485BPOS 1 etf8_485b.htm POST-EFFECTIVE AMENDMENT

As filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on September 14, 2021

 

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. 309 [X]
and/or
Registration Statement Under the Investment Company Act of 1940 [   ]
Amendment No. 311 [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)

[X] on September 15, 2021 pursuant to paragraph (b)

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

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

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

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

If appropriate, check the following box:

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

 
 

Contents of Post-Effective Amendment No. 309

This Registration Statement comprises the following papers and contents:

The Facing Sheet

Part A - Prospectus for First Trust SkyBridge Crypto Industry and Digital Economy ETF (formerly, First Trust SkyBridge Crypto Leaders ETF)

Part B – Statement of Additional Information for First Trust SkyBridge Crypto Industry and Digital Economy ETF (formerly, First Trust SkyBridge Crypto Leaders ETF)

Part C - Other Information

Signatures

Index to Exhibits

Exhibits

First Trust
Exchange-Traded Fund VIII
PRELIMINARY PROSPECTUS DATED SEPTEMBER 14, 2021
SUBJECT TO COMPLETION
Prospectus
First Trust SkyBridge Crypto Industry and Digital Economy ETF
Ticker Symbol:
CRPT
Exchange:
NYSE Arca, Inc.
First Trust SkyBridge Crypto Industry and Digital Economy 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 blocks of shares called "Creation Units."
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.
_________, 2021

Summary Information
Investment Objective
The First Trust SkyBridge Crypto Industry and Digital Economy ETF's (the "Fund") investment objective is to provide investors with capital appreciation.
Fees and Expenses of the Fund
The following table describes the fees and expenses you may pay if you buy, hold and sell shares of the Fund. Investors may pay other fees, such as brokerage commissions and other fees to financial intermediaries, which are not reflected in the table and example below.
Shareholder Fees
(fees paid directly from your investment)
Maximum Sales Charge (Load) Imposed on Purchases (as a percentage of offering price)
None
Annual Fund Operating Expenses
(expenses that you pay each year as a percentage of the value of your investment)
Management Fees
0.85%
Distribution and Service (12b-1) Fees
0.00%
Other Expenses(1)
0.00%
Total Annual Fund Operating Expenses
0.85%
(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 and then hold or sell all of your shares at the end of those periods. The example also assumes that your investment has a 5% return each year and that the Fund’s operating expenses remain at current levels. Although your actual costs may be higher or lower, based on these assumptions your costs would be:
1 Year
3 Years
$87
$271
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. The Fund has no operational history and therefore no historical turnover rate.
Principal Investment Strategies
The Fund will normally invest at least 80% of its net assets (plus any investment borrowings) in the common stocks and American Depositary Receipts (“ADRs”) of Crypto Industry Companies and Digital Economy Companies. Under normal market conditions, the Fund will invest at least 50% of its net assets (plus any investment borrowings) in Crypto Industry Companies. The remainder of the Fund’s net assets used to satisfy the 80% test set forth above will be invested in Digital Economy Companies.
1.
“Crypto Industry Companies” are those companies that (i) derive at least 50% of their revenue or profits directly from goods produced or sold, investments made, or services performed in the crypto industry ecosystem (defined below); and/or (ii) have at least 50% of their net assets accounted for by direct holdings of bitcoin, ether or another crypto asset (collectively, “crypto assets”). The Fund’s investment sub-adviser, SkyBridge
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Capital II, LLC (“SkyBridge” or the “Sub-Advisor”), defines “crypto industry ecosystem” to be those companies involved in servicing the crypto asset markets, including crypto mining firms, crypto mining equipment suppliers, crypto financial services companies, or other financial institutions servicing primarily crypto-related clientele.
2.
“Digital Economy Companies” are those companies that derive at least 50% of their revenue or profits directly from goods produced or sold, investments made, or services performed in the digital economy ecosystem (defined below). The Sub-Advisor defines “digital economy ecosystem” to be those companies: (i) providing online banking services; (ii) operating digital payment gateways (i.e., a merchant service that authorizes direct payments processing for businesses); (iii) operating online asset management and trading platforms; (iv) manufacturing semiconductors; or (v) providing software services. For the avoidance of doubt, companies deemed to be “Crypto Industry Companies” will not be considered “Digital Economy Companies.”
The Fund will not directly invest in digital assets (including bitcoin, other cryptocurrencies or initial coin offerings), or indirectly through the use of derivatives or through investments in funds or trusts that hold digital assets. As the Fund does not directly or indirectly invest in cryptocurrencies, the Fund does not expect to track the price movement of any cryptocurrencies.
The Fund’s selection universe includes common stock and ADRs listed on global securities exchanges, including securities issued by non-U.S. companies and companies operating in emerging market countries. A significant portion of the Fund’s investments may be in issuers with small market capitalizations. The Sub-Advisor evaluates all companies comprising the selection universe and identifies all eligible Crypto Industry Companies and Digital Economy Companies. From these companies, the Sub-Advisor will invest in those companies that it believes provide the best opportunity for capital appreciation. As of the date of this prospectus, the Sub-Advisor believes that all Crypto Industry Companies that have publicly-traded securities are the leaders in the nascent crypto industry ecosystem and intends to include all such securities in the Fund’s portfolio. The section entitled “Additional Information Regarding the Fund’s Investment Objective and Strategies” provides additional information on the Fund’s intended investments.
The Fund’s investments will be concentrated (i.e., 25% or more of the Fund’s total assets) in the industries constituting the information technology sector and the financial sector.
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.
AUTHORIZED PARTICIPANT CONCENTRATION RISK. Only an authorized participant may engage in creation or redemption transactions directly with the Fund. A limited number of institutions act as authorized participants for the Fund. To the extent that these institutions exit the business or are unable to proceed with creation and/or redemption orders and no other authorized participant steps forward to create or redeem, the Fund’s shares may trade at a premium or discount to the Fund’s net asset value and possibly face delisting.
CONCENTRATION RISK. The Fund is concentrated in information technology companies and financial companies. To the extent that the Fund invests a large percentage of its assets in a single asset class or the securities of issuers within the same country, state, region, industry or sector, an adverse economic, business or political development may affect the value of the Fund’s investments more than if the Fund were more broadly diversified. A concentration makes the Fund more susceptible to any single occurrence and may subject the Fund to greater market risk than a fund that is not so concentrated.
CRYPTO INDUSTRY COMPANIES RISK. The technology relating to the crypto industry ecosystem is new and developing and the risks associated with cryptocurrencies and other digital assets may not fully emerge until the technology is widely used. Crypto technologies are used by companies to optimize their business practices, whether by using the technology within their business or operating business lines involved in the operation of the technology. The cryptographic keys necessary to transact a cryptocurrency or other digital asset may be subject to theft, loss, or destruction, which could adversely affect a company’s business or operations if it were dependent on such an asset. Competing platforms and technologies may be developed such that consumers or investors use an alternative to cryptocurrencies and digital assets. There may be risks posed by the lack of regulation for crypto assets and any future regulatory developments could affect the viability and expansion of the use of
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crypto technologies. Recently, U.S. securities regulators have brought actions against companies operating in the crypto industry ecosystem for violations of U.S. securities laws. To the extent such an action is brought against a company held by the Fund, the value of such a holding could decrease significantly. Because companies operating in the crypto industry ecosystem may operate across many national boundaries and regulatory jurisdictions, it is possible that such companies may be subject to widespread and inconsistent regulation. Crypto Industry Companies that rely on third party products may be subject to technical defects or vulnerabilities beyond a company’s control. Because many crypto assets do not have a standardized exchange, like a stock market, there is less liquidity for such assets and greater possibility of volatility, fraud or manipulation. Currently, there are relatively few companies for which crypto industry ecosystem activities represent an attributable and significant revenue stream. Therefore, the values of certain companies included in the Fund’s portfolio may not be a reflection of their connection to the crypto industry ecosystem, but may be based on other business operations. In addition, these companies may engage in other lines of business unrelated to the crypto industry ecosystem and these lines of business could adversely affect their operating results. These companies also may not be able to develop crypto technology applications or may not be able to capitalize on those applications. technologies also may never be fully implemented, which could adversely affect an investment in the Fund. Companies that use crypto technologies may be subject to cybersecurity risk. In addition, certain features of crypto industry technologies, such as decentralization, open source protocol, and reliance on peer-to-peer connectivity, may increase the risk of fraud or cyber-attack by potentially reducing the likelihood of a coordinated response. A significant disruption of Internet connectivity affecting large numbers of users or geographic areas could impede the functionality of crypto technologies and adversely affect companies included in the Fund’s portfolio. Crypto Industry Companies may be subject to the risks posed by conflicting intellectual property claims, which may reduce confidence in the viability of a crypto asset.
Certain of the Fund’s investments, including investments in companies with direct holdings of crypto assets may be subject to the risks associated with investing in such assets. Such companies may be subject to the risk that: the technology that facilitates the transfer of the crypto asset could fail; the decentralized, open source protocol of the applicable blockchain network could be affected by Internet connectivity disruptions, fraud, consensus failures or cybersecurity attacks; such network may not be adequately maintained by its participants; because crypto assets are a new technological innovation with a limited history, they are highly speculative assets and may experience extreme price volatility; future regulatory actions or policies may limit the ability to sell, exchange or use a crypto asset; the price of a crypto asset may be impacted by the transactions of a small number of holders of such asset; and that a crypto asset will decline in popularity, acceptance or use, thereby impairing its price.
CYBER SECURITY RISK. The Fund is susceptible to operational risks through breaches in cyber security. A breach in cyber security refers to both intentional and unintentional events that may cause the Fund to lose proprietary information, suffer data corruption or lose operational capacity. Such events could cause the Fund to incur regulatory penalties, reputational damage, additional compliance costs associated with corrective measures and/or financial loss. Cyber security breaches may involve unauthorized access to the Fund’s digital information systems through “hacking” or malicious software coding but may also result from outside attacks such as denial-of-service attacks through efforts to make network services unavailable to intended users. In addition, cyber security breaches of the 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.
DEPOSITARY RECEIPTS RISK. Depositary receipts may be less liquid than the underlying shares in their primary trading market. Any distributions paid to the holders of depositary receipts are usually subject to a fee charged by the depositary. Holders of depositary receipts may have limited voting rights, and investment restrictions in certain countries may adversely impact the value of depositary receipts because such restrictions may limit the ability to convert the equity shares into depositary receipts and vice versa. Such restrictions may cause the equity shares of the underlying issuer to trade at a discount or premium to the market price of the depositary receipts.
DIGITAL ECONOMY COMPANIES RISK. The Fund invests significantly in Digital Economy Companies. Digital Economy Companies are those companies: (i) providing online banking services; (ii) operating digital payment gateways (i.e., a merchant service that authorizes direct payments processing for businesses); (iii) operating online asset management and trading platforms; (iv) manufacturing semiconductors; or (v) providing software services. Such companies may be adversely impacted by government regulations, economic conditions and deterioration in credit markets. Digital Economy Companies typically face intense competition and could be negatively affected by new entrants into the market, especially those located in markets
5

with lower production costs. Competitors in the digital payments space include financial institutions and well-established payment processing companies. Digital Economy Companies involved in the manufacturing of semiconductors and provision of software services face concerns of rapid product obsolescence. Companies in the software industry, in particular, may also be negatively affected by the decline or fluctuation of subscription renewal rates for their products and services, which may have an adverse effect on profit margins. Similarly, digital payments companies may be highly dependent on their ability to enter into agreements with merchants and other third parties to utilize a particular payment method, system, software or service, and such agreements may be subject to increased regulatory scrutiny. In addition, many Digital Economy Companies store sensitive consumer information and could be the target of cybersecurity attacks and other types of theft, which could have a negative impact on these companies. Digital Economy Companies engaged in current activities currently operate under less regulatory scrutiny than traditional financial services companies and banks, but there is significant risk that regulatory oversight could increase in the future. Higher levels of regulation could increase costs and adversely impact the current business models of some Digital Economy Companies and could severely impact the viability of these companies. These companies could be negatively impacted by disruptions in service caused by hardware or software failure, or by interruptions or delays in service by third-party data center hosting facilities and maintenance providers. Digital Economy Companies, especially smaller companies, tend to be more volatile than companies that do not rely heavily on technology.
EMERGING MARKETS RISK. Investments in securities issued by governments and companies operating in emerging market countries involve additional risks relating to political, economic, or regulatory conditions not associated with investments in securities and instruments issued by U.S. companies or by companies operating in other developed market countries. Investments in emerging markets securities are generally considered speculative in nature and are subject to the following heightened risks: smaller market capitalization of securities markets which may suffer periods of relative illiquidity; significant price volatility; restrictions on foreign investment; possible repatriation of investment income and capital; rapid inflation; and currency convertibility issues. Emerging market countries also often have less uniformity in accounting and reporting requirements, unsettled securities laws, unreliable securities valuation and greater risk associated with custody of securities. Financial and other reporting by companies and government entities also may be less reliable in emerging market countries. Shareholder claims that are available in the U.S., as well as regulatory oversight and authority that is common in the U.S., including for claims based on fraud, may be difficult or impossible for shareholders of securities in emerging market countries or for U.S. authorities to pursue. For funds that track an index or are managed based upon a benchmark, the index may not weight the securities in emerging market countries on the basis of investor protection limitations, financial reporting quality or available oversight mechanisms. Furthermore, investors may be required to register the proceeds of sales and future economic or political crises could lead to price controls, forced mergers, expropriation or confiscatory taxation, seizure, nationalization or creation of government monopolies.
EQUITY SECURITIES RISK. The value of the Fund’s shares will fluctuate with changes in the value of the equity securities in which it invests. Equity securities prices fluctuate for several reasons, including changes in investors’ perceptions of the financial condition of an issuer or the general condition of the relevant equity market, such as market volatility, or when political or economic events affecting an issuer occur. Common stock prices may be particularly sensitive to rising interest rates, as the cost of capital rises and borrowing costs increase. Equity securities may decline significantly in price over short or extended periods of time, and such declines may occur in the equity market as a whole, or they may occur in only a particular country, company, industry or sector of the market.
FINANCIAL COMPANIES RISK. The Fund is concentrated in financial companies. Financial companies, such as retail and commercial banks, insurance companies and financial services companies, are especially subject to the adverse effects of economic recession, currency exchange rates, extensive government regulation, decreases in the availability of capital, volatile interest rates, portfolio concentrations in geographic markets, industries or products (such as commercial and residential real estate loans), competition from new entrants and blurred distinctions in their fields of business.
INDEX OR MODEL CONSTITUENT RISK. The Fund may be a constituent of one or more indices or ETF models. As a result, the Fund may be included in one or more index-tracking exchange-traded funds or mutual funds. Being a component security of such a vehicle could greatly affect the trading activity involving the Fund’s shares, the size of the Fund and the market volatility of the Fund. Inclusion in an index could increase demand for the Fund and removal from an index could result in outsized selling activity in a relatively short period of time. As a result, the Fund’s net asset value could be negatively impacted and the Fund’s market price may be below the Fund’s net asset value during certain periods. In addition, index rebalances may potentially result in increased trading activity in the Fund’s shares.
INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY COMPANIES RISK. The Fund is concentrated in information technology companies. Information technology companies produce and provide hardware, software and information technology systems and services.
6

