485APOS 1 etf8_485a.htm POST-EFFECTIVE AMENDMENT

As filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on April 9, 2020

 

1933 Act Registration No. 333-210186

1940 Act Registration No. 811-23147

 

United States

Securities and Exchange Commission

Washington, D.C. 20549

Form N-1A
 

Registration Statement Under the Securities Act of 1933 [   ]
Pre-Effective Amendment No. __ [   ]
Post-Effective Amendment No. 124 [X]
and/or
Registration Statement Under the Investment Company Act of 1940 [   ]
Amendment No. 126 [X]

First Trust Exchange-Traded Fund VIII

(Exact name of registrant as specified in charter)

120 East Liberty Drive, Suite 400

Wheaton, Illinois 60187

(Address of Principal Executive Offices) (Zip Code)

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

W. Scott Jardine, Esq., Secretary

First Trust Exchange-Traded Fund VIII

First Trust Advisors L.P.

120 East Liberty Drive, Suite 400

Wheaton, Illinois 60187

(Name and Address of Agent for Service)

Copy to:

Eric F. Fess, Esq.

Chapman and Cutler LLP

111 West Monroe Street

Chicago, Illinois 60603

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

[   ] immediately upon filing pursuant to paragraph (b)

[   ] on ___________ pursuant to paragraph (b)

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

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

[X] 75 days after filing pursuant to paragraph (a)(2)

[   ] on (date) pursuant to paragraph (a)(2) of Rule 485.

If appropriate, check the following box:

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

 
 

Contents of Post-Effective Amendment No. 124

This Registration Statement comprises the following papers and contents:

The Facing Sheet

Part A - Prospectus for First Trust Alternative Strategic Focus ETF

Part B – Statement of Additional Information for First Trust Alternative Strategic Focus ETF

Part C - Other Information

Signatures

Index to Exhibits

Exhibits

First Trust
Exchange-Traded Fund VIII

PRELIMINARY PROSPECTUS DATED APRIL 9, 2020
SUBJECT TO COMPLETION
Prospectus
First Trust Alternative Strategic Focus ETF
Ticker Symbol: _____
Exchange: NYSE Arca
First Trust Alternative Strategic Focus ETF (the “Fund”) seeks to list and principally trade its shares on NYSE Arca, Inc. ("NYSE Arca" or the "Exchange"). Market prices may differ to some degree from the net asset value of the shares. Unlike mutual funds, the Fund issues and redeems shares at net asset value, only in large specified blocks each consisting of 50,000 shares (each such block of shares called a “Creation Unit, and collectively, the “Creation Units”). The Fund’s Creation Units are generally issued and redeemed in-kind for securities in which the Fund invests and, in certain circumstances, for cash, and only to and from broker-dealers and large institutional investors that have entered into participation agreements.
The Fund is a series of First Trust Exchange-Traded Fund VIII (the “Trust”) and an actively managed exchange-traded fund organized as a separate series of a registered management investment company.
Except when aggregated in Creation Units, the shares are not redeemable securities of the Fund.
The Securities and Exchange Commission has not approved or disapproved of these securities or passed upon the adequacy or accuracy of this prospectus. Any representation to the contrary is a criminal offense.
NOT FDIC INSURED    MAY LOSE VALUE    NO BANK GUARANTEE
The Information in this prospectus is not complete and may be changed. We may not sell these securities until the registration statement filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission is effective. This prospectus is not an offer to sell these securities and it is not soliciting an offer to buy these securities in any state where the offer or sale is not permitted.
__________, 2020


Summary Information
Investment Objective
The First Trust Alternative Strategic Focus ETF's (the "Fund") investment objective is long term total return.
Fees and Expenses of the Fund
The following table describes the fees and expenses you may pay if you buy and hold shares of the Fund. Investors purchasing and selling shares may be subject to costs (including customary brokerage commissions) charged by their broker, which are not reflected in the table below.
Shareholder Fees
(fees paid directly from your investment)
Maximum Sales Charge (Load) Imposed on Purchases (as a percentage of offering price) None
    
