Form 485APOS Advisors' Inner Circle

October 16, 2020 5:12 PM EDT

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AS FILED WITH THE U.S. SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION ON OCTOBER 16, 2020

 

File No. 333-192858

File No. 811-22920

 

U.S. SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

WASHINGTON, D.C. 20549

 

FORM N-1A

 

REGISTRATION STATEMENT UNDER THE

SECURITIES ACT OF 1933

  POST-EFFECTIVE AMENDMENT NO. 259 /X/

AND

REGISTRATION STATEMENT UNDER THE

INVESTMENT COMPANY ACT OF 1940

  AMENDMENT NO. 263 /X/

 

THE ADVISORS’ INNER CIRCLE FUND III

(Exact Name of Registrant as Specified in Charter)

 

One Freedom Valley Drive

Oaks, Pennsylvania 19456

(Address of Principal Executive Offices, Zip Code)

 

(800) 932-7781

(Registrant’s Telephone Number, including Area Code)

 

Michael Beattie

c/o SEI Investments

One Freedom Valley Drive

Oaks, Pennsylvania 19456

(Name and Address of Agent for Service)

 

Copies to:

 

Sean Graber, Esquire
Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP
1701 Market Street
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19103

 

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

  / / Immediately upon filing pursuant to paragraph (b)  
  / / On [date] pursuant to paragraph (b)  
  / / 60 days after filing pursuant to paragraph (a)(1)  
  /X/ 75 days after filing pursuant to paragraph (a)(2)  
  / / On [date] pursuant to paragraph (a)(1) of Rule 485  

 

 

 

SUBJECT TO COMPLETION

 

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 U.S. SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION IS EFFECTIVE. THIS PROSPECTUS IS NOT AN OFFER TO SELL THESE SECURITIES AND IS NOT SOLICITING AN OFFER TO BUY THESE SECURITIES IN ANY JURISDICTION WHERE THE OFFER OR SALE IS NOT PERMITTED

 

Preliminary Prospectus Dated October 16, 2020

 

The Advisors’ Inner Circle Fund III

 

Prospectus

 

[Date]

 

Rayliant Quantamental China Equity ETF

 

Principal Listing Exchange: [________]

 

Ticker Symbol: [________]

 

Investment Adviser:

Rayliant Investment Research

doing business as

Rayliant Asset Management

 

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has not approved or disapproved these

securities or passed upon the adequacy or accuracy of this prospectus.

Any representation to the contrary is a criminal offense.

 

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

 

 

 

If you already elected to receive shareholder reports electronically, you will not be affected by this change and you need not take any action. You may elect to receive shareholder reports and other communications from the Fund electronically by contacting your financial intermediary.

 

You may elect to receive all future reports in paper free of charge. If you invest through a financial intermediary, you can follow the instructions included with this disclosure, if applicable, or you can contact your financial intermediary to inform it that you wish to continue receiving paper copies of your shareholder reports. If you invest directly with the Fund, you can inform the Fund that you wish to continue receiving paper copies of your shareholder reports by calling [XX]. Your election to receive reports in paper will apply to all funds held with your financial intermediary if you invest through a financial intermediary.

 

 

 

 

 

About This Prospectus

 

This prospectus has been arranged into different sections so that you can easily review this important information. For detailed information about the Fund, please see:

 

Page

 

Rayliant Quantamental China Equity ETF XX
  Investment Objective XX
  Fund Fees and Expenses XX
  Principal Investment Strategies XX
  Principal Risks XX
  Performance Information XX
  Investment Adviser XX
  Portfolio Managers XX
  Purchase and Sale of Fund Shares XX
  Tax Information XX
  Payments to Broker-Dealers and Other Financial Intermediaries XX
More Information about the Fund’s Investment Objective and Strategies XX
More Information About Risk XX
Information About Portfolio Holdings XX
Investment Adviser XX
Portfolio Managers XX
Purchasing and Selling Fund Shares XX
Payments to Financial Intermediaries XX
Other Policies XX
Dividends, Distributions and Taxes XX
Additional Information XX
Financial Highlights XX
How to Obtain More Information About the Fund Back Cover

 

 

 

Rayliant Quantamental China Equity ETF

 

Investment Objective

 

The Rayliant Quantamental China Equity ETF (the “Fund”) seeks long-term capital appreciation.