These companies may be adversely affected by rapidly changing technologies, short product life cycles, fierce competition, aggressive pricing and reduced profit margins, the loss of patent, copyright and trademark protections, cyclical market patterns, evolving industry standards and frequent new product introductions. In addition, information technology companies are particularly vulnerable to federal, state and local government regulation, and competition and consolidation, both domestically and internationally, including competition from foreign competitors with lower production costs. Information technology companies also heavily rely on intellectual property rights and may be adversely affected by the loss or impairment of those rights.
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. For example, the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) global pandemic and the aggressive responses taken by many governments, including closing borders, restricting international and domestic travel, and the imposition of prolonged quarantines or similar restrictions, had negative impacts, and in many cases severe impacts, on markets worldwide. While the development of vaccines has slowed the spread of the virus and allowed for the resumption of reasonably normal business activity in the United States, many countries continue to impose lockdown measures in an attempt to slow the spread. Additionally, there is no guarantee that vaccines will be effective against emerging variants of the disease. As this global pandemic illustrated, such events may affect certain geographic regions, countries, sectors and industries more significantly than others. These events also 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.
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-DIVERSIFICATION RISK. The Fund is classified as “non-diversified” under the 1940 Act. As a result, the Fund is only limited as to the percentage of its assets which may be invested in the securities of any one issuer by the diversification requirements imposed by the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended. The Fund may invest a relatively high percentage of its assets in a limited number of issuers. As a result, the Fund may be more susceptible to a single adverse economic or regulatory occurrence affecting one or more of these issuers, experience increased volatility and be highly invested in certain issuers.
NON-U.S. SECURITIES RISK. Non-U.S. securities are subject to higher volatility than securities of domestic issuers due to possible adverse political, social or economic developments, restrictions on foreign investment or exchange of securities, 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.
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
7

or inadequate processes and technology or systems failures. Although the Fund and the Fund's investment advisor seek to reduce these operational risks through controls and procedures, there is no way to completely protect against such risks.
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.
SMALLER COMPANIES RISK. Small and/or mid capitalization companies may be more vulnerable to adverse general market or economic developments, and their securities may be less liquid and may experience greater price volatility than larger, more established companies as a result of several factors, including limited trading volumes, fewer products or financial resources, management inexperience and less publicly available information. Accordingly, such companies are generally subject to greater market risk than larger, more established companies.
TRADING ISSUES RISK. Trading in Fund 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 Fund shares on the Exchange is subject to trading halts caused by extraordinary market volatility pursuant to the Exchange’s “circuit breaker” rules. 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, the Fund does not have enough shareholders, or if the Fund is unable to proceed with creation and/or redemption orders.
VOLATILITY RISK. Volatility is the characteristic of a security, an index or a market to fluctuate significantly in price within a short time period. Securities issued by Crypto Industry Companies have historically exhibited more volatility than the market as a whole. Such exposures could cause the Fund’s net asset value to experience significant increases or declines in value over short periods of time.
Performance
The Fund does not have a 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.
Management
Investment Advisor
First Trust Advisors L.P. (“First Trust” or the “Advisor”)
Investment Sub-Advisor
SkyBridge Capital II, LLC (“SkyBridge” or the “Sub-Advisor”)
Portfolio Managers
The following persons serve as portfolio managers of the Fund:
Anthony Scaramucci, Founder and Managing Partner of SkyBridge
Brett Messing, President and Co-Chief Investment Officer of SkyBridge
The portfolio managers are primarily and jointly responsible for the day-to-day management of the Fund. Each portfolio manager has served as part of the portfolio management team of the Fund since September 2021.
8

