485APOS 1 jhushd-html5113_485apos.htm JH U.S. HIGH DIVIDEND ETF_485APOS

As filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on June 23, 2022

 

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
  Pre-Effective Amendment No.
  Post-Effective Amendment No. 50
     
  and/or  
     
  Registration Statement Under the Investment Company Act of 1940
  Amendment No. 53

 

John Hancock Exchange-Traded Fund Trust

(Exact Name of Registrant as Specified in its Charter)

 

200 Berkeley Street
Boston, MA 02116
(Address of Principal Executive Offices)

 

Registrant’s Telephone Number, including area code:
(800) 225-6020

 

Name and address of agent for service:

Kinga Kapuscinski, Esq.

Nicholas J. Kolokithas, Esq.

John Hancock Investment Management LLC
200 Berkeley Street
Boston, MA 02116

 

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 U.S. High Dividend 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
on (date) 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 September 23, 2022 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 U.S. High Income ETF. No information contained herein is intended to amend or supersede any prior filing relating to any other series of the Registrant.

 

 
 

 

Prospectus

John Hancock
U.S. High Dividend ETF

Equity

[September 23, 2022] 

NYSE Arca:

JHDV

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

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.


 

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 U.S. High Dividend 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

10

Tax-advantaged product structure

12

Who’s who

12

Financial highlights

15

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

16

Payment to broker-dealers and other financial intermediaries

16

Valuation of fund shares

17

Valuation of portfolio securities

17

Distributions

18

Book entry

18

Creations and redemptions

18

Taxation

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.
For more information  See back cover

Disclaimers

21

Continuous offering

21

Intraday value

21


 

Fund summary


 

John Hancock U.S. High Dividend ETF

Investment objective


To seek a high level of current income. Long-term growth of capital is a secondary objective.

Fees and expenses


This table describes the fees and expenses you may pay if you buy, hold, and sell shares of the fund. You may pay other fees, such as brokerage commissions and other fees to financial intermediaries, which are not reflected in the tables and examples below.

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

Management fee

[]

Other expenses1

[]

Total annual fund operating expenses

[]

Contractual expense reimbursement2

[]

Total annual fund operating expenses after expense reimbursements

[]
1 “Other expenses” have been estimated for the fund’s first year of operations.
2 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 [ ]% 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 [ ], 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. The advisor also contractually agrees to waive a portion of its management fee and/or 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 [ ], 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

[]

3 years

[]

Portfolio turnover


The fund pays transaction costs, such as commissions, when it buys and sells securities (or “turns over” its portfolio). A higher portfolio turnover rate may indicate higher transaction costs and may result in higher taxes when fund shares are held in a taxable account. These costs, which are not reflected in annual fund operating expenses or in the example, affect the fund’s performance. 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 is an ETF, which is a fund that trades like other publicly-traded securities. The fund is not an index fund. The fund is actively managed and does not seek to replicate the performance of a specified index.

Under normal market conditions, the fund invests at least 80% of its net assets (plus any borrowings for investment purposes) in dividend-paying U.S. large- and mid-cap equity securities.

Dividend-paying U.S. equity securities in which the fund may invest include common and preferred stocks, convertible securities and their equivalents, rights, warrants, and real estate investment trusts (“REITs”) listed on any U.S. exchange. The fund considers the large- and mid-cap U.S. equity universe to be those U.S. equity securities in the top 85% of the free-float adjusted U.S. market capitalization.

The selection and weighting of the securities in the fund will be based on a systematic approach. The initial investment universe will be screened for securities that meet certain criteria including, but not limited to, dividend yield. The portfolio is then optimized to finalize security weights, assessing

1 


 

Fund summary 

such risk and cost metrics as turnover and sector exposures, along with various desired factor exposures that are expected to enhance returns over time. These screening criteria and optimization criteria are subject to change over time.

While the fund manages risk by investing in securities across a broad range of industries and market sectors, the fund may at times focus its investments in a particular sector or sectors of the U.S. equity markets.

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 fund shares will fluctuate in price, meaning you could lose money. The fund’s investment strategy may not produce the intended results.

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, not in order of importance. Before investing, be sure to read the additional descriptions of these risks beginning on page [TBU] 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.

Changing distribution levels risk. The fund may cease or reduce the level of its distribution if income or dividends paid from its investments declines.

Convertible securities risk. Convertible securities are subject to certain risks of both equity and debt securities. The market values of convertible securities tend to fall as interest rates rise and rise as interest rates fall. As the market price of underlying common stock declines below the conversion price, the market value of the convertible security tends to be increasingly influenced by its yield.

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.

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

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.

High portfolio turnover risk. Trading securities actively and frequently can increase transaction costs (thus lowering performance) and taxable distributions.

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. Liquidity risk may be magnified in rising interest rate environments due to higher than normal redemption rates. Widespread selling of fixed-income securities to satisfy redemptions during periods of reduced demand may adversely impact the price or salability of such securities. Periods of heavy redemption could cause the fund to sell assets at a loss or depressed value, which could negatively affect performance. Redemption risk is heightened during periods of declining or illiquid markets.

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

Operational and cybersecurity 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.

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Fund summary 

Preferred stock risk. Preferred stock generally ranks senior to common stock with respect to dividends and liquidation but ranks junior to debt securities. Unlike interest payments on debt securities, preferred stock dividends are payable only if declared by the issuer’s board of directors. Preferred stock may be subject to optional or mandatory redemption provisions.

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 the nature of the relevant markets for certain of the fund’s securities, shares may trade at a larger premium or discount to the NAV than shares of other ETFs. In addition, in stressed market conditions, the market for shares may become less liquid in response to deteriorating liquidity in the markets for the fund’s underlying portfolio holdings.

Quantitative modeling risk. Quantitative models may not accurately predict future market movements or characteristics, which may negatively impact performance. Models also may perform differently than expected due to implementation problems, technological malfunction, or programming or data inaccuracies, among other possible issues. 

Real estate investment trust (REIT) risk. REITs, pooled investment vehicles that typically invest in real estate directly or in loans collateralized by real estate, carry risks associated with owning real estate, including the potential for a decline in value due to economic or market conditions.

Sector risk. When a fund focuses its investments in certain sectors of the economy, its performance may be driven largely by sector performance and could fluctuate more widely than if the fund were invested more evenly across sectors.

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.

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 this prospectus, there is no past performance to report.

Investment management


Investment advisor John Hancock Investment Management LLC
Subadvisor Manulife Investment Management (US) LLC

Portfolio management


The following individuals are jointly and primarily responsible for the day-to-day management of the fund’s portfolio.

Geoffrey Kelley, CFA
Senior Portfolio Manager, Global Head of Strategic Asset Allocation, Multi-Asset Solutions, Systematic Equity Beta, Manulife Investment Management
Managed the fund since inception

Boncana Maiga, CFA, CIM
Portfolio Manager
Managed the fund since inception

Ashikhusein Shahpurwala, CFA, PRM
Managing Director and Senior Portfolio Manager
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 and/or cash. Except when aggregated in creation units, the shares are not redeemable securities of the fund.

Individual shares of the fund may be purchased and sold only in secondary market transactions through brokers or financial intermediaries. 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 NAV (premium) or less than NAV (discount).

An investor may incur costs attributable to the difference between the highest price a buyer is willing to pay to purchase shares of the fund (bid) and the lowest price a seller is willing to accept for shares of the fund (ask) when buying or selling shares in the secondary market (bid-ask spread).

Recent information, including information about the Fund’s NAV, market price, premiums and discounts, and bid-ask spreads, is included on the Fund’s website at jhinvestments.com/etf.

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Fund summary 

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


Investment Objective: To seek a high level of current income. Long-term growth of capital is a secondary objective.

The fund is an ETF, which is a fund that trades like other publicly-traded securities. The fund is not an index fund. The fund is actively managed and does not seek to replicate the performance of a specified index.

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.

Under normal market conditions, the fund invests at least 80% of its net assets (plus any borrowings for investment purposes) in dividend-paying U.S. large- and mid-cap equity securities.

Dividend-paying U.S. equity securities in which the fund may invest include common and preferred stocks, convertible securities and their equivalents, rights, warrants, and real estate investment trusts (“REITs”) listed on any U.S. exchange. The fund considers the large- and mid-cap U.S. equity universe to be those U.S. equity securities in the top 85% of the free-float adjusted U.S. market capitalization.

The selection and weighting of the securities in the fund will be based on a systematic approach. The initial investment universe will be screened for securities that meet certain criteria including, but not limited to, dividend yield. The portfolio is then optimized to finalize security weights, assessing such risk and cost metrics as turnover and sector exposures, along with various desired factor exposures that are expected to enhance returns over time. These screening criteria and optimization criteria are subject to change over time.

While the fund manages risk by investing in securities across a broad range of industries and market sectors, the fund may at times focus its investments in a particular sector or sectors of the U.S. equity markets. 

The fund may deviate from its principal investment strategies during transition periods, which may include the reassignment of portfolio management, a change in investment objective or strategy, a reorganization or liquidation, or the occurrence of large inflows or outflows.

Additional investment strategies


Derivatives and other investments

The fund may also invest up to 20% of its assets 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, 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. 

Temporary defensive investing

In abnormal circumstances, the fund may temporarily invest extensively in investment-grade short-term securities, cash, or cash equivalents for the purpose of protecting the fund in the event the manager determines that market, economic, political, or other conditions warrant a defensive posture. To the extent that the fund is in a defensive position, its ability to achieve its investment objective will be limited.

Principal risks of investing


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. The fund’s shares will go up and down in price, meaning that you could lose money by investing in the fund.  Many factors influence a fund’s performance. The fund’s investment strategy may not produce the intended results.

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, increased transaction costs, and potential difficulty in valuing portfolio instruments held by the fund.

The principal risks of investing in the fund are summarized in its fund summary above. 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 Statement of Additional Information (SAI).

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Fund details 

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 and may face delisting. This may in turn result in a significantly diminished trading market for fund shares.

Changing distribution levels risk

The distribution amounts paid by the fund generally depend on the amount of income and/or dividends paid by the fund’s investments. As a result of market, interest rate and other circumstances, the amount of cash available for distribution by the fund and the fund’s distribution rate may vary or decline. The risk of such variability is accentuated in currently prevailing market and interest rate circumstances.

