485APOS 1 bef-485apos_030119.htm POST-EFFECTIVE AMENDMENT
 

 

AS FILED WITH THE SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION ON MARCH 1, 2019

 

No. 333-198170

No. 811-22986

 

 

 

UNITED STATES

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

WASHINGTON, D.C. 20549

 

 

 

FORM N-1A

  REGISTRATION STATEMENT
  UNDER THE SECURITIES ACT OF 1933  
  Pre-Effective Amendment No.

  Post-Effective Amendment No. 15

 

  and/or  
  REGISTRATION STATEMENT UNDER THE INVESTMENT COMPANY ACT OF 1940

  Amendment No. 17

(Check appropriate box or boxes)

 

 

 

Aberdeen Standard Investments ETFs

(Exact Name of Registrant as Specified in Charter)

 

1735 Market St, 32nd Floor

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19103

(Address of Principal Executive Office, Zip Code)

 

212-446-2020

(Registrant’s Telephone Number, including Area Code)

 

The Corporation Trust Company

1209 Orange Street

Wilmington, Delaware 19081

(Name and Address of Agent for Service)

 

Copies to:

Adam Rezak   W. John McGuire
Aberdeen Standard Investments ETFs Advisors LLC   Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP
712 Fifth Avenue   1111 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
New York, New York 10019   Washington, D.C. 20004
     

 

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

  immediately upon filing pursuant to paragraph (b)
  on (date) pursuant to paragraph (b)
  60 days after filing pursuant to paragraph (a)(1)
  on April 30, 2019 pursuant to paragraph (a)(1)
  75 days after filing pursuant to paragraph (a)(2)
  on (date) pursuant to paragraph (a)(2) of Rule 485.

 

If appropriate, check the following box:

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

 

 

 

 

Prospectus 

May 1, 2019

 

(ABERDEEN STANDARD INVESTMENTS LOGO)

 

Aberdeen Standard Investments ETFs

(formerly, ETFS Trust)

 

Aberdeen Standard Bloomberg All Commodity Strategy K-1 Free ETF (BCI)

(formerly, ETFS Bloomberg All Commodity Strategy K-1 Free ETF)

 

Aberdeen Standard Bloomberg All Commodity Longer Dated Strategy K-1 Free ETF (BCD)

(formerly, ETFS Bloomberg All Commodity Longer Dated Strategy K-1 Free ETF)

 

Aberdeen Standard Bloomberg Agriculture Commodity Strategy K-1 Free ETF (AGRI)

(formerly, ETFS Bloomberg Agriculture Commodity Strategy K-1 Free ETF)

 

Aberdeen Standard Bloomberg Energy Commodity Strategy K-1 Free ETF (BEI)

(formerly, ETFS Bloomberg Energy Commodity Strategy K-1 Free ETF)

 

Aberdeen Standard Bloomberg WTI Crude Oil Strategy K-1 Free ETF (AOIL)

(formerly, ETFS Bloomberg Energy Commodity Longer Dated Strategy K-1 Free ETF) (BEF)

 

Principal U.S. Listing Exchange: NYSE Arca

 

THE U.S. SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION (“SEC”) AND THE COMMODITY FUTURES TRADING COMMISSION HAVE NOT APPROVED OR DISAPPROVED THESE SECURITIES OR PASSED UPON THE ADEQUACY OF THIS PROSPECTUS. ANY REPRESENTATION TO THE CONTRARY IS A CRIMINAL OFFENSE.

 

Beginning on May 1, 2021, as permitted by regulations adopted by the SEC, paper copies of the Funds’ annual and semi-annual shareholder reports will no longer be sent by mail, unless you specifically request paper copies of the reports. Instead, annual and semi-annual shareholder reports will be available on the Funds’ website (www.aberdeenstandardetfs.us), and you will be notified by mail each time a report is posted and provided with a website link to access the report.

 

If you already elected to receive shareholder reports electronically, you will not be affected by this change and you need not take any action. You may elect to receive shareholder reports and other communications from a Fund electronically anytime by contacting your financial intermediary (such as a broker-dealer or bank).

 

You may elect to receive all future reports in paper free of charge. Please contact your financial intermediary to request to continue receiving paper copies of your shareholder reports. Your election to receive reports in paper will apply to all funds held in your account.

 

 

 

 

Aberdeen Standard Investments ETFs

 

Table of Contents

 

Summary    
     
Aberdeen Standard Bloomberg All Commodity Strategy K-1 Free ETF   2
Aberdeen Standard Bloomberg All Commodity Longer Dated Strategy K-1 Free ETF   8
Aberdeen Standard Bloomberg Agriculture Commodity Strategy K-1 Free ETF   13
Aberdeen Standard Bloomberg Energy Commodity Strategy K-1 Free ETF   18
Aberdeen Standard Bloomberg WTI Crude Oil Strategy K-1 Free ETF   23
Additional Information about the Funds   29
Additional Principal Risk Information About the Funds   31
Portfolio Holdings   36
Management of the Funds   36
Additional Information on Buying and Selling Fund Shares   37
Share Trading Prices   38
Determination of Net Asset Value   38
Dividends and Distributions   38
Book Entry   38
Delivery of Shareholder Documents – Householding   39
Frequent Purchases and Redemptions of Fund Shares   39
Investments by Registered Investment Companies   39
Additional Tax Information   39
Distribution   41
Premium/Discount and NAV Information   41
Additional Notices   42
Financial Highlights   44

 

2 

 

 

Aberdeen Standard Bloomberg All Commodity Strategy K-1 Free ETF

 

Investment Objective

 

The Aberdeen Standard Bloomberg All Commodity Strategy K-1 Free ETF (the “Fund”) seeks to provide total return through actively managed exposure to the Bloomberg Commodity Index Total ReturnSM (the “Index”).

 

Fees and Expenses of the Fund

 

The following table describes the fees and expenses you may pay if you buy and hold shares of the Fund (“Shares”). Investors purchasing and selling shares may be subject to costs (including brokerage commissions) charged by their broker, which are not reflected in the table and example below.

 

Annual Fund Operating Expenses

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

   
Management Fees(1),(2) 0.25%
Distribution and Service (12b-1) Fees 0.00%
Other Expenses 0.00%
Total Annual Fund Operating Expenses(2) 0.25%

 

(1) Aberdeen Standard Investments ETFs Advisors LLC (the “Advisor”) has contractually agreed to waive the management fees that it receives from the Fund in an amount equal to the management fee paid to the Advisor by the Subsidiary, as defined below. This undertaking will continue in effect for so long as the Fund invests in the Subsidiary and may be terminated only with the approval of the Fund’s Board of Trustees. The management fee figure in the table above represents the total amount of fees payable to the Advisor by the Fund and the Subsidiary.

 

(2) Management Fees and Total Annual Fund Operating Expenses in the table have been restated to reflect a reduction in the Fund’s management fee from 0.29% to 0.25% per annum of the Fund’s average daily net assets, effective December 13, 2018.

 

Example

 

The following example is intended to help you compare the cost of investing in the Fund with the cost of investing in other funds. This example does not include brokerage commissions that investors may pay to buy and sell shares of the Fund in the secondary market.

 

The example assumes that you invest $10,000 in the Fund for the time periods indicated and then sell all of your Shares at the end of those periods. The example also assumes that your investment has a 5% return each year and that the Fund’s operating expenses remain the same each year. Although your actual costs and returns may be higher or lower, based on these assumptions your costs would be:

 

1 Year    3 Years    5 Years    10 Years  
$ [26]   $ [80]   $ [141]   $ [318]

 

Portfolio Turnover

 

The Fund pays transaction costs, such as commissions, when it buys and sells securities (or “turns over” its portfolio). A higher portfolio turnover rate may cause the Fund to incur higher transaction costs and may result in higher taxes when Shares are held in a taxable account. These costs, which are not reflected in Annual Fund Operating Expenses or the example, may affect the Fund’s performance. During the most recent fiscal year, the Fund’s portfolio turnover rate was [ ]% of the average value of its portfolio.

 

Principal Investment Strategies

The Fund is an actively managed exchange traded fund (“ETF”) that is not required to track the Index or invest in all of the Index’s components. The Fund is not an index tracking exchange-traded fund and is not required to invest in all components of the Index. However, the Fund will generally seek to hold similar interests to those included in the Index and will seek exposure to many of the commodities included in the Index under the same futures rolling schedule as the Index. The Fund will also hold short-term fixed-income securities, which may be used as collateral for the Fund’s commodities futures holdings or to generate interest income and capital appreciation on the cash balances arising from its use of futures contracts (thereby providing a “total return” investment in the underlying commodities).

 

Under normal market conditions, the Fund intends to achieve its investment objective by investing in exchange-traded commodity futures contracts through a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Fund organized under the laws of the Cayman Islands (the “Subsidiary”). As a means to provide investment returns that are highly correlated to those of the Index, the Subsidiary may also invest directly in commodity-linked instruments, including pooled investment vehicles (such as exchange-traded funds and other investment companies), swaps and exchange-traded options on futures contracts, to the extent permitted under the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended (the “1940 Act”) and any applicable exemptive relief (collectively, “Commodities-Related Assets” and, together with exchange-traded commodities futures contracts, “Commodities Instruments”). The Fund may invest up to 25% of its total assets in the Subsidiary.

 

3 

 

 

The remainder of the Fund’s assets that are not invested in the Subsidiary (i.e., at least 75% of the Fund’s total assets) will principally be invested in: (1) short-term investment grade fixed-income securities that include U.S. government securities and money market instruments; and (2) cash and other cash equivalents. The Fund will exercise its discretion to use such instruments to most efficiently utilize the cash balances arising from the use of futures contracts and generate a total return for investors.

 

The Fund will not invest directly in commodity futures contracts but, instead, expects to gain exposure to these investments exclusively by investing in the Subsidiary. The Fund’s investment in the Subsidiary is intended to enable the Fund to gain exposure to relevant commodity markets within the limits of current federal income tax laws applicable to investment companies such as the Fund, which limit the ability of investment companies to invest directly in commodity futures contracts. The Subsidiary and the Fund have the same investment objective. However, the Subsidiary may invest without limitation in the Commodities Instruments. Except as otherwise noted, for the purposes of this Prospectus, references to the Fund’s investments include the Fund’s indirect investments through the Subsidiary.

 

The Advisor and Sub-Advisor will use their discretion to determine the percentage of the Fund’s assets allocated to the Commodities Instruments held by the Subsidiary that will be invested in exchange-traded commodity futures contracts or Commodities-Related Assets. In this regard, under normal market conditions, the Subsidiary is expected to invest in futures contracts in proportional weights and allocations that are similar to the Index. The Fund does not seek leveraged returns. However, the Fund’s use of instruments to collateralize the Subsidiary’s investments in Commodity Instruments has a leveraging effect and is designed to provide a total return, outperforming the investment performance of the Index.

 

The Index is a widely followed commodity index which is calculated and published by Bloomberg L.P. and/or Bloomberg Finance L.P. and/or an affiliate of them (together, “Bloomberg”). The Index has been published since 1998 with simulated historical performance calculated back to 1991 and tracks movements in the price of a rolling position in a basket of commodity futures with a maturity between 1 and 3 months.

 

At present, there are 27 commodity futures eligible for inclusion in the Index but five of those commodities (cocoa, lead, platinum, tin, and low sulphur gas oil) are currently not included in the Index. With the exception of certain metals contracts (aluminum, lead, tin, nickel and zinc) that trade on the London Metals Exchange (“LME”) and the contracts for Brent crude oil and low sulphur gas oil, each of the Commodities is the subject of at least one futures contract that trades on a U.S. exchange. The Index uses a consistent, systematic process to represent the commodity markets using both liquidity data and U.S. dollar-weighted production data in determining the weightings of included commodities. Liquidity data is the relative amount of trading activity for a particular commodity and U.S. dollar-weighted production data takes the figures for production in the overall commodities market for all commodities in the Index and weights them in the Index in the same proportion in U.S. dollar terms. The value of the Index is computed on the basis of hypothetical investments in the basket of commodities that make up the Index.

 

The Index is rebalanced annually starting on the fifth business day of January.

 

The Fund is classified as “non-diversified” under the 1940 Act.

 

Summary of Principal Risks of Investing in the Fund

 

Active Fund Management. The Fund is an ETF that seeks to provide total return through actively managed exposure to the Index. The Fund actively manages commodity and commodity-linked futures and other financial instruments and is not designed to track the Index. The Advisor and Sub-Advisor will determine the investments of the Fund and the Subsidiary on a discretionary basis, but there can be no guarantee that the Fund will meet its investment objective.

 

Authorized Participants. The Fund has entered into Authorized Participant Agreements with only a limited number of institutions. Should these Authorized Participants cease to act as such or, for any reason, be unable to create or redeem Shares of the Fund and new Authorized Participants are not appointed in their place, Shares of the Fund may trade at a discount to the Fund’s net asset value and possibly face delisting.

 

Cash Redemption Risk. The Fund expects to effect its creations and redemptions primarily for cash due to the nature of its investments. Paying redemption proceeds in cash rather than through in-kind delivery of portfolio securities may require the Fund to dispose of or sell portfolio investments to obtain the cash needed to distribute redemption proceeds at an inopportune time. This may cause the Fund to recognize investment income and/or capital gain that it might not have recognized if it had made a redemption in-kind. As a result, the Fund may be less tax efficient and may have to pay out higher annual distributions than if the in-kind redemption process was used.

 

4 

 

 

Commodity Pool Regulatory Risk. The Fund is deemed to be a commodity pool due to its investment exposure to commodity futures contracts and is subject to regulation under the Commodity Exchange Act (“CEA”) and Commodity Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC”) rules as well as the regulatory scheme applicable to registered investment companies. The Advisor is registered as a commodity pool operator (“CPO”) and the Sub-Advisor is registered as a commodity trading advisor (“CTA”). Registration as a CPO and CTA imposes additional compliance obligations on the Advisor, the Sub-Advisor, and the Fund related to additional laws, regulations, and enforcement policies, which could increase compliance costs and may affect the operations and financial performance of the Fund. These requirements are also subject to change at any time.

 

Commodity Price Risk. The NAV of the Fund will be affected by movements in commodity prices generally and by the way in which those prices and other factors affect the prices of the commodity futures contracts. Commodity prices generally may fluctuate widely and may be affected by numerous factors.

 

Cybersecurity Risk. Cybersecurity incidents may allow an unauthorized party to gain access to Fund assets, customer data (including private shareholder information), or proprietary information, or cause the Fund, the Advisor and/or its service providers (including, but not limited to, Fund accountants, custodians, sub-custodians, transfer agents and financial intermediaries) to suffer data breaches, data corruption or lose operational functionality.

 

Fixed-Income Securities and Money Market Instruments. A decline in an issuer’s credit rating or a rise in interest rates could cause the value of a fixed-income security or money market instrument to decrease. Interest rate risk is generally lower for shorter-term investments and higher for longer-term investments. The Fund may be subject to a heightened risk of rising interest rates due to the current historically low interest rate environment and the likely impact on market conditions of any potential government fiscal policy initiatives that respond to these low rates. In addition, the Fund’s income may decline due to falling interest rates or other factors.

 

Futures, Options and Options on Futures Contracts. Through its holdings of derivative instruments including futures, options and options on futures contracts, the Fund may be exposed to (i) losses from margin deposits in the case of bankruptcy of the relevant broker, and (ii) a risk that the relevant position cannot be closed out when required at its fundamental value.

 

Investment Company Securities. Through its holdings of securities of other investment companies, including exchange-traded funds, the Fund will bear a proportionate share of the fees and expenses paid by such other investment company, including advisory and administrative fees.

 

Investment Risk. An investor may lose the value of their entire investment or part of their investment in Shares.

 

Leverage Risk. To the extent the Fund is exposed directly or indirectly to leverage (through investments in commodities futures contracts) the value of the Fund may be more volatile than if no leverage were present.

 

Liquidity. Generally, only Authorized Participants may redeem Fund Shares. Investors other than Authorized Participants wishing to realize their Fund Shares will generally need to rely on secondary trading in the public trading market. There can be no assurance as to the price at which, or volume in which, it may at any time be possible to realize Fund Shares in the public trading market. Although the Fund Shares are listed for trading on NYSE Arca, there can be no assurance that an active trading market for such shares will develop or be maintained.

 

Market Risk. The prices of the assets in which the Fund invests may decline for a number of reasons, including in response to economic developments and perceptions about the creditworthiness of individual issuers.

 

Non-Diversification Risk. As a “non-diversified” fund, the Fund may hold a smaller number of portfolio securities than many other funds. To the extent the Fund invests in a relatively small number of issuers, a decline in the market value of a particular security held by the Fund may affect its value more than if it invested in a larger number of issuers. The value of Shares may be more volatile than the values of shares of more diversified funds.

 

Roll Yield. During situations where the cost of any futures contracts for delivery on dates further in the future is higher than those for delivery closer in time, the value of the Fund holding such contracts will decrease over time unless the spot price of that contract increases by the same rate as the rate of the variation in the price of the futures contract. The rate of variation could be quite significant and last for an indeterminate period of time, reducing the value of the Fund.

 

Shares of the Fund May Trade at Prices Other than NAV. Although it is expected that the market price of the Shares of the Fund will approximate the Fund’s NAV when purchased and sold in the secondary market, the Fund faces numerous market trading risks, including the potential lack of an active market for Fund Shares, disruptions in the securities markets in which the Fund invests, periods of high market volatility and disruptions in the creation/redemption process. Any of these may lead to times when the market price of the Shares is more than the NAV intra-day (premium) or less than the NAV intra-day (discount).

 

Subsidiary Investment Risk. Changes in the laws of the United States and/or the Cayman Islands, under which the Fund and the Subsidiary are organized, respectively, could result in the inability of the Subsidiary to operate as intended and could negatively affect the Fund and its shareholders.

 

5 

 

 

Swap Agreements. Swaps can involve greater risks than a direct investment in an underlying asset and these may increase or decrease the overall volatility of the Fund’s investment and its share price. As with other transactions, the Fund will bear the risk that the counterparty will default, which could cause losses to the Fund.

 

Tax Risk. In order to qualify for the favorable U.S. federal income tax treatment accorded to a regulated investment company (“RIC”) under Subchapter M of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the “Code”), the Fund must derive at least 90% of its gross income in each taxable year from certain categories of income (“qualifying income”) and must satisfy certain asset diversification requirements. Certain of the Fund’s investments will not generate income that is qualifying income. The Fund intends to hold such commodity-related investments indirectly, through the Subsidiary. In September 2016, the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) issued proposed regulations that would generally require the Subsidiary to distribute its income each year in order for the Fund to treat that income as “qualifying income”. The Fund has secured an opinion of counsel based on customary representations that actual distributions made to the Fund should be treated as “qualifying income”, which is consistent with the proposed IRS regulations. Accordingly, to the extent the Subsidiary makes distribution out of its earnings and profits, the Fund expects such distributions to be treated as qualifying income. The Advisor or Sub-Advisor will carefully monitor the Fund’s investments in the Subsidiary to ensure that no more than 25% of the Fund’s assets are invested in the Subsidiary to ensure compliance with the Fund’s asset diversification test as described in more detail in the SAI. To the extent the Fund makes direct investments in commodity-linked derivative instruments, it will seek to restrict the resulting income from such instruments so that, when combined with its other non-qualifying income, the Fund’s non-qualifying income is less than 10% of its gross income.

 

Fund Performance

 

The bar chart and table that follow show how the Fund has performed on a calendar year basis and provides some indication of the risks of investing in the Fund by showing the variability of the Fund’s return based on net assets and comparing the Fund’s performance to the Index, which is a broad measure of market performance, as well as the Fund’s previous benchmark index, which reflects the excess return, not the total return, of the Index. The Fund changed its investment objective as well as its benchmark Index on [May 1], 2019 in order to provide better comparative performance information in light of the Fund’s total return objective. Past performance (before and after taxes) does not necessarily indicate how the Fund will perform in the future. Updated performance information will be available at www.aberdeenstandardetfs.us.

 

Annual Returns as of December 31

[BAR CHART TO BE INSERTED BY FINANCIAL PRINTER]

2018 [   ]%

 

For the period shown in the bar chart above:

 

Best Quarter [                      ] [     ]%
Worst Quarter [                      ] [     ]%

  

Average Annual Total Returns
(for the periods ended December 31, 2018)
  One Year     Since Inception
of Fund
      Inception Date
of Fund
 
Before Taxes   [  ] %   [  ] %     March 30, 2017  
After Taxes on Distributions   [  ]  %   [  ]  %    
After Taxes on Distributions and Sale of Shares   [  ]  %   [  ]  %    
Bloomberg Commodity Index Total ReturnSM (reflects no deduction for fees, expenses or taxes)   [  ]  %   [  ]  %    
Bloomberg Commodity IndexSM *(reflects no deduction for fees, expenses or taxes)   [  ]  %   [  ]  %    

 

* This index, the Fund’s previous benchmark index, shows the “excess return” of the Index, meaning that it reflects the performance of the Index minus the returns on cash collateral invested in U.S. Treasury Bills.

 

Average annual total returns are shown on a before- and after-tax basis for the Fund. After-tax returns are calculated using the historical highest individual federal marginal income tax rates and do not reflect the impact of state and local taxes. Actual after-tax returns depend on an investor’s tax situation and may differ from those shown. After-tax returns shown are not relevant to investors who hold shares through tax-deferred arrangements, such as 401(k) plans or individual retirement accounts (“IRAs”). After-tax returns may exceed the return before taxes due to an assumed tax benefit from realizing a capital loss on a sale of shares.

 

6 

 

 

Management

 

Investment Advisor and Sub-Advisor

 

Aberdeen Standard Investments ETFs Advisors LLC serves as the investment advisor to the Fund and the Subsidiary.

 

Vident Investment Advisory, LLC serves as the sub-advisor to the Fund and the Subsidiary.

 

Portfolio Managers

 

Employee   Length of Service   Title
Denise M. Krisko, CFA   Since inception   Co-Portfolio Manager
Austin Wen, CFA   Since October 2018   Co-Portfolio Manager

 

Buying and Selling Fund Shares

 

The Fund is an ETF, which means that its Shares are listed on a national securities exchange, such as the NYSE Arca, and trade at market prices. Most investors will buy and sell Shares of the Fund through brokers. Because Fund Shares trade on such exchanges at market prices rather than NAV, shares may trade at a price greater than NAV (premium) or less than NAV (discount). The Fund issues and redeems shares (at NAV) only in large blocks of shares (“Creation Units”), which only certain institutions or large investors (typically market makers or other broker-dealers) may purchase or redeem. Currently, Creation Units generally consist of 50,000 shares, though this may change from time to time. Creation Units are not expected to consist of less than 25,000 shares. The Fund generally issues and redeems Creation Units in exchange for a designated amount of U.S. cash, a portfolio of securities closely approximating the holdings of the Fund or a combination of the two.

 

Tax Information

 

The Fund intends to make distributions that may be taxed as ordinary income or capital gains.

 

Payments to Broker-Dealers and Other Financial Intermediaries

 

If you purchase shares of the Fund through a broker-dealer or other financial intermediary (such as a bank) (an “Intermediary”), the Advisor or its affiliates may pay Intermediaries for certain activities related to the Fund, including participation in activities that are designed to make Intermediaries more knowledgeable about exchange-traded products, including the Fund, or for other activities, such as marketing, educational training or other initiatives related to the sale or promotion of Fund Shares. These payments may create a conflict of interest by influencing the Intermediary and your salesperson to recommend the Fund over another investment. Any such arrangements do not result in increased Fund expenses. Ask your salesperson or visit the Intermediary’s website for more information.

 

7 

 

 

Aberdeen Standard Bloomberg All Commodity Longer Dated Strategy K-1 Free ETF

 

Investment Objective

 

The Aberdeen Standard Bloomberg All Commodity Longer Dated Strategy K-1 Free ETF (the “Fund”) seeks to provide total return through actively managed exposure to the Bloomberg Commodity Index 3 Month Forward Total ReturnSM (the “Index”).

 

Fees and Expenses of the Fund

 

The following table describes the fees and expenses you may pay if you buy and hold shares of the Fund (“Shares”). Investors purchasing and selling shares may be subject to costs (including brokerage commissions) charged by their broker, which are not reflected in the table and example below.

 

 

Annual Fund Operating Expenses

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

   
Management Fees(1) 0.29%
Distribution and Service (12b-1) Fees 0.00%
Other Expenses 0.00%
Total Annual Fund Operating Expenses 0.29%

 

(1) Aberdeen Standard Investments ETFs Advisors LLC (the “Advisor”) has contractually agreed to waive the management fees that it receives from the Fund in an amount equal to the management fee paid to the Advisor by the Subsidiary, as defined below. This undertaking will continue in effect for so long as the Fund invests in the Subsidiary and may be terminated only with the approval of the Fund’s Board of Trustees. The management fee figure in the table above represents the total amount of fees payable to the Advisor by the Fund and the Subsidiary.

  

Example

 

The following example is intended to help you compare the cost of investing in the Fund with the cost of investing in other funds. This example does not include brokerage commissions that investors may pay to buy and sell shares of the Fund in the secondary market.

 

The example assumes that you invest $10,000 in the Fund for the time periods indicated and then sell all of your Shares at the end of those periods. The example also assumes that your investment has a 5% return each year and that the Fund’s operating expenses remain the same each year. Although your actual costs and returns may be higher or lower, based on these assumptions your costs would be:

 

1 Year    3 Years    5 Years    10 Years  
$ [30]     $ [93]     $ [163]     $ [368]  

 

Portfolio Turnover

 

The Fund pays transaction costs, such as commissions, when it buys and sells securities (or “turns over” its portfolio). A higher portfolio turnover rate may cause the Fund to incur higher transaction costs and may result in higher taxes when Shares are held in a taxable account. These costs, which are not reflected in Annual Fund Operating Expenses or the example above, may affect the Fund’s performance. During the most recent fiscal year, the Fund’s portfolio turnover rate was [ ]% of the average value of its portfolio.

 

Principal Investment Strategies

 

The Fund is an actively managed exchange traded fund (“ETF”) that is not required to track the Index or invest in all of the Index’s components. However, the Fund will generally seek to hold similar interests to those included in the Index and will seek exposure to many of the commodities included in the Index under the same futures rolling schedule as the Index. The Fund will also hold short-term fixed-income securities, which may be used as collateral for the Fund’s commodities futures holdings or to generate interest income and capital appreciation on the cash balances arising from its use of futures contracts (thereby providing a “total return” investment in the underlying commodities).

 

Under normal market conditions, the Fund intends to invest in exchange-traded commodity futures contracts through a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Fund organized under the laws of the Cayman Islands (the “Subsidiary”). As a means to provide investment returns that are highly correlated to those of the Index, the Subsidiary may also invest directly in commodity-linked instruments, including pooled investment vehicles (such as exchange-traded funds and other investment companies), swaps and exchange-traded options on futures contracts, to the extent permitted under the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended (the “1940 Act”) and any applicable exemptive relief (collectively, “Commodities-Related Assets” and, together with exchange-traded commodities futures contracts, “Commodities Instruments”). The Fund may invest up to 25% of its total assets in the Subsidiary.

 

8 

 

 

The remainder of the Fund’s assets that are not invested in the Subsidiary (i.e., at least 75% of the Fund’s total assets) will principally be invested in: (1) short-term investment grade fixed-income securities that include U.S. government securities and money market instruments; and (2) cash and other cash equivalents. The Fund will exercise its discretion to use such instruments to most efficiently utilize the cash balances arising from the use of futures contracts and generate a total return for investors.

 

The Fund will not invest directly in commodity futures contracts but, instead, expects to gain exposure to these investments exclusively by investing in the Subsidiary. The Fund’s investment in the Subsidiary is intended to enable the Fund to gain exposure to relevant commodity markets within the limits of current federal income tax laws applicable to investment companies such as the Fund, which limit the ability of investment companies to invest directly in commodity futures contracts. The Subsidiary and the Fund have the same investment objective. However, the Subsidiary may invest without limitation in the Commodities Instruments. Except as otherwise noted, for the purposes of this Prospectus, references to the Fund’s investments include the Fund’s indirect investments through the Subsidiary.

 

The Advisor and Sub-Advisor will use their discretion to determine the percentage of the Fund’s assets allocated to the Commodities Instruments held by the Subsidiary that will be invested in exchange-traded commodity futures contracts or Commodities-Related Assets. In this regard, under normal market conditions, the Subsidiary is expected to invest in futures contracts in proportional weights and allocations that are similar to the Index. The Fund does not seek leveraged returns. However, the Fund’s use of instruments to collateralize the Subsidiary’s investments in Commodity Instruments has a leveraging effect and is designed to provide a total return, outperforming the investment performance of the Index.

 

The Index is a widely followed commodity index which is calculated and published by Bloomberg L.P. and/or Bloomberg Finance L.P. and/or an affiliate of them (together, “Bloomberg”). The Index has been published since 1998 with simulated historical performance calculated back to 1991 and tracks movements in the price of a rolling position in a basket of commodity futures with a maturity between 4 and 6 months.

 

At present, there are 27 commodity futures eligible for inclusion in the Index but five of those commodities (cocoa, lead, platinum, tin, and low sulphur gas oil) are currently not included in the Index. With the exception of certain metals contracts (aluminum, lead, tin, nickel and zinc) that trade on the London Metals Exchange (“LME”) and the contract for Brent crude oil and low sulphur gas oil, each of the Commodities is the subject of at least one futures contract that trades on a U.S. exchange. The Index uses a consistent, systematic process to represent the commodity markets using both liquidity data and U.S. dollar-weighted production data in determining the weightings of included commodities. Liquidity data is the relative amount of trading activity for a particular commodity and U.S. dollar-weighted production data takes the figures for production in the overall commodities market for all commodities in the Index and weights them in the Index in the same proportion in U.S. dollar terms. The value of the Index is computed on the basis of hypothetical investments in the basket of commodities that make up the Index.

 

The Index is rebalanced annually starting on the fifth business day of January.

 

The Fund is classified as “non-diversified” under the 1940 Act.

 

Summary of Principal Risks of Investing in the Fund

 

Active Fund Management. The Fund is an ETF that seeks to provide total return through actively managed exposure to the Index. The Fund actively manages commodity and commodity-linked futures and other financial instruments and is not designed to track the Index. The Advisor and Sub-Advisor will determine the investments of the Fund and the Subsidiary on a discretionary basis, but there can be no guarantee that the Fund will meet its investment objective.

 

Authorized Participants. The Fund has entered into Authorized Participant Agreements with only a limited number of institutions. Should these Authorized Participants cease to act as such or, for any reason, be unable to create or redeem Shares of the Fund and new Authorized Participants are not appointed in their place, Shares of the Fund may trade at a discount to the Fund’s net asset value and possibly face delisting.

 

Cash Redemption Risk. The Fund expects to effect its creations and redemptions primarily for cash due to the nature of its investments. Paying redemption proceeds in cash rather than through in-kind delivery of portfolio securities may require the Fund to dispose of or sell portfolio investments to obtain the cash needed to distribute redemption proceeds at an inopportune time. This may cause the Fund to recognize investment income and/or capital gain that it might not have recognized if it had made a redemption in-kind. As a result, the Fund may be less tax efficient and may have to pay out higher annual distributions than if the in-kind redemption process was used.

 

Commodity Pool Regulatory Risk. The Fund is deemed to be a commodity pool due to its investment exposure to commodity futures contracts and is subject to regulation under the Commodity Exchange Act (“CEA”) and Commodity Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC”) rules as well as the regulatory scheme applicable to registered investment companies. The Advisor is registered as a commodity pool operator (“CPO”) and the Sub-Advisor is registered as a commodity trading advisor (“CTA”). Registration as a CPO and CTA imposes additional compliance obligations on the Advisor, the Sub-Advisor, and the Fund related to additional laws, regulations, and enforcement policies, which could increase compliance costs and may affect the operations and financial performance of the Fund. These requirements are also subject to change at any time.

 

9 

 

 

Commodity Price Risk. The NAV of the Fund will be affected by movements in commodity prices generally and by the way in which those prices and other factors affect the prices of the commodity futures contracts. Commodity prices generally may fluctuate widely and may be affected by numerous factors.

 

Cybersecurity Risk. Cybersecurity incidents may allow an unauthorized party to gain access to Fund assets, customer data (including private shareholder information), or proprietary information, or cause the Fund, the Advisor and/or its service providers (including, but not limited to, Fund accountants, custodians, sub-custodians, transfer agents and financial intermediaries) to suffer data breaches, data corruption or lose operational functionality.

 

Fixed-Income Securities and Money Market Instruments. A decline in an issuer’s credit rating or a rise in interest rates could cause the value of a fixed-income security or money market instrument to decrease. Interest rate risk is generally lower for shorter-term investments and higher for longer-term investments. The Fund may be subject to a heightened risk of rising interest rates due to the current historically low interest rate environment and the likely impact on market conditions of any potential government fiscal policy initiatives that respond to these low rates. In addition, the Fund’s income may decline due to falling interest rates or other factors.

 

Futures, Options and Options on Futures Contracts. Through its holdings of derivative instruments including futures, options and options on futures contracts, the Fund may be exposed to (i) losses from margin deposits in the case of bankruptcy of the relevant broker, and (ii) a risk that the relevant position cannot be closed out when required at its fundamental value.

 

Investment Company Securities. Through its holdings of securities of other investment companies, including exchange-traded funds, the Fund will bear a proportionate share of the fees and expenses paid by such other investment company, including advisory and administrative fees.

 

Investment Risk. An investor may lose the value of their entire investment or part of their investment in Shares.

 

Leverage Risk. To the extent the Fund is exposed directly or indirectly to leverage (through investments in commodities futures contracts) the value of the Fund may be more volatile than if no leverage were present.

 

Liquidity. Generally, only Authorized Participants may redeem Fund Shares. Investors other than Authorized Participants wishing to realize their Fund Shares will generally need to rely on secondary trading in the public trading market. There can be no assurance as to the price at which, or volume in which, it may at any time be possible to realize Fund Shares in the public trading market. Although the Fund Shares are listed for trading on NYSE Arca, there can be no assurance that an active trading market for such shares will develop or be maintained.

 

Market Risk. The prices of the assets in which the Fund invests may decline for a number of reasons, including in response to economic developments and perceptions about the creditworthiness of individual issuers.

 

Non-Diversification Risk. As a “non-diversified” fund, the Fund may hold a smaller number of portfolio securities than many other funds. To the extent the Fund invests in a relatively small number of issuers, a decline in the market value of a particular security held by the Fund may affect its value more than if it invested in a larger number of issuers. The value of Shares may be more volatile than the values of shares of more diversified funds.

 

Roll Yield. During situations where the cost of any futures contracts for delivery on dates further in the future is higher than those for delivery closer in time, the value of the Fund holding such contracts will decrease over time unless the spot price of that contract increases by the same rate as the rate of the variation in the price of the futures contract. The rate of variation could be quite significant and last for an indeterminate period of time, reducing the value of the Fund.

 

Shares of the Fund May Trade at Prices Other than NAV. Although it is expected that the market price of the Shares of the Fund will approximate the Fund’s NAV when purchased and sold in the secondary market, the Fund faces numerous market trading risks, including the potential lack of an active market for Fund Shares, disruptions in the securities markets in which the Fund invests, periods of high market volatility and disruptions in the creation/redemption process. Any of these may lead to times when the market price of the Shares is more than the NAV intra-day (premium) or less than the NAV intra-day (discount).

 

Subsidiary Investment Risk. Changes in the laws of the United States and/or the Cayman Islands, under which the Fund and the Subsidiary are organized, respectively, could result in the inability of the Subsidiary to operate as intended and could negatively affect the Fund and its shareholders.

 

10 

 

 

Swap Agreements. Swaps can involve greater risks than a direct investment in an underlying asset and these may increase or decrease the overall volatility of the Fund’s investment and its share price. As with other transactions, the Fund will bear the risk that the counterparty will default, which could cause losses to the Fund.

 

Tax Risk. In order to qualify for the favorable U.S. federal income tax treatment accorded to a RIC under Subchapter M of the Code, the Fund must derive at least 90% of its gross income in each taxable year from certain categories of income (“qualifying income”) and must satisfy certain asset diversification requirements. Certain of the Fund’s investments will not generate income that is qualifying income. The Fund intends to hold such commodity-related investments indirectly through the Subsidiary. In September 2016, the IRS issued proposed regulations that would generally require the Subsidiary to distribute its income each year in order for the Fund to treat that income as “qualifying income”. The Fund has secured an opinion of counsel based on customary representations that actual distributions made to the Fund should be treated as “qualifying income”, which is consistent with the proposed IRS regulations. Accordingly, to the extent the Subsidiary makes distribution out of its earnings and profits, the Fund expects such distributions to be treated as qualifying income. The Advisor or Sub-Advisor will carefully monitor the Fund’s investments in the Subsidiary to ensure that no more than 25% of the Fund’s assets are invested in the Subsidiary to ensure compliance with the Fund’s asset diversification test as described in more detail in the SAI. To the extent the Fund makes direct investments in commodity-linked derivative instruments, it will seek to restrict the resulting income from such instruments so that, when combined with its other non-qualifying income, the Fund’s non-qualifying income is less than 10% of its gross income.

 

Fund Performance

 

The bar chart and table that follow show how the Fund has performed on a calendar year basis and provides some indication of the risks of investing in the Fund by showing the variability of the Fund’s return based on net assets and comparing the Fund’s performance to the Index and to the Bloomberg Commodity Index Total ReturnSM, a broad measure of market performance. The table also compares the Fund’s performance to the Fund’s previous benchmark index, the Bloomberg Commodity Index 3 Month ForwardSM, which reflects the excess return, not the total return of the Index. The Fund changed its investment objective as well as its benchmark Index on [May 1], 2019 in order to provide better comparative performance information in light of the Fund’s total return objective. Past performance (before and after taxes) does not necessarily indicate how the Fund will perform in the future. Updated performance information will be available at www.aberdeenstandardetfs.us.

 

Annual Returns as of December 31

[BAR CHART TO BE INSERTED BY FINANCIAL PRINTER]

2018 [   ]%

 

For the period shown in the bar chart above:

 

Best Quarter [                      ] [     ]%
Worst Quarter [                      ] [     ]%

 

Average Annual Total Returns
(for the periods ended December 31, 2018)
  One Year     Since Inception
of Fund
      Inception Date
of Fund
 
Before Taxes   [  ]   [  ]     March 30, 2017  
After Taxes on Distributions   [  ]  %   [  ]  %      
After Taxes on Distributions and Sale of Shares   [  ]  %   [  ]  %      
Bloomberg Commodity Index 3 Month Forward Total ReturnSM (reflects no deduction for fees, expenses or taxes)   [  ]  %   [  ]  %      
[Bloomberg Commodity Index 3 Month ForwardSM* (reflects no deduction for fees, expenses or taxes)]   [  ]  %   [  ]  %      
Bloomberg Commodity Index Total ReturnSM (reflects no deduction for fees, expenses or taxes)   [  ]  %   [  ]  %      

 

* This index, the Fund’s previous benchmark index, shows the “excess return” of the Index, meaning that it reflects the performance of the Index minus the returns on cash collateral invested in U.S. Treasury Bills.

 

Average annual total returns are shown on a before- and after-tax basis for the Fund. After-tax returns are calculated using the historical highest individual federal marginal income tax rates and do not reflect the impact of state and local taxes. Actual after-tax returns depend on an investor’s tax situation and may differ from those shown. After-tax returns shown are not relevant to investors who hold shares through tax-deferred arrangements, such as 401(k) plans or individual retirement accounts (“IRAs”). After-tax returns may exceed the return before taxes due to an assumed tax benefit from realizing a capital loss on a sale of shares.

 

11 

 

 

Management

 

Investment Advisor and Sub-Advisor

 

Aberdeen Standard Investments ETFs Advisors LLC serves as the investment advisor to the Fund and the Subsidiary.

 

Vident Investment Advisory, LLC serves as the sub-advisor to the Fund and the Subsidiary.

 

Portfolio Managers

 

Employee   Length of Service   Title
Denise M. Krisko, CFA   Since inception   Co-Portfolio Manager
Austin Wen, CFA   Since October 2018   Co-Portfolio Manager

 

Buying and Selling Fund Shares

 

The Fund is an ETF, which means that its Shares are listed on a national securities exchange, such as the NYSE Arca, and trade at market prices. Most investors will buy and sell Shares of the Fund through brokers. Because Fund Shares trade on such exchanges at market prices rather than NAV, shares may trade at a price greater than NAV (premium) or less than NAV (discount). The Fund issues and redeems shares (at NAV) only in large blocks of shares (“Creation Units”), which only certain institutions or large investors (typically market makers or other broker-dealers) may purchase or redeem. Currently, Creation Units generally consist of 50,000 shares, though this may change from time to time. Creation Units are not expected to consist of less than 25,000 shares. The Fund generally issues and redeems Creation Units in exchange for a designated amount of cash (in U.S. dollars), a portfolio of securities closely approximating the holdings of the Fund or a combination of the two.

 

Tax Information

 

The Fund intends to make distributions that may be taxed as ordinary income or capital gains.

 

Payments to Broker-Dealers and Other Financial Intermediaries

 

If you purchase shares of the Fund through a broker-dealer or other financial intermediary (such as a bank) (an “Intermediary”), the Advisor or its affiliates may pay Intermediaries for certain activities related to the Fund, including participation in activities that are designed to make Intermediaries more knowledgeable about exchange-traded products, including the Fund, or for other activities, such as marketing, educational training or other initiatives related to the sale or promotion of Fund Shares. These payments may create a conflict of interest by influencing the Intermediary and your salesperson to recommend the Fund over another investment. Any such arrangements do not result in increased Fund expenses. Ask your salesperson or visit the Intermediary’s website for more information.

 

12 

 

 

Aberdeen Standard Bloomberg Agriculture Commodity Strategy K-1 Free ETF

 

Investment Objective

 

The Aberdeen Standard Bloomberg Agriculture Commodity Strategy K-1 Free ETF (the “Fund”) seeks to provide total return through actively managed exposure to the Bloomberg Agriculture Index Total ReturnSM (the “Index”).

 

Fees and Expenses of the Fund

 

The following table describes the fees and expenses you may pay if you buy and hold shares of the Fund (“Shares”). Investors purchasing and selling shares may be subject to costs (including brokerage commissions) charged by their broker, which are not reflected in the table and example below.

 

 

Annual Fund Operating Expenses

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

   
Management Fees(1) 0.39%
Distribution and Service (12b-1) Fees 0.00%
Other Expenses(2) 0.00%
Total Annual Fund Operating Expenses 0.39%

 

(1) Aberdeen Standard Investments ETFs Advisors LLC (the “Advisor”) has contractually agreed to waive the management fees that it receives from the Fund in an amount equal to the management fee paid to the Advisor by the Subsidiary, as defined below. This undertaking will continue in effect for so long as the Fund invests in the Subsidiary and may be terminated only with the approval of the Fund’s Board of Trustees. The management fee figure in the table above represents the total amount of fees payable to the Advisor by the Fund and the Subsidiary.

  

(2)Other Expenses are based on estimated amounts for the current fiscal year.

 

Example

 

The following example is intended to help you compare the cost of investing in the Fund with the cost of investing in other funds. This example does not include brokerage commissions that investors may pay to buy and sell shares of the Fund in the secondary market.

 

The example assumes that you invest $10,000 in the Fund for the time periods indicated and then sell all of your Shares at the end of those periods. The example also assumes that your investment has a 5% return each year and that the Fund’s operating expenses remain the same each year. Although your actual costs and returns may be higher or lower, based on these assumptions your costs would be:

 

1 Year   3 Years 
$40   $125 

 

Portfolio Turnover

 

The Fund pays transaction costs, such as commissions, when it buys and sells securities (or “turns over” its portfolio). A higher portfolio turnover rate may cause the Fund to incur higher transaction costs and may result in higher taxes when Shares are held in a taxable account. These costs, which are not reflected in Annual Fund Operating Expenses or the example above, may affect the Fund’s performance. Because the Fund has not yet commenced operations as of the date of this Prospectus, it does not have a portfolio turnover rate to provide.

