424B2 1 d294767d424b2.htm BLACKROCK UTILITIES, INFRASTRUCTURE & POWER OPPORTUNITIES TRUST BlackRock Utilities, Infrastructure & Power Opportunities Trust

Filed Pursuant to Rule 424(b)(2)
Securities Act File No. 333-262272

 

LOGO

PROSPECTUS SUPPLEMENT

(To Prospectus dated March 4, 2022)

BLACKROCK UTILITIES, INFRASTRUCTURE & POWER OPPORTUNITIES TRUST

Up to 8,000,000 Common Shares

 

 

The BlackRock Utilities, Infrastructure & Power Opportunities Trust (the “Trust,” “we,” “us” or “our”) is offering for sale up to 8,000,000 of our common shares. Our common shares are listed on the New York Stock Exchange (“NYSE”) under the symbol “BUI.” As of the close of business on March 9, 2022, the last reported net asset value per share of our common shares was $24.05 and the last reported sales price per share of our common shares on the NYSE was $23.75.

The Trust is a diversified, closed-end management investment company registered under the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended (the “Investment Company Act”). The Trust’s investment objective is to provide total return through a combination of current income, current gains and long-term capital appreciation. The Trust’s investment adviser is BlackRock Advisors, LLC (the “Advisor”), and the Advisor’s affiliate, BlackRock International Limited (the “Sub-Advisor”), acts as the Trust’s sub-adviser.

The Trust has entered into a distribution agreement dated March 10, 2022 (the “Distribution Agreement”) with BlackRock Investments, LLC (the “Distributor”), an affiliate of the Advisor, to provide for distribution of the Trust’s common shares. The Distributor has entered into a sub-placement agent agreement dated March 10, 2022 (the “Sub-Placement Agent Agreement”) with UBS Securities LLC (the “Sub-Placement Agent”) with respect to the Trust relating to the common shares offered by this Prospectus Supplement and the accompanying Prospectus. In accordance with the terms of the Sub-Placement Agent Agreement, the Trust may offer and sell its common shares from time to time through the Sub-Placement Agent as sub-placement agent for the offer and sale of its common shares. Under the Investment Company Act, the Trust may not sell any common shares at a price below the current net asset value of such common shares, exclusive of any distributing commission or discount.

Sales of our common shares, if any, under this Prospectus Supplement and the accompanying Prospectus may be made in negotiated transactions or transactions that are deemed to be “at the market” as defined in Rule 415 under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “Securities Act”), including sales made directly on the NYSE or sales made to or through a market maker other than on an exchange.

The Trust will compensate the Distributor with respect to sales of common shares at a commission rate of 1.00% of the gross proceeds of the sale of the Trust’s common shares. Out of this commission, the Distributor will compensate the Sub-Placement Agent at a rate of up to 0.80% of the gross sales proceeds of the sale of the Trust’s common shares sold by the Sub-Placement Agent. In connection with the sale of the common shares on the Trust’s behalf, the Distributor may be deemed to be an “underwriter” within the meaning of the Securities Act and the compensation of the Distributor may be deemed to be underwriting commissions or discounts.

Investing in the Trust’s common shares involves certain risks that are described in the “Risks” section beginning on page 26 of the accompanying Prospectus.

NEITHER THE SEC NOR ANY STATE SECURITIES COMMISSION HAS APPROVED OR DISAPPROVED THESE SECURITIES OR DETERMINED IF THIS PROSPECTUS SUPPLEMENT IS TRUTHFUL OR COMPLETE. ANY REPRESENTATION TO THE CONTRARY IS A CRIMINAL OFFENSE.

March 10, 2022


This Prospectus Supplement, together with the accompanying Prospectus, sets forth concisely the information about the Trust that a prospective investor should know before investing. You should read this Prospectus Supplement and the accompanying Prospectus, which contain important information, before deciding whether to invest in the common shares. You should retain the accompanying Prospectus and this Prospectus Supplement for future reference. A Statement of Additional Information (“SAI”), dated March 4, 2022, containing additional information about the Trust, has been filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) and, as amended from time to time, is incorporated by reference in its entirety into this Prospectus Supplement and the accompanying Prospectus. This Prospectus Supplement, the accompanying Prospectus and the SAI are part of a “shelf” registration statement filed with the SEC. This Prospectus Supplement describes the specific details regarding this offering, including the method of distribution. If information in this Prospectus Supplement is inconsistent with the accompanying Prospectus or the SAI, you should rely on this Prospectus Supplement. You may call (800) 882-0052, visit the Trust’s website (http://www.blackrock.com) or write to the Trust to obtain, free of charge, copies of the SAI and the Trust’s semi-annual and annual reports, as well as to obtain other information about the Trust or to make shareholder inquiries. The SAI, as well as the Trust’s semi-annual and annual reports, are also available for free on the SEC’s website (http://www.sec.gov). You may also e-mail requests for these documents to publicinfo@sec.gov. Information contained in, or that can be accessed through, the Trust’s website is not part of this Prospectus Supplement or the accompanying Prospectus.

You should not construe the contents of this Prospectus Supplement and the accompanying Prospectus as legal, tax or financial advice. You should consult with your own professional advisors as to the legal, tax, financial or other matters relevant to the suitability of an investment in the Trust.

The Trust’s common shares do not represent a deposit or an obligation of, and are not guaranteed or endorsed by, any bank or other insured depository institution, and are not federally insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Federal Reserve Board or any other government agency.

You should rely only on the information contained or incorporated by reference in this Prospectus Supplement and the accompanying Prospectus. Neither the Trust nor the underwriters have authorized anyone to provide you with different information. The Trust is not making an offer to sell these securities in any jurisdiction where the offer or sale is not permitted. You should not assume that the information contained in this Prospectus Supplement and the accompanying Prospectus is accurate as of any date other than the date of this Prospectus Supplement and the accompanying Prospectus, respectively. Our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects may have changed since those dates. In this Prospectus Supplement and in the accompanying Prospectus, unless otherwise indicated, “Trust,” “us,” “our” and “we” refer to BlackRock Utilities, Infrastructure and Power Opportunities Trust.

 

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

Prospectus Supplement

 

     Page  

CAUTIONARY NOTICE REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

     S-4  

PROSPECTUS SUPPLEMENT SUMMARY

     S-5  

SUMMARY OF TRUST EXPENSES

     S-7  

USE OF PROCEEDS

     S-8  

CAPITALIZATION

     S-9  

PLAN OF DISTRIBUTION

     S-9  

LEGAL MATTERS

     S-10  

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

     S-11  

Prospectus

 

PROSPECTUS SUMMARY

     1  

SUMMARY OF TRUST EXPENSES

     6  

FINANCIAL HIGHLIGHTS

     7  

USE OF PROCEEDS

     9  

THE TRUST

     9  

DESCRIPTION OF SHARES

     9  

THE TRUST’S INVESTMENTS

     11  

LEVERAGE

     23  

RISKS

     26  

HOW THE TRUST MANAGES RISK

     39  

MANAGEMENT OF THE TRUST

     39  

NET ASSET VALUE

     42  

DISTRIBUTIONS

     45  

DIVIDEND REINVESTMENT PLAN

     47  

RIGHTS OFFERINGS

     47  

TAX MATTERS

     48  

TAXATION OF HOLDERS OF RIGHTS

     54  

CERTAIN PROVISIONS IN THE AGREEMENT AND DECLARATION OF TRUST AND BYLAWS

     55  

CLOSED-END FUND STRUCTURE

     57  

REPURCHASE OF COMMON SHARES

     57  

PLAN OF DISTRIBUTION

     58  

INCORPORATION BY REFERENCE

     59  

PRIVACY PRINCIPLES OF THE TRUST

     60  

 

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CAUTIONARY NOTICE REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

This Prospectus Supplement, the accompanying Prospectus and the Statement of Additional Information (the “SAI”) contain “forward-looking statements.” Forward-looking statements can be identified by the words “may,” “will,” “intend,” “expect,” “estimate,” “continue,” “plan,” “anticipate,” and similar terms and the negative of such terms. Such forward-looking statements may be contained in this Prospectus Supplement as well as in the accompanying Prospectus. By their nature, all forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties, and actual results could differ materially from those contemplated by the forward-looking statements. Several factors that could materially affect our actual results are the performance of the portfolio of securities we hold, the price at which our shares will trade in the public markets and other factors discussed in our periodic filings with the SEC.

Although we believe that the expectations expressed in our forward-looking statements are reasonable, actual results could differ materially from those projected or assumed in our forward-looking statements. Our future financial condition and results of operations, as well as any forward-looking statements, are subject to change and are subject to inherent risks and uncertainties, such as those disclosed in the “Risks” section of the accompanying Prospectus. All forward-looking statements contained or incorporated by reference in this Prospectus Supplement or the accompanying Prospectus are made as of the date of this Prospectus Supplement or the accompanying Prospectus, as the case may be. Except for our ongoing obligations under the federal securities laws, we do not intend, and we undertake no obligation, to update any forward-looking statement. The forward-looking statements contained in this Prospectus Supplement, the accompanying Prospectus and the SAI are excluded from the safe harbor protection provided by Section 27A of the Securities Act.

Currently known risk factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from our expectations include, but are not limited to, the factors described in the “Risks” section of the accompanying Prospectus. We urge you to review carefully those sections for a more detailed discussion of the risks of an investment in our common shares.

 

S-4


PROSPECTUS SUPPLEMENT SUMMARY

The following summary is qualified in its entirety by reference to the more detailed information included elsewhere in this Prospectus Supplement and in the accompanying Prospectus and in the SAI.

 

The Trust

The Trust is a diversified, closed-end management investment company. The Trust’s investment objective is to provide total return through a combination of current income, current gains and long-term capital appreciation. The Trust is not intended as, and you should not construe it to be, a complete investment program. There can be no assurance that the Trust’s investment objective will be achieved or that the Trust’s investment program will be successful. The Trust’s common shares are listed for trading on the NYSE under the symbol “BUI.”

 

Investment Advisor and Sub-Advisor

BlackRock Advisors, LLC (previously defined as the “Advisor”) acts as the Trust’s investment adviser and its affiliate, BlackRock International Limited (previously defined as the “Sub-Advisor”), acts as the Trust’s sub-adviser. The Advisor receives an annual fee, payable monthly, in a maximum amount equal to 1.00% of the average daily value of the net assets of the Trust. The Advisor, and not the Trust, pays an annual sub-advisory fee to the Sub-Advisor equal to a percentage of the management fee received by the Advisor from the Trust with respect to the average daily value of the Trust’s Managed Assets allocated to the Sub-Advisor. “Managed Assets” means the total assets of the Trust (including any assets attributable to money borrowed for investment purposes) minus the sum of the Trust’s accrued liabilities (other than money borrowed for investment purposes).

 

The Offering

The Trust has entered into the Distribution Agreement with the Distributor to provide for distribution of the Trust’s common shares. The Distributor has entered into the Sub-Placement Agent Agreement with the Sub-Placement Agent with respect to the Trust relating to the common shares offered by this Prospectus Supplement and the accompanying Prospectus. In accordance with the terms of the Sub-Placement Agent Agreement, the Trust may offer and sell its common shares from time to time through the Sub-Placement Agent as sub-placement agent for the offer and sale of its common shares. The Trust will compensate the Distributor with respect to sales of common shares at a commission rate of 1.00% of the gross proceeds of the sale of the Trust’s common shares. Out of this commission, the Distributor will compensate the Sub-Placement Agent at a rate of up to 0.80% of the gross sales proceeds of the sale of the Trust’s common shares sold by the Sub-Placement Agent.

 

 

The provisions of the Investment Company Act generally require that the public offering price of common shares (less any underwriting commissions and discounts) must equal or exceed the net asset value per share of a company’s common shares (calculated within 48 hours of pricing).

 

S-5


 

Sales of our common shares, if any, under this Prospectus Supplement and the accompanying Prospectus may be made in negotiated transactions or transactions that are deemed to be “at the market” as defined in Rule 415 under the Securities Act, including sales made directly on the NYSE or sales made to or through a market maker other than on an exchange.

 

Use of Proceeds

We currently anticipate that we will be able to invest all of the net proceeds of any sales of common shares pursuant to this Prospectus Supplement in accordance with our investment objective and policies as described in the accompanying Prospectus under “The Trust’s Investments” within approximately three months of the receipt of such proceeds. Pending such investment, it is anticipated that the proceeds will be invested in short-term investment grade securities or in high quality, short-term money market instruments. Depending on market conditions and operations, a portion of the cash held by the Trust, including any proceeds raised from the offering, may be used to pay distributions in accordance with the Trust’s distribution policy and may be a return of capital.

 

S-6


SUMMARY OF TRUST EXPENSES

The following table and example are intended to assist you in understanding the various costs and expenses directly or indirectly associated with investing in our common shares.

 

Shareholder Transaction Expenses

  

Sales load paid by you (as a percentage of offering price)

     1.00 %(1) 

Offering expenses borne by the Trust (as a percentage of offering price)

     0.02 %(2) 

Dividend reinvestment plan fees

   $
 

0.02 per share for
open-market
purchases of
common shares
 
 
 
(3) 

Estimated Annual Expenses (as a percentage of net assets attributable to common shares)

  

Management fees

     1.00

Other Expenses(4)

     0.08

Total Annual Fund Operating Expenses

     1.08

Fee Waivers and/or Expense Reimbursements(5)

    
  

 

 

 

Total Annual Fund Operating Expenses After Fee Waivers and/or Expense Reimbursements(5)

     1.08
  

 

 

 

 

(1)

Represents the estimated commission with respect to the Trust’s common shares being sold in this offering. There is no guarantee that there will be any sales of the Trust’s common shares pursuant to this Prospectus Supplement and the accompanying Prospectus. Actual sales of the Trust’s common shares under this Prospectus Supplement and the accompanying Prospectus, if any, may be less than as set forth under “Capitalization” below. In addition, the price per share of any such sale may be greater than or less than the price set forth under “Capitalization” below, depending on market price of the Trust’s common shares at the time of any such sale.

(2)

Based on a sales price per share of $23.68, which represents the last reported sales price per share of the Trust’s common shares on the NYSE on March 4, 2022. Assumes all of the common shares being offered by this Prospectus Supplement and the accompanying Prospectus are sold. Represents the initial offering costs incurred by the Trust in connection with this offering, which are estimated to be $102,977. Offering costs generally include, but are not limited to, the preparation, review and filing with the SEC of the Trust’s registration statement, the preparation, review and filing of any associated marketing or similar materials, costs associated with the printing, mailing or other distribution of the Prospectus Supplement and the accompanying Prospectus and/or marketing materials, associated filing fees, NYSE listing fees, and legal and auditing fees associated with the offering.

(3)

Computershare Trust Company, N.A.’s (the “Reinvestment Plan Agent”) fees for the handling of the reinvestment of dividends will be paid by the Trust. However, you will pay a $0.02 per share fee incurred in connection with open-market purchases, which will be deducted from the value of the dividend. You will also be charged a $0.02 per share fee if you direct the Reinvestment Plan Agent to sell your common shares held in a dividend reinvestment account. Per share fees include any applicable brokerage commissions the Reinvestment Plan Agent is required to pay.

(4)

Actual amount based on the fiscal year ended December 31, 2021.

(5)

The Trust and the Advisor have entered into a fee waiver agreement (the “Fee Waiver Agreement”), pursuant to which the Advisor has contractually agreed to waive the management fee with respect to any portion of the Trust’s assets attributable to investments in any equity and fixed-income mutual funds and exchange-traded funds managed by the Advisor or its affiliates that have a contractual management fee, through June 30, 2023. In addition, pursuant to the Fee Waiver Agreement, the Advisor has contractually agreed to waive its management fees by the amount of investment advisory fees the Trust pays to the Advisor indirectly through its investment in money market funds managed by the Advisor or its affiliates, through June 30, 2023. The Fee Waiver Agreement may be terminated at any time, without the payment of

 

S-7


 

any penalty, only by the Trust (upon the vote of a majority of the Trustees who are not “interested persons” (as defined in the Investment Company Act) of the Trust or a majority of the outstanding voting securities of the Trust), upon 90 days’ written notice by the Trust to the Advisor.

Example

The following example illustrates the expenses (including the sales load of $10 and offering costs of $0.20) that you would pay on a $1,000 investment in common shares, assuming (i) total net annual expenses of 1.08% of net assets attributable to common shares, and (ii) a 5% annual return:

 

     1 Year      3 Years      5 Years      10 Years  

Total expenses incurred

   $ 21      $ 44      $ 69      $ 141  

The example should not be considered a representation of future expenses. The example assumes that the estimated “Other expenses” set forth in the Estimated Annual Expenses table are accurate and that all dividends and distributions are reinvested at net asset value. Actual expenses may be greater or less than those assumed. Moreover, the Trust’s actual rate of return may be greater or less than the hypothetical 5% return shown in the example.

USE OF PROCEEDS

Sales of our common shares, if any, under this Prospectus Supplement and the accompanying Prospectus may be made in negotiated transactions or transactions that are deemed to be “at the market” as defined in Rule 415 under the Securities Act, including sales made directly on the NYSE or sales made to or through a market maker other than on an exchange. There is no guarantee that there will be any sales of our common shares pursuant to this Prospectus Supplement and the accompanying Prospectus. Actual sales, if any, of our common shares under this Prospectus Supplement and the accompanying Prospectus may be less than as set forth below in this paragraph. In addition, the price per share of any such sale may be greater or less than the price set forth in this paragraph, depending on the market price of our common shares at the time of any such sale. As a result, the actual net proceeds we receive may be more or less than the amount of net proceeds estimated in this Prospectus Supplement. Assuming the sale of all of the common shares offered under this Prospectus Supplement and the accompanying Prospectus, at the last reported sale price of $23.68 per share for our common shares on the NYSE as of March 4, 2022, we estimate that the net proceeds of this offering will be approximately $187,442,623 after deducting the estimated sales load and the estimated offering expenses payable by the Trust, if any.

The net proceeds from the issuance of common shares hereunder will be invested in accordance with the Trust’s investment objective and policies as set forth in this Prospectus Supplement and the accompanying Prospectus. We currently anticipate that we will be able to invest all of the net proceeds in accordance with our investment objective and policies within approximately three months of the receipt of such proceeds. Pending such investment, it is anticipated that the proceeds will be invested in short-term investment grade securities or in high quality, short-term money market instruments. Depending on market conditions and operations, a portion of the cash held by the Trust, including any proceeds raised from the offering, may be used to pay distributions in accordance with the Trust’s distribution policy and may be a return of capital. A return of capital is a return to investors of a portion of their original investment in the Trust. In general terms, a return of capital would involve a situation in which a Trust distribution (or a portion thereof) represents a return of a portion of a shareholder’s investment in the Trust, rather than making a distribution that is funded from the Trust’s earned income or other profits. Although return of capital distributions may not be currently taxable, such distributions would decrease the basis of a shareholder’s shares, and therefore, may increase a shareholder’s tax liability for capital gains upon a sale of shares, even if sold at a loss to the shareholder’s original investments.

 

S-8


CAPITALIZATION

The Trust may offer and sell up to 8,000,000 common shares, $0.001 par value per share, from time to time through the Sub-Placement Agent as sub-placement agent under this Prospectus Supplement and the accompanying Prospectus. There is no guarantee that there will be any sales of the Trust’s common shares pursuant to this Prospectus Supplement and the accompanying Prospectus. The table below assumes that the Trust will sell 8,000,000 common shares at a price of $23.68 per share (which represents the last reported sales price per share of the Trust’s common shares on the NYSE on March 4, 2022). Actual sales, if any, of the Trust’s common shares under this Prospectus Supplement and the accompanying Prospectus may be greater or less than $23.68 per share, depending on the market price of the Trust’s common shares at the time of any such sale. The Trust and the Distributor will determine whether any sales of the Trust’s common shares will be authorized on a particular day; the Trust and the Distributor, however, will not authorize sales of the Trust’s common shares if the per share price of the shares is less than the current net asset value per share plus the per share amount of the commission to be paid to the Distributor (the “Minimum Price”). The Trust and the Distributor may also not authorize sales of the Trust’s common shares on a particular day even if the per share price of the shares is equal to or greater than the Minimum Price, or may only authorize a fixed number of shares to be sold on any particular day. The Trust and the Distributor will have full discretion regarding whether sales of Trust common shares will be authorized on a particular day and, if so, in what amounts.

The following table sets forth the Trust’s capitalization (1) on a historical basis as of December 31, 2021 (audited); and (2) on a pro forma basis as adjusted to reflect the assumed sale of 8,000,000 common shares at $23.68 per share (the last reported price per share of the Trust’s common shares on the NYSE on March 4, 2022), in an offering under this Prospectus Supplement and the accompanying Prospectus, after deducting the assumed commission of $1,894,400 (representing an estimated commission to the Distributor of 1.00% of the gross proceeds of the sale of Trust common shares, out of which the Distributor will compensate the Sub-Placement Agent at a rate of up to 0.80% of the gross sales proceeds of the sale of the Trust’s common shares sold by the Sub-Placement Agent).

 

     As of December 31, 2021
(audited)
     As adjusted for
Offering
(unaudited)
 

Common shares

     21,651,663        29,651,663  

Paid in Capital

   $ 381,410,703      $ 568,853,326  

Undistributed NII

   $ 0      $ 0  

Accumulated Loss

   $ (19,882    $ (19,882

Net appreciation/depreciation

   $ 178,413,872      $ 178,413,872  

Net Assets

   $ 559,804,693      $ 747,247,316  

NAV

   $ 25.86      $ 25.20  

PLAN OF DISTRIBUTION

Under the Sub-Placement Agent Agreement, upon instructions from the Distributor, the Sub-Placement Agent will use its reasonable best efforts to sell, as sub-placement agent, common shares under the terms and subject to the conditions set forth in the Sub-Placement Agent Agreement. The Distributor will instruct the Sub-Placement Agent as to the amount of Trust common shares authorized for sale by the Sub-Placement Agent on any particular day that is a trading day for the exchange on which the Trust’s common shares are listed and primarily trade. The Distributor will also instruct the Sub-Placement Agent not to sell Trust common shares if the sales cannot be effected at or above a price designated by the Distributor, which price will at least be equal to the Minimum Price and which price, may, in the discretion of the Distributor and the Trust, be above the Minimum Price. The Distributor and the Trust may, in their discretion, determine not to authorize sales of the Trust’s common shares on a particular day even if the per share price of the shares is equal to or greater than the

 

S-9


Minimum Price. The Trust and the Distributor will have full discretion regarding whether sales of Trust common shares will be authorized on a particular day and, if so, in what amounts. The Trust, the Distributor or the Sub-Placement Agent may suspend a previously authorized offering of Trust common shares upon proper notice and subject to other conditions.

The Sub-Placement Agent will provide written confirmation to the Distributor following the close of trading on a day on which Trust common shares are sold under the Sub-Placement Agent Agreement. Each confirmation will include the number of shares sold, the net proceeds to the Trust and the compensation the Sub-Placement Agent is owed in connection with the sales.

The Trust will compensate the Distributor with respect to sales of common shares at a commission rate of 1.00% of the gross proceeds of the sale of the Trust’s common shares. Out of this commission, the Distributor will compensate the Sub-Placement Agent at a rate of up to 0.80% of the gross sales proceeds of the sale of the Trust’s common shares sold by the Sub-Placement Agent. There is no guarantee that there will be any sales of the Trust’s common shares pursuant to this Prospectus Supplement and the accompanying Prospectus. Actual sales, if any, of the Trust’s common shares under this Prospectus Supplement and the accompanying Prospectus may be greater or less than the most recent market price set forth in this Prospectus Supplement, depending on the market price of the Trust’s common shares at the time of any such sale; provided, however, that sales will not be made at less than the Minimum Price.

Settlements of sales of common shares will occur on the second business day following the date on which any such sales are made, in return for payment of the net proceeds to the Trust.

In connection with the sale of common shares on behalf of the Trust, the Distributor may be deemed to be an underwriter within the meaning of the Securities Act, and the compensation of the Distributor may be deemed to be underwriting commissions or discounts.

The offering of the Trust’s common shares pursuant to the Distribution Agreement will terminate upon the earlier of (i) the sale of all common shares subject thereto or (ii) termination of the Distribution Agreement. The Trust and the Distributor each have the right to terminate the Distribution Agreement in its discretion upon advance notice to the other party.

The Sub-Placement Agent, its affiliates and their respective employees hold or may hold in the future, directly or indirectly, investment interests in BlackRock, Inc., the parent company of the Distributor, and funds advised by the Advisor and its affiliates. The interests held by employees of the Sub-Placement Agent or its affiliates are not attributable to, and no investment discretion is held by, the Sub-Placement Agent or its affiliates.

The Trust has agreed to indemnify the Distributor and hold the Distributor harmless against certain liabilities, including certain liabilities under the Securities Act, except for any liability to the Trust or its investors to which the Distributor would otherwise be subject by reason of willful misfeasance, bad faith or gross negligence in the performance of its duties or by its reckless disregard of its obligations and duties under its agreement with the Trust.

LEGAL MATTERS

Certain legal matters in connection with the common shares will be passed upon for the Trust by Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP, New York, New York, counsel to the Trust. Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP may rely as to certain matters of Delaware law on the opinion of Morris, Nichols, Arsht & Tunnell LLP, Wilmington, Delaware.

 

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ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

This Prospectus Supplement and the accompanying Prospectus constitute part of a Registration Statement filed by the Trust with the SEC under the Securities Act and the Investment Company Act. This Prospectus Supplement and the accompanying Prospectus omit certain of the information contained in the Registration Statement, and reference is hereby made to the Registration Statement and related exhibits for further information with respect to the Trust and the common shares offered hereby. Any statements contained herein concerning the provisions of any document are not necessarily complete, and, in each instance, reference is made to the copy of such document filed as an exhibit to the Registration Statement or otherwise filed with the SEC. Each such statement is qualified in its entirety by such reference. The complete Registration Statement may be obtained from the SEC upon payment of the fee prescribed by its rules and regulations or free of charge through the SEC’s website (http://www.sec.gov).

 

S-11


 

LOGO

BASE PROSPECTUS

8,000,000 Shares

BlackRock Utilities, Infrastructure & Power Opportunities Trust

Common Shares

Rights to Purchase Common Shares

 

 

BlackRock Utilities, Infrastructure & Power Opportunities Trust (the “Trust,” “we,” “us” or “our”) is a diversified, closed-end management investment company. The Trust’s investment objective is to provide total return through a combination of current income, current gains and long-term capital appreciation.

We may offer, from time to time, in one or more offerings, up to 8,000,000 shares of our common shares of beneficial interest, par value $0.001 per share (“common shares”). We may also offer subscription rights to purchase our common shares. Common shares may be offered at prices and on terms to be set forth in one or more supplements to this Prospectus (each, a “Prospectus Supplement”). You should read this Prospectus and the applicable Prospectus Supplement carefully before you invest in our common shares.

Our common shares may be offered directly to one or more purchasers, including existing shareholders in a rights offering, through agents designated from time to time by us, or to or through underwriters or dealers. The Prospectus Supplement relating to the offering will identify any agents or underwriters involved in the sale of our common shares, and will set forth any applicable purchase price, fee, commission or discount arrangement between us and our agents or underwriters, or among our underwriters, or the basis upon which such amount may be calculated. The Prospectus Supplement relating to any offering of rights will set forth the number of common shares issuable upon the exercise of each right (or number of rights) and the other terms of such rights offering. We may not sell any of our common shares through agents, underwriters or dealers without delivery of a Prospectus Supplement describing the method and terms of the particular offering of our common shares.

Our common shares are listed on the New York Stock Exchange (“NYSE”) under the symbol “BUI.” The last reported sale price of our common shares, as reported by the NYSE on March 1, 2022 was $23.74 per common share. The net asset value of our common shares at the close of business on March 1, 2022 was $23.66 per common share. Rights issued by the Trust may also be listed on a securities exchange.

Investing in the Trust’s common shares involves certain risks that are described in the “Risks ” section beginning on page 26 of this Prospectus.

Shares of closed-end management investment companies frequently trade at a discount to their net asset value. The Trust’s common shares have traded at a discount to net asset value, including during recent periods. If the Trust’s common shares trade at a discount to its net asset value, the risk of loss may increase for purchasers in a public offering.

Neither the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) nor any state securities commission has approved or disapproved these securities or passed upon the adequacy of this Prospectus. Any representation to the contrary is a criminal offense.


This Prospectus, together with any Prospectus Supplement, sets forth concisely the information about the Trust that a prospective investor should know before investing. You should read this Prospectus and applicable Prospectus Supplement, which contain important information, before deciding whether to invest in the common shares. You should retain the Prospectus and Prospectus Supplement for future reference. A Statement of Additional Information (“SAI”), dated March 4, 2022, containing additional information about the Trust, has been filed with the SEC and, as amended from time to time, is incorporated by reference in its entirety into this Prospectus. You may call (800) 882-0052, visit the Trust’s website (http://www.blackrock.com) or write to the Trust to obtain, free of charge, copies of the SAI and the Trust’s semi-annual and annual reports, as well as to obtain other information about the Trust or to make shareholder inquiries. The SAI, as well as the Trust’s semi-annual and annual reports, are also available for free on the SEC’s website (http://www.sec.gov). You may also e-mail requests for these documents to publicinfo@sec.gov. Information contained in, or that can be accessed through, the Trust’s website is not part of this Prospectus.

You should not construe the contents of this Prospectus as legal, tax or financial advice. You should consult with your own professional advisors as to the legal, tax, financial or other matters relevant to the suitability of an investment in the Trust.

The Trust’s common shares do not represent a deposit or an obligation of, and are not guaranteed or endorsed by, any bank or other insured depository institution, and are not federally insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Federal Reserve Board or any other government agency.

 

 

Prospectus dated March 4, 2022

 


TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

PROSPECTUS SUMMARY

     1  

SUMMARY OF TRUST EXPENSES

     6  

FINANCIAL HIGHLIGHTS

     7  

USE OF PROCEEDS

     9  

THE TRUST

     9  

DESCRIPTION OF SHARES

     9  

THE TRUST’S INVESTMENTS

     11  

LEVERAGE

     23  

RISKS

     26  

HOW THE TRUST MANAGES RISK

     39  

MANAGEMENT OF THE TRUST

     39  

NET ASSET VALUE

     42  

DISTRIBUTIONS

     45  

DIVIDEND REINVESTMENT PLAN

     47  

RIGHTS OFFERINGS

     47  

TAX MATTERS

     48  

TAXATION OF HOLDERS OF RIGHTS

     54  

CERTAIN PROVISIONS IN THE AGREEMENT AND DECLARATION OF TRUST AND BYLAWS

     55  

CLOSED-END FUND STRUCTURE

     57  

REPURCHASE OF COMMON SHARES

     57  

PLAN OF DISTRIBUTION

     58  

INCORPORATION BY REFERENCE

     59  

PRIVACY PRINCIPLES OF THE TRUST

     60  

You should rely only on the information contained in, or incorporated by reference into, this Prospectus and any related Prospectus Supplement in making your investment decisions. The Trust has not authorized any person to provide you with different information. If anyone provides you with different or inconsistent information, you should not rely on it. The Trust is not making an offer to sell the common shares in any jurisdiction where the offer or sale is not permitted. You should assume that the information in this Prospectus and any Prospectus Supplement is accurate only as of the dates on their covers. The Trust’s business, financial condition and prospects may have changed since the date of its description in this Prospectus or the date of its description in any Prospectus Supplement.

 


PROSPECTUS SUMMARY

This is only a summary of certain information relating to BlackRock Utilities, Infrastructure & Power Opportunities Trust. This summary may not contain all of the information that you should consider before investing in our common shares. You should consider the more detailed information contained in the Prospectus and in any related Prospectus Supplement and in the Statement of Additional Information (“SAI”) before purchasing common shares.

 

The Trust

BlackRock Utilities, Infrastructure & Power Opportunities Trust is a diversified, closed-end management investment company. Throughout this Prospectus, we refer to BlackRock Utilities, Infrastructure & Power Opportunities Trust simply as the “Trust” or as “we,” “us” or “our.” See “The Trust.”

 

 

The Trust’s common shares are listed for trading on the New York Stock Exchange (“NYSE”) under the symbol “BUI.” As of February 10, 2022, the net assets of the Trust were $527,205,586, the total assets of the Trust were $527,205,586 and the Trust had outstanding 22,025,908 common shares. The last reported sale price of the Trust’s common shares, as reported by the NYSE on March 1, 2022 was $23.74 per common share. The net asset value (“NAV”) of the Trust’s common shares at the close of business on March 1, 2022 was $23.66 per common share. See “Description of Shares.” Rights issued by the Trust may also be listed on a securities exchange.

 

The Offering

We may offer, from time to time, in one or more offerings, up to 8,000,000 of our common shares on terms to be determined at the time of the offering. We may also offer subscription rights to purchase our common shares. The common shares may be offered at prices and on terms to be set forth in one or more Prospectus Supplements. You should read this Prospectus and the applicable Prospectus Supplement carefully before you invest in our common shares. Our common shares may be offered directly to one or more purchasers, through agents designated from time to time by us, or to or through underwriters or dealers. The offering price per common share will not be less than the NAV per common share at the time we make the offering, exclusive of any underwriting commissions or discounts, provided that rights offerings that meet certain conditions may be offered at a price below the then current NAV. See “Rights Offerings.” The Prospectus Supplement relating to the offering will identify any agents, underwriters or dealers involved in the sale of our common shares, and will set forth any applicable purchase price, fee, commission or discount arrangement between us and our agents or underwriters, or among our underwriters, or the basis upon which such amount may be calculated. See “Plan of Distribution.” The Prospectus Supplement relating to any offering of rights will set forth the number of common shares issuable upon the exercise of each right (or number of rights) and the other terms of such rights offering. We may not sell any of our common shares through agents, underwriters or dealers without delivery of a Prospectus Supplement describing the method and terms of the particular offering of our common shares.

 

1


Use of Proceeds

The net proceeds from the issuance of common shares hereunder will be invested in accordance with our investment objectives and policies as appropriate investment opportunities are identified, which is expected to be substantially completed in approximately three months from the date on which the proceeds from an offering are received by the Trust; however, the identification of appropriate investment opportunities pursuant to the Trust’s investment style or changes in market conditions could result in the Trust’s anticipated investment period extending to as long as six months. See “Use of Proceeds.”

 

Investment Objective and Policies

Please refer to the section of the Trust’s most recent annual report on Form N-CSR entitled “Investment Objectives, Policies and Risks—Investment Objectives and Policies—BlackRock Utilities, Infrastructure & Power Opportunities Trust (BUI)”, which is incorporated by reference herein, for a discussion of the Trust’s investment objective and policies.

 

Leverage

The Trust currently does not intend to borrow money or issue debt securities or preferred shares. The Trust is, however, permitted to borrow money or issue debt securities in an amount up to 331/3% of its Managed Assets (50% of its net assets), and issue preferred shares in an amount up to 50% of its Managed Assets (100% of its net assets). “Managed Assets” means the total assets of the Trust (including any assets attributable to money borrowed for investment purposes) minus the sum of the Trust’s accrued liabilities (other than money borrowed for investment purposes). Although it has no present intention to do so, the Trust reserves the right to borrow money from banks or other financial institutions, or issue debt securities or preferred shares, in the future if it believes that market conditions would be conducive to the successful implementation of a leveraging strategy through borrowing money or issuing debt securities or preferred shares. See “Leverage.”

 

 

The use of leverage, if employed, is subject to numerous risks. When leverage is employed, the Trust’s NAV, the market price of the common shares and the yield to holders of common shares will be more volatile than if leverage were not used. For example, a rise in short-term interest rates, which currently are near historically low levels, generally will cause the Trust’s NAV to decline more than if the Trust had not used leverage. A reduction in the Trust’s NAV may cause a reduction in the market price of the Trust’s common shares. The Trust cannot assure you that the use of leverage will result in a higher yield on the Trust’s common shares. When the Trust uses leverage, the management fee payable to the Advisor will be higher than if the Trust did not use leverage because this fee is calculated on the basis of the Trust’s Managed Assets, which include the proceeds of leverage. Any leveraging strategy the Trust employs may not be successful.

 

2


Investment Advisor and Sub-Advisor

BlackRock Advisors, LLC (“BlackRock Advisors” or the “Advisor”) acts as the Trust’s investment adviser and BlackRock Advisors’ affiliate, BlackRock International Limited (the “Sub-Advisor”), acts as the Trust’s sub-adviser. Throughout the Prospectus, we sometimes refer to BlackRock Advisors and the Sub-Advisor collectively as the “Advisors.” BlackRock Advisors receives an annual fee, payable monthly, in a maximum amount equal to 1.00% of the average daily value of the net assets of the Trust. BlackRock Advisors, and not the Trust, pays an annual sub-advisory fee to the Sub-Advisor equal to a percentage of the management fee received by BlackRock Advisors from the Trust with respect to the average daily value of the Trust’s Managed Assets allocated to the Sub-Advisor. See “Management of the Trust—Investment Advisor and Sub-Advisor.”

 

Distributions

The Trust distributes monthly all or a portion of its net investment income, including current gains, to holders of common shares.

 

 

The Trust has, pursuant to an SEC exemptive order granted by the SEC to certain of BlackRock’s closed-end funds, adopted a plan to support a level distribution of income, capital gains and/or return of capital (the “Managed Distribution Plan”). The Managed Distribution Plan has been approved by the Board and is consistent with the Trust’s investment objective and policies. Under the Managed Distribution Plan, the Trust will distribute all available investment income, including current gains, to its shareholders, consistent with its investment objective and as required by the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the “Code”). If sufficient investment income, including current gains, is not available on a monthly basis, the Trust will distribute long-term capital gains and/or return of capital to shareholders in order to maintain a level distribution. A return of capital distribution may involve a return of the shareholder’s original investment. Though not currently taxable, such a distribution may lower a shareholder’s basis in the Trust, thus potentially subjecting the shareholder to future tax consequences in connection with the sale of Trust shares, even if sold at a loss to the shareholder’s original investment. Each monthly distribution to shareholders is expected to be at a fixed amount established by the Board, except for extraordinary distributions and potential distribution rate increases or decreases to enable the Trust to comply with the distribution requirements imposed by the Code. Shareholders should not draw any conclusions about the Trust’s investment performance from the amount of these distributions or from the terms of the Managed Distribution Plan.

 

 

Various factors will affect the level of the Trust’s income, including the asset mix and the Trust’s use of options and hedging. To permit the Trust to maintain a more stable monthly distribution, the Trust may from time to time distribute less than the entire amount of income earned in a particular period. The undistributed income would

 

3


 

be available to supplement future distributions. As a result, the distributions paid by the Trust for any particular monthly period may be more or less than the amount of income actually earned by the Trust during that period. Undistributed income will add to the Trust’s NAV (and indirectly benefits the Advisor by increasing its fee) and, correspondingly, distributions from undistributed income will reduce the Trust’s NAV. The Trust intends to distribute any long-term capital gains not distributed under the Managed Distribution Plan annually.

 

 

Shareholders will automatically have all dividends and distributions reinvested in common shares of the Trust in accordance with the Trust’s dividend reinvestment plan, unless an election is made to receive cash by contacting the Reinvestment Plan Agent (as defined herein), at (800) 699-1236. See “Dividend Reinvestment Plan.”

 

 

Under normal market conditions, the Advisors seek to manage the Trust in a manner such that the Trust’s distributions are reflective of the Trust’s current and projected earnings levels. The distribution level of the Trust is subject to change based upon a number of factors, including the current and projected level of the Trust’s earnings, and may fluctuate over time.

 

 

The Trust reserves the right to change its distribution policy and the basis for establishing the rate of its monthly distributions at any time and may do so without prior notice to common shareholders. See “Distributions.”

 

Listing

The Trust’s common shares are listed on the NYSE under the symbol “BUI.” See “Description of Shares—Common Shares.”

 

Custodian and Transfer Agent

State Street Bank and Trust Company serves as the Trust’s custodian, and Computershare Trust Company, N.A. serves as the Trust’s transfer agent.

 

Administrator

State Street Bank and Trust Company serves as the Trust’s administrator and fund accountant.

 

Market Price of Shares

Common shares of closed-end investment companies frequently trade at prices lower than their NAV. The Trust cannot assure you that its common shares will trade at a price higher than or equal to NAV. See “Use of Proceeds.” The Trust’s common shares trade in the open market at market prices that are a function of several factors, including dividend levels (which are in turn affected by expenses), NAV, call protection for portfolio securities, portfolio credit quality, liquidity, dividend stability, relative demand for and supply of the common shares in the market, general market and economic conditions and other factors. See “Leverage,” “Risks,” “Description of Shares” and “Repurchase of Common Shares.” The common shares are designed primarily for long-term investors and you should not purchase common shares of the Trust if you intend to sell them shortly after purchase.

 

4


Special Risk Considerations

An investment in common shares of the Trust involves risk. Please refer to the section of the Trust’s most recent annual report on Form N-CSR entitled “Investment Objectives, Policies and Risks—Risk Factors”, which is incorporated by reference herein, for a discussion of the risks of investing in the Trust. You should carefully consider those risks, which are described in more detail under “Risks” beginning on page 26 of this Prospectus, along with additional risks relating to investments in the Trust.

 

5


SUMMARY OF TRUST EXPENSES

 

Shareholder Transaction Expenses

  

Sales load paid by you (as a percentage of offering price)(1)

     1.00

Offering expenses borne by the Trust (as a percentage of offering price)(1)

     0.02

Dividend reinvestment plan fees

    


$0.02 per share for
open-market
purchases of
common shares
 
 
 
(2) 

Estimated Annual Expenses (as a percentage of net assets attributable to common shares)

  

Management fees

     1.00

Other Expenses(3)

     0.08

Total Annual Trust Operating Expenses

     1.08

Fee Waivers and/or Expense Reimbursements(4)

      
  

 

 

 

Total Annual Trust Operating Expenses After Fee Waivers and/or Expense Reimbursements(4)

     1.08
  

 

 

 

 

(1)

If the common shares are sold to or through underwriters, the Prospectus Supplement will set forth any applicable sales load and the estimated offering expenses. Trust shareholders will pay all offering expenses involved with an offering.

(2)

The Reinvestment Plan Agent’s (as defined below under “Dividend Reinvestment Plan”) fees for the handling of the reinvestment of dividends will be paid by the Trust. However, you will pay a $0.02 per share fee incurred in connection with open-market purchases, which will be deducted from the value of the dividend. You will also be charged a $0.02 per share fee if you direct the Reinvestment Plan Agent to sell your common shares held in a dividend reinvestment account. Per share fees include any applicable brokerage commissions the Reinvestment Plan Agent is required to pay.

(3)

Actual amount based on the fiscal year ended December 31, 2021.

(4)

The Trust and the Advisor have entered into a fee waiver agreement (the “Fee Waiver Agreement”), pursuant to which the Advisor has contractually agreed to waive the management fee with respect to any portion of the Trust’s assets attributable to investments in any equity and fixed-income mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (“ETFs”) managed by the Advisor or its affiliates that have a contractual management fee, through June 30, 2023. In addition, pursuant to the Fee Waiver Agreement, the Advisor has contractually agreed to waive its management fees by the amount of investment advisory fees the Trust pays to the Advisor indirectly through its investment in money market funds managed by the Advisor or its affiliates, through June 30, 2023. The Fee Waiver Agreement may be terminated at any time, without the payment of any penalty, only by the Trust (upon the vote of a majority of the Trustees who are not “interested persons” (as defined in the Investment Company Act) of the Trust (the “Independent Trustees”) or a majority of the outstanding voting securities of the Trust), upon 90 days’ written notice by the Trust to the Advisor.

The following example illustrates the expenses (including the sales load of $10 and offering costs of $0.19 that you would pay on a $1,000 investment in common shares, assuming (i) total net annual expenses of 1.08% of net assets attributable to common shares, and (ii) a 5% annual return:

 

     One Year      Three Years      Five Years      Ten Years  

Total expenses incurred

   $ 21      $ 44      $ 69      $ 141  

The example should not be considered a representation of future expenses. The example assumes that the “Other Expenses” set forth in the Estimated Annual Expenses table are accurate and that all dividends and distributions are reinvested at NAV. Actual expenses may be greater or less than those assumed. Moreover, the Trust’s actual rate of return may be greater or less than the hypothetical 5% return shown in the example.

 

6


FINANCIAL HIGHLIGHTS

The financial highlights table is intended to help you understand the Trust’s financial performance. Information is shown since the commencement of the Trust’s operations on November 25, 2011. Certain information reflects financial results for a single Trust Share. The information for the fiscal years ended December 31, 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018 and 2017 has been audited by Deloitte & Touche LLP, independent registered public accounting firm for the Trust. The report of Deloitte & Touche LLP is included in the Trust’s December 31, 2021 Annual Report, and is incorporated by reference into the Prospectus and SAI.

 

     Year Ended December 31,  
     2021     2020     2019     2018     2017  

Net asset value, beginning of year

   $ 23.80     $ 22.02     $ 18.77     $ 21.12     $ 19.42  
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Net investment income(a)

     0.24       0.33       0.37       0.49       0.56  

Net realized and unrealized gain (loss)

     3.27       2.90       4.33       (1.39     2.59  
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Net increase (decrease) from investment operations

     3.51       3.23       4.70       (0.90     3.15  
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Distributions(b)

          

From net investment income

     (0.24     (0.20     (0.24     (0.63 )(c)       (0.47

From net realized gain

     (0.76     (1.08     (1.06     (0.81 )(c)       (0.98

Return of capital

     (0.45     (0.17     (0.15     (0.01      
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Total distributions

     (1.45)       (1.45)       (1.45)       (1.45)       (1.45)  
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Net asset value, end of year

   $ 25.86     $ 23.80     $ 22.02     $ 18.77     $ 21.12  
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Market price, end of year

   $ 26.62     $ 25.04     $ 22.31     $ 19.76     $ 21.62  
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Total Return(d)

          

Based on net asset value

     15.13     15.87     25.63     (4.40 )%      16.62
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Based on market price

     12.65     20.32     20.91     (1.68 )%      25.93
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Ratios to Average Net Assets(e)

          

Total expenses

     1.08     1.13     1.12     1.12     1.11
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Total expenses after fees waived and/or reimbursed

     1.07     1.10     1.10     1.09     1.09
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Net investment income

     0.97     1.58     1.78     2.46     2.70
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Supplemental Data

          

Net assets, end of year (000)

   $ 559,805     $ 444,526     $ 383,337     $ 318,933     $ 357,776  
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Portfolio turnover rate

     20     39     39     28     31
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

 

(a)

Based on average shares outstanding.

(b)

Distributions for annual periods determined in accordance with U.S. federal income tax regulations.

(c)

Amount previously presented incorrectly as solely distributions from net investment income has been revised to reflect the proper classification of distributions between net realized gain and net investment income.

(d)

Total returns based on market price, which can be significantly greater or less than the net asset value, may result in substantially different returns. Where applicable, excludes the effects of any sales charges and assumes the reinvestment of distributions at actual reinvestment prices.

(e)

Excludes fees and expenses incurred indirectly as a result of investments in underlying funds.

 

7


    Year Ended
December 31,
    Period
November 1,
2014 to
December 31,
2014
    Year Ended
October 31,
    Period
November  25,
20111
through
October 31,
2012
 
    2016     2015     2014     2013  

Per Share Operating Performance

           

Net asset value, beginning of period

  $ 19.50     $ 22.47     $ 22.40     $ 20.78     $ 20.22     $ 19.10 2 
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Net investment income3

    0.56       0.47       0.11       0.51       0.57       0.54  

Net realized and unrealized gain (loss)

    0.81       (1.99     0.20       2.68       1.44       1.71  
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Net increase (decrease) from investment operations

    1.37       (1.52     0.31       3.19       2.01       2.25  
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Distributions:4

           

From net investment income

    (0.49     (0.42     (0.10     (0.51     (0.52     (0.49

From net realized gain

    (0.53     (0.54           (0.37     (0.42     (0.41

From return of capital

    (0.43     (0.49     (0.14     (0.69     (0.51     (0.19
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Total distributions

    (1.45     (1.45     (0.24     (1.57     (1.45     (1.09
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Capital charges with respect to the issuance of shares

                                  (0.04

Net asset value, end of period

  $ 19.42     $ 19.50     $ $22.47     $ 22.40     $ 20.78     $ 20.22  
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Market price, end of period

  $ 18.41     $ 16.78     $ $20.74     $ 20.02     $ 18.36     $ 19.03  
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Total Return5

           

Based on net asset value

    7.57 %      (6.09 )%      1.50 %6      16.94     11.18     12.05 %6 
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Based on market price

    18.50 %      (12.45 )%      4.82 %6      18.29     4.37     0.71 %6 
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Ratios to Average Net Assets

           

Total expenses

    1.13 %      1.11     1.17 %7      1.10     1.11     1.12 %7 
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Total expenses after fees waived and/or reimbursed

    1.13 %      1.11     1.11 %7      1.10     1.10     1.11 %7 
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Total expenses after fees waived and/or reimbursed and excluding excise tax

    1.13 %      1.11     1.11 %7      1.10     1.10     1.10 %7 
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Net investment income

    2.83     2.24     2.83 %7      2.36     2.83     2.94 %7 
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Supplemental Data

           

Net assets, end of period (000)

  $ 328,297      

$329,747

    $ 379,830     $ 378,762     $ 351,325     $ 341,939  
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Portfolio turnover rate

    8     20     2     41     133     90
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

 

1

Commencement of investment operations. This information includes the initial investment by BlackRock HoldCo2, Inc.

2

Net asset value, beginning of period, reflects a deduction of $0.8975 per share sales charge from initial offering price of $20.00 per share.

3

Based on average shares outstanding.

4

Distributions for annual periods determined in accordance with federal income tax regulations.

5

Total returns based on market price, which can be significantly greater or less than the net asset value, may result in substantially different returns. Where applicable, excludes the effects of any sales charges and assumes the reinvestment of distributions.

6

Aggregate total return.

7

Annualized.

 

8


USE OF PROCEEDS

The Trust will invest the net proceeds of the offering in accordance with the Trust’s investment objective and policies as stated below. We currently anticipate that we will be able to invest all of the net proceeds in accordance with our investment objective and policies within approximately three months after the completion of this offering. Pending such investment, it is anticipated that the proceeds will be invested in short-term investment grade securities.

THE TRUST

The Trust is a diversified, closed-end management investment company registered under the Investment Company Act. The Trust was formed as a Delaware statutory trust on August 25, 2011, pursuant to an Agreement and Declaration of Trust, governed by the laws of the State of Delaware, and the Certificate of Trust filed with the Secretary of State of the State of Delaware. The Trust’s principal office is located at 100 Bellevue Parkway, Wilmington, Delaware 19809, and its telephone number is (800) 882-0052.

The Trust commenced operations on November 25, 2011, upon the initiation of an initial public offering of 15,500,000 of its common shares. The proceeds of such offering were approximately $295,430,000 million after the payment of organizational and offering expenses. On November 25, 2011, the Trust issued an additional 1,400,000 of its common shares in connection with the exercise by the underwriters of the over-allotment option. The Trust’s common shares are traded on the NYSE under the symbol “BUI.”

DESCRIPTION OF SHARES

Common Shares

The Trust is a statutory trust formed under the laws of Delaware pursuant to an Agreement and Declaration of Trust, dated as of August 25, 2011 (the “Agreement and Declaration of Trust”). The Trust is authorized to issue an unlimited number of common shares of beneficial interest, par value $0.001 per share. Each common share has one vote and, when issued and paid for in accordance with the terms of this offering, will be fully paid and, under the Delaware Statutory Trust Act, the purchasers of the common shares will have no obligation to make further payments for the purchase of the common shares or contributions to the Trust solely by reason of their ownership of the common shares, except that the Trustees shall have the power to cause shareholders to pay certain expenses of the Trust by setting off charges due from shareholders from declared but unpaid dividends or distributions owed the shareholders and/or by reducing the number of common shares owned by each respective shareholder. If and whenever preferred shares are outstanding, the holders of common shares will not be entitled to receive any distributions from the Trust unless all accrued dividends on preferred shares have been paid, unless asset coverage (as defined in the Investment Company Act) with respect to preferred shares would be at least 200% after giving effect to the distributions and unless certain other requirements imposed by any rating agencies rating the preferred shares have been met. See “Description of Shares—Preferred Shares” in the SAI. All common shares are equal as to dividends, assets and voting privileges and have no conversion, preemptive or other subscription rights. The Trust will send annual and semi-annual reports, including financial statements, to all holders of its shares.

Unlike open-end funds, closed-end funds like the Trust do not continuously offer shares and do not provide daily redemptions. Rather, if a shareholder determines to buy additional common shares or sell shares already held, the shareholder may do so by trading through a broker on the NYSE or otherwise. Shares of closed-end investment companies frequently trade on an exchange at prices lower than NAV. Shares of closed-end investment companies like the Trust have during some periods traded at prices higher than NAV and during other periods have traded at prices lower than NAV. Because the market value of the common shares may be

 

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influenced by such factors as dividend levels (which are in turn affected by expenses), call protection on its portfolio securities, dividend stability, portfolio credit quality, the Trust’s NAV, relative demand for and supply of such shares in the market, general market and economic conditions and other factors beyond the control of the Trust, the Trust cannot assure you that common shares will trade at a price equal to or higher than NAV in the future. The common shares are designed primarily for long-term investors and you should not purchase the common shares if you intend to sell them soon after purchase. See “Repurchase of Common Shares” below and “Repurchase of Common Shares” in the SAI.

The Trust’s outstanding common shares are, and when issued, the common shares offered by this Prospectus will be, publicly held and listed and traded on the NYSE under the symbol “BUI.” The Trust determines its NAV on a daily basis. The following table sets forth, for the quarters indicated, the highest and lowest daily closing prices on the NYSE per common share, and the NAV per common share and the premium to or discount from NAV, on the date of each of the high and low market prices. The table also sets forth the number of common shares traded on the NYSE during the respective quarters.

 

During Quarter Ended

   NYSE Market Price
Per Common Share
     NAV per Common
Share on Date of
Market Price
     Premium/
(Discount) on
Date of Market
Price
    Trading  
   High      Low      High      Low      High     Low     Volume  

December 31, 2021

   $ 27.77      $ 24.61      $ 25.72      $ 24.18        7.97     1.78     3,783,084  

September 30, 2021

   $ 27.07      $ 24.69      $ 26.11      $ 24.92        3.68     (0.92 )%      3,538,595  

June 30, 2021

   $ 27.19      $ 25.13      $ 25.12      $ 24.76        8.24     1.49     3,629,357  

March 31, 2021

   $ 26.94      $ 24.03      $ 24.34      $ 23.63        10.68     1.69     4,226,813  

December 31, 2020

   $ 25.04      $ 21.53      $ 23.80      $ 21.51        5.20     0.09     4,192,445  

September 30, 2020

   $ 22.86      $ 20.50      $ 21.65      $ 20.27        5.60     1.13     2,680,647  

June 30, 2020

   $ 21.85      $ 15.35      $ 20.58      $ 16.94        6.17     (9.39 )%      3,491,031  

March 31, 2020

   $ 23.22      $ 12.64      $ 22.95      $ 16.18        1.18     (21.88 )%      4,810,685  

As of March 1, 2022, the NAV per common share of the Trust was $23.66 and the market price per common share was $23.74 representing a premium to NAV of 0.34%. Common shares of the Trust have historically traded at both a premium and discount to NAV.