Convertible securities risk

Convertible securities are subject to certain risks of both equity and debt securities. Convertible securities may be converted or exchanged (by the holder or by the issuer) into shares of the underlying common stock (or cash or securities of equivalent value) at a stated exchange ratio. A convertible security may also be called for redemption or conversion by the issuer after a particular date and under certain circumstances (including a specified price) established upon issue. Convertible securities generally offer lower interest or dividend yields than nonconvertible fixed-income securities of similar credit quality because of the potential for capital appreciation. The market values of convertible securities tend to decline as interest rates increase and, conversely, to increase as interest rates decline. However, a convertible security’s market value also tends to reflect the market price of common stock of the issuing company, particularly when that stock price is greater than the convertible security’s conversion price. The conversion price is defined as the predetermined price or exchange ratio at which the convertible security can be converted or exchanged for the underlying common stock. As the market price of the underlying common stock declines below the conversion price, the price of the convertible security tends to be increasingly influenced by the yield of the convertible security. Thus, it may not decline in price to the same extent as the

underlying common stock. In the event of a liquidation of the issuing company, convertible securities generally entail less risk than the company’s common stock.

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 similar events; 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; dramatic changes in energy prices and 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. Financial institutions could suffer losses as interest rates 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 historically 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. In recent years, the U.S. renegotiated many of its global trade relationships and imposed or threatened to impose significant import tariffs. These actions could lead to price volatility and overall declines in U.S. and global investment markets.

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Fund details 

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. On January 31, 2020, the United Kingdom (UK) left the EU, commonly referred to as “Brexit,” and the UK ceased to be a member of the EU. Following a transition period during which the EU and the UK Government engaged in a series of negotiations regarding the terms of the UK’s future relationship with the EU, the EU and the UK Government signed an agreement on December 30, 2020 regarding the economic relationship between the UK and the EU. This agreement became effective on a provisional basis on January 1, 2021 and formally entered into force on May 1, 2021. While the full impact of Brexit is unknown, Brexit has already resulted in volatility in European and global markets. There remains 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. This uncertainty may affect other countries in the EU and elsewhere, and may cause volatility within the EU, triggering prolonged economic downturns in certain countries within the EU. Despite the influence of the lockdowns, and the economic bounce back, Brexit has had a material impact on the UK’s economy. Additionally, trade between the UK and the EU did not benefit from the global rebound in trade in 2021, and remained at the very low levels experienced at the start of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in 2020, highlighting Brexit’s potential long-term effects on the UK economy.

In addition, Brexit may create additional and substantial economic stresses for the UK, including a contraction of the UK economy and price volatility in UK stocks, decreased trade, capital outflows, devaluation of the British pound, wider corporate bond spreads due to uncertainty and declines in business and consumer spending as well as foreign direct investment. Brexit may also adversely affect UK-based financial firms that have counterparties in the EU or participate in market infrastructure (trading venues, clearing houses, settlement facilities) based in the EU. Additionally, the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is likely to continue to stretch the resources and deficits of many countries in the EU and throughout the world, increasing the possibility that countries may be unable to make timely payments on their sovereign debt. These events and the resulting market volatility may have an adverse effect on the performance of the fund.

A widespread health crisis such as a global pandemic could cause substantial market volatility, exchange trading suspensions and closures, which may lead to less liquidity in certain instruments, industries, sectors or the markets generally, and may ultimately affect fund performance. For example, the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has resulted and may continue to result in significant disruptions to global business activity and market volatility due to disruptions in market access, resource availability, facilities operations, imposition of tariffs, export controls and supply chain disruption, among others. The impact of a health crisis and other epidemics and pandemics that may arise in the future, could affect the global economy in ways that cannot necessarily be foreseen at the present time. A health crisis may exacerbate other pre-existing political, social and economic risks. Any such impact could adversely affect the fund’s performance, resulting in losses to your investment.

The United States responded to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and resulting economic distress with fiscal and monetary stimulus packages. In late March 2020, the government passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, a stimulus package providing for over $2.2 trillion in resources to small businesses, state and local governments, and individuals adversely impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. In late December 2020, the government also passed a spending bill that included $900 billion in stimulus relief for the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Further, in March 2021, the government passed the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, a $1.9 trillion stimulus bill to accelerate the United States’ recovery from the economic and health effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. In addition, in mid-March 2020 the Fed cut interest rates to historically low levels and promised unlimited and open-ended quantitative easing, including purchases of corporate and municipal government bonds. The Fed also enacted various programs to support liquidity operations and funding in the financial markets, including expanding its reverse repurchase agreement operations, adding $1.5 trillion of liquidity to the banking system, establishing swap lines with other major central banks to provide dollar funding, establishing a program to support money market funds, easing various bank capital buffers, providing funding backstops for businesses to provide bridging loans for up to four years, and providing funding to help credit flow in asset-backed securities markets. The Fed also extended credit to small- and medium-sized businesses.

To the extent the Fed “tapers” or reduces the amount of securities it purchases pursuant to quantitative easing, and/or raises the federal funds rate, there is a risk that interest rates will rise, which could expose fixed-income and related markets to heightened volatility and could cause the value of a fund’s investments, and the fund’s net asset value (NAV), to decline, potentially suddenly and significantly. As a result, the fund may experience high redemptions and, as a result, increased portfolio turnover, which could increase the costs that the fund incurs and may negatively impact the fund’s performance.

Political and military events, including in Ukraine, North Korea, Russia, Venezuela, Iran, Syria, and other areas of the Middle East, and nationalist unrest in Europe and South America, also may cause market disruptions.

As a result of continued political tensions and armed conflicts, including the Russian invasion of Ukraine commencing in February of 2022, the extent and ultimate result of which are unknown at this time, the United States and the EU, along with the regulatory bodies of a number of countries, have imposed economic sanctions on certain Russian corporate entities and individuals, and certain sectors of Russia’s economy, which may result in, among other things, the continued devaluation of Russian currency, a downgrade in the country’s credit rating, and/or a decline in the value and liquidity of Russian securities, property or interests. These sanctions could also result in the immediate freeze of Russian securities and/or funds invested in prohibited assets, impairing the ability of a fund to buy, sell, receive or deliver those securities and/or assets. These sanctions or the threat of additional sanctions could also result in Russia taking counter measures or retaliatory actions, which may further impair the value and liquidity of Russian securities. The United States and other nations or international organizations may also impose additional economic sanctions or take

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other actions that may adversely affect Russia-exposed issuers and companies in various sectors of the Russian economy. Any or all of these potential results could lead Russia’s economy into a recession. Economic sanctions and other actions against Russian institutions, companies, and individuals resulting from the ongoing conflict may also have a substantial negative impact on other economies and securities markets both regionally and globally, as well as on companies with operations in the conflict region, the extent to which is unknown at this time. The United States and the EU have also imposed similar sanctions on Belarus for its support of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Additional sanctions may be imposed on Belarus and other countries that support Russia. Any such sanctions could present substantially similar risks as those resulting from the sanctions imposed on Russia, including substantial negative impacts on the regional and global economies and securities markets.

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. Further, there is a risk that the present value of assets or income from investments will be less in the future, known as inflation. Inflation rates may change frequently and drastically as a result of various factors, including unexpected shifts in the domestic or global economy, and a fund’s investments may be affected, which may reduce a fund’s performance. Further, inflation may lead to the rise in interest rates, which may negatively affect the value of debt instruments held by the fund, resulting in a negative impact on a fund’s performance. Generally, securities issued in emerging markets are subject to a greater risk of inflationary or deflationary forces, and more developed markets are better able to use monetary policy to normalize markets.

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 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, irregular and/or unexpected trading activity among retail investors, 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 generally does not attempt to time the market. Because of its exposure to equities, 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.

High portfolio turnover risk

A high fund portfolio turnover rate (over 100%) generally involves correspondingly greater brokerage commission and tax expenses, which must be borne directly by a fund and its shareholders, respectively. The portfolio turnover rate of a fund may vary from year to year, as well as within a year.

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,

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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.

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.

Mid-sized company risk

Market risk and liquidity risk may be pronounced for securities of companies with mid-sized 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 mid-sized 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 over-the-counter market or on a regional exchange, or may otherwise have limited liquidity. Investments in less-seasoned companies with mid-sized market capitalizations may present greater opportunities for growth and capital appreciation, but also involve greater risks than customarily are 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 mid-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.

Operational and cybersecurity risk

With the increased use of technologies, such as mobile devices and “cloud”-based service offerings and the dependence on the internet and computer systems to perform necessary business functions, the fund’s service providers are susceptible to operational and information or cybersecurity risks that could result in losses to the fund and its shareholders. Intentional cybersecurity breaches include unauthorized access to systems, networks, or devices (such as through “hacking” activity or “phishing”); 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. Cyber-attacks can also be carried out in a manner that does not require gaining unauthorized access, such as causing denial-of-service attacks on the service providers’ systems or websites rendering them unavailable to intended users or via “ransomware” that renders the systems inoperable until appropriate actions are taken. 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, 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 materially affect 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 any or 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.

In addition, other disruptive events, including (but not limited to) natural disasters and public health crises (such as the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic), may adversely affect the fund’s ability to conduct business, in particular if the fund’s employees or the employees of its service providers are unable or unwilling to perform their responsibilities as a result of any such event. Even if the fund’s employees and the employees of its service providers are able to work remotely, those remote work arrangements could result in the fund’s business operations being less efficient than under normal circumstances, could lead to delays in its processing of transactions, and could increase the risk of cyber-events.

Preferred stock risk

The fund may invest in preferred stock. Preferred stock generally has a preference as to dividends and liquidation over an issuer’s common stock but ranks junior to debt securities in an issuer’s capital structure. Unlike interest payments on debt securities, preferred stock dividends are payable only if declared by the issuer’s board of directors. Preferred stock also may be subject to optional or mandatory redemption provisions.

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,

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the same forces influencing the prices of the securities of the fund’s underlying portfolio holdings trading individually or in the aggregate at any point in time. Given the nature of the relevant markets for certain of the fund’s securities, shares may trade at a larger premium or discount to the NAV than shares of other ETFs. In addition, in stressed market conditions, the market for shares may become less liquid in response to deteriorating liquidity in the markets for the fund’s underlying portfolio holdings. 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.

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 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.

