497 1 d907939d497.htm BLACKROCK SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY TRUST BlackRock Science and Technology Trust

Filed Pursuant to Rule 497

Securities Act File No. 333-233028

 

LOGO

PROSPECTUS SUPPLEMENT

(To Prospectus dated April 29, 2020)

BLACKROCK SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY TRUST

12,067,384 Common Shares

 

 

The BlackRock Science and Technology Trust (the “Trust,” “we,” “us” or “our”) is offering for sale up to 12,067,384 of our common shares. Our common shares are listed on the New York Stock Exchange (“NYSE”) under the symbol “BST.” As of the close of business on April 22, 2020, the last reported net asset value per share of our common shares was $31.31 and the last reported sales price per share of our common shares on the NYSE was $31.51.

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

The Trust has entered into a distribution agreement dated September 30, 2019 (the “Distribution Agreement”) with BlackRock Investments, LLC (the “Distributor”), an affiliate of the Advisor, to provide for distribution of the Trust’s common shares. The Distributor has entered into a sub-placement agent agreement dated September 30, 2019 (the “Sub-Placement Agent Agreement”) with UBS Securities LLC (the “Sub-Placement Agent”) with respect to the Trust relating to the common shares offered by this Prospectus Supplement and the accompanying Prospectus. In accordance with the terms of the Sub-Placement Agent Agreement, the Trust may offer and sell its common shares from time to time through the Sub-Placement Agent as sub-placement agent for the offer and sale of its common shares. As of April 22, 2020, the Trust had offered and sold 932,616 common shares through the Sub-Placement Agent. Under the Investment Company Act, the Trust may not sell any common shares at a price below the current net asset value of such common shares, exclusive of any distributing commission or discount.

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

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

Investing in the Trust’s common shares involves certain risks that are described in the “Risks” section beginning on page 54 of the accompanying Prospectus.

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

April 29, 2020

 

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This Prospectus Supplement, together with the accompanying Prospectus, sets forth concisely the information about the Trust that a prospective investor should know before investing. You should read this Prospectus Supplement and the accompanying Prospectus, which contain important information, before deciding whether to invest in the common shares. You should retain the accompanying Prospectus and this Prospectus Supplement for future reference. A Statement of Additional Information (“SAI”), dated April 29, 2020, containing additional information about the Trust, has been filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) and, as amended from time to time, is incorporated by reference in its entirety into this Prospectus Supplement and the accompanying Prospectus. You can review the table of contents for the SAI on page 110 of the accompanying Prospectus. This Prospectus Supplement, the accompanying Prospectus and the SAI are part of a “shelf” registration statement filed with the SEC. This Prospectus Supplement describes the specific details regarding this offering, including the method of distribution. If information in this Prospectus Supplement is inconsistent with the accompanying Prospectus or the SAI, you should rely on this Prospectus Supplement. You may call (800) 882-0052, visit the Trust’s website (http://www.blackrock.com) or write to the Trust to obtain, free of charge, copies of the SAI and the Trust’s semi-annual and annual reports, as well as to obtain other information about the Trust or to make shareholder inquiries. The SAI, as well as the Trust’s semi-annual and annual reports, are also available for free on the SEC’s website (http://www.sec.gov). You may also e-mail requests for these documents to publicinfo@sec.gov. Information contained in, or that can be accessed through, the Trust’s website is not part of this Prospectus Supplement or the accompanying Prospectus.

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

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

Beginning on January 1, 2021, as permitted by regulations adopted by the SEC, paper copies of the Trust’s shareholder reports will no longer be sent by mail, unless you specifically request paper copies of the reports from BlackRock or from your financial intermediary, such as a broker-dealer or bank. Instead, the reports will be made available on a website, and you will be notified by mail each time a report is posted and provided with a website link to access the report.

You may elect to receive all future reports in paper free of charge. If you hold accounts directly with BlackRock, you can call Computershare at 1-800-699-1236 to request that you continue receiving paper copies of your shareholder reports. If you hold accounts through a financial intermediary, you can follow the instructions included with this disclosure, if applicable, or contact your financial intermediary to request that you continue to receive paper copies of your shareholder reports. Please note that not all financial intermediaries may offer this service. Your election to receive reports in paper will apply to all funds advised by BlackRock Advisors, LLC or its affiliates, or all funds held with your financial intermediary, as applicable.

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 electronic delivery of shareholder reports and other communications by contacting your financial intermediary, if you hold accounts through a financial intermediary. Please note that not all financial intermediaries may offer this service.

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

 

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

Prospectus Supplement

 

     Page  

CAUTIONARY NOTICE REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

     4  

PROSPECTUS SUPPLEMENT SUMMARY

     4  

SUMMARY OF TRUST EXPENSES

     6  

USE OF PROCEEDS

     7  

CAPITALIZATION

     7  

PLAN OF DISTRIBUTION

     8  

LEGAL MATTERS

     9  

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

     9  

Prospectus

 

PROSPECTUS SUMMARY

     1  

SUMMARY OF TRUST EXPENSES

     31  

FINANCIAL HIGHLIGHTS

     32  

USE OF PROCEEDS

     34  

THE TRUST

     34  

DESCRIPTION OF SHARES

     34  

THE TRUST’S INVESTMENTS

     36  

LEVERAGE

     51  

RISKS

     54  

HOW THE TRUST MANAGES RISK

     90  

MANAGEMENT OF THE TRUST

     90  

NET ASSET VALUE

     93  

DISTRIBUTIONS

     95  

DIVIDEND REINVESTMENT PLAN

     96  

RIGHTS OFFERINGS

     98  

TAX MATTERS

     99  

TAXATION OF HOLDERS OF RIGHTS

     105  

CERTAIN PROVISIONS IN THE AGREEMENT AND DECLARATION OF TRUST AND BYLAWS

     105  

CLOSED-END FUND STRUCTURE

     107  

REPURCHASE OF COMMON SHARES

     107  

PLAN OF DISTRIBUTION

     108  

PRIVACY PRINCIPLES OF THE TRUST

     109  

TABLE OF CONTENTS OF STATEMENT OF ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

     110  

 

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CAUTIONARY NOTICE REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

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

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

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

PROSPECTUS SUPPLEMENT SUMMARY

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

 

The Trust   

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

Investment Advisor   

BlackRock Advisors, LLC (previously defined as the “Advisor”) is the Trust’s investment adviser. The Advisor receives an annual fee, payable monthly, in an amount equal to 1.00% of the average daily value of the Trust’s Managed Assets (as defined below). The Advisor contractually agreed to waive receipt of a portion of the management fee in the amount of 0.20% of the Trust’s average daily Managed Assets for the first five years of the Trust’s operations (2014 through 2018), 0.15% in year six (2019), 0.10% in year seven (2020) and 0.05% in year eight (2021). The period from the Trust’s inception to December 31, 2014 was considered year one for the waiver. Beginning in year nine (2022), there will be no waiver.

 

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The Offering

  

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

 

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

 

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

Use of Proceeds   

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

 

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SUMMARY OF TRUST EXPENSES

The following table and example are intended to assist you in understanding the various costs and expenses directly or indirectly associated with investing in our common shares as a percentage of Managed Assets (as defined below) attributable to common shares.

 

Shareholder Transaction Expenses

 

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

    1.00 %(1) 

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

    0.04 %(2) 

Dividend reinvestment plan fees

   

$0.02 per share foropen-
market purchases of
common shares(3)

 
 

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

 

Management fees(4)

    1.00

Other expenses(5)

    0.08

Total annual expenses

    1.08

Fee waiver(4)(6)

    (0.10 )% 
 

 

 

 

Total annual Trust operating expenses after fee waiver(4)(6)

    0.98
 

 

 

 

 

(1)

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

(2)

Based on a sales price per share of $31.51, which represents the last reported sales price per share of the Trust’s common shares on the NYSE on April 22, 2020. Assumes all of the common shares being offered by this Prospectus Supplement and the accompanying Prospectus are sold. Represents the initial offering costs incurred by the Trust in connection with this offering, which are estimated to be $288,990. Offering costs generally include, but are not limited to, the preparation, review and filing with the SEC of the Trust’s registration statement, the preparation, review and filing of any associated marketing or similar materials, costs associated with the printing, mailing or other distribution of the Prospectus Supplement and the accompanying Prospectus and/or marketing materials, associated filing fees, NYSE listing fees, and legal and auditing fees associated with the offering.

(3)

Computershare Trust Company, N.A.’s (the “Reinvestment Plan Agent”) fees for the handling of the reinvestment of dividends will be paid by the Trust. However, you will pay a $0.02 per share fee incurred in connection with open-market purchases, which will be deducted from the value of the dividend. You will also be charged a $2.50 sales fee and pay a $0.15 per share fee if you direct the Reinvestment Plan Agent to sell your common shares held in a dividend reinvestment account. Per share fees include any applicable brokerage commissions the Reinvestment Plan Agent is required to pay.

(4)

The Advisor contractually agreed to waive receipt of a portion of the management fee in the amount of 0.10% of the Trust’s average daily Managed Assets in 2020 and 0.05% in 2021. Beginning in 2022, there will be no waiver. “Managed Assets” means the total assets of the Trust (including any assets attributable to money borrowed for investment purposes) minus the sum of the Trust’s accrued liabilities (other than money borrowed for investment purposes).

(5)

Actual amount based on the fiscal year ended December 31, 2019.

(6)

The Trust and the Advisor have entered into a fee waiver agreement (the “Fee Waiver Agreement”), pursuant to which the Advisor has contractually agreed to waive the management fee with respect to any portion of the Trust’s assets attributable to investments in any equity and fixed-income mutual funds and exchange-traded funds managed by the Advisor or its affiliates that have a contractual fee, through June 30, 2021. In addition, pursuant to the Fee Waiver Agreement, the Advisor has contractually agreed to waive its management fees by the amount of investment advisory fees the Trust pays to the Advisor indirectly through its investment in money market funds managed by the Advisor or its affiliates, through June 30, 2021. The Fee Waiver Agreement may be terminated at any time, without the payment of any penalty, only by the Trust (upon the vote of a majority of the Trustees who are not “interested persons” (as defined in the Investment Company Act) of the Trust or a majority of the outstanding voting securities of the Trust), upon 90 days’ written notice by the Trust to the Advisor.

 

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Example

The following example illustrates the expenses (including the sales load of $10 and offering costs of $0.39) that you would pay on a $1,000 investment in common shares, assuming (i) total net annual expenses of 0.98% in 2020, 1.03% in 2021 and 1.08% thereafter, and (ii) a 5% annual return:

 

     1 Year      3 Years      5 Years      10 Years  

Total expenses incurred

   $ 20      $ 43      $ 68      $ 139  

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

USE OF PROCEEDS

Sales of our common shares, if any, under this Prospectus Supplement and the accompanying Prospectus may be made in negotiated transactions or transactions that are deemed to be “at the market” as defined in Rule 415 under the Securities Act, including sales made directly on the NYSE or sales made to or through a market maker other than on an exchange. There is no guarantee that there will be any sales of our common shares pursuant to this Prospectus Supplement and the accompanying Prospectus. Actual sales, if any, of our common shares under this Prospectus Supplement and the accompanying Prospectus may be less than as set forth below in this paragraph. In addition, the price per share of any such sale may be greater or less than the price set forth in this paragraph, depending on the market price of our common shares at the time of any such sale. As a result, the actual net proceeds we receive may be more or less than the amount of net proceeds estimated in this Prospectus Supplement. Assuming the sale of all of the common shares offered under this Prospectus Supplement and the accompanying Prospectus, at the last reported sale price of $31.51 per share for our common shares on the NYSE as of April 22, 2020, we estimate that the net proceeds of this offering will be approximately $376,440,837 after deducting the estimated sales load and the estimated offering expenses payable by the Trust, if any.

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

CAPITALIZATION

The Trust may offer and sell up to 12,067,384 common shares, $0.001 par value per share, from time to time through the Sub-Placement Agent as sub-placement agent under this Prospectus Supplement and the accompanying Prospectus. As of April 22, 2020 the Trust had offered and sold 932,616 common shares through the Sub-Placement Agent. There is no guarantee that there will be any sales of the Trust’s common shares pursuant to this Prospectus Supplement and the accompanying Prospectus. The table below assumes that the Trust will sell 12,067,384 common shares at a price of $31.51 per share (which represents the last reported sales price per share of the Trust’s common shares on the NYSE on April 22, 2020). Actual sales, if any, of the Trust’s common shares under this Prospectus Supplement and the accompanying Prospectus may be greater or less than $31.51 per share, depending on the market

 

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price of the Trust’s common shares at the time of any such sale. The Trust and the Distributor will determine whether any sales of the Trust’s common shares will be authorized on a particular day; the Trust and the Distributor, however, will not authorize sales of the Trust’s common shares if the per share price of the shares is less than the current net asset value per share plus the per share amount of the commission to be paid to the Distributor (the “Minimum Price”). The Trust and the Distributor may also not authorize sales of the Trust’s common shares on a particular day even if the per share price of the shares is equal to or greater than the Minimum Price, or may only authorize a fixed number of shares to be sold on any particular day. The Trust and the Distributor will have full discretion regarding whether sales of Trust common shares will be authorized on a particular day and, if so, in what amounts.

The following table sets forth the Trust’s capitalization (1) on a historical basis as of December 31, 2019 (audited); and (2) on a pro forma basis as adjusted to reflect the assumed sale of 12,067,384 common shares at $31.51 per share (the last reported price per share of the Trust’s common shares on the NYSE on April 22, 2020), in an offering under this Prospectus Supplement and the accompanying Prospectus, after deducting the assumed commission of $3,802,433 (representing an estimated commission to the Distributor of 1.00% of the gross proceeds of the sale of Trust common shares, out of which the Distributor will compensate the Sub-Placement Agent at a rate of up to 0.80% of the gross sales proceeds of the sale of the Trust’s common shares sold by the Sub-Placement Agent).

 

     As of December 31, 2019
(audited)
     As adjusted for
Offering
(unaudited)
 

Common shares

     22,886,341        34,953,725  

Paid in Capital

   $ 357,335,272.00      $ 733,776,109  

Undistributed NII

   $ 4,056      $ 4,056  

Accumulated Gain

   $ 17,758,818      $ 17,758,818  

Net appreciation/depreciation

   $ 367,573,372      $ 367,573,372  

Net Assets

   $ 742,671,518.00      $ 1,119,112,355  

NAV

   $ 32.45      $ 32.02  

PLAN OF DISTRIBUTION

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

LEGAL MATTERS

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

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

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

 

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LOGO

BASE PROSPECTUS

$438,750,000

BlackRock Science and Technology Trust

Common Shares

Rights to Purchase Common Shares

BlackRock Science and Technology Trust (the “Trust,” “we,” “us” or “our”) is a non-diversified, closed-end management investment company. The Trust’s investment objectives are to provide income and total return through a combination of current income, current gains and long-term capital appreciation.

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

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

Our common shares are listed on the New York Stock Exchange (“NYSE”) under the symbol “BST.” The last reported sale price of our common shares, as reported by the NYSE on April 22, 2020 was $31.51 per common share. The net asset value of our common shares at the close of business on April 22, 2020 was $31.31 per common share. Rights issued by the Trust may also be listed on a securities exchange.

Investing in the Trust’s common shares involves certain risks that are described in the “Risks” section beginning on page 54 of this Prospectus. Certain of these risks are summarized in “Prospectus Summary—Special Risk Considerations” beginning on page 8.

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

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

This Prospectus, together with any Prospectus Supplement, sets forth concisely the information about the Trust that a prospective investor should know before investing. You should read this Prospectus and applicable Prospectus Supplement, which contain important information, before deciding whether to invest in the common shares. You should retain the Prospectus and Prospectus Supplement for future reference. A Statement of Additional Information (“SAI”), dated April 29, 2020, containing additional information about the Trust, has been filed with the SEC and, as amended from time to time, is incorporated by reference in its entirety into this Prospectus. You can review the table of contents for the SAI on page 110 of this Prospectus. You may call (800) 882-0052, visit the Trust’s website (http://www.blackrock.com) or write to the Trust to obtain, free of charge, copies of the SAI and the Trust’s semi-annual and annual reports, as well as to obtain other information about the Trust or to make shareholder inquiries. The SAI, as well as the Trust’s semi-annual and annual reports, are also available for free on the SEC’s website (http://www.sec.gov). You may also e-mail requests for these documents to publicinfo@sec.gov. Information contained in, or that can be accessed through, the Trust’s website is not part of this Prospectus.


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

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

Prospectus dated April 29, 2020

Beginning on January 1, 2021, as permitted by regulations adopted by the SEC, paper copies of the Trust’s shareholder reports will no longer be sent by mail, unless you specifically request paper copies of the reports from BlackRock or from your financial intermediary, such as a broker-dealer or bank. Instead, the reports will be made available on a website, and you will be notified by mail each time a report is posted and provided with a website link to access the report.

You may elect to receive all future reports in paper free of charge. If you hold accounts directly with BlackRock, you can call Computershare at 1-800-699-1236 to request that you continue receiving paper copies of your shareholder reports. If you hold accounts through a financial intermediary, you can follow the instructions included with this disclosure, if applicable, or contact your financial intermediary to request that you continue to receive paper copies of your shareholder reports. Please note that not all financial intermediaries may offer this service. Your election to receive reports in paper will apply to all funds advised by BlackRock Advisors, LLC or its affiliates, or all funds held with your financial intermediary, as applicable.

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 electronic delivery of shareholder reports and other communications by contacting your financial intermediary, if you hold accounts through a financial intermediary. Please note that not all financial intermediaries may offer this service.


TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

     PAGE  

PROSPECTUS SUMMARY

     1  

SUMMARY OF TRUST EXPENSES

     31  

FINANCIAL HIGHLIGHTS

     32  

USE OF PROCEEDS

     34  

THE TRUST

     34  

DESCRIPTION OF SHARES

     34  

THE TRUST’S INVESTMENTS

     36  

LEVERAGE

     51  

RISKS

     54  

HOW THE TRUST MANAGES RISK

     90  

MANAGEMENT OF THE TRUST

     90  

NET ASSET VALUE

     93  

DISTRIBUTIONS

     95  

DIVIDEND REINVESTMENT PLAN

     96  

RIGHTS OFFERINGS

     98  

TAX MATTERS

     99  

TAXATION OF HOLDERS OF RIGHTS

     105  

CERTAIN PROVISIONS IN THE AGREEMENT AND DECLARATION OF TRUST AND BYLAWS

     105  

CLOSED-END FUND STRUCTURE

     107  

REPURCHASE OF COMMON SHARES

     107  

PLAN OF DISTRIBUTION

     108  

PRIVACY PRINCIPLES OF THE TRUST

     109  

TABLE OF CONTENTS OF STATEMENT OF ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

     110  

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


PROSPECTUS SUMMARY

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

 

The Trust

  

BlackRock Science and Technology Trust is a non-diversified, closed-end management investment company. Throughout this Prospectus, we refer to BlackRock Science and Technology Trust simply as the “Trust” or as “we,” “us” or “our.” See “The Trust.”

  

The Trust’s common shares are listed for trading on the New York Stock Exchange (“NYSE”) under the symbol “BST.” As of March 31, 2020, the net assets of the Trust were $668,339,462, the total assets of the Trust were $668,339,462 and the Trust had outstanding 23,388,325 common shares. The last reported sale price of the Trust’s common shares, as reported by the NYSE on April 22, 2020 was $31.51 per common share. The net asset value (“NAV”) of the Trust’s common shares at the close of business on April 22, 2020 was $31.31 per common share. See “Description of Shares.” Rights issued by the Trust may also be listed on a securities exchange.

The Offering

  

We may offer, from time to time, in one or more offerings, up to $438,750,000 of our common shares on terms to be determined at the time of the offering. We may also offer subscription rights to purchase our common shares. The common shares may be offered at prices and on terms to be set forth in one or more Prospectus Supplements. You should read this Prospectus and the applicable Prospectus Supplement carefully before you invest in our common shares. Our common shares may be offered directly to one or more purchasers, through agents designated from time to time by us, or to or through underwriters or dealers. The offering price per common share will not be less than the NAV per common share at the time we make the offering, exclusive of any underwriting commissions or discounts, provided that rights offerings that meet certain conditions may be offered at a price below the then current NAV. See “Rights Offerings.” The Prospectus Supplement relating to the offering will identify any agents, underwriters or dealers involved in the sale of our common shares, and will set forth any applicable purchase price, fee, commission or discount arrangement between us and our agents or underwriters, or among our underwriters, or the basis upon which such amount may be calculated. See “Plan of Distribution.” The Prospectus Supplement relating to any offering of rights will set forth the number of common shares issuable upon the exercise of each right (or number of rights) and the other terms of such rights offering. We may not sell any of our common shares through agents, underwriters or dealers without delivery of a Prospectus Supplement describing the method and terms of the particular offering of our common shares.

Use of Proceeds

  

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



 

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Investment Objectives

  

The Trust’s investment objectives are to provide income and total return through a combination of current income, current gains and long-term capital appreciation. The Trust is not intended as, and you should not construe it to be, a complete investment program. There can be no assurance that the Trust’s investment objectives will be achieved or that the Trust’s investment program will be successful. The Trust’s investment objectives may be changed by the Trust’s Board of Trustees (the “Board,” and the members thereof, “Trustees”) without prior shareholder approval.

Investment Strategies

  

BlackRock Advisors, LLC (the “Advisor”) is the Trust’s investment adviser.

  

The Advisor may consider a variety of factors when choosing investments for the Trust, such as:

  

•  selecting companies with the potential for rapid and sustainable growth from the development, advancement and use of science and/or technology (high growth science and technology stocks); and

  

•  identifying companies that have above-average return potential based on factors such as revenue and earnings growth, profitability, valuation and dividend yield (cyclical science and technology stocks).

  

In addition, a variety of countries, including emerging market countries, and industries are likely to be represented in the Trust’s portfolio.

  

The Trust generally will sell a stock when, in the Advisor’s opinion, the stock is fully valued, there is a need to rebalance the portfolio or there is a better opportunity elsewhere.

  

The Trust may engage in active and frequent trading of portfolio securities to seek to achieve its investment objectives.

Investment Policies

  

Under normal market conditions, the Trust invests at least 80% of its total assets in equity securities issued by U.S. and non-U.S. science and technology companies in any market capitalization range, selected for their rapid and sustainable growth potential from the development, advancement and use of science and/or technology (high growth science and technology stocks), and/or potential to generate current income from advantageous dividend yields (cyclical science and technology stocks).

  

Science and technology companies are companies whose products, processes or services, in the Advisor’s view, are being, or are expected to be, significantly benefited by the use or commercial application of scientific or technological developments or discoveries. These companies include companies that, in the Advisor’s view, derive a competitive advantage by the application of scientific or technological developments or discoveries to grow their business or increase their competitive advantage, as well as companies that utilize science and/or technology as an agent of change to significantly enhance their business opportunities.



 

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Science, technology and science- or technology-related companies may include companies operating in any industry, including, but not limited to software, internet software & services, IT services, hardware, communications equipment, semiconductors and semiconductor equipment, media, internet retail, consumer finance, life sciences tools & services, biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, energy, defense/aerospace, diversified telecom services and wireless telecom services. Examples of potential high growth companies include those operating in IT services, the internet, software and sciences; examples of potential cyclical companies include those operating in hardware, telecom, semiconductors and components. The Advisor determines, in its discretion, whether a company is a science, technology or science- or technology-related company.

  

The Trust may invest in companies of any market capitalization located anywhere in the world, including companies located in emerging markets. Equity securities in which the Trust may invest include common stocks, preferred stocks, convertible securities, warrants, depositary receipts, exchange-traded funds and equity interests in real estate investment trusts (“REITs”) and master limited partnerships (“MLPs”). From time to time, the Trust may invest in shares of companies through initial public offerings (“IPOs”). The Trust may also invest, without limit, in privately placed or restricted securities (including in Rule 144A securities, which are privately placed securities purchased by qualified institutional buyers), illiquid securities and securities in which no secondary market is readily available, including those of private companies. The Trust currently intends to invest up to 25% of its total assets, measured at the time of investment, in companies that do not have a class of securities registered, or that are not subject to periodic reporting, pursuant the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”). Foreign securities in which the Trust may invest may be U.S. dollar-denominated or non-U.S. dollar-denominated.

  

The Trust may also invest in securities of other open- or closed-end investment companies, including exchange-traded funds (“ETFs”) and business development companies (“BDCs”), subject to applicable regulatory limits, that invest primarily in securities of the types in which the Trust may invest directly. The Trust classifies its investments in such investment companies as “equity securities” for purposes of its investment policies based upon such investment companies’ stated investment objectives, policies and restrictions.

  

The Trust will concentrate its investments in companies operating in one or more industries within the technology group of industries. See “Investment Objectives and Policies—Investment Restrictions—Fundamental Investment Restrictions” and “—Notations Regarding the Trust’s Fundamental Investment Restrictions” in the SAI for additional information regarding the Trust’s concentration policy.

  

The Trust may invest up to 20% of its total assets in equity securities issued by companies that are not science or technology companies and in debt securities issued by any issuer, including non-investment grade debt securities. The Trust’s investments in non-investment grade securities and those deemed to be of similar quality are considered speculative with respect to the issuer’s capacity to pay interest and repay principal and are commonly referred to as “junk” or “high yield” securities.



 

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Options Writing Strategy. As part of its investment strategy, the Trust intends to employ a strategy of writing (selling) covered call options on a portion of the common stocks in its portfolio, writing (selling) other call and put options on individual common stocks, and, to a lesser extent, writing (selling) call and put options on indices of securities and sectors of securities (collectively referred to as “index options”). This options writing strategy is intended to generate current gains from options premiums and to enhance the Trust’s risk-adjusted returns. A substantial portion of the options written by the Trust may be over-the-counter options (“OTC options”).

  

A call option written by the Trust on a security is considered a covered call option where the Trust owns the security underlying the call option. Unlike a written covered call option, other written options will not provide the Trust with any potential appreciation on an underlying security to offset any loss the Trust may experience if the option is exercised. Over time, as the Trust writes covered call options over more of its portfolio, its ability to benefit from capital appreciation on the underlying securities may become more limited, and the Trust will lose money to the extent that it writes covered call options and the securities on which it writes these options appreciate above the exercise price of the option. Therefore, over time, the Advisor may choose to decrease its use of a covered call options writing strategy to the extent that it may negatively impact the Trust’s ability to benefit from capital appreciation.

  

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

  

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

  

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



 

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The Trust may write put and call options, the notional amount of which would be approximately 10% to 40% of the Trust’s total assets, although this percentage may vary from time to time with market conditions. Under current market conditions, the Trust anticipates writing put and call options, the notional amount of which would be approximately 33% of the Trust’s total assets. The Trust generally writes options that are “out of the money”—in other words, the strike price of a written call option will be greater than the market price of the underlying security on the date that the option is written, or, for a written put option, less than the market price of the underlying security on the date that the option is written; however, the Trust may also write “in the money” options for defensive or other purposes. The number of put and call options on securities the Trust can write is limited by the total assets the Trust holds, and further limited by the fact that all options represent 100 share lots of the underlying common stock.

  

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

  

Other Strategies. During temporary defensive periods (i.e., in response to adverse market, economic or political conditions), the Trust may invest up to 100% of its total assets in liquid, short-term investments, including high quality, short-term securities. The Trust may not achieve its investment objectives under these circumstances.

  

The Trust may invest in structured instruments (such as equity-linked notes (“ELNs”)) for investment purposes, as an alternative or complement to its options writing strategy or for risk management or leveraging purposes.

  

The Trust may purchase and sell futures contracts, enter into various interest rate transactions such as swaps, caps, floors or collars, currency transactions such as currency forward contracts, currency futures contracts, currency swaps or options on currency or currency futures and swap contracts (including, but not limited to, credit default swaps) and may purchase and sell exchange-listed and over-the-counter (“OTC”) put and call options on securities and swap contracts, financial indices and futures contracts and use other derivative instruments or management techniques (collectively, “Strategic Transactions”). The Trust may engage in Strategic Transactions for duration management and other risk management purposes, including to attempt to protect against possible changes in the market value of the Trust’s portfolio resulting from trends in the securities markets and changes in interest rates or to protect the Trust’s unrealized gains in the value of its portfolio securities, to facilitate the sale of portfolio securities for investment purposes, to establish a position in the securities markets as a temporary substitute for purchasing particular securities or to enhance income or gain. See “The Trust’s Investments—Portfolio Contents and Techniques—Strategic Transactions and Other Management Techniques.”

  

The Trust may lend securities with a value of up to 33 1/3% of its total assets (including such loans) to financial institutions that provide cash or securities issued or guaranteed by the U.S. Government as collateral.



 

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The Trust may also engage in short sales of securities. See “The Trust’s Investments—Investment Objectives and Policies—Investment Policies” in this Prospectus for information about the limitations applicable to the Trust’s short sale activities.

  

The Trust may engage in active and frequent trading of portfolio securities to achieve its investment objectives.

  

Unless otherwise stated herein or in the SAI, the Trust’s investment policies are non-fundamental policies and may be changed by the Board without prior shareholder approval. The Trust’s policy to invest at least 80% of its total assets in equity securities issued by U.S. and non-U.S. science and technology companies in any market capitalization range may be changed by the Board; however, if this policy changes, the Trust will provide shareholders at least 60 days’ written notice before implementation of the change in compliance with U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) rules.

  

For a discussion of risk factors that may affect the Trust’s ability to achieve its investment objectives, see “Risks.”

Leverage

  

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

  

The use of leverage, if employed, is subject to numerous risks. When leverage is employed, the Trust’s NAV, the market price of the common shares and the yield to holders of common shares will be more volatile than if leverage were not used. For example, a rise in short-term interest rates, which currently are near historically low levels, generally will cause the Trust’s NAV to decline more than if the Trust had not used leverage. A reduction in the Trust’s NAV may cause a reduction in the market price of the Trust’s common shares.

  

The Trust cannot assure you that the use of leverage will result in a higher yield on the Trust’s common shares. When the Trust uses leverage, the management fee payable to the Advisor will be higher than if the Trust did not use leverage because this fee is calculated on the basis of the Trust’s Managed Assets, which include the proceeds of leverage. Any leveraging strategy the Trust employs may not be successful. See “Risks—Leverage Risk.”



 

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Investment Advisor

  

BlackRock Advisors, LLC is the Trust’s investment adviser. The Advisor receives an annual fee, payable monthly, in an amount equal to 1.00% of the average daily value of the Trust’s Managed Assets. The Advisor contractually agreed to waive receipt of a portion of the management fee in the amount of 0.20% of the Trust’s average daily Managed Assets for the first five years of the Trust’s operations (2014 through 2018), 0.15% in year six (2019), 0.10% in year seven (2020) and 0.05% in year eight (2021). The period from the Trust’s inception to December 31, 2014 was considered year one for the waiver. Beginning in year nine (2022), there will be no waiver. See “Management of the Trust—Investment Advisor.”

Distributions

  

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

  

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

  

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

  

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



 

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

  

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

Listing

  

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

Custodian and Transfer Agent

  

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

Administrator

  

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

Market Price of Shares

  

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

Special Risk Considerations

  

An investment in common shares of the Trust involves risk. You should consider carefully the risks discussed below, which are described in more detail under “Risks” beginning on page 54 of this Prospectus.

  

Non-Diversified Status. The Trust is a non-diversified fund. As defined in the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended (the “Investment Company Act”), a non-diversified fund may have a significant part of its investments in a smaller number of issuers than can a diversified fund. Having a larger percentage of assets in a smaller number of issuers makes a non-diversified fund, like the Trust, more susceptible to the risk that one single event or occurrence can have a significant adverse impact upon the Trust.



 

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Investment and Market Discount Risk. An investment in the Trust’s common shares is subject to investment risk, including the possible loss of the entire amount that you invest. As with any stock, the price of the Trust’s common shares will fluctuate with market conditions and other factors. If shares are sold, the price received may be more or less than the original investment. Common shares are designed for long-term investors and the Trust should not be treated as a trading vehicle. Shares of closed-end management investment companies frequently trade at a discount from their NAV. This risk is separate and distinct from the risk that the Trust’s NAV could decrease as a result of its investment activities. At any point in time an investment in the Trust’s common shares may be worth less than the original amount invested, even after taking into account distributions paid by the Trust. During periods in which the Trust may use leverage, the Trust’s investment, market discount and certain other risks will be magnified.

  

Science and Technology Risk. The Trust’s investment policies, including its fundamental policy of concentrating its investments in companies operating in one or more industries within the technology group of industries, and investment focus may subject it to more risks than funds that are more broadly diversified over companies with differing characteristics and operating in numerous sectors of the economy. General changes in market sentiment towards science and technology companies may adversely affect the Trust, and the performance of science and technology companies may lag behind the broader market as a whole. Also, the Trust’s investments may subject it to a variety of risks, including the following, which may cause the value of the common shares of the Trust to fluctuate significantly over relatively short periods of time:

  

Technology Company Risk. The market prices of technology and technology-related stocks tend to exhibit a greater degree of market risk and price volatility than other types of investments. These stocks may fall in and out of favor with investors rapidly, which may cause sudden selling and dramatically lower market prices. These stocks also may be affected adversely by changes in technology, consumer and business purchasing patterns, short product cycles, falling prices and profits, government regulation, lack of standardization or compatibility with existing technologies, intense competition, aggressive pricing, dependence on copyright and/or patent protection and/or obsolete products or services. See “Risks—Science and Technology Risk—Technology Company Risk.”

  

Telecommunications Company Risk. Telecommunications companies can be adversely affected by, among other things, changes in government regulation, intense competition, dependency on patent protection, significant capital expenditures, heavy debt burdens and rapid obsolescence of products and services due to product compatibility or changing consumer preferences. See “Risks—Science and Technology Risk—Telecommunications Company Risk.”

  

Life Sciences Industries Risk. Life sciences industries are characterized by limited product focus, rapidly changing technology and extensive government regulation. In particular, technological advances can render an existing product, which may account for a disproportionate share of a company’s revenue, obsolete. Obtaining governmental approval from agencies such as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”), the U.S. Department of Agriculture and other governmental agencies for new products can be lengthy, expensive and uncertain as to outcome. Any delays in product development may result in the need to seek additional capital, potentially diluting the interests of existing investors such as the Trust. In addition, governmental agencies may, for a variety of reasons, restrict the release of certain innovative technologies of commercial significance, such as genetically altered material. These various factors may result in abrupt advances and declines in the securities prices of particular companies and, in some cases, may have a broad effect on the prices of securities of companies in particular life sciences industries.



 

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Intense competition exists within and among certain life sciences industries, including competition to obtain and sustain proprietary technology protection. Life sciences companies can be highly dependent on the strength of patents, trademarks and other intellectual property rights for maintenance of profit margins and market share. The complex nature of the technologies involved can lead to patent disputes, including litigation that may be costly and that could result in a company losing an exclusive right to a patent. Competitors of life sciences companies may have substantially greater financial resources, more extensive development, manufacturing, marketing and service capabilities, and a larger number of qualified managerial and technical personnel. Such competitors may succeed in developing technologies and products that are more effective or less costly than any that may be developed by life sciences companies in which the Trust invests and may also prove to be more successful in production and marketing. Competition may increase further as a result of potential advances in health services and medical technology and greater availability of capital for investment in these fields.

  

With respect to healthcare, cost containment measures already implemented by the federal government, state governments and the private sector have adversely affected certain sectors of these industries. If not repealed, the implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (the “ACA”) may create increased demand for healthcare products and services but also may have an adverse effect on some companies in the health sciences industry. Increased emphasis on managed care in the United States may put pressure on the price and usage of products sold by life sciences companies in which the Trust may invest and may adversely affect the sales and revenues of life sciences companies. In addition, the restructuring or repeal of the ACA may result in lower utilization of life science and tools products and services. A reduction in the research budget of the National Institutes of Health may also result in reduced annual research outlays and adversely impact the demand for life science and tools products and services.

  

Product development efforts by life sciences companies may not result in commercial products for many reasons, including, but not limited to, failure to achieve acceptable clinical trial results, limited effectiveness in treating the specified condition or illness, harmful side effects, failure to obtain regulatory approval, and high manufacturing costs. Even after a product is commercially released, governmental agencies may require additional clinical trials or change the labeling requirements for products if additional product side effects are identified, which could have a material adverse effect on the market price of the securities of those life sciences companies.

  

Certain life sciences companies in which the Trust may invest may be exposed to potential product liability risks that are inherent in the testing, manufacturing, marketing and sale of pharmaceuticals, medical devices or other products. There can be no assurances that a product liability claim would not have a material adverse effect on the business, financial condition or securities prices of a company in which the Trust has invested.



 

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Biotechnology and Pharmaceutical Company Risk. The success of biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies is highly dependent on the development, procurement and/or marketing of drugs. The values of biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies are also dependent on the development, protection and exploitation of intellectual property rights and other proprietary information, and the profitability of biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies may be significantly affected by such things as the expiration of patents or the loss of, or the inability to enforce, intellectual property rights. See “Risks—Science and Technology Risk—Biotechnology Company Risk” and “—Pharmaceutical Company Risk.”

  

Industrial Products, Services and Equipment Company Risk. Industrial products, services and equipment companies can be significantly affected by general economic trends, changes in consumer sentiment and spending, commodity prices, technological obsolescence, labor relations, legislation, government regulations and spending, import controls, and worldwide competition, and can be subject to liability for environmental damage, depletion of resources, and mandated expenditures for safety and pollution control. See “Risks—Science and Technology Risk—Industrial Products, Services and Equipment Company Risk.”

  

Media Company Risk. Companies engaged in the design, production or distribution of goods or services for the media industry may become obsolete quickly. Media companies are subject to risks that include cyclicality of revenues and earnings, a decrease in the discretionary income of targeted individuals, changing consumer tastes and interests, fierce competition in the industry and the potential for increased government regulation. Competitive pressures and government regulation can significantly affect media companies. Additionally, intellectual property rights are very important to many media companies and the expiration of intellectual property rights or other events that adversely affect a media company’s intellectual property rights may materially and adversely affect the value of its securities. See “Risks—Science and Technology Risk—Media Company Risk.”

  

Consumer Finance Company Risk. Consumer finance companies can be significantly affected by changing economic conditions, demand for consumer loans, refinancing activity and intense competition. Profitability can be largely dependent on the availability and cost of capital and the rate of consumer debt defaults, and can fluctuate significantly when interest rates change. Profitability can in particular be adversely impacted during periods of rising interest rates. Consumer finance companies are subject to extensive government regulation, which can change frequently and may adversely affect the scope of their activities, the prices they can charge and the amount of capital they must maintain, or may affect them in other ways that are unforeseeable. See “Risks—Science and Technology Risk—Consumer Finance Company Risk.”

  

Energy Company Risk. Energy and natural resources companies are especially affected by variations in the commodities markets and these companies may lack the resources and the broad business lines to weather hard times. Energy companies can be significantly affected by the supply of and demand for specific products and services, the supply of and demand for oil and gas, the price of oil and gas, exploration and production spending, research and development costs related to new technologies, the success or failure of efforts to develop or implement new or existing technologies, government regulation (including environmental regulation), world events and economic conditions, the cyclical nature of the energy sector, weather patterns and extreme weather conditions, intense competition, events relating to domestic and international political developments, energy conservation, environmental costs and liabilities, the success of exploration projects, catastrophes and terrorism, commodity prices, and tax regulations. See “Risks—Science and Technology Risk—Energy Company Risk.”