As of February 10, 2022, the Trust has outstanding 22,025,908 common shares.

Preferred Shares

The Trust has no current intention of issuing preferred shares. Under the Investment Company Act, the Trust is not permitted to issue preferred shares unless immediately after such issuance the value of the Trust’s total assets is at least 200% of the liquidation value of the outstanding preferred shares (i.e., the liquidation value may not exceed 50% of the Trust’s total assets). In addition, the Trust is not permitted to declare any cash dividend or other distribution on its common shares unless, at the time of such declaration, the value of the Trust’s total assets is at least 200% of such liquidation value. If the Trust issues preferred shares, it may be subject to restrictions imposed by the guidelines of one or more rating agencies that may issue ratings for preferred shares issued by the Trust. These guidelines may impose asset coverage or portfolio composition requirements that are more stringent than those imposed on the Trust by the Investment Company Act. It is not anticipated that these covenants or guidelines would impede the Advisors from managing the Trust’s portfolio in accordance with the Trust’s investment objective and policies. Please see “Description of Shares” in the SAI for more information.

 

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Authorized Shares

The following table provides the Trust’s authorized shares and common shares outstanding as of December 31, 2021.

 

Title of Class

   Amount
Authorized
     Amount
Held

by
Trust or
for its

Account
     Amount
Outstanding
Exclusive of
Amount
held by
Trust
 

Common Shares

     Unlimited      $ 0      $ 21,651,663  

THE TRUST’S INVESTMENTS

Investment Objective and Policies

Please refer to the section of the Trust’s most recent annual report on Form N-CSR entitled “Investment Objectives, Policies and Risks—Investment Objectives and Policies—BlackRock Utilities, Infrastructure & Power Opportunities Trust (BUI)”, which is incorporated by reference herein, for a discussion of the Trust’s investment objective and policies.

Portfolio Contents and Techniques

The Trust’s portfolio will be composed principally of the following investments. Additional information with respect to the Trust’s investment policies and restrictions and certain of the Trust’s portfolio investments is contained in the SAI. There is no guarantee the Trust will buy all of the types of securities or use all of the investment techniques that are described herein and in the SAI.

Equity Securities. The Trust invests in equity securities, including common stocks, preferred stocks, convertible securities, warrants, depositary receipts, ETFs and equity interests in real estate investment trusts (“REITs”) and master limited partnerships (“MLPs”). Common stock represents an equity ownership interest in a company. The Trust may hold or have exposure to common stocks of issuers of any size, including small and medium capitalization stocks. Because the Trust will ordinarily have exposure to common stocks, historical trends would indicate that the Trust’s portfolio and investment returns will be subject at times, and over time, to higher levels of volatility and market and issuer-specific risk than if it invested exclusively in debt securities. The Trust intends to also employ a strategy, as described below, of writing call and put options on common stocks.

Utilities, Infrastructure and Power Opportunities Issuers. Under normal market conditions, the Trust will invest at least 80% of its total assets in equity securities issued by Utilities, Infrastructure or Power Opportunities issuers. For purposes of the 80% policy above, a company is considered to be engaged in these business segments if: (i) at least 50% of its assets, income, sales or profits are committed to or derived from one or all of the Utilities, Infrastructure or Power Opportunities business segments; or (ii) a third party classification (such as (a) Standard Industry Classifications and the North American Industry Classification System, each of which is published by the Executive Office of the President, Office of Management and Budget, and (b) classifications by one or more third party data providers including, without limitation, Bloomberg L.P., FactSet Research Systems, Inc. and MSCI Barra) has given the company an industry or sector classification consistent with the Utilities, Infrastructure or Power Opportunities business segments.

Companies engaged in the Utilities, Infrastructure or Power Opportunities business segments can be generally categorized as engaging in, related to or involved with:

 

   

the generation, transmission, sale or distribution of electric energy;

 

   

the distribution, purification and treatment of water;

 

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the production, transmission or distribution of natural resources used to produce energy, such as oil, natural gas and coal;

 

   

the provision of communications services, including cable television, satellite, microwave, radio, telephone and other communications media (e.g., fixed-base wireless transmission towers and broadband television cable);

 

   

the management, ownership or operation of infrastructure assets;

 

   

the construction, development, distribution or financing of infrastructure assets; or

 

   

the adoption, development and generation of power and energy sources.

The Trust generally considers “infrastructure assets” to consist of those assets which provide the underlying foundation of basic services, facilities and institutions upon which the growth and development of a community depends, including physical structures, networks and systems of transportation, energy, water and sewage, and communication.

Categories of infrastructure assets currently include:

 

   

Assets that are natural or near-natural monopolies and are regulated in the level of revenue earned or charges imposed. Examples include certain power and gas transmission, generation and distribution assets and water and waste-water distribution and treatment facilities.

 

   

Assets that depend on a form of user pay system for their main revenue source. Examples include toll roads, bridges, tunnels, airports, railways, seaports and parking lots.

 

   

Assets that provide basic social services to the community. Examples include schools, hospitals and correction facilities.

 

   

Assets that compete in a market for the sale of a product or service and are therefore exposed to market risks. Examples include certain solid waste disposal facilities and certain communication asset classes, including communications towers, satellites and transmission lines.

Other types of infrastructure assets include assets related to the development and distribution of coal, steel and iron ore, gold and other precious metals, building materials, agricultural commodities and food and the gathering, treating, processing, fractionation, transportation and storage of hydrocarbon products.

Historically, Utilities, Infrastructure and Power Opportunities companies have generally paid dividends on their equity securities.

Non-U.S. Securities. The Trust may invest in Non-U.S. Securities. These securities may be U.S. dollar-denominated or non-U.S. dollar-denominated. Some Non-U.S. Securities may be less liquid and more volatile than securities of comparable U.S. issuers. Similarly, there is less volume and liquidity in most foreign securities markets than in the United States and, at times, greater price volatility than in the United States. Because evidence of ownership of such securities usually is held outside the United States, the Trust will be subject to additional risks if it invests in Non-U.S. Securities, which include adverse political and economic developments, seizure or nationalization of foreign deposits and adoption of governmental restrictions which might adversely affect or restrict the payment of principal and interest or dividends on the foreign securities to investors located outside the country of the issuer, whether from currency blockage or otherwise. Non-U.S. Securities may trade on days when the common shares are not priced or traded.

Emerging Markets Investments. The Trust may invest in securities of issuers located in emerging market countries, including securities denominated in currencies of emerging market countries. Emerging market countries generally include every nation in the world except the United States, Canada, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and most countries located in Western Europe. These issuers may be subject to risks that do not apply to issuers in larger, more developed countries. These risks are more pronounced to the extent the Trust invests significantly in one country. Less information about emerging market issuers or markets may be available due to less rigorous

 

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disclosure and accounting standards or regulatory practices. Emerging markets are smaller, less liquid and more volatile than U.S. markets. In a changing market, the Advisors may not be able to sell the Trust’s portfolio securities in amounts and at prices they consider reasonable. The U.S. dollar may appreciate against non-U.S. currencies or an emerging market government may impose restrictions on currency conversion or trading. The economies of emerging market countries may grow at a slower rate than expected or may experience a downturn or recession. Economic, political and social developments may adversely affect non-U.S. securities markets.

Options. An option on a security is a contract that gives the holder of the option, in return for a premium, the right to buy from (in the case of a call) or sell to (in the case of a put) the writer of the option the security underlying the option at a specified exercise or “strike” price. The writer of an option on a security has the obligation upon exercise of the option to deliver the underlying security upon payment of the exercise price or to pay the exercise price upon delivery of the underlying security. Certain options, known as “American style” options may be exercised at any time during the term of the option. Other options, known as “European style” options, may be exercised only on the expiration date of the option. As the writer of an option, the Trust would effectively add leverage to its portfolio because, in addition to its Managed Assets, the Trust would be subject to investment exposure on the value of the assets underlying the option.

If an option written by the Trust expires unexercised, the Trust realizes on the expiration date a capital gain equal to the premium received by the Trust at the time the option was written. If an option purchased by the Trust expires unexercised, the Trust realizes a capital loss equal to the premium paid. Prior to the earlier of exercise or expiration, an exchange-traded option may be closed out by an offsetting purchase or sale of an option of the same series (type, underlying security, exercise price and expiration). There can be no assurance, however, that a closing purchase or sale transaction can be effected when the Trust desires. The Trust may sell call or put options it has previously purchased, which could result in a net gain or loss depending on whether the amount realized on the sale is more or less than the premium and other transaction costs paid on the call or put option when purchased. The Trust will realize a capital gain from a closing purchase transaction if the cost of the closing transaction is less than the premium received from writing the option, or, if it is more, the Trust will realize a capital loss. If the premium received from a closing sale transaction is more than the premium paid to purchase the option, the Trust will realize a capital gain or, if it is less, the Trust will realize a capital loss. Net gains from the Trust’s options strategy will be short-term capital gains which, for U.S. federal income tax purposes, will constitute net investment company taxable income.

Call Options. The Trust intends to follow a call options writing strategy intended to generate current gains from options premiums and to enhance the Trust’s risk-adjusted returns. The strategy involves writing both covered and other call options. A call option written by the Trust on a security is considered a covered call option where the Trust owns the security underlying the call option. Unlike a written covered call option, other written options will not provide the Trust with any potential appreciation on an underlying security to offset any loss the Trust may experience if the option is exercised.

As the Trust writes covered call options on its portfolio, it may not be able to benefit from capital appreciation on the underlying securities, as the Trust will lose its ability to benefit from such capital appreciation to the extent that it writes covered call options and the securities on which it writes these options appreciate above the exercise prices of the options. Therefore, at times, the Advisors may choose to decrease the use of a covered call options writing strategy to the extent that it may negatively impact the Trust’s ability to benefit from capital appreciation.

For any written call option where the Trust does not own the underlying security, the Trust may have an absolute and immediate right to acquire that security upon conversion or exchange of other securities held by the Trust without additional cash consideration (or, if additional cash consideration is required, cash or liquid securities in such amount are segregated on the Trust’s books) or the Trust may hold a call on the same security where the exercise price of the call held is (i) equal to or less than the exercise price of the call written, or (ii) greater than the exercise price of the call written, provided cash or liquid securities in an amount equal to the difference is segregated on the Trust’s books.

 

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The standard contract size for a single exchange-listed option is 100 shares of the common stock. There are four items needed to identify any option: (1) the underlying security, (2) the expiration month, (3) the strike price and (4) the type (call or put). For example, ten XYZ Co. October 40 call options provide the right to purchase 1,000 shares of XYZ Co. on or before a specified date in October at $40.00 per share. A call option whose strike price is above the current price of the underlying stock is called “out-of-the-money.” Most of the options that will be sold by the Trust are expected to be out-of-the-money, allowing for potential appreciation in addition to the proceeds from the sale of the option. An option whose strike price is below the current price of the underlying stock is called “in-the-money” and could be sold by the Trust as a defensive measure to protect against a possible decline in the underlying stock.

The following is a conceptual example of a covered call transaction, making the following assumptions: (1) a common stock currently trading at $37.15 per share; (2) a six-month call option is written with a strike price of $40.00 (i.e., 7.7% higher than the current market price); and (3) the writer receives $2.45 (or 6.6%) of the common stock’s value as a premium. This example is not meant to represent the performance of any actual common stock, option contract or the Trust itself and does not reflect any transaction costs of entering into or closing out the option position. Under this scenario, before giving effect to any change in the price of the stock, the covered call writer receives the premium, representing 6.6% of the common stock’s value, regardless of the stock’s performance over the six-month period until option expiration. If the stock remains unchanged, the option will expire and there would be a 6.6% return for the six-month period. If the stock were to decline in price by 6.6%, the strategy would “break-even” thus offering no gain or loss. See “Tax Matters—Taxation of the Trust—The Trust’s Investments.” If the stock were to climb to a price of $40.00 or above, the option would be exercised and the stock would return 7.7% coupled with the option premium of 6.6% for a total return of 14.3%. Under this scenario, the investor would not benefit from any appreciation of the stock above $40.00, and thus be limited to a 14.3% total return. The premium from writing the covered call option serves to offset some of the unrealized loss on the stock in the event that the price of the stock declines, but if the stock were to decline more than 6.6% under this scenario, the investor does not have protection from further declines and the stock could eventually become worthless.

For conventional exchange-listed call options, the option’s expiration date can be up to nine months from the date the call options are first listed for trading. Longer-term call options can have expiration dates up to three years from the date of listing. It is anticipated that, under certain circumstances when deemed at the Advisors’ discretion to be in the best interest of the Trust, options that are written against Trust stock holdings will be repurchased in a closing transaction prior to the option’s expiration date, generating a gain or loss in the options. If the options were not to be repurchased, the option holder would exercise their rights and buy the stock from the Trust at the strike price if the stock traded at a higher price than the strike price. In general, when deemed at the Advisors’ discretion to be in the best interests of the Trust, the Trust may enter into transactions, including closing transactions, that would allow it to continue to hold its common stocks rather than allowing them to be called away by the option holders.

Put Options. Put options are contracts that give the holder of the option, in return for a premium, the right to sell to the writer of the option the security underlying the option at a specified exercise price at any time during the term of the option. Put option strategies may produce a higher return than covered call writing, but may involve a higher degree of risk and potential volatility.

When writing a put option on a security, the Trust will segregate on its books cash or liquid securities in an amount equal to the option exercise price or the Trust may hold a put option on the same security as the put written where the exercise price of the put held is (i) equal to or greater than the exercise price of the put written, or (ii) less than the exercise price of the put written, provided an amount equal to the difference in cash or liquid securities is segregated on the Trust’s books. Unlike a covered call option, a put option written in this manner will not provide the Trust with any appreciation to offset any loss the Trust experiences if the put option is exercised.

 

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The following is a conceptual example of a put transaction, making the following assumptions: (1) a common stock currently trading at $37.15 per share; (2) a six-month put option written with a strike price of $35.00 (i.e., 94.21% of the current market price); and (3) the writer receives $1.10 or 2.96% of the common stock’s value as a premium. This example is not meant to represent the performance of any actual common stock, option contract or the Trust itself and does not reflect any transaction costs of entering into or closing out the option position. Under this scenario, before giving effect to any change in the price of the stock, the put writer receives the premium, representing 2.96% of the common stock’s value, regardless of the stock’s performance over the six-month period until the option expires. If the stock remains unchanged, appreciates in value or declines less than 5.79% in value, the option will expire and there would be a 2.96% return for the six-month period. If the stock were to decline by 5.79% or more, the Trust would lose an amount equal to the amount by which the stock’s price declined minus the premium paid to the Trust. The stock’s price could lose its entire value, in which case the Trust would lose $33.90 ($35.00 minus $1.10).

Options on Indices. The Trust may write index call and put options. Because “index options” includes both options on indices of securities and sectors of securities, all types of index options generally have similar characteristics. Index options differ from options on individual securities because (i) the exercise of an index option requires cash payments and does not involve the actual purchase or sale of securities, (ii) the holder of an index option has the right to receive cash upon exercise of the option if the level of the index upon which the option is based is greater, in the case of a call, or less, in the case of a put, than the exercise price of the option and (iii) index options reflect price fluctuations in a group of securities or segments of the securities market rather than price fluctuations in a single security.

As the writer of an index call or put option, the Trust receives cash (the premium) from the purchaser. The purchaser of an index call option has the right to any appreciation in the value of the index over a fixed price (the exercise price) on or before a certain date in the future (the expiration date). The purchaser of an index put option has the right to any depreciation in the value of the index below a fixed price (the exercise price) on or before a certain date in the future (the expiration date). The Trust, in effect, agrees to sell the potential appreciation (in the case of a call) or accept the potential depreciation (in the case of a put) in the value of the relevant index in exchange for the premium. If, at or before expiration, the purchaser exercises the call or put option written by the Trust, the Trust will pay the purchaser the difference between the cash value of the index and the exercise price of the index option. The premium, the exercise price and the market value of the index determine the gain or loss realized by the Trust as the writer of the index call or put option.

The Trust may execute a closing purchase transaction with respect to an index option it has sold and write another option (with either a different exercise price or expiration date or both). The Trust’s objective in entering into such a closing transaction will be to optimize net index option premiums. The cost of a closing transaction may reduce the net index option premiums realized from writing the index option.

When writing an index put option, the Trust will segregate on its books cash or liquid securities in an amount equal to the exercise price, or the Trust may hold a put on the same basket of securities as the put written where the exercise price of the put held is (i) equal to or more than the exercise price of the put written, or (ii) less than the exercise price of the put written, provided an amount equal to the difference in cash or liquid securities is segregated on the Trust’s books. When writing an index call option, the Trust will segregate on its books cash or liquid securities in an amount equal to the excess of the value of the applicable basket of securities over the exercise price, or the Trust may hold a call on the same basket of securities as the call written where the exercise price of the call held is (i) equal to or less than the exercise price of the call written, or (ii) greater than the exercise price of the call written, provided an amount equal to the difference in cash or liquid securities is segregated on the Trust’s books.

Limitation on Options Writing Strategy. The Trust may write put and call options, the notional amount of which would be approximately 30% to 40% of the Trust’s total assets, although this percentage may vary from time to time with market conditions. Under current market conditions, the Trust anticipates writing put and call

 

15


options, the notional amount of which would be approximately 33% of the Trust’s total assets. The Trust generally writes options that are “out of the money” — in other words, the strike price of a written call option will be greater than the market price of the underlying security on the date that the option is written, or, for a written put option, less than the market price of the underlying security on the date that the option is written; however, the Trust may also write “in the money” options for defensive or other purposes.

The number of put and call options on securities the Trust can write is limited by the total assets the Trust holds. The Trust’s exchange-listed option transactions will be subject to limitations established by each of the exchanges, boards of trade or other trading facilities on which such options are traded and cleared. These limitations govern the maximum number of options in each class which may be written or purchased by a single investor or group of investors acting in concert, regardless of whether the options are written or purchased on the same or different exchanges, boards of trade or other trading facilities or are held or written in one or more accounts or through one or more brokers. Thus, the number of options which the Trust may write or purchase may be affected by options written or purchased by other investment advisory clients of the Advisors. An exchange, board of trade or other trading facility may order the liquidation of positions found to be in excess of these limits, and it may impose certain other sanctions.

Master Limited Partnerships. The Trust may invest up to 25% of the value of its total assets in MLPs. MLPs are limited partnerships or limited liability companies taxable as partnerships. MLPs may derive income and gains from the exploration, development, mining or production, processing, refining, transportation (including pipelines transporting gas, oil, or products thereof), or the marketing of any mineral or natural resources. The Trust may, however, invest in MLP entities in any sector of the economy. MLPs generally have two classes of owners, the general partner and limited partners. When investing in an MLP, the Trust generally purchases publicly traded common units issued to limited partners of the MLP. The general partner is typically owned by a major energy company, an investment fund, the direct management of the MLP or is an entity owned by one or more of such parties. The general partner may be structured as a private or publicly traded corporation or other entity. The general partner typically controls the operations and management of the MLP through an up to 2% equity interest in the MLP plus, in many cases, ownership of common units and subordinated units. Limited partners own the remainder of the partnership, through ownership of common units, and have a limited role in the partnership’s operations and management. The limited partners also receive cash distributions.

Canadian Royalty Trusts. A Canadian royalty trust is a trust whose securities are listed on a Canadian stock exchange and which controls an underlying company whose business is the acquisition, exploitation, production and sale of oil and natural gas. These trusts generally pay out to unitholders the majority of the cash flow that they receive from the production and sale of underlying oil and natural gas reserves. The amount of distributions paid on a Canadian royalty trust’s units will vary from time to time based on production levels, commodity prices, royalty rates and certain expenses, deductions and costs, as well as on the distribution payout ratio policy adopted. As a result of distributing the bulk of their cash flow to unitholders, the ability of a Canadian royalty trust to finance internal growth through exploration is limited. Therefore, Canadian royalty trusts typically grow through acquisition of additional oil and gas properties or producing companies with proven reserves of oil and gas, funded through the issuance of additional equity or, where the trust is able, additional debt. Canadian royalty trusts, like other types of natural resources companies, are exposed to pricing risk, supply and demand risk and depletion and exploration risk with respect to their underlying commodities, among other risks. An investment in units of Canadian royalty trusts involves some risks which differ from an investment in common stock of a corporation, including increased liability for the obligations of the trust. There are certain regulatory and tax risks associated with an investment in Canadian royalty trusts resulting from reliance on beneficial Canadian incentive programs and tax laws that may be changed in the future. In addition, securities of certain Canadian royalty trusts may not be qualifying assets for the Trust’s asset diversification requirements.

REITs. In pursuing its investment strategy, the Trust may invest in equity interests in REITs. REITs possess certain risks which differ from an investment in common stocks. REITs are financial vehicles that pool investors’ capital to purchase or finance real estate. REITs may concentrate their investments in specific geographic areas

 

16


or in specific property types (e.g., hotels, shopping malls, residential complexes and office buildings). The market value of REIT shares and the ability of REITs to distribute income may be adversely affected by several factors, including rising interest rates, changes in the national, state and local economic climate and real estate conditions, perceptions of prospective tenants of the safety, convenience and attractiveness of the properties, the ability of the owners to provide adequate management, maintenance and insurance, the cost of complying with the Americans with Disabilities Act, increased competition from new properties, the impact of present or future environmental legislation and compliance with environmental laws, changes in real estate taxes and other operating expenses, adverse changes in governmental rules and fiscal policies, adverse changes in zoning laws and other factors beyond the control of the REIT issuers. In addition, distributions received by the Trust from REITs may consist of dividends, capital gains and/or return of capital. As REITs generally pay a higher rate of dividends (on a pre-tax basis) than operating companies, to the extent application of the Trust’s investment strategy results in the Trust investing in REIT shares, the percentage of the Trust’s dividend income received from REIT shares will likely exceed the percentage of the Trust’s portfolio which is comprised of REIT shares. There are three general categories of REITs: equity REITs, mortgage REITs and hybrid REITs. Equity REITs invest primarily in direct fee ownership or leasehold ownership of real property; they derive most of their income from rents. Mortgage REITs invest mostly in mortgages on real estate, which may secure construction, development or long-term loans, and the main source of their income is mortgage interest payments. Hybrid REITs hold both ownership and mortgage interests in real estate.

Preferred Securities. The Trust may invest in preferred securities. There are two basic types of preferred securities. The first type, sometimes referred to as traditional preferred securities, consists of preferred stock issued by an entity taxable as a corporation. The second type, sometimes referred to as trust preferred securities, are usually issued by a trust or limited partnership and represent preferred interests in deeply subordinated debt instruments issued by the corporation for whose benefit the trust or partnership was established.

Traditional Preferred Securities. Traditional preferred securities generally pay fixed or adjustable rate dividends to investors and generally have a “preference” over common stock in the payment of dividends and the liquidation of a company’s assets. This means that a company must pay dividends on preferred stock before paying any dividends on its common stock. In order to be payable, distributions on such preferred securities must be declared by the issuer’s board of directors. Income payments on typical preferred securities currently outstanding are cumulative, causing dividends and distributions to accumulate even if not declared by the board of directors or otherwise made payable. In such a case all accumulated dividends must be paid before any dividend on the common stock can be paid. However, some traditional preferred stocks are non-cumulative, in which case dividends do not accumulate and need not ever be paid. A portion of the portfolio may include investments in non-cumulative preferred securities, whereby the issuer does not have an obligation to make up any arrearages to its shareholders. Should an issuer of a non-cumulative preferred stock held by the Trust determine not to pay dividends on such stock, the amount of dividends the Trust pays may be adversely affected. There is no assurance that dividends or distributions on the preferred securities in which the Trust invests will be declared or otherwise made payable.

Preferred stockholders usually have no right to vote for corporate directors or on other matters. Shares of preferred stock have a liquidation value that generally equals the original purchase price at the date of issuance. The market value of preferred securities may be affected by favorable and unfavorable changes impacting companies in the utilities and financial services sectors, which are prominent issuers of preferred securities, and by actual and anticipated changes in tax laws, such as changes in corporate income tax rates or the “Dividends Received Deduction.” Because the claim on an issuer’s earnings represented by preferred securities may become onerous when interest rates fall below the rate payable on such securities, the issuer may redeem the securities. Thus, in declining interest rate environments in particular, the Trust’s holdings, if any, of higher rate-paying fixed rate preferred securities may be reduced and the Trust may be unable to acquire securities of comparable credit quality paying comparable rates with the redemption proceeds.

 

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Trust Preferred Securities. Trust preferred securities are typically issued by corporations, generally in the form of interest-bearing notes with preferred security characteristics, or by an affiliated business trust of a corporation, generally in the form of beneficial interests in subordinated debentures or similarly structured securities. The trust preferred securities market consists of both fixed and adjustable coupon rate securities that are either perpetual in nature or have stated maturity dates.

Trust preferred securities are typically junior and fully subordinated liabilities of an issuer or the beneficiary of a guarantee that is junior and fully subordinated to the other liabilities of the guarantor. In addition, trust preferred securities typically permit an issuer to defer the payment of income for eighteen months or more without triggering an event of default. Generally, the deferral period is five years or more. Because of their subordinated position in the capital structure of an issuer, the ability to defer payments for extended periods of time without default consequences to the issuer, and certain other features (such as restrictions on common dividend payments by the issuer or ultimate guarantor when full cumulative payments on the trust preferred securities have not been made), these trust preferred securities are often treated as close substitutes for traditional preferred securities, both by issuers and investors. Trust preferred securities have many of the key characteristics of equity due to their subordinated position in an issuer’s capital structure and because their quality and value are heavily dependent on the profitability of the issuer rather than on any legal claims to specific assets or cash flows.

Convertible Securities. A convertible security is a bond, debenture, note, preferred stock or other security that may be converted into or exchanged for a prescribed amount of common stock or other equity security of the same or a different issuer within a particular period of time at a specified price or formula. A convertible security entitles the holder to receive interest paid or accrued on debt or the dividend paid on preferred stock until the convertible security matures or is redeemed, converted or exchanged. Before conversion, convertible securities have characteristics similar to nonconvertible income securities in that they ordinarily provide a stable stream of income with generally higher yields than those of common stocks of the same or similar issuers, but lower yields than comparable nonconvertible securities. The value of a convertible security is influenced by changes in interest rates, with investment value declining as interest rates increase and increasing as interest rates decline. The credit standing of the issuer and other factors also may have an effect on the convertible security’s investment value. Convertible securities rank senior to common stock in a corporation’s capital structure but are usually subordinated to comparable nonconvertible securities. Convertible securities may be subject to redemption at the option of the issuer at a price established in the convertible security’s governing instrument.

A “synthetic” or “manufactured” convertible security may be created by the Trust or by a third party by combining separate securities that possess the two principal characteristics of a traditional convertible security: an income producing component and a convertible component. The income-producing component is achieved by investing in non-convertible, income-producing securities such as bonds, preferred stocks and money market instruments. The convertible component is achieved by investing in securities or instruments such as warrants or options to buy common stock at a certain exercise price, or options on a stock index.

Unlike a traditional convertible security, which is a single security having a single market value, a synthetic convertible comprises two or more separate securities, each with its own market value. Because the “market value” of a synthetic convertible security is the sum of the values of its income-producing component and its convertible component, the value of a synthetic convertible security may respond differently to market fluctuations than a traditional convertible security. The Trust also may purchase synthetic convertible securities created by other parties, including convertible structured notes. Convertible structured notes are income-producing debentures linked to equity. Convertible structured notes have the attributes of a convertible security; however, the issuer of the convertible note (typically an investment bank), rather than the issuer of the underlying common stock into which the note is convertible, assumes credit risk associated with the underlying investment and the Trust in turn assumes credit risk associated with the issuer of the convertible note.

 

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Warrants. Warrants are instruments issued by corporations enabling the owners to subscribe to and purchase a specified number of shares of the corporation at a specified price during a specified period of time. Warrants normally have a short life span to expiration. The purchase of warrants involves the risk that the Trust could lose the purchase value of a warrant if the right to subscribe to additional shares is not exercised prior to the warrants’ expiration. Also, the purchase of warrants involves the risk that the effective price paid for the warrant added to the subscription price of the related security may exceed the subscribed security’s market price such as when there is no movement in the level of the underlying security.

Depositary Receipts. The Trust may invest in sponsored and unsponsored ADRs, EDRs, GDRs and other similar global instruments. ADRs typically are issued by a U.S. bank or trust company and evidence ownership of underlying securities issued by a non-U.S. corporation. EDRs, which are sometimes referred to as Continental Depositary Receipts, are receipts issued in Europe, typically by non-U.S. banks and trust companies, that evidence ownership of either non-U.S. or domestic underlying securities. GDRs are depositary receipts structured like global debt issues to facilitate trading on an international basis.

U.S. Government Debt Securities. The Trust may invest in debt securities issued or guaranteed by the U.S. Government, its agencies or instrumentalities, including U.S. Treasury obligations, which differ in their interest rates, maturities and times of issuance. Such obligations include U.S. Treasury bills (maturity of one year or less), U.S. Treasury notes (maturity of one to ten years) and U.S. Treasury bonds (generally maturities of greater than ten years), including the principal components or the interest components issued by the U.S. Government under the separate trading of registered interest and principal securities program (i.e., “STRIPS”), all of which are backed by the full faith and credit of the United States.

High Yield Securities. The Trust may invest in securities rated, at the time of investment, below investment grade quality, such as those rated Ba or lower by Moody’s Investor’s Service, Inc. (“Moody’s”), BB or below by S&P Global Ratings (“S&P”) or Fitch Ratings, Inc. (“Fitch”), or securities comparably rated by other rating agencies, or in unrated securities determined by the Advisors to be of comparable quality. Such securities, sometimes referred to as “high yield” or “junk” bonds, are predominantly speculative with respect to the capacity to pay interest and repay principal in accordance with the terms of the security and generally involve greater price volatility than securities in higher rating categories. Often the protection of interest and principal payments with respect to such securities may be very moderate and issuers of such securities face major ongoing uncertainties or exposure to adverse business, financial or economic conditions which could lead to inadequate capacity to meet timely interest and principal payments.

Lower grade securities, though high yielding, are characterized by high risk. They may be subject to certain risks with respect to the issuing entity and to greater market fluctuations than certain lower yielding, higher rated securities. The secondary market for lower grade securities may be less liquid than that of higher rated securities. Adverse conditions could make it difficult at times for the Trust to sell certain securities or could result in lower prices than those used in calculating the Trust’s NAV.

The prices of fixed-income securities generally are inversely related to interest rate changes; however, the price volatility caused by fluctuating interest rates of securities also is inversely related to the coupons of such securities. Accordingly, below investment grade securities may be relatively less sensitive to interest rate changes than higher quality securities of comparable maturity because of their higher coupon. The investor receives this higher coupon in return for bearing greater credit risk. The higher credit risk associated with below investment grade securities potentially can have a greater effect on the value of such securities than may be the case with higher quality issues of comparable maturity.

Lower grade securities may be particularly susceptible to economic downturns. It is likely that an economic recession could severely disrupt the market for such securities and may have an adverse impact on the value of such securities. In addition, it is likely that any such economic downturn could adversely affect the ability of the issuers of such securities to repay principal and pay interest thereon and increase the incidence of default for such securities.

 

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The ratings of Moody’s, S&P, Fitch and other rating agencies represent their opinions as to the quality of the obligations which they undertake to rate. Ratings are relative and subjective and, although ratings may be useful in evaluating the safety of interest and principal payments, they do not evaluate the market value risk of such obligations. Although these ratings may be an initial criterion for selection of portfolio investments, the Advisors also will independently evaluate these securities and the ability of the issuers of such securities to pay interest and principal. To the extent that the Trust invests in lower grade securities that have not been rated by a rating agency, the Trust’s ability to achieve its investment objective will be more dependent on the Advisors’ credit analysis than would be the case when the Trust invests in rated securities.

Foreign Currency Transactions. The Trust’s common shares are priced in U.S. dollars and the distributions paid by the Trust to common shareholders are paid in U.S. dollars. However, a portion of the Trust’s assets may be denominated in non-U.S. currencies and the income received by the Trust from such securities will be paid in non-U.S. currencies. The Trust also may invest in or gain exposure to non-U.S. currencies for investment or hedging purposes. The Trust’s investments in securities that trade in, or receive revenues in, non-U.S. currencies will be subject to currency risk, which is the risk that fluctuations in the exchange rates between the U.S. dollar and foreign currencies may negatively affect an investment. The Trust may (but is not required to) hedge some or all of its exposure to non-U.S. currencies through the use of derivative strategies, including forward foreign currency exchange contracts, foreign currency futures contracts and options on foreign currencies and foreign currency futures. Suitable hedging transactions may not be available in all circumstances and there can be no assurance that the Trust will engage in such transactions at any given time or from time to time when they would be beneficial. Although the Trust has the flexibility to engage in such transactions, the Advisors may determine not to do so or to do so only in unusual circumstances or market conditions. These transactions may not be successful and may eliminate any chance for the Trust to benefit from favorable fluctuations in relevant foreign currencies. The Trust may also use derivatives contracts for purposes of increasing exposure to a foreign currency or to shift exposure to foreign currency fluctuations from one currency to another.

Strategic Transactions and Other Management Techniques. In addition to the options strategy discussed above, the Trust may use a variety of other investment management techniques and instruments. The Trust may purchase and sell futures contracts, enter into various interest rate transactions such as swaps, caps, floors or collars, currency transactions such as currency forward contracts, currency futures contracts, currency swaps or options on currency or currency futures and swap contracts (including, but not limited to, credit default swaps) and may purchase and sell exchange-listed and OTC put and call options on securities and swap contracts, financial indices and futures contracts and use other derivative instruments or management techniques (collectively, “Strategic Transactions”). These Strategic Transactions may be used for duration management and other risk management purposes, including to attempt to protect against possible changes in the market value of the Trust’s portfolio resulting from trends in the securities markets and changes in interest rates or to protect the Trust’s unrealized gains in the value of its portfolio securities, to facilitate the sale of portfolio securities for investment purposes, to establish a position in the securities markets as a temporary substitute for purchasing particular securities or to enhance income or gain. There is no particular strategy that requires use of one technique rather than another as the decision to use any particular strategy or instrument is a function of market conditions and the composition of the portfolio. The use of Strategic Transactions to enhance current income may be particularly speculative. The ability of the Trust to use Strategic Transactions successfully will depend on the Advisors’ ability to predict pertinent market movements as well as sufficient correlation among the instruments, which cannot be assured. The use of Strategic Transactions may result in losses greater than if they had not been used, may require the Trust to sell or purchase portfolio securities at inopportune times or for prices other than current market values, may limit the amount of appreciation the Trust can realize on an investment or may cause the Trust to hold a security that it might otherwise sell. Inasmuch as any obligations of the Trust that arise from the use of Strategic Transactions will be covered by segregated or earmarked liquid assets or offsetting transactions, the Trust and the Advisors believe such obligations do not constitute senior securities and, accordingly, will not treat such transactions as being subject to its borrowing restrictions. See “Leverage.” Additionally, segregated or earmarked liquid assets, amounts paid by the Trust as premiums and cash or other assets held in margin accounts with respect to Strategic Transactions are not otherwise available to the Trust for

 

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investment purposes. The SAI contains further information about the characteristics, risks and possible benefits of Strategic Transactions and the Trust’s other policies and limitations (which are not fundamental policies) relating to Strategic Transactions. Certain provisions of the Code may restrict or affect the ability of the Trust to engage in Strategic Transactions. In addition, the use of certain Strategic Transactions may give rise to taxable income and have certain other consequences.

Other Investment Companies. The Trust may invest up to 10% of its total assets in securities of other open- or closed-end investment companies that invest primarily in Utilities, Infrastructure or Power Opportunities securities of the types in which the Trust may invest directly. The Trust generally expects to invest in other investment companies either during periods when it has large amounts of uninvested cash, such as the period shortly after the Trust receives the proceeds of the offering of its common shares, or during periods when there is a shortage of attractive Utilities, Infrastructure and Power Opportunities securities available in the market. As a shareholder in an investment company, the Trust will bear its ratable share of that investment company’s expenses, and will remain subject to payment of the Trust’s advisory and other fees and expenses with respect to assets so invested. Holders of common shares will therefore be subject to duplicative expenses to the extent the Trust invests in other investment companies. The Advisors will take expenses into account when evaluating the investment merits of an investment in an investment company relative to available Utilities, Infrastructure and Power Opportunities securities investments. In addition, the securities of other investment companies may be leveraged and will therefore be subject to leverage risks. The net asset value and market value of leveraged shares will be more volatile and the yield to shareholders will tend to fluctuate more than the yield generated by unleveraged shares. Investment companies may have investment policies that differ from those of the Trust. In addition, to the extent the Trust invests in other investment companies, the Trust will be dependent upon the investment and research abilities of persons other than the Advisors. The Trust treats its investments in such open- or closed-end investment companies as investments in Utilities and Infrastructure securities.

The Trust may invest in ETFs, which are investment companies that typically aim to track or replicate a desired index, such as a sector, market or global segment. ETFs are typically passively managed and their shares are traded on a national exchange or The NASDAQ Stock Market, Inc. ETFs do not sell individual shares directly to investors and only issue their shares in large blocks known as “creation units.” The investor purchasing a creation unit may sell the individual shares on a secondary market. Therefore, the liquidity of ETFs depends on the adequacy of the secondary market. There can be no assurance that an ETF’s investment objective will be achieved, as ETFs based on an index may not replicate and maintain exactly the composition and relative weightings of securities in the index. ETFs are subject to the risks of investing in the underlying securities. The Trust, as a holder of the securities of the ETF, will bear its pro rata portion of the ETF’s expenses, including advisory fees. These expenses are in addition to the direct expenses of the Trust’s own operations.

Securities Lending. The Trust may lend portfolio securities to certain borrowers determined to be creditworthy by the Advisor, including to borrowers affiliated with the Advisor. The borrowers provide collateral that is maintained in an amount at least equal to the current market value of the securities loaned. No securities loan will be made on behalf of the Trust if, as a result, the aggregate value of all securities loans of the Trust exceeds one-third of the value of the Trust’s total assets (including the value of the collateral received). The Trust may terminate a loan at any time and obtain the return of the securities loaned. The Trust receives the value of any interest or cash or non-cash distributions paid on the loaned securities.

With respect to loans that are collateralized by cash, the borrower may be entitled to receive a fee based on the amount of cash collateral. The Trust is compensated by the difference between the amount earned on the reinvestment of cash collateral and the fee paid to the borrower. In the case of collateral other than cash, the Trust is compensated by a fee paid by the borrower equal to a percentage of the market value of the loaned securities. Any cash collateral received by the Trust for such loans, and uninvested cash, may be invested, among other things, in a private investment company managed by an affiliate of the Advisor or in registered money market funds advised by the Advisor or its affiliates; such investments are subject to investment risk.

 

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The Trust conducts its securities lending pursuant to an exemptive order from the SEC permitting it to lend portfolio securities to borrowers affiliated with the Trust and to retain an affiliate of the Trust as lending agent. To the extent that the Trust engages in securities lending, BlackRock Investment Management, LLC (“BIM”), an affiliate of the Advisor, acts as securities lending agent for the Trust, subject to the overall supervision of the Advisor. BIM administers the lending program in accordance with guidelines approved by the Board. Pursuant to the current securities lending agreement, BIM may lend securities only when the difference between the borrower rebate rate and the risk free rate exceeds a certain level.

To the extent that the Trust engages in securities lending, the Trust retains a portion of securities lending income and remits a remaining portion to BIM as compensation for its services as securities lending agent. Securities lending income is equal to the total of income earned from the reinvestment of cash collateral (and excludes collateral investment expenses as defined below), and any fees or other payments to and from borrowers of securities. As securities lending agent, BIM bears all operational costs directly related to securities lending. The Trust is responsible for expenses in connection with the investment of cash collateral received for securities on loan in a private investment company managed by an affiliate of the Advisor (the “collateral investment expenses”); however, BIM has agreed to cap the collateral investment expenses the Trust bears to an annual rate of 0.04% of the daily net assets of such private investment company. In addition, in accordance with the exemptive order, the investment adviser to the private investment company will not charge any advisory fees with respect to shares purchased by the Trust. Such shares also will not be subject to a sales load, redemption fee, distribution fee or service fee.

Pursuant to the current securities lending agreement, the Trust retains 82% of securities lending income (which excludes collateral investment expenses).

In addition, commencing the business day following the date that the aggregate securities lending income earned across the BlackRock Fixed-Income Complex in a calendar year exceeds the breakpoint dollar threshold applicable in the given year, the Trust, pursuant to the current securities lending agreement, will receive for the remainder of that calendar year securities lending income in an amount equal to 85% of securities lending income (which excludes collateral investment expenses).

Short Sales. The Trust may make short sales of securities. A short sale is a transaction in which the Trust sells a security it does not own in anticipation that the market price of that security will decline. The Trust may make short sales to hedge positions, for duration and risk management, in order to maintain portfolio flexibility or to enhance income or gain. When the Trust makes a short sale, it must borrow the security sold short and deliver it to the broker-dealer through which it made the short sale as collateral for its obligation to deliver the security upon conclusion of the sale. The Trust may have to pay a fee to borrow particular securities and is often obligated to pay over to the securities lender any income, distributions or dividends received on such borrowed securities until it returns the security to the securities lender. The Trust’s obligation to replace the borrowed security will be secured by collateral deposited with the securities lender, usually cash, U.S. Government securities or other liquid assets. The Trust will also be required to segregate or earmark similar collateral with its custodian to the extent, if any, necessary so that the aggregate collateral value is at all times at least equal to the current market value of the security sold short. Depending on arrangements made with the securities lender regarding payment over of any income, distributions or dividends received by the Trust on such security, the Trust may not receive any payments (including interest) on its collateral deposited with such securities lender. If the price of the security sold short increases between the time of the short sale and the time the Trust replaces the borrowed security, the Trust will incur a loss; conversely, if the price declines, the Trust will realize a gain. Any gain will be decreased, and any loss increased, by the transaction costs described above. Although the Trust’s gain is limited to the price at which it sold the security short, its potential loss is theoretically unlimited. Short sales, even if covered, may represent a form of economic leverage and will create risks.

 

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LEVERAGE

The Trust currently does not intend to borrow money or issue debt securities or preferred shares. The Trust is, however, permitted to borrow money or issue debt securities in an amount up to 33 1/3% of its Managed Assets (50% of its net assets), and issue preferred shares in an amount up to 50% of its Managed Assets (100% of its net assets). “Managed Assets” means the total assets of the Trust (including any assets attributable to money borrowed for investment purposes) minus the sum of the Trust’s accrued liabilities (other than money borrowed for investment purposes). Although it has no present intention to do so, the Trust reserves the right to borrow money from banks or other financial institutions, or issue debt securities or preferred shares, in the future if it believes that market conditions would be conducive to the successful implementation of a leveraging strategy through borrowing money or issuing debt securities or preferred shares. Any such leveraging will not be fully achieved until the proceeds resulting from the use of leverage have been invested in accordance with the Trust’s investment objective and policies.

The use of leverage, if employed, can create risks. When leverage is employed, the NAV and market price of the common shares and the yield to holders of common shares will be more volatile than if leverage were not used. Changes in the value of the Trust’s portfolio, including securities bought with the proceeds of leverage, will be borne entirely by the holders of common shares. If there is a net decrease or increase in the value of the Trust’s investment portfolio, leverage will decrease or increase, as the case may be, the NAV per common share to a greater extent than if the Trust did not utilize leverage. A reduction in the Trust’s NAV may cause a reduction in the market price of its shares. During periods in which the Trust is using leverage, the fee paid to the Advisor for advisory services will be higher than if the Trust did not use leverage, because the fees paid will be calculated on the basis of the Trust’s Managed Assets, which includes the proceeds from leverage. Any leveraging strategy the Trust employs may not be successful.

Certain types of leverage the Trust may use may result in the Trust being subject to covenants relating to asset coverage and portfolio composition requirements. The Trust may be subject to certain restrictions on investments imposed by one or more lenders or by guidelines of one or more rating agencies, which may issue ratings for any short-term debt securities or preferred shares issued by the Trust. The terms of any borrowings or rating agency guidelines may impose asset coverage or portfolio composition requirements that are more stringent than those imposed by the Investment Company Act. The Advisors do not believe that these covenants or guidelines will impede them from managing the Trust’s portfolio in accordance with its investment objective and policies if the Trust were to utilize leverage.

Under the Investment Company Act, the Trust is not permitted to issue senior securities if, immediately after the issuance of such senior securities, the Trust would have an asset coverage ratio (as defined in the Investment Company Act) of less than 300% with respect to senior securities representing indebtedness (i.e., for every dollar of indebtedness outstanding, the Trust is required to have at least three dollars of assets) or less than 200% with respect to senior securities representing preferred stock (i.e., for every dollar of preferred stock outstanding, the Trust is required to have at least two dollars of assets). The Investment Company Act also provides that the Trust may not declare distributions or purchase its stock (including through tender offers) if, immediately after doing so, it will have an asset coverage ratio of less than 300% or 200%, as applicable. Under the Investment Company Act, certain short-term borrowings (such as for cash management purposes) are not subject to these limitations if (i) repaid within 60 days, (ii) not extended or renewed and (iii) not in excess of 5% of the total assets of the Trust.

Credit Facility

The Trust is permitted to leverage its portfolio by entering into one or more credit facilities. If the Trust enters into a credit facility, the Trust may be required to prepay outstanding amounts or incur a penalty rate of interest upon the occurrence of certain events of default. The Trust would also likely have to indemnify the lenders under the credit facility against liabilities they may incur in connection therewith. In addition, the Trust

 

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expects that any credit facility would contain covenants that, among other things, likely would limit the Trust’s ability to pay distributions in certain circumstances, incur additional debt, change certain of its investment policies and engage in certain transactions, including mergers and consolidations, and require asset coverage ratios in addition to those required by the Investment Company Act. The Trust may be required to pledge its assets and to maintain a portion of its assets in cash or high-grade securities as a reserve against interest or principal payments and expenses. The Trust expects that any credit facility would have customary covenant, negative covenant and default provisions. There can be no assurance that the Trust will enter into an agreement for a credit facility, or one on terms and conditions representative of the foregoing, or that additional material terms will not apply. In addition, if entered into, a credit facility may in the future be replaced or refinanced by one or more credit facilities having substantially different terms or by the issuance of preferred shares.

Reverse Repurchase Agreements

The Trust may enter into reverse repurchase agreements with respect to its portfolio investments subject to the investment restrictions set forth herein. Reverse repurchase agreements involve the sale of securities held by the Trust with an agreement by the Trust to repurchase the securities at an agreed upon price, date and interest payment. At the time the Trust enters into a reverse repurchase agreement, it may establish and maintain a segregated account with the custodian containing, or designate on its books and records, cash and/or liquid assets having a value not less than the repurchase price (including accrued interest). If the Trust establishes and maintains such a segregated account, or earmarks such assets as described, a reverse repurchase agreement will not be considered a senior security under the Investment Company Act and therefore will not be considered a borrowing by the Trust; however, under certain circumstances in which the Trust does not establish and maintain such a segregated account, or earmark such assets on its books and records, such reverse repurchase agreement will be considered a borrowing for the purpose of the Trust’s limitation on borrowings discussed above. The use by the Trust of reverse repurchase agreements involves many of the same risks of leverage since the proceeds derived from such reverse repurchase agreements may be invested in additional securities. Reverse repurchase agreements involve the risk that the market value of the securities acquired in connection with the reverse repurchase agreement may decline below the price of the securities the Trust has sold but is obligated to repurchase. Also, reverse repurchase agreements involve the risk that the market value of the securities retained in lieu of sale by the Trust in connection with the reverse repurchase agreement may decline in price. Effective August 19, 2022, certain asset segregation requirements will be replaced by the requirements under the newly adopted Rule 18f-4 as described in this prospectus.

If the buyer of securities under a reverse repurchase agreement files for bankruptcy or becomes insolvent, such buyer or its trustee or receiver may receive an extension of time to determine whether to enforce the Trust’s obligation to repurchase the securities and the Trust’s use of the proceeds of the reverse repurchase agreement may effectively be restricted pending such decision. Also, the Trust would bear the risk of loss to the extent that the proceeds of the reverse repurchase agreement are less than the value of the securities subject to such agreement.

The Trust also may effect simultaneous purchase and sale transactions that are known as “sale-buybacks.” A sale-buyback is similar to a reverse repurchase agreement, except that in a sale-buyback, the counterparty that purchases the security is entitled to receive any principal or interest payments made on the underlying security pending settlement of the Trust’s repurchase of the underlying security.

Preferred Shares

The Trust is permitted to leverage its portfolio by issuing preferred shares. Under the Investment Company Act, the Trust is not permitted to issue preferred shares if, immediately after such issuance, the liquidation value of the Trust’s outstanding preferred shares exceeds 50% of its assets (including the proceeds from the issuance) less liabilities other than borrowings (i.e., the value of the Trust’s assets must be at least 200% of the liquidation value of its outstanding preferred shares). In addition, the Trust would not be permitted to declare any cash

 

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dividend or other distribution on its common shares unless, at the time of such declaration, the value of the Trust’s assets less liabilities other than borrowings is at least 200% of such liquidation value.

The Trust expects that preferred shares, if issued, will pay adjustable rate dividends based on shorter-term interest rates, which would be redetermined periodically by a fixed spread or remarketing process, subject to a maximum rate which would increase over time in the event of an extended period of unsuccessful remarketing. The adjustment period for preferred share dividends could be as short as one day or as long as a year or more. Preferred shares, if issued, could include a liquidity feature that allows holders of preferred shares to have their shares purchased by a liquidity provider in the event that sell orders have not been matched with purchase orders and successfully settled in a remarketing. The Trust expects that it would pay a fee to the provider of this liquidity feature, which would be borne by common shareholders of the Trust. The terms of such liquidity feature could require the Trust to redeem preferred shares still owned by the liquidity provider following a certain period of continuous, unsuccessful remarketing, which may adversely impact the Trust.

If preferred shares are issued, the Trust may, to the extent possible, purchase or redeem preferred shares from time to time to the extent necessary in order to maintain asset coverage of any preferred shares of at least 200%. In addition, as a condition to obtaining ratings on the preferred shares, the terms of any preferred shares issued are expected to include asset coverage maintenance provisions which will require the redemption of the preferred shares in the event of non-compliance by the Trust and may also prohibit dividends and other distributions on the common shares in such circumstances. In order to meet redemption requirements, the Trust may have to liquidate portfolio securities. Such liquidations and redemptions would cause the Trust to incur related transaction costs and could result in capital losses to the Trust. Prohibitions on dividends and other distributions on the common shares could impair the Trust’s ability to qualify as a RIC under the Code. If the Trust has preferred shares outstanding, two of the Trustees will be elected by the holders of preferred shares voting separately as a class. The remaining Trustees will be elected by holders of common shares and preferred shares voting together as a single class. In the event the Trust failed to pay dividends on preferred shares for two years, holders of preferred shares would be entitled to elect a majority of the Trustees.

If the Trust issues preferred shares, the Trust expects that it will be subject to certain restrictions imposed by guidelines of one or more rating agencies that may issue ratings for preferred shares issued by the Trust. These guidelines are expected to impose asset coverage or portfolio composition requirements that are more stringent than those imposed on the Trust by the Investment Company Act. It is not anticipated that these covenants or guidelines would impede the Advisors from managing the Trust’s portfolio in accordance with the Trust’s investment objective and policies.

Derivatives

The Trust may enter into derivative transactions that have economic leverage embedded in them. Derivative transactions that the Trust may enter into and the risks associated with them are described elsewhere in this Prospectus and are also referred to as “Strategic Transactions.” The Trust cannot assure you that investments in derivative transactions that have economic leverage embedded in them will result in a higher return on its common shares.

To the extent the terms of such transactions obligate the Trust to make payments, the Trust may earmark or segregate cash or liquid assets in an amount at least equal to the current value of the amount then payable by the Trust under the terms of such transactions or otherwise cover such transactions in accordance with applicable interpretations of the staff of the SEC. If the current value of the amount then payable by the Trust under the terms of such transactions is represented by the notional amounts of such investments, the Trust would segregate or earmark cash or liquid assets having a market value at least equal to such notional amounts, and if the current value of the amount then payable by the Trust under the terms of such transactions is represented by the market value of the Trust’s current obligations, the Trust would segregate or earmark cash or liquid assets having a market value at least equal to such current obligations. To the extent the terms of such transactions obligate the

 

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Trust to deliver particular securities to extinguish the Trust’s obligations under such transactions the Trust may “cover” its obligations under such transactions by either (i) owning the securities or collateral underlying such transactions or (ii) having an absolute and immediate right to acquire such securities or collateral without additional cash consideration (or, if additional cash consideration is required, having earmarked or segregated an appropriate amount of cash or liquid assets). Such earmarking, segregation or cover is intended to provide the Trust with available assets to satisfy its obligations under such transactions. As a result of such earmarking, segregation or cover, the Trust’s obligations under such transactions will not be considered senior securities representing indebtedness for purposes of the Investment Company Act, or considered borrowings subject to the Trust’s limitations on borrowings discussed above, but may create leverage for the Trust. To the extent that the Trust’s obligations under such transactions are not so earmarked, segregated or covered, such obligations may be considered “senior securities representing indebtedness” under the Investment Company Act and therefore subject to the 300% asset coverage requirement.

These earmarking, segregation or cover requirements can result in the Trust maintaining securities positions it would otherwise liquidate, segregating or earmarking assets at a time when it might be disadvantageous to do so or otherwise restrict portfolio management.

On October 28, 2020, the SEC adopted new regulations governing the use of derivatives by registered investment companies (“Rule 18f-4”). The Trust will be required to implement and comply with Rule 18f-4 by August 19, 2022. Once implemented, Rule 18f-4 will impose limits on the amount of derivatives a fund can enter into, eliminate the asset segregation framework currently used by funds to comply with Section 18 of the Investment Company Act, treat derivatives as senior securities and require funds whose use of derivatives is more than a limited specified exposure amount to establish and maintain a comprehensive derivatives risk management program and appoint a derivatives risk manager.

Temporary Borrowings

The Trust may also borrow money as a temporary measure for extraordinary or emergency purposes, including the payment of dividends and the settlement of securities transactions which otherwise might require untimely dispositions of Trust securities.

RISKS

The NAV and market price of, and dividends paid on, the common shares will fluctuate with and be affected by, among other things, the risks more fully described below.

General Risks

Please refer to the section of the Trust’s most recent annual report on Form N-CSR entitled “Investment Objectives, Policies and Risks—Investment Objectives and Policies—Risk Factors”, which is incorporated by reference herein, for a discussion of general risks of investing in the Trust.