Quantitative modeling risk

Use of quantitative models carries the risk that the fund may underperform funds that do not utilize such models. The use of quantitative models may affect the fund’s exposure to certain sectors or types of investments and may impact the fund’s relative investment performance depending on whether such sectors or investments are in or out of favor in the market. Successful application of a quantitative model is dependent on the manager’s skill in building and implementing the model. For example, human judgment plays a role in building, utilizing, testing, modifying, and implementing the financial algorithms and formulas used in these models. Quantitative models are subject to technical issues including programming and data inaccuracies, are based on assumptions, and rely on data that is subject to limitations (e.g., inaccuracies, staleness), any of which could adversely affect their effectiveness or predictive value. Quantitative models may not accurately predict future market movements or characteristics due to the fact that market performance can be affected by non-quantitative factors that are not easily integrated into quantitative analysis, among other factors.

Real estate investment trust (REIT) risk

REITs are subject to risks associated with the ownership of real estate. Some REITs experience market risk and liquidity risk due to investment in a limited number of properties, in a narrow geographic area, or in a single property type, which increases the risk that such REIT could be unfavorably affected by the poor performance of a single investment or investment type. These companies are also sensitive to factors such as changes in real estate values and property taxes, interest rates, cash flow of underlying real estate assets, supply and demand, and the management skill and creditworthiness of the issuer. Borrowers could

default on or sell investments that a REIT holds, which could reduce the cash flow needed to make distributions to investors. In addition, REITs may also be affected by tax and regulatory requirements impacting the REITs’ ability to qualify for preferential tax treatments or exemptions. REITs require specialized management and pay management expenses. REITs also are subject to physical risks to real property, including weather, natural disasters, terrorist attacks, war, or other events that destroy real property.

REITs include equity REITs and mortgage REITs. Equity REITs may be affected by changes in the value of the underlying property owned 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 are also subject to heavy cash flow dependency, defaults by borrowers or lessees, 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 Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended. The above factors may also 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 many of the larger REITs in the industry tend to be small to medium-sized companies in relation to the equity markets as a whole. Moreover, shares of REITs may trade less frequently and, therefore, are subject to more erratic price movements than securities of larger issuers.

Sector risk

When a fund’s investments are focused in one or more sectors of the economy, they are less broadly invested across industries or sectors than other funds. This means that focused 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 particular sectors is particularly susceptible to the impact of market, economic, political, regulatory, and other conditions and risks affecting those sectors. From time to time, a small number of companies may represent a large portion of a single sector or a group of related sectors as a whole.

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.

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

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manager’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 manager 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 risks associated with leverage, 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, 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 regulations promulgated or proposed 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 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 may 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.

In addition, new Rule 18f-4 (the Derivatives Rule), adopted by the SEC on October 28, 2020, replaces current asset segregation requirements with a new framework for the use of derivatives by registered funds. For funds using a significant amount of derivatives, the Derivatives Rule mandates a fund adopt and/or implement: (i) value at risk limitations in lieu of asset segregation requirements; (ii) a written derivatives risk management program; (iii) new Board oversight responsibilities; and (iv) new reporting and recordkeeping requirements. The Derivatives Rule provides an exception for funds with derivative exposure not exceeding 10% of its net assets, excluding certain currency and interest rate hedging transactions. In addition, the Derivatives Rule provides special treatment for reverse repurchase agreements and similar financing transactions and unfunded commitment agreements. Funds will be required to comply with the Derivatives Rule starting on August 19, 2022.

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. OTC derivatives transactions typically can only be closed out with the other party to the transaction, although either party may engage in an offsetting transaction that puts that party in the same economic position as if it had closed out the transaction with the counterparty or may obtain the other party’s consent to assign the transaction to a third party. 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. For example, because the contract for each OTC derivatives transaction is individually negotiated with a specific counterparty, a fund is subject to the risk that a counterparty may interpret contractual terms (e.g., the definition of default) differently than the fund when the fund seeks to enforce its contractual rights. If that occurs, the cost and unpredictability of the legal proceedings required for the fund to enforce its contractual rights may lead it to decide not to pursue its claims against the counterparty. The fund, therefore, assumes the risk that it may be unable to obtain payments owed to it under OTC derivatives contracts or that those payments may be delayed or made only after the fund has incurred the costs of

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litigation. While a manager intends to monitor the creditworthiness of counterparties, there can be no assurance that a counterparty will meet its obligations, especially during unusually adverse market conditions. 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 manager 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 hedging and other strategic transactions appears in the SAI. To the extent that the fund utilizes the following list of certain derivatives and other strategic transactions, it will be subject to associated risks. The main risks of each appear below.

 

  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 [TBU] 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 Investment Management LLC
200 Berkeley Street
Boston, MA 02116

Founded in 1968, the advisor is an indirect principally 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, 2022], the advisor had total assets under management of approximately $[TBU] 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

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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 (%)

[TBU]

[TBU]

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 anticipated average net assets may result in an increase in the expense ratio because certain fund expenses do not decrease as asset levels decrease; or (ii) fees may be incurred for extraordinary events such as fund tax expenses.

As may be 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 each participating portfolio. This agreement expires on [ ], 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.

Manulife Investment Management (US) LLC
197 Clarendon Street
Boston, MA 02116

Manulife Investment Management (US) LLC (Manulife IM (US)) provides investment advisory services to individual and institutional investors. Manulife IM (US) is a wholly owned subsidiary of John Hancock Life Insurance Company (U.S.A.) (a subsidiary of Manulife Financial Corporation) and, as of [June 30, 2022], had total assets under management of approximately $[TBU] billion.

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. These managers are employed by Manulife IM (US). 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.

Geoffrey Kelley, CFA

 

Senior Portfolio Manager, Global Head of Strategic Asset Allocation, Multi-Asset Solutions, Systematic Equity Beta, Manulife Investment Management

 

Managed the fund since inception

 

Joined the subadvisor in 2018

 

Began business career in 1994
 

Boncana Maiga, CFA, CIM

 

Portfolio Manager

 

Managed the fund since inception

 

Joined the subadvisor in 2010

 

Began business career in 2004
 

Ashikhusein Shahpurwala, CFA, PRM

 

Managing Director and Senior Portfolio Manager

 

Managed the fund since inception

 

Joined the subadvisor in 2007

 

Began business career in 1999
 

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.

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Fund details 

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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Fund details 

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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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 (until such exemptive order is rescinded by the SEC) or pursuant to or an exemptive rule adopted by the SEC.

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.

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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 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. Equity securities traded principally in foreign markets are typically valued using the last sale price or official closing price in the relevant exchange or market. On any day a foreign market is closed and the NYSE is open, any foreign securities will typically be valued using the last price or official closing price obtained from the relevant exchange on the prior business day. Debt obligations are typically 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. Forward foreign currency contracts are valued at the prevailing forward rates which are based on foreign currency exchange spot rates and forward points supplied by an independent pricing vendor. Exchange-traded options are valued at the mid-price of the last quoted bid and ask prices. Futures contracts whose settlement prices are determined as of the close of the NYSE are typically valued based on the settlement price while other futures contracts are typically valued at the last traded price on the

exchange on which they trade. Foreign equity index futures that trade in the electronic trading market subsequent to the close of regular trading may be valued at the last traded price in the electronic trading market as of the close of the NYSE. Swaps and unlisted options are generally valued using evaluated prices obtained from an independent pricing vendor. 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, broker-dealer quotations, credit quality information, general market conditions, news, and other factors and assumptions. The fund may receive different prices when it sells odd-lot 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 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. Nevertheless, market quotations, official closing prices, or information furnished by a pricing vendor could be inaccurate, which could lead to a security being valued incorrectly.

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

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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 U.S. High Dividend ETF

Quarterly

Quarterly

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.

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. 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 and/or cash 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 and/or 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.

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The fund typically expects to wire redemption proceeds between 1 and 3 business days following the receipt of the redemption request. Processing time is not dependent on the chosen delivery method. 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.

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, such as, for example, during a period of time in which a foreign securities exchange is closed, 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.

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 income 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.

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.

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 Internal Revenue Service (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

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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. 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 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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Disclaimers


IOPV
THE FUND IS NOT SPONSORED, ENDORSED, SOLD OR MARKETED BY ICE DATA INDICES, LLC, OR ITS AFFILIATES (ICE DATA) OR THEIR RESPECTIVE THIRD PARTY SUPPLIERS.

ICE DATA OR ITS THIRD PARTY SUPPLIERS MAKE NO EXPRESS OR IMPLIED WARRANTIES, AND HEREBY EXPRESSLY DISCLAIM ALL WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY OR FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE WITH RESPECT TO THE IOPVS, ETF STATISTICS, FUND OR ANY FUND DATA INCLUDED THEREIN. IN NO EVENT SHALL ICE DATA HAVE ANY LIABILITY FOR ANY SPECIAL, PUNITIVE, DIRECT, INDIRECT, OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES (INCLUDING LOST PROFITS), EVEN IF NOTIFIED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES.

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 transfer agent for review and approval by 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 (IOPV) is disseminated every 15 seconds throughout each trading day by the national securities exchange on which the fund’s shares are listed or by market data vendors or other information providers. The IOPV is based on the current market value of the securities and/or cash required to be deposited in exchange for a creation unit. The IOPV 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 IOPV should not be viewed as a “real-time” update of the fund’s NAV, which is computed only once a day. The IOPV 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 IOPV and makes no warranty as to its accuracy.

21 


 

For more information


The following 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.

As of January 1, 2021, paper copies of the fund’s shareholder reports are no longer sent by mail. Instead, the reports are made available on jhinvestments.com/etf, and you will be notified and provided with a link each time a report is posted to the website. You may request to receive paper reports from the fund or from your financial intermediary, free of charge, at any time. You may also request to receive documents through eDelivery.

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 Investment Management
200 Berkeley Street
Boston, MA 02116

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

© 2022 John Hancock Exchange-Traded Fund Trust
200 Berkeley Street Boston, MA 02116
800-225-6020, jhinvestments.com

Manulife, Manulife Investment Management, Stylized M Design, and Manulife Investment Management & Stylized M Design are trademarks of The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company and are used by its affiliates under license.

SEC file number: 811-22733
9660PN  [9/23/22]


 

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

Statement of Additional Information

John Hancock Exchange-Traded Fund Trust

[September 23, 2022]

Principal U.S.
Listing Exchange

Ticker

John Hancock U.S. High Dividend ETF

NYSE Arca, Inc.

JHDV

This Statement of Additional Information (“SAI”) provides information about the fund listed above (the “fund”). The fund is a series of the Trust indicated above. The information in this SAI is in addition to the information that is contained in the fund’s prospectus dated [September 23, 2022], as amended and supplemented from time to time (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 Investment Management
200 Berkeley Street
Boston, MA 02116
800-225-6020
jhinvestments.com/etf

Manulife, Manulife Investment Management, Stylized M Design, and Manulife Investment Management & Stylized M Design are trademarks of The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company and are used by its affiliates under license.


