485APOS 1 d55076d485apos.htm GOLDMAN SACHS ETF TRUST Goldman Sachs ETF Trust

As filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on February 8, 2016

1933 Act Registration No. 333-200933

1940 Act Registration No. 811-23013

 

 

 

UNITED STATES

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

Washington, D.C. 20549

 

 

FORM N-1A

REGISTRATION STATEMENT

   UNDER   
   THE SECURITIES ACT OF 1933    x
   Pre-Effective Amendment No.    ¨
   Post-Effective Amendment No. 3    x

and/or

REGISTRATION STATEMENT

UNDER

   THE INVESTMENT COMPANY ACT OF 1940    x
   Amendment No. 6    x

(Check appropriate box or boxes)

 

 

GOLDMAN SACHS ETF TRUST

(Exact Name of Registrant as Specified in Charter)

 

 

200 West Street

New York, New York 10282

(Address of Principal Executive Offices)

Registrant’s Telephone Number, including Area Code: (212) 902-1000

CAROLINE KRAUS, ESQ.

Goldman, Sachs & Co.

200 West Street

New York, New York 10282

(Name and Address of Agent for Service)

 

 

Copies to:

STEPHEN H. BIER, ESQ.

ALLISON M. FUMAI, ESQ.

Dechert LLP

1095 Avenue of the Americas

New York, NY 10036

 

 

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

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

 

¨ immediately upon filing pursuant to paragraph (b)
¨ on (date) pursuant to paragraph (b)
¨ 60 days after filing pursuant to paragraph (a)(1)
¨ on (date) pursuant to paragraph (a)(1)
x 75 days after filing pursuant to paragraph (a)(2)
¨ on (date) pursuant to paragraph (a)(2) of rule 485.

If appropriate, check the following box:

 

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

 

 

 


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 securities and is not soliciting an offer to buy these securities in any state where the offer or sale is not permitted.

Preliminary Prospectus dated February 8, 2016

Subject to Completion

 

Prospectus    [   ], 2016
GOLDMAN SACHS ETF TRUST   
  

•       Goldman Sachs High Sharpe Ratio ETF

•       NYSE Arca: [•]

•       Goldman Sachs Hedge Fund VIP ETF

•       NYSE Arca: [•]

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.

 

  
 
AN INVESTMENT IN A FUND IS NOT A BANK DEPOSIT AND IS NOT INSURED BY THE FEDERAL DEPOSIT INSURANCE CORPORATION OR ANY OTHER GOVERNMENT AGENCY. AN INVESTMENT IN A FUND INVOLVES INVESTMENT RISKS, AND YOU MAY LOSE MONEY IN A FUND.   


Table of Contents

 

Fund Summaries

  

Goldman Sachs High Sharpe Ratio ETF—Summary

     1   

Goldman Sachs Hedge Fund VIP ETF—Summary

     5   

Investment Management Approach

     10   

Risks of the Funds

     13   

Tax Advantaged Product Structure

     18   

Service Providers

     19   

Distributions

     24   

Shareholder Guide

     25   

BUYING AND SELLING SHARES

     25   

PAYMENTS TO BROKER-DEALERS AND OTHER FINANCIAL INTERMEDIARIES

     26   

NET ASSET VALUE

     26   

BOOK ENTRY

     27   

CREATIONS AND REDEMPTIONS

     27   

Taxation

     29   

Index Provider

     32   

Other Information

     33   

Appendix A

  

Additional Information on Portfolio Risks, Securities and Techniques

     34   

Appendix B

  

Financial Highlights

     41   

Appendix C

  

Prior Performance of the Goldman Sachs High Sharpe Ratio Basket

     42   

Prior Performance of the Goldman Sachs Hedge Fund VIP Basket

     43   


LOGO

Goldman Sachs High Sharpe Ratio ETF—Summary

Ticker: [•]         Stock Exchange: NYSE Arca

Investment Objective

The Goldman Sachs High Sharpe Ratio ETF (the “Fund”) seeks to provide investment results that closely correspond, before fees and expenses, to the performance of the Goldman Sachs High Sharpe Ratio Index (the “Index”).

Fees and Expenses of the Fund

The following tables describe the fees and expenses that you may pay if you buy and hold Shares of the Fund.

 

Shareholder Fees

     None   

(fees paid directly from your investment)

  

Annual Fund Operating Expenses

  

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

  

Management Fee

     [•]%   

Distribution and Service (12b-1) Fee

     0%   

Other Expenses1

     [•]%   

Total Annual Fund Operating Expenses

     [•]%   

[Fee Waiver and Expense Limitation2]

     [•]%   

[Total Annual Fund Operating Expenses After Fee Waiver and Expense Limitation]

     [•]%   

 

1 The Fund’s “Other Expenses” have been estimated to reflect expenses to be incurred in the first fiscal year.
2 The Investment Adviser has agreed to reduce or limit “Other Expenses” (excluding acquired fund fees and expenses, taxes, interest, brokerage fees, shareholder meeting, litigation, indemnification and extraordinary expenses) to [•]% of the Fund’s average daily net assets through at least [•], and prior to such date the Investment Adviser may not terminate the arrangement without the approval of the Board of Trustees.

Expense Example

This Example is intended to help you compare the cost of owning Shares of the Fund with the cost of investing in other funds. The Example assumes that you invest $10,000 in the Fund for the time periods indicated and then sell all of your Shares at the end of those periods. The Example also assumes that your investment has a 5% return each year and that the Fund’s operating expenses remain the same (except that the Example incorporates the [fee waiver and] expense limitation arrangement for only the first year). 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:

 

1 Year

  

3 Years

$[•]

   $[•]

Portfolio Turnover

The Fund may pay transaction costs when it buys and sells securities or instruments (i.e., “turns over” its portfolio). A high rate of portfolio turnover may result in increased transaction costs, including brokerage commissions, which must be borne by the Fund and its shareholders, and is also likely to result in higher short-term capital gains for taxable shareholders. These costs are not reflected in total annual fund operating expenses or in the expense example above, but are reflected in the Fund’s performance. Because the Fund has not yet commenced operations as of the date of this Prospectus, there is no portfolio turnover information quoted for the Fund.


Principal Investment Strategies

The Fund seeks to achieve its investment objective by investing at least 80% of its assets (exclusive of collateral held from securities lending) in securities included in its underlying index.

The Index is designed to deliver exposure to U.S. large-capitalization stocks that have the highest projected Sharpe ratio, a measure of risk-adjusted return, while maintaining sector weights consistent with that of the greater U.S. large-capitalization market as measured by [US Large Cap Index]. Goldman Sachs Asset Management, L.P. (the “Index Provider”) is the provider of the Index, which is constructed in accordance with a rules-based methodology. Prospective Sharpe ratios are calculated for each stock in the [US Large Cap Index] by dividing the consensus prospective price return by the volatility during the upcoming six months as implied by the options market. Stocks that do not have data for both consensus price targets and implied volatility are excluded from consideration. Stocks being considered for the Index are then ranked within their appropriate sector by descending prospective Sharpe ratio. The stocks with the highest ratio in each sector are chosen as constituents until 50 total stocks are selected. The percentage of stocks selected from each sector in the Index approximates the sector’s market-cap weight in the [US Large Cap Index] provided that, if a sector represents significantly less than 2% of the market-cap weight of such index, it may not be included in the Index. Constituents are each equal-weighted with a 2% basket weight at rebalance. The Index is reconstituted and rebalanced each June and December. Given the Fund’s investment objective of attempting to track its Index, the Fund does not follow traditional methods of active investment management, which may involve buying and selling securities based upon analysis of economic and market factors.

As of June 30, 2015, the Index consisted of 50 securities with a market capitalization range of between approximately $4.2 billion and $212.3 billion. The components of the Index may change over time. The percentage of the portfolio exposed to any asset class will vary from time to time as the weightings of the securities within the Index change, and the Fund may not be invested in each asset class at all times.

The Fund seeks to invest in the Index components in approximately the same weighting that such components have within the Index at the applicable time. The Fund may purchase a sample of securities in its Index under certain circumstances. There may also be instances in which the Investment Adviser may choose to underweight or overweight a security in the Fund’s Index, purchase securities not in the Fund’s Index that the Investment Adviser believes are appropriate to substitute for certain securities in such Index or utilize various combinations of other available investment techniques.

The Fund may also invest up to 20% of its assets in securities and other instruments not included in its Index but which the Investment Adviser believes are correlated to its Index, as well as in, among other instruments, futures (including index futures), swaps, other derivatives, investment companies (including exchange-traded funds (“ETFs”)), preferred stocks, warrants and rights, cash and cash equivalents and money market instruments.

The Fund will concentrate its investments (i.e., hold more than 25% of its total assets) in a particular industry or group of industries to the extent that its Index is concentrated. The degree to which components of the Index represent certain sectors or industries may change over time.

 

2


Principal Risks of the Fund

Loss of money is a risk of investing in the Fund. An investment in the Fund is not a bank deposit and is not insured or guaranteed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (“FDIC”) or any government agency. The Fund should not be relied upon as a complete investment program. There can be no assurance that the Fund will achieve its investment objective. Investments in the Fund involve substantial risks which prospective investors should consider carefully before investing.

Calculation Methodology Risk. The Index relies on various sources of information to assess the criteria of issuers included in the Index (or the Reference Index), including information that may be based on assumptions and estimates. Neither the Fund, the Index Provider nor the Investment Adviser can offer assurances that the Index’s calculation methodology or sources of information will provide an accurate assessment of included issuers or correct valuation of securities, nor can they guarantee the availability or timeliness of the production of the Index.

Index Risk. The Fund will be negatively affected by general declines in the securities and asset classes represented in the Index. In addition, because the Fund is not “actively” managed, unless a specific security is removed from the Index, the Fund generally would not sell a security because the security’s issuer was in financial trouble. Market disruptions and regulatory restrictions could have an adverse effect on the Fund’s ability to adjust its exposure to the required levels in order to track the Index. The Fund also does not attempt to take defensive positions under any market conditions, including declining markets. Therefore, the Fund’s performance could be lower than funds that may actively shift their portfolio assets to take advantage of market opportunities or to lessen the impact of a market decline or a decline in the value of one or more issuers. The Index Provider relies on third party data it believes to be reliable in constructing the Index, but it does not guarantee the accuracy or availability of such third party data. Errors in index data, index computation or the construction of the Index in accordance with its methodology may occur from time to time and may not be identified and corrected by the Index Provider for a period of time or at all, which may have an adverse impact on the Fund and its shareholders. In addition, neither the Fund, the Investment Adviser nor the Index Provider can guarantee the availability or timeliness of the production of the Index.

Industry Concentration Risk. In following its methodology, the Index from time to time may be concentrated to a significant degree in securities of issuers located in a single industry or sector. To the extent that the Index concentrates in the securities of issuers in a particular industry or sector, the Fund also will concentrate its investments to approximately the same extent. By concentrating its investments in an industry or sector, the Fund may face more risks than if it were diversified broadly over numerous industries or sectors. If the Index is not concentrated in a particular industry or sector, the Fund will not concentrate in a particular industry or sector.

Investment Style Risk. The Index is intended to provide exposure to the U.S. equity markets, and as a result the Index may be more volatile than a more broadly based conventional index. The Fund may outperform or underperform other funds that invest in similar asset classes but employ different investment styles.

Market Risk. The value of the securities in which the Fund invests may go up or down in response to the prospects of individual companies, particular sectors or governments and/or general economic conditions throughout the world due to increasingly interconnected global economies and financial markets.

Market Trading Risk. The net asset value (“NAV”) of the Fund and the value of your investment may fluctuate. The Fund faces numerous market trading risks, including disruptions to creations and redemptions, the existence of extreme market volatility or potential lack of an active trading market for Shares. Any of these factors, among others, 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.

Seed Investor Risk. GSAM and/or its affiliates expect to make payments to one or more investors that contribute seed capital to one or more Funds for so long as such capital remains invested in the Fund(s). Such payments will be made from the assets of GSAM and/or such affiliates and will be based on revenues generated by GSAM in providing services to one or more ETFs for which it serves as investment adviser. Seed investors may contribute all or a majority of the assets in the Fund. There is a risk that such seed investors may redeem their investments in the Fund. As with redemptions by other large shareholders, such redemptions could have a significant negative impact on the Fund.

 

3


Stock Risk. Stock prices have historically risen and fallen in periodic cycles. U.S. stock markets have experienced periods of substantial price volatility in the past and may do so again in the future.

Tracking Error Risk. Tracking error is the divergence of the Fund’s performance from that of the Index. The performance of the Fund may diverge from that of its Index for a number of reasons. Tracking error may occur because of transaction costs, the Fund’s holding of cash, differences in accrual of dividends, changes to the Index or the need to meet new or existing regulatory requirements. Unlike the Fund, the returns of the Index are not reduced by investment and other operating expenses, including the trading costs associated with implementing changes to its portfolio of investments. Tracking error risk may be heightened during times of market volatility or other unusual market conditions. To the extent that the Fund calculates its NAV based on fair value prices and the value of the Index is based on securities’ closing prices (i.e., the value of the Index is not based on fair value prices), the Fund’s ability to track the Index may be adversely affected. The Fund may be required to deviate its investments from the securities and relative weightings of the Index to meet the issuer diversification requirements of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the “Code”), applicable to regulated investment companies, local market restrictions or other legal reasons. For tax efficiency purposes, the Fund may sell certain securities to realize losses, which will result in a deviation from the Index.

Valuation Risk. The sale price the Fund could receive for a security may differ from the Fund’s valuation of the security and may differ from the value used by the Index, particularly for securities that trade in low volume or volatile markets or that are valued using a fair value methodology. The Fund relies on various sources to calculate its NAV. The information may be provided by third parties that are believed to be reliable, but the information may not be accurate due to errors by such pricing sources, technological issues or otherwise.

Performance

Because the Fund had not yet commenced investment operations as of the date of this Prospectus, there is no performance information quoted for the Fund. Once available, the Fund’s performance information will be accessible on the Fund’s website at www.gsamfunds.com.

Portfolio Management

Goldman Sachs Asset Management, L.P. is the investment adviser for the Fund (the “Investment Adviser” or “GSAM”).

Portfolio Managers: [ ].

Buying and Selling Fund Shares

The Fund will issue and redeem Shares at NAV only in a large specified number of Shares each called a “Creation Unit,” or multiples thereof. A Creation Unit consists of 50,000 Shares.

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

Tax Information

The Fund’s distributions are taxable, and will be taxed as ordinary income or capital gains, unless you are investing through a tax-deferred arrangement, such as a 401(k) plan or an individual retirement account. Investments made through tax-deferred arrangements may become taxable upon withdrawal from such arrangements.

Payments to Broker-Dealers and Other Financial Intermediaries

If you purchase Shares of the Fund through a broker-dealer or other financial intermediary (such as a bank), GSAM or other related companies may pay the intermediary for the sale of Fund Shares or related services. These payments may create a conflict of interest by influencing the broker-dealer or other intermediary and your salesperson to recommend the Fund over another investment. Ask your salesperson or visit your financial intermediary’s website for more information.

 

4


LOGO

Goldman Sachs Hedge Fund VIP ETF—Summary

Ticker: [•]         Stock Exchange: NYSE Arca

Investment Objective

The Goldman Sachs Hedge Fund VIP ETF (the “Fund”) seeks to provide investment results that closely correspond, before fees and expenses, to the performance of the Goldman Sachs Hedge Fund VIP Index (the “Index”).

Fees and Expenses of the Fund

The following tables describe the fees and expenses that you may pay if you buy and hold Shares of the Fund.

 

Shareholder Fees

     None   

(fees paid directly from your investment)

  

Annual Fund Operating Expenses

  

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

  

Management Fee

     [•]%   

Distribution and Service (12b-1) Fee

     0%   

Other Expenses1

     [•]%   

Total Annual Fund Operating Expenses

     [•]%   

[Fee Waiver and Expense Limitation2]

     [•]%   

[Total Annual Fund Operating Expenses After Fee Waiver and Expense Limitation]

     [•]%   

 

1 The Fund’s “Other Expenses” have been estimated to reflect expenses to be incurred in the first fiscal year.
2 The Investment Adviser has agreed to reduce or limit “Other Expenses” (excluding acquired fund fees and expenses, taxes, interest, brokerage fees, shareholder meeting, litigation, indemnification and extraordinary expenses) to [    ]% of the Fund’s average daily net assets through at least [    ], and prior to such date the Investment Adviser may not terminate the arrangement without the approval of the Board of Trustees.

Expense Example

This Example is intended to help you compare the cost of owning Shares of the Fund with the cost of investing in other funds. The Example assumes that you invest $10,000 in the Fund for the time periods indicated and then sell all of your Shares at the end of those periods. The Example also assumes that your investment has a 5% return each year and that the Fund’s operating expenses remain the same (except that the Example incorporates the [fee waiver and] expense limitation arrangement for only the first year). 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:

 

1 Year

  

3 Years

$[•]

   $[•]

Portfolio Turnover

The Fund may pay transaction costs when it buys and sells securities or instruments (i.e., “turns over” its portfolio). A high rate of portfolio turnover may result in increased transaction costs, including brokerage commissions, which must be borne by the Fund and its shareholders, and is also likely to result in higher short-term capital gains for taxable shareholders. These costs are not reflected in total annual fund operating expenses or in the expense example above, but are reflected in the Fund’s performance. Because the Fund has not yet commenced operations as of the date of this Prospectus, there is no portfolio turnover information quoted for the Fund.

 

5


Principal Investment Strategies

The Fund seeks to achieve its investment objective by investing at least 80% of its assets (exclusive of collateral held from securities lending) in securities included in its underlying index, in depositary receipts representing securities included in its underlying index and in underlying stocks in respect of depositary receipts included in its underlying index.

The Index is designed to deliver exposure to equity securities whose performance is expected to influence the long portfolios of hedge funds. Such equity securities are defined as those that appear most frequently among the top ten equity holdings of U.S. hedge funds that select their investments based upon fundamental analysis. Goldman Sachs Asset Management, L.P. (the “Index Provider”) is the provider of the Index, which is constructed in accordance with a rules-based methodology. Hedge funds report their U.S. equity holdings, which are made public 45 days after the end of each calendar quarter. The Index is reconstituted and rebalanced on a quarterly basis once the information has been fully disseminated. The construction of the Index involves accessing the identifiers and share counts of U.S. equity holdings disclosed by hedge funds in their quarterly 13F filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”). The Index is constructed to then apply share prices at the time of data collection to the numbers of shares listed in each 13F disclosure filing to calculate the dollar market value of each reported position. The universe of hedge funds is restricted to U.S. hedge funds with no fewer than 10 and no more than 200 distinct U.S. equity positions, as reported in the hedge funds’ most recent Form 13F filings. Also excluded are funds with less than $10 million of disclosed equity assets. The equity positions are then ranked within each individual hedge fund portfolio by descending market value. The approximately 50 stocks that appear most frequently in the top 10 holdings of the U.S. hedge fund universe then become the Index constituents. Constituents are each equal-weighted at rebalance. Given the Fund’s investment objective of attempting to track its Index, the Fund does not follow traditional methods of active investment management, which may involve buying and selling securities based upon analysis of economic and market factors.

The Index does not include hedge funds (i.e., unlisted, privately offered funds) and is not designed to approximate the performance of any hedge fund or group of hedge funds. As of June 30, 2015, the Index consisted of 50 securities with a market capitalization range of between approximately $2.5 billion and $715.6 billion. The components of the Index may change over time. The percentage of the portfolio exposed to any asset class will vary from time to time as the weightings of the securities within the Index change, and the Fund may not be invested in each asset class at all times.

The Fund seeks to invest in the Index components in approximately the same weighting that such components have within the Index at the applicable time. The Fund may purchase a sample of securities in its Index under certain circumstances. There may also be instances in which the Investment Adviser may choose to underweight or overweight a security in the Fund’s Index, purchase securities not in the Fund’s Index that the Investment Adviser believes are appropriate to substitute for certain securities in such Index or utilize various combinations of other available investment techniques.

The Fund may also invest up to 20% of its assets in securities and other instruments not included in its Index but which the Investment Adviser believes are correlated to its Index, as well as in, among other instruments, futures (including index futures), swaps, other derivatives, investment companies (including exchange-traded funds (“ETFs”)), preferred stocks, warrants and rights, cash and cash equivalents and money market instruments.

The Fund will concentrate its investments (i.e., hold more than 25% of its total assets) in a particular industry or group of industries to the extent that its Index is concentrated. The degree to which components of the Index represent certain sectors or industries may change over time.

 

6


Principal Risks of the Fund

Loss of money is a risk of investing in the Fund. An investment in the Fund is not a bank deposit and is not insured or guaranteed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (“FDIC”) or any government agency. The Fund should not be relied upon as a complete investment program. There can be no assurance that the Fund will achieve its investment objective. Investments in the Fund involve substantial risks which prospective investors should consider carefully before investing.

Calculation Methodology Risk. The Index relies on various sources of information to assess the criteria of issuers included in the Index (or the Reference Index), including information that may be based on assumptions and estimates. Neither the Fund, the Index Provider nor the Investment Adviser can offer assurances that the Index’s calculation methodology or sources of information will provide an accurate assessment of included issuers or correct valuation of securities, nor can they guarantee the availability or timeliness of the production of the Index.

Depositary Receipts Risk. Foreign securities may trade in the form of depositary receipts (“Depositary Receipts”), which include American Depositary Receipts (“ADRs”). To the extent the Fund acquires Depositary Receipts through banks which do not have a contractual relationship with the foreign issuer of the security underlying the Depositary Receipts to issue and service such unsponsored Depositary Receipts, there may be an increased possibility that the Fund would not become aware of and be able to respond to corporate actions such as stock splits or rights offerings involving the foreign issuer in a timely manner. In addition, the lack of information may result in inefficiencies in the valuation of such instruments. Investment in Depositary Receipts does not eliminate all the risks inherent in investing in securities of non-U.S. issuers. The market value of Depositary Receipts is dependent upon the market value of the underlying securities and fluctuations in the relative value of the currencies in which the Depositary Receipts and the underlying securities are quoted.

Form Filings and Public Data Risk. The public filings (including Form 13F and Form 13D filings) used to implement the Fund’s strategy, which disclose holdings as of the end of each calendar quarter, are filed up to 45 days after the end of the calendar quarter, rendering certain information stale. Accordingly, a given investor may have already exited positions disclosed on a form by the time the filing is available to the Fund. Further, Form 13F and Form 13D filings may only disclose a subset of a particular investor’s holdings, as not all securities are required to be reported. As a result, a Form 13F or Form 13D may not provide a complete picture of the holdings of a given investor. Because Form 13F and Form 13D filings are publicly available, it is possible that other investors are also monitoring these filings and investing accordingly, which could result in inflation of the share price of securities in which the Fund seeks to invest.

Index Risk. The Fund will be negatively affected by general declines in the securities and asset classes represented in the Index. In addition, because the Fund is not “actively” managed, unless a specific security is removed from the Index, the Fund generally would not sell a security because the security’s issuer was in financial trouble. Market disruptions and regulatory restrictions could have an adverse effect on the Fund’s ability to adjust its exposure to the required levels in order to track the Index. The Fund also does not attempt to take defensive positions under any market conditions, including declining markets. Therefore, the Fund’s performance could be lower than funds that may actively shift their portfolio assets to take advantage of market opportunities or to lessen the impact of a market decline or a decline in the value of one or more issuers. The Index Provider relies on third party data it believes to be reliable in constructing the Index, but it does not guarantee the accuracy or availability of such third party data. Errors in index data, index computation or the construction of the Index in accordance with its methodology may occur from time to time and may not be identified and corrected by the Index Provider for a period of time or at all, which may have an adverse impact on the Fund and its shareholders. In addition, neither the Fund, the Investment Adviser nor the Index Provider can guarantee the availability or timeliness of the production of the Index.

Industry Concentration Risk. In following its methodology, the Index from time to time may be concentrated to a significant degree in securities of issuers located in a single industry or sector. To the extent that the Index concentrates in the securities of issuers in a particular industry or sector, the Fund also will concentrate its investments to approximately the same extent. By concentrating its investments in an industry or sector, the Fund may face more risks than if it were diversified broadly over numerous industries or sectors. If the Index is not concentrated in a particular industry or sector, the Fund will not concentrate in a particular industry or sector.

 

7


Investment Style Risk. The Index is intended to provide exposure to the U.S. equity markets, and as a result the Index may be more volatile than a more broadly based conventional index. The Fund may outperform or underperform other funds that invest in similar asset classes but employ different investment styles.

Market Risk. The value of the securities in which the Fund invests may go up or down in response to the prospects of individual companies, particular sectors or governments and/or general economic conditions throughout the world due to increasingly interconnected global economies and financial markets.

Market Trading Risk. The net asset value (“NAV”) of the Fund and the value of your investment may fluctuate. The Fund faces numerous market trading risks, including disruptions to creations and redemptions, the existence of extreme market volatility or potential lack of an active trading market for Shares. Any of these factors, among others, 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.

Seed Investor Risk. GSAM and/or its affiliates expect to make payments to one or more investors that contribute seed capital to one or more Funds for so long as such capital remains invested in the Fund(s). Such payments will be made from the assets of GSAM and/or such affiliates and will be based on revenues generated by GSAM in providing services to one or more ETFs for which it serves as investment adviser. Seed investors may contribute all or a majority of the assets in the Fund. There is a risk that such seed investors may redeem their investments in the Fund. As with redemptions by other large shareholders, such redemptions could have a significant negative impact on the Fund.

Stock Risk. Stock prices have historically risen and fallen in periodic cycles. U.S. stock markets have experienced periods of substantial price volatility in the past and may do so again in the future.

Tracking Error Risk. Tracking error is the divergence of the Fund’s performance from that of the Index. The performance of the Fund may diverge from that of its Index for a number of reasons. Tracking error may occur because of transaction costs, the Fund’s holding of cash, differences in accrual of dividends, changes to the Index or the need to meet new or existing regulatory requirements. Unlike the Fund, the returns of the Index are not reduced by investment and other operating expenses, including the trading costs associated with implementing changes to its portfolio of investments. Tracking error risk may be heightened during times of market volatility or other unusual market conditions. To the extent that the Fund calculates its NAV based on fair value prices and the value of the Index is based on securities’ closing prices (i.e., the value of the Index is not based on fair value prices), the Fund’s ability to track the Index may be adversely affected. The Fund may be required to deviate its investments from the securities and relative weightings of the Index to meet the issuer diversification requirements of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the “Code”), applicable to regulated investment companies, local market restrictions, or other legal reasons. For tax efficiency purposes, the Fund may sell certain securities to realize losses, which will result in a deviation from the Index.

Valuation Risk. The sale price the Fund could receive for a security may differ from the Fund’s valuation of the security and may differ from the value used by the Index, particularly for securities that trade in low volume or volatile markets or that are valued using a fair value methodology. The Fund relies on various sources to calculate its NAV. The information may be provided by third parties that are believed to be reliable, but the information may not be accurate due to errors by such pricing sources, technological issues or otherwise.

Performance

Because the Fund had not yet commenced investment operations as of the date of this Prospectus, there is no performance information quoted for the Fund. Once available, the Fund’s performance information will be accessible on the Fund’s website at www.gsamfunds.com.

Portfolio Management

Goldman Sachs Asset Management, L.P. is the investment adviser for the Fund (the “Investment Adviser” or “GSAM”).

Portfolio Managers: [ ].

 

8


Buying and Selling Fund Shares

The Fund will issue and redeem Shares at NAV only in a large specified number of Shares each called a “Creation Unit,” or multiples thereof. A Creation Unit consists of 50,000 Shares.

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

Tax Information

The Fund’s distributions are taxable, and will be taxed as ordinary income or capital gains, unless you are investing through a tax-deferred arrangement, such as a 401(k) plan or an individual retirement account. Investments made through tax-deferred arrangements may become taxable upon withdrawal from such arrangements.

Payments to Broker-Dealers and Other Financial Intermediaries

If you purchase Shares of the Fund through a broker-dealer or other financial intermediary (such as a bank), GSAM or other related companies may pay the intermediary for the sale of Fund Shares or related services. These payments may create a conflict of interest by influencing the broker-dealer or other intermediary and your salesperson to recommend the Fund over another investment. Ask your salesperson or visit your financial intermediary’s website for more information.

 

9


Investment Management Approach

INVESTMENT OBJECTIVE

Each Fund seeks to provide investment results that closely correspond, before fees and expenses, to the performance of its respective Index. A Fund’s investment objective may be changed without shareholder approval.

PRINCIPAL INVESTMENT STRATEGIES

The High Sharpe Ratio ETF seeks to achieve its investment objective by investing at least 80% of its assets (exclusive of collateral held from securities lending) in securities included in its underlying index. The Hedge Fund VIP ETF seeks to achieve its investment objective by investing at least 80% of its assets (exclusive of collateral held from securities lending) in securities included in its underlying index, in depositary receipts representing securities included in its underlying index and in underlying stocks in respect of depositary receipts included in its underlying index.

The Investment Adviser anticipates that, generally, each Fund will hold all of the securities that comprise its Index in approximate proportion to their weightings in such Index. However, under various circumstances, it may not be possible or practicable to purchase all of those securities in those weightings. In these circumstances, a Fund may purchase a sample of securities in its Index. There also may be instances in which the Investment Adviser may choose to underweight or overweight a security in a Fund’s Index, purchase securities not in the Fund’s Index that the Investment Adviser believes are appropriate to substitute for certain securities in such Index or utilize various combinations of other available investment techniques. Each Fund may sell securities that are represented in its Index in anticipation of their removal from its Index or purchase securities not represented in its Index in anticipation of their addition to such Index. Each Fund may also, in order to comply with the tax diversification requirements of the Code, temporarily invest in securities not included in its Index that are expected to be correlated with the securities included in its Index.

Given each Fund’s investment objective of attempting to track its Index, the Funds do not follow traditional methods of active investment management, which may involve buying and selling securities based upon analysis of economic and market factors. Also, unlike many investment companies, the Funds do not attempt to outperform their respective Indices that they track and do not seek temporary defensive positions when markets decline or appear overvalued.

Securities are selected for each Index using a rules-based portfolio construction process.

Each Index is owned and maintained by the Index Provider and calculated by [ ] (the “Calculation Agent”). A Fund may hire an affiliate of the Fund and/or the Investment Adviser to serve as calculation agent.

Each Fund may also invest up to 20% of its assets in securities and other instruments not included in its Index but which the Investment Adviser believes are correlated to its Index, as well as in, among other instruments, futures (including index futures), swaps, other derivatives, investment companies (including exchange-traded funds (“ETFs”)), preferred stocks, warrants and rights, cash and cash equivalents and money market instruments.

INDEX DISCLAIMERS

GOLDMAN SACHS ASSET MANAGEMENT, L.P., THE GOLDMAN SACHS GROUP, INC., AND GOLDMAN, SACHS & CO. (COLLECTIVELY, “GOLDMAN SACHS”) DOES NOT GUARANTEE NOR MAKE ANY REPRESENTATION OR WARRANTY, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, TO THE OWNERS OR SHAREHOLDERS OF EACH FUND OR ANY MEMBER OF THE PUBLIC REGARDING THE ADVISABILITY OF INVESTING IN SECURITIES GENERALLY OR IN THE FUNDS PARTICULARLY OR THE ABILITY OF THE INDEXES TO TRACK GENERAL MARKET PERFORMANCE. GOLDMAN SACHS, IN ITS CAPACITY AS THE INDEX PROVIDER OF EACH INDEX, LICENSES CERTAIN TRADEMARKS AND TRADE NAMES TO THE FUNDS. GOLDMAN SACHS HAS NO OBLIGATION TO TAKE THE NEEDS OF THE FUNDS OR THE SHAREHOLDERS OF EACH FUND INTO CONSIDERATION IN DETERMINING, COMPOSING OR CALCULATING THE INDEXES. GOLDMAN SACHS OR ANY OF ITS AFFILIATES MAY HOLD LONG OR SHORT POSITIONS IN SECURITIES HELD BY A FUND OR IN RELATED DERIVATIVES.

 

10


INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT APPROACH

 

GOLDMAN SACHS DOES NOT GUARANTEE THE ADEQUACY, TIMELINESS, ACCURACY AND/OR THE COMPLETENESS OF THE INDEXES OR ANY DATA RELATED THERETO. GOLDMAN SACHS HEREBY EXPRESSLY DISCLAIMS ANY AND ALL LIABILITY FOR ANY ERRORS, OMISSIONS, OR INTERRUPTIONS THEREIN OR IN THE CALCULATION THEREOF. GOLDMAN SACHS MAKES NO WARRANTY, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, AND EXPRESSLY DISCLAIMS ALL WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY OR FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE OR USE WITH RESPECT TO THE MARKS, THE INDEXES OR ANY DATA INCLUDED THEREIN AS TO THE RESULTS TO BE OBTAINED BY THE FUNDS, THE SHAREHOLDERS, OR ANY OTHER PERSON OR ENTITY FROM USE OF THE INDEXES OR ANY DATA INCLUDED THEREIN. WITHOUT LIMITING ANY OF THE FOREGOING, GOLDMAN SACHS HEREBY EXPRESSLY DISCLAIMS ANY AND ALL LIABILITY FOR ANY SPECIAL, PUNITIVE, INDIRECT, OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES (INCLUDING LOST PROFITS), EVEN IF ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES.

OTHER INVESTMENT PRACTICES AND SECURITIES

Although each Fund’s principal investment strategy is described in the Fund’s Summary—Principal Investment Strategies section of this Prospectus, the following tables identify some of the investment techniques that may (but are not required to) be used by the Funds in seeking to achieve their investment objective. The Funds may be subject to additional limitations on its investments not shown here. Numbers in these tables show allowable usage only; for actual usage, consult the Funds’ annual/semi-annual reports (when available). For more information about these and other investment practices and securities, see Appendix A. On each business day, before commencement of trading in Fund Shares on the NYSE Arca, each Fund will disclose on its website (http://www.gsamfunds.com) the identities and quantities of the portfolio securities and other assets held by the Fund that will form the basis for the Fund’s calculation of net asset value at the end of the business day. In addition, a description of the Funds’ policies and procedures with respect to the disclosure of the Funds’ portfolio holdings is available in the Funds’ Statement of Additional Information (“SAI”).

 

10 Percent of total assets (italic type)

10 Percent of net assets (excluding borrowings for investment purposes)

         
•      No specific percentage limitation on usage;    High    Hedge
        limited only by the objective and strategies of the Fund. A Fund may only invest up to 20% of    Sharpe    Fund VIP

        its assets in securities and other instruments not included in its underlying index.

   Ratio ETF    ETF

Investment Practices

     

Borrowings

   33 1/3    33 1/3

Derivatives, including futures, options and swaps

     

Illiquid Investments*

   15    15

Investment Company Securities (including ETFs)**

   10    10

Preferred Stock, Warrants and Stock Purchase Rights

     

Repurchase Agreements

     

Securities Lending

   33 1/3    33 1/3

 

* Illiquid investments are any investments which cannot be disposed of in seven days in the ordinary course of business at approximately the price at which a Fund values the instrument.
** This percentage limitation does not apply to a Fund’s investments in other investment companies where a higher percentage limitation is permitted under the terms of a Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) exemptive order or SEC exemptive rule.

 

11


INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT APPROACH

 

•      No specific percentage limitation on usage;
        limited only by the objective and strategies of the Fund
   High
Sharpe
Ratio ETF
   Hedge
Fund VIP
ETF

Investment Securities

     

Equity Investments

     

Foreign Securities

     

 

12


Risks of the Funds

Loss of money is a risk of investing in each Fund. An investment in each Fund is not a bank deposit and is not insured or guaranteed by the FDIC or any other governmental agency. The principal risks of each Fund are discussed in the Summary section of this Prospectus. The following section provides additional information on the risks that apply to the Funds, which may result in a loss of your investment. None of the Funds should be relied upon as a complete investment program. There can be no assurance that a Fund will achieve its investment objective.

 

ü Principal Risk

• Additional Risk

   High
Sharpe
Ratio ETF
   Hedge
Fund VIP
ETF
Absence of Prior Active Market      
Calculation Methodology Risk    ü    ü
Depositary Receipts       ü
Derivatives      
Foreign      
Foreign Custody      
Form Filings and Public Data       ü
Index    ü    ü
Industry Concentration    ü    ü
Investment Style    ü    ü
Liquidity      
Market    ü    ü
Market Trading    ü    ü
Mid-Cap and Small-Cap      
Secondary Listing      
Seed Investor    ü    ü
Stock    ü    ü
Tracking Error    ü    ü
Trading Issues      
Valuation    ü    ü

 

  Absence of Prior Active Market Risk—Each Fund is a newly organized series of an investment company and thus has no operating history. While a Fund’s Shares are expected to be listed on NYSE Arca, there can be no assurance that active trading markets for the Shares will develop or be maintained. [    ], the distributor of the Shares, does not maintain a secondary market in the Shares.

 

  Calculation Methodology Risk—Each Index relies on various sources of information to assess the criteria of issuers included in the Index (or the applicable Reference Index), including information that may be based on assumptions and estimates. Neither the Funds, the Index Provider nor the Investment Adviser can offer assurances that an Index’s calculation methodology or sources of information will provide an accurate assessment of included issuers or correct valuation of securities, nor can they guarantee the availability or timeliness of the production of the Index.

 

13


RISKS OF THE FUNDS

 

  Depositary Receipts Risk—Foreign securities may trade in the form of Depositary Receipts. To the extent the Hedge Fund VIP ETF acquires Depositary Receipts through banks which do not have a contractual relationship with the foreign issuer of the security underlying the Depositary Receipts to issue and service such unsponsored Depositary Receipts, there may be an increased possibility that the Fund would not become aware of and be able to respond to corporate actions such as stock splits or rights offerings involving the foreign issuer in a timely manner. In addition, the lack of information may result in inefficiencies in the valuation of such instruments. Investment in Depositary Receipts does not eliminate all the risks inherent in investing in securities of non-U.S. issuers. The market value of Depositary Receipts is dependent upon the market value of the underlying securities and fluctuations in the relative value of the currencies in which the Depositary Receipts and the underlying securities are quoted. The Fund will not invest in any Depositary Receipts that the Investment Adviser deems to be illiquid or for which pricing information is not readily available.

 

  Derivatives Risk—Loss may result from a Fund’s investments in derivative instruments. These instruments may be illiquid, difficult to price and leveraged so that small changes in the value of underlying instruments may produce disproportionate losses to a Fund. Derivatives are also subject to counterparty risk, which is the risk that the other party in the transaction will not fulfill its contractual obligations.

Losses from investments in derivatives can result from a lack of correlation between the value of those derivatives and the value of the portfolio assets (if any) being hedged. In addition, there is a risk that the performance of the derivatives or other instruments used by the Investment Adviser to replicate the performance of a particular asset class may not accurately track the performance of that asset class. Derivatives are also subject to liquidity risk and risks arising from margin requirements. Returns, and potential losses, are dependent on the Investment Adviser’s analysis and decision making capability around, but not limited to, expectations of the timing or level of fluctuations in securities prices, interest rates, currency prices or other variables. In addition, a Fund’s use of derivatives may increase or accelerate the amount of taxes payable by shareholders.

Many of the protections afforded to cleared transactions, such as the security afforded by transacting through a clearing house, might not be available in connection with over-the-counter (“OTC”) transactions. Therefore, in those instances in which a Fund enters into OTC transactions, the Fund will be subject to the risk that its direct counterparty will not perform its obligations under the transactions and that the Fund will sustain losses.

As an investment company registered with the SEC, the Funds must identify on their books (often referred to as “asset segregation”) liquid assets, or engage in other SEC- or SEC staff-approved or other appropriate measures, to “cover” open positions with respect to certain kinds of derivative instruments. For more information about these practices, see Appendix A.

 

  Foreign Risk—When the Hedge Fund VIP ETF invests in foreign securities, it may be subject to risk of loss not typically associated with domestic issuers. Loss may result because of more or less foreign government regulation, less public information, less liquidity, greater volatility and less economic, political and social stability in the countries in which the Fund invests. Loss may also result from, among other things, deteriorating economic and business conditions in other countries, including the United States, regional and global conflicts, the imposition of exchange controls, sanctions, foreign taxes, confiscations, expropriations and other government restrictions by the United States and other governments, higher transaction costs, difficulty enforcing contractual obligations or from problems in registration, settlement or custody. The Fund will also be subject to the risk of negative foreign currency rate fluctuations, which may cause the value of securities denominated in such foreign currency (or other instruments through which the Fund has exposure to foreign currencies) to decline in value. Currency exchange rates may fluctuate significantly over short periods of time. Foreign risks will normally be greatest when the Fund invests in securities of issuers located in emerging countries.

 

  Foreign Custody Risk—The Hedge Fund VIP ETF may hold foreign securities and cash with foreign banks, agents, and securities depositories appointed by the Fund’s custodian (each a “Foreign Custodian”). Some Foreign Custodians may be recently organized or new to the foreign custody business. In some countries, Foreign Custodians may be subject to little or no regulatory oversight over or independent evaluation of their operations. Further, the laws of certain countries may place limitations on the Fund’s ability to recover its assets if a Foreign Custodian enters bankruptcy. Investments in emerging markets may be subject to even greater custody risks than investments in more developed markets. Custody services in emerging countries are very often undeveloped and may be considerably less well regulated than in more developed countries, and this may not afford the same level of investor protection as would apply in developed countries.

 

14


RISKS OF THE FUNDS

 

  Form Filings and Public Data Risk—The public filings (including Form 13F and Form 13D filings) used to implement the Fund’s strategy, which disclose holdings as of the end of each calendar quarter, are filed up to 45 days after the end of the calendar quarter, rendering certain information stale. Accordingly, a given investor may have already exited positions disclosed on a form by the time the filing is available to the Fund. Further, Form 13F and Form 13D filings may only disclose a subset of a particular investor’s holdings, as not all securities are required to be reported. As a result, a Form 13F or Form 13D may not provide a complete picture of the holdings of a given investor. Because Form 13F and Form 13D filings are publicly available, it is possible that other investors are also monitoring these filings and investing accordingly, which could result in inflation of the share price of securities in which the Fund seeks to invest.

 

  Index Risk—A Fund will be negatively affected by general declines in the securities and asset classes represented in its Index. In addition, because the Funds are not “actively” managed, unless a specific security is removed from an Index, a Fund generally would not sell a security because the security’s issuer was in financial trouble. Market disruptions and regulatory restrictions could have an adverse effect on a Fund’s ability to adjust its exposure to the required levels in order to track the Index. A Fund also does not attempt to take defensive positions under any market conditions, including declining markets. Therefore, a Fund’s performance could be lower than funds that may actively shift their portfolio assets to take advantage of market opportunities or to lessen the impact of a market decline or a decline in the value of one or more issuers. The Index Provider relies on third party data it believes to be reliable in constructing each Index, but it does not guarantee the accuracy or availability of such third party data. Errors in index data, index computation or the construction of an Index in accordance with its methodology may occur from time to time and may not be identified and corrected by the Index Provider for a period of time or at all, which may have an adverse impact on the applicable Fund and its shareholders. In addition, neither a Fund, the Investment Adviser nor the Index Provider can guarantee the availability or timeliness of the production of the Index.

 

  Industry Concentration Risk—In following its methodology, an Index from time to time may be concentrated to a significant degree in securities of issuers located in a single industry or sector. To the extent that an Index concentrates in the securities of issuers in a particular industry or sector, a Fund also will concentrate its investments to approximately the same extent. By concentrating its investments in an industry or sector, the applicable Fund may face more risks than if it were diversified broadly over numerous industries or sectors. If an Index is not concentrated in a particular industry or sector, the applicable Fund will not concentrate in a particular industry or sector.

 

  Investment Style Risk—Each Index is intended to provide exposure to certain equity markets, and as a result an Index may be more volatile than a more broadly based conventional index. A Fund may outperform or underperform other funds that invest in similar asset classes but employ different investment styles.

 

  Liquidity Risk—A Fund may invest in securities or instruments that trade in lower volumes and may make investments that are less liquid than other investments. Also, a Fund may make investments that may become less liquid in response to market developments or adverse investor perceptions. Investments that are illiquid or that trade in lower volumes may be more difficult to value. When there is no willing buyer and investments cannot be readily sold at the desired time or price, a Fund may have to accept a lower price or may not be able to sell the security or instrument at all. An inability to sell one or more portfolio positions can adversely affect a Fund’s value.

If a Fund is forced to sell securities at an unfavorable time and/or under unfavorable conditions, such sales may adversely affect the Fund’s NAV.

 

  Market Risk—The value of the securities in which a Fund invests may go up or down in response to the prospects of individual companies, particular sectors or governments and/or general economic conditions throughout the world. Price changes may be temporary or last for extended periods. A Fund’s investments may be overweighted from time to time in one or more sectors or countries, which will increase the Fund’s exposure to risk of loss from adverse developments affecting those sectors or countries.

Global economies and financial markets are becoming increasingly interconnected, and conditions and events in one country, region or financial market may adversely impact issuers in a different country, region or financial market. In addition, governmental and quasi governmental organizations have taken a number of unprecedented actions designed to support the markets. Such conditions, events and actions may result in greater market risk.

 

15


RISKS OF THE FUNDS

 

  Market Trading Risk—The net asset value (“NAV”) of a Fund and the value of your investment may fluctuate. Each Fund faces numerous market trading risks, including disruptions to creations and redemptions, the existence of extreme market volatility or potential lack of an active trading market for Shares. 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 Investment Adviser cannot predict whether Shares will trade below, at or above their NAV. Price differences may be due, in large part, to the fact that supply and demand forces at work in the secondary trading market for Shares will be closely related to, but not identical to, the same forces influencing the prices of the securities of a Fund’s Index trading individually or in the aggregate at any point in time. While the creation/redemption feature is designed to make it more likely that a 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, perception of unreliability of disclosed NAV, and other factors. Any of these factors, among others, may result in Shares trading at a significant premium or discount to 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.

 

  Mid-Cap and Small-Cap Risk—The securities of mid-capitalization and small-capitalization companies involve greater risks than those associated with larger, more established companies and may be subject to more abrupt or erratic price movements. Securities of such issuers may lack sufficient market liquidity to enable a Fund to effect sales at an advantageous time or without a substantial drop in price. Both mid-capitalization and small-capitalization companies often have narrower markets and more limited managerial and financial resources than larger, more established companies. As a result, their performance can be more volatile and they face greater risk of business failure, which could increase the volatility of a Fund’s portfolio. Generally, the smaller the company size, the greater these risks become.

 

  Secondary Listing Risk—Each Fund’s Shares may be listed or traded on U.S. and non-U.S. stock exchanges other than the U.S. stock exchange where the Fund’s primary listing is maintained. There can be no assurance that a Fund’s Shares will continue to trade on any such stock exchange or in any market or that the Fund’s Shares will continue to meet the requirements for listing or trading on any exchange or in any market. A Fund’s Shares may be less actively traded in certain markets than in others, and investors are subject to the execution and settlement risks and market standards of the market where they or their broker direct their trades for execution. Certain information available to investors who trade Fund Shares on a U.S. stock exchange during regular U.S. market hours may not be available to investors who trade in other markets, which may result in secondary market prices in such markets being less efficient.

 

  Seed Investor Risk—GSAM and/or its affiliates expect to make payments to one or more investors that contribute seed capital to one or more Funds for so long as such capital remains invested in the Fund(s). Such payments will be made from the assets of GSAM and/or such affiliates and will be based on revenues generated by GSAM in providing services to one or more ETFs for which it serves as investment adviser. Seed investors may contribute all or a majority of the assets in the Fund. There is a risk that such seed investors may redeem their investments in the Fund. As with redemptions by other large shareholders, such redemptions could have a significant negative impact on the Funds.

 

  Stock Risk—Stock prices have historically risen and fallen in periodic cycles. U.S. stock markets have experienced periods of substantial price volatility in the past and may do so again in the future.

 

  Tracking Error Risk—Tracking error is the divergence of a Fund’s performance from that of its Index. The performance of a Fund may diverge from that of its Index for a number of reasons. Tracking error may occur because of transaction costs, a Fund’s holding of cash, differences in accrual of dividends, changes to its Index or the need to meet new or existing regulatory requirements. Unlike a Fund, the returns of an Index are not reduced by investment and other operating expenses, including the trading costs associated with implementing changes to its portfolio of investments. Tracking error risk may be heightened during times of market volatility or other unusual market conditions. To the extent that a Fund calculates its NAV based on fair value prices and the value of its Index is based on securities’ closing prices (i.e., the value of the Index is not based on fair value prices), the Fund’s ability to track the Index may be adversely affected. A Fund may be required to deviate its investments from the securities and relative weightings of its respective Index to meet the issuer diversification requirements of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the “Code”), applicable to regulated investment companies, local market restrictions or other legal reasons. For tax efficiency purposes, a Fund may sell certain securities to realize losses, which will result in a deviation from its Index.

 

16


RISKS OF THE FUNDS

 

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

 

  Valuation Risk—The sale price a Fund could receive for a security may differ from the Fund’s valuation of the security and may differ from the value used by the Index, particularly for securities that trade in low volume or volatile markets or that are valued using a fair value methodology. Because non-U.S. exchanges may be open on days when a Fund does not price its Shares, the value of foreign securities or assets in the Fund’s portfolio may change on days when investors will not be able to purchase or sell the Fund’s Shares. Each Fund relies on various sources to calculate its NAV. The information may be provided by third parties that are believed to be reliable, but the information may not be accurate due to errors by such pricing sources, technological issues or otherwise.

More information about the Funds’ portfolio securities and investment techniques, and their associated risks, is provided in Appendix A. You should consider the investment risks discussed in this section and in Appendix A. Both are important to your investment choice.

 

17


Tax Advantaged Product Structure

Unlike many conventional mutual funds which are only bought and sold at closing NAVs, the Shares of each Fund have been designed to be created and redeemed principally in-kind in Creation Units at each day’s market close. These in-kind arrangements are designed to mitigate adverse effects on a 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 which, in turn, may generate taxable gain, the in-kind redemption mechanism of the Funds, to the extent used, generally is not expected to lead to a tax event for shareholders whose Shares are not being redeemed.

 

18


Service Providers

INVESTMENT ADVISER

 

Investment Adviser

  

Fund

Goldman Sachs Asset Management, L.P.    High Sharpe Ratio ETF
200 West Street    Hedge Fund VIP ETF
New York, NY 10282   

GSAM has been registered as an investment adviser with the SEC since 1990 and is a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. and an affiliate of Goldman, Sachs & Co. (“Goldman Sachs”). Founded in 1869, The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. is a publicly-held financial holding company and a leading global investment banking, securities and investment management firm. [As of September 30, 2015 GSAM, including its investment advisory affiliates, had assets under supervision of approximately $1.02 trillion.]

The Investment Adviser is responsible for the day-to-day management of the Funds and places purchase and sale orders for the Funds’ portfolio transactions in U.S. and foreign markets. As permitted by applicable law, these orders may be directed to any executing brokers, dealers, futures commission merchants or other counterparties, including Goldman Sachs and its affiliates. While the Investment Adviser is ultimately responsible for the management of the Funds, it is able to draw upon the research and expertise of its asset management affiliates with respect to managing certain portfolio securities. In addition, the Investment Adviser has access to proprietary tools developed by Goldman Sachs (subject to legal, internal, regulatory and Chinese wall restrictions), and will apply quantitative and qualitative analysis in determining the appropriate allocations among categories of issuers and types of securities.

The Investment Adviser also performs the following additional services for the Funds, to the extent such services are not required to be performed by others pursuant to the fund administration and accounting agreement, the custodian agreement, the transfer agency agreement, distribution agreement or such other agreements with service providers to the Funds that the Board has approved:

 

  Supervises non-advisory operations of the Funds, including oversight of vendors hired by the Funds, oversight of Fund liquidity and risk management, oversight of regulatory inquiries and requests with respect to the Funds made to the Investment Adviser, valuation and accounting oversight and oversight of ongoing compliance with federal and state securities laws, tax regulations, and other applicable law

 

  Provides personnel to perform such executive, administrative and clerical services as are reasonably necessary to provide effective administration of the Funds

 

  Arranges for, at the Funds’ expense: (a) the preparation of all required tax returns, (b) the preparation and submission of reports to existing shareholders, (c) the periodic updating of prospectuses and statements of additional information and (d) the preparation of reports to be filed with the SEC and other regulatory authorities

 

  Maintains the records of each Fund

 

  Provides office space and necessary office equipment and services for the Investment Adviser

 

  Markets the Funds

An investment in a Fund may be negatively impacted because of the operational risks arising from factors such as processing errors and human errors, inadequate or failed internal or external processes, failures in systems and technology, changes in personnel, and errors caused by third-party service providers or trading counterparties. Although the Funds attempt to minimize such failures through controls and oversight, it is not possible to identify all of the operational risks that may affect a Fund or to develop processes and controls that completely eliminate or mitigate the occurrence of such failures. A Fund and its shareholders could be negatively impacted as a result.