 

Fund Fees and Expenses

 

This table describes the fees and expenses that you may pay if you buy, hold and sell shares of the Fund. You may pay other fees, such as brokerage commissions and other fees to financial intermediaries, which are not reflected in the table and Example below.

 

Annual Fund Operating Expenses

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

Management Fee 0.60%
Other Expenses* 0.00%
Total Annual Fund Operating Expenses 0.60%

 

*Other Operating Expenses are based on estimated amounts for the current fiscal year.

 

Example

 

This Example is intended to help you compare the cost of investing in the Fund with the cost of investing in other mutual funds.

 

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

 

1 Year 3 Years
$61 $192

 

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 total annual Fund operating expenses or in the Example, affect the Fund’s performance. Because the Fund has not commenced operations as of the date of this prospectus, it does not have portfolio turnover information to report.

 

Principal Investment Strategies

 

The Fund invests, under normal circumstances, at least 80% of its net assets plus any borrowings for investment purposes in equity securities of issuers based in China. This investment policy may be changed by the Fund upon 60 days’ prior written notice to shareholders.

 

For purposes of the Fund’s investments, China includes the People’s Republic of China (“PRC”) as well as its special administrative regions and other districts, such as Hong Kong. The Adviser considers an issuer to be based in China if: (i) the issuer is organized under the laws of, or has its principal office in China; (ii) the issuer has the primary trading markets for its securities in China; (iii) the issuer derives at least 50% of its revenue or earnings from goods or services sold or produced in China; or (iv) the issuer has at least 50% of its assets in China.

 

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The equity securities in which the Fund primarily invests are common stock, preferred stock, American Depositary Receipts (“ADRs”), and real estate investment trusts (“REITs”). The Fund may invest in securities of companies with any market capitalization. The Fund’s equity investments may also include derivatives, principally futures contracts, which will be used primarily by the Fund for hedging purposes and to equitize cash positions in the Fund’s portfolio (i.e., obtain exposure to the equity markets and maintain liquidity while the Adviser seeks out long-term investments for the Fund). The Fund may also invest in exchange traded funds (“ETFs”) to equitize cash. From time to time, the Fund may focus its investments in a particular sector, such as the financials or consumer discretionary sector.

 

The Fund will invest in A Shares of companies incorporated in China (“China A Shares”) that trade on the Shanghai Stock Exchange and the Shenzhen Stock Exchange through the Shanghai – Hong Kong and Shenzhen – Hong Kong Stock Connect programs (“Stock Connect”). Stock Connect is a mutual stock market access program designed to, among other things, enable foreign investments in China.

 

The Adviser selects stocks on behalf of the Fund using a combination of quantitative and fundamental investment approaches, known as “quantamental” investing, whereby large amounts of data and algorithms are paired with human insights about economic and financial features (i.e., fundamentals) to make investment decisions. The quantitative investment process uses historical and current data and computer models to rank stocks according to a range of characteristics that attempt to identify stocks that have the potential to achieve higher future risk-adjusted returns. Such characteristics may include but are not limited to: “value” (e.g., cheapness of stocks), “quality” (e.g., profitability, financial stability, sound accounting practices), “low risk” (e.g., stocks with relatively stable returns), and “momentum” (e.g., stocks with strong past performance). The Adviser’s quantitative investment model allocates more weight to stocks for which the model identifies the potential for higher future returns, taking into account risk (i.e., risk-adjusted returns), and less weight to stocks for which the model identifies the potential for lower future risk-adjusted returns. The Adviser’s fundamental research team reviews and proposes adjustments to select portfolio weights for the Fund based on their own analysis of the fundamentals (as described above) in order to enhance evaluations made by the quantitative model.