9660SAI

 

Table of contents

GLOSSARY

2

ORGANIZATION OF THE TRUST

5

EXCHANGE LISTING AND TRADING

5

ADDITIONAL INVESTMENT POLICIES AND OTHER INSTRUMENTS

6

RISK FACTORS

19

REGULATION OF COMMODITY INTERESTS

41

HEDGING AND OTHER STRATEGIC TRANSACTIONS

41

INVESTMENT RESTRICTIONS

50

PORTFOLIO TURNOVER

51

THOSE RESPONSIBLE FOR MANAGEMENT

52

SHAREHOLDERS OF THE FUND

59

INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT ARRANGEMENTS AND OTHER SERVICES

59

RULE 12B-1 FEES

63

FINANCIAL INTERMEDIARY COMPENSATION

63

CREATIONS AND REDEMPTIONS

63

BOOK ENTRY ONLY SYSTEM

68

NET ASSET VALUE

69

POLICY REGARDING DISCLOSURE OF PORTFOLIO HOLDINGS

69

DESCRIPTION OF FUND SHARES

70

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION CONCERNING TAXES

70

PORTFOLIO BROKERAGE

76

TRANSFER AGENT SERVICES

78

DISTRIBUTION SERVICES

78

LEGAL AND REGULATORY MATTERS

78

INDEPENDENT REGISTERED PUBLIC ACCOUNTING FIRM

78

CUSTODY OF PORTFOLIO SECURITIES

78

CODES OF ETHICS

78

DISCLAIMERS

78

APPENDIX A – DESCRIPTION OF BOND RATINGS

79

APPENDIX B – PORTFOLIO MANAGER INFORMATION

85

APPENDIX C – PROXY VOTING POLICIES AND PROCEDURES

88

1

 

GLOSSARY


Term

Definition

“1933 Act”

the Securities Act of 1933, as amended

“1940 Act”

the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended

“Advisers Act”

the Investment Advisers Act of 1940, as amended

“Advisor”

John Hancock Investment Management LLC (formerly, John Hancock Advisers, LLC), 200 Berkeley Street, Boston, Massachusetts 02116

“Advisory Agreement”

an investment advisory agreement or investment management contract between the Trust and the Advisor

“Affiliated Subadvisors”

Manulife Investment Management (North America) Limited and Manulife Investment Management (US) LLC, as applicable

“affiliated underlying funds”

underlying funds that are advised by John Hancock’s investment advisor or its affiliates

“BDCs”

business development companies

“Board”

Board of Trustees of the Trust

“Bond Connect”

Mutual Bond Market Access between Mainland China and Hong Kong

“Brown Brothers Harriman”

Brown Brothers Harriman & Co.

“CATS”

Certificates of Accrual on Treasury Securities

“CBOs”

Collateralized Bond Obligations

“CCO”

Chief Compliance Officer

“CDSC”

Contingent Deferred Sales Charge

“CEA”

the Commodity Exchange Act, as amended

“China A-Shares”

Chinese stock exchanges

“CIBM”

China interbank bond market

“CLOs”

Collateralized Loan Obligations

“CMOs”

Collateralized Mortgage Obligations

“Code”

the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended

“COFI floaters”

Cost of Funds Index

“CPI”

Consumer Price Index

“CPI-U”

Consumer Price Index for Urban Consumers

“CPO”

Commodity Pool Operator

“CFTC”

Commodity Futures Trading Commission

“Citibank”

Citibank, N.A., 388 Greenwich Street, New York, NY 10013

“Distributor”

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

“EMU”

Economic and Monetary Union

“ETFs”

Exchange-Traded Funds

“ETNs”

Exchange-Traded Notes

“EU”

European Union

“Fannie Mae”

Federal National Mortgage Association

“FHFA”

Federal Housing Finance Agency

“FHLBs”

Federal Home Loan Banks

“FICBs”

Federal Intermediate Credit Banks

“Fitch”

Fitch Ratings

“Freddie Mac”

Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation

“funds” or “series”

The John Hancock funds within this SAI as noted on the front cover and as the context may require

“GNMA”

Government National Mortgage Association

“HKSCC”

Hong Kong Securities Clearing Company

“IOs”

Interest-Only

“IRA”

Individual Retirement Account

2

 

Term

Definition

“IRS”

Internal Revenue Service

“JHCT”

John Hancock Collateral Trust

“JH Distributors”

John Hancock Distributors, LLC

“JHLICO New York”

John Hancock Life Insurance Company of New York

“JHLICO U.S.A.”

John Hancock Life Insurance Company (U.S.A.)

“LOI”

Letter of Intention

“LIBOR”

London Interbank Offered Rate

“MAAP”

Monthly Automatic Accumulation Program

“Manulife Financial” or “MFC”

Manulife Financial, a publicly traded company based in Toronto, Canada

“Manulife IM (NA)”

Manulife Investment Management (North America) Limited (formerly, John Hancock Asset Management a Division of Manulife Asset Management (North America) Limited)

“Manulife IM (US)”

Manulife Investment Management (US) LLC (formerly, John Hancock Asset Management a Division of Manulife Asset Management (US) LLC)

“MiFID II”

Markets in Financial Instruments Directive

“Moody’s”

Moody’s Investors Service, Inc

“NAV”

Net Asset Value

“NRSRO”

Nationally Recognized Statistical Rating Organization

“NYSE”

New York Stock Exchange

“OID”

Original Issue Discount

“OTC”

Over-The-Counter

“PAC”

Planned Amortization Class

“PFS”

Personal Financial Services

“POs”

Principal-Only

“PRC”

People’s Republic of China

“REITs”

Real Estate Investment Trusts

“RIC”

Regulated Investment Company

“RPS”

John Hancock Retirement Plan Services

“SARSEP”

Salary Reduction Simplified Employee Pension Plan

“SEC”

Securities and Exchange Commission

“SEP”

Simplified Employee Pension

“SIMPLE”

Savings Incentive Match Plan for Employees

“S&P”

S&P Global Ratings

“SLMA”

Student Loan Marketing Association

“SPACs”

Special Purpose Acquisition Companies

“State Street”

State Street Bank and Trust Company

“Stock Connect”

Hong Kong Stock Connect Program

“subadvisor”

Any subadvisors employed by John Hancock within this SAI as noted in Appendix B and as the context may require

“TAC”

Target Amortization Class

“TIGRs”

Treasury Receipts, Treasury Investors Growth Receipts

3

 

Term

Definition

“Trust”

John Hancock Bond Trust
John Hancock California Tax-Free Income Fund
John Hancock Capital Series
John Hancock Current Interest
John Hancock Exchange-Traded Fund Trust
John Hancock Funds II
John Hancock Funds III
John Hancock Investment Trust
John Hancock Investment Trust II
John Hancock Municipal Securities Trust
John Hancock Sovereign Bond Fund
John Hancock Strategic Series
John Hancock Variable Insurance Trust

“TSA”

Tax-Sheltered Annuity

“unaffiliated underlying funds”

underlying funds that are advised by an entity other than John Hancock’s investment advisor or its affiliates

“underlying funds”

Funds in which the Funds of Funds invest

“UK”

United Kingdom

4

 

ORGANIZATION OF THE TRUST


The Trust is organized as a Massachusetts business trust under the laws of The Commonwealth of Massachusetts and is an open-end management investment company registered under the 1940 Act. The fund 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. The following table sets forth the date the Trust was organized:

Trust

Date of Organization

John Hancock Exchange-Traded Fund Trust

November 24, 2009

The Advisor is a Delaware limited liability company whose principal offices are located at 200 Berkeley Street, Boston, Massachusetts 02116. The Advisor is registered as an investment advisor under the Advisers Act. The Advisor is an indirect principally owned subsidiary of JHLICO U.S.A. JHLICO U.S.A. and its subsidiaries today offer a broad range of financial products, including life insurance, annuities, 401(k) plans, long-term care insurance, college savings, and other forms of business insurance. Additional information about John Hancock may be found on the Internet at johnhancock.com. The ultimate controlling parent of the Advisor is 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 and the overall supervision of the Advisor.

Manulife Financial is a leading international financial services group with principal operations in Asia, Canada, and the United States. Operating primarily as John Hancock in the United States and Manulife elsewhere, it provides financial protection products and advice, insurance, as well as wealth and asset management services through its extensive network of solutions for individuals, groups, and institutions. Its global headquarters are in Toronto, Canada, and it trades as ‘MFC’ on the Toronto Stock Exchange, NYSE, and the Philippine Stock Exchange, and under ‘945’ in Hong Kong. Manulife Financial can be found on the Internet at manulife.com.

The following table sets forth the fund’s inception date:

Fund

Commencement of Operations

John Hancock U.S. High Dividend ETF

on or about [September 28, 2022]

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 listed and traded on the NYSE Arca, Inc. (the “Exchange”). The Shares trade on the Exchange at prices that may differ to some degree from their NAV. There can be no assurance that the requirements of the Exchange necessary to maintain the listing of Shares of the fund will continue to be met.

The Exchange may, but is not required to, remove the Shares of the fund from listing if: (1) the Exchange becomes aware that the fund is no longer eligible to operate in reliance on Rule 6c-11 under the 1940 Act; (2) the fund no longer complies with the requirements set forth in Exchange Rule 5.2-E(j)(8); (3) 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; 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 Indicative Optimized Portfolio Value (“IOPV”) for the fund as calculated by an information provider or market data vendor. The Trust is not involved in or responsible for any aspect of the calculation or dissemination of the IOPVs and makes no representation or warranty as to the accuracy of the IOPVs.

The fund’s IOPV is based on a securities component and a cash component which comprises that day’s Fund Deposit (as defined below). The IOPV 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 IOPV should not be viewed as a “real-time” update of the fund’s NAV, which is computed only once a day. The IOPV 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 IOPV could consist of estimated accrued interest, dividends and other income, less expenses. If applicable, each IOPV 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.

5

 

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”) or, alternatively, a specified all cash payment (“Cash Deposit”). Shares are redeemable by the applicable 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.