 

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Defense/Aerospace Company Risk. The principal risks facing defense/aerospace companies include the fact that procurement cycles can be as long as ten years and that the rate of growth in defense spending may slow down. Defense/aerospace companies may be adversely affected by, among other things, their exposure to aircraft and automobile manufacturing, underfunded pensions, reductions in domestic and international defense spending and budgets and reduced export opportunities as a result of such reduced budgets and spending. Moreover, changing economic conditions, government regulation, intense competition, dependence on patent protection and government contracts, various legislative initiatives and changing political landscapes and national and international priorities, among other things, may affect the profitability of defense/aerospace companies.

  

Equity Securities Risk. Stock markets are volatile, and the prices of equity securities fluctuate based on changes in a company’s financial condition and overall market and economic conditions. Although common stocks have historically generated higher average total returns than fixed-income securities over the long-term, common stocks also have experienced significantly more volatility in those returns and, in certain periods, have significantly underperformed relative to fixed-income securities. An adverse event, such as an unfavorable earnings report, may depress the value of a particular common stock held by the Trust. A common stock may also decline due to factors which affect a particular industry or industries, such as labor shortages or increased production costs and competitive conditions within an industry. The value of a particular common stock held by the Trust may decline for a number of other reasons which directly relate to the issuer, such as management performance, financial leverage, the issuer’s historical and prospective earnings, the value of its assets and reduced demand for its goods and services. Also, the prices of common stocks are sensitive to general movements in the stock market and a drop in the stock market may depress the price of common stocks to which the Trust has exposure. Common stock prices fluctuate for several reasons, including changes in investors’ perceptions of the financial condition of an issuer or the general condition of the relevant stock market, or when political or economic events affecting the issuers occur. In addition, common stock prices may be particularly sensitive to rising interest rates, as the cost of capital rises and borrowing costs increase. Common equity securities in which the Trust may invest are structurally subordinated to preferred stock, bonds and other debt instruments in a company’s capital structure in terms of priority to corporate income and are therefore inherently more risky than preferred stock or debt instruments of such issuers.

  

Investments in American Depositary Receipts (“ADRs”), European Depositary Receipts (“EDRs”), Global Depositary Receipts (“GDRs”) and other similar global instruments are generally subject to risks associated with equity securities and investments in non-U.S. securities. Unsponsored ADR, EDR and GDR programs are organized independently and without the cooperation of the issuer of the underlying securities. As a result, available information concerning the issuer may not be as current as for sponsored ADRs, EDRs and GDRs, and the prices of unsponsored ADRs, EDRs and GDRs may be more volatile than if such instruments were sponsored by the issuer.



 

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Dividend Paying Equity Securities Risk. Dividends on common equity securities that the Trust may hold are not fixed but are declared at the discretion of an issuer’s board of directors. Companies that have historically paid dividends on their securities are not required to continue to pay dividends on such securities. There is no guarantee that the issuers of the common equity securities in which the Trust invests will declare dividends in the future or that, if declared, they will remain at current levels or increase over time. Therefore, there is the possibility that such companies could reduce or eliminate the payment of dividends in the future. Dividend producing equity securities, in particular those whose market price is closely related to their yield, may exhibit greater sensitivity to interest rate changes. See “Risks—Fixed-Income Securities Risks—Interest Rate Risk.” The Trust’s investments in dividend producing equity securities may also limit its potential for appreciation during a broad market advance.

  

The prices of dividend producing equity securities can be highly volatile. Investors should not assume that the Trust’s investments in these securities will necessarily reduce the volatility of the Trust’s NAV or provide “protection,” compared to other types of equity securities, when markets perform poorly.

  

Smaller Capitalization Company Risk. Smaller capitalization companies may have limited product lines or markets. They may be less financially secure than larger, more established companies. They may depend on a small number of key personnel. If a product fails or there are other adverse developments, or if management changes, the Trust’s investment in a smaller capitalization company may lose substantial value. In addition, it is more difficult to get information on smaller companies, which tend to be less well known, have shorter operating histories, do not have significant ownership by large investors and are followed by relatively few securities analysts.

  

The securities of smaller capitalization companies generally trade in lower volumes and are subject to greater and more unpredictable price changes than larger capitalization securities or the market as a whole. In addition, smaller capitalization securities may be particularly sensitive to changes in interest rates, borrowing costs and earnings. Investing in smaller capitalization securities requires a longer term view. See “Risks—Smaller Capitalization Company Risk.”



 

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Risks Associated with Private Company Investments. Private companies are generally not subject to SEC reporting requirements, are not required to maintain their accounting records in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles, and are not required to maintain effective internal controls over financial reporting. As a result, the Advisor may not have timely or accurate information about the business, financial condition and results of operations of the private companies in which the Trust invests. There is risk that the Trust may invest on the basis of incomplete or inaccurate information, which may adversely affect the Trust’s investment performance. Private companies in which the Trust may invest may have limited financial resources, shorter operating histories, more asset concentration risk, narrower product lines and smaller market shares than larger businesses, which tend to render such private companies more vulnerable to competitors’ actions and market conditions, as well as general economic downturns. These companies generally have less predictable operating results, may from time to time be parties to litigation, may be engaged in rapidly changing businesses with products subject to a substantial risk of obsolescence, and may require substantial additional capital to support their operations, finance expansion or maintain their competitive position. These companies may have difficulty accessing the capital markets to meet future capital needs, which may limit their ability to grow or to repay their outstanding indebtedness upon maturity. In addition, the Trust’s investment also may be structured as pay-in-kind securities with minimal or no cash interest or dividends until the company meets certain growth and liquidity objectives. See “Risks—Risks Associated with Private Company Investments.”

  

Restricted and Illiquid Investments Risk. The Trust may invest without limitation in illiquid or less liquid investments or investments in which no secondary market is readily available or which are otherwise illiquid, including private placement securities. The Trust may not be able to readily dispose of such investments at prices that approximate those at which the Trust could sell such investments if they were more widely traded and, as a result of such illiquidity, the Trust may have to sell other investments or engage in borrowing transactions if necessary to raise cash to meet its obligations. Limited liquidity can also affect the market price of investments, thereby adversely affecting the Trust’s NAV and ability to make dividend distributions. The financial markets in general, and certain segments of the mortgage-related securities markets in particular, have in recent years experienced periods of extreme secondary market supply and demand imbalance, resulting in a loss of liquidity during which market prices were suddenly and substantially below traditional measures of intrinsic value. During such periods, some investments could be sold only at arbitrary prices and with substantial losses. Periods of such market dislocation may occur again at any time.

  

Privately issued debt securities are often of below investment grade quality, frequently are unrated and present many of the same risks as investing in below investment grade public debt securities. See “Risks—Restricted and Illiquid Investments Risk.”

  

New Issues Risk. “New Issues” are IPOs of U.S. equity securities. There is no assurance that the Trust will have access to profitable IPOs and therefore investors should not rely on any past gains from IPOs as an indication of future performance of the Trust. The investment performance of the Trust during periods when it is unable to invest significantly or at all in IPOs may be lower than during periods when the Trust is able to do so. Securities issued in IPOs are subject to many of the same risks as investing in companies with smaller market capitalizations. Securities issued in IPOs have no trading history, and information about the companies may be available for very limited periods. In addition, some companies in IPOs are involved in relatively new industries or lines of business, which may not be widely understood by investors. Some of these companies may be undercapitalized or regarded as developmental stage companies, without revenues or operating income, or the near-term prospects of achieving them. Further, the prices of securities sold in IPOs may be highly volatile or may decline shortly after the IPO. When an IPO is brought to the market, availability may be limited and the Trust may not be able to buy any shares at the offering price, or, if it is able to buy shares, it may not be able to buy as many shares at the offering price as it would like. The limited number of shares available for trading in some IPOs may make it more difficult for the Trust to buy or sell significant amounts of shares.



 

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Growth Stock Risk. Securities of growth companies may be more volatile since such companies usually invest a high portion of earnings in their business, and they may lack the dividends of value stocks that can cushion stock prices in a falling market. Stocks of companies the Advisor believes are fast-growing may trade at a higher multiple of current earnings than other stocks. The values of these stocks may be more sensitive to changes in current or expected earnings than the values of other stocks. Earnings disappointments often lead to sharply falling prices because investors buy growth stocks in anticipation of superior earnings growth. If the Advisor’s assessment of the prospects for a company’s earnings growth is wrong, or if the Advisor’s judgment of how other investors will value the company’s earnings growth is wrong, then the price of the company’s stock may fall or may not approach the value that the Advisor has placed on it.

  

Value Stock Risk. The Advisor may be wrong in its assessment of a company’s value and the stocks the Trust owns may not reach what the Advisor believes are their full values. A particular risk of the Trust’s value stock investments is that some holdings may not recover and provide the capital growth anticipated or a stock judged to be undervalued may actually be appropriately priced. Further, because the prices of value-oriented securities tend to correlate more closely with economic cycles than growth-oriented securities, they generally are more sensitive to changing economic conditions, such as changes in interest rates, corporate earnings, and industrial production. The market may not favor value-oriented stocks and may not favor equities at all. During those periods, the Trust’s relative performance may suffer.

  

Risks Associated with the Trust’s Options Strategy. The ability of the Trust to generate current gains from options premiums and to enhance the Trust’s risk-adjusted returns is partially dependent on the successful implementation of its options strategy. There are several risks associated with transactions in options on securities. For example, there are significant differences between the securities and options markets that could result in an imperfect correlation between these markets, causing a given transaction not to achieve its objectives. A decision as to whether, when and how to use options involves the exercise of skill and judgment, and even a well-conceived transaction may be unsuccessful to some degree because of market behavior or unexpected events.

  

Risks of Writing Options. As the writer of a covered call option, the Trust forgoes, during the option’s life, the opportunity to profit from increases in the market value of the security covering the call option above the sum of the premium and the strike price of the call, but has retained the risk of loss should the price of the underlying security decline. In other words, as the Trust writes covered calls over more of its portfolio, the Trust’s ability to benefit from capital appreciation becomes more limited.

  

If the Trust writes call options on individual securities or index call options that include securities, in each case, that are not in the Trust’s portfolio or that are not in the same proportion as securities in the Trust’s portfolio, the Trust will experience loss, which theoretically could be unlimited, if the value of the individual security, index or basket of securities appreciates above the exercise price of the index option written by the Trust.



 

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When the Trust writes put options, it bears the risk of loss if the value of the underlying stock declines below the exercise price minus the put premium. If the option is exercised, the Trust could incur a loss if it is required to purchase the stock underlying the put option at a price greater than the market price of the stock at the time of exercise plus the put premium the Trust received when it wrote the option. While the Trust’s potential gain in writing a put option is limited to the premium received from the purchaser of the put option, the Trust risks a loss equal to the entire exercise price of the option minus the put premium.

  

See “Risks—Risks Associated with the Trust’s Options Strategy—Risks of Writing Options.”

  

Exchange-Listed Options Risks. There can be no assurance that a liquid market will exist when the Trust seeks to close out an exchange-listed option position. Reasons for the absence of a liquid secondary market on an exchange include the following: (i) there may be insufficient trading interest in certain options; (ii) restrictions may be imposed by an exchange on opening transactions or closing transactions or both; (iii) trading halts, suspensions or other restrictions may be imposed with respect to particular classes or series of options; (iv) unusual or unforeseen circumstances may interrupt normal operations on an exchange; (v) the facilities of an exchange or the Options Clearing Corporation (the “OCC”) may not at all times be adequate to handle current trading volume; or (vi) one or more exchanges could, for economic or other reasons, decide or be compelled at some future date to discontinue the trading of options (or a particular class or series of options). See “Risks—Risks Associated with the Trust’s Options Strategy—Exchange-Listed Options Risks.”

  

Over-the-Counter Options Risk. The Trust may write (sell) unlisted OTC options to a significant extent. OTC options differ from exchange-listed options in that they are two-party contracts, with exercise price, premium and other terms negotiated between buyer and seller, and generally do not have as much market liquidity as exchange-listed options. The OTC options written by the Trust will not be issued, guaranteed or cleared by the OCC. In addition, the Trust’s ability to terminate OTC options may be more limited than with exchange-traded options. Banks, broker-dealers or other financial institutions participating in such transactions may fail to settle a transaction in accordance with the terms of the option as written. In the event of default or insolvency of the counterparty, the Trust may be unable to liquidate an OTC option position. See “Risks—Risks Associated with the Trust’s Options Strategy—Over-the-Counter Options Risk.”

  

Index Options Risk. The Trust may sell index put and call options from time to time. The purchaser of an index put option has the right to any depreciation in the value of the index below the exercise price of the option on or before the expiration date. The purchaser of an index call option has the right to any appreciation in the value of the index over the exercise price of the option on or before the expiration date. Because the exercise of index options is settled in cash, sellers of index call options, such as the Trust, cannot provide in advance for their potential settlement obligations by acquiring and holding the underlying securities. The Trust will lose money if it is required to pay the purchaser of an index option the difference between the cash value of the index on which the option was written and the exercise price and such difference is greater than the premium received by the Trust for writing the option. See “Risks—Risks Associated with the Trust’s Options Strategy—Index Options Risk.”



 

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Limitation on Options Writing Risk. The number of call options the Trust can write is limited by the total assets the Trust holds and is further limited by the fact that all options represent 100 share lots of the underlying common stock. Furthermore, the Trust’s options transactions will be subject to limitations established by each of the exchanges, boards of trade or other trading facilities on which such options are traded. See “Risks—Risks Associated with the Trust’s Options Strategy—Limitation on Options Writing Risk.”

  

Tax Risk. Income on options on individual stocks will generally not be recognized by the Trust for tax purposes until an option is exercised, lapses or is subject to a “closing transaction” (as defined by applicable regulations) pursuant to which the Trust’s obligations with respect to the option are otherwise terminated. If the option lapses without exercise or is otherwise subject to a closing transaction, the premiums received by the Trust from the writing of such options will generally be characterized as short-term capital gain. If an option written by the Trust is exercised, the Trust may recognize taxable gain depending on the exercise price of the option, the option premium, and the tax basis of the security underlying the option. The character of any gain on the sale of the underlying security as short-term or long-term capital gain will depend on the holding period of the Trust in the underlying security. In general, distributions received by shareholders of the Trust that are attributable to short-term capital gains recognized by the Trust from its options writing activities will be taxed to such shareholders as ordinary income and will not be eligible for the reduced tax rate applicable to qualified dividend income.

  

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

  

Preferred Securities Risk. There are special risks associated with investing in preferred securities, including deferral, subordination, limited voting rights, special redemption rights, risks associated with trust preferred securities and risks associated with new types of securities. See “Risks—Preferred Securities Risk.”

  

Convertible Securities Risk. Convertible securities generally offer lower interest or dividend yields than non-convertible securities of similar quality. The market values of convertible securities tend to decline as interest rates increase and, conversely, to increase as interest rates decline. However, when the market price of the common stock underlying a convertible security exceeds the conversion price, the convertible security tends to reflect the market price of the underlying common stock. As the market price of the underlying common stock declines, the convertible security tends to trade increasingly on a yield basis and thus may not decline in price to the same extent as the underlying common stock. Synthetic convertible securities are subject to additional risks, including risks associated with derivatives. See “Risks—Convertible Securities Risk.”



 

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

  

Investment Companies and ETFs Risk. Subject to the limitations set forth in the Investment Company Act and the Trust’s governing documents or as otherwise permitted by the SEC, the Trust may acquire shares in other investment companies, including ETFs or BDCs, some of which may be affiliated investment companies. The market value of the shares of other investment companies may differ from their NAV. As an investor in investment companies, including ETFs or BDCs, the Trust would bear its ratable share of that entity’s expenses, including its investment advisory and administration fees, while continuing to pay its own advisory and administration fees and other expenses (to the extent not offset by the Advisor through waivers). As a result, shareholders will be absorbing duplicate levels of fees with respect to investments in other investment companies, including ETFs or BDCs (to the extent not offset by the Advisor through waivers).

  

The securities of other investment companies, including ETFs or BDCs, in which the Trust may invest may be leveraged. As a result, the Trust may be indirectly exposed to leverage through an investment in such securities. An investment in securities of other investment companies, including ETFs or BDCs, that use leverage may expose the Trust to higher volatility in the market value of such securities and the possibility that the Trust’s long-term returns on such securities (and, indirectly, the long-term returns of the Trust’s common shares) will be diminished.

  

ETFs are generally not actively managed and may be affected by a general decline in market segments relating to its index. An ETF typically invests in securities included in, or representative of, its index regardless of their investment merits and does not attempt to take defensive positions in declining markets.

  

Fixed-Income Securities Risks. Fixed-income securities in which the Trust may invest are generally subject to the following risks:



 

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Interest Rate Risk. The market value of bonds and other fixed-income securities changes in response to interest rate changes and other factors. Interest rate risk is the risk that prices of bonds and other fixed-income securities will increase as interest rates fall and decrease as interest rates rise. The Trust may be subject to a greater risk of rising interest rates due to the current period of historically low interest rates, including the Federal Reserve’s recent lowering of the target for the federal funds rate to a range of 0%-0.25% as part of its efforts to ease the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic. There is a risk that interest rates will rise, which will likely drive down bond prices. The magnitude of these fluctuations in the market price of bonds and other fixed-income securities is generally greater for those securities with longer maturities. Fluctuations in the market price of the Trust’s investments will not affect interest income derived from instruments already owned by the Trust, but will be reflected in the Trust’s NAV. The Trust may lose money if short-term or long-term interest rates rise sharply in a manner not anticipated by the Advisor. To the extent the Trust invests in debt securities that may be prepaid at the option of the obligor (such as mortgage-related securities), the sensitivity of such securities to changes in interest rates may increase (to the detriment of the Trust) when interest rates rise. Moreover, because rates on certain floating rate debt securities typically reset only periodically, changes in prevailing interest rates (and particularly sudden and significant changes) can be expected to cause some fluctuations in the NAV of the Trust to the extent that it invests in floating rate debt securities. These basic principles of bond prices also apply to U.S. Government securities. A security backed by the “full faith and credit” of the U.S. Government is guaranteed only as to its stated interest rate and face value at maturity, not its current market price. Just like other fixed-income securities, government-guaranteed securities will fluctuate in value when interest rates change.

  

During periods in which the Trust may use leverage, such use of leverage will tend to increase the Trust’s interest rate risk. The Trust may utilize certain strategies, including taking positions in futures or interest rate swaps, for the purpose of reducing the interest rate sensitivity of fixed-income securities held by the Trust and decreasing the Trust’s exposure to interest rate risk. The Trust is not required to hedge its exposure to interest rate risk and may choose not to do so. In addition, there is no assurance that any attempts by the Trust to reduce interest rate risk will be successful or that any hedges that the Trust may establish will perfectly correlate with movements in interest rates. See “Risks—Fixed-Income Securities Risk—Interest Rate Risk.”

  

Issuer Risk. The value of fixed-income securities may decline for a number of reasons which directly relate to the issuer, such as management performance, financial leverage, reduced demand for the issuer’s goods and services, historical and prospective earnings of the issuer and the value of the assets of the issuer.

  

Credit Risk. Credit risk is the risk that one or more fixed-income securities in the Trust’s portfolio will decline in price or fail to pay interest or principal when due because the issuer of the security experiences a decline in its financial status. Credit risk is increased when a portfolio security is downgraded or the perceived creditworthiness of the issuer deteriorates. To the extent the Trust invests in below investment grade securities, it will be exposed to a greater amount of credit risk than a fund that only invests in investment grade securities. See “Risks—Below Investment Grade Securities Risk.” In addition, to the extent the Trust uses credit derivatives, such use will expose it to additional risk in the event that the bonds underlying the derivatives default. The degree of credit risk depends on the issuer’s financial condition and on the terms of the securities.

  

Prepayment Risk. During periods of declining interest rates, borrowers may exercise their option to prepay principal earlier than scheduled. For fixed rate securities, such payments often occur during periods of declining interest rates, forcing the Trust to reinvest in lower yielding securities, resulting in a possible decline in the Trust’s income and distributions to shareholders. This is known as prepayment or “call” risk. Below investment grade securities frequently have call features that allow the issuer to redeem the security at dates prior to its stated maturity at a specified price (typically greater than par) only if certain prescribed conditions are met (i.e., “call protection”). For premium bonds (bonds acquired at prices that exceed their par or principal value) purchased by the Trust, prepayment risk may be enhanced.

  

Reinvestment Risk. Reinvestment risk is the risk that income from the Trust’s portfolio will decline if the Trust invests the proceeds from matured, traded or called fixed-income securities at market interest rates that are below the Trust portfolio’s current earnings rate.



 

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Duration and Maturity Risk. The Trust has no set policy regarding portfolio maturity or duration of the fixed-income securities it may hold. The Advisor may seek to adjust the portfolio’s duration or maturity based on its assessment of current and projected market conditions and all other factors that the Advisor deems relevant.

  

Any decisions as to the targeted duration or maturity of any particular category of investments or of the Trust’s portfolio generally will be made based on all pertinent market factors at any given time. The Trust may incur costs in seeking to adjust the portfolio’s average duration or maturity. There can be no assurance that the Advisor’s assessment of current and projected market conditions will be correct or that any strategy to adjust the portfolio’s duration or maturity will be successful at any given time. In general, the longer the duration of any fixed-income securities in the Trust’s portfolio, the more exposure the Trust will have to the interest rate risks described above.

  

Spread Risk. Wider credit spreads and decreasing market values typically represent a deterioration of a debt security’s credit soundness and a perceived greater likelihood or risk of default by the issuer.

  

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



 

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Below Investment Grade Securities Risk. The Trust may invest in securities that are rated, at the time of investment, below investment grade quality (rated Ba/BB or below, or judged to be of comparable quality by the Advisor), which are commonly referred to as “high yield” or “junk” bonds and are regarded as predominantly speculative with respect to the issuer’s capacity to pay interest and repay principal when due. The value of high yield, lower quality bonds is affected by the creditworthiness of the issuers of the securities and by general economic and specific industry conditions. Issuers of high yield bonds are not perceived to be as strong financially as those with higher credit ratings. These issuers are more vulnerable to financial setbacks and recession than more creditworthy issuers, which may impair their ability to make interest and principal payments. Lower grade securities may be particularly susceptible to economic downturns. It is likely that an economic recession could severely disrupt the market for such securities and may have an adverse impact on the value of such securities. In addition, it is likely that any such economic downturn could adversely affect the ability of the issuers of such securities to repay principal and pay interest thereon and increase the incidence of default for such securities. The secondary market for lower grade securities may be less liquid than that for higher rated securities. Adverse conditions could make it difficult at times for the Trust to sell certain securities or could result in lower prices than those used in calculating the Trust’s NAV. Because of the substantial risks associated with investments in lower grade securities, you could lose money on your investment in common shares of the Trust, both in the short-term and the long-term. To the extent that the Trust invests in lower grade securities that have not been rated by a rating agency, the Trust’s ability to achieve its investment objectives will be more dependent on the Advisor’s credit analysis than would be the case when the Trust invests in rated securities. See “Risks—Below Investment Grade Securities Risk.”

  

Distressed and Defaulted Securities Risk. Investments in the securities of financially distressed issuers are speculative and involve substantial risks. These securities may present a substantial risk of default or may be in default at the time of investment. The Trust may incur additional expenses to the extent it is required to seek recovery upon a default in the payment of principal or interest on its portfolio holdings. In any reorganization or liquidation proceeding relating to a portfolio company, the Trust may lose its entire investment or may be required to accept cash or securities with a value less than its original investment. Among the risks inherent in investments in a troubled entity is that it frequently may be difficult to obtain information as to the true financial condition of such issuer. The Advisor’s judgment about the credit quality of the issuer and the relative value and liquidity of its securities may prove to be wrong. Distressed securities and any securities received in an exchange for such securities may be subject to restrictions on resale.

  

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

  

U.S. Government Securities Risk. U.S. Government debt securities generally involve lower levels of credit risk than other types of fixed-income securities of similar maturities, although, as a result, the yields available from U.S. Government debt securities are generally lower than the yields available from such other securities. Like other fixed-income securities, the values of U.S. Government securities change as interest rates fluctuate.



 

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Non-U.S. Securities Risk. The Trust may invest in securities of non-U.S. issuers (“Non-U.S. Securities”). Such investments involve certain risks not involved in domestic investments. Securities markets in foreign countries often are not as developed, efficient or liquid as securities markets in the United States and, therefore, the prices of Non-U.S. Securities can be more volatile. Certain foreign countries may impose restrictions on the ability of issuers of Non-U.S. Securities to make payments of principal and interest or dividends to investors located outside the country. In addition, the Trust will be subject to risks associated with adverse political and economic developments in foreign countries, which could cause the Trust to lose money on its investments in Non-U.S. Securities. The Trust will be subject to additional risks if it invests in Non-U.S. Securities, which include seizure or nationalization of foreign deposits. Non-U.S. Securities may trade on days when the Trust’s common shares are not priced or traded. See “Risks—Non-U.S. Securities Risk.”

  

Emerging Markets Risk. The Trust may invest in Non-U.S. Securities of issuers in so-called “emerging markets” (or lesser developed countries). Such investments are particularly speculative and entail all of the risks of investing in Non-U.S. Securities but to a heightened degree. “Emerging market” countries generally include every nation in the world except developed countries, that is, the United States, Canada, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and most countries located in Western Europe. Investments in the securities of issuers domiciled in countries with emerging capital markets involve certain additional risks that do not generally apply to investments in securities of issuers in more developed capital markets, such as (i) low or non-existent trading volume, resulting in a lack of liquidity and increased volatility in prices for such securities, as compared to securities of comparable issuers in more developed capital markets; (ii) uncertain national policies and social, political and economic instability, increasing the potential for expropriation of assets, confiscatory taxation, high rates of inflation or unfavorable diplomatic developments; (iii) possible fluctuations in exchange rates, differing legal systems and the existence or possible imposition of exchange controls, custodial restrictions or other foreign or U.S. governmental laws or restrictions applicable to such investments; (iv) national policies that may limit the Trust’s investment opportunities such as restrictions on investment in issuers or industries deemed sensitive to national interests; and (v) the lack or relatively early development of legal structures governing private and foreign investments and private property. See “Risks—Emerging Markets Risk.”

  

Foreign Currency Risk. Because the Trust may invest in securities denominated or quoted in currencies other than the U.S. dollar, changes in foreign currency exchange rates may affect the value of securities held by the Trust and the unrealized appreciation or depreciation of investments. Currencies of certain countries may be volatile and therefore may affect the value of securities denominated in such currencies, which means that the Trust’s NAV could decline as a result of changes in the exchange rates between foreign currencies and the U.S. dollar. The Advisor may, but is not required to, elect for the Trust to seek to protect itself from changes in currency exchange rates through hedging transactions depending on market conditions. In addition, certain countries, particularly emerging market countries, may impose foreign currency exchange controls or other restrictions on the transferability, repatriation or convertibility of currency



 

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Leverage Risk. The use of leverage creates an opportunity for increased common share net investment income dividends, but also creates risks for the holders of common shares. The Trust cannot assure you that the use of leverage, if employed, will result in a higher yield on the common shares. Any leveraging strategy the Trust employs may not be successful.

  

Leverage involves risks and special considerations for common shareholders, including:

  

 

•  the likelihood of greater volatility of NAV, market price and dividend rate of the common shares than a comparable portfolio without leverage;

 

•  the risk that fluctuations in interest rates or dividend rates on any leverage that the Trust must pay will reduce the return to the common shareholders;

 

•  the effect of leverage in a declining market, which is likely to cause a greater decline in the NAV of the common shares than if the Trust were not leveraged, which may result in a greater decline in the market price of the common shares;

 

•  when the Trust uses financial leverage, the management fee payable to the Advisor will be higher than if the Trust did not use leverage; and

 

•  leverage may increase operating costs, which may reduce total return.

  

The Trust currently does not intend to borrow money or issue debt securities or preferred shares, but may in the future borrow funds from banks or other financial institutions, or issue debt securities or preferred shares, as described in this Prospectus. Certain types of leverage the Trust may use may result in the Trust being subject to covenants relating to asset coverage and portfolio composition requirements. The Trust may be subject to certain restrictions on investments imposed by guidelines of one or more rating agencies, which may issue ratings for any debt securities or preferred shares issued by the Trust. The terms of any borrowings or these rating agency guidelines may impose asset coverage or portfolio composition requirements that are more stringent than those imposed by the Investment Company Act. The Advisor does not believe that these covenants or guidelines will impede it from managing the Trust’s portfolio in accordance with the Trust’s investment objectives and policies. See “Risks—Leverage Risk.”



 

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Structured Investments Risks. The Trust may invest in structured products, including structured notes, ELNs and other types of structured products. Holders of structured products bear the risks of the underlying investments, index or reference obligation and are subject to counterparty risk. The Trust may have the right to receive payments only from the structured product and generally does not have direct rights against the issuer or the entity that sold the assets to be securitized. While certain structured products enable the investor to acquire interests in a pool of securities without the brokerage and other expenses associated with directly holding the same securities, investors in structured products generally pay their share of the structured product’s administrative and other expenses. Although it is difficult to predict whether the prices of indices and securities underlying structured products will rise or fall, these prices (and, therefore, the prices of structured products) will be influenced by the same types of political and economic events that affect issuers of securities and capital markets generally. If the issuer of a structured product uses shorter term financing to purchase longer term securities, the issuer may be forced to sell its securities at below market prices if it experiences difficulty in obtaining such financing, which may adversely affect the value of the structured products owned by the Trust.

  

ELNs are hybrid securities with characteristics of both fixed-income and equity securities. An ELN is a debt instrument, usually a bond, that pays interest based upon the performance of an underlying equity, which can be a single stock, basket of stocks or an equity index. The interest payment on an ELN may in some cases be leveraged so that, in percentage terms, it exceeds the relative performance of the market. ELNs generally are subject to the risks associated with the securities of equity issuers, default risk and counterparty risk. Additionally, because the Trust may use ELNs as an alternative or complement to its options strategy, the use of ELNs in this manner would expose the Trust to the risk that such ELNs will not perform as anticipated, and the risk that the use of ELNs will expose the Trust to different or additional default and counterparty risk as compared to a similar investment executed in an options strategy.

  

See “Risks—Structured Investments Risks.”

  

Strategic Transactions and Derivatives Risk. The Trust may engage in various Strategic Transactions for duration management and other risk management purposes, including to attempt to protect against possible changes in the market value of the Trust’s portfolio resulting from trends in the securities markets and changes in interest rates or to protect the Trust’s unrealized gains in the value of its portfolio securities, to facilitate the sale of portfolio securities for investment purposes or to establish a position in the securities markets as a temporary substitute for purchasing particular securities or to enhance income or gain. Derivatives are financial contracts or instruments whose value depends on, or is derived from, the value of an underlying asset, reference rate or index (or relationship between two indices). The Trust also may use derivatives to add leverage to the portfolio and/or to hedge against increases in the Trust’s costs associated with any leverage strategy that it may employ. The use of Strategic Transactions to enhance current income may be particularly speculative.



 

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Strategic Transactions involve risks. The risks associated with Strategic Transactions include (i) the imperfect correlation between the value of such instruments and the underlying assets, (ii) the possible default of the counterparty to the transaction, (iii) illiquidity of the derivative instruments, and (iv) high volatility losses caused by unanticipated market movements, which are potentially unlimited. Although both OTC and exchange-traded derivatives markets may experience a lack of liquidity, OTC non-standardized derivative transactions are generally less liquid than exchange-traded instruments. The illiquidity of the derivatives markets may be due to various factors, including congestion, disorderly markets, limitations on deliverable supplies, the participation of speculators, government regulation and intervention, and technical and operational or system failures. In addition, daily limits on price fluctuations and speculative position limits on exchanges on which the Trust may conduct its transactions in derivative instruments may prevent prompt liquidation of positions, subjecting the Trust to the potential of greater losses. Furthermore, the Trust’s ability to successfully use Strategic Transactions depends on the Advisor’s ability to predict pertinent securities prices, interest rates, currency exchange rates and other economic factors, which cannot be assured. The use of Strategic Transactions may result in losses greater than if they had not been used, may require the Trust to sell or purchase portfolio securities at inopportune times or for prices other than current market values, may limit the amount of appreciation the Trust can realize on an investment or may cause the Trust to hold a security that it might otherwise sell. Additionally, segregated or earmarked liquid assets, amounts paid by the Trust as premiums and cash or other assets held in margin accounts with respect to Strategic Transactions are not otherwise available to the Trust for investment purposes.

  

Exchange-traded derivatives and OTC derivative transactions submitted for clearing through a central counterparty are also subject to minimum initial and variation margin requirements set by the relevant clearinghouse, as well as possible margin requirements mandated by the SEC or the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (the “CFTC”). The CFTC and federal banking regulators also have imposed margin requirements on non-cleared OTC derivatives, and the SEC has proposed (but not yet finalized) such non-cleared margin requirements. As applicable, margin requirements may increase the overall costs for the Trust.

 

Many OTC derivatives are valued on the basis of dealers’ pricing of these instruments. However, the price at which dealers value a particular derivative and the price that the same dealers would actually be willing to pay for such derivative should the Trust wish or be forced to sell such position may be materially different. Such differences can result in an overstatement of the Trust’s NAV and may materially adversely affect the Trust in situations in which the Trust is required to sell derivative instruments.

  

See “Risks—Strategic Transactions and Derivatives Risk.”

  

Counterparty Risk. The Trust will be subject to credit risk with respect to the counterparties to the derivative contracts purchased by the Trust. Because derivative transactions in which the Trust may engage may involve instruments that are not traded on an exchange or cleared through a central counterparty but are instead traded between counterparties based on contractual relationships, the Trust is subject to the risk that a counterparty will not perform its obligations under the related contracts. If a counterparty becomes bankrupt or otherwise fails to perform its obligations due to financial difficulties, the Trust may experience significant delays in obtaining any recovery in bankruptcy or other reorganization proceedings. The Trust may obtain only a limited recovery, or may obtain no recovery, in such circumstances. Although the Trust intends to enter into transactions only with counterparties that the Advisor believes to be creditworthy, there can be no assurance that, as a result, a counterparty will not default and that the Trust will not sustain a loss on a transaction. In the event of the counterparty’s bankruptcy or insolvency, the Trust’s collateral may be subject to the conflicting claims of the counterparty’s creditors, and the Trust may be exposed to the risk of a court treating the Trust as a general unsecured creditor of the counterparty, rather than as the owner of the collateral. See “Risks—Counterparty Risk.”



 

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Swaps Risk. Swaps are a type of derivative. Swap agreements involve the risk that the party with which the Trust has entered into the swap will default on its obligation to pay the Trust and the risk that the Trust will not be able to meet its obligations to pay the other party to the agreement. In order to seek to hedge the value of the Trust’s portfolio, to hedge against increases in the Trust’s cost associated with interest payments on any outstanding borrowings or to seek to increase the Trust’s return, the Trust may enter into swaps, including interest rate swap, total return swap (sometimes referred to as a “contract for difference”) and/or credit default swap transactions. In interest rate swap transactions, there is a risk that yields will move in the direction opposite of the direction anticipated by the Trust, which would cause the Trust to make payments to its counterparty in the transaction that could adversely affect Trust performance. In addition to the risks applicable to swaps generally (including counterparty risk, high volatility, illiquidity risk and credit risk), credit default swap transactions involve special risks because they are difficult to value, are highly susceptible to liquidity and credit risk, and generally pay a return to the party that has paid the premium only in the event of an actual default by the issuer of the underlying obligation (as opposed to a credit downgrade or other indication of financial difficulty). Credit default and total return swap agreements may effectively add leverage to the Trust’s portfolio because, in addition to its Managed Assets, the Trust would be subject to investment exposure on the notional amount of the swap. Total return swap agreements are subject to the risk that a counterparty will default on its payment obligations to the Trust thereunder. The Trust is not required to enter into swap transactions for hedging purposes or to enhance income or gain and may choose not to do so. In addition, the swaps market is subject to a changing regulatory environment. It is possible that regulatory or other developments in the swaps market could adversely affect the Trust’s ability to successfully use swaps. See “Risks—Swaps Risk.”



 

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Risk Associated with Recent Market Events. Stresses associated with the 2008 financial crisis in the United States and global economies peaked approximately a decade ago, but periods of unusually high volatility in the financial markets and restrictive credit conditions, sometimes limited to a particular sector or a geography, continue to recur. Some countries, including the United States, have adopted and/or are considering the adoption of more protectionist trade policies, a move away from the tighter financial industry regulations that followed the financial crisis, and/or substantially reducing corporate taxes. The exact shape of these policies is still being considered, but the equity and debt markets may react strongly to expectations of change, which could increase volatility, especially if the market’s expectations are not borne out. A rise in protectionist trade policies, and the possibility of changes to some international trade agreements, could affect the economies of many nations in ways that cannot necessarily be foreseen at the present time. In addition, geopolitical and other risks, including environmental and public health, may add to instability in world economies and markets generally. Economies and financial markets throughout the world are becoming increasingly interconnected. As a result, whether or not the Trust invests in securities of issuers located in or with significant exposure to countries experiencing economic, political and/or financial difficulties, the value and liquidity of the Trust’s investments may be negatively affected by such events.

 

An outbreak of respiratory disease caused by a novel coronavirus was first detected in China in December 2019 and has now developed into a global pandemic. This pandemic has resulted in closing borders, enhanced health screenings, healthcare service preparation and delivery, quarantines, cancellations, disruptions to supply chains and customer activity, as well as general concern and uncertainty. The impact of this pandemic, and other pandemics and epidemics that may arise in the future, could affect the economies of many nations, individual companies and the market in general in ways that cannot necessarily be foreseen at the present time. In addition, the impact of infectious diseases in developing or emerging market countries may be greater due to less established health care systems. Health crises caused by the novel coronavirus pandemic may exacerbate other pre-existing political, social and economic risks in certain countries. The impact of the pandemic may last for an extended period of time.

 

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

 

The decision made in the British referendum of June 23, 2016 to leave the EU, an event widely referred to as “Brexit,” has led to volatility in the financial markets of the United Kingdom and more broadly across Europe and may also lead to weakening in consumer, corporate and financial confidence in such markets. The formal notification to the European Council required under Article 50 of the Treaty on EU was made on March 29, 2017, following which the terms of exit were negotiated. Pursuant to an agreement between the United Kingdom and the EU, the United Kingdom left the EU on January 31, 2020 subject to a transitional period ending December 31, 2020. The longer term economic, legal, political and social framework to be put in place between the United Kingdom and the EU are unclear at this stage and are likely to lead to ongoing political and economic uncertainty and periods of exacerbated volatility in both the United Kingdom and in wider European markets for some time. In particular, the decision made in Brexit may lead to a call for similar referendums in other European jurisdictions which may cause increased economic volatility in the European and global markets. This mid- to long-term uncertainty may have an adverse effect on the economy generally and on the ability of the Trust to execute its strategies and to receive attractive returns. In particular, currency volatility may mean that the returns of the Trust and its investments are adversely affected by market movements and may make it more difficult, or more expensive, for the Trust to execute prudent currency hedging policies. Potential decline in the value of the British Pound and/or the Euro against other currencies, along with the potential downgrading of the United Kingdom’s sovereign credit rating, may also have an impact on the performance of portfolio companies or investments located in the United Kingdom or Europe. In light of the above, no definitive assessment can currently be made regarding the impact that Brexit will have on the Trust, its investments or its organization more generally.