 

The Fund is classified as “non-diversified,” which means that it may invest a larger percentage of its assets in a smaller number of issuers than a diversified fund.

 

Principal Risks

 

As with all mutual funds, there is no guarantee that the Fund will achieve its investment objective. You could lose money by investing in the Fund. A Fund share is not a bank deposit and it is not insured or guaranteed by the FDIC or any other government agency. The principal risk factors affecting shareholders’ investments in the Fund are set forth below.

 

Risk of Investing in China – The Chinese economy is generally considered an emerging market and demonstrates significantly higher volatility from time to time in comparison to developed markets. China may be subject to considerable degrees of economic, political and social instability. The Chinese economy is also export-driven and highly reliant on trade. Adverse changes in the economic conditions of its primary trading partners such as the United States, Japan and South Korea would adversely impact the Chinese economy and the relevant Fund investments. The economy of China also differs from the United States economy in such respects as structure, general development, government involvement, wealth distribution, rate of inflation, growth rate, allocation of resources and capital reinvestment, among others. Under China’s political and economic system, the central government may exercise control over the Chinese economy through administrative regulation and/or state ownership. In addition, expropriation, including nationalization, confiscatory taxation, political, economic or social instability or other developments could adversely affect and diminish the values of the Chinese companies in which the Fund invests, however, over the past few decades, the Chinese government has undertaken reform of economic and market practices and has expanded the sphere of private ownership of property in China.

 

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The Fund may invest in shares of Chinese companies traded on stock markets in China or Hong Kong. These stock markets may experience high levels of volatility from time to time. The Hong Kong stock market may behave differently from the China stock markets and there may be little to no correlation between the performance of the Hong Kong stock market and the China stock markets.

 

Equity Market Risk – The risk that stock prices will fall over short or extended periods of time, sometimes rapidly and unpredictably. The value of equity securities will fluctuate in response to factors affecting a particular company, as well as broader market and economic conditions. Broad movements in financial markets may adversely affect the price of the Fund’s investments, regardless of how well the companies in which the Fund invests perform. In addition, the impact of any epidemic, pandemic or natural disaster, or widespread fear that such events may occur, could negatively affect the global economy, as well as the economies of individual countries, the financial performance of individual companies and sectors, 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, which in turn could negatively impact the Fund’s performance and cause losses on your investment in the Fund. Moreover, in the event of a company’s bankruptcy, claims of certain creditors, including bondholders, will have priority over claims of common stock holders such as the Fund.

 

Stock Connect Investing Risk – Trading through Stock Connect is subject to a number of restrictions that may affect the Fund’s investments and returns. For example, trading through Stock Connect is subject to daily quotas that limit the maximum daily net purchases on any particular day, which may restrict or preclude the Fund’s ability to invest in China A Shares through Stock Connect. In addition, China A Shares purchased through Stock Connect generally may not be sold, purchased or otherwise transferred other than through Stock Connect in accordance with applicable rules. A primary feature of Stock Connect is the application of the home market’s laws and rules applicable to investors in China A Shares. Therefore, the Fund’s investments in China A Shares purchased through Stock Connect are generally subject to Chinese securities regulations and listing rules, among other restrictions. While overseas investors currently are exempt from paying capital gains or value added taxes on income and gains from investments in China A Shares purchased through Stock Connect, these tax rules could be changed, which could result in unexpected tax liabilities for the Fund. Stock Connect will only operate on days when both the China and Hong Kong markets are open for trading and when banks in both markets are open on the corresponding settlement days. There may be occasions when the Fund may be subject to the risk of price fluctuations of China A Shares during the time when Stock Connect is not trading. Moreover, further developments to Stock Connect are likely and there can be no assurance as to the program’s continued existence or whether future developments regarding the program may restrict or adversely affect the Fund’s investments or returns. In addition, the application and interpretation of the laws and regulations of Hong Kong and China, and the rules, policies or guidelines published or applied by relevant regulators and exchanges in respect of Stock Connect are uncertain, and they may have a detrimental effect on the Fund’s investments and returns.