Other Risks

Focus Risk

The Trust invests significantly in issuers in the Utilities, Infrastructure and Power Opportunities business segments. Because the Trust invests significantly in those business segments, it may be subject to more risks than if it were broadly diversified over numerous industries and sectors of the economy. General changes in market sentiment towards Utilities, Infrastructure and Power Opportunities companies may adversely affect the Trust, and the performance of Utilities, Infrastructure and Power Opportunities issuers may lag behind the broader market as a whole. Also, the Trust’s focus on the Utilities, Infrastructure and Power Opportunities business segments may subject the Trust to a variety risks associated with those business segments.

 

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Additional Risks of Investing in Utilities, Infrastructure and Power Opportunities Issuers

Investments in issuers in the Utilities, Infrastructure and Power Opportunities business segments are subject to certain risks, including the following:

Technological Risk. Technological changes in the way a service or product is delivered may render existing technologies obsolete. Although this risk may be considered low with respect to assets of Utilities, Infrastructure and Power Opportunities companies given the large fixed costs involved in developing such assets and the fact that many utilities, infrastructure and power opportunities technologies are well established, any technological change that occurs over the medium term could threaten the profitability of a Utilities, Infrastructure and Power Opportunities company. Utilities, Infrastructure and Power Opportunities assets have very few alternative uses should they become obsolete. Communications utilities may be particularly sensitive to these risks, as telecommunications products and services also may be subject to rapid obsolescence resulting from changes in consumer tastes, intense competition and strong market reactions to technological development.

Developing Industries Risk. Some Utilities, Infrastructure and Power Opportunities companies are focused on developing new technologies and are strongly influenced by technological changes. Product development efforts by Utilities, Infrastructure and Power Opportunities companies may not result in viable commercial products. Utilities, Infrastructure and Power Opportunities companies may bear high research and development costs, which can limit their ability to maintain operations during periods of organizational growth or instability. Some Utilities, Infrastructure and Power Opportunities issuers may be in the early stages of operations and may have limited operating histories and smaller market capitalizations on average than companies in other sectors. As a result of these and other factors, the value of investments in such Utilities, Infrastructure and Power Opportunities issuers may be considerably more volatile than that in more established segments of the economy.

Regional Risk. Should an event that impairs assets or facilities occur in a region where a Utilities, Infrastructure and Power Opportunities issuer operates, the performance of such Utilities, Infrastructure and Power Opportunities company may be adversely affected. As many infrastructure assets are not moveable, such an event may have enduring effects on the Utilities, Infrastructure and Power Opportunities company that are difficult to mitigate.

Strategic Asset Risk. Utilities, Infrastructure and Power Opportunities companies may control significant strategic assets. Strategic assets are assets that have a national or regional profile, and may have monopolistic characteristics. Given the national or regional profile and/or their irreplaceable nature, strategic assets may constitute a higher risk target for terrorist acts or adverse political actions.

Environmental Risk. Utilities, Infrastructure and Power Opportunities companies can have substantial environmental impacts. Ordinary operations or operational accidents may cause major environmental damage, which could cause Utilities, Infrastructure and Power Opportunities companies significant financial distress. For example, an accidental release from wells or gathering pipelines could subject them to substantial liabilities for environmental cleanup and restoration costs, claims made by neighboring landowners and other third parties for personal injury and property damage, and fines or penalties for related violations of environmental laws or regulations. Utilities, Infrastructure and Power Opportunities companies may not be able to recover these costs from insurance. Environmental regulations to which Utilities, Infrastructure and Power Opportunities companies may be subject include, for example: (i) the federal Clean Air Act and comparable state laws and regulations that impose obligations related to air emissions, (ii) the federal Clean Water Act and comparable state laws and regulations that impose obligations related to discharges of pollutants into regulated bodies of water, (iii) the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (“RCRA”) and comparable state laws and regulations that impose requirements for the handling and disposal of waste from facilities; and (iv) the federal Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act of 1980 (“CERCLA”), also known as “Superfund,” and comparable state laws and regulations that regulate the cleanup of hazardous substances. Failure to comply with these laws and regulations may trigger a variety of administrative, civil and criminal enforcement measures,

 

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including the assessment of monetary penalties, the imposition of remedial requirements, and the issuance of orders enjoining future operations. Certain environmental statutes, including RCRA, CERCLA, the federal Oil Pollution Act and analogous state laws and regulations, impose strict, joint and several liability for costs required to clean up and restore sites where hazardous substances have been disposed of or otherwise released. Voluntary initiatives and mandatory controls have been adopted or are being discussed both in the United States and worldwide to reduce emissions of “greenhouse gases” such as carbon dioxide, a by-product of burning fossil fuels, and methane, the major constituent of natural gas, which many scientists and policymakers believe contribute to global climate change. These measures and future measures could result in increased costs to certain companies in which the Trust may invest to operate and maintain facilities and administer and manage a greenhouse gas emissions program and may reduce demand for fuels that generate greenhouse gases and that are managed or produced by companies in which the Trust may invest. In the wake of a Supreme Court decision holding that the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) has some legal authority to deal with climate change under the Clean Air Act, the EPA and the Department of Transportation jointly wrote regulations to cut gasoline use and control greenhouse gas emissions from cars and trucks. These measures, and other programs addressing greenhouse gas emissions, could reduce demand for energy or raise prices, which may adversely affect the total return of certain of the Trust’s investments. Community and environmental groups may protest the development or operation of assets or facilities of Utilities, Infrastructure and Power Opportunities companies, and these protests may induce government action to the detriment of Utilities, Infrastructure and Power Opportunities companies.

Political and Expropriation Risk. Governments may attempt to influence the operations, revenue, profitability or contractual relationships of Utilities, Infrastructure and Power Opportunities issuers or expropriate their assets. The public interest aspect of the products and services provided by Utilities, Infrastructure and Power Opportunities companies means political oversight will remain pervasive.

Operational Risk. The long-term profitability of Utilities, Infrastructure and Power Opportunities companies is partly dependent on the efficient operation and maintenance of their assets and facilities. Utilities, Infrastructure and Power Opportunities issuers may be subject to service interruptions due to environmental disasters, operational accidents or terrorist activities, which may impair their ability to maintain payments of dividends or interest to investors. The destruction or loss of an asset or facility may have a major adverse impact on a Utilities, Infrastructure and Power Opportunities issuer. Failure by the Utilities, Infrastructure and Power Opportunities issuer to operate and maintain their assets and facilities appropriately or to carry appropriate, enforceable insurance could lead to significant losses.

Regulatory Risk. Many Utilities, Infrastructure and Power Opportunities companies are subject to significant federal, state and local government regulation, which may include how facilities are constructed, maintained and operated, environmental and safety controls and the prices they may charge for the products and services they provide. 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. There are substantial differences among the regulatory practices and policies of various jurisdictions, and any given regulatory agency may make major shifts in policy from time to time. Stricter laws, regulations or enforcement policies could be enacted in the future which would likely increase compliance costs and may adversely affect the operations and financial performance of Utilities, Infrastructure and Power Opportunities issuers. Regulators that have the power to set or modify the prices Utilities, Infrastructure and Power Opportunities issuers can charge for their products or services can have a significant impact on the profitability of such Utilities, Infrastructure and Power Opportunities issuers. The returns on regulated assets or services are usually stable during regulated periods, but may be volatile during any period that rates are reset by the regulator. Utilities, Infrastructure and Power Opportunities companies may be adversely affected by additional regulatory requirements enacted in response to environmental disasters, which may impose additional costs or limit certain operations by such companies operating in various sectors. Foreign Utilities, Infrastructure and Power Opportunities companies are also subject to regulation, although such regulations may or may not be comparable to those in the United States. Foreign Utilities, Infrastructure and Power Opportunities companies

 

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may be more heavily regulated by their respective governments than utilities in the United States and, as in the United States, generally are required to seek government approval for rate increases. In addition, many foreign Utilities, Infrastructure and Power Opportunities companies use fuels that may cause more pollution than those used in the United States, which may require such utilities to invest in pollution control equipment to meet any proposed pollution restrictions. Foreign regulatory systems vary from country to country and may evolve in ways different from regulation in the United States.

Interest Rate Risk. Due to the high costs of developing, constructing, operating and distributing infrastructure assets, many Utilities, Infrastructure and Power Opportunities companies are highly leveraged. As such, movements in the level of interest rates may affect the returns from these assets. The structure and nature of the debt is therefore an important element to consider in assessing the interest rate risk posed by Utilities, Infrastructure and Power Opportunities issuers. In particular, the type of facilities, maturity profile, rates being paid, fixed versus variable components and covenants in place (including how they impact returns to equity holders) are crucial factors in assessing any the degree of interest rate risk.

Inflation Risk. Many Utilities, Infrastructure and Power Opportunities companies may have fixed income streams and, therefore, be unable to increase their dividends during inflationary periods. The market value of Utilities, Infrastructure and Power Opportunities companies may decline in value in times of higher inflation rates. The prices that a Utilities, Infrastructure and Power Opportunities company is able to charge users of its assets may not always be linked to inflation. In this case, changes in the rate of inflation may affect the forecast profitability of the Utilities, Infrastructure and Power Opportunities.

Supply and Demand Risk. Utilities, Infrastructure and Power Opportunities companies may be subject to supply and demand fluctuations in the markets they serve which will be impacted by a wide range of factors. A decrease in the production of natural gas, natural gas liquids, crude oil, coal or other energy commodities, a decrease in the volume of such commodities available for transportation, mining, processing, storage or distribution, or a sustained decline in demand for such commodities, may adversely impact the financial performance of Utilities, Infrastructure and Power Opportunities companies. Factors affecting the volume of production of energy commodities and the volume of energy commodities available for transportation, storage, processing or distribution include depletion of resources; depressed commodity prices; catastrophic events; labor relations; increased environmental or other governmental regulation; equipment malfunctions and maintenance difficulties; import volumes; international politics; policies of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries; and increased competition from alternative energy sources. Alternatively, a decline in demand for energy commodities could result from factors such as adverse economic conditions (especially in key energy-consuming countries); increased taxation; weather conditions; increased environmental or other governmental regulation; increased fuel economy; increased energy conservation or use of alternative energy sources; legislation intended to promote the use of alternative energy sources; or increased commodity prices.

Customer Risk. The revenue of many Utilities, Infrastructure and Power Opportunities companies may be impacted by the number of users who use the products or services produced by the Utilities, Infrastructure and Power Opportunities company. A significant decrease in the number of users may negatively impact the profitability of a Utilities, Infrastructure and Power Opportunities company. Infrastructure companies can have a narrow customer base. Should these customers or counterparties fail to pay their contractual obligations, significant revenues could cease and not be replaceable. This would affect the profitability of the infrastructure company and the value of any securities or other instruments it has issued.

Project and Financing Risk. To the extent the Trust invests in Utilities, Infrastructure and Power Opportunities companies which are dependent to a significant extent on new infrastructure projects, the Trust may be exposed to the risk that the project will not be completed within budget, within the agreed time frame or to agreed specifications. From time to time, infrastructure companies may encounter difficulties in obtaining financing for construction programs during inflationary periods. Issuers experiencing difficulties in financing construction programs may also experience lower profitability, which can result in reduced income to the Trust.

 

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Weather and Natural Disasters Risk. Weather plays a role in the seasonality of some Utilities, Infrastructure and Power Opportunities companies’ cash flows. Although most Utilities, Infrastructure and Power Opportunities companies that are subject to weather risk can reasonably predict seasonal weather demand based on normal weather patterns, extreme weather conditions demonstrate that no amount of preparation can protect an Utilities, Infrastructure and Power Opportunities company from the unpredictability of the weather. Natural disaster risks, such as earthquakes, flood, lightning, hurricanes and wind, are risks facing certain Utilities, Infrastructure and Power Opportunities companies. The damage done by extreme weather or natural disasters also may serve to increase many Utilities, Infrastructure and Power Opportunities companies insurance premiums.

Corporate Bonds Risk

The market value of a corporate bond generally may be expected to rise and fall inversely with interest rates. The market value of intermediate and longer term corporate bonds is generally more sensitive to changes in interest rates than is the market value of shorter term corporate bonds. The market value of a corporate bond also may be affected by factors directly related to the issuer, such as investors’ perceptions of the creditworthiness of the issuer, the issuer’s financial performance, perceptions of the issuer in the market place, performance of management of the issuer, the issuer’s capital structure and use of financial leverage and demand for the issuer’s goods and services. Certain risks associated with investments in corporate bonds are described elsewhere in this Prospectus in further detail, including under “Risks—Inflation Risk” and “Risks—Deflation Risk.” There is a risk that the issuers of corporate bonds may not be able to meet their obligations on interest or principal payments at the time called for by an instrument. Corporate bonds of below investment grade quality are often high risk and have speculative characteristics and may be particularly susceptible to adverse issuer-specific developments.

Unrated Securities Risk

Because the Trust may purchase securities that are not rated by any rating organization, the Advisors may, after assessing their credit quality, internally assign ratings to certain of those securities in categories similar to those of rating organizations. Some unrated securities may not have an active trading market or may be difficult to value, which means the Trust might have difficulty selling them promptly at an acceptable price. To the extent that the Trust invests in unrated securities, the Trust’s ability to achieve its investment objective will be more dependent on the Advisors’ credit analysis than would be the case when the Trust invests in rated securities.

Dividend Risk

Historically, Utilities, Infrastructure and Power Opportunities companies have generally paid dividends on their equity securities. However, dividends on common stocks are not fixed but are declared at the discretion of an issuer’s board of directors. There is no guarantee that the issuers of the common stocks in which the Trust invests will declare dividends in the future or that if declared they will remain at current levels or increase over time. As described further in “Tax Matters,” “qualified dividend income” received by the Trust and passed through to shareholders will generally be eligible for the reduced tax rates applicable to long-term capital gains realized by individuals. There is no assurance as to what portion of the Trust’s distributions will constitute qualified dividend income.

Inflation Risk

Inflation risk is the risk that the value of assets or income from investment will be worth less in the future, as inflation decreases the value of money. As inflation increases, the real value of the common shares and distributions on those shares can decline. In addition, during any periods of rising inflation, interest rates on any borrowings by the Trust would likely increase, which would tend to further reduce returns to the holders of common shares.

 

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Deflation Risk

Deflation risk is the risk that prices throughout the economy decline over time, which may have an adverse effect on the market valuation of companies, their assets and their revenues. In addition, deflation may have an adverse effect on the creditworthiness of issuers and may make issuer default more likely, which may result in a decline in the value of the Trust’s portfolio.

Swaps Risk

Swaps are a type of derivative. Swap agreements involve the risk that the party with which the Trust has entered into the swap will default on its obligation to pay the Trust and the risk that the Trust will not be able to meet its obligations to pay the other party to the agreement. In order to seek to hedge the value of the Trust’s portfolio, to hedge against increases in the Trust’s cost associated with interest payments on any outstanding borrowings or to seek to increase the Trust’s return, the Trust may enter into swaps, including interest rate swap, total return swap (sometimes referred to as a “contract for difference”) and/or credit default swap transactions. In interest rate swap transactions, there is a risk that yields will move in the direction opposite of the direction anticipated by the Trust, which would cause the Trust to make payments to its counterparty in the transaction that could adversely affect Trust performance. In addition to the risks applicable to swaps generally (including counterparty risk, high volatility, illiquidity risk and credit risk), credit default swap transactions involve special risks because they are difficult to value, are highly susceptible to liquidity and credit risk, and generally pay a return to the party that has paid the premium only in the event of an actual default by the issuer of the underlying obligation (as opposed to a credit downgrade or other indication of financial difficulty).

Historically, swap transactions have been individually negotiated non-standardized transactions entered into in OTC markets and have not been subject to the same type of government regulation as exchange-traded instruments. However, since the global financial crisis, the OTC derivatives markets have become subject to comprehensive statutes and regulations. In particular, in the United States, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 (the “Dodd-Frank Act”), signed into law by President Obama on July 21, 2010, requires that certain derivatives with U.S. persons must be executed on a regulated market and a substantial portion of OTC derivatives must be submitted for clearing to regulated clearinghouses. As a result, swap transactions entered into by the Trust may become subject to various requirements applicable to swaps under the Dodd-Frank Act, including clearing, exchange-execution, reporting and recordkeeping requirements, which may make it more difficult and costly for the Trust to enter into swap transactions and may also render certain strategies in which the Trust might otherwise engage impossible or so costly that they will no longer be economical to implement. Furthermore, the number of counterparties that may be willing to enter into swap transactions with the Trust may also be limited if the swap transactions with the Trust are subject to the swap regulation under the Dodd-Frank Act.

Credit default and total return swap agreements may effectively add leverage to the Trust’s portfolio because, in addition to its Managed Assets, the Trust would be subject to investment exposure on the notional amount of the swap. Total return swap agreements are subject to the risk that a counterparty will default on its payment obligations to the Trust thereunder. The Trust is not required to enter into swap transactions for hedging purposes or to enhance income or gain and may choose not to do so. In addition, the swaps market is subject to a changing regulatory environment. It is possible that regulatory or other developments in the swaps market could adversely affect the Trust’s ability to successfully use swaps.

Defensive Investing Risk

For defensive purposes, the Trust may allocate assets into cash or short-term fixed-income securities without limitation. In doing so, the Trust may succeed in avoiding losses but may otherwise fail to achieve its investment objective. Further, the value of short-term fixed-income securities may be affected by changing interest rates and by changes in credit ratings of the investments. If the Trust holds cash uninvested it will be subject to the credit risk of the depository institution holding the cash.

 

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Risk Associated with Recent Market Events

In response to the financial crisis and recent market events , the United States and other governments and the Federal Reserve and certain foreign central banks have taken steps to support financial markets. Policy and legislative changes by the U.S. government and the Federal Reserve to assist in the ongoing support of financial markets, both domestically and in other countries, are changing many aspects of financial regulation. The impact of these changes on the markets, and the practical implications for market participants, may not be fully known for some time. In some countries where economic conditions are recovering, such countries are nevertheless perceived as still fragile. Withdrawal of government support, failure of efforts in response to the crisis, or investor perception that such efforts are not succeeding, could adversely impact the value and liquidity of certain investments. The severity or duration of adverse economic conditions may also be affected by policy changes made by governments or quasi-governmental organizations, including changes in tax laws and the imposition of trade barriers. The impact of new financial regulation legislation on the markets and the practical implications for market participants may not be fully known for some time. Changes to the Federal Reserve policy, including with respect to certain interest rates, may affect the value, volatility and liquidity of dividend and interest paying securities. Regulatory changes are causing some financial services companies to exit long-standing lines of business, resulting in dislocations for other market participants.

In addition, the current contentious domestic political environment, as well as political and diplomatic events in the United States and abroad, such as presidential elections in the United States or the U.S. government’s inability at times to agree on a long-term budget and deficit reduction plan, has in the past resulted, and may in the future result, in adverse consequences (including a government shutdown) to the U.S. regulatory landscape, the general market environment and/or investment sentiment, which could negatively impact the Trust’s investments and operations. Such adverse consequences may affect investor and/or consumer confidence and may adversely impact financial markets and the broader economy, potentially to a significant degree. In recent years, some countries, including the United States, have adopted and/or are considering the adoption of more protectionist trade policies and/or a move away from tight financial industry regulations, including but not limited to, direct capital infusions into companies, new monetary programs and dramatically lower interest rates, that were previously adopted in response to serious economic disruptions. The exact shape of these policies is still being considered, but the equity and debt markets may react strongly to expectations of change, which could increase volatility, especially if the market’s expectations are not borne out and an unexpected or sudden reversal of these policies, could increase volatility in securities markets, which could adversely affect the Trust’s investments or prevent the Trust from executing on advantageous investment opportunities in a timely manner. A rise in protectionist trade policies, and the possibility of changes to some international trade agreements, could affect the economies of many nations in ways that cannot necessarily be foreseen at the present time. In addition, geopolitical and other risks, including environmental and public health, may add to instability in world economies and markets generally. Economies and financial markets throughout the world are becoming increasingly interconnected. As a result, whether or not the Trust invests in securities of issuers located in or with significant exposure to countries experiencing economic, political and/or financial difficulties, the value and liquidity of the Trust’s investments may be negatively affected by such events.

An outbreak of respiratory disease caused by a novel coronavirus was first detected in China in December 2019 and developed into a global pandemic. This pandemic has resulted in closing borders, enhanced health screenings, healthcare service preparation and delivery, quarantines, cancellations, disruptions to supply chains and customer activity, as well as general concern and uncertainty. Disruptions in markets can adversely impact the Trust and its investments. Further, certain local markets have been or may be subject to closures, and there can be no certainty regarding whether trading will continue in any local markets in which the Trust may invest, when any resumption of trading will occur or, once such markets resume trading, whether they will face further closures. Any suspension of trading in markets in which the Trust invests will have an impact on the Trust and its investments and will impact the Trust’s ability to purchase or sell securities in such market. The impact of this pandemic has adversely affected the economies of many nations and the entire global economy and may impact individual issuers and capital markets in ways that cannot be foreseen. Public health crises caused by the

 

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pandemic may exacerbate other preexisting political, social and economic risks in certain countries or globally. Other infectious illness outbreaks that may arise in the future could have similar or other unforeseen effects. The duration of this pandemic or others and their effects cannot be determined with certainty.

EMU and Redenomination Risk

As the European debt crisis progressed, the possibility of one or more Eurozone countries exiting the EMU, or even the collapse of the Euro as a common currency, arose, creating significant volatility at times in currency and financial markets generally. The effects of the collapse of the Euro, or of the exit of one or more countries from the EMU, on the U.S. and global economy and securities markets are impossible to predict and any such events could have a significant adverse impact on the value and risk profile of the Trust’s portfolio. Any partial or complete dissolution of the EMU could have significant adverse effects on currency and financial markets, and on the values of the Trust’s portfolio investments. If one or more EMU countries were to stop using the Euro as its primary currency, the Trust’s investments in such countries may be redenominated into a different or newly adopted currency. As a result, the value of those investments could decline significantly and unpredictably. In addition, securities or other investments that are redenominated may be subject to foreign currency risk, illiquidity risk and valuation risk to a greater extent than similar investments currently denominated in Euros. To the extent a currency used for redenomination purposes is not specified in respect of certain EMU-related investments, or should the Euro cease to be used entirely, the currency in which such investments are denominated may be unclear, making such investments particularly difficult to value or dispose of. The Trust may incur additional expenses to the extent it is required to seek judicial or other clarification of the denomination or value of such securities.

Market Disruption and Geopolitical Risk

The occurrence of events similar to those in recent years, such as the aftermath of the war in Iraq, instability in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Egypt, Libya, Syria, Russia, Ukraine and the Middle East, new and ongoing epidemics and pandemics of infectious diseases and other global health events, natural/environmental disasters, terrorist attacks in the United States and around the world, social and political discord, debt crises (such as the Greek crisis), sovereign debt downgrades, increasingly strained relations between the United States and a number of foreign countries, including traditional allies, such as certain European countries, and historical adversaries, such as North Korea, Iran, China and Russia, and the international community generally, new and continued political unrest in various countries, such as Venezuela and Spain, the exit or potential exit of one or more countries from the EU or the EMU, continued changes in the balance of political power among and within the branches of the U.S. government, among others, may result in market volatility, may have long term effects on the U.S. and worldwide financial markets, and may cause further economic uncertainties in the United States and worldwide.

Russia launched a large-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022. The extent and duration of the military action, resulting sanctions and resulting future market disruptions, including declines in its stock markets and the value of the ruble against the U.S. dollar, in the region are impossible to predict, but could be significant. Any such disruptions caused by Russian military action or other actions (including cyberattacks and espionage) or resulting actual and threatened responses to such activity, including purchasing and financing restrictions, boycotts or changes in consumer or purchaser preferences, sanctions, tariffs or cyberattacks on the Russian government, Russian companies or Russian individuals, including politicians, could have a severe adverse effect on Russia and the European region, including significant negative impacts on the Russian economy, the European economy and the markets for certain securities and commodities, such as oil and natural gas, and may likely have collateral impacts on such sectors globally as well as other sectors. How long such military action and related events will last cannot be predicted.

China and the United States have each recently imposed tariffs on the other country’s products. These actions may trigger a significant reduction in international trade, the oversupply of certain manufactured goods, substantial price reductions of goods and possible failure of individual companies and/or large segments of

 

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China’s export industry, which could have a negative impact on the Trust’s performance. U.S. companies that source material and goods from China and those that make large amounts of sales in China would be particularly vulnerable to an escalation of trade tensions. Uncertainty regarding the outcome of the trade tensions and the potential for a trade war could cause the U.S. dollar to decline against safe haven currencies, such as the Japanese yen and the euro. Events such as these and their consequences are difficult to predict and it is unclear whether further tariffs may be imposed or other escalating actions may be taken in the future.

On January 31, 2020, the United Kingdom (“UK”) officially withdrew from the EU (commonly known as “Brexit”). The UK and EU reached a preliminary trade agreement, which became effective on January 1, 2021, regarding the terms of their future trading relationship relating principally to the trading of goods; however, negotiations are ongoing for matters not covered by the agreement, such as the trade of financial services. Due to uncertainty of the current political environment, it is not possible to foresee the form or nature of the future trading relationship between the UK and the EU. The longer term economic, legal, political and social framework to be put in place between the UK and the EU remains unclear and the ongoing political and economic uncertainty and periods of exacerbated volatility in both the UK and in wider European markets may continue for some time. In particular, Brexit may lead to a call for similar referendums in other European jurisdictions which may cause increased economic volatility in the European and global markets and may destabilize some or all of the other EU member countries. This uncertainty may have an adverse effect on the economy generally and on the ability of the Trust and its investments to execute their respective strategies, to receive attractive returns and/or to exit certain investments at an advantageous time or price. In particular, currency volatility may mean that the returns of the Trust and its investments are adversely affected by market movements and may make it more difficult, or more expensive, if the Trust elects to execute currency hedges. Potential decline in the value of the British Pound and/or the Euro against other currencies, along with the potential downgrading of the UK’s sovereign credit rating, may also have an impact on the performance of portfolio companies or investments located in the UK or Europe. In light of the above, no definitive assessment can currently be made regarding the impact that Brexit will have on the Trust, its investments or its organization more generally.

Cybersecurity incidents affecting particular companies or industries may adversely affect the economies of particular countries, regions or parts of the world in which the Trust invests.

The occurrence of any of these above events could have a significant adverse impact on the value and risk profile of the Trust’s portfolio. The Trust does not know how long the securities markets may be affected by similar events and cannot predict the effects of similar events in the future on the U.S. economy and securities markets. There can be no assurance that similar events and other market disruptions will not have other material and adverse implications.

Regulation and Government Intervention Risk

In recent years, the U.S. Government and the Federal Reserve, as well as foreign governments throughout the world, have taken unprecedented actions designed to support certain financial institutions and segments of the financial markets that experienced extreme volatility, such as implementing stimulus packages, providing liquidity in fixed income, commercial paper and other markets, providing tax breaks, direct capital infusions into companies and dramatically lowering interest rates, among other actions. Such actions may have unintended and adverse consequences, such as causing or contributing to an increased risk of inflation and an unexpected or sudden reversal of these policies, or the ineffectiveness of such policies, may increase volatility in securities markets or prevent the Trust from executing on advantageous investment opportunities in a timely manner and negatively impact the Trust’s investments. See “Inflation Risk.” The reduction or withdrawal of Federal Reserve or other U.S. or non-U.S. governmental support could negatively affect financial markets generally and reduce the value and liquidity of certain securities. Additionally, with the cessation of certain other market support activities, such as those mentioned above, the Trust may face a heightened level of interest rate risk as a result of a rise or increased volatility in interest rates.

 

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Federal, state, and other governments, their regulatory agencies or self-regulatory organizations may take actions that affect the regulation of the issuers in which the Trust invests in ways that are unforeseeable. Legislation or regulation may also change the way in which the Trust is regulated. Such legislation or regulation could limit or preclude the Trust’s ability to achieve its investment objective.

In the aftermath of the global financial crisis, there appears to be a renewed popular, political and judicial focus on finance related consumer protection. Financial institution practices are also subject to greater scrutiny and criticism generally. In the case of transactions between financial institutions and the general public, there may be a greater tendency toward strict interpretation of terms and legal rights in favor of the consuming public, particularly where there is a real or perceived disparity in risk allocation and/or where consumers are perceived as not having had an opportunity to exercise informed consent to the transaction. In the event of conflicting interests between retail investors holding common shares of a closed-end investment company such as the Trust and a large financial institution, a court may similarly seek to strictly interpret terms and legal rights in favor of retail investors.

The Trust may be affected by governmental action in ways that are not foreseeable, and there is a possibility that such actions could have a significant adverse effect on the Trust and its ability to achieve its investment objective.

Investment Company Act Regulations

The Trust is a registered closed-end management investment company and as such is subject to regulations under the Investment Company Act. Generally speaking, any contract or provision thereof that is made, or where performance involves a violation of the Investment Company Act or any rule or regulation thereunder is unenforceable by either party unless a court finds otherwise.

Regulation as a “Commodity Pool”

The CFTC subjects advisers to registered investment companies to regulation by the CFTC if a fund that is advised by the investment adviser either (i) invests, directly or indirectly, more than a prescribed level of its liquidation value in CFTC-regulated futures, options and swaps (“CFTC Derivatives”), or (ii) markets itself as providing investment exposure to such instruments. To the extent the Trust uses CFTC Derivatives, it intends to do so below such prescribed levels and will not market itself as a “commodity pool” or a vehicle for trading such instruments. Accordingly, the Advisor has claimed an exclusion from the definition of the term “commodity pool operator” under the Commodity Exchange Act (“CEA”) pursuant to Rule 4.5 under the CEA. The Advisor is not, therefore, subject to registration or regulation as a “commodity pool operator” under the CEA in respect of the Trust.

Failures of Futures Commission Merchants and Clearing Organizations Risk

The Trust is required to deposit funds to margin open positions in cleared derivative instruments (both futures and swaps) with a clearing broker registered as a “futures commission merchant” (“FCM”). The CEA requires an FCM to segregate all funds received from customers with respect to any orders for the purchase or sale of U.S. domestic futures contracts and cleared swaps from the FCM’s proprietary assets. Similarly, the CEA requires each FCM to hold in a separate secure account all funds received from customers with respect to any orders for the purchase or sale of foreign futures contracts and segregate any such funds from the funds received with respect to domestic futures contracts. However, all funds and other property received by an FCM from its customers are held by an FCM on a commingled basis in an omnibus account and amounts in excess of assets posted to the clearing organization may be invested by an FCM in certain instruments permitted under the applicable regulation. There is a risk that assets deposited by the Trust with any FCM as margin for futures contracts or commodity options may, in certain circumstances, be used to satisfy losses of other clients of the Trust’s FCM. In addition, the assets of the Trust posted as margin against both swaps and futures contracts may not be fully protected in the event of the FCM’s bankruptcy.

 

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Legal, Tax and Regulatory Risks

Legal, tax and regulatory changes could occur that may have material adverse effects on the Trust. For example, the regulatory and tax environment for derivative instruments in which the Trust may participate is evolving, and such changes in the regulation or taxation of derivative instruments may have material adverse effects on the value of derivative instruments held by the Trust and the ability of the Trust to pursue its investment strategies.

To qualify for the favorable U.S. federal income tax treatment generally accorded to RICs, the Trust must, among other things, derive in each taxable year at least 90% of its gross income from certain prescribed sources and distribute for each taxable year at least 90% of its “investment company taxable income” (generally, ordinary income plus the excess, if any, of net short-term capital gain over net long-term capital loss). If for any taxable year the Trust does not qualify as a RIC, all of its taxable income for that year (including its net capital gain) would be subject to tax at regular corporate rates without any deduction for distributions to shareholders, and such distributions would be taxable as ordinary dividends to the extent of the Trust’s current and accumulated earnings and profits.

The Biden presidential administration has called for significant changes to U.S. fiscal, tax, trade, healthcare, immigration, foreign, and government regulatory policy. In this regard, there is significant uncertainty with respect to legislation, regulation and government policy at the federal level, as well as the state and local levels. Recent events have created a climate of heightened uncertainty and introduced new and difficult-to-quantify macroeconomic and political risks with potentially far-reaching implications. There has been a corresponding meaningful increase in the uncertainty surrounding interest rates, inflation, foreign exchange rates, trade volumes and fiscal and monetary policy. To the extent the U.S. Congress or the current presidential administration implements changes to U.S. policy, those changes may impact, among other things, the U.S. and global economy, international trade and relations, unemployment, immigration, corporate taxes, healthcare, the U.S. regulatory environment, inflation and other areas. Although the Trust cannot predict the impact, if any, of these changes to the Trust’s business, they could adversely affect the Trust’s business, financial condition, operating results and cash flows. Until the Trust knows what policy changes are made and how those changes impact the Trust’s business and the business of the Trust’s competitors over the long term, the Trust will not know if, overall, the Trust will benefit from them or be negatively affected by them.

The rules dealing with U.S. federal income taxation are constantly under review by persons involved in the legislative process and by the Internal Revenue Service and the U.S. Treasury Department. Revisions in U.S. federal tax laws and interpretations of these laws could adversely affect the tax consequences of your investment.

Potential Conflicts of Interest of the Advisor, Sub-Advisor and Others

The investment activities of BlackRock, Inc. (“BlackRock”), the ultimate parent company of the Advisors, and its affiliates (including BlackRock and its subsidiaries (collectively, the “Affiliates”)) in the management of, or their interest in, their own accounts and other accounts they manage, may present conflicts of interest that could disadvantage the Trust and its shareholders. BlackRock and its Affiliates provide investment management services to other funds and discretionary managed accounts that may follow investment programs similar to that of the Trust. Subject to the requirements of the Investment Company Act, BlackRock and its Affiliates intend to engage in such activities and may receive compensation from third parties for their services. None of BlackRock or its Affiliates are under any obligation to share any investment opportunity, idea or strategy with the Trust. As a result, BlackRock and its Affiliates may compete with the Trust for appropriate investment opportunities. The results of the Trust’s investment activities, therefore, may differ from those of an Affiliate or another account managed by an Affiliate and it is possible that the Trust could sustain losses during periods in which one or more Affiliates and other accounts achieve profits on their trading for proprietary or other accounts. BlackRock has adopted policies and procedures designed to address potential conflicts of interest. For additional information about potential conflicts of interest and the way in which BlackRock addresses such conflicts, please see “Conflicts of Interest” and “Management of the Trust—Portfolio Management—Potential Material Conflicts of Interest” in the SAI.

 

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Decision-Making Authority Risk

Investors have no authority to make decisions or to exercise business discretion on behalf of the Trust, except as set forth in the Trust’s governing documents. The authority for all such decisions is generally delegated to the Board, which in turn, has delegated the day-to-day management of the Trust’s investment activities to the Advisors, subject to oversight by the Board.

Management Risk

The Trust is subject to management risk because it is an actively managed investment portfolio. The Advisors and the individual portfolio managers will apply investment techniques and risk analyses in making investment decisions for the Trust, but there can be no guarantee that these will produce the desired results. The Trust may be subject to a relatively high level of management risk because the Trust may invest in derivative instruments, which may be highly specialized instruments that require investment techniques and risk analyses different from those associated with equities and bonds.

Reliance on the Advisors Risk

The Trust is dependent upon services and resources provided by the Advisors, and therefore the Advisors’ parent, BlackRock. The Advisors are not required to devote their full time to the business of the Trust and there is no guarantee or requirement that any investment professional or other employee of the Advisors will allocate a substantial portion of his or her time to the Trust. The loss of one or more individuals involved with the Advisors could have a material adverse effect on the performance or the continued operation of the Trust. For additional information on the Advisors and BlackRock, see “Management of the Trust—Investment Advisor and Sub-Advisor.”

Reliance on Service Providers Risk

The Trust must rely upon the performance of service providers to perform certain functions, which may include functions that are integral to the Trust’s operations and financial performance. Failure by any service provider to carry out its obligations to the Trust in accordance with the terms of its appointment, to exercise due care and skill or to perform its obligations to the Trust at all as a result of insolvency, bankruptcy or other causes could have a material adverse effect on the Trust’s performance and returns to shareholders. The termination of the Trust’s relationship with any service provider, or any delay in appointing a replacement for such service provider, could materially disrupt the business of the Trust and could have a material adverse effect on the Trust’s performance and returns to shareholders.

Information Technology Systems Risk

The Trust is dependent on the Advisors for certain management services as well as back-office functions. The Advisors depend on information technology systems in order to assess investment opportunities, strategies and markets and to monitor and control risks for the Trust. It is possible that a failure of some kind which causes disruptions to these information technology systems could materially limit the Advisors’ ability to adequately assess and adjust investments, formulate strategies and provide adequate risk control. Any such information technology-related difficulty could harm the performance of the Trust. Further, failure of the back-office functions of the Advisors to process trades in a timely fashion could prejudice the investment performance of the Trust.

Cyber Security Risk

With the increased use of technologies such as the Internet to conduct business, the Trust is susceptible to operational, information security and related risks. In general, cyber incidents can result from deliberate attacks

 

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or unintentional events. Cyber-attacks 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 Advisors and other service providers (including, but not limited to, fund accountants, custodians, transfer agents and administrators), and the issuers of securities in which the Trust invests, have the ability to cause disruptions and impact business operations, potentially resulting in financial losses, interference with the Trust’s ability to calculate its NAV, impediments to trading, the inability of shareholders to transact business, violations of applicable privacy and other laws, regulatory fines, penalties, reputational damage, reimbursement or other compensation costs, or additional compliance costs. In addition, substantial costs may be incurred in order to prevent any cyber incidents in the future. While the Trust 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. Furthermore, the Trust cannot control the cyber security plans and systems put in place by service providers to the Trust and issuers in which the Trust invests. As a result, the Trust or its shareholders could be negatively impacted.

Misconduct of Employees and of Service Providers Risk

Misconduct or misrepresentations by employees of the Advisors or the Trust’s service providers could cause significant losses to the Trust. Employee misconduct may include binding the Trust to transactions that exceed authorized limits or present unacceptable risks and unauthorized trading activities, concealing unsuccessful trading activities (which, in any case, may result in unknown and unmanaged risks or losses) or making misrepresentations regarding any of the foregoing. Losses could also result from actions by the Trust’s service providers, including, without limitation, failing to recognize trades and misappropriating assets. In addition, employees and service providers may improperly use or disclose confidential information, which could result in litigation or serious financial harm, including limiting the Trust’s business prospects or future marketing activities. Despite the Advisors’ due diligence efforts, misconduct and intentional misrepresentations may be undetected or not fully comprehended, thereby potentially undermining the Advisors’ due diligence efforts. As a result, no assurances can be given that the due diligence performed by the Advisors will identify or prevent any such misconduct.

Special Risks for Holders of Rights

There is a risk that performance of the Trust may result in the common shares purchasable upon exercise of the rights being less attractive to investors at the conclusion of the subscription period. This may reduce or eliminate the value of the rights. Investors who receive rights may find that there is no market to sell rights they do not wish to exercise. If investors exercise only a portion of the rights, common shares may trade at less favorable prices than larger offerings for similar securities.

Portfolio Turnover Risk

The Trust’s annual portfolio turnover rate may vary greatly from year to year, as well as within a given year. Portfolio turnover rate is not considered a limiting factor in the execution of investment decisions for the Trust. A higher portfolio turnover rate results in correspondingly greater brokerage commissions and other transactional expenses that are borne by the Trust. High portfolio turnover may result in an increased realization of net short-term capital gains by the Trust which, when distributed to common shareholders, will be taxable as ordinary income. Additionally, in a declining market, portfolio turnover may create realized capital losses.

Not a Complete Investment Program

The Trust is intended for investors seeking a high level of total return, through a combination of current income, current gains and long-term capital appreciation. The Trust is not meant to provide a vehicle for those

 

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who wish to exploit short-term swings in the stock market and is intended for long-term investors. An investment in shares of the Trust should not be considered a complete investment program. Each shareholder should take into account the Trust’s investment objective as well as the shareholder’s other investments when considering an investment in the Trust.

Anti-Takeover Provisions Risk

The Trust’s Agreement and Declaration of Trust and Bylaws include provisions that could limit the ability of other entities or persons to acquire control of the Trust or convert the Trust to open-end status or to change the composition of the Board. Such provisions could limit the ability of shareholders to sell their shares at a premium over prevailing market prices by discouraging a third party from seeking to obtain control of the Trust. See “Certain Provisions in the Agreement and Declaration of Trust and Bylaws.”

HOW THE TRUST MANAGES RISK

Investment Limitations

The Trust has adopted certain investment limitations designed to limit investment risk. Some of these limitations are fundamental and thus may not be changed without the approval of the holders of a majority of the outstanding common shares. See “Investment Objective and Policies—Investment Restrictions” in the SAI.

The restrictions and other limitations set forth throughout this Prospectus and in the SAI apply only at the time of purchase of securities and will not be considered violated unless an excess or deficiency occurs or exists immediately after and as a result of the acquisition of securities.

Strategic Transactions

The Trust may use certain Strategic Transactions designed to limit the risk of price fluctuations of securities and to preserve capital. These Strategic Transactions include using swaps, financial futures contracts, options on financial futures or options based on either an index of long-term securities, or on securities whose prices, in the opinion of the Advisors, correlate with the prices of the Trust’s investments. There can be no assurance that Strategic Transactions will be used or used effectively to limit risk, and Strategic Transactions may be subject to their own risks.

MANAGEMENT OF THE TRUST

Trustees and Officers

The Board is responsible for the overall management of the Trust, including supervision of the duties performed by the Advisors. There are eleven Trustees. A majority of the Trustees are Independent Trustees of the Trust. The name and business address of the Trustees and officers of the Trust and their principal occupations and other affiliations during the past five years are set forth under “Management of the Trust” in the SAI.

Investment Advisor and Sub-Advisor

BlackRock Advisors acts as the Trust’s investment adviser. BlackRock Advisors is responsible for the management of the Trust’s portfolio and provides the necessary personnel, facilities, equipment and certain other services necessary to the operation of the Trust. BlackRock International Limited acts as the Trust’s sub-adviser and will perform certain of the day-to-day investment management of the Trust. BlackRock Advisors, located at 100 Bellevue Parkway, Wilmington, Delaware 19809, and BlackRock International Limited, located at Exchange Place One, 1 Semple St., Edinburgh, EH3 8BL, United Kingdom, are wholly owned subsidiaries of BlackRock.

 

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BlackRock is one of the world’s largest publicly-traded investment management firms. As of December 31, 2021, BlackRock’s assets under management were approximately $10.010 trillion. BlackRock has over 30 years of experience managing closed-end products and, as of December 31, 2021, advised a registered closed-end family of 54 active exchange-traded funds with approximately $61.9 billion in managed assets.

BlackRock is independent in ownership and governance, with no single majority shareholder and a majority of independent directors.

Investment Philosophy

The portfolio management team’s investment philosophy is centered on offering a stable foundation for investors to protect and grow their assets. The portfolio management team believes in the total return potential and relative downside protection of dividend-paying securities, as they offer the prospect of a consistent revenue stream to buffer against market volatility. The portfolio management team also believes that the potential for downside protection combined with upside participation typically leads to strong long-term total returns and preservation of capital.

Portfolio Managers

The members of the portfolio management team who are primarily responsible for the day-to-day management of the Trust’s portfolio are as follows:

Kyle G. McClements, CFA, Managing Director, is Head of the Equity Derivatives team within BlackRock’s Fundamental Equity division. He is a portfolio manager for equity derivatives overlay and hedging assignments, including BlackRock’s closed-end funds. Mr. McClements’ service with the firm dates back to 2004, including his years with State Street Research & Management (SSRM), which merged with BlackRock in 2005. At SSRM, Mr. McClements was a Vice President and senior derivatives strategist responsible for equity derivative strategy and trading in the Quantitative Equity Group at State Street Research. Prior to joining State Street Research in 2004, Mr. McClements was a senior trader/analyst at Deutsche Asset Management, responsible for derivatives, equity program, technology and energy sector, and foreign exchange trading. Mr. McClements began his career in 1994 as a derivatives analyst with Donaldson Lufkin & Jenrette responsible for pricing and performance analytics for the derivatives trading desk.

Christopher M. Accettella, Director, is a member of the Equity Derivatives team within BlackRock’s Fundamental Active Equity division. He is a portfolio manager for equity derivatives overlay and hedging assignments, including BlackRock’s equity closed-end funds. Prior to joining BlackRock in 2005, Mr. Accettella was an institutional sales trader with American Technology Research. From 2001 to 2003, he was with Deutsche Asset Management where he was responsible for derivatives and program trading. Prior to that, he was a senior associate in the Pacific Basin Equity Group at Scudder Investments Singapore Limited. Mr. Accettella began his investment career in 1997 as a portfolio analyst in the European Equity group of Scudder Kemper Investments, Inc.

Alastair Bishop, Managing Director, is a member of the Natural Resources team within the BlackRock’s Fundamental Equity division. Mr. Bishop currently sits on BlackRock’s Renewable Power Investment Committee and the EMEA Investment Stewardship Oversight Committee. He has also represented BlackRock on several external initiatives related to the Energy Transition including the City of London’s Green Finance Initiative (2016-17) and the UK Government’s Capital Markets Climate Initiative (2013-14). Mr. Bishop joined BlackRock in 2010 from Piper Jaffray where he was a Senior Research Analyst covering Clean Technology. Prior to joining Piper Jaffray in 2009, he covered the Renewable Energy and Industrial sectors for 8 years at the European Investment Bank, Dresdner Kleinwort. Mr. Bishop earned a BSc honors degree in Economics from the University of Nottingham in 2001.

 

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The SAI provides additional information about other accounts managed by the portfolio management team, the compensation of each portfolio manager and the ownership of the Trust’s securities by each portfolio manager.

Investment Process

Investment themes are identified through top-down analysis of power and infrastructure markets. We examine the long term growth outlook for different segments of the market (e.g., renewable energy, energy efficiency), current and prospective regional regulatory structures, the relative pricing/competitiveness of alternative technologies and the scope for technical improvement. Within this, we seek differentiated sources of alpha and believe investing in the utilities, new power and infrastructure equities requires a flexible investment style.

Differentiated sources of returns include:

 

   

Growth potential – we seek investments in companies with long-term structural drivers for above market earnings growth

 

   

Relative valuation and re-rating potential – we analyze the valuations of companies and sub-sectors relative to each other and relative to their own histories as we seek to identify and exploit mispricing opportunities

 

   

Turnaround stories – we seek investments in companies that have fallen out of favor but have catalysts which we believe will see them return to favor

 

   

Long-term sustainable business models – we incorporate companies that have a strong portfolio of assets, which are not easily replicable, that are able to deliver consistent growth

These differentiated alpha sources are critical to delivering the distribution stability expected by our clients.

Investment Management Agreements

Pursuant to an investment management agreement between BlackRock Advisors and the Trust (the “Investment Management Agreement”), the Trust has agreed to pay BlackRock Advisors a management fee at an annual rate equal to 1.00% of the average daily value of the net assets of the Trust.

BlackRock Advisors, and not the Trust, pays an annual sub-advisory fee to the Sub-Advisor equal to a percentage of the management fee received by BlackRock Advisors from the Trust with respect to the average daily value of the Trust’s Managed Assets allocated to the Sub-Advisor.

A discussion regarding the basis for the approval of the Investment Management Agreement and the sub-investment advisory agreement by the Board is available in the Trust’s Semi-Annual Report to shareholders for the period ended June 30, 2021.

Except as otherwise described in this Prospectus, the Trust pays, in addition to the fees paid to the Advisor, all other costs and expenses of its operations, including compensation of its Trustees (other than those affiliated with the Advisor), custodian, leveraging expenses, transfer and dividend disbursing agent expenses, legal fees, rating agency fees, listing fees and expenses, expenses of independent auditors, expenses of repurchasing shares, expenses of preparing, printing and distributing shareholder reports, notices, proxy statements and reports to governmental agencies and taxes, if any.

The Trust and the Advisor have entered into the Fee Waiver Agreement, pursuant to which the Advisor has contractually agreed to waive the management fee with respect to any portion of the Trust’s assets attributable to investments in any equity and fixed-income mutual funds and ETFs managed by the Advisor or its affiliates that

 

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have a contractual fee, through June 30, 2023. In addition, pursuant to the Fee Waiver Agreement, the Advisor has contractually agreed to waive its management fees by the amount of investment advisory fees the Trust pays to the Advisor indirectly through its investment in money market funds advised by the Advisor or its affiliates, through June 30, 2023. The Fee Waiver Agreement may be continued from year to year thereafter, provided that such continuance is specifically approved by the Advisor and the Trust (including by a majority of the Trust’s Independent Trustees). Neither the Advisor nor the Trust is obligated to extend the Fee Waiver Agreement. The Fee Waiver Agreement may be terminated at any time, without the payment of any penalty, only by the Trust (upon the vote of a majority of the Independent Trustees or a majority of the outstanding voting securities of the Trust), upon 90 days’ written notice by the Trust to the Advisor.

Administration and Accounting Services

State Street Bank and Trust Company provides certain administration and accounting services to the Trust pursuant to an Administration and Fund Accounting Services Agreement (the “Administration Agreement”). Pursuant to the Administration Agreement, State Street Bank and Trust Company provides the Trust with, among other things, customary fund accounting services, including computing the Trust’s NAV and maintaining books, records and other documents relating to the Trust’s financial and portfolio transactions, and customary fund administration services, including assisting the Trust with regulatory filings, tax compliance and other oversight activities. For these and other services it provides to the Trust, State Street Bank and Trust Company is paid a monthly fee from the Trust at an annual rate ranging from 0.0075% to 0.015% of the Trust’s Managed Assets, along with an annual fixed fee ranging from $0 to $10,000 for the services it provides to the Trust.

Custodian and Transfer Agent

The custodian of the assets of the Trust is State Street Bank and Trust Company, whose principal business address is One Lincoln Street, Boston, Massachusetts 02111. The custodian is responsible for, among other things, receipt of and disbursement of funds from the Trust’s accounts, establishment of segregated accounts as necessary, and transfer, exchange and delivery of Trust portfolio securities.

Computershare Trust Company, N.A., whose principal business address is 150 Royall Street, Canton, Massachusetts 02021, serves as the Trust’s transfer agent with respect to the common shares.

Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm

Deloitte & Touche LLP, whose principal business address is 200 Berkeley Street, Boston, MA 02116, is the independent registered public accounting firm of the Trust and is expected to render an opinion annually on the financial statements of the Trust.

NET ASSET VALUE

The NAV of the Trust’s common shares will be computed based upon the value of the Trust’s portfolio securities and other assets. NAV per common share will be determined as of the close of the regular trading session on the NYSE on each business day on which the NYSE is open for trading. The Trust calculates NAV per common share by subtracting the Trust’s liabilities (including accrued expenses, dividends payable and any borrowings of the Trust), and the liquidation value of any outstanding Trust preferred shares from the Trust’s total assets (the value of the securities the Trust holds plus cash or other assets, including interest accrued but not yet received) and dividing the result by the total number of common shares of the Trust outstanding.

Valuation of securities held by the Trust is as follows:

Equity Investments. Equity securities traded on a recognized securities exchange (e.g., NYSE), on separate trading boards of a securities exchange or through a market system that provides contemporaneous transaction

 

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pricing information (each, an “Exchange”) are valued using information obtained via independent pricing services generally at the Exchange closing price or if an Exchange closing price is not available, the last traded price on that Exchange prior to the time as of which the assets or liabilities are valued. However, under certain circumstances, other means of determining current market value may be used. If an equity security is traded on more than one Exchange, the current market value of the security where it is primarily traded generally will be used. In the event that there are no sales involving an equity security held by the Trust on a day on which the Trust values such security, the last bid (long positions) or ask (short positions) price, if available, will be used as the value of such security. If the Trust holds both long and short positions in the same security, the last bid price will be applied to securities held long and the last ask price will be applied to securities sold short. If no bid or ask price is available on a day on which the Trust values such security, the prior day’s price will be used, unless the Advisors determine that such prior day’s price no longer reflects the fair value of the security, in which case such asset would be treated as a Fair Value Asset (as defined below).

Fixed-Income Investments. Fixed-income securities for which market quotations are readily available are generally valued using such securities’ current market value. The Trust values fixed-income portfolio securities using the last available bid prices or current market quotations provided by dealers or prices (including evaluated prices) supplied by the Trust’s approved independent third-party pricing services, each in accordance with the policies and procedures approved by the Trust’s Board. (the “Valuation Procedures”). The pricing services may use matrix pricing or valuation models that utilize certain inputs and assumptions to derive values, including transaction data (e.g., recent representative bids and offers), credit quality information, perceived market movements, news, and other relevant information and by other methods, which may include consideration of: yields or prices of securities of comparable quality, coupon, maturity and type; indications as to values from dealers; general market conditions; and/or other factors and assumptions. Pricing services generally value fixed-income securities assuming orderly transactions of an institutional round lot size, but the Trust may hold or transact in such securities in smaller, odd lot sizes. Odd lots may trade at lower prices than institutional round lots. The amortized cost method of valuation may be used with respect to debt obligations with 60 days or less remaining to maturity unless such method does not represent fair value. Certain fixed-income investments including asset-backed and mortgage related securities may be valued based on valuation models that consider the estimated cash flows of each tranche of the issuer, establish a benchmark yield and develop an estimated tranche specific spread to the benchmark yield based on the unique attributes of the tranche.

Options, Futures, Swaps and Other Derivatives. Exchange-traded equity options for which market quotations are readily available are valued at the mean of the last bid and ask prices as quoted on the Exchange or the board of trade on which such options are traded. In the event that there is no mean price available for an exchange traded equity option held by the Trust on a day on which the Trust values such option, the last bid (long positions) or ask (short positions) price, if available, will be used as the value of such option. If no bid or ask price is available on a day on which the Trust values such option, the prior day’s price will be used, unless the Advisors determine that such prior day’s price no longer reflects the fair value of the option in which case such option will be treated as a fair value asset. OTC derivatives may be valued using a mathematical model which may incorporate a number of market data factors. Financial futures contracts and options thereon, which are traded on exchanges, are valued at their last sale price or settle price as of the close of such exchanges. Swap agreements and other derivatives are generally valued daily based upon quotations from market makers or by a pricing service in accordance with the Valuation Procedures.

Underlying Funds. Shares of underlying open-end funds are valued at NAV. Shares of underlying exchange-traded closed-end funds or other ETFs will be valued at their most recent closing price.

General Valuation Information. In determining the market value of portfolio investments, the Trust may employ independent third party pricing services, which may use, without limitation, a matrix or formula method that takes into consideration market indexes, matrices, yield curves and other specific inputs and assumptions. This may result in the assets being valued at a price different from the price that would have been determined had the matrix or formula method not been used. The price the Trust could receive upon the sale of any particular

 

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portfolio investment may differ from the Trust’s valuation of the investment, particularly for assets that trade in thin or volatile markets or that are valued using a fair valuation methodology or a price provided by an independent pricing service. As a result, the price received upon the sale of an investment may be less than the value ascribed by the Trust, and the Trust could realize a greater than expected loss or lesser than expected gain upon the sale of the investment. The Trust’s ability to value its investment may also be impacted by technological issues and/or errors by pricing services or other third party service providers.