Purchase and Sale of Fund Shares
The Fund issues and redeems shares on a continuous basis, at net asset value, only in large blocks of shares called “Creation Units.” Individual shares of the Fund may only be purchased and sold on the secondary market through a broker-dealer. Since shares of the Fund trade on securities exchanges in the secondary market at their market price rather than their net asset value, the Fund’s shares may trade at a price greater than (premium) or less than (discount) the Fund’s net asset value. An investor may incur costs attributable to the difference between the highest price a buyer is willing to pay to purchase shares of the Fund (bid) and the lowest price a seller is willing to accept for shares of the Fund (ask) when buying or selling shares in the secondary market (the “bid-ask spread”). Recent information, including the Fund’s net asset value, market price, premiums and discounts, and bid-ask spreads, is available online at https://www.ftportfolios.com/Retail/etf/home.aspx.
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 Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended (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.
While it is not expected that the Fund will invest in the securities of other investment companies, any such investments would be subject to limitations imposed by the 1940 Act and the related rules and interpretations. The Fund has adopted a policy that it will not invest in other investment companies in excess of 1940 Act limits in reliance on Sections 12(d)(1)(F) or 12(d)(1)(G) of the 1940 Act.
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.
Additional Information on the Fund’s Strategy
The Fund will normally invest at least 80% of its net assets (plus any investment borrowings) in the common stocks and American Depositary Receipts (“ADRs”) of Crypto Industry Companies and Digital Economy Companies. Under normal market conditions, the Fund will invest at least 50% of its net assets (plus any investment borrowings) in Crypto Industry Companies. The remainder of the Fund’s net assets used to satisfy the 80% test set forth above will be invested in Digital Economy Companies. The Fund will provide 60 days’ prior written notice to shareholders to any change in the Fund’s 80% investment policy.
1.
“Crypto Industry Companies” are those companies that (i) derive at least 50% of their revenue or profits directly from goods produced or sold, investments made, or services performed in the crypto industry ecosystem (defined below); and/or (ii) have at least 50% of their net assets accounted for by direct holdings of bitcoin, ether or another crypto asset (collectively, “crypto assets”). The Sub-Advisor defines “crypto industry ecosystem” to be those companies involved in servicing the crypto asset markets, including crypto mining firms, crypto mining equipment suppliers, crypto financial services companies, or other financial institutions servicing primarily crypto-related clientele. In general, the Sub-Advisor classifies Crypto Industry Companies into four categories:
Crypto Asset Mining: The Fund will invest in companies engaged in crypto asset mining. Transactions within a digital asset blockchain are aggregated together into “blocks”. In order to be confirmed by the blockchain, miners compete to solve a mathematical equation and are rewarded with crypto assets for confirming a block and verifying the transaction. Large scale crypto asset mining requires significant capital investment as well as ongoing energy investment in order to process transactions or “mine” digital asset transactions on different blockchains.
Crypto Mining Hardware: The competitiveness in crypto mining has increased such that traditional central processing units (CPUs) are no longer competitive. Miners must invest in specialized graphics processing units (GPUs) and/or application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs) in order to compete. The Fund will invest in companies that provide this specialized hardware for crypto mining.
Crypto Trading and Asset Management Companies: The Fund will invest in companies offering cryptocurrency trading and custody, and related services, to retail and institutional investors in the crypto industry. This also includes companies offering cryptocurrency exchange and lending/borrowing services.
Crypto Balance Sheet Investments: The Fund will invest in companies that have at least 50% of their net assets accounted for by direct holdings of bitcoin, ether or another crypto asset.
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“Digital Economy Companies” are those companies that derive at least 50% of their revenue or profits directly from goods produced or sold, investments made, or services performed in the digital economy ecosystem (defined below). The Sub-Advisor defines “digital economy ecosystem” to be those companies: (i) providing online banking services; (ii) operating digital payment gateways (i.e., a merchant service that authorizes direct payments processing for businesses); (iii) operating online asset management and trading platforms; (iv) manufacturing semiconductors; or (v) providing software services. For the avoidance of doubt, companies deemed to be “Crypto Industry Companies” will not be considered “Digital Economy Companies.
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The Fund will not directly invest in digital assets (including bitcoin, other cryptocurrencies or initial coin offerings), or indirectly through the use of derivatives or through investments in funds or trusts that hold digital assets. As the Fund does not directly or indirectly invest in cryptocurrencies, the Fund does not expect to track the price movement of any cryptocurrencies.
The Fund’s selection universe includes common stock and ADRs listed on global securities exchanges, including securities issued by non-U.S. companies and companies operating in emerging market countries. A significant portion of the Fund’s investments may be in issuers with small market capitalizations. The Sub-Advisor evaluates all companies comprising the selection universe and identifies all eligible Crypto Industry Companies and Digital Economy Companies. The Sub-Advisor will determine initial and continuing constituent eligibility based upon publicly available information, including a company’s financial reports. From these companies, the Sub-Advisor will invest in those companies that it believes provide the best opportunity for capital appreciation. As of the date of this prospectus, the Sub-Advisor believes that all Crypto Industry Companies that have publicly-traded securities are the leaders in the nascent crypto industry ecosystem and intends to include all such securities in the Fund’s portfolio.
The Fund may allocate up to 20% of its net assets (plus investment borrowings) in the securities of companies participating in or servicing the crypto industry ecosystem that do not derive 50% of their revenue or profits directly from goods produced or sold, investments made, or services performed in the crypto industry ecosystem or those companies that have some, but less than 50% of their net assets accounted for by direct holdings of bitcoin, ether or another crypto asset.
The Fund’s investments will be concentrated in the industries constituting the information technology sector and the financial sector.
The Fund is classified as “non-diversified” under the 1940 Act.
Fund Investments
Principal Investments
Equity Securities
The Fund invests in equity securities, including common stocks and depositary receipts. Common stock represents an equity ownership interest in issuers. Holders of common stock are entitled to the income and increase in the value of the assets and business of the issuers after all debt obligations and obligations to preferred stockholders are satisfied. Depositary receipts are certificates typically issued by a bank or trust company that represent ownership interests in securities of non-U.S. companies. Depositary receipts may or may not be jointly sponsored by the underlying issuer.
Non-Principal Investments
Cash Equivalents and Short-Term Investments
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 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. Cryptocurrency markets are currently highly volatile, mostly unregulated and a quickly evolving sector of the financial markets. For more information on eligible short-term investments, see the SAI.
Illiquid Investments
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 investments may include, but are not limited to, restricted securities (securities the disposition of which is restricted under the federal securities laws), securities that may only be resold pursuant to Rule 144A under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the "Securities Act"), that are deemed to be illiquid, and certain repurchase agreements, among others.
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Disclosure of Portfolio Holdings
A description of the policies and procedures with respect to the disclosure of the Fund's portfolio securities is included in the Fund's SAI, which is available on the Fund's website at www.ftportfolios.com.
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 disclosure pertaining to the Principal Risks set forth above as well as 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
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.
CONCENTRATION RISK. The Fund is concentrated in information technology companies and financial companies. To the extent that the Fund invests a large percentage of its assets in a single asset class or the securities of issuers within the same country, state, region, industry or sector, an adverse economic, business or political development that affected a particular asset class, region or industry may affect the value of the Fund’s investments more than if the Fund were more broadly diversified. A concentration makes the Fund more susceptible to any single occurrence and may subject the Fund to greater volatility and market risk than a fund that is not so concentrated.
CRYPTO INDUSTRY COMPANIES RISK. The technology relating to the crypto industry ecosystem is new and developing and the risks associated with cryptocurrencies and other digital assets may not fully emerge until the technology is widely used. Crypto technologies are used by companies to optimize their business practices, whether by using the technology within their business or operating business lines involved in the operation of the technology. The cryptographic keys necessary to transact a cryptocurrency or other digital asset may be subject to theft, loss, or destruction, which could adversely affect a company’s business or operations if it were dependent on such an asset. Competing platforms and technologies may be developed such that consumers or investors use an alternative to cryptocurrencies and digital assets. There may be risks posed by the lack of regulation for crypto assets and any future regulatory developments could affect the viability and expansion of the use of crypto technologies. Recently, U.S. securities regulators have brought actions against companies operating in the crypto industry ecosystem for violations of U.S. securities laws. To the extent such an action is brought against a company held by the Fund, the value of such a holding could decrease significantly. Because companies operating in the crypto industry ecosystem may operate across many national boundaries and regulatory jurisdictions, it is possible that such companies may be subject to widespread and inconsistent regulation. Crypto Industry Companies that rely on third party products may be subject to technical defects or vulnerabilities beyond a company’s control. Because many crypto assets do not have a standardized exchange, like a stock market, there is less liquidity for such assets and greater possibility of volatility, fraud or manipulation. Currently, there are relatively few companies for which crypto industry ecosystem activities represent an attributable and significant revenue stream. Therefore, the values of certain companies included in the Fund’s portfolio may not be a reflection of their connection to the crypto industry ecosystem, but may be based on other business operations. In addition, these companies may engage in other lines of business unrelated to the crypto industry ecosystem and these lines of business could adversely affect their operating results. These companies also may not be able to develop crypto technology applications or may not be able to capitalize on those applications. technologies also may never be fully implemented, which could adversely affect an investment in the Fund. Companies that use crypto technologies may be subject to cybersecurity risk. In addition, certain features of crypto industry technologies, such as decentralization, open source protocol, and reliance on peer-to-peer connectivity, may increase the risk of fraud or cyber-attack by potentially reducing the likelihood of a coordinated response. A significant disruption of Internet connectivity affecting large numbers of users or geographic areas could impede the functionality of crypto technologies and adversely affect companies included in the Fund’s portfolio. Crypto Industry Companies may be subject to the risks posed by conflicting intellectual property claims, which may reduce confidence in the viability of a crypto asset.
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Certain of the Fund’s investments, including investments in companies with direct holdings of crypto assets may be subject to the risks associated with investing in such assets. Such companies may be subject to the risk that: the technology that facilitates the transfer of the crypto asset could fail; the decentralized, open source protocol of the applicable blockchain network could be affected by Internet connectivity disruptions, fraud, consensus failures or cybersecurity attacks; such network may not be adequately maintained by its participants; because crypto assets are a new technological innovation with a limited history, they are highly speculative assets and may experience extreme price volatility; future regulatory actions or policies may limit the ability to sell, exchange or use a crypto asset; the price of a crypto asset may be impacted by the transactions of a small number of holders of such asset; and that a crypto asset will decline in popularity, acceptance or use, thereby impairing its price.
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.
DEPOSITARY RECEIPTS RISK. The Fund invests in depositary receipts. Depository receipts are securities issued by a bank or trust company reflecting ownership of underlying securities issued by a foreign company. An investment in depositary receipts involves further risks due to certain unique features. Any distributions paid to the holders of depositary receipts are usually subject to a fee charged by the depositary. Holders of depositary receipts may have limited voting rights pursuant to a deposit agreement between the underlying issuer and the depositary. In certain cases, the depositary will vote the shares deposited with it as directed by the underlying issuer’s board of directors. Furthermore, investment restrictions in certain countries may adversely impact the value of depositary receipts because such restrictions may limit the ability to convert shares into depositary receipts and vice versa. Such restrictions may cause shares of the underlying issuer to trade at a discount or premium to the market price of the depositary receipt. Moreover, if depositary receipts are converted into shares, the laws in certain countries may limit the ability of a non-resident to trade the shares and to reconvert the shares to depositary receipts. Depositary receipts may be “sponsored” or “unsponsored.” Sponsored depositary receipts are established jointly by a depositary and the underlying issuer, whereas unsponsored depositary receipts may be established by a depositary without participation by the underlying issuer. Holders of unsponsored depositary receipts generally bear all the costs associated with establishing the unsponsored depositary receipts. In addition, the issuers of the securities underlying unsponsored depositary receipts are not obligated to disclose material information in the U.S. and, therefore, there may be less information available regarding such issuers and there may not be a correlation between such information and the market value of the depositary receipts.
DIGITAL ECONOMY COMPANIES RISK. The Fund invests significantly in Digital Economy Companies. Digital Economy Companies are those companies: (i) providing online banking services; (ii) operating digital payment gateways (i.e., a merchant service that authorizes direct payments processing for businesses); (iii) operating online asset management and trading platforms; (iv) manufacturing semiconductors; or (v) providing software services. Such companies may be adversely impacted by government regulations, economic conditions and deterioration in credit markets. Digital Economy Companies typically face intense competition and could be negatively affected by new entrants into the market, especially those located in markets
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with lower production costs. Competitors in the digital payments space include financial institutions and well-established payment processing companies. Digital Economy Companies involved in the manufacturing of semiconductors and provision of software services face concerns of rapid product obsolescence. Companies in the software industry, in particular, may also be negatively affected by the decline or fluctuation of subscription renewal rates for their products and services, which may have an adverse effect on profit margins. Similarly, digital payments companies may be highly dependent on their ability to enter into agreements with merchants and other third parties to utilize a particular payment method, system, software or service, and such agreements may be subject to increased regulatory scrutiny. In addition, many Digital Economy Companies store sensitive consumer information and could be the target of cybersecurity attacks and other types of theft, which could have a negative impact on these companies. Digital Economy Companies engaged in current activities currently operate under less regulatory scrutiny than traditional financial services companies and banks, but there is significant risk that regulatory oversight could increase in the future. Higher levels of regulation could increase costs and adversely impact the current business models of some Digital Economy Companies and could severely impact the viability of these companies. These companies could be negatively impacted by disruptions in service caused by hardware or software failure, or by interruptions or delays in service by third-party data center hosting facilities and maintenance providers. Digital Economy Companies, especially smaller companies, tend to be more volatile than companies that do not rely heavily on technology.
EMERGING MARKETS RISK. The Fund may invest in securities issued by companies incorporated in emerging market countries. Investments in securities issued by governments and companies operating in emerging market countries involve additional risks relating to political, economic, or regulatory conditions not associated with investments in securities and instruments issued by U.S. companies or by companies operating in other developed market countries. This is due to, among other things, the potential for greater market volatility, lower trading volume, a lack of liquidity, potential for market manipulation, higher levels of inflation, political and economic instability, greater risk of a market shutdown and more governmental limitations on foreign investments in emerging market countries than are typically found in more developed market countries. Moreover, emerging market countries often have less uniformity in accounting and reporting requirements, unsettled securities laws, less reliable securities valuations and greater risks associated with custody of securities than developed markets. In addition, the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, which regulates auditors of U.S. public companies, is unable to inspect audit work papers in certain emerging market countries. Emerging market countries often have greater risk of capital controls through such measures as taxes or interest rate control than developed markets. Certain emerging market countries may also lack the infrastructure necessary to attract large amounts of foreign trade and investment. Local securities markets in emerging market countries may trade a small number of securities and may be unable to respond effectively to increases in trading volume, potentially making prompt liquidation of holdings difficult or impossible. Settlement procedures in emerging market countries are frequently less developed and reliable than those in the U.S. and other developed market countries. In addition, significant delays may occur in registering the transfer of securities. Settlement or registration problems may make it more difficult for the Fund to value its portfolio securities and could cause the Fund to miss attractive investment opportunities. Investing in emerging market countries involves a higher risk of expropriation, nationalization, confiscation of assets and property or the imposition of restrictions on foreign investments and on repatriation of capital invested by certain emerging market countries. Enforcing legal rights may be made difficult, costly and slow in emerging markets as there may be additional problems enforcing claims against non-U.S. governments. As such, the rights and remedies associated with emerging market investment securities may be different than those available for investments in more developed markets. For example, it may be more difficult for shareholders to bring derivative litigation or for U.S. regulators to bring enforcement actions against issuers in emerging markets.
In addition, due to the differences in regulatory, accounting, audit and financial recordkeeping standards, including financial disclosures, less information about emerging market companies is publicly available and information that is available may be unreliable or outdated. This may affect the Index Provider’s ability to compute and construct the Index and may further impede the Advisor’s ability to accurately evaluate the index data provided. This potential for error in index construction and index data could affect the overall performance of the Fund.
EQUITY SECURITIES RISK. The value of the Fund’s shares will fluctuate with changes in the value of the equity securities in which it invests. Equity securities prices fluctuate for several reasons, including changes in investors' perceptions of the financial condition of an issuer or the general condition of the relevant equity market, such as market volatility, or when political or economic events affecting the issuers occur. Common stock prices may be particularly sensitive to rising interest rates, as the cost of capital rises and borrowing costs increase. Equity securities may decline significantly in price over short or extended periods of time, and such declines may occur in the equity market as a whole, or they may occur in only a particular country, company, industry or sector of the market. Additionally, holders of an issuer's common stock may be subject to greater risks than holders of its preferred stock and debt securities because common stockholders' claims are subordinated to those of holders of preferred stocks and debt securities upon the bankruptcy of an issuer.
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FINANCIAL COMPANIES RISK. The Fund is concentrated in financial companies. Financial companies are subject to extensive governmental regulation and intervention, which may adversely affect the scope of their activities, the prices they can charge, the amount and types of capital they must maintain and, potentially, their size. Governmental regulation may change frequently and may have significant adverse consequences for financial companies, including effects not intended by such regulation. The impact of more stringent capital requirements, or recent or future regulation in various countries, on any individual financial company or on financial companies as a whole cannot be predicted. Certain risks may impact the value of investments in financial companies more severely than those of investments in other issuers, including the risks associated with companies that operate with substantial financial leverage. Financial companies may also be adversely affected by volatility in interest rates, loan losses and other customer defaults, decreases in the availability of money or asset valuations, credit rating downgrades and adverse conditions in other related markets. Insurance companies in particular may be subject to severe price competition and/or rate regulation, which may have an adverse impact on their profitability. Financial companies are also a target for cyber attacks and may experience technology malfunctions and disruptions as a result.
INDEX OR MODEL CONSTITUENT RISK. The Fund may be a constituent of one or more indices or ETF models. As a result, the Fund may be included in one or more index-tracking ETFs or mutual funds. Being a component security of such a vehicle could greatly affect the trading activity involving the Fund, the size of the Fund and the market volatility of the Fund’s shares. Inclusion in an index could increase demand for the Fund and removal from an index could result in outsized selling activity in a relatively short period of time. As a result, the Fund’s net asset value could be negatively impacted and the Fund’s market price may be below the Fund’s net asset value during certain periods. In addition, index rebalances may potentially result in increased trading activity. To the extent buying or selling activity increases, the Fund can be exposed to increased brokerage costs and adverse tax consequences and the market price of the Fund can be negatively affected.
INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY COMPANIES RISK. The Fund is concentrated in information technology companies. Information technology companies produce and provide hardware, software and information technology systems and services. Information technology companies are generally subject to the following risks: rapidly changing technologies and existing product obsolescence; short product life cycles; fierce competition; aggressive pricing and reduced profit margins; the loss of patent, copyright and trademark protections; cyclical market patterns; evolving industry standards; and frequent new product introductions and new market entrants. Information technology companies may be smaller and less experienced companies, with limited product lines, markets or financial resources and fewer experienced management or marketing personnel. Information technology company stocks, particularly those involved with the internet, have experienced extreme price and volume fluctuations that are often unrelated to their operating performance. In addition, information technology companies are particularly vulnerable to federal, state and local government regulation, and competition and consolidation, both domestically and internationally, including competition from foreign competitors with lower production costs. Information technology companies also face competition for services of qualified personnel and heavily rely on patents and intellectual property rights and the ability to enforce such rights to maintain a competitive advantage.
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. For example, the
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coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) global pandemic and the aggressive responses taken by many governments, including closing borders, restricting international and domestic travel, and the imposition of prolonged quarantines or similar restrictions, had negative impacts, and in many cases severe impacts, on markets worldwide. While the development of vaccines has slowed the spread of the virus and allowed for the resumption of reasonably normal business activity in the United States, many countries continue to impose lockdown measures in an attempt to slow the spread. Additionally, there is no guarantee that vaccines will be effective against emerging variants of the disease. As this global pandemic illustrated, such events may affect certain geographic regions, countries, sectors and industries more significantly than others. These events also 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.
NEW FUND RISK. As of the date of this prospectus, the Fundhas 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-DIVERSIFICATION RISK. As a “non-diversified” fund, the Fund may hold a smaller number of portfolio securities than many other funds and may be more sensitive to any single economic, business, political or regulatory occurrence than a diversified fund. To the extent the Fund invests in a relatively small number of issuers due to the high percentage of the Fund’s assets invested in that security, a decline in the market value of a particular security held by the Fund may affect its value more than if it invested in a larger number of issuers. The value of the Fund’s shares may be more volatile than the values of shares of more diversified funds.
NON-U.S. SECURITIES RISK. The Fund may invest in non-U.S. securities. An investment in securities of non-U.S. companies involves risks not associated with domestic issuers. Investment in non-U.S. securities may involve higher costs than investment in U.S. securities, including higher transaction and custody costs as well as the imposition of additional taxes by non-U.S. governments. Non-U.S. investments may also involve risks associated with the level of currency exchange rates, less complete financial information about the issuers, less market liquidity, more market volatility and political instability. Future political and economic developments, the possible imposition of withholding taxes on dividend income, the possible seizure or nationalization of non-U.S. holdings, the 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.
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 Fund’s investment advisor seek to reduce these operational risks through controls and procedures, there is no way to completely protect against such risks.
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.
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
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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. Trading in Fund 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 Fund shares on the Exchange is subject to trading halts caused by extraordinary market volatility pursuant to the Exchange’s “circuit breaker” rules. 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, the Fund does not have enough shareholders, or if the Fund is unable to proceed with creation and/or redemption orders.
VOLATILITY RISK. Volatility is the characteristic of a security, an index or a market to fluctuate significantly in price within a short time period. Securities issued by Crypto Industry Companies have historically exhibited more volatility than the market as a whole. Such exposures could cause the Fund’s net asset value to experience significant increases or declines in value over short periods of time. Volatility can be caused by many factors, including changes in the economy or financial markets or for reasons specific to a particular issuer.
Non-Principal Risks
BORROWING AND LEVERAGE RISK. If the Fund borrows money, it must pay interest and other fees, which may reduce the Fund’s returns. Any such borrowings are intended to be temporary. However, under certain market conditions, including periods of low demand or decreased liquidity, such borrowings might be outstanding for longer periods of time. As prescribed by the 1940 Act, the Fund will be required to maintain specified asset coverage of at least 300% with respect to any bank borrowing immediately following such borrowing and at all times thereafter. The Fund may be required to dispose of assets on unfavorable terms if market fluctuations or other factors reduce the Fund’s asset coverage to less than the prescribed amount.
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 entirely 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 Sub-Advisor were to lose the services of a portfolio manager, its ability to service the Fund could be adversely affected. There can be no assurance that a suitable replacement could be found for a portfolio manager in the event of their death, resignation, retirement or inability to act on behalf of the Sub-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
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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.
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.
Fund Organization
The Fund is a series of the Trust, an investment company registered under the 1940 Act. The Fund is treated as a separate fund with its own investment objectives and policies. The Trust is organized as a Massachusetts business trust. The Board is responsible for the overall management and direction of the Trust. The Board elects the Trust’s officers and approves all significant agreements, including those with the Advisor, Sub-Advisor, custodian and fund administrative and accounting agent.
Management of the Fund
First Trust Advisors L.P., 120 East Liberty Drive, Wheaton, Illinois 60187, is the investment advisor to the Fund. In this capacity, First Trust is responsible for the selection and ongoing monitoring of the securities in the Fund’s portfolio and certain other services necessary for the management of the portfolio.
First Trust is a limited partnership with one limited partner, Grace Partners of DuPage L.P., and one general partner, The Charger Corporation. Grace Partners of DuPage L.P. is a limited partnership with one general partner, The Charger Corporation, and a number of limited partners. The Charger Corporation is an Illinois corporation controlled by James A. Bowen, the Chief Executive Officer of First Trust. First Trust discharges its responsibilities subject to the policies of the Board.
First Trust serves as advisor or sub-advisor for 8 mutual fund portfolios, 10 exchange-traded funds consisting of 189 series and 16 closed-end funds. It is also the portfolio supervisor of certain unit investment trusts sponsored by First Trust Portfolios L.P. (“FTP”), an affiliate of First Trust, 120 East Liberty Drive, Wheaton, Illinois 60187. FTP specializes in the underwriting, trading and distribution of unit investment trusts and other securities. FTP is the principal underwriter of the shares of the Fund.
The Trust, on behalf of the Fund, and First Trust has retained SkyBridge Capital II, LLC to serve as investment sub-advisor pursuant to a sub-advisory agreement (the "Sub-Advisory Agreement"). In this capacity, SkyBridge is responsible for the selection and ongoing monitoring of the securities in the Fund’s investment portfolio. SkyBridge is located at 527 Madison Avenue, 16th Floor, New York, New York 10022. In addition to serving as the Sub‑Advisor, SkyBridge provides portfolio management services to other investment funds (both registered and unregistered funds), pension and profit sharing plans, corporations and other businesses, including in separately managed accounts. As of December 31, 2020, SkyBridge had approximately $7.4 billion in assets under management or advisement.
Anthony Scaramucci and Brett Messing are the Fund's portfolio managers and are primarily and jointly responsible for the day-to-day management of the Fund’s investment portfolio.
Anthony Scaramucci is the Founder and Managing Partner of SkyBridge and a Portfolio Manager of the Fund. Prior to founding SkyBridge in 2005, he co‑founded investment partnership Oscar Capital Management, which was sold to Neuberger Berman, LLC in 2001. Earlier, he was a vice president in Private Wealth Management at Goldman Sachs & Co. He was a member of the New York City Financial Services Advisory Committee from 2007 to 2012. In November 2016, he was named to President‑Elect Trump’s 16‑person Presidential Transition Team Executive Committee. In June 2017, he was named the Chief Strategy Officer of the Export‑Import Bank. He served as the White House Communications Director for a period in July 2017. Mr. Scaramucci, a native of Long Island, New York, holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from Tufts University and a Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School.
Brett S. Messing is Partner, President and Co-Chief Investment Officer of SkyBridge and Portfolio Manager of the Fund. He began his career at Goldman Sachs where he held various positions including Vice President and Co‑Head of the Restricted Stock Group. Thereafter, he was a partner at Oscar Capital Management, which
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was acquired by Neuberger Berman, LLC. Following the successful integration of the business, Mr. Messing founded GPS Partners, a $2.5 billion hedge fund at its peak, which focused primarily in the energy infrastructure sector. Mr. Messing was the firm’s Managing Partner and Chief Investment Officer. Thereafter, Mr. Messing worked for Los Angeles Mayor Antonio R. Villariagosa as Co‑Chief Operating Officer responsible for economic and business policy. Mr. Messing served as a Senior Advisor to Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg at C40 Cities, a joint venture with the Clinton Climate Initiative. Mr. Messing received his A.B. from Brown University, magna cum laude, and his Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School.
For additional information concerning First Trust and the Sub-Advisor, including a description of the services provided to the Fund, see the Fund's SAI. Additional information about the portfolio manager’s compensation, other accounts managed by the portfolio manager and the portfolio manager’s ownership of securities in the Fund is provided in the SAI.
Management Fee
Pursuant to an investment management agreement between First Trust and the Trust, on behalf of the Fund (the “Investment Management Agreement”), First Trust oversees SkyBridge's management of the Fund's assets and pays SkyBridge for its services as Sub-Advisor. First Trust is paid an annual management fee by the Fund equal to 0.85% of the Fund's average daily net assets and is responsible for the Fund's expenses, including the cost of transfer agency, custody, fund administration, legal, audit and other services, but excluding fee payments under the Investment Management Agreement, interest, taxes, acquired fund fees and expenses, if any, brokerage commissions and other expenses connected with the execution of portfolio transactions, expenses associated with short sales transactions, distribution and service fees payable pursuant to a Rule 12b-1 plan, if any, and extraordinary expenses.
A discussion regarding the Board’s approval of the Investment Management Agreement and Sub-Advisory Agreement will be available in the Fund's Annual Report to Shareholders for the period ended August 31, 2021.
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 one or more national securities exchanges. 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 pay 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 bid-ask spread for each transaction (purchase or sale) of Fund shares. Share prices are reported in dollars and cents per share.
Under normal circumstances, the Fund will pay out redemption proceeds to a redeeming authorized participant within two days after the authorized participant’s redemption request is received, in accordance with the process set forth in the Fund’s SAI and in the agreement between the authorized participant and the Fund’s distributor. However, the Fund reserves the right, including under stressed market conditions, to take up to seven days after the receipt of a redemption request to pay an authorized participant, all as permitted by the 1940 Act. If the Fund has foreign investments in a country where a local market holiday, or series of consecutive holidays, or the extended delivery cycles for transferring foreign investments to redeeming authorized participants prevents the Fund from delivering such foreign investments to an authorized participant in response to a redemption request, the Fund may take up to 15 days after the receipt of the redemption request to deliver such investments to the authorized participant.
For purposes of the 1940 Act, the Fund is treated as a registered investment company, and, absent an available exemption or exemptive relief, the acquisition of shares by other registered investment companies and companies relying on Sections 3(c)(1) or 3(c)(7) of the 1940 Act is subject to the restrictions of Section 12(d)(1) of the 1940 Act. The Trust, on behalf of the Fund, has received an exemptive order from the Securities and Exchange Commission that permits certain registered investment companies to invest in the Fund beyond the limits set forth in Section 12(d)(1), subject to certain terms and conditions, including that any such investment companies enter into an agreement with the Fund regarding the terms of any investment.
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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 secondary market 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.
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.
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
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reached a conclusion with respect to, the federal income tax treatment of the assets to be included in the Fund. The following disclosure 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. 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. A "return of capital" is a return, in whole or in part, of the funds that you previously invested in the Fund. A return of capital distribution should not be considered part of the Fund's dividend yield or total return of an investment in Fund shares. The tax status of your distributions from the Fund is not affected by whether you reinvest your distributions in additional shares or receive them in cash. The income from the Fund that you must take into account for federal income tax purposes is not reduced by amounts used to pay a deferred sales fee, if any. The tax laws may require you to treat distributions made to you in January as if you had received them on December 31 of the previous year.
Income from the Fund may also be subject to a 3.8% “Medicare tax.” This tax generally applies to your net investment income if your adjusted gross income exceeds certain threshold amounts, which are $250,000 in the case of married couples filing joint returns and $200,000 in the case of single individuals.
Dividends Received Deduction
A corporation that owns shares generally will not be entitled to the dividends received deduction with respect to many dividends received from the Fund because the dividends received deduction is generally not available for distributions from regulated investment companies. However, certain ordinary income dividends on shares that are attributable to qualifying dividends received by the Fund from certain corporations may be reported by the Fund as being eligible for the dividends received deduction.
Capital Gains and Losses and Certain Ordinary Income Dividends
If you are an individual, the maximum marginal stated federal tax rate for net capital gain is generally 20% (15% or 0% for taxpayers with taxable incomes below certain thresholds). Some capital gains, including some portion of your capital gain dividends may be taxed at a higher maximum stated tax rate. Capital gains may also be subject to the Medicare tax described above.
Net capital gain equals net long-term capital gain minus net short-term capital loss for the taxable year. Capital gain or loss is long-term if the holding period for the asset is more than one year and is short-term if the holding period for the asset is one year or less. You must exclude the date you purchase your shares to determine your holding period. However, if you receive a capital gain dividend from the Fund and sell your shares at a loss after holding it for six months or less, the loss will be recharacterized as long-term capital loss to the extent of the capital gain dividend received. The tax rates for capital gains realized from assets held for one year or less are generally the same as for ordinary income. The Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, treats certain capital gains as ordinary income in special situations.
An election may be available to you to defer recognition of the gain attributable to a capital gain dividend if you make certain qualifying investments within a limited time. You should talk to your tax advisor about the availability of this deferral election and its requirements.
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Ordinary income dividends received by an individual shareholder from a regulated investment company such as the Fund are generally taxed at the same rates that apply to net capital gain (as discussed above), provided certain holding period requirements are satisfied and provided the dividends are attributable to qualifying dividends received by the Fund itself. The Fund will provide notice to its shareholders of the amount of any distribution which may be taken into account as a dividend which is eligible for the capital gains tax rates.
Sale of Shares
If you sell or redeem your shares, you will generally recognize a taxable gain or loss. To determine the amount of this gain or loss, you must subtract your tax basis in your shares from the amount you receive in the transaction. Your tax basis in your shares is generally equal to the cost of your shares, generally including sales charges. In some cases, however, you may have to adjust your tax basis after you purchase your shares.
Taxes on Purchase and Redemption of Creation Units
If you exchange securities for Creation Units, you will generally recognize a gain or a loss. The gain or loss will be equal to the difference between the market value of the Creation Units at the time and your aggregate basis in the securities surrendered and the cash component paid. If you exchange Creation Units for securities, you will generally recognize a gain or loss equal to the difference between your basis in the Creation Units and the aggregate market value of the securities received and the cash redemption amount. The Internal Revenue Service, however, may assert that a loss realized upon an exchange of securities for Creation Units or Creation Units for securities cannot be deducted currently under the rules governing “wash sales,” or on the basis that there has been no significant change in economic position.
Treatment of Fund Expenses
Expenses incurred and deducted by the Fund will generally not be treated as income taxable to you.
Non-U.S. Tax Credit
Because the Fund may invest in non-U.S. securities, the tax statement that you receive may include an item showing non-U.S. taxes the Fund paid to other countries. In this case, dividends taxed to you will include your share of the taxes the Fund paid to other countries. You may be able to deduct or receive a tax credit for your share of these taxes.
Non-U.S. Investors
If you are a non-U.S. investor (i.e., an investor other than a U.S. citizen or resident or a U.S. corporation, partnership, estate or trust), you should be aware that, generally, subject to applicable tax treaties, distributions from the Fund will be characterized as dividends for federal income tax purposes (other than dividends which the Fund properly reports as capital gain dividends) and will be subject to U.S. federal income taxes, including withholding taxes, subject to certain exceptions described below. However, distributions received by a non-U.S. investor from the Fund that are properly reported by the Fund as capital gain dividends may not be subject to U.S. federal income taxes, including withholding taxes, provided that the Fund makes certain elections and certain other conditions are met. Distributions from the Fund that are properly reported by the Fund as an interest-related dividend attributable to certain interest income received by the Fund or as a short-term capital gain dividend attributable to certain net short-term capital gain income received by the Fund may not be subject to U.S. federal income taxes, including withholding taxes when received by certain non-U.S. investors, provided that the Fund makes certain elections and certain other conditions are met.
Distributions may be subject to a U.S. withholding tax of 30% in the case of distributions to (i) certain non-U.S. financial institutions that have not entered into an agreement with the U.S. Treasury to collect and disclose certain information and are not resident in a jurisdiction that has entered into such an agreement with the U.S. Treasury and (ii) certain other non-U.S. entities that do not provide certain certifications and information about the entity’s U.S. owners. 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
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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 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
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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. First Trust serves as the fund reporting agent for the Fund.
Premium/Discount Information
Information showing the number of days the market price of the Fund's shares was greater (at a premium) and less (at a discount) than the Fund's net asset value for the most recently completed year, and the most recently completed calendar quarters since that year (or life of the Fund, if shorter), is available at https://www.ftportfolios.com/Retail/etf/home.aspx.
Financial Highlights
The Fund is new and has no performance history as of the date of this prospectus. Financial information therefore is not available.
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Other Information
Continuous Offering
The Fund will issue, on a continuous offering basis, its shares in one or more groups of a fixed number of Fund shares (each such group of such specified number of individual Fund shares, a “Creation Unit Aggregation”). The method by which Creation Unit Aggregations of Fund shares are created and traded may raise certain issues under applicable securities laws. Because new Creation Unit Aggregations of shares are issued and sold by the Fund on an ongoing basis, a “distribution,” as such term is used in the Securities Act, may occur at any point. Broker-dealers and other persons are cautioned that some activities on their part may, depending on the circumstances, result in their being deemed participants in a distribution in a manner which could render them statutory underwriters and subject them to the prospectus delivery requirement and liability provisions of the Securities Act.
For example, a broker-dealer firm or its client may be deemed a statutory underwriter if it takes Creation Unit Aggregations after placing an order with FTP, breaks them down into constituent shares and sells such shares directly to customers, or if it chooses to couple the creation of a supply of new shares with an active selling effort involving solicitation of secondary market demand for shares. A determination of whether one is an underwriter for purposes of the Securities Act must take into account all the facts and circumstances pertaining to the activities of the broker-dealer or its client in the particular case, and the examples mentioned above should not be considered a complete description of all the activities that could lead to a characterization as an underwriter.
Broker-dealer firms should also note that dealers who are not “underwriters” but are effecting transactions in shares, whether or not participating in the distribution of shares, are generally required to deliver a prospectus. This is because the prospectus delivery exemption in Section 4(a)(3) of the Securities Act is not available in respect of such transactions as a result of Section 24(d) of the 1940 Act. As a result, broker-dealer firms should note that dealers who are not underwriters but are participating in a distribution (as contrasted with ordinary secondary market transactions) and thus dealing with the shares that are part of an overallotment within the meaning of Section 4(a)(3)(C) of the Securities Act would be unable to take advantage of the prospectus delivery exemption provided by Section 4(a)(3) of the Securities Act. Firms that incur a prospectus delivery obligation with respect to shares are reminded that, under the Securities Act Rule 153, a prospectus delivery obligation under Section 5(b)(2) of the Securities Act owed to a broker-dealer in connection with a sale on the Exchange is satisfied by the fact that the prospectus is available from the Exchange upon request. The prospectus delivery mechanism provided in Rule 153 is available with respect to transactions on a national securities exchange, a trading facility or an alternative trading system.
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First Trust
Exchange-Traded Fund VIII