To the extent a fund effects redemptions in cash rather than in-kind, the fund may incur certain costs, including brokerage costs and/or taxable gains or losses, that the fund may not have incurred if it had effected redemptions entirely in-kind. These costs may decrease the fund’s NAV to the extent they are not offset by a transaction fee payable by an Authorized Participant (defined below). 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 SEC applicable to management investment companies offering redeemable securities. See the “Creations and redemptions” section below.

ADDITIONAL INVESTMENT POLICIES AND OTHER INSTRUMENTS


The principal strategies and risks of investing in the fund are described in the applicable Prospectus. Unless otherwise stated in the applicable Prospectus or this SAI, the investment objective and policies of the fund may be changed without shareholder approval. The fund may invest in the instruments below, and such instruments and investment policies apply to the fund, but only if and to the extent that such policies are consistent with and permitted by the fund’s investment objective and policies. The fund may also have indirect exposure to the instruments described below through derivative contracts, if applicable. By owning shares of the underlying funds, each fund of funds indirectly invests in the securities and instruments held by the underlying funds and bears the same risks of such underlying funds.

Asset-Backed Securities

The securitization techniques used to develop mortgage securities also are being applied to a broad range of other assets. Through the use of trusts and special purpose corporations, automobile and credit card receivables are being securitized in pass-through structures similar to mortgage pass-through structures or in a pay-through structure similar to the CMO structure.

Generally, the issuers of asset-backed bonds, notes or pass-through certificates are special purpose entities and do not have any significant assets other than the receivables securing such obligations. In general, the collateral supporting asset-backed securities is of a shorter maturity than that of mortgage loans. As a result, investment in these securities should be subject to less volatility than mortgage securities. Instruments backed by pools of receivables are similar to mortgage-backed securities in that they are subject to unscheduled prepayments of principal prior to maturity. When the obligations are prepaid, a fund must reinvest the prepaid amounts in securities with the prevailing interest rates at the time. Therefore, a fund’s ability to maintain an investment including high-yielding asset-backed securities will be affected adversely to the extent that prepayments of principal must be reinvested in securities that have lower yields than the prepaid obligations. Moreover, prepayments of securities purchased at a premium could result in a realized loss. Unless otherwise stated in its Prospectus, a fund will only invest in asset-backed securities rated, at the time of purchase, “AA” or better by S&P or Fitch or “Aa” or better by Moody’s.

As with mortgage securities, asset-backed securities are often backed by a pool of assets representing the obligation of a number of different parties and use similar credit enhancement techniques. For a description of the types of credit enhancement that may accompany asset-backed securities, see “Types of Credit Support” below. When a fund invests in asset-backed securities, it will not limit its investments in asset-backed securities to those with credit enhancements. Although asset-backed securities are not generally traded on a national securities exchange, such securities are widely traded by brokers and dealers, and will not be considered illiquid securities for the purposes of the investment restriction on illiquid securities under the sub-section “Illiquid Securities” in this section below.

Types of Credit Support. To lessen the impact of an obligor’s failure to make payments on underlying assets, mortgage securities and asset-backed securities may contain elements of credit support. Such credit support falls into two categories:

 

liquidity protection; and

 

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 protection 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
 
6

 

 

“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-backed securities and asset-backed 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 or asset-backed securities.

Collateralized Debt Obligations. CBOs, CLOs, other collateralized debt obligations, and other similarly structured securities (collectively, “CDOs”) are types of asset-backed securities. A CBO is a trust that is often backed by a diversified pool of high risk, below investment grade fixed-income securities. The collateral can be from many different types of fixed-income securities such as high yield debt, residential privately issued mortgage-related securities, commercial privately issued mortgage-related securities, trust preferred securities and emerging market debt. A CLO is a trust typically collateralized by a pool of loans, which may include, among others, domestic and foreign senior secured loans, senior unsecured loans, and subordinate corporate loans, including loans that may be rated below investment grade or equivalent unrated loans. Other CDOs are trusts backed by other types of assets representing obligations of various parties. CDOs may charge management fees and administrative expenses.

In a CDO structure, the cash flows from the trust are split into two or more portions, called tranches, varying in risk and yield. The riskiest portion is the “equity” tranche which bears the bulk of defaults from the bonds or loans in the trust and serves to protect the other, more senior tranches from default in all but the most severe circumstances. Since it is partially protected from defaults, a senior tranche from a CDO trust typically has a higher rating and lower yield than its underlying securities, and can be rated investment grade. Despite the protection from the equity tranche, CDO tranches can experience substantial losses due to actual defaults, increased sensitivity to defaults due to collateral default and disappearance of protecting tranches, market anticipation of defaults, as well as aversion to CDO securities as a class. In the case of all CDO tranches, the market prices of and yields on tranches with longer terms to maturity tend to be more volatile than those of tranches with shorter terms to maturity due to the greater volatility and uncertainty of cash flows.

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 and Short-Term Notes

Commercial paper consists of unsecured promissory notes issued by corporations. Issues of commercial paper and short-term notes will normally have maturities of less than nine months and fixed rates of return, although such instruments may have maturities of up to one year.

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 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 or “AAA” or “AA” by S&P or 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 a 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.

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

7

 

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.

Depositary Receipts

Securities of foreign issuers may include American Depositary Receipts, European Depositary Receipts, Global Depositary Receipts, International Depositary Receipts, and Non-Voting Depositary Receipts (“ADRs,” “EDRs,” “GDRs,” “IDRs,” and “NVDRs,” respectively, and collectively, “Depositary Receipts”). Depositary Receipts are certificates typically issued by a bank or trust company that give their holders the right to receive securities issued by a foreign or domestic corporation.

ADRs are U.S. dollar-denominated securities backed by foreign securities deposited in a U.S. securities depository. ADRs are created for trading in the U.S. markets. The value of an ADR will fluctuate with the value of the underlying security and will reflect any changes in exchange rates. An investment in ADRs involves risks associated with investing in foreign securities. Issuers of unsponsored ADRs are not contractually obligated to disclose material information in the United States, and, therefore, there may not be a correlation between that information and the market value of an unsponsored ADR.

EDRs, GDRs, IDRs, and NVDRs are receipts evidencing an arrangement with a foreign bank or exchange affiliate similar to that for ADRs and are designed for use in foreign securities markets. EDRs, GDRs, IDRs, and NVDRs are not necessarily quoted in the same currency as the underlying security. NVDRs do not have voting rights.

Fixed-Income Securities

Investment grade bonds are rated at the time of purchase in the four highest rating categories by a 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 a 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 a 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.

Foreign Government Securities

Foreign government securities include securities issued or guaranteed by foreign governments (including political subdivisions) or their authorities, agencies, or instrumentalities or by supra-national agencies. Different kinds of foreign government securities have different kinds of government support. For example, some foreign government securities are supported by the full faith and credit of a foreign national government or political subdivision and some are not. Foreign government securities of some countries may involve varying degrees of credit risk as a result of financial or political instability in those countries and the possible inability of a fund to enforce its rights against the foreign government issuer. As with other fixed income securities, sovereign issuers may be unable or unwilling to make timely principal or interest payments. Supra-national agencies are agencies whose member nations make capital contributions to support the agencies’ activities.

Hybrid Instruments

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.
 
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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 of 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.

Illiquid Securities

The fund may not invest more than 15% of its net assets in securities that cannot be sold or disposed of in seven calendar days or less without the sale or disposition significantly changing the market value of the investment (“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. To the extent that an investment is deemed to be an illiquid investment or a less liquid investment, the fund can expect to be exposed to greater liquidity risk.

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 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) IOs and POs 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.

The Trust has implemented a written liquidity risk management program (the “LRM Program”) and related procedures to manage the liquidity risk of the fund in accordance with Rule 22e-4 under the 1940 Act (“Rule 22e-4”). Rule 22e-4 defines “liquidity risk” as the risk that a fund could not meet requests to redeem shares issued by the fund without significant dilution of the remaining investors’ interests in the fund. The Board has designated the Advisor to serve as the administrator of the LRM Program and the related procedures. As a part of the LRM Program, the Advisor is responsible to identify illiquid investments and categorize the relative liquidity of the fund’s investments in accordance with Rule 22e-4. Under the LRM Program, the Advisor assesses, manages, and periodically reviews the fund’s liquidity risk, and is responsible to make periodic reports to the Board and the SEC regarding the liquidity of the fund’s investments, and to notify the Board and the SEC of certain liquidity events specified in Rule 22e-4. The liquidity of the fund’s portfolio investments is determined based on relevant market, trading and investment-specific considerations under the LRM Program.

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 agree that they are 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 Advisor determines, pursuant to the LRM Program and related procedures, that 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 are liquid, they will not be subject to the fund’s limitation on investments in illiquid securities. Investing in Section 4(a)(2) Commercial Paper 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.

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.

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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 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.

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.

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 CPI). 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 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 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.

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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 will borrow through the program only when the costs are equal to or lower than the cost of bank loans, and a fund will lend through the program 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 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.

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 Section 12 of the 1940 Act, and the rules, regulations and interpretations thereunder. A fund may invest in other investment companies beyond the statutory limits set forth in Section 12 of the 1940 Act (statutory limits) to the extent permitted by an exemptive rule adopted by the SEC or pursuant to an exemptive order obtained from the SEC.

In October 2020, the SEC adopted Rule 12d1-4, which became effective on January 19, 2021, and permits a fund to invest in other investment companies beyond the statutory limits, subject to certain conditions. Compliance with Rule 12d1-4 is required as of January 19, 2022.

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 OTC or at discounts to their NAVs. Others are continuously offered at NAV, but also may be traded in the secondary market.

Lending of Securities

The fund may lend its securities so long as such loans do not represent more than 331/3% 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, a 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 or for treatment as qualified dividend income for individual shareholders. The DRD and qualified dividend income are 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, which may incentivize the Advisor to lend fund securities to benefit this affiliate. The Advisor maintains robust oversight of securities lending activity and seeks to ensure that all lending activity undertaken by a fund is in the fund’s best interests. 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 shareholder 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 (the “Securities Lending Agent”). Pursuant to the Securities Lending Agreement, State Street acts as securities lending agent for the 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

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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 JHCT, a privately offered 1940 Act registered institutional money market fund. 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 the NAV at which such shares were purchased.

Loans and Other Direct Debt Instruments

Direct debt instruments are interests in amounts owed by a corporate, governmental, or other borrower to lenders or lending syndicates (loans and loan participations), to suppliers of goods or services (trade claims or other receivables), or to other parties. Direct debt instruments involve a risk of loss in case of default or insolvency of the borrower and may offer less legal protection to the purchaser in the event of fraud or misrepresentation, or there may be a requirement that a fund supply additional cash to a borrower on demand. U.S. federal securities laws afford certain protections against fraud and misrepresentation in connection with the offering or sale of a security, as well as against manipulation of trading markets for securities. It is unclear whether these protections are available to investments in loans and other forms of direct indebtedness under certain circumstances, in which case such risks may be increased.

