485BPOS 1 etf4_485b.htm POST-EFFECTIVE AMENDMENT

As filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on February 27, 2019

 

1933 Act Registration No. 333-174332

1940 Act Registration No. 811-22559

 

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. 163 [X]
and/or
Registration Statement Under the Investment Company Act of 1940 [   ]
Amendment No. 165 [X]

First Trust Exchange-Traded Fund IV

(Exact name of registrant as specified in charter)

120 East Liberty Drive, Suite 400

Wheaton, Illinois 60187

(Address of Principal Executive Offices) (Zip Code)

Registrant’s Telephone Number, including Area Code: (800) 621-1675

W. Scott Jardine, Esq., Secretary

First Trust Exchange-Traded Fund IV

First Trust Advisors L.P.

120 East Liberty Drive, Suite 400

Wheaton, Illinois 60187

(Name and Address of Agent for Service)

Copy to:

Eric F. Fess, Esq.

Chapman and Cutler LLP

111 West Monroe Street

Chicago, Illinois 60603

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

[   ] immediately upon filing pursuant to paragraph (b)

[X] on March 1, 2019 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:

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

 
 

Contents of Post-Effective Amendment No. 163

This Registration Statement comprises the following papers and contents:

The Facing Sheet

Part A - Prospectus for First Trust Enhanced Short Maturity ETF; Prospectus for First Trust Heitman Global Prime Real Estate ETF; Prospectus for First Trust Low Duration Opportunities ETF; Prospectus for First Trust North American Energy Infrastructure Fund; Prospectus for First Trust Senior Loan Fund; Prospectus for First Trust SSI Strategic Convertible Securities ETF; Prospectus for First Trust Strategic Income ETF; Prospectus for First Trust Tactical High Yield ETF

Part B - Statement of Additional Information for First Trust Enhanced Short Maturity ETF; Statement of Additional Information for First Trust Heitman Global Prime Real Estate ETF; Statement of Additional Information for First Trust Low Duration Opportunities ETF; Statement of Additional Information for First Trust North American Energy Infrastructure Fund; Statement of Additional Information for First Trust Senior Loan Fund; Statement of Additional Information for First Trust SSI Strategic Convertible Securities ETF; Statement of Additional Information for First Trust Strategic Income ETF; Statement of Additional Information for First Trust Tactical High Yield ETF

Part C - Other Information

Signatures

Index to Exhibits

Exhibits

 

First Trust
Exchange-Traded Fund IV

Prospectus
First Trust Enhanced Short Maturity ETF
Ticker Symbol: FTSM
Exchange: Nasdaq
First Trust Enhanced Short Maturity ETF (the “Fund”) lists and principally trades its shares on The Nasdaq Stock Market LLC ("Nasdaq" or the "Exchange"). Market prices may differ to some degree from the net asset value of the shares. Unlike mutual funds, the Fund issues and redeems shares at net asset value, only in large specified blocks each consisting of 50,000 shares (each such block of shares called a “Creation Unit, and collectively, the “Creation Units”). The Fund’s Creation Units are generally issued and redeemed for cash and, in certain circumstances, in-kind for securities in which the Fund invests, and only to and from broker-dealers and large institutional investors that have entered into participation agreements.
The Fund is a series of First Trust Exchange-Traded Fund IV (the “Trust”) and an actively managed exchange-traded fund organized as a separate series of a registered management investment company.
Except when aggregated in Creation Units, the shares are not redeemable securities of the Fund.
The Securities and Exchange Commission has not approved or disapproved of these securities or passed upon the adequacy or accuracy of this prospectus. Any representation to the contrary is a criminal offense.
NOT FDIC INSURED    MAY LOSE VALUE    NO BANK GUARANTEE
March 1, 2019


Summary Information
Investment Objective
The First Trust Enhanced Short Maturity ETF's (the "Fund") investment objective is to seek current income, consistent with preservation of capital and daily liquidity.
Fees and Expenses of the Fund
The following table describes the fees and expenses you may pay if you buy and hold shares of the Fund. Investors purchasing and selling shares may be subject to costs (including customary brokerage commissions) charged by their broker, which are not reflected in the table below.
Shareholder Fees
(fees paid directly from your investment)
Maximum Sales Charge (Load) Imposed on Purchases (as a percentage of offering price) None
    