First Trust SkyBridge Crypto Industry and Digital Economy 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. You may also request information regarding the Fund by sending a request (along with a duplication fee) to the SEC 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 #: 333-210186
811-23147

 

 
 

 

STATEMENT OF ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
Investment Company Act File No. 811-23147
First Trust Exchange-Traded Fund VIII
Preliminary Statement of Additional Information
Dated September 14, 2021
Subject to Completion
FUND NAME
TICKER SYMBOL
EXCHANGE
First Trust SkyBridge Crypto Industry and Digital Economy ETF
CRPT
NYSE Arca
DATED _________, 2021
This Statement of Additional Information (“SAI”) is not a prospectus. It should be read in conjunction with the prospectus dated ________, 2021, as it may be revised from time to time (the “Prospectus”), for First Trust SkyBridge Crypto Industry and Digital Economy 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”). The Trust currently offers shares in 52 series. 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 the 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,
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a Trustee is not considered to have a personal financial interest by virtue of being compensated for his or her services as a 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”). This may make it more difficult or inconvenient for a shareholder to bring an action. 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 Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended or the 1940 Act, or any rule, regulation or order of the Securities Exchange Commission thereunder.
The Fund is advised by First Trust Advisors L.P. (the “Advisor” or “First Trust”) and is sub-advised by SkyBridge Capital II, LLC (the "Sub-Advisor" or "SkyBridge").
The shares of the Fund are principally listed and traded on NYSE Arca, Inc. (“NYSE Arca” or the “Exchange”). ETFs, such as the Fund, do not sell or redeem individual shares of the Fund. Instead, financial entities known as “Authorized Participants” (which are discussed in greater detail below) have contractual arrangements with the Fund or the Distributor to purchase and redeem Fund shares directly with the Fund in large blocks of shares known as “Creation Units.” An Authorized Participant that purchases a Creation Unit of Fund shares deposits with the Fund a “basket” of securities, cash and/or other assets identified by the Fund that day, and then receives the Creation Unit of Fund shares in return for those assets. The redemption process is the reverse of the purchase process: the Authorized Participant redeems a Creation Unit of Fund shares for a basket of securities, cash and/or other assets. The basket is generally representative of the Fund’s portfolio, and together with a cash balancing amount, it is equal to the NAV of the Fund shares comprising the Creation Unit. Pursuant to Rule 6c-11 of the 1940 Act, the Fund may utilize baskets that are not representative of the Fund’s portfolio. Such “custom baskets” are discussed in the section entitled “Creation and Redemption of Creation Units.”
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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 Units.” 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.
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.
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 assets in securities of issuers in any one industry or group of industries, except that the Fund will concentrate its assets in the industries comprising the information technology sector and the financial sector. 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.
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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 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 following information supplements the discussion of the Fund’s investment objective, policies and strategies that appears in the Prospectus.
The Fund will normally invest at least 80% of its net assets (plus any investment borrowings) in the common stocks and American Depositary Receipts (“ADRs”) of Crypto Industry Companies and Digital Economy Companies. Under normal market conditions, the Fund will invest at least 50% of its net assets (plus any investment borrowings) in Crypto Industry Companies. The remainder of the Fund’s net assets used to satisfy the 80% test set forth above will be invested in Digital Economy Companies.
(1)
“Crypto Industry Companies” are those companies that (i) derive at least 50% of their revenue or profits directly from goods produced or sold, investments made, or services performed in the crypto industry ecosystem (defined below); and/or (ii) have at least 50% of their net assets accounted for by direct holdings of bitcoin, ether or another crypto asset (collectively, “crypto assets”). The Fund’s investment sub-adviser, SkyBridge Capital II, LLC (“SkyBridge” or the “Sub-Advisor”), defines “crypto industry ecosystem” to be those companies involved in servicing the crypto asset markets, including crypto mining firms, crypto mining equipment suppliers, crypto financial services companies, or other financial institutions servicing primarily crypto-related clientele.
(2)
Digital Economy Companies” are those companies that derive at least 50% of their revenue or profits directly from goods produced or sold, investments made, or services performed in the digital economy ecosystem (defined below). The Sub-Advisor defines “digital economy ecosystem” to be those companies: (i) providing online banking services; (ii) operating digital payment gateways (i.e., a merchant service that authorizes direct payments processing for businesses); (iii) operating online asset management and trading platforms; (iv) manufacturing semiconductors; or (v) providing software services. For the avoidance of doubt, companies deemed to be “Crypto Industry Companies” will not be considered “Digital Economy Companies.”
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Types of Investments
Depositary Receipts. The Fund may hold securities of foreign issuers in the form of sponsored or unsponsored American depositary receipts (“ADRs”), American Depositary Shares (“ADSs”), Global Depositary Receipts (“GDRs”) and European Depositary Receipts (“EDRs”) (collectively “Depositary Receipts”). ADRs and ADSs are Depositary Receipts normally issued by a U.S. bank or trust company that evidence ownership of underlying securities issued by a foreign corporation. GDRs and EDRs are typically issued by foreign banks or trust companies, although they also may be issued by U.S. banks or trust companies, and evidence ownership of underlying securities issued by either a foreign or a U.S. corporation. Generally, Depositary Receipts in registered form are designed for use in the U.S. securities market. Depositary Receipts in bearer form are designed for use in securities markets outside the United States. Depositary Receipts may not necessarily be denominated in the same currency as the underlying securities into which they may be converted. Ownership of unsponsored Depositary Receipts may not entitle the Fund to financial or other reports from the issuer of the underlying security, to which it would be entitled as the owner of sponsored Depositary Receipts.
Equities.  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 warrants and rights related to common stocks.
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.
(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.
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(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 the Sub-Advisor 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.
(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 the Sub-Advisor 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.
Illiquid Securities. The Fund may invest in illiquid securities (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 purposes of this restriction, illiquid securities may include, but are not limited to, certain restricted securities (securities the disposition of which is restricted under the federal securities laws), securities that may only be resold pursuant to Rule 144A under the 1933 Act, and repurchase agreements with maturities in excess of seven days, among others. However, the Fund will not acquire illiquid securities if, as a result, such securities would comprise more than 15% of the value of the Fund’s net assets. The Advisor, subject to oversight by the Board of Trustees, has the ultimate
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authority to determine, to the extent permissible under the federal securities laws, which securities are liquid or illiquid for purposes of this 15% limitation under the Fund’s liquidity risk management program, adopted pursuant to Rule 22e-4 under the 1940 Act.
Restricted securities may be sold only in privately negotiated transactions or in a public offering with respect to which a registration statement is in effect under the 1933 Act. Where registration is required, the Fund may be obligated to pay all or part of the registration expenses and a considerable period may elapse between the time of the decision to sell and the time the Fund may be permitted to sell a security under an effective registration statement. If, during such a period, adverse market conditions were to develop, the Fund might obtain a less favorable price than that which prevailed when it decided to sell. Illiquid securities will be priced at fair value as determined in good faith under procedures adopted by the Board of Trustees. If, through the appreciation of illiquid securities or the depreciation of liquid securities, the Fund should be in a position where more than 15% of the value of its net assets are invested in illiquid securities, including restricted securities which are not readily marketable, the Advisor will report such occurrence to the Board of Trustees and take such steps as are deemed advisable to protect liquidity in accordance with the Fund’s liquidity risk management program.
Hedging Strategies
The Fund may engage in hedging activities and, in this regard, may utilize forward contracts, currency spot transactions and futures contracts. The use of futures is not a part of a principal investment strategy of the Fund.
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 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 Derivative Transactions
The Fund limits its direct investments in derivative instruments to the extent necessary for the Advisor to claim the exclusion from regulation as a “commodity pool operator” with respect to the Fund under CFTC Rule 4.5, as such rule may be amended from time to time. Under Rule 4.5 as currently in effect, the Fund limits its trading activity in certain derivative instruments (excluding activity for “bona fide hedging purposes,” as defined by the CFTC) such that each 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 the Fund’s 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.
The Advisor 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.
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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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 the 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 or bank letters of credit in an amount at least equal to the value of the borrowed securities, marked to market daily. 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.
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 financial condition of the issuers of the equity securities held by the Fund or 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. The past market and earnings performance of any of the equity securities included in the Fund is not predictive of their future performance.
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 Fund 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 paidor otherwise been settled. 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 Fund will fluctuate over the life of the Fund and may be more or less than the price at which they were purchased by the Fund. The equity securities held in the Fund may 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 Fund’s purchase and sale of the equity securities and other factors.
8

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.
Depositary Receipts Risk
Depositary Receipts may not necessarily be denominated in the same currency as the underlying securities into which they may be converted. ADRs are receipts typically issued by a U.S. bank or trust company that evidence ownership of underlying securities issued by a foreign corporation. EDRs are receipts issued by a European bank or trust company evidencing ownership of securities issued by a foreign corporation. New York shares are typically issued by a company incorporated in the Netherlands and represent a direct interest in the company. Unlike traditional depositary receipts, New York share programs do not involve custody of the Dutch shares of the company. GDRs are receipts issued throughout the world that evidence a similar arrangement. ADRs, EDRs and GDRs may trade in foreign currencies that differ from the currency the underlying security for each ADR, EDR or GDR principally trades in. Global shares are the actual (ordinary) shares of a non-U.S. company which trade both in the home market and the United States. Generally, ADRs and New York shares, in registered form, are designed for use in the U.S. securities markets. EDRs, in registered form, are used to access European markets. GDRs, in registered form, are tradable both in the United States and in Europe and are designed for use throughout the world. Global shares are represented by the same share certificate in the United States and the home market, and separate registrars in the United States and the home country are maintained. In most cases, purchases occurring on a U.S. exchange would be reflected on the U.S. registrar. Global shares may also be eligible to list on exchanges in addition to the United States and the home country. The Fund may hold unsponsored Depositary Receipts. The issuers of unsponsored Depositary Receipts are not obligated to disclose material information in the United States; 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
The use of derivatives presents risks different from, and possibly greater than, the risks associated with investing directly in traditional securities. The use of derivatives can lead to losses because of adverse movements in the price or value of the underlying asset, index or rate, which may be magnified by certain features of the derivatives. In addition, when the Fund invests in certain derivative securities, including, but not limited to, when-issued securities, forward commitments, futures contracts and interest rate swaps, the Fund is effectively leveraging its investments, which could result in exaggerated changes in the net asset value of the Fund's shares and can result in losses that exceed the amount originally invested. The success of the Advisor's derivatives strategies will depend on its ability to assess and predict the impact of market or economic developments on the underlying asset, index or rate and the derivative itself, without the benefit of observing the performance of the derivative under all possible market conditions. Liquidity risk exists when a security cannot be purchased or sold at the time desired, or cannot be purchased or sold without adversely affecting the price. Certain specific risks associated with an investment in derivatives may include: market risk, credit risk, correlation risk, liquidity risk, legal risk and systemic or “interconnection” risk, as specified below.
(1)
Market Risk.Market risk is the risk that the value of the underlying assets may go up or down. Adverse movements in the value of an underlying asset can expose the Fund to losses. Derivative instruments may include elements of leverage and, accordingly, fluctuations in the value of the derivative instrument in relation to the underlying asset may be magnified. The successful use of derivative instruments depends upon a variety of factors, particularly the portfolio managers' ability to predict movements of the securities, currencies and commodities markets, which may require different skills than predicting changes in the prices of individual securities. There can be no assurance that any particular strategy adopted will succeed. A decision to engage in a derivative transaction will reflect the portfolio managers' judgment that the derivative transaction will provide value to the Fund and its shareholders and is consistent with the Fund's objective, investment limitations and operating policies. In making such a judgment, the portfolio managers will analyze the benefits and risks of the derivative transactions and weigh them in the context of the Fund's overall investments and investment objective.
(2)
Credit Risk/Counterparty Risk.Credit risk is the risk that a loss may be sustained as a result of the failure of a counterparty to comply with the terms of a derivative instrument. The counterparty risk for exchange-traded derivatives is generally less than for privately negotiated or over-the-counter (“OTC”) derivatives, since generally a clearing agency, which is the issuer or counterparty to each exchange-traded instrument, provides a guarantee
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of performance. For privately negotiated instruments, there is no similar clearing agency guarantee. In all transactions, the Fund will bear the risk that the counterparty will default, and this could result in a loss of the expected benefit of the derivative transactions and possibly other losses to the the Fund.  Such counterparty risk is accentuated in the case of contracts with longer maturities where there is a greater risk that a specific event may prevent or delay settlement, or where the Fund has concentrated its transactions with a single or small group of counterparties.  The Fund is not restricted from dealing with any particular counterparty or from concentrating any or all of its transactions with one counterparty. The Fund will enter into transactions in derivative instruments only with counterparties that First Trust reasonably believes are capable of performing under the contract.
(3)
Correlation Risk. Correlation risk is the risk that there might be an imperfect correlation, or even no correlation, between price movements of a derivative instrument and price movements of investments being hedged. When a derivative transaction is used to completely hedge another position, changes in the market value of the combined position (the derivative instrument plus the position being hedged) result from an imperfect correlation between the price movements of the two instruments. With a perfect hedge, the value of the combined position remains unchanged with any change in the price of the underlying asset. With an imperfect hedge, the value of the derivative instrument and its hedge are not perfectly correlated. For example, if the value of a derivative instrument used in a short hedge (such as writing a call option, buying a put option or selling a futures contract) increased by less than the decline in value of the hedged investments, the hedge would not be perfectly correlated. This might occur due to factors unrelated to the value of the investments being hedged, such as speculative or other pressures on the markets in which these instruments are traded. In addition, the Fund’s success in using hedging instruments is subject to the ability of the portfolio managers to correctly predict changes in relationships of such hedge instruments to the Fund’s portfolio holdings, and there can be no assurance that the judgment of the portfolio managers in this respect will be accurate.  An imperfect correlation may prevent the Fund from achieving the intended hedge or expose the Fund to a risk of loss.
(4)
Liquidity Risk. Liquidity risk is the risk that a derivative instrument cannot be sold, closed out or replaced quickly at or very close to its fundamental value. Generally, exchange contracts are very liquid because the exchange clearinghouse is the counterparty of every contract. OTC transactions are less liquid than exchange-traded derivatives since they often can only be closed out with the other party to the transaction. The Fund might be required by applicable regulatory requirements to maintain assets as “cover,” maintain segregated accounts and/or make margin payments when taking positions in derivative instruments involving obligations to third parties (i.e., instruments other than purchase options). If the Funds are unable to close out its positions in such instruments, it might be required to continue to maintain such assets or accounts or make such payments until the position expires, matures or is closed out. These requirements might impair the Fund's ability to sell a security or make an investment at a time when it would otherwise be favorable to do so, or require that the Fund sell a portfolio security at a disadvantageous time. The Fund's ability to sell or close out a position in an instrument prior to expiration or maturity depends upon the existence of a liquid secondary market or, in the absence of such a market, the ability and willingness of the counterparty to enter into a transaction closing out the position. Due to liquidity risk, there is no assurance that any derivatives position can be sold or closed out at a time and price that is favorable to the Fund.
(5)
Legal Risk. Legal risk is the risk of loss caused by the unenforceability of a party’s obligations under the derivative. While a party seeking price certainty agrees to surrender the potential upside in exchange for downside protection, the party taking the risk is looking for a positive payoff. Despite this voluntary assumption of risk, a counterparty that has lost money in a derivative transaction may try to avoid payment by exploiting various legal uncertainties about certain derivative products.
(6)
Volatility.  The prices of many derivative instruments are highly volatile. Price movements of such instruments may be influenced by, among other things, interest rates, changing supply and demand relationships, trade, fiscal, monetary and exchange control programs and policies of governments, and national and international political and economic events and policies. The value of such instruments also may depend upon the price of the securities or currencies underlying them.
(7)
Systemic or “Interconnection” Risk. Systemic or “interconnection” risk is the risk that a disruption in the financial markets will cause difficulties for all market participants. In other words, a disruption in one market will spill over into other markets, perhaps creating a chain reaction. Much of the OTC derivatives market takes place
10