Annual Fund Operating Expenses
(expenses that you pay each year as a percentage of the value of your investment)
Management Fees ___%
Distribution and Service (12b-1) Fees 0.00%
Other Expenses(1) 0.00%
Total Annual Fund Operating Expenses ___%
(1) “Other Expenses” is an estimate based on the expenses the Fund expects to incur for the current fiscal year.
Example
The example below is intended to help you compare the cost of investing in the Fund with the cost of investing in other funds. This example does not take into account customary brokerage commissions that you pay when purchasing or selling shares of the Fund in the secondary market.
The example assumes that you invest $10,000 in the Fund for the time periods indicated. The example also assumes that your investment has a 5% return each year and that the Fund’s operating expenses remain at current levels. Although your actual costs may be higher or lower, based on these assumptions your costs would be:
1 Year 3 Years
$___ $___
Portfolio Turnover
The Fund pays transaction costs, such as commissions, when it buys and sells securities (or “turns over” its portfolio). A higher portfolio turnover rate may indicate higher transaction costs and may result in higher taxes when Fund shares are held in a taxable account. These costs, which are not reflected in annual fund operating expenses or in the example, affect the Fund’s performance.
Principal Investment Strategies
The Fund is an actively managed exchange-traded fund (“ETF”) that seeks to achieve its investment objective by allocating its assets amongst a variety of alternative asset categories in an effort to provide investment returns that are less volatile than the U.S. equity market and have less correlation to conventional asset classes across a variety of market cycles. The Fund will primarily gain exposure to these alternative asset categories through investments in exchange-traded products (“ETPs”) (including ETFs, exchange-traded notes (“ETNs”) and funds backed by physical commodities or currencies). The Fund may also invest in ETPs and U.S. Treasury securities and utilize exchange-listed derivative instruments, such as futures and options contracts, as a means of enhancing returns, diversifying the Fund's exposure and managing risk and factor exposure.
Alternative categories are those other than traditional equity, fixed income and cash. Alternative investment strategies are typically considered those that allocate capital based on investment approaches other than a traditional “long-only” approach. The market segments and strategies represented in ETPs that hold these asset classes or utilize these investment approaches typically have a lower correlation to the general equity and fixed income markets and have performance and volatility characteristics that are affected by factors that may differ from those that determine the general direction of the equity and fixed income markets. Exposure to these alternative asset categories and investment strategies may help diversify risk, enhance
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returns or generate higher yield than traditional investments. The alternative asset categories and strategies to which the Fund may have exposure include, but are not limited to, equity hedge, long/short, event driven, managed futures, currencies, real estate, relative value fixed income. A brief description of each is set forth below:
Equity Hedge: a strategy that seeks to participate in the upside of the equity markets while maintaining a hedge to reduce the amount of loss in the event of a decline in the market value of equity securities.
Long/Short: a strategy that seeks to gain exposure (both long and short) to an asset class, seeking to profit by the long positions rising (falling) by more (less) than the short securities.
Event Driven: a strategy that seeks to exploit pricing inefficiencies that may occur before or after a corporate event, such as a merger, acquisition or bankruptcy.
Managed Futures: an actively managed portfolio of long and short futures contracts. Such futures contracts may be on commodities, currencies, U.S. and global equity indices, U.S. and global bonds, and U.S. and global interest rate indices.
Commodities: a strategy that seeks to benefit from changes in value of physical commodities by investing in commodity related futures contracts.
Real Estate: a non-traditional asset class composed of securities that provide exposure to the real estate market.
Fixed Income: a strategy that seeks to benefit from investments in the fixed income markets and relative value difference therein.
Relative Value: a strategy that seeks to exploit a valuation discrepancy in the relationship between multiple securities.
In selecting the Fund’s portfolio, the Fund's investment advisor, First Trust Advisors L.P. ("First Trust" or the "Advisor") first identifies alternative asset categories or strategies and the ETPs in which those asset categories and strategies are offered. Each potential ETP is then evaluated on a number of characteristics, including its correlation to traditional asset classes, its total return profile, its standard deviation of returns and other exposures the Advisor believes are relevant. Once complete, the Advisor incorporates market-related data to analyze the broader macroeconomic landscape. This information informs the Advisor’s decision on how best to position the exposures in the Fund’s portfolio. The Advisor then constructs multiple prospective portfolios to help evaluate various risk/return considerations. This process facilitates the Advisor’s selection of the Fund’s portfolio in accordance with the Fund’s portfolio objectives, risk environment and compliance guidelines. The Fund may invest in ETPs that hold a broad range of equity and fixed income securities. An underlying ETP's equity exposure may include investments in common and preferred stock issued by small, mid, or large capitalization U.S. and non-U.S. corporations, real estate investment trusts ("REITs"), master limited partnerships ("MLPs") and depositary receipts. An underlying ETP's fixed income exposure may include investments in asset-backed securities, bank loans, including first lien senior secured floating rate bank loans, collateralized loan obligations ("CLOs"), U.S. corporate bonds, mortgage-backed securities, municipal securities, Rule 144A securities, securities issued by non-U.S. corporations and governments, including issuers with significant ties to emerging market countries, securities issued or guaranteed by the U.S government or its agencies, instrumentalities or government-sponsored entities, and other debt securities bearing fixed, floating or variable interest rates of any maturity. An underlying ETP's investments in asset-backed securities and mortgage-backed securities may include non-agency, non-government sponsored entity securities and other privately-issued securities. An underlying ETP may also utilize derivatives instruments for a variety of reasons, including providing exposure to various currencies or commodities.
To the extent that the Advisor wishes to provide the Fund exposure to a particular asset category or investment strategy through an ETP, the Advisor will give preference to ETPs to which it also serves as investment advisor, even in circumstances where an unaffiliated ETP that offers exposure to the same asset class or investment strategy may have lower fees or better performance over certain time periods.
The Fund is classified as “non-diversified” under the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended (the “1940 Act”).
Principal Risks
You could lose money by investing in the Fund. An investment in the Fund is not a deposit of a bank and is not insured or guaranteed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation or any other governmental agency. There can be no assurance that the Fund’s investment objective will be achieved. The order of the below risk factors does not indicate the significance of any particular risk factor.
ASSET-BACKED SECURITIES RISK. Certain ETPs in which the Fund may invest hold asset-backed securities. Asset-backed securities are debt securities typically created by buying and pooling loans or other receivables other than mortgage loans
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and creating securities backed by those similar type assets. As with other debt securities, asset-backed securities are subject to credit risk, extension risk, interest rate risk, liquidity risk and valuation risk. These securities are generally not backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government and are subject to the risk of default on the underlying asset or loan, particularly during periods of economic downturn. The impairment of the value of collateral or other assets underlying an asset-backed security, such as a result of non-payment of loans or non-performance of underlying assets, may result in a reduction in the value of such asset-backed securities and losses to an underlying ETP.
AUTHORIZED PARTICIPANT CONCENTRATION RISK. Only an authorized participant may engage in creation or redemption transactions directly with the Fund. A limited number of institutions act as authorized participants for the Fund. To the extent that these institutions exit the business or are unable to proceed with creation and/or redemption orders and no other authorized participant steps forward to create or redeem, the Fund’s shares may trade at a premium or discount to the Fund’s net asset value and possibly face delisting.
BANK LOANS RISK. Certain ETPs in which the Fund may invest hold bank loans. Investments in bank loans are subject to the same risks as investments in other types of debt securities, including credit risk, interest rate risk, liquidity risk and valuation risk that may be heightened because of the limited public information available regarding bank loans and because loan borrowers may be leveraged and tend to be more adversely affected by changes in market or economic conditions. If an underlying ETP holds a bank loan through another financial institution or relies on a financial institution to administer the loan, its receipt of principal and interest on the loan may be subject to the credit risk of that financial institution. It is possible that any collateral securing a loan may be insufficient or unavailable to the underlying ETP, and that the underlying ETP’s rights to collateral may be limited by bankruptcy or insolvency laws. Additionally, there is no central clearinghouse for loan trades and the loan market has not established enforceable settlement standards or remedies for failure to settle. As such, the secondary market for bank loans may be subject to irregular trading activity, wide bid/ask spreads and extended trade settlement periods (in some cases longer than 7 days) which may cause the underlying ETP to be unable to realize the full value of its investment. In addition, bank loans are generally not registered with the Securities Exchange Commission under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and may not be considered “securities,” and an underlying ETP may not be entitled to rely on the anti-fraud protections of the federal securities laws.
CALL RISK. Certain ETPs in which the Fund may invest hold debt securities that subject them to call risk. Some debt securities may be redeemed, or “called,” at the option of the issuer before their stated maturity date. In general, an issuer will call its debt securities if they can be refinanced by issuing new debt securities which bear a lower interest rate. An underlying ETP is subject to the possibility that during periods of falling interest rates an issuer will call its high yielding debt securities. An underlying ETP would then be forced to invest the proceeds at lower interest rates, likely resulting in a decline in the underlying ETP’s income.
CLEARING BROKER RISK. To the extent the Fund invests in ETPs which invest in commodity futures contracts through a clearing broker, the failure or bankruptcy of such a clearing broker could result in a substantial loss of Fund assets. Under current Commodity Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC”) regulations, a clearing broker maintains customers’ assets in a bulk segregated account. If a clearing broker fails to do so, or is unable to satisfy a substantial deficit in a customer account, its other customers may be subject to risk of loss of their funds in the event of that clearing broker’s bankruptcy. In that event, the clearing broker’s customers, such as an underlying ETP, are entitled to recover, even in respect of property specifically traceable to them, only a proportional share of all property available for distribution to all of that clearing broker’s customers.
CLO RISK. Certain ETPs in which the Fund may invest hold CLOs. CLOs bear many of the same risks as other forms of asset-backed securities, including credit risk, interest rate risk, liquidity risk and valuation risk. As they are backed by pools of loans, CLOs also bear similar risks to investing in loans directly. CLOs issue classes or “tranches” that vary in risk, expected maturity, priority of payment and yield. CLOs may experience substantial losses attributable to loan defaults. Losses caused by defaults on underlying loans are typically borne first by the holders of subordinate tranches. Investment in CLOs may decrease in market value when the CLO experiences loan defaults or credit impairment, the disappearance of one or more subordinate classes, or market anticipation of defaults and investor aversion to CLO securities as a class.
COMMODITIES RISK. Certain ETPs in which the Fund may invest have exposure to commodities. Commodity prices can have significant volatility, and exposure to commodities can cause the value of an underlying ETP’s shares to decline or fluctuate in a rapid and unpredictable manner. The values of physical commodities may be affected by changes in overall market movements, real or perceived inflationary trends, commodity index volatility, changes in interest rates or currency exchange rates, population growth and changing demographics, international economic, political and regulatory developments, and factors affecting a particular region, industry or commodity, such as drought, floods, or other weather conditions, livestock disease, changes in storage costs, trade embargoes, competition from substitute products, transportation bottlenecks or
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shortages, fluctuations in supply and demand, and tariffs. The commodity markets are subject to temporary distortions or other disruptions due to, among other factors, lack of liquidity, the participation of speculators, and government regulation and other actions.
COMMODITY REGULATORY RISK. Certain ETPs in which the Fund may invest hold commodity-linked derivative instruments that subject them to commodity regulatory risk. The investment decisions of such underlying ETPs may have to be liquidated at disadvantageous times or prices, to avoid exceeding any applicable position limits established by the CFTC, potentially subjecting an underlying ETP to substantial losses. The regulation of commodity transactions in the United States is subject to ongoing modification by government, self-regulatory and judicial action. The effect of any future regulatory change with respect to any aspect of an underlying ETP is impossible to predict, but could be substantial and adverse to an underlying ETP.
COMMODITY-LINKED DERIVATIVES RISK. Certain ETPs in which the Fund may invest hold commodity-linked derivatives. Investments linked to the prices of commodities may be considered speculative. Significant investment exposure to commodities may subject the Fund to greater volatility than investments in traditional securities. Therefore, the value of such instruments may be volatile and fluctuate widely based on a variety of macroeconomic factors or commodity-specific factors. At times, price fluctuations may be quick and significant and may not correlate to price movements in other asset classes. A liquid secondary market may not exist for certain commodity-linked derivatives, which may make it difficult for the Fund to sell them at a desirable price or at the price at which it is carrying them.
CONFLICT OF INTEREST RISK. The Fund may invest in other ETPs that are also advised by, or are otherwise affiliated with, the Advisor. Because the Fund pays management fees in connection with its investments in other ETPs, the Advisor has a financial incentive to cause the Fund to invest in ETPs for which it also serves as investment advisor. The Advisor may invest in an affiliated ETP even in circumstances where an unaffiliated ETP may have lower fees or better performance over certain time periods.
COUNTERPARTY RISK. Fund transactions involving a counterparty are subject to the risk that the counterparty will not fulfill its obligation to the Fund. Counterparty risk may arise because of the counterparty’s financial condition (i.e., financial difficulties, bankruptcy, or insolvency), market activities and developments, or other reasons, whether foreseen or not. A counterparty’s inability to fulfill its obligation may result in significant financial loss to the Fund. The Fund may be unable to recover its investment from the counterparty or may obtain a limited recovery, and/or recovery may be delayed.
COVENANT-LITE LOAN RISK. Certain ETPs in which the Fund may invest hold covenant-lite loans. Covenant-lite loans contain fewer maintenance covenants, or no maintenance covenants at all, than traditional loans and may not include terms that allow the lender to monitor the financial performance of the borrower and declare a default if certain criteria are breached. This may hinder an underlying ETP’s ability to reprice credit risk associated with the borrower and reduce the underlying ETP’s ability to restructure a problematic loan and mitigate potential loss. As a result, an underlying ETP’s exposure to losses on such investments is increased, especially during a downturn in the credit cycle.
CREDIT RISK. Certain ETPs in which the Fund may invest hold securities that subject them to credit risk. An issuer or other obligated party of a debt security held by an underlying ETP may be unable or unwilling to make dividend, interest and/or principal payments when due. In addition, the value of a debt security may decline because of concerns about the issuer’s ability or unwillingness to make such payments.
CURRENCY RISK. Certain ETPs in which the Fund may invest hold investments that are denominated in non-U.S. currencies, or in securities that provide exposure to such currencies, currency exchange rates or interest rates denominated in such currencies. Changes in currency exchange rates affect the value of investments denominated in a foreign currency, and therefore the value of such investments in an underlying ETP’s portfolio. An underlying ETP’s net asset value could decline if a currency to which an underlying ETP has exposure depreciates against the U.S. dollar or if there are delays or limits on repatriation of such currency. Currency exchange rates can be very volatile and can change quickly and unpredictably. As a result, the value of an investment in such an underlying ETP may change quickly and without warning.
CYBER SECURITY RISK. The Fund is susceptible to operational risks through breaches in cyber security. A breach in cyber security refers to both intentional and unintentional events that may cause the Fund to lose proprietary information, suffer data corruption or lose operational capacity. Such events could cause the Fund to incur regulatory penalties, reputational damage, additional compliance costs associated with corrective measures and/or financial loss. Cyber security breaches may involve unauthorized access to the Fund’s digital information systems through “hacking” or malicious software coding but may also result from outside attacks such as denial-of-service attacks through efforts to make network services unavailable
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to intended users. In addition, cyber security breaches of the issuers of securities in which the Fund invests or the Fund’s third-party service providers, such as its administrator, transfer agent, custodian, or sub-advisor, as applicable, can also subject the Fund to many of the same risks associated with direct cyber security breaches. Although the Fund has established risk management systems designed to reduce the risks associated with cyber security, there is no guarantee that such efforts will succeed, especially because the Fund does not directly control the cyber security systems of issuers or third-party service providers.
DEBT SECURITIES RISK. Certain ETPs in which the Fund may invest hold debt securities. Investments in debt securities subject the holder to the credit risk of the issuer. Credit risk refers to the possibility that the issuer or other obligor of a security will not be able or willing to make payments of interest and principal when due. Generally, the value of debt securities will change inversely with changes in interest rates. To the extent that interest rates rise, certain underlying obligations may be paid off substantially slower than originally anticipated and the value of those securities may fall sharply. During periods of falling interest rates, the income received by an underlying ETP may decline. If the principal on a debt security is prepaid before expected, the prepayments of principal may have to be reinvested in obligations paying interest at lower rates. Debt securities generally do not trade on a securities exchange making them generally less liquid and more difficult to value than common stock.
DEPOSITARY RECEIPTS RISK. Certain ETPs in which the Fund may invest hold depositary receipts. Depositary receipts may be less liquid than the underlying shares in their primary trading market. Any distributions paid to the holders of depositary receipts are usually subject to a fee charged by the depositary. Holders of depositary receipts may have limited voting rights, and investment restrictions in certain countries may adversely impact the value of depositary receipts because such restrictions may limit the ability to convert the equity shares into depositary receipts and vice versa. Such restrictions may cause the equity shares of the underlying issuer to trade at a discount or premium to the market price of the depositary receipts.
DERIVATIVES RISK. Certain ETPs in which the Fund may invest utilize derivatives. The use of derivative instruments involves risks different from, or possibly greater than, the risks associated with investing directly in securities and other traditional investments. These risks include: (i) the risk that the counterparty to a derivative transaction may not fulfill its contractual obligations; (ii) risk of mispricing or improper valuation; and (iii) the risk that changes in the value of the derivative may not correlate perfectly with the underlying asset. Derivative prices are highly volatile and may fluctuate substantially during a short period of time. Such prices are influenced by numerous factors that affect the markets, including, but not limited to: changing supply and demand relationships; government programs and policies; national and international political and economic events, changes in interest rates, inflation and deflation and changes in supply and demand relationships. Trading derivative instruments involves risks different from, or possibly greater than, the risks associated with investing directly in securities. Derivative contracts ordinarily have leverage inherent in their terms. The low margin deposits normally required in trading derivatives, including futures contracts, permit a high degree of leverage. Accordingly, a relatively small price movement may result in an immediate and substantial loss. The use of leverage may also cause an underlying ETP to liquidate portfolio positions when it would not be advantageous to do so in order to satisfy its obligations or to meet collateral segregation requirements. The use of leveraged derivatives can magnify potential for gain or loss and, therefore, amplify the effects of market volatility on share price.
EQUITY SECURITIES RISK. Certain ETPs in which the Fund may invest hold equity securities. The value of an underlying ETP’s shares will fluctuate with changes in the value of the equity securities in which it invests. Equity securities prices fluctuate for several reasons, including changes in investors’ perceptions of the financial condition of an issuer or the general condition of the relevant equity market, such as market volatility, or when political or economic events affecting an issuer occur. Common stock prices may be particularly sensitive to rising interest rates, as the cost of capital rises and borrowing costs increase. Equity securities may decline significantly in price over short or extended periods of time, and such declines may occur in the equity market as a whole, or they may occur in only a particular country, company, industry or sector of the market.
ETF RISK. The Fund's investment in shares of ETFs subjects it to the risks of owning the securities underlying the ETF, as well as the same structural risks faced by an investor purchasing shares of the Fund, including authorized participant concentration risk, market maker risk, premium/discount risk and trading issues risk. As a shareholder in another ETF, the Fund bears its proportionate share of the ETF’s expenses, subjecting Fund shareholders to duplicative expenses.
ETN RISK. ETNs are unsecured debt obligations. As such, ETNs are subject to the credit risk of the issuer, and the value of an ETN may drop due to a downgrade in the issuer’s credit rating, despite the ETN’s underlying market benchmark or assets remaining unchanged. The value of an ETN may also be influenced by time to maturity, level of supply and demand for the ETN, volatility and lack of liquidity in the underlying market, changes in the applicable interest rates, and economic, legal, political, or geographic events that affect the referenced underlying market or assets. ETNs are also subject to the risk that the other party to the contract will not fulfill its contractual obligations, which may cause losses or additional costs to the
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Fund. When the Fund invests in ETNs it will bear its proportionate share of any fees and expenses borne by the ETN. While ETNs are exchange-traded, a trading market may not develop, limiting liquidity and adversely affecting the market value of the ETN.
EXTENSION RISK. Certain ETPs in which the Fund may invest hold debt securities that subject them to extension risk. Extension risk is the risk that, when interest rates rise, certain obligations will be paid off by the issuer (or other obligated party) more slowly than anticipated, causing the value of these debt securities to fall. Rising interest rates tend to extend the duration of debt securities, making their market value more sensitive to changes in interest rates. The value of longer-term debt securities generally changes more in response to changes in interest rates than shorter-term debt securities. As a result, in a period of rising interest rates, securities may exhibit additional volatility and may lose value.
FLOATING RATE SECURITIES RISK. Certain ETPs in which the Fund may invest hold floating rate securities. Floating rate securities are structured so that the security’s coupon rate fluctuates based upon the level of a reference rate. As a result, the coupon on floating rate securities will generally decline in a falling interest rate environment, causing an underlying ETP to experience a reduction in the income it receives from the security. A floating rate security’s coupon rate resets periodically according to the terms of the security. Consequently, in a rising interest rate environment, floating rate securities with coupon rates that reset infrequently may lag behind the changes in market interest rates. Floating rate securities may also contain terms that impose a maximum coupon rate the issuer will pay, regardless of the level of the reference rate which would decrease the value of the security.
FUTURES CONTRACTS RISK. Certain ETPs in which the Fund may invest hold futures contracts. Futures contracts are typically exchange-traded contracts that call for the future delivery of an asset by one party to another at a certain price and date, or cash settlement of the terms of the contract. The risk of a position in a futures contract may be very large compared to the relatively low level of margin an underlying ETP is required to deposit. In many cases, a relatively small price movement in a futures contract may result in immediate and substantial loss or gain to the investor relative to the size of a required margin deposit. In the event no secondary market exists for a particular contract, it might not be possible to effect closing transactions, and an underlying ETP will be unable to terminate the derivative. If an underlying ETP uses futures contracts for hedging purposes, there is a risk of imperfect correlation between movements in the prices of the derivatives and movements in the securities or index underlying the derivatives or movements in the prices of an underlying ETP's investments that are the subject of such hedge. The prices of futures contracts may not correlate perfectly with movements in the securities or index underlying them.
HIGH YIELD SECURITIES RISK. Certain ETPs in which the Fund may invest hold high yield securities. High yield securities, or “junk” bonds, are subject to greater market fluctuations, are less liquid and provide a greater risk of loss than investment grade securities, and therefore, are considered to be highly speculative. In general, high yield securities may have a greater risk of default than other types of securities and could cause income and principal losses for an underlying ETP.
HYBRID CAPITAL SECURITIES RISK. Certain ETPs in which the Fund may invest hold hybrid capital securities. Hybrid capital securities are subject to the risks of equity securities and debt securities. The claims of holders of hybrid capital securities of an issuer are generally subordinated to those of holders of traditional debt securities in bankruptcy, and thus hybrid capital securities may be more volatile and subject to greater risk than traditional debt securities, and may in certain circumstances be even more volatile than traditional equity securities. At the same time, hybrid capital securities may not fully participate in gains of their issuer and thus potential returns of such securities are generally more limited than traditional equity securities, which would participate in such gains. The terms of hybrid capital securities may vary substantially and the risks of a particular hybrid capital security will depend upon the terms of the instrument, but may include the credit risk of the issuer, as well as liquidity risk, since they often are customized to meet the needs of an issuer or a particular investor, and therefore the number of investors that buy such instruments in the secondary market may be small.
INCOME RISK. Certain ETPs in which the Fund may invest hold securities that subject them to income risk. An underlying ETP’s income may decline when interest rates fall or if there are defaults in its portfolio. This decline can occur because an underlying ETP may subsequently invest in lower-yielding securities as debt securities in its portfolio mature, are near maturity or are called, or the underlying ETP otherwise needs to purchase additional debt securities.
INFLATION RISK. Certain ETPs in which the Fund may invest hold securities that subject them to inflation risk. Inflation risk is the risk that the value of assets or income from investments will be less in the future as inflation decreases the value of money. As inflation increases, the present value of an underlying ETP’s assets and distributions may decline.
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INTEREST RATE RISK. Certain ETPs in which the Fund may invest hold securities that subject them to interest rate risk. Interest rate risk is the risk that the value of the debt securities in an underlying ETP’s portfolio will decline because of rising market interest rates. Interest rate risk is generally lower for shorter term debt securities and higher for longer-term debt securities. An underlying ETP may be subject to a greater risk of rising interest rates than would normally be the case due to the current period of historically low rates and the effect of potential government fiscal policy initiatives and resulting market reaction to those initiatives. Duration is a reasonably accurate measure of a debt security’s price sensitivity to changes in interest rates and a common measure of interest rate risk. Duration measures a debt security’s expected life on a present value basis, taking into account the debt security’s yield, interest payments and final maturity. In general, duration represents the expected percentage change in the value of a security for an immediate 1% change in interest rates. For example, the price of a debt security with a three-year duration would be expected to drop by approximately 3% in response to a 1% increase in interest rates. Therefore, prices of debt securities with shorter durations tend to be less sensitive to interest rate changes than debt securities with longer durations. As the value of a debt security changes over time, so will its duration.
LEVERAGE RISK. Certain ETPs in which the Fund may invest utilize leverage. Leverage may result in losses that exceed the amount originally invested and may accelerate the rates of losses. Leverage tends to magnify, sometimes significantly, the effect of any increase or decrease in an underlying ETP’s exposure to an asset or class of assets and may cause the value of the underlying ETP’s shares to be volatile and sensitive to market swings.
LIBOR RISK. Certain ETPs in which the Fund may invest hold floating or variable rate obligations that use the London Interbank Offered Rate ("LIBOR") as a reference interest rate. In 2017, the United Kingdom’s Financial Conduct Authority announced that LIBOR will cease to be available for use after 2021. The unavailability or replacement of LIBOR may affect the value, liquidity or return on certain underlying ETP investments and may result in costs incurred in connection with closing out positions and entering into new trades. Any potential effects of the transition away from LIBOR on an underlying ETP or on certain instruments in which an underlying ETP invests can be difficult to ascertain, and they may vary depending on a variety of factors. Any such effects of the transition away from LIBOR, as well as other unforeseen effects, could result in losses to an underlying ETP.
LIQUIDITY RISK. The Fund may invest in ETPs with investments that may be subject to restrictions on resale, trade over-the-counter or in limited volume, or lack an active trading market. Accordingly, an underlying fund may not be able to sell or close out of such investments at favorable times or prices (or at all), or at the prices approximating those at which the underlying fund currently values them. Illiquid securities may trade at a discount from comparable, more liquid investments and may be subject to wide fluctuations in market value.
MANAGEMENT RISK. The Fund is subject to management risk because it is an actively managed portfolio. In managing the Fund’s investment portfolio, the portfolio managers will apply investment techniques and risk analyses that may not produce the desired result. There can be no guarantee that the Fund will meet its investment objective.
MARKET MAKER RISK. The Fund faces numerous market trading risks, including the potential lack of an active market for Fund shares due to a limited number of market markers. Decisions by market makers or authorized participants to reduce their role or step away from these activities in times of market stress could inhibit the effectiveness of the arbitrage process in maintaining the relationship between the underlying values of the Fund’s portfolio securities and the Fund’s market price. The Fund may rely on a small number of third-party market makers to provide a market for the purchase and sale of shares. Any trading halt or other problem relating to the trading activity of these market makers could result in a dramatic change in the spread between the Fund’s net asset value and the price at which the Fund’s shares are trading on the Exchange, which could result in a decrease in value of the Fund’s shares. This reduced effectiveness could result in Fund shares trading at a discount to net asset value and also in greater than normal intraday bid-ask spreads for Fund shares.
MARKET RISK. Market risk is the risk that a particular security, or shares of the Fund in general, may fall in value. Securities are subject to market fluctuations caused by such factors as economic, political, regulatory or market developments, changes in interest rates and perceived trends in securities prices. Shares of the Fund could decline in value or underperform other investments. In addition, local, regional or global events such as war, acts of terrorism, spread of infectious diseases or other public health issues, recessions, or other events could have a significant negative impact on the Fund and its investments. Such events may affect certain geographic regions, countries, sectors and industries more significantly than others. Such events could adversely affect the prices and liquidity of the Fund’s portfolio securities or other instruments and could result in disruptions in the trading markets. Any of such circumstances could have a materially negative impact on the value of the Fund’s shares and result in increased market volatility. During any such events, the Fund’s shares may trade at increased premiums or discounts to their net asset value.
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MERGER ARBITRAGE RISK. The Fund may invest in ETPs that utilize a merger arbitrage investing strategy. Investments in companies that are the subject of a publicly-announced transaction carry the risk the transaction is renegotiated, takes longer to complete than originally planned and that the transaction is never completed. Any such event could cause the Fund to incur a loss. In the case of an investment in a potential target company, if the proposed transaction appears likely not to be consummated, in fact is not consummated, or is delayed, the market price of the security will usually decline sharply, resulting in a loss to the Fund. The risk/reward payout of merger arbitrage strategies typically is asymmetric, with the losses in failed transactions often far exceeding the gains in successful transactions.
MLP RISK. Certain ETPs in which the Fund may invest hold MLPs. Investments in securities of MLPs involve certain risks different from or in addition to the risks of investing in common stocks. MLP common units can be affected by macro-economic factors and other factors unique to the partnership or company and the industry or industries in which the MLP operates. Certain MLP securities may trade in relatively low volumes due to their smaller capitalizations or other factors, which may cause them to have a high degree of price volatility and illiquidity. The structures of MLPs create certain risks, including, for example, risks related to the limited ability of investors to control an MLP and to vote on matters affecting the MLP, risks related to potential conflicts of interest between an MLP and the MLP's general partner, the risk that an MLP will generate insufficient cash flow to meet its current operating requirements, the risk that an MLP will issue additional securities or engage in other transactions that will have the effect of diluting the interests of existing investors, and risks related to the general partner's right to require unit-holders to sell their common units at an undesirable time or price. On March 15, 2018, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) changed its long-standing tax allowance policy which no longer permits MLPs to include in their cost of service an income tax allowance. This has had a negative impact on the performance of some MLPs affected by this decision. This policy change and any similar policy changes in the future could adversely impact an MLP’s business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows and ability to pay cash distributions or dividends.
MORTGAGE-RELATED SECURITIES RISK. Certain ETPs in which the Fund may invest hold mortgage-related securities. Mortgage-related securities are subject to the same risks as investments in other types of debt securities, including credit risk, interest rate risk, liquidity risk and valuation risk. However, these investments make an underlying ETP more susceptible to adverse economic, political or regulatory events that affect the value of real estate. Mortgage-related securities are also significantly affected by the rate of prepayments and modifications of the mortgage loans underlying those securities, as well as by other factors such as borrower defaults, delinquencies, realized or liquidation losses and other shortfalls. Mortgage-related securities are particularly sensitive to prepayment risk, given that the term to maturity for mortgage loans is generally substantially longer than the expected lives of those securities. As the timing and amount of prepayments cannot be accurately predicted, the timing of changes in the rate of prepayments of the mortgage loans may significantly affect an underlying ETP's actual yield to maturity on any mortgage-related securities. Along with prepayment risk, mortgage-related securities are significantly affected by interest rate risk.
MUNICIPAL SECURITIES RISK. Certain ETPs in which the Fund may invest hold municipal securities. Issuers, including governmental issuers, may be unable to pay their obligations as they come due. The values of municipal securities that depend on a specific revenue source to fund their payment obligations may fluctuate as a result of actual or anticipated changes in the cash flows generated by the revenue source or changes in the priority of the municipal obligation to receive the cash flows generated by the revenue source. The values of municipal securities held by an underlying ETP may be adversely affected by local political and economic conditions and developments. Adverse conditions in an industry significant to a local economy could have a correspondingly adverse effect on the financial condition of local issuers. In addition, income from municipal securities held by an underlying ETP could be declared taxable because of, among other things, unfavorable changes in tax laws, adverse interpretations by the Internal Revenue Service or state tax authorities, or noncompliant conduct of an issuer or other obligated party. Loss of tax-exempt status may cause interest received and distributed to shareholders by an underlying ETP to be taxable and may result in a significant decline in the values of such municipal securities.
NEW FUND RISK. As of the date of this prospectus, the Fund has no operating history and currently has fewer assets than larger funds. Like other new funds, large inflows and outflows may impact the Fund’s market exposure for limited periods of time. This impact may be positive or negative, depending on the direction of market movement during the period affected.
NON-AGENCY SECURITIES RISK. Certain ETPs in which the Fund may invest hold non-agency securities. Investments in asset-backed or mortgage-backed securities offered by non-governmental issuers, such as commercial banks, savings and loans, private mortgage insurance companies, mortgage bankers and other secondary market issuers are subject to additional risks. There are no direct or indirect government or agency guarantees of payments in loan pools created by non-government issuers. Securities issued by private issuers are subject to the credit risks of the issuers. An unexpectedly high rate of defaults on the loan pool may adversely affect the value of a non-agency security and could result in losses to the Fund. The risk of
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such defaults is generally higher in the case of pools that include subprime loans. Non-agency securities are typically traded “over-the-counter” rather than on a securities exchange and there may be a limited market for the securities, especially when there is a perceived weakness in the mortgage and real estate market sectors. Without an active trading market, the non-agency mortgage-related securities held by the Fund may be particularly difficult to value because of the complexities involved in assessing the value of the underlying loans.
NON-DIVERSIFICATION RISK. The Fund is classified as “non-diversified” under the 1940 Act. As a result, the Fund is only limited as to the percentage of its assets which may be invested in the securities of any one issuer by the diversification requirements imposed by the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended. The Fund may invest a relatively high percentage of its assets in a limited number of issuers. As a result, the Fund may be more susceptible to a single adverse economic or regulatory occurrence affecting one or more of these issuers, experience increased volatility and be highly invested in certain issuers.
NON-U.S. SECURITIES RISK. Certain ETPs in which the Fund may invest hold non-U.S. securities. Non-U.S. securities are subject to higher volatility than securities of domestic issuers due to possible adverse political, social or economic developments, restrictions on foreign investment or exchange of securities, capital controls, lack of liquidity, currency exchange rates, excessive taxation, government seizure of assets, the imposition of sanctions by foreign governments, different legal or accounting standards, and less government supervision and regulation of securities exchanges in foreign countries.
OPTIONS RISK. The use of options involves investment strategies and risks different from those associated with ordinary portfolio securities transactions and depends on the ability of the Fund’s portfolio managers to forecast market movements correctly. The prices of options are volatile and are influenced by, among other things, actual and anticipated changes in the value of the underlying instrument, or in interest or currency exchange rates, including the anticipated volatility, which in turn are affected by fiscal and monetary policies and by national and international political and economic events. The effective use of options also depends on the Fund's ability to terminate option positions at times deemed desirable to do so. There is no assurance that the Fund will be able to effect closing transactions at any particular time or at an acceptable price. In addition, there may at times be an imperfect correlation between the movement in values of options and their underlying securities and there may at times not be a liquid secondary market for certain options.
PREFERRED SECURITIES RISK. Certain ETPs in which the Fund may invest hold preferred securities. Preferred securities combine some of the characteristics of both common stocks and bonds. Preferred securities are typically subordinated to bonds and other debt securities in a company’s capital structure in terms of priority to corporate income, subjecting them to greater credit risk than those debt securities. Generally, holders of preferred securities 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 obtain limited rights. In certain circumstances, an issuer of preferred securities may defer payment on the securities and, in some cases, redeem the securities prior to a specified date. Preferred securities may also be substantially less liquid than other securities, including common stock.
PREMIUM/DISCOUNT RISK. The market price of the Fund’s shares will generally fluctuate in accordance with changes in the Fund’s net asset value as well as the relative supply of and demand for shares on the Exchange. The Fund’s investment advisor cannot predict whether shares will trade below, at or above their net asset value because the shares trade on the Exchange at market prices and not at net asset value. Price differences may be due, in large part, to the fact that supply and demand forces at work in the secondary trading market for shares will be closely related, but not identical, to the same forces influencing the prices of the holdings of the Fund trading individually or in the aggregate at any point in time. However, given that shares can only be purchased and redeemed in Creation Units, and only to and from broker-dealers and large institutional investors that have entered into participation agreements (unlike shares of closed-end funds, which frequently trade at appreciable discounts from, and sometimes at premiums to, their net asset value), the Fund’s investment advisor believes that large discounts or premiums to the net asset value of shares should not be sustained. During stressed market conditions, the market for the Fund’s shares may become less liquid in response to deteriorating liquidity in the market for the Fund’s underlying portfolio holdings, which could in turn lead to differences between the market price of the Fund’s shares and their net asset value.
PREPAYMENT RISK. Certain ETPs in which the Fund may invest hold debt securities that subject them to prepayment risk. Prepayment risk is the risk that the issuer of a debt security will repay principal prior to the scheduled maturity date. Debt securities allowing prepayment may offer less potential for gains during a period of declining interest rates, as an underlying ETP may be required to reinvest the proceeds of any prepayment at lower interest rates. These factors may cause the value of an investment in an underlying ETP to change.
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REIT RISK. Certain ETPs in which the Fund may invest hold REITs. REITs typically own and operate income-producing real estate, such as residential or commercial buildings, or real-estate related assets, including mortgages. As a result, investments in REITs are subject to the risks associated with investing in real estate, which may include, but are not limited to: fluctuations in the value of underlying properties; defaults by borrowers or tenants; market saturation; changes in general and local operating expenses; and other economic, political or regulatory occurrences affecting companies in the real estate sector. REITs are also subject to the risk that the real estate market may experience an economic downturn generally, which may have a material effect on the real estate in which the REITs invest and their underlying portfolio securities. REITs may have also a relatively small market capitalization which may result in their shares experiencing less market liquidity and greater price volatility than larger companies. Increases in interest rates typically lower the present value of a REIT's future earnings stream, and may make financing property purchases and improvements more costly. Because the market price of REIT stocks may change based upon investors' collective perceptions of future earnings, the value of the Fund will generally decline when investors anticipate or experience rising interest rates.
RESTRICTED SECURITIES RISK. Certain ETPs in which the Fund may invest hold restricted securities. Restricted securities are securities that cannot be offered for public resale unless registered under the applicable securities laws or that have a contractual restriction that prohibits or limits their resale. The Fund may be unable to sell a restricted security on short notice or may be able to sell them only at a price below current value.
SENIOR LOAN RISK. Certain ETPs in which the Fund may invest hold senior loans. Senior loans represent debt obligations of sub-investment grade corporate borrowers, similar to high yield bonds; however, senior loans are different from traditional high yield bonds in that senior loans are typically senior to other obligations of the borrower and generally secured by a lien on all or some portion of the assets of the borrower. The senior loan market has seen a significant increase in loans with weaker lender protections including, but not limited to, limited financial maintenance covenants or, in some cases, no financial maintenance covenants (i.e., “covenant-lite loans”) that would typically be included in a traditional loan agreement and general weakening of other restrictive covenants applicable to the borrower such as limitations on incurrence of additional debt, restrictions on payments of junior debt or restrictions on dividends and distributions. Weaker lender protections such as the absence of financial maintenance covenants in a loan agreement and the inclusion of “borrower-favorable” terms may impact recovery values and/or trading levels of senior loans in the future. The absence of financial maintenance covenants in a loan agreement generally means that the lender may not be able to declare a default if financial performance deteriorates. This may hinder an underlying ETP’s ability to reprice credit risk associated with a particular borrower and reduce an underlying ETP’s ability to restructure a problematic loan and mitigate potential loss. As a result, an underlying ETP’s exposure to losses on investments in senior loans may be increased, especially during a downturn in the credit cycle or changes in market or economic conditions.
Senior loans are also subject to the same risks as investments in other types of debt securities, including credit risk, interest rate risk, liquidity risk and valuation risk that may be heightened because of the limited public information available regarding senior loans. If an underlying ETP holds a senior loan through another financial institution or relies on a financial institution to administer the loan, its receipt of principal and interest on the loan may be subject to the credit risk of that financial institution. Although senior loans are generally secured by specific collateral, there can be no assurance that liquidation of such collateral would satisfy the borrower’s obligation in the event of non-payment of scheduled interest or principal or that such collateral could be readily liquidated.
No active trading market may exist for certain senior loans, which may impair the ability of an underlying ETP to realize full value in the event of the need to sell its position in a senior loan and which may make it difficult to accurately value senior loans. Lastly, senior loans may not be considered “securities,” and an underlying ETP may not be entitled to rely on the anti-fraud protections of the federal securities laws.
SHORT SALES RISK. In connection with a short sale of a security or other instrument, the Fund is subject to the risk that instead of declining, the price of the security or other instrument sold short will rise. If the price of the security or other instrument sold short increases between the date of the short sale and the date on which the Fund replaces the security or other instrument borrowed to make the short sale, the Fund will experience a loss, which is theoretically unlimited since there is a theoretically unlimited potential for the market price of a security or other instrument sold short to increase. In addition, as a series of an investment company registered under the 1940 Act, the Fund must segregate liquid assets, or engage in other measures to “cover” open positions with respect to short sales. The Fund may nonetheless incur significant losses on short sales even if they are covered.
SIGNIFICANT EXPOSURE RISK. To the extent that the Fund invests a large percentage of its assets in a single asset class or the securities of issuers within the same country, state, region, industry or sector, an adverse economic, business or political
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development may affect the value of the Fund’s investments more than if the Fund were more broadly diversified. A significant exposure makes the Fund more susceptible to any single occurrence and may subject the Fund to greater market risk than a fund that is more broadly diversified.
SMALLER COMPANIES RISK. Certain ETPs in which the Fund may invest hold the securities of small and/or mid capitalization companies. Small and/or mid capitalization companies may be more vulnerable to adverse general market or economic developments, and their securities may be less liquid and may experience greater price volatility than larger, more established companies as a result of several factors, including limited trading volumes, fewer products or financial resources, management inexperience and less publicly available information. Accordingly, such companies are generally subject to greater market risk than larger, more established companies.
TRADING ISSUES RISK. Although the shares of the Fund are listed for trading on the Exchange, there can be no assurance that an active trading market for such shares will develop or be maintained. Further, secondary markets may be subject to irregular trading activity and wide bid-ask spreads (which may be especially pronounced for smaller funds). Trading in shares on the Exchange may be halted due to market conditions or for reasons that, in the view of the Exchange, make trading in shares inadvisable. In addition, trading in shares on the Exchange is subject to trading halts caused by extraordinary market volatility pursuant to the Exchange’s “circuit breaker” rules. Market makers are under no obligation to make a market in the Fund’s shares, and authorized participants are not obligated to submit purchase or redemption orders for Creation Units. In the event market makers cease making a market in the Fund's shares or authorized participants stop submitting purchase or redemption orders for Creation Units, Fund shares may trade at a larger premium or discount to their net asset value. There can be no assurance that the requirements of the Exchange necessary to maintain the listing of the Fund will continue to be met or will remain unchanged. The Fund may have difficulty maintaining its listing on the Exchange in the event the Fund’s assets are small or the Fund does not have enough shareholders.
U.S. GOVERNMENT SECURITIES RISK. Certain ETPs in which the Fund may invest hold U.S. government securities. U.S. government securities are subject to interest rate risk but generally do not involve the credit risks associated with investments in other types of debt securities. As a result, the yields available from U.S. government securities are generally lower than the yields available from other debt securities. U.S. government securities are guaranteed only as to the timely payment of interest and the payment of principal when held to maturity. While securities issued or guaranteed by U.S. federal government agencies (such as Ginnie Mae) are backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. Department of the Treasury, securities issued by government sponsored entities (such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac) are solely the obligation of the issuer and generally do not carry any guarantee from the U.S. government.
VALUATION RISK. The Fund or an underlying ETP may hold securities or other assets that may be valued on the basis of factors other than market quotations. This may occur because the asset or security does not trade on a centralized exchange, or in times of market turmoil or reduced liquidity. There are multiple methods that can be used to value a portfolio holding when market quotations are not readily available. The value established for any portfolio holding at a point in time might differ from what would be produced using a different methodology or if it had been priced using market quotations. Portfolio holdings that are valued using techniques other than market quotations, including “fair valued” assets or securities, may be subject to greater fluctuation in their valuations from one day to the next than if market quotations were used. In addition, there is no assurance that the Fund or an underlying ETP could sell or close out a portfolio position for the value established for it at any time, and it is possible that the Fund or an underlying ETP would incur a loss because a portfolio position is sold or closed out at a discount to the valuation established by the Fund or an underlying ETP at that time. The Fund’s ability to value investments may be impacted by technological issues or errors by pricing services or other third-party service providers.
VOLATILITY RISK. Certain ETPs in which the Fund may invest hold securities that subject them to volatility risk. Volatility is the characteristic of a security, an index or a market to fluctuate significantly in price within a short time period. An underlying ETP may invest in securities or financial instruments that exhibit more volatility than the market as a whole. Such exposures could cause an underlying ETP’s net asset value to experience significant increases or declines in value over short periods of time.
Performance
The Fund does not have performance history. Once available, the Fund’s performance information, and information that gives some indication of the risks of an investment in the Fund by comparing the Fund’s performance with a broad measure of market performance, will be available on the Fund’s website at www.ftportfolios.com. The Fund’s past performance (before and after taxes) is not necessarily an indication of how the Fund will perform in the future.
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Management
Investment Advisor
First Trust Advisors L.P. (“First Trust” or the “Advisor”)
Portfolio Managers
The following persons will serve as the portfolio managers of the Fund:
John Gambla, CFA, FRM, PRM, Senior Portfolio Manager, Alternatives Investment Team of First Trust
Rob A. Guttschow, CFA, Senior Portfolio Manager, Alternatives Investment Team of First Trust
The portfolio managers are primarily and jointly responsible for the day-to-day management of the Fund. Each portfolio manager has served as a part of the portfolio management team of the Fund since 2020.
Purchase and Sale of Fund Shares
The Fund issues and redeems shares on a continuous basis, at net asset value, only in Creation Units consisting of 50,000 shares. The Fund’s Creation Units are generally issued and redeemed in-kind for securities in which the Fund invests and, in certain circumstances, for cash and only to and from broker-dealers and large institutional investors that have entered into participation agreements. Individual shares of the Fund may only be purchased and sold on NYSE Arca and other eligible securities exchanges through a broker-dealer. Shares of the Fund trade on NYSE Arca at market prices rather than net asset value, which may cause the shares to trade at a price greater than net asset value (premium) or less than net asset value (discount).
Tax Information
The Fund’s distributions are taxable and will generally be taxed as ordinary income or capital gains. Distributions on shares held in a tax-deferred account, while not immediately taxable, will be subject to tax when the shares are no longer held in a tax-deferred account.
Payments to Broker-Dealers and Other Financial Intermediaries
If you purchase shares of the Fund through a broker-dealer or other financial intermediary (such as a bank), First Trust and First Trust Portfolios L.P., the Fund’s distributor, may pay the intermediary for the sale of Fund shares and related services. These payments may create a conflict of interest by influencing the broker-dealer or other intermediary and your salesperson to recommend the Fund over another investment. Ask your salesperson or visit your financial intermediary’s website for more information.
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Additional Information on the Fund's Investment Objective and Strategies
The Fund is a series of First Trust Exchange-Traded Fund VIII and is regulated as an “investment company” under the 1940 Act. The Fund is actively managed and does not seek to track the performance of an index. The Fund’s investment objective is fundamental and may not be changed without approval by the holders of a majority of the outstanding voting securities of the Fund. Unless an investment policy is identified as being fundamental, all investment policies included in this prospectus and the Fund’s Statement of Additional Information (“SAI”) are non-fundamental and may be changed by the Board of Trustees of the Trust (the “Board”) without shareholder approval. If there is a material change to the Fund’s principal investment strategies, you should consider whether the Fund remains an appropriate investment for you. There is no guarantee that the Fund will achieve its investment objective.
Fund Investments
Principal Investments
Exchange-Traded Products
The Fund will primarily invest in securities issued by exchange-traded products, including ETFs, ETNs and exchange traded commodity trusts.
Exchange-Traded Funds
ETFs are managed registered investment companies which invest in various types of securities. ETFs trade on a securities exchange and their shares may, at times, trade at a premium or discount to their net asset value. As a shareholder in a pooled investment vehicle, the Fund will bear its ratable share of that vehicle’s expenses and would remain subject to payment of the underlying fund’s advisory and administrative fees with respect to assets so invested. Shareholders would therefore be subject to duplicative expenses to the extent the Fund invests in other pooled investment vehicles. In addition, the Fund will incur brokerage costs when purchasing and selling shares of ETFs. Securities of other pooled investment vehicles may be leveraged, in which case the value and/or yield of such securities will tend to be more volatile than securities of unleveraged vehicles.
The Fund’s ability to invest in other investment companies is limited by the 1940 Act and the related rules and interpretations. The Fund may invest in other investment companies in excess of the limits imposed under the 1940 Act pursuant to exemptive orders obtained by certain investment companies and their sponsors from the Securities Exchange Commission, subject to certain conditions and pursuant to a contractual arrangement between the Fund and such investment companies.
Exchange-Traded Notes
ETNs are a type of senior, unsecured, unsubordinated debt security issued by financial institutions that combine both aspects of bonds and ETFs. An ETN’s returns are based on the performance of a market index minus fees and expenses. Similar to ETFs, ETNs are listed on an exchange and traded in the secondary market. However, unlike an ETF, an ETN can be held until the ETN’s maturity, at which time the issuer is obligated to pay a return linked to the performance of the market index to which the ETN is linked minus certain fees. Unlike regular bonds, ETNs do not make periodic interest payments and principal is not protected. When a Fund invests in ETNs, it will bear its proportionate share of any fees and expenses borne by the ETN. A Fund’s decision to sell its ETN holdings may be limited by the availability of a secondary market.
Exchange-Traded Commodity Trusts
An exchange-traded commodity trust is a pooled trust that invests in physical commodities or commodity futures, and issues shares that trade on a securities exchange at a discount or premium to the value of the trust’s holdings. Investments in exchange traded commodity trusts are also subject to brokerage and other trading costs, which could result in greater expenses to the Fund. Exchange-traded commodity trusts are not investment companies registered under the 1940 Act. As a result, in connection with any such investments, the Fund will not have the protections associated with ownership of shares in an investment company registered under the 1940 Act.
Asset-Backed Securities
The Fund may invest in ETPs that hold asset-backed securities. Asset-backed securities are securities backed by installment contracts, credit-card receivables or other assets. Asset-backed securities represent interests in “pools” of assets in which payments of both interest and principal on the securities are made on a regular basis. The payments are, in effect, “passed through” to the holder of the securities (net of any fees paid to the issuer or guarantor of the securities). The average life of
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asset-backed securities varies with the maturities of the underlying instruments and, as a result of prepayments, can often be less than the original maturity of the assets underlying the securities.
Bank Loans
The Fund may invest in ETPs that hold bank loans. Bank loans include floating rate loans and institutionally traded floating rate debt obligations issued by asset-backed pools and other issuers, and interests therein. Bank loan interests may be acquired from U.S. or foreign commercial banks, insurance companies, finance companies or other financial institutions that have made loans or are members of a lending syndicate or from other holders of loan interests. Bank loans typically pay interest at rates which are re-determined periodically on the basis of a floating base lending rate plus a premium. Bank loans are typically of below investment-grade quality. Bank loans generally hold the most senior position in the capital structure of a borrower and are often secured with collateral.
An underlying ETP may invest in bank loans through assignments or participations. When an underlying ETP is a purchaser of an assignment, it succeeds to all the rights and obligations under the loan agreement of the assigning lender and becomes a lender under the loan agreement with the same rights and obligations as the assigning lender. These rights include the ability to vote along with the other lenders on such matters as enforcing the terms of the loan agreement (e.g., declaring defaults, initiating collection actions, etc.). Taking such actions typically requires at least a vote of the lenders holding a majority of the investment in the loan and may require a vote by lenders holding two-thirds or more of the investment in the loan. Because an underlying ETP usually does not hold a majority of the investment in any loan, it will not be able by itself to control decisions that require a vote by the lenders. A participation interest represents a fractional interest in a loan held by the lender selling an underlying ETP the participation interest. In the case of participations, an underlying ETP will not have any direct contractual relationship with the borrower, the underlying ETP’s rights to consent to modifications of the loan are limited and it is dependent upon the participating lender to enforce the underlying ETP’s rights upon a default. An underlying ETP will have the right to receive payments of principal, interest, and any fees to which it is entitled only from the lender selling the participation and only upon receipt by the lender of the payments from the borrower.
Senior Loans
An underlying ETP’s investments in bank loans may include investments in senior loans. Senior loans are secured and are senior to other indebtedness of the borrower. Senior loans are generally secured by collateral such as accounts receivable, inventory, equipment, real estate, intangible assets such as trademarks, copyrights and patents, and securities of subsidiaries or affiliates. The value of the collateral generally will be determined by reference to financial statements of the borrower, by an independent appraisal, by obtaining the market value of such collateral, in the case of cash or securities if readily ascertainable, or by other customary valuation techniques. Senior loans generally consist of obligations of companies and other entities incurred for the purpose of reorganizing the assets and liabilities of a borrower, acquiring another company, taking over control of a company, temporary refinancing or financing internal growth or other general business purposes. Senior loans are often obligations of borrowers who have incurred a significant percentage of debt compared to their total assets and thus are highly leveraged.
Other Loans
In addition to their investment in senior loans, certain underlying ETP may also invest in secured loans that are not first lien and loans that are unsecured. These loans have the same characteristics as senior loans except that such loans are not first in priority of repayment and/or are not secured by collateral. Because these loans are lower in priority and/or unsecured, they are subject to the additional risk that the cash flow of the borrower may be insufficient to meet scheduled payments after giving effect to the secured obligations of the borrower. In the event of default on such a loan, the first priority lien holder has first claim to the underlying collateral of the loan. It is possible that no value would remain for the holders of secured loans that are not first lien and loans that are unsecured and therefore result in a loss of investment.
Collateralized Loan Obligations
The Fund may invest in ETPs that hold collateralized loan obligations. A CLO is a financing company (generally called a “Special Purpose Vehicle” or “SPV”) created to reapportion the risk and return characteristics of a pool of assets. CLOs use funds received from the issuance of debt and equity to acquire a diverse portfolio of loans that are actively managed by the CLO manager. The debt issued by CLOs is divided into separate tranches, each of which has a different risk/return profile based on its priority of claim on the cash flows produced by the underlying loan pool. The most senior and highest rated tranche has the lowest yield but is the most loss remote as it has the highest claim on cash-flow distributions. Mezzanine tranches have higher yields but are more at risk of loss. The lowest tranche is the equity tranche, which does not have a coupon and represents a claim on all excess cash flows once the obligations for each debt tranche have been met. The equity tranche is also the most risky.
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The underlying loans purchased by CLOs are generally performing at the time of purchase but may become non-performing, distressed or defaulted.
Commodities
The Fund may invest in ETPs that have exposure to commodities. Such exposure may be derived in various ways, including, but not limited to, investments in equity securities issued by commodity or natural resources companies, derivatives with exposure to commodity or natural resources companies or investments in securities and derivatives linked to the underlying price movement of commodities or natural resources.
Corporate Debt Securities
The Fund may invest in ETPs that hold corporate debt securities. Corporate debt securities include obligations issued by corporations to borrow money from investors, such as corporate bonds, debentures and notes. These securities may be either secured or unsecured. Holders of debt securities, as creditors, have a prior legal claim over common and preferred shareholders as to both income and assets of the issuer for the principal and interest due them and may have a prior claim over other creditors if liens or mortgages are involved. Interest on debt securities is typically paid semi-annually and is fully taxable to the holder of the securities. The investment return of debt securities reflects interest on the security and changes in the market value of the security. The market value of a fixed rate debt security generally may be expected to rise and fall inversely with changes in interest rates and also may be affected by the credit rating of the issuer, the issuer’s performance and perceptions of the issuer in the marketplace. Debt securities issued by corporations usually have a higher yield than government or agency bonds due to the presence of credit risk.
Derivatives
The Fund may utilize derivative instruments directly or it may invest in ETPs that utilize derivative instruments. Derivatives are financial instruments whose value depends upon, or is derived from, an underlying reference asset, such as an index or security, that are commonly used to hedge risk, enhance returns, as a substitute for a position in an underlying asset, maintain a desired level of market exposure, manage cash flows or foreign currency exposures and preserve capital.
Equity Securities
The Fund may invest in ETPs that hold equity securities, including common stocks and depositary receipts. Common stock represents an equity ownership interest in issuers. Holders of common stock are entitled to the income and increase in the value of the assets and business of the issuers after all debt obligations and obligations to preferred stockholders are satisfied. Depositary receipts are certificates typically issued by a bank or trust company that represent ownership interests in securities of non-U.S. companies. Depositary receipts may or may not be jointly sponsored by the underlying issuer.
High Yield Securities
The Fund may invest in ETPs that hold high yield securities. High yield securities are debt instruments that are rated below investment grade. Such securities are also commonly referred to as “junk” securities. High yield securities may be issued by companies without long track records of sales and earnings, or by issuers that have questionable credit strength. High yield securities will likely have some quality and protective characteristics that, in the judgment of the rating agency evaluating the instrument, are out-weighed by large uncertainties or major risk exposures to adverse conditions and are predominantly speculative with respect to the issuer’s capacity to pay dividends or interest and repay principal in accordance with the terms of the obligation.
Master Limited Partnerships
An MLP is a limited partnership or a limited liability company that is treated as a partnership for federal income tax purposes, the interests in which (known as units) are traded on securities exchanges or over-the-counter. MLPs are typically engaged in one or more aspects of the exploration, production, processing, transmission, marketing, storage or delivery of energy-related commodities such as natural gas, natural gas liquids, coal, crude oil or refined petroleum products. Holders of MLP units have limited control and voting rights on matters affecting the partnership. If publicly traded, to be treated as a partnership for U.S. federal income tax purposes, the MLP must receive at least 90% of its income from qualifying sources, including 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. Mineral or natural resources activities include exploration,
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development, production, mining, refining, marketing and transportation (including pipelines), of oil and gas, minerals, geothermal energy, fertilizer, timber or carbon dioxide.
Mortgage-Related Securities
The Fund may invest in ETPs that hold mortgage-related securities. Mortgage-related securities are structured debt obligations collateralized by pools of residential or commercial mortgage loans made by banks and other financial institutions to finance purchases of residential homes, commercial buildings and other real estate. The individual mortgage loans are packaged or “pooled” together for sale to investors by various governmental and private organizations and provide the holder with monthly payments derived from the principal and interest payments made by the individual borrowers on the pooled mortgage loans. In their simplest form, mortgage-related securities are structured as “pass-through” securities, meaning they provide investors with monthly payments consisting of a pro rata share of both regular interest and principal payments as well as unscheduled prepayments on the underlying mortgage loans. In the basic mortgage-pass through structure, mortgages with similar issuer, term and coupon characteristics are collected and aggregated into a pool consisting of multiple mortgage loans. The pool is assigned a CUSIP number and undivided interests in the pool are traded and sold as pass-through securities. The holder of the security is entitled to a pro rata share of principal and interest payments (including unscheduled prepayments) from the pool of mortgage loans. However, mortgage-related securities may also be structured as collateralized mortgage obligations (“CMOs”). A CMO is a multi-class bond backed by a pool of mortgage pass-through certificates or mortgage loans. While CMOs may be collateralized by whole mortgage loans or private mortgage bonds, they are generally collateralized by portfolios of mortgage pass-through securities guaranteed by Ginnie Mae, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and their income streams. Each class of CMOs, often referred to as a “tranche,” is issued at a specific coupon rate and offers investors various maturity and credit risk characteristics. Tranches are categorized as senior, mezzanine, and subordinated/equity or “first loss,” according to their degree of risk. The most senior tranche has the greatest collateralization and pays the lowest interest rate. If there are defaults or the collateral otherwise underperforms, scheduled payments to senior tranches take precedence over those of mezzanine tranches, and scheduled payments to mezzanine tranches take precedence over those to subordinated/equity tranches. Lower tranches represent lower degrees of credit quality and pay higher interest rates intended to compensate for the increased risks. The return on the lower tranches is especially sensitive to the rate of defaults in the collateral pool. The lowest tranche (i.e., the “equity” or “residual” tranche) specifically receives the residual interest payments (money that is left over after the higher tranches have been paid and expenses of the issuing entities have been paid) rather than a fixed interest rate.
Mortgage-related investments may be issued or guaranteed by the U.S. government, its agencies or instrumentalities (such as Ginnie Mae), and U.S. government-sponsored entities (such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac). Government agency or instrumentality securities have different levels of credit support. Securities issued by the U.S. government, its agencies or instrumentalities carry a guarantee as to the timely repayment of principal and interest that is backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government. However, the full faith and credit guarantee does not apply to the market prices and yields of the Ginnie Mae securities or to the net asset value, trading price or performance of an underlying fund which will vary with changes in interest rates and other market conditions. Securities issued by government-sponsored entities may only be backed by the creditworthiness of the issuing institution, not the U.S. government. Government-sponsored entity issuers may have the right to borrow from the U.S. Treasury to meet their obligations.
Municipal Obligations
The Fund may invest in ETPs that hold municipal obligations. Municipal obligations are debt obligations issued by or on behalf of states, territories and possessions of the United States, including the District of Columbia, and any political subdivisions or financing authority of any of these, the income from which is, in the opinion of qualified legal counsel, exempt from regular federal income tax. Such securities include municipal lease obligations (and certificates of participation in such obligations), municipal general obligation bonds, municipal revenue bonds, municipal notes, municipal cash equivalents, private activity bonds (including industrial development bonds), and pre-refunded and escrowed to maturity bonds. In addition, municipal obligations include securities issued by tender option bond trusts and custodial receipt trusts, each of which are investment vehicles the underlying assets of which are municipal bonds.
Municipal obligations are generally issued to finance public works such as airports, bridges, highways, housing, hospitals, mass transportation projects, schools, street and water and sewer works. They are also issued to repay outstanding obligations, to raise funds for general operating expenses and to make loans to other public institutions and facilities. The two principal classifications of municipal securities are “general obligation” and “revenue” bonds. General obligation bonds are secured by the issuer’s pledge of its full faith and credit and taxing power for the payment of principal and interest. Interest on and principal of revenue bonds, however, are payable only from the revenue generated by the facility financed by the bond or other specified
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sources of revenue. Revenue bonds do not represent a pledge of credit or create any debt of or charge against the general revenues of a municipality or public authority. Industrial development bonds are typically classified as revenue bonds.
Non-U.S. Debt Securities
The Fund may invest in ETPs that hold non-U.S. debt securities. Non-U.S. debt securities include debt securities issued or guaranteed by companies organized under the laws of countries other than the United States, debt securities issued or guaranteed by foreign, national, provincial, state, municipal or other governments with taxing authority or by their agencies or instrumentalities and debt obligations of supranational governmental entities such as the World Bank or European Union. These debt securities may be U.S. dollar-denominated or non-U.S. dollar-denominated. Non-U.S. debt securities also include U.S. dollar-denominated debt obligations, such as “Yankee Dollar” obligations, of foreign issuers and of supranational government entities. Yankee Dollar obligations are U.S. dollar-denominated obligations issued in the U.S. capital markets by foreign corporations, banks and governments. Non-U.S. debt securities also may be traded on non-U.S. securities exchanges or in over-the-counter capital markets.
Preferred Securities
The Fund may invest in ETPs that hold preferred securities. Preferred stocks pay fixed or floating dividends to investors and have “preference” over common stock in the payment of dividends and the liquidation of an issuer’s assets. Generally, this means that an issuer must pay dividends on preferred stocks before paying any dividends on its common stock. Some preferred stocks offer a fixed rate of return with no maturity date. Because those preferred stocks never mature, they trade like long-term bonds, can be more volatile than other types of preferred stocks and may have heightened sensitivity to changes in interest rates. Other preferred stocks have variable dividends, generally determined on a quarterly or other periodic basis, either according to a formula based upon a specified premium or discount to the yield on particular U.S. Treasury securities or based on an auction process involving bids submitted by holders and prospective purchasers of such securities. Because preferred stocks represent an equity ownership interest in an issuer, their value usually will react more strongly than bonds and other debt instruments to actual or perceived changes in an issuer’s financial condition or prospects or to fluctuations in the equity markets. Preferred stockholders usually have no voting rights or their voting rights are limited to certain extraordinary transactions or events.
Real Estate Investment Trusts
The Fund may invest in ETPs that hold real estate investment trusts. REITs are financial vehicles that pool investors’ capital to purchase or finance real estate. REITs are generally classified as equity REITs, mortgage REITs or a combination of equity and mortgage REITs. Equity REITs invest the majority of their assets directly in real property and derive income primarily from the collection of rents. Equity REITs can also realize capital gains by selling properties that have appreciated in value. Mortgage REITs invest the majority of their assets in real estate mortgages and derive income from the collection of interest payments. REITs are not taxed on income distributed to shareholders provided they comply with the applicable tax requirements.
Non-Principal Investments
Cash Equivalents and Short-Term Investments
Normally, the Fund invests substantially all of its assets to meet its investment objective. The Fund may invest in securities with maturities of less than one year or cash equivalents, or it may hold cash. The percentage of the Fund invested in such holdings varies and depends on several factors, including market conditions. For temporary defensive purposes and during periods of high cash inflows or outflows, the Fund may depart from its principal investment strategies and invest part or all of its assets in these securities, or it may hold cash. During such periods, the Fund may not be able to achieve its investment objective. The Fund may adopt a defensive strategy when the portfolio managers believe securities in which the Fund normally invests have elevated risks due to political or economic factors and in other extraordinary circumstances. For more information on eligible short-term investments, see the Fund's SAI.
Illiquid Securities
The Fund may invest up to 15% of its net assets in securities and other instruments that are, at the time of investment, illiquid (determined using the Securities and Exchange Commission's standard applicable to investment companies, i.e., any investment that the Fund reasonably expects cannot be sold or disposed of in current market conditions in seven calendar days or less without the sale or disposition significantly changing the market value of the investment). For this purpose, illiquid securities may include, but are not limited to, restricted securities (securities the disposition of which is restricted under the federal
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securities laws), securities that may only be resold pursuant to Rule 144A under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the "Securities Act"), that are deemed to be illiquid, and certain repurchase agreements, among others.
Disclosure of Portfolio Holdings
A description of the policies and procedures with respect to the disclosure of the Fund's portfolio securities is included in the Fund's SAI, which is available on the Fund's website at www.ftportfolios.com.
Risks of Investing in the Fund
Risk is inherent in all investing. Investing in the Fund involves risk, including the risk that you may lose all or part of your investment. There can be no assurance that the Fund will meet its stated objective. Before you invest, you should consider the following supplemental disclosure pertaining to the Principal Risks set forth above as well as additional Non-Principal Risks set forth below in this prospectus. The order of the below risk factors does not indicate the significance of any particular risk factor.
Principal Risks
ASSET-BACKED SECURITIES RISK. Certain ETPs in which the Fund may invest hold asset-backed securities. Asset-backed securities are debt securities typically created by buying and pooling loans or other receivables other than mortgage loans and creating securities backed by those similar type assets. They are typically issued by trusts and special purpose co-purchasers that pass income from the underlying pool to investors. As with other debt securities, asset-backed securities are subject to credit risk, extension risk, interest rate risk, liquidity risk and valuation risk. Certain asset-backed securities do not have the benefit of the same security interest in the related collateral as do mortgage-backed securities, nor are they provided government guarantees of repayment. Credit card receivables are generally unsecured, and the debtors are entitled to the protection of a number of state and federal consumer credit laws, many of which give such debtors the right to set off certain amounts owed on the credit cards, thereby reducing the balance due. In addition, some issuers of automobile receivables permit the servicers to retain possession of the underlying obligations. If the servicer were to sell these obligations to another party, there is a risk that the purchaser would acquire an interest superior to that of the holders of the related automobile receivables. The impairment of the value of collateral or other assets underlying an asset-backed security, such as a result of non-payment of loans or non-performance of underlying assets, may result in a reduction in the value of such asset-backed securities and losses to an underlying ETP.