 

19


SERVICE PROVIDERS

 

GSAM may manage other funds, accounts, additional pooled vehicles and/or separate accounts that have similar investment strategies to those of the Funds. These funds, pooled vehicles or accounts may perform differently than a Fund despite their similar strategies. Because the pooled vehicles may not be registered under the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended (the “Investment Company Act”), they are subject to fewer regulatory restraints than the Funds (e.g., fewer trading constraints) and may employ strategies that are not subject to the same constraints as the Funds.

GSAM and/or its affiliates expect to make payments to one or more investors that contribute seed capital to one or more Funds for so long as such capital remains invested in the Fund(s). Such payments will be made from the assets of GSAM and/or such affiliates and will be based on revenues generated by GSAM in providing services to one or more ETFs for which it serves as investment adviser. Seed investors may contribute all or a majority of the assets in the Fund. There is a risk that such seed investors may redeem their investments in the Fund. As with redemptions by other large shareholders, such redemptions could have a significant negative impact on the Funds.

From time to time, Goldman Sachs or any of its affiliates may purchase and hold Shares of the Funds. Goldman Sachs and its affiliates reserve the right to redeem or sell at any time some or all of the Shares acquired for their own accounts.

MANAGEMENT FEE AND OTHER EXPENSES

Pursuant to the Management Agreement, as compensation for its services to each Fund, the Investment Adviser is entitled to a management fee, computed daily and payable monthly, at an annual rate listed below (as a percentage of each respective Fund’s average daily net assets).

 

Fund

   Fee as a
Percentage of
Average Daily
Net Assets
 

High Sharpe Ratio ETF

     [  

Hedge Fund VIP ETF

     [  

[The Investment Adviser has agreed to reduce or limit “Other Expenses” (excluding acquired fund fees and expenses, taxes, interest, brokerage fees, shareholder meeting, litigation, indemnification and extraordinary expenses) to [    ]% and [    ]% of the average daily net assets for the High Sharpe Ratio ETF and Hedge Fund VIP ETF, respectively, through at least [    ], and prior to such date, the Investment Adviser may not terminate the arrangement without the approval of the Board of Trustees. This expense limitation may be modified or terminated by the Investment Adviser at its discretion and without shareholder approval after such date, although the Investment Adviser does not presently intend to do so. A Fund’s “Other Expenses” may be further reduced by any custody and transfer agency fee credits received by the Fund.]

The Investment Adviser may waive a portion of its management fee from time to time, and may discontinue or modify any such waiver in the future, consistent with the terms of any fee waiver arrangements in place.

A discussion regarding the basis for the Board of Trustees’ approval of the Management Agreement for each Fund will be available in the Fund’s first annual or semi-annual report following its launch.

FUND MANAGERS

The Quantitative Investment Strategies (“QIS”) team manages exposure to stock, bond, currency and commodities markets. The team develops quantitative models and processes, in combination with a qualitative overlay in an effort to build unique investment solutions that seek to manage exposure to a wide variety of risks. These proprietary models, which are refined from time to time, are developed in a highly academic, innovative team environment. The QIS team’s proprietary research on these models is dynamic and ongoing, with new strategies continually under development.

The QIS team comprises a globally integrated team of highly qualified investment professionals organised into six business lines: (1) Equity Alpha Strategies, which oversees the research, portfolio construction and implementation of alpha models in stock selection mandates; (2) Macro Alpha Strategies, which oversees the research, portfolio construction and implementation of alpha models across global asset classes, including equities, fixed income, currencies, commodities and volatility; (3) Alternative Investment Strategies, which focuses on hedge fund replication, liquid alternative and risk premia strategies; (4) ActiveBeta Equity Strategies, which focuses on the design and implementation of smart beta strategies in equity portfolios through the capture of common factors; (5) Customized Beta Strategies, which focuses on customized, rules-based, and index replication strategies comprising major asset classes; and (6) Tax Advantaged Core Strategies, which oversees the design and implementation of tax-aware equity portfolios. The QIS team offers significant depth of experience in equity, fixed income, currency and commodities markets as well as beta and hedging capabilities and many team members have been published in leading academic journals.

 

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SERVICE PROVIDERS

 

  QIS employs a globally-integrated team of over 90 professionals, with an additional 90+ professionals dedicated to trading, information technology and the development of analytical tools.

 

  Disciplined, quantitative models are used to determine allocations to the world’s stock, bond, currency and commodity markets

 

  Theory and economic intuition guide the investment process

 

Name and Title

   Primarily
Responsible
Since
     Five Year Employment History  

[ ]

     2016         [  

[ ]

     2016         [  

For information about portfolio manager compensation, other accounts managed by the portfolio managers and portfolio manager ownership of securities in the Funds, see the SAI.

DISTRIBUTOR

[        ], serves as the exclusive distributor (the “Distributor”) of Creation Units of shares of the Funds pursuant to a “best efforts” arrangement as provided by a distribution agreement with the Trust on behalf of the Funds. Shares of the Funds are offered and sold on a continuous basis by the Distributor, acting as agent. The Distributor does not maintain a secondary market in the Funds’ Shares.

TRANSFER AGENT, CUSTODIAN AND PROVIDER OF ADMINISTRATIVE SERVICES

[        ], [        ], serves as the Trust’s transfer and dividend disbursing agent. Under its transfer agency agreement with the Trust, [        ] has undertaken with the Trust to provide the following services with respect to each Fund: (i) perform and facilitate the performance of purchases and redemptions of Creation Units, (ii) prepare and transmit by means of Depository Trust Company’s (“DTC”) book-entry system payments for dividends and distributions on or with respect to the Shares declared by the Trust on behalf of the applicable Fund, (iii) prepare and deliver reports, information and documents as specified in the transfer agency agreement, (iv) perform the customary services of a transfer agent and dividend disbursing agent, and (v) render certain other miscellaneous services as specified in the transfer agency agreement or as otherwise agreed upon.

[        ] is the custodian of the Trust’s portfolio securities and cash. The custodian of the Trust may change from time to time. [        ] also maintains the Trust’s accounting records. [        ] may appoint domestic and foreign sub-custodians and use depositories from time to time to hold securities and other instruments purchased by the Trust in foreign countries and to hold cash and currencies for the Trust.

[        ] provides administrative services pursuant to a fund administration agreement with the Trust (the “Fund Administration and Accounting Agreement”) pursuant to which [        ] provides certain services, including, among others, (i) preparation of certain shareholder reports and communications; (ii) preparation of certain reports and filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission; (iii) certain net asset value computation services; and (iv) such other services for the Trust as may be mutually agreed upon between the Trust and [        ]. For its services under the Fund Administration and Accounting Agreement, [        ] receives such fees based on a stated percentage of net assets as are agreed upon from time to time between the parties. In addition, [        ] is reimbursed by the Funds for reasonable out-of-pocket expenses incurred in connection with the Fund.

 

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SERVICE PROVIDERS

 

Administration and Accounting Agreement. In addition, an affiliate of [        ] will also provide certain other services for the Trust, including, (i) providing foreign exchange transaction services and (ii) executing trades in connection with certain creation and redemption transactions effected partially in cash. For these services, the [        ] affiliate will receive compensation based on levels that are negotiated with the Trust and/or the Investment Adviser. [        ] also provides certain middle office services to GSAM pursuant to a service agreement.

ACTIVITIES OF GOLDMAN SACHS AND ITS AFFILIATES AND OTHER ACCOUNTS MANAGED BY GOLDMAN SACHS

The involvement of the Investment Adviser, Goldman Sachs and their affiliates in the management of, or their interest in, other accounts and other activities of Goldman Sachs may present conflicts of interest with respect to a Fund or limit a Fund’s investment activities. Goldman Sachs is a worldwide, full service investment banking, broker dealer, asset management and financial services organization and a major participant in global financial markets that provides a wide range of financial services to a substantial and diversified client base that includes corporations, financial institutions, governments and high-net-worth individuals. As such, it acts as an investor, investment banker, research provider, investment manager, financier, adviser, market maker, trader, prime broker, lender, agent and principal. In those and other capacities, Goldman Sachs advises clients in all markets and transactions and purchases, sells, holds and recommends a broad array of investments, including securities, derivatives, loans, commodities, currencies, credit default swaps, indices, baskets and other financial instruments and products for its own account or for the accounts of its customers and has other direct and indirect interests in the global fixed income, currency, commodity, equities, bank loans and other markets in which the Funds directly and indirectly invest. Thus, it is likely that the Funds will have multiple business relationships with and will invest in, engage in transactions with, make voting decisions with respect to, or obtain services from entities for which Goldman Sachs performs or seeks to perform investment banking or other services. The Investment Adviser and/or certain of its affiliates are the managers of the Goldman Sachs Funds. The Investment Adviser and its affiliates earn fees from this and other relationships with the Funds. Although these fees are generally based on asset levels, the fees are not directly contingent on Fund performance, and Goldman Sachs would still receive significant compensation from the Funds even if shareholders lose money. Goldman Sachs and its affiliates engage in proprietary trading and advise accounts and funds which have investment objectives similar to those of the Funds or which are based on the same, or substantially similar, strategies that are used in the operation of the Index and/or which engage in and compete for transactions in the same types of securities, currencies and instruments as the Funds. Goldman Sachs and its affiliates will not have any obligation to make available any information regarding their proprietary activities or strategies, or the activities or strategies used for other accounts managed by them, for the benefit of the management of the Funds. The results of a Fund’s investment activities, therefore, may differ from those of Goldman Sachs, its affiliates, and other accounts managed by Goldman Sachs and it is possible that a Fund could sustain losses during periods in which Goldman Sachs and its affiliates and other accounts achieve significant profits on their trading for proprietary or other accounts. In addition, the Funds may enter into transactions in which Goldman Sachs or its other clients have an adverse interest. For example, a Fund may take a long position in a security at the same time that Goldman Sachs or other accounts managed by the Investment Adviser take a short position in the same security (or vice versa). These and other transactions undertaken by Goldman Sachs, its affiliates or Goldman Sachs advised clients may, individually or in the aggregate, adversely impact the Funds. In some cases, such adverse impacts may result from differences in the timing of transactions by Accounts relative to when the Funds execute transactions in the same securities. Transactions by one or more Goldman Sachs advised clients or the Investment Adviser may have the effect of diluting or otherwise disadvantaging the values, prices or investment strategies of the Funds. A Fund’s activities may be limited because of regulatory restrictions applicable to Goldman Sachs and its affiliates, and/or their internal policies designed to comply with such restrictions. As a global financial services firm, Goldman Sachs also provides a wide range of investment banking and financial services to issuers of securities and investors in securities. Goldman Sachs, its affiliates and others associated with it may create markets or specialize in, have positions in and effect transactions in, securities of issuers held by the Funds including issuers whose securities are components of one or more indices, such as the Indexes, that are created and operated by Goldman Sachs, and may also perform or seek to perform investment banking and financial services for those issuers. Goldman Sachs and its affiliates may have business relationships with and purchase or distribute or sell services or products from or to distributors, consultants or others who recommend the Funds or who engage in transactions with or for the Funds.

Each of the Funds seeks to track the performance of an Index that has been created by Goldman Sachs through Goldman Sachs’ selection of the components of the Index and/or the development of strategies or methodologies designed to operate the Index. The operation of the Indexes, and the management of the Funds and Accounts by the Investment Adviser and Goldman Sachs, may give rise to potential conflicts of interest. Such conflicts of interest may arise with respect to the management of accounts that use the same proprietary strategies that are used in the operation of a Fund’s underlying index.

Goldman Sachs follows policies and procedures that are designed to address potential conflicts that may arise in connection with Goldman Sachs’s operation of the Indexes, the Funds and Accounts. These policies and procedures include certain information barriers and other policies to address the sharing of information between different businesses within Goldman Sachs, including with respect to personnel responsible for maintaining the Indexes and those involved in decision-making for the Funds as well as procedures designed to ensure the equitable allocation of portfolio transactions and to prevent the misuse of material non-public

 

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SERVICE PROVIDERS

 

information by the Investment Adviser or associated person. In addition, such conflicts may be mitigated by existing protections under the Investment Company Act and the Investment Advisers Act of 1940, as amended (the “Advisers Act”), as well as the Funds’ policy to maintain full portfolio transparency.

For more information about conflicts of interest, see the SAI.

The Funds may make brokerage and other payments to Goldman Sachs and its affiliates in connection with the Funds’ portfolio investment transactions in accordance with applicable law. The Funds’ Board of Trustees may approve a securities lending program where an affiliate of the Investment Adviser is retained to serve as the securities lending agent for each Fund to the extent that the Fund engages in the securities lending program. For these services, the lending agent may receive a fee from the Funds, including a fee based on the returns earned on the Funds’ investment of the cash received as collateral for the loaned securities.

 

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Distributions

Each Fund pays distributions from its investment income and from net realized capital gains.

Distributions from net investment income, if any, are declared and paid quarterly for each Fund, and distributions from net capital gains, if any, are declared and paid annually for each Fund.

In addition to the net investment income dividends paid quarterly, a Fund may also earn additional net investment income throughout the year. Any additional net investment income will be distributed annually as a declared event and paid to shareholders of record for such events.

From time to time a portion of a Fund’s distributions may constitute a return of capital for tax purposes, and/or may include amounts in excess of the Fund’s net investment income for the period calculated in accordance with GAAP accounting practice.

Dividends and other distributions on Shares of a 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 a Fund.

No dividend reinvestment service is provided by the Funds. Broker-dealers may make available the DTC book-entry dividend reinvestment service for use by beneficial owners of the Funds 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 a Fund purchased in the secondary market.

 

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Shareholder Guide

BUYING AND SELLING SHARES

Shares of a 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 (as defined in the Creations and Redemptions section below) may engage in creation or redemption transactions directly with a Fund. Once created, Shares of the Funds generally trade in the secondary market in amounts less than a Creation Unit.

Shares of the Funds 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 a Fund’s Shares involves certain costs that apply to all securities transactions. When buying or selling Shares of a 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 a 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.

Each 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 Funds is each day the New York Stock Exchange, NYSE Arca and the Trust are open and includes any day that a 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 Funds may require orders to create or redeem Creation Units to be placed earlier in the day. See the Statement of Additional Information for more information.

The Trust’s 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 a 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 Funds, 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 Funds issue and redeem Creation Units at NAV plus applicable transaction fees, and the Funds’ Shares may be purchased and sold on NYSE Arca at prevailing market prices, the risks of frequent trading are limited.

Section 12(d)(1) of the Investment Company Act restricts investments by registered investment companies and companies relying on Sections 3(c)(1) or 3(c)(7) of the Investment Company Act in the securities of other investment companies. Registered investment companies are permitted to invest in the Funds beyond the limits set forth in Section 12(d)(1), subject to certain terms and conditions set forth in an SEC exemptive order issued to GSAM and the Trust, including that such investment companies enter into an agreement with the Trust.

The Funds and the Distributor will have the sole right to accept orders to purchase Shares and reserve the right to reject any order in whole or in part.

 

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SHAREHOLDER GUIDE

 

PAYMENTS TO BROKER-DEALERS AND OTHER FINANCIAL INTERMEDIARIES

GSAM and/or the Distributor (upon direction of a Fund) may make payments to broker-dealers or other financial intermediaries (each, a “Financial Intermediary”) related to activities that are designed to make registered representatives, other professionals and individual investors more knowledgeable about the Funds or for other activities, such as participation in marketing activities and presentations, educational training programs, the support of technology platforms and/or reporting systems. GSAM and/or the Distributor (upon direction of a Fund) may also make payments to Financial Intermediaries for certain printing, publishing and mailing costs associated with the Funds or materials relating to exchange-traded funds in general. In addition, GSAM and/or the Distributor may make payments to Financial Intermediaries that make Fund Shares available to their clients or for otherwise promoting the Funds. Such payments, which may be significant to the Financial Intermediary, are not made by a Fund. Rather, such payments are made by GSAM and/or the Distributor from their own resources, which may come directly or indirectly in part from management fees paid by the Funds. Payments of this type are sometimes referred to as marketing support or 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 marketing support payments it is eligible to receive. Therefore, such payments to a Financial Intermediary create conflicts of interest between the Financial Intermediary and its customers and may cause the Financial Intermediary to recommend a Fund over another investment. More information regarding these payments is contained in the Statement of Additional Information. A shareholder should contact his or her Financial Intermediary’s salesperson or other investment professional for more information regarding any such payments the Financial Intermediary firm may receive from GSAM and/or the Distributor.

NET ASSET VALUE

Each Fund calculates its NAV as follows:

 

  NAV =   

(Value of Assets of the Fund)

– (Liabilities of the Fund)

  
     Number of Outstanding Shares of the Fund   

Each Fund’s NAV per share is generally calculated by the Funds’ provider of administrative services on each business day as of the close of regular trading on the New York Stock Exchange (normally 4:00 p.m. Eastern time) or such other times as the New York Stock Exchange or NASDAQ market may officially close. A Fund’s investments for which market quotations are readily available, are valued at market value on the basis of quotations furnished by a pricing service or provided by securities dealers. If accurate quotations are not readily available, if the Funds’ provider of administrative services is unable for other reasons to facilitate pricing of individual securities or calculate the Funds’ NAV, or if the Investment Adviser believes that such quotations do not accurately reflect fair value, the fair value of the Funds’ investments may be determined in good faith under valuation procedures established by the Board of Trustees. Thus, such pricing may be based on subjective judgments and it is possible that the prices resulting from such valuation procedures may differ materially from the value realized on a sale.

Cases where there is no clear indication of the value of a Fund’s investments include, among others, situations where a security or other asset or liability does not have a price source or a price is unavailable.

In addition, the Investment Adviser, consistent with its procedures and applicable regulatory guidance, may (but need not) determine to make an adjustment to the previous closing prices of either domestic or foreign securities in light of significant events, to reflect what it believes to be the fair value of the securities at the time of determining a Fund’s NAV. Significant events that could affect a large number of securities in a particular market may include, but are not limited to: situations relating to one or more single issuers in a market sector; significant fluctuations in U.S. or foreign markets; market dislocations; market disruptions or unscheduled market closings; equipment failures; natural or man-made disasters or acts of God; armed conflicts; governmental actions or other developments; as well as the same or similar events which may affect specific issuers or the securities markets even though not tied directly to the securities markets. Other significant events that could relate to a single issuer may include, but are not limited to: corporate actions such as reorganizations, mergers and buy-outs; corporate announcements, including those relating to earnings, products and regulatory news; significant litigation; ratings downgrades; bankruptcies; and trading suspensions. In addition, if the third party service providers and/or data sources upon which the Funds directly or indirectly rely to calculate their NAV or price individual securities are unavailable or otherwise unable to calculate the NAV correctly, it may be necessary for alternative procedures to be followed to price the securities at the time of determining a Fund’s NAV.

 

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SHAREHOLDER GUIDE

 

Fair valuation involves the risk that the values used by the Funds to price their investments may be different from those used by other investment companies and investors to price the same investments.

Foreign securities may trade in their local markets on days a Fund is closed. As a result, if a Fund holds foreign securities, its NAV may be impacted on days when investors may not purchase or sell Fund Shares on the secondary market or purchase or redeem Creation Units through the Fund.

The Funds rely on various sources to calculate their NAV. Therefore, each Fund is subject to certain operational risks associated with reliance on third party service providers and data sources. NAV calculation may be impacted by operational risks arising from factors such as failures in systems and technology. Such failures may result in delays in the calculation of a Fund’s NAV and/or the inability to calculate NAV over extended time periods. The Funds may be unable to recover any losses associated with such failures.

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 Funds are “created” at NAV by market makers, large investors and institutions only in block-size Creation Units of 50,000 Shares or multiples thereof. Each “creator” or “Authorized Participant” enters into an authorized participant agreement with the Funds’ Distributor.

A creation transaction, which is subject to acceptance by the transfer agent, generally takes place when an Authorized Participant deposits into a Fund a designated portfolio of securities (including any portion of such securities for which cash may be substituted) and a specified amount of cash approximating the holdings of the Fund in exchange for a specified number of Creation Units. To the extent practicable, the composition of such portfolio generally corresponds pro rata to the positions of a Fund’s portfolio (including cash positions). However, creation and redemption baskets may differ under certain circumstances.

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

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. Please note the following with respect to the price at which transactions are processed:

 

    NAV per Share is generally calculated by the accounting agent on each business day as of the close of regular trading on the New York Stock Exchange (normally 4:00 p.m. Eastern time) or such other times as the New York Stock Exchange or NASDAQ market may officially close. Fund shares will generally not be priced on any day the New York Stock Exchange is closed.

 

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SHAREHOLDER GUIDE

 

    The Trust reserves the right to reprocess purchase and redemption transactions that were processed at a NAV that is subsequently adjusted, and to recover amounts from (or distribute amounts to) shareholders accordingly based on the official closing NAV, as adjusted.

 

    The Trust reserves the right to advance the time by which purchase and redemption orders must be received for same business day credit as otherwise permitted by the SEC.

 

    Consistent with industry practice, investment transactions not settling on the same day are recorded and factored into a Fund’s NAV on the business day following trade date (T+1). The use of T+1 accounting generally does not, but may, result in a NAV that differs materially from the NAV that would result if all transactions were reflected on their trade dates.

Note: The time at which transactions and shares are priced and the time by which orders must be received may be changed in case of an emergency or if regular trading on the New York Stock Exchange is stopped at a time other than its regularly scheduled closing time. In the event the New York Stock Exchange does not open for business, the Trust may, but is not required to, open one or more Funds for creation and redemption transactions if the Federal Reserve wire payment system is open. To learn whether a Fund is open for business during this situation, please call the appropriate phone number located on the back cover of this Prospectus.

Only an Authorized Participant may create or redeem Creation Units directly with a 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 a Fund’s instructions or may not be executed at all, or the Fund may not be able to place or change orders.

To the extent a 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 (the “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 Funds’ SAI.

 

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Taxation

As with any investment, you should consider how your investment in the Funds 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 adviser about the federal, state, local or foreign tax consequences of your investment in the Funds. 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

Each Fund contemplates declaring as dividends each year all or substantially all of its taxable income. Distributions you receive from the Funds are generally subject to federal income tax, and may also be subject to state or local taxes. This is true whether you reinvest your distributions in additional Fund Shares or receive them in cash. For federal tax purposes, the Funds’ 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 non-corporate shareholders attributable to dividends received by the Funds 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 their Fund Shares for at least 61 days during the 121-day period beginning 60 days before a Fund’s ex-dividend date.

Distributions in excess of a 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 a 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.

An additional 3.8% Medicare tax is imposed on certain net investment income (including ordinary dividends and capital gain distributions received from a 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.

A 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. A 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. A percentage of the Funds’ dividends paid to corporate shareholders may be eligible for the corporate dividends-received deduction. This percentage may, however, be reduced as a result of a Fund’s securities lending activities or high portfolio turnover rate. Character and tax status of all distributions will be available to shareholders after the close of each calendar year.

Each Fund may be subject to foreign withholding or other foreign taxes on income or gain from certain foreign securities. In general, each Fund may deduct these taxes in computing its taxable income. In general, the Fund may deduct these taxes in computing its taxable income. Rather than deducting these foreign taxes, a Fund may make an election to treat a proportionate

 

29


TAXATION

 

amount of those taxes as constituting a distribution to each shareholder, which would generally allow you either (i) to credit (subject to certain holding period and other limitations) that proportionate amount of taxes against your U.S. Federal income tax liability as a foreign tax credit or (ii) to take that amount as an itemized deduction.

If you buy Shares of a 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, however, may assert that a loss realized upon an exchange of primarily securities for Creation Units cannot be deducted currently under the rules governing “wash sales,” or on the basis that there has been no significant change in economic position. Persons exchanging securities for Creation Units or redeeming Creation Units should consult their own tax adviser with respect to whether wash sale rules apply and when a loss might be deductible and the tax treatment of any creation or redemption transaction.

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

SALES OF FUND SHARES

Your sale of Fund Shares is a taxable transaction for federal income tax purposes, and may also be subject to state and local taxes. When you sell your Shares, you will generally recognize a capital gain or loss in an amount equal to the difference between your adjusted tax basis in the Shares and the amount received. Generally, this capital gain or loss is long-term or short-term depending on whether your holding period exceeds one year, except that any loss realized on Shares held for six months or less will be treated as a long-term capital loss to the extent of any capital gain dividends that were received on the Shares. Additionally, any loss realized on a sale or redemption of Shares of a Fund may be disallowed under “wash sale” rules to the extent the Shares disposed of are replaced with other Shares of that Fund within a period of 61 days beginning 30 days before and ending 30 days after the date of disposition, such as pursuant to a dividend reinvestment in Shares of that Fund. 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 28% 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 Funds and may be subject to estate tax with respect to their Fund Shares. Under a provision made permanent by Congress, non-U.S. investors generally are not subject to U.S. federal income tax withholding on certain distributions of interest income and/or short-term capital gains that are designated by the Funds. It is expected that the Funds will generally make designations of short-term gains, to the extent permitted, but the Funds do not intend to make designations of any distributions attributable to interest income. Therefore, all distributions of interest income will be subject to withholding when paid to non-U.S. investors.

Effective July 1, 2014, withholding of U.S. tax (at a 30% rate) is required with respect to payments of taxable dividends and (effective January 1, 2017) certain capital gain dividends made to certain non-U.S. entities that fail to comply (or be deemed compliant) with extensive new reporting and withholding requirements designed to inform the U.S. Department of the Treasury of U.S.-owned foreign investment accounts. Shareholders may be requested to provide additional information t to enable the applicable withholding agent to determine whether withholding is required.

 

30


TAXATION

 

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.

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.

 

31


Index Provider

The Goldman Sachs High Sharpe Ratio Index and Goldman Sachs Hedge Fund VIP Index are owned and maintained by the Index Provider, an affiliate of the Funds, and calculated by the Calculation Agent. The Calculation Agent publishes information regarding the market value of each Index. A Fund may hire an affiliate of the Fund and/or the Investment Adviser to serve as calculation agent.

 

32


Other Information

PREMIUM/DISCOUNT INFORMATION

The Funds have not yet commenced operations and, therefore, do not have information regarding how often the Shares of a Fund traded on NYSE Arca at a price above (i.e., at a premium) or below (i.e., at a discount) the NAV of the Fund to report.

CONTINUOUS OFFERING

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

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

Broker dealers who are not “underwriters” but are participating in a distribution (as contrasted to ordinary secondary trading transactions), and thus dealing with Shares that are part of an “unsold allotment” within the meaning of Section 4(3)(C) of the Securities Act, would be unable to take advantage of the prospectus delivery exemption provided by Section 4(3) of the Securities Act. This is because the prospectus delivery exemption in Section 4(3) of the Securities Act is not available in respect of such transactions as a result of Section 24(d) of the 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 Funds and the Investment Adviser may purchase and resell Fund Shares pursuant to this Prospectus.

DISTRIBUTION AND SERVICE PLAN

The Board of Trustees of the Trust has adopted a distribution and service plan (“Plan”) pursuant to Rule 12b-1 under the Investment Company Act. Under the Plan, each Fund is authorized to pay distribution fees in connection with the sale and distribution of its Shares and pay service fees in connection with the provision of ongoing services to shareholders of the Fund and the maintenance of shareholder accounts in an amount up to [ ]% of its average daily net assets each year.

No Rule 12b-1 fees are currently paid by the Funds, and there are no current plans to impose these fees. However, in the event Rule 12b-1 fees are charged in the future, because these fees are paid out of each Fund’s assets on an ongoing basis, these fees will increase the cost of your investment in the Funds. By purchasing Shares subject to distribution fees and service fees, you may pay more over time than you would by purchasing Shares with other types of sales charge arrangements. Long-term shareholders may pay more than the economic equivalent of the maximum front-end sales charge permitted by the rules of FINRA. The net income attributable to Shares will be reduced by the amount of distribution fees and service fees and other expenses of the Funds.

 

33


Appendix A

Additional Information on Portfolio Risks, Securities and Techniques

A. GENERAL PORTFOLIO RISKS

The Funds will be subject to the risks associated with equity investments. “Equity investments” may include common stocks, preferred stocks, interests in real estate investment trusts (“REITs”), convertible debt obligations, convertible preferred stocks, equity interests in trusts, partnerships, joint ventures, limited liability companies and similar enterprises, other investment companies (including ETFs), warrants, stock purchase rights and synthetic and derivative instruments (such as swaps and futures contracts) that have economic characteristics similar to equity securities. In general, the values of equity investments fluctuate in response to the activities of individual companies and in response to general market and economic conditions. Accordingly, the values of the equity investments that a Fund holds may decline over short or extended periods. The stock markets tend to be cyclical, with periods when stock prices generally rise and periods when prices generally decline. This volatility means that the value of your investment in a Fund may increase or decrease. In recent years, certain stock markets have experienced substantial price volatility. To the extent a Fund’s net assets decrease or increase in the future due to price volatility or share redemption or purchase activity, the Fund’s expense ratio may correspondingly increase or decrease from the expense ratio disclosed in this Prospectus.

To the extent a Fund invests in pooled investment vehicles (including investment companies and ETFs) and partnerships, that Fund will be affected by the investment policies, practices and performances of such entities in direct proportion to the amount of assets the Fund invests therein.

The following sections provide further information on certain types of securities and investment techniques that may be used by the Funds, including their associated risks. Additional information is provided in the SAI, which is available upon request. Among other things, the SAI describes certain fundamental investment restrictions that cannot be changed without shareholder approval. You should note, however, that all investment objectives, and all investment policies not specifically designated as fundamental are non-fundamental and may be changed without shareholder approval. If there is a change in a Fund’s investment objective, you should consider whether that Fund remains an appropriate investment in light of your then current financial position and needs.

B. OTHER PORTFOLIO RISKS

Index Risk. A Fund will be negatively affected by general declines in the securities and asset classes represented in its Index. In addition, because the Funds are not “actively” managed, unless a specific security is removed from an Index, a Fund generally would not sell a security because the security’s issuer was in financial trouble. Market disruptions and regulatory restrictions could have an adverse effect on a Fund’s ability to adjust its exposure to the required levels in order to track the Index. A Fund also does not attempt to take defensive positions under any market conditions, including declining markets. Therefore, a Fund’s performance could be lower than funds that may actively shift their portfolio assets to take advantage of market opportunities or to lessen the impact of a market decline or a decline in the value of one or more issuers. The Index Provider relies on third party data it believes to be reliable in constructing each Index, but it does not guarantee the accuracy or availability of such third party data. Errors in index data, index computation or the construction of an Index in accordance with its methodology may occur from time to time and may not be identified and corrected by the Index Provider for a period of time or at all, which may have an adverse impact on the applicable Fund and its shareholders. In addition, neither a Fund, the Investment Adviser nor the Index Provider can guarantee the availability or timeliness of the production of the Index.

Tracking Error Risk. Tracking error is the divergence of a Fund’s performance from that of its Index. The performance of a Fund may diverge from that of its Index for a number of reasons. Tracking error may occur because of transaction costs, a Fund’s holding of cash, differences in accrual of dividends, changes to its Index or the need to meet new or existing regulatory requirements. Unlike a Fund, the returns of an Index are not reduced by investment and other operating expenses, including the trading costs associated with implementing changes to its portfolio of investments. Tracking error risk may be heightened during

 

34


APPENDIX A

 

times of market volatility or other unusual market conditions. To the extent that a Fund calculates its NAV based on fair value prices and the value of its Index is based on securities’ closing prices (i.e., the value of the Index is not based on fair value prices), the Fund’s ability to track the Index may be adversely affected. A Fund may be required to deviate its investments from the securities and relative weightings of its respective Index to meet the issuer diversification requirements of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the “Code”), applicable to regulated investment companies, local market restrictions or other legal reasons. For tax efficiency purposes, a Fund may sell certain securities to realize losses, which will result in a deviation from its Index.

Risks of Investing in Mid-Capitalization and Small-Capitalization Companies. The Hedge Fund VIP ETF may, to the extent consistent with its investment policies, invest in mid- and small-capitalization companies. Investments in mid- and small-capitalization companies involve greater risk and portfolio price volatility than investments in larger capitalization stocks. Among the reasons for the greater price volatility of these investments are the less certain growth prospects of smaller firms and the lower degree of liquidity in the markets for such securities. Mid- and small- capitalization companies may be thinly traded and may have to be sold at a discount from current market prices or in small lots over an extended period of time. In addition, these securities are subject to the risk that during certain periods the liquidity of particular issuers or industries, or all securities in particular investment categories, will shrink or disappear suddenly and without warning as a result of adverse economic or market conditions, or adverse investor perceptions whether or not accurate. Because of the lack of sufficient market liquidity, the Fund may incur losses because it will be required to effect sales at a disadvantageous time and only then at a substantial drop in price. Mid- and small-capitalization companies include “unseasoned” issuers that do not have an established financial history; often have limited product lines, markets or financial resources; may depend on or use a few key personnel for management; and may be susceptible to losses and risks of bankruptcy. Mid- and small-capitalization companies may be operating at a loss or have significant variations in operating results; may be engaged in a rapidly changing business with products subject to a substantial risk of obsolescence; may require substantial additional capital to support their operations, to finance expansion or to maintain their competitive position; and may have substantial borrowings or may otherwise have a weak financial condition. In addition, these companies may face intense competition, including competition from companies with greater financial resources, more extensive development, manufacturing, marketing, and other capabilities, and a larger number of qualified managerial and technical personnel. Transaction costs for these investments are often higher than those of larger capitalization companies. Investments in mid- and small-capitalization companies may be more difficult to price precisely than other types of securities because of their characteristics and lower trading volumes.

Risks of Foreign Investments. The Hedge Fund VIP ETF may make foreign investments. Foreign investments involve special risks that are not typically associated with U.S. dollar denominated or quoted securities of U.S. issuers. Foreign investments may be affected by changes in currency rates, changes in foreign or U.S. laws or restrictions applicable to such investments and changes in exchange control regulations (e.g., currency blockage). A decline in the exchange rate of the currency (i.e., weakening of the currency against the U.S. dollar) in which a portfolio security is quoted or denominated relative to the U.S. dollar would reduce the value of the portfolio security. In addition, if the currency in which the Fund receives dividends, interest or other payments declines in value against the U.S. dollar before such income is distributed as dividends to shareholders or converted to U.S. dollars, the Fund may have to sell portfolio securities to obtain sufficient cash to pay such dividends.

Certain foreign markets may rely heavily on particular industries or foreign capital and are more vulnerable to diplomatic developments, the imposition of economic sanctions against a particular country or countries, organizations, entities and/or individuals, changes in international trading patterns, trade barriers, and other protectionist or retaliatory measures. International trade barriers or economic sanctions against foreign countries, organizations, entities and/or individuals may adversely affect the Fund’s foreign holdings or exposures.

Brokerage commissions, custodial services and other costs relating to investment in international securities markets generally are more expensive than in the United States. In addition, clearance and settlement procedures may be different in foreign countries and, in certain markets, such procedures have been unable to keep pace with the volume of securities transactions, thus making it difficult to conduct such transactions.

Foreign issuers are not generally subject to uniform accounting, auditing and financial reporting standards comparable to those applicable to U.S. issuers. There may be less publicly available information about a foreign issuer than about a U.S. issuer. In addition, there is generally less government regulation of foreign markets, companies and securities dealers than in the United States, and the legal remedies for investors may be more limited than the remedies available in the United States. Foreign

 

35


APPENDIX A

 

securities markets may have substantially less volume than U.S. securities markets and securities of many foreign issuers are less liquid and more volatile than securities of comparable domestic issuers. Furthermore, with respect to certain foreign countries, there is a possibility of nationalization, expropriation or confiscatory taxation, imposition of withholding or other taxes on dividend or interest payments (or, in some cases, capital gains distributions), limitations on the removal of funds or other assets from such countries, and risks of political or social instability or diplomatic developments which could adversely affect investments in those countries.

Certain foreign investments may become less liquid in response to social, political or market developments or adverse investor perceptions, or become illiquid after purchase by a Fund, particularly during periods of market turmoil. Certain foreign investments may become illiquid when, for instance, there are few, if any, interested buyers and sellers or when dealers are unwilling to make a market for certain securities. When the Fund holds illiquid investments, its portfolio may be harder to value, especially in changing markets.

Concentration of the Fund’s assets in one or a few countries and currencies will subject the Fund to greater risks than if the Fund’s assets were not geographically concentrated.

Investments in foreign securities may take the form of sponsored and ADRs, GDRs, European Depositary Receipts (“EDRs”) or other similar instruments representing securities of foreign issuers. ADRs, GDRs and EDRs represent the right to receive securities of foreign issuers deposited in a bank or other depository. ADRs and certain GDRs are traded in the United States. GDRs may be traded in either the United States or in foreign markets. EDRs are traded primarily outside the United States. Prices of ADRs are quoted in U.S. dollars. EDRs and GDRs are not necessarily quoted in the same currency as the underlying security.

Foreign Custody Risk. The Hedge Fund VIP ETF may hold foreign securities and cash with Foreign Custodians. Some Foreign Custodians may be recently organized or new to the foreign custody business. In some countries, Foreign Custodians may be subject to little or no regulatory oversight over or independent evaluation of their operations. Further, the laws of certain countries may place limitations on the Fund’s ability to recover assets if a Foreign Custodian enters bankruptcy. Investments in emerging market countries may be subject to even greater custody risks than investments in more developed markets. Custody services in emerging market countries are very often undeveloped and may be considerably less well regulated than in more developed countries, and thus may not afford the same level of investor protection as would apply in developed countries.

Risks of Derivative Investments. The Funds may invest in derivative instruments including without limitation, options, futures, options on futures, forwards, participation notes, swaps, options on swaps, structured securities and other derivatives relating to foreign currency transactions. Losses from investments in derivative instruments can result from a lack of correlation between changes in the value of derivative instruments and the portfolio assets (if any) being hedged, the potential illiquidity of the markets for derivative instruments, the failure of the counterparty to perform its contractual obligations, or the risks arising from margin requirements and related leverage factors associated with such transactions. Losses may also arise if the Funds receive cash collateral under the transactions and some or all of that collateral is invested in the market. To the extent that cash collateral is so invested, such collateral will be subject to market depreciation or appreciation, and a Fund may be responsible for any loss that might result from its investment of the counterparty’s cash collateral. Investments in derivative instruments may be harder to value, subject to greater volatility and more likely subject to changes in tax treatment than other investments.

Risks of Illiquid Securities. Each Fund may invest up to 15% of its net assets in illiquid securities, which are those that cannot be disposed of in seven days in the ordinary course of business at approximately the price at which a Fund values the instrument. Illiquid securities, in which some or all of the Funds may invest, include:

 

  Both domestic and foreign securities that are not readily marketable

 

  Repurchase agreements and time deposits with a notice or demand period of more than seven days

 

  Certain over-the-counter options

 

  Certain structured securities and swap transactions

 

  Certain restricted securities, unless it is determined, based upon a review of the trading markets for a specific restricted security, that such restricted security is liquid because it is so called “4(2) commercial paper” or is otherwise eligible for resale pursuant to Rule 144A under the Securities Act (“144A Securities”).

 

36


APPENDIX A

 

Investing in 144A Securities may decrease the liquidity of a Fund’s portfolio to the extent that qualified institutional buyers become for a time uninterested in purchasing these restricted securities. The purchase price and subsequent valuation of restricted and illiquid securities normally reflect a discount, which may be significant, from the market price of comparable securities for which a liquid market exists.

Investments purchased by a Fund, particularly over-the-counter traded instruments, that are liquid at the time of purchase may subsequently become illiquid due to events relating to the issuer of the securities, markets events, economic conditions or investor perceptions. Domestic and foreign markets are becoming more and more complex and interrelated, so that events in one sector of the market or the economy, or in one geographical region, can reverberate and have negative consequences for other market, economic or regional sectors in a manner that may not be reasonably foreseen. With respect to over-the-counter traded securities, the continued viability of any over-the-counter secondary market depends on the continued willingness of dealers and other participants to purchase the instruments.

If one or more instruments in a Fund’s portfolio become illiquid, the Fund may exceed its 15 percent limitation in illiquid instruments. In the event that changes in the portfolio or other external events cause the investments in illiquid instruments to exceed 15 percent of a Fund’s net assets, the Fund must take steps to bring the aggregate amount of illiquid instruments back within the prescribed limitations as soon as reasonably practicable. This requirement would not force a Fund to liquidate any portfolio instrument where the Fund would suffer a loss on the sale of that instrument.

In cases where no clear indication of the value of a Fund’s portfolio instruments is available, the portfolio instruments will be valued at their fair value according to the valuation procedures approved by the Board of Trustees. These cases include, among others, situations where a security or other asset or liability does not have a price source, or the secondary markets on which an investment has previously been traded are no longer viable, due to its lack of liquidity. For more information on fair valuation, please see “Shareholder Guide—Net Asset Value.”

C. PORTFOLIO SECURITIES AND TECHNIQUES

This section provides further information on certain types of securities and investment techniques that may be used by the Funds, including their associated risks.

The Funds may purchase other types of securities or instruments similar to those described in this section if otherwise consistent with the Fund’s investment objective and policies. Further information is provided in the SAI, which is available upon request.

Other Investment Companies. Each Fund may invest in securities of other investment companies, including ETFs, subject to statutory limitations prescribed by the Investment Company Act. These limitations include in certain circumstances a prohibition on any Fund acquiring more than 3% of the voting Shares of any other investment company, and a prohibition on investing more than 5% of a Fund’s total assets in securities of any one investment company or more than 10% of its total assets in securities of all investment companies.

Pursuant to an exemptive order obtained from the SEC or under an exemptive rule adopted by the SEC, a Fund may invest in certain other investment companies and money market funds beyond the statutory limits described above. Some of those investment companies and money market funds may be funds for which the Investment Adviser or any of their affiliates serves as investment adviser, administrator or distributor.

A Fund will indirectly bear its proportionate share of any management fees and other expenses paid by such other investment companies, in addition to the fees and expenses regularly borne by the Fund. Although the Funds do not expect to do so in the foreseeable future, each Fund is authorized to invest substantially all of its assets in a single open-end investment company or series thereof that has substantially the same investment objective, policies and fundamental restrictions as the Fund.

Preferred Stock, Warrants and Stock Purchase Rights. Each Fund may invest in preferred stock, warrants and stock purchase rights (or “rights”). Preferred stocks are securities that represent an ownership interest providing the holder with claims on the issuer’s earnings and assets before common stock owners but after bond owners. Unlike debt securities, the obligations of an issuer of preferred stock, including dividend and other payment obligations, may not typically be accelerated by the holders of such preferred stock on the occurrence of an event of default or other non-compliance by the issuer of the preferred stock.

 

37


APPENDIX A

 

Warrants and other rights are options to buy a stated number of shares of common stock at a specified price at any time during the life of the warrant or right. The holders of warrants and rights have no voting rights, receive no dividends and have no rights with respect to the assets of the issuer.

Lending of Portfolio Securities. Each Fund may engage in securities lending. Securities lending involves the lending of securities owned by a Fund to financial institutions such as certain broker-dealers. The borrowers are required to secure their loans continuously with cash, cash equivalents, U.S. government securities or letters of credit in an amount at least equal to the market value of the securities loaned. Cash collateral may be invested by a Fund in short-term investments, including registered and unregistered investment pools managed by the Investment Adviser or its affiliates and from which the Investment Adviser or its affiliates may receive fees. To the extent that cash collateral is so invested, such collateral will be subject to market depreciation or appreciation, and a Fund will be responsible for any loss that might result from its investment of the borrowers’ collateral. If the Investment Adviser determines to make securities loans, the value of the securities loaned may not exceed 33 1/3% of the value of the total assets of a Fund (including the loan collateral). Loan collateral (including any investment of that collateral) is not subject to the percentage limitations regarding a Fund’s investments described elsewhere in this Prospectus.

Repurchase Agreements. Repurchase agreements involve the purchase of securities subject to the seller’s agreement to repurchase them at a mutually agreed upon date and price. Each Fund may enter into repurchase agreements with counterparties that furnish collateral at least equal in value or market price to the amount of their repurchase obligations. The collateral may consist of any type of security in which a Fund is eligible to invest directly. Repurchase agreements involving obligations other than U.S. government securities may be subject to additional risks.

If the other party or “seller” defaults, a Fund might suffer a loss to the extent that the proceeds from the sale of the underlying securities and other collateral held by the Fund are less than the repurchase price and the Fund’s costs associated with delay and enforcement of the repurchase agreement. In addition, in the event of bankruptcy of the seller, a Fund could suffer additional losses if a court determines that the Fund’s interest in the collateral is not enforceable.

Certain Funds, together with other registered investment companies having advisory agreements with the Investment Adviser or any of its affiliates, may transfer uninvested cash balances into a single joint account, the daily aggregate balance of which will be invested in one or more repurchase agreements.

Borrowings and Reverse Repurchase Agreements. Each Fund can borrow money from banks and other financial institutions and may enter into reverse repurchase agreements in amounts not exceeding one-third of the Fund’s total assets (including the amount borrowed or received).

Reverse repurchase agreements involve the sale of securities held by a Fund subject to the Fund’s agreement to repurchase them at a mutually agreed upon date and price (including interest). These transactions may be entered into as a temporary measure for emergency purposes or to meet redemption requests. Reverse repurchase agreements may also be entered into when the Investment Adviser expects that the interest income to be earned from the investment of the transaction proceeds will be greater than the related interest expense.

Borrowings and reverse repurchase agreements involve leveraging. If the securities held by a Fund decline in value while these transactions are outstanding, the NAV of the Fund’s outstanding Shares will decline in value by proportionately more than the decline in value of the securities. In addition, reverse repurchase agreements involve the risk that the investment return earned by a Fund (from the investment of the proceeds) will be less than the interest expense of the transaction, that the market value of the securities sold by the Fund will decline below the price the Fund is obligated to pay to repurchase the securities, and that the securities may not be returned to the Fund. The Fund must identify on its books liquid assets, or engage in other appropriate measures, to “cover” open positions with respect to its transactions in reverse repurchase agreements.

Asset Segregation. As an investment company registered with the SEC, the Funds must identify on its books (often referred to as “asset segregation”) liquid assets, or engage in other SEC or SEC-staff approved or other appropriate measures, to “cover” open positions with respect to certain kinds of derivative instruments. In the case of swaps, futures contracts, options, forward contracts and other derivative instruments that do not cash settle, for example, the Funds must identify on their books liquid assets equal to the full notional amount of the instrument while the positions are open, to the extent there is not an offsetting position. However, with respect to certain swaps, futures contracts, options, forward contracts and other derivative instruments

 

38


APPENDIX A

 

that are required to cash settle, a Fund may identify liquid assets in an amount equal to the Fund’s daily marked-to-market net obligations (i.e., the Fund’s daily net liability) under the instrument, if any, rather than its full notional amount. The Funds reserve the right to modify their asset segregation policies in the future in its discretion, consistent with the Investment Company Act and SEC or SEC-staff guidance. By identifying assets equal to only its net obligations under certain instruments, the Funds will have the ability to employ leverage to a greater extent than if the Funds were required to identify assets equal to the full notional amount of the instrument.

 

39


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40


Appendix B

Financial Highlights

Because the Funds have not commenced investment operations as of the date of this Prospectus, financial highlights are not available.

 

41


APPENDIX C

Appendix C

Prior Performance of the Goldman Sachs High Sharpe Ratio Basket

During the period from [    ] to [    ] (the “Prior Period”) the Global Investment Research division of Goldman Sachs (“GIR”) published the Goldman Sachs High Sharpe Ratio Basket (the “Basket”), on which the Goldman Sachs High Sharpe Ratio Index (the “Index”) is based. The following tables set forth the average annual total returns of the Basket as reflected in the published research of GIR during the Prior Period. Although the Index is based on the Basket, under certain circumstances, the historical constituents of the Index, if the Index had existed during the Prior Period, would not have matched the constituents of the Basket. As a result, the average annual total returns of the Index, if it had existed during the Prior Period, would differ from the average annual total returns of the Basket as reflected in the published research of GIR during the Prior Period.

The information is provided for illustrative purposes only and solely to imply what past performance of the Index might have been during the Prior Period and does not represent the performance of the Index after this date nor the performance of the Goldman Sachs High Sharpe Ratio ETF. Investors should not consider this historical performance data a substitute for the performance of the Goldman Sachs High Sharpe Ratio ETF, nor should investors consider this data an indication of the future performance of the Index or of the Goldman Sachs High Sharpe Ratio ETF. The securities held by the Goldman Sachs High Sharpe Ratio ETF will not be identical to the constituents of the Basket for the periods shown below. In addition, the Goldman Sachs High Sharpe Ratio ETF is subject to certain fees and expenses. The Index is unmanaged, and investors cannot invest directly in the Index.

 

     Average Annual Total Returns For
The Periods

Ended [ ]
 
     1 Year     5 Years     Since Inception
[date]
 

Goldman Sachs High Sharpe Ratio Basket

     [ ]%      [ ]%      [ ]% 

 

42


APPENDIX C

 

Prior Performance of the Goldman Sachs Hedge Fund VIP Basket

During the period from [    ] to [    ] (the “Prior Period”) the Global Investment Research division of Goldman Sachs (“GIR”) published the Goldman Sachs Hedge Fund VIP Basket (the “Basket”), on which the Goldman Sachs Hedge Fund VIP Index (the “Index”) is based. The following tables set forth the average annual total returns of the Basket as reflected in the published research of GIR during the Prior Period. Although the Index is based on the Basket, under certain circumstances, the historical constituents of the Index, if the Index had existed during the Prior Period, would not have matched the constituents of the Basket. As a result, the average annual total returns of the Index, if it had existed during the Prior Period, would differ from the average annual total returns of the Basket as reflected in the published research of GIR during the Prior Period.

The information is provided for illustrative purposes only and solely to imply what past performance of the Index might have been during the Prior Period and does not represent the performance of the Index after this date nor the performance of the Goldman Sachs Hedge Fund VIP ETF. Investors should not consider this historical performance data a substitute for the performance of the Goldman Sachs Hedge Fund VIP ETF, nor should investors consider this data an indication of the future performance of the Index or of the Goldman Sachs Hedge Fund VIP ETF. The securities held by the Goldman Sachs Hedge Fund VIP ETF will not be identical to the constituents of the Basket for the periods shown below. In addition, the Goldman Sachs Hedge Fund VIP ETF is subject to certain fees and expenses. The Index is unmanaged, and investors cannot invest directly in the Index.

 

     Average Annual Total Returns For
The Periods

Ended [ ]
 
     1 Year     5 Years     Since Inception
[date]
 

Goldman Sachs Hedge Fund VIP Basket

     [ ]%      [ ]%      [ ]% 

 

43


Goldman Sachs High Sharpe Ratio ETF and

Goldman Sachs Hedge Fund VIP ETF

Prospectus

FOR MORE INFORMATION

Annual/Semi-annual Report

Additional information about the Funds’ investments will be available in the Funds’ annual and semi-annual reports to shareholders. In the Funds’ annual reports, you will find a discussion of the market conditions and investment strategies that significantly affected the Funds’ performance during the last fiscal year.

Statement of Additional Information

Additional information about the Funds and their policies is also available in the Funds’ SAI. The SAI is incorporated by reference into this Prospectus (is legally considered part of this Prospectus).

The Funds’ annual and semi-annual reports (when available) and the SAI are available free upon request by calling Goldman Sachs Funds at 1-800-621-2550. You can also access and download the annual and semi-annual reports (when available) and the SAI at the Funds’ website: http://www.gsamfunds.com/summaries.

From time to time, certain announcements and other information regarding the Funds may be found at http://www.gsamfunds.com/announcements-ind for individual investors or

http://www.gsamfunds.com/announcements for advisers.

To obtain other information and for shareholder inquiries:

 

   Shareholders/Authorized Participants    Financial Advisors

•       By telephone:

   1-800-621-2550    1-800-292-4726

•       By mail:

  

                Goldman Sachs Funds

                P.O. Box 06050

                Chicago, IL 60606-6306

•       On the Internet:

                   SEC EDGAR database –http://www.sec.gov

You may review and obtain copies of Trust documents (including the SAI) by visiting the SEC’s public reference room in Washington, D.C. You may also obtain copies of Trust documents, after paying a duplicating fee, by writing to the SEC’s Public Reference Section, Washington, D.C. 20549-1520 or by electronic request to: publicinfo@sec.gov. Information on the operation of the public reference room may be obtained by calling the SEC at (202) 551-8090.

 

[CODE]   

The Trust’s investment company registration number is 811-23103

GSAM® is a registered service mark of Goldman, Sachs & Co.

   LOGO

 

44


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 securities and is not soliciting an offer to buy these securities in any state where the offer or sale is not permitted.

PRELIMINARY STATEMENT OF ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

DATED FEBRUARY 8, 2016

SUBJECT TO COMPLETION

STATEMENT OF ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

DATED [•], 2016

 

FUND

  

PRINCIPAL U.S.
LISTING
EXCHANGE

   TICKER
SYMBOL

GOLDMAN SACHS HIGH SHARPE RATIO ETF

   NYSE Arca, Inc.    [•]

GOLDMAN SACHS HEDGE FUND VIP ETF

   NYSE Arca, Inc.    [•]

(Portfolios of Goldman Sachs ETF Trust)

Goldman Sachs ETF Trust

200 West Street

New York, New York 10282

This Statement of Additional Information (the “SAI”) is not a Prospectus. This SAI should be read in conjunction with the prospectus for the Goldman Sachs High Sharpe Ratio ETF and Goldman Sachs Hedge Fund VIP ETF (the “Funds”), dated [•], 2016, as it may be further amended and/or supplemented from time to time (the “Prospectus”). The Prospectus may be obtained without charge from Goldman, Sachs & Co. by calling 1-800-621-2550 or writing to Goldman Sachs Funds, P.O. Box 06050, Chicago, Illinois 60606.