 

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

 

Regulation and Government Intervention Risk. The U.S. Government and the Federal Reserve, as well as certain foreign governments, recently have taken unprecedented actions designed to support certain financial institutions and segments of the financial markets that experienced extreme volatility, such as implementing stimulus packages, providing liquidity in fixed income, commercial paper and other markets and providing tax breaks, among other actions. The reduction or withdrawal of Federal Reserve or other U.S. or non-U.S. governmental support could negatively affect financial markets generally and reduce the value and liquidity of certain securities. Additionally, with the cessation of certain market support activities, the Trust may face a heightened level of interest rate risk as a result of a rise or increased volatility in interest rates.

 

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

 

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

 

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



 

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The rules dealing with U.S. federal income taxation are constantly under review by persons involved in the legislative process and by the Internal Revenue Service (the “IRS”) and the U.S. Treasury Department. The Trust cannot predict how any changes in the tax laws might affect its investors or the Trust itself. New legislation, U.S. Treasury regulations, administrative interpretations or court decisions, with or without retroactive application, could significantly and negatively affect the Trust’s ability to qualify as a RIC or the U.S. federal income tax consequences to its investors and itself of such qualification, or could have other adverse consequences. You are urged to consult with your tax advisor with respect to the status of legislative, regulatory or administrative developments and proposals and their potential effect on an investment in the Trust’s shares.

 

See “Risks—Legal, Tax and Regulatory Risks.”

 

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

 

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



 

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Additional Risks. For additional risks relating to investments in the Trust, including “REITs Risk,” “Master Limited Partnerships Risk,” “Yield and Ratings Risk,” “Insolvency of Issuers of Indebtedness Risk,” “LIBOR and Other Reference Rates Risk,” “Repurchase Agreements Risk,” “Reverse Repurchase Agreements Risk,” “Dollar Roll Transactions Risk,” “When-Issued, Forward Commitment and Delayed Delivery Transactions Risk,” “Event Risk,” “Defensive Investing Risk,” “Securities Lending Risk,” “Short Sales Risk,” “Inflation Risk,” “Deflation Risk,” “EMU and Redenomination Risk,” “Regulation as a ‘Commodity Pool,’” “Failures of Futures Commission Merchants and Clearing Organizations Risk,” “Investment Company Act Regulations,” “Legislation Risk,” “Decision-Making Authority Risk,” “Management Risk,” “Market and Selection Risk,” “Reliance on the Advisor Risk,” “Reliance on Service Providers Risk,” “Information Technology Systems Risk,” “Cyber Security Risk,” “Misconduct of Employees and of Service Providers Risk,” and “Portfolio Turnover Risk,” please see “Risks” beginning on page 54 of this Prospectus.



 

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SUMMARY OF TRUST EXPENSES

 

Shareholder Transaction Expenses

  

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

   1.00%

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

   0.04%

Dividend reinvestment plan fees

  

$0.02 per share for

open-market purchases

of common shares(2)

Estimated Annual Expenses (as a percentage of net assets attributable to common shares) Management fees(3)

   1.00%
  

 

Other expenses(4)

   0.08%

Total annual expenses

   1.08%

Fee waiver(3)(5)

   (0.10)
  

 

Total annual Trust operating expenses after fee waiver(3)(5)

   0.98%
  

 

 

(1)

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

(2)

The Reinvestment Plan Agent’s (as defined below under “Dividend Reinvestment Plan”) fees for the handling of the reinvestment of dividends will be paid by the Trust. However, you will pay a $0.02 per share fee incurred in connection with open-market purchases, which will be deducted from the value of the dividend. You will also be charged a $2.50 sales fee and pay a $0.15 per share fee if you direct the Reinvestment Plan Agent to sell your common shares held in a dividend reinvestment account. Per share fees include any applicable brokerage commissions the Reinvestment Plan Agent is required to pay.

(3)

The Advisor contractually agreed to waive receipt of a portion of the management fee in the amount of 0.10% of the Trust’s average daily Managed Assets in 2020 and 0.05% in 2021. Beginning in 2022, there will be no waiver.

(4)

Actual amount based on the fiscal year ended December 31, 2019.

(5)

The Trust and the Advisor have entered into a fee waiver agreement (the “Fee Waiver Agreement”), pursuant to which the Advisor has contractually agreed to waive the management fee with respect to any portion of the Trust’s assets attributable to investments in any equity and fixed-income mutual funds and ETFs managed by the Advisor or its affiliates that have a contractual fee, through June 30, 2021. In addition, pursuant to the Fee Waiver Agreement, the Advisor has contractually agreed to waive its management fees by the amount of investment advisory fees the Trust pays to the Advisor indirectly through its investment in money market funds managed by the Advisor or its affiliates, through June 30, 2021. The Fee Waiver Agreement may be terminated at any time, without the payment of any penalty, only by the Trust (upon the vote of a majority of the Trustees who are not “interested persons” (as defined in the Investment Company Act) of the Trust (the “Independent Trustees”) or a majority of the outstanding voting securities of the Trust), upon 90 days’ written notice by the Trust to the Advisor.

The following example illustrates the expenses (including the sales load of $10 and offering costs of $0.39) that you would pay on a $1,000 investment in common shares, assuming (i) total net annual expenses of 0.98% of net assets attributable to common shares in 2020, 1.03% in 2021 and 1.08% thereafter, and (ii) a 5% annual return:

 

     One Year      Three Years      Five Years      Ten Years  

Total expenses incurred

   $ 20      $ 43      $ 68      $ 139  

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

 

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FINANCIAL HIGHLIGHTS

The financial highlights table is intended to help you understand the Trust’s financial performance. Information is shown since the commencement of the Trust’s operations on October 30, 2014. Certain information reflects financial results for a single Trust Share. The information for the fiscal years ended December 31, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016 and 2015 has been audited by Deloitte & Touche LLP, independent registered public accounting firm for the Trust. The report of Deloitte & Touche LLP is included in the Trust’s December 31, 2019 Annual Report, and is incorporated by reference into the SAI. The Trust’s financial statements are included in the Trust’s Annual Report and are incorporated by reference into the SAI.

 

     BST  
     Year Ended December 31,     Period from
October 30,
2014 (f) to
December 31
 
     2019     2018     2017     2016     2015     2014  

Net asset value, beginning of year

   $ 26.21     $ 27.73     $ 20.10     $ 19.70     $ 19.43     $ 19.10 (g) 
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Net investment income (loss)(a)

     (0.17     (0.13     (0.05     0.00 (b)      0.03       (0.01

Net realized and unrealized gain

     9.92       0.37       8.96       1.60       1.44       0.48  
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Net increase from investment operations

     9.75       0.24       8.91       1.60       1.47       0.47  
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Distributions(c)

            

From net investment income

           (d)      (0.05           (0.03     (0.00 )(h) 

From net realized gain

     (3.51     (1.76 )(d)     (0.22           (0.01      

From return of capital

                 (1.01     (1.20     (1.16     (0.10
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Total distributions

     (3.51     (1.76     (1.28     (1.20     (1.20     (0.10
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Net asset value, end of year

   $ 32.45     $ 26.21     $ 27.73     $ 20.10     $ 19.70     $ 19.43  
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Market price, end of year

   $ 33.27     $ 27.48     $ 26.69     $ 17.94     $ 17.31     $ 17.59  
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Total Return(e)

            

Based on net asset value

     37.82     0.24     45.73     9.36     8.61     2.31 %(i) 
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Based on market price

     34.77     9.18     57.15     11.08     5.36     (11.55 )%(i) 
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Ratios to Average Net Assets

            

Total expenses

     1.08     1.09       1.09       1.10       1.12       1.19 %(j) 
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Total expenses after fees waived and/or reimbursed

     0.92     0.89       0.89       0.90       0.92       0.97 %(j) 
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Net investment income (loss)

     (0.52 )%      (0.43 )%      (0.19 )%      0.02     0.15 %     (0.24 )%(j) 
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Supplemental Data

            

Net assets, end of year (000)

   $ 742,672     $ 587,908     $ 620,300     $ 452,443     $ 443,477     $ 437,380  
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Portfolio turnover rate

     32 %     53 %     41 %     74 %     91 %     7
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

 

(a)

Based on average shares outstanding.

(b)

Amount is less than $0.005 per share.

 

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(c)

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

(d)

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

(e)

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

(f)

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

(g)

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

(h)

Amount is greater than $(0.005) per share.

(i)

Aggregate total return.

(j)

Annualized.

 

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USE OF PROCEEDS

The net proceeds from the issuance of common shares hereunder will be invested in accordance with the Trust’s investment objectives and policies as stated below. We currently anticipate that we will be able to invest all of the net proceeds in accordance with our investment objectives and policies within approximately three months from the date on which the proceeds from an offering are received by the Trust. Pending such investment, it is anticipated that the proceeds will be invested in short-term investment grade securities or in high quality, short-term money market instruments.

THE TRUST

The Trust is a non-diversified, closed-end management investment company registered under the Investment Company Act. The Trust was organized as a Delaware statutory trust on August 13, 2014, pursuant to a Certificate of Trust, governed by the laws of the State of Delaware. The Trust’s principal office is located at 100 Bellevue Parkway, Wilmington, Delaware 19809, and its telephone number is (800) 882-0052.

The Trust commenced operations on October 30, 2014, upon the initiation of an initial public offering of 21,000,000 of its common shares. The proceeds of such offering were approximately $400,260,000 million after the payment of organizational and offering expenses. Subsequent to the Trust’s initial public offering, the Trust issued an additional 1,500,000 of its common shares in connection with the exercise by the underwriters of the over-allotment option. The Trust’s common shares are traded on the NYSE under the symbol “BST.”

DESCRIPTION OF SHARES

Common Shares

The Trust is a statutory trust organized under the laws of Delaware pursuant to a Certificate of Trust, dated as of August 13, 2014, and an Agreement and Declaration of Trust, dated as of August 13, 2014 and as amended from time to time (the “Agreement and Declaration of Trust”). The Trust is authorized to issue an unlimited number of common shares of beneficial interest, par value $0.001 per share. Each common share has one vote and, when issued and paid for in accordance with the terms of this offering, will be fully paid and, under the Delaware Statutory Trust Act, the purchasers of the common shares will have no obligation to make further payments for the purchase of the common shares or contributions to the Trust solely by reason of their ownership of the common shares, except that the Trustees shall have the power to cause shareholders to pay certain expenses of the Trust by setting off charges due from shareholders from declared but unpaid dividends or distributions owed the shareholders and/or by reducing the number of common shares owned by each respective shareholder. If and whenever preferred shares are outstanding, the holders of common shares will not be entitled to receive any distributions from the Trust unless all accrued dividends on preferred shares have been paid, unless asset coverage (as defined in the Investment Company Act) with respect to preferred shares would be at least 200% after giving effect to the distributions and unless certain other requirements imposed by any rating agencies rating the preferred shares have been met. See “Description of Shares—Preferred Shares” in the SAI. All common shares are equal as to dividends, assets and voting privileges and have no conversion, preemptive or other subscription rights. The Trust will send annual and semi-annual reports, including financial statements, to all holders of its shares.

Unlike open-end funds, closed-end funds like the Trust do not continuously offer shares and do not provide daily redemptions. Rather, if a shareholder determines to buy additional common shares or sell shares already held, the shareholder may do so by trading through a broker on the NYSE or otherwise. Shares of closed-end investment companies frequently trade on an exchange at prices lower than NAV. Shares of closed-end investment companies like the Trust have during some periods traded at prices higher than NAV and during other periods have traded at prices lower than NAV. Because the market value of the common shares may be influenced by such factors as dividend levels (which are in turn affected by expenses), call protection on its portfolio securities, dividend stability, portfolio credit quality, the Trust’s NAV, relative demand for and supply of such shares in the market, general market and economic conditions and other factors beyond the control of the Trust, the Trust cannot assure you that common shares will trade at a price equal to or higher than NAV in the future. The common shares are designed primarily for long-term investors and you should not purchase the common shares if you intend to sell them soon after purchase. See “Repurchase of Common Shares” below and “Repurchase of Common Shares” in the SAI.

 

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

 

During Quarter Ended

   NYSE Market Price
Per Common Share
     NAV per Common
Share on Date of

Market Price
     Premium/(Discount) on
Date of

Market Price
    Trading  
     High      Low      High      Low      High     Low     Volume  

March 31, 2020

   $ 35.71      $ 23.44      $ 35.43      $ 25.58        0.79     (8.37 )%      9,910,900  

December 31, 2019

   $ 34.70      $ 31.26      $ 33.12      $ 30.70        4.77     1.82     4,666,501  

September 30, 2019

   $ 34.55      $ 31.84      $ 34.08      $ 31.11        1.38     2.35     4,794,613  

June 30, 2019

   $ 34.46      $ 29.98      $ 32.76      $ 29.97        5.19     0.03     5,589,320  

March 31, 2019

   $ 34.08      $ 27.00      $ 31.80      $ 25.18        7.17     7.23     5,515,904  

December 31, 2018

   $ 35.95      $ 24.50      $ 32.25      $ 24.64        11.47     (0.57 )%      9,847,569  

September 30, 2018

   $ 35.78      $ 32.98      $ 32.62      $ 31.62        9.69     4.30     5,609,686  

June 30, 2018

   $ 35.25      $ 28.98      $ 32.34      $ 28.77        9.00     0.73     7,563,493  

March 31, 2018

   $ 33.00      $ 26.50      $ 31.51      $ 28.28        4.73     (6.29 )%      12,442,543  

As of April 22, 2020, the NAV per common share of the Trust was $31.31 and the market price per common share was $31.51, representing a premium to NAV of 0.64%. Common shares of the Trust have historically traded at both a premium and discount to NAV.

As of March 31, 2020, the Trust has outstanding 23,388,325 common shares.

Preferred Shares

The Agreement and Declaration of Trust provides that the Board may authorize and issue preferred shares, with rights as determined by the Board, by action of the Board without the approval of the holders of the common shares. Holders of common shares have no preemptive right to purchase any preferred shares that might be issued. The Trust does not currently intend to issue preferred shares.

Under the Investment Company Act, the Trust is not permitted to issue preferred shares unless immediately after such issuance the value of the Trust’s total assets is at least 200% of the liquidation value of the outstanding preferred shares (i.e., the liquidation value may not exceed 50% of the Trust’s total assets). In addition, the Trust is not permitted to declare any cash dividend or other distribution on its common shares unless, at the time of such declaration, the value of the Trust’s total assets is at least 200% of such liquidation value. If the Trust issues preferred shares, it may be subject to restrictions imposed by the guidelines of one or more rating agencies that may issue ratings for preferred shares issued by the Trust. These guidelines may impose asset coverage or portfolio composition requirements that are more stringent than those imposed on the Trust by the Investment Company Act. It is not anticipated that these covenants or guidelines would impede the Advisor from managing the Trust’s portfolio in accordance with the Trust’s investment objectives and policies. Please see “Description of Shares” in the SAI for more information.

Authorized Shares

The following table provides the Trust’s authorized shares and common shares outstanding as of March 31, 2020.

 

Title of Class

   Amount Authorized    Amount Held by
Trust or for its
Account
     Amount Outstanding
Exclusive of Amount
held by Trust
 

Common Shares

   Unlimited      12,242,751        23,388,325  

 

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THE TRUST’S INVESTMENTS

Investment Objectives and Policies

Investment Objectives. The Trust’s investment objectives are to provide income and total return through a combination of current income, current gains and long-term capital appreciation. The Trust is not intended as, and you should not construe it to be, a complete investment program. There can be no assurance that the Trust’s investment objectives will be achieved or that the Trust’s investment program will be successful. The Trust’s investment objectives may be changed by the Board without prior shareholder approval.

Investment Strategy. The Advisor may consider a variety of factors when choosing investments for the Trust, such as:

 

   

selecting companies with the potential for rapid and sustainable growth from the development, advancement and use of science and/or technology (high growth science and technology stocks); and

 

   

identifying companies that have above-average return potential based on factors such as revenue and earnings growth, profitability, valuation and dividend yield (cyclical science and technology stocks).

In addition, a variety of countries, including emerging market countries, and industries are likely to be represented in the Trust’s portfolio.

The Trust generally will sell a stock when, in the Advisor’s opinion, the stock is fully valued, there is a need to rebalance the portfolio or there is a better opportunity elsewhere.

The Trust may engage in active and frequent trading of portfolio securities to seek to achieve its investment objectives.

Investment Policies. Under normal market conditions, the Trust invests at least 80% of its total assets in equity securities issued by U.S. and non-U.S. science and technology companies in any market capitalization range, selected for their rapid and sustainable growth potential from the development, advancement and use of science and/or technology (high growth science and technology stocks), and/or potential to generate current income from advantageous dividend yields (cyclical science and technology stocks).

Science and technology companies are companies whose products, processes or services, in the Advisor’s view, are being, or are expected to be, significantly benefited by the use or commercial application of scientific or technological developments or discoveries. These companies include companies that, in the Advisor’s view, derive a competitive advantage by the application of scientific or technological developments or discoveries to grow their business or increase their competitive advantage, as well as companies that utilize science and/or technology as an agent of change to significantly enhance their business opportunities.

Science, technology and science- or technology-related companies may include companies operating in any industry, including, but not limited to software, internet software & services, IT services, hardware, communications equipment, semiconductors and semiconductor equipment, media, internet retail, consumer finance, life sciences tools & services, biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, energy, defense/aerospace, diversified telecom services and wireless telecom services. Examples of potential high growth companies include those operating in IT services, the internet, software and sciences; examples of potential cyclical companies include those operating in hardware, telecom, semiconductors and components. The Advisor determines, in its discretion, whether a company is a science, technology or science- or technology-related company.

The Trust may invest in companies of any market capitalization located anywhere in the world, including companies located in emerging markets. Equity securities in which the Trust may invest include common stocks, preferred stocks, convertible securities, warrants, depositary receipts, exchange-traded funds and equity interests in REITs and MLPs. From time to time, the Trust may invest in shares of companies through IPOs. The Trust may also invest, without limit, in privately placed or restricted securities (including in Rule 144A securities, which are privately placed securities purchased by qualified institutional buyers), illiquid securities and securities in which no secondary market is readily available, including those of private companies. The Trust currently intends to invest up to 25% of its total assets, measured at the time of investment, in companies that do not have a class of securities registered, or that are not subject to periodic reporting, pursuant the Exchange Act. Foreign securities in which the Trust may invest may be U.S. dollar-denominated or non-U.S. dollar-denominated.

 

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The Trust may also invest in securities of other open- or closed-end investment companies, including ETFs and BDCs, subject to applicable regulatory limits, that invest primarily in securities of the types in which the Trust may invest directly. The Trust classifies its investments in such investment companies as “equity securities” for purposes of its investment policies based upon such investment companies’ stated investment objectives, policies and restrictions.

The Trust will concentrate its investments in companies operating in one or more industries within the technology group of industries. See “Investment Objectives and Policies—Investment Restrictions—Fundamental Investment Restrictions” and “—Notations Regarding the Trust’s Fundamental Investment Restrictions” in the SAI for additional information regarding the Trust’s concentration policy.

The Trust may invest up to 20% of its total assets in equity securities issued by companies that are not science or technology companies and in debt securities issued by any issuer, including non-investment grade debt securities. The Trust’s investments in non-investment grade securities and those deemed to be of similar quality are considered speculative with respect to the issuer’s capacity to pay interest and repay principal and are commonly referred to as “junk” or “high yield” securities.

As part of its investment strategy, the Trust intends to employ a strategy of writing (selling) covered call options on a portion of the common stocks in its portfolio, writing (selling) other call and put options on individual common stocks, and, to a lesser extent, writing (selling) call and put index options. This options writing strategy is intended to generate current gains from options premiums and to enhance the Trust’s risk-adjusted returns. A substantial portion of the options written by the Trust may be OTC options.

During temporary defensive periods (i.e., in response to adverse market, economic or political conditions), the Trust may invest up to 100% of its total assets in liquid, short-term investments, including high quality, short-term securities. The Trust may not achieve its investment objectives under these circumstances. See “Investment Policies and Techniques—Cash Equivalents and Short-Term Debt Securities” in the SAI. The Advisor’s determination that it is temporarily unable to follow the Trust’s investment strategy or that it is impractical to do so will generally occur only in situations in which a market disruption event has occurred and where trading in the securities selected through application of the Trust’s investment strategy is extremely limited or absent.

The Trust may invest in structured instruments (such as ELNs) for investment purposes, as an alternative or complement to its options writing strategy or for risk management or leveraging purposes.

The Trust may engage in Strategic Transactions for duration management and other risk management purposes, including to attempt to protect against possible changes in the market value of the Trust’s portfolio resulting from trends in the securities markets and changes in interest rates or to protect the Trust’s unrealized gains in the value of its portfolio securities, to facilitate the sale of portfolio securities for investment purposes, to establish a position in the securities markets as a temporary substitute for purchasing particular securities or to enhance income or gain. See “The Trust’s Investments—Portfolio Contents and Techniques—Strategic Transactions and Other Management Techniques.”

The Trust may lend securities with a value of up to 33 1/3% of its total assets (including such loans) to financial institutions that provide cash or securities issued or guaranteed by the U.S. Government as collateral.

The Trust may also engage in short sales of securities. The Trust will not make a short sale if, after giving effect to such sale, the market value of all securities sold short exceeds 25% of the value of its Managed Assets or the Trust’s aggregate short sales of a particular class of securities exceeds 25% of the outstanding securities of that class. The Trust may make short sales “against the box” without respect to such limitations. In this type of short sale, at the time of the sale the Trust owns or has the immediate and unconditional right to acquire at no additional cost the identical security.

Unless otherwise stated herein or in the SAI, the Trust’s investment policies are non-fundamental policies and may be changed by the Board without prior shareholder approval. The percentage limitations applicable to the Trust’s portfolio described in this Prospectus apply only at the time of initial investment and the Trust will not be required to

 

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sell investments due to subsequent changes in the value of investments that it owns. The Trust’s policy to invest at least 80% of its total assets in equity securities issued by U.S. and non-U.S. science and technology companies in any market capitalization range may be changed by the Board; however, if this policy changes, the Trust will provide shareholders at least 60 days’ written notice before implementation of the change in compliance with SEC rules.

Portfolio Contents and Techniques

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

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

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

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

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

Over time, as the Trust writes covered call options over more of its portfolio, its ability to benefit from capital appreciation on the underlying securities may become more limited, and the Trust will lose money to the extent that it writes covered call options and the securities on which it writes these options appreciate above the exercise price of the option. Therefore, over time, the Advisor may choose to decrease its use of a covered call options writing strategy to the extent that it may negatively impact the Trust’s ability to benefit from capital appreciation.

 

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

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

The following is a conceptual example of a covered call transaction, making the following assumptions: (1) a common stock currently trading at $37.15 per share; (2) a six-month call option is written with a strike price of $40.00 (i.e., 7.7% higher than the current market price); and (3) the writer receives $2.45 (or 6.6%) of the common stock’s value as a premium. This example is not meant to represent the performance of any actual common stock, option contract or the Trust itself and does not reflect any transaction costs of entering into or closing out the option position. Under this scenario, before giving effect to any change in the price of the stock, the covered call writer receives the premium, representing 6.6% of the common stock’s value, regardless of the stock’s performance over the six-month period until option expiration. If the stock remains unchanged, the option will expire and there would be a 6.6% return for the 6-month period. If the stock were to decline in price by 6.6%, the strategy would “break-even” thus offering no gain or loss. If the stock were to climb to a price of $40.00 or above, the option would be exercised and the stock would return 7.7% coupled with the option premium of 6.6% for a total return of 14.3%. Under this scenario, the investor would not benefit from any appreciation of the stock above $40.00, and thus be limited to a 14.3% total return. The premium from writing the covered call option serves to offset some of the unrealized loss on the stock in the event that the price of the stock declines, but if the stock were to decline more than 6.6% under this scenario, the investor’s downside protection is eliminated and the stock could eventually become worthless.

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

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

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

The following is a conceptual example of a put transaction, making the following assumptions: (1) a common stock currently trading at $37.15 per share; (2) a six-month put option written with a strike price of $35.00 (i.e., 94.21% of the current market price); and (3) the writer receives $1.10 or 2.96% of the common stock’s value as a premium. This

 

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example is not meant to represent the performance of any actual common stock, option contract or the Trust itself and does not reflect any transaction costs of entering into or closing out the option position. Under this scenario, before giving effect to any change in the price of the stock, the put writer receives the premium, representing 2.96% of the common stock’s value, regardless of the stock’s performance over the six-month period until the option expires. If the stock remains unchanged, appreciates in value or declines less than 5.79% in value, the option will expire and there would be a 2.96% return for the six-month period. If the stock were to decline by 5.79% or more, the Trust would lose an amount equal to the amount by which the stock’s price declined minus the premium paid to the Trust. The stock’s price could lose its entire value, in which case the Trust would lose $33.90 ($35.00 minus $1.10).

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

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

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

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

Limitation on Options Writing Strategy. The Trust may write put and call options, the notional amount of which would be approximately 10% to 40% of the Trust’s total assets, although this percentage may vary from time to time with market conditions. Under current market conditions, the Trust anticipates writing put and call options, the notional amount of which would be approximately 33% of the Trust’s total assets. The Trust generally writes options that are “out of the money”—in other words, the strike price of a written call option will be greater than the market price of the underlying security on the date that the option is written, or, for a written put option, less than the market price of the underlying security on the date that the option is written; however, the Trust may also write “in the money” options for defensive or other purposes.

The number of put and call options on securities the Trust can write is limited by the total assets the Trust holds, and further limited by the fact that all options represent 100 share lots of the underlying common stock. The Trust’s exchange-listed option transactions will be subject to limitations established by each of the exchanges, boards of trade or other trading facilities on which such options are traded. These limitations govern the maximum number of options in each class which may be written or purchased by a single investor or group of investors acting in concert, regardless

 

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of whether the options are written or purchased on the same or different exchanges, boards of trade or other trading facilities or are held or written in one or more accounts or through one or more brokers. Thus, the number of options which the Trust may write or purchase may be affected by options written or purchased by other investment advisory clients of the Advisor. An exchange, board of trade or other trading facility may order the liquidation of positions found to be in excess of these limits, and it may impose certain other sanctions.

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

A “synthetic” or “manufactured” convertible security may be created by the Trust or by a third party by combining separate securities that possess the two principal characteristics of a traditional convertible security: an income producing component and a convertible component. The income-producing component is achieved by investing in non-convertible, income-producing securities such as bonds, preferred stocks and money market instruments. The convertible component is achieved by investing in securities or instruments such as warrants or options to buy common stock at a certain exercise price, or options on a stock index. Unlike a traditional convertible security, which is a single security having a single market value, a synthetic convertible comprises two or more separate securities, each with its own market value. Because the “market value” of a synthetic convertible security is the sum of the values of its income-producing component and its convertible component, the value of a synthetic convertible security may respond differently to market fluctuations than a traditional convertible security. The Trust also may purchase synthetic convertible securities created by other parties, including convertible structured notes. Convertible structured notes are income-producing debentures linked to equity. Convertible structured notes have the attributes of a convertible security; however, the issuer of the convertible note (typically an investment bank), rather than the issuer of the underlying common stock into which the note is convertible, assumes credit risk associated with the underlying investment and the Trust in turn assumes credit risk associated with the issuer of the convertible note.

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

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

Non-U.S. Securities. The Trust may invest without limit in Non-U.S. Securities. These securities may be U.S. dollar-denominated or non-U.S. dollar-denominated. Some Non-U.S. Securities may be less liquid and more volatile than securities of comparable U.S. issuers. Similarly, there is less volume and liquidity in most foreign securities markets than in the United States and, at times, greater price volatility than in the United States. Because evidence of ownership of such securities usually is held outside the United States, the Trust will be subject to additional risks if it invests in Non-U.S. Securities, which include adverse political and economic developments, seizure or nationalization of foreign deposits and adoption of governmental restrictions which might adversely affect or restrict the payment of principal and interest or dividends on the foreign securities to investors located outside the country of the issuer, whether from currency blockage or otherwise. Non-U.S. Securities may trade on days when the common shares are not priced or traded.

Emerging Markets Investments. The Trust may invest without limitation in securities of issuers located in emerging market countries, including securities denominated in currencies of emerging market countries. Emerging market countries generally include every nation in the world except the United States, Canada, Japan, Australia, New Zealand

 

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and most countries located in Western Europe. These issuers may be subject to risks that do not apply to issuers in larger, more developed countries. These risks are more pronounced to the extent the Trust invests significantly in one country. Less information about emerging market issuers or markets may be available due to less rigorous disclosure and accounting standards or regulatory practices. Emerging markets are smaller, less liquid and more volatile than U.S. markets. In a changing market, the Advisor may not be able to sell the Trust’s portfolio securities in amounts and at prices it considers reasonable. The U.S. dollar may appreciate against non-U.S. currencies or an emerging market government may impose restrictions on currency conversion or trading. The economies of emerging market countries may grow at a slower rate than expected or may experience a downturn or recession. Economic, political and social developments may adversely affect non-U.S. securities markets.

Restricted and Illiquid Investments. The Trust may invest without limitation in illiquid or less liquid investments or investments in which no secondary market is readily available or which are otherwise illiquid, including private placement securities. Liquidity of an investment relates to the ability to dispose easily of the investment and the price to be obtained upon disposition of the investment, which may be less than would be obtained for a comparable more liquid investment. “Illiquid investments” are investments which cannot be sold within seven days in the ordinary course of business at approximately the value used by the Trust in determining its NAV. Illiquid investments may trade at a discount from comparable, more liquid investments. Illiquid investments are subject to legal or contractual restrictions on disposition or lack an established secondary trading market. Investment of the Trust’s assets in illiquid investments may restrict the ability of the Trust to dispose of its investments in a timely fashion and for a fair price as well as its ability to take advantage of market opportunities.

Private Company Investments. At any given time the Trust anticipates making investments in carefully selected private company investments that the Trust may need to hold for several years or longer. The Trust may invest in equity securities or debt securities, including debt securities issued with warrants to purchase equity securities or that are convertible into equity securities, of private companies. The Trust may enter into private company investments identified by the Advisor or may co-invest in private company investment opportunities owned or identified by other third party investors, such as private equity firms, with which neither the Trust nor the Advisor is affiliated. However, the Trust will not invest in private equity funds or other privately offered pooled investment funds.

Other Investment Companies. The Trust may invest in securities of other investment companies (including ETFs and BDCs), subject to applicable regulatory limits, that invest primarily in securities of the types in which the Trust may invest directly. As a shareholder in an investment company, the Trust will bear its ratable share of that investment company’s expenses and will remain subject to payment of the Trust’s advisory and other fees and expenses with respect to assets so invested. Holders of common shares will therefore be subject to duplicative expenses to the extent the Trust invests in other investment companies. The Advisor will take expenses into account when evaluating the investment merits of an investment in an investment company relative to available equity and/or fixed income securities investments. In addition, the securities of other investment companies may be leveraged and will therefore be subject to the same leverage risks to which the Trust may be subject to the extent it employs a leverage strategy. As described in this Prospectus in the sections entitled “Risks” and “Leverage,” the NAV and market value of leveraged shares will be more volatile and the yield to shareholders will tend to fluctuate more than the yield generated by unleveraged shares. Investment companies may have investment policies that differ from those of the Trust. In addition, to the extent the Trust invests in other investment companies, the Trust will be dependent upon the investment and research abilities of persons other than the Advisor.

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

 

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

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

Corporate Bonds. Corporate bonds are debt obligations issued by corporations. Corporate bonds may be either secured or unsecured. Collateral used for secured debt includes real property, machinery, equipment, accounts receivable, stocks, bonds or notes. If a bond is unsecured, it is known as a debenture. Bondholders, as creditors, have a prior legal claim over common and preferred stockholders as to both income and assets of the corporation for the principal and interest due them and may have a prior claim over other creditors if liens or mortgages are involved. Interest on corporate bonds may be fixed or floating, or the bonds may be zero coupons. Interest on corporate bonds is typically paid semi-annually and is fully taxable to the bondholder. Corporate bonds contain elements of both interest rate risk and credit risk. The market value of a corporate bond generally may be expected to rise and fall inversely with interest rates and may also be affected by the credit rating of the corporation, the corporation’s performance and perceptions of the corporation in the marketplace. Corporate bonds usually yield more than government or agency bonds due to the presence of credit risk.

High Yield Securities. Subject to its investment policies, the Trust may invest without limit in securities rated, at the time of investment, below investment grade quality such as those rated Ba or below by Moody’s Investor’s Service, Inc. (“Moody’s”), BB or below by S&P Global Ratings (“S&P”) or Fitch Ratings, Inc. (“Fitch”), or securities comparably rated by other rating agencies or in unrated securities determined by the Advisor to be of comparable quality. Such securities, sometimes referred to as “high yield” or “junk” bonds, are predominantly speculative with respect to the capacity to pay interest and repay principal in accordance with the terms of the security and generally involve greater price volatility than securities in higher rating categories. Often the protection of interest and principal payments with respect to such securities may be very moderate and issuers of such securities face major ongoing uncertainties or exposure to adverse business, financial or economic conditions which could lead to inadequate capacity to meet timely interest and principal payments.

 

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

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

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

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

Distressed and Defaulted Securities. The Trust may invest in the securities of financially distressed and bankrupt issuers, including debt obligations that are in covenant or payment default. Such investments generally trade significantly below par and are considered speculative. The repayment of defaulted obligations is subject to significant uncertainties. Defaulted obligations might be repaid only after lengthy workout or bankruptcy proceedings, during which the issuer might not make any interest or other payments. Typically such workout or bankruptcy proceedings result in only partial recovery of cash payments or an exchange of the defaulted obligation for other debt or equity securities of the issuer or its affiliates, which may in turn be illiquid or speculative.

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

Structured Instruments. The Trust may use structured instruments for investment purposes, for risk management purposes, such as to reduce the duration and interest rate sensitivity of the Trust’s portfolio, for leveraging purposes and, with respect to certain structured instruments, as an alternative or complement to its options writing strategy. While structured instruments may offer the potential for a favorable rate of return from time to time, they also entail certain risks. Structured instruments may be less liquid than other securities and the price of structured instruments may be more volatile. In some cases, depending on the terms of the embedded index, a structured instrument may provide that the principal and/or interest payments may be adjusted below zero. Structured instruments also may involve significant credit risk and risk of default by the counterparty. Structured instruments may also be illiquid. Like other sophisticated strategies, the Trust’s use of structured instruments may not work as intended.

Structured Notes. The Trust may invest in “structured” notes and other related instruments, which are privately negotiated debt obligations in which the principal and/or interest is determined by reference to the performance of a benchmark asset, market or interest rate (an “embedded index”), such as selected securities, an index of securities or specified interest rates, or the differential performance of two assets or markets. Structured instruments may be issued by corporations, including banks, as well as by governmental agencies. Structured instruments frequently are

 

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assembled in the form of medium-term notes, but a variety of forms are available and may be used in particular circumstances. The terms of such structured instruments normally provide that their principal and/or interest payments are to be adjusted upwards or downwards (but ordinarily not below zero) to reflect changes in the embedded index while the structured instruments are outstanding. As a result, the interest and/or principal payments that may be made on a structured product may vary widely, depending on a variety of factors, including the volatility of the embedded index and the effect of changes in the embedded index on principal and/or interest payments. The rate of return on structured notes may be determined by applying a multiplier to the performance or differential performance of the referenced index(es) or other asset(s). Application of a multiplier involves leverage that will serve to magnify the potential for gain and the risk of loss.

Equity-Linked Notes. ELNs are hybrid securities with characteristics of both fixed-income and equity securities. An ELN is a debt instrument, usually a bond, that pays interest based upon the performance of an underlying equity, which can be a single stock, basket of stocks or an equity index. Instead of paying a predetermined coupon, ELNs link the interest payment to the performance of a particular equity market index or basket of stocks or commodities. The interest payment is typically based on the percentage increase in an index from a predetermined level, but alternatively may be based on a decrease in the index. The interest payment may in some cases be leveraged so that, in percentage terms, it exceeds the relative performance of the market. ELNs generally are subject to the risks associated with the securities of equity issuers, default risk and counterparty risk.

In particular, the Trust may invest in ELNs as an alternative or complement to its options writing strategy. The features of ELNs described above closely replicate the income and return stream associated with single stock covered call options, and permit the Trust to receive interest income instead of the capital gains treatment that results from the implementation of its options strategy, which the Trust believes may be advantageous in certain circumstances.

Credit Linked Notes. A credit-linked note (“CLN”) is a derivative instrument. It is a synthetic obligation between two or more parties where the payment of principal and/or interest is based on the performance of some obligation (a reference obligation). In addition to the credit risk of the reference obligations and interest rate risk, the buyer/seller of the CLN is subject to counterparty risk.

Event-Linked Securities. The Trust may obtain event-linked exposure by investing in “event-linked bonds” or “event-linked swaps” or by implementing “event-linked strategies.” Event-linked exposure results in gains or losses that typically are contingent upon, or formulaically related to, defined trigger events. Examples of trigger events include hurricanes, earthquakes, weather-related phenomena or statistics relating to such events. Some event-linked bonds are commonly referred to as “catastrophe bonds.” If a trigger event occurs, the Trust may lose a portion of or its entire principal invested in the bond or the entire notional amount of a swap. Event-linked exposure often provides for an extension of maturity to process and audit loss claims when a trigger event has, or possibly has, occurred. An extension of maturity may increase volatility. Event-linked exposure may also expose the Trust to certain other risks including credit risk, counterparty risk, adverse regulatory or jurisdictional interpretations and adverse tax consequences. Event-linked exposures may also be subject to illiquidity risk.