AUTHORIZED PARTICIPANT CONCENTRATION RISK. Only an authorized participant may engage in creation or redemption transactions directly with the Fund. A limited number of institutions act as authorized participants for the Fund. However, participants are not obligated to make a market in the Fund’s shares or submit purchase and redemption orders for creation units. To the extent that these institutions exit the business, reduce their role or are unable to proceed with creation and/or redemption orders and no other authorized participant steps forward to create or redeem, the Fund’s shares may trade at a premium or discount to the Fund’s net asset value and possibly face delisting.
BANK LOANS RISK. Certain ETPs in which the Fund may invest hold bank loans. An underlying ETP may invest in secured and unsecured participations in bank loans and assignments of such loans. In making investments in such loans, which are made by banks or other financial intermediaries to borrowers, an underlying ETP will depend primarily upon the creditworthiness of the borrower for payment of principal and interest which will expose the ETP to the credit risk of the underlying borrower. Participations by an underlying ETP in a lender's portion of a bank loan typically will result in the Fund having a contractual relationship only with such lender, not with the borrower. An underlying ETP may have the right to receive payments of principal, interest and any fees to which it is entitled only from the lender selling a loan participation and only upon receipt by such lender of such payments from the borrower, which exposes the Fund to the credit risk of the lender. In connection with purchasing participations, an underlying ETP generally will have no right to enforce compliance by the borrower with the terms of the loan agreement, nor any rights with respect to any funds acquired by other lenders through set-off against the borrower, and an underlying ETP may not directly benefit from any collateral supporting the loan in which it has purchased the participation. There is also the risk that the value of any collateral securing a loan may decline and that the collateral may be insufficient to cover the amount owed on the loan. The secondary market for bank loans may not be highly liquid, and an underlying ETP may have difficulty selling bank loans (other than at a discount) and it may experience settlement delays with respect to bank loan trades (in some cases longer than 7 days.) Further, loans held by an underlying ETP may not be considered securities and, therefore, purchasers, such as an underlying ETP, may not be entitled to rely on the anti-fraud protections of the federal securities laws and would be forced to rely upon the contractual persons in the loan agreement and states law to enforce its rights to repayment. Many of the loans in which an underlying ETP may invest or obtain exposure to may be
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“covenant-lite” loans. The amount of public information available with respect to bank loans may be less extensive than available for registered or exchange-traded securities. Covenant-lite loans may contain fewer or no maintenance covenants compared to other loans and may not include terms which allow the lender to monitor the performance of the borrower and declare a default if certain criteria are breached. An underlying ETP may experience relatively greater realized or unrealized losses or delays in enforcing its rights on its holdings of covenant-lite loans than its holdings of loans with the usual covenants.
CALL RISK. Certain ETPs in which the Fund may invest hold debt securities that subject them to call risk. Some debt securities may be redeemed at the option of the issuer, or “called,” before their stated maturity date. In general, an issuer will call its debt securities if they can be refinanced by issuing new debt securities which bear a lower interest rate. An underlying ETP is subject to the possibility that during periods of falling interest rates an issuer will call its high yielding debt securities. An underlying ETP would then be forced to invest the unanticipated proceeds at lower interest rates, likely resulting in a decline in the underlying ETP’s income. Such redemptions and subsequent reinvestments would also increase an underlying ETP’s portfolio turnover. If a called debt security was purchased by an underlying ETP at a premium, the value of the premium may be lost in the event of a redemption.
CLEARING BROKER RISK. The failure or bankruptcy of the Fund’s and the Subsidiary’s clearing broker could result in a substantial loss of Fund assets. Under current CFTC regulations, a clearing broker maintains customers’ assets that secure commodity futures positions in a bulk segregated account. If a clearing broker fails to do so, or is unable to satisfy a substantial deficit in a customer account, its other customers may be subject to risk of loss of their funds in the event of that clearing broker’s bankruptcy. In that event, the clearing broker’s customers, such as the Fund and the Subsidiary, are entitled to recover, even in respect of property specifically traceable to them, only a proportional share of all property available for distribution to all of that clearing broker’s customers.
CLO RISK. Certain ETPs in which the Fund may invest hold CLOs. CLOs bear many of the same risks as other forms of asset-backed securities, including credit risk, interest rate risk, liquidity risk and valuation risk. As they are backed by pools of loans, CLOs also bear similar risks to investing in loans directly. CLOs issue classes or “tranches” that vary in risk, expected maturity, priority or payment and yield. CLOs may experience substantial losses attributable to loan defaults. Losses caused by defaults on underlying loans are typically borne first by the holders of subordinate tranches. Investment in CLOs may decrease in market value when the CLO experiences loan defaults or credit impairment, the disappearance of one or more subordinate tranches, or market anticipation of defaults and investor aversion to CLO securities as a class. The complex structure of a CLO may not be fully understood at the time of investment and produce disputes with the issuer or unexpected investment results.
COMMODITIES RISK. Certain ETPs in the Fund may invest have exposure to commodities. Commodity prices can have significant volatility, and exposure to commodities can cause the value of an underlying ETP’s shares to decline or fluctuate in a rapid and unpredictable manner. The values of physical commodities may be affected by changes in overall market movements, real or perceived inflationary trends, commodity index volatility, changes in interest rates or currency exchange rates, population growth and changing demographics, international economic, political and regulatory developments, and factors affecting a particular region, industry or commodity, such as drought, floods, or other weather conditions, livestock disease, changes in storage costs, trade embargoes, competition from substitute products, transportation bottlenecks or shortages, fluctuations in supply and demand, and tariffs. The commodity markets are subject to temporary distortions or other disruptions due to, among other factors, lack of liquidity, the participation of speculators, and government regulation and other actions.
COMMODITY REGULATORY RISK. Certain ETPs in which the Fund may invest hold commodity-linked derivative instruments that subject them to commodity regulatory risk. Compliance with CFTC rules relating to disclosure, reporting and recordkeeping may increase an underlying ETP’s expenses. In addition, certain exchanges may limit the maximum net long or net short speculative positions that a party may hold or control in any particular futures or options contracts, and it is possible that other regulatory authorities may adopt similar limits. An underlying ETP’s investment decisions may need to be modified, and commodity contract positions held by an underlying ETP may have to be liquidated at disadvantageous times or prices, to avoid exceeding any applicable position limits, potentially subjecting an underlying ETP to substantial losses. The regulation of commodity transactions in the United States is subject to ongoing modification by government, self-regulatory and judicial action. The effect of any future regulatory change on an underlying ETP is impossible to predict, but could be substantial and adverse to an underlying ETP. Suspension or termination of an underlying ETP's investment advisor’s registration as a commodity pool operator would prevent it, until such time (if any) as such registration was reinstated, from managing an underlying ETP, and might result in the termination of an underlying ETP.
COMMODITY-LINKED DERIVATIVES RISK. Certain ETPs in which the Fund may invest hold commodity-linked derivatives. The value of a commodity-linked derivative instrument typically is based upon the price movements of the underlying
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commodity or an economic variable linked to such price movements. The prices of commodity-related investments may fluctuate quickly and dramatically as a result of changes affecting a particular commodity and may not correlate to price movements in other asset classes, such as stocks, bonds and cash. Commodity-linked derivatives are subject to the risk that the counterparty to the transaction, the exchange or trading facility on which they trade or the applicable clearing house may default or otherwise fail to perform. In addition, each exchange or trading facility on which the derivatives are traded has the right to suspend or limit trading in all futures or other instruments that it lists. An underlying ETP’s use of commodity-linked derivatives may also have a leveraging effect on the underlying ETP’s portfolio. Leverage generally magnifies the effect of a change in the value of an asset and creates a risk of loss of value on a larger pool of assets than an underlying ETP would otherwise have had. An underlying ETP is required to post margin in respect to its holdings in derivatives. Each of these factors and events could have a significant negative impact on the underlying ETP.
CONFLICT OF INTEREST RISK. The Fund may invest in other ETPs that are also advised by, or are otherwise affiliated with, the Advisor. Because the Fund pays management fees in connection with its investments in other ETPs, the Advisor has a financial incentive to cause the Fund to invest in ETPs for which it also serves as investment advisor. The Advisor may invest in an affiliated ETP even in circumstances where an unaffiliated ETP may have lower fees or better performance over certain time periods.
COUNTERPARTY RISK. The Fund is subject to counterparty risk. If the Fund enters into an investment or transaction that depends on the performance of another party, the Fund becomes subject to the credit risk of that counterparty. The Fund's ability to profit from these types of investments and transactions depends on the willingness and ability of the Fund’s counterparty to perform its obligations. If a counterparty fails to meet its contractual obligations, the Fund may be unable to terminate or realize any gain on the investment or transaction, resulting in a loss to the Fund. The Fund may experience significant delays in obtaining any recovery in an insolvency, bankruptcy, or other reorganization proceeding involving a counterparty (including recovery of any collateral posted by it) and may obtain only a limited recovery or may obtain no recovery in such circumstances. If the Fund holds collateral posted by its counterparty, it may be delayed or prevented from realizing on the collateral in the event of a bankruptcy or insolvency proceeding relating to the counterparty. Under applicable law or contractual provisions, including if the Fund enters into an investment or transaction with a financial institution and such financial institution (or an affiliate of the financial institution) experiences financial difficulties, then the Fund may in certain situations be prevented or delayed from exercising its rights to terminate the investment or transaction, or to realize on any collateral and may result in the suspension of payment and delivery obligations of the parties under such investment or transactions or in another institution being substituted for that financial institution without the consent of the Fund. Further, the Fund may be subject to “bail-in” risk under applicable law whereby, if required by the financial institution's authority, the financial institution's liabilities could be written down, eliminated or converted into equity or an alternative instrument of ownership. A bail-in of a financial institution may result in a reduction in value of some or all of securities and, if the Fund holds such securities or has entered into a transaction with such a financial security when a bail-in occurs, the Fund may also be similarly impacted.
COVENANT-LITE LOAN RISK. Certain ETPs in which the Fund may invest hold covenant-lite loans. The loan agreement, which sets forth the terms of a loan and the obligations of the borrower and lender, contains certain covenants that mandate or prohibit certain borrower actions, including financial covenants that dictate certain minimum and maximum financial performance levels. Covenants that require the borrower to maintain certain financial metrics during the life of the loan (such as maintaining certain levels of cash flow and limiting leverage) are known as “maintenance covenants.” These covenants are included to permit the lender to monitor the performance of the borrower and declare an event of default if breached, allowing the lender to renegotiate the terms of the loan based upon the elevated risk levels or take other actions to help mitigate losses. Covenant-lite loans contain fewer or no maintenance covenants making an investment in these types of loans inherently riskier than an investment in loans containing provisions allowing the lender reprice credit risk associated with the borrower or restructure a problematic loan. Since 2013, the number of covenant-lite loans issued has increased significantly. An underlying ETP’s elevated exposure to such loans during a downturn in the credit cycle could cause the underlying ETP to experience outsized losses.
CREDIT RISK. Certain ETPs in which the Fund may invest hold debt securities that subject them to credit risk. An issuer or other obligated party of a debt security may be unable or unwilling to make dividend, interest and/or principal payments when due. In addition, the value of a debt security may decline because of concerns about the issuer’s ability or unwillingness to make such payments. Debt securities are subject to varying degrees of credit risk which are often reflected in credit ratings. The credit rating of a debt security may be lowered if the issuer or other obligated party suffers adverse changes to its financial condition. These adverse changes may lead to greater volatility in the price of the debt security and affect the security’s liquidity. High yield and comparable unrated debt securities, while generally offering higher yields than investment grade debt with
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similar maturities, involve greater risks, including the possibility of dividend or interest deferral, default or bankruptcy, and are regarded as predominantly speculative with respect to the issuer’s capacity to pay dividends or interest and repay principal. To the extent that an underlying ETP holds debt securities that are secured or guaranteed by financial institutions, changes in credit quality of such financial institutions could cause values of the debt security to deviate.
CURRENCY RISK. Certain ETPs in which the Fund may invest hold securities denominated in a non-U.S. currency. Changes in currency exchange rates affect the value of investments denominated in a foreign currency, the value of dividends and interest earned from such securities and gains and losses realized on the sale of such securities. An underlying ETP’s net asset value could decline if a currency to which the underlying ETP has exposure depreciates against the U.S. dollar or if there are delays or limits on repatriation of such currency. Currency exchange rates can be very volatile and can change quickly and unpredictably. Changes in currency exchange rates may affect an underlying ETP's net asset value, the value of dividends and interest earned, and gains and losses realized on the sale of securities. An increase in the strength of the U.S. dollar relative to other currencies may cause the value of an underlying ETP to decline. Certain non-U.S. currencies may be particularly volatile, and non-U.S. governments may intervene in the currency markets, causing a decline in value or liquidity in an underlying ETP's non-U.S. holdings whose value is tied to the affected non-U.S. currency. Additionally, the prices of non-U.S. securities that are traded in U.S. dollars are often indirectly influenced by currency fluctuations.
CYBER SECURITY RISK. The Fund is susceptible to operational risks through breaches in cyber security. A breach in cyber security refers to both intentional and unintentional events that may cause the Fund to lose proprietary information, suffer data corruption or lose operational capacity. Such events could cause the Fund to incur regulatory penalties, reputational damage, additional compliance costs associated with corrective measures and/or financial loss. These risks typically are not covered by insurance. In general, cyber incidents can result from deliberate attacks or unintentional events. Cyber incidents include, but are not limited to, gaining unauthorized access to digital systems (e.g., through “hacking” or malicious software coding) for purposes of misappropriating assets or sensitive information, corrupting data or causing operational disruption. Cyber attacks may also be carried out in a manner that does not require gaining unauthorized access, such as causing denial-of-service attacks on websites (i.e., efforts to make network services unavailable to intended users). Cyber security failures by or breaches of the systems of the Advisor, distributor and other service providers (including, but not limited to, sub-advisors, index providers, fund accountants, custodians, transfer agents and administrators), market makers, authorized participants or the issuers of securities in which the Fund invests, have the ability to cause disruptions and impact business operations, potentially resulting in: financial losses; interference with the Fund’s ability to calculate its net asset value; disclosure of confidential trading information; impediments to trading; submission of erroneous trades or erroneous creation or redemption orders; the inability of the Fund or its service providers to transact business; violations of applicable privacy and other laws; regulatory fines penalties, reputational damage, reimbursement or other compensation costs; or additional compliance costs. Substantial costs may be incurred by the Fund in order to resolve or prevent cyber incidents in the future. While the Fund has established business continuity plans in the event of, and risk management systems to prevent, such cyber attacks, there are inherent limitations in such plans and systems, including the possibility that certain risks have not been identified and that prevention and remediation efforts will not be successful. Furthermore, the Fund cannot control the cyber security plans and systems put in place by service providers to the Fund, issuers in which the Fund invests, market makers or authorized participants. However, there is no guarantee that such efforts will succeed, and the Fund and its shareholders could be negatively impacted as a result.
DEBT SECURITIES RISK. Certain ETPs in which the Fund may invest hold debt securities. Investments in debt securities subject the holder to the credit risk of the issuer. Credit risk refers to the possibility that the issuer or other obligor of a security will not be able or willing to make payments of interest and principal when due. Generally, the value of debt securities will change inversely with changes in interest rates. To the extent that interest rates rise, certain underlying obligations may be paid off substantially slower than originally anticipated and the value of those securities may fall sharply. During periods of falling interest rates, the income received by an underlying ETP may decline. If the principal on a debt security is prepaid before expected, the prepayments of principal may have to be reinvested in obligations paying interest at lower rates. Debt securities generally do not trade on a centralized securities exchange making them generally less liquid and more difficult to value than common stock. The values of debt securities may also increase or decrease as a result of market fluctuations, actual or perceived inability or unwillingness of issuers, guarantors or liquidity providers to make scheduled principal or interest payments or illiquidity in debt securities markets generally.
DEPOSITARY RECEIPTS RISK. Certain ETPs in which the Fund may invest hold depositary receipts. Depository receipts are securities issued by a bank or trust company reflecting ownership of underlying securities issued by a foreign company. An investment in depositary receipts involves further risks due to certain unique features. Any distributions paid to the holders of depositary receipts are usually subject to a fee charged by the depositary. Holders of depositary receipts may have limited
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voting rights pursuant to a deposit agreement between the underlying issuer and the depositary. In certain cases, the depositary will vote the shares deposited with it as directed by the underlying issuer’s board of directors. Furthermore, investment restrictions in certain countries may adversely impact the value of depositary receipts because such restrictions may limit the ability to convert shares into depositary receipts and vice versa. Such restrictions may cause shares of the underlying issuer to trade at a discount or premium to the market price of the depositary receipt. Moreover, if depositary receipts are converted into shares, the laws in certain countries may limit the ability of a non-resident to trade the shares and to reconvert the shares to depositary receipts. Depositary receipts may be “sponsored” or “unsponsored.” Sponsored depositary receipts are established jointly by a depositary and the underlying issuer, whereas unsponsored depositary receipts may be established by a depositary without participation by the underlying issuer. Holders of unsponsored depositary receipts generally bear all the costs associated with establishing the unsponsored depositary receipts. In addition, the issuers of the securities underlying unsponsored depositary receipts are not obligated to disclose material information in the U.S. and, therefore, there may be less information available regarding such issuers and there may not be a correlation between such information and the market value of the depositary receipts.
DERIVATIVES RISK. Certain ETPs in which the Fund may invest utilize derivative instruments. The use of derivative instruments involves risks different from, or possibly greater than, the risks associated with investing directly in securities and other traditional investments. These risks include: (i) the risk that the counterparty to a derivative transaction may not fulfill its contractual obligations; (ii) risk of mispricing or improper valuation; and (iii) the risk that changes in the value of the derivative may not correlate perfectly with the underlying asset. Derivative prices are highly volatile and may fluctuate substantially during a short period of time. Such prices are influenced by numerous factors that affect the markets, including, but not limited to: changing supply and demand relationships; government programs and policies; national and international political and economic events, changes in interest rates, inflation and deflation and changes in supply and demand relationships. Trading derivative instruments involves risks different from, or possibly greater than, the risks associated with investing directly in securities. Derivative contracts ordinarily have leverage inherent in their terms. The low margin deposits normally required in trading derivatives, including futures contracts, permit a high degree of leverage. Accordingly, a relatively small price movement may result in an immediate and substantial loss. The use of leverage may also cause an underlying ETP to liquidate portfolio positions when it would not be advantageous to do so in order to satisfy its obligations or to meet collateral segregation requirements. The use of leveraged derivatives can magnify potential for gain or loss and, therefore, amplify the effects of market volatility on share price.
EQUITY SECURITIES RISK. Certain ETPs in which the Fund may invest hold equity securities. The value of an underlying ETP’s shares will fluctuate with changes in the value of the equity securities in which it invests. Equity securities prices fluctuate for several reasons, including changes in investors' perceptions of the financial condition of an issuer or the general condition of the relevant equity market, such as market volatility, or when political or economic events affecting the issuers occur. Common stock prices may be particularly sensitive to rising interest rates, as the cost of capital rises and borrowing costs increase. Equity securities may decline significantly in price over short or extended periods of time, and such declines may occur in the equity market as a whole, or they may occur in only a particular country, company, industry or sector of the market. Additionally, holders of an issuer's common stock may be subject to greater risks than holders of its preferred stock and debt securities because common stockholders' claims are subordinated to those of holders of preferred stocks and debt securities upon the bankruptcy of an issuer.
ETF RISK. Most ETFs use a “passive” investment strategy and seek to replicate the performance of a market index. Such ETFs do not take defensive positions in volatile or declining markets their shares may trade below net asset value. While some ETFs seek to achieve the same return as a particular market index, the performance of the ETF may diverge from the performance of the index. Some ETFs are actively managed ETFs and do not track a particular index which indirectly subjects an investor to active management risk. An active secondary market in ETF shares may not develop or be maintained and may be halted or interrupted due to actions by its listing exchange, unusual market conditions or other reasons. There can be no assurance that an ETF’s shares will continue to be listed on an active exchange. In addition, shareholders bear both their proportionate share of the Fund’s expenses and, indirectly, the ETF’s expenses, incurred through the Fund’s ownership of the ETF. Because the expenses and costs of an ETF are shared by its investors, redemptions by other investors in the ETF could result in decreased economies of scale and increased operating expenses for such ETF. These transactions might also result in higher brokerage, tax or other costs for the ETF. This risk may be particularly important when one investor owns a substantial portion of the ETF. There is a risk that ETFs in which the Fund invests may terminate due to extraordinary events. For example, any of the service providers to ETFs, such as the trustee or sponsor, may close or otherwise fail to perform their obligations to the ETF, and the ETF may not be able to find a substitute service provider. Also, certain ETFs may be dependent upon licenses to use various indexes as a basis for determining their compositions and/or otherwise to use certain trade names. If these licenses are terminated, the ETFs may also terminate. In addition, an ETF may terminate if its net assets fall below a certain amount.
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ETN RISK. ETNs are unsecured debt obligations. As such, ETNs are subject to the credit risk of the issuer, and the value of an ETN may drop due to a downgrade in the issuer’s credit rating, despite the ETN’s underlying market benchmark or assets remaining unchanged. The value of an ETN may also be influenced by time to maturity, level of supply and demand for the ETN, volatility and lack of liquidity in the underlying market, changes in the applicable interest rates, and economic, legal, political, or geographic events that affect the referenced underlying market or assets. ETNs are also subject to the risk that the other party to the contract will not fulfill its contractual obligations, which may cause losses or additional costs to the Fund. When the Fund invests in ETNs it will bear its proportionate share of any fees and expenses borne by the ETN. While ETNs are exchange-traded, a trading market may not develop, limiting liquidity and adversely affecting the market value of the ETN.
EXTENSION RISK. Certain ETPs in which the Fund may invest hold debt securities that subject them to extension risk. Extension risk is the risk that, when interest rates rise, certain obligations will be paid off by the issuer (or other obligated party) more slowly than anticipated, causing the value of these debt securities to fall. Rising interest rates tend to extend the duration of debt securities, making them more sensitive to changes in interest rates. The value of longer-term debt securities generally changes more in response to changes in interest rates than shorter-term debt securities. As a result, in a period of rising interest rates, securities may exhibit additional volatility and may lose value. Extension risk is particularly prevalent for a callable debt security where an increase in interest rates could result in the issuer of that security choosing not to redeem the debt security as anticipated on the security’s call date. Such a decision by the issuer could have the effect of lengthening the debt security’s expected maturity, making it more vulnerable to interest rate risk and reducing its market value.
FLOATING RATE SECURITIES RISK. Certain ETPs in which the Fund may invest hold floating rate securities. Floating rate securities are structured so that the security’s coupon rate fluctuates based upon the level of a reference rate. Most commonly, the coupon rate of a floating rate security is set in the loan agreement at the level of a widely followed interest rate, plus a fixed spread. As a result, it is expected that when interest rates change, the value of floating rate securities will fluctuate less than the value fixed rate debt securities. The coupon on floating rate securities will generally decline in a falling interest rate environment, causing an underlying ETP to experience a reduction in the income it receives from the security. A floating rate security’s coupon rate resets periodically according to the terms of the security. Consequently, in a rising interest rate environment, floating rate securities with coupon rates that reset infrequently may lag behind the changes in market interest rates and may effect the value of the security. Floating rate securities may also contain terms that impose a maximum coupon rate the issuer will pay, regardless of the level of the reference rate which would decrease the value of the security. The secondary market value of a floating rate security is based on the volatility of the reference rate, the time remaining to maturity, the outstanding amount of such securities, market interest rates and the credit quality or perceived financial status of the issuer. Floating rate securities may be less liquid than other types of securities.
FUTURES CONTRACTS RISK. Certain ETPs in which the Fund may invest hold futures contracts. Futures contracts are typically exchange-traded contracts that call for the future delivery of an asset by one party to another at a certain price and date, or cash settlement of the terms of the contract. The risk of a position in a futures contract may be very large compared to the relatively low level of margin an underlying ETP is required to deposit. In many cases, a relatively small price movement in a futures contract may result in immediate and substantial loss or gain to the investor relative to the size of a required margin deposit. The ability to establish and close out positions in futures contracts is be subject to the development and maintenance of a liquid secondary market. There is no assurance that a liquid secondary market on an exchange will exist for any particular futures contract at any particular time. If an underlying ETP uses futures contracts for hedging purposes, there is a risk of imperfect correlation between movements in the prices of the derivatives and movements in the securities or index underlying the derivatives or movements in the prices of the Fund's investments that are the subject of such hedge. The prices of futures contracts, for a number of reasons, may not correlate perfectly with movements in the securities or index underlying them. For example, participants in the futures markets are subject to margin deposit requirements less onerous than margin requirements in the securities markets in general. As a result, futures markets may attract more speculators than the securities markets. Increased participation by speculators in those markets may cause temporary price distortions. Due to the possibility of price distortion, even a correct forecast of general market trends by an underlying ETP’s portfolio managers still may not result in a successful derivatives activity over a very short time period. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the various exchanges have established limits referred to as “speculative position limits” on the maximum net long or net short positions that any person and certain affiliated entities may hold or control in a particular futures contract. It is possible that, as a result of such limits, an underlying ETP will be precluded from taking positions in certain futures contracts it might have otherwise taken to the disadvantage of shareholders.
HIGH YIELD SECURITIES RISK. Certain ETPs in which the Fund may invest hold high yield securities. An underlying ETP’s investment in high yield securities, or “junk” bonds, may entail increased credit risks and the risk that the value of the underlying
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ETP’s assets will decline, and may decline precipitously, with increases in interest rates. In recent years there have been wide fluctuations in interest rates and therefore in the value of debt securities generally. High yield securities are, under most circumstances, subject to greater market fluctuations and risk of loss of income and principal than are investments in lower-yielding, higher-rated debt securities. As interest rates rise, the value of high yield securities may decline precipitously. Increased rates may also indicate a slowdown in the economy which may adversely affect the credit of issuers of high yield securities resulting in a higher incidence of defaults among such issuers. A slowdown in the economy, or a development adversely affecting an issuer’s creditworthiness, may result in the issuer being unable to maintain earnings or sell assets at the rate and at the prices, respectively, that are required to produce sufficient cash flow to meet its interest and principal requirements. An underlying ETP’s portfolio managers cannot predict future economic policies or their consequences or, therefore, the course or extent of any similar market fluctuations in the future. In addition, high yield securities are generally less liquid than investment grade securities.
HYBRID CAPITAL SECURITIES RISK. Certain ETPs in which the Fund may invest hold hybrid capital securities. Hybrid capital securities are securities which contain characteristics of both debt and equity securities and are subject to many of the same risks as equity and debt securities. The claims of holders of hybrid capital securities of an issuer are generally subordinated to those of holders of traditional debt securities in bankruptcy, and thus hybrid capital securities may be more volatile and subject to greater risk than traditional debt securities, and may in certain circumstances be even more volatile than traditional equity securities. At the same time, hybrid capital securities may not fully participate in gains of their issuer and thus potential returns of such securities are generally more limited than traditional equity securities, which would participate in such gains. Hybrid capital securities may also be more limited in their rights to participate in management decisions of an issuer (such as voting for the board of directors). The terms of hybrid capital securities may vary substantially and the risks of a particular hybrid capital security will depend upon the terms of the instrument. Certain hybrid capital securities may be more thinly traded and less liquid than either publicly issued equity or debt securities, especially hybrid capital securities that are “customized” to meet the needs of particular investors, potentially making it difficult for an underlying ETP to sell such securities at a favorable price or at all. Any of these features could cause a loss in market value of hybrid capital securities held by the Fund or otherwise adversely affect an underlying ETP.
INCOME RISK. Certain ETPs in which the Fund may invest hold securities that subject them to income risk. An underlying ETP’s income may decline when interest rates fall. This decline can occur because an underlying ETP may subsequently invest in lower-yielding securities as debt securities in its portfolio mature, are near maturity or are called, or the underlying ETP otherwise needs to purchase additional debt securities. In addition, an underlying ETP’s income could decline when the underlying ETP experiences defaults on the debt securities it holds.
INFLATION RISK. Certain ETPs in which the Fund may invest hold securities that subject them to inflation risk. Inflation risk is the risk that the value of assets or income from investments will be less in the future as inflation decreases the value of money. As inflation increases, the present value of an underlying ETP’s assets and distributions may decline. Inflation creates uncertainty over the future real value (after inflation) of an investment. Inflation rates may change frequently and drastically as a result of various factors, including unexpected shifts in the domestic or global economy, and an underlying ETP’s investments may not keep pace with inflation, which may result in losses to underlying ETP investors.
INTEREST RATE RISK. Certain ETPs in which the Fund may invest hold debt securities that subject them to interest rate risk. The value of debt securities held by an underlying ETP will fluctuate in value with changes in interest rates. In general, debt securities will increase in value when interest rates fall and decrease in value when interest rates rise. An underlying ETP may be subject to a greater risk of rising interest rates than would normally be the case due to the current period of historically low rates and the effect of potential government fiscal policy initiatives and resulting market reaction to those initiatives. Interest rate risk is generally lower for shorter term investments and higher for longer term investments. Duration is a common measure of interest rate risk. Duration measures a debt security’s expected life on a present value basis, taking into account the debt security’s yield, interest payments and final maturity. Duration is a reasonably accurate measure of a debt security’s price sensitivity to changes in interest rates. The longer the duration of a debt security, the greater the debt security’s price sensitivity is to changes in interest rates. Rising interest rates also may lengthen the duration of debt securities with call features, since exercise of the call becomes less likely as interest rates rise, which in turn will make the securities more sensitive to changes in interest rates and result in even steeper price declines in the event of further interest rate increases. An increase in interest rates could also cause principal payments on a debt security to be repaid at a slower rate than expected. This risk is particularly prevalent for a callable debt security where an increase in interest rates could cause the issuer of that security to not redeem the security as anticipated on the call date, effectively lengthening the security’s expected maturity, in turn
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making that security more vulnerable to interest rate risk and reducing its market value. When interest rates fall, an underlying ETP may be required to reinvest the proceeds from the sale, redemption or early prepayment of a debt security at a lower interest rate.
LEVERAGE RISK. Certain ETPs in which the Fund may invest hold instruments that subject them to leverage risk. Leverage may result in losses that exceed the amount originally invested and may accelerate the rates of losses. Leverage tends to magnify, sometimes significantly, the effect of any increase or decrease in an underlying ETP’s exposure to an asset or class of assets and may cause the value of an underlying ETP’s portfolio and an underlying ETP’s shares to be volatile and sensitive to market swings. Certain instruments have the potential for unlimited loss, regardless of the size of the initial investment.
LIBOR RISK. Certain ETPs in which the Fund may invest hold floating or variable rate obligations that use LIBOR as a reference interest rate. In 2017, the United Kingdom’s Financial Conduct Authority announced that LIBOR will cease to be available for use after 2021. The unavailability or replacement of LIBOR may affect the value, liquidity or return on certain underlying ETP investments and may result in costs incurred in connection with closing out positions and entering into new trades. Any potential effects of the transition away from LIBOR on an underlying ETP or on certain instruments in which the underlying ETP invests can be difficult to ascertain, and they may vary depending on a variety of factors. For example, certain of the underlying ETP’s investments may involve individual contracts that have no existing fallback provision or language that contemplates the discontinuation of LIBOR, and those investments could experience increased volatility or reduced liquidity as a result of the transition process. The transition may also result in a reduction in the value of certain instruments held by an underlying ETP, a reduction in the effectiveness of related transactions, such as hedges, or a reduction in the value of any payments due to the underlying ETP that are linked to LIBOR. Any such effects of the transition away from LIBOR, as well as other unforeseen effects, could result in losses to the Fund.
LIQUIDITY RISK. The Fund may invest in ETPs with investments that it may not be able to dispose of or close out readily at a favorable time or price (or at all), or at a price approximating the underlying ETP’s valuation of the investment. For example, certain investments may be subject to restrictions on resale, may trade over-the-counter or in limited volume, or may not have an active trading market. Illiquid securities may trade at a discount from comparable, more liquid investments and may be subject to wide fluctuations in market value. It may be difficult for the underlying ETP to value illiquid securities accurately. The market for certain investments may become illiquid under adverse market or economic conditions independent of any specific adverse changes in the conditions of a particular issuer. If the underlying ETP needed to sell a large block of illiquid securities to meet shareholder redemption request or to raise cash, these sales could further reduce the securities’ prices and adversely affect performance of the underlying ETP. Disposal of illiquid securities may entail registration expenses and other transaction costs that are higher than those for liquid securities.
MANAGEMENT RISK. The Fund is subject to management risk because it is an actively managed portfolio. In managing the Fund’s investment portfolio, the portfolio managers will apply investment techniques and risk analyses that may not produce the desired result. There can be no guarantee that the Fund will meet its investment objective(s), meet relevant benchmarks or perform as well as other funds with similar objectives.
MARKET MAKER RISK. The Fund faces numerous market trading risks, including the potential lack of an active market for Fund shares due to a limited number of market markers. Decisions by market makers or authorized participants to reduce their role or step away from these activities in times of market stress could inhibit the effectiveness of the arbitrage process in maintaining the relationship between the underlying values of the Fund’s portfolio securities and the Fund’s market price. The Fund may rely on a small number of third-party market makers to provide a market for the purchase and sale of shares. Any trading halt or other problem relating to the trading activity of these market makers could result in a dramatic change in the spread between the Fund’s net asset value and the price at which the Fund’s shares are trading on the Exchange, which could result in a decrease in value of the Fund’s shares. This reduced effectiveness could result in Fund shares trading at a discount to net asset value and also in greater than normal intraday bid-ask spreads for Fund shares.
MARKET RISK. Market risk is the risk that a particular security, or shares of the Fund in general, may fall in value. Securities are subject to market fluctuations caused by such factors as economic, political, regulatory or market developments, changes in interest rates and perceived trends in securities prices. Shares of the Fund could decline in value or underperform other investments due to short-term market movements or any longer periods during more prolonged market downturns. In addition, local, regional or global events such as war, acts of terrorism, spread of infectious diseases or other public health issues, recessions, or other events could have a significant negative impact on the Fund and its investments. Such events may affect certain geographic regions, countries, sectors and industries more significantly than others. Such events could adversely affect the prices and liquidity of the Fund’s portfolio securities or other instruments and could result in disruptions in the trading
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markets. Any of such circumstances could have a materially negative impact on the value of the Fund’s shares and result in increased market volatility. During any such events, the Fund’s shares may trade at increased premiums or discounts to their net asset value.
MERGER ARBITRAGE RISK. The Fund may invest in ETPs that utilize a merger arbitrage investing strategy. Investments in companies that are the subject of a publicly-announced transaction carry the risk the transaction is renegotiated, takes longer to complete than originally planned and that the transaction is never completed. Any such event could cause the Fund to incur a loss. In the case of an investment in a potential target company, if the proposed transaction appears likely not to be consummated, in fact is not consummated, or is delayed, the market price of the security to be tendered or exchanged will usually decline sharply, resulting in a loss to the Fund. A transaction may be renegotiated, delayed or abandoned for a variety of reasons, such as the inability to finance the transaction, lack of regulatory approval from the applicable state, federal or international regulatory agencies or the failure of shareholders of the party companies to approve the transaction. In addition, the risk/reward payout of merger arbitrage strategies typically is asymmetric, with the losses in failed transactions often far exceeding the gains in successful transactions.
MLP TAX RISK. Certain ETPs in which the Fund may invest hold MLPs. The Fund’s ability to meet its investment objective relies in part upon the level of taxable income it receives from the MLPs in which it invests, a factor over which the Fund has no control. The benefit the Fund derives from its investment in MLPs is largely dependent on their being treated as partnerships for U.S. federal income tax purposes. Partnerships do not pay U.S. federal income tax at the partnership level. Rather, each partner is allocated a share of the partnership’s income, gains, losses, deductions and expenses. A change in current tax law or a change in the underlying business mix of a given MLP could result in an MLP being treated as a corporation for U.S. federal income tax purposes, which would result in the MLP being required to pay U.S. federal income tax (as well as state and local income taxes) on its taxable income at the applicable corporate tax rate. This would have the effect of reducing the amount of cash available for distribution by an MLP and could result in a significant reduction in the value of the Fund’s investment. The classification of an MLP as a corporation for U. S. federal income tax purposes would have the effect of reducing the amount of cash available for distribution by the MLP and causing any such distributions received by the Fund to be taxed as dividend income to the extent of the MLP’s current or accumulated earnings and profits. To the extent a distribution received by the Fund from an MLP is treated as a return of capital, the Fund’s adjusted tax basis in the interests of the MLP may be reduced, which will result in an increase in the amount of income or gain (or decrease in the amount of loss) that will be recognized by the Fund for tax purposes upon the sale of any such interests or upon subsequent distributions in respect of such interests. Furthermore, any return of capital distribution received from an MLP may require the Fund to restate the character of its distributions and amend any shareholder tax reporting previously issued.
MORTGAGE-RELATED SECURITIES RISK. Certain ETPs in which the Fund may invest hold mortgage-related securities. Mortgage-related securities are subject to the same risks as investments in other types of debt securities, including credit risk, interest rate risk, liquidity risk and valuation risk. However, these investments make an underlying ETP more susceptible to adverse economic, political or regulatory events that affect the value of real estate. Mortgage-related securities are also significantly affected by the rate of prepayments and modifications of the mortgage loans underlying those securities, as well as by other factors such as borrower defaults, delinquencies, realized or liquidation losses and other shortfalls. Mortgage-related securities are particularly sensitive to prepayment risk, given that the term to maturity for mortgage loans is generally substantially longer than the expected lives of those securities. Nonetheless, the timing and amount of prepayments cannot be accurately predicted. The timing of changes in the rate of prepayments of the mortgage loans may significantly affect an underlying ETP's actual yield to maturity on any mortgage-related securities, even if the average rate of principal payments is consistent with the underlying ETP's expectation. Along with prepayment risk, mortgage-related securities are significantly affected by interest rate risk. In a low interest rate environment, mortgage loan prepayments would generally be expected to increase due to factors such as re-financings and loan modifications at lower interest rates. In contrast, if prevailing interest rates rise, prepayments of mortgage loans would generally be expected to decline and therefore extend the weighted average lives of mortgage-related securities held or acquired by an underlying ETP. Underlying ETP investments in mortgage-backed securities issued by Ginnie Mae are backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government. Underlying ETP investments in mortgage-backed securities issued by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are not backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government, and there can be no assurance that the U.S. government would provide financial support to its agencies or instrumentalities where it is not obligated to do so.
MUNICIPAL SECURITIES RISK. Certain ETPs in which the Fund may invest hold municipal securities. The values of municipal securities may be adversely affected by local political and economic conditions and developments. Adverse conditions in an industry significant to a local economy could have a correspondingly adverse effect on the financial condition of local issuers. Other factors that could affect municipal securities include a change in the local, state, or national economy, demographic
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factors, ecological or environmental concerns, statutory limitations on the issuer’s ability to increase taxes, and other developments generally affecting the revenue of issuers (for example, legislation or court decisions reducing state aid to local governments or mandating additional services). This risk would be heightened to the extent that an underlying ETP invests a substantial portion of its assets in bonds issued pursuant to similar projects (such as those relating to the education, health care, housing, transportation, or utilities industries), in industrial development bonds, or in particular types of municipal securities (such as general obligation bonds, private activity bonds or moral obligation bonds) that are particularly exposed to specific types of adverse economic, business or political events. Changes in a municipality’s financial health may also make it difficult for the municipality to make interest and principal payments when due. The values of municipal securities that depend on a specific revenue source to fund their payment obligations may fluctuate as a result of actual or anticipated changes in the cash flows generated by the revenue source or changes in the priority of the municipal securities to receive the cash flows generated by the revenue source. Under some circumstances, municipal securities might not pay interest unless the state legislature or municipality authorizes money for that purpose. Municipal securities may be more susceptible to downgrades or defaults during recessions or similar periods of economic stress. In addition, since some municipal obligations may be secured or guaranteed by banks and other institutions, the risk to an underlying ETP could increase if the banking or financial sector suffers an economic downturn and/or if the credit ratings of the institutions issuing the guarantee are downgraded or at risk of being downgraded by a national rating organization. Such a downward revision or risk of being downgraded may have an adverse effect on the market prices of the bonds and thus the value of an underlying ETP’s investments. In addition to being downgraded, an insolvent municipality may file for bankruptcy. The reorganization of a municipality’s debts may significantly affect the rights of creditors and the value of the securities issued by the municipality and the value of an underlying ETP’s investments. In addition, income from municipal securities held by an underlying ETP could be declared taxable because of, among other things, unfavorable changes in tax laws, adverse interpretations by the Internal Revenue Service or state tax authorities, or noncompliant conduct of an issuer or other obligated party. Loss of tax-exempt status may cause interest received and distributed to shareholders by an underlying ETP to be taxable and may result in a significant decline in the values of such municipal securities.
NEW FUND RISK. As of the date of this prospectus, the Fund has no operating history and currently has fewer assets than larger funds. Like other new funds, large inflows and outflows may impact the Fund’s market exposure for limited periods of time. This impact may be positive or negative, depending on the direction of market movement during the period affected.
NON-AGENCY SECURITIES RISK. Certain ETPs in which the Fund may invest hold non-agency securities. Investments in asset-backed or mortgage-backed securities offered by non-governmental issuers, such as commercial banks, savings and loans, private mortgage insurance companies, mortgage bankers and other secondary market issuers are subject to additional risks. There are no direct or indirect government or agency guarantees of payments in loan pools created by non-government issuers. Securities issued by private issuers are subject to the credit risks of the issuers. Timely payment of interest and principal of non-governmental issuers is supported by various forms of private insurance or guarantees, including individual loan, title, pool and hazard insurance purchased by the issuer. There can be no assurance that the private insurers can meet their obligations under the policies. Non-agency securities are also not subject to the same underwriting requirements for the underlying mortgages that are applicable to those mortgage-related securities that have a government or government-sponsored entity guarantee. An unexpectedly high rate of defaults on the loan pool may adversely affect the value of a non-agency security and could result in losses to the Fund. The risk of such defaults is generally higher in the case of loan pools that include subprime loans. Subprime loans refer to loans made to borrowers with weakened credit histories or with a lower capacity to make timely payments on their loans. Non-agency securities are not traded on an exchange and there may be a limited market for the securities, especially when there is a perceived weakness in the mortgage and real estate market sectors. Without an active trading market, the non-agency securities held by the Fund may be particularly difficult to value because of the complexities involved in assessing the value of the underlying loans.
NON-DIVERSIFICATION RISK. As a “non-diversified” fund, the Fund may hold a smaller number of portfolio securities than many other funds and may be more sensitive to any single economic, business, political or regulatory occurrence than a diversified fund. To the extent the Fund invests in a relatively small number of issuers due to the high percentage of the Fund’s assets invested in that security, a decline in the market value of a particular security held by the Fund may affect its value more than if it invested in a larger number of issuers. The value of the Fund’s shares may be more volatile than the values of shares of more diversified funds.
NON-U.S. SECURITIES RISK. Certain ETPs in which the Fund may invest hold non-U.S. securities. An investment in securities of non-U.S. companies involves risks not associated with domestic issuers. Investment in non-U.S. securities may involve higher costs than investment in U.S. securities, including higher transaction and custody costs as well as the imposition of additional taxes by non-U.S. governments. Non-U.S. investments may also involve risks associated with the level of currency exchange
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rates, less complete financial information about the issuers, less market liquidity, more market volatility and political instability. Future political and economic developments, the possible imposition of withholding taxes on dividend income, the possible seizure or nationalization of non-U.S. holdings, the imposition of sanctions by foreign governments, the possible establishment of capital controls, exchange controls or freezes on the convertibility of currency or the adoption of other governmental restrictions might adversely affect an investment in non-U.S. securities. Additionally, non-U.S. issuers may be subject to less stringent regulation, and to different accounting, auditing and recordkeeping requirements. The U.S. and non-U.S. markets often rise and fall at different times or by different amounts due to economic or other regional developments particular to a given country or region.
OPTIONS RISK. The Fund may utilize options. The use of options involves investment strategies and risks different from those associated with ordinary portfolio securities transactions and depends on the ability of the Fund's portfolio manager to forecast market movements correctly. The prices of options are influenced by, among other things, actual and anticipated changes in the value of the underlying instrument, or in interest or currency exchange rates, including the anticipated volatility, which in turn are affected by fiscal and monetary policies and by national and international political and economic events. As a seller (writer) of a put option, the seller will tend to lose money if the value of the reference index or security falls below the strike price. As the seller (writer) of a call option, the seller will tend to lose money if the value of the reference index or security rises above the strike price. As the buyer of a put or call option, the buyer risks losing the entire premium invested in the option if the buyer does not exercise the option. The effective use of options also depends on the Fund's ability to terminate option positions at times deemed desirable to do so. There is no assurance that the Fund will be able to effect closing transactions at any particular time or at an acceptable price. In addition, there may at times be an imperfect correlation between the movement in values of options and their underlying securities and there may at times not be a liquid secondary market for certain options. Options may also involve the use of leverage, which could result in greater price volatility than other markets.
PREFERRED SECURITIES RISK. Certain ETPs in which the Fund may invest hold preferred securities. Preferred securities combine some of the characteristics of both common stocks and bonds. Preferred securities are typically subordinated to bonds and other debt securities in a company’s capital structure in terms of priority to corporate income, subjecting them to greater credit risk than those debt securities. Preferred securities often 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 Fund owns a preferred security that is deferring its distributions, the Fund may be required to report income for federal income tax purposes although it has not yet received such income in cash. Generally, holders of preferred securities 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 of director. Generally, once the issuer pays all the arrearages, the preferred security holders no longer have voting rights. In certain 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 a change in federal income tax or securities laws or a change in regulatory trademark. As with redemption provisions of debt securities, a special redemption by the issuer may negatively impact the return of the preferred security held by the Fund. Preferred securities may also be substantially less liquid than other securities, including common stock.
PREMIUM/DISCOUNT RISK. The market price of the Fund’s shares will generally fluctuate in accordance with changes in the Fund’s net asset value as well as the relative supply of and demand for shares on the Exchange. First Trust cannot predict whether shares will trade below, at or above their net asset value because the shares trade on the Exchange at market prices and not at net asset value. Price differences may be due, in large part, to the fact that supply and demand forces at work in the secondary trading market for shares will be closely related, but not identical, to the same forces influencing the prices of the holdings of the Fund trading individually or in the aggregate at any point in time. However, given that shares can only be purchased and redeemed in Creation Units, and only to and from broker-dealers and large institutional investors that have entered into participation agreements (unlike shares of closed-end funds, which frequently trade at appreciable discounts from, and sometimes at premiums to, their net asset value), First Trust believes that large discounts or premiums to the net asset value of shares should not be sustained absent disruptions to the creation and redemption mechanism, extreme market volatility or potential lack of authorized participants. During stressed market conditions, the market for the Fund’s shares may become less liquid in response to deteriorating liquidity in the market for the Fund’s underlying portfolio holdings, which could in turn lead to differences between the market price of the Fund’s shares and their net asset value.
REIT RISK. Certain ETPs in which the Fund may invest hold REITs. REITs typically own and operate income-producing real estate, such as residential or commercial buildings, or real-estate related assets, including mortgages. As a result, investments in REITs are subject to the risks associated with investing in real estate, which may include, but are not limited to: fluctuations in the value of underlying properties; defaults by borrowers or tenants; market saturation; changes in general and local operating expenses; and other economic, political or regulatory occurrences affecting companies in the real estate sector. Additionally,
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investing in REITs involves certain other risks related to their structure and focus, which include, but are not limited to, dependency upon management skills, limited diversification, the risks of locating and managing financing for projects, heavy cash flow dependency, possible default by borrowers, the costs and potential losses of self-liquidation of one or more holdings, the risk of a possible lack of mortgage funds and associated interest rate risks, overbuilding, property vacancies, increases in property taxes and operating expenses, changes in zoning laws, losses due to environmental damages, changes in neighborhood values and appeal to purchasers, the possibility of failing to maintain exemptions from registration under the 1940 Act, failure to satisfy the requirements of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 for maintaining REIT status and, in many cases, relatively small market capitalization, which may result in less market liquidity and greater price volatility for a REIT’s shares. REITs are also subject to the risk that the real estate market may experience an economic downturn generally, which may have a material effect on the real estate in which the REITs invest and their underlying portfolio securities.
RESTRICTED SECURITIES RISK. Certain ETPs in which the Fund may invest hold restricted securities. Restricted securities are securities that cannot be offered for public resale unless registered under the applicable securities laws or that have a contractual restriction that prohibits or limits their resale. Restricted securities include private placement securities that have not been registered under the applicable securities laws, such as Rule 144A securities, and securities of U.S. and non-U.S. issuers that are issued pursuant to Regulation S. Private placements are generally subject to strict restrictions on resale. Restricted securities may be illiquid as they generally are not listed on an exchange and may have no active trading market. The Fund may be unable to sell a restricted security on short notice or may be able to sell them only at a price below current value. It may be more difficult to determine a market value for a restricted security. Also, the Fund may get limited information about the issuer of a restricted security, so it may be less able to predict a loss. In addition, if Fund management receives material non-public information about the issuer, the Fund may as a result be unable to sell the securities. Certain restricted securities may involve a high degree of business and financial risk and may result in substantial losses.
SENIOR LOAN RISK. Certain ETPs in which the Fund may invest hold senior loans. Senior loans represent debt obligations of sub-investment grade corporate borrowers, similar to high yield bonds; however, senior loans are different from traditional high yield bonds in that senior loans are typically senior to other obligations of the borrower and generally secured by the assets of the borrower. The senior loan market has seen a significant increase in loans with limited financial maintenance covenants or, in some cases, no financial maintenance covenants (i.e., “covenant-lite loans”) that would typically be included in a traditional loan credit agreement and general weakening of other restrictive covenants applicable to the borrower such as limitations on incurrence of additional debt, restrictions on payments of junior debt or restrictions on dividends and distributions, all of which may impact recovery values and/or trading levels of senior loans in the future. The absence of financial maintenance covenants in a loan agreement generally means that the lender may be unable to declare a default if financial performance deteriorates. This may hinder an underlying ETP’s ability to reprice credit risk associated with the borrower and reduce an underlying ETP’s ability to restructure a problematic loan and mitigate potential loss. As a result, an underlying ETP’s exposure to losses on investments in senior loans may be increased, especially during a downturn in the credit cycle or changes in market or economic conditions.
Senior loans are also subject to the same risks as investments in other types of debt securities, including credit risk, interest rate risk, liquidity risk and valuation risk that may be heightened because of the limited public information available regarding senior loans and because loan borrowers may be more highly leveraged and tend to be more adversely affected by changes in market or economic conditions. If an underlying ETP holds a senior loan through another financial institution or relies on a financial institution to administer the loan, its receipt of principal and interest on the loan may be subject to the credit risk of that financial institution. Although senior loans are generally secured by specific collateral, there can be no assurance that liquidation of such collateral would satisfy the borrower’s obligation in the event of non-payment of scheduled interest or principal or that such collateral could be readily liquidated. To the extent that a senior loan is collateralized by equity interests in the borrower or its subsidiaries, such equity interest may lose all of its value in the event of the bankruptcy of the borrower. Uncollateralized senior loans involve a greater risk of loss. Senior loans made in connection with highly leveraged transactions are subject to greater risks than other senior loans. For example, the risks of default or bankruptcy of the borrower or the risks that other creditors of the borrower may seek to nullify or subordinate an underlying ETP’s claims on any collateral securing the loan are greater in highly leveraged transactions.
Additionally, there is no central clearinghouse for loan trades and the loan market has not established enforceable settlement standards or remedies for failure to settle. As such, the secondary market for senior loans may be subject to irregular trading activity, wide bid/ask spreads and extended trade settlement periods, which may cause an underlying ETP to be unable to realize the full value of its investment. Lastly, senior loans may not be considered “securities,” and an underlying ETP may not be entitled to rely on the anti-fraud protections of the federal securities laws and could be forced to rely on the contractual provisions in the loan agreement and state law to enforce its right to repayment.
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SHORT SALES RISK. The Fund may engage in short sales. In connection with a short sale of a security or other instrument, the Fund is subject to the risk that instead of declining, the price of the security or other instrument sold short will rise. If the price of the security or derivative that is the subject of a short sale increases, then the Fund will incur a loss equal to the increase in price from the time that the short sale was entered into plus any premiums and interest paid to a third party in connection with the short sale. The risk of loss on a shorted position arises from the increase in value of the security sold short and is potentially unlimited unlike the risk of loss on a long position, which is limited to the amount paid for the investment plus transaction costs. Therefore, short sales involve the risk that losses may be exaggerated, potentially losing more money than the actual cost of the investment. Also, there is the risk that the third party to the short sale may fail to honor its contract terms, causing a loss to the Fund. Further, in times of unusual or adverse economic, market or political conditions, the Fund may not be able to fully or partially implement its short selling strategy. In addition, as a series of an investment company registered under the 1940 Act, the Fund must segregate liquid assets, or engage in other measures to “cover” open positions with respect to short sales. The Fund may nonetheless incur significant losses on short sales even if they are covered.
SIGNIFICANT EXPOSURE RISK. To the extent that the Fund invests a large percentage of its assets in a single asset class or the securities of issuers within the same country, state, region, industry or sector, an adverse economic, business or political development that affected a particular asset class, region or industry may affect the value of the Fund’s investments more than if the Fund were more broadly diversified. A significant exposure makes the Fund more susceptible to any single occurrence and may subject the Fund to greater volatility and market risk than a fund that is more broadly diversified.
SMALLER COMPANIES RISK. The stock price of small and/or mid capitalization companies may be more volatile than those of larger companies and therefore the Fund’s share price may be more volatile than those of funds that invest a larger percentage of their assets in stocks issued by large capitalization companies. Stock prices of small and/or mid capitalization companies are also generally more vulnerable than those of large capitalization companies to adverse business and economic developments. Securities of small and/or mid capitalization companies may be thinly traded, making it difficult for the Fund to buy and sell them. In addition, small and/or mid capitalization companies are typically less financially stable than larger, more established companies and may reinvest a high proportion of their earnings in their business and may not pay dividends. Small and/or mid capitalization companies may also depend on a small number of essential personnel who may also be less experienced than the management of larger companies, making these companies more vulnerable to experiencing adverse effects due to the loss or inexperience of personnel. Small and/or mid capitalization companies also normally have less diverse product lines than those of large capitalization companies and are more susceptible to adverse developments concerning their products.
TRADING ISSUES RISK. Although the shares of the Fund are listed for trading on the Exchange, there can be no assurance that an active trading market for such shares will develop or be maintained. Further, secondary markets may be subject to irregular trading activity and wide bid-ask spreads (which may be especially pronounced for smaller funds). Trading in shares on the Exchange may be halted due to market conditions or for reasons that, in the view of the Exchange, make trading in shares inadvisable. In addition, trading in shares on the Exchange is subject to trading halts caused by extraordinary market volatility pursuant to the Exchange’s “circuit breaker” rules. Market makers are under no obligation to make a market in the Fund’s shares, and authorized participants are not obligated to submit purchase or redemption orders for Creation Units. In the event market makers cease making a market in the Fund’s shares or authorized participants stop submitting purchase or redemption orders for Creation Units, Fund shares may trade at a larger premium or discount to their net asset value. There can be no assurance that the requirements of the Exchange necessary to maintain the listing of the Fund will continue to be met or will remain unchanged. The Fund may have difficulty maintaining its listing on the Exchange in the event the Fund’s assets are small or the Fund does not have enough shareholders.
U.S. GOVERNMENT SECURITIES RISK. Certain ETPs in which the Fund may invest hold U.S. government securities. U.S. government securities are subject to interest rate risk but generally do not involve the credit risks associated with investments in other types of debt securities. As a result, the yields available from U.S. government securities are generally lower than the yields available from other debt securities. U.S. government securities are guaranteed only as to the timely payment of interest and the payment of principal when held to maturity. While securities issued or guaranteed by U.S. federal government agencies (such as Ginnie Mae) are backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. Department of the Treasury, securities issued by government sponsored entities (such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac) are solely the obligation of the issuer and generally do not carry any guarantee from the U.S. government. No assurance can be given that the U.S. government will provide financial support to its government sponsored entities or any other agency if not obligated by law to do so.
VALUATION RISK. The Fund or an underlying ETP may hold securities or other assets that may be valued on the basis of factors other than market quotations. This may occur because the asset or security does not trade on a centralized exchange, or in
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times of market turmoil or reduced liquidity. There are multiple methods that can be used to value a portfolio holding when market quotations are not readily available. The value established for any portfolio holding at a point in time might differ from what would be produced using a different methodology or if it had been priced using market quotations. Portfolio holdings that are valued using techniques other than market quotations, including “fair valued” assets or securities, may be subject to greater fluctuation in their valuations from one day to the next than if market quotations were used. In addition, there is no assurance that the Fund or an underlying ETP could sell or close out a portfolio position for the value established for it at any time, and it is possible that the Fund or an underlying ETP would incur a loss because a portfolio position is sold or closed out at a discount to the valuation established by the Fund or an underlying ETP at that time. The Fund’s ability to value investments may be impacted by technological issues or errors by pricing services or other third-party service providers.
VOLATILITY RISK. Certain ETPs in which the Fund may invest hold instruments that subject them to volatility risk. Volatility is the characteristic of a security, an index or a market to fluctuate significantly in price within a short time period. An underlying ETP may invest in securities or financial instruments that exhibit more volatility than the market as a whole. Such exposures could cause an underlying ETP’s net asset value to experience significant increases or declines in value over short periods of time. Volatility can be caused by many factors, including changes in the economy or financial markets or for reasons specific to a particular issuer.
Non-Principal Risks
BORROWING AND LEVERAGE RISK. If the Fund borrows money, it must pay interest and other fees, which may reduce the Fund’s returns. Any such borrowings are intended to be temporary. However, under certain market conditions, including periods of low demand or decreased liquidity, such borrowings might be outstanding for longer periods of time. As prescribed by the 1940 Act, the Fund will be required to maintain specified asset coverage of at least 300% with respect to any bank borrowing immediately following such borrowing and at all times thereafter. The Fund may be required to dispose of assets on unfavorable terms if market fluctuations or other factors reduce the Fund’s asset coverage to less than the prescribed amount.
CASH TRANSACTIONS RISK. The Fund may, under certain circumstances, effect a portion of creations and redemptions for cash, rather than in-kind securities. As a result, an investment in the Fund may be less tax-efficient than an investment in an ETF that effects its creations and redemptions only in-kind. ETFs are able to make in-kind redemptions and avoid being taxed on gains on the distributed portfolio securities at the fund level. A Fund that effects redemptions for cash may be required to sell portfolio securities in order to obtain the cash needed to distribute redemption proceeds. Any recognized gain on these sales by the Fund will generally cause the Fund to recognize a gain it might not otherwise have recognized, or to recognize such gain sooner than would otherwise be required if it were to distribute portfolio securities only in-kind. The Fund intends to distribute these gains to shareholders to avoid being taxed on this gain at the fund level and otherwise comply with the special tax rules that apply to it. This strategy may cause shareholders to be subject to tax on gains they would not otherwise be subject to, or at an earlier date than if they had made an investment in a different ETF. Moreover, cash transactions may have to be carried out over several days if the securities market is relatively illiquid and may involve considerable brokerage fees and taxes. These brokerage fees and taxes, which will be higher than if the Fund sold and redeemed its shares principally in-kind, will be passed on to those purchasing and redeeming Creation Units in the form of creation and redemption transaction fees. In addition, these factors may result in wider spreads between the bid and the offered prices of the Fund’s shares than for ETFs that distribute portfolio securities in-kind.
DEPENDENCE ON KEY PERSONNEL RISK. The Fund is dependent upon the experience and expertise of the Fund’s portfolio managers in providing advisory services with respect to the Fund’s investments. If the Advisor were to lose the services of any of these portfolio managers, its ability to service the Fund could be adversely affected. There can be no assurance that a suitable replacement could be found for any of the portfolio managers in the event of their death, resignation, retirement or inability to act on behalf of the Advisor.
FAILURE TO QUALIFY AS A REGULATED INVESTMENT COMPANY RISK. If, in any year, the Fund fails to qualify as a regulated investment company under the applicable tax laws, the Fund would be taxed as an ordinary corporation. In such circumstances, the Fund could be required to recognize unrealized gains, pay substantial taxes and interest and make substantial distributions before requalifying as a regulated investment company that is accorded special tax treatment. If the Fund fails to qualify as a regulated investment company, distributions to the Fund’s shareholders generally would be eligible for the dividends received deduction in the case of corporate shareholders. See “Federal Tax Matters.”
ISSUER SPECIFIC CHANGES RISK. The value of an individual security or particular type of security can be more volatile than the market as a whole and can perform differently from the value of the market as a whole.
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LEGISLATION/LITIGATION RISK. From time to time, various legislative initiatives are proposed in the United States and abroad, which may have a negative impact on certain companies in which the Fund invests. In addition, litigation regarding any of the issuers of the securities owned by the Fund, or industries represented by these issuers, may negatively impact the value of the securities. Such legislation or litigation may cause the Fund to lose value or may result in higher portfolio turnover if the Advisor determines to sell such a holding.
OPERATIONAL RISK. The Fund is subject to risks arising from various operational factors, including, but not limited to, human error, processing and communication errors, errors of the Fund’s service providers, counterparties or other third-parties, failed or inadequate processes and technology or systems failures. Although the Fund and the Advisor seek to reduce these operational risks through controls and procedures, there is no way to completely protect against such risks.
Fund Organization
The Fund is a series of the Trust, an investment company registered under the 1940 Act. The Fund is treated as a separate fund with its own investment objective and policies. The Trust is organized as a Massachusetts business trust. The Board is responsible for the overall management and direction of the Trust. The Board elects the Trust’s officers and approves all significant agreements, including those with the Advisor, custodian and fund administrative and accounting agent.
Management of the Fund
First Trust Advisors L.P., 120 East Liberty Drive, Wheaton, Illinois 60187, is the investment advisor to the Fund. In this capacity, First Trust is responsible for the selection and ongoing monitoring of the securities in the Fund’s portfolio and certain other services necessary for the management of the portfolios.
First Trust is a limited partnership with one limited partner, Grace Partners of DuPage L.P., and one general partner, The Charger Corporation. Grace Partners of DuPage L.P. is a limited partnership with one general partner, The Charger Corporation, and a number of limited partners. The Charger Corporation is an Illinois corporation controlled by James A. Bowen, the Chief Executive Officer of First Trust. First Trust discharges its responsibilities subject to the policies of the Board.
First Trust serves as advisor or sub-advisor for 6 mutual fund portfolios, 10 exchange-traded funds consisting of ___ series and 15 closed-end funds. It is also the portfolio supervisor of certain unit investment trusts sponsored by First Trust Portfolios L.P. (“FTP”), an affiliate of First Trust, 120 East Liberty Drive, Wheaton, Illinois 60187. FTP specializes in the underwriting, trading and distribution of unit investment trusts and other securities. FTP is the principal underwriter of the shares of the Fund.
John Gambla and Rob Guttschow are the Fund’s portfolio managers and share responsibilities for the day-to-day management of the Fund’s investment portfolio.
Mr. Gambla, CFA, FRM, PRM, is a senior portfolio manager for the Alternatives Investment Team at First Trust. Prior to joining First Trust in July 2011, Mr. Gambla was co-Chief Investment Officer at the Nuveen HydePark Group LLC where he started in 2007. While at Nuveen HydePark Group LLC, Mr. Gambla co-directed investment activities including research, product development, trading, portfolio management and performance attribution. Mr. Gambla also led the research systems and infrastructure development for Nuveen HydePark Group LLC. Previously, Mr. Gambla was a Senior Trader and Quantitative specialist at Nuveen Asset Management. While there, he was responsible for trading all derivatives for the 120+ municipal mutual funds with Nuveen Asset Management. Mr. Gambla, has served in a variety of roles throughout his career including: portfolio management, research, business development and strategy development.
Mr. Guttschow, CFA, is a senior portfolio manager for the Alternatives Investment Team at First Trust. Prior to joining First Trust in July 2011, Mr. Guttschow was co-Chief Investment Officer at the Nuveen HydePark Group LLC where he started in 2007. While at Nuveen HydePark Group LLC, Mr. Guttschow co-directed investment activities including research, product development, trading, portfolio management and performance attribution. Previously, Mr. Guttschow was an Overlay Manager and Senior Portfolio Manager at Nuveen Asset Management. While there, he developed Nuveen’s buy-side derivative desk for fixed income and equity portfolio hedging.
For additional information concerning First Trust, including a description of the services provided to the Fund, see the Fund’s SAI. Additional information about the portfolio managers’ compensation, other accounts managed by the portfolio managers and the portfolio managers’ ownership of shares in the Fund is provided in the SAI.
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Management Fee
Pursuant to an investment management agreement between First Trust and the Trust, on behalf of the Fund (the "Investment Management Agreement"), First Trust manages the investment of the Fund's assets. First Trust is paid an annual unitary management fee by the Fund equal to 0.__% of the Fund’s average daily net assets and is responsible for the expenses of the Fund including the cost of transfer agency, custody, fund administration, legal, audit and other services, but excluding fee payments under the Investment Management Agreement, interest, taxes, acquired fund fees and expenses, if any, brokerage commissions and other expenses connected with the execution of portfolio transactions, expenses associated with short sales transactions, distribution and service fees pursuant to a Rule 12b-1 plan, if any, and extraordinary expenses.
A discussion regarding the Board’s approval of the Investment Management Agreement will be available in the Fund’s Annual to Shareholders for the fiscal year ended August 31, 2020.
Prior Related Performance of the Advisor
The table below illustrate the historical performance of the Advisor’s FT [___________] Account (the “Account”), which is derived from a single separately managed account managed by the Advisor that has investment objective, policies and strategies that are substantially similar to those of the Fund. As of _____________, the Accounts consisted of $________ of the Advisor’s own investment. The Advisor is the sole investor in the Account.
The Account is not subject to the diversification requirements and other restrictions imposed by the 1940 Act and the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, which, if applicable, might have adversely affected account performance. Returns are presented gross and net of Fund fees and expenses as listed in the Fee Table and include the reinvestment of all income. Gross returns reflect all of the actual fees and expenses incurred by the Account. The table below also shows how the performance of the Account compares over the time periods indicated with those of a broad measure of market performance. You cannot invest directly in an index.
Of course, past performance is no indication of future results. The table presented here represent the performance of other accounts managed by the Advisor and not the actual performance of the Fund. The performance below was calculated in a method that differs from the standardized method of the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Average Annual Total Returns for the Periods Ended _____________
FT ____________ Account    
 