 

Principal Investment Strategies

 

The Fund is an actively managed exchange traded fund (“ETF”) that is not required to track the Index or invest in all of the Index’s components. However, the Fund will generally seek to hold similar interests to those included in the Index and will seek exposure to many of the commodities included in the Index under the same futures rolling schedule as the Index. The Fund will also hold short-term fixed-income securities, which may be used as collateral for the Fund’s commodities futures holdings or to generate interest income and capital appreciation on the cash balances arising from its use of futures contracts (thereby providing a “total return” investment in the underlying commodities).

 

Under normal market conditions, the Fund intends to invest in exchange-traded commodity futures contracts through a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Fund organized under the laws of the Cayman Islands (the “Subsidiary”). As a means to provide investment returns that are highly correlated to those of the Index, the Subsidiary may also invest directly in commodity-linked instruments, including pooled investment vehicles (such as exchange-traded funds and other investment companies), swaps and exchange-traded options on futures contracts, to the extent permitted under the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended (the “1940 Act”) and any applicable exemptive relief (collectively, “Commodities-Related Assets” and, together with exchange-traded commodities futures contracts, “Commodities Instruments”). The Fund may invest up to 25% of its total assets in the Subsidiary.

 

13 

 

 

The remainder of the Fund’s assets that are not invested in the Subsidiary (i.e., at least 75% of the Fund’s total assets) will principally be invested in: (1) short-term investment grade fixed-income securities that include U.S. government securities and money market instruments; and (2) cash and other cash equivalents. The Fund will exercise its discretion to use such instruments to most efficiently utilize the cash balances arising from the use of futures contracts and generate a total return for investors. Under normal circumstances, the Fund will invest at least 80% of its net assets, plus the amount of any borrowings for investment purposes, in futures contracts and other securities in an amount that provides investment exposure to agricultural commodities.

 

The Fund will not invest directly in commodity futures contracts but, instead, expects to gain exposure to these investments exclusively by investing in the Subsidiary. The Fund’s investment in the Subsidiary is intended to enable the Fund to gain exposure to relevant commodity markets within the limits of current federal income tax laws applicable to investment companies such as the Fund, which limit the ability of investment companies to invest directly in commodity futures contracts. The Subsidiary and the Fund have the same investment objective. However, the Subsidiary may invest without limitation in the Commodities Instruments. Except as otherwise noted, for the purposes of this Prospectus, references to the Fund’s investments include the Fund’s indirect investments through the Subsidiary.

 

The Advisor and Sub-Advisor will use their discretion to determine the percentage of the Fund’s assets allocated to the Commodities Instruments held by the Subsidiary that will be invested in exchange-traded commodity futures contracts or Commodities-Related Assets. In this regard, under normal market conditions, the Subsidiary is expected to invest in futures contracts in proportional weights and allocations that are similar to the Index. The Fund does not seek leveraged returns. However, the Fund’s use of instruments to collateralize the Subsidiary’s investments in Commodity Instruments has a leveraging effect and is designed to provide a total return, outperforming the investment performance of the Index.

 

The Index is a sub-index of the Bloomberg Commodity IndexSM (“BCOM”). BCOM is a widely followed commodity index which is calculated and published by Bloomberg L.P. and/or Bloomberg Finance L.P. and/or an affiliate of them (together, “Bloomberg”). BCOM and its various sub-indices has been published since 1998 with simulated historical performance calculated back to 1991 and tracks movements in the prices of rolling positions in a basket of commodity futures with a maturity between 1 and 3 months.

 

At present, there are 27 commodity futures eligible for inclusion in BCOM, but five of those commodities (cocoa, lead, platinum, tin, and low sulphur gas oil) are currently not included in BCOM. With the exception of certain metals contracts (aluminum, lead, tin, nickel and zinc) that trade on the London Metals Exchange (“LME”) and the contract for Brent crude oil and low sulphur gas oil, each of the commodities is the subject of at least one futures contract that trades on a U.S. exchange. The Index includes only those commodities from BCOM which are related to agriculture being wheat, corn, soybeans, sugar, cotton, coffee, soybean oil and soybean meal. BCOM and the Index use a consistent, systematic process to represent the commodity markets using both liquidity data and U.S. dollar-weighted production data in determining the weightings of included commodities. Liquidity data is the relative amount of trading activity for a particular commodity and U.S. dollar-weighted production data takes the figures for production in the overall commodities market for all commodities in the Index and weights them in the Index in the same proportion in U.S. dollar terms.

 

The values of BCOM and the Index are computed on the basis of hypothetical investments in the basket of commodities of which they are comprised.

 

BCOM and the Index are rebalanced annually starting on the fifth business day of January.

 

The Fund is classified as “non-diversified” under the 1940 Act.

 

Summary of Principal Risks of Investing in the Fund

 

Active Fund Management. The Fund is an ETF that seeks to provide total return through actively managed exposure to the Index. The Fund actively manages commodity and commodity-linked futures and other financial instruments and is not designed to track the Index. The Advisor and Sub-Advisor will determine the investments of the Fund and the Subsidiary on a discretionary basis, but there can be no guarantee that the Fund will meet its investment objective.

 

Agriculture Industry Risk. Through its exposure to agricultural commodities, the Fund is subject to the risks of the agriculture industry and companies engaged in agricultural production. The agriculture industry and agricultural commodities futures may be adversely affected by changes to or trends that affect commodity prices, labor costs, tariffs, government subsidy policies, weather conditions, and laws and regulations related to environmental protection, health and safety.

 

Authorized Participants. The Fund has entered into Authorized Participant Agreements with only a limited number of institutions. Should these Authorized Participants cease to act as such or, for any reason, be unable to create or redeem Shares of the Fund and new Authorized Participants are not appointed in their place, Shares of the Fund may trade at a discount to the Fund’s net asset value and possibly face delisting.

 

14 

 

 

Cash Redemption Risk. The Fund expects to effect its creations and redemptions primarily for cash due to the nature of its investments. Paying redemption proceeds in cash rather than through in-kind delivery of portfolio securities may require the Fund to dispose of or sell portfolio investments to obtain the cash needed to distribute redemption proceeds at an inopportune time. This may cause the Fund to recognize investment income and/or capital gain that it might not have recognized if it had made a redemption in-kind. As a result, the Fund may be less tax efficient and may have to pay out higher annual distributions than if the in-kind redemption process was used.

 

Commodity Pool Regulatory Risk. The Fund is deemed to be a commodity pool due to its investment exposure to commodity futures contracts and is subject to regulation under the Commodity Exchange Act (“CEA”) and Commodity Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC”) rules as well as the regulatory scheme applicable to registered investment companies. The Advisor is registered as a commodity pool operator (“CPO”) and the Sub-Advisor is registered as a commodity trading advisor (“CTA”). Registration as a CPO and CTA imposes additional compliance obligations on the Advisor, the Sub-Advisor, and the Fund related to additional laws, regulations, and enforcement policies, which could increase compliance costs and may affect the operations and financial performance of the Fund. These requirements are also subject to change at any time.

 

Commodity Price Risk. The NAV of the Fund will be affected by movements in commodity prices generally and by the way in which those prices and other factors affect the prices of the commodity futures contracts. Commodity prices generally may fluctuate widely and may be affected by numerous factors.

 

Cybersecurity Risk. Cybersecurity incidents may allow an unauthorized party to gain access to Fund assets, customer data (including private shareholder information), or proprietary information, or cause the Fund, the Advisor and/or its service providers (including, but not limited to, Fund accountants, custodians, sub-custodians, transfer agents and financial intermediaries) to suffer data breaches, data corruption or lose operational functionality.

 

Fixed-Income Securities and Money Market Instruments. A decline in an issuer’s credit rating or a rise in interest rates could cause the value of a fixed-income security or money market instrument to decrease. Interest rate risk is generally lower for shorter-term investments and higher for longer-term investments. The Fund may be subject to a heightened risk of rising interest rates due to the current historically low interest rate environment and the likely impact on market conditions of any potential government fiscal policy initiatives that respond to these low rates. In addition, the Fund’s income may decline due to falling interest rates or other factors.

 

Futures, Options and Options on Futures Contracts. Through its holdings of derivative instruments including futures, options and options on futures contracts, the Fund may be exposed to (i) losses from margin deposits in the case of bankruptcy of the relevant broker, and (ii) a risk that the relevant position cannot be closed out when required at its fundamental value.

 

Investment Company Securities. Through its holdings of securities of other investment companies, including exchange-traded funds, the Fund will bear a proportionate share of the fees and expenses paid by such other investment company, including advisory and administrative fees.

 

Investment Risk. An investor may lose the value of their entire investment or part of their investment in Shares.

 

Leverage Risk. To the extent the Fund is exposed directly or indirectly to leverage (through investments in commodities futures contracts) the value of the Fund may be more volatile than if no leverage were present.

 

Liquidity. Generally, only Authorized Participants may redeem Fund Shares. Investors other than Authorized Participants wishing to realize their Fund Shares will generally need to rely on secondary trading in the public trading market. There can be no assurance as to the price at which, or volume in which, it may at any time be possible to realize Fund Shares in the public trading market. Although the Fund Shares are listed for trading on NYSE Arca, there can be no assurance that an active trading market for such shares will develop or be maintained.

 

Market Risk. The prices of the assets in which the Fund invests may decline for a number of reasons, including in response to economic developments and perceptions about the creditworthiness of individual issuers.

 

Non-Diversification Risk. As a “non-diversified” fund, the Fund may hold a smaller number of portfolio securities than many other funds. To the extent the Fund invests in a relatively small number of issuers, a decline in the market value of a particular security held by the Fund may affect its value more than if it invested in a larger number of issuers. The value of Shares may be more volatile than the values of shares of more diversified funds.

 

Roll Yield. During situations where the cost of any futures contracts for delivery on dates further in the future is higher than those for delivery closer in time, the value of the Fund holding such contracts will decrease over time unless the spot price of that contract increases by the same rate as the rate of the variation in the price of the futures contract. The rate of variation could be quite significant and last for an indeterminate period of time, reducing the value of the Fund.

 

15 

 

 

Shares of the Fund May Trade at Prices Other than NAV. Although it is expected that the market price of the Shares of the Fund will approximate the Fund’s NAV when purchased and sold in the secondary market, the Fund faces numerous market trading risks, including the potential lack of an active market for Fund Shares, disruptions in the securities markets in which the Fund invests, periods of high market volatility and disruptions in the creation/redemption process. Any of these may lead to times when the market price of the Shares is more than the NAV intra-day (premium) or less than the NAV intra-day (discount).

 

Subsidiary Investment Risk. Changes in the laws of the United States and/or the Cayman Islands, under which the Fund and the Subsidiary are organized, respectively, could result in the inability of the Subsidiary to operate as intended and could negatively affect the Fund and its shareholders.

 

Swap Agreements. Swaps can involve greater risks than a direct investment in an underlying asset and these may increase or decrease the overall volatility of the Fund’s investment and its share price. As with other transactions, the Fund will bear the risk that the counterparty will default, which could cause losses to the Fund.

 

Tax Risk. In order to qualify for the favorable U.S. federal income tax treatment accorded to a RIC under Subchapter M of the Code, the Fund must derive at least 90% of its gross income in each taxable year from certain categories of income (“qualifying income”) and must satisfy certain asset diversification requirements. Certain of the Fund’s investments will not generate income that is qualifying income. The Fund intends to hold such commodity-related investments indirectly, through the Subsidiary. In September 2016, the IRS issued proposed regulations that would generally require the Subsidiary to distribute its income each year in order for the Fund to treat that income as “qualifying income”. The Fund has secured an opinion of counsel based on customary representations that actual distributions made to the Fund should be treated as “qualifying income”, which is consistent with the proposed IRS regulations. Accordingly, to the extent the Subsidiary makes distribution out of its earnings and profits, the Fund expects such distributions to be treated as qualifying income. The Advisor or Sub-Advisor will carefully monitor the Fund’s investments in the Subsidiary to ensure that no more than 25% of the Fund’s assets are invested in the Subsidiary to ensure compliance with the Fund’s asset diversification test as described in more detail in the SAI. To the extent the Fund makes direct investments in commodity-linked derivative instruments, it will seek to restrict the resulting income from such instruments so that, when combined with its other non-qualifying income, the Fund’s non-qualifying income is less than 10% of its gross income.

 

Fund Performance

 

Performance information for the Fund is not provided because the Fund does not have performance history for a full calendar year as of the date of this Prospectus. When this Prospectus is updated after a full calendar year of operations, a bar chart and table will be included that will provide some indication of the risks of investing in the Fund by showing the variability of the Fund’s return based on net assets and comparing the Fund’s performance to the Index and a broad measure of market performance. Past performance does not necessarily indicate how the Fund will perform in the future. Updated performance information will be available at www.aberdeenstandardetfs.us.

 

Management

 

Investment Advisor and Sub-Advisor

 

Aberdeen Standard Investments ETFs Advisors LLC serves as the investment advisor to the Fund and the Subsidiary.

 

Vident Investment Advisory, LLC serves as the sub-advisor to the Fund and the Subsidiary.

 

Portfolio Managers

 

Employee   Length of Service   Title
Denise M. Krisko, CFA   Since inception   Co-Portfolio Manager
Austin Wen, CFA   Since October 2018   Co-Portfolio Manager

 

Buying and Selling Fund Shares

 

The Fund is an ETF, which means that its Shares are listed on a national securities exchange, such as the NYSE Arca, and trade at market prices. Most investors will buy and sell shares of the Fund through brokers. Because Fund Shares trade on such exchanges at market prices rather than NAV, shares may trade at a price greater than NAV (premium) or less than NAV (discount). The Fund issues and redeems shares (at NAV) only in large blocks of shares (“Creation Units”), which only certain institutions or large investors (typically market makers or other broker-dealers) may purchase or redeem. Currently, Creation Units generally consist of 50,000 shares, though this may change from time to time. Creation Units are not expected to consist of less than 25,000 shares. The Fund generally issues and redeems Creation Units in exchange for a designated amount of cash (in U.S. dollars), a portfolio of securities closely approximating the holdings of the Fund or a combination of both.

 

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Tax Information

 

The Fund intends to make distributions that may be taxed as ordinary income or capital gains.

 

Payments to Broker-Dealers and Other Financial Intermediaries

 

If you purchase shares of the Fund through a broker-dealer or other financial intermediary (such as a bank) (an “Intermediary”), the Advisor or its affiliates may pay Intermediaries for certain activities related to the Fund, including participation in activities that are designed to make Intermediaries more knowledgeable about exchange-traded products, including the Fund, or for other activities, such as marketing, educational training or other initiatives related to the sale or promotion of Fund Shares. These payments may create a conflict of interest by influencing the Intermediary and your salesperson to recommend the Fund over another investment. Any such arrangements do not result in increased Fund expenses. Ask your salesperson or visit the Intermediary’s website for more information.

 

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Aberdeen Standard Bloomberg Energy Commodity Strategy K-1 Free ETF

 

Investment Objective

 

The Aberdeen Standard Bloomberg Energy Commodity Strategy K-1 Free ETF (the “Fund”) seeks to provide total return through actively managed exposure to the Bloomberg Energy Index Total ReturnSM (the “Index”).

 

Fees and Expenses of the Fund

 

The following table describes the fees and expenses you may pay if you buy and hold shares of the Fund (“Shares”). Investors purchasing and selling shares may be subject to costs (including brokerage commissions) charged by their broker, which are not reflected in the table and example below.

 

 

Annual Fund Operating Expenses

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

   
Management Fees(1) 0.39%
Distribution and Service (12b-1) Fees 0.00%
Other Expenses(2) 0.00%
Total Annual Fund Operating Expenses 0.39%

 

(1) Aberdeen Standard Investments ETFs Advisors LLC (the “Advisor”) has contractually agreed to waive the management fees that it receives from the Fund in an amount equal to the management fee paid to the Advisor by the Subsidiary, as defined below. This undertaking will continue in effect for so long as the Fund invests in the Subsidiary and may be terminated only with the approval of the Fund’s Board of Trustees. The management fee figure in the table above represents the total amount of fees payable to the Advisor by the Fund and the Subsidiary.

 

(2)Other Expenses are based on estimated amounts for the current fiscal year.

 

Example

 

The following example is intended to help you compare the cost of investing in the Fund with the cost of investing in other funds. This example does not include brokerage commissions that investors may pay to buy and sell shares of the Fund in the secondary market.

 

The example assumes that you invest $10,000 in the Fund for the time periods indicated and then sell all of your Shares at the end of those periods. The example also assumes that your investment has a 5% return each year and that the Fund’s operating expenses remain the same each year. Although your actual costs and returns may be higher or lower, based on these assumptions your costs would be:

 

1 Year   3 Years 
$40   $125 

 

Portfolio Turnover

 

The Fund pays transaction costs, such as commissions, when it buys and sells securities (or “turns over” its portfolio). A higher portfolio turnover rate may cause the Fund to incur higher transaction costs and may result in higher taxes when Shares are held in a taxable account. These costs, which are not reflected in Annual Fund Operating Expenses or the example above, may affect the Fund’s performance. Because the Fund has not yet commenced operations as of the date of this Prospectus, it does not have a portfolio turnover rate to provide.

 

Principal Investment Strategies

 

The Fund is an actively managed exchange traded fund (“ETF”) that is not required to track the Index or invest in all of the Index’s components. However, the Fund will generally seek to hold similar interests to those included in the Index and will seek exposure to many of the commodities included in the Index under the same futures rolling schedule as the Index. The Fund will also hold short-term fixed-income securities, which may be used as collateral for the Fund’s commodities futures holdings or to generate interest income and capital appreciation on the cash balances arising from its use of futures contracts (thereby providing a “total return” investment in the underlying commodities).

 

Under normal market conditions, the Fund intends to invest in exchange-traded commodity futures contracts through a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Fund organized under the laws of the Cayman Islands (the “Subsidiary”). As a means to provide investment returns that are highly correlated to those of the Index, the Subsidiary may also invest directly in commodity-linked instruments, including pooled investment vehicles (such as exchange-traded funds and other investment companies), swaps and exchange-traded options on futures contracts, to the extent permitted under the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended (the “1940 Act”) and any applicable exemptive relief (collectively, “Commodities-Related Assets” and, together with exchange-traded commodities futures contracts, “Commodities Instruments”). The Fund may invest up to 25% of its total assets in the Subsidiary.

 

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The remainder of the Fund’s assets that are not invested in the Subsidiary (i.e., at least 75% of the Fund’s total assets) will principally be invested in: (1) short-term investment grade fixed-income securities that include U.S. government securities and money market instruments; and (2) cash and other cash equivalents. The Fund will exercise its discretion to use such instruments to most efficiently utilize the cash balances arising from the use of futures contracts and generate a total return for investors. Under normal circumstances, the Fund will invest at least 80% of its net assets, plus the amount of any borrowings for investment purposes, in futures contracts and other securities in an amount that provides investment exposure to energy commodities.

 

The Fund will not invest directly in commodity futures contracts but, instead, expects to gain exposure to these investments exclusively by investing in the Subsidiary. The Fund’s investment in the Subsidiary is intended to enable the Fund to gain exposure to relevant commodity markets within the limits of current federal income tax laws applicable to investment companies such as the Fund, which limit the ability of investment companies to invest directly in commodity futures contracts. The Subsidiary and the Fund have the same investment objective. However, the Subsidiary may invest without limitation in the Commodities Instruments. Except as otherwise noted, for the purposes of this Prospectus, references to the Fund’s investments include the Fund’s indirect investments through the Subsidiary.

 

The Advisor and Sub-Advisor will use their discretion to determine the percentage of the Fund’s assets allocated to the Commodities Instruments held by the Subsidiary that will be invested in exchange-traded commodity futures contracts or Commodities-Related Assets. In this regard, under normal market conditions, the Subsidiary is expected to invest in futures contracts in proportional weights and allocations that are similar to the Index. The Fund does not seek leveraged returns. However, the Fund’s use of instruments to collateralize the Subsidiary’s investments in Commodity Instruments has a leveraging effect and is designed to provide a total return, outperforming the investment performance of the Index.

 

The Index is a sub-index of the Bloomberg Commodity IndexSM (“BCOM”). BCOM is a widely followed commodity index which is calculated and published by Bloomberg L.P. and/or Bloomberg Finance L.P. and/or an affiliate of them (together, “Bloomberg”). BCOM and its various sub-indices has been published since 1998 with simulated historical performance calculated back to 1991 and tracks movements in the prices of rolling positions in a basket of commodity futures with a maturity between 1 and 3 months.

 

At present, there are 27 commodity futures eligible for inclusion in BCOM but five of those commodities (cocoa, lead, platinum, tin, and low sulphur gas oil) are currently not included in BCOM. With the exception of certain metals contracts (aluminum, lead, tin, nickel and zinc) that trade on the London Metals Exchange (“LME”) and the contract for Brent crude oil and low sulphur gas oil, each of the commodities is the subject of at least one futures contract that trades on a U.S. exchange. The Index includes only those commodities from BCOM which are related to energy being natural gas, WTI crude oil, Brent crude oil, gasoline, and heating oil. BCOM and the Index use a consistent, systematic process to represent the commodity markets using both liquidity data and U.S. dollar-weighted production data in determining the weightings of included commodities. Liquidity data is the relative amount of trading activity for a particular commodity and U.S. dollar-weighted production data takes the figures for production in the overall commodities market for all commodities in the Index and weights them in the Index in the same proportion in U.S. dollar terms.

 

The values of BCOM and the Index are computed on the basis of hypothetical investments in the basket of commodities of which they are comprised.

 

BCOM and the Index are rebalanced annually starting on the fifth business day of January.

 

The Fund is classified as “non-diversified” under the 1940 Act.

 

Summary of Principal Risks of Investing in the Fund

 

Active Fund Management. The Fund is an ETF that seeks to provide total return through actively managed exposure to the Index. The Fund actively manages commodity and commodity-linked futures and other financial instruments and is not designed to track the Index. The Advisor and Sub-Advisor will determine the investments of the Fund and the Subsidiary on a discretionary basis, but there can be no guarantee that the Fund will meet its investment objective.

 

Authorized Participants. The Fund has entered into Authorized Participant Agreements with only a limited number of institutions. Should these Authorized Participants cease to act as such or, for any reason, be unable to create or redeem Shares of the Fund and new Authorized Participants are not appointed in their place, Shares of the Fund may trade at a discount to the Fund’s net asset value and possibly face delisting.

 

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Cash Redemption Risk. The Fund expects to effect its creations and redemptions primarily for cash due to the nature of its investments. Paying redemption proceeds in cash rather than through in-kind delivery of portfolio securities may require the Fund to dispose of or sell portfolio investments to obtain the cash needed to distribute redemption proceeds at an inopportune time. This may cause the Fund to recognize investment income and/or capital gain that it might not have recognized if it had made a redemption in-kind. As a result, the Fund may be less tax efficient and may have to pay out higher annual distributions than if the in-kind redemption process was used.

 

Commodity Pool Regulatory Risk. The Fund is deemed to be a commodity pool due to its investment exposure to commodity futures contracts and is subject to regulation under the Commodity Exchange Act (“CEA”) and Commodity Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC”) rules as well as the regulatory scheme applicable to registered investment companies. The Advisor is registered as a commodity pool operator (“CPO”) and the Sub-Advisor is registered as a commodity trading advisor (“CTA”). Registration as a CPO and CTA imposes additional compliance obligations on the Advisor, the Sub-Advisor, and the Fund related to additional laws, regulations, and enforcement policies, which could increase compliance costs and may affect the operations and financial performance of the Fund. These requirements are also subject to change at any time.

 

Commodity Price Risk. The NAV of the Fund will be affected by movements in commodity prices generally and by the way in which those prices and other factors affect the prices of the commodity futures contracts. Commodity prices generally may fluctuate widely and may be affected by numerous factors.

 

Cybersecurity Risk. Cybersecurity incidents may allow an unauthorized party to gain access to Fund assets, customer data (including private shareholder information), or proprietary information, or cause the Fund, the Advisor and/or its service providers (including, but not limited to, Fund accountants, custodians, sub-custodians, transfer agents and financial intermediaries) to suffer data breaches, data corruption or lose operational functionality.

 

Energy Sector Risk. Through its exposure to energy commodities, the Fund is subject to the risks of the energy sector and companies engaged in energy production and exploration. The energy sector and the price of energy commodity futures may be adversely affected by changes to or trends that affect commodity prices, the imposition of import controls, and government regulations related to environmental protection, health and safety. In addition, companies in the energy sector and the price of energy commodity futures may be impacted by economic conditions, technological developments, competition from alternative energy sources, and potential civil liabilities, such as environmental damage claims.

 

Fixed-Income Securities and Money Market Instruments. A decline in an issuer’s credit rating or a rise in interest rates could cause the value of a fixed-income security or money market instrument to decrease. Interest rate risk is generally lower for shorter-term investments and higher for longer-term investments. The Fund may be subject to a heightened risk of rising interest rates due to the current historically low interest rate environment and the likely impact on market conditions of any potential government fiscal policy initiatives that respond to these low rates. In addition, the Fund’s income may decline due to falling interest rates or other factors.

 

Futures, Options and Options on Futures Contracts. Through its holdings of derivative instruments including futures, options and options on futures contracts, the Fund may be exposed to (i) losses from margin deposits in the case of bankruptcy of the relevant broker, and (ii) a risk that the relevant position cannot be closed out when required at its fundamental value.

 

Investment Company Securities. Through its holdings of securities of other investment companies, including exchange-traded funds, the Fund will bear a proportionate share of the fees and expenses paid by such other investment company, including advisory and administrative fees.

 

Investment Risk. An investor may lose the value of their entire investment or part of their investment in Shares.

 

Leverage Risk. To the extent the Fund is exposed directly or indirectly to leverage (through investments in commodities futures contracts) the value of the Fund may be more volatile than if no leverage were present.

 

Liquidity. Generally, only Authorized Participants may redeem Fund Shares. Investors other than Authorized Participants wishing to realize their Fund Shares will generally need to rely on secondary trading in the public trading market. There can be no assurance as to the price at which, or volume in which, it may at any time be possible to realize Fund Shares in the public trading market. Although the Fund Shares are listed for trading on NYSE Arca, there can be no assurance that an active trading market for such shares will develop or be maintained.

 

Market Risk. The prices of the assets in which the Fund invests may decline for a number of reasons, including in response to economic developments and perceptions about the creditworthiness of individual issuers.

 

Non-Diversification Risk. As a “non-diversified” fund, the Fund may hold a smaller number of portfolio securities than many other funds. To the extent the Fund invests in a relatively small number of issuers, a decline in the market value of a particular security held by the Fund may affect its value more than if it invested in a larger number of issuers. The value of Shares may be more volatile than the values of shares of more diversified funds.

 

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Shares of the Fund May Trade at Prices Other than NAV. Although it is expected that the market price of the Shares of the Fund will approximate the Fund’s NAV when purchased and sold in the secondary market, the Fund faces numerous market trading risks, including the potential lack of an active market for Fund Shares, disruptions in the securities markets in which the Fund invests, periods of high market volatility and disruptions in the creation/redemption process. Any of these may lead to times when the market price of the Shares is more than the NAV intra-day (premium) or less than the NAV intra-day (discount).

 

Subsidiary Investment Risk. Changes in the laws of the United States and/or the Cayman Islands, under which the Fund and the Subsidiary are organized, respectively, could result in the inability of the Subsidiary to operate as intended and could negatively affect the Fund and its shareholders.

 

Swap Agreements. Swaps can involve greater risks than a direct investment in an underlying asset and these may increase or decrease the overall volatility of the Fund’s investment and its share price. As with other transactions, the Fund will bear the risk that the counterparty will default which could cause losses to the Fund.

 

Tax Risk. In order to qualify for the favorable U.S. federal income tax treatment accorded to a RIC under Subchapter M of the Code, the Fund must derive at least 90% of its gross income in each taxable year from certain categories of income (“qualifying income”) and must satisfy certain asset diversification requirements. Certain of the Fund’s investments will not generate income that is qualifying income. The Fund intends to hold such commodity-related investments indirectly, through the Subsidiary. In September 2016, the IRS issued proposed regulations that would generally require the Subsidiary to distribute its income each year in order for the Fund to treat that income as “qualifying income”. The Fund has secured an opinion of counsel based on customary representations that actual distributions made to the Fund should be treated as “qualifying income”, which is consistent with the proposed IRS regulations. Accordingly, to the extent the Subsidiary makes distribution out of its earnings and profits, the Fund expects such distributions to be treated as qualifying income. The Advisor or Sub-Advisor will carefully monitor the Fund’s investments in the Subsidiary to ensure that no more than 25% of the Fund’s assets are invested in the Subsidiary to ensure compliance with the Fund’s asset diversification test as described in more detail in the SAI. To the extent the Fund makes direct investments in commodity-linked derivative instruments, it will seek to restrict the resulting income from such instruments so that, when combined with its other non-qualifying income, the Fund’s non-qualifying income is less than 10% of its gross income.

 

Fund Performance

 

Performance information for the Fund is not provided because the Fund does not have performance history for a full calendar year as of the date of this Prospectus. When this Prospectus is updated after a full calendar year of operations, a bar chart and table will be included that will provide some indication of the risks of investing in the Fund by showing the variability of the Fund’s return based on net assets and comparing the Fund’s performance to the Index and a broad measure of market performance. Past performance does not necessarily indicate how the Fund will perform in the future. Updated performance information will be available at www.aberdeenstandardetfs.us.

 

Management

 

Investment Advisor and Sub-Advisor

 

Aberdeen Standard Investments ETFs Advisors LLC serves as the investment advisor to the Fund and the Subsidiary.

 

Vident Investment Advisory, LLC serves as the sub-advisor to the Fund and the Subsidiary.

 

Portfolio Managers

 

Employee   Length of Service   Title
Denise M. Krisko, CFA   Since inception   Co-Portfolio Manager
Austin Wen, CFA   Since October 2018   Co-Portfolio Manager

 

Buying and Selling Fund Shares

 

The Fund is an ETF, which means that its Shares are listed on a national securities exchange, such as the NYSE Arca, and trade at market prices. Most investors will buy and sell shares of the Fund through brokers. Because Fund Shares trade on such exchanges at market prices rather than NAV, shares may trade at a price greater than NAV (premium) or less than NAV (discount). The Fund issues and redeems shares (at NAV) only in large blocks of shares (“Creation Units”), which only certain institutions or large investors (typically market makers or other broker-dealers) may purchase or redeem. Currently, Creation Units generally consist of 50,000 shares, though this may change from time to time. Creation Units are not expected to consist of less than 25,000 shares. The Fund generally issues and redeems Creation Units in exchange for a designated amount of cash (in U.S. dollars), a portfolio of securities closely approximating the holdings of the Fund or a combination of both.

 

Tax Information

 

The Fund intends to make distributions that may be taxed as ordinary income or capital gains.

 

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Payments to Broker-Dealers and Other Financial Intermediaries

 

If you purchase shares of the Fund through a broker-dealer or other financial intermediary (such as a bank) (an “Intermediary”), the Advisor or its affiliates may pay Intermediaries for certain activities related to the Fund, including participation in activities that are designed to make Intermediaries more knowledgeable about exchange-traded products, including the Fund, or for other activities, such as marketing, educational training or other initiatives related to the sale or promotion of Fund Shares. These payments may create a conflict of interest by influencing the Intermediary and your salesperson to recommend the Fund over another investment. Any such arrangements do not result in increased Fund expenses. Ask your salesperson or visit the Intermediary’s website for more information.

 

22 

 

 

Aberdeen Standard Bloomberg WTI Crude Oil Strategy K-1 Free ETF

 

(formerly, ETFS Bloomberg Energy Commodity Longer Dated Strategy K-1 Free ETF)

 

Investment Objective

 

The Aberdeen Standard Bloomberg WTI Crude Oil Strategy K-1 Free ETF (the “Fund”) seeks to provide total return through actively managed exposure to the Bloomberg WTI Crude Oil Subindex Total ReturnSM (the “Index”).

 

Fees and Expenses of the Fund

 

The following table describes the fees and expenses you may pay if you buy and hold shares of the Fund (“Shares”). Investors purchasing and selling shares may be subject to costs (including brokerage commissions) charged by their broker, which are not reflected in the table and example below.

 

 

Annual Fund Operating Expenses

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

   
Management Fees(1) 0.39%
Distribution and Service (12b-1) Fees 0.00%
Other Expenses 0.00%
Total Annual Fund Operating Expenses 0.39%

 

(1) Aberdeen Standard Investments ETFs Advisors LLC (the “Advisor”) has contractually agreed to waive the management fees that it receives from the Fund in an amount equal to the management fee paid to the Advisor by the Subsidiary, as defined below. This undertaking will continue in effect for so long as the Fund invests in the Subsidiary and may be terminated only with the approval of the Fund’s Board of Trustees. The management fee figure in the table above represents the total amount of fees payable to the Advisor by the Fund and the Subsidiary.

 

Example

 

The following example is intended to help you compare the cost of investing in the Fund with the cost of investing in other funds. This example does not include brokerage commissions that investors may pay to buy and sell shares of the Fund in the secondary market.

 

The example assumes that you invest $10,000 in the Fund for the time periods indicated and then sell all of your Shares at the end of those periods. The example also assumes that your investment has a 5% return each year and that the Fund’s operating expenses remain the same each year. Although your actual costs and returns may be higher or lower, based on these assumptions your costs would be:

 

1 Year   3 Years   5 Years   10 Years 
$ [40]     $ [125]     $ [219]     $ [493]  

 

Portfolio Turnover

 

The Fund pays transaction costs, such as commissions, when it buys and sells securities, as defined below (or “turns over” its portfolio). A higher portfolio turnover rate may cause the Fund to incur higher transaction costs and may result in higher taxes when Shares are held in a taxable account. These costs, which are not reflected in Annual Fund Operating Expenses or the example above, may affect the Fund’s performance. During the most recent fiscal year, the Fund’s portfolio turnover rate was [ ]% of the average value of its portfolio.

 

Principal Investment Strategies

 

The Fund is an actively managed exchange traded fund (“ETF”) that is not required to track the Index or invest in all of the Index’s components. However, the Fund will generally seek to hold similar interests to those included in the Index by investing in WTI Crude Oil Futures under the same futures rolling schedule as the Index. The Fund will also hold short-term fixed income securities, which may be used as collateral for the Fund’s commodities futures holdings or to generate interest income and capital appreciation on the cash balances arising from its use of futures contracts (thereby providing a “total return” investment in the underlying commodities).

 

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Under normal market conditions, the Fund intends to invest in exchange-traded WTI Crude Oil Futures contracts through a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Fund organized under the laws of the Cayman Islands (the “Subsidiary”). As a means to provide investment returns that are highly correlated to those of the Index, the Subsidiary may also invest directly in oil-linked instruments, including pooled investment vehicles (such as exchange-traded funds and other investment companies), swaps and exchange-traded options on futures contracts, to the extent permitted under the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended (the “1940 Act”) and any applicable exemptive relief (collectively, “Oil-Related Assets” and, together with exchange-traded WTI Crude Oil Futures contracts, “Oil Instruments”). The Fund may invest up to 25% of its total assets in the Subsidiary.

 

The remainder of the Fund’s assets that are not invested in the Subsidiary (i.e., at least 75% of the Fund’s total assets) will principally be invested in: (1) short-term investment grade fixed-income securities that include U.S. government securities and money market instruments; and (2) cash and other cash equivalents. The Fund will exercise its discretion to use such instruments to most efficiently utilize the cash balances arising from the use of futures contracts and generate a total return for investors. Under normal circumstances the Fund will invest at least 80% of its net assets, plus the amount of any borrowings for investment purposes, in futures contracts and other securities in an amount that provides investment exposure to oil.

 

The Fund will not invest directly in Oil Futures contracts but, instead, expects to gain exposure to these investments exclusively by investing in the Subsidiary. The Fund’s investment in the Subsidiary is intended to enable the Fund to gain exposure to relevant commodity markets within the limits of current federal income tax laws applicable to investment companies such as the Fund, which limit the ability of investment companies to invest directly in Oil Futures contracts. The Subsidiary and the Fund have the same investment objective. However, the Subsidiary may invest without limitation in the Oil Instruments. Except as otherwise noted, for the purposes of this Prospectus, references to the Fund’s investments include the Fund’s indirect investments through the Subsidiary.

 

The Advisor and Sub-Advisor will use their discretion to determine the percentage of the Fund’s assets allocated to the Oil Instruments held by the Subsidiary that will be invested in exchange-traded Oil Futures contracts or Oil-Related Assets. In this regard, under normal market conditions, the Subsidiary is expected to invest in futures contracts in proportional weights and allocations that are similar to the Index. The Fund does not seek leveraged returns. However, the Fund’s use of instruments to collateralize the Subsidiary’s investments in Oil Instruments has a leveraging effect and is designed to provide a total return, outperforming the investment performance of the Index.

 

The Index is a sub-index of the Bloomberg Commodity IndexSM (“BCOM”). BCOM is a widely followed commodity index which is calculated and published by Bloomberg L.P. and/or Bloomberg Finance L.P. and/or an affiliate of them (together, “Bloomberg”). BCOM and its various sub-indices have been published since 1998 with simulated historical performance calculated back to 1991 and tracks movements in the prices of rolling positions in a basket of commodity futures with a maturity between one and three months.

 

At present, there are 27 commodity futures eligible for inclusion in BCOM but five of those commodities (cocoa, lead, platinum, tin, and low sulphur gas oil) are currently not included in BCOM. With the exception of certain metals contracts (aluminum, lead, tin, nickel and zinc) that trade on the London Metals Exchange (“LME”) and the contracts for Brent crude oil and low sulphur gas oil, each of the commodities is the subject of at least one futures contract that trades on a U.S. exchange. The Index only includes WTI Crude Oil. BCOM uses a consistent, systematic process to represent the commodity markets using both liquidity data and U.S. dollar-weighted production data in determining the weightings of included commodities. Liquidity data is the relative amount of trading activity for a particular commodity and U.S. dollar-weighted production data takes the figures for production in the overall commodities market for all commodities in BCOM and weights them in BCOM in the same proportion in U.S. dollar terms.

 

The values of BCOM and the Index are computed on the basis of hypothetical investments in the basket of commodities of which they are comprised.

 

The values of BCOM and the Index are rebalanced annually starting on the fifth business day of January.

 

The Fund is classified as “non-diversified” under the 1940 Act.

 

Summary of Principal Risks of Investing in the Fund

 

Active Fund Management. The Fund is an ETF that seeks to provide total return through actively managed exposure to the Index. The Fund actively manages commodity and commodity-linked futures and other financial instruments and is not designed to track the Index. The Advisor and Sub-Advisor will determine the investments of the Fund and the Subsidiary on a discretionary basis, but there can be no guarantee that the Fund will meet its investment objective.

 

Authorized Participants. The Fund has entered into Authorized Participant Agreements with only a limited number of institutions. Should these Authorized Participants cease to act as such or, for any reason, be unable to create or redeem Shares of the Fund and new Authorized Participants are not appointed in their place, Shares of the Fund may trade at a discount to the Fund’s net asset value and possibly face delisting.

 

Cash Redemption Risk. The Fund expects to effect its creations and redemptions primarily for cash due to the nature of its investments. Paying redemption proceeds in cash rather than through in-kind delivery of portfolio securities may require the Fund to dispose of or sell portfolio investments to obtain the cash needed to distribute redemption proceeds at an inopportune time. This may cause the Fund to recognize investment income and/or capital gain that it might not have recognized if it had made a redemption in-kind. As a result, the Fund may be less tax efficient and may have to pay out higher annual distributions than if the in-kind redemption process was used.

 

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Commodity Pool Regulatory Risk. The Fund is deemed to be a commodity pool due to its investment exposure to commodity futures contracts and is subject to regulation under the Commodity Exchange Act (“CEA”) and Commodity Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC”) rules as well as the regulatory scheme applicable to registered investment companies. The Advisor is registered as a commodity pool operator (“CPO”) and the Sub-Advisor is registered as a commodity trading advisor (“CTA”). Registration as a CPO and CTA imposes additional compliance obligations on the Advisor, the Sub-Advisor, and the Fund related to additional laws, regulations, and enforcement policies, which could increase compliance costs and may affect the operations and financial performance of the Fund. These requirements are also subject to change at any time.

 

Commodity Price Risk. The NAV of the Fund will be affected by movements in commodity prices generally and by the way in which those prices and other factors affect the prices of the commodity futures contracts. Commodity prices generally may fluctuate widely and may be affected by numerous factors.

 

Cybersecurity Risk. Cybersecurity incidents may allow an unauthorized party to gain access to Fund assets, customer data (including private shareholder information), or proprietary information, or cause the Fund, the Advisor and/or its service providers (including, but not limited to, Fund accountants, custodians, sub-custodians, transfer agents and financial intermediaries) to suffer data breaches, data corruption or lose operational functionality.

 

Energy Sector Risk. Through its exposure to energy commodities, specifically crude oil, the Fund is subject to the risks of the energy sector and companies engaged in energy production and exploration. The energy sector and the price of energy commodity futures may be adversely affected by changes to or trends that affect commodity prices, the imposition of import controls, and government regulations related to environmental protection, health and safety. In addition, companies in the energy sector and the price of energy commodity futures may be impacted by economic conditions, technological developments, competition from alternative energy sources, and potential civil liabilities, such as environmental damage claims.

 

Risks Specific to the Crude Oil Markets. The price of crude oil depends largely upon the supply and demand for oil. In particular, the demand for oil may be driven by governments or large institutions. Other factors that may significantly impact the price of crude oil include technological innovations related to extraction, refining and processing, storage costs, government regulation, social unrest or political upheaval in oil producing countries, and crude oil hedging activity by crude oil producers.

 

Fixed-Income Securities and Money Market Instruments. A decline in an issuer’s credit rating or a rise in interest rates could cause the value of a fixed-income security or money market instrument to decrease. Interest rate risk is generally lower for shorter-term investments and higher for longer-term investments. The Fund may be subject to a heightened risk of rising interest rates due to the current historically low interest rate environment and the likely impact on market conditions of any potential government fiscal policy initiatives that respond to these low rates. In addition, the Fund’s income may decline due to falling interest rates or other factors.

 

Futures, Options and Options on Futures Contracts. Through its holdings of derivative instruments including futures, options and options on futures contracts, the Fund may be exposed to (i) losses from margin deposits in the case of bankruptcy of the relevant broker, and (ii) a risk that the relevant position cannot be closed out when required at its fundamental value.

 

Investment Company Securities. Through its holdings of securities of other investment companies, including exchange-traded funds, the Fund will bear a proportionate share of the fees and expenses paid by such other investment company, including advisory and administrative fees.

 

Investment Risk. An investor may lose the value of their entire investment or part of their investment in Shares.

 

Leverage Risk. To the extent the Fund is exposed directly or indirectly to leverage (through investments in commodities futures contracts) the value of the Fund may be more volatile than if no leverage were present.

 

Liquidity. Generally, only Authorized Participants may redeem Fund Shares. Investors other than Authorized Participants wishing to realize their Fund Shares will generally need to rely on secondary trading in the public trading market. There can be no assurance as to the price at which, or volume in which, it may at any time be possible to realize Fund Shares in the public trading market. Although the Fund Shares are listed for trading on NYSE Arca, there can be no assurance that an active trading market for such shares will develop or be maintained.

 

Market Risk. The prices of the assets in which the Fund invests may decline for a number of reasons, including in response to economic developments and perceptions about the creditworthiness of individual issuers.

 

Non-Diversification Risk. As a “non-diversified” fund, the Fund may hold a smaller number of portfolio securities than many other funds. To the extent the Fund invests in a relatively small number of issuers, a decline in the market value of a particular security held by the Fund may affect its value more than if it invested in a larger number of issuers. The value of Shares may be more volatile than the values of shares of more diversified funds.

 

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Roll Yield. During situations where the cost of any futures contracts for delivery on dates further in the future is higher than those for delivery closer in time, the value of the Fund holding such contracts will decrease over time unless the spot price of that contract increases by the same rate as the rate of the variation in the price of the futures contract. The rate of variation could be quite significant and last for an indeterminate period of time, reducing the value of the Fund.

 

Shares of the Fund May Trade at Prices Other than NAV. Although it is expected that the market price of the Shares of the Fund will approximate the Fund’s NAV when purchased and sold in the secondary market, the Fund faces numerous market trading risks, including the potential lack of an active market for Fund Shares, disruptions in the securities markets in which the Fund invests, periods of high market volatility and disruptions in the creation/redemption process. Any of these may lead to times when the market price of the Shares is more than the NAV intra-day (premium) or less than the NAV intra-day (discount).