 

Foreign Company Risk – Investing in foreign companies, including direct investments and investments through ADRs, poses additional risks since political and economic events unique to a country or region will affect those markets and their issuers. These risks will not necessarily affect the U.S. economy or similar issuers located in the United States. Securities of foreign companies may not be registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) and foreign companies are generally not subject to the same level of regulatory controls imposed on U.S. issuers and, as a consequence, there is generally less publicly available information about foreign securities than is available about domestic securities. Income from foreign securities owned by the Fund may be reduced by a withholding tax at the source, which tax would reduce income received from the securities comprising the Fund’s portfolio. Foreign securities may also be more difficult to value than securities of U.S. issuers and foreign markets and securities may be less liquid. While ADRs provide an alternative to directly purchasing the underlying foreign securities in their respective national markets and currencies, investments in ADRs continue to be subject to many of the risks associated with investing directly in foreign securities.

 

6 

 

Emerging Markets Securities Risk – Investments in emerging markets securities are considered speculative and subject to heightened risks in addition to the general risks of investing in foreign securities. Unlike more established markets, emerging markets may have governments that are less stable, markets that are less liquid and economies that are less developed. In addition, the securities markets of emerging market countries may consist of companies with smaller market capitalizations and may suffer periods of relative illiquidity; significant price volatility; restrictions on foreign investment; and possible restrictions on repatriation of investment income and capital. Furthermore, foreign 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.

 

Foreign Currency Risk – As a result of the Fund’s investments in securities denominated in, and/or receiving revenues in, foreign currencies, the Fund will be subject to currency risk. Currency risk is the risk that foreign currencies will decline in value relative to the U.S. dollar, in which case the dollar value of an investment in the Fund would be adversely affected.

 

Large Capitalization Risk – The risk that larger, more established companies may be unable to respond quickly to new competitive challenges such as changes in technology and consumer tastes. Larger companies also may not be able to attain the high growth rates of successful smaller companies.

 

Small and Medium Capitalization Companies Risk – The risk that small and medium capitalization companies in which the Fund may invest may be more vulnerable to adverse business or economic events than larger, more established companies. In particular, small and medium capitalization companies may have limited product lines, markets and financial resources and may depend upon a relatively small management group. Therefore, small capitalization and medium capitalization stocks may be more volatile than those of larger companies. Small capitalization and medium capitalization stocks may be traded over-the-counter or listed on an exchange.

 

Geographic Focus Risk – To the extent that it focuses its investments in a particular country or geographic region, the Fund may be more susceptible to economic, political, regulatory or other events or conditions affecting issuers and countries within that country or geographic region. As a result, the Fund may be subject to greater price volatility and risk of loss than a fund holding more geographically diverse investments.

 

Sector Focus Risk – Because the Fund may, from time to time, be more heavily invested in particular sectors, the value of its shares may be especially sensitive to factors and economic risks that specifically affect those sectors. As a result, the Fund’s share price may fluctuate more widely than the value of shares of a mutual fund that invests in a broader range of sectors.

 

Financials Sector Risk – Performance of companies in the financials sector may be adversely impacted by many factors, including, among others, government regulations, economic conditions, credit rating downgrades, changes in interest rates, and decreased liquidity in credit markets. The impact of more stringent capital requirements, recent or future regulation of any individual financial company, or recent or future regulation of the financials sector as a whole cannot be predicted. In recent years, cyber attacks and technology malfunctions have become increasingly frequent in this sector and have caused significant losses to companies in this sector, which may negatively impact the Fund.

 

7 

 

Consumer Discretionary Sector Risk – Companies in the consumer discretionary sector are subject to the performance of the overall international economy, interest rates, competition and consumer confidence. Success depends heavily on disposable household income and consumer spending. The impact of any epidemic, pandemic or natural disaster, or widespread fear that such events may occur, could negatively affect the overall international economy and, in turn, negatively affect companies in the consumer discretionary sector.