1 Year
Since Inception
(__/__/____)
Net of Fund fees and expenses ____% ____%
Gross (including Account fees and expenses) ____% ____%
S&P 500 Total Return Index ____% ____%
How to Buy and Sell Shares
Most investors buy and sell shares of the Fund in secondary market transactions through brokers. Shares of the Fund are listed for trading on the secondary market on the Exchange. Shares can be bought and sold throughout the trading day like other publicly traded shares. There is no minimum investment when buying shares on the Exchange. Although shares are generally purchased and sold in “round lots” of 100 shares, brokerage firms typically permit investors to purchase or sell shares in smaller “odd lots,” at no per-share price differential. When buying or selling shares through a broker, investors should expect to incur customary brokerage commissions, investors may receive less than the net asset value of the shares because shares are bought and sold at market prices rather than at net asset value, and investors may pay some or all of the spread between the bid and the offer price in the secondary market on each leg of a round trip (purchase and sale) transaction. Share prices are reported in dollars and cents per share.
For purposes of the 1940 Act, the Fund is treated as a registered investment company, and, absent an available exemption or exemptive relief, the acquisition of shares by other registered investment companies and companies relying on Sections 3(c)(1) and 3(c)(7) of the 1940 Act is subject to the restrictions of Section 12(d)(1) of the 1940 Act. The Trust, on behalf of the Fund, has received an exemptive order from the Securities and Exchange Commission that permits certain registered
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investment companies to invest in the Fund beyond the limits set forth in Section 12(d)(1), subject to certain terms and conditions, including that any such investment companies enter into an agreement with the Fund regarding the terms of any investment.
Book Entry
Shares are held in book-entry form, which means that no share certificates are issued. The Depository Trust Company (“DTC”) or its nominee is the record owner of all outstanding shares of the Fund and is recognized as the owner of all shares for all purposes.
Investors owning shares are beneficial owners as shown on the records of DTC or its participants. DTC serves as the securities depository for all shares. Participants in DTC include securities brokers and dealers, banks, trust companies, clearing corporations and other institutions that directly or indirectly maintain a custodial relationship with DTC. As a beneficial owner of shares, you are not entitled to receive physical delivery of share certificates or to have shares registered in your name, and you are not considered a registered owner of shares. Therefore, to exercise any right as an owner of shares, you must rely upon the procedures of DTC and its participants. These procedures are the same as those that apply to any other stocks that you hold in book-entry or “street name” form.
Share Trading Prices
The trading price of shares of the Fund on the Exchange is based on market price and may differ from the Fund’s daily net asset value and can be affected by market forces of supply and demand, economic conditions and other factors.
Information regarding the intra-day value of the shares of the Fund, also referred to as the “indicative optimized portfolio value” (“IOPV”), is disseminated every 15 seconds throughout the Fund’s trading day by the national securities exchange on which the shares are listed or by market data vendors or other information providers. The IOPV is based on the current market value of the securities or other assets and/or cash required to be deposited in exchange for a Creation Unit and any expenses of the Fund. The IOPV does not necessarily reflect the precise composition of the current portfolio of securities or other assets held by the Fund at a particular point in time or the best possible valuation of the current portfolio. Therefore, the IOPV should not be viewed as a “real-time” update of the net asset value per share of the Fund because the IOPV may not be calculated in the same manner as the net asset value, which is computed once a day, generally at the end of the business day. The IOPV is generally determined by using current market quotations. The price of a non-U.S. security that is primarily traded on a non-U.S. exchange will be updated, using the last sale price, every 15 seconds throughout the trading day, provided that upon the closing of such non-U.S. exchange, the closing price of the security, after being converted to U.S. dollars, will be used. Furthermore, in calculating the IOPV of the Fund’s shares, exchange rates may be used throughout the day (9:00 a.m. to 4:15 p.m., Eastern Time) that may differ from those used to calculate the net asset value per share of the Fund and consequently may result in differences between the net asset value and the IOPV. The Fund is not involved in, or responsible for, the calculation or dissemination of the IOPV of shares of the Fund and the Fund does not make any warranty as to its accuracy.
Frequent Purchases and Redemptions of the Fund's Shares
The Fund imposes no restrictions on the frequency of purchases and redemptions (“market timing”). In determining not to approve a written, established policy, the Board evaluated the risks of market timing activities by the Fund's shareholders. The Board considered that the Fund's shares can only be purchased and redeemed directly from the Fund in Creation Units by broker-dealers and large institutional investors that have entered into participation agreements (i.e., authorized participants (“APs”)) and that the vast majority of trading in the Fund's shares occurs on the secondary market. Because the secondary market trades do not involve the Fund directly, it is unlikely those trades would cause many of the harmful effects of market timing, including dilution, disruption of portfolio management, increases in the Fund's trading costs and the realization of capital gains. With respect to trades directly with the Fund, to the extent effected in-kind (i.e., for securities), those trades do not cause any of the harmful effects that may result from frequent cash trades. To the extent that the Fund may effect the purchase or redemption of Creation Units in exchange wholly or partially for cash, the Board noted that such trades could result in dilution to the Fund and increased transaction costs, which could negatively impact the Fund's ability to achieve its investment objective. However, the Board noted that direct trading by APs is critical to ensuring that the shares trade at or close to net asset value. In addition, the Fund imposes fixed and variable transaction fees on purchases and redemptions of Creation Units to cover the custodial and other costs incurred by the Fund in effecting trades. Finally, the Advisor monitors purchase and redemption orders from APs for patterns of abusive trading and the Fund reserves the right to not accept orders from APs that the Advisor has determined may be disruptive to the management of the Fund, or otherwise not in the Fund's best interests.
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Dividends, Distributions and Taxes
Dividends from net investment income of the Fund, if any, are declared and paid quarterly by the Fund. The Fund distributes its net realized capital gains, if any, to shareholders at least annually.
Distributions in cash may be reinvested automatically in additional whole shares only if the broker through whom you purchased shares makes such option available. Such shares will generally be reinvested by the broker based upon the market price of those shares and investors may be subject to customary brokerage commissions charged by the broker.
Federal Tax Matters
This section summarizes some of the main U.S. federal income tax consequences of owning shares of the Fund. This section is current as of the date of this prospectus. Tax laws and interpretations change frequently, and these summaries do not describe all of the tax consequences to all taxpayers. For example, these summaries generally do not describe your situation if you are a corporation, a non-U.S. person, a broker-dealer, or other investor with special circumstances. In addition, this section does not describe your state, local or non-U.S. tax consequences.
This federal income tax summary is based in part on the advice of counsel to the Fund. The Internal Revenue Service could disagree with any conclusions set forth in this section. In addition, counsel to the Fund was not asked to review, and has not reached a conclusion with respect to, the federal income tax treatment of the assets to be included in the Fund. This may not be sufficient for you to use for the purpose of avoiding penalties under federal tax law.
As with any investment, you should seek advice based on your individual circumstances from your own tax advisor.
Fund Status
The Fund intends to qualify as a “regulated investment company” under the federal tax laws. If the Fund qualifies as a regulated investment company and distributes its income as required by the tax law, the Fund generally will not pay federal income taxes.
Distributions
The Fund’s distributions are generally taxable. After the end of each year, you will receive a tax statement that separates the distributions of the Fund into two categories: ordinary income distributions and capital gain dividends. Ordinary income distributions are generally taxed at your ordinary tax rate, however, as further discussed below, certain ordinary income distributions received from the Fund may be taxed at the capital gains tax rates. Some portion of the ordinary income distributions that are attributable to dividends received by the Fund from shares in certain real estate investment trusts may be designated by the Fund as eligible for a deduction for qualified business income, provided certain holding period requirements are satisfied. Generally, you will treat all capital gain dividends as long-term capital gains regardless of how long you have owned your shares. To determine your actual tax liability for your capital gain dividends, you must calculate your total net capital gain or loss for the tax year after considering all of your other taxable transactions, as described below. In addition, the Fund may make distributions that represent a return of capital for tax purposes and thus will generally not be taxable to you; however, such distributions may reduce your tax basis in your shares, which could result in you having to pay higher taxes in the future when shares are sold, even if you sell the shares at a loss from your original investment. The tax status of your distributions from the Fund is not affected by whether you reinvest your distributions in additional shares or receive them in cash. The income from the Fund that you must take into account for federal income tax purposes is not reduced by amounts used to pay a deferred sales fee, if any. The tax laws may require you to treat distributions made to you in January as if you had received them on December 31 of the previous year.
Income from the Fund may also be subject to a 3.8% “Medicare tax.” This tax generally applies to your net investment income if your adjusted gross income exceeds certain threshold amounts, which are $250,000 in the case of married couples filing joint returns and $200,000 in the case of single individuals.
Dividends Received Deduction
A corporation that owns shares generally will not be entitled to the dividends received deduction with respect to many dividends received from the Fund because the dividends received deduction is generally not available for distributions from regulated investment companies. However, certain ordinary income dividends on shares that are attributable to qualifying dividends received by the Fund from certain corporations may be reported by the Fund as being eligible for the dividends received
37