 

Subsidiary Investment Risk. Changes in the laws of the United States and/or the Cayman Islands, under which the Fund and the Subsidiary are organized, respectively, could result in the inability of the Subsidiary to operate as intended and could negatively affect the Fund and its shareholders.

 

Swap Agreements. Swaps can involve greater risks than a direct investment in an underlying asset and these may increase or decrease the overall volatility of the Fund’s investment and its share price. As with other transactions, the Fund will bear the risk that the counterparty will default which could cause losses to the Fund.

 

Tax Risk. In order to qualify for the favorable U.S. federal income tax treatment accorded to a RIC under Subchapter M of the Code, the Fund must derive at least 90% of its gross income in each taxable year from certain categories of income (“qualifying income”) and must satisfy certain asset diversification requirements. Certain of the Fund’s investments will not generate income that is qualifying income. The Fund intends to hold such commodity-related investments indirectly, through the Subsidiary. In September 2016, the IRS issued proposed regulations that would generally require the Subsidiary to distribute its income each year in order for the Fund to treat that income as “qualifying income”. The Fund has secured an opinion of counsel based on customary representations that actual distributions made to the Fund should be treated as “qualifying income”, which is consistent with the proposed IRS regulations. Accordingly, to the extent the Subsidiary makes distribution out of its earnings and profits, the Fund expects such distributions to be treated as qualifying income. The Advisor or Sub-Advisor will carefully monitor the Fund’s investments in the Subsidiary to ensure that no more than 25% of the Fund’s assets are invested in the Subsidiary to ensure compliance with the Fund’s asset diversification test as described in more detail in the SAI. To the extent the Fund makes direct investments in commodity-linked derivative instruments, it will seek to restrict the resulting income from such instruments so that, when combined with its other non-qualifying income, the Fund’s non-qualifying income is less than 10% of its gross income.

 

Fund Performance

 

The bar chart and table that follow show how the Fund has performed on a calendar year basis and provides some indication of the risks of investing in the Fund by showing the variability of the Fund’s return based on net assets and comparing the Fund’s performance to the Index and to the Bloomberg Commodity Index Total ReturnSM, a broad measure of market performance. Past performance (before and after taxes) does not necessarily indicate how the Fund will perform in the future. Updated performance information will be available at www.aberdeenstandardetfs.us.

 

Effective February 28, 2019, the Fund changed its investment strategies and objective. Thus, performance information for periods prior to February 28, 2019 does not reflect the current investment objective or strategies. Prior to the change, the Fund’s Index was the Bloomberg Energy Index 3 Month ForwardSM (the “Former Index”). In the table below, which provides performance information for periods ended December 31, 2018, the Average Annual Total Returns include the performance of the Former Index.

 

Annual Returns as of December 31

[BAR CHART TO BE INSERTED BY FINANCIAL PRINTER in 485(b)]

2018 [   ]%

 

For the period shown in the bar chart above:

 

Best Quarter [                      ] [     ]%
Worst Quarter [                      ] [     ]%

 

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Average Annual Total Returns
(for the periods ended December 31, 2018)
  One Year     Since Inception
of Fund
      Inception Date
of Fund
 
Before Taxes   [  ] %   [  ] %     March 30, 2017  
After Taxes on Distributions   [  ]  %   [  ]  %      
After Taxes on Distributions and Sale of Shares   [  ]  %   [  ]  %      
Bloomberg WTI Crude Oil Subindex Total ReturnSM (reflects no deduction for fees, expenses or taxes)   [  ]  %   [  ] %      
Bloomberg Energy Index 3 Month ForwardSM*(reflects no deduction for fees, expenses or taxes)   [  ]  %   [  ]  %      
Bloomberg Commodity Index Total ReturnSM (reflects no deduction for fees, expenses or taxes)   [  ]  %   [  ] %      

 

*This index, the Fund’s previous benchmark index, shows the “excess return” of the Bloomberg Energy Index 3 Month Forward Total Return, meaning that it reflects the performance of such Index minus the returns on cash collateral invested in U.S. Treasury Bills.

 

Average annual total returns are shown on a before- and after-tax basis for the Fund. After-tax returns are calculated using the historical highest individual federal marginal income tax rates and do not reflect the impact of state and local taxes. Actual after-tax returns depend on an investor’s tax situation and may differ from those shown. After-tax returns shown are not relevant to investors who hold shares through tax-deferred arrangements, such as 401(k) plans or individual retirement accounts (“IRAs”). After-tax returns may exceed the return before taxes due to an assumed tax benefit from realizing a capital loss on a sale of shares.

 

Management

 

Investment Advisor and Sub-Advisor

 

Aberdeen Standard Investments ETFs Advisors LLC serves as the investment advisor to the Fund and the Subsidiary.

 

Vident Investment Advisory, LLC serves as the sub-advisor to the Fund and the Subsidiary.

 

Portfolio Managers

 

Employee   Length of Service   Title
Denise M. Krisko, CFA   Since inception   Co-Portfolio Manager
Austin Wen, CFA   Since October 2018   Co-Portfolio Manager

 

Buying and Selling Fund Shares

 

The Fund is an ETF, which means that its Shares are listed on a national securities exchange, such as the NYSE Arca, and trade at market prices. Most investors will buy and sell shares of the Fund through brokers. Because Fund Shares trade on such exchanges at market prices rather than NAV, shares may trade at a price greater than NAV (premium) or less than NAV (discount). The Fund issues and redeems shares (at NAV) only in large blocks of shares (“Creation Units”), which only certain institutions or large investors (typically market makers or other broker-dealers) may purchase or redeem. Currently, Creation Units generally consist of 25,000 shares, though this may change from time to time. Creation Units are not expected to consist of less than 25,000 shares. The Fund generally issues and redeems Creation Units in exchange for a designated amount of cash (in U.S. dollars), a portfolio of securities closely approximating the holdings of the Fund or a combination of both.

 

Tax Information

 

The Fund intends to make distributions that may be taxed as ordinary income or capital gains.

 

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Payments to Broker-Dealers and Other Financial Intermediaries

 

If you purchase shares of the Fund through a broker-dealer or other financial intermediary (such as a bank) (an “Intermediary”), the Advisor or its affiliates may pay Intermediaries for certain activities related to the Fund, including participation in activities that are designed to make Intermediaries more knowledgeable about exchange-traded products, including the Fund, or for other activities, such as marketing, educational training or other initiatives related to the sale or promotion of Fund Shares. These payments may create a conflict of interest by influencing the Intermediary and your salesperson to recommend the Fund over another investment. Any such arrangements do not result in increased Fund expenses. Ask your salesperson or visit the Intermediary’s website for more information.

 

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Additional Information about the Funds

 

Additional Investment Objective Information

 

Each Fund’s investment objective is a non-fundamental policy. Non-fundamental investment objectives and policies may be changed by the Board of Trustees (the “Board”) of Aberdeen Standard Investments ETFs (the “Trust”), of which each Fund is a series, without shareholder approval. In the case of any material change to the principal investment strategies of a Fund, investors in that Fund should consider whether that Fund remains an appropriate investment for them. There is no guarantee that a Fund will achieve its investment objective.

 

Additional Information About Each Funds Investment Strategy

 

Each Fund is an actively managed ETF which will aim to achieve its investment objectives by investing in Commodity Instruments and other financial instruments which provide exposure similar to the components on the relevant Index. Under normal market conditions, each Fund intends to invest, through its Subsidiary, (collectively, the “Subsidiaries”) in commodity futures, centrally and non-centrally cleared swaps, exchange-traded options on futures contracts and exchange-traded commodity linked instruments.

 

Commodity Instruments are linked to underlying physical and tangible assets and each Fund will seek to invest in these assets without holding the physical assets directly. Federal tax laws prevent the Funds from directly holding physical commodities or Commodity Instruments and each Fund will therefore invest indirectly in the Commodity Instruments through its holdings in its respective Subsidiary. By investing through the Subsidiaries, the Funds are able to gain exposure to the Commodity Instruments within the limits of the federal tax laws, including Subchapter M Code.

 

Each Subsidiary is organized under the laws of the Cayman Islands and is wholly-owned and invested by its respective Fund. Interests in each Subsidiary, will not be sold or offered to other investors. Each Subsidiary is overseen by its own board of directors and the Advisor serves as investment advisor to each Subsidiary, managing it in accordance with the policies and procedures of the relevant Fund. Each Fund’s investment in its Subsidiary may not exceed 25% of the Fund’s total assets at each fiscal quarter end. The investment objective of each Subsidiary is the same as that of the relevant Fund that wholly-owns that Subsidiary.

 

Like each Fund, each Subsidiary also may invest in cash or highly liquid securities intended to promote liquidity, serve as margin or collateralize the Subsidiary’s positions in Commodities Instruments. The remainder of each Fund’s assets that are not invested in the Subsidiary will principally be invested in: (1) short-term investment grade fixed-income securities that include U.S. government securities and money market instruments; and (2) cash and other cash equivalents. Each Fund will use such instruments to generate a total return and to provide liquidity, serve as margin or otherwise collateralize investment in Commodity Instruments.

 

If a registered investment company (such as each of the Funds) invests more than a specified amount of its NAV in CFTC-regulated futures, options and swaps or provides exposure to such instruments, it becomes subject to certain requirements adopted by the CFTC. As each Fund will pass this NAV threshold in its investments, it will be deemed to be a “commodity pool” and the Advisor will be registered as a commodity pool operator and the Sub-Advisor will be a commodity trading advisor. The Advisor and Sub-Advisor will manage both the Funds and the Subsidiaries in accordance with applicable CFTC rules and, in addition, with respect to the Funds, to the rules that apply to registered investment companies.

 

Each of the Aberdeen Standard Bloomberg All Commodity Strategy K-1 Free ETF and Aberdeen Standard Bloomberg All Commodity Longer Dated Strategy K-1 Free ETF may not hold more that 25% of its total assets in securities of issuers (other than in obligations issued or guaranteed by the U.S. government, its agencies or instrumentalities or securities of other investment companies) in any one industry or group of industries. The Aberdeen Standard Bloomberg Agriculture Commodity Strategy K-1 Free ETF may not hold more than 25% of its total assets in securities of issuers (other than in obligations issued or guaranteed by the U.S. government, its agencies or instrumentalities or securities of other investment companies) in any one industry or group of industries other than the agriculture industry. Each of the Aberdeen Standard Bloomberg Energy Commodity Strategy K-1 Free ETF and Aberdeen Standard Bloomberg WTI Crude Oil Strategy K-1 Free ETF may not hold more than 25% of its total assets in securities of issuers (other than in obligations issued or guaranteed by the U.S. government, its agencies or instrumentalities or securities of other investment companies) in any one industry or group of industries other than the energy sector.

 

Under normal circumstances, the Aberdeen Standard Bloomberg Agriculture Commodity Strategy K-1 Free ETF will invest at least 80% of its net assets, plus the amount of any borrowings for investment purposes, in futures contracts and other securities in an amount that provides investment exposure to agricultural commodities. Under normal circumstances, the Aberdeen Standard Bloomberg Energy Commodity Strategy K-1 Free ETF will invest at least 80% of its net assets, plus the amount of any borrowings for investment purposes, in futures contracts and other securities in an amount that provides investment exposure to energy commodities. Under normal circumstances, the Aberdeen Standard Bloomberg WTI Crude Oil Strategy K-1 Free ETF will invest at least 80% of its net assets, plus the amount of any borrowings for investment purposes, in futures contracts and other securities in an amount that provides investment exposure to oil. If, subsequent to an investment, the 80% requirement is no longer met, the Fund’s future investments will be made in a manner that will bring the Fund into compliance with this policy. Prior to any change in a Fund’s 80% policy, the Fund will provide shareholders with 60 days’ notice.

 

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Principal Investment Strategies

 

The following are expected to be principal investment strategies of each Fund:

 

Commodity Futures. Each Fund, through its Subsidiary, invests in exchange-traded commodity futures contracts as part of its principal investment strategies. Commodity futures contracts are an agreement to buy or sell a certain amount of a commodity at a specific price on a specific date (their expiration) which are negotiated and traded on futures exchanges. Commodity futures contracts are generally based upon commodities within the following commodity groups: energy, industrial metals, agriculture, precious metals, foods and fibers, and livestock.

 

Commodity futures contracts are traded on futures exchanges which provide a central marketplace to negotiate and transact futures contracts, a clearing corporation to process trades and a secondary market. Commodity futures exchanges provide standardization with regards to certain key features such as expiration dates, contract sizes and terms and conditions of delivery. Commodity futures exchanges set a maximum permissible price movement either up or down during a single trading day and when this limit has been reached, no trades may be placed that day at a price beyond that limit. Exchanges may also impose position limit rules limiting the value or number of contracts in one commodity that may be held by one market participant to ensure that the amount of futures contracts that any one party may hold in a particular commodity at any point in time to ensure that no one participant can control a significant portion of the market in a particular commodity.

 

More commonly, as futures contracts near expiration, they are often replaced with a later dated contract in a process known as “rolling”. This involves selling the contracts before they expire and purchasing similar contacts that have a later expiration date. Any difference between the price for the nearer delivery month contract and the price for distant month contract is known as a ‘roll yield’ and this can be either a positive amount or a negative amount. Futures contracts may be satisfied at expiration by delivery of the relevant commodity from one party to the other.

 

Commodity futures contract prices are generally comprised of the price of the relevant commodity as well as the costs of storing the physical commodity. Storage costs include (i) the time value of money invested in the physical commodity, (ii) plus the costs of storing the commodity, (iii) less any benefits of owning the physical commodity not obtained by the holder of a futures contract (the “convenience yield”).

 

Due to the volatility of commodity futures and the risk of credit risk exposure to the counterparty to the contract, commodity futures exchanges each have clearing corporations which act as counterparty to all contracts by either buying or selling directly to the market participants. This means that when each Subsidiary purchases or sells commodity futures contracts, their obligations will be to the clearinghouse and it will be the clearinghouse that is obliged to satisfy the Subsidiaries’ rights under a commodity futures contract.

 

To ensure a party to a futures contract fulfills its obligations to the clearinghouse, all participants are required to post and maintain a level of collateral (the collateral is known as “margin”). An exchange will set the margin requirements for the contracts which trade there and these can be modified by the terms of the futures contract.  Margin requirements range upward from less than 5% of the value of the futures contract being traded. Margin requirements can be offset by other opposing futures transactions, but margin payments will continue to be required.

 

When the price of a particular futures contract increases (in the case of a sale) or decreases (in the case of a purchase) and any loss on the futures contract means that the margin already held does not satisfy margin requirements, further margin must be posted. Conversely, if there is a favorable price change in the futures contract any excess margin may be removed from the relevant deposit account. Any margin deposited by a Subsidiary should earn interest income.

 

SEC guidance sets out certain requirements with respect to coverage of futures positions by registered investment companies which each Fund and each Subsidiary will comply with. This includes, in certain circumstances, the need to segregate cash or liquid securities on its books and records and to engage in other appropriate measures to ensure its obligations under particular futures or derivative contracts are covered.  Cash settled futures contracts will require a Fund to segregate liquid assets in an amount equal to its daily mark-to-market (net) obligation under that contract.  Any securities held in a segregated account or otherwise earmarked for these purposes may not be sold while a Fund maintains the relevant position, unless they are replaced with other permissible assets. Each Fund may also purchase put options as a means of covering its investments if they are on the same futures contract and their strike price is as high or higher than the price of the relevant contracts. Each Subsidiary may not enter into futures positions if such positions will require the Fund to set aside or earmark more than 100% of its net assets.

 

Derivatives. Each Fund uses derivative instruments as part of its investment strategies. Generally, derivatives are financial contracts whose value depends upon, or is derived from, the value of an underlying asset, reference rate or index, and may relate to bonds, interest rates, currencies, commodities, and related indexes. Examples of derivative instruments include forward contracts, currency and interest rate swaps, currency options, futures contracts, options on futures contracts and swap agreements. The Fund’s use of derivative instruments will be underpinned by investments in short-term, high-quality instruments, such as U.S. money market securities.

 

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With respect to certain kinds of derivative transactions that involve obligations to make future payments to third parties, including, but not limited to, futures contracts, forward contracts, swap contracts, the purchase of securities on a when-issued or delayed delivery basis, or reverse repurchase agreements, under applicable federal securities laws, rules, and interpretations thereof, the Funds must “set aside” liquid assets, or engage in other measures to “cover” open positions with respect to such transactions. For example, with respect to forward contracts and futures contracts that are not contractually required to “cash-settle,” the Funds must cover its open positions by setting aside liquid assets equal to the contracts’ full, notional value. The Funds treat deliverable forward contracts for currencies that are liquid as the equivalent of “cash-settled” contracts. As such, the Funds may set aside liquid assets in an amount equal to the Fund’s daily marked-to-market (net) obligation (i.e., the Fund’s daily net liability, if any) rather than the full notional amount under such deliverable forward contracts. Similarly, with respect to futures contracts that are contractually required to “cash-settle” the Funds may set aside liquid assets in an amount equal to the Fund’s daily marked-to-market (net) obligation rather than the notional value. Each Fund reserves the right to modify these policies in the future.

 

Swap Agreements. Each Fund may enter into swap agreements, including interest rate swaps. A typical interest rate swap involves the exchange of a floating interest rate payment for a fixed interest payment. Swap agreements may be used to hedge or achieve exposure to, for example, interest rates and money market securities without actually purchasing such securities. Each Fund may use swap agreements to invest in a market without owning or taking physical custody of the underlying securities in circumstances in which direct investment is restricted for legal reasons or is otherwise impracticable. Swap agreements will tend to shift a Fund’s investment exposure from one type of investment to another or from one payment stream to another.

 

Investment Company Securities. Each Fund may invest in the securities of other investment companies subject to applicable limitations under Section 12(d)(1) of the 1940 Act. Pursuant to Section 12(d)(1), each Fund may invest in the securities of another investment company (the “acquired company”) provided that the Fund, immediately after such purchase or acquisition, does not own in the aggregate: (i) more than 3% of the total outstanding voting stock of the acquired company; (ii) securities issued by the acquired company having an aggregate value in excess of 5% of the value of the total assets of the Fund; or (iii) securities issued by the acquired company and all other investment companies (other than treasury stock of the Fund) having an aggregate value in excess of 10% of the value of the total assets of the Fund. To the extent allowed by law or regulation, the Fund may invest its assets in securities of investment companies that are money market funds in excess of the limits discussed above.

 

If the Fund invests in and, thus, is a shareholder of, another investment company, the Fund’s shareholders will indirectly bear the Fund’s proportionate share of the fees and expenses paid by such other investment company, including advisory fees, in addition to both the management fees payable directly by the Fund to the Fund’s own investment advisor and the other expenses that the Fund bears directly in connection with the Fund’s own operations.

 

Section 12(d)(1) of the 1940 Act restricts investments by registered investment companies in the securities of other investment companies, including shares of each Fund. Registered investment companies are permitted to invest in the Funds beyond the limits set forth in Section 12(d)(1) subject to certain terms and conditions set forth in an SEC exemptive order issued to the Trust, including that such investment companies enter into an agreement with the Funds. Each Fund may rely on Section 12(d)(1)(F) and Rule 12d1-3 of the 1940 Act, which provide an exemption from Section 12(d)(1) that allows a Fund to invest all of its assets in other registered funds, including Aberdeen Standard Investments ETFs, if, among other conditions: (a) a Fund, together with its affiliates, acquires no more than three percent of the outstanding voting stock of any acquired fund, and (b) the sales load charged on a Fund’s shares is no greater than the limits set forth in Rule 2830 of the Conduct Rules of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. (“FINRA”).

 

Money Market Instruments. Each Fund may invest a portion of its assets in high-quality money market instruments on an ongoing basis to provide liquidity or for other reasons. The instruments in which a Fund may invest include: (i) short-term obligations issued by the U.S. Government; (ii) negotiable certificates of deposit (“CDs”), fixed time deposits and bankers’ acceptances of U.S. and foreign banks and similar institutions; (iii) commercial paper rated at the date of purchase “Prime-1” by Moody’s or “A-1+” or “A-1” by Standard & Poor’s (“S&P”) or, if unrated, of comparable quality as determined by the Fund; and (iv) repurchase agreements. U.S. government securities are obligations of, or guaranteed by, the U.S. government, its agencies or government-sponsored enterprises and such obligations may be short-, intermediate- or long-term. CDs are short-term negotiable obligations of commercial banks. Time deposits are non-negotiable deposits maintained in banking institutions for specified periods of time at stated interest rates. Banker’s acceptances are time drafts drawn on commercial banks by borrowers, usually in connection with international transactions.

 

Additional Principal Risk Information About the Funds

 

Agriculture Industry Risk. Through its exposure to agricultural commodities, the Aberdeen Standard Bloomberg Agriculture Commodity Strategy K-1 Free ETF is subject to the risks of the agriculture industry and companies engaged in agricultural production. The agriculture industry and the price of agricultural futures contracts may be adversely affected by changes to or trends that affect commodity prices, labor costs, tariffs, government subsidy policies, and laws and regulations related to environmental protection, health and safety. Adverse weather conditions, including droughts and floods, natural disasters and disease outbreaks may also adversely affect the agricultural companies and the industry.

 

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Authorized Participants. The Funds have entered into Authorized Participant Agreements with only a limited number of institutions. Should these Authorized Participants cease to act as such or for any reason be unable to create or redeem Shares of the Funds and new Authorized Participants not appointed in their place, Shares of the Funds may trade at a discount to that Fund’s net asset value and possibly face delisting.

 

Cash Redemption Risk. Each Fund expects to effect its creations and redemptions primarily for cash due to the nature of its investments. Paying redemption proceeds in cash rather than through in-kind delivery of portfolio securities may require a Fund to dispose of or sell portfolio investments to obtain the cash needed to distribute redemption proceeds at an inopportune time. This may cause the Fund to recognize investment income and/or capital gains that it might not have recognized if it had made a redemption in-kind. As a result, the Fund may be less tax efficient and may have to pay out higher annual distributions than if the in-kind redemption process was used. As a practical matter, only institutions and large investors, such as market makers or other large broker-dealers, purchase or redeem Creation Units. Most investors will buy and sell shares of a Fund on an exchange.

 

Cayman Subsidiary. Each Fund will not invest directly in commodity futures contracts but, instead, expects to gain exposure to these investments exclusively by investing in its Subsidiary. A Fund’s investment in its Subsidiary is intended to enable that Fund to gain exposure to relevant commodity markets within the limits of current federal income tax laws applicable to investment companies such as the Funds, which limit the ability of investment companies to invest directly in commodity futures contracts. Each Subsidiary will have the same investment objective as the relevant Fund. However, the Subsidiary may invest without limitation in the Commodities Instruments. Except as otherwise noted, references to a Fund’s investments include that Fund’s indirect investments through its Subsidiary. A Fund will invest up to 25% of its total assets in the Subsidiary.

 

None of the Subsidiaries have registered under the 1940 Act and, except as noted in this Prospectus or the SAI, are each not directly subject to its investor protections. The Board has oversight responsibility for the investment activities of each Fund, including each Fund’s investments in its Subsidiary and each Fund’s role as the sole shareholder of its Subsidiary. The Advisor also serves as advisor to each Subsidiary and each Subsidiary pays a proportion of the management fee of the Advisor. The Advisor has contractually agreed to waive the equivalent portion of the management fee that it receives from the Fund.

 

Each Fund complies with the provisions of the 1940 Act governing investment policies (Section 8) and capital structure and leverage (Section 18) on an aggregate basis with the Subsidiary.

 

Each Subsidiary will also enter into separate contracts for the provision of custody and administration services with the same service providers or with affiliates of the same service providers that provide those services to the Fund.

 

Changes in the laws of the United States (where the Funds are organized) and/or the Cayman Islands (where each Subsidiary is incorporated) could prevent a Fund and/or the relevant Subsidiary from operating as described in this Prospectus and the SAI and could negatively affect a Fund and its shareholders. For example, the Cayman Islands currently does not impose certain taxes on each Subsidiary, including income and capital gains tax, among others. If Cayman Islands laws were changed to require a Subsidiary to pay Cayman Islands taxes, this could lead to a decrease in the NAV of the Fund.

 

The financial statements of a Subsidiary will be consolidated with the relevant Fund’s financial statements in that Fund’s Annual and Semi-Annual Reports.

 

Commodity Pool Regulatory Risk. Each Fund is deemed to be a commodity pool due to its investment exposure to commodity futures contracts and is subject to regulation under the CEA and CFTC rules as well as the regulatory scheme applicable to registered investment companies. The Advisor is registered as a CPO and the Sub-Advisor is registered as a CTA. Registration as a CPO and CTA imposes additional compliance obligations on the Advisor, the Sub-Advisor, and each Fund related to additional laws, regulations, and enforcement policies, which could increase compliance costs and may affect the operations and financial performance of the Fund. These requirements are also subject to change at any time.

 

Commodity Price Risk. The NAV of a Fund will be affected by movements in commodity prices generally and by the way in which those prices and other factors affect the prices of the commodity futures contracts as explained in “Roll Yield” below. Commodity prices generally may fluctuate widely and may be affected by numerous factors, including:

 

global or regional political, economic or financial events and situations, particularly war, terrorism, expropriation and other activities which might lead to disruptions to supply from countries that are major commodity producers;

investment trading, hedging or other activities conducted by large trading houses, producers, users, hedge funds, commodities funds, governments or other speculators which could impact global supply or demand;

the weather, which can affect short-term demand or supply for some commodities;

the future rates of economic activity and inflation, particularly in countries which are major consumers of commodities;

major discoveries of sources of commodities; and

disruptions to the infrastructure or means by which commodities are produced, distributed and stored, which are capable of causing substantial price movements in a short period of time.

 

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Prices of commodity futures contracts fluctuate widely and have in the past experienced periods of extreme volatility and this may be affected by:

 

commodity prices generally;

trading activities on the exchanges upon which they trade, which might be impacted by the liquidity in the futures contracts; and

trading activity specific to particular futures contract(s) and maturities.

 

Cybersecurity Risk. Cybersecurity incidents may allow an unauthorized party to gain access to Fund assets, customer data (including private shareholder information), or proprietary information, or cause the Fund, the Advisor and/or its service providers (including, but not limited to, Fund accountants, custodians, sub-custodians, transfer agents and financial intermediaries) to suffer data breaches, data corruption or lose operational functionality.

 

Energy Sector Risk. Through their exposure to energy commodities, the Aberdeen Standard Bloomberg Energy Commodity Strategy K-1 Free ETF and Aberdeen Standard Bloomberg WTI Crude Oil Strategy K-1 Free ETF are subject to the risks of the energy sector. The energy sector and energy futures contract prices may be adversely affected by changes to or trends that affect commodity prices, the imposition of import controls, and government regulations related to environmental protection, health and safety. Markets for various energy commodities may experience significant volatility, and are subject to control or manipulation by large producers or purchasers. In addition, companies in the energy sector and energy futures contract prices may be impacted by world events, economic conditions, energy supply and demand, commodity price volatility, labor relations, technological developments, competition from alternative energy sources, weather, natural disasters, and potential civil liabilities, such as environmental damage claims.

 

Risks Specific to the Crude Oil Markets. Through its exposure to oil commodities, the Aberdeen Standard Bloomberg WTI Crude Oil Strategy K-1 Free ETF is subject to the risks of the crude oil markets. The price of crude oil and, in turn, Oil Instruments owned by the Fund, may be significantly affected by, but not limited to, the following factors:

 

Significant fluctuations in the supply of and demand for crude oil. Natural factors, including environmental and climatological conditions, may contribute to the depletion of known cost-effective sources for crude oil and/or a decrease in the global demand for crude oil. In particular, severe weather may impact the ability of oil companies to produce, refine or distribute crude oil. Technological innovations may also significantly impact the global supply and demand for oil through either the development of new and improved extraction, refining and processing equipment and methods or energy substitutes for oil. Improvements in technology may also mitigate the likelihood that major refining and processing equipment, including refineries, will fail or become unavailable, which, in turn, impacts the crude oil supply.

Significant changes in the attitude of market participants, such as speculators and investors, toward crude oil could cause worldwide crude oil prices to change, which could have a corresponding positive or negative impact on the price of the Fund’s shares.

Large purchases or sales of crude oil by governments and large institutions that have large commodities holdings or may establish major commodities positions. For example, nations with centralized or nationalized oil production and organizations such as the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) control large physical quantities of crude oil and their decisions to purchase or sell large amounts of crude oil could change world prices and impact the price of the Fund’s shares.

Both peaceful political activity, such as the imposition of governmental regulations or the entry into trade treaties, and political disruptions caused by war, social unrest, societal breakdown, and/or insurrection may greatly impact crude oil prices.

Significant fluctuations in crude oil hedging activity by crude oil producers could cause a change in world crude oil prices, which, in turn, could impact the price of the Fund’s shares.

 

Fixed-Income Securities and Money Market Instruments. A decline in an issuer’s credit rating or a rise in interest rates could cause the value of a fixed-income security or money market instrument to decrease. Interest rate risk is the risk that fixed-income securities will decline in value because of an increase in interest rates and changes to other factors, such as perception of an issuer’s creditworthiness. Each Fund may be subject to a heightened risk of rising interest rates due to the current historically low interest rate environment and the likely impact on market conditions of any potential government fiscal policy initiatives that respond to these low rates. Interest rate risk is generally lower for shorter-term investments and higher for longer-term investments. For example, the price of a security with a ten-year duration would be expected to drop by approximately 10% in response to a 1% increase in interest rates. In addition, a Fund’s income may decline due to falling interest rates or other factors. The issuers of securities held by a Fund may call or redeem the securities during periods of falling interest rates, and the Fund would likely be required to reinvest in securities paying lower interest rates. If an obligation held by a Fund is prepaid, the Fund may have to reinvest the prepayment in other obligations paying income at lower rates.

 

Futures, Options and Options on Futures Contracts. The risk of loss in trading futures contracts or uncovered call options in some strategies (e.g., selling uncovered stock index futures contracts) is potentially unlimited. The Funds do not currently plan to use futures and options contracts in this way. The risk of a futures position may still be large as traditionally measured due to the low margin deposits required. In many cases, a relatively small price movement in a futures contract may result in immediate and substantial loss or gain to the investor relative to the size of a required margin deposit. The Funds, however, intend to utilize futures and options contracts in a manner designed to limit its risk exposure to levels comparable to direct investment in stocks.

 

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Utilization of futures and options on futures by a Fund, through its Subsidiary, involves the risk of loss by the Subsidiary of margin deposits in the event of bankruptcy of a broker with whom the Subsidiary has an open position in the futures contract or option. The purchase of put or call options will be based upon predictions by a Subsidiary as to anticipated trends, which predictions could prove to be incorrect.

 

There is also liquidity risk that a particular future cannot be sold, closed out, or replaced quickly at or very close to its fundamental value. If the Subsidiary encounters problems and it is not possible to close out the relevant positions, it might be required to continue to maintain such assets or accounts or make such payments until the position expires, matures, or is closed out. This could prevent the Subsidiary from being able to sell a security or make an investment at the optimum time or require it to sell that investment at a disadvantageous time. Due to liquidity risk in the underlying instruments, there is no assurance that any futures position can be sold or closed out at a time and price that is favorable to the Subsidiary.

 

The potential for loss related to the purchase of an option on a futures contract is limited to the premium paid for the option plus transaction costs. Because the value of the option is fixed at the point of sale, there are no daily cash payments by the purchaser to reflect changes in the value of the underlying contract. However, the value of the option changes daily and that change would be reflected in the NAV of the Fund. The potential for loss related to writing options may be unlimited.

 

Although it is intended that the Subsidiaries will only enter into futures contracts if there is an active market for such contracts, there is no assurance that an active market will exist for the contracts at any particular time.

 

General Market Risk. An investment in the Funds should be made with an understanding that the value of each Fund’s assets may fluctuate in accordance with changes in the financial condition of an issuer or counterparty, changes in specific economic or political conditions that affect a particular asset or issuer and changes in general economic or political conditions (see Commodity Price Risk). An investor in the Funds could lose money over short or long periods of time.

 

Investment Company Securities. Through its holdings of securities of other investment companies, including exchange-traded funds, the Funds will bear a proportionate share of the fees and expenses paid by such other investment company, including advisory and administrative fees.

 

Investment Risk. An investor may lose the value of their entire investment or part of their investment in Shares.

 

Leverage. Certain of the Funds’ investments in derivatives (through the Subsidiaries) may give rise to a form of economic leverage as changes in the value or level of the assets underlying those derivatives can result in an increase in the gains or losses on the investment held by the Funds which could lead to losses to the Funds of greater than the investment in the derivative instrument. The Funds and Subsidiaries will comply with SEC guidance which requires them to maintain segregated assets equal to the value of all such derivative investments but the impact of this economic leverage may cause the Fund to realize it positions in these or other portfolio investments to meet the associated obligations at a time when it may not be advantageous for the Fund to do so.

 

Roll Yield. The Funds, through the Subsidiaries, expect to invest in futures contracts which, as they near expiration, need to be replaced with later dated contracts in a process known as “rolling”. As the exchange-traded futures contracts approach expiration, they will be sold prior to their expiration date and similar contracts that have a later expiration date are purchased. Thus, for example, a futures contract purchased and held in August may specify an October expiration. As time passes, the contract expiring in October may be replaced by a contract for delivery in November. Any difference between the price for the nearer delivery month contract and the price for distant month contract is known as a ‘roll yield’ and this can be either a positive amount or a negative amount. If the market for these contracts is (putting aside other considerations) in “backwardation”, which means that the prices are lower in the distant delivery months than in the nearer delivery months, the sale of the October contract would take place at a price that is higher than the price of the November contract, thereby creating a “roll yield”. While some of the contracts a Fund may hold have historically exhibited consistent periods of backwardation, backwardation may not exist at all times. Moreover, certain commodities, such as gold, have historically traded in “contango” markets. Contango markets are those in which the prices of contracts are higher in the distant delivery months than in the nearer delivery months. The absence of backwardation and presence of contango in a particular commodity market could result in negative “roll yields”, which could adversely affect the value of a Fund which holds the relevant futures contracts. However, the existence of contango (or backwardation) in a particular commodity market does not automatically result in negative (or positive) “roll yields”. The actual realization of a potential roll yield will be dependent upon the shape of the futures curve. The term ‘futures curve’ refers to the relationship between the price of futures contracts over different futures contract maturity dates when plotted in a graph. If the relevant part of the commodity futures curve is in backwardation — a downward sloping futures curve — then, all other factors being equal, the price of a product or index holding that future will tend to rise over time as lower futures prices converge to higher spot prices. The opposite effect would occur for contango.

 

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Shares of the Fund May Trade at Prices Other than NAV. As with all ETFs, shares of the Funds may be bought and sold in the secondary market at market prices. Although it is expected that the market price of the Shares of a Fund will approximate the Fund’s NAV when purchased and sold in the secondary market, there may be times when the market price of the Shares is more than the NAV intra-day (premium) or less than the NAV intra-day (discount). This risk is heightened in times of market volatility or periods of steep market declines. The market price of a Fund’s shares on exchange during the trading day, like the price of any exchange-traded security, includes a “bid/ask” spread charged by the exchange specialist, market makers or other participants that trade the Fund’s shares. In times of severe market disruption, the bid/ask spread can increase significantly. At those times, Fund Shares are most likely to be traded at a discount to NAV, and the discount is likely to be greatest when the price of Fund Shares is falling fastest, which may be the time that you most want to sell your Fund Shares. The Advisor believes that, under normal market conditions, large market price discounts or premiums to NAV will not be sustained because of arbitrage opportunities.

  

Swap Agreements. Swaps can involve greater risks than a direct investment in an underlying asset and these may increase or decrease the overall volatility of the Fund’s investment and its share price. As with other transactions, the Funds will bear the risk that the counterparty will default which could cause losses to the Funds.

 

Tax Risk. In order to qualify for the favorable U.S. federal income tax treatment accorded to RICs under Subchapter M of the Code, each Fund must derive at least 90% of its gross income in each taxable year from certain categories of income (“qualifying income”). Each Fund intends to hold certain commodity-related investments indirectly, through its Subsidiary. The Funds have secured an opinion of counsel based on customary representations that actual distributions made to a Fund should be treated as “qualifying income”. The Funds believe that income from a Subsidiary will be qualifying income because it expects that each Subsidiary will make annual distributions of its earnings and profits. The Advisor and/or Sub-Advisor will carefully monitor each Fund’s investments in each Subsidiary to ensure that no more than 25% of a Fund’s assets are invested in a Subsidiary to ensure compliance with the Fund’s asset diversification test as described in more detail in the SAI. Certain of each Fund’s direct investments may generate income that is not qualifying income. To the extent the Funds make direct investments in commodity-linked derivative instruments, they will seek to restrict the resulting income from such instruments so that, when combined with its other non-qualifying income, the Funds’ non-qualifying income is less than 10% of their gross income. However, a Fund might generate more non-qualifying income than anticipated, might not be able to generate qualifying income in a particular taxable year at levels sufficient to meet the qualifying income test, or might not be able to determine the percentage of qualifying income it derives for a taxable year until after year-end. In addition, each Fund must satisfy a quarterly asset diversification test. If a Fund were to fail to meet the qualifying income test or the asset diversification test and fail to qualify as a RIC, it would be taxed in the same manner as an ordinary corporation, and distributions to its shareholders would not be deductible by the Fund in computing its taxable income. The failure by a Fund to qualify as a RIC would have significant negative tax consequences to Fund shareholders and would affect a shareholder’s return on its investment in such Fund. Under certain circumstances, a Fund may be able to cure a failure to meet the qualifying income test or the asset diversification test if such failure was due to reasonable cause and not willful neglect, but in order to do so the Fund may incur significant fund-level taxes, which would effectively reduce (and could eliminate) the Fund’s returns.

 

U.S. Government Securities. U.S. government securities are subject to market and interest rate risk, and may be subject to varying degrees of credit risk. U.S. government securities include inflation-indexed fixed-income securities, such as U.S. Treasury Inflation Protected Securities (TIPS). U.S. government securities include zero coupon securities, which tend to be subject to greater market risk than interest-paying securities of similar maturities.

 

Additional Non-Principal Risk Information about the Funds

 

Liquidity. Generally, only Authorized Participants may redeem Fund Shares. Investors other than Authorized Participants wishing to realize their Fund Shares will generally need to rely on secondary trading in the public trading market. There can be no assurance as to the price at which, or volume in which, it may at any time be possible to realize Fund Shares in the public trading market. Although the Fund Shares are listed for trading on NYSE Arca, there can be no assurance that an active trading market for such shares will develop or be maintained.

 

Trading. Although the Fund Shares are listed for trading on NYSE Arca (the “Listing Exchange”) and may be listed or traded on U.S. and non-U.S. stock exchanges other than the Listing Exchange, there can be no assurance that an active trading market for such shares will develop or be maintained. Trading in shares may be halted due to market conditions or for reasons that, in the view of the Listing Exchange, make trading in shares inadvisable. In addition, trading in shares on the Listing Exchange is subject to trading halts caused by extraordinary market volatility pursuant to Listing Exchange “circuit breaker” rules. There can be no assurance that the requirements of the Listing Exchange necessary to maintain the listing of a Fund will continue to be met or will remain unchanged or that Fund Shares will trade with any volume, or at all, on any stock exchange.

 

Costs of Buying or Selling Shares. Investors buying or selling a Fund’s shares in the secondary market will pay brokerage commissions or other charges imposed by brokers, as determined by that broker. Brokerage commissions are often a fixed amount and may be a significant proportional cost for investors seeking to buy or sell relatively small amounts of Fund Shares. In addition, secondary market investors will also incur the cost of the difference between the price that an investor is willing to buy shares (the “bid” price) and the price at which an investor is willing to sell shares (the “ask” price). This difference in bid and ask prices is often referred to as the “spread” or “bid/ask spread.” The bid/ask spread varies over time for shares based on trading volume and market liquidity, and is generally lower if the Fund’s shares have more trading volume and market liquidity and higher if the Fund’s shares have little trading volume and market liquidity. Further, increased market volatility may cause increased bid/ask spreads. Due to the costs of buying or selling Fund Shares, including bid/ask spreads, frequent trading of Fund Shares may significantly reduce investment results and an investment in shares may not be advisable for investors who anticipate regularly making small investments.

 

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IOPV. If a price for an asset held by a Fund is not available due to disruption in the underlying market, then stale values may be used in the calculation of the IOPV, and this may adversely affect the value of Fund Shares.

 

Future Developments. The Trust’s Board may, in the future, authorize a Fund to invest in securities contracts and investments other than those listed in this Prospectus and in the Fund’s SAI, provided they are consistent with the Fund’s investment objective and do not violate any investment restrictions or policies.

 

Portfolio Holdings

 

Information about each Fund’s daily portfolio holdings is available at www.aberdeenstandardetfs.us. In addition, each Fund discloses its complete portfolio holdings as of the end of its fiscal year (December 31) and its second fiscal quarter (June 30) in its reports to shareholders. Each Fund files its complete portfolio holdings as of the end of its first and third fiscal quarters (March 31 and September 30, respectively) with the SEC as an exhibit to its reports on Form N-PORT. You can find the SEC filings on the SEC’s website, www.sec.gov. A summarized description of the Funds’ policies and procedures with respect to the disclosure of each Fund’s portfolio holdings is available in the Statement of Additional Information (“SAI”) for the Trust.

 

Management of the Funds

 

Fund Organization

 

Each Fund is a series of the Trust which is an investment company registered under the 1940 Act. Each Fund is a separate Fund with its own investment objective and strategy. The Trust is a Delaware statutory trust and the Board is responsible for the management and direction of the Trust. The Board elects the Trust’s officers and approves all material contracts, including those with the Advisor, custodian and fund administrator.

 

Investment Advisor

 

Aberdeen Standard Investments ETFs Advisors LLC (the “Advisor”) has been appointed by the Board as investment advisor of each Fund and each Subsidiary. The Advisor is responsible for the management and administration of the Trust, the Funds, and the Subsidiaries.

 

The Advisor is a registered investment advisor located at 712 Fifth Avenue, New York, New York 10019. The Advisor is a directly-owned subsidiary of Aberdeen Standard Investments Inc. (“ASI”), an indirect wholly-owned subsidiary of Standard Life Aberdeen plc, a London stock exchange listed company (“SLA plc”). As of June 30, 2018, SLA plc and its affiliates had assets under management totaling in excess of $735.5 billion. The Advisor provides an investment program for each Fund. The Advisor also provides proactive oversight of the Sub-Advisor, daily monitoring of the Sub-Advisor’s buying and selling of securities for each Fund, and regular review of the Sub-Advisor’s performance.

 

The Advisor also arranges for transfer agency, custody, Fund administration, and all other non-distribution related services necessary for the Funds to operate. For its services, the Advisor expects to receive fees from the Funds, based on a percentage of each Fund’s average daily net assets, as shown in the following table:

 

Name of Fund Advisory Fee Rate*
Aberdeen Standard Bloomberg All Commodity Strategy K-1 Free ETF 0.25%
Aberdeen Standard Bloomberg All Commodity Longer Dated Strategy K-1 Free ETF 0.29%
Aberdeen Standard Bloomberg Agriculture Commodity Strategy K-1 Free ETF 0.39%
Aberdeen Standard Bloomberg Energy Commodity Strategy K-1 Free ETF 0.39%
Aberdeen Standard Bloomberg WTI Crude Oil Strategy K-1 Free ETF 0.39%

 

* The Advisor has contractually agreed to waive the management fees that it receives from each Fund in an amount equal to the management fee paid to the Advisor by its Subsidiary. This undertaking will continue in effect for so long as a Fund invests in its Subsidiary, and may be terminated only with the approval of the Fund’s Board of Trustees. The management fee figure in the table above represents the total amount of fees payable to the Advisor by the Fund and the Subsidiary.

 

Pursuant to the terms of the Funds’ Investment Advisory Agreement, the Advisor has agreed to pay all expenses of the Funds, subject to certain exceptions. For a detailed description of the Investment Advisory Agreement for the Fund, please see the “Management of the Trust” section of the SAI.