Annual Fund Operating Expenses
(expenses that you pay each year as a percentage of the value of your investment)
Management Fees 0.45%
Distribution and Service (12b-1) Fees 0.00%
Other Expenses 0.00%
Total Annual Fund Operating Expenses 0.45%
Fee Waiver(1)(2)(3) 0.05%
Net Annual Fund Operating Expenses 0.40%
(1) Pursuant to a contractual agreement, First Trust Advisors L.P., the Fund's investment advisor, has agreed to waive management fees of 0.05% of average daily net assets until March 1, 2020. This waiver agreement may be terminated by action of the Trust's Board of Trustees at any time upon 60 days' written notice by the Trust, on behalf of the Fund, or by the Fund's investment advisor only after March 1, 2020.
(2) Pursuant to a contractual agreement between the Trust, on behalf of the Fund, and First Trust Advisors L.P., the Fund’s investment advisor, the management fees paid to the Fund’s investment advisor will be reduced by the portion of the management fees earned by the Fund’s investment advisor from the Fund for assets invested in other investment companies advised by the Fund’s investment advisor. This contractual agreement shall continue until the earlier of (i) its termination at the direction of the Trust’s Board of Trustees or (ii) upon the termination of the Fund’s management agreement with the Fund’s investment advisor, however, it is expected to remain in place for no less than one year from the date of this prospectus.
(3) Fee Waiver has been restated to reflect the current fiscal year.
Example
The example below is intended to help you compare the cost of investing in the Fund with the cost of investing in other funds. This example does not take into account customary brokerage commissions that you pay when purchasing or selling shares of the Fund in the secondary market.
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 remain at current levels until March 1, 2020 and at 0.45% after March 1, 2020. Although your actual costs may be higher or lower, based on these assumptions your costs would be:
1 Year 3 Years 5 Years 10 Years
$41 $139 $247 $562
Portfolio Turnover
The Fund pays transaction costs, such as commissions, when it buys and sells securities (or “turns over” its portfolio). A higher portfolio turnover rate may indicate higher transaction costs and may result in higher taxes when Fund shares are held in a taxable account. These costs, which are not reflected in annual fund operating expenses or in the example, affect the Fund’s performance. During the most recent fiscal year, the Fund’s portfolio turnover rate was 45% of the average value of its portfolio.
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Principal Investment Strategies
Under normal market conditions, the Fund intends to achieve its investment objective by investing at least 80% of its net assets in a portfolio of U.S. dollar-denominated fixed- and variable-rate debt securities, including securities issued or guaranteed by the U.S. government or its agencies, instrumentalities or U.S. government-sponsored entities, residential and commercial mortgage-backed securities, asset-backed securities, U.S. corporate bonds, fixed income securities issued by non-U.S. corporations and governments, municipal obligations, privately issued securities and other debt securities bearing fixed or floating interest rates. The Fund may also invest in money market securities.
The Fund’s investment advisor selects securities for the portfolio by evaluating fixed income sectors and macro market trends while completing bottom-up analysis of individual securities. Portfolio securities are selected based upon relative value in the context of overall portfolio duration. Key inputs for the screens in the securities selection process include, but are not limited to, credit quality, yield, interest rate sensitivity and liquidity. The Fund’s holdings are systematically monitored for meaningful changes in performance and risk measures. A security will generally be sold when the Fund’s investment advisor believes that a security can be substituted for a similar investment that represents better relative value; it lacks adequate compensation for embedded credit risk; or when rebalancing the portfolio to maintain diversification.
At least 80% of the Fund’s net assets will be invested in debt securities that are, at the time of purchase, investment grade. For an unrated security to be considered investment grade, the Fund’s investment advisor will consider, at the time of purchase, whether such security is of comparable quality based on fundamental credit analysis of the unrated security and comparable securities that are rated by a nationally recognized statistical rating organization (“NRSRO”).
Under normal market conditions, the Fund’s portfolio is expected to have an average duration of less than one year and an average maturity of less than three years. Maturity is measured differently depending on the type of debt security. For asset-backed securities and mortgage-related securities, maturity is calculated using weighted average life, which is the estimated time to principal paydown for each underlying instrument held by the Fund, weighted according to the relative holdings per instrument. For all other debt securities, maturity is calculated using dollar-weighted average maturity, which is the average length of time to maturity. Duration is a measure of the expected price volatility of a debt instrument as a result of changes in market rates of interest, based on, among other factors, the weighted average timing of the instrument’s expected principal and interest payments. Duration differs from maturity in that it considers a security’s yield, coupon payments, principal payments, call features and coupon adjustments in addition to the amount of time until the security finally matures. In general, duration represents the expected percentage change in the value of a security for an immediate 1% change in interest rates. For example, if a portfolio of debt securities has an average duration of three years, its value can be expected to fall about 3% if interest rates rise by 1%. Conversely, the portfolio’s value can be expected to rise about 3% if interest rates fall by 1%. As a result, prices of instruments with shorter durations tend to be less sensitive to interest rate changes than instruments with longer durations. As the value of a security changes over time, so will its duration.
The Fund may invest in asset-backed securities and mortgage-related securities. Asset-backed securities are fixed income securities that are backed by a pool of assets, usually loans such as installment sale contracts or credit card receivables. Mortgage-related securities are asset-backed securities based on a particular type of asset, a mortgage. There are a wide variety of mortgage-related securities involving commercial or residential, fixed rate or adjustable rate mortgages and mortgages issued by banks or government agencies. The Fund intends to limit its investments in privately-issued, non-agency sponsored mortgage- and asset-backed securities to 20% of its net assets.
The Fund may invest up to 20% of its net assets in floating rate loans representing amounts borrowed by companies or other entities from banks and other lenders. A significant portion of these loans may be rated below investment grade or unrated. Floating rate loans held by the Fund may be senior or subordinate obligations of the borrower and may or may not be secured by collateral.
The Fund may invest in investment companies, such as exchange-traded funds (“ETFs”), that invest primarily in debt securities. The debt securities held by the investment companies in the Fund’s portfolio will be counted towards the requirement that the Fund invest 80% of its net assets in debt securities. The Fund may invest in ETFs that are advised by First Trust Advisors LP, the Fund’s investment advisor.
Principal Risks
You could lose money by investing in the Fund. An investment in the Fund is not a deposit of a bank and is not insured or guaranteed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation or any other governmental agency. There can be no assurance that the Fund’s investment objective will be achieved.
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ASSET-BACKED SECURITIES RISK. Asset-backed securities are debt securities typically created by buying and pooling loans or other receivables other than mortgage loans and creating securities backed by those similar type assets. As with other debt securities, asset-backed securities are subject to credit risk, extension risk, interest rate risk, liquidity risk and valuation risk. These securities are generally not backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government and are subject to the risk of default on the underlying asset or loan, particularly during periods of economic downturn. The impairment of the value of collateral or other assets underlying an asset-backed security, such as a result of non-payment of loans or non-performance of underlying assets, may result in a reduction in the value of such asset-backed securities and losses to the Fund.
AUTHORIZED PARTICIPANT CONCENTRATION RISK. Only an authorized participant may engage in creation or redemption transactions directly with the Fund. A limited number of institutions act as authorized participants for the Fund. To the extent that these institutions exit the business or are unable to proceed with creation and/or redemption orders and no other authorized participant steps forward to create or redeem, the Fund’s shares may trade at a premium or discount to the Fund’s net asset value and possibly face delisting.
BANK LOANS RISK. Investments in bank loans are subject to the same risks as investments in other types of debt securities, including credit risk, interest rate risk, liquidity risk and valuation risk that may be heightened because of the limited public information available regarding bank loans and because loan borrowers may be leveraged and tend to be more adversely affected by changes in market or economic conditions. If the Fund holds a bank loan through another financial institution or relies on a financial institution to administer the loan, its receipt of principal and interest on the loan may be subject to the credit risk of that financial institution. It is possible that any collateral securing a loan may be insufficient or unavailable to the Fund, and that the Fund’s rights to collateral may be limited by bankruptcy or insolvency laws. Additionally, there is no central clearinghouse for loan trades and the loan market has not established enforceable settlement standards or remedies for failure to settle. As such, the secondary market for bank loans may be subject to irregular trading activity, wide bid/ask spreads and extended trade settlement periods (in some cases longer than 7 days) which may cause the Fund to be unable to realize the full value of its investment. In addition, bank loans are generally not registered with the Securities Exchange Commission under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and may not be considered “securities,” and the Fund may not be entitled to rely on the anti-fraud protections of the federal securities laws.
CALL RISK. Some debt securities may be redeemed, or “called,” at the option of the issuer before their stated maturity date. In general, an issuer will call its debt securities if they can be refinanced by issuing new debt securities which bear a lower interest rate. The Fund is subject to the possibility that during periods of falling interest rates an issuer will call its high yielding debt securities. The Fund would then be forced to invest the proceeds at lower interest rates, likely resulting in a decline in the Fund’s income.
CASH TRANSACTIONS RISK. The Fund intends to effect a significant portion of creations and redemptions for cash, rather than in-kind securities. As a result, an investment in the Fund may be less tax-efficient than an investment in an ETF that effects all of its creations and redemptions in-kind. Because the Fund may effect redemptions for cash, it may be required to sell portfolio securities in order to obtain the cash needed to distribute redemption proceeds. A sale of shares may result in capital gains or losses and may also result in higher brokerage costs.
COUNTERPARTY RISK. Fund transactions involving a counterparty are subject to the risk that the counterparty will not fulfill its obligation to the Fund. Counterparty risk may arise because of the counterparty’s financial condition (i.e., financial difficulties, bankruptcy, or insolvency), market activities and developments, or other reasons, whether foreseen or not. A counterparty’s inability to fulfill its obligation may result in significant financial loss to the Fund. The Fund may be unable to recover its investment from the counterparty or may obtain a limited recovery, and/or recovery may be delayed.
COVENANT-LITE LOAN RISK. Covenant-lite loans contain fewer maintenance covenants, or no maintenance covenants at all, than traditional loans and may not include terms that allow the lender to monitor the financial performance of the borrower and declare a default if certain criteria are breached. This may hinder the Fund’s ability to reprice credit risk associated with the borrower and reduce the Fund’s ability to restructure a problematic loan and mitigate potential loss. As a result, the Fund’s exposure to losses on such investments is increased, especially during a downturn in the credit cycle.
CREDIT RISK. An issuer or other obligated party of a debt security may be unable or unwilling to make dividend, interest and/or principal payments when due. In addition, the value of a debt security may decline because of concerns about the issuer’s ability or unwillingness to make such payments.
CURRENCY RISK. Changes in currency exchange rates affect the value of investments denominated in a foreign currency, and therefore the value of such investments in the Fund’s portfolio. The Fund’s net asset value could decline if a currency to
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which the Fund has exposure depreciates against the U.S. dollar or if there are delays or limits on repatriation of such currency. Currency exchange rates can be very volatile and can change quickly and unpredictably. As a result, the value of an investment in the Fund may change quickly and without warning.
CYBER SECURITY RISK. The Fund is susceptible to operational risks through breaches in cyber security. A breach in cyber security refers to both intentional and unintentional events that may cause the Fund to lose proprietary information, suffer data corruption or lose operational capacity. Such events could cause the Fund to incur regulatory penalties, reputational damage, additional compliance costs associated with corrective measures and/or financial loss. Cyber security breaches may involve unauthorized access to the Fund’s digital information systems through “hacking” or malicious software coding but may also result from outside attacks such as denial-of-service attacks through efforts to make network services unavailable to intended users. In addition, cyber security breaches of the securities issuers or the Fund’s third-party service providers, such as its administrator, transfer agent, custodian, or sub-advisor, as applicable, or issuers in which the Fund invests, can also subject the Fund to many of the same risks associated with direct cyber security breaches. Although the Fund has established risk management systems designed to reduce the risks associated with cyber security, there is no guarantee that such efforts will succeed, especially because the Fund does not directly control the cyber security systems of issuers or third-party service providers.
DEBT SECURITIES RISK. Investments in debt securities subject the holder to the credit risk of the issuer. Credit risk refers to the possibility that the issuer or other obligor of a security will not be able or willing to make payments of interest and principal when due. Generally, the value of debt securities will change inversely with changes in interest rates. To the extent that interest rates rise, certain underlying obligations may be paid off substantially slower than originally anticipated and the value of those securities may fall sharply. During periods of falling interest rates, the income received by the Fund may decline. If the principal on a debt security is prepaid before expected, the prepayments of principal may have to be reinvested in obligations paying interest at lower rates. Debt securities generally do not trade on a securities exchange making them generally less liquid and more difficult to value than common stock.
EXTENSION RISK. Extension risk is the risk that, when interest rates rise, certain obligations will be paid off by the issuer (or other obligated party) more slowly than anticipated, causing the value of these debt securities to fall. Rising interest rates tend to extend the duration of debt securities, making their market value more sensitive to changes in interest rates. The value of longer-term debt securities generally changes more in response to changes in interest rates than shorter-term debt securities. As a result, in a period of rising interest rates, securities may exhibit additional volatility and may lose value.
FLOATING RATE DEBT INSTRUMENTS RISK. Investments in floating rate debt instruments are subject to the same risks as investments in other types of debt securities, including credit risk, interest rate risk, liquidity risk and valuation risk. Floating rate debt instruments include debt securities issued by corporate and governmental entities, as well bank loans, mortgage-backed securities and asset-backed securities. Floating rate debt instruments are structured so that the security’s coupon rate fluctuates based upon the level of a reference rate. Most commonly, the coupon rate of a floating rate debt instrument is set at the level of a widely followed interest rate, plus a fixed spread. As a result, the coupon on floating rate debt instrument will generally decline in a falling interest rate environment, causing the Fund to experience a reduction in the income it receives from the instrument. A floating rate debt instrument’s coupon rate resets periodically according to its terms. Consequently, in a rising interest rate environment, floating rate debt instruments with coupon rates that reset infrequently may lag behind the changes in market interest rates. Floating rate debt instruments may also contain terms that impose a maximum coupon rate the issuer will pay, regardless of the level of the reference rate. To the extent the Fund invests in floating rate loans, such instruments may be subject to legal or contractual restrictions on resale, may trade infrequently, and their value may be impaired when the Fund needs to liquidate such securities. It is possible that the collateral securing a floating rate loan may be insufficient or unavailable to the Fund, and that the Fund’s rights to collateral may be limited by bankruptcy or insolvency laws. Additionally, floating rate loans may not be considered “securities” under federal securities laws, and purchasers, such as the Fund, therefore may not be entitled to rely on the anti-fraud protections of the federal securities laws.
HIGH YIELD SECURITIES RISK. High yield securities, or “junk” bonds, are subject to greater market fluctuations, are less liquid and provide a greater risk of loss than investment grade securities, and therefore, are considered to be highly speculative. In general, high yield securities may have a greater risk of default than other types of securities and could cause income and principal losses for the Fund.
INCOME RISK. The Fund’s income may decline when interest rates fall or if there are defaults in its portfolio. This decline can occur because the Fund may subsequently invest in lower-yielding securities as debt securities in its portfolio mature, are near maturity or are called, or the Fund otherwise needs to purchase additional debt securities.
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INDEX CONSTITUENT RISK. The Fund may be a constituent of one or more indices. As a result, the Fund may be included in one or more index-tracking exchange-traded funds or mutual funds. Being a component security of such a vehicle could greatly affect the trading activity involving the Fund’s shares, the size of the Fund and the market volatility of the Fund. Inclusion in an index could increase demand for the Fund and removal from an index could result in outsized selling activity in a relatively short period of time. As a result, the Fund’s net asset value could be negatively impacted and the Fund’s market price may be below the Fund’s net asset value during certain periods. In addition, index rebalances may potentially result in increased trading activity in the Fund’s shares.
INFLATION RISK. Inflation risk is the risk that the value of assets or income from investments will be less in the future as inflation decreases the value of money. As inflation increases, the present value of the Fund’s assets and distributions may decline.
INTEREST RATE RISK. Interest rate risk is the risk that the value of the debt securities in the Fund’s portfolio will decline because of rising market interest rates. Interest rate risk is generally lower for shorter term debt securities and higher for longer-term debt securities. The Fund may be subject to a greater risk of rising interest rates than would normally be the case due to the current period of historically low rates and the effect of potential government fiscal policy initiatives and resulting market reaction to those initiatives. Duration is a reasonably accurate measure of a debt security’s price sensitivity to changes in interest rates and a common measure of interest rate risk. Duration measures a debt security’s expected life on a present value basis, taking into account the debt security’s yield, interest payments and final maturity. In general, duration represents the expected percentage change in the value of a security for an immediate 1% change in interest rates. For example, the price of a debt security with a three-year duration would be expected to drop by approximately 3% in response to a 1% increase in interest rates. Therefore, prices of debt securities with shorter durations tend to be less sensitive to interest rate changes than debt securities with longer durations. As the value of a debt security changes over time, so will its duration.
LIQUIDITY RISK. The Fund may hold certain investments that may be subject to restrictions on resale, trade over-the-counter or in limited volume, or lack an active trading market. Accordingly, the Fund may not be able to sell or close out of such investments at favorable times or prices (or at all), or at the prices approximating those at which the Fund currently values them. Illiquid securities may trade at a discount from comparable, more liquid investments and may be subject to wide fluctuations in market value.
MANAGEMENT RISK. The Fund is subject to management risk because it is an actively managed portfolio. In managing the Fund’s investment portfolio, the portfolio managers will apply investment techniques and risk analyses that may not produce the desired result. There can be no guarantee that the Fund will meet its investment objective.
MARKET MAKER RISK. The Fund faces numerous market trading risks, including the potential lack of an active market for Fund shares due to a limited number of market markers. Decisions by market makers or authorized participants to reduce their role or step away from these activities in times of market stress could inhibit the effectiveness of the arbitrage process in maintaining the relationship between the underlying values of the Fund’s portfolio securities and the Fund’s market price. The Fund may rely on a small number of third-party market makers to provide a market for the purchase and sale of shares. Any trading halt or other problem relating to the trading activity of these market makers could result in a dramatic change in the spread between the Fund’s net asset value and the price at which the Fund’s shares are trading on the Exchange, which could result in a decrease in value of the Fund’s shares. This reduced effectiveness could result in Fund shares trading at a discount to net asset value and also in greater than normal intraday bid-ask spreads for Fund shares.
MARKET RISK. Market risk is the risk that a particular security, or shares of the Fund in general, may fall in value. Securities are subject to market fluctuations caused by such factors as economic, political, regulatory or market developments, changes in interest rates and perceived trends in securities prices. Shares of the Fund could decline in value or underperform other investments.
MORTGAGE-RELATED SECURITIES RISK. Mortgage-related securities are subject to the same risks as investments in other types of debt securities, including credit risk, interest rate risk, liquidity risk and valuation risk. However, these investments make the Fund more susceptible to adverse economic, political or regulatory events that affect the value of real estate. Mortgage-related securities are also significantly affected by the rate of prepayments and modifications of the mortgage loans underlying those securities, as well as by other factors such as borrower defaults, delinquencies, realized or liquidation losses and other shortfalls. Mortgage-related securities are particularly sensitive to prepayment risk, given that the term to maturity for mortgage loans is generally substantially longer than the expected lives of those securities. As the timing and amount of prepayments cannot be accurately predicted, the timing of changes in the rate of prepayments of the mortgage loans may
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significantly affect the Fund's actual yield to maturity on any mortgage-related securities. Along with prepayment risk, mortgage-related securities are significantly affected by interest rate risk.
MUNICIPAL SECURITIES RISK. Issuers, including governmental issuers, may be unable to pay their obligations as they come due. The values of municipal securities that depend on a specific revenue source to fund their payment obligations may fluctuate as a result of actual or anticipated changes in the cash flows generated by the revenue source or changes in the priority of the municipal obligation to receive the cash flows generated by the revenue source. The values of municipal securities held by the Fund may be adversely affected by local political and economic conditions and developments. Adverse conditions in an industry significant to a local economy could have a correspondingly adverse effect on the financial condition of local issuers. In addition, income from municipal securities held by the Fund could be declared taxable because of, among other things, unfavorable changes in tax laws, adverse interpretations by the Internal Revenue Service or state tax authorities, or noncompliant conduct of an issuer or other obligated party. Loss of tax-exempt status may cause interest received and distributed to shareholders by the Fund to be taxable and may result in a significant decline in the values of such municipal securities.
NON-AGENCY SECURITIES RISK. Investments in asset-backed or mortgage-backed securities offered by non-governmental issuers, such as commercial banks, savings and loans, private mortgage insurance companies, mortgage bankers and other secondary market issuers are subject to additional risks. There are no direct or indirect government or agency guarantees of payments in loan pools created by non-government issuers. Securities issued by private issuers are subject to the credit risks of the issuers. An unexpectedly high rate of defaults on the loan pool may adversely affect the value of a non-agency security and could result in losses to the Fund. The risk of such defaults is generally higher in the case of pools that include subprime loans. Non-agency securities are often not traded on an exchange and there may be a limited market for the securities, especially when there is a perceived weakness in the mortgage and real estate market sectors. Without an active trading market, the non-agency mortgage-related securities held by the Fund may be particularly difficult to value because of the complexities involved in assessing the value of the underlying loans.
NON-DIVERSIFICATION RISK. The Fund is classified as “non-diversified” under the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended (the "1940 Act"). As a result, the Fund is only limited as to the percentage of its assets which may be invested in the securities of any one issuer by the diversification requirements imposed by the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended. The Fund may invest a relatively high percentage of its assets in a limited number of issuers. As a result, the Fund may be more susceptible to a single adverse economic or regulatory occurrence affecting one or more of these issuers, experience increased volatility and be highly invested in certain issuers.
NON-U.S. SECURITIES RISK. Non-U.S. securities are subject to higher volatility than securities of domestic issuers due to possible adverse political, social or economic developments, restrictions on foreign investment or exchange of securities, lack of liquidity, currency exchange rates, excessive taxation, government seizure of assets, different legal or accounting standards, and less government supervision and regulation of securities exchanges in foreign countries.
PREMIUM/DISCOUNT RISK. The market price of the Fund’s shares will generally fluctuate in accordance with changes in the Fund’s net asset value as well as the relative supply of and demand for shares on the Exchange. The Fund’s investment advisor cannot predict whether shares will trade below, at or above their net asset value because the shares trade on the Exchange at market prices and not at net asset value. Price differences may be due, in large part, to the fact that supply and demand forces at work in the secondary trading market for shares will be closely related, but not identical, to the same forces influencing the prices of the holdings of the Fund trading individually or in the aggregate at any point in time. However, given that shares can only be purchased and redeemed in Creation Units, and only to and from broker-dealers and large institutional investors that have entered into participation agreements (unlike shares of closed-end funds, which frequently trade at appreciable discounts from, and sometimes at premiums to, their net asset value), the Fund’s investment advisor believes that large discounts or premiums to the net asset value of shares should not be sustained.
PREPAYMENT RISK. Prepayment risk is the risk that the issuer of a debt security will repay principal prior to the scheduled maturity date. Debt securities allowing prepayment may offer less potential for gains during a period of declining interest rates, as the Fund may be required to reinvest the proceeds of any prepayment at lower interest rates. These factors may cause the value of an investment in the Fund to change.
SENIOR LOAN RISK. Investments in senior loans are subject to the same risks as investments in other types of debt securities, including credit risk, interest rate risk, liquidity risk and valuation risk that may be heightened because of the limited public information available regarding senior loans and because loan borrowers may be leveraged and tend to be more adversely affected by changes in market or economic conditions. If the Fund holds a senior loan through another financial institution
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or relies on a financial institution to administer the loan, its receipt of principal and interest on the loan may be subject to the credit risk of that financial institution. Although senior loans are generally secured by specific collateral, there can be no assurance that liquidation of such collateral would satisfy the borrower’s obligation in the event of non-payment of scheduled interest or principal or that such collateral could be readily liquidated. No active trading market may exist for certain senior loans, which may impair the ability of the Fund to realize full value in the event of the need to sell a senior loan and which may make it difficult to value senior loans. Lastly, senior loans may not be considered “securities,” and the Fund, may not be entitled to rely on the anti-fraud protections of the federal securities laws.
SOVEREIGN DEBT SECURITIES RISK. Sovereign debt securities are issued or guaranteed by foreign governmental entities. Investments in such securities are subject to the risk that the relevant sovereign government or governmental entity may delay or refuse to pay interest or repay principal on its debt. Such delays or refusals may be due to cash flow problems, insufficient foreign currency reserves, political considerations, the size of its debt relative to the economy or the failure to put in place economic reforms required by the International Monetary Fund or other multilateral agencies. There is no legal process for collecting sovereign debt that is not repaid, nor are there bankruptcy proceedings through which all or part of the unpaid sovereign debt may be collected.
TRADING ISSUES RISK. Although the shares of the Fund are listed for trading on the Exchange, there can be no assurance that an active trading market for such shares will develop or be maintained. 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’s “circuit breaker” rules. Market makers are under no obligation to make a market in the Fund’s shares, and authorized participants are not obligated to submit purchase or redemption orders for Creation Units. In the event market makers cease making a market in the Fund's shares or authorized participants stop submitting purchase or redemption orders for Creation Units, Fund shares may trade at a larger premium or discount to their net asset value. 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. The Fund may have difficulty maintaining its listing on the Exchange in the event the Fund’s assets are small or the Fund does not have enough shareholders.
U.S. GOVERNMENT SECURITIES RISK. U.S. government securities are subject to interest rate risk but generally do not involve the credit risks associated with investments in other types of debt securities. As a result, the yields available from U.S. government securities are generally lower than the yields available from other debt securities. U.S. government securities are guaranteed only as to the timely payment of interest and the payment of principal when held to maturity. While securities issued or guaranteed by U.S. federal government agencies (such as Ginnie Mae) are backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. Department of the Treasury, securities issued by government sponsored entities (such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac) are solely the obligation of the issuer and generally do not carry any guarantee from the U.S. government.
VALUATION RISK. Unlike publicly traded securities that trade on national securities exchanges, there is no central place or exchange for trading most debt securities. Debt securities generally trade on an “over-the-counter” market. Due to the lack of centralized information and trading, the valuation of debt securities may carry more uncertainty and risk than that of publicly traded securities. Accordingly, determinations of the fair value of debt securities may be based on infrequent and dated information. Also, because the available information is less reliable and more subjective, elements of judgment may play a greater role in valuation of debt securities than for other types of securities.
VOLATILITY RISK. Volatility is the characteristic of a security, an index or a market to fluctuate significantly in price within a short time period. The Fund may invest in securities or financial instruments that exhibit more volatility than the market as a whole. Such exposures could cause the Fund’s net asset value to experience significant increases or declines in value over short periods of time.
Annual Total Return
The bar chart and table below illustrate the annual calendar year returns of the Fund based on net asset value as well as the average annual Fund returns. The bar chart and table provide an indication of the risks of investing in the Fund by showing changes in the Fund’s performance from year-to-year and by showing how the Fund’s average annual total returns based on net asset value compared to those of a market index. See “Total Return Information” for additional performance information regarding the Fund. The Fund’s performance information is accessible on the Fund’s website at www.ftportfolios.com.
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First Trust Enhanced Short Maturity ETF
Calendar Year Total Returns as of 12/31
During the periods shown in the chart above:
Best Quarter Worst Quarter
0.61% September 30, 2018 -0.07% September 30, 2015
The Fund’s past performance (before and after taxes) is not necessarily an indication of how the Fund will perform in the future.
Returns before taxes do not reflect the effects of any income or capital gains taxes. All after-tax returns are calculated using the historical highest individual federal marginal income tax rates and do not reflect the impact of any state or local tax. Returns after taxes on distributions reflect the taxed return on the payment of dividends and capital gains. Returns after taxes on distributions and sale of shares assume you sold your shares at period end, and, therefore, are also adjusted for any capital gains or losses incurred. Returns for the market indices do not include expenses, which are deducted from Fund returns, or taxes.
Your own actual after-tax returns will depend on your specific tax situation and may differ from what is shown here. After-tax returns are not relevant to investors who hold Fund shares in tax-deferred accounts such as individual retirement accounts (IRAs) or employee-sponsored retirement plans.
Average Annual Total Returns for the Periods Ended December 31, 2018
  1 Year Since
Inception
Inception
Date
Return Before Taxes 1.85% 1.12% 8/5/2014
Return After Taxes on Distributions 0.97% 0.62%  
Return After Taxes on Distributions and Sale of Shares 1.09% 0.63%  
ICE BofAML 0-1 Year U.S. Treasury Index (reflects no deduction for fees, expenses or taxes) 1.93% 0.80%  
Management
Investment Advisor
First Trust Advisors L.P. (“First Trust” or the “Advisor”)
Portfolio Managers
The following persons serve as portfolio managers of the Fund:
Todd Larson, CFA, Vice President and Portfolio Manager of First Trust
Jeremiah Charles, Vice President and Portfolio Manager of First Trust
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James Snyder, Vice President and Portfolio Manager of First Trust
Eric R. Maisel, CFA, Vice President and Portfolio Manager of First Trust
The portfolio managers are primarily and jointly responsible for the day-to-day management of the Fund. Each portfolio manager has served as part of the portfolio management team of the Fund since 2014, except for Eric R. Maisel who has served as part of the portfolio management team of the Fund since 2015.
Purchase and Sale of Fund Shares
The Fund issues and redeems shares on a continuous basis, at net asset value, only in Creation Units consisting of 50,000 shares. The Fund’s Creation Units are generally issued and redeemed for cash and, in certain circumstances, in-kind for securities in which the Fund invests, and only to and from broker-dealers and large institutional investors that have entered into participation agreements. Individual shares of the Fund may only be purchased and sold on Nasdaq and other eligible securities exchanges through a broker-dealer. Shares of the Fund trade on Nasdaq at market prices rather than net asset value, which may cause the shares to trade at a price greater than net asset value (premium) or less than net asset value (discount).
Tax Information
The Fund’s distributions are taxable and will generally be taxed as ordinary income or capital gains. Distributions on shares held in a tax-deferred account, while not immediately taxable, will be subject to tax when the shares are no longer held in a tax-deferred account.
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), First Trust and First Trust Portfolios L.P., the Fund’s distributor, may pay the intermediary for the sale of Fund shares and related services. These payments may create a conflict of interest by influencing the broker-dealer or other 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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Additional Information on the Fund's Investment Objective and Strategies
The Fund is a series of First Trust Exchange-Traded Fund IV and is regulated as an “investment company” under the 1940 Act. The Fund is actively managed and does not seek to track the performance of an index. The Fund’s investment objective is fundamental and may not be changed without approval by the holders of a majority of the outstanding voting securities of the Fund. Unless an investment policy is identified as being fundamental, all investment policies included in this prospectus and the Fund’s Statement of Additional Information (“SAI”) are non-fundamental and may be changed by the Board of Trustees of the Trust (the “Board”) without shareholder approval. If there is a material change to the Fund’s principal investment strategies, you should consider whether the Fund remains an appropriate investment for you. There is no guarantee that the Fund will achieve its investment objective.
In selecting securities for the Fund, the Advisor’s investment strategies are driven by comprehensive analysis with a goal of investing in securities representing the best relative value in the market.
Fund Investments
Principal Investments
Corporate Bonds
The Fund may invest in corporate debt securities issued by U.S. and non-U.S. companies of all kinds, including those with small, mid and large capitalizations. Corporate debt securities are fixed income securities issued by businesses to finance their operations. Notes, bonds, debentures and commercial paper are the most common types of corporate debt securities, with the primary differences being their maturities and secured or unsecured status. Commercial paper has the shortest term and is usually unsecured. Corporate debt may be rated investment grade or below investment grade and may carry fixed or floating rates of interest.
High Yield Corporate Bonds and Floating Rate Loans
The Fund may invest in a combination of high yield corporate bonds and floating rate loans. The high yield corporate bonds in which the Fund invests are rated below investment grade at the time of purchase or unrated and deemed by the Advisor to be of comparable quality, commonly referred to as “junk” bonds. For purposes of determining whether a security is below investment grade, the lowest available rating will be considered. High yield debt may be issued, for example, by companies without long track records of sales and earnings or by issuers that have questionable credit strength. Corporate bonds may carry fixed or floating rates of interest.
The floating rate loans in which the Fund invests represent amounts borrowed by companies or other entities from banks and other lenders. In many cases, floating rate loans are issued in connection with recapitalizations, acquisitions, leveraged buyouts, and refinancing. A significant portion of the floating rate loans in which the Fund invests are expected to be rated below investment grade or unrated. The floating rate loans held by the Fund may be senior or subordinate obligations of the borrower. In the event of bankruptcy, holders of senior floating rate loans are typically paid (to the extent assets are available) before certain other creditors of the borrower (e.g., bondholders and stockholders). Holders of subordinate loans may be paid after more senior bondholders. Loans may or may not be secured by collateral.
Floating rate loans have interest rates that reset periodically. The interest rates on floating rate loans are generally based on a percentage above the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR), a U.S. bank’s prime or base rate, the overnight federal funds rate, or another rate. Floating rate loans may be structured and administered by a financial institution that acts as the agent of the lenders participating in the floating rate loan. The Fund may acquire floating rate loans directly from a lender or through the agent, as an assignment from another lender who holds a floating rate loan, or as a participation interest in another lender’s floating rate loan or portion thereof. The Advisor does not intend to purchase floating rate loans that are in default; however, the Fund may hold a floating rate loan that has defaulted subsequent to the purchase by the Fund.
Municipal Securities
Municipal securities are debt securities that pay interest that is exempt from regular federal income taxes. Municipal securities are generally issued by or on behalf of states, territories or possessions of the United States and the District of Columbia and their political subdivisions, agencies, authorities and other instrumentalities. The types of municipal securities in which the Fund may invest include municipal lease obligations (and certificates of participation in such obligations), municipal general obligation bonds, municipal revenue bonds, municipal notes, municipal cash equivalents, private activity bonds (including
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without limitation industrial development bonds), and pre-refunded and escrowed to maturity bonds. In addition, municipal securities include securities issued by entities whose underlying assets are municipal bonds (for example, tender option bond (TOB) trusts and custodial receipts trusts).
Mortgage-Related and Other Asset-Backed Securities
The Fund generally expects that the mortgage-related securities in which it invests will primarily consist of investment grade securities (i.e., securities with credit ratings within the four highest rating categories of a NRSRO at the time of purchase). The Fund invests in mortgage-backed securities (such as residential mortgage backed securities (“RMBS”) and commercial mortgage backed securities (“CMBS”)). Mortgage-related securities represent an interest in a pool of mortgage loans made by banks and other financial institutions to finance purchases of homes, commercial buildings and other real estate. The individual mortgage loans are packaged or “pooled” together for sale to investors. As the underlying mortgage loans are paid off, investors receive principal and interest payments. Mortgage-related securities may be fixed-rate or adjustable-rate mortgage-related securities (ARMS). Certain mortgage-related securities (including RMBS and CMBS), where mortgage payments are divided up between paying the loan’s principal and paying the loan’s interest, are referred to as stripped mortgage-related securities (SMBS). Further, mortgage-related securities can also be categorized as collateralized mortgage obligations (CMOs) or real estate mortgage investment conduits (REMICs) where they are divided into multiple classes with each class being entitled to a different share of the principal and/or interest payments received from the pool of underlying assets.
The mortgage-related securities in which the Fund invests may be, but are not required to be, issued or guaranteed by the U.S. government, its agencies or instrumentalities, such as Ginnie Mae and U.S. government-sponsored entities, such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Government agency or instrumentality securities have different levels of credit support. For example, Ginnie Mae securities carry a guarantee as to the timely repayment of principal and interest that is backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government. However, the full faith and credit guarantee does not apply to the market prices and yields of the Ginnie Mae securities or to the net asset value, trading price or performance of the Fund, which will vary with changes in interest rates and other market conditions. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac pass-through mortgage certificates are backed by the credit of the respective instrumentality and are not guaranteed by the U.S. government. Other securities issued by government agencies or instrumentalities, including government-sponsored entities, may only be backed by the creditworthiness of the issuing institution, not the U.S. government, or the issuers may have the right to borrow from the U.S. Treasury to meet their obligations. Many mortgage-related securities are pass-through securities, which means they provide investors with monthly payments consisting of a pro rata share of both regular interest and principal payments as well as unscheduled prepayments on the underlying mortgage loans. Because prepayment rates of individual mortgage pools vary widely, the average life of a particular pool cannot be predicted accurately. Adjustable-rate mortgage-related securities include ARMS and other mortgage-related securities with interest rates that adjust periodically to reflect prevailing market rates.
Asset-backed securities are similar to mortgage-related securities, except that the securities backing them are assets such as loans, leases, credit card debt, a company’s receivables or royalties, and not mortgage-related securities.
Government Bonds
The Fund may invest in U.S. government securities. U.S. government securities include U.S. Treasury obligations and securities issued or guaranteed by various agencies of the U.S. government, or by various instrumentalities that have been established or sponsored by the U.S. government. U.S. Treasury obligations are backed by the “full faith and credit” of the U.S. government. Securities issued or guaranteed by federal agencies and U.S. government sponsored instrumentalities may or may not be backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government.
International Sovereign Debt
The Fund may invest in debt securities, including inflation-linked bonds, issued by foreign governments or their subdivisions, agencies and government-sponsored enterprises. Sovereign Debt may include bonds, notes or other debt obligations denominated in U.S. dollars issued by foreign governments.
Investment Companies
As a principal investment strategy, the Fund may invest in securities of investment companies, including ETFs, some of which may be advised by the Advisor. The Fund may invest in such investment companies to gain exposure to certain Fixed Income Securities including high yield bonds, floating rate loans, corporate bonds, municipal securities, mortgage- related instruments and government bonds.
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If the Fund invests in any investment companies that are advised by the Advisor, the Fund will “look through” the investment company to maintain its investment requirements with respect to investment grade ratings, duration and maturity. For the purpose of fulfilling the requirement that 80% of the Fund’s net assets be invested in investment grade securities, the Fund will use the ratings of the Fixed Income Securities held by the Fund and held by the investment companies in which the Fund invests. The Fund’s duration shall be calculated by using the duration of the Fixed Income Securities that the Fund holds directly and indirectly through its investment in investment companies. The maturity of the Fund’s holdings shall be calculated by using the maturity of the Fixed Income Securities that the Fund holds directly and indirectly through its investment in investment companies. The Fund will disregard the equity securities that any investment company may hold for purposes of calculating duration and maturity. The Fund has adopted a policy such that any investment company in which it invests will hold no more than 5% of its net assets in equity securities. If the Fund invests in any investment companies that are not advised by the Advisor, the Fund will consider the investment company’s investment policies to maintain its investment requirements with respect to investment grade ratings, duration and maturity.
The Fund’s ability to invest in other investment companies is limited by the 1940 Act and the related rules and interpretations. The Fund has adopted a policy that it will not invest in other investment companies in excess of 1940 Act limits in reliance on Sections 12(d)(1)(F) or 12(d)(1)(G) of the 1940 Act. ETFs trade on a securities exchange and their shares may, at times, trade at a premium or discount to their net asset value.
In general, as a shareholder of an investment company, the Fund will bear its ratable share of that vehicle’s expenses, and would remain subject to payment of the fund’s advisory and administrative fees with respect to assets so invested. Shareholders would therefore be subject to duplicative expenses to the extent the Fund invests in other investment companies. However, pursuant to a contractual agreement, the Advisor has agreed to reduce the management fee paid by the Fund by the proportional amount of the acquired fund fees and expenses of the shares of investment companies held by the Fund so that the Fund would not bear the indirect costs of holding them, provided, that, the investment companies are advised by the Advisor. In addition, the Fund will incur brokerage costs when purchasing and selling shares of ETFs and closed- end investment companies.
Short-Term Investments
The Fund may invest in short-term debt securities, money market funds and other cash equivalents, or it may hold cash. The percentage of the Fund invested in such holdings will vary and will depend on several factors, including market conditions.
Short-term debt securities are securities from issuers having a long-term debt rating in one of the three highest possible categories by S&P Ratings, Moody’s or Fitch and having a maturity of one year or less. Short-term debt securities are defined to include, without limitation, the following: (i) U.S. government securities, including bills, notes and bonds differing as to maturity and rates of interest, which are either issued or guaranteed by the U.S. Treasury or by U.S. government agencies or instrumentalities; (ii) short-term securities issued or guaranteed by non-U.S. governments or by their agencies or instrumentalities; (iii) certificates of deposit issued against funds deposited in a bank or savings and loan association; (iv) bankers’ acceptances, which are short-term credit instruments used to finance commercial transactions; (v) repurchase agreements, which involve purchases of debt securities; (vi) bank time deposits, which are monies kept on deposit with banks or savings and loan associations for a stated period of time at a fixed rate of interest; and (vii) commercial paper, which is short-term unsecured promissory notes. The Fund may only invest in commercial paper rated A-3 or higher by S&P Ratings, Prime-3 or higher by Moody’s or F3 or higher by Fitch.
Non-Principal Investments
Illiquid Securities
The Fund may invest up to 15% of its net assets in securities and other instruments that are, at the time of investment, illiquid (determined using the Securities and Exchange Commission's standard applicable to investment companies, i.e., any investment that the Fund reasonably expects cannot be sold or disposed of in current market conditions in seven calendar days or less without the sale or disposition significantly changing the market value of the investment). For this purpose, illiquid securities may include, but are not limited to, restricted securities (securities the disposition of which is restricted under the federal securities laws), securities that may only be resold pursuant to Rule 144A under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “Securities Act”), that are deemed to be illiquid, and certain repurchase agreements.
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Disclosure of Portfolio Holdings
A description of the policies and procedures with respect to the disclosure of the Fund’s portfolio securities is included in the Fund’s SAI, which is available on the Fund’s website at www.ftportfolios.com.
Additional Risks of Investing in the Fund
Risk is inherent in all investing. Investing in the Fund involves risk, including the risk that you may lose all or part of your investment. There can be no assurance that the Fund will meet its stated objective. Before you invest, you should consider the following supplemental disclosure pertaining to the Principal Risks set forth above as well as additional Non-Principal Risks set forth below in this prospectus.
Principal Risks
ASSET-BACKED SECURITIES RISK. Asset-backed securities are debt securities typically created by buying and pooling loans or other receivables other than mortgage loans and creating securities backed by those similar type assets. They are typically issued by trusts and special purpose co-purchasers that pass income from the underlying pool to investors. As with other debt securities, asset-backed securities are subject to credit risk, extension risk, interest rate risk, liquidity risk and valuation risk. Certain asset-backed securities do not have the benefit of the same security interest in the related collateral as do mortgage-backed securities, nor are they provided government guarantees of repayment. Credit card receivables are generally unsecured, and the debtors are entitled to the protection of a number of state and federal consumer credit laws, many of which give such debtors the right to set off certain amounts owed on the credit cards, thereby reducing the balance due. In addition, some issuers of automobile receivables permit the servicers to retain possession of the underlying obligations. If the servicer were to sell these obligations to another party, there is a risk that the purchaser would acquire an interest superior to that of the holders of the related automobile receivables. The impairment of the value of collateral or other assets underlying an asset-backed security, such as a result of non-payment of loans or non-performance of underlying assets, may result in a reduction in the value of such asset-backed securities and losses to the Fund.
AUTHORIZED PARTICIPANT CONCENTRATION RISK. Only an authorized participant may engage in creation or redemption transactions directly with the Fund. A limited number of institutions act as authorized participants for the Fund. Although participants are not obligated to make a market in the Fund’s shares or submit purchase and redemption orders for correction units. To the extent that these institutions exit the business, reduce their role or are unable to proceed with creation and/or redemption orders and no other authorized participant steps forward to create or redeem, the Fund’s shares may trade at a premium or discount to the Fund’s net asset value and possibly face delisting.
BANK LOANS RISK. The Fund may invest in secured and unsecured participations in bank loans and assignments of such loans. In making investments in such loans, which are made by banks or other financial intermediaries to borrowers, the Fund will depend primarily upon the creditworthiness of the borrower for payment of principal and interest which will expose the Fund to the credit risk of the underlying borrower. Participations by the Fund in a lender's portion of a bank loan typically will result in the Fund having a contractual relationship only with such lender, not with the borrower. The Fund may have the right to receive payments of principal, interest and any fees to which it is entitled only from the lender selling a loan participation and only upon receipt by such lender of such payments from the borrower, which exposes the Fund to the credit risk of the lender. In connection with purchasing participations, the Fund generally will have no right to enforce compliance by the borrower with the terms of the loan agreement, nor any rights with respect to any funds acquired by other lenders through set-off against the borrower, and the Fund may not directly benefit from any collateral supporting the loan in which it has purchased the participation. There is also the risk that the value of any collateral securing a loan may decline and that the collateral may be insufficient to cover the amount owed on the loan. The secondary market for bank loans may not be highly liquid, and the Fund may have difficulty selling bank loans (other than at a discount) and it may experience settlement delays with respect to bank loan trades (in some cases longer than 7 days. Further, loans held by the Fund may not be considered securities and, therefore, purchasers, such as the Fund, may not be entitled to rely on the anti-fraud protections of the federal securities laws and would be forced to rely upon the contractual persons in the loan agreement and states law to enforce its rights to repayment. Many of the loans in which the Fund may invest or obtain exposure to may be “covenant-lite” loans. The amount of public information available with respect to bank loans may be less extensive than available for registered or exchange-traded securities. Covenant-lite loans may contain fewer or no maintenance covenants compared to other loans and may not include terms which allow the lender to monitor the performance of the borrower and declare a default if certain criteria are breached. The Fund may experience relatively greater realized or unrealized losses or delays in enforcing its rights on its holdings of covenant-lite loans than its holdings of loans with the usual covenants.
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CALL RISK. Some debt securities may be redeemed at the option of the issuer, or “called,” before their stated maturity date. In general, an issuer will call its debt securities if they can be refinanced by issuing new debt securities which bear a lower interest rate. The Fund is subject to the possibility that during periods of falling interest rates an issuer will call its high yielding debt securities. The Fund would then be forced to invest the unanticipated proceeds at lower interest rates, likely resulting in a decline in the Fund’s income. Such redemptions and subsequent reinvestments would also increase the Fund’s portfolio turnover. If a called debt security was purchased by the Fund at a premium, the value of the premium may be lost in the event of a redemption.
CASH TRANSACTIONS RISK. The Fund intends to effect a significant portion of creations and redemptions for cash, rather than in-kind securities. As a result, an investment in the Fund may be less tax-efficient than an investment in an ETF that effects its creations and redemptions only in-kind. ETFs are able to make in-kind redemptions and avoid being taxed on gains on the distributed portfolio securities at the fund level. A Fund that effects redemptions for cash may be required to sell portfolio securities in order to obtain the cash needed to distribute redemption proceeds. Any recognized gain on these sales by the Fund will generally cause the Fund to recognize a gain it might not otherwise have recognized, or to recognize such gain sooner than would otherwise be required if it were to distribute portfolio securities only in-kind. The Fund 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. Moreover, cash transactions may have to be carried out over several days if the securities market is relatively illiquid and may involve considerable brokerage fees and taxes. These brokerage fees and taxes, which will be higher than if the Fund sold and redeemed its shares principally in-kind, will be passed on to those purchasing and redeeming Creation Units in the form of creation and redemption transaction fees. In addition, these factors may result in wider spreads between the bid and the offered prices of the Fund’s shares than for ETFs that distribute portfolio securities in-kind.
COUNTERPARTY RISK. The Fund is subject to counterparty risk. If the Fund enters into an investment or transaction that depends on the performance of another party, the Fund becomes subject to the credit risk of that counterparty. The Fund's ability to profit from these types of investments and transactions depends on the willingness and ability of the Fund’s counterparty to perform its obligations. If a counterparty fails to meet its contractual obligations, the Fund may be unable to terminate or realize any gain on the investment or transaction, resulting in a loss to the Fund. The Fund may experience significant delays in obtaining any recovery in an insolvency, bankruptcy, or other reorganization proceeding involving a counterparty (including recovery of any collateral posted by it) and may obtain only a limited recovery or may obtain no recovery in such circumstances. If the Fund holds collateral posted by its counterparty, it may be delayed or prevented from realizing on the collateral in the event of a bankruptcy or insolvency proceeding relating to the counterparty. Under applicable law or contractual provisions, including if the Fund enters into an investment or transaction with a financial institution and such financial institution (or an affiliate of the financial institution) experiences financial difficulties, then the Fund may in certain situations be prevented or delayed from exercising its rights to terminate the investment or transaction, or to realize on any collateral and may result in the suspension of payment and delivery obligations of the parties under such investment or transactions or in another institution being substituted for that financial institution without the consent of the Fund. Further, the Fund may be subject to “bail-in” risk under applicable law whereby, if required by the financial institution's authority, the financial institution's liabilities could be written down, eliminated or converted into equity or an alternative instrument of ownership. A bail-in of a financial institution may result in a reduction in value of some or all of securities and, if the Fund holds such securities or has entered into a transaction with such a financial security when a bail-in occurs, the Fund may also be similarly impacted.
COVENANT-LITE LOAN RISK. The loan agreement, which sets forth the terms of a loan and the obligations of the borrower and lender, contains certain covenants that mandate or prohibit certain borrower actions, including financial covenants that dictate certain minimum and maximum financial performance levels. Covenants that require the borrower to maintain certain financial metrics during the life of the loan (such as maintaining certain levels of cash flow and limiting leverage) are known as “maintenance covenants.” These covenants are included to permit the lender to monitor the performance of the borrower and declare an event of default if breached, allowing the lender to renegotiate the terms of the loan based upon the elevated risk levels or take other actions to help mitigate losses. Covenant-lite loans contain fewer or no maintenance covenants making an investment in these types of loans inherently riskier than an investment in loans containing provisions allowing the lender reprice credit risk associated with the borrower or restructure a problematic loan. Since 2013, the number of covenant-lite loans issued has increased significantly. The Fund’s elevated exposure to such loans during a downturn in the credit cycle could cause the Fund to experience outsized losses.
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CREDIT RISK. An issuer or other obligated party of a debt security may be unable or unwilling to make dividend, interest and/or principal payments when due. In addition, the value of a debt security may decline because of concerns about the issuer’s ability or unwillingness to make such payments. Debt securities are subject to varying degrees of credit risk which are often reflected in credit ratings. The credit rating of a debt security may be lowered if the issuer or other obligated party suffers adverse changes to its financial condition. These adverse changes may lead to greater volatility in the price of the debt security and affect the security’s liquidity. High yield and comparable unrated debt securities, while generally offering higher yields than investment grade debt with similar maturities, involve greater risks, including the possibility of dividend or interest deferral, default or bankruptcy, and are regarded as predominantly speculative with respect to the issuer’s capacity to pay dividends or interest and repay principal. To the extent that the Fund holds debt securities that are secured or guaranteed by financial institutions, changes in credit quality of such financial institutions could cause values of the debt security to deviate.
CURRENCY RISK. Changes in currency exchange rates affect the value of investments denominated in a foreign currency, the value of dividends and interest earned from such securities and gains and losses realized on the sale of such securities. The Fund’s net asset value could decline if a currency to which the Fund has exposure depreciates against the U.S. dollar or if there are delays or limits on repatriation of such currency. Currency exchange rates can be very volatile and can change quickly and unpredictably. Changes in currency exchange rates may affect the Fund's net asset value, the value of dividends and interest earned, and gains and losses realized on the sale of securities. An increase in the strength of the U.S. dollar relative to other currencies may cause the value of the Fund to decline. Certain non-U.S. currencies may be particularly volatile, and non-U.S. governments may intervene in the currency markets, causing a decline in value or liquidity in the Fund's non-U.S. holdings whose value is tied to the affected non-U.S. currency. Additionally, the prices non-U.S. securities that are traded in U.S. dollars are often indirectly influenced by current fluctuations.
CYBER SECURITY RISK. The Fund is susceptible to operational risks through breaches in cyber security. A breach in cyber security refers to both intentional and unintentional events that may cause the Fund to lose proprietary information, suffer data corruption or lose operational capacity. Such events could cause the Fund to incur regulatory penalties, reputational damage, additional compliance costs associated with corrective measures and/or financial loss. These risks typically are not covered by insurance. In general, cyber incidents can result from deliberate attacks or unintentional events. Cyber incidents include, but are not limited to, gaining unauthorized access to digital systems (e.g., through “hacking” or malicious software coding) for purposes of misappropriating assets or sensitive information, corrupting data or causing operational disruption. Cyber attacks may also be carried out in a manner that does not require gaining unauthorized access, such as causing denial-of-service attacks on websites (i.e., efforts to make network services unavailable to intended users). Cyber security failures by or breaches of the systems of security issuers, the Advisor, distributor and other service providers (including, but not limited to, sub-advisors, index providers, fund accountants, custodians, transfer agents and administrators), market makers, authorized participants or the issuers of securities in which the Fund invests, have the ability to cause disruptions and impact business operations, potentially resulting in: financial losses; interference with the Fund’s ability to calculate its net asset value; disclosure of confidential trading information; impediments to trading; submission of erroneous trades or erroneous creation or redemption orders; the inability of the Fund or its service providers to transact business; violations of applicable privacy and other laws; regulatory fines penalties, reputational damage, reimbursement or other compensation costs; or additional compliance costs. Substantial costs may be incurred by the Fund in order to resolve or prevent cyber incidents in the future. While the Fund has established business continuity plans in the event of, and risk management systems to prevent, such cyber attacks, there are inherent limitations in such plans and systems, including the possibility that certain risks have not been identified and that prevention and remediation efforts will not be successful. Furthermore, the Fund cannot control the cyber security plans and systems put in place by service providers to the Fund, issuers in which the Fund invests, market makers or authorized participants. However, there is no guarantee that such efforts will succeed, and the Fund and its shareholders could be negatively impacted as a result.
DEBT SECURITIES RISK. Investments in debt securities subject the holder to the credit risk of the issuer. Credit risk refers to the possibility that the issuer or other obligor of a security will not be able or willing to make payments of interest and principal when due. Generally, the value of debt securities will change inversely with changes in interest rates. To the extent that interest rates rise, certain underlying obligations may be paid off substantially slower than originally anticipated and the value of those securities may fall sharply. During periods of falling interest rates, the income received by the Fund may decline. If the principal on a debt security is prepaid before expected, the prepayments of principal may have to be reinvested in obligations paying interest at lower rates. Debt securities generally do not trade on a centralized securities exchange making them generally less liquid and more difficult to value than common stock. The values of debt securities may also increase or decrease as a result of market fluctuations, actual or perceived inability or unwillingness of issuers, guarantors or liquidity providers to make scheduled principal or interest payments or illiquidity in debt securities markets generally.
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EXTENSION RISK. Extension risk is the risk that, when interest rates rise, certain obligations will be paid off by the issuer (or other obligated party) more slowly than anticipated, causing the value of these debt securities to fall. Rising interest rates tend to extend the duration of debt securities, making them more sensitive to changes in interest rates. The value of longer-term debt securities generally changes more in response to changes in interest rates than shorter-term debt securities. As a result, in a period of rising interest rates, securities may exhibit additional volatility and may lose value. Extension risk is particularly prevalent for a callable debt security where an increase in interest rates could result in the issuer of that security choosing not to redeem the debt security as anticipated on the security’s call date. Such a decision by the issuer could have the effect of lengthening the debt security’s expected maturity, making it more vulnerable to interest rate risk and reducing its market value.
FLOATING RATE DEBT INSTRUMENTS RISK. Investments in floating rate debt instruments are subject to the same risks as investments in other types of debt securities, including credit risk, interest rate risk, liquidity risk and valuation risk. Floating rate debt instruments include debt securities issued by corporate and governmental entities, as well bank loans, mortgage-backed securities and asset-backed securities. Floating rate debt instruments are structured so that the security’s coupon rate fluctuates based upon the level of a reference rate. Most commonly, the coupon rate of a floating rate debt instrument is set at the level of a widely followed interest rate, plus a fixed spread. As a result, the coupon on floating rate debt instrument will generally decline in a falling interest rate environment, causing the Fund to experience a reduction in the income it receives from the instrument. A floating rate debt instrument’s coupon rate resets periodically according to its terms. Consequently, in a rising interest rate environment, floating rate debt instruments with coupon rates that reset infrequently may lag behind the changes in market interest rates. Floating rate debt instruments may also contain terms that impose a maximum coupon rate the issuer will pay, regardless of the level of the reference rate. The Fund may invest in floating rate loans considered to be high yield, or “junk,” instruments and considered speculative because of the credit risk of their issuers. Such issuers are more likely than investment grade issuers to default on their payments of interest and principal owed to the Fund. An economic downturn would also generally lead to a higher non-payment rate, and a floating rate debt instrument may lose significant market value before a default occurs. To the extent the Fund invests in floating rate loans, such instruments may be subject to legal or contractual restrictions on resale, may trade infrequently, and their value may be impaired when the Fund needs to liquidate such securities. It is possible that the collateral securing a floating rate loan may be insufficient or unavailable to Fund, and that the Fund’s rights to collateral may be limited by bankruptcy or insolvency laws. Additionally, there is no central clearinghouse for loan trades and the loan market has not established enforceable settlement standards or remedies for failure to settle. As such, the secondary market for floating rate loans may be subject to irregular trading activity, wide bid/ask spreads and extended trade settlement periods which may cause the Fund to be unable to realize the full value of its investment. Lastly, floating rate loans may not be considered “securities,” and purchasers, such as the Fund, therefore may not be entitled to rely on the anti-fraud protections of the federal securities laws.
HIGH YIELD SECURITIES RISK. The Fund’s investment in high yield securities, or “junk” bonds, may entail increased credit risks and the risk that the value of the Fund’s assets will decline, and may decline precipitously, with increases in interest rates. In recent years there have been wide fluctuations in interest rates and therefore in the value of debt securities generally. High yield securities are, under most circumstances, subject to greater market fluctuations and risk of loss of income and principal than are investments in lower-yielding, higher-rated debt securities. As interest rates rise, the value of high yield securities may decline precipitously. Increased rates may also indicate a slowdown in the economy which may adversely affect the credit of issuers of high yield securities resulting in a higher incidence of defaults among such issuers. A slowdown in the economy, or a development adversely affecting an issuer’s creditworthiness, may result in the issuer being unable to maintain earnings or sell assets at the rate and at the prices, respectively, that are required to produce sufficient cash flow to meet its interest and principal requirements. The Fund’s portfolio managers cannot predict future economic policies or their consequences or, therefore, the course or extent of any similar market fluctuations in the future. In addition, high yield securities are generally less liquid than investment grade securities.
INCOME RISK. The Fund’s income may decline when interest rates fall. This decline can occur because the Fund may subsequently invest in lower-yielding securities as debt securities in its portfolio mature, are near maturity or are called, or the Fund otherwise needs to purchase additional debt securities. In addition, the Fund’s income could decline when the Fund experiences defaults on the debt securities it holds.
INDEX CONSTITUENT RISK. The Fund may be a constituent of one or more indices or ETF models. As a result, the Fund may be included in one or more index-tracking ETFs or mutual funds. Being a component security of such a vehicle could greatly affect the trading activity involving the Fund, the size of the Fund and the market volatility of the Fund’s shares. Inclusion in an index could increase demand for the Fund and removal from an index could result in outsized selling activity in a relatively short period of time. As a result, the Fund’s net asset value could be negatively impacted and the Fund’s market price may be
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below the Fund’s net asset value during certain periods. In addition, index rebalances may potentially result in increased trading activity. To the extent buying or selling activity increases, the Fund can be exposed to increased brokerage costs and adverse tax consequences and the market price of the Fund can be negatively affected.
INFLATION RISK. Inflation risk is the risk that the value of assets or income from investments will be less in the future as inflation decreases the value of money. As inflation increases, the present value of the Fund’s assets and distributions may decline. This risk is more prevalent with respect to debt securities held by the Fund. Inflation creates uncertainty over the future real value (after inflation) of an investment. Inflation rates may change frequently and drastically as a result of various factors, including unexpected shifts in the domestic or global economy, and the Fund’s investments may not keep pace with inflation, which may result in losses to Fund investors.
INTEREST RATE RISK. The value of debt securities held by the Fund will fluctuate in value with changes in interest rates. In general, debt securities will increase in value when interest rates fall and decrease in value when interest rates rise. The Fund may be subject to a greater risk of rising interest rates than would normally be the case due to the current period of historically low rates and the effect of potential government fiscal policy initiatives and resulting market reaction to those initiatives. Interest rate risk is generally lower for shorter term investments and higher for longer term investments. Duration is a common measure of interest rate risk. Duration measures a debt security’s expected life on a present value basis, taking into account the debt security’s yield, interest payments and final maturity. Duration is a reasonably accurate measure of a debt security’s price sensitivity to changes in interest rates. The longer the duration of a debt security, the greater the debt security’s price sensitivity is to changes in interest rates. Rising interest rates also may lengthen the duration of debt securities with call features, since exercise of the call becomes less likely as interest rates rise, which in turn will make the securities more sensitive to changes in interest rates and result in even steeper price declines in the event of further interest rate increases. Interest rate risk may be increased by the Fund’s investment in inverse floaters because of the leveraged nature of those investments. An increase in interest rates could also cause principal payments on a debt security to be repaid at a slower rate than expected. This risk is particularly prevalent for a callable debt security where an increase in interest rates could cause the issuer of that security to not redeem the security as anticipated on the call date, effectively lengthening the security’s expected maturity, in turn making that security more vulnerable to interest rate risk and reducing its market value. When interest rates fall, the Fund may be required to reinvest the proceeds from the sale, redemption or early prepayment of a debt security at a lower interest rate.
INVESTMENT COMPANIES RISK. The Fund may invest in securities of other investment companies. As a shareholder in another investment company, the Fund will bear its ratable share of that investment company’s expenses, and would remain subject to payment of the Fund’s advisory and administrative fees with respect to assets so invested. Shareholders would therefore be subject to duplicative expenses to the extent the Fund invests in other investment companies. In addition, the Fund will incur brokerage costs when purchasing and selling shares of exchange-traded investment companies.
LIQUIDITY RISK. The Fund has investments that it may not be able to dispose of or close out readily at a favorable time or price (or at all), or at a price approximating the Fund’s valuation of the investment. For example, certain investments may be subject to restrictions on resale, may trade over-the-counter or in limited volume, or may not have an active trading market. Illiquid securities may trade at a discount from comparable, more liquid investments and may be subject to wide fluctuations in market value. It may be difficult for the Fund to value illiquid securities accurately. The market for certain investments may become illiquid under adverse market or economic conditions independent of any specific adverse changes in the conditions of a particular issuer. If the Fund needed to sell a large block of illiquid securities to meet shareholder redemption request or to raise cash, these sales could further reduce the securities’ prices and adversely affect performance of the Fund. Disposal of illiquid securities may entail registration expenses and other transaction costs that are higher than those for liquid securities.
MANAGEMENT RISK. The Fund is subject to management risk because it is an actively managed portfolio. In managing the Fund’s investment portfolio, the portfolio managers will apply investment techniques and risk analyses that may not produce the desired result. There can be no guarantee that the Fund will meet its investment objective(s), meet relevant benchmarks or perform as well as other funds with similar objectives.
MARKET MAKER RISK. The Fund faces numerous market trading risks, including the potential lack of an active market for Fund shares due to a limited number of market markers. Decisions by market makers or authorized participants to reduce their role or step away from these activities in times of market stress could inhibit the effectiveness of the arbitrage process in maintaining the relationship between the underlying values of the Fund’s portfolio securities and the Fund’s market price. The Fund may rely on a small number of third-party market makers to provide a market for the purchase and sale of shares. Any trading halt or other problem relating to the trading activity of these market makers could result in a dramatic change in the spread between the Fund’s net asset value and the price at which the Fund’s shares are trading on the Exchange, which
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could result in a decrease in value of the Fund’s shares. This reduced effectiveness could result in Fund shares trading at a discount to net asset value and also in greater than normal intraday bid-ask spreads for Fund shares.
MARKET RISK. Market risk is the risk that a particular security, or shares of the Fund in general, may fall in value. Securities are subject to market fluctuations caused by such factors as economic, political, regulatory or market developments, changes in interest rates and perceived trends in securities prices. Shares of the Fund could decline in value or underperform other investments due to short-term market movements or any longer periods during more prolonged market downturns.
MORTGAGE-RELATED SECURITIES RISK. Mortgage-related securities are subject to the same risks as investments in other types of debt securities, including credit risk, interest rate risk, liquidity risk and valuation risk. However, these investments make the Fund more susceptible to adverse economic, political or regulatory events that affect the value of real estate. Mortgage-related securities are also significantly affected by the rate of prepayments and modifications of the mortgage loans underlying those securities, as well as by other factors such as borrower defaults, delinquencies, realized or liquidation losses and other shortfalls. Mortgage-related securities are particularly sensitive to prepayment risk, given that the term to maturity for mortgage loans is generally substantially longer than the expected lives of those securities. Nonetheless, the timing and amount of prepayments cannot be accurately predicted. The timing of changes in the rate of prepayments of the mortgage loans may significantly affect the Fund 's actual yield to maturity on any mortgage-related securities, even if the average rate of principal payments is consistent with the Fund's expectation. Along with prepayment risk, mortgage-related securities are significantly affected by interest rate risk. In a low interest rate environment, mortgage loan prepayments would generally be expected to increase due to factors such as re-financings and loan modifications at lower interest rates. In contrast, if prevailing interest rates rise, prepayments of mortgage loans would generally be expected to decline and therefore extend the weighted average lives of mortgage-related securities held or acquired by the Fund. Fund investments in mortgage-backed securities issued by Ginnie Mae are backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government. Fund investments in mortgage-backed securities issued by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are not backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government, and there can be no assurance that the U.S. government would provide financial support to its agencies or instrumentalities where it is not obligated to do so.
MUNICIPAL SECURITIES RISK. The values of municipal securities may be adversely affected by local political and economic conditions and developments. Adverse conditions in an industry significant to a local economy could have a correspondingly adverse effect on the financial condition of local issuers. Other factors that could affect municipal securities include a change in the local, state, or national economy, demographic factors, ecological or environmental concerns, statutory limitations on the issuer’s ability to increase taxes, and other developments generally affecting the revenue of issuers (for example, legislation or court decisions reducing state aid to local governments or mandating additional services). This risk would be heightened to the extent that the Fund invests a substantial portion of its assets in bonds issued pursuant to similar projects (such as those relating to the education, health care, housing, transportation, or utilities industries), in industrial development bonds, or in particular types of municipal securities (such as general obligation bonds, private activity bonds or moral obligation bonds) that are particularly exposed to specific types of adverse economic, business or political events. Changes in a municipality’s financial health may also make it difficult for the municipality to make interest and principal payments when due. The values of municipal securities that depend on a specific revenue source to fund their payment obligations may fluctuate as a result of actual or anticipated changes in the cash flows generated by the revenue source or changes in the priority of the municipal securities to receive the cash flows generated by the revenue source. Under some circumstances, municipal securities might not pay interest unless the state legislature or municipality authorizes money for that purpose. Municipal securities 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. In addition, income from municipal securities held by the Fund could be declared taxable because of, among other things, unfavorable changes in tax laws, adverse interpretations by the Internal Revenue Service or state tax authorities, or noncompliant conduct of an issuer or other obligated party. Loss of tax-exempt status may cause interest received and distributed to shareholders by the Fund to be taxable and may result in a significant decline in the values of such municipal securities.
NON-AGENCY SECURITIES RISK. The Fund invests in non-agency securities. Investments in asset-backed or mortgage-backed securities offered by non-governmental issuers, such as commercial banks, savings and loans, private mortgage insurance
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companies, mortgage bankers and other secondary market issuers are subject to additional risks. There are no direct or indirect government or agency guarantees of payments in loan pools created by non-government issuers. Securities issued by private issuers are subject to the credit risks of the issuers. Timely payment of interest and principal of non-governmental issuers is supported by various forms of private insurance or guarantees, including individual loan, title, pool and hazard insurance purchased by the issuer. There can be no assurance that the private insurers can meet their obligations under the policies. Non-agency securities are also not subject to the same underwriting requirements for the underlying mortgages that are applicable to those mortgage-related securities that have a government or government-sponsored entity guarantee. An unexpectedly high rate of defaults on the loan pool may adversely affect the value of a non-agency security and could result in losses to the Fund. The risk of such defaults is generally higher in the case of loan pools that include subprime loans. Subprime loans refer to loans made to borrowers with weakened credit histories or with a lower capacity to make timely payments on their loans. Non-agency securities are not traded on an exchange and there may be a limited market for the securities, especially when there is a perceived weakness in the mortgage and real estate market sectors. Without an active trading market, the non-agency securities held by the Fund may be particularly difficult to value because of the complexities involved in assessing the value of the underlying loans.
NON-DIVERSIFICATION RISK. As a “non-diversified” fund, the Fund may hold a smaller number of portfolio securities than many other funds and may be more sensitive to any single economic, business, political or regulatory occurrence than a diversified fund. To the extent the Fund invests in a relatively small number of issuers due to the high percentage of the Fund’s assets invested in that security, a decline in the market value of a particular security held by the Fund may affect its value more than if it invested in a larger number of issuers. The value of the Fund’s shares may be more volatile than the values of shares of more diversified funds.
NON-U.S. SECURITIES RISK. The Fund may invest in non-U.S. securities. An investment in securities of non-U.S. companies involves risks not associated with domestic issuers. Investment in non-U.S. securities may involve higher costs than investment in U.S. securities, including higher transaction and custody costs as well as the imposition of additional taxes by non-U.S. governments. Non-U.S. investments may also involve risks associated with the level of currency exchange rates, less complete financial information about the issuers, less market liquidity, more market volatility and political instability. Future political and economic developments, the possible imposition of withholding taxes on dividend income, the possible seizure or nationalization of non-U.S. holdings, the possible establishment of exchange controls or freezes on the convertibility of currency or the adoption of other governmental restrictions might adversely affect an investment in non-U.S. securities. Additionally, non-U.S. issuers may be subject to less stringent regulation, and to different accounting, auditing and recordkeeping requirements. The U.S. and non-U.S. markets often rise and fall at different times or by different amounts due to economic or other regional developments particular to a given country or region.
PREMIUM/DISCOUNT RISK. The market price of the Fund’s shares will generally fluctuate in accordance with changes in the Fund’s net asset value as well as the relative supply of and demand for shares on the Exchange. First Trust cannot predict whether shares will trade below, at or above their net asset value because the shares trade on the Exchange at market prices and not at net asset value. Price differences may be due, in large part, to the fact that supply and demand forces at work in the secondary trading market for shares will be closely related, but not identical, to the same forces influencing the prices of the holdings of the Fund trading individually or in the aggregate at any point in time. However, given that shares can only be purchased and redeemed in Creation Units, and only to and from broker-dealers and large institutional investors that have entered into participation agreements (unlike shares of closed-end funds, which frequently trade at appreciable discounts from, and sometimes at premiums to, their net asset value), First Trust believes that large discounts or premiums to the net asset value of shares should not be sustained absent disruptions to the creation and redemption mechanism, extreme market volatility or potential lack of authorized participants.
PREPAYMENT RISK. Prepayment risk is the risk that the issuer of a debt security will repay principal (in part or in whole) prior to the scheduled maturity date. Debt securities allowing prepayment may offer less potential for gains during a period of declining interest rates, as the Fund may be required to reinvest the proceeds of any prepayment at lower interest rates, reducing its income. If the Fund purchased the debt securities at a premium, prepayments on the securities could cause the Fund to lose a portion of its principal investment. These factors may cause the value of an investment in the Fund to change. The impact of prepayments on the price of a debt security may be difficult to predict and may increase the security’s volatility.
SENIOR LOANS RISK. Investments in senior loans (through both assignments and participations) are subject to the same risks as investments in other types of debt securities, including credit risk, interest rate risk, liquidity risk and valuation risk that may be heightened because of the limited public information available regarding senior loans and because loan borrowers may be leveraged and tend to be more adversely affected by changes in market or economic conditions. If the Fund holds a
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senior loan through another financial institution or relies on a financial institution to administer the loan, its receipt of principal and interest on the loan may be subject to the credit risk of that financial institution. Although senior loans typically have higher recoveries than subordinated or unsecure debt obligations and are generally secured by specific collateral, there can be no assurance that liquidation of such collateral would satisfy the borrower’s obligation in the event of non-payment of scheduled interest or principal or that such collateral could be readily liquidated. To the extent that a senior loan is collateralized by stock in the borrower or its subsidiaries, such stock may lose all of its value in the event of the bankruptcy of the borrower. Uncollateralized senior loans involve a greater risk of loss. Senior loans made in connection with highly leveraged transactions are subject to greater risks than other senior loans. For example, the risks of default or bankruptcy of the borrower or the risks that other creditors of the borrower may seek to nullify or subordinate the Fund’s claims on any collateral securing the loan are greater in highly leveraged transactions. Additionally, there is no central clearinghouse for loan trades and the loan market has not established enforceable settlement standards or remedies for failure to settle. As such, the secondary market for bank loans may be subject to irregular trading activity, wide bid/ask spreads and extended trade settlement periods which may cause the Fund to be unable to realize the full value of its investment. Lastly, senior loans may not be considered “securities,” and purchasers, such as the Fund, may not be entitled to rely on the anti-fraud protections of the federal securities laws and could be forced to rely on the contractual provisions in the loan agreement and state law to enforce its right to repayment.
SOVEREIGN DEBT SECURITIES RISK. Sovereign debt securities are issued or guaranteed by foreign governmental entities. Investments in such securities are subject to the risk that the relevant sovereign government or governmental entity may delay or refuse to pay interest or repay principal on its debt. Such delays or refusals may be due to cash flow problems, insufficient foreign currency reserves, political considerations, the size of its debt relative to the economy or the failure to put in place economic reforms required by the International Monetary Fund or other multilateral agencies. A governmental entity may default on its obligations or may require renegotiation as to maturity or interest rate units of debt payments. Any restructuring of a sovereign debt obligation held by the Fund will likely have a significant adverse effect on the value of the obligation. A restricting or default of sovereign debt security may cause additional impacts on financial markets such as downgrades to credit ratings, disruptions in trading markets, reduced liquidity and increase volatility. Additionally, the Fund may be unable to pursue legal action against the sovereign issuer or to realize on collateral securing the debt. The sovereign debt of many non-U.S. governments, including their sub-divisions and instrumentalities, is rated below investment-grade.
TRADING ISSUES RISK. Although the shares of the Fund are listed for trading on the Exchange, there can be no assurance that an active trading market for such shares will develop or be maintained. 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’s “circuit breaker” rules. Market makers are under no obligation to make a market in the Fund’s shares, and authorized participants are not obligated to submit purchase or redemption orders for Creation Units. In the event market makers cease making a market in the Fund’s shares or authorized participants stop submitting purchase or redemption orders for Creation Units, Fund shares may trade at a larger premium or discount to their net asset value. 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. The Fund may have difficulty maintaining its listing on the Exchange in the event the Fund’s assets are small or the Fund does not have enough shareholders.
U.S. GOVERNMENT SECURITIES RISK. The Fund may invest in U.S. government securities. U.S. government securities are subject to interest rate risk but generally do not involve the credit risks associated with investments in other types of debt securities. As a result, the yields available from U.S. government securities are generally lower than the yields available from other debt securities. U.S. government securities are guaranteed only as to the timely payment of interest and the payment of principal when held to maturity. While securities issued or guaranteed by U.S. federal government agencies (such as Ginnie Mae) are backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. Department of the Treasury, securities issued by government sponsored entities (such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac) are solely the obligation of the issuer and generally do not carry any guarantee from the U.S. government. No assurance can be given that the U.S. government will provide financial support to its government sponsored entities or any other agency if not obligated by law to do so.
VALUATION RISK. Unlike publicly traded securities that trade on national securities exchanges, there is no central place or exchange for trading most debt securities. Debt securities generally trade on an “over-the-counter” market which may be anywhere in the world where the buyer and seller can settle on a price. Due to the lack of centralized information and trading, the valuation of debt securities may carry more uncertainty and risk than that of publicly traded securities. Accordingly, determinations of the fair value of debt securities may be based on infrequent and dated information. Also, because the available information is less reliable and more subjective, elements of judgment may play a greater role in valuation of debt securities than for other types of securities. Typically, debt securities are valued using information provided by a third-party pricing service
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utilizing a range of market-based inputs and assumptions, including broker quotations and transactions in comparable securities to value the securities. There is no assurance that the Fund will be able to sell a portfolio security at the price established by the pricing service.
VOLATILITY RISK. Volatility is the characteristic of a security, an index or a market to fluctuate significantly in price within a short time period. The Fund may invest in securities or financial instruments that exhibit more volatility than the market as a whole. Such exposures could cause the Fund’s net asset value to experience significant increases or declines in value over short periods of time. Volatility can be caused by many factors, including changes in the economy or financial markets or for reasons specific to a particular issuer.
Non-Principal Risks
BORROWING AND LEVERAGE RISK. If the Fund borrows money, it must pay interest and other fees, which may reduce the Fund’s returns. Any such borrowings are intended to be temporary. However, under certain market conditions, including periods of low demand or decreased liquidity, such borrowings might be outstanding for longer periods of time. As prescribed by the 1940 Act, the Fund will be required to maintain specified asset coverage of at least 300% with respect to any bank borrowing immediately following such borrowing and at all times thereafter. The Fund may be required to dispose of assets on unfavorable terms if market fluctuations or other factors reduce the Fund’s asset coverage to less than the prescribed amount.
CREDIT RATING AGENCY RISK. Credit ratings are determined by credit rating agencies such as Standard & Poor’s, Inc., Moody’s Investors Services, Inc. and Fitch Inc., and are only the opinions of such entities. Ratings assigned by a rating agency are not absolute standards of credit quality and do not evaluate market risk or the liquidity of securities. Any shortcomings or inefficiencies in credit rating agencies’ processes for determining credit ratings may adversely affect the credit ratings of securities held by the Fund and, as a result, may adversely affect those securities’ perceived or actual credit risk.
DEPENDENCE ON KEY PERSONNEL. The Advisor is dependent upon the experience and expertise of the Fund’s portfolio managers in providing advisory services with respect to the Fund’s investments. If the Advisor were to lose the services of any of these individuals, its ability to service the Fund could be adversely affected. There can be no assurance that a suitable replacement could be found for any of the portfolio managers in the event of their death, resignation, retirement or inability to act on behalf of the Advisor.
ETF RISK. Most ETFs use a “passive” investment strategy and seek to replicate the performance of a market index. Such ETFs do not take defensive positions in volatile or declining markets their shares may trade below net asset value. While some ETFs seek to achieve the same return as a particular market index, the performance of the ETF may diverge from the performance of the index. Some ETFs are actively managed ETFs and do not track a particular index which indirectly subjects an investor to active management risk. An active secondary market in ETF shares may not develop or be maintained and may be halted or interrupted due to actions by its listing exchange, unusual market conditions or other reasons. There can be no assurance that an ETF’s shares will continue to be listed on an active exchange. In addition, shareholders bear both their proportionate share of the Fund’s expenses and, indirectly, the ETF’s expenses, incurred through the Fund’s ownership of the ETF. Because the expenses and costs of an ETF are shared by its investors, redemptions by other investors in the ETF could result in decreased economies of scale and increased operating expenses for such ETF. These transactions might also result in higher brokerage, tax or other costs for the ETF. This risk may be particularly important when one investor owns a substantial portion of the ETF. There is a risk that ETFs in which the Fund invests may terminate due to extraordinary events. For example, any of the service providers to ETFs, such as the trustee or sponsor, may close or otherwise fail to perform their obligations to the ETF, and the ETF may not be able to find a substitute service provider. Also, certain ETFs may be dependent upon licenses to use various indexes as a basis for determining their compositions and/or otherwise to use certain trade names. If these licenses are terminated, the ETFs may also terminate. In addition, an ETF may terminate if its net assets fall below a certain amount.
FAILURE TO QUALIFY AS A REGULATED INVESTMENT COMPANY. If, in any year, the Fund fails to qualify as a regulated investment company under the applicable tax laws, the Fund would be taxed as an ordinary corporation. In such circumstances, the Fund could be required to recognize unrealized gains, pay substantial taxes and interest and make substantial distributions before requalifying as a regulated investment company that is accorded special tax treatment. If the Fund fails to qualify as a regulated investment company, distributions to the Fund’s shareholders generally would be eligible for the dividends received deduction in the case of corporate shareholders. See “Federal Tax Matters.”
INTERNATIONAL CLOSED MARKET TRADING RISK. Because securities held by the Fund may trade on non-U.S. exchanges that are closed when the Fund's primary listing exchange is open, there are likely to be deviations between the current price of an underlying security and the last quoted price for the underlying security (i.e., the Fund’s quote from the closed foreign
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market), resulting in premiums or discounts to the Fund's net asset value that may be greater than those experienced by other ETFs. However, because shares can be created and redeemed in Creation Units at the Fund’s net asset value, it is not expected that large discounts or premiums to the net asset value of the Fund will be sustained over the long term (unlike shares of many closed-end funds, which frequently trade at appreciable discounts from, and sometimes at premiums to, their net asset values).
ISSUER SPECIFIC CHANGES RISK. The value of an individual security or particular type of security can be more volatile than the market as a whole and can perform differently from the value of the market as a whole.
LEGISLATION/LITIGATION RISK. From time to time, various legislative initiatives are proposed in the United States and abroad, which may have a negative impact on certain companies in which the Fund invests. In addition, litigation regarding any of the issuers of the securities owned by the Fund, or industries represented by these issuers, may negatively impact the value of the securities. Such legislation or litigation may cause the Fund to lose value or may result in higher portfolio turnover if the Advisor determines to sell such a holding.
LIBOR RISK. In 2012, regulators in the United States and the United Kingdom alleged that certain banks, including some banks serving on the panel for U.S. dollar LIBOR, engaged in manipulative acts in connection with their submissions to the British Bankers Association. Manipulation of the LIBOR rate-setting process would raise the risk to the Fund of being adversely impacted if the Fund received a payment based upon LIBOR and such manipulation of LIBOR resulted in lower resets than would have occurred had there been no manipulation. In 2017, the head of the United Kingdom’s Financial Conduct Authority announced a desire to phase out the use of LIBOR by the end of 2021. There remains uncertainty regarding the future utilization of LIBOR and the nature of any replacement rate. As such, the potential effect of a transition away from LIBOR on the Fund or the financial instruments in which the Fund invests cannot yet be determined.
OPERATIONAL RISK. The Fund is subject to risks arising from various operational factors, including, but not limited to, human error, processing and communication errors, errors of the Fund’s service providers, counterparties or other third-parties, failed or inadequate processes and technology or systems failures. Although the Fund and the Advisor seek to reduce these operational risks through controls and procedures, there is no way to completely protect against such risks.
Fund Organization
The Fund is a series of the Trust, an investment company registered under the 1940 Act. The Fund is treated as a separate fund with its own investment objective and policies. The Trust is organized as a Massachusetts business trust. The Board is responsible for the overall management and direction of the Trust. The Board elects the Trust’s officers and approves all significant agreements, including those with the Advisor, custodian and fund administrative and accounting agent.
Management of the Fund
First Trust Advisors L.P., 120 East Liberty Drive, Wheaton, Illinois 60187, is the investment advisor to the Fund. In this capacity, First Trust is responsible for the selection and ongoing monitoring of the securities in the Fund’s portfolio and certain other services necessary for the management of the portfolio.
First Trust is a limited partnership with one limited partner, Grace Partners of DuPage L.P., and one general partner, The Charger Corporation. Grace Partners of DuPage L.P. is a limited partnership with one general partner, The Charger Corporation, and a number of limited partners. The Charger Corporation is an Illinois corporation controlled by James A. Bowen, the Chief Executive Officer of First Trust. First Trust discharges its responsibilities subject to the policies of the Board.
First Trust serves as advisor or sub-advisor to 7 mutual fund portfolios, 10 exchange-traded funds consisting of 141 series and 15 closed-end funds. It is also the portfolio supervisor of certain unit investment trusts sponsored by First Trust Portfolios L.P. (“FTP”), an affiliate of First Trust, 120 East Liberty Drive, Wheaton, Illinois 60187. FTP specializes in the underwriting, trading and distribution of unit investment trusts and other securities. FTP is the principal underwriter of the shares of the Fund.
Todd Larson, Jeremiah Charles, James Snyder and Eric R. Maisel are the Fund’s portfolio managers and share responsibilities for the day-to-day management of the Fund’s investment portfolio.
Todd Larson, CFA, joined First Trust in 2007 as Portfolio Manager for the Investment Grade Fixed Income Team and has 24 years of investment experience. Prior to joining First Trust, Mr. Larson was Vice President and Portfolio Manager for ABN AMRO Asset Management. Mr. Larson also served on ABN AMRO’s Macro- economic Committee and Global Credit Committee. His previous positions also include Portfolio Manager at Van Kampen
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  American Capital and Portfolio Manager at Horizon Cash Management. Mr. Larson has extensive experience in the portfolio management of core-style investment grade mandates and enhanced cash strategies. Mr. Larson received a B.A. in Business Administration from North Park College. He holds the Chartered Financial Analyst designation and is a member of the CFA Institute and the CFA Society of Chicago.
Jeremiah Charles is a Portfolio Manager for the First Trust Securitized Products Group. Prior to joining First Trust in 2013, Mr. Charles worked as a Vice President of mortgage product sales for CRT Capital where he advised pension funds, hedge funds, and institutional money managers. Before joining CRT in 2011, Mr. Charles spent six years with Deerfield Capital Management LLC as a Senior Vice President and Senior Portfolio Manager for the mortgage trading team. Mr. Charles began his professional career as an analyst at Piper Jaffray. Mr. Charles holds a B.S. in Finance from the Leeds School of Business at the University of Colorado, and a M.S. in Real Estate Finance with Honors from the Charles H. Kellstadt Graduate School of Business at DePaul University.
James Snyder is a Portfolio Manager for the First Trust Securitized Products Group. Prior to joining First Trust in 2013, Mr. Snyder worked as a Senior Portfolio Manager at Fort Sheridan Advisors where he managed mort- gage portfolios for institutional clients. Mr. Snyder has led several mortgage trading and portfolio groups at Deerfield Capital, Spyglass Capital & Trading and American Express Financial Advisors. Mr. Snyder managed AXP Federal Income Fund, and developed mortgage trading strategies for Spyglass Capital and Deerfield’s Mortgage REIT and Opportunity Fund. Mr. Snyder holds a B.S. and M.A. in Economics from DePaul University and an MBA from University of Chicago Booth School of Business.
Eric R. Maisel, CFA, is a Portfolio Manager and Vice President of First Trust and has 23 years of investment experience. Mr. Maisel joined First Trust in 2008. His previous positions include Senior Portfolio Manager for the Ascendant Structured Credit Opportunity Fund, Managing Director and Senior Portfolio Manager for the Black River Global Credit Fund, Vice President and Senior Trader for the Cargill Financial Markets Group, and Senior Corporate Bond Trader for American General Corporation. Mr. Maisel earned his B.A. from the University of Pittsburgh, and his M.Sc. from the University of Oxford. He is a member of the CFA Institute and the CFA Society of Chicago.
For additional information concerning First Trust, including a description of the services provided to the Fund, see the Fund’s SAI. Additional information about the portfolio managers’ compensation, other accounts managed by the portfolio managers and the portfolio managers’ ownership of securities in the Fund is provided in the SAI.
Management Fee
Pursuant to an investment management agreement between First Trust and the Trust, on behalf of the Fund (the "Investment Management Agreement"), First Trust manages the investment of the Fund’s assets. First Trust is paid an annual unitary management fee by the Fund equal to 0.45% of the Fund's average daily net assets and is responsible for the Fund’s expenses, including the cost of transfer agency, custody, fund administration, legal, audit and other services, but excluding fee payments under the Investment Management Agreement, interest, taxes, acquired fund fees and expenses, if any, brokerage commissions and other expenses connected with the execution of portfolio transactions, distribution and service fees pursuant to a Rule 12b-1 plan, if any, and extraordinary expenses.
Pursuant to a contractual agreement, First Trust has agreed to waive management fees of 0.05% of average daily net assets until March 1, 2020. This waiver agreement will continue until March 1, 2020, subject to termination by action of the Trust’s Board of Trustees at any time upon 60 days’ written notice by the Trust on behalf of the Fund or by First Trust only after March 1, 2020. The fee waiver agreement may be terminated by action of the Board of Trustees at any time upon 60 days’ written notice by the Trust, on behalf of the Fund, or by First Trust only after March 1, 2020. First Trust has committed to the fee waiver to respond to the current low interest rate environment and expects that the fee waiver will be appropriate until long term yields increase. First Trust anticipates that if the average yield over the prior 30-day period on the current one year U.S. Treasury Bond continues to exceed 1.50%, the fee waiver may not be continued past March 1, 2020. Pursuant to an additional contractual agreement between the Trust, on behalf of the Fund, and First Trust, the management fees paid to First Trust will be reduced by the portion of the management fees earned by First Trust from the Fund for assets invested in other investment companies advised by First Trust. This contractual agreement shall continue until the earlier of (i) its termination at the direction of the Board or (ii) upon the termination of the Fund’s management agreement with First Trust. However, it is expected to remain in place for no less than one year from the date of this prospectus.
A discussion regarding the Board’s approval of the continuation of the Investment Management Agreement is available in the Fund’s Annual Report to shareholders for the fiscal year ended October 31, 2018.
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How to Buy and Sell Shares
Most investors buy and sell shares of the Fund in secondary market transactions through brokers. Shares of the Fund are listed for trading 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 when buying shares on the Exchange. 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, investors should expect to incur customary brokerage commissions, investors may receive less than the net asset value of the shares because shares are bought and sold at market prices rather than at net asset value, and investors may pay some or all of the spread between the bid and the offer price in the secondary market on each leg of a round trip (purchase and sale) transaction. Share prices are reported in dollars and cents per share.
For purposes of the 1940 Act, the Fund is treated as a registered investment company, and, absent an available exemption or exemptive relief, the acquisition of shares by other registered investment companies and companies relying on Sections 3(c)(1) or 3(c)(7) of the 1940 Act is subject to the restrictions of Section 12(d)(1) of the 1940 Act. The Trust, on behalf of the Fund, has received an exemptive order from the Securities and Exchange Commission that permits certain registered investment companies to invest in the Fund beyond the limits set forth in Section 12(d)(1), subject to certain terms and conditions, including that any such investment companies enter into an agreement with the Fund regarding the terms of any investment.
Book Entry
Shares are held in book-entry form, which means that no share certificates are issued. The Depository Trust Company (“DTC”) or its nominee is the record owner of all outstanding shares of the Fund and is recognized as the owner of all shares for all purposes.
Investors owning shares are beneficial owners as shown on the records of DTC or its participants. DTC serves as the securities depository for all shares. Participants in DTC include securities brokers and dealers, banks, trust companies, clearing corporations and other institutions that directly or indirectly maintain a custodial relationship with DTC. As a beneficial owner of shares, you are not entitled to receive physical delivery of share certificates or to have shares registered in your name, and you are not considered a registered owner of shares. Therefore, to exercise any right as an owner of shares, you must rely upon the procedures of DTC and its participants. These procedures are the same as those that apply to any other stocks that you hold in book-entry or “street name” form.
Share Trading Prices
The trading price of shares of the Fund on the Exchange is based on market price and may differ from the Fund’s daily net asset value and can be affected by market forces of supply and demand, economic conditions and other factors.
Information regarding the intra-day value of the shares of the Fund, also referred to as the “indicative optimized portfolio value” (“IOPV”), is disseminated every 15 seconds throughout the Fund’s trading day by the national securities exchange on which the shares are listed or by market data vendors or other information providers. The IOPV is based on the current market value of the securities or other assets and/or cash required to be deposited in exchange for a Creation Unit and any expenses of the Fund. The IOPV does not necessarily reflect the precise composition of the current portfolio of securities or other assets held by the Fund at a particular point in time or the best possible valuation of the current portfolio. Therefore, the IOPV should not be viewed as a “real-time” update of the net asset value per share of the Fund because the IOPV may not be calculated in the same manner as the net asset value, which is computed once a day, generally at the end of the business day. The IOPV is generally determined by using current market quotations. The price of a non-U.S. security that is primarily traded on a non-U.S. exchange will be updated, using the last sale price, every 15 seconds throughout the trading day, provided that upon the closing of such non-U.S. exchange, the closing price of the security, after being converted to U.S. dollars, will be used. Furthermore, in calculating the IOPV of the Fund’s shares, exchange rates may be used throughout the day (9:00 a.m. to 4:15 p.m., Eastern Time) that may differ from those used to calculate the net asset value per share of the Fund and consequently may result in differences between the net asset value and the IOPV. The Fund is not involved in, or responsible for, the calculation or dissemination of the IOPV of shares of the Fund and the Fund does not make any warranty as to its accuracy.
Frequent Purchases and Redemptions of the Fund's Shares
The Fund imposes no restrictions on the frequency of purchases and redemptions (“market timing”). In determining not to approve a written, established policy, the Board evaluated the risks of market timing activities by the Fund's shareholders.
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The Board considered that the Fund's shares can only be purchased and redeemed directly from the Fund in Creation Units by broker-dealers and large institutional investors that have entered into participation agreements (i.e., authorized participants (“APs”)) and that the vast majority of trading in the Fund's shares occurs on the secondary market. Because the secondary market trades do not involve the Fund directly, it is unlikely those trades would cause many of the harmful effects of market timing, including dilution, disruption of portfolio management, increases in the Fund's trading costs and the realization of capital gains. With respect to trades directly with the Fund, to the extent effected in-kind (i.e., for securities), those trades do not cause any of the harmful effects that may result from frequent cash trades. To the extent that the Fund may effect the purchase or redemption of Creation Units in exchange wholly or partially for cash, the Board noted that such trades could result in dilution to the Fund and increased transaction costs, which could negatively impact the Fund's ability to achieve its investment objective. However, the Board noted that direct trading by APs is critical to ensuring that the shares trade at or close to net asset value. In addition, the Fund imposes fixed and variable transaction fees on purchases and redemptions of Creation Units to cover the custodial and other costs incurred by the Fund in effecting trades. Finally, the Advisor monitors purchase and redemption orders from APs for patterns of abusive trading and the Fund reserves the right to not accept orders from APs that the Advisor has determined may be disruptive to the management of the Fund, or otherwise not in the Fund's best interests.
Dividends, Distributions and Taxes
Dividends from net investment income, if any, are declared and paid monthly by the Fund. The Fund distributes its net realized capital gains, if any, to shareholders at least annually.
Distributions in cash may be reinvested automatically in additional whole shares only if the broker through whom you purchased shares makes such option available. Such shares will generally be reinvested by the broker based upon the market price of those shares and investors may be subject to customary brokerage commissions charged by the broker.
Federal Tax Matters
This section summarizes some of the main U.S. federal income tax consequences of owning shares of the Fund. This section is current as of the date of this prospectus. Tax laws and interpretations change frequently, and these summaries do not describe all of the tax consequences to all taxpayers. For example, these summaries generally do not describe your situation if you are a corporation, a non-U.S. person, a broker-dealer, or other investor with special circumstances. In addition, this section does not describe your state, local or non-U.S. tax consequences.
This federal income tax summary is based in part on the advice of counsel to the Fund. The Internal Revenue Service could disagree with any conclusions set forth in this section. In addition, counsel to the Fund was not asked to review, and has not reached a conclusion with respect to, the federal income tax treatment of the assets to be included in the Fund. This may not be sufficient for you to use for the purpose of avoiding penalties under federal tax law.
As with any investment, you should seek advice based on your individual circumstances from your own tax advisor.
Fund Status
The Fund intends to continue to qualify or qualify as a “regulated investment company” under the federal tax laws. If the Fund qualifies as a regulated investment company and distributes its income as required by the tax law, the Fund generally will not pay federal income taxes.
Distributions
The Fund’s distributions are generally taxable. After the end of each year, you will receive a tax statement that separates the distributions of the Fund into two categories, ordinary income distributions and capital gain dividends. Ordinary income distributions are generally taxed at your ordinary tax rate, however, as further discussed below, certain ordinary income distributions received from the Fund may be taxed at the capital gains tax rates. Generally, you will treat all capital gain dividends as long-term capital gains regardless of how long you have owned your shares. To determine your actual tax liability for your capital gain dividends, you must calculate your total net capital gain or loss for the tax year after considering all of your other taxable transactions, as described below. In addition, the Fund may make distributions that represent a return of capital for tax purposes and thus will generally not be taxable to you; however, such distributions may reduce your tax basis in your shares, which could result in you having to pay higher taxes in the future when shares are sold, even if you sell the shares at a loss from your original investment. The tax status of your distributions from the Fund is not affected by whether you reinvest your distributions in additional shares or receive them in cash. The income from the Fund that you must take into account for federal
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income tax purposes is not reduced by amounts used to pay a deferred sales fee, if any. The tax laws may require you to treat distributions made to you in January as if you had received them on December 31 of the previous year.
Income from the Fund may also be subject to a 3.8% “Medicare tax.” This tax generally applies to your net investment income if your adjusted gross income exceeds certain threshold amounts, which are $250,000 in the case of married couples filing joint returns and $200,000 in the case of single individuals.
Dividends Received Deduction
A corporation that owns shares generally will not be entitled to the dividends received deduction with respect to dividends received from the Fund because the dividends received deduction is generally not available for distributions from regulated investment companies. However, certain ordinary income dividends on shares that are attributable to qualifying dividends received by the Fund from certain corporations may be reported by the Fund as being eligible for the dividends received deduction.
Capital Gains and Losses and Certain Ordinary Income Dividends
If you are an individual, the maximum marginal stated federal tax rate for net capital gain is generally 20% (15% or 0% for taxpayers with taxable incomes below certain thresholds). Some portion of your capital gain dividends may be taxed at a higher maximum stated tax rate. Capital gains may also be subject to the Medicare tax described above.
Net capital gain equals net long-term capital gain minus net short-term capital loss for the taxable year. Capital gain or loss is long-term if the holding period for the asset is more than one year and is short-term if the holding period for the asset is one year or less. You must exclude the date you purchase your share to determine your holding period. However, if you receive a capital gain dividend from the Fund and sell your share at a loss after holding it for six months or less, the loss will be recharacterized as long-term capital loss to the extent of the capital gain dividend received. The tax rates for capital gains realized from assets held for one year or less are generally the same as for ordinary income. The Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, treats certain capital gains as ordinary income in special situations.
Ordinary income dividends received by an individual shareholder from a regulated investment company such as the Fund are generally taxed at the same rates that apply to net capital gain (as discussed above), provided certain holding period requirements are satisfied and provided the dividends are attributable to qualifying dividends received by the Fund itself. The Fund will provide notice to its shareholders of the amount of any distribution which may be taken into account as a dividend which is eligible for the capital gains tax rates.
Sale of Shares
If you sell or redeem your shares, you will generally recognize a taxable gain or loss. To determine the amount of this gain or loss, you must subtract your tax basis in your shares from the amount you receive in the transaction. Your tax basis in your shares is generally equal to the cost of your shares, generally including sales charges. In some cases, however, you may have to adjust your tax basis after you purchase your shares.
Taxes on Purchase and Redemption of Creation Units
If you exchange securities for Creation Units you will generally recognize a gain or a loss. The gain or loss will be equal to the difference between the market value of the Creation Units at the time and your aggregate basis in the securities surrendered and the cash component paid. If you exchange Creation Units for securities, you will generally recognize a gain or loss equal to the difference between your basis in the Creation Units and the aggregate market value of the securities received and the Cash Redemption Amount. The Internal Revenue Service, however, may assert that a loss realized upon an exchange of securities for Creation Units or Creation Units for securities cannot be deducted currently under the rules governing “wash sales,” or on the basis that there has been no significant change in economic position.
Treatment of Fund Expenses
Expenses incurred and deducted by the Fund will generally not be treated as income taxable to you.
Non-U.S. Tax Credit
Because the Fund may invest in non-U.S. securities, the tax statement that you receive may include an item showing non-U.S. taxes the Fund paid to other countries. In this case, dividends taxed to you will include your share of the taxes the Fund paid to other countries. You may be able to deduct or receive a tax credit for your share of these taxes.
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Non-U.S. Investors
If you are a non-U.S. investor (i.e., an investor other than a U.S. citizen or resident or a U.S. corporation, partnership, estate or trust), you should be aware that, generally, subject to applicable tax treaties, distributions from the Fund will be characterized as dividends for federal income tax purposes (other than dividends which the Fund properly reports as capital gain dividends) and will be subject to U.S. federal income taxes, including withholding taxes, subject to certain exceptions described below. However, distributions received by a non-U.S. investor from the Fund that are properly reported by the Fund as capital gain dividends may not be subject to U.S. federal income taxes, including withholding taxes, provided that the Fund makes certain elections and certain other conditions are met. Distributions from the Fund that are properly reported by the Fund as an interest-related dividend attributable to certain interest income received by the Fund or as a short-term capital gain dividend attributable to certain net short-term capital gain income received by the Fund may not be subject to U.S. federal income taxes, including withholding taxes when received by certain non-U.S. investors, provided that the Fund makes certain elections and certain other conditions are met.
Distributions may be subject to a U.S. withholding tax of 30% in the case of distributions to (i) certain non-U.S. financial institutions that have not entered into an agreement with the U.S. Treasury to collect and disclose certain information and are not resident in a jurisdiction that has entered into such an agreement with the U.S. Treasury and (ii) certain other non-U.S. entities that do not provide certain certifications and information about the entity’s U.S. owners. Disposition of shares by such persons may be subject to such withholding after December 31, 2018, although proposed regulations may eliminate this withholding obligation.
Investments in Certain Non-U.S. Corporations
If the Fund holds an equity interest in any PFICs, which are generally certain non-U.S. corporations that receive at least 75% of their annual gross income from passive sources (such as interest, dividends, certain rents and royalties or capital gains) or that hold at least 50% of their assets in investments producing such passive income, the Fund could be subject to U.S. federal income tax and additional interest charges on gains and certain distributions with respect to those equity interests, even if all the income or gain is timely distributed to its shareholders. The Fund will not be able to pass through to its shareholders any credit or deduction for such taxes. The Fund may be able to make an election that could ameliorate these adverse tax consequences. In this case, the Fund would recognize as ordinary income any increase in the value of such PFIC shares, and as ordinary loss any decrease in such value to the extent it did not exceed prior increases included in income. Under this election, the Fund might be required to recognize in a year income in excess of its distributions from PFICs and its proceeds from dispositions of PFIC stock during that year, and such income would nevertheless be subject to the distribution requirement and would be taken into account for purposes of the 4% excise tax. Dividends paid by PFICs are not treated as qualified dividend income.
Distribution Plan
FTP serves as the distributor of Creation Units for the Fund on an agency basis. FTP does not maintain a secondary market in shares.
The Board has adopted a Distribution and Service Plan pursuant to Rule 12b-1 under the 1940 Act. In accordance with the Rule 12b-1 plan, the Fund is authorized to pay an amount up to 0.25% of its average daily net assets each year to reimburse FTP for amounts expended to finance activities primarily intended to result in the sale of Creation Units or the provision of investor services. FTP may also use this amount to compensate securities dealers or other persons that are APs for providing distribution assistance, including broker-dealer and shareholder support and educational and promotional services.
The Fund does not currently pay 12b-1 fees, and pursuant to a contractual arrangement, the Fund will not pay 12b-1 fees any time before March 31, 2020. However, in the event 12b-1 fees are charged in the future, because these fees are paid out of the Fund's assets, over time these fees will increase the cost of your investment and may cost you more than certain other types of sales charges.
Net Asset Value
The Fund's net asset value is determined as of the close of trading (normally 4:00 p.m., Eastern Time) on each day the New York Stock Exchange is open for business. Net asset value is calculated for the Fund by taking the market price of the Fund’s total assets, including interest or dividends accrued but not yet collected, less all liabilities , and dividing such amount by the
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total number of shares outstanding. The result, rounded to the nearest cent, is the net asset value per share. All valuations are subject to review by the Board or its delegate.
The Fund’s investments are valued daily in accordance with valuation procedures adopted by the Board, and in accordance with provisions of the 1940 Act. Certain securities in which the Fund may invest are not listed on any securities exchange or board of trade. Such securities are typically bought and sold by institutional investors in individually negotiated private transactions that function in many respects like an over the counter secondary market, although typically no formal market makers exist. Certain securities, particularly debt securities, have few or no trades, or trade infrequently, and information regarding a specific security may not be widely available or may be incomplete. Accordingly, determinations of the fair value of debt securities may be based on infrequent and dated information. Because there is less reliable, objective data available, elements of judgment may play a greater role in valuation of debt securities than for other types of securities. Typically, debt securities are valued using information provided by a third-party pricing service. The third-party pricing service primarily uses broker quotes to value the securities.
The Fund's investments are valued daily at market value or, in the absence of market value with respect to any portfolio securities, at fair value, in accordance with valuation procedures adopted by the Board and in accordance with the 1940 Act. Portfolio securities listed on any exchange other than Nasdaq and the London Stock Exchange Alternative Investment Market (“AIM”) are valued at the last sale price on the business day as of which such value is being determined. Securities listed on Nasdaq or the AIM are valued at the official closing price on the business day as of which such value is being determined. If there has been no sale on such day, or no official closing price in the case of securities traded on Nasdaq or the AIM, the securities are fair valued at the mean of the most recent bid and ask prices on such day. Portfolio securities traded on more than one securities exchange are valued at the last sale price or official closing price, as applicable, on the business day as of which such value is being determined at the close of the exchange representing the principal market for such securities. Portfolio securities traded in the over-the-counter market, but excluding securities trading on Nasdaq or the AIM, are fair valued at the mean of the most recent bid and asked price, if available, and otherwise at the closing bid price. Short-term investments that mature in less than 60 days when purchased are fair valued at cost adjusted for amortization of premiums and accretion of discount, provided the Advisor’s Pricing Committee has determined that the use of amortized cost is an appropriate reflection of fair value given market and issuer-specific conditions existing at the time of determination. Net asset value may change on days when investors may not sell or redeem Fund shares.
Mortgage-related debt securities and other mortgage-related instruments ("Mortgage-Related Investments") will generally be valued by using a third-party pricing service. If a pricing service does not cover a particular Mortgage-Related Investment, or discontinues covering a Mortgage-Related Investment, the security will be priced using a broker quote. To derive values, pricing services and broker-dealers may use matrix pricing and valuation models, as well as recent market transactions for the same or similar assets. Occasionally, the Advisor’s pricing committee (the "Pricing Committee") may determine that a pricing service price does not represent an accurate value of a Mortgage-Related Investment, based on the broker quote it receives, a recent trade in the security by the Fund, information from a portfolio manager, or other market information. In the event that the Pricing Committee determines that the pricing service price is unreliable or inaccurate based on such other information, the broker quote may be used. Additionally, if the Pricing Committee determines that the price of a Mortgage-Related Investment obtained from a pricing service and the available broker quote is unreliable or inaccurate due to market conditions or other reasons, or if a pricing service price or broker quote is unavailable, the security will be valued using fair value pricing, as described below.
Loans in which the Fund invests are not listed on any securities exchange or board of trade. Loans are typically bought and sold by institutional investors in individually negotiated private transactions that function in many respects like an over-the-counter secondary market, although typically no formal market-makers exist. This market, while having grown substantially since its inception, generally has fewer trades and less liquidity than the secondary market for other types of securities. Some loans have few or no trades, or trade infrequently, and information regarding a specific loan may not be widely available or may be incomplete. Accordingly, determinations of the market value of loans may be based on infrequent and dated information. Because there is less reliable, objective data available, elements of judgment may play a greater role in valuation of loans than for other types of securities. Typically, loans are fair valued using information provided by a third-party pricing service. The third-party pricing service primarily uses over-the-counter pricing from dealer runs and broker quotes from indicative sheets to value the loans.
Certain securities may not be able to be priced by pre-established pricing methods. Such securities may be valued by the Board or its delegate, the Advisor’s Pricing Committee, at fair value. The use of fair value pricing by the Fund is governed by valuation procedures adopted by the Board and in accordance with the provisions of the 1940 Act. These securities generally include,
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but are not limited to, certain restricted securities (securities which may not be publicly sold without registration under the Securities Act) for which a pricing service is unable to provide a market price; securities whose trading has been formally suspended; a security whose market or fair value price is not available from a pre-established pricing source; a security with respect to which an event has occurred that is likely to materially affect the value of the security after the market has closed but before the calculation of the Fund's net asset value or make it difficult or impossible to obtain a reliable market quotation; and a security whose price, as provided by the pricing service, does not reflect the security’s fair value. As a general principle, the current fair value of a security would appear to be the amount which the owner might reasonably expect to receive for the security upon its current sale. When fair value prices are used, generally they will differ from the current market valuations. See the Fund's SAI for details.
Because foreign securities exchanges may be open on different days than the days during which an investor may purchase or sell shares of the Fund, the value of the Fund's securities may change on days when investors are not able to purchase or sell shares of the Fund. The value of securities denominated in foreign currencies is converted into U.S. dollars at the exchange rates in effect at the time of valuation.
Fund Service Providers
The Bank of New York Mellon, 240 Greenwich Street, New York, New York 10286, acts as the administrator, custodian and fund accounting and transfer agent for the Fund. Chapman and Cutler LLP, 111 West Monroe Street, Chicago, Illinois 60603, serves as legal counsel to the Fund.
Premium/Discount Information
The tables that follow present information about the differences between the Fund’s daily market price on the Exchange and its net asset value. The “Market Price” of the Fund generally is determined using the midpoint between the highest bid and lowest offer on the Exchange, as of the time the Fund’s net asset value is calculated. The Fund’s Market Price may be at, above, or below its net asset value. The net asset value of the Fund will fluctuate with changes in the market value of its portfolio holdings. The Market Price of the Fund will fluctuate in accordance with changes in its net asset value, as well as market supply and demand.
Premiums or discounts are the differences (generally expressed as a percentage) between the net asset value and Market Price of the Fund on a given day, generally at the time net asset value is calculated. A premium is the amount that the Fund is trading above the reported net asset value. A discount is the amount that the Fund is trading below the reported net asset value.
The following information shows the frequency distribution of premiums and discounts of the daily bid/ask price of the Fund against its net asset value. The information shown for the Fund is for the periods indicated. Shareholders may pay more than net asset value when they buy Fund shares and receive less than net asset value when they sell those shares because shares are bought and sold at current market price. All data presented here represents past performance, which cannot be used to predict future results. Information about the premiums and discounts at which the Fund's shares have traded is available on the Fund's website at www.ftportfolios.com.
First Trust Enhanced Short Maturity ETF (FTSM)
Bid/Ask Midpoint vs. Net Asset Value
Number of Days Bid/Ask Midpoint At/Above Net Asset Value
  0.00%0.49% 0.50%0.99% 1.00%1.99% >=2.00%
12 Months Ended 12/31/2018 182 0 0 0
Number of Days Bid/Ask Midpoint Below Net Asset Value
  0.00%0.49% 0.50%0.99% 1.00%1.99% >=2.00%
12 Months Ended 12/31/2018 69 0 0 0
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Total Return Information
The table below compares the total return of the Fund to a market index. The information presented for the Fund is for the period indicated.
“Average annual total returns” represent the average annual change in the value of an investment over the period indicated. “Cumulative total returns” represent the total change in value of an investment over the period indicated. The return information shown under “Annual Total Return” in the Fund’s summary prospectus represents the average annual total returns of the Fund as of the calendar year end, while the information presented below is as of the Fund’s fiscal year end. The net asset value per share of the Fund is the value of one share of the Fund and is computed by dividing the value of all assets of the Fund (including accrued interest and dividends), less liabilities (including accrued expenses and dividends declared but unpaid), by the total number of outstanding shares. The net asset value return is based on the net asset value per share of the Fund and the market return is based on the market price per share of the Fund. The price used to calculate market return (“Market Price”) generally is determined by using the midpoint between the highest bid and the lowest offer on the Exchange on which the shares of the Fund are listed for trading, as of the time that the Fund's net asset value is calculated. Since the shares of the Fund typically do not trade in the secondary market until several days after the Fund's inception, for the period from inception to the first day of secondary market trading in shares of the Fund, the net asset value of the Fund is used as a proxy for the secondary market trading price to calculate market returns. Market and net asset value returns assume that all distributions have been reinvested in the Fund at Market Price and net asset value, respectively. An index is a statistical composite that tracks a specified financial market or sector. Unlike the Fund, an index does not actually hold a portfolio of securities and therefore does not incur the expenses incurred by the Fund. These expenses negatively impact the performance of the Fund. Also, market returns do not include brokerage commissions that may be payable on secondary market transactions. If brokerage commissions were included, market returns would be lower. The total returns reflect the reinvestment of dividends on securities in the index. The returns shown in the table below do not reflect the deduction of taxes that a shareholder would pay on Fund distributions or the redemption or sale of shares of the Fund. The investment return and principal value of shares of the Fund will vary with changes in market conditions. Shares of the Fund may be worth more or less than their original cost when they are redeemed or sold in the market. The Fund's past performance is no guarantee of future results.
First Trust Enhanced Short Maturity ETF (FTSM)
Total Returns as of October 31, 2018
    Average Annual   Cumulative
  1 Year Inception
(8/5/2014)
  Inception
(8/5/2014)
Fund Performance        
Net Asset Value 1.92% 1.13%   4.87%
Market Price 1.93% 1.13%   4.88%
Index Performance        
ICE BofAML 0-1 Year U.S. Treasury Index 1.62% 0.73%   3.11%
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Financial Highlights
The financial highlights table is intended to help you understand the Fund's financial performance for the periods shown. Certain information reflects financial results for a single share of the Fund. The total returns represent the rate that an investor would have earned (or lost) on an investment in the Fund (assuming reinvestment of all dividends and distributions). The information for the periods indicated has been derived from financial statements audited by Deloitte & Touche LLP, whose report, along with the Fund's financial statements, is included in the Annual Report to Shareholders dated October 31, 2018 and is incorporated by reference in the Fund's SAI, which is available upon request.
First Trust Exchange-Traded Fund IV
Financial Highlights
For a share outstanding throughout each period
First Trust Enhanced Short Maturity ETF (FTSM)
  Year Ended October 31, Period
Ended
10/31/2014 (a) (b)
  2018 2017 2016 2015
Net asset value, beginning of period $60.02 $59.93 $59.94 $60.04 $60.00
Income from investment operations:          
Net investment income (loss) 1.15 0.76 0.47 0.43 0.06
Net realized and unrealized gain (loss) (0.01) 0.12 0.09 (0.26) 0.04
Total from investment operations 1.14 0.88 0.56 0.17 0.10
Distributions paid to shareholders from:          
Net investment income (1.19) (0.79) (0.57) (0.27) (0.06)
Return of Capital (0.00)(c)
Total Distributions (1.19) (0.79) (0.57) (0.27) (0.06)
Net asset value, end of period $59.97 $60.02 $59.93 $59.94 $60.04
Total Return (d) 1.92% 1.48% 0.94% 0.29% 0.16%
Ratios/supplemental data:          
Net assets, end of period (in 000’s) $3,070,454 $1,158,324 $458,413 $149,829 $567,353
Ratios to average net assets:          
Ratio of total expenses to average net assets 0.45% 0.45% 0.45% 0.45% 0.45%(e)
Ratio of net expenses to average net assets 0.33% 0.25% 0.25% 0.23% 0.26%(e)
Ratio of net investment income (loss) to average net assets 2.04% 1.33% 1.06% 0.51% 0.64%(e)
Portfolio turnover rate (f) 45% 56% 115% 406% 0%
(a) Inception date is August 5, 2014, which is consistent with the commencement of investment operations and is the date the initial creation units were established.
(b) All per share amounts and net asset values have been adjusted to reflect the impact of the 1-for-2 reverse share split on November 10, 2014. The net asset value reported on October 31, 2014 prior to the reverse share split restatement was $30.02.
(c) Amount represents less than $0.01 per share.
(d) Total return is calculated assuming an initial investment made at the net asset value at the beginning of the period, reinvestment of all distributions at net asset value during the period, and redemption at net asset value on the last day of the period. The returns presented do not reflect the deduction of taxes that a shareholder would pay on Fund distributions or the redemption or sale of Fund shares. Total return is calculated for the time period presented and is not annualized for periods of less than a year. The total returns would have been lower if certain fees had not been waived by the investment advisor.
(e) Annualized.
(f) Portfolio turnover is calculated for the time period presented and is not annualized for periods of less than a year and does not include securities received or delivered from processing creations or redemptions and in-kind transactions.
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Other Information
Continuous Offering
The Fund will issue, on a continuous offering basis, its shares in one or more groups of a fixed number of Fund shares (each such group of such specified number of individual Fund shares, a “Creation Unit Aggregation”). The method by which Creation Unit Aggregations of Fund shares are created and traded may raise certain issues under applicable securities laws. Because new Creation Unit Aggregations of shares are issued and sold by the Fund on an ongoing basis, a “distribution,” as such term is used in the Securities Act, may occur at any point. Broker-dealers and other persons are cautioned that some activities on their part may, depending on the circumstances, result in their being deemed participants in a distribution in a manner which could render them statutory underwriters and subject them to the prospectus delivery requirement and liability provisions of the Securities Act.
For example, a broker-dealer firm or its client may be deemed a statutory underwriter if it takes Creation Unit Aggregations after placing an order with FTP, breaks them down into constituent shares and sells such shares directly to customers, or if it chooses to couple the creation of a supply of new shares with an active selling effort involving solicitation of secondary market demand for shares. A determination of whether one is an underwriter for purposes of the Securities Act must take into account all the facts and circumstances pertaining to the activities of the broker-dealer or its client in the particular case, and the examples mentioned above should not be considered a complete description of all the activities that could lead to a characterization as an underwriter.
Broker-dealer firms should also note that dealers who are not “underwriters” but are effecting transactions in shares, whether or not participating in the distribution of shares, are generally required to deliver a prospectus. This is because the prospectus delivery exemption in Section 4(a)(3) of the Securities Act is not available in respect of such transactions as a result of Section 24(d) of the 1940 Act. As a result, broker-dealer firms should note that dealers who are not underwriters but are participating in a distribution (as contrasted with ordinary secondary market transactions) and thus dealing with the shares that are part of an overallotment within the meaning of Section 4(a)(3)(C) of the Securities Act would be unable to take advantage of the prospectus delivery exemption provided by Section 4(a)(3) of the Securities Act. Firms that incur a prospectus delivery obligation with respect to shares are reminded that, under the Securities Act Rule 153, a prospectus delivery obligation under Section 5(b)(2) of the Securities Act owed to a broker-dealer in connection with a sale on the Exchange is satisfied by the fact that the prospectus is available from the Exchange upon request. The prospectus delivery mechanism provided in Rule 153 is available with respect to transactions on a national securities exchange, a trading facility or an alternative trading system.
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First Trust
Exchange-Traded Fund IV