The Funds’ Annual Report (when available) may be obtained upon request and without charge by calling Goldman, Sachs & Co. toll free at 1-800-621-2550.

GSAM® is a registered service mark of Goldman, Sachs & Co.


TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

INTRODUCTION

     B-1   

EXCHANGE LISTING AND TRADING

     B-1   

INDEX CONSTRUCTION AND METHODOLOGY

     B-2   

INVESTMENT OBJECTIVES AND POLICIES

     B-3   

DESCRIPTION OF INVESTMENT SECURITIES AND PRACTICES

     B-5   

INVESTMENT RESTRICTIONS

     B-31   

TRUSTEES AND OFFICERS

     B-32   

MANAGEMENT SERVICES

     B-42   

POTENTIAL CONFLICTS OF INTEREST

     B-46   

CREATIONS AND REDEMPTIONS

     B-53   

BOOK ENTRY ONLY SYSTEM

     B-58   

PORTFOLIO TRANSACTIONS AND BROKERAGE

     B-60   

DETERMINATION OF NET ASSET VALUE

     B-62   

SHARES OF THE TRUST

     B-63   

TAXATION

     B-65   

FINANCIAL STATEMENTS

     B-70   

PROXY VOTING

     B-70   

PAYMENTS TO INTERMEDIARIES

     B-71   

OTHER INFORMATION

     B-73   

CONTROL PERSONS AND PRINCIPAL HOLDERS OF SECURITIES

     B-73   

APPENDIX A DESCRIPTION OF SECURITIES RATINGS

     1-A   

APPENDIX B GSAM PROXY VOTING GUIDELINES SUMMARY

     1-B   

The date of this SAI is [•], 2016.

 

i


GOLDMAN SACHS ASSET MANAGEMENT, L.P.    [•]
Investment Adviser    Distributor
200 West Street    [•]
New York, New York 10282   

[•]

Transfer Agent

[•]

Toll-free (in U.S.) 1-800-621-2550 (for Shareholders/Authorized Participants) or 1-800-292-4726 (for Financial Advisors).

 

ii


INTRODUCTION

Goldman Sachs ETF Trust (the “Trust”) is an open-end management investment company. The Trust is organized as a Delaware statutory trust and was established by an Agreement and Declaration of Trust dated December 16, 2009. The following series of the Trust are described in this SAI: Goldman Sachs High Sharpe Ratio ETF and Goldman Sachs Hedge Fund VIP ETF. Each Fund is passively-managed and seeks to track a specified index: Goldman Sachs High Sharpe Ratio Index and Goldman Sachs Hedge Fund VIP Index, respectively (each, an “Index” and collectively, the “Indexes”).

The Trustees of the Trust have authority under the Declaration of Trust to create and classify Shares of the Trust into separate series. Pursuant thereto, the Trustees have created the Funds and other series. Additional series may be added in the future from time to time. See “SHARES OF THE TRUST.”

Goldman Sachs Asset Management, L.P. (“GSAM” or the “Investment Adviser”), an affiliate of Goldman, Sachs & Co. (“Goldman Sachs”), serves as the Investment Adviser to the Funds. In addition, [•] serves as the Funds’ distributor, and [•] serves as the Funds’ transfer agent. The Funds’ custodian is [•], which also provides administrative services to the Funds.

The following information relates to and supplements the description of each Fund’s investment policies contained in the Prospectus. See the Prospectus for a more complete description of the Funds’ investment objectives and policies. Investing in a Fund entails certain risks, and there is no assurance that a Fund will achieve its investment objective. Capitalized terms used but not defined herein have the same meaning as in the Prospectus.

EXCHANGE LISTING AND TRADING

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

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

The Exchange may, but is not required to, remove the Shares of a Fund from listing if: (1) following the initial twelve-month period beginning upon the commencement of trading of the Funds, there are fewer than 50 beneficial holders of the Shares for 30 or more consecutive trading days; (2) the value of its underlying index or portfolio of securities on which the Fund is based is no longer calculated or available; (3) the “intra-day indicative value” (“IIV”) of the Funds is no longer calculated or available; or (4) such other event shall occur or condition exists that, in the opinion of the Exchange, makes further dealings on the Exchange inadvisable. In addition, the Exchange will remove the Shares of a 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 each 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 IIV for each Fund as calculated by an information provider or market data vendor. The Trust, GSAM, and their affiliates, are not responsible for any aspect of the calculation or dissemination of the IIVs and make no representation or warranty as to the accuracy of the IIVs.

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

 

B-1


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

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

The base and trading currencies of the Funds are the U.S. dollar. The base currency is the currency in which a 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.

INDEX CONSTRUCTION AND METHODOLOGY

Goldman Sachs Asset Management, L.P. (the “Index Provider”) is the provider of each Fund’s Index, each of which is constructed in accordance with a rules-based methodology.

Goldman Sachs High Sharpe Ratio Index

1. Calculation of Prospective Sharpe Ratios

Constituent stocks of the [US Large Cap Index] are eligible for inclusion in the Index. Consensus prospective price returns are measured using third-party data calculated based on individual analyst targets collected during the previous 90 days. Projected volatility is measured using at-the-money options as of the previous business day. Stocks for which such consensus price targets or implied volatility data are unavailable are excluded from consideration. Prospective Sharpe ratios are calculated for each stock in accordance with the following formula:

 

  Prospective Sharpe Ratio    =     

 

 

Consensus prospective price return

  
       

Implied volatility during the upcoming six months

(implied by the options market)

  

2. Selection of Index Constituents

Stocks being considered for the Index are ranked within their appropriate sector by descending prospective Sharpe ratio. The stocks with the highest ratio in each sector are chosen as constituents until 50 total stocks are selected.

3. Weighting

The percentage of stocks selected from each sector in the Index approximates the sector’s market-cap weight in the [US Large Cap Index] provided that, if a sector represents significantly less than 2% of the market-cap weight of such index, it may not be included in the Index. Constituents are each equal-weighted with a 2% basket weight at the time of selection and allowed to float due to variations in individual constituent performance until the next rebalance date.

4. Rebalancing

The Index is reconstituted and rebalanced in June and December.

Goldman Sachs Hedge Fund VIP Index

1. Determination of Hedge Fund Universe

To seek to isolate hedge funds that employ fundamental analysis (rather than quantitative analysis or private equity driven funds), the Index screens a third-party database to restrict the universe of hedge funds to U.S. hedge funds with no fewer than 10 and

 

B-2


no more than 200 distinct U.S. equity positions, as reported in the hedge funds’ most recent Form 13F filings. Also excluded are funds with less than $10 million of disclosed equity assets and funds that report holdings on a date other than the previous calendar quarter end. The resulting set of hedge funds forms the “Hedge Fund Universe.”

2. Stock Selection

Three business days after the SEC-mandated 45-day deadline for 13F filings, the most recent regulatory filings reported to the SEC (“13F filings”) are retrieved for each of the members of the Hedge Fund Universe. The equity positions reported by each of the members are valued using the reported share counts multiplied by prices adjusted for splits and spin-offs from the reporting date through the previous night’s market close to calculate the most recent dollar market value of each reported position.

The equity positions reported by members of the Hedge Fund Universe are ranked by descending market value for each member. The 50 stocks that appear most frequently in the top ten holdings of the Hedge Fund Universe are selected as Index constituents.

3. Weighting

Constituents are each equal-weighted with a 2% basket weight at the time of selection and allowed to float due to variations in individual constituent performance until the next rebalance date.

4. Rebalancing

Every quarter, three business days after the SEC-mandated 45-day deadline for 13F filings, the Index is reconstituted according to the Index methodology and rebalanced as of [the close of the following business day].

Index Maintenance – Each Index

Between rebalancings, constituents can be removed from each Index due to issuer-specific events, including takeovers, delisting from an exchange, or bankruptcy. If a constituent is removed, its respective weight within the Index will be distributed across the remaining constituents. Between rebalancings, spin-off companies from constituents that otherwise meet the Index’s criteria will be added to the Index on the ex-date of the spin-off. The new constituent’s weight will be derived by the weight of the parent company as of the ex-date and the terms of the spin-off.

INVESTMENT OBJECTIVES AND POLICIES

Each Fund has a distinct investment objective and policies. The investment objective of each Fund is to provide investment results that closely correspond, before fees and expenses, to the performance of the Fund’s underlying index. The Funds issue and redeem shares in exchange for in-kind securities or instruments. There can be no assurance that a Fund’s investment objective will be achieved. Each Fund is a diversified series of an open-end management company as defined in the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended (the “Investment Company Act” or the “Act”). The investment objective and policies of each Fund, and the associated risks of the Funds, are discussed in the Prospectus, which should be read carefully before an investment is made. All investment objectives and investment policies not specifically designated as fundamental may be changed without shareholder approval.

Each 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”), if any. 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.

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

 

B-3


The Trust, on behalf of each Fund, has filed a notice of eligibility claiming an exclusion from the definition of the term “commodity pool operator” (“CPO”) under the Commodity Exchange Act (“CEA”) and therefore is not subject to registration or regulation as a CPO under the CEA.

 

B-4


DESCRIPTION OF INVESTMENT SECURITIES AND PRACTICES

Asset Segregation

As investment companies registered with the SEC, the Funds must identify on their books (often referred to as “asset segregation”) liquid assets, or engage in other SEC or SEC-staff approved or other appropriate measures, to “cover” open positions with respect to certain kinds of derivative instruments. In the case of swaps, futures contracts, options, forward contracts and other derivative instruments that do not cash settle, for example, a Fund must identify on its books liquid assets equal to the full notional amount of the instrument while the positions are open, to the extent there is not an offsetting position. However, with respect to certain swaps, futures contracts, options, forward contracts and other derivative instruments that are required to cash settle, a Fund may identify liquid assets in an amount equal to the Fund’s daily marked-to-market net obligations (i.e., the Fund’s daily net liability) under the instrument, if any, rather than its full notional amount. The Funds reserve the right to modify their asset segregation policies in the future in their discretion, consistent with the Investment Company Act and SEC or SEC-staff guidance. By identifying assets equal to only its net obligations under certain instruments, a Fund will have the ability to employ leverage to a greater extent than if the Fund were required to identify assets equal to the full notional amount of the instrument.

Commercial Paper and Other Short-Term Corporate Obligations

The Funds may invest in commercial paper and other short-term obligations issued or guaranteed by U.S. corporations, non-U.S. corporations or other entities. Commercial paper represents short-term unsecured promissory notes issued in bearer form by banks or bank holding companies, corporations and finance companies.

Convertible Securities

The Funds may invest in convertible securities. Convertible securities are bonds, debentures, notes, preferred stocks or other securities that may be converted into or exchanged for a specified amount of common stock (or other securities) of the same or different issuer within a particular period of time at a specified price or formula. A convertible security entitles the holder to receive interest that is generally paid or accrued on debt or a dividend that is paid or accrued on preferred stock until the convertible security matures or is redeemed, converted or exchanged. Convertible securities have unique investment characteristics, in that they generally (i) have higher yields than common stocks, but lower yields than comparable non-convertible securities, (ii) are less subject to fluctuation in value than the underlying common stock due to their fixed-income characteristics and (iii) provide the potential for capital appreciation if the market price of the underlying common stock increases.

The value of a convertible security is a function of its “investment value” (determined by its yield in comparison with the yields of other securities of comparable maturity and quality that do not have a conversion privilege) and its “conversion value” (the security’s worth, at market value, if converted into the underlying common stock). The investment value of a convertible security is influenced by changes in interest rates, with investment value normally declining as interest rates increase and increasing as interest rates decline. The credit standing of the issuer and other factors may also have an effect on the convertible security’s investment value. The conversion value of a convertible security is determined by the market price of the underlying common stock. If the conversion value is low relative to the investment value, the price of the convertible security is governed principally by its investment value. To the extent the market price of the underlying common stock approaches or exceeds the conversion price, the price of the convertible security will be increasingly influenced by its conversion value. A convertible security generally will sell at a premium over its conversion value by the extent to which investors place value on the right to acquire the underlying common stock while holding a fixed income security.

A convertible security may be subject to redemption at the option of the issuer at a price established in the convertible security’s governing instrument. If a convertible security held by a Fund is called for redemption, the Fund will be required to permit the issuer to redeem the security, convert it into the underlying common stock or sell it to a third party or permit the issuer to redeem the security. Any of these actions could have an adverse effect on a Fund’s ability to achieve its investment objective, which, in turn, could result in losses to the Fund. To the extent that a Fund holds a convertible security, or a security that is otherwise converted or exchanged for common stock (e.g., as a result of a restructuring), the Fund may, consistent with its investment objective, hold such common stock in its portfolio.

 

B-5


Corporate Debt Obligations

Each Fund may invest in corporate debt obligations, including obligations of industrial, utility and financial issuers. Corporate debt obligations include bonds, notes, debentures and other obligations of corporations to pay interest and repay principal. Corporate debt obligations are subject to the risk of an issuer’s inability to meet principal and interest payments on the obligations and may also be subject to price volatility due to such factors as market interest rates, market perception of the creditworthiness of the issuer and general market liquidity.

Corporate debt obligations rated BBB or Baa are considered medium grade obligations with speculative characteristics, and adverse economic conditions or changing circumstances may weaken their issuers’ capacity to pay interest and repay principal. Medium to lower rated and comparable non-rated securities tend to offer higher yields than higher rated securities with the same maturities because the historical financial condition of the issuers of such securities may not have been as strong as that of other issuers. The price of corporate debt obligations will generally fluctuate in response to fluctuations in supply and demand for similarly rated securities. In addition, the price of corporate debt obligations will generally fluctuate in response to interest rate levels. Fluctuations in the prices of portfolio securities subsequent to their acquisition will not affect cash income from such securities but will be reflected in a Fund’s NAV. Because medium to lower rated securities generally involve greater risks of loss of income and principal than higher rated securities, investors should consider carefully the relative risks associated with investment in securities which carry medium to lower ratings and in comparable unrated securities. In addition to the risk of default, there are the related costs of recovery on defaulted issues.

Index Swaps, Interest Rate Swaps, Mortgage Swaps, Credit Swaps, Currency Swaps, Total Return Swaps, Volatility and Variance Swaps, Inflation and Inflation Asset Swaps, Correlation Swaps, Options on Swaps and Interest Rate Caps, Floors and Collars

The Funds may enter into interest rate, credit, total return, mortgage and currency swaps. The Funds may also enter into interest rate caps, floors and collars. The Funds may also purchase and write (sell) options contracts on swaps, commonly referred to as swaptions. The Funds may enter into index swaps, volatility and variance swaps, inflation and inflation asset swaps and correlation swaps.

The Funds may enter into swap transactions for hedging purposes or to seek to increase total return. As examples, a Fund may enter into swap transactions for the purpose of attempting to obtain or preserve a particular return or spread at a lower cost than obtaining a return or spread through purchases and/or sales of instruments in other markets, to protect against currency fluctuations, as a duration management technique, to protect against any increase in the price of securities the Fund anticipates purchasing at a later date, or to gain exposure to certain markets in an economical way.

In a standard “swap” transaction, two parties agree to exchange the returns, differentials in rates of return or some other amount earned or realized on particular predetermined investments or instruments, which may be adjusted for an interest factor. The gross returns to be exchanged or “swapped” between the parties are generally calculated with respect to a “notional amount,” i.e., the return on or increase in value of a particular dollar amount invested at a particular interest rate, in a particular foreign currency or security, or in a “basket” of securities representing a particular index. Bilateral swap agreements are two party contracts entered into primarily by institutional investors. Cleared swaps are transacted through futures commission merchants (“FCMs”) that are members of central clearinghouses with the clearinghouse serving as a central counterparty similar to transactions in futures contracts. Each Fund posts initial and variation margin by making payments to their clearing member FCMs.

Index swaps involve the exchange by a Fund with another party of payments based on a notional principal amount of a specified index or indices. Interest rate swaps involve the exchange by a Fund with another party of their respective commitments to pay or receive payments for floating rate payments based on interest rates at specified intervals in the future. Two types of interest rate swaps include “fixed-for-floating rate swaps” and “basis swaps.” Fixed-for-floating rate swaps involve the exchange of payments based on a fixed interest rate for payments based on a floating interest rate index. By contrast, basis swaps involve the exchange of payments based on two different floating interest rate indices. Mortgage swaps are similar to interest rate swaps in that they represent commitments to pay and receive interest. The notional principal amount, however, is tied to a reference pool or pools of mortgages.

Credit default swaps involve the exchange of a floating or fixed rate payment in return for assuming potential credit losses of an underlying security or pool of securities. Loan credit default swaps are similar to credit default swaps on bonds, except that the underlying protection is sold on secured loans of a reference entity rather than a broader category of bonds or loans. Loan credit default swaps may be on single names or on baskets of loans, both tranched and untranched. Currency swaps involve the exchange of the parties’ respective rights to make or receive payments in specified currencies. Total return swaps are contracts that obligate a party to pay or receive interest in exchange for payment by the other party of the total return generated by a security, a basket of securities, an index, or an index component.

 

B-6


A volatility swap is an agreement between two parties to make payments based on changes in the volatility of a reference instrument over a stated period of time. Volatility swaps can be used to adjust the volatility profile of the Funds. For example, a Fund may buy a volatility swap to take the position that the reference instrument’s volatility will increase over a stated period of time. If this occurs, the Fund will receive a payment based upon the amount by which the realized volatility level of the reference instrument exceeds an agreed upon volatility level. If volatility is less than the agreed upon volatility level, then a Fund will make a payment to the counterparty calculated in the same manner. A variance swap is an agreement between two parties to exchange cash payments based on changes in the variance of a reference instrument over a stated period of time. Volatility is the mathematical square root of variance, and variance swaps are used for similar purposes as volatility swaps.

An inflation swap is an agreement between two parties in which one party agrees to pay the cumulative percentage increase in a reference inflation index (e.g., the Consumer Price Index) and the other party agrees to pay a compounded fixed rate over a stated period of time. In an inflation asset swap, the reference instrument is a bond with a value that is tied to inflation (e.g., Treasury Inflation-Protected Security) and one party pays the cash flows from the reference instrument in exchange for a payment based on a fixed rate from the other party. Each Fund may enter into inflation swaps and inflation asset swaps to protect the Fund against changes in the rate of inflation.

A correlation swap is an agreement in which two parties agree to exchange cash payments based on the correlation between specified reference instruments over a set period of time. Two assets would be considered closely correlated if, for example, their daily returns vary in similar proportions or along similar trajectories. For example, a Fund may enter into correlation swaps to change its exposure to increases or decreases in the correlation between prices or returns of different Fund holdings.

A swaption is an option to enter into a swap agreement. Like other types of options, the buyer of a swaption pays a non-refundable premium for the option and obtains the right, but not the obligation, to enter into or modify an underlying swap or to modify the terms of an existing swap on agreed-upon terms. The seller of a swaption, in exchange for the premium, becomes obligated (if the option is exercised) to enter into or modify an underlying swap on agreed-upon terms, which generally entails a greater risk of loss than incurred in buying a swaption. The purchase of an interest rate cap entitles the purchaser, to the extent that a specified index exceeds a predetermined interest rate, to receive payment of interest on a notional principal amount from the party selling such interest rate cap. The purchase of an interest rate floor entitles the purchaser, to the extent that a specified index falls below a predetermined interest rate, to receive payments of interest on a notional principal amount from the party selling the interest rate floor. An interest rate collar is the combination of a cap and a floor that preserves a certain return within a predetermined range of interest rates.

A great deal of flexibility may be possible in the way swap transactions are structured. However, generally a Fund will enter into interest rate, total return, credit and mortgage swaps on a net basis, which means that the two payment streams are netted out, with the Fund receiving or paying, as the case may be, only the net amount of the two payments. Interest rate, total return, credit and mortgage swaps do not normally involve the delivery of securities, other underlying assets or principal. Accordingly, the risk of loss with respect to interest rate, total return, credit and mortgage swaps is normally limited to the net amount of payments that a Fund is contractually obligated to make. If the other party to an interest rate, total return, credit or mortgage swap defaults, a Fund’s risk of loss consists of the net amount of interest payments that the Fund is contractually entitled to receive, if any.

In contrast, currency swaps usually involve the delivery of a gross payment stream in one designated currency in exchange for a gross payment stream in another designated currency. Therefore, the entire payment stream under a currency swap is subject to the risk that the other party to the swap will default on its contractual delivery obligations. A credit swap may have as reference obligations one or more securities that may, or may not, be currently held by a Fund. The protection “buyer” in a credit swap is generally obligated to pay the protection “seller” an upfront or a periodic stream of payments over the term of the swap provided that no credit event, such as a default, on a reference obligation has occurred. If a credit event occurs, the seller generally must pay the buyer the “par value” (full notional value) of the swap in exchange for an equal face amount of deliverable obligations of the reference entity described in the swap, or the seller may be required to deliver the related net cash amount, if the swap is cash settled. Each Fund may be either the protection buyer or seller in the transaction. If a Fund is a buyer and no credit event occurs, the Fund may recover nothing if the swap is held through its termination date. However, if a credit event occurs, the buyer generally may elect to receive the full notional value of the swap in exchange for an equal face amount of deliverable obligations of the reference entity whose value may have significantly decreased. As a seller, a Fund generally receives an upfront payment or a rate of income throughout the term of the swap provided that there is no credit event. As the seller, a Fund would effectively add leverage to its portfolio because, in addition to its total net assets, the Fund would be subject to investment exposure on the notional amount of the swap. If a credit event occurs, the value of any deliverable obligation received by a Fund as seller, coupled with the upfront or periodic payments previously received, may be less than the full notional value it pays to the buyer, resulting in a loss of value to the Fund.

 

B-7


As a result of rules adopted in 2012, certain standardized swaps are currently subject to mandatory central clearing. Central clearing is expected to decrease counterparty risk and increase liquidity compared to bilateral swaps because central clearing interposes the central clearinghouse as the counterparty to each participant’s swap. However, central clearing does not eliminate counterparty risk or illiquidity risk entirely. In addition, depending on the size of a Fund and other factors, the margin required under the rules of a clearinghouse and by a clearing member may be in excess of the collateral required to be posted by the Fund to support its obligations under a similar bilateral swap. However, regulators are expected to adopt rules imposing certain margin requirements, including minimums, on uncleared swaps in the near future, which could change this comparison.

To the extent that a Fund’s exposure in a transaction involving a swap, swaption or an interest rate floor, cap or collar is covered by identifying cash or liquid assets on the Fund’s books or is covered by other means in accordance with SEC or SEC-staff approved guidance or other appropriate measures, the Fund and the Investment Adviser believe that the transactions do not constitute senior securities under the Act and, accordingly, will not treat them as being subject to the Fund’s borrowing restrictions. For more information about these practices, see “Description of Investment Securities and Practices – Asset Segregation.”

The use of swaps and swaptions, as well as interest rate caps, floors and collars, is a highly specialized activity which involves investment techniques and risks different from those associated with ordinary portfolio securities transactions. The use of a swap requires an understanding not only of the referenced asset, reference rate, or index but also of the swap itself, without the benefit of observing the performance of the swap under all possible market conditions.

In addition, these transactions can involve greater risks than if a Fund had invested in the reference obligation directly because, in addition to general market risks, swaps are subject to illiquidity risk, counterparty risk, credit risk and pricing risk. Regulators also may impose limits on an entity’s or group of entities’ positions in certain swaps. However, certain risks are reduced (but not eliminated) if a Fund invests in cleared swaps. Because bilateral swap agreements are two party contracts and because they may have terms of greater than seven days, swap transactions may be considered to be illiquid. Moreover, a Fund bears the risk of loss of the amount expected to be received under a swap agreement in the event of the default or bankruptcy of a swap counterparty. Many swaps are complex and often valued subjectively. Swaps and other derivatives may also be subject to pricing or “basis” risk, which exists when the price of a particular derivative diverges from the price of corresponding cash market instruments. Under certain market conditions it may not be economically feasible to imitate a transaction or liquidate a position in time to avoid a loss or take advantage of an opportunity. If a swap transaction is particularly large or if the relevant market is illiquid, it may not be possible to initiate a transaction or liquidate a position at an advantageous time or price, which may result in significant losses.

Regulators are in the process of developing rules that would require trading and execution of most liquid swaps on trading facilities. Moving trading to an exchange-type system may increase market transparency and liquidity but may require the Funds to incur increased expenses to access the same types of swaps.

Rules adopted in 2012 also require centralized reporting of detailed information about many types of cleared and uncleared swaps. This information is available to regulators and, to a more limited extent and on an anonymous basis, to the public. Reporting of swap data may result in greater market transparency, which may be beneficial to funds that use swaps to implement trading strategies. However, these rules place potential additional administrative obligations on these funds, and the safeguards established to protect anonymity may not function as expected.

The swap market has grown substantially in recent years with a large number of banks and investment banking firms acting both as principals and as agents utilizing standardized swap documentation. As a result, the swap market has become relatively liquid in comparison with the markets for other similar instruments which are traded in the interbank market. The Investment Adviser, under the supervision of the Board of Trustees, is responsible for determining and monitoring the liquidity of a Fund’s transactions in swaps, swaptions, caps, floors and collars.

Custodial Receipts and Trust Certificates

Each Fund may invest in custodial receipts and trust certificates, which may be underwritten by securities dealers or banks, representing interests in securities held by a custodian or trustee. The securities so held may include U.S. Government Securities, which are obligations issued or guaranteed by the U.S. Government, its agencies, instrumentalities or sponsored enterprises (“U.S. Government Securities”), municipal securities or other types of securities in which a Fund may invest. The custodial receipts or trust

 

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certificates are underwritten by securities dealers or banks and may evidence ownership of future interest payments, principal payments or both on the underlying securities, or, in some cases, the payment obligation of a third party that has entered into an interest rate swap or other arrangement with the custodian or trustee. For certain securities laws purposes, custodial receipts and trust certificates may not be considered obligations of the U.S. Government or other issuer of the securities held by the custodian or trustee. As a holder of custodial receipts and trust certificates, a Fund will bear its proportionate share of the fees and expenses charged to the custodial account or trust. The Funds may also invest in separately issued interests in custodial receipts and trust certificates.

Although under the terms of a custodial receipt or trust certificate a Fund would typically be authorized to assert its rights directly against the issuer of the underlying obligation, the Fund could be required to assert through the custodian bank or trustee those rights as may exist against the underlying issuers. Thus, in the event an underlying issuer fails to pay principal and/or interest when due, a Fund may be subject to delays, expenses and risks that are greater than those that would have been involved if the Fund had purchased a direct obligation of the issuer. In addition, in the event that the trust or custodial account in which the underlying securities have been deposited is determined to be an association taxable as a corporation, instead of a non-taxable entity, the yield on the underlying securities would be reduced in recognition of any taxes paid.

Certain custodial receipts and trust certificates may be synthetic or derivative instruments that have interest rates that reset inversely to changing short-term rates and/or have embedded interest rate floors and caps that require the issuer to pay an adjusted interest rate if market rates fall below or rise above a specified rate. Because some of these instruments represent relatively recent innovations, and the trading market for these instruments is less developed than the markets for traditional types of instruments, it is uncertain how these instruments will perform under different economic and interest-rate scenarios. Also, because these instruments may be leveraged, their market values may be more volatile than other types of fixed income instruments and may present greater potential for capital gain or loss. The possibility of default by an issuer or the issuer’s credit provider may be greater for these derivative instruments than for other types of instruments. In some cases, it may be difficult to determine the fair value of a derivative instrument because of a lack of reliable objective information and an established secondary market for some instruments may not exist. In many cases, the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) has not ruled on the tax treatment of the interest or payments received on the derivative instruments and, accordingly, purchases of such instruments are based on the opinion of counsel to the sponsors of the instruments.

Zero Coupon, Deferred Interest, Pay-In-Kind and Capital Appreciation Bonds

Each Fund may invest in zero coupon, deferred interest, pay-in-kind (“PIK”) and capital appreciation bonds. Zero coupon, deferred interest and capital appreciation bonds are debt securities issued or sold at a discount from their face value and which do not entitle the holder to any periodic payment of interest prior to maturity or a specified date. The original issue discount varies depending on the time remaining until maturity or cash payment date, prevailing interest rates, the liquidity of the security and the perceived credit quality of the issuer. These securities also may take the form of debt securities that have been stripped of their unmatured interest coupons, the coupons themselves or receipts or certificates representing interests in such stripped debt obligations or coupons.

PIK securities may be debt obligations or preferred shares that provide the issuer with the option of paying interest or dividends on such obligations in cash or in the form of additional securities rather than cash. Similar to zero coupon bonds and deferred interest bonds, PIK securities are designed to give an issuer flexibility in managing cash flow. PIK securities that are debt securities can be either senior or subordinated debt and generally trade flat (i.e., without accrued interest). The trading price of PIK debt securities generally reflects the market value of the underlying debt plus an amount representing accrued interest since the last interest payment.

The market prices of zero coupon, deferred interest, capital appreciation bonds and PIK securities generally are more volatile than the market prices of interest bearing securities and are likely to respond to a greater degree to changes in interest rates than interest bearing securities having similar maturities and credit quality. Moreover, zero coupon, deferred interest, capital appreciation and PIK securities involve the additional risk that, unlike securities that periodically pay interest to maturity, a Fund will realize no cash until a specified future payment date unless a portion of such securities is sold and, if the issuer of such securities defaults, a Fund may obtain no return at all on its investment. The valuation of such investments requires judgment regarding the collection of future payments. In addition, even though such securities do not provide for the payment of current interest in cash, the Funds are nonetheless required to accrue income on such investments for each taxable year and generally are required to distribute such accrued amounts (net of deductible expenses, if any) to avoid being subject to tax. Because no cash is generally received at the time of the accrual, a Fund may be required to liquidate other portfolio securities to obtain sufficient cash to satisfy federal tax distribution requirements applicable to the Fund. A portion of the discount with respect to stripped tax exempt securities or their coupons may be taxable. See “TAXATION.”

 

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Equity Investments

The Funds may purchase equity investments. In addition, after its purchase, a portfolio investment (such as a convertible debt obligation) may convert to an equity security. Each Fund may also acquire equity securities in connection with a restructuring event related to one or more of its investments. If this occurs, the Fund may continue to hold the investment if the Investment Adviser believes it is in the best interest of the Fund and its shareholders.

Equity Swaps

The Funds may enter into equity swap contracts to invest in a market without owning or taking physical custody of securities in various circumstances, including circumstances where direct investment in the securities is restricted for legal reasons or is otherwise impracticable. Equity swaps may also be used for hedging purposes or to seek to increase total return. Equity swap contracts may be structured in different ways. For example, a counterparty may agree to pay a Fund the amount, if any, by which the notional amount of the equity swap contract would have increased in value had it been invested in the particular stocks (or a group of stocks), plus the dividends that would have been received on those stocks. In these cases, a Fund may agree to pay to the counterparty a floating rate of interest on the notional amount of the equity swap contract plus the amount, if any, by which that notional amount would have decreased in value had it been invested in such stocks. Therefore, the return to the Funds on the equity swap contract should be the gain or loss on the notional amount plus dividends on the stocks less the interest paid by a Fund on the notional amount. In other cases, the counterparty and a Fund may each agree to pay the other the difference between the relative investment performances that would have been achieved if the notional amount of the equity swap contract had been invested in different stocks (or a group of stocks).

The Funds will generally enter into equity swaps on a net basis, which means that the two payment streams are netted out, with a Fund receiving or paying, as the case may be, only the net amount of the two payments. Payments may be made at the conclusion of an equity swap contract or periodically during its term. Equity swaps normally do not involve the delivery of securities or other underlying assets. Accordingly, the risk of loss with respect to equity swaps is normally limited to the net amount of payments that a Fund is contractually obligated to make. If the other party to an equity swap defaults, a Fund’s risk of loss consists of the net amount of payments that the Fund is contractually entitled to receive, if any. Inasmuch as these transactions are entered into for hedging purposes or are offset by identifying on its books cash or liquid assets to cover a Fund’s exposure, the Fund and the Investment Adviser believe that the transactions do not constitute senior securities under the Act and, accordingly, will not treat them as being subject to the Funds’ borrowing restrictions. For more information about these practices, see “Description of Investment Securities and Practices – Asset Segregation.”

Foreign Investments

The Funds may invest in securities of foreign issuers, including securities quoted or denominated in a currency other than U.S. dollars. Investments in foreign securities may offer potential benefits not available from investments solely in U.S. dollar-denominated or quoted securities of domestic issuers. Such benefits may include the opportunity to invest in foreign issuers that appear, in the opinion of the Investment Adviser, to offer the potential for better long term growth of capital and income than investments in U.S. securities, the opportunity to invest in foreign countries with economic policies or business cycles different from those of the United States and the opportunity to reduce fluctuations in portfolio value by taking advantage of foreign securities markets that do not necessarily move in a manner parallel to U.S. markets. Investing in the securities of foreign issuers also involves, however, certain special risks, including those discussed in the Funds’ Prospectus and those set forth below, which are not typically associated with investing in U.S. dollar-denominated securities or quoted securities of U.S. issuers. Many of these risks are more pronounced for investments in emerging economies.

With respect to investments in certain foreign countries, there exist certain economic, political and social risks, including the risk of adverse political developments, nationalization, military unrest, social instability, war and terrorism, confiscation without fair compensation, expropriation or confiscatory taxation, limitations on the movement of funds and other assets between different countries, or diplomatic developments, any of which could adversely affect a Fund’s investments in those countries. Governments in certain foreign countries continue to participate to a significant degree, through ownership interest or regulation, in their respective economies. Action by these governments could have a significant effect on market prices of securities and dividend payments.

Many countries throughout the world are dependent on a healthy U.S. economy and are adversely affected when the U.S. economy weakens or its markets decline. Additionally, many foreign country economies are heavily dependent on international trade and are adversely affected by protective trade barriers and economic conditions of their trading partners. Protectionist trade legislation enacted by those trading partners could have a significant adverse effect on the securities markets of those countries. Individual foreign economies may differ favorably or unfavorably from the U.S. economy in such respects as growth of gross national product, rate of inflation, capital reinvestment, resource self-sufficiency and balance of payments position.

 

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From time to time, certain of the companies in which the Funds may invest may operate in, or have dealings with, countries subject to sanctions or embargos imposed by the U.S. Government and the United Nations and/or countries identified by the U.S. Government as state sponsors of terrorism. A company may suffer damage to its reputation if it is identified as a company which operates in, or has dealings with, countries subject to sanctions or embargoes imposed by the U.S. Government as state sponsors of terrorism. As an investor in such companies, the Funds will be indirectly subject to those risks. Iran is subject to several United Nations sanctions and is an embargoed country by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) of the U.S. Department of Treasury (the “Treasury” or “U.S. Treasury”).

In addition, from time to time, certain of the companies in which the Funds may invest may engage in, or have dealings with countries or companies that engage in, activities that may not be considered socially and/or environmentally responsible. Such activities may relate to human rights issues (such as patterns of human rights abuses or violations, persecution or discrimination), impacts to local communities in which companies operate and environmental sustainability. For a description of the Investment Adviser’s approach to responsible and sustainable investing, please see GSAM’s Statement on Responsible and Sustainable Investing at https://assetmanagement.gs.com/content/gsam/us/en/advisors/our-firm/citizenship.html.

As a result, a company may suffer damage to its reputation if it is identified as a company which engages in, or has dealings with countries or companies that engage in, the above referenced activities. As an investor in such companies, the Funds would be indirectly subject to those risks.

The Investment Adviser is committed to complying fully with sanctions in effect as of the date of this Statement of Additional Information and any other applicable sanctions that may be enacted in the future with respect to Sudan or any other country.

Investments in foreign securities often involve currencies of foreign countries. Accordingly, the Funds may be affected favorably or unfavorably by changes in currency rates and in exchange control regulations and may incur costs in connection with conversions between various currencies. A Fund may be subject to currency exposure independent of its securities positions. To the extent that a Fund is fully invested in foreign securities while also maintaining net currency positions, it may be exposed to greater combined risk.

Currency exchange rates may fluctuate significantly over short periods of time. They generally are determined by the forces of supply and demand in the foreign exchange markets and the relative merits of investments in different countries, actual or anticipated changes in interest rates and other complex factors, as seen from an international perspective. Currency exchange rates also can be affected unpredictably by intervention (or the failure to intervene) by U.S. or foreign governments or central banks or by currency controls or political developments in the United States or abroad. To the extent that a portion of a Fund’s total assets, adjusted to reflect the Fund’s net position after giving effect to currency transactions, is denominated or quoted in the currencies of foreign countries, the Fund will be more susceptible to the risk of adverse economic and political developments within those countries. The Fund’s net currency positions may expose it to risks independent of its securities positions.

Because foreign issuers generally are not subject to uniform accounting, auditing and financial reporting standards, practices and requirements comparable to those applicable to U.S. companies, there may be less publicly available information about a foreign company than about a U.S. company. Volume and liquidity in most foreign securities markets are less than in the United States and securities of many foreign companies are less liquid and more volatile than securities of comparable U.S. companies. The securities of foreign issuers may be listed on foreign securities exchanges or traded in foreign over-the-counter markets. Fixed commissions on foreign securities exchanges are generally higher than negotiated commissions on U.S. exchanges, although the Funds endeavor to achieve the most favorable net results on its portfolio transactions. There is generally less government supervision and regulation of foreign securities exchanges, brokers, dealers and listed and unlisted companies than in the United States, and the legal remedies for investors may be more limited than the remedies available in the United States. For example, there may be no comparable provisions under certain foreign laws to insider trading and similar investor protections that apply with respect to securities transactions consummated in the United States. Mail service between the United States and foreign countries may be slower or less reliable than within the United States, thus increasing the risk of delayed settlement of portfolio transactions or loss of certificates for portfolio securities.

Foreign markets also have different clearance and settlement procedures, and in certain markets there have been times when settlements have been unable to keep pace with the volume of securities transactions, making it difficult to conduct such transactions. Such delays in settlement could result in temporary periods when some of a Fund’s assets are uninvested and no return is earned on such assets. The inability of a Fund to make intended security purchases due to settlement problems could cause the Fund to miss attractive investment opportunities. Inability to dispose of portfolio securities due to settlement problems could result either in losses to the Fund due to subsequent declines in value of the portfolio securities, or, if the Fund has entered into a contract to sell the securities, in possible liability to the purchaser.

 

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Each Fund may invest in foreign securities which take the form of sponsored and unsponsored ADRs, Global Depositary Receipts (“GDRs”), European Depositary Receipts (“EDRs”) or other similar instruments representing securities of foreign issuers) (together, “Depositary Receipts”). ADRs represent the right to receive securities of foreign issuers deposited in a domestic bank or a correspondent bank. ADRs are traded on domestic exchanges or in the U.S. over-the-counter market and, generally, are in registered form. EDRs and GDRs are receipts evidencing an arrangement with a non-U.S. bank similar to that for ADRs and are designed for use in the non-U.S. securities markets. EDRs and GDRs are not necessarily quoted in the same currency as the underlying security.

To the extent a Fund acquires Depositary Receipts through banks which do not have a contractual relationship with the foreign issuer of the security underlying the Depositary Receipts to issue and service such unsponsored Depositary Receipts, there is an increased possibility that the Fund will not become aware of and be able to respond to corporate actions such as stock splits or rights offerings involving the foreign issuer in a timely manner. In addition, the lack of information may result in inefficiencies in the valuation of such instruments. Investment in Depositary Receipts does not eliminate all the risks inherent in investing in securities of non-U.S. issuers. The market value of Depositary Receipts is dependent upon the market value of the underlying securities and fluctuations in the relative value of the currencies in which the Depositary Receipts and the underlying securities are quoted. However, by investing in Depositary Receipts, such as ADRs, which are quoted in U.S. dollars, a Fund may avoid currency risks during the settlement period for purchases and sales.

Foreign Government Obligations. Foreign government obligations include securities, instruments and obligations issued or guaranteed by a foreign government, its agencies, instrumentalities or sponsored enterprises. Investment in foreign government obligations can involve a high degree of risk. The governmental entity that controls the repayment of foreign government obligations may not be able or willing to repay the principal and/or interest when due in accordance with the terms of such debt. A governmental entity’s willingness or ability to repay principal and interest due in a timely manner may be affected by, among other factors, its cash flow situation, the extent of its foreign reserves, the availability of sufficient foreign exchange on the date a payment is due, the relative size of the debt service burden to the economy as a whole, the governmental entity’s policy towards the International Monetary Fund and the political constraints to which a governmental entity may be subject. Governmental entities may also be dependent on expected disbursements from foreign governments, multilateral agencies and others abroad to reduce principal and interest on their debt. The commitment on the part of these governments, agencies and others to make such disbursements may be conditioned on a governmental entity’s implementation of economic reforms and/or economic performance and the timely service of such debtor’s obligations. Failure to implement such reforms, achieve such levels of economic performance or repay principal or interest when due may result in the cancellation of such third parties’ commitments to lend funds to the governmental entity, which may further impair such debtor’s ability or willingness to service its debts in a timely manner. Consequently, governmental entities may default on their debt. Holders of foreign government obligations (including the Fund) may be requested to participate in the rescheduling of such debt and to extend further loans to governmental agencies.

Investing in Emerging Countries

Emerging Markets Equity Securities. The securities markets of emerging countries are less liquid and subject to greater price volatility, and have a smaller market capitalization, than the U.S. securities markets. In certain countries, there may be fewer publicly traded securities and the market may be dominated by a few issuers or sectors. Issuers and securities markets in such countries are not subject to as extensive and frequent accounting, financial and other reporting requirements or as comprehensive government regulations as are issuers and securities markets in the U.S. In particular, the assets and profits appearing on the financial statements of emerging country issuers may not reflect their financial position or results of operations in the same manner as financial statements for U.S. issuers. Substantially less information may be publicly available about emerging country issuers than is available about issuers in the United States.

Emerging country securities markets are typically marked by a high concentration of market capitalization and trading volume in a small number of issuers representing a limited number of industries, as well as a high concentration of ownership of such securities by a limited number of investors. The markets for securities in certain emerging countries are in the earliest stages of their development. Even the markets for relatively widely traded securities in emerging countries may not be able to absorb, without price disruptions, a significant increase in trading volume or trades of a size customarily undertaken by institutional investors in the securities markets of developed countries. The limited size of many of these securities markets can cause prices to be erratic for reasons apart from factors that affect the soundness and competitiveness of the securities issuers. For example, prices may be unduly influenced by traders who control large positions in these markets. Additionally, market making and arbitrage activities are generally

 

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less extensive in such markets, which may contribute to increased volatility and reduced liquidity of such markets. The limited liquidity of emerging country securities may also affect a Fund’s ability to accurately value its portfolio securities or to acquire or dispose of securities at the price and time it wishes to do so or in order to meet redemption requests.

The Funds’ purchase and sale of portfolio securities in certain emerging countries may be constrained by limitations as to daily changes in the prices of listed securities, periodic trading or settlement volume and/or limitations on aggregate holdings of foreign investors. Such limitations may be computed based on the aggregate trading volume by or holdings of the Funds, the Investment Adviser, its affiliates and their respective clients and other service providers. A Fund may not be able to sell securities in circumstances where price, trading or settlement volume limitations have been reached.

Market Characteristics. Securities markets of emerging countries may also have less efficient clearance and settlement procedures than U.S. markets, making it difficult to conduct and complete transactions. Delays in the settlement could result in temporary periods when a portion of a Fund’s assets is uninvested and no return is earned thereon. Inability to make intended security purchases could cause a Fund to miss attractive investment opportunities. Inability to dispose of portfolio securities could result either in losses to a Fund due to subsequent declines in value of the portfolio security or, if the Fund has entered into a contract to sell the security, could result in possible liability of the Fund to the purchaser.

Transaction costs, including brokerage commissions and dealer mark-ups, in emerging countries may be higher than in the U.S. and other developed securities markets. As legal systems in emerging countries develop, foreign investors may be adversely affected by new or amended laws and regulations. In circumstances where adequate laws exist, it may not be possible to obtain swift and equitable enforcement of the law.

Custodial and/or settlement systems in emerging markets countries may not be fully developed. To the extent a Fund invests in emerging markets, Fund assets that are traded in such markets and will have been entrusted to such sub-custodians in those markets may be exposed to risks for which the sub-custodian will have no liability.

With respect to investments in certain emerging countries, antiquated legal systems may have an adverse impact on the Funds. For example, while the potential liability of a shareholder of a U.S. corporation with respect to acts of the corporation is generally limited to the amount of the shareholder’s investment, the notion of limited liability is less clear in certain emerging market countries. Similarly, the rights of investors in emerging market companies may be more limited than those of investors of U.S. corporations.

Economic, Political and Social Factors. Emerging countries may be subject to a greater degree of economic, political and social instability than the United States, Japan and most Western European countries, and unanticipated political and social developments may affect the value of the Funds’ investments in emerging countries and the availability to a Fund of additional investments in such countries. Moreover, political and economic structures in many emerging countries may be undergoing significant evolution and rapid development. Instability may result from, among other things: (i) authoritarian governments or military involvement in political and economic decision-making, including changes or attempted changes in government through extra-constitutional means; (ii) popular unrest associated with demands for improved economic, political and social conditions; (iii) internal insurgencies; (iv) hostile relations with neighboring countries; (v) ethnic, religious and racial disaffection and conflict; and (vi) the absence of developed legal structures governing foreign private property. Many emerging countries have experienced in the past, and continue to experience, high rates of inflation. In certain countries, inflation has at times accelerated rapidly to hyperinflationary levels, creating a negative interest rate environment and sharply eroding the value of outstanding financial assets in those countries. The economies of many emerging countries are heavily dependent upon international trade and are accordingly affected by protective trade barriers and the economic conditions of their trading partners. In addition, the economies of some emerging countries may differ unfavorably from the U.S. economy in such respects as growth of gross domestic product, rate of inflation, capital reinvestment, resources, self-sufficiency and balance of payments position.

The Funds may invest in issuers located in former “Eastern bloc” countries. Most of these countries had a centrally planned, socialist economy for a substantial period of time. The governments of many of these countries have more recently been implementing reforms directed at political and economic liberalization, including efforts to decentralize the economic decision-making process and move towards a market economy. However, business entities in many of these countries do not have an extended history of operating in a market-oriented economy, and the ultimate impact of these countries’ attempts to move toward more market-oriented economies is currently unclear. In addition, any change in the leadership or policies of these countries may halt the expansion of or reverse the liberalization of foreign investment policies now occurring and adversely affect existing investment opportunities.

 

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Restrictions on Investment and Repatriation. Certain emerging countries require governmental approval prior to investments by foreign persons or limit investments by foreign persons to only a specified percentage of an issuer’s outstanding securities or a specific class of securities which may have less advantageous terms (including price) than securities of the issuer available for purchase by nationals. Repatriation of investment income and capital from certain emerging countries is subject to certain governmental consents. Even where there is no outright restriction on repatriation of capital, the mechanics of repatriation may affect the operation of the Funds.

Emerging Country Government Obligations. Emerging country governmental entities are among the largest debtors to commercial banks, foreign governments, international financial organizations and other financial institutions. Certain emerging country governmental entities have not been able to make payments of interest on or principal of debt obligations as those payments have come due. Obligations arising from past restructuring agreements may affect the economic performance and political and social stability of those entities.

The ability of emerging country governmental entities to make timely payments on their obligations is likely to be influenced strongly by the entity’s balance of payments, including export performance, and its access to international credits and investments. An emerging country whose exports are concentrated in a few commodities could be vulnerable to a decline in the international prices of one or more of those commodities. Increased protectionism on the part of an emerging country’s trading partners could also adversely affect the country’s exports and tarnish its trade account surplus, if any. To the extent that emerging countries receive payment for their exports in currencies other than dollars or non-emerging country currencies, the emerging country governmental entity’s ability to make debt payments denominated in dollars or non-emerging market currencies could be affected.

To the extent that an emerging country cannot generate a trade surplus, it must depend on continuing loans from foreign governments, multilateral organizations or private commercial banks, aid payments from foreign governments and on inflows of foreign investment. The access of emerging countries to these forms of external funding may not be certain, and a withdrawal of external funding could adversely affect the capacity of emerging country governmental entities to make payments on their obligations. In addition, the cost of servicing emerging country debt obligations can be affected by a change in international interest rates because the majority of these obligations carry interest rates that are adjusted periodically based upon international rates.

Another factor bearing on the ability of emerging countries to repay debt obligations is the level of international reserves of a country. Fluctuations in the level of these reserves affect the amount of foreign exchange readily available for external debt payments and thus could have a bearing on the capacity of emerging countries to make payments on these debt obligations.

As a result of the foregoing or other factors, a governmental obligor, especially in an emerging country, may default on its obligations. If such an event occurs, the Funds may have limited legal recourse against the issuer and/or guarantor. Remedies must, in some cases, be pursued in the courts of the defaulting party itself, and the ability of the holder of foreign government obligations to obtain recourse may be subject to the political climate in the relevant country. In addition, no assurance can be given that the holders of commercial bank debt will not contest payments to the holders of other foreign government obligations in the event of default under the commercial bank loan agreements.

Investing in Europe

The Funds may operate in euros and/or may hold euros and/or euro-denominated bonds and other obligations. The euro requires participation of multiple sovereign states forming the Euro zone and is therefore sensitive to the credit, general economic and political position of each such state, including each state’s actual and intended ongoing engagement with and/or support for the other sovereign states then forming the EU, in particular those within the Euro zone. Changes in these factors might materially adversely impact the value of securities that a Fund has invested in.

European countries can be significantly affected by the tight fiscal and monetary controls that the European Economic and Monetary Union (“EMU”) imposes for membership. Europe’s economies are diverse, its governments are decentralized, and its cultures vary widely. Several EU countries, including Greece, Ireland, Italy, Spain and Portugal, have faced budget issues, some of which may have negative long-term effects for the economies of those countries and other EU countries. There is continued concern about national-level support for the euro and the accompanying coordination of fiscal and wage policy among EMU member countries. Member countries are required to maintain tight control over inflation, public debt, and budget deficit to qualify for membership in the EMU. These requirements can severely limit the ability of EMU member countries to implement monetary policy to address regional economic conditions.

 

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Investing in Asia

Although many countries in Asia have experienced a relatively stable political environment over the last decade, there is no guarantee that such stability will be maintained in the future. As an emerging region, many factors may affect such stability on a country-by-country as well as on a regional basis – increasing gaps between the rich and poor, agrarian unrest and stability of existing coalitions in politically-fractionated countries – and may result in adverse consequences to a Fund. The political history of some Asian countries has been characterized by political uncertainty, intervention by the military in civilian and economic spheres, and political corruption. Such developments, if they continue to occur, could reverse favorable trends toward market and economic reform, privatization, and removal of trade barriers, and could result in significant disruption to securities markets.

The legal infrastructure in each of the countries in Asia is unique and often undeveloped. In most cases, securities laws are evolving and far from adequate for the protection of the public from serious fraud. Investment in Asian securities involves considerations and possible risks not typically involved with investment in other issuers, including changes in governmental administration or economic or monetary policy or changed circumstances in dealings between nations. The application of tax laws (e.g., the imposition of withholding taxes on dividend or interest payments) or confiscatory taxation may also affect investment in Asian securities. Higher expenses may result from investments in Asian securities than would from investments in other securities because of the costs that must be incurred in connection with conversions between various currencies and brokerage commissions that may be higher than more established markets. Asian securities markets also may be less liquid, more volatile and less subject to governmental supervision than elsewhere. Investments in countries in the region could be affected by other factors not present elsewhere, including lack of uniform accounting, auditing and financial reporting standards, inadequate settlement procedures and potential difficulties in enforcing contractual obligations.

Certain countries in Asia are especially prone to natural disasters, such as flooding, drought and earthquakes. Combined with the possibility of man-made disasters, the occurrence of such disasters may adversely affect companies in which a Fund is invested and, as a result, may result in adverse consequences to the Fund.

Many of the countries in Asia periodically have experienced significant inflation. Should the governments and central banks of the countries in Asia fail to control inflation, this may have an adverse effect on the performance of a Fund’s investments in Asian securities.

Several of the countries in Asia remain dependent on the U.S. economy as their largest export customer, and future barriers to entry into the U.S. market or other important markets could adversely affect a Fund’s performance. Intraregional trade is becoming an increasingly significant percentage of total trade for the countries in Asia. Consequently, the intertwined economies are becoming increasingly dependent on each other, and any barriers to entry to markets in Asia in the future may adversely affect a Fund’s performance.

Certain Asian countries may have managed currencies which are maintained at artificial levels to the U.S. dollar rather than at levels determined by the market. This type of system can lead to sudden and large adjustments in the currency which, in turn, can have a disruptive and negative effect on foreign investors. Certain Asian countries also may restrict the free conversion of their currency into foreign currencies, including the U.S. dollar. There is no significant foreign exchange market for certain currencies, and it would, as a result, be difficult to engage in foreign currency transactions designed to protect the value of a Fund’s interests in securities denominated in such currencies.