 

A discussion regarding the basis for the Board’s approval of the Investment Advisory Agreement with the Advisor is available in the Funds’ Semiannual Report to Shareholders for the period ended June 30, 2018, except that the discussion regarding the basis for the Board’s approval of the Investment Advisory Agreement with respect to the Aberdeen Standard Bloomberg Agriculture Commodity Strategy K-1 Free ETF and Aberdeen Standard Bloomberg Energy Commodity Strategy K-1 Free ETF will be available in each such Fund’s first annual or semi-annual report to shareholders following commencement of operations.

 

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Sub-Advisor

 

Vident Investment Advisory, LLC (the “Sub-Advisor”), is located at 300 Colonial Center Parkway, Suite 330, Roswell, Georgia 30076. The Sub-Advisor was formed in 2014 and provides investment advisory services to the Funds and the Subsidiaries. The Sub-Advisor provides advisory services to various other exchange-traded funds as well as separate accounts. The Sub-Advisor is responsible for trading portfolio securities on behalf of each Fund and Subsidiary, including selecting broker-dealers to execute purchase and sale transactions as instructed by the Advisor or in connection with any rebalancing or reconstitution of the Index, subject to the supervision of the Advisor and the Board. Under a sub-advisory agreement, the Advisor pays the Sub-Advisor a fee calculated daily and paid monthly, at an annual rate of 0.04% of the average daily net assets of each Fund subject to a minimum annual fee of $18,000.

 

A discussion regarding the basis for the Board’s approval of the Funds’ investment sub-advisory agreement between the Advisor and the Sub-Advisor is available in the Funds’ Semiannual Report to Shareholders for the period ended June 30, 2018, except that the discussion regarding the basis for the Board’s approval of the investment sub-advisory agreement with respect to the Aberdeen Standard Bloomberg Agriculture Commodity Strategy K-1 Free ETF and Aberdeen Standard Bloomberg Energy Commodity Strategy K-1 Free ETF will be available in each such Fund’s first annual or semi-annual report to shareholders following commencement of operations.

 

The Advisor may hire one or more sub-advisors to oversee the day-to-day activities of the Funds. The sub-advisors are subject to oversight by the Advisor. Under the terms of an exemptive order the Trust and the Advisor received from the SEC, the Advisor may, subject to Board approval but without prior approval from shareholders, change the terms of a sub-advisory agreement or hire a new sub-advisor, either as a replacement for an existing sub-advisor or as an additional sub-advisor.

 

The Trust will notify shareholders in the event of any change in the identity of such sub-advisor or sub-advisors. The Advisor has ultimate responsibility for the investment performance of the Funds due to its responsibility to oversee each sub-advisor and recommend their hiring, termination and replacement.

 

Portfolio Managers

 

Denise Krisko and Austin Wen serve as the Funds’ portfolio managers (the “Portfolio Managers”) and are primarily responsible for the day-to-day management of the Funds.

 

Ms. Krisko, CFA and President of Vident Investment Advisory, LLC, has over nineteen years of investment management experience. Prior to joining the Sub-Advisor, Ms. Krisko was the Chief Investment Officer of Index Management Solutions, LLC. Prior to that, she was a Managing Director and Co-Head of Equity Index Management and Head of East Coast Equity Index Strategies for Mellon Capital Management. She was also a Managing Director of The Bank of New York and Head of Equity Index Strategies for BNY Investment Advisors from August 2005 until the merger of The Bank of New York with Mellon Bank in 2007, when she assumed her role with Mellon Capital Management.

 

Austin Wen, CFA has seven years of investment management experience. Mr. Wen is a Portfolio Manager at Vident, specializing in portfolio management and trading of equity portfolios and commodities based portfolios, as well as risk monitoring and investment analysis. Previously, Mr. Wen was an analyst for Vident Financial, working on the development and review of investment solutions. He began his career as a State Examiner for the Georgia Department of Banking and Finance. Mr. Wen obtained a BA in Finance from the University of Georgia and holds the Chartered Financial Analyst designation.

 

The SAI provides additional information about the Portfolio Managers’ compensation, other accounts managed by the Portfolio Managers, and the Portfolio Managers’ ownership of Fund Shares.

 

Additional Information on Buying and Selling Fund Shares

 

Most investors will buy and sell shares of the Funds in secondary market transactions through brokers. Shares of each Fund are expected to be listed for trading on the Listing Exchange and elsewhere during the trading day and can be bought and sold throughout the trading day like other shares of publicly traded securities. When buying or selling shares through a broker, most investors will incur customary brokerage commissions and charges. Shares of the Funds trade under the trading symbols listed on the cover of this Prospectus. Only authorized participants (“Authorized Participants” or “APs”) may acquire shares directly from the Funds, and only APs may tender their shares for redemption directly to the Funds, at NAV in Creation Units. Once created, shares trade in the secondary market in amounts less than a Creation Unit.

 

Shares of the Aberdeen Standard Bloomberg Agriculture Commodity Strategy K-1 Free ETF and Aberdeen Standard Bloomberg Energy Commodity Strategy K-1 Free ETF are not available for purchase as of the date of this Prospectus.

 

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Share Trading Prices

 

Transactions in a Fund’s shares will be priced at NAV only if you purchase or redeem shares directly from a Fund in Creation Units. As with other types of securities, the trading prices of shares in the secondary market can be affected by market forces such as supply and demand, economic conditions and other factors. The price you pay or receive when you buy or sell your shares in the secondary market may be more or less than the NAV of such shares.

 

The approximate intra-day value of shares of a Fund, also referred to as the “indicative optimized portfolio value” (IOPV), is disseminated every 15 seconds throughout the trading day by the national securities exchange on which such Fund is listed or by market data vendors or other information providers. The IOPV should not be viewed as a “real time” update of the NAV, because the IOPV may not be calculated in the same manner as the NAV, which is computed once per day, generally at the end of the day. The approximate value generally is determined by using amortized cost for securities with remaining maturities of 60 days or less, current market quotations, and/or price quotations obtained from broker-dealers that may trade in the portfolio securities held by a Fund. The Funds are not involved in, or responsible for, the calculation or dissemination of the IOPV and make no warranty as to their accuracy.

 

Determination of Net Asset Value

 

The NAV of each Fund’s shares is calculated each day the national securities exchanges are open for trading as of the close of regular trading on the Listing Exchange, generally 4:00 p.m. New York time (the “NAV Calculation Time”). NAV per share is calculated by dividing a Fund’s net assets by the number of Fund Shares outstanding.

 

In calculating its NAV, each Fund generally values its assets on the basis of market quotations, last sale prices, or estimates of value furnished by a pricing service or brokers who make markets in such instruments. Debt obligations with maturities of 60 days or less are valued at amortized cost, which approximates fair value.

 

Investments in futures are valued at market value, which is generally determined using the last reported official closing price or last trading price on the exchange or market on which the futures contract is primarily traded at the time of valuation. Generally, trading in futures, U.S. government securities (such as U.S. Treasury securities), money market instruments and certain fixed-income securities is substantially completed each day at various times prior to the NAV Calculation Time. The values of such securities used in computing the NAV of the Fund are determined as of such times.

 

Fair value pricing is used by a Fund when reliable market valuations are not readily available or are not deemed to reflect current market values. For these purposes, a price based on amortized cost is considered a market valuation. Assets that may be valued using “fair value” pricing may include, but are not limited to, those for which there are no current market quotations or whose issuer is in default or bankruptcy, securities subject to corporate actions (such as mergers or reorganizations), securities subject to non-U.S. investment limits or currency controls, and securities affected by “significant events.” An example of a significant event is an event occurring after the close of the market in which a commodities future trades but before the Fund’s next NAV calculation time that may materially affect the value of a Fund’s investment (e.g., government action, natural disaster, or significant market fluctuation). When fair value pricing is employed, the prices of securities used by a Fund to calculate its NAV may differ from quoted or published prices for the same securities.

 

Transactions in each Fund’s shares will be priced at NAV only if you purchase or redeem shares directly from the Fund in Creation Units. Shares of the Funds are purchased or sold on a national securities exchange at market prices, which may be higher or lower than NAV. Each Fund discloses its NAV on a daily basis. For more information, or to obtain a Fund’s NAV, please call 844-383-7289 or visit www.aberdeenstandardetfs.us.

 

Dividends and Distributions

 

The Fund pays out dividends and distributes its net capital gains, if any, to shareholders at least annually. Ordinarily, dividends from net investment income, if any, are declared and paid annually by each Fund. Each Fund also intends to distribute its net realized capital gains, if any, to shareholders annually. Dividends and other distributions may be declared and paid more frequently to comply with the distribution requirements of Subchapter M of the Code, and to avoid a federal excise tax imposed on regulated investment companies. Distributions in cash may be reinvested automatically in additional whole Shares only if the broker through whom you purchased Shares makes such option available.

 

Book Entry

 

Shares of the Funds are held in book-entry form, which means that no stock certificates are issued. The Depository Trust Company (“DTC”) or its nominee is the record owner of all outstanding shares of the Funds.

 

Investors owning shares of a Fund are beneficial owners as shown on the records of DTC or its participants. DTC serves as the securities depository for all shares of the Fund. Participants include DTC, securities brokers and dealers, banks, trust companies, clearing corporations, and other institutions that directly or indirectly maintain a custodial relationship with DTC. As a beneficial owner of shares, you are not entitled to receive physical delivery of stock certificates or to have shares registered in your name, and you are not considered a registered owner of shares. Therefore, to exercise any right as an owner of shares, you must rely upon the procedures of DTC and its participants. These procedures are the same as those that apply to any securities that you hold in book entry or “street name” form. Your broker will provide you with account statements, confirmations of your purchases and sales, and tax information.

 

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Delivery of Shareholder Documents – Householding

 

Householding is an option available to certain investors of the Funds. Householding is a method of delivery, based on the preference of the individual investor, in which a single copy of certain shareholder documents can be delivered to investors who share the same address, even if their accounts are registered under different names. Householding for the Funds is available through certain broker-dealers. If you are interested in enrolling in householding and receiving a single copy of prospectuses and other shareholder documents, please contact your broker-dealer. If you are currently enrolled in householding and wish to change your householding status, please contact your broker-dealer.

 

Frequent Purchases and Redemptions of Fund Shares

 

The Funds impose no restrictions on the frequency of purchases and redemptions of shares. In determining not to approve a written, established policy, the Board evaluated the risks of market timing activities by Fund shareholders. Purchases and redemptions by APs, who are the only parties that may purchase or redeem shares directly with a Fund, are an essential part of the ETF process and help keep share trading prices in line with NAV. As such, the Funds accommodate frequent purchases and redemptions by APs. However, the Board has also determined that frequent purchases and redemptions for cash may increase tracking error and portfolio transaction costs and may lead to the realization of capital gains. Frequent in-kind creations and redemptions generally do not give rise to these concerns. To minimize these potential consequences of frequent purchases and redemptions, the Funds employ fair value pricing and impose transaction fees on purchases and redemptions of Creation Units to cover the custodial and other costs incurred by a Fund in effecting trades. In addition, the Funds and the Advisor reserve the right to reject any purchase order at any time.

 

Investments by Registered Investment Companies

 

Section 12(d)(1) of the 1940 Act restricts investments by registered investment companies in the securities of other investment companies, including shares of the Funds. Registered investment companies are permitted to invest in the Funds beyond the limits set forth in section 12(d)(1), subject to certain terms and conditions set forth in an SEC exemptive order issued to the Trust, including that such investment companies enter into an agreement with that Fund. The Funds’ SAI provides additional information about Section 12(d)(1) limits under the “Investment Company Securities” sub-section of the “Specific Investment Strategies” section.

 

Additional Tax Information

 

The following discussion is a summary of some important U.S. federal income tax considerations generally applicable to investments in the Funds. Your investment in a Fund may have other tax implications. Please consult your tax advisor about the tax consequences of an investment in Fund Shares, including the possible application of foreign, state and local tax laws.

 

Each Fund intends to qualify each year for treatment as a RIC under Subchapter M of the Code. If it meets certain minimum distribution requirements, a RIC is not subject to tax at the fund level on income and gains from investments that are timely distributed to shareholders. However, a Fund’s failure to qualify as a RIC or to meet minimum distribution requirements would result (if certain relief provisions were not available) in fund-level taxation and, consequently, a reduction in income available for distribution to shareholders.

 

In December 2017, tax legislation commonly referred to as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (the “Tax Act”) made significant changes to the U.S. federal income tax rules for taxation of individuals and corporations, generally effective for taxable years beginning after December 31, 2017. Many of the changes applicable to individuals are temporary and would apply only to taxable years beginning after December 31, 2017 and before January 1, 2026. There are only minor changes with respect to the specific rules only applicable to RICs, such as the Funds. The Tax Act, however, makes numerous other changes to the tax rules that may affect shareholders and the Funds. You are urged to consult with your own tax advisor regarding how the Tax Act affects your investment in the Funds.

 

Unless you are a tax-exempt entity or your investment in Fund Shares is made through a tax-deferred retirement account, such as an individual retirement account, you need to be aware of the possible tax consequences when:

 

A Fund makes distributions;
You sell Fund Shares; and
You purchase or redeem Creation Units (institutional investors only).

           

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Taxes on Distributions

 

For federal income tax purposes, distributions of investment income are generally taxable as ordinary income or qualified dividend income. Taxes on distributions of capital gains (if any) are determined by how long a Fund owned the assets that generated them, rather than how long a shareholder has owned his or her Fund Shares. Sales of assets held by a Fund for more than one year generally result in long-term capital gains and losses, and sales of assets held by a Fund for one year or less generally result in short-term capital gains and losses. Distributions of a Fund’s net capital gain (the excess of net long-term capital gains over net short-term capital losses) that are properly reported by the Fund as capital gain dividends (“Capital Gain Dividends”) will be taxable as long-term capital gains. For non-corporate shareholders, long-term capital gains are generally subject to tax at reduced rates. Distributions of short-term capital gain will generally be taxable as ordinary income. Distributions reported by a Fund as “qualified dividend income” are generally taxed to non-corporate shareholders at rates applicable to long-term capital gains, provided holding period and other requirements are met. “Qualified dividend income” generally is income derived from dividends paid by U.S. corporations or certain foreign corporations that are either incorporated in a U.S. possession or eligible for tax benefits under certain U.S. income tax treaties. In addition, dividends that the Fund receives in respect of stock of certain foreign corporations may be qualified dividend income if that stock is readily tradable on an established U.S. securities market.

 

The Funds’ trading strategies and investments in their wholly-owned Subsidiaries may significantly limit their ability to distribute dividends eligible for treatment as qualified dividend income.

 

In general, your distributions are subject to federal income tax for the year in which they are paid. However, certain distributions paid in January may be treated as paid on December 31 of the prior year. Distributions are generally taxable even if they are paid from income or gains earned by a Fund before your investment (and thus were included in the price you paid for your shares).

 

Dividends and distributions from the Funds and capital gain on the sale of Fund Shares are generally taken into account in determining a shareholder’s “net investment income” for the purposes of the Medicare contribution tax applicable to certain individuals, estates and trusts. A Fund may include cash when paying the redemption price for Creation Units in addition to, or in place of, the delivery of a basket of securities. A Fund and/or its Subsidiary may be required to sell portfolio securities in order to obtain the cash needed to distribute redemption proceeds. This may cause the Fund to recognize investment income and/or capital gains or losses that it might not have recognized if it had completely satisfied the redemption in-kind. As a result, the Funds may be less tax efficient if they include such a cash payment than if the in-kind redemption process was used.

 

Distributions (other than Capital Gain Dividends) paid to individual shareholders that are neither citizens nor residents of the U.S. or to foreign entities will generally be subject to a U.S. withholding tax at the rate of 30%, unless a lower treaty rate applies. A Fund may, under certain circumstances, report all or a portion of a dividend as an “interest related dividend” or a “short term capital gain dividend,” which would generally be exempt from this 30% U.S. withholding tax, provided certain other requirements are met.

 

The Funds (or financial intermediaries, such as brokers, through which shareholders own Fund Shares) generally are required to withhold and to remit to the U.S. Treasury a percentage of the taxable distributions and the sale or redemption proceeds paid to any shareholder who fails to properly furnish a correct taxpayer identification number, who has under-reported dividend or interest income, or who fails to certify that he, she or it is not subject to such withholding.

 

Taxes When You Sell Fund Shares

 

Any capital gain or loss realized upon a sale of Fund Shares is generally treated as a long-term gain or loss if you held the shares you sold for more than one year. Any capital gain or loss realized upon a sale of Fund Shares held for one year or less is generally treated as a short-term gain or loss, except that any capital loss on a sale of shares held for six months or less is treated as a long-term capital loss to the extent of Capital Gain Dividends paid with respect to such shares. The ability to deduct capital losses may be limited depending on your circumstances.

 

Taxes on Creation and Redemption of Creation Units

 

An Authorized Participant having the U.S. dollar as its functional currency for U.S. federal income tax purposes that exchanges securities or non-U.S. currency for Creation Units generally will recognize a gain or loss equal to the difference between (i) the sum of the market value of the Creation Units at the time of the exchange and any amount of cash received by the Authorized Participant in the exchange and (ii) the sum of the exchanger’s aggregate basis in the securities or non-U.S. currency surrendered and any amount of cash paid for such Creation Units. A person who redeems Creation Units will generally recognize a gain or loss equal to the difference between the exchanger’s basis in the Creation Units and the sum of the aggregate U.S. dollar market value of the securities plus the amount of any cash or non-U.S. currency received for such Creation Units. The IRS, however, may assert that a loss that is realized by an Authorized Participant upon an exchange of securities for Creation Units may not be permitted to be currently deducted under the rules governing “wash sales” (for Authorized Participants that do not mark-to-market their holding) or on the basis that there has been no significant change in economic position.

 

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Gain or loss recognized by an Authorized Participant upon an issuance of Creation Units in exchange for non-U.S. currency will generally be treated as ordinary income or loss. Gain or loss recognized by an Authorized Participant upon an issuance of Creation Units in exchange for securities, or upon a redemption of Creation Units, may be capital or ordinary gain or loss depending on the circumstances. Any capital gain or loss realized upon an issuance of Creation Units in exchange for securities will generally be treated as long-term capital gain or loss if the securities have been held for more than one year. Any capital gain or loss realized upon the redemption of a Creation Unit will generally be treated as long-term capital gain or loss if the Fund Shares comprising the Creation Unit have been held for more than one year. Otherwise, such capital gains or losses are treated as short-term capital gains or losses.

 

A person subject to U.S. federal income tax with the U.S. dollar as its functional currency who receives non-U.S. currency upon a redemption of Creation Units and does not immediately convert the non-U.S. currency into U.S. dollars may, upon a later conversion of the non-U.S. currency into U.S. dollars, recognize any gains or losses resulting from fluctuations in the value of the non-U.S. currency relative to the U.S. dollar since the date of the redemption. Any such gains or losses will generally be treated as ordinary income or loss.

 

Persons exchanging securities or non-U.S. currency for Creation Units should consult their own tax advisors with respect to the tax treatment of any creation or redemption transaction and whether the wash sales rules apply and when a loss might be deductible. If you purchase or redeem Creation Units, you will be sent a confirmation statement showing how many Fund Shares you purchased or redeemed and at what price.

 

Foreign Investments by the Funds

 

Interest, dividends, and other income received by a Fund or a Subsidiary with respect to foreign securities may give rise to withholding and other taxes imposed by foreign countries. Tax conventions between certain countries and the United States may reduce or eliminate such taxes. A Fund may need to file claims for refunds to secure the benefits of a reduced rate. If as of the close of a taxable year more than 50% of the total assets of a Fund consist of stock or securities of foreign corporations, the Fund intends to elect to “pass through” to investors the amount of foreign income and similar taxes (including withholding taxes) paid by the Fund during that taxable year. If a Fund elects to “pass through” such foreign taxes, then investors will be considered to have received as additional income their respective shares of such foreign taxes, but may be entitled to either a corresponding tax deduction in calculating taxable income or, subject to certain limitations, a credit in calculating federal income tax.

 

Investment in the Subsidiaries

 

In order to qualify for the favorable U.S. federal income tax treatment accorded to a RIC, each Fund must derive at least 90% of its gross income in each taxable year from certain categories of income (“qualifying income”) and must satisfy certain asset diversification requirements, including holding no more than 25% of its total assets in a single issuer. Each Fund expects to invest up to 25% of its total assets in its Subsidiary, which each Fund expects to be treated as a controlled foreign corporation under the Code. Each Fund expects its Subsidiary will make actual annual distributions in an amount at least equal to the subpart F income attributed to such Fund. To the extent a Subsidiary makes such distributions out of earnings and profits, each Fund expects such distributions to be treated as qualifying income. The Funds have secured an opinion of counsel based on customary representations that actual distributions made to a Fund should be treated as “qualifying income”. The Funds believe that income from a Subsidiary will be qualifying income because it expects that each Subsidiary will make annual distributions of its earnings and profits. The Advisor and Sub-Advisor will carefully monitor each Fund’s investments in each Subsidiary to ensure that no more than 25% of a Fund’s assets are invested in a Subsidiary to ensure compliance with the Fund’s asset diversification test as described in more detail in the SAI.

 

Distribution

 

ALPS Distributors, Inc. (the “Distributor”) serves as the distributor of Creation Unit Aggregations for the Funds on an agency basis. The Distributor does not maintain a secondary market in shares of the Funds. The Distributor’s principal address is 1290 Broadway, Suite 1100, Denver, Colorado 80203. The Distributor has no role in determining the policies of any Fund or the securities that are purchased or sold by any Fund.

 

The Board has adopted a Distribution and Service (12b-1) Plan pursuant to Rule 12b-1 under the 1940 Act. In accordance with its Rule 12b-1 Plan, each Fund is authorized to pay an amount up to 0.25% of its average daily net assets each year to reimburse the Distributor for amounts expended to finance activities primarily intended to result in the sale of Creation Units or the provision of investor services. The Distributor may also use this amount to compensate securities dealers or other entities that are Authorized Participants for providing distribution and/or investor services assistance, including broker-dealer and shareholder support and educational and promotional services.

 

No 12b-1 fees are currently paid by any Fund, and the Board has not currently approved the commencement of any payments under the plan. However, in the event 12b-1 fees are charged in the future, because the fees are paid out of a Fund’s assets, over time these fees will increase the cost of your investment and may cost you more than certain other types of sales charges.

 

41 

 

 

Premium/Discount and NAV Information

 

Information regarding each Fund’s NAV and how often shares of the Funds traded on the Listing Exchange at a price above (i.e., at a premium) or below (i.e., at a discount) the net asset value of the Fund during the past calendar year and most recent calendar quarter is posted to www.aberdeenstandardetfs.us.

 

Additional Notices

 

Shares of the Funds are not sponsored, endorsed, or promoted by the Listing Exchange. The Listing Exchange makes no representation or warranty, express or implied, to the owners of the shares of the Funds. The Listing Exchange is not responsible for, nor has it participated in, the determination of the timing of, prices of, or quantities of the shares of a Fund to be issued, nor in the determination or calculation of the equation by which the shares are redeemable. The Listing Exchange has no obligation or liability to owners of the shares of a Fund in connection with the administration, marketing, or trading of the shares of the Fund. Without limiting any of the foregoing, in no event shall the Listing Exchange have any liability for any lost profits or indirect, punitive, special, or consequential damages even if notified of the possibility thereof.

 

ASI, the Advisor, the Sub-Advisor, Bloomberg and the Funds make no representation or warranty, express or implied, to the owners of shares of a Fund or any member of the public regarding the advisability of investing in securities generally or in a Fund particularly. Bloomberg is a licensor of certain trademarks, service marks and trade names of the Funds.

 

“Bloomberg®”, “Bloomberg Commodity IndexSM”, “Bloomberg Commodity Index Total ReturnSM”, “Bloomberg Commodity Index 3 Month ForwardSM”, “Bloomberg Commodity Index 3 Month Forward Total ReturnSM”, “Bloomberg Agriculture IndexSM”, “Bloomberg Agriculture Index Total ReturnSM”, “Bloomberg Energy IndexSM”, “Bloomberg Energy Index Total ReturnSM”, “Bloomberg WTI Crude Oil SubindexSM” and “Bloomberg WTI Crude Oil Subindex Total ReturnSM” are service marks of Bloomberg Finance L.P. and its affiliates (collectively, “Bloomberg”) and have been licensed for use for certain purposes by Standard Life Aberdeen plc.

 

The Funds are not sponsored, endorsed, sold or promoted by Bloomberg, UBS AG, UBS Securities LLC (“UBS Securities”) or any of their subsidiaries or affiliates. None of Bloomberg, UBS AG, UBS Securities or any of their subsidiaries or affiliates makes any representation or warranty, express or implied, to the owners of or counterparties to the Funds or any member of the public regarding the advisability of investing in securities or commodities generally or in the Funds particularly. The only relationship of Bloomberg, UBS AG, UBS Securities or any of their subsidiaries or affiliates to the Licensee is the licensing of certain trademarks, trade names and service marks and of the Bloomberg Commodity IndexSM, which is determined, composed and calculated by Bloomberg in conjunction with UBS Securities without regard to Standard Life Aberdeen plc or the Funds. Bloomberg and UBS Securities have no obligation to take the needs of Standard Life Aberdeen plc or the owners of the Funds into consideration in determining, composing or calculating Bloomberg Commodity IndexSM. None of Bloomberg, UBS AG, UBS Securities or any of their respective subsidiaries or affiliates is responsible for or has participated in the determination of the timing of, prices at, or quantities of the Funds to be issued or in the determination or calculation of the equation by which the Funds Shares are to be converted into cash.

 

None of Bloomberg, UBS AG, UBS Securities or any of their subsidiaries or affiliates shall have any obligation or liability, including, without limitation, to Funds customers, in connection with the administration, marketing or trading of the Funds. Notwithstanding the foregoing, UBS AG, UBS Securities and their respective subsidiaries and affiliates may independently issue and/or sponsor financial products unrelated to the Funds currently being issued by Licensee, but which may be similar to and competitive with the Funds. In addition, UBS AG, UBS Securities and their subsidiaries and affiliates actively trade commodities, commodity indexes and commodity futures (including the Bloomberg Commodity IndexSM and Bloomberg Commodity Index Total ReturnSM), as well as swaps, options and derivatives which are linked to the performance of such commodities, commodity indexes and commodity futures. It is possible that this trading activity will affect the value of the Bloomberg Commodity IndexSM and the Funds.

 

The Prospectus relates only to the Funds and does not relate to the exchange-traded physical commodities underlying any of the Bloomberg Commodity IndexSM components. Purchasers of the Funds should not conclude that the inclusion of a futures contract in the Bloomberg Commodity IndexSM is any form of investment recommendation of the futures contract or the underlying exchange-traded physical commodity by Bloomberg, UBS AG, UBS Securities or any of their subsidiaries or affiliates. The information in the Prospectus regarding the Bloomberg Commodity IndexSM components has been derived solely from publicly available documents. None of Bloomberg, UBS AG, UBS Securities or any of their subsidiaries or affiliates has made any due diligence inquiries with respect to the Bloomberg Commodity IndexSM components in connection with the Funds. None of Bloomberg, UBS AG, UBS Securities or any of their subsidiaries or affiliates makes any representation that these publicly available documents or any other publicly available information regarding the Bloomberg Commodity IndexSM components, including without limitation a description of factors that affect the prices of such components, are accurate or complete.

 

42 

 

 

NONE OF BLOOMBERG, UBS AG, UBS SECURITIES OR ANY OF THEIR SUBSIDIARIES OR AFFILIATES GUARANTEES THE ACCURACY AND/OR THE COMPLETENESS OF THE BLOOMBERG COMMODITY INDEXSM OR ANY DATA RELATED THERETO AND NONE OF BLOOMBERG, UBS AG, UBS SECURITIES OR ANY OF THEIR SUBSIDIARIES OR AFFILIATES SHALL HAVE ANY LIABILITY FOR ANY ERRORS, OMISSIONS OR INTERRUPTIONS THEREIN. NONE OF BLOOMBERG, UBS AG, UBS SECURITIES OR ANY OF THEIR SUBSIDIARIES OR AFFILIATES MAKES ANY WARRANTY, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, AS TO RESULTS TO BE OBTAINED BY STANDARD LIFE ABERDEEN PLC, OWNERS OF THE FUNDS OR ANY OTHER PERSON OR ENTITY FROM THE USE OF THE BLOOMBERG COMMODITY INDEXSM OR ANY DATA RELATED THERETO. NONE OF BLOOMBERG, UBS AG, UBS SECURITIES OR ANY OF THEIR SUBSIDIARIES OR AFFILIATES MAKES ANY EXPRESS OR IMPLIED WARRANTIES AND EXPRESSLY DISCLAIMS ALL WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY OR FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE OR USE WITH RESPECT TO THE BLOOMBERG COMMODITY INDEXSM OR ANY DATA RELATED THERETO. WITHOUT LIMITING ANY OF THE FOREGOING, TO THE MAXIMUM EXTENT ALLOWED BY LAW, BLOOMBERG, ITS LICENSORS (INCLUDING UBS), AND ITS AND THEIR RESPECTIVE EMPLOYEES, CONTRACTORS, AGENTS, SUPPLIERS AND VENDORS SHALL HAVE NO LIABILITY OR RESPONSIBILITY WHATSOEVER FOR ANY INJURY OR DAMAGES—WHETHER DIRECT, INDIRECT, CONSEQUENTIAL, INCIDENTAL, PUNITIVE OR OTHERWISE—ARISING IN CONNECTION WITH THE FUNDS OR Bloomberg Commodity IndexSM OR Bloomberg Commodity Index 3 Month ForwardSM or Bloomberg Agriculture IndexSM OR Bloomberg Energy IndexSM or Bloomberg WTI CRUDE OIL SUBINDEX TOTAL RETURNSM OR ANY DATA OR VALUES RELATING THERETO—WHETHER ARISING FROM THEIR NEGLIGENCE OR OTHERWISE, EVEN IF NOTIFIED OF THE POSSIBILITY THEREOF. THERE ARE NO THIRD PARTY BENEFICIARIES OF ANY AGREEMENTS OR ARRANGEMENTS AMONG BLOOMBERG, UBS SECURITIES AND STANDARD LIFE ABERDEEN PLC, OTHER THAN UBS AG.

 

43 

 

 

Financial Highlights

 

The tables that follow present the consolidated financial highlights for each Fund, except for the Aberdeen Standard Bloomberg Agriculture Commodity Strategy K-1 Free ETF and Aberdeen Standard Bloomberg Energy Commodity Strategy K-1 Free ETF, which had not commenced operations as of the date of this Prospectus. The consolidated financial highlights tables are intended to help you understand each Fund’s financial performance for the past five fiscal years or, if shorter, the period of a Fund’s operations. Certain information reflects financial results for a single Fund Share. The total returns in the table represent the rate that an investor would have earned or lost, on an investment in a Fund (assuming reinvestment of all dividends and distributions). This information has been audited by [ ], the Funds’ independent registered public accounting firm, whose report, along with the Funds’ financial statements, is included in the Funds’ Annual Report for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2018, which is available upon request.

 

FINANCIAL HIGHLIGHTS

[To be inserted in the 485(b) filing]

 

44 

 

 

Aberdeen Standard Investments ETFs 

c/o ALPS Distributors, Inc.

 

1290 Broadway, Suite 1100 

Denver, Colorado 80203

 

(graphic) 

 

The Trust’s current SAI provides additional detailed information about the Funds. The Trust has electronically filed the SAI with the SEC. It is incorporated by reference in this Prospectus.

 

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

 

To make shareholder inquiries, for more detailed information on a Fund or to request the SAI, annual or semi-annual shareholder reports free of charge, please:

 

Call: 1-844-383-7289
Monday through Friday
8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. (Eastern time)
Write: Aberdeen Standard Investments ETFs
c/o ALPS Distributors, Inc.
1290 Broadway, Suite 1100
Denver, Colorado 80203
Visit: www.aberdeenstandardetfs.us    

 

Other information about the Funds is available on the EDGAR Database on the SEC’s internet site at http://www.sec.gov. You may also obtain copies of this information, after paying a duplicating fee, by electronic request at the following e-mail address: publicinfo@sec.gov.

 

No person is authorized to give any information or to make any representations about any Fund and its shares not contained in this Prospectus and you should not rely on any other information. Read and keep this Prospectus for future reference.

 

©2019 Aberdeen Standard Investments ETFs

Aberdeen Standard Investments ETFs Funds are distributed by

 

ALPS Distributors, Inc.

 

1290 Broadway, Suite 1100 

Denver, Colorado 80203

 

INVESTMENT COMPANY ACT FILE NO.  

811-22986

 

 

 45 
 

 

Aberdeen Standard Investments ETFs

 

STATEMENT OF ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

 

May 1, 2019 

 

Aberdeen Standard Bloomberg All Commodity Strategy K-1 Free ETF

Ticker: BCI

(formerly, ETFS Bloomberg All Commodity Strategy K-1 Free ETF)

 

Aberdeen Standard Bloomberg All Commodity Longer Dated Strategy K-1 Free ETF

Ticker: BCD

(formerly, ETFS Bloomberg All Commodity Longer Dated Strategy K-1 Free ETF)

 

 Aberdeen Standard Bloomberg Agriculture Commodity Strategy K-1 Free ETF

Ticker: AGRI

(formerly, ETFS Bloomberg Agriculture Commodity Strategy K-1 Free ETF)

 

Aberdeen Standard Bloomberg Energy Commodity Strategy K-1 Free ETF

Ticker: BEI

(formerly, ETFS Bloomberg Energy Commodity Strategy K-1 Free ETF)

 

Aberdeen Standard Bloomberg WTI Crude Oil Strategy K-1 Free ETF

Ticker: AOIL

(formerly, ETFS Bloomberg Energy Commodity Longer Dated Strategy K-1 Free ETF) (Ticker: BEF)

 

 

 

Principal U.S. Listing Exchange: NYSE Arca

 

This Statement of Additional Information (“SAI”) is not a prospectus. The SAI should be read in conjunction with the current prospectus (the “Prospectus”) for each of the funds listed above (each, a “Fund” and, collectively, the “Funds”), each a separate series of Aberdeen Standard Investments ETFs (the “Trust”), as may be revised from time to time.

 

The current Prospectus for each Fund is dated May 1, 2019. Capitalized terms used herein that are not defined have the same meaning as in the Prospectus, unless otherwise noted. The audited financial statements for each of the Funds for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2018, including the notes thereto and the related report of [__________] (“[___]”), the independent registered public accounting firm for the Funds, which are contained in the Funds’ December 31, 2018 Annual Report, are incorporated herein by reference in the section “Financial Statements.” No other parts of the Annual Report are incorporated by reference herein. A copy of the Prospectus and the Annual Report for each Fund may be obtained, without charge, by calling 1-844-383-7289, visiting www.aberdeenstandardetfs.us, or writing to Aberdeen Standard Investments ETFs, c/o ALPS Distributors, Inc., 1290 Broadway, Suite 1100, Denver, Colorado 80203.

  

THE SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION (“SEC”) AND THE COMMODITY FUTURES TRADING COMMISSION HAVE NOT APPROVED OR DISAPPROVED THESE SECURITIES OR PASSED UPON THE ADEQUACY OF THIS SAI. ANY REPRESENTATION TO THE CONTRARY IS A CRIMINAL OFFENSE.

 

 

 

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

General Description of the Trust and the Funds 2
Investment Strategies and Risks 2
General Risks 3
Specific Investment Strategies and Risks 4
Proxy Voting Policy 9
Portfolio Holdings Disclosure Policies and Procedures 10
Index Descriptions 10
Investment Limitations 11
Continuous Offering 13
Management of the Trust 14
Brokerage Transactions 24
Additional Information Concerning the Trust 26
Purchase and Redemption of Creation Unit Aggregations 28
Taxes 36
Regulated Investment Company (RIC) Status 36
Taxation of Shareholders 38
Taxation of Fund Investments 40
Foreign Shareholders 42
Other Issues 42
Determination of NAV 43
Dividends and Distributions 44
Financial Statements 44
Miscellaneous Information 44
   
Appendix A: Proxy Voting Guidelines  

 

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GENERAL DESCRIPTION OF THE TRUST AND THE FUNDS

 

The Trust was organized as a Delaware statutory trust on January 9, 2014 and is authorized to issue multiple series or portfolios. The Trust is an open-end management investment company, registered under the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended (the “1940 Act”). The offering of the Trust’s shares is registered under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “Securities Act”).

 

Each Fund seeks, before fees and expenses, to provide total return through actively managed exposure to a particular commodity index (“Index” or “Underlying Index”). Aberdeen Standard Investments ETFs Advisors LLC serves as the investment advisor (the “Advisor”) and Vident Investment Advisory, LLC serves as the sub-advisor (the “Sub-Advisor”) to each Fund (the Advisor and Sub-Advisor may be referred to together herein as the “Advisors”). The Advisor is a directly-owned subsidiary of Aberdeen Standard Investments Inc. (formerly known as Aberdeen Asset Management Inc.) (“Aberdeen”), an indirect wholly-owned subsidiary of Standard Life Aberdeen plc (“SLA plc”). ALPS Distributors, Inc. serves as the distributor (the “Distributor”) of the Creation Units Aggregations of the Funds.

 

Each Fund is an actively managed exchange-traded fund (“ETF”). Each Fund issues and redeems shares at net asset value per share (“NAV”) only in large blocks of shares, typically 50,000 shares or more with the exception of Aberdeen Standard Bloomberg WTI Crude Oil Strategy K-1 Free ETF which issues 25,000 shares or more (“Creation Units” or “Creation Unit Aggregations”). This may change from time to time, and Creation Units are not expected to consist of less than 25,000 shares. These transactions are usually in exchange for a basket of securities included in the relevant Fund’s Index and/or an amount of cash. As a practical matter, only institutions or large investors purchase or redeem Creation Units. Except when aggregated in Creation Units, shares of the Funds are not redeemable securities.

 

Each Fund intends to qualify each year for treatment as a regulated investment company (a “RIC”) under Subchapter M of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the “Code”), so that it will not be subject to federal income tax on income and gains that are timely distributed to Fund shareholders. Each Fund will invest its assets, and otherwise conduct its operations, in a manner that is intended to satisfy the qualifying income, diversification and distribution requirements necessary to establish and maintain eligibility for such treatment.

        

Shares of the Funds are expected to be listed on a national securities exchange, such as NYSE Arca (the “Listing Exchange”), and will trade throughout the day on the Listing Exchange and other secondary markets at market prices that may differ from NAV. As in the case of other publicly traded securities, brokers’ commissions on transactions will be based on commission rates charged by the applicable broker.

 

The Trust reserves the right to adjust the prices of shares in the future to maintain convenient trading ranges for investors. Any adjustments would be accomplished through stock splits or reverse stock splits, which would have no effect on the net assets of the applicable Fund.

 

INVESTMENT STRATEGIES AND RISKS

 

Each Fund is an actively managed exchange-traded fund that seeks to provide a total return through actively managed exposure to its underlying index through the active management of commodity and commodity-linked futures and other financial instruments. The Funds are not index tracking exchange-traded funds and are not required to invest in all components of the relevant Index. However, each Fund will generally seek to hold similar interests to those included in the relevant Index and will seek exposure to many of the commodities included in the relevant Index.

 

Under normal market conditions, each Fund intends to achieve its investment objective by investing in exchange-traded commodity futures contracts through its own wholly-owned subsidiary organized under the laws of the Cayman Islands (each, a “Subsidiary” and, collectively, the “Subsidiaries”). As a means to provide investment returns that are highly correlated to those of the relevant Index, each Subsidiary may also invest directly in commodity-linked instruments, including pooled investment vehicles, exchange-traded funds and other investment companies, and swaps and exchange-traded options on futures contracts, to the extent permitted under the Investment Company Act of 1940 (the “1940 Act”) and any applicable exemptive relief (collectively, “Commodities-Related Assets” and, together with exchange-traded commodities futures contracts, “Commodities Instruments”).

 

 2

 

 

The remainder of the Fund’s assets that are not invested in its Subsidiary (i.e., at least 75% of the Fund’s total assets) will principally be invested in: (1) short term investment grade fixed income securities that include U.S. government securities and money market instruments; and (2) cash and other cash equivalents. The Fund may also invest in agency securities, corporate debt obligations, repurchase agreements and bank instruments but these are not expected to be principal investment strategies. Each Fund will use such instruments to generate a total return for investors.

 

Each Fund’s investment objective, principal investment strategies and associated risks are described in the Fund’s Prospectus. The sections below supplement these principal investment strategies and risks and describe the Funds’ additional investment policies and the different types of investments that may be made by a Fund as a part of its non-principal investment strategies. With respect to each Fund’s investments, unless otherwise noted, if a percentage limitation on investment is adhered to at the time of investment or contract, a subsequent increase or decrease as a result of market movement or redemption will not result in a violation of such investment limitation.

 

Each Fund is considered “non-diversified” as such term is used in the 1940 Act.

 

GENERAL RISKS

 

Borrowing. Although the Funds do not intend to borrow money, each Fund may do so to the extent permitted by the 1940 Act. Under the 1940 Act, a fund may borrow up to 33% of its net assets. A Fund will borrow only for short-term or emergency purposes.

 

Borrowing will tend to exaggerate the effect on net asset value of any increase or decrease in the market value of a Fund’s portfolio. Money borrowed will be subject to interest costs that may or may not be recovered by earnings on the securities purchased. A Fund also may be required to maintain minimum average balances in connection with a borrowing or to pay a commitment or other fee to maintain a line of credit; either of these requirements would increase the cost of borrowing over the stated interest rate.

 

Portfolio Turnover. Each Fund buys and sells portfolio securities in the normal course of its investment activities. The proportion of the Fund’s investment portfolio that is bought and sold during a year is known as the Fund’s portfolio turnover rate. A high portfolio turnover rate could result in the payment by the Fund of increased brokerage costs, expenses and taxes.

 

Cyber Security. Investment companies, such as the Funds, and their service providers may be subject to operational and information security risks resulting from cyber-attacks.  Cyber-attacks include, among other behaviors, stealing or corrupting data maintained online or digitally, denial of service attacks on websites, the unauthorized release of confidential information or various other forms of cyber security breaches.  Cyber-attacks affecting the Funds or the Advisor, Sub-Advisor, custodian, transfer agent, intermediaries and other third-party service providers may adversely impact the Funds.  For instance, cyber-attacks may interfere with the processing of shareholder transactions, impact the Fund’s ability to calculate its net asset value, cause the release of private shareholder information or confidential company information, impede trading, subject a Fund to regulatory fines or financial losses, and cause reputational damage.  The Funds may also incur additional costs for cyber security risk management purposes.  Similar types of cyber security risks are also present for issuers of securities in which a Fund invests, which could result in material adverse consequences for such issuers, and may cause a Fund’s investment in such portfolio companies to lose value.

 

Taxes Risk. To qualify for the favorable U.S. federal income tax treatment accorded to RICs, each Fund must, among other things, derive in each taxable year at least 90% of its gross income from certain prescribed sources. Each Fund may obtain exposure to the commodities markets by entering into commodity-linked derivative instruments, such as listed futures contracts, forward currency contracts, swaps and structured notes. Income from certain commodity-linked derivative instruments in which the Funds invest may not be considered qualifying income under the 90% test noted above. Each Fund intends to invest in such commodity-linked derivative instruments indirectly through its Subsidiary. The Funds have secured an opinion of counsel based on customary representations that actual distributions made to a Fund should be treated as “qualifying income”. The Funds believe that income from a Subsidiary will be qualifying income because it expects that each Subsidiary will make annual distributions of its earnings and profits. To the extent the Funds make direct investments in commodity-linked derivative instruments, they will seek to restrict the resulting income from such instruments so that, when combined with its other non-qualifying income, the Funds’ non-qualifying income is less than 10% of their gross income. In addition, each Fund must satisfy a quarterly asset diversification test. Failure to comply with the qualifying income test or the asset diversification test could have significant negative tax consequences to Fund shareholders. Please refer to the section of this SAI entitled “Taxes – Regulated Investment Company (RIC) Status” for a more detailed explanation of the tax risks associated with the Funds’ commodity investments.