First Trust Enhanced Short Maturity ETF
For More Information
For more detailed information on the Fund, several additional sources of information are available to you. The SAI, incorporated by reference into this prospectus, contains detailed information on the Fund's policies and operation. Additional information about the Fund's investments is available in the annual and semi-annual reports to shareholders. In the Fund's annual report, you will find a discussion of the market conditions and investment strategies that significantly impacted the Fund's performance during the last fiscal year. The Fund's most recent SAI, annual and semi-annual reports and certain other information are available free of charge by calling the Fund at (800) 621-1675, on the Fund's website at www.ftportfolios.com or through your financial advisor. Shareholders may call the toll-free number above with any inquiries.
You may obtain this and other information regarding the Fund, including the SAI and the Codes of Ethics adopted by First Trust, FTP and the Trust, directly from the Securities and Exchange Commission (the "SEC"). Information on the SEC’s website is free of charge. Visit the SEC’s online EDGAR database at www.sec.gov or in person at the SEC’s Public Reference Room in Washington, D.C., or call the SEC at (202) 551-8090 for information on the Public Reference Room. You may also request information regarding the Fund by sending a request (along with a duplication fee) to the SEC’s Public Reference Section, 100 F Street, N.E., Washington, D.C. 20549-1520 or by sending an electronic request to publicinfo@sec.gov.
First Trust Advisors L.P.
120 East Liberty Drive, Suite 400
Wheaton, Illinois 60187
(800) 621-1675
www.ftportfolios.com
SEC File #: 333-174332
811-22559

 


 

First Trust
Exchange-Traded Fund IV

Prospectus
First Trust Heitman Global Prime Real Estate ETF
Ticker Symbol: PRME
Exchange: NYSE Arca
First Trust Heitman Global Prime Real Estate ETF (the “Fund”) lists and principally trades its shares on NYSE Arca, Inc. (“NYSE Arca” or the “Exchange”). Market prices may differ to some degree from the net asset value of the shares. Unlike mutual funds, the Fund issues and redeems shares at net asset value, only in large specified blocks each consisting of 50,000 shares (each such block of shares called a “Creation Unit, and collectively, the “Creation Units”). The Fund’s Creation Units are generally issued and redeemed in-kind for securities in which the Fund invests and, in certain circumstances, for cash, and only to and from broker-dealers and large institutional investors that have entered into participation agreements.
The Fund is a series of First Trust Exchange-Traded Fund IV (the “Trust”) and an actively managed exchange-traded fund organized as a separate series of a registered management investment company.
Except when aggregated in Creation Units, the shares are not redeemable securities of the Fund.
The Securities and Exchange Commission has not approved or disapproved of these securities or passed upon the adequacy or accuracy of this prospectus. Any representation to the contrary is a criminal offense.
NOT FDIC INSURED    MAY LOSE VALUE    NO BANK GUARANTEE
March 1, 2019