deduction. The use of the long/short strategy may reduce the amount of dividends that would otherwise be eligible for the dividends received deduction.
Capital Gains and Losses and Certain Ordinary Income Dividends
If you are an individual, the maximum marginal stated federal tax rate for net capital gain is generally 20% (15% or 0% for taxpayers with taxable income below certain thresholds). Some portion of your capital gain dividends from the Fund may be taxed at a higher maximum stated tax rate. Capital gains may also be subject to the Medicare tax described above.
Net capital gain equals net long-term capital gain minus net short-term capital loss for the taxable year. Capital gain or loss is long-term if the holding period for the asset is more than one year and is short-term if the holding period for the asset is one year or less. You must exclude the date you purchase your shares to determine your holding period. However, if you receive a capital gain dividend from the Fund and sell your share at a loss after holding it for six months or less, the loss will be recharacterized as long-term capital loss to the extent of the capital gain dividend received. The tax rates for capital gains realized from assets held for one year or less are generally the same as for ordinary income. The Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, treats certain capital gains as ordinary income in special situations.
Ordinary income dividends received by an individual shareholder from a regulated investment company such as the Fund are generally taxed at the same rates that apply to net capital gain (as discussed above), provided certain holding period requirements are satisfied and provided the dividends are attributable to qualifying dividends received by the Fund itself. Distributions with respect to shares in real estate investment trusts and foreign corporations are qualifying dividends only in limited circumstances. The Fund will provide notice to its shareholders of the amount of any distribution which may be taken into account as a dividend which is eligible for the capital gains tax rates. The use of the long/short strategy may reduce the amount of dividends that would otherwise be eligible for the capital gains tax rates.
Sale of Shares
If you sell or redeem your shares, you will generally recognize a taxable gain or loss. To determine the amount of this gain or loss, you must subtract your tax basis in your shares from the amount you receive in the transaction. Your tax basis in your shares is generally equal to the cost of your shares, generally including sales charges. In some cases, however, you may have to adjust your tax basis after you purchase your shares.
Taxes on Purchase and Redemption of Creation Units
If you exchange securities for Creation Units, you will generally recognize a gain or a loss. The gain or loss will be equal to the difference between the market value of the Creation Units at the time and your aggregate basis in the securities surrendered and the cash component paid. If you exchange Creation Units for securities, you will generally recognize a gain or loss equal to the difference between your basis in the Creation Units and the aggregate market value of the securities received and the cash redemption amount. The Internal Revenue Service, however, may assert that a loss realized upon an exchange of securities for Creation Units or Creation Units for securities cannot be deducted currently under the rules governing “wash sales,” or on the basis that there has been no significant change in economic position.
Treatment of Fund Expenses
Expenses incurred and deducted by the Fund will generally not be treated as income taxable to you.
Non-U.S. Tax Credit
Because the Fund invests in non-U.S. securities, the tax statement that you receive may include an item showing non-U.S. taxes the Fund paid to other countries. In this case, dividends taxed to you will include your share of the taxes the Fund paid to other countries. You may be able to deduct or receive a tax credit for your share of these taxes.
Non-U.S. Investors
If you are a non-U.S. investor (i.e., an investor other than a U.S. citizen or resident or a U.S. corporation, partnership, estate or trust), you should be aware that, generally, subject to applicable tax treaties, distributions from the Fund will be characterized as dividends for federal income tax purposes (other than dividends which the Fund properly reports as capital gain dividends) and will be subject to U.S. federal income taxes, including withholding taxes, subject to certain exceptions described below. However, distributions received by a non-U.S. investor from the Fund that are properly reported by the Fund as capital gain dividends may not be subject to U.S. federal income taxes, including withholding taxes, provided that the Fund makes certain elections and certain other conditions are met. Distributions from the Fund that are properly reported by the Fund as an
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interest-related dividend attributable to certain interest income received by the Fund or as a short-term capital gain dividend attributable to certain net short-term capital gain income received by the Fund may not be subject to U.S. federal income taxes, including withholding taxes when received by certain non-U.S. investors, provided that the Fund makes certain elections and certain other conditions are met.
Distributions may be subject to a U.S. withholding tax of 30% in the case of distributions to (i) certain non-U.S. financial institutions that have not entered into an agreement with the U.S. Treasury to collect and disclose certain information and are not resident in a jurisdiction that has entered into such an agreement with the U.S. Treasury and (ii) certain other non-U.S. entities that do not provide certain certifications and information about the entity’s U.S. owners. This withholding tax is also scheduled to apply to the gross proceeds from the disposition of securities that produce U.S. source interest or dividends after December 31, 2018. However, proposed regulations may eliminate the requirement to withhold on payments of gross proceeds from dispositions.
Investments in Certain Non-U.S. Corporations
If the Fund holds an equity interest in any “passive foreign investment companies” (“PFICs”), which are generally certain non-U.S. corporations that receive at least 75% of their annual gross income from passive sources (such as interest, dividends, certain rents and royalties or capital gains) or that hold at least 50% of their assets in investments producing such passive income, the Fund could be subject to U.S. federal income tax and additional interest charges on gains and certain distributions with respect to those equity interests, even if all the income or gain is timely distributed to its shareholders. The Fund will not be able to pass through to its shareholders any credit or deduction for such taxes. The Fund may be able to make an election that could ameliorate these adverse tax consequences. In this case, the Fund would recognize as ordinary income any increase in the value of such PFIC shares, and as ordinary loss any decrease in such value to the extent it did not exceed prior increases included in income. Under this election, the Fund might be required to recognize in a year income in excess of its distributions from PFICs and its proceeds from dispositions of PFIC stock during that year, and such income would nevertheless be subject to the distribution requirement and would be taken into account for purposes of the 4% excise tax. Dividends paid by PFICs are not treated as qualified dividend income.
Distribution Plan
FTP serves as the distributor of Creation Units for the Fund on an agency basis. FTP does not maintain a secondary market in shares.
The Board has adopted a Distribution and Service Plan pursuant to Rule 12b-1 under the 1940 Act. In accordance with the Rule 12b-1 plan, the Fund is authorized to pay an amount up to 0.25% of its average daily net assets each year to reimburse FTP for amounts expended to finance activities primarily intended to result in the sale of Creation Units or the provision of investor services. FTP may also use this amount to compensate securities dealers or other persons that are APs for providing distribution assistance, including broker-dealer and shareholder support and educational and promotional services.
The Fund does not currently pay 12b-1 fees, and pursuant to a contractual arrangement, the Fund will not pay 12b-1 fees any time before __________, ____. However, in the event 12b-1 fees are charged in the future, because these fees are paid out of the Fund's assets, over time these fees will increase the cost of your investment and may cost you more than certain other types of sales charges.
Net Asset Value
The Fund's net asset value is determined as of the close of trading (normally 4:00 p.m., Eastern Time) on each day the New York Stock Exchange is open for business. Net asset value is calculated for the Fund by taking the market price of the Fund’s total assets, including interest or dividends accrued but not yet collected, less all liabilities, and dividing such amount by the total number of shares outstanding. The result, rounded to the nearest cent, is the net asset value per share. All valuations are subject to review by the Board or its delegate.
The Fund’s investments are valued daily in accordance with valuation procedures adopted by the Board, and in accordance with provisions of the 1940 Act. Certain securities in which the Fund may invest are not listed on any securities exchange or board of trade. Such securities are typically bought and sold by institutional investors in individually negotiated private transactions that function in many respects like an over the counter secondary market, although typically no formal market makers exist. Certain securities, particularly debt securities, have few or no trades, or trade infrequently, and information regarding a specific security may not be widely available or may be incomplete. Accordingly, determinations of the fair value
39

of debt securities may be based on infrequent and dated information. Because there is less reliable, objective data available, elements of judgment may play a greater role in valuation of debt securities than for other types of securities. Typically, debt securities are valued using information provided by a third-party pricing service. The third-party pricing service primarily uses broker quotes to value the securities.
The Fund's investments are valued daily at market value or, in the absence of market value with respect to any portfolio securities, at fair value, in accordance with valuation procedures adopted by the Board and in accordance with the 1940 Act. Portfolio securities listed on any exchange other than The Nasdaq Stock Market LLC ("Nasdaq") and the London Stock Exchange Alternative Investment Market (“AIM”) are valued at the last sale price on the business day as of which such value is being determined. Securities listed on Nasdaq or the AIM are valued at the official closing price on the business day as of which such value is being determined. If there has been no sale on such day, or no official closing price in the case of securities traded on Nasdaq or the AIM, the securities are fair valued at the mean of the most recent bid and ask prices on such day. Portfolio securities traded on more than one securities exchange are valued at the last sale price or official closing price, as applicable, on the business day as of which such value is being determined at the close of the exchange representing the principal market for such securities. For portfolio securities traded on an exchange that provides both an official closing price and a last sale price, the Advisor's Pricing Committee, at its discretion, shall determine to use either the last sale price or the official closing price, depending on which price reflects the appropriate market value. Portfolio securities traded in the over-the-counter market, but excluding securities trading on Nasdaq or the AIM, are fair valued at the mean of the most recent bid and asked price, if available, and otherwise at the closing bid price. Short-term investments that mature in less than 60 days when purchased are fair valued at cost adjusted for amortization of premiums and accretion of discount, provided the Advisor’s Pricing Committee has determined that the use of amortized cost is an appropriate reflection of fair value given market and issuer-specific conditions existing at the time of determination. Net asset value may change on days when investors may not sell or redeem Fund shares.
Certain securities may not be able to be priced by pre-established pricing methods. Such securities may be valued by the Board or its delegate, the Advisor’s Pricing Committee, at fair value. The use of fair value pricing by the Fund is governed by valuation procedures adopted by the Board and in accordance with the provisions of the 1940 Act. These securities generally include, but are not limited to, certain restricted securities (securities which may not be publicly sold without registration under the Securities Act) for which a pricing service is unable to provide a market price; securities whose trading has been formally suspended; a security whose market or fair value price is not available from a pre-established pricing source; a security with respect to which an event has occurred that is likely to materially affect the value of the security after the market has closed but before the calculation of the Fund's net asset value or make it difficult or impossible to obtain a reliable market quotation; and a security whose price, as provided by the pricing service, does not reflect the security’s fair value. As a general principle, the current fair value of a security would appear to be the amount which the owner might reasonably expect to receive for the security upon its current sale. When fair value prices are used, generally they will differ from the current market quotations or official closing prices on the applicable exchange. A variety of factors may be considered in determining the fair value of such securities. See the Fund's SAI for details.
Because foreign securities exchanges may be open on different days than the days during which an investor may purchase or sell shares of the Fund, the value of the Fund's securities may change on days when investors are not able to purchase or sell shares of the Fund. The value of securities denominated in foreign currencies is converted into U.S. dollars at the exchange rates in effect at the time of valuation.
Fund Service Providers
The Bank of New York Mellon, 240 Greenwich Street, New York, New York 10286, acts as the administrator, custodian and fund accounting and transfer agent for the Fund. Chapman and Cutler LLP, 111 West Monroe Street, Chicago, Illinois 60603, serves as legal counsel to the Fund.
Premium/Discount Information
The Fund has not yet commenced operations and, therefore, does not have information about the differences between the Fund's daily market price on NYSE Arca and its net asset value. Once the Fund has commenced operations, this information will be available on the Fund's website at www.ftportfolios.com.
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Other Information
Continuous Offering
The Fund issues, on a continuous offering basis, its shares in one or more groups of a fixed number of Fund shares (each such group of such specified number of individual Fund shares, a “Creation Unit Aggregation”). The method by which Creation Unit Aggregations of Fund shares are created and traded may raise certain issues under applicable securities laws. Because new Creation Unit Aggregations of shares are issued and sold by the Fund on an ongoing basis, a “distribution,” as such term is used in the Securities Act, may occur at any point. Broker-dealers and other persons are cautioned that some activities on their part may, depending on the circumstances, result in their being deemed participants in a distribution in a manner which could render them statutory underwriters and subject them to the prospectus delivery requirement and liability provisions of the Securities Act.
For example, a broker-dealer firm or its client may be deemed a statutory underwriter if it takes Creation Unit Aggregations after placing an order with FTP, breaks them down into constituent shares and sells such shares directly to customers, or if it chooses to couple the creation of a supply of new shares with an active selling effort involving solicitation of secondary market demand for shares. A determination of whether one is an underwriter for purposes of the Securities Act must take into account all the facts and circumstances pertaining to the activities of the broker-dealer or its client in the particular case, and the examples mentioned above should not be considered a complete description of all the activities that could lead to a characterization as an underwriter.
Broker-dealer firms should also note that dealers who are not “underwriters” but are effecting transactions in shares, whether or not participating in the distribution of shares, are generally required to deliver a prospectus. This is because the prospectus delivery exemption in Section 4(a)(3) of the Securities Act is not available in respect of such transactions as a result of Section 24(d) of the 1940 Act. As a result, broker-dealer firms should note that dealers who are not underwriters but are participating in a distribution (as contrasted with ordinary secondary market transactions) and thus dealing with the shares that are part of an overallotment within the meaning of Section 4(a)(3)(C) of the Securities Act would be unable to take advantage of the prospectus delivery exemption provided by Section 4(a)(3) of the Securities Act. Firms that incur a prospectus delivery obligation with respect to shares are reminded that, under the Securities Act Rule 153, a prospectus delivery obligation under Section 5(b)(2) of the Securities Act owed to a broker-dealer in connection with a sale on the Exchange is satisfied by the fact that the prospectus is available from the Exchange upon request. The prospectus delivery mechanism provided in Rule 153 is available with respect to transactions on a national securities exchange, a trading facility or an alternative trading system.
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First Trust
Exchange-Traded Fund VIII

First Trust Alternative Strategic Focus ETF
For More Information
For more detailed information on the Fund, several additional sources of information are available to you. The SAI, incorporated by reference into this prospectus, contains detailed information on the Fund's policies and operation. Additional information about the Fund's investments is available in the annual and semi-annual reports to shareholders. In the Fund's annual report, you will find a discussion of the market conditions and investment strategies that significantly impacted the Fund's performance during the last fiscal year. The Fund's most recent SAI, annual and semi-annual reports and certain other information are available free of charge by calling the Fund at (800) 621-1675, on the Fund's website at www.ftportfolios.com or through your financial advisor. Shareholders may call the toll-free number above with any inquiries.
You may obtain this and other information regarding the Fund, including the SAI and the Codes of Ethics adopted by First Trust, FTP and the Trust, directly from the Securities and Exchange Commission (the "SEC"). Information on the SEC’s website is free of charge. Visit the SEC’s online EDGAR database at www.sec.gov or in person at the SEC’s Public Reference Room in Washington, D.C., or call the SEC at (202) 551-8090 for information on the Public Reference Room. You may also request information regarding the Fund by sending a request (along with a duplication fee) to the SEC’s Public Reference Section, 100 F Street, N.E., Washington, D.C. 20549-1520 or by sending an electronic request to publicinfo@sec.gov.
First Trust Advisors L.P.
120 East Liberty Drive, Suite 400
Wheaton, Illinois 60187
(800) 621-1675
www.ftportfolios.com
SEC File #: 333-176976
811-22245

 

 
 

STATEMENT OF ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
Investment Company Act File No. 811-23147
First Trust Exchange-Traded Fund VIII
Preliminary Statement of Additional Information
Dated April 9, 2020
Subject to Completion
FUND NAME   TICKER SYMBOL   EXCHANGE
First Trust Alternative Strategic Focus ETF   ____   NYSE Arca
DATED __________, 2020
This Statement of Additional Information (“SAI”) is not a prospectus. It should be read in conjunction with the prospectus dated _________, 2020, as it may be revised from time to time (the “Prospectus”), for First Trust Alternative Strategic Focus ETF (the “Fund” ), a series of the First Trust Exchange-Traded Fund VIII (the “Trust”). Capitalized terms used herein that are not defined have the same meaning as in the Prospectus, unless otherwise noted. A copy of the Prospectus may be obtained without charge by writing to the Trust’s distributor, First Trust Portfolios L.P., 120 East Liberty Drive, Suite 400, Wheaton, Illinois 60187, or by calling toll free at (800) 621-1675.
The information in this Statement of Additional Information is not complete and may be changed. We may not sell these securities until the registration statement filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission is effective. This Statement of Additional Information is not an offer to sell these securities and it is not soliciting an offer to buy these securities in any state where the offer of sale is not permitted.


General Description of the Trust and the Fund
The Trust was organized as a Massachusetts business trust on February 22, 2016 and is authorized to issue an unlimited number of shares in one or more series. The Trust is an open-end management investment company, registered under the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended (the “1940 Act”). This SAI relates to the Fund, which is a non-diversified series.
The Fund, as a series of the Trust, represents a beneficial interest in a separate portfolio of securities and other assets, with its own objective and policies.
The Board of Trustees of the Trust (the “Board,” “Board of Trustees” or “Trustees”) has the right to establish additional series in the future, to determine the preferences, voting powers, rights and privileges thereof and to modify such preferences, voting powers, rights and privileges without shareholder approval. Shares of any series may also be divided into one or more classes at the discretion of the Trustees.
The Trust or any series or class thereof may be terminated at any time by the Board of Trustees upon written notice to the shareholders.
Each share has one vote with respect to matters upon which a shareholder vote is required consistent with the requirements of the 1940 Act and the rules promulgated thereunder. Shares of all series of the Trust vote together as a single class except as otherwise required by the 1940 Act or if the matter being voted on affects only a particular series, and, if a matter affects a particular series differently from other series, the shares of that series will vote separately on such matter. The Trust’s Declaration of Trust (the “Declaration”) requires a shareholder vote only on those matters where the 1940 Act requires a vote of shareholders and otherwise permits the Trustees to take actions without seeking the consent of shareholders. For example, the Declaration gives the Trustees broad authority to approve reorganizations between the Fund and another entity, such as another exchange traded fund, or the sale of all or substantially all of the Fund's assets, or the termination of the Trust or any Fund without shareholder approval if the 1940 Act would not require such approval.
The Declaration provides that by becoming a shareholder of the Fund, each shareholder shall be expressly held to have agreed to be bound by the provisions of the Declaration and to any By-laws adopted by the Trust. The Declaration provides that, except as set forth therein and authorized by the Trustees, shareholders have no rights, privileges, claims or remedies under any contract or agreement entered into by the Trust or the Fund with any service provider or other agent to or contractor with the Trust or the Fund including, without limitation, any third party beneficiary rights.
The Declaration may, except in limited circumstances, be amended by the Trustees in any respect without a shareholder vote. The Declaration provides that the Trustees may establish the number of Trustees and that vacancies on the Board of Trustees may be filled by the remaining Trustees, except when election of Trustees by the shareholders is required under the 1940 Act. Trustees are then elected by a plurality of votes cast by shareholders at a meeting at which a quorum is present. The Declaration also provides that Trustees may be removed, with or without cause, by a vote of shareholders holding at least two-thirds of the voting power of the Trust, or by a vote of two-thirds of the remaining Trustees. The provisions of the Declaration relating to the election and removal of Trustees may not be amended without the approval of two-thirds of the Trustees.
The holders of Fund shares are required to disclose information on direct or indirect ownership of Fund shares as may be required to comply with various laws applicable to the Fund or as the Trustees may determine, and ownership of Fund shares may be disclosed by the Fund if so required by law or regulation. In addition, pursuant to the Declaration, the Trustees may, in their discretion, require the Trust to redeem shares held by any shareholder for any reason under terms set by the Trustees.
The Declaration provides a detailed process for the bringing of derivative actions by shareholders in order to permit legitimate inquiries and claims while avoiding the time, expense, distraction and other harm that can be caused to the Fund or its shareholders as a result of spurious shareholder demands and derivative actions. In addition, the Declaration provides that actions that are derivative in nature may not be brought directly. Prior to bringing a derivative action, a demand must first be made on the Trustees. The Declaration details various information, certifications, undertakings and acknowledgements that must be included in the demand. Following receipt of the demand, the Trustees have a period of 90 days, which may be extended by an additional 60 days, to consider the demand. If a majority of the Trustees who are considered independent for the purposes of considering the demand determine that maintaining the suit would not be in the best interests of the Fund, the Trustees are required to reject the demand and the complaining shareholder may not proceed with the derivative action unless the shareholder is able to sustain the burden of proof to a court that the decision of the Trustees not to pursue the requested action was not a good faith exercise of their business judgment on behalf of the Fund. In making such a determination, a Trustee is not considered to have a personal financial interest by virtue of being compensated for his or her services as a
1

