485BPOS 1 d545406d485bpos.htm J.P. MORGAN EXCHANGE-TRADED FUND TRUST J.P. Morgan Exchange-Traded Fund Trust
Table of Contents

As filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on October 19, 2018

Securities Act File No. 333-191837

Investment Company Act File No. 811-22903

 

 

 

UNITED STATES

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

Washington, D.C. 20549

 

 

FORM N-1A

REGISTRATION STATEMENT

UNDER

   THE SECURITIES ACT OF 1933  
   Pre-Effective Amendment No.       
   Post-Effective Amendment No. 201  

and/or

REGISTRATION STATEMENT

UNDER

  THE INVESTMENT COMPANY ACT OF 1940       

Amendment No. 203

 

 

J.P. Morgan Exchange-Traded Fund Trust

(Exact Name of Registrant as Specified in Charter)

 

 

270 Park Avenue

New York, New York 10017

(Address of Principal Executive Offices) (Zip Code)

Registrant’s Telephone Number, including Area Code: (800) 480-4111

Gregory S. Samuels, Esq.

J.P. Morgan Investment Management Inc.

270 Park Avenue

New York, New York 10017

(Name and Address of Agent for Service)

 

 

With copies to:

 

Zachary Vonnegut-Gabovitch, Esq.

JPMorgan Chase & Co.

270 Park Avenue

New York, NY 10017

 

Jon S. Rand, Esq.

Dechert LLP

1095 Avenue of the Americas

New York, NY 10036

 

 

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

 

immediately upon filing pursuant to paragraph (b)

on October 22, 2018 pursuant to paragraph (b)

60 days after filing pursuant to paragraph (a)(1)

on (date) pursuant to paragraph (a)(1)

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:

 

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

 

 

 


Table of Contents

Prospectus

J.P. Morgan Exchange-Traded Funds

October 22, 2018

 

JPMorgan Municipal ETF  

Ticker: JMUB

 

Listing Exchange: Cboe BZX Exchange, Inc.

The Securities and Exchange Commission has not approved or disapproved of these securities or determined if this prospectus is truthful or complete. Any representation to the contrary is a criminal offense.

 

LOGO


Table of Contents

CONTENTS

 

 

 

 

 


Table of Contents

JPMorgan Municipal ETF

 

Ticker: JMUB

What is the goal of the Fund?

The Fund seeks to provide monthly dividends, which are excluded from gross income, and to protect the value of your investment by investing primarily in municipal obligations. For purposes of the Fund’s investment objective, “gross income” means gross income for federal income tax purposes.

Fees and Expenses of the Fund

The following table describes the fees and expenses that you may pay if you buy and hold Shares of the Fund. Investors purchasing Shares in the secondary market may be subject to costs (including customary brokerage commissions) charged by their broker.

 

ANNUAL FUND OPERATING EXPENSES

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

 
Management Fees        0.24
Other Expenses1        0.23  
      

 

 

 
Total Annual Fund Operating Expenses        0.47  
Fee Waivers and/or Expense Reimbursements2        (0.23
      

 

 

 
Total Annual Fund Operating Expenses After Fee Waivers and/or Expense Reimbursements2        0.24  

 

1

“Other Expenses” are based on estimated amounts for the current fiscal year.

 

2

The Fund’s adviser and/or its affiliates have contractually agreed to waive fees and/or reimburse expenses to the extent Total Annual Fund Operating Expenses (excluding acquired fund fees and expenses other than certain money market fund fees as described below, dividend and interest expenses related to short sales, interest, taxes, expenses related to litigation and potential litigation and extraordinary expenses) exceed 0.24% of the average daily net assets of the Fund. The Fund may invest in one or more money market funds advised by the adviser or its affiliates (affiliated money market funds). The Fund’s adviser has contractually agreed to waive fees and/or reimburse expenses in an amount sufficient to offset the fees and expenses of the affiliated money market funds incurred by the Fund because of the Fund’s investment in such money market funds. These waivers are in effect through 10/31/21, at which time the adviser and/or its affiliates will determine whether to renew or revise them. To the extent that the Fund engages in securities lending, affiliated money market fund fees and expenses resulting from the Fund’s investment of cash received from securities lending borrowers are not included in Total Annual Fund Operating Expenses and therefore, the above waivers do not apply to such investments.

Example

This Example is intended to help you compare the cost of investing in the Fund with the cost of investing in other funds. The Example does not take into account brokerage commissions that you pay when purchasing or selling Shares of the Fund.

The Example assumes that you invest $10,000 in the Fund for the time periods indicated. The Example also assumes that your investment has a 5% return each year and that the Fund’s operating expenses are equal to the total annual fund operating expenses after fee waivers and expense reimbursements shown in the table through 10/31/21 and total annual fund operating expenses thereafter. Your actual costs may be higher or lower.

 

WHETHER OR NOT YOU SELL YOUR SHARES, YOUR
COST WOULD BE
 
     1 Year     3 Years  
SHARES ($)     25       77  

Portfolio Turnover

The Fund pays transaction costs, such as commissions, when it buys and sells securities (or “turns over” its portfolio). A higher portfolio turnover rate may indicate higher transaction costs and may result in higher taxes when Shares are held in a taxable account. These costs, which are not reflected in annual fund operating expenses or in the Example, affect the Fund’s performance. The Fund has not yet commenced operations as of the date of this prospectus. Therefore, there is no portfolio turnover rate for the Fund to report at this time.

What are the Fund’s main investment strategies?

Under normal circumstances, the Fund invests at least 80% of its Assets in municipal securities, the income from which is exempt from federal income tax. This is a fundamental policy. For purposes of this policy, “Assets” means net assets, plus the amount of borrowings for investment purposes.

Municipal securities are debt securities issued by or on behalf of states, territories and possessions of the United States, including the District of Columbia, and their respective authorities, political subdivisions, agencies and instrumentalities and other groups with the authority to act for the municipalities, the interest on which is exempt from federal income tax. The securities are issued to raise funds for various public and private purposes. Municipal securities include variable rate demand obligations, variable rate demand preferred securities, short-term municipal notes, tax exempt commercial paper, private activity and industrial development bonds, tax anticipation notes, bond anticipation notes, revenue anticipation notes or other short term notes, private placements and participations in pools of municipal securities.

Municipal securities also include instruments evidencing direct ownership of interest payments or principal payments, or both, on municipal securities, such as tender option bonds and participation interests in all or part of specific holdings of municipal obligations, provided that the applicable issuer

 

 

 
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JPMorgan Municipal ETF (continued)

 

receives assurances from legal counsel that the interest payable on the securities is exempt from federal income tax.

Additionally, municipal securities include other instruments that directly or indirectly provide economic exposure to income which is derived from municipalities.

There may be times when there are not enough municipal securities available to meet the Fund’s needs. On these occasions, the Fund may invest in repurchase agreements or U.S. Treasury securities that may be subject to federal income tax.

The Fund may invest in debt securities issued by governmental entities, certain issuers identified with the U.S. government and private issuers. The Fund may invest in municipal mortgage-backed and asset-backed securities. The Fund may invest a significant portion or all of its assets in municipal mortgage-backed securities at the adviser’s discretion.

The securities in which the Fund invests may have fixed rates of return or floating or variable rates.

The Fund may also invest in high-quality, short-term money market instruments and repurchase agreements. Up to 20% of the Fund’s assets may be held in cash and cash equivalents.

The Fund may invest more than 25% of its total assets in municipal obligations, the interest upon which is paid from revenues of projects within a single sector, such as housing or healthcare.

As part of its investments in municipal securities, the Fund invests primarily in investment grade securities or the unrated equivalent. Investment grade securities carry a minimum rating of Baa3, BBB–, or BBB– by Moody’s Investors Service Inc. (Moody’s), Standard & Poor’s Corporation (S&P), or Fitch Ratings (Fitch), respectively, or the equivalent by another nationally recognized statistical rating organization (NRSRO), or are unrated but deemed by the adviser to be of comparable quality. Up to 10% of the Fund’s total assets may be invested in securities rated below investment grade (junk bonds). Junk bonds also include unrated securities that the adviser believes to be of comparable quality to debt securities that are rated below investment grade. Junk bonds are also called “high yield bonds” and “non-investment grade bonds.” These securities generally are rated in the fifth or lower rating categories (for example, BB+ or lower by S&P and Ba1 or lower by Moody’s). These securities generally offer a higher yield than investment grade securities, but involve a high degree of risk. The market for municipal junk bonds is small and relatively less liquid than taxable junk bonds. A security’s quality is determined at the time of purchase and securities that are rated investment grade or the unrated equivalent may be downgraded or decline in credit quality such that subsequently they would be deemed to be below investment grade.

The Fund may also invest in zero-coupon securities.

The average dollar weighted maturity of the Fund’s portfolio is expected to be between three and ten years. Average weighted maturity is the average of all the current maturities (that is, the term of the securities) of the individual bonds in a Fund calculated so as to count most heavily those securities with the highest dollar value. Average weighted maturity is important to investors as an indication of a Fund’s sensitivity to changes in interest rates. Usually, the longer the average weighted maturity, the more fluctuation in share price you can expect.

Up to 20% of the Fund may be invested in money market funds, including affiliated money market funds, or cash.

Investment Process: The adviser buys and sells securities and investments for the Fund based on its view of individual securities and market sectors. Taking a long-term approach, the adviser looks for individual fixed income investments that it believes will perform well over market cycles. The adviser is value oriented and makes decisions to purchase and sell individual securities and instruments after performing a risk/ reward analysis that includes an evaluation of interest rate risk, credit risk, duration, liquidity and the complex legal and technical structure of the transaction.

The Fund’s Main Investment Risks

The Fund is subject to management risk and may not achieve its objective if the adviser’s expectations regarding particular instruments or markets are not met.

 

An investment in this Fund or any other fund may not provide a complete investment program. The suitability of an investment in the Fund should be considered based on the investment objective, strategies and risks described in this prospectus, considered in light of all of the other investments in your portfolio, as well as your risk tolerance, financial goals and time horizons. You may want to consult with a financial advisor to determine if this Fund is suitable for you.

The Fund is subject to the main risks noted below, any of which may adversely affect the Fund’s NAV, market price, performance and ability to meet its investment objective.

Interest Rate Risk. The Fund mainly invests in bonds and other debt securities. These securities will increase or decrease in value based on changes in interest rates. If rates increase, the value of the Fund’s investments generally declines. Securities with greater interest rate sensitivity and longer maturities generally are subject to greater fluctuations in value. Given that the Federal Reserve has begun to raise interest rates, the Fund may face a heightened level of interest rate risk.

Municipal Obligations Risk. The risk of a municipal obligation generally depends on the financial and credit status of the issuer. Changes in a municipality’s financial health may make it difficult for the municipality to make interest and principal

 

 

 
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payments when due. This could decrease the Fund’s income or hurt the ability to preserve capital and liquidity.

Under some circumstances, municipal obligations might not pay interest unless the state legislature or municipality authorizes money for that purpose.

Municipal obligations may be more susceptible to downgrades or defaults during recessions or similar periods of economic stress. In addition, since some municipal obligations may be secured or guaranteed by banks and other institutions, the risk to the Fund could increase if the banking or financial sector suffers an economic downturn and/or if the credit ratings of the institutions issuing the guarantee are downgraded or at risk of being downgraded by a national rating organization. Such a downward revision or risk of being downgraded may have an adverse effect on the market prices of the bonds and thus the value of the Fund’s investments.

In addition to being downgraded, an insolvent municipality may file for bankruptcy. The reorganization of a municipality’s debts may significantly affect the rights of creditors and the value of the securities issued by the municipality and the value of the Fund’s investments.

Credit Risk. The Fund’s investments are subject to the risk that issuers and/or counterparties will fail to make payments when due or default completely. If an issuer’s or a counterparty’s financial condition worsens, the credit quality of the issuer or counterparty may deteriorate. Credit spreads may increase, which may reduce the market values of the Fund’s securities. Credit spread risk is the risk that economic and market conditions or any actual or perceived credit deterioration may lead to an increase in the credit spreads (i.e., the difference in yield between two securities of similar maturity but different credit quality) and a decline in price of the issuer’s securities.

Floating and Variable Rate Securities Risk. Floating and variable rate securities provide for a periodic adjustment in the interest rate paid on the securities. The rate adjustment intervals may be regular and range from daily up to annually, or may be based on an event, such as a change in the prime rate. Floating and variable rate securities may be subject to greater liquidity risk than other debt securities, meaning that there may be limitations on the Fund’s ability to sell the securities at any given time. Such securities also may lose value.

Mortgage-Related and Other Asset-Backed Securities Risk. Mortgage-related and asset-backed securities, including certain municipal housing authority obligations, are subject to certain other risks. The value of these securities will be influenced by the factors affecting the housing market and the assets underlying such securities. As a result, during periods of declining asset values, difficult or frozen credit markets, significant changes in interest rates, or deteriorating economic conditions, mortgage-related and asset-backed securities may decline in value, face valuation

difficulties, become more volatile and/or become illiquid. These securities are also subject to prepayment and call risk. In periods of declining interest rates, the Fund may be subject to contraction risk which is the risk that borrowers will increase the rate at which they prepay the maturity value of mortgages and other obligations. When mortgages and other obligations are prepaid and when securities are called, the Fund may have to reinvest in securities with a lower yield or fail to recover additional amounts (i.e., premiums) paid for securities with higher interest rates, resulting in an unexpected capital loss and/or a decrease in the amount of dividends and yield. In periods of rising interest rates, the Fund may be subject to extension risk which is the risk that the expected maturity of an obligation will lengthen in duration due to a decrease in prepayments. As a result, in certain interest rate environments, the Fund may exhibit additional volatility.

Debt Securities and Other Callable Securities Risk. As part of its main investment strategy, the Fund invests in debt securities. The issuers of these securities and other callable securities may be able to repay principal in advance, especially when interest rates fall. Changes in prepayment rates can affect the return on investment and yield of these securities. When debt obligations are prepaid and when securities are called, the Fund may have to reinvest in securities with a lower yield. The Fund also may fail to recover additional amounts (i.e., premiums) paid for securities with higher interest rates, resulting in an unexpected capital loss.

Taxability Risk. The Fund’s investments in municipal securities rely on the opinion of the issuer’s bond counsel that the interest paid on those securities will not be subject to federal income tax. Tax opinions are generally provided at the time the municipal security is initially issued. However, after the Fund buys a security, the Internal Revenue Service may determine that a bond issued as tax-exempt should in fact be taxable and the Fund’s dividends with respect to that bond might be subject to federal income tax.

Concentration Risk. The Fund may invest more than 25% of its Assets in municipal securities, the interest upon which is paid from revenues of projects within a single sector, such as housing and healthcare. As a result, the Fund could be more susceptible to developments which affect those sectors.

High Yield Securities Risk. The Fund may invest in securities that are issued by municipalities that are highly leveraged, less creditworthy or financial distressed. These investments (known as junk bonds) are considered to be speculative and are subject to greater risk of loss, greater sensitivity to economic changes, valuation difficulties and potential illiquidity.

Zero-Coupon and Deferred Payment Securities Risk. The market value of a zero-coupon or deferred payment security is generally more volatile than the market value of, and is more likely to respond to a greater degree in changes in interest rates than, other fixed income securities with similar maturities and credit quality that pay interest periodically. In addition, federal

 

 

 
OCTOBER 22, 2018         3  


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JPMorgan Municipal ETF (continued)

 

income tax law requires that the holder of a zero-coupon security accrue a portion of the discount at which the security was purchased as taxable income each year. The Fund may consequently have to dispose of portfolio securities under disadvantageous circumstances to generate cash to satisfy its requirement as a regulated investment company to distribute all of its net income (including non-cash income attributable to zero coupon securities). These actions may reduce the assets to which the Fund’s expenses could otherwise be allocated and may reduce the Fund’s rate of return.

Restricted Securities Risk. Restricted securities are securities that cannot be offered for public resale unless registered under the applicable securities laws or that have a contractual restriction that prohibits or limits their resale. Restricted securities include private placement securities that have not been registered under the applicable securities laws, such as Rule 144A securities, and securities of U.S. and non-U.S. issuers that are issued pursuant to Regulation S. Private placements are generally subject to strict restrictions on resale. Restricted securities may not be listed on an exchange and may have no active trading market. Restricted securities may be illiquid. The Fund may be unable to sell a restricted security on short notice or may be able to sell them only at a price below current value. It may be more difficult to determine a market value for a restricted security. Also, a Fund may get only limited information about the issuer of a restricted security, so it may be less able to predict a loss. In addition, if Fund management receives material non-public information about the issuer, the Fund may as a result be unable to sell the securities. Certain restricted securities may involve a high degree of business and financial risk and may result in substantial losses.

Auction Rate Securities Risk. The auction rate municipal securities the Fund will purchase will typically have a long-term nominal maturity for which the interest rate is regularly reset through a “Dutch” auction. The interest rate set by the auction is the lowest interest rate that covers all securities offered for sale. While this process is designed to permit auction rate securities to be traded at par value, there is a risk that an auction will fail due to insufficient demand for the securities, which may adversely affect the liquidity and price of auction rate securities. Moreover, between auctions, there may be no secondary market for these securities, and sales conducted on a secondary market may not be on terms favorable to the seller. Thus, with respect to liquidity and price stability, auction rate securities may differ substantially from cash equivalents, notwithstanding the frequency of auctions and the credit quality of the security.

Government Securities Risk. The Fund invests in securities issued or guaranteed by the U.S. government or its agencies and instrumentalities (such as securities issued by Ginnie Mae, Fannie Mae, or Freddie Mac). U.S. government securities are subject to market risk, interest rate risk and credit risk.

Securities, such as those issued or guaranteed by Ginnie Mae or the U.S. Treasury, that are backed by the full faith and credit of the United States are guaranteed only as to the timely payment of interest and principal when held to maturity and the market prices for such securities will fluctuate. Notwithstanding that these securities are backed by the full faith and credit of the United States, circumstances could arise that would prevent the payment of interest or principal. This would result in losses to the Fund. Securities issued or guaranteed by U.S. government- related organizations, such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, are not backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government and no assurance can be given that the U.S. government will provide financial support. Therefore, U.S. government-related organizations may not have the funds to meet their payment obligations in the future. U.S. government securities include zero-coupon securities, which tend to be subject to greater market risk than interest-paying securities of similar maturities.

Cash Transactions Risk. Unlike certain ETFs, the Fund may effect creations and redemptions in cash or partially in cash. Therefore, it may be required to sell portfolio securities and subsequently recognize gains on such sales that the Fund might not have recognized if it were to distribute portfolio securities in-kind. As such, investments in Shares may be less tax-efficient than an investment in an ETF that distributes portfolio securities entirely in-kind.

General Market Risk. Economies and financial markets throughout the world are becoming increasingly interconnected, which increases the likelihood that events or conditions in one country or region will adversely impact markets or issuers in other countries or regions. Securities in the Fund’s portfolio may underperform in comparison to securities in the general financial markets, a particular financial market or other asset classes, due to a number of factors, including inflation (or expectations for inflation), interest rates, global demand for particular products or resources, natural disasters or events, terrorism, regulatory events and government controls.

Industry and Sector Focus Risk. At times the Fund may increase the relative emphasis of its investments in a particular industry or sector. The prices of securities of issuers in a particular industry or sector may be more susceptible to fluctuations due to changes in economic or business conditions, government regulations, availability of basic resources or supplies, or other events that affect that industry or sector more than securities of issuers in other industries and sectors. To the extent that the Fund increases the relative emphasis of its investments in a particular industry or sector, the shares’ values may fluctuate in response to events affecting that industry or sector.

ETF Shares Trading Risk. Shares are listed for trading on the Cboe BZX Exchange, Inc. (the “Exchange”) and are bought and sold in the secondary market at market prices. The market prices of Shares are expected to fluctuate, in some cases materially, in

 

 

 
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response to changes in the Fund’s NAV, the intraday value of the Fund’s holdings and supply and demand for Shares. The adviser cannot predict whether Shares will trade above, below or at their NAV. Disruptions to creations and redemptions, the existence of significant market volatility or potential lack of an active trading market for the Shares (including through a trading halt), as well as other factors, may result in the Shares trading significantly above (at a premium) or below (at a discount) to NAV or to the intraday value of the Fund’s holdings. During such periods, you may incur significant losses if you sell your Shares.

The securities held by the Fund may be traded in markets that close at a different time than the Exchange. Liquidity in those securities may be reduced after the applicable closing times. Accordingly, during the time when the Exchange is open but after the applicable market closing, fixing or settlement times, bid-ask spreads on the Exchange and the corresponding premium or discount to the Shares’ NAV may widen.

Authorized Participant Concentration Risk. Only an authorized participant may engage in creation or redemption transactions directly with the Fund. The Fund has a limited number of intermediaries that act as authorized participants and none of these authorized participants is or will be obligated to engage in creation or redemption transactions. To the extent that these intermediaries exit the business or are unable to or choose not to proceed with creation and/or redemption orders with respect to the Fund and no other authorized participant creates or redeems, Shares may trade at a discount to NAV and possibly face trading halts and/or delisting.

 

Investments in the Fund are not deposits or obligations of, or guaranteed or endorsed by, any bank and are not insured or guaranteed by the FDIC, the Federal Reserve Board or any other government agency.

You could lose money investing in the Fund.

The Fund’s Past Performance

The Fund has not commenced operations as of the date of this prospectus and therefore, has no reportable performance history. Once the Fund has operated for at least one calendar year, a bar chart and performance table will be included in the prospectus to show the performance of the Fund. When such information is included, this section will provide some indication of the risks of investing in the Fund by showing changes in the Fund’s performance history from year to year and showing how the Fund’s average annual total returns compare with those of a broad measure of market performance. Although past performance of the Fund is no guarantee of how it will perform in the future, historical performance may give you some indication of the risks of investing in the Fund.

Management

J.P. Morgan Investment Management Inc.

 

Portfolio Manager   Managed the
Fund Since
  

Primary Title with

Investment Adviser

Michelle V. Hallam   2018    Executive Director
Kevin M. Ellis   2018    Managing Director

Michael R. Myers

  2018    Executive Director

Purchase and Sale of Shares

The Fund will issue and redeem Shares at NAV only in a large specified number of Shares called a “Creation Unit” or multiples thereof. A Creation Unit consists of 50,000 Shares. The Fund generally issues and redeems Creation Units in return for a designated portfolio of securities and an amount of cash. Except when aggregated in Creation Units, Shares are not redeemable securities of the Fund. Individual Shares of the Fund may only be purchased and sold in secondary market transactions through brokers. Shares of the Fund are listed for trading on the Exchange, 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. Certain affiliates of the Fund and the adviser may purchase and resell Shares pursuant to this prospectus.

Tax Information

The Fund’s distributions of interest on municipal securities generally are not subject to federal income tax; however the Fund may distribute taxable dividends, including distributions of short-term capital gains, and long-term capital gains. In addition, interest on certain securities may be subject to the federal alternative minimum tax. To the extent that the Fund’s distributions are derived from interest on securities that are not exempt from applicable state and local taxes, such distributions will be subject to such state and local taxes. When your investment is in an IRA, 401(k) plan or other tax-advantaged investment plan, you may be subject to federal income tax on ordinary income or capital gains upon withdrawal from the tax-advantaged investment plan.

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), the adviser and its related companies may pay the financial intermediary for the sale of Shares and related services. These payments may create a conflict of interest by influencing the broker-dealer or financial intermediary and your salesperson to recommend the Fund over another investment. Ask your salesperson or visit your financial intermediary’s website for more information.

 

 

 
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More About the Fund

 

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ABOUT THE FUND’S INVESTMENT STRATEGIES

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

The name, investment objective and policies of the Fund are similar to other funds advised by the adviser or its affiliates. However, the investment results of the Fund may be higher or lower than, and there is no guarantee that the investment results of the Fund will be comparable to, any other of these funds. A new fund or a fund with fewer assets under management may be more significantly affected by purchases and redemptions of its Creation Units than a fund with relatively greater assets under management would be affected by purchases and redemptions of its shares. As compared to a larger fund, a new or smaller fund is more likely to sell a comparatively large portion of its portfolio to meet significant Creation Unit redemptions, or invest a comparatively large amount of cash to facilitate Creation Unit purchases, in each case when the fund otherwise would not seek to do so. Such transactions may cause funds to make investment decisions at inopportune times or prices or miss attractive investment opportunities. Such transactions may also accelerate the realization of taxable income if sales of securities resulted in gains and the fund redeems Creation Units for cash, or otherwise cause a fund to perform differently than intended. While such risks may apply to funds of any size, such risks are heightened in funds with fewer assets under management. In addition, new funds may not be able to fully implement their investment strategy immediately upon commencing investment operations, which could reduce investment performance.

Main Investment Strategies

The Fund generally invests in municipal securities that are rated investment grade by Moody’s Investors Service Inc. (Moody’s), Standard & Poor’s Corporation (S&P) or Fitch Ratings (Fitch), meaning that such securities will carry a minimum rating of Baa3, BBB–, or BBB–, respectively. With respect to short-term securities such as tax-exempt commercial paper, notes and variable rate demand obligations, the Fund generally invests in securities rated in one of the two highest investment grade categories. If a security has both a long-term and a short-term rating, it must have a long-term investment grade rating or be rated in one of the two highest short-term investment grade categories. If the quality of an investment grade security is downgraded subsequent to purchase to below investment grade, the Fund may continue to hold the security. The Fund may also invest in unrated securities of comparable quality.

Up to 10% of the Fund’s total assets may be invested in securities rated below investment grade (junk bonds). Junk bonds also include unrated securities that the adviser believes to be

of comparable quality to debt securities that are rated below investment grade. Junk bonds are also called “high yield bonds” and “non-investment grade bonds.” These securities generally are rated in the fifth or lower rating categories (for example, BB+ or lower by S&P and Ba1 or lower by Moody’s). These securities generally offer a higher yield than investment grade securities, but involve a high degree of risk. The market for municipal junk bonds is small and relatively less liquid than taxable junk bonds. A security’s quality is determined at the time of purchase and securities that are rated investment grade or the unrated equivalent may be downgraded or decline in credit quality such that subsequently they would be deemed to be below investment grade.

The Fund’s Board of Trustees may change any of the investment policies (including its investment objective), other than such policies that are designated as fundamental, without shareholder approval.

Investment Process: The adviser buys and sells securities and investments for the Fund based on its view of individual securities and market sectors. Taking a long-term approach, the adviser looks for individual fixed income investments that it believes will perform well over market cycles. The adviser is value oriented and makes decisions to purchase and sell individual securities and instruments after performing a risk/ reward analysis that includes an evaluation of interest rate risk, credit risk, duration, liquidity and the complex legal and technical structure of the transaction.

Average Weighted Maturity. Average weighted maturity is the average of all the current maturities (that is, the term of the securities) of the individual bonds in the Fund calculated so as to count most heavily those securities with the highest dollar value. Average weighted maturity is important to investors as an indication of the Fund’s sensitivity to changes in interest rates. Usually, the longer the average weighted maturity, the more fluctuation in share price you can expect. Mortgage-related securities are subject to prepayment of principal, which can shorten the average weighted maturity of the Fund’s portfolio. Therefore, in the case of the Fund holding mortgage-backed securities, asset-backed securities and similar types of securities, the average weighted maturity is equivalent to its weighted average life. Weighted average life is the average weighted maturity of the cash flows in the securities held by the Fund given certain prepayment assumptions.

ADDITIONAL INVESTMENT STRATEGIES

The Fund has flexibility to invest in derivatives and may use such instruments to manage duration, sector and yield curve exposure, credit and spread volatility and to respond to volatile market conditions. Derivatives, which are instruments that have a value based on another instrument, exchange rate or index, may also be used as substitutes for securities in which each

 

 

 
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Fund can invest. Although the use of derivatives is not a main strategy of the Fund, the Fund may use futures contracts, options and swaps in connection with its principal strategies in order to hedge various investments, for risk management purposes and/or to increase the Fund’s income or gain to the Fund.

The Fund may invest in securities, the interest on which may be subject to the federal alternative minimum tax.

The Fund may invest in shares of exchange-traded funds (ETFs), affiliated money market funds and other investment companies. ETFs, which are pooled investment vehicles whose ownership interests are purchased and sold on a securities exchange, may be passively or actively managed. Passively managed ETFs generally seek to track the performance of a particular market index, including broad-based market indexes, as well as indexes relating to particular sectors, markets, regions or industries. Actively managed ETFs do not seek to track the performance of a particular market index. Ordinarily, the Fund must limit its investments in a single non-affiliated ETF to 5% of its total assets and in all non-affiliated ETFs to 10% of its total assets. The price movement of an index-based ETF may not track the underlying index and may result in a loss. In addition, ETFs may trade at a price above (premium) or below (discount) their net asset value, especially during periods of significant market volatility or stress, causing investors to pay significantly more or less than the value of the ETF’s underlying portfolio.

 

NON-FUNDAMENTAL INVESTMENT OBJECTIVES
An investment objective is fundamental if it cannot be changed without the consent of a majority of the outstanding Shares of the Fund. The Fund’s investment objective is not fundamental and may be changed without the consent of a majority of the outstanding Shares of the Fund.

Securities Lending. The Fund may engage in securities lending to increase its income. Securities lending involves the lending of securities owned by the Fund to financial institutions such as certain broker-dealers in exchange for cash collateral. The Fund may invest cash collateral in one or more money market funds advised by the adviser or its affiliates and from which the adviser or its affiliates may receive fees. During the term of the loan, the Fund is entitled to receive amounts equivalent to distributions paid on the loaned securities as well as the return on the cash collateral investments. Upon termination of the loan, the Fund is required to return the cash collateral to the borrower plus any agreed upon rebate. Cash collateral investments will be subject to market depreciation or appreciation, and the Fund will be responsible for any loss that might result from its investment of cash collateral. If the adviser determines to make securities loans, the value of the securities loaned may not exceed 33   1/3% of the value of total assets of the Fund. Loan

collateral (including any investment of that collateral) is not subject to the percentage limitations regarding the Fund’s investments described elsewhere in this Prospectus.

The Fund also may use other non-principal strategies that are not described herein, but which are described in “Investment Practices” later in the prospectus and/or in the Statement of Additional Information.

INVESTMENT RISKS

There can be no assurance that the Fund will achieve its investment objective.

The main risks associated with investing in the Fund are summarized in “Risk/Return Summary” at the front of this prospectus. More detailed descriptions of certain of the main risks and additional risks of the Fund are described below.

The Fund is subject to management risk and may not achieve its objective if the adviser’s expectations regarding particular instruments or markets are not met.

 

An investment in this Fund or any other fund may not provide a complete investment program. The suitability of an investment in the Fund should be considered based on the investment objective, strategies and risks described in this prospectus, considered in light of all of the other investments in your portfolio, as well as your risk tolerance, financial goals and time horizons. You may want to consult with a financial advisor to determine if this Fund is suitable for you.

The Fund is subject to the main risks noted below, any of which may adversely affect the Fund’s NAV, market price, performance and ability to meet its investment objective.

MAIN RISKS

Interest Rate Risk. The Fund’s fixed income securities will increase or decrease in value based on changes in interest rates. If rates increase, the value of the Fund’s investments generally declines. On the other hand, if rates fall, the value of the investments generally increases. Your investment will decline in value if the value of these investments decreases. Securities with greater interest rate sensitivity and longer maturities generally are subject to greater fluctuations in value. The Fund invests in variable and floating rate securities. Although these instruments are generally less sensitive to interest rate changes than fixed rate instruments, the value of floating rate securities may decline if their interest rates do not rise as quickly, or as much, as general interest rates. Securities with greater interest rate sensitivity and longer maturities generally are subject to greater fluctuations in value. Usually, changes in the value of fixed income securities will not affect cash income generated, but may affect the value of your investment. Many factors can cause interest rates to rise. Some

 

 

 
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examples include central bank monetary policy, rising inflation rates and general economic conditions. Given that the Federal Reserve has begun to raise interest rates, the Fund may face a heightened level of interest rate risk.

Municipal Obligations Risk. The risk of a municipal obligation generally depends on the financial and credit status of the issuer. Changes in a municipality’s financial health may make it difficult for the municipality to make interest and principal payments when due. A number of municipalities have had significant financial problems recently, and these and other municipalities could, potentially, continue to experience significant financial problems resulting from lower tax revenues and/or decreased aid from state and local governments in the event of an economic downturn. This could decrease the Fund’s income or hurt its ability to preserve capital and liquidity.

Under some circumstances, municipal obligations might not pay interest unless the state legislature or municipality authorizes money for that purpose. Some securities, including municipal lease obligations, carry additional risks. For example, they may be difficult to trade or interest payments may be tied only to a specific stream of revenue.

Municipal securities may be more susceptible to downgrades or defaults during recessions or similar periods of economic stress. Factors contributing to the economic stress on municipalities may include lower property tax collections as a result of lower home values, lower sales tax revenue as a result of consumers cutting back spending, and lower income tax revenue as a result of a higher unemployment rate. In addition, since some municipal obligations may be secured or guaranteed by banks and other institutions, the risk to the Fund could increase if the banking or financial sector suffers an economic downturn and/or if the credit ratings of the institutions issuing the guarantee are downgraded or at risk of being downgraded by a national rating organization. If such events were to occur, the value of the security could decrease or the value could be lost entirely, and it may be difficult or impossible for the Fund to sell the security at the time and the price that normally prevails in the market.

In addition to being downgraded, an insolvent municipality may file for bankruptcy. For example, Chapter 9 of the Bankruptcy Code provides a financially distressed municipality protection from its creditors while it develops and negotiates a plan for reorganizing its debts. “Municipality” is defined broadly by the Bankruptcy Code as a “political subdivision or public agency or instrumentality of a state” and may include various issuers of securities in which the Fund invests. The reorganization of a municipality’s debts may include extending debt maturities, reducing the amount of principal or interest, refinancing the debt or taking other measures, which may significantly affect the rights of creditors and the value of the securities issued by the municipality and the value of a

Fund’s investments. Interest on municipal obligations, while generally exempt from federal income tax, may not be exempt from federal alternative minimum tax.

Credit Risk. There is a risk that issuers and/or counterparties will not make payments on securities held by the Fund. Such default could result in losses to the Fund. In addition, the credit quality of securities held by the Fund may be lowered if an issuer’s financial condition changes.

Lower credit quality may lead to greater volatility in the price of a security and in Shares of the Fund. Lower credit quality also may affect liquidity and make it difficult for the Fund to sell the security.

Floating and Variable Rate Securities Risk. Floating and variable rate securities provide for a periodic adjustment in the interest rate paid on the securities. The rate adjustment intervals may be regular and range from daily up to annually, or may be based on an event, such as a change in the prime rate. Floating and variable rate securities may be subject to greater liquidity risk than other debt securities, meaning that there may be limitations on the Fund’s ability to sell the securities at any given time. Such securities also may lose value.

Mortgage-Related and Other Asset-Backed Securities Risk. Mortgage-related and asset-backed securities, including certain municipal housing authority obligations, are subject to certain other risks. The value of these securities will be influenced by the factors affecting the housing market and the assets underlying such securities. As a result, during periods of declining asset values, difficult or frozen credit markets, significant changes in interest rates, or deteriorating economic conditions, mortgage-related and asset-backed securities may decline in value, face valuation difficulties, become more volatile and/or become illiquid. These securities are also subject to prepayment and call risk. Gains and losses associated with prepayments will increase/decrease the income available for distribution by the Fund and the Fund’s yield. In periods of declining interest rates, the Fund may be subject to contraction risk which is the risk that borrowers will increase the rate at which they prepay the maturity value of mortgages and other obligations. When mortgages and other obligations are prepaid and when securities are called, the Fund may have to reinvest in securities with a lower yield or fail to recover additional amounts (i.e., premiums) paid for securities with higher interest rates, resulting in an unexpected capital loss and/or a decrease in the amount of dividends and yield. In periods of rising interest rates, the Fund may be subject to extension risk which is the risk that the expected maturity of an obligation will lengthen in duration due to a decrease in prepayments. As a result, in certain interest rate environments, the Fund may exhibit additional volatility. The structure of some of these securities may be complex and there may be less available information than for other types of debt securities.

 

 

 
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The Fund may invest in collateralized mortgage obligations (CMOs). CMOs are issued in multiple classes, and each class may have its own interest rate and/or final payment date. A class with an earlier final payment date may have certain preferences in receiving principal payments or earning interest. As a result, the value of some classes in which the Fund invests may be more volatile and may be subject to higher risk of non-payment.

The values of interest-only (IO) and principal-only (PO) mortgage-backed securities are more volatile than other types of mortgage-related securities. They are very sensitive not only to changes in interest rates, but also to the rate of prepayments. A rapid or unexpected increase in prepayments can significantly depress the price of interest-only securities, while a rapid or unexpected decrease could have the same effect on principal-only securities. In addition, because there may be a drop in trading volume, an inability to find a ready buyer, or the imposition of legal restrictions on the resale of securities, these instruments may be illiquid.

Debt Securities and Other Callable Securities Risk. As part of its main investment strategy, the Fund invests in debt securities. The issuers of these securities and other callable securities may be able to repay principal in advance, especially when interest rates fall. Changes in prepayment rates can affect the return on investment and yield of these securities. When debt obligations are prepaid and when securities are called, the Fund may have to reinvest in securities with a lower yield. The Fund also may fail to recover additional amounts (i.e., premiums) paid for securities with higher interest rates, resulting in an unexpected capital loss.

Taxability Risk. The Fund’s investments in municipal securities rely on the opinion of the issuer’s bond counsel that the interest paid on those securities will not be subject to federal income tax. Tax opinions are generally provided at the time the municipal security is initially issued. However, after the Fund buys a security, the Internal Revenue Service may determine that a bond issued as tax-exempt should in fact be taxable and the Fund’s dividends with respect to that bond might be subject to federal income tax.

Concentration Risk. The Fund may invest more than 25% of its Assets in municipal securities, the interest upon which is paid from revenues of projects within a single sector, such as housing and healthcare. As a result, the Fund could be more susceptible to developments which affect those sectors.

High Yield Securities Risk. The Fund may invest up to 10% of its total assets in high yield, high risk securities (also known as junk bonds) which are considered to be speculative. These investments may be issued by companies which are highly leveraged, less creditworthy or financially distressed. Non-investment grade debt securities can be more sensitive to short-term corporate, economic and market developments.

During periods of economic uncertainty and change, the market price of the Fund’s investments and the Fund’s NAV may be volatile. Furthermore, though these investments generally provide a higher yield than higher-rated debt securities, the high degree of risk involved in these investments can result in substantial or total losses. These securities are subject to greater risk of loss, greater sensitivity to economic changes, valuation difficulties, and a potential lack of a secondary or public market for the securities. The market price of these securities can change suddenly and unexpectedly. As a result, the Fund is intended for investors who are able and willing to assume a high degree of risk.

Zero-Coupon and Deferred Payment Securities Risk. The market value of a zero-coupon or deferred payment security is generally more volatile than the market value of interest paying securities, and is more likely to respond to a greater degree to changes in interest rates and credit quality than other fixed income securities with similar maturities that pay interest periodically. In addition, federal income tax law requires that the holder of a zero-coupon bond accrue a portion of the discount at which the bond was purchased as taxable income each year, even though the holder receives no interest payment on the bond during the year. The Fund must distribute substantially all of its net income (including non-cash income attributable to zero-coupon bonds) to its shareholders each year to maintain its status as a regulated investment company and to eliminate tax at the Fund level. Accordingly, such accrued discount must be taken into account in determining the amount of taxable distributions to shareholders. The Fund may consequently have to dispose of portfolio securities under disadvantageous circumstances to generate cash to satisfy such distribution requirements. These actions may reduce the assets to which the Fund’s expenses could otherwise be allocated and may reduce the Fund’s rate of return.

Restricted Securities Risk. Restricted securities are securities that cannot be offered for public resale unless registered under the applicable securities laws or that have a contractual restriction that prohibits or limits their resale. Restricted securities include private placement securities that have not been registered under the applicable securities laws, such as Rule 144A securities, and securities of U.S. and non-U.S. issuers that are issued pursuant to Regulation S. Private placements are generally subject to strict restrictions on resale. Restricted securities may not be listed on an exchange and may have no active trading market. Restricted securities may be illiquid. The Fund may be unable to sell a restricted security on short notice or may be able to sell them only at a price below current value. It may be more difficult to determine a market value for a restricted security. Also, a Fund may get only limited information about the issuer of a restricted security, so it may be less able to predict a loss. In addition, if Fund management receives material non-public information about the issuer, the

 

 

 
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Fund may as a result be unable to sell the securities. Certain restricted securities may involve a high degree of business and financial risk and may result in substantial losses.

Auction Rate Securities Risk. The auction rate municipal securities the Fund will purchase will typically have a long-term nominal maturity for which the interest rate is regularly reset through a “Dutch” auction. The interest rate set by the auction is the lowest interest rate that covers all securities offered for sale. While this process is designed to permit auction rate securities to be traded at par value, there is a risk that an auction will fail due to insufficient demand for the securities, which may adversely affect the liquidity and price of auction rate securities. Moreover, between auctions, there may be no secondary market for these securities, and sales conducted on a secondary market may not be on terms favorable to the seller. Thus, with respect to liquidity and price stability, auction rate securities may differ substantially from cash equivalents, notwithstanding the frequency of auctions and the credit quality of the security.

Government Securities Risk. The Fund invests in securities issued or guaranteed by the U.S. government or its agencies and instrumentalities (such as securities issued by Ginnie Mae, Fannie Mae, or Freddie Mac). U.S. government securities are subject to market risk, interest rate risk and credit risk. Securities, such as those issued or guaranteed by Ginnie Mae or the U.S. Treasury, that are backed by the full faith and credit of the United States are guaranteed only as to the timely payment of interest and principal when held to maturity and the market prices for such securities will fluctuate. Notwithstanding that these securities are backed by the full faith and credit of the United States, circumstances could arise that would prevent the payment of interest or principal. This would result in losses to the Fund. Securities issued or guaranteed by U.S. government related organizations, such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, are not backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government and no assurance can be given that the U.S. government will provide financial support. Therefore, U.S. government-related organizations may not have the funds to meet their payment obligations in the future. U.S. government securities include zero-coupon securities, which tend to be subject to greater market risk than interest-paying securities of similar maturities.

Cash Transactions Risk. Unlike certain ETFs, the Fund may effect its creations and redemptions in cash or partially in cash. As a result, an investment in the Fund may be less tax-efficient than an investment in an ETF that distributes portfolio securities entirely in-kind. Other ETFs generally are able to make in-kind redemptions and avoid realizing gains in connection with transactions designed to raise cash to meet redemption requests. If the Fund effects a portion of redemptions for cash, it may be required to sell portfolio securities in order to obtain the cash needed to distribute

redemption proceeds, which involves transaction costs. If the Fund recognizes gain on these sales, this generally will cause the Fund to recognize gain it might not otherwise have recognized if it were to distribute portfolio securities in-kind, or to recognize such gain sooner than would otherwise be required. The Fund generally intends to distribute these gains to shareholders to avoid being taxed on this gain at the Fund level and otherwise comply with the special tax rules that apply to it. This strategy may cause shareholders to be subject to tax on gains they would not otherwise be subject to, or at an earlier date than, if they had made an investment in a different ETF.

General Market Risk. Economies and financial markets throughout the world are becoming increasingly interconnected, which increases the likelihood that events or conditions in one country or region will adversely impact markets or issuers in other countries or regions. Securities in the Fund’s portfolio may underperform in comparison to securities in the general financial markets, a particular financial market or other asset classes, due to a number of factors, including inflation (or expectations for inflation), interest rates, global demand for particular products or resources, natural disasters or events, terrorism, regulatory events and government controls.

Industry and Sector Focus Risk. At times the Fund may increase the relative emphasis of its investments in a particular industry or sector. The prices of securities of issuers in a particular industry or sector may be more susceptible to fluctuations due to changes in economic or business conditions, government regulations, availability of basic resources or supplies, or other events that affect that industry or sector more than securities of issuers in other industries and sectors. To the extent that the Fund increases the relative emphasis of its investments in a particular industry or sector, the Shares’ values may fluctuate in response to events affecting that industry or sector.

Market Trading Risk

Risk that Shares of the Fund May Trade at Prices Other Than NAV. Shares of the Fund may trade on the Exchange at prices above, below or at their most recent NAV. The NAV of the Fund’s Shares, which is calculated at the end of each business day, will generally fluctuate with changes in the market value of the Fund’s holdings. The market prices of the Shares will also fluctuate, in some cases materially, in accordance with changes in NAV and the intraday value of the Fund’s holdings, as well as the relative supply of and demand for the Shares on the Exchange. Differences between secondary market prices of Shares and the intraday value of the Fund’s holdings may be due largely to supply and demand forces in the secondary market, which may not be the same forces as those influencing prices for securities held by the Fund at a particular time.