All cash, receivables and current payables are carried on the Trust’s books at their fair value.

Prices obtained from independent third party pricing services, broker-dealers or market makers to value the Trust’s securities and other assets and liabilities are based on information available at the time the Trust values its assets and liabilities. In the event that a pricing service quotation is revised or updated subsequent to the day on which the Trust valued such security, the revised pricing service quotation generally will be applied prospectively. Such determination will be made considering pertinent facts and circumstances surrounding the revision.

In the event that application of the methods of valuation discussed above result in a price for a security which is deemed not to be representative of the fair market value of such security, the security will be valued by, under the direction of or in accordance with a method approved by the Board as reflecting fair value. All other assets and liabilities (including securities for which market quotations are not readily available) held by the Trust (including restricted securities) are valued at fair value as determined in good faith by the Board or BlackRock’s Valuation Committee (the “Valuation Committee”) (its delegate) pursuant to the Valuation Procedures. Any assets and liabilities which are denominated in a foreign currency are translated into U.S. dollars at the prevailing market rates.

Certain of the securities acquired by the Trust may be traded on foreign exchanges or OTC markets on days on which the Trust’s NAV is not calculated and common shares are not traded. In such cases, the NAV of the Trust’s common shares may be significantly affected on days when investors can neither purchase nor sell shares of the Trust.

Fair Value. When market quotations are not readily available or are believed by the Advisors to be unreliable, the Trust’s investments are valued at fair value (“Fair Value Assets”). Fair Value Assets are valued by the Advisors in accordance with the Valuation Procedures. The Advisors may reasonably conclude that a market quotation is not readily available or is unreliable if, among other things, a security or other asset or liability does not have a price source due to its complete lack of trading, if the Advisors believes a market quotation from a broker-dealer or other source is unreliable (e.g., where it varies significantly from a recent trade, or no longer reflects the fair value of the security or other asset or liability subsequent to the most recent market quotation), or where the security or other asset or liability is only thinly traded or due to the occurrence of a significant event subsequent to the most recent market quotation. For this purpose, a “significant event” is deemed to occur if the Advisors determine, in their reasonable business judgment, that an event has occurred after the close of trading for an asset or liability but prior to or at the time of pricing the Trust’s assets or liabilities, that is likely to cause a material change to the last exchange closing price or closing market price of one or more assets or liabilities held by the Trust. On any day the NYSE is open and a foreign market or the primary exchange on which a foreign asset or liability is traded is closed, such asset or liability will be valued using the prior day’s price, provided that the Advisors are not aware of any significant event or other information that would cause such price to no longer reflect the fair value of the asset or liability, in which case such asset or liability would be treated as a Fair Value Asset. For certain foreign assets, a third-party vendor supplies evaluated, systematic fair value pricing based upon the movement of a proprietary multi-factor model after the relevant foreign markets have closed. This systematic fair value pricing methodology is designed to correlate the prices of foreign assets following the close of the local markets to the price that might have prevailed as of the Trust’s pricing time.

The Advisors, with input from portfolio management, will submit their recommendations regarding the valuation and/or valuation methodologies for Fair Value Assets to the Valuation Committee. The Valuation

 

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Committee may accept, modify or reject any recommendations. In addition, the Trust’s accounting agent periodically endeavors to confirm the prices it receives from all third party pricing services, index providers and broker-dealers, and, with the assistance of the Advisors, to regularly evaluate the values assigned to the securities and other assets and liabilities of the Trust. The pricing of all Fair Value Assets is subsequently reported to the Board or a Committee thereof.

When determining the price for a Fair Value Asset, the Valuation Committee will seek to determine the price that the Trust might reasonably expect to receive from the current sale of that asset or liability in an arm’s-length transaction on the date on which the asset or liability is being valued, and does not seek to determine the price the Trust might reasonably expect to receive for selling an asset or liability at a later time or if it holds the asset or liability to maturity. Fair value determinations will be based upon all available factors that the BlackRock Valuation Committee deems relevant at the time of the determination, and may be based on analytical values determined by the Advisors using proprietary or third party valuation models.

Fair value represents a good faith approximation of the value of an asset or liability. When determining the fair value of an investment, one or more fair value methodologies may be used (depending on certain factors, including the asset type). For example, the investment may be initially priced based on the original cost of the investment or, alternatively, using proprietary or third-party models that may rely upon one or more unobservable inputs. Prices of actual, executed or historical transactions in the relevant investment (or comparable instruments) or, where appropriate, an appraisal by a third-party experienced in the valuation of similar instruments, may also be used as a basis for establishing the fair value of an investment.

The fair value of one or more assets or liabilities may not, in retrospect, be the price at which those assets or liabilities could have been sold during the period in which the particular fair values were used in determining the Trust’s NAV. As a result, the Trust’s sale or repurchase of its shares at NAV, at a time when a holding or holdings are valued at fair value, may have the effect of diluting or increasing the economic interest of existing shareholders.

The Trust’s annual audited financial statements, which are prepared in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America (“US GAAP”), follow the requirements for valuation set forth in Financial Accounting Standards Board Accounting Standards Codification Topic 820, “Fair Value Measurements and Disclosures” (“ASC 820”), which defines and establishes a framework for measuring fair value under US GAAP and expands financial statement disclosure requirements relating to fair value measurements.

Generally, ASC 820 and other accounting rules applicable to investment companies and various assets in which they invest are evolving. Such changes may adversely affect the Trust. For example, the evolution of rules governing the determination of the fair market value of assets or liabilities to the extent such rules become more stringent would tend to increase the cost and/or reduce the availability of third-party determinations of fair market value. This may in turn increase the costs associated with selling assets or affect their liquidity due to the Trust’s inability to obtain a third-party determination of fair market value. The SEC recently adopted new Rule 2a-5 under the Investment Company Act, which will establish an updated regulatory framework for registered investment company valuation practices and may impact the Trust’s valuation policies. The Trust will not be required to comply with the new rule until September 8, 2022.

DISTRIBUTIONS

The Trust intends to make regular monthly cash distributions of all or a portion of its net investment income, including current gains, to common shareholders. The Trust will pay common shareholders at least annually all or substantially all of its investment company taxable income. The Investment Company Act generally limits the Trust to one capital gain distribution per year, subject to certain exceptions, including as discussed below in connection with the Managed Distribution Plan.

 

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The Trust has, pursuant to an SEC exemptive order granted to certain of BlackRock’s closed-end funds, adopted a plan to support a level distribution of income, capital gains and/or return of capital. The Managed Distribution Plan has been approved by the Board and is consistent with the Trust’s investment objective and policies. Under the Managed Distribution Plan, the Trust will distribute all available investment income, including current gains, to its shareholders, consistent with its investment objective and as required by the Code. If sufficient investment income, including current gains, is not available on a monthly basis, the Trust will distribute long-term capital gains and/or return of capital to shareholders in order to maintain a level distribution. A return of capital distribution may involve a return of the shareholder’s original investment. Though not currently taxable, such a distribution may lower a shareholder’s basis in the Trust, thus potentially subjecting the shareholder to future tax consequences in connection with the sale of Trust shares, even if sold at a loss to the shareholder’s original investment. Each monthly distribution to shareholders is expected to be at a fixed amount established by the Board, except for extraordinary distributions and potential distribution rate increases or decreases to enable the Trust to comply with the distribution requirements imposed by the Code. Shareholders should not draw any conclusions about the Trust’s investment performance from the amount of these distributions or from the terms of the Managed Distribution Plan. The Trust’s total return performance on NAV will be presented in its financial highlights table, which will be available in the Trust’s shareholder reports, every six-months. The Board may amend, suspend or terminate the Managed Distribution Plan without prior notice if it deems such actions to be in the best interests of the Trust or its shareholders. The suspension or termination of the Managed Distribution Plan could have the effect of creating a trading discount (if the Trust’s stock is trading at or above NAV) or widening an existing trading discount. The Trust is subject to risks that could have an adverse impact on its ability to maintain level distributions. Examples of potential risks include, but are not limited to, economic downturns impacting the markets, decreased market volatility, companies suspending or decreasing corporate dividend distributions and changes in the Code. Please see “Risks” for a more complete description of the Trust’s risks.

The tax treatment and characterization of the Trust’s distributions may vary significantly from time to time because of the varied nature of the Trust’s investments. The ultimate tax characterization of the Trust’s distributions made in a fiscal year cannot finally be determined until after the end of that fiscal year. As a result, there is a possibility that the Trust may make total distributions during a fiscal year in an amount that exceeds the Trust’s earnings and profits for U.S. federal income tax purposes. In such situations, the amount by which the Trust’s total distributions exceed earnings and profits would generally be treated as a return of capital reducing the amount of a shareholder’s tax basis in such shareholder’s shares, with any amounts exceeding such basis treated as gain from the sale of shares.

Various factors will affect the level of the Trust’s income, including the asset mix and the Trust’s use of hedging. To permit the Trust to maintain a more stable monthly distribution, the Trust may from time to time distribute less than the entire amount of income earned in a particular period. The undistributed income would be available to supplement future distributions. As a result, the distributions paid by the Trust for any particular monthly period may be more or less than the amount of income actually earned by the Trust during that period. Undistributed income will add to the Trust’s NAV and, correspondingly, distributions from undistributed income will deduct from the Trust’s NAV. The Trust intends to distribute any long-term capital gains not distributed under the Managed Distribution Plan annually.

Under normal market conditions, the Advisor seeks to manage the Trust in a manner such that the Trust’s distributions are reflective of the Trust’s current and projected earnings levels. The distribution level of the Trust is subject to change based upon a number of factors, including the current and projected level of the Trust’s earnings, and may fluctuate over time.

The Trust reserves the right to change its distribution policy and the basis for establishing the rate of its monthly distributions at any time and may do so without prior notice to common shareholders.

 

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Shareholders will automatically have all dividends and distributions reinvested in common shares of the Trust issued by the Trust or purchased in the open market in accordance with the Trust’s dividend reinvestment plan unless an election is made to receive cash. See “Dividend Reinvestment Plan.”

DIVIDEND REINVESTMENT PLAN

Please refer to the section of the Trust’s most recent annual report on Form N-CSR entitled “Automatic Dividend Reinvestment Plan”, which is incorporated by reference herein, for a discussion of the Trust’s dividend reinvestment plan.

RIGHTS OFFERINGS

The Trust may in the future, and at its discretion, choose to make offerings of rights to its shareholders to purchase common shares. Rights may be issued independently or together with any other offered security and may or may not be transferable by the person purchasing or receiving the rights. In connection with a rights offering to shareholders, we would distribute certificates or other documentation (i.e., rights cards distributed in lieu of certificates) evidencing the rights and a Prospectus Supplement to our shareholders as of the record date that we set for determining the shareholders eligible to receive rights in such rights offering. Any such future rights offering will be made in accordance with the Investment Company Act. Under the laws of Delaware, the Board is authorized to approve rights offerings without obtaining shareholder approval.

The staff of the SEC has interpreted the Investment Company Act as not requiring shareholder approval of a transferable rights offering to purchase common shares at a price below the then current NAV so long as certain conditions are met, including: (i) a good faith determination by a fund’s board that such offering would result in a net benefit to existing shareholders; (ii) the offering fully protects shareholders’ preemptive rights and does not discriminate among shareholders (except for the possible effect of not offering fractional rights); (iii) management uses its best efforts to ensure an adequate trading market in the rights for use by shareholders who do not exercise such rights; and (iv) the ratio of a transferable rights offering does not exceed one new share for each three rights held.

The applicable Prospectus Supplement would describe the following terms of the rights in respect of which this Prospectus is being delivered:

 

   

the period of time the offering would remain open;

 

   

the underwriter or distributor, if any, of the rights and any associated underwriting fees or discounts applicable to purchases of the rights;

 

   

the title of such rights;

 

   

the exercise price for such rights (or method of calculation thereof);

 

   

the number of such rights issued in respect of each share;

 

   

the number of rights required to purchase a single share;

 

   

the extent to which such rights are transferable and the market on which they may be traded if they are transferable;

 

   

if applicable, a discussion of the material U.S. federal income tax considerations applicable to the issuance or exercise of such rights;

 

   

the date on which the right to exercise such rights will commence, and the date on which such right will expire (subject to any extension);

 

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the extent to which such rights include an over-subscription privilege with respect to unsubscribed securities and the terms of such over-subscription privilege; and

 

   

termination rights we may have in connection with such rights offering.

A certain number of rights would entitle the holder of the right(s) to purchase for cash such number of common shares at such exercise price as in each case is set forth in, or be determinable as set forth in, the Prospectus Supplement relating to the rights offered thereby. Rights would be exercisable at any time up to the close of business on the expiration date for such rights set forth in the Prospectus Supplement. After the close of business on the expiration date, all unexercised rights would become void. Upon expiration of the rights offering and the receipt of payment and the rights certificate or other appropriate documentation properly executed and completed and duly executed at the corporate trust office of the rights agent, or any other office indicated in the Prospectus Supplement, the common shares purchased as a result of such exercise will be issued as soon as practicable. To the extent permissible under applicable law, we may determine to offer any unsubscribed offered securities directly to persons other than shareholders, to or through agents, underwriters or dealers or through a combination of such methods, as set forth in the applicable Prospectus Supplement.

TAX MATTERS

The following discussion is a brief summary of certain U.S. federal income tax considerations affecting the Trust and the purchase, ownership and disposition of the Trust’s common shares. A more detailed discussion of the tax rules applicable to the Trust and its common shareholders can be found in the SAI that is incorporated by reference into this Prospectus. Except as otherwise noted, this discussion assumes you are a taxable U.S. holder (as defined below) and that you hold your common shares as capital assets for U.S. federal income tax purposes (generally, assets held for investment). This discussion is based upon current provisions of the Code, the regulations promulgated thereunder and judicial and administrative authorities, all of which are subject to change or differing interpretations by the courts or the IRS, possibly with retroactive effect. No attempt is made to present a detailed explanation of all U.S. federal tax concerns affecting the Trust and its common shareholders. The discussion set forth herein does not constitute tax advice and potential investors are urged to consult their own tax advisers to determine the specific U.S. federal, state, local and foreign tax consequences to them of investing in the Trust.

In addition, no attempt is made to address tax considerations applicable to an investor with a special tax status, such as a financial institution, REIT, insurance company, regulated investment company, individual retirement account, other tax-exempt organization, dealer in securities or currencies, person holding shares of the Trust as part of a hedging, integrated, conversion or straddle transaction, trader in securities that has elected the mark-to-market method of accounting for its securities, U.S. holder (as defined below) whose functional currency is not the U.S. dollar, investor with “applicable financial statements” within the meaning of Section 451(b) of the Code, or non-U.S. investor. Furthermore, this discussion does not reflect possible application of the alternative minimum tax.

A U.S. holder is a beneficial owner that is for U.S. federal income tax purposes:

 

   

a citizen or individual resident of the United States (including certain former citizens and former long-term residents);

 

   

a corporation or other entity treated as a corporation for U.S. federal income tax purposes, created or organized in or under the laws of the United States or any state thereof or the District of Columbia;

 

   

an estate, the income of which is subject to U.S. federal income taxation regardless of its source; or

 

   

a trust with respect to which a court within the United States is able to exercise primary supervision over its administration and one or more U.S. persons have the authority to control all of its substantial decisions or the trust has made a valid election in effect under applicable Treasury regulations to be treated as a U.S. person.

 

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Taxation of the Trust

The Trust has elected to be treated as a RIC under Subchapter M of the Code. In order to qualify as a RIC, the Trust must, among other things, satisfy certain requirements relating to the sources of its income, diversification of its assets, and distribution of its income to its shareholders. First, the Trust must derive at least 90% of its annual gross income from dividends, interest, payments with respect to securities loans, gains from the sale or other disposition of stock or securities or foreign currencies, or other income (including but not limited to gains from options, futures and forward contracts) derived with respect to its business of investing in such stock, securities or currencies, or net income derived from interests in “qualified publicly traded partnerships” (as defined in the Code) (the “90% gross income test”). Second, the Trust must diversify its holdings so that, at the close of each quarter of its taxable year, (i) at least 50% of the value of its total assets consists of cash, cash items, U.S. Government securities, securities of other RICs and other securities, with such other securities limited in respect of any one issuer to an amount not greater in value than 5% of the value of the Trust’s total assets and to not more than 10% of the outstanding voting securities of such issuer, and (ii) not more than 25% of the market value of the Trust’s total assets is invested in the securities (other than U.S. Government securities and securities of other RICs) of any one issuer, any two or more issuers controlled by the Trust and engaged in the same, similar or related trades or businesses, or any one or more “qualified publicly traded partnerships.”

As long as the Trust qualifies as a RIC, the Trust will generally not be subject to corporate-level U.S. federal income tax on income and gains that it distributes each taxable year to its shareholders, provided that in such taxable year it distributes at least 90% of the sum of (i) its net tax-exempt interest income, if any, and (ii) its “investment company taxable income” (which includes, among other items, dividends, taxable interest, taxable original issue discount and market discount income, income from securities lending, net short-term capital gain in excess of net long-term capital loss, and any other taxable income other than “net capital gain” (as defined below) and is reduced by deductible expenses) determined without regard to the deduction for dividends paid. The Trust may retain for investment its net capital gain (which consists of the excess of its net long-term capital gain over its net short-term capital loss). However, if the Trust retains any net capital gain or any investment company taxable income, it will be subject to tax at regular corporate rates on the amount retained.

The Code imposes a 4% nondeductible excise tax on the Trust to the extent the Trust does not distribute by the end of any calendar year at least the sum of (i) 98% of its ordinary income (not taking into account any capital gain or loss) for the calendar year and (ii) 98.2% of its capital gain in excess of its capital loss (adjusted for certain ordinary losses) for a one-year period generally ending on October 31 of the calendar year (unless an election is made to use the Trust’s fiscal year). In addition, the minimum amounts that must be distributed in any year to avoid the excise tax will be increased or decreased to reflect the total amount of any under-distribution or over-distribution, as the case may be, from the previous year. For purposes of the excise tax, the Trust will be deemed to have distributed any income on which it paid U.S. federal income tax. While the Trust intends to distribute any income and capital gain in the manner necessary to minimize imposition of the 4% nondeductible excise tax, there can be no assurance that sufficient amounts of the Trust’s taxable income and capital gain will be distributed to entirely avoid the imposition of the excise tax. In that event, the Trust will be liable for the excise tax only on the amount by which it does not meet the foregoing distribution requirement.

If in any taxable year the Trust should fail to qualify under Subchapter M of the Code for tax treatment as a RIC, the Trust would incur a regular corporate U.S. federal income tax upon all of its taxable income for that year, and all distributions to its shareholders (including distributions of net capital gain) would be taxable to shareholders as ordinary dividend income for U.S. federal income tax purposes to the extent of the Trust’s earnings and profits. Provided that certain holding period and other requirements were met, such dividends would be eligible (i) to be treated as qualified dividend income in the case of shareholders taxed as individuals and (ii) for the dividends received deduction in the case of corporate shareholders. In addition, to qualify again to be taxed as a RIC in a subsequent year, the Trust would be required to distribute to shareholders its earnings and profits attributable to non-RIC years. In addition, if the Trust failed to qualify as a RIC for a period greater than two taxable years, then, in order to qualify as a RIC in a subsequent year, the Trust would be required to elect to

 

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recognize and pay tax on any net built-in gain (the excess of aggregate gain, including items of income, over aggregate loss that would have been realized if the Trust had been liquidated) or, alternatively, be subject to taxation on such built-in gain recognized for a period of five years.

The remainder of this discussion assumes that the Trust qualifies for taxation as a RIC.

The Trust’s Investments. Certain of the Trust’s investment practices are subject to special and complex U.S. federal income tax provisions (including mark-to-market, constructive sale, straddle, wash sale, short sale and other rules) that may, among other things, (i) disallow, suspend or otherwise limit the allowance of certain losses or deductions, (ii) convert lower taxed long-term capital gains or qualified dividend income into higher taxed short-term capital gains or ordinary income, (iii) convert ordinary loss or a deduction into capital loss (the deductibility of which is more limited), (iv) cause the Trust to recognize income or gain without a corresponding receipt of cash, (v) adversely affect the time as to when a purchase or sale of stock or securities is deemed to occur, (vi) adversely alter the characterization of certain complex financial transactions and (vii) produce income that will not be “qualified” income for purposes of the 90% annual gross income requirement described above. These U.S. federal income tax provisions could therefore affect the amount, timing and character of distributions to common shareholders. The Trust intends to monitor its transactions and may make certain tax elections and may be required to dispose of securities to mitigate the effect of these provisions and prevent disqualification of the Trust as a RIC. Additionally, the Trust may be required to limit its activities in derivative instruments in order to enable it to maintain its RIC status.

The Trust may invest a portion of its net assets in below investment grade securities. Investments in these types of securities may present special tax issues for the Trust. U.S. federal income tax rules are not entirely clear about issues such as when the Trust may cease to accrue interest, original issue discount or market discount, when and to what extent deductions may be taken for bad debts or worthless securities, how payments received on obligations in default should be allocated between principal and income and whether modifications or exchanges of debt obligations in a bankruptcy or workout context are taxable. These and other issues could affect the Trust’s ability to distribute sufficient income to preserve its status as a RIC or to avoid the imposition of U.S. federal income or excise tax.

Certain debt securities acquired by the Trust may be treated as debt securities that were originally issued at a discount. Generally, the amount of the original issue discount is treated as interest income and is included in taxable income (and required to be distributed by the Trust in order to qualify as a RIC and avoid U.S. federal income tax or the 4% excise tax on undistributed income) over the term of the security, even though payment of that amount is not received until a later time, usually when the debt security matures.

If the Trust purchases a debt security on a secondary market at a price lower than its adjusted issue price, the excess of the adjusted issue price over the purchase price is “market discount.” Unless the Trust makes an election to accrue market discount on a current basis, generally, any gain realized on the disposition of, and any partial payment of principal on, a debt security having market discount is treated as ordinary income to the extent the gain, or principal payment, does not exceed the “accrued market discount” on the debt security. Market discount generally accrues in equal daily installments. If the Trust ultimately collects less on the debt instrument than its purchase price plus the market discount previously included in income, the Trust may not be able to benefit from any offsetting loss deductions.

The Trust may invest in preferred securities or other securities the U.S. federal income tax treatment of which may not be clear or may be subject to recharacterization by the IRS. To the extent the tax treatment of such securities or the income from such securities differs from the tax treatment expected by the Trust, it could affect the timing or character of income recognized by the Trust, potentially requiring the Trust to purchase or sell securities, or otherwise change its portfolio, in order to comply with the tax rules applicable to RICs under the Code.

 

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Gain or loss on the sale of securities by the Trust will generally be long-term capital gain or loss if the securities have been held by the Trust for more than one year. Gain or loss on the sale of securities held for one year or less will be short-term capital gain or loss.

Because the Trust may invest in foreign securities, its income from such securities may be subject to non-U.S. taxes. If more than 50% of the Trust’s total assets at the close of its taxable year consists of stock or securities of foreign corporations, the Trust may elect for U.S. federal income tax purposes to treat foreign income taxes paid by it as paid by its shareholders. The Trust may qualify for and make this election in some, but not necessarily all, of its taxable years. If the Trust were to make such an election, shareholders would be required to take into account an amount equal to their pro rata portions of such foreign taxes in computing their taxable income and then treat an amount equal to those foreign taxes as a U.S. federal income tax deduction or as a foreign tax credit against their U.S. federal income tax liability. A taxpayer’s ability to use a foreign tax deduction or credit is subject to limitations under the Code. Shortly after any year for which it makes such an election, the Trust will report to its shareholder the amount per share of such foreign income tax that must be included in each shareholder’s gross income and the amount that may be available for the deduction or credit.

Foreign currency gain or loss on foreign currency exchange contracts, non-U.S. dollar-denominated securities contracts, and non-U.S. dollar-denominated futures contracts, options and forward contracts that are not section 1256 contracts (as defined below) generally will be treated as ordinary income and loss.

Income from options on individual securities written by the Trust will not be recognized by the Trust for tax purposes until an option is exercised, lapses or is subject to a “closing transaction” (as defined by applicable regulations) pursuant to which the Trust’s obligations with respect to the option are otherwise terminated. If the option lapses without exercise, the premiums received by the Trust from the writing of such options will generally be characterized as short-term capital gain. If the Trust enters into a closing transaction, the difference between the premiums received and the amount paid by the Trust to close out its position will generally be treated as short-term capital gain or loss. If an option written by the Trust is exercised, thereby requiring the Trust to sell the underlying security, the premium will increase the amount realized upon the sale of the security, and the character of any gain on such sale of the underlying security as short-term or long-term capital gain will depend on the holding period of the Trust in the underlying security. Because the Trust will not have control over the exercise of the options it writes, such exercises or other required sales of the underlying securities may cause the Trust to realize gains or losses at inopportune times.

Index options that qualify as “section 1256 contracts” will generally be treated as “marked-to-market” for U.S. federal income tax purposes. As a result, the Trust will generally recognize gain or loss on the last day of each taxable year equal to the difference between the value of the option on that date and the adjusted basis of the option. The adjusted basis of the option will consequently be increased by such gain or decreased by such loss. Any gain or loss with respect to options on indices and sectors that qualify as “section 1256 contracts” will be treated as short-term capital gain or loss to the extent of 40% of such gain or loss and long-term capital gain or loss to the extent of 60% of such gain or loss. Because the mark-to-market rules may cause the Trust to recognize gain in advance of the receipt of cash, the Trust may be required to dispose of investments in order to meet its distribution requirements. “Mark-to-market” losses may be suspended or otherwise limited if such losses are part of a straddle or similar transaction.

Taxation of Common Shareholders

The Trust will either distribute or retain for reinvestment all or part of its net capital gain. If any such gain is retained, the Trust will be subject to a corporate income tax on such retained amount. In that event, the Trust expects to report the retained amount as undistributed capital gain in a notice to its common shareholders, each of whom, if subject to U.S. federal income tax on long-term capital gains, (i) will be required to include in income for U.S. federal income tax purposes as long-term capital gain its share of such undistributed amounts, (ii) will be entitled to credit its proportionate share of the tax paid by the Trust against its U.S. federal income tax liability

 

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and to claim refunds to the extent that the credit exceeds such liability and (iii) will increase its basis in its common shares by the amount of undistributed capital gains included in the shareholder’s income less the tax deemed paid by the shareholder under clause (ii).

Distributions paid to you by the Trust from its net capital gain, if any, that the Trust properly reports as capital gain dividends (“capital gain dividends”) are taxable as long-term capital gains, regardless of how long you have held your common shares. All other dividends paid to you by the Trust (including dividends from net short-term capital gains or tax-exempt interest, if any) from its current or accumulated earnings and profits (“ordinary income dividends”) are generally subject to tax as ordinary income. Provided that certain holding period and other requirements are met, ordinary income dividends (if properly reported by the Trust) may qualify (i) for the dividends received deduction in the case of corporate shareholders to the extent that the Trust’s income consists of dividend income from U.S. corporations, (ii) in the case of individual shareholders, as “qualified dividend income” eligible to be taxed at long-term capital gains rates to the extent that the Trust receives qualified dividend income and (iii) in the case of individual shareholders, as “section 199A dividends” eligible for a 20% “qualified business income” deduction in tax years beginning after December 31, 2017 and before January 1, 2026 to the extent the Trust receives ordinary REIT dividends, reduced by allocable Trust expenses. Qualified dividend income is, in general, dividend income from taxable domestic corporations and certain qualified foreign corporations (e.g., generally, foreign corporations incorporated in a possession of the United States or in certain countries with a qualifying comprehensive tax treaty with the United States, or whose stock with respect to which such dividend is paid is readily tradable on an established securities market in the United States). There can be no assurance as to what portion, if any, of the Trust’s distributions will constitute qualified dividend income or be eligible for the dividends received deduction or “qualified business income” deduction.

Any distributions you receive that are in excess of the Trust’s current and accumulated earnings and profits will be treated as a return of capital to the extent of your adjusted tax basis in your common shares, and thereafter as capital gain from the sale of common shares. The amount of any Trust distribution that is treated as a return of capital will reduce your adjusted tax basis in your common shares, thereby increasing your potential gain or reducing your potential loss on any subsequent sale or other disposition of your common shares.

Common shareholders may be entitled to offset their capital gain dividends with capital losses. The Code contains a number of statutory provisions affecting when capital losses may be offset against capital gain, and limiting the use of losses from certain investments and activities. Accordingly, common shareholders that have capital losses are urged to consult their tax advisers.

Dividends and other taxable distributions are taxable to you even though they are reinvested in additional common shares of the Trust. Dividends and other distributions paid by the Trust are generally treated under the Code as received by you at the time the dividend or distribution is made. If, however, the Trust pays you a dividend in January that was declared in the previous October, November or December to common shareholders of record on a specified date in one of such months, then such dividend will be treated for U.S. federal income tax purposes as being paid by the Trust and received by you on December 31 of the year in which the dividend was declared. In addition, certain other distributions made after the close of the Trust’s taxable year may be “spilled back” and treated as paid by the Trust (except for purposes of the 4% nondeductible excise tax) during such taxable year. In such case, you will be treated as having received such dividends in the taxable year in which the distributions were actually made.

The price of common shares purchased at any time may reflect the amount of a forthcoming distribution. Those purchasing common shares just prior to the record date of a distribution will receive a distribution which will be taxable to them even though it represents, economically, a return of invested capital.

The Trust will send you information after the end of each year setting forth the amount and tax status of any distributions paid to you by the Trust.

 

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The sale or other disposition of common shares will generally result in capital gain or loss to you and will be long-term capital gain or loss if you have held such common shares for more than one year at the time of sale. Any loss upon the sale or other disposition of common shares held for six months or less will be treated as long-term capital loss to the extent of any capital gain dividends received (including amounts credited as an undistributed capital gain dividend) by you with respect to such common shares. Any loss you recognize on a sale or other disposition of common shares will be disallowed if you acquire other common shares (whether through the automatic reinvestment of dividends or otherwise) within a 61-day period beginning 30 days before and ending 30 days after your sale or exchange of the common shares. In such case, your tax basis in the common shares acquired will be adjusted to reflect the disallowed loss.

If the Trust liquidates, shareholders generally will realize capital gain or loss upon such liquidation in an amount equal to the difference between the amount of cash or other property received by the shareholder (including any property deemed received by reason of its being placed in a liquidating trust) and the shareholder’s adjusted tax basis in its common shares. Any such gain or loss will be long-term if the shareholder is treated as having a holding period in the Trust shares of greater than one year, and otherwise will be short-term.

Current U.S. federal income tax law taxes both long-term and short-term capital gain of corporations at the rates applicable to ordinary income. For non-corporate taxpayers, short-term capital gain is currently taxed at rates applicable to ordinary income while long-term capital gain generally is taxed at a reduced maximum rate. The deductibility of capital losses is subject to limitations under the Code.

Certain U.S. holders who are individuals, estates or trusts and whose income exceeds certain thresholds will be required to pay a 3.8% Medicare tax on all or a portion of their “net investment income,” which includes dividends received from the Trust and capital gains from the sale or other disposition of the Trust’s common shares.

A common shareholder that is a nonresident alien individual or a foreign corporation (a “foreign investor”) generally will be subject to U.S. federal withholding tax at the rate of 30% (or possibly a lower rate provided by an applicable tax treaty) on ordinary income dividends (except as discussed below). In general, U.S. federal withholding tax and U.S. federal income tax will not apply to any gain or income realized by a foreign investor in respect of any distribution of net capital gain (including amounts credited as an undistributed capital gain dividend) or upon the sale or other disposition of common shares of the Trust. Different tax consequences may result if the foreign investor is engaged in a trade or business in the United States or, in the case of an individual, is present in the United States for 183 days or more during a taxable year and certain other conditions are met. Foreign investors should consult their tax advisers regarding the tax consequences of investing in the Trust’s common shares.

Ordinary income dividends properly reported by a RIC are generally exempt from U.S. federal withholding tax where they (i) are paid in respect of the RIC’s “qualified net interest income” (generally, its U.S.-source interest income, other than certain contingent interest and interest from obligations of a corporation or partnership in which the RIC is at least a 10% shareholder, reduced by expenses that are allocable to such income) or (ii) are paid in respect of the RIC’s “qualified short-term capital gains” (generally, the excess of the RIC’s net short-term capital gain over its long-term capital loss for such taxable year). Depending on its circumstances, the Trust may report all, some or none of its potentially eligible dividends as such qualified net interest income or as qualified short-term capital gains, and/or treat such dividends, in whole or in part, as ineligible for this exemption from withholding. In order to qualify for this exemption from withholding, a foreign investor needs to comply with applicable certification requirements relating to its non-U.S. status (including, in general, furnishing an IRS Form W-8BEN, W-8BEN-E or substitute Form). In the case of common shares held through an intermediary, the intermediary may have withheld even if the Trust reported the payment as qualified net interest income or qualified short-term capital gain. Foreign investors should contact their intermediaries with

 

53


respect to the application of these rules to their accounts. There can be no assurance as to what portion of the Trust’s distributions would qualify for favorable treatment as qualified net interest income or qualified short-term capital gains.

In addition, withholding at a rate of 30% will apply to dividends paid in respect of common shares of the Trust held by or through certain foreign financial institutions (including investment funds), unless such institution enters into an agreement with the Treasury to report, on an annual basis, information with respect to shares in, and accounts maintained by, the institution to the extent such shares or accounts are held by certain U.S. persons and by certain non-U.S. entities that are wholly or partially owned by U.S. persons and to withhold on certain payments. Accordingly, the entity through which common shares of the Trust are held will affect the determination of whether such withholding is required. Similarly, dividends paid in respect of common shares of the Trust held by an investor that is a non-financial foreign entity that does not qualify under certain exemptions will be subject to withholding at a rate of 30%, unless such entity either (i) certifies that such entity does not have any “substantial United States owners” or (ii) provides certain information regarding the entity’s “substantial United States owners,” which the Trust or applicable withholding agent will in turn provide to the Secretary of the Treasury. An intergovernmental agreement between the United States and an applicable foreign country, or future Treasury regulations or other guidance, may modify these requirements. The Trust will not pay any additional amounts to common shareholders in respect of any amounts withheld. Foreign investors are encouraged to consult with their tax advisers regarding the possible implications of these rules on their investment in the Trust’s common shares.

U.S. federal backup withholding tax may be required on dividends, distributions and sale proceeds payable to certain non-exempt common shareholders who fail to supply their correct taxpayer identification number (in the case of individuals, generally, their social security number) or to make required certifications, or who are otherwise subject to backup withholding. Backup withholding is not an additional tax and any amount withheld may be refunded or credited against your U.S. federal income tax liability, if any, provided that you timely furnish the required information to the IRS.

Ordinary income dividends, capital gain dividends, and gain from the sale or other disposition of common shares of the Trust also may be subject to state, local, and/or foreign taxes. Common shareholders are urged to consult their own tax advisers regarding specific questions about U.S. federal, state, local or foreign tax consequences to them of investing in the Trust.

The foregoing is a general and abbreviated summary of certain provisions of the Code and the Treasury regulations currently in effect as they directly govern the taxation of the Trust and its common shareholders. These provisions are subject to change by legislative or administrative action, and any such change may be retroactive. A more detailed discussion of the tax rules applicable to the Trust and its common shareholders can be found in the SAI that is incorporated by reference into this Prospectus. Common shareholders are urged to consult their tax advisers regarding specific questions as to U.S. federal, state, local and foreign income or other taxes.

Please refer to the SAI for more detailed information. You are urged to consult your tax adviser.

TAXATION OF HOLDERS OF RIGHTS

The value of a right will not be includible in the income of a common shareholder at the time the right is issued.

The basis of a right issued to a common shareholder will be zero, and the basis of the share with respect to which the subscription right was issued (the old share) will remain unchanged, unless either (a) the fair market value of the right on the date of distribution is at least 15% of the fair market value of the old share, or (b) such shareholder affirmatively elects (in the manner set out in Treasury regulations under the Code) to allocate to the

 

54


subscription right a portion of the basis of the old share. If either (a) or (b) applies, then except as described below such shareholder must allocate basis between the old share and the right in proportion to their fair market values on the date of distribution.

The basis of a right purchased in the market will generally be its purchase price.

The holding period of a right issued to a common shareholder will include the holding period of the old share. No gain or loss will be recognized by a common shareholder upon the exercise of a right.

No loss will be recognized by a common shareholder if a right distributed to such common shareholder expires unexercised because the basis of the old share may be allocated to a right only if the right is exercised. If a right that has been purchased in the market expires unexercised, there will be a recognized loss equal to the basis of the right.

Any gain or loss on the sale of a right will be a capital gain or loss if the right is held as a capital asset (which in the case of rights issued to common shareholders will depend on whether the old share of common stock is held as a capital asset), and will be a long-term capital gain or loss if the holding period is deemed to exceed one year.

CERTAIN PROVISIONS IN THE AGREEMENT AND DECLARATION OF TRUST AND BYLAWS

The Agreement and Declaration of Trust includes provisions that could have the effect of limiting the ability of other entities or persons to acquire control of the Trust or to change the composition of the Board. This could have the effect of depriving shareholders of an opportunity to sell their shares at a premium over prevailing market prices by discouraging a third party from seeking to obtain control over the Trust. Such attempts could have the effect of increasing the expenses of the Trust and disrupting the normal operation of the Trust. The Board is divided into three classes. At each annual meeting of shareholders or special meeting in lieu thereof the term of only one class of Trustees expires and only the Trustees in that one class stand for re-election. Trustees standing for election at an annual meeting of shareholders or special meeting in lieu thereof are elected to a three-year term. This provision could delay for up to two years the replacement of a majority of the Board. A Trustee may be removed from office for cause only, and not without cause, and only by the action of a majority of the remaining Trustees followed by a vote of the holders of at least 75% of the shares then entitled to vote for the election of the respective Trustee.

In addition, the Trust’s Agreement and Declaration of Trust requires the favorable vote or consent of a majority of the Board followed by the favorable vote of the holders of at least 75% of the outstanding shares of each affected class or series outstanding of the Trust, voting separately as a class or series, to approve, adopt or authorize certain transactions with 5% or greater holders of a class or series of shares and their associates, unless 80% of the Trustees by resolution have approved a memorandum of understanding with such holders with respect to and substantially consistent with such transaction, in which case approval by “a majority of the outstanding voting securities” (as defined in the Investment Company Act) of the Trust will be the only vote of the shareholders required. These voting requirements are in addition to any regulatory relief required from the SEC with respect to such transaction. For purposes of these provisions, a 5% or greater holder of a class or series of shares (a “Principal Shareholder”) refers to any corporation, person or other entity, who, whether directly or indirectly and whether alone or together with its affiliates and associates, beneficially owns 5% or more of the outstanding shares of all outstanding classes or series of shares of beneficial interest of the Trust. The 5% holder transactions subject to these special approval requirements are:

 

   

the merger or consolidation of the Trust or any subsidiary of the Trust with or into any Principal Shareholder;

 

   

the issuance of any securities of the Trust to any Principal Shareholder for cash (other than pursuant to any automatic dividend reinvestment plan);

 

55


   

the sale, lease or exchange of all or any substantial part of the assets of the Trust to any Principal Shareholder, except assets having an aggregate fair market value of less than 2% of the total assets of the Trust, aggregating for the purpose of such computation all assets sold, leased or exchanged in any series of similar transactions within a twelve-month period; or

 

   

the sale, lease or exchange to the Trust or any subsidiary of the Trust, in exchange for securities of the Trust, of any assets of any Principal Shareholder, except assets having an aggregate fair market value of less than 2% of the total assets of the Trust, aggregating for purposes of such computation all assets sold, leased or exchanged in any series of similar transactions within a twelve-month period.

To convert the Trust to an open-end investment company, the Trust’s Agreement and Declaration of Trust requires the favorable vote of a majority of the Board followed by the favorable vote of the holders of at least 75% of the outstanding shares of each affected class or series of shares of the Trust, voting separately as a class or series, unless such conversion has been approved by at least 80% of the Trustees, in which case “a majority of the outstanding voting securities” (as defined in the Investment Company Act) of the Trust shall be required. The foregoing vote would satisfy a separate requirement in the Investment Company Act that any conversion of the Trust to an open-end investment company be approved by the shareholders. If approved in the foregoing manner, we anticipate conversion of the Trust to an open-end investment company might not occur until 90 days after the shareholders’ meeting at which such conversion was approved and would also require at least 10 days’ prior notice to all shareholders. Conversion of the Trust to an open-end investment company would require the redemption of any outstanding preferred shares, which could eliminate or alter the leveraged capital structure of the Trust with respect to the common shares. Following any such conversion, it is also possible that certain of the Trust’s investment policies and strategies would have to be modified to assure sufficient portfolio liquidity, including in order to comply with Rule 22e-4 under the Investment Company Act. In the event of conversion, the common shares would cease to be listed on the NYSE or other national securities exchanges or market systems. Shareholders of an open-end investment company may require the company to redeem their shares at any time, except in certain circumstances as authorized by or under the Investment Company Act, at their NAV, less such redemption charge, if any, as might be in effect at the time of a redemption. The Trust expects to pay all such redemption requests in cash, but reserves the right to pay redemption requests in a combination of cash or securities. If such partial payment in securities were made, investors may incur brokerage costs in converting such securities to cash. If the Trust were converted to an open-end fund, it is likely that new shares would be sold at NAV plus a sales load. The Board believes, however, that the closed-end structure is desirable in light of the Trust’s investment objective and policies. Therefore, you should assume that it is not likely that the Board would vote to convert the Trust to an open-end fund.

For the purposes of calculating “a majority of the outstanding voting securities” under the Trust’s Agreement and Declaration of Trust, each class and series of the Trust shall vote together as a single class, except to the extent required by the Investment Company Act or the Trust’s Agreement and Declaration of Trust with respect to any class or series of shares. If a separate vote is required, the applicable proportion of shares of the class or series, voting as a separate class or series, also will be required.

The Board has determined that provisions with respect to the Board and the shareholder voting requirements described above, which voting requirements are greater than the minimum requirements under Delaware law or the Investment Company Act, are in the best interests of shareholders generally. Reference should be made to the Agreement and Declaration of Trust on file with the SEC for the full text of these provisions.

The Trust’s Bylaws generally require that advance notice be given to the Trust in the event a shareholder desires to nominate a person for election to the Board or to transact any other business at an annual meeting of shareholders. Notice of any such nomination or business must be delivered to or received at the principal executive offices of the Trust not less than 120 calendar days nor more than 150 calendar days prior to the anniversary date of the prior year’s annual meeting (subject to certain exceptions). Any notice by a shareholder must be accompanied by certain information as provided in the Bylaws. Reference should be made to the Bylaws on file with the SEC for the full text of these provisions.

 

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CLOSED-END FUND STRUCTURE

The Trust is a diversified, closed-end management investment company (commonly referred to as a closed-end fund). Closed-end funds differ from open-end funds (which are generally referred to as mutual funds) in that closed-end funds generally list their shares for trading on a stock exchange and do not redeem their shares at the request of the shareholder. This means that if you wish to sell your shares of a closed-end fund you must trade them on the stock exchange like any other stock at the prevailing market price at that time. In a mutual fund, if the shareholder wishes to sell shares of the fund, the mutual fund will redeem or buy back the shares at NAV. Also, mutual funds generally offer new shares on a continuous basis to new investors and closed-end funds generally do not. The continuous inflows and outflows of assets in a mutual fund can make it difficult to manage the fund’s investments. By comparison, closed-end funds are generally able to stay more fully invested in securities that are consistent with their investment objective and also have greater flexibility to make certain types of investments and to use certain investment strategies, such as financial leverage and investments in illiquid securities.

Shares of closed-end funds frequently trade at a discount to their NAV. Because of this possibility and the recognition that any such discount may not be in the interest of shareholders, the Board might consider from time to time engaging in open-market repurchases, tender offers for shares or other programs intended to reduce the discount. We cannot guarantee or assure, however, that the Board will decide to engage in any of these actions. Nor is there any guarantee or assurance that such actions, if undertaken, would result in the shares trading at a price equal or close to the NAV per share. See “Repurchase of Common Shares” below and “Repurchase of Common Shares” in the SAI. The Board might also consider converting the Trust to an open-end mutual fund, which would also require a vote of the shareholders of the Trust.

REPURCHASE OF COMMON SHARES

Shares of closed-end investment companies often trade at a discount to their NAVs and the Trust’s common shares may also trade at a discount to their NAV, although it is possible that they may trade at a premium above NAV. The market price of the Trust’s common shares will be determined by such factors as relative demand for and supply of such common shares in the market, the Trust’s NAV, general market and economic conditions and other factors beyond the control of the Trust. See “Net Asset Value” and “Description of Shares—Common Shares.” Although the Trust’s common shareholders will not have the right to redeem their common shares, the Trust may take action to repurchase common shares in the open market or make tender offers for its common shares. This may have the effect of reducing any market discount from NAV.

There is no assurance that, if action is undertaken to repurchase or tender for common shares, such action will result in the common shares’ trading at a price which approximates their NAV. Although share repurchases and tender offers could have a favorable effect on the market price of the Trust’s common shares, you should be aware that the acquisition of common shares by the Trust will decrease the capital of the Trust and, therefore, may have the effect of increasing the Trust’s expense ratio and decreasing the asset coverage with respect to any borrowings or preferred shares outstanding. Any share repurchases or tender offers will be made in accordance with the requirements of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, the Investment Company Act and the principal stock exchange on which the common shares are traded. For additional information, see “Repurchase of Common Shares” in the SAI.

Common Stock Repurchase Program:

On September 24, 2021, the Board approved a renewal of the Trust’s open market share repurchase program through November 30, 2022. Commencing on December 1, 2021, the Trust may purchase through November 30, 2022, up to 5% of its shares outstanding as of the close of business on November 30, 2021, subject to certain conditions. The amount and timing of any repurchases under the Trust’s share repurchase program will be determined either at the discretion of the Trust’s management or pursuant to predetermined parameters and instructions subject to market conditions.

 

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There is no assurance that the Trust will repurchase common shares in any particular amount. The share repurchase program seeks to enhance shareholder value by purchasing the Trust’s common shares trading at a discount from their NAV per share. For the year ended December 31, 2021, the Trust did not repurchase any shares.

PLAN OF DISTRIBUTION

We may sell common shares, including to existing shareholders in a rights offering, through underwriters or dealers, directly to one or more purchasers (including existing shareholders in a rights offering), through agents, to or through underwriters or dealers, or through a combination of any such methods of sale. The applicable Prospectus Supplement will identify any underwriter or agent involved in the offer and sale of our common shares, any sales loads, discounts, commissions, fees or other compensation paid to any underwriter, dealer or agent, the offering price, net proceeds and use of proceeds and the terms of any sale. In the case of a rights offering, the applicable Prospectus Supplement will set forth the number of our common shares issuable upon the exercise of each right and the other terms of such rights offering.

The distribution of our common shares may be effected from time to time in one or more transactions at a fixed price or prices, which may be changed, at prevailing market prices at the time of sale, at prices related to such prevailing market prices, or at negotiated prices. Sales of our common shares may be made in transactions that are deemed to be “at the market” as defined in Rule 415 under the Securities Act, including sales made directly on the NYSE or sales made to or through a market maker other than on an exchange.

We may sell our common shares directly to, and solicit offers from, institutional investors or others who may be deemed to be underwriters as defined in the Securities Act for any resales of the securities. In this case, no underwriters or agents would be involved. We may use electronic media, including the Internet, to sell offered securities directly.

In connection with the sale of our common shares, underwriters or agents may receive compensation from us in the form of discounts, concessions or commissions. Underwriters may sell our common shares to or through dealers, and such dealers may receive compensation in the form of discounts, concessions or commissions from the underwriters and/or commissions from the purchasers for whom they may act as agents. Underwriters, dealers and agents that participate in the distribution of our common shares may be deemed to be underwriters under the Securities Act, and any discounts and commissions they receive from us and any profit realized by them on the resale of our common shares may be deemed to be underwriting discounts and commissions under the Securities Act. Any such underwriter or agent will be identified and any such compensation received from us will be described in the applicable Prospectus Supplement. The maximum amount of compensation to be received by any Financial Industry Regulatory Authority member or independent broker-dealer will not exceed eight percent for the sale of any securities being offered pursuant to Rule 415 under the Securities Act. We will not pay any compensation to any underwriter or agent in the form of warrants, options, consulting or structuring fees or similar arrangements. In connection with any rights offering to existing shareholders, we may enter into a standby underwriting arrangement with one or more underwriters pursuant to which the underwriter(s) will purchase common shares remaining unsubscribed after the rights offering.

If a Prospectus Supplement so indicates, we may grant the underwriters an option to purchase additional common shares at the public offering price, less the underwriting discounts and commissions, within 45 days from the date of the Prospectus Supplement, to cover any over-allotments.

Under agreements into which we may enter, underwriters, dealers and agents who participate in the distribution of our common shares may be entitled to indemnification by us against certain liabilities, including liabilities under the Securities Act. Underwriters, dealers and agents may engage in transactions with us, or perform services for us, in the ordinary course of business.

 

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If so indicated in the applicable Prospectus Supplement, we will ourselves, or will authorize underwriters or other persons acting as our agents to solicit offers by certain institutions to purchase our common shares from us pursuant to contracts providing for payment and delivery on a future date. Institutions with which such contacts may be made include commercial and savings banks, insurance companies, pension funds, investment companies, educational and charitable institutions and others, but in all cases such institutions must be approved by us. The obligation of any purchaser under any such contract will be subject to the condition that the purchase of the common shares shall not at the time of delivery be prohibited under the laws of the jurisdiction to which such purchaser is subject. The underwriters and such other agents will not have any responsibility in respect of the validity or performance of such contracts. Such contracts will be subject only to those conditions set forth in the Prospectus Supplement, and the Prospectus Supplement will set forth the commission payable for solicitation of such contracts.

To the extent permitted under the Investment Company Act and the rules and regulations promulgated thereunder, the underwriters may from time to time act as brokers or dealers and receive fees in connection with the execution of our portfolio transactions after the underwriters have ceased to be underwriters and, subject to certain restrictions, each may act as a broker while it is an underwriter.

A Prospectus and accompanying Prospectus Supplement in electronic form may be made available on the websites maintained by underwriters. The underwriters may agree to allocate a number of securities for sale to their online brokerage account holders. Such allocations of securities for Internet distributions will be made on the same basis as other allocations. In addition, securities may be sold by the underwriters to securities dealers who resell securities to online brokerage account holders.

In order to comply with the securities laws of certain states, if applicable, our common shares offered hereby will be sold in such jurisdictions only through registered or licensed brokers or dealers.

INCORPORATION BY REFERENCE

This Prospectus is part of a registration statement that we have filed with the SEC. We are allowed to “incorporate by reference” the information that we file with the SEC, which means that we can disclose important information to you by referring you to those documents. We incorporate by reference into this Prospectus the documents listed below and any future filings we make with the SEC under Sections 13(a), 13(c), 14 or 15(d) of the Exchange Act, including any filings on or after the date of this Prospectus from the date of filing (excluding any information furnished, rather than filed), until we have sold all of the offered securities to which this Prospectus and any accompanying prospectus supplement relates or the offering is otherwise terminated. The information incorporated by reference is an important part of this Prospectus. Any statement in a document incorporated by reference into this Prospectus will be deemed to be automatically modified or superseded to the extent a statement contained in (1) this Prospectus or (2) any other subsequently filed document that is incorporated by reference into this Prospectus modifies or supersedes such statement. The documents incorporated by reference herein include:

 

   

The Trust’s SAI, dated March 4, 2022, filed with this Prospectus;

 

   

our  annual report on Form N-CSR for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2021 filed with the SEC on March 2, 2022; and

 

   

the  description of the Trust’s common shares contained in our Registration Statement on Form 8-A (File No. 001-35356) filed with the SEC on November 21, 2011, including any amendment or report filed for the purpose of updating such description prior to the termination of the offering registered hereby.

 

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The Trust will provide without charge to each person, including any beneficial owner, to whom this Prospectus is delivered, upon written or oral request, a copy of any and all of the documents that have been or may be incorporated by reference in this Prospectus or the accompanying prospectus supplement. You should direct requests for documents by calling:

Client Services Desk

(800) 882-0052

The Trust makes available this Prospectus, SAI and the Trust’s annual and semi-annual reports, free of charge, at http://www.blackrock.com. You may also obtain this Prospectus, the SAI, other documents incorporated by reference and other information the Trust files electronically, including reports and proxy statements, on the SEC website (http://www.sec.gov) or with the payment of a duplication fee, by electronic request at publicinfo@sec.gov. Information contained in, or that can be accessed through, the Trust’s website is not incorporated by reference into this Prospectus and should not be considered to be part of this Prospectus or the accompanying prospectus supplement.

PRIVACY PRINCIPLES OF THE TRUST

The Trust is committed to maintaining the privacy of shareholders and to safeguarding their non-public personal information. The following information is provided to help you understand what personal information the Trust collects, how we protect that information, and why in certain cases we may share such information with select other parties.

The Trust does not receive any non-public personal information relating to its shareholders who purchase shares through their broker-dealers. In the case of shareholders who are record holders of the Trust, the Trust receives personal non-public information on account applications or other forms. With respect to these shareholders, the Trust also has access to specific information regarding their transactions in the Trust.

The Trust does not disclose any non-public personal information about its shareholders or former shareholders to anyone, except as permitted by law or as is necessary in order to service our shareholders’ accounts (for example, to a transfer agent).

The Trust restricts access to non-public personal information about its shareholders to BlackRock employees with a legitimate business need for the information. The Trust maintains physical, electronic and procedural safeguards designed to protect the non-public personal information of our shareholders.

 

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8,000,000 Shares

BLACKROCK UTILITIES, INFRASTRUCTURE & POWER OPPORTUNITIES TRUST

Common Shares

Rights to Purchase Common Shares

 

 

PROSPECTUS

March 4, 2022

 

 

 


BLACKROCK UTILITIES, INFRASTRUCTURE &

POWER OPPORTUNITIES TRUST

8,000,000 Common Shares

PROSPECTUS SUPPLEMENT

 

March 10, 2022

Until April 4, 2022 (25 days after the date of this Prospectus Supplement), all dealers that buy, sell or trade the common shares, whether or not participating in this offering, may be required to deliver a prospectus. This is in addition to the dealers’ obligation to deliver a prospectus when acting as underwriters.


LOGO

BlackRock Utilities, Infrastructure & Power Opportunities Trust

STATEMENT OF ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

BlackRock Utilities, Infrastructure & Power Opportunities Trust (the “Trust”) is a diversified, closed-end management investment company. This Statement of Additional Information (“SAI”) relating to common shares of beneficial interest (“common shares”) does not constitute a prospectus, but should be read in conjunction with the prospectus relating thereto dated March 4, 2022 and any related prospectus supplement. This SAI, which is not a prospectus, does not include all information that a prospective investor should consider before purchasing common shares, and investors should obtain and read the prospectus and any related prospectus supplement prior to purchasing such shares. A copy of the prospectus and any related prospectus supplement may be obtained without charge by calling (800) 882-0052. You may also obtain a copy of the prospectus on the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (the “SEC”) website (http://www.sec.gov). Capitalized terms used but not defined in this SAI have the meanings ascribed to them in the prospectus.