Strategic Transactions and Other Management Techniques. In addition to the options strategy discussed above, the Trust may use a variety of other investment management techniques and instruments. The Trust may purchase and sell futures contracts, enter into various interest rate transactions such as swaps, caps, floors or collars, currency transactions such as currency forward contracts, currency futures contracts, currency swaps or options on currency or currency futures and swap contracts (including, but not limited to, credit default swaps) and may purchase and sell exchange-listed and OTC put and call options on securities and swap contracts, financial indices and futures contracts and use other derivative instruments or management techniques. These Strategic Transactions may be used for duration management and other risk management purposes, including to attempt to protect against possible changes in the market value of the Trust’s portfolio resulting from trends in the securities markets and changes in interest rates or to protect the Trust’s unrealized gains in the value of its portfolio securities, to facilitate the sale of portfolio securities for investment purposes, to establish a position in the securities markets as a temporary substitute for purchasing particular securities or to enhance income or gain. There is no particular strategy that requires use of one technique rather than another as the decision to use any particular strategy or instrument is a function of market conditions and the composition of the portfolio. The use of Strategic Transactions to enhance current income may be particularly speculative. The ability of the Trust to use Strategic Transactions successfully will depend on the Advisor’s ability to predict pertinent market movements as well as sufficient correlation among the instruments, which cannot be assured. The use of Strategic Transactions may result in losses greater than if they had not been used, may

 

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require the Trust to sell or purchase portfolio securities at inopportune times or for prices other than current market values, may limit the amount of appreciation the Trust can realize on an investment or may cause the Trust to hold a security that it might otherwise sell. Inasmuch as any obligations of the Trust that arise from the use of Strategic Transactions will be covered by segregated or earmarked liquid assets or offsetting transactions, the Trust and the Advisor believe such obligations do not constitute senior securities and, accordingly, will not treat such transactions as being subject to its borrowing restrictions. See “Leverage.” Additionally, segregated or earmarked liquid assets, amounts paid by the Trust as premiums and cash or other assets held in margin accounts with respect to Strategic Transactions are not otherwise available to the Trust for investment purposes. The SAI contains further information about the characteristics, risks and possible benefits of Strategic Transactions and the Trust’s other policies and limitations (which are not fundamental policies) relating to Strategic Transactions. Certain provisions of the Code may restrict or affect the ability of the Trust to engage in Strategic Transactions. In addition, the use of certain Strategic Transactions may give rise to taxable income and have certain other consequences. See “Risks—Strategic Transactions and Derivatives Risk.”

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

Interest Rate Transactions. The Trust may enter into interest rate swaps and purchase or sell interest rate caps and floors. The Trust expects to enter into these transactions primarily to preserve a return or spread on a particular investment or portion of its portfolio, as a duration management technique, to protect against any increase in the price of securities the Trust anticipates purchasing at a later date and/or to hedge against increases in the Trust’s costs associated with its leverage strategy. The Trust will ordinarily use these transactions as a hedge or for duration and risk management although it is permitted to enter into them to enhance income or gain. Interest rate swaps involve the exchange by the Trust with another party of their respective commitments to pay or receive interest (e.g., an exchange of floating rate payments for fixed rate payments with respect to a notional amount of principal). The purchase of an interest rate cap entitles the purchaser, to the extent that the level of a specified interest rate exceeds a predetermined interest rate (i.e., the strike price), to receive payments of interest on a notional principal amount from the party selling such interest rate cap. The purchase of an interest rate floor entitles the purchaser, to the extent that the level of a specified interest rate falls below a predetermined interest rate (i.e., the strike price), to receive payments of interest on a notional principal amount from the party selling such interest rate floor.

For example, if the Trust holds a debt instrument with an interest rate that is reset only once each year, it may swap the right to receive interest at this fixed rate for the right to receive interest at a rate that is reset every week. This would enable the Trust to offset a decline in the value of the debt instrument due to rising interest rates but would also limit its ability to benefit from falling interest rates. Conversely, if the Trust holds a debt instrument with an interest rate that is reset every week and it would like to lock in what it believes to be a high interest rate for one year, it may swap the right to receive interest at this variable weekly rate for the right to receive interest at a rate that is fixed for one year. Such a swap would protect the Trust from a reduction in yield due to falling interest rates and may permit the Trust to enhance its income through the positive differential between one week and one year interest rates, but would preclude it from taking full advantage of rising interest rates.

 

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The Trust may hedge both its assets and liabilities through interest rate swaps, caps and floors. Usually, payments with respect to interest rate swaps will be made on a net basis (i.e., the two payment streams are netted out) with the Trust receiving or paying, as the case may be, only the net amount of the two payments on the payment dates. The Trust will accrue the net amount of the excess, if any, of the Trust’s obligations over its entitlements with respect to each interest rate swap on a daily basis and will segregate with a custodian or designate on its books and records an amount of cash or liquid assets having an aggregate NAV at all times at least equal to the accrued excess. If there is a default by the other party to an uncleared interest rate swap transaction, generally the Trust will have contractual remedies pursuant to the agreements related to the transaction. With respect to interest rate swap transactions cleared through a central clearing counterparty, a clearing organization will be substituted for the counterparty and will guaranty the parties’ performance under the swap agreement. However, there can be no assurance that the clearing organization will satisfy its obligation to the Trust or that the Trust would be able to recover the full amount of assets deposited on its behalf with the clearing organization in the event of the default by the clearing organization or the Trust’s clearing broker. Certain U.S. federal income tax requirements may limit the Trust’s ability to engage in interest rate swaps. Distributions attributable to transactions in interest rate swaps generally will be taxable as ordinary income to shareholders.

Credit Default Swaps. Subject to its investment policies, the Trust may enter into credit default swap agreements without limit. The credit default swap agreement may have as reference obligations one or more securities that are not currently held by the Trust. The protection “buyer” in a credit default contract may be obligated to pay the protection “seller” an upfront or a periodic stream of payments over the term of the contract, provided that no credit event on the reference obligation occurs. If a credit event occurs, the seller generally must pay the buyer the “par value” (full notional amount) of the swap in exchange for an equal face amount of deliverable obligations of the reference entity described in the swap, or if the swap is cash settled the seller may be required to deliver the related net cash amount (the difference between the market value of the reference obligation and its par value). The Trust may be either the buyer or seller in the transaction. If the Trust is a buyer and no credit event occurs, the Trust will generally receive no payments from its counterparty under the swap if the swap is held through its termination date. However, if a credit event occurs, the buyer generally may elect to receive the full notional amount of the swap in exchange for an equal face amount of deliverable obligations of the reference entity, the value of which may have significantly decreased. As a seller, the Trust generally receives an upfront payment or a fixed rate of income throughout the term of the swap, which typically is between six months and three years, provided that there is no credit event. If a credit event occurs, generally the seller must pay the buyer the full notional amount of the swap in exchange for an equal face amount of deliverable obligations of the reference entity, the value of which may have significantly decreased. As the seller, the Trust would effectively add leverage to its portfolio because, in addition to its Managed Assets, the Trust would be subject to investment exposure on the notional amount of the swap.

Credit default swap agreements involve greater risks than if the Trust had taken a position in the reference obligation directly (either by purchasing or selling) since, in addition to general market risks, credit default swaps are subject to illiquidity risk, counterparty risk and credit risks. A buyer generally will also lose its upfront payment or any periodic payments it makes to the seller counterparty and receive no payments from its counterparty should no credit event occur and the swap is held to its termination date. If a credit event were to occur, the value of any deliverable obligation received by the seller, coupled with the upfront or periodic payments previously received, may be less than the full notional amount it pays to the buyer, resulting in a loss of value to the seller. A seller of a credit default swap or similar instrument is exposed to many of the same risks of leverage since, if a credit event occurs, the seller generally will be required to pay the buyer the full notional amount of the contract net of any amounts owed by the buyer related to its delivery of deliverable obligations. The Trust’s obligations under a credit default swap agreement will be accrued daily (offset against any amounts owed to the Trust). The Trust will at all times segregate or designate on its books and records in connection with each such transaction liquid assets or cash with a value at least equal to the Trust’s exposure (any accrued but unpaid net amounts owed by the Trust to any counterparty) on a marked-to-market basis (as required by the clearing organization with respect to cleared swaps or as calculated pursuant to requirements of the SEC). If the Trust is a seller of protection in a credit default swap transaction, it will designate on its books and records in connection with such transaction liquid assets or cash with a value at least equal to the full notional amount of the contract. Such designation will ensure that the Trust has assets available to satisfy its obligations with respect to the transaction and will avoid any potential leveraging of the Trust’s portfolio. Such designation will not limit the Trust’s exposure to loss.

 

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In addition, the credit derivatives market is subject to a changing regulatory environment. It is possible that regulatory or other developments in the credit derivatives market could adversely affect the Trust’s ability to successfully use credit derivatives.

Indexed and Inverse Securities. The Trust may invest in securities the potential return of which is based on the change in a specified interest rate or equity index (an “indexed security”). For example, the Trust may invest in a security that pays a variable amount of interest or principal based on the current level of the French or Korean stock markets. The Trust may also invest in securities whose return is inversely related to changes in an interest rate or index (“inverse securities”). In general, the return on inverse securities will decrease when the underlying index or interest rate goes up and increase when that index or interest rate goes down.

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

A purchase and sale contract is similar to a repurchase agreement, but differs from a repurchase agreement in that the contract arrangements stipulate that the securities are owned by the Trust. In the event of a default under such a repurchase agreement or a purchase and sale contract, instead of the contractual fixed rate of return, the rate of return to the Trust will be dependent upon intervening fluctuations of the market value of such security and the accrued interest on the security. In such event, the Trust would have rights against the seller for breach of contract with respect to any losses arising from market fluctuations following the failure of the seller to perform.

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

When-Issued, Delayed Delivery and Forward Commitment Securities. The Trust may purchase securities on a “when-issued” basis and may purchase or sell securities on a “forward commitment” basis (including on a “TBA” (to be announced) basis) or on a “delayed delivery” basis. When such transactions are negotiated, the price, which is generally expressed in yield terms, is fixed at the time the commitment is made, but delivery and payment for the securities take place at a later date. When-issued securities and forward commitments may be sold prior to the settlement date. If the Trust disposes of the right to acquire a when-issued security prior to its acquisition or disposes of its right to deliver or receive against a forward commitment, it might incur a gain or loss. At the time the Trust enters into a transaction on a when-issued or forward commitment basis, it will designate on its books and records cash or liquid assets with a value not less than the value of the when-issued or forward commitment securities. The value of these assets will be monitored daily to ensure that their marked to market value will at all times equal or exceed the corresponding obligations of the Trust. Pursuant to recommendations of the Treasury Market Practices Group, which is sponsored by the Federal Reserve Board of New York, the Trust or its counterparty generally is required to post collateral when entering into certain forward-settling transactions, including without limitation TBA transactions.

 

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There is always a risk that the securities may not be delivered and that the Trust may incur a loss. Settlements in the ordinary course are not treated by the Trust as when-issued or forward commitment transactions and accordingly are not subject to the foregoing restrictions.

Counterparty Credit Standards. To the extent that the Trust engages in principal transactions, including, but not limited to, OTC options, forward currency transactions, swap transactions, repurchase and reverse repurchase agreements and the purchase and sale of bonds and other fixed income securities, it must rely on the creditworthiness of its counterparties under such transactions. In certain instances, the credit risk of a counterparty is increased by the lack of a central clearing house for certain transactions, including certain swap contracts. In the event of the insolvency of a counterparty, the Trust may not be able to recover its assets, in full or at all, during the insolvency process. Counterparties to investments may have no obligation to make markets in such investments and may have the ability to apply essentially discretionary margin and credit requirements. Similarly, the Trust will be subject to the risk of bankruptcy of, or the inability or refusal to perform with respect to such investments by, the counterparties with which it deals. The Advisor will seek to minimize the Trust’s exposure to counterparty risk by entering into such transactions with counterparties the Advisor believes to be creditworthy at the time it enters into the transaction. Certain option transactions and Strategic Transactions may require the Trust to provide collateral to secure its performance obligations under a contract, which would also entail counterparty credit risk.

LEVERAGE

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

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

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

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

 

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Credit Facility

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

Reverse Repurchase Agreements

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

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

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

Dollar Roll Transactions

The Trust may enter into “dollar roll” transactions. In a dollar roll transaction, the Trust sells a mortgage related or other security to a dealer and simultaneously agrees to repurchase a similar security (but not the same security) in the future at a pre-determined price. A dollar roll transaction can be viewed, like a reverse repurchase agreement, as a

 

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collateralized borrowing in which the Trust pledges a mortgage related security to a dealer to obtain cash. However, unlike reverse repurchase agreements, the dealer with which the Trust enters into a dollar roll transaction is not obligated to return the same securities as those originally sold by the Trust, but rather only securities which are “substantially identical,” which generally means that the securities repurchased will bear the same interest rate and a similar maturity as those sold, but the pools of mortgages collateralizing those securities may have different prepayment histories than those sold.

During the period between the sale and repurchase, the Trust will not be entitled to receive interest and principal payments on the securities sold. Proceeds of the sale will be invested in additional instruments for the Trust and the income from these investments will generate income for the Trust. If such income does not exceed the income, capital appreciation and gain that would have been realized on the securities sold as part of the dollar roll, the use of this technique will diminish the investment performance of the Trust compared with what the performance would have been without the use of dollar rolls.

At the time the Trust enters into a dollar roll transaction, it may establish and maintain a segregated account with the custodian containing, or designate on its books and records, cash and/or liquid assets having a value not less than the repurchase price (including accrued interest). If the Trust establishes and maintains such a segregated account, or earmarks such assets as described, a dollar roll transaction will not be considered a senior security under the Investment Company Act and therefore will not be considered a borrowing by the Trust; however, under certain circumstances in which the Trust does not establish and maintain such a segregated account, or earmark such assets on its books and records, such dollar roll transaction will be considered a borrowing for the purpose of the Trust’s limitation on borrowings discussed above.

Dollar roll transactions involve the risk that the market value of the securities the Trust is required to purchase may decline below the agreed upon repurchase price of those securities. The Trust’s right to purchase or repurchase securities may be restricted. Successful use of mortgage dollar rolls may depend upon the investment manager’s ability to correctly predict interest rates and prepayments. There is no assurance that dollar rolls can be successfully employed.

Preferred Shares

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

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

If preferred shares are issued, the Trust may, to the extent possible, purchase or redeem preferred shares from time to time to the extent necessary in order to maintain asset coverage of any preferred shares of at least 200%. In addition, as a condition to obtaining ratings on the preferred shares, the terms of any preferred shares issued are expected to include asset coverage maintenance provisions which will require the redemption of the preferred shares in the event of non-compliance by the Trust and may also prohibit dividends and other distributions on the common shares in such circumstances. In order to meet redemption requirements, the Trust may have to liquidate portfolio securities. Such liquidations and redemptions would cause the Trust to incur related transaction costs and could result in capital losses

 

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to the Trust. Prohibitions on dividends and other distributions on the common shares could impair the Trust’s ability to qualify as a RIC under the Code. If the Trust has preferred shares outstanding, two of the Trustees will be elected by the holders of preferred shares voting separately as a class. The remaining Trustees will be elected by holders of common shares and preferred shares voting together as a single class. In the event the Trust failed to pay dividends on preferred shares for two years, holders of preferred shares would be entitled to elect a majority of the Trustees.

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

Derivatives

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

To the extent the terms of such transactions obligate the Trust to make payments, the Trust may earmark or segregate cash or liquid assets in an amount at least equal to the current value of the amount then payable by the Trust under the terms of such transactions or otherwise cover such transactions in accordance with applicable interpretations of the staff of the SEC. If the current value of the amount then payable by the Trust under the terms of such transactions is represented by the notional amounts of such investments, the Trust would segregate or earmark cash or liquid assets having a market value at least equal to such notional amounts, and if the current value of the amount then payable by the Trust under the terms of such transactions is represented by the market value of the Trust’s current obligations, the Trust would segregate or earmark cash or liquid assets having a market value at least equal to such current obligations. To the extent the terms of such transactions obligate the Trust to deliver particular securities to extinguish the Trust’s obligations under such transactions the Trust may “cover” its obligations under such transactions by either (i) owning the securities or collateral underlying such transactions or (ii) having an absolute and immediate right to acquire such securities or collateral without additional cash consideration (or, if additional cash consideration is required, having earmarked or segregated an appropriate amount of cash or liquid assets). Such earmarking, segregation or cover is intended to provide the Trust with available assets to satisfy its obligations under such transactions. As a result of such earmarking, segregation or cover, the Trust’s obligations under such transactions will not be considered senior securities representing indebtedness for purposes of the Investment Company Act, or considered borrowings subject to the Trust’s limitations on borrowings discussed above, but may create leverage for the Trust. To the extent that the Trust’s obligations under such transactions are not so earmarked, segregated or covered, such obligations may be considered “senior securities representing indebtedness” under the Investment Company Act and therefore subject to the 300% asset coverage requirement.

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

Temporary Borrowings

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

RISKS

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

 

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Non-Diversified Status

The Trust is a non-diversified fund. As defined in the Investment Company Act, a non-diversified fund may have a significant part of its investments in a smaller number of issuers than can a diversified fund. Having a larger percentage of assets in a smaller number of issuers makes a non-diversified fund, like the Trust, more susceptible to the risk that one single event or occurrence can have a significant adverse impact upon the Trust.

Investment and Market Discount Risk

An investment in the Trust’s common shares is subject to investment risk, including the possible loss of the entire amount that you invest. As with any stock, the price of the Trust’s common shares will fluctuate with market conditions and other factors. If shares are sold, the price received may be more or less than the original investment. Common shares are designed for long-term investors and the Trust should not be treated as a trading vehicle. Shares of closed-end management investment companies frequently trade at a discount from their NAV. This risk is separate and distinct from the risk that the Trust’s NAV could decrease as a result of its investment activities. At any point in time an investment in the Trust’s common shares may be worth less than the original amount invested, even after taking into account distributions paid by the Trust. During periods in which the Trust may use leverage, the Trust’s investment, market discount and certain other risks will be magnified.

Science and Technology Risk

The Trust’s investment policies, including its fundamental policy of concentrating its investments in companies operating in one or more industries within the technology group of industries, and investment focus may subject it to more risks than funds that are more broadly diversified over companies with differing characteristics and operating in numerous sectors of the economy. General changes in market sentiment towards science and technology companies may adversely affect the Trust, and the performance of science and technology companies may lag behind the broader market as a whole. Also, the Trust’s investments may subject it to a variety of risks, including the following, which may cause the value of the common shares of the Trust to fluctuate significantly over relatively short periods of time:

Technology Company Risk. The market prices of technology and technology-related stocks tend to exhibit a greater degree of market risk and price volatility than other types of investments. These stocks may fall in and out of favor with investors rapidly, which may cause sudden selling and dramatically lower market prices. These stocks also may be affected adversely by changes in technology, consumer and business purchasing patterns, short product cycles, falling prices and profits, government regulation, lack of standardization or compatibility with existing technologies, intense competition, aggressive pricing, dependence on copyright and/or patent protection and/or obsolete products or services. Certain technology-related companies may face special risks that their products or services may not prove to be commercially successful. Technology-related companies are also strongly affected by worldwide scientific or technological developments. As a result, their products may rapidly become obsolete. Such companies are also often subject to governmental regulation and may, therefore, be adversely affected by governmental policies. In addition, a rising interest rate environment tends to negatively affect technology and technology-related companies. In such an environment, those companies with high market valuations may appear less attractive to investors, which may cause sharp decreases in the companies’ market prices. Further, those technology or technology-related companies seeking to finance their expansion would have increased borrowing costs, which may negatively impact their earnings. As a result, these factors may negatively affect the performance of the Trust. Finally, the Trust may be susceptible to factors affecting the technology and technology-related industries, and the Trust’s NAV may fluctuate more than a fund that invests in a wider range of industries. Technology and technology-related companies are often smaller and less experienced companies and may be subject to greater risks than larger companies, such as limited product lines, markets and financial and managerial resources. These risks may be heightened for technology companies in foreign markets.

Telecommunications Company Risk. The telecommunications industry today includes both traditional telephone companies, with a history of broad market coverage and highly regulated businesses, and cable companies, which began as small, lightly regulated businesses focused on limited markets. Today these two historically different businesses are converging in an industry that is trending toward larger, competitive national and international markets with an emphasis on deregulation. Companies that distribute telephone services and provide access to the telephone networks still comprise the greatest portion of this segment, but non-regulated activities such as wireless telephone services, paging, data transmission and processing, equipment retailing, computer software and hardware and internet

 

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services are becoming increasingly significant components as well. In particular, wireless and internet telephone services continue to gain market share at the expense of traditional telephone companies. The presence of unregulated companies in this industry and the entry of traditional telephone companies into unregulated or less regulated businesses provide significant investment opportunities with companies that may increase their earnings at faster rates than had been allowed in traditional regulated businesses. Still, increasing competition, technological innovations and other structural changes could adversely affect the profitability of such companies and the growth rate of their dividends. Given mergers and proposed legislation and enforcement changes, it is likely that both traditional telephone companies and cable companies will continue to provide an expanding range of services to both residential, corporate and governmental customers.

Additionally, telecommunications companies can be adversely affected by, among other things, changes in government regulation, intense competition, dependency on patent protection, significant capital expenditures, heavy debt burdens and rapid obsolescence of products and services due to product compatibility or changing consumer preferences.

Life Sciences Industries Risk. Life sciences industries are characterized by limited product focus, rapidly changing technology and extensive government regulation. In particular, technological advances can render an existing product, which may account for a disproportionate share of a company’s revenue, obsolete. Obtaining governmental approval from agencies such as the FDA, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and other governmental agencies for new products can be lengthy, expensive and uncertain as to outcome. Any delays in product development may result in the need to seek additional capital, potentially diluting the interests of existing investors such as the Trust. In addition, governmental agencies may, for a variety of reasons, restrict the release of certain innovative technologies of commercial significance, such as genetically altered material. These various factors may result in abrupt advances and declines in the securities prices of particular companies and, in some cases, may have a broad effect on the prices of securities of companies in particular life sciences industries.

Intense competition exists within and among certain life sciences industries, including competition to obtain and sustain proprietary technology protection. Life sciences companies can be highly dependent on the strength of patents, trademarks and other intellectual property rights for maintenance of profit margins and market share. The complex nature of the technologies involved can lead to patent disputes, including litigation that may be costly and that could result in a company losing an exclusive right to a patent. Competitors of life sciences companies may have substantially greater financial resources, more extensive development, manufacturing, marketing and service capabilities, and a larger number of qualified managerial and technical personnel. Such competitors may succeed in developing technologies and products that are more effective or less costly than any that may be developed by life sciences companies in which the Trust invests and may also prove to be more successful in production and marketing. Competition may increase further as a result of potential advances in health services and medical technology and greater availability of capital for investment in these fields.

With respect to healthcare, cost containment measures already implemented by the federal government, state governments and the private sector have adversely affected certain sectors of these industries. If not repealed, the implementation of the ACA may create increased demand for healthcare products and services but also may have an adverse effect on some companies in the health sciences industry. Increased emphasis on managed care in the United States may put pressure on the price and usage of products sold by life sciences companies in which the Trust may invest and may adversely affect the sales and revenues of life sciences companies. In addition, the restructuring or repeal of the ACA may result in lower utilization of life science and tools products and services. A reduction in the research budget of the National Institutes of Health may also result in reduced annual research outlays and adversely impact the demand for life science and tools products and services.

Product development efforts by life sciences companies may not result in commercial products for many reasons, including, but not limited to, failure to achieve acceptable clinical trial results, limited effectiveness in treating the specified condition or illness, harmful side effects, failure to obtain regulatory approval, and high manufacturing costs. Even after a product is commercially released, governmental agencies may require additional clinical trials or change the labeling requirements for products if additional product side effects are identified, which could have a material adverse effect on the market price of the securities of those life sciences companies.

Certain life sciences companies in which the Trust may invest may be exposed to potential product liability risks that are inherent in the testing, manufacturing, marketing and sale of pharmaceuticals, medical devices or other products. There can be no assurances that a product liability claim would not have a material adverse effect on the business, financial condition or securities prices of a company in which the Trust has invested.

 

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Biotechnology Company Risk. The success of biotechnology companies is highly dependent on the development, procurement and/or marketing of drugs. The values of biotechnology companies are also dependent on the development, protection and exploitation of intellectual property rights and other proprietary information, and the profitability of biotechnology companies may be significantly affected by such things as the expiration of patents or the loss of, or the inability to enforce, intellectual property rights.

The research and other costs associated with developing or procuring new drugs, products or technologies and the related intellectual property rights can be significant, and the results of such research and expenditures are unpredictable. There can be no assurance that those efforts or costs will result in the development of a profitable drug, product or technology. Moreover, the process for obtaining regulatory approval by the FDA or other governmental regulatory authorities is long and costly and there can be no assurance that the necessary approvals will be obtained or maintained.

Biotechnology companies are also subject to rapid and significant technological change and competitive forces that may make drugs, products or technologies obsolete or make it difficult to raise prices and, in fact, may result in price discounting. Biotechnology companies may also be subject to expenses and losses from extensive litigation based on intellectual property, product liability and similar claims. Failure of biotechnology companies to comply with applicable laws and regulations can result in the imposition of civil and/or criminal fines, penalties and, in some instances, exclusion of participation in government sponsored programs such as Medicare and Medicaid.

Biotechnology companies may be adversely affected by government regulation and changes in reimbursement rates. Healthcare providers, principally hospitals, that transact with biotechnology companies, often rely on third party payors, such as Medicare, Medicaid, private health insurance plans and health maintenance organizations to reimburse all or a portion of the cost of healthcare related products or services.

Biotechnology companies will continue to be affected by the efforts of governments and third party payors to contain or reduce health care costs. For example, certain foreign markets control pricing or profitability of biotechnology products and technologies. In the United States, there has been, and there will likely continue to be, a number of federal and state proposals to implement similar controls.

A biotechnology company’s valuation could be based on the potential or actual performance of a limited number of products. A biotechnology company’s valuation could be affected if one of its products proves unsafe, ineffective or unprofitable. Such companies may also be characterized by thin capitalization and limited markets, financial resources or personnel. The stock prices of companies involved in the biotechnology sector have been and will likely continue to be extremely volatile.

Pharmaceutical Company Risk. The success of pharmaceutical companies is highly dependent on the development, procurement and marketing of drugs. The values of pharmaceutical companies are also dependent on the development, protection and exploitation of intellectual property rights and other proprietary information, and the profitability of pharmaceutical companies may be significantly affected by such things as the expiration of patents or the loss of, or the inability to enforce, intellectual property rights.

The research and other costs associated with developing or procuring new drugs and the related intellectual property rights can be significant, and the results of such research and expenditures are unpredictable. There can be no assurance that those efforts or costs will result in the development of a profitable drug. Pharmaceutical companies may be susceptible to product obsolescence. Many pharmaceutical companies face intense competition from new products and less costly generic products. Moreover, the process for obtaining regulatory approval by the FDA or other governmental regulatory authorities is long and costly and there can be no assurance that the necessary approvals will be obtained or maintained.

Pharmaceutical companies are also subject to rapid and significant technological change and competitive forces that may make drugs obsolete or make it difficult to raise prices and, in fact, may result in price discounting. Pharmaceutical companies may also be subject to expenses and losses from extensive litigation based on intellectual property, product liability and similar claims. Failure of pharmaceutical companies to comply with applicable laws and regulations can result in the imposition of civil and criminal fines, penalties and, in some instances, exclusion of participation in government sponsored programs such as Medicare and Medicaid.

 

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Pharmaceutical companies may be adversely affected by government regulation and changes in reimbursement rates. The ability of many pharmaceutical companies to commercialize current and any future products depends in part on the extent to which reimbursement for the cost of such products and related treatments are available from third party payors, such as Medicare, Medicaid, private health insurance plans and health maintenance organizations. Third-party payors are increasingly challenging the price and cost-effectiveness of medical products.

Significant uncertainty exists as to the reimbursement status of health care products, and there can be no assurance that adequate third-party coverage will be available for pharmaceutical companies to obtain satisfactory price levels for their products.

The international operations of many pharmaceutical companies expose them to risks associated with instability and changes in economic and political conditions, foreign currency fluctuations, changes in foreign regulations and other risks inherent to international business. Additionally, a pharmaceutical company’s valuation can often be based largely on the potential or actual performance of a limited number of products. A pharmaceutical company’s valuation can also be greatly affected if one of its products proves unsafe, ineffective or unprofitable. Such companies also may be characterized by thin capitalization and limited markets, financial resources or personnel, as well as dependence on wholesale distributors. The stock prices of companies in the pharmaceutical industry have been and will likely continue to be extremely volatile.

Industrial Products, Services and Equipment Company Risk. Industrial products, services and equipment companies may include manufacturers of civil or military aerospace and defense equipment, building components and home improvement products and equipment, civil engineering firms and large-scale contractors, companies producing electrical components or equipment, manufacturers of industrial machinery and industrial components and products, providers of commercial printing services, and companies providing transportation services. Industrial products, services and equipment companies can be significantly affected by general economic trends, changes in consumer sentiment and spending, commodity prices, technological obsolescence, labor relations, legislation, government regulations and spending, import controls, and worldwide competition, and can be subject to liability for environmental damage, depletion of resources, and mandated expenditures for safety and pollution control.

Media Company Risk. Companies engaged in the design, production or distribution of goods or services for the media industry may become obsolete quickly. Media companies are subject to risks that include cyclicality of revenues and earnings, a decrease in the discretionary income of targeted individuals, changing consumer tastes and interests, fierce competition in the industry and the potential for increased government regulation. Media company revenues largely are dependent on advertising spending. A weakening general economy or a shift from online to other forms of advertising may lead to a reduction in discretionary spending on online advertising. Competitive pressures and government regulation can significantly affect media companies. Additionally, intellectual property rights are very important to many media companies and the expiration of intellectual property rights or other events that adversely affect a media company’s intellectual property rights may materially and adversely affect the value of its securities.

Consumer Finance Company Risk. Consumer finance companies can be significantly affected by changing economic conditions, demand for consumer loans, refinancing activity and intense competition. Profitability can be largely dependent on the availability and cost of capital and the rate of consumer debt defaults, and can fluctuate significantly when interest rates change. Profitability can in particular be adversely impacted during periods of rising interest rates. Financial difficulties of borrowers can negatively affect consumer finance companies. Consumer finance companies are subject to extensive government regulation, which can change frequently and may adversely affect the scope of their activities, the prices they can charge and the amount of capital they must maintain, or may affect them in other ways that are unforeseeable. In the recent past, financial services companies in general experienced considerable financial distress, which led to the implementation of government programs designed to ease that distress.

Energy Company Risk. Energy and natural resources companies are especially affected by variations in the commodities markets and these companies may lack the resources and the broad business lines to weather hard times. Fluctuations in commodity prices can result from changes in general economic conditions or political circumstances (especially of key energy-consuming countries); market conditions; weather patterns; domestic production levels; volume of imports; energy conservation; domestic and foreign governmental regulation; international politics; policies

 

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of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (“OPEC”); taxation; tariffs; and the availability and costs of local, intrastate and interstate transportation methods, among other factors that the Trust cannot control. Energy companies can be significantly affected by the supply of and demand for specific products and services, the supply of and demand for oil and gas, the price of oil and gas, exploration and production spending, research and development costs related to new technologies, the success or failure of efforts to develop or implement new or existing technologies, government regulation (including environmental regulation), world events and economic conditions, the cyclical nature of the energy sector, weather patterns and extreme weather conditions, intense competition, events relating to domestic and international political developments, energy conservation, environmental costs and liabilities, the success of exploration projects, catastrophes and terrorism, commodity prices, and tax regulations.

Defense/Aerospace Company Risk. The principal risks facing defense/aerospace companies include the fact that procurement cycles can be as long as ten years and that the rate of growth in defense spending may slow down. Defense/aerospace companies may be adversely affected by, among other things, their exposure to aircraft and automobile manufacturing, underfunded pensions, reductions in domestic and international defense spending and budgets and reduced export opportunities as a result of such reduced budgets and spending. Moreover, changing economic conditions, government regulation, intense competition, dependence on patent protection and government contracts, various legislative initiatives and changing political landscapes and national and international priorities, among other things, may affect the profitability of defense/aerospace companies.

Equity Securities Risk

Stock markets are volatile, and the prices of equity securities fluctuate based on changes in a company’s financial condition and overall market and economic conditions. Although common stocks have historically generated higher average total returns than fixed-income securities over the long-term, common stocks also have experienced significantly more volatility in those returns and, in certain periods, have significantly underperformed relative to fixed-income securities. An adverse event, such as an unfavorable earnings report, may depress the value of a particular common stock held by the Trust. A common stock may also decline due to factors which affect a particular industry or industries, such as labor shortages or increased production costs and competitive conditions within an industry. The value of a particular common stock held by the Trust may decline for a number of other reasons which directly relate to the issuer, such as management performance, financial leverage, the issuer’s historical and prospective earnings, the value of its assets and reduced demand for its goods and services. Also, the prices of common stocks are sensitive to general movements in the stock market and a drop in the stock market may depress the price of common stocks to which the Trust has exposure. Common stock prices fluctuate for several reasons, including changes in investors’ perceptions of the financial condition of an issuer or the general condition of the relevant stock market, or when political or economic events affecting the issuers occur. In addition, common stock prices may be particularly sensitive to rising interest rates, as the cost of capital rises and borrowing costs increase. Common equity securities in which the Trust may invest are structurally subordinated to preferred stock, bonds and other debt instruments in a company’s capital structure in terms of priority to corporate income and are therefore inherently more risky than preferred stock or debt instruments of such issuers.

Investments in ADRs, EDRs, GDRs and other similar global instruments are generally subject to risks associated with equity securities and investments in Non-U.S. Securities. Unsponsored ADR, EDR and GDR programs are organized independently and without the cooperation of the issuer of the underlying securities. As a result, available information concerning the issuer may not be as current as for sponsored ADRs, EDRs and GDRs, and the prices of unsponsored ADRs, EDRs and GDRs may be more volatile than if such instruments were sponsored by the issuer.

Dividend Paying Equity Securities Risk

Dividends on common equity securities that the Trust may hold are not fixed but are declared at the discretion of an issuer’s board of directors. Companies that have historically paid dividends on their securities are not required to continue to pay dividends on such securities. There is no guarantee that the issuers of the common equity securities in which the Trust invests will declare dividends in the future or that, if declared, they will remain at current levels or increase over time. Therefore, there is the possibility that such companies could reduce or eliminate the payment of dividends in the future. Dividend producing equity securities, in particular those whose market price is closely related to their yield, may exhibit greater sensitivity to interest rate changes. See “—Fixed-Income Securities Risks—Interest Rate Risk.” The Trust’s investments in dividend producing equity securities may also limit its potential for appreciation during a broad market advance.

 

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The prices of dividend producing equity securities can be highly volatile. Investors should not assume that the Trust’s investments in these securities will necessarily reduce the volatility of the Trust’s NAV or provide “protection,” compared to other types of equity securities, when markets perform poorly.

Smaller Capitalization Company Risk

Smaller capitalization companies may have limited product lines or markets. They may be less financially secure than larger, more established companies. They may depend on a small number of key personnel. If a product fails or there are other adverse developments, or if management changes, the Trust’s investment in a smaller capitalization company may lose substantial value. In addition, it is more difficult to get information on smaller companies, which tend to be less well known, have shorter operating histories, do not have significant ownership by large investors and are followed by relatively few securities analysts.

The securities of smaller capitalization companies generally trade in lower volumes and are subject to greater and more unpredictable price changes than larger capitalization securities or the market as a whole. In addition, smaller capitalization securities may be particularly sensitive to changes in interest rates, borrowing costs and earnings. Investing in smaller capitalization securities requires a longer term view.

Small and Mid-Cap Stock Risk. The Trust may invest in companies with small or medium capitalizations. Smaller and medium capitalization stocks can be more volatile than, and perform differently from, larger capitalization stocks. There may be less trading in a smaller or medium company’s stock, which means that buy and sell transactions in that stock could have a larger impact on the stock’s price than is the case with larger company stocks. Smaller and medium company stocks may be particularly sensitive to changes in interest rates, borrowing costs and earnings. Smaller and medium companies may have fewer business lines; changes in any one line of business, therefore, may have a greater impact on a smaller and medium company’s stock price than is the case for a larger company. As a result, the purchase or sale of more than a limited number of shares of a small and medium company may affect its market price. The Trust may need a considerable amount of time to purchase or sell its positions in these securities. In addition, smaller or medium company stocks may not be well known to the investing public.

Investments in Unseasoned Companies Risk. The Trust may invest in the securities of smaller, less seasoned companies. These investments may present greater opportunities for growth but also involve greater risks than customarily are associated with investments in securities of more established companies. Some of the companies in which the Trust may invest will be start-up companies which may have insubstantial operational or earnings history or may have limited products, markets, financial resources or management depth.

Some may also be emerging companies at the research and development stage with no products or technologies to market or approved for marketing. In addition, it is more difficult to get information on smaller companies, which tend to be less well known, have shorter operating histories, do not have significant ownership by large investors and are followed by relatively few securities analysts. Securities of emerging companies may lack an active secondary market and may be subject to more abrupt or erratic price movements than securities of larger, more established companies or stock market averages in general. Competitors of certain companies, which may or may not be in the same industry, may have substantially greater financial resources than many of the companies in which the Trust may invest.

Securities of Smaller and Emerging Growth Companies. Investment in smaller or emerging growth companies involves greater risk than is customarily associated with investments in more established companies. The securities of smaller or emerging growth companies may be subject to more abrupt or erratic market movements than larger, more established companies or the market average in general. These companies may have limited product lines, markets or financial resources, or they may be dependent on a limited management group.

While smaller or emerging growth company issuers may offer greater opportunities for capital appreciation than large cap issuers, investments in smaller or emerging growth companies may involve greater risks and thus may be considered speculative. The Advisor believes that properly selected companies of this type have the potential to increase their earnings or market valuation at a rate substantially in excess of the general growth of the economy. Full development of these companies and trends frequently takes time.

 

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Small cap and emerging growth securities will often be traded only in the OTC market or on a regional securities exchange and may not be traded every day or in the volume typical of trading on a national securities exchange. As a result, the disposition by the Trust of portfolio securities may require the Trust to make many small sales over a lengthy period of time, or to sell these securities at a discount from market prices or during periods when, in the Advisor’s judgment, such disposition is not desirable.

The process of selection and continuous supervision by the Advisor does not, of course, guarantee successful investment results; however, it does provide access to an asset class not available to the average individual due to the time and cost involved. Careful initial selection is particularly important in this area as many new enterprises have promise but lack certain of the fundamental factors necessary to prosper. Investing in small cap and emerging growth companies requires specialized research and analysis.

Small companies are generally little known to most individual investors although some may be dominant in their respective industries. The Advisor believes that relatively small companies will continue to have the opportunity to develop into significant business enterprises. The Trust may invest in securities of small issuers in the relatively early stages of business development that have a new technology, a unique or proprietary product or service, or a favorable market position. Such companies may not be counted upon to develop into major industrial companies, but the Advisor believes that eventual recognition of their special value characteristics by the investment community can provide above-average long-term growth to the portfolio.

Equity securities of specific small cap issuers may present different opportunities for long-term capital appreciation during varying portions of economic or securities market cycles, as well as during varying stages of their business development. The market valuation of small cap issuers tends to fluctuate during economic or market cycles, presenting attractive investment opportunities at various points during these cycles.

Risks Associated with Private Company Investments

Private companies are generally not subject to SEC reporting requirements, are not required to maintain their accounting records in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles, and are not required to maintain effective internal controls over financial reporting. As a result, the Advisor may not have timely or accurate information about the business, financial condition and results of operations of the private companies in which the Trust invests. There is risk that the Trust may invest on the basis of incomplete or inaccurate information, which may adversely affect the Trust’s investment performance. Private companies in which the Trust may invest may have limited financial resources, shorter operating histories, more asset concentration risk, narrower product lines and smaller market shares than larger businesses, which tend to render such private companies more vulnerable to competitors’ actions and market conditions, as well as general economic downturns. These companies generally have less predictable operating results, may from time to time be parties to litigation, may be engaged in rapidly changing businesses with products subject to a substantial risk of obsolescence, and may require substantial additional capital to support their operations, finance expansion or maintain their competitive position. These companies may have difficulty accessing the capital markets to meet future capital needs, which may limit their ability to grow or to repay their outstanding indebtedness upon maturity. In addition, the Trust’s investment also may be structured as pay-in-kind securities with minimal or no cash interest or dividends until the company meets certain growth and liquidity objectives. Typically, investments in private companies are in restricted securities that are not traded in public markets and subject to substantial holding periods, so that the Trust may not be able to resell some of its holdings for extended periods, which may be several years. There can be no assurance that the Trust will be able to realize the value of private company investments in a timely manner.