Although a Fund will generally attempt to invest in those markets which provide the greatest freedom of movement of foreign capital, there is no assurance that this will be possible or that certain countries in Asia will not restrict the movement of foreign capital in the future. Changes in securities laws and foreign ownership laws may have an adverse effect on a Fund.

Forward Foreign Currency Exchange Contracts

The Funds may enter into forward foreign currency exchange contracts for investment and speculative purposes, as well as for hedging purposes, to seek to protect against anticipated changes in future foreign currency exchange rates and to seek to increase total return. A forward foreign currency exchange contract involves an obligation to purchase or sell a specific currency at a future date, which may be any fixed number of days from the date of the contract agreed upon by the parties, at a price set at the time of the contract. These contracts are traded in the interbank market between currency traders (usually large commercial banks) and their customers. A forward contract generally has no deposit requirement, and no commissions are generally charged at any stage for trades.

 

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At the maturity of a forward contract a Fund may either accept or make delivery of the currency specified in the contract or, at or prior to maturity, enter into a closing transaction involving the purchase or sale of an offsetting contract. Closing transactions with respect to forward contracts are often, but not always, effected with the currency trader who is a party to the original forward contract.

A Fund may enter into forward foreign currency exchange contracts in several circumstances. First, when a Fund enters into a contract for the purchase or sale of a security denominated or quoted in a foreign currency, or when a Fund anticipates the receipt in a foreign currency of dividend or interest payments on such a security which it holds, the Fund may desire to “lock in” the U.S. dollar price of the security or the U.S. dollar equivalent of such dividend or interest payment, as the case may be. By entering into a forward contract for the purchase or sale, for a fixed amount of dollars, of the amount of foreign currency involved in the underlying transactions, the Fund will attempt to protect itself against an adverse change in the relationship between the U.S. dollar and the subject foreign currency during the period between the date on which the security is purchased or sold, or on which the dividend or interest payment is declared, and the date on which such payments are made or received.

Additionally, when the Investment Adviser believes that the currency of a particular foreign country may suffer a substantial decline against the U.S. dollar, it may enter into a forward contract to sell, for a fixed amount of U.S. dollars, the amount of foreign currency approximating the value of some or all of such Fund’s portfolio securities quoted or denominated in such foreign currency. The precise matching of the forward contract amounts and the value of the securities involved will not generally be possible because the future value of such securities in foreign currencies will change as a consequence of market movements in the value of those securities between the date on which the contract is entered into and the date it matures. Using forward contracts to protect the value of a Fund’s portfolio securities against a decline in the value of a currency does not eliminate fluctuations in the underlying prices of the securities. It simply establishes a rate of exchange, which a Fund can achieve at some future point in time. The precise projection of short-term currency market movements is not possible, and short-term hedging provides a means of fixing the U.S. dollar value of only a portion of a Fund’s foreign assets.

The Funds may engage in cross-hedging by using forward contracts in one currency to hedge against fluctuations in the value of securities quoted or denominated in a different currency. In addition, certain Funds may enter into foreign currency transactions to seek a closer correlation between a Fund’s overall currency exposures and the currency exposures of a Fund’s performance benchmark.

While a Fund may enter into forward contracts to reduce currency exchange rate risks, transactions in such contracts involve certain other risks. Thus, while a Fund may benefit from such transactions, unanticipated changes in currency prices may result in a poorer overall performance for the Fund than if it had not engaged in any such transactions. Moreover, there may be imperfect correlation between a Fund’s portfolio holdings of securities quoted or denominated in a particular currency and forward contracts entered into by such Fund. Such imperfect correlation may cause a Fund to sustain losses which will prevent the Fund from achieving a complete hedge or expose the Fund to risk of foreign exchange loss.

Markets for trading foreign forward currency contracts offer less protection against defaults than is available when trading in currency instruments on an exchange. Forward contracts are subject to the risk that the counterparty to such contract will default on its obligations. Because a forward foreign currency exchange contract is not guaranteed by an exchange or clearinghouse, a default on the contract would deprive a Fund of unrealized profits, transaction costs or the benefits of a currency hedge or force the Fund to cover its purchase or sale commitments, if any, at the current market price. In addition, the institutions that deal in forward currency contracts are not required to continue to make markets in the currencies they trade and these markets can experience periods of illiquidity. To the extent that a portion of a Fund’s total assets, adjusted to reflect the Fund’s net position after giving effect to currency transactions, is denominated or quoted in the currencies of foreign countries, the Fund will be more susceptible to the risk of adverse economic and political developments within those countries.

Futures Contracts and Options on Futures Contracts

The Funds may purchase and sell futures contracts and may also purchase and write call and put options on futures contracts. Each Fund may purchase and sell futures contracts based on various securities, securities indices, foreign currencies and other financial instruments and indices. Financial futures contracts used by a Fund include interest rate futures contracts including, among others, Eurodollar futures contracts. Eurodollar futures contracts are U.S. dollar-denominated futures contracts that are based on the implied forward London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”) of a three-month deposit. A Fund will engage in futures and related options transactions in order to seek to increase total return or to hedge against changes in interest rates, securities prices or, to the extent the Fund invests in foreign securities, currency exchange rates, or to otherwise manage its term structure, sector selection and duration in accordance with its investment objective and policies. Each Fund may also enter into closing purchase and sale transactions with respect to such contracts and options.

 

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Futures contracts utilized by funds have historically been traded on U.S. exchanges or boards of trade that are licensed and regulated by the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC”) or with respect to certain funds on foreign exchanges. More recently, certain futures may also be traded either over-the-counter or on trading facilities such as derivatives transaction execution facilities, exempt boards of trade or electronic trading facilities that are licensed and/or regulated to varying degrees by the CFTC. Also, certain single stock futures and narrow based security index futures may be traded either over-the-counter or on trading facilities such as contract markets, derivatives transaction execution facilities and electronic trading facilities that are licensed and/or regulated to varying degrees by both the CFTC and the SEC or on foreign exchanges.

Neither the CFTC, National Futures Association (“NFA”), SEC nor any domestic exchange regulates activities of any foreign exchange or boards of trade, including the execution, delivery and clearing of transactions, or has the power to compel enforcement of the rules of a foreign exchange or board of trade or any applicable foreign law. This is true even if the exchange is formally linked to a domestic market so that a position taken on the market may be liquidated by a transaction on another market. Moreover, such laws or regulations will vary depending on the foreign country in which the foreign futures or foreign options transaction occurs. For these reasons, a Fund’s investments in foreign futures or foreign options transactions may not be provided the same protections in respect of transactions on United States exchanges. In particular, persons who trade foreign futures or foreign options contracts may not be afforded certain of the protective measures provided by the CEA, the CFTC’s regulations and the rules of the NFA and any domestic exchange, including the right to use reparations proceedings before the CFTC and arbitration proceedings provided by the NFA or any domestic futures exchange. Similarly, those persons may not have the protection of the United States securities laws.

Futures Contracts. A futures contract may generally be described as an agreement between two parties to buy and sell particular financial instruments or currencies for an agreed price during a designated month (or to deliver the final cash settlement price, in the case of a contract relating to an index or otherwise not calling for physical delivery at the end of trading in the contract).

When interest rates are rising or securities prices are falling, a Fund can seek through the sale of futures contracts to offset a decline in the value of its current portfolio securities. When interest rates are falling or securities prices are rising, the Fund, through the purchase of futures contracts, can attempt to secure better rates or prices than might later be available in the market when it effects anticipated purchases. Similarly, each Fund can purchase and sell futures contracts on a specified currency in order to seek to increase total return or to protect against changes in currency exchange rates. For example, each Fund may seek to offset anticipated changes in the value of a currency in which its portfolio securities, or securities that it intends to purchase, are quoted or denominated by purchasing and selling futures contracts on such currencies. As another example, a Fund may enter into futures transactions to seek a closer correlation between the Fund’s overall currency exposures and the currency exposures of the Fund’s performance benchmark.

Positions taken in the futures market are not normally held to maturity, but are instead liquidated through offsetting transactions which may result in a profit or a loss. While a Fund will usually liquidate futures contracts on securities or currency in this manner, the Fund may instead make or take delivery of the underlying securities or currency whenever it appears economically advantageous for the Fund to do so. A clearing corporation associated with the exchange on which futures on securities or currency are traded guarantees that, if still open, the sale or purchase will be performed on the settlement date.

Hedging Strategies Using Futures Contracts. Hedging, by use of futures contracts, seeks to establish with more certainty than would otherwise be possible the effective price, rate of return or currency exchange rate on portfolio securities or securities that a Fund owns or proposes to acquire. A Fund may, for example, take a “short” position in the futures market by selling futures contracts to seek to hedge against an anticipated rise in interest rates or a decline in market prices or foreign currency rates that would adversely affect the dollar value of the Fund’s portfolio securities. Similarly, a Fund may sell futures contracts on a currency in which its portfolio securities are quoted or denominated, or sell futures contracts on one currency to seek to hedge against fluctuations in the value of securities quoted or denominated in a different currency if there is an established historical pattern of correlation between the two currencies. If, in the opinion of the Investment Adviser, there is a sufficient degree of correlation between price trends for a Fund’s portfolio securities and futures contracts based on other financial instruments, securities indices or other indices, the Fund may also enter into such futures contracts as part of a hedging strategy. Although under some circumstances prices of securities in a Fund’s portfolio may be more or less volatile than prices of such futures contracts, the Investment Adviser may attempt to estimate the extent of this volatility difference based on historical patterns and compensate for any such differential by having the Fund enter into a greater or lesser number of futures contracts or by attempting to achieve only a partial hedge against price changes affecting the Fund’s portfolio securities. When hedging of this character is successful, any depreciation in the value of portfolio securities will be substantially offset by appreciation in the value of the futures position. On the other hand, any unanticipated appreciation in the value of a Fund’s portfolio securities would be substantially offset by a decline in the value of the futures position.

 

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On other occasions, a Fund may take a “long” position by purchasing such futures contracts. This may be done, for example, when a Fund anticipates the subsequent purchase of particular securities when it has the necessary cash, but expects the prices or currency exchange rates then available in the applicable market to be less favorable than prices or rates that are currently available.

Options on Futures Contracts. The acquisition of put and call options on futures contracts will give a Fund the right (but not the obligation), for a specified price, to sell or to purchase, respectively, the underlying futures contract at any time during the option period. As the purchaser of an option on a futures contract, a Fund obtains the benefit of the futures position if prices move in a favorable direction but limits its risk of loss in the event of an unfavorable price movement to the loss of the premium and transaction costs.

The writing of a call option on a futures contract generates a premium which may partially offset a decline in the value of the Funds’ assets. By writing a call option, a Fund becomes obligated, in exchange for the premium, to sell a futures contract if the option is exercised, which may have a value higher than the exercise price. The writing of a put option on a futures contract generates a premium, which may partially offset an increase in the price of securities that a Fund intends to purchase. However, a Fund becomes obligated (upon the exercise of the option) to purchase a futures contract if the option is exercised, which may have a value lower than the exercise price. Thus, the loss incurred by a Fund in writing options on futures is potentially unlimited and may exceed the amount of the premium received. A Fund will incur transaction costs in connection with the writing of options on futures.

The holder or writer of an option on a futures contract may terminate its position by selling or purchasing an offsetting option on the same financial instrument. There is no guarantee that such closing transactions can be effected. A Fund’s ability to establish and close out positions on such options will be subject to the development and maintenance of a liquid market.

Other Considerations. The Funds will engage in transactions in futures contracts and related options transactions only to the extent such transactions are consistent with the requirements of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the “Code”) for maintaining its qualification as a regulated investment company for federal income tax purposes. Transactions in futures contracts and options on futures involve brokerage costs, require margin deposits and, in certain cases, require the Funds to identify on its books cash or liquid assets. A Fund may cover its transactions in futures contracts and related options by identifying on its books cash or liquid assets or by other means, in any manner permitted by applicable law. For more information about these practices, see “Description of Investment Securities and Practices – Asset Segregation.”

While transactions in futures contracts and options on futures may reduce certain risks, such transactions themselves entail certain other risks. Thus, unanticipated changes in interest rates, securities prices or currency exchange rates may result in a poorer overall performance for a Fund than if it had not entered into any futures contracts or options transactions. When futures contracts and options are used for hedging purposes, perfect correlation between a Fund’s futures positions and portfolio positions may be impossible to achieve, particularly where futures contracts based on individual equity or corporate fixed income securities are currently not available. In the event of imperfect correlation between a futures position and a portfolio position which is intended to be protected, the desired protection may not be obtained and a Fund may be exposed to risk of loss. In addition, it is not possible for a Fund to hedge fully or perfectly against currency fluctuations affecting the value of securities quoted or denominated in foreign currencies because the value of such securities is likely to fluctuate as a result of independent factors unrelated to currency fluctuations. The profitability of a Fund’s trading in futures depends upon the ability of the Investment Adviser to analyze correctly the futures markets.

Combined Transactions

Each of the Funds may enter into multiple transactions, including multiple options transactions, multiple futures transactions, multiple currency transactions (as applicable) (including forward currency contracts) and multiple interest rate and other swap transactions and any combination of futures, options, currency and swap transactions (“component” transactions) as part of a single or combined strategy when, in the opinion of the Investment Adviser, it is in the best interests of the Fund to do so. A combined transaction will usually contain elements of risk that are present in each of its component transactions. Although combined transactions are normally entered into based on the Investment Adviser’s judgment that the combined strategies will reduce risk or otherwise more effectively achieve the desired portfolio management goal, it is possible that the combination will instead increase such risks or hinder achievement of the portfolio management objective.

 

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Asset-Backed Securities

Each Fund may invest in asset-backed securities. Asset-backed securities represent participations in, or are secured by and payable from, assets such as motor vehicle installment sales, installment loan contracts, leases of various types of real and personal property, receivables from revolving credit (credit card) agreements and other categories of receivables. Such assets are securitized through the use of trusts and special purpose corporations. Payments or distributions of principal and interest may be guaranteed up to certain amounts and for a certain time period by a letter of credit or a pool insurance policy issued by a financial institution unaffiliated with the trust or corporation, or other credit enhancements may be present.

Such securities are often subject to more rapid repayment than their stated maturity date would indicate as a result of the pass-through of prepayments of principal on the underlying loans. During periods of declining interest rates, prepayment of loans underlying asset-backed securities can be expected to accelerate. Accordingly, a Fund’s ability to maintain positions in such securities will be affected by reductions in the principal amount of such securities resulting from prepayments, and its ability to reinvest the returns of principal at comparable yields is subject to generally prevailing interest rates at that time. To the extent that a Fund invests in asset-backed securities, the values of the Fund’s portfolio securities will vary with changes in market interest rates generally and the differentials in yields among various kinds of asset-backed securities.

Asset-backed securities present certain additional risks because asset-backed securities generally do not have the benefit of a security interest in collateral that is comparable to mortgage assets. Credit card receivables are generally unsecured and the debtors on such receivables are entitled to the protection of a number of state and federal consumer credit laws, many of which give such debtors the right to set-off certain amounts owed on the credit cards, thereby reducing the balance due. Automobile receivables generally are secured, but by automobiles rather than residential real property. Most issuers of automobile receivables permit the loan servicers to retain possession of the underlying obligations. If the servicer were to sell these obligations to another party, there is a risk that the purchaser would acquire an interest superior to that of the holders of the asset-backed securities. In addition, because of the large number of vehicles involved in a typical issuance and technical requirements under state laws, the trustee for the holders of the automobile receivables may not have a proper security interest in the underlying automobiles. Therefore, if the issuer of an asset-backed security defaults on its payment obligations, there is the possibility that, in some cases, a Fund will be unable to possess and sell the underlying collateral and that the Fund’s recoveries on repossessed collateral may not be available to support payments on these securities.

Events Relating to the Mortgage- and Asset-Backed Securities Markets and the Overall Economy

The unprecedented disruption in the market for mortgage loans, mortgage pass-through securities and other securities representing an interest in or collateralized by adjustable and fixed rate mortgage loans (“Mortgage-Backed Securities”) (and in particular, the “subprime” residential mortgage market), the broader Mortgage-Backed Securities market and the asset-backed securities market in 2008 and 2009 resulted in downward price pressures and increasing foreclosures and defaults in residential and commercial real estate. Concerns over inflation, energy costs, geopolitical issues, the availability and cost of credit, the mortgage market and a depressed real estate market contributed to increased volatility and diminished expectations for the economy and markets going forward, and contributed to dramatic declines in the housing market, with falling home prices and increasing foreclosures and unemployment, and significant asset write-downs by financial institutions. These conditions prompted a number of financial institutions to seek additional capital, to merge with other institutions and, in some cases, to fail or seek bankruptcy protection. Between 2008 and 2009, the market for Mortgage-Backed Securities (as well as other asset-backed securities) was particularly adversely impacted by, among other factors, the failure and subsequent sale of Bear, Stearns & Co. Inc. to J.P. Morgan Chase, the merger of Bank of America Corporation and Merrill Lynch & Co., the insolvency of Washington Mutual Inc., the failure and subsequent bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers Holdings, Inc., the extension of approximately $152 billion in emergency credit by the U.S. Treasury to American International Group Inc., and, as described above, the conservatorship and the control by the U.S. Government of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. The global markets also saw an increase in volatility due to uncertainty surrounding the level and sustainability of sovereign debt of certain countries that are part of the European Union (“EU”), including Greece, Spain, Portugal, Ireland and Italy, as well as the sustainability of the EU itself. Concerns over the level and sustainability of the sovereign debt of the United States have aggravated this volatility. No assurance can be made that this uncertainty will not lead to further disruption of the credit markets in the United States or around the globe. These events, coupled with the general global economic downturn, have resulted in a substantial level of uncertainty in the financial markets, particularly with respect to mortgage-related investments.

These events may lead to further declines in income from, or the value of, real estate, including the real estate which secures the Mortgage-Backed Securities which may be held by a Fund. Additionally, a lack of credit liquidity, adjustments of mortgages to higher rates and decreases in the value of real property have occurred and may reoccur, and potentially prevent borrowers from refinancing

 

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their mortgages, which may increase the likelihood of default on their mortgage loans. These economic conditions, coupled with high levels of real estate inventory and elevated incidence of underwater mortgages, may also adversely affect the amount of proceeds the holder of a mortgage loan or Mortgage-Backed Securities (including the Mortgaged-Backed Securities in which certain Funds may invest) would realize in the event of a foreclosure or other exercise of remedies. Moreover, even if such Mortgage-Backed Securities are performing as anticipated, the value of such securities in the secondary market may nevertheless fall or continue to fall as a result of deterioration in general market conditions for such Mortgage-Backed Securities or other asset-backed or structured products. Trading activity associated with market indices may also drive spreads on those indices wider than spreads on Mortgage-Backed Securities, thereby resulting in a decrease in value of such Mortgage-Backed Securities, including the Mortgage-Backed Securities which may be owned by a Fund.

The U.S. Government, the Federal Reserve, the Treasury, the SEC, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (the “FDIC”) and other governmental and regulatory bodies have taken or are considering taking actions to address the financial crisis. These actions include, but are not limited to, the enactment by the United States Congress of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (the “Dodd Frank Act”), which was signed into law on July 21, 2010 and imposes a new regulatory framework over the U.S. financial services industry and the consumer credit markets in general, and the promulgation of additional regulations in this area which could affect these securities. Given the broad scope, sweeping nature, and relatively recent enactment of some of these regulatory measures, the potential impact they could have on any of the asset-backed or Mortgage-Backed Securities which may be held by the Funds is unknown. There can be no assurance that these measures will not have an adverse effect on the value or marketability of any asset-backed or Mortgage-Backed Securities which may be held by the Funds. Furthermore, no assurance can be made that the U.S. Government or any U.S. regulatory body (or other authority or regulatory body) will not continue to take further legislative or regulatory action in response to the economic crisis or otherwise, and the effect of such actions, if taken, cannot be known.

Among its other provisions, the Dodd-Frank Act creates a liquidation framework under which the FDIC, may be appointed as receiver following a “systemic risk determination” by the Secretary of Treasury (in consultation with the President) for the resolution of certain nonbank financial companies and other entities, defined as “covered financial companies”, and commonly referred to as “systemically important entities”, in the event such a company is in default or in danger of default and the resolution of such a company under other applicable law would have serious adverse effects on financial stability in the United States, and also for the resolution of certain of their subsidiaries. No assurances can be given that this new liquidation framework would not apply to the originators of asset-backed securities, including Mortgage-Backed Securities, or their respective subsidiaries, including the issuers and depositors of such securities, although the expectation embedded in the Dodd-Frank Act is that the framework will be invoked only very rarely. Guidance from the FDIC indicates that such new framework will largely be exercised in a manner consistent with the existing bankruptcy laws, which is the insolvency regime that would otherwise apply to the sponsors, depositors and issuing entities with respect to asset-backed securities, including Mortgage-Backed Securities. The application of such liquidation framework to such entities could result in decreases or delays in amounts paid on, and hence the market value of, the Mortgage-Backed or asset-backed securities that may be owned by a Fund.

Delinquencies, defaults and losses on residential mortgage loans may increase substantially over certain periods, which may affect the performance of the Mortgage-Backed Securities in which certain Funds may invest. Mortgage loans backing non-agency Mortgage-Backed Securities are more sensitive to economic factors that could affect the ability of borrowers to pay their obligations under the mortgage loans backing these securities. In addition, housing prices and appraisal values in many states and localities over certain periods have declined or stopped appreciating. A continued decline or an extended flattening of those values may result in additional increases in delinquencies and losses on Mortgage-Backed Securities generally (including the Mortgaged-Backed Securities that the Funds may invest in as described above).

The foregoing adverse changes in market conditions and regulatory climate may reduce the cash flow which a Fund, to the extent it invests in Mortgage-Backed Securities or other asset-backed securities, receives from such securities and increase the incidence and severity of credit events and losses in respect of such securities. In addition, interest rate spreads for Mortgage-Backed Securities and other asset-backed securities are subject to widening and increased volatility due to these adverse changes in market conditions. In the event that interest rate spreads for Mortgage-Backed Securities and other asset-backed securities widen following the purchase of such assets by a Fund, the market value of such securities is likely to decline and, in the case of a substantial spread widening, could decline by a substantial amount. Furthermore, adverse changes in market conditions may result in reduced liquidity in the market for Mortgage-Backed Securities and other asset-backed securities (including the Mortgage-Backed Securities and other asset-backed securities in which certain Funds may invest) and increased unwillingness by banks, financial institutions and investors to extend credit to servicers, originators and other participants in the market for Mortgage-Backed and other asset-backed securities. As a result, the liquidity and/or the market value of any Mortgage-Backed or asset-backed securities that are owned by a Fund may experience further declines after they are purchased by a Fund.

 

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Options on Securities and Securities Indices and Foreign Currencies

Writing and Purchasing Call and Put Options on Securities and Securities Indices. Each Fund may write (sell) call and put options on any securities in which it may invest or any securities index consisting of securities in which it may invest. A Fund may write such options on securities that are listed on national domestic securities exchanges or foreign securities exchanges or traded in the over-the-counter market. A call option written by a Fund obligates that Fund to sell specified securities to the holder of the option at a specified price if the option is exercised on or before the expiration date. Depending upon the type of call option, the purchaser of a call option either (i) has the right to any appreciation in the value of the security over a fixed price (the “exercise price”) on a certain date in the future (the “expiration date”) or (ii) has the right to any appreciation in the value of the security over the exercise price at any time prior to the expiration of the option. If the purchaser exercises the option, a Fund pays the purchaser the difference between the price of the security and the exercise price of the option. The premium, the exercise price and the market value of the security determine the gain or loss realized by a Fund as the seller of the call option. A Fund can also repurchase the call option prior to the expiration date, ending its obligation. In this case, the cost of entering into closing purchase transactions will determine the gain or loss realized by the Fund. All call options written by a Fund are covered, which means that such Fund will own the securities subject to the option so long as the option is outstanding or such Fund will use the other methods described below. A Fund’s purpose in writing call options is to realize greater income than would be realized on portfolio securities transactions alone. However, a Fund may forego the opportunity to profit from an increase in the market price of the underlying security.

A put option written by a Fund obligates the Fund to purchase specified securities from the option holder at a specified price if the option is exercised on or before the expiration date. All put options written by a Fund would be covered, which means that such Fund will identify on its books cash or liquid assets with a value at least equal to the exercise price of the put option (less any margin on deposit) or will use the other methods described below. For more information about these practices, see “Description of Investment Securities and Practices – Asset Segregation.”

The purpose of writing such options is to generate additional income for the Fund. However, in return for the option premium, each Fund accepts the risk that it may be required to purchase the underlying securities at a price in excess of the securities’ market value at the time of purchase.

In the case of a call option, the option may be “covered” if a Fund owns the instrument underlying the call or has an absolute and immediate right to acquire that instrument without additional cash consideration (or, if additional cash consideration is required, liquid assets in such amount are identified on the Fund’s books) upon conversion or exchange of other instruments held by it. A call option may also be covered if a Fund holds a call on the same instrument as the option written where the exercise price of the option held is (i) equal to or less than the exercise price of the option written, or (ii) greater than the exercise price of the option written provided the Fund identifies liquid assets in the amount of the difference. A put option may also be covered if a Fund holds a put on the same security as the option written where the exercise price of the option held is (i) equal to or higher than the exercise price of the option written, or (ii) less than the exercise price of the option written provided the Fund identifies on its books liquid assets in the amount of the difference. A Fund may also cover options on securities by identifying cash or liquid assets, as permitted by applicable law, with a value, when added to any margin on deposit that is equal to the market value of the securities in the case of a call option. Identified cash or liquid assets may be quoted or denominated in any currency. Identified cash or liquid assets may be quoted or denominated in any currency.

A Fund may terminate its obligations under an exchange-traded call or put option by purchasing an option identical to the one it has written. Obligations under over-the-counter options may be terminated only by entering into an offsetting transaction with the counterparty to such option. Such purchases are referred to as “closing purchase transactions.”

Each Fund may also write (sell) call and put options on any securities index consisting of securities in which it may invest. Options on securities indices are similar to options on securities, except that the exercise of securities index options requires cash settlement payments and does not involve the actual purchase or sale of securities. In addition, securities index options are designed to reflect price fluctuations in a group of securities or segment of the securities market rather than price fluctuations in a single security.

A Fund may cover call options on a securities index by owning securities whose price changes are expected to be similar to those of the underlying index or by having an absolute and immediate right to acquire such securities without additional cash consideration (or if additional cash consideration is required, liquid assets in such amount are identified on the Fund’s books) upon conversion or exchange of other securities held by it. The Funds may also cover call and put options by identifying cash or liquid assets, as permitted by applicable law, with a value, when added to any margin on deposit, that is equal to the market value of the underlying securities in the case of a call option or the exercise price in the case of a put option or by owning offsetting options as described above.

 

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The writing of options is a highly specialized activity which involves investment techniques and risks different from those associated with ordinary portfolio securities transactions. The use of options to seek to increase total return involves the risk of loss if the Investment Adviser is incorrect in its expectation of fluctuations in securities prices or interest rates. The successful use of options for hedging purposes also depends in part on the ability of the Investment Adviser to predict future price fluctuations and the degree of correlation between the options and securities markets. If the Investment Adviser is incorrect in its expectation of changes in securities prices or determination of the correlation between the securities indices on which options are written and purchased and the securities in a Fund’s investment portfolio, the investment performance of the Fund will be less favorable than it would have been in the absence of such options transactions. The writing of options could increase a Fund’s portfolio turnover rate and, therefore, associated brokerage commissions or spreads.

Each Fund may also purchase put and call options on any securities in which it may invest or any securities index consisting of securities in which it may invest. In addition, a Fund may enter into closing sale transactions in order to realize gains or minimize losses on options it had purchased.

A Fund may purchase call options in anticipation of an increase, or put options in anticipation of a decrease (“protective puts”), in the market value of securities or other instruments of the type in which it may invest. The purchase of a call option would entitle a Fund, in return for the premium paid, to purchase specified securities or other instruments at a specified price during the option period. A Fund would ordinarily realize a gain on the purchase of a call option if, during the option period, the value of such securities exceeded the sum of the exercise price, the premium paid and transaction costs; otherwise the Fund would realize either no gain or a loss on the purchase of the call option. The purchase of a put option would entitle a Fund, in exchange for the premium paid, to sell specified securities or other instruments at a specified price during the option period. The purchase of protective puts is designed to offset or hedge against a decline in the market value of a Fund’s securities or other instruments. Put options may also be purchased by a Fund for the purpose of affirmatively benefiting from a decline in the price of securities or other instruments which it does not own. A Fund would ordinarily realize a gain if, during the option period, the value of the underlying securities or other instruments decreased below the exercise price sufficiently to cover the premium and transaction costs; otherwise the Fund would realize either no gain or a loss on the purchase of the put option. Gains and losses on the purchase of put options may be offset by countervailing changes in the value of the underlying portfolio securities or other instruments.

A Fund may purchase put and call options on securities indices for the same purposes as it may purchase options on securities. Options on securities indices are similar to options on securities, except that the exercise of securities index options requires cash payments and does not involve the actual purchase or sale of securities. In addition, securities index options are designed to reflect price fluctuations in a group of securities or segment of the securities market rather than price fluctuations in a single security.

Writing and Purchasing Call and Put Options on Currency. The Funds may write put and call options and purchase put and call options on foreign currencies in an attempt to protect against declines in the U.S. dollar value of foreign portfolio securities and against increases in the U.S. dollar cost of foreign securities to be acquired. A Fund may also use options on currency to cross-hedge, which involves writing or purchasing options on one currency to seek to hedge against changes in exchange rates for a different currency with a pattern of correlation. As with other kinds of option transactions, however, the writing of an option on foreign currency will constitute only a partial hedge, up to the amount of the premium received. If an option that a Fund has written is exercised, the Fund could be required to purchase or sell foreign currencies at disadvantageous exchange rates, thereby incurring losses. The purchase of an option on foreign currency may constitute an effective hedge against exchange rate fluctuations; however, in the event of exchange rate movements adverse to a Fund’s position, the Fund may forfeit the entire amount of the premium plus related transaction costs. Options on foreign currencies may be traded on U.S. and foreign exchanges or over-the-counter. In addition, a Fund may purchase call options on currency to seek to increase total return.

A currency call option written by a Fund obligates the Fund to sell specified currency to the holder of the option at a specified price if the option is exercised at any time before the expiration date. A currency put option written by a Fund obligates the Fund to purchase specified currency from the option holder at a specified price if the option is exercised at any time before the expiration date. The writing of currency options involves a risk that a Fund will, upon exercise of the option, be required to sell currency subject to a call at a price that is less than the currency’s market value or be required to purchase currency subject to a put at a price that exceeds the currency’s market value. Written put and call options on foreign currencies may be covered in a manner similar to written put and call options on securities and securities indices described under “Options on Securities and Securities Indices—Writing Covered Options” above.

A Fund may terminate its obligations under a written call or put option by purchasing an option identical to the one written. Such purchases are referred to as “closing purchase transactions.” A Fund may enter into closing sale transactions in order to realize gains or minimize losses on purchased options.

 

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A Fund may purchase call options on foreign currency in anticipation of an increase in the U.S. dollar value of currency in which securities to be acquired by the Fund are denominated or quoted. The purchase of a call option would entitle a Fund, in return for the premium paid, to purchase specified currency at a specified price during the option period. A Fund would ordinarily realize a gain if, during the option period, the value of such currency exceeded the sum of the exercise price, the premium paid and transaction costs; otherwise, the Fund would realize either no gain or a loss on the purchase of the call option.

A Fund may purchase put options in anticipation of a decline in the U.S. dollar value of currency in which securities in its portfolio are denominated or quoted (“protective puts”). The purchase of a put option would entitle the Fund, in exchange for the premium paid, to sell specified currency at a specified price during the option period. The purchase of protective puts is usually designed to offset or hedge against a decline in the U.S. dollar value of a Fund’s portfolio securities due to currency exchange rate fluctuations. A Fund would ordinarily realize a gain if, during the option period, the value of the underlying currency decreased below the exercise price sufficiently to more than cover the premium and transaction costs; otherwise, the Fund would realize either no gain or a loss on the purchase of the put option. Gains and losses on the purchase of protective put options would tend to be offset by countervailing changes in the value of the underlying currency.

In addition to using options for the hedging purposes described above, the Funds may use options on currency to seek to increase total return. The Funds may write (sell) put and call options on any currency in an attempt to realize greater income than would be realized on portfolio securities transactions alone. However, in writing call options for additional income, the Funds may forego the opportunity to profit from an increase in the market value of the underlying currency. Also, when writing put options, the Funds accept, in return for the option premium, the risk that it may be required to purchase the underlying currency at a price in excess of the currency’s market value at the time of purchase.

The Funds may purchase call options to seek to increase total return in anticipation of an increase in the market value of a currency. The Funds would ordinarily realize a gain if, during the option period, the value of such currency exceeded the sum of the exercise price, the premium paid and transaction costs. Otherwise the Funds would realize either no gain or a loss on the purchase of the call option. Put options may be purchased by the Funds for the purpose of benefiting from a decline in the value of currencies which they do not own. The Funds would ordinarily realize a gain if, during the option period, the value of the underlying currency decreased below the exercise price sufficiently to more than cover the premium and transaction costs. Otherwise, the Funds would realize either no gain or a loss on the purchase of the put option.

Special Risks Associated with Options on Currency. An exchange-traded option position may be closed out only on an options exchange that provides a secondary market for an option of the same series. Although the Funds will generally purchase or write only those options for which there appears to be an active secondary market, there is no assurance that a liquid secondary market on an exchange will exist for any particular option or at any particular time. For some options no secondary market on an exchange may exist. In such event, it might not be possible to effect closing transactions in particular options, with the result that a Fund would have to exercise its options in order to realize any profit and would incur transaction costs upon the sale of underlying securities pursuant to the exercise of its options. If a Fund as a call option writer is unable to effect a closing purchase transaction in a secondary market, it will not be able to sell the underlying currency (or security quoted or denominated in that currency), or dispose of the identified assets, until the option expires or it delivers the underlying currency upon exercise.

There is no assurance that higher-than-anticipated trading activity or other unforeseen events might not, at times, render certain of the facilities of the Options Clearing Corporation inadequate, and thereby result in the institution by an exchange of special procedures which may interfere with the timely execution of customers’ orders.

Each applicable Fund may purchase and write over-the-counter options to the extent consistent with its limitation on investments in illiquid securities. Trading in over-the-counter options is subject to the risk that the other party will be unable or unwilling to close out options purchased or written by a Fund.

The amount of the premiums that a Fund may pay or receive, may be adversely affected as new or existing institutions, including other investment companies, engage in or increase their option purchasing and writing activities.

Yield Curve Options. Each Fund may enter into options on the yield “spread” or differential between two securities. Such transactions are referred to as “yield curve” options. In contrast to other types of options, a yield curve option is based on the difference between the yields of designated securities, rather than the prices of the individual securities, and is settled through cash payments. Accordingly, a yield curve option is profitable to the holder if this differential widens (in the case of a call) or narrows (in the case of a put), regardless of whether the yields of the underlying securities increase or decrease.

 

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A Fund may purchase or write yield curve options for the same purposes as other options on securities. For example, a Fund may purchase a call option on the yield spread between two securities if the Fund owns one of the securities and anticipates purchasing the other security and wants to hedge against an adverse change in the yield spread between the two securities. A Fund may also purchase or write yield curve options in an effort to increase current income if, in the judgment of the Investment Adviser, the Fund will be able to profit from movements in the spread between the yields of the underlying securities. The trading of yield curve options is subject to all of the risks associated with the trading of other types of options. In addition, however, such options present a risk of loss even if the yield of one of the underlying securities remains constant, or if the spread moves in a direction or to an extent which was not anticipated.

Yield curve options written by a Fund will be “covered.” A call (or put) option is covered if the Fund holds another call (or put) option on the spread between the same two securities and identifies on its books cash or liquid assets sufficient to cover the Fund’s net liability under the two options. Therefore, a Fund’s liability for such a covered option is generally limited to the difference between the amount of the Fund’s liability under the option written by the Fund less the value of the option held by the Fund. Yield curve options may also be covered in such other manner as may be in accordance with the requirements of the counterparty with which the option is traded and applicable laws and regulations. Yield curve options are traded over-the-counter, and established trading markets for these options may not exist.

Risks Associated with Options Transactions. There is no assurance that a liquid secondary market on a domestic or foreign options exchange will exist for any particular exchange-traded option or at any particular time. If a Fund is unable to effect a closing purchase transaction with respect to covered options it has written, the Fund will not be able to sell the underlying securities or dispose of the assets identified on its books to cover the position until the options expire or are exercised. Similarly, if a Fund is unable to effect a closing sale transaction with respect to options it has purchased, it will have to exercise the options in order to realize any profit and will incur transaction costs upon the purchase or sale of underlying securities.

Reasons for the absence of a liquid secondary market on an exchange include, but are not limited to, the following: (i) there may be insufficient trading interest in certain options; (ii) restrictions may be imposed by an exchange on opening or closing transactions or both; (iii) trading halts, suspensions or other restrictions may be imposed with respect to particular classes or series of options; (iv) unusual or unforeseen circumstances may interrupt normal operations on an exchange; (v) the facilities of an exchange or the Options Clearing Corporation may not at all times be adequate to handle current trading volume; or (vi) one or more exchanges could, for economic or other reasons, decide or be compelled at some future date to discontinue the trading of options (or a particular class or series of options), in which event the secondary market on that exchange (or in that class or series of options) would cease to exist although outstanding options on that exchange that had been issued by the Options Clearing Corporation as a result of trades on that exchange would continue to be exercisable in accordance with their terms.

There can be no assurance that higher trading activity, order flow or other unforeseen events will not, at times, render certain of the facilities of the Options Clearing Corporation or various exchanges inadequate. Such events have, in the past, resulted in the institution by an exchange of special procedures, such as trading rotations, restrictions on certain types of order or trading halts or suspensions with respect to one or more options. These special procedures may limit liquidity.

A Fund may purchase and sell both options that are traded on U.S. and foreign exchanges and options traded over-the-counter with broker-dealers and other types of institutions that make markets in these options. The ability to terminate over-the-counter options is more limited than with exchange-traded options and may involve the risk that the broker-dealers or financial institutions participating in such transactions will not fulfill their obligations.

Transactions by a Fund in options will be subject to limitations established by each of the exchanges, boards of trade or other trading facilities on which such options are traded governing the maximum number of options in each class which may be written or purchased by a single investor or group of investors acting in concert regardless of whether the options are written or purchased on the same or different exchanges, boards of trade or other trading facilities or are held in one or more accounts or through one or more brokers. Thus, the number of options which a Fund may write or purchase may be affected by options written or purchased by other investment advisory clients of the Investment Adviser. An exchange, board of trade or other trading facility may order the liquidation of positions found to be in excess of these limits, and it may impose certain other sanctions.

The writing and purchase of options is a highly specialized activity which involves investment techniques and risks different from those associated with ordinary portfolio securities transactions. The use of options to seek to increase total return involves the risk of loss if the Investment Adviser is incorrect in its expectation of fluctuations in securities prices or interest rates. The successful use of options for hedging purposes also depends in part on the ability of the Investment Adviser to manage future price fluctuations and the degree of correlation between the options and securities (or currency) markets. If the Investment Adviser is incorrect in its

 

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expectation of changes in securities prices or determination of the correlation between the securities or securities indices on which options are written and purchased and the securities in a Fund’s investment portfolio, the Fund may incur losses that it would not otherwise incur. The writing of options could increase a Fund’s portfolio turnover rate and, therefore, associated brokerage commissions or spreads.

Investment in Unseasoned Companies

Each Fund may invest in companies (including predecessors) which have operated less than three years. The securities of such companies may have limited liquidity, which can result in their being priced higher or lower than might otherwise be the case. In addition, investments in unseasoned companies are more speculative and entail greater risk than do investments in companies with an established operating record.

Pooled Investment Vehicles

Each Fund may invest in securities of pooled investment vehicles, including ETFs. A Fund will indirectly bear its proportionate share of any management fees and other expenses paid by pooled investment vehicles in which it invests, in addition to the management fees (and other expenses) paid by the Fund. A Fund’s investments in pooled investment vehicles are subject to statutory limitations prescribed by the Act, including in certain circumstances a prohibition on the Fund acquiring more than 3% of the voting shares of any other investment company, and a prohibition on investing more than 5% of the Fund’s total assets in securities of any one investment company or more than 10% of its total assets in the securities of all investment companies. Many ETFs, however, have obtained exemptive relief from the SEC to permit unaffiliated funds (such as the Funds) to invest in their shares beyond these statutory limits, subject to certain conditions and pursuant to contractual arrangements between the ETFs and the investing funds. The Funds may rely on these exemptive orders in investing in ETFs. Pursuant to an exemptive order obtained from the SEC or under an exemptive rule adopted by the SEC, the Funds may invest in investment companies and money market funds for which the Investment Adviser, or any of its affiliates, serves as investment adviser, administrator and/or distributor. However, to the extent that a Fund invests in a money market fund for which the Investment Adviser or any of its affiliates acts as investment adviser, the management fees payable by the Fund to the Investment Adviser will, to the extent required by the SEC, be reduced by an amount equal to the Fund’s proportionate share of the management fees paid by such money market fund to its investment adviser. Although the Funds do not expect to do so in the foreseeable future, each Fund is authorized to invest substantially all of its assets in a single open-end investment company or series thereof that has substantially the same investment objective, policies and fundamental restrictions as the Fund.

The Funds may purchase shares of investment companies investing primarily in foreign securities, including “country funds.” Country funds have portfolios consisting primarily of securities of issuers located in specified foreign countries or regions.

Repurchase Agreements

Each Fund may enter into repurchase agreements with counterparties that furnish collateral at least equal in value or market price to the amount of their repurchase obligation. The Funds may also enter into repurchase agreements involving obligations other than U.S. Government Securities, which may be subject to additional risks. A repurchase agreement is an arrangement under which a Fund purchases securities and the seller agrees to repurchase the securities within a particular time and at a specified price. Custody of the securities is maintained by the Funds’ custodian (or subcustodian). The repurchase price may be higher than the purchase price, the difference being income to the Funds, or the purchase and repurchase prices may be the same, with interest at a stated rate due to a Fund together with the repurchase price on repurchase. In either case, the income to the Fund is unrelated to the interest rate on the security subject to the repurchase agreement.

For purposes of the Act, and generally for tax purposes, a repurchase agreement is deemed to be a loan from a Fund to the seller of the security. For other purposes, it is not always clear whether a court would consider the security purchased by a Fund subject to a repurchase agreement as being owned by a Fund or as being collateral for a loan by a Fund to the seller. In the event of commencement of bankruptcy or insolvency proceedings with respect to the seller of the security before repurchase of the security under a repurchase agreement, a Fund may encounter delay and incur costs before being able to sell the security. Such a delay may involve loss of interest or a decline in value of the security. If the court characterizes the transaction as a loan and a Fund has not perfected a security interest in the security, the Fund may be required to return the security to the seller’s estate and be treated as an unsecured creditor of the seller. As an unsecured creditor, a Fund would be at risk of losing some or all of the principal and interest involved in the transaction.

 

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Apart from the risk of bankruptcy or insolvency proceedings, there is also the risk that the seller may fail to repurchase the security. However, if the market value of the security subject to the repurchase agreement becomes less than the repurchase price (including accrued interest), each Fund will direct the seller of the security to deliver additional securities so that the market value of all securities subject to the repurchase agreement equals or exceeds the repurchase price. Certain repurchase agreements which provide for settlement in more than seven days can be liquidated before the nominal fixed term on seven days or less notice. Such repurchase agreements will be regarded as liquid instruments.

The Funds, together with other registered investment companies having management agreements with the Investment Adviser or their affiliates, may transfer uninvested cash balances into a single joint account, the daily aggregate balance of which will be invested in one or more repurchase agreements.

Restricted and Illiquid Securities

Each Fund may purchase securities and other financial instruments that are not registered or that are offered in an exempt non-public offering (“Restricted Securities”) under the Securities Act of 1933 (the “1933 Act”), including securities eligible for resale to “qualified institutional buyers” pursuant to Rule 144A under the 1933 Act. However, a Fund will not invest more than 15% of its net assets in illiquid investments, which include repurchase agreements with a notice or demand period of more than seven days, certain stripped mortgage-backed securities, certain municipal leases, certain over-the-counter options, securities and other financial instruments that are not readily marketable, bank obligations, non-investment grade securities and other credit instruments and Restricted Securities unless, based upon a review of the trading markets for specific investments, those investments are determined to be liquid. Those investment practices could have the effect of increasing the level of illiquidity in a Fund to the extent that market demand for securities held by the Fund decreases such that previously liquid securities become illiquid. The Trustees have adopted guidelines and delegated to the Investment Adviser the function of determining and monitoring the liquidity of the Funds’ portfolio securities.

The purchase price and subsequent valuation of Restricted Securities may reflect a discount from the price at which such securities trade when they are not restricted, because the restriction makes them less liquid. The amount of the discount from the prevailing market price is expected to vary depending upon the type of security, the character of the issuer, the party who will bear the expenses of registering the Restricted Securities and prevailing supply and demand conditions.

Reverse Repurchase Agreements

Each Fund may borrow money by entering into transactions called reverse repurchase agreements. Under these arrangements, the Fund may sell portfolio securities to dealers in U.S. Government Securities or members of the Federal Reserve System, with an agreement to repurchase the security on an agreed date, price and interest payment. These reverse repurchase agreements may involve foreign government securities. Reverse repurchase agreements involve the possible risk that the value of portfolio securities the Fund relinquishes may decline below the price the Fund must pay when the transaction closes. Borrowings may magnify the potential for gain or loss on amounts invested resulting in an increase in the speculative character of a Fund’s outstanding shares.

When a Fund enters into a reverse repurchase agreement, it identifies on its books cash or liquid assets that have a value equal to or greater than the repurchase price. The amount of cash or liquid assets so identified is then monitored continuously by the Investment Adviser to make sure that an appropriate value is maintained. Reverse repurchase agreements are considered to be borrowings under the Investment Company Act.

Short Sales

Short sales are transactions in which a Fund sells a security it does not own in anticipation of a decline in the market value of that security. To complete such a transaction, the Fund must borrow the security to make delivery to the buyer. The Fund then is obligated to replace the security borrowed by purchasing it at the market price at the time of replacement. The price at such time may be more or less than the price at which the security was sold by the Fund. Until the security is replaced, the Fund is required to pay to the lender amounts equal to any dividend 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. There will also be other costs associated with short sales.

 

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A Fund will incur a loss as a result of the short sale if the price of the security increases between the date of the short sale and the date on which the Fund replaces the borrowed security. The Fund will realize a gain if the security declines in price between those dates. This result is the opposite of what one would expect from a cash purchase of a long position in a security. The amount of any gain will be decreased, and the amount of any loss increased, by the amount of any premium or amounts in lieu of interest the Fund may be required to pay in connection with a short sale, and will be also decreased by any transaction or other costs.

Until a Fund replaces a borrowed security in connection with a short sale, the Fund will (a) identify on its books cash or liquid assets at such a level that the identified assets plus any amount deposited as collateral will equal the current value of the security sold short or (b) otherwise cover its short position in accordance with applicable law.

There is no guarantee that a Fund will be able to close out a short position at any particular time or at an acceptable price. During the time that a Fund is short a security, it is subject to the risk that the lender of the security will terminate the loan at a time when the Fund is unable to borrow the same security from another lender. If that occurs, the Fund may be “bought in” at the price required to purchase the security needed to close out the short position, which may be a disadvantageous price.

Each Fund may engage in short sales against the box. As noted above, a short sale is made by selling a security the seller does not own. A short sale is “against the box” to the extent that the seller contemporaneously owns or has the right to obtain, at no added cost, securities identical to those sold short. It may be entered into by a Fund, for example, to lock in a sales price for a security the Fund does not wish to sell immediately. If a Fund sells securities short against the box, it may protect itself from loss if the price of the securities declines in the future, but will lose the opportunity to profit on such securities if the price rises.

If a Fund effects a short sale of securities at a time when it has an unrealized gain on the securities, it may be required to recognize that gain as if it had actually sold the securities (as a “constructive sale”) on the date it effects the short sale. However, such constructive sale treatment may not apply if a Fund closes out the short sale with securities other than the appreciated securities held at the time of the short sale and if certain other conditions are satisfied. Uncertainty regarding the tax consequences of effecting short sales may limit the extent to which a Fund may effect short sales.

Special Note Regarding Market Events

Events in the financial sector over the past several years have resulted in reduced liquidity in credit and fixed income markets and in an unusually high degree of volatility in the financial markets, both domestically and internationally. While entire markets have been impacted, issuers that have exposure to the real estate, mortgage and credit markets have been particularly affected. These events and the potential for continuing market turbulence may have an adverse effect on the Funds’ investments. It is uncertain how long these conditions will continue.

The instability in the financial markets led the U.S. government to take a number of unprecedented actions designed to support certain financial institutions and certain segments of the financial markets. Federal, state, local and foreign governments, regulatory agencies, and self -regulatory organizations may take actions that affect the regulation of the instruments in which the Funds invest, or the issuers of such instruments, in ways that are unforeseeable. Such legislation or regulation could limit or preclude a Fund’s ability to achieve its investment objective.

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 ownership or disposition may have positive or negative effects on the liquidity, valuation and performance of the Funds’ portfolio holdings.

Equity-Linked Structured Notes

The Funds may invest in equity-linked structured notes. Equity-linked structured notes are derivatives that are specifically designed to combine the characteristics of one or more underlying securities and their equity derivatives in a single note form. The return and/or yield or income component may be based on the performance of the underlying equity securities, an equity index, and/or option positions. Equity-linked structured notes are typically offered in limited transactions by financial institutions in either registered or non-registered form. An investment in equity-linked notes creates exposure to the credit risk of the issuing financial institution, as well as to the market risk of the underlying securities. There is no guaranteed return of principal with these securities and the appreciation potential of these securities may be limited by a maximum payment or call right. In certain cases, equity-linked notes may be more volatile and less liquid than less complex securities or other types of fixed-income securities. Such securities may exhibit price behavior that does not correlate with other fixed-income securities.

 

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U.S. Government Securities

Each Fund may invest in U.S. Government Securities. Some U.S. Government Securities (such as Treasury bills, notes and bonds, which differ only in their interest rates, maturities and times of issuance) are supported by the full faith and credit of the United States. Others, such as obligations issued or guaranteed by U.S. Government agencies, instrumentalities or sponsored enterprises, are supported either by (i) the right of the issuer to borrow from the U.S. Treasury, (ii) the discretionary authority of the U.S. government to purchase certain obligations of the issuer or (iii) only the credit of the issuer. The U.S. Government is under no legal obligation, in general, to purchase the obligations of its agencies, instrumentalities or sponsored enterprises. No assurance can be given that the U.S. Government will provide financial support to U.S. government agencies, instrumentalities or sponsored enterprises in the future, and the U.S. Government may be unable to pay debts when due.

U.S. Government Securities include (to the extent consistent with the Act) securities for which the payment of principal and interest is backed by an irrevocable letter of credit issued by the U.S. Government, or its agencies, instrumentalities or sponsored enterprises. U.S. Government Securities may also include (to the extent consistent with the Act) participations in loans made to foreign governments or their agencies that are guaranteed as to principal and interest by the U.S. Government or its agencies, instrumentalities or sponsored enterprises. The secondary market for certain of these participations is extremely limited. In the absence of a suitable secondary market, such participations are regarded as illiquid.

Each Fund may also purchase U.S. Government Securities in private placements and may also invest in separately traded principal and interest components of securities guaranteed or issued by the U.S. Treasury that are traded independently under the separate trading of registered interest and principal of securities program (“STRIPS”). Each Fund may also invest in zero coupon U.S. Treasury securities and in zero coupon securities issued by financial institutions which represent a proportionate interest in underlying U.S. Treasury securities.

Inflation-Protected Securities. The Funds may invest in inflation protected securities (“IPS”) of varying maturities issued by the U.S. Treasury (“TIPS”) and other U.S. and non-U.S. Government agencies and corporations (“CIPS”), which are securities whose principal value is periodically adjusted according to the rate of inflation. The interest rate on IPS is fixed at issuance, but over the life of the bond this interest may be paid on an increasing or decreasing principal value that has been adjusted for inflation. Although repayment of the original bond principal upon maturity is guaranteed, the market value of IPS is not guaranteed, and will fluctuate.

The values of IPS generally fluctuate in response to changes in real interest rates, which are in turn tied to the relationship between nominal interest rates and the rate of inflation. If inflation were to rise at a faster rate than nominal interest rates, real interest rates might decline, leading to an increase in the value of IPS. In contrast, if nominal interest rates were to increase at a faster rate than inflation, real interest rates might rise, leading to a decrease in the value of IPS. If inflation is lower than expected during the period a Fund holds IPS, the Fund may earn less on the IPS than on a conventional bond. If interest rates rise due to reasons other than inflation (for example, due to changes in the currency exchange rates), investors in IPS may not be protected to the extent that the increase is not reflected in the bonds’ inflation measure. There can be no assurance that the inflation index for IPS will accurately measure the real rate of inflation in the prices of goods and services.