 

Preferred Stock Risk – Preferred stocks in which the Fund may invest are sensitive to interest rate changes, and are also subject to equity risk, which is the risk that stock prices will fall over short or extended periods of time. The rights of preferred stocks on the distribution of a company’s assets in the event of a liquidation are generally subordinate to the rights associated with a company’s debt securities.

 

REIT Risk – REITs are susceptible to the risks associated with direct ownership of real estate, such as the following: declines in property values; increases in property taxes, operating expenses, interest rates or competition; overbuilding; zoning changes; and losses from casualty or condemnation.

 

Value Style Risk – Value investing focuses on companies with stocks that appear undervalued in light of factors such as the company's earnings, book value, revenues or cash flow. If the Adviser's assessment of market conditions, or a company's value or prospects for exceeding earnings expectations, is wrong, the Fund could suffer losses or produce poor performance relative to other funds.

 

American Depositary Receipts Risk – ADRs are certificates evidencing ownership of shares of a foreign issuer that are issued by depositary banks and generally trade on an established market. ADRs are subject to many of the risks associated with investing directly in foreign securities, including, among other things, political, social and economic developments abroad, currency movements and different legal, regulatory and tax environments.

 

Management Risk – The success of the Fund’s strategy is dependent on the Adviser’s ability and its stock selection process to correctly identify the Fund’s investments. The portfolio securities selected by the Adviser may decline in value or not increase in value when the stock market in general is rising, in which case the Fund could experience losses regardless of the overall performance of the U.S. equity market.

 

Quantitative Investing Risk – Funds that are managed according to a quantitative model can perform differently from the market as a whole based on the factors used in the model, the weight placed on each factor and changes from the factors’ historical trends. Due to the significant role technology plays in a quantitative model, use of a quantitative model carries the risk of potential issues with the design, coding, implementation or maintenance of the computer programs, data and/or other technology used in the quantitative model. These issues could negatively impact investment returns.

 

Derivatives Risk – The Fund's use of futures contracts is subject to leverage risk, correlation risk, liquidity risk and market risk. Leverage risk and liquidity risk are described below. Market risk is the risk that the market value of an investment may move up and down, sometimes rapidly and unpredictably. Correlation risk is the risk that changes in the value of the derivative may not correlate perfectly with the underlying asset, rate or index. The Fund's use of derivatives may also increase the amount of taxes payable by shareholders. Both U.S. and non-U.S. regulators are in the process of adopting and implementing regulations governing derivatives markets, the ultimate impact of which remains unclear.

 

8 

 

Liquidity Risk – The risk that certain securities may be difficult or impossible to sell at the time and the price that the Fund would like. The Fund may have to lower the price of the security, sell other securities instead or forego an investment opportunity, any of which could have a negative effect on Fund management or performance.

 

Leverage Risk – The Fund's use of derivatives may result in the Fund's total investment exposure substantially exceeding the value of its portfolio securities and the Fund's investment returns depending substantially on the performance of securities that the Fund may not directly own. The use of leverage can amplify the effects of market volatility on the Fund's share price and may also cause the Fund to liquidate portfolio positions when it would not be advantageous to do so in order to satisfy its obligations. The Fund's use of leverage may result in a heightened risk of investment loss.

 

ETF Risks — The Fund is an exchange-traded fund (“ETF”) and, as a result of this structure, it is exposed to the following risks:

 

Trading Risk — Shares of the Fund may trade on [ ] (the “Exchange”) above or below their NAV. The NAV of shares of the Fund will fluctuate with changes in the market value of the Fund’s holdings. In addition, although the Fund’s shares are currently listed on the Exchange, there can be no assurance that an active trading market for shares will develop or be maintained. Trading in Fund shares may be halted due to market conditions or for reasons that, in the view of the Exchange, make trading in shares of the Fund inadvisable.