among the OTC dealers themselves, thus creating a large interconnected web of financial obligations. This interconnectedness raises the possibility that a default by one large dealer could create losses for other dealers and destabilize the entire market for OTC derivative instruments.
Dividends Risk
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 Fund 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 or have otherwise been settled. 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. 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 that are senior to those of common stockholders.
Liquidity Risk
Whether or not the equity securities held by the Fund are listed on a securities exchange, the principal trading market for certain of the equity securities may be in the over-the-counter ("OTC") market. As a result, the existence of a liquid trading market for such equity securities may depend on whether dealers will make a market in the equity securities. There can be no assurance that a market will be made for any of the equity securities, that any market for such equity securities will be maintained or that there will be sufficient liquidity of the equity securities in any markets made. The price at which such equity securities are held by the Fund will be adversely affected if trading markets for the equity securities are limited or absent.
Listing Standards Risk
The Fund is required to comply with listing requirements adopted by the Exchange. Non-compliance with such requirements may result in the Fund's shares being delisted by the Exchange. Any resulting liquidation of the Fund could cause the Fund to incur elevated transaction costs and could result in negative tax consequences for its shareholders.
Litigation Risk
At any time litigation may be instituted on a variety of grounds with respect to the common stocks held by the Fund. The Fund is unable to predict whether litigation that has been or will be instituted might have a material adverse effect on the Fund.
Market Disruption and Geopolitical Risk
Some countries in which the Fund invests have experienced security concerns, war or threats of war and aggression, terrorism, economic uncertainty, natural and environmental disasters and/or systemic market dislocations that have led, and in the future may lead, to increased short term market volatility and may have adverse long term effects on the economies and markets of such countries generally, each of which may negatively impact the Fund’s investments. For example, there have been various events throughout Europe, including Russia’s annexation of Crimea and the resulting sanctions against Russia and the ongoing tension between Russia and Ukraine. It is possible, for instance, that the events occurring in Russia could result in, among other things, Russia withholding its natural gas supply from other European countries, which has the potential to harm the economies and markets of such countries. The events occurring in one country or region may spread through, or otherwise affect, other countries and regions and therefore adversely impact the Fund’s investments in such countries and regions.
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
11