 

 3

 

 

SPECIFIC INVESTMENT STRATEGIES AND RISKS

 

Commodity Futures. Each Fund may, through its Subsidiary, invest in exchange-traded commodity futures contracts as part of its principal investment strategies. Commodity futures contracts are an agreement to buy or sell a certain amount of a commodity at a specific price on a specific date (their expiry) which are negotiated and traded on futures exchanges. Commodity futures contracts are generally based upon commodities within the following commodity groups: energy, industrial metals, agriculture, precious metals, foods and fibers, and livestock.

 

Commodity futures contracts are traded on futures exchanges which provide a central marketplace to negotiate and transact futures contracts, a clearing corporation to process trades and a secondary market. Commodity futures exchanges provide standardization with regards to certain key features such as expiry dates, contract sizes and terms and conditions of delivery. Commodity futures exchanges set a maximum permissible price movement either up or down during a single trading day and when this limit has been reached, no trades may be placed that day at a price beyond that limit. Exchanges may also impose position limit rules limiting the value or number of contracts in one commodity that may be held by one market participant to ensure that the amount of futures contracts that any one party may hold in a particular commodity at any point in time to ensure that no one participant can control a significant portion of the market in a particular commodity.

 

More commonly, as futures contracts near expiry, they are often replaced with a later dated contract in a process known as “rolling”. This involves selling the contracts before they expire and purchasing similar contacts that have a later expiry date. Any difference between the price for the nearer delivery month contract and the price for distant month contract is known as a ‘roll yield’ and this can be either a positive amount or a negative amount. Futures contracts may be satisfied at expiry by delivery of the relevant commodity from one party to the other.

 

Commodity futures contract prices are generally comprised of the price of the relevant commodity as well as the costs of storing the physical commodity. Storage costs include (i) the time value of money invested in the physical commodity, (ii) plus the costs of storing the commodity, (iii) less any benefits of owning the physical commodity not obtained by the holder of a futures contract (the “convenience yield”).

 

Due to the volatility of commodity futures and the risk of credit risk exposure to the counterparty to the contract, commodity futures exchanges each have clearing corporations which act as counterparty to all contracts by either buying or selling directly to the market participants. This means that when each Subsidiary purchases or sells commodity futures contracts their obligations will be to the clearing house; and it will be the clearinghouse that is obliged to satisfy the Subsidiaries’ rights under a commodity futures contract.

 

To ensure a party to a futures contract fulfils its obligations to the clearing house, all participants are required to post and maintain a level of collateral (the collateral is known as “margin”). An exchange will set the margin requirements for the contracts which trade there and these can be modified the term of the futures contract.  Margin requirements range upward from less than 5% of the value of the futures contract being traded. Margin requirements can be offset by other opposing futures transactions; margin payments will continue to be required.

 

When the price of a particular futures contract increases (in the case of a sale) or decreases (in the case of a purchase) and any loss on the futures contract means that the margin already held does not satisfy margin requirements, further margin must be posted. Conversely, if there is a favorable price change in the futures contract any excess margin may be removed from the relevant deposit account. Any margin deposited by a Subsidiary should earn interest income.

 

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SEC guidance sets out certain requirements with respect to coverage of futures positions by registered investment companies which the Fund and Subsidiary will comply with. This includes, in certain circumstances, the need to segregate cash or liquid securities on its books and records and to engage in other appropriate measures to ensure its obligations under particular futures or derivative contracts are covered.  Cash settled futures contracts will require a Fund to segregate liquid assets in an amount equal to its daily mark-to-market (net) obligation under that contract.  Any securities held in a segregated account or otherwise earmarked for these purposes may not be sold while the Fund maintains the relevant position, unless they are replaced with other permissible assets. A Fund may also purchase put options as a means of covering their investments if they are on the same futures contract and their strike price is as high or higher than the price of the relevant contracts. The Subsidiary may not enter into futures positions if such positions will require the Fund to set aside or earmark more than 100% of its net assets.

 

Derivatives. Each Fund may use derivative instruments as part of its investment strategies. Generally, derivatives are financial contracts whose value depends upon, or is derived from, the value of an underlying asset, reference rate or index, and may relate to bonds, interest rates, currencies, commodities, and related indexes. Examples of derivative instruments include forward contracts, currency and interest rate swaps, currency options, futures contracts, options on futures contracts and swap agreements. The Fund’s use of derivative instruments will be underpinned by investments in short-term, high-quality instruments, such as U.S. money market securities.

 

With respect to certain kinds of derivative transactions that involve obligations to make future payments to third parties, including, but not limited to, futures contracts, forward contracts, swap contracts, the purchase of securities on a when-issued or delayed delivery basis, or reverse repurchase agreements, under applicable federal securities laws, rules, and interpretations thereof, the Funds must “set aside” (referred to sometimes as “asset segregation”) liquid assets, or engage in other measures to “cover” open positions with respect to such transactions in a manner consistent with the 1940 Act. In complying with such requirements, the Fund will include assets of any wholly-owned subsidiary in which that Fund invests on an aggregate basis. For example, with respect to forward contracts and futures contracts that are not contractually required to “cash-settle,” the Funds must cover its open positions by setting aside liquid assets equal to the contracts’ full, notional value. The Funds treat deliverable forward contracts for currencies that are liquid as the equivalent of “cash-settled” contracts. As such, the Funds may set aside liquid assets in an amount equal to the Fund’s daily marked-to-market (net) obligation (i.e., the Fund’s daily net liability if any) rather than the full notional amount under such deliverable forward contracts. Similarly, with respect to futures contracts that are contractually required to “cash-settle” the Funds may set aside liquid assets in an amount equal to the Fund’s daily marked-to-market (net) obligation rather than the notional value. Each Fund reserves the right to modify these policies in the future.

 

Effective April 24, 2012, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC”) revised, among other things, CFTC Rule 4.5 and rescinded CFTC Rule 4.13(a)(4). Accordingly, the Advisor has registered with the CFTC as a commodity pool operator (“CPO”) under the Commodity Exchange Act (“CEA”) with regard to each Fund and its Subsidiary. The CFTC has adopted amendments to its regulations of CPOs managing funds registered under the 1940 Act that “harmonize” the SEC’s and the CFTC’s regulatory schemes. The adopted amendments to the CFTC regulations allow CPOs to registered investment companies to satisfy certain recordkeeping, reporting and disclosure requirements that would otherwise apply to them under Part 4 of the CFTC’s regulations by continuing to comply with comparable SEC requirements. To the extent that the CFTC recordkeeping, disclosure and reporting requirements deviate from the comparable SEC requirements, such deviations are not expected to materially adversely affect the ability of a Fund to continue to operate and achieve its investment objective. If, however, these requirements or future regulatory changes result in a Fund having difficulty in achieving its investment objective, the Trust may determine to reorganize or close such Fund, materially change the Fund’s investment objective and strategies, or operate the Fund as a regulated commodity pool pursuant to the Advisor’s CPO registration.

 

Swap Agreements. Each Fund may enter into swap agreements, including interest rate swaps. A typical interest rate swap involves the exchange of a floating interest rate payment for a fixed interest payment. Swap agreements may be used to hedge or achieve exposure to, for example, interest rates, and money market securities without actually purchasing such securities. Each Fund may use swap agreements to invest in a market without owning or taking physical custody of the underlying securities in circumstances in which direct investment is restricted for legal reasons or is otherwise impracticable. Swap agreements will tend to shift a Fund’s investment exposure from one type of investment to another or from one payment stream to another.

 

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Options on Futures Contracts. Each Fund reserves the right to buy or sell options on listed futures contracts. An option on a futures contract gives the purchaser the right, in exchange for payment of a premium, to assume a position in a futures contract at a specified exercise price during the term of the option. A put option gives the purchaser of the option the right to sell, and the writer of the option the obligation to buy, the underlying security or instrument at any time during the option period. A call option on a security gives the purchaser of the option the right to buy, and the writer of the option the obligation to sell, the underlying security or instrument at any time during the option period. A premium is paid to the writer of an option as consideration for undertaking the obligation in the contract.

 

Each Fund may purchase and write options on an exchange or over the counter (“OTC”). OTC options differ from exchange-traded options in several respects. They are transacted directly with dealers and not with a clearing corporation, and therefore entail the risk of non-performance by the dealer. OTC options are available for a greater variety of securities and for a wider range of expiration dates and exercise prices than are available for exchange-traded options. Because OTC options are not traded on an exchange, pricing is done normally by reference to information from a market maker. It is the SEC’s position that OTC options are generally illiquid.

 

When a Fund purchases or sells an options contract, the Fund will segregate its assets as described above under ‘Derivatives’.

 

There are significant risks associated with a Fund’s use of options contracts, including the following: (1) the success of a strategy may depend on the Advisor’s ability to predict movements in the prices of individual commodities, currencies or securities, fluctuations in markets and movements in interest rates; (2) there may be an imperfect or no correlation between the changes in market value of the commodities, currencies or securities and the price of options; (3) although the Fund intends to enter into options contracts only if there is an active market for such contracts, there is no assurance that an active market will exist for the contracts at any particular time; (4) trading restrictions or limitations may be imposed by an exchange; and (5) government regulations may restrict trading in options contracts.

 

Cash Items. The Funds invest a portion of their assets in cash or cash items pending other investments or to maintain liquid assets required in connection with some of the Funds’ investments. These cash items and other high quality debt securities may include money market instruments, such as securities issued by the U.S. Government and its agencies, bankers’ acceptances, commercial paper, bank certificates of deposit and investment companies that invest primarily in such instruments.

 

Corporate Debt Obligations. Corporate debt obligations are interest bearing securities in which the corporate issuer has a contractual obligation to pay interest at a stated rate on specific dates and to repay principal periodically or on a specified maturity date. Notes, bonds, debentures and commercial paper are the most common types of corporate debt securities. The primary differences between the different types of corporate debt securities are their maturities and secured or un-secured status. Commercial paper has the shortest term and is usually unsecured. Corporate debt may be issued by domestic or foreign companies of all kinds, including those with small-, mid- and large-capitalizations. Corporate debt may be rated investment-grade or below investment-grade and may carry variable or floating rates of interest.

 

Exchange-traded Products. Each Fund may invest in exchange-traded products (“ETPs”), which include exchange-traded funds registered under the 1940 Act, exchange-traded commodity trusts and exchange-traded notes.

 

Exchange-traded Funds. Each Fund may invest in ETFs. ETFs are investment companies that trade like stocks on a securities exchange at market prices rather than NAV. As a result, ETF shares may trade at a price greater than NAV (premium) or less than NAV (discount). If a Fund invests in an ETF, the Fund will indirectly bear fees and expenses charged by the ETF in addition to the Fund’s direct fees and expenses. Investments in ETFs are also subject to brokerage and other trading costs that could result in greater expenses for a Fund.

 

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Exchange-traded Notes. Each Fund may invest in exchange-traded notes (“ETNs”). ETNs generally are senior, unsecured, unsubordinated debt securities issued by a sponsor, such as an investment bank. ETNs are traded on exchanges and the returns are linked to the performance of market indexes. In addition to trading ETNs on exchanges, investors may redeem ETNs directly with the issuer on a periodic basis, typically in a minimum amount of 50,000 units, or hold the ETNs until maturity. The value of an ETN may be influenced by time to maturity, level of supply and demand for the ETN, volatility and lack of liquidity in the underlying market, changes in the applicable interest rates, and economic, legal, political or geographic events that affect the referenced market. Because ETNs are debt securities, they are subject to credit risk. If the issuer has financial difficulties or goes bankrupt, the Fund may not receive the return it was promised. If a rating agency lowers an issuer’s credit rating, the value of the ETN may decline and a lower credit rating reflects a greater risk that the issuer will default on its obligation. There may be restrictions on the Fund’s right to redeem its investment in an ETN. There are no periodic interest payments for ETNs, and principal is not protected. The Fund’s decision to sell its ETN holdings may be limited by the availability of a secondary market.

 

Fixed-Income Securities. Each Fund invests in fixed income securities, such as U.S. Treasury notes and bonds. Fixed income securities change in value in response to interest rate changes and other factors, such as the perception of the issuer’s creditworthiness. For example, the value of fixed income securities will generally decrease when interest rates rise, which may cause the value of the Fund to decrease. In addition, investments in fixed income securities with longer maturities will generally fluctuate more in response to interest rate changes. The capacity of traditional dealers to engage in fixed income trading has not kept pace with the bond market’s growth and dealer inventories of bonds are at or near historic lows relative to market size. Because market makers provide stability to fixed income markets, the significant reduction in dealer inventories could lead to decreased liquidity and increased volatility, which may become exacerbated during periods of economic or political stress. In addition, liquidity risk may be magnified in a rising interest rate environment in which investor redemptions (or selling of fund shares in the secondary market) from fixed income funds may be higher than normal.

 

Floating Rate Notes. Each Fund may invest in floating-rate and adjustable rate obligations, such as demand notes, bonds, and commercial paper. Variable- and floating-rate securities generally are less sensitive to interest rate changes but may decline in value if their interest rates do not rise as much, or as quickly, as interest rates in general. Conversely, floating-rate securities will not generally increase in value if interest rates decline. When a Fund holds variable- or floating-rate securities, a decrease (or, in the case of inverse floating-rate securities, an increase) in market interest rates will adversely affect the income received from such securities and the net asset value of the Fund’s shares.

 

These securities may bear interest at a rate that resets based on standard money market indices or are remarketed at current market rates. They may permit the holder to demand payment of principal at any time or at specified intervals not exceeding 397 days. The issuer of such obligations may also have the right to prepay, in its discretion, the principal amount of the obligations plus any accrued interest. The “reset date” of securities held by a Fund may not be longer than 397 days. Given that most floating-rate securities reset their interest rates prior to their final maturity date, the Fund uses the period to the next reset date to calculate the securities contribution to the average portfolio maturity of the Fund.

 

Lending Portfolio Securities. While the Funds do not currently engage in securities lending, each Fund may lend portfolio securities to certain creditworthy borrowers in U.S. and non-U.S. markets in an amount not to exceed one third (33 1/3%) of the value of its total assets. The borrowers provide collateral that is marked to market daily, in an amount at least equal to the current market value of the securities loaned. A Fund may terminate a loan at any time and obtain the securities loaned. A Fund receives the value of any interest or cash or non-cash distributions paid on the loaned securities. A Fund cannot vote proxies for securities on loan, but may recall loans to vote proxies if a material issue affecting the Fund’s economic interest in the investment is to be voted upon. Distributions received on loaned securities in lieu of dividend payments (i.e., substitute payments) would not be considered qualified dividend income.

 

With respect to loans that are collateralized by cash, the borrower will be entitled to receive a fee based on the amount of cash collateral. A Fund 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, a Fund is compensated by a fee paid by the borrower equal to a percentage of the market value of the loaned securities. Any cash collateral may be reinvested in certain short-term instruments either directly on behalf of the lending Fund or through one or more joint accounts or money market funds, which may include those managed by the Advisor.

 

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A Fund may pay a portion of the interest or fees earned from securities lending to a borrower as described above, and to one or more securities lending agents that would be approved by the Board of Trustees of the Trust (the “Board”) and who would administer the lending program for the Funds in accordance with guidelines that would be approved by the Board. In such capacity, the lending agent causes the delivery of loaned securities from a Fund to borrowers, arranges for the return of loaned securities to the Fund at the termination of a loan, requests deposit of collateral, monitors the daily value of the loaned securities and collateral, requests that borrowers add to the collateral when required by the loan agreements, and provides recordkeeping and accounting services necessary for the operation of the program.

 

Money Market Instruments. Each Fund may invest a portion of its assets in high-quality money market instruments on an ongoing basis to provide liquidity or for other reasons. The instruments in which a Fund may invest include: (i) short-term obligations issued by the U.S. Government; (ii) negotiable certificates of deposit (“CDs”), fixed time deposits and bankers’ acceptances of U.S. and foreign banks and similar institutions; (iii) commercial paper rated at the date of purchase “Prime-1” by Moody’s or “A-1+” or “A-1” by Standard & Poor’s (“S&P”) or, if unrated, of comparable quality as determined by the Fund; and (iv) repurchase agreements. U.S. government securities are obligations of, or guaranteed by, the U.S. government, its agencies or government-sponsored enterprises and such obligations may be short-, intermediate- or long-term. CDs are short-term negotiable obligations of commercial banks. Time deposits are non-negotiable deposits maintained in banking institutions for specified periods of time at stated interest rates. Banker’s acceptances are time drafts drawn on commercial banks by borrowers, usually in connection with international transactions.

 

Illiquid Investments. Each Fund may invest up to an aggregate amount of 15% of its net assets (calculated at the time of investment) in illiquid investments, as such term is defined by Rule 22e-4 of the 1940 Act. Illiquid investments include securities subject to contractual or other restrictions on resale and other instruments that lack readily available markets. The inability of a Fund to dispose of illiquid or not readily marketable investments readily or at a reasonable price could impair a Fund’s ability to raise cash for redemptions or other purposes.

 

Investment Company Securities. Each Fund may invest in the securities of other investment companies subject to applicable limitations under Section 12(d)(1) of the 1940 Act. Pursuant to Section 12(d)(1), each Fund may invest in the securities of another investment company (the “acquired company”) provided that the Fund, immediately after such purchase or acquisition, does not own in the aggregate: (i) more than 3% of the total outstanding voting stock of the acquired company; (ii) securities issued by the acquired company having an aggregate value in excess of 5% of the value of the total assets of the Fund; or (iii) securities issued by the acquired company and all other investment companies (other than treasury stock of the Fund) having an aggregate value in excess of 10% of the value of the total assets of the Fund. To the extent allowed by law or regulation, the Fund may invest its assets in securities of investment companies that are money market funds in excess of the limits discussed above.

 

If the Fund invests in and, thus, is a shareholder of, another investment company, the Fund’s shareholders will indirectly bear the Fund’s proportionate share of the fees and expenses paid by such other investment company, including advisory fees, in addition to both the management fees payable directly by the Fund to the Fund’s own investment advisor and the other expenses that the Fund bears directly in connection with the Fund’s own operations.

 

Section 12(d)(1) of the 1940 Act restricts investments by registered investment companies in securities of other registered investment companies, including each Fund. The acquisition of a Fund’s Shares by registered investment companies is subject to the restrictions of Section 12(d)(1) of the 1940 Act, except as may be permitted by exemptive rules under the 1940 Act or as may at some future time be permitted by an exemptive order that permits registered investment companies to invest in a Fund beyond the limits of Section 12(d)(1), subject to certain terms and conditions, including that the registered investment company enter into an agreement with that Fund regarding the terms of the investment.

 

Each Fund may rely on Section 12(d)(1)(F) and Rule 12d1-3 of the 1940 Act, which provide an exemption from Section 12(d)(1) that allows a Fund to invest all of its assets in other registered funds, including ETFs, if, among other conditions: (a) a Fund, together with its affiliates, acquires no more than three percent of the outstanding voting stock of any acquired fund, and (b) the sales load charged on a Fund’s shares is no greater than the limits set forth in Rule 2341 of the Rules of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. (“FINRA”).

 

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Investment in the Subsidiaries. Each Fund intends to achieve commodity exposure through investment in its respective Subsidiary. Each Fund’s investment in its Subsidiary may not exceed 25% of the Fund’s total assets at each quarter-end of the Fund’s fiscal year. Each Subsidiary may invest in derivatives including futures, forwards, option and swap contracts, notes, and other investments intended to serve as margin or collateral or otherwise support the Subsidiary’s derivatives positions. The Subsidiaries are not registered under the 1940 Act. Each Fund, as the sole shareholder of its respective Subsidiary, will not have all of the protections offered to investors in RICs. The Board has oversight responsibility for the investment activities of each Fund, including its investment in its respective Subsidiary, and the Fund’s role as the sole shareholder of its respective Subsidiary.

 

Changes in the laws of the United States (where the Funds are organized) and/or the Cayman Islands (where each Subsidiary is incorporated), could result in the inability of the Funds and/or the Subsidiaries to operate as described in this SAI and could negatively affect the Funds and their shareholders. For example, the Cayman Islands does not currently impose any income, corporate or capital gains tax, estate duty, inheritance tax, gift tax or withholding tax on the Subsidiaries. If Cayman Islands law changes such that the Subsidiaries must pay Cayman Islands taxes, Fund shareholders would likely suffer decreased investment returns.

 

Repurchase Agreements. Each Fund may enter into repurchase agreements with counterparties that are deemed to present acceptable credit risks. A repurchase agreement is a transaction in which a Fund purchases securities or other obligations from a bank or securities dealer (or its affiliate) and simultaneously commits to resell them to a counterparty at an agreed-upon date or upon demand and at a price reflecting a market rate of interest unrelated to the coupon rate or maturity of the purchased obligations. Each Fund maintains custody of the underlying obligations prior to their repurchase, either through its regular custodian or through a special “tri-party” custodian or sub-custodian that maintains separate accounts for both the Fund and its counterparty. Thus, the obligation of the counterparty to pay the repurchase price on the date agreed to or upon demand is, in effect, secured by such obligations.

 

U.S. Government Securities. Each Fund may invest in obligations issued or guaranteed by the U.S. Treasury or the agencies or instrumentalities of the U.S. government. Each Fund may also purchase intermediate and long-term obligations issued or guaranteed by the U.S. Treasury or the agencies or instrumentalities of the U.S. government. U.S. government securities are obligations of, or guaranteed by, the U.S. government, its agencies or government-sponsored enterprises. U.S. government securities are subject to market and interest rate risk, and may be subject to varying degrees of credit risk. U.S. government securities include inflation-indexed fixed income securities, such as U.S. Treasury Inflation Protected Securities (TIPS). U.S. government securities include zero coupon securities, which tend to be subject to greater market risk than interest-paying securities of similar maturities

 

PROXY VOTING POLICY

 

Each Fund has delegated proxy voting responsibilities to the Advisor, subject to the Board’s oversight. In delegating proxy responsibilities, the Board has directed that proxies be voted consistent with each Fund’s and its shareholders’ best interests and in compliance with all applicable proxy voting rules and regulations. The Advisor has engaged a third party proxy solicitation firm to assist with voting proxies in a timely manner and who has adopted proxy voting policies and guidelines for this purpose (“Proxy Voting Policies”). A copy of the Proxy Voting Policies is set forth in Appendix A to this SAI. The Trust’s Chief Compliance Officer (“CCO”) is responsible for monitoring the effectiveness of the Proxy Voting Policies. The Proxy Voting Policies have been adopted by the Trust as the policies and procedures that the Advisor will use when voting proxies on behalf of the Funds.

 

The Proxy Voting Policies address, among other things, material conflicts of interest that may arise between the interests of the Funds and the interests of the Advisor. The Proxy Voting Policies will ensure that all issues brought to shareholders are analyzed in light of the Advisor’s fiduciary responsibilities.

 

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Information regarding how a Fund voted proxies relating to portfolio securities during the most recent 12-month period is available without charge, upon request, by calling 1-844-383-7289 or from the Funds’ website at http://www.aberdeenstandardetfs.us, and on the SEC’S website at http://www.sec.gov.

 

PORTFOLIO HOLDINGS DISCLOSURE POLICIES AND PROCEDURES

 

The Trust has adopted a Portfolio Holdings Policy (the “Policy”) designed to govern the disclosure of each Fund’s portfolio holdings and the use of material non-public information about Fund holdings. The Policy applies to all officers, employees, and agents of the Funds, including the Advisor. The Policy is designed to ensure that the disclosure of information about each Fund’s portfolio holdings is consistent with applicable legal requirements and otherwise in the best interest of the Funds.

 

As exchange-traded funds, information about each Fund’s portfolio holdings is made available on a daily basis in accordance with the provisions of any Order of the SEC applicable to the Funds, regulations of the Funds’ Listing Exchange and other applicable SEC regulations, orders and no-action relief. Such information typically reflects all or a portion of a Fund’s anticipated portfolio holdings as of the next Business Day.

 

A “Business Day” is any day on which the Listing Exchange is open for business. As of the date of this SAI, the Listing Exchange observes the following holidays: New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Presidents’ Day, Good Friday, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.

 

Information about a Fund’s portfolio holdings is made available on a daily basis in accordance with the provisions of any Order of the SEC applicable to each Fund, regulations of each Fund’s Listing Exchange and other applicable SEC regulations, orders and no-action relief. Such information typically reflects all or a portion of the Fund’s anticipated portfolio holdings as of the next Business Day. This information is used in connection with the Creation and Redemption process and is disseminated on a daily basis through the facilities of the Listing Exchange, the National Securities Clearing Corporation (“NSCC”) and/or third-party service providers.

 

The Advisor may disclose on its website at the start of each Business Day the identities and quantities of the securities and other assets held by each Fund that will form the basis of the Fund’s calculation of its NAV on that Business Day. The portfolio holdings so disclosed are based on information as of the close of business on the prior Business Day and/or trades that have been completed prior to the opening of business on that Business Day and that are expected to settle on that Business Day.

 

Daily access to each Fund’s portfolio holdings with no lag time is permitted to personnel of the Advisor, the Distributor and the Fund’s administrator (“Administrator”), custodian and accountant and other agents or service providers of the Trust who have need of such information in connection with the ordinary course of their respective duties to the Fund. The Fund’s CCO may authorize disclosure of portfolio holdings.

 

Each Fund may disclose its complete portfolio holdings or a portion of its portfolio holdings online at www.aberdeenstandardetfs.us. Online disclosure of such holdings is publicly available at no charge.

 

Each Fund will disclose its complete portfolio holdings schedule in public filings with the SEC on a quarterly basis, based on the Fund’s fiscal year, and will provide that information to shareholders, as required by federal securities laws and regulations thereunder.

 

No person is authorized to disclose a Fund’s portfolio holdings or other investment positions except in accordance with the Policy. The Board reviews the implementation of the Policy on a periodic basis.

 

INDEX DESCRIPTIONS

 

The Index of each Fund was created using proprietary methodology developed by Bloomberg Indices (“Bloomberg”). Bloomberg (the “Index Provider”) is independent of the Funds and the Advisors. Each Fund is an actively managed exchange-traded fund and is not designed to track the relevant Index.

 

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A description of each Index on which a Fund is based is provided in the relevant Fund’s Prospectus under “Principal Investment Strategies” with certain additional details provided below. Additional information about the Indexes of the Bloomberg Indices including the components and weightings of the Indexes, as well as the rules that govern inclusion and weighting in each of the Indexes, is available at www.bloombergindices.com.

 

Index Availability: Each Index is calculated and disseminated throughout each day the Listing Exchange is open for trading.

 

Changes to the Index Methodology. Each Index is governed by a published, rules-based methodology. Changes to the methodology will be publicly disclosed at www.bloombergindices.com, prior to implementation.

 

INVESTMENT LIMITATIONS

 

The following fundamental investment policies and limitations supplement those set forth in the Prospectus. Unless otherwise noted, whenever a fundamental investment policy or limitation states a maximum percentage of a Fund’s assets that may be invested in any security or other asset, or sets forth a policy regarding quality standards, such standard or percentage limitation will be determined immediately after and as a result of the Fund’s acquisition of such security or other asset. Accordingly, other than with respect to a Fund’s limitations on borrowings, any subsequent change in values, net assets, or other circumstances will not be considered when determining whether the investment complies with the Fund’s investment policies and limitations.

 

Each Fund’s fundamental investment policies cannot be changed without the approval of the holders of a majority of the Fund’s outstanding voting securities as defined under the 1940 Act. Each Fund, however, may change the non-fundamental investment policies described below, its investment objective without a shareholder vote.

 

Fundamental Policies. The following investment policies and limitations are fundamental and may NOT be changed without shareholder approval.

 

A Fund, as a fundamental investment policy, may not:

 

Senior Securities

 

Issue senior securities, except as permitted under the 1940 Act.

 

Borrowing

 

Borrow money, except as permitted under the 1940 Act.

 

Underwriting

 

Act as an underwriter of another issuer’s securities, except to the extent that a Fund may be considered an underwriter within the meaning of the Securities Act in the disposition of portfolio securities.

 

Concentration (Aberdeen Standard Bloomberg All Commodity Strategy K-1 Free ETF and Aberdeen Standard Bloomberg All Commodity Longer Dated Strategy K-1 Free ETF)

 

Purchase the securities of any issuer (other than securities issued or guaranteed by the U.S. Government or any of its agencies or instrumentalities) if, as a result, more than 25% of the Fund’s total assets would be invested in the securities of companies whose principal business activities are in the same industry.

 

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Concentration (Aberdeen Standard Bloomberg Agriculture Commodity Strategy K-1 Free ETF Only)

 

Purchase the securities of any issuer (other than securities issued or guaranteed by the U.S. Government or any of its agencies or instrumentalities) if, as a result, more than 25% of the Fund’s total assets would be invested in the securities of companies whose principal business activities are in the same industry other than the agriculture industry.

 

Concentration (Aberdeen Standard Bloomberg Energy Commodity Strategy K-1 Free ETF and Aberdeen Standard Bloomberg WTI Crude Oil Strategy K-1 Free ETF Only)

 

Purchase the securities of any issuer (other than securities issued or guaranteed by the U.S. Government or any of its agencies or instrumentalities) if, as a result, more than 25% of the Fund’s total assets would be invested in the securities of companies whose principal business activities are in the same industry other than the energy sector.

 

Real Estate

 

Purchase or sell real estate unless acquired as a result of ownership of securities or other instruments (but this shall not prevent a Fund from investing in securities or other instruments backed by real estate, real estate investment trusts or securities of companies engaged in the real estate business).

 

Commodities

 

Directly purchase or sell physical commodities unless acquired as a result of ownership of securities or other instruments (but this shall not prevent a Fund from purchasing or selling options and futures contracts or from investing in securities or other instruments backed by physical commodities. 

 

Loans

 

Lend any security or make any other loan except as permitted under the 1940 Act.

 

This means that no more than 33 1/3% of its total assets would be lent to other parties. This limitation does not apply to purchases of debt securities or to repurchase agreements, or to acquisitions of loans, loan participations or other forms of debt instruments, permissible under the Fund’s investment policies.

 

With respect to issuing Senior Securities, as noted above, a Fund is not permitted to issue senior securities, except that a Fund may borrow from any bank if immediately after such borrowing the value of the Fund’s total assets is at least 300% of the principal amount of all of the Fund’s borrowings (i.e., the principal amount of the borrowings may not exceed 33 1/3% of the Fund’s total assets). In the event that such asset coverage shall at any time fall below 300% a Fund shall, within three days thereafter (not including Sundays and holidays), reduce the amount of its borrowings to an extent that the asset coverage of such borrowing shall be at least 300%. The fundamental investment limitations set forth above limit the Fund’s ability to engage in certain investment practices and purchase securities or other instruments to the extent permitted by, or consistent with, applicable law. As such, these limitations will change as the statute, rules, regulations or orders (or, if applicable, interpretations) change, and no shareholder vote will be required or sought.

 

With respect to Borrowing, as noted above, a Fund may not borrow money, except that a Fund may (i) borrow money from banks for temporary or emergency purposes (but not for leverage or the purchase of investments) and (ii) engage in other transactions permissible under the 1940 Act that may involve a borrowing (such as obtaining short-term credits as are necessary for the clearance of transactions, engaging in delayed-delivery transactions, or purchasing certain futures, forward contracts and options), provided that the combination of (i) and (ii) shall not exceed 33-1/3% of the value of the Fund’s total assets (including the amount borrowed), less the Fund’s liabilities (other than borrowings).

 

Non-Fundamental Policies. The following investment policies are not fundamental and may be changed without shareholder approval.

 

 12

 

 

80% Policy (Aberdeen Standard Bloomberg Agriculture Commodity Strategy K-1 Free ETF Only)

 

Under normal circumstances, the Fund will invest at least 80% of its net assets, plus the amount of any borrowings for investment purposes, in futures contracts and other securities in an amount that provides investment exposure to agricultural commodities. If, subsequent to an investment, the 80% requirement is no longer met, the Fund’s future investments will be made in a manner that will bring the Fund into compliance with this policy. Prior to any change in the Fund’s 80% policy, the Fund will provide shareholders with 60 days’ notice. 

 

80% Policy (Aberdeen Standard Bloomberg Energy Commodity Strategy K-1 Free ETF Only)

 

Under normal circumstances, the Fund will invest at least 80% of its net assets, plus the amount of any borrowings for investment purposes, in futures contracts and other securities in an amount that provides investment exposure to energy commodities. If, subsequent to an investment, the 80% requirement is no longer met, the Fund’s future investments will be made in a manner that will bring the Fund into compliance with this policy. Prior to any change in the Fund’s 80% policy, the Fund will provide shareholders with 60 days’ notice. 

 

80% Policy (Aberdeen Standard Bloomberg WTI Crude Oil Strategy K-1 Free ETF Only)

 

Under normal circumstances, the Fund will invest at least 80% of its net assets, plus the amount of any borrowings for investment purposes, in futures contracts and other securities in an amount that provides investment exposure to oil. If, subsequent to an investment, the 80% requirement is no longer met, the Fund’s future investments will be made in a manner that will bring the Fund into compliance with this policy. Prior to any change in the Fund’s 80% policy, the Fund will provide shareholders with 60 days’ notice. 

 

Illiquid Investments

 

A Fund will not invest in illiquid investments if, as a result of such investment, more than 15% of its net assets would be invested in illiquid investments. An illiquid investment is any investment that the Fund reasonably expects cannot be sold or disposed of in current market conditions in seven calendar days or less without the sale or disposition significantly changing the market value of the investment.

 

CONTINUOUS OFFERING

 

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

 

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

 

Broker-dealer firms should also note that dealers who are not “underwriters” but are effecting transactions in shares, whether or not participating in the distribution of shares, generally are required to deliver a prospectus. This is because the prospectus delivery exemption in Section 4(3) of the Securities Act is not available in respect of such transactions as a result of Section 24(d) of the 1940 Act. Firms that incur a prospectus delivery obligation with respect to shares of a Fund are reminded that, pursuant to Rule 153 under the Securities Act, a prospectus delivery obligation under Section 5(b)(2) of the Securities Act owed to an exchange member in connection with the sale on the Listing Exchange is satisfied by the fact that the prospectus is available at the Listing Exchange upon request. The prospectus delivery mechanism provided in Rule 153 is only available with respect to transactions on an exchange.

 

 13

 

 

MANAGEMENT OF THE TRUST

 

Board Responsibilities. The Board is responsible for overseeing the management and affairs of the Funds and the Trust. The Board has considered and approved contracts, as described herein, under which certain companies provide essential management and administrative services to the Trust. Like most ETFs, the day-to-day business of the Trust, including the day-to-day management of risk, is performed by third-party service providers, such as the Advisor, Distributor and Administrator. The Board is responsible for overseeing the Trust’s service providers and, thus, has oversight responsibility with respect to the risk management performed by those service providers. Risk management seeks to identify and eliminate or mitigate the potential effects of risks, i.e., events or circumstances that could have material adverse effects on the business, operations, shareholder services, investment performance or reputation of the Trust or the Funds. Under the overall supervision of the Board and the Audit Committee (discussed in more detail below), the service providers to the Funds employ a variety of processes, procedures and controls to identify risks relevant to the operations of the Trust and the Funds to lessen the probability of their occurrence and/or to mitigate the effects of such events or circumstances if they do occur. Each service provider is responsible for one or more discrete aspects of the Trust’s business (e.g., the Advisor is responsible for the day-to-day management of the Fund’s portfolio investments) and, consequently, for managing the risks associated with that activity.

 

The Board’s role in risk management oversight begins before the inception of a Fund, at which time the Fund’s Advisor presents the Board with information concerning the investment objective, strategies and risks of the Fund. Additionally, a Fund’s Advisor provides the Board with an overview of, among other things, its investment philosophy, brokerage practices and compliance infrastructure. Thereafter, the Board oversees the risk management of the Fund’s operations, in part, by requesting periodic reports from and otherwise communicating with various personnel of the Fund and its service providers, including the Trust’s CCO and the Fund’s independent registered public accountants. The Board and, with respect to identified risks that relate to its scope of expertise, the Audit Committee oversee efforts by management and service providers to manage risks to which the Funds may be exposed.

 

The Board is responsible for overseeing the nature, extent and quality of the services provided to the Funds by the Advisor and receives information about those services at its regular meetings. In addition, on at least an annual basis, in connection with its consideration of whether to renew the Investment Advisory Agreement with the Advisor, the Board meets with the Advisor to review such services. Among other things, the Board regularly considers the Advisor’s adherence to each Fund’s investment restrictions and compliance with various Fund policies and procedures and with applicable securities regulations. The Board also reviews information about each Fund’s performance and investments.

 

The Trust’s CCO meets regularly with the Board to review and discuss compliance and other issues. At least annually, the Trust’s CCO provides the Board with a report reviewing the adequacy and effectiveness of the Trust’s policies and procedures and those of its service providers, including the Advisor. The report addresses the operation of the policies and procedures of the Trust and each service provider since the date of the last report; material changes to the policies and procedures since the date of the last report; any recommendations for material changes to the policies and procedures; and material compliance matters since the date of the last report.

 

The Board receives reports from the Trust’s service providers regarding operational risks, portfolio valuation and other matters. Annually, an independent registered public accounting firm reviews with the Audit Committee its audit of the Trust’s financial statements, focusing on major areas of risk encountered by the Trust and noting any significant deficiencies or material weaknesses in the Trust’s internal controls.

 

 14

 

 

The Board recognizes that not all risks that may affect a Fund can be identified, that it may not be practical or cost-effective to eliminate or mitigate certain risks, that it may be necessary to bear certain risks (such as investment-related risks) to achieve a Fund’s goals, and that the processes, procedures and controls employed to address certain risks may be limited in their effectiveness. Moreover, despite the periodic reports the Board receives and the Board’s discussions with the service providers to a Fund, it may not be made aware of all of the relevant information of a particular risk. Most of the Trust’s investment management and business affairs are carried out by or through the Funds’ Advisor and other service providers, each of which has an independent interest in risk management but whose policies and the methods by which one or more risk management functions are carried out may differ from the Trust’s and each other’s in the setting of priorities, the resources available or the effectiveness of relevant controls. As a result of the foregoing and other factors, the Board’s risk management oversight is subject to substantial limitations.

 

Members of the Board and Officers of the Trust. There are four members of the Board, three of whom are not interested persons of the Trust, as that term is defined in the 1940 Act (“Independent Trustees”). Stephen O’Grady, an Independent Trustee, serves as Chairperson of the Board. The Board is comprised of a majority (75%) of Independent Trustees. There is an Audit Committee of the Board that is chaired by an Independent Trustee and comprised solely of Independent Trustees. The Audit Committee chair presides at the Committee meetings, participates in formulating agendas for Committee meetings, and coordinates with management to serve as a liaison between the Independent Trustees and management on matters within the scope of responsibilities of the Committee as set forth in its Board-approved charter. The Trust has determined its leadership structure is appropriate given the specific characteristics and circumstances of the Trust. The Trust made this determination in consideration of, among other things, the fact that the Independent Trustees constitute 75% of the Board, the number of Independent Trustees that constitute the Board, the amount of assets under management in the Trust, and the number of Funds overseen by the Board. The Board also believes that its leadership structure facilitates the orderly and efficient flow of information to the Independent Trustees from Fund management.

 

The Board of Trustees has two standing committees: the Audit Committee and Nominating Committee. The Audit Committee and Nominating Committee are chaired by an Independent Trustee and composed of Independent Trustees.

 

Set forth below are the names, ages, positions with the Trust, length of term of office, and the principal occupations and other directorships held during at least the last five years of each of the persons currently serving as a Trustee of the Trust, as well as information about each officer. The business address of each Trustee and officer is Aberdeen Standard Investments ETFs, 712 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10019.

 

Name and Year of
Birth
Position(s)Held with
the Trust,
Term of
Office and
Length of
Time Served(1)
Principal Occupation(s)
During Past 5 Years
Number of
Portfolios in
Fund
Complex
Overseen
by Trustee(2)
Other
Directorships Held
by Trustee During
Past 5 Years(3)
Interested Trustee

Bev Hendry

(1953)

 

Trustee 2018 –
present;

President 2018 –
present 

Chairman – Americas for Aberdeen Standard Investments (2018 – present);
Chief Executive Officer – Americas for Aberdeen Asset Management PLC (2014 – 2018);
Chief Operating Officer for Hansberger Global Investors (2008 – 2014).
9

Director, Aberdeen (2014present) (investment adviser).

 

 

Independent Trustees

Stephen O’Grady*
(1946)

Trustee,
2014 – present;
Chairperson,  
April 2018 –

Present

GFI Group Inc. (GFIG) Financial Brokerage, Head of ETF Unit (February 2011 – January 2012); Kellogg Capital, Partner (January 2011 – April 2014). 5

Trustee, Greenhaven Continuous Commodity ETF (GCC) (January 2013 – December 2015); Trustee, Virtus ETFs (formerly Infracap Master Limited Partnership ETF), (October 2014 – present).

 

 

 15

 

 

Name and Year of
Birth
Position(s)Held with
the Trust,
Term of
Office and
Length of
Time Served(1)
Principal Occupation(s)
During Past 5 Years
Number of
Portfolios in
Fund
Complex
Overseen
by Trustee(2)
Other
Directorships Held
by Trustee During
Past 5 Years(3)
         

John
Sievwright

(1955)

Trustee,
2018 – present

 

Non-Executive Director of NEX Group plc (2017present) (financial); Non-Executive Director of ICAP PLC (20092016) (financial); Non-Executive Independent Director of FirstGroup plc (20022014) (transport).

 

9 Director of NEX Group plc (2017present)
William M. Thomas**
(1962)
Trustee,
2014 – present

Wedgewood Partners, President, August (2015 – present);

ActiveETF Partners, Managing Partner (December 2012 – August 2015).

5 President and Interested Trustee, Grail Advisors ETF Trust (2009 – 2011); Chairman, Squirrel Island, Maine, Squirrel Island Board of Overseers (2009 – 2015).

 

Name and Year of
Birth
Position(s) Held with Trust Term of Office and Length of Time Served Principal Occupation(s) During the Past 5 Years
       
Officers of the Trust      

Bev Hendry***

(1953)

President and Trustee Since 2018; no set term See description in the “Interested Trustee” table.

 

Steven Dunn***

(1969)

Vice President Since 2018; no set term

Currently, Head of Exchange-traded Funds for Aberdeen Standard Investments. Previously, Executive Director, Head of U.S. for ETF Securities Advisors LLC since September of 2015. Prior to joining ETF Securities Advisors LLC, Mr. Dunn was a Director at Deutsche Bank in the ETF business.

 

Alan Goodson***

(1974)

Vice President Since 2018; no set term

Currently, Head of Product — Americas for Aberdeen Standard Investments. Mr. Goodson is Director and Vice President of Aberdeen and joined Aberdeen Standard Investments in 2000.

 

Andrea Melia***  

(1969)

Principal Financial Officer and Treasurer Since 2018; no set term

Currently, Head of Fund Operations Traditional Assets — Americas for Aberdeen Standard Investments. Ms. Melia is Vice President of Aberdeen and joined Aberdeen Standard Investments in September 2009.

 

Lucia Sitar***

(1971)

Vice President

Since 2018; no set term

 

Currently, Managing U.S. Counsel for Aberdeen Standard Investments. Ms. Sitar is Vice President of Aberdeen and joined Aberdeen Standard Investments in July 2007. 

 

 16

 

 

Name and Year of
Birth
Position(s) Held with Trust Term of Office and Length of Time Served Principal Occupation(s) During the Past 5 Years
       
Adam Rezak***
(1969)
Chief Compliance Officer and Vice President Since 2014; no set term

Currently, Chief Compliance Officer – ETFs for Aberdeen Standard Investments. Previously, Chief Compliance Officer of ETF Securities Advisors LLC, since July 2014. Prior to joining ETF Securities Advisors LLC, Mr. Rezak was Chief Compliance Officer of Guggenheim Partners from October 2007 to December 2013.

 

Brian Kordeck***

(1978)

Assistant Treasurer Since 2018; no set term

Currently, Senior Fund Administration Manager for Aberdeen Standard Investments. Mr. Kordeck joined Aberdeen Standard Investments in 2013.

 

Megan Kennedy***

(1974)

 

Secretary and Vice President

Since 2018; no set term

 

Currently, Head of Product Management for Aberdeen Standard Investments. Ms. Kennedy joined Aberdeen Standard Investments in 2005.