 

Cash Transactions Risk — Like other ETFs, the Fund sells and redeems its shares only in large blocks called Creation Units and only to “Authorized Participants.” Unlike many other ETFs, however, the Fund expects to effect its creations and redemptions at least partially for cash, rather than in-kind securities. Thus, an investment in the Fund may be less tax-efficient than an investment in other ETFs as the Fund may recognize a capital gain that it could have avoided by making redemptions in-kind. As a result, the Fund may pay out higher capital gains distributions than ETFs that redeem in-kind. Further, paying redemption proceeds at least partially in cash rather than through in-kind delivery of portfolio securities may require the Fund to dispose of or sell portfolio investments to obtain the cash needed to distribute redemption proceeds at an inopportune time.

 

Limited Authorized Participants, Market Makers and Liquidity Providers Risk— Because the Fund is an ETF, only a limited number of institutional investors (known as “Authorized Participants”) are authorized to purchase and redeem shares directly from the Fund. In addition, there may be a limited number of market makers and/or liquidity providers in the marketplace. To the extent either of the following events occur, Fund shares may trade at a material discount to net asset value (“NAV”) and possibly face delisting: (i) Authorized Participants exit the business or otherwise become unable to process creation and/or redemption orders and no other Authorized Participants step forward to perform these services, or (ii) market makers and/or liquidity providers exit the business or significantly reduce their business activities and no other entities step forward to perform their functions.

  

Investments in Investment Companies Risk – When the Fund invests in an investment company, including ETFs, in addition to directly bearing the expenses associated with its own operations, it will bear a pro rata portion of the investment company’s expenses. Further, while the risks of owning shares of an investment company generally reflect the risks of owning the underlying investments of the investment company, the Fund may be subject to additional or different risks than if the Fund had invested directly in the underlying investments. For example, the lack of liquidity in an ETF could result in its share price being more volatile than that of the underlying portfolio securities.

 

Non-Diversification Risk – The Fund is classified as “non-diversified,” which means it may invest a larger percentage of its assets in a smaller number of issuers than a diversified fund. To the extent that the Fund invests its assets in a smaller number of issuers, the Fund will be more susceptible to negative events affecting those issuers than a diversified fund. The Fund intends to satisfy the diversification requirements necessary to qualify as a regulated investment company ("RIC") under the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the “Code”).

 

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New Fund Risk – Because the Fund is new, investors in the Fund bear the risk that the Fund may not be successful in implementing its investment strategy, may not employ a successful investment strategy, or may fail to attract sufficient assets under management to realize economies of scale, any of which could result in the Fund being liquidated at any time without shareholder approval and at a time that may not be favorable for all shareholders. Such liquidation could have negative tax consequences for shareholders and will cause shareholders to incur expenses of liquidation.

 

Performance Information

 

The Fund is new, and therefore has no performance history. Once the Fund has completed a full calendar year of operations, a bar chart and table will be included that will provide some indication of the risks of investing in the Fund by showing the variability of the Fund’s returns and comparing the Fund’s performance to a broad measure of market performance. Of course, the Fund’s past performance (before and after taxes) does not necessarily indicate how the Fund will perform in the future.

 

Current performance information is available on the Fund’s website at https://funds.rayliant.com or by calling toll-free to 866-898-1688.

 

Investment Adviser

 

Rayliant Investment Research, doing business as Rayliant Asset Management

 

Portfolio Managers

 

Jason Hsu, PhD, Chief Investment Officer, has managed the Fund since its inception in 2020.

 

Vivek Viswanathan, PhD, Senior Managing Director and Global Head of Research, has managed the Fund since its inception in 2020.

 

Phillip Wool, PhD, Managing Director and Head of Investment Solutions, has managed the Fund since its inception in 2020.

 

Purchase and Sale of Fund Shares

 

The Fund issues (or redeems) shares to certain institutional investors known as “Authorized Participants” (typically market makers or other broker-dealers) only in large blocks of shares known as “Creation Units.” Creation Unit transactions are conducted in exchange for the deposit or delivery of a portfolio of in-kind securities designated by the Fund and/or cash.