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 a 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.
Health crises caused by the outbreak of infectious diseases or other public health issues, may exacerbate other pre-existing political, social, economic, market and financial risks. The impact of any such events, could negatively affect the global economy, as well as the economies of individual countries or regions, the financial performance of individual companies, sectors and industries, and the markets in general in significant and unforeseen ways. Any such impact could adversely affect the prices and liquidity of the securities and other instruments in which the Fund invests and negatively impact the Fund’s investment return. For example, an outbreak of a respiratory disease designated as COVID-19 was first detected in China in December 2019 and subsequently spread internationally. The transmission of COVID-19 and efforts to contain its spread resulted in international, national and local border closings and other significant travel restrictions and disruptions, significant disruptions to business operations, supply chains and customer activity, event cancellations and restrictions, service cancellations, reductions and other changes, significant challenges in healthcare service preparation and delivery, and quarantines, as well as general concern and uncertainty that negatively affected the economic environment. While the development of vaccines has slowed the spread of the virus and allowed for the resumption of reasonably normal business activity in the United States, many countries continue to impose lockdown measures in an attempt to slow the spread. Additionally, there is no guarantee that vaccines will be effective against emerging variants of the disease. The impact of this COVID-19 pandemic may be short term or may last for an extended period of time, and in either case could result in a substantial economic downturn or recession.
In addition, the operations of the Fund, the Advisor and the Fund’s other service providers may be significantly impacted, or even temporarily or permanently halted, as a result of government quarantine measures, voluntary and precautionary restrictions on travel or meetings and other factors related to a public health emergency, including its potential adverse impact on the health of any such entity’s personnel.
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.
Small and Mid Capitalization Companies Risk
Certain of the equity securities in the Fund may be small and/or mid capitalization company stocks. While historically such company stocks have outperformed the stocks of large companies, the former have customarily involved more investment risk as well. Small and mid capitalization companies may have limited product lines, markets or financial resources; may lack management depth or experience; and may be more vulnerable to adverse general market or economic developments than large companies. Some of these companies may distribute, sell or produce products which have recently been brought to market and may be dependent on key personnel.
The prices of small and mid capitalization company securities are often more volatile than prices associated with large company issues, and can display abrupt or erratic movements at times, due to limited trading volumes and less publicly available information. Also, because small and mid capitalization companies normally have fewer shares outstanding and these shares trade less frequently than large companies, it may be more difficult for the Fund which contains these equity securities to buy and sell significant amounts of such shares without an unfavorable impact on prevailing market prices. The securities of small and mid capitalization companies are often traded OTC and may not be traded in the volumes typical of a national securities exchange.
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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)
213 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)
213 Portfolios
None
Thomas R. Kadlec
1957
Trustee
Indefinite term
Since inception
President, ADM Investor Services, Inc.
(Futures Commission Merchant)
213 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)
213 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)
213 Portfolios
None
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 January 2016
Managing Director and Chief Financial Officer
(January 2016 to present), 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)
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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
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 January 2016
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 eight 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, First Trust Senior Floating Rate 2022 Target Term Fund and First Trust High Yield Opportunities 2027 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 189 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, FTP 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 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, 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.
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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 five 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 Executive Committee 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 four Committee Chairmen and the Lead Independent Trustee rotate every three years in serving as Chairman of the Audit Committee, the Nominating and Governance Committee, the Valuation Committee or the Dividend 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 five standing committees of the First Trust Fund Complex are: the Executive Committee, the Nominating and Governance Committee, the Valuation Committee, the Audit Committee and the Dividend 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. Mr. Nielson, Mr. Bowen and Dr. Erickson 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.
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.
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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.
The Dividend Committee is responsible for assisting the Board in, or assuming the authority and power of the Board with respect to, the declaration and setting of the Fund's dividends. Messrs. Erickson and Nielson serve on the Dividend Committee.
Executive Officers
The executive officers of the Trust hold the same positions with each fund in the First Trust Fund Complex (representing 213 portfolios) as they hold with the Trust, except Mr. Ueland who is an executive officer of 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 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.
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
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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 and on the Executive Committee (20082009), 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 Lead Independent Trustee and on the Executive Committee (since January 1, 2017) 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 (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 20172019) 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). Independent Trustee and on the Executive Committee (since January 1, 2020) and as Chairman of the Dividend Committee (since October 19, 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 rather than being allocated pro rata based on each fund’s net assets. Additionally, the Lead Independent Trustee is paid $30,000
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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, 2020, 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
$3,739
$458,125
Thomas R. Kadlec
$3,739
$451,450
Robert F. Keith
$3,733
$454,098
Niel B. Nielson
$3,746
$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, 2020 for services to the 194 portfolios, which consisted of 8 open-end mutual funds, 16 closed-end funds and 170 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, 2020:
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 _______, 2021, 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 _______, 2021, the officers and Trustees, in the aggregate, owned less than 1% of the shares of the Fund.
As of _______, 2021, 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.
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.
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
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and investment discipline are deeply rooted in the application of intuitive factor analysis and model implementation to enhance investment decisions.
As the Fund’s investment advisor, First Trust supervises the Sub-Advisor’s 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 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 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 0.80% 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.
Sub-Advisor
The Trust, on behalf of the Fund, and First Trust have retained SkyBridge Capital II, LLC (“SkyBridge” or the “Sub-Advisor”), to serve as investment sub-advisor to the Fund pursuant to a sub-advisory agreement (the "Sub-Advisory Agreement"). In this capacity, SkyBridge is responsible for the selection and ongoing monitoring of the securities in the Fund's investment portfolios. SkyBridge Capital II, LLC is located at 527 Madison Avenue, 4th Floor, New York, New York 10022. In addition to serving as the Sub-Advisor, SkyBridge provides portfolio management services to other investment funds (both registered and unregistered funds), pension and profit sharing plans, corporations and other businesses, including in separately managed accounts. As of December 31, 2020, SkyBridge had approximately $7.4 billion in assets under management or advisement. The Advisor has entered into a sub-advisory agreement with the Sub-Advisor and pays the Sub-Advisor out of the Investment Management Fee it receives from the Trust. The Sub-Advisor will receive a portfolio management fee equal to 0.85% of the Fund’s average daily net assets.
Anthony Scaramucci and Brett Messing, the co-portfolio managers of the Trust, are jointly and primarily responsible for the day-to-day management of the Trust’s portfolio.
Anthony Scaramucci. Mr. Scaramucci is the Founder and Managing Partner of SkyBridge Capital and Portfolio Manager of the Trust. Prior to founding SkyBridge in 2005, he co-founded investment partnership Oscar Capital Management, which was sold to Neuberger Berman, LLC in 2001. Earlier, he was a vice president in Private Wealth Management at Goldman Sachs & Co. He was a member of the New York City Financial Services Advisory Committee from 2007 to 2012. In November 2016, he was named to President-Elect Trump’s 16-person Presidential Transition Team Executive Committee. In June 2017, he was named the Chief Strategy Officer of the Export-Import Bank. He served as the White House Communications Director for a period in July 2017. Mr. Scaramucci, a native of Long Island, New York, holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from Tufts University and a Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School.
Brett S. Messing. Mr. Messing is President and Co-Chief Investment Officer of SkyBridge Capital and Portfolio Manager of the Trust. He began his career at Goldman Sachs where he held various positions including Vice President and Co-Head of the Restricted Stock Group. Thereafter, he was a partner at Oscar Capital Management, which was acquired by Neuberger Berman, LLC. Following the successful integration of the business, Mr. Messing founded GPS Partners, a $2.5 billion hedge fund at its peak, which focused primarily in the energy infrastructure sector. Mr. Messing was the firm’s Managing Partner and Chief Investment Officer. Thereafter, Mr. Messing worked for Los Angeles Mayor
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Antonio R. Villariagosa as Co-Chief Operating Officer responsible for economic and business policy. Mr. Messing served as a Senior Advisor to Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg at C40 Cities, a joint venture with the Clinton Climate Initiative. Mr. Messing received his A.B. from Brown University, magna cum laude, and his Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School.
As of _______, 2021, the portfolio managers did not beneficially own any shares of the Fund.
Compensation. Each of Mr. Scaramucci’s and Mr. Messing’s compensation is salary and may include a discretionary bonus, including deferred compensation. The value of the discretionary bonus is affected by the financial results and profitability of SkyBridge as a whole. The discretionary bonus is not linked to the performance of any specific benchmark or that of any SkyBridge investment fund or account; nor are specific asset size targets considered. Each of Mr. Scaramucci and Mr. Messing has an equity stake in the Adviser.
Accounts Managed By Portfolio Managers
The portfolio managers manage the investment vehicles (other than the Fund) with the number of accounts and assets as of July 31, 2021, set forth in the table below:
Portfolio Manager
Registered
Investment Companies
Number of Accounts
($ Assets in Millions)
Other Pooled
Investment Vehicles
Number of Accounts
($ Assets in Millions)
Other Accounts
Number of Accounts
($ Assets in Millions)
Anthony Scaramucci
N/A
2 ($66)
N/A
Brett Messing
2 ($2,780)
15 ($715)
6 ($201)
With respect to the accounts identified in the table above, Mr. Messing manages three pooled investment vehicles, with assets totaling $548 million, for which the advisory fees are based in part on performance of the accounts.
Conflicts of Interest. Actual or apparent conflicts of interest may arise when a portfolio manager has day-to-day management responsibilities with respect to more than one fund or other account. More specifically, portfolio managers who manage multiple funds and/or other accounts may be presented with one or more of the potential conflicts described below.
The management of multiple funds and/or other accounts may result in a portfolio manager devoting unequal time and attention to the management of each fund and/or other account. The Sub-Advisor seeks to manage such competing interests for the time and attention of a portfolio manager by having the portfolio manager focus on a particular investment discipline. Most other accounts managed by a portfolio manager are managed using a similar investment model that is used in connection with the management of the Fund. The Fund is expected to be included as part of a broader investment program developed by the Sub-Advisor and managed by the portfolio managers. The portfolio managers will be required to satisfy their duties to both the Fund and the accounts that invest in these broader programs. Conflicts may potentially arise when the portfolio managers attempt to satisfy the needs of each type of customer. The Sub-Advisor has developed procedures to address these potential conflicts.
If a portfolio manager identifies a limited investment opportunity that may be suitable for more than one fund or other account, a fund may not be able to take full advantage of that opportunity due to an allocation of filled purchase or sale orders across all eligible funds and other accounts. To deal with these situations, the Sub-Advisor has adopted procedures for allocating portfolio transactions across multiple accounts. However, First Trust will be responsible for effecting all security transactions for the Fund's assets and, in placing orders for the sale and purchase of securities for the Fund, First Trust will be responsible for seeking the best execution of such orders.
With respect to securities transactions for the Fund, First Trust determines which broker to use to execute each order, consistent with its duty to seek best execution of the transaction. However, with respect to certain other accounts (such as mutual funds for which the Sub-Advisor acts as sub-advisor, other pooled investment vehicles that are not registered mutual funds, and other accounts managed for organizations and individuals), the Sub-Advisor may be limited by the client with respect to the selection of brokers or may be instructed to direct trades through a particular broker. In these cases, trades for the Fund in a particular security may be placed separately from, rather than aggregated with, such other accounts. Having separate transactions with respect to a security may temporarily affect the market price of the security or the execution of the transaction, or both, to the possible detriment of the Fund or other account(s) involved.
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The Sub-Advisor, the Advisor and the Fund have adopted certain compliance procedures that are designed to address these types of conflicts. However, there is no guarantee that such procedures will detect each and every situation in which a conflict arises.
Sub-Advisory Agreement. The Sub-Advisor, subject to the Board of Trustees’ and Advisor’s supervision, provides the Fund with discretionary investment services. Specifically, the Sub-Advisor is responsible for managing the investments of the Fund in accordance with the Fund's investment objectives, policies and restrictions as provided in the Prospectus and this SAI, as may be subsequently changed by the Board of Trustees and communicated to the Sub-Advisor in writing. The Sub-Advisor further agrees to conform to all applicable laws and regulations of the SEC in all material respects and to conduct its activities under the Sub-Advisory Agreement in all material respects in accordance with applicable regulations of any governmental authority pertaining to its investment advisory services. In the performance of its duties, the Sub-Advisor will in all material respects satisfy any applicable fiduciary duties it may have to the Fund, will monitor the Fund's investments and will comply with the provisions of the Trust’s Declaration of Trust and By-Laws, as amended from time to time, and the stated investment objective, policies and restrictions of the Fund. First Trust is responsible for effecting all security transactions for the Fund's assets. The Sub-Advisory Agreement provides that the Sub-Advisor shall generally not be liable for any loss suffered by the Fund or the Advisor (including, without limitation, by reason of the purchase, sale or retention of any security) in connection with the performance of the Sub-Advisor’s duties under the Sub-Advisory Agreement, except for a loss resulting from willful misfeasance, bad faith or gross negligence on the part of the Sub-Advisor in performance of its duties under the Sub-Advisory Agreement, or by reason of its reckless disregard of its obligations and duties under the Sub-Advisory Agreement.
Pursuant to the Sub-Advisory Agreement, the Advisor has agreed to pay for the services and facilities provided by the Sub-Advisor through sub-advisory fees. The Sub-Advisor’s fees are paid by the Advisor out of the Advisor’s management fee. For the Fund, the Sub-Advisor receives a sub-advisory fee equal to 50% of any remaining monthly unitary management fee paid to the Advisor after the average Fund’s expenses accrued during the most recent twelve months are subtracted from the unitary management fee for that month. The following table sets forth the sub-advisory fees paid to the Sub-Advisor by the Advisor for the specified period.
The Sub-Advisory Agreement may be terminated without the payment of any penalty by First Trust, the Board of Trustees, or a majority of the outstanding voting securities of the Fund (as defined in the 1940 Act), upon 60 days’ written notice to the Sub-Advisor.
All fees and expenses are accrued daily and deducted before payment of dividends to investors. The Sub-Advisory Agreement has been approved by the Board of Trustees, including a majority of the Independent Trustees of the Fund, and the initial shareholder of the Fund.
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
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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 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 effect their 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 objectives, 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, Fund Accounting Agent, Custodian, Transfer Agent, Distributor, Additional Service Provider and Exchange
Administrator and Fund Accounting Agent. The Fund has appointed the 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. The Trust has appointed BNYM to serve as the Fund's custodian pursuant to a custody agreement (the “Custody Agreement”). Pursuant to the terms of the Custody Agreement, BNYM is generally responsible for the safekeeping of the Fund's assets and performing various other administrative duties set forth in the agreement.
Transfer Agent. The Trust has appointed BNYM to serve as the Fund's transfer agent and dividend disbursing agent pursuant to a transfer agency and service agreement (the “Transfer Agency Agreement”). Pursuant to the terms of the Transfer Agency Agreement, BNYM is responsible for performing and facilitating the purchases and redemptions of Creation Unit Aggregations, as well as performing other customary services of a transfer agent and dividend disbursing agent.
As set forth in the Administration and Accounting Agreement, Custody Agreement and Transfer Agency Agreement, the Trust, on behalf of the Fund, has agreed to indemnify and hold harmless BNYM from certain costs, expenses, damages, liabilities or claims which are sustained or incurred or which may be asserted against BNYM, provided that such costs, expenses, damages, liabilities and claims did not result from BNYM’s own negligence or willful misconduct.
As compensation for the services provided by BNYM under the Administration and Accounting Agreement, Custody Agreement and Transfer Agency Agreement, the Trust, on behalf of the Fund, has agreed to pay to BNYM such compensation
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as may be specifically agreed upon from time to time and reimburse BNYM for out-of-pocket expenses which are a normal incident of the services provided under the agreements. Pursuant to the terms of the Investment Management Agreement, the the Fund does not directly pay BNYM for these services, as First Trust has assumed responsibility for the payment of these expenses out of the unitary management fee it receives from the Fund.
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 Funds through the Distributor only in Creation Unit Aggregations, as described in the Prospectus under the heading "Creation and Redemption of Creation Units."
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 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 _______, 2023.
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 Depositary 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 NYSE Arca has with First Trust or the Distributor of the Fund in connection with the Fund is that NYSE Arca lists the shares of the Fund pursuant to its listing agreement with the Trust. NYSE Arca 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. NYSE Arca 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 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.
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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 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
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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.
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 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.
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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, provided that, upon the closing of such non-U.S. exchange, the closing price of the security will be used throughout the remainder of the business day where the markets remain open. These exchange rates may differ from those used by the Sub-Advisor and consequently result in intra-day portfolio values (“IPV”) 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.
Policy Regarding Investment in Other Investment Companies. The Fund will not rely on Sections 12(d)(1)(F) or 12(d)(1)(G) of the 1940 Act to invest in other investment companies.
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.
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 generally vote proxies relating to such company’s securities in accordance with the ISS recommendations to avoid any conflict of interest.
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. First Trust’s use of the ISS Proxy Voting Guidelines is not intended to constrain First Trust’s consideration of any proxy proposal, and there may be times when First Trust deviates from the ISS Proxy Voting Guidelines. First Trust retains final authority and fiduciary responsibility for proxy voting. 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 is available upon request and without charge on the Fund's 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 NYSE is open for trading via the National Securities Clearing Corporation (“NSCC”). Pursuant to Rule 6c-11 under the 1940 Act, information regarding the Fund’s current portfolio holdings will be available on a daily basis at https://www.ftportfolios.com/Retail/etf/home.aspx. The Trust, First Trust, FTP, SkyBridge 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, SkyBridge and FTP 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
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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 Units
General. ETFs, such as the Fund, generally issue and redeem their shares in primary market transactions through a creation and redemption mechanism and do not sell or redeem individual shares. Instead, financial entities known as “Authorized Participants” have contractual arrangements with an ETF or one of the ETF’s service providers to purchase and redeem ETF shares directly with the ETF in large blocks of shares known as “Creation Units.” Prior to the start of trading on every business day, an ETF publishes through the National Securities Clearing Corporation (“NSCC”) the “basket” of securities, cash or other assets that it will accept in exchange for a Creation Unit of the ETF’s shares. An Authorized Participant that wishes to effectuate a creation of an ETF’s shares deposits with the ETF the “basket” of securities, cash or other assets identified by the ETF that day, and then receives the Creation Unit of the ETF’s shares in return for those assets. After purchasing a Creation Unit, the Authorized Participant may continue to hold the ETF’s shares or sell them in the secondary market. The redemption process is the reverse of the purchase process: the authorized participant redeems a Creation Unit of ETF shares for a basket of securities, cash or other assets. The combination of the creation and redemption process with secondary market trading in ETF shares and underlying securities provides arbitrage opportunities that are designed to help keep the market price of ETF shares at or close to the NAV per share of the ETF.
Authorized Participants. An “Authorized Participant” is a member or participant of a clearing agency registered with the SEC that has a written agreement with the Fund or one of its service providers that allows the Authorized Participant to place orders for the purchase or redemption of Creation Units (a “Participant Agreement”). Orders to purchase Creation Units 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 wishing to purchase or sell shares generally do so on an exchange. Institutional investors other than Authorized Participants are responsible for making arrangements for a redemption request to be made through an Authorized Participant.
Business Day. A “Business Day” is generally any day on which the New York Stock Exchange (“NYSE”), the Exchange and the Trust are 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. The Business Day on which an order to purchase or redeem Creation Units is received in proper form is referred to as the “Transmittal Date.”
Basket Composition. Rule 6c-11(c)(3) under of the 1940 Act requires an ETF relying on the exemptions offered by Rule 6c-11 to adopt and implement written policies and procedures governing the construction of baskets and the process that the ETF will use for the acceptance of baskets. In general, in connection with the construction and acceptance of baskets, the Advisor may consider various factors, including, but not limited to: (1) whether the securities, assets and other positions comprising a basket are consistent with the ETF’s investment objective(s), policies and disclosure; (2) whether the securities, assets and other positions can legally and readily be acquired, transferred and held by the ETF and/or Authorized Participant(s), as applicable; (3) whether to utilize cash, either in lieu of securities or other instruments or as a cash balancing amount; and (4) in the case of an ETF that tracks an index, whether the securities, assets and other positions aid index tracking.
The Fund may utilize a pro rata basket or a custom basket in reliance on Rule 6c-11. A “pro rata basket” is a basket that is a pro rata representation of the ETF’s portfolio holdings, except for minor deviations when it is not operationally feasible to include a particular instrument within the basket, except to the extent that the Fund utilized different baskets in transactions on the same Business Day.
Rule 6c-11 defines “custom baskets” to include two categories of baskets. First, a basket containing a non-representative selection of the ETF’s portfolio holdings would constitute a custom basket. These types of custom baskets include, but are not limited to, baskets that do not reflect: (i) a pro rata representation of the Fund’s portfolio holdings; (ii) a representative sampling of an ETF’s portfolio holdings; or (iii) changes due to a rebalancing or reconstitution of an ETF’s securities market index, if applicable. Second, if different baskets are used in transactions on the same Business Day, each basket after the initial basket would constitute a custom basket. For example, if an ETF exchanges a basket with either the same or another Authorized Participant that reflects a representative sampling that differs from the initial basket, that basket (and any such subsequent baskets) would be a custom basket. Similarly, if an ETF substitutes cash in lieu of a portion of basket assets for a single Authorized Participant, that basket would be a custom basket. The Advisor’s Rule 6c-11 Committee defines any deviation from a pro rata
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basket to be a “custom basket.” Rebalancing and reconstitution baskets do not constitute custom baskets. All cash baskets that are the initial basket on a Business Day also do not constitute custom baskets.
Under a variety of circumstances, an ETF and its shareholders may benefit from the flexibility afforded by custom baskets. In general terms, the use of custom baskets may reduce costs, increase efficiency and improve trading. Because utilizing custom baskets provides a way for an ETF to add, remove and re-weight portfolio securities without transacting in the market, it may help the ETF to avoid transaction costs and adverse tax consequences. Rule 6c-11 provides an ETF with flexibility to use “custom baskets” if the ETF has adopted written policies and procedures that: (1) set forth detailed parameters for the construction and acceptance of custom baskets that are in the best interests of the ETF and its shareholders, including the process for any revisions to, or deviations from, those parameters; and (2) specify the titles or roles of employees of the ETF’s investment advisor who are required to review each custom basket for compliance with those parameters.
The use of baskets that do not correspond pro rata to an ETF’s portfolio holdings has historically created concern that an Authorized Participant could take advantage of its relationship with an ETF and pressure the ETF to construct a basket that favors an Authorized Participant to the detriment of the ETF’s shareholders. For example, because ETFs rely on Authorized Participants to maintain the secondary market by promoting an effective arbitrage mechanism, an Authorized Participant holding less liquid or less desirable securities potentially could pressure an ETF into accepting those securities in its basket in exchange for liquid ETF shares (i.e., dumping). An Authorized Participant also could pressure the ETF into including in its basket certain desirable securities in exchange for ETF shares tendered for redemption (i.e., cherry-picking). In either case, the ETF’s other investors would be disadvantaged and would be left holding shares of an ETF with a less liquid or less desirable portfolio of securities. The Advisor has adopted policies and procedures designed to mitigate these concerns but there is ultimately no guarantee that such policies and procedures will be effective.
Basket Dissemination. Basket files are published for consumption through the NSCC, a subsidiary of Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation, and can be utilized for pricing, creations, redemptions, rebalancing and custom scenarios. In most instances, pro rata baskets are calculated and supplied by the ETF’s custodial bank based on ETF holdings, whereas non-pro rata, custom and forward-looking pro rata baskets are calculated by the Fund’s investment advisor and disseminated by the ETF’s custodial bank through the NSCC process.
Placement of Creation or Redemption Orders. All orders to purchase or redeem Creation Units are to be governed according to the applicable Participant Agreement that each Authorized Participant has executed. In general, all orders to purchase or redeem Creation Units must be received by the transfer agent in the proper form required by the Participant Agreement no later than the closing time of the regular trading session of the NYSE (ordinarily 4:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time) on each day the NYSE is open for business (the “Closing Time”) in order for the purchase or redemption of Creation Units to be effected based on the NAV of shares of the Fund as next determined on such date after receipt of the order in proper form. However, at its discretion, the Fund may require an Authorized Participant to submit orders to purchase or redeem Creation Units be placed earlier in the day (such as instances where an applicable market for a security comprising a creation or redemption basket closes earlier than usual).
Delivery of Redemption Proceeds. Deliveries of securities to Authorized Participants in connection with redemption orders 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. Section 22(e) of the 1940 Act generally prohibits a registered open-end management investment company from postponing the date of satisfaction of redemption requests for more than seven days after the tender of a security for redemption. This prohibition can cause operational difficulties for ETFs that hold foreign investments and exchange in-kind baskets for Creation Units. For example, local market delivery cycles for transferring foreign investments to redeeming investors, together with local market holiday schedules, can sometimes require a delivery process in excess of seven days. However, Rule 6c-11 grants relief from Section 22(e) to permit an ETF to delay satisfaction of a redemption request for more than seven days if a local market holiday, or series of consecutive holidays, or the extended delivery cycles for transferring foreign investments to redeeming Authorized Participants, or the combination thereof prevents timely delivery of the foreign investment included in the ETF’s basket. Under this exemption, an ETF must deliver foreign investments as soon as practicable, but in no event later than 15 days after the tender to the ETF. The exemption therefore will permit a delay only to the extent that additional time for settlement is actually required, when a local market holiday, or series of consecutive holidays, or the extended delivery cycles for transferring foreign investments to redeeming authorized participants prevents timely delivery of the foreign investment included in the ETF’s basket. If a foreign investment settles in less than 15 days, Rule 6c-11 requires an ETF to deliver it pursuant to the standard settlement time of the local market where the investment trades. Rule 6c-11 defines “foreign investment” as any security, asset or other position of the ETF issued by a foreign issuer
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(as defined by Rule 3b-4 under the 1934 Act), and that is traded on a trading market outside of the United States. This definition is not limited to “foreign securities,” but also includes other investments that may not be considered securities. Although these other investments may not be securities, they may present the same challenges for timely settlement as foreign securities if they are transferred in kind.
Creation Transaction Fees. The Fund imposes fees in connection with the purchase of Creation Units. These fees may vary based upon various facts-based circumstances, including, but not limited to, the composition of the securities included in the Creation Unit or the countries in which the transactions are settled. The price for each Creation Unit will equal the daily NAV per share of the Fund 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, stamp taxes and part or all of the spread between the expected bid and offer side of the market related to the securities comprising the creation basket.
Redemption Transaction Fees. The Fund also imposes fees in connection with the redemption of Creation Units. These fees may vary based upon various facts-based circumstances, including, but not limited to, the composition of the securities included in the Creation Unit or the countries in which the transactions are settled. The price received for each Creation Unit will equal the daily NAV per share of the Fund times the number of shares in a Creation Unit, minus the fees described above and, if applicable, any 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 the securities comprising the redemption basket. 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 may also be assessed an amount to cover the cost of such services. The redemption fee charged by the Fund will comply with Rule 22c-2 of the 1940 Act which limits redemption fees to no more than 2% of the value of the shares redeemed.
Suspension of Creations. The SEC has stated its position that an ETF generally may suspend the issuance of Creation Units only for a limited time and only due to extraordinary circumstances, such as when the markets on which the ETF’s portfolio holdings are traded are closed for a limited period of time. The SEC has also stated that an ETF could not set transaction fees so high as to effectively suspend the issuance of Creation Units. Circumstances in which the Fund may suspend creations include, but are not limited to: (i) the order is not in proper form; (ii) the purchaser or group of related purchasers, upon obtaining the Creation Units of Fund shares ordered, would own 80% or more of the currently outstanding shares of the Fund; (iii) the required consideration is not delivered; (iv) the acceptance of the basket would have certain adverse tax consequences; (v) the acceptance of the basket would, in the opinion of the Fund, be unlawful; (vi) the acceptance of the basket would otherwise, in the discretion of the Fund, First Trust and/or any sub-advisor, have an adverse effect on the Fund or the rights of the Fund’s Beneficial Owners; or (vii) there exist circumstances outside the control of the Fund that make it impossible to process purchases of Creation Units 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, First Trust, the Distributor, DTC, NSCC, the transfer agent, the custodian, any sub-custodian or any other participant in the purchase process; and similar extraordinary events. The Fund reserves the absolute right to reject a creation order transmitted to it. The Transfer Agent shall notify a prospective creator of a Creation Unit and/or the Authorized Participant acting on behalf of such prospective creator of the rejection of the order of such person. The Trust, the Fund, the Transfer Agent, 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 baskets, nor shall any of them incur any liability for the failure to give any such notification.
Suspension of Redemptions. An ETF may suspend the redemption of Creation Units only in accordance with Section 22(e) of the 1940 Act. Section 22(e) stipulates that no registered investment company shall suspend the right of redemption, or postpone the date of payment or satisfaction upon redemption of any redeemable security in accordance with its terms for more than seven days after the tender of such security to the company or its agent designated for that purpose for redemption, except (1) for any period (A) during which the NYSE is closed other than customary week-end and holiday closings or (B) during which trading on the NYSE is restricted; (2) for any period during which an emergency exists as a result of which (A) disposal by the investment company of securities owned by it is not reasonably practicable or (B) it is not reasonably practicable for such company fairly to determine the value of its net assets; or (3) for such other periods as the SEC may by order permit for the protection of security holders of the investment company.
Exceptions to Use of Creation Units. Under Rule 6c-11 of the 1940 Act, ETFs are permitted to sell or redeem individual shares on the day of consummation of a reorganization, merger, conversion, or liquidation. In these limited circumstances, an ETF may need to issue or redeem individual shares and may need to transact without utilizing Authorized Participants.
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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. The following disclosure 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”).
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.
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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. However, certain ordinary income distributions received from the Fund may be taxed at capital gains tax rates. In particular, 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, provided that certain holding period requirements are satisfied and provided the dividends are attributable to qualifying dividends received by the Fund itself. The Fund will provide notice to its shareholders of the amount of any distributions that may be taken into account as a dividend which is eligible for the capital gains tax rates. The Fund cannot make any guarantees as to the amount of any distribution which will be regarded as a qualifying dividend.
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.An election may be available to you to defer recognition of the gain attributable to a capital gain dividend if you make certain qualifying investments within a limited time.  You should talk to your tax advisor about the availability of this deferral election and its requirements. 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 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. An election may be available to you to defer recognition of capital gain if you make certain qualifying investments within a limited time.  You should talk to your tax advisor about the availability of this deferral election and its requirements.
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
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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, 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
32