Summary Information
Investment Objectives
The First Trust Heitman Global Prime Real Estate ETF's (the "Fund") investment objective is to provide long-term total return.
Fees and Expenses of the Fund
The following table describes the fees and expenses you may pay if you buy and hold shares of the Fund. Investors purchasing and selling shares may be subject to costs (including customary brokerage commissions) charged by their broker, which are not reflected in the table below.
Shareholder Fees
(fees paid directly from your investment)
Maximum Sales Charge (Load) Imposed on Purchases (as a percentage of offering price) None
    
Annual Fund Operating Expenses
(expenses that you pay each year as a percentage of the value of your investment)
Management Fees 0.95%
Distribution and Service (12b-1) Fees 0.00%
Other Expenses 0.00%
Total Annual Fund Operating Expenses 0.95%
Example
The example below is intended to help you compare the cost of investing in the Fund with the cost of investing in other funds. This example does not take into account customary brokerage commissions that you pay when purchasing or selling shares of the Fund in the secondary market.
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 remain at current levels. Although your actual costs may be higher or lower, based on these assumptions your costs would be:
1 Year 3 Years 5 Years 10 Years
$97 $303 $525 $1,166
Portfolio Turnover
The Fund pays transaction costs, such as commissions, when it buys and sells securities (or “turns over” its portfolio). A higher portfolio turnover rate may indicate higher transaction costs and may result in higher taxes when Fund shares are held in a taxable account. These costs, which are not reflected in annual fund operating expenses or in the example, affect the Fund’s performance. During the most recent fiscal year, the Fund’s portfolio turnover rate was 85% of the average value of its portfolio.
Principal Investment Strategies
Under normal market conditions, the Fund will seek to achieve its investment objective by investing at least 80% of its net assets (including investment borrowings) in U.S. and non-U.S. exchange-traded real estate securities, which includes real estate investment trusts (“REITs”), real estate operating companies (“REOCs”) and common stocks or depositary receipts of companies primarily engaged in the real estate industry (collectively, “Real Estate Securities”). Accordingly, the Fund is concentrated in REITs and/or real estate management and development companies (including REOCs), sub-industries of the real estate industry group. Real estate management and development companies generally derive at least 50% of their revenue from, or have at least 50% of their assets invested in, real estate, including the ownership, construction, management, or sale of real estate. The Fund will not invest directly in real estate.
The Fund seeks to provide investors access to a real estate securities portfolio consisting of shares of public companies with professional management teams that own top-tier, prime properties in the world’s dominant cities. “Prime” markets and cities are some of the world’s top cities which are recognized as “global gateway” markets that benefit from global physical and/or financial trade, have high barriers to entry, dominate their regions or countries, or provide high value niche goods and services. The key factors are location, physical specification, sustainability, tenant quality, and income stability. In practice, prime assets
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are also ones that are competitively sought after and command high values in both absolute and relative terms, resulting in relatively low cap rates.
The Fund’s portfolio managers will select Real Estate Securities by implementing an investment process that is outlined below:
As a first screen, all securities in the Global Industry Classification Standard (GICS®) real estate industry are filtered for size and liquidity, based upon free float market capitalization for size and a threshold daily trading volumes for liquidity. The purpose of these quantitative screens is to ensure that the investment strategy can be executed in a buy and hold manner without undue stress.
In the second stage, screening is conducted using a combination of qualitative and quantitative tools. From a qualitative perspective, portfolio analysts maintain a close coverage universe and are in regular contact with the management of potential Real Estate Securities issuers, regularly visiting properties and markets to see as many of the properties in person as is reasonably possible. In addition to their own research, the analysts have access to other property experts and sell-side professionals within their organizations who also evaluate their companies. The task of the analysts is to identify those companies that meet the test of two quantitative filters. The issuers in which the Fund invests must generally have (1) more than 75% of their gross asset value in prime markets and (2) more than 50% of their assets under management in prime assets.
Executing the quantitative and qualitative screens produces a universe of companies that meet the size, liquidity, and concentration in prime markets and assets tests. From this universe of prime assets and markets, the portfolio managers’ regional teams construct a high conviction portfolio that, in the opinion of the portfolio managers, offers the best expected risk/return profile of the names within the prime universe. Consideration for inclusion in the portfolio includes the issuer’s balance sheet, assessment of management’s acumen and the projected long-term growth profile of the company.
The Fund invests in REITs and REOCs, companies that own and often manage income-generating real estate. REITs distribute most of their income to investors and therefore receive special tax considerations and are typically a highly liquid method of investing in real estate. REOCs, on the other hand, reinvest most income into their operations and therefore do not get the same benefits of lower corporate taxation that are a common characteristic of REITs.
The Fund typically invests in 25 to 100 Real Estate Securities issued by small, mid and large capitalization companies. The Fund invests in securities of issuers domiciled or operating in Asia and Europe, as well as other non-U.S. issuers, including those in emerging market countries. The Fund intends to invest at least 40% of its net assets in securities of non-U.S. issuers and in issuers domiciled or operating in at least three different countries.
The Fund is classified as “non-diversified” under the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended (the “1940 Act”) and as a result may invest a relatively high percentage of its assets in a limited number of issuers. The Fund is only limited as to the percentage of its assets which may be invested in the securities of any one issuer by diversification requirements imposed by the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended. As of January 31, 2019, the Fund had significant investments in real estate companies.
Principal Risks
You could lose money by investing in the Fund. An investment in the Fund is not a deposit of a bank and is not insured or guaranteed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation or any other governmental agency. There can be no assurance that the Fund’s investment objective will be achieved.
AUTHORIZED PARTICIPANT CONCENTRATION RISK. Only an authorized participant may engage in creation or redemption transactions directly with the Fund. A limited number of institutions act as authorized participants for the Fund. To the extent that these institutions exit the business or are unable to proceed with creation and/or redemption orders and no other authorized participant steps forward to create or redeem, the Fund’s shares may trade at a premium or discount to the Fund’s net asset value and possibly face delisting.
CONCENTRATION RISK. To the extent that the Fund invests a large percentage of its assets in a single asset class or the securities of issuers within the same country, state, region, industry or sector, an adverse economic, business or political development may affect the value of the Fund’s investments more than if the Fund were more broadly diversified. A concentration makes the Fund more susceptible to any single occurrence and may subject the Fund to greater market risk than a fund that is not so concentrated.
CURRENCY RISK. Changes in currency exchange rates affect the value of investments denominated in a foreign currency, and therefore the value of such investments in the Fund’s portfolio. The Fund’s net asset value could decline if a currency to
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which the Fund has exposure depreciates against the U.S. dollar or if there are delays or limits on repatriation of such currency. Currency exchange rates can be very volatile and can change quickly and unpredictably. As a result, the value of an investment in the Fund may change quickly and without warning.
CYBER SECURITY RISK. The Fund is susceptible to operational risks through breaches in cyber security. A breach in cyber security refers to both intentional and unintentional events that may cause the Fund to lose proprietary information, suffer data corruption or lose operational capacity. Such events could cause the Fund to incur regulatory penalties, reputational damage, additional compliance costs associated with corrective measures and/or financial loss. Cyber security breaches may involve unauthorized access to the Fund’s digital information systems through “hacking” or malicious software coding but may also result from outside attacks such as denial-of-service attacks through efforts to make network services unavailable to intended users. In addition, cyber security breaches of the securities issuers or the Fund’s third-party service providers, such as its administrator, transfer agent, custodian, or sub-advisor, as applicable, or issuers in which the Fund invests, can also subject the Fund to many of the same risks associated with direct cyber security breaches. Although the Fund has established risk management systems designed to reduce the risks associated with cyber security, there is no guarantee that such efforts will succeed, especially because the Fund does not directly control the cyber security systems of issuers or third-party service providers.
DEPOSITARY RECEIPTS RISK. Depositary receipts may be less liquid than the underlying shares in their primary trading market. Any distributions paid to the holders of depositary receipts are usually subject to a fee charged by the depositary. Holders of depositary receipts may have limited voting rights, and investment restrictions in certain countries may adversely impact the value of depositary receipts because such restrictions may limit the ability to convert the equity shares into depositary receipts and vice versa. Such restrictions may cause the equity shares of the underlying issuer to trade at a discount or premium to the market price of the depositary receipts.
EMERGING MARKETS RISK. Investments in securities issued by companies operating in emerging market countries involve additional risks relating to political, economic, or regulatory conditions not associated with investments in securities and instruments issued by U.S. companies or by companies operating in other developed market countries. Investments in emerging markets securities are generally considered speculative in nature and are subject to the following heightened risks: smaller market capitalization of securities markets which may suffer periods of relative illiquidity; significant price volatility; restrictions on foreign investment; possible repatriation of investment income and capital; rapid inflation; and currency convertibility issues. Emerging market countries also often have less uniformity in accounting and reporting requirements, unsettled securities laws, unreliable securities valuation and greater risk associated with custody of securities. Furthermore, investors may be required to register the proceeds of sales and future economic or political crises could lead to price controls, forced mergers, expropriation or confiscatory taxation, seizure, nationalization or creation of government monopolies.
EQUITY SECURITIES RISK. The value of the Fund’s shares will fluctuate with changes in the value of the equity securities in which it invests. Equity securities prices fluctuate for several reasons, including changes in investors’ perceptions of the financial condition of an issuer or the general condition of the relevant equity market, such as market volatility, or when political or economic events affecting an issuer occur. Common stock prices may be particularly sensitive to rising interest rates, as the cost of capital rises and borrowing costs increase. Equity securities may decline significantly in price over short or extended periods of time, and such declines may occur in the equity market as a whole, or they may occur in only a particular country, company, industry or sector of the market.
EUROPE RISK. The Fund is subject to certain risks specifically associated with investments in the securities of European issuers. Political or economic disruptions in European countries, even in countries in which the Fund is not invested, may adversely affect security values and thus the Fund’s holdings. A significant number of countries in Europe are member states in the European Union (the “EU”), and the member states no longer control their own monetary policies by directing independent interest rates for their currencies. In these member states, the authority to direct monetary policies, including money supply and official interest rates for the Euro, is exercised by the European Central Bank. The United Kingdom’s referendum on June 23, 2016 to leave the EU (known as “Brexit”) sparked depreciation in the value of the British pound, short-term declines in the stock markets and heightened risk of continued economic volatility worldwide. Although the long-term effects of Brexit are difficult to gauge and cannot be fully known, they could have wide ranging implications for the United Kingdom’s economy, including: possible inflation or recession, continued depreciation of the pound, or disruption to Britain’s trading arrangements with the rest of Europe. The United Kingdom is one of the EU’s largest economies. Its departure may negatively impact the EU and Europe as a whole by causing volatility within the EU, triggering prolonged economic downturns in certain European countries or sparking additional member states to contemplate departing the EU (thereby perpetuating political instability in the region).
5