 

 

 
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Given the fact that Shares can be created and redeemed by authorized participants in Creation Units, the adviser believes that large discounts or premiums to the NAV of Shares should not be sustained in the long-term. While the creation/redemption feature is designed to make it likely that Shares normally will trade close to the value of the Fund’s holdings, market prices are not expected to correlate exactly to the Fund’s NAV due to timing reasons, supply and demand imbalances and other factors. In addition, disruptions to creations and redemptions, adverse developments impacting market makers, authorized participants or other market participants, or high market volatility may result in market prices for Shares of the Fund that differ significantly from its NAV or to the intraday value of the Fund’s holdings. As a result of these factors, among others, the Fund’s Shares may trade at a premium or discount to NAV, especially during periods of significant market volatility.

Given the nature of the relevant markets for certain of the securities for the Fund, Shares may trade at a larger premium or discount to NAV than shares of other kinds of ETFs. In addition, the securities held by the Fund may be traded in markets that close at a different time than the Exchange. Liquidity in those securities may be reduced after the applicable closing times. Accordingly, during the time when the Exchange is open but after the applicable market closing, fixing or settlement times, bid/ask spreads and the resulting premium or discount to the Shares’ NAV may widen.

Cost of Buying or Selling Shares. When you buy or sell Shares of the Fund through a broker, you will likely incur a brokerage commission or other charges imposed by brokers. In addition, the market price of Shares, like the price of any exchange-traded security, includes a “bid-ask spread” charged by the market makers or other participants that trade the particular security. The spread of the Fund’s Shares varies over time based on the Fund’s trading volume and market liquidity and may increase if the Fund’s trading volume, the spread of the Fund’s underlying securities, or market liquidity decrease. In times of severe market disruption, including when trading of the Fund’s holdings may be halted, the bid-ask spread may increase significantly. This means that Shares may trade at a discount to the Fund’s NAV, and the discount is likely to be greatest during significant market volatility.

Short Selling Risk. Shares of the Fund, similar to shares of other issuers listed on a stock exchange, may be sold short and are therefore subject to the risk of increased volatility and price decreases associated with being sold short.

No Guarantee of Active Trading Market Risk. While Shares are listed on the Exchange, there can be no assurance that active trading markets for the Shares will be maintained by market makers or by authorized participants. JPMorgan Distribution Services, Inc., the distributor of the Fund’s Shares (the Distributor), does not maintain a secondary market in the Shares.

Trading Issues Risk. Trading in Shares on the Exchange may be halted due to market conditions or for reasons that, in the view of the Exchange, make trading in Shares inadvisable. In addition, trading in Shares on the Exchange is subject to trading halts caused by extraordinary market volatility pursuant to the Exchange “circuit breaker” rules. If a trading halt or unanticipated early closing of the Exchange occurs, a Shareholder may be unable to purchase or sell Shares of the Fund. There can be no assurance that the requirements of the Exchange necessary to maintain the listing of the Fund will continue to be met or will remain unchanged.

Authorized Participant Concentration Risk. Only an authorized participant may engage in creation or redemption transactions directly with the Fund. The Fund has a limited number of intermediaries that act as authorized participants and none of these authorized participants is or will be obligated to engage in creation or redemption transactions. To the extent that these intermediaries exit the business or are unable to or choose not to proceed with creation and/or redemption orders with respect to the Fund and no other authorized participant creates or redeems, Shares may trade at a discount to NAV and possibly face trading halts and/or delisting.

ADDITIONAL RISKS

Transactions and Liquidity Risk. The Fund could experience a loss when selling securities to meet redemption requests by shareholders and its liquidity may be negatively impacted. The risk of loss increases if the redemption requests are large or frequent, occur in times of overall market turmoil or declining prices for the securities sold, or when the securities the Fund wishes to or is required to sell are illiquid. To the extent a large proportion of Shares are held by a small number of shareholders (or a single shareholder) including funds or accounts over which the adviser or its affiliates have investment discretion, the Fund is subject to the risk that these shareholders will purchase or redeem Shares in large amounts rapidly or unexpectedly, including as a result of an asset allocation decision made by the adviser or its affiliates. To the extent these larger shareholders transact in the secondary market, such transactions may account for a large percentage of the Fund’s trading volume on the Exchange, which may have a material effect (upward or downward) on the market price of Shares. In addition to the other risks described in this section, these transactions could adversely affect the ability of the Fund to conduct its investment program. The Fund may be unable to sell illiquid securities at its desired time or price or the price at which the securities have been valued for purposes of the Fund’s NAV. Illiquidity can be caused by a drop in overall market trading volume, an inability to find a ready buyer, or legal restrictions on the securities’ resale. Other market participants may be attempting to sell debt securities at the same time as the Fund, causing downward pricing pressure and contributing to illiquidity. The capacity for bond dealers to engage in trading or “make a

 

 

 
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market” in debt securities has not kept pace with the growth of bond markets. Liquidity and valuation risk may be magnified in a rising interest rate environment, when credit quality is deteriorating or in other circumstances where investor redemptions from fixed income funds may be higher than normal. Certain securities that were liquid when purchased may later become illiquid, particularly in times of overall economic distress. Similarly, large purchases of Shares may adversely affect the Fund’s performance to the extent that the Fund is delayed in investing new cash and is required to maintain a larger cash position than it ordinarily would. Large redemptions also could accelerate the realization of capital gains, increase the Fund’s transaction costs and impact the Fund’s performance.

Volcker Rule Risk. Pursuant to Section 619 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act and certain rules promulgated thereunder known as the Volcker Rule, if the adviser and/or its affiliates own 25% or more of the outstanding ownership interests of the Fund after the permitted seeding period from the implementation of the Fund’s investment strategy, the Fund could be subject to restrictions on trading that would adversely impact the Fund’s ability to execute its investment strategy. Generally, the permitted seeding period is three years from the implementation of the Fund’s investment strategy. As a result, the adviser and/or its affiliates may be required to reduce their ownership interests in the Fund at a time that is sooner than would otherwise be desirable, which may result in the Fund’s liquidation or, if the Fund is able to continue operating, may result in losses, increased transaction costs and adverse tax consequences as a result of the sale of portfolio securities.

Prepayment Risk. The issuer of certain securities may repay principal in advance, especially when yields fall. Changes in the rate at which prepayments occur can affect the return on investment of these securities. When debt obligations are prepaid or when securities are called, the Fund may have to reinvest in securities with a lower yield. The Fund also may fail to recover additional amounts (i.e., premiums) paid for securities with higher coupons, resulting in an unexpected capital loss.

Alternative Minimum Tax Risk. The Fund may invest its assets in municipal securities, the interest on which may be subject to the federal alternative minimum tax. Shareholders who are subject to the federal alternative minimum tax may have all or a portion of their income from the Fund subject to federal income tax. Any capital gain distributed by the Fund may be taxable.

High Portfolio Turnover Risk. The Fund will likely engage in active and frequent trading leading to increased portfolio turnover, higher transaction costs and the possibility of increased capital gains, including short-term capital gains that will generally be taxable to shareholders as ordinary income.

Derivatives Risk. The Fund may use derivatives in connection with its investment strategies. Derivatives may be riskier than other types of investments because they may be more sensitive to changes in economic or market conditions than other types of investments and could result in losses that significantly exceed the Fund’s original investment. Derivatives are subject to the risk that changes in the value of a derivative may not correlate perfectly with the underlying asset, rate or index. The use of derivatives may not be successful, resulting in losses to the Fund and the cost of such strategies may reduce the Fund’s returns. Certain derivatives also expose the Fund to counterparty risk (the risk that the derivative counterparty will not fulfill its contractual obligations), including credit risk of the derivative counterparty. Certain derivatives are synthetic instruments that attempt to replicate the performance of certain reference assets. With regard to such derivatives, the Fund does not have a claim on the reference assets and is subject to enhanced counterparty risk. In addition, the Fund may use derivatives for non-hedging purposes, which increases the Fund’s potential for loss.

Investing in derivatives will result in a form of leverage. Leverage involves special risks. The Fund may be more volatile than if the Fund had not been leveraged because leverage tends to exaggerate any effect on the value of the Fund’s portfolio securities. Registered investment companies are limited in their ability to engage in derivative transactions and are required to identify and earmark assets to provide asset coverage for derivative transactions.

The possible lack of a liquid secondary market for derivatives and the resulting inability of the Fund to sell or otherwise close a derivatives position could expose the Fund to losses and could make derivatives more difficult for the Fund to value accurately.

The Fund’s transactions in futures contracts, swaps and other derivatives could also affect the amount, timing and character of distributions to shareholders which may result in the Fund realizing more short-term capital gain and ordinary income subject to tax at ordinary income tax rates than it would if it did not engage in such transactions, which may adversely impact the Fund’s after-tax return.

 

WHAT IS A DERIVATIVE?
Derivatives are securities or contracts (for example, futures and options) that derive their value from the performance of underlying assets or securities.

ETF and Investment Company Risk. Shareholders bear both their proportionate share of the Fund’s expenses and similar expenses of an ETF or other investment company. The price and movement of an index-based ETF may not track the underlying index and may result in a loss. ETFs may trade at a price below their NAV (also known as a discount).

 

 

 
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Securities Lending Risk. The Fund may engage in securities lending. Securities lending involves counterparty risk, including the risk that the loaned securities may not be returned or returned in a timely manner and/or a loss of rights in the collateral if the borrower or the lending agent defaults. This risk is increased when a Fund’s loans are concentrated with a single or limited number of borrowers. In addition, the Fund bears the risk of loss in connection with its investments of the cash collateral it receives from the borrower. To the extent that the value or return of the Fund’s investments of the cash collateral declines below the amount owed to a borrower, the Fund may incur losses that exceed the amount it earned on lending the security. In situations where the adviser does not believe that it is prudent to sell the cash collateral investments in the market, the Fund may borrow money to repay the borrower the amount of cash collateral owed to the borrower upon return of the loaned securities. This will result in financial leverage, which may cause the Fund to be more volatile because financial leverage tends to exaggerate the effect of any increase or decrease in the value of the Fund’s portfolio securities.

For more information about risks associated with the types of investments that the Fund purchases, please read the “Risk/Return Summary” and the “Investment Practices” sections later in the prospectus and the Statement of Additional Information.

CONFLICTS OF INTEREST

An investment in a Fund is subject to a number of actual or potential conflicts of interest. For example, the adviser and/or its affiliates provide a variety of different services to a Fund, for which the Fund compensates them. As a result, the adviser and/or its affiliates have an incentive to enter into arrangements with a Fund, and face conflicts of interest when balancing that incentive against the best interests of a Fund. The adviser and/or its affiliates also face conflicts of interest in their service as investment adviser to other clients, and, from time to time, make investment decisions that differ from and/or negatively impact those made by the adviser on behalf of a Fund. In addition, affiliates of the adviser provide a broad range of services and products to their clients and are major participants in the global currency, equity, commodity, fixed-income and other markets in which a Fund invests or will invest. In certain circumstances by providing services and products to their clients, these affiliates’ activities will disadvantage or restrict the Funds and/or benefit these affiliates. The adviser may also acquire material non-public information which would negatively affect the adviser’s ability to transact in securities for a Fund. JPMorgan and the Funds have adopted policies and procedures reasonably designed to appropriately prevent, limit or mitigate conflicts of interest. In addition, many of the activities that create these conflicts of interest are

limited and/or prohibited by law, unless an exception is available. For more information about conflicts of interest, see the Potential Conflicts of Interest section in the SAI.

TEMPORARY DEFENSIVE AND CASH POSITIONS

For liquidity and to respond to unusual market conditions, the Fund may invest all or most of its total assets in cash and cash equivalents for temporary defensive purposes. In addition, the Fund may invest in cash and cash equivalents as a principal investment strategy. These investments may result in a lower yield than lower-quality or longer-term investments.

 

WHAT IS A CASH EQUIVALENT?
Cash equivalents are highly liquid, high-quality instruments with maturities of three months or less on the date they are purchased. They include securities issued by the U.S. government, its agencies and instrumentalities, repurchase agreements, certificates of deposit, bankers’ acceptances, commercial paper, variable rate master demand notes, money market mutual funds, and bank deposit accounts.

While the Fund is engaged in a temporary defensive position, it may not meet its investment objective. These investments may also be inconsistent with the Fund’s main investment strategies. Therefore, the Fund will pursue a temporary defensive position only when market conditions warrant.

DISCLOSURE OF PORTFOLIO HOLDINGS

A description of the policies and procedures with respect to the disclosure of the Fund’s portfolio securities is available in the Fund’s Statement of Additional Information.

ADDITIONAL FEE WAIVER AND/OR EXPENSE REIMBURSEMENT

Service providers to the Fund may, from time to time, voluntarily waive all or a portion of any fees to which they are entitled and/or reimburse certain expenses as they may determine from time to time. The Fund’s service providers may discontinue or modify these voluntary actions at any time without notice. Performance for the Fund, when available, will reflect the voluntary waiver of fees and/or the reimbursement of expenses, if any. Without these voluntary waivers and/or expense reimbursements, performance would be less favorable.

 

 

 
OCTOBER 22, 2018         13  


Table of Contents

The Fund’s Management and Administration

 

The Fund’s Management and Administration

The Fund is a series of J.P. Morgan Exchange-Traded Fund Trust, a Delaware statutory trust (the Trust). The Trust is governed by trustees who are responsible for overseeing all business activities of the Fund.

The Fund’s Investment Adviser

J.P. Morgan Investment Management Inc. (JPMIM) is the investment adviser to the Fund. JPMIM is located at 270 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10017.

JPMIM is a wholly-owned subsidiary of JPMorgan Asset Management Holdings Inc., which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPMorgan Chase), a bank holding company.

The Fund will pay the adviser a management fee of 0.24% of average daily net assets.

A discussion of the basis the Board of Trustees of the Trust used in approving the investment advisory agreement for the Fund will be available in the first shareholder report for the Fund.

The Fund’s Portfolio Managers

Michelle V. Hallam, Kevin M. Ellis and Michael R. Myers are the lead portfolio managers responsible for the day-to-day management of the Fund. Ms. Hallam, CFA charterholder and Executive Director, is a senior portfolio manager within the Global Fixed Income, Currency and Commodities (GFICC) group. An employee of JPMIM since 1999, Ms. Hallam is responsible for managing mutual funds and separately managed accounts. She began her career at JPMIM in July 1999 as an analyst in the Internal Consulting Services program where she worked on projects in Investment Management and Financial Risk Management.

Mr. Ellis, CFA charterholder and Managing Director, is a senior portfolio manager in the Municipal Strategies Team within GFICC. Mr. Ellis is responsible for managing mutual funds and tax aware separately managed accounts. Before joining the firm in 2003, Mr. Ellis worked at Alliance Capital/Sanford Bernstein as a municipal bond trader.

Mr. Myers is an executive director and senior portfolio manager on the Municipal Strategies Team within GFICC. An employee since 2005, Mr. Myers is responsible for managing separately managed accounts and oversees the Tax-Free Managed Income Portfolio group. Previously, Mr. Myers was a financial consultant and Smith Barney/Citigroup specializing in broad fixed income.

The Fund’s Administrator

JPMIM provides administrative services for and oversees the other service providers of the Fund. JPMIM receives the following annual fee on behalf of the Fund for administrative services: 0.085% of average daily net assets of the Fund.

The Fund’s Distributor

JPMorgan Distribution Services, Inc. (the Distributor) is the distributor of the Fund’s Shares. The Distributor or its agent distributes Creation Units for the Fund on an agency basis. The Distributor does not maintain a secondary market in Shares of the Fund. The Distributor has no role in determining the investment policies of the Fund or the securities that are purchased or sold by the Fund. The Distributor’s principal address is 1111 Polaris Parkway, Columbus, OH 43240.

Payments to Financial Intermediaries

JPMIM and, from time to time, other affiliates of JPMorgan Chase may, at their own expense and out of their own legitimate profits, provide cash payments to Financial Intermediaries whose customers invest in Shares of the Fund. For this purpose, Financial Intermediaries include financial advisors, investment advisers, brokers, financial planners, banks, insurance companies, retirement or 401(k) plan administrators and others, including various affiliates of JPMorgan Chase, that may enter into agreements with JPMIM and/or its affiliates. These cash payments may relate to marketing activities and presentations, educational training programs, the support of technology platforms and/or reporting systems, or the Financial Intermediaries’ making Shares of the Fund available to their customers. Such compensation may provide such Financial Intermediaries with an incentive to favor sales of Shares of the Fund over other investment options they make available to their customers. See the Statement of Additional Information for more information.

 

 

 
14       J.P. MORGAN EXCHANGE-TRADED FUNDS


Table of Contents

Purchase and Redemption of Shares

 

BUYING AND SELLING SHARES

In the Secondary Market. Most investors will buy and sell Shares of the Fund in secondary market transactions through brokers. Shares of the Fund are listed and traded on the secondary market on the Exchange. Shares can be bought and sold throughout the trading day like other publicly traded shares. There is no minimum investment. Although Shares are generally purchased and sold in “round lots” of 100 Shares, brokerage firms typically permit investors to purchase or sell Shares in smaller “odd lots,” at no per-Share price differential. When buying or selling Shares through a broker, you will incur customary brokerage commissions and charges, and you may pay some or all of the spread between the bid and the offered price in the secondary market on each leg of a round trip (purchase and sale) transaction. The spread varies over time for Shares of the Fund based on the Fund’s trading volume and market liquidity, and is generally lower if the Fund has a lot of trading volume and market liquidity.

Shares of the Fund trade on the Exchange at prices that may differ to varying degrees from the daily NAV of the Shares.

Directly with the Fund. The Fund’s Shares are issued or redeemed by the Fund at NAV per Share only in Creation Units. Investors such as market makers, large investors and institutions who wish to deal in Creation Units directly with the Fund must have entered into an authorized participant agreement with the Distributor, or purchase through a dealer that has entered into such an agreement. Set forth below is a brief description of the procedures applicable to purchases and redemptions of Creation Units. For more detailed information, see “Creation and Redemption of Creation Unit Aggregations” in the Fund’s Statement of Additional Information.

Beneficial Ownership. The Depository Trust Company (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. For more detailed information, see “Book Entry Only System” in the Fund’s Statement of Additional Information.

PREMIUM/DISCOUNT INFORMATION

The Fund has not commenced operations as of the date of this prospectus, and, therefore, does not have information about the differences between the Fund’s daily market price on the Exchange and its NAV. When available, information regarding how often the Shares of the Fund traded on the Exchange at a price above (i.e., at a premium) or below (i.e., at a discount) the NAV of the Fund during the past four calendar quarters, as applicable, can be found at www.jpmorganfunds.com.

PRICING SHARES

The trading price of the Fund’s Shares on the Exchange may differ from the Fund’s daily NAV and can be affected by market forces of supply and demand, economic conditions and other factors.

The Exchange disseminates the approximate value of Shares of the Fund every fifteen seconds. This approximate value should not be viewed as a “real-time” update of the NAV per Share of the Fund because the approximate value may not be calculated in the same manner as the NAV, which is computed only once a day. The approximate value is generally determined by using both current market quotations and/or price quotations obtained from broker-dealers and other market intermediaries that may trade in the portfolio securities held by the Fund. The Fund is not involved in, or responsible for, the calculation or dissemination of the approximate value and the Fund does not make any representation or warranty as to its accuracy.

NAV is calculated each business day as of the close of the Cboe BZX Exchange, Inc. (Exchange), which is typically 4:00 p.m. ET. On occasion, the Exchange will close before 4:00 p.m. ET. When that happens, NAV will be calculated as of the time the Exchange closes. The Fund will not treat an intraday unscheduled disruption or closure in the Exchange trading as a closure of the Exchange and will calculate NAV as of 4:00 p.m. ET if the particular disruption or closure directly affects only the Exchange. The price at which a purchase of a Creation Unit is effected is based on the next calculation of NAV after the order is received in proper form in accordance with this

 

 

 
OCTOBER 22, 2018         15  


Table of Contents

Purchase and Redemption of Shares (continued)

 

prospectus. To the extent the Fund invests in securities that are primarily listed on foreign exchanges or other markets that trade on weekends or other days when the Fund does not price its Shares, the value of the Fund’s Shares may change on days when you will not be able to purchase or redeem your Shares. The NAV per share of the Fund is equal to the value of all its assets minus its liabilities, divided by the number of outstanding shares.

Securities for which market quotations are readily available are generally valued at their current market value. Other securities and assets, including securities for which market quotations are not readily available, market quotations are determined not to be reliable, or, their value has been materially affected by events occurring after the close of trading on the exchange or market on which the security is principally traded but before the Fund’s NAV is calculated, may be valued at fair value in accordance with policies and procedures adopted by the Trust’s Board of Trustees. Fair value represents a good faith determination of the value of a security or other asset based upon specifically applied procedures. Fair valuation may require subjective determinations. There can be no assurance that the fair value of an asset is the price at which the asset could have been sold during the period in which the particular fair value was used in determining the Fund’s NAV.

Equity securities listed on a North American, Central American, South American or Caribbean securities exchange are generally valued at the last sale price on the exchange on which the security is principally traded. Other foreign equity securities are fair valued using quotations from independent pricing services, as applicable. The value of securities listed on the NASDAQ Stock Market, Inc. is generally the NASDAQ official closing price.

Fixed income securities are valued using prices supplied by an approved independent third party or affiliated pricing services or broker/dealers. Those prices are determined using a variety of inputs and factors as more fully described in the Statement of Additional Information.

Assets and liabilities initially expressed in foreign currencies are converted into U.S. dollars at the prevailing market rates from an approved independent pricing service as of 4:00 p.m. ET.

Shares of ETFs are generally valued at the last sale price on the exchange on which the ETF is principally traded. Shares of other open-end investment companies are valued at their respective NAVs.

Exchange-traded futures (e.g., on stock indices, debt securities or commodities) are valued at the settled price, or if no settled price is available, at the last sale price as of the close of the exchanges on which they trade. Any futures involving equity reference obligations listed on exchanges other than North American, Central American, South American or Caribbean securities exchanges will be fair valued by applying fair value factors provided by independent pricing services, as applicable.

Non-listed over-the-counter futures are valued utilizing market quotations provided by approved pricing services.

Any derivatives involving equity reference obligations listed on exchanges other than North American, Central American, South American or Caribbean securities exchanges will be fair valued by applying fair value factors provided by independent pricing services, as applicable.

FREQUENT PURCHASES AND REDEMPTIONS

The Fund imposes no restrictions on the frequency of purchases and redemptions. The Board of Trustees evaluated the risks of market timing activities by the Fund’s shareholders when they considered that no restriction or policy was necessary. The Board considered that, unlike mutual funds, the Fund issues and redeems its Shares at NAV only in Creation Units, and the Fund’s Shares may be purchased and sold on the Exchange at prevailing market prices.

 

 

 
16       J.P. MORGAN EXCHANGE-TRADED FUNDS


Table of Contents

Shareholder Information

 

TAXES ON DISTRIBUTIONS

The Fund intends to elect to be treated and to qualify each taxable year as a regulated investment company. A regulated investment company is not subject to tax at the corporate level on income and gains from investments that are distributed to shareholders. The Fund’s failure to qualify as a regulated investment company would result in corporate-level taxation and, consequently, a reduction in income available for distribution to shareholders.

The Fund can earn income and realize capital gain. The Fund deducts any expenses and then pays out the earnings, if any, to shareholders as distributions.

The Fund generally declares and distributes net investment income, if any, at least monthly. The Fund will distribute net realized capital gain, if any, at least annually. For each taxable year, the Fund will distribute substantially all of its net investment income and net realized capital gain.

If, at the close of each quarter of its taxable year, at least 50% of the value of the Fund’s total assets consists of tax-exempt interest obligations, the Fund will be eligible to designate distributions of interest derived from tax-exempt-interest obligations as “exempt-interest dividends.” As described in the section entitled “What are the Fund’s main investment strategies?” for the Fund, the Fund invest primarily in various types of municipal securities, the interest on which is exempt from federal income tax. Distributions that are properly reported as exempt-interest dividends generally are not subject to federal income tax but may be subject to state and local taxes and, in certain instances, may result in liability for the federal alternative minimum tax for individual shareholders. You should consult your tax advisor concerning your own tax situation.

Shareholders who receive social security or railroad retirement benefits should also consult their tax advisors to determine what effect, if any, an investment in the Fund may have on the federal taxation of their benefits. Exempt-interest dividends generally are included in income for purposes of determining the amount of benefits that are taxable.

The Fund may invest a portion of its assets in securities that generate income subject to federal, state, and/or local taxes. For federal income tax purposes, distributions of net investment income that are not properly reported as exempt-interest dividends generally are taxable as ordinary income from dividends. Dividends of net investment income paid to a non-corporate U.S. shareholder that are properly reported as qualified dividend income generally will be taxable to such shareholder at preferential rates. The maximum individual rate applicable to “qualified dividend income” is either 15% or 20%, depending on whether the individual’s income exceeds certain threshold amounts. The amount of dividend income that may be so reported by the Fund generally will be limited to the

aggregate of the eligible dividends received by the Fund. In addition, the Fund must meet certain holding period and other requirements with respect to the shares on which the Fund received the eligible dividends, and the non-corporate U.S. shareholder must meet certain holding period and other requirements with respect to the Fund’s shares. The amount of a Fund’s distributions that would otherwise qualify for this favorable tax treatment may be reduced as a result of a Fund’s securities lending activities or high portfolio turnover rate. Dividends of net investment income that are not reported as either qualified dividend income or exempt-interest dividend income will be taxable as ordinary income. It is unlikely that dividends from the Fund will qualify to any significant extent for designation as qualified dividend income.

Distributions of net capital gain (that is, the excess of the net gains from the sale of investments that the Fund owned for more than one year over the net losses from investments that the Fund owned for one year or less) that are properly reported by the Fund as capital gain dividends will be taxable as long-term capital gain, regardless of how long you have held your Shares in the Fund. The maximum individual federal income tax 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 of net short-term capital gain (that is, the excess of any net short-term capital gain over net long-term capital loss), if any, will be taxable to U.S. shareholders as ordinary income. Capital gain of a corporate shareholder is taxed at the same rate as ordinary income.

An additional 3.8% Medicare tax is imposed on certain net investment income (including ordinary dividends and capital gain distributions received from the Fund and net gains from redemptions or other taxable dispositions of Shares, but excluding any exempt-interest dividends received from the Fund) 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.

If you buy Shares of the Fund just before a distribution, you will be subject to tax on the entire amount of the taxable distribution you receive. Distributions are taxable to you even if they are paid from income or gain earned by the Fund before your investment (and thus were included in the price you paid for your Shares). Any gain resulting from the sale or exchange of Shares generally will be taxable as long-term or short-term gain, depending upon how long you have held the Shares.

The Fund’s investment in certain debt obligations and derivative instruments may require the Fund to accrue and distribute income not yet received. In order to generate sufficient cash to make the requisite distributions, the Fund may be required to liquidate other investments in its portfolio that it otherwise would have continued to hold, including at times when it is not advantageous to do so.

 

 

 
OCTOBER 22, 2018         17  


Table of Contents

Shareholder Information (continued)

 

The Fund’s transactions in futures contracts, swaps and other derivatives 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 shareholders. The Fund’s use of these types of transactions may result in the Fund realizing more short-term capital gain and ordinary income subject to tax at ordinary income tax rates than it would if it did not engage in such transactions.

Please see the Statement of Additional Information for additional discussion of the tax consequences of the above-described and other investments to the Fund and its shareholders.

The dates on which dividends and capital gain, if any, will be distributed are available online at www.jpmorganfunds.com.

Early in each calendar year, you will receive a notice showing the amount of distributions you received during the preceding calendar year and the tax status of those distributions.

The Fund is not intended for foreign shareholders. Any foreign shareholder would generally be subject to U.S. tax-withholding on distributions by the Fund, as discussed in the Statement of Additional Information.

Any investor for whom the Fund does not have a valid Taxpayer Identification Number may be subject to backup withholding.

The tax considerations described in this section do not apply to tax-deferred accounts or other non-taxable entities.

TAXES ON EXCHANGE-LISTED SHARES SALES

Currently, any capital gain or loss realized upon a sale of Shares is generally treated as long-term capital gain or loss if the Shares have been held for more than one year and as short-term capital gain or loss if the Shares have been held for one year or less. Capital loss realized on the sale or exchange of Shares held for six months or less will be treated as long-term capital loss to the extent of any capital gain dividends received by the shareholder. The ability to deduct capital losses may be limited.

TAXES ON PURCHASE AND REDEMPTION OF CREATION UNITS

At the time of purchase, an Authorized Participant who exchanges equity 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 and the exchanger’s aggregate basis in the securities surrendered and the cash paid. At redemption, a person who exchanges Creation Units for equity securities will generally recognize a gain or loss equal to the difference between the exchanger’s basis in the Creation Units and the aggregate

market value of the securities received and the cash received in connection with the redemption. The Internal Revenue Service, however, may assert that a loss realized upon an exchange of securities for Creation Units cannot be deducted currently under the rules governing “wash sales” on the basis that there has been no significant change in economic position. Persons exchanging securities should consult their own tax advisor with respect to whether the wash sale rules apply and when a loss might be deductible.

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

If you purchase or redeem Creation Units, you will be sent a confirmation statement showing how many and at what price you purchased or sold Shares.

The above is a general summary of tax implications of investing in the Fund. Because each investor’s tax consequences are unique, please consult your tax advisor to see how investing in the Fund and, for individuals and S corporations, selection of a particular cost method of accounting will affect your own tax situation.

AVAILABILITY OF PROXY VOTING RECORD

The Trustees have delegated the authority to vote proxies for securities owned by the Fund to JPMIM. When available, a copy of the Fund’s voting record for the most recent 12-month period ended June 30 will be available on the SEC’s website at www.sec.gov or on the Fund’s website at www.jpmorganfunds.com no later than August 31 of each year. The Fund’s proxy voting record will include, among other things, a brief description of the matter voted on for each portfolio security, and will state how each vote was cast, for example, for or against the proposal.

OTHER INFORMATION

For purposes of the Investment Company Act of 1940 (1940 Act), the Fund is treated as a registered investment company. Section 12(d)(1) of the 1940 Act restricts investments by investment companies in the securities of other investment companies, including Shares of the Fund. Registered investment companies are permitted to invest in the Fund beyond the limits set forth in Section 12(d)(1) subject to certain terms and conditions set forth in an SEC exemptive order issued to the Trust, including that such investment companies enter into an agreement with the Fund.

 

 

 
18       J.P. MORGAN EXCHANGE-TRADED FUNDS


Table of Contents

Investment Practices

 

The table discusses the types of investments which can be held by the Fund. In each case, the related types of risk are also listed.

 

INSTRUMENT    RISK TYPE
Asset-Backed Securities: Securities secured by company receivables, home equity loans, truck and auto loans, leases and credit card receivables or other securities backed by other types of receivables or other assets.   

Credit

Interest Rate

Liquidity

Market

Political

Prepayment

Valuation

Auction Rate Securities: Auction rate municipal securities and auction rate preferred securities issued by closed-end investment companies.   

Credit

Interest Rate

Liquidity

Market

Bank Obligations: Bankers’ acceptances, certificates of deposit and time deposits. Bankers’ acceptances are bills of exchange or time drafts drawn on and accepted by a commercial bank. Maturities are generally six months or less. Certificates of deposit are negotiable certificates issued by a bank for a specified period of time and earning a specified return. Time deposits are non-negotiable receipts issued by a bank in exchange for the deposit of funds.   

Credit

Currency

Interest Rate

Liquidity

Market

Political

Borrowings: The Fund may borrow for temporary purposes and/or for investment purposes. Such a practice will result in leveraging of the Fund’s assets and may cause the Fund to liquidate portfolio positions when it would not be advantageous to do so. The Fund must maintain continuous asset coverage of 300% of the amount borrowed, with the exception for borrowings not in excess of 5% of the Fund’s total assets made for temporary administrative purposes.   

Credit

Interest Rate

Market

Call and Put Options: A call option gives the buyer the right to buy, and obligates the seller of the option to sell a security at a specified price at a future date. A put option gives the buyer the right to sell, and obligates the seller of the option to buy a security at a specified price at a future date. The Fund will sell only covered call and secured put options.   

Credit

Leverage

Liquidity

Management

Market

Commercial Paper: Secured and unsecured short-term promissory notes issued by corporations and other entities. Maturities generally vary from a few days to nine months.   

Credit

Currency

Interest Rate

Liquidity

Market

Political

Valuation

Corporate Debt Securities: May include bonds and other debt securities of domestic and foreign issuers, including obligations of industrial, utility, banking and other corporate issuers.   

Credit

Currency

Interest Rate

Liquidity

Market

Political

Valuation

Demand Features: Securities that are subject to puts and standby commitments to purchase the securities at a fixed price (usually with accrued interest) within a fixed period of time following demand by a Fund.   

Liquidity

Management

Market

Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs): Ownership interest in unit investment trusts, depositary receipts, and other pooled investment vehicles that hold a portfolio of securities or stocks designed to track the price performance and dividend yield of a particular broad-based, sector or international index. ETFs include a wide range of investments.   

Investment Company

Market

 

 
OCTOBER 22, 2018         19  


Table of Contents

Investment Practices (continued)

 

INSTRUMENT    RISK TYPE
High Yield/High Risk Securities/Junk Bonds: Securities that are generally rated below investment grade by the primary rating agencies or are unrated but are deemed by the Fund’s adviser to be of comparable quality.    Credit
Currency
High Yield Securities
Interest Rate
Liquidity
Market
Political
Portfolio Quality
Valuation
Inverse Floating Rate Instruments: Leveraged variable debt instruments with interest rates that reset in the opposite direction from the market rate of interest to which the inverse floater is indexed.   

Credit

Leverage

Market

Investment Company Securities: Shares of other investment companies, including money market funds for which the adviser and/or its affiliates serve as investment adviser or administrator. The adviser will waive certain fees when investing in funds for which it serves as investment adviser, to the extent required by law or by contract.    Investment Company
Market
Loan Assignments and Participations: Assignments of, or participations in all or a portion of loans to corporations or to governments, including governments in less developed countries.   

Credit

Currency

Extension

Foreign Investment Interest Rate Liquidity

Market

Political Prepayment

Mortgage-Backed Securities: Debt obligations secured by real estate loans and pools of loans such as collateralized mortgage obligations (CMOs), commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBSs) and other asset-backed structures.   

Credit

Currency

Extension

Interest Rate

Leverage

Liquidity

Market

Political

Prepayment

Tax

Valuation

Municipal Securities: Securities issued by a state or political subdivision to obtain funds for various public purposes. Municipal securities include, among others, private activity bonds and industrial development bonds, as well as general obligation notes, tax anticipation notes, bond anticipation notes, revenue anticipation notes, other short-term tax-exempt obligations, municipal leases, obligations of municipal housing authorities and single family revenue bonds.   

Credit

Interest Rate

Market

Natural Event

Political

Prepayment

Tax

New Financial Products: New options and futures contracts and other financial products continue to be developed and the Fund may invest in such options, contracts and products.   

Credit

Liquidity

Management

Market

Options and Futures Transactions: The Fund may purchase and sell (a) exchange traded and over the counter put and call options on securities, indexes of securities and futures contracts on securities, indexes of securities, interest rate futures contracts and interest rate swaps and (b) futures contracts on securities and indexes of securities.   

Credit

Leverage

Liquidity

Management

Market

 

 
20       J.P. MORGAN EXCHANGE-TRADED FUNDS


Table of Contents
INSTRUMENT    RISK TYPE
Private Placements, Restricted Securities and Other Unregistered Securities: Securities not registered under the Securities Act of 1933, such as privately placed commercial paper and Rule 144A securities.   

Liquidity
Market

Valuation

Repurchase Agreements: The purchase of a security and the simultaneous commitment to return the security to the seller at an agreed upon price on an agreed upon date. This is treated as a loan.    Credit
Liquidity
Market
Securities Lending: The lending of up to 33 1/3% of a Fund’s total assets. In return, a Fund will receive cash, other securities, and/or letters of credit as collateral.   

Credit

Leverage

Market

Short-Term Funding Agreements: Agreements issued by banks and highly rated U.S. insurance companies such as Guaranteed Investment Contracts (GICs) and Bank Investment Contracts (BICs).   

Credit

Liquidity

Market

Structured Investments: A security having a return tied to an underlying index or other security or asset class. Structured investments generally are individually negotiated agreements and may be traded over-the-counter. Structured investments are organized and operated to restructure the investment characteristics of the underlying security.   

Credit

Foreign Investment

Liquidity

Management

Market

Valuation

Swaps and Related Swap Products: Swaps involve an exchange of obligations by two parties. Caps and floors entitle a purchaser to a principal amount from the seller of the cap or floor to the extent that a specified index exceeds or falls below a predetermined interest rate or amount. The Fund may enter into these transactions to manage its exposure to changing interest rates and other factors.   

Credit

Currency

Interest Rate

Leverage

Liquidity

Management

Market

Political

Valuation

Synthetic Variable Rate Instruments: Instruments that generally involve the deposit of a long-term tax exempt bond in a custody or trust arrangement and the creation of a mechanism to adjust the long-term interest rate on the bond to a variable short-term rate and a right (subject to certain conditions) on the part of the purchaser to tender it periodically to a third party at par.   

Credit

Liquidity

Market

Temporary Defensive Positions: To respond to unusual circumstances a Fund may invest in cash and cash equivalents for temporary defensive purposes.   

Credit

Interest Rate

Liquidity

Market

Treasury Receipts: A Fund may purchase interests in separately traded interest and principal component parts of U.S. Treasury obligations that are issued by banks or brokerage firms and that are created by depositing U.S. Treasury notes and U.S. Treasury bonds into a special account at a custodian bank. Receipts include Treasury Receipts (TRs), Treasury Investment Growth Receipts (TIGRs), and Certificates of Accrual on Treasury Securities (CATS).    Market
U.S. Government Agency Securities: Securities issued or guaranteed by agencies and instrumentalities of the U.S. government. These include all types of securities issued by Ginnie Mae, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, including funding notes, subordinated benchmark notes, CMOs and REMICs.   

Credit

Government
Securities

Interest Rate

Market

 

 
OCTOBER 22, 2018         21  


Table of Contents

Investment Practices (continued)

 

INSTRUMENT    RISK TYPE
U.S. Government Obligations: May include direct obligations of the U.S. Treasury, including Treasury bills, notes and bonds, all of which are backed as to principal and interest payments by the full faith and credit of the United States, and separately traded principal and interest component parts of such obligations that are transferable through the Federal book-entry system known as Separate Trading of Registered Interest and Principal of Securities (STRIPS) and Coupons Under Book Entry Safekeeping (CUBES).   

Interest Rate

Market

Variable and Floating Rate Instruments: Obligations with interest rates which are reset daily, weekly, quarterly or some other frequency and which may be payable to the Fund on demand or at the expiration of a specified term.   

Credit
Liquidity
Market

Valuation

When-Issued Securities, Delayed Delivery Securities and Forward Commitments: Purchase or contract to purchase securities at a fixed price for delivery at a future date.   

Credit

Leverage

Liquidity

Market

Valuation

Zero-Coupon, Pay-in-Kind and Deferred Payment Securities: Zero-coupon securities are securities that are sold at a discount to par value and on which interest payments are not made during the life of the security. Pay-in-kind securities are securities that have interest payable by delivery of additional securities. Deferred payment securities are zero-coupon debt securities which convert on a specified date to interest bearing debt securities.   

Credit
Currency
Interest Rate
Liquidity
Market
Political
Valuation

Zero-Coupon
Securities

 

Risk related to certain investments held by the Fund:

Credit risk The risk that a financial obligation will not be met by the issuer of a security or the counterparty to a contract, resulting in a loss to the purchaser.

Currency risk The risk that currency exchange rate fluctuations may reduce gains or increase losses on foreign investments.

Environmental risk The risk that an owner or operator of real estate may be liable for the costs associated with hazardous or toxic substances located on the property.

Extension risk The risk that a rise in interest rates will extend the life of a security to a date later than the anticipated prepayment date, causing the value of the investment to fall.

Foreign investment risk The risk associated with higher transaction costs, delayed settlements, currency controls and adverse economic developments. This also includes the risk that fluctuations in the exchange rates between the U.S. dollar and foreign currencies may negatively affect an investment. Adverse changes in exchange rates may erode or reverse any gains produced by foreign currency denominated investments and may widen any losses. Exchange rate volatility also may affect the ability of an issuer to repay U.S. dollar denominated debt, thereby increasing credit risk.

Government securities risk The Fund may invest in securities issued or guaranteed by the U.S. government or its agencies or instrumentalities (such as securities issued by Fannie Mae, Ginnie Mae or Freddie Mac securities). U.S. government securities are subject to market risk, interest rate risk and credit risk. Securities, such as those issued or guaranteed by Ginnie Mae or the U.S. Treasury, that are backed by the full faith and credit of the United States are guaranteed only as to the timely payment of interest and principal when held to maturity and the market prices for such securities will fluctuate. Notwithstanding that these securities are backed by the full faith and credit of the United States, circumstances could arise that would prevent the payment of interest or principal. This would result in losses to the Fund. Securities issued or guaranteed by U.S. government-related organizations, such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, are not backed by the full faith of the U.S. government and no assurance can be given that the U.S. government will provide financial support. Therefore, U.S. government-related organizations may not have the funds to meet their payment obligations in the future.

High yield securities risk The risk that the Fund may invest in high yield, high risk securities (also known as junk bonds) which are considered to be speculative. These investments may be issued by companies which are highly leveraged, less creditworthy or financially distressed. Non-investment grade debt securities can be more sensitive to short-term corporate, economic and market developments. During periods of economic uncertainty and change, the market price of the Fund’s investments and the Fund’s NAV may be volatile. Furthermore, though these investments generally provide a higher yield than higher-rated debt securities, the high degree of risk involved in these investments can result in substantial or total losses. These securities are subject to great risk of loss, greater sensitivity to economic changes, valuation difficulties, and a potential lack of a secondary or public market for securities. The market price of these securities can change suddenly and unexpectedly.

Interest rate risk The risk that a change in interest rates will adversely affect the value of an investment. The value of fixed income securities generally moves in the opposite direction of interest rates (decreases when interest rates rise and increases when interest rates fall).

Investment company risk If the Fund invests in shares of another investment company, shareholders would bear not only their proportionate share of the Fund’s expenses, but also similar expenses of the investment company. The price movement of an investment company that is an ETF may not track the underlying index and result in a loss.

Leverage risk The risk that gains or losses will be disproportionately higher than the amount invested.

Liquidity risk The risk that the holder may not be able to sell the security at the time or price it desires.

Management risk The risk that a strategy used by the Fund’s management may fail to produce the intended result. This includes the risk that changes in the value of a hedging instrument will not match those of the asset being hedged. Incomplete matching can result in unanticipated risks.

Market risk The risk that when the market as a whole declines, the value of a specific investment will decline proportionately. This systematic risk is common to all investments and the mutual funds that purchase them.

Natural event risk The risk that a natural disaster, such as a hurricane or similar event, will cause severe economic losses and default in payments by the issuer of the security.

 

 

 
22       J.P. MORGAN EXCHANGE-TRADED FUNDS


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Political risk The risk that governmental policies or other political actions will negatively impact the value of the investment.

Portfolio quality risk The risk associated with below investment grade securities including greater risk of default, greater sensitivity to interest rate and economic changes, potential valuation difficulties, and sudden and unexpected changes in credit quality.

Prepayment risk The risk that declining interest rates will result in unexpected prepayments, causing the value of the investment to fall.

Tax risk The risk that the issuer of the securities will fail to comply with certain requirements of the Internal Revenue Code, which could cause adverse tax consequences. Also the risk that the tax treatment of municipal or other securities could be changed by Congress thereby affecting the value of outstanding securities.

Valuation risk The risk that the estimated value of a security does not match the actual amount that can be realized if the security is sold.

Zero-Coupon securities risk The risk that the market value of a zero-coupon, pay-in-kind or deferred payment security is generally more volatile than the market value of, and is more likely to respond to a greater degree to changes in interest rates than, other fixed income securities with similar maturities and credit quality that pay interest periodically. In addition, federal income tax law requires that the holder of a zero-coupon security accrue a portion of the discount at which the security was purchased as taxable income each year even though the holder receives no interest payments on the note during the year. The Fund must distribute substantially all of its net income (including non-cash income attributable to zero-coupon securities). These actions may reduce the assets to which the Fund’s expenses could otherwise be allocated and may reduce the Fund’s rate of return.

 

 

 
OCTOBER 22, 2018         23  


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Financial Highlights

 

This section would ordinarily include Financial Highlights. The Financial Highlights table is intended to help you understand the Fund’s performance for the Fund’s periods of operations. Because the Fund has not yet commenced operations as of the date of this prospectus, no Financial Highlights are shown.