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 currently scheduled to apply to the gross proceeds from the disposition of securities that produce U.S. source interest ordividends.  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 currently scheduled to apply to the gross proceeds from the disposition of securities that produce U.S. source interest or dividends.  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 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. shareholders, 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 non-U.S. 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.
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.
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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 Exchange 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 mutual funds are valued at fair value which is based on NAV per share.
(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.
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(3)
Repurchase agreements will be valued as follows. Overnight repurchase agreements will be fair valued at amortized 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 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 a 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 a 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 quarterly. 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
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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.
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Exhibit AProxy Voting Guidelines
UNITED STATES
Concise Proxy Voting Guidelines

Benchmark Policy Recommendations
Effective for Meetings on or after February 1, 2021
Published November 19, 2020
ISSGOVERNANCE.COM
© 2020 | Institutional Shareholder Services and/or its affiliates
A-1

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.
Gender 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 where there are no women

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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on the company's board. An exception will be made if there was a woman on the board at the preceding annual meeting and the board makes a firm commitment to return to a gender-diverse status within a year.
Racial and/or Ethnic Diversity: For companies in the Russell 3000 or S&P 1500 indices, highlight boards with no apparent racial and/or ethnic diversity5.
For companies in the Russell 3000 or S&P 1500 indices, effective for meetings on or after Feb. 1, 2022, generally vote against or withhold from the chair of the nominating committee (or other directors on a case-by-case basis) where the board has no apparent racially or ethnically diverse members. An exception will be made if there was racial and/or ethnic diversity on the board at the preceding annual meeting and the board makes a firm commitment to appoint at least one racial and/or ethnic diverse member within a year.
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:

5
Aggregate diversity statistics provided by the board will only be considered if specific to racial and/or ethnic diversity.
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The company has a poison pill that was not approved by shareholders6. 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; or
The pill, whether short-term7 or long-term, has a deadhand or slowhand feature.
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 nominees1, who should be considered case-by-case) if the board amends the company's bylaws or charter without shareholder approval in a manner that materially diminishes shareholders' rights or that could adversely impact shareholders, considering the following factors:
The board's rationale for adopting the bylaw/charter amendment without shareholder ratification;
Disclosure by the company of any significant engagement with shareholders regarding the amendment;
The level of impairment of shareholders' rights caused by the board's unilateral amendment to the bylaws/charter;
The board's track record with regard to unilateral board action on bylaw/charter amendments or other entrenchment provisions;
The company's ownership structure;
The company's existing governance provisions;
The timing of the board's amendment to the bylaws/charter in connection with a significant business development; and
Other factors, as deemed appropriate, that may be relevant to determine the impact of the amendment on shareholders.
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 companies8, 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

6
Public shareholders only, approval prior to a company’s becoming public is insufficient.
7
If the short-term pill with a deadhand or slowhand feature is enacted but expires before the next shareholder vote, ISS will generally still recommend withhold/against nominees at the next shareholder meeting following its adoption.
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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.
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 companies8, 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:

8
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 oversight9, 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.

9
Examples of failure of risk oversight include but are not limited to: bribery; large or serial fines or sanctions from regulatory bodies; demonstrably poor risk oversight of environmental and social issues, including climate change; significant adverse legal judgments or settlement; or hedging of company stock.
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Proxy Contests/Proxy Access
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).
Other Board-Related Proposals
Board Refreshment
Board refreshment is best implemented through an ongoing program of individual director evaluations, conducted annually, to ensure the evolving needs of the board are met and to bring in fresh perspectives, skills, and diversity as needed.
Term/Tenure Limits
General Recommendation: Vote case-by-case on management proposals regarding director term/tenure limits, considering:
The rationale provided for adoption of the term/tenure limit;
The robustness of the company’s board evaluation process;
Whether the limit is of sufficient length to allow for a broad range of director tenures;
Whether the limit would disadvantage independent directors compared to non-independent directors; and
Whether the board will impose the limit evenly, and not have the ability to waive it in a discriminatory manner.
Vote case-by-case on shareholder proposals asking for the company to adopt director term/tenure limits, considering:
The scope of the shareholder proposal; and
Evidence of problematic issues at the company combined with, or exacerbated by, a lack of board refreshment.
Age Limits
General Recommendation: Generally vote against management and shareholder proposals to limit the tenure of independent directors through mandatory retirement ages. Vote for proposals to remove mandatory age limits.
Independent Board Chair
General Recommendation: Generally vote for shareholder proposals requiring that the board 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;
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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.
Shareholder Rights & Defenses
Advance Notice Requirements for Shareholder Proposals/Nominations
General Recommendation: Vote case-by-case on advance notice proposals, giving support to those proposals which allow shareholders to submit proposals/nominations as close to the meeting date as reasonably possible and within the broadest window possible, recognizing the need to allow sufficient notice for company, regulatory, and shareholder review.
To be reasonable, the company’s deadline for shareholder notice of a proposal/nominations must be no earlier than 120 days prior to the anniversary of the previous year’s meeting and have a submittal window of no shorter than 30 days from the beginning of the notice period (also known as a 90-120 day window). The submittal window is the period under which shareholders must file their proposals/nominations prior to the deadline.
In general, support additional efforts by companies to ensure full disclosure in regard to a proponent’s economic and voting position in the company so long as the informational requirements are reasonable and aimed at providing shareholders with the necessary information to review such proposals.
Shareholder Litigation Rights
Federal Forum Selection Provisions
Federal forum selection provisions require that U.S. federal courts be the sole forum for shareholders to litigate claims arising under federal securities law.
General Recommendation: Generally vote for federal forum selection provisions in the charter or bylaws that specify "the district courts of the United States" as the exclusive forum for federal securities law matters, in the absence of serious concerns about corporate governance or board responsiveness to shareholders.
Vote against provisions that restrict the forum to a particular federal district court; unilateral adoption (without a shareholder vote) of such a provision will generally be considered a one-time failure under the Unilateral Bylaw/Charter Amendments policy.
Exclusive Forum Provisions for State Law Matters
Exclusive forum provisions in the charter or bylaws restrict shareholders’ ability to bring derivative lawsuits against the company, for claims arising out of state corporate law, to the courts of a particular state (generally the state of incorporation).
General Recommendation: Generally vote for charter or bylaw provisions that specify courts located within the state of Delaware as the exclusive forum for corporate law matters for Delaware corporations, in the absence of serious concerns about corporate governance or board responsiveness to shareholders.
For states other than Delaware, vote case-by-case on exclusive forum provisions, taking into consideration:
The company's stated rationale for adopting such a provision;
Disclosure of past harm from duplicative shareholder lawsuits in more than one forum;
The breadth of application of the charter or bylaw provision, including the types of lawsuits to which it would apply and the definition of key terms; and
Governance features such as shareholders' ability to repeal the provision at a later date (including the vote standard applied when shareholders attempt to amend the charter or bylaws) and their ability to hold directors accountable through annual director elections and a majority vote standard in uncontested elections.
Generally vote against provisions that specify a state other than the state of incorporation as the exclusive forum for corporate law matters, or that specify a particular local court within the state; unilateral adoption of such a provision will generally be considered a one-time failure under the Unilateral Bylaw/Charter Amendments policy.
Fee shifting
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Fee-shifting provisions in the charter or bylaws require that a shareholder who sues a company unsuccessfully pay all litigation expenses of the defendant corporation and its directors and officers.
General Recommendation: Generally vote against provisions that mandate fee-shifting whenever plaintiffs are not completely successful on the merits (i.e., including cases where the plaintiffs are partially successful).
Unilateral adoption of a fee-shifting provision will generally be considered an ongoing failure under the Unilateral Bylaw/Charter Amendments policy.
Virtual Shareholder Meetings
General Recommendation: Generally vote for management proposals allowing for the convening of shareholder meetings by electronic means, so long as they do not preclude in-person meetings. Companies are encouraged to disclose the circumstances under which virtual-only 10 meetings would be held, and to allow for comparable rights and opportunities for shareholders to participate electronically as they would have during an in-person meeting.
Vote case-by-case on shareholder proposals concerning virtual-only meetings, considering:
Scope and rationale of the proposal; and
Concerns identified with the company’s prior meeting practices.
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.

10
“Virtual-only shareholder meeting” refers to a meeting of shareholders that is held exclusively using technology without a corresponding in-person meeting.
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D.
Companies at which both conditions (B and C) above are both present: 25 percent of existing authorized shares.
If there is an acquisition, private placement, or simila