Trustee. If a demand is rejected, the complaining shareholder will be responsible for the costs and expenses (including attorneys’ fees) incurred by the Fund in connection with the consideration of the demand under a number of circumstances. In addition, if a court determines that a derivative action was made without reasonable cause or for an improper purpose, or if a derivative or direct action is dismissed on the basis of a failure to comply with the procedural provisions relating to shareholder actions as set forth in the Declaration, or if a direct action is dismissed by a court for failure to state a claim, the shareholder bringing the action may be responsible for the Fund's costs, including attorneys’ fees.
The provisions of the Declaration provide that any direct or derivative action commenced by a shareholder must be brought only in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts (Boston Division) or if any such action may not be brought in that court, then in the Business Litigation Session of Suffolk Superior Court in Massachusetts (the “Chosen Courts”). Except as prohibited by applicable law, if a shareholder commences an applicable action in a court other than a Chosen Court without the consent of the Fund, then such shareholder may be obligated to reimburse the Fund and any applicable Trustee or officer of the Fund made party to such proceeding for the costs and expenses (including attorneys’ fees) incurred in connection with any successful motion to dismiss, stay or transfer of the action. The Declaration also provides that any shareholder bringing an action against the Fund waives the right to trial by jury to the fullest extent permitted by law.
The Trust is not required to and does not intend to hold annual meetings of shareholders.
Under Massachusetts law applicable to Massachusetts business trusts, shareholders of such a trust may, under certain circumstances, be held personally liable as partners for its obligations. However, the Declaration contains an express disclaimer of shareholder liability for acts or obligations of the Trust and requires that notice of this disclaimer be given in each agreement, obligation or instrument entered into or executed by the Trust or the Trustees. The Declaration further provides for indemnification out of the assets and property of the Trust for all losses and expenses of any shareholder held personally liable for the obligations of the Trust. Thus, the risk of a shareholder incurring financial loss on account of shareholder liability is limited to circumstances in which both inadequate insurance existed and the Trust or the Fund itself was unable to meet its obligations.
The Declaration further provides that a Trustee acting in his or her capacity as Trustee is not personally liable to any person other than the Trust, for any act, omission, or obligation of the Trust. The Declaration requires the Trust to indemnify any persons who are or who have been Trustees, officers or employees of the Trust for any liability for actions or failure to act except to the extent prohibited by applicable federal law. In making any determination as to whether any person is entitled to the advancement of expenses in connection with a claim for which indemnification is sought, such person is entitled to a rebuttable presumption that he or she did not engage in conduct for which indemnification is not available. The Declaration provides that any Trustee who serves as chair of the Board of Trustees or of a committee of the Board of Trustees, as lead independent Trustee or as audit committee financial expert, or in any other similar capacity will not be subject to any greater standard of care or liability because of such position.
The Declaration further provides that no provision of the Declaration will restrict any shareholder rights expressly granted by the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the "1933 Act"), the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended or the 1940 Act, or any rule, regulation or order of the Securities Exchange Commission thereunder.
The shares of the Fund list and principally trade on the NYSE Arca, Inc. ("NYSE Arca" or the "Exchange"), as shown on the cover of this SAI. The shares will trade on the Exchange at market prices that may be below, at or above net asset value. The Fund offers and issues shares at net asset value only in aggregations of a specified number of shares (each a “Creation Unit” or a “Creation Unit Aggregation”), generally in exchange for a basket of securities, (the "Deposit Securities"), together with the deposit of a specified cash payment, (the "Cash Component").  Shares are redeemable only in Creation Unit Aggregations and, generally, in exchange for portfolio securities and a specified cash payment.  Creation Units are aggregations of 50,000 shares of the Fund.
The Trust reserves the right to permit creations and redemptions of Fund shares to be made in whole or in part on a cash basis under certain circumstances. Fund shares may be issued in advance of receipt of Deposit Securities subject to various conditions including a requirement to maintain on deposit with the Fund cash at least equal to 115% of the market value of the missing Deposit Securities. See the section entitled “Creation and Redemption of Creation Unit Aggregations.” In each instance of such cash creations or redemptions, transaction fees may be imposed that will be higher than the transaction fees associated with in-kind creations or redemptions. In all cases, such fees will be limited in accordance with the requirements of the SEC applicable to management investment companies offering redeemable securities.
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Exchange Listing and Trading
There can be no assurance that the requirements of the Exchange necessary to maintain the listing of shares of the Fund will continue to be met. The Exchange may, but is not required to, remove the shares of the Fund from listing if (i) following the initial 12-month period beginning at the commencement of trading of the Fund, there are fewer than 50 beneficial owners of the shares of the Fund for 30 or more consecutive trading days; or (ii) such other event shall occur or condition exist that, in the opinion of the Exchange, makes further dealings on the Exchange inadvisable. The Exchange will remove the shares of the Fund from listing and trading upon termination of the Fund.
As in the case of other stocks traded on the Exchange, brokers’ commissions on transactions will be based on negotiated commission rates at customary levels.
The Fund reserves the right to adjust the price levels of shares in the future to help maintain convenient trading ranges for investors. Any adjustments would be accomplished through stock splits or reverse stock splits, which would have no effect on the net assets of the Fund.
The Fund is required by the Exchange to comply with certain listing standards (which includes certain investment parameters) in order to maintain its listing on the Exchange. Compliance with these listing standards may compel the Fund to sell securities at an inopportune time or for a price other than the security’s then-current market value. The sale of securities in such circumstances could limit the Fund's profit or require the Fund to incur a loss, and as a result, the Fund's performance could be impacted.
Investment Objective and Policies
The Prospectus describes the investment objective and certain policies of the Fund. The following supplements the information contained in the Prospectus concerning the investment objective and policies of the Fund.
The Fund is subject to the following fundamental policies, which may not be changed without approval of the holders of a majority of the outstanding voting securities (as such term is defined in the 1940 Act) of the Fund:
(1) The Fund may not issue senior securities, except as permitted under the 1940 Act.
(2) The Fund may not borrow money, except as permitted under the 1940 Act.
(3) The Fund will not underwrite the securities of other issuers except to the extent the Fund may be considered an underwriter under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “1933 Act”), in connection with the purchase and sale of portfolio securities.
(4) The Fund will not purchase or sell real estate or interests therein, unless acquired as a result of ownership of securities or other instruments (but this shall not prohibit the Fund from purchasing or selling securities or other instruments backed by real estate or of issuers engaged in real estate activities).
(5) The Fund may not make loans to other persons, except through (i) the purchase of debt securities permissible under the Fund's investment policies, (ii) repurchase agreements, or (iii) the lending of portfolio securities, provided that no such loan of portfolio securities may be made by the Fund if, as a result, the aggregate of such loans would exceed 33⅓% of the value of the Fund's total assets.
(6) The Fund may not purchase or sell physical commodities unless acquired as a result of ownership of securities or other instruments (but this shall not prevent the Fund from purchasing or selling options, futures contracts, forward contracts or other derivative instruments, or from investing in securities or other instruments backed by physical commodities).
(7) The Fund may not invest 25% or more of the value of its total assets in securities of issuers in any one industry or group of industries except to the extent that the Underlying ETFs invest more than 25% of their assets in an industry or group of industries. This restriction does not apply to obligations issued or guaranteed by the U.S. government, its agencies or instrumentalities, or securities of other investment companies.
For purposes of applying restriction (1) above, under the 1940 Act as currently in effect, the Fund is not permitted to issue senior securities, except that the Fund may borrow from any bank if immediately after such borrowing the value of the Fund’s total assets is at least 300% of the principal amount of all of the Fund’s borrowings (i.e., the principal amount of
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the borrowings may not exceed 33⅓% of the Fund’s total assets). In the event that such asset coverage shall at any time fall below 300%, the Fund shall, within three days thereafter (not including Sundays and holidays), reduce the amount of its borrowings to an extent that the asset coverage of such borrowing shall be at least 300%. The fundamental investment limitations set forth above limit the Fund’s ability to engage in certain investment practices and purchase securities or other instruments to the extent permitted by, or consistent with, applicable law. As such, these limitations will change as the statute, rules, regulations or orders (or, if applicable, interpretations) change, and no shareholder vote will be required or sought.
Except for restriction (2) above, if a percentage restriction is adhered to at the time of investment, a later increase in percentage resulting from a change in market value of the investment or the total assets will not constitute a violation of that restriction. With respect to restriction (2), if the limitations are exceeded as a result of a change in market value then the Fund will reduce the amount of borrowings within three days thereafter to the extent necessary to comply with the limitations (not including Sundays and holidays).
Notwithstanding restriction (7) above, to the extent the Fund invests in other investment companies, it will consider, to the extent practicable, the investments of the underlying investment companies when determining compliance with the limitations set forth in restriction (7) above.
The foregoing fundamental policies of the Fund may not be changed without the affirmative vote of the majority of the outstanding voting securities of the Fund. The 1940 Act defines a majority vote as the vote of the lesser of (i) 67% or more of the voting securities represented at a meeting at which more than 50% of the outstanding securities are represented; or (ii) more than 50% of the outstanding voting securities. With respect to the submission of a change in an investment policy to the holders of outstanding voting securities of the Fund, such matter shall be deemed to have been effectively acted upon with respect to the Fund if a majority of the outstanding voting securities of the Fund vote for the approval of such matter, notwithstanding that such matter has not been approved by the holders of a majority of the outstanding voting securities of any other series of the Trust affected by such matter.
In addition to the foregoing fundamental policies, the Fund is also subject to strategies and policies discussed herein which, unless otherwise noted, are non-fundamental policies and may be changed by the Board of Trustees.
Investment Strategies
The Fund seeks to achieve its investment objective by allocating its assets amongst a variety of asset classes in an effort to provide investment returns that are less volatile than the U.S. equity market and have less correlation to conventional asset classes across a variety of market cycles. It is anticipated that this will be done primarily through investment of the Fund’s assets in ETFs pursuing alternative investment strategies or providing exposure to alternative asset classes. The Fund’s investment advisor, First Trust Advisors L.P. (“First Trust” or the “Advisor”), may also invest directly in exchange-listed equity securities and U.S. Treasury securities and utilize exchange-listed derivative instruments, such as futures and options contracts, as a means of enhancing returns, diversifying the Fund’s exposure and managing risk and factor exposure.
Types of Investments
Asset-Backed Securities (“ABS”). The Fund may invest in ETFs that hold asset-backed securities. Asset-backed securities are securities backed by installment contracts, credit-card receivables or other assets. Asset-backed securities represent interests in “pools” of assets in which payments of both interest and principal on the securities are made on a regular basis. The payments are, in effect, “passed through” to the holder of the securities (net of any fees paid to the issuer or guarantor of the securities). The average life of asset-backed securities varies with the maturities of the underlying instruments and, as a result of prepayments, can often be less than the original maturity of the assets underlying the securities.
Cash Equivalents and Short-Term Investments.     Normally, the Fund invests substantially all of its assets to meet its investment objective. The Fund may invest the remainder of its assets in securities with maturities of less than one year or cash equivalents, or each may hold cash.  The percentage of the Fund invested in such holdings varies and depends on several factors, including market conditions. For temporary defensive purposes and during periods of high cash inflows or outflows, the Fund may depart from its principal investment strategies and invest part or all of its assets in these securities, or it may hold cash. During such periods, the Fund may not be able to achieve its investment objective. The Fund may adopt a temporary defensive strategy when the portfolio managers believe securities in which the Fund normally invests have elevated risks due to political or economic factors and in other extraordinary circumstances. For more information on eligible short-term investments, see the SAI.
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(1) The Fund may invest in U.S. government securities, including bills, notes and bonds differing as to maturity and rates of interest, which are either issued or guaranteed by the U.S. Treasury or by U.S. government agencies or instrumentalities. U.S. government securities include securities that are issued or guaranteed by the U.S. Treasury, by various agencies of the U.S. government, or by various instrumentalities that have been established or sponsored by the U.S. government. U.S. Treasury securities are backed by the “full faith and credit” of the United States. Securities issued or guaranteed by federal agencies and U.S. government-sponsored instrumentalities may or may not be backed by the full faith and credit of the United States. Some of the U.S. government agencies that issue or guarantee securities include the Export-Import Bank of the United States, the Farmers Home Administration, the Federal Housing Administration, the Maritime Administration, the Small Business Administration and The Tennessee Valley Authority. An instrumentality of the U.S. government is a government agency organized under federal charter with government supervision. Instrumentalities issuing or guaranteeing securities include, among others, the Federal Home Loan Banks, the Federal Land Banks, the Central Bank for Cooperatives, Federal Intermediate Credit Banks and the Federal National Mortgage Association (“Fannie Mae”). In the case of those U.S. government securities not backed by the full faith and credit of the United States, the investor must look principally to the agency or instrumentality issuing or guaranteeing the security for ultimate repayment and may not be able to assert a claim against the United States itself in the event that the agency or instrumentality does not meet its commitment. 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) The Fund may invest in certificates of deposit issued against funds deposited in a bank or savings and loan association. Such certificates are for a definite period of time, earn a specified rate of return and are normally negotiable. If such certificates of deposit are non-negotiable, they will be considered illiquid securities and be subject to the Fund's 15% restriction on investments in illiquid securities. Pursuant to the certificate of deposit, the issuer agrees to pay the amount deposited plus interest to the bearer of the certificate on the date specified thereon. Under current FDIC regulations, the maximum insurance payable as to any one certificate of deposit is $250,000; therefore, certificates of deposit purchased by the Fund may not be fully insured. The Fund may only invest in certificates of deposit issued by U.S. banks with at least $1 billion in assets.
(3) The Fund may invest in bankers’ acceptances, which are short-term credit instruments used to finance commercial transactions. Generally, an acceptance is a time draft drawn on a bank by an exporter or an importer to obtain a stated amount of funds to pay for specific merchandise. The draft is then “accepted” by a bank that, in effect, unconditionally guarantees to pay the face value of the instrument on its maturity date. The acceptance may then be held by the accepting bank as an asset or it may be sold in the secondary market at the going rate of interest for a specific maturity.
(4) The Fund may invest in repurchase agreements, which involve purchases of debt securities with counterparties that are deemed by First Trust to present acceptable credit risks. In such an action, at the time the Fund purchases the security, it simultaneously agrees to resell and redeliver the security to the seller, who also simultaneously agrees to buy back the security at a fixed price and time. This assures a predetermined yield for the Fund during its holding period since the resale price is always greater than the purchase price and reflects an agreed-upon market rate. Such actions afford an opportunity for the Fund to invest temporarily available cash. The Fund may enter into repurchase agreements only with respect to obligations of the U.S. government, its agencies or instrumentalities, certificates of deposit or bankers’ acceptances in which the Fund may invest. Repurchase agreements may be considered loans to the seller, collateralized by the underlying securities. The risk to the Fund is limited to the ability of the seller to pay the agreed-upon sum on the repurchase date; in the event of default, the repurchase agreement provides that the affected Fund is entitled to sell the underlying collateral. If the value of the collateral declines after the agreement is entered into, however, and if the seller defaults under a repurchase agreement when the value of the underlying collateral is less than the repurchase price, the Fund could incur a loss of both principal and interest. The portfolio managers monitor the value of the collateral at the time the action is entered into and at all times during the term of the repurchase agreement. The portfolio managers do so in an effort to determine that the value of the collateral always equals or exceeds the agreed-upon repurchase price to be paid to the Fund. If the seller were to be subject to a federal bankruptcy proceeding, the ability of the Fund to liquidate the collateral could be delayed or impaired because of certain provisions of the bankruptcy laws.
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(5) The Fund may invest in bank time deposits, which are monies kept on deposit with banks or savings and loan associations for a stated period of time at a fixed rate of interest. There may be penalties for the early withdrawal of such time deposits, in which case the yields of these investments will be reduced.
(6) The Fund may invest in commercial paper, which are 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 Fund and a corporation. There is no secondary market for the notes. However, they are redeemable by the Fund at any time. The Fund's portfolio managers 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 Fund's liquidity might be impaired if the corporation were unable to pay principal and interest on demand. The Fund may invest in commercial paper only if it has received the highest rating from at least one nationally recognized statistical rating organization or, if unrated, judged by First Trust to be of comparable quality.
(7) The Fund may invest in shares of money market funds, as consistent with its investment objective and policies. Shares of money market funds are subject to management fees and other expenses of those funds. Therefore, investments in money market funds will cause the Fund to bear proportionately the costs incurred by the money market funds’ operations. At the same time, the Fund will continue to pay its own management fees and expenses with respect to all of its assets, including any portion invested in the shares of other investment companies. It is possible for the Fund to lose money by investing in money market funds.
Equity Securities.    The Fund may invest in ETFs that hold equity securities. Equity securities represent an ownership position in a company. The prices of equity securities fluctuate based on, among other things, events specific to their issuers and market, economic, and other conditions. Equity securities may include common and preferred stocks. Common stocks include the common stock of any class or series of a domestic or foreign corporation or any similar equity interest, such as a trust or partnership interest. These investments may or may not pay dividends and may or may not carry voting rights. Common stock occupies the most junior position in a company’s capital structure. The Fund may also invest in ETFs that hold warrants and rights related to common stocks.
The Fund may also invest in ETFs that hold preferred equity securities. Preferred stock, unlike common stock, offers a stated dividend rate payable from the issuer’s earnings. Preferred stock dividends may be cumulative or non-cumulative, participating or action rate. If interest rates rise, the fixed dividend on preferred stocks may be less attractive, causing the price of preferred stocks to decline. Preferred stock may have mandatory sinking fund provisions, as well as call/redemption provisions prior to maturity, a negative feature when interest rates decline.
Investment Companies. The Fund invests primarily in other ETFs. An ETF is a fund that holds a portfolio of securities and trades on a securities exchange and its shares may, at times, trade a premium or discount to its net asset value. As a shareholder in a pooled investment vehicle, the Fund will bear its ratable share of that vehicle’s expenses, and would remain subject to payment of that vehicle’s management fees with respect to assets so invested. Shareholders would therefore be subject to duplicative expenses to the extent the Fund invests in other pooled asset vehicles. In addition, the Fund will also incur brokerage costs when purchasing and selling shares of ETFs.
Loans.     The Fund may invest in ETFs that hold fixed and floating rate loans (“Loans”). Loans may include senior floating rate loans and secured and unsecured loans, second lien or more junior loans and bridge loans. Loans are typically arranged through private negotiations between borrowers in the United States or in foreign or emerging markets which are generally corporate issuers or issuers of sovereign debt obligations (“obligors”) and one or more financial institutions and other lenders ("Lenders"). The Fund may invest in loans by purchasing assignments of all or a portion of loans ("Assignments") or loan participations ("Participations") from third parties.
The underlying ETF has direct rights against the obligor on the loan when it purchases an assignment. Assignments are arranged through private negotiations between potential assignees and potential assignors. With respect to participations, typically, the underlying ETF will have a contractual relationship only with the lender and not with the obligor. The agreement governing participations may limit the rights of the underlying ETF to vote on certain changes which may be made to the loan agreement, such as waiving a breach of a covenant. However, the holder of a participation will generally have the right to vote on certain fundamental issues such as changes in principal amount, payment dates and interest rate. Participations may entail certain risks relating to the creditworthiness of the parties from which the participations are obtained.
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A loan is typically originated, negotiated and structured by a U.S. or foreign commercial bank, insurance company, finance company or other financial institution (the “agent”) for a group of loan investors. The agent typically administers and enforces the loan on behalf of the other loan investors in the syndicate. The agent’s duties may include responsibility for the collection of principal and interest payments from the obligor and the apportionment of these payments to the credit of all loan investors. The agent is also typically responsible for monitoring compliance with the covenants contained in the loan agreement based upon reports prepared by the obligor. In addition, an institution, typically but not always the agent, holds any collateral on behalf of the loan investors. In the event of a default by the obligor, it is possible, though unlikely, that the underlying ETF could receive a portion of the borrower’s collateral. If the underlying ETF receives collateral other than cash, any proceeds received from liquidation of such collateral will be available for investment as part of the underlying ETF’s portfolio.
In the process of buying, selling and holding senior loans, the underlying ETF may receive and/or pay certain fees. These fees are in addition to interest payments received and may include facility fees, commitment fees, commissions and prepayment penalty fees. When the underlying ETF buys or sells a loan it may pay a fee. In certain circumstances, the underlying ETF may receive a prepayment penalty fee upon prepayment of a loan.
There may be instances in which the underlying ETF is required to vote upon amendments to certain of the Loans in which it invests. In these cases, the underlying ETF will attempt to ensure that such amendments are voted consistently and solely in the best interests of the underlying ETF.
Mortgage-Backed Securities. The Fund may invest in ETFs that hold Mortgage-Related Investments tied to residential and commercial mortgages, including, among other things, residential mortgage-backed securities (“RMBS”) and commercial mortgage-backed securities (“CMBS”). Mortgage-backed securities represent an interest in a pool of mortgage loans made by banks and other financial institutions to finance purchases of homes, commercial buildings and other real estate. The individual mortgage loans are packaged or “pooled” together for sale to investors. As the underlying mortgage loans are paid off, investors receive principal and interest payments. Mortgage-backed securities may be fixed-rate or adjustable-rate mortgage-backed securities (“ARMS”). Certain mortgage-backed securities (including RMBS and CMBS), where mortgage payments are divided up between paying the loan’s principal and paying the loan’s interest, are referred to as stripped mortgage-backed securities (“SMBS”). Further, mortgage-backed securities can also be categorized as categorized as collateralized mortgage obligations (“CMOs”) or real estate mortgage investment conduits (“REMICs”) where they are divided into multiple classes with each class being entitled to a different share of the principal and/or interest payments received from the pool of underlying assets.
The mortgage-backed securities in which the underlying ETF will invest may be, but are not required to be, issued or guaranteed by the U.S. government or its agencies or instrumentalities, such as Government National Mortgage Association (“Ginnie Mae”), and U.S. government-sponsored entities, such as that Federal National Mortgage Association (“Fannie Mae”), and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (“Freddie Mac”). The underlying ETF may invest in callable agency securities, which give the issuer (the U.S. government agency) the right to redeem the security prior to maturity. Government agency or instrumentality securities have different levels of credit support. For example, Ginnie Mae securities carry a guarantee as to the timely repayment of principal and interest that is backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government. However, the full faith and credit guarantee does not apply to the market prices and yields of the Ginnie Mae securities or to the net asset value, trading price or performance of the underlying ETF, which will vary with changes in interest rates and other market conditions. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac pass-through mortgage certificates are backed by the credit of the respective instrumentality and are not guaranteed by the U.S. government. Other securities issued by government agencies or instrumentalities, including government-sponsored entities, may only be backed by the creditworthiness of the issuing institution, not the U.S. government, or the issuers may have the right to borrow from the U.S. Treasury to meet their obligations. Many mortgage-backed securities are pass-through securities, which means they provide investors with monthly payments consisting of a pro rata share of both regular interest and principal payments as well as unscheduled prepayments on the underlying mortgage loans. Because prepayment rates of individual mortgage pools vary widely, the average life of a particular pool cannot be predicted accurately. Adjustable-rate mortgage-backed securities include ARMS and other mortgage-backed securities with interest rates that adjust periodically to reflect prevailing market rates.
Master Limited Partnerships (“MLPs”).    The Fund may invest in ETFs that hold master limited partnerships. A MLP is a limited partnership or a limited liability company that is treated as a partnership for federal income tax purposes, the interests in which (known as units) are traded on securities exchanges or over-the-counter. MLPs are typically engaged in one or more aspects of the exploration, production, processing, transmission, marketing, storage or delivery of energy-related commodities such as natural gas, natural gas liquids, coal, crude oil or refined petroleum products. Holders of MLP units have limited control and voting rights on matters affecting the partnership. If publicly traded, to be treated as a partnership for U.S. federal income tax purposes, the MLP must receive at least 90% of its income from qualifying sources as set forth in the Internal Revenue
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Code of 1986. These qualifying sources include 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 carbon dioxide.
Municipal Securities.    The Fund may invest in ETFs that hold municipal securities. Municipal securities are debt securities that generally pay interest that is exempt from regular federal income taxes. Municipal securities are generally issued by or on behalf of states, territories or possessions of the United States and the District of Columbia and their political subdivisions, agencies, authorities and other instrumentalities.
Non-U.S. Debt Securities.    The Fund may invest in ETFs that hold non-U.S. debt securities, which include debt securities issued or guaranteed by entities organized or domiciled under the laws of countries other than the United States; debt securities issued or guaranteed by foreign, national, provincial, state, municipal or other governments with taxing authority or by their agencies or instrumentalities; and debt obligations of supranational governmental entities such as the World Bank or European Union. Non-U.S. debt securities also include U.S. dollar-denominated debt obligations, such as “Yankee Dollar” obligations, of foreign issuers and of supranational government entities. Yankee Dollar obligations are U.S. dollar-denominated obligations issued in the U.S. capital markets by foreign corporations, banks and governments. Non-U.S. debt securities also may be traded on foreign securities exchanges or in over-the-counter (“OTC”) capital markets. To the extent the underlying ETF invests in such instruments, the value of the assets of the underlying ETF as measured in U.S. dollars will be affected by changes in exchange rates.
Preferred Securities and Hybrid Securities.    The Fund may invest in ETFs that hold preferred securities. Certain of the preferred securities in which the Fund invests are traditional preferred securities, which issue dividends that qualify for the dividend received deduction under which “qualified” domestic corporations are able to exclude a percentage of the dividends received from their taxable income.
Certain of the preferred securities in which the Fund invests are preferred securities that do not issue dividends that qualify for the dividends received deduction for eligible investors (“non-DRD preferred securities”) and debt instruments that are similar in many respects to preferred securities (such debt instruments and non-DRD preferred securities are often referred to as “hybrid securities”) that do not qualify for the dividends received deduction or issue qualified dividend income. Pursuant to the dividends received deduction, corporations may generally deduct 70% of the dividend income they receive. Corporate shareholders of a regulated investment company like the Fund generally are permitted to claim a deduction with respect to that portion of their distributions attributable to amounts received by the regulated investment company that qualify for the dividends received deduction. However, not all preferred securities pay dividends that are eligible for the dividends received deduction. Any corporate shareholder who otherwise would qualify for the dividends received deduction should assume that none of the distributions it receives from the Fund will qualify for the dividends received deduction. Any corporate shareholder who otherwise would qualify for the dividends received deduction should assume that none of the distributions it receives from the underlying ETF will qualify for the dividends received deduction.
These types of hybrid securities typically offer additional yield spread versus other types of preferred securities due to this lack of special tax treatment. Hybrid securities are typically issued by corporations, generally in the form of interest bearing notes or preferred securities, or by an affiliated business trust of a corporation, generally in the form of (i) beneficial interests in subordinated debentures or similarly structured securities or (ii) more senior debt securities that pay income and trade in a manner similar to preferred securities. The hybrid securities market consists of both fixed and adjustable coupon rate securities that are either perpetual in nature or have stated maturity dates. The hybrid securities market is divided into the “$25 par” and the “institutional” segments. The $25 par segment is typified by securities that are listed on the New York Stock Exchange (the “NYSE”), which trade and are quoted “flat”, i.e., without accrued dividend income, and which are typically callable at par value five years after their original issuance date. The institutional segment is typified by $1,000 par value securities that are not exchange-listed, which trade and are quoted on an “accrued income” basis, and which typically have a minimum of 10 years of call protection (at premium prices) from the date of their original issuance.
Hybrid 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, hybrid 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 adverse consequence to the issuer, and certain other features (such as
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restrictions on common dividend payments by the issuer or ultimate guarantor when cumulative payments on the non-DRD preferred securities have not been made), these hybrid securities are often treated as close substitutes for traditional preferred securities, both by issuers and investors. Hybrid securities have many of the key characteristics of equity due to their subordinated position in an issuer’s capital structure.
Hybrid securities include but are not limited to: trust originated preferred securities, monthly income preferred securities, quarterly income bond securities, quarterly income debt securities, quarterly income preferred securities, corporate trust securities, public income notes, and other trust preferred securities.
Hybrid 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 any adverse consequence to the issuer. 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 any cumulative dividends payable. 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 default on its obligations under such a security, the amount of dividends the underlying ETF pays may be adversely affected.
Many hybrid securities are issued by a trust or other special purpose entities established by operating companies, and are not a direct obligation of an operating company. At the time a trust or special purpose entity sells its preferred securities to investors, the trust or special purpose entity 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 federal income tax purposes such that the holders of the non-DRD preferred securities are treated as owning beneficial interests in the underlying debt of the operating company. Accordingly, payments of the non-DRD preferred securities are treated as interest rather than dividends for federal income tax purposes and, as such, are not eligible for the dividends received deduction. 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 non-DRD preferred share has a rating that is slightly below that of its corresponding operating company’s senior debt securities.
Real Estate Investment Trusts. The Fund may invest in ETFs that hold real estate investment trusts. (“REITs”). REITs are typically publicly traded corporations or trusts that invest in residential or commercial real estate. REITs generally can be divided into the following three types: (i) equity REITs which invest the majority of their assets directly in real property and derive their income primarily from rents and capital gains or real estate appreciation; (ii) mortgage REITs which invest the majority of their assets in real estate mortgage loans and derive their income primarily from interest payments; and (iii) hybrid REITs which combine the characteristics of equity REITs and mortgage REITs.
Hedging Strategies
General Description of Hedging Strategies
The Fund may engage in hedging activities or other investment in derivative instruments, as described above. The Fund may utilize a variety of financial instruments, including to attempt to hedge the Fund’s holdings.
Hedging or derivative instruments on securities generally are used to hedge against price movements in one or more particular securities positions that the Fund owns or intends to acquire. Such instruments may also be used to “lock-in” realized but unrecognized gains in the value of portfolio securities. Hedging instruments on stock indices, in contrast, generally are used to hedge against price movements in broad market sectors in which the Fund has invested or expects to invest. Hedging strategies, if successful, can reduce the risk of loss by wholly or partially offsetting the negative effect of unfavorable price movements in the investments being hedged. However, hedging strategies can also reduce the opportunity for gain by offsetting the positive effect of favorable price movements in the hedged investments. The use of hedging instruments is subject to applicable regulations of the SEC, the several options and futures exchanges upon which they are traded, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (the “CFTC”) and various state regulatory authorities. In addition, the Fund’s ability to use hedging instruments may be limited by tax considerations.
General Limitations on Futures and Options Transactions
The Fund limits its direct investments in futures, options on futures and swaps to the extent necessary for First Trust to claim the exclusion from regulation as a “commodity pool operator” with respect to the Fund under CFTC Rule 4.5, as such
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rule may be amended from time to time. Under Rule 4.5 as currently in effect, the Fund limits its trading activity in futures, options on futures and swaps (excluding activity for “bona fide hedging purposes,” as defined by the CFTC) such that it meets one of the following tests: (i) aggregate initial margin and premiums required to establish its futures, options on futures and swap positions do not exceed 5% of the liquidation value of the Fund’s portfolio, after taking into account unrealized profits and losses on such positions; or (ii) aggregate net notional value of its futures, options on futures and swap positions does not exceed 100% of the liquidation value of the Fund’s portfolio, after taking into account unrealized profits and losses on such positions.
First Trust has filed a notice of eligibility for exclusion from the definition of the term “commodity pool operator” with respect to the Fund with the National Futures Association, the futures industry’s self-regulatory organization. If First Trust were no longer able to claim the exclusion for the Fund, First Trust would be required to register as a “commodity pool operator,” and the Fund and First Trust would be subject to regulation under the Commodity Exchange Act (the “CEA”).
The foregoing limitations are non-fundamental policies of the Fund and may be changed without shareholder approval as regulatory agencies permit.
Asset Coverage for Futures and Options Positions
The Fund will comply with the regulatory requirements of the SEC and the CFTC with respect to coverage of options and futures positions by registered investment companies and, if the guidelines so require, will earmark or set aside cash, U.S. government securities, high grade liquid debt securities and/or other liquid assets permitted by the SEC and CFTC in a segregated custodial account in the amount prescribed. Securities earmarked or held in a segregated account cannot be sold while the futures or options position is outstanding, unless replaced with other permissible assets, and will be marked-to-market daily.
Stock Index Options
The Fund may purchase stock index options, sell stock index options in order to close out existing positions, and/or write covered options on stock indices for hedging purposes. Stock index options are put options and call options on various stock indices. In most respects, they are identical to listed options on common stocks. The primary difference between stock options and index options occurs when index options are exercised. In the case of stock options, the underlying security, common stock, is delivered. However, upon the exercise of an index option, settlement does not occur by delivery of the securities comprising the stock index. The option holder who exercises the index option receives an amount of cash if the closing level of the stock index upon which the option is based is greater than, in the case of a call, or less than, in the case of a put, the exercise price of the option. This amount of cash is equal to the difference between the closing price of the stock index and the exercise price of the option expressed in dollars times a specified multiple.
A stock index fluctuates with changes in the market values of the stocks included in the index. For example, some stock index options are based on a broad market index, such as the S&P 500 Index or the Value Line Composite Index or a more narrow market index, such as the S&P 100 Index. Indices may also be based on an industry or market segment. Options on stock indices are currently traded on the following exchanges: the Chicago Board Options Exchange, NYSE Amex Options, Nasdaq and the Philadelphia Stock Exchange.
The Fund’s use of stock index options is subject to certain risks. Successful use by the Fund of options on stock indices will be subject to the ability of First Trust to correctly predict movements in the directions of the stock market. This requires different skills and techniques than predicting changes in the prices of individual securities. In addition, the Fund’s ability to effectively hedge all or a portion of the securities in its portfolio, in anticipation of or during a market decline through transactions in put options on stock indices, depends on the degree to which price movements in the underlying index correlate with the price movements of the securities held by the Fund. Inasmuch as the Fund’s securities will not duplicate the components of an index, the correlation will not be perfect. Consequently, the Fund will bear the risk that the prices of its securities being hedged will not move in the same amount as the prices of its put options on the stock indices. It is also possible that there may be a negative correlation between the index and the Fund’s securities, which would result in a loss on both such securities and the options on stock indices acquired by the Fund.
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. The purchase of options is a highly specialized activity, which involves investment techniques and risks different from those associated with ordinary portfolio securities transactions. The purchase of stock index options involves the risk that the premium and transaction costs paid by
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the Fund in purchasing an option will be lost as a result of unanticipated movements in prices of the securities comprising the stock index on which the option is based.
Certain Considerations Regarding Options
There is no assurance that a liquid secondary market on an options exchange will exist for any particular option, or at any particular time, and for some options no secondary market on an exchange or elsewhere may exist. If the Fund is unable to close out a call option on securities that it has written before the option is exercised, the Fund may be required to purchase the optioned securities in order to satisfy its obligation under the option to deliver such securities. If the Fund is unable to effect a closing sale transaction with respect to options on securities that it has purchased, it would have to exercise the option in order to realize any profit and would incur transaction costs upon the purchase and sale of the underlying securities.
The writing and purchasing of options is a highly specialized activity which involves investment techniques and risks different from those associated with ordinary portfolio securities transactions. Imperfect correlation between the options and securities markets may detract from the effectiveness of attempted hedging. Options transactions may result in significantly higher transaction costs and portfolio turnover for the Fund.
Futures Contracts
The Fund may enter into futures contracts and the Fund’s hedging activities may include sales of futures as an offset against the effect of expected declines in stock prices and purchases of futures as an offset against the effect of expected increases in stock prices. The Fund will not enter into futures contracts that are prohibited under the CEA and will, to the extent required by regulatory authorities, enter only into futures contracts that are traded on futures exchanges and are standardized as to maturity date and underlying financial instrument. Futures exchanges and trading are regulated under the CEA by the CFTC.
An interest rate futures contract provides for the future sale by one party and purchase by another party of a specified amount of a specific financial instrument (e.g., a debt security) or currency for a specified price at a designated date, time and place. An index futures contract is an agreement pursuant to which the parties agree to take or make delivery of an amount of cash equal to the difference between the value of the index at the close of the last trading day of the contract and the price at which the index futures contract was originally written. Transaction costs are incurred when a futures contract is bought or sold and margin deposits must be maintained. A futures contract may be satisfied by delivery or purchase, as the case may be, of the instrument or by payment of the change in the cash value of the index. More commonly, futures contracts are closed out prior to delivery by entering into an offsetting transaction in a matching futures contract. Although the value of an index might be a function of the value of certain specified securities, no physical delivery of those securities is made. If the offsetting purchase price is less than the original sale price, a gain will be realized. Conversely, if the offsetting sale price is more than the original purchase price, a gain will be realized; if it is less, a loss will be realized. The transaction costs must also be included in these calculations. There can be no assurance, however, that the Fund will be able to enter into an offsetting transaction with respect to a particular futures contract at a particular time. If the Fund is not able to enter into an offsetting transaction, the Fund will continue to be required to maintain the margin deposits on the futures contract.
Margin is the amount of funds that must be deposited by the Fund with its custodian in a segregated account in the name of the futures commission merchant in order to initiate futures trading and to maintain the Fund’s open positions in futures contracts. A margin deposit is intended to ensure the Fund’s performance of the futures contract.
The margin required for a particular futures contract is set by the exchange on which the futures contract is traded and may be significantly modified from time to time by the exchange during the term of the futures contract. Futures contracts are customarily purchased and sold on margins that may range upward from less than 5% of the value of the futures contract being traded.
If the price of an open futures contract changes (by increase in the case of a sale or by decrease in the case of a purchase) so that the loss on the futures contract reaches a point at which the margin on deposit does not satisfy margin requirements, the broker will require an increase in the margin. However, if the value of a position increases because of favorable price changes in the futures contract so that the margin deposit exceeds the required margin, the broker will pay the excess to the Fund. In computing daily net asset value, the Fund will mark to market the current value of its open futures contracts. The Fund expects to earn interest income on its margin deposits.
Because of the low margin deposits required, futures trading involves an extremely high degree of leverage. As a result, a relatively small price movement in a futures contract may result in immediate and substantial loss, as well as gain,
11

to the investor. For example, if at the time of purchase 10% of the value of the futures contract is deposited as margin, a subsequent 10% decrease in the value of the futures contract would result in a total loss of the margin deposit, before any deduction for the transaction costs, if the account were then closed out. A 15% decrease would result in a loss equal to 150% of the original margin deposit, if the future contracts were closed out. Thus, a purchase or sale of a futures contract may result in losses in excess of the amount initially invested in the futures contract. However, the Fund would presumably have sustained comparable losses if, instead of the futures contract, it had invested in the underlying financial instrument and sold it after the decline.
Most U.S. futures exchanges limit the amount of fluctuation permitted in futures contract prices during a single trading day. The day limit establishes the maximum amount that the price of a futures contract may vary either up or down from the previous day’s settlement price at the end of a trading session. Once the daily limit has been reached in a particular type of futures contract, no trades may be made on that day at a price beyond that limit. The daily limit governs only price movement during a particular trading day and therefore does not limit potential losses, because the limit may prevent the liquidation of unfavorable positions. Futures contract prices have occasionally moved to the daily limit for several consecutive trading days with little or no trading, thereby preventing prompt liquidation of futures positions and subjecting some investors to substantial losses.
There can be no assurance that a liquid market will exist at a time when the Fund seeks to close out a futures position. The Fund would continue to be required to meet margin requirements until the position is closed, possibly resulting in a decline in the Fund’s net asset value. In addition, many of the contracts discussed above are relatively new instruments without a significant trading history. As a result, there can be no assurance that an active secondary market will develop or continue to exist.
A public market exists in futures contracts covering a number of indices, including but not limited to, the S&P 500 Index, the S&P 100 Index, the NASDAQ-100 Index, the Value Line Composite Index and the NYSE Composite Index.
Options on Futures
The Fund may also purchase or write put and call options on futures contracts and enter into closing transactions with respect to such options to terminate an existing position. A futures option gives the holder the right, in return for the premium paid, to assume a long position (call) or short position (put) in a futures contract at a specified exercise price prior to the expiration of the option. Upon exercise of a call option, the holder acquires a long position in the futures contract and the writer is assigned the opposite short position. In the case of a put option, the opposite is true. Prior to exercise or expiration, a futures option may be closed out by an offsetting purchase or sale of a futures option of the same series.
The Fund may use options on futures contracts in connection with hedging strategies. Generally, these strategies would be applied under the same market and market sector conditions in which the Fund uses put and call options on securities or indices. The purchase of put options on futures contracts is analogous to the purchase of puts on securities or indices so as to hedge the Fund’s securities holdings against the risk of declining market prices. The writing of a call option or the purchasing of a put option on a futures contract constitutes a partial hedge against declining prices of securities that are deliverable upon exercise of the futures contract. If the price at expiration of a written call option is below the exercise price, the Fund will retain the full amount of the option premium which provides a partial hedge against any decline that may have occurred in the Fund’s holdings of securities. If the price when the option is exercised is above the exercise price, however, the Fund will incur a loss, which may be offset, in whole or in part, by the increase in the value of the securities held by the Fund that were being hedged. Writing a put option or purchasing a call option on a futures contract serves as a partial hedge against an increase in the value of the securities the Fund intends to acquire.
As with investments in futures contracts, the Fund is required to deposit and maintain margin with respect to put and call options on futures contracts written by it. Such margin deposits will vary depending on the nature of the underlying futures contract (and the related initial margin requirements), the current market value of the option, and other futures positions held by the Fund. The Fund will earmark or set aside in a segregated account at the Fund’s custodian, liquid assets, such as cash, U.S. government securities or other high-grade liquid debt obligations equal in value to the amount due on the underlying obligation. Such segregated assets will be marked-to-market daily, and additional assets will be earmarked or placed in the segregated account whenever the total value of the earmarked or segregated assets falls below the amount due on the underlying obligation.
The risks associated with the use of options on futures contracts include the risk that the Fund may close out its position as a writer of an option only if a liquid secondary market exists for such options, which cannot be assured. The Fund’s successful use of options on futures contracts depends on First Trust’s ability to correctly predict the movement in prices of futures contracts
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and the underlying instruments, which may prove to be incorrect. In addition, there may be imperfect correlation between the instruments being hedged and the futures contract subject to the option. For additional information, see “Futures Contracts.” Certain characteristics of the futures market might increase the risk that movements in the prices of futures contracts or options on futures contracts might not correlate perfectly with movements in the prices of the investments being hedged. For example, all participants in the futures and options on futures contracts markets are subject to daily variation margin calls and might be compelled to liquidate futures or options on futures contracts positions whose prices are moving unfavorably to avoid being subject to further calls. These liquidations could increase the price volatility of the instruments and distort the normal price relationship between the futures or options and the investments being hedged. Also, because of initial margin deposit requirements, there might be increased participation by speculators in the futures markets. This participation also might cause temporary price distortions. In addition, activities of large traders in both the futures and securities markets involving arbitrage, “program trading,” and other investment strategies might result in temporary price distortions.
Short Sales
The Fund may take short positions in securities, which are often referred to as “short sales.” A short sale is a sale of a security the Fund has borrowed, with the expectation that the security will underperform the market. To settle the short sale transaction, the Fund buys the same security at a later date and returns it to the lender of the security. The Fund makes money on a short position if the market price of the security goes down after the short sale or if the market price of the securities it buys with the proceeds of the short sale increases more than that of the security sold short. Conversely, if the price of the security sold short goes up after the short sale, the Fund loses money because it has to pay more to replace the borrowed security than it received when it sold the security short. Short-selling is considered “leverage” and may involve substantial risk.
Lending of Portfolio Securities
In order to generate additional income, as a non-principal investment strategy, First Trust is authorized to select certain First Trust Funds, including the Fund, with notice to the Board of Trustees, to lend portfolio securities representing up to 33⅓% of the value of its total assets to broker-dealers, banks or other institutional borrowers of securities. As with other extensions of credit, there may be risks of delay in recovery of the securities or even loss of rights in the collateral should the borrower of the securities fail financially. However, such First Trust Funds will only enter into loan arrangements with broker-dealers, banks or other institutions which First Trust has determined are creditworthy under guidelines approved by the Board of Trustees. The First Trust Funds will pay a portion of the income earned on the lending transaction to the placing broker and may pay administrative and custodial fees in connection with these loans. First Trust may select any First Trust Fund to participate in the securities lending program, at its discretion with notice to the Board of Trustees.
In these loan arrangements, the First Trust Funds will receive collateral in the form of cash, U.S. government securities irrevocable bank standby letters of credit not issued by the Fund’s bank lending agent equal to at least 102% (for domestic securities) or 105% (for international securities) of the market value of the securities loaned as determined at the time of loan origination. This collateral must be valued daily by First Trust or the First Trust Fund’s lending agent and, if the market value of the loaned securities increases, the borrower must furnish additional collateral to the lending First Trust Fund. During the time portfolio securities are on loan, the borrower pays the lending First Trust Fund any dividends or interest paid on the securities. Loans are subject to termination at any time by the lending First Trust Fund or the borrower. While a First Trust Fund does not have the right to vote securities on loan, it would terminate the loan and regain the right to vote if that were considered important with respect to the investment. When a First Trust Fund lends portfolio securities to a borrower, payments in lieu of dividends made by the borrower to the First Trust Fund will not constitute “qualified dividends” taxable at the same rate as long-term capital gains, even if the actual dividends would have constituted qualified dividends had the First Trust Fund held the securities. Please see "Securities Lending Risk" below for a description of the risks associated with securities lending activities.
Portfolio Turnover
The Fund buys and sells portfolio securities in the normal course of its investment activities. The proportion of the Fund's investment portfolio that is bought and sold during a year is known as the Fund's portfolio turnover rate. A portfolio turnover rate of 100% would occur, for example, if all of the portfolio securities (other than short-term securities) were replaced once during the fiscal year. A high portfolio turnover rate could result in the payment by the Fund of increased brokerage costs, expenses and taxes.
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Investment Risks
The following risk disclosure supplements the discussion of the Fund's investment risks that appears in the Prospectus.
Overview
An investment in the Fund should be made with an understanding of the risks that an investment in the Fund's shares entails, including the risk that the general condition of the securities market may worsen and the value of the equity securities and therefore the value of the Fund may decline. The Fund may not be an appropriate investment for those who are unable or unwilling to assume the risks involved generally with such an investment.
Collateral, Subordination and Litigation Risk
With respect to loanss that are secured, the underlying ETF is subject to the risk that collateral securing the loans will decline in value or have no value or that the underlying ETF’s lien is or will become junior in payment to other liens. A decline in value, whether as a result of bankruptcy proceedings or otherwise, could cause the loans to be under-collateralized or unsecured. There may be no formal requirement for the Obligor to pledge additional collateral. In addition, collateral may consist of assets that may not be readily liquidated, and there is no assurance that the liquidation of such assets would satisfy an Obligor’s obligation on a loans.
If an Obligor becomes involved in bankruptcy proceedings, a court may invalidate the loan or the underlying ETF's security interest in loan collateral or subordinate the underlying ETF’s rights under a Senior Loan or Junior Loan to the interest of the Obligor’s other creditors, including unsecured creditors, or cause interest or principal previously paid to be refunded to the Obligor. If a court required interest or principal to be refunded, it could negatively affect Fund performance. Such action by a court could be based, for example, on a “fraudulent conveyance” claim to the effect that the Obligor did not receive fair consideration for granting the security interest in the loans collateral to the underlying ETF. For Senior Loans made in connection with a highly leveraged transaction, consideration for granting a security interest may be deemed inadequate if the proceeds of the loans were not received or retained by the Obligor, but were instead paid to other persons (such as shareholders of the Obligor) in an amount which left the Obligor insolvent or without sufficient working capital. There are also other events, such as the failure to perfect a security interest due to faulty documentation or faulty official filings, which could lead to the invalidation of the underlying ETF’s security interest in loans collateral. If the underlying ETF’s security interest in loans collateral is invalidated or the Senior Loan is subordinated to other debt of an Obligor in bankruptcy or other proceedings, the underlying ETF would have substantially lower recovery, and perhaps no recovery on the full amount of the principal and interest due on the loans, or the underlying ETF could have to refund interest.
Lenders and investors in loans can be sued by other creditors and shareholders of the Obligors. Losses can be greater than the original loan amount and occur years after the principal and interest on the loan have been repaid.
Common Stock Risk
Equity securities are especially susceptible to general market movements and to volatile increases and decreases of value as market confidence in and perceptions of the issuers change. These perceptions are based on unpredictable factors including expectations regarding government, economic, monetary and fiscal policies, inflation and interest rates, economic expansion or contraction, and global or regional political, economic or banking crises. First Trust cannot predict the direction or scope of any of these factors. Shareholders of common stocks have rights to receive payments from the issuers of those common stocks that are generally subordinate to those of creditors of, or holders of debt obligations or preferred stocks of, such issuers.
Shareholders of common stocks of the type held by the underlying ETF have a right to receive dividends only when and if, and in the amounts, declared by the issuer’s board of directors and have a right to participate in amounts available for distribution by the issuer only after all other claims on the issuer have been paid. Common stocks do not represent an obligation of the issuer and, therefore, do not offer any assurance of income or provide the same degree of protection of capital as do debt securities. The issuance of additional debt securities or preferred stock will create prior claims for payment of principal, interest and dividends which could adversely affect the ability and inclination of the issuer to declare or pay dividends on its common stock or the rights of holders of common stock with respect to assets of the issuer upon liquidation or bankruptcy. The value of common stocks is subject to market fluctuations for as long as the common stocks remain outstanding, and thus the value of the equity securities in the underlying ETF will fluctuate over the life of the underlying ETF and may be more or less than the price at which they were purchased by the underlying ETF . The equity securities held in the underlying ETF may
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appreciate or depreciate in value (or pay dividends) depending on the full range of economic and market influences affecting these securities, including the impact of the underlying ETF’s purchase and sale of the equity securities and other factors.
Holders of common stocks incur more risk than holders of preferred stocks and debt obligations because common stockholders, as owners of the entity, have generally inferior rights to receive payments from the issuer in comparison with the rights of creditors of, or holders of debt obligations or preferred stocks issued by, the issuer. Cumulative preferred stock dividends must be paid before common stock dividends and any cumulative preferred stock dividend omitted is added to future dividends payable to the holders of cumulative preferred stock. Preferred stockholders are also generally entitled to rights on liquidation which are senior to those of common stockholders.
Debt Securities Risk
The risks of investing in debt securities include (without limitation): (i) credit risk, e.g., the issuer or guarantor of a debt security may be unable or unwilling (or be perceived as unable or unwilling) to make timely principal and/or interest payments or otherwise honor its obligations; (ii) interest rate risk, e.g., when interest rates go up, the value of a debt security generally goes down, and when interest rates go down, the value of a debt security generally goes up; (iii) liquidity risk and valuation risk, e.g., debt securities generally do not trade on a securities exchange, making them generally less liquid and more difficult to value than common stock; (iv) call risk and income risk, e.g., during a period of falling interest rates, the issuer may redeem a security by repaying it early, which may reduce the Fund’s income if the proceeds are reinvested at lower interest rates; and (v) extension risk, e.g., if interest rates rise, repayments of debt securities may occur more slowly than anticipated by the market, which may drive the prices of these securities down because their interest rates are lower than the current interest rate and the securities remain outstanding longer. Debt securities most frequently trade in institutional round lot size transactions. If the Fund purchases bonds in amounts less than the institutional round lot size, which are frequently referred to as “odd” lots, the odd lot size positions may have more price volatility than institutional round lot size positions.
Listing Standards Risk
The Fund is required by the Exchange to comply with certain listing standards (which includes certain investment parameters) in order to maintain its listing on the Exchange. Compliance with these listing standards may compel the Fund to sell securities at an inopportune time or for a price other than the security’s then-current market value. The sale of securities in such circumstances could limit the Fund’s profit or require the Fund to incur a loss, and as a result, the Fund’s performance could be impacted.
Non-U.S. Securities Risk
An investment in non-U.S. securities involves risks in addition to the usual risks inherent in domestic investments, including currency risk. The value of a non-U.S. security in U.S. dollars tends to decrease when the value of the U.S. dollar rises against the non-U.S. currency in which the security is denominated and tends to increase when the value of the U.S. dollar falls against such currency. Non-U.S. securities are affected by the fact that in many countries there is less publicly available information about issuers than is available in the reports and ratings published about companies in the United States and companies may not be subject to uniform accounting, auditing and financial reporting standards. Other risks inherent in non U.S. investments may include expropriation; confiscatory taxation; withholding taxes on dividends and interest; less extensive regulation of non-U.S. brokers, securities markets and issuers; diplomatic developments; and political or social instability. Non-U.S. economies may differ favorably or unfavorably from the U.S. economy in various respects, and many non-U.S. securities are less liquid and their prices tend to be more volatile than comparable U.S. securities. From time to time, non-U.S. securities may be difficult to liquidate rapidly without adverse price effects.
Preferred Securities and Trust Preferred Securities Risk
There are special risks associated with investing in preferred securities, including risks related to deferral, noncumulative dividends, subordination, liquidity, limited voting rights and special redemption rights. Trust preferred securities are limited-life preferred securities typically issued by corporations, generally in the form of interest-bearing notes or preferred securities issued by an affiliated business trust of a corporation whose only assets are generally in the form of beneficial interests in subordinated debentures or similarly structured securities. Dividend payments on the trust preferred securities generally coincide with interest payments on the underlying obligations. Trust preferred securities generally have a yield advantage over traditional preferred securities, but unlike preferred securities, distributions are treated as interest rather than dividends for federal income tax purposes and therefore, are not eligible for the dividends received deduction and do not constitute qualified dividend income. Trust preferred securities prices fluctuate for several reasons including changes in investors’ perception of the financial condition of an issuer or the general economic condition of the market for trust preferred securities, or when political or economic
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events affecting the issuers occur. Trust preferred securities are also sensitive to interest rate fluctuations, as the cost of capital rises and borrowing costs increase in a rising interest rate environment and the risk that a trust preferred security may be called for redemption in a falling interest rate environment. Certain of the other risks unique to trust preferred securities include: (i) distributions on trust preferred securities will be made only if interest payments on the interest-bearing notes, preferred securities or subordinated debentures are made; (ii) a corporation issuing the interest-bearing notes, preferred securities or subordinated debentures may defer interest payments on these instruments for up to 20 consecutive quarters and if such election is made, distributions will not be made on the trust preferred securities during the deferral period; (iii) certain tax or regulatory events may trigger the redemption of the interest-bearing notes, preferred securities or subordinated debentures by the issuing corporation and result in prepayment of the trust preferred securities prior to their stated maturity date; (iv) future legislation may be proposed or enacted that may prohibit the corporation from deducting its interest payments on the interest-bearing notes, preferred securities or subordinated debentures for tax purposes, making redemption of these instruments likely; (v) a corporation may redeem the interest bearing notes, preferred securities or subordinated debentures in whole at any time or in part from time to time on or after a stated call date; (vi) trust preferred securities holders have very limited voting rights; and (vii) payment of interest on the interest-bearing notes, preferred securities or subordinated debentures, and therefore distributions on the trust preferred securities, is dependent on the financial condition of the issuing corporation.
Real Estate Investment Trust Risk
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 the 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 issuers of the REITs. In addition, distributions received by an underlying ETF from REITs may consist of dividends, capital gains and/or return of capital. Many of these distributions however will not generally qualify for favorable treatment as qualified dividend income.
Risk Factors of Loan Assignments and Participations
Loans are subject to the risks associated with debt obligations in general including interest rate risk, credit risk and market risk. When a loan is acquired from a lender, the risk includes the credit risk associated with the obligor of the underlying loan. The underlying ETF may incur additional credit risk when the underlying ETF acquires a participation in a loan from another lender because the underlying ETF must assume the risk of insolvency or bankruptcy of the other lender from which the loan was acquired. To the extent that loans involve obligors in foreign or emerging markets, such loans are subject to the risks associated with foreign investments or investments in emerging markets in general.
Securities Lending Risk
Securities lending involves exposure to certain risks, including counterparty risk, collateral risk and operational risk. Counterparty risk is the risk that the borrower may fail to return the securities in a timely manner or at all. As a result, a First Trust Fund engaged in securities lending transactions may suffer a loss and there may be a delay in recovering the lent securities. Any delay in the return of securities on loan may restrict the ability of the Fund to meet delivery or payment obligations. Collateral risk is the risk that the collateral received may be realized at a value lower than the value of the securities lent, whether due to inaccurate pricing of the collateral, adverse market movements in the value of the collateral, intra-day increases in the value of the securities lent, a deterioration in the credit rating of the collateral issuer, or the illiquidity of the market in which the collateral is traded. Securities lending also entails operational risks, such as settlement failures or delays in the settlement of instructions. Such failures or delays may restrict the ability of the Fund to meet delivery or payment obligations. Lastly, securities lending activities may result in adverse tax consequences for the Fund and its shareholders. For instance, substitute payments for dividends received by the Fund for securities loaned out by the Fund will not be considered qualified dividend income. The Fund could lose money if its short-term investment of the collateral declines in value over the period of the loan.
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Management of the Fund
Trustees and Officers
The general supervision of the duties performed for the Fund under the investment management agreement is the responsibility of the Board of Trustees. There are five Trustees of the Trust, one of whom is an “interested person” (as the term is defined in the 1940 Act) and four of whom are Trustees who are not officers or employees of First Trust or any of its affiliates (“Independent Trustees”). The Trustees set broad policies for the Fund, choose the Trust’s officers and hire the Trust’s investment advisor. The officers of the Trust manage its day-to-day operations and are responsible to the Board of Trustees. The following is a list of the Trustees and executive officers of the Trust and a statement of their present positions and principal occupations during the past five years, the number of portfolios each Trustee oversees and the other directorships they have held during the past five years, if applicable. Each Trustee has been elected for an indefinite term. The officers of the Trust serve indefinite terms. Each Trustee, except for James A. Bowen, is an Independent Trustee. Mr. Bowen is deemed an “interested person” (as that term is defined in the 1940 Act) (“Interested Trustee”) of the Trust due to his position as Chief Executive Officer of First Trust, investment advisor to the Fund. The following table identifies the Trustees and Officers of the Trust. Unless otherwise indicated, the address of all persons below is c/o First Trust Advisors L.P., 120 East Liberty Drive, Suite 400, Wheaton, IL 60187.
Name and
Year of Birth
Position
and Offices
with Trust
Term of
Office and
Year First
Elected or
Appointed
Principal Occupations
During Past 5 Years
Number of
Portfolios
in the First
Trust Fund
Complex
Overseen
by Trustee
Other
Trusteeships or
Directorships
Held by
Trustee
During the
Past 5 Years
TRUSTEE WHO IS AN INTERESTED PERSON OF THE TRUST
James A. Bowen (1)
1955
Chairman of the Board and Trustee • Indefinite term
• Since inception
Chief Executive Officer, First Trust Advisors L.P. and First Trust Portfolios L.P.; Chairman of the Board of Directors, BondWave LLC (Software Development Company) and Stonebridge Advisors LLC (Investment Advisor) ___ Portfolios None
INDEPENDENT TRUSTEES
Richard E. Erickson
1951
Trustee • Indefinite term
• Since inception
Physician; Officer, Wheaton Orthopedics; Limited Partner, Gundersen Real Estate Limited Partnership (June 1992 to December 2016); Member, Sportsmed LLC (April 2007 to November 2015) ___ Portfolios None
Thomas R. Kadlec
1957
Trustee • Indefinite term
• Since inception
President, ADM Investor Services, Inc. (Futures Commission Merchant) ___ Portfolios Director of ADM Investor Services, Inc., ADM Investor Services International, Futures Industry Association, and National Futures Association
Robert F. Keith
1956
Trustee • Indefinite term
• Since inception
President, Hibs Enterprises (Financial and Management Consulting) ___ Portfolios Director of Trust Company of Illinois
Niel B. Nielson
1954
Trustee • Indefinite term
• Since inception
Senior Advisor (August 2018 to present), Managing Director and Chief Operating Officer (January 2015 to August 2018), Pelita Harapan Educational Foundation (Educational Products and Services); President and Chief Executive Officer (June 2012 to September 2014), Servant Interactive LLC (Educational Products and Services); President and Chief Executive Officer (June 2012 to September 2014), Dew Learning LLC (Educational Products and Services) ___ Portfolios None
    