Any increase in principal value of IPS caused by an increase in the consumer price index is taxable in the year the increase occurs, even though a Fund holding IPS will not receive cash representing the increase at that time. As a result, a Fund could be required at times to liquidate other investments, including when it is not advantageous to do so, in order to satisfy its distribution requirements as a regulated investment company.

If a Fund invests in IPS, it will be required to treat as original issue discount any increase in the principal amount of the securities that occurs during the course of its taxable year. If a Fund purchases such IPS that are issued in stripped form either as stripped bonds or coupons, it will be treated as if it had purchased a newly issued debt instrument having original issue discount.

Because a Fund is required to distribute substantially all of its net investment income (including accrued original issue discount), a Fund’s investment in either zero coupon bonds or IPS may require the Fund to distribute to shareholders an amount greater than the total cash income it actually receives. Accordingly, in order to make the required distributions, a Fund may be required to borrow or liquidate securities.

 

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Preferred Stock, Warrants and Stock Purchase Rights

The Funds may invest in preferred stock, warrants or stock purchase rights (in addition to those acquired in units or attached to other securities) (“rights”). Preferred stocks are securities that represent an ownership interest providing the holder with claims on the issuer’s earnings and assets before common stock owners but after bond owners. Unlike debt securities, the obligations of an issuer of preferred stock, including dividends and other payment obligations, may not typically be accelerated by the holders of such preferred stock on the occurrence of an event of default (such as a covenant default or filing of a bankruptcy petition) or other non-compliance by the issuer with the terms of the preferred stock. Often, however, on the occurrence of any such event of default or non-compliance by the issuer, preferred stockholders will be entitled to gain representation on the issuer’s board of directors or increase their existing board representation. In addition, preferred stockholders may be granted voting rights with respect to certain issues on the occurrence of any event of default.

Warrants and other rights are options to buy a stated number of shares of common stock at a specified price at any time during the life of the warrant. The holders of warrants and rights have no voting rights, receive no dividends and have no rights with respect to the assets of the issuer.

When-Issued Securities and Forward Commitments

Each Fund may purchase securities on a when-issued basis or purchase or sell securities on a forward commitment basis beyond the customary settlement time. These transactions involve a commitment by a Fund to purchase or sell securities at a future date. The price of the underlying securities (usually expressed in terms of yield) and the date when the securities will be delivered and paid for (the settlement date) are fixed at the time the transaction is negotiated. When-issued purchases and forward commitment transactions are negotiated directly with the other party, and such commitments are not traded on exchanges. The Funds will generally purchase securities on a when-issued basis or purchase or sell securities on a forward commitment basis only with the intention of completing the transaction and actually purchasing or selling the securities. If deemed advisable as a matter of investment strategy, however, the Funds may dispose of or negotiate a commitment after entering into it. A Fund may also sell securities it has committed to purchase before those securities are delivered to the Fund on the settlement date. The Funds may realize capital gains or losses in connection with these transactions. For purposes of determining a Fund’s duration, the maturity of when-issued or forward commitment securities for fixed-rate obligations will be calculated from the commitment date. Each Fund is generally required to identify on its books, until three days prior to settlement date, cash and liquid assets in an amount sufficient to meet the purchase price unless the Fund’s obligations are otherwise covered. Alternatively, each Fund may enter into offsetting contracts for the forward sale of other securities that it owns. Securities purchased or sold on a when-issued or forward commitment basis involve a risk of loss if the value of the security to be purchased declines prior to the settlement date or if the value of the security to be sold increases prior to the settlement date.

Lending of Portfolio Securities

Each Fund may lend its portfolio securities to brokers, dealers and other institutions, including Goldman Sachs. By lending its securities, a Fund attempts to increase its net investment income.

Securities loans are required to be secured continuously by collateral in cash, cash equivalents, letters of credit or U.S. Government Securities equal to at least 100% of the value of the loaned securities. This collateral must be valued, or “marked to market,” daily. Borrowers are required to furnish additional collateral to the Fund as necessary to fully cover their obligations.

With respect to loans that are collateralized by cash, the Fund may reinvest that cash in short-term investments and pay the borrower a pre-negotiated fee or “rebate” from any return earned on the investment. Investing the collateral subjects it to market depreciation or appreciation, and a Fund is responsible for any loss that may result from its investment of the borrowed collateral. Cash collateral may be invested in, among other things, other registered or unregistered funds, including private investing funds or money market funds that are managed by the Investment Adviser or its affiliates, and which pay the Investment Adviser or its affiliates for their services. If a Fund would receive non-cash collateral, the Fund receives a fee from the borrower equal to a negotiated percentage of the market value of the loaned securities.

For the duration of any securities loan, a Fund will continue to receive the equivalent of the interest, dividends or other distributions paid by the issuer on the loaned securities. A Fund will not have the right to vote its loaned securities during the period of the loan, but the Fund may attempt to recall a loaned security in anticipation of a material vote if it desires to do so. A Fund will have the right to terminate a loan at any time and recall the loaned securities within the normal and customary settlement time for securities transactions.

 

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Securities lending involves certain risks. A Fund may lose money on its investment of cash collateral, resulting in a loss of principal, or may fail to earn sufficient income on its investment to cover the fee or rebate it has agreed to pay the borrower. A Fund may incur losses in connection with its securities lending activities that exceed the value of the interest income and fees received in connection with such transactions. Securities lending subjects a Fund to the risk of loss resulting from problems in the settlement and accounting process, and to additional credit, counterparty and market risk. These risks could be greater with respect to non-U.S. securities. Engaging in securities lending could have a leveraging effect, which may intensify the other risks associated with investments in a Fund. In addition, a Fund bears the risk that the price of the securities on loan will increase while they are on loan, or that the price of the collateral will decline in value during the period of the loan, and that the counterparty will not provide, or will delay in providing, additional collateral. A Fund also bears the risk that a borrower may fail to return securities in a timely manner or at all, either because the borrower fails financially or for other reasons. If a borrower of securities fails financially, a Fund may also lose its rights in the collateral. A Fund could experience delays and costs in recovering loaned securities or in gaining access to and liquidating the collateral, which could result in actual financial loss and which could interfere with portfolio management decisions or the exercise of ownership rights in the loaned securities. If a Fund is not able to recover the securities lent, the Fund may sell the collateral and purchase replacement securities in the market. However, a Fund will incur transaction costs on the purchase of replacement securities. These events could trigger adverse tax consequences for the Fund. In determining whether to lend securities to a particular borrower, and throughout the period of the loan, the creditworthiness of the borrower will be considered and monitored. Loans will only be made to firms deemed to be of good standing, and where the consideration that can be earned currently from securities loans of this type is deemed to justify the attendant risk. It is intended that the value of securities loaned by a Fund will not exceed one-third of the value of the Fund’s total assets (including the loan collateral).

The Funds will consider the loaned securities as assets of the Fund, but will not consider any collateral as a Fund asset except when determining total assets for the purpose of the above one-third limitation. Loan collateral (including any investment of the collateral) is not subject to the percentage limitations stated elsewhere in this SAI or in the Prospectus regarding investing in fixed income securities and cash equivalents.

For its services, the securities lending agent may receive a fee from a Fund, including a fee based on the returns earned on the Fund’s investment of cash received as collateral for the loaned securities. In addition, a Fund may make brokerage and other payments to Goldman Sachs and its affiliates in connection with the Fund’s portfolio investment transactions. A Fund’s Board of Trustees periodically reviews securities loan transactions for which a Goldman Sachs affiliate has acted as lending agent for compliance with the Fund’s securities lending procedures. Goldman Sachs may also be approved as a borrower under a Fund’s securities lending program, subject to certain conditions.

Special Note Regarding Operational and Cyber Security Risks

An investment in a Fund may be negatively impacted because of the operational risks arising from factors such as processing errors and human errors, inadequate or failed internal or external processes, failures in systems and technology, changes in personnel, and errors caused by third-party service providers or trading counterparties. Although the Funds attempt to minimize such failures through controls and oversight, it is not possible to identify all of the operational risks that may affect a Fund or to develop processes and controls that completely eliminate or mitigate the occurrence of such failures. A Fund and its shareholders could be negatively impacted as a result.

Each Fund is also susceptible to operational and information security risks resulting from cyber-attacks. In general, cyber-attacks result from deliberate attacks, but other events may have effects similar to those caused by cyber-attacks. Cyber-attacks include, among others, stealing or corrupting confidential information and other data that is maintained online or digitally for financial gain, denial-of-service attacks on websites causing operational disruption, and the unauthorized release of confidential information and other data. Cyber-attacks affecting a Fund or its investment adviser, sub-adviser, custodian, transfer agent, intermediary or other third-party service provider may adversely impact the Fund and its shareholders. These cyber-attacks have the ability to cause significant disruptions and impact business operations; to result in financial losses; to prevent shareholders from transacting business; to interfere with the Funds’ calculation of NAV and to lead to violations of applicable privacy and other laws, regulatory fines, penalties, reputational damage, reimbursement or other compensation costs and/or additional compliance costs. Similar to operational risk in general, the Funds and their service providers, including GSAM, have instituted risk management systems designed to minimize the risks associated with cyber security. However, there is a risk that these systems will not succeed (or that any remediation efforts will not be successful), especially because the Funds do not directly control the risk management systems of the service providers to the Funds, their trading counterparties or the issuers in which a Fund may invest. Moreover, there is a risk that cyber-attacks will not be detected.

 

B-30


INVESTMENT RESTRICTIONS

The investment restrictions set forth below have been adopted by the Trust as fundamental policies that cannot be changed with respect to a Fund without the affirmative vote of the holders of a majority of the outstanding voting securities (as defined in the Act) of the Fund. The investment objective of each Fund and all other investment policies or practices of the Fund are considered by the Trust not to be fundamental and accordingly may be changed without shareholder approval. For purposes of the Act, a “majority” of the outstanding voting securities means the lesser of (i) 67% or more of the shares of the Trust or the applicable Fund present at a meeting, if the holders of more than 50% of the outstanding shares of the Trust or the applicable Fund are present or represented by proxy, or (ii) more than 50% of the shares of the Trust or the applicable Fund.

For purposes of the following limitations (except for the asset coverage requirement with respect to borrowings, which is subject to different requirements under the Act), any limitation which involves a maximum percentage shall not be considered violated unless an excess over the percentage occurs immediately after, and is caused by, an acquisition or encumbrance of securities or assets of, or borrowings by, the Funds. In applying fundamental investment restriction number (1) below to derivative transactions or instruments, including, but not limited to, futures, swaps, forwards, options and structured notes, the Funds will look to the industry of the reference asset(s) and not to the counterparty or issuer. With respect to the Funds’ fundamental investment restriction number (2) below, in the event that asset coverage (as defined in the Act) at any time falls below 300%, the applicable Fund, within three days thereafter (not including Sundays and holidays) or such longer period as the SEC may prescribe by rules and regulations, will reduce the amount of its borrowings to the extent required so that the asset coverage of such borrowings will be at least 300%.

Fundamental Investment Restrictions

As a matter of fundamental policy, each Fund may not:

 

  (1) Invest more than 25% of its total assets in the securities of one or more issuers conducting their principal business activities in the same industry except that the Fund may invest more than 25% of the value of its total assets in securities of issuers in the same industry if the index that the Fund replicates concentrates in an industry (for the purposes of this restriction, the U.S. Government, state and municipal governments and their agencies, authorities and instrumentalities are not deemed to be industries);

 

  (2) Borrow money, except as permitted by the Act, or interpretations or modifications by the SEC, SEC staff or other authority with appropriate jurisdiction;

The following interpretation applies to, but is not part of, this fundamental policy: In determining whether a particular investment in portfolio instruments or participation in portfolio transactions is subject to this borrowing policy, the accounting treatment of such instrument or participation shall be considered, but shall not by itself be determinative. Whether a particular instrument or transaction constitutes a borrowing shall be determined by the Board, after consideration of all of the relevant circumstances;

 

  (3) Make loans, except through (a) the purchase of debt obligations, loan interests and other interests or obligations in accordance with the Fund’s investment objective and policies; (b) repurchase agreements with banks, brokers, dealers and other financial institutions; (c) loans of securities as permitted by applicable law or pursuant to an exemptive order granted under the Act; and (d) loans to affiliates of the Fund to the extent permitted by law;

 

  (4) Underwrite securities issued by others, except to the extent that the sale of portfolio securities by the Fund may be deemed to be an underwriting;

 

  (5) Purchase, hold or deal in real estate, although the Fund may purchase and sell securities that are secured by real estate or interests therein or that reflect the return of an index of real estate values, securities of issuers which invest or deal in real estate, securities of real estate investment trusts and mortgage-related securities and may hold and sell real estate it has acquired as a result of the ownership of securities;

 

B-31


  (6) Invest in physical commodities, except that the Fund may invest in currency and financial instruments and contracts in accordance with its investment objective and policies, including, without limitation, structured notes, futures contracts, swaps, options on commodities, currencies, swaps and futures, ETFs, investment pools and other instruments, regardless of whether such instrument is considered to be a commodity; and

 

  (7) Issue senior securities to the extent such issuance would violate applicable law.

Each Fund may, notwithstanding any other fundamental investment restriction or policy, invest some or all of its assets in a single open-end investment company or series thereof with substantially the same fundamental investment restrictions and policies as the Fund.

TRUSTEES AND OFFICERS

[To be updated.]

The Trust’s Leadership Structure

The business and affairs of the Fund are managed under the direction of the Board of Trustees (the “Board”), subject to the laws of the State of Delaware and the Trust’s Declaration of Trust. The Trustees are responsible for deciding matters of overall policy and reviewing the actions of the Trust’s service providers. The officers of the Trust conduct and supervise the Fund’s daily business operations. Trustees who are not deemed to be “interested persons” of the Trust as defined in the Act are referred to as “Independent Trustees.” Trustees who are deemed to be “interested persons” of the Trust are referred to as “Interested Trustees.” The Board is currently composed of five Independent Trustees and one Interested Trustee. The Board has selected an Independent Trustee to act as Chairman, whose duties include presiding at meetings of the Board and acting as a focal point to address significant issues that may arise between regularly scheduled Board and Committee meetings. In the performance of the Chairman’s duties, the Chairman will consult with the other Independent Trustees and the Fund’s officers and legal counsel, as appropriate. The Chairman may perform other functions as requested by the Board from time to time.

The Board meets as often as necessary to discharge its responsibilities. Currently, the Board conducts regular, in-person meetings at least four times a year, and holds special in-person or telephonic meetings as necessary to address specific issues that require attention prior to the next regularly scheduled meeting. In addition, the Independent Trustees meet at least annually to review, among other things, investment management agreements, distribution and/or service plans and related agreements, transfer agency agreements and certain other agreements providing for the compensation of Goldman Sachs and/or its affiliates by the Fund, and to consider such other matters as they deem appropriate.

The Board has established four standing committees – Audit, Governance and Nominating, Compliance and Contract Review Committees. The Board may establish other committees, or nominate one or more Trustees to examine particular issues related to the Board’s oversight responsibilities, from time to time. Each Committee meets periodically to perform its delegated oversight functions and reports its findings and recommendations to the Board. For more information on the Committees, see the section “STANDING BOARD COMMITTEES,” below.

The Trustees have determined that the Trust’s leadership structure is appropriate because it allows the Trustees to effectively perform their oversight responsibilities.

 

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Trustees of the Trust

Information pertaining to the Trustees of the Trust as of [•] is set forth below.

Independent Trustees

 

Name, Address

and Age1

   Position(s)
Held with

the Trust
   Term of
Office and
Length of
Time Served2
  

Principal Occupation(s)

During Past 5 Years

   Number
of
Portfolios
in Fund
Complex
Overseen
by
Trustee3
   Other
Directorships

Held by
Trustee4

Ashok N. Bakhru

Age: [73]

   Chairman of
the Board of
Trustees
   Since 2014   

Mr. Bakhru is retired. He was formerly Director, Apollo Investment Corporation (a business development company) (2008–2013); President, ABN Associates (a management and financial consulting firm) (1994–1996 and 1998–2012); Trustee, Scholarship America (1998–2005); Trustee, Institute for Higher Education Policy (2003–2008); Director, Private Equity Investors–III and IV (1998–2007), and Equity-Linked Investors II (April 2002–2007).

 

Chairman of the Board of Trustees—Goldman Sachs Fund Complex.

   [139]    None

John P. Coblentz, Jr.

Age: [74]

   Trustee    Since 2014   

Mr. Coblentz is retired. Formerly, he was Partner, Deloitte & Touche LLP (a professional services firm) (1975–2003); Director, Emerging Markets Group, Ltd. (2004–2006); and Director, Elderhostel, Inc. (2006–2012).

 

Trustee—Goldman Sachs Fund Complex.

   [25]    None

Michael Latham

Age: [50]

   Trustee    Since 2015   

Mr. Latham is retired. Formerly he held senior management positions with the iShares exchange-traded fund business, including Chairman (2011–2014); Global Head (2010–2011); U.S. Head (2007–2010); and Chief Operating Officer (2003–2007).

 

Trustee— Goldman Sachs Fund Complex.

   [16]    None

Lawrence W.

Stranghoener

Age: [61]

   Trustee    Since 2015   

Mr. Stranghoener is retired. He is Director, Kennametal, Inc. (2003-Present); Director, Aleris Corporation and Aleris International, Inc. (2011 to present); and was formerly Interim Chief Executive Officer (2014); and Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer (2004–2014, Mosaic Company (a fertilizer manufacturing company).

 

Trustee—Goldman Sachs Fund Complex.

   [16]    Kennametal
Inc. (a global
manufacturer
and
distributor of
tooling and
industrial
materials)

 

B-33


Name, Address

and Age1

   Position(s)
Held with

the Trust
   Term of
Office and
Length of
Time Served2
  

Principal Occupation(s)

During Past 5 Years

   Number
of
Portfolios
in Fund
Complex
Overseen
by
Trustee3
   Other
Directorships

Held by
Trustee4

Richard P. Strubel

Age: [76]

   Trustee    Since
2014
  

Mr. Strubel is retired. Formerly, he served as Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Northern Funds (a family of retail and institutional mutual funds managed by Northern Trust Investments, Inc.) (2008–2014) and Trustee (1982–2014); Director, Cardean Learning Group (provider of educational services via the internet) (2003–2008); and Director, Gildan Activewear Inc. (a clothing marketing and manufacturing company) (2000–2014). He serves as Trustee Emeritus, The University of Chicago (1987–Present).

 

Trustee—Goldman Sachs Fund Complex.

   [25]    None
Interested Trustees

James A. McNamara*

Age: [53]

   President
and
Trustee
   Since
2014
  

Managing Director, Goldman Sachs (December 1998–Present); Director of Institutional Fund Sales, GSAM (April 1998–December 2000); and Senior Vice President and Manager, Dreyfus Institutional Service Corporation (January 1993–April 1998).

 

President—Goldman Sachs Fund Complex (November 2007–Present); Senior Vice President—Goldman Sachs Fund Complex (May 2007–November 2007); and Vice President—Goldman Sachs Fund Complex (2001–2007).

 

Trustee—Goldman Sachs Fund Complex (November 2007–Present and December 2002–May 2004).

   [138]    None

 

B-34


* Mr. McNamara is considered to be an “Interested Trustee” because he holds a position with Goldman Sachs and owns securities issued by The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. Mr. McNamara holds comparable positions with certain other companies of which Goldman Sachs, GSAM or an affiliate thereof is the investment adviser, administrator and/or distributor.
1 Each Trustee may be contacted by writing to the Trustee, c/o Goldman Sachs, 200 West Street, New York, New York, 10282, Attn: Caroline Kraus.
2 Each Trustee holds office for an indefinite term until the earliest of: (a) the election of his or her successor; (b) the date the Trustee resigns, retires or is removed by the Board of Trustees or shareholders, in accordance with the Trust’s Declaration of Trust; or (c) the termination of the Trust.
3 With respect to Messrs. Bakhru, Coblentz, McNamara and Strubel, the Goldman Sachs Fund Complex includes the Trust, Goldman Sachs Trust (“GST”), Goldman Sachs Trust II (“GSTII”), Goldman Sachs Variable Insurance Trust (“GSVIT”), Goldman Sachs MLP Income Opportunities Fund (“GSMLP”) and Goldman Sachs MLP and Energy Renaissance Fund (“GSGER”). With respect to Messrs. Bakhru, Coblentz and Strubel, the Goldman Sachs Fund Complex also includes Goldman Sachs BDC, Inc. (“GSBDC”). With respect to Messrs. Latham and Stranghoener, the Goldman Sachs Fund Complex only includes GSMLP, GSGER and the Trust. As of [•], 2016, the Trust consisted of 14 portfolios ([3] of which offered shares to the public), GST consisted of 99 portfolios (89 of which offered shares to the public), GSTII consisted of seven portfolios (six of which offered shares to the public), GSVIT consisted of 14 portfolios, and each of GSMLP, GSGER and GSBDC consisted of one portfolio.
4 This column includes only directorships of companies required to report to the SEC under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (i.e., “public companies”) or other investment companies registered under the Act.

The significance or relevance of a Trustee’s particular experience, qualifications, attributes and/or skills is considered by the Board on an individual basis. Experience, qualifications, attributes and/or skills common to all Trustees include the ability to critically review, evaluate and discuss information provided to them and to interact effectively with the other Trustees and with representatives of the Investment Adviser and its affiliates, other service providers, legal counsel and the Funds’ independent registered public accounting firm, the capacity to address financial and legal issues and exercise reasonable business judgment, and a commitment to the representation of the interests of the Funds and their shareholders. The Governance and Nominating Committee’s charter contains certain other factors that are considered by the Governance and Nominating Committee in identifying and evaluating potential nominees to serve as Independent Trustees. Based on each Trustee’s experience, qualifications, attributes and/or skills, considered individually and with respect to the experience, qualifications, attributes and/or skills of other Trustees, the Board has concluded that each Trustee should serve as a Trustee. Below is a brief discussion of the experience, qualifications, attributes and/or skills of each individual Trustee as of [•] that led the Board to conclude that such individual should serve as a Trustee.

Ashok N. Bakhru. Mr. Bakhru has served as a Trustee and Chairman of the Board of the Trust since 2014, and has served as a Trustee of the Goldman Sachs Fund Complex since 1991 and Chairman of the Board of the Goldman Sachs Fund Complex since 1996. Previously, Mr. Bakhru served as Director, Apollo Investment Corporation (a business development company) (2008–2013), and President of ABN Associates, a management and financial consulting firm, and was the Chief Financial Officer, Chief Administrative Officer and Director of Coty Inc., a multinational cosmetics, fragrance and personal care company. In addition, Mr. Bakhru formerly held several senior management positions at Scott Paper Company, a major manufacturer of paper products, including Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. Mr. Bakhru also serves on the Governing Council of the Independent Directors Council and the Board of Governors of the Investment Company Institute. He also serves on the Advisory Board of BoardIQ, an investment publication. In addition, Mr. Bakhru has served as Director of Equity-Linked Investments II and Private Equity Investors III and IV, which are private equity partnerships based in New York City. Mr. Bakhru was also a Director of Arkwright Mutual Insurance Company. Based on the foregoing, Mr. Bakhru is experienced with financial and investment matters.

John P. Coblentz, Jr. Mr. Coblentz has served as Trustee of the Trust since 2014, and has served as Trustee of the Goldman Sachs Fund Complex since 2003. Mr. Coblentz has been designated as the Board’s “audit committee financial expert” given his extensive accounting and finance experience. Mr. Coblentz was a partner with Deloitte & Touche LLP for 28 years. While at Deloitte & Touche LLP, Mr. Coblentz was lead partner responsible for all auditing and accounting services to a variety of large, global companies, a significant portion of which operated in the financial services industry. Mr. Coblentz was also the national managing partner for the firm’s risk management function, a member of the firm’s Management Committee and the first managing partner of the firm’s Financial Advisory Services practice, which brought together the firm’s mergers and acquisition services, forensic and dispute services, corporate finance, asset valuation and reorganization businesses under one management structure. He served as a member of the firm’s Board of Directors. Mr. Coblentz is a certified public accountant. Based on the foregoing, Mr. Coblentz is experienced with accounting, financial and investment matters.

 

B-35


Michael Latham. Mr. Latham became a Trustee of the Trust and the Goldman Sachs Fund Complex in 2015. Mr. Latham is retired. Mr. Latham is a member of the Board of Directors of the San Francisco 49ers Foundation where he serves on the Audit Committee. Previously, he held several senior management positions for 15 years with the iShares exchange-traded fund business owned by BlackRock, Inc. and previously owned by Barclays Global Investors, most recently as Chairman and Global Head of the business. In that capacity he was one of the lead executives responsible for the growth of the business. He was also involved in governance of the iShares funds, serving initially as Principal Financial Officer and later as President and Principal Executive Officer and a member of the Board of Directors. . Mr. Latham is a certified public accountant, and before joining Barclays Global Investors, he worked at Ernst and Young for over five years. Based on the foregoing, Mr. Latham is experienced with accounting, financial and investment matters.

Lawrence W. Stranghoener. Mr. Stranghoener became a Trustee of the Trust and the Goldman Sachs Fund Complex in 2015. Mr. Stranghoener is retired. Mr. Stranghoener is a member of the Board of Directors of Kennametal, Inc., a global manufacturer and distributor of tooling and industrial materials, where he serves on the Audit and Compensation Committees. He is also a member of the Board of Directors of Aleris Corporation and Aleris International, Inc., which provides aluminum rolled products and extrusions, aluminum recycling, and specification alloy production, where he chairs the Audit Committee and also serves on the Compensation Committee. Previously, Mr. Stranghoener held several senior management positions at Mosaic Company, a fertilizer manufacturing company, where he worked for 10 years, most recently as Interim Chief Executive Officer, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. As Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer at Mosaic Company, Mr. Stranghoener implemented public company processes, policies and performance standards to transition the company from private to public ownership and oversaw the company’s controller, treasury, tax, investor relations, strategy and business development, and internal audit functions. He also led the integration of Mosaic Company with IMC Global, Inc. during their merger. Previously, Mr. Stranghoener served for three years as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer for Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, a non-profit, financial services organization and Techies.com, an internet-based professional services company. Mr. Stranghoener also held several senior management positions at Honeywell International, Inc. where he worked for 17 years, most recently as Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. In addition, he serves on the Board of Regents of St. Olaf College. Based on the foregoing, Mr. Stranghoener is experienced with financial and investment matters.

Richard P. Strubel. Mr. Strubel has served as Trustee of the Trust since 2014, and has served as Trustee of the Goldman Sachs Fund Complex since 1987. He formerly served as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Northern Funds, which is a family of retail and institutional mutual funds managed by Northern Trust Investments, Inc. Mr. Strubel also served on the board of Gildan Activewear Inc., which is listed on the New York Stock Exchange (“NYSE”). Mr. Strubel was Vice-Chairman of the Board of Cardean Learning Group (formerly known as Unext), and previously served as Unext’s President and Chief Operating Officer. Mr. Strubel was Managing Director of Tandem Partners, Inc., a privately-held management services firm, and served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Microdot, Inc. Previously, Mr. Strubel served as President of Northwest Industries, then a NYSE-listed company, a conglomerate with various operating entities located around the country. Before joining Northwest, Mr. Strubel was an associate and later managing principal of Fry Consultants, a management consulting firm based in Chicago. Mr. Strubel is also a Trustee Emeritus of the University of Chicago and is an adjunct professor at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. Based on the foregoing, Mr. Strubel is experienced with financial and investment matters.

James A. McNamara. Mr. McNamara has served as Trustee and President of the Trust since 2014, has served as Trustee and President of the Goldman Sachs Fund Complex since 2007 and has served as an officer of the Goldman Sachs Fund Complex since 2001. Mr. McNamara is a Managing Director at Goldman Sachs. Mr. McNamara is currently head of Global Third Party Distribution at GSAM, where he was previously head of U.S. Third Party Distribution. Prior to that role, Mr. McNamara served as Director of Institutional Fund Sales. Prior to joining Goldman Sachs, Mr. McNamara was Vice President and Manager at Dreyfus Institutional Service Corporation. Based on the foregoing, Mr. McNamara is experienced with financial and investment matters.

 

B-36


Officers of the Trust

Information pertaining to the Officers of the Trust as of [•] is set forth below.

 

Name

 

Position(s) Held

with the Trust(s)

  Term of Office and
Length of Time
Served
 

Principal Occupation(s)

During Past 5 Years

James A. McNamara        

200 West Street

New York, NY

10282

Age: [53]

 

Trustee and

President

  Since 2014  

Managing Director, Goldman Sachs (December 1998 – Present); Director of Institutional Fund Sales, GSAM (April 1998 – December 2000); and Senior Vice President and Manager, Dreyfus Institutional Service Corporation (January 1993 – April 1998).

 

President—Goldman Sachs Fund Complex (November 2007 – Present); Senior Vice President—Goldman Sachs Fund Complex (May 2007 – November 2007); and Vice President—Goldman Sachs Fund Complex (2001 – 2007).

 

Trustee—Goldman Sachs Fund Complex (November 2007 – Present and December 2002 – May 2004).

Scott M. McHugh

200 West Street

New York, NY

10282

Age: [44]

  Treasurer, Senior Vice President and Principal Financial Officer   Since 2014  

Managing Director, Goldman Sachs (January 2016 – Present); Vice President, Goldman Sachs (February 2007 – December 2015); Assistant Treasurer of certain mutual funds administered by DWS Scudder (2005 – 2007); and Director (2005 – 2007), Vice President (2000 – 2005), and Assistant Vice President (1998 – 2000), Deutsche Asset Management or its predecessor (1998 – 2007).

 

Principal Financial Officer—Goldman Sachs Fund Complex (November 2013 – Present); Treasurer—Goldman Sachs Fund Complex (October 2009 – Present); Senior Vice President—Goldman Sachs Fund Complex (November 2009 – Present); and Assistant Treasurer—Goldman Sachs Fund Complex (May 2007 – October 2009).

Julien Yoo

200 West Street

New York, NY

10282

Age: [44]

  Chief Compliance Officer   Since 2014   Vice President, Goldman Sachs (December 2014 – Present); Contingent Worker, Goldman Sachs (September 2013 – May 2014); and Vice President, Morgan Stanley Investment Management (2005-2010).

Philip V. Giuca, Jr.

30 Hudson Street Jersey City, NJ

07302

Age: [53]

  Assistant Treasurer   Since 2014  

Managing Director, Goldman Sachs (January 2014 – Present); and Vice President, Goldman Sachs (May 1992 – December 2013).

 

Assistant Treasurer—Goldman Sachs Fund Complex.

Peter W. Fortner

30 Hudson Street Jersey City, NJ

07302

Age: [57]

  Assistant Treasurer   Since 2014  

Vice President, Goldman Sachs (July 2000 – Present); and Principal Financial Officer, Commerce Bank Mutual Fund Complex (2008 – Present).

 

Assistant Treasurer—Goldman Sachs Fund Complex.

Kenneth G. Curran

30 Hudson Street Jersey City, NJ

07302

Age: [51]

  Assistant Treasurer   Since 2014  

Vice President, Goldman Sachs (November 1998 – Present); and Senior Tax Manager, KPMG Peat Marwick (accountants) (August 1995 – October 1998).

 

Assistant Treasurer—Goldman Sachs Fund Complex.

 

B-37


Name

 

Position(s) Held

with the Trust(s)

  Term of Office and
Length of Time
Served
 

Principal Occupation(s)

During Past 5 Years

Robert McCormack        

30 Hudson Street

Jersey City, NJ

07302

Age: [42]

  Assistant Treasurer   Since 2015  

Vice President, Goldman Sachs (December 2008 – Present); and Associate, Goldman Sachs (September 2005 – December 2008).

 

Assistant Treasurer—Goldman Sachs Fund Complex.

Allison Fracchiolla

30 Hudson Street

Jersey City, NJ

07302

Age: [32]

  Assistant Treasurer   Since 2014  

Vice President, Goldman Sachs (January 2013 – Present); Associate, Goldman Sachs (December 2008 – December 2012)

 

Assistant Treasurer—Goldman Sachs Fund Complex.

Kathryn Quirk

200 West Street

New York, NY

10282

Age: [63]

  Vice President   Since 2014  

Vice President, Goldman Sachs (September 2013 – Present); Vice President and Corporate Counsel, Prudential Insurance Company of America (September 2004 – December 2012); Deputy Chief Legal Officer, Asset Management, Prudential Insurance Company of America (September 2010 – December 2012); Co-Chief Legal Officer, Prudential Investment Management, Inc. (July 2008 – June 2012); Chief Legal Officer, Prudential Investments LLC (July 2005 – June 2012); Chief Legal Officer, Prudential Mutual Funds (September 2004 – June 2012).

 

Vice President—Goldman Sachs Fund Complex.

Michael Crinieri

200 West Street

New York, NY

10282

Age: [50]

  Vice President   Since 2014   Managing Director, Goldman Sachs (January 2002 – Present); and Vice President, Goldman Sachs (April 2000 – January 2002).

Mark Heaney

River Court

120 Fleet Street London, EC4A 2BE, UK

Age: [48]

  Vice President   Since 2014  

Executive Director, GSAM (May 2005 – Present); Director of Operations (UK and Ireland), Invesco Asset Management (May 2004 – March 2005); Global Head of Investment Administration, Invesco Asset Management (September 2001 – May 2004); Managing Director (Ireland), Invesco Asset Management (March 2000 – September 2001); and Director of Investment Administration, Invesco Asset Management (December 1998 – March 2000).

 

Vice President—Goldman Sachs Fund Complex.

Thomas J. Davis

200 West Street

New York, NY

10282

  Vice President   Since 2015  

Managing Director, Goldman Sachs (2008 – Present); Analyst, Goldman Sachs (1990 – 2008).

 

Vice President—Goldman Sachs Fund Complex.

Stephen J. DeAngelis

1735 Market Street

26th Fl

Philadelphia, PA 19103

  Vice President   Since 2015  

Managing Director, Goldman Sachs (December 2009 – Present); Vice President, Goldman Sachs (July 2007 – December 2009); President, ADVISORport, Inc. (October 1999 – June 2007); Senior Vice President, Delaware Capital Management (December 1995 – September 1999); Vice President, Brinker Capital (June 1992 – November 1995).

 

Vice President—Goldman Sachs Fund Complex.

 

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Name

 

Position(s) Held

with the Trust(s)

  Term of Office and
Length of Time
Served
 

Principal Occupation(s)

During Past 5 Years

Caroline L. Kraus            

200 West Street

New York, NY

10282

Age: [38]

  Secretary   Since 2014  

Managing Director, Goldman Sachs (January 2016 – Present); Vice President, Goldman Sachs (August 2006 – December 2015); Associate General Counsel, Goldman Sachs (2012 – Present); Assistant General Counsel, Goldman Sachs (August 2006 – December 2011); and Associate, Weil, Gotshal & Manges, LLP (2002 – 2006).

 

Secretary—Goldman Sachs Fund Complex (August 2012 – Present); and Assistant Secretary—Goldman Sachs Fund Complex (June 2012 – August 2012).

Deborah Farrell

30 Hudson Street

Jersey City, NJ

07302

Age: [44]

  Assistant Secretary   Since 2014  

Vice President, Goldman Sachs (2005 – Present); Associate, Goldman Sachs (2001 – 2005); and Analyst, Goldman Sachs (1994 – 2005).

 

Assistant Secretary—Goldman Sachs Fund Complex.

Andrew Murphy

200 West Street

New York, NY

10282

Age: [43]

  Assistant Secretary   Since 2014  

Vice President, Goldman Sachs (April 2009 – Present); Associate General Counsel, Goldman Sachs (December 2010 – Present); Assistant General Counsel, Goldman Sachs (April 2009 – December 2010); Attorney, Axiom Legal (2007 – 2009); and Vice President and Counsel, AllianceBernstein, L.P. (2001 – 2007).

 

Assistant Secretary—Goldman Sachs Fund Complex.

Robert Griffith

200 West Street

New York, NY

10282

Age: [41]

  Assistant Secretary   Since 2014  

Vice President, Goldman Sachs (August 2011 – Present); Associate General Counsel, Goldman Sachs (December 2014 – Present); Assistant General Counsel, Goldman Sachs (August 2011 – December 2014); Vice President and Counsel, Nomura Holding America, Inc. (2010 – 2011); and Associate, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP (2005 – 2010).

 

Assistant Secretary—Goldman Sachs Fund Complex.

 

1  Officers hold office at the pleasure of the Board of Trustees or until their successors are duly elected and qualified. Each officer holds comparable positions with certain other companies of which Goldman Sachs, GSAM or an affiliate thereof is the investment adviser, administrator and/or distributor.

Standing Board Committees

The Board of Trustees has established four standing committees in connection with their governance of the Funds — Audit, Governance and Nominating, Compliance and Contract Review.

The Audit Committee oversees the audit process and provides assistance to the Board with respect to fund accounting, tax compliance and financial statement matters. In performing its responsibilities, the Audit Committee selects and recommends annually to the Board an independent registered public accounting firm to audit the books and records of the Trust for the ensuing year, and reviews with the firm the scope and results of each audit. All of the Independent Trustees serve on the Audit Committee.

 

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The Governance and Nominating Committee has been established to: (i) assist the Board in matters involving fund governance, which includes making recommendations to the Board with respect to the effectiveness of the Board in carrying out its responsibilities in governing the Funds and overseeing its management; (ii) select and nominate candidates for appointment or election to serve as Independent Trustees; and (iii) advise the Board on ways to improve its effectiveness. All of the Independent Trustees serve on the Governance and Nominating Committee. As stated above, each Trustee holds office for an indefinite term until the occurrence of certain events. In filling Board vacancies, the Governance and Nominating Committee will consider nominees recommended by shareholders. Nominee recommendations should be submitted to the Trust at its mailing address stated in the Funds’ Prospectus and should be directed to the attention of the Goldman Sachs Trust Governance and Nominating Committee.

The Compliance Committee has been established for the purpose of overseeing the compliance processes: (i) of the Funds; and (ii) insofar as they relate to services provided to the Funds, of the Funds’ investment adviser, distributor, administrator (if any), and transfer agent, except that compliance processes relating to the accounting and financial reporting processes, and certain related matters, are overseen by the Audit Committee. In addition, the Compliance Committee provides assistance to the full Board with respect to compliance matters. All of the Independent Trustees serve on the Compliance Committee.

The Contract Review Committee has been established for the purpose of overseeing the processes of the Board for reviewing and monitoring performance under the Funds’ investment management, distribution, transfer agency, and certain other agreements with the Funds’ Investment Adviser and its affiliates. The Contract Review Committee is also responsible for overseeing the Board’s processes for considering and reviewing performance under the operation of the Funds’ distribution, service, shareholder administration and other plans, and any agreements related to the plans. The Contract Review Committee also provides appropriate assistance to the Board in connection with the Board’s approval, oversight and review of the Funds’ other service providers including, without limitation, the Funds’ custodian/accounting agent, sub-transfer agents, professional (legal and accounting) firms and printing firms. All of the Independent Trustees serve on the Contract Review Committee.

Risk Oversight

The Board is responsible for the oversight of the activities of the Funds, including oversight of risk management. Day-to-day risk management with respect to the Funds is the responsibility of GSAM or other service providers (depending on the nature of the risk), subject to supervision by GSAM. The risks of the Funds include, but are not limited to, investment risk, compliance risk, operational risk, reputational risk, credit risk and counterparty risk. Each of GSAM and the other service providers have their own independent interest in risk management and their policies and methods of risk management may differ from the Funds and each other’s in the setting of priorities, the resources available or the effectiveness of relevant controls. As a result, the Board recognizes that it is not possible to identify all of the risks that may affect the Funds or to develop processes and controls to eliminate or mitigate their occurrence or effects, and that some risks are simply beyond the control of the Funds or GSAM, their respective affiliates or other service providers.

The Board effectuates its oversight role primarily through regular and special meetings of the Board and Board committees. In certain cases, risk management issues are specifically addressed in presentations and discussions. In addition, investment risk is discussed in the context of regular presentations to the Board on Fund strategy. Other types of risk are addressed as part of presentations on related topics (e.g. compliance policies) or in the context of presentations focused specifically on one or more risks. The Board also receives reports from GSAM management on operational risks, reputational risks and counterparty risks relating to the Funds.

Board oversight of risk management is also performed by various Board committees. For example, the Audit Committee meets with both the Funds’ independent registered public accounting firm and GSAM’s internal audit group to review risk controls in place that support the Funds as well as test results, and the Compliance Committee meets with the CCO and representatives of GSAM’s compliance group to review testing results of the Fund’s compliance policies and procedures and other compliance issues. Board oversight of risk is also performed as needed between meetings through communications between the GSAM and the Board. The Board may, at any time and in its discretion, change the manner in which it conducts risk oversight. The Board’s oversight role does not make the Board a guarantor of the Fund’s investments or activities.

 

B-40


Trustee Ownership of Fund Shares

The following table shows the dollar range of shares beneficially owned by each Trustee in the Funds and other portfolios of the Goldman Sachs Fund Complex as of [•].

 

Name of Trustee

   Dollar Range of
Equity Securities in the Funds1
     Aggregate Dollar Range of
Equity Securities in All
Portfolios in Fund Complex
Overseen By Trustee

Ashok N. Bakhru

     —         Over $100,000

John P. Coblentz, Jr.

     —         Over $100,000

Michael Latham2

     —         —  

James A. McNamara

     —         Over $100,000

Lawrence W. Stranghoener2

     —         —  

Richard P. Strubel

     —         Over $100,000

 

1  Includes the value of shares beneficially owned by each Trustee in the Funds described in this SAI.
2  Messrs. Latham and Stranghoener began serving as Trustees effective July 23, 2015.

As of [ ], the Funds had not commenced operations, and therefore the Trustees and Officers of the Trust did not own any of the outstanding shares of the Funds.

Board Compensation

Each Independent Trustee is compensated with a unitary annual fee for his or her services as a Trustee of the Trust and as a member of the Governance and Nominating Committee, Compliance Committee, Contract Review Committee, and Audit Committee. The Chairman and “audit committee financial expert” receive additional compensation for their services. The Independent Trustees are also reimbursed for reasonable travel expenses incurred in connection with attending such meetings. The Trust may also pay the reasonable incidental costs of a Trustee to attend training or other types of conferences relating to the investment company industry.

The following table sets forth certain information with respect to the compensation of each Trustee of the Trust estimated for the current fiscal year:

Trustee Compensation

 

Name of Trustee

   Goldman Sachs High
Sharpe Ratio ETF*
     Goldman Sachs Hedge
Fund VIP ETF*
 

Ashok N. Bakhru1

     —           —     

John P. Coblentz, Jr.2

     —           —     

Michael Latham3

     —           —     

James A. McNamara4

     —           —     

Lawrence W. Stranghoener3

     —           —     

Richard P. Strubel

     —           —     

Name of Trustee

   Pension or
Retirement

Benefits Accrued as
Part

Of the Trust’s
Expenses
     Total Compensation
From the Fund Complex
(including the Funds)5
 

Ashok N. Bakhru1

     0       $ 775,750   

John P. Coblentz, Jr.2

     0       $ 613,500   

Michael Latham3

     0         —     

James A. McNamara4

     —           —     

Lawrence W. Stranghoener3

     0         —     

Richard P. Strubel

     0       $ 540,000   

 

* The Funds had not commenced operations as of [•].Under current compensation arrangements, it is estimated that the Trustees will receive the following compensation from the Fund for the fiscal year ending October 31, 2015: Mr. Bakhru $[•]; Mr. Coblentz $[•]; Mr. Latham $[•]; Mr. McNamara $0; Mr. Stranghoener $[•]; and Mr. Strubel $[•].
1  Includes compensation as Board Chairman.
2  Includes compensation as “audit committee financial expert,” as defined in Item 3 of Form N-CSR.
3  Messrs. Latham and Stranghoener began serving as Trustees effective July 23, 2015.
4  Mr. McNamara is an Interested Trustee, and as such, receives no compensation from the Funds or the Goldman Sachs Fund Complex.
5  Represents fees paid to each Trustee during the fiscal year ended August 31, 2015 from the Goldman Sachs Fund Complex.

 

B-41


Miscellaneous

The Trust, its Investment Adviser and the Distributor have adopted codes of ethics under Rule 17j-1 of the Act that permit personnel subject to their particular codes of ethics to invest in securities, including securities that may be purchased or held by the Funds.

MANAGEMENT SERVICES

As stated in the Funds’ Prospectus, GSAM, 200 West Street, New York, New York 10282, serves as Investment Adviser to the Funds. GSAM is a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. and an affiliate of Goldman Sachs. See “Service Providers” in the Funds’ Prospectus for a description of the Investment Adviser’s duties to the Funds.

Founded in 1869, Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. is a publicly-held financial holding company and a leading global investment banking, securities and investment management firm. Goldman Sachs is a leader in developing portfolio strategies and in many fields of investing and financing, participating in financial markets worldwide and serving individuals, institutions, corporations and governments. Goldman Sachs is also among the principal market sources for current and thorough information on companies, industrial sectors, markets, economies and currencies, and trades and makes markets in a wide range of equity and debt securities 24 hours a day. The firm is headquartered in New York with offices in countries throughout the world. It has trading professionals throughout the United States, as well as in London, Frankfurt, Tokyo, Seoul, Sao Paulo and other major financial centers around the world. The active participation of Goldman Sachs in the world’s financial markets enhances its ability to identify attractive investments. Goldman Sachs has agreed to permit the Funds to use the name “Goldman Sachs” or a derivative thereof as part of each Fund’s name for as long as the Funds’ management agreement (the “Management Agreement”) is in effect.

The Management Agreement provides that GSAM, in its capacity as Investment Adviser, may render similar services to others so long as the services under the Management Agreement are not impaired thereby. The Funds’ Management Agreement was approved by the Trustees of the Trust, including a majority of the Trustees of the Trust who are not parties to such agreement or “interested persons” (as such term is defined in the Act) of any party thereto (the “non-interested Trustees”), on []. A discussion regarding the Board of Trustees’ basis for approving the Management Agreement with respect to each Fund will be available in the Fund’s first annual or semi-annual report following its launch.

The Management Agreement will remain in effect for an initial two-year period and will continue in effect with respect to each Fund from year to year thereafter provided such continuance is specifically approved at least annually by (i) the vote of a majority of the Funds’ outstanding voting securities or a majority of the Trustees of the Trust, and (ii) the vote of a majority of the non-interested Trustees of the Trust, cast in person at a meeting called for the purpose of voting on such approval.

The Management Agreement will terminate automatically if assigned (as defined in the Act). The Management Agreement is also terminable at any time without penalty by the Trustees of the Trust or by vote of a majority of the outstanding voting securities of a Fund on 60 days’ written notice to the Investment Adviser or by the Investment Adviser on 60 days’ written notice to the Trust.

Pursuant to the Management Agreement, the Investment Adviser is entitled to receive the fees set forth below, payable monthly based on each Fund’s average daily net assets.

 

Fund

   Contractual
Rate
 

Goldman Sachs High Sharpe Ratio ETF

     [ •] 

Goldman Sachs Hedge Fund VIP ETF

     [ •] 

Since the Funds are newly-organized, they did not pay management fees during the last three fiscal years.

In addition to providing advisory services, under its Management Agreement, the Investment Adviser also, to the extent such services are not required to be performed by others pursuant to the fund administration and accounting agreement, the custodian agreement, the transfer agency agreement, distribution agreement or such other agreements with service providers to the Funds that the Board has approved: (i) supervises all non-advisory operations of each Fund that it advises; (ii) provides personnel to perform such executive, administrative and clerical services as are reasonably necessary to provide effective administration of each Fund; (iii) arranges for at each Fund’s expense: (a) the preparation of all required tax returns, (b) the preparation and submission of reports to existing shareholders, (c) the periodic updating of prospectuses and statements of additional information and (d) the preparation of reports to be filed with the SEC and other regulatory authorities; (iv) maintains each Fund’s records; and (v) provides office space and all necessary office equipment and services.

 

B-42


Portfolio Managers – Other Accounts Managed by the Portfolio Managers

The following table discloses accounts within each type of category listed below for which the portfolio managers are jointly and primarily responsible for day to day portfolio management as of [ ], unless otherwise indicated.

[For each portfolio manager listed below, the total number of accounts managed is a reflection of accounts within the strategy they oversee or manage, as well as accounts which participate in the sector in which they manage. There are multiple portfolio managers involved with each account.]

 

   

Number of Other Accounts Managed and

Total Assets by Account Type

   

Number of Accounts and Total Assets for

Which Advisory Fee is Performance Based

 
Name of Portfolio Manager  

Registered

Investment

Companies

   

Other Pooled

Investment
Vehicles

   

Other

Accounts

   

Registered

Investment

Companies

   

Other Pooled

Investment
Vehicles

   

Other

Accounts

 
    Number
of
Accounts
    Assets
Managed
    Number
of
Accounts
    Assets
Managed
    Number
of
Accounts
    Assets
Managed
    Number
of
Accounts
    Assets
Managed
    Number
of
Accounts
    Assets
Managed
    Number
of
Accounts
    Assets
Managed
 

[Portfolio Management Team]

                       

[•]

    [•]      $ [•]        [•]      $ [•]        [•]      $ [•]        [•]      $ [•]        [•]      $ [•]        [•]      $ [•]   

[•]

    [•]      $ [•]        [•]      $ [•]        [•]      $ [•]        [•]      $ [•]        [•]      $ [•]        [•]      $ [•]   

 

Footnotes:
1. Asset information is in USD [billions] unless otherwise specified.
2. “Other Pooled Investment Vehicles” includes private investment funds and SICAVs.
3. “Other Accounts” includes a separately managed account platform, advisory mutual fund platform, advisory relationships and others. For purposes of the above, a platform is included as a single account.

 

B-43


Conflicts of Interest. The Investment Adviser’s portfolio managers are often responsible for managing the Funds as well as other registered funds, accounts, including proprietary accounts, separate accounts and other pooled investment vehicles, such as unregistered private funds. A portfolio manager may manage a separate account or other pooled investment vehicle which may have materially higher fee arrangements than the Funds and may also have a performance-based fee. The side-by-side management of these funds may raise potential conflicts of interest relating to cross trading, the allocation of investment opportunities and the aggregation and allocation of trades.

The Investment Adviser has a fiduciary responsibility to manage all client accounts in a fair and equitable manner. To this end, the Investment Adviser has developed policies and procedures designed to mitigate and manage the potential conflicts of interest that may arise from side-by-side management. In addition, the Investment Adviser and the Funds have adopted policies limiting the circumstances under which cross-trades may be effected between the Funds and another client account. The Investment Adviser conducts periodic reviews of trades for consistency with these policies. For more information about conflicts of interests that may arise in connection with the portfolio manager’s management of the Funds’ investments and the investments of other accounts, see “POTENTIAL CONFLICTS OF INTEREST – Potential Conflicts Relating to the Allocation of Investment Opportunities Among the Funds and Other Goldman Sachs Accounts and Potential Conflicts Relating to Goldman Sachs’ and the Investment Adviser’s Proprietary Activities and Activities on Behalf of Other Accounts.”

Portfolio Managers – Compensation

Compensation for portfolio managers of the Investment Adviser is comprised of a base salary and discretionary variable compensation. The base salary is fixed from year to year. Year-end discretionary variable compensation is primarily a function of each portfolio manager’s individual performance and his or her contribution to overall team performance; the performance of the Investment Adviser and Goldman Sachs; the team’s net revenues for the past year which is primarily derived from advisory fees; and anticipated compensation levels among competitor firms.

The discretionary variable compensation for portfolio managers is also significantly influenced by: (1) effective participation in team discussions and process; and (2) management of risk in alignment with the targeted risk parameter and investment objective of the applicable Fund. Other factors may also be considered including: (1) general client/shareholder orientation and (2) teamwork and leadership. Portfolio managers may receive equity-based awards as part of their discretionary variable compensation. Other Compensation— In addition to base salary and discretionary variable compensation, the Investment Adviser has a number of additional benefits in place including (1) a 401(k) program that enables employees to direct a percentage of their salary and bonus income into a tax-qualified retirement plan; and (2) investment opportunity programs in which certain professionals may participate subject to certain eligibility requirements.

Portfolio Managers — Portfolio Managers’ Ownership of Securities in the Fund

The Funds were not in operation as of [•]. Consequently, the portfolio managers own no securities issued by the Funds.

Distributor and Transfer Agent

[Distributor: [•],[•], serves as the exclusive distributor of Creation Units of shares of the Funds pursuant to a “best efforts” arrangement as provided by a distribution agreement with the Trust on behalf of the Funds. Shares of the Funds are offered and sold on a continuous basis by [•], acting as agent. The Distributor does not maintain a secondary market in the Funds’ Shares.