 

Stephen Varga***

(1985)

Assistant Secretary Since 2018; no set term

Currently, Product Manager for Aberdeen Standard Investments. Mr. Varga joined Aberdeen Standard Investments in 2011.

 

JoAnn Carter***

(1964)

Assistant Secretary Since 2017; no set term Currently, Assistant Vice President of JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A., since August 2013.


* Chair of the Audit Committee.
** Chair of the Nominating Committee.
*** Elected by and serves at the pleasure of the Board.
(1) Each Trustee serves during the lifetime of the Funds or until he or she dies, resigns, retires, is declared bankrupt or incompetent, or is removed, and until the election and qualification of his or her successor.
(2) The Fund Complex consists of the Trust (consisting of five portfolios), Aberdeen Investment Funds (consisting of four portfolios), Aberdeen Funds (consisting of 24 portfolios), Aberdeen Asia-Pacific Income Fund, Inc., Aberdeen Global Income Fund, Inc., Aberdeen Australia Equity Fund, Inc., Aberdeen Emerging Markets Equity Income Fund, Inc., The India Fund, Inc., Aberdeen Japan Equity Fund, Inc., Aberdeen Income Credit Strategies Fund, Aberdeen Global Premier Properties Fund, Aberdeen Global Dynamic Dividend Fund and Aberdeen Total Dynamic Dividend Fund.
(3) Directorships (excluding Fund Complex) held in (1) any other investment companies registered under the 1940 Act, (2) any company with a class of securities registered pursuant to Section 12 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “1934 Act”) or (3) any company subject to the requirements of Section 15(d) of the Exchange Act.

 

Board Committees. The Board has established the following standing committees:

 

Audit Committee. The Board has a standing Audit Committee that is composed of each Independent Trustee of the Trust. The Audit Committee operates under a written charter approved by the Board. The principal responsibilities of the Audit Committee include: recommending which firm to engage as each Fund’s independent registered public accounting firm and whether to terminate this relationship; reviewing the independent registered public accounting firm’s compensation, the proposed scope and terms of its engagement, and the firm’s independence; pre-approving audit and non-audit services provided by each Fund’s independent registered public accounting firm to the Trust and certain other affiliated entities; serving as a channel of communication between the independent registered public accounting firm and the Trustees; reviewing the results of each external audit, including any qualifications in the independent registered public accounting firm’s opinion, any related management letter, management’s responses to recommendations made by the independent registered public accounting firm in connection with the audit, reports submitted to the Committee by the internal auditing department of the Trust’s Administrator that are material to the Trust as a whole, if any, and management’s responses to any such reports; reviewing each Fund’s audited financial statements and considering any significant disputes between the Trust’s management and the independent registered public accounting firm that arose in connection with the preparation of those financial statements; considering, in consultation with the independent registered public accounting firm and the Trust’s senior internal accounting executive, if any, the independent registered public accounting firms’ report on the adequacy of the Trust’s internal financial controls; reviewing, in consultation with each Fund’s independent registered public accounting firm, major changes regarding auditing and accounting principles and practices to be followed when preparing each Fund’s financial statements; and other audit related matters. All of the Independent Trustees currently serve as members of the Audit Committee. The Audit Committee also acts as the Trust’s qualified legal compliance committee. The Audit Committee met two (2) times during the fiscal year ended December 31, 2018.

 

 17

 

 

Nominating Committee. The Board has a standing Nominating Committee that is composed of each Independent Trustee of the Trust. The Nominating Committee operates under a written charter approved by the Board. The principal responsibility of the Nominating Committee is to consider, recommend and nominate candidates to fill vacancies on the Trust’s Board, if any. The Nominating Committee will not consider nominees recommended by shareholders. The Secretary of the Trust shall submit all nominations to the Nominating Committee. The Nominating Committee shall assess shareholder nominees in the same manner it reviews its own nominations. All of the Independent Trustees currently serve as members of the Nominating Committee. The Nominating Committee did not meet during the fiscal year ended December 31, 2018.

 

Individual Trustee Qualifications. The Trust has concluded that each of the Trustees should serve on the Board because of their ability to review and understand information about the Funds provided to them by management, to identify and request other information they may deem relevant to the performance of their duties, to question management and other service providers regarding material factors bearing on the management and administration of the Fund, and to exercise their business judgment in a manner that serves the best interests of the Fund’s shareholders. The Trust has concluded that each of the Trustees should serve as a Trustee based on their own experience, qualifications, attributes and skills as described below.

 

The Trust has concluded that Mr. Hendry should serve as Trustee of the Funds because of the experience he has gained as an experienced business executive with service in business and finance since 1987. He has been the Chairman - Americas of Aberdeen Standard Investments since April 2018. He previously held the position of CEO of Americas of Aberdeen Standard Investments since December 2016. Aberdeen Standard Investments is a brand of the investment businesses of Aberdeen Asset Management and Standard Life Investments. Mr. Hendry first joined Aberdeen at its headquarters in Scotland in 1987 where he set up Aberdeen’s mutual fund business. Mr. Hendry moved to the United States in 1995 to establish Aberdeen’s business in the Americas based out of Fort Lauderdale where the firm’s initial focus was Latin America. Following a series of acquisitions, Aberdeen relocated its US headquarters to Philadelphia where Mr. Hendry is now based. Mr. Hendry has over 30 years of experience in the investment management industry.

 

The Trust has concluded that Mr. O’Grady should serve as Trustee of the Funds because of the experience he has gained as a Partner in charge of the ETF Market Making unit of a prominent financial services firm, and his extensive knowledge of and experience in the financial services industry generally.

 

The Trust has concluded that Mr. Sievwright should serve as Trustee of the Funds because of the experience he has gained as a senior vice president and chief operating officer of the international unit of a prominent financial services firm, his experience holding various senior management positions in banking, his service as a director of other registered investment companies, and his experience and knowledge of the financial services industry generally.

 

The Trust has concluded that Mr. Thomas should serve as Trustee of the Fund because of the experience he has gained as chief executive officer of a firm specializing in financial services, his experience in and knowledge of the financial services industry generally, and his service as chairman for another ETF family.

 

 18

 

 

Fund Shares Owned by Board Members. The following table shows the dollar amount range of each Trustee’s “beneficial ownership” of shares of the Funds and each other series of the Trust as of the end of the most recently completed calendar year. Dollar amount ranges disclosed are established by the SEC. “Beneficial ownership” is determined in accordance with Rule 16a-1(a)(2) under the 1934 Act. As of December 31, 2018, the Trustees and officers of the Trust collectively own less than [1%] of the outstanding shares of the Trust. 

 

 

Name of Trustee

  Dollar Range of Equity Securities in the Funds1   Aggregate Dollar Range of
Equity Securities in All Registered
Investment Companies Overseen
by Trustee in Family of
Investment Companies2
Interested Trustee         
Bev Hendry   $[      ]   $[      ]
Independent Trustees         
Stephen O’Grady   $[      ]   $[      ]
John Sievwright   $[      ]   $[      ]
William M. Thomas   $[      ]   $[      ]

 

 

1 Values based on Trustees’ ownership as of December 31, 2018.  
2 The Family of Investment Companies consists of the Trust (consisting of five portfolios).  

 

 

Board Compensation. In December 2017, the Advisor agreed to pay the compensation for the Independent Trustees of the Trust. Therefore, the Independent Trustees were not paid from the Trust for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2018. The table below sets forth the compensation earned by each Interested Trustee and Independent Trustee (paid by the Advisor) for services to the Trust and the Fund Complex (as defined below) for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2018.

 

Name of Trustee   Aggregate
Compensation
for Services to the Trust*
  Pension or
Retirement
Benefits
Accrued as
Part of
Company
Expenses
  Estimated Annual
Benefits upon
Retirement
  Total Compensation
from the Funds and
Fund Complex1
Interested Trustee           
Bev Hendry   None   None   None   None
Graham Tuckwell2   None   None   None   None
Independent Trustees             
Stephen O’Grady   $[      ]   None   None   $[      ]
John Sievwright   $[      ]   None   None   $[      ]
William M. Thomas   $[      ]   None   None   $[      ]

*Paid for by the Advisor.

(1)The Fund Complex consists of the Trust (consisting of five portfolios), Aberdeen Investment Funds (consisting of four portfolios), Aberdeen Funds (consisting of 24 portfolios), Aberdeen Asia-Pacific Income Fund, Inc., Aberdeen Global Income Fund, Inc., Aberdeen Australia Equity Fund, Inc., Aberdeen Emerging Markets Equity Income Fund, Inc., The India Fund, Inc., Aberdeen Japan Equity Fund, Inc., Aberdeen Income Credit Strategies Fund, Aberdeen Global Premier Properties Fund, Aberdeen Global Dynamic Dividend Fund and Aberdeen Total Dynamic Dividend Fund.

(2) Graham Tuckwell resigned as Trustee on April 27, 2018 upon the acquisition of the Advisor by Aberdeen.

 

 

Control Persons and Principal Holders of Securities. A person who beneficially owns, directly or indirectly, 25% or more of the voting securities of a Fund may be deemed to “control” (as defined in the 1940 Act) that Fund, and may be able to exercise a controlling influence over any matter submitted to Shareholders of that Fund. Although the Trust does not have information concerning the beneficial ownership of shares held in the names of DTC Participants, as of April 1, 2019, the name, address and percentage ownership of each DTC Participant that owned of record 5% or more of the outstanding Shares of the Fund is set forth in the table below.

 

 19

 

 

To the knowledge of the Trust’s management, as of the date of this SAI, the officers and Trustees of the Trust, as a group, beneficially owned less than one percent of the Fund’s outstanding shares. [To be updated in the 485(b)]

 

Fund Name Participant Name and Address Percentage of Ownership
[                        ]

[                       ] 

[           ]%

  

Investment Advisor. Aberdeen Standard Investments ETFs Advisors LLC serves as investment advisor to the Funds pursuant to an investment advisory agreement between the Trust and the Advisor. The Advisor is a Delaware limited liability corporation registered as an investment advisor under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940, as amended (the “Advisers Act”), located at 712 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10019. The Advisor is a directly-owned subsidiary of Aberdeen, an indirect wholly-owned subsidiary of SLA plc, a London stock exchange listed company. As of December 31, 2018, SLA plc and its affiliates had assets under management totaling in excess of $[ ].  

 

Under the Investment Advisory Agreement, the Advisor has overall responsibility for the general management and administration of the Trust. The Advisor provides an investment program for the Funds. The Advisor also arranges for transfer agency, custody, fund administration, and all other non-distribution-related services necessary for the Funds to operate. Each Fund pays the Advisor a fee equal to a percentage of the Fund’s average daily net assets, as set forth below:

 

Fund   Management Fee*
Aberdeen Standard Bloomberg All Commodity Strategy K-1 Free ETF   0.25%
Aberdeen Standard Bloomberg All Commodity Longer Dated Strategy K-1 Free ETF   0.29%
Aberdeen Standard Bloomberg Agriculture Commodity Strategy K-1 Free ETF   0.39%
Aberdeen Standard Bloomberg Energy Commodity Strategy K-1 Free ETF   0.39%
Aberdeen Standard Bloomberg WTI Crude Oil Strategy K-1 Free ETF   0.39%

 

* The Advisor has contractually agreed to waive the management fees that it receives from each Fund in an amount equal to the management fee paid to the Advisor by the Fund’s Subsidiary. This undertaking will continue in effect for so long as the Fund invests in the Subsidiary and may be terminated only with the approval of the Fund’s Board of Trustees. The management fee in the table above represents the total amount of fees payable to the Advisor by the Fund and the Subsidiary.

  

The table below shows the actual aggregate advisory fees paid by each Fund, as well as expenses waived or reimbursed by the Advisor, during the two most recent fiscal years:

 

Name of Fund Advisory Fees Paid* Reimbursements and Waivers by the Advisor
Aberdeen Standard Bloomberg All Commodity Strategy K-1 Free ETF    
Fiscal year ended December 31, 2018 $[         ] $[     ]
Fiscal period ended December 31, 2017** $135,665 $15,323
Aberdeen Standard Bloomberg All Commodity Longer Dated Strategy K-1 Free ETF    
Fiscal year ended December 31, 2018 $[         ] $[     ]
Fiscal period ended December 31, 2017** $9,656 $1,604
Aberdeen Standard Bloomberg WTI Crude Oil Strategy K-1 Free ETF    
Fiscal year ended December 31, 2018 $[         ] $[     ]
Fiscal period ended December 31, 2017** $12,171 $1,938

 

* “Advisory Fees Paid” reflect the gross amount of advisory fees paid and do not reflect amounts waived, as reported under “Reimbursements and Waivers by the Advisor.”

** Each Fund commenced operations on March 30, 2017.

 

 20

 

Pursuant to the Investment Advisory Agreement, the Advisor has agreed to pay all expenses of the Funds, except for: (i) brokerage expenses and other fees, charges, taxes, levies or expenses (such as stamp taxes) incurred in connection with the execution of portfolio transactions or in connection with creation and redemption transactions (including without limitation any fees, charges, taxes, levies or expenses related to the purchase or sale of an amount of any currency, or the patriation or repatriation of any security or other asset, related to the execution of portfolio transactions or any creation or redemption transactions); (ii) legal fees or expenses in connection with any arbitration, litigation or pending or threatened arbitration or litigation, including any settlements in connection therewith; (iii) compensation and expenses of the Trust’s CCO; (iv) extraordinary expenses (in each case as determined by a majority of the Independent Trustees); (v) distribution fees and expenses paid by the Trust under any distribution plan adopted pursuant to Rule 12b-1 under the 1940 Act; (vi) interest and taxes of any kind or nature (including, but not limited to, income, excise, transfer and withholding taxes); (vii) any fees and expenses related to the provision of securities lending services; and (viii) the advisory fee payable to the Advisor. The internal expenses of pooled investment vehicles in which a Fund may invest (acquired fund fees and expenses) are not expenses of the Fund and are not paid by the Advisor.

 

The Advisor, from its own resources, including profits from advisory fees received from the Funds, provided such fees are legitimate and not excessive, may make payments to broker-dealers and other financial institutions for their expenses in connection with the distribution of a Fund shares, and otherwise currently pays all distribution costs for the Funds’ shares.

 

The Investment Advisory Agreement, with respect to each Fund, continues in effect for two years from its effective date, and thereafter is subject to annual approval by (i) the Board of Trustees of the Trust or (ii) the vote of a majority of the outstanding voting securities (as defined in the 1940 Act) of each Fund, provided that in either event such continuance also is approved by a vote of a majority of the Trustees of the Trust who are not interested persons (as defined in the 1940 Act) of the Fund, by a vote cast in person at a meeting called for the purpose of voting on such approval. If the shareholders of a Fund fail to approve the Investment Advisory Agreement, the Advisor may continue to serve in the manner and to the extent permitted by the 1940 Act and rules and regulations thereunder.

 

The Investment Advisory Agreement, with respect to each Fund, is terminable without any penalty, by vote of the Board of Trustees of the Trust or by vote of a majority of the outstanding voting securities (as defined in the 1940 Act) of the Fund, or by the Advisor, in each case on not less than thirty (30) days’ nor more than sixty (60) days’ prior written notice to the other party; provided that a shorter notice period shall be permitted for a Fund in the event its shares are no longer listed on a national securities exchange. The Investment Advisory Agreement will terminate automatically and immediately in the event of its “assignment” (as defined in the 1940 Act).

 

The Advisor is also responsible for the general management and administration of each Subsidiary pursuant to a separate investment advisory agreement with the Subsidiaries.

 

Sub-Advisor. The Advisor has retained Vident Investment Advisory, LLC (the “Sub-Advisor”), 300 Colonial Center Parkway, Suite 330, Roswell, Georgia 30076, to serve as sub-advisor to the Fund. The Sub-Advisor is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Vident Financial, LLC. Under a sub-advisory agreement between the Advisor and the Sub-Advisor (the “Sub-Advisory Agreement”) the Sub-Advisor is responsible for trading portfolio securities on behalf of the Funds, including selecting broker-dealers to execute purchase and sale transactions as instructed by the Advisor or in connection with any rebalancing or reconstitution of the Index, subject to the supervision of the Advisor and the Board of Trustees. Under the Sub-Advisory Agreement, the Advisor pays the Sub-Advisor a fee, calculated daily and paid monthly, at an annual rate of 0.04% of the average daily net assets of each Fund subject to a minimum annual fee of $18,000. 

 

For the most recent fiscal year ended December 31, 2018, the Advisor paid the Sub-Advisor fees in the amount of $[ ]. For the period March 30, 2017, the commencement date of the Aberdeen Standard Bloomberg All Commodity Strategy K-1 Free ETF, Aberdeen Standard Bloomberg All Commodity Longer Dated Strategy K-1 Free ETF, and Aberdeen Standard Bloomberg WTI Crude Oil Strategy K-1 Free ETF, to December 31, 2017, the Advisor paid the Sub-Advisor fees in the amount of $47,468.

 

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After the initial two-year term, the continuance of the Sub-Advisory Agreement must be specifically approved at least annually: (i) by the vote of the Trustees or by a vote of the shareholders of the Fund; and (ii) by the vote of a majority of the Trustees who are not parties to the Sub-Advisory Agreement or “interested persons” or of any party thereto, cast in person at a meeting called for the purpose of voting on such approval. The Sub-Advisory Agreement will terminate automatically in the event of its assignment, and is terminable at any time without penalty by the Trustees of the Trust or, with respect to the Fund, by a majority of the outstanding voting securities of the Fund. The Sub-Advisory Agreement also may be terminated, at any time, by the Advisor or Sub-Advisor upon 60 days’ written notice to the other party. As used in the Sub-Advisory Agreement, the terms “majority of the outstanding voting securities,” “interested persons” and “assignment” have the same meaning as such terms in the 1940 Act.

 

The Sub-Advisor is also responsible for the day-to-day management of each Subsidiary pursuant to a separate investment sub-advisory agreement with the Subsidiaries.

 

Portfolio Managers. This section includes information about the Funds’ portfolio managers, including information about other accounts managed, the dollar range of Shares owned and compensation.

 

Denise Krisko and Austin Wen serve as portfolio managers (“Portfolio Managers”) of the Funds.

 

Compensation. The Portfolio Managers receive a fixed base salary and discretionary bonus that are not tied to the performance of the Funds. This compensation is not paid by the Trust or the Advisor.

 

Description of Material Conflicts of Interest. Because the Portfolio Managers manage assets for other investment companies, pooled investment vehicles and/or other accounts, there may be an incentive to favor one client over another, resulting in conflicts of interest. The other accounts may have the same investment objectives as the Funds. Therefore, a potential conflict of interest may arise as a result of the identical investment objectives, whereby the Portfolio Managers could favor one account over another. Another potential conflict could include the Portfolio Managers’ knowledge about the size, timing, and possible market impact of Fund trades, whereby the Portfolio Managers could use this information to the advantage of other accounts and to the disadvantage of the Funds. However, the Sub-Advisor has established policies and procedures to ensure that the purchase and sale of securities among all accounts managed by the Portfolio Managers are fairly and equitably allocated. 

 

Other Accounts Managed by the Portfolio Managers. In addition to the Funds, the Portfolio Managers managed the following other accounts as of December 31, 2018.

 

Name  Registered Investment Companies*  Other Pooled Investment Vehicles* 

Other Accounts*

   Number of Accounts 

Total Assets

($ millions)

  Number of Accounts 

Total Assets

($ millions)

  Number of Accounts 

Total Assets

($ millions)

Denise Krisko   38   $3,865    3   $19         
Austin Wen   9   $433    1   $15         

* None of the accounts managed by the Portfolio Manager are subject to performance based advisory fees.

 

Portfolio Managers Fund Ownership. The Funds are required to show the dollar range of the Portfolio Managers’ “beneficial ownership” of shares of the Funds as of the end of the most recently completed fiscal year. Dollar amount ranges disclosed are established by the SEC. “Beneficial ownership” is determined in accordance with Rule 16a-1(a)(2) under the Exchange Act. As of the date of this SAI, the portfolio managers did not own shares of the Funds. 

 

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Codes of Ethics. The Trust, the Advisor, the Sub-Advisor and the Distributor have each adopted a Code of Ethics pursuant to Rule 17j-1 under the 1940 Act and Rule 204A-1 under the Advisers Act, where applicable. Each Code of Ethics permits personnel subject to that Code of Ethics to invest in securities for their personal investment accounts, subject to certain limitations, including securities that may be purchased or held by the Funds. Each Code of Ethics is on public file with, and is available from, the SEC.

 

Administrator, Custodian, and Transfer Agent. JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. (“JPMorgan”) serves as administrator, custodian and transfer agent for the Funds. JPMorgan’s principal address is 383 Madison Avenue, New York, New York 10179. Under the Administration Agreement with the Trust, JPMorgan (“Administrator”), subject to the general supervision of the Trust’s Board of Trustees, provides various administrative, compliance, tax, accounting and financial reporting services for the maintenance and operations of the Trust and the Funds. In addition, JPMorgan makes available the office space, equipment, personnel and facilities required to provide such services. Under the Global Custody Agreement with the Trust, JPMorgan (“Custodian”) holds the Trust’s cash and securities, maintains such cash and securities in separate accounts in the name of the Trust, maintains a statement of accounts for each account of the Trust, and may provide other services pursuant to the Custody Agreement and related agreements. The Custodian, upon the order of the Trust, receives, delivers and releases securities and makes payments for securities purchased by the Trust for the Funds. The Custodian is authorized to appoint one or more sub-custodians and is authorized to appoint foreign custodians or foreign custody managers for Trust investments outside the United States. Pursuant to an Agency Services Agreement with the Trust, JPMorgan (“Transfer Agent”) acts as transfer agent for the Trust’s authorized and issued shares of beneficial interest, and as dividend disbursing agent of the Trust. JPMorgan also provides services, as applicable, for any wholly-owned subsidiary of the Funds. As compensation for the foregoing services, JPMorgan receives certain out-of-pocket costs, transaction fees and asset-based fees which are accrued daily and paid monthly by the Trust from the Trust’s custody account with JPMorgan.

 

The following table sets forth the administration fees of each Fund paid by the Advisor to JPMorgan for the fiscal period noted:

 

Fund* Administration Fees Paid During Fiscal Year
Ended December 31, 2018
Administration Fees
Paid During Fiscal Period
Ended December 31, 2017*
Aberdeen Standard Bloomberg All Commodity Strategy K-1 Free ETF $[         ] $73,060
Aberdeen Standard Bloomberg All Commodity Longer Dated Strategy K-1 Free ETF $[         ] $53,317
Aberdeen Standard Bloomberg WTI Crude Oil Strategy K-1 Free ETF $[         ] $53,081

*The Funds commenced operations on March 30, 2017.

 

Distributor. ALPS Distributors, Inc. serves as Distributor for the Trust and its principal address is 1290 Broadway, Suite 1100, Denver, Colorado 80203. The Distributor has entered into a Distribution Agreement with the Trust pursuant to which it will serve as distributor with respect to Creation and Redemption of Creation Unit Aggregations. The Distribution Agreement will continue for two years from its effective date and is renewable annually. Shares will be continuously offered for sale by a Fund through the Distributor only in Creation Unit Aggregations, as described in the applicable Prospectus and below in the Creation and Redemption of Creation Unit Aggregations section. Shares in less than Creation Unit Aggregations are not distributed by the Distributor. The Distributor will deliver the applicable Prospectus and, upon request, this SAI to Authorized Participants (as defined below) purchasing Creation Unit Aggregations and will maintain records of both orders placed with it and confirmations of acceptance furnished by it. The Distributor is a broker-dealer registered under the 1934 Act and a member of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”). The Distributor is not affiliated with SLA plc, the Advisor, or any stock exchange.

 

The Distribution Agreement for each Fund will provide that it may be terminated at any time, without the payment of any penalty, on at least sixty (60) days’ prior written notice to the other party (i) by vote of a majority of the Independent Trustees or (ii) by vote of a majority of the outstanding voting securities (as defined in the 1940 Act) of the Fund. The Distribution Agreement will terminate automatically in the event of its “assignment” (as defined in the 1940 Act).

 

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The Distributor may also enter into agreements with securities dealers (“Soliciting Dealers”) who will solicit purchases of Creation Unit Aggregations of shares. Such Soliciting Dealers may also be Authorized Participants (as defined below) or DTC Participants (as defined below).

 

12b-1 Plan. The Trust has adopted a Plan of Distribution pursuant to Rule 12b-1 under the 1940 Act (the “Plan”) pursuant to which each Fund may reimburse the Distributor up to a maximum annual rate of 0.25% of its average daily net assets.

 

Under the Plan and as required by Rule 12b-1, the Trustees will receive and review after the end of each calendar quarter a written report provided by the Distributor of the amounts expended under the Plan and the purpose for which such expenditures were made. With the exception of the Distributor and its affiliates, no “interested person” of the Trust (as that term is defined in the 1940 Act) and no Trustee of the Trust has a direct or indirect financial interest in the operation of the Plan or any related agreement.

 

The Plan was adopted in order to permit the implementation of the Fund’s method of distribution. However, no such fee is currently paid by the Funds.

 

Intermediary Compensation. The Advisor or its affiliates, out of their own resources and not out of Fund assets (i.e., without additional cost to the Funds or their shareholders), may pay certain broker dealers, banks and other financial intermediaries (“Intermediaries”) for certain activities related to the Funds, including participation in activities that are designed to make Intermediaries more knowledgeable about exchange-traded products, including the Funds, or for other activities, such as marketing and educational training or support. These arrangements are not financed by the Funds and, thus, do not result in increased Fund expenses. They are not reflected in the fees and expenses listed in the fees and expenses sections of any Fund’s Prospectus and they do not change the price paid by investors for the purchase of a Fund’s shares or the amount received by a shareholder as proceeds from the redemption of Fund shares.

 

Such compensation may be paid to Intermediaries that provide services to the Funds, including marketing and education support (such as through conferences, webinars and printed communications). The Advisor periodically assesses the advisability of continuing to make these payments. Payments to an Intermediary may be significant to the Intermediary, and amounts that Intermediaries pay to your advisor, broker or other investment professional, if any, may also be significant to such advisor, broker or investment professional. Because an Intermediary may make decisions about what investment options it will make available or recommend, and what services to provide in connection with various products, based on payments it receives or is eligible to receive, such payments create conflicts of interest between the Intermediary and its clients. For example, these financial incentives may cause the Intermediary to recommend the Funds over other investments. The same conflict of interest exists with respect to your financial advisor, broker or investment professionals if he or she receives similar payments from his or her Intermediary firm.

 

Intermediary information is current only as of the date of this SAI. Please contact your advisor, broker or other investment professional for more information regarding any payments his or her Intermediary firm may receive. Any payments made by the Advisor or its affiliates to an Intermediary may create the incentive for an Intermediary to encourage customers to buy shares of the Funds.

 

If you have any additional questions, please call 1-844-383-7289.

 

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BROKERAGE TRANSACTIONS

 

The Advisor assumes general supervision over placing orders on behalf of the Funds for the purchase and sale of portfolio securities. In selecting the brokers or dealers for any transaction in portfolio securities, the Advisor’s policy is to make such selection based on factors deemed relevant, including but not limited to, the breadth of the market in the security; the price of the security; the reasonableness of the commission or mark-up or mark-down, if any; execution capability; settlement capability; back office efficiency; and the financial condition of the broker or dealer, both for the specific transaction and on a continuing basis. The overall reasonableness of brokerage commissions paid is evaluated by the Advisor based upon its knowledge of available information as to the general level of commissions paid by other institutional investors for comparable services. Brokers may also be selected because of their ability to handle special or difficult executions, such as may be involved in large block trades, less liquid securities, broad distributions, or other circumstances. The Advisor does not consider the provision or value of research, products or services a broker or dealer may provide, if any, as a factor in the selection of a broker or dealer or the determination of the reasonableness of commissions paid in connection with portfolio transactions. The Trust has adopted policies and procedures that prohibit the consideration of sales of a Fund’s shares as a factor in the selection of a broker or a dealer to execute its portfolio transactions. To the extent creation or redemption transactions are conducted on a cash or “cash in lieu” basis, a Fund may contemporaneously transact with broker-dealers for the purchase or sale of portfolio securities in connection with such transactions (see “Creation and Redemption of Creation Unit Aggregations” herein). Such orders may be placed with an Authorized Participant in its capacity as broker-dealer or with an affiliated broker-dealer of such Authorized Participant. In such cases, the Funds will require such broker-dealer to achieve execution at a price that is at least as favorable to the Fund as the value of such securities used to calculate the Fund’s NAV. The broker-dealer will be required to reimburse the Funds for, among other things, any difference between the price (including applicable brokerage commissions, taxes and transaction costs) at which such securities were bought or sold and the value of such securities used to calculate a Fund’s NAV. This amount will vary depending on the quality of the execution and may be capped at amounts determined by the Advisor in its sole discretion.

 

Brokerage Commissions. The Funds did not pay any brokerage commissions during the fiscal years ended December 31, 2017 and 2018; however, the Subsidiary for each of the Aberdeen Standard Bloomberg All Commodity Strategy K-1 Free ETF, Aberdeen Standard Bloomberg All Commodity Longer Dated Strategy K-1 Free ETF, and Aberdeen Standard Bloomberg WTI Crude Oil Strategy K-1 Free ETF paid commissions as set forth in the table below.

 

Name of Fund* Brokerage Commissions Paid
Aberdeen Standard Bloomberg All Commodity Strategy K-1 Free ETF  
Fiscal year ended December 31, 2018 $[         ]
Fiscal period ended December 31, 2017 $32,271
Aberdeen Standard Bloomberg All Commodity Longer Dated Strategy K-1 Free ETF  
Fiscal year ended December 31, 2018 $[         ]
Fiscal period ended December 31, 2017 $2,011
Aberdeen Standard Bloomberg WTI Crude Oil Strategy K-1 Free ETF  
Fiscal year ended December 31, 2018 $[         ]
Fiscal period ended December 31, 2017 $1,799

*The Funds commenced operations on March 30, 2017

 

Directed Brokerage. For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2018, Aberdeen Standard Bloomberg All Commodity Strategy K-1 Free ETF, Aberdeen Standard Bloomberg All Commodity Longer Dated Strategy K-1 Free ETF and Aberdeen Standard Bloomberg WTI Crude Oil Strategy K-1 Free ETF did not pay commissions on brokerage transactions directed to brokers pursuant to an agreement or understanding whereby the broker provides research or other brokerage services to the Advisor or Sub-Advisor.

 

Affiliated Brokers. The Funds may execute brokerage or other agency transactions through registered broker-dealer affiliates of the Fund, the Advisor, the Sub-Advisor or the Distributor for a commission in conformity with the 1940 Act, the Exchange Act and rules promulgated by the SEC. These rules require that commissions paid to the affiliate by the Fund for exchange transactions not exceed usual and customary” brokerage commissions. The rules define “usual and customary” commissions to include amounts which are “reasonable and fair compared to the commission, fee or other remuneration received or to be received by other brokers in connection with comparable transactions involving similar securities being purchased or sold on a securities exchange during a comparable period of time.” The Trustees, including those who are not “interested persons” of the Fund, have adopted procedures for evaluating the reasonableness of commissions paid to affiliates and review these procedures periodically.

 

For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2018, Aberdeen Standard Bloomberg All Commodity Strategy K-1 Free ETF, Aberdeen Standard Bloomberg All Commodity Longer Dated Strategy K-1 Free ETF, and Aberdeen Standard Bloomberg WTI Crude Oil Strategy K-1 Free ETF did not pay brokerage commissions to affiliated brokers.

 

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Regular Broker-Dealers. The Funds are required to identify any securities of its “regular brokers and dealers” (as such term is defined in the 1940 Act) which it may hold at the close of its most recent fiscal year. “Regular brokers or dealers” of the Trust are the ten brokers or dealers that, during the most recent fiscal year: (i) received the greatest dollar amounts of brokerage commissions from the Trust’s portfolio transactions; (ii) engaged as principal in the largest dollar amounts of portfolio transactions of the Trust; or (iii) sold the largest dollar amounts of the Trust’s shares.  For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2018, Aberdeen Standard Bloomberg All Commodity Strategy K-1 Free ETF, Aberdeen Standard Bloomberg All Commodity Longer Dated Strategy K-1 Free ETF, and Aberdeen Standard Bloomberg WTI Crude Oil Strategy K-1 Free ETF did not pay brokerage commissions to affiliated brokers.

 

Portfolio Turnover. Portfolio turnover may vary from year to year, as well as within a year. High turnover rates are likely to result in comparatively greater brokerage expenses. The overall reasonableness of brokerage commissions is evaluated by the Advisor based upon its knowledge of available information as to the general level of commissions paid by the other institutional investors for comparable services. The table below shows the Funds’ portfolio turnover rates for the fiscal years ended December 31, 2018 and 2017.

 

 

 

Name of Fund*

FYE December 31, 2017 FYE December 31, 2018
Aberdeen Standard Bloomberg All Commodity Strategy K-1 Free ETF 0% 0%
Aberdeen Standard Bloomberg All Commodity Longer Dated Strategy K-1 Free ETF 0% 0%
Aberdeen Standard Bloomberg WTI Crude Oil Strategy K-1 Free ETF 0% 0%

*The Funds commenced operations on March 30, 2017

 

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION CONCERNING THE TRUST

 

Shares. The Trust was established as a Delaware statutory trust on January 9, 2014, and consists of multiple series of funds (“Funds”). Each Fund issues shares of beneficial interest. The Board may establish additional Funds. The Trust is registered with the SEC as an open-end management investment company.

 

Each share issued by a Fund has a pro rata interest in the assets of the Fund. Shares have no preemptive, exchange, subscription or conversion rights and are freely transferable. Each share is entitled to participate equally in dividends and distributions declared by the Board with respect to the Fund, and in the net distributable assets of a Fund on liquidation.

 

Each share has one vote with respect to matters upon which a shareholder vote is required consistent with the requirements of the 1940 Act and the rules promulgated thereunder. Shares of all Funds vote together as a single class except that if the matter being voted on affects only a particular Fund or if a matter affects a particular Fund differently from other Funds, that Fund will vote separately on such matter.

 

Under Delaware law, the Trust is not required to hold an annual meeting of shareholders unless required to do so under the 1940 Act. The policy of the Trust is not to hold an annual meeting of shareholders unless required to do so under the 1940 Act. All shares (regardless of the Fund) have non-cumulative voting rights for the Board. Under Delaware law, Trustees of the Trust may be removed by vote of the shareholders.

 

Following the creation of the initial Creation Unit Aggregation(s) of shares of a Fund and immediately prior to the commencement of trading in such Fund’s shares, a holder of shares may be a “control person” of the Fund, as defined in the 1940 Act. The Funds cannot accurately predict the length of time for which one or more shareholders may remain a control person or persons of a Fund.

 

Shareholders may make inquiries by writing to the Trust, c/o ALPS Distributors, Inc., 1290 Broadway, Suite 1100, Denver, Colorado 80203.

 

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Absent an applicable exemption or other relief from the SEC or its staff, beneficial owners of more than 5% of the shares of a Fund may be subject to the reporting provisions of Section 13 of the 1934 Act and the SEC’s rules promulgated thereunder. In addition, absent an applicable exemption or other relief from the SEC staff, officers and Trustees of the Funds and beneficial owners of 10% of the shares of a Fund (“Insiders”) may be subject to the insider reporting, short-swing profit and short-sale provisions of Section 16 of the 1934 Act and the SEC’s rules promulgated thereunder. Beneficial owners and Insiders should consult with their own legal counsel concerning their obligations under Sections 13 and 16 of the 1934 Act.

 

Termination of the Trust or the Fund. The Trust or a Fund may be terminated by a majority vote of the Board of Trustees or the affirmative vote of a super-majority of the holders of the Trust or a Fund entitled to vote on termination. Although the shares are not automatically redeemable upon the occurrence of any specific event, the Trust’s organizational documents provide that the Board will have the unrestricted power to alter the number of shares in a Creation Unit Aggregation. In the event of a termination of the Trust or the Fund, the Board, in its sole discretion, could determine to permit the shares to be redeemable in aggregations smaller than Creation Unit Aggregations or to be individually redeemable. In such circumstances, the Trust may make redemptions in-kind, for cash, or for a combination of cash and securities. In the case of such a termination, shares of the Trust or a Fund would cease trading on its listing Exchange approximately 7 days prior to redemption proceeds being available.

 

Role of the Depository Trust Company (“DTC”). DTC acts as Securities Depository for the shares of the Trust. Shares of the Funds are represented by securities registered in the name of DTC or its nominee and deposited with, or on behalf of, DTC.

 

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

 

Beneficial ownership of shares is limited to DTC Participants, Indirect Participants and persons holding interests through DTC Participants and Indirect Participants. Ownership of beneficial interests in shares (owners of such beneficial interests are referred to herein as “Beneficial Owners”) is shown on, and the transfer of ownership is effected only through, records maintained by DTC (with respect to DTC Participants) and on the records of DTC Participants (with respect to Indirect Participants and Beneficial Owners that are not DTC Participants). Beneficial Owners will receive from or through the DTC Participant a written confirmation relating to their purchase of shares. No Beneficial Owner shall have the right to receive a certificate representing such shares.

 

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

 

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

 

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The Trust has no responsibility or liability for any aspect of the records relating to or notices to Beneficial Owners, or payments made on account of beneficial ownership interests in such shares, or for maintaining, supervising or reviewing any records relating to such beneficial ownership interests, or for any other aspect of the relationship between DTC and the DTC Participants or the relationship between such DTC Participants and the Indirect Participants and Beneficial Owners owning through such DTC Participants. DTC may decide to discontinue its service with respect to shares of the Trust at any time by giving reasonable notice to the Trust and discharging its responsibilities with respect thereto under applicable law. Under such circumstances, the Trust shall take action to find a replacement for DTC to perform its functions at a comparable cost.

 

PURCHASE AND REDEMPTION OF CREATION UNIT AGGREGATIONS

 

Each Fund issues and redeems its Fund Shares on a continuous basis, at net asset value, only in a large specified number of Fund Shares called a “Creation Unit,” either principally in-kind for a designated portfolio of securities or in cash for the value of such securities. The value of each Fund is determined once each business day, as described under “Determination of Net Asset Value.” Creation Unit sizes are 50,000 Fund Shares per Creation Unit with the exception of Aberdeen Standard Bloomberg WTI Crude Oil Strategy K-1 Free ETF whose creation unit size is 25,000 Fund Shares per Creation Unit. The Creation Unit size for each Fund may change. Authorized Participants (as defined below) will be notified of such change. The principal consideration for creations and redemptions for each Fund is set forth in the table below:

 

FUND  CREATION*   REDEMPTION*  
Aberdeen Standard Bloomberg All Commodity Strategy K-1 Free ETF Cash Cash
     
Aberdeen Standard Bloomberg All Commodity Longer Dated Strategy K-1 Free ETF Cash Cash
     
Aberdeen Standard Bloomberg Agriculture Commodity Strategy K-1 Free ETF Cash Cash
     
Aberdeen Standard Bloomberg Energy Commodity Strategy K-1 Free ETF Cash Cash
     
Aberdeen Standard Bloomberg WTI Crude Oil Strategy K-1 Free ETF Cash Cash

*May be revised at any time without notice.

 

Purchase (Creation). The Trust issues and sells Fund Shares only in Creation Units on a continuous basis through the Principal Underwriter, without a sales load (but subject to transaction fees), at their NAV per share next determined after receipt of an order, on any Business Day (as defined below), in proper form pursuant to the terms of the Authorized Participant Agreement (“Participant Agreement”). A “Business Day” with respect to a Fund is, generally, any day on which the Listing Exchange is open for business.

 

Fund Deposit. The consideration for purchase of a Creation Unit of a Fund generally consists of either (i) the in-kind deposit of a designated portfolio of securities (the “Deposit Securities”) per each Creation Unit and the Cash Component (defined below), computed as described below or (ii) the cash value of the Deposit Securities (“Deposit Cash”) and “Cash Component,” computed as described below. When accepting purchases of Creation Units for cash, a Fund may incur additional costs associated with the acquisition of Deposit Securities that would otherwise be provided by an in-kind purchaser.

 

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Together, the Deposit Securities or Deposit Cash, as applicable, and the Cash Component constitute the “Fund Deposit,” which represents the minimum initial and subsequent investment amount for a Creation Unit of each Fund. The “Cash Component,” which may include a Dividend Equivalent Payment, is an amount equal to the difference between the net asset value of the Fund Shares (per Creation Unit) and the market value of the Deposit Securities or Deposit Cash, as applicable. The “Dividend Equivalent Payment” enables a Fund to make a complete distribution of dividends on the day preceding the next dividend payment date, and is an amount equal, on a per Creation Unit basis, to the dividends on all the portfolio securities of a Fund (“Dividend Securities”) with ex-dividend dates within the accumulation period for such distribution (the “Accumulation Period”), net of expenses and liabilities for such period, as if all of the Dividend Securities had been held by a Fund for the entire Accumulation Period. The Accumulation Period begins on the ex-dividend date for a Fund and ends on the day preceding the next ex-dividend date. If the Cash Component is a positive number (i.e., the net asset value per Creation Unit exceeds the market value of the Deposit Securities or Deposit Cash, as applicable), the Cash Component shall be such positive amount. If the Cash Component is a negative number (i.e., the net asset value per Creation Unit is less than the market value of the Deposit Securities or Deposit Cash, as applicable), the Cash Component shall be such negative amount and the creator will be entitled to receive cash in an amount equal to the Cash Component. The Cash Component serves the function of compensating for any differences between the net asset value per Creation Unit and the market value of the Deposit Securities or Deposit Cash, as applicable. Computation of the Cash Component excludes any stamp duty or other similar fees and expenses payable upon transfer of beneficial ownership of the Deposit Securities, if applicable, which shall be the sole responsibility of the Authorized Participant (as defined below).

 

The Custodian, through NSCC, makes available on each Business Day, immediately prior to the opening of business on the Exchange (currently 9:30 a.m., Eastern time), the list of the names and the required number of shares of each Deposit Security or the required amount of Deposit Cash, as applicable, to be included in the current Fund Deposit (based on information at the end of the previous Business Day) for each Fund. Such Fund Deposit is subject to any applicable adjustments as described below, in order to effect purchases of Creation Units of the Fund until such time as the next-announced composition of the Deposit Securities or the required amount of Deposit Cash, as applicable, is made available.

 

The identity and number of shares of the Deposit Securities or the amount of Deposit Cash, as applicable, required for a Fund Deposit for each Fund changes as rebalancing adjustments, interest payments and corporate action events are reflected from time to time by the Advisor with a view to the investment objective of each Fund.

 

As noted above, the Trust reserves the right to permit or require the substitution of Deposit Cash to replace any Deposit Security, which shall be added to the Cash Component, including, without limitation, in situations where the Deposit Security: (i) may not be available in sufficient quantity for delivery, (ii) may not be eligible for transfer through the systems of DTC for corporate securities and municipal securities; (iii) may not be eligible for trading by an Authorized Participant (as defined below) or the investor for which it is acting; (iv) would be restricted under the securities laws or where the delivery of the Deposit Security to the Authorized Participant would result in the disposition of the Deposit Security by the Authorized Participant becoming restricted under the securities laws, or (v) in certain other situations (collectively, “non-standard orders”). The Trust also reserves the right to: permit or require the substitution of Deposit Securities in lieu of Deposit Cash. The adjustments described above will reflect changes, known to the Advisor on the date of announcement to be in effect by the time of delivery of the Fund Deposit resulting from certain corporate actions.

 

Procedures for Purchase of Creation Unit Aggregations. To be eligible to place orders with the Principal Underwriter, as facilitated via the Transfer Agent, to purchase a Creation Unit of a Fund, an entity must be (i) a “Participating Party”, i.e., a broker-dealer or other participant in the clearing process through the Continuous Net Settlement System of the NSCC (the “Clearing Process”), a clearing agency that is registered with the SEC; or (ii) a DTC Participant. In addition, each Participating Party or DTC Participant (each, an “Authorized Participant”) must execute a Participant Agreement that has been agreed to by the Principal Underwriter and the Transfer Agent, and that has been accepted by the Trust, with respect to purchases and redemptions of Creation Units. Each Authorized Participant will agree, pursuant to the terms of a Participant Agreement, on behalf of itself or any investor on whose behalf it will act, to certain conditions, including that it will pay to the Trust, an amount of cash sufficient to pay the Cash Component together with the creation transaction fee (described below) and any other applicable fees, taxes and additional variable charge.