A fund may be in possession of material non-public information about a borrower as a result of owning a floating rate instrument issued by such borrower. Because of prohibitions on trading in securities of issuers while in possession of such information, a fund might be unable to enter into a transaction in a publicly traded security issued by that borrower when it would otherwise be advantageous to do so.

Market Capitalization Weighted Approach

A fund’s structure may involve market capitalization weighting in determining individual security weights and, where applicable, country or region weights. Market capitalization weighting means each security is generally purchased based on the issuer’s relative market capitalization. Market capitalization weighting may be adjusted by a subadvisor, for a variety of reasons. A fund may deviate from market capitalization weighting to limit or fix the exposure to a particular country or issuer to a maximum portion of the assets of the fund. Additionally, a subadvisor may consider such factors as free float, momentum, trading strategies, size, relative price, liquidity, profitability, investment characteristics and other factors determined to be appropriate by a subadvisor given market conditions. In assessing relative price, a subadvisor may consider additional factors such as price to cash flow or price to earnings ratios. In assessing profitability, a subadvisor may consider different ratios, such as that of earnings or profits from operations relative to book value or assets. The criteria a subadvisor uses for assessing relative price and profitability are subject to change from time to time. A subadvisor may exclude the eligible security of a company that meets applicable market capitalization criterion if it determines, in its judgment, that the purchase of such security is inappropriate in light of other conditions. These adjustments will result in a deviation from traditional market capitalization weighting. A further deviation may occur due to holdings in securities received in connection with corporate actions. A subadvisor may consider a small capitalization company’s investment characteristics with respect to other eligible companies when making investment decisions and may exclude a small capitalization company when the manager determines it to be appropriate. In assessing a company’s investment characteristics, a subadvisor may consider ratios such as recent changes in assets divided by total assets. Under normal circumstances, a fund will seek to limit such exclusion to no more than 5% of the eligible small capitalization company universe in each country that the fund invests. The criteria a subadvisor uses for assessing a company’s investment characteristics are subject to change from time to time.

Adjustment for free float modifies market capitalization weighting to exclude the share capital of a company that is not freely available for trading in the public equity markets. For example, the following types of shares may be excluded: (i) those held by strategic investors (such as governments, controlling shareholders and management); (ii) treasury shares; or (iii) shares subject to foreign ownership restrictions.

Furthermore, a subadvisor may reduce the relative amount of any security held in order to retain sufficient portfolio liquidity. A portion, but generally not in excess of 20% of a fund’s assets, may be invested in interest-bearing obligations, such as money market instruments, thereby causing further deviation from market capitalization weighting. A further deviation may occur due to holdings in securities received in connection with corporate actions.

Block purchases of eligible securities may be made at opportune prices, even though such purchases exceed the number of shares that, at the time of purchase, would be purchased under a market capitalization weighted approach. Generally, changes in the composition and relative ranking (in terms of market capitalization) of the stocks that are eligible for purchase take place with every trade when the securities markets are open for trading due, primarily, to price changes of such securities. On at least a semiannual basis, a subadvisor will identify companies whose stock is eligible for investment by the fund. Additional investments generally will not be made in securities that have changed in value sufficiently to be excluded from a subadvisor’s then-current market capitalization requirement for eligible portfolio securities. This may result in further deviation from market capitalization weighting. Such deviation could be substantial if a significant amount of holdings of a fund change in value sufficiently to be excluded from the requirement for eligible securities but not by a sufficient amount to warrant their sale.

Country weights may be based on the total market capitalization of companies within each country. The country weights may take into consideration the free float of companies within a country or whether these companies are eligible to be purchased for the particular strategy. In addition, to maintain a satisfactory level of diversification, a subadvisor may limit or fix the exposure to a particular country or region to a maximum proportion of the assets of that vehicle. Country weights may also vary due to general day-to-day trading patterns and price movements. The weighting of countries may vary from their weighting in published international indices.

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Money Market Instruments

Money market instruments (and other securities as noted under the fund description) may be purchased for temporary defensive purposes or for short-term investment purposes. General overnight cash held in a fund’s portfolio may also be invested in JHCT, a privately offered 1940 Act registered institutional money market fund subadvised by Manulife IM (US), an affiliate of the Advisor, 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.

Mortgage Dollar Rolls

Under a mortgage dollar roll, a fund sells mortgage-backed securities for delivery in the future (generally within 30 days) and simultaneously contracts to repurchase substantially similar securities (of the same type, coupon and maturity) on a specified future date. During the roll period, a fund forgoes principal and interest paid on the mortgage-backed securities. A fund is compensated by the difference between the current sale price and the lower forward price for the future purchase (often referred to as the “drop”), as well as by the interest earned on the cash proceeds of the initial sale. A fund also may be compensated by receipt of a commitment fee. A fund may only enter into “covered rolls.” A covered roll is a specific type of dollar roll for which there is an offsetting cash or cash equivalent security position that matures on or before the forward settlement date of the dollar roll transaction or for which a fund maintains on its records liquid assets having an aggregate value at least equal to the amount of such commitment to repurchase. Dollar roll transactions involve the risk that the market value of the securities sold by a fund may decline below the repurchase price of those securities. A mortgage dollar roll may be considered a form of leveraging, and may, therefore, increase fluctuations in a fund’s NAV per share. Covered rolls are not treated as a borrowing or other senior security and will be excluded from the calculation of a fund’s borrowing and other senior securities. For financial reporting and tax purposes, the funds treat mortgage dollar rolls as two separate transactions; one involving the purchase of a security and a separate transaction involving a sale.

Mortgage Securities

Prepayment of Mortgages. Mortgage securities differ from conventional bonds in that principal is paid over the life of the securities rather than at maturity. As a result, when a fund invests in mortgage securities, it receives monthly scheduled payments of principal and interest, and may receive unscheduled principal payments representing prepayments on the underlying mortgages. When a fund reinvests the payments and any unscheduled prepayments of principal it receives, it may receive a rate of interest that is higher or lower than the rate on the existing mortgage securities. For this reason, mortgage securities may be less effective than other types of debt securities as a means of locking in long term interest rates.

In addition, because the underlying mortgage loans and assets may be prepaid at any time, if a fund purchases mortgage securities at a premium, a prepayment rate that is faster than expected will reduce yield to maturity, while a prepayment rate that is slower than expected will increase yield to maturity. Conversely, if a fund purchases these securities at a discount, faster than expected prepayments will increase yield to maturity, while slower than expected payments will reduce yield to maturity.

Adjustable Rate Mortgage Securities. Adjustable rate mortgage securities are similar to the fixed rate mortgage securities discussed above, except that, unlike fixed rate mortgage securities, adjustable rate mortgage securities are collateralized by or represent interests in mortgage loans with variable rates of interest. These variable rates of interest reset periodically to align themselves with market rates. Most adjustable rate mortgage securities provide for an initial mortgage rate that is in effect for a fixed period, typically ranging from three to twelve months. Thereafter, the mortgage interest rate will reset periodically in accordance with movements in a specified published interest rate index. The amount of interest due to an adjustable rate mortgage holder is determined in accordance with movements in a specified published interest rate index by adding a pre-determined increment or “margin” to the specified interest rate index. Many adjustable rate mortgage securities reset their interest rates based on changes in:

 

one-year, three-year and five-year constant maturity Treasury Bill rates;

 

three-month or six-month Treasury Bill rates;

 

11th District Federal Home Loan Bank Cost of Funds;

 

National Median Cost of Funds; or

 

one-month, three-month, six-month or one-year LIBOR and other market rates.
 

During periods of increasing rates, a fund will not benefit from such increase to the extent that interest rates rise to the point where they cause the current coupon of adjustable rate mortgages held as investments to exceed any maximum allowable annual or lifetime reset limits or “cap rates” for a particular mortgage. In this event, the value of the mortgage securities held by a fund would likely decrease. During periods of declining interest rates, income to a fund derived from adjustable rate mortgages that remain in a mortgage pool may decrease in contrast to the income on fixed rate mortgages, which will remain constant. Adjustable rate mortgages also have less potential for appreciation in value as interest rates decline than do fixed rate investments. Also, a fund’s NAV could vary to the extent that current yields on adjustable rate mortgage securities held as investments are different than market yields during interim periods between coupon reset dates.

Privately Issued Mortgage Securities. Privately issued mortgage securities provide for the monthly principal and interest payments made by individual borrowers to pass through to investors on a corporate basis, and in privately issued collateralized mortgage obligations, as further described below. Privately issued mortgage securities are issued by private originators of, or investors in, mortgage loans, including:

 

mortgage bankers;

 

commercial banks;

 

investment banks;

 

savings and loan associations; and
 
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special purpose subsidiaries of the foregoing.
 

Since privately issued mortgage certificates are not guaranteed by an entity having the credit status of GNMA or Freddie Mac, such securities generally are structured with one or more types of credit enhancement. For a description of the types of credit enhancements that may accompany privately issued mortgage securities, see “Types of Credit Support” below. To the extent that a fund invests in mortgage securities, it will not limit its investments in mortgage securities to those with credit enhancements.

Collateralized Mortgage Obligations. CMOs generally are bonds or certificates issued in multiple classes that are collateralized by or represent an interest in mortgages. CMOs may be issued by single-purpose, stand-alone finance subsidiaries or trusts of financial institutions, government agencies, investment banks or other similar institutions. Each class of CMOs, often referred to as a “tranche,” may be issued with a specific fixed coupon rate (which may be zero) or a floating coupon rate. Each class of CMOs also has a stated maturity or final distribution date. Principal prepayments on the underlying mortgages may cause the CMOs to be retired substantially earlier than their stated maturities or final distribution dates. Interest is paid or accrued on CMOs on a monthly, quarterly or semiannual basis.