 

 
24       J.P. MORGAN EXCHANGE-TRADED FUNDS


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HOW TO REACH US

 

MORE INFORMATION

For investors who want more information on the Fund the following documents are available free upon request:

ANNUAL AND SEMI-ANNUAL REPORTS

The Fund’s annual and semi-annual reports, when available, will contain more information about the Fund’s investments and performance. The annual report will also include details about the market conditions and investment strategies that have a significant effect on the Fund’s performance.

STATEMENT OF ADDITIONAL INFORMATION (SAI)

The SAI contains more detailed information about the Fund and its policies. It is incorporated by reference into this prospectus. This means, by law, it is considered to be part of this prospectus.

You can get a free copy of these documents and other information, or ask us any questions, by calling us at

1-844-457-6383 (844-4JPM ETF) or writing to:

J.P. Morgan Exchange-Traded Funds

270 Park Avenue

NY1-K108

New York, NY 10017

If you buy your shares through a Financial Intermediary, you should contact that Financial Intermediary directly for more information. You can also find information online at www.jpmorganfunds.com.

You can write or e-mail the SEC’s Public Reference Room and ask them to mail you information about the Fund, including the SAI. They will charge you a copying fee for this service. You can also visit the Public Reference Room and copy the documents while you are there.

Public Reference Room of the SEC

Washington, DC 20549-1520

1-202-551-8090

Email: publicinfo@sec.gov

Reports, a copy of the SAI and other information about the Fund are also available on the EDGAR Database on the SEC’s website at http://www.sec.gov.

Investment Company Act File No. for the Fund is 811-22903.

 

©JPMorgan Chase & Co., 2018. All rights reserved. October 2018.

 

PR-MUNIETF-1018

  LOGO


Table of Contents

STATEMENT OF ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

PART I

October 22, 2018

J.P. MORGAN EXCHANGE-TRADED FUND TRUST (the “Trust”)

 

Fund Name    Ticker    Listing Exchange

JPMorgan Municipal ETF (the “Municipal ETF” or the “Fund”)

   JMUB    Cboe BZX Exchange, Inc.

This Statement of Additional Information (“SAI”) is not a prospectus, but contains additional information which should be read in conjunction with the prospectus for the Fund, dated October 22, 2018, as supplemented from time to time (the “Prospectus”). The Prospectus is available without charge upon request by contacting JPMorgan Distribution Services, Inc. (“JPMDS” or the “Distributor”), the Fund’s distributor, at 1111 Polaris Parkway, Columbus, OH 43240.

This SAI is divided into two Parts — Part I and Part II. Part I of this SAI contains information that is particular to the Fund. Part II of this SAI contains additional information that more generally applies to the Trust’s funds.

For more information about the Fund, simply write or call:

J.P. Morgan Exchange-Traded Funds

270 Park Ave

NY1-K108

New York, NY 10017

1-844-457-6383 (844-4JPM ETF)

SAI-MUNIETF-1018


Table of Contents

TABLE OF CONTENTS

PART I

 

GENERAL

     1  

The Trust and the Fund

     1  

Miscellaneous

     1  

INVESTMENT POLICIES

     1  

INVESTMENT PRACTICES

     3  

DIVERSIFICATION

     6  

PORTFOLIO TURNOVER

     6  

TRUSTEES

     6  

Standing Committees

     6  

Ownership of Securities

     6  

Trustee Compensation

     7  

INVESTMENT ADVISER

     7  

Investment Advisory Fees

     7  

PORTFOLIO MANAGERS

     7  

Portfolio Managers’ Other Accounts Managed

     7  

Portfolio Managers’ Ownership of Securities

     8  

Portfolio Managers’ Compensation

     8  

ADMINISTRATOR

     8  

Administrator Fees

     8  

FUND ACCOUNTING AGENT

     8  

Fund Accounting Fees

     8  

BROKERAGE

     8  

Brokerage Commissions

     8  

Broker Research

     8  

Securities of Regular Broker-Dealers

     8  

PURCHASE AND REDEMPTION OF CREATION UNITS

     8  

CREATION AND REDEMPTION TRANSACTION FEES

     9  

PURCHASE BY OTHER INVESTMENT COMPANIES

     9  

FINANCIAL INTERMEDIARIES

     9  

Compensation Payments

     9  

TAX MATTERS

     9  

Capital Loss Carryforwards

     9  

SHARE OWNERSHIP

     9  

Trustees and Officers

     9  

Principal Holders

     9  

FINANCIAL STATEMENTS

     9  

PLEASE SEE PART II OF THIS SAI FOR ITS TABLE OF CONTENTS


Table of Contents

GENERAL

The Trust and the Fund

The Fund is a series of J.P. Morgan Exchange-Traded Fund Trust (the “Trust”), an open-end, management investment company formed as a statutory trust under the laws of the State of Delaware on February 25, 2010 and governed by a Declaration of Trust as amended and restated on February 19, 2014.

The Fund will offer and issue shares at net asset value (“NAV”) only in aggregations of a specified number of shares (each a “Creation Unit” or a “Creation Unit Aggregation”). The shares of the Fund are collectively referred to as the “Shares” in this SAI. The Fund’s Shares will be listed and traded on the Cboe BZX Exchange, Inc. (the “Exchange”). Fund Shares will trade on the Exchange at market prices that may be below, at or above NAV. Shares are redeemable only in Creation Unit Aggregations. The Fund generally issues and redeems Creation Units in return for a designated portfolio of securities and an amount of cash. The amount of Shares in a Creation Unit for the Fund is 50,000 Shares.

In the event of the liquidation of the Fund, the Trust may lower the number of Shares in a Creation Unit. When the Fund issues and redeems Creation Units in kind, the Trust nonetheless reserves the right to permit or require a full or partial “cash” option for creations and/or redemptions of Fund Shares. Fund Shares may be issued in advance of receipt of a basket of securities and other investments (“Deposit Instruments”) subject to various conditions. See the “Creation and Redemption of Creation Units” section in Appendix A. In each instance of such cash creations or redemptions, transaction fees may be imposed that will be higher than the transaction fees associated with in-kind creations or redemptions. In all cases, such fees will be limited in accordance with the requirements of the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) applicable to management investment companies offering redeemable securities.

Miscellaneous

This SAI describes the financial history, investment strategies and policies, management and operation of the Fund in order to enable investors to determine whether the Fund best suits their needs.

This SAI provides additional information with respect to the Fund and should be read in conjunction with the Fund’s current Prospectus. Capitalized terms not otherwise defined herein have the meanings accorded to them in the Prospectus. The Fund’s executive offices are located at 270 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10017.

The Trust’s Board of Trustees is referred to herein as the “Board of Trustees” or “Board,” and each trustee is referred to as a “Trustee.” J.P. Morgan Investment Management Inc. (“JPMIM” or “Adviser”) is the investment adviser to the Fund. Investments in the Fund are not deposits or obligations of, nor guaranteed or endorsed by, JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. (“JPMorgan Chase Bank”), an affiliate of the Adviser, or any other bank. Shares of the Fund are not federally insured or guaranteed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Federal Reserve Board or any other governmental agency. An investment in the Fund is subject to risks that may cause the value of the investment to fluctuate, and when the investment is redeemed, the value may be higher or lower than the amount originally invested by the investor.

The Fund is not subject to registration or regulation as a “commodity pool operator” as defined in the Commodity Exchange Act because the Fund has claimed an exclusion from that definition.

INVESTMENT POLICIES

The following investment policies have been adopted by the Trust with respect to the Fund. The investment policies listed below under the heading “Fundamental Investment Policies” are “fundamental” policies which, under the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended (the “1940 Act”), may not be changed without the vote of a majority of the outstanding voting securities of the Fund, as such term is defined in the “Additional Information” section in Part II of this SAI. All other investment policies of the Fund (including its investment objective) are non- fundamental, unless otherwise designated in the Prospectus or herein, and may be changed by the Trustees of the Fund without shareholder approval.

Except for the restriction on borrowings set forth in the fundamental investment policies below, the percentage limitations contained in the policies below apply at the time of purchase of the securities. If a percentage or rating restriction on investment or use of assets set forth in a fundamental investment policy or a non-fundamental investment policy or in the Prospectus is adhered to at the time of investment, later changes in percentage resulting from any cause other than actions by the Fund will not be considered a violation. If the value of the Fund’s holdings

 

Part I - 1


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of illiquid securities at any time exceeds the percentage limitation applicable at the time of acquisition due to subsequent fluctuations in value or other reasons, the Fund’s Adviser, or persons designated by the Board to make such determination, will consider what actions, if any, are appropriate to maintain adequate liquidity. With respect to the fundamental investment policy on borrowing, the 1940 Act generally limits the Fund’s ability to borrow money on a non-temporary basis if such borrowings constitute “senior securities.” As noted in “Investment Strategies and Policies — Miscellaneous Investment Strategies and Risks — Borrowings” in SAI Part II, in addition to temporary borrowing, the Fund may borrow from any bank, provided that immediately after any such borrowing there is an asset coverage of at least 300% for all borrowings by the Fund and provided further, that in the event that such asset coverage shall at any time fall below 300%, the Fund shall, within three days (not including Sundays or holidays) thereafter or such longer period as the SEC may prescribe by rules and regulations, reduce the amount of its borrowings to such an extent that the asset coverage of such borrowing shall be at least 300%. The Fund may also borrow money or engage in economically similar transactions if those transactions do not constitute “senior securities” under the 1940 Act. Under current pronouncements, certain Fund positions (e.g., reverse repurchase agreements) are excluded from the definition of “senior security” so long as the Fund maintains adequate cover, segregation of assets or otherwise. Similarly, a short sale will not be considered a senior security if the Fund takes certain steps contemplated by SEC staff pronouncements, such as ensuring the short sale transaction is adequately covered. If the value of the Fund’s holdings of illiquid securities at any time exceeds the percentage limitation applicable at the time of acquisition due to subsequent fluctuations in value or other reasons, the Fund’s Adviser will consider what actions, if any, are appropriate to maintain adequate liquidity.

For purposes of the Fund’s fundamental investment policy regarding industry concentration, “to concentrate” generally means to invest more than 25% of the Fund’s total assets, taken at market value at the time of investment. This fundamental investment policy regarding concentration does not apply to securities issued by other investment companies, securities issued or guaranteed by the U.S. government, any state or territory of the U.S., its agencies, instrumentalities, or political subdivisions, or repurchase agreements secured thereby, and futures and options transactions issued or guaranteed by any of the foregoing. For purposes of the fundamental investment policy involving industry concentration, “group of industries” means a group of related industries, as determined in good faith by the Adviser, based on published classifications or other sources. For purposes of the fundamental investment policy regarding industry concentration, the Adviser may classify issuers by industry in accordance with classifications set forth in the Directory of Companies Filing Annual Reports with the SEC or other sources. In the absence of such classification or if the Adviser determines in good faith based on its own information that the economic characteristics affecting a particular issuer make it more appropriate to be considered engaged in a different industry, the Adviser may classify an issuer accordingly. Accordingly, the composition of an industry or group of industries may change from time to time.

Finally, the Fund is subject to the fundamental and non-fundamental investment policies and investment restrictions applicable to the Fund that are described herein and by any restrictions imposed by applicable law.

Fundamental Investment Policies.

The Fund:

 

  (1)

May not purchase any security which would cause the Fund to concentrate more than 25% of the Fund’s investments in the securities of issuers primarily engaged in any particular industry or group of industries, provided that this limitation does not apply to Municipal Securities where the issuer is regarded as a state, city, municipality or other public authority or to governmental guarantees of Municipal Securities or to housing authority obligations.

 

  (2)

May not issue senior securities, except as permitted under the 1940 Act or any rule, order or interpretation thereunder;

 

  (3)

May not borrow money, except to the extent permitted by applicable law;

 

  (4)

May not underwrite securities of other issuers, except to the extent that the Fund, may be deemed an underwriter under certain securities laws in disposing of portfolio securities or in connection with investments in other investment companies;

 

  (5)

May not invest directly in real estate unless it is acquired as a result of ownership of securities or other instruments. This restriction shall not prevent the Fund from investing in securities or other instruments (a) issued by companies that invest, deal or otherwise engage in transactions in real estate, or (b) backed or secured by real estate or interests in real estate;

 

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Table of Contents
  (6)

May not purchase or sell commodities or commodity contracts except as may be permitted by the 1940 Act or unless acquired as a result of ownership of securities or other instruments issued by persons that purchase or sell commodities or commodities contracts; but this shall not prevent the Fund from purchasing, selling and entering into financial futures contracts (including futures contracts on indices of securities, interest rates and currencies), options on financial futures contracts (including futures contracts on indices of securities, interest rates and currencies), warrants, swaps, forward contracts, foreign currency spot and forward contracts or other derivative instruments including derivatives related to physical commodities;

 

  (7)

May make loans to other persons, in accordance with the Fund’s investment objective and policies and to the extent permitted by applicable law;

 

  (8)

May not make an investment inconsistent with its classification as a diversified investment company under the 1940 Act.

 

  (9)

Under normal market circumstances, at least 80% of the assets of the Fund will be invested in municipal securities, the income from which is exempt from federal income tax.

The Fund may invest in types of investments and engage in transactions that are considered lending transactions. The types of investments and strategies that the Fund may use are described in further detail in the Prospectus and this SAI.

Non-Fundamental Investment Policies.

The Fund:

 

  (1)

May not acquire any illiquid securities, such as repurchase agreements with more than seven days to maturity or fixed time deposits with a duration of over seven days, if as a result thereof, more than 15% of the market value of the Fund’s net assets would be in investments which are illiquid; and

 

  (2)

May not acquire the securities of registered open-end investment companies or registered unit investment trusts in reliance on Section  12(d)(1)(F) or 12(d)(1)(G) of the 1940 Act.

INVESTMENT PRACTICES

The Fund invests in a variety of securities and employs a number of investment techniques. What follows is a list of some of the securities and techniques which may be utilized by the Fund. For a more complete discussion, see the “Investment Strategies and Policies” section in Part II of this SAI.

 

Instrument    Part II
Section Reference
Asset-Backed Securities: Securities secured by company receivables, home equity loans, truck and auto loans, leases, and credit card receivables or other securities backed by other types of receivables or other assets.    Asset-Backed Securities
Auction Rate Securities: Auction rate municipal securities and auction rate preferred securities issued by closed-end investment companies.    Auction Rate Securities
Bank Obligations: Bankers’ acceptances, certificates of deposit and time deposits. Bankers’ acceptances are bills of exchange or time drafts drawn on and accepted by a commercial bank. Maturities are generally six months or less. Certificates of deposit are negotiable certificates issued by a bank for a specified period of time and earning a specified return. Time deposits are non-negotiable receipts issued by a bank in exchange for the deposit of funds.    Bank Obligations
Borrowings: The Fund may borrow for temporary purposes and/or for investment purposes. Such a practice will result in leveraging of the Fund’s assets and may cause the Fund to liquidate portfolio positions when it would not be advantageous to do so. The Fund must maintain continuous asset coverage of 300% of the amount borrowed, with the exception for borrowings not in excess of 5% of the Fund’s total assets made for temporary administrative purposes.    Miscellaneous Investment Strategies and Risks

 

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Instrument    Part II
Section Reference
Call and Put Options: A call option gives the buyer the right to buy, and obligates the seller of the option to sell, a security at a specified price at a future date. A put option gives the buyer the right to sell, and obligates the seller of the option to buy, a security at a specified price at a future date.    Options and Futures Transactions
Commercial Paper: Secured and unsecured short-term promissory notes issued by corporations and other entities. Maturities generally vary from a few days to nine months.    Commercial Paper
Corporate Debt Securities: May include bonds and other debt securities of domestic and foreign issuers, including obligations of industrial, utility, banking and other corporate issuers.    Debt Instruments
Demand Features: Securities that are subject to puts and standby commitments to purchase the securities at a fixed price (usually with accrued interest) within a fixed period of time following demand by the Fund.    Demand Features
Exchange-Traded Funds (“ETFs”): Ownership interest in unit investment trusts, depositary receipts, and other pooled investment vehicles that hold a portfolio of securities or stocks designed to track the price performance and dividend yield of a particular broad-based, sector or international index. ETFs include a wide range of investments.    Investment Company Securities and Exchange-Traded Funds
High Yield/High Risk Securities/Junk Bonds: Securities that are generally rated below investment grade by the primary rating agencies or are unrated but are deemed by the Fund’s adviser to be of comparable quality.    Debt Instruments
Inflation-Linked Debt Securities: Includes fixed and floating rate debt securities of varying maturities issued by the U.S. government as well as securities issued by other entities such as corporations, foreign governments and foreign issuers.    Debt Instruments
Inverse Floating Rate Instruments: Leveraged variable debt instruments with interest rates that reset in the opposite direction from the market rate of interest to which the inverse floater is indexed.    Inverse Floaters and Interest Rate Caps
Investment Company Securities: Shares of other investment companies, including money market funds for which the Adviser and/or its affiliates serve as investment adviser or administrator. The Adviser will waive certain fees when investing in funds for which it serves as investment adviser, to the extent required by law or by contract.    Investment Company Securities and Exchange-Traded Funds
Loan Assignments and Participations: Assignments of, or participations in, all or a portion of loans to corporations or to governments, including governments in less developed countries.    Loans
Mortgage-Backed Securities: Debt obligations secured by real estate loans and pools of loans.    Mortgage-Related Securities
Municipal Securities: Securities issued by a state or political subdivision (including securities issued by a foreign state or subdivision) to obtain funds for various public purposes. Municipal securities include, among others, private activity bonds and industrial development bonds, as well as general obligation notes, tax anticipation notes, bond anticipation notes, revenue anticipation notes, other short-term tax- exempt obligations, municipal leases, obligations of municipal housing authorities and single family revenue bonds.   

Municipal

Securities

New Financial Products: New options and futures contracts and other financial products continue to be developed and the Fund may invest in such options, contracts and products.    Miscellaneous Investment Strategies and Risks
Options and Futures Transactions: The Fund may purchase and sell (a) exchange traded and over-the-counter put and call options on securities, indexes of securities and futures contracts on securities and indexes of securities and (b) futures contracts on securities and indexes of securities.    Options and Futures Transactions

 

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Instrument    Part II
Section Reference
Private Placements, Restricted Securities and Other Unregistered Securities: Securities not registered under the Securities Act of 1933, such as privately placed commercial paper and Rule 144A securities.    Miscellaneous Investment Strategies and Risks
Repurchase Agreements: The purchase of a security and the simultaneous commitment to return the security to the seller at an agreed upon price on an agreed upon date. This is treated as a loan.    Repurchase Agreements
Securities Lending: The lending of up to 33 1/3% of a Fund’s total assets. In return, a Fund will receive cash, other securities, and/or letters of credit as collateral.    Securities Lending
Short-Term Funding Agreements: Agreements issued by banks and highly rated U.S. insurance companies such as Guaranteed Investment Contracts (“GICs”) and Bank Investment Contracts (“BICs”).   

Short-Term

Funding

Agreements

Structured Investments: A security having a return tied to an underlying index or other security or asset class. Structured investments generally are individually negotiated agreements and may be traded over-the-counter. Structured investments are organized and operated to restructure the investment characteristics of the underlying security.   

Structured Investments

Swaps and Related Swap Products: Swaps involve an exchange of obligations by two parties. Caps and floors entitle a purchaser to a principal amount from the seller of the cap or floor to the extent that a specified index exceeds or falls below a predetermined interest rate or amount. The Fund may enter into these transactions to manage its exposure to changing interest rates and other factors.    Swaps and Related Swap Products
Synthetic Variable Rate Instruments: Instruments that generally involve the deposit of a long-term tax exempt bond in a custody or trust arrangement and the creation of a mechanism to adjust the long-term interest rate on the bond to a variable short-term rate and a right (subject to certain conditions) on the part of the purchaser to tender it periodically to a third party at par.   

Synthetic

Variable Rate

Instruments

Temporary Defensive Positions: To respond to unusual circumstances the Fund may invest in cash and cash equivalents for temporary defensive purposes.    Miscellaneous Investment Strategies and Risks
Treasury Receipts: The Fund may purchase interests in separately traded interest and principal component parts of U.S. Treasury obligations that are issued by banks or brokerage firms and that are created by depositing U.S. Treasury notes and U.S. Treasury bonds into a special account at a custodian bank. Receipts include Treasury Receipts (“TRs”), Treasury Investment Growth Receipts (“TIGRs”), and Certificates of Accrual on Treasury Securities (“CATS”).    Treasury Receipts
U.S. Government Agency Securities: Securities issued or guaranteed by agencies and instrumentalities of the U.S. government. These include all types of securities issued by the Government National Mortgage Association (“Ginnie Mae”), the Federal National Mortgage Association (“Fannie Mae”) and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (“Freddie Mac”), including funding notes, subordinated benchmark notes, CMOs and REMICs.    Mortgage-Related Securities
U.S. Government Obligations: May include direct obligations of the U.S. Treasury, including Treasury bills, notes and bonds, all of which are backed as to principal and interest payments by the full faith and credit of the United States, and separately traded principal and interest component parts of such obligations that are transferable through the Federal book-entry system known as Separate Trading of Registered Interest and Principal of Securities (“STRIPS”) and Coupons Under Book Entry Safekeeping (“CUBES”).    U.S. Government Obligations
Variable and Floating Rate Instruments: Obligations with interest rates which are reset daily, weekly, quarterly or some other frequency and which may be payable to the Fund on demand or at the expiration of a specified term.    Debt Instruments

 

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Instrument    Part II
Section Reference
When-Issued Securities, Delayed Delivery Securities and Forward Commitments: Purchase or contract to purchase securities at a fixed price for delivery at a future date.    When-Issued Securities, Delayed Delivery Securities and Forward Commitments
Zero-Coupon, Pay-in-Kind and Deferred Payment Securities: Zero-coupon securities are securities that are sold at a discount to par value and on which interest payments are not made during the life of the security. Pay-in-kind securities are securities that have interest payable by delivery of additional securities. Deferred payment securities are zero-coupon debt securities which convert on a specified date to interest bearing debt securities.    Debt Instruments

DIVERSIFICATION

The Trust is a registered management investment company. The Fund is a diversified series of the Trust. The Fund intends to meet the diversification requirements of the 1940 Act. For a more complete discussion, see the “Diversification” section in Part II of this SAI.

PORTFOLIO TURNOVER

A portfolio turnover rate is, in summary, the percentage computed by dividing the lesser of the Fund’s purchases or sales of securities (excluding short-term securities) by the average market value of the Fund. The Adviser intends to manage the Fund’s assets by buying and selling securities to help attain its investment objective. A rate of 100% indicates that the equivalent of all of the Fund’s assets have been sold and reinvested in a year. High portfolio turnover may affect the amount, timing and character of distributions, and, as a result, may increase the amount of taxes payable by shareholders. Higher portfolio turnover also results in higher transaction costs. To the extent that net short-term capital gains are realized by the Fund, any distributions resulting from such gains are considered ordinary income for federal income tax purposes. For a more complete discussion, see the “Distributions and Tax Matters” section in Part II of this SAI. The Fund has not commenced operations as of the date of this SAI. Therefore, there is no portfolio turnover rate for the Fund to report at this time.

TRUSTEES

Standing Committees

There are two standing committees of the Board of Trustees: the Audit and Valuation Committee and the Governance and nominating Committee. During the fiscal year ended February 28, 2018, the Audit and Valuation Committee met 4 times and the Governance and Nominating met 2 times. For a more complete discussion, see the “Trustees” section in Part II of this SAI.

Ownership of Securities

The following table shows the dollar range of each Trustee’s beneficial ownership of equity securities in the Fund and each Trustee’s aggregate dollar range of ownership in the funds that the Trustee oversees in the Family of Investment Companies as of December 31, 2017:

 

Name of Trustee

   Dollar Range of
Equity Securities in
Municipal ETF
     Aggregate Dollar Range
of Equity Securities in
All Registered
Investment Companies
Overseen by the
Trustee in Family of
Investment

Companies1
 

Independent Trustees

     

Gary L. French

     None        $50,001-$100,000  

Robert J. Grassi

     None        $50,001-$100,000  

Thomas P. Lemke

     None        Over $100,000  

Lawrence R. Maffia

     None        Over $100,000  

Emily A. Youssouf

     None        $10,001-$50,000  

Interested Trustee

     

Robert Deutsch

     None        Over $100,000  

 

1

A Family of Investment Companies means any two or more registered investment companies that share the same investment adviser or principal underwriter and hold themselves out to investors as related companies for purposes of investment and investor services. The Family of Investment Companies for which the Board of Trustees currently serves includes, 34 Funds and one Trust.

 

Part I - 6


Table of Contents

Trustee Compensation

Trustee aggregate compensation paid by the Trust for the calendar year ended December 31, 2017, is set forth below:

 

Name of Trustee

   Total
Compensation
Paid by
the Fund
Complex1
 

Independent Trustees

  

Gary L. French

   $ 72,500  

Robert J. Grassi

     65,000  

Thomas P. Lemke

     73,000  

Lawrence Maffia

     65,000  

Emily Youssouf

     71,000  

Interested Trustee

  

Robert Deutsch2

     0  

 

1

A Fund Complex means two or more registered investment companies that (i) hold themselves out to investors as related companies for purposes of investment and investor services or (ii) have a common investment adviser or have an investment adviser that is an affiliated person of the investment adviser of any of the other registered investment companies. The J.P. Morgan Funds Complex for which the Board of Trustees currently serves includes, 34 Funds and one Trust.

2

Mr. Deutsch received no compensation directly from the Trust.

See “TRUSTEES — Trustee Compensation” in Part II of this SAI for more information.

INVESTMENT ADVISER

Investment Advisory Fees

Since the Fund has not commenced operations as of the date of this SAI, the Fund has not paid any investment advisory fees. For more information about the Adviser, see the “Investment Adviser” section in Part II of this SAI.

PORTFOLIO MANAGERS

Portfolio Managers’ Other Accounts Managed*

The following table shows information regarding all of the other accounts for which advisory fees are not based on the performance of the accounts that are managed by the Fund’s portfolio managers as of September 30, 2018:

 

     Non-Performance Based Fee Advisory Accounts  
     Registered Investment
Companies
     Other Pooled Investment
Vehicles
     Other Accounts  
     Number
of
Accounts
     Total Assets
($ thousands)
     Number
of
Accounts
     Total Assets
($ thousands)
     Number
of
Accounts
     Total Assets
($ thousands)
 

Municipal ETF

 

Michelle V. Hallam

     2      $ 251,448        2      $ 1,418        191      $ 11,368,928  

Kevin M. Ellis

     4        1,893,727        0        0        66        1,586,686  

Michael R. Myers

     0        0        0        0        195        761,924  

The following table shows information on the other accounts managed by the Fund’s portfolio managers that have advisory fees wholly or partly based on performance as of September 30, 2018:

 

     Performance Based Fee Advisory Accounts  
     Registered Investment
Companies
     Other Pooled Investment
Vehicles
     Other Accounts  
     Number
of
Accounts
     Total Assets
($ thousands)
     Number
of
Accounts
     Total Assets
($ thousands)
     Number
of
Accounts
     Total Assets
($ thousands)
 

Municipal ETF

 

Michelle V. Hallam

     0      $ 0        0      $ 0        0      $ 0  

Kevin M. Ellis

     0        0        0        0        0        0  

Michael R. Myers

     0        0        0        0        0        0  

 

*

The total value and number of accounts managed by a portfolio manager may include sub-accounts of asset allocation, multi-managed and other accounts.

 

Part I - 7


Table of Contents

Portfolio Managers’ Ownership of Securities

Since the Fund has not commenced operations as of the date of this SAI, the portfolio managers do not own any Shares of the Fund.

Portfolio Managers’ Compensation

In evaluating each portfolio manager’s performance with respect to the funds he or she manages, the Adviser uses the following index as benchmarks to evaluate the performance of the portfolio manager with respect to the Fund:

 

Name of Fund

  

Benchmark

Municipal ETF

  

Bloomberg Barclays U.S.

1-15 Year Blend (1-17)

Municipal Bond Index

Please see “Portfolio Manager Compensation” section in Part II of this SAI for a description of the structure and method of determining the compensation of the portfolio managers identified above.

ADMINISTRATOR

Administrator Fees

Since the Fund has not commenced operations as of the date of this SAI, the Fund has not paid any administrator fees. For more information about the Administrator, see the “Administrator” section in Part II of this SAI.

FUND ACCOUNTING AGENT

Fund Accounting Fees

Since the Fund has not commenced operations as of the date of this SAI, the Fund has not paid any accounting fees. For more information about the Fund Accounting Agent, see the “Fund Accounting Agent” section in Part II of this SAI.

BROKERAGE

Brokerage Commissions

Since the Fund has not commenced operations as of the date of this SAI, the Fund has not paid any brokerage commissions.

Broker Research

Since the Fund has not commenced operations as of the date of this SAI, there has been no allocation of brokerage commissions to brokers who provided broker research including third party broker research for the Fund.

Securities of Regular Broker-Dealers

Since the Fund has not commenced operations as of the date of this SAI, the Fund did not own securities of its regular broker-dealers (or parents).

For a more complete discussion, see the “Portfolio Transactions” section in Part II of this SAI.

PURCHASE AND REDEMPTION OF CREATION UNITS

The Trust will issue and sell its Shares 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 “Placement of Creation Orders Outside NSCC Clearing Process-Foreign Funds” in Appendix A to Part II of this SAI.

 

Fund

   Creation*      Redemption*  

Municipal ETF

     50,000        50,000  

 

*

May be revised at any time without notice.

 

Part I - 8


Table of Contents

CREATION AND REDEMPTION TRANSACTION FEES.

A transaction fee, as set forth in the table below, is imposed for the transfer and other transaction costs associated with the purchase or redemption of Creation Units, as applicable. Investors who are authorized to deal in Creation Units (“Authorized Participants”) will be required to pay a fixed creation transaction fee and/or a fixed redemption transaction fee, as applicable, on a given day regardless of the number of Creation Units created or redeemed on that day. The Fund may adjust the transaction fee from time to time. An additional charge or a variable charge (discussed below) will be applied to certain creation and redemption transactions, including non-standard orders and whole or partial cash purchases or redemptions. With respect to creation orders, Authorized Participants are responsible for the costs of transferring the securities constituting the Deposit Instruments to the account of the Trust and with respect to redemption orders, Authorized Participants are responsible for the costs of transferring the securities received on redemption from the Trust to their account or on their order. Investors who use the services of a broker or other such intermediary may also be charged a fee for such services.

 

Fund

   Transaction Fee*, **  

Municipal ETF

   $ 500  

 

*

From time to time, the Fund may waive all or a portion of its applicable transaction fee(s).

**

In addition to the transaction fees listed above, the Fund may charge an additional variable fee for creations and redemptions in cash of up to 3% of the amount of a creation transaction and of up to 2% of the amount of a redemption transaction to offset brokerage and impact expenses associated with the cash transaction.

PURCHASE BY OTHER INVESTMENT COMPANIES

For purposes of the 1940 Act, the Fund is treated as a registered investment company. Section 12(d)(1) of the 1940 Act restricts investments by investment companies in the securities of other investment companies, including Shares of the Fund.

FINANCIAL INTERMEDIARIES

Compensation Payments

Since the Fund has not commenced operations as of the date of this SAI, neither JPMIM nor any other affiliates of JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPMorgan Chase) made any compensation payments to intermediaries with respect to the Fund. For a more complete discussion, see the “Compensation to Intermediaries” section in Part II of this SAI.

TAX MATTERS

Capital Loss Carryforwards

Since the Fund has not commenced operations as of the date of this SAI, the Fund has not had any capital loss carryforwards. For more information on tax matters, see the “Distributions and Tax Matters” section in Part II of this SAI.

SHARE OWNERSHIP

Trustees and Officers

Since the Fund has not commenced operations as of the date of this SAI, the officers and Trustees do not own any Shares of the Fund.

Principal Holders

No Shares of the Fund have been issued as of the date of this SAI.

FINANCIAL STATEMENTS

Since the Fund has not commenced operations as of the date of this SAI, there are no financial statements for the Fund. When they become available, financial statements will be available without charge upon request by calling 1-844-457-6383 (844-4JPM ETF).

 

Part I - 9


Table of Contents
J.P. Morgan Exchange-Traded Fund Trust
STATEMENT OF ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
PART II
Part II of this SAI describes policies and practices that apply to each of the J.P. Morgan Exchange-Traded Fund Trust’s funds (“ETF Funds”), for which Part I precedes this Part II. Part II is not a standalone document and must be read in conjunction with Part I. References in this Part II to a “Fund” mean each of the ETF Funds, unless noted otherwise. Capitalized terms used and not otherwise defined in this Part II have the meanings given to them in Part I of this SAI.

 

Part II
Table of Contents

1

1

2

2

3

3

4

4

8

8

8

9

18

18

19

23

27

35

38

43

44

44

45

45

46

47

47

48

50

51

51

51

52

53

53

53

53

54

56

57

57

58

59

60

61

61

61

61

63

63
Part II - i

 


65

65

68

69

69

71

71

72

72

73

73

73

75

77

77

79

79

80

81

82

86

87

87

87

87

90

91

92

92

92

93

93

93

94

94

95

95

95

96

97

98

98

101

A-1
Part II - ii

 

INVESTMENT STRATEGIES AND POLICIES
As noted in the applicable Prospectuses for each of the Funds, in addition to the main investment strategy and the main investment risks described in the Prospectuses, each Fund may employ other investment strategies and may be subject to other risks, which are described below. The Funds may engage in the practices described below to the extent consistent with their investment objectives, strategies, policies and restrictions. Because the following is a combined description of investment strategies of all of the Funds, certain matters described herein may not apply to particular Funds.
For a list of investment strategies and policies employed by each Fund, see “INVESTMENT PRACTICES” in Part I of this SAI.
Asset-Backed Securities
Asset-backed securities consist of securities secured by company receivables, home equity loans, truck and auto loans, leases, or credit card receivables. Asset-backed securities also include other securities backed by other types of receivables or other assets, including collateralized debt obligations (“CDOs”), which include collateralized bond obligations (“CBOs”), collateralized loan obligations (“CLOs”) and other similarly structured securities. Such assets are generally securitized through the use of trusts or special purpose corporations. Asset-backed securities are backed by a pool of assets representing the obligations often of a number of different parties. Certain of these securities may be illiquid.
Asset-backed securities are generally subject to the risks of the underlying assets. In addition, asset-backed securities, in general, are subject to certain additional risks including depreciation, damage or loss of the collateral backing the security, failure of the collateral to generate the anticipated cash flow or in certain cases more rapid prepayment because of events affecting the collateral, such as accelerated prepayment of loans backing these securities or destruction of equipment subject to equipment trust certificates. In addition, the underlying assets (for example, the underlying credit card debt) may be refinanced or paid off prior to maturity during periods of declining interest rates. Changes in prepayment rates can result in greater price and yield volatility. If asset-backed securities are pre-paid, a Fund may have to reinvest the proceeds from the securities at a lower rate. Potential market gains on a security subject to prepayment risk may be more limited than potential market gains on a comparable security that is not subject to prepayment risk. Under certain prepayment rate scenarios, a Fund may fail to recover additional amounts paid (i.e., premiums) for securities with higher interest rates, resulting in an unexpected loss.
A CBO is a trust or other special purpose entity (“SPE”) which is typically backed by a diversified pool of fixed income securities (which may include high risk, below investment grade securities). A CLO is a trust or other SPE that is typically collateralized by a pool of loans, which may include, among others, domestic and non-U.S. senior secured loans, senior unsecured loans, and subordinate corporate loans, including loans that may be rated below investment grade or equivalent unrated loans. Although certain CDOs may receive credit enhancement in the form of a senior-subordinate structure, over-collateralization or bond insurance, such enhancement may not always be present and may fail to protect a Fund against the risk of loss on default of the collateral. Certain CDOs may use derivatives contracts to create “synthetic” exposure to assets rather than holding such assets directly, which entails the risks of derivative instruments described elsewhere in this SAI. CDOs may charge management fees and administrative expenses, which are in addition to those of a Fund.
For both CBOs and CLOs, the cash flows from the SPE are split into two or more portions, called tranches, varying in risk and yield. The riskiest portion is the “equity” tranche, which bears the first loss from defaults from the bonds or loans in the SPE and serves to protect the other, more senior tranches from default (though such protection is not complete). Since it is partially protected from defaults, a senior tranche from a CBO or CLO typically has higher ratings and lower yields than its underlying securities, and may be rated investment grade. Despite the protection from the equity tranche, CBO or CLO tranches can experience substantial losses due to actual defaults, downgrades of the underlying collateral by rating agencies, forced liquidation of the collateral pool due to a failure of coverage tests, increased sensitivity to defaults due to collateral default and disappearance of protecting tranches, market anticipation of defaults, as well as investor aversion to CBO or CLO securities as a class. Interest on certain tranches of a CDO may be paid in kind or deferred and capitalized (paid in the form of obligations of the same type rather than cash), which involves continued exposure to default risk with respect to such payments.
The risks of an investment in a CDO depend largely on the type of the collateral securities and the class of the CDO in which a Fund invests. Normally, CBOs, CLOs and other CDOs are privately offered and sold, and thus are not registered under the securities laws. As a result, investments in CDOs may be
Part II - 1

 

characterized by a Fund as illiquid securities. However, an active dealer market may exist for CDOs, allowing a CDO to qualify for Rule 144A transactions. In addition to the normal risks associated with fixed income securities and asset-backed securities generally discussed elsewhere in this SAI, CDOs carry additional risks including, but not limited to: (i) the possibility that distributions from collateral securities will not be adequate to make interest or other payments; (ii) the risk that the collateral may default or decline in value or be downgraded, if rated by a nationally recognized statistical rating organization (“NRSRO”); (iii) a Fund may invest in tranches of CDOs that are subordinate to other tranches; (iv) the structure and complexity of the transaction and the legal documents could lead to disputes among investors regarding the characterization of proceeds; (v) the investment return achieved by the Fund could be significantly different than those predicted by financial models; (vi) the lack of a readily available secondary market for CDOs; (vii) risk of forced “fire sale” liquidation due to technical defaults such as coverage test failures; and (viii) the CDO’s manager may perform poorly.
Total Annual Fund Operating Expenses set forth in the fee table and Financial Highlights section of each Fund’s Prospectuses do not include any expenses associated with investments in certain structured or synthetic products that may rely on the exception for the definition of “investment company” provided by Section 3(c)(1) or 3(c)(7) of the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended (the “1940 Act”).
Auction Rate Securities
Auction rate securities consist of auction rate municipal securities and auction rate preferred securities sold through an auction process issued by closed-end investment companies, municipalities and governmental agencies. For more information on risks associated with municipal securities, see “Municipal Securities” below.
Provided that the auction mechanism is successful, auction rate securities usually permit the holder to sell the securities in an auction at par value at specified intervals. The dividend is reset by “Dutch” auction in which bids are made by broker-dealers and other institutions for a certain amount of securities at a specified minimum yield. The dividend rate set by the auction is the lowest interest or dividend rate that covers all securities offered for sale. While this process is designed to permit auction rate securities to be traded at par value, there is the risk that an auction will fail due to insufficient demand for the securities. Since February 2008, numerous auctions have failed due to insufficient demand for securities and have continued to fail for an extended period of time. Failed auctions may adversely impact the liquidity of auction rate securities investments. Although some issuers of auction rate securities are redeeming or are considering redeeming such securities, such issuers are not obligated to do so and, therefore, there is no guarantee that a liquid market will exist for a Fund’s investments in auction rate securities at a time when the Fund wishes to dispose of such securities.
Dividends on auction rate preferred securities issued by a closed-end fund may be designated as exempt from federal income tax to the extent they are attributable to tax-exempt interest income earned by the closed-end fund on the securities in its portfolio and distributed to holders of the preferred securities. However, such designation may be made only if the closed-end fund treats preferred securities as equity securities for federal income tax purposes and the closed-end fund complies with certain requirements under the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the “Code”).
A Fund’s investment in auction rate preferred securities of closed-end funds is subject to limitations on investments in other U.S. registered investment companies, which limitations are prescribed under the 1940 Act. Except as permitted by rule or exemptive order (see “Investment Company Securities and Exchange-Traded Funds” below for more information), a Fund is generally prohibited from acquiring more than 3% of the voting securities of any other such investment company, and investing more than 5% of a Fund’s total assets in securities of any one such investment company or more than 10% of its total assets in securities of all such investment companies. A Fund will indirectly bear its proportionate share of any management fees paid by such closed-end funds in addition to the advisory fee payable directly by the Fund.
Bank Obligations
Bank obligations consist of bankers’ acceptances, certificates of deposit, bank notes and time deposits.
Bankers’ acceptances are negotiable drafts or bills of exchange typically drawn by an importer or exporter to pay for specific merchandise, which are “accepted” by a bank, meaning, in effect, that the bank unconditionally agrees to pay the face value of the instrument on maturity.
Part II - 2

 

Certificates of deposit are negotiable certificates issued against funds deposited in a commercial bank or a savings and loan association for a definite period of time and earning a specified return. Certificates of deposit may also include those issued by foreign banks outside the United States (“U.S.”). Such certificates of deposit include Eurodollar and Yankee certificates of deposit. Eurodollar certificates of deposit are U.S. dollar-denominated certificates of deposit issued by branches of foreign and domestic banks located outside the U.S. Yankee certificates of deposit are certificates of deposit issued by a U.S. branch of a foreign bank denominated in U.S. dollars and held in the U.S. Certain Funds may also invest in obligations (including bankers’ acceptances and certificates of deposit) denominated in foreign currencies (see “Foreign Investments (including Foreign Currencies)”) herein. With regard to certificates of deposit issued by U.S. banks and savings and loan associations, to be eligible for purchase by a Fund, a certificate of deposit must be issued by (i) a domestic or foreign branch of a U.S. commercial bank which is a member of the Federal Reserve System or the deposits of which are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, or (ii) a domestic savings and loan association, the deposits of which are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.
Time deposits are interest-bearing non-negotiable deposits at a bank or a savings and loan association that have a specific maturity date. A time deposit earns a specific rate of interest over a definite period of time. Time deposits cannot be traded on the secondary market and those exceeding seven days and with a withdrawal penalty are considered to be illiquid.
The Funds will not invest in obligations for which a Fund’s Adviser, or any of its affiliated persons, is the ultimate obligor or accepting bank, provided, however, that the Funds maintain demand deposits at their affiliated custodian, JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. (“JPMorgan Chase Bank”).
Subject to the Funds’ limitations on concentration in a particular industry, there is no limitation on the amount of a Fund’s assets which may be invested in obligations of banks which meet the conditions set forth herein.
Commercial Paper
Commercial paper is defined as short-term obligations, generally with maturities from 1 to 270 days issued by banks or bank holding companies, corporations and finance companies. Although commercial paper is generally unsecured, the Funds may also purchase secured commercial paper. In the event of a default of an issuer of secured commercial paper, a Fund may hold the securities and other investments that were pledged as collateral even if it does not invest in such securities or investments. In such a case, the Fund would take steps to dispose of such securities or investments in a commercially reasonable manner. Commercial paper includes master demand obligations. See “Variable and Floating Rate Instruments” below.
Certain Funds may also invest in Canadian commercial paper, which is commercial paper issued by a Canadian corporation or a Canadian counterpart of a U.S. corporation, and in Europaper, which is U.S. dollar denominated commercial paper of a foreign issuer. See “Risk Factors of Foreign Investments” below.
Convertible Securities
Certain Funds may invest in convertible securities. Convertible securities include any debt securities or preferred stock which may be converted into common stock or which carry the right to purchase common stock. Generally, convertible securities entitle the holder to exchange the securities for a specified number of shares of common stock, usually of the same company, at specified prices within a certain period of time.
The terms of any convertible security determine its ranking in a company’s capital structure. In the case of subordinated convertible debentures, the holders’ claims on assets and earnings are subordinated to the claims of other creditors, and are senior to the claims of preferred and common shareholders. In the case of convertible preferred stock, the holders’ claims on assets and earnings are subordinated to the claims of all creditors and are senior to the claims of common shareholders.
Convertible securities have characteristics similar to both debt and equity securities. Due to the conversion feature, the market value of convertible securities tends to move together with the market value of the underlying common stock. As a result, selection of convertible securities, to a great extent, is based on the potential for capital appreciation that may exist in the underlying stock. The value of convertible securities is also affected by prevailing interest rates, the credit quality of the issuer, and any call provisions. In some cases, the issuer may cause a convertible security to convert to common stock. In other
Part II - 3