Transfer Agent: [•], [•] serves as the Trust’s transfer and dividend disbursing agent. Under its transfer agency agreement with the Trust, [•] has undertaken with the Trust to provide the following services with respect to each Fund: (i) perform and facilitate the performance of purchases and redemptions of Creation Units, (ii) prepare and transmit by means of Depository Trust Company’s (“DTC”) book-entry system payments for dividends and distributions on or with respect to the Shares declared by the Trust on behalf of the applicable Fund, (iii) prepare and deliver reports, information and documents as specified in the transfer agency agreement, (iv) perform the customary services of a transfer agent and dividend disbursing agent, and (v) render certain other miscellaneous services as specified in the transfer agency agreement or as otherwise agreed upon.

 

B-44


Since the Funds are newly-organized, [•] did not receive compensation for services rendered to the Trust by [•] as transfer and dividend disbursing agent with respect to the Funds and the assumption by [•] of the expenses related thereto during the last three fiscal years.

The Trust’s distribution and transfer agency agreements each provide that [•] may render similar services to others so long as the services [•] provides thereunder are not impaired thereby. Such agreements also provide that the Trust will indemnify [•] against certain liabilities.]

Expenses

The imposition of the Investment Adviser’s fees, as well as other operating expenses, will have the effect of reducing the total return to investors. From time to time, the Investment Adviser may waive receipt of its fees and/or voluntarily assume certain expenses of the Funds, which would have the effect of lowering the Funds’ overall expense ratio and increasing total return to investors at the time such amounts are waived or assumed, as the case may be.

[The Investment Adviser has agreed to reduce or limit “Other Expenses” (excluding acquired fund fees and expenses, taxes, interest, brokerage fees, shareholder meeting, litigation, indemnification and extraordinary expenses) to [•]% and [•]% of the average daily net assets for the Goldman Sachs High Sharpe Ratio ETF and Goldman Sachs Hedge Fund VIP ETF, respectively, through at least [•], and prior to such date, the Investment Adviser may not terminate the arrangement without the approval of the Board of Trustees. This expense limitation may be modified or terminated by the Investment Adviser at its discretion and without shareholder approval after such date, although the Investment Adviser does not presently intend to do so. [A Fund’s “Other Expenses” may be further reduced by any custody and transfer agency fee credits received by the Fund.]]

Fees and expenses borne by the Funds relating to legal counsel, registering shares of the Funds, holding meetings and communicating with shareholders may include an allocable portion of the cost of maintaining an internal legal and compliance department. The Funds may also bear an allocable portion of the Investment Adviser’s costs of performing certain accounting services not being provided by the Funds’ custodian.

Custodian, Sub-Custodians and Provider of Administrative Services

[•] is the custodian of the Trust’s portfolio securities and cash. The custodian of the Trust may change from time to time. [•] also maintains the Trust’s accounting records. [•] may appoint domestic and foreign sub-custodians and use depositories from time to time to hold securities and other instruments purchased by the Trust in foreign countries and to hold cash and currencies for the Trust.

[•] provides administrative services pursuant to a fund administration agreement with the Trust (the “Fund Administration and Accounting Agreement”) pursuant to which [•] provides certain services, including, among others, (i) preparation of certain shareholder reports and communications; (ii) preparation of certain reports and filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission; (iii) certain net asset value computation services; and (iv) such other services for the Trust as may be mutually agreed upon between the Trust and [•]. For its services under the Fund Administration and Accounting Agreement, [•] receives such fees based on a stated percentage of net assets as are agreed upon from time to time between the parties. In addition, [•] is reimbursed by the Funds for reasonable out-of-pocket expenses incurred in connection with the Fund Administration and Accounting Agreement. In addition, an affiliate of [•] will also provide certain other services for the Trust, including, (i) providing foreign exchange transaction services and (ii) executing trades in connection with certain creation and redemption transactions effected partially in cash. For these services, the [•] affiliate will receive compensation based on levels that are negotiated with the Trust and/or the Investment Adviser. [•] also provides certain middle office services to GSAM pursuant to a service agreement.

Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm

[•] is the Fund’s independent registered public accounting firm. The Fund’s independent registered public accounting firm may change from time to time. In addition to audit services, [•] prepares the Fund’s federal and state tax returns and provides assistance on certain non-audit matters.

 

B-45


POTENTIAL CONFLICTS OF INTEREST

General Categories of Conflicts Associated with the Funds

Goldman Sachs (which, for purposes of this “POTENTIAL CONFLICTS OF INTEREST” section, shall mean, collectively, The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc., the Investment Adviser and their affiliates, directors, partners, trustees, managers, members, officers and employees) is a worldwide, full-service investment banking, broker-dealer, asset management and financial services organization and a major participant in global financial markets. As such, Goldman Sachs provides a wide range of financial services to a substantial and diversified client base. In those and other capacities, Goldman Sachs advises clients in all markets and transactions and purchases, sells, holds and recommends a broad array of investments for its own accounts and for the accounts of clients and of its personnel, through client accounts and the relationships and products it sponsors, manages and advises (such Goldman Sachs or other client accounts (including the Funds), relationships and products collectively, the “Accounts”). Goldman Sachs has direct and indirect interests in the global fixed income, currency, commodity, equities, bank loan and other markets, and the securities and issuers, in which the Funds may directly and indirectly invest. As a result, Goldman Sachs’ activities and dealings may affect the Funds in ways that may disadvantage or restrict the Funds and/or benefit Goldman Sachs or other Accounts. For purposes of this “POTENTIAL CONFLICTS OF INTEREST” section, “Funds” shall mean, collectively, the Funds and any of the other Goldman Sachs Funds.

The following are descriptions of certain conflicts of interest and potential conflicts of interest that may be associated with the financial or other interests that the Investment Adviser and Goldman Sachs may have in transactions effected by, with, and on behalf of the Funds. They are not, and are not intended to be, a complete enumeration or explanation of all of the potential conflicts of interest that may arise. Additional information about potential conflicts of interest regarding the Investment Adviser and Goldman Sachs is set forth in the Investment Adviser’s Form ADV, which prospective shareholders should review prior to purchasing Fund shares. A copy of Part 1 and Part 2A of the Investment Adviser’s Form ADV is available on the SEC’s website (www.adviserinfo.sec.gov).

The Sale of Fund Shares and the Allocation of Investment Opportunities

Sales Incentives and Related Conflicts Arising from Goldman Sachs’ Financial and Other Relationships with Intermediaries

Goldman Sachs and its personnel, including employees of the Investment Adviser, may have relationships (both involving and not involving the Funds, and including without limitation placement, brokerage, advisory and board relationships) with distributors, consultants and others who recommend, or engage in transactions with or for, the Funds. Such distributors, consultants and other parties may receive compensation from Goldman Sachs or the Funds in connection with such relationships. As a result of these relationships, distributors, consultants and other parties may have conflicts that create incentives for them to promote the Funds.

To the extent permitted by applicable law, Goldman Sachs and the Funds may make payments to authorized dealers and other financial intermediaries and to salespersons to promote the Funds. These payments may be made out of Goldman Sachs’ assets or amounts payable to Goldman Sachs. These payments may create an incentive for such persons to highlight, feature or recommend the Funds.

Allocation of Investment Opportunities Among the Funds and Other Accounts

The Investment Adviser may manage or advise multiple Accounts (including Accounts in which Goldman Sachs and its personnel have an interest) that have investment objectives that are similar to the Funds and that may seek to make investments or sell investments in the same securities or other instruments, sectors or strategies as the Funds. This creates potential conflicts, particularly in circumstances where the availability of such investment opportunities is limited (e.g., in local and emerging markets, high yield securities, fixed income securities, regulated industries, small capitalization, investments in MLPs in the oil and gas industry and initial public offerings/new issues) or where the liquidity of such investment opportunities is limited.

The Investment Adviser does not receive performance-based compensation in respect of its investment management activities on behalf of the Funds, but may simultaneously manage Accounts for which the Investment Adviser receives greater fees or other compensation (including performance-based fees or allocations) than it receives in respect of the Funds. The simultaneous management of Accounts that pay greater fees or other compensation and the Funds creates a conflict of interest as the Investment Adviser may have an incentive to favor Accounts with the potential to receive greater fees. For instance, the Investment Adviser may be faced with a conflict of interest when allocating scarce investment opportunities given the possibly greater fees from Accounts that pay performance-based fees. To address these types of conflicts, the Investment Adviser has adopted policies and procedures under which it will allocate investment opportunities in a manner that it believes is consistent with its obligations as an investment adviser. However, the amount, timing, structuring or terms of an investment by the Funds may differ from, and performance may be lower than, the investments and performance of other Accounts.

 

B-46


To address these potential conflicts, the Investment Adviser has developed allocation policies and procedures that provide that Goldman Sachs personnel making portfolio decisions for Accounts will make purchase and sale decisions for, and allocate investment opportunities among, Accounts consistent with the Investment Adviser’s fiduciary obligations. These policies and procedures may result in the pro rata allocation (on a basis determined by the Investment Adviser) of limited opportunities across eligible Accounts managed by a particular portfolio management team, but in many other cases the allocations reflect numerous other factors as described below. Accounts managed by different portfolio management teams are generally viewed separately for allocation purposes, including for purposes of allocations of private equity or IPO/new issue opportunities. There will be cases where certain Accounts (including Accounts in which Goldman Sachs and Goldman Sachs personnel have an interest) receive an allocation of an investment opportunity when the Funds do not.

Allocation-related decisions for the Funds and other Accounts may be made by reference to one or more factors, including without limitation: the Account’s portfolio and its investment horizons, objectives, guidelines and restrictions (including legal and regulatory restrictions affecting certain Accounts or affecting holdings across Accounts); strategic fit and other portfolio management considerations, including different desired levels of exposure to certain strategies; the expected future capacity of the applicable Accounts; limits on the Investment Adviser’s brokerage discretion; cash and liquidity considerations; and the availability of other appropriate investment opportunities. Suitability considerations, reputational matters and other considerations may also be considered. The application of these considerations may cause differences in the performance of Accounts that have strategies similar to those of the Fund. In addition, in some cases the Investment Adviser may make investment recommendations to Accounts where the Accounts make investments independently of the Investment Adviser. In circumstances in which there is limited availability of an investment opportunity, if such Accounts invest in the investment opportunity at the same time as or prior to a Fund, the availability of the investment opportunity for the Fund will be reduced irrespective of the Investment Adviser’s policies regarding allocation of investments. Additional information about the Investment Adviser’s allocation policies is set forth in Item 6 (“PERFORMANCE-BASED FEES AND SIDE-BY-SIDE MANAGEMENT—Side-by-Side Management”) of the Investment Adviser’s Form ADV.

The Investment Adviser may, from time to time, develop and implement new trading strategies or seek to participate in new trading strategies and investment opportunities. These strategies and opportunities may not be employed in all Accounts or employed pro rata among Accounts where they are used, even if the strategy or opportunity is consistent with the objectives of such Accounts. Further, a trading strategy employed for a Fund that is similar to, or the same as that of, another Account may be implemented differently, sometimes to a material extent, depending on a variety of factors, including the portfolio managers involved in managing the trading strategy for the Account, and the time difference associated with the location of different portfolio management teams.

During periods of unusual market conditions, the Investment Adviser may deviate from its normal trade allocation practices. For example, this may occur with respect to the management of unlevered and/or long-only Accounts that are typically managed on a side-by-side basis with levered and/or long-short Accounts.

The Investment Adviser and the Funds may receive notice of, or offers to participate in, investment opportunities. The Investment Adviser in its sole discretion will determine whether a Fund will participate in any such investment opportunities and investors should not expect that the Fund will participate in any such investment opportunities. Notwithstanding anything in the foregoing, the Funds may or may not receive, but in any event will have no rights with respect to, opportunities sourced by Goldman Sachs businesses and affiliates other than the Investment Adviser. Opportunities or any portion thereof that the Funds do not participate in may be offered to other Accounts, Goldman Sachs (including the Investment Adviser), all or certain investors in the Funds, or such other persons or entities as determined by Goldman Sachs in its sole discretion, and the Funds will not receive any compensation related to such opportunities.

Goldman Sachs’ Financial and Other Interests May Incentivize Goldman Sachs to Promote the Sale of Fund Shares

Goldman Sachs and its personnel have interests in promoting sales of Fund shares, and the compensation from such sales may be greater than the compensation relating to sales of interests in other Accounts. Therefore, Goldman Sachs and its personnel may have a financial interest in promoting Fund shares over interests in other Accounts.

Management of the Funds by the Investment Adviser

Potential Restrictions and Issues Relating to Information Held by Goldman Sachs

Goldman Sachs has established certain information barriers and other policies to address the sharing of information between different businesses within Goldman Sachs. As a result of information barriers, the Investment Adviser generally will not have access, or will have limited access, to information and personnel in other areas of Goldman Sachs, and generally will not be able to manage the Funds with the benefit of information held by such other areas. Such other areas, including without limitation, Goldman Sachs’ prime brokerage and administration businesses, will have broad access to detailed information that is not available to the Investment Adviser, including information in respect of markets and investments, which, if known to the Investment Adviser, might cause the Investment Adviser to seek to dispose of, retain or increase interests in investments held

 

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by the Funds or acquire certain positions on behalf of the Funds, or take other actions. Goldman Sachs will be under no obligation or fiduciary or other duty to make any such information available to the Investment Adviser or personnel of the Investment Adviser involved in decision-making for the Funds. There may be circumstances in which, as a result of information held by certain of the Investment Adviser’s portfolio management teams, the Investment Adviser limits an activity or transaction for a Fund, including if the team holding such information is not managing the Fund. In addition, Goldman Sachs will not have any obligation to make available any information regarding its trading activities, strategies or views, or the activities, strategies or views used for other Accounts, for the benefit of the Funds. Different portfolio management teams within the Investment Adviser may make decisions based on information or take (or refrain from taking) actions with respect to Accounts they advise in a manner that may be adverse to the Funds. Such teams may not share information with the Funds’ portfolio management teams, including as a result of certain information barriers and other policies, and will not have any obligation to do so.

Valuation of the Funds’ Investments

The Investment Adviser, while not the primary valuation agent of the Funds, performs certain valuation services related to securities and assets in the Funds. The Investment Adviser values securities and assets in the Funds according to its valuation policies. The Investment Adviser may value an identical asset differently than another division or unit within Goldman Sachs values the asset, including because such other division or unit has information regarding valuation techniques and models or other information that it does not share with the Investment Adviser. This is particularly the case in respect of difficult-to-value assets. The Investment Adviser may also value an identical asset differently in different Accounts (e.g., because different Accounts are subject to different valuation guidelines pursuant to their respective governing agreements, different third party vendors are hired to perform valuation functions for the Accounts or the Accounts are managed or advised by different portfolio management teams within the Investment Adviser). The Investment Adviser will face a conflict with respect to such valuations as they affect the Investment Adviser’s compensation.

Goldman Sachs’ and the Investment Adviser’s Activities on Behalf of Other Accounts

Goldman Sachs engages in various activities in the global financial markets. Goldman Sachs, acting in various capacities (including investment banker, market maker, lender, investor, broker, advisor and research provider), may take actions or advise on transactions in respect of Accounts (including the Funds) or companies or affiliated or unaffiliated investment funds in which one or more Funds have an interest that may have potential adverse effects on the Funds.

The Investment Adviser provides advisory services to the Funds. The Investment Adviser’s decisions and actions on behalf of the Funds may differ from those on behalf of other Accounts. Advice given to, or investment or voting decisions made for, one or more Accounts may compete with, affect, differ from, conflict with, or involve timing different from, advice given to or investment decisions made for the Funds.

Goldman Sachs (including the Investment Adviser), the clients it advises, and its personnel have interests in and advise Accounts that have investment objectives or portfolios similar to or opposed to those of the Funds, and/or which engage in and compete for transactions in the same types of securities and other instruments as the Funds. Transactions by such Accounts may involve the same or related securities or other instruments as those in which the Funds invest, and may negatively affect the Funds or the prices or terms at which the Funds’ transactions may be effected. For example, Accounts may engage in a strategy while the Funds are undertaking the same or a differing strategy, any of which could directly or indirectly disadvantage the Funds. The Funds on one hand and Goldman Sachs or Accounts on the other hand may also vote differently on or take or refrain from taking different actions with respect to the same security, which may be disadvantageous to the Funds. Goldman Sachs or Accounts, on the one hand, and a Fund, on the other hand, may also invest in or extend credit to different classes of securities or different parts of the capital structure of the same issuer and as a result Goldman Sachs or Accounts may take actions that adversely affect the Fund. In addition, Goldman Sachs (including the Investment Adviser) may advise Accounts with respect to different parts of the capital structure of the same issuer, or classes of securities that are subordinate or senior to securities, in which a Fund invests. As a result, Goldman Sachs may pursue or enforce rights or activities, or refrain from pursuing or enforcing rights or activities, on behalf of Accounts with respect to a particular issuer in which one or more Funds have invested. The Funds could sustain losses during periods in which Goldman Sachs and other Accounts achieve profits. The negative effects described above may be more pronounced in connection with transactions in, or the Funds’ use of, small capitalization, emerging market, distressed or less liquid strategies.

Goldman Sachs (including the Investment Adviser) and its personnel may advise on transactions, make investment decisions or recommendations, provide differing investment views or have views with respect to research or valuations that are inconsistent with, or adverse to, the interests and activities of the Funds. Shareholders may be offered access to advisory services through several different Goldman Sachs advisory businesses (including Goldman, Sachs & Co. and the Investment Adviser). Different advisory businesses within Goldman Sachs manage Accounts according to different strategies and may also apply different criteria to the same or similar strategies and may have differing investment views in respect of an issuer or

 

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a security. Similarly, within the Investment Adviser, certain investment teams or portfolio managers may have differing or opposite investment views in respect of an issuer or a security, and the positions a Fund’s investment team or portfolio managers take in respect of the Fund may be inconsistent with, or adversely affected by, the interests and activities of the Accounts advised by other investment teams or portfolio managers of the Investment Adviser. Research, analyses or viewpoints may be available to clients or potential clients at different times. Goldman Sachs will not have any obligation to make available to the Funds any research or analysis prior to its public dissemination. The Investment Adviser is responsible for making investment decisions on behalf of the Funds and such investment decisions can differ from investment decisions or recommendations by Goldman Sachs on behalf of other Accounts. Goldman Sachs, on behalf of one or more Accounts and in accordance with its management of such Accounts, may implement an investment decision or strategy ahead of, or contemporaneously with, or behind similar investment decisions or strategies made for the Funds. The relative timing for the implementation of investment decisions or strategies for Accounts, on the one hand, and the Funds, on the other hand, may disadvantage the Funds. Certain factors, for example, market impact, liquidity constraints, or other circumstances, could result in the Funds receiving less favorable trading results or incurring increased costs associated with implementing such investment decisions or strategies, or being otherwise disadvantaged.

Subject to applicable law, the Investment Adviser may cause the Funds to invest in securities, bank loans or other obligations of companies affiliated with or advised by Goldman Sachs or in which Goldman Sachs or Accounts have an equity, debt or other interest, or to engage in investment transactions that may result in other Accounts being relieved of obligations or otherwise divested of investments, which may enhance the profitability of Goldman Sachs’ or other Accounts’ investment in and activities with respect to such companies.

When the Investment Adviser wishes to place an order for different types of Accounts (including the Funds) for which aggregation is not practicable, the Investment Adviser may use a trade sequencing and rotation policy to determine which type of Account is to be traded first. Under this policy, each portfolio management team may determine the length of its trade rotation period and the sequencing schedule for different categories of clients within this period provided that the trading periods and these sequencing schedules are designed to be fair and equitable over time. The portfolio management teams currently base their trading periods and rotation schedules on the relative amounts of assets managed for different client categories (e.g., unconstrained client accounts, “wrap program” accounts, etc.) and, as a result, the Funds may trade behind other Accounts. Within a given trading period, the sequencing schedule establishes when and how frequently a given client category will trade first in the order of rotation. The Investment Adviser may deviate from the predetermined sequencing schedule under certain circumstances, and the Investment Adviser’s trade sequencing and rotation policy may be amended, modified or supplemented at any time without prior notice to clients.

Investments in Goldman Sachs Funds

To the extent permitted by applicable law, the Funds may invest in money market and other funds sponsored, managed or advised by Goldman Sachs. In connection with any such investments, a Fund, to the extent permitted by the Act, will pay all advisory, administrative or Rule 12b-1 fees applicable to the investment, and fees to the Investment Adviser in its capacity as manager of the Funds will not be reduced thereby (i.e., there could be “double fees” involved in making any such investment because Goldman Sachs could receive fees with respect to both the management of the Funds and such money market fund). In such circumstances, as well as in all other circumstances in which Goldman Sachs receives any fees or other compensation in any form relating to the provision of services, no accounting or repayment to the Funds will be required.

Goldman Sachs May In-Source or Outsource

Subject to applicable law, Goldman Sachs, including the Investment Adviser, may from time to time and without notice to investors in-source or outsource certain processes or functions in connection with a variety of services that it provides to the Funds in its administrative or other capacities. Such in-sourcing or outsourcing may give rise to additional conflicts of interest.

Goldman Sachs May Act in a Capacity Other Than Investment Adviser to the Funds

Principal and Cross Transactions

When permitted by applicable law and the Investment Adviser’s policies, the Investment Adviser, acting on behalf of the Funds, may enter into transactions in securities and other instruments with or through Goldman Sachs or in Accounts managed by the Investment Adviser, and may cause the Funds to engage in transactions in which the Investment Adviser acts as principal on its own behalf (principal transactions), advises both sides of a transaction (cross transactions) and acts as broker for, and receives a commission from, the Funds on one side of a transaction and a brokerage account on the other side of the transaction (agency cross transactions). There may be potential conflicts of interest or regulatory issues relating to these transactions which could limit the Investment Adviser’s decision to engage in these transactions for the Funds. Goldman Sachs may have a potentially conflicting division of loyalties and responsibilities to the parties in such transactions, and has

 

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developed policies and procedures in relation to such transactions and conflicts. Cross transactions may disproportionately benefit some Accounts relative to other Accounts due to the relative amount of market savings obtained by the Accounts. Any principal, cross or agency cross transactions will be effected in accordance with fiduciary requirements and applicable law.

Goldman Sachs May Act in Multiple Commercial Capacities

To the extent permitted by applicable law, Goldman Sachs may act as broker, dealer, agent, lender or advisor or in other commercial capacities for the Funds or issuers of securities held by the Funds. Goldman Sachs may be entitled to compensation in connection with the provision of such services, and the Funds will not be entitled to any such compensation. Goldman Sachs will have an interest in obtaining fees and other compensation in connection with such services that are favorable to Goldman Sachs, and in connection with providing such services may take commercial steps in its own interests, or may advise the parties to which it is providing services to take actions or engage in transactions, that negatively affect the Funds. For example, Goldman Sachs may advise a company to make changes to its capital structure the result of which would be a reduction in the value or priority of a security held by one or more Funds. Actions taken or advised to be taken by Goldman Sachs in connection with other types of transactions may also result in adverse consequences for the Funds. In addition, due to its access to and knowledge of funds, markets and securities based on its other businesses, Goldman Sachs may make decisions based on information or take (or refrain from taking) actions with respect to interests in investments of the kind held directly or indirectly by the Funds in a manner that may be adverse to the Funds. Goldman Sachs may also provide various services to the Funds or to issuers of securities in which the Funds invest, which may result in fees, compensation and remuneration as well as other benefits to Goldman Sachs, enhance Goldman Sachs’ relationships with various parties, facilitate additional business development and enable Goldman Sachs to obtain additional business and generate additional revenue.

To the extent permitted by applicable law, Goldman Sachs (including the Investment Adviser) may create, write, sell, issue, invest in or act as placement agent or distributor of derivative instruments related to the Funds, or with respect to underlying securities or assets of the Funds, or which may be otherwise based on or seek to replicate or hedge the performance of the Funds. Such derivative transactions, and any associated hedging activity, may differ from and be adverse to the interests of the Funds.

Goldman Sachs may make loans to shareholders or enter into similar transactions that are secured by a pledge of, or mortgage over, a shareholder’s Fund shares, which would provide Goldman Sachs with the right to redeem such Fund shares in the event that such shareholder defaults on its obligations. These transactions and related redemptions may be significant and may be made without notice to the shareholders.

Goldman Sachs may make loans to clients or enter into asset-based or other credit facilities or similar transactions with clients that are secured by a client’s assets or interests other than Fund shares. In connection with its rights as lender, Goldman Sachs may act to protect its own commercial interest and may take actions that adversely affect the borrower. The borrower’s actions may in turn adversely affect the Funds (e.g., if the borrower rapidly liquidates a large position in a security that is held by one or more Funds, the value of such security may decline and the value of the Funds may in turn decline in value or may be unable to liquidate their positions in such security at an advantageous price).

Code of Ethics and Personal Trading

Each of the Funds and Goldman Sachs, as each Fund’s Investment Adviser, has adopted a Code of Ethics (the “Code of Ethics”) in compliance with Section 17(j) of the Act designed to provide that personnel of the Investment Adviser, and certain additional Goldman Sachs personnel who support the Investment Adviser, comply with applicable federal securities laws and place the interests of clients first in conducting personal securities transactions. The Code of Ethics imposes certain restrictions on securities transactions in the personal accounts of covered persons to help avoid conflicts of interest, including restrictions on the purchase and sale of publicly traded equity securities. Subject to the limitations of the Code of Ethics, covered persons may buy and sell securities or other investments for their personal accounts, including investments in the Funds, and may also take positions that are the same as, different from, or made at different times than, positions taken by the Funds. The Codes of Ethics can be reviewed and copied at the SEC’s Public Reference Room in Washington, D.C. Information on the operation of the Public Reference Room may be obtained by calling the SEC at 1-202-942-8090. The Codes of Ethics are also available on the EDGAR Database on the SEC’s Internet site at http://www.sec.gov. Copies may also be obtained after paying a duplicating fee by writing the SEC’s Public Reference Section, Washington, DC 20549-0102, or by electronic request to publicinfo@sec.gov. Additionally, all Goldman Sachs personnel, including personnel of the Investment Adviser, are subject to firm-wide policies and procedures regarding confidential and proprietary information, information barriers, private investments, outside business activities and personal trading.

 

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Proxy Voting by the Investment Adviser

The Investment Adviser has implemented processes designed to prevent conflicts of interest from influencing proxy voting decisions that it makes on behalf of advisory clients, including the Funds, and to help ensure that such decisions are made in accordance with its fiduciary obligations to its clients. Notwithstanding such proxy voting processes, proxy voting decisions made by the Investment Adviser in respect of securities held by the Funds may benefit the interests of Goldman Sachs and/or Accounts other than the Funds. For a more detailed discussion of these policies and procedures, see the section of this SAI entitled “PROXY VOTING.”

Potential Limitations and Restrictions on Investment Opportunities and Activities of Goldman Sachs and the Funds

The Investment Adviser may restrict its investment decisions and activities on behalf of the Funds in various circumstances, including as a result of applicable regulatory requirements, information held by Goldman Sachs, Goldman Sachs’ internal policies and/or potential reputational risk in connection with Accounts (including the Funds). As a result, the Investment Adviser might not engage in transactions for one or more Funds in consideration of Goldman Sachs’ activities outside the Funds (e.g., the Investment Adviser may refrain from making investments for the Funds that would cause Goldman Sachs to exceed position limits or cause Goldman Sachs to have additional disclosure obligations and may limit purchases or sales of securities in respect of which Goldman Sachs is engaged in an underwriting or other distribution). The Investment Adviser may also reduce a Fund’s interest in an investment opportunity that has limited availability so that other Accounts that pursue similar investment strategies may be able to acquire an interest in the investment opportunity. In addition, the Investment Adviser is not permitted to obtain or use material non-public information in effecting purchases and sales in public securities transactions for the Funds. The Investment Adviser may also limit an activity or transaction engaged in by the Funds, including as a result of information held by Goldman Sachs (including information held by a portfolio management team in the Investment Adviser other than the teams managing the Funds), and may limit its exercise of rights on behalf of the Funds for reputational or other reasons, including where Goldman Sachs is providing (or may provide) advice or services to an entity involved in such activity or transaction, where Goldman Sachs or an Account is or may be engaged in the same or a related transaction to that being considered on behalf of the Funds, where Goldman Sachs or an Account has an interest in an entity involved in such activity or transaction, or where such activity or transaction or the exercise of such rights on behalf of or in respect of the Funds could affect Goldman Sachs, the Investment Adviser or their activities. The Investment Adviser may restrict its investment decisions and activities on behalf of one or more Funds and not on behalf of other Accounts.

In order to engage in certain transactions on behalf of a Fund, the Investment Adviser will be subject to (or cause the Fund to become subject to) the rules, terms and/or conditions of any venues through which it trades securities, derivatives or other instruments. This includes, but is not limited to, where the Investment Adviser and/or the Fund may be required to comply with the rules of certain exchanges, execution platforms, trading facilities, clearinghouses and other venues, or may be required to consent to the jurisdiction of any such venues. The rules, terms and/or conditions of any such venue may result in the Investment Adviser (and/or the Fund) being subject to, among other things, margin requirements, additional fees and other charges, disciplinary procedures, reporting and recordkeeping, position limits and other restrictions on trading, settlement risks and other related conditions on trading set out by such venues.

From time to time, a Fund, the Investment Adviser or its affiliates and/or their service providers or agents may be required, or may determine that it is advisable, to disclose certain information about the Fund, including, but not limited to, investments held by the Fund, and the names and percentage interest of beneficial owners thereof, to third parties, including local governmental authorities, regulatory organizations, taxing authorities, markets, exchanges, clearing facilities, custodians, brokers and trading counterparties of, or service providers to, the Investment Adviser or the Fund. The Investment Adviser generally expects to comply with such requests to disclose such information including through electronic delivery platforms; however, the Investment Adviser may determine to cause the sale of certain assets for the Fund rather than make certain required disclosures, and such sale may be at a time that is inopportune from a pricing standpoint.

Brokerage Transactions

The Investment Adviser may select broker-dealers (including affiliates of the Investment Adviser) that furnish the Investment Adviser, the Funds, their affiliates and other Goldman Sachs personnel with proprietary or third party brokerage and research services (collectively, “brokerage and research services”) that provide, in the Investment Adviser’s view, appropriate assistance to the Investment Adviser in the investment decision-making process. As a result, the Investment Adviser may pay for such brokerage and research services with “soft” or commission dollars.

Brokerage and research services may be used to service the Funds and any or all other Accounts, including Accounts that do not pay commissions to the broker-dealer relating to the brokerage and research service arrangements. As a result, brokerage and research services (including soft dollar benefits) may disproportionately benefit other Accounts relative to the Funds based on the relative amount of commissions paid by the Funds. The Investment Adviser does not attempt to allocate soft dollar benefits proportionately among clients or to track the benefits of brokerage and research services to the commissions associated with a particular Account or group of Accounts.

 

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Aggregation of Trades by the Investment Adviser

The Investment Adviser follows policies and procedures pursuant to which it may combine or aggregate purchase or sale orders for the same security or other instrument for multiple Accounts (including Accounts in which Goldman Sachs has an interest) (sometimes referred to as “bunching”), so that the orders can be executed at the same time and block trade treatment of any such orders can be elected when available. The Investment Adviser aggregates orders when the Investment Adviser considers doing so appropriate and in the interests of its clients generally and may elect block trade treatment when available. In addition, under certain circumstances trades for the Funds may be aggregated with Accounts that contain Goldman Sachs assets.

When a bunched order or block trade is completely filled, the Investment Adviser generally will allocate the securities or other instruments purchased or the proceeds of any sale pro rata among the participating Accounts, based on the purchase or sale order. If an order is filled at several different prices, through multiple trades (whether at a particular broker-dealer or among multiple broker-dealers), generally all participating Accounts will receive the average price and pay the average commission, however, this may not always be the case (due to, e.g., odd lots, rounding, market practice or constraints applicable to particular Accounts).

Although it may do so in certain circumstances, the Investment Adviser generally does not bunch or aggregate orders for different Funds, elect block trade treatment or net buy and sell orders for the same Fund, if portfolio management decisions relating to the orders are made by separate portfolio management teams, if bunching, aggregating, electing block trade treatment or netting is not appropriate or practicable from the Investment Adviser’s operational or other perspective, or if doing so would not be appropriate in light of applicable regulatory considerations. The Investment Adviser may be able to negotiate a better price and lower commission rate on aggregated trades than on trades for Funds that are not aggregated, and incur lower transaction costs on netted trades than trades that are not netted. Where transactions for a Fund are not aggregated with other orders, or not netted against orders for the Fund or other Accounts, the Fund may not benefit from a better price and lower commission rate or lower transaction cost. Aggregation and netting of trades may disproportionately benefit some Accounts relative to other Accounts, including a Fund, due to the relative amount of market savings obtained by the Accounts.

Affiliated Indexes

Each of the Funds seeks to track the performance of an Index that has been created by Goldman Sachs through Goldman Sachs’ selection of the components of the Index and/or the development of strategies or methodologies designed to operate the Index (collectively, “Proprietary Strategies”). The operation of the Indexes, and the management of the Funds and Accounts by the Investment Adviser and Goldman Sachs, may give rise to potential conflicts of interest, including the conflicts described above in this “POTENTIAL CONFLICTS OF INTEREST” section.

In particular, among other things, Goldman Sachs may, from time to time, manage Accounts which track the same Indexes used by the Funds or which are based on the same, or substantially similar, Proprietary Strategies that are used in the operation of the Indexes and the Funds. Such Accounts may engage in purchases and sales of securities prior to when the Index and the Funds engage in similar transactions because such Accounts may be managed and rebalanced on an ongoing basis, whereas the Funds’ portfolios are only rebalanced on a periodic basis corresponding with the rebalancing of the Index. These differences may result in the Accounts having more favorable performance relative to that of the Index and the Funds. See “—Management of the Funds by the Investment Adviser— Goldman Sachs’ and the Investment Adviser’s Activities on Behalf of Other Accounts” and “—Aggregation of Trades by the Investment Adviser” above.

Goldman Sachs has established certain information barriers and other policies to address the sharing of information between different businesses within Goldman Sachs, including with respect to personnel responsible for maintaining the Indexes and those involved in decision-making for the Funds. See “Management of the Funds by the Investment Adviser— Potential Restrictions and Issues Relating to Information Held by Goldman Sachs” above.

Goldman Sachs follows policies and procedures that are designed to address potential conflicts that may arise in connection with Goldman Sachs’s operation of the Indexes, the Funds and Accounts.

 

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CREATIONS AND REDEMPTIONS

The Trust issues and sells shares of the Funds only in Creation Units on a continuous basis through the Distributor, without a sales load, at the NAV next determined after receipt of an order in proper form as described in the Participant Agreement (as defined below), on any Business Day (as defined below). The following table sets forth the number of Shares of each Fund that constitute a Creation Unit for the Fund:

 

Fund    Creation Unit Size  

Goldman Sachs High Sharpe Ratio ETF

     50,000   

Goldman Sachs Hedge Fund VIP ETF

     50,000   

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

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

The time at which transactions and shares are priced and the time by which orders must be received may be changed in case of an emergency or if regular trading on the New York Stock Exchange is stopped at a time other than its regularly scheduled closing time. The Trust reserves the right to reprocess creation and redemption transactions that were initially processed at a NAV other than a Fund’s official closing NAV (as the same may be subsequently adjusted), and to recover amounts from (or distribute amounts to) Authorized Participants based on the official closing NAV. The Trust reserves the right to advance the time by which creation and redemption orders must be received for same business day credit as otherwise permitted by the SEC.

Fund Deposit

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

Procedures for Creating Creation Units

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

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

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

 

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

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

Orders to create Creation Units of the Fund may be placed through the Clearing Process (see “Placement of Creation Orders Using Clearing Process”) or outside the Clearing Process (see “Placement of Creation Orders Outside Clearing Process”).

Placement of Creation Orders Using Clearing Process

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

The Participant Agreement authorizes the Transfer Agent to transmit to NSCC on behalf of the Participating Party such trade instructions as are necessary to effect the Participating Party’s creation order. Pursuant to such trade instructions from the Transfer Agent to NSCC, the Participating Party agrees to transfer the requisite Deposit Securities (or contracts to purchase such Deposit Securities that are expected to be delivered in a “regular way” manner by the third (3rd) Business Day) and the Cash Component to the Trust, together with such additional information as may be required by the Transfer Agent and the Distributor as set forth in the Participant Agreement. An order to create Creation Units of the Funds through the Clearing Process is deemed received by the Transfer Agent on the Transmittal Date if (i) such order is received by the Transfer Agent not later than the Order Cutoff Time on such Transmittal Date and (ii) all other procedures set forth in the Participant Agreement are properly followed. All orders are subject to acceptance by the Distributor.

Placement of Creation Orders Outside Clearing Process

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

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

 

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Acceptance of Creation Orders

The Trust and the Distributor reserve the absolute right to reject or revoke acceptance of a creation order transmitted to it in respect to a Fund, for example if: (i) the order is not in proper form; (ii) the investor(s), upon obtaining the Shares ordered, would own 80% or more of the currently outstanding Shares of such Fund; (iii) acceptance of the Fund Deposit would have certain adverse tax consequences to such Fund; (iv) acceptance of the Fund Deposit would, in the opinion of counsel, be unlawful; (v) acceptance of the Fund Deposit would otherwise, in the discretion of the Trust or the Investment Adviser, have an adverse effect on the Trust or the rights of beneficial owners of such Fund; or (vi) in the event that circumstances outside the control of the Trust, the Transfer Agent, the Distributor or the Investment Adviser make it for all practical purposes impossible to process creation orders. Examples of such circumstances include acts of God; public service or utility problems such as fires, floods, extreme weather conditions and power outages resulting in telephone, facsimile and computer failures; market conditions or activities causing trading halts; systems failures involving computer or other information systems affecting the Trust, the Investment Adviser, the Distributor, DTC, the Clearing Process, Federal Reserve, the Transfer Agent or any other participant in the creation process, and other extraordinary events. The Distributor shall notify the Authorized Participant acting on behalf of the creator of a Creation Unit of its rejection of the order of such person. Neither the Trust, the Transfer Agent, the Distributor nor the Investment Adviser are under any duty, however, to give notification of any defects or irregularities in the delivery of Fund Deposits nor shall any of them incur any liability for the failure to give any such notification.

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

Creation Transaction Fee

A fixed creation transaction fee payable to the Custodian is imposed on each creation transaction regardless of the number of Creation Units purchased in the transaction, in the following amounts:

 

Fund

   Creation Transaction Fee  

Goldman Sachs High Sharpe Ratio ETF

   $ [ •] 

Goldman Sachs Hedge Fund VIP ETF

   $ [ •] 

In the case of cash creations or where the Trust permits or requires a creator to substitute cash in lieu of depositing a portion of the Deposit Securities, the creator may be assessed an additional variable charge to compensate the Funds for the costs associated with purchasing the applicable securities. (See “Fund Deposit” section above.) As a result, in order to seek to replicate the in-kind creation order process, the Trust expects to purchase, in the secondary market or otherwise gain exposure to, the portfolio securities that could have been delivered as a result of an in-kind creation order pursuant to local law or market convention, or for other reasons (“Market Purchases”). In such cases where the Trust makes Market Purchases, the Authorized Participant will reimburse the Trust for, among other things, any difference between the market value at which the securities and/or financial instruments were purchased by the Trust and the cash in lieu amount (which amount, at the Adviser’s discretion, may be capped), applicable registration fees, brokerage commissions and certain taxes. The Adviser may adjust the transaction fee to the extent the composition of the creation securities changes or cash in lieu is added to the Cash Component to protect ongoing shareholders. Creators of Creation Units are responsible for the costs of transferring the securities constituting the Deposit Securities to the account of the Trust. See “Portfolio Transactions and Brokerage” for additional information regarding certain cash creation transactions.

Redemption of Creation Units

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

Redemption Transaction Fee

The basic redemption transaction fee is the same no matter how many Creation Units are being redeemed pursuant to any one redemption request, in the following amounts:

 

Fund

   Redemption Transaction Fee  

Goldman Sachs High Sharpe Ratio ETF

   $ [ •] 

Goldman Sachs Hedge Fund VIP ETF

   $ [ •] 

An additional variable for cash redemptions or partial cash redemptions (when cash redemptions are permitted or required for a Fund) may also be imposed to compensate each applicable Fund for the costs associated with selling the applicable securities. As a result, in order to seek to replicate the in-kind redemption order process, the Trust expects to sell, in the secondary market, the portfolio securities or settle any financial instruments that may not be permitted to be re-registered in the name of the Participating Party as a result of an in-kind redemption order pursuant to local law or market convention, or for other reasons (“Market Sales”). In such cases where the Trust makes Market Sales, the Authorized Participant will reimburse

 

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the Trust for, among other things, any difference between the market value at which the securities and/or financial instruments were sold or settled by the Trust and the cash in lieu amount (which amount, at the Adviser’s discretion, may be capped), applicable registration fees, brokerage commissions and certain taxes (“Transaction Costs”). The Adviser may adjust the transaction fee to the extent the composition of the redemption securities changes or cash in lieu is added to the Cash Component to protect ongoing shareholders. In no event will fees charged by a Fund in connection with a redemption exceed 2% of the value of each Creation Unit. Investors who use the services of a broker or other such intermediary may be charged a fee for such services. See “Portfolio Transactions and Brokerage” for additional information regarding certain cash redemption transactions. To the extent a Fund cannot recoup the amount of Transaction Costs incurred in connection with a redemption from the redeeming shareholder because of the 2% cap or otherwise, those Transaction Costs will be borne by the Fund’s remaining shareholders and negatively affect the Fund’s performance.

Placement of Redemption Orders Using Clearing Process

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

Placement of Redemption Orders Outside Clearing Process

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

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

BOOK ENTRY ONLY SYSTEM

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

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

 

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

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

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

The Trust has no responsibility or liability for any aspects of the records relating to or notices to Beneficial Owners, or payments made on account of beneficial ownership interests in such Shares, or for maintaining, supervising or reviewing any records relating to such beneficial ownership interests or for any other aspect of the relationship between DTC and the DTC Participants or the relationship between such DTC Participants and the Indirect Participants and Beneficial Owners owning through such DTC Participants.

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

Request for Multiple Copies of Shareholder Documents

To reduce expenses, it is intended that only one copy of a Fund’s Prospectus and each annual and semi-annual report, when available, will be mailed to those addresses shared by two or more accounts. If you wish to receive individual copies of these documents, please contact the financial intermediary through which you hold your shares.

DISTRIBUTION AND SERVICE PLAN

The Board of Trustees of the Trust has adopted a distribution and service plan (“Plan”) pursuant to Rule 12b-1 under the Act. Under the Plan, each Fund is authorized to pay distribution fees in connection with the sale and distribution of its Shares and pay service fees in connection with the provision of ongoing services to shareholders of the Fund and the maintenance of shareholder accounts in an amount up to [•]% of its average daily net assets each year.

No Rule 12b-1 fees are currently paid by the Funds, and there are no current plans to impose these fees. However, in the event Rule 12b-1 fees are charged in the future, because these fees are paid out of each Fund’s assets on an ongoing basis, these fees will increase the cost of your investment in the Funds. By purchasing Shares subject to distribution fees and service fees, you may pay more over time than you would by purchasing Shares with other types of sales charge arrangements. Long-term shareholders may pay more than the economic equivalent of the maximum front-end sales charge permitted by the rules of FINRA. The net income attributable to Shares will be reduced by the amount of distribution fees and service fees and other expenses of the Funds.

 

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PORTFOLIO TRANSACTIONS AND BROKERAGE

The Investment Adviser is responsible for decisions to buy and sell securities for the Funds, the selection of brokers and dealers to effect the transactions and the negotiation of brokerage commissions, if any. Purchases and sales of securities may be executed internally by a broker-dealer, effected on an agency basis in a block transaction, or routed to competing market centers for execution. The compensation paid to the broker for providing execution services generally is negotiated and reflected in either a commission or a “net” price. Executions provided on a net price basis, with dealers acting as principal for their own accounts without a stated commission, usually include a profit to the dealer. In underwritten offerings, securities are purchased at a fixed price which includes an amount of compensation to the underwriter, generally referred to as the underwriter’s concession or discount. On occasion, certain money market instruments may be purchased directly from an issuer, in which case no commissions or discounts are paid.

In placing orders for portfolio securities or other financial instruments of a Fund, the Investment Adviser is generally required to give primary consideration to obtaining the most favorable execution and net price available. This means that the Investment Adviser will seek to execute each transaction at a price and commission, if any, which provides the most favorable total cost or proceeds reasonably attainable in the circumstances. As permitted by Section 28(e) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (“Section 28(e)”), a Fund may pay a broker which provides brokerage and research services to the Fund an amount of disclosed commission in excess of the commission which another broker would have charged for effecting that transaction. Such practice is subject to a good faith determination that such commission is reasonable in light of the services provided and to such policies as the Trustees may adopt from time to time. While the Investment Adviser generally seeks reasonably competitive spreads or commissions, a Fund will not necessarily be paying the lowest spread or commission available. Within the framework of this policy, the Investment Adviser will consider research and investment services provided by brokers or dealers who effect or are parties to portfolio transactions of a Fund, the Investment Adviser and their affiliates, or their other clients. Such research and investment services are those which brokerage houses customarily provide to institutional investors and include research reports on particular industries and companies; economic surveys and analyses; recommendations as to specific securities; research products including quotation equipment and computer related programs; advice concerning the value of securities, the advisability of investing in, purchasing or selling securities and the availability of securities or the purchasers or sellers of securities; analyses and reports concerning issuers, industries, securities, economic factors and trends, portfolio strategy and performance of accounts; services relating to effecting securities transactions and functions incidental thereto (such as clearance and settlement); and other lawful and appropriate assistance to the Investment Adviser in the performance of their decision-making responsibilities.

Such services are used by the Investment Adviser in connection with all of its investment activities, and some of such services obtained in connection with the execution of transactions for a Fund may be used in managing other investment accounts. Conversely, brokers furnishing such services may be selected for the execution of transactions of such other accounts, whose aggregate assets may be larger than those of a Fund, and the services furnished by such brokers may be used by the Investment Adviser in providing management services for the Trust. The Investment Adviser may also participate in so-called “commission sharing arrangements” and “client commission arrangements” under which the Investment Adviser may execute transactions through a broker-dealer and request that the broker-dealer allocate a portion of the commissions or commission credits to another firm that provides research to the Investment Adviser. The Investment Adviser excludes from use under these arrangements those products and services that are not fully eligible under applicable law and regulatory interpretations– even as to the portion that would be eligible if accounted for separately.

The research services received as part of commission sharing and client commission arrangements will comply with Section 28(e) and may be subject to different legal requirements in the jurisdictions in which the Investment Adviser does business. Participating in commission sharing and client commission arrangements may enable the Investment Adviser to consolidate payments for research through one or more channels using accumulated client commissions or credits from transactions executed through a particular broker-dealer to obtain research provided by other firms. Such arrangements also help to ensure the continued receipt of research services while facilitating best execution in the trading process. Each Investment Adviser believes such research services are useful in its investment decision-making process by, among other things, ensuring access to a variety of high quality research, access to individual analysts and availability of resources that the Investment Adviser might not be provided access to absent such arrangements.

On occasions when an Investment Adviser deems the purchase or sale of a security or other financial instruments to be in the best interest of a Fund as well as its other customers (including any other fund or other investment company or advisory account for which such Investment Adviser acts as investment adviser or sub-investment adviser), the Investment Adviser, to the extent permitted by applicable laws and regulations, may aggregate the securities to be sold or purchased for the Fund with those to be sold or purchased for such other customers in order to obtain the best net price and most favorable execution under

 

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the circumstances. In such event, allocation of the securities so purchased or sold, as well as the expenses incurred in the transaction, will be made by the Investment Adviser in the manner it considers to be equitable and consistent with its fiduciary obligations to such Fund and such other customers. In some instances, this procedure may adversely affect the price and size of the position obtainable for a Fund.

When creation or redemption transactions consist of cash, the transactions may require a Fund to contemporaneously transact with broker-dealers for purchases of Deposit Securities or sales of Fund Securities (as defined above), as applicable. Depending on the timing of the transactions and certain other factors, such transactions may be placed with the purchasing or redeeming Authorized Participant in its capacity as a broker-dealer or with its affiliated broker-dealer and conditioned upon an agreement with the Authorized Participant or its affiliated broker-dealer to transact at guaranteed prices in order to reduce transaction costs incurred as a consequence of settling creation or redemption baskets in cash rather than in-kind.

Specifically, following a Fund’s receipt of a creation or redemption order, to the extent such purchases or redemptions consist of a cash portion, the Fund may enter an order with the Authorized Participant or affiliated broker-dealer to purchase or sell the Deposit Securities or Fund Securities, as applicable. Such Authorized Participant or its affiliated broker-dealer will be required to guarantee that the Fund will achieve execution of its order at a price at least as favorable to the Fund as the Fund’s valuation of the Deposit Securities/Fund Securities used for purposes of calculating the NAV applied to the creation or redemption transaction giving rise to the order, which will depend on the results achieved by the executing firm and will vary depending on market activity, timing and a variety of other factors.

An Authorized Participant is required to deposit an amount with the Fund in order to ensure that the execution of the order on the terms noted above will be honored on orders arising from creation transactions executed by an Authorized Participant or its affiliate as broker-dealer. If the broker-dealer executing the order achieves executions in market transactions at a price equal to or more favorable than a Fund’s valuation of the Deposit Securities, the Fund receives the benefit of the favorable executions and the deposit is returned to the Authorized Participant. If, however, the broker-dealer executing the order is unable to achieve a price at least equal to a Fund’s valuation of the securities, the Fund retains the portion of the deposit equal to the full amount of the execution shortfall (including any taxes, brokerage commissions or other costs) and may require the Authorized Participant to deposit any additional amount required to cover the full amount of the actual execution transaction.

An Authorized Participant agrees to pay the shortfall amount in order to ensure that a guarantee on execution will be honored for brokerage orders arising from redemption transactions executed by an Authorized Participant or its affiliate as broker-dealer. If the broker-dealer executing the order achieves executions in market transactions at a price equal to or more favorable than the Fund’s valuation of the Fund Securities, the Fund receives the benefit of the favorable executions. If, however, the broker-dealer is unable to achieve executions in market transactions at a price at least equal to the Fund’s valuation of the securities, the Fund will be entitled to the portion of the offset equal to the full amount of the execution shortfall (including any taxes, brokerage commissions or other costs).

Commission rates in the U.S. are established pursuant to negotiations with the broker based on the quality and quantity of execution services provided by the broker in the light of generally prevailing rates. The allocation of orders among brokers and the commission rates paid are reviewed periodically by the Trustees. The amount of brokerage commissions paid by the Fund may vary substantially from year to year because of differences in shareholder purchase and redemption activity, portfolio turnover rates and other factors.

Since the Funds are newly-organized, they did not pay brokerage commissions during the last three fiscal years.

Subject to the above considerations, the Investment Adviser may use Goldman Sachs or an affiliate as a broker for a Fund. In order for Goldman Sachs or an affiliate, acting as agent, to effect securities or futures transactions for a Fund, the commissions, fees or other remuneration received by Goldman Sachs or an affiliate must be reasonable and fair compared to the commissions, fees or other remuneration received by other brokers in connection with comparable transactions involving similar securities or futures contracts. Furthermore, the Trustees, including a majority of the Independent Trustees, have adopted procedures which are reasonably designed to provide that any commissions, fees or other remuneration paid to Goldman Sachs are consistent with the foregoing standard. Brokerage transactions with Goldman Sachs are also subject to such fiduciary standards as may be imposed upon Goldman Sachs by applicable law.

See “Custodian, Sub-Custodians and Provider of Administrative Services” for information regarding foreign exchange transaction services and execution of trades in connection with certain creation and redemption transactions.

 

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DETERMINATION OF NET ASSET VALUE

In accordance with procedures adopted by the Trustees, the NAV per share of a Fund’s Shares is calculated by the Funds’ provider of administrative services by determining the value of the net assets attributed to the Fund and dividing by the number of outstanding shares of the Fund. All securities are generally valued on each Business Day as of the close of regular trading on the NYSE (normally, but not always, 4:00 p.m. Eastern time), or such other times as the NYSE or the National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotations System (“NASDAQ”) market may officially close.

Portfolio securities of each Fund for which market quotations are readily available are valued as follows: (i) securities listed on any U.S. or foreign stock exchange or on the NASDAQ will be valued at the last sale price, or the official closing price, on the exchange or system in which they are principally traded on the valuation date. If there is no sale on the valuation day, securities traded will be valued at the closing bid price, or if a closing bid price is not available, at either the exchange or system-defined close price on the exchange or system in which such securities are principally traded. If the relevant exchange or system has not closed by the above-mentioned time for determining the Fund’s NAV, the securities will be valued at the last sale price or official closing price, or if not available at the bid price at the time the NAV is determined; (ii) over-the-counter securities not quoted on NASDAQ will be valued at the last sale price on the valuation day or, if no sale occurs, at the last bid price at the time NAV is determined; (iii) equity securities for which no prices are obtained under sections (i) or (ii) including those for which a pricing service supplies no exchange quotation or a quotation that is believed by the portfolio manager/trader to be inaccurate, will be valued at their fair value in accordance with procedures approved by the Board of Trustees; (iv) fixed income securities, with the exception of short term securities with remaining maturities of 60 days or less, will be valued using evaluated prices provided by a recognized pricing service (e.g., Interactive Data Corp., Reuters, etc.) or dealer-supplied quotations; (v) fixed income securities for which accurate market quotations are not readily available may be valued by the Investment Adviser based on valuation models that take into account various factors such as spread and daily yield changes on government or other securities in the appropriate market (i.e., matrix pricing); (vi) short term fixed income securities with a remaining maturity of 60 days or less are valued at amortized cost, which the Trustees have determined to approximate fair value; and (vii) all other instruments, including those for which a pricing service supplies no exchange quotation or a quotation that is believed by the portfolio manager/trader to be inaccurate, will be valued in accordance with the valuation procedures approved by the Board of Trustees. Securities may also be valued at fair value in accordance with procedures approved by the Board of Trustees where the Funds’ provider of administrative services is unable for other reasons to facilitate pricing of individual securities or calculate the Funds’ NAV, or if the Investment Adviser believes that such quotations do not accurately reflect fair value. Fair values determined in accordance with the valuation procedures approved by the Board of Trustees may be based on subjective judgments and it is possible that the prices resulting from such valuation procedures may differ materially from the value realized on a sale.