INFLATION RISK. Inflation risk is the risk that the value of assets or income from investments will be less in the future as inflation decreases the value of money. As inflation increases, the present value of the Fund’s assets and distributions may decline.
MANAGEMENT RISK. The Fund is subject to management risk because it is an actively managed portfolio. In managing the Fund’s investment portfolio, the portfolio managers will apply investment techniques and risk analyses that may not produce the desired result. There can be no guarantee that the Fund will meet its investment objective.
MARKET MAKER RISK. The Fund faces numerous market trading risks, including the potential lack of an active market for Fund shares due to a limited number of market markers. Decisions by market makers or authorized participants to reduce their role or step away from these activities in times of market stress could inhibit the effectiveness of the arbitrage process in maintaining the relationship between the underlying values of the Fund’s portfolio securities and the Fund’s market price. The Fund may rely on a small number of third-party market makers to provide a market for the purchase and sale of shares. Any trading halt or other problem relating to the trading activity of these market makers could result in a dramatic change in the spread between the Fund’s net asset value and the price at which the Fund’s shares are trading on the Exchange, which could result in a decrease in value of the Fund’s shares. This reduced effectiveness could result in Fund shares trading at a discount to net asset value and also in greater than normal intraday bid-ask spreads for Fund shares.
MARKET RISK. Market risk is the risk that a particular security, or shares of the Fund in general, may fall in value. Securities are subject to market fluctuations caused by such factors as economic, political, regulatory or market developments, changes in interest rates and perceived trends in securities prices. Shares of the Fund could decline in value or underperform other investments.
NON-DIVERSIFICATION RISK. The Fund is classified as “non-diversified” under the 1940 Act. As a result, the Fund is only limited as to the percentage of its assets which may be invested in the securities of any one issuer by the diversification requirements imposed by the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended. The Fund may invest a relatively high percentage of its assets in a limited number of issuers. As a result, the Fund may be more susceptible to a single adverse economic or regulatory occurrence affecting one or more of these issuers, experience increased volatility and be highly invested in certain issuers.
NON-U.S. SECURITIES RISK. Non-U.S. securities are subject to higher volatility than securities of domestic issuers due to possible adverse political, social or economic developments, restrictions on foreign investment or exchange of securities, lack of liquidity, currency exchange rates, excessive taxation, government seizure of assets, different legal or accounting standards, and less government supervision and regulation of securities exchanges in foreign countries.
PREMIUM/DISCOUNT RISK. The market price of the Fund’s shares will generally fluctuate in accordance with changes in the Fund’s net asset value as well as the relative supply of and demand for shares on the Exchange. The Fund’s investment advisor cannot predict whether shares will trade below, at or above their net asset value because the shares trade on the Exchange at market prices and not at net asset value. Price differences may be due, in large part, to the fact that supply and demand forces at work in the secondary trading market for shares will be closely related, but not identical, to the same forces influencing the prices of the holdings of the Fund trading individually or in the aggregate at any point in time. However, given that shares can only be purchased and redeemed in Creation Units, and only to and from broker-dealers and large institutional investors that have entered into participation agreements (unlike shares of closed-end funds, which frequently trade at appreciable discounts from, and sometimes at premiums to, their net asset value), the Fund’s investment advisor believes that large discounts or premiums to the net asset value of shares should not be sustained.
REAL ESTATE COMPANIES RISK. Real estate companies include REITs and other companies involved in the operation and development of commercial, residential and industrial real estate. An investment in a real estate company may be subject to risks similar to those associated with direct ownership of real estate, including the possibility of declines in the value of real estate, losses from casualty or condemnation, and changes in local and general economic conditions, supply and demand, interest rates, environmental liability, zoning laws, regulatory limitations on rents, property taxes, and operating expenses. Some real estate companies have limited diversification because they invest in a limited number of properties, a narrow geographic area, or a single type of property. The price of a real estate company’s securities may also drop because of dividend reductions, lowered credit ratings, poor management, or other factors that affect companies in general.
REIT RISK. REITs typically own and operate income-producing real estate, such as residential or commercial buildings, or real-estate related assets, including mortgages. As a result, investments in REITs are subject to the risks associated with investing in real estate, which may include, but are not limited to: fluctuations in the value of underlying properties; defaults by borrowers
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or tenants; market saturation; changes in general and local operating expenses; and other economic, political or regulatory occurrences affecting companies in the real estate sector. REITs are also subject to the risk that the real estate market may experience an economic downturn generally, which may have a material effect on the real estate in which the REITs invest and their underlying portfolio securities. REITs may have also a relatively small market capitalization which may result in their shares experiencing less market liquidity and greater price volatility than larger companies. Increases in interest rates typically lower the present value of a REIT's future earnings stream, and may make financing property purchases and improvements more costly. Because the market price of REIT stocks may change based upon investors' collective perceptions of future earnings, the value of the Fund will generally decline when investors anticipate or experience rising interest rates.
SMALL FUND RISK. The Fund currently has fewer assets than larger funds, and like other smaller funds, large inflows and outflows may impact the Fund’s market exposure for limited periods of time. This impact may be positive or negative, depending on the direction of market movement during the period affected. If the Fund fails to attract a large amount of assets, shareholders of the Fund may incur higher expenses as the Fund’s fixed costs would be allocated over a smaller number of shareholders.
SMALLER COMPANIES RISK. Small and/or mid capitalization companies may be more vulnerable to adverse general market or economic developments, and their securities may be less liquid and may experience greater price volatility than larger, more established companies as a result of several factors, including limited trading volumes, fewer products or financial resources, management inexperience and less publicly available information. Accordingly, such companies are generally subject to greater market risk than larger, more established companies.
TRADING ISSUES RISK. Although the shares of the Fund are listed for trading on the Exchange, there can be no assurance that an active trading market for such shares will develop or be maintained. 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’s “circuit breaker” rules. Market makers are under no obligation to make a market in the Fund’s shares, and authorized participants are not obligated to submit purchase or redemption orders for Creation Units. In the event market makers cease making a market in the Fund's shares or authorized participants stop submitting purchase or redemption orders for Creation Units, Fund shares may trade at a larger premium or discount to their net asset value. 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. The Fund may have difficulty maintaining its listing on the Exchange in the event the Fund’s assets are small or the Fund does not have enough shareholders.
Annual Total Return
The bar chart and table below illustrate the annual calendar year returns of the Fund based on net asset value as well as the average annual Fund returns. The bar chart and table provide an indication of the risks of investing in the Fund by showing changes in the Fund’s performance from year-to-year and by showing how the Fund’s average annual total returns based on net asset value compared to those of a market index. See “Total Return Information” for additional performance information regarding the Fund. The Fund’s performance information is accessible on the Fund’s website at www.ftportfolios.com.
First Trust Heitman Global Prime Real Estate ETF
Calendar Year Total Returns as of 12/31
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During the periods shown in the chart above:
Best Quarter Worst Quarter
4.15% June 30, 2017 -7.68% December 31, 2018
The Fund’s past performance (before and after taxes) is not necessarily an indication of how the Fund will perform in the future.
Returns before taxes do not reflect the effects of any income or capital gains taxes. All after-tax returns are calculated using the historical highest individual federal marginal income tax rates and do not reflect the impact of any state or local tax. Returns after taxes on distributions reflect the taxed return on the payment of dividends and capital gains. Returns after taxes on distributions and sale of shares assume you sold your shares at period end, and, therefore, are also adjusted for any capital gains or losses incurred. Returns for the market indices do not include expenses, which are deducted from Fund returns, or taxes.
Your own actual after-tax returns will depend on your specific tax situation and may differ from what is shown here. After-tax returns are not relevant to investors who hold Fund shares in tax-deferred accounts such as individual retirement accounts (IRAs) or employee-sponsored retirement plans.
Average Annual Total Returns for the Periods Ended December 31, 2018
  1 Year Since
Inception
Inception
Date
Return Before Taxes -6.88% 1.16% 11/11/2015
Return After Taxes on Distributions -8.04% -0.77%  
Return After Taxes on Distributions and Sale of Shares -4.04% 0.06%  
FTSE EPRA/NAREIT Developed Index (reflects no deduction for fees, expenses or taxes) -4.74% 4.30%  
Management
Investment Advisor
First Trust Advisors L.P. (“First Trust” or the “Advisor”)
Investment Sub-Advisor
Heitman Real Estate Securities LLC (“HRES LLC” or the “Sub-Advisor”)
Investment Sub-Sub-Advisors
Heitman International Real Estate Securities HK Limited (“Heitman HK Limited” or a “Sub-Sub-Advisor”)
Heitman International Real Estate Securities GmbH (“Heitman GmbH” or a “Sub-Sub-Advisor”)
Portfolio Managers
The following persons serve as the portfolio managers of the Fund.
Jerry Ehlinger, CFA, Managing Director of HRES LLC and Lead Portfolio Manager in the North American Public Real Estate Securities group;
John White, Managing Director of Heitman HK Limited and Lead Portfolio Manager in the Asia-Pacific Public Real Estate Securities group;
Jacques Perdrix, Senior Vice President of HRES LLC’s European Public Real Estate Securities group; and
Andreas Welter, Senior Vice President of HRES LLC’s European Public Real Estate Securities group.
The portfolio managers are primarily and jointly responsible for the day-to-day management of the Fund. Each portfolio manager has served as part of the portfolio management team of the Fund since 2015, except for Jacques Perdrix and Andreas Welter, who have served as part of the portfolio management team of the Fund since 2017.
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Purchase and Sale of Fund Shares
The Fund issues and redeems shares on a continuous basis, at net asset value, only in Creation Units consisting of 50,000 shares. The Fund’s Creation Units are generally issued and redeemed in-kind for securities in which the Fund invests and, in certain circumstances, for cash, and only to and from broker-dealers and large institutional investors that have entered into participation agreements. Individual shares may only be purchased and sold on NYSE Arca and other eligible securities exchanges through a broker-dealer. Shares of the Fund will trade on NYSE Arca at market prices rather than net asset value, which may cause the shares to trade at a price greater than net asset value (premium) or less than net asset value (discount).
Tax Information
The Fund’s distributions are taxable and will generally be taxed as ordinary income or capital gains. Distributions on shares held in a tax deferred account, while not immediately taxable, will be subject to tax when the shares are no longer held in a tax deferred account.
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), First Trust and First Trust Portfolios L.P., the Fund’s distributor, may pay the intermediary for the sale of Fund shares and related services. These payments may create a conflict of interest by influencing the broker-dealer or other 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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Additional Information on the Fund's Investment Objective and Strategies
The Fund is a series of First Trust Exchange-Traded Fund IV and is regulated as an “investment company” under the 1940 Act. The Fund is actively managed and does not seek to track the performance of an index. The Fund’s investment objective is fundamental and may not be changed without approval by the holders of a majority of the outstanding voting securities of the Fund. Unless an investment policy is identified as being fundamental, all investment policies included in this prospectus and the Fund’s Statement of Additional Information (“SAI”) are non-fundamental and may be changed by the Board of Trustees of the Trust (the “Board”) without shareholder approval. If there is a material change to the Fund’s principal investment strategies, you should consider whether the Fund remains an appropriate investment for you. There is no guarantee that the Fund will achieve its investment objective.
The Fund has adopted a non-fundamental investment policy pursuant to Rule 35d-1 under the 1940 Act (the “Name Policy”) whereby the Fund, under normal market conditions, invests at least 80% of its net assets (including investment borrowings) in U.S. and non-U.S. exchange-traded real estate securities, which includes REITs, REOCs and common stocks or depositary receipts of companies primarily engaged in the real estate industry. The Name Policy may be changed by the Board of Trustees without shareholder approval upon 60 days’ prior written notice.
The portfolio managers will select Real Estate Securities by combining top-down and bottom-up analysis while acknowledging the sensitivity of real estate stocks to local equity market fluctuations and momentum. The strategy seeks to provides investors access to a professionally managed real estate securities portfolio consisting of shares of public companies that own top-tier, prime properties in the world’s dominant cities, have strong balance sheets and have additional diversification of debt and equity funding sources at favorable rates.
Fund Investments
Principal Investments
REITs and REOCs
The Fund invests in publicly traded REITs and REOCs, companies that own and often manage income-generating real estate. Some REITs and REOCs make or invest in loans and other obligations that are secured by real estate collateral. REITs distribute most of their income to investors and therefore receive special tax considerations and are typically a highly liquid method of investing in real estate. REOCs, on the other hand, reinvest most income into their operations and therefore do not get the same benefits of lower corporate taxation that are a common characteristic of REITs.
REITs and REOCs are generally categorized as equity, mortgage or hybrid in nature. Equity REITs and REOCs invest in and own properties, and thus are responsible for the equity or value of their real estate assets. Their revenues come principally from their properties’ rents. Mortgage REITs and REOCs deal in investment and ownership of property mortgages. These companies loan money for mortgages to owners of real estate or purchase existing mortgages or mortgage-backed securities. Their revenues are generated primarily by the interest that they earn on the mortgage loans. Hybrid REITs and REOCs combine the investment strategies of equity REITs and REOCs and mortgage REITs and REOCs by investing in both properties and mortgages.
Equity Securities
The Fund invests in equity securities, including common stocks and depositary receipts. Common stock represents an equity ownership interest in issuers. Holders of common stock are entitled to the income and increase in the value of the assets and business of the issuers after all debt obligations and obligations to preferred stockholders are satisfied. Depositary receipts are certificates typically issued by a bank or trust company that represent ownership interests in securities of non-U.S. companies. Depositary receipts may or may not be jointly sponsored by the underlying issuer.
Non-U.S. Investments
The Fund may invest in securities issued by non-U.S. companies that are traded over-the-counter or listed on an exchange or in the form of depositary receipts. Non-U.S. investments include securities issued or guaranteed by companies organized under the laws of countries other than the United States, including companies domiciled in emerging markets, and securities issued or guaranteed by foreign governments, their agencies or instrumentalities and supra-national governmental entities, such as the World Bank. Non-U.S. investments may be traded on foreign securities exchanges or in over-the-counter capital markets. Many foreign companies issue both foreign currency and U.S. dollar-denominated securities. The Fund may also invest in
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American Depositary Receipts (“ADRs”) or Global Depositary Receipts (“GDRs”), or other securities representing underlying securities of foreign issuers.
Non-Principal Investments
Foreign Currency Instruments
The Fund may enter into foreign currency transactions on a spot (i.e., cash) basis or on a forward basis by entering into forward contracts to purchase or sell foreign currencies. A forward currency contract, which involves an obligation to purchase or sell a specific currency at a future date at a price set at the time of the contract, reduces the Fund’s exposure to changes in the value of the currency it will deliver and increases its exposure to changes in the value of the currency it will receive for the duration of the contract. Certain foreign currency transactions (i.e., non deliverable forward currency contracts) may also be settled in cash rather than the actual delivery of the relevant currency. The effect on the value of the Fund is similar to selling securities denominated in one currency and purchasing securities denominated in another currency. A contract to sell foreign currency would limit any potential gain which might be realized if the value of the hedged currency increases.
Investment Companies and Pooled Investment Vehicles
The Fund may invest in securities issued by exchange-traded pooled investment vehicles, including closed-end funds, exchange-traded funds (“ETFs”) and business development companies ("BDCs"). Closed-end funds and ETFs are managed registered investment companies which invest in various types of securities. Both closed-end funds and ETFs trade on a securities exchange and their shares may, at times, trade at a premium or discount to their net asset value. BDCs are a type of closed-end fund regulated under the 1940 Act that typically invest in and lend to small and medium-sized private and certain public companies that may not have access to public equity markets for capital raising. BDCs are unique in that at least 70% of their investments must be made in private and certain public U.S. businesses, and BDCs are required to make available significant managerial assistance to their portfolio companies. As a shareholder in an investment company or pooled investment vehicle, the Fund bears its ratable share of that investment company’s expenses, and would remain subject to payment of the Fund’s advisory and administrative fees with respect to assets so invested. Shareholders would therefore be subject to duplicative expenses to the extent the Fund invests in other pooled investment vehicles. In addition, the Fund incurs brokerage costs when purchasing and selling shares of ETFs or closed-end funds. Securities of certain investment companies may be leveraged, in which case the value and/or yield of such securities tends to be more volatile than securities of unleveraged investment companies.
The Fund’s ability to invest in other investment companies is limited by the 1940 Act and the related rules and interpretations. The Fund may invest in other investment companies in excess of the limits imposed under the 1940 Act pursuant to exemptive orders obtained by certain investment companies and their sponsors from the SEC, subject to certain conditions and pursuant to a contractual arrangement between the Fund and such investment companies. The Fund may satisfy the Name Policy by investing in investment companies and other pooled investment vehicles that are subject to a comparable name policy and invest in the types of securities in which the Fund may invest directly.
Illiquid Securities
The Fund may invest up to 15% of its net assets in securities and other instruments that are, at the time of investment, illiquid (determined using the Securities and Exchange Commission's standard applicable to investment companies, i.e., any investment that the Fund reasonably expects cannot be sold or disposed of in current market conditions in seven calendar days or less without the sale or disposition significantly changing the market value of the investment). For this purpose, illiquid securities may include, but are not limited to, restricted securities (securities the disposition of which is restricted under the federal securities laws), securities that may only be resold pursuant to Rule 144A under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “Securities Act”), that are deemed to be illiquid, and certain repurchase agreements.
Cash Equivalents and Short-Term Investments
Normally, the Fund invests substantially all of its assets to meet its investment objective. The Fund may invest the remainder of its assets in securities with maturities of less than one year or cash equivalents, or it may hold cash. The percentage of the Fund invested in such holdings varies and depends on several factors, including market conditions. For temporary defensive purposes and during periods of high cash inflows or outflows, the Fund may depart from its principal investment strategies and invest part or all of its assets in these securities, or it may hold cash. During such periods, the Fund may not be able to achieve its investment objective. The Fund may adopt a defensive strategy when its portfolio managers believe securities in
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which the Fund normally invests have elevated risks due to political or economic factors and in other extraordinary circumstances. For more information on eligible short-term investments, see the SAI.
Disclosure of Portfolio Holdings
A description of the policies and procedures with respect to the disclosure of the Fund’s portfolio securities is included in the Fund’s SAI and on the Fund’s website at www.ftportfolios.com.
Additional Risks of Investing in the Fund
Risk is inherent in all investing. Investing in the Fund involves risk, including the risk that you may lose all or part of your investment. There can be no assurance that the Fund will meet its stated objective. Before you invest, you should consider the following supplemental disclosure pertaining to the Principal Risks set forth above as well as additional Non-Principal Risks set forth below in this prospectus.
Principal Risks
AUTHORIZED PARTICIPANT CONCENTRATION RISK. Only an authorized participant may engage in creation or redemption transactions directly with the Fund. A limited number of institutions act as authorized participants for the Fund. Although participants are not obligated to make a market in the Fund’s shares or submit purchase and redemption orders for correction units. To the extent that these institutions exit the business, reduce their role or are unable to proceed with creation and/or redemption orders and no other authorized participant steps forward to create or redeem, the Fund’s shares may trade at a premium or discount to the Fund’s net asset value and possibly face delisting.
CONCENTRATION RISK. To the extent that the Fund invests a large percentage of its assets in a single asset class or the securities of issuers within the same country, state, region, industry or sector, an adverse economic, business or political development that affected a particular asset class, region or industry may affect the value of the Fund’s investments more than if the Fund were more broadly diversified. A concentration makes the Fund more susceptible to any single occurrence and may subject the Fund to greater volatility and market risk than a fund that is not so concentrated.
CURRENCY RISK. The Fund may invest in securities denominated in a non-U.S. currency. Changes in currency exchange rates affect the value of investments denominated in a foreign currency, the value of dividends and interest earned from such securities and gains and losses realized on the sale of such securities. The Fund’s net asset value could decline if a currency to which the Fund has exposure depreciates against the U.S. dollar or if there are delays or limits on repatriation of such currency. Currency exchange rates can be very volatile and can change quickly and unpredictably. Changes in currency exchange rates may affect the Fund's net asset value, the value of dividends and interest earned, and gains and losses realized on the sale of securities. An increase in the strength of the U.S. dollar relative to other currencies may cause the value of the Fund to decline. Certain non-U.S. currencies may be particularly volatile, and non-U.S. governments may intervene in the currency markets, causing a decline in value or liquidity in the Fund's non-U.S. holdings whose value is tied to the affected non-U.S. currency. Additionally, the prices non-U.S. securities that are traded in U.S. dollars are often indirectly influenced by current fluctuations.
CYBER SECURITY RISK. The Fund is susceptible to operational risks through breaches in cyber security. A breach in cyber security refers to both intentional and unintentional events that may cause the Fund to lose proprietary information, suffer data corruption or lose operational capacity. Such events could cause the Fund to incur regulatory penalties, reputational damage, additional compliance costs associated with corrective measures and/or financial loss. These risks typically are not covered by insurance. In general, cyber incidents can result from deliberate attacks or unintentional events. Cyber incidents include, but are not limited to, gaining unauthorized access to digital systems (e.g., through “hacking” or malicious software coding) for purposes of misappropriating assets or sensitive information, corrupting data or causing operational disruption. Cyber attacks may also be carried out in a manner that does not require gaining unauthorized access, such as causing denial-of-service attacks on websites (i.e., efforts to make network services unavailable to intended users). Cyber security failures by or breaches of the systems of security issuers, the Advisor, distributor and other service providers (including, but not limited to, sub-advisors, index providers, fund accountants, custodians, transfer agents and administrators), market makers, authorized participants or the issuers of securities in which the Fund invests, have the ability to cause disruptions and impact business operations, potentially resulting in: financial losses; interference with the Fund’s ability to calculate its net asset value; disclosure of confidential trading information; impediments to trading; submission of erroneous trades or erroneous creation or redemption orders; the inability of the Fund or its service providers to transact business; violations of applicable privacy and other laws; regulatory fines penalties, reputational damage, reimbursement or other compensation costs; or additional compliance costs. Substantial costs may be incurred by the Fund in order to resolve or prevent cyber incidents in the future.
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While the Fund has established business continuity plans in the event of, and risk management systems to prevent, such cyber attacks, there are inherent limitations in such plans and systems, including the possibility that certain risks have not been identified and that prevention and remediation efforts will not be successful. Furthermore, the Fund cannot control the cyber security plans and systems put in place by service providers to the Fund, issuers in which the Fund invests, market makers or authorized participants. However, there is no guarantee that such efforts will succeed, and the Fund and its shareholders could be negatively impacted as a result.
DEPOSITARY RECEIPTS RISK. The Fund invests in depositary receipts. Depository receipts are securities issued by a bank or trust company reflecting ownership of underlying securities issued by a foreign company. An investment in depositary receipts involves further risks due to certain unique features. Any distributions paid to the holders of depositary receipts are usually subject to a fee charged by the depositary. Holders of depositary receipts may have limited voting rights pursuant to a deposit agreement between the underlying issuer and the depositary. In certain cases, the depositary will vote the shares deposited with it as directed by the underlying issuer’s board of directors. Furthermore, investment restrictions in certain countries may adversely impact the value of depositary receipts because such restrictions may limit the ability to convert shares into depositary receipts and vice versa. Such restrictions may cause shares of the underlying issuer to trade at a discount or premium to the market price of the depositary receipt. Moreover, if depositary receipts are converted into shares, the laws in certain countries may limit the ability of a non-resident to trade the shares and to reconvert the shares to depositary receipts. Depositary receipts may be “sponsored” or “unsponsored.” Sponsored depositary receipts are established jointly by a depositary and the underlying issuer, whereas unsponsored depositary receipts may be established by a depositary without participation by the underlying issuer. Holders of unsponsored depositary receipts generally bear all the costs associated with establishing the unsponsored depositary receipts. In addition, the issuers of the securities underlying unsponsored depositary receipts are not obligated to disclose material information in the U.S. and, therefore, there may be less information available regarding such issuers and there may not be a correlation between such information and the market value of the depositary receipts.
EMERGING MARKETS RISK. Investments in securities issued by companies operating in emerging market countries involve additional risks relating to political, economic, or regulatory conditions not associated with investments in securities and instruments issued by U.S. companies or by companies operating in other developed market countries. This is due to, among other things, the potential for greater market volatility, lower trading volume, higher levels of inflation, political and economic instability, greater risk of a market shutdown and more governmental limitations on foreign investments in emerging market countries than are typically found in more developed market countries. Moreover, emerging market countries often have less uniformity in accounting and reporting requirements, unsettled securities laws, less reliable securities valuations and greater risks associated with custody of securities than developed markets. In addition, emerging market countries often have greater risk of capital controls through such measures as taxes or interest rate control than developed markets. Certain emerging market countries may also lack the infrastructure necessary to attract large amounts of foreign trade and investment. Local securities markets in emerging market countries may trade a small number of securities and may be unable to respond effectively to increases in trading volume, potentially making prompt liquidation of holdings difficult or impossible. Settlement procedures in emerging market countries are frequently less developed and reliable than those in the U.S. and other developed market countries. In addition, significant delays may occur in registering the transfer of securities. Settlement or registration problems may make it more difficult for the Fund to value its portfolio securities and could cause the Fund to miss attractive investment opportunities. Investing in emerging market countries involves a higher risk of expropriation, nationalization, confiscation of assets and property or the imposition of restrictions on foreign investments and on repatriation of capital invested by certain emerging market countries. Enforcing legal rights may be made difficult, costly and slow in emerging markets as there may be additional problems enforcing claims against non-U.S. governments.
EQUITY SECURITIES RISK. The value of the Fund’s shares will fluctuate with changes in the value of the equity securities in which it invests. Equity securities prices fluctuate for several reasons, including changes in investors' perceptions of the financial condition of an issuer or the general condition of the relevant equity market, such as market volatility, or when political or economic events affecting the issuers occur. Common stock prices may be particularly sensitive to rising interest rates, as the cost of capital rises and borrowing costs increase. Equity securities may decline significantly in price over short or extended periods of time, and such declines may occur in the equity market as a whole, or they may occur in only a particular country, company, industry or sector of the market. Additionally, holders of an issuer's common stock may be subject to greater risks than holders of its preferred stock and debt securities because common stockholders' claims are subordinated to those of holders of preferred stocks and debt securities upon the bankruptcy of an issuer.
EUROPE RISK. The Fund may invest significantly in the securities of European issuers. Therefore, in addition to the risks associated with investments in non-U.S. securities generally, the Fund is subject to certain risks associated specifically with investments in securities of European issuers. Political or economic disruptions in European countries, even in countries in
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which the Fund is not invested, may adversely affect security values and thus the Fund’s holdings. A significant number of countries in Europe are member states in the EU, and the member states no longer control their own monetary policies by directing independent interest rates for their currencies. In these member states, the authority to direct monetary policies, including money supply and official interest rates for the Euro, is exercised by the European Central Bank. The United Kingdom’s referendum on June 23, 2016 to leave the EU (known as “Brexit”) sparked depreciation in the value of the British pound, short-term declines in the stock markets and heightened risk of continued economic volatility worldwide. Although the long-term effects of Brexit are difficult to gauge and cannot be fully known, they could have wide ranging implications for the United Kingdom’s economy, including: possible inflation or recession, continued depreciation of the pound, or disruption to Britain’s trading arrangements with the rest of Europe. The United Kingdom is one of the EU’s largest economies. Its departure may negatively impact the EU and Europe as a whole, such as by causing volatility within the EU, triggering prolonged economic downturns in certain European countries or sparking additional member states to contemplate departing the EU (thereby perpetuating political instability in the region).
INFLATION RISK. Inflation risk is the risk that the value of assets or income from investments will be less in the future as inflation decreases the value of money. As inflation increases, the present value of the Fund’s assets and distributions may decline. This risk is more prevalent with respect to debt securities held by the Fund. Inflation creates uncertainty over the future real value (after inflation) of an investment. Inflation rates may change frequently and drastically as a result of various factors, including unexpected shifts in the domestic or global economy, and the Fund’s investments may not keep pace with inflation, which may result in losses to Fund investors.
MANAGEMENT RISK. The Fund is subject to management risk because it is an actively managed portfolio. In managing the Fund’s investment portfolio, the portfolio managers will apply investment techniques and risk analyses that may not produce the desired result. There can be no guarantee that the Fund will meet its investment objective(s), meet relevant benchmarks or perform as well as other funds with similar objectives.
MARKET MAKER RISK. The Fund faces numerous market trading risks, including the potential lack of an active market for Fund shares due to a limited number of market markers. Decisions by market makers or authorized participants to reduce their role or step away from these activities in times of market stress could inhibit the effectiveness of the arbitrage process in maintaining the relationship between the underlying values of the Fund’s portfolio securities and the Fund’s market price. The Fund may rely on a small number of third-party market makers to provide a market for the purchase and sale of shares. Any trading halt or other problem relating to the trading activity of these market makers could result in a dramatic change in the spread between the Fund’s net asset value and the price at which the Fund’s shares are trading on the Exchange, which could result in a decrease in value of the Fund’s shares. This reduced effectiveness could result in Fund shares trading at a discount to net asset value and also in greater than normal intraday bid-ask spreads for Fund shares.
MARKET RISK. Market risk is the risk that a particular security, or shares of the Fund in general, may fall in value. Securities are subject to market fluctuations caused by such factors as economic, political, regulatory or market developments, changes in interest rates and perceived trends in securities prices. Shares of the Fund could decline in value or underperform other investments due to short-term market movements or any longer periods during more prolonged market downturns.
NON-DIVERSIFICATION RISK. As a “non-diversified” fund, the Fund may hold a smaller number of portfolio securities than many other funds and may be more sensitive to any single economic, business, political or regulatory occurrence than a diversified fund. To the extent the Fund invests in a relatively small number of issuers due to the high percentage of the Fund’s assets invested in that security, a decline in the market value of a particular security held by the Fund may affect its value more than if it invested in a larger number of issuers. The value of the Fund’s shares may be more volatile than the values of shares of more diversified funds.
NON-U.S. SECURITIES RISK. The Fund may invest in non-U.S. securities. An investment in securities of non-U.S. companies involves risks not associated with domestic issuers. Investment in non-U.S. securities may involve higher costs than investment in U.S. securities, including higher transaction and custody costs as well as the imposition of additional taxes by non-U.S. governments. Non-U.S. investments may also involve risks associated with the level of currency exchange rates, less complete financial information about the issuers, less market liquidity, more market volatility and political instability. Future political and economic developments, the possible imposition of withholding taxes on dividend income, the possible seizure or nationalization of non-U.S. holdings, the possible establishment of exchange controls or freezes on the convertibility of currency or the adoption of other governmental restrictions might adversely affect an investment in non-U.S. securities. Additionally, non-U.S. issuers may be subject to less stringent regulation, and to different accounting, auditing and recordkeeping requirements. The U.S. and non-U.S. markets often rise and fall at different times or by different amounts due to economic or other regional developments particular to a given country or region.
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PREMIUM/DISCOUNT RISK. The market price of the Fund’s shares will generally fluctuate in accordance with changes in the Fund’s net asset value as well as the relative supply of and demand for shares on the Exchange. First Trust cannot predict whether shares will trade below, at or above their net asset value because the shares trade on the Exchange at market prices and not at net asset value. Price differences may be due, in large part, to the fact that supply and demand forces at work in the secondary trading market for shares will be closely related, but not identical, to the same forces influencing the prices of the holdings of the Fund trading individually or in the aggregate at any point in time. However, given that shares can only be purchased and redeemed in Creation Units, and only to and from broker-dealers and large institutional investors that have entered into participation agreements (unlike shares of closed-end funds, which frequently trade at appreciable discounts from, and sometimes at premiums to, their net asset value), First Trust believes that large discounts or premiums to the net asset value of shares should not be sustained absent disruptions to the creation and redemption mechanism, extreme market volatility or potential lack of authorized participants.
REAL ESTATE COMPANIES RISK. The Fund invests significantly in real estate companies. Real estate companies include REITs and other companies involved in the operation and development of commercial, residential and industrial real estate. An investment in a real estate company may be subject to risks similar to those associated with direct ownership of real estate, including the possibility of declines in the value of real estate, losses from casualty or condemnation, and changes in local and general economic conditions, supply and demand, interest rates, environmental liability, zoning laws, regulatory limitations on rents, property taxes, and operating expenses. Some real property companies have limited diversification because they invest in a limited number of properties, a narrow geographic area, or a single type of property. The performance of real estate companies has historically been cyclical and particularly sensitive to the overall economy and market changes, including declines in the value of real estate or, conversely, saturation of the real estate market, economic downturns and defaults by borrowers or tenants during such periods, increases in competition, possible lack of mortgage funds or other limits to accessing the credit or capital markets, and changes in interest rates.
REIT RISK. REITs typically own and operate income-producing real estate, such as residential or commercial buildings, or real-estate related assets, including mortgages. As a result, investments in REITs are subject to the risks associated with investing in real estate, which may include, but are not limited to: fluctuations in the value of underlying properties; defaults by borrowers or tenants; market saturation; changes in general and local operating expenses; and other economic, political or regulatory occurrences affecting companies in the real estate sector. Additionally, investing in REITs involves certain other risks related to their structure and focus, which include, but are not limited to, dependency upon management skills, limited diversification, the risks of locating and managing financing for projects, heavy cash flow dependency, possible default by borrowers, the costs and potential losses of self-liquidation of one or more holdings, the risk of a possible lack of mortgage funds and associated interest rate risks, overbuilding, property vacancies, increases in property taxes and operating expenses, changes in zoning laws, losses due to environmental damages, changes in neighborhood values and appeal to purchasers, the possibility of failing to maintain exemptions from registration under the 1940 Act, failure to satisfy the requirements of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 for maintaining REIT status and, in many cases, relatively small market capitalization, which may result in less market liquidity and greater price volatility for a REIT’s shares. REITs are also subject to the risk that the real estate market may experience an economic downturn generally, which may have a material effect on the real estate in which the REITs invest and their underlying portfolio securities.
SMALL FUND RISK. The Fund currently has fewer assets than larger funds, and like other smaller funds, large inflows and outflows may impact the Fund’s market exposure for limited periods of time. This impact may be positive or negative, depending on the direction of market movement during the period affected. If the Fund fails to attract a large amount of assets, shareholders of the Fund may incur higher expenses as the Fund’s fixed costs would be allocated over a smaller number of shareholders.
SMALLER COMPANIES RISK. The stock price of small and/or mid capitalization companies may be more volatile than those of larger companies and therefore the Fund’s share price may be more volatile than those of funds that invest a larger percentage of their assets in stocks issued by large capitalization companies. Stock prices of small and/or mid capitalization companies are also generally more vulnerable than those of large capitalization companies to adverse business and economic developments. Securities of small and/or mid capitalization companies may be thinly traded, making it difficult for the Fund to buy and sell them. In addition, small and/or mid capitalization companies are typically less financially stable than larger, more established companies and may reinvest a high proportion of their earnings in their business and may not pay dividends. Small and/or mid capitalization companies may also depend on a small number of essential personnel who may also be less experienced than the management of larger companies, making these companies more vulnerable to experiencing adverse
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effects due to the loss or inexperience of personnel. Small and/or mid capitalization companies also normally have less diverse product lines than those of large capitalization companies and are more susceptible to adverse developments concerning their products.
TRADING ISSUES RISK. Although the shares of the Fund are listed for trading on the Exchange, there can be no assurance that an active trading market for such shares will develop or be maintained. 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’s “circuit breaker” rules. Market makers are under no obligation to make a market in the Fund’s shares, and authorized participants are not obligated to submit purchase or redemption orders for Creation Units. In the event market makers cease making a market in the Fund’s shares or authorized participants stop submitting purchase or redemption orders for Creation Units, Fund shares may trade at a larger premium or discount to their net asset value. 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. The Fund may have difficulty maintaining its listing on the Exchange in the event the Fund’s assets are small or the Fund does not have enough shareholders.
Non-Principal Risks
BORROWING AND LEVERAGE RISK. If the Fund borrows money, it must pay interest and other fees, which may reduce the Fund’s returns. Any such borrowings are intended to be temporary. However, under certain market conditions, including periods of low demand or decreased liquidity, such borrowings might be outstanding for longer periods of time. As prescribed by the 1940 Act, the Fund will be required to maintain specified asset coverage of at least 300% with respect to any bank borrowing immediately following such borrowing and at all times thereafter. The Fund may be required to dispose of assets on unfavorable terms if market fluctuations or other factors reduce the Fund’s asset coverage to less than the prescribed amount.
CASH TRANSACTIONS RISK. The Fund may, under certain circumstances, effect a portion of its redemptions for cash, rather than in-kind securities. As a result, an investment in the Fund may be less tax-efficient than an investment in an ETF that effects its creations and redemptions only in-kind. ETFs are able to make in-kind redemptions and avoid being taxed on gains on the distributed portfolio securities at the fund level. A Fund that effects redemptions for cash may be required to sell portfolio securities in order to obtain the cash needed to distribute redemption proceeds. Any recognized gain on these sales by the Fund will generally cause the Fund to recognize a gain it might not otherwise have recognized, or to recognize such gain sooner than would otherwise be required if it were to distribute portfolio securities only in-kind. The Fund 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. Moreover, cash transactions may have to be carried out over several days if the securities market is relatively illiquid and may involve considerable brokerage fees and taxes. These brokerage fees and taxes, which will be higher than if the Fund sold and redeemed its shares principally in-kind, will be passed on to those purchasing and redeeming Creation Units in the form of creation and redemption transaction fees. In addition, these factors may result in wider spreads between the bid and the offered prices of the Fund’s shares than for ETFs that distribute portfolio securities in-kind.
DEPENDENCE ON KEY PERSONNEL. The Fund is dependent upon the experience and expertise of the Fund’s portfolio managers in providing advisory services with respect to the Fund’s investments. If the Sub-Advisor or a Sub-Sub-Advisor were to lose the services of any of these portfolio managers, its ability to service the Fund could be adversely affected. There can be no assurance that a suitable replacement could be found for any of the portfolio managers in the event of their death, resignation, retirement or inability to act on behalf of the Sub-Advisor or a Sub-Sub-Advisor.
FAILURE TO QUALIFY AS A REGULATED INVESTMENT COMPANY. If, in any year, the Fund fails to qualify as a regulated investment company under the applicable tax laws, the Fund would be taxed as an ordinary corporation. In such circumstances, the Fund could be required to recognize unrealized gains, pay substantial taxes and interest and make substantial distributions before requalifying as a regulated investment company that is accorded special tax treatment. If the Fund fails to qualify as a regulated investment company, distributions to the Fund’s shareholders generally would be eligible for the dividends received deduction in the case of corporate shareholders. For additional information, please see the section entitled “Federal Tax Matters.”
INVESTMENT COMPANIES RISK. The Fund may invest in securities of other investment companies. As a shareholder in another investment company, the Fund will bear its ratable share of that investment company’s expenses, and would remain subject to payment of the Fund’s advisory and administrative fees with respect to assets so invested. Shareholders would therefore
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be subject to duplicative expenses to the extent the Fund invests in other investment companies. In addition, the Fund will incur brokerage costs when purchasing and selling shares of exchange-traded investment companies.
ISSUER SPECIFIC CHANGES RISK. The value of an individual security or particular type of security can be more volatile than the market as a whole and can perform differently from the value of the market as a whole.
LEGISLATION/LITIGATION RISK. From time to time, various legislative initiatives are proposed in the United States and abroad, which may have a negative impact on certain companies in which the Fund invests. Such legislation or litigation may cause the Fund to lose value or may result in higher portfolio turnover if the portfolio managers determine to sell such a holding.
OPERATIONAL RISK. The Fund is subject to risks arising from various operational factors, including, but not limited to, human error, processing and communication errors, errors of the Fund’s service providers, counterparties or other third-parties, failed or inadequate processes and technology or systems failures. Although the Fund and the Advisor seek to reduce these operational risks through controls and procedures, there is no way to completely protect against such risks.
Fund Organization
The Fund is a series of the Trust, an investment company registered under the 1940 Act. The Fund is treated as a separate fund with its own investment objective and policies. The Trust is organized as a Massachusetts business trust. The Board is responsible for the overall management and direction of the Trust. The Board elects the Trust’s officers and approves all significant agreements, including those with the Advisor, Sub-Advisor, Sub-Sub-Advisors, custodian and fund administrative and accounting agent.
Management of the Fund
First Trust, 120 East Liberty Drive, Wheaton, Illinois 60187, is the investment advisor to the Fund. In this capacity, First Trust is responsible for overseeing the Sub-Advisor in the investment of the Fund’s assets, managing the Fund’s business affairs and providing certain clerical, bookkeeping and other administrative services.
First Trust is a limited partnership with one limited partner, Grace Partners of DuPage L.P., and one general partner, The Charger Corporation. Grace Partners of DuPage L.P. is a limited partnership with one general partner, The Charger Corporation, and a number of limited partners. The Charger Corporation is an Illinois corporation controlled by James A. Bowen, the Chief Executive Officer of the Advisor. First Trust discharges its responsibilities subject to the policies of the Board.
First Trust serves as advisor or sub-advisor for 7 mutual fund portfolios, 10 exchange-traded funds consisting of 141 series, and 15 closed-end funds. It is also the portfolio supervisor of certain unit investment trusts sponsored by First Trust Portfolios L.P. (“FTP”), an affiliate of First Trust, 120 East Liberty Drive, Wheaton, Illinois 60187. FTP specializes in the underwriting, trading and distribution of unit investment trusts and other securities. FTP is the principal underwriter of the shares of the Fund.
The Trust, on behalf of the Fund, and First Trust have retained HRES LLC, a Delaware limited liability company, to serve as investment sub-advisor pursuant to a sub-advisory agreement (the "Sub-Advisory Agreement"). In this capacity, HRES LLC is responsible for the selection and ongoing monitoring of the securities in the Fund’s investment portfolio and overseeing the Sub-Sub-Advisors in the investment of the Fund’s assets. HRES LLC, located at 191 N. Wacker Drive, 25th Floor, Chicago, Illinois 60606, is a leading global real estate investment management firm with total assets under management of approximately U.S. $5.831 billion as of January 31, 2019.
Heitman HK Limited, a company whose liability is limited by shares domiciled in Hong Kong and an affiliate of HRES LLC, has been retained by the Trust, on behalf of the Fund, First Trust and HRES LLC to select and monitor Real Estate Securities located in the Asia-Pacific region for the Fund’s investment portfolio pursuant to a sub-advisory agreement (the "Sub-Advisory Agreement"). Heitman HK Limited is a registered investment advisor with the SEC. Heitman HK Limited is located at 15F LHT Tower, 31 Queens Road, Central Hong Kong with total assets under management of approximately U.S. $1.669 billion as of January 31, 2019.
Heitman GmbH, a company with limited liability domiciled in Germany and an affiliate of HRES LLC, has been retained by the Trust, on behalf of the Fund, First Trust and HRES LLC to provide recommendations regarding the selection and ongoing monitoring of Real Estate Securities located in Europe for the Fund’s investment portfolio pursuant to a sub-sub-advisory agreement (a "Sub-Sub-Advisory Agreement"). Heitman GmbH is a registered investment advisor with the SEC. Heitman GmbH
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is located at Maximilianstrasse 35A, Munich, Germany 80539, with total assets under management of approximately $1.285 billion as of January 31, 2019.
“HRES LLC,”“Heitman HK Limited” and “Heitman GmbH” are collectively referred to in this prospectus as “Heitman.”
Jerry Ehlinger, John White, Jacques Perdrix and Andreas Welter are the Fund’s portfolio managers and are jointly and primarily responsible for the day-to-day management of the Fund’s investment portfolio.
Jerry Ehlinger, CFA, is Managing Director of HRES LLC and the Lead Portfolio Manager in Heitman’s North American Public Real Estate Securities group. He also serves as a Portfolio Manager for the firm’s global real estate securities strategies. Throughout his career, Jerry has held a number of related investment positions in the REIT industry. Before joining Heitman in 2013, Jerry was Lead Portfolio Manager and Head of Real Estate Securities, Americas at DB/RREEF Real Estate. Prior, Jerry served as Senior Vice President and Portfolio Manager of Heitman’s real estate securities group from 2000 to 2004. He began his career at Morgan Stanley in 1996 where he primarily covered the REIT sector both as a sell-side analyst and as a senior research associate at Morgan Stanley Asset Management. Jerry received an MS in Finance, Investment and Banking from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a BS in Finance from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. Among other professional affiliations, Jerry is a member of the National Multi Housing Council, International Council of Shopping Centers, the CFA Institute, the CFA Society of Chicago, and the National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts.
John White is Managing Director of Heitman HK Limited and the Lead Portfolio Manager in Heitman’s Asia-Pacific Public Real Estate Securities group. He is an equity owner of the firm and a member of Heitman’s Management Committee. He also serves as a Portfolio Manager for the firm's global real estate securities strategies. John has over 20 years of experience in the public and private equity and debt real estate markets across the Asia-Pacific region. Prior to joining Heitman in 2010, John was co-head of real estate securities at Challenger (Heitman’s Asian JV partner for real estate securities) for five years; he was also senior investment manager, real estate securities at HSBC Asset Management from 2001. Before moving to investment management, John worked in investment banking as a senior property analyst at HSBC and as a managerreal estate credit at ANZ Banking Group in Australia and in South-East Asia. He began his career as a real estate valuer at Landauer and Chesterton. John received a BBus in Land Economy from University of Western Sydney-Hawkesbury and a Graduate Diploma in Applied Finance and Investment from the Securities Institute of Australia. He is a member of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, the Asian Public Real Estate Association, the Australian Property Institute and the Financial Services Institute of Australasia.
Jacques Perdrix is a Senior Vice President in Heitman’s European Public Real Estate Securities group. His role with Heitman focuses on portfolio management, including fundamental company and market analysis. Prior to joining Heitman, Mr. Perdrix was at Griffin Capital Management where he worked as an analyst and assistant portfolio manager on long-only and long/short equity and fixed income funds covering mid/large-caps on a broad range of sectors and geographies. Previously, Mr. Perdrix worked at equity long/short hedge fund Gugner Partners as a senior analyst and back-up trader focusing on European small/mid-caps across all sectors. Mr. Perdrix started his career within Citigroup’s Investment Banking Division, M&A Financial Institutions Group, in both Paris and London. Mr. Perdrix, a French national, received a Specialised Master’s in Corporate Finance from EM Lyon School of Management and a Master of Science in Management from ESC Grenoble School of Management. He is FSA qualified.
Andreas Welter is a Senior Vice President in Heitman’s European Public Real Estate Securities group. His role with Heitman focuses on portfolio construction, fundamental company and market analysis supporting the Portfolio Management team. Prior to joining the firm, Mr. Welter was at Deutsche Bank AG, where he was a senior sell-side equity research analyst for three years. In that time, Mr. Welter covered companies in various industry sectors in Germany (e.g., real estate, financials, construction, logistics). Previously, Mr. Welter worked at the Middle Office & Advisory Desk of B. Metzler seel. Sohn & Co., one of Germany’s largest family-owned investment managers. Mr. Welter earned the title of Bankkaufmann (apprenticeship in banking) from the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Frankfurt and holds a Diploma in International Business Administration (Diplom-Betriebswirt) from one of the top-ranked universities in Europe (Hochschule Darmstadt).
For additional information concerning First Trust, the Sub-Advisor and Sub-Sub-Advisors, including a description of the services provided to the Fund, see the Fund’s SAI. Additional information about the portfolio managers’ compensation, other accounts managed by the portfolio managers and the portfolio managers’ ownership of securities in the Fund is provided in the SAI.
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Management Fee
Pursuant to an investment management agreement between First Trust and the Trust, on behalf of the Fund (the "Investment Management Agreement"), First Trust oversees HRES LLC’s management of the Fund’s assets and pays HRES LLC for its services as Sub-advisor. First Trust is paid an annual unitary management fee by the Fund equal to 0.95% of the Fund's average daily net assets and is responsible for the Fund’s expenses, including the cost of transfer agency, sub-advisory, custody, fund administration, legal, audit and other services, but excluding fee payments under the Investment Management Agreement, interest, taxes, acquired fund fees and expenses, if any, brokerage commissions and other expenses connected with the execution of portfolio transactions, distribution and service fees pursuant to a Rule 12b-1 plan, if any, and extraordinary expenses.
A discussion regarding the Board’s approval of the continuation of the Investment Management Agreement, Investment Sub-Advisory Agreement and Investment Sub-Sub-Advisory Agreements is available in the Fund’s Annual Report to Shareholders for the year ended October 31, 2018.
How to Buy and Sell Shares
Most investors buy and sell shares of the Fund in secondary market transactions through brokers. Shares of the Fund are listed for trading 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 when buying shares on the Exchange. 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, investors should expect to incur customary brokerage commissions, investors may receive less than the net asset value of the shares because shares are bought and sold at market prices rather than at net asset value, and investors may pay some or all of the spread between the bid and the offer price in the secondary market on each leg of a round trip (purchase and sale) transaction. Share prices are reported in dollars and cents per share.
For purposes of the 1940 Act, the Fund is treated as a registered investment company, and, absent an available exemption or exemptive relief, the acquisition of shares by other registered investment companies and companies relying on Sections 3(c)(1) or 3(c)(7) of the 1940 Act is subject to the restrictions of Section 12(d)(1) of the 1940 Act.
Book Entry
Shares are held in book-entry form, which means that no share certificates are issued. The Depository Trust Company (“DTC”) or its nominee is the record owner of all outstanding shares of the Fund and is recognized as the owner of all shares for all purposes.
Investors owning shares are beneficial owners as shown on the records of DTC or its participants. DTC serves as the securities depository for all shares. Participants in DTC include securities brokers and dealers, banks, trust companies, clearing corporations and other institutions that directly or indirectly maintain a custodial relationship with DTC. As a beneficial owner of shares, you are not entitled to receive physical delivery of share certificates or to have shares registered in your name, and you are not considered a registered owner of shares. Therefore, to exercise any right as an owner of shares, you must rely upon the procedures of DTC and its participants. These procedures are the same as those that apply to any other stocks that you hold in book-entry or “street name” form.
Share Trading Prices
The trading price of shares of the Fund on the Exchange is based on market price and may differ from the Fund’s daily net asset value and can be affected by market forces of supply and demand, economic conditions and other factors.
Information regarding the intra-day value of the shares of the Fund, also referred to as the “indicative optimized portfolio value” (“IOPV”), is disseminated every 15 seconds throughout the Fund’s trading day by the national securities exchange on which the shares are listed or by market data vendors or other information providers. The IOPV is based on the current market value of the securities or other assets and/or cash required to be deposited in exchange for a Creation Unit and any expenses of the Fund. The IOPV does not necessarily reflect the precise composition of the current portfolio of securities or other assets held by the Fund at a particular point in time or the best possible valuation of the current portfolio. Therefore, the IOPV should not be viewed as a “real-time” update of the net asset value per share of the Fund because the IOPV may not be calculated in the same manner as the net asset value, which is computed once a day, generally at the end of the business day. The IOPV is generally determined by using current market quotations. The price of a non-U.S. security that is primarily traded on a non-U.S.
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exchange will be updated, using the last sale price, every 15 seconds throughout the trading day, provided that upon the closing of such non-U.S. exchange, the closing price of the security, after being converted to U.S. dollars, will be used. Furthermore, in calculating the IOPV of the Fund’s shares, exchange rates may be used throughout the day (9:00 a.m. to 4:15 p.m., Eastern Time) that may differ from those used to calculate the net asset value per share of the Fund and consequently may result in differences between the net asset value and the IOPV. The Fund is not involved in, or responsible for, the calculation or dissemination of the IOPV of shares of the Fund and the Fund does not make any warranty as to its accuracy.
Frequent Purchases and Redemptions of the Fund's Shares
The Fund imposes no restrictions on the frequency of purchases and redemptions (“market timing”). In determining not to approve a written, established policy, the Board evaluated the risks of market timing activities by the Fund's shareholders. The Board considered that the Fund's shares can only be purchased and redeemed directly from the Fund in Creation Units by broker-dealers and large institutional investors that have entered into participation agreements (i.e., authorized participants (“APs”)) and that the vast majority of trading in the Fund's shares occurs on the secondary market. Because the secondary market trades do not involve the Fund directly, it is unlikely those trades would cause many of the harmful effects of market timing, including dilution, disruption of portfolio management, increases in the Fund's trading costs and the realization of capital gains. As may effect the purchase or redemption of Creation Units in exchange wholly or partially for cash, the Board noted that such trades could result in dilution to the Fund and increased transaction costs, which could negatively impact the Fund's ability to achieve its investment objective. However, the Board noted that direct trading by APs is critical to ensuring that the shares trade at or close to net asset value. In addition, the Fund imposes fixed and variable transaction fees on purchases and redemptions of Creation Units to cover the custodial and other costs incurred by the Fund in effecting trades. Finally, the Advisor monitors purchase and redemption orders from APs for patterns of abusive trading and the Fund reserves the right to not accept orders from APs that the Advisor has determined may be disruptive to the management of the Fund, or otherwise not in the Fund's best interests.
Dividends, Distributions and Taxes
Dividends from net investment income, if any, are declared and paid quarterly by the Fund. The Fund distributes its net realized capital gains, if any, to shareholders at least annually.
Distributions in cash may be reinvested automatically in additional whole shares only if the broker through whom you purchased shares makes such option available. Such shares will generally be reinvested by the broker based upon the market price of those shares and investors may be subject to customary brokerage commissions charged by the broker.
Federal Tax Matters
This section summarizes some of the main U.S. federal income tax consequences of owning shares of the Fund. This section is current as of the date of this prospectus. Tax laws and interpretations change frequently, and these summaries do not describe all of the tax consequences to all taxpayers. For example, these summaries generally do not describe your situation if you are a corporation, a non-U.S. person, a broker-dealer, or other investor with special circumstances. In addition, this section does not describe your state, local or non-U.S. tax consequences.
This federal income tax summary is based in part on the advice of counsel to the Fund. The Internal Revenue Service could disagree with any conclusions set forth in this section. In addition, counsel to the Fund was not asked to review, and has not reached a conclusion with respect to, the federal income tax treatment of the assets to be included in the Fund. This may not be sufficient for you to use for the purpose of avoiding penalties under federal tax law.
As with any investment, you should seek advice based on your individual circumstances from your own tax advisor.
Fund Status
The Fund intends to continue to qualify or qualify as a “regulated investment company” under the federal tax laws. If the Fund qualifies as a regulated investment company and distributes its income as required by the tax law, the Fund generally will not pay federal income taxes.
Distributions
The Fund’s distributions are generally taxable. After the end of each year, you will receive a tax statement that separates the distributions of the Fund into two categories, ordinary income distributions and capital gain dividends. Ordinary income
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distributions are generally taxed at your ordinary tax rate; however, as further discussed below, certain ordinary income distributions received from the Fund may be taxed at the capital gains tax rates. Generally, you will treat all capital gain dividends as long-term capital gains regardless of how long you have owned your shares. To determine your actual tax liability for your capital gain dividends, you must calculate your total net capital gain or loss for the tax year after considering all of your other taxable transactions, as described below. In addition, the Fund may make distributions that represent a return of capital for tax purposes and thus will generally not be taxable to you; however, such distributions may reduce your tax basis in your shares, which could result in you having to pay higher taxes in the future when shares are sold, even if you sell the shares at a loss from your original investment. The tax status of your distributions from the Fund is not affected by whether you reinvest your distributions in additional shares or receive them in cash. The income from the Fund that you must take into account for federal income tax purposes is not reduced by amounts used to pay a deferred sales fee, if any. The tax laws may require you to treat distributions made to you in January as if you had received them on December 31 of the previous year.
Income from the Fund may also be subject to a 3.8% “Medicare tax.” This tax generally applies to your net investment income if your adjusted gross income exceeds certain threshold amounts, which are $250,000 in the case of married couples filing joint returns and $200,000 in the case of single individuals.
Dividends Received Deduction
A corporation that owns shares generally will not be entitled to the dividends received deduction with respect to many dividends received from the Fund because the dividends received deduction is generally not available for distributions from regulated investment companies. However, certain ordinary income dividends on shares that are attributable to qualifying dividends received by the Fund from certain corporations may be reported by the Fund as being eligible for the dividends received deduction.
Capital Gains and Losses and Certain Ordinary Income Dividends
If you are an individual, the maximum marginal stated federal tax rate for net capital gain is generally 20% (15% or 0% for taxpayers with taxable incomes below certain thresholds). Some portion of your capital gain dividends may be taxed at a higher maximum stated tax rate. Capital gain received from assets held for more than one year that is considered “unrecaptured section 1250 gain” (which may be the case, for example, with some capital gains attributable to equity interests in real estate investment trusts that constitute interests in entities treated as real estate investment trusts for federal income tax purposes) is taxed at a maximum marginal stated federal tax rate of 25%. In the case of capital gain dividends, the determination of which portion of the capital gain dividend, if any, is subject to the 25% tax rate, will be made based on rules prescribed by the United States Treasury. Capital gains may also be subject to the Medicare tax described above.
Net capital gain equals net long-term capital gain minus net short-term capital loss for the taxable year. Capital gain or loss is long-term if the holding period for the asset is more than one year and is short-term if the holding period for the asset is one year or less. You must exclude the date you purchase your shares to determine your holding period. However, if you receive a capital gain dividend from the Fund and sell your share at a loss after holding it for six months or less, the loss will be recharacterized as long-term capital loss to the extent of the capital gain dividend received. The tax rates for capital gains realized from assets held for one year or less are generally the same as for ordinary income. The Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, treats certain capital gains as ordinary income in special situations.
Ordinary income dividends received by an individual shareholder from a regulated investment company such as the Fund are generally taxed at the same rates that apply to net capital gain (as discussed above), provided certain holding period requirements are satisfied and provided the dividends are attributable to qualifying dividends received by the Fund itself. Distributions with respect to shares in real estate investment trusts are qualifying dividends only in limited circumstances. The Fund will provide notice to its shareholders of the amount of any distribution which may be taken into account as a dividend which is eligible for the capital gains tax rates.
Sale of Shares
If you sell or redeem your shares, you will generally recognize a taxable gain or loss. To determine the amount of this gain or loss, you must subtract your tax basis in your shares from the amount you receive in the transaction. Your tax basis in your shares is generally equal to the cost of your shares, generally including sales charges. In some cases, however, you may have to adjust your tax basis after you purchase your shares.
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Taxes on Purchase and Redemption of Creation Units
If you exchange securities for Creation Units you will generally recognize a gain or a loss. The gain or loss will be equal to the difference between the market value of the Creation Units at the time and your aggregate basis in the securities surrendered and the cash component paid. If you exchange Creation Units for securities, you will generally recognize a gain or loss equal to the difference between your basis in the Creation Units and the aggregate market value of the securities received and the cash redemption amount. The Internal Revenue Service, however, may assert that a loss realized upon an exchange of securities for Creation Units or Creation Units for securities cannot be deducted currently under the rules governing “wash sales,” or on the basis that there has been no significant change in economic position.
Treatment of Fund Expenses
Expenses incurred and deducted by the Fund will generally not be treated as income taxable to you.
Non-U.S. Tax Credit
Because the Fund invests in non-U.S. securities, the tax statement that you receive may include an item showing non-U.S. taxes the Fund paid to other countries. In this case, dividends taxed to you will include your share of the taxes the Fund paid to other countries. You may be able to deduct or receive a tax credit for your share of these taxes.
Non-U.S. Investors
If you are a non-U.S. investor (i.e., an investor other than a U.S. citizen or resident or a U.S. corporation, partnership, estate or trust), you should be aware that, generally, subject to applicable tax treaties, distributions from the Fund will be characterized as dividends for federal income tax purposes (other than dividends which the Fund properly reports as capital gain dividends) and will be subject to U.S. federal income taxes, including withholding taxes, subject to certain exceptions described below. However, distributions received by a non-U.S. investor from the Fund that are properly reported by the Fund as capital gain dividends may not be subject to U.S. federal income taxes, including withholding taxes, provided that the Fund makes certain elections and certain other conditions are met. Distributions from the Fund that are properly reported by the Fund as an interest-related dividend attributable to certain interest income received by the Fund or as a short-term capital gain dividend attributable to certain net short-term capital gain income received by the Fund may not be subject to U.S. federal income taxes, including withholding taxes when received by certain non-U.S. investors, provided that the Fund makes certain elections and certain other conditions are met.
Distributions may be subject to a U.S. withholding tax of 30% in the case of distributions to (i) certain non-U.S. financial institutions that have not entered into an agreement with the U.S. Treasury to collect and disclose certain information and are not resident in a jurisdiction that has entered into such an agreement with the U.S. Treasury and (ii) certain other non-U.S. entities that do not provide certain certifications and information about the entity’s U.S. owners. Dispositions of shares by such persons may be subject to such withholding after December 31, 2018, although proposed regulations may eliminate this withholding obligation.
Investments in Certain Non-U.S. Corporations
If the Fund holds an equity interest in any passive foreign investment companies, which are generally certain non-U.S. corporations that receive at least 75% of their annual gross income from passive sources (such as interest, dividends, certain rents and royalties or capital gains) or that hold at least 50% of their assets in investments producing such passive income, the Fund could be subject to U.S. federal income tax and additional interest charges on gains and certain distributions with respect to those equity interests, even if all the income or gain is timely distributed to its shareholders. The Fund will not be able to pass through to its shareholders any credit or deduction for such taxes. The Fund may be able to make an election that could ameliorate these adverse tax consequences. In this case, the Fund would recognize as ordinary income any increase in the value of such passive foreign investment companies shares, and as ordinary loss any decrease in such value to the extent it did not exceed prior increases included in income. Under this election, the Fund might be required to recognize in a year income in excess of its distributions from passive foreign investment companies and its proceeds from dispositions of passive foreign investment companies stock during that year, and such income would nevertheless be subject to the distribution requirement and would be taken into account for purposes of the 4% excise tax. Dividends paid by passive foreign investment companies are not treated as qualified dividend income.
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Distribution Plan
FTP serves as the distributor of Creation Units for the Fund on an agency basis. FTP does not maintain a secondary market in shares.
The Board has adopted a Distribution and Service Plan pursuant to Rule 12b-1 under the 1940 Act. In accordance with the Rule 12b-1 plan, the Fund is authorized to pay an amount up to 0.25% of its average daily net assets each year to reimburse FTP for amounts expended to finance activities primarily intended to result in the sale of Creation Units or the provision of investor services. FTP may also use this amount to compensate securities dealers or other persons that are APs for providing distribution assistance, including broker-dealer and shareholder support and educational and promotional services.
The Fund does not currently pay 12b-1 fees, and pursuant to a contractual arrangement, the Fund will not pay 12b-1 fees any time before March 31, 2020. However, in the event 12b-1 fees are charged in the future, because these fees are paid out of the Fund's assets, over time these fees will increase the cost of your investment and may cost you more than certain other types of sales charges.
Net Asset Value
The Fund's net asset value is determined as of the close of trading (normally 4:00 p.m., Eastern Time) on each day the New York Stock Exchange is open for business. Net asset value is calculated for the Fund by taking the market price of the Fund’s total assets, including interest or dividends accrued but not yet collected, less all liabilities , and dividing such amount by the total number of shares outstanding. The result, rounded to the nearest cent, is the net asset value per share. All valuations are subject to review by the Board or its delegate.
The Fund's investments will be valued at market value or, in the absence of market value with respect to any investment, at fair value in accordance with valuation procedures adopted by the Trust’s Board and in accordance with the 1940 Act. Portfolio securities listed on any exchange other than The Nasdaq Stock Market LLC ("Nasdaq") and the London Stock Exchange Alternative Investment Market (“AIM”) will be valued at the last sale price on the exchange on which they are principally traded. Securities listed on the Nasdaq or the AIM will be valued at the official closing price. Securities traded on more than one securities exchange will be valued at the last sale price or official closing price, as applicable, at the close of the exchange representing the principal market for such securities. Portfolio securities traded in the over-the-counter market are valued at their closing bid prices. Short-term investments that mature in less than 60 days when purchased will be valued at cost adjusted for amortization of premiums and accretion of discount.
Certain securities may not be able to be priced by pre-established pricing methods. Such securities may be valued by the Board or its delegate, the Advisor’s Pricing Committee, at fair value. The use of fair value pricing by the Fund is governed by valuation procedures adopted by the Board and in accordance with the provisions of the 1940 Act. These securities generally include, but are not limited to, certain restricted securities (securities which may not be publicly sold without registration under the Securities Act) for which a pricing service is unable to provide a market price; securities whose trading has been formally suspended; a security whose market or fair value price is not available from a pre-established pricing source; a security with respect to which an event has occurred that is likely to materially affect the value of the security after the market has closed but before the calculation of the Fund's net asset value or make it difficult or impossible to obtain a reliable market quotation; and a security whose price, as provided by the pricing service, does not reflect the security’s “fair value.” As a general principle, the current “fair value” of a security would appear to be the amount which the owner might reasonably expect to receive for the security upon its current sale. The use of fair value prices by the Fund generally results in the prices used by the Fund that may differ from current market quotations or official closing prices on the applicable exchange. A variety of factors may be considered in determining the fair value of such securities. Valuing the Fund’s securities using fair value pricing will result in using prices for those securities that may differ from current market valuations. See the Fund's SAI for details.
Valuing the Fund’s holdings using fair value pricing will result in using prices for those holdings that may differ from current market valuations.
Because foreign securities exchanges may be open on different days than the days during which an investor may purchase or sell shares of the Fund, the value of the Fund's securities may change on days when investors are not able to purchase or sell shares of the Fund. The value of securities denominated in foreign currencies is converted into U.S. dollars at the exchange rates in effect at the time of valuation.
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Fund Service Providers
Brown Brothers Harriman & Co., 50 Post Office Square, Boston, Massachusetts 02110, acts as the administrator, accounting agent, custodian and transfer agent for the Fund. Chapman and Cutler LLP, 111 West Monroe Street, Chicago, Illinois 60603, serves as legal counsel to the Fund. First Trust serves as the fund reporting agent for the Fund.
Premium/Discount Information
The tables that follow present information about the differences between the Fund’s daily market price on the Exchange and its net asset value. The “Market Price” of the Fund generally is determined using the midpoint between the highest bid and lowest offer on the Exchange, as of the time the Fund’s net asset value is calculated. The Fund’s Market Price may be at, above, or below its net asset value. The net asset value of the Fund will fluctuate with changes in the market value of its portfolio holdings. The Market Price of the Fund will fluctuate in accordance with changes in its net asset value, as well as market supply and demand.
Premiums or discounts are the differences (generally expressed as a percentage) between the net asset value and Market Price of the Fund on a given day, generally at the time net asset value is calculated. A premium is the amount that the Fund is trading above the reported net asset value. A discount is the amount that the Fund is trading below the reported net asset value.
The following information shows the frequency distribution of premiums and discounts of the daily bid/ask price of the Fund against its net asset value. The information shown for the Fund is for the periods indicated. Shareholders may pay more than net asset value when they buy Fund shares and receive less than net asset value when they sell those shares because shares are bought and sold at current market price. All data presented here represents past performance, which cannot be used to predict future results. Information about the premiums and discounts at which the Fund's shares have traded is available on the Fund's website at www.ftportfolios.com.
First Trust Heitman Global Prime Real Estate ETF (PRME)
Bid/Ask Midpoint vs. Net Asset Value
Number of Days Bid/Ask Midpoint At/Above Net Asset Value
  0.00%0.49% 0.50%0.99% 1.00%1.99% >=2.00%
12 Months Ended 12/31/2018 39 31 24 36
Number of Days Bid/Ask Midpoint Below Net Asset Value
  0.00%0.49% 0.50%0.99% 1.00%1.99% >=2.00%
12 Months Ended 12/31/2018 36 46 31 8
Total Return Information
The table below compares the total return of the Fund to a market index. The information presented for the Fund is for the period indicated.
“Average annual total returns” represent the average annual change in the value of an investment over the period indicated. “Cumulative total returns” represent the total change in value of an investment over the period indicated. The return information shown under “Annual Total Return” in the Fund’s summary prospectus represents the average annual total returns of the Fund as of the calendar year end, while the information presented below is as of the Fund’s fiscal year end. The net asset value per share of the Fund is the value of one share of the Fund and is computed by dividing the value of all assets of the Fund (including accrued interest and dividends), less liabilities (including accrued expenses and dividends declared but unpaid), by the total number of outstanding shares. The net asset value return is based on the net asset value per share of the Fund and the market return is based on the market price per share of the Fund. The price used to calculate market return (“Market Price”) generally is determined by using the midpoint between the highest bid and the lowest offer on the Exchange on which the shares of the Fund are listed for trading, as of the time that the Fund's net asset value is calculated. Since the shares of the Fund typically do not trade in the secondary market until several days after the Fund's inception, for the period from inception to the first
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day of secondary market trading in shares of the Fund, the net asset value of the Fund is used as a proxy for the secondary market trading price to calculate market returns. Market and net asset value returns assume that all distributions have been reinvested in the Fund at Market Price and net asset value, respectively. An index is a statistical composite that tracks a specified financial market or sector. Unlike the Fund, an index does not actually hold a portfolio of securities and therefore does not incur the expenses incurred by the Fund. These expenses negatively impact the performance of the Fund. Also, market returns do not include brokerage commissions that may be payable on secondary market transactions. If brokerage commissions were included, market returns would be lower. The total returns reflect the reinvestment of dividends on securities in the index. The returns shown in the table below do not reflect the deduction of taxes that a shareholder would pay on Fund distributions or the redemption or sale of shares of the Fund. The investment return and principal value of shares of the Fund will vary with changes in market conditions. Shares of the Fund may be worth more or less than their original cost when they are redeemed or sold in the market. The Fund's past performance is no guarantee of future results.
First Trust Heitman Global Prime Real Estate ETF (PRME)
Total Returns as of October 31, 2018
    Average Annual   Cumulative
  1 Year Inception
(11/11/2015)
  Inception
(11/11/2015)
Fund Performance        
Net Asset Value 0.77% 2.63%   8.01%
Market Price 1.96% 2.86%   8.74%
Index Performance        
FTSE EPRA/NAREIT Developed Index 1.23% 5.21%   16.28%
  
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Financial Highlights
The financial highlights table is intended to help you understand the Fund's financial performance for the periods shown. Certain information reflects financial results for a single share of the Fund. The total returns represent the rate that an investor would have earned (or lost) on an investment in the Fund (assuming reinvestment of all dividends and distributions). The information for the periods indicated has been derived from financial statements audited by Deloitte & Touche LLP, whose report, along with the Fund's financial statements, is included in the Fund's Annual Report to Shareholders dated October 31, 2018 and is incorporated by reference in the Fund's SAI, which is available upon request.
First Trust Exchange-Traded Fund IV
Financial Highlights
For a share outstanding throughout each period
First Trust Heitman Global Prime Real Estate ETF (PRME)
  Year Ended October 31, Period
Ended
10/31/2016 (a)
  2018 2017
Net asset value, beginning of period $20.17 $19.67 $20.16
Income from investment operations:      
Net investment income (loss) 1.08 0.31 0.40
Net realized and unrealized gain (loss) (0.89) 1.13 (0.45)
Total from investment operations 0.19 1.44 (0.05)
Distributions paid to shareholders from:      
Net investment income (1.25) (0.94) (0.44)
Net asset value, end of period $19.11 $20.17 $19.67
Total Return (b) 0.77% 7.48% (0.28)%
Ratios/supplemental data:      
Net assets, end of period (in 000’s) $1,912 $1,008 $984
Ratio of total expenses to average net assets 0.95% 0.95% 0.95%(c)
Ratio of net investment income (loss) to average net assets 5.55% 1.51% 2.10%(c)
Portfolio turnover rate (d) 85% 104% 78%
(a) Inception date is November 11, 2015, which is consistent with the commencement of investment operations and is the date the initial creation units were established.
(b) Total return is calculated assuming an initial investment made at the net asset value at the beginning of the period, reinvestment of all distributions at net asset value during the period, and redemption at net asset value on the last day of the period. The returns presented do not reflect the deduction of taxes that a shareholder would pay on Fund distributions or the redemption or sale of Fund shares. Total return is calculated for the time period presented and is not annualized for periods of less than a year.
(c) Annualized.
(d) Portfolio turnover is calculated for the time period presented and is not annualized for periods of less than a year and does not include securities received or delivered from processing creations or redemptions and in-kind transactions.
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Other Information
Continuous Offering
The Fund issues, on a continuous offering basis, its shares in one or more groups of a fixed number of Fund shares (each such group of such specified number of individual Fund shares, a “Creation Unit Aggregation”). The method by which Creation Unit Aggregations of Fund shares are created and traded may raise certain issues under applicable securities laws. Because new Creation Unit Aggregations of shares are issued and sold by the Fund on an ongoing basis, a “distribution,” as such term is used in the Securities Act, may occur at any point. Broker-dealers and other persons are cautioned that some activities on their part may, depending on the circumstances, result in their being deemed participants in a distribution in a manner which could render them statutory underwriters and subject them to the prospectus delivery requirement and liability provisions of the Securities Act.
For example, a broker-dealer firm or its client may be deemed a statutory underwriter if it takes Creation Unit Aggregations after placing an order with FTP, breaks them down into constituent shares and sells such shares directly to customers, or if it chooses to couple the creation of a supply of new shares with an active selling effort involving solicitation of secondary market demand for shares. A determination of whether one is an underwriter for purposes of the Securities Act must take into account all the facts and circumstances pertaining to the activities of the broker-dealer or its client in the particular case, and the examples mentioned above should not be considered a complete description of all the activities that could lead to a characterization as an underwriter.
Broker-dealer firms should also note that dealers who are not “underwriters” but are effecting transactions in shares, whether or not participating in the distribution of shares, are generally required to deliver a prospectus. This is because the prospectus delivery exemption in Section 4(a)(3) of the Securities Act is not available in respect of such transactions as a result of Section 24(d) of the 1940 Act. As a result, broker-dealer firms should note that dealers who are not underwriters but are participating in a distribution (as contrasted with ordinary secondary market transactions) and thus dealing with the shares that are part of an overallotment within the meaning of Section 4(a)(3)(C) of the Securities Act would be unable to take advantage of the prospectus delivery exemption provided by Section 4(a)(3) of the Securities Act. Firms that incur a prospectus delivery obligation with respect to shares are reminded that, under the Securities Act Rule 153, a prospectus delivery obligation under Section 5(b)(2) of the Securities Act owed to a broker-dealer in connection with a sale on the Exchange is satisfied by the fact that the prospectus is available from the Exchange upon request. The prospectus delivery mechanism provided in Rule 153 is available with respect to transactions on a national securities exchange, a trading facility or an alternative trading system.
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First Trust
Exchange-Traded Fund IV