Private Company Management Risk. Private companies are more likely to depend on the management talents and efforts of a small group of persons; therefore, the death, disability, resignation or termination of one or more of these persons could have a material adverse impact on the company. The Trust generally does not intend to hold controlling positions in the private companies in which it invests. As a result, the Trust is subject to the risk that a company may make business decisions with which the Trust disagrees, and that the management and/or stockholders of a portfolio company may take risks or otherwise act in ways that are adverse to the Trust’s interests. Due to the lack of liquidity of such private investments, the Trust may not be able to dispose of its investments in the event it disagrees with the actions of a private portfolio company and may therefore suffer a decrease in the value of the investment.

 

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Private Company Illiquidity Risk. Securities issued by private companies are typically illiquid. If there is no readily available trading market for privately issued securities, the Trust may not be able to readily dispose of such investments at prices that approximate those at which the Trust could sell them if they were more widely traded. See “—Restricted and Illiquid Investments Risk.”

Private Company Valuation Risk. There is typically not a readily available market value for the Trust’s private investments. The Trust values private company investments in accordance with valuation guidelines adopted by the Board, that the Board, in good faith, believes are designed to accurately reflect the fair value of securities valued in accordance with such guidelines. The Trust is not required to but may utilize the services of one or more independent valuation firms to aid in determining the fair value of these investments. Valuation of private company investments may involve application of one or more of the following factors: (i) analysis of valuations of publicly traded companies in a similar line of business, (ii) analysis of valuations for comparable merger or acquisition transactions, (iii) yield analysis and (iv) discounted cash flow analysis. Due to the inherent uncertainty and subjectivity of determining the fair value of investments that do not have a readily available market value, the fair value of the Trust’s private investments may differ significantly from the values that would have been used had a readily available market value existed for such investments and may differ materially from the amounts the Trust may realize on any dispositions of such investments. In addition, the impact of changes in the market environment and other events on the fair values of the Trust’s investments that have no readily available market values may differ from the impact of such changes on the readily available market values for the Trust’s other investments. The Trust’s NAV could be adversely affected if the Trust’s determinations regarding the fair value of the Trust’s investments were materially higher than the values that the Trust ultimately realizes upon the disposal of such investments.

Reliance on the Advisor Risk. The Trust may enter into private investments identified by the Advisor, in which case the Trust will be more reliant upon the ability of the Advisor to identify, research, analyze, negotiate and monitor such investments, than is the case with investments in publicly traded securities. As little public information exists about many private companies, the Trust will be required to rely on the Advisor’s diligence efforts to obtain adequate information to evaluate the potential risks and returns involved in investing in these companies. The costs of diligencing, negotiating and monitoring private investments will be borne by the Trust, which may reduce the Trust’s returns.

Co-Investment Risk. The Trust may also co-invest in private investments sourced by third party investors unaffiliated with either the Trust or the Advisor, such as private equity firms. The Trust’s ability to realize a profit on such investments will be particularly reliant on the expertise of the lead investor in the transaction. To the extent that the lead investor in such a co-investment opportunity assumes control of the management of the private company, the Trust will be reliant not only upon the lead investor’s ability to research, analyze, negotiate and monitor such investments, but also on the lead investor’s ability to successfully oversee the operation of the company’s business. The Trust’s ability to dispose of such investments is typically severely limited, both by the fact that the securities are unregistered and illiquid and by contractual restrictions that may preclude the Trust from selling such investment. Often the Trust may exit such investment only in a transaction, such as an initial public offering or sale of the company, on terms arranged by the lead investor. Such investments may be subject to additional valuation risk, as the Trust’s ability to accurately determine the fair value of the investment may depend upon the receipt of information from the lead investor. The valuation assigned to such an investment through application of the Trust’s valuation procedures may differ from the valuation assigned to that investment by other co-investors.

Private Company Competition Risk. Many entities may potentially compete with the Trust in making private investments. Many of these competitors are substantially larger and have considerably greater financial, technical and marketing resources than the Trust. Some competitors may have a lower cost of funds and access to funding sources that are not available to the Trust. In addition, some competitors may have higher risk tolerances or different risk assessments, which could allow them to consider a wider variety of, or different structures for, private investments than the Trust. Furthermore, many competitors are not subject to the regulatory restrictions that the Investment Company Act imposes on the Trust. As a result of this competition, the Trust may not be able to pursue attractive private investment opportunities from time to time.

Private Debt Securities Risk. Private companies in which the Trust invests may be unable to meet their obligations under debt securities held by the Trust, which may be accompanied by a deterioration in the value of any collateral and a reduction in the likelihood of the Trust realizing any guarantees it may have obtained in connection with its investment. Private companies in which the Trust invests may have, or may be permitted to incur, other debt that ranks

 

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equally with, or senior to, debt securities in which the Trust invests. Privately issued debt securities are often of below investment grade quality and frequently are unrated. See “—Fixed-Income Securities Risks” and “—Below Investment Grade Securities Risks.”

Affiliation Risk. There is a risk that the Trust may be precluded from investing in certain private companies due to regulatory implications under the Investment Company Act or other laws, rules or regulations or may be limited in the amount it can invest in the voting securities of a private company, in the size of the economic interest it can have in a private company or in the scope of influence it is permitted to have in respect of the management of a private company. Should the Trust be required to treat a private company in which it has invested as an “affiliated person” under the Investment Company Act, the Investment Company Act would impose a variety of restrictions on the Trust’s dealings with the private company. Moreover, these restrictions may arise as a result of investments by other clients of the Advisor or its affiliates in a private company. These restrictions may be detrimental to the performance of the Trust compared to what it would be if these restrictions did not exist, and could impact the universe of investable private companies for the Trust. The fact that many private companies may have a limited number of investors and a limited amount of outstanding equity heightens these risks.

Restricted and Illiquid Investments Risk

The Trust may invest without limitation in illiquid or less liquid investments or investments in which no secondary market is readily available or which are otherwise illiquid, including private placement securities. The Trust may not be able to readily dispose of such investments at prices that approximate those at which the Trust could sell such investments if they were more widely traded and, as a result of such illiquidity, the Trust may have to sell other investments or engage in borrowing transactions if necessary to raise cash to meet its obligations. Limited liquidity can also affect the market price of investments, thereby adversely affecting the Trust’s NAV and ability to make dividend distributions. The financial markets in general, and certain segments of the mortgage-related securities markets in particular, have in recent years experienced periods of extreme secondary market supply and demand imbalance, resulting in a loss of liquidity during which market prices were suddenly and substantially below traditional measures of intrinsic value. During such periods, some investments could be sold only at arbitrary prices and with substantial losses. Periods of such market dislocation may occur again at any time. Privately issued debt securities are often of below investment grade quality, frequently are unrated and present many of the same risks as investing in below investment grade public debt securities.

Restricted securities are securities that may not be sold to the public without an effective registration statement under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “Securities Act”), or that may be sold only in a privately negotiated transaction or pursuant to an exemption from registration. For example, Rule 144A under the Securities Act provides an exemption from the registration requirements of the Securities Act for the resale of certain restricted securities to qualified institutional buyers, such as the Trust. However, an insufficient number of qualified institutional buyers interested in purchasing the Rule 144A-eligible securities that the Trust holds could affect adversely the marketability of certain Rule 144A securities, and the Trust might be unable to dispose of such securities promptly or at reasonable prices. When registration is required to sell a security, the Trust may be obligated to pay all or part of the registration expenses and considerable time may pass before the Trust is permitted to sell a security under an effective registration statement. If adverse market conditions develop during this period, the Trust might obtain a less favorable price than the price that prevailed when the Trust decided to sell. The Trust may be unable to sell restricted and other illiquid investments at opportune times or prices.

New Issues Risk

“New Issues” are IPOs of U.S. equity securities. There is no assurance that the Trust will have access to profitable IPOs and therefore investors should not rely on any past gains from IPOs as an indication of future performance of the Trust. The investment performance of the Trust during periods when it is unable to invest significantly or at all in IPOs may be lower than during periods when the Trust is able to do so. Securities issued in IPOs are subject to many of the same risks as investing in companies with smaller market capitalizations. Securities issued in IPOs have no trading history, and information about the companies may be available for very limited periods. In addition, some companies in IPOs are involved in relatively new industries or lines of business, which may not be widely understood by investors. Some of these companies may be undercapitalized or regarded as developmental stage companies, without revenues or operating income, or the near-term prospects of achieving them. Further, the prices of securities sold in IPOs may be highly volatile or may decline shortly after the IPO. When an IPO is brought to the market,

 

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availability may be limited and the Trust may not be able to buy any shares at the offering price, or, if it is able to buy shares, it may not be able to buy as many shares at the offering price as it would like. The limited number of shares available for trading in some IPOs may make it more difficult for the Trust to buy or sell significant amounts of shares.

Growth Stock Risk

Securities of growth companies may be more volatile since such companies usually invest a high portion of earnings in their business, and they may lack the dividends of value stocks that can cushion stock prices in a falling market. Stocks of companies the Advisor believes are fast-growing may trade at a higher multiple of current earnings than other stocks. The values of these stocks may be more sensitive to changes in current or expected earnings than the values of other stocks. Earnings disappointments often lead to sharply falling prices because investors buy growth stocks in anticipation of superior earnings growth. If the Advisor’s assessment of the prospects for a company’s earnings growth is wrong, or if the Advisor’s judgment of how other investors will value the company’s earnings growth is wrong, then the price of the company’s stock may fall or may not approach the value that the Advisor has placed on it.

Value Stock Risk

The Advisor may be wrong in its assessment of a company’s value and the stocks the Trust owns may not reach what the Advisor believes are their full values. A particular risk of the Trust’s value stock investments is that some holdings may not recover and provide the capital growth anticipated or a stock judged to be undervalued may actually be appropriately priced. Further, because the prices of value-oriented securities tend to correlate more closely with economic cycles than growth-oriented securities, they generally are more sensitive to changing economic conditions, such as changes in interest rates, corporate earnings, and industrial production. The market may not favor value-oriented stocks and may not favor equities at all. During those periods, the Trust’s relative performance may suffer.

Risks Associated with the Trust’s Options Strategy

The ability of the Trust to generate current gains from options premiums and to enhance the Trust’s risk-adjusted returns is partially dependent on the successful implementation of its options strategy. Risks that may adversely affect the ability of the Trust to successfully implement its options strategy include the following:

Risks Associated with Options on Securities Generally. There are several risks associated with transactions in options on securities. For example, there are significant differences between the securities and options markets that could result in an imperfect correlation between these markets, causing a given transaction not to achieve its objectives. A decision as to whether, when and how to use options involves the exercise of skill and judgment, and even a well-conceived transaction may be unsuccessful to some degree because of market behavior or unexpected events.

Risks of Writing Options. As the writer of a covered call option, the Trust forgoes, during the option’s life, the opportunity to profit from increases in the market value of the security covering the call option above the sum of the premium and the strike price of the call, but has retained the risk of loss should the price of the underlying security decline. In other words, as the Trust writes covered calls over more of its portfolio, the Trust’s ability to benefit from capital appreciation becomes more limited. The writer of an option has no control over the time when it may be required to fulfill its obligation as a writer of the option. Once an option writer has received an exercise notice, it cannot effect a closing purchase transaction in order to terminate its obligation under the option and must deliver the underlying security at the exercise price.

If the Trust writes call options on individual securities or index call options that include securities, in each case, that are not in the Trust’s portfolio or that are not in the same proportion as securities in the Trust’s portfolio, the Trust will experience loss, which theoretically could be unlimited, if the value of the individual security, index or basket of securities appreciates above the exercise price of the index option written by the Trust.

When the Trust writes put options, it bears the risk of loss if the value of the underlying stock declines below the exercise price minus the put premium. If the option is exercised, the Trust could incur a loss if it is required to purchase the stock underlying the put option at a price greater than the market price of the stock at the time of exercise plus the put premium the Trust received when it wrote the option. While the Trust’s potential gain in writing a put option is limited to the premium received from the purchaser of the put option, the Trust risks a loss equal to the entire exercise price of the option minus the put premium.

 

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Exchange-Listed Options Risks. There can be no assurance that a liquid market will exist when the Trust seeks to close out an exchange-listed option position. Reasons for the absence of a liquid secondary market on an exchange include the following: (i) there may be insufficient trading interest in certain options; (ii) restrictions may be imposed by an exchange on opening transactions or closing transactions or both; (iii) trading halts, suspensions or other restrictions may be imposed with respect to particular classes or series of options; (iv) unusual or unforeseen circumstances may interrupt normal operations on an exchange; (v) the facilities of an exchange or the OCC may not at all times be adequate to handle current trading volume; or (vi) one or more exchanges could, for economic or other reasons, decide or be compelled at some future date to discontinue the trading of options (or a particular class or series of options). If trading were discontinued, the secondary market on that exchange (or in that class or series of options) would cease to exist. However, outstanding options on that exchange that had been issued by the OCC as a result of trades on that exchange would continue to be exercisable in accordance with their terms. The Trust’s ability to terminate OTC options is more limited than with exchange-traded options and may involve the risk that broker-dealers participating in such transactions will not fulfill their obligations. If the Trust were unable to close out a covered call option that it had written on a security, it would not be able to sell the underlying security unless the option expired without exercise.

The hours of trading for options may not conform to the hours during which the underlying securities are traded. To the extent that the options markets close before the markets for the underlying securities, significant price and rate movements can take place in the underlying markets that cannot be reflected in the options markets. Call options are marked to market daily and their value will be affected by changes in the value of and dividend rates of the underlying common stocks, an increase in interest rates, changes in the actual or perceived volatility of the stock market and the underlying common stocks and the remaining time to the options’ expiration. Additionally, the exercise price of an option may be adjusted downward before the option’s expiration as a result of the occurrence of certain corporate events affecting the underlying equity security, such as extraordinary dividends, stock splits, merger or other extraordinary distributions or events. A reduction in the exercise price of an option would reduce the Trust’s capital appreciation potential on the underlying security.

Over-the-Counter Options Risk. The Trust may write (sell) unlisted OTC options to a significant extent. Options written by the Trust with respect to Non-U.S. Securities, indices or sectors generally will be OTC options. OTC options differ from exchange-listed options in that they are two-party contracts, with exercise price, premium and other terms negotiated between buyer and seller, and generally do not have as much market liquidity as exchange-listed options. The counterparties to these transactions typically will be major international banks, broker-dealers and financial institutions. The Trust may be required to treat as illiquid securities segregated with respect to certain written OTC options. The OTC options written by the Trust will not be issued, guaranteed or cleared by the OCC. In addition, the Trust’s ability to terminate OTC options may be more limited than with exchange-traded options. Banks, broker-dealers or other financial institutions participating in such transactions may fail to settle a transaction in accordance with the terms of the option as written. In the event of default or insolvency of the counterparty, the Trust may be unable to liquidate an OTC option position.

Index Options Risk. The Trust may sell index put and call options from time to time. The purchaser of an index put option has the right to any depreciation in the value of the index below the exercise price of the option on or before the expiration date. The purchaser of an index call option has the right to any appreciation in the value of the index over the exercise price of the option on or before the expiration date. Because the exercise of index options is settled in cash, sellers of index call options, such as the Trust, cannot provide in advance for their potential settlement obligations by acquiring and holding the underlying securities. The Trust will lose money if it is required to pay the purchaser of an index option the difference between the cash value of the index on which the option was written and the exercise price and such difference is greater than the premium received by the Trust for writing the option. The value of index options written by the Trust, which will be priced daily, will be affected by changes in the value of and dividend rates of the underlying common stocks in the respective index, changes in the actual or perceived volatility of the stock market and the remaining time to the options’ expiration. The value of the index options also may be adversely affected if the market for the index options becomes less liquid or smaller. Distributions paid by the Trust on its common shares may be derived in part from the net index option premiums it receives from selling index put and call options, less the cost of paying settlement amounts to purchasers of the options that exercise their options. Net index option premiums can vary widely over the short-term and long-term.

 

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Limitation on Options Writing Risk. The number of call options the Trust can write is limited by the total assets the Trust holds and is further limited by the fact that all options represent 100 share lots of the underlying common stock. Furthermore, the Trust’s options transactions will be subject to limitations established by each of the exchanges, boards of trade or other trading facilities on which such options are traded. These limitations govern the maximum number of options in each class which may be written or purchased by a single investor or group of investors acting in concert, regardless of whether the options are written or purchased on the same or different exchanges, boards of trade or other trading facilities or are held or written in one or more accounts or through one or more brokers. Thus, the number of options which the Trust may write or purchase may be affected by options written or purchased by other investment advisory clients of the Advisor. An exchange, board of trade or other trading facility may order the liquidation of positions found to be in excess of these limits, and it may impose certain other sanctions.

Tax Risk. Income on options on individual stocks will generally not be recognized by the Trust for tax purposes until an option is exercised, lapses or is subject to a “closing transaction” (as defined by applicable regulations) pursuant to which the Trust’s obligations with respect to the option are otherwise terminated. If the option lapses without exercise or is otherwise subject to a closing transaction, the premiums received by the Trust from the writing of such options will generally be characterized as short-term capital gain. If an option written by the Trust is exercised, the Trust may recognize taxable gain depending on the exercise price of the option, the option premium, and the tax basis of the security underlying the option. The character of any gain on the sale of the underlying security as short-term or long-term capital gain will depend on the holding period of the Trust in the underlying security. In general, distributions received by shareholders of the Trust that are attributable to short-term capital gains recognized by the Trust from its options writing activities will be taxed to such shareholders as ordinary income and will not be eligible for the reduced tax rate applicable to qualified dividend income.

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

Preferred Securities Risk

There are special risks associated with investing in preferred securities, including:

Deferral Risk. Preferred securities may include provisions that permit the issuer, at its discretion, to defer distributions for a stated period without any adverse consequences to the issuer. If the Trust owns a preferred security that is deferring its distributions, the Trust may be required to report income for tax purposes although it has not yet received such income.

Subordination Risk. Preferred securities are subordinated to bonds and other debt instruments in a company’s capital structure in terms of having priority to corporate income and liquidation payments, and therefore will be subject to greater credit risk than debt instruments.

Limited Voting Rights Risk. Generally, preferred security holders (such as the Trust) have no voting rights with respect to the issuing company unless preferred dividends have been in arrears for a specified number of periods, at which time the preferred security holders may elect a number of directors to the issuer’s board. Generally, once all the arrearages have been paid, the preferred security holders no longer have voting rights. In the case of trust preferred securities, holders generally have no voting rights, except if (i) the issuer fails to pay dividends for a specified period of time or (ii) a declaration of default occurs and is continuing.

Special Redemption Rights Risk. In certain varying circumstances, an issuer of preferred securities may redeem the securities prior to a specified date. For instance, for certain types of preferred securities, a redemption may be triggered by certain changes in U.S. federal income tax or securities laws. As with call provisions, a special redemption by the issuer may negatively impact the return of the security held by the Trust.

 

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

Trust preferred securities are typically junior and fully subordinated liabilities of an issuer and benefit from a guarantee that is junior and fully subordinated to the other liabilities of the guarantor. In addition, trust preferred securities typically permit an issuer to defer the payment of income for five years or more without triggering an event of default. Because of their subordinated position in the capital structure of an issuer, the ability to defer payments for extended periods of time without default consequences to the issuer, and certain other features (such as restrictions on common dividend payments by the issuer or ultimate guarantor when full cumulative payments on the trust preferred securities have not been made), these trust preferred securities are often treated as close substitutes for traditional preferred securities, both by issuers and investors.

Trust preferred securities include but are not limited to trust originated preferred securities (“TOPRS®”); monthly income preferred securities (“MIPS®”); quarterly income bond securities (“QUIBS®”); quarterly income debt securities (“QUIDS®”); quarterly income preferred securities (“QUIPSSM”); corporate trust securities (“CORTS®”); public income notes (“PINES®”); and other trust preferred securities.

Trust preferred securities are typically issued with a final maturity date, although some are perpetual in nature. In certain instances, a final maturity date may be extended and/or the final payment of principal may be deferred at the issuer’s option for a specified time without default. No redemption can typically take place unless all cumulative payment obligations have been met, although issuers may be able to engage in open-market repurchases without regard to whether all payments have been paid.

Many trust preferred securities are issued by trusts or other special purpose entities established by operating companies and are not a direct obligation of an operating company. At the time the trust or special purpose entity sells such preferred securities to investors, it purchases debt of the operating company (with terms comparable to those of the trust or special purpose entity securities), which enables the operating company to deduct for tax purposes the interest paid on the debt held by the trust or special purpose entity. The trust or special purpose entity is generally required to be treated as transparent for U.S. federal income tax purposes such that the holders of the trust preferred securities are treated as owning beneficial interests in the underlying debt of the operating company. Accordingly, payments on the trust preferred securities are treated as interest rather than dividends for U.S. federal income tax purposes. The trust or special purpose entity in turn would be a holder of the operating company’s debt and would have priority with respect to the operating company’s earnings and profits over the operating company’s common shareholders, but would typically be subordinated to other classes of the operating company’s debt. Typically a preferred share has a rating that is slightly below that of its corresponding operating company’s senior debt securities.

New Types of Securities Risk. From time to time, preferred securities, including trust preferred securities, have been, and may in the future be, offered having features other than those described herein. The Trust reserves the right to invest in these securities if the Advisor believes that doing so would be consistent with the Trust’s investment objectives and policies. Since the market for these instruments would be new, the Trust may have difficulty disposing of them at a suitable price and time. In addition to limited liquidity, these instruments may present other risks, such as high price volatility.

Convertible Securities Risk

Convertible securities generally offer lower interest or dividend yields than non-convertible securities of similar quality. The market values of convertible securities tend to decline as interest rates increase and, conversely, to increase as interest rates decline. However, when the market price of the common stock underlying a convertible security exceeds the conversion price, the convertible security tends to reflect the market price of the underlying common stock. As the market price of the underlying common stock declines, the convertible security tends to trade increasingly on a yield basis and thus may not decline in price to the same extent as the underlying common stock. Convertible securities rank senior to common stock in an issuer’s capital structure and consequently entail less risk than the issuer’s common stock.

 

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The Trust may invest in synthetic convertible securities, which are created through a combination of separate securities that possess the two principal characteristics of a traditional convertible security. A holder of a synthetic convertible security faces the risk of a decline in the price of the security or the level of the index involved in the convertible component, causing a decline in the value of the security or instrument, such as a call option or warrant, purchased to create the synthetic convertible security. Should the price of the stock fall below the exercise price and remain there throughout the exercise period, the entire amount paid for the call option or warrant would be lost. Because a synthetic convertible security includes the income-producing component as well, the holder of a synthetic convertible security also faces the risk that interest rates will rise, causing a decline in the value of the income-producing instrument. Synthetic convertible securities are also subject to the risks associated with derivatives.

Warrants Risk

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

REITs Risk

To the extent that the Trust invests in real estate related investments, including REITs, it will be subject to the risks associated with owning real estate and with the real estate industry generally. These include difficulties in valuing and disposing of real estate, the possibility of declines in the value of real estate, risks related to general and local economic conditions, the possibility of adverse changes in the climate for real estate, environmental liability risks, the risk of increases in property taxes and operating expenses, possible adverse changes in zoning laws, the risk of casualty or condemnation losses, limitations on rents, the possibility of adverse changes in interest rates and in the credit markets and the possibility of borrowers paying off mortgages sooner than expected, which may lead to reinvestment of assets at lower prevailing interest rates. To the extent that the Trust invests in REITs, it will also be subject to the risk that a REIT may default on its obligations or go bankrupt. REITs are generally not taxed on income timely distributed to shareholders, provided they comply with the applicable requirements of the Code. By investing in REITs indirectly through the Trust, a shareholder will bear not only his or her proportionate share of the expenses of the Trust, but also, indirectly, similar expenses of the REITs. Mortgage REITs are pooled investment vehicles that invest the majority of their assets in real property mortgages and which generally derive income primarily from interest payments thereon. Investing in mortgage REITs involves certain risks related to investing in real property mortgages. In addition, mortgage REITs must satisfy highly technical and complex requirements in order to qualify for the favorable tax treatment accorded to REITs under the Code. No assurances can be given that a mortgage REIT in which the Trust invests will be able to continue to qualify as a REIT or that complying with the REIT requirements under the Code will not adversely affect such REIT’s ability to execute its business plan.

Many REITs focus on particular types of properties or properties which are especially suited for certain uses, and those REITs are affected by the risks which impact the users of their properties. For REITs that own healthcare facilities, for example, the physical characteristics of these properties and their operations are highly regulated, and those regulations often require capital expenditures or restrict the profits realizable from these properties. Some of these properties are also highly dependent upon Medicare and Medicaid payments, which are subject to changes in governmental budgets and policies. These properties may experience losses if their tenants receive lower Medicare or Medicaid rates.

Master Limited Partnerships Risk

Investments in publicly traded MLPs, which are limited partnerships or limited liability companies taxable as partnerships, involve some risks that differ from an investment in the common stock of a corporation. MLPs may derive income and gains from the exploration, development, mining or production, processing, refining, transportation (including pipelines transporting gas, oil, or products thereof), or the marketing of any mineral or natural resources. MLPs generally have two classes of owners, the general partner and limited partners. When investing in an MLP, the Trust generally purchases publicly traded common units issued to limited partners of the MLP. The general partner is typically owned by a major energy company, an investment fund, the direct management of the MLP or is an entity owned by one or more of such parties. The general partner may be structured as a private or publicly traded corporation

 

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or other entity. The general partner typically controls the operations and management of the MLP through an up to 2% equity interest in the MLP plus, in many cases, ownership of common units and subordinated units. Limited partners own the remainder of the partnership, through ownership of common units, and have a limited role in the partnership’s operations and management. As compared to common stockholders of a corporation, holders of MLP common units have more limited control and limited rights to vote on matters affecting the partnership.

MLPs are typically structured such that common units and general partner interests have first priority to receive quarterly cash distributions up to an established minimum amount (“minimum quarterly distributions” or “MQD”). Common and general partner interests also accrue arrearages in distributions to the extent the MQD is not paid. Once common and general partner interests have been paid, subordinated units receive distributions of up to the MQD; however, subordinated units do not accrue arrearages. Distributable cash in excess of the MQD paid to both common and subordinated units is distributed to both common and subordinated units generally on a pro rata basis. The general partner is also eligible to receive incentive distributions if the general partner operates the business in a manner which results in distributions paid per common unit surpassing specified target levels. As the general partner increases cash distributions to the limited partners, the general partner receives an increasingly higher percentage of the incremental cash distributions. A common arrangement provides that the general partner can reach a tier where it receives 50% of every incremental dollar paid to common and subordinated unit holders. These incentive distributions encourage the general partner to streamline costs, increase capital expenditures and acquire assets in order to increase the partnership’s cash flow and raise the quarterly cash distribution in order to reach higher tiers. Such results benefit all security holders of the MLP.

MLP common units represent a limited partnership interest in the MLP. Common units are listed and traded on U.S. securities exchanges, with their value fluctuating predominantly based on prevailing market conditions and the success of the MLP. The Trust will generally purchase common units in market transactions. Unlike owners of common stock of a corporation, owners of common units have limited voting rights and have no ability to elect directors. In the event of liquidation, common units have preference over subordinated units, but not over debt or preferred units, to the remaining assets of the MLP.

Investment Companies and ETFs Risk

Subject to the limitations set forth in the Investment Company Act and the Trust’s governing documents or as otherwise permitted by the SEC, the Trust may acquire shares in other investment companies, including ETFs or BDCs, some of which may be affiliated investment companies. The market value of the shares of other investment companies may differ from their NAV. As an investor in investment companies, including ETFs or BDCs, the Trust would bear its ratable share of that entity’s expenses, including its investment advisory and administration fees, while continuing to pay its own advisory and administration fees and other expenses (to the extent not offset by the Advisor through waivers). As a result, shareholders will be absorbing duplicate levels of fees with respect to investments in other investment companies, including ETFs or BDCs (to the extent not offset by the Advisor through waivers).

The securities of other investment companies, including ETFs or BDCs, in which the Trust may invest may be leveraged. As a result, the Trust may be indirectly exposed to leverage through an investment in such securities. An investment in securities of other investment companies, including ETFs or BDCs, that use leverage may expose the Trust to higher volatility in the market value of such securities and the possibility that the Trust’s long-term returns on such securities (and, indirectly, the long-term returns of the Trust’s common shares) will be diminished.

ETFs are generally not actively managed and may be affected by a general decline in market segments relating to its index. An ETF typically invests in securities included in, or representative of, its index regardless of their investment merits and does not attempt to take defensive positions in declining markets.

Fixed-Income Securities Risks

Fixed-income securities in which the Trust may invest are generally subject to the following risks:

Interest Rate Risk. The market value of bonds and other fixed-income securities changes in response to interest rate changes and other factors. Interest rate risk is the risk that prices of bonds and other fixed-income securities will increase as interest rates fall and decrease as interest rates rise. The Trust may be subject to a greater risk of rising interest rates due to the current period of historically low interest rates, including the Federal Reserve’s recent lowering

 

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of the target for the federal funds rate to a range of 0%-0.25% as part of its efforts to ease the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic. There is a risk that interest rates will rise, which will likely drive down bond prices. The magnitude of these fluctuations in the market price of bonds and other fixed-income securities is generally greater for those securities with longer maturities. Fluctuations in the market price of the Trust’s investments will not affect interest income derived from instruments already owned by the Trust, but will be reflected in the Trust’s NAV. The Trust may lose money if short-term or long-term interest rates rise sharply in a manner not anticipated by the Advisor. To the extent the Trust invests in debt securities that may be prepaid at the option of the obligor (such as mortgage-related securities), the sensitivity of such securities to changes in interest rates may increase (to the detriment of the Trust) when interest rates rise. Moreover, because rates on certain floating rate debt securities typically reset only periodically, changes in prevailing interest rates (and particularly sudden and significant changes) can be expected to cause some fluctuations in the NAV of the Trust to the extent that it invests in floating rate debt securities. These basic principles of bond prices also apply to U.S. Government securities. A security backed by the “full faith and credit” of the U.S. Government is guaranteed only as to its stated interest rate and face value at maturity, not its current market price. Just like other fixed-income securities, government-guaranteed securities will fluctuate in value when interest rates change.

During periods in which the Trust may use leverage, such use of leverage will tend to increase the Trust’s interest rate risk. The Trust may utilize certain strategies, including taking positions in futures or interest rate swaps, for the purpose of reducing the interest rate sensitivity of fixed-income securities held by the Trust and decreasing the Trust’s exposure to interest rate risk. The Trust is not required to hedge its exposure to interest rate risk and may choose not to do so. In addition, there is no assurance that any attempts by the Trust to reduce interest rate risk will be successful or that any hedges that the Trust may establish will perfectly correlate with movements in interest rates.

The Trust may invest in variable and floating rate debt instruments, which generally are less sensitive to interest rate changes than longer duration fixed rate instruments, but may decline in value in response to rising interest rates if, for example, the rates at which they pay interest do not rise as much, or as quickly, as market interest rates in general. Conversely, variable and floating rate instruments generally will not increase in value if interest rates decline. The Trust also may invest in inverse floating rate debt securities, which may decrease in value if interest rates increase, and which also may exhibit greater price volatility than fixed rate debt obligations with similar credit quality. To the extent the Trust holds variable or floating rate instruments, 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, which may adversely affect the NAV of the Trust’s common shares.

Issuer Risk. The value of fixed-income securities may decline for a number of reasons which directly relate to the issuer, such as management performance, financial leverage, reduced demand for the issuer’s goods and services, historical and prospective earnings of the issuer and the value of the assets of the issuer.

Credit Risk. Credit risk is the risk that one or more fixed-income securities in the Trust’s portfolio will decline in price or fail to pay interest or principal when due because the issuer of the security experiences a decline in its financial status. Credit risk is increased when a portfolio security is downgraded or the perceived creditworthiness of the issuer deteriorates. To the extent the Trust invests in below investment grade securities, it will be exposed to a greater amount of credit risk than a fund that only invests in investment grade securities.

See “—Below Investment Grade Securities Risk.” In addition, to the extent the Trust uses credit derivatives, such use will expose it to additional risk in the event that the bonds underlying the derivatives default. The degree of credit risk depends on the issuer’s financial condition and on the terms of the securities.

Prepayment Risk. During periods of declining interest rates, borrowers may exercise their option to prepay principal earlier than scheduled. For fixed rate securities, such payments often occur during periods of declining interest rates, forcing the Trust to reinvest in lower yielding securities, resulting in a possible decline in the Trust’s income and distributions to shareholders. This is known as prepayment or “call” risk. Below investment grade securities frequently have call features that allow the issuer to redeem the security at dates prior to its stated maturity at a specified price (typically greater than par) only if certain prescribed conditions are met (i.e., “call protection”). For premium bonds (bonds acquired at prices that exceed their par or principal value) purchased by the Trust, prepayment risk may be enhanced.

 

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Reinvestment Risk. Reinvestment risk is the risk that income from the Trust’s portfolio will decline if the Trust invests the proceeds from matured, traded or called fixed-income securities at market interest rates that are below the Trust portfolio’s current earnings rate.

Duration and Maturity Risk. The Trust has no set policy regarding portfolio maturity or duration of the fixed-income securities it may hold. The Advisor may seek to adjust the portfolio’s duration or maturity based on its assessment of current and projected market conditions and all other factors that the Advisor deems relevant.

Spread Risk. Wider credit spreads and decreasing market values typically represent a deterioration of a debt security’s credit soundness and a perceived greater likelihood or risk of default by the issuer.

Any decisions as to the targeted duration or maturity of any particular category of investments or of the Trust’s portfolio generally will be made based on all pertinent market factors at any given time. The Trust may incur costs in seeking to adjust the portfolio’s average duration or maturity. There can be no assurance that the Advisor’s assessment of current and projected market conditions will be correct or that any strategy to adjust the portfolio’s duration or maturity will be successful at any given time. In general, the longer the duration of any fixed-income securities in the Trust’s portfolio, the more exposure the Trust will have to the interest rate risks described above.

Corporate Bonds Risk

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

Below Investment Grade Securities Risk

The Trust may invest in securities that are rated, at the time of investment, below investment grade quality (rated Ba/BB or below, or judged to be of comparable quality by the Advisor), which are commonly referred to as “high yield” or “junk” bonds and are regarded as predominantly speculative with respect to the issuer’s capacity to pay interest and repay principal when due. The value of high yield, lower quality bonds is affected by the creditworthiness of the issuers of the securities and by general economic and specific industry conditions. Issuers of high yield bonds are not perceived to be as strong financially as those with higher credit ratings. These issuers are more vulnerable to financial setbacks and recession than more creditworthy issuers, which may impair their ability to make interest and principal payments. Lower grade securities may be particularly susceptible to economic downturns. It is likely that an economic recession could severely disrupt the market for such securities and may have an adverse impact on the value of such securities. In addition, it is likely that any such economic downturn could adversely affect the ability of the issuers of such securities to repay principal and pay interest thereon and increase the incidence of default for such securities. See “—Risk Associated with Recent Market Events.”

Lower grade securities, though high yielding, are characterized by high risk. They may be subject to certain risks with respect to the issuing entity and to greater market fluctuations than certain lower yielding, higher rated securities. The secondary market for lower grade securities may be less liquid than that for higher rated securities. Adverse conditions could make it difficult at times for the Trust to sell certain securities or could result in lower prices than those used in calculating the Trust’s NAV. Because of the substantial risks associated with investments in lower grade securities, you could lose money on your investment in common shares of the Trust, both in the short-term and the long-term.

 

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The prices of fixed-income securities generally are inversely related to interest rate changes; however, below investment grade securities historically have been somewhat less sensitive to interest rate changes than higher quality securities of comparable maturity because credit quality is also a significant factor in the valuation of lower grade securities. On the other hand, an increased rate environment results in increased borrowing costs generally, which may impair the credit quality of low-grade issuers and thus have a more significant effect on the value of some lower grade securities. In addition, the current low rate environment has expanded the historic universe of buyers of lower grade securities as traditional investment grade oriented investors have been forced to accept more risk in order to maintain income. As rates rise, these recent entrants to the low-grade securities market may exit the market and reduce demand for lower grade securities, potentially resulting in greater price volatility.

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

The Trust may invest in securities rated in the lower rating categories (rated as low as D, or unrated but judged to be of comparable quality by the Advisor). For these securities, the risks associated with below investment grade instruments are more pronounced. The Trust may, subject to its investment policies, purchase stressed or distressed securities, including securities that are in default or the issuers of which are in bankruptcy, which involve heightened risks. See “—Distressed and Defaulted Securities Risk.”

Distressed and Defaulted Securities Risk

Investments in the securities of financially distressed issuers are speculative and involve substantial risks. These securities may present a substantial risk of default or may be in default at the time of investment. The Trust may incur additional expenses to the extent it is required to seek recovery upon a default in the payment of principal or interest on its portfolio holdings. In any reorganization or liquidation proceeding relating to a portfolio company, the Trust may lose its entire investment or may be required to accept cash or securities with a value less than its original investment. Among the risks inherent in investments in a troubled entity is that it frequently may be difficult to obtain information as to the true financial condition of such issuer. The Advisor’s judgment about the credit quality of the issuer and the relative value and liquidity of its securities may prove to be wrong. Distressed securities and any securities received in an exchange for such securities may be subject to restrictions on resale.

Yield and Ratings Risk

The yields on debt obligations are dependent on a variety of factors, including general market conditions, conditions in the particular market for the obligation, the financial condition of the issuer, the size of the offering, the maturity of the obligation and the ratings of the issue. The ratings of Moody’s, S&P and Fitch, which are described in Appendix A to the SAI, represent their respective opinions as to the quality of the obligations they undertake to rate. Ratings, however, are general and are not absolute standards of quality. Consequently, obligations with the same rating, maturity and interest rate may have different market prices. Subsequent to its purchase by the Trust, a rated security may cease to be rated. The Advisor will consider such an event in determining whether the Trust should continue to hold the security.

Unrated Securities Risk

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

 

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U.S. Government Securities Risk

U.S. Government debt securities generally involve lower levels of credit risk than other types of fixed-income securities of similar maturities, although, as a result, the yields available from U.S. Government debt securities are generally lower than the yields available from such other securities. Like other fixed-income securities, the values of U.S. Government securities change as interest rates fluctuate.