References to the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended (the “Investment Company Act”), or other applicable law, will include any rules promulgated thereunder and any guidance, interpretations or modifications by the SEC, SEC staff or other authority with appropriate jurisdiction, including court interpretations, and exemptive, no-action or other relief or permission from the SEC, SEC staff or other authority.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

THE TRUST

     S-1  

INVESTMENT OBJECTIVE AND POLICIES

     S-1  

INVESTMENT POLICIES AND TECHNIQUES

     S-2  

OTHER INVESTMENT POLICIES AND TECHNIQUES

     S-14  

ADDITIONAL RISK FACTORS

     S-17  

MANAGEMENT OF THE TRUST

     S-31  

PORTFOLIO TRANSACTIONS AND BROKERAGE

     S-42  

CONFLICTS OF INTEREST

     S-47  

DESCRIPTION OF SHARES

     S-54  

REPURCHASE OF COMMON SHARES

     S-56  

TAX MATTERS

     S-57  

CUSTODIAN AND TRANSFER AGENT

     S-65  

INDEPENDENT REGISTERED PUBLIC ACCOUNTING FIRM

     S-65  

CONTROL PERSONS AND PRINCIPAL HOLDERS OF SECURITIES

     S-65  

INCORPORATION BY REFERENCE

     S-65  

FINANCIAL STATEMENTS

     S-66  

APPENDIX A–RATINGS OF INVESTMENTS

     A-1  

APPENDIX B–CLOSED-END FUND PROXY VOTING POLICY

     B-1  

This Statement of Additional Information is dated March 4, 2022.


THE TRUST

The Trust is a diversified, closed-end management investment company registered under the Investment Company Act. The Trust was formed as a Delaware statutory trust on August 25, 2011, pursuant to the Trust’s Agreement and Declaration of Trust, which is governed by the laws of the State of Delaware. The Trust’s investment adviser is BlackRock Advisors, LLC (the “Advisor”), and the Advisor’s affiliate, BlackRock International Limited (the “Sub-Advisor”), acts as the Trust’s sub-adviser. We sometimes refer to the Advisor and the Sub-Advisor collectively as the “Advisors.”

The common shares of the Trust are listed on the New York Stock Exchange (“NYSE”) under the symbol “BUI.” As of February 10, 2022, the Trust has outstanding 22,025,908 common shares.

INVESTMENT OBJECTIVE AND POLICIES

Investment Restrictions

Except as described below, the Trust, as a fundamental policy, may not, without the approval of the holders of a majority of the outstanding common shares and Preferred Shares voting together as a single class, and of the holders of a majority of the outstanding Preferred Shares voting as a separate class:

 

  (1)

invest 25% or more of the value of its total assets in any one industry (except that the Trust will invest at least 25% of its total assets in companies operating in the industry or group of related industries that make up the Utilities and Infrastructure business segments);

 

  (2)

issue senior securities or borrow money other than as permitted by the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended (the “Investment Company Act”) or pledge its assets other than to secure such issuances or in connection with hedging transactions, short sales, when-issued and forward commitment transactions and similar investment strategies;

 

  (3)

make loans of money or property to any person, except through loans of portfolio securities, the purchase of fixed income securities consistent with the Trust’s investment objective and policies or the entry into repurchase agreements;

 

  (4)

underwrite the securities of other issuers, except to the extent that in connection with the disposition of portfolio securities or the sale of its own securities the Trust may be deemed to be an underwriter;

 

  (5)

purchase or sell real estate, except that the Trust may invest in securities of companies that deal in real estate or are engaged in the real estate business, including REITs and real estate operating companies, and instruments secured by real estate or interests therein and the Trust may acquire, hold and sell real estate acquired through default, liquidation, or other distributions of an interest in real estate as a result of the Trust’s ownership of such other assets; or

 

  (6)

purchase or sell commodities or commodity contracts for any purposes except as, and to the extent, permitted by applicable law without the Trust becoming subject to registration with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission as a commodity pool.

When used above with respect to particular shares of the Trust, “majority of the outstanding” means (i) 67% or more of the shares present at a meeting, if the holders of more than 50% of the shares are present or represented by proxy, or (ii) more than 50% of the shares, whichever is less.

The policies enumerated above are the Trust’s only fundamental policies that require a shareholder vote to change. The Trust’s investment objective and all of its other investment policies adopted from time to time may be changed by the Board without shareholder approval.

 

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In addition to the foregoing fundamental investment policies, the Trust is also subject to the following non-fundamental restrictions and policies, which may be changed by the Board. The Trust may not:

 

  (1)

make any short sale of securities except in conformity with applicable laws, rules and regulations and unless after giving effect to such sale, the market value of all securities sold short does not exceed 15% of the value of the Trust’s total assets and the Trust’s aggregate short sales of a particular class of securities of an issuer does not exceed 15% of the then outstanding securities of that class. The Trust may also make short sales “against the box” without respect to such limitations. In this type of short sale, at the time of the sale, the Trust owns or has the immediate and unconditional right to acquire at no additional cost the identical security;

 

  (2)

purchase securities of open-end or closed-end investment companies except in compliance with the Investment Company Act or any regulations promulgated or exemptive relief obtained thereunder;

 

  (3)

under normal market conditions, invest less than 80% of its total assets in equity securities issued by companies that are engaged in the Utilities, Infrastructure and Power Opportunities business segments; the Trust will provide shareholders with notice at least 60 days prior to changing this non-fundamental policy of the Trust unless such change was previously approved by shareholders; or

 

  (4)

purchase securities of companies for the purpose of exercising control.

In accordance with the Investment Company Act, the Trust may invest up to 10% of its total assets in securities of other investment companies. In addition, under the Investment Company Act, the Trust may not own more than 3% of the total outstanding voting stock of any investment company and not more than 5% of the value of the Trust’s total assets may be invested in securities of any investment company. Pursuant to the Investment Company Act (or alternatively, pursuant to exemptive orders received from the Commission), these percentage limitations do not apply to investments in affiliated money market funds, and under certain circumstances, do not apply to investments in affiliated investment companies, including exchange traded funds.

The restrictions and other limitations set forth in the Trust’s prospectus and in this SAI will apply only at the time of purchase of securities and will not be considered violated unless an excess or deficiency occurs or exists immediately after and as a result of the acquisition of securities. Any investment policy or restriction described in the prospectus or in this SAI is deemed to be a non-fundamental policy or restriction of the Trust, unless otherwise stated.

In addition, to comply with U.S. federal income tax requirements for qualification as a “regulated investment company,” the Trust’s investments will be limited in a manner such that at the close of each quarter of each taxable year, (a) no more than 25% of the market value of the Trust’s total assets are invested in the securities (other than United States government securities or securities of other regulated investment companies) of (i) a single issuer, (ii) two or more issuers controlled by the Trust and engaged in the same, similar or related trades or businesses or (iii) the securities of one or more “qualified publicly traded partnerships” and (b) with regard to at least 50% of the Trust’s total assets, no more than 5% of its total assets are invested in the securities (other than United States government securities or securities of other regulated investment companies) of a single issuer and such securities do not represent more than 10 percent of the voting securities of such issuer. These tax-related limitations may be changed by the trustees to the extent appropriate in light of changes to applicable tax requirements.

INVESTMENT POLICIES AND TECHNIQUES

The following information supplements the discussion of the Trust’s investment objective, policies and techniques that are described in the prospectus.

 

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Cash Equivalents and Short-Term Debt Securities

For temporary defensive purposes or to keep cash on hand fully invested, the Trust may invest up to 100% of its total assets in cash equivalents and short-term debt securities. Short-term debt securities include, without limitation, the following:

 

  (1)

U.S. government securities, including bills, notes and bonds differing as to maturity and rates of interest that are either issued or guaranteed by the U.S. Treasury or by U.S. government agencies or instrumentalities. U.S. government securities include securities issued by (a) the Federal Housing Administration, Farmers Home Administration, Export Import Bank of the United States, Small Business Administration and Government National Mortgage Association, whose securities are supported by the full faith and credit of the United States; (b) the Federal Home Loan Banks, Federal Intermediate Credit Banks, and Tennessee Valley Authority, whose securities are supported by the right of the agency to borrow from the U.S. Treasury; (c) the Federal National Mortgage Association, whose securities are supported by the discretionary authority of the U.S. government to purchase certain obligations of the agency or instrumentality; and (d) the Student Loan Marketing Association, whose securities are supported only by its credit. While the U.S. government provides financial support to such U.S. government sponsored agencies or instrumentalities, no assurance can be given that it always will do so since it is not so obligated by law. The U.S. government, its agencies and instrumentalities do not guarantee the market value of their securities. Consequently, the value of such securities may fluctuate.

 

  (2)

Certificates of deposit issued against funds deposited in a bank or a savings and loan association. Such certificates are for a definite period of time, earn a specified rate of return, and are normally negotiable. The issuer of a certificate of deposit agrees to pay the amount deposited plus interest to the bearer of the certificate on the date specified thereon. Certificates of deposit purchased by the Trust may not be fully insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.

 

  (3)

Repurchase agreements, which involve purchases of debt securities.

 

  (4)

Commercial paper, which consists of short-term unsecured promissory notes, including variable rate master demand notes issued by corporations to finance their current operations. Master demand notes are direct lending arrangements between the Trust and a corporation. There is no secondary market for such notes. However, they are redeemable by the Trust at any time. The Advisors will consider the financial condition of the corporation (e.g., earning power, cash flow and other liquidity ratios) and will continually monitor the corporation’s ability to meet all of its financial obligations, because the Trust’s liquidity might be impaired if the corporation were unable to pay principal and interest on demand.

Preferred Securities

Traditional Preferred Securities. Traditional preferred securities generally pay fixed or adjustable rate dividends (or a combination thereof – e.g., a fixed rate that moves to an adjustable rate after some period of time) to investors and generally have a “preference” over common stock in the payment of dividends and the liquidation of a company’s assets. This means that a company must pay dividends on preferred stock before paying any dividends on its common stock. In order to be payable, distributions on such preferred securities must be declared by the issuer’s board of directors. Income payments on typical preferred securities currently outstanding are cumulative, causing dividends and distributions to accumulate even if not declared by the board of directors or otherwise made payable. In such a case all accumulated dividends must be paid before any dividend on the common stock can be paid. However, some traditional preferred stocks are non-cumulative, in which case dividends do not accumulate and need not ever be paid. A portion of the portfolio may include investments in non-cumulative preferred securities, whereby the issuer does not have an obligation to make up any arrearages to its shareholders. Should an issuer of a non-cumulative preferred stock held by the Trust determine not to pay dividends on such stock, the amount of dividends the Trust pays may be adversely affected. There is no assurances that dividends or distributions on the traditional preferred securities in which the Trust invests will be declared or otherwise made payable.

 

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Preferred stockholders usually have no right to vote for corporate directors or on other matters. Shares of traditional preferred securities have a liquidation value that generally equals the original purchase price at the date of issuance. The market value of preferred securities may be affected by favorable and unfavorable changes impacting companies in the utilities and financial services sectors, which are prominent issuers of preferred securities, and by actual and anticipated changes in tax laws, such as changes in corporate income tax rates or the “Dividends Received Deduction.” Because the claim on an issuer’s earnings represented by traditional preferred securities may become onerous when interest rates fall below the rate payable on such securities, the issuer may redeem the securities. Thus, in declining interest rate environments in particular, the Trust’s holdings of higher rate-paying fixed rate preferred securities may be reduced and the Trust may be unable to acquire securities of comparable credit quality paying comparable rates with the redemption proceeds.

Trust Preferred Securities. Trust preferred securities are typically issued by corporations, generally in the form of interest-bearing notes with preferred security characteristics, or by an affiliated business trust of a corporation, generally in the form of beneficial interests in subordinated debentures or similarly structured securities. The trust preferred securities market consists of both fixed and adjustable coupon rate securities that are either perpetual in nature or have stated maturity dates.

Trust preferred securities are typically junior and fully subordinated liabilities of an issuer or the beneficiary of a guarantee that is junior and fully subordinated to the other liabilities of the guarantor. In addition, trust preferred securities typically permit an issuer to defer the payment of income for eighteen months or more without triggering an event of default. Generally, the deferral period is five years or more. Because of their subordinated position in the capital structure of an issuer, the ability to defer payments for extended periods of time without default consequences to the issuer, and certain other features (such as restrictions on common dividend payments by the issuer or ultimate guarantor when full cumulative payments on the trust preferred securities have not been made), these trust preferred securities are often treated as close substitutes for traditional preferred securities, both by issuers and investors. Trust preferred securities have many of the key characteristics of equity due to their subordinated position in an issuer’s capital structure and because their quality and value are heavily dependent on the profitability of the issuer rather than on any legal claims to specific assets or cash flows.

Convertible Securities

A convertible security is a bond, debenture, note, preferred stock or other security that may be converted into or exchanged for a prescribed amount of common stock or other equity security of the same or a different issuer within a particular period of time at a specified price or formula. A convertible security entitles the holder to receive interest paid or accrued on debt or the dividend paid on preferred stock until the convertible security matures or is redeemed, converted or exchanged. Before conversion, convertible securities have characteristics similar to nonconvertible income securities in that they ordinarily provide a stable stream of income with generally higher yields than those of common stocks of the same or similar issuers, but lower yields than comparable nonconvertible securities. The value of a convertible security is influenced by changes in interest rates, with investment value declining as interest rates increase and increasing as interest rates decline. The credit standing of the issuer and other factors also may have an effect on the convertible security’s investment value. Convertible securities rank senior to common stock in a corporation’s capital structure but are usually subordinated to comparable nonconvertible securities. Convertible securities may be subject to redemption at the option of the issuer at a price established in the convertible security’s governing instrument.

Rights Offerings and Warrants to Purchase

The Trust may participate in rights offerings and may purchase warrants, which are privileges issued by corporations enabling the owners to subscribe to and purchase a specified number of shares of the corporation at a specified price during a specified period of time. Subscription rights normally have a short life span to expiration. The purchase of rights or warrants involves the risk that the Trust could lose the purchase value of a

 

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right or warrant if the right to subscribe to additional shares is not exercised prior to the rights’ and warrants’ expiration. Also, the purchase of rights and/or warrants involves the risk that the effective price paid for the right and/or warrant added to the subscription price of the related security may exceed the value of the subscribed security’s market price such as when there is no movement in the level of the underlying security. Buying a warrant does not make the Trust a shareholder of the underlying stock. The warrant holder has no voting or dividend rights with respect to the underlying stock. A warrant does not carry any right to assets of the issuer, and for this reason investments in warrants may be more speculative than other equity-based investments.

Depositary Receipts

The Trust may invest in American Depository Receipts (“ADRs”), European Depository Receipts (“EDRs”), Global Depository Receipts (“GDRs”) and other similar global instruments, which are generally subject to risks associated with equity securities and investments in non-U.S. securities. ADRs typically are issued by a U.S. bank or trust company and evidence ownership of underlying securities issued by a non-U.S. corporation. EDRs, which are sometimes referred to as Continental Depositary Receipts, are receipts issued in Europe, typically by non-U.S. banks and trust companies, that evidence ownership of either non-U.S. or domestic underlying securities. GDRs are depositary receipts structured like global debt issues to facilitate trading on an international basis. Unsponsored ADR, EDR and GDR programs are organized independently and without the cooperation of the issuer of the underlying securities. As a result, available information concerning the issuer may not be as current as for sponsored ADRs, EDRs and GDRs, and the prices of unsponsored ADRs, EDRs and GDRs may be more volatile than if such instruments were sponsored by the issuer.

Master Limited Partnerships

Master limited partnerships (“MLPs”) are typically structured such that common units and general partner interests have first priority to receive quarterly cash distributions up to an established minimum amount (“minimum quarterly distributions” or “MQD”). Common and general partner interests also accrue arrearages in distributions to the extent the MQD is not paid. Once common and general partner interests have been paid, subordinated units receive distributions of up to the MQD; however, subordinated units do not accrue arrearages. Distributable cash in excess of the MQD paid to both common and subordinated units is distributed to both common and subordinated units generally on a pro rata basis.

The general partner is also eligible to receive incentive distributions if the general partner operates the business in a manner that results in distributions paid per common unit surpassing specified target levels. As the general partner increases cash distributions to the limited partners, the general partner receives an increasingly higher percentage of the incremental cash distributions. A common arrangement provides that the general partner can reach a tier where it receives 50% of every incremental dollar paid to common and subordinated unit holders. These incentive distributions encourage the general partner to streamline costs, increase capital expenditures and acquire assets in order to increase the partnership’s cash flow and raise the quarterly cash distribution in order to reach higher tiers. Such results benefit all security holders of the MLP.

To qualify as a partnership for U.S. federal income tax purposes, an MLP must receive at least 90% of its income from qualifying sources such as interest, dividends, real estate rents, gain from the sale or disposition of real property, income and gain from mineral or natural resources activities, income and gain from the transportation or storage of certain fuels, gain from the sale or disposition of a capital asset held for the production of income described in the foregoing and, in certain circumstances, income and gain from commodities or futures, forwards and options with respect to commodities. Mineral or natural resources activities include exploration, development, production, mining, refining, marketing and transportation (including pipelines), of oil and gas, minerals, geothermal energy, fertilizer, timber or industrial source carbon dioxide. Currently, most MLPs operate in the energy, natural resources or real estate sectors. Due to their partnership structure, MLPs generally do not pay income taxes. Thus, unlike investors in corporate securities, direct MLP investors are generally not subject to double taxation (i.e. corporate level tax and tax on corporate dividends).

 

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Equity securities issued by MLPs currently consist of common units, subordinated units and preferred units.

MLP Common Units. MLP common units represent a limited partnership interest in the MLP. Common units are listed and traded on U.S. securities exchanges or over-the-counter (“OTC”), with their value fluctuating predominantly based on prevailing market conditions and the success of the MLP. We may purchase common units in market transactions as well as directly from the MLP or other parties. Unlike owners of common stock of a corporation, owners of common units have limited voting rights and have no ability annually to elect directors. MLPs generally distribute all available cash flow (cash flow from operations less maintenance capital expenditures) in the form of quarterly distributions. Common units along with general partner units, have first priority to receive quarterly cash distributions up to the MQD and have arrearage rights. In the event of liquidation, common units have preference over subordinated units, but not debt or preferred units, to the remaining assets of the MLP.

MLP Subordinated Units. MLP subordinated units are typically not listed on an exchange or publicly traded. The Trust will typically purchase MLP subordinated units through negotiated transactions directly with affiliates of MLPs and institutional holders of such units or will purchase newly issued subordinated units directly from MLPs. Holders of MLP subordinated units are entitled to receive minimum quarterly distributions after payments to holders of common units have been satisfied and prior to incentive distributions to the general partner. MLP subordinated units do not provide arrearage rights. Subordinated units typically have limited voting rights similar to common units. Most MLP subordinated units are convertible into common units after the passage of a specified period of time or upon the achievement by the MLP of specified financial goals.

MLP Preferred Units. MLP preferred units are typically not listed on an exchange or publicly traded. The Trust will typically purchase MLP preferred units through negotiated transactions directly with MLPs, affiliates of MLPs and institutional holders of such units. Holders of MLP preferred units can be entitled to a wide range of voting and other rights, depending on the structure of each separate security.

I-Shares. I-Shares represent an ownership interest issued by an affiliated party of an MLP. The MLP affiliate uses the proceeds from the sale of I-Shares to purchase limited partnership interests in the MLP in the form of i-units. I-units have similar features as MLP common units in terms of voting rights, liquidation preference and distributions. However, rather than receiving cash, the MLP affiliate receives additional i-units in an amount equal to the cash distributions received by MLP common units. Similarly, holders of I-Shares will receive additional I-Shares, in the same proportion as the MLP affiliates receipt of i-units, rather than cash distributions. I-Shares themselves have limited voting rights which are similar to those applicable to MLP common units. The MLP affiliate issuing the I-Shares is structured as a corporation for U.S. federal income tax purposes. I-Shares are traded on the New York Stock Exchange (the “NYSE”).

Structured Products

The Trust may invest in structured products, including instruments such as credit-linked securities and structured notes, which are potentially high-risk derivatives. For example, a structured product may combine a traditional stock, bond, or commodity with an option or forward contract. Generally, the principal amount, amount payable upon maturity or redemption, or interest rate of a structured product is tied (positively or negatively) to the price of some security, currency or index or another interest rate or some other economic factor (each a “benchmark”). The interest rate or (unlike most fixed income securities) the principal amount payable at maturity of a structured product may be increased or decreased, depending on changes in the value of the benchmark.

Structured products can be used as an efficient means of pursuing a variety of investment goals, including currency hedging, duration management, and increased total return. Structured products may not bear interest or pay dividends. The value of a structured product or its interest rate may be a multiple of a benchmark and, as a result, may be leveraged and move (up or down) more steeply and rapidly than the benchmark. These

 

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benchmarks may be sensitive to economic and political events, such as commodity shortages and currency devaluations, which cannot be readily foreseen by the purchaser of a structured product. Under certain conditions, the redemption value of a structured product could be zero. Thus, an investment in a structured product may entail significant market risks that are not associated with a similar investment in a traditional, U.S. dollar-denominated bond that has a fixed principal amount and pays a fixed rate or floating rate of interest. The purchase of structured products also exposes the Trust to the credit risk of the issuer of the structured product. These risks may cause significant fluctuations in the net asset value of the Trust.

Structured Notes and Indexed Securities. Structured notes are derivative debt instruments, the interest rate or principal of which is determined by an unrelated indicator (for example, a currency, security, commodity or index thereof). The terms of the instrument may be “structured” by the purchaser and the borrower issuing the note. Indexed securities may include structured notes as well as securities other than debt securities, the interest rate or principal of which is determined by an unrelated indicator. Indexed securities may include a multiplier that multiplies the indexed element by a specified factor and, therefore, the value of such securities may be very volatile. The terms of structured notes and indexed securities may provide that in certain circumstances no principal is due at maturity, which may result in a loss of invested capital. Structured notes and indexed securities may be positively or negatively indexed, so that appreciation of the unrelated indicator may produce an increase or a decrease in the interest rate or the value of the structured note or indexed security at maturity may be calculated as a specified multiple of the change in the value of the unrelated indicator. Therefore, the value of such notes and securities may be very volatile. Structured notes and indexed securities may entail a greater degree of market risk than other types of debt securities because the investor bears the risk of the unrelated indicator. Structured notes or indexed securities also may be more volatile, less liquid, and more difficult to accurately price than less complex securities and instruments or more traditional debt securities.

Certain issuers of structured products may be deemed to be investment companies as defined in the Investment Company Act. As a result, the Trust’s investments in these structured products may be subject to limits applicable to investments in investment companies and may be subject to restrictions contained in the Investment Company Act.

Strategic Transactions and Other Management Techniques

As described in the prospectus, the Trust may use Strategic Transactions (as defined in the prospectus). This section contains various additional information about the types of Strategic Transactions in which the Trust may engage.

Swaps and Swaptions. The Trust may enter into swap agreements, including interest rate and index swap agreements. Swap agreements are two party contracts entered into primarily by institutional investors for periods ranging from a few weeks to more than one year. In a standard “swap” transaction, two parties agree to exchange the returns (or differentials in rates of return) earned or realized on particular predetermined investments or instruments. The gross returns to be exchanged or “swapped” between the parties are calculated with respect to a “notional amount,” i.e., the dollar amount invested at a particular interest rate, in a particular foreign currency, or in a “basket” of securities representing a particular index. The “notional amount” of the swap agreement is only a fictive basis on which to calculate the obligations that the parties to a swap agreement have agreed to exchange. The Trust’s obligations (or rights) under a swap agreement will generally be equal only to the net amount to be paid or received under the agreement based on the relative values of the positions held by each party to the agreement (the “net amount”). The Trust’s obligations under a swap agreement will be accrued daily (offset against any amounts owing to the Trust) and the Trust will segregate with a custodian or earmark on its books and records an amount of cash or liquid assets having an aggregate net asset value (“NAV”) at all times at least equal to any accrued but unpaid net amounts owed to a swap counterparty.

Whether the Trust’s use of swap agreements will be successful in furthering its investment objective will depend on the Advisors’ ability to correctly predict whether certain types of investments are likely to produce

 

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greater returns than other investments. Moreover, the Trust bears the risk of loss of the amount expected to be received under a swap agreement in the event of the default or bankruptcy of a swap agreement counterparty. Swap agreements also bear the risk that the Trust will not be able to meet its payment obligations to the counterparty. As noted, however, the Trust will deposit in a segregated account, or earmark on its books and records, liquid assets permitted to be so segregated or earmarked by the SEC in an amount equal to or greater than the market value of the Trust’s liabilities under the swap agreement or the amount it would cost the Trust initially to make an equivalent direct investment plus or minus any amount the Trust is obligated to pay or is to receive under the swap agreement. Restrictions imposed by the tax rules applicable to regulated investment companies (“RICs”) may limit the Trust’s ability to use swap agreements. It is possible that developments in the swap market, including government regulation, could adversely affect the Trust’s ability to terminate existing swap agreements or to realize amounts to be received under such agreements.

A swaption is a contract that gives a counterparty the right (but not the obligation) to enter into a new swap agreement or to shorten, extend, cancel or otherwise modify an existing swap agreement, at some designated future time on specified terms. The Trust may write (sell) and purchase put and call swaptions. Depending on the terms of the particular option agreement, the Trust will generally incur a greater degree of risk when it writes a swaption than it will incur when it purchases a swaption. When the Trust purchases a swaption, it risks losing only the amount of the premium it has paid should it decide to let the option expire unexercised. However, when the Trust writes a swaption, upon exercise of the option the Trust will become obligated according to the terms of the underlying agreement.

Total Return Swaps. Total return swap agreements are contracts in which one party agrees to make periodic payments to another party based on the change in market value of the assets underlying the contract, which may include a specified security, basket of securities or securities indices during the specified period, in return for periodic payments based on a fixed or variable interest rate or the total return from other underlying assets. Total return swap agreements may be used to obtain exposure to a security or market without owning or taking physical custody of such security or investing directly in such market. Total return swap agreements may effectively add leverage to the Trust’s portfolio because, in addition to its Managed Assets (as defined in the prospectus), the Trust would be subject to investment exposure on the notional amount of the swap.

Total return swap agreements are subject to the risk that a counterparty will default on its payment obligations to the Trust thereunder. Swap agreements also bear the risk that the Trust will not be able to meet its obligation to the counterparty. Generally, the Trust will enter into total return swaps on a net basis (i.e., the two payment streams are netted against one another with the Trust receiving or paying, as the case may be, only the net amount of the two payments). The net amount of the excess, if any, of the Trust’s obligations over its entitlements with respect to each total return swap will be accrued on a daily basis, and an amount of liquid assets having an aggregate NAV at least equal to the accrued excess will be segregated by the Trust or earmarked on its books and records. If the total return swap transaction is entered into on other than a net basis, the full amount of the Trust’s obligations will be accrued on a daily basis, and the full amount of the Trust’s obligations will be segregated or earmarked by the Trust in an amount equal to or greater than the market value of the liabilities under the total return swap agreement or the amount it would have cost the Trust initially to make an equivalent direct investment, plus or minus any amount the Trust is obligated to pay or is to receive under the total return swap agreement.

Foreign Exchange Transactions. The Trust may engage in spot and forward foreign exchange transactions and currency swaps, purchase and sell options on currencies and purchase and sell currency futures and related options thereon (collectively, “Currency Instruments”). Such transactions could be effected with respect to hedges on foreign dollar denominated securities owned by the Trust, sold by the Trust but not yet delivered, or committed or anticipated to be purchased by the Trust. As an illustration, the Trust may use such techniques to hedge the stated value in U.S. dollars of an investment in a yen-denominated security. In such circumstances, for example, the Trust may purchase a foreign currency put option enabling it to sell a specified amount of yen for dollars at a specified price by a future date. To the extent the hedge is successful, a loss in the value of the yen

 

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relative to the dollar will tend to be offset by an increase in the value of the put option. To offset, in whole or in part, the cost of acquiring such a put option, the Trust may also sell a call option which, if exercised, requires it to sell a specified amount of yen for dollars at a specified price by a future date (a technique called a “straddle”). By selling such a call option in this illustration, the Trust gives up the opportunity to profit without limit from increases in the relative value of the yen to the dollar. “Straddles” of the type that may be used by the Trust are considered to constitute hedging transactions. The Trust may not attempt to hedge any or all of its foreign portfolio positions.

Forward Foreign Currency Contracts. The Trust may enter into forward currency contracts to purchase or sell foreign currencies for a fixed amount of U.S. dollars or another foreign currency. A forward currency contract involves an obligation to purchase or sell a specific currency at a future date, which may be any fixed number of days (term) from the date of the forward currency contract agreed upon by the parties, at a price set at the time the forward currency contract is entered into. Forward currency contracts are traded directly between currency traders (usually large commercial banks) and their customers. The Trust may purchase a forward currency contract to lock in the U.S. dollar price of a security denominated in a foreign currency that the Trust intends to acquire. The Trust may sell a forward currency contract to lock in the U.S. dollar equivalent of the proceeds from the anticipated sale of a security or a dividend or interest payment denominated in a foreign currency. The Trust may also use forward currency contracts to shift the Trust’s exposure to foreign currency exchange rate changes from one currency to another. For example, if the Trust owns securities denominated in a foreign currency and the Advisors believe that currency will decline relative to another currency, the Trust might enter into a forward currency contract to sell the appropriate amount of the first foreign currency with payment to be made in the second currency. The Trust may also purchase forward currency contracts to enhance income when the Advisors anticipate that the foreign currency will appreciate in value but securities denominated in that currency do not present attractive investment opportunities. The Trust may also use forward currency contracts to hedge against a decline in the value of existing investments denominated in a foreign currency. Such a hedge would tend to offset both positive and negative currency fluctuations, but would not offset changes in security values caused by other factors. The Trust could also hedge the position by entering into a forward currency contract to sell another currency expected to perform similarly to the currency in which the Trust’s existing investments are denominated. This type of transaction could offer advantages in terms of cost, yield or efficiency, but may not hedge currency exposure as effectively as a simple forward currency transaction to sell U.S. dollars. This type of transaction may result in losses if the currency used to hedge does not perform similarly to the currency in which the hedged securities are denominated. The Trust may also use forward currency contracts in one currency or a basket of currencies to attempt to hedge against fluctuations in the value of securities denominated in a different currency if the Advisors anticipate that there will be a correlation between the two currencies.

The cost to the Trust of engaging in forward currency contracts varies with factors such as the currency involved, the length of the contract period and the market conditions then prevailing. Because forward currency contracts are usually entered into on a principal basis, no fees or commissions are involved. When the Trust enters into a forward currency contract, it relies on the counterparty to make or take delivery of the underlying currency at the maturity of the contract. Failure by the counterparty to do so would result in the loss of some or all of any expected benefit of the transaction. Secondary markets generally do not exist for forward currency contracts, with the result that closing transactions generally can be made for forward currency contracts only by negotiating directly with the counterparty. Thus, there can be no assurance that the Trust will in fact be able to close out a forward currency contract at a favorable price prior to maturity. In addition, in the event of insolvency of the counterparty, the Trust might be unable to close out a forward currency contract. In either event, the Trust would continue to be subject to market risk with respect to the position, and would continue to be required to maintain a position in securities denominated in the foreign currency or to maintain cash or liquid assets in a segregated account or earmark such cash or liquid assets on its books and records. The precise matching of forward currency contract amounts and the value of the securities involved generally will not be possible because the value of such securities, measured in the foreign currency, will change after the forward currency contract has been established. Thus, the Trust might need to purchase or sell foreign currencies in the spot (cash) market to

 

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the extent such foreign currencies are not covered by forward currency contracts. The projection of short-term currency market movements is extremely difficult and the successful execution of a short-term hedging strategy is highly uncertain.

Use of Options as Strategic Transactions. In addition to the options strategy described in the prospectus as part of the Trust’s investment strategy, the Trust may also use options as Strategic Transactions.

Call Options as Strategic Transactions. The Trust may purchase call options on any of the types of securities or instruments in which it may invest. A purchased call option gives the Trust the right to buy, and obligates the seller to sell, the underlying security at the exercise price at any time during the option period. The Trust also may purchase and sell call options on indices. Index options are similar to options on securities except that, rather than taking or making delivery of securities underlying the option at a specified price upon exercise, an index option gives the holder the right to receive cash upon exercise of the option if the level of the index upon which the option is based is greater than the exercise price of the option.

The Trust may write (i.e., sell) covered call options on the securities or instruments it holds and enter into closing purchase transactions with respect to certain of such options. A covered call option is an option in which the Trust, in return for a premium, gives another party a right to buy specified securities owned by the Trust at a specified future date and price set at the time of the contract. The principal reason for writing covered call options is the attempt to realize, through the receipt of premiums, a greater return than would be realized on the securities alone. By writing covered call options, the Trust gives up the opportunity, while the option is in effect, to profit from any price increase in the underlying security above the option exercise price. In addition, the Trust’s ability to sell the underlying security will be limited while the option is in effect unless the Trust enters into a closing purchase transaction. A closing purchase transaction cancels out the Trust’s position as the writer of an option by means of an offsetting purchase of an identical option prior to the expiration of the option it has written. Covered call options also serve as a partial hedge to the extent of the premium received against the price of the underlying security declining.

The Trust may write (i.e., sell) uncovered call options on securities or instruments in which it may invest but that are not currently held by the Trust. The principal reason for writing uncovered call options is to realize income without committing capital to the ownership of the underlying securities or instruments. When writing uncovered call options, the Trust must deposit and maintain sufficient margin with the broker-dealer through which it made the uncovered call option as collateral to ensure that the securities can be purchased for delivery if and when the option is exercised. In addition, in connection with each such transaction the Trust will segregate, or designate on its books and records, liquid assets or cash with a value at least equal to the Trust’s exposure (the difference between the unpaid amounts owed by the Trust on such transaction minus any collateral deposited with the broker-dealer), on a marked-to-market basis (as calculated pursuant to requirements of the SEC). Such segregation or earmarking will ensure that the Trust has assets available to satisfy its obligations with respect to the transaction and will avoid any potential leveraging of the Trust’s portfolio. Such designation will not limit the Trust’s exposure to loss. During periods of declining securities prices or when prices are stable, writing uncovered calls can be a profitable strategy to increase the Trust’s income with minimal capital risk. Uncovered calls are riskier than covered calls because there is no underlying security held by the Trust that can act as a partial hedge. Uncovered calls have speculative characteristics and the potential for loss is unlimited. When an uncovered call is exercised, the Trust must purchase the underlying security to meet its call obligation. There is also a risk, especially with less liquid preferred and debt securities, that the securities may not be available for purchase. If the purchase price exceeds the exercise price, the Trust will lose the difference.

Put Options as Strategic Transactions. The Trust may purchase put options. By buying a put option, the Trust acquires a right to sell such underlying securities or instruments at the exercise price, thus limiting the Trust’s risk of loss through a decline in the market value of the securities or instruments until the put option expires. The amount of any appreciation in the value of the underlying securities or instruments will be partially offset by the amount of the premium paid for the put option and any related transaction costs. Prior to its

 

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expiration, a put option may be sold in a closing sale transaction and profit or loss from the sale will depend on whether the amount received is more or less than the premium paid for the put option plus the related transaction costs. A closing sale transaction cancels out the Trust’s position as the purchaser of an option by means of an offsetting sale of an identical option prior to the expiration of the option it has purchased.

The Trust also may write (i.e., sell) put options on securities or instruments in which it may invest but that the Trust does not currently have a corresponding short position or has not deposited cash equal to the exercise value of the put option with the broker dealer through which it made the uncovered put option as collateral. The principal reason for writing such put options is to receive premium income and to acquire such securities or instruments at a net cost below the current market value. The Trust has the obligation to buy the securities or instruments at an agreed upon price if the securities or instruments decrease below the exercise price. If the securities or instruments price increases during the option period, the option will expire worthless and the Trust will retain the premium and will not have to purchase the securities or instruments at the exercise price. In connection with such transaction, the Trust will segregate or designate on its books and records liquid assets or cash with a value at least equal to the Trust’s exposure, on a marked-to-market basis (as calculated pursuant to requirements of the SEC). Such designation will ensure that the Trust has assets available to satisfy its obligations with respect to the transaction and will avoid any potential leveraging of the Trust’s portfolio. Such designation will not limit the Trust’s exposure to loss.

The Trust will not sell puts if, as a result, more than 50% of the Trust’s total assets would be required to cover its potential obligations under its hedging and other investment transactions. In selling puts, there is a risk that the Trust may be required to buy the underlying security at a price higher than the current market price.

Futures Contracts and Options on Futures Contracts. The Trust may engage in transactions in financial futures contracts (“futures contracts”) and related options on such futures contracts. A futures contract is an agreement between two parties which obligates the purchaser of the futures contract to buy and the seller of a futures contract to sell a security for a set price on a future date or, in the case of an index futures contract, to make and accept a cash settlement based upon the difference in value of the index between the time the contract was entered into and the time of its settlement. A majority of transactions in futures contracts, however, do not result in the actual delivery of the underlying instrument or cash settlement, but are settled through liquidation (i.e., by entering into an offsetting transaction). Futures contracts have been designed by boards of trade which have been designated “contract markets” by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC”).

The Trust may sell financial futures contracts in anticipation of an increase in the general level of interest rates. Generally, as interest rates rise, the market values of securities that may be held by the Trust will fall, thus reducing the NAV of the Trust. However, as interest rates rise, the value of the Trust’s short position in the futures contract also will tend to increase, thus offsetting all or a portion of the depreciation in the market value of the

Trust’s investments which are being hedged. While the Trust will incur commission expenses in selling and closing out futures positions, these commissions are generally less than the transaction expenses which the Trust would have incurred had the Trust sold portfolio securities in order to reduce its exposure to increases in interest rates. The Trust also may purchase financial futures contracts in anticipation of a decline in interest rates when it is not fully invested in a particular market in which it intends to make investments to gain market exposure that may in part or entirely offset an increase in the cost of securities it intends to purchase. It is anticipated that, in a substantial majority of these transactions, the Trust will purchase securities upon termination of the futures contract.

The Trust may purchase and write call and put options on futures contracts. Options on futures contracts are similar to options on securities except that an option on a futures contract gives the purchaser the right in return for the premium paid to assume a position in a futures contract (a long position if the option is a call and a short position if the option is a put). Generally, these strategies are utilized under the same market and market sector

 

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conditions (i.e., conditions relating to specific types of investments) in which the Trust enters into futures transactions. The Trust may purchase put options or write call options on futures contracts rather than selling the underlying futures contract in anticipation of a decrease in the market value of securities or an increase in interest rates. Similarly, the Trust may purchase call options, or write put options on futures contracts, as a substitute for the purchase of such futures to hedge against the increased cost resulting from an increase in the market value or a decline in interest rates of securities which the Trust intends to purchase.

The Trust may engage in options and futures transactions on exchanges and options in the OTC markets. In general, exchange-traded contracts are third-party contracts (i.e., performance of the parties’ obligation is guaranteed by an exchange or clearing corporation) with standardized strike prices and expiration dates. OTC options transactions are two-party contracts with price and terms negotiated by the buyer and seller. See “—Additional Information About Options,” below.

At the time a futures contract is purchased or sold, the Trust must allocate cash or securities as a deposit payment (“initial margin”). It is expected that the initial margin that the Trust will pay may range from approximately 1% to approximately 5% of the value of the securities or commodities underlying the contract. In certain circumstances, however, such as periods of high volatility, the Trust may be required by an exchange to increase the level of its initial margin payment. Additionally, initial margin requirements may be increased generally in the future by regulatory action. An outstanding futures contract is valued daily and the payment in case of “variation margin” may be required, a process known as “marking to the market.” Transactions in listed options and futures are usually settled by entering into an offsetting transaction, and are subject to the risk that the position may not be able to be closed if no offsetting transaction can be arranged.

When the Trust purchases a futures contract or writes a put option or purchases a call option thereon, an amount of cash or liquid assets will be segregated or designated on the Trust’s books and records so that the amount so designated, plus the amount of variation margin held in the account of its broker, equals the market value of the futures contract, thereby ensuring that the use of such futures is unleveraged.

Additional Information About Options. In the case of either put or call options that it has purchased, if the option expires without being sold or exercised, the Trust will experience a loss in the amount of the option premium plus any commissions paid by the Trust. When the Trust sells put and call options, it receives a premium as the seller of the option. The premium that the Trust receives for selling the option will serve as a partial and limited (to the dollar amount of the premium) hedge, in the amount of the option premium, against changes in the value of the securities in its portfolio. During the term of the option, however, a covered call seller has, in return for the premium on the option, given up the opportunity for capital appreciation above the exercise price of the option if the value of the underlying security increases, but has retained the risk of loss should the price of the underlying security decline. Conversely, a put seller retains the risk of loss should the market value of the underlying security decline below the exercise price of the option, less the premium received on the sale of the option. The Trust may purchase and sell exchange-listed options and OTC Options which are privately negotiated with the counterparty. Listed options are issued by the Options Clearing Corporation (“OCC”), which guarantees the performance of the obligations of the parties to such options.

The Trust’s ability to close out its position as a purchaser or seller of an exchange-listed put or call option is dependent upon the existence of a liquid secondary market on option exchanges. Among the possible reasons for the absence of a liquid secondary market on an exchange are: (i) insufficient trading interest in certain options; (ii) restrictions on transactions imposed by an exchange; (iii) trading halts, suspensions or other restrictions imposed with respect to particular classes or series of options or underlying securities; (iv) interruption of the normal operations on an exchange; (v) inadequacy of the facilities of an exchange or OCC to handle current trading volume; or (vi) a decision by one or more exchanges to discontinue the trading of options (or a particular class or series of options), in which event the secondary market on that exchange (or in that class or series of options) would cease to exist, although outstanding options on that exchange that had been listed by the OCC as a result of trades on that exchange would generally continue to be exercisable in accordance with their terms.

 

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OTC Options are purchased from or sold to dealers, financial institutions or other counterparties which have entered into direct agreements with the Trust. With OTC Options, such variables as expiration date, exercise price and premium will be agreed upon between the Trust and the counterparty, without the intermediation of a third party such as the OCC. If the counterparty fails to make or take delivery of the securities underlying an option it has written, or otherwise settle the transaction in accordance with the terms of that option as written, the Trust would lose the premium paid for the option as well as any anticipated benefit of the transaction. OTC Options and assets used to cover OTC Options written by the Trust are considered by the staff of the SEC to be illiquid. The illiquidity of such options or assets may prevent a successful sale of such options or assets, result in a delay of sale, or reduce the amount of proceeds that might otherwise be realized.

The hours of trading for options on debt securities may not conform to the hours during which the underlying securities are traded. To the extent that the option markets close before the markets for the underlying securities, significant price and rate movements can take place in the underlying markets that cannot be reflected in the option markets.

Hybrid Instruments. A hybrid instrument is a type of potentially high-risk derivative that combines a traditional bond, stock or commodity with an option or forward contract. Generally, the principal amount, amount payable upon maturity or redemption, or interest rate of a hybrid is tied (positively or negatively) to the price of some commodity, currency or securities index or another interest rate or some other economic factor (each a “benchmark”). The interest rate or (unlike most fixed-income securities) the principal amount payable at maturity of a hybrid security may be increased or decreased, depending on changes in the value of the benchmark. An example of a hybrid could be a bond issued by an oil company that pays a small base level of interest with additional interest that accrues in correlation to the extent to which oil prices exceed a certain predetermined level. Such a hybrid instrument would be a combination of a bond and a call option on oil. Hybrids can be used as an efficient means of pursuing a variety of investment goals, including currency hedging, duration management and increased total return. Hybrids may not bear interest or pay dividends. The value of a hybrid or its interest rate may be a multiple of a benchmark and, as a result, may be leveraged and move (up or down) more steeply and rapidly than the benchmark. These benchmarks may be sensitive to economic and political events, such as commodity shortages and currency devaluations, which cannot be readily foreseen by the purchaser of a hybrid. Under certain conditions, the redemption value of a hybrid could be zero. Thus, an investment in a hybrid may entail significant market risks that are not associated with a similar investment in a traditional, U.S. dollar-denominated bond that has a fixed principal amount and pays a fixed rate or floating rate of interest. The purchase of hybrids also exposes the Trust to the credit risk of the issuer of the hybrids. These risks may cause significant fluctuations in the NAV of the Trust’s common shares if the Trust invests in hybrid instruments.

New Products. The financial markets continue to evolve and financial products continue to be developed. The Trust reserves the right to invest in new financial products as they are developed or become more widely accepted. As with any new financial product, these products will entail risks, including risks to which the Trust currently is not subject.

The principal risks relating to the use of futures contracts and other Strategic Transactions are: (i) less than perfect correlation between the prices of the instrument and the market value of the securities in the Trust’s portfolio; (ii) possible lack of a liquid secondary market for closing out a position in such instruments; (iii) losses resulting from interest rate or other market movements not anticipated by the Advisors; and (iv) the obligation to meet additional variation margin or other payment requirements, all of which could result in the Trust being in a worse position than if such transactions had not been used.

Certain provisions of the Code may restrict or affect the ability of the Trust to engage in Strategic Transactions. See “Tax Matters.”

 

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Special Purpose Acquisition Companies

The Trust may invest in stock, warrants, rights and other interests issued by special purpose acquisition companies (“SPACs”) or similar special purpose entities that pool funds to seek potential acquisition opportunities, including the “founder’s” shares and warrants described below. A SPAC is a publicly traded company that raises investment capital via an initial public offering (“IPO”) for the purpose of identifying and acquiring one or more operating businesses or assets. In connection with forming a SPAC, the SPAC’s sponsors acquire “founder’s” shares, generally for nominal consideration, and warrants that will result in the sponsors owning a specified percentage (typically 20%) of the SPAC’s outstanding common stock upon completion of the IPO. At the time a SPAC conducts an IPO, it has selected a management team but has not yet identified a specific acquisition opportunity. Unless and until an acquisition is completed, a SPAC generally invests its assets in U.S. government securities, money market securities and cash. If an acquisition that meets the requirements for the SPAC is not completed within a pre-established period of time, the invested funds are returned to the SPAC’s public shareholders, the warrants expire, and the “founder’s” shares and such warrants become worthless. Because SPACs and similar entities are in essence “blank check” companies without operating histories or ongoing business operations (other than identifying and pursuing acquisitions), the potential for the long term capital appreciation of their securities is particularly dependent on the ability of the SPAC’s management to identify and complete a profitable acquisition. There is no guarantee that the SPACs in which the Trust invests will complete an acquisition or that any acquisitions completed by the SPACs in which the Trust invests will be profitable. Some SPACs may pursue acquisitions only within certain industries or regions, which may ultimately lead to an increase in the volatility of their prices following the acquisition. In addition, some of these securities may be considered illiquid and/or subject to restrictions on resale.

Environmental, Social and Governance (“ESG”) Integration

Although the Trust does not seek to implement a specific ESG, impact or sustainability strategy, Trust management will consider ESG characteristics as part of the investment process for actively managed funds such as the Trust. These considerations will vary depending on a fund’s particular investment strategies and may include consideration of third-party research as well as consideration of proprietary research of the Advisor across the ESG risks and opportunities regarding an issuer. Trust management will consider those ESG characteristics it deems relevant or additive when making investment decisions for the Trust The ESG characteristics utilized in the Trust’s investment process are anticipated to evolve over time and one or more characteristics may not be relevant with respect to all issuers that are eligible for investment.

ESG characteristics are not the sole considerations when making investment decisions for the Trust. Further, investors can differ in their views of what constitutes positive or negative ESG characteristics. As a result, the Trust may invest in issuers that do not reflect the beliefs and values with respect to ESG of any particular investor. ESG considerations may affect the Trust’s exposure to certain companies or industries and the Trust may forego certain investment opportunities. While Trust management views ESG considerations as having the potential to contribute to the Trust’s long-term performance, there is no guarantee that such results will be achieved.

OTHER INVESTMENT POLICIES AND TECHNIQUES

Restricted and Illiquid Securities

The Trust may invest in investments that lack an established secondary trading market or otherwise are considered illiquid. Liquidity of an investment relates to the ability to dispose easily of the investment and the price to be obtained upon disposition of the investment, which may be less than would be obtained for a comparable more liquid investment. Illiquid investments may trade at a discount from comparable, more liquid investments. Investment of the Trust’s assets in illiquid investments may restrict the ability of the Trust to dispose of its investments in a timely fashion and for a fair price as well as its ability to take advantage of market

 

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opportunities. The risks associated with illiquidity will be particularly acute where a Trust’s operations require cash, such as when the Trust pays dividends, and could result in the Trust borrowing to meet short-term cash requirements or incurring capital losses on the sale of illiquid investments.

The Trust may invest in securities that are not registered under the Securities Act (“restricted securities”). Restricted securities may be sold in private placement transactions between issuers and their purchasers and may be neither listed on an exchange nor traded in other established markets. In many cases, privately placed securities may not be freely transferable under the laws of the applicable jurisdiction or due to contractual restrictions on resale. As a result of the absence of a public trading market, privately placed securities may be less liquid and more difficult to value than publicly traded securities. To the extent that privately placed securities may be resold in privately negotiated transactions, the prices realized from the sales, due to illiquidity, could be less than those originally paid by the Trust or less than their fair market value. In addition, issuers whose securities are not publicly traded may not be subject to the disclosure and other investor protection requirements that may be applicable if their securities were publicly traded. If any privately placed securities held by the Trust are required to be registered under the securities laws of one or more jurisdictions before being resold, the Trust may be required to bear the expenses of registration. Where registration is required for restricted securities, a considerable time period may elapse between the time the Trust decides to sell the security and the time it is actually permitted to sell the security under an effective registration statement. If during such period, adverse market conditions were to develop, the Trust might obtain less favorable pricing terms than when it decided to sell the security. Transactions in restricted securities may entail other transaction costs that are higher than those for transactions in unrestricted securities. Certain of the Trust’s investments in private placements may consist of direct investments and may include investments in smaller, less seasoned issuers, which may involve greater risks. These issuers may have limited product lines, markets or financial resources, or they may be dependent on a limited management group. In making investments in such securities, the Trust may obtain access to material nonpublic information, which may restrict the Trust’s ability to conduct portfolio transactions in such securities.

When-Issued and Forward Commitment Securities

The Trust may purchase securities on a “when-issued” basis and may purchase or sell securities on a “forward commitment” basis in order to acquire the security or to offset against anticipated changes in interest rates and prices. When such transactions are negotiated, the price, which is generally expressed in yield terms, is fixed at the time the commitment is made, but delivery and payment for the securities take place at a later date. When-issued securities and forward commitments may be sold prior to the settlement date, but the Trust will enter into when-issued and forward commitments only with the intention of actually receiving or delivering the securities, as the case may be. If the Trust disposes of the right to acquire a when-issued security prior to its acquisition or disposes of its right to deliver or receive against a forward commitment, it might incur a gain or loss. At the time the Trust enters into a transaction on a when-issued or forward commitment basis, it will designate on its books and records cash or liquid debt securities equal to at least the value of the when-issued or forward commitment securities. The value of these assets will be monitored daily to ensure that their marked to market value will at all times equal or exceed the corresponding obligations of the Trust. There is always a risk that the securities may not be delivered and that the Trust may incur a loss. Settlements in the ordinary course, which may take substantially more than five business days, are not treated by the Trust as when-issued or forward commitment transactions and, accordingly, are not subject to the foregoing restrictions.

Reverse Repurchase Agreements

The Trust may enter into reverse repurchase agreements with respect to its portfolio investments subject to the investment restrictions set forth herein. Reverse repurchase agreements involve the sale of securities held by the Trust with an agreement by the Trust to repurchase the securities at an agreed upon price, date and interest payment. At the time the Trust enters into a reverse repurchase agreement, it may establish and maintain a segregated account with the custodian containing, or designate on its books and records, cash and/or liquid assets having a value not less than the repurchase price (including accrued interest). If the Trust establishes and

 

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maintains such a segregated account, or earmarks such assets as described, a reverse repurchase agreement will not be considered a senior security under the Investment Company Act and therefore will not be considered a borrowing by the Trust; however, under certain circumstances in which the Trust does not establish and maintain such segregated account, or earmark such assets on its books and records, such reverse repurchase agreement will be considered a borrowing for the purpose of the Trust’s limitation on borrowings. The use by the Trust of reverse repurchase agreements involves many of the same risks of leverage since the proceeds derived from such reverse repurchase agreements may be invested in additional securities. The Trust’s use of leverage through reverse repurchase agreements will be subject to the Trust’s policy with respect to the use of leverage. Reverse repurchase agreements involve the risk that the market value of the securities acquired in connection with the reverse repurchase agreement may decline below the price of the securities the Trust has sold but is obligated to repurchase. Also, reverse repurchase agreements involve the risk that the market value of the securities retained in lieu of sale by the Trust in connection with the reverse repurchase agreement may decline in price.

If the buyer of securities under a reverse repurchase agreement files for bankruptcy or becomes insolvent, such buyer or its trustee or receiver may receive an extension of time to determine whether to enforce the Trust’s obligation to repurchase the securities and the Trust’s use of the proceeds of the reverse repurchase agreement may effectively be restricted pending such decision. Also, the Trust would bear the risk of loss to the extent that the proceeds of the reverse repurchase agreement are less than the value of the securities subject to such agreement.

Repurchase Agreements

As temporary investments, the Trust may invest in repurchase agreements. A repurchase agreement is a contractual agreement whereby the seller of securities agrees to repurchase the same security at a specified price on a future date agreed upon by the parties. The agreed-upon repurchase price determines the yield during the Trust’s holding period. Repurchase agreements are considered to be loans collateralized by the underlying security that is the subject of the repurchase contract. The Trust will only enter into repurchase agreements with registered securities dealers or domestic banks that, in the opinion of the Advisors, present minimal credit risk. The risk to the Trust is limited to the ability of the issuer to pay the agreed-upon repurchase price on the delivery date; however, although the value of the underlying collateral at the time the transaction is entered into always equals or exceeds the agreed-upon repurchase price, if the value of the collateral declines, there is a risk of loss of both principal and interest. In the event of default, the collateral may be sold but the Trust might incur a loss if the value of the collateral declines, and might incur disposition costs or experience delays in connection with liquidating the collateral. In addition, if bankruptcy proceedings are commenced with respect to the seller of the security, realization upon the collateral by the Trust may be delayed or limited. The Advisors will monitor the value of the collateral at the time the transaction is entered into and at all times subsequent during the term of the repurchase agreement in an effort to determine that such value always equals or exceeds the agreed-upon repurchase price. In the event the value of the collateral declines below the repurchase price, the Advisors will demand additional collateral from the issuer to increase the value of the collateral to at least that of the repurchase price, including interest.

Short Sales

While the Trust does not currently intend to engage in short sales of securities, the Trust is permitted to engage in such transactions. A short sale is a transaction in which the Trust sells a security it does not own in anticipation that the market price of that security will decline. The Trust may make short sales for risk management purposes, to maintain portfolio flexibility or to seek to enhance total return.