The principal of and interest on the underlying mortgages may be allocated among the several classes of a series of a CMO in many ways. The general goal sought to be achieved in allocating cash flows on the underlying mortgages to the various classes of a series of CMOs is to create tranches on which the expected cash flows have a higher degree of predictability than the underlying mortgages. In creating such tranches, other tranches may be subordinated to the interests of these tranches and receive payments only after the obligations of the more senior tranches have been satisfied. As a general matter, the more predictable the cash flow is on a CMO tranche, the lower the anticipated yield will be on that tranche at the time of issuance. As part of the process of creating more predictable cash flows on most of the tranches in a series of CMOs, one or more tranches generally must be created that absorb most of the volatility in the cash flows on the underlying mortgages. The yields on these tranches are relatively higher than on tranches with more predictable cash flows. Because of the uncertainty of the cash flows on these tranches, and the sensitivity of these transactions to changes in prepayment rates on the underlying mortgages, the market prices of and yields on these tranches tend to be highly volatile. The market prices of and yields on tranches with longer terms to maturity also tend to be more volatile than tranches with shorter terms to maturity due to these same factors. To the extent the mortgages underlying a series of a CMO are so-called “subprime mortgages” (mortgages granted to borrowers whose credit history is not sufficient to obtain a conventional mortgage), the risk of default is higher, which increases the risk that one or more tranches of a CMO will not receive its predicted cash flows.

CMOs purchased by a fund may be:

 

1 collateralized by pools of mortgages in which each mortgage is guaranteed as to payment of principal and interest by an agency or instrumentality of the U.S. government;

 

2 collateralized by pools of mortgages in which payment of principal and interest is guaranteed by the issuer and the guarantee is collateralized by U.S. government securities; or

 

3 securities for which the proceeds of the issuance are invested in mortgage securities and payment of the principal and interest is supported by the credit of an agency or instrumentality of the U.S. government.
 

Separate Trading of Registered Interest and Principal of Securities. Separately traded interest components of securities may be issued or guaranteed by the U.S. Treasury. The interest components of selected securities are traded independently under the Separate Trading of Registered Interest and Principal of Securities program. Under the Separate Trading of Registered Interest and Principal of Securities program, the interest components are individually numbered and separately issued by the U.S. Treasury at the request of depository financial institutions, which then trade the component parts independently.

Stripped Mortgage Securities. Stripped mortgage securities are derivative multi-class mortgage securities. Stripped mortgage securities may be issued by agencies or instrumentalities of the U.S. government, or by private issuers, including savings and loan associations, mortgage banks, commercial banks, investment banks and special purpose subsidiaries of the foregoing. Stripped mortgage securities have greater volatility than other types of mortgage securities in which a fund invests. Although stripped mortgage securities are purchased and sold by institutional investors through several investment banking firms acting as brokers or dealers, the market for such securities has not yet been fully developed. Accordingly, stripped mortgage securities may be illiquid and, together with any other illiquid investments, will not exceed a fund’s limitation on investments in illiquid securities.

Stripped mortgage securities are usually structured with two classes that receive different proportions of the interest and principal distributions on a pool of mortgage assets. A common type of stripped mortgage security will have one class receiving some of the interest and most of the principal from the mortgage assets, while the other class will receive most of the interest and the remainder of the principal. In the most extreme case, one class will receive all of the interest (the interest only or “IO” class), while the other class will receive all of the principal (the principal only or “PO” class). The yield to maturity on an IO class is extremely sensitive to changes in prevailing interest rates and the rate of principal payments (including prepayments) on the related underlying mortgage assets. A rapid rate of principal payments may have a material adverse effect on an investing fund’s yield to maturity. If the underlying mortgage assets experience greater than anticipated prepayments of principal, the fund may fail to fully recoup its initial investment in these securities even if the securities are rated highly.

As interest rates rise and fall, the value of IOs tends to move in the same direction as interest rates. The value of the other mortgage securities described in the Prospectus and this SAI, like other debt instruments, will tend to move in the opposite direction to interest rates. Accordingly, investing in IOs, in conjunction with the other mortgage securities described in the Prospectus and this SAI, is expected to contribute to the relative stability of a fund’s NAV.

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Similar securities such as Super Principal Only (“SPO”) and Levered Interest Only (“LIO”) are more volatile than POs and IOs. Risks associated with instruments such as SPOs are similar in nature to those risks related to investments in POs. Risks associated with LIOs and IOettes (a.k.a. “high coupon bonds”) are similar in nature to those associated with IOs. Other similar instruments may develop in the future.

Under the Code, POs may generate taxable income from the current accrual of original issue discount, without a corresponding distribution of cash to a fund.

Inverse Floaters. Inverse floaters may be issued by agencies or instrumentalities of the U.S. government, or by private issuers, including savings and loan associations, mortgage banks, commercial banks, investment banks and special purpose subsidiaries of the foregoing. Inverse floaters have greater volatility than other types of mortgage securities in which a fund invests (with the exception of stripped mortgage securities and there is a risk that the market value will vary from the amortized cost). Although inverse floaters are purchased and sold by institutional investors through several investment banking firms acting as brokers or dealers, the market for such securities has not yet been fully developed. Accordingly, inverse floaters may be illiquid. Any illiquid inverse floaters, together with any other illiquid investments, will not exceed a fund’s limitation on investments in illiquid securities.

Inverse floaters are derivative mortgage securities that are structured as a class of security that receives distributions on a pool of mortgage assets. Yields on inverse floaters move in the opposite direction of short-term interest rates and at an accelerated rate.

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. A discussion of credit support is included in “Asset-Backed Securities.”

Municipal Obligations

The two principal classifications of municipal obligations are general obligations and revenue obligations. General obligations are secured by the issuer’s pledge of its full faith, credit and taxing power for the payment of principal and interest. Revenue obligations are payable only from the revenues derived from a particular facility or class of facilities or in some cases from the proceeds of a special excise or other tax. For example, industrial development and pollution control bonds are in most cases revenue obligations since payment of principal and interest is dependent solely on the ability of the user of the facilities financed or the guarantor to meet its financial obligations, and in certain cases, the pledge of real and personal property as security for payment.

Issuers of municipal obligations are subject to the provisions of bankruptcy, insolvency and other laws affecting the rights and remedies of creditors, such as the Federal Bankruptcy Act, and laws, if any, that may be enacted by Congress or state legislatures extending the time for payment of principal or interest or both, or imposing other constraints upon enforcement of such obligations. There also is the possibility that as a result of litigation or other conditions, the power or ability of any one or more issuers to pay when due the principal of and interest on their municipal obligations may be affected.

Municipal Bonds. Municipal bonds are issued to obtain funding for various public purposes, including the construction of a wide range of public facilities such as airports, highways, bridges, schools, hospitals, housing, mass transportation, streets and water and sewer works. Other public purposes for which municipal bonds may be issued include refunding outstanding obligations, obtaining funds for general operating expenses and obtaining funds to lend to other public institutions and facilities. In addition, certain types of industrial development bonds are issued by or on behalf of public authorities to obtain funds for many types of local, privately operated facilities. Such debt instruments are considered municipal obligations if the interest paid on them is exempt from federal income tax. The payment of principal and interest by issuers of certain obligations purchased may be guaranteed by a letter of credit, note repurchase agreement, insurance or other credit facility agreement offered by a bank or other financial institution. Such guarantees and the creditworthiness of guarantors will be considered by a subadvisor in determining whether a municipal obligation meets investment quality requirements. No assurance can be given that a municipality or guarantor will be able to satisfy the payment of principal or interest on a municipal obligation.

The yields or returns of municipal bonds depend on a variety of factors, including general market conditions, effective marginal tax rates, the financial condition of the issuer, general conditions of the municipal bond market, the size of a particular offering, the maturity of the obligation, and the rating (if any) of the issue. The ratings of S&P, Moody’s and Fitch represent their opinions as to the quality of various municipal bonds that they undertake to rate. It should be emphasized, however, that ratings are not absolute standards of quality. For example, depending on market conditions, municipal bonds with the same maturity and stated interest rate, but with different ratings, may nevertheless have the same yield. See Appendix A for a description of ratings. Many issuers of securities choose not to have their obligations rated. Although unrated securities eligible for purchase must be determined to be comparable in quality to securities having certain specified ratings, the market for unrated securities may not be as broad as for rated securities since many investors rely on rating organizations for credit appraisal. Yield disparities may occur for reasons not directly related to the investment quality of particular issues or the general movement of interest rates, due to such factors as changes in the overall demand or supply of various types of municipal bonds.

The costs associated with combating the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and the negative impact on tax revenues has adversely affected the financial condition of many states and their political subdivisions. The effects of this pandemic could affect the ability of states and their political subdivisions to make payments on debt obligations when due and could adversely impact the value of their bonds, which could negatively impact the performance of the fund.

Municipal Bonds Issued by the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. Municipal obligations issued by the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and its agencies, or other U.S. territories, generally are tax-exempt.

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Adverse economic, market, political, or other conditions within Puerto Rico may negatively affect the value of a fund’s holdings in municipal obligations issued by the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and its agencies. The spread of COVID-19 and the related governmental and public responses have had, and may continue to have an adverse effect on Puerto Rico’s economy.

Puerto Rico has faced and continues to face significant fiscal challenges, including persistent government budget deficits, underfunded public pension benefit obligations, underfunded government retirement systems, sizable debt service obligations and a high unemployment rate. In recent years, several rating organizations have downgraded a number of securities issued in Puerto Rico to below investment-grade or placed them on “negative watch.” Puerto Rico has previously missed payments on its general obligation debt. As a result of Puerto Rico’s fiscal challenges, it entered into a process analogous to a bankruptcy proceeding in U.S. courts. Recently, Puerto Rico received court approval to be released from bankruptcy through a large restructuring of its U.S. municipal debt. The restructuring was recommended by an oversight board, an unelected body that shares power with elected officials, that is federally mandated to oversee Puerto Rico’s finances. Pursuant to federal law, the oversight board will remain intact and can only disband after Puerto Rico experiences four consecutive years of balanced budgets. The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, any future defaults, or actions by the oversight board, among other factors, could have a negative impact on the marketability, liquidity, or value of certain investments held by a fund and could reduce a fund’s performance.

Municipal Notes. Municipal notes are short-term obligations of municipalities, generally with a maturity ranging from six months to three years. The principal types of such notes include tax, bond and revenue anticipation notes, project notes and construction loan notes.

Municipal Commercial Paper. Municipal commercial paper is a short-term obligation of a municipality, generally issued at a discount with a maturity of less than one year. Such paper is likely to be issued to meet seasonal working capital needs of a municipality or interim construction financing. Municipal commercial paper is backed in many cases by letters of credit, lending agreements, note repurchase agreements or other credit facility agreements offered by banks and other institutions.

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.