The value of all assets and liabilities expressed in foreign currencies will be converted into U.S. dollar values at foreign currency exchange rates generally determined as of 4:00 p.m. Greenwich Mean Time. If such quotations are not available, the rate of exchange will be determined in good faith by or under procedures established by the Board of Trustees.

Generally, trading in securities on European, Asian and Far Eastern securities exchanges and on over-the-counter markets in these regions is substantially completed at various times prior to the close of business on each Business Day in New York (i.e., a day on which the NYSE is open for trading). In addition, European, Asian or Far Eastern securities trading generally or in a particular country or countries may not take place on all Business Days in New York. Furthermore, trading takes place in various foreign markets on days which are not Business Days in New York and days on which a Fund’s NAV is not calculated. Such calculation does not take place contemporaneously with the determination of the prices of the majority of the portfolio securities used in such calculation. A Fund’s investments are valued based on market quotations which may be furnished by a pricing service or provided by securities dealers.

The Investment Adviser, consistent with its procedures and applicable regulatory guidance, may (but need not) determine to make an adjustment to the previous closing prices of either domestic or foreign securities in light of significant events, to reflect what it believes to be the fair value of the securities at the time of determining a Fund’s NAV. Significant events that could affect a large number of securities in a particular market may include, but are not limited to: situations relating to one or more single issuers in a market sector; significant fluctuations in U.S. or foreign markets; market dislocations; market disruptions or market closings; equipment failures; natural or man-made disasters or act of God; armed conflicts; governmental actions or other developments; as well as the same or similar events which may affect specific issuers or the securities markets even though not tied directly to the securities markets. Other significant events that could relate to a single issuer may include, but are not limited to: corporate actions such as reorganizations, mergers and buy-outs; corporate announcements, including those relating to earnings, products and regulatory news; significant litigation; trading limits; or suspensions.

 

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Fair valuation involves the risk that the values used by the Funds to price their investments may be different from those used by other investment companies and investors to price the same investments.

The proceeds received by a Fund and each other series of the Trust from the issue or sale of its Shares, and all net investment income, realized and unrealized gain and proceeds thereof, subject only to the rights of creditors, will be specifically allocated to the Fund or particular series and constitute the underlying assets of the Fund or series. The underlying assets of the Fund will be segregated on the books of account, and will be charged with the liabilities in respect of the Fund and with a share of the general liabilities of the Trust. Expenses of the Trust with respect to a Fund and the other series of the Trust are generally allocated in proportion to the NAVs of the respective Fund except where allocations of expenses can otherwise be fairly made.

The Funds rely on various sources to calculate its NAV. Therefore, each Fund is subject to certain operational risks associated with reliance on third party service providers and data sources. NAV calculation may be impacted by operational risks arising from factors such as failures in systems and technology. Such failures may result in delays in the calculation of a Fund’s NAV and/or the inability to calculate NAV over extended time periods. The Funds may be unable to recover any losses associated with such failures.

SHARES OF THE TRUST

Each Fund is a series of Goldman Sachs ETF Trust, a Delaware statutory trust formed on December 16, 2009.

The Trustees have authority under the Trust’s Declaration of Trust to create and classify shares of beneficial interest in separate series, without further action by shareholders. The Trustees also have authority to classify and reclassify any series of shares into one or more classes of shares. As of [•], the Trustees have authorized the issuance of one class of shares of each Fund (“Shares”). Additional series may be added in the future.

Each Share of a Fund represents a proportionate interest in the assets belonging to the applicable class of the Fund and all expenses of the Fund are borne at the same rate by each class of shares. In addition, the fees and expenses set forth below for Shares may be subject to fee waivers or reimbursements, as discussed more fully in the Fund’s Prospectus.

Certain aspects of the Shares may be altered after advance notice to shareholders if it is deemed necessary in order to satisfy certain tax regulatory requirements.

When issued for the consideration described in the Funds’ Prospectus, shares are fully paid and non-assessable. The Trustees may, however, cause shareholders, or shareholders of a particular series or class, to pay certain custodian, transfer agency, shareholder servicing or similar charges by setting off the same against declared but unpaid dividends or by reducing share ownership (or by both means). In the event of liquidation, shareholders are entitled to share pro rata in the net assets of the Funds available for distribution to such shareholders. All shares are freely transferable and have no preemptive, subscription or conversion rights. The Trustees may require Shareholders to redeem Shares for any reason under terms set by the Trustees.

The Act requires that where more than one series of shares exists, each series must be preferred over all other series in respect of assets specifically allocated to such series. In addition, Rule 18f-2 under the Act provides that any matter required to be submitted by the provisions of the Act or applicable state law, or otherwise, to the holders of the outstanding voting securities of an investment company such as the Trust shall not be deemed to have been effectively acted upon unless approved by the holders of a majority of the outstanding shares of each series affected by such matter. Rule 18f-2 further provides that a series shall be deemed to be affected by a matter unless the interests of each series in the matter are substantially identical or the matter does not affect any interest of such series. However, Rule 18f-2 exempts the selection of independent public accountants, the approval of principal distribution contracts and the election of trustees from the separate voting requirements of Rule 18f-2.

The Trust is not required to hold annual meetings of shareholders and does not intend to hold such meetings. In the event that a meeting of shareholders is held, each Share of the Trust will be entitled, as determined by the Trustees without the vote or consent of the shareholders, either to one vote for each share or to one vote for each dollar of NAV represented by such share on all matters presented to shareholders including the election of Trustees (this method of voting being referred to as “dollar based voting”). However, to the extent required by the Act or otherwise determined by the Trustees, series and classes of the Trust will vote separately from each other. Shareholders of the Trust do not have cumulative voting rights in the election of Trustees. Meetings of shareholders of the Trust, or any series or class thereof, may be called by the Trustees, certain officers

 

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or upon the written request of holders of 10% or more of the shares entitled to vote at such meetings. The Trustees will call a special meeting of shareholders for the purpose of electing Trustees, if, at any time, less than a majority of Trustees holding office at the time were elected by shareholders. The shareholders of the Trust will have voting rights only with respect to the limited number of matters specified in the Declaration of Trust and such other matters as the Trustees may determine or may be required by law.

The Declaration of Trust provides for indemnification of Trustees, officers, employees and agents of the Trust unless the recipient is adjudicated (i) to be liable by reason of willful misfeasance, bad faith, gross negligence or reckless disregard of the duties involved in the conduct of such person’s office or (ii) not to have acted in good faith in the reasonable belief that such person’s actions were in the best interest of the Trust. The Declaration of Trust provides that, if any shareholder or former shareholder of any series is held personally liable solely by reason of being or having been a shareholder and not because of the shareholder’s acts or omissions or for some other reason, the shareholder or former shareholder (or the shareholder’s heirs, executors, administrators, legal representatives or general successors) shall be held harmless from and indemnified against all loss and expense arising from such liability. The Trust, acting on behalf of any affected series, must, upon request by such shareholder, assume the defense of any claim made against such shareholder for any act or obligation of the series and satisfy any judgment thereon from the assets of the series.

The Declaration of Trust states that the Trust shall continue without limitation of time but, Trustees may without Shareholder approval (i) sell and convey all or substantially all of the assets of the Trust or any affected Series to another trust, partnership, association, or corporation, or to a separate series of shares thereof, organized under the laws of any state, which trust, partnership, association, or corporation is an open-end management investment company as defined in the Investment Company Act, or is a series thereof, for adequate consideration which may include the assumption of all outstanding obligations, taxes, and other liabilities, accrued or contingent, of the Trust or any affected Series, and which may include shares of beneficial interest, stock, or other ownership interests of such trust, partnership, association, or corporation or of a series thereof; or (ii) at any time, sell and convert into money all of the assets of the Trust or any affected series.

The Declaration of Trust authorizes the Trustees, without shareholder approval, to cause the Trust, or any series thereof, to merge, reorganize or consolidate with any corporation, association, trust or other organization or sell or exchange all or substantially all of the property belonging to the Trust or any series thereof. In addition, the Trustees, without shareholder approval, may adopt a master-feeder structure by investing all or a portion of the assets of a series of the Trust in the securities of another open-end investment company with substantially the same investment objective, restrictions and policies.

The Declaration of Trust permits the Trustees to amend the Declaration of Trust without a shareholder vote. However, shareholders of the Trust have the right to vote on any amendment (i) that would adversely affect the voting rights of shareholders; (ii) that is required by law to be approved by shareholders; (iii) that would amend the provisions of the Declaration of Trust regarding amendments and supplements thereto; or (iv) that the Trustees determine to submit to shareholders.

Shareholder and Trustee Liability

Under Delaware Law, the shareholders of the Funds are not generally subject to liability for the debts or obligations of the Trust. Similarly, Delaware law provides that a series of the Trust will not be liable for the debts or obligations of any other series of the Trust. However, no similar statutory or other authority limiting statutory trust shareholder liability exists in other states. As a result, to the extent that a Delaware statutory trust or a shareholder is subject to the jurisdiction of courts of such other states, the courts may not apply Delaware law and may thereby subject the Delaware statutory trust shareholders to liability. To guard against this risk, the Declaration of Trust contains an express disclaimer of shareholder liability for acts or obligations of a series. Notice of such disclaimer will normally be given in each agreement, obligation or instrument entered into or executed by a series of the Trust. The Declaration of Trust provides for indemnification by the relevant series for all loss suffered by a shareholder as a result of an obligation of the series. The Declaration of Trust also provides that a series shall, upon request, assume the defense of any claim made against any shareholder for any act or obligation of the series and satisfy any judgment thereon. In view of the above, the risk of personal liability of shareholders of a Delaware statutory trust is remote.

In addition to the requirements under Delaware law, the Declaration of Trust provides that shareholders of a series may bring a derivative action on behalf of the series only if the following conditions are met: (a) shareholders eligible to bring such derivative action under Delaware law who collectively hold at least 10% of the outstanding shares of the series, or 10% of the outstanding shares of the class to which such action relates, shall join in the request for the Trustees to commence such action; and (b) the Trustees must be afforded a reasonable amount of time to consider such shareholder request and to investigate the

 

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basis of such claim. The Trustees will be entitled to retain counsel or other advisers in considering the merits of the request and may require an undertaking by the shareholders making such request to reimburse the series for the expense of any such advisers in the event that the Trustees determine not to bring such action.

The Declaration of Trust further provides that the Trustees will not be liable for errors of judgment or mistakes of fact or law, but nothing in the Declaration of Trust protects a Trustee against liability to which he or she would otherwise be subject by reason of willful misfeasance, bad faith, gross negligence, or reckless disregard of the duties involved in the conduct of his or her office.

TAXATION

The following are certain additional U.S. federal income tax considerations generally affecting a Fund and the purchase, ownership and disposition of shares of the Fund that are not described in the Prospectus. The discussions below and in the Prospectus are only summaries and are not intended as substitutes for careful tax planning. They do not address special tax rules applicable to certain classes of investors, such as tax-exempt entities, insurance companies and financial institutions. Each prospective shareholder is urged to consult his or her own tax adviser with respect to the specific federal, state, local and foreign tax consequences of investing in each Fund. The summary is based on the laws in effect on [•] which are subject to change.

Fund Taxation

Each Fund is treated as a separate taxable entity and has elected to be treated and intends to qualify for each of its taxable years as a regulated investment companies under Subchapter M of Subtitle A, Chapter 1, of the Code.

There are certain tax requirements that each Fund must follow if it is to avoid federal taxation. In its efforts to adhere to these requirements, each Fund may have to limit its investment activities in some types of instruments. Qualification as a regulated investment company under the Code requires, among other things, that (i) the Fund derive at least 90% of its gross income for each taxable year from dividends, interest, payments with respect to securities loans, gains from the sale or other disposition of stocks or securities or foreign currencies, net income from qualified publicly traded partnerships or other income (including but not limited to gains from options, futures, and forward contracts) derived with respect to the Fund’s business of investing in stocks, securities or currencies (the “90% gross income test”); and (ii) the Fund diversify its holdings so that, in general, at the close of each quarter of its taxable year, (a) at least 50% of the fair market value of the Fund’s total (gross) assets is comprised of cash, cash items, U.S. Government Securities, securities of other regulated investment companies and other securities limited in respect of any one issuer to an amount not greater in value than 5% of the value of the Fund’s total assets and to not more than 10% of the outstanding voting securities of such issuer, and (b) not more than 25% of the value of its total (gross) assets is invested in the securities of any one issuer (other than U.S. Government Securities and securities of other regulated investment companies), two or more issuers controlled by the Fund and engaged in the same, similar or related trades or businesses, or certain publicly traded partnerships.

For purposes of the 90% gross income test, income that each Fund earns from equity interests in certain entities that are not treated as corporations or as qualified publicly traded partnerships for U.S. federal income tax purposes (e.g., partnerships or trusts) will generally have the same character for the Fund as in the hands of such an entity; consequently, the Fund may be required to limit its equity investments in any such entities that earn fee income, rental income, or other nonqualifying income. In addition, future Treasury regulations could provide that qualifying income under the 90% gross income test will not include gains from foreign currency transactions that are not directly related to a Fund’s principal business of investing in stock or securities or options and futures with respect to stock or securities. Using foreign currency positions or entering into foreign currency options, futures and forward or swap contracts for purposes other than hedging currency risk with respect to securities in a Fund’s portfolio or anticipated to be acquired may not qualify as “directly-related” under these tests.

If a Fund complies with the foregoing provisions, then in any taxable year in which the Fund distributes, in compliance with the Code’s timing and other requirements, an amount at least equal to the sum of 90% of its “investment company taxable income” (which includes dividends, taxable interest, taxable accrued original issue discount and market discount income, income from securities lending, any net short-term capital gain in excess of net long-term capital loss, certain net realized foreign exchange gains and any other taxable income other than “net capital gain,” as defined below, and is reduced by deductible expenses), plus 90% of the excess of its gross tax-exempt interest income (if any) over certain disallowed deductions, the Fund (but not its shareholders) will be relieved of federal income tax on any income of the Fund, including long-term capital gains, distributed to shareholders. If, instead, a Fund retains any investment company taxable income or net capital gain (the excess of net long-term capital gain over net short-term capital loss), it will be subject to a tax at regular

 

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corporate rates on the amount retained. Because there are some uncertainties regarding the computation of the amounts deemed distributed to Fund shareholders for these purposes — including, in particular, uncertainties regarding the portion, if any, of amounts paid in redemption of Fund shares that should be treated as such distributions — there can be no assurance that the Fund will avoid corporate-level tax in each year.

Each Fund generally intends to distribute for each taxable year to its shareholders all or substantially all of its investment company taxable income, net capital gain and any tax-exempt interest. Exchange control or other foreign laws, regulations or practices may restrict repatriation of investment income, capital or the proceeds of securities sales by foreign investors and may therefore make it more difficult for a Fund to satisfy the distribution requirements described above, as well as the excise tax distribution requirements described below. Each Fund generally expects, however, to be able to obtain sufficient cash to satisfy those requirements, from new investors, the sale of securities or other sources. If for any taxable year a Fund does not qualify as a regulated investment company, it will be taxed on all of its taxable income and net capital gain at corporate rates, and its distributions to shareholders will generally be taxable as ordinary dividends to the extent of its current and accumulated earnings and profits.

If a Fund retains any net capital gain, the Fund may designate the retained amount as undistributed capital gains in a notice to its shareholders who (1) if subject to U.S. federal income tax on long-term capital gains, will be required to include in income for federal income tax purposes, as long-term capital gain, their shares of that undistributed amount, and (2) will be entitled to credit their proportionate shares of the tax paid by the Fund against their U.S. federal income tax liabilities, if any, and to claim refunds to the extent the credit exceeds those liabilities. For U.S. federal income tax purposes, the tax basis of shares owned by a shareholder of a Fund will be increased by the amount of any such undistributed net capital gain included in the shareholder’s gross income and decreased by the federal income tax paid by the Fund on that amount of net capital gain.

To avoid a 4% federal excise tax, a Fund must generally distribute (or be deemed to have distributed) by December 31 of each calendar year an amount at least equal to the sum of 98% of its taxable ordinary income (taking into account certain deferrals and elections) for the calendar year, 98.2% of the excess of its capital gains over its capital losses (generally computed on the basis of the one-year period ending on October 31 of such year), and all taxable ordinary income and the excess of capital gains over capital losses for all previous years that were not distributed for those years and on which the Fund paid no federal income tax. For federal income tax purposes, dividends declared by a Fund in October, November or December to shareholders of record on a specified date in such a month and paid during January of the following year are taxable to such shareholders, and deductible by the Fund, as if paid on December 31 of the year declared. Each Fund anticipates that it will generally make timely distributions of income and capital gains in compliance with these requirements so that it will generally not be required to pay the excise tax.

For federal income tax purposes, each Fund is generally permitted to carry forward a net capital loss in any taxable year to offset its own capital gains, if any. These amounts are available to be carried forward to offset future capital gains to the extent permitted by the Code and applicable tax regulations.

Gains and losses on the sale, lapse, or other termination of options and futures contracts, options thereon and certain forward contracts (except certain foreign currency options, forward contracts and futures contracts) will generally be treated as capital gains and losses. Certain of the futures contracts, forward contracts and options held by a Fund will be required to be “marked-to-market” for federal tax purposes — that is, treated as having been sold at their fair market value on the last day of the Fund’s taxable year (or, for excise tax purposes, on the last day of the relevant period). These provisions may require the Fund to recognize income or gains without a concurrent receipt of cash. Any gain or loss recognized on actual or deemed sales of these futures contracts, forward contracts, or options will (except for certain foreign currency options, forward contracts, and futures contracts) be treated as 60% long-term capital gain or loss and 40% short-term capital gain or loss. As a result of certain hedging transactions entered into by a Fund, it may be required to defer the recognition of losses on futures contracts, forward contracts, and options or underlying securities or foreign currencies to the extent of any unrecognized gains on related positions held by the Fund, and the characterization of gains or losses as long-term or short-term may be changed. The tax provisions described in this paragraph may affect the amount, timing and character of the Fund’s distributions to shareholders. The application of certain requirements for qualification as a regulated investment company and the application of certain other tax rules may be unclear in some respects in connection with certain investment practices such as dollar rolls, or investments in certain derivatives, including interest rate swaps, floors, caps and collars, currency swaps, total return swaps, mortgage swaps, index swaps, forward contracts and structured notes. As a result, each Fund may therefore be required to limit its investments in such transactions and it is also possible that the IRS may not agree with the Fund’s tax treatment of such transactions. In addition, the tax treatment of derivatives, and certain other investments, may be affected by future legislation, Treasury Regulations and guidance issued by the IRS that could affect the timing, character and amount of the Fund’s income and gains and distributions to shareholders. Certain tax elections may be available to the Fund to mitigate some of the unfavorable consequences described in this paragraph.

 

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Section 988 of the Code contains special tax rules applicable to certain foreign currency transactions and instruments, which may affect the amount, timing and character of income, gain or loss recognized by the Funds. Under these rules, foreign exchange gain or loss realized with respect to foreign currencies and certain futures and options thereon, foreign currency-denominated debt instruments, foreign currency forward contracts, and foreign currency-denominated payables and receivables will generally be treated as ordinary income or loss, although in some cases elections may be available that would alter this treatment. If a net foreign exchange loss treated as ordinary loss under Section 988 of the Code were to exceed a Fund’s investment company taxable income (computed without regard to that loss) for a taxable year, the resulting loss would not be deductible by the Fund or its shareholders in future years. Net loss, if any, from certain foreign currency transactions or instruments could exceed net investment income otherwise calculated for accounting purposes, with the result being either no dividends being paid or a portion of the Fund’s dividends being treated as a return of capital for tax purposes, nontaxable to the extent of a shareholder’s tax basis in his shares and, once such basis is exhausted, generally giving rise to capital gains.

Each Fund’s investment, if any, in zero coupon securities, deferred interest securities, certain structured securities or other securities bearing original issue discount or, if the Fund elects to include market discount in income currently, market discount, as well as any “marked-to-market” gain from certain options, futures or forward contracts, as described above, will in many cases cause the Fund to realize income or gain before the receipt of cash payments with respect to these securities or contracts. For a Fund to obtain cash to enable the Fund to distribute any such income or gain, to maintain its qualification as a regulated investment company and to avoid federal income and excise taxes, the Fund may be required to liquidate portfolio investments sooner than it might otherwise have done.

Investments in lower-rated securities may present special tax issues for a Fund to the extent actual or anticipated defaults may be more likely with respect to those kinds of securities. Tax rules are not entirely clear about issues such as when an investor in such securities may cease to accrue interest, original issue discount, or market discount; when and to what extent deductions may be taken for bad debts or worthless securities; how payments received on obligations in default should be allocated between principal and income; and whether exchanges of debt obligations in a workout context are taxable. These and other issues will generally need to be addressed by the Fund, in the event it invests in such securities, so as to seek to eliminate or to minimize any adverse tax consequences.

If a Fund acquires stock (including, under proposed regulations, an option to acquire stock such as is inherent in a convertible bond) in certain foreign corporations that receive at least 75% of their annual gross income from passive sources (such as interest, dividends, rents, royalties or capital gain) or hold at least 50% of their assets in investments producing such passive income (“passive foreign investment companies”), the Fund could be subject to federal income tax and additional interest charges on “excess distributions” received from such companies or gain from the sale of stock in such companies, even if all income or gain actually received by the Fund is timely distributed to its shareholders. The Fund will not be able to pass through to its shareholders any credit or deduction for such a tax. In some cases, elections may be available that will ameliorate these adverse tax consequences, but those elections will require the Fund to include each year certain amounts as income or gain (subject to the distribution requirements described above) without a concurrent receipt of cash. The Fund may attempt to limit and/or to manage its holdings in passive foreign investment companies to minimize its tax liability or maximize its return from these investments.

If a Fund invests in certain REITs or in REMIC residual interests, a portion of the Fund’s income may be classified as “excess inclusion income.” A shareholder that is otherwise not subject to tax may be taxable on their share of any such excess inclusion income as “unrelated business taxable income.” In addition, tax may be imposed on the Fund on the portion of any excess inclusion income allocable to any shareholders that are classified as disqualified organizations.

Taxable U.S. Shareholders – Distributions

For U.S. federal income tax purposes, distributions by the Fund, whether reinvested in additional shares or paid in cash, generally will be taxable to shareholders who are subject to tax.

In general, distributions from investment company taxable income for the year will be taxable as ordinary income. However, distributions to noncorporate shareholders attributable to dividends received by the Funds from U.S. and certain foreign corporations will generally be taxed at the long-term capital gain rate (described below), as long as certain other requirements are met. For these lower rates to apply, the noncorporate shareholders must have owned their Fund shares for at least 61 days during the 121-day period beginning 60 days before the Fund’s ex-dividend date and the Fund must also have owned the underlying stock for this same period beginning 60 days before the ex-dividend date for the stock. The amount of the Fund’s distributions that otherwise qualify for these lower rates may be reduced as a result of the Fund’s securities lending activities, hedging activities or a high portfolio turnover rate.

 

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Distributions reported to shareholders as derived from a Fund’s dividend income, if any, that would be eligible for the dividends received deduction if the Fund were not a regulated investment company may be eligible for the dividends received deduction for corporate shareholders. The dividends received deduction, if available, is reduced to the extent the shares with respect to which the dividends are received are treated as debt-financed under federal income tax law and is eliminated if the shares are deemed to have been held for less than a minimum period, generally 46 days. The dividends received deduction also may be reduced as a result of the Fund’s hedging activities, securities lending activities or a high portfolio turnover rate. The entire dividend, including the deducted amount, is considered in determining the excess, if any, of a corporate shareholder’s adjusted current earnings over its alternative minimum taxable income, which may increase its liability for the federal alternative minimum tax, and the dividend may, if it is treated as an “extraordinary dividend” under the Code, reduce such shareholder’s tax basis in its shares of the Funds. Capital gain dividends (i.e., dividends from net capital gain), if reported as such to shareholders, will be taxed to shareholders as long-term capital gain regardless of how long shares have been held by shareholders, but are not eligible for the dividends received deduction for corporations. 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. Distributions, if any, that are in excess of a Fund’s current and accumulated earnings and profits will first reduce a shareholder’s tax basis in his shares and, after such basis is reduced to zero, will generally constitute capital gains to a shareholder who holds his shares as capital assets.

Different tax treatment, including penalties on certain excess contributions and deferrals, certain pre-retirement and post-retirement distributions and certain prohibited transactions, is accorded to accounts maintained as qualified retirement plans. Shareholders should consult their tax advisers for more information.

Taxable U.S. Shareholders—Sale of Shares

When a shareholder’s shares are sold, redeemed or otherwise disposed of in a transaction that is treated as a sale for tax purposes, the shareholder will generally recognize gain or loss equal to the difference between the shareholder’s adjusted tax basis in the shares and the cash, or fair market value of any property, received. (To aid in computing that tax basis, a shareholder should generally retain its account statements for the period that it holds shares.) If the shareholder holds the shares as a capital asset at the time of sale, the character of the gain or loss should be capital, and treated as long-term if the shareholder’s holding period is more than one year and short-term otherwise, subject to the rules below.

Certain special tax rules may apply to a shareholder’s capital gains or losses on Fund shares. If a shareholder receives a capital gain dividend with respect to shares and such shares have a tax holding period of six months or less at the time of a sale or redemption of such shares, then any loss the shareholder realizes on the sale or redemption will be treated as a long-term capital loss to the extent of such capital gain dividend. 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 the same Fund within a period of 61 days beginning 30 days before and ending 30 days after the shares are disposed of, such as pursuant to a dividend reinvestment in shares of such Fund. If disallowed, the loss will be reflected in an adjustment to the basis of the shares acquired. If a Fund redeems a shareholder in-kind rather than in cash, the shareholder would realize the same gain or loss as if the shareholder had been redeemed in cash. Further, the shareholder’s basis in the securities received in the in-kind redemption would be the securities’ fair market value on the date of the in-kind redemption.

Medicare Tax

An additional 3.8% Medicare tax is imposed on certain net investment income (including ordinary dividends and capital gain distributions received from a 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.

Foreign Taxes

Each Fund anticipates that it may be subject to foreign taxes on income (possibly including, in some cases, capital gains) from foreign securities. Tax conventions between certain countries and the United States may reduce or eliminate those foreign taxes in some cases. If more than 50% of the Fund’s total assets at the close of a taxable year consists of stock or securities of foreign corporations, or if at least 50% of the value of a Fund’s total assets at the close of each quarter of its taxable year is

 

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represented by interests in other regulated investment companies, the Fund may file an election with the IRS pursuant to which the shareholders of the Fund will be required (1) to report as dividend income (in addition to taxable dividends actually received) their pro rata shares of foreign income taxes paid by the Fund that are treated as income taxes under U.S. tax regulations (which excludes, for example, stamp taxes, securities transaction taxes, and similar taxes) even though not actually received by those shareholders, and (2) to treat those respective pro rata shares as foreign income taxes paid by them, which they can claim either as a foreign tax credit, subject to applicable limitations, against their U.S. federal income tax liability or as an itemized deduction. (Shareholders who do not itemize deductions for federal income tax purposes will not, however, be able to deduct their pro rata portion of foreign taxes paid by the Fund, although those shareholders will be required to include their share of such taxes in gross income if the foregoing election is made by the Fund.)

If a shareholder chooses to take credit for the foreign taxes deemed paid by such shareholder as a result of any such election by a Fund, the amount of the credit that may be claimed in any year may not exceed the same proportion of the U.S. tax against which such credit is taken which the shareholder’s taxable income from foreign sources (but not in excess of the shareholder’s entire taxable income) bears to his entire taxable income. For this purpose, distributions from long-term and short-term capital gains or foreign currency gains by a Fund will generally not be treated as income from foreign sources. This foreign tax credit limitation may also be applied separately to certain specific categories of foreign-source income and the related foreign taxes. As a result of these rules, which have different effects depending upon each shareholder’s particular tax situation, certain shareholders of a Fund may not be able to claim a credit for the full amount of their proportionate share of the foreign taxes paid by the Fund even if the election is made by the Fund.

Shareholders who are not liable for U.S. federal income taxes, including retirement plans, other tax-exempt shareholders and non-U.S. shareholders, will ordinarily not benefit from the foregoing Fund election with respect to foreign taxes. Each year, if any, that the Fund files the election described above, shareholders will be notified of the amount of (1) each shareholder’s pro rata share of qualified foreign taxes paid by the Fund and (2) the portion of Fund dividends that represents income from foreign sources. If the Fund cannot or does not make this election, it may deduct its foreign taxes in computing the amount it is required to distribute.

Non-U.S. Shareholders

The discussion above relates solely to U.S. federal income tax law as it applies to “U.S. persons” subject to tax under such law.

Except as discussed below, distributions to shareholders who, as to the United States, are not “U.S. persons,” (i.e., are nonresident aliens, foreign corporations, fiduciaries of foreign trusts or estates or other non-U.S. investors) generally will be subject to U.S. federal withholding tax at the rate of 30% on distributions treated as ordinary income unless the tax is reduced or eliminated pursuant to a tax treaty or the distributions are effectively connected with a U.S. trade or business of the shareholder; but distributions of net capital gain (the excess of any net long-term capital gains over any net short-term capital losses) including amounts retained by the Fund which are designated as undistributed capital gains, to such a non-U.S. shareholder will not be subject to U.S. federal income or withholding tax unless the distributions are effectively connected with the shareholder’s trade or business in the United States or, in the case of a shareholder who is a nonresident alien individual, the shareholder is present in the United States for 183 days or more during the taxable year and certain other conditions are met. Non-U.S. shareholders may also be subject to U.S. federal withholding tax on deemed income resulting from any election by a Fund to treat qualified foreign taxes it pays as passed through to shareholders (as described above), but may not be able to claim a U.S. tax credit or deduction with respect to such taxes.

Under a provision made permanent by Congress, non-U.S. investors generally are not subject to U.S. federal income tax withholding on certain distributions of interest income and/or short-term capital gains that are designated by the Funds. It is expected that the Funds will generally make designations of short-term gains, to the extent permitted, but the Funds do not intend to make designations of any distributions attributable to interest income. Therefore, all distributions of interest income will be subject to withholding when paid to non-U.S. investors.

Any capital gain realized by a non-U.S. shareholder upon a sale or redemption of shares of a Fund will not be subject to U.S. federal income or withholding tax unless the gain is effectively connected with the shareholder’s trade or business in the U.S., or in the case of a shareholder who is a nonresident alien individual, the shareholder is present in the U.S. for 183 days or more during the taxable year and certain other conditions are met.

 

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Non-U.S. persons who fail to furnish the proper IRS Form W-8 (i.e., W-8BEN, W-8BEN-E, W-8ECI, W-8IMY or W-8EXP), or an acceptable substitute, may be subject to backup withholding at a 28% rate on dividends (including capital gain dividends) and on the proceeds of redemptions and exchanges. Also, non-U.S. shareholders of a Fund may be subject to U.S. estate tax with respect to their Fund shares.

Effective July 1, 2014, withholding of U.S. tax (at a 30% rate) is required with respect to payments of dividends and (effective January 1, 2017) certain capital gain dividends made to certain non-U.S. entities that fail to comply (or be deemed compliant) with extensive new reporting and withholding requirements designed to inform the U.S. Department of the Treasury of U.S.-owned foreign investment accounts. Shareholders may be requested to provide additional information to enable the applicable withholding agent to determine whether withholding is required.

Each shareholder who is not a U.S. person should consult his or her tax adviser regarding the U.S. and non-U.S. tax consequences of ownership of shares of, and receipt of distributions from, the Fund.

Creation Units

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

State and Local Taxes

Each Fund may be subject to state or local taxes in jurisdictions in which the Fund is deemed to be doing business. In addition, in those states or localities that impose income taxes, the treatment of a Fund and its shareholders under those jurisdictions’ tax laws may differ from the treatment under federal income tax laws, and investment in the Fund may have tax consequences for shareholders that are different from those of a direct investment in the Fund’s portfolio securities. Shareholders should consult their own tax advisers concerning state and local tax matters.

FINANCIAL STATEMENTS

A copy of the Funds’ Annual Report (when available) may be obtained upon request and without charge by writing Goldman Sachs Funds, P.O. Box 06050, Chicago, Illinois 60606 or by calling 1-800-621-2550.

PROXY VOTING

The Trust, on behalf of the Funds, has delegated the voting of portfolio securities to the Investment Adviser. For client accounts for which the Investment Adviser has voting discretion, the Investment Adviser has adopted policies and procedures (the “Proxy Voting Policy”) for the voting of proxies. Under the Proxy Voting Policy, the applicable Investment Adviser’s guiding principles in performing proxy voting are to make decisions that favor proposals that in the Investment Adviser’s view tend to maximize a company’s shareholder value and are not influenced by conflicts of interest. To implement these guiding principles for investments in publicly-traded equities, the Investment Adviser have developed customized proxy voting guidelines (the “Guidelines”) that they generally apply when voting on behalf of client accounts. Attached as Appendix B is a summary of the Guidelines. These Guidelines address a wide variety of individual topics, including, among other matters, shareholder voting rights, anti-takeover defenses, board structures, the election of directors, executive and director compensation, reorganizations, mergers, issues of corporate social responsibility and various shareholder proposals. The Guidelines embody the positions and factors the Investment Adviser generally consider important in casting proxy votes.

The Proxy Voting Policy, including the Guidelines, is reviewed periodically to ensure that it continues to be consistent with each Investment Adviser’s guiding principles.

The Investment Adviser have retained a third-party proxy voting service (“Proxy Service”), currently Institutional Shareholder Services, to assist in the implementation and administration of certain proxy voting-related functions including, without limitation, operational, recordkeeping and reporting services. The Proxy Service also prepares a written analysis and recommendation (a “Recommendation”) of each proxy vote that reflects the Proxy Service’s application of the Guidelines to

 

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particular proxy issues. While it is the Investment Adviser’s policy generally to follow the Guidelines and Recommendations from the Proxy Service, the Investment Adviser’s portfolio management teams (“Portfolio Management Teams”) may on certain proxy votes seek approval to diverge from the Guidelines or a Recommendation by following an “override” process. Such decisions are subject to a review and approval process, including a determination that the decision is not influenced by any conflict of interest. A Portfolio Management Team that receives approval through the override process to cast a proxy vote that diverges from the Guidelines and/or a Recommendation may vote differently than other Portfolio Management Teams that did not seek to override that vote. In forming their views on particular matters, the Portfolio Management Teams are also permitted to consider applicable regional rules and practices, including codes of conduct and other guides, regarding proxy voting, in addition to the Guidelines and Recommendations. The Investment Adviser may hire other service providers to replace or supplement the Proxy Service with respect to any of the services the Investment Adviser currently receive from the Proxy Service.

GSAM conduct periodic due diligence meetings with the Proxy Service which include, but are not limited to, a review of the Proxy Service’s general organizational structure, new developments with respect to research and technology, work flow improvements and internal due diligence with respect to conflicts of interest.

From time to time, the Investment Adviser may face regulatory, compliance, legal or logistical limits with respect to voting securities that they may purchase or hold for client accounts, which can affect the applicable Investment Adviser’s ability to vote such proxies, as well as the desirability of voting such proxies. Among other limits, federal, state and foreign regulatory restrictions or company specific ownership limits, as well as legal matters related to consolidated groups, may restrict the total percentage of an issuer’s voting securities that the Investment Adviser can hold for clients and the nature of the Investment Adviser’s voting in such securities. Each Investment Adviser’s ability to vote proxies may also be affected by, among other things: (i) late receipt of meeting notices; (ii) requirements to vote proxies in person: (iii) restrictions on a foreigner’s ability to exercise votes; (iv) potential difficulties in translating the proxy; (v) requirements to provide local agents with unrestricted powers of attorney to facilitate voting instructions; and (vi) requirements that investors who exercise their voting rights surrender the right to dispose of their holdings for some specified period in proximity to the shareholder meeting.

The Investment Adviser have adopted policies and procedures designed to prevent conflicts of interest from influencing its proxy voting decisions that the Investment Adviser make on behalf of a client account. These policies and procedures include the Investment Adviser’s use of the Guidelines and Recommendations from the Proxy Service, the override approval process previously discussed, and the establishment of information barriers between each Investment Adviser and other businesses within The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. Notwithstanding such proxy voting policies and procedures, actual proxy voting decisions of the Investment Adviser may have the effect of benefitting the interests of other clients or businesses of other divisions or units of Goldman Sachs and/or its affiliates.

Voting decisions with respect to fixed income securities and the securities of privately held issuers generally will be made by a Fund’s managers based on their assessment of the particular transactions or other matters at issue.

Information regarding how the Funds voted proxies relating to portfolio securities during the most recent 12-month period ended [•] will be available on or through the Funds’ website at www.gsamfunds.com and on the SEC’s website at www.sec.gov.

PAYMENTS TO INTERMEDIARIES

The Investment Adviser, Distributor (upon direction of a Fund) and/or their affiliates may make payments to intermediaries from time to time to promote the sale, distribution and/or servicing of shares of a Fund (each, an “Intermediary”). Certain payments (“Additional Payments”) are made out of the Investment Adviser’s, and/or its affiliates’ own assets (which may come directly or indirectly from fees paid by a Fund), are not an additional charge to a Fund or its shareholders, and do not change the price paid by investors for the purchase of a Fund’s shares or the amount a Fund receives as proceeds from such purchases. Although paid by the Investment Adviser, Distributor (upon direction of a Fund), and/or their affiliates, the Additional Payments are in addition to the distribution and service fees paid by a Fund to the Intermediaries as described in a Fund’s Prospectus and this SAI.

The Additional Payments are intended to compensate Intermediaries for, among other things: marketing activities and presentations, educational training programs, the support of technology platforms and/or reporting systems. The Investment Adviser, Distributor (upon direction of a Fund) and/or their affiliates may also make payments to Intermediaries for certain printing, publishing and mailing costs associated with the Funds or materials relating to exchange-traded funds in general. In addition, the Investment Adviser, Distributor (upon direction of a Fund) and/or their affiliates may make payments to Intermediaries that make Fund shares available to their clients or for otherwise promoting the Funds.

 

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These Additional Payments may be significant to certain Intermediaries, and may be an important factor in an Intermediary’s willingness to support the sale of a Fund through its distribution system.

The Investment Adviser and/or its affiliates may be motivated to make Additional Payments since they promote the sale of Fund shares to clients of Intermediaries and the retention of those investments by those clients. To the extent Intermediaries sell more shares of a Fund or retain shares of a Fund in their clients’ accounts, the Investment Adviser benefits from the incremental management and other fees paid by a Fund with respect to those assets.

In addition, certain Intermediaries may have access to certain research and investment services from the Investment Adviser and/or its affiliates. Such research and investment services (“Additional Services”) may include research reports, economic analysis, portfolio analysis tools, business planning services, certain marketing and investor education materials and strategic asset allocation modeling. The Intermediary may not pay for these products or services. The cost of the Additional Services and the particular services provided may vary from Intermediary to Intermediary.

The presence of these Additional Payments or Additional Services, the varying fee structure and the basis on which an Intermediary compensates its registered representatives or salespersons may create an incentive for a particular Intermediary, registered representative or salesperson to highlight, feature or recommend funds, including a Fund, or other investments based, at least in part, on the level of compensation paid. Additionally, if one fund sponsor makes greater distribution payments than another, an Intermediary may have an incentive to recommend one fund complex over another. Similarly, if an Intermediary receives more distribution assistance for one share class versus another, that Intermediary may have an incentive to recommend that share class. Because Intermediaries may be paid varying amounts per class for sub-transfer agency and related recordkeeping services, the service requirements of which also may vary by class, this may create an additional incentive for financial firms and their financial advisors to favor one fund complex over another, or one fund class over another. You should consider whether such incentives exist when evaluating any recommendations from an Intermediary to purchase or sell Shares of a Fund.

Your authorized dealer or other Intermediary may charge you additional fees or commissions other than those disclosed in the Prospectus. Shareholders should contact their Authorized Dealer or other Intermediary for more information about the Additional Payments or Additional Services they receive and any potential conflicts of interest, as well as for information regarding any fees and/or commissions it charges. For additional questions, please contact Goldman Sachs Funds at 1-800-621-2550.

Not described above are other subsidiaries of Goldman Sachs who may receive revenue from the Investment Adviser, Distributor and/or their affiliates through intra-company compensation arrangements and for financial, distribution, administrative and operational services.

Furthermore, the Investment Adviser and/or its affiliates may, to the extent permitted by applicable regulations, contribute to various non-cash and cash incentive arrangements to promote the sale of Fund shares, as well as sponsor various educational programs, sales contests and/or promotions. The Investment Adviser and its affiliates may also pay for the travel expenses, meals, lodging and entertainment of Intermediaries and their salespersons and guests in connection with educational, sales and promotional programs subject to applicable FINRA regulations. Other compensation may also be offered from time to time to the extent not prohibited by applicable federal or state laws or FINRA regulations. This compensation is not included in, and is made in addition to, the Additional Payments described above.

 

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OTHER INFORMATION

Portfolio Holdings Disclosure

The Trust has adopted a policy regarding the disclosure of information about each Fund’s portfolio holdings. The policy provides that neither a Fund nor its Investment Adviser or any agent or employee thereof will disclose the Fund’s portfolio holdings information to any person other than in accordance with the policy. The Board of Trustees of the Trust must approve all material amendments to this policy.

Each Fund’s complete portfolio holdings are publicly disseminated each day the Fund is open for business through financial reporting and news services, including the Funds’ publicly accessible Internet website (http://www.gsamfunds.com). In addition, a basket composition file, which includes the security names and share quantities to deliver in exchange for Fund shares, together with estimates and actual cash components, is publicly disseminated daily prior to the opening of the Exchange via the NSCC.

Information that is not publicly available as set forth above may be provided to third parties only if the third party recipients are required to keep all portfolio holdings information confidential and are prohibited from trading on the information they receive. Disclosure to such third parties must be approved in advance by the Investment Adviser’s legal or compliance department.

Miscellaneous

The Prospectus and this SAI do not contain all the information included in the Registration Statement filed with the SEC under the 1933 Act with respect to the securities offered by the Prospectus. Certain portions of the Registration Statement have been omitted from the Prospectus and this SAI pursuant to the rules and regulations of the SEC. The Registration Statement including the exhibits filed therewith may be examined at the office of the SEC in Washington, D.C.

Statements contained in the Prospectus or in this SAI as to the contents of any contract or other document referred to are not necessarily complete, and, in each instance, reference is made to the copy of such contract or other document filed as an exhibit to the Registration Statement of which the Prospectus and this SAI form a part, each such statement being qualified in all respects by such reference.

Corporate Actions

From time to time, the issuer of a security held in a Fund’s portfolio may initiate a corporate action relating to that security. Corporate actions relating to equity securities may include, among others, an offer to purchase new shares, or to tender existing shares, of that security at a certain price. Corporate actions relating to debt securities may include, among others, an offer for early redemption of the debt security, or an offer to convert the debt security into stock. Certain corporate actions are voluntary, meaning that a Fund may only participate in the corporate action if it elects to do so in a timely fashion. Participation in certain corporate actions may enhance the value of a Fund’s investment portfolio.

In cases where a Fund or the Investment Adviser receives sufficient advance notice of a voluntary corporate action, the Investment Adviser will exercise its discretion, in good faith, to determine whether the Fund will participate in that corporate action. If a Fund or the Investment Adviser does not receive sufficient advance notice of a voluntary corporate action, the Fund may not be able to timely elect to participate in that corporate action. Participation or lack of participation in a voluntary corporate action may result in a negative impact on the value of the Fund’s investment portfolio.

CONTROL PERSONS AND PRINCIPAL HOLDERS OF SECURITIES

The Funds had not commenced operations as of [•], and the Trust does not know of any persons who own of record or beneficially 5% or more of any class of a Fund’s shares as of that date.

 

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APPENDIX A

DESCRIPTION OF SECURITIES RATINGS

Short-Term Credit Ratings

A Standard & Poor’s short-term issue credit rating is a current opinion of the creditworthiness of an obligor with respect to a specific financial obligation having an original maturity of no more than 365 days. The following summarizes the rating categories used by Standard & Poor’s for short-term issues:

“A-1” – A short-term obligation rated “A-1” is rated in the highest category by Standard & Poor’s. The obligor’s capacity to meet its financial commitment on the obligation is strong. Within this category, certain obligations are designated with a plus sign (+). This indicates that the obligor’s capacity to meet its financial commitment on these obligations is extremely strong.

“A-2” – A short-term obligation rated “A-2” is somewhat more susceptible to the adverse effects of changes in circumstances and economic conditions than obligations in higher rating categories. However, the obligor’s capacity to meet its financial commitment on the obligation is satisfactory.

“A-3” – A short-term obligation rated “A-3” exhibits adequate protection parameters. However, adverse economic conditions or changing circumstances are more likely to lead to a weakened capacity of the obligor to meet its financial commitment on the obligation.

“B” – A short-term obligation rated “B” is regarded as having significant speculative characteristics. Ratings of “B-1”, “B-2”, and “B-3” may be assigned to indicate finer distinctions within the “B” category. The obligor currently has the capacity to meet its financial commitment on the obligation; however, it faces major ongoing uncertainties which could lead to the obligor’s inadequate capacity to meet its financial commitment on the obligation.

“B-1” – A short-term obligation rated “B-1” is regarded as having significant speculative characteristics, but the obligor has a relatively stronger capacity to meet its financial commitments over the short-term compared to other speculative-grade obligors.

“B-2” – A short-term obligation rated “B-2” is regarded as having significant speculative characteristics, and the obligor has an average speculative-grade capacity to meet its financial commitments over the short-term compared to other speculative-grade obligors.

“B-3” – A short-term obligation rated “B-3” is regarded as having significant speculative characteristics, and the obligor has a relatively weaker capacity to meet its financial commitments over the short-term compared to other speculative-grade obligors.

“C” – A short-term obligation rated “C” is currently vulnerable to nonpayment and is dependent upon favorable business, financial, and economic conditions for the obligor to meet its financial commitment on the obligation.

“D” – A short-term obligation rated “D” is in payment default. The “D” rating category is used when payments on an obligation are not made on the date due even if the applicable grace period has not expired, unless Standard & Poor’s believes that such payments will be made during such grace period. The “D” rating also will be used upon the filing of a bankruptcy petition or the taking of a similar action if payments on an obligation are jeopardized.

Local Currency and Foreign Currency Risks — Country risk considerations are a standard part of Standard & Poor’s analysis for credit ratings on any issuer or issue. Currency of repayment is a key factor in this analysis. An obligor’s capacity to repay foreign currency obligations may be lower than its capacity to repay obligations in its local currency due to the sovereign government’s own relatively lower capacity to repay external versus domestic debt. These sovereign risk considerations are incorporated in the debt ratings assigned to specific issues. Foreign Currency issuer ratings are also distinguished from local currency issuer ratings to identify those instances where sovereign risks make them different for the same issuer.

Moody’s Investors Service (“Moody’s”) short-term ratings are opinions of the ability of issuers to honor short-term financial obligations. Ratings may be assigned to issuers, short-term programs or to individual short-term debt instruments. Such obligations generally have an original maturity not exceeding thirteen months, unless explicitly noted.


Moody’s employs the following designations to indicate the relative repayment ability of rated issuers:

“P-1” – Issuers (or supporting institutions) rated Prime-1 have a superior ability to repay short-term debt obligations.

“P-2” – Issuers (or supporting institutions) rated Prime-2 have a strong ability to repay short-term debt obligations.

“P-3” – Issuers (or supporting institutions) rated Prime-3 have an acceptable ability to repay short-term obligations.

“NP” – Issuers (or supporting institutions) rated Not Prime do not fall within any of the Prime rating categories.

Fitch, Inc. / Fitch Ratings Ltd. (“Fitch”) short-term ratings scale applies to foreign currency and local currency ratings. A short-term rating has a time horizon of less than 13 months for most obligations, or up to three years for U.S. public finance, in line with industry standards, to reflect unique risk characteristics of bond, tax, and revenue anticipation notes that are commonly issued with terms up to three years. Short-term ratings thus place greater emphasis on the liquidity necessary to meet financial commitments in a timely manner. The following summarizes the rating categories used by Fitch for short-term obligations:

“F1” – Securities possess the highest credit quality. This designation indicates the strongest capacity for timely payment of financial commitments; may have an added “+” to denote any exceptionally strong credit feature.

“F2” – Securities possess good credit quality. This designation indicates a satisfactory capacity for timely payment of financial commitments, but the margin of safety is not as great as in the case of the higher ratings.

“F3” – Securities possess fair credit quality. This designation indicates that the capacity for timely payment of financial commitments is adequate; however, near term adverse changes could result in a reduction to non investment grade.

“B” – Securities possess speculative credit quality. This designation indicates minimal capacity for timely payment of financial commitments, plus vulnerability to near term adverse changes in financial and economic conditions.

“C” – Securities possess high default risk. Default is a real possibility. This designation indicates a capacity for meeting financial commitments which is solely reliant upon a sustained, favorable business and economic environment.

“D” – Indicates an entity or sovereign that has defaulted on all of its financial obligations.

“NR” – This designation indicates that Fitch does not publicly rate the associated issuer or issue.

“WD” – This designation indicates that the rating has been withdrawn and is no longer maintained by Fitch.

The following summarizes the ratings used by Dominion Bond Rating Service Limited (“DBRS”) for commercial paper and short-term debt:

“R-1 (high)” – Short-term debt rated “R-1 (high)” is of the highest credit quality, and indicates an entity possessing unquestioned ability to repay current liabilities as they fall due. Entities rated in this category normally maintain strong liquidity positions, conservative debt levels, and profitability that is both stable and above average. Companies achieving an “R-1 (high)” rating are normally leaders in structurally sound industry segments with proven track records, sustainable positive future results, and no substantial qualifying negative factors. Given the extremely tough definition DBRS has established for an “R-1 (high)”, few entities are strong enough to achieve this rating.

“R-1 (middle)” – Short-term debt rated “R-1 (middle)” is of superior credit quality and, in most cases, ratings in this category differ from “R-1 (high)” credits by only a small degree. Given the extremely tough definition DBRS has established for the “R-1 (high)” category, entities rated “R-1 (middle)” are also considered strong credits, and typically exemplify above average strength in key areas of consideration for the timely repayment of short-term liabilities.

“R-1 (low)” – Short-term debt rated “R-1 (low)” is of satisfactory credit quality. The overall strength and outlook for key liquidity, debt and profitability ratios are not normally as favorable as with higher rating categories, but these considerations are still respectable. Any qualifying negative factors that exist are considered manageable, and the entity is normally of sufficient size to have some influence in its industry.

 

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“R-2 (high)” – Short-term debt rated “R-2 (high)” is considered to be at the upper end of adequate credit quality. The ability to repay obligations as they mature remains acceptable, although the overall strength and outlook for key liquidity, debt, and profitability ratios is not as strong as credits rated in the “R-1 (low)” category. Relative to the latter category, other shortcomings often include areas such as stability, financial flexibility, and the relative size and market position of the entity within its industry.

“R-2 (middle)” – Short-term debt rated “R-2 (middle)” is considered to be of adequate credit quality. Relative to the “R-2 (high)” category, entities rated “R-2 (middle)” typically have some combination of higher volatility, weaker debt or liquidity positions, lower future cash flow capabilities, or are negatively impacted by a weaker industry. Ratings in this category would be more vulnerable to adverse changes in financial and economic conditions.

“R-2 (low)” – Short-term debt rated “R-2 (low)” is considered to be at the lower end of adequate credit quality, typically having some combination of challenges that are not acceptable for an “R-2 (middle)” credit. However, “R-2 (low)” ratings still display a level of credit strength that allows for a higher rating than the “R-3” category, with this distinction often reflecting the issuer’s liquidity profile.

“R-3” – Short-term debt rated “R-3” is considered to be at the lowest end of adequate credit quality, one step up from being speculative. While not yet defined as speculative, the “R-3” category signifies that although repayment is still expected, the certainty of repayment could be impacted by a variety of possible adverse developments, many of which would be outside the issuer’s control. Entities in this area often have limited access to capital markets and may also have limitations in securing alternative sources of liquidity, particularly during periods of weak economic conditions.