When the Trust makes a short sale, it must borrow the security sold short and deliver it to the broker-dealer through which it made the short sale as collateral for its obligation to deliver the security upon conclusion of the sale. The Trust may have to pay a fee to borrow particular securities and is often obligated to pay over any payments received on such borrowed securities.

 

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The Trust’s obligation to replace the borrowed security will be secured by collateral deposited with the broker-dealer, usually cash, U.S. government securities or other liquid securities. The Trust will also be required to designate on its books and records similar collateral with its custodian to the extent, if any, necessary so that the aggregate collateral value is at all times at least equal to the current market value of the security sold short. Depending on arrangements made with the broker-dealer from which it borrowed the security regarding payment over of any payments received by the Trust on such security, the Trust may not receive any payments (including interest) on its collateral deposited with such broker-dealer.

If the price of the security sold short increases between the time of the short sale and the time the Trust replaces the borrowed security, the Trust will incur a loss; conversely, if the price declines, the Trust will realize a gain. Any gain will be decreased, and any loss increased, by the transaction costs described above. Although the Trust’s gain is limited to the price at which it sold the security short, its potential loss is theoretically unlimited. There can be no assurance that the securities necessary to cover a short position will be available for purchase. Purchasing securities to close out the short position can itself cause the price of the securities to rise further, thereby exacerbating the loss. The Trust will not make a short sale if, after giving effect to such sale, the market value of all securities sold short exceeds 15% of the value of its total assets or the Trust’s aggregate short sales of a particular class of securities of an issuer exceeds 15% of the issuer’s outstanding securities of that class. The Trust may also make short sales “against the box” without respect to such limitations. In this type of short sale, at the time of the sale, the Trust owns or has the immediate and unconditional right to acquire at no additional cost the identical security.

ADDITIONAL RISK FACTORS

Preferred Stock Risk

The Trust may invest in preferred stock. Preferred stocks are unique securities that combine some of the characteristics of both common stocks and bonds. Preferred stocks generally pay a fixed rate of return and are sold on the basis of current yield, like bonds. However, because they are equity securities, preferred stock provides equity ownership of a company, and the income is paid in the form of dividends. Preferred stocks typically have a yield advantage over common stocks as well as comparably-rated fixed income investments. Preferred stocks are typically subordinated to bonds and other debt instruments in a company’s capital structure, in terms of priority to corporate income, and therefore will be subject to greater credit risk than those debt instruments. Unlike interest payments on debt securities, preferred stock dividends are payable only if declared by the issuer’s board of directors. Preferred stocks also may be subject to optional or mandatory redemption provisions. Certain of the preferred stocks in which the Trust may invest may be convertible preferred stocks, which have risks similar to convertible securities as described below in “—Convertible Securities Risk.”

Convertible Securities Risk

The value of convertible securities is influenced by both the yield on nonconvertible securities of comparable issuers and by the value of the underlying common stock. The value of a convertible security viewed without regard to its conversion feature (i.e., strictly on the basis of its yield) is sometimes referred to as its “investment value.” To the extent interest rates change, the investment value of the convertible security typically will fluctuate. At the same time, however, the value of the convertible security will be influenced by its “conversion value,” which is the market value of the underlying common stock that would be obtained if the convertible security were converted. Conversion value fluctuates directly with the price of the underlying common stock. If the conversion value of a convertible security is substantially below its investment value, the price of the convertible security is governed principally by its investment value. To the extent the conversion value of a convertible security increases to a point that approximates or exceeds its investment value, the price of the convertible security will be influenced principally by its conversion value. A convertible security will sell at a premium over the conversion value to the extent investors place value on the right to acquire the underlying

 

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common stock while holding a fixed-income security. The yield and conversion premium of convertible securities issued in Japan and the Euromarket are frequently determined at levels that cause the conversion value to affect their market value more than the securities’ investment value.

Holders of convertible securities generally have a claim on the assets of the issuer prior to the common stockholders but may be subordinated to other debt securities of the same issuer. A convertible security may be subject to redemption at the option of the issuer at a price established in a charter provision, indenture or other governing instrument pursuant to which the convertible security was issued. If a convertible security held by the Trust is called for redemption, the Trust will be required to redeem the security, convert it into the underlying common stock or sell it to a third party. Certain convertible debt securities may provide a put option to the holder, which entitles the holder to cause the security to be redeemed by the issuer at a premium over the stated principal amount of the debt security under certain circumstances.

The Trust may also invest in synthetic convertible securities. Synthetic convertible securities may include either Cash-Settled Convertibles or Manufactured Convertibles. “Cash-Settled Convertibles” are instruments that are created by the issuer and have the economic characteristics of traditional convertible securities but may not actually permit conversion into the underlying equity securities in all circumstances. As an example, a private company may issue a Cash-Settled Convertible that is convertible into common stock only if the company successfully completes a public offering of its common stock prior to maturity and otherwise pays a cash amount to reflect any equity appreciation. “Manufactured Convertibles” are created by the Advisors or another party by combining separate securities that possess one of the two principal characteristics of a convertible security, i.e., fixed-income (“fixed-income component”) or a right to acquire equity securities (“convertibility component”). The fixed-income component is achieved by investing in nonconvertible fixed-income securities, such as nonconvertible bonds, preferred stocks and money market instruments. The convertibility component is achieved by investing in call options, warrants, or other securities with equity conversion features (“equity features”) granting the holder the right to purchase a specified quantity of the underlying stocks within a specified period of time at a specified price or, in the case of a stock index option, the right to receive a cash payment based on the value of the underlying stock index.

A Manufactured Convertible differs from traditional convertible securities in several respects. Unlike a traditional convertible security, which is a single security that has a unitary market value, a Manufactured Convertible is comprised of two or more separate securities, each with its own market value. Therefore, the total “market value” of such a Manufactured Convertible is the sum of the values of its fixed-income component and its convertibility component.

More flexibility is possible in the creation of a Manufactured Convertible than in the purchase of a traditional convertible security. Because many corporations have not issued convertible securities, the Advisors may combine a fixed-income instrument and an equity feature with respect to the stock of the issuer of the fixed-income instrument to create a synthetic convertible security otherwise unavailable in the market. The Advisors may also combine a fixed-income instrument of an issuer with an equity feature with respect to the stock of a different issuer when the Advisors believe such a Manufactured Convertible would better promote the Trust’s investment objective than alternative investments. For example, the Advisors may combine an equity feature with respect to an issuer’s stock with a fixed-income security of a different issuer in the same industry to diversify the Trust’s credit exposure, or with a U.S. Treasury instrument to create a Manufactured Convertible with a higher credit profile than a traditional convertible security issued by that issuer. A Manufactured Convertible also is a more flexible investment in that its two components may be purchased separately and, upon purchasing the separate securities, “combined” to create a Manufactured Convertible. For example, the Trust may purchase a warrant for eventual inclusion in a Manufactured Convertible while postponing the purchase of a suitable bond to pair with the warrant pending development of more favorable market conditions.

The value of a Manufactured Convertible may respond to certain market fluctuations differently from a traditional convertible security with similar characteristics. For example, in the event the Trust created a

 

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Manufactured Convertible by combining a short-term U.S. Treasury instrument and a call option on a stock, the Manufactured Convertible would be expected to outperform a traditional convertible of similar maturity that is convertible into that stock during periods when Treasury instruments outperform corporate fixed-income securities and underperform during periods when corporate fixed-income securities outperform Treasury instruments.

Rights Risk

The failure to exercise subscription rights to purchase common stock would result in the dilution of the Trust’s interest in the issuing company. The market for such rights is not well developed, and, accordingly, the Trust may not always realize full value on the sale of rights.

Warrants Risk

If the price of the underlying stock does not rise above the exercise price before the warrant expires, the warrant generally expires without any value and the Trust loses any amount it paid for the warrant. Thus, investments in warrants may involve substantially more risk than investments in common stock. Warrants may trade in the same markets as their underlying stock; however, the price of the warrant does not necessarily move with the price of the underlying stock.

Master Limited Partnership Risk

An investment in MLP units involves some risks that differ from an investment in the common stock of a corporation. As compared to common stockholders of a corporation, holders of MLP units have more limited control and limited rights to vote on matters affecting the partnership. In addition, there are certain tax risks associated with an investment in MLP units and conflicts of interest may exist between common unit holders and the general partner, including those arising from incentive distribution payments.

Much of the benefit the Trust derives from its investment in equity securities of MLPs is a result of MLPs generally 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 of a partnership, in computing its U.S. federal income tax liability, will include its allocable share of the partnership’s income, gains, losses, deductions and expenses. A change in current tax law, or a change in the business of a given MLP, could result in an MLP being treated as a corporation for U.S. federal income tax purposes, which would result in such MLP being required to pay U.S. federal income tax on its taxable income. The classification of an MLP as a corporation for U.S. federal income tax purposes would have the effect of reducing the amount of cash available for distribution by the MLP and causing any such distributions received by the Trust to be taxed as dividend income to the extent of the MLP’s current or accumulated earnings and profits. Thus, if any of the MLPs owned by the Trust were treated as corporations for U.S. federal income tax purposes, the after-tax return to the Trust and its shareholders with respect to its investment in such MLPs would be materially reduced, which could cause a decline in the value of the common stock.

To the extent that the Trust invests in the equity securities of an MLP, the Trust will be a partner in such MLP. Accordingly, the Trust will be required to include in its taxable income the Trust’s allocable share of the income, gains, losses, deductions and expenses recognized by each such MLP, regardless of whether the MLP distributes cash to the Trust. Historically, MLPs have been able to offset a significant portion of their income with tax deductions. The Trust will recognize taxable income with respect to its allocable share of an MLP’s income and gains that is not offset by the MLP’s tax deductions, losses and credits, or its net operating loss carryforwards, if any. The portion, if any, of a distribution received by the Trust from an MLP that is offset by the MLP’s tax deductions, losses or credits is essentially treated as a return of capital. However, those distributions will reduce the Trust’s adjusted tax basis in the equity securities of the MLP, which will result in an increase in the amount of gain (or decrease in the amount of loss) that will be recognized by the Trust for tax

 

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purposes upon the sale of any such equity securities or upon subsequent distributions in respect of such equity securities. The percentage of an MLP’s income and gains that is offset by tax deductions, losses and credits will fluctuate over time for various reasons. A significant slowdown in acquisition activity or capital spending by MLPs held in the Trust’s portfolio could result in a reduction of accelerated depreciation generated by new acquisitions, which may result in an increased distribution requirement for the Trust.

Because of the Trust’s investments in equity securities of MLPs, the Trust’s earnings and profits may be calculated using accounting methods that are different from those used for calculating taxable income. Because of these differences, the Trust may make distributions out of its current or accumulated earnings and profits, which will be treated as dividends, in years in which the Trust’s distributions exceed its taxable income. See “Tax Matters.”

In addition, changes in tax laws or regulations, or future interpretations of such laws or regulations, could adversely affect the Trust or the MLP investments in which the Trust invests.

Short Sales Risk

The Trust may take short positions in securities that the Advisors believe may decline in price or in the aggregate may underperform broad market benchmarks. The Trust may also engage in derivatives transactions that provide similar short exposure. In times of unusual or adverse market, economic, regulatory or political conditions, the Trust may not be able, fully or partially, to implement a short selling strategy.

Short sales are transactions in which the Trust sells a security or other instrument (such as an option, forward, futures or other derivative contract) that it does not own. Short selling allows the Trust to profit from a decline in market price to the extent such decline exceeds the transaction costs and the costs of borrowing the securities. If a security sold short increases in price, the Trust may have to cover its short position at a higher price than the short sale price, resulting in a loss. The Trust may have substantial short positions and must borrow those securities to make delivery to the buyer. The Trust may not be able to borrow a security that it needs to deliver or it may not be able to close out a short position at an acceptable price and may have to sell related long positions before it had intended to do so. Thus, the Trust may not be able to successfully implement its short sale strategy due to limited availability of desired securities or for other reasons. Also, there is the risk that the counterparty to a short sale may fail to honor its contractual terms, causing a loss to the Trust.

Because losses on short sales arise from increases in the value of the security sold short, such losses are theoretically unlimited. By contrast, a loss on a long position arises from decreases in the value of the security and is limited by the fact that a security’s value cannot go below zero. The use of short sales in combination with long positions in the Trust’s portfolio in an attempt to improve performance or reduce overall portfolio risk may not be successful and may result in greater losses or lower positive returns than if the Trust held only long positions. It is possible that the Trust’s long securities positions will decline in value at the same time that the value of its short securities positions increase, thereby increasing potential losses to the Trust. In addition, the Trust’s short selling strategies will limit its ability to fully benefit from increases in the securities markets.

By investing the proceeds received from selling securities short, the Trust could be deemed to be employing a form of leverage, which creates special risks. The use of leverage may increase the Trust’s exposure to long securities positions and make any change in the Trust’s NAV greater than it would be without the use of leverage. This could result in increased volatility of returns. There is no guarantee that any leveraging strategy the Trust employs will be successful during any period in which it is employed.

Regulatory authorities in the United States or other countries may adopt bans on short sales of certain securities, either generally, or with respect to certain industries or countries, in response to market events. Restrictions and/or bans on short selling may make it impossible for the Trust to execute certain investment strategies.

 

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Repurchase Agreements Risk

Subject to its investment objective and policies, the Trust may invest in repurchase agreements for investment purposes. Repurchase agreements typically involve the acquisition by the Trust of debt securities from a selling financial institution such as a bank, savings and loan association or broker-dealer. The agreement provides that the Trust will sell the securities back to the institution at a fixed time in the future. The Trust does not bear the risk of a decline in the value of the underlying security unless the seller defaults under its repurchase obligation. In the event of the bankruptcy or other default of a seller of a repurchase agreement, the Trust could experience both delays in liquidating the underlying securities and losses, including possible decline in the value of the underlying security during the period in which the Trust seeks to enforce its rights thereto; possible lack of access to income on the underlying security during this period; and expenses of enforcing its rights. While repurchase agreements involve certain risks not associated with direct investments in debt securities, the Trust follows procedures approved by the Trust’s Board that are designed to minimize such risks. In addition, the value of the collateral underlying the repurchase agreement will be at least equal to the repurchase price, including any accrued interest earned on the repurchase agreement. In the event of a default or bankruptcy by a selling financial institution, the Trust generally will seek to liquidate such collateral. However, the exercise of the Trust’s right to liquidate such collateral could involve certain costs or delays and, to the extent that proceeds from any sale upon a default of the obligation to repurchase were less than the repurchase price, the Trust could suffer a loss.

When-Issued and Delayed-Delivery Transactions Risk

The Trust may purchase fixed income securities on a when-issued basis, and may purchase or sell those securities for delayed delivery. When-issued and delayed-delivery transactions occur when securities are purchased or sold by the Trust with payment and delivery taking place in the future to secure an advantageous yield or price. Securities purchased on a when-issued or delayed-delivery basis may expose the Trust to counterparty risk of default, as well as the risk that securities may experience fluctuations in value prior to their actual delivery. The Trust will not accrue income with respect to a when-issued or delayed-delivery security prior to its stated delivery date. Purchasing securities on a when-issued or delayed-delivery basis can involve the additional risk that the price or yield available in the market when the delivery takes place may not be as favorable as that obtained in the transaction itself.

Risk Factors in Strategic Transactions and Derivatives

The Trust’s use of derivative instruments involves risks different from, and possibly greater than, the risks associated with investing directly in securities and other traditional investments. Derivatives are subject to a number of risks such as credit risk, leverage risk, illiquidity risk, correlation risk and index risk as described below:

 

   

Credit Risk—the risk that the counterparty in a derivative transaction will be unable to honor its financial obligation to the Trust, or the risk that the reference entity in a derivative will not be able to honor its financial obligations. In particular, derivatives traded in OTC markets often are not guaranteed by an exchange or clearing corporation and often do not require payment of margin, and to the extent that the Trust has unrealized gains in such instruments or has deposited collateral with its counterparties the Trust is at risk that its counterparties will become bankrupt or otherwise fail to honor their obligations.

 

   

Currency Risk—the risk that changes in the exchange rate between two currencies will adversely affect the value (in U.S. dollar terms) of an investment.

 

   

Leverage Risk—the risk associated with certain types of investments or trading strategies (such as, for example, borrowing money to increase the amount of investments) that relatively small market movements may result in large changes in the value of an investment. Certain transactions in derivatives (such as futures transactions or sales of put options) involve substantial leverage risk and may expose the Trust to potential losses that exceed the amount originally invested by the Trust. When

 

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the Trust engages in such a transaction, the Trust will deposit in a segregated account, or earmark on its books and records, liquid assets with a value at least equal to the Trust’s exposure, on a mark-to-market basis, to the transaction (as calculated pursuant to requirements of the SEC). Such segregation or earmarking will ensure that the Trust has assets available to satisfy its obligations with respect to the transaction, but will not limit the Trust’s exposure to loss.

 

   

Illiquidity Risk—the risk that certain securities may be difficult or impossible to sell at the time that the Trust would like or at the price that the Trust as seller believes the security is currently worth. There can be no assurance that, at any specific time, either a liquid secondary market will exist for a derivative or the Trust will otherwise be able to sell such instrument at an acceptable price. It may, therefore, not be possible to close a position in a derivative without incurring substantial losses, if at all. The absence of liquidity may also make it more difficult for the Trust to ascertain a market value for such instruments. Although both OTC and exchange-traded derivatives markets may experience a lack of liquidity, certain derivatives traded in OTC markets, including swaps and OTC options, involve substantial illiquidity risk. The illiquidity of the derivatives markets may be due to various factors, including congestion, disorderly markets, limitations on deliverable supplies, the participation of speculators, government regulation and intervention, and technical and operational or system failures. In addition, the liquidity of a secondary market in an exchange-traded derivative contract may be adversely affected by “daily price fluctuation limits” established by the exchanges which limit the amount of fluctuation in an exchange-traded contract price during a single trading day. Once the daily limit has been reached in the contract, no trades may be entered into at a price beyond the limit, thus preventing the liquidation of open positions. Prices have in the past moved beyond the daily limit on a number of consecutive trading days. If it is not possible to close an open derivative position entered into by the Trust, the Trust would continue to be required to make daily cash payments of variation margin in the event of adverse price movements. In such a situation, if the Trust has insufficient cash, it may have to sell portfolio securities to meet daily variation margin requirements at a time when it may be disadvantageous to do so.

 

   

Correlation Risk—the risk that changes in the value of a derivative will not match the changes in the value of the portfolio holdings that are being hedged or of the particular market or security to which the Trust seeks exposure through the use of the derivative. There are a number of factors which may prevent a derivative instrument from achieving the desired correlation (or inverse correlation) with an underlying asset, rate or index, such as the impact of fees, expenses and transaction costs, the timing of pricing, and disruptions or illiquidity in the markets for such derivative instrument.

 

   

Index Risk—if the derivative is linked to the performance of an index, it will be subject to the risks associated with changes in that index. If the index changes, the Trust could receive lower interest payments or experience a reduction in the value of the derivative to below the price that the Trust paid for such derivative.

 

   

Volatility Risk—the risk that the Trust’s use of derivatives may reduce income or gain and/or increase volatility. Volatility is defined as the characteristic of a security, an index or a market to fluctuate significantly in price over a defined time period. The Trust could suffer losses related to its derivative positions as a result of unanticipated market movements, which losses are potentially unlimited.

When a derivative is used as a hedge against a position that the Trust holds, any loss generated by the derivative generally should be substantially offset by gains on the hedged investment, and vice versa. While hedging can reduce or eliminate losses, it can also reduce or eliminate gains. Hedges are sometimes subject to imperfect matching between the derivative and the underlying security, and there can be no assurance that the Trust’s hedging transactions will be effective. The Trust could also suffer losses related to its derivative positions as a result of unanticipated market movements, which losses are potentially unlimited. The Advisors may not be able to predict correctly the direction of securities prices, interest rates and other economic factors, which could cause the Trust’s derivatives positions to lose value. In addition, some derivatives are more sensitive to interest rate changes and market price fluctuations than other securities. The possible lack of a liquid secondary market

 

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for derivatives and the resulting inability of the Trust to sell or otherwise close a derivatives position could expose the Trust to losses and could make derivatives more difficult for the Trust to value accurately.

When engaging in a hedging transaction, the Trust may determine not to seek to establish a perfect correlation between the hedging instruments utilized and the portfolio holdings being hedged. Such an imperfect correlation may prevent the Trust from achieving the intended hedge or expose the Trust to a risk of loss. The Trust may also determine not to hedge against a particular risk because it does not regard the probability of the risk occurring to be sufficiently high as to justify the cost of the hedge or because it does do not foresee the occurrence of the risk. It may not be possible for the Trust to hedge against a change or event at attractive prices or at a price sufficient to protect the assets of the Trust from the decline in value of the portfolio positions anticipated as a result of such change. The Trust may also be restricted in its ability to effectively manage the portion of its assets that are segregated or earmarked to cover its obligations. In addition, it may not be possible to hedge at all against certain risks.

If the Trust invests in a derivative instrument it could lose more than the principal amount invested. Moreover, derivatives raise certain tax, legal, regulatory and accounting issues that may not be presented by investments in securities, and there is some risk that certain issues could be resolved in a manner that could adversely impact the performance of the Trust.

The Trust is not required to use derivatives or other portfolio strategies to seek to increase return or to seek to hedge its portfolio and may choose not to do so. Also, suitable derivative transactions may not be available in all circumstances and there can be no assurance that the Trust will engage in these transactions to reduce exposure to other risks when that would be beneficial. Although the Advisors seek to use derivatives to further the Trust’s investment objective, there is no assurance that the use of derivatives will achieve this result.

Options Risk. There are several risks associated with transactions in options on securities and indexes. For example, there are significant differences between the securities and options markets that could result in an imperfect correlation between these markets, causing a given transaction not to achieve its objectives. In addition, a liquid secondary market for particular options, whether traded OTC or on a recognized securities exchange (e.g., NYSE), separate trading boards of a securities exchange or through a market system that provides contemporaneous transaction pricing information (an “Exchange”) may be absent for reasons which include the following: there may be insufficient trading interest in certain options; restrictions may be imposed by an Exchange on opening transactions or closing transactions or both; trading halts, suspensions or other restrictions may be imposed with respect to particular classes or series of options or underlying securities; unusual or unforeseen circumstances may interrupt normal operations on an Exchange; the facilities of an Exchange or the OCC may not at all times be adequate to handle current trading volume; or one or more Exchanges could, for economic or other reasons, decide or be compelled at some future date to discontinue the trading of options (or a particular class or series of options), in which event the secondary market on that Exchange (or in that class or series of options) would cease to exist, although outstanding options that had been issued by the OCC as a result of trades on that Exchange would continue to be exercisable in accordance with their terms.

Futures Transactions and Options Risk. The primary risks associated with the use of futures contracts and options are (a) the imperfect correlation between the change in market value of the instruments held by the Trust and the price of the futures contract or option; (b) possible lack of a liquid secondary market for a futures contract and the resulting inability to close a futures contract when desired; (c) losses caused by unanticipated market movements, which are potentially unlimited; (d) the Advisors’ inability to predict correctly the direction of securities prices, interest rates, currency exchange rates and other economic factors; and (e) the possibility that the counterparty will default in the performance of its obligations.

Investment in futures contracts involves the risk of imperfect correlation between movements in the price of the futures contract and the price of the security being hedged. The hedge will not be fully effective when there is imperfect correlation between the movements in the prices of two financial instruments. For example, if the price

 

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of the futures contract moves more or less than the price of the hedged security, the Trust will experience either a loss or gain on the futures contract which is not completely offset by movements in the price of the hedged securities. To compensate for imperfect correlations, the Trust may purchase or sell futures contracts in a greater dollar amount than the hedged securities if the volatility of the hedged securities is historically greater than the volatility of the futures contracts. Conversely, the Trust may purchase or sell fewer futures contracts if the volatility of the price of the hedged securities is historically lower than that of the futures contracts.

The particular securities comprising the index underlying a securities index financial futures contract may vary from the securities held by the Trust. As a result, the Trust’s ability to hedge effectively all or a portion of the value of its securities through the use of such financial futures contracts will depend in part on the degree to which price movements in the index underlying the financial futures contract correlate with the price movements of the securities held by the Trust. The correlation may be affected by disparities in the average maturity, ratings, geographical mix or structure of the Trust’s investments as compared to those comprising the securities index and general economic or political factors. In addition, the correlation between movements in the value of the securities index may be subject to change over time as additions to and deletions from the securities index alter its structure. The correlation between futures contracts on U.S. Government securities and the securities held by the Trust may be adversely affected by similar factors and the risk of imperfect correlation between movements in the prices of such futures contracts and the prices of securities held by the Trust may be greater. The trading of futures contracts also is subject to certain market risks, such as inadequate trading activity, which could at times make it difficult or impossible to liquidate existing positions.

The Trust may liquidate futures contracts it enters into through offsetting transactions on the applicable contract market. There can be no assurance, however, that a liquid secondary market will exist for any particular futures contract at any specific time. Thus, it may not be possible to close out a futures position. In the event of adverse price movements, the Trust would continue to be required to make daily cash payments of variation margin. In such situations, if the Trust has insufficient cash, it may be required to sell portfolio securities to meet daily variation margin requirements at a time when it may be disadvantageous to do so. The inability to close out futures positions also could have an adverse impact on the Trust’s ability to hedge effectively its investments in securities. The liquidity of a secondary market in a futures contract may be adversely affected by “daily price fluctuation limits” established by commodity exchanges which limit the amount of fluctuation in a futures contract price during a single trading day. Once the daily limit has been reached in the contract, no trades may be entered into at a price beyond the limit, thus preventing the liquidation of open futures positions. Prices have in the past moved beyond the daily limit on a number of consecutive trading days.

The successful use of transactions in futures and related options also depends on the ability of the Advisors to forecast correctly the direction and extent of interest rate movements within a given time frame. To the extent interest rates remain stable during the period in which a futures contract or option is held by the Trust or such rates move in a direction opposite to that anticipated, the Trust may realize a loss on the Strategic Transaction which is not fully or partially offset by an increase in the value of portfolio securities. As a result, the Trust’s total return for such period may be less than if it had not engaged in the Strategic Transaction.

Because of low initial margin deposits made upon the opening of a futures position, futures transactions involve substantial leverage. As a result, relatively small movements in the price of the futures contracts can result in substantial unrealized gains or losses. There is also the risk of loss by the Trust of margin deposits in the event of bankruptcy of a broker with which the Trust has an open position in a financial futures contract. Because the Trust will engage in the purchase and sale of futures contracts for hedging purposes or to seek to enhance the Trust’s return, any losses incurred in connection therewith may, if the strategy is successful, be offset in whole or in part by increases in the value of securities held by the Trust or decreases in the price of securities the Trust intends to acquire.

The amount of risk the Trust assumes when it purchases an option on a futures contract is the premium paid for the option plus related transaction costs. In addition to the correlation risks discussed above, the purchase of

 

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an option on a futures contract also entails the risk that changes in the value of the underlying futures contract will not be fully reflected in the value of the option purchased.

General Risk Factors in Hedging Foreign Currency. Hedging transactions involving Currency Instruments involve substantial risks, including correlation risk. While the Trust’s use of Currency Instruments to effect hedging strategies is intended to reduce the volatility of the NAV of the Trust’s common shares, the NAV of the Trust’s common shares will fluctuate. Moreover, although Currency Instruments may be used with the intention of hedging against adverse currency movements, transactions in Currency Instruments involve the risk that anticipated currency movements will not be accurately predicted and that the Trust’s hedging strategies will be ineffective. To the extent that the Trust hedges against anticipated currency movements that do not occur, the Trust may realize losses and decrease its total return as the result of its hedging transactions. Furthermore, the Trust will only engage in hedging activities from time to time and may not be engaging in hedging activities when movements in currency exchange rates occur.

It may not be possible for the Trust to hedge against currency exchange rate movements, even if correctly anticipated, in the event that (i) the currency exchange rate movement is so generally anticipated that the Trust is not able to enter into a hedging transaction at an effective price, or (ii) the currency exchange rate movement relates to a market with respect to which Currency Instruments are not available and it is not possible to engage in effective foreign currency hedging. The cost to the Trust of engaging in foreign currency transactions varies with such factors as the currencies involved, the length of the contract period and the market conditions then prevailing. Since transactions in foreign currency exchange usually are conducted on a principal basis, no fees or commissions are involved.

Foreign Currency Forwards Risk. Forward foreign currency exchange contracts do not eliminate fluctuations in the value of Non-U.S. Securities (as defined in the prospectus) but rather allow the Trust to establish a fixed rate of exchange for a future point in time. This strategy can have the effect of reducing returns and minimizing opportunities for gain.

In connection with its trading in forward foreign currency contracts, the Trust will contract with a foreign or domestic bank, or foreign or domestic securities dealer, to make or take future delivery of a specified amount of a particular currency. There are no limitations on daily price moves in such forward contracts, and banks and dealers are not required to continue to make markets in such contracts. There have been periods during which certain banks or dealers have refused to quote prices for such forward contracts or have quoted prices with an unusually wide spread between the price at which the bank or dealer is prepared to buy and that at which it is prepared to sell. Governmental imposition of credit controls might limit any such forward contract trading. With respect to its trading of forward contracts, if any, the Trust will be subject to the risk of bank or dealer failure and the inability of, or refusal by, a bank or dealer to perform with respect to such contracts. Any such default would deprive the Trust of any profit potential or force the Trust to cover its commitments for resale, if any, at the then market price and could result in a loss to the Trust.

The Trust may also engage in proxy hedging transactions to reduce the effect of currency fluctuations on the value of existing or anticipated holdings of portfolio securities. Proxy hedging is often used when the currency to which the Trust is exposed is difficult to hedge or to hedge against the dollar. Proxy hedging entails entering into a forward contract to sell a currency whose changes in value are generally considered to be linked to a currency or currencies in which some or all of the Trust’s securities are, or are expected to be, denominated, and to buy U.S. dollars. Proxy hedging involves some of the same risks and considerations as other transactions with similar instruments. Currency transactions can result in losses to the Trust if the currency being hedged fluctuates in value to a degree or in a direction that is not anticipated. In addition, there is the risk that the perceived linkage between various currencies may not be present or may not be present during the particular time that the Trust is engaging in proxy hedging. The Trust may also cross-hedge currencies by entering into forward contracts to sell one or more currencies that are expected to decline in value relative to other currencies to which the Trust has or in which the Trust expects to have portfolio exposure. For example, the Trust may hold both Canadian

 

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government bonds and Japanese government bonds, and the Advisors may believe that Canadian dollars will deteriorate against Japanese yen. The Trust would sell Canadian dollars to reduce its exposure to that currency and buy Japanese yen. This strategy would be a hedge against a decline in the value of Canadian dollars, although it would expose the Trust to declines in the value of the Japanese yen relative to the U.S. dollar.

Some of the forward non-U.S. currency contracts entered into by the Trust may be classified as non-deliverable forwards (“NDFs”). NDFs are cash-settled, short-term forward contracts that may be thinly traded or are denominated in non-convertible foreign currency, where the profit or loss at the time at the settlement date is calculated by taking the difference between the agreed upon exchange rate and the spot rate at the time of settlement, for an agreed upon notional amount of funds. All NDFs have a fixing date and a settlement date. The fixing date is the date at which the difference between the prevailing market exchange rate and the agreed upon exchange rate is calculated. The settlement date is the date by which the payment of the difference is due to the party receiving payment. NDFs are commonly quoted for time periods of one month up to two years, and are normally quoted and settled in U.S. dollars. They are often used to gain exposure to and/or hedge exposure to foreign currencies that are not internationally traded.

Currency Futures Risk. The Trust may also seek to hedge against the decline in the value of a currency or to enhance returns through use of currency futures or options thereon. Currency futures are similar to forward foreign exchange transactions except that futures are standardized, exchange-traded contracts while forward foreign exchange transactions are traded in the OTC market. Currency futures involve substantial currency risk, and also involve leverage risk.

Currency Options Risk. The Trust may also seek to hedge against the decline in the value of a currency or to enhance returns through the use of currency options. Currency options are similar to options on securities. For example, in consideration for an option premium the writer of a currency option is obligated to sell (in the case of a call option) or purchase (in the case of a put option) a specified amount of a specified currency on or before the expiration date for a specified amount of another currency. The Trust may engage in transactions in options on currencies either on exchanges or OTC markets. Currency options involve substantial currency risk, and may also involve credit, leverage or illiquidity risk.

Currency Swaps Risk. The Trust may enter into currency swaps. Currency swaps involve the exchange of the rights of the Trust and another party to make or receive payments in specified currencies. The Trust may also hedge portfolio positions through currency swaps, which are transactions in which one currency is simultaneously bought for a second currency on a spot basis and sold for the second currency on a forward basis. Currency swaps usually involve the delivery of the entire principal value of one designated currency in exchange for the other designated currency. Because currency swaps usually involve the delivery of the entire principal value of one designated currency in exchange for the other designated currency, the entire principal value of a currency swap is subject to the risk that the other party to the swap will default on its contractual delivery obligations.

Over-the-Counter Trading Risk. The derivative instruments that may be purchased or sold by the Trust may include instruments not traded on an exchange. The risk of nonperformance by the counterparty to an instrument may be greater than, and the ease with which the Trust can dispose of or enter into closing transactions with respect to an instrument may be less than, the risk associated with an exchange traded instrument. In addition, significant disparities may exist between “bid” and “asked” prices for derivative instruments that are not traded on an exchange. The absence of liquidity may make it difficult or impossible for the Trust to sell such instruments promptly at an acceptable price. Derivative instruments not traded on exchanges also are not subject to the same type of government regulation as exchange traded instruments, and many of the protections afforded to participants in a regulated environment may not be available in connection with the transactions. Because derivatives traded in OTC markets generally are not guaranteed by an exchange or clearing corporation and generally do not require payment of margin, to the extent that the Trust has unrealized gains in such instruments or has deposited collateral with its counterparties the Trust is at risk that its counterparties will become bankrupt or otherwise fail to honor its obligations.

 

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Dodd-Frank Act Risk. Title VII of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 (the “Dodd-Frank Act”) (the “Derivatives Title”) imposed a substantially new regulatory structure on derivatives markets, with particular emphasis on swaps (which were subject to oversight by the CFTC) and security-based swaps (which were subject to oversight by the SEC). The regulatory framework covers a broad range of swap market participants, including banks, non-banks, credit unions, insurance companies, broker-dealers and investment advisers. Prudential regulators were granted authority to regulate margining of swaps and security-based swaps of banks and bank-related entities.

Current regulations for swaps require the mandatory central clearing and mandatory exchange trading of particular types of interest rate swaps and index credit default swaps (together, “Covered Swaps”). The Trust is required to clear its Covered Swaps through a clearing broker, which requires, among other things, posting initial margin and variation margin to the Trust’s clearing broker in order to enter into and maintain positions in Covered Swaps. Covered Swaps generally are required to be executed through a swap execution facility (“SEF”), which can involve additional transaction fees.

Additionally, with respect to uncleared swaps, swap dealers are required to collect variation margin from the Trust and may be required by applicable regulations to collect initial margin from the Trust. Both initial and variation margin may be comprised of cash and/or securities, subject to applicable regulatory haircuts. Shares of investment companies (other than certain money market funds) may not be posted as collateral under applicable regulations. As capital and margin requirements for swap dealers and capital and margin requirements for security-based swaps are implemented, such requirements may make certain types of trades and/or trading strategies more costly. There may be market dislocations due to uncertainty during the implementation period of any new regulation and the Advisors cannot know how the derivatives market will adjust to such new regulations.

In addition, regulations adopted by global prudential regulators that are now in effect require certain bank-regulated counterparties and certain of their affiliates to include in “qualified financial contracts,” including many derivatives contracts as well as repurchase agreements and securities lending agreements, terms that delay or restrict the rights of counterparties to terminate such contracts, foreclose upon collateral, exercise other default rights or restrict transfers of affiliate credit enhancements (such as guarantees) in the event that the bank-regulated counterparty and/or its affiliates are subject to certain types of resolution or insolvency proceedings.

Legal and Regulatory Risk. At any time after the date hereof, legislation or additional regulations may be enacted that could negatively affect the assets of the Trust. Changing approaches to regulation may have a negative impact on the securities in which the Trust invests. Legislation or regulation may also change the way in which the Trust itself is regulated. There can be no assurance that future legislation, regulation or deregulation will not have a material adverse effect on the Trust or will not impair the ability of the Trust to achieve its investment objective. In addition, as new rules and regulations resulting from the passage of the Dodd-Frank Act are implemented and new international capital and liquidity requirements are introduced under the Basel III Accords, the market may not react the way the Advisors expect. Whether the Trust achieves its investment objective may depend on, among other things, whether the Advisors correctly forecast market reactions to this and other legislation. In the event the Advisors incorrectly forecast market reaction, the Trust may not achieve its investment objective.

Risk of Investing in China

Investments in securities of companies domiciled in the People’s Republic of China (“China” or the “PRC”) involve a high degree of risk and special considerations not typically associated with investing in the U.S. securities markets. Such heightened risks include, among others, an authoritarian government, popular unrest associated with demands for improved political, economic and social conditions, the impact of regional conflict on the economy and hostile relations with neighboring countries.

 

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Military conflicts, either in response to internal social unrest or conflicts with other countries, could disrupt economic development. The Chinese economy is vulnerable to the long-running disagreements and religious and nationalist disputes with Tibet and the Xinjiang region. Since 1997, there have been tensions between the Chinese government and many people in Hong Kong who perceive China as tightening control over Hong Kong’s semi-autonomous liberal political, economic, legal, and social framework. Recent protests and unrest have increased tensions even further. Due to the interconnected nature of the Hong Kong and Chinese economies, this instability in Hong Kong may cause uncertainty in the Hong Kong and Chinese markets. China has a complex territorial dispute regarding the sovereignty of Taiwan and has made threats of invasion; Taiwan-based companies and individuals are significant investors in China. Military conflict between China and Taiwan may adversely affect securities of Chinese issuers. In addition, China has strained international relations with Japan, India, Russia and other neighbors due to territorial disputes, historical animosities and other defense concerns. Additionally, China is alleged to have participated in state-sponsored cyberattacks against foreign companies and foreign governments. Actual and threatened responses to such activity and strained international relations, including purchasing restrictions, sanctions, tariffs or cyberattacks on the Chinese government or Chinese companies, may impact China’s economy and Chinese issuers of securities in which the Trust invests. China could be affected by military events on the Korean peninsula or internal instability within North Korea. These situations may cause uncertainty in the Chinese market and may adversely affect the performance of the Chinese economy.

The Chinese government has implemented significant economic reforms in order to liberalize trade policy, promote foreign investment in the economy, reduce government control of the economy and develop market mechanisms. However, there can be no assurance that these reforms will continue or that they will be effective. Despite reforms and privatizations of companies in certain sectors, the Chinese government still exercises substantial influence over many aspects of the private sector and may own or control many companies. Chinese companies, such as those in the financial services or technology sectors, and potentially other sectors in the future, are subject to the risk that Chinese authorities can intervene in their operations and structure. The Chinese government continues to maintain a major role in economic policy making and investing in China involves risks of losses due to expropriation, nationalization, confiscation of assets and property, and the imposition of restrictions on foreign investments and on repatriation of capital invested.

The Chinese government may intervene in the Chinese financial markets, such as by the imposition of trading restrictions, a ban on “naked” short selling or the suspension of short selling for certain stocks. This may affect market price and liquidity of these stocks, and may have an unpredictable impact on the investment activities of the Trust. Furthermore, such market interventions may have a negative impact on market sentiment which may in turn affect the performance of the securities markets and as a result the performance of the Trust.

In addition, there is less regulation and monitoring of the securities markets and the activities of investors, brokers and other participants in China than in the United States. Accordingly, issuers of securities in China are not subject to the same degree of regulation as those in the United States with respect to such matters as insider trading rules, tender offer regulation, stockholder proxy requirements and the requirements mandating timely and accurate disclosure of information. Stock markets in China are in the process of change and further development. This may lead to trading volatility, and difficulties in the settlement and recording of transactions and interpretation and application of the relevant regulations. Custodians may not be able to offer the level of service and safe-keeping in relation to the settlement and administration of securities in China that is customary in more developed markets. In particular, there is a risk that the Trust may not be recognized as the owner of securities that are held on behalf of the Trust by a sub-custodian.

The Chinese government has taken positions that prevent the U.S. Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (“PCAOB”) from inspecting the audit work and practices of accounting firms in mainland China and Hong Kong for compliance with U.S. law and professional standards. Audits performed by PCAOB- registered accounting firms in mainland China and Hong Kong may be less reliable than those performed by firms subject to PCAOB inspection. Accordingly, information about the Chinese securities in which the Fund invests may be

 

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less reliable or complete. Under amendments to the Sarbanes-Oxley Act enacted in December 2020, which requires that the PCAOB be permitted to inspect the accounting firm of a U.S.-listed Chinese issuer, Chinese companies with securities listed on U.S. exchanges may be delisted if the PCAOB is unable to inspect the accounting firm.

The Renminbi (“RMB”) is currently not a freely convertible currency and is subject to foreign exchange control policies and repatriation restrictions imposed by the Chinese government. The imposition of currency controls may negatively impact performance and liquidity of the Trust as capital may become trapped in the PRC. The Trust could be adversely affected by delays in, or a refusal to grant, any required governmental approval for repatriation of capital, as well as by the application to the Trust of any restrictions on investments. Investing in entities either in, or which have a substantial portion of their operations in, the PRC may require the Trust to adopt special procedures, seek local government approvals or take other actions, each of which may involve additional costs and delays to the Trust.

While the Chinese economy has grown rapidly in recent years, there is no assurance that this growth rate will be maintained. China may experience substantial rates of inflation or economic recessions, causing a negative effect on the economy and securities market. China’s economy is heavily dependent on export growth. Reduction in spending on Chinese products and services, institution of tariffs or other trade barriers or a downturn in any of the economies of China’s key trading partners may have an adverse impact on the securities of Chinese issuers.

The tax laws and regulations in the PRC are subject to change, including the issuance of authoritative guidance or enforcement, possibly with retroactive effect. The interpretation, applicability and enforcement of such laws by the PRC tax authorities are not as consistent and transparent as those of more developed nations, and may vary over time and from region to region. The application and enforcement of the PRC tax rules could have a significant adverse effect on the Trust and its investors, particularly in relation to capital gains withholding tax imposed upon non-residents. In addition, the accounting, auditing and financial reporting standards and practices applicable to Chinese companies may be less rigorous, and may result in significant differences between financial statements prepared in accordance with PRC accounting standards and practices and those prepared in accordance with international accounting standards.

From time to time and in recent months, China has experienced outbreaks of infectious illnesses, and the country may be subject to other public health threats, infectious illnesses, diseases or similar issues in the future. Any spread of an infectious illness, public health threat or similar issue could reduce consumer demand or economic output, result in market closures, travel restrictions or quarantines, and generally have a significant impact on the Chinese economy, which in turn could adversely affect the Trust’s investments and could result in increased premiums or discounts to the Trust’s NAV.

Risk of Investing through Stock Connect. China A-shares are equity securities of companies domiciled in China that trade on Chinese stock exchanges such as the Shanghai Stock Exchange (“SSE”) and the Shenzhen Stock Exchange (“SZSE”) (“A-shares”). Foreign investment in A-shares on the SSE and SZSE has historically not been permitted, other than through a license granted under regulations in the PRC known as the Qualified Foreign Institutional Investor and Renminbi Qualified Foreign Institutional Investor systems.

Investment in eligible A-shares listed and traded on the SSE or SZSE is also permitted through the Shanghai-Hong Kong Stock Connect program or the Shenzhen-Hong Kong Stock Connect program, as applicable (each, a “Stock Connect” and collectively, “Stock Connects”). Each Stock Connect is a securities trading and clearing links program established by The Stock Exchange of Hong Kong Limited (“SEHK”), the Hong Kong Securities Clearing Company Limited (“HKSCC”), the SSE or SZSE, as applicable, and China Securities Depository and Clearing Corporation Limited (“CSDCC”) that aims to provide mutual stock market access between the PRC and Hong Kong by permitting investors to trade and settle shares on each market through their local securities brokers. Under Stock Connects, the Trust’s trading of eligible A-shares listed on the SSE or SZSE, as applicable, would be effectuated through its Hong Kong broker and a securities trading service company established by SEHK.

 

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Although no individual investment quotas or licensing requirements apply to investors in Stock Connects, trading through a Stock Connect’s Northbound Trading Link is subject to daily investment quota limitations which require that buy orders for A-shares be rejected once the daily quota is exceeded (although the Trust will be permitted to sell A-shares regardless of the quota). These limitations may restrict the Trust from investing in A-shares on a timely basis, which could affect the Trust’s ability to effectively pursue its investment strategy. Investment quotas are also subject to change.

Investment in eligible A-shares through a Stock Connect is subject to trading, clearance and settlement procedures that could pose risks to the Trust. A-shares purchased through Stock Connects generally may not be sold or otherwise transferred other than through Stock Connects in accordance with applicable rules. For example, the PRC regulations require that in order for an investor to sell any A-share on a certain trading day, there must be sufficient A-shares in the investor’s account before the market opens on that day. If there are insufficient A-shares in the investor’s account, the sell order will be rejected by the SSE or SZSE, as applicable. SEHK carries out pre-trade checking on sell orders of certain stocks listed on the SSE market (“SSE Securities”) or SZSE market (“SZSE Securities”) of its participants (i.e., stock brokers) to ensure that this requirement is satisfied. While shares must be designated as eligible to be traded under a Stock Connect, those shares may also lose such designation, and if this occurs, such shares may be sold but cannot be purchased through a Stock Connect. In addition, Stock Connects will only operate on days when both the Chinese and Hong Kong markets are open for trading, and banking services are available in both markets on the corresponding settlement days. Therefore, an investment in A-shares through a Stock Connect may subject the Trust to a risk of price fluctuations on days when the Chinese market is open, but a Stock Connect is not trading. Moreover, day (turnaround) trading is not permitted on the A-shares market. If an investor buys A-shares on day “T,” the investor will only be able to sell the A-shares on or after day T+1. Further, since all trades of eligible A-shares must be settled in RMB, investors must have timely access to a reliable supply of offshore RMB, which cannot be guaranteed. There is also no assurance that RMB will not be subject to devaluation. Any devaluation of RMB could adversely affect the Trust’s investments. If the Trust holds a class of shares denominated in a local currency other than RMB, the Trust will be exposed to currency exchange risk if the Trust converts the local currency into RMB for investments in A-shares. The Trust may also incur conversion costs.

A-shares held through the nominee structure under a Stock Connect will be held through HKSCC as nominee on behalf of investors. The precise nature and rights of the Trust as the beneficial owner of the SSE Securities or SZSE Securities through HKSCC as nominee is not well defined under the PRC laws. There is a lack of a clear definition of, and distinction between, legal ownership and beneficial ownership under the PRC laws and there have been few cases involving a nominee account structure in the PRC courts. The exact nature and methods of enforcement of the rights and interests of the Trust under the PRC laws is also uncertain. In the unlikely event that HKSCC becomes subject to winding up proceedings in Hong Kong, there is a risk that the SSE Securities or SZSE Securities may not be regarded as held for the beneficial ownership of the Trust or as part of the general assets of HKSCC available for general distribution to its creditors. Notwithstanding the fact that HKSCC does not claim proprietary interests in the SSE Securities or SZSE Securities held in its omnibus stock account in the CSDCC, the CSDCC as the share registrar for SSE- or SZSE-listed companies will still treat HKSCC as one of the shareholders when it handles corporate actions in respect of such SSE Securities or SZSE Securities. HKSCC monitors the corporate actions affecting SSE Securities and SZSE Securities and keeps participants of Central Clearing and Settlement System (“CCASS”) informed of all such corporate actions that require CCASS participants to take steps in order to participate in them. Investors may only exercise their voting rights by providing their voting instructions to HKSCC through participants of CCASS. All voting instructions from CCASS participants will be consolidated by HKSCC, who will then submit a combined single voting instruction to the relevant SSE- or SZSE-listed company.

The Trust’s investments through a Stock Connect’s Northbound Trading Link are not covered by Hong Kong’s Investor Compensation Fund. Hong Kong’s Investor Compensation Fund is established to pay compensation to investors of any nationality who suffer pecuniary losses as a result of default of a licensed intermediary or authorized financial institution in relation to exchange-traded products in Hong Kong. In

 

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addition, since the Trust carries out Northbound Trading through securities brokers in Hong Kong but not PRC brokers, it is not protected by the China Securities Investor Protection Fund in the PRC.

Market participants are able to participate in Stock Connects subject to meeting certain information technology capability, risk management and other requirements as may be specified by the relevant exchange and/or clearing house. Further, the “connectivity” in Stock Connects requires routing of orders across the border of Hong Kong and the PRC. This requires the development of new information technology systems on the part of SEHK and exchange participants. There is no assurance that the systems of SEHK and market participants will function properly or will continue to be adapted to changes and developments in both markets. In the event that the relevant systems fail to function properly, trading in A-shares through Stock Connects could be disrupted.

The Shanghai-Hong Kong Stock Connect program launched in November 2014 and the Shenzhen-Hong Kong Stock Connect program launched in December 2016 are both in their initial stages. There is no certainty as to how the current regulations will be applied or interpreted going forward, and new or revised regulations may be issued from time to time by the regulators and stock exchanges in China and Hong Kong in connection with operations, legal enforcement and cross-border trades under Stock Connects. In addition, there can be no assurance that Stock Connect will not be discontinued. The Trust may be adversely affected as a result of such changes. Furthermore, the securities regimes and legal systems of China and Hong Kong differ significantly and issues may arise from the differences on an on-going basis. In the event that the relevant systems fail to function properly, trading in both markets through Stock Connects could be disrupted and the Trust’s ability to achieve its investment objective may be adversely affected. In addition, the Trust’s investments in A-shares through Stock Connects are generally subject to Chinese securities regulations and listing rules, among other restrictions. Further, different fees, costs and taxes are imposed on foreign investors acquiring A-shares through Stock Connects, and these fees, costs and taxes may be higher than comparable fees, costs and taxes imposed on owners of other securities providing similar investment exposure.

The Trust may also invest in Chinese companies listed on U.S. exchanges, such as ADRs or variable interest entities (“VIEs”), which are subject to the investment risks associated with the underlying Chinese issuer or operating company. Chinese operating companies listed on U.S. exchanges are often structured as VIEs. Instead of directly owning the equity securities of a Chinese company, a VIE enters into service contracts and other contracts with the Chinese company, which provide the VIE with exposure to the company. Although the VIE has no equity ownership of the Chinese operating company, the contractual arrangements permit the VIE to consolidate the Chinese operating company into its financial statements. Intervention by the Chinese government with respect to VIEs could significantly affect the Chinese operating company’s performance and the enforceability of the VIE’s contractual arrangements with the Chinese company.

A-Share Market Suspension Risk. A-shares may only be bought from, or sold to, the Trust at times when the relevant A-shares may be sold or purchased on the relevant Chinese stock exchange. The A-shares market has a higher propensity for trading suspensions than many other global equity markets. Trading suspensions in certain stocks could lead to greater market execution risk and costs for the Trust. The SSE and SZSE currently apply a daily price limit, generally set at 10%, of the amount of fluctuation permitted in the prices of A-shares during a single trading day. The daily price limit refers to price movements only and does not restrict trading within the relevant limit. There can be no assurance that a liquid market on an exchange will exist for any particular A-share or for any particular time.

MANAGEMENT OF THE TRUST

Investment Management Agreement

Although the Advisor intends to devote such time and effort to the business of the Trust as is reasonably necessary to perform its duties to the Trust, the services of the Advisor are not exclusive and the Advisor provides similar services to other investment companies and other clients and may engage in other activities.

 

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The investment management agreement between the Advisor and the Trust (the “Investment Management Agreement”) also provides that in the absence of willful misfeasance, bad faith, gross negligence or reckless disregard of its obligations thereunder, the Advisor is not liable to the Trust or any of the Trust’s shareholders for any act or omission by the Advisor in the supervision or management of its respective investment activities or for any loss sustained by the Trust or the Trust’s shareholders and provides for indemnification by the Trust of the Advisor, its directors, officers, employees, agents and control persons for liabilities incurred by them in connection with their services to the Trust, subject to certain limitations and conditions.

The Investment Management Agreement provides for the Trust to pay a management fee at an annual rate equal to 1.00% of the average daily value of the net assets of the Trust.

The Trust and the Advisor have entered into a fee waiver agreement (the “Fee Waiver Agreement”), pursuant to which the Advisor has contractually agreed to waive the management fee with respect to any portion of the Trust’s assets attributable to investments in any equity and fixed-income mutual funds and ETFs managed by the Advisor or its affiliates that have a contractual fee, through June 30, 2023. In addition, effective December 1, 2019, pursuant to the Fee Waiver Agreement, the Advisor has contractually agreed to waive its management fees by the amount of investment advisory fees the Trust pays to the Advisor indirectly through its investment in money market funds advised by the Advisor or its affiliates, through June 30, 2023. The Fee Waiver Agreement may be continued from year to year thereafter, provided that such continuance is specifically approved by the Advisor and the Trust (including by a majority of the Trustees who are not “interested persons” (as defined in the Investment Company Act) (the “Independent Trustees”)). Neither the Advisor nor the Trust is obligated to extend the Fee Waiver Agreement. The Fee Waiver Agreement may be terminated at any time, without the payment of any penalty, only by the Trust (upon the vote of a majority of the Independent Trustees or a majority of the outstanding voting securities of the Trust), upon 90 days’ written notice by the Trust to the Advisor. Prior to December 1, 2019, such agreement to waive a portion of the Trust’s management fee in connection with the Trust’s investment in affiliated money market funds was voluntary.

Prior to July 1, 2021, the Advisor voluntarily agreed to waive a portion of the management fee in the amount of 0.025% of the Trust’s average daily net assets.

The Investment Management Agreement was approved by the sole common shareholder of the Trust as of October 24, 2011. The Investment Management Agreement will continue in effect from year to year, provided that each continuance is specifically approved at least annually by both (1) the vote of a majority of the Board or the vote of a majority of the outstanding voting securities of the Trust (as such term is defined in the Investment Company Act) and (2) by the vote of a majority of the Trustees who are not parties to the Investment Management Agreement or “interested persons” (as such term is defined in the Investment Company Act) of any such party, cast in person at a meeting called for the purpose of voting on such approval. The Investment Management Agreement may be terminated as a whole at any time by the Trust, without the payment of any penalty, upon the vote of a majority of the Board or a majority of the outstanding voting securities of the Trust or by the Advisor, on 60 days’ written notice by either party to the other which can be waived by the non-terminating party. The Investment Management Agreement will terminate automatically in the event of its “assignment” (as such term is defined in the Investment Company Act and the rules thereunder).

A discussion regarding the basis for the approval of the Investment Management Agreement by the Board is available in the Trust’s Semi-Annual Report to shareholders for the period ended June 30, 2021.