Insolvency of Issuers of Indebtedness Risk

Various laws enacted for the protection of creditors may apply to indebtedness in which the Trust invests. The information in this and the following paragraph is applicable with respect to U.S. issuers subject to U.S. federal bankruptcy law. Insolvency considerations may differ with respect to other issuers. If, in a lawsuit brought by an unpaid creditor or representative of creditors of an issuer of indebtedness, a court were to find that the issuer did not receive fair consideration or reasonably equivalent value for incurring the indebtedness and that, after giving effect to such indebtedness, the issuer (i) was insolvent, (ii) was engaged in a business for which the remaining assets of such issuer constituted unreasonably small capital or (iii) intended to incur, or believed that it would incur, debts beyond its ability to pay such debts as they mature, such court could determine to invalidate, in whole or in part, such indebtedness as a fraudulent conveyance, to subordinate such indebtedness to existing or future creditors of such issuer, or to recover amounts previously paid by such issuer in satisfaction of such indebtedness. The measure of insolvency for purposes of the foregoing will vary. Generally, an issuer would be considered insolvent at a particular time if the sum of its debts was then greater than all of its property at a fair valuation, or if the present fair saleable value of its assets was then less than the amount that would be required to pay its probable liabilities on its existing debts as they became absolute and matured. There can be no assurance as to what standard a court would apply in order to determine whether the issuer was “insolvent” after giving effect to the incurrence of the indebtedness in which the Trust invested or that, regardless of the method of valuation, a court would not determine that the issuer was “insolvent” upon giving effect to such incurrence. In addition, in the event of the insolvency of an issuer of indebtedness in which the Trust invests, payments made on such indebtedness could be subject to avoidance as a “preference” if made within a certain period of time (which may be as long as one year) before insolvency.

The Trust does not anticipate that it will engage in conduct that would form the basis for a successful cause of action based upon fraudulent conveyance, preference or subordination. There can be no assurance, however, as to whether any lending institution or other party from which the Trust may acquire such indebtedness engaged in any such conduct (or any other conduct that would subject such indebtedness and the Trust to insolvency laws) and, if it did, as to whether such creditor claims could be asserted in a U.S. court (or in the courts of any other country) against the Trust.

Indebtedness consisting of obligations of non-U.S. issuers may be subject to various laws enacted in the countries of their issuance for the protection of creditors. These insolvency considerations will differ depending on the country in which each issuer is located or domiciled and may differ depending on whether the issuer is a non-sovereign or a sovereign entity.

Non-U.S. Securities Risk

The Trust may invest in Non-U.S. Securities. Such investments involve certain risks not involved in domestic investments. Securities markets in foreign countries often are not as developed, efficient or liquid as securities markets in the United States and, therefore, the prices of Non-U.S. Securities can be more volatile. Certain foreign countries may impose restrictions on the ability of issuers of Non-U.S. Securities to make payments of principal and interest or dividends to investors located outside the country. In addition, the Trust will be subject to risks associated with adverse political and economic developments in foreign countries, which could cause the Trust to lose money on its investments in Non-U.S. Securities. The Trust will be subject to additional risks if it invests in Non-U.S. Securities, which include seizure or nationalization of foreign deposits. Non-U.S. Securities may trade on days when the Trust’s common shares are not priced or traded.

Rules adopted under the Investment Company Act permit the Trust to maintain its Non-U.S. Securities and foreign currency in the custody of certain eligible non-U.S. banks and securities depositories, and the Trust generally holds its Non-U.S. Securities and foreign currency in foreign banks and securities depositories. Some foreign banks and securities depositories may be recently organized or new to the foreign custody business. In addition, there may be limited or no regulatory oversight of their operations. Also, the laws of certain countries limit the Trust’s ability to

 

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recover its assets if a foreign bank, depository or issuer of a security, or any of their agents, goes bankrupt. In addition, it is often more expensive for the Trust to buy, sell and hold securities in certain foreign markets than in the United States. The increased expense of investing in foreign markets reduces the amount the Trust can earn on its investments and typically results in a higher operating expense ratio for the Trust than for investment companies invested only in the United States.

Certain banks in foreign countries may not be eligible sub-custodians for the Trust, in which event the Trust may be precluded from purchasing securities in certain foreign countries in which it otherwise would invest or the Trust may incur additional costs and delays in providing transportation and custody services for such securities outside of such countries. The Trust may encounter difficulties in effecting portfolio transactions on a timely basis with respect to any securities of issuers held outside their countries.

The economies of certain foreign markets may not compare favorably with the economy of the United States with respect to such issues as growth of gross national product, reinvestment of capital, resources and balance of payments position. Certain foreign economies may rely heavily on particular industries or foreign capital and are more vulnerable to diplomatic developments, the imposition of economic sanctions against a particular country or countries, changes in international trading patterns, trade barriers and other protectionist or retaliatory measures. Investments in foreign markets may also be adversely affected by governmental actions such as the imposition of capital controls, nationalization of companies or industries, expropriation of assets or the imposition of punitive taxes. In addition, the governments of certain countries may prohibit or impose substantial restrictions on foreign investments in their capital markets or in certain industries. Any of these actions could severely affect securities prices or impair the Trust’s ability to purchase or sell Non-U.S. Securities or transfer the Trust’s assets or income back into the United States, or otherwise adversely affect the Trust’s operations. In addition, the U.S. Government has from time to time in the past imposed restrictions, through penalties and otherwise, on foreign investments by U.S. investors such as the Trust. If such restrictions should be reinstituted, it might become necessary for the Trust to invest all or substantially all of its assets in U.S. securities.

Other potential foreign market risks include foreign exchange controls, difficulties in pricing securities, defaults on foreign government securities, difficulties in enforcing legal judgments in foreign courts and political and social instability. Diplomatic and political developments, including rapid and adverse political changes, social instability, regional conflicts, terrorism and war, could affect the economies, industries and securities and currency markets, and the value of the Trust’s investments, in non-U.S. countries. These factors are extremely difficult, if not impossible, to predict and take into account with respect to the Trust’s investments.

In general, less information is publicly available with respect to foreign issuers than is available with respect to U.S. companies. Accounting standards in other countries are not necessarily the same as in the United States. If the accounting standards in another country do not require as much detail as U.S. accounting standards, it may be harder for the Advisor to completely and accurately determine a company’s financial condition.

Many foreign governments do not supervise and regulate stock exchanges, brokers and the sale of securities to the same extent as such regulations exist in the United States. They also may not have laws to protect investors that are comparable to U.S. securities laws. For example, some foreign countries may have no laws or rules against insider trading. Insider trading occurs when a person buys or sells a company’s securities based on material non-public information about that company. In addition, some countries may have legal systems that may make it difficult for the Trust to vote proxies, exercise shareholder rights, and pursue legal remedies with respect to its Non-U.S. Securities.

Settlement and clearance procedures in certain foreign markets differ significantly from those in the United States. Foreign settlement and clearance procedures and trade regulations also may involve certain risks (such as delays in payment for or delivery of securities) not typically associated with the settlement of U.S. investments. Communications between the United States and foreign countries may be unreliable, increasing the risk of delayed settlements or losses of security certificates in markets that still rely on physical settlement. At times, settlements in certain foreign countries have not kept pace with the number of securities transactions. These problems may make it difficult for the Trust to carry out transactions. If the Trust cannot settle or is delayed in settling a purchase of securities, it may miss attractive investment opportunities and certain of its assets may be uninvested with no return earned thereon for some period. If the Trust cannot settle or is delayed in settling a sale of securities, it may lose money if the value of the security then declines or, if it has contracted to sell the security to another party, the Trust could be liable for any losses incurred.

 

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While the volume of transactions effected on foreign stock exchanges has increased in recent years, it remains appreciably below that of the NYSE. Accordingly, the Trust’s Non-U.S. Securities may be less liquid and their prices may be more volatile than comparable investments in securities in U.S. companies.

A number of countries have authorized the formation of closed-end investment companies to facilitate indirect foreign investment in their capital markets. The Investment Company Act restricts the Trust’s investment in securities of other closed-end investment companies. This restriction on investments in securities of closed-end investment companies may limit opportunities for the Trust to invest indirectly in certain smaller capital markets. Shares of certain closed-end investment companies may at times be acquired only at market prices representing premiums to their NAVs. If the Trust acquires shares in closed-end investment companies, shareholders would bear both their proportionate share of the Trust’s expenses (including investment advisory fees) and, indirectly, the expenses of such closed-end investment companies. The Trust also may seek, at its own cost, to create its own investment entities under the laws of certain countries.

Emerging Markets Risk

The Trust may invest in Non-U.S. Securities of issuers in so-called “emerging markets” (or lesser developed countries). Such investments are particularly speculative and entail all of the risks of investing in Non-U.S. Securities but to a heightened degree. “Emerging market” countries generally include every nation in the world except developed countries, that is, the United States, Canada, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and most countries located in Western Europe. Investments in the securities of issuers domiciled in countries with emerging capital markets involve certain additional risks that do not generally apply to investments in securities of issuers in more developed capital markets, such as (i) low or non-existent trading volume, resulting in a lack of liquidity and increased volatility in prices for such securities, as compared to securities of comparable issuers in more developed capital markets; (ii) uncertain national policies and social, political and economic instability, increasing the potential for expropriation of assets, confiscatory taxation, high rates of inflation or unfavorable diplomatic developments; (iii) possible fluctuations in exchange rates, differing legal systems and the existence or possible imposition of exchange controls, custodial restrictions or other foreign or U.S. governmental laws or restrictions applicable to such investments; (iv) national policies that may limit the Trust’s investment opportunities such as restrictions on investment in issuers or industries deemed sensitive to national interests; and (v) the lack or relatively early development of legal structures governing private and foreign investments and private property.

Foreign investment in certain emerging market countries may be restricted or controlled to varying degrees. These restrictions or controls may at times limit or preclude foreign investment in certain emerging market issuers and increase the costs and expenses of the Trust. Certain emerging market countries require governmental approval prior to investments by foreign persons in a particular issuer, limit the amount of investment by foreign persons in a particular issuer, limit the investment by foreign persons only to a specific class of securities of an issuer that may have less advantageous rights than the classes available for purchase by domiciliaries of the countries and/or impose additional taxes on foreign investors.

Emerging markets are more likely to experience hyperinflation and currency devaluations, which adversely affect returns to U.S. investors. In addition, many emerging markets have far lower trading volumes and less liquidity than developed markets. Since these markets are often small, they may be more likely to suffer sharp and frequent price changes or long-term price depression because of adverse publicity, investor perceptions or the actions of a few large investors. In addition, traditional measures of investment value used in the United States, such as price to earnings ratios, may not apply to certain small markets. Also, there may be less publicly available information about issuers in emerging markets than would be available about issuers in more developed capital markets, and such issuers may not be subject to accounting, auditing and financial reporting standards and requirements comparable to those to which U.S. companies are subject. In certain countries with emerging capital markets, reporting standards vary widely.

Many emerging markets have histories of political instability and abrupt changes in policies and these countries may lack the social, political and economic stability characteristic of more developed countries. As a result, their governments are more likely to take actions that are hostile or detrimental to private enterprise or foreign investment than those of more developed countries, including expropriation of assets, confiscatory taxation, high rates of inflation or unfavorable diplomatic developments. In the past, governments of such nations have expropriated substantial amounts of private property, and most claims of the property owners have never been fully settled. There is no assurance that such expropriations will not reoccur. In such an event, it is possible that the Trust could lose the entire

 

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value of its investments in the affected market. Some countries have pervasiveness of corruption and crime that may hinder investments. Certain emerging markets may also face other significant internal or external risks, including the risk of war, and ethnic, religious and racial conflicts. In addition, governments in many emerging market countries participate to a significant degree in their economies and securities markets, which may impair investment and economic growth. National policies that may limit the Trust’s investment opportunities include restrictions on investment in issuers or industries deemed sensitive to national interests. In such a dynamic environment, there can be no assurance that any or all of these capital markets will continue to present viable investment opportunities for the Trust.

Emerging markets may also have differing legal systems and the existence or possible imposition of exchange controls, custodial restrictions or other foreign or U.S. governmental laws or restrictions applicable to such investments. Sometimes, they may lack or be in the relatively early development of legal structures governing private and foreign investments and private property. In addition to withholding taxes on investment income, some countries with emerging markets may impose differential capital gains taxes on foreign investors.

Practices in relation to settlement of securities transactions in emerging markets involve higher risks than those in developed markets, in part because the Trust will need to use brokers and counterparties that are less well capitalized, and custody and registration of assets in some countries may be unreliable. The possibility of fraud, negligence, undue influence being exerted by the issuer or refusal to recognize ownership exists in some emerging markets, and, along with other factors, could result in ownership registration being completely lost.

The Trust would absorb any loss resulting from such registration problems and may have no successful claim for compensation. In addition, communications between the United States and emerging market countries may be unreliable, increasing the risk of delayed settlements or losses of security certificates.

Foreign Currency Risk

Because the Trust may invest in securities denominated or quoted in currencies other than the U.S. dollar, changes in foreign currency exchange rates may affect the value of securities held by the Trust and the unrealized appreciation or depreciation of investments. Currencies of certain countries may be volatile and therefore may affect the value of securities denominated in such currencies, which means that the Trust’s NAV could decline as a result of changes in the exchange rates between foreign currencies and the U.S. dollar. The Advisor may, but is not required to, elect for the Trust to seek to protect itself from changes in currency exchange rates through hedging transactions depending on market conditions. In addition, certain countries, particularly emerging market countries, may impose foreign currency exchange controls or other restrictions on the transferability, repatriation or convertibility of currency.

LIBOR and Other Reference Rates Risk

The Trust’s investments and payment obligations may be based on floating rates, such as LIBOR, European Interbank Offer Rate (“EURIBOR”), Sterling Overnight Interbank Average Rate (“SONIA”), and other similar types of reference rates (“Reference Rates”). The elimination of a Reference Rate or any other changes or reforms to the determination or supervision of Reference Rates could have an adverse impact on the market for, or value of, any securities or payments linked to those Reference Rates. In addition, any substitute Reference Rate and any pricing adjustments imposed by a regulator or by counterparties or otherwise may adversely affect the Trust’s performance and/or NAV.

In 2017, the Alternative Reference Rates Committee, a group of large U.S. banks working with the Federal Reserve, announced its selection of the Secured Overnight Financing Rate (“SOFR”), which is intended to be a broad measure of secured overnight U.S. Treasury repo rates, as an appropriate replacement for LIBOR. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York began publishing the SOFR in 2018, with the expectation that it could be used on a voluntary basis in new instruments and transactions. Bank working groups and regulators in other countries have suggested other alternatives for their markets, including the SONIA in England.

In 2017, the head of the United Kingdom’s Financial Conduct Authority announced a desire to phase out the use of LIBOR by the end of 2021. There remains uncertainty regarding the future utilization of LIBOR and the nature of any replacement Reference Rate. As such, the potential effect of a transition away from LIBOR on the Trust or the financial instruments in which the Trust invests cannot yet be determined.

 

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Leverage Risk

The use of leverage creates an opportunity for increased common share net investment income dividends, but also creates risks for the holders of common shares. The Trust cannot assure you that the use of leverage, if employed, will result in a higher yield on the common shares. Any leveraging strategy the Trust employs may not be successful.

Leverage involves risks and special considerations for common shareholders, including:

 

   

the likelihood of greater volatility of NAV, market price and dividend rate of the common shares than a comparable portfolio without leverage;

 

   

the risk that fluctuations in interest rates or dividend rates on any leverage that the Trust must pay will reduce the return to the common shareholders;

 

   

the effect of leverage in a declining market, which is likely to cause a greater decline in the NAV of the common shares than if the Trust were not leveraged, which may result in a greater decline in the market price of the common shares;

 

   

when the Trust uses financial leverage, the management fee payable to the Advisor will be higher than if the Trust did not use leverage; and

 

   

leverage may increase operating costs, which may reduce total return.

Any decline in the NAV of the Trust’s investments will be borne entirely by the holders of common shares. Therefore, if the market value of the Trust’s portfolio declines, leverage will result in a greater decrease in NAV to the holders of common shares than if the Trust were not leveraged. This greater NAV decrease will also tend to cause a greater decline in the market price for the common shares. While the Trust may from time to time consider reducing any outstanding leverage in response to actual or anticipated changes in interest rates in an effort to mitigate the increased volatility of current income and NAV associated with leverage, there can be no assurance that the Trust will actually reduce any outstanding leverage in the future or that any reduction, if undertaken, will benefit the holders of common shares. Changes in the future direction of interest rates are very difficult to predict accurately. If the Trust were to reduce any outstanding leverage based on a prediction about future changes to interest rates, and that prediction turned out to be incorrect, the reduction in any outstanding leverage would likely operate to reduce the income and/or total returns to holders of common shares relative to the circumstance where the Trust had not reduced any of its outstanding leverage. The Trust may decide that this risk outweighs the likelihood of achieving the desired reduction to volatility in income and share price if the prediction were to turn out to be correct, and determine not to reduce any of its outstanding leverage as described above.

The Trust currently does not intend to borrow money or issue debt securities or preferred shares, but may in the future borrow funds from banks or other financial institutions, or issue debt securities or preferred shares, as described in this Prospectus. Certain types of leverage the Trust may use may result in the Trust being subject to covenants relating to asset coverage and portfolio composition requirements. The Trust may be subject to certain restrictions on investments imposed by guidelines of one or more rating agencies, which may issue ratings for any debt securities or preferred shares issued by the Trust. The terms of any borrowings or these rating agency guidelines may impose asset coverage or portfolio composition requirements that are more stringent than those imposed by the Investment Company Act. The Advisor does not believe that these covenants or guidelines will impede it from managing the Trust’s portfolio in accordance with the Trust’s investment objectives and policies.

The Trust may invest in the securities of other investment companies. Such investment companies may also be leveraged, and will therefore be subject to the leverage risks described above. This additional leverage may in certain market conditions reduce the NAV of the Trust’s common shares and the returns to the holders of common shares.

Repurchase Agreements Risk

Subject to its investment objectives and policies, the Trust may invest in repurchase agreements. Repurchase agreements typically involve the acquisition by the Trust of fixed-income securities from a selling financial institution such as a bank, savings and loan association or broker-dealer. The agreement provides that the Trust will sell the

 

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

Reverse Repurchase Agreements Risk

Reverse repurchase agreements involve the risks that the interest income earned on the investment of the proceeds will be less than the interest expense of the Trust, that the market value of the securities sold by the Trust may decline below the price at which the Trust is obligated to repurchase the securities and that the securities may not be returned to the Trust. There is no assurance that reverse repurchase agreements can be successfully employed.

Dollar Roll Transactions Risk

Dollar roll transactions involve the risk that the market value of the securities the Trust is required to purchase may decline below the agreed upon repurchase price of those securities. If the broker/dealer to which the Trust sells securities becomes insolvent, the Trust’s right to purchase or repurchase securities may be restricted. Successful use of dollar rolls may depend upon the Advisor’s ability to predict correctly interest rates and prepayments. There is no assurance that dollar rolls can be successfully employed. These transactions may involve leverage.

When-Issued, Forward Commitment and Delayed Delivery Transactions Risk

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

Event Risk

Event risk is the risk that corporate issuers may undergo restructurings, such as mergers, leveraged buyouts, takeovers, or similar events financed by increased debt. As a result of the added debt, the credit quality and market value of a company’s securities may decline significantly.

Defensive Investing Risk

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

 

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Structured Investments Risks

The Trust may invest in structured products, including structured notes, ELNs and other types of structured products. Holders of structured products bear the risks of the underlying investments, index or reference obligation and are subject to counterparty risk.

The Trust may have the right to receive payments only from the structured product and generally does not have direct rights against the issuer or the entity that sold the assets to be securitized. While certain structured products enable the investor to acquire interests in a pool of securities without the brokerage and other expenses associated with directly holding the same securities, investors in structured products generally pay their share of the structured product’s administrative and other expenses.

Although it is difficult to predict whether the prices of indices and securities underlying structured products will rise or fall, these prices (and, therefore, the prices of structured products) will be influenced by the same types of political and economic events that affect issuers of securities and capital markets generally. If the issuer of a structured product uses shorter term financing to purchase longer term securities, the issuer may be forced to sell its securities at below market prices if it experiences difficulty in obtaining such financing, which may adversely affect the value of the structured products owned by the Trust.

Structured Notes Risk. Investments in structured notes involve risks, including credit risk and market risk. Where the Trust’s investments in structured notes are based upon the movement of one or more factors, including currency exchange rates, interest rates, referenced bonds and stock indices, depending on the factor used and the use of multipliers or deflators, changes in interest rates and movement of the factor may cause significant price fluctuations. Additionally, changes in the reference instrument or security may cause the interest rate on the structured note to be reduced to zero and any further changes in the reference instrument may then reduce the principal amount payable on maturity. Structured notes may be less liquid than other types of securities and more volatile than the reference instrument or security underlying the note.

Equity-Linked Notes Risk. ELNs are hybrid securities with characteristics of both fixed-income and equity securities. An ELN is a debt instrument, usually a bond, that pays interest based upon the performance of an underlying equity, which can be a single stock, basket of stocks or an equity index. The interest payment on an ELN may in some cases be leveraged so that, in percentage terms, it exceeds the relative performance of the market. ELNs generally are subject to the risks associated with the securities of equity issuers, default risk and counterparty risk. Additionally, because the Trust may use ELNs as an alternative or complement to its options strategy, the use of ELNs in this manner would expose the Trust to the risk that such ELNs will not perform as anticipated, and the risk that the use of ELNs will expose the Trust to different or additional default and counterparty risk as compared to a similar investment executed in an options strategy.

Credit-Linked Notes Risk. A CLN is a derivative instrument. It is a synthetic obligation between two or more parties where the payment of principal and/or interest is based on the performance of some obligation (a reference obligation). In addition to the credit risk of the reference obligations and interest rate risk, the buyer/seller of the CLN is subject to counterparty risk.

Event-Linked Securities Risk. Event-linked securities are a form of derivative issued by insurance companies and insurance-related special purpose vehicles that apply securitization techniques to catastrophic property and casualty damages. Unlike other insurable low-severity, high-probability events, the insurance risk of which can be diversified by writing large numbers of similar policies, the holders of a typical event-linked securities are exposed to the risks from high-severity, low-probability events such as that posed by major earthquakes or hurricanes. If a catastrophe occurs that “triggers” the event-linked security, investors in such security may lose some or all of the capital invested. In the case of an event, the funds are paid to the bond sponsor—an insurer, reinsurer or corporation—to cover losses. In return, the bond sponsors pay interest to investors for this catastrophe protection. Event-linked securities can be structured to pay-off on three types of variables—insurance-industry catastrophe loss indices, insured-specific catastrophe losses and parametric indices based on the physical characteristics of catastrophic events. Such variables are difficult to predict or model, and the risk and potential return profiles of event-linked securities may be difficult to assess. Catastrophe-related event-linked securities have been in use since the 1990s, and the securitization and risk-transfer aspects of such event-linked securities are beginning to be employed in other insurance and risk-related areas. No active trading market may exist for certain event-linked securities, which may impair the ability of the Trust to realize full value in the event of the need to liquidate such assets.

 

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Strategic Transactions and Derivatives Risk

The Trust may engage in various Strategic Transactions for duration management and other risk management purposes, including to attempt to protect against possible changes in the market value of the Trust’s portfolio resulting from trends in the securities markets and changes in interest rates or to protect the Trust’s unrealized gains in the value of its portfolio securities, to facilitate the sale of portfolio securities for investment purposes or to establish a position in the securities markets as a temporary substitute for purchasing particular securities or to enhance income or gain. Derivatives are financial contracts or instruments whose value depends on, or is derived from, the value of an underlying asset, reference rate or index (or relationship between two indices). The Trust also may use derivatives to add leverage to the portfolio and/or to hedge against increases in the Trust’s costs associated with any leverage strategy that it may employ. The use of Strategic Transactions to enhance current income may be particularly speculative.

Strategic Transactions involve risks. The risks associated with Strategic Transactions include (i) the imperfect correlation between the value of such instruments and the underlying assets, (ii) the possible default of the counterparty to the transaction, (iii) illiquidity of the derivative instruments, and (iv) high volatility losses caused by unanticipated market movements, which are potentially unlimited. Although both OTC and exchange-traded derivatives markets may experience a lack of liquidity, OTC non-standardized derivative transactions are generally less liquid than exchange-traded instruments. The illiquidity of the derivatives markets may be due to various factors, including congestion, disorderly markets, limitations on deliverable supplies, the participation of speculators, government regulation and intervention, and technical and operational or system failures. In addition, daily limits on price fluctuations and speculative position limits on exchanges on which the Trust may conduct its transactions in derivative instruments may prevent prompt liquidation of positions, subjecting the Trust to the potential of greater losses. Furthermore, the Trust’s ability to successfully use Strategic Transactions depends on the Advisor’s ability to predict pertinent securities prices, interest rates, currency exchange rates and other economic factors, which cannot be assured. The use of Strategic Transactions may result in losses greater than if they had not been used, may require the Trust to sell or purchase portfolio securities at inopportune times or for prices other than current market values, may limit the amount of appreciation the Trust can realize on an investment or may cause the Trust to hold a security that it might otherwise sell. Additionally, segregated or earmarked liquid assets, amounts paid by the Trust as premiums and cash or other assets held in margin accounts with respect to Strategic Transactions are not otherwise available to the Trust for investment purposes. Please see the Trust’s SAI for a more detailed description of Strategic Transactions and the various derivative instruments the Trust may use and the various risks associated with them.

Exchange-traded derivatives and OTC derivative transactions submitted for clearing through a central counterparty are also subject to minimum initial and variation margin requirements set by the relevant clearinghouse, as well as possible margin requirements mandated by the SEC or the CFTC. The CFTC and federal banking regulators also have imposed margin requirements on non-cleared OTC derivatives, and the SEC has proposed (but not yet finalized) such non-cleared margin requirements. As applicable, margin requirements may increase the overall costs for the Trust.

Many OTC derivatives are valued on the basis of dealers’ pricing of these instruments. However, the price at which dealers value a particular derivative and the price that the same dealers would actually be willing to pay for such derivative should the Trust wish or be forced to sell such position may be materially different. Such differences can result in an overstatement of the Trust’s NAV and may materially adversely affect the Trust in situations in which the Trust is required to sell derivative instruments.

While hedging can reduce or eliminate losses, it can also reduce or eliminate gains. Hedges are sometimes subject to imperfect matching between the derivative and the underlying security, and there can be no assurance that the Trust’s hedging transactions will be effective.

Derivatives may give rise to a form of leverage and may expose the Trust to greater risk and increase its costs. Recent legislation calls for new regulation of the derivatives markets. The extent and impact of the regulation is not yet known and may not be known for some time. New regulation may make derivatives more costly, may limit the availability of derivatives, or may otherwise adversely affect the value or performance of derivatives.

 

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In November 2019, the SEC proposed new regulations governing the use of derivatives by registered investment companies. If adopted as proposed, new Rule 18f-4 would impose limits on the amount of derivatives a fund could enter into, eliminate the asset segregation framework currently used by the funds to comply with Section 18 of the Investment Company Act, treat derivatives as senior securities so that a failure to comply with the proposed limits would result in a statutory violation and require funds whose use of derivatives is more than a limited specified exposure amount to establish and maintain a comprehensive derivatives risk management program and appoint a derivatives risk manager.

Counterparty Risk

The Trust will be subject to credit risk with respect to the counterparties to the derivative contracts purchased by the Trust. Because derivative transactions in which the Trust may engage may involve instruments that are not traded on an exchange or cleared through a central counterparty but are instead traded between counterparties based on contractual relationships, the Trust is subject to the risk that a counterparty will not perform its obligations under the related contracts. If a counterparty becomes bankrupt or otherwise fails to perform its obligations due to financial difficulties, the Trust may experience significant delays in obtaining any recovery in bankruptcy or other reorganization proceedings. The Trust may obtain only a limited recovery, or may obtain no recovery, in such circumstances. Although the Trust intends to enter into transactions only with counterparties that the Advisor believes to be creditworthy, there can be no assurance that, as a result, a counterparty will not default and that the Trust will not sustain a loss on a transaction. In the event of the counterparty’s bankruptcy or insolvency, the Trust’s collateral may be subject to the conflicting claims of the counterparty’s creditors, and the Trust may be exposed to the risk of a court treating the Trust as a general unsecured creditor of the counterparty, rather than as the owner of the collateral.

The counterparty risk for cleared derivatives is generally lower than for uncleared OTC derivative transactions since generally a clearing organization becomes substituted for each counterparty to a cleared derivative contract and, in effect, guarantees the parties’ performance under the contract as each party to a trade looks only to the clearing organization for performance of financial obligations under the derivative contract. However, there can be no assurance that a clearing organization, or its members, will satisfy its obligations to the Trust, or that the Trust would be able to recover the full amount of assets deposited on its behalf with the clearing organization in the event of the default by the clearing organization or the Trust’s clearing broker. In addition, cleared derivative transactions benefit from daily marking-to-market and settlement, and segregation and minimum capital requirements applicable to intermediaries. Uncleared OTC derivative transactions generally do not benefit from such protections. This exposes the Trust to the risk that a counterparty will not settle a transaction in accordance with its terms and conditions because of a dispute over the terms of the contract (whether or not bona fide) or because of a credit or liquidity problem, thus causing the Trust to suffer a loss. Such “counterparty risk” is accentuated for contracts with longer maturities where events may intervene to prevent settlement, or where the Trust has concentrated its transactions with a single or small group of counterparties.

In addition, the Trust is subject to the risk that issuers of the instruments in which it invests and trades may default on their obligations under those instruments, and that certain events may occur that have an immediate and significant adverse effect on the value of those instruments. There can be no assurance that an issuer of an instrument in which the Trust invests will not default, or that an event that has an immediate and significant adverse effect on the value of an instrument will not occur, and that the Trust will not sustain a loss on a transaction as a result.

Swaps Risk

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

 

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

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

Securities Lending Risk

The Trust may lend securities to financial institutions. Securities lending involves exposure to certain risks, including operational risk (i.e., the risk of losses resulting from problems in the settlement and accounting process), “gap” risk (i.e., the risk of a mismatch between the return on cash collateral reinvestments and the fees the Trust has agreed to pay a borrower), and credit, legal, counterparty and market risk. If a securities lending counterparty were to default, the Trust would be subject to the risk of a possible delay in receiving collateral or in recovering the loaned securities, or to a possible loss of rights in the collateral. In the event a borrower does not return the Trust’s securities as agreed, the Trust may experience losses if the proceeds received from liquidating the collateral do not at least equal the value of the loaned security at the time the collateral is liquidated, plus the transaction costs incurred in purchasing replacement securities. This event could trigger adverse tax consequences for the Trust. The Trust could lose money if its short-term investment of the collateral declines in value over the period of the loan. Substitute payments for dividends received by the Trust for securities loaned out by the Trust will generally not be considered qualified dividend income. The securities lending agent will take the tax effects on shareholders of this difference into account in connection with the Trust’s securities lending program. Substitute payments received on tax-exempt securities loaned out will generally not be tax-exempt income.

Short Sales Risk

Short-selling involves selling securities which may or may not be owned and borrowing the same securities for delivery to the purchaser, with an obligation to replace the borrowed securities at a later date. If the price of the security sold short increases between the time of the short sale and the time the Trust replaces the borrowed security, the Trust will incur a loss; conversely, if the price declines, the Trust will realize a capital gain. Any gain will be decreased, and any loss will be increased, by the transaction costs incurred by the Trust, including the costs associated with providing collateral to the broker-dealer (usually cash and liquid securities) and the maintenance of collateral with its custodian. Although the Trust’s gain is limited to the price at which it sold the security short, its potential loss is theoretically unlimited.

Short-selling necessarily involves certain additional risks. However, if the short seller does not own the securities sold short (an uncovered short sale), the borrowed securities must be replaced by securities purchased at market prices in order to close out the short position, and any appreciation in the price of the borrowed securities would result in a loss. Uncovered short sales expose the Trust to the risk of uncapped losses until a position can be closed out due to the lack

 

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of an upper limit on the price to which a security may rise. Purchasing securities to close out the short position can itself cause the price of the securities to rise further, thereby exacerbating the loss. There is the risk that the securities borrowed by the Trust in connection with a short-sale must be returned to the securities lender on short notice. If a request for return of borrowed securities occurs at a time when other short-sellers of the security are receiving similar requests, a “short squeeze” can occur, and the Trust may be compelled to replace borrowed securities previously sold short with purchases on the open market at the most disadvantageous time, possibly at prices significantly in excess of the proceeds received at the time the securities were originally sold short.

Inflation Risk

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

Deflation Risk

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

Risk Associated with Recent Market Events

Stresses associated with the 2008 financial crisis in the United States and global economies peaked approximately a decade ago, but periods of unusually high volatility in the financial markets and restrictive credit conditions, sometimes limited to a particular sector or a geography, continue to recur. Some countries, including the United States, have adopted and/or are considering the adoption of more protectionist trade policies, a move away from the tighter financial industry regulations that followed the financial crisis, and/or substantially reducing corporate taxes. The exact shape of these policies is still being considered, but the equity and debt markets may react strongly to expectations of change, which could increase volatility, especially if the market’s expectations are not borne out. A rise in protectionist trade policies, and the possibility of changes to some international trade agreements, could affect the economies of many nations in ways that cannot necessarily be foreseen at the present time. In addition, geopolitical and other risks, including environmental and public health, may add to instability in world economies and markets generally. Economies and financial markets throughout the world are becoming increasingly interconnected. As a result, whether or not the Trust invests in securities of issuers located in or with significant exposure to countries experiencing economic, political and/or financial difficulties, the value and liquidity of the Trust’s investments may be negatively affected by such events.

An outbreak of respiratory disease caused by a novel coronavirus was first detected in China in December 2019 and has now developed into a global pandemic. This pandemic has resulted in closing borders, enhanced health screenings, healthcare service preparation and delivery, quarantines, cancellations, disruptions to supply chains and customer activity, as well as general concern and uncertainty. The impact of this pandemic, and other pandemics and epidemics that may arise in the future, could affect the economies of many nations, individual companies and the market in general in ways that cannot necessarily be foreseen at the present time. In addition, the impact of infectious diseases in developing or emerging market countries may be greater due to less established health care systems. Health crises caused by the novel coronavirus pandemic may exacerbate other pre-existing political, social and economic risks in certain countries. The impact of the pandemic may last for an extended period of time.

EMU and Redenomination Risk

As the European debt crisis progressed, the possibility of one or more Eurozone countries exiting the EMU, or even the collapse of the Euro as a common currency, arose, creating significant volatility at times in currency and financial markets generally. The effects of the collapse of the Euro, or of the exit of one or more countries from the EMU, on the U.S. and global economy and securities markets are impossible to predict and any such events could have a significant adverse impact on the value and risk profile of the Trust’s portfolio. Any partial or complete dissolution of the EMU could have significant adverse effects on currency and financial markets, and on the values of the Trust’s

 

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portfolio investments. If one or more EMU countries were to stop using the Euro as its primary currency, the Trust’s investments in such countries may be redenominated into a different or newly adopted currency. As a result, the value of those investments could decline significantly and unpredictably. In addition, securities or other investments that are redenominated may be subject to foreign currency risk, illiquidity risk and valuation risk to a greater extent than similar investments currently denominated in Euros. To the extent a currency used for redenomination purposes is not specified in respect of certain EMU-related investments, or should the Euro cease to be used entirely, the currency in which such investments are denominated may be unclear, making such investments particularly difficult to value or dispose of. The Trust may incur additional expenses to the extent it is required to seek judicial or other clarification of the denomination or value of such securities.

Market Disruption and Geopolitical Risk

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

China and the United States have each recently imposed tariffs on the other country’s products. These actions may trigger a significant reduction in international trade, the oversupply of certain manufactured goods, substantial price reductions of goods and possible failure of individual companies and/or large segments of China’s export industry, which could have a negative impact on the Trust’s performance. U.S. companies that source material and goods from China and those that make large amounts of sales in China would be particularly vulnerable to an escalation of trade tensions. Uncertainty regarding the outcome of the trade tensions and the potential for a trade war could cause the U.S. dollar to decline against safe haven currencies, such as the Japanese yen and the euro. Events such as these and their consequences are difficult to predict and it is unclear whether further tariffs may be imposed or other escalating actions may be taken in the future.

The decision made in the British referendum of June 23, 2016 to leave the EU, an event widely referred to as “Brexit,” has led to volatility in the financial markets of the United Kingdom and more broadly across Europe and may also lead to weakening in consumer, corporate and financial confidence in such markets. The formal notification to the European Council required under Article 50 of the Treaty on EU was made on March 29, 2017, following which the terms of exit were negotiated. Pursuant to an agreement between the United Kingdom and the EU, the United Kingdom left the EU on January 31, 2020 subject to a transitional period ending December 31, 2020. The longer term economic, legal, political and social framework to be put in place between the United Kingdom and the EU are unclear at this stage and are likely to lead to ongoing political and economic uncertainty and periods of exacerbated volatility in both the United Kingdom and in wider European markets for some time. In particular, the decision made in Brexit may lead to a call for similar referendums in other European jurisdictions which may cause increased economic volatility in the European and global markets. This mid- to long-term uncertainty may have an adverse effect on the economy generally and on the ability of the Trust to execute its strategies and to receive attractive returns. In particular, currency volatility may mean that the returns of the Trust and its investments are adversely affected by market movements and may make it more difficult, or more expensive, for the Trust to execute prudent currency hedging policies. Potential decline in the value of the British Pound and/or the Euro against other currencies, along with the potential downgrading of the United Kingdom’s sovereign credit rating, may also have an impact on the performance of portfolio companies or investments located in the United Kingdom or Europe. In light of the above, no definitive assessment can currently be made regarding the impact that Brexit will have on the Trust, its investments or its organization more generally.

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

 

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Regulation and Government Intervention Risk

The U.S. Government and the Federal Reserve, as well as certain foreign governments, recently have taken unprecedented actions designed to support certain financial institutions and segments of the financial markets that experienced extreme volatility, such as implementing stimulus packages, providing liquidity in fixed income, commercial paper and other markets and providing tax breaks, among other actions. The reduction or withdrawal of Federal Reserve or other U.S. or non-U.S. governmental support could negatively affect financial markets generally and reduce the value and liquidity of certain securities. Additionally, with the cessation of certain market support activities, the Trust may face a heightened level of interest rate risk as a result of a rise or increased volatility in interest rates.

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

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

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

Regulation as a “Commodity Pool”

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

Failures of Futures Commission Merchants and Clearing Organizations Risk

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

 

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Legal, Tax and Regulatory Risks

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

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

The current presidential administration has called for, and in certain instances has begun to implement, significant changes to U.S. fiscal, tax, trade, healthcare, immigration, foreign, and government regulatory policy. In this regard, there is significant uncertainty with respect to legislation, regulation and government policy at the federal level, as well as the state and local levels. Recent events have created a climate of heightened uncertainty and introduced new and difficult-to-quantify macroeconomic and political risks with potentially far-reaching implications. There has been a corresponding meaningful increase in the uncertainty surrounding interest rates, inflation, foreign exchange rates, trade volumes and fiscal and monetary policy. To the extent the U.S. Congress or the current presidential administration implements changes to U.S. policy, those changes may impact, among other things, the U.S. and global economy, international trade and relations, unemployment, immigration, corporate taxes, healthcare, the U.S. regulatory environment, inflation and other areas. Some particular areas identified as subject to potential change, amendment or repeal include the Dodd-Frank Act, including the Volcker Rule and various swaps and derivatives regulations, credit risk retention requirements and the authorities of the Federal Reserve, the Financial Stability Oversight Council and the SEC. Although the Trust cannot predict the impact, if any, of these changes to the Trust’s business, they could adversely affect the Trust’s business, financial condition, operating results and cash flows. Until the Trust knows what policy changes are made and how those changes impact the Trust’s business and the business of the Trust’s competitors over the long term, the Trust will not know if, overall, the Trust will benefit from them or be negatively affected by them.