 

situations, it may be advantageous for a Fund to cause the conversion of convertible securities to common stock. If a convertible security converts to common stock, a Fund may hold such common stock in its portfolio even if it does not ordinarily invest in common stock.
Certain Funds invest in contingent securities structured as contingent convertible securities also known as CoCos. Contingent convertible securities are typically issued by non-U.S. banks and are designed to behave like bonds in times of economic health yet absorb losses when a pre-determined trigger event occurs. A contingent convertible security is a hybrid debt security either convertible into equity at a predetermined share price or written down in value based on the specific terms of the individual security if a pre-specified trigger event occurs (the “Trigger Event”). Unlike traditional convertible securities, the conversion of a contingent convertible security from debt to equity is “contingent” and will occur only in the case of a Trigger Event. Trigger Events vary by instrument and are defined by the documents governing the contingent convertible security. Such Trigger Events may include a decline in the issuer’s capital below a specified threshold level, increase in the issuer’s risk weighted assets, the share price of the issuer falling to a particular level for a certain period of time and certain regulatory events.
Contingent convertible securities are subject to the credit, interest rate, high yield security, foreign security and markets risks associated with bonds and equities, and to the risks specific to convertible securities in general. Contingent convertible securities are also subject to additional risks specific to their structure including conversion risk. Because Trigger Events are not consistently defined among contingent convertible securities, this risk is greater for contingent convertible securities that are issued by banks with capital ratios close to the level specified in the Trigger Event.
In addition, coupon payments on contingent convertible securities are discretionary and may be cancelled by the issuer at any point, for any reason, and for any length of time. The discretionary cancellation of payments is not an event of default and there are no remedies to require re-instatement of coupon payments or payment of any past missed payments. Coupon payments may also be subject to approval by the issuer’s regulator and may be suspended in the event there are insufficient distributable reserves. Due to uncertainty surrounding coupon payments, contingent convertible securities may be volatile and their price may decline rapidly in the event that coupon payments are suspended.
Contingent convertible securities typically are structurally subordinated to traditional convertible bonds in the issuer’s capital structure. In certain scenarios, investors in contingent convertible securities may suffer a loss of capital ahead of equity holders or when equity holders do not. Contingent convertible securities are also subject to extension risk. Contingent convertible securities are perpetual instruments and may only be callable at pre-determined dates upon approval of the applicable regulatory authority. There is no guarantee that a Fund will receive return of principal on contingent convertible securities.
Convertible contingent securities are a newer form of instrument and the regulatory environment for these instruments continues to evolve. Because the market for contingent convertible securities is evolving, it is uncertain how the larger market for contingent convertible securities would react to a Trigger Event or coupon suspension applicable to a single issuer.
The value of contingent convertible securities is unpredictable and will be influenced by many factors such as: (i) the creditworthiness of the issuer and/or fluctuations in such issuer’s applicable capital ratios; (ii) supply and demand for contingent convertible securities; (iii) general market conditions and available liquidity; and (iv) economic, financial and political events that affect the issuer, its particular market or the financial markets in general.
Custodial Receipts
Certain Funds may acquire securities in the form of custodial receipts that evidence ownership of future interest payments, principal payments or both on certain U.S. Treasury notes or bonds in connection with programs sponsored by banks and brokerage firms. These are not considered U.S. government securities and are not backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government. These notes and bonds are held in custody by a bank on behalf of the owners of the receipts.
Debt Instruments
Below Investment Grade Securities. Securities that were rated investment grade at the time of purchase may subsequently be rated below investment grade (BB+ or lower by Standard & Poor’s Corporation (“S&P”) and Bal or lower by Moody’s Investors Service, Inc. (“Moody’s”)). Certain Funds that do not invest in below investment grade securities as a main investment strategy may nonetheless continue to hold such securities if the Adviser believes it is advantageous for the Fund to do so. The high
Part II - 4

 

degree of risk involved in these investments can result in substantial or total losses. These securities are subject to greater risk of loss, greater sensitivity to interest rate and economic changes, valuation difficulties, and a potential lack of a secondary or public market for securities. The market price of these securities also can change suddenly and unexpectedly.
Corporate Debt Securities. Corporate debt securities may include bonds and other debt securities of U.S. and non-U.S. issuers, including obligations of industrial, utility, banking and other corporate issuers. All debt securities are subject to the risk of an issuer’s inability to meet principal and interest payments on the obligation 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.
High Yield/High Risk Securities/Junk Bonds. Certain Funds may invest in high yield securities, to varying degrees. High yield, high risk bonds are securities that are generally rated below investment grade by the primary rating agencies (BB+ or lower by S&P and Bal or lower by Moody’s) or unrated but determined by the Fund’s Adviser to be of comparable quality. Other terms used to describe such securities include “lower rated bonds,” “non-investment grade bonds,” “below investment grade bonds,” and “junk bonds.” These securities are considered to be high-risk investments.
High yield securities are regarded as predominately speculative. There is a greater risk that issuers of lower rated securities will default than issuers of higher rated securities. Issuers of lower rated securities generally are less creditworthy and may be highly indebted, financially distressed, or bankrupt. These issuers are more vulnerable to real or perceived economic changes, political changes or adverse industry developments. In addition, high yield securities are frequently subordinated to the prior payment of senior indebtedness. If an issuer fails to pay principal or interest, a Fund would experience a decrease in income and a decline in the market value of its investments. A Fund may also incur additional expenses in seeking recovery from the issuer.
The income and market value of lower rated securities may fluctuate more than higher rated securities. Non-investment grade securities are more sensitive to short-term corporate, economic and market developments. During periods of economic uncertainty and change, the market price of the investments in lower rated securities may be volatile. The default rate for high yield bonds tends to be cyclical, with defaults rising in periods of economic downturn.
It is often more difficult to value lower rated securities than higher rated securities. If an issuer’s financial condition deteriorates, accurate financial and business information may be limited or unavailable. The lower rated investments may be thinly traded and there may be no established secondary market. Because of the lack of market pricing and current information for investments in lower rated securities, valuation of such investments is much more dependent on the judgment of the Adviser than is the case with higher rated securities. In addition, relatively few institutional purchasers may hold a major portion of an issue of lower-rated securities at times. As a result, a Fund that invests in lower rated securities may be required to sell investments at substantial losses or retain them indefinitely even where an issuer’s financial condition is deteriorating.
Credit quality of non-investment grade securities can change suddenly and unexpectedly, and even recently issued credit ratings may not fully reflect the actual risks posed by a particular high-yield security.
Future legislation may have a possible negative impact on the market for high yield, high risk bonds. As an example, in the late 1980’s, legislation required federally-insured savings and loan associations to divest their investments in high yield, high risk bonds. New legislation, if enacted, could have a material negative effect on a Fund’s investments in lower rated securities.
Inflation-Linked Debt Securities. Inflation-linked securities include fixed and floating rate debt securities of varying maturities issued by the U.S. government, its agencies and instrumentalities, such as Treasury Inflation Protected Securities (“TIPS”), as well as securities issued by other entities such as corporations, municipalities, foreign governments and foreign issuers, including foreign issuers from emerging markets. See also “Foreign Investments (including Foreign Currencies).” Typically, such securities are structured as fixed income investments whose principal value is periodically adjusted according to the rate of inflation. The following two structures are common: (i) the U.S. Treasury and some other issuers issue inflation-linked securities that accrue inflation into the principal value of the security and (ii) other issuers may pay out the Consumer Price Index (“CPI”) accruals as part of a semi-annual coupon. Other types of inflation-linked securities exist which use an inflation index other than the CPI.
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Inflation-linked securities issued by the U.S. Treasury, such as TIPS, have maturities of approximately five, ten or thirty years, although it is possible that securities with other maturities will be issued in the future. Typically, TIPS pay interest on a semi-annual basis equal to a fixed percentage of the inflation-adjusted principal amount. For example, if a Fund purchased an inflation-indexed bond with a par value of $1,000 and a 3% real rate of return coupon (payable 1.5% semi-annually), and the rate of inflation over the first six months was 1%, the mid-year par value of the bond would be $1,010 and the first semi-annual interest payment would be $15.15 ($1,010 times 1.5%). If inflation during the second half of the year resulted in the whole year’s inflation of 3%, the end-of-year par value of the bond would be $1,030 and the second semi-annual interest payment would be $15.45 ($1,030 times 1.5%).
If the periodic adjustment rate measuring inflation falls, the principal value of inflation-indexed bonds will be adjusted downward, and consequently the interest payable on these securities (calculated with respect to a smaller principal amount) will be reduced. Repayment of the original bond principal upon maturity (as adjusted for inflation) is guaranteed in the case of TIPS, even during a period of deflation, although the inflation-adjusted principal received could be less than the inflation-adjusted principal that had accrued to the bond at the time of purchase. However, the current market value of the bonds is not guaranteed and will fluctuate. Other inflation-related bonds exist which may or may not provide a similar guarantee. If a guarantee of principal is not provided, the adjusted principal value of the bond repaid at maturity may be less than the original principal.
The value of inflation-linked securities is expected to change in response to changes in real interest rates. Real interest rates in turn are tied to the relationship between nominal interest rates and the rate of inflation. Therefore, if the rate of inflation rises at a faster rate than nominal interest rates, real interest rates might decline, leading to an increase in value of inflation-linked securities.
While inflation-linked securities are expected to be protected from long-term inflationary trends, short-term increases in inflation may lead to a decline in value. If interest rates rise due to reasons other than inflation (for example, due to changes in currency exchange rates), investors in these securities may not be protected to the extent that the increase is not reflected in the bond’s inflation measure.
The periodic adjustment of U.S. inflation-linked securities is tied to the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (“CPI-U”), which is not seasonally adjusted and which is calculated monthly by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The CPI-U is a measurement of changes in the cost of living, made up of components such as housing, food, transportation and energy. Inflation-linked securities issued by a foreign government are generally adjusted to reflect a comparable inflation index calculated by that government. There can be no assurance that the CPI-U or a foreign inflation index will accurately measure the real rate of inflation in the prices of goods and services. Moreover, there can be no assurance that the rate of inflation in a foreign country will be correlated to the rate of inflation in the U.S.
Any increase in the principal amount of an inflation-linked security will be considered taxable ordinary income, even though investors do not receive their principal until maturity.
Variable and Floating Rate Instruments. Certain obligations purchased by the Funds may carry variable or floating rates of interest, may involve a conditional or unconditional demand feature and may include variable amount master demand notes. Variable and floating rate instruments are issued by a wide variety of issuers and may be issued for a wide variety of purposes, including as a method of reconstructing cash flows.
Subject to their investment objective policies and restrictions, certain Funds may acquire variable and floating rate instruments. A variable rate instrument is one whose terms provide for the adjustment of its interest rate on set dates and which, upon such adjustment, can reasonably be expected to have a market value that approximates its par value. Certain Funds may purchase extendable commercial notes. Extendable commercial notes are variable rate notes which normally mature within a short period of time (e.g., 1 month) but which may be extended by the issuer for a maximum maturity of thirteen months.
A floating rate instrument is one whose terms provide for the adjustment of its interest rate whenever a specified interest rate changes and which, at any time, can reasonably be expected to have a market value that approximates its par value. Floating rate instruments are frequently not rated by credit rating agencies; however, unrated variable and floating rate instruments purchased by a Fund will be determined by the Fund’s Adviser to be of comparable quality at the time of purchase to rated instruments eligible for purchase under the Fund’s investment policies. In making such determinations, a Fund’s Adviser will consider the earning power, cash flow and other liquidity ratios of the issuers of such instruments (such issuers include financial, merchandising, bank holding and other companies) and will continuously monitor their financial condition. There may be no active secondary market with respect to a particular
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variable or floating rate instrument purchased by a Fund. The absence of such an active secondary market could make it difficult for the Fund to dispose of the variable or floating rate instrument involved in the event the issuer of the instrument defaulted on its payment obligations, and the Fund could, for this or other reasons, suffer a loss to the extent of the default. Variable or floating rate instruments may be secured by bank letters of credit or other assets. A Fund may purchase a variable or floating rate instrument to facilitate portfolio liquidity or to permit investment of the Fund’s assets at a favorable rate of return.
As a result of the floating and variable rate nature of these investments, the Funds’ yields may decline, and they may forego the opportunity for capital appreciation during periods when interest rates decline; however, during periods when interest rates increase, the Funds’ yields may increase, and they may have reduced risk of capital depreciation.
Past periods of high inflation, together with the fiscal measures adopted to attempt to deal with it, have seen wide fluctuations in interest rates, particularly “prime rates” charged by banks. While the value of the underlying floating or variable rate securities may change with changes in interest rates generally, the nature of the underlying floating or variable rate should minimize changes in value of the instruments. Accordingly, as interest rates decrease or increase, the potential for capital appreciation and the risk of potential capital depreciation is less than would be the case with a portfolio of fixed rate securities. A Fund’s portfolio may contain floating or variable rate securities on which stated minimum or maximum rates, or maximum rates set by state law limit the degree to which interest on such floating or variable rate securities may fluctuate; to the extent it does, increases or decreases in value may be somewhat greater than would be the case without such limits. Because the adjustment of interest rates on the floating or variable rate securities is made in relation to movements of the applicable banks’ “prime rates” or other short-term rate securities adjustment indices, the floating or variable rate securities are not comparable to long-term fixed rate securities. Accordingly, interest rates on the floating or variable rate securities may be higher or lower than current market rates for fixed rate obligations of comparable quality with similar maturities.
Variable Amount Master Notes. Variable amount master notes are notes, which may possess a demand feature, that permit the indebtedness to vary and provide for periodic adjustments in the interest rate according to the terms of the instrument. Variable amount master notes may not be secured by collateral. To the extent that variable amount master notes are secured by collateral, they are subject to the risks described under the section “Loans— Collateral and Subordination Risk.”
Because master notes are direct lending arrangements between a Fund and the issuer of the notes, they are not normally traded. Although there is no secondary market in the notes, a Fund may demand payment of principal and accrued interest. If the Fund is not repaid such principal and accrued interest, the Fund may not be able to dispose of the notes due to the lack of a secondary market.
While master notes are not typically rated by credit rating agencies, issuers of variable amount master notes (which are normally manufacturing, retail, financial, brokerage, investment banking and other business concerns) must satisfy the same criteria as those set forth with respect to commercial paper, if any, in Part I of this SAI under the heading “Diversification”. A Fund’s Adviser will consider the credit risk of the issuers of such notes, including its earning power, cash flow, and other liquidity ratios of such issuers and will continuously monitor their financial status and ability to meet payment on demand. In determining average weighted portfolio maturity, a variable amount master note will be deemed to have a maturity equal to the period of time remaining until the principal amount can be recovered from the issuer.
Limitations on the Use of Variable and Floating Rate Notes. Variable and floating rate instruments for which no readily available market exists (e.g., illiquid securities) will be purchased in an amount which, together with securities with legal or contractual restrictions on resale or for which no readily available market exists (including repurchase agreements providing for settlement more than seven days after notice), exceeds 15% of a Fund’s net assets only if such instruments are subject to a demand feature that will permit the Fund to demand payment of the principal within seven days after demand by the Fund. There is no limit on the extent to which a Fund may purchase demand instruments that are not illiquid or deemed to be liquid in accordance with the Adviser’s liquidity determination procedures. If not rated, such instruments must be found by the Fund’s Adviser to be of comparable quality to instruments in which a Fund may invest. A rating may be relied upon only if it is provided by an NRSRO that is not affiliated with the issuer or guarantor of the instruments.
Zero-Coupon, Pay-in-Kind and Deferred Payment Securities. Zero-coupon securities are securities that are sold at a discount to par value and on which interest payments are not made during the life of the security. Upon maturity, the holder is entitled to receive the par value of the security. Pay-in-kind securities are securities that have interest payable by delivery of additional securities. Upon maturity, the holder is
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entitled to receive the aggregate par value of the securities. A Fund accrues income with respect to zero-coupon and pay-in-kind securities prior to the receipt of cash payments. Deferred payment securities are securities that remain zero-coupon securities until a predetermined date, at which time the stated coupon rate becomes effective and interest becomes payable at regular intervals. While interest payments are not made on such securities, holders of such securities are deemed to have received “phantom income.” Because a Fund will distribute “phantom income” to shareholders, to the extent that shareholders elect to receive dividends in cash rather than reinvesting such dividends in additional shares, the applicable Fund will have fewer assets with which to purchase income-producing securities. Zero-coupon, pay-in-kind and deferred payment securities may be subject to greater fluctuation in value and lesser liquidity in the event of adverse market conditions than comparably rated securities paying cash interest at regular interest payment periods.
Impact of Market Conditions on the Risks associated with Debt Securities
Investments in certain debt securities will be especially subject to the risk that, during certain periods, the liquidity of particular issuers or industries, or all securities within a particular investment category, may shrink or disappear suddenly and without warning as a result of adverse economic, market or political events, or adverse investor perceptions, whether or not accurate.
Current market conditions pose heightened risks for Funds that invest in debt securities. While the U.S. is experiencing historically low interest rate levels, signs of economic recovery and the end of the Federal Reserve Board’s quantitative easing program have increased the risk that interest rates may rise in the near future. Any future interest rate increases or other adverse conditions (e.g., inflation/deflation, increased selling of certain fixed-income investments across other pooled investment vehicles or accounts, changes in investor perception, or changes in government intervention in the markets) could cause the value of any Fund that invests in debt securities to decrease. As such, debt securities markets may experience heightened levels of interest rate and liquidity risk, as well as increased volatility. If rising interest rates cause a Fund to lose value, the Fund could also face increased shareholder redemptions, which would further impair the Fund’s ability to achieve its investment objectives.
The capacity for traditional dealers to engage in fixed-income trading for certain fixed income instruments has not kept pace with the growth of the fixed income market, and in some cases has decreased. As a result, because dealers acting as market makers provide stability to a market, the significant reduction in certain dealer inventories could potentially lead to decreased liquidity and increased volatility in the fixed income markets. Such issues may be exacerbated during periods of economic uncertainty or market volatility.
Demand Features
Certain Funds may acquire securities that are subject to puts and standby commitments (“Demand Features”) to purchase the securities at their principal amount (usually with accrued interest) within a fixed period (usually seven days) following a demand by the Fund. The Demand Feature may be issued by the issuer of the underlying securities, a dealer in the securities or by another third party and may not be transferred separately from the underlying security. The underlying securities subject to a put may be sold at any time at market rates. Applicable Funds expect that they will acquire puts only where the puts are available without the payment of any direct or indirect consideration. However, if advisable or necessary, a premium may be paid for put features. A premium paid will have the effect of reducing the yield otherwise payable on the underlying security. Demand Features provided by foreign banks involve certain risks associated with foreign investments. See “Foreign Investments (including Foreign Currencies)” for more information on these risks.
Under a “stand-by commitment,” a dealer would agree to purchase, at a Fund’s option, specified securities at a specified price. A Fund will acquire these commitments solely to facilitate portfolio liquidity and does not intend to exercise its rights thereunder for trading purposes. Stand-by commitments may also be referred to as put options.
The purpose of engaging in transactions involving puts is to maintain flexibility and liquidity to permit a Fund to meet redemption requests and remain as fully invested as possible.
Equity Securities, Warrants and Rights
Common Stock. Common stock represents a share of ownership in a company and usually carries voting rights and may earn dividends. Unlike preferred stock, common stock dividends are not fixed but are declared at the discretion of the issuer’s board of directors. Common stock occupies the most junior
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position in a company’s capital structure. As with all equity securities, the price of common stock fluctuates based on changes in a company’s financial condition, including those that result from management’s performance or changes to the business of the company, and overall market and economic conditions.
Common Stock Warrants and Rights. Common stock warrants entitle the holder to buy common stock from the issuer of the warrant at a specific price (the “strike price”) for a specific period of time. The market price of warrants may be substantially lower than the current market price of the underlying common stock, yet warrants are subject to similar price fluctuations. As a result, warrants may be more volatile investments than the underlying common stock. If a warrant is exercised, a Fund may hold common stock in its portfolio even if it does not ordinarily invest in common stock.
Rights are similar to warrants but normally have a shorter duration and are typically distributed directly by the issuers to existing shareholders, while warrants are typically attached to new debt or preferred stock issuances.
Warrants and rights generally do not entitle the holder to dividends or voting rights with respect to the underlying common stock and do not represent any rights in the assets of the issuer company. Warrants and rights will expire if not exercised on or prior to the expiration date.
Preferred Stock. Preferred stock is a class of stock that generally pays dividends at a specified rate and has preference over common stock in the payment of dividends and liquidation. Preferred stock generally does not carry voting rights. As with all equity securities, the price of preferred stock fluctuates based on changes in a company’s financial condition and on overall market and economic conditions. Because preferred stocks generally pay dividends only after the issuing company makes required payments to holders of its bonds and other debt, the value of preferred stocks is more sensitive than bonds and other debt to actual or perceived changes in the company’s financial condition or prospects.
Initial Public Offerings (“IPOs”). The Funds may purchase securities in IPOs. These securities are subject to many of the same risks as investing in companies with smaller market capitalizations. Securities issued in IPOs have no trading history, and information about the companies may be available for very limited periods. The prices of securities sold in IPOs may be highly volatile. At any particular time or from time to time, a Fund may not be able to invest in securities issued in IPOs, or invest to the extent desired, because, for example, only a small portion (if any) of the securities being offered in an IPO may be made available to the Fund. In addition, under certain market conditions, a relatively small number of companies may issue securities in IPOs. Similarly, as the number of Funds to which IPO securities are allocated increases, the number of securities issued to any one Fund may decrease. The investment performance of a Fund during periods when it is unable to invest significantly or at all in IPOs may be lower than during periods when the Fund is able to do so. In addition, as a Fund increases in size, the impact of IPOs on the Fund’s performance will generally decrease.
Foreign Investments (including Foreign Currencies)
Some of the Funds may invest in certain obligations or securities of foreign issuers. For purposes of a Fund’s investment policies and unless described otherwise in a Fund’s prospectus, an issuer of a security will be deemed to be located in a particular country if: (i) the principal trading market for the security is in such country, (ii) the issuer is organized under the laws of such country or (iii) the issuer derives at least 50% of its revenues or profits from such country or has at least 50% of its total assets situated in such country. Possible investments include equity securities and debt securities (e.g., bonds and commercial paper) of foreign entities, obligations of foreign branches of U.S. banks and of foreign banks, including, without limitation, eurodollar certificates of deposit, eurodollar time deposits, eurodollar bankers’ acceptances, canadian time deposits and yankee certificates of deposit, and investments in canadian commercial paper, and europaper. Securities of foreign issuers may include sponsored and unsponsored American Depositary Receipts (“ADRs”), European Depositary Receipts (“EDRs”), and Global Depositary Receipts (“GDRs”). Sponsored ADRs are listed on the New York Stock Exchange; unsponsored ADRs are not. Therefore, there may be less information available about the issuers of unsponsored ADRs than the issuers of sponsored ADRs. Unsponsored ADRs are restricted securities. EDRs and GDRs are not listed on the New York Stock Exchange. As a result, it may be difficult to obtain information about EDRs and GDRs.
Risk Factors of Foreign Investments. The following is a summary of certain risks associated with foreign investments:
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Political and Exchange Risks. Foreign investments may subject a Fund to investment risks that differ in some respects from those related to investments in obligations of U.S. domestic issuers. Such risks include potential future adverse political and economic developments, sanctions or other measures by the United States or other governments, possible imposition of withholding taxes on interest or other income, possible seizure, nationalization or expropriation of foreign deposits, possible establishment of exchange controls or taxation at the source, greater fluctuations in value due to changes in exchange rates, or the adoption of other foreign governmental restrictions which might adversely affect the payment of principal and interest on such obligations.
Higher Transaction Costs. Foreign investments may entail higher custodial fees and sales commissions than domestic investments.
Accounting and Regulatory Differences. Foreign issuers of securities or obligations are often subject to accounting treatment and engage in business practices different from those of domestic issuers of similar securities or obligations. In addition, foreign issuers are usually not subject to the same degree of regulation as domestic issuers, and their securities may trade on relatively small markets, causing their securities to experience potentially higher volatility and more limited liquidity than securities of domestic issuers. Foreign branches of U.S. banks and foreign banks are not regulated by U.S. banking authorities and may be subject to less stringent reserve requirements than those applicable to domestic branches of U.S. banks. In addition, foreign banks generally are not bound by accounting, auditing, and financial reporting standards comparable to those applicable to U.S. banks. Dividends and interest paid by foreign issuers may be subject to withholding and other foreign taxes which may decrease the net return on foreign investments as compared to dividends and interest paid to a Fund by domestic companies.
Currency Risk. Foreign securities may be denominated in foreign currencies, although foreign issuers may also issue securities denominated in U.S. dollars. The value of a Fund’s investments denominated in foreign currencies and any funds held in foreign currencies will be affected by changes in currency exchange rates, the relative strength of those currencies and the U.S. dollar, and exchange-control regulations. Changes in the foreign currency exchange rates also may affect the value of dividends and interest earned, gains and losses realized on the sale of securities and net investment income and gains, if any, to be distributed to shareholders by a Fund. The exchange rates between the U.S. dollar and other currencies are determined by the forces of supply and demand in 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 may fluctuate significantly over short periods of time. Currency exchange rates also can be affected by intervention (or lack of intervention) by the United States or foreign governments or central banks or by currency controls or political developments in the United States or elsewhere. Accordingly, the ability of a Fund that invests in foreign securities as part of its principal investment strategy to achieve its investment objective may depend, to a certain extent, on exchange rate movements. In addition, while the volume of transactions effected on foreign stock exchanges has increased in recent years, in most cases it remains appreciably below that of domestic securities exchanges. Accordingly, a Fund’s foreign investments may be less liquid and their prices may be more volatile than comparable investments in securities of U.S. companies. In buying and selling securities on foreign exchanges, purchasers normally pay fixed commissions that are generally higher than the negotiated commissions charged in the U.S. In addition, there is generally less government supervision and regulation of securities exchanges, brokers and issuers located in foreign countries than in the U.S.
Settlement Risk. The settlement periods for foreign securities and instruments are often longer than those for securities or obligations of U.S. issuers or instruments denominated in U.S. dollars. Delayed settlement may affect the liquidity of a Fund’s holdings. Certain types of securities and other instruments are not traded “delivery versus payment” in certain markets (e.g., government bonds in Russia) meaning that a Fund may deliver securities or instruments before payment is received from the counterparty. In such markets, the Fund may not receive timely payment for securities or other instruments it has delivered and may be subject to increased risk that the counterparty will fail to make payments when due or default completely.
Brady Bonds. Brady bonds are securities created through the exchange of existing commercial bank loans to public and private entities in certain emerging markets for new bonds in connection with debt restructurings. Brady bonds have been issued since 1989. In light of the history of defaults of countries issuing Brady bonds on their commercial bank loans, investments in Brady bonds may be viewed as speculative and subject to the same risks as emerging market securities. Brady bonds may be fully or partially collateralized or uncollateralized, are issued in various currencies (but primarily the U.S. dollar) and are actively traded in over-the-counter (“OTC”) secondary markets. Incomplete collateralization of
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interest or principal payment obligations results in increased credit risk. Dollar-denominated collateralized Brady bonds, which may be either fixed-rate or floating rate bonds, are generally collateralized by U.S. Treasury securities.
Global Depositary Notes. Foreign securities and emerging markets securities include Global Depositary Notes (“GDNs”). A GDN is a debt instrument created by a bank that evidences ownership of local currency-denominated debt securities. GDNs reflect the terms of particular local currency-denominated bonds. GDNs trade, settle, and pay interest and principal in U.S. dollars but typically are restricted securities that do not trade on an exchange. Any distributions paid to the holders of GDNs are usually subject to a fee charged by the depositary bank. In addition to the risks associated with foreign investments, a Fund’s investments in GDNs is subject to the risks associated with the underlying local currency-denominated bond and derivative instruments including credit risk, default or similar event risk, counterparty risk, interest rate risk, leverage risk, liquidity risk, and management risk. Holders of GDNs may have limited rights, and investment restrictions in certain countries may adversely impact the value of GDNs because such restrictions may limit the ability to convert the bonds into GDNs and vice versa. Such restrictions may cause bonds of the underlying issuer to trade at a discount or premium to the market price of the GDN.
Obligations of Supranational Entities. Obligations of supranational entities include securities designated or supported by governmental entities to promote economic reconstruction or development of international banking institutions and related government agencies. Examples include the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (the “World Bank”), the European Coal and Steel Community, the Asian Development Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank. Each supranational entity’s lending activities are limited to a percentage of its total capital (including “callable capital” contributed by its governmental members at the entity’s call), reserves and net income. There is no assurance that participating governments will be able or willing to honor their commitments to make capital contributions to a supranational entity.
Sukuk. Foreign securities and emerging market securities include sukuk. Sukuk are certificates, similar to bonds, issued by the issuer to obtain an upfront payment in exchange for an income stream. Such income stream may or may not be linked to a tangible asset. For sukuk that are not linked to a tangible asset, the sukuk represents a contractual payment obligation of the issuer or issuing vehicle to pay income or periodic payments to the investor, and such contractual payment obligation is linked to the issuer or issuing vehicle and not from interest on the investor’s money for the sukuk. For sukuk linked to a tangible asset, the Fund will not have a direct interest in the underlying asset or pool of assets. The issuer also makes a contractual promise to buy back the certificate at a future date at par value. Even when the certificate is linked to the returns generated by certain assets of the issuer, the underlying assets are not pledged as security for the certificates, and the Fund (as the investor) is relying on the creditworthiness of the issuer for all payments required by the sukuk. The issuer may be a special purpose vehicle (“SPV”) with no other assets. Investors do not have direct legal ownership of any underlying assets. In the event of default, the process may take longer to resolve than conventional bonds. Changing interpretations of Islamic law by courts or prominent scholars may affect the free transferability of sukuk in ways that cannot now be foreseen. In such an event, the Fund may be required to hold its sukuk for longer than intended, even if their condition is deteriorating.
Issuers of sukuk may include international financial institutions, foreign governments and agencies of foreign governments. Underlying assets may include, without limitation, real estate (developed and undeveloped), lease contracts and machinery and equipment. Although the sukuk market has grown significantly in recent years, there may be times when the market is illiquid and where it is difficult for a Fund to make an investment in or dispose of sukuk at the Fund’s desired time. Furthermore, the global sukuk market is significantly smaller than conventional bond markets, and restrictions imposed by the Shariah board of the issuing entity may limit the number of investors who are interested in investing in particular sukuk. The unique characteristics of sukuk may lead to uncertainties regarding their tax treatment within a Fund.
Investors’ ability to pursue and enforce actions with respect to these payment obligations or to otherwise enforce the terms of the sukuk, restructure the sukuk, obtain a judgment in a court of competent jurisdiction, and/or attach assets of the obligor may be limited. Sukuk are also subject to the risks associated with developing and emerging market economies, which include, among others, the risk of sanctions and inconsistent accounting and legal principles.
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Emerging Market Securities. Investing in companies domiciled in emerging market countries may be subject to potentially higher risks than investments in developed countries. These risks include: (i) less social, political, and economic stability; (ii) greater illiquidity and price volatility due to smaller or limited local capital markets for such securities, or low non-existent trading volumes; (iii) less scrutiny and regulation by local authorities of the foreign exchanges and broker-dealers; (iv) the seizure or confiscation by local governments of securities held by foreign investors, and the possible suspension or limiting by local governments of an issuer’s ability to make dividend or interest payments; (v) limiting or entirely restricting repatriation of invested capital, profits, and dividends by local governments; (vi) possible local taxation of capital gains, including on a retroactive basis; (vii) the attempt by issuers facing restrictions on dollar or euro payments imposed by local governments to make dividend or interest payments to foreign investors in the local currency; (viii) difficulty in enforcing legal claims related to the securities and/or local judges favoring the interests of the issuer over those of foreign investors; (ix) bankruptcy judgments being paid in the local currency; (x) greater difficulty in determining market valuations of the securities due to limited public information regarding the issuer, and (xi) difficulty of ascertaining the financial health of an issuer due to lax financial reporting on a regular basis, substandard disclosure and differences in accounting standards.
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. Although some emerging markets have become more established and tend to issue securities of higher credit quality, the markets for securities in other emerging countries are in the earliest stages of their development, and these countries issue securities across the credit spectrum. 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 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.
Many emerging market countries suffer from uncertainty and corruption in their legal frameworks. Legislation may be difficult to interpret and laws may be too new to provide any precedential value. Laws regarding foreign investment and private property may be weak or non-existent. Sudden changes in governments may result in policies which are less favorable to investors, such as policies designed to expropriate or nationalize “sovereign” assets. Certain emerging market countries in the past have expropriated large amounts of private property, in many cases with little or no compensation, and there can be no assurance that such expropriation will not occur in the future.
Foreign investment in the securities markets of certain emerging countries is restricted or controlled to varying degrees. These restrictions may limit a Fund’s investment in certain emerging countries and may increase the expenses of the Fund. Certain emerging countries require governmental approval prior to investments by foreign persons or limit investment by foreign persons to only a specified percentage of an issuer’s outstanding securities or to a specific class of securities, which may have less advantageous terms (including price) than securities of the company available for purchase by nationals.
Many developing countries lack the social, political, and economic stability characteristics of the U.S. Political instability among emerging market countries can be common and may be caused by an uneven distribution of wealth, social unrest, labor strikes, civil wars, and religious oppression. Economic instability in emerging market countries may take the form of: (i) high interest rates; (ii) high levels of inflation, including hyperinflation; (iii) high levels of unemployment or underemployment; (iv) changes in government economic and tax policies, including confiscatory taxation; and (v) imposition of trade barriers.
Currencies of emerging market countries are subject to significantly greater risks than currencies of developed countries. Many emerging market countries have experienced steady declines or even sudden devaluations of their currencies relative to the U.S. dollar. Some emerging market currencies may not be internationally traded or may be subject to strict controls by local governments, resulting in undervalued or overvalued currencies.
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Some emerging market countries have experienced balance of payment deficits and shortages in foreign exchange reserves. Governments have responded by restricting currency conversions. Future restrictive exchange controls could prevent or restrict a company’s ability to make dividend or interest payments in the original currency of the obligation (usually U.S. dollars). In addition, even though the currencies of some emerging market countries may be convertible into U.S. dollars, the conversion rates may be artificial to their actual market values.
A Fund’s income and, in some cases, capital gains from foreign stocks and securities, will be subject to applicable taxation in certain of the countries in which it invests and treaties between the U.S. and such countries may not be available in some cases to reduce the otherwise applicable tax rates. 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 a portion of the assets of a Fund remains uninvested and no return is earned on such assets. The inability of the Fund to make intended security purchases or sales due to settlement problems could result either in losses to the Fund due to subsequent declines in value of the portfolio securities, in the Fund deeming those securities to be illiquid, or, if the Fund has entered into a contract to sell the securities, in possible liability to the purchaser.
In the past, governments within the emerging markets have become overly reliant on the international capital markets and other forms of foreign credit to finance large public spending programs which cause huge budget deficits. Often, interest payments have become too overwhelming for a government to meet, representing a large percentage of total gross domestic product (“GDP”). These foreign obligations have become the subject of political debate and have served as fuel for political parties of the opposition, which pressure the government not to make payments to foreign creditors, but instead to use these funds for social programs. Either due to an inability to pay or submission to political pressure, foreign governments have been forced to seek a restructuring of their loan and/or bond obligations, have declared a temporary suspension of interest payments or have defaulted. These events have adversely affected the values of securities issued by foreign governments and corporations domiciled in emerging market countries and have negatively affected not only their cost of borrowing, but their ability to borrow in the future as well.
Sovereign Obligations. Sovereign debt includes investments in securities issued or guaranteed by a foreign sovereign government or its agencies, authorities or political subdivisions. An investment in sovereign debt obligations involves special risks not present in corporate debt obligations. The issuer of the sovereign debt or the governmental authorities that control the repayment of the debt may be unable or unwilling to repay principal or interest when due, and a Fund may have limited recourse in the event of a default. During periods of economic uncertainty, the market prices of sovereign debt may be more volatile than prices of U.S. debt obligations. In the past, certain emerging markets have encountered difficulties in servicing their debt obligations, withheld payments of principal and interest and declared moratoria on the payment of principal and interest on their sovereign debts.
A sovereign debtor’s willingness or ability to repay principal and pay interest in a timely manner may be affected by, among other factors, its cash flow situation, the extent of its foreign currency reserves, the availability of sufficient foreign exchange, the relative size of the debt service burden, the sovereign debtor’s policy toward principal international lenders and local political constraints. Sovereign debtors may also be dependent on expected disbursements from foreign governments, multilateral agencies and other entities to reduce principal and interest arrearages on their debt. The failure of a sovereign debtor to implement economic reforms, achieve specified levels of economic performance or repay principal or interest when due may result in the cancellation of third-party commitments to lend funds to the sovereign debtor, which may further impair such debtor’s ability or willingness to service its debts.
Foreign Currency Transactions. Certain Funds may engage in foreign currency transactions which include the following, some of which also have been described elsewhere in this SAI: options on foreign currencies, currency futures, options on such futures, forward foreign currency transactions, forward rate agreements and currency swaps, caps and floors. Certain Funds may engage in such transactions in both U.S. and non-U.S. markets. To the extent a Fund enters into such transactions in markets other than in the U.S., the Fund may be subject to certain currency, settlement, liquidity, trading and other risks similar to those described above with respect to the Fund’s investments in foreign securities including emerging markets securities. Certain Funds may engage in such transactions to hedge against currency risks, as a substitute for securities in which the Fund invests, to increase or decrease exposure to a foreign currency, to shift exposure from one foreign currency to another, for risk management purposes or to increase income or gain to the Fund. To the extent that a Fund uses foreign currency transactions for hedging purposes, the Fund may hedge either specific transactions or portfolio positions.
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While a Fund’s use of hedging strategies is intended to reduce the volatility of the net asset value (“NAV”) of Fund shares, the NAV of the Fund will fluctuate. There can be no assurance that a Fund’s hedging transactions will be effective. Furthermore, a Fund (other than the Europe Currency Hedged ETF and International Currency Hedged ETF which intends to engage in hedging on a regular basis) may only engage in hedging activities from time to time and may not necessarily be engaging in hedging activities when movements in currency exchange rates occur.
Certain Funds are authorized to deal in forward foreign exchange between currencies of the different countries in which the Fund will invest and multi-national currency units as a hedge against possible variations in the foreign exchange rate between these currencies. This is accomplished through contractual agreements entered into in the interbank market to purchase or sell one specified currency for another currency at a specified future date (up to one year) and price at the time of the contract.
Transaction Hedging. Generally, when a Fund engages in transaction hedging, it enters into foreign currency transactions with respect to specific receivables or payables of the Fund generally arising in connection with the purchase or sale of its portfolio securities. A Fund may engage in transaction hedging when it desires to “lock in” the U.S. dollar price (or a non-U.S. dollar currency (“reference currency”)) of a security it has agreed to purchase or sell, or the U.S. dollar equivalent of a dividend or interest payment in a foreign currency. By transaction hedging, a Fund attempts to protect itself against a possible loss resulting from an adverse change in the relationship between the U.S. dollar or other reference currency and the applicable 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.
A Fund may purchase or sell a foreign currency on a spot (or cash) basis at the prevailing spot rate in connection with the settlement of transactions in portfolio securities denominated in that foreign currency. Certain Funds reserve the right to purchase and sell foreign currency futures contracts traded in the U.S. and subject to regulation by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC”).
For transaction hedging purposes, a Fund may also purchase U.S. exchange-listed call and put options on foreign currency futures contracts and on foreign currencies. A put option on a futures contract gives a Fund the right to assume a short position in the foreign currency futures contract until expiration of the option. A put option on currency gives a Fund the right to sell a currency at an exercise price until the expiration of the option. A call option on a futures contract gives a Fund the right to assume a long position in the futures contract until the expiration of the option. A call option on currency gives a Fund the right to purchase a currency at the exercise price until the expiration of the option.
Position Hedging. When engaging in position hedging, a Fund will enter into foreign currency exchange transactions to protect against a decline in the values of the foreign currencies in which their portfolio securities are denominated or an increase in the value of currency for securities which a Fund’s Adviser expects to purchase. In connection with the position hedging, the Fund may purchase or sell foreign currency forward contracts or foreign currency on a spot basis. A Fund may purchase U.S. exchange-listed put or call options on foreign currency and foreign currency futures contracts and buy or sell foreign currency futures contracts traded in the U.S. and subject to regulation by the CFTC.
The precise matching of the amounts of foreign currency exchange transactions and the value of the portfolio 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 dates the currency exchange transactions are entered into and the dates they mature.
Forward Foreign Currency Exchange Contracts. Certain Funds may purchase forward foreign currency exchange contracts, sometimes referred to as “currency forwards” (“Forward Contracts”), which involve 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 as agreed by the parties in an amount and at a price set at the time of the contract. In the case of a cancelable Forward Contract, the holder has the unilateral right to cancel the contract at maturity by paying a specified fee. The contracts are traded in the interbank market conducted directly between currency traders (usually large commercial banks) and their customers, so no intermediary is required. A Forward Contract generally has no deposit requirement, and no commissions are charged at any stage for trades.
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 usually effected with the currency trader who is a party to the original forward contract. For forward foreign currency
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contracts (other than Non-Deliverable Forwards) that require physical settlement, the Funds will segregate or earmark liquid assets equal to the current notional value of each contract. In calculating the notional value, the Funds may net long and short contracts with the same currency and the same settlement date. With respect to trades that do not settle through CLS Bank International, the Funds may only net long and short contracts if the contracts are with the same counterparty. Certain Funds may also engage in non-deliverable forwards which are cash settled and which do not involve delivery of the currency specified in the contract. For more information on Non-Deliverable Forwards, see “Non-Deliverable Forwards” below.
Foreign Currency Futures Contracts. Certain Funds may purchase foreign currency futures contracts. Foreign currency futures contracts traded in the U.S. are designed by and traded on exchanges regulated by the CFTC, such as the New York Mercantile Exchange. A Fund may enter into foreign currency futures contracts for hedging purposes and other risk management purposes as defined in CFTC regulations. Certain Funds may also enter into foreign currency futures transactions to increase exposure to a foreign currency, to shift exposure from one foreign currency to another or to increase income or gain to the Fund.
At the maturity of a futures contract, the 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 futures contracts are effected on a commodities exchange; a clearing corporation associated with the exchange assumes responsibility for closing out such contracts.
Positions in the foreign currency futures contracts may be closed out only on an exchange or board of trade which provides a secondary market in such contracts. There is no assurance that a secondary market on an exchange or board of trade will exist for any particular contract or at any particular time. In such event, it may not be possible to close a futures position; in the event of adverse price movements, the Fund would continue to be required to make daily cash payments of variation margin.
For more information on futures contracts, see “Futures Contracts” under the heading “Options and Futures Transactions” below.
Foreign Currency Options. Certain Funds may purchase and sell U.S. exchange-listed and over the counter call and put options on foreign currencies. Such options on foreign currencies operate similarly to options on securities. When a Fund purchases a put option, the Fund has the right but not the obligation to exchange money denominated in one currency into another currency at a pre-agreed exchange rate on a specified date. When a Fund sells or writes a call option, the Fund has the obligation to exchange money denominated in one currency into another currency at a pre-agreed exchange rate if the buyer exercises option. Some of the Funds may also purchase and sell non-deliverable currency options (“Non-Deliverable Options”). Non-Deliverable Options are cash-settled, options on foreign currencies (each a “Option Reference Currency”) that are non-convertible and that may be thinly traded or illiquid. Non-Deliverable Options involve an obligation to pay an amount in a deliverable currency (such as U.S. Dollars, Euros, Japanese Yen, or British Pounds Sterling) equal to the difference between the prevailing market exchange rate for the Option Reference Currency and the agreed upon exchange rate (the “Non-Deliverable Option Rate”), with respect to an agreed notional amount. Options on foreign currencies are affected by all of those factors which influence foreign exchange rates and investments generally.
A Fund is authorized to purchase or sell listed foreign currency options and currency swap contracts as a short or long hedge against possible variations in foreign exchange rates, as a substitute for securities in which a Fund may invest, and for risk management purposes. Such transactions may be effected with respect to hedges on non-U.S. dollar denominated securities (including securities denominated in the Euro) owned by the Fund, sold by the Fund but not yet delivered, committed or anticipated to be purchased by the Fund, or in transaction or cross-hedging strategies. As an illustration, a Fund may use such techniques to hedge the stated value in U.S. dollars of an investment in a Japanese yen-dominated security. In such circumstances, the Fund may purchase a foreign currency put option enabling it to sell a specified amount of yen for dollars at a specified price by a future date. To the extent the hedge is successful, a loss in the value of the dollar relative to the yen will tend to be offset by an increase in the value of the put option. To offset, in whole or in part, the cost of acquiring such a put option, the Fund also may sell a call option which, if exercised, requires it to sell a specified amount of yen for dollars at a specified price by a future date (a technique called a “collar”). By selling the call option in this illustration, the Fund gives up the opportunity to profit without limit from increases in the relative value of the yen to the dollar. Certain Funds may also enter into foreign currency futures transactions for non-hedging purposes including to increase or decrease exposure to a foreign currency, to shift exposure from one foreign currency to another or to increase income or gain to the Fund.
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Certain differences exist among these foreign currency instruments. Foreign currency options provide the holder thereof the right to buy or to sell a currency at a fixed price on a future date. Listed options are third-party contracts (i.e., performance of the parties’ obligations is guaranteed by an exchange or clearing corporation) which are issued by a clearing corporation, traded on an exchange and have standardized strike prices and expiration dates. OTC options are two-party contracts and have negotiated strike prices and expiration dates. Options on futures contracts are traded on boards of trade or futures exchanges. Currency swap contracts are negotiated two-party agreements entered into in the interbank market whereby the parties exchange two foreign currencies at the inception of the contract and agree to reverse the exchange at a specified future time and at a specified exchange rate.
The value of a foreign currency option is dependent upon the value of the foreign currency and the U.S. dollar and may have no relationship to the investment merits of a foreign security. Because foreign currency transactions occurring in the interbank market involve substantially larger amounts than those that may be involved in the use of foreign currency options, investors may be disadvantaged by having to deal in an odd lot market (generally consisting of transactions of less than $1 million) for the underlying foreign currencies at prices that are less favorable than those for round lots.
There is no systematic reporting of last sale information for foreign currencies and there is no regulatory requirement that quotations available through dealer or other market sources be firm or revised on a timely basis. Available quotation information is generally representative of very large transactions in the interbank market and thus may not reflect relatively smaller transactions (less than $1 million) where rates may be less favorable. The interbank market in foreign currencies is a global, around-the-clock market. To the extent that the U.S. options markets are closed while the markets for the underlying currencies remain open, significant price and rate movements may take place in the underlying markets that cannot be reflected in the options market.
In addition to writing call options on currencies when a Fund owns the underlying currency, the Funds may also write call options on currencies even if they do not own the underlying currency as long as the Fund segregates cash or liquid assets that, when added to the amounts deposited with a futures commission merchant or a broker as margin, equal the market value of the currency underlying the call option (but not less than the strike price of the call option). The Funds may also cover a written call option by owning a separate call option permitting the Fund to purchase the reference currency at a price no higher than the strike price of the call option sold by the Fund. In addition, a Fund may write a non-deliverable call option if the Fund segregates an amount equal to the current notional value (amount obligated to pay). Netting is generally permitted of long and short positions of a specific country (assuming long and short contracts are similar). If there are securities or currency held in that specific country at least equal to the current notional value of the net currency positions, no segregation is required.
Non-Deliverable Forwards. Some of the Funds may also invest in non-deliverable forwards (“NDFs”). NDFs are cash-settled, short-term forward contracts on foreign currencies (each a “Reference Currency”) that are non-convertible and that may be thinly traded or illiquid. NDFs involve an obligation to pay an amount (the “Settlement Amount”) equal to the difference between the prevailing market exchange rate for the Reference Currency and the agreed upon exchange rate (the “NDF Rate”), with respect to an agreed notional amount. NDFs have a fixing date and a settlement (delivery) date. The fixing date is the date and time at which the difference between the prevailing market exchange rate and the agreed upon exchange rate is calculated. The settlement (delivery) date is the date by which the payment of the Settlement Amount is due to the party receiving payment.
Although NDFs are similar to forward foreign currency exchange contracts, NDFs do not require physical delivery of the Reference Currency on the settlement date. Rather, on the settlement date, the only transfer between the counterparties is the monetary settlement amount representing the difference between the NDF Rate and the prevailing market exchange rate. NDFs typically may have terms from one month up to two years and are settled in U.S. dollars.
NDFs are subject to many of the risks associated with derivatives in general and forward currency transactions including risks associated with fluctuations in foreign currency and the risk that the counterparty will fail to fulfill its obligations. The Funds will segregate or earmark liquid assets in an amount equal to the marked to market value of each NDF contact, on a daily basis of the NDF. In calculating the mark-to-market value, the Funds may net opposing NDF contracts with the same currency and the same settlement date. With respect to trades that do not settle through CLS Bank International, the Funds may only net opposing NDF contracts if the contracts are with the same counterparty.
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The Funds will typically use NDFs for hedging purposes, but may also use such instruments to increase income or gain. The use of NDFs for hedging or to increase income or gain may not be successful, resulting in losses to the Fund, and the cost of such strategies may reduce the Funds’ respective returns.
Under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (the “Dodd-Frank Act”), NDFs are regulated as swaps and are subject to rules requiring central clearing and mandatory trading on an exchange or facility that is regulated by the CFTC for certain swaps. NDFs traded in the over-the-counter market are subject to margin requirements that were implemented with respect to the Funds beginning in 2017. Implementation of the regulations regarding clearing, mandatory trading and margining of NDFs may increase the cost to the Fund of hedging currency risk and, as a result, may affect returns to investors in the Fund.
Foreign Currency Conversion. Although foreign exchange dealers do not charge a fee for currency conversion, they do realize a profit based on the difference (the “spread”) between prices at which they are buying and selling various currencies. Thus, a dealer may offer to sell a foreign currency to a Fund at one rate while offering a lesser rate of exchange should the Fund desire to resell that currency to the dealer.
Other Foreign Currency Hedging Strategies. New options and futures contracts and other financial products, and various combinations thereof, continue to be developed, and certain Funds may invest in any such options, contracts and products as may be developed to the extent consistent with the Fund’s investment objective and the regulatory requirements applicable to investment companies, and subject to the supervision of the Trust’s Board of Trustees.
Risk Factors in Foreign Currency Transactions. The following is a summary of certain risks associated with foreign currency transactions:
Imperfect Correlation. Foreign currency transactions present certain risks. In particular, the variable degree of correlation between price movements of the currency instruments and price movements in the substituted securities creates the possibility that losses on the currency transaction may be greater than gains in the value of a Fund’s securities.
Liquidity. Currency instruments may not be liquid in all circumstances. As a result, in volatile markets, the Funds may not be able to dispose of or offset a transaction without incurring losses. The use of these instruments could tend to limit any potential gain which might result from an increase in the value of the substituted security.
Leverage and Volatility Risk. Derivative instruments, including foreign currency derivatives, may sometimes increase or leverage a Fund’s exposure to a particular market risk. Leverage enhances the price volatility of derivative instruments held by a Fund.
Strategy Risk. Certain Funds may use foreign currency derivatives for hedging as well as non-hedging purposes including to gain or adjust exposure to currencies and securities markets or to increase income or gain to a Fund. There is no guarantee that these strategies will succeed and their use may subject a Fund to greater volatility and loss. Foreign currency transactions involve complex securities transactions that involve risks in addition to direct investments in securities including leverage risk and the risks associated with derivatives in general, currencies, and investments in foreign and emerging markets.
Judgment of the Adviser. Successful use of foreign currency transactions by a Fund depends upon the ability of the Adviser to predict correctly movements in the direction of interest and currency rates and other factors affecting markets for securities. If the expectations of the Adviser are not met, a Fund would be in a worse position than if a foreign currency transaction had not been pursued. For example, if a Fund has hedged against the possibility of an increase in interest rates which would adversely affect the price of securities in its portfolio and the price of such securities increases instead, the Fund will lose part or all of the benefit of the increased value of its securities because it will have offsetting losses in its hedging positions. In addition, when utilizing instruments that require variation margin payments, if the Fund has insufficient cash to meet daily variation margin requirements, it may have to sell securities to meet such requirements.
Other Risks. Such sales of securities may, but will not necessarily, be at increased prices which reflect the rising market. Thus, a Fund may have to sell securities at a time when it is disadvantageous to do so.
It is impossible to forecast with precision the market value of portfolio securities at the expiration or maturity of a forward contract or futures contract. Accordingly, a Fund may have to purchase additional foreign currency on the spot market (and bear the expense of such purchase) if the market value of the security or securities being hedged is less than the amount of foreign currency a Fund is obligated to
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deliver and if a decision is made to sell the security or securities and make delivery of the foreign currency. Conversely, it may be necessary to sell on the spot market some of the foreign currency received upon the sale of the portfolio security or securities if the market value of such security or securities exceeds the amount of foreign currency the Fund is obligated to deliver.
Transaction and position hedging do not eliminate fluctuations in the underlying prices of the securities which a Fund owns or expects to purchase or sell. Rather, the Adviser may employ these techniques in an effort to maintain an investment portfolio that is relatively neutral to fluctuations in the value of the U.S. dollar relative to major foreign currencies and establish a rate of exchange which one can achieve at some future point in time. Additionally, although these techniques tend to minimize the risk of loss due to a decline in the value of the hedged currency, they also tend to limit any potential gain which might result from the increase in the value of such currency. Moreover, it may not be possible for a Fund to hedge against a devaluation that is so generally anticipated that the Fund is not able to contract to sell the currency at a price above the anticipated devaluation level.
Inverse Floaters and Interest Rate Caps
Inverse floaters are instruments whose interest rates bear an inverse relationship to the interest rate on another security or the value of an index. The market value of an inverse floater will vary inversely with changes in market interest rates and will be more volatile in response to interest rate changes than that of a fixed rate obligation. Interest rate caps are financial instruments under which payments occur if an interest rate index exceeds a certain predetermined interest rate level, known as the cap rate, which is tied to a specific index. These financial products will be more volatile in price than securities which do not include such a structure.
Investment Company Securities and Exchange-Traded Funds
Investment Company Securities. A Fund may acquire the securities of other investment companies (“acquired funds”) to the extent permitted under the 1940 Act and consistent with its investment objective and strategies. As a shareholder of another investment company, a Fund would bear, along with other shareholders, its pro rata portion of the other investment company’s expenses, including advisory fees. These expenses would be in addition to the advisory and other expenses that a Fund bears directly in connection with its own operations. Except as described below, the 1940 Act currently requires that, as determined immediately after a purchase is made, (i) not more than 5% of the value of a Fund’s total assets will be invested in the securities of any one investment company, (ii) not more than 10% of the value of its total assets will be invested in the aggregate in securities of investment companies as a group and (iii) not more than 3% of the outstanding voting stock of any one investment company will be owned by a Fund.
The limitations described above do not apply to investments in money market funds subject to certain conditions. The Funds may invest in affiliated and unaffiliated money market funds without limit under Rule 12d1-1 under the 1940 Act subject to the acquiring fund’s investment policies and restrictions and the conditions of the Rule.
Exchange-Traded Funds (“ETFs”). ETFs are pooled investment vehicles whose ownership interests are purchased and sold on a securities exchange. ETFs may be structured investment companies, depositary receipts or other pooled investment vehicles. As shareholders of an ETF, the Funds will bear their pro rata portion of any fees and expenses of the ETFs. Although shares of ETFs are traded on an exchange, shares of certain ETFs may not be redeemable by the ETF. In addition, ETFs may trade at a price below their net asset value (also known as a discount).
Certain Funds may use ETFs to gain exposure to various asset classes and markets or types of strategies and investments By way of example, ETFs may be structured as broad based ETFs that invest in a broad group of stocks from different industries and market sectors; select sector; or market ETFs that invest in debt securities from a select sector of the economy, a single industry or related industries; or ETFs that invest in foreign and emerging markets securities. Other types of ETFs continue to be developed and the Fund may invest in them to the extent consistent with such Funds’ investment objectives, policies and restrictions. The ETFs in which the Funds invest are subject to the risks applicable to the types of securities and investments used by the ETFs (e.g., debt securities are subject to risks like credit and interest rate risks; emerging markets securities are subject risks like currency risks and foreign and emerging markets risk; derivatives are subject to leverage and counterparty risk).
ETFs may be actively managed or index-based. Actively managed ETFs are subject to management risk and may not achieve their objective if the ETF’s manager’s expectations regarding particular securities or markets are not met. An index based ETF’s objective is to track the performance of a specified index.
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Index based ETFs may invest in a securities portfolio that includes substantially all of the securities in substantially the same amount as the securities included in the designated index or a representative sample. Because passively managed ETFs are designed to track an index, securities may be purchased, retained and sold at times when an actively managed ETF would not do so. As a result, shareholders of a Fund that invest in such an ETF can expect greater risk of loss (and a correspondingly greater prospect of gain) from changes in the value of securities that are heavily weighted in the index than would be the case if ETF were not fully invested in such securities. This risk is increased if a few component securities represent a highly concentrated weighting in the designated index.
Unless permitted by the 1940 Act or an order or rule issued by the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) (see “Investment Company Securities” above for more information), the Fund’s investments in unaffiliated ETFs that are structured as investment companies as defined in the 1940 Act are subject to certain percentage limitations of the 1940 Act regarding investments in other investment companies. As a general matter, these percentage limitations currently require a Fund to limit its investments in any one issue of ETFs to 5% of the Fund’s total assets and 3% of the outstanding voting securities of the ETF issue. Moreover, a Fund’s investments in all ETFs may not currently exceed 10% of the Fund’s total assets under the 1940 Act, when aggregated with all other investments in investment companies. ETFs that are not structured as investment companies as defined in the 1940 Act are not subject to these percentage limitations.
SEC exemptive orders granted to various ETFs and their investment advisers permit the Funds to invest beyond the 1940 Act limits, subject to certain terms and conditions, including a finding of the Board of Trustees that the advisory fees charged by the Adviser to the Fund are for services that are in addition to, and not duplicative of, the advisory services provided to those ETFs.
Loans
Some of the Funds may invest in fixed and floating rate loans (“Loans”). Loans may include senior fixed and floating rate loans (“Senior Loans”) and secured and unsecured loans, second lien or more junior loans (“Junior Loans”) and bridge loans or bridge facilities (“Bridge Loans”). Loans are typically arranged through private negotiations between borrowers in the U.S. or in foreign or emerging markets which may be corporate issuers or issuers of sovereign debt obligations (“Obligors”) and one or more financial institutions and other lenders (“Lenders”). Generally, the Funds invest in Loans by purchasing assignments of all or a portion of Loans (“Assignments”) or Loan participations (“Participations”) from third parties although certain Funds may originate Loans.
A Fund has direct rights against the Obligor on the Loan when it purchases an Assignment. Because Assignments are arranged through private negotiations between potential assignees and potential assignors, however, the rights and obligations acquired by a Fund as the purchaser of an Assignment may differ from, and be more limited than, those held by the assigning Lender. With respect to Participations, typically, a Fund will have a contractual relationship only with the Lender and not with the Obligor. The agreement governing Participations may limit the rights of a Fund to vote on certain changes which may be made to the Loan agreement, such as waiving a breach of a covenant. However, the holder of a Participation will generally have the right to vote on certain fundamental issues such as changes in principal amount, payment dates and interest rate. Participations may entail certain risks relating to the creditworthiness of the parties from which the participations are obtained.
Assignments and Participations are typically originated, negotiated and structured by a U.S. or foreign commercial bank, insurance company, finance company or other financial institution (the “Agent”) for a group of Loan investors. The Agent typically administers and enforces the Loan on behalf of the other Loan investors in the syndicate. The Agent’s duties may include responsibility for the collection of principal and interest payments from the Obligor and the apportionment of these payments to the credit of all Loan investors. The Agent is also typically responsible for monitoring compliance with the covenants contained in the Loan agreement based upon reports prepared by the Obligor. In addition, an institution, typically but not always the Agent, holds any collateral on behalf of the Loan investors. In the event of a default by the Obligor, it is possible, though unlikely, that the Fund could receive a portion of the borrower’s collateral. If the Fund receives collateral other than cash, any proceeds received from liquidation of such collateral will be available for investment as part of the Fund’s portfolio.
In the process of buying, selling and holding Loans, a Fund may receive and/or pay certain fees. These fees are in addition to interest payments received and may include facility fees, commitment fees, commissions and prepayment penalty fees. When a Fund buys or sells a Loan it may pay a fee. In certain circumstances, a Fund may receive a prepayment penalty fee upon prepayment of a Loan.
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Additional Information concerning Senior Loans. Senior Loans typically hold the most senior position in the capital structure of the Obligor, are typically secured with specific collateral and have a claim on the assets and/or stock of the Obligor that is senior to that held by subordinated debtholders and shareholders of the Obligor. Collateral for Senior Loans may include (i) working capital assets, such as accounts receivable and inventory; (ii) tangible fixed assets, such as real property, buildings and equipment; (iii) intangible assets, such as trademarks and patent rights; and/or (iv) security interests in shares of stock of subsidiaries or affiliates.
Additional Information concerning Junior Loans. Junior Loans include secured and unsecured loans including subordinated loans, second lien and more junior loans, and bridge loans. Second lien and more junior loans (“Junior Lien Loans”) are generally second or further in line in terms of repayment priority. In addition, Junior Lien Loans may have a claim on the same collateral pool as the first lien or other more senior liens or may be secured by a separate set of assets. Junior Loans generally give investors priority over general unsecured creditors in the event of an asset sale.
Additional Information concerning Bridge Loans. Bridge Loans are short-term loan arrangements (e.g., 12 to 36 months) typically made by an Obligor in anticipation of intermediate-term or long-term permanent financing. Most Bridge Loans are structured as floating-rate debt with step-up provisions under which the interest rate on the Bridge Loan rises the longer the Loan remains outstanding. In addition, Bridge Loans commonly contain a conversion feature that allows the Bridge Loan investor to convert its Loan interest to senior exchange notes if the Loan has not been prepaid in full on or prior to its maturity date. Bridge Loans typically are structured as Senior Loans but may be structured as Junior Loans.
Additional Information concerning Unfunded Commitments. Unfunded commitments are contractual obligations pursuant to which the Fund agrees to invest in a Loan at a future date. Typically, the Fund receives a commitment fee for entering into the Unfunded Commitment.
Additional Information concerning Synthetic Letters of Credit. Loans include synthetic letters of credit. In a synthetic letter of credit transaction, the Lender typically creates a special purpose entity or a credit-linked deposit account for the purpose of funding a letter of credit to the borrower. When a Fund invests in a synthetic letter of credit, the Fund is typically paid a rate based on the Lender’s borrowing costs and the terms of the synthetic letter of credit. Synthetic letters of credit are typically structured as Assignments with the Fund acquiring direct rights against the Obligor.
Additional Information concerning Loan Originations. In addition to investing in loan assignments and participations, the Global Bond Opportunities ETF may originate Loans in which the Fund would lend money directly to a borrower by investing in limited liability companies or corporations that make loans directly to borrowers. The terms of the Loans are negotiated with borrowers in private transactions. Such Loans would be collateralized, typically with tangible fixed assets such as real property or interests in real property. Such Loans may also include mezzanine loans. Unlike Loans secured by a mortgage on real property, mezzanine loans are collateralized by an equity interest in a SPV that owns the real property.
Limitations on Investments in Loan Assignments and Participations. If a government entity is a borrower on a Loan, the Fund will consider the government to be the issuer of an Assignment or Participation for purposes of a Fund’s fundamental investment policy that it will not invest 25% or more of its total assets in securities of issuers conducting their principal business activities in the same industry (i.e., foreign government).
Limited Federal Securities Law Protections. Certain Loans may not be considered securities under the federal securities laws. In such circumstances, fewer legal protections may be available with respect to a Fund’s investment in those Loans. In particular, if a Loan is not considered a security under the federal securities laws, certain legal protections normally available to investors under the federal securities laws, such as those against fraud and misrepresentation, may not be available.
Multiple Lender Risk. There may be additional risks associated with Loans, including loan originations, when there are Lenders or other participants in addition to the Fund. For example, a Fund could lose the ability to consent to certain actions taken by the Borrower if certain conditions are not met. In addition, for example, certain governing agreements that provide the Fund with the right to consent to certain actions taken by a Borrower may provide that the Fund will no longer have the right to provide such consent if another Lender makes a subsequent advance to the Borrower.
Risk Factors of Loans. Loans are subject to the risks associated with debt obligations in general including interest rate risk, credit risk and market risk. When a Loan is acquired from a Lender, the risk includes the credit risk associated with the Obligor of the underlying Loan. The Fund may incur additional
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credit risk when the Fund acquires a participation in a Loan from another lender because the Fund must assume the risk of insolvency or bankruptcy of the other lender from which the Loan was acquired. To the extent that Loans involve Obligors in foreign or emerging markets, such Loans are subject to the risks associated with foreign investments or investments in emerging markets in general. The following outlines some of the additional risks associated with Loans.
High Yield Securities Risk. The Loans that a Fund invests in may not be rated by an NRSRO, will not be registered with the SEC or any state securities commission and will not be listed on any national securities exchange. To the extent that such high yield Loans are rated, they typically will be rated below investment grade and are subject to an increased risk of default in the payment of principal and interest as well as the other risks described under “High Yield/High Risk Securities/Junk Bonds.” Loans are vulnerable to market sentiment such that economic conditions or other events may reduce the demand for Loans and cause their value to decline rapidly and unpredictably.
Liquidity Risk. Although the Funds limit their investments in illiquid securities to no more than 15% of a Fund’s net assets at the time of purchase, Loans that are deemed to be liquid at the time of purchase may become illiquid or less liquid. No active trading market may exist for certain Loans and certain Loans may be subject to restrictions on resale or have a limited secondary market. Certain Loans may be subject to irregular trading activity, wide bid/ask spreads and extended trade settlement periods. The inability to dispose of certain Loans in a timely fashion or at a favorable price could result in losses to a Fund.
Collateral and Subordination Risk. With respect to Loans that are secured, a Fund is subject to the risk that collateral securing the Loan will decline in value or have no value or that the Fund’s lien is or will become junior in payment to other liens. A decline in value of the collateral, whether as a result of market value declines, bankruptcy proceedings or otherwise, could cause the Loan to be under collateralized or unsecured. In such event, the Fund may have the ability to require that the Obligor pledge additional collateral. The Fund, however, is subject to the risk that the Obligor may not pledge such additional collateral or a sufficient amount of collateral. In some cases (for example, in the case of non-recourse Loans), there may be no formal requirement for the Obligor to pledge additional collateral. In addition, collateral may consist of assets that may not be readily liquidated, and there is no assurance that the liquidation of such assets would satisfy an Obligor’s obligation on a Loan. If the Fund were unable to obtain sufficient proceeds upon a liquidation of such assets, this could negatively affect Fund performance.
If an Obligor becomes involved in bankruptcy proceedings, a court may restrict the ability of the Fund to demand immediate repayment of the Loan by Obligor or otherwise liquidate the collateral. A court may also invalidate the Loan or the Fund’s security interest in collateral or subordinate the Fund’s rights under a Senior Loan or Junior Loan to the interest of the Obligor’s other creditors, including unsecured creditors, or cause interest or principal previously paid to be refunded to the Obligor. If a court required interest or principal to be refunded, it could negatively affect Fund performance. Such action by a court could be based, for example, on a “fraudulent conveyance” claim to the effect that the Obligor did not receive fair consideration for granting the security interest in the Loan collateral to a Fund. For Senior Loans made in connection with a highly leveraged transaction, consideration for granting a security interest may be deemed inadequate if the proceeds of the Loan were not received or retained by the Obligor, but were instead paid to other persons (such as shareholders of the Obligor) in an amount which left the Obligor insolvent or without sufficient working capital. There are also other events, such as the failure to perfect a security interest due to faulty documentation or faulty official filings, which could lead to the invalidation of a Fund’s security interest in Loan collateral. If the Fund’s security interest in Loan collateral is invalidated or a Senior Loan were subordinated to other debt of an Obligor in bankruptcy or other proceedings, the Fund would have substantially lower recovery, and perhaps no recovery on the full amount of the principal and interest due on the Loan, or the Fund could have to refund interest. Lenders and investors in Loans can be sued by other creditors and shareholders of the Obligors. Losses can be greater than the original Loan amount and occur years after the principal and interest on the Loan have been repaid.
Agent Risk. Selling Lenders, Agents and other entities who may be positioned between a Fund and the Obligor will likely conduct their principal business activities in the banking, finance and financial services industries. Investments in Loans may be more impacted by a single economic, political or regulatory occurrence affecting such industries than other types of investments. Entities engaged in such industries may be more susceptible to, among other things, fluctuations in interest rates, changes in the Federal Open Market Committee’s monetary policy, government regulations
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concerning such industries and concerning capital raising activities generally and fluctuations in the financial markets generally. An Agent, Lender or other entity positioned between a Fund and the Obligor may become insolvent or enter Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (“FDIC”) receivership or bankruptcy. The Fund might incur certain costs and delays in realizing payment on a Loan or suffer a loss of principal and/ or interest if assets or interests held by the Agent, Lender or other party positioned between the Fund and the Obligor are determined to be subject to the claims of the Agent’s, Lender’s or such other party’s creditors.
Regulatory Changes. To the extent that legislation or state or federal regulators that regulate certain financial institutions impose additional requirements or restrictions with respect to the ability of such institutions to make Loans, particularly in connection with highly leveraged transactions, the availability of Loans for investment may be adversely affected. Furthermore, such legislation or regulation could depress the market value of Loans held by the Fund.
Inventory Risk. Affiliates of the Adviser may participate in the primary and secondary market for Loans. Because of limitations imposed by applicable law, the presence of the Adviser’s affiliates in the Loan market may restrict a Fund’s ability to acquire some Loans, affect the timing of such acquisition or affect the price at which the Loan is acquired.
Information Risk. There is typically less publicly available information concerning Loans than other types of fixed income investments. As a result, a Fund generally will be dependent on reports and other information provided by the Obligor, either directly or through an Agent, to evaluate the Obligor’s creditworthiness or to determine the Obligor’s compliance with the covenants and other terms of the Loan Agreement. Such reliance may make investments in Loans more susceptible to fraud than other types of investments. In addition, because the Adviser may wish to invest in the publicly traded securities of an Obligor, it may not have access to material non-public information regarding the Obligor to which other Loan investors have access.
Junior Loan Risk. Junior Loans are subject to the same general risks inherent to any Loan investment. Due to their lower place in the Obligor’s capital structure and possible unsecured status, Junior Loans involve a higher degree of overall risk than Senior Loans of the same Obligor. Junior Loans that are Bridge Loans generally carry the expectation that the Obligor will be able to obtain permanent financing in the near future. Any delay in obtaining permanent financing subjects the Bridge Loan investor to increased risk. An Obligor’s use of Bridge Loans also involves the risk that the Obligor may be unable to locate permanent financing to replace the Bridge Loan, which may impair the Obligor’s perceived creditworthiness.
Mezzanine Loan Risk. In addition to the risk factors described above, mezzanine loans are subject to additional risks. Unlike conventional mortgage loans, mezzanine loans are not secured by a mortgage on the underlying real property but rather by a pledge of equity interests (such as a partnership or limited liability company membership) in the property owner or another company in the ownership structures that has control over the property. Such companies are typically structured as special purpose entities. Generally, mezzanine loans may be more highly leveraged than other types of Loans and subordinate in the capital structure of the Obligor. While foreclosure of a mezzanine loan generally takes substantially less time than foreclosure of a traditional mortgage, the holders of a mezzanine loan have different remedies available versus the holder of a first lien mortgage loan. In addition, a sale of the underlying real property would not be unencumbered, and thus would be subject to encumbrances by more senior mortgages and liens of other creditors. Upon foreclosure of a mezzanine loan, the holder of the mezzanine loan acquires an equity interest in the Obligor. However, because of the subordinate nature of a mezzanine loan, the real property continues to be subject to the lien of the mortgage and other liens encumbering the real estate. In the event the holder of a mezzanine loan forecloses on its equity collateral, the holder may need to cure the Obligor’s existing mortgage defaults or, to the extent permissible under the governing agreements, sell the property to pay off other creditors. To the extent that the amount of mortgages and senior indebtedness and liens exceed the value of the real estate, the collateral underlying the mezzanine loan may have little or no value.
Foreclosure Risk. There may be additional costs associated with enforcing a Fund’s remedies under a Loan including additional legal costs and payment of real property transfer taxes upon foreclosure in certain jurisdictions or legal costs and expenses associated with operating real property. As a result of these additional costs, the Fund may determine that pursuing foreclosure on the Loan
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collateral is not worth the associated costs. In addition, if the Fund incurs costs and the collateral loses value or is not recovered by the Fund in foreclosure, the Fund could lose more than its original investment in the Loan. Foreclosure risk is heightened for Junior Loans, including certain mezzanine loans.
Miscellaneous Investment Strategies and Risks
Borrowings. A Fund may borrow for temporary purposes and/or for investment purposes. Such a practice will result in leveraging of a Fund’s assets and may cause a Fund to liquidate portfolio positions when it would not be advantageous to do so. This borrowing may be secured or unsecured. If a Fund utilizes borrowings, for investment purposes or otherwise, it may pledge up to 33  13% of its total assets to secure such borrowings. Provisions of the 1940 Act require a Fund to maintain continuous asset coverage (that is, total assets including borrowings, less liabilities exclusive of borrowings) of 300% of the amount borrowed, with an exception for borrowings not in excess of 5% of the Fund’s total assets made for temporary administrative or emergency purposes. Any borrowings for temporary administrative purposes in excess of 5% of the Fund’s total assets must maintain continuous asset coverage. If the 300% asset coverage should decline as a result of market fluctuations or other reasons, a Fund may be required to sell some of its portfolio holdings within three days to reduce the debt and restore the 300% asset coverage, even though it may be disadvantageous from an investment standpoint to sell securities at that time. Borrowing will tend to exaggerate the effect on NAV of any increase or decrease in the market value of a Fund’s portfolio. Money borrowed will be subject to interest costs which may or may not be recovered by appreciation of the securities purchased. A Fund also may be required to maintain minimum average balances in connection with such borrowing or to pay a commitment or other fee to maintain a line of credit; either of these requirements would increase the cost of borrowing over the stated interest rate.
Certain types of investments are considered to be borrowings under precedents issued by the SEC. Such investments are subject to the limitations as well as asset segregation requirements.
Commodity-Linked Derivatives. Commodity-linked derivatives are derivative instruments the value of which is linked to the value of a commodity, commodity index or commodity futures contract. A Fund’s investment in commodity-linked derivative instruments may subject the Fund to greater volatility than investments in traditional securities, particularly if the instruments involve leverage. The value of commodity-linked derivative instruments may be affected by changes in overall market movements, commodity index volatility, changes in interest rates, or factors affecting a particular industry or commodity, such as drought, floods, weather, livestock disease, embargoes, tariffs and international economic, political and regulatory developments. Use of leveraged commodity-linked derivatives creates the possibility for greater loss (including the likelihood of greater volatility of the Fund’s NAV), and there can be no assurance that a Fund’s use of leverage will be successful. Tax considerations may limit a Fund’s ability to pursue investments in commodity-linked derivatives.
Commodity-Related Pooled Investment Vehicles. Commodity-related pooled investment vehicles include ownership interests in grantor trusts and other pooled investment vehicles that hold tangible assets such as gold, silver or other commodities or invest in commodity futures. Grantor trusts are typically traded on an exchange.
Investors do not have the rights normally associated with ownership of other types of shares when they invest in pooled investment vehicles holding commodities or commodity futures, including those structured as limited partnerships or grantor trusts holding commodities. For example, the owners of these commodity-related grantor trusts or limited partnerships do not have the right to elect directors, receive dividends or take other actions normally associated with the ownership of shares of a corporation. Holders of a certain percentage of shares in a grantor trust may have the right to terminate the trust or exercise other rights which would not be available to small investors. If investors other than a Fund exercise their right to terminate, a Fund that wishes to invest in the underlying commodity through the pooled investment vehicle will have to find another investment and may not be able to find another vehicle that offers the same investment features. In the event that one or more participants holding a substantial interest in these pooled investment vehicles withdraw from participation, the liquidity of the pooled investment vehicle will likely decrease which could adversely affect the market price of the pooled investment vehicle and result in a Fund incurring a loss on its investments.
These pooled investment vehicles are not registered investment companies, and many are not commodity pools, and therefore, do not have the protections available to those types of investments under federal securities or commodities laws. For example, unlike registered investment companies, these
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vehicles are not subject to federal securities laws that limit transactions with affiliates, require redemption of shares, or limit sales load. Although shares of these vehicles may be traded on an exchange, there may be no active market for such shares and such shares may be highly illiquid.
These vehicles are subject to the risks associated with direct investments in commodities. The market price of shares of these vehicles will be as unpredictable as the price of the underlying commodity. Many factors can cause a decline in the prices of commodities including a change in economic conditions, such as a recession. This risk is magnified when the commodity is used in manufacturing. In addition, the prices of commodities may be adversely impacted by a change in the attitude of speculators and investors toward the applicable commodity, or a significant increase in commodity price hedging activity. In addition, the value of the shares will be adversely affected if the assets owned by the trust are lost, damaged or of inferior quality.
The commodities represented by shares of a grantor trust will decrease over the life of the trust due to sales of the underlying commodities necessary to pay trust fees and expenses, including expenses associated with indemnification of certain service providers to the pooled investment vehicle. Without increases in the price of the underlying commodity sufficient to compensate for that decrease, the price of the investment will decline and a Fund will incur a loss on its investment.
Commodity-related grantor trusts are passive investment vehicles. This means that the value of the investment in a grantor trust may be adversely affected by trust losses that, if the trust had been actively managed, it might have been possible to avoid. A Fund’s intention to qualify as a regulated investment company under Subchapter M of the Code may limit its ability to make investments in grantor trusts or limited partnerships that invest in commodities or commodity futures.
Cyber Security Risk. As the use of technology has become more prevalent in the course of business, the Funds have become more susceptible to operational and financial risks associated with cyber security, including: theft, loss, misuse, improper release, corruption and destruction of, or unauthorized access to, confidential or highly restricted data relating to a Fund and its shareholders; and compromises or failures to systems, networks, devices and applications relating to the operations of a Fund and its service providers. Cyber security risks may result in financial losses to a Fund and its shareholders; the inability of a Fund to transact business with its shareholders; delays or mistakes in the calculation of a Fund’s NAV or other materials provided to shareholders; the inability to process transactions with shareholders or other parties; violations of privacy and other laws; regulatory fines, penalties and reputational damage; and compliance and remediation costs, legal fees and other expenses. A Fund’s service providers (including, but not limited to, its investment adviser, any sub-advisers, administrator, transfer agent, and custodian or their agents), financial intermediaries, companies in which a Fund invests and parties with which a Fund engages in portfolio or other transactions also may be adversely impacted by cyber security risks in their own businesses, which could result in losses to a Fund or its shareholders. While measures have been developed which are designed to reduce the risks associated with cyber security, there is no guarantee that those measures will be effective, particularly since the Funds do not directly control the cyber security defenses or plans of their service providers, financial intermediaries and companies in which they invest or with which they do business.
Volcker Rule Risk. Section 619 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (the “Dodd-Frank Act”) and certain rules promulgated thereunder (known as the Volcker Rule) places restrictions on the activities of banking entities, including the adviser and its affiliates, and may impact the long-term viability of a Fund. Under the Volcker Rule, if the adviser or its affiliates own 25% or more of the ownership interests of a Fund outside of the permitted seeding time period, a Fund could be subject to restrictions on trading that would adversely impact a Fund’s ability to execute its investment strategy. Generally, the permitted seeding period is three years from the implementation of a Fund’s investment strategy. As a result, the adviser and/or its affiliates may be required to reduce their ownership interests in a Fund at a time that is sooner than would otherwise be desirable. This may require the sale of Fund securities, which may result in losses, increased transaction costs and adverse tax consequences. In addition, the ongoing viability of a Fund may be adversely impacted by the anticipated or actual redemption of Fund shares owned by the adviser and its affiliates and could result in a Fund’s liquidation.
Government Intervention in Financial Markets. 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.
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Recent instability in the financial markets has led governments and regulators around the world to take a number of unprecedented actions designed to support certain financial institutions and segments of the financial markets that have experienced extreme volatility, and in some cases a lack of liquidity. Governments, their regulatory agencies, or 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. Legislation or regulation may also change the way in which the Funds themselves are regulated. For instance, in 2016, the SEC adopted rules that regulate the Funds’ management of liquidity risk. 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 a program may have positive or negative effects on the liquidity, valuation and performance of a Fund’s portfolio holdings. Furthermore, volatile financial markets can expose the Funds to greater market and liquidity risk and potential difficulty in valuing portfolio instruments held by the Funds.
Master Limited Partnerships. Certain companies are organized as master limited partnerships (“MLPs”) in which ownership interests are publicly traded. MLPs often own several properties or businesses (or directly own interests) that are related to real estate development and oil and gas industries, but they also may finance motion pictures, research and development and other projects or provide financial services. Generally, an MLP is operated under the supervision of one or more managing general partners. Limited partners (like a Fund that invests in an MLP) are not involved in the day-to-day management of the partnership. They are allocated income and capital gains associated with the partnership project in accordance with the terms established in the partnership agreement.
The risks of investing in an MLP are generally those inherent in investing in a partnership as opposed to a corporation. For example, state law governing partnerships is often less restrictive than state law governing corporations. Accordingly, there may be fewer protections afforded investors in an MLP than investors in a corporation. Additional risks involved with investing in an MLP are risks associated with the specific industry or industries in which the partnership invests, such as the risks of investing in real estate, or oil and gas industries.
New Financial Products. New options and futures contracts and other financial products, and various combinations thereof, including over-the-counter products, continue to be developed. These various products may be used to adjust the risk and return characteristics of certain Funds’ investments. These various products may increase or decrease exposure to security prices, interest rates, commodity prices, or other factors that affect security values, regardless of the issuer’s credit risk. If market conditions do not perform as expected, the performance of a Fund would be less favorable than it would have been if these products were not used. In addition, losses may occur if counterparties involved in transactions do not perform as promised. These products may expose the Fund to potentially greater return as well as potentially greater risk of loss than more traditional fixed income investments.
Private Placements, Restricted Securities and Other Unregistered Securities. Subject to its policy limitation, a Fund may acquire investments that are illiquid or have limited liquidity, such as commercial obligations issued in reliance on the so-called “private placement” exemption from registration afforded by Section 4(a)(2) under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “1933 Act”), and cannot be offered for public sale in the U.S. without first being registered under the 1933 Act. An illiquid investment is any investment that cannot be disposed of within seven days in the normal course of business at approximately the amount at which it is valued by a Fund. The price a Fund pays for illiquid securities or receives upon resale may be lower than the price paid or received for similar securities with a more liquid market. Accordingly the valuation of these securities will reflect any limitations on their liquidity.
A Fund is subject to a risk that should the Fund decide to sell illiquid securities when a ready buyer is not available at a price the Fund deems representative of their value, the value of the Fund’s net assets could be adversely affected. Where an illiquid security must be registered under the 1933 Act before it may be sold, a Fund may be obligated to pay all or part of the registration expenses, and a considerable period may elapse between the time of the decision to sell and the time the Fund may be permitted to sell a security under an effective registration statement. If, during such a period, adverse market conditions were to develop, a Fund might obtain a less favorable price than prevailed when it decided to sell.
The Funds may invest in commercial paper issued in reliance on the exemption from registration afforded by Section 4(a)(2) of the 1933 Act and other restricted securities (i.e., other securities subject to restrictions on resale). Section 4(a)(2) commercial paper (“4(a)(2) paper”) is restricted as to disposition
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under federal securities law and is generally sold to institutional investors, such as the Funds, that agree that they are purchasing the paper for investment purposes and not with a view to public distribution. Any resale by the purchaser must be in an exempt transaction. 4(a)(2) paper is normally resold to other institutional investors through or with the assistance of the issuer or investment dealers who make a market in 4(a)(2) paper, thus providing liquidity. The Funds believe that 4(a)(2) paper and possibly certain other restricted securities which meet the criteria for liquidity established by the Trustees are quite liquid. The Funds intend, therefore, to treat restricted securities that meet the liquidity criteria established by the Board of Trustees, including 4(a)(2) paper and Rule 144A Securities, as determined by the Adviser, as liquid and not subject to the investment limitation applicable to illiquid securities.
The ability of the Trustees to determine the liquidity of certain restricted securities is permitted under an SEC Staff position set forth in the adopting release for Rule 144A under the 1933 Act (“Rule 144A”). Rule 144A is a nonexclusive safe-harbor for certain secondary market transactions involving securities subject to restrictions on resale under federal securities laws. Rule 144A provides an exemption from registration for resales of otherwise restricted securities to qualified institutional buyers. Rule 144A was expected to further enhance the liquidity of the secondary market for securities eligible for resale. The Funds believe that the Staff of the SEC has left the question of determining the liquidity of all restricted securities to the Trustees. The Trustees have directed the Adviser to consider the following criteria in determining the liquidity of certain restricted securities:
the frequency of trades and quotes for the security;
the number of dealers willing to purchase or sell the security and the number of other potential buyers;
dealer undertakings to make a market in the security; and
the nature of the security and the nature of the marketplace trades.
Certain 4(a)(2) paper programs cannot rely on Rule 144A because, among other things, they were established before the adoption of the rule. However, the Trustees may determine for purposes of the Trust’s liquidity requirements that an issue of 4(a)(2) paper is liquid if the following conditions, which are set forth in a 1994 SEC no-action letter, are met:
The 4(a)(2) paper must not be traded flat or in default as to principal or interest;
The 4(a)(2) paper must be rated in one of the two highest rating categories by at least two NRSROs, or if only one NRSRO rates the security, by that NRSRO, or if unrated, is determined by the Adviser to be of equivalent quality;
The Fund’s Adviser must consider the trading market for the specific security, taking into account all relevant factors, including but not limited to, whether the paper is the subject of a commercial paper program that is administered by an issuing and paying agent bank and for which there exists a dealer willing to make a market in that paper, or whether the paper is administered by a direct issuer pursuant to a direct placement program; and
The Fund’s Adviser shall report to the Board of Trustees on the appropriateness of the purchase and retention of liquid restricted securities under these guidelines no less frequently than quarterly.
Securities Issued in Connection with Reorganizations and Corporate Restructuring. Debt securities may be downgraded and issuers of debt securities including investment grade securities may default in the payment of principal or interest or be subject to bankruptcy proceedings. In connection with reorganizing or restructuring of an issuer, an issuer may issue common stock or other securities to holders of its debt securities. A Fund may hold such common stock and other securities even though it does not ordinarily invest in such securities and such common stock or other securities may be denominated in currencies that a Fund may not ordinarily hold.
Stapled Securities. From time to time, the Funds may invest in stapled securities to gain exposure to companies. A stapled security is a security that is comprised of two or more parts that cannot be separated from one another. The resulting security is influenced by both parts, and must be treated as one unit at all times, such as when buying or selling a security. The value of stapled securities and the income derived from them may fall as well as rise. Stapled securities are not obligations of, deposits in, or guaranteed by, the Fund. The listing of stapled securities on a domestic or foreign exchange does not guarantee a liquid market for stapled securities.
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Temporary Defensive Positions. To respond to unusual market conditions, the actively managed Funds may invest their assets in cash or cash equivalents. Cash equivalents are highly liquid, high quality instruments with maturities of three months or less on the date they are purchased (“Cash Equivalents”) for temporary defensive purposes. These investments may result in a lower yield than lower-quality or longer term investments and may prevent the Funds from meeting their investment objectives. The percentage of Fund’s total assets that a Fund may invest in cash or cash equivalents is described in the applicable Fund’s Prospectuses. They include securities issued by the U.S. government, its agencies, Government-Sponsored Enterprises (“GSEs”) and instrumentalities, repurchase agreements with maturities of 7 days or less, certificates of deposit, bankers’ acceptances, commercial paper, money market mutual funds, and bank deposit accounts. In order to invest in repurchase agreements with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York for temporary defensive purposes, certain Funds may engage in periodic “test” trading in order to assess operational abilities at times when the Fund would otherwise not enter into such a position. These exercises may vary in size and frequency.
Mortgage-Related Securities
Mortgages (Directly Held). Mortgages are debt instruments secured by real property. Unlike mortgage-backed securities, which generally represent an interest in a pool of mortgages, direct investments in mortgages involve prepayment and credit risks of an individual issuer and real property. Consequently, these investments require different investment and credit analysis by a Fund’s Adviser.
Directly placed mortgages may include residential mortgages, multifamily mortgages, mortgages on cooperative apartment buildings, commercial mortgages, and sale-leasebacks. These investments are backed by assets such as office buildings, shopping centers, retail stores, warehouses, apartment buildings and single-family dwellings. In the event that a Fund forecloses on any non-performing mortgage, and acquires a direct interest in the real property, such Fund will be subject to the risks generally associated with the ownership of real property. There may be fluctuations in the market value of the foreclosed property and its occupancy rates, rent schedules and operating expenses. There may also be adverse changes in local, regional or general economic conditions, deterioration of the real estate market and the financial circumstances of tenants and sellers, unfavorable changes in zoning, building, environmental and other laws, increased real property taxes, rising interest rates, reduced availability and increased cost of mortgage borrowings, the need for unanticipated renovations, unexpected increases in the cost of energy, environmental factors, acts of God and other factors which are beyond the control of a Fund or the Fund’s Adviser. Hazardous or toxic substances may be present on, at or under the mortgaged property and adversely affect the value of the property. In addition, the owners of property containing such substances may be held responsible, under various laws, for containing, monitoring, removing or cleaning up such substances. The presence of such substances may also provide a basis for other claims by third parties. Costs of clean up or of liabilities to third parties may exceed the value of the property. In addition, these risks may be uninsurable. In light of these and similar risks, it may be impossible to dispose profitably of properties in foreclosure.
Mortgage-Backed Securities (“CMOs” and “REMICs”). Mortgage-backed securities include collateralized mortgage obligations (“CMOs”) and Real Estate Mortgage Investment Conduits (“REMICs”). A REMIC is a CMO that qualifies for special tax treatment under the Code and invests in certain mortgages principally secured by interests in real property and other permitted investments.
Mortgage-backed securities represent pools of mortgage loans assembled for sale to investors by:
various governmental agencies such as the Government National Mortgage Association (“Ginnie Mae”);
organizations such as the Federal National Mortgage Association (“Fannie Mae”) and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (“Freddie Mac”); and
non-governmental issuers such as commercial banks, savings and loan institutions, mortgage bankers, and private mortgage insurance companies (non-governmental mortgage securities cannot be treated as U.S. government securities for purposes of investment policies).
There are a number of important differences among the agencies, GSEs and instrumentalities of the U.S. government that issue mortgage-related securities and among the securities that they issue.
Ginnie Mae Securities. Mortgage-related securities issued by Ginnie Mae include Ginnie Mae Mortgage Pass-Through Certificates which are guaranteed as to the timely payment of principal and interest by Ginnie Mae. Ginnie Mae’s guarantee is backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S.
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Ginnie Mae is a wholly-owned U.S. government corporation within the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Ginnie Mae certificates also are supported by the authority of Ginnie Mae to borrow funds from the U.S. Treasury to make payments under its guarantee.
Fannie Mae Securities. Mortgage-related securities issued by Fannie Mae include Fannie Mae Guaranteed Mortgage Pass-Through Certificates which are solely the obligations of Fannie Mae and are not backed by or entitled to the full faith and credit of the U.S. Fannie Mae is a government-sponsored organization owned entirely by private stockholders. Fannie Mae Certificates are guaranteed as to timely payment of the principal and interest by Fannie Mae.
Freddie Mac Securities. Mortgage-related securities issued by Freddie Mac include Freddie Mac Mortgage Participation Certificates. Freddie Mac is a corporate instrumentality of the U.S., created pursuant to an Act of Congress, which is owned by private stockholders. Freddie Mac Certificates are not guaranteed by the U.S. or by any Federal Home Loan Bank and do not constitute a debt or obligation of the U.S. or of any Federal Home Loan Bank. Freddie Mac Certificates entitle the holder to timely payment of interest, which is guaranteed by Freddie Mac. Freddie Mac guarantees either ultimate collection or timely payment of all principal payments on the underlying mortgage loans. When Freddie Mac does not guarantee timely payment of principal, Freddie Mac may remit the amount due on account of its guarantee of ultimate payment of principal at any time after default on an underlying mortgage, but in no event later than one year after it becomes payable.
For more information on recent events impacting Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac securities, see “Recent Events Regarding Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Securities” under the heading “Risk Factors of Mortgage-Related Securities” below.
CMOs and guaranteed REMIC pass-through certificates (“REMIC Certificates”) issued by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Ginnie Mae and private issuers are types of multiple class pass-through securities. Investors may purchase beneficial interests in REMICs, which are known as “regular” interests or “residual” interests. The Funds do not currently intend to purchase residual interests in REMICs. The REMIC Certificates represent beneficial ownership interests in a REMIC Trust, generally consisting of mortgage loans or Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac or Ginnie Mae guaranteed mortgage pass-through certificates (the “Mortgage Assets”). The obligations of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac or Ginnie Mae under their respective guaranty of the REMIC Certificates are obligations solely of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac or Ginnie Mae, respectively.
Fannie Mae REMIC Certificates. Fannie Mae REMIC Certificates are issued and guaranteed as to timely distribution of principal and interest by Fannie Mae. In addition, Fannie Mae will be obligated to distribute the principal balance of each class of REMIC Certificates in full, whether or not sufficient funds are otherwise available.
Freddie Mac REMIC Certificates. Freddie Mac guarantees the timely payment of interest, and also guarantees the payment of principal as payments are required to be made on the underlying mortgage participation certificates (“PCs”). PCs represent undivided interests in specified residential mortgages or participation therein purchased by Freddie Mac and placed in a PC pool. With respect to principal payments on PCs, Freddie Mac generally guarantees ultimate collection of all principal of the related mortgage loans without offset or deduction. Freddie Mac also guarantees timely payment of principal on certain PCs referred to as “Gold PCs.”
Ginnie Mae REMIC Certificates. Ginnie Mae guarantees the full and timely payment of interest and principal on each class of securities (in accordance with the terms of those classes as specified in the related offering circular supplement). The Ginnie Mae guarantee is backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. REMIC Certificates issued by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and Ginnie Mae are treated as U.S. Government securities for purposes of investment policies.
CMOs and REMIC Certificates provide for the redistribution of cash flow to multiple classes. Each class of CMOs or REMIC Certificates, often referred to as a “tranche,” is issued at a specific adjustable or fixed interest rate and must be fully retired no later than its final distribution date. This reallocation of interest and principal results in the redistribution of prepayment risk across different classes. This allows for the creation of bonds with more or less risk than the underlying collateral exhibits. Principal prepayments on the mortgage loans or the Mortgage Assets underlying the CMOs or REMIC Certificates may cause some or all of the classes of CMOs or REMIC Certificates to be retired substantially earlier than their final distribution dates. Generally, interest is paid or accrues on all classes of CMOs or REMIC Certificates on a monthly basis.
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The principal of and interest on the Mortgage Assets may be allocated among the several classes of CMOs or REMIC Certificates in various ways. In certain structures (known as “sequential pay” CMOs or REMIC Certificates), payments of principal, including any principal prepayments, on the Mortgage Assets generally are applied to the classes of CMOs or REMIC Certificates in the order of their respective final distribution dates. Thus, no payment of principal will be made on any class of sequential pay CMOs or REMIC Certificates until all other classes having an earlier final distribution date have been paid in full.
Additional structures of CMOs and REMIC Certificates include, among others, principal only structures, interest only structures, inverse floaters and “parallel pay” CMOs and REMIC Certificates. Certain of these structures may be more volatile than other types of CMO and REMIC structures. Parallel pay CMOs or REMIC Certificates are those which are structured to apply principal payments and prepayments of the Mortgage Assets to two or more classes concurrently on a proportionate or disproportionate basis. These simultaneous payments are taken into account in calculating the final distribution date of each class.
A wide variety of REMIC Certificates may be issued in the parallel pay or sequential pay structures. These securities include accrual certificates (also known as “Z-Bonds”), which only accrue interest at a specified rate until all other certificates having an earlier final distribution date have been retired and are converted thereafter to an interest-paying security, and planned amortization class (“PAC”) certificates, which are parallel pay REMIC Certificates which generally require that specified amounts of principal be applied on each payment date to one or more classes of REMIC Certificates (the “PAC Certificates”), even though all other principal payments and prepayments of the Mortgage Assets are then required to be applied to one or more other classes of the certificates. The scheduled principal payments for the PAC Certificates generally have the highest priority on each payment date after interest due has been paid to all classes entitled to receive interest currently. Shortfalls, if any, are added to the amount of principal payable on the next payment date. The PAC Certificate payment schedule is taken into account in calculating the final distribution date of each class of PAC. In order to create PAC tranches, one or more tranches generally must be created that absorb most of the volatility in the underlying Mortgage Assets. These tranches tend to have market prices and yields that are much more volatile than the PAC classes. The Z-Bonds in which the Funds may invest may bear the same non-credit-related risks as do other types of Z-Bonds. Z-Bonds in which the Fund may invest will not include residual interest.
Total Annual Fund Operating Expenses set forth in the fee table and Financial Highlights section of each Fund’s Prospectuses do not include any expenses associated with investments in certain structured or synthetic products that may rely on the exception for the definition of “investment company” provided by section 3(c)(1) or 3(c)(7) of the 1940 Act.
GSE Credit Risk Transfer Securities and GSE Credit-Linked Notes. GSE Credit risk transfer securities are notes issued directly by a GSE, such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and GSE credit-linked notes are notes issued by a SPV sponsored by a GSE. Investors in these notes provide credit protection for the applicable GSE’s mortgage-related securities guarantee obligations. In this regard, a noteholder receives compensation for providing credit protection to the GSE and, when a specified level of losses on the relevant mortgage loans occurs, the principal balance and certain payments owed to the noteholder may be reduced. In addition, noteholders may receive a return of principal prior to the stated maturity date reflecting prepayment on the underlying mortgage loans and in any other circumstances that may be set forth in the applicable loan agreement. The notes may be issued in different tranches representing the issuance of different levels of credit risk protection to the GSE on the underlying mortgage loans and the notes are not secured by the reference mortgage loans. There are important differences between the structure of GSE credit risk transfer securities and GSE credit-linked notes.
GSE Credit Risk Transfer Securities Structure. In this structure, the GSE receives the note sale proceeds. The GSE pays noteholders monthly interest payments and a return of principal on the stated maturity date based on the initial investment amount, as reduced by any covered losses on the reference mortgage loans.
GSE Credit-Linked Notes Structure. In this structure, the SPV receives the note sale proceeds and the SPV’s obligations to the noteholder are collateralized by the note sale proceeds. The SPV invests the proceeds in cash or other short-term assets. The SPV also enters into a credit protection agreement with the GSE pursuant to which the GSE pays the SPV monthly premium payments and the SPV compensates the GSE for covered losses on the reference mortgage loans. The SPV pays noteholders monthly interest payments based on the premium payments paid by the GSE and the performance on
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the invested note sale proceeds. The noteholders also receive a return of principal on a stated maturity date based on the initial investment amount, as reduced by any covered losses on the reference mortgage loans paid by the SPV or the GSE.
Mortgage TBAs. A Fund may invest in mortgage pass-through securities eligible to be sold in the “to-be-announced” or TBA market (“Mortgage TBAs”). Mortgage TBAs provide for the forward or delayed delivery of the underlying instrument with settlement up to 180 days. The term TBA comes from the fact that the actual mortgage-backed security that will be delivered to fulfill a TBA trade is not designated at the time the trade is made, but rather is generally announced 48 hours before the settlement date. Mortgage TBAs are subject to the risks described in the “When-Issued Securities, Delayed Delivery Securities and Forward Commitments” section. Additionally, amendments to applicable roles include certain mandatory margin requirements for the TBA market, which may require the Funds to pay collateral in connection with their TBA transactions. The required margin could increase the cost of the Funds and add additional complexity for Funds engaging in these transactions.
Mortgage Dollar Rolls. In a mortgage dollar roll transaction, one party sells mortgage-backed securities, principally Mortgage TBAs, for delivery in the current month and simultaneously contracts with the same counterparty to repurchase similar (same type, coupon and maturity) but not identical securities on a specified future date. When a Fund enters into TBAs/mortgage dollar rolls, the Fund will segregate or earmark until the settlement date liquid assets, in an amount equal to the agreed-upon purchase price of each long and short position. Economically offsetting. TBA positions with the same agency, coupon, and maturity, are generally permitted to be netted if the short position settles on the same date or before the long position. During the period between the sale and repurchase in a mortgage dollar roll transaction, the Fund will not be entitled to receive interest and principal payments on securities sold. Losses may arise due to changes in the value of the securities or if the counterparty does not perform under the terms of the agreement. If the counterparty files for bankruptcy or becomes insolvent, the Fund’s right to repurchase or sell securities may be limited. Mortgage dollar rolls may be subject to leverage risks. In addition, mortgage dollar rolls may increase interest rate risk and result in an increased portfolio turnover rate which increases costs and may increase taxable gains. The benefits of mortgage dollar rolls may depend upon a Fund’s Adviser’s ability to predict mortgage prepayments and interest rates. There is no assurance that mortgage dollar rolls can be successfully employed. For purposes of diversification and investment limitations, mortgage dollar rolls are considered to be mortgage-backed securities.
Stripped Mortgage-Backed Securities. Stripped Mortgage-Backed Securities (“SMBS”) are derivative multi-class mortgage securities issued outside the REMIC or CMO structure. SMBS are usually structured with two classes that receive different proportions of the interest and principal distributions from a pool of mortgage assets. A common type of SMBS will have one class receiving all of the interest from the mortgage assets (“IOs”), while the other class will receive all of the principal (“POs”). Mortgage IOs receive monthly interest payments based upon a notional amount that declines over time as a result of the normal monthly amortization and unscheduled prepayments of principal on the associated mortgage POs.
In addition to the risks applicable to Mortgage-Related Securities in general, SMBS are subject to the following additional risks:
Prepayment/Interest Rate Sensitivity. SMBS are extremely sensitive to changes in prepayments and interest rates. Even though these securities have been guaranteed by an agency or instrumentality of the U.S. government, under certain interest rate or prepayment rate scenarios, the Funds may lose money on investments in SMBS.
Interest Only SMBS. Changes in prepayment rates can cause the return on investment in IOs to be highly volatile. Under extremely high prepayment conditions, IOs can incur significant losses.
Principal Only SMBS. POs are bought at a discount to the ultimate principal repayment value. The rate of return on a PO will vary with prepayments, rising as prepayments increase and falling as prepayments decrease. Generally, the market value of these securities is unusually volatile in response to changes in interest rates.
Yield Characteristics. Although SMBS may yield more than other mortgage-backed securities, their cash flow patterns are more volatile and there is a greater risk that any premium paid will not be fully recouped. A Fund’s Adviser will seek to manage these risks (and potential benefits) by investing in a variety of such securities and by using certain analytical and hedging techniques.
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Adjustable Rate Mortgage Loans. Certain Funds may invest in adjustable rate mortgage loans (“ARMs”). ARMs eligible for inclusion in a mortgage pool will generally provide for a fixed initial mortgage interest rate for a specified period of time. Thereafter, the interest rates (the “Mortgage Interest Rates”) may be subject to periodic adjustment based on changes in the applicable index rate (the “Index Rate”). The adjusted rate would be equal to the Index Rate plus a gross margin, which is a fixed percentage spread over the Index Rate established for each ARM at the time of its origination.
Adjustable interest rates can cause payment increases that some borrowers may find difficult to make. However, certain ARMs may provide that the Mortgage Interest Rate may not be adjusted to a rate above an applicable lifetime maximum rate or below an applicable lifetime minimum rate for such ARM. Certain ARMs may also be subject to limitations on the maximum amount by which the Mortgage Interest Rate may adjust for any single adjustment period (the “Maximum Adjustment”). Other ARMs (“Negatively Amortizing ARMs”) may provide instead or as well for limitations on changes in the monthly payment on such ARMs. Limitations on monthly payments can result in monthly payments which are greater or less than the amount necessary to amortize a Negatively Amortizing ARM by its maturity at the Mortgage Interest Rate in effect in any particular month. In the event that a monthly payment is not sufficient to pay the interest accruing on a Negatively Amortizing ARM, any such excess interest is added to the principal balance of the loan, causing negative amortization and will be repaid through future monthly payments. It may take borrowers under Negatively Amortizing ARMs longer periods of time to achieve equity and may increase the likelihood of default by such borrowers. In the event that a monthly payment exceeds the sum of the interest accrued at the applicable Mortgage Interest Rate and the principal payment which would have been necessary to amortize the outstanding principal balance over the remaining term of the loan, the excess (or “accelerated amortization”) further reduces the principal balance of the ARM. Negatively Amortizing ARMs do not provide for the extension of their original maturity to accommodate changes in their Mortgage Interest Rate. As a result, unless there is a periodic recalculation of the payment amount (which there generally is), the final payment may be substantially larger than the other payments. These limitations on periodic increases in interest rates and on changes in monthly payments protect borrowers from unlimited interest rate and payment increases.
Certain ARMs may provide for periodic adjustments of scheduled payments in order to amortize fully the mortgage loan by its stated maturity. Other ARMs may permit their stated maturity to be extended or shortened in accordance with the portion of each payment that is applied to interest as affected by the periodic interest rate adjustments.
There are two main categories of indices which provide the basis for rate adjustments on ARMs: those based on U.S. Treasury securities and those derived from a calculated measure such as a cost of funds index or a moving average of mortgage rates. Commonly utilized indices include the one-year, three-year and five-year constant maturity Treasury bill rates, the three-month Treasury bill rate, the 180-day Treasury bill rate, rates on longer-term Treasury securities, the 11th District Federal Home Loan Bank Cost of Funds, the National Median Cost of Funds, the one-month, three-month, six-month or one-year London InterBank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”), the prime rate of a specific bank, or commercial paper rates. Some indices, such as the one-year constant maturity Treasury rate, closely mirror changes in market interest rate levels. Others, such as the 11th District Federal Home Loan Bank Cost of Funds index, tend to lag behind changes in market rate levels and tend to be somewhat less volatile. The degree of volatility in the market value of the Fund’s portfolio and therefore in the net asset value of the Fund’s shares will be a function of the length of the interest rate reset periods and the degree of volatility in the applicable indices.
In general, changes in both prepayment rates and interest rates will change the yield on Mortgage-Backed Securities. The rate of principal prepayments with respect to ARMs has fluctuated in recent years. As is the case with fixed mortgage loans, ARMs may be subject to a greater rate of principal prepayments in a declining interest rate environment. For example, if prevailing interest rates fall significantly, ARMs could be subject to higher prepayment rates than if prevailing interest rates remain constant because the availability of fixed rate mortgage loans at competitive interest rates may encourage mortgagors to refinance their ARMs to “lock-in” a lower fixed interest rate. Conversely, if prevailing interest rates rise significantly, ARMs may prepay at lower rates than if prevailing rates remain at or below those in effect at the time such ARMs were originated. As with fixed rate mortgages, there can be no certainty as to the rate of prepayments on the ARMs in either stable or changing interest rate environments. In addition, there can be no certainty as to whether increases in the principal balances of the ARMs due to the addition of deferred interest may result in a default rate higher than that on ARMs that do not provide for negative amortization.
Other factors affecting prepayment of ARMs include changes in mortgagors’ housing needs, job transfers, unemployment, mortgagors’ net equity in the mortgage properties and servicing decisions.
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Risk Factors of Mortgage-Related Securities. The following is a summary of certain risks associated with Mortgage-Related Securities:
Guarantor Risk. There can be no assurance that the U.S. government would provide financial support to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac if necessary in the future. Although certain mortgage-related securities are guaranteed by a third party or otherwise similarly secured, the market value of the security, which may fluctuate, is not so secured.
Interest Rate Sensitivity. If a Fund purchases a mortgage-related security at a premium, that portion may be lost if there is a decline in the market value of the security whether resulting from changes in interest rates or prepayments in the underlying mortgage collateral. As with other interest-bearing securities, the prices of such securities are inversely affected by changes in interest rates. Although the value of a mortgage-related security may decline when interest rates rise, the converse is not necessarily true since in periods of declining interest rates the mortgages underlying the securities are prone to prepayment. For this and other reasons, a mortgage-related security’s stated maturity may be shortened by unscheduled prepayments on the underlying mortgages and, therefore, it is not possible to predict accurately the security’s return to the Fund. In addition, regular payments received in respect of mortgage-related securities include both interest and principal. No assurance can be given as to the return the Fund will receive when these amounts are reinvested.
Liquidity. The liquidity of certain mortgage-backed securities varies by type of security; at certain times the Fund may encounter difficulty in disposing of such investments. In the past, in stressed markets, certain types of mortgage-backed securities suffered periods of illiquidity when disfavored by the market. It is possible that the Fund may be unable to sell a mortgage-backed security at a desirable time or at the value the Fund has placed on the investment.
Market Value. The market value of the Fund’s adjustable rate Mortgage-Backed Securities may be adversely affected if interest rates increase faster than the rates of interest payable on such securities or by the adjustable rate mortgage loans underlying such securities. Furthermore, adjustable rate Mortgage-Backed Securities or the mortgage loans underlying such securities may contain provisions limiting the amount by which rates may be adjusted upward and downward and may limit the amount by which monthly payments may be increased or decreased to accommodate upward and downward adjustments in interest rates. When the market value of the properties underlying the Mortgage-Backed Securities suffer broad declines on a regional or national level, the values of the corresponding Mortgage-Backed Securities or Mortgage-Backed Securities as a whole, may be adversely affected as well.
Prepayments. Adjustable rate Mortgage-Backed Securities have less potential for capital appreciation than fixed rate Mortgage-Backed Securities because their coupon rates will decline in response to market interest rate declines. The market value of fixed rate Mortgage-Backed Securities may be adversely affected as a result of increases in interest rates and, because of the risk of unscheduled principal prepayments, may benefit less than other fixed rate securities of similar maturity from declining interest rates. Finally, to the extent Mortgage-Backed Securities are purchased at a premium, mortgage foreclosures and unscheduled principal prepayments may result in some loss of the Fund’s principal investment to the extent of the premium paid. On the other hand, if such securities are purchased at a discount, both a scheduled payment of principal and an unscheduled prepayment of principal will increase current and total returns and will accelerate the recognition of income.
Yield Characteristics. The yield characteristics of Mortgage-Backed Securities differ from those of traditional fixed income securities. The major differences typically include more frequent interest and principal payments, usually monthly, and the possibility that prepayments of principal may be made at any time. Prepayment rates are influenced by changes in current interest rates and a variety of economic, geographic, social and other factors and cannot be predicted with certainty. As with fixed rate mortgage loans, adjustable rate mortgage loans may be subject to a greater prepayment rate in a declining interest rate environment. The yields to maturity of the Mortgage-Backed Securities in which the Funds invest will be affected by the actual rate of payment (including prepayments) of principal of the underlying mortgage loans. The mortgage loans underlying such securities generally may be prepaid at any time without penalty. In a fluctuating interest rate environment, a predominant factor affecting the prepayment rate on a pool of mortgage loans is the difference between the interest rates on the mortgage loans and prevailing mortgage loan interest rates taking into account the cost of any refinancing. In general, if mortgage loan interest rates fall sufficiently below the interest rates on fixed rate mortgage loans underlying mortgage pass-through securities, the rate of prepayment would be expected to increase. Conversely, if mortgage loan interest rates rise above the interest rates on the fixed rate mortgage loans underlying the mortgage pass-through securities, the rate of prepayment may be expected to decrease.
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Recent Events Regarding Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Securities. On September 6, 2008, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (“FHFA”) placed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac into conservatorship. As the conservator, FHFA succeeded to all rights, titles, powers and privileges of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and of any stockholder, officer or director of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac with respect to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and the assets of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. FHFA selected a new chief executive officer and chairman of the board of directors for each of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. In connection with the conservatorship, the U.S. Treasury entered into a Senior Preferred Stock Purchase Agreement with each of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac pursuant to which the U.S. Treasury will purchase up to an aggregate of $100 billion of each of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to maintain a positive net worth in each enterprise. This agreement contains various covenants, discussed below, that severely limit each enterprise’s operations. In exchange for entering into these agreements, the U.S. Treasury received $1 billion of each enterprise’s senior preferred stock and warrants to purchase 79.9% of each enterprise’s common stock. In 2009, the U.S. Treasury announced that it was doubling the size of its commitment to each enterprise under the Senior Preferred Stock Program to $200 billion. The U.S. Treasury’s obligations under the Senior Preferred Stock Program are for an indefinite period of time for a maximum amount of $200 billion per enterprise. In 2009, the U.S. Treasury further amended the Senior Preferred Stock Purchase Agreement to allow the cap on the U.S. Treasury’s funding commitment to increase as necessary to accommodate any cumulative reduction in Fannie Mae’s and Freddie Mac’s net worth through the end of 2012. In August 2012, the Senior Preferred Stock Purchase Agreement was further amended to, among other things, accelerate the wind down of the retained portfolio, terminate the requirement that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac each pay a 10% dividend annually on all amounts received under the funding commitment, and require the submission of an annual risk management plan to the U.S. Treasury.
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are continuing to operate as going concerns while in conservatorship and each remain liable for all of its obligations, including its guaranty obligations, associated with its mortgage-backed securities. The Senior Preferred Stock Purchase Agreement is intended to enhance each of Fannie Mae’s and Freddie Mac’s ability to meet its obligations. The FHFA has indicated that the conservatorship of each enterprise will end when the director of FHFA determines that FHFA’s plan to restore the enterprise to a safe and solvent condition has been completed.
Under the Federal Housing Finance Regulatory Reform Act of 2008 (the “Reform Act”), which was included as part of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008, FHFA, as conservator or receiver, has the power to repudiate any contract entered into by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac prior to FHFA’s appointment as conservator or receiver, as applicable, if FHFA determines, in its sole discretion, that performance of the contract is burdensome and that repudiation of the contract promotes the orderly administration of Fannie Mae’s or Freddie Mac’s affairs. The Reform Act requires FHFA to exercise its right to repudiate any contract within a reasonable period of time after its appointment as conservator or receiver. FHFA, in its capacity as conservator, has indicated that it has no intention to repudiate the guaranty obligations of Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac because FHFA views repudiation as incompatible with the goals of the conservatorship. However, in the event that FHFA, as conservator or if it is later appointed as receiver for Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, were to repudiate any such guaranty obligation, the conservatorship or receivership estate, as applicable, would be liable for actual direct compensatory damages in accordance with the provisions of the Reform Act. Any such liability could be satisfied only to the extent of Fannie Mae’s or Freddie Mac’s assets available therefor. In the event of repudiation, the payments of interest to holders of Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac mortgage-backed securities would be reduced if payments on the mortgage loans represented in the mortgage loan groups related to such mortgage-backed securities are not made by the borrowers or advanced by the servicer. Any actual direct compensatory damages for repudiating these guaranty obligations may not be sufficient to offset any shortfalls experienced by such mortgage-backed security holders. Further, in its capacity as conservator or receiver, FHFA has the right to transfer or sell any asset or liability of Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac without any approval, assignment or consent. Although FHFA has stated that it has no present intention to do so, if FHFA, as conservator or receiver, were to transfer any such guaranty obligation to another party, holders of Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac mortgage-backed securities would have to rely on that party for satisfaction of the guaranty obligation and would be exposed to the credit risk of that party.
In addition, certain rights provided to holders of mortgage-backed securities issued by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac under the operative documents related to such securities may not be enforced against FHFA, or enforcement of such rights may be delayed, during the conservatorship or any future receivership. The operative documents for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac mortgage-backed securities may provide (or with respect to securities issued prior to the date of the appointment of the conservator may have provided) that upon the occurrence of an event of default on the part of Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, in its capacity as guarantor, which includes the appointment of a conservator or receiver, holders of such
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mortgage-backed securities have the right to replace Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac as trustee if the requisite percentage of mortgage-backed securities holders consent. The Reform Act prevents mortgage-backed security holders from enforcing such rights if the event of default arises solely because a conservator or receiver has been appointed. The Reform Act also provides that no person may exercise any right or power to terminate, accelerate or declare an event of default under certain contracts to which Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac is a party, or obtain possession of or exercise control over any property of Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, or affect any contractual rights of Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, without the approval of FHFA, as conservator or receiver, for a period of 45 or 90 days following the appointment of FHFA as conservator or receiver, respectively.
In addition, in a February 2011 report to Congress from the Treasury Department and the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Obama administration provided a plan to reform America’s housing finance market. The plan would reduce the role of and eventually eliminate Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Notably, the plan does not propose similar significant changes to Ginnie Mae, which guarantees payments on mortgage-related securities backed by federally insured or guaranteed loans such as those issued by the Federal Housing Association or guaranteed by the Department of Veterans Affairs. The report also identified three proposals for Congress and the administration to consider for the long-term structure of the housing finance markets after the elimination of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, including implementing: (i) a privatized system of housing finance that limits government insurance to very limited groups of creditworthy low- and moderate-income borrowers; (ii) a privatized system with a government backstop mechanism that would allow the government to insure a larger share of the housing finance market during a future housing crisis; and (iii) a privatized system where the government would offer reinsurance to holders of certain highly-rated mortgage-related securities insured by private insurers and would pay out under the reinsurance arrangements only if the private mortgage insurers were insolvent.
The conditions attached to the financial contribution made by the Treasury to Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae and the issuance of senior preferred stock place significant restrictions on the activities of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae must obtain the consent of the Treasury to, among other things, (i) make any payment to purchase or redeem its capital stock or pay any dividend other than in respect of the senior preferred stock, (ii) issue capital stock of any kind, (iii) terminate the conservatorship of the FHFA except in connection with a receivership, or (iv) increase its debt beyond certain specified levels. In addition, significant restrictions are placed on the maximum size of each of Freddie Mac’s and Fannie Mae’s respective portfolios of mortgages and mortgage-backed securities, and the purchase agreements entered into by Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae provide that the maximum size of their portfolios of these assets must decrease by a specified percentage each year. The future status and role of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae could be impacted by (among other things) the actions taken and restrictions placed on Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae by the FHFA in is role as conservator, the restrictions placed on Freddie Mac’s and Fannie Mae’s operations and activities as a result of the senior preferred stock investment made by the U.S. Treasury, market responses to developments at Freddie Mac and Fannie Mac, and future legislative and regulatory action that alters the operations, ownership, structure and/or mission of these institutions, each of which may, in turn, impact the value of, and cash flows on, any mortgage-backed securities guaranteed by Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, including any such mortgage-backed securities held by a Fund.
Risks Related to GSE Credit Risk Transfer Securities and GSE Credit-Linked Notes. GSE Credit risk transfer securities are general obligations issued by a GSE and are unguaranteed and unsecured. GSE Credit-linked notes are similar, except that the notes are issued by an SPV, rather than by a GSE, and the obligations of the SPV are collateralized by the note proceeds as invested by the SPV, which are invested in cash or short-term securities. Although both GSE credit risk transfer securities and GSE credit-linked notes are unguaranteed, obligations of an SPV are also not backstopped by the Department of Treasury or an obligation of a GSE.
The risks associated with these investments are different than the risks associated with an investment in mortgage-backed securities issued by GSEs or a private issuer. For example, in the event of a default on the obligations to noteholders, noteholders such as the Funds have no recourse to the underlying mortgage loans. In addition, some or all of the mortgage default risk associated with the underlying mortgage loans is transferred to noteholders. As a result, there can be no assurance that losses will not occur on an investment in GSE credit risk transfer securities or GSE credit-linked notes and Funds investing in these instruments may be exposed to the risk of loss on their investment. In addition, these investments are subject to prepayment risk.
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In the case of GSE credit-linked notes, if a GSE fails to make a premium or other required payment to the SPV, the SPV may be unable to pay a noteholder the entire amount of interest or principal payable to the noteholder. In the event of a default on the obligations to noteholders, the SPV’s principal and interest payment obligations to noteholders will be subordinated to the SPV’s credit protection payment obligations to the GSE. Payment of such amounts to noteholders depends on the cash available in the trust from the loan proceeds and the GSE’s premium payments.
Any income earned by the SPV on investments of loan proceeds is expected to be less than the interest payments amounts to be paid to noteholders of the GSE credit-linked notes and interest payments to noteholders will be reduced if the GSE fails to make premium payments to the SPV. An SPV’s investment of loan proceeds may also be concentrated in the securities of a few number of issuers. A noteholder bears any investment losses on the allocable portion of the loan proceeds.
An SPV that issues GSE credit-linked notes may fall within the definition of a “commodity pool” under the Commodity Exchange Act. Certain GSEs are not registered as commodity pool operators in reliance on CFTC no-action relief, subject to certain conditions similar to those under CFTC Rule 4.13(a)(3), with respect to the operation of the SPV. If the GSE or SPV fails to comply with such conditions, noteholders that are investment vehicles, such as the Funds, may need to register as a CPO, which could cause such a Fund to incur increased costs.
Municipal Securities
Municipal Securities are issued to obtain funds for a wide variety of reasons. For example, municipal securities may be issued to obtain funding for the construction of a wide range of public facilities such as:
1. bridges;
2. highways;
3. roads;
4. schools;
5. waterworks and sewer systems; and
6. other utilities.
Other public purposes for which Municipal Securities may be issued include:
1. refunding outstanding obligations;
2. obtaining funds for general operating expenses; and
3. obtaining funds to lend to other public institutions and facilities.
In addition, certain debt obligations known as “Private Activity Bonds” may be issued by or on behalf of municipalities and public authorities to obtain funds to provide:
1. water, sewage and solid waste facilities;
2. qualified residential rental projects;
3. certain local electric, gas and other heating or cooling facilities;
4. qualified hazardous waste facilities;
5. high-speed intercity rail facilities;
6. governmentally-owned airports, docks and wharves and mass transportation facilities;
7. qualified mortgages;
8. student loan and redevelopment bonds; and
9. bonds used for certain organizations exempt from Federal income taxation.
Certain debt obligations known as “Industrial Development Bonds” under prior Federal tax law may have been issued by or on behalf of public authorities to obtain funds to provide:
1. privately operated housing facilities;
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2. sports facilities;
3. industrial parks;
4. convention or trade show facilities;
5. airport, mass transit, port or parking facilities;
6. air or water pollution control facilities;
7. sewage or solid waste disposal facilities; and
8. facilities for water supply.
Other private activity bonds and industrial development bonds issued to fund the construction, improvement, equipment or repair of privately-operated industrial, distribution, research, or commercial facilities may also be Municipal Securities, however the size of such issues is limited under current and prior Federal tax law. The aggregate amount of most private activity bonds and industrial development bonds is limited (except in the case of certain types of facilities) under Federal tax law by an annual “volume cap.” The volume cap limits the annual aggregate principal amount of such obligations issued by or on behalf of all governmental instrumentalities in the state.
The two principal classifications of Municipal Securities consist of “general obligation” and “limited” (or revenue) issues. General obligation bonds are obligations involving the credit of an issuer possessing taxing power and are payable from the issuer’s general unrestricted revenues and not from any particular fund or source. The characteristics and method of enforcement of general obligation bonds vary according to the law applicable to the particular issuer, and payment may be dependent upon appropriation by the issuer’s legislative body. Limited obligation bonds are payable only from the revenues derived from a particular facility or class of facilities or, in some cases, from the proceeds of a special excise or other specific revenue source. Private activity bonds and industrial development bonds generally are revenue bonds and thus not payable from the unrestricted revenues of the issuer. The credit and quality of such bonds is generally related to the credit of the bank selected to provide the letter of credit underlying the bond. Payment of principal of and interest on industrial development revenue bonds is the responsibility of the corporate user (and any guarantor).
The Funds may also acquire “moral obligation” issues, which are normally issued by special purpose authorities, and in other tax-exempt investments including pollution control bonds and tax-exempt commercial paper. Each Fund that may purchase municipal bonds may purchase:
1. Short-term tax-exempt General Obligations Notes;
2. Tax Anticipation Notes;
3. Bond Anticipation Notes;
4. Revenue Anticipation Notes;
5. Project Notes; and
6. Other forms of short-term tax-exempt loans.
Such notes are issued with a short-term maturity in anticipation of the receipt of tax funds, the proceeds of bond placements, or other revenues. Project Notes are issued by a state or local housing agency and are sold by the Department of Housing and Urban Development. While the issuing agency has the primary obligation with respect to its Project Notes, they are also secured by the full faith and credit of the U.S. through agreements with the issuing authority which provide that, if required, the Federal government will lend the issuer an amount equal to the principal of and interest on the Project Notes.
There are, of course, variations in the quality of Municipal Securities, both within a particular classification and between classifications. Also, the yields on Municipal Securities depend upon a variety of factors, including:
1. general money market conditions;
2. coupon rate;
3. the financial condition of the issuer;
4. general conditions of the municipal bond market;
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5. the size of a particular offering;
6. the maturity of the obligations; and
7. the rating of the issue.
The ratings of Moody’s and S&P represent their opinions as to the quality of Municipal Securities. However, ratings are general and are not absolute standards of quality. Municipal Securities with the same maturity, interest rate and rating may have different yields while Municipal Securities of the same maturity and interest rate with different ratings may have the same yield. Subsequent to its purchase by a Fund, an issue of Municipal Securities may cease to be rated or its rating may be reduced below the minimum rating required for purchase by the Fund. The Adviser will consider such an event in determining whether the Fund should continue to hold the obligations.
Municipal Securities may include obligations of municipal housing authorities and single-family mortgage revenue bonds. Weaknesses in Federal housing subsidy programs and their administration may result in a decrease of subsidies available for payment of principal and interest on housing authority bonds. Economic developments, including fluctuations in interest rates and increasing construction and operating costs, may also adversely impact revenues of housing authorities. In the case of some housing authorities, inability to obtain additional financing could also reduce revenues available to pay existing obligations.
Single-family mortgage revenue bonds are subject to extraordinary mandatory redemption at par in whole or in part from the proceeds derived from prepayments of underlying mortgage loans and also from the unused proceeds of the issue within a stated period which may be within a year from the date of issue.
Municipal leases are obligations issued by state and local governments or authorities to finance the acquisition of equipment and facilities. Municipal leases may be considered to be illiquid. They may take the form of a lease, an installment purchase contract, a conditional sales contract, or a participation interest in any of the above. The Board of Trustees is responsible for determining the credit quality of unrated municipal leases on an ongoing basis, including an assessment of the likelihood that the lease will not be canceled.
Premium Securities. During a period of declining interest rates, many Municipal Securities in which the Funds invest likely will bear coupon rates higher than current market rates, regardless of whether the securities were initially purchased at a premium.
Risk Factors in Municipal Securities. The following is a summary of certain risks associated with Municipal Securities
Tax Risk. The Code imposes certain continuing requirements on issuers of tax-exempt bonds regarding the use, expenditure and investment of bond proceeds and the payment of rebates to the U.S. Failure by the issuer to comply subsequent to the issuance of tax-exempt bonds with certain of these requirements could cause interest on the bonds to become includable in gross income retroactive to the date of issuance.
Housing Authority Tax Risk. The exclusion from gross income for Federal income tax purposes for certain housing authority bonds depends on qualification under relevant provisions of the Code and on other provisions of Federal law. These provisions of Federal law contain requirements relating to the cost and location of the residences financed with the proceeds of the single-family mortgage bonds and the income levels of tenants of the rental projects financed with the proceeds of the multi-family housing bonds. Typically, the issuers of the bonds, and other parties, including the originators and servicers of the single-family mortgages and the owners of the rental projects financed with the multi-family housing bonds, covenant to meet these requirements. However, there is no assurance that the requirements will be met. If such requirements are not met:
the interest on the bonds may become taxable, possibly retroactively from the date of issuance;
the value of the bonds may be reduced;
you and other Shareholders may be subject to unanticipated tax liabilities;
a Fund may be required to sell the bonds at the reduced value;
it may be an event of default under the applicable mortgage;
the holder may be permitted to accelerate payment of the bond; and
the issuer may be required to redeem the bond.
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In addition, if the mortgage securing the bonds is insured by the Federal Housing Administration (“FHA”), the consent of the FHA may be required before insurance proceeds would become payable.
Information Risk. Information about the financial condition of issuers of Municipal Securities may be less available than that of corporations having a class of securities registered under the SEC.
State and Federal Laws. An issuer’s obligations under its Municipal Securities are subject to the provisions of bankruptcy, insolvency, and other laws affecting the rights and remedies of creditors. These laws may extend the time for payment of principal or interest, or restrict the Fund’s ability to collect payments due on Municipal Securities. In addition, recent amendments to some statutes governing security interests (e.g., Revised Article 9 of the Uniform Commercial Code (“UCC”)) change the way in which security interests and liens securing Municipal Securities are perfected. These amendments may have an adverse impact on existing Municipal Securities (particularly issues of Municipal Securities that do not have a corporate trustee who is responsible for filing UCC financing statements to continue the security interest or lien).
Litigation and Current Developments. Litigation or other conditions may materially and adversely affect the power or ability of an issuer to meet its obligations for the payment of interest on and principal of its Municipal Securities. Such litigation or conditions may from time to time have the effect of introducing uncertainties in the market for tax-exempt obligations, or may materially affect the credit risk with respect to particular bonds or notes. Adverse economic, business, legal or political developments might affect all or a substantial portion of a Fund’s Municipal Securities in the same manner. Given the recent bankruptcy-type proceedings by the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, risks associated with municipal obligations are heightened.
New Legislation. From time to time, proposals have been introduced before Congress for the purpose of restricting or eliminating the federal income tax exemption for interest on tax exempt bonds, and similar proposals may be introduced in the future. The Supreme Court has held that Congress has the constitutional authority to enact such legislation. It is not possible to determine what effect the adoption of such proposals could have on (i) the availability of Municipal Securities for investment by the Funds, and (ii) the value of the investment portfolios of the Funds.
Limitations on the Use of Municipal Securities. Certain Funds may invest in Municipal Securities if the Adviser determines that such Municipal Securities offer attractive yields. The Funds may invest in Municipal Securities either by purchasing them directly or by purchasing certificates of accrual or similar instruments evidencing direct ownership of interest payments or principal payments, or both, on Municipal Securities, provided that, in the opinion of counsel to the initial seller of each such certificate or instrument, any discount accruing on such certificate or instrument that is purchased at a yield not greater than the coupon rate of interest on the related Municipal Securities will to the same extent as interest on such Municipal Securities be exempt from federal income tax and state income tax (where applicable) and not be treated as a preference item for individuals for purposes of the federal alternative minimum tax. The Funds may also invest in Municipal Securities by purchasing from banks participation interests in all or part of specific holdings of Municipal Securities. Such participation interests may be backed in whole or in part by an irrevocable letter of credit or guarantee of the selling bank. The selling bank may receive a fee from a Fund in connection with the arrangement.
Each Fund will limit its investment in municipal leases to no more than 5% of its total assets.
Options and Futures Transactions
A Fund may purchase and sell (a) exchange traded and OTC put and call options on securities, on indexes of securities and other types of instruments, and on futures contracts on securities and indexes of securities and other instruments such as interest rate futures and global interest rate futures and (b) futures contracts on securities and other types of instruments and on indexes of securities and other types of instruments. Each of these instruments is a derivative instrument as its value derives from the underlying asset or index.
Subject to its investment objective and policies, a Fund may use futures contracts and options for hedging and risk management purposes and to seek to enhance portfolio performance.
Options and futures contracts may be used to manage a Fund’s exposure to changing interest rates and/or security prices. Some options and futures strategies, including selling futures contracts and buying puts, tend to hedge a Fund’s investments against price fluctuations. Other strategies, including buying futures contracts and buying calls, tend to increase market exposure. Options and futures contracts may be
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combined with each other or with forward contracts in order to adjust the risk and return characteristics of a Fund’s overall strategy in a manner deemed appropriate by the Adviser and consistent with the Fund’s objective and policies. Because combined options positions involve multiple trades, they result in higher transaction costs and may be more difficult to open and close out.
The use of options and futures is a highly specialized activity which involves investment strategies and risks different from those associated with ordinary portfolio securities transactions, and there can be no guarantee that their use will increase a Fund’s return. While the use of these instruments by a Fund may reduce certain risks associated with owning its portfolio securities, these techniques themselves entail certain other risks. If the Adviser applies a strategy at an inappropriate time or judges market conditions or trends incorrectly, options and futures strategies may lower a Fund’s return. Certain strategies limit a Fund’s possibilities to realize gains, as well as its exposure to losses. A Fund could also experience losses if the prices of its options and futures positions were poorly correlated with its other investments, or if it could not close out its positions because of an illiquid secondary market. In addition, the Fund will incur transaction costs, including trading commissions and option premiums, in connection with its futures and options transactions, and these transactions could significantly increase the Fund’s turnover rate.
Certain Funds have filed a notice under the Commodity Exchange Act under Regulation 4.5 and are operated by a person that has claimed an exclusion from the definition of the term “commodity pool operator” under the Commodity Exchange Act and, therefore, is not subject to registration or regulation as a commodity pool operator under the Commodity Exchange Act. Certain other Funds may rely on no-action relief issued by the CFTC. For Funds that cannot rely on an exclusion from the definition of commodity pool operator, or no action relief from the CFTC, the Adviser is subject to regulation as a commodity pool operator.
Purchasing Put and Call Options. By purchasing a put option, a Fund obtains the right (but not the obligation) to sell the instrument underlying the option at a fixed strike price. In return for this right, a Fund pays the current market price for the option (known as the option premium). Options have various types of underlying instruments, including specific securities, indexes of securities, indexes of securities prices, and futures contracts. A Fund may terminate its position in a put option it has purchased by allowing it to expire or by exercising the option. A Fund may also close out a put option position by entering into an offsetting transaction, if a liquid market exists. If the option is allowed to expire, a Fund will lose the entire premium it paid. If a Fund exercises a put option on a security, it will sell the instrument underlying the option at the strike price. If a Fund exercises an option on an index, settlement is in cash and does not involve the actual purchase or sale of securities. If an option is American style, it may be exercised on any day up to its expiration date. A European style option may be exercised only on its expiration date.
The buyer of a typical put option can expect to realize a gain if the value of the underlying instrument falls substantially. However, if the price of the instrument underlying the option does not fall enough to offset the cost of purchasing the option, a put buyer can expect to suffer a loss (limited to the amount of the premium paid, plus related transaction costs).
The features of call options are essentially the same as those of put options, except that the purchaser of a call option obtains the right to purchase, rather than sell, the instrument underlying the option at the option’s strike price. A call buyer typically attempts to participate in potential price increases of the instrument underlying the option with risk limited to the cost of the option if security prices fall. At the same time, the buyer can expect to suffer a loss if security prices do not rise sufficiently to offset the cost of the option.
Selling (Writing) Put and Call Options on Securities. When a Fund writes a put option on a security, it takes the opposite side of the transaction from the option’s purchaser. In return for the receipt of the premium, a Fund assumes the obligation to pay the strike price for the security underlying the option if the other party to the option chooses to exercise it. A Fund may seek to terminate its position in a put option it writes before exercise by purchasing an offsetting option in the market at its current price. If the market is not liquid for a put option a Fund has written, however, it must continue to be prepared to pay the strike price while the option is outstanding, regardless of price changes, and must continue to post margin as discussed below. If the market value of the underlying securities does not move to a level that would make exercise of the option profitable to its holder, the option will generally expire unexercised, and the Fund will realize as profit the premium it received.
If the price of the underlying securities rises, a put writer would generally expect to profit, although its gain would be limited to the amount of the premium it received. If security prices remain the same over time, it is likely that the writer will also profit, because it should be able to close out the option at a lower
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price. If security prices fall, the put writer would expect to suffer a loss. This loss should be less than the loss from purchasing and holding the underlying security directly, however, because the premium received for writing the option should offset a portion of the decline.
Writing a call option obligates a Fund to sell or deliver the option’s underlying security in return for the strike price upon exercise of the option. The characteristics of writing call options are similar to those of writing put options, except that writing calls generally is a profitable strategy if prices remain the same or fall. Through receipt of the option premium a call writer offsets part of the effect of a price decline. At the same time, because a call writer must be prepared to deliver the underlying instrument in return for the strike price, even if its current value is greater, a call writer gives up some ability to participate in security price increases.
In order to meet its asset coverage requirements, when a Fund writes an exchange traded put or call option on a security, it will be required to deposit cash or securities or a letter of credit as margin and to make mark to market payments of variation margin as the position becomes unprofitable.
Certain Funds will usually sell covered call options or cash-secured put options on securities. A call option is covered if the writer either owns the underlying security (or comparable securities satisfying the cover requirements of the securities exchanges) or has the right to acquire such securities. A put option is cash-secured if the writer segregates cash, high-grade short-term debt obligations, or other permissible collateral equal to the exercise price. As the writer of a covered call option, the Fund foregoes, during the option’s life, the opportunity to profit from increases in the market value of the security covering the call option above the sum of the premium and the strike price of the call, but has retained the risk of loss should the price of the underlying security decline. As the Fund writes covered calls over more of its portfolio, its ability to benefit from capital appreciation becomes more limited. The writer of an option has no control over the time when it may be required to fulfill its obligation, but may terminate its position by entering into an offsetting option. Once an option writer has received an exercise notice, it cannot effect an offsetting transaction in order to terminate its obligation under the option and must deliver the underlying security at the exercise price.
When the Fund writes cash-secured put options, it bears the risk of loss if the value of the underlying stock declines below the exercise price minus the put premium. If the option is exercised, the Fund could incur a loss if it is required to purchase the stock underlying the put option at a price greater than the market price of the stock at the time of exercise plus the put premium the Fund received when it wrote the option. While the Fund’s potential gain in writing a cash-secured put option is limited to distributions earned on the liquid assets securing the put option plus the premium received from the purchaser of the put option, the Fund risks a loss equal to the entire exercise price of the option minus the put premium.
Engaging in Straddles and Spreads. In a straddle transaction, a Fund either buys a call and a put or sells a call and a put on the same security. In a spread, a Fund purchases and sells a call or a put. A Fund will sell a straddle when the Fund’s Adviser believes the price of a security will be stable. The Fund will receive a premium on the sale of the put and the call. A spread permits a Fund to make a hedged investment that the price of a security will increase or decline.
Options on Indexes. Certain Funds may purchase and sell options on securities indexes and other types of indexes. Options on indexes are similar to options on securities, except that the exercise of index options may be settled by cash payments (or in some instances by a futures contract) and does not involve the actual purchase or sale of securities or the instruments in the index. In addition, these options are designed to reflect price fluctuations in a group of securities or instruments or segment of the securities’ or instruments’ market rather than price fluctuations in a single security or instrument. A Fund, in purchasing or selling index options, is subject to the risk that the value of its portfolio may not change as much as an index because a Fund’s investments generally will not match the composition of an index. Unlike call options on securities, index options are cash settled, or settled with a futures contract in some instances, rather than settled by delivery of the underlying index securities or instruments.
Certain Funds purchase and sell credit options which are options on indexes of derivative instruments such as credit default swap indexes. Like other index options, credit options can be cash settled or settled with a futures contract in some instances. In addition, credit options can also be settled in some instances by delivery of the underlying index instrument. Credit options may be used for a variety of purposes including hedging, risk management such as positioning a portfolio for anticipated volatility or increasing income or gain to a Fund. There is no guarantee that the strategy of using options on indexes or credit options in particular will be successful.
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For a number of reasons, a liquid market may not exist and thus a Fund may not be able to close out an option position that it has previously entered into. When a Fund purchases an OTC option (as defined below), it will be relying on its counterparty to perform its obligations and the Fund may incur additional losses if the counterparty is unable to perform.
Exchange-Traded and OTC Options. All options purchased or sold by a Fund will be traded on a securities exchange or will be purchased or sold by securities dealers (“OTC options”) that meet the Fund’s creditworthiness standards. While exchange-traded options are obligations of the Options Clearing Corporation, in the case of OTC options, a Fund relies on the dealer from which it purchased the option to perform if the option is exercised. Thus, when a Fund purchases an OTC option, it relies on the dealer from which it purchased the option to make or take delivery of the underlying securities. Failure by the dealer to do so would result in the loss of the premium paid by a Fund as well as loss of the expected benefit of the transaction.
Provided that a Fund has arrangements with certain qualified dealers who agree that a Fund may repurchase any option it writes for a maximum price to be calculated by a predetermined formula, a Fund may treat the underlying securities used to cover written OTC options as liquid. In these cases, the OTC option itself would only be considered illiquid to the extent that the maximum repurchase price under the formula exceeds the intrinsic value of the option. Accordingly, these OTC options are subject to heightened credit risk, as well as liquidity and valuation risk depending upon the type of OTC options in which the Fund invests.
Futures Contracts. When a Fund purchases a futures contract, it agrees to purchase a specified quantity of an underlying instrument at a specified future date or, in the case of an index futures contract, to make or receive a cash payment based on the value of a securities index. When a Fund sells a futures contract, it agrees to sell a specified quantity of the underlying instrument at a specified future date or, in the case of an index futures contract, to make or receive a cash payment based on the value of a securities index. The price at which the purchase and sale will take place is fixed when a Fund enters into the contract. Futures can be held until their delivery dates or the position can be (and normally is) closed out before then. There is no assurance, however, that a liquid market will exist when the Fund wishes to close out a particular position.
When a Fund purchases a futures contract, the value of the futures contract tends to increase and decrease in tandem with the value of its underlying instrument. Therefore, purchasing futures contracts will tend to increase a Fund’s exposure to positive and negative price fluctuations in the underlying instrument, much as if it had purchased the underlying instrument directly. When a Fund sells a futures contract, by contrast, the value of its futures position will tend to move in a direction contrary to the value of the underlying instrument. Selling futures contracts, therefore, will tend to offset both positive and negative market price changes, much as if the underlying instrument had been sold.
The purchaser or seller of a futures contract is not required to deliver or pay for the underlying instrument unless the contract is held until the delivery date. However, when a Fund buys or sells a futures contract, it will be required to deposit “initial margin” with a futures commission merchant (“FCM”). Initial margin deposits are typically equal to a small percentage of the contract’s value. If the value of either party’s position declines, that party will be required to make additional “variation margin” payments equal to the change in value on a daily basis. The party that has a gain may be entitled to receive all or a portion of this amount. A Fund may be obligated to make payments of variation margin at a time when it is disadvantageous to do so. Furthermore, it may not always be possible for a Fund to close out its futures positions. Until it closes out a futures position, a Fund will be obligated to continue to pay variation margin. Initial and variation margin payments do not constitute purchasing on margin for purposes of a Fund’s investment restrictions. In the event of the bankruptcy of an FCM that holds margin on behalf of a Fund, the Fund may be entitled to return of margin owed to it only in proportion to the amount received by the FCM’s other customers, potentially resulting in losses to the Fund. For cash-settled futures, the Fund will segregate or earmark liquid assets in an amount equal to the mark-to-market value. For physically settled futures, except for certain physically settled futures held by the Diversified Alternatives ETF, the Managed Futures Strategy ETF or their Cayman subsidiaries, the Fund will earmark or segregate liquid assets in an amount equal to the notional value. Futures contracts will be treated as cash-settled for asset segregation purposes when the Diversified Alternatives ETF, the Managed Futures Strategy ETF and/or their Cayman subsidiaries have entered into a contractual arrangement (each, a “side letter”) with an FCM or other counterparty to off-set the Fund’s or subsidiary’s exposure under the contract and, failing that, to assign its delivery obligation under the contract to the FCM or counterparty. In calculating the segregation amount, netting of similar contracts is generally permitted. Such assets cannot be sold while the futures contract or option is outstanding unless they are replaced with other suitable assets. By setting aside assets
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equal only to its net obligation under cash-settled futures or under physically-settled futures for which the Diversified Alternatives ETF, the Managed Futures Strategy ETF and/or their Cayman subsidiaries have entered into a side letter, a Fund will have the ability to have exposure to such instruments to a greater extent than if a Fund were required to set aside assets equal to the full notional value of such contracts. There is a possibility that earmarking and reservation of a large percentage of a Fund’s assets could impede portfolio management or a Fund’s ability to meet redemption requests or other current obligations.
The Funds only invest in futures contracts to the extent they could invest in the underlying instrument directly. Certain Funds may also invest in index futures where the underlying securities or instruments are not available for direct investments by the Funds.
Cash Equitization. The objective where equity futures are used to “equitize” cash is to match the notional value of all futures contracts to a Fund’s cash balance. The notional values of the futures contracts and of the cash are monitored daily. As the cash is invested in securities and/or paid out to participants in redemptions, the Adviser simultaneously adjusts the futures positions. Through such procedures, a Fund not only gains equity exposure from the use of futures, but also benefits from increased flexibility in responding to client cash flow needs. Additionally, because it can be less expensive to trade a list of securities as a package or program trade rather than as a group of individual orders, futures provide a means through which transaction costs can be reduced. Such non-hedging risk management techniques involve leverage, and thus present, as do all leveraged transactions, the possibility of losses as well as gains that are greater than if these techniques involved the purchase and sale of the securities themselves rather than their synthetic derivatives.
Options on Futures Contracts. Futures contracts obligate the buyer to take and the seller to make delivery at a future date of a specified quantity of a financial instrument or an amount of cash based on the value of a securities or other index. Currently, futures contracts are available on various types of securities, including but not limited to U.S. Treasury bonds, notes and bills, Eurodollar certificates of deposit and on indexes of securities. Unlike a futures contract, which requires the parties to buy and sell a security or make a cash settlement payment based on changes in a financial instrument or securities or other index on an agreed date, an option on a futures contract entitles its holder to decide on or before a future date whether to enter into such a contract. If the holder decides not to exercise its option, the holder may close out the option position by entering into an offsetting transaction or may decide to let the option expire and forfeit the premium thereon. The purchaser of an option on a futures contract pays a premium for the option but makes no initial margin payments or daily payments of cash in the nature of “variation margin” payments to reflect the change in the value of the underlying contract as does a purchaser or seller of a futures contract.
The seller of an option on a futures contract receives the premium paid by the purchaser and may be required to pay initial margin. For physically settled options on futures, the Funds will earmark or segregate an amount of liquid assets equal to the notional value of the underlying future. For cash-settled options on futures, the Fund will earmark or segregate an amount of liquid assets equal to the market value of the obligation. Market value is equal to the intrinsic value, which is calculated by taking the number of contracts times a multiplier times the difference between the strike and current market price.
Combined Positions. Certain Funds may purchase and write options in combination with futures or forward contracts, to adjust the risk and return characteristics of the overall position. For example, a Fund may purchase a put option and write a call option on the same underlying instrument, in order to construct a combined position whose risk and return characteristics are similar to selling a futures contract. Another possible combined position would involve writing a call option at one strike price and buying a call option at a lower price, in order to reduce the risk of the written call option in the event of a substantial price increase. Because combined options positions involve multiple trades, they result in higher transaction costs and may be more difficult to open and close out.
Correlation of Price Changes. Because there are a limited number of types of exchange-traded options and futures contracts, it is likely that the standardized options and futures contracts available will not match a Fund’s current or anticipated investments exactly. A Fund may invest in options and futures contracts based on securities or instruments with different issuers, maturities, or other characteristics from the securities in which it typically invests, which involves a risk that the options or futures position will not track the performance of a Fund’s other investments.
Options and futures contracts prices can also diverge from the prices of their underlying instruments, even if the underlying instruments match the Fund’s investments well. Options and futures contracts prices are affected by such factors as current and anticipated short term interest rates, changes in volatility of the underlying instrument, and the time remaining until expiration of the contract, which may not affect
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security prices the same way. Imperfect correlation may also result from differing levels of demand in the options and futures markets and the securities markets, from structural differences in how options and futures and securities are traded, or from imposition of daily price fluctuation limits or trading halts. A Fund may purchase or sell options and futures contracts with a greater or lesser value than the securities it wishes to hedge or intends to purchase in order to attempt to compensate for differences in volatility between the contract and the securities, although this may not be successful in all cases. If price changes in a Fund’s options or futures positions are poorly correlated with its other investments, the positions may fail to produce anticipated gains or result in losses that are not offset by gains in other investments.
Liquidity of Options and Futures Contracts. There is no assurance that a liquid market will exist for any particular options or futures contract at any particular time even if the contract is traded on an exchange. In addition, exchanges may establish daily price fluctuation limits for options and futures contracts and may halt trading if a contract’s price moves up or down more than the limit in a given day. On volatile trading days when the price fluctuation limit is reached or a trading halt is imposed, it may be impossible for a Fund to enter into new positions or close out existing positions. If the market for a contract is not liquid because of price fluctuation limits or otherwise, it could prevent prompt liquidation of unfavorable positions, and could potentially require a Fund to continue to hold a position until delivery or expiration regardless of changes in its value. As a result, a Fund’s access to other assets held to cover its options or futures positions could also be impaired. (See “Exchange-Traded and OTC Options” above for a discussion of the liquidity of options not traded on an exchange.)
Foreign Investment Risk. Certain Funds may buy and sell options on interest rate futures including global interest rate futures in which the reference interest rate is tied to currencies other than the U.S. dollar. Such investments are subject to additional risks including the risks associated with foreign investment and currency risk. See “Foreign Investments (including Foreign Currencies)” in this SAI Part II.
Position Limits. Futures exchanges can limit the number of futures and options on futures contracts that can be held or controlled by an entity. If an adequate exemption cannot be obtained, a Fund or the Adviser may be required to reduce the size of its futures and options positions or may not be able to trade a certain futures or options contract in order to avoid exceeding such limits.
Asset Segregation for Futures Contracts and Options Positions. A Fund will set aside or earmark appropriate liquid assets for asset segregation purposes. Such assets cannot be sold while the futures contract or option is outstanding, unless they are replaced with other suitable assets. As a result, there is a possibility that the reservation of a large percentage of a Fund’s assets could impede portfolio management or a Fund’s ability to meet redemption requests or other current obligations.
Real Estate Investment Trusts (“REITs”)
Certain of the Funds may invest in equity interests or debt obligations issued by REITs. REITs are pooled investment vehicles which invest primarily in income producing real estate or real estate related loans or interest. REITs are generally classified as equity REITs, mortgage REITs or a combination of equity and mortgage REITs. Equity REITs invest the majority of their assets directly in real property and derive income primarily from the collection of rents. Equity REITs can also realize capital gains by selling property that has appreciated in value. Mortgage REITs invest the majority of their assets in real estate mortgages and derive income from the collection of interest payments. Similar to investment companies, REITs are not taxed on income distributed to shareholders provided they comply with several requirements of the Code. A Fund will indirectly bear its proportionate share of expenses incurred by REITs in which a Fund invests in addition to the expenses incurred directly by a Fund.
Investing in REITs involves certain unique risks in addition to those risks associated with investing in the real estate industry in general. Equity REITs may be affected by changes in the value of the underlying property owned by the REITs, while mortgage REITs may be affected by the quality of any credit extended. REITs are dependent upon management skills and on cash flows, are not diversified, and are subject to default by borrowers and self-liquidation. REITs are also subject to the possibilities of failing to qualify for tax free pass-through of income under the Code and failing to maintain their exemption from registration under the 1940 Act.
REITs (especially mortgage REITs) are also subject to interest rate risks. When interest rates decline, the value of a REIT’s investment in fixed rate obligations can be expected to rise. Conversely, when interest rates rise, the value of a REIT’s investment in fixed rate obligations can be expected to decline. In
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contrast, as interest rates on adjustable rate mortgage loans are reset periodically, yields on a REIT’s investment in such loans will gradually align themselves to fluctuate less dramatically in response to interest rate fluctuations than would investments in fixed rate obligations.
Investment in REITs involves risks similar to those associated with investing in small capitalization companies. These risks include:
limited financial resources;
infrequent or limited trading; and
more abrupt or erratic price movements than larger company securities.
In addition, small capitalization stocks, such as certain REITs, historically have been more volatile in price than the larger capitalization stocks included in the S&P 500® Index.
Recent Events Relating to the Overall Economy
The U.S. Government, the Federal Reserve, the Treasury, the SEC, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and other governmental and regulatory bodies have taken actions to address the financial crisis. These actions included, in part, the enactment by the United States Congress of the Dodd-Frank Act, which was signed into law on July 21, 2010 and imposed a new regulatory framework over the U.S. financial services industry and the consumer credit markets in general, and proposed and final regulations by the SEC. Given the broad scope, sweeping nature, and relatively recent enactment of some of these regulatory measures, the potential impact they could have on securities 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 securities 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, and the effect of such actions, if taken, cannot be known. However, current efforts by the U.S. Government to reduce the impact of regulations on the U.S. financial services industry could lead to the repeal of certain elements of the regulatory framework.
Repurchase Agreements
Repurchase agreements may be entered into with brokers, dealers or banks or other entities that meet the Adviser’s credit guidelines. A Fund will enter into repurchase agreements only with member banks of the Federal Reserve System and securities dealers or other entities believed by the Adviser to be creditworthy. The Adviser may consider the collateral received and any applicable guarantees in making its determination. In a repurchase agreement, a Fund buys a security from a seller that has agreed to repurchase the same security at a mutually agreed upon date and price. The resale price normally is in excess of the purchase price, reflecting an agreed upon interest rate. This interest rate is effective for the period of time a Fund is invested in the agreement and is not related to the coupon rate on the underlying security. A repurchase agreement may also be viewed as a fully collateralized loan of money by a Fund to the seller. The maximum maturity permitted for a non- “putable” repurchase agreement will be 190 days. In the case of a tri-party agreement, the maximum notice period permitted for a “putable” or “open” repurchase agreement (i.e., where the Fund has a right to put the repurchase agreement to the counterparty or terminate the transaction at par plus accrued interest at a specified notice period) will be 190 days. The securities which are subject to repurchase agreements, however, may have maturity dates in excess of 190 days from the effective date of the repurchase agreement. In addition, the maturity of a “putable” or “open” repurchase agreement may be in excess of 190 days. Repurchase agreements maturing in more than seven days (or where the put right or notice provision requires greater than seven days’ notice) are treated as illiquid for purposes of a Fund’s restrictions on purchases of illiquid securities. A Fund will always receive securities as collateral during the term of the agreement whose market value is at least equal to 100% of the dollar amount invested by the Fund in each agreement plus accrued interest. The repurchase agreements further authorize the Fund to demand additional collateral in the event that the dollar value of the collateral falls below 100%. A Fund will make payment for such securities only upon physical delivery or upon evidence of book entry transfer to the account of the custodian. Repurchase agreements are considered under the 1940 Act to be loans collateralized by the underlying securities.
All of the Funds that are permitted to invest in repurchase agreements may engage in repurchase agreement transactions that are collateralized fully as defined in Rule 5b-3(c)(1) of the 1940 Act, which has the effect of enabling a Fund to look to the collateral, rather than the counterparty, for determining whether its assets are “diversified” for 1940 Act purposes. The Adviser may consider the collateral received and any applicable guarantees in making its determination. Certain Funds may, in addition,
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engage in repurchase agreement transactions that are collateralized by money market instruments, debt securities, loan participations, equity securities or other securities including securities that are rated below investment grade by the requisite NRSROs or unrated securities of comparable quality. For these types of repurchase agreement transactions, the Fund would look to the counterparty, and not the collateral, for determining such diversification.
A repurchase agreement is subject to the risk that the seller may fail to repurchase the security. In the event of default by the seller under a repurchase agreement construed to be a collateralized loan, the underlying securities would not be owned by the Fund, but would only constitute collateral for the seller’s obligation to pay the repurchase price. Therefore, a Fund may suffer time delays and incur costs in connection with the disposition of the collateral. The collateral underlying repurchase agreements may be more susceptible to claims of the seller’s creditors than would be the case with securities owned by the Fund.
Under existing guidance from the SEC, certain Funds may transfer uninvested cash balances into a joint account, along with cash of other Funds and certain other accounts. These balances may be invested in one or more repurchase agreements and/or short-term money market instruments.
Reverse Repurchase Agreements
In a reverse repurchase agreement, a Fund sells a security and agrees to repurchase the same security at a mutually agreed upon date and price reflecting the interest rate effective for the term of the agreement. For purposes of the 1940 Act, a reverse repurchase agreement is considered borrowing by a Fund and, therefore, a form of leverage. Leverage may cause any gains or losses for a Fund to be magnified. The Funds will invest the proceeds of borrowings under reverse repurchase agreements. In addition, except for liquidity purposes, a Fund will enter into a reverse repurchase agreement only when the expected return from the investment of the proceeds is greater than the expense of the transaction. A Fund will not invest the proceeds of a reverse repurchase agreement for a period which exceeds the duration of the reverse repurchase agreement. A Fund would be required to pay interest on amounts obtained through reverse repurchase agreements, which are considered borrowings under federal securities laws. The repurchase price is generally equal to the original sales price plus interest. Reverse repurchase agreements are usually for seven days or less and cannot be repaid prior to their expiration dates. Each Fund will earmark and reserve Fund assets, in cash or liquid securities, in an amount at least equal to its purchase obligations under its reverse repurchase agreements. Reverse repurchase agreements involve the risk that the market value of the portfolio securities transferred may decline below the price at which a Fund is obliged to purchase the securities. All forms of borrowing (including reverse repurchase agreements) are limited in the aggregate and may not exceed 33  13% of a Fund’s total assets, except as permitted by law.
Securities Lending
To generate additional income, certain Funds may lend up to 33  13% of such Fund’s total assets pursuant to agreements requiring that the loan be continuously secured by collateral equal to at least 100% of the market value plus accrued interest on the securities lent. The Funds use Citibank, N.A. (“Citibank”) as their securities lending agent. Pursuant to a Third Party Securities Lending Rider to the Custody Agreement between JPMorgan Chase Bank, Citibank and the Funds (the “Third Party Securities Lending Rider”) approved by the Board of Trustees, Citibank compensates JPMorgan Chase Bank for certain custodial services provided by JPMorgan Chase Bank in connection with the Funds’ use of Citibank as securities lending agent.
Pursuant to the Global Securities Lending Agency Agreement approved by the Board of Trustees between Citibank and the Trust on behalf of the applicable Funds, severally and not jointly (the “Securities Lending Agency Agreement”), collateral for loans will consist only of cash. The Funds receive payments from the borrowers equivalent to the dividends and interest that would have been earned on the securities lent. For loans secured by cash, the Funds seek to earn interest on the investment of cash collateral in investments permitted by the Securities Lending Agency Agreement. Under the Securities Lending Agency Agreement, cash collateral may be invested in IM Shares of JPMorgan Prime Money Market Fund, JPMorgan U.S. Government Money Market Fund and Class Agency SL of JPMorgan Securities Lending Money Market Fund.
Under the Securities Lending Agency Agreement, Citibank marks to market the loaned securities on a daily basis. In the event the cash received from the borrower is less than 102% of the value of the loaned securities (105% for non-U.S. securities), Citibank requests additional cash from the borrower so as to maintain a collateralization level of at least 102% of the value of the loaned securities plus accrued interest
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(105% for non-U.S. securities). Loans are subject to termination by a Fund or the borrower at any time, and are therefore not considered to be illiquid investments. A Fund does not have the right to vote proxies for securities on loan over a record date for such proxies. However, if the Fund’s Adviser has notice of the proxy in advance of the record date, a Fund’s Adviser may terminate a loan in advance of the record date if the Fund’s Adviser determines the vote is considered material with respect to an investment.
Securities lending involves counterparty risk, including the risk that the loaned securities may not be returned or returned in a timely manner and/or a loss of rights in the collateral if the borrower or the lending agent defaults or fails financially. This risk is increased when a Fund’s loans are concentrated with a single or limited number of borrowers. The earnings on the collateral invested may not be sufficient to pay fees incurred in connection with the loan. Also, the principal value of the collateral invested may decline and may not be sufficient to pay back the borrower for the amount of collateral posted. There are no limits on the number of borrowers a Fund may use and a Fund may lend securities to only one or a small group of borrowers. In addition, loans may be made to affiliates of Citibank as identified. Funds participating in securities lending bear the risk of loss in connection with investments of the cash collateral received from the borrowers, which do not trigger additional collateral requirements from the borrower.
To the extent that the value or return of a Fund’s investments of the cash collateral declines below the amount owed to a borrower, the Fund may incur losses that exceed the amount it earned on lending the security. In situations where the Adviser does not believe that it is prudent to sell the cash collateral investments in the market, a Fund may borrow money to repay the borrower the amount of cash collateral owed to the borrower upon return of the loaned securities. This will result in financial leverage, which may cause the Fund to be more volatile because financial leverage tends to exaggerate the effect of any increase or decrease in the value of the Fund’s portfolio securities.
Short Selling
In short selling transactions, a Fund sells a security it does not own in anticipation of a decline in the market value of the security. To complete the transaction, a Fund must borrow the security to make delivery to the buyer. A Fund is obligated to replace the security borrowed by purchasing it subsequently 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 a Fund, which may result in a loss or gain, respectively. Unlike taking a long position in a security by purchasing the security, where potential losses are limited to the purchase price, short sales have no cap on maximum losses, and gains are limited to the price of the security at the time of the short sale.
Short sales of forward commitments and derivatives do not involve borrowing a security. These types of short sales may include futures, options, contracts for differences, forward contracts on financial instruments and options such as contracts, credit linked instruments, and swap contracts.
A Fund may not always be able to borrow a security it wants to sell short. A Fund also may be unable to close out an established short position at an acceptable price and may have to sell long positions at disadvantageous times to cover its short positions. The value of your investment in a Fund will fluctuate in response to movements in the market. Fund performance also will depend on the effectiveness of the Adviser’s research and the management team’s investment decisions. The SEC and financial industry regulatory authorities in other countries may impose prohibitions, restrictions or other regulatory requirements on short sales, which could inhibit the ability of the Adviser to sell securities short on behalf of the Fund. For example, in September 2008, in response to spreading turmoil in the financial markets, the SEC temporarily banned short selling in the stocks of numerous financial services companies, and also promulgated new disclosure requirements with respect to short positions held by investment managers. The SEC’s temporary ban on short selling of such stocks has since expired, but should similar restrictions and/or additional disclosure requirements be promulgated, especially if market turmoil occurs, a Fund may be forced to cover short positions more quickly than otherwise intended and may suffer losses as a result. Such restrictions may also adversely affect the ability of a Fund (especially if a Fund utilizes short selling as a significant portion of its investment strategy) to execute its investment strategies generally.
Short sales also involve other costs. A Fund must repay to the lender an amount equal to any dividends or interest that accrues while the loan is outstanding. To borrow the security, a Fund may be required to pay a premium. A Fund also will incur transaction costs in effecting short sales. The amount of any ultimate gain for a Fund resulting from a short sale will be decreased and the amount of any ultimate loss will be increased by the amount of premiums, interest or expenses a Fund may be required to pay in connection
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with the short sale. Until a Fund closes the short position, it will earmark and reserve Fund assets, in cash or liquid securities, to offset a portion of the leverage risk. Realized gains from short sales are typically treated as short-term gains/losses.
Certain of a Fund’s service providers may have agreed to waive fees and reimburse expenses to limit the Fund’s operating expenses in the amount and for the time period specified in the Fund’s prospectuses. The expense limitation does not include certain expenses including, to the extent indicated in the Fund’s prospectuses, dividend and interest expense on short sales. In calculating the interest expense on short sales for purposes of this exclusion, the Fund will recognize all economic elements of interest costs, including premium and discount adjustments.
Short-Term Funding Agreements
Short-term funding agreements issued by insurance companies are sometimes referred to as Guaranteed Investment Contracts (“GICs”), while those issued by banks are referred to as Bank Investment Contracts (“BICs”). Pursuant to such agreements, a Fund makes cash contributions to a deposit account at a bank or insurance company. The bank or insurance company then credits to the Fund on a monthly basis guaranteed interest at either a fixed, variable or floating rate. These contracts are general obligations of the issuing bank or insurance company (although they may be the obligations of an insurance company separate account) and are paid from the general assets of the issuing entity.
Generally, there is no active secondary market in short-term funding agreements. Therefore, short-term funding agreements may be considered by a Fund to be illiquid investments. To the extent that a short-term funding agreement is determined to be illiquid, such agreements will be acquired by a Fund only if, at the time of purchase, no more than 15% of the Fund’s net assets will be invested in short-term funding agreements and other illiquid securities.
Structured Investments
A structured investment is a security having a return tied to an underlying index or other security or asset class. Structured investments generally are individually negotiated agreements and may be traded over-the-counter. Structured investments are organized and operated to restructure the investment characteristics of the underlying security. This restructuring involves the deposit with or purchase by an entity, such as a corporation or trust, or specified instruments (such as commercial bank loans) and the issuance by that entity or one or more classes of securities (“structured securities”) backed by, or representing interests in, the underlying instruments. The cash flow on the underlying instruments may be apportioned among the newly issued structured securities to create securities with different investment characteristics, such as varying maturities, payment priorities and interest rate provisions, and the extent of such payments made with respect to structured securities is dependent on the extent of the cash flow on the underlying instruments. Because structured securities typically involve no credit enhancement, their credit risk generally will be equivalent to that of the underlying instruments. Investments in structured securities are generally of a class of structured securities that is either subordinated or unsubordinated to the right of payment of another class. Subordinated structured securities typically have higher yields and present greater risks than unsubordinated structured securities. Structured instruments include structured notes. In addition to the risks applicable to investments in structured investments and debt securities in general, structured notes bear the risk that the issuer may not be required to pay interest on the structured note if the index rate rises above or falls below a certain level. Structured securities are typically sold in private placement transactions, and there currently is no active trading market for structured securities. Investments in government and government-related restructured debt instruments are subject to special risks, including the inability or unwillingness to repay principal and interest, requests to reschedule or restructure outstanding debt and requests to extend additional loan amounts. Structured investments include a wide variety of instruments including, without limitation, Collateralized Debt Obligations, credit linked notes, and participation notes and participatory notes.
Structured instruments that are registered under the federal securities laws may be treated as liquid. In addition, many structured instruments may not be registered under the federal securities laws. In that event, a Fund’s ability to resell such a structured instrument may be more limited than its ability to resell other Fund securities. The Funds will treat such instruments as illiquid and will limit their investments in such instruments to no more than 15% of each Fund’s net assets, when combined with all other illiquid investments of each Fund.
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Total Annual Fund Operating Expenses set forth in the fee table and Financial Highlights section of each Fund’s Prospectuses do not include any expenses associated with investments in certain structured or synthetic products that may rely on the exception for the definition of “investment company” provided by section 3(c)(1) or 3(c)(7) of the 1940 Act.
Swaps and Related Swap Products
Swap transactions may include, but are not limited to, interest rate swaps, currency swaps, cross-currency interest rate swaps, forward rate agreements, contracts for differences, total return swaps, index swaps, basket swaps, specific security swaps, fixed income sectors swaps, commodity swaps, asset-backed swaps (ABX), commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS) and indexes of CMBS (CMBX), credit default swaps, interest rate caps, price lock swaps, floors and collars and swaptions (collectively defined as “swap transactions”).
A Fund may enter into swap transactions for any legal purpose consistent with its investment objective and policies, such as for the purpose of attempting to obtain or preserve a particular return or spread at a lower cost than obtaining that return or spread through purchases and/or sales of instruments in cash markets, to protect against currency fluctuations, to protect against any increase in the price of securities a Fund anticipates purchasing at a later date, or to gain exposure to certain markets in the most economical way possible.
Swap agreements are two-party contracts entered into primarily by institutional counterparties for periods ranging from a few weeks to several years. They may be bilaterally negotiated between the two parties (referred to as OTC swaps) or traded over an exchange. In a standard swap transaction, two parties agree to exchange the returns (or differentials in rates of return) that would be earned or realized on specified notional investments or instruments. The gross returns to be exchanged or “swapped” between the parties are calculated by reference 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 commodity, or in a “basket” of securities representing a particular index. The purchaser of an interest rate cap or floor, upon payment of a fee, has the right to receive payments (and the seller of the cap or floor is obligated to make payments) to the extent a specified interest rate exceeds (in the case of a cap) or is less than (in the case of a floor) a specified level over a specified period of time or at specified dates. The purchaser of an interest rate collar, upon payment of a fee, has the right to receive payments (and the seller of the collar is obligated to make payments) to the extent that a specified interest rate falls outside an agreed upon range over a specified period of time or at specified dates. The purchaser of an option on an interest rate swap, also known as a “swaption,” upon payment of a fee (either at the time of purchase or in the form of higher payments or lower receipts within an interest rate swap transaction) has the right, but not the obligation, to initiate a new swap transaction of a pre-specified notional amount with pre-specified terms with the seller of the swaption as the counterparty.
The “notional amount” of a swap transaction is the agreed upon basis for calculating the payments that the parties have agreed to exchange. For example, one swap counterparty may agree to pay a floating rate of interest (e.g., 3 month LIBOR) calculated based on a $10 million notional amount on a quarterly basis in exchange for receipt of payments calculated based on the same notional amount and a fixed rate of interest on a semi-annual basis. In the event a Fund is obligated to make payments more frequently than it receives payments from the other party, it will incur incremental credit exposure to that swap counterparty. This risk may be mitigated somewhat by the use of swap agreements which call for a net payment to be made by the party with the larger payment obligation when the obligations of the parties fall due on the same date. Under most swap agreements entered into by a Fund, payments by the parties will be exchanged on a “net basis”, and a Fund will receive or pay, as the case may be, only the net amount of the two payments.
The amount of a Fund’s potential gain or loss on any swap transaction is not subject to any fixed limit. Nor is there any fixed limit on a Fund’s potential loss if it sells a cap or collar. If a Fund buys a cap, floor or collar, however, the Fund’s potential loss is limited to the amount of the fee that it has paid. When measured against the initial amount of cash required to initiate the transaction, which is typically zero in the case of most conventional swap transactions, swaps, caps, floors and collars tend to be more volatile than many other types of instruments.
The use of swap transactions, caps, floors and collars involves investment techniques and risks that are different from those associated with portfolio security transactions. If a Fund’s Adviser is incorrect in its forecasts of market values, interest rates, and other applicable factors, the investment performance of the Fund will be less favorable than if these techniques had not been used. These instruments are typically not
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traded on exchanges. Accordingly, there is a risk that the other party to certain of these instruments will not perform its obligations to a Fund or that a Fund may be unable to enter into offsetting positions to terminate its exposure or liquidate its position under certain of these instruments when it wishes to do so. Such occurrences could result in losses to a Fund. A Fund’s Adviser will consider such risks and will enter into swap and other derivatives transactions only when it believes that the risks are not unreasonable.
A Fund will earmark and reserve Fund assets, in cash or liquid securities, in an amount sufficient at all times to cover its current obligations under its swap transactions, caps, floors and collars. If a Fund enters into a swap agreement on a net basis, it will earmark and reserve assets with a daily value at least equal to the excess, if any, of a Fund’s accrued obligations under the swap agreement over the accrued amount a Fund is entitled to receive under the agreement. If a Fund enters into a swap agreement on other than a net basis, or sells a cap, floor or collar, it will earmark and reserve assets with a daily value at least equal to the full amount of a Fund’s accrued obligations under the agreement. A Fund will not enter into any swap transaction, cap, floor, or collar, unless the counterparty to the transaction is deemed creditworthy by the Fund’s Adviser. If a counterparty defaults, a Fund may have contractual remedies pursuant to the agreements related to the transaction. The swap markets in which many types of swap transactions are traded have 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 markets for certain types of swaps (e.g., interest rate swaps) have become relatively liquid. The markets for some types of caps, floors and collars are less liquid.
The liquidity of swap transactions, caps, floors and collars will be as set forth in guidelines established by a Fund’s Adviser and approved by the Trustees which are based on various factors, including: (1) the availability of dealer quotations and the estimated transaction volume for the instrument, (2) the number of dealers and end users for the instrument in the marketplace, (3) the level of market making by dealers in the type of instrument, (4) the nature of the instrument (including any right of a party to terminate it on demand) and (5) the nature of the marketplace for trades (including the ability to assign or offset a Fund’s rights and obligations relating to the instrument). Such determination will govern whether the instrument will be deemed within the applicable liquidity restriction on investments in securities that are not readily marketable.
During the term of a swap, cap, floor or collar, changes in the value of the instrument are recognized as unrealized gains or losses by marking to market to reflect the market value of the instrument. When the instrument is terminated, a Fund will record a realized gain or loss equal to the difference, if any, between the proceeds from (or cost of) the closing transaction and a Fund’s basis in the contract.
The federal income tax treatment with respect to swap transactions, caps, floors, and collars may impose limitations on the extent to which a Fund may engage in such transactions.
Under the Dodd-Frank Act, certain swaps that were historically traded OTC must now be traded on an exchange or facility regulated by the CFTC and/or centrally cleared (central clearing interposes a central clearing house to each participant’s swap). Exchange trading and central clearing are intended to reduce counterparty credit risk and increase liquidity and transparency, but they do not make swap transactions risk-free. Moving trading to an exchange-type system may increase market transparency and liquidity but may require Funds to incur increased expenses to access the same types of cleared and uncleared swaps. Moreover, depending on the size of a Fund and other factors, the margin required under the clearinghouse rules 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 uncleared swap. But applicable regulators have also adopted rules imposing margin requirements, including minimums, on uncleared swaps, which may result in a Fund and its counterparties posting higher margin amounts for uncleared swaps as well. Recently adopted rules also require centralized reporting of detailed information about many types of cleared and uncleared swaps. Swaps data reporting may result in greater market transparency, but may subject a Fund to additional administrative burdens, and the safeguards established to protect trader anonymity may not function as expected. Implementing these new exchange trading, central clearing, margin and data reporting regulations may increase Fund’s cost of hedging risk and, as a result, may affect returns to Fund investors.
Credit Default Swaps. As described above, swap agreements are two party contracts entered into primarily by institutional investors for periods ranging from a few weeks to more than one year. In the case of a credit default swap (“CDS”), the contract gives one party (the buyer) the right to recoup the economic value of a decline in the value of debt securities of the reference issuer if the credit event (a downgrade or default) occurs. This value is obtained by delivering a debt security of the reference issuer to the party in
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return for a previously agreed payment from the other party (frequently, the par value of the debt security). CDS include credit default swaps, which are contracts on individual securities, and credit default swap indices (“CDX”), which are contracts on baskets or indices of securities.
Credit default swaps may require initial premium (discount) payments as well as periodic payments (receipts) related to the interest leg of the swap or to the default of a reference obligation. In cases where a Fund is a seller of a CDS contract including a CDX contract, the Fund will segregate or earmark liquid assets equal the notional amount of the contract. Furthermore, a Fund will segregate or earmark liquid assets to cover any accrued payment obligations when it is the buyer of a CDS including CDX. In calculating the amount to be segregated for this purpose, the Fund is not considered to have an accrued payment obligation when it is the buyer of a CDS including a CDX when the contract is in a gain position as no additional amounts are owed to the counterparty. In cases where a Fund is a buyer of a CDS contract including a CDX contract, the Fund will segregate or earmark liquid assets equal to the mark-to-market value when the contract is in a loss position.
If a Fund is a seller of protection under a CDS contract, the Fund would be required to pay the par (or other agreed upon) value of a referenced debt obligation to the counterparty in the event of a default or other credit event by the reference issuer, such as a U.S. or foreign corporate issuer, with respect to such debt obligations. In return, a Fund would receive from the counterparty a periodic stream of payments over the term of the contract provided that no event of default has occurred. If no default occurs, a Fund would keep the stream of payments and would have no payment obligations. As the seller, a Fund would be subject to investment exposure on the notional amount of the swap.
If a Fund is a buyer of protection under a CDS contract, the Fund would have the right to deliver a referenced debt obligation and receive the par (or other agreed-upon) value of such debt obligation from the counterparty in the event of a default or other credit event (such as a downgrade in credit rating) by the reference issuer, such as a U.S. or foreign corporation, with respect to its debt obligations. In return, the Fund would pay the counterparty a periodic stream of payments over the term of the contract provided that no event of default has occurred. If no default occurs, the counterparty would keep the stream of payments and would have no further obligations to the Fund.
The use of CDSs, like all swap agreements, is subject to certain risks. If a counterparty’s creditworthiness declines, the value of the swap would likely decline. Moreover, there is no guarantee that a Fund could eliminate its exposure under an outstanding swap agreement by entering into an offsetting swap agreement with the same or another party. In addition to general market risks, CDSs involve liquidity, credit and counterparty risks. The recent increase in corporate defaults further raises these liquidity and credit risks, increasing the possibility that sellers will not have sufficient funds to make payments. As unregulated instruments, CDSs are difficult to value and are therefore susceptible to liquidity and credit risks. Counterparty risks also stem from the lack of regulation of CDSs. Collateral posting requirements are individually negotiated between counterparties and there is no regulatory requirement concerning the amount of collateral that a counterparty must post to secure its obligations under a CDS. Because they are unregulated, there is no requirement that parties to a contract be informed in advance when a CDS is sold. As a result, investors may have difficulty identifying the party responsible for payment of their claims.
If a counterparty’s credit becomes significantly impaired, multiple requests for collateral posting in a short period of time could increase the risk that the Fund may not receive adequate collateral. There is no readily available market for trading out of CDS contracts. In order to eliminate a position it has taken in a CDS, the Fund must terminate the existing CDS contract or enter into an offsetting trade. The Fund may only exit its obligations under a CDS contract by terminating the contract and paying applicable breakage fees, which could result in additional losses to the Fund. Furthermore, the cost of entering into an offsetting CDS position could cause the Fund to incur losses.
Under the Dodd-Frank Act, certain CDS indices are subject to mandatory central cleaning and exchange trading, which may reduce counterparty credit risk and increase liquidity compared to other credit default swap or CDS index transactions.
Synthetic Variable Rate Instruments
Synthetic variable rate instruments generally involve the deposit of a long-term tax exempt bond in a custody or trust arrangement and the creation of a mechanism to adjust the long-term interest rate on the bond to a variable short-term rate and a right (subject to certain conditions) on the part of the purchaser to tender it periodically to a third party at par. A Fund’s Adviser reviews the structure of synthetic variable rate instruments to identify credit and liquidity risks (including the conditions under which the right to
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tender the instrument would no longer be available) and will monitor those risks. In the event that the right to tender the instrument is no longer available, the risk to the Fund will be that of holding the long-term bond. In the case of some types of instruments credit enhancement is not provided, and if certain events occur, which may include (a) default in the payment of principal or interest on the underlying bond, (b) downgrading of the bond below investment grade or (c) a loss of the bond’s tax exempt status, then the put will terminate and the risk to the Fund will be that of holding a long-term bond.
Total Annual Fund Operating Expenses set forth in the fee table and Financial Highlights section of each Fund’s Prospectuses do not include any expenses associated with investments in certain structured or synthetic products that may rely on the exception for the definition of “investment company” provided by section 3(c)(1) or 3(c)(7) of the 1940 Act.
Treasury Receipts
A Fund may purchase interests in separately traded interest and principal component parts of U.S. Treasury obligations that are issued by banks or brokerage firms and are created by depositing U.S. Treasury notes and U.S. Treasury bonds into a special account at a custodian bank. Receipts include Treasury Receipts (“TRs”), Treasury Investment Growth Receipts (“TIGRs”), and Certificates of Accrual on Treasury Securities (“CATS”). Receipts in which an entity other than the government separates the interest and principal components are not considered government securities unless such securities are issued through the Treasury Separate Trading of Registered Interest and Principal of Securities (“STRIPS”) program.
Trust Preferred Securities
Certain Funds may purchase trust preferred securities, also known as “trust preferreds”, which are preferred stocks issued by a special purpose trust subsidiary backed by subordinated debt of the corporate parent. An issuer creates trust preferred securities by creating a trust and issuing debt to the trust. The trust in turn issues trust preferred securities. Trust preferred securities are hybrid securities with characteristics of both subordinated debt and preferred stock. Such characteristics include long maturities (typically 30 years or more), early redemption by the issuer, periodic fixed or variable interest payments, and maturities at face value. In addition, trust preferred securities issued by a bank holding company may allow deferral of interest payments for up to 5 years. Holders of trust preferred securities have limited voting rights to control the activities of the trust and no voting rights with respect to the parent company.
U.S. Government Obligations
U.S. government obligations may include direct obligations of the U.S. Treasury, including Treasury bills, notes and bonds, all of which are backed as to principal and interest payments by the full faith and credit of the U.S., and separately traded principal and interest component parts of such obligations that are transferable through the Federal book-entry system known as STRIPS and Coupon Under Book Entry Safekeeping (“CUBES”). The Funds may also invest in TIPS. U.S. government obligations are subject to market risk, interest rate risk and credit risk.
The principal and interest components of U.S. Treasury bonds with remaining maturities of longer than ten years are eligible to be traded independently under the STRIPS program. Under the STRIPS program, the principal and interest components are separately issued by the U.S. Treasury at the request of depository financial institutions, which then trade the component parts separately. The interest component of STRIPS may be more volatile than that of U.S. Treasury bills with comparable maturities.
Other obligations include those issued or guaranteed by U.S. government agencies, GSEs or instrumentalities. These obligations may or may not be backed by the “full faith and credit” of the U.S. Securities which are backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. include obligations of the Government National Mortgage Association, the Farmers Home Administration, and the Export-Import Bank. In the case of securities not backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S., the Funds must look principally to the federal agency issuing or guaranteeing the obligation for ultimate repayment and may not be able to assert a claim against the U.S. itself in the event the agency or instrumentality does not meet its commitments. Securities in which the Funds may invest that are not backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. include, but are not limited to: (i) obligations of the Tennessee Valley Authority, the Federal Home Loan Banks and the U.S. Postal Service, each of which has the right to borrow from the U.S. Treasury to meet its obligations; (ii) securities issued by Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, which are supported only by the credit of such securities, but for which the Secretary of the Treasury has discretionary authority to purchase
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limited amounts of the agency’s obligations; and (iii) obligations of the Federal Farm Credit System and the Student Loan Marketing Association, each of whose obligations may be satisfied only by the individual credits of the issuing agency.
The total public debt of the United States and other countries around the globe as a percent of gross domestic product has grown rapidly since the beginning of the 2008 financial downturn. Although high debt levels do not necessarily indicate or cause economic problems, they may create certain systemic risks if sound debt management practices are not implemented. A high national debt level may increase market pressures to meet government funding needs, which may drive debt cost higher and cause a country to sell additional debt, thereby increasing refinancing risk. A high national debt also raises concerns that a government will not be able to make principal or interest payments when they are due. Unsustainable debt levels can cause devaluations of currency, prevent a government from implementing effective counter-cyclical fiscal policy in economic downturns, and contribute to market volatility. From time to time, uncertainty regarding the status of negotiations in the U.S. government to increase the statutory debt ceiling could: increase the risk that the U.S. government may default on payments on certain U.S. government securities; cause the credit rating of the U.S. government to be downgraded or increase volatility in both stock and bond markets; result in higher interest rates; reduce prices of U.S. Treasury securities; and/or increase the costs of certain kinds of debt.
In the past, U.S. sovereign credit has experienced downgrades and there can be no guarantee that it will not experience further downgrades in the future by rating agencies. The market prices and yields of securities supported by the full faith and credit of the U.S. Government may be adversely affected by a rating agency’s decision to downgrade the sovereign credit rating of the United States.
When-Issued Securities, Delayed Delivery Securities and Forward Commitments
Securities may be purchased on a when-issued or delayed delivery basis. For example, delivery of and payment for these securities can take place a month or more after the date of the purchase commitment. The purchase price and the interest rate payable, if any, on the securities are fixed on the purchase commitment date or at the time the settlement date is fixed. The value of such securities is subject to market fluctuation, and for money market instruments and other fixed income securities, no interest accrues to a Fund until settlement takes place. At the time a Fund makes the commitment to purchase securities on a when-issued or delayed delivery basis, it will record the transaction, reflect the value each day of such securities in determining its NAV and, if applicable, calculate the maturity for the purposes of average maturity from that date. At the time of settlement, a when-issued security may be valued at less than the purchase price. To facilitate such acquisitions, each Fund will earmark and reserve Fund assets, in cash or liquid securities, in an amount at least equal to such commitments. On delivery dates for such transactions, each Fund will meet its obligations from maturities or sales of the securities earmarked and reserved for such purpose and/or from cash flow. If a Fund chooses to dispose of the right to acquire a when-issued security prior to its acquisition, it could, as with the disposition of any other portfolio obligation, incur a gain or loss due to market fluctuation. Also, a Fund may be disadvantaged if the other party to the transaction defaults.
Forward Commitments. Securities may be purchased for delivery at a future date, which may increase their overall investment exposure and involves a risk of loss if the value of the securities declines prior to the settlement date. In order to invest a Fund’s assets immediately, while awaiting delivery of securities purchased on a forward commitment basis, short-term obligations that offer same-day settlement and earnings will normally be purchased.
When a Fund makes a commitment to purchase a security on a forward commitment basis, cash or liquid securities equal to the amount of such Fund’s commitments will be reserved for payment of the commitment. For the purpose of determining the adequacy of the securities reserved for payment of commitments, the reserved securities will be valued at market value. If the market value of such securities declines, additional cash, cash equivalents or highly liquid securities will be reserved for payment of the commitment so that the value of the Fund’s assets reserved for payment of the commitments will equal the amount of such commitments purchased by the respective Fund.
Purchases of securities on a forward commitment basis may involve more risk than other types of purchases. Securities purchased on a forward commitment basis and the securities held in the respective Fund’s portfolio are subject to changes in value based upon the public’s perception of the issuer and changes, real or anticipated, in the level of interest rates. Purchasing securities on a forward commitment basis can involve the risk that the yields available in the market when the delivery takes place may actually be higher or lower than those obtained in the transaction itself. On the settlement date of the forward
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commitment transaction, the respective Fund will meet its obligations from then-available cash flow, sale of securities reserved for payment of the commitment, sale of other securities or, although it would not normally expect to do so, from sale of the forward commitment securities themselves (which may have a value greater or lesser than such Fund’s payment obligations). The sale of securities to meet such obligations may result in the realization of capital gains or losses. Purchasing securities on a forward commitment basis can also involve the risk of default by the other party on its obligation, delaying or preventing the Fund from recovering the collateral or completing the transaction.
To the extent a Fund engages in forward commitment transactions, it will do so for the purpose of acquiring securities consistent with its investment objective and policies and not for the purpose of investment leverage.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION REGARDING FUND INVESTMENT PRACTICES
Investments in the Asia Pacific Region
The economies in the Asia Pacific region are in all stages of economic development and may be intertwined. The small size of securities markets and the low trading volume in some countries in the Asia Pacific region may lead to a lack of liquidity. The share prices of companies in the region tend to be volatile and there is a significant possibility of loss. Many of the countries in the region are developing, both politically and economically, and as a result companies in the region may be subject to risks like nationalization or other forms of government interference, and/or may be heavily reliant on only a few industries or commodities. Investments in the region may also be subject to currency risks, such as restrictions on the flow of money in and out of the country, extreme volatility relative to the U.S. dollar, and devaluation, all of which could decrease the value of a Fund.
Investments in the European Market
Some of the Funds may invest in securities in the European Market. A Fund’s performance will be affected by political, social and economic conditions in Europe, such as growth of the economic output (the gross national product), the rate of inflation, the rate at which capital is reinvested into European economies, the success of governmental actions to reduce budget deficits, the resource self-sufficiency of European countries and interest and monetary exchange rates between European countries. European financial markets may experience volatility due to concerns about high government debt levels, credit rating downgrades, rising unemployment, the future of the euro as a common currency, possible restructuring of government debt and other government measures responding to those concerns, and fiscal and monetary controls imposed on member countries of the European Union. The risk of investing in Europe may be heightened due to steps being taken by the United Kingdom to exit the European Union. In addition, if one or more countries were to exit the European Union or abandon the use of the euro as a currency, the value of investments tied to those countries or the euro could decline significantly and unpredictably.
Investments in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico
The Commonwealth of Puerto Rico is currently seeking bankruptcy-like protections from debt and unfunded pension obligations. Puerto Rico’s debt restructuring petition was filed by Puerto Rico’s financial oversight board in the U.S. District Court in Puerto Rico on May 3, 2017, and was made under a U.S. Congressional rescue law known as the Puerto Rico Oversight Management, and Economic Stability Act (“PROMESA.”) In addition, Hurricane Maria caused significant damage to Puerto Rico, which could have a long-lasting impact on Puerto Rico’s economy.
A Fund’s investments in municipal securities may be affected by political and economic developments within the applicable municipality and by the financial condition of the municipality. Certain of the issuers in which a Fund may invest have recently experienced, or may experience, significant financial difficulties. For example, Puerto Rico, in particular, has been experiencing significant financial difficulties and has entered bankruptcy-like proceedings. The default by issuers of Puerto Rico municipal securities on their obligations under securities held by a Fund may adversely affect the Fund and cause the Fund to lose the value of its investment in such securities.
An insolvent municipality may take steps to reorganize its debt, which might include extending debt maturities, reducing the amount of principal or interest, refinancing the debt or taking other measures that may significantly affect the rights of creditors and the value of the securities issued by the municipality and the value of a Fund’s investments in those securities. Pursuant to Chapter 9 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code, certain municipalities that meet specific conditions may be provided protection from creditors while
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they develop and negotiate plans for reorganizing their debts. The U.S. Bankruptcy Code provides that individual U.S. states are not permitted to pass their own laws purporting to bind non-consenting creditors to a restructuring of a municipality’s indebtedness, and thus all such restructurings must be pursuant to Chapter 9 of the Bankruptcy Code.
Municipal bankruptcies are relatively rare, and certain provisions of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code governing such bankruptcies are unclear and remain untested. Although Puerto Rico is a U.S. Territory, neither Puerto Rico nor its subdivisions or agencies are eligible to file under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code in order to seek protection from creditors or restructure their debt. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that recent Puerto Rico legislation that would have allowed certain Puerto Rico public corporations to seek protection from creditors and to restructure their debt is unconstitutional. In June 2016, the U.S. Congress passed the PROMESA, which establishes a federally-appointed fiscal oversight board (“Oversight Board”) to oversee Puerto Rico’s financial operations and possible debt restructuring. On May 3, 2017, the Oversight Board filed a debt restructuring petition in the U.S. District Court in Puerto Rico to seek bankruptcy-like protections from, at the time of the filing, approximately $74 billion in debt and approximately $48 billion in unfunded pension obligations. The petition states that the fiscal distress in Puerto Rico is about to worsen exponentially, due to a variety of factors, which include the elimination of certain federal funds, the exhaustion of public pension funding and recent negative economic growth in Puerto Rico. The petition states that Puerto Rico is unable to satisfy its debt and pension burdens and cannot pay operating expenses from current revenues, noting that Puerto Rico faces a severe fiscal and socioeconomic crisis. Further legislation by the U.S. Congress or actions by the oversight board established by PROMESA could have a negative impact on the marketability, liquidity or value of certain investments held by a Fund and could reduce a Fund’s performance.
Investments in the China Region
Investing in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan (collectively, “the China Region”) involves a high degree of risk and special considerations not typically associated with investing in other more established economies or securities markets. Such risks may include: (a) the risk of nationalization or expropriation of assets or confiscatory taxation; (b) greater social, economic and political uncertainty (including the risk of war); (c) dependency on exports and the corresponding importance of international trade; (d) the increasing competition from Asia’s other low-cost emerging economies; (e) greater price volatility and significantly smaller market capitalization of securities markets, particularly in China; (f) substantially less liquidity, particularly of certain share classes of Chinese securities; (g) currency exchange rate fluctuations and the lack of available currency hedging instruments; (h) higher rates of inflation; (i) controls on foreign investment and limitations on repatriation of invested capital and on a Fund’s ability to exchange local currencies for U.S. dollars; (j) greater governmental involvement in and control over the economy; (k) the risk that the Chinese government may decide not to continue to support the economic reform programs implemented since 1978 and could return to the prior, completely centrally planned, economy; (l) the fact that China region companies, particularly those located in China, may be smaller, less seasoned and newly-organized companies; (m) the difference in, or lack of, auditing and financial reporting standards which may result in unavailability of material information about issuers, particularly in China; (n) the fact that statistical information regarding the economy of China may be inaccurate or not comparable to statistical information regarding the U.S. or other economies; (o) the less extensive, and still developing, regulation of the securities markets, business entities and commercial transactions; (p) the fact that the settlement period of securities transactions in foreign markets may be longer; (q) the willingness and ability of the Chinese government to support the Chinese and Hong Kong economies and markets is uncertain; (r) the risk that it may be more difficult, or impossible, to obtain and/or enforce a judgment than in other countries; (s) the rapidity and erratic nature of growth, particularly in China, resulting in inefficiencies and dislocations; and (t) the risk that, because of the degree of interconnectivity between the economies and financial markets of China, Hong Kong and Taiwan, any sizable reduction in the demand for goods from China, or an economic downturn in China, could negatively affect the economies and financial markets of Hong Kong and Taiwan, as well.
Investment in the China Region is subject to certain political risks. Following the establishment of the People’s Republic of China by the Communist Party in 1949, the Chinese government renounced various debt obligations incurred by China’s predecessor governments, which obligations remain in default, and expropriated assets without compensation. There can be no assurance that the Chinese government will not take similar action in the future. An investment in a Fund involves risk of a total loss. The political reunification of China and Taiwan is a highly problematic issue and is unlikely to be settled in the near future. This situation poses a threat to Taiwan’s economy and could negatively affect its stock market. China has committed by treaty to preserve Hong Kong’s autonomy and its economic, political and social
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freedoms for fifty years from the July 1, 1997 transfer of sovereignty from Great Britain to China. However, if China would exert its authority so as to alter the economic, political or legal structures or the existing social policy of Hong Kong, investor and business confidence in Hong Kong could be negatively affected, which in turn could negatively affect markets and business performance.
As with all transition economies, China’s ability to develop and sustain a credible legal, regulatory, monetary, and socioeconomic system could influence the course of outside investment. Hong Kong is closely tied to China, economically and through China’s 1997 acquisition of the country as a Special Autonomous Region (SAR). Hong Kong’s success depends, in large part, on its ability to retain the legal, financial, and monetary systems that allow economic freedom and market expansion.
In addition to the risks inherent in investing in the emerging markets, the risks of investing in China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan merit special consideration.
People’s Republic of China. The government of the People’s Republic of China is dominated by the one-party rule of the Chinese Communist Party.
China’s economy has transitioned from a rigidly central-planned state-run economy to one that has been only partially reformed by more market-oriented policies. Although the Chinese government has implemented economic reform measures, reduced state ownership of companies and established better corporate governance practices, a substantial portion of productive assets in China are still owned by the Chinese government. The government continues to exercise significant control over regulating industrial development and, ultimately, control over China’s economic growth through the allocation of resources, controlling payment of foreign currency denominated obligations, setting monetary policy and providing preferential treatment to particular industries or companies.
Growth has also put a strain on China’s economy. The government has attempted to slow down the pace of growth through monetary tightening and administrative measures; however that policy started reversing in September 2008 in part due to the current global economic crisis, which has led to lower levels of economic growth and lower exports and foreign investments in the country. The Chinese government has taken unprecedented steps to shore up economic growth, however, the results of these measures are unpredictable. Over the long term the country’s major challenges will be dealing with its aging infrastructure, worsening environmental conditions and rapidly widening urban and rural income gap.
As with all transition economies, China’s ability to develop and sustain a credible legal, regulatory, monetary, and socioeconomic system could influence the course of outside investment. The Chinese legal system, in particular, constitutes a significant risk factor for investors. The Chinese legal system is based on statutes. Over the past 25 years, Chinese legislative bodies have promulgated laws and regulations dealing with various economic matters such as foreign investment, corporate organization and governance, commerce, taxation, and trade. However, these laws are relatively new and published court decisions based on these laws are limited and non-binding. The interpretation and enforcement of these laws and regulations are uncertain.
Hong Kong. In 1997, Great Britain handed over control of Hong Kong to the Chinese mainland government. Since that time, Hong Kong has been governed by a semi-constitution known as the Basic Law, which guarantees a high degree of autonomy in certain matters until 2047, while defense and foreign affairs are the responsibility of the central government in Beijing. The chief executive of Hong Kong is appointed by the Chinese government. Hong Kong is able to participate in international organizations and agreements and it continues to function as an international financial center, with no exchange controls, free convertibility of the Hong Kong dollar and free inward and outward movement of capital. The Basic Law guarantees existing freedoms, including free speech and assembly, press, religion, and the right to strike and travel. Business ownership, private property, the right of inheritance and foreign investment are also protected by law. China has committed by treaty to preserve Hong Kong’s autonomy until 2047; however, if China were to exert its authority so as to alter the economic, political, or legal structures or the existing social policy of Hong Kong, investor and business confidence in Hong Kong could be negatively affected, which in turn could negatively affect markets and business performance. In addition, Hong Kong’s economy has entered a recession as a result of the current global economic crisis. Near term improvement in its economy appears unlikely.
Taiwan. For decades, a state of hostility has existed between Taiwan and the People’s Republic of China. Beijing has long deemed Taiwan a part of the “one China” and has made a nationalist cause of recovering it. In the past, China has staged frequent military provocations off the coast of Taiwan and made threats of full-scale military action. Foreign trade has been the engine of rapid growth in Taiwan and has
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transformed the island into one of Asia’s great exporting nations. However, investing in Taiwan involves the possibility of the imposition of exchange controls, such as restrictions on the repatriation of Fund investments or on the conversion of local currency into foreign currencies. As an export-oriented economy, Taiwan depends on an open world trade regime and remains vulnerable to downturns in the world economy. Taiwanese companies continue to compete mostly on price, producing generic products or branded merchandise on behalf of multinational companies. Accordingly, these businesses can be particularly vulnerable to currency volatility and increasing competition from neighboring lower-cost countries. Moreover, many Taiwanese companies are heavily invested in mainland China and other countries throughout Southeast Asia, making them susceptible to political events and economic crises in these parts of the region. Although Taiwan has not yet suffered any major economic setbacks due to the current global economic crisis, it is possible its economy could still be impacted.
A Fund may hold securities listed on either the Shanghai and/or Shenzhen stock exchanges. Securities listed on these exchanges are divided into two classes, A shares, which are mostly limited to domestic investors, and B shares, which are allocated for both international and domestic investors. A Fund’s exposure to securities listed on either the Shanghai or Shenzhen exchanges will initially be through B shares. The government of China has announced plans to exchange B shares for A shares and to merge the two markets. Such an event may produce greater liquidity and stability for the combined markets. However, it is uncertain whether or the extent to which these plans will be implemented. In addition to B shares, a Fund may also invest in Hong Kong listed H shares.
Investments in India
Securities of many issuers in the Indian market may be less liquid and more volatile than securities of comparable domestic issuers, but may offer the potential for higher returns over the long term. Indian securities will generally be denominated in foreign currency, mainly the rupee. Accordingly, the value of the Fund will fluctuate depending on the rate of exchange between the U.S. dollar and such foreign currency. India has less developed clearance and settlement procedures, and there have been times when settlements have been unable to keep pace with the volume of securities and have been significantly delayed. The Indian stock exchanges have in the past been subject to closure, broker defaults and broker strikes, and there can be no certainty that this will not recur. In addition, significant delays are common in registering transfers of securities and the Fund may be unable to sell securities until the registration process is completed and may experience delays in receipt of dividends and other entitlements.
The value of investments in Indian securities may also be affected by political and economic developments, social, religious or regional tensions, changes in government regulation and government intervention, high rates of inflation or interest rates and withholding tax affecting India. The risk of loss may also be increased because there may be less information available about Indian issuers since they are not subject to the extensive accounting, auditing and financial reporting standards and practices which are applicable in North America. There is also a lower level of regulation and monitoring of the Indian securities market and its participants than in other more developed markets.
Foreign investment in the securities of issuers in India is usually restricted or controlled to some degree. In addition, the availability of financial instruments with exposure to Indian financial markets may be substantially limited by the restrictions on Foreign Institutional Investors (“FIIs”). Only registered FIIs and non-Indian funds that comply with certain statutory conditions may make direct portfolio investments in exchange-traded Indian securities. JPMIM is a registered FII. FIIs are required to observe certain investment restrictions which may limit the Fund’s ability to invest in issuers or to fully pursue its investment objective. Income, gains and initial capital with respect to such investments are freely repatriable, subject to payment of applicable Indian taxes.
India’s guidelines under which foreign investors may invest in Indian securities are new and evolving. There can be no assurance that these investment control regimes will not change in a way that makes it more difficult or impossible for a Fund to implement investment objective or repatriate its income, gains and initial capital from these countries. Similar risks and considerations will be applicable to the extent that a Fund invests in other countries. Recently, certain policies have served to restrict foreign investment, and such policies may have the effect of reducing demand for such investments.
India may require withholding on dividends paid on portfolio securities and on realized capital gains. In the past, these taxes have sometimes been substantial. There can be no assurance that restrictions on repatriation of a Fund’s income, gains or initial capital from India will not occur.
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A high proportion of the shares of many issuers in India may be held by a limited number of persons and financial institutions, which may limit the number of shares available for investment. In addition, further issuances, or the perception that such issuances may occur, of securities by Indian issuers in which a Fund has invested could dilute the earnings per share of a Fund’s investment and could adversely affect the market price of such securities. Sales of securities by such issuer’s major shareholders, or the perception that such sales may occur, may also significantly and adversely affect the market price of such securities and, in turn, a Fund’s investment. The prices at which investments may be acquired may be affected by trading by persons with material non-public information and by securities transactions by brokers in anticipation of transactions by a Fund in particular securities. Similarly, volume and liquidity in the bond markets in India are less than in the United States and, at times, price volatility can be greater than in the United States. The limited liquidity of securities markets in India may also affect a Fund’s ability to acquire or dispose of securities at the price and time it wishes to do so. In addition, India’s securities markets are susceptible to being influenced by large investors trading significant blocks of securities.
India’s stock market is undergoing a period of growth and change which may result in trading volatility and difficulties in the settlement and recording of transactions, and in interpreting and applying the relevant law and regulations. The securities industry in India is comparatively underdeveloped. Stockbrokers and other intermediaries in India may not perform as well as their counterparts in the United States and other more developed securities markets.
Political and economic structures in India are undergoing significant evolution and rapid development, and may lack the social, political and economic stability characteristic of the United States. The risks described above, including the risks of nationalization or expropriation of assets, may be heightened. In addition, unanticipated political or social developments may affect the values of investments in India and the availability of additional investments. The laws in India relating to limited liability of corporate shareholders, fiduciary duties of officers and directors, and the bankruptcy of state enterprises are generally less well developed than or different from such laws in the United States. It may be more difficult to obtain or enforce a judgment in the courts in India than it is in the United States. Monsoons and natural disasters also can affect the value of investments.
Religious and border disputes persist in India. Moreover, India has from time to time experienced civil unrest and hostilities with neighboring countries such as Pakistan. The Indian government has confronted separatist movements in several Indian states. The longstanding dispute with Pakistan over the bordering Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, a majority of whose population is Muslim, remains unresolved. If the Indian government is unable to control the violence and disruption associated with these tensions, the results could destabilize the economy and consequently, adversely affect the Fund’s investments.
A Fund may use P-notes. Indian-based brokerages may buy Indian-based securities and then issue P-notes to foreign investors. Any dividends or capital gains collected from the underlying securities may be remitted to the foreign investors. However, unlike ADRs, notes are subject to credit risk based on the uncertainty of the counterparty’s (i.e., the Indian-based brokerage’s) ability to meet its obligations.
Investments in Japan
The Japanese economy may be subject to economic, political and social instability, which could have a negative impact on Japanese securities. In the past, Japan’s economic growth rate has remained relatively low, and it may remain low in the future. At times, the Japanese economy has been adversely impacted by government intervention and protectionism, changes in its labor market, and an unstable financial services sector. International trade, government support of the financial services sector and other troubled sectors, government policy, natural disasters and/or geopolitical developments could significantly affect the Japanese economy. A significant portion of Japan’s trade is conducted with developing nations and can be affected by conditions in these nations or by currency fluctuations. Japan is an island state with few natural resources and limited land area and is reliant on imports for its commodity needs. Any fluctuations or shortages in the commodity markets could have a negative impact on the Japanese economy.
Investments in the Middle East and Africa
Certain countries in the region are in early stages of development. As a result, there may be a high concentration of market capitalization and trading volume in a small number of issuers representing a limited number of industries, as well as a high concentration of investors and financial intermediaries. Brokers may be fewer in number and less well capitalized than brokers in more developed regions. Certain economies in the region depend to a significant degree upon exports of commodities and are vulnerable to
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changes in commodity prices, which in turn may be affected by a variety of factors. In addition, certain governments in the region have exercised substantial influence over the private sector, including ownership or control of companies. Governmental actions in the future could have a significant economic impact. Certain armed conflict, territorial disputes, historical animosities, regional instability, terrorist activities and religious, ethnic and/or socioeconomic unrest. Such developments could have a negative effect on economic growth and could result in significant disruptions in the securities markets, including securities held by a Fund. Certain Middle Eastern and African countries have currencies pegged to the U.S. dollar, which, if abandoned, could cause sudden and significant currency adjustments, which could impact the Fund’s investment returns in those countries. The legal systems, and the unpredictability thereof, in certain countries in the region also may have an adverse impact on the Fund and may expose the Fund to significant or unlimited liabilities. Investment in certain countries in the region by the Fund may be restricted or prohibited under applicable regulation, and the Fund, as a foreign investor, may be required to obtain approvals and may have to invest on less advantageous terms (including price) than nationals. A Fund’s investments in securities of a country in the region may be subject to economic sanctions or other government restrictions, which may negatively impact the value or liquidity of the Fund’s investments. Investments in the region may adversely impact the operations of the Fund through the delay of the Fund’s ability to exercise its rights as a security holder. Substantial limitations may exist in the region with respect to the Fund’s ability to repatriate investment income, capital gains or its investment. Securities which are subject to material legal restrictions on repatriation of assets will be considered illiquid securities by the Fund and subject to the limitations on illiquid investments.
Investments in Latin America
As an emerging market, Latin America has long suffered from political, economic, and social instability. For investors, this has meant additional risk caused by periods of regional conflict, political corruption, totalitarianism, protectionist measures, nationalization, hyperinflation, debt crises, sudden and large currency devaluation, and intervention by the military in civilian and economic spheres. However, much has changed in the past decade. Democracy is beginning to become well established in some countries. A move to a more mature and accountable political environment is well under way. Domestic economies have been deregulated, privatization of state-owned companies is almost completed and foreign trade restrictions have been relaxed. Nonetheless, to the extent that events such as those listed above continue in the future, they could reverse favorable trends toward market and economic reform, privatization, and removal of trade barriers, and result in significant disruption in securities markets in the region. Investors in the region continue to face a number of potential risks. Governments of many Latin American countries have exercised and continue to exercise substantial influence over many aspects of the private sector. Governmental actions in the future could have a significant effect on economic conditions in Latin American countries, which could affect the companies in which a Fund invests and, therefore, the value of Fund shares.
Certain Latin American countries may experience sudden and large adjustments in their currency which, in turn, can have a disruptive and negative effect on foreign investors. For example, in late 1994 the Mexican peso lost more than one-third of its value relative to the U.S. dollar. In 1999, the Brazilian real lost 30% of its value against the U.S. dollar. Certain Latin American countries may impose restrictions on the free conversion of their currency into foreign currencies, including the U.S. dollar. There is no significant foreign exchange market for many currencies and it would, as a result, be difficult for certain Funds to engage in foreign currency transactions designed to protect the value of the Funds’ interests in securities denominated in such currencies.
Almost all of the region’s economies have become highly dependent upon foreign credit and loans from external sources to fuel their state-sponsored economic plans. Government profligacy and ill-conceived plans for modernization have exhausted these resources with little benefit accruing to the economy and most countries have been forced to restructure their loans or risk default on their debt obligations. In addition, interest on the debt is subject to market conditions and may reach levels that would impair economic activity and create a difficult and costly environment for borrowers. Accordingly, these governments may be forced to reschedule or freeze their debt repayment, which could negatively affect the stock market. Latin American economies that depend on foreign credit and loans could fall into recession because of tighter international credit supplies due to the current global economic crisis.
Substantial limitations may exist in certain countries with respect to a Fund’s ability to repatriate investment income, capital or the proceeds of sales of securities. A Fund could be adversely affected by delays in, or a refusal to grant, any required governmental approval for repatriation of capital, as well as by the application to the Fund of any restrictions on investments.
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Certain Latin American countries have entered into regional trade agreements that are designed to, among other things, reduce barriers between countries, increase competition among companies and reduce government subsidies in certain industries. No assurance can be given that these changes will be successful in the long term, or that these changes will result in the economic stability intended. There is a possibility that these trade arrangements will not be fully implemented, or will be partially or completely unwound. It is also possible that a significant participant could choose to abandon a trade agreement, which could diminish its credibility and influence. Any of these occurrences could have adverse effects on the markets of both participating and non-participating countries, including sharp appreciation or depreciation of participants’ national currencies and a significant increase in exchange rate volatility, a resurgence in economic protectionism, an undermining of confidence in the Latin American markets, an undermining of Latin American economic stability, the collapse or slowdown of the drive towards Latin American economic unity, and/or reversion of the attempts to lower government debt and inflation rates that were introduced in anticipation of such trade agreements. Such developments could have an adverse impact on a Fund’s investments in Latin America generally or in specific countries participating in such trade agreements.
Terrorism and related geo-political risks have led, and may in the future lead, to increased short-term market volatility and may have adverse long-term effects on world economies and markets generally.
Investments in Russia
Investing in Russian securities is highly speculative and involves significant risks and special considerations not typically associated with investing in the securities markets of the U.S. and most other developed countries.
Over the past century, Russia has experienced political, social and economic turbulence and has endured decades of communist rule under which the property of tens of millions of its citizens was collectivized into state agricultural and industrial enterprises. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia’s government has been faced with the daunting task of stabilizing its domestic economy, while transforming it into a modern and efficient structure able to compete in international markets and respond to the needs of its citizens. However, to date, many of the country’s economic reform initiatives have floundered as the proceeds of International Monetary Fund and other economic assistance have been squandered or stolen. In this environment, there is always the risk that the nation’s government will abandon the current program of economic reform and replace it with radically different political and economic policies that would be detrimental to the interests of foreign investors. This could entail a return to a centrally planned economy and nationalization of private enterprises similar to what existed in the Soviet Union.
Many of Russia’s businesses have failed to mobilize the available factors of production because the country’s privatization program virtually ensured the predominance of the old management teams that are largely non-market-oriented in their management approach. Poor accounting standards, inept management, pervasive corruption, insider trading and crime, and inadequate regulatory protection for the rights of investors all pose a significant risk, particularly to foreign investors. In addition, there is the risk that the Russian tax system will not be reformed to prevent inconsistent, retroactive, and/or exorbitant taxation, or, in the alternative, the risk that a reformed tax system may result in the inconsistent and unpredictable enforcement of the new tax laws.
Compared to most national stock markets, the Russian securities market suffers from a variety of problems not encountered in more developed markets. There is little long-term historical data on the Russian securities market because it is relatively new and a substantial proportion of securities transactions in Russia are privately negotiated outside of stock exchanges. The inexperience of the Russian securities market and the limited volume of trading in securities in the market may make obtaining accurate prices on portfolio securities from independent sources more difficult than in more developed markets. Additionally, because of less stringent auditing and financial reporting standards that apply to companies operating in Russia, there is little solid corporate information available to investors. As a result, it may be difficult to assess the value or prospects of an investment in Russian companies. Stocks of Russian companies also may experience greater price volatility than stocks of U.S. companies.
Settlement, clearing and registration of securities transactions in Russia are subject to additional risks because of the recent formation of the Russian securities market, the underdeveloped state of the banking and telecommunications systems, and the overall legal and regulatory framework. Prior to 2013, there was no central registration system for equity share registration in Russia and registration was carried out by either the issuers themselves or by registrars located throughout Russia. Such registrars were not
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necessarily subject to effective state supervision nor were they licensed with any governmental entity, thereby increasing the risk that a Fund could lose ownership of its securities through fraud, negligence, or even mere oversight. With the implementation of the National Settlement Depository (“NSD”) in Russia as a recognized central securities depository, title to Russian equities is now based on the records of the Depository and not the registrars. Although the implementation of the NSD is generally expected to decrease the risk of loss in connection with recording and transferring title to securities, issues resulting in loss still might occur. In addition, issuers and registrars are still prominent in the validation and approval of documentation requirements for corporate action processing in Russia. Because the documentation requirements and approval criteria vary between registrars and/or issuers, there remain unclear and inconsistent market standards in the Russian market with respect to the completion and submission of corporate action elections. To the extent that a Fund suffers a loss relating to title or corporate actions relating to its portfolio securities, it may be difficult for the Fund to enforce its rights or otherwise remedy the loss.
The Russian economy is heavily dependent upon the export of a range of commodities including most industrial metals, forestry products, oil, and gas. Accordingly, it is strongly affected by international commodity prices and is particularly vulnerable to any weakening in global demand for these products.
Foreign investors also face a high degree of currency risk when investing in Russian securities and a lack of available currency hedging instruments. In a surprise move in August 1998, Russia devalued the ruble, defaulted on short-term domestic bonds, and imposed a moratorium on the repayment of its international debt and the restructuring of the repayment terms. These actions have negatively affected Russian borrowers’ ability to access international capital markets and have had a damaging impact on the Russian economy. In light of these and other government actions, foreign investors face the possibility of further devaluations. In addition, there is a risk that the government may impose capital controls on foreign portfolio investments in the event of extreme financial or political crisis. Such capital controls would prevent the sale of a portfolio of foreign assets and the repatriation of investment income and capital. The current economic turmoil in Russia and the effects on the current global economic crisis on the Russian economy may cause flight from the Russian ruble into U.S. dollars and other currencies, which could force the Russian central bank to spend reserves to maintain the value of the ruble. If the Russian central bank falters in its defense of the ruble, there could be additional pressure on Russia’s banks and its currency.
The United States may impose economic sanctions against companies in various sectors of the Russian economy, including, but not limited to, the financial services, energy, metals and mining, engineering, and defense and defense-related materials sectors. These sanctions, if imposed, could impair a Fund’s ability to invest in securities it views as attractive investment opportunities. For example, a Fund may be prohibited from investing in securities issued by companies subject to such sanctions. In addition, the sanctions may require a Fund to freeze its existing investments in Russian companies, prohibiting the Fund from selling or otherwise transacting in these investments. This could impact a Fund’s ability to sell securities or other financial instruments as needed to meet shareholder redemptions.
Terrorism and related geo-political risks have led, and may in the future lead, to increased short-term market volatility and may have adverse long-term effects on world economies and markets generally.
RISK MANAGEMENT
Each actively managed Fund may employ non-hedging risk management techniques. Risk management strategies are used to keep the Funds fully invested and to reduce the transaction costs associated with cash flows into and out of a Fund. The Funds use a wide variety of instruments and strategies for risk management and the examples below are not meant to be exhaustive.
Examples of risk management strategies include synthetically altering the duration of a portfolio or the mix of securities in a portfolio. For example, if the Adviser wishes to extend maturities in a fixed income portfolio in order to take advantage of an anticipated decline in interest rates, but does not wish to purchase the underlying long-term securities, it might cause a Fund to purchase futures contracts on long term debt securities. Likewise, if the Adviser wishes to gain exposure to an instrument but does not wish to purchase the instrument it may use swaps and related instruments. Similarly, if the Adviser wishes to decrease exposure to fixed income securities or purchase equities, it could cause the Fund to sell futures contracts on debt securities and purchase futures contracts on a stock index. Such non-hedging risk management techniques involve leverage, and thus, present, as do all leveraged transactions, the possibility of losses as well as gains that are greater than if these techniques involved the purchase and sale of the securities themselves rather than their synthetic derivatives.
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RISK RELATED TO MANAGEMENT OF CERTAIN SIMILAR FUNDS
The name, investment objective and policies of certain Funds are similar to other funds advised by the adviser or its affiliates. However, the investment results of a Fund may be higher or lower than, and there is no guarantee that the investment results of the Fund will be comparable to, any other of these funds.
DIVERSIFICATION
Certain Funds are diversified funds and as such intend to meet the diversification requirements of the 1940 Act Current 1940 Act diversification requirements require that with respect to 75% of the assets of a Fund, the Fund may not invest more than 5% of its total assets in the securities of any one issuer or own more than 10% of the outstanding voting securities of any one issuer, except cash or cash items, obligations of the U.S. government, its agencies and instrumentalities, and securities of other investment companies. As for the other 25% of a Fund’s assets not subject to the limitation described above, there is no limitation on investment of these assets under the 1940 Act, so that all of such assets may be invested in securities of any one issuer. Investments not subject to the limitations described above could involve an increased risk to a Fund should an issuer be unable to make interest or principal payments or should the market value of such securities decline.
The Funds will comply with the diversification requirements imposed by the Code for qualification as a regulated investment company. See “Distributions and Tax Matters.”
DISTRIBUTIONS AND TAX MATTERS
The following discussion is a brief summary of some of the important federal (and, where noted, state) income tax consequences affecting each Fund and its shareholders. There may be other tax considerations applicable to particular shareholders. This section does not address in detail the tax consequences affecting any shareholder who, as to the U.S., is a nonresident alien individual, foreign trust or estate, foreign corporation, or foreign partnership. This section is based on the Code, the regulations thereunder, published rulings and court decisions, all as currently in effect. These laws are subject to change, possibly on a retroactive basis. The following tax discussion is very general; therefore, prospective investors are urged to consult their tax advisors about the impact an investment in a Fund may have on their own tax situations and the possible application of foreign, state and local law.
Each Fund generally will be treated as a separate entity for federal income tax purposes, and thus the provisions of the Code generally will be applied to each Fund separately. Net long-term and short-term capital gain, net income and operating expenses therefore will be determined separately for each Fund.
Special tax rules apply to investments held through defined contribution plans and other tax-qualified plans. Shareholders should consult their tax advisors to determine the suitability of shares of the Fund as an investment through such plans.
Qualification as a Regulated Investment Company
Each Fund intends to elect to be treated and qualify each year as a regulated investment company under Subchapter M of the Code. In order to qualify for the special tax treatment accorded regulated investment companies and their shareholders, each Fund must, among other things:
(a) derive at least 90% of its gross income for each taxable year from (i) dividends, interest, payments with respect to certain securities loans, and gain from the sale or other disposition of stock, securities, or foreign currencies, or other income (including, but not limited to, gain from options, swaps, futures, or forward contracts) derived with respect to its business of investing in such stock, securities, or currencies and (ii) net income derived from interests in “qualified publicly traded partnerships” (“QPTPs”, defined below);
(b) diversify its holdings so that, at the end of each quarter of the Fund’s taxable year, (i) at least 50% of the market value of the Fund’s total assets is represented by cash and 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 than 5% of the value of the Fund’s total assets and not more than 10% of the outstanding voting securities of such issuer, and (ii) not more than 25% of the value of the Fund’s total assets is invested (x) in the securities (other than cash or cash items, or securities issued by the U.S. government or other regulated investment companies) of any one issuer or of two or more issuers that the Fund controls and that are engaged in the same, similar, or related trades or businesses, or (y) in the securities of one or
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  more QPTPs. In the case of a Fund’s investments in loan participations, the Fund shall treat both the financial intermediary and the issuer of the underlying loan as an issuer for the purposes of meeting this diversification requirement; and
(c) distribute with respect to each taxable year at least 90% of the sum of its investment company taxable income (as that term is defined in the Code, without regard to the deduction for dividends paid — generally, taxable ordinary income and any excess of net short-term capital gain over net long-term capital loss) and net tax-exempt interest income, for such taxable year.
In general, for purposes of the 90% gross income requirement described in paragraph (a) above, income derived from a partnership will be treated as qualifying income only to the extent such income is attributable to items of income of the partnership which would be qualifying income if realized by the regulated investment company. However, 100% of the net income derived from an interest in a “qualified publicly traded partnership” (defined as a partnership (x) interests in which are traded on an established securities markets or readily tradable on a secondary market as the substantial equivalents thereof, (y) that derives at least 90% of its income from passive income sources defined in Section 7704(d) of the Code, and (z) that derives less than 90% of its income from the qualifying income described in (a)(i) above) will be treated as qualifying income. Although income from a QPTP is qualifying income, as discussed above, investments in QPTPs cannot exceed 25% of the Fund’s assets. In addition, although in general the passive loss rules of the Code do not apply to regulated investment companies, such rules do apply to a regulated investment company with respect to items attributable to an interest in a QPTP.
Gains from foreign currencies (including foreign currency options, foreign currency swaps, foreign currency futures and foreign currency forward contracts) currently constitute qualifying income for purposes of the 90% test, described in paragraph (a) above. However, the Treasury Department has the authority to issue regulations (possibly with retroactive effect) excluding from the definition of “qualifying income” a fund’s foreign currency gains to the extent that such income is not directly related to the Fund’s principal business of investing in stock or securities.
For purposes of paragraph (b) above, the term “outstanding voting securities of such issuer” will include the equity securities of a QPTP. A Fund’s investment in MLPs may qualify as an investment in (1) a QPTP, (2) a “regular” partnership, (3) a “passive foreign investment company” (a “PFIC”) or (4) a corporation for U.S. federal income tax purposes. The treatment of particular MLPs for U.S. federal income tax purposes will affect the extent to which a Fund can invest in MLPs. The U.S. federal income tax consequences of a Fund’s investments in “PFICs” and “regular” partnerships are discussed in greater detail below.
If a Fund qualifies for a taxable year as a regulated investment company that is accorded special tax treatment, the Fund will not be subject to federal income tax on income distributed in a timely manner to its shareholders in the form of dividends (including Capital Gain Dividends, defined below). If a Fund were to fail to qualify as a regulated investment company accorded special tax treatment in any taxable year, the Fund would be subject to taxation on its taxable income at corporate rates, and all distributions from earnings and profits, including any distributions of net tax-exempt income and net long-term capital gain, would be taxable to shareholders as ordinary income. Some portions of such distributions may be eligible for the dividends-received deduction in the case of corporate shareholders and for treatment as qualified dividend income in the case of individual shareholders. In addition, the Fund could be required to recognize unrealized gain, pay substantial taxes and interest, and make substantial distributions before re-qualifying as a regulated investment company that is accorded special tax treatment.
Each Fund intends to distribute at least annually to its shareholders all or substantially all of its investment company taxable income (computed without regard to the dividends-paid deduction) and may distribute its net capital gain (that is the excess of net long-term capital gain over net short-term capital loss). Investment company taxable income which is retained by a Fund will be subject to tax at regular corporate tax rates. A Fund might also retain for investment its net capital gain. If a Fund does retain such net capital gain, such gain will be subject to tax at regular corporate rates on the amount retained, but the Fund may designate the retained amount as undistributed capital gain in a notice to its shareholders who (i) will be required to include in income for federal income tax purposes, as long-term capital gain, their respective shares of the undistributed amount, and (ii) will be entitled to credit their respective shares of the tax paid by the Fund on such undistributed amoun