“R-4” – Short-term debt rated “R-4” is speculative. “R-4” credits tend to have weak liquidity and debt ratios, and the future trend of these ratios is also unclear. Due to its speculative nature, companies with “R-4” ratings would normally have very limited access to alternative sources of liquidity. Earnings and cash flow would typically be very unstable, and the level of overall profitability of the entity is also likely to be low. The industry environment may be weak, and strong negative qualifying factors are also likely to be present.

“R-5” – Short-term debt rated “R-5” is highly speculative. There is a reasonably high level of uncertainty as to the ability of the entity to repay the obligations on a continuing basis in the future, especially in periods of economic recession or industry adversity. In some cases, short term debt rated “R-5” may have challenges that if not corrected, could lead to default.

“D” – A security rated “D” implies the issuer has either not met a scheduled payment or the issuer has made it clear that it will be missing such a payment in the near future. In some cases, DBRS may not assign a “D” rating under a bankruptcy announcement scenario, as allowances for grace periods may exist in the underlying legal documentation. Once assigned, the “D” rating will continue as long as the missed payment continues to be in arrears, and until such time as the rating is discontinued or reinstated by DBRS.

Long-Term Credit Ratings

The following summarizes the ratings used by Standard & Poor’s for long-term issues:

“AAA” – An obligation rated “AAA” has the highest rating assigned by Standard & Poor’s. The obligor’s capacity to meet its financial commitment on the obligation is extremely strong.

“AA” – An obligation rated “AA” differs from the highest-rated obligations only to a small degree. The obligor’s capacity to meet its financial commitment on the obligation is very strong.

“A” – An obligation rated “A” is somewhat more susceptible to the adverse effects of changes in circumstances and economic conditions than obligations in higher-rated categories. However, the obligor’s capacity to meet its financial commitment on the obligation is still strong.

“BBB” – An obligation rated “BBB” exhibits adequate protection parameters. However, adverse economic conditions or changing circumstances are more likely to lead to a weakened capacity of the obligor to meet its financial commitment on the obligation.

Obligations rated “BB,” “B,” “CCC,” “CC” and “C” are regarded as having significant speculative characteristics. “BB” indicates the least degree of speculation and “C” the highest. While such obligations will likely have some quality and protective characteristics, these may be outweighed by large uncertainties or major exposures to adverse conditions.

 

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“BB” – An obligation rated “BB” is less vulnerable to nonpayment than other speculative issues. However, it faces major ongoing uncertainties or exposure to adverse business, financial, or economic conditions which could lead to the obligor’s inadequate capacity to meet its financial commitment on the obligation.

“B” – An obligation rated “B” is more vulnerable to nonpayment than obligations rated “BB,” but the obligor currently has the capacity to meet its financial commitment on the obligation. Adverse business, financial, or economic conditions will likely impair the obligor’s capacity or willingness to meet its financial commitment on the obligation.

“CCC” – An obligation rated “CCC” is currently vulnerable to nonpayment, and is dependent upon favorable business, financial and economic conditions for the obligor to meet its financial commitment on the obligation. In the event of adverse business, financial, or economic conditions, the obligor is not likely to have the capacity to meet its financial commitment on the obligation.

“CC” – An obligation rated “CC” is currently highly vulnerable to nonpayment.

“C” – A “C” rating is assigned to obligations that are currently highly vulnerable to nonpayment, obligations that have payment arrearages allowed by the terms of the documents, or obligations of an issuer that is the subject of a bankruptcy petition or similar action which have not experienced a payment default. Among others, the ‘C’ rating may be assigned to subordinated debt, preferred stock or other obligations on which cash payments have been suspended in accordance with the instrument’s terms.

“D” – An obligation rated “D” is in payment default. The “D” rating category is used when payments on an obligation are not made on the date due even if the applicable grace period has not expired, unless Standard & Poor’s believes that such payments will be made during such grace period. The “D” rating also will be used upon the filing of a bankruptcy petition or the taking of a similar action if payments on an obligation are jeopardized.

Plus (+) or minus (-) – The ratings from “AA” to “CCC” may be modified by the addition of a plus (+) or minus (-) sign to show relative standing within the major rating categories.

“NR” – This indicates that no rating has been requested, that there is insufficient information on which to base a rating, or that Standard & Poor’s does not rate a particular obligation as a matter of policy.

Local Currency and Foreign Currency Risks — Country risk considerations are a standard part of Standard & Poor’s analysis for credit ratings on any issuer or issue. Currency of repayment is a key factor in this analysis. An obligor’s capacity to repay foreign currency obligations may be lower than its capacity to repay obligations in its local currency due to the sovereign government’s own relatively lower capacity to repay external versus domestic debt. These sovereign risk considerations are incorporated in the debt ratings assigned to specific issues. Foreign currency issuer ratings are also distinguished from local currency issuer ratings to identify those instances where sovereign risks make them different for the same issuer.

The following summarizes the ratings used by Moody’s for long-term debt:

“Aaa” – Obligations rated “Aaa” are judged to be of the highest quality, with minimal credit risk.

“Aa” – Obligations rated “Aa” are judged to be of high quality and are subject to very low credit risk.

“A” – Obligations rated “A” are considered upper-medium grade and are subject to low credit risk.

“Baa” – Obligations rated “Baa” are subject to moderate credit risk. They are considered medium-grade and as such may possess certain speculative characteristics.

“Ba” – Obligations rated “Ba” are judged to have speculative elements and are subject to substantial credit risk.

“B” – Obligations rated “B” are considered speculative and are subject to high credit risk.

“Caa” – Obligations rated “Caa” are judged to be of poor standing and are subject to very high credit risk.

“Ca” – Obligations rated “Ca” are highly speculative and are likely in, or very near, default, with some prospect of recovery of principal and interest.

 

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“C” – Obligations rated “C” are the lowest rated class of bonds and are typically in default, with little prospect for recovery of principal or interest.

Note: Moody’s appends numerical modifiers 1, 2, and 3 to each generic rating classification from “Aa” through “Caa.” The modifier 1 indicates that the obligation ranks in the higher end of its generic rating category; the modifier 2 indicates a mid-range ranking; and the modifier 3 indicates a ranking in the lower end of that generic rating category.

The following summarizes long-term ratings used by Fitch:

“AAA” – Securities considered to be of the highest credit quality. “AAA” ratings denote the lowest expectation of credit risk. They are assigned only in case of exceptionally strong capacity for payment of financial commitments. This capacity is highly unlikely to be adversely affected by foreseeable events.

“AA” – Securities considered to be of very high credit quality. “AA” ratings denote expectations of very low credit risk. They indicate very strong capacity for payment of financial commitments. This capacity is not significantly vulnerable to foreseeable events.

“A” – Securities considered to be of high credit quality. “A” ratings denote expectations of low credit risk. The capacity for payment of financial commitments is considered strong. This capacity may, nevertheless, be more vulnerable to changes in circumstances or in economic conditions than is the case for higher ratings.

“BBB” – Securities considered to be of good credit quality. “BBB” ratings indicate that there is currently expectations of low credit risk. The capacity for payment of financial commitments is considered adequate but adverse changes in circumstances and economic conditions are more likely to impair this capacity. This is the lowest investment grade category.

“BB” – Securities considered to be speculative. “BB” ratings indicate that there is a possibility of credit risk developing, particularly as the result of adverse economic change over time; however, business or financial alternatives may be available to allow financial commitments to be met. Securities rated in this category are not investment grade.

“B” – Securities considered to be highly speculative. For issuers and performing obligations, “B” ratings indicate that significant credit risk is present, but a limited margin of safety remains. Financial commitments are currently being met; however, capacity for continued payment is contingent upon a sustained, favorable business and economic environment. For individual obligations, may indicate distressed or defaulted obligations with potential for extremely high recoveries. Such obligations would possess a Recovery Rating of “RR1” (outstanding).

“CCC” – For issuers and performing obligations, default is a real possibility. Capacity for meeting financial commitments is solely reliant upon sustained, favorable business or economic conditions. For individual obligations, may indicate distressed or defaulted obligations with potential for average to superior levels of recovery. Differences in credit quality may be denoted by plus/minus distinctions. Such obligations typically would possess a Recovery Rating of “RR2” (superior), or “RR3” (good) or “RR4” (average).

“CC” – For issuers and performing obligations, default of some kind appears probable. For individual obligations, may indicate distressed or defaulted obligations with a Recovery Rating of “RR4” (average) or “RR5” (below average).

“C” – For issuers and performing obligations, default is imminent. For individual obligations, may indicate distressed or defaulted obligations with potential for below-average to poor recoveries. Such obligations would possess a Recovery Rating of “RR6” (poor).

“RD” – Indicates an entity that has failed to make due payments (within the applicable grace period) on some but not all material financial obligations, but continues to honor other classes of obligations.

“D” – Indicates an entity or sovereign that has defaulted on all of its financial obligations.

Plus (+) or minus (-) may be appended to a rating to denote relative status within major rating categories. Such suffixes are not added to the “AAA” category or to categories below “CCC”.

“NR” – Denotes that Fitch does not publicly rate the associated issue or issuer.

“WD” – Indicates that the rating has been withdrawn and is no longer maintained by Fitch.

 

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The following summarizes the ratings used by DBRS for long-term debt:

“AAA” — Long-term debt rated “AAA” is of the highest credit quality, with exceptionally strong protection for the timely repayment of principal and interest. Earnings are considered stable, the structure of the industry in which the entity operates is strong, and the outlook for future profitability is favorable. There are few qualifying factors present that would detract from the performance of the entity. The strength of liquidity and coverage ratios is unquestioned and the entity has established a credible track record of superior performance. Given the extremely high standard that DBRS has set for this category, few entities are able to achieve a “AAA” rating.

“AA” – Long-term debt rated “AA” is of superior credit quality, and protection of interest and principal is considered high. In many cases they differ from long-term debt rated “AAA” only to a small degree. Given the extremely restrictive definition DBRS has for the “AAA” category, entities rated “AA” are also considered to be strong credits, typically exemplifying above-average strength in key areas of consideration and unlikely to be significantly affected by reasonably foreseeable events.

“A” – Long-term debt rated “A” is of satisfactory credit quality. Protection of interest and principal is still substantial, but the degree of strength is less than that of “AA” rated entities. While “A” is a respectable rating, entities in this category are considered to be more susceptible to adverse economic conditions and have greater cyclical tendencies than higher-rated securities.

“BBB” – Long-term debt rated “BBB” is of adequate credit quality. Protection of interest and principal is considered acceptable, but the entity is fairly susceptible to adverse changes in financial and economic conditions, or there may be other adverse conditions present which reduce the strength of the entity and its rated securities.

“BB” – Long-term debt rated “BB” is defined to be speculative and non-investment grade, where the degree of protection afforded interest and principal is uncertain, particularly during periods of economic recession. Entities in the “BB” range typically have limited access to capital markets and additional liquidity support. In many cases, deficiencies in critical mass, diversification, and competitive strength are additional negative considerations.

“B” – Long-term debt rated “B” is considered highly speculative and there is a reasonably high level of uncertainty as to the ability of the entity to pay interest and principal on a continuing basis in the future, especially in periods of economic recession or industry adversity.

“CCC”, CC” and “C” – Long-term debt rated in any of these categories is very highly speculative and is in danger of default of interest and principal. The degree of adverse elements present is more severe than long-term debt rated “B.” Long-term debt rated below “B” often have features which, if not remedied, may lead to default. In practice, there is little difference between these three categories, with “CC” and “C” normally used for lower ranking debt of companies for which the senior debt is rated in the “CCC” to “B” range.

“D”– A security rated “D” implies the issuer has either not met a scheduled payment of interest or principal or that the issuer has made it clear that it will miss such a payment in the near future. In some cases, DBRS may not assign a “D” rating under a bankruptcy announcement scenario, as allowances for grace periods may exist in the underlying legal documentation.

Once assigned, the “D” rating will continue as long as the missed payment continues to be in arrears, and until such time as the rating is discontinued or reinstated by DBRS.

(“high”, “low”) – Each rating category is denoted by the subcategories “high” and “low”. The absence of either a “high” or “low” designation indicates the rating is in the “middle” of the category. The “AAA” and “D” categories do not utilize “high”, “middle”, and “low” as differential grades.

Municipal Note Ratings

A Standard & Poor’s U.S. municipal note rating reflects the liquidity factors and market access risks unique to notes. Notes due in three years or less will likely receive a note rating. Notes maturing beyond three years will most likely receive a long-term debt rating. The following criteria will be used in making that assessment:

 

    Amortization schedule-the larger the final maturity relative to other maturities, the more likely it will be treated as a note; and

 

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    Source of payment-the more dependent the issue is on the market for its refinancing, the more likely it will be treated as a note.

Note rating symbols are as follows:

“SP-1” – The issuers of these municipal notes exhibit a strong capacity to pay principal and interest. Those issues determined to possess a very strong capacity to pay debt service are given a plus (+) designation.

“SP-2” – The issuers of these municipal notes exhibit a satisfactory capacity to pay principal and interest, with some vulnerability to adverse financial and economic changes over the term of the notes.

“SP-3” – The issuers of these municipal notes exhibit speculative capacity to pay principal and interest.

Moody’s uses three rating categories for short-term municipal obligations that are considered investment grade. These ratings are designated as Municipal Investment Grade (“MIG”) and are divided into three levels – “MIG-1” through “MIG-3”. In addition, those short-term obligations that are of speculative quality are designated “SG”, or speculative grade. MIG ratings expire at the maturity of the obligation. The following summarizes the ratings used by Moody’s for these short-term obligations:

“MIG-1” – This designation denotes superior credit quality. Excellent protection is afforded by established cash flows, highly reliable liquidity support, or demonstrated broad-based access to the market for refinancing.

“MIG-2” – This designation denotes strong credit quality. Margins of protection are ample, although not as large as in the preceding group.

“MIG-3” – This designation denotes acceptable credit quality. Liquidity and cash-flow protection may be narrow, and market access for refinancing is likely to be less well-established.

“SG” – This designation denotes speculative-grade credit quality. Debt instruments in this category may lack sufficient margins of protection.

In the case of variable rate demand obligations (“VRDOs”), a two-component rating is assigned; a long- or short-term debt rating and a demand obligation rating. The first element represents Moody’s evaluation of the degree of risk associated with scheduled principal and interest payments. The second element represents Moody’s evaluation of the degree of risk associated with the ability to receive purchase price upon demand (“demand feature”), using a variation of the MIG rating scale, the Variable Municipal Investment Grade or “VMIG” rating.

When either the long- or short-term aspect of a VRDO is not rated, that piece is designated “NR”, e.g., “Aaa/NR” or “NR/VMIG-1”.

VMIG rating expirations are a function of each issue’s specific structural or credit features.

“VMIG-1” – This designation denotes superior credit quality. Excellent protection is afforded by the superior short-term credit strength of the liquidity provider and structural and legal protections that ensure the timely payment of purchase price upon demand.

“VMIG-2” – This designation denotes strong credit quality. Good protection is afforded by the strong short-term credit strength of the liquidity provider and structural and legal protections that ensure the timely payment of purchase price upon demand.

“VMIG-3” – This designation denotes acceptable credit quality. Adequate protection is afforded by the satisfactory short-term credit strength of the liquidity provider and structural and legal protections that ensure the timely payment of purchase price upon demand.

“SG” – This designation denotes speculative-grade credit quality. Demand features rated in this category may be supported by a liquidity provider that does not have an investment grade short-term rating or may lack the structural and/or legal protections necessary to ensure the timely payment of purchase price upon demand.

Fitch uses the same ratings for municipal securities as described above for other short-term credit ratings.

 

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About Credit Ratings

A Standard & Poor’s issue credit rating is a current opinion of the creditworthiness of an obligor with respect to a specific financial obligation, a specific class of financial obligations, or a specific financial program (including ratings on medium-term note programs and commercial paper programs). It takes into consideration the creditworthiness of guarantors, insurers, or other forms of credit enhancement on the obligation and takes into account the currency in which the obligation is denominated. The issue credit rating is not a recommendation to purchase, sell, or hold a financial obligation, inasmuch as it does not comment as to market price or suitability for a particular investor.

Moody’s credit ratings must be construed solely as statements of opinion and not as statements of fact or recommendations to purchase, sell or hold any securities.

Fitch’s credit ratings provide an opinion on the relative ability of an entity to meet financial commitments, such as interest, preferred dividends, repayment of principal, insurance claims or counterparty obligations. Fitch credit ratings are used by investors as indications of the likelihood of receiving their money back in accordance with the terms on which they invested. Fitch’s credit ratings cover the global spectrum of corporate, sovereign (including supranational and sub-national), financial, bank, insurance, municipal and other public finance entities and the securities or other obligations they issue, as well as structured finance securities backed by receivables or other financial assets.

DBRS credit ratings are not buy, hold or sell recommendations, but rather the result of qualitative and quantitative analysis focusing solely on the credit quality of the issuer and its underlying obligations.

 

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APPENDIX B

GSAM Proxy Voting Guidelines Summary

The following is a summary of the material GSAM Proxy Voting Guidelines (the “Guidelines”), which form the substantive basis of GSAM’s Policy on Proxy Voting for Client Accounts (“Policy”). As described in the main body of the Policy, one or more GSAM portfolio management teams may diverge from the Guidelines and a related Recommendation on any particular proxy vote or in connection with any individual investment decision in accordance with the Policy.

 

A. US proxy items:

  

1.

   Operational Items      page 1-B   

2.

   Board of Directors      page 2-B   

3.

   Executive Compensation      page 4-B   

4.

   Director Nominees and Proxy Access      page 6-B   

5.

   Shareholder Rights and Defenses      page 7-B   

6.

   Mergers and Corporate Restructurings      page 7-B   

7.

   State of Incorporation      page 8-B   

8.

   Capital Structure      page 8-B   

9.

   Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)/Environmental, Social, Governance (ESG) Issues      page 8-B   
B. Non-U.S. proxy items:   

1.

   Operational Items      page 10-B   

2.

   Board of Directors      page 11-B   

3.

   Compensation      page 13-B   

4.

   Board Structure      page 14-B   

5.

   Capital Structure      page 14-B   

6.

   Mergers and Corporate Restructurings & Other      page 15-B   

7.

   Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)/Environmental, Social, Governance (ESG) Issues      page 16-B   

U.S. Proxy Items

The following section is a summary of the Guidelines, which form the substantive basis of the Policy with respect to U.S. public equity investments.

1. Operational Items

Auditor Ratification

Vote FOR proposals to ratify auditors, unless any of the following apply within the last year:

 

    An auditor has a financial interest in or association with the company, and is therefore not independent;

 

    There is reason to believe that the independent auditor has rendered an opinion which is neither accurate nor indicative of the company’s financial position;

 

    Poor accounting practices are identified that rise to a serious level of concern, such as: fraud; misapplication of GAAP; or material weaknesses identified in Section 404 disclosures; or

 

    Fees for non-audit services are excessive (generally over 50% or more of the audit fees).

Vote CASE-BY-CASE on shareholder proposals asking companies to prohibit or limit their auditors from engaging in non-audit services or asking for audit firm rotation.

 

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2. Board of Directors

The Board of Directors should promote the interests of shareholders by acting in an oversight and/or advisory role; the board should consist of a majority of independent directors and should be held accountable for actions and results related to their responsibilities.

When evaluating board composition, GSAM believes a diversity of ethnicity, gender and experience is an important consideration.

Classification of Directors

Where applicable, the New York Stock Exchange or NASDAQ Listing Standards definition is to be used to classify directors as insiders or affiliated outsiders. General definitions are as follows:

 

    Inside Director

 

    Employee of the company or one of its affiliates

 

    Among the five most highly paid individuals (excluding interim CEO)

 

    Listed as an officer as defined under Section 16 of the Securities and Exchange Act of 1934

 

    Current interim CEO

 

    Beneficial owner of more than 50 percent of the company’s voting power (this may be aggregated if voting power is distributed among more than one member of a defined group)

 

    Affiliated Outside Director

 

    Board attestation that an outside director is not independent

 

    Former CEO or other executive of the company within the last 3 years

 

    Former CEO or other executive of an acquired company within the past three years

 

    Independent Outside Director

 

    No material connection to the company other than a board seat

Additionally, GSAM will consider compensation committee interlocking directors to be affiliated (defined as CEOs who sit on each other’s compensation committees).

Voting on Director Nominees in Uncontested Elections

Vote on director nominees should be determined on a CASE-BY-CASE basis.

Vote AGAINST or WITHHOLD from individual directors who:

 

    Attend less than 75 percent of the board and committee meetings without a disclosed valid excuse for each of the last two years;

 

    Sit on more than six public operating and/or holding company boards;

 

    Are CEOs of public companies who sit on the boards of more than two public companies besides their own—withhold only at their outside boards.

Other items considered for an AGAINST vote include specific concerns about the individual or the company, such as criminal wrongdoing or breach of fiduciary responsibilities, sanctions from government or authority, violations of laws and regulations, or other issues related to improper business practice.

Vote AGAINST or WITHHOLD from Inside Directors and Affiliated Outside Directors (per the Classification of Directors above) in the case of operating and/or holding companies when:

 

    The Inside Director or Affiliated Outside Director serves on the Audit, Compensation, or Nominating Committees (vote against Affiliated Outside Directors only for nominating committee);

 

    The company lacks an Audit or Compensation Committee so that the full board functions as such committees and Inside Directors are participating in voting on matters that independent committees should be voting on;

 

    The full board is less than majority independent (in this case withhold from Affiliated Outside Directors); at controlled companies, GSAM will first vote against the election of an Inside Director, other than the CEO or chairperson or second, against a nominee that is affiliated with the controlling shareholder or third, vote against a nominee affiliated with the company for any other reason.

 

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Vote AGAINST or WITHHOLD from members of the appropriate committee for the following reasons (or independent chairman or lead director in cases of a classified board and members of appropriate committee are not up for reelection). Extreme cases may warrant a vote against the entire board.

 

    Material failures of governance, stewardship, or fiduciary responsibilities at the company;

 

    Egregious actions related to the director(s)’ service on other boards that raise substantial doubt about his or her ability to effectively oversee management and serve the best interests of shareholders at any company;

 

    At the previous board election, any director received more than 50 percent withhold/against votes of the shares cast and the company has failed to address the underlying issue(s) that caused the high withhold/against vote (members of the Nominating or Governance Committees);

 

    The board failed to act on a shareholder proposal that received approval of the majority of shares cast for the previous two consecutive years (a management proposal with other than a FOR recommendation by management will not be considered as sufficient action taken); an adopted proposal that is substantially similar to the original shareholder proposal will be deemed sufficient; (vote against members of the committee of the board that is responsible for the issue under consideration). If GSAM did not support the shareholder proposal in both years, GSAM will still vote against the committee member(s).

Vote AGAINST or WITHHOLD from the members of the Audit Committee if:

 

    The non-audit fees paid to the auditor are excessive (generally over 50% or more of the audit fees);

 

    The company receives an adverse opinion on the company’s financial statements from its auditor and there is not clear evidence that the situation has been remedied; or

 

    There is persuasive evidence that the Audit Committee entered into an inappropriate indemnification agreement with its auditor that limits the ability of the company, or its shareholders, to pursue legitimate legal recourse against the audit firm.

Vote CASE-BY-CASE on members of the Audit Committee and/or the full board if poor accounting practices, which rise to a level of serious concern are identified, such as fraud, misapplication of GAAP and material weaknesses identified in Section 404 disclosures.

Examine the severity, breadth, chronological sequence and duration, as well as the company’s efforts at remediation or corrective actions, in determining whether negative vote recommendations are warranted against the members of the Audit Committee who are responsible for the poor accounting practices, or the entire board.

See section 3 on executive and director compensation for reasons to withhold from members of the Compensation Committee.

In limited circumstances, GSAM may vote AGAINST or WITHHOLD from all nominees of the board of directors (except from new nominees who should be considered on a CASE-BY-CASE basis and except as discussed below) if:

 

    The company’s poison pill has a dead-hand or modified dead-hand feature for two or more years. Vote against/withhold every year until this feature is removed; however, vote against the poison pill if there is one on the ballot with this feature rather than the director;

 

    The board adopts or renews a poison pill without shareholder approval, does not commit to putting it to shareholder vote within 12 months of adoption (or in the case of an newly public company, does not commit to put the pill to a shareholder vote within 12 months following the IPO), or reneges on a commitment to put the pill to a vote, and has not yet received a withhold/against recommendation for this issue;

 

    The board failed to act on takeover offers where the majority of the shareholders tendered their shares;

 

    If in an extreme situation the board lacks accountability and oversight, coupled with sustained poor performance relative to peers.

Shareholder proposal regarding Independent Chair (Separate Chair/CEO)

Vote on a CASE-BY-CASE basis.

GSAM will generally recommend a vote AGAINST shareholder proposals requiring that the chairman’s position be filled by an independent director, if the company satisfies 3 of the 4 following criteria:

 

    Designated lead director, elected by and from the independent board members with clearly delineated and comprehensive duties;

 

    Two-thirds independent board;

 

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    All independent “key” committees (audit, compensation and nominating committees); or

 

    Established, disclosed governance guidelines.

Shareholder proposal regarding board declassification

GSAM will generally vote FOR proposals requesting that the board adopt a declassified structure in the case of operating and holding companies.

Majority Vote Shareholder Proposals

GSAM will vote FOR proposals requesting that the board adopt majority voting in the election of directors provided it does not conflict with the state law where the company is incorporated.

GSAM also looks for companies to adopt a post-election policy outlining how the company will address the situation of a holdover director.

Cumulative Vote Shareholder Proposals

GSAM will generally support shareholder proposals to restore or provide cumulative voting in the case of operating and holding companies unless:

 

    The company has adopted (i) majority vote standard with a carve-out for plurality voting in situations where there are more nominees than seats and (ii) a director resignation policy to address failed elections.

3. Executive Compensation

Pay Practices

Good pay practices should align management’s interests with long-term shareholder value creation. Detailed disclosure of compensation criteria is preferred; proof that companies follow the criteria should be evident and retroactive performance target changes without proper disclosure is not viewed favorably. Compensation practices should allow a company to attract and retain proven talent. Some examples of poor pay practices include: abnormally large bonus payouts without justifiable performance linkage or proper disclosure, egregious employment contracts, excessive severance and/or change in control provisions, repricing or replacing of underwater stock options/stock appreciation rights without prior shareholder approval, and excessive perquisites. A company should also have an appropriate balance of short-term vs. long-term metrics and the metrics should be aligned with business goals and objectives.

If the company maintains problematic or poor pay practices, generally vote:

 

    AGAINST Management Say on Pay (MSOP) Proposals; or

 

    AGAINST an equity-based incentive plan proposal if excessive non-performance-based equity awards are the major contributor to a pay-for-performance misalignment.

 

    If no MSOP or equity-based incentive plan proposal item is on the ballot, vote AGAINST/WITHHOLD from compensation committee members.

Equity Compensation Plans

Vote CASE-BY-CASE on equity-based compensation plans. Evaluation takes into account potential plan cost, plan features and grant practices. While a negative combination of these factors could cause a vote AGAINST, other reasons to vote AGAINST the equity plan could include the following factors:

 

    The plan permits the repricing of stock options/stock appreciation rights (SARs) without prior shareholder approval;

 

    There is more than one problematic material feature of the plan, which could include one of the following: unfavorable change-in-control features, presence of gross ups and options reload.

 

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Advisory Vote on Executive Compensation (Say-on-Pay, MSOP) Management Proposals

Vote FOR annual frequency and AGAINST shareholder or management proposals asking for any frequency less than annual.

Vote CASE-BY-CASE on management proposals for an advisory vote on executive compensation. For U.S. companies, consider the following factors in the context of each company’s specific circumstances and the board’s disclosed rationale for its practices. In general more than one factor will need to be present in order to warrant a vote AGAINST.

Pay-for-Performance Disconnect:

 

    GSAM will consider there to be a disconnect based on a quantitative assessment of the following: CEO pay vs. TSR and peers, CEO pay as a percentage of the median peer group or CEO pay vs. shareholder return over time.

Additional Factors Considered Include:

 

    Boards responsiveness if company received 70% or less shareholder support in the previous year’s MSOP vote;

 

    Abnormally large bonus payouts without justifiable performance linkage or proper disclosure;

 

    Egregious employment contracts;

 

    Excessive perquisites or excessive severance and/or change in control provisions;

 

    Repricing or replacing of underwater stock options without prior shareholder approval;

 

    Excessive pledging or hedging of stock by executives;

 

    Egregious pension/SERP (supplemental executive retirement plan) payouts;

 

    Extraordinary relocation benefits;

 

    Internal pay disparity;

 

    Lack of transparent disclosure of compensation philosophy and goals and targets, including details on short-term and long-term performance incentives; and

 

    Long-term equity-based compensation is 100% time-based.

Other Compensation Proposals and Policies

Employee Stock Purchase Plans — Non-Qualified Plans

Vote CASE-BY-CASE on nonqualified employee stock purchase plans taking into account the following factors:

 

    Broad-based participation;

 

    Limits on employee contributions;

 

    Company matching contributions; and

 

    Presence of a discount on the stock price on the date of purchase.

Option Exchange Programs/Repricing Options

Vote CASE-BY-CASE on management proposals seeking approval to exchange/reprice options, taking into consideration:

 

    Historic trading patterns—the stock price should not be so volatile that the options are likely to be back “in-the-money” over the near term;

 

    Rationale for the re-pricing;

 

    If it is a value-for-value exchange;

 

    If surrendered stock options are added back to the plan reserve;

 

    Option vesting;

 

    Term of the option—the term should remain the same as that of the replaced option;

 

    Exercise price—should be set at fair market or a premium to market;

 

    Participants—executive officers and directors should be excluded.

Vote FOR shareholder proposals to put option repricings to a shareholder vote.

 

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Other Shareholder Proposals on Compensation

Advisory Vote on Executive Compensation (Frequency on Pay)

Vote FOR annual frequency.

Stock retention holding period

Vote FOR shareholder proposals asking for a policy requiring that senior executives retain a significant percentage of shares acquired through equity compensation programs if the policy requests retention for two years or less following the termination of their employment (through retirement or otherwise) and a holding threshold percentage of 50% or less.

Also consider:

 

    Whether the company has any holding period, retention ratio, or officer ownership requirements in place and the terms/provisions of awards already granted.

Elimination of accelerated vesting in the event of a change in control

Vote AGAINST shareholder proposals seeking a policy eliminating the accelerated vesting of time-based equity awards in the event of a change-in-control.

Performance-based equity awards and pay-for-superior-performance proposals

Generally support unless there is sufficient evidence that the current compensation structure is already substantially performance-based. GSAM considers performance-based awards to include awards that are tied to shareholder return or other metrics that are relevant to the business.

Say on Supplemental Executive Retirement Plans (SERP)

Generally vote AGAINST proposals asking for shareholder votes on SERP.

4. Director Nominees and Proxy Access

Voting for Director Nominees (Management or Shareholder)

Vote CASE-BY-CASE on the election of directors of operating and holding companies in contested elections, considering the following factors:

 

    Long-term financial performance of the target company relative to its industry;

 

    Management’s track record;

 

    Background of the nomination, in cases where there is a shareholder nomination;

 

    Qualifications of director nominee(s);

 

    Strategic plan related to the nomination and quality of critique against management;

 

    Likelihood that the Board will be productive as a result;

Proxy Access

Vote CASE-BY-CASE on shareholder or management proposals asking for proxy access.

GSAM may support proxy access as an important right for shareholders of operating and holding companies and as an alternative to costly proxy contests and as a method for GSAM to vote for directors on an individual basis, as appropriate, rather than voting on one slate or the other. While this could be an important shareholder right, the following will be taken into account when evaluating the shareholder proposals:

 

    The ownership thresholds, percentage and duration proposed (GSAM generally will not support if the ownership threshold is less than 3%);

 

    The maximum proportion of directors that shareholders may nominate each year (GSAM generally will not support if the proportion of directors is greater than 25%);

 

    The method of determining which nominations should appear on the ballot if multiple shareholders submit nominations; and

 

    The governance of the company in question.

 

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Reimbursing Proxy Solicitation Expenses

Vote CASE-BY-CASE on proposals to reimburse proxy solicitation expenses. When voting in conjunction with support of a dissident slate, vote FOR the reimbursement of all appropriate proxy solicitation expenses associated with the election.

5. Shareholders Rights & Defenses

Shareholder Ability to Act by Written Consent

In the case of operating and holding companies, generally vote FOR shareholder proposals that provide shareholders with the ability to act by written consent, unless:

 

    The company already gives shareholders the right to call special meetings at a threshold of 25% or lower; and

 

    The company has a history of strong governance practices.

Shareholder Ability to Call Special Meetings

In the case of operating and holding companies, generally vote FOR management proposals that provide shareholders with the ability to call special meetings.

In the case of operating and holding companies, generally vote FOR shareholder proposals that provide shareholders with the ability to call special meetings at a threshold of 25% or lower if the company currently does not give shareholders the right to call special meetings. However, if a company already gives shareholders the right to call special meetings at a threshold of at least 25%, do not support shareholder proposals to further reduce the threshold.

Advance Notice Requirements for Shareholder Proposals/Nominations

In the case of operating and holding companies, vote CASE-BY-CASE on advance notice proposals, giving support to proposals that allow shareholders to submit proposals/nominations reasonably close to the meeting date and within the broadest window possible, recognizing the need to allow sufficient notice for company, regulatory and shareholder review.

Poison Pills

Vote FOR shareholder proposals requesting that the company submit its poison pill to a shareholder vote or redeem it UNLESS the company has: (1) A shareholder-approved poison pill in place; or (2) the company has adopted a policy concerning the adoption of a pill in the future specifying certain shareholder friendly provisions.

Vote FOR shareholder proposals calling for poison pills to be put to a vote within a time period of less than one year after adoption.

Vote CASE-BY-CASE on management proposals on poison pill ratification, focusing on the features of the shareholder rights plan.

In addition, the rationale for adopting the pill should be thoroughly explained by the company. In examining the request for the pill, take into consideration the company’s existing governance structure, including: board independence, existing takeover defenses, and any problematic governance concerns.

6. Mergers and Corporate Restructurings

Vote CASE-BY-CASE on mergers and acquisitions taking into account the following based on publicly available information:

 

    Valuation;

 

    Market reaction;

 

    Strategic rationale;

 

    Management’s track record of successful integration of historical acquisitions;

 

    Presence of conflicts of interest; and

 

    Governance profile of the combined company.

 

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7. State of Incorporation

Reincorporation Proposals

GSAM may support management proposals to reincorporate as long as the reincorporation would not substantially diminish shareholder rights. GSAM may not support shareholder proposals for reincorporation unless the current state of incorporation is substantially less shareholder friendly than the proposed reincorporation, there is a strong economic case to reincorporate or the company has a history of making decisions that are not shareholder friendly.

Exclusive venue for shareholder lawsuits

Generally vote FOR on exclusive venue proposals, taking into account:

 

    Whether the company has been materially harmed by shareholder litigation outside its jurisdiction of incorporation, based on disclosure in the company’s proxy statement;

 

    Whether the company has the following good governance features:

 

    Majority independent board;

 

    Independent key committees;

 

    An annually elected board;

 

    A majority vote standard in uncontested director elections;

 

    The absence of a poison pill, unless the pill was approved by shareholders; and/or

 

    Separate Chairman CEO role or, if combined, an independent chairman with clearly delineated duties.

8. Capital Structure

Common Stock Authorization

Votes on proposals to increase the number of shares of common stock authorized for issuance are determined on a CASE-BY-CASE basis. We consider company-specific factors that include, at a minimum, the following:

 

    Past Board performance;

 

    The company’s use of authorized shares during the last three years;

 

    One- and three-year total shareholder return;

 

    The board’s governance structure and practices;

 

    The current request;

 

    Disclosure in the proxy statement of specific reasons for the proposed increase;

 

    The dilutive impact of the request as determined through an allowable increase, which examines the company’s need for shares and total shareholder returns; and

 

    Risks to shareholders of not approving the request.

9. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)/Environmental, Social, Governance (ESG) Issues

Overall Approach

GSAM recognizes that Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) factors can affect investment performance, expose potential investment risks and provide an indication of management excellence and leadership. When evaluating ESG proxy issues, GSAM balances the purpose of a proposal with the overall benefit to shareholders.

Shareholder proposals considered under this category could include, among others, reports on

1) employee labor and safety policies;

2) impact on the environment of the company’s production or manufacturing operations;

3) societal impact of products manufactured;

4) risks throughout the supply chain or operations including animal treatment practices within food production and conflict minerals; and

5) board diversity.

When evaluating environmental and social shareholder proposals, the following factors are generally considered:

 

    The company’s current level of publicly-available disclosure, including if the company already discloses similar information through existing reports or policies;

 

    If the company has implemented or formally committed to the implementation of a reporting program based on Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) guidelines or a similar standard;

 

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    Whether adoption of the proposal is likely to enhance or protect shareholder value;

 

    Whether the information requested concerns business issues that relate to a meaningful percentage of the company’s business;

 

    The degree to which the company’s stated position on the issues raised in the proposal could affect its reputation or sales, or leave it vulnerable to a boycott or selective purchasing;

 

    Whether the company has already responded in some appropriate manner to the request embodied in the proposal;

 

    What other companies in the relevant industry have done in response to the issue addressed in the proposal;

 

    Whether the proposal itself is well framed and the cost of preparing the report is reasonable;

 

    Whether the subject of the proposal is best left to the discretion of the board;

 

    Whether the company has material fines or violations in the area and if so, if appropriate actions have already been taken to remedy going forward;

 

    Whether providing this information would reveal proprietary or confidential information that would place the company at a competitive disadvantage.

Sustainability, climate change reporting

Generally vote FOR proposals requesting the company to report on its policies, initiatives and oversight mechanisms related to environmental sustainability, or how the company may be impacted by climate change. The following factors will be considered:

The company’s current level of publicly-available disclosure including if the company already discloses similar information through existing reports or policies

 

    If the company has formally committed to the implementation of a reporting program based on Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) guidelines or a similar standard within a specified time frame;

 

    If the company’s current level of disclosure is comparable to that of its industry peers; and

 

    If there are significant controversies, fines, penalties, or litigation associated with the company’s environmental performance.

Establishing goals or targets for emissions reduction

Vote CASE-BY-CASE on proposals that call for the adoption of Greenhouse Gas (“GHG”) reduction goals from products and operations, taking into account:

 

    Overly prescriptive requests for the reduction in GHG emissions by specific amounts or within a specific time frame;

 

    Whether company disclosure lags behind industry peers;

 

    Whether the company has been the subject of recent, significant violations, fines, litigation, or controversy related to GHG emissions;

 

    The feasibility of reduction of GHGs given the company’s product line and current technology and;

 

    Whether the company already provides meaningful disclosure on GHG emissions from its products and operations.

Political Contributions and Trade Association Spending/Lobbying Expenditures and Initiatives

GSAM generally believes that it is the role of boards and management to determine the appropriate level of disclosure of all types of corporate political activity. When evaluating these proposals, GSAM considers the prescriptive nature of the proposal and the overall benefit to shareholders along with a company’s current disclosure of policies, practices and oversight.

Generally vote AGAINST proposals asking the company to affirm political nonpartisanship in the workplace so long as:

 

    There are no recent, significant controversies, fines or litigation regarding the company’s political contributions or trade association spending; and

 

    The company has procedures in place to ensure that employee contributions to company-sponsored political action committees (PACs) are strictly voluntary and prohibits coercion.

Vote AGAINST proposals requesting increased disclosure of a company’s policies with respect to political contributions, lobbying and trade association spending as long as:

 

    There is no significant potential threat or actual harm to shareholders’ interests;

 

    There are no recent significant controversies or litigation related to the company’s political contributions or governmental affairs; and

 

    There is publicly available information to assess the company’s oversight related to such expenditures of corporate assets.

 

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GSAM generally will vote AGAINST proposals asking for detailed disclosure of political contributions or trade association or lobbying expenditures.

Vote AGAINST proposals barring the company from making political contributions. Businesses are affected by legislation at the federal, state, and local level and barring political contributions can put the company at a competitive disadvantage.

Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation

A company should have a clear, public Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) statement and/or diversity policy. Generally vote FOR proposals seeking to amend a company’s EEO statement or diversity policies to additionally prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity.

Labor and Human Rights Standards

Generally vote FOR proposals requesting a report on company or company supplier labor and/or human rights standards and policies, or on the impact of its operations on society, unless such information is already publicly disclosed considering:

 

    The degree to which existing relevant policies and practices are disclosed;

 

    Whether or not existing relevant policies are consistent with internationally recognized standards;

 

    Whether company facilities and those of its suppliers are monitored and how;

 

    Company participation in fair labor organizations or other internationally recognized human rights initiatives;

 

    Scope and nature of business conducted in markets known to have higher risk of workplace labor/human rights abuse;

 

    Recent, significant company controversies, fines, or litigation regarding human rights at the company or its suppliers;

 

    The scope of the request; and

 

    Deviation from industry sector peer company standards and practices.

Non-U.S. Proxy Items

The following section is a broad summary of the Guidelines, which form the basis of the Policy with respect to non-U.S. public equity investments. Applying these guidelines is subject to certain regional and country-specific exceptions and modifications and is not inclusive of all considerations in each market.

1. Operational Items

Financial Results/Director and Auditor Reports

Vote FOR approval of financial statements and director and auditor reports, unless:

 

    There are concerns about the accounts presented or audit procedures used; or

 

    The company is not responsive to shareholder questions about specific items that should be publicly disclosed.

Appointment of Auditors and Auditor Fees

Vote FOR the re-election of auditors and proposals authorizing the board to fix auditor fees, unless:

 

    There are serious concerns about the accounts presented, audit procedures used or audit opinion rendered;

 

    There is reason to believe that the auditor has rendered an opinion, which is neither accurate nor indicative of the company’s financial position;

 

    Name of the proposed auditor has not been published;

 

    The auditors are being changed without explanation; non-audit-related fees are substantial or are in excess of standard annual audit-related fees; or the appointment of external auditors if they have previously served the company in an executive capacity or can otherwise be considered affiliated with the company.

Appointment of Statutory Auditors

Vote FOR the appointment or reelection of statutory auditors, unless:

 

    There are serious concerns about the statutory reports presented or the audit procedures used;

 

    Questions exist concerning any of the statutory auditors being appointed; or

 

    The auditors have previously served the company in an executive capacity or can otherwise be considered affiliated with the company.

 

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Allocation of Income

Vote FOR approval of the allocation of income, unless:

 

    The dividend payout ratio has been consistently low without adequate explanation; or

 

    The payout is excessive given the company’s financial position.

Stock (Scrip) Dividend Alternative

Vote FOR most stock (scrip) dividend proposals.

Vote AGAINST proposals that do not allow for a cash option unless management demonstrates that the cash option is harmful to shareholder value.

Amendments to Articles of Association

Vote amendments to the articles of association on a CASE-BY-CASE basis.

Change in Company Fiscal Term

Vote FOR resolutions to change a company’s fiscal term unless a company’s motivation for the change is to postpone its AGM.

Lower Disclosure Threshold for Stock Ownership

Vote AGAINST resolutions to lower the stock ownership disclosure threshold below 5 percent unless specific reasons exist to implement a lower threshold.

Amend Quorum Requirements

Vote proposals to amend quorum requirements for shareholder meetings on a CASE-BY-CASE basis.

Transact Other Business

Vote AGAINST other business when it appears as a voting item.

2. Board of Directors

Director Elections

Vote FOR management nominees taking into consideration the following:

 

    Adequate disclosure has not been provided in a timely manner; or

 

    There are clear concerns over questionable finances or restatements; or

 

    There have been questionable transactions or conflicts of interest; or

 

    There are any records of abuses against minority shareholder interests; or

 

    The board fails to meet minimum corporate governance standards. or

 

    There are reservations about:

 

    Director terms

 

    Bundling of proposals to elect directors

 

    Board independence

 

    Disclosure of named nominees

 

    Combined Chairman/CEO

 

    Election of former CEO as Chairman of the Board

 

    Overboarded directors

 

    Composition of committees

 

    Director independence

 

    Specific concerns about the individual or company, such as criminal wrongdoing or breach of fiduciary responsibilities; or

 

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    Repeated absences at board meetings have not been explained (in countries where this information is disclosed); or

 

    Unless there are other considerations which may include sanctions from government or authority, violations of laws and regulations, or other issues related to improper business practice, failure to replace management, or egregious actions related to service on other boards.

Vote on a CASE-BY-CASE basis in contested elections of directors, e.g., the election of shareholder nominees or the dismissal of incumbent directors, determining which directors are best suited to add value for shareholders.

The analysis will generally be based on, but not limited to, the following major decision factors:

 

    Company performance relative to its peers;

 

    Strategy of the incumbents versus the dissidents;

 

    Independence of board candidates;

 

    Experience and skills of board candidates;

 

    Governance profile of the company;

 

    Evidence of management entrenchment;

 

    Responsiveness to shareholders;

 

    Whether a takeover offer has been rebuffed;

 

    Whether minority or majority representation is being sought.

Vote FOR employee and/or labor representatives if they sit on either the audit or compensation committee and are required by law to be on those committees.

Vote AGAINST employee and/or labor representatives if they sit on either the audit or compensation committee, if they are not required to be on those committees.

Classification of directors

Executive Director

 

    Employee or executive of the company;

 

    Any director who is classified as a non-executive, but receives salary, fees, bonus, and/or other benefits that are in line with the highest-paid executives of the company.

Non-Independent Non-Executive Director (NED)

 

    Any director who is attested by the board to be a non-independent NED;

 

    Any director specifically designated as a representative of a significant shareholder of the company;

 

    Any director who is also an employee or executive of a significant shareholder of the company;

 

    Beneficial owner (direct or indirect) of at least 10% of the company’s stock, either in economic terms or in voting rights (this may be aggregated if voting power is distributed among more than one member of a defined group, e.g., family members who beneficially own less than 10% individually, but collectively own more than 10%), unless market best practice dictates a lower ownership and/or disclosure threshold (and in other special market-specific circumstances);

 

    Government representative;

 

    Currently provides (or a relative provides) professional services to the company, to an affiliate of the company, or to an individual officer of the company or of one of its affiliates in excess of $10,000 per year;

 

    Represents customer, supplier, creditor, banker, or other entity with which company maintains transactional/commercial relationship (unless company discloses information to apply a materiality test);

 

    Any director who has conflicting or cross-directorships with executive directors or the chairman of the company;

 

    Relative of a current employee of the company or its affiliates;

 

    Relative of a former executive of the company or its affiliates;

 

    A new appointee elected other than by a formal process through the General Meeting (such as a contractual appointment by a substantial shareholder);

 

    Founder/co-founder/member of founding family but not currently an employee;

 

    Former executive (5 year cooling off period);

 

    Years of service is generally not a determining factor unless it is recommended best practice in a market and/or in extreme circumstances, in which case it may be considered; and

 

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    Any additional relationship or principle considered to compromise independence under local corporate governance best practice guidance.

Independent NED

 

    No material connection, either directly or indirectly, to the company other than a board seat.

Employee Representative

 

    Represents employees or employee shareholders of the company (classified as “employee representative” but considered a non-independent NED).

Discharge of Directors

Generally vote FOR the discharge of directors, including members of the management board and/or supervisory board, unless there is reliable information about significant and compelling controversies that the board is not fulfilling its fiduciary duties warranted by:

 

    A lack of oversight or actions by board members which invoke shareholder distrust related to malfeasance or poor supervision, such as operating in private or company interest rather than in shareholder interest; or

 

    Any legal issues (e.g., civil/criminal) aiming to hold the board responsible for breach of trust in the past or related to currently alleged actions yet to be confirmed (and not only the fiscal year in question), such as price fixing, insider trading, bribery, fraud, and other illegal actions; or

 

    Other egregious governance issues where shareholders may bring legal action against the company or its directors; or

 

    Vote on a CASE-BY-CASE basis where a vote against other agenda items are deemed inappropriate.

3. Compensation

Good pay practices should align management’s interests with long-term shareholder value creation. Detailed disclosure of compensation criteria is preferred; proof that companies follow the criteria should be evident and retroactive performance target changes without proper disclosure is not viewed favorably. Compensation practices should allow a company to attract and retain proven talent. Some examples of poor pay practices include: abnormally large bonus payouts without justifiable performance linkage or proper disclosure, egregious employment contracts, excessive severance and/or change in control provisions, repricing or replacing of underwater stock options/stock appreciation rights without prior shareholder approval, and excessive perquisites. A company should also have an appropriate balance of short-term vs. long-term metrics and the metrics should be aligned with business goals and objectives.

Director Compensation

Vote FOR proposals to award cash fees to non-executive directors unless the amounts are excessive relative to other companies in the country or industry.

Vote non-executive director compensation proposals that include both cash and share-based components on a CASE-BY-CASE basis.

Vote proposals that bundle compensation for both non-executive and executive directors into a single resolution on a CASE-BY-CASE basis.

Vote AGAINST proposals to introduce retirement benefits for non-executive directors.

Compensation Plans

Vote compensation plans on a CASE-BY-CASE basis.

Director, Officer, and Auditor Indemnification and Liability Provisions

Vote proposals seeking indemnification and liability protection for directors and officers on a CASE-BY-CASE basis.

Vote AGAINST proposals to indemnify auditors.

 

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4. Board Structure

Vote AGAINST the introduction of classified boards and mandatory retirement ages for directors.

Vote AGAINST proposals to alter board structure or size in the context of a fight for control of the company or the board.

Chairman CEO combined role (for applicable markets)

GSAM will generally recommend a vote AGAINST shareholder proposals requiring that the chairman’s position be filled by an independent director, if the company satisfies 3 of the 4 following criteria:

 

    2/3 independent board, or majority in countries where employee representation is common practice;

 

    A designated, or a rotating, lead director, elected by and from the independent board members with clearly delineated and comprehensive duties;

 

    Fully independent key committees; and/or

 

    Established, publicly disclosed, governance guidelines and director biographies/profiles.

5. Capital Structure

Share Issuance Requests

General Issuances:

Vote FOR issuance requests with preemptive rights to a maximum of 100 percent over currently issued capital.

Vote FOR issuance requests without preemptive rights to a maximum of 20 percent of currently issued capital.

Specific Issuances:

Vote on a CASE-BY-CASE basis on all requests, with or without preemptive rights.

Increases in Authorized Capital

Vote FOR non-specific proposals to increase authorized capital up to 100 percent over the current authorization unless the increase would leave the company with less than 30 percent of its new authorization outstanding.

Vote FOR specific proposals to increase authorized capital to any amount, unless:

 

    The specific purpose of the increase (such as a share-based acquisition or merger) does not meet guidelines for the purpose being proposed; or

 

    The increase would leave the company with less than 30 percent of its new authorization outstanding after adjusting for all proposed issuances.

Vote AGAINST proposals to adopt unlimited capital authorizations.

Reduction of Capital

Vote FOR proposals to reduce capital for routine accounting purposes unless the terms are unfavorable to shareholders.

Vote proposals to reduce capital in connection with corporate restructuring on a CASE-BY-CASE basis.

Capital Structures

Vote FOR resolutions that seek to maintain or convert to a one-share, one-vote capital structure.

Vote AGAINST requests for the creation or continuation of dual-class capital structures or the creation of new or additional super voting shares.

 

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Preferred Stock

Vote FOR the creation of a new class of preferred stock or for issuances of preferred stock up to 50 percent of issued capital unless the terms of the preferred stock would adversely affect the rights of existing shareholders.

Vote FOR the creation/issuance of convertible preferred stock as long as the maximum number of common shares that could be issued upon conversion meets guidelines on equity issuance requests.

Vote AGAINST the creation of a new class of preference shares that would carry superior voting rights to the common shares.

Vote AGAINST the creation of blank check preferred stock unless the board clearly states that the authorization will not be used to thwart a takeover bid.

Vote proposals to increase blank check preferred authorizations on a CASE-BY-CASE basis.

Debt Issuance Requests

Vote non-convertible debt issuance requests on a CASE-BY-CASE basis, with or without preemptive rights.

Vote FOR the creation/issuance of convertible debt instruments as long as the maximum number of common shares that could be issued upon conversion meets guidelines on equity issuance requests.

Vote FOR proposals to restructure existing debt arrangements unless the terms of the restructuring would adversely affect the rights of shareholders.

Increase in Borrowing Powers

Vote proposals to approve increases in a company’s borrowing powers on a CASE-BY-CASE basis.

Share Repurchase Plans

GSAM will generally recommend FOR share repurchase programs taking into account whether:

 

    The share repurchase program can be used as a takeover defense;

 

    There is clear evidence of historical abuse;

 

    There is no safeguard in the share repurchase program against selective buybacks;

 

    Pricing provisions and safeguards in the share repurchase program are deemed to be unreasonable in light of market practice.

Reissuance of Repurchased Shares

Vote FOR requests to reissue any repurchased shares unless there is clear evidence of abuse of this authority in the past.

Capitalization of Reserves for Bonus Issues/Increase in Par Value

Vote FOR requests to capitalize reserves for bonus issues of shares or to increase par value.

6. Mergers and Corporate Restructuring & Other

Reorgani