The risks and uncertainties associated with these policy proposals have been heightened by the 2018 U.S. federal election, which resulted in different political parties controlling the U.S. House of Representatives, on the one hand, and the U.S. Senate and the Executive Branch, on the other hand. Additional risks arising from the differences in expressed policy preferences among the various constituencies in these branches of the U.S. government has led in the past, and may lead in the future, to short term or prolonged policy impasses, which could, and has, resulted in shutdowns of the U.S. federal government. U.S. federal government shutdowns, especially prolonged shutdowns, could have a significant adverse impact on the economy in general and could impair the ability of issuers to raise capital in the securities markets. Any of these effects could have an adverse impact on companies in the Trust’s portfolio and consequently on the value of their securities and the Trust’s NAV.

The rules dealing with U.S. federal income taxation are constantly under review by persons involved in the legislative process and by the IRS and the U.S. Treasury Department. The Trust cannot predict how any changes in the tax laws might affect its investors or the Trust itself. New legislation, U.S. Treasury regulations, administrative interpretations or court decisions, with or without retroactive application, could significantly and negatively affect the Trust’s ability to qualify as a RIC or the U.S. federal income tax consequences to its investors and itself of such qualification, or could have other adverse consequences. You are urged to consult with your tax advisor with respect to the status of legislative, regulatory or administrative developments and proposals and their potential effect on an investment in the Trust’s shares.

Investment Company Act Regulations

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

 

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Legislation Risk

At any time after the date of this Prospectus, legislation may be enacted that could negatively affect the assets of the Trust. Legislation or regulation may change the way in which the Trust itself is regulated. The Advisor cannot predict the effects of any new governmental regulation that may be implemented and there can be no assurance that any new governmental regulation will not adversely affect the Trust’s ability to achieve its investment objectives.

Potential Conflicts of Interest of the Advisor and Others

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

Decision-Making Authority Risk

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

Management Risk

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

Market and Selection Risk

Market risk is the possibility that the market values of securities owned by the Trust will decline. There is a risk that equity and/or bond markets will go down in value, including the possibility that such markets will go down sharply and unpredictably.

Stock markets are volatile, and the price of equity securities fluctuates based on changes in a company’s financial condition and overall market and economic conditions. Local, regional or global events such as war, acts of terrorism, the spread of infectious illness or other public health issue, recessions, or other events could have a significant impact on the Trust and its investments. An adverse event, such as an unfavorable earnings report, may depress the value of

 

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a particular common stock held by the Trust. Also, the price of common stocks is sensitive to general movements in the stock market and a drop in the stock market may depress the price of common stocks to which the Trust has exposure. Common stock prices fluctuate for several reasons, including changes in investors’ perceptions of the financial condition of an issuer or the general condition of the relevant stock market, or when political or economic events affecting the issuers occur.

The prices of fixed-income securities tend to fall as interest rates rise, and such declines tend to be greater among fixed-income securities with longer maturities. Market risk is often greater among certain types of fixed-income securities, such as zero coupon bonds that do not make regular interest payments but are instead bought at a discount to their face values and paid in full upon maturity. As interest rates change, these securities often fluctuate more in price than securities that make regular interest payments and therefore subject the Trust to greater market risk than a fund that does not own these types of securities.

When-issued and delayed delivery transactions are subject to changes in market conditions from the time of the commitment until settlement, which may adversely affect the prices or yields of the securities being purchased. The greater the Trust’s outstanding commitments for these securities, the greater the Trust’s exposure to market price fluctuations.

Selection risk is the risk that the securities that the Trust’s management selects will underperform the equity and/or bond market, the market relevant indices or other funds with similar investment objectives and investment strategies.

Reliance on the Advisor Risk

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

Reliance on Service Providers Risk

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

Information Technology Systems Risk

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

Cyber Security Risk

With the increased use of technologies such as the Internet to conduct business, the Trust is susceptible to operational, information security and related risks. In general, cyber incidents can result from deliberate attacks or unintentional events. Cyber-attacks include, but are not limited to, gaining unauthorized access to digital systems (e.g., through “hacking” or malicious software coding) for purposes of misappropriating assets or sensitive information, corrupting data, or causing operational disruption. Cyber-attacks may also be carried out in a manner that does not require gaining

 

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unauthorized access, such as causing denial-of-service attacks on websites (i.e., efforts to make network services unavailable to intended users). Cyber security failures by or breaches of the Advisor and other service providers (including, but not limited to, fund accountants, custodians, transfer agents and administrators), and the issuers of securities in which the Trust invests, have the ability to cause disruptions and impact business operations, potentially resulting in financial losses, interference with the Trust’s ability to calculate its NAV, impediments to trading, the inability of shareholders to transact business, violations of applicable privacy and other laws, regulatory fines, penalties, reputational damage, reimbursement or other compensation costs, or additional compliance costs. In addition, substantial costs may be incurred in order to prevent any cyber incidents in the future. While the Trust has established business continuity plans in the event of, and risk management systems to prevent, such cyber-attacks, there are inherent limitations in such plans and systems including the possibility that certain risks have not been identified. Furthermore, the Trust cannot control the cyber security plans and systems put in place by service providers to the Trust and issuers in which the Trust invests. As a result, the Trust or its shareholders could be negatively impacted.

Misconduct of Employees and of Service Providers Risk

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

Special Risks for Holders of Rights

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

Portfolio Turnover Risk

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

Anti-Takeover Provisions Risk

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

 

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HOW THE TRUST MANAGES RISK

Investment Limitations

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

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

Management of Investment Portfolio and Capital Structure to Limit Leverage Risk

The Trust may take certain actions if short-term interest rates increase or market conditions otherwise change (or the Trust anticipates such an increase or change) and any leverage the Trust may have outstanding begins (or is expected) to adversely affect common shareholders. In order to attempt to offset such a negative impact of any outstanding leverage on common shareholders, the Trust may shorten the average maturity of its investment portfolio (by investing in short-term securities) or may reduce any indebtedness that it may have incurred. As explained above under “Risks—Leverage Risk,” the success of any such attempt to limit leverage risk depends on the Advisor’s ability to accurately predict interest rate or other market changes. Because of the difficulty of making such predictions, the Trust may never attempt to manage its capital structure in the manner described in this paragraph.

If market conditions suggest that employing leverage, or employing additional leverage if the Trust already has outstanding leverage, would be beneficial, the Trust may enter into one or more credit facilities, increase any existing credit facilities, sell preferred shares or engage in additional leverage transactions, subject to the restrictions of the Investment Company Act.

Strategic Transactions

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

MANAGEMENT OF THE TRUST

Trustees and Officers

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

Investment Advisor

The Advisor is responsible for the management of the Trust’s portfolio and provides the necessary personnel, facilities, equipment and certain other services necessary to the operation of the Trust. The Advisor, located at 100 Bellevue Parkway, Wilmington, Delaware 19809, is a wholly-owned subsidiary of BlackRock.

BlackRock is one of the world’s largest publicly-traded investment management firms. As of March 31, 2020, BlackRock’s assets under management were approximately $6.466 trillion. BlackRock has over 30 years of experience managing closed-end products and, as of March 31, 2020, advised a registered closed-end family of 70 exchange-listed active funds with approximately $45 billion in assets.

BlackRock is independent in ownership and governance, with no single majority shareholder and a majority of independent directors. PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. is BlackRock’s largest shareholder.

 

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Investment Philosophy

The Advisor believes that the knowledge and experience of its Science and Technology Team enable it to evaluate the macro environment and assess its impact on the various sub-sectors within the science and technology sector. Within this framework, the Advisor identifies stocks it believes to have attractive characteristics, evaluates the use of options and provides ongoing portfolio risk management.

The top-down or macro component of the investment process is designed to assess the various interrelated macro variables affecting the science and technology sector as a whole. Risk/reward analysis is a key component of the Advisor’s macro view. The Advisor evaluates science and technology sub-sectors (e.g., internet software and services, systems software, semiconductors, data processing and outsourced services, communications equipment, etc.). Selection of sub-sectors within the science and technology sector is a direct result of the Advisor’s sub-sector analysis. Once the evaluation of the various sub-sectors in the science and technology sector is complete, the Advisor determines what it believes to be optimal portfolio positioning.

Bottom-up security selection is focused on identifying companies the Advisor believes to have the most attractive characteristics within each applicable sub-sector of the science and technology sector. The Advisor seeks to identify companies that it believes to have strong product potential, solid earnings growth and/or earnings power which are under appreciated by investors, a quality management team and compelling relative and absolute valuation. The Advisor believes that the knowledge and experience of its Science and Technology Team enables it to identify attractive science and technology company securities.

The Advisor intends to utilize options strategies that consist of writing (selling) covered call options on a portion of the common stocks held by the Trust, as well as other options strategies such as writing other call and put options or using options to manage risk. The portfolio management team will work together closely to determine which options strategies to pursue to seek to generate current gains from options and premiums and to enhance the Trust’s risk-adjusted returns.

Portfolio Managers

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

Tony Kim, Managing Director and portfolio manager, is a member of BlackRock’s Fundamental Active Equity division of BlackRock’s Active Equities Group. He is lead portfolio manager for the information technology sector, product manager for Global Science & Technology equity portfolios, and a member of the team’s Investment Strategy Group. Prior to joining BlackRock in 2013, Mr. Kim was a Senior Research Analyst for Artisan Partners based in San Francisco covering the global technology sector on their International Growth Team, which he joined in 2006. Before assuming this role, Mr. Kim worked as a Research Analyst at Credit Suisse Asset Management where he worked primarily on their U.S. large funds and was a portfolio manager of their Global Internet and Software sector fund from 2005 to mid-2006. Mr. Kim has also worked with E-Vue, a spin-off of Sarnoff Labs, and at Neuberger Berman covering technology and telecom sectors. Mr. Kim began his investment career on the sell-side covering IT at SG Warburg in 1994, where he then moved to Merrill Lynch to execute M&A transactions for technology companies.

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

 

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

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

Investment Management Agreement

Pursuant to an investment management agreement between the Advisor and the Trust (the “Investment Management Agreement”), the Trust has agreed to pay the Advisor a monthly management fee at an annual rate equal to 1.00% of the average daily value of the Trust’s Managed Assets. The Advisor contractually agreed to waive receipt of a portion of the management fee in the amount of 0.20% of the Trust’s average daily Managed Assets for the first five years of the Trust’s operations (2014 through 2018), 0.15% in year six (2019), 0.10% in year seven (2020) and 0.05% in year eight (2021). The period from the Trust’s inception to December 31, 2014 was considered year one for the waiver. Beginning in year nine (2022), there will be no waiver.

“Managed Assets” means the total assets of the Trust, (including any assets attributable to money borrowed for investment purposes) minus the sum of the Trust’s accrued liabilities (other than money borrowed for investment purposes). This means that during periods in which the Trust is using leverage, the fee paid to the Advisor will be higher than if the Trust did not use leverage because the fee is calculated as a percentage of the Trust’s Managed Assets, which include those assets purchased with leverage.

A discussion regarding the basis for the approval of the Investment Management Agreement by the Board is available in the Trust’s Semi-Annual Report to shareholders for the period ended June 30, 2019.

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

The Trust and the Advisor have entered into the Fee Waiver Agreement, pursuant to which the Advisor has contractually agreed to waive the management fee with respect to any portion of the Trust’s assets attributable to investments in any equity and fixed-income mutual funds and ETFs managed by the Advisor or its affiliates that have a contractual fee, through June 30, 2021. In addition, effective December 1, 2019, pursuant to the Fee Waiver Agreement, the Advisor has contractually agreed to waive its management fees by the amount of investment advisory fees the Trust pays to the Advisor indirectly through its investment in money market funds advised by the Advisor or its affiliates, through June 30, 2021. The Fee Waiver Agreement may be continued from year to year thereafter, provided that such continuance is specifically approved by the Advisor and the Trust (including by a majority of the Trust’s Independent Trustees). Neither the Advisor nor the Trust is obligated to extend the Fee Waiver Agreement. The Fee Waiver Agreement may be terminated at any time, without the payment of any penalty, only by the Trust (upon the vote of a majority of the Independent Trustees or a majority of the outstanding voting securities of the Trust), upon 90 days’ written notice by the Trust to the Advisor.

Administration and Accounting Services

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

 

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Custodian and Transfer Agent

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

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

Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm

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

NET ASSET VALUE

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

Valuation of securities held by the Trust is as follows:

Equity Investments. Equity securities traded on a recognized securities exchange (e.g., NYSE), separate trading boards of a securities exchange or through a market system that provides contemporaneous transaction pricing information (an “Exchange”) are valued via independent pricing services generally at the Exchange closing price or if an Exchange closing price is not available, the last traded price on that Exchange prior to the time as of which the assets or liabilities are valued; however, under certain circumstances other means of determining current market value may be used. If an equity security is traded on more than one Exchange, the current market value of the security where it is primarily traded generally will be used. In the event that there are no sales involving an equity security held by the Trust on a day on which the Trust values such security, the last bid (long positions) or ask (short positions) price, if available, will be used as the value of such security. If the Trust holds both long and short positions in the same security, the last bid price will be applied to securities held long and the last ask price will be applied to securities sold short. If no bid or ask price is available on a day on which the Trust values such security, the prior day’s price will be used, unless the Advisor determines that such prior day’s price no longer reflects the fair value of the security, in which case such asset would be treated as a fair value asset.

Fixed-Income Investments. Fixed-income securities for which market quotations are readily available are generally valued using such securities’ current market value. The Trust values fixed-income portfolio securities and non-exchange traded derivatives using the last available bid prices or current market quotations provided by dealers or prices (including evaluated prices) supplied by the Trust’s approved independent third-party pricing services, each in accordance with valuation procedures approved by the Board. The pricing services may use matrix pricing or valuation models that utilize certain inputs and assumptions to derive values, including transaction data (e.g., recent representative bids and offers), credit quality information, perceived market movements, news, and other relevant information and by other methods, which may include consideration of: yields or prices of securities of comparable quality, coupon, maturity and type; indications as to values from dealers; general market conditions; and other factors and assumptions. Pricing services generally value fixed-income securities assuming orderly transactions of an institutional round lot size, but the Trust may hold or transact in such securities in smaller, odd lot sizes. Odd lots

 

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often trade at lower prices than institutional round lots. The amortized cost method of valuation may be used with respect to debt obligations with sixty days or less remaining to maturity unless the Advisor determines such method does not represent fair value. Loan participation notes are generally valued at the mean of the last available bid prices from one or more brokers or dealers as obtained from independent third-party pricing services. Certain fixed-income investments including asset-backed and mortgage related securities may be valued based on valuation models that consider the estimated cash flows of each tranche of the entity, establish a benchmark yield and develop an estimated tranche specific spread to the benchmark yield based on the unique attributes of the tranche.

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

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

General Valuation Information. In determining the market value of portfolio investments, the Trust may employ independent third party pricing services, which may use, without limitation, a matrix or formula method that takes into consideration market indexes, matrices, yield curves and other specific adjustments. This may result in the securities being valued at a price different from the price that would have been determined had the matrix or formula method not been used. All cash, receivables and current payables are carried on the Trust’s books at their face value. The price the Trust could receive upon the sale of any particular portfolio investment may differ from the Trust’s valuation of the investment, particularly for securities that trade in thin or volatile markets or that are valued using a fair valuation methodology or a price provided by an independent pricing service. As a result, the price received upon the sale of an investment may be less than the value ascribed by the Trust, and the Trust could realize a greater than expected loss or lesser than expected gain upon the sale of the investment. The Trust’s ability to value its investment may also be impacted by technological issues and/or errors by pricing services or other third party service providers.

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

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

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

Fair Value. When market quotations are not readily available or are believed by the Advisor to be unreliable, the Trust’s investments are valued at fair value (“Fair Value Assets”). Fair Value Assets are valued by the Advisor in accordance with procedures approved by the Board. The Advisor may conclude that a market quotation is not readily

 

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

The Advisor, with input from the BlackRock Portfolio Management Group, will submit its recommendations regarding the valuation and/or valuation methodologies for Fair Value Assets to BlackRock’s Valuation Committee. The BlackRock Valuation Committee may accept, modify or reject any recommendations. In addition, the Trust’s accounting agent periodically endeavors to confirm the prices it receives from all third party pricing services, index providers and broker-dealers, and, with the assistance of the Advisor, to regularly evaluate the values assigned to the securities and other assets and liabilities of the Trust. The pricing of all Fair Value Assets is subsequently reported to the Board or a Committee thereof.

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

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

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

Generally, ASC 820 and other accounting rules applicable to investment companies and various assets in which they invest are evolving. Such changes may adversely affect the Trust. For example, the evolution of rules governing the determination of the fair market value of assets or liabilities to the extent such rules become more stringent would tend to increase the cost and/or reduce the availability of third-party determinations of fair market value.

DISTRIBUTIONS

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

DIVIDEND REINVESTMENT PLAN

Unless the registered owner of common shares elects to receive cash by contacting Computershare Trust Company, N.A. (the “Reinvestment Plan Agent”), all dividends or other distributions (together, a “dividend”) declared for your common shares of the Trust will be automatically reinvested by the Reinvestment Plan Agent, as agent for

 

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shareholders in administering the Trust’s dividend reinvestment plan (the “Reinvestment Plan”), in additional common shares of the Trust. Shareholders who elect not to participate in the Reinvestment Plan will receive all dividends in cash paid by check mailed directly to the shareholder of record (or, if the common shares are held in street or other nominee name, then to such nominee) by the Reinvestment Plan Agent. You may elect not to participate in the Reinvestment Plan and to receive all dividends in cash by contacting the Reinvestment Plan Agent at the address set forth below. Participation in the Reinvestment Plan is completely voluntary and may be terminated or resumed at any time without penalty by written notice if received and processed by the Reinvestment Plan Agent prior to the dividend record date. Additionally, the Reinvestment Plan Agent seeks to process notices received after the record date but prior to the payable date and such notices often will become effective by the payable date. Where late notices are not processed by the applicable payable date, such termination or resumption will be effective with respect to any subsequently declared dividend.

Some brokers may automatically elect to receive cash on your behalf and may re-invest that cash in additional common shares of the Trust for you. If you wish for all dividends declared on your common shares of the Trust to be automatically reinvested pursuant to the Reinvestment Plan, please contact your broker.

The Reinvestment Plan Agent will open an account for each common shareholder under the Reinvestment Plan in the same name in which such common shareholder’s common shares are registered. Whenever the Trust declares a dividend payable in cash, non-participants in the Reinvestment Plan will receive cash and participants in the Reinvestment Plan will receive the equivalent in common shares. The common shares will be acquired by the Reinvestment Plan Agent for the participants’ accounts, depending upon the circumstances described below, either (i) through receipt of additional unissued but authorized common shares from the Trust (“newly issued common shares”) or (ii) by purchase of outstanding common shares on the open market (“open-market purchases”). If, on the dividend payment date, the NAV is equal to or less than the market price per share plus estimated brokerage commissions (such condition often referred to as a “market premium”), the Reinvestment Plan Agent will invest the dividend amount in newly issued common shares on behalf of the participants. The number of newly issued common shares to be credited to each participant’s account will be determined by dividing the dollar amount of the dividend by the NAV on the dividend payment date. However, if the NAV is less than 95% of the market price on the dividend payment date, the dollar amount of the dividend will be divided by 95% of the market price on the dividend payment date. If, on the dividend payment date, the NAV is greater than the market price per share plus estimated brokerage commissions (such condition often referred to as a “market discount”), the Reinvestment Plan Agent will invest the dividend amount in common shares acquired on behalf of the participants in open-market purchases. In the event of a market discount on the dividend payment date, the Reinvestment Plan Agent will have until the last business day before the next date on which the common shares trade on an “ex-dividend” basis or 30 days after the dividend payment date, whichever is sooner, to invest the dividend amount in common shares acquired in open-market purchases. It is contemplated that the Trust will pay monthly income dividends. If, before the Reinvestment Plan Agent has completed its open-market purchases, the market price per common share exceeds the NAV per common share, the average per common share purchase price paid by the Reinvestment Plan Agent may exceed the NAV of the common shares, resulting in the acquisition of fewer common shares than if the dividend had been paid in newly issued common shares on the dividend payment date. Because of the foregoing difficulty with respect to open-market purchases, the Reinvestment Plan provides that if the Reinvestment Plan Agent is unable to invest the full dividend amount in open-market purchases, or if the market discount shifts to a market premium during the purchase period, the Reinvestment Plan Agent may cease making open-market purchases and may invest any uninvested portion in newly issued shares. Investments in newly issued shares made in this manner would be made pursuant to the same process described above and the date of issue for such newly issued shares will substitute for the dividend payment date.

The Reinvestment Plan Agent maintains all shareholders’ accounts in the Reinvestment Plan and furnishes written confirmation of all transactions in the accounts, including information needed by shareholders for tax records. Common shares in the account of each Reinvestment Plan participant will be held by the Reinvestment Plan Agent on behalf of the Reinvestment Plan participant, and each shareholder proxy will include those shares purchased or received pursuant to the Reinvestment Plan.

In the case of shareholders such as banks, brokers or nominees, which hold shares for others who are the beneficial owners, the Reinvestment Plan Agent will administer the Reinvestment Plan on the basis of the number of common shares certified from time to time by the record shareholder’s name and held for the account of beneficial owners who participate in the Reinvestment Plan.

 

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The Reinvestment Plan Agent’s fees for the handling of the reinvestment of dividends will be paid by the Trust. However, each participant will pay a $0.02 per share fee incurred in connection with open-market purchases, which will be deducted from the value of the dividend. The automatic reinvestment of dividends will not relieve participants of any U.S. federal, state or local income tax that may be payable (or required to be withheld) on such dividends. See “Tax Matters.”

Participants that request a sale of shares through the Reinvestment Plan Agent are subject to a $2.50 sales fee and a $0.15 per share fee. Per share fees include any applicable brokerage commissions the Reinvestment Plan Agent is required to pay.

The Trust reserves the right to amend or terminate the Reinvestment Plan. There is no direct service charge to participants with regard to purchases in the Reinvestment Plan; however, the Trust reserves the right to amend the Reinvestment Plan to include a service charge payable by the participants. Notice of amendments to the Reinvestment Plan will be sent to participants.

All correspondence concerning the Reinvestment Plan should be directed to the Reinvestment Plan Agent, through the internet at http://www.computershare.com/blackrock, or in writing to Computershare, P.O. Box 505000, Louisville, KY 40233, Telephone: (800) 699-1236. Overnight correspondence should be directed to the Reinvestment Plan Agent at Computershare, 462 South 4th Street, Suite 1600, Louisville, KY 40202.

RIGHTS OFFERINGS

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

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

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

 

   

the period of time the offering would remain open;

 

   

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

 

   

the title of such rights;

 

   

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

 

   

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

 

   

the number of rights required to purchase a single share;

 

   

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

 

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

 

   

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

 

   

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

 

   

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

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

TAX MATTERS

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

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

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

 

   

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

 

   

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

 

   

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

 

   

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

 

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Taxation of the Trust

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

Taxation of Common Shareholders

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Ordinary income dividends properly reported by a RIC are generally exempt from U.S. federal withholding tax where they (i) are paid in respect of the RIC’s “qualified net interest income” (generally, its U.S.-source interest income, other than certain contingent interest and interest from obligations of a corporation or partnership in which the RIC is at least a 10% shareholder, reduced by expenses that are allocable to such income) or (ii) are paid in respect of the RIC’s “qualified short-term capital gains” (generally, the excess of the RIC’s net short-term capital gain over its long-term capital loss for such taxable year). Depending on its circumstances, the Trust may report all, some or none of its potentially eligible dividends as such qualified net interest income or as qualified short-term capital gains, and/or treat such dividends, in whole or in part, as ineligible for this exemption from withholding. In order to qualify for this exemption from withholding, a foreign investor needs to comply with applicable certification requirements relating to its non-U.S. status (including, in general, furnishing an IRS Form W-8BEN, W-8BEN-E or substitute Form). In the case of common shares held through an intermediary, the intermediary may have withheld even if the Trust reported the payment as qualified net interest income or qualified short-term capital gain. Foreign investors should contact their intermediaries with respect to the application of these rules to their accounts. There can be no assurance as to what portion of the Trust’s distributions would qualify for favorable treatment as qualified net interest income or qualified short-term capital gains.

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

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

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

The foregoing is a general and abbreviated summary of certain provisions of the Code and the Treasury regulations currently in effect as they directly govern the taxation of the Trust and its common shareholders. These provisions are subject to change by legislative or administrative action, and any such change may be

 

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retroactive. A more detailed discussion of the tax rules applicable to the Trust and its common shareholders can be found in the SAI that is incorporated by reference into this Prospectus. Common shareholders are urged to consult their tax advisers regarding specific questions as to U.S. federal, state, local and foreign income or other taxes.

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

TAXATION OF HOLDERS OF RIGHTS

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

The basis of a right issued to a common shareholder will be zero, and the basis of the share with respect to which the subscription right was issued (the old share) will remain unchanged, unless either (a) the fair market value of the right on the date of distribution is at least 15% of the fair market value of the old share, or (b) such shareholder affirmatively elects (in the manner set out in Treasury regulations under the Code) to allocate to the subscription right a portion of the basis of the old share. If either (a) or (b) applies, then except as described below such shareholder must allocate basis between the old share and the right in proportion to their fair market values on the date of distribution.

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

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

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

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

CERTAIN PROVISIONS IN THE AGREEMENT AND DECLARATION OF TRUST AND BYLAWS

The Agreement and Declaration of Trust includes provisions that could have the effect of limiting the ability of other entities or persons to acquire control of the Trust or to change the composition of the Board. This could have the effect of depriving shareholders of an opportunity to sell their shares at a premium over prevailing market prices by discouraging a third party from seeking to obtain control over the Trust. Such attempts could have the effect of increasing the expenses of the Trust and disrupting the normal operation of the Trust. The Board is divided into three classes. At each annual meeting of shareholders the term of only one class of Trustees expires and only the Trustees in that one class stand for re-election. Trustees standing for election at an annual meeting of shareholders are elected to a three-year term. This provision could delay for up to two years the replacement of a majority of the Board. A Trustee may be removed from office for cause only, and only by the action of a majority of the remaining Trustees followed by a vote of the holders of at least 75% of the shares then entitled to vote for the election of the respective Trustee.

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

 

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

 

   

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

 

   

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

 

   

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

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

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

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

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

 

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CLOSED-END FUND STRUCTURE

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

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

REPURCHASE OF COMMON SHARES

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

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

Common Stock Repurchase Program:

On September 5, 2019, the Board approved a renewal of the Trust’s open market share repurchase program through November 30, 2020. Commencing on December 1, 2019, the Trust may purchase through November 30, 2020, up to 5% of its shares outstanding as of the close of business on November 30, 2019, subject to certain conditions. The amount and timing of any repurchases under the Trust’s share repurchase program will be determined either at the discretion of the Trust’s management or pursuant to predetermined parameters and instructions subject to market conditions.

There is no assurance that the Trust will repurchase common shares in any particular amount. The share repurchase program seeks to enhance shareholder value by purchasing the Trust’s common shares trading at a discount from their NAV per share. For the year ended December 31, 2019, the Trust did not repurchase any shares.

 

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PLAN OF DISTRIBUTION

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

PRIVACY PRINCIPLES OF THE TRUST

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

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

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

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

 

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TABLE OF CONTENTS OF STATEMENT OF ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

 

     Page  

THE TRUST

     S-1  

INVESTMENT OBJECTIVES AND POLICIES

     S-1  

INVESTMENT POLICIES AND TECHNIQUES

     S-3  

ADDITIONAL RISK FACTORS

     S-18  

MANAGEMENT OF THE TRUST

     S-36  

PORTFOLIO TRANSACTIONS AND BROKERAGE

     S-55  

CONFLICTS OF INTEREST

     S-59  

DESCRIPTION OF SHARES

     S-66  

REPURCHASE OF COMMON SHARES

     S-68  

TAX MATTERS

     S-69  

CUSTODIAN AND TRANSFER AGENT

     S-75  

INDEPENDENT REGISTERED PUBLIC ACCOUNTING FIRM

     S-75  

CONTROL PERSONS AND PRINCIPAL HOLDERS OF SECURITIES

     S-76  

FINANCIAL STATEMENTS

     S-76  

APPENDIX A – RATINGS OF INVESTMENTS

     A-1  

APPENDIX B – CLOSED-END FUND PROXY VOTING POLICY

     B-1  

 

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$438,750,000

BLACKROCK SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY TRUST

Common Shares

Rights to Purchase Common Shares

 

 

PROSPECTUS

April 29, 2020

 

 

 


BLACKROCK SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY TRUST

Common Shares

PROSPECTUS SUPPLEMENT

April 29, 2020

Until May 24, 2020 (25 days after the date of this Prospectus Supplement), all dealers that buy, sell or trade the common shares, whether or not participating in this offering, may be required to deliver a prospectus. This is in addition to the dealers’ obligation to deliver a prospectus when acting as underwriters.


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BlackRock Science and Technology Trust

STATEMENT OF ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

BlackRock Science and Technology Trust (the “Trust”) is a non-diversified, closed-end management investment company. This Statement of Additional Information (“SAI”) relating to common shares does not constitute a prospectus, but should be read in conjunction with the prospectus relating thereto dated April 29, 2020 and any related prospectus supplement. This SAI, which is not a prospectus, does not include all information that a prospective investor should consider before purchasing common shares, and investors should obtain and read the prospectus and any related prospectus supplement prior to purchasing such shares. A copy of the prospectus and any related prospectus supplement may be obtained without charge by calling (800) 882-0052. You may also obtain a copy of the prospectus on the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (the “SEC”) website (http://www.sec.gov). Capitalized terms used but not defined in this SAI have the meanings ascribed to them in the prospectus.

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


TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

THE TRUST

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INVESTMENT OBJECTIVES AND POLICIES

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INVESTMENT POLICIES AND TECHNIQUES

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ADDITIONAL RISK FACTORS

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MANAGEMENT OF THE TRUST

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PORTFOLIO TRANSACTIONS AND BROKERAGE

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CONFLICTS OF INTEREST

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DESCRIPTION OF SHARES

     S-66  

REPURCHASE OF COMMON SHARES

     S-68  

TAX MATTERS

     S-69  

CUSTODIAN AND TRANSFER AGENT

     S-75  

INDEPENDENT REGISTERED PUBLIC ACCOUNTING FIRM

     S-75  

CONTROL PERSONS AND PRINCIPAL HOLDERS OF SECURITIES

     S-76  

FINANCIAL STATEMENTS

     S-76  

APPENDIX A—RATINGS OF INVESTMENTS

     A-1  

APPENDIX B—CLOSED-END FUND PROXY VOTING POLICY

     B-1  

This Statement of Additional Information is dated April 29, 2020.


THE TRUST

The Trust is a non-diversified, closed-end management investment company registered under the Investment Company Act. The Trust was organized as a Delaware statutory trust on August 13, 2014, pursuant to the Trust’s Agreement and Declaration of Trust, which is governed by the laws of the State of Delaware. The Trust’s investment adviser is BlackRock Advisors, LLC (the “Advisor”).

The common shares of the Trust are listed on the New York Stock Exchange (“NYSE”) under the symbol “BST.” As of March 31, 2020, the Trust has outstanding 23,388,325 common shares.

INVESTMENT OBJECTIVES AND POLICIES

Investment Restrictions

The Trust has adopted restrictions and policies relating to the investment of the Trust’s assets and its activities. Certain of the restrictions are fundamental policies of the Trust and may not be changed without the approval of the holders of a majority of the Trust’s outstanding voting securities (which for this purpose and under the Investment Company Act means the lesser of (i) 67% of the shares represented at a meeting at which more than 50% of the outstanding shares are represented or (ii) more than 50% of the outstanding shares), including class approval by a majority of the Trust’s outstanding preferred shares, if any (which for this purpose and under the Investment Company Act means the lesser of (i) 67% of the preferred shares, as a single class, represented at a meeting at which more than 50% of the Trust’s outstanding preferred shares are represented or (ii) more than 50% of the outstanding preferred shares).

Fundamental Investment Restrictions. Under these fundamental investment restrictions, the Trust may not:

 

  1.

Concentrate its investments in a particular industry, as that term is used in the Investment Company Act, except that the Trust will concentrate its investments in companies operating in one or more industries within the technology group of industries.

 

  2.

Borrow money, except as permitted under the Investment Company Act.

 

  3.

Issue senior securities to the extent such issuance would violate the Investment Company Act.

 

  4.

Purchase or hold real estate, except the Trust may purchase and hold securities or other instruments that are secured by, or linked to, real estate or interests therein, securities of REITs, mortgage-related securities and securities of issuers engaged in the real estate business, and the Trust may purchase and hold real estate as a result of the ownership of securities or other instruments.

 

  5.

Underwrite securities issued by others, except to the extent that the sale of portfolio securities by the Trust may be deemed to be an underwriting or as otherwise permitted by applicable law.

 

  6.

Purchase or sell commodities or commodity contracts, except as permitted by the Investment Company Act.

 

  7.

Make loans to the extent prohibited by the Investment Company Act.

Notations Regarding the Trust’s Fundamental Investment Restrictions. The following notations are not considered to be part of the Trust’s fundamental investment restrictions and are subject to change without shareholder approval.

With respect to the fundamental policy relating to concentration set forth in (1) above, the Investment Company Act does not define what constitutes “concentration” in an industry. The SEC staff has taken the position that investment of 25% or more of a fund’s total assets in one or more issuers conducting their principal activities in the same industry or group of industries constitutes concentration. It is possible that interpretations of concentration could change in the future. The policy in (1) above will be interpreted to refer to concentration as that term may be interpreted from time to time. The policy also will be interpreted to permit investment without limit in the following: securities of the U.S. Government and its agencies or instrumentalities; tax exempt securities of state, territory, possession or municipal governments and their authorities, agencies, instrumentalities or political subdivisions; and repurchase agreements

 

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collateralized by any such obligations. Accordingly, issuers of the foregoing securities will not be considered to be members of any industry. There also will be no limit on investment in issuers domiciled in a single jurisdiction or country. Finance companies will be considered to be in the industries of their parents if their activities are primarily related to financing the activities of the parents. Each foreign government will be considered to be a member of a separate industry. With respect to the Trust’s industry classifications, the Trust currently utilizes any one or more of the industry sub-classifications used by one or more widely recognized market indexes or rating group indexes, and/or as defined by the Advisor. The policy also will be interpreted to give broad authority to the Trust as to how to classify issuers within or among industries.

With respect to the fundamental policy relating to borrowing money set forth in (2) above, the Investment Company Act, including the rules and regulations thereunder, generally prohibits the Trust from borrowing money (other than certain temporary borrowings) unless immediately after the borrowing the Trust has satisfied the asset coverage test with respect to senior securities representing indebtedness prescribed by the Investment Company Act; that is, the value of the Trust’s total assets less all liabilities and indebtedness not represented by senior securities (for these purposes, “total net assets”) is at least 300% of the senior securities representing indebtedness (effectively limiting the use of leverage through senior securities representing indebtedness to 331?3% of the Trust’s total net assets, including assets attributable to such leverage). Certain trading practices and investments, such as reverse repurchase agreements, may be considered to be borrowings or involve leverage and thus are subject to the Investment Company Act restrictions. In accordance with SEC staff guidance and interpretations, when the Trust engages in such transactions, the Trust, instead of maintaining asset coverage of at least 300%, may segregate or earmark liquid assets, or enter into an offsetting position, in an amount at least equal to the Trust’s exposure, on a mark-to-market basis, to the transaction (as calculated pursuant to requirements of the SEC). The policy in (2) above will be interpreted to permit the Trust to engage in trading practices and investments that may be considered to be borrowing or to involve leverage to the extent permitted by the Investment Company Act and to permit the Trust to segregate or earmark liquid assets or enter into offsetting positions in accordance with the Investment Company Act. Under the Investment Company Act, the Trust may not issue senior securities representing stock unless immediately after such issuance the value of the Trust’s total net assets is at least 200% of the liquidation value of the Trust’s outstanding senior securities representing stock, plus the aggregate amount of any senior securities representing indebtedness (effectively limiting the use of leverage through senior securities to 50% of the Trust’s total net assets). In addition, the Trust is not permitted to declare any cash dividend or other distribution on common shares unless, at the time of such declaration, the asset coverage tests described above are satisfied after giving effect to such dividend or distribution. Short-term credits necessary for the settlement of securities transactions and arrangements with respect to securities lending will not be considered to be borrowings under the policy. Practices and investments that may involve leverage but are not considered to be borrowings are not subject to the policy.

With respect to the fundamental policy relating to underwriting set forth in (5) above, the Investment Company Act does not prohibit the Trust from engaging in the underwriting business or from underwriting the securities of other issuers; in fact, in the case of diversified funds, the Investment Company Act permits a fund to have underwriting commitments of up to 25% of its assets under certain circumstances. Those circumstances currently are that the amount of the fund’s underwriting commitments, when added to the value of the fund’s investments in issuers where the fund owns more than 10% of the outstanding voting securities of those issuers, cannot exceed the 25% cap. A fund engaging in transactions involving the acquisition or disposition of portfolio securities may be considered to be an underwriter under the Securities Act. Although it is not believed that the application of the Securities Act provisions described above would cause the Trust to be engaged in the business of underwriting, the policy in (5) above will be interpreted not to prevent the Trust from engaging in transactions involving the acquisition or disposition of portfolio securities, regardless of whether the Trust may be considered to be an underwriter under the Securities Act or is otherwise engaged in the underwriting business to the extent permitted by applicable law.

With respect to the fundamental policy relating to lending set forth in (7) above, the Investment Company Act does not prohibit the Trust from making loans (including lending its securities); however, SEC staff interpretations currently prohibit funds from lending more than one-third of their total assets (including lending its securities), except through the purchase of debt obligations or the use of repurchase agreements. In addition, collateral arrangements with respect to options, forward currency and futures transactions and other derivative instruments (as applicable), as well as delays in the settlement of securities transactions, will not be considered loans.

 

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Non-Fundamental Investment Restrictions. Under its non-fundamental investment restrictions, which may be changed by the Board without shareholder approval, the Trust may not make short sales of securities or maintain a short position, except to the extent permitted by the Trust’s prospectus and SAI, as amended from time to time, and applicable law.

Unless otherwise indicated, all limitations under the Trust’s fundamental or non-fundamental investment restrictions apply only at the time that a transaction is undertaken. Any change in the percentage of the Trust’s assets invested in certain securities or other instruments resulting from market fluctuations or other changes in the Trust’s total assets will not require the Trust to dispose of an investment until the Advisor determines that it is practicable to sell or close out the investment without undue market or tax consequences.