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Name and
Year of Birth
Position and
Offices with Trust
Term of Office and
Length of Service
Principal Occupations
During Past 5 Years
OFFICERS OF THE TRUST
James M. Dykas
1966
President and Chief Executive Officer • Indefinite term
• Since inception
Managing Director and Chief Financial Officer (January 2016 to present), Controller (January 2011 to January 2016), Senior Vice President (April 2007 to January 2016), First Trust Advisors L.P. and First Trust Portfolios L.P.; Chief Financial Officer (January 2016 to present), BondWave LLC (Software Development Company) and Stonebridge Advisors LLC (Investment Advisor)
W. Scott Jardine
1960
Secretary and Chief Legal Officer • Indefinite term
• Since inception
General Counsel, First Trust Advisors L.P. and First Trust Portfolios L.P.; Secretary and General Counsel, BondWave LLC; and Secretary, Stonebridge Advisors LLC
Daniel J. Lindquist
1970
Vice President • Indefinite term
• Since inception
Managing Director, First Trust Advisors L.P. and First Trust Portfolios L.P.
Kristi A. Maher
1966
Chief Compliance Officer and Assistant Secretary • Indefinite term
• Since inception
Deputy General Counsel, First Trust Advisors L.P. and First Trust Portfolios L.P.
Donald P. Swade
1972
Treasurer, Chief Financial Officer and Chief Accounting Officer • Indefinite term
• Since inception
Senior Vice President (July 2016 to Present), Vice President (April 2012 to July 2016), First Trust Advisors L.P. and First Trust Portfolios L.P.
Roger F. Testin
1966
Vice President • Indefinite term
• Since inception
Senior Vice President, First Trust Advisors L.P. and First Trust Portfolios L.P.
Stan Ueland
1970
Vice President • Indefinite term
• Since inception
Senior Vice President, First Trust Advisors L.P. and First Trust Portfolios L.P.
(1) Mr. Bowen is deemed an “interested person” of the Trust due to his position as Chief Executive Officer of First Trust, investment advisor of the Fund.
Unitary Board Leadership Structure
Each Trustee serves as a trustee of all open-end and closed-end funds in the First Trust Fund Complex (as defined below), which is known as a “unitary” board leadership structure. Each Trustee currently serves as a trustee of First Trust Series Fund and First Trust Variable Insurance Trust, open-end funds with seven portfolios advised by First Trust; First Trust Senior Floating Rate Income Fund II, Macquarie/First Trust Global Infrastructure/Utilities Dividend & Income Fund, First Trust Energy Income and Growth Fund, First Trust Enhanced Equity Income Fund, First Trust/Aberdeen Global Opportunity Income Fund, First Trust Mortgage Income Fund, First Trust/Aberdeen Emerging Opportunity Fund, First Trust Specialty Finance and Financial Opportunities Fund, First Trust High Income Long/Short Fund, First Trust Energy Infrastructure Fund, First Trust MLP and Energy Income Fund, First Trust Intermediate Duration Preferred & Income Fund, First Trust Dynamic Europe Equity Income Fund, First Trust New Opportunities MLP & Energy Fund and First Trust Senior Floating Rate 2022 Target Term Fund, closed-end funds advised by First Trust; and First Trust Exchange-Traded Fund, First Trust Exchange-Traded Fund II, First Trust Exchange-Traded Fund III, First Trust Exchange-Traded Fund IV, First Trust Exchange-Traded Fund V, First Trust Exchange-Traded Fund VI, First Trust Exchange-Traded Fund VII, First Trust Exchange-Traded Fund VIII, First Trust Exchange-Traded AlphaDEX® Fund and First Trust Exchange-Traded AlphaDEX® Fund II, exchange-traded funds with ___ portfolios advised by First Trust (each a “First Trust Fund” and collectively, the “First Trust Fund Complex”). None of the Trustees who are not “interested persons” of the Trust, nor any of their immediate family members, has ever been a director, officer or employee of, or consultant to, First Trust, First Trust Portfolios L.P. or their affiliates.
The management of the Fund, including general supervision of the duties performed for the Fund under the investment management agreement between the Trust, on behalf of the Fund, and the Advisor, is the responsibility of the Board of Trustees. The Trustees set broad policies for the Fund, choose the Trust’s officers and hire the Fund's investment advisor, sub-advisors and other service providers. The officers of the Trust manage the day-to-day operations and are responsible to the Board. The Board is composed of four Independent Trustees and one Interested Trustee. The Interested Trustee, James A. Bowen, serves as the Chairman of the Board for each fund in the First Trust Fund Complex.
The same five persons serve as Trustees on the Board and on the Boards of all other First Trust Funds. The unitary board structure was adopted for the First Trust Funds because of the efficiencies it achieves with respect to the governance and oversight of the First Trust Funds. Each First Trust Fund is subject to the rules and regulations of the 1940 Act (and other applicable securities laws), which means that many of the First Trust Funds face similar issues with respect to certain of their fundamental activities, including risk management, portfolio liquidity, portfolio valuation and financial reporting. Because of the similar and often overlapping issues facing the First Trust Funds, including among the First Trust exchange-traded funds,
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the Board of the First Trust Funds believes that maintaining a unitary board structure promotes efficiency and consistency in the governance and oversight of all First Trust Funds and reduces the costs, administrative burdens and possible conflicts that may result from having multiple boards. In adopting a unitary board structure, the Trustees seek to provide effective governance through establishing a board the overall composition of which will, as a body, possess the appropriate skills, diversity, independence and experience to oversee the Fund's business.
Annually, the Board reviews its governance structure and the committee structures, their performance and functions, and it reviews any processes that would enhance Board governance over the Fund's business. The Board has determined that its leadership structure, including the unitary board and committee structure, is appropriate based on the characteristics of the funds it serves and the characteristics of the First Trust Fund Complex as a whole.
In order to streamline communication between the Advisor and the Independent Trustees and create certain efficiencies, the Board has a Lead Independent Trustee who is responsible for: (i) coordinating activities of the Independent Trustees; (ii) working with the Advisor, Fund counsel and the independent legal counsel to the Independent Trustees to determine the agenda for Board meetings; (iii) serving as the principal contact for and facilitating communication between the Independent Trustees and the Fund's service providers, particularly the Advisor; and (iv) any other duties that the Independent Trustees may delegate to the Lead Independent Trustee. The Lead Independent Trustee is selected by the Independent Trustees and serves a three-year term or until his or her successor is selected.
The Board has established four standing committees (as described below) and has delegated certain of its responsibilities to those committees. The Board and its committees meet frequently throughout the year to oversee the Fund's activities, review contractual arrangements with and performance of service providers, oversee compliance with regulatory requirements and review Fund performance. The Independent Trustees are represented by independent legal counsel at all Board and committee meetings (other than meetings of the Pricing and Dividend Committee). Generally, the Board acts by majority vote of all the Trustees, including a majority vote of the Independent Trustees if required by applicable law.
The three Committee Chairmen and the Lead Independent Trustee rotate every three years in serving as Chairman of the Audit Committee, the Nominating and Governance Committee or the Valuation Committee, or as Lead Independent Trustee. The Lead Independent Trustee and immediately preceding Lead Independent Trustee also serve on the Executive Committee with the Interested Trustee.
The four standing committees of the First Trust Fund Complex are: the Executive Committee (and Pricing and Dividend Committee), the Nominating and Governance Committee, the Valuation Committee and the Audit Committee. The Executive Committee, which meets between Board meetings, is authorized to exercise all powers of and to act in the place of the Board of Trustees to the extent permitted by the Trust’s Declaration of Trust and By Laws. Such Committee is also responsible for the declaration and setting of dividends. Mr. Kadlec, Mr. Bowen and Mr. Keith are members of the Executive Committee.
The Nominating and Governance Committee is responsible for appointing and nominating non-interested persons to the Board of Trustees. Messrs. Erickson, Kadlec, Keith and Nielson are members of the Nominating and Governance Committee. If there is no vacancy on the Board of Trustees, the Board will not actively seek recommendations from other parties, including shareholders. The Board of Trustees adopted a mandatory retirement age of 75 for Trustees, beyond which age Trustees are ineligible to serve. The Committee will not consider new trustee candidates who are 72 years of age or older or will turn 72 years old during the initial term. When a vacancy on the Board of Trustees occurs or is anticipated to occur and nominations are sought to fill such vacancy, the Nominating and Governance Committee may seek nominations from those sources it deems appropriate in its discretion, including shareholders of the Fund. To submit a recommendation for nomination as a candidate for a position on the Board of Trustees, shareholders of the Fund should mail such recommendation to W. Scott Jardine, Secretary, at the Trust’s address, 120 East Liberty Drive, Suite 400, Wheaton, Illinois 60187. Such recommendation shall include the following information: (i) evidence of Fund ownership of the person or entity recommending the candidate (if a Fund shareholder); (ii) a full description of the proposed candidate’s background, including education, experience, current employment and date of birth; (iii) names and addresses of at least three professional references for the candidate; (iv) information as to whether the candidate is an “interested person” in relation to the Fund, as such term is defined in the 1940 Act, and such other information that may be considered to impair the candidate’s independence; and (v) any other information that may be helpful to the Committee in evaluating the candidate. If a recommendation is received with satisfactorily completed information regarding a candidate during a time when a vacancy exists on the Board or during such other time as the Nominating and Governance Committee is accepting recommendations, the recommendation will be forwarded to the Chairman of the Nominating and Governance Committee and to counsel to the Independent Trustees.
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The Valuation Committee is responsible for the oversight of the valuation procedures of the Fund (the “Valuation Procedures”), for determining the fair value of the Fund's securities or other assets under certain circumstances as described in the Valuation Procedures and for evaluating the performance of any pricing service for the Fund. Messrs. Erickson, Kadlec, Keith and Nielson are members of the Valuation Committee.
The Audit Committee is responsible for overseeing the Fund’s accounting and financial reporting process, the system of internal controls and audit process and for evaluating and appointing independent auditors (subject also to Board approval). Messrs. Erickson, Kadlec, Keith and Nielson serve on the Audit Committee.
Executive Officers
The executive officers of the Trust hold the same positions with each fund in the First Trust Fund Complex (representing ___ portfolios) as they hold with the Trust, except Mr. Ueland who is an executive officer of only the ETFs advised by First Trust and Mr. Testin who is an executive officer of only the ETFs and open-end funds advised by First Trust.
Risk Oversight
As part of the general oversight of the Fund, the Board is involved in the risk oversight of the Fund. The Board has adopted and periodically reviews policies and procedures designed to address the Fund’s risks. Oversight of investment and compliance risk is performed primarily at the Board level in conjunction with the Advisor’s investment oversight group and the Trust’s Chief Compliance Officer (“CCO”). Oversight of other risks also occurs at the committee level. The Advisor’s investment oversight group reports to the Board at quarterly meetings regarding, among other things, Fund performance and the various drivers of such performance. The Board reviews reports on the Fund's and the service providers’ compliance policies and procedures at each quarterly Board meeting and receives an annual report from the CCO regarding the operations of the Fund's and the service providers’ compliance programs. In addition, the Independent Trustees meet privately each quarter with the CCO. The Audit Committee reviews with the Advisor the Fund’s major financial risk exposures and the steps the Advisor has taken to monitor and control these exposures, including the Fund’s risk assessment and risk management policies and guidelines. The Audit Committee also, as appropriate, reviews in a general manner the processes other Board committees have in place with respect to risk assessment and risk management. The Nominating and Governance Committee monitors all matters related to the corporate governance of the Trust. The Valuation Committee monitors valuation risk and compliance with the Fund's Valuation Procedures and oversees the pricing services and actions by the Advisor’s Pricing Committee with respect to the valuation of portfolio securities.
Not all risks that may affect the Fund can be identified nor can controls be developed to eliminate or mitigate their occurrence or effects. It may not be practical or cost effective to eliminate or mitigate certain risks, the processes and controls employed to address certain risks may be limited in their effectiveness, and some risks are simply beyond the reasonable control of the Fund or the Advisor or other service providers. For instance, as the use of Internet technology has become more prevalent, the Fund and its service providers have become more susceptible to potential operational risks through breaches in cyber security (generally, intentional and unintentional events that may cause the Fund or a service provider to lose proprietary information, suffer data corruption or lose operational capacity). There can be no guarantee that any risk management systems established by the Fund, its service providers, or issuers of the securities in which the Fund invests to reduce cyber security risks will succeed, and the Fund cannot control such systems put in place by service providers, issuers or other third parties whose operations may affect the Fund and/or its shareholders. Moreover, it is necessary to bear certain risks (such as investment related risks) to achieve the Fund's goals. As a result of the foregoing and other factors, the Fund's ability to manage risk is subject to substantial limitations.
Board Diversification and Trustee Qualifications
As described above, the Nominating and Governance Committee of the Board oversees matters related to the selection and nomination of Trustees. The Nominating and Governance Committee seeks to establish an effective Board with an appropriate range of skills and diversity, including, as appropriate, differences in background, professional experience, education, vocation, and other individual characteristics and traits in the aggregate. Each Trustee must meet certain basic requirements, including relevant skills and experience, time availability and, if qualifying as an Independent Trustee, independence from the Advisor, underwriters or other service providers, including any affiliates of these entities.
Listed below for each current Trustee are the experiences, qualifications and attributes that led to the conclusion, as of the date of this SAI, that each current Trustee should serve as a Trustee in light of the Trust’s business and structure.
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Richard E. Erickson, M.D., is an orthopedic surgeon. He also has been President of Wheaton Orthopedics, a co-owner and director of a fitness center and a limited partner of two real estate companies. Dr. Erickson has served as a Trustee of each First Trust Fund since its inception and of the First Trust Funds since 1999. Dr. Erickson has also served as the Lead Independent Trustee (20082009 and 20172019) and on the Executive Committee (20082009 and 2017present), Chairman of the Nominating and Governance Committee (20032007 and 20142016), Chairman of the Audit Committee (20122013) and Chairman of the Valuation Committee (June 20062007 and 20102011) of the First Trust Funds. He currently serves as Chairman of the Valuation Committee (since January 1, 2020) of the First Trust Funds.
Thomas R. Kadlec is President of ADM Investor Services Inc. (“ADMIS”), a futures commission merchant and wholly-owned subsidiary of the Archer Daniels Midland Company (“ADM”). Mr. Kadlec has been employed by ADMIS and its affiliates since 1990 in various accounting, financial, operations and risk management capacities. Mr. Kadlec serves on the boards of several international affiliates of ADMIS and served as a member of ADM’s Integrated Risk Committee from 20082018, which was tasked with the duty of implementing and communicating enterprise-wide risk management. In 2014, Mr. Kadlec was elected to the board of the Futures Industry Association. In 2017, Mr. Kadlec was elected to the board of the National Futures Association. Mr. Kadlec has served as a Trustee of each First Trust Fund since its inception. Mr. Kadlec also served on the Executive Committee from the organization of the first First Trust closed-end fund in 2003 through 2005 (and 20142019) until he was elected as the first Lead Independent Trustee in December 2005, serving as such through 2007 (and 20142016). He also served as Chairman of the Valuation Committee (20082009 and 20172019), Chairman of the Audit Committee (20102011) and Chairman of the Nominating and Governance Committee (20122013). He currently serves as Chairman of the Audit Committee (since January 1, 2020) of the First Trust Funds.
Robert F. Keith is President of Hibs Enterprises, a financial and management consulting firm. Mr. Keith has been with Hibs Enterprises since 2003. Prior thereto, Mr. Keith spent 18 years with ServiceMaster and Aramark, including three years as President and COO of ServiceMaster Consumer Services, where he led the initial expansion of certain products overseas; five years as President and COO of ServiceMaster Management Services; and two years as President of Aramark ServiceMaster Management Services. Mr. Keith is a certified public accountant and also has held the positions of Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer of ServiceMaster, at which time he oversaw the financial aspects of ServiceMaster’s expansion of its Management Services division into Europe, the Middle East and Asia. Mr. Keith has served as a Trustee of the First Trust Funds since June 2006. Mr. Keith has also served as the Chairman of the Audit Committee (20082009 and 20172019), Chairman of the Nominating and Governance Committee (20102011) and Chairman of the Valuation Committee (20142016) of the First Trust Funds. He served as Lead Independent Trustee and on the Executive Committee (20122016) and currently serves as Chairman of the Nominating and Governance Committee (since January 1, 2020) of the First Trust Funds.
Niel B. Nielson, Ph.D., has been the Senior Advisor of Pelita Harapan Educational Foundation, a global provider of educational products and services since August 2018. Prior thereto, Mr. Nielson served as the Managing Director and Chief Operating Officer of Pelita Harapan Educational Foundation for three years. Mr. Nielson formerly served as the President and Chief Executive Officer of Dew Learning LLC from June 2012 through September 2014. Mr. Nielson formerly served as President of Covenant College (20022012), and as a partner and trader (of options and futures contracts for hedging options) for Ritchie Capital Markets Group (19961997), where he held an administrative management position at this proprietary derivatives trading company. He also held prior positions in new business development for ServiceMaster Management Services Company and in personnel and human resources for NationsBank of North Carolina, N.A. and Chicago Research and Trading Group, Ltd. (“CRT”). His international experience includes serving as a director of CRT Europe, Inc. for two years, directing out of London all aspects of business conducted by the U.K. and European subsidiary of CRT. Prior to that, Mr. Nielson was a trader and manager at CRT in Chicago. Mr. Nielson has served as a Trustee of each First Trust Fund since its inception and of the First Trust Funds since 1999. Mr. Nielson has also served as the Chairman of the Audit Committee (20032006 and 20142016), Chairman of the Valuation Committee (20072008), Chairman of the Nominating and Governance Committee (20082009 and 20172019) and Lead Independent Trustee and a member of the Executive Committee (20102011). He currently serves as Lead Independent Trustee and on the Executive Committee (since January 1, 2020) of the First Trust Funds.
James A. Bowen is Chief Executive Officer of First Trust Advisors L.P. and First Trust Portfolios L.P. Mr. Bowen is involved in the day-to-day management of the First Trust Funds and serves on the Executive Committee. He has over 35 years of experience in the investment company business in sales, sales management and executive management. Mr. Bowen has served as a Trustee of each First Trust Fund since its inception and of the First Trust Funds since 1999.
Effective January 1, 2020, the fixed annual retainer paid to the Independent Trustees is $255,000 per year and an annual per fund fee of $2,500 for each closed-end fund and actively managed fund, $750 for each defined outcome fund and $250 for each index fund. The fixed annual retainer is allocated equally among each fund in the First Trust Fund Complex
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rather than being allocated pro rata based on each fund’s net assets. Additionally, the Lead Independent Trustee is paid $30,000 annually, the Chairman of the Audit Committee or Valuation Committee are each paid $20,000 annually and the Chairman of the Nominating and Governance Committee is paid $10,000 annually to serve in such capacities with compensation allocated pro rata among each fund in the First Trust Fund Complex based on its net assets.
The following table sets forth the estimated compensation (including reimbursement for travel and out-of-pocket expenses) to be paid by the Fund for one fiscal year and the actual compensation paid by the First Trust Fund Complex to each of the Independent Trustees for the calendar year ended December 31, 2019, respectively. The Trust has no retirement or pension plans. The officers and Trustee who are “interested persons” as designated above serve without any compensation from the Trust. The Trust has no employees. Its officers are compensated by First Trust.
Name of Trustee Estimated Compensation from
the Fund (1)
Total Compensation from
the First Trust Fund Complex (2)
Richard E. Erickson $_____ $458,125
Thomas R. Kadlec $_____ $451,450
Robert F. Keith $_____ $454,098
Niel B. Nielson $_____ $440,930
(1) The estimated compensation to be paid by the Fund to the Independent Trustees for one fiscal year for services to the Fund.
(2) The total compensation paid to the Independent Trustees for the calendar year ended December 31, 2019 for services to the 171 portfolios, which consisted of 7 open-end mutual funds, 15 closed-end funds and 149 exchange-traded funds.
The following table sets forth the dollar range of equity securities beneficially owned by the Trustees in the Fund and in other funds overseen by the Trustees in the First Trust Fund Complex as of December 31, 2019:
Trustee Dollar Range of
Equity Securities
in the Fund
(Number of Shares Held)
Aggregate Dollar Range of
Equity Securities in All Registered
Investment Companies
Overseen by Trustee in the
First Trust Fund Complex
Interested Trustee
James A. Bowen None Over $100,000
Independent Trustees
Richard E. Erickson None Over $100,000
Thomas R. Kadlec None Over $100,000
Robert F. Keith None Over $100,000
Niel B. Nielson None Over $100,000
As of __________, 2020, the Independent Trustees of the Trust and their immediate family members did not own beneficially or of record any class of securities of an investment advisor or principal underwriter of the Fund or any person directly or indirectly controlling, controlled by or under common control with an investment advisor or principal underwriter of the Fund.
As of __________, 2020, the officers and Trustees, in the aggregate, owned less than 1% of the shares of the Fund.
As of __________, 2020, First Trust Portfolios was the sole shareholder of the Fund. As sole shareholder, First Trust Portfolios has the ability to control the outcome of any item presented to shareholders for approval.
As of __________, 2020, the Advisor did not own any shares of the Fund.
Investment Advisor. First Trust, 120 East Liberty Drive, Suite 400, Wheaton, Illinois 60187, is the investment advisor to the Fund. First Trust is a limited partnership with one limited partner, Grace Partners of DuPage L.P., and one general partner, The Charger Corporation. Grace Partners of DuPage L.P. is a limited partnership with one general partner, The Charger Corporation, and a number of limited partners. The Charger Corporation is an Illinois corporation controlled by James A. Bowen, the Chief Executive Officer of First Trust. First Trust discharges its responsibilities to the Fund subject to the policies of the Board of Trustees.
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First Trust provides investment tools and portfolios for advisors and investors. First Trust is committed to theoretically sound portfolio construction and empirically verifiable investment management approaches. Its asset management philosophy and investment discipline are deeply rooted in the application of intuitive factor analysis and model implementation to enhance investment decisions.
First Trust acts as investment advisor for and manages the investment and reinvestment of the assets of the Fund. First Trust also administers the Trust’s business affairs, provides office facilities and equipment and certain clerical, bookkeeping and administrative services, and permits any of its officers or employees to serve without compensation as Trustees or officers of the Trust if elected to such positions.
Pursuant to an investment agreement between First Trust and the Trust, on behalf of the Fund (the “Investment Management Agreement”), First Trust manages the investment of the Fund's assets and is responsible for paying all expenses of the Fund, excluding the fee payments under the Investment Management Agreement, interest, taxes, brokerage commissions and other expenses connected with the execution of portfolio transactions, distribution and service fees payable pursuant to a Rule 12b-1 plan, if any, and extraordinary expenses.
The Fund has agreed to pay First Trust an annual unitary management fee equal to 0.85% of its average daily net assets.
Under the Investment Management Agreement, First Trust shall not be liable for any loss sustained by reason of the purchase, sale or retention of any security, whether or not such purchase, sale or retention shall have been based upon the investigation and research made by any other individual, firm or corporation, if such recommendation shall have been selected with due care and in good faith, except loss resulting from willful misfeasance, bad faith or gross negligence on the part of First Trust in the performance of its obligations and duties, or by reason of its reckless disregard of its obligations and duties. The Investment Management Agreement terminates automatically upon assignment and is terminable at any time without penalty as to the Fund by the Board of Trustees, including a majority of the Independent Trustees, or by vote of the holders of a majority of the Fund’s outstanding voting securities on 60 days’ written notice to First Trust, or by First Trust on 60 days’ written notice to the Fund.
Portfolio Managers. The portfolio managers are primarily and jointly responsible for the day-to-day management of the Fund. There are currently five portfolio managers, as follows:
Name Position with
First Trust
Length of Service
with First Trust
Principal Occupation During Past Five Years
John Gambla Senior Portfolio Manager Since 2011 Senior Portfolio Manager, First Trust Advisors L.P.
Rob A. Guttschow Senior Portfolio Manager Since 2011 Senior Portfolio Manager, First Trust Advisors L.P.
As of ________,2020, none of the portfolio managers beneficially owned any shares of the Fund.
Compensation.    The compensation structure for each portfolio manager of the Advisor is based upon a fixed salary as well as a discretionary bonus determined by the management of First Trust. Salaries are determined by management and are based upon an individual’s position and overall value to the firm. Bonuses are also determined by management and are based upon an individual’s overall contribution to the success of the firm and the profitability of the firm. Salaries and bonuses for the portfolio managers are not based upon criteria such as performance of the Fund or the value of assets included in the Fund’s portfolio. The portfolio managers of the Sub-Advisors are compensated by a competitive minimum base salary and share in the profits of their respective companies in relationship to their ownership of such companies.
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Accounts Managed by Portfolio Managers
The portfolio managers manage the investment vehicles (other than the Fund) with the number of accounts and assets, as of __________, 2020, as set forth in the table below:
Portfolio Managers Registered
Investment
Companies
Number of
Accounts
($ Assets in Thousands)
Other Pooled
Investment
Vehicles
Number of
Accounts
($ Assets in Thousands)
Other Accounts
Number of
Accounts
($ Assets in Thousands)
Registered
Investment
Companies With Performance Fees
Number of
Accounts
($ Assets in Thousands)
Other Pooled
Investment Vehicles
With
Performance Fees
Number of
Accounts
($ Assets in Thousands)
Other Accounts
With
Performance
Fees
Number of
Accounts
($ Assets in Thousands)
John Gambla __
($_______)
__
($_______)
N/A N/A N/A N/A
Rob A. Guttschow __
($_______)
__
($_______)
N/A N/A N/A N/A
Conflicts.    None of the accounts managed by the portfolio managers pay an advisory fee that is based upon the performance of the account. In addition, First Trust believes that there are no material conflicts of interest that may arise in connection with the portfolio managers’ management of the Fund's investments and the investments of the other accounts managed by the portfolio managers. However, because the investment strategy of the Fund and the investment strategies of many of the other accounts managed by the portfolio managers are based on fairly mechanical investment processes, the portfolio managers may recommend that certain clients sell and other clients buy a given security at the same time. In addition, because the investment strategies of the Fund and other accounts managed by the portfolio managers generally result in the clients investing in readily available securities, First Trust believes that there should not be material conflicts in the allocation of investment opportunities between the Fund and other accounts managed by the portfolio managers.
Brokerage Allocations
First Trust is responsible for decisions to buy and sell securities for the Fund and for the placement of the Fund's securities business, the negotiation of the commissions to be paid on brokered transactions, the prices for principal trades in securities, and the allocation of portfolio brokerage and principal business. It is the policy of First Trust to seek the best execution at the best security price available with respect to each transaction, and with respect to brokered transactions in light of the overall quality of brokerage and research services provided to First Trust and its clients. The best price to the Fund means the best net price without regard to the mix between purchase or sale price and commission, if any. Purchases may be made from underwriters, dealers and, on occasion, the issuers. Commissions will be paid on the Fund's futures and options transactions, if any. The purchase price of portfolio securities purchased from an underwriter or dealer may include underwriting commissions and dealer spreads. The Fund may pay markups on principal transactions. In selecting broker-dealers and in negotiating commissions, First Trust considers, among other things, the firm’s reliability, the quality of its execution services on a continuing basis and its financial condition. Fund portfolio transactions may be effected with broker-dealers who have assisted investors in the purchase of shares.
Section 28(e) of the 1934 Act permits an investment advisor, under certain circumstances, to cause an account to pay a broker or dealer who supplies brokerage and research services a commission for effecting a transaction in excess of the amount of commission another broker or dealer would have charged for effecting the transaction. Brokerage and research services include (a) furnishing advice as to the value of securities, the advisability of investing, purchasing or selling securities, and the availability of securities or purchasers or sellers of securities; (b) furnishing analyses and reports concerning issuers, industries, securities, economic factors and trends, portfolio strategy and the performance of accounts; and (c) effecting securities transactions and performing functions incidental thereto (such as clearance, settlement and custody). Such brokerage and research services are often referred to as “soft dollars.” First Trust has advised the Board of Trustees that it does not currently intend to use soft dollars.
Notwithstanding the foregoing, in selecting brokers, First Trust may in the future consider investment and market information and other research, such as economic, securities and performance measurement research, provided by such brokers, and the quality and reliability of brokerage services, including execution capability, performance and financial responsibility. Accordingly, the commissions charged by any such broker may be greater than the amount another firm might charge if First Trust determines in good faith that the amount of such commissions is reasonable in relation to the value of the research information and brokerage services provided by such broker to First Trust or the Trust. In addition, First Trust must determine
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that the research information received in this manner provides the Fund with benefits by supplementing the research otherwise available to the Fund. The Investment Management Agreement provides that such higher commissions will not be paid by the Fund unless First Trust determines in good faith that the amount is reasonable in relation to the services provided. The investment advisory fees paid by the Fund to First Trust under the Investment Management Agreement would not be reduced as a result of receipt by First Trust of research services.
First Trust places portfolio transactions for other advisory accounts advised by it, and research services furnished by firms through which The Fund effects its securities transactions may be used by First Trust in servicing all of its accounts; not all of such services may be used by First Trust in connection with the Fund. First Trust believes it is not possible to measure separately the benefits from research services to each of the accounts (including the Fund) advised by it. Because the volume and nature of the trading activities of the accounts are not uniform, the amount of commissions in excess of those charged by another broker paid by each account for brokerage and research services will vary. However, First Trust believes such costs to the Fund will not be disproportionate to the benefits received by the Fund on a continuing basis. First Trust seeks to allocate portfolio transactions equitably whenever concurrent decisions are made to purchase or sell securities by the Fund and another advisory account. In some cases, this procedure could have an adverse effect on the price or the amount of securities available to the Fund. In making such allocations between the Fund and other advisory accounts, the main factors considered by First Trust are the respective investment objective, the relative size of portfolio holding of the same or comparable securities, the availability of cash for investment and the size of investment commitments generally held.
Administrator, Custodian, Transfer Agent, Fund Accountant, Distributor, Additional Service Provider and Exchange
Administrator.    The Fund has appointed Bank of New York Mellon Corporation ("BNYM"), located at 240 Greenwich Street, New York, New York, 10286, to serve as the Fund’s administrator and provide the Fund with accounting services pursuant to a fund administration and accounting agreement (the “Administration and Accounting Agreement”). Under the Administration and Accounting Agreement, BNYM is obligated, on a continuous basis, to provide such administrative services as the Board reasonably deems necessary for the proper administration of the Trust and the Fund. BNYM generally will assist in many aspects of the Trust’s and the Fund’s operations, including accounting, bookkeeping and record keeping services (including, without limitation, the maintenance of such books and records as are required under the 1940 Act and the rules thereunder, except as maintained by other service providers), assist in preparing reports to shareholders or investors, prepare and file tax returns, supply financial information and supporting data for reports to and filings with the SEC and various state Blue Sky authorities and supply supporting documentation for meetings of the Board.
Custodian.     Pursuant to a custody agreement, BNYM serves as the custodian of the Fund’s assets. The custodian holds and administers the assets in the Fund’s portfolios.
Transfer Agent.    Pursuant to a transfer agency and service agreement, BNYM provides the Trust with transfer agency services, which includes Creation Unit Aggregation order processing.
The Trust, on behalf of the Fund, has agreed to indemnify BNYM for certain liabilities, including certain liabilities arising under the federal securities laws, unless such loss or liability results from negligence or willful misconduct in the performance of its duties. As compensation for these services, BNYM is paid a fee based on the Fund’s total average daily net assets. BNYM also is entitled to certain out-of-pocket expenses for the services described above. This fee is subject to reduction for assets over $1 billion. The Fund has not paid any fees to BNYM for the services provided as the Advisor has assumed responsibility for payment of these fees as part of the unitary management fee.
Distributor.    First Trust Portfolios L.P., an affiliate of First Trust, is the distributor (“FTP” or the “Distributor”) and principal underwriter of the shares of the Fund. Its principal address is 120 East Liberty Drive, Suite 400, Wheaton, Illinois 60187. The Distributor has entered into a Distribution Agreement with the Trust pursuant to which it distributes Fund shares.  Shares are continuously offered for sale by the Fund through the Distributor only in Creation Unit Aggregations, as described in the Prospectus and below under the heading “Creation and Redemption of Creation Unit Aggregations.”
12b-1 Plan.    The Trust has adopted a Plan of Distribution pursuant to Rule 12b-1 under the 1940 Act (the “Plan”) pursuant to which the Fund may reimburse the Distributor up to a maximum annual rate of 0.25% of its average daily net assets.
Under the Plan and as required by Rule 12b-1, the Trustees will receive and review after the end of each calendar quarter a written report provided by the Distributor of the amounts expended under the Plan and the purpose for which such
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expenditures were made. With the exception of the Distributor and its affiliates, no “interested person” of the Trust (as that term is defined in the 1940 Act) and no Trustee of the Trust has a direct or indirect financial interest in the operation of the Plan or any related agreement.
No fee is currently paid by the Fund under the Plan and, pursuant to a contractual agreement, the Fund will not pay 12b-1 fees any time before _________, 2022.
Aggregations. Fund shares in less than Creation Unit Aggregations are not distributed by the Distributor. The Distributor will deliver the Prospectus and, upon request, this SAI to persons purchasing Creation Unit Aggregations and will maintain records of both orders placed with it and confirmations of acceptance furnished by it. The Distributor is a broker-dealer registered under the 1934 Act and a member of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”).
The Distribution Agreement provides that it may be terminated at any time, without the payment of any penalty, on at least 60 days’ written notice by the Trust to the Distributor (i) by vote of a majority of the Independent Trustees or (ii) by vote of a majority of the outstanding voting securities (as defined in the 1940 Act) of the Fund. The Distribution Agreement will terminate automatically in the event of its assignment (as defined in the 1940 Act).
The Distributor has entered into agreements with participants that utilize the facilities of the Depository Trust Company (the "DTC Participants"), which have international, operational, capabilities and place orders for Creation Unit Aggregations of Fund shares. Participating Parties (which are participants in the Continuous Net Settlement System of the National Securities Clearing Corporation) shall be DTC Participants.
Exchange.    The only relationship that the Exchange has with First Trust or the Distributor of the Fund in connection with the Fund is that the Exchange lists the shares of the Fund and disseminates the intra-day portfolio values of the Fund pursuant to its listing agreement with the Trust. The Exchange is not responsible for and has not participated in the determination of pricing or the timing of the issuance or sale of the shares of the Fund or in the determination or calculation of the asset value of the Fund. The Exchange has no obligation or liability in connection with the administration, marketing or trading of the Fund.
Additional Payments to Financial Intermediaries
First Trust or its affiliates may from time to time make payments, out of their own resources, to certain financial intermediaries that sell shares of First Trust mutual funds and ETFs ("First Trust Funds") to promote the sales and retention of Fund shares by those firms and their customers. The amounts of these payments vary by intermediary. The level of payments that First Trust is willing to provide to a particular intermediary may be affected by, among other factors, (i) the firm’s total assets or Fund shares held in and recent net investments into First Trust Funds, (ii) the value of the assets invested in the First Trust Funds by the intermediary’s customers, (iii) redemption rates, (iv) its ability to attract and retain assets, (v) the intermediary’s reputation in the industry, (vi) the level and/or type of marketing assistance and educational activities provided by the intermediary, (vii) the firm’s level of participation in First Trust Funds’ sales and marketing programs, (viii) the firm’s compensation program for its registered representatives who sell Fund shares and provide services to Fund shareholders, and (ix) the asset class of the First Trust Funds for which these payments are provided. Such payments are generally asset-based but also may include the payment of a lump sum.
First Trust may also make payments to certain intermediaries for certain administrative services and shareholder processing services, including record keeping and sub-accounting of shareholder accounts pursuant to a sub-transfer agency, omnibus account service or sub-accounting agreement. All fees payable by First Trust under this category of services may be charged back to the Fund, subject to approval by the Board.
First Trust and/or its affiliates may make payments, out of its own assets, to those firms as compensation and/or reimbursement for marketing support and/or program servicing to selected intermediaries that are registered as holders or dealers of record for accounts invested in one or more of the First Trust Funds or that make First Trust Fund shares available through certain selected Fund no-transaction fee institutional platforms and fee-based wrap programs at certain financial intermediaries. Program servicing payments typically apply to employee benefit plans, such as retirement plans, or fee-based advisory programs but may apply to retail sales and assets in certain situations. The payments are based on such factors as the type and nature of services or support furnished by the intermediary and are generally asset-based. Services for which an intermediary receives marketing support payments may include, but are not limited to, business planning assistance, advertising, educating the intermediary’s personnel about First Trust Funds in connection with shareholder financial planning needs, placement on the intermediary’s preferred or recommended fund list, and access to sales meetings, sales representatives and management
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representatives of the intermediary. In addition, intermediaries may be compensated for enabling representatives of First Trust and/or its affiliates to participate in and/or present at conferences or seminars, sales or training programs for invited registered representatives and other employees, client and investor events and other events sponsored by the intermediary. Services for which an intermediary receives program servicing payments typically include, but are not limited to, record keeping, reporting or transaction processing and shareholder communications and other account administration services, but may also include services rendered in connection with Fund/investment selection and monitoring, employee enrollment and education, plan balance rollover or separation, or other similar services. An intermediary may perform program services itself or may arrange with a third party to perform program services. These payments, if any, are in addition to the service fee and any applicable omnibus sub-accounting fees paid to these firms with respect to these services by the First Trust Funds out of Fund assets.
From time to time, First Trust and/or its affiliates, at its expense, may provide other compensation to intermediaries that sell or arrange for the sale of shares of the First Trust Funds, which may be in addition to marketing support and program servicing payments described above. For example, First Trust and/or its affiliates may: (i) compensate intermediaries for National Securities Clearing Corporation networking system services (e.g., shareholder communication, account statements, trade confirmations and tax reporting) on an asset-based or per-account basis; (ii) compensate intermediaries for providing Fund shareholder trading information; (iii) make one-time or periodic payments to reimburse selected intermediaries for items such as ticket charges (i.e., fees that an intermediary charges its representatives for effecting transactions in Fund shares) or exchange order, operational charges (e.g., fees that an intermediary charges for establishing the Fund on its trading system), and literature printing and/or distribution costs; (iv) at the direction of a retirement plan’s sponsor, reimburse or pay direct expenses of an employee benefit plan that would otherwise be payable by the plan; and (v) provide payments to broker-dealers to help defray their technology or infrastructure costs.
When not provided for in a marketing support or program servicing agreement, First Trust and/or its affiliates may also pay intermediaries for enabling First Trust and/or its affiliates to participate in and/or present at conferences or seminars, sales or training programs for invited registered representatives and other intermediary employees, client and investor events and other intermediary-sponsored events, and for travel expenses, including lodging incurred by registered representatives and other employees in connection with prospecting, asset retention and due diligence trips. These payments may vary depending upon the nature of the event. First Trust and/or its affiliates make payments for such events as it deems appropriate, subject to its internal guidelines and applicable law.
First Trust and/or its affiliates occasionally sponsor due diligence meetings for registered representatives during which they receive updates on various First Trust Funds and are afforded the opportunity to speak with portfolio managers. Although invitations to these meetings are not conditioned on selling a specific number of shares, those who have shown an interest in First Trust Funds are more likely to be considered. To the extent permitted by their firm’s policies and procedures, all or a portion of registered representatives’ expenses in attending these meetings may be covered by First Trust and/or its affiliates.
The amounts of payments referenced above made by First Trust and/or its affiliates could be significant and may create an incentive for an intermediary or its representatives to recommend or offer shares of the First Trust Funds to its customers. The intermediary may elevate the prominence or profile of the First Trust Funds within the intermediary’s organization by, for example, placing the First Trust Funds on a list of preferred or recommended funds and/or granting First Trust and/or its affiliates preferential or enhanced opportunities to promote the First Trust Funds in various ways within the intermediary’s organization. These payments are made pursuant to negotiated agreements with intermediaries. The payments do not change the price paid by investors for the purchase of a share or the amount the Fund will receive as proceeds from such sales. Furthermore, many of these payments are not reflected in the fees and expenses listed in the fee table section of the Fund's Prospectus because they are not paid by the Fund. The types of payments described herein are not mutually exclusive, and a single intermediary may receive some or all types of payments as described.
Other compensation may be offered to the extent not prohibited by state laws or any self-regulatory agency, such as FINRA. Investors can ask their intermediaries for information about any payments they receive from First Trust and/or its affiliates and the services it provides for those payments. Investors may wish to take intermediary payment arrangements into account when considering and evaluating any recommendations relating to Fund shares.
Additional Information
Book Entry Only System.    The following information supplements and should be read in conjunction with the Prospectus.
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DTC Acts as Securities Depository for Fund Shares.    Shares of the Fund are represented by securities registered in the name of The Depository Trust Company (“DTC”) or its nominee, Cede & Co., and deposited with, or on behalf of, DTC.
DTC, a limited-purpose trust company, was created to hold securities of its participants (the “DTC Participants”) and to facilitate the clearance and settlement of securities transactions among the DTC Participants in such securities through electronic book-entry changes in accounts of the DTC Participants, thereby eliminating the need for physical movement of securities certificates. DTC Participants include securities brokers and dealers, banks, trust companies, clearing corporations and certain other organizations, some of whom (and/or their representatives) own DTC. More specifically, DTC is owned by a number of its DTC Participants and by the New York Stock Exchange (the "NYSE") and FINRA. Access to the DTC system is also available to others such as banks, brokers, dealers and trust companies that clear through or maintain a custodial relationship with a DTC Participant, either directly or indirectly (the “Indirect Participants”).
Beneficial ownership of shares is limited to DTC Participants, Indirect Participants and persons holding interests through DTC Participants and Indirect Participants. Ownership of beneficial interests in shares (owners of such beneficial interests are referred to herein as “Beneficial Owners”) is shown on, and the transfer of ownership is effected only through, records maintained by DTC (with respect to DTC Participants) and on the records of DTC Participants (with respect to Indirect Participants and Beneficial Owners that are not DTC Participants). Beneficial Owners will receive from or through the DTC Participant a written confirmation relating to their purchase and sale of shares.
Conveyance of all notices, statements and other communications to Beneficial Owners is effected as follows. Pursuant to a letter agreement between DTC and the Trust, DTC is required to make available to the Trust upon request and for a fee to be charged to the Trust a listing of the shares of the Fund held by each DTC Participant. The Trust shall inquire of each such DTC Participant as to the number of Beneficial Owners holding shares, directly or indirectly, through such DTC Participant. The Trust shall provide each such DTC Participant with copies of such notice, statement or other communication, in such form, number and at such place as such DTC Participant may reasonably request, in order that such notice, statement or communication may be transmitted by such DTC Participant, directly or indirectly, to such Beneficial Owners. In addition, the Trust shall pay to each such DTC Participants a fair and reasonable amount as reimbursement for the expenses attendant to such transmittal, all subject to applicable statutory and regulatory requirements.
Fund distributions shall be made to DTC or its nominee, as the registered holder of all Fund shares. DTC or its nominee, upon receipt of any such distributions, shall immediately credit DTC Participants’ accounts with payments in amounts proportionate to their respective beneficial interests in shares of the Fund as shown on the records of DTC or its nominee. Payments by DTC Participants to Indirect Participants and Beneficial Owners of shares held through such DTC Participants will be governed by standing instructions and customary practices, as is now the case with securities held for the accounts of customers in bearer form or registered in a street name, and will be the responsibility of such DTC Participants.
The Trust has no responsibility or liability for any aspect of the records relating to or notices to Beneficial Owners, or payments made on account of beneficial ownership interests in such shares, or for maintaining, supervising or reviewing any records relating to such beneficial ownership interests, or for any other aspect of the relationship between DTC and the DTC Participants or the relationship between such DTC Participants and the Indirect Participants and Beneficial Owners owning through such DTC Participants.
DTC may decide to discontinue providing its service with respect to shares at any time by giving reasonable notice to the Trust and discharging its responsibilities with respect thereto under applicable law. Under such circumstances, the Trust shall take action to find a replacement for DTC to perform its functions at a comparable cost.
Intra-Day Portfolio Value.    The price of a non-U.S. security that is primarily traded on a non-U.S. exchange shall be updated every 15 seconds throughout its trading day. Upon the closing of such non-U.S. exchange the closing price of the security will be used throughout the remainder of the U.S. business day. The exchange rates used to calculate the value of such non-U.S. securities may differ from those used by First Trust and consequently result in intra-day portfolio values that may vary. Furthermore, in calculating the intra-day portfolio values of the Fund’s shares, the exchange rates used throughout the day (9:00 a.m. to 4:15 p.m., Eastern Time) shall be those that are deemed to be most appropriate.
Proxy Voting Policies and Procedures
The Trust has adopted a proxy voting policy that seeks to ensure that proxies for securities held by the Fund are voted consistently with the best interests of the Fund.
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The Board has delegated to First Trust the proxy voting responsibilities for the Fund and has directed First Trust to vote proxies consistent with the Fund's best interests. First Trust has engaged the services of Institutional Shareholder Services Inc. (“ISS”), to make recommendations to First Trust on the voting of proxies relating to securities held by the Fund. If First Trust manages the assets of a company or its pension plan and any of First Trust’s clients hold any securities of that company, First Trust will vote proxies relating to such company’s securities in accordance with the ISS recommendations to avoid any conflict of interest.
To the extent that the Fund invests in other registered investment companies (“acquired funds”), it may do so pursuant to an exemptive order granted by the SEC. The relief granted by that order is conditioned upon complying with a number of undertakings, some of which require the Fund to vote its shares in an acquired fund in the same proportion as other holders of the acquired fund’s shares. As a result, to the extent that the Fund, or another registered investment company advised by First Trust, relies on the relief granted by the exemptive order to invest in a particular acquired fund, First Trust will vote shares of an acquired fund in the same proportion as the other holders of that acquired fund’s shares. First Trust has adopted the ISS Proxy Voting Guidelines. While these guidelines are not intended to be all inclusive, they do provide guidance on First Trust’s general voting policies.
The ISS Proxy Voting Guidelines are attached hereto as Exhibit A. Information regarding how the Fund voted proxies (if any) relating to portfolio securities during the most recent 12-month period ended June 30 will be available upon request and without charge on the Funds’ website at www.ftportfolios.com, by calling (800) 621-1675 or by accessing the SEC’s website at www.sec.gov.
Portfolio Schedule.    The Fund files portfolio holdings information for each month in a fiscal quarter within 60 days after the end of the relevant fiscal quarter on Form N-PORT. Portfolio holdings information for the third month of each fiscal quarter will be publicly available on the SEC’s website at www.sec.gov. The Fund’s complete schedule of portfolio holdings for the second and fourth quarters of each fiscal year is included in the semi-annual and annual reports to shareholders, respectively, and is filed with the SEC on Form N-CSR. A semi-annual or annual report for the Fund will become available to investors within 60 days after the period to which it relates. The Fund’s Forms N-PORT and Forms N-CSR are available on the SEC’s website listed above.
Policy Regarding Disclosure of Portfolio Holdings.    The Trust has adopted a policy regarding the disclosure of information about the Fund’s portfolio holdings. The Board of Trustees must approve all material amendments to this policy. The Fund’s portfolio holdings are publicly disseminated each day the Fund is open for business through financial reporting and news services, including publicly accessible Internet websites. In addition, a basket composition file, which includes the security names and share quantities to deliver in exchange for Fund shares, together with estimates and actual cash components, is publicly disseminated each day the New York Stock Exchange (the "NYSE") is open for trading via the National Securities Clearing Corporation (“NSCC”). The basket represents one Creation Unit of the Fund. The Fund’s portfolio holdings are also available on the Fund's website at www.ftportfolios.com. The Trust, First Trust, FTP and BNYM will not disseminate non‑public information concerning the Trust.
Codes of Ethics.    In order to mitigate the possibility that the Fund will be adversely affected by personal trading, the Trust, First Trust and the Distributor have adopted Codes of Ethics under Rule 17j-1 of the 1940 Act. These Codes of Ethics contain policies restricting securities trading in personal accounts of the officers, Trustees and others who normally come into possession of information on portfolio transactions. Personnel subject to the Codes of Ethics may invest in securities that may be purchased or held by the Fund; however, the Codes of Ethics require that each transaction in such securities be reviewed by the CCO or his or her designee. These Codes of Ethics are on public file with, and are available from, the SEC.
Creation and Redemption of Creation Unit Aggregations
Creation. The Trust issues and sells shares of the Fund only in Creation Unit Aggregations on a continuous basis through the Distributor, without a sales load, at its net asset value next determined after receipt, on any Business Day (as defined below), of an order in proper form.
A “Business Day” is any day on which the NYSE is open for business. As of the date of this SAI, the NYSE observes the following holidays: New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Presidents’ Day, Good Friday, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.
Deposit of Securities and Deposit or Delivery of Cash. The consideration for purchase of Creation Unit Aggregations of the Fund may consist of (i) cash in lieu of all or a portion of the Deposit Securities, as defined below; and/or (ii) a designated
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portfolio of securities determined by First Trustthe “Deposit Securities”per each Creation Unit Aggregation and generally an amount of cashthe “Cash Component”computed as described below. Together, the Deposit Securities and the Cash Component (including the cash in lieu amount) constitute the “Fund Deposit,” which represents the minimum initial and subsequent investment amount for a Creation Unit Aggregation of the Fund.
The Cash Component is sometimes also referred to as the Balancing Amount. The Cash Component serves the function of compensating for any differences between the net asset value per Creation Unit Aggregation and the Deposit Amount (as defined below). The Cash Component is an amount equal to the difference between (i) the net asset value of Fund shares (per Creation Unit Aggregation); and (ii) the “Deposit Amount”an amount equal to the market value of the Deposit Securities and/or cash in lieu of all or a portion of the Deposit Securities. If the Cash Component is a positive number (i.e., the net asset value per Creation Unit Aggregation exceeds the Deposit Amount), the creator will deliver the Cash Component. If the Cash Component is a negative number (i.e., the net asset value per Creation Unit Aggregation is less than the Deposit Amount), the creator will receive the Cash Component.
The Custodian, through the NSCC makes available on each Business Day, prior to the opening of business on the Exchange (currently 9:30 a.m., Eastern Time), the list of the names and the required number of shares of each Deposit Security to be included in the current Fund Deposit (based on information at the end of the previous Business Day) for the Fund. Such Fund Deposit is applicable, subject to any applicable adjustments, in order to effect creations of Creation Unit Aggregations of the Fund until such time as the next-announced composition of the Deposit Securities is made available.
The identity and number of shares of the Deposit Securities required for a Fund Deposit for the Fund change as corporate action events are reflected within the Fund from time to time by First Trust with a view to the investment objective of the Fund. In addition, the Trust reserves the right to permit or require the substitution of an amount of cashi.e., a “cash in lieu” amountto be added to the Cash Component to replace any Deposit Security that may not be available, that may not be available in sufficient quantity for delivery or that might not be eligible for trading by an Authorized Participant (as defined below) or the investor for which it is acting or other relevant reason. The Trust also reserves the right to permit or require, under certain circumstances, the substitution of a different security in lieu of depositing some or all of the Deposit Securities. The adjustments described above will reflect changes known to First Trust on the date of announcement to be in effect by the time of delivery of the Fund Deposit or resulting from certain corporate actions.
In addition to the list of names and numbers of securities constituting the current Deposit Securities of a Fund Deposit, the Custodian, through the NSCC, also makes available on each Business Day, the estimated Cash Component, for the current day as well as the Cash Component for the previous Business Day, per outstanding Creation Unit Aggregation of the Fund.
Procedures for Creation of Creation Unit Aggregations. In order to be eligible to place orders with the Distributor and to create a Creation Unit Aggregation of the Fund, an entity must be a DTC Participant (see the section entitled “Book Entry Only System”), and must have executed an agreement with the Distributor and transfer agent, with respect to creations and redemptions of Creation Unit Aggregations (“Participant Agreement”), and must have international operational capabilities. A DTC Participant is also referred to as an “Authorized Participant.” Investors should contact the Distributor for the names of Authorized Participants that have signed a Participant Agreement. All Fund shares, however created, will be entered on the records of DTC in the name of Cede & Co. for the account of a DTC Participant.
All standard orders to create Creation Unit Aggregations must be received by the transfer agent no later than the closing time of the regular trading session on the NYSE (“Closing Time”) (ordinarily 4:00 p.m., Eastern Time) in each case on the date such order is placed in order for the creation of Creation Unit Aggregations to be effected based on the net asset value of shares of the Fund as next determined on such date after receipt of the order in proper form. Subject to the provisions of the applicable Participant Agreement, in the case of custom orders, the order must generally be received by the transfer agent no later than 3:00 p.m. Eastern Time on the trade date. A custom order may be placed by an Authorized Participant in the event that the Trust permits or requires the substitution of an amount of cash to be added to the Cash Component to replace any Deposit Security which may not be available, which may not be available in sufficient quantity for delivery or which may not be eligible for trading by such Authorized Participant or the investor for which it is acting or other relevant reason. The date on which an order to create Creation Unit Aggregations (or an order to redeem Creation Unit Aggregations, as discussed below) is placed is referred to as the “Transmittal Date.” Orders must be transmitted by an Authorized Participant by telephone or other transmission method acceptable to the transfer agent pursuant to procedures set forth in the Participant Agreement. Severe economic or market disruptions or changes, or telephone or other communications failure may impede the ability to reach the transfer agent or an Authorized Participant.
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All orders from investors who are not Authorized Participants to create Creation Unit Aggregations shall be placed with an Authorized Participant, as applicable, in the form required by such Authorized Participant. In addition, the Authorized Participant may request the investor to make certain representations or enter into agreements with respect to the order, e.g., to provide for payments of cash, when required. Investors should be aware that their particular broker may not have executed a Participant Agreement and that, therefore, orders to create Creation Unit Aggregations of the Fund have to be placed by the investor’s broker through an Authorized Participant that has executed a Participant Agreement. In such cases there may be additional charges to such investor. At any given time, there may be only a limited number of broker-dealers that have executed a Participant Agreement. Those persons placing orders should ascertain the deadlines applicable to DTC and the Federal Reserve Bank wire system by contacting the operations department of the broker or depository institution effectuating such transfer of Deposit Securities and Cash Component.
Deposit Securities must be delivered to the Trust through DTC or NSCC, subject to and in accordance with the applicable provisions set forth in the Participant Agreement and Deposit Securities that are non-U.S. securities must be delivered to an account maintained at the applicable local subcustodian of the Trust on or before the International Contractual Settlement Date, as defined below all in accordance with the terms of the Participant Agreement. If a Deposit Security is an ADR or similar domestic instrument, it may be delivered to the Custodian. The Authorized Participant must also pay on or before the International Contractual Settlement Date immediately available or same-day funds estimated by Trust to be sufficient to pay the Cash Component next determined after acceptance of the creation order, together with the applicable Creation Transaction Fee (as defined below) and, if applicable, any operational processing and brokerage costs, transfer fees or stamp taxes. The “International Contractual Settlement Date” is the earlier of (i) the date upon which all of the required Deposit Securities, the Cash Component and any other cash amounts which may be due are delivered to the Fund; or (ii) the latest day for settlement on the customary settlement cycle in the jurisdiction(s) where any of the securities of the Fund are customarily traded. Any excess funds will be returned following settlement of the issue of the Creation Unit Aggregation.
Issuance of Creation Unit Aggregations. A Creation Unit Aggregation will generally not be issued until the transfer of good title to the Trust of the portfolio of Deposit Securities and the payment of the Cash Component, the payment of the Creation Transaction Fee (as defined below) and the payment of any other required cash amounts have been completed. When the required Deposit Securities which are U.S. securities have been delivered to the Trust through DTC or NSCC, and each relevant subcustodian confirms to Custodian that the required Deposit Securities which are non-U.S. securities (or, when permitted in the sole discretion of Trust, the cash in lieu thereof) have been delivered to the account of the relevant subcustodian, the Custodian shall notify the Distributor and the transfer agent which, acting on behalf of the Trust, will issue and cause the delivery of the Creation Unit Aggregations. The Trust may in its sole discretion permit or require the substitution of an amount of cash (i.e., a “cash in lieu” amount) to be added to the Cash Component to replace any Deposit Security which may not be available in sufficient quantity for delivery or for other relevant reasons. If the Distributor, acting on behalf of the Trust, determines that a “cash in lieu” amount will be accepted, the Distributor will notify the Authorized Participant and the transfer agent, and the Authorized Participant shall deliver, on behalf of itself or the party on whose behalf it is acting, the “cash in lieu” amount, with any appropriate adjustments as advised by the Trust.
In the event that an order for a Creation Unit is incomplete because certain or all of the Deposit Securities are missing, the Trust may issue a Creation Unit notwithstanding such deficiency in reliance on the undertaking of the Authorized Participant to deliver the missing Deposit Securities as soon as possible, which undertaking shall be secured by an additional cash deposit (described below) with respect to the undelivered Deposit Securities. To the extent contemplated by the applicable Participant Agreement, Creation Unit Aggregations of the Fund will be issued to such Authorized Participant notwithstanding the fact that the corresponding Fund Deposits have not been received in part or in whole, in reliance on the undertaking of the Authorized Participant to deliver the missing Deposit Securities as soon as possible, which undertaking shall be secured by such Authorized Participant’s delivery and maintenance of collateral consisting of cash in the form of U.S. dollars in immediately available funds having a value (marked to market daily) at least equal to 115% which First Trust may change from time to time of the value of the missing Deposit Securities. The Participant Agreement will permit the Fund to buy the missing Deposit Securities at any time and will subject the Authorized Participant to liability for any shortfall between the cost to the Trust of purchasing such securities and the value of the collateral.
Acceptance of Orders for Creation Unit Aggregations. The Trust reserves the absolute right to reject a creation order transmitted to it by the Distributor with respect to the Fund if: (i) the order is not in proper form; (ii) the investor(s), upon obtaining the Fund shares ordered, would own 80% or more of the currently outstanding shares of the Fund; (iii) the required Fund Deposit is not delivered; (iv) acceptance of the Deposit Securities would have certain adverse tax consequences to the Fund; (v) acceptance of the Fund Deposit would, in the opinion of the Trust, be unlawful; (vi) acceptance of the Fund Deposit would otherwise have an adverse effect on the Trust, the Fund or the rights of Beneficial Owners; or (vii) circumstances
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outside the control of the Trust or the Fund make it impossible to process creation orders for all practical purposes. Examples of such circumstances include: acts of God or public service or utility problems such as fires, floods, extreme weather conditions and power outages resulting in telephone, telecopy and computer failures; market conditions or activities causing trading halts; systems failures involving computer or other information systems affecting the Fund, the Trust, First Trust, the Distributor, the transfer agent, DTC, NSCC, the Custodian or sub-custodian or any other participant in the creation process; the imposition by a foreign government or a regulatory body of controls, or other monetary, currency or trading restrictions that directly affect the portfolio securities held; and similar extraordinary events. The Distributor shall notify a prospective creator of a Creation Unit and/or the Authorized Participant acting on behalf of such prospective creator of its rejection of the order of such person. The Trust, the Custodian, any sub-custodian and the Distributor are under no duty, however, to give notification of any defects or irregularities in the delivery of Fund Deposits, nor shall any of them incur any liability for the failure to give any such notification.
All questions as to the number of shares of each security in the Deposit Securities and the validity, form, eligibility, and acceptance for deposit of any securities to be delivered shall be determined by the Trust, and the Trust’s determination shall be final and binding.
Creation Transaction Fee. Purchasers of Creation Units must pay a creation transaction fee (the “Creation Transaction Fee”) that is currently $___. The Creation Transaction Fee is applicable to each purchase transaction regardless of the number of Creation Units purchased in the transaction. The Creation Transaction Fee may vary and is based on the composition of the securities included in the Fund’s portfolio and/or the countries in which the transactions are settled. The price for each Creation Unit will equal the daily net asset value per share times the number of shares in a Creation Unit plus the fees described above and, if applicable, any operational processing and brokerage costs, transfer fees or stamp taxes. When the Fund permits an Authorized Participant to substitute cash or a different security in lieu of depositing one or more of the requisite Deposit Securities, the Authorized Participant may also be assessed an amount to cover the cost of purchasing the Deposit Securities and/or disposing of the substituted securities, including operational processing and brokerage costs, transfer fees, stamp taxes, and part or all of the spread between the expected bid and offer side of the market related to such Deposit Securities and/or substitute securities.
As discussed above, shares of the Fund may be issued in advance of receipt of all Deposit Securities subject to various conditions including a requirement to maintain on deposit with the Fund cash at least equal to 115% of the market value of the missing Deposit Securities.
Redemption of Fund Shares In Creation Unit Aggregations. Fund shares may be redeemed only in Creation Unit Aggregations at their net asset value next determined after receipt of a redemption request in proper form by the Fund through the transfer agent and only on a Business Day. The Fund will not redeem shares in amounts less than Creation Unit Aggregations. Beneficial Owners must accumulate enough shares in the secondary market to constitute a Creation Unit Aggregation in order to have such shares redeemed by the Trust. Shares generally will be redeemed in Creation Unit Aggregations in exchange for a particular portfolio of securities (“Fund Securities”), although the Fund has the right to make redemption payments in cash, in-kind or a combination of each. There can be no assurance, however, that there will be sufficient liquidity in the public trading market at any time to permit assembly of a Creation Unit Aggregation. Investors should expect to incur customary brokerage and other costs in connection with assembling a sufficient number of Fund shares to constitute a redeemable Creation Unit Aggregation.
With respect to the Fund, the Custodian, through the NSCC, makes available prior to the opening of business on the Exchange (currently 9:30 a.m. Eastern Time) on each Business Day, the identity of the Fund Securities that will be applicable (subject to possible amendment or correction) to redemption requests received in proper form on that day. Fund Securities received on redemption may not be identical to Deposit Securities that are applicable to creations of Creation Unit Aggregations.
Unless cash redemptions are available or specified for the Fund (as discussed below), the redemption proceeds for a Creation Unit Aggregation generally consist of Fund Securitiesas announced on the Business Day of the request for redemption received in proper formplus or minus cash in an amount equal to the difference between the net asset value of the Creation Unit Aggregation being redeemed, as next determined after a receipt of a request in proper form, and the value of the Fund Securities (the “Cash Redemption Amount”), less the applicable Redemption Transaction Fee as listed below and, if applicable, any operational processing and brokerage costs, transfer fees or stamp taxes. In the event that the Fund Securities have a value greater than the net asset value of the Fund shares, a compensating cash payment equal to the difference plus, the applicable Redemption Transaction Fee and, if applicable, any operational processing and brokerage costs, transfer fees or stamp taxes is required to be made by or through an Authorized Participant by the redeeming shareholder.
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The right of redemption may be suspended or the date of payment postponed (i) for any period during which the NYSE is closed (other than customary weekend and holiday closings); (ii) for any period during which trading on the NYSE is suspended or restricted; (iii) for any period during which an emergency exists as a result of which disposal of the shares of the Fund or determination of the Fund’s net asset value is not reasonably practicable; or (iv) in such other circumstances as are permitted by the SEC.
Redemption Transaction Fee. Parties redeeming Creation Units must pay a redemption transaction fee (the “Redemption Transaction Fee”) that is currently $___. The Redemption Transaction Fee is applicable to each redemption transaction regardless of the number of Creation Units redeemed in the transaction. The Redemption Transaction Fee may vary and is based on the composition of the securities included in the Fund’s portfolio and/or the countries in which the transactions are settled. Investors will also bear the costs of transferring the Fund Securities from the Trust to their account or on their order and may also be assessed an amount to cover other costs including operational processing and brokerage costs, transfer fees, stamp taxes and part or all of the spread between the expected bid and offer side of the market related to such securities. Investors who use the services of a broker or other such intermediary in addition to an Authorized Participant to effect a redemption of a Creation Unit Aggregation may also be assessed an amount to cover the cost of such services.
Placement of Redemption Orders. Orders to redeem Creation Unit Aggregations must be delivered through an Authorized Participant that has executed a Participant Agreement and must comply with the applicable provisions of such Participant Agreement. Investors other than Authorized Participants are responsible for making arrangements for a redemption request to be made through an Authorized Participant. An order to redeem Creation Unit Aggregations of the Fund is deemed received by the Trust on the Transmittal Date if: (i) such order is received by BNYM (in its capacity as transfer agent) not later than the Closing Time on the Transmittal Date; (ii) such order is accompanied or followed by the requisite number of shares of the Fund specified in such order, which delivery must be made through DTC to BNYM; and (iii) all other procedures set forth in the Participant Agreement are properly followed.
Deliveries of Fund Securities to investors are generally expected to be made within two Business Days. Deliveries of Fund Securities to investors are generally expected to be made within two business days. Due to the schedule of holidays in certain countries, however, the delivery of in-kind redemption proceeds for the Fund may take longer than two Business Days after the day on which the redemption request is received in proper form. In such cases, the local market settlement procedures will not commence until the end of the local holiday periods. See below for a list of the local holidays in the foreign countries relevant to the Fund. Under the 1940 Act, the Fund would generally be required to make payment of redemption proceeds within seven days after a security is tendered for redemption. However, because the settlement of redemptions of Fund Shares is contingent not only on the settlement cycle of the United States securities markets, but also on delivery cycles of foreign markets, pursuant to an exemptive order on which the Fund may rely, the Fund’s in-kind redemption proceeds must be paid within the maximum number of calendar days required for such payment or satisfaction in the principal local markets where transactions in portfolio securities customarily clear and settle, but generally no later than twelve calendar days following tender of a Creation Unit Aggregation.
In connection with taking delivery of shares of non-U.S. Fund Securities upon redemption of shares of the Fund, a redeeming Beneficial Owner, or AP acting on behalf of such Beneficial Owner, must maintain appropriate security arrangements with a qualified broker-dealer, bank or other custody provider in each jurisdiction in which any of the Fund Securities are customarily traded, to which account such Fund Securities will be delivered.
To the extent contemplated by a Participant Agreement, in the event the Authorized Participant has submitted a redemption request in proper form but is unable to transfer all or part of the Creation Unit Aggregation to be redeemed to the Fund’s transfer agent, the transfer agent may nonetheless accept the redemption request in reliance on the undertaking by the Authorized Participant to deliver the missing shares as soon as possible. Such undertaking shall be secured by the Authorized Participant’s delivery and maintenance of collateral consisting of cash having a value (marked to market daily) at least equal to 115%, which First Trust may change from time to time, of the value of the missing shares.
The current procedures for collateralization of missing shares require, among other things, that any cash collateral shall be in the form of U.S. dollars in immediately available funds and shall be held by BNYM and marked to market daily, and that the fees of BNYM and any sub-custodians in respect of the delivery, maintenance and redelivery of the cash collateral shall be payable by the Authorized Participant. If the Participant Agreement provides for collateralization, it will permit the Trust, on behalf of the affected Fund, to purchase the missing shares at any time and will subject the Authorized Participant to liability for any shortfall between the cost to the Trust of purchasing such shares and the value of the collateral.
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The calculation of the value of the Fund Securities and the Cash Redemption Amount to be delivered/received upon redemption will be made by BNYM according to the procedures set forth in this SAI under “Determination of Net Asset Value” computed on the Business Day on which a redemption order is deemed received by the Trust. Therefore, if a redemption order in proper form is submitted to BNYM by a DTC Participant not later than Closing Time on the Transmittal Date, and the requisite number of shares of the Fund are delivered to BNYM prior to the specified time, then the value of the Fund Securities and the Cash Redemption Amount to be delivered will be determined by BNYM on such Transmittal Date. If, however, a redemption order is submitted to BNYM by a DTC Participant not later than the Closing Time on the Transmittal Date but either (i) the requisite number of shares of the Fund are not delivered by the specified time, as described above, on such Transmittal Date, or (ii) the redemption order is not submitted in proper form, then the redemption order will not be deemed received as of the Transmittal Date. In such case, the value of the Fund Securities and the Cash Redemption Amount to be delivered/received will be computed on the Business Day that such order is deemed received by the Trust, i.e., the Business Day on which the shares of the Fund are delivered through DTC to BNYM by the specified time on such Business Day pursuant to a properly submitted redemption order.
If it is not possible to effect deliveries of the Fund Securities, the Trust may in its discretion exercise its option to redeem such Fund shares in cash, and the redeeming Beneficial Owner will be required to receive its redemption proceeds in cash. In addition, an investor may request a redemption in cash that the Fund may, in its sole discretion, permit. In either case, the investor will receive a cash payment equal to the net asset value of its Fund shares based on the net asset value of shares of the relevant Fund next determined after the redemption request is received in proper form (minus a redemption transaction fee and additional charges for requested cash redemptions specified above, to offset the Trust’s brokerage and other transaction costs associated with the disposition of Fund Securities). The Fund may also, in its sole discretion, upon request of a shareholder, provide such redeemer cash in lieu of some securities added to the Cash Redemption Amount, but in no event will the total value of the securities delivered and the cash transmitted differ from the net asset value.
Redemptions of Fund shares for Fund Securities will be subject to compliance with applicable federal and state securities laws and the Fund (whether or not it otherwise permits cash redemptions) reserves the right to redeem Creation Unit Aggregations for cash to the extent that the Trust could not lawfully deliver specific Fund Securities upon redemptions or could not do so without first registering the Fund Securities under such laws. An Authorized Participant or an investor for which it is acting subject to a legal restriction with respect to a particular stock included in the Fund Securities applicable to the redemption of a Creation Unit Aggregation may be paid an equivalent amount of cash. The Authorized Participant may request the redeeming Beneficial Owner of the Fund shares to complete an order form or to enter into agreements with respect to such matters as compensating cash payment, beneficial ownership of shares or delivery instructions.
Because the portfolio securities of the Fund may trade on the relevant exchange(s) on days that the listing exchange for the Fund is closed or that are otherwise not Business Days for the Fund, shareholders may not be able to redeem their shares of the Fund, or purchase and sell shares of the Fund on the listing exchange for the Fund, on days when the net asset value of the Fund could be significantly affected by events in the relevant foreign markets.
Federal Tax Matters
This section summarizes some of the main U.S. federal income tax consequences of owning shares of the Fund. This section is current as of the date of the SAI. Tax laws and interpretations change frequently, and these summaries do not describe all of the tax consequences to all taxpayers. For example, these summaries generally do not describe your situation if you are a corporation, a non-U.S. person, a broker-dealer or other investor with special circumstances. In addition, this section does not describe your state, local or foreign tax consequences.
This federal income tax summary is based in part on the advice of counsel to the Fund. The Internal Revenue Service could disagree with any conclusions set forth in this section. In addition, our counsel was not asked to review, and has not reached a conclusion with respect to, the federal income tax treatment of the assets to be deposited in the Fund. This may not be sufficient for prospective investors to use for the purpose of avoiding penalties under federal tax law.
As with any investment, prospective investors should seek advice based on their individual circumstances from their own tax advisor.
The Fund intends to qualify annually and to elect to be treated as a regulated investment company under the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the “Code”).
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To qualify for the favorable U.S. federal income tax treatment generally accorded to regulated investment companies, the Fund must, among other things, (i) derive in each taxable year at least 90% of its gross income from dividends, interest, payments with respect to securities loans and gains from the sale or other disposition of stock, securities or foreign currencies or other income derived with respect to its business of investing in such stock, securities or currencies, or net income derived from interests in certain publicly traded partnerships; (ii) diversify its holdings so that, at the end of each quarter of the taxable year, (a) at least 50% of the market value of the Fund's assets is represented by cash and cash items (including receivables), U.S. government securities, the securities of other regulated investment companies and other securities, with such other securities of any one issuer generally limited for the purposes of this calculation to an amount not greater than 5% of the value of the Fund's total assets and not greater than 10% of the outstanding voting securities of such issuer, and (b) not more than 25% of the value of its total assets is invested in the securities (other than U.S. government securities or the securities of other regulated investment companies) of any one issuer, or two or more issuers which the Fund controls which are engaged in the same, similar or related trades or businesses, or the securities of one or more of certain publicly traded partnerships; and (iii) distribute at least 90% of its investment company taxable income (which includes, among other items, dividends, interest and net short-term capital gains in excess of net long-term capital losses) and at least 90% of its net tax-exempt interest income each taxable year. There are certain exceptions for failure to qualify if the failure is for reasonable cause or is de minimis, and certain corrective action is taken and certain tax payments are made by the Fund.
As a regulated investment company, the Fund generally will not be subject to U.S. federal income tax on its investment company taxable income (as that term is defined in the Code, but without regard to the deduction for dividends paid) and net capital gain (the excess of net long-term capital gain over net short-term capital loss), if any, that it distributes to shareholders. The Fund intends to distribute to its shareholders, at least annually, substantially all of its investment company taxable income and net capital gain. If the Fund retains any net capital gain or investment company taxable income, it will generally be subject to federal income tax at regular corporate rates on the amount retained. In addition, amounts not distributed on a timely basis in accordance with a calendar year distribution requirement are subject to a nondeductible 4% excise tax unless, generally, the Fund distributes during each calendar year an amount equal to the sum of (1) at least 98% of its ordinary income (not taking into account any capital gains or losses) for the calendar year, (2) at least 98.2% of its capital gains in excess of its capital losses (adjusted for certain ordinary losses) for the one-year period ending October 31 of the calendar year, and (3) any ordinary income and capital gains for previous years that were not distributed during those years. In order to prevent application of the excise tax, the Fund intends to make its distributions in accordance with the calendar year distribution requirement. A distribution will be treated as paid on December 31 of the current calendar year if it is declared by the Fund in October, November or December with a record date in such a month and paid by the Fund during January of the following calendar year. Such distributions will be taxable to shareholders in the calendar year in which the distributions are declared, rather than the calendar year in which the distributions are received.
Subject to certain reasonable cause and de minimis exceptions, if the Fund fails to qualify as a regulated investment company or fails to satisfy the 90% distribution requirement in any taxable year, the Fund would be taxed as an ordinary corporation on its taxable income (even if such income were distributed to its shareholders) and all distributions out of earnings and profits would be taxed to shareholders as ordinary income.
Distributions
Dividends paid out of the Fund's investment company taxable income are generally taxable to a shareholder as ordinary income to the extent of the Fund’s earnings and profits, whether paid in cash or reinvested in additional shares.
Income from the Fund may also be subject to a 3.8% “Medicare tax.” This tax generally applies to net investment income if the taxpayer’s adjusted gross income exceeds certain threshold amounts, which are $250,000 in the case of married couples filing joint returns and $200,000 in the case of single individuals.
A corporation that owns shares generally will not be entitled to the dividends received deduction with respect to many dividends received from the Fund because the dividends received deduction is generally not available for distributions from regulated investment companies. However, certain ordinary income dividends on shares that are attributable to qualifying dividends received by the Fund from certain domestic corporations may be reported by the Fund as being eligible for the dividends received deduction.
Distributions of net capital gain (the excess of net long-term capital gain over net short-term capital loss), if any, properly reported as capital gain dividends are taxable to a shareholder as long-term capital gains, regardless of how long the shareholder has held Fund shares. Shareholders receiving distributions in the form of additional shares, rather than cash, generally will have a tax basis in each such share equal to the value of a share of the Fund on the reinvestment date. A distribution of an
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amount in excess of the Fund's current and accumulated earnings and profits will be treated by a shareholder as a return of capital which is applied against and reduces the shareholder’s basis in his or her shares. To the extent that the amount of any such distribution exceeds the shareholder’s basis in his or her shares, the excess will be treated by the shareholder as gain from a sale or exchange of the shares.
Shareholders will be notified annually as to the U.S. federal income tax status of distributions and shareholders receiving distributions in the form of additional shares will receive a report as to the value of those shares.
Sale or Exchange of Fund Shares
Upon the sale or other disposition of shares of the Fund, which a shareholder holds as a capital asset, such a shareholder may realize a capital gain or loss which will be long-term or short-term, depending upon the shareholder’s holding period for the shares. Generally, a shareholder’s gain or loss will be a long-term gain or loss if the shares have been held for more than one year.
Any loss realized on a sale or exchange will be disallowed to the extent that shares disposed of are replaced (including through reinvestment of dividends) within a period of 61 days beginning 30 days before and ending 30 days after disposition of shares or to the extent that the shareholder, during such period, acquires or enters into an option or contract to acquire substantially identical stock or securities. In such a case, the basis of the shares acquired will be adjusted to reflect the disallowed loss. Any loss realized by a shareholder on a disposition of Fund shares held by the shareholder for six months or less will be treated as a long-term capital loss to the extent of any distributions of long-term capital gain received by the shareholder with respect to such shares.
Taxes on Purchase and Redemption of Creation Units
If a shareholder exchanges securities for Creation Units, the shareholder will generally recognize a gain or a loss. The gain or loss will be equal to the difference between the market value of the Creation Units at the time and the shareholder’s aggregate basis in the securities surrendered and the Cash Component paid. If a shareholder exchanges Creation Units for securities, then the shareholder will generally recognize a gain or loss equal to the difference between the shareholder’s basis in the Creation Units and the aggregate market value of the securities received and the Cash Redemption Amount. The Internal Revenue Service, however, may assert that a loss realized upon an exchange of securities for Creation Units or Creation Units for securities cannot be deducted currently under the rules governing “wash sales,” or on the basis that there has been no significant change in economic position.
Nature of Fund Investments
Certain of the Fund's investment practices are subject to special and complex federal income tax provisions 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 gain into higher taxed short-term capital gain or ordinary income; (iii) convert an ordinary loss or a deduction into a capital loss (the deductibility of which is more limited); (iv) cause the Fund 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; and (vi) adversely alter the characterization of certain complex financial transactions.
Futures Contracts and Options
The Fund's transactions in futures contracts and options will be subject to special provisions of the Code that, among other things, may affect the character of gains and losses realized by the Fund (i.e., may affect whether gains or losses are ordinary or capital, or short-term or long-term), may accelerate recognition of income to the Fund and may defer Fund losses. These rules could, therefore, affect the character, amount and timing of distributions to shareholders. These provisions also (i) will require the Fund to mark-to-market certain types of the positions in its portfolio (i.e., treat them as if they were closed out); and (ii) may cause the Fund to recognize income without receiving cash with which to make distributions in amounts necessary to satisfy the 90% distribution requirement for qualifying to be taxed as a regulated investment company and the distribution requirements for avoiding excise taxes.
Investments in Certain Foreign Corporations
If the Fund holds an equity interest in any “passive foreign investment companies” (“PFICs”), which are generally certain foreign corporations that receive at least 75% of their annual gross income from passive sources (such as interest, dividends,
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certain rents and royalties or capital gains) or that hold at least 50% of their assets in investments producing such passive income, the Fund could be subject to U.S. federal income tax and additional interest charges on gains and certain distributions with respect to those equity interests, even if all the income or gain is timely distributed to its shareholders. The Fund will not be able to pass through to its shareholders any credit or deduction for such taxes. The Fund may be able to make an election that could ameliorate these adverse tax consequences. In this case, the Fund would recognize as ordinary income any increase in the value of such PFIC shares, and as ordinary loss any decrease in such value to the extent it did not exceed prior increases included in income. Under this election, the Fund might be required to recognize in a year income in excess of its distributions from PFICs and its proceeds from dispositions of PFIC stock during that year, and such income would nevertheless be subject to the distribution requirement and would be taken into account for purposes of the 4% excise tax (described above). Dividends paid by PFICs are not treated as qualified dividend income.
Backup Withholding
The Fund may be required to withhold U.S. federal income tax from all taxable distributions and sale proceeds payable to shareholders who fail to provide the Fund with their correct taxpayer identification number or fail to make required certifications, or who have been notified by the Internal Revenue Service that they are subject to backup withholding. Corporate shareholders and certain other shareholders specified in the Code generally are exempt from such backup withholding. This withholding is not an additional tax. Any amounts withheld may be credited against the shareholder’s U.S. federal income tax liability.
Non-U.S. Shareholders
U.S. taxation of a shareholder who, as to the United States, is a nonresident alien individual, a foreign trust or estate, a foreign corporation or foreign partnership (“non-U.S. shareholder”) depends on whether the income of the Fund is “effectively connected” with a U.S. trade or business carried on by the shareholder.
In addition to the rules described in this section concerning the potential imposition of withholding on distributions to non-U.S. persons, distributions to non-U.S. persons that are “financial institutions” may be subject to a withholding tax of 30% unless an agreement is in place between the financial institution and the U.S. Treasury to collect and disclose information about accounts, equity investments or debt interests in the financial institution held by one or more U.S. persons or the institution is resident in a jurisdiction that has entered into such an agreement with the U.S. Treasury. For these purposes, a “financial institution” means any entity that (i) accepts deposits in the ordinary course of a banking or similar business; (ii) holds financial assets for the account of others as a substantial portion of its business; or (iii) is engaged (or holds itself out as being engaged) primarily in the business of investing, reinvesting or trading in securities, partnership interests, commodities or any interest (including a futures contract or option) in such securities, partnership interests or commodities. . This withholding tax is also scheduled to apply to the gross proceeds from the disposition of securities that produce U.S. source interest or dividends after December 31, 2018.  However, proposed regulations may eliminate the requirement to withhold on payments of gross proceeds from dispositions.
Distributions to non-financial non-U.S. entities (other than publicly traded foreign entities, entities owned by residents of U.S. possessions, foreign governments, international organizations or foreign central banks) will also be subject to a withholding tax of 30% if the entity does not certify that the entity does not have any substantial U.S. owners or provide the name, address and TIN of each substantial U.S. owner. This withholding tax is also scheduled to apply to the gross proceeds from the disposition of securities that produce U.S. source interest or dividends after December 31, 2018. However, proposed regulations may eliminate the requirement to withhold on payments of gross proceeds from dispositions.
Income Not Effectively Connected.    If the income from the Fund is not “effectively connected” with a U.S. trade or business carried on by the non-U.S. shareholder, distributions of investment company taxable income will generally be subject to a U.S. tax of 30% (or lower treaty rate), which tax is generally withheld from such distributions.
Distributions of capital gain dividends and any amounts retained by the Fund which are properly reported by the Fund as undistributed capital gains will not be subject to U.S. tax at the rate of 30% (or lower treaty rate) unless the non-U.S. shareholder is a nonresident alien individual and is physically present in the United States for more than 182 days during the taxable year and meets certain other requirements. However, this 30% tax on capital gains of nonresident alien individuals who are physically present in the United States for more than the 182 day period only applies in exceptional cases because any individual present in the United States for more than 182 days during the taxable year is generally treated as a resident for U.S. income tax purposes; in that case, he or she would be subject to U.S. income tax on his or her worldwide income at the graduated rates applicable to U.S. citizens, rather than the 30% U.S. tax. In the case of a non-U.S. shareholder who is a nonresident alien individual, the Fund may be required to withhold U.S. income tax from distributions of net capital gain unless
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the non-U.S. shareholder certifies his or her non-U.S. status under penalties of perjury or otherwise establishes an exemption. If a non-U.S. shareholder is a nonresident alien individual, any gain such shareholder realizes upon the sale or exchange of such shareholder’s shares of the Fund in the United States will ordinarily be exempt from U.S. tax unless the gain is U.S. source income and such shareholder is physically present in the United States for more than 182 days during the taxable year and meets certain other requirements.
Distributions from the Fund that are properly reported by the Fund as an interest-related dividend attributable to certain interest income received by the Fund or as a short-term capital gain dividend attributable to certain net short-term capital gain income received by the Fund may not be subject to U.S. federal income taxes, including withholding taxes when received by certain non-U.S. investors, provided that the Fund makes certain elections and certain other conditions are met.
In addition, capital gain distributions attributable to gains from U.S. real property interests (including certain U.S. real property holding corporations) will generally be subject to United States withholding tax and will give rise to an obligation on the part of the foreign shareholder to file a United States tax return.
Income Effectively Connected.    If the income from the Fund is “effectively connected” with a U.S. trade or business carried on by a non-U.S. shareholder, then distributions of investment company taxable income and capital gain dividends, any amounts retained by the Fund which are properly reported by the Fund as undistributed capital gains and any gains realized upon the sale or exchange of shares of the Fund will be subject to U.S. income tax at the graduated rates applicable to U.S. citizens, residents and domestic corporations. Non-U.S. corporate shareholders may also be subject to the branch profits tax imposed by the Code. The tax consequences to a non-U.S. shareholder entitled to claim the benefits of an applicable tax treaty may differ from those described herein. Non-U.S. shareholders are advised to consult their own tax advisors with respect to the particular tax consequences to them of an investment in the Fund.
Capital Loss Carry-forward
Under the Regulated Investment Company Modernization Act of 2010, net capital losses of the Fund incurred in taxable years beginning after December 22, 2010 may be carried forward indefinitely, and their character is retained as short-term and/or long-term losses. To the extent that these loss carry-forwards are used to offset future capital gains, it is probable that the capital gains so offset will not be distributed to Fund shareholders. The Fund is subject to certain limitations, under U.S. tax rules, on the use of capital loss carry-forwards and net unrealized built-in losses. These limitations generally apply when there has been a 50% change in ownership.
Other Taxation
Fund shareholders may be subject to state, local and foreign taxes on their Fund distributions. Shareholders are advised to consult their own tax advisors with respect to the particular tax consequences to them of an investment in the Fund.
Determination of Net Asset Value
The following information supplements and should be read in conjunction with the section in the Prospectus entitled “Net Asset Value.”
The per share net asset value of the Fund is determined by dividing the total value of the securities and other assets, less liabilities, by the total number of shares outstanding. Under normal circumstances, daily calculation of the net asset value will utilize the last closing sale price of each security held by the Fund at the close of the market on which such security is principally listed. In determining net asset value, portfolio securities for the Fund for which accurate market quotations are readily available will be valued by the Fund accounting agent as follows:
(1) Common stocks and other equity securities listed on any national or foreign exchange other than The Nasdaq Stock Market LLC ("Nasdaq") and the London Stock Exchange Alternative Investment Market (“AIM”) will be valued at the last sale price on the exchange on which they are principally traded, or the official closing price for Nasdaq and AIM securities. Portfolio securities traded on more than one securities exchange are valued at the last sale price or official closing price, as applicable, on the Business Day as of which such value is being determined at the close of the exchange representing the principal market for such securities.
(2) Shares of open-end funds are valued at fair value which is based on NAV per share.
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(3) Securities traded in the OTC market are fair valued at the mean of their most recent bid and asked price, if available, and otherwise at their closing bid price.
(4) Exchange-traded options and futures contracts are valued at the closing price in the market where such contracts are principally traded. If no closing price is available, they will be fair valued at the mean of their most recent bid and asked price, if available, and otherwise at their closing bid price. OTC options and futures contracts are fair valued at the mean of their most recent bid and asked price, if available, and otherwise at their closing bid price.
(5) Forward foreign currency contracts are fair valued at the current day’s interpolated foreign exchange rate, as calculated using the current day’s spot rate, and the 30-, 60-, 90- and 180-day forward rates provided by an independent pricing service or by certain independent dealers in such contracts.
In addition, the following types of securities will be fair valued by the Fund accounting agent as follows:
(1) Fixed-income securities, convertible securities, interest rate swaps, credit default swaps, total return swaps, currency swaps, currency-linked notes, credit-linked notes and other similar instruments will be fair valued using a pricing service.
(2) Fixed-income and other debt securities having a remaining maturity of 60 days or less when purchased are fair valued at cost adjusted for amortization of premiums and accretion of discounts (amortized cost), provided the Advisor’s Pricing Committee has determined that the use of amortized cost is an appropriate reflection of fair value given market and issuer specific conditions existing at the time of the determination. Factors that may be considered in determining the appropriateness of the use of amortized cost include, but are not limited to, the following:
(i) the credit conditions in the relevant market and changes thereto;
(ii) the liquidity conditions in the relevant market and changes thereto;
(iii) the interest rate conditions in the relevant market and changes thereto (such as significant changes in interest rates);
(iv) issuer-specific conditions (such as significant credit deterioration); and
(v) any other market-based data the Advisor’s Pricing Committee considers relevant. In this regard, the Advisor’s Pricing Committee may use last-obtained market-based data to assist it when valuing portfolio securities using amortized cost.
(3) Repurchase agreements will be valued as follows. Overnight repurchase agreements will be fair valued at cost when it represents the best estimate of fair value. Term repurchase agreements (i.e., those whose maturity exceeds seven days) will be fair valued by the Advisor’s Pricing Committee at the average of the bid quotations obtained daily from at least two recognized dealers.
If the Advisor’s Pricing Committee has reason to question the accuracy or reliability of a price supplied or the use of the amortized cost methodology, the Advisor’s Pricing Committee shall determine if “it needs to fair value” such portfolio security pursuant to established valuation procedures.  From time to time, the Advisor’s Pricing Committee will request that the Fund accounting agent submit price challenges to a pricing service, usually in response to any updated broker prices received.
Certain securities may not be able to be priced by pre-established pricing methods. Such securities may be valued by the Board of Trustees or its delegate, the Advisor’s Pricing Committee, at fair value. These securities generally include, but are not limited to, restricted securities (securities that may not be publicly sold without registration under the 1933 Act) for which a pricing service is unable to provide a market price; securities whose trading has been formally suspended; a security whose market or fair value price is not available from a pre-established pricing source; a security with respect to which an event has occurred that is likely to materially affect the value of the security after the market has closed but before the calculation of Fund net asset value (as may be the case in foreign markets on which the security is primarily traded) or is likely to make it difficult or impossible to obtain a reliable market quotation; and a security whose price, as provided by the pricing service, does not reflect the security’s fair value. Fair value prices represent any prices not considered market value prices and are either obtained from a pricing service or are determined by the Advisor’s Pricing Committee.  Market value prices represent last sale or official closing prices from a national or foreign exchange (i.e., a regulated market) and are primarily obtained from
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pricing services.  If no market price or official close price is available from either a pricing service or no quotations are available from one or more brokers or if the Advisor’s Pricing Committee has reason to question the reliability or accuracy of a price supplied or the use of amortized cost, the value of any portfolio security held by the Fund for which reliable market prices/quotations are not readily available will be determined by the Advisor’s Pricing Committee in a manner that most appropriately reflects fair market value of the security on the valuation date, based on a consideration of all available information.  When fair value prices are used, generally they will differ from market quotations or official closing prices on the applicable exchange.
Because foreign markets may be open on different days than the days during which a shareholder may buy or sell shares of the Fund, the value of the Fund's investments may change on the days when shareholders are not able to buy or sell shares of the Fund. For foreign securities, if an extraordinary market event occurs between the time the last “current” market quotation is available for a security in the Fund’s portfolio and the time the Fund’s net asset value is determined and calls into doubt whether that earlier market quotation represents fair value at the time the Fund’s net asset value is determined, the Fund accounting agent will immediately notify the Advisor’s Pricing Committee and the Advisor’s Pricing Committee shall determine the fair valuation.  For foreign securities, the Advisor’s Pricing Committee may seek to determine the “fair value” of such securities by retaining a pricing service to determine the value of the securities.
Foreign securities, currencies and other assets denominated in foreign currencies are translated into U.S. dollars at the exchange rate of such currencies against the U.S. dollar as provided by a pricing service.  All assets denominated in foreign currencies will be converted into U.S. dollars at the exchange rates in effect at the time of valuation.
Dividends and Distributions
The following information supplements and should be read in conjunction with the section in the Prospectus entitled “Dividends, Distributions and Taxes.”
General Policies.    Dividends from net investment income of the Fund, if any, are declared and paid annually. Distributions of net realized securities gains, if any, generally are declared and paid once a year, but the Trust may make distributions on a more frequent basis. The Trust reserves the right to declare special distributions if, in its reasonable discretion, such action is necessary or advisable to preserve the status of the Fund as a regulated investment company or to avoid imposition of income or excise taxes on undistributed income.
Dividends and other distributions of Fund shares are distributed, as described below, on a pro rata basis to Beneficial Owners of such shares. Dividend payments are made through DTC Participants and Indirect Participants to Beneficial Owners then of record with proceeds received from the Fund.
Dividend Reinvestment Service.    No reinvestment service is provided by the Trust. Broker-dealers may make available the DTC book-entry Dividend Reinvestment Service for use by Beneficial Owners of the Fund for reinvestment of their dividend distributions. Beneficial Owners should contact their brokers in order to determine the availability and costs of the service and the details of participation therein. Brokers may require Beneficial Owners to adhere to specific procedures and timetables. If this service is available and used, dividend distributions of both income and realized gains will be automatically reinvested in additional whole shares of the Fund purchased in the secondary market.
Miscellaneous Information
Counsel.     Chapman and Cutler LLP, 111 West Monroe Street, Chicago, Illinois 60603, is counsel to the Trust.
Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm.    Deloitte & Touche LLP, 111 South Wacker Drive, Chicago, Illinois 60606, serves as the Fund's independent registered public accounting firm. The firm audits the Fund's financial statements and performs other related audit services.
40