 

All orders to purchase Fund Shares directly from a Fund, including non-standard orders, must be placed for one or more Creation Units and in the manner and by the time set forth in the Participant Agreement and/or the applicable order form (the “Closing Time”). The date on which an order to purchase Creation Units (or an order to redeem Creation Units, as set forth below) is received and accepted is referred to as the “Order Placement Date.”

 

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An Authorized Participant may require an investor to make certain representations or enter into agreements with respect to the order (e.g., to provide for payments of cash, when required). Investors should be aware that their particular broker may not have executed a Participant Agreement and that, therefore, orders to purchase Fund Shares directly from a Fund in Creation Units have to be placed by the investor’s broker through an Authorized Participant that has executed a Participant Agreement. In such cases there may be additional charges to such investor. At any given time, there may be only a limited number of broker-dealers that have executed a Participant Agreement and only a small number of such Authorized Participants may have international capabilities. A Fund may direct an Authorized Participant to deliver Deposit Securities, Deposit Cash and Cash Component directly to the Portfolio on behalf of each Fund.

 

On days when the Exchange or the bond markets close earlier than normal, a Fund may require orders to create Creation Units to be placed earlier in the day. In addition, if a market or markets on which a Fund’s investments are primarily traded is closed, the Fund will also generally not accept orders on such day(s). Orders must be transmitted by an Authorized Participant by telephone or other transmission method acceptable to the Distributor pursuant to procedures set forth in the Participant Agreement and in accordance with the applicable order form. Those placing orders through an Authorized Participant should allow sufficient time to permit proper submission of the purchase order by the cut-off time on such Business Day. Economic or market disruptions or changes, or telephone or other communication failure may impede the ability to reach the Distributor or an Authorized Participant.

 

Fund Deposits must be delivered by an Authorized Participant through the Federal Reserve System (for cash and U.S. government securities), or through DTC (for corporate securities and municipal securities), through a subcustody agent (for foreign securities) and/or through such other arrangements allowed by the Trust or its agents. With respect to foreign Deposit Securities, the Custodian shall cause the subcustodian of a Fund to maintain an account into which the Authorized Participant shall deliver, on behalf of itself or the party on whose behalf it is acting, such Deposit Securities. Foreign Deposit Securities must be delivered to an account maintained at the applicable local subcustodian. The Fund Deposit transfer must be ordered by the Authorized Participant in a timely fashion so as to ensure the delivery of the requisite number of Deposit Securities or Deposit Cash, as applicable, to the account of a Fund or its agents by no later than the Settlement Date. The “Settlement Date” for a Fund is generally the second Business Day after the Order Placement Date. All questions as to the number of Deposit Securities or Deposit Cash to be delivered, as applicable, and the validity, form and eligibility (including time of receipt) for the deposit of any tendered securities or cash, as applicable, will be determined by the Trust, whose determination shall be final and binding. The amount of cash represented by the Cash Component must be transferred directly to the Custodian through the Federal Reserve Bank wire transfer system in a timely manner so as to be received by the Custodian no later than the Settlement Date. If the Cash Component and the Deposit Securities or Deposit Cash, as applicable, are not received in a timely manner by the Settlement Date, the creation order may be cancelled. Upon written notice to the Distributor, such canceled order may be resubmitted the following Business Day using a Fund Deposit as newly constituted to reflect the then current NAV of each Fund. The delivery of Creation Units so created generally will occur no later than the second Business Day following the day on which the purchase order is deemed received by the Distributor.

 

The order shall be deemed to be received on the Business Day on which the order is placed provided that the order is placed in proper form prior to the applicable cut-off time and the federal funds in the appropriate amount are deposited by 2:30 p.m. Eastern time (per applicable instructions), with the Custodian on the Settlement Date. If the order is not placed in proper form as required, or federal funds in the appropriate amount are not received by 3:30 p.m. Eastern time (per applicable instructions) on the Settlement Date, then the order may be deemed to be rejected and the Authorized Participant shall be liable to the Fund for losses, if any, resulting therefrom. A creation request is considered to be in “proper form” if all procedures set forth in the Participant Agreement, order form and this SAI are properly followed.

 

Issuance of a Creation Unit. Except as provided herein, Creation Units will not be issued until the transfer of good title to the Trust of the Deposit Securities or payment of Deposit Cash, as applicable, and the payment of the Cash Component have been completed. When the subcustodian has confirmed to the Custodian that the required Deposit Securities (or the cash value thereof) have been delivered to the account of the relevant subcustodian or subcustodians, the Principal Underwriter and the Advisor shall be notified of such delivery, and the Trust will issue and cause the delivery of the Creation Units.

 

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In instances where the Trust accepts Deposit Securities for the purchase of a Creation Unit, the Creation Unit may be purchased in advance of receipt by the Trust of all or a portion of the applicable Deposit Securities as described below. In these circumstances, the initial deposit will have a value greater than the net asset value of each Fund Shares on the date the order is placed in proper form since in addition to available Deposit Securities, cash must be deposited in an amount equal to the sum of (i) the Cash Component, plus (ii) an additional amount of cash equal to a percentage of the market value as set forth in the Participant Agreement, of the undelivered Deposit Securities (the “Additional Cash Deposit”), which shall be maintained in a general non-interest bearing collateral account. An additional amount of cash shall be required to be deposited with the Trust, pending delivery of the missing Deposit Securities to the extent necessary to maintain the Additional Cash Deposit with the Trust in an amount at least equal to the applicable percentage, as set forth in the Participant Agreement, of the daily marked to market value of the missing Deposit Securities. The Trust may use such Additional Cash Deposit to buy the missing Deposit Securities at any time. Authorized Participants will be liable to the Trust for all costs, expenses, dividends, income and taxes associated with missing Deposit Securities, including the costs incurred by the Trust in connection with any such purchases. These costs will be deemed to include the amount by which the actual purchase price of the Deposit Securities exceeds the market value of such Deposit Securities on the day the purchase order was deemed received by the Principal Underwriter plus the brokerage and related transaction costs associated with such purchases. The Trust will return any unused portion of the Additional Cash Deposit once all of the missing Deposit Securities have been properly received by the Custodian or purchased by the Trust and deposited into the Trust. In addition, a transaction fee as set forth below under “Creation Transaction Fees” will be charged in all cases and an additional variable charge may also be applied. The delivery of Creation Units so created generally will occur no later than the Settlement Date.

 

Acceptance of Orders of Creation Units. The Trust reserves the absolute right to reject an order for Creation Units transmitted in respect of each Fund at its discretion, including, without limitation, if (a) the order is not in proper form; (b) the Deposit Securities or Deposit Cash, as applicable, delivered by the Participant are not as disseminated through the facilities of the NSCC for that date by the Custodian; (c) the investor(s), upon obtaining the Fund Shares ordered, would own 80% or more of the currently outstanding shares of a Fund; (d) acceptance of the Deposit Securities would have certain adverse tax consequences to the Fund; (e) the acceptance of the Fund Deposit would, in the opinion of counsel, be unlawful; (f) the acceptance of the Fund Deposit would otherwise, in the discretion of the Trust or the Advisor, have an adverse effect on the Trust or the rights of beneficial owners; (g) the acceptance or receipt of the order for a Creation Unit would, in the opinion of counsel to the Trust, be unlawful; or (h) in the event that circumstances outside the control of the Trust, the Custodian, the Transfer Agent and/or the Advisor make it for all practical purposes not feasible to process orders for Creation Units. Examples of such circumstances include acts of God or public service or utility problems such as fires, floods, extreme weather conditions and power outages resulting in telephone, telecopy and computer failures; market conditions or activities causing trading halts; systems failures involving computer or other information systems affecting the Trust, the Principal Underwriter, the Custodian, the Transfer Agent, DTC, NSCC, Federal Reserve System, or any other participant in the creation process, and other extraordinary events. The Trust or its agents shall communicate to the Authorized Participant its rejection of an order. The Trust, the Transfer Agent, the Custodian and the Principal Underwriter are under no duty, however, to give notification of any defects or irregularities in the delivery of Fund Deposits nor shall either of them incur any liability for the failure to give any such notification. The Trust, the Transfer Agent, the Custodian and the Principal Underwriter shall not be liable for the rejection of any purchase order for Creation Units.

 

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

 

Redemption. Fund Shares may be redeemed only in Creation Units at their net asset value next determined after receipt of a redemption request in proper form by a Fund through the Transfer Agent and only on a Business Day. Except upon liquidation of the fund, the Trust will not redeem shares in amounts less than Creation Units. Investors must accumulate enough Fund Shares in the secondary market to constitute a Creation Unit in order to have such Fund Shares redeemed by the Trust. There can be no assurance, however, that there will be sufficient liquidity in the public trading market at any time to permit assembly of a Creation Unit. Investors should expect to incur brokerage and other costs in connection with assembling a sufficient number of Fund Shares to constitute a redeemable Creation Unit. With respect to each Fund, the Custodian, through the NSCC, makes available immediately prior to the opening of business on the Exchange (currently 9:30 a.m. Eastern time) on each Business Day, the list of the names and share quantities of each Fund’s portfolio securities that will be applicable (subject to possible amendment or correction) to redemption requests received in proper form (as defined below) on that day (“Fund Securities”). Fund Securities received on redemption may not be identical to Deposit Securities.

 

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Redemption proceeds for a Creation Unit are paid either in-kind or in cash or a combination thereof, as determined by the Trust. With respect to in-kind redemptions of a Fund, redemption proceeds for a Creation Unit will consist of Fund Securities — as announced by the Custodian on the Business Day of the request for redemption received in proper form plus cash in an amount equal to the difference between the net asset value of the Fund Shares being redeemed, as next determined after a receipt of a request in proper form, and the value of the Fund Securities (the “Cash Redemption Amount”), less a fixed redemption transaction fee and any applicable additional variable charge as set forth below. In the event that the Fund Securities have a value greater than the net asset value of the Fund Shares, a compensating cash payment equal to the differential is required to be made by or through an Authorized Participant by the redeeming shareholder. Notwithstanding the foregoing, at the Trust’s discretion, an Authorized Participant may receive the corresponding cash value of the securities in lieu of the in-kind securities value representing one or more Fund Securities.

 

Procedures for Redemption of Creation Units. Upon receipt of a redemption request, each Fund will make a corresponding request to the Portfolio. Redemption proceeds from the Portfolio will be delivered to the redeeming Authorized Participant. The Portfolio may deliver redemption proceeds directly to a redeeming Authorized Participant. After the Trust has deemed an order for redemption received, the Trust will initiate procedures to transfer the requisite Fund Securities and the Cash Redemption Amount to the Authorized Participant by the Settlement Date. With respect to in-kind redemptions of a Fund, the calculation of the value of the Fund Securities and the Cash Redemption Amount to be delivered upon redemption will be made by the Custodian according to the procedures set forth under “Determination of Net Asset Value”, computed on the Business Day on which a redemption order is deemed received by the Trust. Therefore, if a redemption order in proper form is submitted to the Principal Underwriter by a DTC Participant by the Closing Time on the Order Placement Date, and the requisite number of Fund Shares are delivered to the Custodian prior to 2:30 p.m. Eastern time (per applicable instructions) on the Settlement Date, then the value of the Fund Securities and the Cash Redemption Amount to be delivered will be determined by the Custodian on such Order Placement Date. If the requisite number of Fund Shares are not delivered by 2:30 p.m. Eastern time (per applicable instructions) on the Settlement Date, a Fund will not release the underlying securities for delivery unless collateral is posted in such percentage amount of missing Fund Shares as set forth in the Participant Agreement (marked to market daily).

 

With respect to in-kind redemptions of a Fund, in connection with taking delivery of shares of Fund Securities upon redemption of Creation Units, an Authorized Participant must maintain appropriate custody arrangements with a qualified broker-dealer, bank or other custody providers in each jurisdiction in which any of the Fund Securities are customarily traded (or such other arrangements as allowed by the Trust or its agents), to which account such Fund Securities will be delivered. Deliveries of redemption proceeds generally will be made within two Business Days of the trade date.

 

If it is not possible to make other such arrangements, or if it is not possible to effect deliveries of the Fund Securities, the Trust may in its discretion exercise its option to redeem such Fund Shares in cash, and the redeeming investor will be required to receive its redemption proceeds in cash. In addition, an investor may request a redemption in cash that each Fund may, in its sole discretion, permit. In either case, the investor will receive a cash payment equal to the NAV of its Fund Shares based on the NAV of Fund Shares next determined after the redemption request is received in proper form (minus a redemption transaction fee and additional charge for requested cash redemptions specified above, to offset the Trust’s brokerage and other transaction costs associated with the disposition of Fund Securities).

 

An Authorized Participant submitting a redemption request is deemed to represent to the Trust that it (or its client) (i) owns outright or has full legal authority and legal beneficial right to tender for redemption the requisite number of Fund Shares to be redeemed and can receive the entire proceeds of the redemption, and (ii) the Fund Shares to be redeemed have not been loaned or pledged to another party nor are they the subject of a repurchase agreement, securities lending agreement or such other arrangement which would preclude the delivery of such Fund Shares to the Trust. The Trust reserves the right to verify these representations at its discretion, but will typically require verification with respect to a redemption request from a Fund in connection with higher levels of redemption activity and/or short interest in a Fund. If the Authorized Participant, upon receipt of a verification request, does not provide sufficient verification of its representations as determined by the Trust, the redemption request will not be considered to have been received in proper form and may be rejected by the Trust.

 

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Redemptions of Fund Shares for Fund Securities will be subject to compliance with applicable federal and state securities laws and each Fund (whether or not it otherwise permits cash redemptions) reserves the right to redeem Creation Units for cash to the extent that the Trust could not lawfully deliver specific Fund Securities upon redemptions or could not do so without first registering the Fund Securities under such laws. An Authorized Participant or an investor for which it is acting subject to a legal restriction with respect to a particular security included in the Fund Securities applicable to the redemption of Creation Units may be paid an equivalent amount of cash. The Authorized Participant may request the redeeming investor of the Fund Shares to complete an order form or to enter into agreements with respect to such matters as compensating cash payment. Further, an Authorized Participant that is not a “qualified institutional buyer,” (“QIB”) as such term is defined under Rule 144A of the Securities Act, will not be able to receive Fund Securities that are restricted securities eligible for resale under Rule 144A. An Authorized Participant may be required by the Trust to provide a written confirmation with respect to QIB status in order to receive Fund Securities.

 

The right of redemption may be suspended or the date of payment postponed with respect to each Fund (1) for any period during which the Exchange is closed (other than customary weekend and holiday closings); (2) for any period during which trading on the Exchange is suspended or restricted; (3) for any period during which an emergency exists as a result of which disposal of the Fund Shares or determination of the NAV of the Fund Shares is not reasonably practicable; or (4) in such other circumstance as is permitted by the SEC.

 

Required Early Acceptance of Orders. Notwithstanding the foregoing, as described in the Participant Agreement and the applicable order form, a Fund may require orders to be placed up to one or more Business Days prior to the trade date, as described in the Participant Agreement or the applicable order form, in order to receive the trade date’s net asset value. Orders to purchase Fund Shares that are submitted on the Business Day immediately preceding a holiday or a day (other than a weekend) that the equity markets in the relevant foreign market are closed will not be accepted. Authorized Participants may be notified that the cut-off time for an order may be earlier on a particular Business Day, as described in the Participant Agreement and the applicable order form.

 

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

 

Creation and Redemption Transaction Fees:

Fund
Transaction Fee*
Maximum
Transaction Fee**
Aberdeen Standard Bloomberg All Commodity Strategy K-1 Free ETF $250 2%
     
Aberdeen Standard Bloomberg All Commodity Longer Dated Strategy K-1 Free ETF $250 2%
     
Aberdeen Standard Bloomberg Agriculture Commodity Strategy K-1 Free ETF $250 2%
     

Aberdeen Standard Bloomberg Energy Commodity Strategy K-1 Free ETF

 

$250 2%
Aberdeen Standard Bloomberg WTI Crude Oil Strategy K-1 Free ETF $250 2%
*From time to time, a Fund may waive all or a portion of its applicable transaction fee(s). An additional charge of up to three (3) times the standard transaction fee may be charged to the extent a transaction is outside of the clearing process.
**In addition to the transaction fees listed above, a Fund may charge an additional variable fee for creations and redemptions in cash to offset brokerage and impact expenses associated with the cash transaction. The variable transaction fee will be calculated based on historical transaction cost data and the Advisor’s view of current market conditions; however, the actual variable fee charged for a given transaction may be lower or higher than the trading expenses incurred by a Fund with respect to that transaction.

 

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Placement of Redemption Orders Using the Clearing Process. Orders to redeem Creation Unit Aggregations through the Clearing Process must be delivered through a Participating Party that has executed the Participant Agreement. Except as described herein, an order to redeem Creation Unit Aggregations using the Clearing Process is deemed received by the Trust on the Transmittal Date if: (i) such order is received by JPMorgan (in its capacity as Transfer Agent) not later than the Closing Time on such Transmittal Date, and (ii) all other procedures set forth in the Participant Agreement are properly followed. Such order will be effected based on the NAV of a Fund as next determined. The consideration for redemption of Creation Unit Aggregations of each Fund generally consists of (i) a designated portfolio of equity securities and other instruments that closely approximate the holdings of the Fund (the “Fund Securities”) and (ii) an amount of cash denominated in U.S. dollars (the “Cash Redemption Amount”) as described below. The requisite Fund Securities and the Cash Redemption Amount generally will be transferred by the second NSCC Business Day following the date on which such request for redemption is deemed received.

 

Placement of Redemption Orders Outside the Clearing Process. Orders to redeem Creation Unit Aggregations outside the Clearing Process must be delivered through a DTC Participant that has executed the Participant Agreement. An order to redeem Creation Unit Aggregations outside the Clearing Process is deemed received by the Trust on the Transmittal Date if: (i) such order is received by JPMorgan (in its capacity as Transfer Agent) not later than the Closing Time on such Transmittal Date; (ii) such order is accompanied or followed by the requisite number of shares of the Fund specified in such order, which delivery must be made through DTC to the Custodian no later than 2:30 p.m., Eastern time, on the contracted settlement date; and (iii) all other procedures set forth in the Participant Agreement are properly followed. After the Trust has deemed an order for redemption outside the Clearing Process received, the Trust will initiate procedures to transfer the requisite Fund Securities which are expected to be delivered within two Business Days and the Cash Redemption Amount to the Authorized Participant on behalf of the redeeming Beneficial Owner by the Settlement Date. In certain cases, Authorized Participants will redeem and create Creation Unit Aggregations of the same Fund on the same trade date. In these instances, the Trust reserves the right to settle these transactions on a net basis.

 

If the requisite number of shares of a Fund is not delivered on the Transmittal Date as described above, a Fund may reject or revoke acceptance of the redemption request because the Authorized Participant has not satisfied all of the settlement requirements.

 

The current procedures for collateralization of missing shares require, among other things, that any cash collateral shall be in the form of U.S. dollars in immediately available funds and shall be held by the Custodian and marked-to-market daily, and that the fees of the Custodian and any sub-custodians in respect of the delivery, maintenance and redelivery of the cash collateral shall be payable by the Authorized Participant. The Authorized Participant’s agreement will permit the Trust, on behalf of the Fund, to purchase the missing shares or acquire the Deposit Securities and the Cash Component underlying such shares at any time and will subject the Authorized Participant to liability for any shortfall between the cost to the Trust of purchasing such shares, Deposit Securities or Cash Component and the value of the collateral.

 

The calculation of the value of the Fund Securities and the Cash Redemption Amount to be delivered upon redemption will be made according to the procedures set forth under Determination of NAV computed on the Business Day on which a redemption order is deemed received by the Trust. Therefore, if a redemption order in proper form is submitted by a DTC Participant not later than the Closing Time on the Transmittal Date, and the requisite number of shares of the Fund are delivered prior to the DTC cut-off time, then the value of the Fund Securities and the Cash Redemption Amount to be delivered will be determined on such Transmittal Date. If, however, a redemption order is submitted by a DTC Participant not later than the Closing Time on the Transmittal Date but either (i) the requisite number of shares of the Fund are not delivered by the DTC cut-off-time on such Transmittal Date, or (ii) the redemption order is not submitted in proper form, then the redemption order will not be deemed received as of the Transmittal Date. In such case, the value of the Fund Securities and the Cash Redemption Amount to be delivered will be computed on the Business Day that such order is deemed received by the Trust on which the shares of the Fund are delivered through DTC by the DTC cut-off-time on such Business Day pursuant to a properly submitted redemption order.

 

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A Fund may also, in its sole discretion, upon request of a shareholder, provide such redeemer a portfolio of securities that differs from the exact composition of the Fund Securities but does not differ in NAV.

 

Redemptions of shares for Fund Securities will be subject to compliance with applicable federal and state securities laws and the Funds (whether or not it otherwise permits cash redemptions) reserves the right to redeem Creation Unit Aggregations for cash to the extent that the Trust could not lawfully deliver specific Fund Securities upon redemptions or could not do so without first registering the Fund Securities under such laws. An Authorized Participant or an investor for which it is acting subject to a legal restriction with respect to a particular security included in the Fund Securities applicable to the redemption of a Creation Unit Aggregation may be paid an equivalent amount of cash. The Authorized Participant may request the redeeming Beneficial Owner of the shares to complete an order form or to enter into agreements with respect to such matters as compensating cash payment.

 

Cash Redemptions. A Fund may pay out the proceeds of redemptions of Creation Unit Aggregations solely in cash or through any combination of cash or securities. In addition, an investor may request a redemption in cash that a Fund may, in its sole discretion, permit. In either case, the “Cash Component” is an amount equal to the difference between the net asset value of the Shares (per redemption Unit) and the market value of the equivalent portfolio securities or the equivalent cash amount, as applicable. If the Cash Component is a negative number (i.e., the net asset value per Redemption Unit exceeds the market value of the portfolio Securities or Cash amount, as applicable), the Cash Component shall be such negative amount and the redeemer will owe the fund the equivalent amount. If the Cash Component is a positive number (i.e., the net asset value per Redemption Unit is more than the market value of the Securities or Deposit Cash, as applicable), the Cash Component shall be such positive amount and the creator will be entitled to receive cash in an amount equal to the Cash Component. The Cash Component serves the function of compensating for any differences between the net asset value per Creation Unit and the market value of the Deposit Securities or Deposit Cash, as applicable. the investor will receive a cash payment equal to the NAV of its shares based on the NAV of shares of the Fund next determined after the redemption request is received in proper form (minus a redemption transaction fee and additional charge for requested cash redemptions specified above, to offset the Trust’s brokerage and other transaction costs associated with the disposition of Fund Securities). Proceeds will be paid to the Authorized Participant redeeming shares on behalf of the redeeming investor as soon as practicable after the date of redemption. If the Authorized Participant acts as a broker for a Fund in connection with the sale of Fund Securities, the Authorized Participant will also be required to pay certain brokerage commissions, taxes, and transaction and market impact costs as discussed under the heading “Brokerage Transactions” herein.

 

Redemptions of shares for Fund Securities will be subject to compliance with applicable federal and state securities laws and each Fund (whether or not it otherwise permits cash redemptions) reserves the right to redeem Creation Unit Aggregations for cash to the extent that the Trust could not lawfully deliver specific Fund Securities upon redemptions or could not do so without first registering the Fund Securities under such laws.

 

In-Kind Redemptions. The ability of the Trust to effect in-kind creations and redemptions is subject, among other things, to the condition that, within the time period from the date of the order to the date of delivery of the securities, there are no days that are holidays in the applicable foreign market. For every occurrence of one or more intervening holidays in the applicable foreign market that are not holidays observed in the U.S. equity market, the redemption settlement cycle may be extended by the number of such intervening holidays. In addition to holidays, other unforeseeable closings in a foreign market due to emergencies may also prevent the Trust from delivering securities within the normal settlement period. The Funds will not suspend or postpone redemption beyond seven days, except as permitted under Section 22(e) of the 1940 Act. Section 22(e) provides that the right of redemption may be suspended or the date of payment postponed with respect to a Fund (1) for any period during which the Listing Exchange is closed (other than customary weekend and holiday closings); (2) for any period during which trading on the Listing Exchange is suspended or restricted; (3) for any period during which an emergency exists as a result of which disposal of the shares of the Fund’s portfolio securities or determination of its net asset value is not reasonably practicable; or (4) in such other circumstance as is permitted by the SEC.

 

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TAXES

 

The following is a summary of certain federal income tax considerations generally affecting the Funds and their shareholders that supplements the discussion in the Prospectus. No attempt is made to present a comprehensive explanation of the federal, state, local or foreign tax treatment of the Funds or their shareholders, and the discussion here and in the Prospectus is not intended to be a substitute for careful tax planning.

 

The following general discussion of certain federal income tax consequences is based on the Code and the regulations issued thereunder as in effect on the date of this SAI. New legislation, as well as administrative changes or court decisions, may significantly change the conclusions expressed herein, and may have a retroactive effect with respect to the transactions contemplated herein.

 

In December 2017, tax legislation commonly referred to as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (the “Tax Act”) made significant changes to the U.S. federal income tax rules for taxation of individuals and corporations, generally effective for taxable years beginning after December 31, 2017. Many of the changes applicable to individuals are temporary and would apply only to taxable years beginning after December 31, 2017 and before January 1, 2026. There are only minor changes with respect to the specific rules only applicable to RICs, such as the Funds. The Tax Act, however, makes numerous other changes to the tax rules that may affect shareholders and the Funds. You are urged to consult with your own tax advisor regarding how the Tax Act affects your investment in the Funds.

 

Shareholders are urged to consult their own tax advisors regarding the application of the provisions of tax law described in this SAI in light of the particular tax situations of the shareholders and regarding specific questions as to federal, state, or local taxes.   

 

REGULATED INVESTMENT COMPANY (RIC) STATUS

 

Each Fund intends to qualify and elects to be treated as a RIC under the Code. By following such a policy, each Fund expects to eliminate or reduce to a nominal amount the federal taxes to which it may be subject. A Fund that qualifies as a RIC will generally not be subject to federal income taxes on the net investment income and net realized capital gains that the Fund timely distributes to its shareholders. The Board reserves the right not to maintain the qualification of a Fund as a RIC if it determines such course of action to be beneficial to shareholders.

 

In order to qualify as a RIC under the Code, each Fund must distribute annually to its shareholders at least an amount equal to the sum of 90% of the Fund’s net investment company taxable income for such year (including, for this purpose, dividends, taxable interest, and the excess of net short-term capital gains over net long-term capital losses, less operating expenses), computed without regard to the dividends-paid deduction, and 90% of its net tax-exempt interest income for such year, if any (the “Distribution Requirement”) and also must meet certain additional requirements. One of these additional requirements for RIC qualification is that a Fund must receive at least 90% of the its gross income each taxable year from dividends, interest, payments with respect to certain securities loans, gains from the sale or other disposition of stock, securities or foreign currencies, or other income (including but not limited to gains from options, futures or forward contracts) derived with respect to the Fund’s business of investing in such stock, securities, foreign currencies and net income from interests in qualified publicly traded partnerships (the “Qualifying Income Test”). A second requirement for qualification as a RIC is that a Fund must diversify its holdings so that, at the end of each quarter of a Fund’s taxable year: (a) at least 50% of the market value of such Fund’s total assets is represented by cash and cash items, U.S. government securities, securities of other RICs, and other securities, with these other securities limited, in respect to any one issuer, to an amount not greater than 5% of the value of such Fund’s total assets or 10% of the outstanding voting securities of such issuer, including the equity securities of a qualified publicly traded partnership; and (b) not more than 25% of the value of its total assets is invested, including through corporations in which a Fund owns a 20% or more voting stock interest, in the securities (other than U.S. government securities or securities of other RICs) of any one issuer or the securities (other than the securities of another RIC) of two or more issuers that such Fund controls and which are engaged in the same or similar trades or businesses or related trades or businesses, or the securities of one or more qualified publicly traded partnerships (the “Asset Test”).

 

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If a Fund fails to satisfy the Qualifying Income Test or the Asset Test, the Fund may be eligible for relief provisions if the failures are due to reasonable cause and not willful neglect and if a penalty tax is paid with respect to each failure to satisfy the applicable requirements. Additionally, relief is provided for certain de minimis failures of the Asset Test where a Fund corrects the failure within a specified period of time. In order to be eligible for the relief provisions with respect to a failure to meet the Asset Test, a Fund may be required to dispose of certain assets. If these relief provisions are not available to a Fund and it fails to qualify for treatment as a RIC for a taxable year, all of its taxable income would be subject to tax at regular corporate income tax rates (which the Tax Act has reduced to 21%) without any deduction for distributions to shareholders, and its distributions (including capital gains distributions) generally would be taxable as ordinary income dividends to its shareholders, subject to the dividends-received deduction for corporate shareholders and the lower tax rates on qualified dividend income received by non-corporate shareholders. In addition, a Fund could be required to recognize unrealized gains, pay substantial taxes and interest, and make substantial distributions before requalifying as a RIC. The Board reserves the right not to maintain the qualification of a Fund for treatment as a RIC if it determines such course of action to be beneficial to shareholders. If a Fund determines that it will not qualify for treatment as a RIC, the Fund will establish procedures to reflect the anticipated tax liability in the Fund’s NAV.

 

Each Fund intends to distribute annually to its shareholders substantially all of its investment company taxable income (computed without regard to the dividends-paid deduction) and any realized net capital gain (after taking into account any capital loss carryovers). If a Fund failed to satisfy the Distribution Requirement for any taxable year, the Fund would be taxed as a regular corporation, with consequences generally similar to those described above. If a Fund meets the Distribution Requirement but retains some or all of its income or gains, it will be subject to federal income tax to the extent any such income or gains are not distributed.

 

Excise Tax

 

Notwithstanding the Distribution Requirement described above, each Fund will be subject to a nondeductible 4% federal excise tax on certain undistributed income if it does not distribute (and is not deemed to distribute) to its shareholders in each calendar year an amount at least equal to 98% of its ordinary income for the calendar year plus 98.2% of its capital gain net income for the twelve months ended October 31 of that year, subject to an increase for any shortfall in the prior year’s distribution. For this purpose, any ordinary income or capital gain net income retained by a Fund and subject to corporate income tax will be considered to have been distributed. The Funds intend to declare and distribute dividends and distributions in amounts and at times necessary to avoid the application of this 4% excise tax, but can make no assurances that such tax liability will be completely eliminated. A Fund may in certain circumstances be required to liquidate Fund investments in order to make sufficient distributions to avoid federal excise tax liability at a time when the investment advisor might not otherwise have chosen to do so, and liquidation of investments in such circumstances may affect the ability of a Fund to satisfy the requirement for qualification as a RIC.

 

A Fund may elect to treat part or all of any “qualified late year loss” as if it had been incurred in the succeeding taxable year in determining such Fund’s taxable income, net capital gain, net short-term capital gain, and earnings and profits. The effect of this election is to treat any such “qualified late year loss” as if it had been incurred in the succeeding taxable year in characterizing Fund distributions for any calendar year. A “qualified late year loss” generally includes net capital loss, net long-term capital loss, or net short-term capital loss incurred after October 31 of the current taxable year (commonly referred to as “post-October losses”) and certain other late-year losses.

 

Capital losses in excess of capital gains (“net capital losses”) are not permitted to be deducted against a RIC’s net investment income. Instead, for U.S. federal income tax purposes, potentially subject to certain limitations, a RIC may carry net capital losses from any taxable year forward to offset capital gains in future years. Each Fund is permitted to carry net capital losses forward indefinitely. To the extent subsequent capital gains are offset by such losses, they will not result in U.S. federal income tax liability to the applicable Fund and may not be distributed as capital gains to shareholders. Generally, a Fund may not carry forward any losses other than net capital losses. The carryover of capital losses may be limited under the general loss limitation rules if a Fund experiences an ownership change as defined in the Code.

 

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TAXATION OF SHAREHOLDERS

 

Subject to certain limitations and requirements, dividends reported by a Fund as qualified dividend income will be taxable to non-corporate shareholders at rates of up to 20%. In general, dividends may be reported by a Fund as qualified dividend income if they are paid from dividends received by such Fund on common and preferred stock of U.S. corporations or on stock of certain eligible foreign corporations, provided that certain holding period and other requirements are met by the Fund with respect to the dividend-paying stocks in its portfolio. Subject to certain limitations, eligible foreign corporations include those incorporated in possessions of the United States or in certain countries with comprehensive tax treaties with the United States, and other foreign corporations if the stock with respect to which the dividends are paid is readily tradable on an established securities market in the United States. A dividend will not be treated as qualified dividend income to the extent that: (i) the shareholder has not held the shares on which the dividend was paid for more than 60 days during the 121-day period that begins on the date that is 60 days before the date on which the shares become “ex-dividend” (which is the day on which declared distributions (dividends or capital gains) are deducted from a Fund’s assets before it calculates the net asset value) with respect to such dividend, (ii) a Fund has not satisfied similar holding period requirements with respect to the securities it holds that paid the dividends distributed to the shareholder), (iii) the shareholder is under an obligation (whether pursuant to a short sale or otherwise) to make related payments with respect to substantially similar or related property, or (iv) the shareholder elects to treat such dividend as investment income under section 163(d)(4)(B) of the Code. Therefore, if you lend your shares in a Fund, such as pursuant to a securities lending arrangement, you may lose the ability to treat dividends (paid while the shares are held by the borrower) as qualified dividend income. Distributions that the Funds receive from an ETF or an underlying fund taxable as a RIC will be treated as qualified dividend income only to the extent so reported by such ETF or underlying fund.

 

The Funds’ trading strategies and investments in their wholly-owned Subsidiaries may significantly limit their ability to distribute dividends eligible for treatment as qualified dividend income.

 

A Fund’s participation in loans of securities may affect the amount, timing, and character of distributions to the Fund’s shareholders. If a Fund participates in a securities lending transaction and receives a payment in lieu of dividends (a “substitute payment”) with respect to securities on loan in a securities lending transaction, such income generally will not constitute qualified dividend income. In addition, dividends attributable to such income will not be eligible for taxation at the rates applicable to qualified dividend income for individual shareholders.

 

Although dividends generally will be treated as distributed when paid, any dividend declared by a Fund in October, November or December and payable to shareholders of record in such a month that is paid during the following January will be treated for U.S. federal income tax purposes as received by shareholders on December 31 of the calendar year in which it was declared.

 

If a Fund’s distributions exceed its current and accumulated earnings and profits, all or a portion of the distributions made in the taxable year may be treated as a return of capital to shareholders. A return of capital distribution generally will not be taxable but will reduce the shareholder’s cost basis and result in a higher capital gain or lower capital loss when the Shares on which the distribution was received are sold. After a shareholder’s basis in the Shares has been reduced to zero, distributions in excess of earnings and profits will be treated as gain from the sale of the shareholder’s Shares.

 

A Fund’s shareholders will be notified annually by each Fund (or its administrative agent) as to the federal tax status of all distributions made by such Fund. Distributions may be subject to state and local taxes. Shareholders who have not held Fund Shares for a full year should be aware that a Fund may report and distribute to a shareholder, as ordinary dividends or capital gain dividends, a percentage of income that is not equal to the percentage of such Fund’s ordinary income or net capital gain, respectively, actually earned during the shareholder’s period of investment in the Fund.

 

A taxable shareholder may wish to avoid investing in a Fund shortly before a dividend or other distribution, because the distribution will generally be taxable even though it may economically represent a return of a portion of the shareholder’s investment.

 

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Shareholders who have not held Shares of a Fund for a full year should be aware that the Fund may report and distribute to a shareholder, as ordinary dividends or capital gain dividends, a percentage of income that is not equal to the percentage of the Fund’s ordinary income or net capital gain, respectively, actually earned during the shareholder’s period of investment in the Fund.

 

Sales, Exchanges or Redemptions of Shares

 

A sale of Shares or redemption of Creation Units in a Fund may give rise to a gain or loss. In general, any gain or loss realized upon a taxable disposition of Shares will be treated as capital gain or loss if the Shares are capital assets in the shareholder’s hands, and will be long-term capital gain or loss if the Shares have been held for more than 12 months, and short-term capital gain or loss if the Shares are held for 12 months or less. Any loss realized upon a taxable disposition of Shares held for six months or less will be treated as long-term, rather than short-term, to the extent of any amounts treated as distributions to the shareholder of long-term capital gain with respect to the Shares (including any amounts credited to the shareholder as undistributed capital gains). All or a portion of any loss realized upon a taxable disposition of Shares of a Fund will be disallowed if substantially identical Shares of the Fund are purchased (through reinvestment of dividends or otherwise) within 30 days before or after the disposition. In such a case, the basis of the newly purchased Shares will be adjusted to reflect the disallowed loss.

 

An Authorized Participant who exchanges securities for Creation Units generally will recognize gain or loss from the exchange. The gain or loss will be equal to the difference between the market value of the Creation Units at the time of the exchange and the sum of the exchanger’s aggregate basis in the securities surrendered plus the amount of cash paid for such Creation Units. The ability of Authorized Participants to receive a full or partial cash redemption of Creation Units of the Funds may limit the tax efficiency of the Funds A person who redeems Creation Units will generally recognize a gain or loss equal to the difference between the sum of the aggregate market value of any securities received plus the amount of any cash received for such Creation Units and the exchanger’s basis in the Creation Units. The Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”), however, may assert that an Authorized Participant may not be permitted to currently deduct losses realized upon an exchange of securities for Creation Units under the rules governing “wash sales” (for an Authorized Participant that does not mark-to-market its holdings), or on the basis that there has been no significant change in economic position.

 

Any gain or loss realized upon the creation of Creation Units will generally be treated as long-term capital gain or loss if the securities exchanged for such Creation Units have been held for more than one year (and were held as capital assets in the hands of the exchanging Authorized Participant). Any capital gain or loss realized upon the redemption of Creation Units will generally be treated as long-term capital gain or loss if the Shares comprising the Creation Units have been held for more than one year. Otherwise, such capital gains or losses will be treated as short-term capital gains or losses.

 

The Trust on behalf of each Fund has the right to reject an order for a purchase of Shares of a Fund if the purchaser (or group of purchasers) would, upon obtaining the Shares so ordered, own 80% or more of the outstanding Shares of that Fund and if, pursuant to Section 351 of the Code, that Fund would have a basis in the securities different from the market value of such securities on the date of deposit. The Trust also has the right to require information necessary to determine beneficial Share ownership for purposes of the 80% determination. If a Fund does issue Creation Units to a purchaser (or group of purchasers) that would, upon obtaining the Shares so ordered, own 80% or more of the outstanding Shares of the Fund, the purchaser (or a group of purchasers) may not recognize gain or loss upon the exchange of securities for Creation Units.

 

Persons purchasing or redeeming Creation Units should consult their own tax advisors with respect to the tax treatment of any creation or redemption transaction and whether the wash sales rule applies and when a loss may be deductible.

 

Cost Basis Reporting

 

The cost basis of Shares acquired by purchase will generally be based on the amount paid for the Shares and then may be subsequently adjusted for other applicable transactions as required by the Code. The difference between the selling price and the cost basis of Shares generally determines the amount of the capital gain or loss realized on the sale or exchange of Shares. Contact the broker through whom you purchased your Shares to obtain information with respect to the available cost basis reporting methods and elections for your account.

 

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Medicare Tax

 

U.S. individuals with adjusted gross income (subject to certain adjustments) exceeding certain threshold amounts ($250,000 if married and filing jointly or if considered a “surviving spouse” for federal income tax purposes, $125,000 if married filing separately, and $200,000 in other cases) are subject to a 3.8% Medicare contribution tax on all or a portion of their “net investment income.” This 3.8% tax also applies to all or a portion of the undistributed net investment income of certain shareholders that are estates and trusts. For these purposes, interest, dividends and certain capital gains (including capital gain distributions and capital gains realized on the sale of Shares of a Fund or the redemption of Creation Units), among other categories of income, are generally taken into account in computing a shareholder’s net investment income.

 

TAXATION OF FUND INVESTMENTS

 

Certain of the Funds’ investments may be subject to complex provisions of the Code (including provisions relating to hedging transactions, straddles, integrated transactions, foreign currency contracts, forward foreign currency contracts, and notional principal contracts) that, among other things, may affect a Fund’s ability to qualify as a RIC, affect the character of gains and losses realized by the Funds (e.g., may affect whether gains or losses are ordinary or capital), accelerate recognition of income to the Funds and defer losses and, in limited cases, subject the Funds to U.S. federal income tax on income from their foreign securities. These rules could therefore affect the character, amount and timing of distributions to shareholders. These provisions also may require the Funds to mark to market certain types of positions in their portfolios (i.e., treat them as if they were closed out) which may cause the Funds to recognize income without receiving cash with which to make distributions in amounts necessary to satisfy the RIC Distribution Requirement and for avoiding excise taxes. Accordingly, in order to avoid certain income and excise taxes, a Fund may be required to liquidate its investments at a time when the investment advisor might not otherwise have chosen to do so. The Funds intend to monitor their transactions, intend to make appropriate tax elections, and intend to make appropriate entries in their books and records in order to mitigate the effect of these rules and preserve their qualification for treatment as RICs.

 

In particular, the Funds’ investments in derivatives may be subject to numerous special and complex tax rules. These rules could affect whether gains and losses recognized by a Fund are treated as ordinary income and loss or capital gain and loss or whether capital gains and losses are long-term or short-term in nature, accelerate the recognition of income to the Fund and/or defer the Fund’s ability to recognize losses. In turn, those rules may affect the amount, timing or character of the income distributed by a Fund. Certain derivative investment by the Funds, such as exchange-traded products and over-the-counter derivatives may not produce qualifying income for purposes of the "Qualifying Income Test" described above, which must be met in order for a Fund to maintain its status as a RIC under the Code. In addition, the determination of the value and the identity of the issuer of such derivative investments are often unclear for purposes of the “Asset Test” described above. The Funds intend to carefully monitor such investments to ensure that any non-qualifying income does not exceed permissible limits and to ensure that they are adequately diversified under the Asset Test. The Funds, however, may not be able to accurately predict the non-qualifying income from these investments and there are no assurances that the IRS will agree with the Funds’ determination under the “Asset Test” with respect to such derivatives.

 

Each Fund is required for federal income tax purposes to mark-to-market and recognize as income for each taxable year its net unrealized gains and losses on certain futures contracts as of the end of the year as well as those actually realized during the year. Gain or loss from futures and options contracts on broad-based indexes required to be marked to market will be 60% long-term and 40% short-term capital gain or loss. Application of this rule may alter the timing and character of distributions to shareholders. A Fund may be required to defer the recognition of losses on futures contracts, options contracts and swaps to the extent of any unrecognized gains on offsetting positions held by the Fund. These provisions may also require the Funds to mark-to-market certain types of positions in their portfolios (i.e., treat them as if they were closed out), which may cause a Fund to recognize income without receiving cash with which to make distributions in amounts necessary to satisfy the Distribution Requirement and for avoiding the excise tax discussed above. In addition, to the extent a wholly-owned Subsidiary of a Fund trades in futures contracts described above, the special 60% long-term and 40% short-term capital gain or loss treatment will not pass through to a Fund when the Fund receives dividend distributions from the Subsidiary; rather such dividend distributions will be treated as ordinary income to a Fund.

 

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If a Fund invests in certain zero coupon securities or any other securities that are sold at original issue discount and thus do not make periodic cash interest payments, the Fund will be required to include as part of its current income the imputed interest on such obligations even though the Fund has not received any interest payments on such obligations during that period. However, each Fund must distribute to its shareholders, at least annually, all or substantially all of its investment company taxable income (determined without regard to the deduction for dividends paid), including such accrued income, to qualify for treatment as a RIC under the Code and avoid U.S. federal income and excise taxes. Therefore, a Fund may have to dispose of its portfolio securities, potentially under disadvantageous circumstances, to generate cash, or may have to borrow cash, to satisfy distribution requirements. Such a disposition of securities may potentially result in additional taxable gain or loss to a Fund and may affect the amount and timing of distributions from such Fund.