Repurchase Agreements, Reverse Repurchase Agreements, and Sale-Buybacks

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 the 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.
 

The 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.

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

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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, a 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.

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. Subject to the requirements noted under “Risk of Additional Government Regulation of Derivatives” and “Use of Segregated and Other Special Accounts,” a fund will cover its repurchase agreement transactions by maintaining in a segregated custodial account cash, Treasury bills, other U.S. government securities, or other liquid assets having an aggregate value at least equal to the amount of such commitment to repurchase including accrued interest, until payment is made.

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.

Short Sales

The fund may engage in short sales and short sales “against the box.” In a short sale against the box, a fund borrows securities from a broker-dealer and sells the borrowed securities, and at all times during the transaction, a fund either owns or has the right to acquire the same securities at no extra cost. If the price of the security has declined at the time a fund is required to deliver the security, a fund will benefit from the difference in the price. If the price of a security has increased, the fund will be required to pay the difference.

In addition, the 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, a fund must borrow the security to make delivery to the buyer. The 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 sold. The proceeds of the short sale are typically retained by the broker to meet margin requirements until the short position is closed out. Subject to the requirements noted under “Risk of Additional Government Regulation of Derivatives” and “Use of Segregated and Other Special Accounts,” until a 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. Except for short sales against-the-box, the amount of a fund’s net assets that may be committed to short sales is limited and the securities in which short sales are made must be listed on a national securities exchange.

The 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. The fund will generally 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 a fund’s NAV. Short selling also may produce higher than normal portfolio turnover, which may result in increased transaction costs to a fund.

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.”

Sovereign Debt Obligations

Sovereign debt obligations are issued or guaranteed by foreign governments or their agencies. Sovereign debt may be in the form of conventional securities or other types of debt instruments such as loan or loan participations. Typically, sovereign debt of developing countries may involve a high degree of risk and may be in default or present the risk of default, however, sovereign debt of developed countries also may involve a high degree of risk and may be in default or present the risk of default. Governments rely on taxes and other revenue sources to pay interest and principal on their debt obligations, and governmental entities responsible for repayment of the debt may be unable or unwilling to repay principal and pay interest when due and may require renegotiation or rescheduling of debt payments. The payment of principal and interest on these obligations may be adversely

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affected by a variety of factors, including economic results, changes in interest and exchange rates, changes in debt ratings, a limited tax base or limited revenue sources, natural disasters, or other economic or credit problems. In addition, prospects for repayment and payment of interest may depend on political as well as economic factors. Defaults in sovereign debt obligations, or the perceived risk of default, also may impair the market for other securities and debt instruments, including securities issued by banks and other entities holding such sovereign debt, and negatively impact the funds.

Structured or Hybrid Notes

The distinguishing feature of a “structured” or “hybrid note” is that the amount of interest and/or principal payable on the note is based on the performance of a benchmark asset or market other than fixed income securities or interest rates. Examples of these benchmarks include stock prices, currency exchange rates and physical commodity prices. Investing in a structured note allows a fund to gain exposure to the benchmark market while fixing the maximum loss that the fund may experience in the event that the market does not perform as expected. Depending on the terms of the note, a fund may forgo all or part of the interest and principal that would be payable on a comparable conventional note; the fund’s loss cannot exceed this forgone interest and/or principal. An investment in structured or hybrid notes involves risks similar to those associated with a direct investment in the benchmark asset.

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 GNMA, which guarantee is supported by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government.

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:

 

SLMA;

 

FHLBs;

 

FICBs; and

 

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 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, 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.

Variable and Floating Rate Obligations

Investments in floating or variable rate securities normally will involve industrial development or revenue bonds, which provide that the rate of interest is set as a specific percentage of a designated base rate, such as rates of Treasury Bonds or Bills or the prime rate at a major commercial bank. In addition, a bondholder can demand payment of the obligations on behalf of the investing fund on short notice at par plus accrued interest, which amount may be more or less than the amount the bondholder paid for them. The maturity of floating or variable rate obligations (including participation interests therein) is deemed to be the longer of: (i) the notice period required before a fund is entitled to receive payment of the obligation upon demand; or (ii) the period remaining until the obligation’s next interest rate adjustment. If not redeemed by the investor through the demand feature, the obligations mature on a specified date, which may range up to thirty years from the date of issuance.

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

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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.

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, it 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, when a fund purchases securities on a when-issued or forward commitment basis, it 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 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, the 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.

Subject to the requirements noted under “Risk of Additional Government Regulation of Derivatives” and “Use of Segregated and Other Special Accounts,” 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 the fund may purchase when-issued or forward commitment securities.

Yield Curve Notes

Inverse floating rate securities include, but are not limited to, an inverse floating rate class of a government agency-issued yield curve note. A yield curve note is a fixed-income security that bears interest at a floating rate that is reset periodically based on an interest rate benchmark. The interest rate resets on a yield curve note in the opposite direction from the interest rate benchmark.

Zero Coupon Securities, Deferred Interest Bonds and Pay-In-Kind Bonds

Zero coupon securities, deferred interest bonds and pay-in-kind bonds involve special risk considerations. Zero coupon securities and deferred interest bonds are debt securities that pay no cash income but are sold at substantial discounts from their value at maturity. While zero coupon bonds do not require the periodic payment of interest, deferred interest bonds provide for a period of delay before the regular payment of interest begins. When a zero coupon security or a deferred interest bond is held to maturity, its entire return, which consists of the amortization of discount, comes from the difference between its purchase price and its maturity value. This difference is known at the time of purchase, so that investors holding these securities until maturity know at the time of their investment what the return on their investment will be. Pay-in-kind bonds are bonds that pay all or a portion of their interest in the form of debt or equity securities.

Zero coupon securities, deferred interest bonds and pay-in-kind bonds are subject to greater price fluctuations in response to changes in interest rates than ordinary interest-paying debt securities with similar maturities. The value of zero coupon securities and deferred interest bonds usually appreciates during periods of declining interest rates and usually depreciates during periods of rising interest rates.

 

  Issuers of Zero Coupon Securities and Pay-In-Kind Bonds. Zero coupon securities and pay-in-kind bonds may be issued by a wide variety of corporate and governmental issuers. Although zero coupon securities and pay-in-kind bonds are generally not traded on a national securities exchange, these securities are widely traded by brokers and dealers and, to the extent they are widely traded, will not be considered illiquid for the purposes of the investment restriction under “Illiquid Securities.”

 

  Tax Considerations. Current federal income tax law requires the holder of a zero coupon security or certain pay-in-kind bonds to accrue income with respect to these securities prior to the receipt of cash payments. To maintain its qualification as a RIC under the Code and avoid liability for federal income and excise taxes, a fund may be required to distribute income accrued with respect to these securities and may have to dispose of portfolio securities under disadvantageous circumstances in order to generate cash to satisfy these distribution requirements.
 

RISK FACTORS


The risks of investing in certain types of securities are described below. Risks are only applicable to the fund if and to the extent that corresponding investments, or indirect exposures to such investments through derivative contracts, are consistent with and permitted by the fund’s investment objectives and policies. 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. By owning shares of the underlying funds, each fund of funds indirectly invests in the securities and instruments held by the underlying funds and bears the same risks of such underlying funds.

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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 EU. 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.

Cash Holdings Risk

A fund may be subject to delays in making investments when significant purchases or redemptions of fund shares cause the fund to have an unusually large cash position. When the fund has a higher than normal cash position, it may incur “cash drag,” which is the opportunity cost of holding a significant cash position. This significant cash position might cause the fund to miss investment opportunities it otherwise would have benefited from if fully invested, or might cause the fund to pay more for investments in a rising market, potentially reducing fund performance.

Collateralized Debt Obligations

The risks of an investment in a CDO depend largely on the quality of the collateral securities and the class of the instrument in which a fund invests. Normally, CDOs are privately offered and sold, and thus, are not registered under the securities laws. As a result, investments in CDOs may be characterized by a fund as illiquid, however an active dealer market may exist for CDOs allowing them to qualify for treatment as liquid under Rule 144A transactions. In addition to the normal risks associated with fixed-income securities discussed elsewhere in this SAI and the Prospectus (e.g., interest rate risk and default risk), CDOs carry risks including, but are not limited to the possibility that: (i) distributions from collateral securities will not be adequate to make interest or other payments; (ii) the quality of the collateral may decline in value or default; (iii) a fund may invest in CDO classes that are subordinate to other classes of the CDO; and (iv) the complex structure of the CDO may not be fully understood at the time of investment and may produce disputes with the issuer or unexpected investment results.

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’s investment 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 issuers of these securities declines 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 also may have less growth potential than smaller companies and may be able to react less quickly to change in the marketplace.

ESG Integration Risk

Certain subadvisors may integrate research on environmental, social and governance (“ESG”) factors into a fund’s investment process. Such subadvisors may consider ESG factors that it deems relevant or additive, along with other material factors and analysis, when managing a fund. ESG factors may include, but are not limited to, matters regarding board diversity, climate change policies, and supply chain and human rights policies. Incorporating ESG criteria and making investment decisions based on certain ESG characteristics, as determined by a subadvisor, carries the risk that a fund may perform differently, including underperforming, funds that do not utilize ESG criteria, or funds that utilize different ESG criteria. Integration of ESG factors into a fund’s investment process may result in a subadvisor making different investment decisions for a fund than for a fund with a similar investment universe and/or investment style that does not incorporate such considerations in its investment strategy or processes, and a fund’s investment performance may be affected. Integration of ESG factors into a fund’s investment process does not preclude a fund from including companies with low ESG scores or excluding companies with high ESG scores in the fund’s investments.

The ESG characteristics utilized in a fund’s investment process may change over time, and different ESG characteristics may be relevant to different investments. Successful integration of ESG factors will depend on a subadvisor’s skill in researching, identifying, and applying these factors, as well as on the availability of relevant data. The method of evaluating ESG factors and subsequent impact on portfolio composition, performance, proxy voting decisions and other factors, is subject to the interpretation of a subadvisor in accordance with the fund’s investment objective and strategies. ESG factors may be evaluated differently by different subadvisors, and may not carry the same meaning to all investors and subadvisors. The regulatory landscape with respect to ESG investing in the United States is evolving and any future rules or regulations may require a fund to change its investment process with respect to ESG integration.

European Risk

Countries in Europe may be significantly affected by fiscal and monetary controls implemented by the EU and EMU, which require member countries to comply with restrictions on inflation rates, deficits, interest rates, debt levels and fisca