Exhibit AProxy Voting Guidelines
UNITED STATES
Concise Proxy Voting Guidelines

Benchmark Policy Recommendations
Effective for Meetings on or after February 1, 2020
Published December 11, 2019
ISSGOVERNANCE.COM
© 2019 | Institutional Shareholder Services and/or its affiliates
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The policies contained herein are a sampling only of selected key ISS U.S. proxy voting guidelines,
and are not intended to be exhaustive. The complete guidelines can be found at:
https://www.issgovernance.com/policy-gateway/voting-policies/
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Voting on Director Nominees in Uncontested Elections
General Recommendation: Generally vote for director nominees, except under the following circumstances (with new nominees1 considered on case-by-case basis):
  Independence
Vote against2 or withhold from non-independent directors (Executive Directors and Non-Independent Non-Executive Directors per ISS’ Classification of Directors) when:
Independent directors comprise 50 percent or less of the board;
The non-independent director serves on the audit, compensation, or nominating committee;
The company lacks an audit, compensation, or nominating committee so that the full board functions as that committee; or
The company lacks a formal nominating committee, even if the board attests that the independent directors fulfill the functions of such a committee.
Composition
Attendance at Board and Committee Meetings: Generally vote against or withhold from directors (except nominees who served only part of the fiscal year3) who attend less than 75 percent of the aggregate of their board and committee meetings for the period for which they served, unless an acceptable reason for absences is disclosed in the proxy or another SEC filing. Acceptable reasons for director absences are generally limited to the following:
Medical issues/illness;
Family emergencies; and
Missing only one meeting (when the total of all meetings is three or fewer).
In cases of chronic poor attendance without reasonable justification, in addition to voting against the director(s) with poor attendance, generally vote against or withhold from appropriate members of the nominating/governance committees or the full board.
If the proxy disclosure is unclear and insufficient to determine whether a director attended at least 75 percent of the aggregate of his/her board and committee meetings during his/her period of service, vote against or withhold from the director(s) in question.
Overboarded Directors: Generally vote against or withhold from individual directors who:
Sit on more than five public company boards; or
Are CEOs of public companies who sit on the boards of more than two public companies besides their own— withhold only at their outside boards4.

1 A "new nominee" is a director who is being presented for election by shareholders for the first time. Recommendations on new nominees who have served for less than one year are made on a case-by-case basis depending on the timing of their appointment and the problematic governance issue in question.
2 In general, companies with a plurality vote standard use “Withhold” as the contrary vote option in director elections; companies with a majority vote standard use “Against”. However, it will vary by company and the proxy must be checked to determine the valid contrary vote option for the particular company.
3 Nominees who served for only part of the fiscal year are generally exempted from the attendance policy.
4 Although all of a CEO’s subsidiary boards with publicly-traded common stock will be counted as separate boards, ISS will not recommend a withhold vote for the CEO of a parent company board or any of the controlled (>50 percent ownership) subsidiaries of that parent but may do so at subsidiaries that are less than 50 percent controlled and boards outside the parent/subsidiary relationships.
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Diversity: For companies in the Russell 3000 or S&P 1500 indices, generally vote against or withhold from the chair of the nominating committee (or other directors on a case-by-case basis) at companies when there are no women on the company's board. Mitigating factors include:
Until Feb. 1, 2021, a firm commitment, as stated in the proxy statement, to appoint at least one woman to the board within a year;
The presence of a woman on the board at the preceding annual meeting and a firm commitment to appoint at least one woman to the board within a year; or
Other relevant factors as applicable.
Responsiveness
Vote case-by-case on individual directors, committee members, or the entire board of directors as appropriate if:
The board failed to act on a shareholder proposal that received the support of a majority of the shares cast in the previous year or failed to act on a management proposal seeking to ratify an existing charter/bylaw provision that received opposition of a majority of the shares cast in the previous year. Factors that will be considered are:
Disclosed outreach efforts by the board to shareholders in the wake of the vote;
Rationale provided in the proxy statement for the level of implementation;
The subject matter of the proposal;
The level of support for and opposition to the resolution in past meetings;
Actions taken by the board in response to the majority vote and its engagement with shareholders;
The continuation of the underlying issue as a voting item on the ballot (as either shareholder or management proposals); and
Other factors as appropriate.
The board failed to act on takeover offers where the majority of shares are tendered;
At the previous board election, any director received more than 50 percent withhold/against votes of the shares cast and the company has failed to address the issue(s) that caused the high withhold/against vote.
Vote case-by-case on Compensation Committee members (or, in exceptional cases, the full board) and the Say on Pay proposal if:
The company’s previous say-on-pay received the support of less than 70 percent of votes cast. Factors that will be considered are:
The company's response, including:
Disclosure of engagement efforts with major institutional investors, including the frequency and timing of engagements and the company participants (including whether independent directors participated);
Disclosure of the specific concerns voiced by dissenting shareholders that led to the say-on-pay opposition;
Disclosure of specific and meaningful actions taken to address shareholders' concerns;
Other recent compensation actions taken by the company;
Whether the issues raised are recurring or isolated;
The company's ownership structure; and
Whether the support level was less than 50 percent, which would warrant the highest degree of responsiveness.
The board implements an advisory vote on executive compensation on a less frequent basis than the frequency that received the plurality of votes cast.
Accountability
Problematic Takeover Defenses/Governance Structure
Poison Pills: Vote against or withhold from all nominees (except new nominees1, who should be considered case-by-case) if:
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The company has a poison pill that was not approved by shareholders5. However, vote case-by-case on nominees if the board adopts an initial pill with a term of one year or less, depending on the disclosed rationale for the adoption, and other factors as relevant (such as a commitment to put any renewal to a shareholder vote).
The board makes a material adverse modification to an existing pill, including, but not limited to, extension, renewal, or lowering the trigger, without shareholder approval.
Classified Board Structure: The board is classified, and a continuing director responsible for a problematic governance issue at the board/committee level that would warrant a withhold/against vote recommendation is not up for election. All appropriate nominees (except new) may be held accountable.
Removal of Shareholder Discretion on Classified Boards: The company has opted into, or failed to opt out of, state laws requiring a classified board structure.
Director Performance Evaluation: The board lacks mechanisms to promote accountability and oversight, coupled with sustained poor performance relative to peers. Sustained poor performance is measured by one-, three-, and five-year total shareholder returns in the bottom half of a company’s four-digit GICS industry group (Russell 3000 companies only). Take into consideration the company’s operational metrics and other factors as warranted. Problematic provisions include but are not limited to:
A classified board structure;
A supermajority vote requirement;
Either a plurality vote standard in uncontested director elections, or a majority vote standard in contested elections;
The inability of shareholders to call special meetings;
The inability of shareholders to act by written consent;
A multi-class capital structure; and/or
A non-shareholder-approved poison pill.
Unilateral Bylaw/Charter Amendments and Problematic Capital Structures: Generally vote against or withhold from directors individually, committee members, or the entire board (except new nominees, who should be considered case-by-case) if the board amends the company's bylaws or charter without shareholder approval1 in a manner that materially diminishes shareholders' rights or that could adversely impact shareholders, considering the following factors:
The board's rationale for adopting the bylaw/charter amendment without shareholder ratification;
Disclosure by the company of any significant engagement with shareholders regarding the amendment;
The level of impairment of shareholders' rights caused by the board's unilateral amendment to the bylaws/charter;
The board's track record with regard to unilateral board action on bylaw/charter amendments or other entrenchment provisions;
The company's ownership structure;
The company's existing governance provisions;
The timing of the board's amendment to the bylaws/charter in connection with a significant business development; and,
Other factors, as deemed appropriate, that may be relevant to determine the impact of the amendment on shareholders.
Unless the adverse amendment is reversed or submitted to a binding shareholder vote, in subsequent years vote case-by-case on director nominees. Generally vote against (except new nominees1, who should be considered case-by-case) if the directors:
Classified the board;
Adopted supermajority vote requirements to amend the bylaws or charter; or
Eliminated shareholders' ability to amend bylaws.
Problematic Capital Structure Newly Public Companies: For newly public companies6 , generally vote against or withhold from the entire board (except new nominees1, who should be considered case-by-case) if, prior to or in connection with the company's public offering, the company or its board implemented a multi-class capital structure in which the classes have unequal voting rights without subjecting the multi-class capital structure to a reasonable time-based sunset. In assessing the reasonableness of a time-based sunset provision, consideration will be given to the company’s lifespan, its post-IPO ownership structure and the board’s disclosed rationale for the sunset period selected. No sunset period of more than seven years from the date of the IPO will be considered to be reasonable.

5 Public shareholders only, approval prior to a company’s becoming public is insufficient.
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Continue to vote against or withhold from incumbent directors in subsequent years, unless the problematic capital structure is reversed or removed.
Problematic Governance Structure Newly Public Companies: For newly public companies6, generally vote against or withhold from directors individually, committee members, or the entire board (except new nominees1, who should be considered case-by-case) if, prior to or in connection with the company's public offering, the company or its board adopted the following bylaw or charter provisions that are considered to be materially adverse to shareholder rights:
Supermajority vote requirements to amend the bylaws or charter;
A classified board structure; or
Other egregious provisions.
A reasonable sunset provision will be considered a mitigating factor.
Unless the adverse provision is reversed or removed, vote case-by-case on director nominees in subsequent years.
Management Proposals to Ratify Existing Charter or Bylaw Provisions: Vote against/withhold from individual directors, members of the governance committee, or the full board, where boards ask shareholders to ratify existing charter or bylaw provisions considering the following factors:
The presence of a shareholder proposal addressing the same issue on the same ballot;
The board's rationale for seeking ratification;
Disclosure of actions to be taken by the board should the ratification proposal fail;
Disclosure of shareholder engagement regarding the board’s ratification request;
The level of impairment to shareholders' rights caused by the existing provision;
The history of management and shareholder proposals on the provision at the company’s past meetings;
Whether the current provision was adopted in response to the shareholder proposal;
The company's ownership structure; and
Previous use of ratification proposals to exclude shareholder proposals.
Restrictions on Shareholders’ Rights
Restricting Binding Shareholder Proposals: Generally vote against or withhold from the members of the governance committee if:
The company’s governing documents impose undue restrictions on shareholders’ ability to amend the bylaws. Such restrictions include but are not limited to: outright prohibition on the submission of binding shareholder proposals or share ownership requirements, subject matter restrictions, or time holding requirements in excess of SEC Rule 14a-8. Vote against or withhold on an ongoing basis.
Submission of management proposals to approve or ratify requirements in excess of SEC Rule 14a-8 for the submission of binding bylaw amendments will generally be viewed as an insufficient restoration of shareholders' rights. Generally continue to vote against or withhold on an ongoing basis until shareholders are provided with an unfettered ability to amend the bylaws or a proposal providing for such unfettered right is submitted for shareholder approval.
Problematic Audit-Related Practices
Generally vote against or withhold from the members of the Audit Committee if:
The non-audit fees paid to the auditor are excessive;
The company receives an adverse opinion on the company’s financial statements from its auditor; or
There is persuasive evidence that the Audit Committee entered into an inappropriate indemnification agreement with its auditor that limits the ability of the company, or its shareholders, to pursue legitimate legal recourse against the audit firm.
Vote case-by-case on members of the Audit Committee and potentially the full board if:

6 Newly-public companies generally include companies that emerge from bankruptcy, spin-offs, direct listings, and those who complete a traditional initial public offering.
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Poor accounting practices are identified that rise to a level of serious concern, such as: fraud; misapplication of GAAP; and material weaknesses identified in Section 404 disclosures. Examine the severity, breadth, chronological sequence, and duration, as well as the company’s efforts at remediation or corrective actions, in determining whether withhold/against votes are warranted.
Problematic Compensation Practices
In the absence of an Advisory Vote on Executive Compensation (Say on Pay) ballot item or in egregious situations, vote against or withhold from the members of the Compensation Committee and potentially the full board if:
There is an unmitigated misalignment between CEO pay and company performance (pay for performance);
The company maintains significant problematic pay practices; or
The board exhibits a significant level of poor communication and responsiveness to shareholders.
Generally vote against or withhold from the Compensation Committee chair, other committee members, or potentially the full board if:
The company fails to include a Say on Pay ballot item when required under SEC provisions, or under the company’s declared frequency of say on pay; or
The company fails to include a Frequency of Say on Pay ballot item when required under SEC provisions.
Generally vote against members of the board committee responsible for approving/setting non-employee director compensation if there is a pattern (i.e. two or more years) of awarding excessive non-employee director compensation without disclosing a compelling rationale or other mitigating factors.
Problematic Pledging of Company Stock:
Vote against the members of the committee that oversees risks related to pledging, or the full board, where a significant level of pledged company stock by executives or directors raises concerns. The following factors will be considered:
The presence of an anti-pledging policy, disclosed in the proxy statement, that prohibits future pledging activity;
The magnitude of aggregate pledged shares in terms of total common shares outstanding, market value, and trading volume;
Disclosure of progress or lack thereof in reducing the magnitude of aggregate pledged shares over time;
Disclosure in the proxy statement that shares subject to stock ownership and holding requirements do not include pledged company stock; and
Any other relevant factors.
Governance Failures
Under extraordinary circumstances, vote against or withhold from directors individually, committee members, or the entire board, due to:
Material failures of governance, stewardship, risk oversight7, or fiduciary responsibilities at the company;
Failure to replace management as appropriate; or
Egregious actions related to a director’s service on other boards that raise substantial doubt about his or her ability to effectively oversee management and serve the best interests of shareholders at any company.
Voting on Director Nominees in Contested Elections
Vote-No Campaigns
General Recommendation: In cases where companies are targeted in connection with public “vote-no” campaigns, evaluate director nominees under the existing governance policies for voting on director nominees in uncontested elections. Take into consideration the arguments submitted by shareholders and other publicly available information.

7 Examples of failure of risk oversight include but are not limited to: bribery; large or serial fines or sanctions from regulatory bodies; significant adverse legal judgments or settlement; or hedging of company stock.
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Proxy Contests/Proxy Access Voting for Director Nominees in Contested Elections
General Recommendation: Vote case-by-case on the election of directors in contested elections, considering the following factors:
Long-term financial performance of the company relative to its industry;
Management’s track record;
Background to the contested election;
Nominee qualifications and any compensatory arrangements;
Strategic plan of dissident slate and quality of the critique against management;
Likelihood that the proposed goals and objectives can be achieved (both slates); and
Stock ownership positions.
In the case of candidates nominated pursuant to proxy access, vote case-by-case considering any applicable factors listed above or additional factors which may be relevant, including those that are specific to the company, to the nominee(s) and/or to the nature of the election (such as whether there are more candidates than board seats).
Independent Board Chair
General Recommendation: Generally vote for shareholder proposals requiring that the chair position be filled by an independent director, taking into consideration the following:
The scope and rationale of the proposal;
The company's current board leadership structure;
The company's governance structure and practices;
Company performance; and
Any other relevant factors that may be applicable.
The following factors will increase the likelihood of a “for” recommendation:
A majority non-independent board and/or the presence of non-independent directors on key board committees;
A weak or poorly-defined lead independent director role that fails to serve as an appropriate counterbalance to a combined CEO/chair role;
The presence of an executive or non-independent chair in addition to the CEO, a recent recombination of the role of CEO and chair, and/or departure from a structure with an independent chair;
Evidence that the board has failed to oversee and address material risks facing the company;
A material governance failure, particularly if the board has failed to adequately respond to shareholder concerns or if the board has materially diminished shareholder rights; or
Evidence that the board has failed to intervene when management’s interests are contrary to shareholders' interests.
Proxy Access
General Recommendation: Generally vote for management and shareholder proposals for proxy access with the following provisions:
Ownership threshold: maximum requirement not more than three percent (3%) of the voting power;
Ownership duration: maximum requirement not longer than three (3) years of continuous ownership for each member of the nominating group;
Aggregation: minimal or no limits on the number of shareholders permitted to form a nominating group;
Cap: cap on nominees of generally twenty-five percent (25%) of the board.
Review for reasonableness any other restrictions on the right of proxy access.
Generally vote against proposals that are more restrictive than these guidelines.
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Shareholder Rights & Defenses
Ratification Proposals: Management Proposals to Ratify Existing Charter or Bylaw Provisions
General Recommendation: Generally vote against management proposals to ratify provisions of the company’s existing charter or bylaws, unless these governance provisions align with best practice.
In addition, voting against/withhold from individual directors, members of the governance committee, or the full board may be warranted, considering:
The presence of a shareholder proposal addressing the same issue on the same ballot;
The board's rationale for seeking ratification;
Disclosure of actions to be taken by the board should the ratification proposal fail;
Disclosure of shareholder engagement regarding the board’s ratification request;
The level of impairment to shareholders' rights caused by the existing provision;
The history of management and shareholder proposals on the provision at the company’s past meetings;
Whether the current provision was adopted in response to the shareholder proposal;
The company's ownership structure; and
Previous use of ratification proposals to exclude shareholder proposals.
CAPITAL/RESTRUCTURING
Common Stock Authorization
General Recommendation: Vote for proposals to increase the number of authorized common shares where the primary purpose of the increase is to issue shares in connection with a transaction on the same ballot that warrants support.
Vote against proposals at companies with more than one class of common stock to increase the number of authorized shares of the class of common stock that has superior voting rights.
Vote against proposals to increase the number of authorized common shares if a vote for a reverse stock split on the same ballot is warranted despite the fact that the authorized shares would not be reduced proportionally.
Vote case-by-case on all other proposals to increase the number of shares of common stock authorized for issuance. Take into account company-specific factors that include, at a minimum, the following:
Past Board Performance:
The company's use of authorized shares during the last three years
The Current Request:
Disclosure in the proxy statement of the specific purposes of the proposed increase;
Disclosure in the proxy statement of specific and severe risks to shareholders of not approving the request; and
The dilutive impact of the request as determined relative to an allowable increase calculated by ISS (typically 100 percent of existing authorized shares) that reflects the company's need for shares and total shareholder returns.
ISS will apply the relevant allowable increase below to requests to increase common stock that are for general corporate purposes (or to the general corporate purposes portion of a request that also includes a specific need):
A. Most companies: 100 percent of existing authorized shares.
B. Companies with less than 50 percent of existing authorized shares either outstanding or reserved for issuance: 50 percent of existing authorized shares.
C. Companies with one- and three-year total shareholder returns (TSRs) in the bottom 10 percent of the U.S. market as of the end of the calendar quarter that is closest to their most recent fiscal year end: 50 percent of existing authorized shares.
D. Companies at which both conditions (B and C) above are both present: 25 percent of existing authorized shares.
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If there is an acquisition, private placement, or similar transaction on the ballot (not including equity incentive plans) that ISS is recommending FOR, the allowable increase will be the greater of (i) twice the amount needed to support the transactions on the ballot, and (ii) the allowable increase as calculated above.
Share Repurchase Programs
General Recommendation: For U.S.-incorporated companies, and foreign-incorporated U.S. Domestic Issuers that are traded solely on U.S. exchanges, vote for management proposals to institute open-market share repurchase plans in which all shareholders may participate on equal terms, or to grant the board authority to conduct open-market repurchases, in the absence of company-specific concerns regarding:
Greenmail,
The use of buybacks to inappropriately manipulate incentive compensation metrics,
Threats to the company's long-term viability, or
Other company-specific factors as warranted.
Vote case-by-case on proposals to repurchase shares directly from specified shareholders, balancing the stated rationale against the possibility for the repurchase authority to be misused, such as to repurchase shares from insiders at a premium to market price.
Share Repurchase Programs Shareholder Proposals
General Recommendation: Generally vote against shareholder proposals prohibiting executives from selling shares of company stock during periods in which the company has announced that it may or will be repurchasing shares of its stock. Vote for the proposal when there is a pattern of abuse by executives exercising options or selling shares during periods of share buybacks.
Financial issues company’s financial situation; degree of need of capital; use of proceeds; effect of the financing on the company’s cost of capital;
Management efforts to pursue other alternatives;
Control issues change in management; change in control, guaranteed board and committee seats; standstill provisions; voting agreements; veto power over certain corporate actions; and
Conflict of interest arm’s length transaction, managerial incentives.
Vote for the debt restructuring if it is expected that the company will file for bankruptcy if the transaction is not approved.
Mergers and Acquisitions
General Recommendation: Vote case-by-case on mergers and acquisitions. Review and evaluate the merits and drawbacks of the proposed transaction, balancing various and sometimes countervailing factors including:
Valuation - Is the value to be received by the target shareholders (or paid by the acquirer) reasonable? While the fairness opinion may provide an initial starting point for assessing valuation reasonableness, emphasis is placed on the offer premium, market reaction, and strategic rationale.
Market reaction - How has the market responded to the proposed deal? A negative market reaction should cause closer scrutiny of a deal.
Strategic rationale - Does the deal make sense strategically? From where is the value derived? Cost and revenue synergies should not be overly aggressive or optimistic, but reasonably achievable. Management should also have a favorable track record of successful integration of historical acquisitions.
Negotiations and process - Were the terms of the transaction negotiated at arm's-length? Was the process fair and equitable? A fair process helps to ensure the best price for shareholders. Significant negotiation "wins" can also signify the deal makers' competency. The comprehensiveness of the sales process (e.g., full auction, partial auction, no auction) can also affect shareholder value.
Conflicts of interest - Are insiders benefiting from the transaction disproportionately and inappropriately as compared to non-insider shareholders? As the result of potential conflicts, the directors and officers of the company may be more likely to vote to approve a merger than if they did not hold these interests. Consider whether these interests may have influenced these directors and officers to support or recommend the merger. The CIC figure presented
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  in the "ISS Transaction Summary" section of this report is an aggregate figure that can in certain cases be a misleading indicator of the true value transfer from shareholders to insiders. Where such figure appears to be excessive, analyze the underlying assumptions to determine whether a potential conflict exists.
Governance - Will the combined company have a better or worse governance profile than the current governance profiles of the respective parties to the transaction? If the governance profile is to change for the worse, the burden is on the company to prove that other issues (such as valuation) outweigh any deterioration in governance.
COMPENSATION
Executive Pay Evaluation
Underlying all evaluations are five global principles that most investors expect corporations to adhere to in designing and administering executive and director compensation programs:
1. Maintain appropriate pay-for-performance alignment, with emphasis on long-term shareholder value: This principle encompasses overall executive pay practices, which must be designed to attract, retain, and appropriately motivate the key employees who drive shareholder value creation over the long term. It will take into consideration, among other factors, the link between pay and performance; the mix between fixed and variable pay; performance goals; and equity-based plan costs;
2. Avoid arrangements that risk “pay for failure”: This principle addresses the appropriateness of long or indefinite contracts, excessive severance packages, and guaranteed compensation;
3. Maintain an independent and effective compensation committee: This principle promotes oversight of executive pay programs by directors with appropriate skills, knowledge, experience, and a sound process for compensation decision-making (e.g., including access to independent expertise and advice when needed);
4. Provide shareholders with clear, comprehensive compensation disclosures: This principle underscores the importance of informative and timely disclosures that enable shareholders to evaluate executive pay practices fully and fairly;
5. Avoid inappropriate pay to non-executive directors: This principle recognizes the interests of shareholders in ensuring that compensation to outside directors is reasonable and does not compromise their independence and ability to make appropriate judgments in overseeing managers’ pay and performance. At the market level, it may incorporate a variety of generally accepted best practices.
Advisory Votes on Executive CompensationManagement Proposals (Say-on-Pay)
General Recommendation: Vote case-by-case on ballot items related to executive pay and practices, as well as certain aspects of outside director compensation.
  Vote against Advisory Votes on Executive Compensation (Say-on-Pay or “SOP”) if:
There is an unmitigated misalignment between CEO pay and company performance (pay for performance);
The company maintains significant problematic pay practices;
The board exhibits a significant level of poor communication and responsiveness to shareholders.
Vote against or withhold from the members of the Compensation Committee and potentially the full board if:
There is no SOP on the ballot, and an against vote on an SOP would otherwise be warranted due to pay-for-performance misalignment, problematic pay practices, or the lack of adequate responsiveness on compensation issues raised previously, or a combination thereof;
The board fails to respond adequately to a previous SOP proposal that received less than 70 percent support of votes cast;
The company has recently practiced or approved problematic pay practices, such as option repricing or option backdating; or
The situation is egregious.
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Primary Evaluation Factors for Executive Pay
Pay-for-Performance Evaluation
ISS annually conducts a pay-for-performance analysis to identify strong or satisfactory alignment between pay and performance over a sustained period. With respect to companies in the S&P1500, Russell 3000, or Russell 3000E Indices8, this analysis considers the following:
1. Peer Group9 Alignment:
The degree of alignment between the company's annualized TSR rank and the CEO's annualized total pay rank within a peer group, each measured over a three-year period.
The rankings of CEO total pay and company financial performance within a peer group, each measured over a three-year period.
The multiple of the CEO's total pay relative to the peer group median in the most recent fiscal year.
2. Absolute Alignment10 the absolute alignment between the trend in CEO pay and company TSR over the prior five fiscal years i.e., the difference between the trend in annual pay changes and the trend in annualized TSR during the period.
If the above analysis demonstrates significant unsatisfactory long-term pay-for-performance alignment or, in the case of companies outside the Russell indices, a misalignment between pay and performance is otherwise suggested, our analysis may include any of the following qualitative factors, as relevant to an evaluation of how various pay elements may work to encourage or to undermine long-term value creation and alignment with shareholder interests:
The ratio of performance- to time-based incentive awards;
The overall ratio of performance-based compensation to fixed or discretionary pay;
The rigor of performance goals;
The complexity and risks around pay program design;
The transparency and clarity of disclosure;
The company's peer group benchmarking practices;
Financial/operational results, both absolute and relative to peers;
Special circumstances related to, for example, a new CEO in the prior FY or anomalous equity grant practices (e.g., bi-annual awards);
Realizable pay11 compared to grant pay; and
Any other factors deemed relevant.
Any other factors deemed relevant.
Problematic Pay Practices
The focus is on executive compensation practices that contravene the global pay principles, including:
Problematic practices related to non-performance-based compensation elements;
Incentives that may motivate excessive risk-taking or present a windfall risk; and
Pay decisions that circumvent pay-for-performance, such as options backdating or waiving performance requirements.
Problematic Pay Practices related to Non-Performance-Based Compensation Elements
Pay elements that are not directly based on performance are generally evaluated case-by-case considering the context of a company's overall pay program and demonstrated pay-for-performance philosophy. Please refer to ISS' U.S. Compensation Policies FAQ document for detail on specific pay practices that have been identified as potentially problematic and may lead

8 The Russell 3000E Index includes approximately 4,000 of the largest U.S. equity securities.
9 The revised peer group is generally comprised of 14-24 companies that are selected using market cap, revenue (or assets for certain financial firms), GICS industry group, and company's selected peers' GICS industry group, with size constraints, via a process designed to select peers that are comparable to the subject company in terms of revenue/assets and industry, and also within a market-cap bucket that is reflective of the company's. For Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels companies, market cap is the only size determinant.
10 Only Russell 3000 Index companies are subject to the Absolute Alignment analysis.
11 ISS research reports include realizable pay for S&P1500 companies.
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to negative recommendations if they are deemed to be inappropriate or unjustified relative to executive pay best practices. The list below highlights the problematic practices that carry significant weight in this overall consideration and may result in adverse vote recommendations:
Repricing or replacing of underwater stock options/SARS without prior shareholder approval (including cash buyouts and voluntary surrender of underwater options);
Extraordinary perquisites or tax gross-ups;
New or materially amended agreements that provide for:
Excessive termination or CIC severance payments (generally exceeding 3 times base salary and average/target/most recent bonus);
CIC severance payments without involuntary job loss or substantial diminution of duties ("single" or "modified single" triggers) or in connection with a problematic Good Reason definition;
CIC excise tax gross-up entitlements (including "modified" gross-ups);
Multi-year guaranteed awards that are not at risk due to rigorous performance conditions;
Liberal CIC definition combined with any single-trigger CIC benefits;
Insufficient executive compensation disclosure by externally-managed issuers (EMIs) such that a reasonable assessment of pay programs and practices applicable to the EMI's executives is not possible;
Any other provision or practice deemed to be egregious and present a significant risk to investors.
Compensation Committee Communications and Responsiveness
Consider the following factors case-by-case when evaluating ballot items related to executive pay on the board’s responsiveness to investor input and engagement on compensation issues:
Failure to respond to majority-supported shareholder proposals on executive pay topics; or
Failure to adequately respond to the company's previous say-on-pay proposal that received the support of less than 70 percent of votes cast, taking into account:
Disclosure of engagement efforts with major institutional investors, including the frequency and timing of engagements and the company participants (including whether independent directors participated);
Disclosure of the specific concerns voiced by dissenting shareholders that led to the say-on-pay opposition;
Disclosure of specific and meaningful actions taken to address shareholders’ concerns;
Other recent compensation actions taken by the company;
Whether the issues raised are recurring or isolated;
The company's ownership structure; and
Whether the support level was less than 50 percent, which would warrant the highest degree of responsiveness.
Equity-Based and Other Incentive Plans
Please refer to ISS' U.S. Equity Compensation Plans FAQ document for additional details on the Equity Plan Scorecard policy.
General Recommendation: Vote case-by-case on certain equity-based compensation plans12 depending on a combination of certain plan features and equity grant practices, where positive factors may counterbalance negative factors, and vice versa, as evaluated using an "Equity Plan Scorecard" (EPSC) approach with three pillars:
Plan Cost: The total estimated cost of the company’s equity plans relative to industry/market cap peers, measured by the company's estimated Shareholder Value Transfer (SVT) in relation to peers and considering both:
SVT based on new shares requested plus shares remaining for future grants, plus outstanding unvested/unexercised grants; and
SVT based only on new shares requested plus shares remaining for future grants.
Plan Features:
Quality of disclosure around vesting upon a change in control (CIC);
Discretionary vesting authority;
Liberal share recycling on various award types;

21 Proposals evaluated under the EPSC policy generally include those to approve or amend (1) stock option plans for employees and/or employees and directors, (2) restricted stock plans for employees and/or employees and directors, and (3) omnibus stock incentive plans for employees and/or employees and directors; amended plans will be further evaluated case-by-case.
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Lack of minimum vesting period for grants made under the plan;
Dividends payable prior to award vesting.
Grant Practices:
The company’s three-year burn rate relative to its industry/market cap peers;
Vesting requirements in CEO's recent equity grants (3-year look-back);
The estimated duration of the plan (based on the sum of shares remaining available and the new shares requested, divided by the average annual shares granted in the prior three years);
The proportion of the CEO's most recent equity grants/awards subject to performance conditions;
Whether the company maintains a sufficient claw-back policy;
Whether the company maintains sufficient post-exercise/vesting share-holding requirements.
Generally vote against the plan proposal if the combination of above factors indicates that the plan is not, overall, in shareholders' interests, or if any of the following egregious factors ("overriding factors") apply:
Awards may vest in connection with a liberal change-of-control definition;
The plan would permit repricing or cash buyout of underwater options without shareholder approval (either by expressly permitting itfor NYSE and Nasdaq listed companiesor by not prohibiting it when the company has a history of repricingfor non-listed companies);
The plan is a vehicle for problematic pay practices or a significant pay-for-performance disconnect under certain circumstances;
The plan is excessively dilutive to shareholders' holdings;
The plan contains an evergreen (automatic share replenishment) feature; or
Any other plan features are determined to have a significant negative impact on shareholder interests.
SOCIAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES
Global Approach
Issues covered under the policy include a wide range of topics, including consumer and product safety, environment and energy, labor standards and human rights, workplace and board diversity, and corporate political issues. While a variety of factors goes into each analysis, the overall principle guiding all vote recommendations focuses on how the proposal may enhance or protect shareholder value in either the short or long term.
General Recommendation: Generally vote case-by-case, examining primarily whether implementation of the proposal is likely to enhance or protect shareholder value. The following factors will be considered:
If the issues presented in the proposal are more appropriately or effectively dealt with through legislation or government regulation;
If the company has already responded in an appropriate and sufficient manner to the issue(s) raised in the proposal;
Whether the proposal's request is unduly burdensome (scope or timeframe) or overly prescriptive;
The company's approach compared with any industry standard practices for addressing the issue(s) raised by the proposal;
Whether there are significant controversies, fines, penalties, or litigation associated with the company's environmental or social practices;
If the proposal requests increased disclosure or greater transparency, whether reasonable and sufficient information is currently available to shareholders from the company or from other publicly available sources; and
If the proposal requests increased disclosure or greater transparency, whether implementation would reveal proprietary or confidential information that could place the company at a competitive disadvantage.
Climate Change/Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions
General Recommendation: Generally vote for resolutions requesting that a company disclose information on the financial, physical, or regulatory risks it faces related to climate change on its operations and investments or on how the company identifies, measures, and manages such risks, considering:
Whether the company already provides current, publicly-available information on the impact that climate change may have on the company as well as associated company policies and procedures to address related risks and/or opportunities;
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The company’s level of disclosure compared to industry peers; and
Whether there are significant controversies, fines, penalties, or litigation associated with the company’s climate change-related performance.
Generally vote for proposals requesting a report on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from company operations and/or products and operations, unless:
The company already discloses current, publicly-available information on the impacts that GHG emissions may have on the company as well as associated company policies and procedures to address related risks and/or opportunities;
The company's level of disclosure is comparable to that of industry peers; and
There are no significant, controversies, fines, penalties, or litigation associated with the company's GHG emissions.
Vote case-by-case on proposals that call for the adoption of GHG reduction goals from products and operations, taking into account:
Whether the company provides disclosure of year-over-year GHG emissions performance data;
Whether company disclosure lags behind industry peers;
The company's actual GHG emissions performance;
The company's current GHG emission policies, oversight mechanisms, and related initiatives; and
Whether the company has been the subject of recent, significant violations, fines, litigation, or controversy related to GHG emissions.
Board Diversity
General Recommendation: Generally vote for requests for reports on a company's efforts to diversify the board, unless:
The gender and racial minority representation of the company’s board is reasonably inclusive in relation to companies of similar size and business; and
The board already reports on its nominating procedures and gender and racial minority initiatives on the board and within the company.
Vote case-by-case on proposals asking a company to increase the gender and racial minority representation on its board, taking into account:
The degree of existing gender and racial minority diversity on the company’s board and among its executive officers;
The level of gender and racial minority representation that exists at the company’s industry peers;
The company’s established process for addressing gender and racial minority board representation;
Whether the proposal includes an overly prescriptive request to amend nominating committee charter language;
The independence of the company’s nominating committee;
Whether the company uses an outside search firm to identify potential director nominees; and
Whether the company has had recent controversies, fines, or litigation regarding equal employment practices.
Gender, Race, or Ethnicity Pay Gap
General Recommendation: Generally vote case-by-case on requests for reports on a company's pay data by gender, race, or ethnicity, or a report on a company’s policies and goals to reduce any gender, race, or ethnicity pay gap, taking into account:
The company's current policies and disclosure related to both its diversity and inclusion policies and practices and its compensation philosophy and fair and equitable compensation practices;
Whether the company has been the subject of recent controversy, litigation, or regulatory actions related to gender, race, or ethnicity pay gap issues; and
Whether the company's reporting regarding gender, race, or ethnicity pay gap policies or initiatives is lagging its peers.
Sustainability Reporting
General Recommendation: Generally vote for proposals requesting that a company report on its policies, initiatives, and oversight mechanisms related to social, economic, and environmental sustainability, unless:
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The company already discloses similar information through existing reports or policies such as an environment, health, and safety (EHS) report; a comprehensive code of corporate conduct; and/or a diversity report; or
The company has formally committed to the implementation of a reporting program based on Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) guidelines or a similar standard within a specified time frame.
Lobbying
General Recommendation: Vote case-by-case on proposals requesting information on a company’s lobbying (including direct, indirect, and grassroots lobbying) activities, policies, or procedures, considering:
The company’s current disclosure of relevant lobbying policies, and management and board oversight;
The company’s disclosure regarding trade associations or other groups that it supports, or is a member of, that engage in lobbying activities; and