 

Any market discount recognized on a bond is taxable as ordinary income. A market discount bond is a bond acquired in the secondary market at a price below redemption value or adjusted issue price if issued with original issue discount. Absent an election by a Fund to include the market discount in income as it accrues, gain on the Fund’s disposition of such an obligation will be treated as ordinary income rather than capital gain to the extent of the accrued market discount.

 

Subsidiary Investment

 

Each Fund expects to invest up to 25% of its total assets in its Subsidiary, which each Fund expects to be treated as a controlled foreign corporation under the Code. Each of the Funds expects its Subsidiary will make actual annual distributions in an amount at least equal to the subpart F income attributed to such Fund. To the extent a Subsidiary makes such distributions out of earnings and profits, each Fund expects such distributions to be treated as “qualifying income”. In September 2016, the IRS issued proposed regulations that would generally require a Subsidiary to distribute its income each year in order for a Fund to treat that income as “qualifying income”. The Funds have secured an opinion of counsel based on customary representations that actual distributions made to a Fund should be treated as “qualifying income”. The Funds believe that income from a Subsidiary will be qualifying income because it expects that each Subsidiary will make annual distributions of its earnings and profits. The Advisor will carefully monitor each Fund’s investments in its Subsidiary to ensure that no more than 25% of the Fund’s assets are invested in the Subsidiary.

 

Each Fund wholly-owns its respective Subsidiary. A U.S. person who owns (directly, indirectly or constructively) 10 percent or more of the total combined voting power of all classes of stock or 10 percent or more of the total value of shares of all classes of stock of a foreign corporation is a “U.S. Shareholder” for purposes of the controlled foreign corporation (“CFC”) provisions of the Code. A foreign corporation is a CFC if, on any day of its taxable year, more than 50 percent of the voting power or value of its stock is owned (directly, indirectly or constructively) by “U.S. Shareholders.” Because the Funds are each a U.S. person that will own all of the stock of its Subsidiary, the Funds will each be a “U.S. Shareholder” and the Subsidiaries will each be a CFC. In general, each “U.S. Shareholder” is required to file IRS Form 5471 with its U.S. federal income tax (or information) returns providing information about its ownership of the CFC and the CFC. In addition, a “U.S. Shareholder” may in certain circumstances be required to report a disposition of shares in the Subsidiaries by attaching IRS Form 5471 to its U.S. federal income tax (or information) return that it would normally file for the taxable year in which the disposition occurs. In general, these filing requirements will apply to investors of the Funds if the investor is a U.S. person who owns directly, indirectly or constructively (within the meaning of Sections 958(a) and (b) of the Code) 10 percent or more of the total combined voting power of all classes of voting stock or 10 percent or more of the total value of shares of all classes of stock of a foreign corporation that is a CFC for an uninterrupted period of 30 days or more during any tax year of the foreign corporation, and who owned that stock on the last day of that year.

 

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Foreign Investments

 

If a Fund acquires any equity interest in certain foreign investment entities (i) that receive at least 75% of their annual gross income from passive sources (such as interest, dividends, certain rents and royalties, or capital gains) or (ii) where at least 50% of the corporation’s assets (computed based on average fair market value) either produce or are held for the production of passive income (“passive foreign investment companies” or “PFICs”), the Fund will generally be subject to one of the following special tax regimes: (i) the Fund may be liable for U.S. federal income tax, and an additional interest charge, on a portion of any “excess distribution” from such foreign entity or any gain from the disposition of such shares, even if the entire distribution or gain is paid out by the Fund as a dividend to its shareholders; (ii) if the Fund were able and elected to treat a PFIC as a “qualified electing fund” or “QEF,” the Fund would be required each year to include in income, and distribute to shareholders in accordance with the distribution requirements set forth above, the Fund's pro rata share of the ordinary earnings and net capital gains of the PFIC, whether or not such earnings or gains are distributed to the Fund; or (iii) the Fund may be entitled to mark-to-market annually shares of the PFIC, and in such event would be required to distribute to shareholders any such mark-to-market gains in accordance with the distribution requirements set forth above. Each Fund intends to make the appropriate tax elections, if possible, and take any additional steps that are necessary to mitigate the effect of these rules. A Fund may limit and/or manage its holdings in passive foreign investment companies to limit its tax liability or maximize its return from these investments.

 

A Fund may be subject to withholding and other taxes imposed by foreign countries, including taxes on interest, dividends and capital gains with respect to any investments in those countries. Any such taxes would, if imposed, reduce the yield on or return from those investments. Tax conventions between certain countries and the U.S. may reduce or eliminate such taxes in some cases. The Funds do not expect to satisfy the requirements for passing through to their shareholders any share of foreign taxes paid by the Funds, with the result that shareholders will not include such taxes in their gross incomes and will not be entitled to a tax deduction or credit for any such taxes on their own tax returns.

 

FOREIGN SHAREHOLDERS

 

Any foreign shareholders in the Funds may be subject to U.S. withholding and estate tax and are encouraged to consult their tax advisors prior to investing in the Funds. Foreign shareholders (i.e., nonresident alien individuals and foreign corporations, partnerships, trusts and estates) are generally subject to U.S. withholding tax at the rate of 30% (or a lower tax treaty rate) on distributions derived from taxable ordinary income. A Fund may, under certain circumstances, report all or a portion of a dividend as an “interest-related dividend” or a “short-term capital gain dividend,” which would generally be exempt from this 30% U.S. withholding tax, provided certain other requirements are met. Short-term capital gain dividends received by a nonresident alien individual who is present in the U.S. for a period or periods aggregating 183 days or more during the taxable year are not exempt from this 30% withholding tax. Gains realized by foreign shareholders from the sale or other disposition of shares of a Fund generally are not subject to U.S. taxation, unless the recipient is an individual who is physically present in the U.S. for 183 days or more per year. Foreign shareholders who fail to provide an applicable IRS form may be subject to backup withholding on certain payments from a Fund. Backup withholding will not be applied to payments that are subject to the 30% (or lower applicable treaty rate) withholding tax described in this paragraph. Different tax consequences may result if the foreign shareholder is engaged in a trade or business within the United States. In addition, the tax consequences to a foreign shareholder entitled to claim the benefits of a tax treaty may be different than those described above.

 

Unless certain non-U.S. entities that hold Fund Shares comply with IRS requirements that generally require them to report information regarding U.S. persons investing in, or holding accounts with, such entities, a 30% withholding tax may apply to Fund distributions payable to such entities and may apply to redemptions and certain capital gain dividends payable to such entities after December 31, 2018. A non-U.S. shareholder may be exempt from the withholding described in this paragraph under an applicable intergovernmental agreement between the U.S. and a foreign government, provided that the shareholder and the applicable foreign government comply with the terms of the agreement.

 

OTHER ISSUES

Backup Withholding

 

A Fund (or financial intermediaries, such as brokers, through which a shareholder holds Shares) generally is required to withhold and to remit to the U.S. Treasury a percentage of the taxable distributions and sale or redemption proceeds paid to any shareholder who fails to properly furnish a correct taxpayer identification number, who has under-reported dividend or interest income, or who fails to certify that he, she or it is not subject to such withholding. The backup withholding tax rate is 24%. Backup withholding is not an additional tax. Any amounts withheld may be credited against the shareholder’s U.S. federal income tax liability, provided the appropriate information is furnished to the IRS.

 

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Certain Potential Tax Reporting Requirements

 

Under U.S. Treasury regulations, if a shareholder recognizes a loss of $2 million or more for an individual shareholder or $10 million or more for a corporate shareholder (or certain greater amounts over a combination of years), the shareholder must file with the IRS a disclosure statement on IRS Form 8886. Direct shareholders of portfolio securities are in many cases excepted from this reporting requirement, but under current guidance shareholders of a RIC are not excepted. A shareholder who fails to make the required disclosure to the IRS may be subject to substantial penalties. The fact that a loss is reportable under these regulations does not affect the legal determination of whether the taxpayer’s treatment of the loss is proper. Shareholders should consult their tax advisors to determine the applicability of these regulations in light of their individual circumstances.

 

State and Local Taxes

 

A Fund may be subject to tax or taxes in certain states where the Fund does business. Furthermore, in those states which have income tax laws, the tax treatment of a Fund and of Fund shareholders with respect to distributions by the Fund may differ from federal tax treatment.

 

General Considerations

 

The federal income tax discussion set forth above is for general information only. Prospective investors should consult their tax advisors regarding the specific federal income tax consequences of purchasing, holding and disposing of Shares of a Fund, as well as the effect of state, local and foreign tax law and any proposed tax law changes.

 

DETERMINATION OF NAV

 

The NAV of each Fund’s shares is calculated each day the national securities exchanges are open for trading as of the close of regular trading on the Listing Exchange, generally 4:00 p.m. New York time (the “NAV Calculation Time”). NAV per share is calculated by dividing a Fund’s net assets by the number of Fund shares outstanding.

 

In calculating each Fund’s NAV, Fund investments generally are valued using market valuations. Short-term debt securities with remaining maturities of sixty (60) days or less generally are valued on the basis of amortized cost, which approximates fair value. U.S. fixed income assets may be valued as of the announced closing time for such securities on any day that the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association announces an early closing time. The values of any assets or liabilities of a Fund that are denominated in a currency other than the U.S. dollar are converted into U.S. dollars using an exchange rate deemed appropriate by the Fund.

 

Investments in futures are valued at market value, which is generally determined using the last reported official closing price or last trading price on the exchange or market on which the futures contract is primarily traded at the time of valuation.  Generally, trading in futures, U.S. government securities (such as U.S. Treasury securities), money market instruments and certain fixed-income securities is substantially completed each day at various times prior to the NAV Calculation Time. The values of such securities used in computing the NAV of a Fund are, unless fair valued, determined as of such times.

 

In certain instances, such as when reliable market valuations are not readily available or are not deemed to reflect current market values, the Fund’s investments will be valued in accordance with the Fund’s pricing policy and procedures. Securities that may be valued using “fair value” pricing may include, but are not limited to, securities for which there are no current market quotations or whose issuer is in default or bankruptcy, securities subject to corporate actions (such as mergers or reorganizations), securities subject to non-U.S. investment limits or currency controls, and securities affected by “significant events.” An example of a significant event is an event occurring after the close of the market in which a security trades but before the Fund’s next NAV Calculation Time that may materially affect the value of the Fund’s investment (e.g., government action, natural disaster, or significant market fluctuation). Price movements in U.S. markets that are deemed to affect the value of foreign securities, or reflect changes to the value of such securities, also may cause securities to be “fair valued.”

 

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When fair-value pricing is employed, the prices of securities used by a Fund to calculate its NAV may differ from quoted or published prices for the same securities.

 

Fund shares are purchased or sold on a national securities exchange at market prices, which may be higher or lower than NAV. No secondary sales will be made to brokers or dealers at a concession by the Distributor or by the Fund. Purchases and sales of shares in the secondary market, which will not involve the Fund, will be subject to customary brokerage commissions and charges. Transactions in Fund shares will be priced at NAV only if you purchase or redeem shares directly from a Fund in Creation Units.

 

DIVIDENDS AND DISTRIBUTIONS

 

The Fund pays out dividends and distributes its net capital gains, if any, to shareholders at least annually.

 

The Trust reserves the right to declare special distributions if, in its reasonable discretion, such action is necessary or advisable to preserve the status of a Fund as a RIC or to avoid imposition of income or excise taxes on undistributed income.

 

FINANCIAL STATEMENTS

 

The Funds’ audited financial statements for the year ended December 31, 2018, including notes thereto and the report of [         ], the Funds’ Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm, are incorporated by reference into this SAI.

 

MISCELLANEOUS INFORMATION

 

Counsel. Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP, with offices located at 1111 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20004, serves as legal counsel to the Trust.

 

Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm. [_____], with offices located at [___________], serves as the independent registered public accounting firm to the Trust.

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Appendix A – Proxy Voting Policies

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United States

 

Proxy Voting Guidelines

 

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U.S. Proxy Voting Guidelines

   

 

Table of Contents

 

  COVERAGE 8
1. BOARD OF DIRECTORS 9
  VOTING ON DIRECTOR NOMINEES IN UNCONTESTED ELECTIONS 9
  Independence 9
  ISS Classification of Directors – U.S. 10
  Composition 12
  Responsiveness 13
  Accountability 13
  VOTING ON DIRECTOR NOMINEES IN CONTESTED ELECTIONS 17
  Vote-No Campaigns 17
  Proxy Contests/Proxy Access — Voting for Director Nominees in Contested Elections 17
  OTHER BOARD-RELATED PROPOSALS 17
  Adopt Anti-Hedging/Pledging/Speculative Investments Policy 17
  Age/Term Limits 17
  Board Size 18
  Classification/Declassification of the Board 18
  CEO Succession Planning 18
  Cumulative Voting 18
  Director and Officer Indemnification and Liability Protection 18
  Establish/Amend Nominee Qualifications 19
  Establish Other Board Committee Proposals 19
  Filling Vacancies/Removal of Directors 19
  Independent Chair (Separate Chair/CEO) 19
  Majority of Independent Directors/Establishment of Independent Committees 20
  Majority Vote Standard for the Election of Directors 20
  Proxy Access 21
  Require More Nominees than Open Seats 21
  Shareholder Engagement Policy (Shareholder Advisory Committee) 21
2. AUDIT-RELATED 22
  Auditor Indemnification and Limitation of Liability 22
  Auditor Ratification 22
  Shareholder Proposals Limiting Non-Audit Services 22
  Shareholder Proposals on Audit Firm Rotation 23
3. SHAREHOLDER RIGHTS & DEFENSES 24
  Advance Notice Requirements for Shareholder Proposals/Nominations 24
  Amend Bylaws without Shareholder Consent 24
  Control Share Acquisition Provisions 24
  Control Share Cash-Out Provisions 24
  Disgorgement Provisions 25
  Fair Price Provisions 25

 

   

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  Freeze-Out Provisions 25
  Greenmail 25
  Litigation Rights (including Exclusive Venue and Fee-Shifting Bylaw Provisions) 25
  Net Operating Loss (NOL) Protective Amendments 26
  POISON PILLS (SHAREHOLDER RIGHTS PLANS) 26
  Shareholder Proposals to Put Pill to a Vote and/or Adopt a Pill Policy 26
  Management Proposals to Ratify a Poison Pill 27
  Management Proposals to Ratify a Pill to Preserve Net Operating Losses (NOLs) 27
  Proxy Voting Disclosure, Confidentiality, and Tabulation 27
  Ratification Proposals: Management Proposals to Ratify Existing Charter or Bylaw Provisions 28
  Reimbursing Proxy Solicitation Expenses 28
  Reincorporation Proposals 28
  Shareholder Ability to Act by Written Consent 28
  Shareholder Ability to Call Special Meetings 29
  Stakeholder Provisions 29
  State Antitakeover Statutes 29
  Supermajority Vote Requirements 29
4. CAPITAL/RESTRUCTURING 31
  CAPITAL 31
  Adjustments to Par Value of Common Stock 31
  Common Stock Authorization 31
  Dual Class Structure 32
  Issue Stock for Use with Rights Plan 32
  Preemptive Rights 32
  Preferred Stock Authorization 32
  Recapitalization Plans 33
  Reverse Stock Splits 33
  Share Repurchase Programs 33
  Stock Distributions: Splits and Dividends 33
  Tracking Stock 33
  RESTRUCTURING 34
  Appraisal Rights 34
  Asset Purchases 34
  Asset Sales 34
  Bundled Proposals 34
  Conversion of Securities 34
  Corporate Reorganization/Debt Restructuring/Prepackaged Bankruptcy Plans/Reverse Leveraged Buyouts/Wrap Plans 35
  Formation of Holding Company 35
  Going Private and Going Dark Transactions (LBOs and Minority Squeeze-outs) 35
  Joint Ventures 36
  Liquidations 36

 

   

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  Mergers and Acquisitions 36
  Private Placements/Warrants/Convertible Debentures 37
  Reorganization/Restructuring Plan (Bankruptcy) 38
  Special Purpose Acquisition Corporations (SPACs) 38
  Special Purpose Acquisition Corporations (SPACs) - Proposals for Extensions 39
  Spin-offs 39
  Value Maximization Shareholder Proposals 39
5. COMPENSATION 40
  EXECUTIVE PAY EVALUATION 40
  Advisory Votes on Executive Compensation—Management Proposals (Management Say-on-Pay) 40
  Pay-for-Performance Evaluation 41
  Problematic Pay Practices 41
  Compensation Committee Communications and Responsiveness 42
  Frequency of Advisory Vote on Executive Compensation (“Say When on Pay”) 43
  Voting on Golden Parachutes in an Acquisition, Merger, Consolidation, or Proposed Sale 43
  EQUITY-BASED AND OTHER INCENTIVE PLANS 44
  Shareholder Value Transfer (SVT) 45
  Three-Year Burn Rate 45
  Egregious Factors 45
  Liberal Change in Control Definition 45
  Repricing Provisions 45
  Problematic Pay Practices or Significant Pay-for-Performance Disconnect 46
  Amending Cash and Equity Plans (including Approval for Tax Deductibility (162(m)) 46
  Specific Treatment of Certain Award Types in Equity Plan Evaluations 47
  Dividend Equivalent Rights 47
  Operating Partnership (OP) Units in Equity Plan Analysis of Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) 47
  OTHER COMPENSATION PLANS 47
  401(k) Employee Benefit Plans 47
  Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs) 47
  Employee Stock Purchase Plans—Qualified Plans 47
  Employee Stock Purchase Plans—Non-Qualified Plans 48
  Option Exchange Programs/Repricing Options 48
  Stock Plans in Lieu of Cash 48
  Transfer Stock Option (TSO) Programs 49
  DIRECTOR COMPENSATION 49
  Shareholder Ratification of Director Pay Programs 49
  Equity Plans for Non-Employee Directors 50
  Non-Employee Director Retirement Plans 50
  SHAREHOLDER PROPOSALS ON COMPENSATION 50
  Bonus Banking/Bonus Banking “Plus” 50
  Compensation Consultants—Disclosure of Board or Company’s Utilization 50
  Disclosure/Setting Levels or Types of Compensation for Executives and Directors 51

 

   

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  Golden Coffins/Executive Death Benefits 51
  Hold Equity Past Retirement or for a Significant Period of Time 51
  Non-Deductible Compensation 51
  Pay Disparity 51
  Pay for Performance/Performance-Based Awards 52
  Pay for Superior Performance 52
  Pre-Arranged Trading Plans (10b5-1 Plans) 53
  Prohibit Outside CEOs from Serving on Compensation Committees 53
  Recoupment of Incentive or Stock Compensation in Specified Circumstances 53
  Severance Agreements for Executives/Golden Parachutes 53
  Share Buyback Proposals 54
  Supplemental Executive Retirement Plans (SERPs) 54
  Tax Gross-Up Proposals 54
  Termination of Employment Prior to Severance Payment/Eliminating Accelerated Vesting of Unvested Equity 54
6. ROUTINE/MISCELLANEOUS 55
  Adjourn Meeting 55
  Amend Quorum Requirements 55
  Amend Minor Bylaws 55
  Change Company Name 55
  Change Date, Time, or Location of Annual Meeting 55
  Other Business 55
7. SOCIAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES 56
  GLOBAL APPROACH 56
  ENDORSEMENT OF PRINCIPLES 56
  ANIMAL WELFARE 56
  Animal Welfare Policies 57
  Animal Testing 57
  Animal Slaughter 57
  CONSUMER ISSUES 57
  Genetically Modified Ingredients 57
  Reports on Potentially Controversial Business/Financial Practices 57
  Pharmaceutical Pricing, Access to Medicines, and Prescription Drug Reimportation 58
  Product Safety and Toxic/Hazardous Materials 58
  Tobacco-Related Proposals 59
  CLIMATE CHANGE 59
  Climate Change/Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions 59
  Energy Efficiency 60
  Renewable Energy 60
  DIVERSITY 60
  Board Diversity 60
  Equality of Opportunity 61

 

   

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  Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation, and Domestic Partner Benefits 61
     
  Gender Pay Gap 61
  ENVIRONMENT AND SUSTAINABILITY 61
  Facility and Workplace Safety 61
  General Environmental Proposals and Community Impact Assessments 62
  Hydraulic Fracturing 62
  Operations in Protected Areas 62
  Recycling 62
  Sustainability Reporting 63
  Water Issues 63
  GENERAL CORPORATE ISSUES 63
  Charitable Contributions 63
  Data Security, Privacy, and Internet Issues 63
  Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) Compensation-Related Proposals 63
  HUMAN RIGHTS, LABOR ISSUES, AND INTERNATIONAL OPERATIONS 64
  Human Rights Proposals 64
  Operations in High Risk Markets 64
  Outsourcing/Offshoring 65
  Weapons and Military Sales 65
  POLITICAL ACTIVITIES 65
  Lobbying 65
  Political Contributions 65
  Political Ties 66
     
8. MUTUAL FUND PROXIES 67
  Election of Directors 67
  Converting Closed-end Fund to Open-end Fund 67
  Proxy Contests 67
  Investment Advisory Agreements 67
  Approving New Classes or Series of Shares 67
  Preferred Stock Proposals 67
  1940 Act Policies 68
  Changing a Fundamental Restriction to a Nonfundamental Restriction 68
  Change Fundamental Investment Objective to Nonfundamental 68
  Name Change Proposals 68
  Change in Fund's Subclassification 68
  Business Development Companies—Authorization to Sell Shares of Common Stock at a Price below Net Asset Value 68
  Disposition of Assets/Termination/Liquidation 69
  Changes to the Charter Document 69
  Changing the Domicile of a Fund 69
  Authorizing the Board to Hire and Terminate Subadvisers Without Shareholder Approval 69

 

   

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  Distribution Agreements 70
  Master-Feeder Structure 70
  Mergers 70
  SHAREHOLDER PROPOSALS FOR MUTUAL FUNDS 70
  Establish Director Ownership Requirement 70
  Reimburse Shareholder for Expenses Incurred 70
  Terminate the Investment Advisor 70

 

   

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COVERAGE

 

The U.S. research team provides proxy analyses and voting recommendations for common shareholder meetings of publicly - traded U.S. - incorporated companies that are held in our institutional investor clients' portfolios and includes all S&P 1500 and Russell 3000 companies that are considered U.S. Domestic Issuers by the SEC. Coverage generally includes corporate actions for common equity holders, such as written consents and bankruptcies. ISS’ U.S. coverage includes investment companies (including open-end funds, closed-end funds, exchange-traded funds, and unit investment trusts), limited partnerships (“LPs”), master limited partnerships (“MLPs”), limited liability companies (“LLCs”), and business development companies. ISS reviews its universe of coverage on an annual basis, and the coverage is subject to change based on client need and industry trends.

 

The U.S. research team also produces, for subscribing clients, research and recommendations for fixed income meetings, and meetings of certain preferred securities, including Auction Rate Preferred Securities (“ARPS”) and Variable Rate Municipal Term Preferred securities (“VMTPs”).

 

Foreign-incorporated companies

 

In addition to U.S. incorporated companies, U.S. policies are applied to certain foreign-incorporated company analyses. Like the SEC, ISS distinguishes two types of companies that list but are not incorporated in the U.S.:

 

U.S. Domestic Issuers – which have a majority of outstanding shares held in the U.S. and meet other criteria, as determined by the SEC, and are subject to the same disclosure and listing standards as U.S. incorporated companies – are generally covered under standard U.S. policy guidelines.

Foreign Private Issuers (FPIs) – which do not meet the Domestic Issuer criteria and are exempt from most disclosure requirements (e.g., they do not file DEF14A reports) and listing standards (e.g., for required levels of board and committee independence) – are covered under a combination of policy guidelines:

FPI Guidelines (see the Americas Regional Proxy Voting Guidelines), which apply certain minimum independence and disclosure standards in the evaluation of key proxy ballot items, such as the election of directors and approval of financial reports; and

For other issues, guidelines for the market that is responsible for, or most relevant to, the item on the ballot.

 

In all cases – including with respect to other companies with cross-market features that may lead to ballot items related to multiple markets – items that are on the ballot solely due to the requirements of another market (listing, incorporation, or national code) may be evaluated under the policy of the relevant market, regardless of the “assigned” market coverage.

 

   

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1. BOARD OF DIRECTORS

 

Voting on Director Nominees in Uncontested Elections

 

Four fundamental principles apply when determining votes on director nominees:

 

Independence: Boards should be sufficiently independent from management (and significant shareholders) to ensure that they are able and motivated to effectively supervise management's performance for the benefit of all shareholders, including in setting and monitoring the execution of corporate strategy, with appropriate use of shareholder capital, and in setting and monitoring executive compensation programs that support that strategy. The chair of the board should ideally be an independent director, and all boards should have an independent leadership position or a similar role in order to help provide appropriate counterbalance to executive management, as well as having sufficiently independent committees that focus on key governance concerns such as audit, compensation, and nomination of directors.

 

Composition: Companies should ensure that directors add value to the board through their specific skills and expertise and by having sufficient time and commitment to serve effectively. Boards should be of a size appropriate to accommodate diversity, expertise, and independence, while ensuring active and collaborative participation by all members. Boards should be sufficiently diverse to ensure consideration of a wide range of perspectives.

 

Responsiveness: Directors should respond to investor input, such as that expressed through significant opposition to management proposals, significant support for shareholder proposals (whether binding or non-binding), and tender offers where a majority of shares are tendered.

 

Accountability: Boards should be sufficiently accountable to shareholders, including through transparency of the company's governance practices and regular board elections, by the provision of sufficient information for shareholders to be able to assess directors and board composition, and through the ability of shareholders to remove directors.

 

(Graphic) General Recommendation: Generally vote for director nominees, except under the following circumstances:

 

Independence

 

Vote against1 or withhold from non-independent directors (Executive Directors and Non-Independent Non-Executive Directors per ISS’ Classification of Directors) when:

 

Independent directors comprise 50 percent or less of the board;

The non-independent director serves on the audit, compensation, or nominating committee;

The company lacks an audit, compensation, or nominating committee so that the full board functions as that committee; or

The company lacks a formal nominating committee, even if the board attests that the independent directors fulfill the functions of such a committee.

 

 

1 In general, companies with a plurality vote standard use “Withhold” as the contrary vote option in director elections; companies with a majority vote standard use “Against”. However, it will vary by company and the proxy must be checked to determine the valid contrary vote option for the particular company.

 

   

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ISS Classification of Directors U.S.

 

1. Executive Director

1.1. Current employee or current officer1 of the company or one of its affiliates2.

 

2. Non-Independent Non-Executive Director

 

Board Identification

2.1. Director identified as not independent by the board.

Controlling/Significant Shareholder

2.2. Beneficial owner of more than 50 percent of the company's voting power (this may be aggregated if voting power is distributed among more than one member of a group).

 

Former CEO/Interim Officer

2.3. Former CEO of the company. 3, 4

2.4. Former CEO of an acquired company within the past five years.4

2.5. Former interim officer if the service was longer than 18 months. If the service was between 12 and 18 months an assessment of the interim officer’s employment agreement will be made.5

 

Non-CEO Executives

2.6. Former officer1 of the company, an affiliate2, or an acquired firm within the past five years.

2.7. Officer1 of a former parent or predecessor firm at the time the company was sold or split off from the parent/predecessor within the past five years.

2.8. Officer1, former officer, or general or limited partner of a joint venture or partnership with the company.

Family Members

2.9. Immediate family member6 of a current or former officer1 of the company or its affiliates2 within the last five years.

2.10. Immediate family member6 of a current employee of company or its affiliates2 where additional factors raise concern (which may include, but are not limited to, the following: a director related to numerous employees; the company or its affiliates employ relatives of numerous board members; or a non- Section 16 officer in a key strategic role).

Transactional, Professional, Financial, and Charitable Relationships

2.11. Currently provides (or an immediate family member6 provides) professional services7 to the company, to an affiliate2 of the company or an individual officer of the company or one of its affiliates in excess of $10,000 per year.

2.12. Is (or an immediate family member6 is) a partner in, or a controlling shareholder or an employee of, an organization which provides professional services7 to the company, to an affiliate2 of the company, or an individual officer of the company or one of its affiliates in excess of $10,000 per year.

2.13. Has (or an immediate family member6 has) any material transactional relationship8 with the company or its affiliates2 (excluding investments in the company through a private placement).

2.14. Is (or an immediate family member6 is) a partner in, or a controlling shareholder or an executive officer of, an organization which has any material transactional relationship8 with the company or its affiliates2 (excluding investments in the company through a private placement).

2.15. Is (or an immediate family member6 is) a trustee, director, or employee of a charitable or non-profit organization that receives material grants or endowments8 from the company or its affiliates2.

Other Relationships

2.16. Party to a voting agreement9 to vote in line with management on proposals being brought to shareholder vote.

2.17. Has (or an immediate family member6 has) an interlocking relationship as defined by the SEC involving members of the board of directors or its Compensation Committee.10

2.18. Founder11 of the company but not currently an employee.

2.19. Any material12 relationship with the company.
   

3. Independent Director

3.1. No material12 connection to the company other than a board seat.

 

   

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Footnotes:

 

1.  The definition of officer will generally follow that of a “Section 16 officer” (officers subject to Section 16 of the Securities and Exchange Act of 1934) and includes the chief executive, operating, financial, legal, technology, and accounting officers of a company (including the president, treasurer, secretary, controller, or any vice president in charge of a principal business unit, division, or policy function). Current interim officers are included in this category. For private companies, the equivalent positions are applicable. A non-employee director serving as an officer due to statutory requirements (e.g. corporate secretary) will generally be classified as a Non-Independent Non-Executive Director under 2.19: “Any material relationship with the company.” However, if the company provides explicit disclosure that the director is not receiving additional compensation exceeding $10,000 per year for serving in that capacity, then the director will be classified as an Independent Director.

 

2. “Affiliate” includes a subsidiary, sibling company, or parent company. ISS uses 50 percent control ownership by the parent company as the standard for applying its affiliate designation.

 

3. Includes any former CEO of the company prior to the company’s initial public offering (IPO).

 

4.  When there is a former CEO of a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) serving on the board of an acquired company, ISS will generally classify such directors as independent unless determined otherwise taking into account the following factors: the applicable listing standards determination of such director’s independence; any operating ties to the firm; and the existence of any other conflicting relationships or related party transactions.

 

5. ISS will look at the terms of the interim officer’s employment contract to determine if it contains severance pay, long-term health and pension benefits, or other such standard provisions typically contained in contracts of permanent, non-temporary CEOs. ISS will also consider if a formal search process was under way for a full-time officer at the time.

 

6. “Immediate family member” follows the SEC’s definition of such and covers spouses, parents, children, step-parents, step- children, siblings, in-laws, and any person (other than a tenant or employee) sharing the household of any director, nominee for director, executive officer, or significant shareholder of the company.

 

7.  Professional services can be characterized as advisory in nature, generally involve access to sensitive company information or to strategic decision-making, and typically have a commission- or fee-based payment structure. Professional services generally include but are not limited to the following: investment banking/financial advisory services, commercial banking (beyond deposit services), investment services, insurance services, accounting/audit services, consulting services, marketing services, legal services, property management services, realtor services, lobbying services, executive search services, and IT consulting services. The following would generally be considered transactional relationships and not professional services: deposit services, IT tech support services, educational services, and construction services. The case of participation in a banking syndicate by a non-lead bank should be considered a transactional (and hence subject to the associated materiality test) rather than a professional relationship. “Of Counsel” relationships are only considered immaterial if the individual does not receive any form of compensation (in excess of $10,000 per year) from, or is a retired partner of, the firm providing the professional service. The case of a company providing a professional service to one of its directors or to an entity with which one of its directors is affiliated, will be considered a transactional rather than a professional relationship. Insurance services and marketing services are assumed to be professional services unless the company explains why such services are not advisory.

 

8.  A material transactional relationship, including grants to non-profit organizations, exists if the company makes annual payments to, or receives annual payments from, another entity, exceeding the greater of: $200,000 or 5 percent of the recipient’s gross revenues, for a company that follows NASDAQ listing standards; or the greater of $1,000,000 or 2 percent of the recipient’s gross revenues, for a company that follows NYSE listing standards. For a company that follows neither of the preceding standards, ISS will apply the NASDAQ-based materiality test. (The recipient is the party receiving the financial proceeds from the transaction).

 

9.  Dissident directors who are parties to a voting agreement pursuant to a settlement or similar arrangement may be classified as Independent Directors if an analysis of the following factors indicates that the voting agreement does not compromise their alignment with all shareholders’ interests: the terms of the agreement; the duration of the standstill provision in the agreement; the limitations and requirements of actions that are agreed upon; if the dissident director nominee(s) is subject to the standstill; and if there any conflicting relationships or related party transactions.

 

10. Interlocks include: executive officers serving as directors on each other’s compensation or similar committees (or, in the absence of such a committee, on the board); or executive officers sitting on each other’s boards and at least one serves on the other’s compensation or similar committees (or, in the absence of such a committee, on the board).

 

   

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11.   The operating involvement of the founder with the company will be considered; if the founder was never employed by the company, ISS may deem him or her an Independent Director.

 

12.  For purposes of ISS’s director independence classification, “material” will be defined as a standard of relationship (financial, personal or otherwise) that a reasonable person might conclude could potentially influence one’s objectivity in the boardroom in a manner that would have a meaningful impact on an individual's ability to satisfy requisite fiduciary standards on behalf of shareholders.

 

Composition

 

Attendance at Board and Committee Meetings: Generally vote against or withhold from directors (except new nominees, who should be considered case-by-case2) who attend less than 75 percent of the aggregate of their board and committee meetings for the period for which they served, unless an acceptable reason for absences is disclosed in the proxy or another SEC filing. Acceptable reasons for director absences are generally limited to the following:

 

Medical issues/illness;

Family emergencies; and

Missing only one meeting (when the total of all meetings is three or fewer).

 

In cases of chronic poor attendance without reasonable justification, in addition to voting against the director(s) with poor attendance, generally vote against or withhold from appropriate members of the nominating/governance committees or the full board.

 

If the proxy disclosure is unclear and insufficient to determine whether a director attended at least 75 percent of the aggregate of his/her board and committee meetings during his/her period of service, vote against or withhold from the director(s) in question.

 

Overboarded Directors: Generally vote against or withhold from individual directors who:

 

Sit on more than five public company boards; or

Are CEOs of public companies who sit on the boards of more than two public companies besides their own—withhold only at their outside boards3.

 

Diversity: Highlight boards with no gender diversity. For 2019 meetings, no adverse vote recommendations will be made due to a lack of gender diversity.

 

For companies in the Russell 3000 or S&P 1500 indices, effective for meetings on or after Feb. 1, 2020, generally vote against or withhold from the chair of the nominating committee (or other directors on a case-by-case basis) at companies when there are no women on the company's board. Mitigating factors include:

 

A firm commitment, as stated in the proxy statement, to appoint at least one female to the board in the near term;

The presence of a female on the board at the preceding annual meeting; or

Other relevant factors as applicable.

 

 

2 New nominees who served for only part of the fiscal year are generally exempted from the attendance policy.

 

3 Although all of a CEO’s subsidiary boards with publicly-traded common stock will be counted as separate boards, ISS will not recommend a withhold vote for the CEO of a parent company board or any of the controlled (>50 percent ownership) subsidiaries of that parent but may do so at subsidiaries that are less than 50 percent controlled and boards outside the parent/subsidiary relationships.

 

   

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Responsiveness

 

Vote case-by-case on individual directors, committee members, or the entire board of directors as appropriate if:

 

The board failed to act on a shareholder proposal that received the support of a majority of the shares cast in the previous year or failed to act on a management proposal seeking to ratify an existing charter/bylaw provision that received opposition of a majority of the shares cast in the previous year. Factors that will be considered are:
Disclosed outreach efforts by the board to shareholders in the wake of the vote;
Rationale provided in the proxy statement for the level of implementation;
The subject matter of the proposal;
The level of support for and opposition to the resolution in past meetings;
Actions taken by the board in response to the majority vote and its engagement with shareholders;
The continuation of the underlying issue as a voting item on the ballot (as either shareholder or management proposals); and
Other factors as appropriate.
The board failed to act on takeover offers where the majority of shares are tendered;
At the previous board election, any director received more than 50 percent withhold/against votes of the shares cast and the company has failed to address the issue(s) that caused the high withhold/against vote.

 

Vote case-by-case on Compensation Committee members (or, in exceptional cases, the full board) and the Say on Pay proposal if:

 

The company’s previous say-on-pay received the support of less than 70 percent of votes cast. Factors that will be considered are:

The company's response, including:

Disclosure of engagement efforts with major institutional investors, including the frequency and timing of engagements and the company participants (including whether independent directors participated);

Disclosure of the specific concerns voiced by dissenting shareholders that led to the say-on-pay opposition;

Disclosure of specific and meaningful actions taken to address shareholders' concerns;

Other recent compensation actions taken by the company;
Whether the issues raised are recurring or isolated;
The company's ownership structure; and

Whether the support level was less than 50 percent, which would warrant the highest degree of responsiveness.

The board implements an advisory vote on executive compensation on a less frequent basis than the frequency that received the plurality of votes cast.

 

Accountability

 

Vote against or withhold from the entire board of directors (except new nominees4, who should be considered case-by- case) for the following:

 

 

4 A “new nominee” is any current nominee who has not already been elected by shareholders and who joined the board after the problematic action in question transpired. If ISS cannot determine whether the nominee joined the board before or after the problematic action transpired, the nominee will be considered a “new nominee” if he or she joined the board within the 12 months prior to the upcoming shareholder meeting.

 

   

Enabling the financial community to manage governance risk for the benefit of shareholders.

  
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Problematic Takeover Defenses/Governance Structure

 

Poison Pills: Vote against or withhold from all nominees (except new nominees, who should be considered case-by- case) if:

 

The company has a poison pill that was not approved by shareholders5. However, vote case-by-case on nominees if the board adopts an initial pill with a term of one year or less, depending on the disclosed rationale for the adoption, and other factors as relevant (such as a commitment to put any renewal to a shareholder vote).

The board makes a material adverse modification to an existing pill, including, but not limited to, extension, renewal, or lowering the trigger, without shareholder approval.

 

Classified Board Structure: The board is classified, and a continuing director responsible for a problematic governance issue at the board/committee level that would warrant a withhold/against vote recommendation is not up for election. All appropriate nominees (except new) may be held accountable.

 

Removal of Shareholder Discretion on Classified Boards: The company has opted into, or failed to opt out of, state laws requiring a classified board structure.

 

Director Performance Evaluation: The board lacks mechanisms to promote accountability and oversight, coupled with sustained poor performance relative to peers. Sustained poor performance is measured by one-, three-, and five-year total shareholder returns in the bottom half of a company’s four-digit GICS industry group (Russell 3000 companies only). Take into consideration the company’s operational metrics and other factors as warranted. Problematic provisions include but are not limited to:

 

A classified board structure;
A supermajority vote requirement;
Either a plurality vote standard in uncontested director elections, or a majority vote standard in contested elections;
The inability of shareholders to call special meetings;
The inability of shareholders to act by written consent;
A multi-class capital structure; and/or
A non-shareholder-approved poison pill.

 

Unilateral Bylaw/Charter Amendments and Problematic Capital Structures: Generally vote against or withhold from directors individually, committee members, or the entire board (except new nominees, who should be considered case-by-case) if the board amends the company's bylaws or charter without shareholder approval in a manner that materially diminishes shareholders' rights or that could adversely impact shareholders, considering the following factors:

 

The board's rationale for adopting the bylaw/charter amendment without shareholder ratification;
Disclosure by the company of any significant engagement with shareholders regarding the amendment;
The level of impairment of shareholders' rights caused by the board's unilateral amendment to the bylaws/charter;
The board's track record with regard to unilateral board action on bylaw/charter amendments or other entrenchment provisions;
The company's ownership structure;
The company's existing governance provisions;
The timing of the board's amendment to the bylaws/charter in connection with a significant business development; and
Other factors, as deemed appropriate, that may be relevant to determine the impact of the amendment on shareholders.

 

 

5 Public shareholders only, approval prior to a company’s becoming public is insufficient.

 

   

Enabling the financial community to manage governance risk for the benefit of shareholders.

  
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Unless the adverse amendment is reversed or submitted to a binding shareholder vote, in subsequent years vote case- by-case on director nominees. Generally vote against (except new nominees, who should be considered case-by-case) if the directors:

Classified the board;
Adopted supermajority vote requirements to amend the bylaws or charter; or
Eliminated shareholders' ability to amend bylaws.

 

Problematic Governance Structure Newly public companies: For newly public companies, generally vote against or withhold from directors individually, committee members, or the entire board (except new nominees, who should be considered case-by-case) if, prior to or in connection with the company's public offering, the company or its board adopted bylaw or charter provisions materially adverse to shareholder rights, or implemented a multi-class capital structure in which the classes have unequal voting rights considering the following factors:

 

The level of impairment of shareholders' rights;
The disclosed rationale;
The ability to change the governance structure (e.g., limitations on shareholders’ right to amend the bylaws or charter, or supermajority vote requirements to amend the bylaws or charter);
The ability of shareholders to hold directors accountable through annual director elections, or whether the company has a classified board structure;
Any reasonable sunset provision; and
Other relevant factors.

 

Unless the adverse provision and/or problematic capital structure is reversed or removed, vote case-by-case on director nominees in subsequent years.

 

Management Proposals to Ratify Existing Charter or Bylaw Provisions: Vote against/withhold from individual directors, members of the governance committee, or the full board, where boards ask shareholders to ratify existing charter or bylaw provisions considering the following factors:

 

The presence of a shareholder proposal addressing the same issue on the same ballot;
The board's rationale for seeking ratification;
Disclosure of actions to be taken by the board should the ratification proposal fail;
Disclosure of shareholder engagement regarding the board’s ratification request;
The level of impairment to shareholders' rights caused by the existing provision;
The history of management and shareholder proposals on the provision at the company’s past meetings;
Whether the current provision was adopted in response to the shareholder proposal;
The company's ownership structure; and
Previous use of ratification proposals to exclude shareholder proposals.

 

Restrictions on Shareholders’ Rights

 

Restricting Binding Shareholder Proposals: Generally vote against or withhold from the members of the governance committee if:

 

The company’s governing documents impose undue restrictions on shareholders’ ability to amend the bylaws.

 

Such restrictions include but are not limited to: outright prohibition on the submission of binding shareholder proposals or share ownership requirements or time holding requirements in excess of SEC Rule 14a-8. Vote against on an ongoing basis.

 

   

Enabling the financial community to manage governance risk for the benefit of shareholders.

  
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Problematic Audit-Related Practices

 

Generally vote against or withhold from the members of the Audit Committee if:

 

The non-audit fees paid to the auditor are excessive;

The company receives an adverse opinion on the company’s financial statements from its auditor; or

There is persuasive evidence that the Audit Committee entered into an inappropriate indemnification agreement with its auditor that limits the ability of the company, or its shareholders, to pursue legitimate legal recourse against the audit firm.

 

Vote case-by-case on members of the Audit Committee and potentially the full board if:

 

Poor accounting practices are identified that rise to a level of serious concern, such as: fraud; misapplication of GAAP; and material weaknesses identified in Section 404 disclosures. Examine the severity, breadth, chronological sequence, and duration, as well as the company’s efforts at remediation or corrective actions, in determining whether withhold/against votes are warranted.

 

Problematic Compensation Practices

 

In the absence of an Advisory Vote on Executive Compensation (Say on Pay) ballot item or in egregious situations, vote against or withhold from the members of the Compensation Committee and potentially the full board if:

 

There is an unmitigated misalignment between CEO pay and company performance (pay for performance):

The company maintains significant problematic pay practices; or

The board exhibits a significant level of poor communication and responsiveness to shareholders.

 

Generally vote against or withhold from the Compensation Committee chair, other committee members, or potentially the full board if:

 

The company fails to include a Say on Pay ballot item when required under SEC provisions, or under the company’s declared frequency of say on pay; or
The company fails to include a Frequency of Say on Pay ballot item when required under SEC provisions.

 

Generally vote against members of the board committee responsible for approving/setting non-employee director compensation if there is a pattern (i.e. two or more years) of awarding excessive non-employee director compensation without disclosing a compelling rationale or other mitigating factors.

 

Problematic Pledging of Company Stock:

 

Vote against the members of the committee that oversees risks related to pledging, or the full board, where a significant level of pledged company sto1ck by executives or directors raises concerns. The following factors will be considered: