CHILE 09/12/18 09/20/18 8
  09/13/18 09/21/18 8
  09/14/18 09/24/18 10
       
CHINA 09/26/18 10/08/18 12
  09/27/18 10/09/18 12
  09/28/18 10/10/18 12
       
THE CZECH REPUBLIC 12/19/18 12/27/18 8
  12/20/18 12/28/18 8
  12/21/18 01/02/19 12
       
GREECE 12/19/18 12/27/18 8
  12/20/18 12/28/18 8
  12/21/18 12/31/18 10
       
HUNGARY 12/19/18 12/27/18 8
  12/20/18 12/28/18 8
  12/21/18 01/02/19 12
       
POLAND 12/19/18 12/27/18  
  12/20/18 12/28/18  
  12/21/18 01/02/19 12
       
SOUTH KOREA 09/19/18 09/27/18 8
  09/20/18 09/28/18 8
  09/21/18 10/01/18 10

 

2019      
CHILE 09/13/19 09/23/19 10
  09/16/19 09/24/19 8
  09/17/19 09/25/19 8
       
CHINA 01/30/19 02/11/19 12
  01/31/19 02/12/19 12
  02/01/19 02/13/19 12
  09/26/19 10/08/19 12
  09/27/19 10/09/19 12
  09/30/19 10/10/19 10
       
the czeck republic 12/19/19 12/27/19 8
  12/20/19 12/30/19 10
  12/23/19 12/31/19 8
       
egypt 04/22/19 04/30/19 8
  04/23/19 05/02/19 9
  04/24/19 05/06/19 12
  05/31/19 06/10/19 10
  06/03/19 06/11/19 8
  06/04/19 06/12/19 8
  08/07/19 08/19/19 12
  08/08/19 08/20/19 12
  08/09/19 08/21/19 12
       
hungary 12/19/19 12/27/19 8
  12/20/19 12/30/19 10
  12/23/19 01/02/20 10
       
the philippines 12/24/19 01/02/20 9
       
poland 12/19/19 12/27/19 8
  12/20/19 12/30/19 10
  12/23/19 01/02/20 10

 72 

 

Quatar 05/31/19 06/10/19 10
  06/03/19 06/11/19 8
  06/04/19 06/12/19 8
  08/07/19 08/15/19 8
  08/08/19 08/19/19 11
  08/09/19 08/20/19 11
       
south korea 01/30/19 02/07/19 8
  01/31/19 02/08/19 8
  02/01/19 02/11/19 10
       
taiwan 01/31/19 02/11/19 11
  02/01/19 02/12/19 11
  02/04/19 02/13/19 9
       
thailand 04/10/19 04/18/19 8
  04/11/19 04/19/19 8
  04/12/19 04/22/19 10
       
turkey 08/07/19 08/16/19 9
  08/08/19 08/19/19 11
  08/09/19 08/20/19 11
       
the united arab emirates 08/07/19 08/15/19 8
  08/08/19 08/19/19 11
  08/09/19 08/20/19 11

 

BOOK ENTRY ONLY SYSTEM

 

DTC acts as securities depositary for the Shares. Shares of the Fund are represented by securities registered in the name of DTC or its nominee and deposited with, or on behalf of, DTC. Certificates will not be issued for Shares.

 

DTC, a limited-purpose trust company, was created to hold securities of the DTC Participants and to facilitate the clearance and settlement of securities transactions among the DTC Participants in such securities through electronic book-entry changes in a