INVESTMENT POLICIES AND TECHNIQUES

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

Restricted and Illiquid Investments

The Trust may invest in investments that lack an established secondary trading market or otherwise are considered illiquid. Liquidity of an investment relates to the ability to dispose easily of the investment and the price to be obtained upon disposition of the investment, which may be less than would be obtained for a comparable more liquid investment. Illiquid investments may trade at a discount from comparable, more liquid investments. Investment of the Trust’s assets in illiquid investments may restrict the ability of the Trust to dispose of its investments in a timely fashion and for a fair price as well as its ability to take advantage of market opportunities. The risks associated with illiquidity will be particularly acute where a Trust’s operations require cash, such as when the Trust pays dividends, and could result in the Trust borrowing to meet short-term cash requirements or incurring capital losses on the sale of illiquid investments.

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

Rights Offerings and Warrants to Purchase

The Trust may participate in rights offerings and may purchase warrants, which are privileges issued by corporations enabling the owners to subscribe to and purchase a specified number of shares of the corporation at a specified price during a specified period of time. Subscription rights normally have a short life span to expiration. The purchase of rights or warrants involves the risk that the Trust could lose the purchase value of a right or warrant if the right to subscribe to additional shares is not exercised prior to the rights’ and warrants’ expiration. Also, the purchase of rights

 

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

Master Limited Partnerships

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

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

To qualify as a partnership for U.S. federal income tax purposes, an MLP must receive at least 90% of its income from qualifying sources such as interest, dividends, real estate rents, gain from the sale or disposition of real property, income and gain from mineral or natural resources activities, income and gain from the transportation or storage of certain fuels, gain from the sale or disposition of a capital asset held for the production of income described in the foregoing and, in certain circumstances, income and gain from commodities or futures, forwards and options with respect to commodities. Mineral or natural resources activities include exploration, development, production, mining, refining, marketing and transportation (including pipelines), of oil and gas, minerals, geothermal energy, fertilizer, timber or industrial source carbon dioxide.

Currently, most MLPs operate in the energy, natural resources or real estate sectors. Due to their partnership structure, MLPs generally do not pay income taxes. Thus, unlike investors in corporate securities, direct MLP investors are generally not subject to double taxation (i.e. corporate level tax and tax on corporate dividends).

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

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

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

 

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

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

Precious Metal-Related Securities

The Trust may invest in the equity and other securities of companies that explore for, extract, process or deal in precious metals (e.g., gold, silver and platinum), and in asset-based securities indexed to the value of such metals. Such securities may be purchased when they are believed to be attractively priced in relation to the value of a company’s precious metal-related assets or when the values of precious metals are expected to benefit from inflationary pressure or other economic, political or financial uncertainty or instability.

Based on historical experience, during periods of economic or financial instability the securities of companies involved in precious metals may be subject to extreme price fluctuations, reflecting the high volatility of precious metal prices during such periods. In addition, the instability of precious metal prices may result in volatile earnings of precious metal-related companies, which may, in turn, adversely affect the financial condition of such companies.

The major producers of gold include the Republic of South Africa, Russia, Canada, the United States, Brazil and Australia. Sales of gold by Russia are largely unpredictable and often relate to political and economic considerations rather than to market forces. Economic, financial, social and political factors within South Africa may significantly affect South African gold production.

Mortgage Related Securities

MBS. Mortgage-backed securities (“MBS”) include structured debt obligations collateralized by pools of commercial (“CMBS”) or residential (“RMBS”) mortgages. Pools of mortgage loans and mortgage-backed loans, such as mezzanine loans, are assembled as securities for sale to investors by various governmental, government-related and private organizations. MBS include complex instruments such as collateralized mortgage obligations (“CMOs”), stripped MBS, mortgage pass-through securities and interests in real estate mortgage investment conduits (“REMICs”). The MBS in which the Trust may invest include those with fixed, floating or variable interest rates, those with interest rates that change based on multiples of changes in a specified reference interest rate or index of interest rates and those with interest rates that change inversely to changes in interest rates, as well as those that do not bear interest. The Trust may invest in RMBS and CMBS issued by governmental entities and private issuers, including subordinated MBS and residual interests. The Trust may invest in sub-prime mortgages or MBS that are backed by sub-prime mortgages.

In general, losses on a mortgaged property securing a mortgage loan included in a securitization will be borne first by the equity holder of the property, then by a cash reserve fund or letter of credit, if any, then by the holder of a mezzanine loan or B-Note, if any, then by the “first loss” subordinated security holder (generally, the “B-Piece” buyer) and then by the holder of a higher rated security. The Trust may invest in any class of security included in a securitization. In the event of default and the exhaustion of any equity support, reserve fund, letter of credit, mezzanine loans or B-Notes, and any classes of securities junior to those in which the Trust invests, the Trust will not be able to recover all of its investment in the MBS it purchases. MBS in which the Trust invests may not contain reserve funds, letters of credit, mezzanine loans and/or junior classes of securities. The prices of lower credit quality securities are generally less sensitive to interest rate changes than more highly rated investments, but more sensitive to adverse economic downturns or individual issuer developments.

 

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Mortgage Pass-Through Securities. Mortgage pass-through securities differ from other forms of fixed-income securities, which normally provide for periodic payment of interest in fixed amounts with principal payments at maturity or specified call dates. Instead, these securities provide a monthly payment which consists of both interest and principal payments. In effect, these payments are a “pass through” of the monthly payments made by the individual borrowers on their residential or commercial mortgage loans, net of any fees paid to the issuer or guarantor of such securities. Additional payments are caused by repayments of principal resulting from the sale of the underlying property, refinancing or foreclosure, net of fees or costs that may be incurred. Some mortgage related securities (such as securities issued by the Government National Mortgage Association (“GNMA”)) are described as “modified pass-through.” These securities entitle the holder to receive all interest and principal payments owed on the mortgage pool, net of certain fees, at the scheduled payment dates regardless of whether or not the mortgagor actually makes the payment.

RMBS. RMBS are securities the payments on which depend primarily on the cash flow from residential mortgage loans made to borrowers that are secured on a first priority basis or second priority basis, subject to permitted liens, easements and other encumbrances by residential real estate (one- to four-family properties), the proceeds of which are used to purchase real estate and purchase or construct dwellings thereon or to refinance indebtedness previously used for such purposes. Non-agency residential mortgage loans are obligations of the borrowers thereunder only and are not typically insured or guaranteed by any other person or entity. The ability of a borrower to repay a loan secured by residential property is dependent upon the income or assets of the borrower. A number of factors, including a general economic downturn, acts of God, terrorism, social unrest and civil disturbances, may impair a borrower’s ability to repay its loans.

Agency RMBS. The principal U.S. Governmental guarantor of mortgage related securities is GNMA, which is a wholly owned U.S. Government corporation. GNMA is authorized to guarantee, with the full faith and credit of the U.S. Government, the timely payment of principal and interest on securities issued by institutions approved by GNMA (such as savings and loan institutions, commercial banks and mortgage bankers) and backed by pools of mortgages insured by the Federal Housing Administration (“FHA”), or guaranteed by the Department of Veterans Affairs (“VA”). MBS issued by GNMA include GNMA Mortgage Pass-Through Certificates (also known as “Ginnie Maes”) which are guaranteed as to the timely payment of principal and interest by GNMA and such guarantees are backed by the full faith and credit of the United States. GNMA certificates also are supported by the authority of GNMA to borrow funds from the U.S. Treasury to make payments under its guarantee.

Government-related guarantors (i.e., not backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. Government) include the Federal National Mortgage Association (“FNMA”) and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (“FHLMC”). FNMA is a government-sponsored corporation the common stock of which is owned entirely by private stockholders. FNMA purchases conventional (i.e., not insured or guaranteed by any government agency) residential mortgages from a list of approved seller/servicers which include state and federally chartered savings and loan associations, mutual savings banks, commercial banks and credit unions and mortgage bankers. Pass-through securities issued by FNMA (also known as “Fannie Maes”) are guaranteed as to timely payment of principal and interest by FNMA, but are not backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. Government. FHLMC was created by Congress in 1970 for the purpose of increasing the availability of mortgage credit for residential housing. It is a government-sponsored corporation that issues FHLMC Guaranteed Mortgage Pass-Through Certificates (also known as “Freddie Macs” or “PCs”), which are pass-through securities, each representing an undivided interest in a pool of residential mortgages. FHLMC guarantees the timely payment of interest and ultimate collection of principal, but PCs are not backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. Government.

In 2008, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (“FHFA”) placed FNMA and FHLMC into conservatorship. FNMA and FHLMC are continuing to operate as going concerns while in conservatorship and each remains liable for all of its obligations, including its guaranty obligations, associated with its MBS.

As the conservator, FHFA succeeded to all rights, titles, powers and privileges of FNMA and FHLMC and of any stockholder, officer or director of FNMA and FHLMC with respect to FNMA and FHLMC and the assets of FNMA and FHLMC. In connection with the conservatorship, the U.S. Treasury entered into a Senior Preferred Stock Purchase Agreement with each of FNMA and FHLMC pursuant to which the U.S. Treasury would purchase up to an aggregate

 

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of $100 billion of each of FNMA and FHLMC to maintain a positive net worth in each enterprise. This agreement contains various covenants that severely limit each enterprise’s operations. In exchange for entering into these agreements, the U.S. Treasury received $1 billion of each enterprise’s senior preferred stock and warrants to purchase 79.9% of each enterprise’s common stock. In February 2009, the U.S. Treasury doubled the size of its commitment to each enterprise under the Senior Preferred Stock Program to $200 billion. The U.S. Treasury’s obligations under the Senior Preferred Stock Program are for an indefinite period of time for a maximum amount of $200 billion per enterprise. In December 2009, the U.S. Treasury announced further amendments to the Senior Preferred Stock Purchase Agreements which included additional financial support to certain governmentally supported entities, including the Federal Home Loan Banks (“FHLBs”), FNMA and FHLMC. It is difficult, if not impossible, to predict the future political, regulatory or economic changes that could impact FNMA, FHLMC and the FHLBs, and the values of their related securities or obligations. There is no assurance that the obligations of such entities will be satisfied in full, or that such obligations will not decrease in value or default.

Under the Federal Housing Finance Regulatory Reform Act of 2008 (the “Reform Act”), which was included as part of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008, FHFA, as conservator or receiver, has the power to repudiate any contract entered into by FNMA or FHLMC prior to FHFA’s appointment as conservator or receiver, as applicable, if FHFA determines, in its sole discretion, that performance of the contract is burdensome and that repudiation of the contract promotes the orderly administration of FNMA’s or FHLMC’s affairs. The Reform Act requires FHFA to exercise its right to repudiate any contract within a reasonable period of time after its appointment as conservator or receiver. FHFA, in its capacity as conservator, has indicated that it has no intention to repudiate the guaranty obligations of FNMA or FHLMC because FHFA views repudiation as incompatible with the goals of the conservatorship. However, in the event that FHFA, as conservator or if it is later appointed as receiver for FNMA or FHLMC, were to repudiate any such guaranty obligation, the conservatorship or receivership estate, as applicable, would be liable for actual direct compensatory damages in accordance with the provisions of the Reform Act. Any such liability could be satisfied only to the extent of FNMA’s or FHLMC’s assets available therefor. In the event of repudiation, the payments of interest to holders of FNMA or FHLMC MBS would be reduced if payments on the mortgage loans represented in the mortgage loan groups related to such MBS are not made by the borrowers or advanced by the servicer. Any actual direct compensatory damages for repudiating these guaranty obligations may not be sufficient to offset any shortfalls experienced by such mortgage-backed security holders. Further, in its capacity as conservator or receiver, FHFA has the right to transfer or sell any asset or liability of FNMA or FHLMC without any approval, assignment or consent. Although FHFA has stated that it has no present intention to do so, if FHFA, as conservator or receiver, were to transfer any such guaranty obligation to another party, holders of FNMA or FHLMC MBS would have to rely on that party for satisfaction of the guaranty obligation and would be exposed to the credit risk of that party. In addition, certain rights provided to holders of MBS issued by FNMA and FHLMC under the operative documents related to such securities may not be enforced against FHFA, or enforcement of such rights may be delayed, during the conservatorship or any future receivership. The operative documents for FNMA and FHLMC MBS may provide (or with respect to securities issued prior to the date of the appointment of the conservator may have provided) that upon the occurrence of an event of default on the part of FNMA or FHLMC, in its capacity as guarantor, which includes the appointment of a conservator or receiver, holders of such MBS have the right to replace FNMA or FHLMC as trustee if the requisite percentage of MBS holders consent. The Reform Act prevents mortgage-backed security holders from enforcing such rights if the event of default arises solely because a conservator or receiver has been appointed.

A 2011 report to Congress from the Treasury Department and the Department of Housing and Urban Development set forth a plan to reform America’s housing finance market, which would reduce the role of and eventually eliminate FNMA and FHLMC. Notably, the plan did not propose similar significant changes to GNMA, which guarantees payments on mortgage related securities backed by federally insured or guaranteed loans. The report also identified three proposals for Congress and the administration to consider for the long-term structure of the housing finance markets after the elimination of FNMA and FHLMC, including implementing: (i) a privatized system of housing finance that limits government insurance to very limited groups of creditworthy low- and moderate-income borrowers; (ii) a privatized system with a government backstop mechanism that would allow the government to insure a larger share of the housing finance market during a future housing crisis; and (iii) a privatized system where the government would offer reinsurance to holders of certain highly rated mortgage related securities insured by private insurers and would pay out under the reinsurance arrangements only if the private mortgage insurers were insolvent.

 

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Non-Agency RMBS. Non-agency RMBS are issued by commercial banks, savings and loan institutions, mortgage bankers, private mortgage insurance companies and other non-governmental issuers. Timely payment of principal and interest on RMBS backed by pools created by non-governmental issuers often is supported partially by various forms of insurance or guarantees, including individual loan, title, pool and hazard insurance. The insurance and guarantees are issued by government entities, private insurers and the mortgage poolers. There can be no assurance that the private insurers or mortgage poolers can meet their obligations under the policies, so that if the issuers default on their obligations, the holders of the security could sustain a loss. No insurance or guarantee covers the Trust or the price of the Trust’s common shares. RMBS issued by non-governmental issuers generally offer a higher rate of interest than government agency and government-related securities because there are no direct or indirect government guarantees of payment.

CMBS. CMBS generally are multi-class debt or pass-through certificates secured or backed by mortgage loans on commercial properties. CMBS generally are structured to provide protection to the senior class investors against potential losses on the underlying mortgage loans. This protection generally is provided by having the holders of subordinated classes of securities (“Subordinated CMBS”) take the first loss if there are defaults on the underlying commercial mortgage loans. Other protection, which may benefit all of the classes or particular classes, may include issuer guarantees, reserve funds, additional Subordinated CMBS, cross-collateralization and over-collateralization.

The Trust may invest in Subordinated CMBS, which are subordinated in some manner as to the payment of principal and/or interest to the holders of more senior CMBS arising out of the same pool of mortgages and which are often referred to as “B-Pieces.” The holders of Subordinated CMBS typically are compensated with a higher stated yield than are the holders of more senior CMBS. On the other hand, Subordinated CMBS typically subject the holder to greater risk than senior CMBS and tend to be rated in a lower rating category (frequently a substantially lower rating category) than the senior CMBS issued in respect of the same mortgage pool. Subordinated CMBS generally are likely to be more sensitive to changes in prepayment and interest rates and the market for such securities may be less liquid than is the case for traditional income securities and senior CMBS.

CMOs. A CMO is a multi-class bond backed by a pool of mortgage pass-through certificates or mortgage loans. CMOs may be collateralized by (i) GNMA, FNMA or FHLMC pass-through certificates, (ii) unsecuritized mortgage loans insured by the FHA or guaranteed by the VA, (iii) unsecuritized conventional mortgages, (iv) other MBS or (v) any combination thereof. Each class of a CMO, often referred to as a “tranche,” is issued at a specific coupon rate and has a stated maturity or final distribution date. Principal prepayments on collateral underlying a CMO may cause it to be retired substantially earlier than its stated maturity or final distribution date. The principal and interest on the underlying mortgages may be allocated among the several classes of a series of a CMO in many ways. One or more tranches of a CMO may have coupon rates which reset periodically at a specified increment over an index, such as LIBOR (or sometimes more than one index). These floating rate CMOs typically are issued with lifetime caps on the coupon rate thereon. The Trust will generally not invest in CMO residuals, which represent the interest in any excess cash flow remaining after making the payments of interest and principal on the tranches issued by the CMO and the payment of administrative expenses and management fees.

The Trust may invest in inverse floating rate CMOs. Inverse floating rate CMOs constitute a tranche of a CMO with a coupon rate that moves in the reverse direction relative to an applicable index such as LIBOR. Accordingly, the coupon rate thereon will increase as interest rates decrease. Inverse floating rate CMOs are typically more volatile than fixed or floating rate tranches of CMOs. Many inverse floating rate CMOs have coupons that move inversely to a multiple of an index. The effect of the coupon varying inversely to a multiple of an applicable index creates a leverage factor. Inverse floating rate debt instruments (“inverse floaters”) based on multiples of a stated index are designed to be highly sensitive to changes in interest rates and can subject the holders thereof to extreme reductions of yield and loss of principal. The market for inverse floating rate CMOs with highly leveraged characteristics at times may be very thin. The Trust’s ability to dispose of its positions in such securities will depend on the degree of liquidity in the markets for such securities. It is impossible to predict the amount of trading interest that may exist in such securities, and therefore the future degree of liquidity.

Sub-Prime Mortgages. Sub-prime mortgages are mortgages rated below A by Moody’s Investor’s Service, Inc., Standard & Poor’s Corporation Ratings Group, a division of The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. or Fitch Ratings. Historically, sub-prime mortgage loans have been made to borrowers with blemished (or non-existent) credit records, and the borrower is charged a higher interest rate to compensate for the greater risk of delinquency and the higher costs of loan servicing and collection. Sub-prime mortgages are subject to both state and federal anti-predatory lending

 

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statutes that carry potential liability to secondary market purchasers such as the Trust. Sub-prime mortgages have certain characteristics and associated risks similar to below investment grade securities, including a higher degree of credit risk, and certain characteristics and associated risks similar to MBS, including prepayment risk.

Mortgage Related ABS. Asset-backed securities (“ABS”) are bonds backed by pools of loans or other receivables. ABS are created from many types of assets, including in some cases mortgage related asset classes, such as home equity loan ABS. Home equity loan ABS are subject to many of the same risks as RMBS, including interest rate risk and prepayment risk.

Mortgage REITs. A REIT is a corporation, or a business trust that would otherwise be taxed as a corporation, that meets the definitional requirements applicable to REITs under the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the “Code”). The Code permits a qualifying REIT to deduct dividends paid, thereby generally eliminating corporate level U.S. federal income tax and effectively making the REIT a pass-through vehicle for U.S. federal income tax purposes. To meet the definitional requirements of the Code, a REIT must, among other things, invest substantially all of its assets in interests in real estate (including mortgages and other REITs) or cash and government securities, derive most of its income from rents from real property or interest on loans secured by mortgages on real property, and distribute to shareholders annually substantially all of its otherwise taxable income. Mortgage REITs invest mostly in mortgages on real estate, which may secure construction, development or long-term loans, and the main source of their income is mortgage interest payments. The value of securities issued by REITs is affected by tax and regulatory requirements and by perceptions of management skill. They also are subject to heavy cash flow dependency and the possibility of failing to qualify for REIT status under the Code or to maintain exemption from the Investment Company Act.

Mortgage Related Derivative Instruments. The Trust may invest in MBS credit default swaps. MBS credit default swaps include swaps the reference obligation for which is an MBS or related index, such as the CMBX Index (a tradeable index referencing a basket of CMBS), the TRX Index (a tradeable index referencing total return swaps based on CMBS) or the ABX Index (a tradeable index referencing a basket of sub-prime MBS). The Trust may engage in other derivative transactions related to MBS, including purchasing and selling exchange-listed and OTC put and call options, futures and forwards on mortgages and MBS. The Trust may invest in newly developed mortgage related derivatives that may hereafter become available.

Net Interest Margin (NIM) Securities. The Trust may invest in net interest margin (“NIM”) securities. These securities are derivative interest-only mortgage securities structured off home equity loan transactions. NIM securities receive any “excess” interest computed after paying coupon costs, servicing costs and fees and any credit losses associated with the underlying pool of home equity loans. Like traditional stripped mortgage-backed securities, the yield to maturity on a NIM security is sensitive not only to changes in prevailing interest rates but also to the rate of principal payments (including prepayments) on the underlying home equity loans. NIM securities are highly sensitive to credit losses on the underlying collateral and the timing in which those losses are taken.

TBA Commitments. The Trust may enter into “to be announced” or “TBA” commitments. TBA commitments are forward agreements for the purchase or sale of securities, including mortgage-backed securities, for a fixed price, with payment and delivery on an agreed upon future settlement date. The specific securities to be delivered are not identified at the trade date. However, delivered securities must meet specified terms, including issuer, rate and mortgage terms. See “The Trust’s Investments—Portfolio Contents and Techniques—When-Issued, Delayed Delivery and Forward Commitment Securities” in the prospectus.

Other Mortgage Related Securities. Other mortgage related securities include securities other than those described above that directly or indirectly represent a participation in, or are secured by and payable from, mortgage loans on real property. Other mortgage related securities may be equity or debt securities issued by agencies or instrumentalities of the U.S. Government or by private originators of, or investors in, mortgage loans, including savings and loan associations, homebuilders, mortgage banks, commercial banks, investment banks, partnerships, trusts and special purpose entities of the foregoing.

Asset-Backed Securities

ABS are securities backed by home equity loans, installment sale contracts, credit card receivables or other assets. ABS are “pass-through” securities, meaning that principal and interest payments—net of expenses—made by the borrower on the underlying assets (such as credit card receivables) are passed through to the Trust. The value of ABS,

 

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like that of traditional fixed-income securities, typically increases when interest rates fall and decreases when interest rates rise. However, ABS differ from traditional fixed-income securities because of their potential for prepayment. The price paid by the Trust for its ABS, the yield the Trust expects to receive from such securities and the average life of the securities are based on a number of factors, including the anticipated rate of prepayment of the underlying assets. In a period of declining interest rates, borrowers may prepay the underlying assets more quickly than anticipated, thereby reducing the yield to maturity and the average life of the ABS. Moreover, when the Trust reinvests the proceeds of a prepayment in these circumstances, it will likely receive a rate of interest that is lower than the rate on the security that was prepaid. To the extent that the Trust purchases ABS at a premium, prepayments may result in a loss to the extent of the premium paid. If the Trust buys such securities at a discount, both scheduled payments and unscheduled prepayments will increase current and total returns and unscheduled prepayments will also accelerate the recognition of income which, when distributed to shareholders, will be taxable as ordinary income. In a period of rising interest rates, prepayments of the underlying assets may occur at a slower than expected rate, creating maturity extension risk. This particular risk may effectively change a security that was considered short- or intermediate-term at the time of purchase into a longer term security. Since the value of longer-term securities generally fluctuates more widely in response to changes in interest rates than does the value of shorter-term securities, maturity extension risk could increase the volatility of the Trust. When interest rates decline, the value of an ABS with prepayment features may not increase as much as that of other fixed-income securities, and, as noted above, changes in market rates of interest may accelerate or retard prepayments and thus affect maturities.

Collateralized Debt Obligations

The Trust may invest in collateralized debt obligations (“CDOs”), which include collateralized bond obligations (“CBOs”), collateralized loan obligations (“CLOs”) and other similarly structured securities. CDOs are types of asset-backed securities. A CBO is ordinarily issued by a trust or other special purpose entity (“SPE”) and is typically backed by a diversified pool of fixed-income securities (which may include high risk, below investment grade securities) held by such issuer. A CLO is ordinarily issued by a trust or other SPE and is typically collateralized by a pool of loans, which may include, among others, domestic and non-U.S. senior secured loans, senior unsecured loans, and subordinate corporate loans, including loans that may be rated below investment grade or equivalent unrated loans, held by such issuer. Investments in a CLO organized outside of the United States may not be deemed to be foreign securities if the CLO is collateralized by a pool of loans, a substantial portion of which are U.S. loans. Although certain CDOs may benefit from credit enhancement in the form of a senior-subordinate structure, over-collateralization or bond insurance, such enhancement may not always be present, and may fail to protect the Trust against the risk of loss on default of the collateral. Certain CDO issuers may use derivatives contracts to create “synthetic” exposure to assets rather than holding such assets directly, which entails the risks of derivative instruments described elsewhere in the prospectus and this SAI. CDOs may charge management fees and administrative expenses, which are in addition to those of the Trust.

For both CBOs and CLOs, the cash flows from the SPE are split into two or more portions, called tranches, varying in risk and yield. The riskiest portion is the “equity” tranche, which bears the first loss from defaults from the bonds or loans in the SPE and serves to protect the other, more senior tranches from default (though such protection is not complete). Since it is partially protected from defaults, a senior tranche from a CBO or CLO typically has higher ratings and lower yields than its underlying securities, and may be rated investment grade. Despite the protection from the equity tranche, CBO or CLO tranches can experience substantial losses due to actual defaults, downgrades of the underlying collateral by rating agencies, forced liquidation of the collateral pool due to a failure of coverage tests, increased sensitivity to defaults due to collateral default and disappearance of protecting tranches, market anticipation of defaults as well as investor aversion to CBO or CLO securities as a class. Interest on certain tranches of a CDO may be paid in kind or deferred and capitalized (paid in the form of obligations of the same type rather than cash), which involves continued exposure to default risk with respect to such payments.

The risks of an investment in a CDO depend largely on the type of the collateral securities and the class of the CDO in which the Trust invests. Normally, CBOs, CLOs and other CDOs are privately offered and sold, and thus are not registered under the securities laws. However, an active dealer market may exist for CDOs, allowing a CDO to qualify for Rule 144A transactions. In addition to the normal risks associated with fixed-income securities and ABS generally discussed elsewhere in this SAI, CDOs carry additional risks including, but not limited to: (i) the possibility that distributions from collateral securities will not be adequate to make interest or other payments; (ii) the risk that the collateral may default or decline in value or be downgraded, if rated by a nationally recognized statistical rating

 

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organization; (iii) the Trust may invest in tranches of CDOs that are subordinate to other tranches; (iv) the structure and complexity of the transaction and the legal documents could lead to disputes among investors regarding the characterization of proceeds; (v) the investment return achieved by the Trust could be significantly different than those predicted by financial models; (vi) the lack of a readily available secondary market for CDOs; (vii) the risk of forced “fire sale” liquidation due to technical defaults such as coverage test failures; and (viii) the CDO’s manager may perform poorly.

Stripped Securities

Stripped securities are created when the issuer separates the interest and principal components of an instrument and sells them as separate securities. In general, one security is entitled to receive the interest payments on the underlying assets (the interest only or “IO” security) and the other to receive the principal payments (the principal only or “PO” security). Some stripped securities may receive a combination of interest and principal payments. The yields to maturity on IOs and POs are sensitive to the expected or anticipated rate of principal payments (including prepayments) on the related underlying assets, and principal payments may have a material effect on yield to maturity. If the underlying assets experience greater than anticipated prepayments of principal, the Trust may not fully recoup its initial investment in IOs. Conversely, if the underlying assets experience less than anticipated prepayments of principal, the yield on POs could be adversely affected. Stripped securities may be highly sensitive to changes in interest rates and rates of prepayment.

Zero-Coupon Bonds, Step-Ups and Payment-In-Kind Securities

Zero-coupon bonds pay interest only at maturity rather than at intervals during the life of the security. Like zero-coupon bonds, “step up” bonds pay no interest initially but eventually begin to pay a coupon rate prior to maturity, which rate may increase at stated intervals during the life of the security. Payment-in-kind securities (“PIKs”) are debt obligations that pay “interest” in the form of other debt obligations, instead of in cash. Each of these instruments is normally issued and traded at a deep discount from face value. Zero-coupon bonds, step-ups and PIKs allow an issuer to avoid or delay the need to generate cash to meet current interest payments and, as a result, may involve greater credit risk than bonds that pay interest currently or in cash. The Trust would be required to distribute the income on these instruments as it accrues, even though the Trust will not receive the income on a current basis or in cash. Thus, the Trust may have to sell other investments, including when it may not be advisable to do so, to make income distributions to its shareholders.

Sovereign Government and Supranational Debt

Investments in sovereign debt involve special risks. Foreign governmental issuers of debt or the governmental authorities that control the repayment of the debt may be unable or unwilling to repay principal or pay interest when due. In the event of default, there may be limited or no legal recourse in that, generally, remedies for defaults must be pursued in the courts of the defaulting party. Political conditions, especially a sovereign entity’s willingness to meet the terms of its debt obligations, are of considerable significance. The ability of a foreign sovereign issuer, especially an emerging market country, to make timely payments on its debt obligations will also be strongly influenced by the sovereign issuer’s balance of payments, including export performance, its access to international credit facilities and investments, fluctuations of interest rates and the extent of its foreign reserves. The cost of servicing external debt will also generally be adversely affected by rising international interest rates, as many external debt obligations bear interest at rates which are adjusted based upon international interest rates. Also, there can be no assurances that the holders of commercial bank loans to the same sovereign entity may not contest payments to the holders of sovereign debt in the event of default under commercial bank loan agreements. In addition, there is no bankruptcy proceeding with respect to sovereign debt on which a sovereign has defaulted and the Trust may be unable to collect all or any part of its investment in a particular issue. Foreign investment in certain sovereign debt is restricted or controlled to varying degrees, including requiring governmental approval for the repatriation of income, capital or proceeds of sales by foreign investors. These restrictions or controls may at times limit or preclude foreign investment in certain sovereign debt and increase the costs and expenses of the Trust.

 

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Bank Obligations

Bank obligations may include certificates of deposit, bankers’ acceptances and fixed time deposits. Certificates of deposit are negotiable certificates issued against funds deposited in a commercial bank for a definite period of time and earning a specified return. Bankers’ acceptances are negotiable drafts or bills of exchange, normally drawn by an importer or exporter to pay for specific merchandise, which are “accepted” by a bank, meaning, in effect, that the bank unconditionally agrees to pay the face value of the instrument on maturity. Fixed time deposits are bank obligations payable at a stated maturity date and bearing interest at a fixed rate. Fixed time deposits may be withdrawn on demand by the investor, but may be subject to early withdrawal penalties, which vary depending upon market conditions and the remaining maturity of the obligation. There are no contractual restrictions on the right to transfer a beneficial interest in a fixed time deposit to a third party, although there is no market for such deposits. Obligations of foreign banks involve somewhat different investment risks than those affecting obligations of U.S. banks, including the possibilities that their liquidity could be impaired because of future political and economic developments, that their obligations may be less marketable than comparable obligations of U.S. banks, that a foreign jurisdiction might impose withholding taxes on interest income payable on those obligations, that foreign deposits may be seized or nationalized, that foreign governmental restrictions such as exchange controls may be adopted which might adversely affect the payment of principal and interest on those obligations and that the selection of those obligations may be more difficult because there may be less publicly available information concerning foreign banks or the accounting, auditing and financial reporting standards, practices and requirements applicable to foreign banks may differ from those applicable to U.S. banks. Foreign banks are not generally subject to examination by any U.S. Government agency or instrumentality.

Cash Equivalents and Short-Term Debt Securities

For temporary defensive purposes or to keep cash on hand fully invested, the Trust may invest up to 100% of its total assets in cash equivalents and short-term debt securities.

Short-term debt securities include, without limitation, the following:

 

  1.

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

 

  2.

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

 

  3.

Repurchase agreements, which involve purchases of debt securities.

 

  4.

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

Strategic Transactions and Other Management Techniques

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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Foreign Exchange Transactions. The Trust may engage in spot and forward foreign exchange transactions and currency swaps, purchase and sell options on currencies and purchase and sell currency futures and related options thereon (collectively, “Currency Instruments”). Such transactions could be effected with respect to hedges on foreign dollar denominated securities owned by the Trust, sold by the Trust but not yet delivered, or committed or anticipated to be purchased by the Trust. As an illustration, the Trust may use such techniques to hedge the stated value in U.S. dollars of an investment in a yen-denominated security. In such circumstances, for example, the Trust may purchase a foreign currency put option enabling it to sell a specified amount of yen for dollars at a specified price by a future date. To the extent the hedge is successful, a loss in the value of the yen relative to the dollar will tend to be offset by an increase in the value of the put option. To offset, in whole or in part, the cost of acquiring such a put option, the Trust may also sell a call option which, if exercised, requires it to sell a specified amount of yen for dollars at a specified price by a future date (a technique called a “straddle”). By selling such a call option in this illustration, the Trust gives up the opportunity to profit without limit from increases in the relative value of the yen to the dollar. “Straddles” of the type that may be used by the Trust are considered to constitute hedging transactions. The Trust may not attempt to hedge any or all of its foreign portfolio positions.

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

Put Options as Strategic Transactions. The Trust may purchase put options. By buying a put option, the Trust acquires a right to sell such underlying securities or instruments at the exercise price, thus limiting the Trust’s risk of loss through a decline in the market value of the securities or instruments until the put option expires. The amount of any appreciation in the value of the underlying securities or instruments will be partially offset by the amount of the premium paid for the put option and any related transaction costs. Prior to its expiration, a put option may be sold in a closing sale transaction and profit or loss from the sale will depend on whether the amount received is more or less than the premium paid for the put option plus the related transaction costs. A closing sale transaction cancels out the Trust’s position as the purchaser of an option by means of an offsetting sale of an identical option prior to the expiration of the option it has purchased.

 

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

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

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

The Trust may sell financial futures contracts in anticipation of an increase in the general level of interest rates. Generally, as interest rates rise, the market values of securities that may be held by the Trust will fall, thus reducing the NAV of the Trust. However, as interest rates rise, the value of the Trust’s short position in the futures contract also will tend to increase, thus offsetting all or a portion of the depreciation in the market value of the Trust’s investments which are being hedged. While the Trust will incur commission expenses in selling and closing out futures positions, these commissions are generally less than the transaction expenses which the Trust would have incurred had the Trust sold portfolio securities in order to reduce its exposure to increases in interest rates. The Trust also may purchase financial futures contracts in anticipation of a decline in interest rates when it is not fully invested in a particular market in which it intends to make investments to gain market exposure that may in part or entirely offset an increase in the cost of securities it intends to purchase. It is anticipated that, in a substantial majority of these transactions, the Trust will purchase securities upon termination of the futures contract.

The Trust may purchase and write call and put options on futures contracts. Options on futures contracts are similar to options on securities except that an option on a futures contract gives the purchaser the right in return for the premium paid to assume a position in a futures contract (a long position if the option is a call and a short position if the option is a put). Generally, these strategies are utilized under the same market and market sector conditions (i.e., conditions relating to specific types of investments) in which the Trust enters into futures transactions. The Trust may purchase put options or write call options on futures contracts rather than selling the underlying futures contract in anticipation of a decrease in the market value of securities or an increase in interest rates. Similarly, the Trust may purchase call options, or write put options on futures contracts, as a substitute for the purchase of such futures to hedge against the increased cost resulting from an increase in the market value or a decline in interest rates of securities which the Trust intends to purchase.

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

At the time a futures contract is purchased or sold, the Trust must allocate cash or securities as a deposit payment (“initial margin”). It is expected that the initial margin that the Trust will pay may range from approximately 1% to approximately 5% of the value of the securities or commodities underlying the contract. In certain circumstances,

 

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however, such as periods of high volatility, the Trust may be required by an exchange to increase the level of its initial margin payment. Additionally, initial margin requirements may be increased generally in the future by regulatory action. An outstanding futures contract is valued daily and the payment in case of “variation margin” may be required, a process known as “marking to the market.” Transactions in listed options and futures are usually settled by entering into an offsetting transaction, and are subject to the risk that the position may not be able to be closed if no offsetting transaction can be arranged.

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

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

The Trust’s ability to close out its position as a purchaser or seller of an exchange-listed put or call option is dependent upon the existence of a liquid secondary market on option exchanges. Among the possible reasons for the absence of a liquid secondary market on an exchange are: (i) insufficient trading interest in certain options; (ii) restrictions on transactions imposed by an exchange; (iii) trading halts, suspensions or other restrictions imposed with respect to particular classes or series of options or underlying securities; (iv) interruption of the normal operations on an exchange; (v) inadequacy of the facilities of an exchange or OCC to handle current trading volume; or (vi) a decision by one or more exchanges to discontinue the trading of options (or a particular class or series of options), in which event the secondary market on that exchange (or in that class or series of options) would cease to exist, although outstanding options on that exchange that had been listed by the OCC as a result of trades on that exchange would generally continue to be exercisable in accordance with their terms. OTC Options are purchased from or sold to dealers, financial institutions or other counterparties which have entered into direct agreements with the Trust. With OTC Options, such variables as expiration date, exercise price and premium will be agreed upon between the Trust and the counterparty, without the intermediation of a third party such as the OCC. If the counterparty fails to make or take delivery of the securities underlying an option it has written, or otherwise settle the transaction in accordance with the terms of that option as written, the Trust would lose the premium paid for the option as well as any anticipated benefit of the transaction. OTC Options and assets used to cover OTC Options written by the Trust are considered by the staff of the SEC to be illiquid. The illiquidity of such options or assets may prevent a successful sale of such options or assets, result in a delay of sale, or reduce the amount of proceeds that might otherwise be realized.

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

Hybrid Instruments. A hybrid instrument is a type of potentially high-risk derivative that combines a traditional bond, stock or commodity with an option or forward contract. Generally, the principal amount, amount payable upon maturity or redemption, or interest rate of a hybrid is tied (positively or negatively) to the price of some commodity, currency or securities index or another interest rate or some other economic factor (each a “benchmark”). The interest rate or (unlike most fixed-income securities) the principal amount payable at maturity of a hybrid security may be increased or decreased, depending on changes in the value of the benchmark. An example of a hybrid could be a bond issued by an oil company that pays a small base level of interest with additional interest that accrues in correlation to the extent to which oil prices exceed a certain predetermined level. Such a hybrid instrument would be a combination of a bond and a call option on oil. Hybrids can be used as an efficient means of pursuing a variety of investment goals,

 

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including currency hedging, duration management and increased total return. Hybrids may not bear interest or pay dividends. The value of a hybrid or its interest rate may be a multiple of a benchmark and, as a result, may be leveraged and move (up or down) more steeply and rapidly than the benchmark. These benchmarks may be sensitive to economic and political events, such as commodity shortages and currency devaluations, which cannot be readily foreseen by the purchaser of a hybrid. Under certain conditions, the redemption value of a hybrid could be zero. Thus, an investment in a hybrid may entail significant market risks that are not associated with a similar investment in a traditional, U.S. dollar-denominated bond that has a fixed principal amount and pays a fixed rate or floating rate of interest. The purchase of hybrids also exposes the Trust to the credit risk of the issuer of the hybrids. These risks may cause significant fluctuations in the NAV of the Trust’s common shares if the Trust invests in hybrid instruments.

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

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

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

ADDITIONAL RISK FACTORS

Convertible Securities Risk

The value of convertible securities is influenced by both the yield on nonconvertible securities of comparable issuers and by the value of the underlying common stock. The value of a convertible security viewed without regard to its conversion feature (i.e., strictly on the basis of its yield) is sometimes referred to as its “investment value.” To the extent interest rates change, the investment value of the convertible security typically will fluctuate. At the same time, however, the value of the converti