First Trust Heitman Global Prime Real Estate ETF
For More Information
For more detailed information on the Fund, several additional sources of information are available to you. The SAI, incorporated by reference into this prospectus, contains detailed information on the Fund's policies and operation. Additional information about the Fund's investments is available in the annual and semi-annual reports to shareholders. In the Fund's annual report, you will find a discussion of the market conditions and investment strategies that significantly impacted the Fund's performance during the last fiscal year. The Fund's most recent SAI, annual and semi-annual reports and certain other information are available free of charge by calling the Fund at (800) 621-1675, on the Fund's website at www.ftportfolios.com or through your financial advisor. Shareholders may call the toll-free number above with any inquiries.
You may obtain this and other information regarding the Fund, including the SAI and the Codes of Ethics adopted by First Trust, FTP and the Trust, directly from the Securities and Exchange Commission (the "SEC"). Information on the SEC’s website is free of charge. Visit the SEC’s online EDGAR database at www.sec.gov or in person at the SEC’s Public Reference Room in Washington, D.C., or call the SEC at (202) 551-8090 for information on the Public Reference Room. You may also request information regarding the Fund by sending a request (along with a duplication fee) to the SEC’s Public Reference Section, 100 F Street, N.E., Washington, D.C. 20549-1520 or by sending an electronic request to publicinfo@sec.gov.
First Trust Advisors L.P.
120 East Liberty Drive, Suite 400
Wheaton, Illinois 60187
(800) 621-1675
www.ftportfolios.com
SEC File #: 333-174332
811-22559

 


 

First Trust
Exchange-Traded Fund IV

Prospectus
First Trust Low Duration Opportunities ETF
Ticker Symbol: LMBS
Exchange: Nasdaq
First Trust Low Duration Opportunities ETF (the “Fund”) lists and principally trades its shares on The Nasdaq Stock Market LLC ("Nasdaq" or the "Exchange"). Market prices may differ to some degree from the net asset value of the shares. Unlike mutual funds, the Fund issues and redeems shares at net asset value, only in large specified blocks each consisting of 50,000 shares (each such block of shares called a “Creation Unit, and collectively, the “Creation Units”). The Fund’s Creation Units are generally issued and redeemed for cash and, in certain circumstances, in-kind for securities in which the Fund invests, and only to and from broker-dealers and large institutional investors that have entered into participation agreements.
The Fund is a series of First Trust Exchange-Traded Fund IV (the “Trust”) and an actively managed exchange-traded fund organized as a separate series of a registered management investment company.
Except when aggregated in Creation Units, the shares are not redeemable securities of the Fund.
The Securities and Exchange Commission has not approved or disapproved of these securities or passed upon the adequacy or accuracy of this prospectus. Any representation to the contrary is a criminal offense.
NOT FDIC INSURED    MAY LOSE VALUE    NO BANK GUARANTEE
March 1, 2019


Summary Information
Investment Objectives
The First Trust Low Duration Opportunities ETF's (the "Fund") primary investment objective is to generate current income. The Fund's secondary investment objective is to provide capital appreciation.
Fees and Expenses of the Fund
The following table describes the fees and expenses you may pay if you buy and hold shares of the Fund. Investors purchasing and selling shares may be subject to costs (including customary brokerage commissions) charged by their broker, which are not reflected in the table below.
Shareholder Fees
(fees paid directly from your investment)
Maximum Sales Charge (Load) Imposed on Purchases (as a percentage of offering price) None
    
Annual Fund Operating Expenses
(expenses that you pay each year as a percentage of the value of your investment)
Management Fees 0.65%
Distribution and Service (12b-1) Fees 0.00%
Other Expenses 0.00%
Acquired Fund Fees and Expenses 0.03%
Total Annual Fund Operating Expenses 0.68%
Example
The example below is intended to help you compare the cost of investing in the Fund with the cost of investing in other funds. This example does not take into account customary brokerage commissions that you pay when purchasing or selling shares of the Fund in the secondary market.
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 remain at current levels. Although your actual costs may be higher or lower, based on these assumptions your costs would be:
1 Year 3 Years 5 Years 10 Years
$69 $218 $379 $847
Portfolio Turnover
The Fund pays transaction costs, such as commissions, when it buys and sells securities (or “turns over” its portfolio). A higher portfolio turnover rate may indicate higher transaction costs and may result in higher taxes when Fund shares are held in a taxable account. These costs, which are not reflected in annual fund operating expenses or in the example, affect the Fund’s performance. During the most recent fiscal year, the Fund’s portfolio turnover rate was 331% of the average value of its portfolio.
Principal Investment Strategies
Under normal market conditions, the Fund will seek to achieve its investment objectives by investing at least 80% of its net assets (including investment borrowings) in mortgage-related debt securities and other mortgage-related instruments (collectively, “Mortgage-Related Investments”). The Fund normally expects to invest in Mortgage-Related Investments tied to residential and commercial mortgages. Mortgage-Related Investments consist of: (1) residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS); (2) commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS); (3) stripped mortgage-backed securities (SMBS), which are mortgage-backed securities where mortgage payments are divided up between paying the loan’s principal and paying the loan’s interest; and (4) collateralized mortgage obligations (CMOs) and real estate mortgage investment conduits (REMICs) where they are divided into multiple classes with each class being entitled to a different share of the principal and/or interest payments received from the pool of underlying assets. Mortgage-Related Investments typically represent an interest in a pool of mortgage loans made by banks and other financial institutions. The individual mortgage loans are packaged or “pooled” together for sale to investors. As the underlying mortgage loans are paid off, investors receive principal and interest payments. Mortgage-Related Investments may be fixed-rate or adjustable-rate Mortgage-Related Investments (ARMS).
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The mortgage-backed securities in which the Fund invests may be, but are not required to be, issued or guaranteed by the U.S. government or its agencies or instrumentalities, such as the Government National Mortgage Association (“GNMA”), the Federal National Mortgage Association (“FNMA”), and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (“FHLMC”) (the U.S. government, its agencies and instrumentalities, and U.S. government-sponsored entities are referred to collectively as “Government Entities”). The Fund may invest in callable agency securities, which give the issuer the right to redeem the security prior to maturity. The Fund will limit its investments in Mortgage-Related Investments that are not issued or guaranteed by Government Entities to 20% of its net assets (including investment borrowings).
The Fund targets an estimated effective duration of three (3) years or less. Duration is a mathematical calculation of the average life of a debt security (or portfolio of debt securities) that serves as a measure of its price risk. In general, each year of duration represents an expected 1% change in the value of a security for every 1% immediate change in interest rates. For example, if a portfolio of mortgage loans has an average duration of three years, its value can be expected to fall about 3% if interest rates rise by 1%. Conversely, the portfolio’s value can be expected to rise about 3% if interest rates fall by 1%. As a result, prices of instruments with shorter durations tend to be less sensitive to interest rate changes than instruments with longer durations. As the value of a security changes over time, so will its duration. The Fund’s investment advisor will calculate the duration of the portfolio by modeling the cash flows of all the individual holdings, including the impact of prepayment variability and coupon adjustments where applicable, to determine the duration of each holding and then aggregating based on the size of the position. In performing this duration calculation, the Fund’s advisor will utilize third-party models.
The Fund may invest, without limitation, in mortgage dollar rolls. The Fund intends to enter into mortgage dollar rolls only with high quality securities dealers and banks, as determined by the Fund’s investment advisor. In a mortgage dollar roll, the Fund will sell (or buy) mortgage-backed securities for delivery on a specified date and simultaneously contract to repurchase (or sell) substantially similar (same type, coupon and maturity) securities on a future date. The Fund may also invest in to-be-announced transactions (“TBA Transactions”). A TBA Transaction is a method of trading mortgage-backed securities. TBA Transactions generally are conducted in accordance with widely-accepted guidelines which establish commonly observed terms and conditions for execution, settlement and delivery. In a TBA Transaction, the buyer and the seller agree on general trade parameters such as agency, settlement date, par amount and price. Further, the Fund may enter into short sales as part of its overall portfolio management strategies or to offset a potential decline in the value of a security; however, the Fund does not expect, under normal market conditions, to engage in short sales with respect to more than 30% of the value of its net assets (including investment borrowings). To the extent required under applicable federal securities laws, rules, and interpretations thereof, the Fund will “set aside” liquid assets or engage in other measures to “cover” open positions and short positions held in connection with the foregoing types of transactions.
Although the Fund intends to invest primarily in investment grade securities, the Fund may invest up to 20% of its net assets (including investment borrowings) in securities of any credit quality, including securities that are below investment grade, which are also known as high yield securities, or commonly referred to as “junk” bonds, or unrated securities that have not been judged by the advisor to be of comparable quality to rated investment grade securities. In the case of a split rating between one or more of the nationally recognized statistical rating organizations, the Fund will consider the highest rating.
Principal Risks
You could lose money by investing in the Fund. An investment in the Fund is not a deposit of a bank and is not insured or guaranteed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation or any other governmental agency. There can be no assurance that the Fund’s investment objectives will be achieved.
ASSET-BACKED SECURITIES RISK. Asset-backed securities are debt securities typically created by buying and pooling loans or other receivables other than mortgage loans and creating securities backed by those similar type assets. As with other debt securities, asset-backed securities are subject to credit risk, extension risk, interest rate risk, liquidity risk and valuation risk. These securities are generally not backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government and are subject to the risk of default on the underlying asset or loan, particularly during periods of economic downturn. The impairment of the value of collateral or other assets underlying an asset-backed security, such as a result of non-payment of loans or non-performance of underlying assets, may result in a reduction in the value of such asset-backed securities and losses to the Fund.
AUTHORIZED PARTICIPANT CONCENTRATION RISK. Only an authorized participant may engage in creation or redemption transactions directly with the Fund. A limited number of institutions act as authorized participants for the Fund. To the extent that these institutions exit the business or are unable to proceed with creation and/or redemption orders and no other authorized participant steps forward to create or redeem, the Fund’s shares may trade at a premium or discount to the Fund’s net asset value and possibly face delisting.
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CALL RISK. Some debt securities may be redeemed, or “called,” at the option of the issuer before their stated maturity date. In general, an issuer will call its debt securities if they can be refinanced by issuing new debt securities which bear a lower interest rate. The Fund is subject to the possibility that during periods of falling interest rates an issuer will call its high yielding debt securities. The Fund would then be forced to invest the proceeds at lower interest rates, likely resulting in a decline in the Fund’s income.
CASH TRANSACTIONS RISK. The Fund intends to effect a significant portion of creations and redemptions for cash, rather than in-kind securities. As a result, an investment in the Fund may be less tax-efficient than an investment in an ETF that effects all of its creations and redemptions in-kind. Because the Fund may effect redemptions for cash, it may be required to sell portfolio securities in order to obtain the cash needed to distribute redemption proceeds. A sale of shares may result in capital gains or losses and may also result in higher brokerage costs.
COUNTERPARTY RISK. Fund transactions involving a counterparty are subject to the risk that the counterparty will not fulfill its obligation to the Fund. Counterparty risk may arise because of the counterparty’s financial condition (i.e., financial difficulties, bankruptcy, or insolvency), market activities and developments, or other reasons, whether foreseen or not. A counterparty’s inability to fulfill its obligation may result in significant financial loss to the Fund. The Fund may be unable to recover its investment from the counterparty or may obtain a limited recovery, and/or recovery may be delayed.
CREDIT RISK. An issuer or other obligated party of a debt security may be unable or unwilling to make dividend, interest and/or principal payments when due. In addition, the value of a debt security may decline because of concerns about the issuer’s ability or unwillingness to make such payments.
CYBER SECURITY RISK. The Fund is susceptible to operational risks through breaches in cyber security. A breach in cyber security refers to both intentional and unintentional events that may cause the Fund to lose proprietary information, suffer data corruption or lose operational capacity. Such events could cause the Fund to incur regulatory penalties, reputational damage, additional compliance costs associated with corrective measures and/or financial loss. Cyber security breaches may involve unauthorized access to the Fund’s digital information systems through “hacking” or malicious software coding but may also result from outside attacks such as denial-of-service attacks through efforts to make network services unavailable to intended users. In addition, cyber security breaches of the securities issuers or the Fund’s third-party service providers, such as its administrator, transfer agent, custodian, or sub-advisor, as applicable, or issuers in which the Fund invests, can also subject the Fund to many of the same risks associated with direct cyber security breaches. Although the Fund has established risk management systems designed to reduce the risks associated with cyber security, there is no guarantee that such efforts will succeed, especially because the Fund does not directly control the cyber security systems of issuers or third-party service providers.
EXTENSION RISK. Extension risk is the risk that, when interest rates rise, certain obligations will be paid off by the issuer (or other obligated party) more slowly than anticipated, causing the value of these debt securities to fall. Rising interest rates tend to extend the duration of debt securities, making their market value more sensitive to changes in interest rates. The value of longer-term debt securities generally changes more in response to changes in interest rates than shorter-term debt securities. As a result, in a period of rising interest rates, securities may exhibit additional volatility and may lose value.
FLOATING RATE DEBT INSTRUMENTS RISK. Investments in floating rate debt instruments are subject to the same risks as investments in other types of debt securities, including credit risk, interest rate risk, liquidity risk and valuation risk. Floating rate debt instruments include debt securities issued by corporate and governmental entities, as well bank loans, mortgage-backed securities and asset-backed securities. Floating rate debt instruments are structured so that the security’s coupon rate fluctuates based upon the level of a reference rate. Most commonly, the coupon rate of a floating rate debt instrument is set at the level of a widely followed interest rate, plus a fixed spread. As a result, the coupon on floating rate debt instrument will generally decline in a falling interest rate environment, causing the Fund to experience a reduction in the income it receives from the instrument. A floating rate debt instrument’s coupon rate resets periodically according to its terms. Consequently, in a rising interest rate environment, floating rate debt instruments with coupon rates that reset infrequently may lag behind the changes in market interest rates. Floating rate debt instruments may also contain terms that impose a maximum coupon rate the issuer will pay, regardless of the level of the reference rate. To the extent the Fund invests in floating rate loans, such instruments may be subject to legal or contractual restrictions on resale, may trade infrequently, and their value may be impaired when the Fund needs to liquidate such securities. It is possible that the collateral securing a floating rate loan may be insufficient or unavailable to the Fund, and that the Fund’s rights to collateral may be limited by bankruptcy or insolvency laws. Additionally, floating rate loans may not be considered “securities” under federal securities laws, and purchasers, such as the Fund, therefore may not be entitled to rely on the anti-fraud protections of the federal securities laws.
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HIGH YIELD SECURITIES RISK. High yield securities, or “junk” bonds, are subject to greater market fluctuations, are less liquid and provide a greater risk of loss than investment grade securities, and therefore, are considered to be highly speculative. In general, high yield securities may have a greater risk of default than other types of securities and could cause income and principal losses for the Fund.
INCOME RISK. The Fund’s income may decline when interest rates fall or if there are defaults in its portfolio. This decline can occur because the Fund may subsequently invest in lower-yielding securities as debt securities in its portfolio mature, are near maturity or are called, or the Fund otherwise needs to purchase additional debt securities.
INDEX CONSTITUENT RISK. The Fund may be a constituent of one or more indices. As a result, the Fund may be included in one or more index-tracking exchange-traded funds or mutual funds. Being a component security of such a vehicle could greatly affect the trading activity involving the Fund’s shares, the size of the Fund and the market volatility of the Fund. Inclusion in an index could increase demand for the Fund and removal from an index could result in outsized selling activity in a relatively short period of time. As a result, the Fund’s net asset value could be negatively impacted and the Fund’s market price may be below the Fund’s net asset value during certain periods. In addition, index rebalances may potentially result in increased trading activity in the Fund’s shares.
INFLATION RISK. Inflation risk is the risk that the value of assets or income from investments will be less in the future as inflation decreases the value of money. As inflation increases, the present value of the Fund’s assets and distributions may decline.
INTEREST RATE RISK. Interest rate risk is the risk that the value of the debt securities in the Fund’s portfolio will decline because of rising market interest rates. Interest rate risk is generally lower for shorter term debt securities and higher for longer-term debt securities. The Fund may be subject to a greater risk of rising interest rates than would normally be the case due to the current period of historically low rates and the effect of potential government fiscal policy initiatives and resulting market reaction to those initiatives. Duration is a reasonably accurate measure of a debt security’s price sensitivity to changes in interest rates and a common measure of interest rate risk. Duration measures a debt security’s expected life on a present value basis, taking into account the debt security’s yield, interest payments and final maturity. In general, duration represents the expected percentage change in the value of a security for an immediate 1% change in interest rates. For example, the price of a debt security with a three-year duration would be expected to drop by approximately 3% in response to a 1% increase in interest rates. Therefore, prices of debt securities with shorter durations tend to be less sensitive to interest rate changes than debt securities with longer durations. As the value of a debt security changes over time, so will its duration.
LIBOR RISK. In 2012, regulators in the United States and the United Kingdom alleged that certain banks, including some banks serving on the panel for U.S. dollar LIBOR, engaged in manipulative acts in connection with their submissions to the British Bankers Association. Manipulation of the LIBOR rate-setting process would raise the risk to the Fund of being adversely impacted if the Fund received a payment based upon LIBOR and such manipulation of LIBOR resulted in lower resets than would have occurred had there been no manipulation. In 2017, the head of the United Kingdom’s Financial Conduct Authority announced a desire to phase out the use of LIBOR by the end of 2021. There remains uncertainty regarding the future utilization of LIBOR and the nature of any replacement rate. As such, the potential effect of a transition away from LIBOR on the Fund or the financial instruments in which the Fund invests cannot yet be determined.
LIQUIDITY RISK. The Fund may hold certain investments that may be subject to restrictions on resale, trade over-the-counter or in limited volume, or lack an active trading market. Accordingly, the Fund may not be able to sell or close out of such investments at favorable times or prices (or at all), or at the prices approximating those at which the Fund currently values them. Illiquid securities may trade at a discount from comparable, more liquid investments and may be subject to wide fluctuations in market value.
MANAGEMENT RISK. The Fund is subject to management risk because it is an actively managed portfolio. In managing the Fund’s investment portfolio, the portfolio managers will apply investment techniques and risk analyses that may not produce the desired result. There can be no guarantee that the Fund will meet its investment objective.
MARKET MAKER RISK. The Fund faces numerous market trading risks, including the potential lack of an active market for Fund shares due to a limited number of market markers. Decisions by market makers or authorized participants to reduce their role or step away from these activities in times of market stress could inhibit the effectiveness of the arbitrage process in maintaining the relationship between the underlying values of the Fund’s portfolio securities and the Fund’s market price. The Fund may rely on a small number of third-party market makers to provide a market for the purchase and sale of shares. Any trading halt or other problem relating to the trading activity of these market makers could result in a dramatic change in
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the spread between the Fund’s net asset value and the price at which the Fund’s shares are trading on the Exchange, which could result in a decrease in value of the Fund’s shares. This reduced effectiveness could result in Fund shares trading at a discount to net asset value and also in greater than normal intraday bid-ask spreads for Fund shares.
MARKET RISK. Market risk is the risk that a particular security, or shares of the Fund in general, may fall in value. Securities are subject to market fluctuations caused by such factors as economic, political, regulatory or market developments, changes in interest rates and perceived trends in securities prices. Shares of the Fund could decline in value or underperform other investments.
MORTGAGE-RELATED SECURITIES RISK. Mortgage-related securities are subject to the same risks as investments in other types of debt securities, including credit risk, interest rate risk, liquidity risk and valuation risk. However, these investments make the Fund more susceptible to adverse economic, political or regulatory events that affect the value of real estate. Mortgage-related securities are also significantly affected by the rate of prepayments and modifications of the mortgage loans underlying those securities, as well as by other factors such as borrower defaults, delinquencies, realized or liquidation losses and other shortfalls. Mortgage-related securities are particularly sensitive to prepayment risk, given that the term to maturity for mortgage loans is generally substantially longer than the expected lives of those securities. As the timing and amount of prepayments cannot be accurately predicted, the timing of changes in the rate of prepayments of the mortgage loans may significantly affect the Fund's actual yield to maturity on any mortgage-related securities. Along with prepayment risk, mortgage-related securities are significantly affected by interest rate risk.
NON-AGENCY SECURITIES RISK. Investments in asset-backed or mortgage-backed securities offered by non-governmental issuers, such as commercial banks, savings and loans, private mortgage insurance companies, mortgage bankers and other secondary market issuers are subject to additional risks. There are no direct or indirect government or agency guarantees of payments in loan pools created by non-government issuers. Securities issued by private issuers are subject to the credit risks of the issuers. An unexpectedly high rate of defaults on the loan pool may adversely affect the value of a non-agency security and could result in losses to the Fund. The risk of such defaults is generally higher in the case of pools that include subprime loans. Non-agency securities are often not traded on an exchange and there may be a limited market for the securities, especially when there is a perceived weakness in the mortgage and real estate market sectors. Without an active trading market, the non-agency mortgage-related securities held by the Fund may be particularly difficult to value because of the complexities involved in assessing the value of the underlying loans.
NON-DIVERSIFICATION RISK. The Fund is classified as “non-diversified” under the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended (the "1940 Act"). As a result, the Fund is only limited as to the percentage of its assets which may be invested in the securities of any one issuer by the diversification requirements imposed by the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended. The Fund may invest a relatively high percentage of its assets in a limited number of issuers. As a result, the Fund may be more susceptible to a single adverse economic or regulatory occurrence affecting one or more of these issuers, experience increased volatility and be highly invested in certain issuers.
PORTFOLIO TURNOVER RISK. High portfolio turnover may result in the Fund paying higher levels of transaction costs and may generate greater tax liabilities for shareholders. Portfolio turnover risk may cause the Fund’s performance to be less than expected.
PREMIUM/DISCOUNT RISK. The market price of the Fund’s shares will generally fluctuate in accordance with changes in the Fund’s net asset value as well as the relative supply of and demand for shares on the Exchange. The Fund’s investment advisor cannot predict whether shares will trade below, at or above their net asset value because the shares trade on the Exchange at market prices and not at net asset value. Price differences may be due, in large part, to the fact that supply and demand forces at work in the secondary trading market for shares will be closely related, but not identical, to the same forces influencing the prices of the holdings of the Fund trading individually or in the aggregate at any point in time. However, given that shares can only be purchased and redeemed in Creation Units, and only to and from broker-dealers and large institutional investors that have entered into participation agreements (unlike shares of closed-end funds, which frequently trade at appreciable discounts from, and sometimes at premiums to, their net asset value), the Fund’s investment advisor believes that large discounts or premiums to the net asset value of shares should not be sustained.
PREPAYMENT RISK. Prepayment risk is the risk that the issuer of a debt security will repay principal prior to the scheduled maturity date. Debt securities allowing prepayment may offer less potential for gains during a period of declining interest rates, as the Fund may be required to reinvest the proceeds of any prepayment at lower interest rates. These factors may cause the value of an investment in the Fund to change.
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REPURCHASE AGREEMENT RISK. A repurchase agreement is an agreement to purchase a security from a party at one price and a simultaneous agreement to sell it back to the original party at an agreed-upon price, typically representing the purchase price plus interest. Repurchase agreements are subject to the risk of failure. If the Fund's counterparty defaults on its obligations and the Fund is delayed or prevented from recovering the collateral, or if the value of the collateral is insufficient, the Fund may realize a loss.
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. 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.
SHORT SALES RISK. In connection with a short sale of a security or other instrument, the Fund is subject to the risk that instead of declining, the price of the security or other instrument sold short will rise. If the price of the security or other instrument sold short increases between the date of the short sale and the date on which the Fund replaces the security or other instrument borrowed to make the short sale, the Fund will experience a loss, which is theoretically unlimited since there is a theoretically unlimited potential for the market price of a security or other instrument sold short to increase.
TBA TRANSACTIONS RISK. The Fund may purchase securities in TBA Transactions. In such a transaction, the purchase price of the securities is typically fixed at the time of the commitment, but delivery and payment can take place a month or more after the date of the commitment. At the time of delivery of the securities, the value may be more or less than the purchase or sale price. Purchasing securities in a TBA Transaction may give rise to investment leverage and may increase the Fund’s volatility. Default by, or bankruptcy of, a counterparty to a TBA Transaction would expose the Fund to possible losses because of an adverse market action, expenses or delays in connection with the purchase or sale of the pools specified in such transaction.
TRADING ISSUES RISK. Although the shares of the Fund are listed for trading on the Exchange, there can be no assurance that an active trading market for such shares will develop or be maintained. 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’s “circuit breaker” rules. Market makers are under no obligation to make a market in the Fund’s shares, and authorized participants are not obligated to submit purchase or redemption orders for Creation Units. In the event market makers cease making a market in the Fund's shares or authorized participants stop submitting purchase or redemption orders for Creation Units, Fund shares may trade at a larger premium or discount to their net asset value. 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. The Fund may have difficulty maintaining its listing on the Exchange in the event the Fund’s assets are small or the Fund does not have enough shareholders.
U.S. GOVERNMENT SECURITIES RISK. U.S. government securities are subject to interest rate risk but generally do not involve the credit risks associated with investments in other types of debt securities. As a result, the yields available from U.S. government securities are generally lower than the yields available from other debt securities. U.S. government securities are guaranteed only as to the timely payment of interest and the payment of principal when held to maturity. While securities issued or guaranteed by U.S. federal government agencies (such as Ginnie Mae) are backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. Department of the Treasury, securities issued by government sponsored entities (such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac) are solely the obligation of the issuer and generally do not carry any guarantee from the U.S. government.
VALUATION RISK. Unlike publicly traded securities that trade on national securities exchanges, there is no central place or exchange for trading most debt securities. Debt securities generally trade on an “over-the-counter” market. Due to the lack of centralized information and trading, the valuation of debt securities may carry more uncertainty and risk than that of publicly traded securities. Accordingly, determinations of the fair value of debt securities may be based on infrequent and dated information. Also, because the available information is less reliable and more subjective, elements of judgment may play a greater role in valuation of debt securities than for other types of securities.
Annual Total Return
The bar chart and table below illustrate the annual calendar year returns of the Fund based on net asset value as well as the average annual Fund returns. The bar chart and table provide an indication of the risks of investing in the Fund by showing changes in the Fund’s performance from year-to-year and by showing how the Fund’s average annual total returns based on net asset value compared to those of a market index. See “Total Return Information” for additional performance information regarding the Fund. The Fund’s performance information is accessible on the Fund’s website at www.ftportfolios.com.
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First Trust Low Duration Opportunities ETF
Calendar Year Total Returns as of 12/31
During the periods shown in the chart above:
Best Quarter Worst Quarter
2.16% March 31, 2016 0.01% March 31, 2018
The Fund’s past performance (before and after taxes) is not necessarily an indication of how the Fund will perform in the future.
Returns before taxes do not reflect the effects of any income or capital gains taxes. All after-tax returns are calculated using the historical highest individual federal marginal income tax rates and do not reflect the impact of any state or local tax. Returns after taxes on distributions reflect the taxed return on the payment of dividends and capital gains. Returns after taxes on distributions and sale of shares assume you sold your shares at period end, and, therefore, are also adjusted for any capital gains or losses incurred. Returns for the market indices do not include expenses, which are deducted from Fund returns, or taxes.
Your own actual after-tax returns will depend on your specific tax situation and may differ from what is shown here. After-tax returns are not relevant to investors who hold Fund shares in tax-deferred accounts such as individual retirement accounts (IRAs) or employee-sponsored retirement plans.
Average Annual Total Returns for the Periods Ended December 31, 2018
  1 Year Since
Inception
Inception
Date
Return Before Taxes 1.46% 3.34% 11/4/2014
Return After Taxes on Distributions 0.36% 2.11%  
Return After Taxes on Distributions and Sale of Shares 0.89% 2.01%  
ICE BofAML 1-5 Year US Treasury & Agency Index (reflects no deduction for fees, expenses or taxes) 1.54% 1.03%  
Management
Investment Advisor
First Trust Advisors L.P. (“First Trust” or the “Advisor”)
Portfolio Managers
The following persons serve as portfolio managers of the Fund:
Jim Snyder, Portfolio Manager, First Trust Securitized Products Group
Jeremiah Charles, Portfolio Manager, First Trust Securitized Products Group
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The portfolio managers are primarily and jointly responsible for the day-to-day management of the Fund. Each portfolio manager has served as part of the portfolio management team of the Fund since 2014.
Purchase and Sale of Fund Shares
The Fund issues and redeems shares on a continuous basis, at net asset value, only in Creation Units consisting of 50,000 shares. The Fund’s Creation Units are generally issued and redeemed for cash and, in certain circumstances, in-kind for securities in which the Fund invests, and only to and from broker-dealers and large institutional investors that have entered into participation agreements. Individual shares of the Fund may only be purchased and sold on Nasdaq and other eligible securities exchanges through a broker-dealer. Shares of the Fund trade on Nasdaq at market prices rather than net asset value, which may cause the shares to trade at a price greater than net asset value (premium) or less than net asset value (discount).
Tax Information
The Fund’s distributions are taxable and will generally be taxed as ordinary income or capital gains. Distributions on shares held in a tax-deferred account, while not immediately taxable, will be subject to tax when the shares are no longer held in a tax-deferred account.
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), First Trust and First Trust Portfolios L.P., the Fund’s distributor, may pay the intermediary for the sale of Fund shares and related services. These payments may create a conflict of interest by influencing the broker-dealer or other 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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Additional Information on the Fund's Investment Objectives and Strategies
The Fund is a series of First Trust Exchange-Traded Fund IV and is regulated as an “investment company” under the 1940 Act. The Fund is actively managed and does not seek to track the performance of an index. The Fund’s investment objectives are fundamental and may not be changed without approval by the holders of a majority of the outstanding voting securities of the Fund. Unless an investment policy is identified as being fundamental, all investment policies included in this prospectus and the Fund’s Statement of Additional Information (“SAI”) are non-fundamental and may be changed by the Board of Trustees of the Trust (the “Board”) without shareholder approval. If there is a material change to the Fund’s principal investment strategies, you should consider whether the Fund remains an appropriate investment for you. There is no guarantee that the Fund will achieve its investment objectives.
The Fund has adopted a non-fundamental investment policy pursuant to Rule 35d-1 under the 1940 Act (the “Name Policy”), whereby the Fund, under normal market conditions, will invest at least 80% of its net assets (including investment borrowings) in Mortgage-Related Instruments. The Name Policy may be changed by the Board of Trustees without shareholder approval upon 60 days’ prior written notice.
The Fund targets an estimated effective duration of three years or less. In comparison to maturity (i.e., the date on which a debt instrument ceases and the issuer is obligated to repay the principal amount), duration is a measure of the expected price volatility of a debt instrument as a result of changes in market rates of interest, based on the weighted average timing of the instrument’s expected principal and interest payments and other factors. Duration differs from maturity in that it considers a security’s yield, coupon payments, principal payments, call features and coupon adjustments in addition to the amount of time until the security finally matures. As the value of a security changes over time, so will its duration. Prices of securities with lower durations tend to be less sensitive to interest rate changes than securities with higher durations. In general, a portfolio of securities with a lower duration can be expected to be less sensitive to interest rate changes than a portfolio with a higher duration.
Fund Investments
Principal Investments
Mortgage-Related Investments
The Fund invests in Mortgage-Related Investments. Mortgage-backed securities represent direct or indirect participations in, or are secured by and payable from, mortgage loans secured by real property and can include single- and multi-class pass-through securities and collateralized mortgage obligations. Mortgage-backed securities are based on different types of mortgages, including those on commercial real estate or residential properties. These securities often have stated maturities of up to thirty years when they are issued, depending upon the length of the mortgages underlying the securities.
The Fund generally expects that the Mortgage-Related Investments in which it invests will primarily consist of investment grade securities at the time of purchase. The Mortgage-Related Investments in which the Fund invests include mortgage-backed securities (such as RMBS and CMBS). Certain mortgage-backed securities (including RMBS and CMBS), where mortgage payments are divided up between paying the loan’s principal and paying the loan’s interest, are referred to as stripped mortgage-backed securities (SMBS). Further, mortgage-backed securities can also be categorized as collateralized mortgage obligations (CMOs) or real estate mortgage investment conduits (REMICs) where they are divided into multiple classes with each class being entitled to a different share of the principal and/or interest payments received from the pool of underlying assets.
The mortgage-backed securities in which the Fund invests may be, but are not required to be, issued or guaranteed by the U.S. government, its agencies or instrumentalities, such as Ginnie Mae and U.S. government-sponsored entities, such as FNMA and FHLMC. Government agency or instrumentality securities have different levels of credit support. For example, Ginnie Mae securities carry a guarantee as to the timely repayment of principal and interest that is backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government. However, the full faith and credit guarantee does not apply to the market prices and yields of the Ginnie Mae securities or to the net asset value, trading price or performance of the Fund, which will vary with changes in interest rates and other market conditions. The FNMA and FHLMC pass-through mortgage certificates are backed by the credit of the respective instrumentality and are not guaranteed by the U.S. government. Other securities issued by government agencies or instrumentalities, including government-sponsored entities, may only be backed by the creditworthiness of the issuing institution, not the U.S. government, or the issuers may have the right to borrow from the U.S. Treasury to meet their obligations. Many mortgage-backed securities are pass-through securities, which means they provide investors with monthly payments
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consisting of a pro rata share of both regular interest and principal payments as well as unscheduled prepayments on the underlying mortgage loans. Because prepayment rates of individual mortgage pools vary widely, the average life of a particular pool cannot be predicted accurately. Adjustable-rate mortgage-backed securities include ARMS and other mortgage-backed securities with interest rates that adjust periodically to reflect prevailing market rates.
Additionally, the Fund may invest in mortgage dollar rolls. In a mortgage dollar roll, the Fund will sell (or buy) mortgage- backed securities for delivery on a specified date and simultaneously contract to repurchase (or sell) substantially similar (same type, coupon and maturity) securities on a future date. During the period between a sale and repurchase, the Fund will forgo principal and interest paid on the mortgage-backed securities. The Fund will earn or lose money on a mortgage dollar roll from any difference between the sale price and the future purchase price. In a sale and repurchase, the Fund will also earn money on the interest earned on the cash proceeds of the initial sale. The Fund intends to enter into mortgage dollar rolls only with high quality securities dealers and banks, as determined by the Advisor.
The Fund may also invest in TBA Transactions. A TBA Transaction is a method of trading mortgage-backed securities. In a TBA Transaction, the buyer and the seller agree on general trade parameters such as agency, settlement date, par amount and price. The actual pools delivered generally are determined two days prior to the settlement date.
High Yield Debt
The Fund invests primarily in Mortgage-Related Investments, a portion of which may be rated below investment grade, or unrated securities deemed by the Fund’s portfolio managers to be of comparable quality. Securities rated below investment grade are commonly referred to as high yield or “junk” debt. For purposes of determining whether a security is below investment grade, the highest available rating will be considered.
U.S. Government Securities
The Fund may invest in U.S. government securities. U.S. government securities include U.S. Treasury obligations and securities issued or guaranteed by various agencies of the U.S. government, or by various instrumentalities which have been established or sponsored by the U.S. government. U.S. Treasury obligations are backed by the “full faith and credit” of the U.S. government. Securities issued or guaranteed by federal agencies and U.S. government sponsored instrumentalities may or may not be backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government.
The Fund may also invest in callable agency securities, which give the issuer (the U.S. government agency) the right to redeem the security prior to maturity. The Fund may also invest in U.S. government inflation-indexed securities.
At times, the Fund may allocate its investments into direct obligations of the U.S. government (such as Treasury bonds, bills and notes) and in securities issued or guaranteed by the U.S. government, its agencies or instrumentalities, including government-sponsored entities.
Non-Principal Investments
Cash Equivalents and Short-Term Investments
Under normal market conditions, the Fund may invest up to 20% of its net assets in short-term debt securities that are not included within the meaning of the term “Mortgage-Related Investments,” such as money market funds and other cash equivalents, or it may hold cash. The percentage of the Fund invested in these types of holdings will vary and will depend on several factors, including market conditions. In addition to its investments in Mortgage-Related Investments issued or guaranteed by Government Entities and in the short-term debt securities described above, the Fund may also invest up to 20% of its net assets (including investment borrowings) in other direct obligations of the U.S. government and in other securities issued or guaranteed by Government Entities. Such investments may include, without limitation, U.S. government inflation-indexed securities.
The Fund may invest in securities with maturities of less than one year or cash equivalents, or it may hold cash, in order to collateralize, its investments or for temporary defensive purposes. The percentage of the Fund invested in these types of holdings varies and depends on several factors, including market conditions. For temporary defensive purposes, during the initial invest-up period and during periods of high cash inflows or outflows, the Fund may depart from its principal investment strategies and invest part or all of its assets in these securities or it may hold cash. During such periods, the Fund may not be able to achieve its investment objective. The Fund may adopt a defensive strategy when the portfolio managers believe securities in which the Fund normally invests have elevated risks due to political or economic factors and in other extraordinary circumstances. For more information on eligible short-term investments, see the Fund’s SAI.
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Derivative Instruments
Consistent with an exemptive order from, and no-action letters issued by, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Fund may use exchange listed options on U.S. Treasury securities, exchange listed options on U.S. Treasury futures contracts and exchange-listed U.S. Treasury futures contracts. The use of these derivative transactions may allow the Fund to obtain net long or short exposures to selected interest rates or durations. The Fund may also utilize derivatives to enhance return, to hedge some of the risks of its investments in securities, as a substitute for a position in the underlying asset, to reduce transaction costs, to maintain full market exposure (which means to adjust the characteristics of its investments to more closely approximate those of the markets in which it invests), to manage cash flows, to limit exposure to losses due to changes to non-U.S. currency exchange rates or to preserve capital.
Illiquid Securities
The Fund may invest up to 15% of its net assets in securities and other instruments that are, at the time of investment, illiquid (determined using the Securities and Exchange Commission’s standard applicable to investment companies, i.e., securities that cannot be disposed of by the Fund within seven days in the ordinary course of business at approximately the amount at which the Fund has valued the securities). For this purpose, illiquid securities may include, but are not limited to, restricted securities (securities the disposition of which is restricted under the federal securities laws), securities that may only be resold pursuant to Rule 144A under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “Securities Act”), that are deemed to be illiquid, and certain repurchase agreements.
Investment Companies and Other Pooled Investment Vehicles
The Fund may invest in securities of other investment companies, including exchange-traded funds (“ETFs”) that invest primarily in Mortgage-Related Investments. As a shareholder in an investment company or pooled investment vehicle, the Fund bears its ratable share of that investment company’s expenses, and would remain subject to payment of the Fund’s advisory and administrative fees with respect to assets so invested. Shareholders would therefore be subject to duplicative expenses to the extent the Fund invests in other pooled investment vehicles. In addition, the Fund incurs brokerage costs when purchasing and selling shares of ETFs. Securities of certain investment companies may be leveraged, in which case the value and/or yield of such securities tends to be more volatile than securities of unleveraged investment companies.
The Fund's ability to invest in other investment companies is limited by the 1940 Act and the related rules and interpretations. The Fund has adopted a policy that it will not invest in other investment companies in excess of 1940 Act limits in reliance on Sections 12(d)(1)(F) and 12(d)(1)(G) of the 1940 Act.
Disclosure of Portfolio Holdings
A description of the policies and procedures with respect to the disclosure of the Fund’s portfolio securities is included in the Fund’s SAI, which is available on the Fund’s website at www.ftportfolios.com.
Additional Risks of Investing in the Fund
Risk is inherent in all investing. Investing in the Fund involves risk, including the risk that you may lose all or part of your investment. There can be no assurance that the Fund will meet its stated objectives. Before you invest, you should consider the following supplemental disclosure pertaining to the Principal Risks set forth above as well as additional Non-Principal Risks set forth below in this prospectus.
Principal Risks
ASSET-BACKED SECURITIES RISK. The Funds may invest in asset-backed securities. Asset-backed securities are debt securities typically created by buying and pooling loans or other receivables other than mortgage loans and creating securities backed by those similar type assets. They are typically issued by trusts and special purpose co-purchasers that pass income from the underlying pool to investors. As with other debt securities, asset-backed securities are subject to credit risk, extension risk, interest rate risk, liquidity risk and valuation risk. Certain asset-backed securities do not have the benefit of the same security interest in the related collateral as do mortgage-backed securities, nor are they provided government guarantees of repayment. Credit card receivables are generally unsecured, and the debtors are entitled to the protection of a number of state and federal consumer credit laws, many of which give such debtors the right to set off certain amounts owed on the credit cards, thereby reducing the balance due. In addition, some issuers of automobile receivables permit the servicers to retain possession of the underlying obligations. If the servicer were to sell these obligations to another party, there is a risk that the purchaser would acquire an interest superior to that of the holders of the related automobile receivables. The impairment of the value
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of collateral or other assets underlying an asset-backed security, such as a result of non-payment of loans or non-performance of underlying assets, may result in a reduction in the value of such asset-backed securities and losses to the Fund.
AUTHORIZED PARTICIPANT CONCENTRATION RISK. Only an authorized participant may engage in creation or redemption transactions directly with the Fund. A limited number of institutions act as authorized participants for the Fund. Although participants are not obligated to make a market in the Fund’s shares or submit purchase and redemption orders for correction units. To the extent that these institutions exit the business, reduce their role or are unable to proceed with creation and/or redemption orders and no other authorized participant steps forward to create or redeem, the Fund’s shares may trade at a premium or discount to the Fund’s net asset value and possibly face delisting.
CALL RISK. Some debt securities may be redeemed at the option of the issuer, or “called,” before their stated maturity date. In general, an issuer will call its debt securities if they can be refinanced by issuing new debt securities which bear a lower interest rate. The Fund is subject to the possibility that during periods of falling interest rates an issuer will call its high yielding debt securities. The Fund would then be forced to invest the unanticipated proceeds at lower interest rates, likely resulting in a decline in the Fund’s income. Such redemptions and subsequent reinvestments would also increase the Fund’s portfolio turnover. If a called debt security was purchased by the Fund at a premium, the value of the premium may be lost in the event of a redemption.
CASH TRANSACTIONS RISK. The Fund intends to effect a significant portion of creations and redemptions for cash, rather than in-kind securities. As a result, an investment in the Fund may be less tax-efficient than an investment in an ETF that effects its creations and redemptions only in-kind. ETFs are able to make in-kind redemptions and avoid being taxed on gains on the distributed portfolio securities at the fund level. A Fund that effects redemptions for cash may be required to sell portfolio securities in order to obtain the cash needed to distribute redemption proceeds. Any recognized gain on these sales by the Fund will generally cause the Fund to recognize a gain it might not otherwise have recognized, or to recognize such gain sooner than would otherwise be required if it were to distribute portfolio securities only in-kind. The Fund 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. Moreover, cash transactions may have to be carried out over several days if the securities market is relatively illiquid and may involve considerable brokerage fees and taxes. These brokerage fees and taxes, which will be higher than if the Fund sold and redeemed its shares principally in-kind, will be passed on to those purchasing and redeeming Creation Units in the form of creation and redemption transaction fees. In addition, these factors may result in wider spreads between the bid and the offered prices of the Fund’s shares than for ETFs that distribute portfolio securities in-kind.
COUNTERPARTY RISK. The Fund is subject to counterparty risk. If the Fund enters into an investment or transaction that depends on the performance of another party, the Fund becomes subject to the credit risk of that counterparty. The Fund's ability to profit from these types of investments and transactions depends on the willingness and ability of the Fund’s counterparty to perform its obligations. If a counterparty fails to meet its contractual obligations, the Fund may be unable to terminate or realize any gain on the investment or transaction, resulting in a loss to the Fund. The Fund may experience significant delays in obtaining any recovery in an insolvency, bankruptcy, or other reorganization proceeding involving a counterparty (including recovery of any collateral posted by it) and may obtain only a limited recovery or may obtain no recovery in such circumstances. If the Fund holds collateral posted by its counterparty, it may be delayed or prevented from realizing on the collateral in the event of a bankruptcy or insolvency proceeding relating to the counterparty. Under applicable law or contractual provisions, including if the Fund enters into an investment or transaction with a financial institution and such financial institution (or an affiliate of the financial institution) experiences financial difficulties, then the Fund may in certain situations be prevented or delayed from exercising its rights to terminate the investment or transaction, or to realize on any collateral and may result in the suspension of payment and delivery obligations of the parties under such investment or transactions or in another institution being substituted for that financial institution without the consent of the Fund. Further, the Fund may be subject to “bail-in” risk under applicable law whereby, if required by the financial institution's authority, the financial institution's liabilities could be written down, eliminated or converted into equity or an alternative instrument of ownership. A bail-in of a financial institution may result in a reduction in value of some or all of securities and, if the Fund holds such securities or has entered into a transaction with such a financial security when a bail-in occurs, the Fund may also be similarly impacted.
CREDIT RISK. An issuer or other obligated party of a debt security may be unable or unwilling to make dividend, interest and/or principal payments when due. In addition, the value of a debt security may decline because of concerns about the issuer’s ability or unwillingness to make such payments. Debt securities are subject to varying degrees of credit risk which
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are often reflected in credit ratings. The credit rating of a debt security may be lowered if the issuer or other obligated party suffers adverse changes to its financial condition. These adverse changes may lead to greater volatility in the price of the debt security and affect the security’s liquidity. High yield and comparable unrated debt securities, while generally offering higher yields than investment grade debt with similar maturities, involve greater risks, including the possibility of dividend or interest deferral, default or bankruptcy, and are regarded as predominantly speculative with respect to the issuer’s capacity to pay dividends or interest and repay principal. To the extent that the Fund holds debt securities that are secured or guaranteed by financial institutions, changes in credit quality of such financial institutions could cause values of the debt security to deviate.
CYBER SECURITY RISK. The Fund is susceptible to operational risks through breaches in cyber security. A breach in cyber security refers to both intentional and unintentional events that may cause the Fund to lose proprietary information, suffer data corruption or lose operational capacity. Such events could cause the Fund to incur regulatory penalties, reputational damage, additional compliance costs associated with corrective measures and/or financial loss. These risks typically are not covered by insurance. In general, cyber incidents can result from deliberate attacks or unintentional events. Cyber incidents include, but are not limited to, gaining unauthorized access to digital systems (e.g., through “hacking” or malicious software coding) for purposes of misappropriating assets or sensitive information, corrupting data or causing operational disruption. Cyber attacks may also be carried out in a manner that does not require gaining unauthorized access, such as causing denial-of-service attacks on websites (i.e., efforts to make network services unavailable to intended users). Cyber security failures by or breaches of the systems of security issuers, the Advisor, distributor and other service providers (including, but not limited to, sub-advisors, index providers, fund accountants, custodians, transfer agents and administrators), market makers, authorized participants or the issuers of securities in which the Fund invests, have the ability to cause disruptions and impact business operations, potentially resulting in: financial losses; interference with the Fund’s ability to calculate its net asset value; disclosure of confidential trading information; impediments to trading; submission of erroneous trades or erroneous creation or redemption orders; the inability of the Fund or its service providers to transact business; violations of applicable privacy and other laws; regulatory fines penalties, reputational damage, reimbursement or other compensation costs; or additional compliance costs. Substantial costs may be incurred by the Fund in order to resolve or prevent cyber incidents in the future. While the Fund has established business continuity plans in the event of, and risk management systems to prevent, such cyber attacks, there are inherent limitations in such plans and systems, including the possibility that certain risks have not been identified and that prevention and remediation efforts will not be successful. Furthermore, the Fund cannot control the cyber security plans and systems put in place by service providers to the Fund, issuers in which the Fund invests, market makers or authorized participants. However, there is no guarantee that such efforts will succeed, and the Fund and its shareholders could be negatively impacted as a result.
EXTENSION RISK. Extension risk is the risk that, when interest rates rise, certain obligations will be paid off by the issuer (or other obligated party) more slowly than anticipated, causing the value of these debt securities to fall. Rising interest rates tend to extend the duration of debt securities, making them more sensitive to changes in interest rates. The value of longer-term debt securities generally changes more in response to changes in interest rates than shorter-term debt securities. As a result, in a period of rising interest rates, securities may exhibit additional volatility and may lose value. Extension risk is particularly prevalent for a callable debt security where an increase in interest rates could result in the issuer of that security choosing not to redeem the debt security as anticipated on the security’s call date. Such a decision by the issuer could have the effect of lengthening the debt security’s expected maturity, making it more vulnerable to interest rate risk and reducing its market value.
FLOATING RATE DEBT INSTRUMENTS RISK. Investments in floating rate debt instruments are subject to the same risks as investments in other types of debt securities, including credit risk, interest rate risk, liquidity risk and valuation risk. Floating rate debt instruments include debt securities issued by corporate and governmental entities, as well bank loans, mortgage-backed securities and asset-backed securities. Floating rate debt instruments are structured so that the security’s coupon rate fluctuates based upon the level of a reference rate. Most commonly, the coupon rate of a floating rate debt instrument is set at the level of a widely followed interest rate, plus a fixed spread. As a result, the coupon on floating rate debt instrument will generally decline in a falling interest rate environment, causing the Fund to experience a reduction in the income it receives from the instrument. A floating rate debt instrument’s coupon rate resets periodically according to its terms. Consequently, in a rising interest rate environment, floating rate debt instruments with coupon rates that reset infrequently may lag behind the changes in market interest rates. Floating rate debt instruments may also contain terms that impose a maximum coupon rate the issuer will pay, regardless of the level of the reference rate. The Fund may invest in floating rate loans considered to be high yield, or “junk,” instruments and considered speculative because of the credit risk of their issuers. Such issuers are more likely than investment grade issuers to default on their payments of interest and principal owed to the Fund. An economic downturn would also generally lead to a higher non-payment rate, and a floating rate debt instrument may lose significant market value before a default occurs. To the extent the Fund invests in floating rate loans, such instruments
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may be subject to legal or contractual restrictions on resale, may trade infrequently, and their value may be impaired when the Fund needs to liquidate such securities. It is possible that the collateral securing a floating rate loan may be insufficient or unavailable to Fund, and that the Fund’s rights to collateral may be limited by bankruptcy or insolvency laws. Additionally, there is no central clearinghouse for loan trades and the loan market has not established enforceable settlement standards or remedies for failure to settle. As such, the secondary market for floating rate loans may be subject to irregular trading activity, wide bid/ask spreads and extended trade settlement periods which may cause the Fund to be unable to realize the full value of its investment. Lastly, floating rate loans may not be considered “securities,” and purchasers, such as the Fund, therefore may not be entitled to rely on the anti-fraud protections of the federal securities laws.
HIGH YIELD SECURITIES RISK. The Fund’s investment in high yield securities, or “junk” bonds, may entail increased credit risks and the risk that the value of the Fund’s assets will decline, and may decline precipitously, with increases in interest rates. In recent years there have been wide fluctuations in interest rates and therefore in the value of debt securities generally. High yield securities are, under most circumstances, subject to greater market fluctuations and risk of loss of income and principal than are investments in lower-yielding, higher-rated debt securities. As interest rates rise, the value of high yield securities may decline precipitously. Increased rates may also indicate a slowdown in the economy which may adversely affect the credit of issuers of high yield securities resulting in a higher incidence of defaults among such issuers. A slowdown in the economy, or a development adversely affecting an issuer’s creditworthiness, may result in the issuer being unable to maintain earnings or sell assets at the rate and at the prices, respectively, that are required to produce sufficient cash flow to meet its interest and principal requirements. The Fund’s portfolio managers cannot predict future economic policies or their consequences or, therefore, the course or extent of any similar market fluctuations in the future. In addition, high yield securities are generally less liquid than investment grade securities.
INCOME RISK. The Fund’s income may decline when interest rates fall. This decline can occur because the Fund may subsequently invest in lower-yielding securities as debt securities in its portfolio mature, are near maturity or are called, or the Fund otherwise needs to purchase additional debt securities. In addition, the Fund’s income could decline when the Fund experiences defaults on the debt securities it holds.
INDEX CONSTITUENT RISK. The Fund may be a constituent of one or more indices or ETF models. As a result, the Fund may be included in one or more index-tracking ETFs or mutual funds. Being a component security of such a vehicle could greatly affect the trading activity involving the Fund, the size of the Fund and the market volatility of the Fund’s shares. Inclusion in an index could increase demand for the Fund and removal from an index could result in outsized selling activity in a relatively short period of time. As a result, the Fund’s net asset value could be negatively impacted and the Fund’s market price may be below the Fund’s net asset value during certain periods. In addition, index rebalances may potentially result in increased trading activity. To the extent buying or selling activity increases, the Fund can be exposed to increased brokerage costs and adverse tax consequences and the market price of the Fund can be negatively affected.
INFLATION RISK. Inflation risk is the risk that the value of assets or income from investments will be less in the future as inflation decreases the value of money. As inflation increases, the present value of the Fund’s assets and distributions may decline. This risk is more prevalent with respect to debt securities held by the Fund. Inflation creates uncertainty over the future real value (after inflation) of an investment. Inflation rates may change frequently and drastically as a result of various factors, including unexpected shifts in the domestic or global economy, and the Fund’s investments may not keep pace with inflation, which may result in losses to Fund investors.
INTEREST RATE RISK. The value of debt securities held by the Fund will fluctuate in value with changes in interest rates. In general, debt securities will increase in value when interest rates fall and decrease in value when interest rates rise. The Fund may be subject to a greater risk of rising interest rates than would normally be the case due to the current period of historically low rates and the effect of potential government fiscal policy initiatives and resulting market reaction to those initiatives. Interest rate risk is generally lower for shorter term investments and higher for longer term investments. Duration is a common measure of interest rate risk. Duration measures a debt security’s expected life on a present value basis, taking into account the debt security’s yield, interest payments and final maturity. Duration is a reasonably accurate measure of a debt security’s price sensitivity to changes in interest rates. The longer the duration of a debt security, the greater the debt security’s price sensitivity is to changes in interest rates. Rising interest rates also may lengthen the duration of debt securities with call features, since exercise of the call becomes less likely as interest rates rise, which in turn will make the securities more sensitive to changes in interest rates and result in even steeper price declines in the event of further interest rate increases. Interest rate risk may be increased by the Fund’s investment in inverse floaters because of the leveraged nature of those investments. An increase in interest rates could also cause principal payments on a debt security to be repaid at a slower rate than expected. This risk is particularly prevalent for a callable debt security where an increase in interest rates could cause the issuer of that
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security to not redeem the security as anticipated on the call date, effectively lengthening the security’s expected maturity, in turn making that security more vulnerable to interest rate risk and reducing its market value. When interest rates fall, the Fund may be required to reinvest the proceeds from the sale, redemption or early prepayment of a debt security at a lower interest rate.
INVESTMENT COMPANIES RISK. The Fund may invest in securities of other investment companies. As a shareholder in another investment company, the Fund will bear its ratable share of that investment company’s expenses, and would remain subject to payment of the Fund’s advisory and administrative fees with respect to assets so invested. Shareholders would therefore be subject to duplicative expenses to the extent the Fund invests in other investment companies. In addition, the Fund will incur brokerage costs when purchasing and selling shares of exchange-traded investment companies.
LIBOR RISK. In 2012, regulators in the United States and the United Kingdom alleged that certain banks, including some banks serving on the panel for U.S. dollar LIBOR, engaged in manipulative acts in connection with their submissions to the British Bankers Association. Manipulation of the LIBOR rate-setting process would raise the risk to the Fund of being adversely impacted if the Fund received a payment based upon LIBOR and such manipulation of LIBOR resulted in lower resets than would have occurred had there been no manipulation. In 2017, the head of the United Kingdom’s Financial Conduct Authority announced a desire to phase out the use of LIBOR by the end of 2021. There remains uncertainty regarding the future utilization of LIBOR and the nature of any replacement rate. As such, the potential effect of a transition away from LIBOR on the Fund or the financial instruments in which the Fund invests cannot yet be determined.
LIQUIDITY RISK. The Fund may have investments that it may not be able to dispose of or close out readily at a favorable time or price (or at all), or at a price approximating the Fund’s valuation of the investment. For example, certain investments may be subject to restrictions on resale, may trade over-the-counter or in limited volume, or may not have an active trading market. Illiquid securities may trade at a discount from comparable, more liquid investments and may be subject to wide fluctuations in market value. It may be difficult for the Fund to value illiquid securities accurately. The market for certain investments may become illiquid under adverse market or economic conditions independent of any specific adverse changes in the conditions of a particular issuer. If the Fund needed to sell a large block of illiquid securities to meet shareholder redemption request or to raise cash, these sales could further reduce the securities’ prices and adversely affect performance of the Fund. Disposal of illiquid securities may entail registration expenses and other transaction costs that are higher than those for liquid securities.
MANAGEMENT RISK. The Fund is subject to management risk because it is an actively managed portfolio. In managing the Fund’s investment portfolio, the portfolio managers will apply investment techniques and risk analyses that may not produce the desired result. There can be no guarantee that the Fund will meet its investment objective(s), meet relevant benchmarks or perform as well as other funds with similar objectives.
MARKET MAKER RISK. The Fund faces numerous market trading risks, including the potential lack of an active market for Fund shares due to a limited number of market markers. Decisions by market makers or authorized participants to reduce their role or step away from these activities in times of market stress could inhibit the effectiveness of the arbitrage process in maintaining the relationship between the underlying values of the Fund’s portfolio securities and the Fund’s market price. The Fund may rely on a small number of third-party market makers to provide a market for the purchase and sale of shares. Any trading halt or other problem relating to the trading activity of these market makers could result in a dramatic change in the spread between the Fund’s net asset value and the price at which the Fund’s shares are trading on the Exchange, which could result in a decrease in value of the Fund’s shares. This reduced effectiveness could result in Fund shares trading at a discount to net asset value and also in greater than normal intraday bid-ask spreads for Fund shares.
MARKET RISK. Market risk is the risk that a particular security, or shares of the Fund in general, may fall in value. Securities are subject to market fluctuations caused by such factors as economic, political, regulatory or market developments, changes in interest rates and perceived trends in securities prices. Shares of the Fund could decline in value or underperform other investments due to short-term market movements or any longer periods during more prolonged market downturns.
MORTGAGE-RELATED SECURITIES RISK. Mortgage-related securities are subject to the same risks as investments in other types of debt securities, including credit risk, interest rate risk, liquidity risk and valuation risk. However, these investments make the Fund more susceptible to adverse economic, political or regulatory events that affect the value of real estate. Mortgage-related securities are also significantly affected by the rate of prepayments and modifications of the mortgage loans underlying those securities, as well as by other factors such as borrower defaults, delinquencies, realized or liquidation losses and other shortfalls. Mortgage-related securities are particularly sensitive to prepayment risk, given that the term to maturity for mortgage loans is generally substantially longer than the expected lives of those securities. Nonetheless, the timing and amount of prepayments cannot be accurately predicted. The timing of changes in the rate of prepayments of the mortgage
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loans may significantly affect the Fund 's actual yield to maturity on any mortgage-related securities, even if the average rate of principal payments is consistent with the Fund's expectation. Along with prepayment risk, mortgage-related securities are significantly affected by interest rate risk. In a low interest rate environment, mortgage loan prepayments would generally be expected to increase due to factors such as re-financings and loan modifications at lower interest rates. In contrast, if prevailing interest rates rise, prepayments of mortgage loans would generally be expected to decline and therefore extend the weighted average lives of mortgage-related securities held or acquired by the Fund. Fund investments in mortgage-backed securities issued by Ginnie Mae are backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government. Fund investments in mortgage-backed securities issued by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are not backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government, and there can be no assurance that the U.S. government would provide financial support to its agencies or instrumentalities where it is not obligated to do so.
NON-AGENCY SECURITIES RISK. The Fund invests in non-agency securities. Investments in asset-backed or mortgage-backed securities offered by non-governmental issuers, such as commercial banks, savings and loans, private mortgage insurance companies, mortgage bankers and other secondary market issuers are subject to additional risks. There are no direct or indirect government or agency guarantees of payments in loan pools created by non-government issuers. Securities issued by private issuers are subject to the credit risks of the issuers. Timely payment of interest and principal of non-governmental issuers is supported by various forms of private insurance or guarantees, including individual loan, title, pool and hazard insurance purchased by the issuer. There can be no assurance that the private insurers can meet their obligations under the policies. Non-agency securities are also not subject to the same underwriting requirements for the underlying mortgages that are applicable to those mortgage-related securities that have a government or government-sponsored entity guarantee. An unexpectedly high rate of defaults on the loan pool may adversely affect the value of a non-agency security and could result in losses to the Fund. The risk of such defaults is generally higher in the case of loan pools that include subprime loans. Subprime loans refer to loans made to borrowers with weakened credit histories or with a lower capacity to make timely payments on their loans. Non-agency securities are not traded on an exchange and there may be a limited market for the securities, especially when there is a perceived weakness in the mortgage and real estate market sectors. Without an active trading market, the non-agency securities held by the Fund may be particularly difficult to value because of the complexities involved in assessing the value of the underlying loans.
NON-DIVERSIFICATION RISK. As a “non-diversified” fund, the Fund may hold a smaller number of portfolio securities than many other funds and may be more sensitive to any single economic, business, political or regulatory occurrence than a diversified fund. To the extent the Fund invests in a relatively small number of issuers due to the high percentage of the Fund’s assets invested in that security, a decline in the market value of a particular security held by the Fund may affect its value more than if it invested in a larger number of issuers. The value of the Fund’s shares may be more volatile than the values of shares of more diversified funds.
PORTFOLIO TURNOVER RISK. The Fund has an investment strategy that may frequently involve buying and selling portfolio securities. High portfolio turnover may result in the Fund paying higher levels of transaction costs, including brokerage commissions, dealer mark-ups and other costs and may generate greater tax liabilities for shareholders. Portfolio turnover risk may cause the Fund’s performance to be less than expected.
PREMIUM/DISCOUNT RISK. The market price of the Fund’s shares will generally fluctuate in accordance with changes in the Fund’s net asset value as well as the relative supply of and demand for shares on the Exchange. First Trust cannot predict whether shares will trade below, at or above their net asset value because the shares trade on the Exchange at market prices and not at net asset value. Price differences may be due, in large part, to the fact that supply and demand forces at work in the secondary trading market for shares will be closely related, but not identical, to the same forces influencing the prices of the holdings of the Fund trading individually or in the aggregate at any point in time. However, given that shares can only be purchased and redeemed in Creation Units, and only to and from broker-dealers and large institutional investors that have entered into participation agreements (unlike shares of closed-end funds, which frequently trade at appreciable discounts from, and sometimes at premiums to, their net asset value), First Trust believes that large discounts or premiums to the net asset value of shares should not be sustained absent disruptions to the creation and redemption mechanism, extreme market volatility or potential lack of authorized participants.
PREPAYMENT RISK. Prepayment risk is the risk that the issuer of a debt security will repay principal (in part or in whole) prior to the scheduled maturity date. Debt securities allowing prepayment may offer less potential for gains during a period of declining interest rates, as the Fund may be required to reinvest the proceeds of any prepayment at lower interest rates, reducing its income. If the Fund purchased the debt securities at a premium, prepayments on the securities could cause the Fund to
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lose a portion of its principal investment. These factors may cause the value of an investment in the Fund to change. The impact of prepayments on the price of a debt security may be difficult to predict and may increase the security’s volatility.
REPURCHASE AGREEMENT RISK. The Fund may enter into repurchase agreements. A repurchase agreement is an agreement to purchase a security from a party at one price and a simultaneous agreement to sell it back to the original party at an agreed-upon price, typically representing the purchase price plus interest. Repurchase agreements may be viewed as loans made by the Fund which are collateralized by the securities subject to repurchase. The Fund's investment return on such transactions will depend on the counterparty's willingness and ability to perform its obligations under a repurchase agreement. If the Fund's counterparty should default on its obligations and the Fund is delayed or prevented from recovering the collateral, or if the value of the collateral is insufficient, the Fund may have to borrow cash, subject to certain legal limits, or realize a loss.
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 be illiquid as they generally are not listed on an exchange and may have no active trading market. 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, the Fund may get 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.
SHORT SALES RISK. The Fund may engage in short sales. In connection with a short sale of a security or other instrument, the Fund is subject to the risk that instead of declining, the price of the security or other instrument sold short will rise. If the price of the security or derivative that is the subject of a short sale increases, then the Fund will incur a loss equal to the increase in price from the time that the short sale was entered into plus any premiums and interest paid to a third party in connection with the short sale. The risk of loss on a shorted position arises from the increase in value of the security sold short and is potentially unlimited unlike the risk of loss on a long position, which is limited to the amount paid for the investment plus transaction costs. Therefore, short sales involve the risk that losses may be exaggerated, potentially losing more money than the actual cost of the investment. Also, there is the risk that the third party to the short sale may fail to honor its contract terms, causing a loss to the Fund. Further, in times of unusual or adverse economic, market or political conditions, the Fund may not be able to fully or partially implement its short selling strategy.
TBA TRANSACTIONS RISK. The Fund may purchase securities in TBA Transactions. In such a transaction, the purchase price of the securities is typically fixed at the time of the commitment, but delivery and payment can take place a month or more after the date of the commitment. At the time of delivery of the securities, the value may be more or less than the purchase or sale price. Purchasing securities in a TBA Transaction may give rise to investment leverage and may increase the Fund’s volatility. Default by, or bankruptcy of, a counterparty to a TBA Transaction would expose the Fund to possible losses because of an adverse market action, expenses or delays in connection with the purchase or sale of the pools specified in such transaction. The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority recently imposed mandatory margin requirements for certain types of TBA Transactions. Such transactions historically have not been required to be collateralized, and, if those rules are implemented, mandatory collateralization could increase the cost of such transactions and impose added operational complexity.
TRADING ISSUES RISK. Although the shares of the Fund are listed for trading on the Exchange, there can be no assurance that an active trading market for such shares will develop or be maintained. 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’s “circuit breaker” rules. Market makers are under no obligation to make a market in the Fund’s shares, and authorized participants are not obligated to submit purchase or redemption orders for Creation Units. In the event market makers cease making a market in the Fund’s shares or authorized participants stop submitting purchase or redemption orders for Creation Units, Fund shares may trade at a larger premium or discount to their net asset value. 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. The Fund may have difficulty maintaining its listing on the Exchange in the event the Fund’s assets are small or the Fund does not have enough shareholders.
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U.S. GOVERNMENT SECURITIES RISK. The Fund may invest in U.S. government securities. U.S. government securities are subject to interest rate risk but generally do not involve the credit risks associated with investments in other types of debt securities. As a result, the yields available from U.S. government securities are generally lower than the yields available from other debt securities. U.S. government securities are guaranteed only as to the timely payment of interest and the payment of principal when held to maturity. While securities issued or guaranteed by U.S. federal government agencies (such as Ginnie Mae) are backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. Department of the Treasury, securities issued by government sponsored entities (such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac) are solely the obligation of the issuer and generally do not carry any guarantee from the U.S. government. No assurance can be given that the U.S. government will provide financial support to its government sponsored entities or any other agency if not obligated by law to do so.
VALUATION RISK. Unlike publicly traded securities that trade on national securities exchanges, there is no central place or exchange for trading most debt securities. Debt securities generally trade on an “over-the-counter” market which may be anywhere in the world where the buyer and seller can settle on a price. Due to the lack of centralized information and trading, the valuation of debt securities may carry more uncertainty and risk than that of publicly traded securities. Accordingly, determinations of the fair value of debt securities may be based on infrequent and dated information. Also, because the available information is less reliable and more subjective, elements of judgment may play a greater role in valuation of debt securities than for other types of securities. Typically, debt securities are valued using information provided by a third-party pricing service utilizing a range of market-based inputs and assumptions, including broker quotations and transactions in comparable securities to value the securities. There is no assurance that the Fund will be able to sell a portfolio security at the price established by the pricing service.
Non-Principal Risks
BORROWING AND LEVERAGE RISK. If the Fund borrows money, it must pay interest and other fees, which may reduce the Fund’s returns. Any such borrowings are intended to be temporary. However, under certain market conditions, including periods of low demand or decreased liquidity, such borrowings might be outstanding for longer periods of time. As prescribed by the 1940 Act, the Fund will be required to maintain specified asset coverage of at least 300% with respect to any bank borrowing immediately following such borrowing and at all times thereafter. The Fund may be required to dispose of assets on unfavorable terms if market fluctuations or other factors reduce the Fund’s asset coverage to less than the prescribed amount.
CREDIT RATING AGENCY RISK. Credit ratings are determined by credit rating agencies such as S&P, Moody’s and Fitch, and are only the opinions of such entities. Ratings assigned by a rating agency are not absolute standards of credit quality and do not evaluate market risk or the liquidity of securities. Any shortcomings or inefficiencies in credit rating agencies’ processes for determining credit ratings may adversely affect the credit ratings of securities held by the Fund and, as a result, may adversely affect those securities’ perceived or actual credit risk.
DEPENDENCE ON KEY PERSONNEL. The Advisor is dependent upon the experience and expertise of the Fund’s portfolio managers in providing advisory services with respect to the Fund’s investments. If the Advisor were to lose the services of any of these portfolio managers, its ability to service the Fund could be adversely affected. There can be no assurance that a suitable replacement could be found for any of the portfolio managers in the event of their death, resignation, retirement or inability to act on behalf of the Advisor.
DERIVATIVES RISK. The use of derivative instruments involves risks different from, or possibly greater than, the risks associated with investing directly in securities and other traditional investments. These risks include: (i) the risk that the counterparty to a derivative transaction may not fulfill its contractual obligations; (ii) risk of mispricing or improper valuation; and (iii) the risk that changes in the value of the derivative may not correlate perfectly with the underlying asset. Derivative prices are highly volatile and may fluctuate substantially during a short period of time. Such prices are influenced by numerous factors that affect the markets, including, but not limited to: changing supply and demand relationships; government programs and policies; national and international political and economic events, changes in interest rates, inflation and deflation and changes in supply and demand relationships. Trading derivative instruments involves risks different from, or possibly greater than, the risks associated with investing directly in securities. Derivative contracts ordinarily have leverage inherent in their terms. The low margin deposits normally required in trading derivatives, including futures contracts, permit a high degree of leverage. Accordingly, a relatively small price movement may result in an immediate and substantial loss. The use of leverage may also cause a Fund to liquidate portfolio positions when it would not be advantageous to do so in order to satisfy its obligations or to meet collateral segregation requirements. The use of leveraged derivatives can magnify potential for gain or loss and, therefore, amplify the effects of market volatility on share price.
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ETF RISK. Most ETFs use a “passive” investment strategy and seek to replicate the performance of a market index. Such ETFs do not take defensive positions in volatile or declining markets their shares may trade below net asset value. While some ETFs seek to achieve the same return as a particular market index, the performance of the ETF may diverge from the performance of the index. Some ETFs are actively managed ETFs and do not track a particular index which indirectly subjects an investor to active management risk. An active secondary market in ETF shares may not develop or be maintained and may be halted or interrupted due to actions by its listing exchange, unusual market conditions or other reasons. There can be no assurance that an ETF’s shares will continue to be listed on an active exchange. In addition, shareholders bear both their proportionate share of the Fund’s expenses and, indirectly, the ETF’s expenses, incurred through the Fund’s ownership of the ETF. Because the expenses and costs of an ETF are shared by its investors, redemptions by other investors in the ETF could result in decreased economies of scale and increased operating expenses for such ETF. These transactions might also result in higher brokerage, tax or other costs for the ETF. This risk may be particularly important when one investor owns a substantial portion of the ETF. There is a risk that ETFs in which the Fund invests may terminate due to extraordinary events. For example, any of the service providers to ETFs, such as the trustee or sponsor, may close or otherwise fail to perform their obligations to the ETF, and the ETF may not be able to find a substitute service provider. Also, certain ETFs may be dependent upon licenses to use various indexes as a basis for determining their compositions and/or otherwise to use certain trade names. If these licenses are terminated, the ETFs may also terminate. In addition, an ETF may terminate if its net assets fall below a certain amount.
FAILURE TO QUALIFY AS A REGULATED INVESTMENT COMPANY. If, in any year, the Fund fails to qualify as a regulated investment company under the applicable tax laws, the Fund would be taxed as an ordinary corporation. In such circumstances, the Fund could be required to recognize unrealized gains, pay substantial taxes and interest and make substantial distributions before requalifying as a regulated investment company that is accorded special tax treatment. If the Fund fails to qualify as a regulated investment company, distributions to the Fund’s shareholders generally would be eligible for the dividends received deduction in the case of corporate shareholders. For additional information, please see the section entitled “Federal Tax Matters.”
ISSUER SPECIFIC CHANGES RISK. The value of an individual security or particular type of security can be more volatile than the market as a whole and can perform differently from the value of the market as a whole.
LEGISLATION/LITIGATION RISK. From time to time, various legislative initiatives are proposed in the United States and abroad, which may have a negative impact on certain companies in which the Fund invests. In addition, litigation regarding any of the issuers of the securities owned by the Fund, or industries represented by these issuers, may negatively impact the value of the securities. Such legislation or litigation may cause the Fund to lose value or may result in higher portfolio turnover if the Advisor determines to sell such a holding.
OPERATIONAL RISK. The Fund is subject to risks arising from various operational factors, including, but not limited to, human error, processing and communication errors, errors of the Fund’s service providers, counterparties or other third-parties, failed or inadequate processes and technology or systems failures. Although the Fund and the Advisor seek to reduce these operational risks through controls and procedures, there is no way to completely protect against such risks.
Fund Organization
The Fund is a series of the Trust, an investment company registered under the 1940 Act. The Fund is treated as a separate fund with its own investment objectives and policies. The Trust is organized as a Massachusetts business trust. The Board is responsible for the overall management and direction of the Trust. The Board elects the Trust’s officers and approves all significant agreements, including those with the Advisor, custodian and fund administrative and accounting agent.
Management of the Fund
First Trust Advisors L.P., 120 East Liberty Drive, Wheaton, Illinois 60187, is the investment advisor to the Fund. In this capacity, First Trust is responsible for the selection and ongoing monitoring of the securities in the Fund’s portfolio and certain other services necessary for the management of the portfolio.
First Trust is a limited partnership with one limited partner, Grace Partners of DuPage L.P., and one general partner, The Charger Corporation. Grace Partners of DuPage L.P. is a limited partnership with one general partner, The Charger Corporation, and a number of limited partners. The Charger Corporation is an Illinois corporation controlled by James A. Bowen, the Chief Executive Officer of First Trust. First Trust discharges its responsibilities subject to the policies of the Board.
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First Trust serves as advisor or sub-advisor for 7 mutual fund portfolios, 10 exchange-traded funds consisting of 141 series and 15 closed-end funds. It is also the portfolio supervisor of certain unit investment trusts sponsored by First Trust Portfolios L.P. (“FTP”), an affiliate of First Trust, 120 East Liberty Drive, Wheaton, Illinois 60187. FTP specializes in the underwriting, trading and distribution of unit investment trusts and other securities. FTP is the principal underwriter of the shares of the Fund.
Jim Snyder and Jeremiah Charles are the Fund’s portfolio managers and are jointly and primarily responsible for the day-to-day management of the Fund’s investment portfolio.
Jim Snyder is a Portfolio Manager for the First Trust Securitized Products Group. Prior to joining First Trust in 2013, Mr. Snyder worked as a Senior Portfolio Manager at Fort Sheridan Advisors where he managed mortgage portfolios for institutional clients. Mr. Snyder has led several mortgage trading and portfolio groups at Deerfield Capital, Spyglass Capital & Trading and American Express Financial Advisors. Mr. Snyder managed AXP Federal Income Fund, and developed mortgage trading strategies for Spyglass Capital and Deerfield’s Mortgage REIT and Opportunity Fund. Mr. Snyder holds a B.S. and M.A. in Economics from DePaul University and an MBA from University of Chicago Booth School of Business.
Jeremiah Charles is a Portfolio Manager for the First Trust Securitized Products Group. Prior to joining First Trust in 2013, Mr. Charles worked as a Vice President of Mortgage Product Sales for CRT Capital where he advised pension funds, hedge funds, and institutional money managers. Before joining CRT in 2011, Mr. Charles spent 6 years with Deerfield Capital Management LLC as a Senior Vice President and Senior Portfolio Manager for the Mortgage Trading team. Mr. Charles began his professional career as an Analyst at Piper Jaffray. Mr. Charles holds a B.S. in Finance from the Leeds School of Business at the University of Colorado, and a M.S. in Real Estate Finance with Honors from the Charles H. Kellstadt Graduate School of Business at DePaul University.
For additional information concerning First Trust, including a description of the services provided to the Fund, see the Fund’s SAI. Additional information about the portfolio managers’ compensation, other accounts managed by the portfolio managers and the portfolio managers’ ownership of shares of the Fund is provided in the SAI.
Management Fee
Pursuant to the an investment management agreement between First Trust and the Trust, on behalf of the Fund (the "Investment Management Agreement”), First Trust manages the Fund's assets. First Trust is paid an annual unitary management fee by the Fund equal to 0.65% of the Fund’s average daily net assets and is responsible for the Fund’s expenses, including the cost of transfer agency, custody, fund administration, legal, audit and other services, but excluding fee payments under the Investment Management Agreement, interest, taxes, acquired fund fees and expenses, if any, brokerage commissions and other expenses connected with the execution of portfolio transactions, distribution and service fees pursuant to a Rule 12b-1 plan, if any, and extraordinary expenses.
A discussion regarding the Board’s approval of the continuation of the Investment Management Agreement is available in the Fund’s Annual Report to shareholders for the fiscal period ended October 31, 2018.
How to Buy and Sell Shares
Most investors buy and sell shares of the Fund in secondary market transactions through brokers. Shares of the Fund are listed for trading 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 when buying shares on the Exchange. 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, investors should expect to incur customary brokerage commissions, investors may receive less than the net asset value of the shares because shares are bought and sold at market prices rather than at net asset value, and investors may pay some or all of the spread between the bid and the offer price in the secondary market on each leg of a round trip (purchase and sale) transaction. Share prices are reported in dollars and cents per share.
For purposes of the 1940 Act, the Fund is treated as a registered investment company, and, absent an available exemption or exemptive relief, the acquisition of shares by other registered investment companies and companies relying on Sections 3(c)(1) or 3(c)(7) of the 1940 Act is subject to the restrictions of Section 12(d)(1) of the 1940 Act. The Trust, on behalf of the Fund, has received an exemptive order from the Securities and Exchange Commission that permits certain registered
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investment companies to invest in the Fund beyond the limits set forth in Section 12(d)(1), subject to certain terms and conditions, including that any such investment companies enter into an agreement with the Fund regarding the terms of any investment.
Book Entry
Shares are held in book-entry form, which means that no share certificates are issued. The Depository Trust Company (“DTC”) or its nominee is the record owner of all outstanding shares of the Fund and is recognized as the owner of all shares for all purposes.
Investors owning shares are beneficial owners as shown on the records of DTC or its participants. DTC serves as the securities depository for all shares. Participants in DTC include securities brokers and dealers, banks, trust companies, clearing corporations and other institutions that directly or indirectly maintain a custodial relationship with DTC. As a beneficial owner of shares, you are not entitled to receive physical delivery of share certificates or to have shares registered in your name, and you are not considered a registered owner of shares. Therefore, to exercise any right as an owner of shares, you must rely upon the procedures of DTC and its participants. These procedures are the same as those that apply to any other stocks that you hold in book-entry or “street name” form.
Share Trading Prices
The trading price of shares of the Fund on the Exchange is based on market price and may differ from the Fund’s daily net asset value and can be affected by market forces of supply and demand, economic conditions and other factors.
Information regarding the intra-day value of the shares of the Fund, also referred to as the “indicative optimized portfolio value” (“IOPV”), is disseminated every 15 seconds throughout the Fund’s trading day by the national securities exchange on which the shares are listed or by market data vendors or other information providers. The IOPV is based on the current market value of the securities or other assets and/or cash required to be deposited in exchange for a Creation Unit and any expenses of the Fund. The IOPV does not necessarily reflect the precise composition of the current portfolio of securities or other assets held by the Fund at a particular point in time or the best possible valuation of the current portfolio. Therefore, the IOPV should not be viewed as a “real-time” update of the net asset value per share of the Fund because the IOPV may not be calculated in the same manner as the net asset value, which is computed once a day, generally at the end of the business day. The IOPV is generally determined by using current market quotations. The price of a non-U.S. security that is primarily traded on a non-U.S. exchange will be updated, using the last sale price, every 15 seconds throughout the trading day, provided that upon the closing of such non-U.S. exchange, the closing price of the security, after being converted to U.S. dollars, will be used. Furthermore, in calculating the IOPV of the Fund’s shares, exchange rates may be used throughout the day (9:00 a.m. to 4:15 p.m., Eastern Time) that may differ from those used to calculate the net asset value per share of the Fund and consequently may result in differences between the net asset value and the IOPV. The Fund is not involved in, or responsible for, the calculation or dissemination of the IOPV of shares of the Fund and the Fund does not make any warranty as to its accuracy.
Frequent Purchases and Redemptions of the Fund's Shares
The Fund imposes no restrictions on the frequency of purchases and redemptions (“market timing”). In determining not to approve a written, established policy, the Board evaluated the risks of market timing activities by the Fund's shareholders. The Board considered that the Fund's shares can only be purchased and redeemed directly from the Fund in Creation Units by broker-dealers and large institutional investors that have entered into participation agreements (i.e., authorized participants (“APs”)) and that the vast majority of trading in the Fund's shares occurs on the secondary market. Because the secondary market trades do not involve the Fund directly, it is unlikely those trades would cause many of the harmful effects of market timing, including dilution, disruption of portfolio management, increases in the Fund's trading costs and the realization of capital gains. With respect to trades directly with the Fund, to the extent effected in-kind (i.e., for securities), those trades do not cause any of the harmful effects that may result from frequent cash trades. To the extent that the Fund may effect the purchase or redemption of Creation Units in exchange wholly or partially for cash, the Board noted that such trades could result in dilution to the Fund and increased transaction costs, which could negatively impact the Fund's ability to achieve its investment objectives. However, the Board noted that direct trading by APs is critical to ensuring that the shares trade at or close to net asset value. In addition, the Fund imposes fixed and variable transaction fees on purchases and redemptions of Creation Units to cover the custodial and other costs incurred by the Fund in effecting trades. Finally, the Advisor monitors purchase and redemption orders from APs for patterns of abusive trading and the Fund reserves the right to not accept orders from APs that the Advisor has determined may be disruptive to the management of the Fund, or otherwise not in the Fund's best interests.
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Dividends, Distributions and Taxes
Dividends from net investment income, if any, are declared and paid monthly by the Fund. The Fund distributes its net realized capital gains, if any, to shareholders at least annually.
Distributions in cash may be reinvested automatically in additional whole shares only if the broker through whom you purchased shares makes such option available. Such shares will generally be reinvested by the broker based upon the market price of those shares and investors may be subject to customary brokerage commissions charged by the broker.
Federal Tax Matters
This section summarizes some of the main U.S. federal income tax consequences of owning shares of the Fund. This section is current as of the date of this prospectus. Tax laws and interpretations change frequently, and these summaries do not describe all of the tax consequences to all taxpayers. For example, these summaries generally do not describe your situation if you are a corporation, a non-U.S. person, a broker-dealer or other investor with special circumstances. In addition, this section does not describe your state, local or non-U.S. tax consequences.
This federal income tax summary is based in part on the advice of counsel to the Fund. The Internal Revenue Service could disagree with any conclusions set forth in this section. In addition, counsel to the Fund was not asked to review, and has not reached a conclusion with respect to, the federal income tax treatment of the assets to be included in the Fund. This may not be sufficient for you to use for the purpose of avoiding penalties under federal tax law.
As with any investment, you should seek advice based on your individual circumstances from your own tax advisor.
Fund Status
The Fund intends to continue to qualify or qualify as a “regulated investment company” under the federal tax laws. If the Fund qualifies as a regulated investment company and distributes its income as required by the tax law, the Fund generally will not pay federal income taxes.
Distributions
The Fund’s distributions are generally taxable. After the end of each year, you will receive a tax statement that separates the distributions of the Fund into two categories: ordinary income distributions and capital gain dividends. Ordinary income distributions are generally taxed at your ordinary tax rate. Generally, you will treat all capital gain dividends as long-term capital gains regardless of how long you have owned your shares. To determine your actual tax liability for your capital gain dividends, you must calculate your total net capital gain or loss for the tax year after considering all of your other taxable transactions, as described below. In addition, the Fund may make distributions that represent a return of capital for tax purposes and thus will generally not be taxable to you; however, such distributions may reduce your tax basis in your shares, which could result in you having to pay higher taxes in the future when shares are sold, even if you sell the shares at a loss from your original investment. The tax status of your distributions from the Fund is not affected by whether you reinvest your distributions in additional shares or receive them in cash. The income from the Fund that you must take into account for federal income tax purposes is not reduced by amounts used to pay a deferred sales fee, if any. The tax laws may require you to treat distributions made to you in January as if you had received them on December 31 of the previous year.
Income from the Fund may also be subject to a 3.8% “Medicare tax.” This tax generally applies to your net investment income if your adjusted gross income exceeds certain threshold amounts, which are $250,000 in the case of married couples filing joint returns and $200,000 in the case of single individuals.
Dividends Received Deduction
A corporation that owns shares generally will not be entitled to the dividends received deduction with respect to dividends received from the Fund because the dividends received deduction is generally not available for distributions from regulated investment companies.
Capital Gains and Losses
If you are an individual, the maximum marginal stated federal tax rate for net capital gain is generally 20% (15% or 0% for taxpayers with taxable incomes below certain thresholds). Some portion of your capital gain dividends may be taxed at a higher maximum stated tax rate. Capital gains may also be subject to the Medicare tax described above.
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Net capital gain equals net long-term capital gain minus net short-term capital loss for the taxable year. Capital gain or loss is long-term if the holding period for the asset is more than one year and is short-term if the holding period for the asset is one year or less. You must exclude the date you purchase your shares to determine your holding period. However, if you receive a capital gain dividend from the Fund and sell your shares at a loss after holding it for six months or less, the loss will be recharacterized as long-term capital loss to the extent of the capital gain dividend received. The tax rates for capital gains realized from assets held for one year or less are generally the same as for ordinary income. The Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, treats certain capital gains as ordinary income in special situations.
Sale of Shares
If you sell or redeem your shares, you will generally recognize a taxable gain or loss. To determine the amount of this gain or loss, you must subtract your tax basis in your shares from the amount you receive in the transaction. Your tax basis in your shares is generally equal to the cost of your shares, generally including sales charges. In some cases, however, you may have to adjust your tax basis after you purchase your shares.
Taxes on Purchase and Redemption of Creation Units
If you exchange securities for Creation Units you will generally recognize a gain or a loss. The gain or loss will be equal to the difference between the market value of the Creation Units at the time and your aggregate basis in the securities surrendered and the cash component paid. If you exchange Creation Units for securities, you will generally recognize a gain or loss equal to the difference between your basis in the Creation Units and the aggregate market value of the securities received and the cash redemption amount. The Internal Revenue Service, however, may assert that a loss realized upon an exchange of securities for Creation Units or Creation Units for securities cannot be deducted currently under the rules governing “wash sales,” or on the basis that there has been no significant change in economic position.
Treatment of Fund Expenses
Expenses incurred and deducted by the Fund will generally not be treated as income taxable to you.
Non-U.S. Tax Credit
Because the Fund invests in non-U.S. securities, the tax statement that you receive may include an item showing non-U.S. taxes the Fund paid to other countries. In this case, dividends taxed to you will include your share of the taxes the Fund paid to other countries. You may be able to deduct or receive a tax credit for your share of these taxes.
Non-U.S. Investors
If you are a non-U.S. investor (i.e., an investor other than a U.S. citizen or resident or a U.S. corporation, partnership, estate or trust), you should be aware that, generally, subject to applicable tax treaties, distributions from the Fund will be characterized as dividends for federal income tax purposes (other than dividends which the Fund properly reports as capital gain dividends) and will be subject to U.S. federal income taxes, including withholding taxes, subject to certain exceptions described below. However, distributions received by a non-U.S. investor from the Fund that are properly reported by the Fund as capital gain dividends may not be subject to U.S. federal income taxes, including withholding taxes, provided that the Fund makes certain elections and certain other conditions are met. Distributions from the Fund that are properly reported by the Fund as an interest-related dividend attributable to certain interest income received by the Fund or as a short-term capital gain dividend attributable to certain net short-term capital gain income received by the Fund may not be subject to U.S. federal income taxes, including withholding taxes when received by certain non-U.S. investors, provided that the Fund makes certain elections and certain other conditions are met.
Distributions may be subject to a U.S. withholding tax of 30% in the case of distributions to (i) certain non-U.S. financial institutions that have not entered into an agreement with the U.S. Treasury to collect and disclose certain information and are not resident in a jurisdiction that has entered into such an agreement with the U.S. Treasury and (ii) certain other non-U.S. entities that do not provide certain certifications and information about the entity’s U.S. owners. Disposition of shares by such persons may be subject to such withholding after December 31, 2018, although proposed regulations may eliminate this withholding obligation.
Distribution Plan
FTP serves as the distributor of Creation Units for the Fund on an agency basis. FTP does not maintain a secondary market in shares.
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The Board has adopted a Distribution and Service Plan pursuant to Rule 12b-1 under the 1940 Act. In accordance with the Rule 12b-1 plan, the Fund is authorized to pay an amount up to 0.25% of its average daily net assets each year to reimburse FTP for amounts expended to finance activities primarily intended to result in the sale of Creation Units or the provision of investor services. FTP may also use this amount to compensate securities dealers or other persons that are APs for providing distribution assistance, including broker-dealer and shareholder support and educational and promotional services.
The Fund does not currently pay 12b-1 fees, and pursuant to a contractual arrangement, the Fund will not pay 12b-1 fees any time before March 31, 2020. However, in the event 12b-1 fees are charged in the future, because these fees are paid out of the Fund's assets, over time these fees will increase the cost of your investment and may cost you more than certain other types of sales charges.
Net Asset Value
The Fund's net asset value is determined as of the close of trading (normally 4:00 p.m., Eastern Time) on each day the New York Stock Exchange is open for business. Net asset value is calculated for the Fund by taking the market price of the Fund’s total assets, including interest or dividends accrued but not yet collected, less all liabilities , and dividing such amount by the total number of shares outstanding. The result, rounded to the nearest cent, is the net asset value per share. All valuations are subject to review by the Board or its delegate.
The Fund’s investments are valued daily in accordance with valuation procedures adopted by the Board, and in accordance with provisions of the 1940 Act. Certain securities in which the Fund may invest are not listed on any securities exchange or board of trade. Such securities are typically bought and sold by institutional investors in individually negotiated private transactions that function in many respects like an over the counter secondary market, although typically no formal market makers exist. Certain securities, particularly debt securities, have few or no trades, or trade infrequently, and information regarding a specific security may not be widely available or may be incomplete. Accordingly, determinations of the fair value of debt securities may be based on infrequent and dated information. Because there is less reliable, objective data available, elements of judgment may play a greater role in valuation of debt securities than for other types of securities. Typically, debt securities are valued using information provided by a third-party pricing service. The third-party pricing service primarily uses broker quotes to value the securities.
The Fund's investments are valued daily at market value or, in the absence of market value with respect to any portfolio securities, at fair value, in accordance with valuation procedures adopted by the Board and in accordance with the 1940 Act. Portfolio securities listed on any exchange other than Nasdaq and the London Stock Exchange Alternative Investment Market (“AIM”) are valued at the last sale price on the business day as of which such value is being determined. Securities listed on Nasdaq or the AIM are valued at the official closing price on the business day as of which such value is being determined. If there has been no sale on such day, or no official closing price in the case of securities traded on Nasdaq or the AIM, the securities are fair valued at the mean of the most recent bid and ask prices on such day. Portfolio securities traded on more than one securities exchange are valued at the last sale price or official closing price, as applicable, on the business day as of which such value is being determined at the close of the exchange representing the principal market for such securities. Portfolio securities traded in the over-the-counter market, but excluding securities trading on Nasdaq or the AIM, are fair valued at the mean of the most recent bid and asked price, if available, and otherwise at the closing bid price. Short-term investments that mature in less than 60 days when purchased are fair valued at cost adjusted for amortization of premiums and accretion of discount, provided the Advisor’s Pricing Committee has determined that the use of amortized cost is an appropriate reflection of fair value given market and issuer-specific conditions existing at the time of determination. Net asset value may change on days when investors may not sell or redeem Fund shares.
Mortgage-related debt securities and other mortgage-related instruments ("Mortgage-Related Investments") will generally be valued by using a third-party pricing service. If a pricing service does not cover a particular Mortgage-Related Investment, or discontinues covering a Mortgage-Related Investment, the security will be priced using a broker quote. To derive values, pricing services and broker-dealers may use matrix pricing and valuation models, as well as recent market transactions for the same or similar assets. Occasionally, the Advisor’s pricing committee (the "Pricing Committee") may determine that a pricing service price does not represent an accurate value of a Mortgage-Related Investment, based on the broker quote it receives, a recent trade in the security by the Fund, information from a portfolio manager, or other market information. In the event that the Pricing Committee determines that the pricing service price is unreliable or inaccurate based on such other information, the broker quote may be used. Additionally, if the Pricing Committee determines that the price of a Mortgage-Related
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Investment obtained from a pricing service and the available broker quote is unreliable or inaccurate due to market conditions or other reasons, or if a pricing service price or broker quote is unavailable, the security will be valued using fair value pricing, as described below.
Certain securities may not be able to be priced by pre-established pricing methods. Such securities may be valued by the Board or its delegate, the Advisor’s Pricing Committee, at fair value. The use of fair value pricing by the Fund is governed by valuation procedures adopted by the Board and in accordance with the provisions of the 1940 Act. These securities generally include, but are not limited to, certain restricted securities (securities which may not be publicly sold without registration under the Securities Act) for which a pricing service is unable to provide a market price; securities whose trading has been formally suspended; a security whose market or fair value price is not available from a pre-established pricing source; a security with respect to which an event has occurred that is likely to materially affect the value of the security after the market has closed but before the calculation of the Fund's net asset value or make it difficult or impossible to obtain a reliable market quotation; and a security whose price, as provided by the pricing service, does not reflect the security’s fair value. As a general principle, the current fair value of a security would appear to be the amount which the owner might reasonably expect to receive for the security upon its current sale. When fair value prices are used, generally they will differ from the current market valuations. See the Fund's SAI for details.
Fund Service Providers
The Bank of New York Mellon, 240 Greenwich Street, New York, New York 10286, acts as the administrator, custodian and fund accounting and transfer agent for the Fund. Chapman and Cutler LLP, 111 West Monroe Street, Chicago, Illinois 60603, serves as legal counsel to the Fund.
Premium/Discount Information
The tables that follow present information about the differences between the Fund’s daily market price on the Exchange and its net asset value. The “Market Price” of the Fund generally is determined using the midpoint between the highest bid and lowest offer on the Exchange, as of the time the Fund’s net asset value is calculated. The Fund’s Market Price may be at, above, or below its net asset value. The net asset value of the Fund will fluctuate with changes in the market value of its portfolio holdings. The Market Price of the Fund will fluctuate in accordance with changes in its net asset value, as well as market supply and demand.
Premiums or discounts are the differences (generally expressed as a percentage) between the net asset value and Market Price of the Fund on a given day, generally at the time net asset value is calculated. A premium is the amount that the Fund is trading above the reported net asset value. A discount is the amount that the Fund is trading below the reported net asset value.
The following information shows the frequency distribution of premiums and discounts of the daily bid/ask price of the Fund against its net asset value. The information shown for the Fund is for the periods indicated. Shareholders may pay more than net asset value when they buy Fund shares and receive less than net asset value when they sell those shares because shares are bought and sold at current market price. All data presented here represents past performance, which cannot be used to predict future results. Information about the premiums and discounts at which the Fund's shares have traded is available on the Fund's website at www.ftportfolios.com.
First Trust Low Duration Opportunities ETF (LMBS)
Bid/Ask Midpoint vs. Net Asset Value
Number of Days Bid/Ask Midpoint At/Above Net Asset Value
  0.00%0.49% 0.50%0.99% 1.00%1.99% >=2.00%
12 Months Ended 12/31/2018 227 1 0 0
Number of Days Bid/Ask Midpoint Below Net Asset Value
  0.00%0.49% 0.50%0.99% 1.00%1.99% >=2.00%
12 Months Ended 12/31/2018 23 0 0 0
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Total Return Information
The table below compares the total return of the Fund to a market index. The information presented for the Fund is for the period indicated.
“Average annual total returns” represent the average annual change in the value of an investment over the period indicated. “Cumulative total returns” represent the total change in value of an investment over the period indicated. The return information shown under “Annual Total Return” in the Fund’s summary prospectus represents the average annual total returns of the Fund as of the calendar year end, while the information presented below is as of the Fund’s fiscal year end. The net asset value per share of the Fund is the value of one share of the Fund and is computed by dividing the value of all assets of the Fund (including accrued interest and dividends), less liabilities (including accrued expenses and dividends declared but unpaid), by the total number of outstanding shares. The net asset value return is based on the net asset value per share of the Fund and the market return is based on the market price per share of the Fund. The price used to calculate market return (“Market Price”) generally is determined by using the midpoint between the highest bid and the lowest offer on the Exchange on which the shares of the Fund are listed for trading, as of the time that the Fund's net asset value is calculated. Since the shares of the Fund typically do not trade in the secondary market until several days after the Fund's inception, for the period from inception to the first day of secondary market trading in shares of the Fund, the net asset value of the Fund is used as a proxy for the secondary market trading price to calculate market returns. Market and net asset value returns assume that all distributions have been reinvested in the Fund at Market Price and net asset value, respectively. An index is a statistical composite that tracks a specified financial market or sector. Unlike the Fund, an index does not actually hold a portfolio of securities and therefore does not incur the expenses incurred by the Fund. These expenses negatively impact the performance of the Fund. Also, market returns do not include brokerage commissions that may be payable on secondary market transactions. If brokerage commissions were included, market returns would be lower. The total returns reflect the reinvestment of dividends on securities in the Indices. The returns shown in the table below do not reflect the deduction of taxes that a shareholder would pay on Fund distributions or the redemption or sale of shares of the Fund. The investment return and principal value of shares of the Fund will vary with changes in market conditions. Shares of the Fund may be worth more or less than their original cost when they are redeemed or sold in the market. The Fund's past performance is no guarantee of future results.
First Trust Low Duration Opportunities ETF (LMBS)
Total Returns as of October 31, 2018
    Average Annual   Cumulative
  1 Year Inception
(11/4/2014)
  Inception
(11/4/2014)
Fund Performance        
Net Asset Value 0.84% 3.27%   13.68%
Market Price 0.88% 3.30%   13.82%
Index Performance        
ICE BofAML 1-5 year US Treasury & Agency Index -0.34% 0.68%   2.73%
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Financial Highlights
The financial highlights table is intended to help you understand the Fund's financial performance for the periods shown. Certain information reflects financial results for a single share of the Fund. The total returns represent the rate that an investor would have earned (or lost) on an investment in the Fund (assuming reinvestment of all dividends and distributions). The information for the periods indicated has been derived from financial statements audited by Deloitte & Touche LLP, whose report, along with the Fund's financial statements, is included in the Fund's Annual Report to Shareholders dated October 31, 2018 and is incorporated by reference in the Fund's SAI, which is available upon request.
First Trust Exchange-Traded Fund IV
Financial Highlights
For a share outstanding throughout each period
First Trust Low Duration Opportunities ETF (LMBS)
  Year Ended October 31, Period
Ended
10/31/2015 (a)
  2018 2017 2016
Net asset value, beginning of period $51.76 $52.54 $50.32 $50.00
Income from investment operations:        
Net investment income(loss) 1.17 1.13 1.31 1.23(b)
Net realized and unrealized gain (loss) (0.74) (0.50) 2.41 0.55
Total from investment operations 0.43 0.63 3.72 1.78
Distributions paid to shareholders from:        
Net investment income (1.13) (1.14) (1.50) (1.46)
Net realized gain (0.28) (0.02)
Return of capital (0.25)
Total distributions (1.41) (1.41) (1.50) (1.46)
Net asset value, end of period $50.78 $51.76 $52.54 $50.32
Total Return (c) 0.84% 1.22% 7.49% 3.62%
Ratios/supplemental data:        
Net assets, end of period (in 000’s) $1,729,078 $846,322 $270,586 $10,065
Ratios to average net assets:        
Ratio of total expenses to average net assets (d) 0.65% 0.65% 0.65% 0.65% (e)
Ratio of net investment income (loss) to average net assets 2.32% 2.20% 2.06% 2.55% (e)
Portfolio turnover rate (f) 331%(g) 190% (g) 92% 157%
(a) Inception date is November 4, 2014, which is consistent with the commencement of investment operations and is the date the initial creation units were established.
(b) Based on average shares outstanding.
(c) Total return is calculated assuming an initial investment made at the net asset value at the beginning of the period, reinvestment of all distributions at net asset value during the period, and redemption at net asset value on the last day of the period. The returns presented do not reflect the deduction of taxes that a shareholder would pay on Fund distributions or the redemption or sale of Fund shares. Total return is calculated for the time period presented and is not annualized for periods of less than a year.
(d) The Fund indirectly bears its proportionate share of fees and expenses incurred by the underlying funds in which the Fund invests. This ratio does not include these indirect fees and expenses.
(e) Annualized.
(f) Portfolio turnover is calculated for the time period presented and is not annualized for periods of less than a year and does not include securities received or delivered from processing creations or redemptions and in-kind transactions.
(g) The portfolio turnover rate not including mortgage dollar rolls was 117% and 97% for the years ended October 31, 2018 and 2017, respectively.
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Other Information
Continuous Offering
The Fund issues, on a continuous offering basis, its shares in one or more groups of a fixed number of Fund shares (each such group of such specified number of individual Fund shares, a “Creation Unit Aggregation”). The method by which Creation Unit Aggregations of Fund shares are created and traded may raise certain issues under applicable securities laws. Because new Creation Unit Aggregations of shares are issued and sold by the Fund on an ongoing basis, a “distribution,” as such term is used in the Securities Act, may occur at any point. Broker-dealers and other persons are cautioned that some activities on their part may, depending on the circumstances, result in their being deemed participants in a distribution in a manner which could render them statutory underwriters and subject them to the prospectus delivery requirement and liability provisions of the Securities Act.
For example, a broker-dealer firm or its client may be deemed a statutory underwriter if it takes Creation Unit Aggregations after placing an order with FTP, breaks them down into constituent shares and sells such shares directly to customers, or if it chooses to couple the creation of a supply of new shares with an active selling effort involving solicitation of secondary market demand for shares. A determination of whether one is an underwriter for purposes of the Securities Act must take into account all the facts and circumstances pertaining to the activities of the broker-dealer or its client in the particular case, and the examples mentioned above should not be considered a complete description of all the activities that could lead to a characterization as an underwriter.
Broker-dealer firms should also note that dealers who are not “underwriters” but are effecting transactions in shares, whether or not participating in the distribution of shares, are generally required to deliver a prospectus. This is because the prospectus delivery exemption in Section 4(a)(3) of the Securities Act is not available in respect of such transactions as a result of Section 24(d) of the 1940 Act. As a result, broker-dealer firms should note that dealers who are not underwriters but are participating in a distribution (as contrasted with ordinary secondary market transactions) and thus dealing with the shares that are part of an overallotment within the meaning of Section 4(a)(3)(C) of the Securities Act would be unable to take advantage of the prospectus delivery exemption provided by Section 4(a)(3) of the Securities Act. Firms that incur a prospectus delivery obligation with respect to shares are reminded that, under the Securities Act Rule 153, a prospectus delivery obligation under Section 5(b)(2) of the Securities Act owed to a broker-dealer in connection with a sale on the Exchange is satisfied by the fact that the prospectus is available from the Exchange upon request. The prospectus delivery mechanism provided in Rule 153 is available with respect to transactions on a national securities exchange, a trading facility or an alternative trading system.
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First Trust
Exchange-Traded Fund IV

First Trust Low Duration Opportunities ETF
For More Information
For more detailed information on the Fund, several additional sources of information are available to you. The SAI, incorporated by reference into this prospectus, contains detailed information on the Fund's policies and operation. Additional information about the Fund's investments is available in the annual and semi-annual reports to shareholders. In the Fund's annual report, you will find a discussion of the market conditions and investment strategies that significantly impacted the Fund's performance during the last fiscal year. The Fund's most recent SAI, annual and semi-annual reports and certain other information are available free of charge by calling the Fund at (800) 621-1675, on the Fund's website at www.ftportfolios.com or through your financial advisor. Shareholders may call the toll-free number above with any inquiries.
You may obtain this and other information regarding the Fund, including the SAI and the Codes of Ethics adopted by First Trust, FTP and the Trust, directly from the Securities and Exchange Commission (the "SEC"). Information on the SEC’s website is free of charge. Visit the SEC’s online EDGAR database at www.sec.gov or in person at the SEC’s Public Reference Room in Washington, D.C., or call the SEC at (202) 551-8090 for information on the Public Reference Room. You may also request information regarding the Fund by sending a request (along with a duplication fee) to the SEC’s Public Reference Section, 100 F Street, N.E., Washington, D.C. 20549-1520 or by sending an electronic request to publicinfo@sec.gov.
First Trust Advisors L.P.
120 East Liberty Drive, Suite 400
Wheaton, Illinois 60187
(800) 621-1675
www.ftportfolios.com
SEC File #: 333-174332
811-22559

 


 

First Trust
Exchange-Traded Fund IV

Prospectus
First Trust North American Energy Infrastructure Fund
Ticker Symbol: EMLP
Exchange: NYSE Arca
First Trust North American Energy Infrastructure Fund (the “Fund”) lists and principally trades its shares on NYSE Arca, Inc. (“NYSE Arca” or the “Exchange”). Market prices may differ to some degree from the net asset value of the shares. Unlike mutual funds, the Fund issues and redeems shares at net asset value, only in large specified blocks each consisting of 50,000 shares (each such block of shares called a “Creation Unit, and collectively, the “Creation Units”). The Fund’s Creation Units are generally issued and redeemed in-kind for securities in which the Fund invests and, in certain circumstances, for cash, and only to and from broker-dealers and large institutional investors that have entered into participation agreements.
The Fund is a series of First Trust Exchange-Traded Fund IV (the “Trust”) and an actively managed exchange-traded fund organized as a separate series of a registered management investment company.
Except when aggregated in Creation Units, the shares are not redeemable securities of the Fund.
The Securities and Exchange Commission has not approved or disapproved of these securities or passed upon the adequacy or accuracy of this prospectus. Any representation to the contrary is a criminal offense.
NOT FDIC INSURED    MAY LOSE VALUE    NO BANK GUARANTEE
March 1, 2019


Summary Information
Investment Objective
The First Trust North American Energy Infrastructure Fund's (the "Fund") investment objective is to seek total return.
Fees and Expenses of the Fund
The following table describes the fees and expenses you may pay if you buy and hold shares of the Fund. Investors purchasing and selling shares may be subject to costs (including customary brokerage commissions) charged by their broker, which are not reflected in the table below.
Shareholder Fees
(fees paid directly from your investment)
Maximum Sales Charge (Load) Imposed on Purchases (as a percentage of offering price) None
    
Annual Fund Operating Expenses
(expenses that you pay each year as a percentage of the value of your investment)
Management Fees 0.95%
Distribution and Service (12b-1) Fees 0.00%
Other Expenses 0.00%
Total Annual Fund Operating Expenses 0.95%
Example
The example below is intended to help you compare the cost of investing in the Fund with the cost of investing in other funds. This example does not take into account customary brokerage commissions that you pay when purchasing or selling shares of the Fund in the secondary market.
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 remain at current levels. Although your actual costs may be higher or lower, based on these assumptions your costs would be:
1 Year 3 Years 5 Years 10 Years
$97 $303 $525 $1,166
Portfolio Turnover
The Fund pays transaction costs, such as commissions, when it buys and sells securities (or “turns over” its portfolio). A higher portfolio turnover rate may indicate higher transaction costs and may result in higher taxes when Fund shares are held in a taxable account. These costs, which are not reflected in annual fund operating expenses or in the example, affect the Fund’s performance. During the most recent fiscal year, the Fund’s portfolio turnover rate was 35% of the average value of its portfolio.
Principal Investment Strategies
Under normal market conditions, the Fund will invest at least 80% of its net assets (including investment borrowings) in equity securities of companies deemed by Energy Income Partners, LLC, the Fund’s investment sub-advisor ("Energy Income Partners" or the "Sub-Advisor"), to be engaged in the energy infrastructure sector. These companies principally include publicly-traded master limited partnerships and limited liability companies taxed as partnerships (“MLPs”), MLP affiliates, pipeline companies, utilities, and other companies that derive the majority of their revenues from operating or providing services in support of infrastructure assets such as pipelines, power transmission and petroleum and natural gas storage in the petroleum, natural gas and power generation industries (collectively, “energy infrastructure companies”). The Fund will invest principally in energy infrastructure companies. In addition, under normal market conditions, the Fund will invest at least 80% of its net assets (including investment borrowings) in equity securities of companies headquartered or incorporated in the United States and Canada.
The Fund may invest in equity securities of MLPs without limit; however, in order to comply with applicable tax diversification rules, the Fund may directly invest up to 25% of its total assets in equity securities of certain MLPs treated as publicly-traded partnerships.
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The Fund’s investment strategy emphasizes current distributions and dividends paid to shareholders. The Sub-Advisor believes that a professionally managed portfolio of higher dividend paying MLPs, MLP affiliates, pipeline and power companies, and other energy infrastructure companies in non-cyclical segments that offer an attractive balance of income and growth. The Sub-Advisor believes that the non-cyclical assets that best support a high-payout ratio are those with steady, fee-for-service businesses with relatively low sustaining capital obligations. In the energy infrastructure sector, such fee-for-service assets are comprised of but not limited to interstate pipelines, intrastate pipelines with long-term contracts, power generation assets, storage and terminal facilities with long-term contracts and regulated power transmission and distribution assets. By contrast, the Sub-Advisor will seek to limit the cyclical energy exposure of the portfolio. The Sub-Advisor believes that portfolio investments in oil and gas exploration, development and production are less well suited for the Fund because the cash flows from these investments are cyclical in nature, being driven by commodity prices, and because oil and gas assets are wasting assets. The Sub-Advisor believes the use of rigorous investment research and analytical tools, along with conservative portfolio construction used to identify appropriate non-cyclical energy infrastructure company investments, provides a value added service to the individual investor making an investment in this asset class.
The Fund may also use derivative investments such as bond index and equity index futures to hedge against interest rate and market risks. The Fund may engage in currency hedging transactions, including buying or selling options or entering into other transactions including futures, forward contracts, swaps and other derivatives transactions.
Principal Risks
You could lose money by investing in the Fund. An investment in the Fund is not a deposit of a bank and is not insured or guaranteed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation or any other governmental agency. There can be no assurance that the Fund’s investment objective will be achieved.
AUTHORIZED PARTICIPANT CONCENTRATION RISK. Only an authorized participant may engage in creation or redemption transactions directly with the Fund. A limited number of institutions act as authorized participants for the Fund. To the extent that these institutions exit the business or are unable to proceed with creation and/or redemption orders and no other authorized participant steps forward to create or redeem, the Fund’s shares may trade at a premium or discount to the Fund’s net asset value and possibly face delisting.
CANADA RISK. The Fund is subject to certain risks specifically associated with investments in the securities of Canadian issuers. The Canadian economy is heavily dependent on the demand for natural resources and agricultural products. Canada is a major producer of commodities such as forest products, metals, agricultural products, and energy related products like oil, gas, and hydroelectricity. Accordingly, a change in the supply and demand of these resources, both domestically and internationally, can have a significant effect on Canadian market performance. Canada is a top producer of zinc and uranium and a global source of many other natural resources, such as gold, nickel, aluminum, and lead. Conditions that weaken demand for such products worldwide could have a negative impact on the Canadian economy as a whole. Changes to the U.S. economy may significantly affect the Canadian economy because the United States is Canada’s largest trading partner and foreign investor. These and other factors could have a negative impact on the Fund and its investments in Canada.
CONCENTRATION RISK. To the extent that the Fund invests a large percentage of its assets in a single asset class or the securities of issuers within the same country, state, region, industry or sector, an adverse economic, business or political development may affect the value of the Fund’s investments more than if the Fund were more broadly diversified. A concentration makes the Fund more susceptible to any single occurrence and may subject the Fund to greater market risk than a fund that is not so concentrated.
COUNTERPARTY RISK. Fund transactions involving a counterparty are subject to the risk that the counterparty will not fulfill its obligation to the Fund. Counterparty risk may arise because of the counterparty’s financial condition (i.e., financial difficulties, bankruptcy, or insolvency), market activities and developments, or other reasons, whether foreseen or not. A counterparty’s inability to fulfill its obligation may result in significant financial loss to the Fund. The Fund may be unable to recover its investment from the counterparty or may obtain a limited recovery, and/or recovery may be delayed.
COVERED CALL RISK. The writer of a covered call option forgoes any profit from increases in the market value of the underlying security covering the call option above the sum of the premium and the strike price of the call but retains the risk of loss if the underlying security declines in value. The Fund will have no control over the exercise of the option by the option holder and may lose the benefit from any capital appreciation on the underlying security. A number of factors may influence the option holder’s decision to exercise the option, including the value of the underlying security, price volatility, dividend yield
4

and interest rates. To the extent that these factors increase the value of the call option, the option holder is more likely to exercise the option, which may negatively affect the Fund.
CURRENCY RISK. The Fund may hold investments that are denominated in non-U.S. currencies, or in securities that provide exposure to such currencies, currency exchange rates or interest rates denominated in such currencies. Changes in currency exchange rates affect the value of investments denominated in a foreign currency, and therefore the value of such investments in the Fund’s portfolio. The Fund’s net asset value could decline if a currency to which the Fund has exposure depreciates against the U.S. dollar or if there are delays or limits on repatriation of such currency. Currency exchange rates can be very volatile and can change quickly and unpredictably. As a result, the value of an investment in the Fund may change quickly and without warning.
CYBER SECURITY RISK. The Fund is susceptible to operational risks through breaches in cyber security. A breach in cyber security refers to both intentional and unintentional events that may cause the Fund to lose proprietary information, suffer data corruption or lose operational capacity. Such events could cause the Fund to incur regulatory penalties, reputational damage, additional compliance costs associated with corrective measures and/or financial loss. Cyber security breaches may involve unauthorized access to the Fund’s digital information systems through “hacking” or malicious software coding but may also result from outside attacks such as denial-of-service attacks through efforts to make network services unavailable to intended users. In addition, cyber security breaches of the securities issuers or the Fund’s third-party service providers, such as its administrator, transfer agent, custodian, or sub-advisor, as applicable, or issuers in which the Fund invests, can also subject the Fund to many of the same risks associated with direct cyber security breaches. Although the Fund has established risk management systems designed to reduce the risks associated with cyber security, there is no guarantee that such efforts will succeed, especially because the Fund does not directly control the cyber security systems of issuers or third-party service providers.
DEPOSITARY RECEIPTS RISK. Depositary receipts may be less liquid than the underlying shares in their primary trading market. Any distributions paid to the holders of depositary receipts are usually subject to a fee charged by the depositary. Holders of depositary receipts may have limited voting rights, and investment restrictions in certain countries may adversely impact the value of depositary receipts because such restrictions may limit the ability to convert the equity shares into depositary receipts and vice versa. Such restrictions may cause the equity shares of the underlying issuer to trade at a discount or premium to the market price of the depositary receipts.
DERIVATIVES RISK. The use of derivative instruments involves risks different from, or possibly greater than, the risks associated with investing directly in securities and other traditional investments. These risks include: (i) the risk that the counterparty to a derivative transaction may not fulfill its contractual obligations; (ii) risk of mispricing or improper valuation; and (iii) the risk that changes in the value of the derivative may not correlate perfectly with the underlying asset. Derivative prices are highly volatile and may fluctuate substantially during a short period of time. Such prices are influenced by numerous factors that affect the markets, including, but not limited to: changing supply and demand relationships; government programs and policies; national and international political and economic events, changes in interest rates, inflation and deflation and changes in supply and demand relationships. Trading derivative instruments involves risks different from, or possibly greater than, the risks associated with investing directly in securities. Derivative contracts ordinarily have leverage inherent in their terms. The low margin deposits normally required in trading derivatives, including futures contracts, permit a high degree of leverage. Accordingly, a relatively small price movement may result in an immediate and substantial loss. The use of leverage may also cause the Fund to liquidate portfolio positions when it would not be advantageous to do so in order to satisfy its obligations or to meet collateral segregation requirements. The use of leveraged derivatives can magnify potential for gain or loss and, therefore, amplify the effects of market volatility on share price.
ENERGY INFRASTRUCTURE COMPANIES RISK. Energy infrastructure companies are subject to risks specific to the energy and energy-related industries. This includes but is not limited to: fluctuations in commodity prices impacting the volume of energy commodities transported, processed, stored or distributed; reductions in volumes of natural gas or other energy commodities being available for transporting, processing, storing or distributing; slowdowns in new construction and acquisitions limiting growth potential; reduced demand for oil, natural gas and petroleum products, particularly for a sustained period of time; depletion of natural gas reserves or other commodities; rising interest rates resulting in higher costs of capital, increased operating costs; counterparties to contracts defaulting or going bankrupt; and an inability to execute acquisitions or expansion projects in a cost-effect manner; extreme weather events and environmental hazards; and threats of attack by terrorists on energy assets. Energy infrastructure companies may also face counterparty risk, such that long-term contracts may be declared void if the counterparty to those contracts enters bankruptcy proceedings. In addition, energy infrastructure companies are subject to significant federal, state and local government regulation in virtually every aspect of their operations,
5

including how facilities are constructed, maintained and operated, environmental and safety controls, and the prices they may charge for products and services. Various governmental authorities have the power to enforce compliance with these regulations and the permits issued under them and violators are subject to administrative, civil and criminal penalties, including civil fines, injunctions or both. Stricter laws, regulations or enforcement policies could be enacted in the future which would likely increase compliance costs and may adversely affect the financial performance of energy infrastructure companies. Natural disasters, such as hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico, also may impact the energy infrastructure companies.
Certain energy infrastructure companies in the utilities industry are subject to the imposition of rate caps, increased competition due to deregulation, the difficulty in obtaining an adequate return on invested capital or in financing large construction projects, the limitations on operations and increased costs and delays attributable to environmental considerations, and the capital market’s ability to absorb utility debt. In addition, taxes, government regulation, international politics, price and supply fluctuations, volatile interest rates and energy conservation may cause difficulties for these companies. Such issuers have been experiencing certain of these problems in varying degrees.
EQUITY SECURITIES RISK. The value of the Fund’s shares will fluctuate with changes in the value of the equity securities in which it invests. Equity securities prices fluctuate for several reasons, including changes in investors’ perceptions of the financial condition of an issuer or the general condition of the relevant equity market, such as market volatility, or when political or economic events affecting an issuer occur. Common stock prices may be particularly sensitive to rising interest rates, as the cost of capital rises and borrowing costs increase. Equity securities may decline significantly in price over short or extended periods of time, and such declines may occur in the equity market as a whole, or they may occur in only a particular country, company, industry or sector of the market.
FORWARD CONTRACTS RISK. A forward contract is an over-the-counter derivative transaction between two parties to buy or sell a specified amount of an underlying reference at a specified price (or rate) on a specified date in the future. Forward contracts are negotiated on an individual basis and are not standardized or traded on exchanges. The market for forward contracts is substantially unregulated and can experience lengthy periods of illiquidity, unusually high trading volume and other negative impacts, such as political intervention, which may result in volatility or disruptions in such markets. A relatively small price movement in a forward contract may result in substantial losses to the Fund, exceeding the amount of the margin paid. Forward contracts can increase the Fund’s risk exposure to underlying references and their attendant risks, such as credit risk, currency risk, market risk, and interest rate risk, while also exposing the Fund to counterparty risk, liquidity risk and valuation risk, among others.
FUTURES CONTRACTS RISK. Futures contracts are typically exchange-traded contracts that call for the future delivery of an asset by one party to another at a certain price and date, or cash settlement of the terms of the contract. The risk of a position in a futures contract may be very large compared to the relatively low level of margin the Fund is required to deposit. In many cases, a relatively small price movement in a futures contract may result in immediate and substantial loss or gain to the investor relative to the size of a required margin deposit. In the event no secondary market exists for a particular contract, it might not be possible to effect closing transactions, and the Fund will be unable to terminate the derivative. If the Fund uses futures contracts for hedging purposes, there is a risk of imperfect correlation between movements in the prices of the derivatives and movements in the securities or index underlying the derivatives or movements in the prices of the Fund's investments that are the subject of such hedge. The prices of futures contracts may not correlate perfectly with movements in the securities or index underlying them.
INDEX CONSTITUENT RISK. The Fund may be a constituent of one or more indices. As a result, the Fund may be included in one or more index-tracking exchange-traded funds or mutual funds. Being a component security of such a vehicle could greatly affect the trading activity involving the Fund’s shares, the size of the Fund and the market volatility of the Fund. Inclusion in an index could increase demand for the Fund and removal from an index could result in outsized selling activity in a relatively short period of time. As a result, the Fund’s net asset value could be negatively impacted and the Fund’s market price may be below the Fund’s net asset value during certain periods. In addition, index rebalances may potentially result in increased trading activity in the Fund’s shares.
INFLATION RISK. Inflation risk is the risk that the value of assets or income from investments will be less in the future as inflation decreases the value of money. As inflation increases, the present value of the Fund’s assets and distributions may decline.
LIQUIDITY RISK. The Fund may hold certain investments that may be subject to restrictions on resale, trade over-the-counter or in limited volume, or lack an active trading market. Accordingly, the Fund may not be able to sell or close out of such investments at favorable times or prices (or at all), or at the prices approximating those at which the Fund currently values
6

them. Illiquid securities may trade at a discount from comparable, more liquid investments and may be subject to wide fluctuations in market value.
MANAGEMENT RISK. The Fund is subject to management risk because it is an actively managed portfolio. In managing the Fund’s investment portfolio, the portfolio managers will apply investment techniques and risk analyses that may not produce the desired result. There can be no guarantee that the Fund will meet its investment objective.
MARKET MAKER RISK. The Fund faces numerous market trading risks, including the potential lack of an active market for Fund shares due to a limited number of market markers. Decisions by market makers or authorized participants to reduce their role or step away from these activities in times of market stress could inhibit the effectiveness of the arbitrage process in maintaining the relationship between the underlying values of the Fund’s portfolio securities and the Fund’s market price. The Fund may rely on a small number of third-party market makers to provide a market for the purchase and sale of shares. Any trading halt or other problem relating to the trading activity of these market makers could result in a dramatic change in the spread between the Fund’s net asset value and the price at which the Fund’s shares are trading on the Exchange, which could result in a decrease in value of the Fund’s shares. This reduced effectiveness could result in Fund shares trading at a discount to net asset value and also in greater than normal intraday bid-ask spreads for Fund shares.
MARKET RISK. Market risk is the risk that a particular security, or shares of the Fund in general, may fall in value. Securities are subject to market fluctuations caused by such factors as economic, political, regulatory or market developments, changes in interest rates and perceived trends in securities prices. Shares of the Fund could decline in value or underperform other investments.
MLP RISK. Investments in securities of MLPs involve certain risks different from or in addition to the risks of investing in common stocks. MLP common units can be affected by macro-economic factors and other factors unique to the partnership or company and the industry or industries in which the MLP operates. Certain MLP securities may trade in relatively low volumes due to their smaller capitalizations or other factors, which may cause them to have a high degree of price volatility and illiquidity. The structures of MLPs create certain risks, including, for example, risks related to the limited ability of investors to control an MLP and to vote on matters affecting the MLP, risks related to potential conflicts of interest between an MLP and the MLP's general partner, the risk that an MLP will generate insufficient cash flow to meet its current operating requirements, the risk that an MLP will issue additional securities or engage in other transactions that will have the effect of diluting the interests of existing investors, and risks related to the general partner's right to require unit-holders to sell their common units at an undesirable time or price. On March 15, 2018, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) changed its long-standing tax allowance policy which no longer permits MLPs to include in their cost of service an income tax allowance. This has had a negative impact on the performance of some MLPs affected by this decision. This policy change and any similar policy changes in the future could adversely impact an MLP’s business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows and ability to pay cash distributions or dividends.
MLP TAX RISK. The Fund’s ability to meet its investment objective relies in part upon the level of taxable income it receives from the MLPs in which it invests, a factor over which the Fund has no control. The benefit the Fund derives from its investment in MLPs is largely dependent on their being treated as partnerships for U.S. federal income tax purposes. Partnerships do not pay U.S. federal income tax at the partnership level. Rather, each partner is allocated a share of the partnership’s income, gains, losses, deductions and expenses. A change in