The table below sets forth information about the total management fees paid by the Trust to the Advisor, and the amounts waived by the Advisor, for the periods indicated:

 

Fiscal Year Ended December 31,

   Paid to
the Advisor
     Waived by
the Advisor
 

2021

   $ 5,050,528      $ 62,200  

2020

   $ 3,761,645      $ 101,037  

2019

   $ 3,524,799      $ 94,302  

 

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Sub-Investment Advisory Agreement

Pursuant to a separate sub-investment advisory agreement (the “Sub-Investment Advisory Agreement”), the Advisor has appointed BlackRock International Limited, an affiliate of the Advisor, to perform certain of the day-to-day investment management of the Trust.

The Advisor, and not the Trust, pays an annual sub-advisory fee to the Sub-Advisor equal to a percentage of the management fee received by the Advisor from the Trust with respect to the average daily value of the Trust’s Managed Assets allocated to the Sub-Advisor.

The Sub-Investment Advisory Agreement also provides that, in the absence of willful misfeasance, bad faith, gross negligence or reckless disregard of its obligations thereunder, the Trust will indemnify the Sub-Advisor and its respective directors, officers, employees, agents, associates and control persons for liabilities incurred by them in connection with their services to the Trust, subject to certain limitations.

Although the Sub-Advisor intends to devote such time and effort to the business of the Trust as is reasonably necessary to perform its duties to the Trust, the services of the Sub-Advisor are not exclusive and the Sub-Advisor provides similar services to other investment companies and other clients and may engage in other activities.

The Sub-Investment Advisory Agreement was approved by the sole common shareholder of the Trust as of October 24, 2011. The Sub-Investment Advisory Agreement will continue in effect from year to year, provided that each continuance is specifically approved at least annually by both (1) the vote of a majority of the Board or the vote of a majority of the outstanding voting securities of the Trust (as defined in the Investment Company Act) and (2) by the vote of a majority of the trustees who are not parties to such agreement or interested persons (as such term is defined in the Investment Company Act) of any such party, cast in person at a meeting called for the purpose of voting on such approval. The sub-investment advisory agreement may be terminated as a whole at any time by the Trust without the payment of any penalty, upon the vote of a majority of the Board or a majority of the outstanding voting securities of the Trust, or by the Advisor or the Sub-Advisor, on 60 days’ written notice by either party to the other. The Sub-Investment Advisory Agreement will also terminate automatically in the event of its assignment (as such term is defined in the Investment Company Act and the rules thereunder).

A discussion regarding the basis for the approval of the Sub-Investment Advisory Agreement by the Board is available in the Trust’s Semi-Annual Report to shareholders for the period ended June 30, 2021.

Administration and Accounting Services Agreement

State Street Bank and Trust Company (“State Street”) provides certain administration and accounting services to the Trust pursuant to an Administration and Accounting Services Agreement. The table below shows the amounts paid to State Street for such services for the periods indicated:

 

Fiscal Year Ended December 31,

   Paid to State
Street
 

2021

   $ 48,759  

2020

   $ 50,023  

2019

   $ 49,250  

Biographical Information Pertaining to the Trustees

The Board consists of eleven individuals (each, a “Trustee”), nine of whom are Independent Trustees. The registered investment companies advised by the Advisor or its affiliates (the “BlackRock-advised Funds”) are organized into one complex of closed-end funds and open-end non-index fixed-income funds (the “BlackRock

 

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Fixed-Income Complex”), one complex of open-end equity, multi-asset, index and money market funds (the “BlackRock Multi-Asset Complex”) and one complex of exchange-traded funds (each, a “BlackRock Fund Complex”). The Trust is included in the BlackRock Fund Complex referred to as the BlackRock Fixed-Income Complex. The Trustees also oversee as board members the operations of the other open-end and closed-end registered investment companies included in the BlackRock Fixed-Income Complex.

Please refer to the section of the Trust’s June 8, 2021 definitive proxy statement on Schedule 14A for the annual meeting of the Trust’s shareholders entitled: “Proposal 1—Board Members’/Nominees’ Biographical Information”, which is incorporated by reference herein, for a discussion of the Trust’s Trustees other than Lorenzo A. Flores, their principal occupations and other affiliates during the past five years, the number of portfolios in the Fixed-Income Complex that they oversee, and other information about them.

Effective July 30, 2021, Lorenzo A. Flores was appointed to the Board as an Independent Trustee. Certain biographical and other information relating to Lorenzo A. Flores is set forth below, including his year of birth, his principal occupation for at least the last five years, the length of time served, the total number of BlackRock-advised Funds overseen and any public directorships or trusteeships.

 

Name and
Year of Birth1,2

   Position(s)
Held (Length
of Service)
  

Principal Occupation(s)
During Past Five Years

   Number of
BlackRock-

Advised
Registered

Investment
Companies

(“RICs”)
Consisting of

Investment
Portfolios

(“Portfolios”)
Overseen
  

Public
Company
and Other
Investment
Company
Directorships
Held During
Past Five
Years

Lorenzo A. Flores

1964

   Trustee

(Since
2021)

   Vice Chairman, Kioxia, Inc. since 2019; Chief Financial Officer, Xilinx, Inc. from 2016 to 2019; Corporate Controller, Xilinx, Inc. from 2008 to 2016.    73 RICs
consisting
of 100
Portfolios
   None

 

1

The address of each Trustee is c/o BlackRock, Inc., 55 East 52nd Street, New York, New York 10055.

2

Each Independent Trustee holds office until his or her successor is duly elected and qualifies or until his or her earlier death, resignation, retirement or removal as provided by the Trust’s bylaws or charter or statute, or until December 31 of the year in which he or she turns 75. Trustees who are “interested persons,” as defined in the Investment Company Act, serve until their successor is duly elected and qualifies or until their earlier death, resignation, retirement or removal as provided by the Trust’s bylaws or statute, or until December 31 of the year in which they turn 72. The Board may determine to extend the terms of Independent Trustees on a case-by-case basis, as appropriate.

The table below discusses some of the experiences, qualifications and skills of Lorenzo A. Flores that support the conclusion that he should serve on the Board.

 

Trustee

  

Experience, Qualifications and Skills

Lorenzo A. Flores    The Board benefits from Lorenzo A. Flores’s many years of business, leadership and financial experience in his roles at various public and private companies. In particular, Mr. Flores’s service as Chief Financial Officer and Corporate Controller of Xilinx, Inc. and Vice Chairman of Kioxia, Inc. and his long experience in the technology industry allow him to provide insight to into financial, business and technology trends. Mr. Flores’s knowledge of financial and accounting matters qualifies him to serve as a member of the Audit Committee. Mr. Flores’s independence from the Trust and the Advisor enhances his service as a member of the Performance Oversight Committee.

 

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Effective December 31, 2021, Michael J. Castellano and Richard E. Cavanagh each retired as a Trustee of the Trust.

Ms. Robards intends to retire as a Trustee of the Trust and, in that regard, has resigned as a Trustee of the Trust effective as of May 31, 2022.

Board Leadership Structure and Oversight

Please refer to the sections of the Trust’s definitive proxy statement on Schedule 14A for the annual meeting of the Trust’s shareholders entitled: “Proposal 1—Board Leadership Structure and Oversight” and “Appendix E—Committees of the Board” which is incorporated by reference herein, for a discussion of the Board’s leadership structure and oversight other than as noted below.

During the Trust’s fiscal year ended December 31, 2021, the Board’s Audit Committee, Governance and Nominating Committee, Compliance Committee and Executive Committee met the following number of times:

 

Number of

Audit

Committee

Meetings

   Number of
Governance
Committee
Meetings
     Number of
Compliance
Committee
Meetings
     Number of
Performance
Oversight
Committee
Meetings
     Number of
Executive
Committee
Meetings
 

12

     7        4        4        4  

Effective July 30, 2021, J. Phillip Holloman was appointed to the Audit Committee of the Board and Stayce D. Harris was appointed to the Compliance Committee of the Board. Effective August 5, 2021, Lorenzo A. Flores was appointed to the Audit Committee of the Board.

Effective November 18, 2021, Lorenzo A. Flores, Stayce D. Harris and J. Phillip Holloman were each appointed to the Performance Oversight Committee of the Board.

Effective January 1, 2022, R. Glenn Hubbard was appointed to serve as a Chair of the Board and as a member and Chair of the Executive Committee of the Board; W. Carl Kester was appointed to serve as Vice Chair of the Board, as a member and Chair of the Governance and Nominating Committee of the Board and as a member of the Executive Committee of the Board; Catherine A. Lynch was appointed to serve as Chair of the Audit Committee of the Board; and Karen P. Robards no longer serves as Co-Chair of the Board.

Trustee Share Ownership

Information relating to each Trustees share ownership in the Trust and in all BlackRock-advised Funds that are currently overseen by the respective Trustee (“Supervised Funds”) as of December 31, 2021 is set forth in the chart below:

 

Name of Trustee

   Dollar Range of Equity
Securities in the Trust*
     Aggregate Dollar Range of Equity
Securities in Supervised Funds*
 

Independent Trustees

     

Cynthia L. Egan

     None        Over $100,000  

Frank J. Fabozzi

     None        Over $100,000  

Lorenzo A. Flores

     None        Over $100,000  

Stayce D. Harris

     None        Over $100,000  

J. Phillip Holloman

     None        Over $100,000  

R. Glenn Hubbard

     None        Over $100,000  

W. Carl Kester

     None        Over $100,000  

Catherine A. Lynch

     None        Over $100,000  

Karen P. Robards

   $ 10,001-$50,000        Over $100,000  

Interested Trustees

     

Robert Fairbairn

     None        Over $100,000  

John M. Perlowski

     None        Over $100,000  

 

*

Includes share equivalents owned under the deferred compensation plan in the Supervised Funds by certain Independent Trustees who have participated in the deferred compensation plan of the Supervised Funds.

 

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Compensation of Trustees

Each Trustee who is an Independent Trustee is paid an annual retainer of $370,000 per year for his or her services as a Board member of the BlackRock-advised Funds, including the Trust, and each Independent Trustee may also receive a $10,000 Board meeting fee for special unscheduled meetings or meetings in excess of six Board meetings held in a calendar year, together with out-of-pocket expenses in accordance with a Board policy on travel and other business expenses relating to attendance at meetings. In addition, the Chair of the Board is paid an additional annual retainer of $100,000. The Chairs of the Audit Committee, Performance Oversight Committee, Compliance Committee, and Governance and Nominating Committee are paid an additional annual retainer of $45,000, $37,500, $45,000 and $37,500, respectively. Each of the members of the Audit Committee and Compliance Committee are paid an additional annual retainer of $30,000 and $25,000, respectively, for his or her service on such committee. Effective January 1, 2022, the Vice Chair of the Board is paid an additional annual retainer of $60,000. The Trust will pay a pro rata portion quarterly (based on relative net assets) of the foregoing Trustee fees paid by the funds in the BlackRock Fixed-Income Complex.

The Independent Trustees have agreed that a maximum of 50% of each Independent Trustee’s total compensation paid by funds in the BlackRock Fixed-Income Complex may be deferred pursuant to the BlackRock Fixed-Income Complex’s deferred compensation plan. Under the deferred compensation plan, deferred amounts earn a return for the Independent Trustees as though equivalent dollar amounts had been invested in shares of certain funds in the BlackRock Fixed-Income Complex selected by the Independent Trustees. This has approximately the same economic effect for the Independent Trustees as if they had invested the deferred amounts in such funds in the BlackRock Fixed-Income Complex. The deferred compensation plan is not funded and obligations thereunder represent general unsecured claims against the general assets of a fund and are recorded as a liability for accounting purposes.

The following table sets forth the compensation paid to the Trustees by the Trust for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2021, and the aggregate compensation, including deferred compensation amounts, paid to them by all BlackRock-advised Funds for the calendar year ended December 31, 2021. Messrs. Fairbairn and Perlowski serve without compensation from the Trust because of their affiliation with BlackRock, Inc. (“BlackRock”) and the Advisor.

 

Name(1)

   Compensation
from the
Trust
     Estimated Annual
Benefits upon
Retirement
     Aggregate Compensation
from the BlackRock-Advised
Funds(2)(3)
 

Independent Trustees

        

Michael J. Castellano(4)

   $ 2,995        None      $ 445,000  

Richard E. Cavanagh(5)

   $ 3,326        None      $ 495,000  

Cynthia L. Egan

   $ 2,962        None      $ 440,000  

Frank J. Fabozzi

   $ 2,945        None      $ 478,750  

Lorenzo A. Flores(6)

   $ 1,091        None      $ 167,988  

Stayce D. Harris(7)

   $ 1,410        None      $ 216,875  

J. Phillip Holloman(8)

   $ 1,423        None      $ 218,981  

R. Glenn Hubbard

   $ 2,912        None      $ 432,500  

W. Carl Kester

   $ 2,665        None      $ 443,750  

Catherine A. Lynch

   $ 2,698        None      $ 441,250  

Karen P. Robards

   $ 3,359        None      $ 500,000  

Interested Trustees

        

Robert Fairbairn

     None        None        None  

John M. Perlowski

     None        None        None  

 

(1) 

For the number of BlackRock-advised Funds from which each Trustee receives compensation, see the Biographical Information chart beginning on page S-33.

 

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(2) 

For the Independent Trustees, this amount represents the aggregate compensation earned from the funds in the BlackRock Fixed-Income Complex during the calendar year ended December 31, 2021. Of this amount, Mr. Castellano, Mr. Cavanagh, Dr. Fabozzi, Mr. Flores, Ms. Harris, Mr. Holloman, Dr. Hubbard, Dr. Kester and Ms. Lynch deferred $133,500, $163,350, $71,812, $50,000, $51,514, $52,567, $216,250, $20,000 and $66,187, respectively, pursuant to the BlackRock Fixed-Income Complex’s deferred compensation plan.

(3) 

Total amount of deferred compensation payable by the BlackRock Fixed-Income Complex to Mr. Castellano, Mr. Cavanagh, Dr. Fabozzi, Mr. Flores, Ms. Harris, Mr. Holloman, Dr. Hubbard, Dr. Kester and Ms. Lynch is $1,563,029, $2,322,521, $1,263,915, $50,820, $52,360, $53,430, $3,749,161, $1,769,688 and $395,097, respectively, as of December 31, 2021. Ms. Egan and Ms. Robards did not participate in the deferred compensation plan as of December 31, 2021.

(4) 

Mr. Castellano retired as a Trustee of the Trust and Chair of the Audit Committee effective December 31, 2021.

(5) 

Mr. Cavanagh retired as a Trustee of the Trust and Co-Chair of the Board effective December 31, 2021.

(6) 

Mr. Flores was appointed as a Trustee of the Trust effective July 30, 2021, a member of the Audit Committee effective August 5, 2021 and a member of the Performance Oversight Committee effective November 18, 2021.

(7) 

Ms. Harris was appointed as a Trustee of the Trust effective June 10, 2021, a member of the Compliance Committee effective July 30, 2021 and a member of the Performance Oversight Committee effective November 18, 2021.

(8) 

Mr. Holloman was appointed as a Trustee of the Trust effective June 10, 2021, a member of the Audit Committee effective July 30, 2021 and a member of the Performance Oversight Committee effective November 18, 2021.

Independent Trustee Ownership of Securities

As of December 31, 2021, none of the Independent Trustees of the Trust or their immediate family members owned beneficially or of record any securities of BlackRock or any affiliate of any BlackRock person controlling, controlled by or under common control with BlackRock nor did any Independent Trustee of the Trust or their immediate family member have any material interest in any transaction, or series of similar transactions, during the most recently completed two calendar years involving the Trust, BlackRock or any affiliate of any BlackRock person controlling, controlled by or under common control with the Trust or BlackRock.

As of the date of this SAI, the officers and Trustees of the Trust, as a group, beneficially owned less than 1% of the outstanding common shares of the Trust.

Information Pertaining to the Officers

Please refer to the section of the of the Trust’s definitive proxy statement on Schedule 14A for the annual meeting of the Trust’s shareholders entitled: “Appendix F – Information Pertaining to the Executive Officers of the Funds”, which is incorporated by reference herein, for certain biographical and other information relating to the officers of the Trust who are not Trustees.

Indemnification of Trustees and Officers

The governing documents of the Trust generally provide that, to the extent permitted by applicable law, the Trust will indemnify its Trustees and officers against liabilities and expenses incurred in connection with litigation in which they may be involved because of their offices with the Trust unless, as to liability to the Trust or its investors, it is finally adjudicated that they engaged in willful misfeasance, bad faith, gross negligence or reckless disregard of the duties involved in their offices. In addition, the Trust will not indemnify Trustees with respect to any matter as to which Trustees did not act in good faith in the reasonable belief that his or her action was in the best interest of the Trust or, in the case of any criminal proceeding, as to which Trustees had reasonable cause to believe that the conduct was unlawful. Indemnification provisions contained in the Trust’s governing documents are subject to any limitations imposed by applicable law.

 

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Closed-end funds in the BlackRock Fixed-Income Complex, including the Trust, have also entered into a separate indemnification agreement with the board members of each board of such funds (the “Indemnification Agreement”). The Indemnification Agreement (i) extends the indemnification provisions contained in a fund’s governing documents to board members who leave that fund’s board and serve on an advisory board of a different fund in the BlackRock Fixed-Income Complex; (ii) sets in place the terms of the indemnification provisions of a fund’s governing documents once a board member retires from a board; and (iii) in the case of board members who left the board of a fund in connection with or prior to the board consolidation that occurred in 2007 as a result of the merger of BlackRock and Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc.’s investment management business, clarifies that such fund continues to indemnify the trustee for claims arising out of his or her past service to that fund.

Portfolio Management

Portfolio Manager Assets Under Management

The following table sets forth information about funds and accounts other than the Trust for which the portfolio managers are primarily responsible for the day-to-day portfolio management as of December 31, 2021:

 

    Number of Other Accounts Managed
and Assets by Account Type
  Number of Other Accounts and
Assets for Which Advisory Fee is
Performance-Based

Name of Portfolio Manager

  Other
Registered
Investment
Companies
  Other Pooled
Investment
Vehicles
  Other
Accounts
  Other
Registered
Investment
Companies
  Other Pooled
Investment
Vehicles
  Other
Accounts

Kyle G. McClements, CFA

  12   7   0   0   0   0
    $18.61 Billion   $1.36 Billion   $0   $0   $0   $0

Christopher M. Accettella

  12   4   0   0   0   0
    $18.61 Billion   $742.2 Million   $0   $0   $0   $0

Alastair Bishop

  7   14   3   0   1   0
    $4.02 Billion   $13.69 Billion   $30.32 Million   $0   $4.30 Million   $0

Portfolio Manager Compensation Overview

The discussion below describes the portfolio managers’ compensation as of December 31, 2021.

The Advisor’s financial arrangements with its portfolio managers, its competitive compensation and its career path emphasis at all levels reflect the value senior management places on key resources. Compensation may include a variety of components and may vary from year to year based on a number of factors. The principal components of compensation include a base salary, a performance-based discretionary bonus, participation in various benefits programs and one or more of the incentive compensation programs established by the Advisor.

Base Compensation. Generally, portfolio managers receive base compensation based on their position with the firm.

Discretionary Incentive Compensation – Messrs. McClements and Accettella

Discretionary incentive compensation is a function of several components: the performance of the Advisor, Inc., the performance of the portfolio manager’s group within the Advisor, the investment performance, including risk-adjusted returns, of the firm’s assets or strategies under management or supervision by that portfolio manager, and/or the individual’s performance and contribution to the overall performance of these portfolios and the Advisor. Among other things, the Advisor’s Chief Investment Officers make a subjective determination with respect to each portfolio manager’s compensation based on the performance of the funds,

 

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other accounts or strategies managed by each portfolio manager. Performance is generally measured on a pre-tax basis over various time periods including 1-, 3- and 5- year periods, as applicable. The performance of some funds, other accounts or strategies may not be measured against a specific benchmark.

Discretionary Incentive Compensation – Mr. Bishop

Generally, discretionary incentive compensation for Active Equity portfolio managers is based on a formulaic compensation program. The Advisor’s formulaic portfolio manager compensation program is based on team revenue and pre-tax investment performance relative to appropriate competitors or benchmarks over 1-, 3- and 5-year performance periods, as applicable. In most cases, these benchmarks are the same as the benchmark or benchmarks against which the performance of the funds or other accounts managed by the portfolio managers are measured. The Advisor’s Chief Investment Officers determine the benchmarks or rankings against which the performance of funds and other accounts managed by each portfolio management team is compared and the period of time over which performance is evaluated. With respect to this portfolio manager, such benchmarks for the Trust and other accounts are:

Bloomberg Commodity Index Total Return; FTSE Gold Mines Index (Gross Total Return); FTSE Gold Mining Index - expressed in JPY; FTSE Gold Mining Index - GBP Price; LIBOR 3 Month Index; MSCI 10/40 DW Energy (Net); MSCI ACWI Metals & Mining 30% Buffer 10/40 (1994) GBP Net TR; MSCI ACWI Metals & Mining 30% Buffer 10/40 (1994) USD Net TR; MSCI World Energy Net Daily TR Index; NYSE Arca Gold Miners Index EUR Net Total Return; S&P Global Natural Resources Index; S&P Global Natural Resources Index - In GBP; S&P Global Natural Resources Net Return.

A smaller element of portfolio manager discretionary compensation may include consideration of: financial results, expense control, profit margins, strategic planning and implementation, quality of client service, market share, corporate reputation, capital allocation, compliance and risk control, leadership, technology and innovation. These factors are considered collectively by BlackRock management and the relevant Chief Investment Officers.

Distribution of Discretionary Incentive Compensation. Discretionary incentive compensation is distributed to portfolio managers in a combination of cash, deferred BlackRock. stock awards, and/or deferred cash awards that notionally track the return of certain Advisor investment products.

Portfolio managers receive their annual discretionary incentive compensation in the form of cash. Portfolio managers whose total compensation is above a specified threshold also receive deferred BlackRock stock awards annually as part of their discretionary incentive compensation. Paying a portion of discretionary incentive compensation in the form of deferred BlackRock stock puts compensation earned by a portfolio manager for a given year “at risk” based on the Advisor’s ability to sustain and improve its performance over future periods. In some cases, additional deferred BlackRock stock may be granted to certain key employees as part of a long-term incentive award to aid in retention, align interests with long-term shareholders and motivate performance. Deferred BlackRock stock awards are generally granted in the form of BlackRock restricted stock units that vest pursuant to the terms of the applicable plan and, once vested, settle in BlackRock common stock. The portfolio managers of this Trust have deferred BlackRock stock awards.

For certain portfolio managers, a portion of the discretionary incentive compensation is also distributed in the form of deferred cash awards that notionally track the returns of select Advisor investment products they manage, which provides direct alignment of portfolio manager discretionary incentive compensation with investment product results. Deferred cash awards vest ratably over a number of years and, once vested, settle in the form of cash. Only portfolio managers who manage specified products and whose total compensation is above a specified threshold are eligible to participate in the deferred cash award program.

 

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Other Compensation Benefits. In addition to base salary and discretionary incentive compensation, portfolio managers may be eligible to receive or participate in one or more of the following:

Incentive Savings Plans— BlackRock has created a variety of incentive savings plans in which BlackRock, employees are eligible to participate, including a 401(k) plan, the BlackRock Retirement Savings Plan (RSP), and the BlackRock Employee Stock Purchase Plan (ESPP). The employer contribution components of the RSP include a company match equal to 50% of the first 8% of eligible pay contributed to the plan capped at $5,000 per year, and a company retirement contribution equal to 3-5% of eligible compensation up to the Internal Revenue Service limit ($290,000 for 2021). The RSP offers a range of investment options, including registered investment companies and collective investment funds managed by the firm. BlackRock contributions follow the investment direction set by participants for their own contributions or, absent participant investment direction, are invested into a target date fund that corresponds to, or is closest to, the year in which the participant attains age 65. The ESPP allows for investment in BlackRock common stock at a 5% discount on the fair market value of the stock on the purchase date. Annual participation in the ESPP is limited to the purchase of 1,000 shares of common stock or a dollar value of $25,000 based on its fair market value on the purchase date. Messrs. McClements and Accettella are eligible to participate in these plans.

United Kingdom-based portfolio managers are also eligible to participate in broad-based plans offered generally to the Advisor’s employees, including broad-based retirement, health and other employee benefit plans. For example, the Advisor has created a variety of incentive savings plans in which employees are eligible to participate, including the BlackRock Retirement Savings Plan (RSP) and the BlackRock Employee Stock Purchase Plan (ESPP). The employer contribution to the RSP is between 10% and 15% of eligible pay capped at £160,000 per annum. The RSP offers a range of investment options, including several collective investment funds managed by the firm. Advisor contributions follow the investment direction set by participants for their own contributions or, in the absence of an investment election being made, are invested into a target date fund that corresponds to, or is closest to, the year in which the participant attains age 65. The ESPP allows for investment in BlackRock common stock at a 5% discount on the fair market value of the stock on the purchase date. Annual participation in the ESPP is limited to the purchase of 1,000 shares of common stock or a US dollar value of $25,000 based on its fair market value on the purchase date. Mr. Bishop is eligible to participate in these plans.

Securities Ownership of Portfolio Managers

As of December 31, 2021, the end of the Trust’s most recently completed fiscal year end, the dollar range of securities beneficially owned by each portfolio manager in the Trust is shown below:

 

Portfolio Manager

   Dollar Range of Equity
Securities
Beneficially Owned

Kyle G. McClements, CFA

   $100,001 - $500,000

Christopher M. Accettella

   $10,001 - $50,000

Alastair Bishop

   $50,001- $100,000

Potential Material Conflicts of Interest

The Advisor has built a professional working environment, firm-wide compliance culture and compliance procedures and systems designed to protect against potential incentives that may favor one account over another. The Advisor has adopted policies and procedures that address the allocation of investment opportunities, execution of portfolio transactions, personal trading by employees and other potential conflicts of interest that are designed to ensure that all client accounts are treated equitably over time. Nevertheless, the Advisor furnishes investment management and advisory services to numerous clients in addition to the Trust, and the Advisor may, consistent with applicable law, make investment recommendations to other clients or accounts (including accounts which are hedge funds or have performance or higher fees paid to the Advisor, or in which portfolio

 

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managers have a personal interest in the receipt of such fees), which may be the same as or different from those made to the Trust. In addition, BlackRock, its affiliates and significant shareholders and any officer, director, shareholder or employee may or may not have an interest in the securities whose purchase and sale the Advisor recommends to the Trust. BlackRock, or any of its affiliates or significant shareholders, or any officer, director, shareholder, employee or any member of their families may take different actions than those recommended to the Trust by the Advisor with respect to the same securities. Moreover, the Advisor may refrain from rendering any advice or services concerning securities of companies of which any of BlackRock’s (or its affiliates’ or significant shareholders’) officers, directors or employees are directors or officers, or companies as to which BlackRock or any of its affiliates or significant shareholders or the officers, directors and employees of any of them has any substantial economic interest or possesses material non-public information. Certain portfolio managers also may manage accounts whose investment strategies may at times be opposed to the strategy utilized for a fund. It should also be noted that Mr. Bishop may be managing hedge fund and/or long only accounts, or may be part of a team managing hedge fund and/or long only accounts, subject to incentive fees. Mr. Bishop may therefore be entitled to receive a portion of any incentive fees earned on such accounts.

As a fiduciary, the Advisor owes a duty of loyalty to its clients and must treat each client fairly. When the Advisor purchases or sells securities for more than one account, the trades must be allocated in a manner consistent with its fiduciary duties. The Advisor attempts to allocate investments in a fair and equitable manner among client accounts, with no account receiving preferential treatment. To this end, BlackRock has adopted policies that are intended to ensure reasonable efficiency in client transactions and provide the Advisor with sufficient flexibility to allocate investments in a manner that is consistent with the particular investment discipline and client base, as appropriate.

Proxy Voting Policies

The Board has delegated the voting of proxies for the Trust’s securities to the Advisor pursuant to the Advisor’s proxy voting guidelines. Under these guidelines, the Advisor will vote proxies related to Trust securities in the best interests of the Trust and its shareholders. From time to time, a vote may present a conflict between the interests of the Trust’s shareholders, on the one hand, and those of the Advisor, or any affiliated person of the Trust or the Advisor, on the other. In such event, provided that the Advisor’s Equity Investment Policy Oversight Committee, or a sub-committee thereof (the “Oversight Committee”), is aware of the real or potential conflict, if the matter to be voted on represents a material, non-routine matter and if the Oversight Committee does not reasonably believe it is able to follow its general voting guidelines (or if the particular proxy matter is not addressed in the guidelines) and vote impartially, the Oversight Committee may retain an independent fiduciary to advise the Oversight Committee on how to vote or to cast votes on behalf of the Advisor’s clients. If the Advisor determines not to retain an independent fiduciary, or does not desire to follow the advice of such independent fiduciary, the Oversight Committee shall determine how to vote the proxy after consulting with the Advisor’s Portfolio Management Group and/or the Advisor’s Legal and Compliance Department and concluding that the vote cast is in its client’s best interest notwithstanding the conflict. A copy of the Closed-End Fund Proxy Voting Policy is included as Appendix B to this SAI. Information on how the Trust voted proxies relating to portfolio securities during the most recent 12-month period ended June 30 will be available (i) at www.blackrock.com and (ii) on the SEC’s website at http://www.sec.gov.

Codes of Ethics

The Trust and the Advisors have adopted codes of ethics pursuant to Rule 17j-1 under the Investment Company Act. These codes permit personnel subject to the codes to invest in securities, including securities that may be purchased or held by the Trust. These codes may be obtained by calling the SEC at (202) 551-8090. These codes of ethics are available on the EDGAR Database on the SEC’s website (http://www.sec.gov), and copies of these codes may be obtained, after paying a duplicating fee, by electronic request at the following e-mail address: publicinfo@sec.gov.

 

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Other Information

BlackRock, Inc. is independent in ownership and governance, with no single majority stockholder and a majority of independent directors.

PORTFOLIO TRANSACTIONS AND BROKERAGE

Subject to policies established by the Board, the Advisor is primarily responsible for the execution of the Trust’s portfolio transactions and the allocation of brokerage. The Advisor does not execute transactions through any particular broker or dealer, but seeks to obtain the best net results for the Trust, taking into account such factors as price (including the applicable brokerage commission or dealer spread), size of order, difficulty of execution, operational facilities of the firm and the firm’s risk and skill in positioning blocks of securities. While the Advisor generally seeks reasonable trade execution costs, the Trust does not necessarily pay the lowest spread or commission available, and payment of the lowest commission or spread is not necessarily consistent with obtaining the best price and execution in particular transactions. Subject to applicable legal requirements, the Advisor may select a broker based partly upon brokerage or research services provided to the Advisor and its clients, including the Trust. In return for such services, the Advisor may cause the Trust to pay a higher commission than other brokers would charge if the Advisor determines in good faith that the commission is reasonable in relation to the services provided.

In selecting brokers or dealers to execute portfolio transactions, the Advisor and the Sub-Advisor seek to obtain the best price and most favorable execution for the Trust, taking into account a variety of factors including: (i) the size, nature and character of the security or instrument being traded and the markets in which it is purchased or sold; (ii) the desired timing of the transaction; (iii) the Advisor’s knowledge of the expected commission rates and spreads currently available; (iv) the activity existing and expected in the market for the particular security or instrument, including any anticipated execution difficulties; (v) the full range of brokerage services provided; (vi) the broker’s or dealer’s capital; (vii) the quality of research and research services provided; (viii) the reasonableness of the commission, dealer spread or its equivalent for the specific transaction; and (ix) the Advisor’s knowledge of any actual or apparent operational problems of a broker or dealer.

Section 28(e) of the Exchange Act (“Section 28(e)”) permits an investment adviser, under certain circumstances and, if applicable, subject to the restrictions of MIFID II as described further below, to cause an account to pay a broker or dealer a commission for effecting a transaction that exceeds the amount another broker or dealer would have charged for effecting the same transaction in recognition of the value of brokerage and research services provided by that broker or dealer. This includes commissions paid on riskless principal transactions under certain conditions. Brokerage and research services include: (1) furnishing advice as to the value of securities, including pricing and appraisal advice, credit analysis, risk measurement analysis, performance and other analysis, as well as the advisability of investing in, purchasing or selling securities, and the availability of securities or purchasers or sellers of securities; (2) furnishing analyses and reports concerning issuers, industries, securities, economic factors and trends, portfolio strategy, and the performance of accounts; and (3) effecting securities transactions and performing functions incidental to securities transactions (such as clearance, settlement, and custody). The Advisor believes that access to independent investment research is beneficial to its investment decision-making processes and, therefore, to the Trust.

The Advisor, unless prohibited by applicable law, may participate in client commission arrangements under which the Advisor may execute transactions through a broker-dealer and request that the broker-dealer allocate a portion of the commissions or commission credits to another firm that provides research to the Advisor. The Advisor believes that research services obtained through soft dollar or commission sharing arrangements enhance its investment decision-making capabilities, thereby increasing the prospects for higher investment returns. The Advisor will engage only in soft dollar or commission sharing transactions that comply with the requirements of Section 28(e) and MiFID II. Under MiFID II, European Union (“EU”) investment managers, including the

 

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Sub-Advisor, pay for any research out of their own resources and not through soft dollars or commission sharing arrangements. The Advisor regularly evaluates the soft dollar products and services utilized, as well as the overall soft dollar and commission sharing arrangements to ensure that trades are executed by firms that are regarded as best able to execute trades for client accounts, while at the same time providing access to the research and other services the Advisor views as impactful to its trading results.

The Advisor, unless prohibited by applicable law, may utilize soft dollars and related services, including research (whether prepared by the broker-dealer or prepared by a third-party and provided to the Advisor by the broker-dealer) and execution or brokerage services within applicable rules and the Advisor’s policies to the extent that such permitted services do not compromise the Advisor’s ability to seek to obtain best execution. In this regard, the portfolio management investment and/or trading teams may consider a variety of factors, including the degree to which the broker-dealer: (a) provides access to company management; (b) provides access to their analysts; (c) provides meaningful/insightful research notes on companies or other potential investments; (d) facilitates calls on which meaningful or insightful ideas about companies or potential investments are discussed; (e) facilitates conferences at which meaningful or insightful ideas about companies or potential investments are discussed; or (f) provides research tools such as market data, financial analysis, and other third party related research and brokerage tools that aid in the investment process.

Research-oriented services for which the Advisor, unless prohibited by applicable law, might pay with Trust commissions may be in written form or through direct contact with individuals and may include information as to particular companies or industries and securities or groups of securities, as well as market, economic, or institutional advice and statistical information, political developments and technical market information that assists in the valuation of investments. Except as noted immediately below, research services furnished by brokers may be used in servicing some or all client accounts and not all services may be used in connection with the Trust or account that paid commissions to the broker providing such services. In some cases, research information received from brokers by investment company management personnel, or personnel principally responsible for the Advisor’s individually managed portfolios, is not necessarily shared by and between such personnel. Any investment advisory or other fees paid by the Trust to the Advisor are not reduced as a result of the Advisor’s receipt of research services. In some cases, the Advisor may receive a service from a broker that has both a “research” and a “non-research” use. When this occurs the Advisor makes a good faith allocation, under all the circumstances, between the research and non-research uses of the service. The percentage of the service that is used for research purposes may be paid for with client commissions, while the Advisor will use its own funds to pay for the percentage of the service that is used for non-research purposes. In making this good faith allocation, the Advisor faces a potential conflict of interest, but the Advisor believes that its allocation procedures are reasonably designed to ensure that it appropriately allocates the anticipated use of such services to their research and non-research uses.

Effective January 3, 2018 under MiFID II, investment managers in the EU, including the Sub-Advisor, are no longer able to use soft dollars to pay for research from brokers. Investment managers in the EU are required to either pay for research out of their own profit and loss or agree with clients to have research costs paid by clients through research payment accounts that are funded out of execution commissions or by a specific client research charge, provided that the payments for research are unbundled from the payments for execution. MiFID II restricts the use of soft dollars by the Sub-Advisor. The Sub-Advisor will pay for any research out of its own resources and not through soft dollars or commission sharing arrangements.

Payments of commissions to brokers who are affiliated persons of the Trust will be made in accordance with Rule 17e-1 under the Investment Company Act.

From time to time, the Trust may purchase new issues of securities in a fixed price offering. In these situations, the broker may be a member of the selling group that will, in addition to selling securities, provide the Advisor with research services. The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. has adopted rules expressly permitting these types of arrangements under certain circumstances. Generally, the broker will provide research

 

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“credits” in these situations at a rate that is higher than that available for typical secondary market transactions. These arrangements may not fall within the safe harbor of Section 28(e).

The Advisor does not consider sales of shares of the investment companies it advises as a factor in the selection of brokers or dealers to execute portfolio transactions for the Trust; however, whether or not a particular broker or dealer sells shares of the investment companies advised by the Advisor neither qualifies nor disqualifies such broker or dealer to execute transactions for those investment companies.

The Trust anticipates that its brokerage transactions involving foreign securities generally will be conducted primarily on the principal stock exchanges of the applicable country. Foreign equity securities may be held by the Trust in the form of depositary receipts, or other securities convertible into foreign equity securities. Depositary receipts may be listed on stock exchanges, or traded in OTC markets in the United States or Europe, as the case may be. American Depositary Receipts, like other securities traded in the United States, will be subject to negotiated commission rates.

The Trust may invest in certain securities traded in the OTC market and intends to deal directly with the dealers who make a market in the particular securities, except in those circumstances in which better prices and execution are available elsewhere. Under the Investment Company Act, persons affiliated with the Trust and persons who are affiliated with such affiliated persons are prohibited from dealing with the Trust as principal in the purchase and sale of securities unless a permissive order allowing such transactions is obtained from the SEC. Since transactions in the OTC market usually involve transactions with the dealers acting as principal for their own accounts, the Trust will not deal with affiliated persons in connection with such transactions. However, an affiliated person of the Trust may serve as its broker in OTC transactions conducted on an agency basis provided that, among other things, the fee or commission received by such affiliated broker is reasonable and fair compared to the fee or commission received by non-affiliated brokers in connection with comparable transactions.

OTC issues, including most fixed-income securities such as corporate debt and U.S. Government securities, are normally traded on a “net” basis without a stated commission, through dealers acting for their own account and not as brokers. The Trust will primarily engage in transactions with these dealers or deal directly with the issuer unless a better price or execution could be obtained by using a broker. Prices paid to a dealer with respect to both foreign and domestic securities will generally include a “spread,” which is the difference between the prices at which the dealer is willing to purchase and sell the specific security at the time, and includes the dealer’s normal profit.

Purchases of money market instruments by the Trust are made from dealers, underwriters and issuers. The Trust does not currently expect to incur any brokerage commission expense on such transactions because money market instruments are generally traded on a “net” basis with dealers acting as principal for their own accounts without a stated commission. The price of the security, however, usually includes a profit to the dealer.

Securities purchased in underwritten offerings include a fixed amount of compensation to the underwriter, generally referred to as the underwriter’s concession or discount. When securities are purchased or sold directly from or to an issuer, no commissions or discounts are paid.

The Advisor or the Sub-Advisor may seek to obtain an undertaking from issuers of commercial paper or dealers selling commercial paper to consider the repurchase of such securities from the Trust prior to maturity at their original cost plus interest (sometimes adjusted to reflect the actual maturity of the securities), if it believes that the Trust’s anticipated need for liquidity makes such action desirable. Any such repurchase prior to maturity reduces the possibility that the Trust would incur a capital loss in liquidating commercial paper, especially if interest rates have risen since acquisition of such commercial paper.

Investment decisions for the Trust and for other investment accounts managed by the Advisor or the Sub-Advisor are made independently of each other in light of differing conditions. The Advisor allocates

 

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investments among client accounts in a fair and equitable manner. A variety of factors will be considered in making such allocations. These factors include: (i) investment objectives or strategies for particular accounts, including sector, industry, country or region and capitalization weightings, (ii) tax considerations of an account, (iii) risk or investment concentration parameters for an account, (iv) supply or demand for a security at a given price level, (v) size of available investment, (vi) cash availability and liquidity requirements for accounts, (vii) regulatory restrictions, (viii) minimum investment size of an account, (ix) relative size of account, and (x) such other factors as may be approved by the Advisor’s general counsel. Moreover, investments may not be allocated to one client account over another based on any of the following considerations: (i) to favor one client account at the expense of another, (ii) to generate higher fees paid by one client account over another or to produce greater performance compensation to the Advisor, (iii) to develop or enhance a relationship with a client or prospective client, (iv) to compensate a client for past services or benefits rendered to the Advisor or to induce future services or benefits to be rendered to the Advisor, or (v) to manage or equalize investment performance among different client accounts.

Equity securities will generally be allocated among client accounts within the same investment mandate on a pro rata basis. This pro-rata allocation may result in the Trust receiving less of a particular security than if pro-ration had not occurred. All allocations of equity securities will be subject, where relevant, to share minimums established for accounts and compliance constraints.

Initial public offerings of securities may be over-subscribed and subsequently trade at a premium in the secondary market. When the Advisor is given an opportunity to invest in such an initial offering or “new” or “hot” issue, the supply of securities available for client accounts is often less than the amount of securities the accounts would otherwise take. In order to allocate these investments fairly and equitably among client accounts over time, each portfolio manager or a member of his or her respective investment team will indicate to the Advisor’s trading desk their level of interest in a particular offering with respect to eligible client accounts for which that team is responsible. Initial public offerings of U.S. equity securities will be identified as eligible for particular client accounts that are managed by portfolio teams who have indicated interest in the offering based on market capitalization of the issuer of the security and the investment mandate of the client account and in the case of international equity securities, the country where the offering is taking place and the investment mandate of the client account. Generally, shares received during the initial public offering will be allocated among participating client accounts within each investment mandate on a pro rata basis. In situations where supply is too limited to be allocated among all accounts for which the investment is eligible, portfolio managers may rotate such investment opportunities among one or more accounts so long as the rotation system provides for fair access for all client accounts over time. Other allocation methodologies that are considered by the Advisor to be fair and equitable to clients may be used as well.

Because different accounts may have differing investment objectives and policies, the Advisor may buy and sell the same securities at the same time for different clients based on the particular investment objective, guidelines and strategies of those accounts. For example, the Advisor may decide that it may be entirely appropriate for a growth fund to sell a security at the same time a value fund is buying that security. To the extent that transactions on behalf of more than one client of the Advisor or its affiliates during the same period may increase the demand for securities being purchased or the supply of securities being sold, there may be an adverse effect on price. For example, sales of a security by the Advisor on behalf of one or more of its clients may decrease the market price of such security, adversely impacting other of the Advisor’s clients that still hold the security. If purchases or sales of securities arise for consideration at or about the same time that would involve the Trust or other clients or funds for which the Advisor or an affiliate act as investment manager, transactions in such securities will be made, insofar as feasible, for the respective funds and clients in a manner deemed equitable to all.

In certain instances, the Advisor may find it efficient for purposes of seeking to obtain best execution, to aggregate or “bunch” certain contemporaneous purchases or sale orders of its advisory accounts. In general, all contemporaneous trades for client accounts under management by the same portfolio manager or investment

 

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team will be bunched in a single order if the trader believes the bunched trade would provide each client with an opportunity to achieve a more favorable execution at a potentially lower execution cost. The costs associated with a bunched order will be shared pro rata among the clients in the bunched order. Generally, if an order for a particular portfolio manager or management team is filled at several different prices through multiple trades, all accounts participating in the order will receive the average price except in the case of certain international markets where average pricing is not permitted. While in some cases this practice could have a detrimental effect upon the price or value of the security as far as the Trust is concerned, in other cases it could be beneficial to the Trust. Transactions effected by the Advisor on behalf of more than one of its clients during the same period may increase the demand for securities being purchased or the supply of securities being sold, causing an adverse effect on price. The trader will give the bunched order to the broker dealer that the trader has identified as being able to provide the best execution of the order. Orders for purchase or sale of securities will be placed within a reasonable amount of time of the order receipt and bunched orders will be kept bunched only long enough to execute the order.

The Trust will not purchase securities during the existence of any underwriting or selling group relating to such securities of which the Advisor or any affiliated person (as defined in the Investment Company Act) thereof is a member except pursuant to procedures adopted by the Board in accordance with Rule 10f-3 under the Investment Company Act. In no instance will portfolio securities be purchased from or sold to the Advisor or any affiliated person of the foregoing entities except as permitted by SEC exemptive order or by applicable law.

While the Trust generally does not expect to engage in trading for short-term gains, it will effect portfolio transactions without regard to any holding period if, in the Advisor’s judgment, such transactions are advisable in light of a change in circumstances of a particular company or within a particular industry or in general market, economic or financial conditions. The portfolio turnover rate is calculated by dividing the lesser of the Trust’s annual sales or purchases of portfolio securities (exclusive of purchases or sales of U.S. Government Securities and all other securities whose maturities at the time of acquisition were one year or less) by the monthly average value of the securities in the portfolio during the year. A high rate of portfolio turnover results in certain tax consequences, such as increased capital gain dividends and/or ordinary income dividends, and in correspondingly greater transaction costs in the form of dealer spreads and brokerage commissions, which are borne directly by the Trust.

Information about the brokerage commissions paid by the Trust, including commissions paid to affiliates, for the last three fiscal years, is set forth in the following table:

 

Fiscal Year Ended December 31,

   Aggregate Brokerage
Commissions Paid
     Commissions Paid
to Affiliates
 

2021

   $ 428,038      $ 0  

2020

   $ 379,299      $ 0  

2019

   $ 312,386      $ 0  

For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2021, the brokerage commissions paid to affiliates by the Trust represented 0% of the aggregate brokerage commissions paid and involved 0% of the dollar amount of transactions involving payment of commissions during the year.

The following table shows the dollar amount of brokerage commissions paid to brokers for providing third-party research services and the approximate dollar amount of the transactions involved for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2021. The provision of third-party research services was not necessarily a factor in the placement of all brokerage business with such brokers.

 

Amount of Commissions Paid to Brokers for

Providing Research Services

   Amount of Brokerage
Transactions Involved
 

$0

   $ 0  

 

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As of December 31, 2021, the Trust held no securities of its “regular brokers or dealers” (as defined in Rule 10b-1 under the Investment Company Act) whose shares were purchased during the fiscal year ended December 31, 2021.

CONFLICTS OF INTEREST

Certain activities of BlackRock, Inc., the Advisor, the Sub-Advisor and the other subsidiaries of BlackRock, Inc. (collectively referred to in this section as “BlackRock”) and their respective directors, officers or employees, with respect to the Trust and/or other accounts managed by BlackRock, may give rise to actual or perceived conflicts of interest such as those described below.

BlackRock is one of the world’s largest asset management firms. BlackRock, its subsidiaries and their respective directors, officers and employees, including the business units or entities and personnel who may be involved in the investment activities and business operations of the Trust, are engaged worldwide in businesses, including managing equities, fixed-income securities, cash and alternative investments, and other financial services, and have interests other than that of managing the Trust. These are considerations of which investors in the Trust should be aware, and which may cause conflicts of interest that could disadvantage the Trust and its shareholders. These businesses and interests include potential multiple advisory, transactional, financial and other relationships with, or interests in companies and interests in securities or other instruments that may be purchased or sold by the Trust.

BlackRock has proprietary interests in, and may manage or advise with respect to, accounts or funds (including separate accounts and other funds and collective investment vehicles) that have investment objectives similar to those of the Trust and/or that engage in transactions in the same types of securities, currencies and instruments as the Trust. BlackRock is also a major participant in the global currency, equities, swap and fixed-income markets, in each case, for the accounts of clients and, in some cases, on a proprietary basis. As such, BlackRock is or may be actively engaged in transactions in the same securities, currencies, and instruments in which the Trust invests. Such activities could affect the prices and availability of the securities, currencies, and instruments in which the Trust invests, which could have an adverse impact on the Trust’s performance. Such transactions, particularly in respect of most proprietary accounts or client accounts, will be executed independently of the Trust’s transactions and thus at prices or rates that may be more or less favorable than those obtained by the Trust.

When BlackRock seeks to purchase or sell the same assets for client accounts, including the Trust, the assets actually purchased or sold may be allocated among the accounts on a basis determined in its good faith discretion to be equitable. In some cases, this system may adversely affect the size or price of the assets purchased or sold for the Trust. In addition, transactions in investments by one or more other accounts managed by BlackRock may have the effect of diluting or otherwise disadvantaging the values, prices or investment strategies of the Trust, particularly, but not limited to, with respect to small capitalization, emerging market or less liquid strategies. This may occur with respect to BlackRock-advised accounts when investment decisions regarding the Trust are based on research or other information that is also used to support decisions for other accounts. When BlackRock implements a portfolio decision or strategy on behalf of another account ahead of, or contemporaneously with, similar decisions or strategies for the Trust, market impact, liquidity constraints, or other factors could result in the Trust receiving less favorable trading results and the costs of implementing such decisions or strategies could be increased or the Trust could otherwise be disadvantaged. BlackRock may, in certain cases, elect to implement internal policies and procedures designed to limit such consequences, which may cause the Trust to be unable to engage in certain activities, including purchasing or disposing of securities, when it might otherwise be desirable for it to do so. Conflicts may also arise because portfolio decisions regarding the Trust may benefit other accounts managed by BlackRock. For example, the sale of a long position or establishment of a short position by the Trust may impair the price of the same security sold short by (and therefore benefit) BlackRock or its other accounts or funds, and the purchase of a security or covering of a short position in a security by the Trust may increase the price of the same security held by (and therefore benefit) BlackRock or its other accounts or funds.

 

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BlackRock, on behalf of other client accounts, on the one hand, and the Trust, on the other hand, may invest in or extend credit to different parts of the capital structure of a single issuer. BlackRock may pursue rights, provide advice or engage in other activities, or refrain from pursuing rights, providing advice or engaging in other activities, on behalf of other clients with respect to an issuer in which the Trust has invested, and such actions (or refraining from action) may have a material adverse effect on the Trust. In situations in which clients of BlackRock (including the Trust) hold positions in multiple parts of the capital structure of an issuer, BlackRock may not pursue certain actions or remedies that may be available to the Trust, as a result of legal and regulatory requirements or otherwise. BlackRock addresses these and other potential conflicts of interest based on the facts and circumstances of particular situations. For example, BlackRock may determine to rely on information barriers between different business units or portfolio management teams. BlackRock may also determine to rely on the actions of similarly situated holders of loans or securities rather than, or in connection with, taking such actions itself on behalf of the Trust.

In addition, to the extent permitted by applicable law, the Trust may invest its assets in other funds advised by BlackRock, including funds that are managed by one or more of the same portfolio managers, which could result in conflicts of interest relating to asset allocation, timing of Trust purchases and redemptions, and increased remuneration and profitability for BlackRock and/or its personnel, including portfolio managers.

In certain circumstances, BlackRock, on behalf of the Trust, may seek to buy from or sell securities to another fund or account advised by BlackRock. BlackRock may (but is not required to) effect purchases and sales between BlackRock clients (“cross trades”), including the Trust, if BlackRock believes such transactions are appropriate based on each party’s investment objectives and guidelines, subject to applicable law and regulation. There may be potential conflicts of interest or regulatory issues relating to these transactions which could limit BlackRock’s decision to engage in these transactions for the Trust. BlackRock may have a potentially conflicting division of loyalties and responsibilities to the parties in such transactions.

BlackRock and its clients may pursue or enforce rights with respect to an issuer in which the Trust has invested, and those activities may have an adverse effect on the Trust. As a result, prices, availability, liquidity and terms of the Trust’s investments may be negatively impacted by the activities of BlackRock or its clients, and transactions for the Trust may be impaired or effected at prices or terms that may be less favorable than would otherwise have been the case.

The results of the Trust’s investment activities may differ significantly from the results achieved by BlackRock for its proprietary accounts or other accounts (including investment companies or collective investment vehicles) that it manages or advises. It is possible that one or more accounts managed or advised by BlackRock and such other accounts will achieve investment results that are substantially more or less favorable than the results achieved by the Trust. Moreover, it is possible that the Trust will sustain losses during periods in which one or more proprietary or other accounts managed or advised by BlackRock achieve significant profits. The opposite result is also possible.

From time to time, the Trust may be restricted from purchasing or selling securities, or from engaging in other investment activities because of regulatory, legal or contractual requirements applicable to BlackRock or other accounts managed or advised by BlackRock, and/or the internal policies of BlackRock designed to comply with such requirements. As a result, there may be periods, for example, when BlackRock will not initiate or recommend certain types of transactions in certain securities or instruments with respect to which BlackRock is performing services or when position limits have been reached. For example, the investment activities of BlackRock for its proprietary accounts and accounts under its management may limit the investment opportunities for the Trust in certain emerging and other markets in which limitations are imposed upon the amount of investment, in the aggregate or in individual issuers, by affiliated foreign investors.

In connection with its management of the Trust, BlackRock may have access to certain fundamental analysis and proprietary technical models developed by BlackRock. BlackRock will not be under any obligation,

 

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however, to effect transactions on behalf of the Trust in accordance with such analysis and models. In addition, BlackRock will not have any obligation to make available any information regarding its proprietary activities or strategies, or the activities or strategies used for other accounts managed by them, for the benefit of the management of the Trust and it is not anticipated that BlackRock will have access to such information for the purpose of managing the Trust. The proprietary activities or portfolio strategies of BlackRock or the activities or strategies used for accounts managed by BlackRock or other client accounts could conflict with the transactions and strategies employed by BlackRock in managing the Trust.

In addition, certain principals and certain employees of the Advisor are also principals or employees of other business units or entities within BlackRock. As a result, these principals and employees may have obligations to such other business units or entities or their clients and such obligations to other business units or entities or their clients may be a consideration of which investors in the Trust should be aware.

BlackRock may enter into transactions and invest in securities, instruments and currencies on behalf of the Trust in which clients of BlackRock, or, to the extent permitted by the SEC and applicable law, BlackRock, serves as the counterparty, principal or issuer. In such cases, such party’s interests in the transaction will be adverse to the interests of the Trust, and such party may have no incentive to assure that the Trust obtains the best possible prices or terms in connection with the transactions. In addition, the purchase, holding and sale of such investments by the Trust may enhance the profitability of BlackRock.

BlackRock may also create, write or issue derivatives for clients, the underlying securities, currencies or instruments of which may be those in which the Trust invests or which may be based on the performance of the Trust. BlackRock has entered into an arrangement with Markit Indices Limited, the index provider for underlying fixed-income indexes used by certain iShares ETFs, related to derivative fixed-income products that are based on such iShares ETFs. BlackRock will receive certain payments for licensing intellectual property belonging to BlackRock and for facilitating provision of data in connection with such derivative products, which may include payments based on the trading volumes of, or revenues generated by, the derivative products. The Trust and other accounts managed by BlackRock may from time to time transact in such derivative products where permitted by the Trust’s investment strategy, which could contribute to the viability of such derivative products by making them more appealing to funds and accounts managed by third parties, and in turn lead to increased payments to BlackRock. Trading activity in these derivative products could also potentially lead to greater liquidity for such products, increased purchase activity with respect to these iShares ETFs and increased assets under management for BlackRock.

The Trust may, subject to applicable law, purchase investments that are the subject of an underwriting or other distribution by BlackRock and may also enter into transactions with other clients of BlackRock where such other clients have interests adverse to those of the Trust. At times, these activities may cause business units or entities within BlackRock to give advice to clients that may cause these clients to take actions adverse to the interests of the Trust. To the extent such transactions are permitted, the Trust will deal with BlackRock on an arms-length basis.

To the extent authorized by applicable law, BlackRock may act as broker, dealer, agent, lender or adviser or in other commercial capacities for the Trust. It is anticipated that the commissions, mark-ups, mark-downs, financial advisory fees, underwriting and placement fees, sales fees, financing and commitment fees, brokerage fees, other fees, compensation or profits, rates, terms and conditions charged by BlackRock will be in its view commercially reasonable, although BlackRock, including its sales personnel, will have an interest in obtaining fees and other amounts that are favorable to BlackRock and such sales personnel, which may have an adverse effect on the Trust.

Subject to applicable law, BlackRock (and its personnel and other distributors) will be entitled to retain fees and other amounts that they receive in connection with their service to the Trust as broker, dealer, agent, lender,

 

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adviser or in other commercial capacities. No accounting to the Trust or its shareholders will be required, and no fees or other compensation payable by the Trust or its shareholders will be reduced by reason of receipt by BlackRock of any such fees or other amounts.

When BlackRock acts as broker, dealer, agent, adviser or in other commercial capacities in relation to the Trust, BlackRock may take commercial steps in its own interests, which may have an adverse effect on the Trust. The Trust will be required to establish business relationships with its counterparties based on the Trust’s own credit standing. BlackRock will not have any obligation to allow its credit to be used in connection with the Trust’s establishment of its business relationships, nor is it expected that the Trust’s counterparties will rely on the credit of BlackRock in evaluating the Trust’s creditworthiness.

BlackRock Investment Management, LLC (“BIM”), an affiliate of BlackRock, pursuant to SEC exemptive relief, acts as securities lending agent to, and receives a share of securities lending revenues from, the Trust. BlackRock may receive compensation for managing the reinvestment of the cash collateral from securities lending. There are potential conflicts of interests in managing a securities lending program, including but not limited to: (i) BlackRock as securities lending agent may have an incentive to increase or decrease the amount of securities on loan or to lend particular securities in order to generate additional risk-adjusted revenue for BlackRock and its affiliates; and (ii) BlackRock as securities lending agent may have an incentive to allocate loans to clients that would provide more revenue to BlackRock. As described further below, BlackRock seeks to mitigate this conflict by providing its securities lending clients with equal lending opportunities over time in order to approximate pro rata allocation.

As part of its securities lending program, BlackRock indemnifies certain clients and/or funds against a shortfall in collateral in the event of borrower default. BlackRock calculates, on a regular basis, its potential dollar exposure to the risk of collateral shortfall upon counterparty default (“shortfall risk”) under the securities lending program for both indemnified and non-indemnified clients. On a periodic basis, BlackRock also determines the maximum amount of potential indemnified shortfall risk arising from securities lending activities (“indemnification exposure limit”) and the maximum amount of counterparty-specific credit exposure (“credit limits”) BlackRock is willing to assume as well as the program’s operational complexity. BlackRock oversees the risk model that calculates projected shortfall values using loan-level factors such as loan and collateral type and market value as well as specific borrower counterparty credit characteristics. When necessary, BlackRock may further adjust other securities lending program attributes by restricting eligible collateral or reducing counterparty credit limits. As a result, the management of the indemnification exposure limit may affect the amount of securities lending activity BlackRock may conduct at any given point in time and impact indemnified and non-indemnified clients by reducing the volume of lending opportunities for certain loans (including by asset type, collateral type and/or revenue profile).

BlackRock uses a predetermined systematic process in order to approximate pro rata allocation over time. In order to allocate a loan to a portfolio: (i) BlackRock as a whole must have sufficient lending capacity pursuant to the various program limits (i.e. indemnification exposure limit and counterparty credit limits); (ii) the lending portfolio must hold the asset at the time a loan opportunity arrives; and (iii) the lending portfolio must also have enough inventory, either on its own or when aggregated with other portfolios into one single market delivery, to satisfy the loan request. In doing so, BlackRock seeks to provide equal lending opportunities for all portfolios, independent of whether BlackRock indemnifies the portfolio. Equal opportunities for lending portfolios does not guarantee equal outcomes. Specifically, short and long-term outcomes for individual clients may vary due to asset mix, asset/liability spreads on different securities, and the overall limits imposed by the firm.

Purchases and sales of securities and other assets for the Trust may be bunched or aggregated with orders for other BlackRock client accounts, including with accounts that pay different transaction costs solely due to the fact that they have different research payment arrangements. BlackRock, however, is not required to bunch or aggregate orders if portfolio management decisions for different accounts are made separately, or if they determine that bunching or aggregating is not practicable or required, or in cases involving client direction.

 

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Prevailing trading activity frequently may make impossible the receipt of the same price or execution on the entire volume of securities purchased or sold. When this occurs, the various prices may be averaged, and the Trust will be charged or credited with the average price. Thus, the effect of the aggregation may operate on some occasions to the disadvantage of the Trust. In addition, under certain circumstances, the Trust will not be charged the same commission or commission equivalent rates in connection with a bunched or aggregated order.

As discussed in the section entitled “Portfolio Transactions and Brokerage” in this SAI, BlackRock, unless prohibited by applicable law, may cause the Trust or account to pay a broker or dealer a commission for effecting a transaction that exceeds the amount another broker or dealer would have charged for effecting the same transaction in recognition of the value of brokerage and research services provided by that broker or dealer. Under MiFID II, EU investment managers, including the Sub-Advisor, pay for research from brokers and dealers directly out of their own resources, rather than through client commissions.

Subject to applicable law, BlackRock may select brokers that furnish BlackRock, the Trust, other BlackRock client accounts or personnel, directly or through correspondent relationships, with research or other appropriate services which provide, in BlackRock’s view, appropriate assistance to BlackRock in the investment decision-making process (including with respect to futures, fixed-price offerings and OTC transactions). Such research or other services may include, to the extent permitted by law, research reports on companies, industries and securities; economic and financial data; financial publications; proxy analysis; trade industry seminars; computer data bases; research-oriented software and other services and products.

Research or other services obtained in this manner may be used in servicing any or all of the Trust and other BlackRock client accounts, including in connection with BlackRock client accounts other than those that pay commissions to the broker relating to the research or other service arrangements. Such products and services may disproportionately benefit other BlackRock client accounts relative to the Trust based on the amount of brokerage commissions paid by the Trust and such other BlackRock client accounts. For example, research or other services that are paid for through one client’s commissions may not be used in managing that client’s account. In addition, other BlackRock client accounts may receive the benefit, including disproportionate benefits, of economies of scale or price discounts in connection with products and services that may be provided to the Trust and to such other BlackRock client accounts. To the extent that BlackRock uses soft dollars, it will not have to pay for those products and services itself.

BlackRock, unless prohibited by applicable law, may endeavor to execute trades through brokers who, pursuant to such arrangements, provide research or other services in order to ensure the continued receipt of research or other services BlackRock believes are useful in its investment decision-making process. BlackRock may from time to time choose not to engage in the above described arrangements to varying degrees. BlackRock, unless prohibited by applicable law, may also enter into commission sharing arrangements under which BlackRock may execute transactions through a broker-dealer and request that the broker-dealer allocate a portion of the commissions or commission credits to another firm that provides research to BlackRock. To the extent that BlackRock engages in commission sharing arrangements, many of the same conflicts related to traditional soft dollars may exist.

BlackRock may utilize certain electronic crossing networks (“ECNs”) (including, without limitation, ECNs in which BlackRock has an investment or other interest, to the extent permitted by applicable law) in executing client securities transactions for certain types of securities. These ECNs may charge fees for their services, including access fees and transaction fees. The transaction fees, which are similar to commissions or markups/markdowns, will generally be charged to clients and, like commissions and markups/markdowns, would generally be included in the cost of the securities purchased. Access fees may be paid by BlackRock even though incurred in connection with executing transactions on behalf of clients, including the Trust. In certain circumstances, ECNs may offer volume discounts that will reduce the access fees typically paid by BlackRock. BlackRock will only utilize ECNs consistent with its obligation to seek to obtain best execution in client transactions.

 

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BlackRock owns a minority interest in, and is a member of, Members Exchange (“MEMX”), a newly created U.S. stock exchange. Transactions for the Trust may be executed on MEMX if third party brokers select MEMX as the appropriate venue for execution of orders placed by BlackRock traders on behalf of client portfolios.

BlackRock has adopted policies and procedures designed to prevent conflicts of interest from influencing proxy voting decisions that it makes on behalf of advisory clients, including the Trust, and to help ensure that such decisions are made in accordance with BlackRock’s fiduciary obligations to its clients. Nevertheless, notwithstanding such proxy voting policies and procedures, actual proxy voting decisions of BlackRock may have the effect of favoring the interests of other clients or businesses of other divisions or units of BlackRock, provided that BlackRock believes such voting decisions to be in accordance with its fiduciary obligations. For a more detailed discussion of these policies and procedures, see Appendix B.

It is possible that the Trust may invest in securities of, or engage in transactions with, companies in which BlackRock has significant debt or equity investments or other interests. The Trust may also invest in issuances (such as structured notes) by entities for which BlackRock provides and is compensated for cash management services relating to the proceeds from the sale of such issuances. In making investment decisions for the Trust, BlackRock is not permitted to obtain or use material non-public information acquired by any unit of BlackRock, in the course of these activities. In addition, from time to time, the activities of BlackRock may limit the Trust’s flexibility in purchases and sales of securities. As indicated below, BlackRock may engage in transactions with companies in which BlackRock-advised funds or other clients of BlackRock have an investment.

BlackRock may provide valuation assistance to certain clients with respect to certain securities or other investments and the valuation recommendations made for such clients’ accounts may differ from the valuations for the same securities or investments assigned by the Trust’s pricing vendors, especially if such valuations are based on broker-dealer quotes or other data sources unavailable to the Trust’s pricing vendors. While BlackRock will generally communicate its valuation information or determinations to the Trust’s pricing vendors and/or fund accountants, there may be instances where the Trust’s pricing vendors or fund accountants assign a different valuation to a security or other investment than the valuation for such security or investment determined or recommended by BlackRock.

As disclosed in more detail in “Net Asset Value” in the prospectus, when market quotations are not readily available or are believed by BlackRock to be unreliable, the Trust’s investments are valued at fair value by BlackRock’s Valuation Committee (the “Valuation Committee”), in accordance with policies and procedures approved by the Trust’s Board of Trustees (the “Valuation Procedures”). When determining a “fair value price,” the Valuation Committee seeks to determine the price that the Trust might reasonably expect to receive from the current sale of that asset or liability in an arm’s-length transaction. The price generally may not be determined based on what the Trust might reasonably expect to receive for selling an asset or liability at a later time or if it holds the asset or liability to maturity. While fair value determinations will be based upon all available factors that BlackRock deems relevant at the time of the determination, and may be based on analytical values determined by BlackRock using proprietary or third party valuation models, fair value represents only a good faith approximation of the value of an asset or liability. The fair value of one or more assets or liabilities may not, in retrospect, be the price at which those assets or liabilities could have been sold during the period in which the particular fair values were used in determining the Trust’s net asset value. As a result, the Trust’s sale or repurchase of its shares at net asset value, at a time when a holding or holdings are valued by the Valuation Committee at fair value, may have the effect of diluting or increasing the economic interest of existing shareholders and may affect the amount of revenue received by BlackRock with respect to services for which it receives an asset-based fee.

To the extent permitted by applicable law, the Trust may invest all or some of its short-term cash investments in any money market fund or similarly-managed private fund advised or managed by BlackRock. In connection with any such investments, the Trust, to the extent permitted by the Investment Company Act, may

 

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pay its share of expenses of a money market fund or other similarly-managed private fund in which it invests, which may result in the Trust bearing some additional expenses.

BlackRock and its directors, officers and employees, may buy and sell securities or other investments for their own accounts and may have conflicts of interest with respect to investments made on behalf of the Trust. As a result of differing trading and investment strategies or constraints, positions may be taken by directors, officers and employees of BlackRock that are the same, different from or made at different times than positions taken for the Trust. To lessen the possibility that the Trust will be adversely affected by this personal trading, the Trust and the Advisor each have adopted a Code of Ethics in compliance with Section 17(j) of the Investment Company Act that restricts securities trading in the personal accounts of investment professionals and others who normally come into possession of information regarding the Trust’s portfolio transactions. Each Code of Ethics is also available on the EDGAR Database on the SEC’s Internet site at http://www.sec.gov, and copies may be obtained, after paying a duplicating fee, by e-mail at publicinfo@sec.gov.

BlackRock will not purchase securities or other property from, or sell securities or other property to, the Trust, except that the Trust may in accordance with rules or guidance adopted under the Investment Company Act engage in transactions with another fund or accounts that are affiliated with the Trust as a result of common officers, directors, or investment advisers or pursuant to exemptive orders granted to the Trust and/or BlackRock by the SEC. These transactions would be effected in circumstances in which BlackRock determined that it would be appropriate for the Trust to purchase and another client of BlackRock to sell, or the Trust to sell and another client of BlackRock to purchase, the same security or instrument on the same day. From time to time, the activities of the Trust may be restricted because of regulatory requirements applicable to BlackRock and/or BlackRock’s internal policies designed to comply with, limit the applicability of, or otherwise relate to such requirements. A client not advised by BlackRock would not be subject to some of those considerations. There may be periods when BlackRock may not initiate or recommend certain types of transactions, or may otherwise restrict or limit its advice in certain securities or instruments issued by or related to companies for which BlackRock is performing advisory or other services or has proprietary positions. For example, when BlackRock is engaged to provide advisory or risk management services for a company, BlackRock may be prohibited from or limited in purchasing or selling securities of that company on behalf of the Trust, particularly where such services result in BlackRock obtaining material non-public information about the company (e.g., in connection with participation in a creditors’ committee). Similar situations could arise if personnel of BlackRock serve as directors of companies the securities of which the Trust wishes to purchase or sell. However, if permitted by applicable law, and where consistent with BlackRock’s policies and procedures (including the necessary implementation of appropriate information barriers), the Trust may purchase securities or instruments that are issued by such companies, are the subject of an advisory or risk management assignment by BlackRock, or where personnel of BlackRock are directors or officers of the issuer.

The investment activities of BlackRock for its proprietary accounts and for client accounts may also limit the investment strategies and rights of the Trust. For example, in certain circumstances where the Trust invests in securities issued by companies that operate in certain regulated industries, in certain emerging or international markets, or are subject to corporate or regulatory ownership restrictions, or invest in certain futures and derivative transactions, there may be limits on the aggregate amount invested by BlackRock for its proprietary accounts and for client accounts (including the Trust) that may not be exceeded without the grant of a license or other regulatory or corporate consent, or, if exceeded, may cause BlackRock, the Trust or other client accounts to suffer disadvantages or business restrictions. If certain aggregate ownership thresholds are reached or certain transactions undertaken, the ability of BlackRock on behalf of clients (including the Trust) to purchase or dispose of investments, or exercise rights or undertake business transactions, may be restricted by regulation or otherwise impaired. As a result, BlackRock on behalf of its clients (including the Trust) may limit purchases, sell existing investments, or otherwise restrict, forgo or limit the exercise of rights (including transferring, outsourcing or limiting voting rights or forgoing the right to receive dividends) when BlackRock, in its sole discretion, deems it appropriate in light of potential regulatory or other restrictions on ownership or other consequences resulting from reaching investment thresholds.

 

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In those circumstances where ownership thresholds or limitations must be observed, BlackRock seeks to allocate limited investment opportunities equitably among clients (including the Trust), taking into consideration benchmark weight and investment strategy. When ownership in certain securities nears an applicable threshold, BlackRock may limit purchases in such securities to the issuer’s weighting in the applicable benchmark used by BlackRock to manage the Trust. If client (including Trust) holdings of an issuer exceed an applicable threshold and BlackRock is unable to obtain relief to enable the continued holding of such investments, it may be necessary to sell down these positions to meet the applicable limitations. In these cases, benchmark overweight positions will be sold prior to benchmark positions being reduced to meet applicable limitations.

In addition to the foregoing, other ownership thresholds may trigger reporting requirements to governmental and regulatory authorities, and such reports may entail the disclosure of the identity of a client or BlackRock’s intended strategy with respect to such security or asset.

BlackRock may maintain securities indices. To the extent permitted by applicable laws, the Trust may seek to license and use such indices as part of their investment strategy. Index based funds that seek to track the performance of securities indices also may use the name of the index or index provider in the fund name. Index providers, including BlackRock (to the extent permitted by applicable law), may be paid licensing fees for use of their index or index name. BlackRock is not obligated to license its indices to the Trust and the Trust is under no obligation to use BlackRock indices. The Trust cannot be assured that the terms of any index licensing agreement with BlackRock will be as favorable as those terms offered to other licensees.

BlackRock may enter into contractual arrangements with third-party service providers to the Trust (e.g., custodians, administrators and index providers) pursuant to which BlackRock receives fee discounts or concessions in recognition of BlackRock’s overall relationship with such service providers. To the extent that BlackRock is responsible for paying these service providers out of its management fee, the benefits of any such fee discounts or concessions may accrue, in whole or in part, to BlackRock.

BlackRock owns or has an ownership interest in certain trading, portfolio management, operations and/or information systems used by Trust service providers. These systems are, or will be, used by the Trust service provider in connection with the provision of services to accounts managed by BlackRock and funds managed and sponsored by BlackRock, including the Trust, that engage the service provider (typically the custodian). The Trust’s service provider remunerates BlackRock for the use of the systems. The Trust’s service provider’s payments to BlackRock for the use of these systems may enhance the profitability of BlackRock.

BlackRock’s receipt of fees from a service provider in connection with the use of systems provided by BlackRock may create an incentive for BlackRock to recommend that the Trust enter into or renew an arrangement with the service provider.

In recognition of a BlackRock client’s overall relationship with BlackRock, BlackRock may offer special pricing arrangements for certain services provided by BlackRock. Any such special pricing arrangements will not affect Trust fees and expenses applicable to such client’s investment in the Trust.

Present and future activities of BlackRock and its directors, officers and employees, in addition to those described in this section, may give rise to additional conflicts of interest.

DESCRIPTION OF SHARES

Common Shares

The Trust intends to hold annual meetings of shareholders so long as the common shares are listed on a national securities exchange and such meetings are required as a condition to such listing.

 

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Preferred Shares

The Trust currently does not intend to issue preferred shares. Although the terms of any preferred shares that the Trust might issue in the future, including dividend rate, liquidation preference and redemption provisions, will be determined by the Board, subject to applicable law and the Agreement and Declaration of Trust, it is likely that any such preferred shares issued would be structured to carry a relatively short-term dividend rate reflecting interest rates on short-term debt securities, by providing for the periodic redetermination of the dividend rate at relatively short intervals through a fixed spread or remarketing procedure, subject to a maximum rate which would increase over time in the event of an extended period of unsuccessful remarketing. The Trust also believes that it is likely that the liquidation preference, voting rights and redemption provisions of any such preferred shares would be similar to those stated below.

Liquidation Preference. In the event of any voluntary or involuntary liquidation, dissolution or winding up of the Trust, the holders of preferred shares will be entitled to receive a preferential liquidating distribution, which would be expected to equal the original purchase price per preferred share plus accrued and unpaid dividends, whether or not declared, before any distribution of assets is made to holders of common shares. After payment of the full amount of the liquidating distribution to which they are entitled, the holders of preferred shares would not be entitled to any further participation in any distribution of assets by the Trust.

Voting Rights. The Investment Company Act requires that the holders of any preferred shares, voting separately as a single class, have the right to elect at least two Trustees at all times. The remaining Trustees will be elected by holders of common shares and preferred shares, voting together as a single class. In addition, subject to the prior rights, if any, of the holders of any other class of senior securities outstanding, the holders of any preferred shares have the right to elect a majority of the Trustees at any time two years’ dividends on any preferred shares are unpaid. The Investment Company Act also requires that, in addition to any approval by shareholders that might otherwise be required, the approval of the holders of a majority of any outstanding preferred shares, voting separately as a class, would be required to (1) adopt any plan of reorganization that would adversely affect the preferred shares, and (2) take any action requiring a vote of security holders under Section 13(a) of the Investment Company Act, including, among other things, changes in the Trust’s sub-classification as a closed-end investment company or changes in its fundamental investment restrictions. See “Certain Provisions in the Agreement and Declaration of Trust and Bylaws” in the prospectus. As a result of these voting rights, the Trust’s ability to take any such actions may be impeded to the extent that there are any preferred shares outstanding. The Board presently intends that, except as otherwise indicated in the prospectus or this SAI and except as otherwise required by applicable law, holders of any preferred shares will have equal voting rights with holders of common shares (one vote per share, unless otherwise required by the Investment Company Act) and will vote together with holders of common shares as a single class.

The affirmative vote of the holders of a majority of any outstanding preferred shares, voting as a separate class, would be required to amend, alter or repeal any of the preferences, rights or powers of holders of preferred shares so as to affect materially and adversely such preferences, rights or powers, or to increase or decrease the authorized number of preferred shares. The class vote of holders of preferred shares described above would in each case be in addition to any other vote required to authorize the action in question.

Redemption, Purchase and Sale of Preferred Shares by the Trust. The terms of any preferred shares are expected to provide that (1) they are redeemable by the Trust in whole or in part at the original purchase price per share plus accrued dividends per share, (2) the Trust may tender for or purchase preferred shares and (3) the Trust may subsequently resell any shares so tendered for or purchased. Any redemption or purchase of preferred shares by the Trust would reduce the leverage applicable to the common shares, while any resale of shares by the Trust would increase that leverage.

Liquidity Feature. Preferred shares may include a liquidity feature that allows holders of preferred shares to have their shares purchased by a liquidity provider in the event that sell orders have not been matched with

 

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purchase orders and successfully settled in a remarketing. The Trust would pay a fee to the provider of this liquidity feature, which would be borne by common shareholders of the Trust. The terms of such liquidity feature may require the Trust to redeem preferred shares still owned by the liquidity provider following a certain period of continuous, unsuccessful remarketing, which may adversely impact the Trust.

The discussion above describes the possible offering of preferred shares by the Trust. If the Board determines to proceed with such an offering, the terms of the preferred shares may be the same as, or different from, the terms described above, subject to applicable law and the Trust’s Agreement and Declaration of Trust. The Board, without the approval of the holders of common shares, may authorize an offering of preferred shares or may determine not to authorize such an offering, and may fix the terms of the preferred shares to be offered.

Other Shares

The Board (subject to applicable law and the Trust’s Agreement and Declaration of Trust) may authorize an offering, without the approval of the holders of common shares and, depending on their terms, any preferred shares outstanding at that time, of other classes of shares, or other classes or series of shares, as they determine to be necessary, desirable or appropriate, having such terms, rights, preferences, privileges, limitations and restrictions as the Board sees fit. The Trust currently does not expect to issue any other classes of shares, or series of shares, except for the common shares.

REPURCHASE OF COMMON SHARES

The Trust is a closed-end management investment company and as such its shareholders will not have the right to cause the Trust to redeem their shares. Instead, the Trust’s common shares will trade in the open market at a price that will be a function of several factors, including dividend levels (which are in turn affected by expenses), NAV, call protection for portfolio securities, dividend stability, liquidity, relative demand for and supply of the common shares in the market, general market and economic conditions and other factors. Because shares of a closed-end investment company may frequently trade at prices lower than NAV, the Board may consider action that might be taken to reduce or eliminate any material discount from NAV in respect of common shares, which may include the repurchase of such shares in the open market or in private transactions, the making of a tender offer for such shares, or the conversion of the Trust to an open-end investment company. The Board may decide not to take any of these actions. In addition, there can be no assurance that share repurchases or tender offers, if undertaken, will reduce market discount.

Notwithstanding the foregoing, at any time when the Trust has preferred shares outstanding, the Trust may not purchase, redeem or otherwise acquire any of its common shares unless (1) all accrued preferred share dividends have been paid and (2) at the time of such purchase, redemption or acquisition, the NAV of the Trust’s portfolio (determined after deducting the acquisition price of the common shares) is at least 200% of the liquidation value of any outstanding preferred shares (expected to equal the original purchase price per share plus any accrued and unpaid dividends thereon). Any service fees incurred in connection with any tender offer made by the Trust will be borne by the Trust and will not reduce the stated consideration to be paid to tendering shareholders.

Subject to its investment restrictions, the Trust may borrow to finance the repurchase of shares or to make a tender offer. Interest on any borrowings to finance share repurchase transactions or the accumulation of cash by the Trust in anticipation of share repurchases or tender offers will reduce the Trust’s net income. Any share repurchase, tender offer or borrowing that might be approved by the Board would have to comply with the Exchange Act, the Investment Company Act and the rules and regulations thereunder.

Although the decision to take action in response to a discount from NAV will be made by the Board at the time it considers such issue, it is the Board’s present policy, which may be changed by the Board, not to

 

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authorize repurchases of common shares or a tender offer for such shares if: (i) such transactions, if consummated, would (a) result in the delisting of the common shares from the NYSE, or (b) impair the Trust’s status as a RIC under the Code, (which would make the Trust a taxable entity, causing the Trust’s income to be taxed at the corporate level in addition to the taxation of shareholders who receive dividends from the Trust) or as a registered closed-end investment company under the Investment Company Act; (ii) the Trust would not be able to liquidate portfolio securities in an orderly manner and consistent with the Trust’s investment objective and policies in order to repurchase shares; or (iii) there is, in the Board’s judgment, any (a) material legal action or proceeding instituted or threatened challenging such transactions or otherwise materially adversely affecting the Trust, (b) general suspension of or limitation on prices for trading securities on the NYSE, (c) declaration of a banking moratorium by federal or state authorities or any suspension of payment by United States or New York banks, (d) material limitation affecting the Trust or the issuers of its portfolio securities by federal or state authorities on the extension of credit by lending institutions or on the exchange of foreign currency, (e) commencement of war, armed hostilities or other international or national calamity directly or indirectly involving the United States, or (f) other event or condition which would have a material adverse effect (including any adverse tax effect) on the Trust or its shareholders if shares were repurchased. The Board may in the future modify these conditions in light of experience.

The repurchase by the Trust of its shares at prices below NAV will result in an increase in the NAV of those shares that remain outstanding. However, there can be no assurance that share repurchases or tender offers at or below NAV will result in the Trust’s common shares trading at a price equal to their NAV. Nevertheless, the fact that the Trust’s common shares may be the subject of repurchases or tender offers from time to time, or that the Trust may be converted to an open-end investment company, may reduce any spread between market price and NAV that might otherwise exist.

In addition, a purchase by the Trust of its common shares will decrease the Trust’s net assets which would likely have the effect of increasing the Trust’s expense ratio. Any purchase by the Trust of its common shares at a time when preferred shares are outstanding will increase the leverage applicable to the outstanding common shares then remaining.

Before deciding whether to take any action if the common shares trade below NAV, the Board would likely consider all relevant factors, including the extent and duration of the discount, the liquidity of the Trust’s portfolio, the impact of any action that might be taken on the Trust or its shareholders and market considerations. Based on these considerations, even if the Trust’s common shares should trade at a discount, the Board may determine that, in the interest of the Trust and its shareholders, no action should be taken.

TAX MATTERS

The following is a description of certain U.S. federal income tax consequences to a shareholder of acquiring, holding and disposing of common shares of the Trust. Except as otherwise noted, this discussion assumes you are a taxable U.S. holder (as defined below). This discussion is based upon current provisions of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the “Code”), the regulations promulgated thereunder and judicial and administrative authorities, all of which are subject to change or differing interpretations by the courts or the IRS, possibly with retroactive effect. No attempt is made to present a detailed explanation of all U.S. federal income tax concerns affecting the Trust and its shareholders, and the discussions set forth herein do not constitute tax advice. This discussion assumes that investors hold common shares of the Trust as capital assets (generally, for investment). The Trust has not sought and will not seek any ruling from the IRS regarding any matters discussed herein. No assurance can be given that the IRS would not assert, or that a court would not sustain, a position contrary to those set forth below. This summary does not discuss any aspects of foreign, state or local tax. Prospective investors must consult their own tax advisers as to the U.S. federal income tax consequences (including the alternative minimum tax consequences) of acquiring, holding and disposing of the Trust’s common shares, as well as the effects of state, local and non-U.S. tax laws.

 

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In addition, no attempt is made to address tax considerations applicable to an investor with a special tax status, such as a financial institution, REIT, insurance company, regulated investment company, individual retirement account, other tax-exempt organization, dealer in securities or currencies, person holding shares of the Trust as part of a hedging, integrated, conversion or straddle transaction, trader in securities that has elected the mark-to-market method of accounting for its securities, U.S. holder (as defined below) whose functional currency is not the U.S. dollar, investor with “applicable financial statements” within the meaning of Section 451(b) of the Code, or non-U.S. investor. Furthermore, this discussion does not reflect possible application of the alternative minimum tax.

 

   

A U.S. holder is a beneficial owner that is for U.S. federal income tax purposes:

 

   

a citizen or individual resident of the United States (including certain former citizens and former long-term residents);

 

   

a corporation or other entity treated as a corporation for U.S. federal income tax purposes, created or organized in or under the laws of the United States or any state thereof or the District of Columbia;

 

   

an estate, the income of which is subject to U.S. federal income taxation regardless of its source; or

 

   

a trust with respect to which a court within the United States is able to exercise primary supervision over its administration and one or more U.S. persons have the authority to control all of its substantial decisions or the trust has made a valid election in effect under applicable Treasury regulations to be treated as a U.S. person.

Taxation of the Trust

The Trust intends to elect to be treated and to qualify to be taxed as a RIC under Subchapter M of the Code. In order to qualify as a RIC, the Trust must, among other things, satisfy certain requirements relating to the sources of its income, diversification of its assets, and distribution of its income to its shareholders. First, the Trust must derive at least 90% of its annual gross income from dividends, interest, payments with respect to securities loans, gains from the sale or other disposition of stock or securities or foreign currencies, or other income (including but not limited to gains from options, futures and forward contracts) derived with respect to its business of investing in such stock, securities or currencies, or net income derived from interests in “qualified publicly traded partnerships” (as defined in the Code) (the “90% gross income test”). Second, the Trust must diversify its holdings so that, at the close of each quarter of its taxable year, (i) at least 50% of the value of its total assets consists of cash, cash items, U.S. Government securities, securities of other RICs and other securities, with such other securities limited in respect of any one issuer to an amount not greater in value than 5% of the value of the Trust’s total assets and to not more than 10% of the outstanding voting securities of such issuer, and (ii) not more than 25% of the market value of the Trust’s total assets is invested in the securities (other than U.S. Government securities and securities of other RICs) of any one issuer, any two or more issuers controlled by the Trust and engaged in the same, similar or related trades or businesses, or any one or more “qualified publicly traded partnerships.”

As long as the Trust qualifies as a RIC, the Trust will generally not be subject to corporate-level U.S. federal income tax on income and gains that it distributes each taxable year to its shareholders, provided that in such taxable year it distributes at least 90% of the sum of (i) its net tax-exempt interest income, if any, and (ii) its “investment company taxable income” (which includes, among other items, dividends, taxable interest, taxable original issue discount and market discount income, income from securities lending, net short-term capital gain in excess of net long-term capital loss, and any other taxable income other than “net capital gain” (as defined below) and is reduced by deductible expenses) determined without regard to the deduction for dividends paid. The Trust may retain for investment its net capital gain (which consists of the excess of its net long-term capital gain over its net short-term capital loss). However, if the Trust retains any net capital gain or any investment company taxable income, it will be subject to tax at regular corporate rates on the amount retained.

The Code imposes a 4% nondeductible excise tax on the Trust to the extent the Trust does not distribute by the end of any calendar year at least the sum of (i) 98% of its ordinary income (not taking into account any

 

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capital gain or loss) for the calendar year and (ii) 98.2% of its capital gain in excess of its capital loss (adjusted for certain ordinary losses) for a one-year period generally ending on October 31 of the calendar year (unless an election is made to use the Trust’s fiscal year). In addition, the minimum amounts that must be distributed in any year to avoid the excise tax will be increased or decreased to reflect the total amount of any under-distribution or over-distribution, as the case may be, from the previous year. For purposes of the excise tax, the Trust will be deemed to have distributed any income on which it paid U.S. federal income tax. While the Trust intends to distribute any income and capital gain in the manner necessary to minimize imposition of the 4% nondeductible excise tax, there can be no assurance that sufficient amounts of the Trust’s taxable income and capital gain will be distributed to entirely avoid the imposition of the excise tax. In that event, the Trust will be liable for the excise tax only on the amount by which it does not meet the foregoing distribution requirement.

If in any taxable year the Trust should fail to qualify under Subchapter M of the Code for tax treatment as a RIC, the Trust would incur a regular corporate U.S. federal income tax upon all of its taxable income for that year, and all distributions to its shareholders (including distributions of net capital gain) would be taxable to shareholders as ordinary dividend income for U.S. federal income tax purposes to the extent of the Trust’s earnings and profits. Provided that certain holding period and other requirements were met, such dividends would be eligible (i) to be treated as qualified dividend income in the case of shareholders taxed as individuals and (ii) for the dividends received deduction in the case of corporate shareholders. In addition, to qualify again to be taxed as a RIC in a subsequent year, the Trust would be required to distribute to shareholders its earnings and profits attributable to non-RIC years. In addition, if the Trust failed to qualify as a RIC for a period greater than two taxable years, then, in order to qualify as a RIC in a subsequent year, the Trust would be required to elect to recognize and pay tax on any net built-in gain (the excess of aggregate gain, including items of income, over aggregate loss that would have been realized if the Trust had been liquidated) or, alternatively, be subject to taxation on such built-in gain recognized for a period of five years.

The remainder of this discussion assumes that the Trust qualifies for taxation as a RIC.

The Trust’s Investments

Certain of the Trust’s investment practices are subject to special and complex U.S. federal income tax provisions (including mark-to-market, constructive sale, straddle, wash sale, short sale and other rules) that may, among other things, (i) disallow, suspend or otherwise limit the allowance of certain losses or deductions, (ii) convert lower taxed long-term capital gains or qualified dividend income into higher taxed short-term capital gains or ordinary income, (iii) convert ordinary loss or a deduction into capital loss (the deductibility of which is more limited), (iv) cause the Trust to recognize income or gain without a corresponding receipt of cash, (v) adversely affect the time as to when a purchase or sale of stock or securities is deemed to occur, (vi) adversely alter the characterization of certain complex financial transactions and (vii) produce income that will not be “qualified” income for purposes of the 90% annual gross income requirement described above. These U.S. federal income tax provisions could therefore affect the amount, timing and character of distributions to common shareholders. The Trust intends to monitor its transactions and may make certain tax elections and may be required to dispose of securities to mitigate the effect of these provisions and prevent disqualification of the Trust as a RIC. Additionally, the Trust may be required to limit its activities in derivative instruments in order to enable it to maintain its RIC status.

The Trust may invest a portion of its net assets in below investment grade securities, commonly known as “junk” securities. Investments in these types of securities may present special tax issues for the Trust. U.S. federal income tax rules are not entirely clear about issues such as when the Trust may cease to accrue interest, original issue discount or market discount, when and to what extent deductions may be taken for bad debts or worthless securities, how payments received on obligations in default should be allocated between principal and income and whether modifications or exchanges of debt obligations in a bankruptcy or workout context are taxable. These and other issues could affect the Trust’s ability to distribute sufficient income to preserve its status as a RIC or to avoid the imposition of U.S. federal income or excise tax.

 

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Certain debt securities acquired by the Trust may be treated as debt securities that were originally issued at a discount. Generally, the amount of the original issue discount is treated as interest income and is included in taxable income (and required to be distributed by the Trust in order to qualify as a RIC and avoid U.S. federal income tax or the 4% excise tax on undistributed income) over the term of the security, even though payment of that amount is not received until a later time, usually when the debt security matures.

If the Trust purchases a debt security on a secondary market at a price lower than its adjusted issue price, the excess of the adjusted issue price over the purchase price is “market discount.” Unless the Trust makes an election to accrue market discount on a current basis, generally, any gain realized on the disposition of, and any partial payment of principal on, a debt security having market discount is treated as ordinary income to the extent the gain, or principal payment, does not exceed the “accrued market discount” on the debt security. Market discount generally accrues in equal daily installments. If the Trust ultimately collects less on the debt instrument than its purchase price plus the market discount previously included in income, the Trust may not be able to benefit from any offsetting loss deductions.

The Trust may invest in preferred securities or other securities the U.S. federal income tax treatment of which may not be clear or may be subject to recharacterization by the IRS. To the extent the tax treatment of such securities or the income from such securities differs from the tax treatment expected by the Trust, it could affect the timing or character of income recognized by the Trust, potentially requiring the Trust to purchase or sell securities, or otherwise change its portfolio, in order to comply with the tax rules applicable to RICs under the Code.

Gain or loss on the sale of securities by the Trust will generally be long-term capital gain or loss if the securities have been held by the Trust for more than one year. Gain or loss on the sale of securities held for one year or less will be short-term capital gain or loss.

Because the Trust may invest in foreign securities, its income from such securities may be subject to non-U.S. taxes. If more than 50% of the Trust’s total assets at the close of its taxable year consists of stock or securities of foreign corporations, the Trust may elect for U.S. federal income tax purposes to treat foreign income taxes paid by it as paid by its shareholders. The Trust may qualify for and make this election in some, but not necessarily all, of its taxable years. If the Trust were to make such an election, shareholders would be required to take into account an amount equal to their pro rata portions of such foreign taxes in computing their taxable income and then treat an amount equal to those foreign taxes as a U.S. federal income tax deduction or as a foreign tax credit against their U.S. federal income tax liability. A taxpayer’s ability to use a foreign tax deduction or credit is subject to limitations under the Code. Shortly after any year for which it makes such an election, the Trust will report to its shareholder the amount per share of such foreign income tax that must be included in each shareholder’s gross income and the amount that may be available for the deduction or credit.

Foreign currency gain or loss on foreign currency exchange contracts, non-U.S. dollar-denominated securities contracts, and non-U.S. dollar-denominated futures contracts, options and forward contracts that are not section 1256 contracts (as defined below) generally will be treated as ordinary income and loss.

Income from options on individual securities written by the Trust will generally not be recognized by the Trust for tax purposes until an option is exercised, lapses or is subject to a “closing transaction” (as defined by applicable regulations) pursuant to which the Trust’s obligations with respect to the option are otherwise terminated. If the option lapses without exercise, the premiums received by the Trust from the writing of such options will generally be characterized as short-term capital gain. If the Trust enters into a closing transaction, the difference between the premiums received and the amount paid by the Trust to close out its position will generally be treated as short-term capital gain or loss. If an option written by the Trust is exercised, thereby requiring the Trust to sell the underlying security, the premium will increase the amount realized upon the sale of the security, and the character of any gain on such sale of the underlying security as short-term or long-term capital gain will depend on the holding period of the Trust in the underlying security. Because the Trust will not

 

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have control over the exercise of the options it writes, such exercises or other required sales of the underlying securities may cause the Trust to realize gains or losses at inopportune times.

Options on indices of securities and sectors of securities that qualify as “section 1256 contracts” will generally be treated as “marked-to-market” for U.S. federal income tax purposes. As a result, the Trust will generally recognize gain or loss on the last day of each taxable year equal to the difference between the value of the option on that date and the adjusted basis of the option. The adjusted basis of the option will consequently be increased by such gain or decreased by such loss. Any gain or loss with respect to options on indices and sectors that qualify as “section 1256 contracts” will be treated as short-term capital gain or loss to the extent of 40% of such gain or loss and long-term capital gain or loss to the extent of 60% of such gain or loss. Because the mark-to-market rules may cause the Trust to recognize gain in advance of the receipt of cash, the Trust may be required to dispose of investments in order to meet its distribution requirements. “Mark-to-market” losses may be suspended or otherwise limited if such losses are part of a straddle or similar transaction.

Taxation of Common Shareholders

The Trust will either distribute or retain for reinvestment all or part of its net capital gain. If any such gain is retained, the Trust will be subject to a corporate income tax on such retained amount. In that event, the Trust expects to report the retained amount as undistributed capital gain in a notice to its common shareholders, each of whom, if subject to U.S. federal income tax on long-term capital gains, (i) will be required to include in income for U.S. federal income tax purposes as long-term capital gain its share of such undistributed amounts, (ii) will be entitled to credit its proportionate share of the tax paid by the Trust against its U.S. federal income tax liability and to claim refunds to the extent that the credit exceeds such liability and (iii) will increase its basis in its common shares by the amount of undistributed capital gains included in the shareholder’s income less the tax deemed paid by the shareholder under clause (ii).

Distributions paid to you by the Trust from its net capital gain, if any, that the Trust properly reports as capital gain dividends (“capital gain dividends”) are taxable as long-term capital gains, regardless of how long you have held your common shares. All other dividends paid to you by the Trust (including dividends from net short-term capital gains or tax-exempt interest, if any) from its current or accumulated earnings and profits (“ordinary income dividends”) are generally subject to tax as ordinary income. Provided that certain holding period and other requirements are met, ordinary income dividends (if properly reported by the Trust) may qualify (i) for the dividends received deduction in the case of corporate shareholders to the extent that the Trust’s income consists of dividend income from U.S. corporations, and (ii) in the case of individual shareholders, as “qualified dividend income” eligible to be taxed at long-term capital gains rates to the extent that the Trust receives qualified dividend income. Qualified dividend income is, in general, dividend income from taxable domestic corporations and certain qualified foreign corporations (e.g., generally, foreign corporations incorporated in a possession of the United States or in certain countries with a qualifying comprehensive tax treaty with the United States, or whose stock with respect to which such dividend is paid is readily tradable on an established securities market in the United States). There can be no assurance as to what portion, if any, of the Trust’s distributions will constitute qualified dividend income or be eligible for the dividends received deduction.

Any distributions you receive that are in excess of the Trust’s current and accumulated earnings and profits will be treated as a return of capital to the extent of your adjusted tax basis in your common shares, and thereafter as capital gain from the sale of common shares. The amount of any Trust distribution that is treated as a return of capital will reduce your adjusted tax basis in your common shares, thereby increasing your potential gain or reducing your potential loss on any subsequent sale or other disposition of your common shares.

Common shareholders may be entitled to offset their capital gain dividends with capital losses. The Code contains a number of statutory provisions affecting when capital losses may be offset against capital gain, and limiting the use of losses from certain investments and activities. Accordingly, common shareholders that have capital losses are urged to consult their tax advisers.

 

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Dividends and other taxable distributions are taxable to you even though they are reinvested in additional common shares of the Trust. Dividends and other distributions paid by the Trust are generally treated under the Code as received by you at the time the dividend or distribution is made. If, however, the Trust pays you a dividend in January that was declared in the previous October, November or December to common shareholders of record on a specified date in one of such months, then such dividend will be treated for U.S. federal income tax purposes as being paid by the Trust and received by you on December 31 of the year in which the dividend was declared. In addition, certain other distributions made after the close of the Trust’s taxable year may be “spilled back” and treated as paid by the Trust (except for purposes of the 4% nondeductible excise tax) during such taxable year. In such case, you will be treated as having received such dividends in the taxable year in which the distributions were actually made.

The price of common shares purchased at any time may reflect the amount of a forthcoming distribution. Those purchasing common shares just prior to the record date for a distribution will receive a distribution which will be taxable to them even though it represents, economically, a return of invested capital.

The Trust will send you information after the end of each year setting forth the amount and tax status of any distributions paid to you by the Trust.

The sale or other disposition of common shares will generally result in capital gain or loss to you and will be long-term capital gain or loss if you have held such common shares for more than one year at the time of sale. Any loss upon the sale or other disposition of common shares held for six months or less will be treated as long-term capital loss to the extent of any capital gain dividends received (including amounts credited as an undistributed capital gain dividend) by you with respect to such common shares. Any loss you recognize on a sale or other disposition of common shares will be disallowed if you acquire other common shares (whether through the automatic reinvestment of dividends or otherwise) within a 61-day period beginning 30 days before and ending 30 days after your sale or exchange of the common shares. In such case, your tax basis in the common shares acquired will be adjusted to reflect the disallowed loss.

Any sales charges paid upon a purchase of common shares cannot be taken into account for purposes of determining gain or loss on a sale of the common shares before the 91st day after their purchase to the extent a sales charge is reduced or eliminated in a subsequent acquisition of common shares of the Trust (or of another fund), during the period beginning on the date of such sale and ending on January 31 of the calendar year following the calendar year in which such sale was made, pursuant to the reinvestment or exchange privilege. Any disregarded amounts will result in an adjustment to the shareholder’s tax basis in some or all of any other shares acquired.

If the Trust conducts a tender offer for its shares, a repurchase by the Trust of a shareholder’s shares pursuant to such tender offer generally will be treated as a sale or exchange of the shares by a shareholder provided that either (i) the shareholder tenders, and the Trust repurchases, all of such shareholder’s shares, thereby reducing the shareholder’s percentage ownership of the Trust, directly and by attribution under Section 318 of the Code, to 0%, (ii) the shareholder meets numerical safe harbors under the Code with respect to percentage voting interest and reduction in ownership of the Trust following completion of the tender offer, or (iii) the tender offer otherwise results in a “meaningful reduction” of the shareholder’s ownership percentage interest in the Trust, which determination depends on a particular shareholder’s facts and circumstances.

If a tendering shareholder’s proportionate ownership of the Trust (determined after applying the ownership attribution rules under Section 318 of the Code) is not reduced to the extent required under the tests described above, such shareholder will be deemed to receive a distribution from the Trust under Section 301 of the Code with respect to the shares held (or deemed held under Section 318 of the Code) by the shareholder after the tender offer (a “Section 301 distribution”). The amount of this distribution will equal the price paid by the Trust to such shareholder for the shares sold, and will be taxable as a dividend, i.e., as ordinary income, to the extent of the Trust’s current or accumulated earnings and profits allocable to such distribution, with the excess treated as a

 

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return of capital reducing the shareholder’s tax basis in the shares held after the tender offer, and thereafter as capital gain. Any Trust shares held by a shareholder after a tender offer will be subject to basis adjustments in accordance with the provisions of the Code.

Provided that no tendering shareholder is treated as receiving a Section 301 distribution as a result of selling shares pursuant to a particular tender offer, shareholders who do not sell shares pursuant to that tender offer will not realize constructive distributions on their shares as a result of other shareholders selling shares in the tender offer. In the event that any tendering shareholder is deemed to receive a Section 301 distribution, it is possible that shareholders whose proportionate ownership of the Trust increases as a result of that tender offer, including shareholders who do not tender any shares, will be deemed to receive a constructive distribution under Section 305(c) of the Code in an amount equal to the increase in their percentage ownership of the Trust as a result of the tender offer. Such constructive distribution will be treated as a dividend to the extent of current or accumulated earnings and profits allocable to it.

Use of the Trust’s cash to repurchase shares may adversely affect the Trust’s ability to satisfy the distribution requirements for treatment as a regulated investment company described above. The Trust may also recognize income in connection with the sale of portfolio securities to fund share purchases, in which case the Trust would take any such income into account in determining whether such distribution requirements have been satisfied.

If the Trust liquidates, shareholders generally will realize capital gain or loss upon such liquidation in an amount equal to the difference between the amount of cash or other property received by the shareholder (including any property deemed received by reason of its being placed in a liquidating trust) and the shareholder’s adjusted tax basis in its shares. Any such gain or loss will be long-term if the shareholder is treated as having a holding period in Trust shares of greater than one year, and otherwise will be short-term.

The foregoing discussion does not address the tax treatment of shareholders who do not hold their shares as a capital asset. Such shareholders should consult their own tax advisors on the specific tax consequences to them of participating or not participating in the tender offer or upon liquidation of the Trust.

Current U.S. federal income tax law taxes both long-term and short-term capital gain of corporations at the rates applicable to ordinary income. For non-corporate taxpayers, short-term capital gain is currently taxed at rates applicable to ordinary income while long-term capital gain generally is taxed at a reduced maximum rate. The deductibility of capital losses is subject to limitations under the Code.

Certain U.S. holders who are individuals, estates or trusts and whose income exceeds certain thresholds will be required to pay a 3.8% Medicare tax on all or a portion of their “net investment income,” which includes dividends received from the Trust and capital gains from the sale or other disposition of the Trust’s common shares.

A common shareholder that is a nonresident alien individual or a foreign corporation (a “foreign investor”) generally will be subject to U.S. federal withholding tax at the rate of 30% (or possibly a lower rate provided by an applicable tax treaty) on ordinary income dividends (except as discussed below). In general, U.S. federal withholding tax and U.S. federal income tax will not apply to any gain or income realized by a foreign investor in respect of any distribution of net capital gain (including amounts credited as an undistributed capital gain dividend) or upon the sale or other disposition of common shares of the Trust. Different tax consequences may result if the foreign investor is engaged in a trade or business in the United States or, in the case of an individual, is present in the United States for 183 days or more during a taxable year and certain other conditions are met. Foreign investors should consult their tax advisers regarding the tax consequences of investing in the Trust’s common shares.

Ordinary income dividends properly reported by the RIC are generally exempt from U.S. federal withholding tax where they (i) are paid in respect of the RIC’s “qualified net interest income” (generally, its

 

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U.S.-source interest income, other than certain contingent interest and interest from obligations of a corporation or partnership in which the RIC is at least a 10% shareholder, reduced by expenses that are allocable to such income) or (ii) are paid in respect of the RIC’s “qualified short-term capital gains” (generally, the excess of the RIC’s net short-term capital gain over its long-term capital loss for such taxable year). Depending on its circumstances, the Trust may report all, some or none of its potentially eligible dividends as such qualified net interest income or as qualified short-term capital gains, and/or treat such dividends, in whole or in part, as ineligible for this exemption from withholding. In order to qualify for this exemption from withholding, a foreign investor needs to comply with applicable certification requirements relating to its non-U.S. status (including, in general, furnishing an IRS Form W-8BEN, W-8BEN-E, or substitute Form). In the case of common shares held through an intermediary, the intermediary may have withheld even if the Trust reported the payment as qualified net interest income or qualified short-term capital gain. Foreign investors should contact their intermediaries with respect to the application of these rules to their accounts. There can be no assurance as to what portion of the Trust’s distributions would qualify for favorable treatment as qualified net interest income or qualified short-term capital gains.

In addition withholding at a rate of 30% will apply to dividends paid in respect of common shares of the Trust held by or through certain foreign financial institutions (including investment funds), unless such institution enters into an agreement with the Treasury to report, on an annual basis, information with respect to shares in, and accounts maintained by, the institution to the extent such shares or accounts are held by certain U.S. persons and by certain non-U.S. entities that are wholly or partially owned by U.S. persons and to withhold on certain payments. Accordingly, the entity through which common shares of the Trust are held will affect the determination of whether such withholding is required. Similarly, dividends paid in respect of common shares of the Trust held by an investor that is a non-financial foreign entity that does not qualify under certain exemptions will be subject to withholding at a rate of 30%, unless such entity either (i) certifies that such entity does not have any “substantial United States owners” or (ii) provides certain information regarding the entity’s “substantial United States owners,” which the applicable withholding agent will in turn provide to the Secretary of the Treasury. An intergovernmental agreement between the United States and an applicable foreign country, or future Treasury regulations or other guidance, may modify these requirements. The Trust will not pay any additional amounts to common shareholders in respect of any amounts withheld. Foreign investors are encouraged to consult with their tax advisers regarding the possible implications of these rules on their investment in the Trust’s common shares.

U.S. federal backup withholding tax may be required on dividends, distributions and sale proceeds payable to certain non-exempt common shareholders who fail to supply their correct taxpayer identification number (in the case of individuals, generally, their social security number) or to make required certifications, or who are otherwise subject to backup withholding. Backup withholding is not an additional tax and any amount withheld may be refunded or credited against your U.S. federal income tax liability, if any, provided that you timely furnish the required information to the IRS.

Ordinary income dividends, capital gain dividends, and gain from the sale or other disposition of common shares of the Trust also may be subject to state, local, and/or foreign taxes. Common shareholders are urged to consult their own tax advisers regarding specific questions about U.S. federal, state, local or foreign tax consequences to them of investing in the Trust.

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The foregoing is a general and abbreviated summary of certain provisions of the Code and the Treasury Regulations presently in effect as they directly govern the taxation of the Trust and its shareholders. For complete provisions, reference should be made to the pertinent Code sections and Treasury Regulations. The Code and the Treasury Regulations are subject to change by legislative or administrative action, and any such change may be retroactive with respect to Trust transactions. Holders of common shares are advised to consult their own tax advisers for more detailed information concerning the U.S. federal income taxation of the Trust and the income tax consequences to its holders of common shares.

 

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CUSTODIAN AND TRANSFER AGENT

The custodian of the assets of the Trust is State Street Bank and Trust Company, whose principal business address is One Lincoln Street, Boston, Massachusetts 02111. The custodian will be responsible for, among other things, receipt of and disbursement of funds from the Trust’s accounts, establishment of segregated accounts as necessary, and transfer, exchange and delivery of Trust portfolio securities.

Computershare Trust Company, N.A., whose principal business address is 150 Royall Street, Canton, Massachusetts 02021, will serve as the Trust’s transfer agent with respect to the common shares.

INDEPENDENT REGISTERED PUBLIC ACCOUNTING FIRM

Deloitte & Touche LLP, whose principal business address is 200 Berkeley Street, Boston, MA 02116, is the independent registered public accounting firm of the Trust and is expected to render an opinion annually on the financial statements of the Trust.

CONTROL PERSONS AND PRINCIPAL HOLDERS OF SECURITIES

A control person is a person who beneficially owns, either directly or indirectly, more than 25% of the voting securities of a company. As of February 28, 2022, the Trust did not know of any person or entity who “controlled” the Trust. As of February 28, 2022, to the knowledge of the Trust, no person owned of record or beneficially 5% or more of the outstanding common shares of any class of the Trust.

INCORPORATION BY REFERENCE

This SAI is part of a registration statement that we have filed with the SEC. We are allowed to “incorporate by reference” the information that we file with the SEC, which means that we can disclose important information to you by referring you to those documents. We incorporate by reference into this SAI the documents listed below and any future filings we make with the SEC under Sections 13(a), 13(c), 14 or 15(d) of the Exchange Act, including any filings on or after the date of this SAI from the date of filing (excluding any information furnished, rather than filed), until we have sold all of the offered securities to which this SAI, the Prospectus and any accompanying prospectus supplement relates or the offering is otherwise terminated. The information incorporated by reference is an important part of this SAI. Any statement in a document incorporated by reference into this SAI will be deemed to be automatically modified or superseded to the extent a statement contained in (1) this SAI or (2) any other subsequently filed document that is incorporated by reference into this SAI modifies or supersedes such statement. The documents incorporated by reference herein include:

 

   

The Trust’s Prospectus, dated March 4, 2022, filed with this SAI;

 

   

our  annual report on Form N-CSR for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2021 filed with the SEC on March 2, 2022;