 

Individual shares of the Fund may only be purchased and sold on the Exchange, other national securities exchanges, electronic crossing networks and other alternative trading systems through your broker-dealer at market prices. Because Fund shares trade at market prices rather than at NAV, Fund shares may trade at a price greater than NAV (premium) or less than NAV (discount). When buying or selling shares in the secondary market, you 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) (the “bid-ask spread”). When available, recent information regarding the Fund’s NAV, market price, premiums and discounts, and bid-ask spreads will be available at www.rayliantfunds.com.

 

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Tax Information

 

The Fund intends to make distributions that may be taxed as ordinary income or capital gains, unless you are investing through a tax-deferred arrangement, such as a 401(k) plan or individual retirement account (“IRA”), in which case your distribution will be taxed when withdrawn from the 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), the Fund and its related companies 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 web site for more information.

 

More Information about the Fund’s Investment Objective and Strategies

 

The investment objective of the Fund is to seek long-term capital appreciation. The investment objective of the Fund is not a fundamental policy and may be changed by the Board of Trustees (the “Board”) of The Advisors’ Inner Circle Fund III (the “Trust”) without shareholder approval.

 

The investments and strategies described in this prospectus are those that the Fund uses under normal conditions. During unusual economic or market conditions, or for temporary defensive or liquidity purposes, the Fund may, but is not obligated to, invest up to 100% of its assets in money market instruments and other cash equivalents that would not ordinarily be consistent with its investment objective. If the Fund invests in this manner, it may cause the Fund to forgo greater investment returns for the safety of principal and the Fund may therefore not achieve its investment objective. The Fund will only do so if the Adviser believes that the risk of loss outweighs the opportunity to pursue the Fund’s investment objective.

 

This prospectus describes the Fund’s principal investment strategies, and the Fund will normally invest in the types of securities and other investments described in this prospectus. In addition to the securities and other investments and strategies described in this prospectus, the Fund also may invest to a lesser extent in other securities, use other strategies and engage in other investment practices that are not part of its principal investment strategies. These investments and strategies, as well as those described in this prospectus, are described in detail in the Fund’s Statement of Additional Information (the “SAI”) (for information on how to obtain a copy of the SAI see the back cover of this prospectus). Of course, there is no guarantee that the Fund will achieve its investment goals.

 

More Information about Risk

 

Investing in the Fund involves risk and there is no guarantee that the Fund will achieve its goals. The Adviser’s judgments about the markets, the economy, or companies may not anticipate actual market movements, economic conditions or company performance, and these judgments may affect the return on your investment. In fact, no matter how good of a job the Adviser does, you could lose money on your investment in the Fund, just as you could with similar investments.

 

The value of your investment in the Fund is based on the value of the securities the Fund holds. These prices change daily due to economic and other events that affect particular companies and other issuers. These price movements, sometimes called volatility, may be greater or lesser depending on the types of securities the Fund owns and the markets in which they trade. The effect on the Fund of a change in the value of a single security will depend on how widely the Fund diversifies its holdings. The Fund is non-diversified, meaning that it may invest a large percentage of its assets in a single issuer or a relatively small number of issuers. Accordingly, the Fund will be more susceptible to negative events affecting a small number of holdings than a diversified fund.

 

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Risk of Investing in China – Since 1978, the Chinese government has been, and is expected to continue, reforming its economic policies, which has resulted in less direct central and local government control over the business and production activities of Chinese enterprises and companies. Notwithstanding the economic reforms instituted by the Chinese government and the Chinese Communist Party, actions of the Chinese central and local government authorities continue to have a substantial effect on economic conditions in China, which could affect the public and private sector companies in which the Fund invests. In the past, the Chinese government has from time to time taken actions that influence the prices at which certain goods may be sold, encourage companies to invest or concentrate in particular industries, induce mergers between companies in certain industries and induce private companies to publicly offer their securities to increase or continue the rate of economic growth, control the rate of inflation or otherwise regulate economic expansion. It may do so in the future as well. Such actions and a variety of other centrally planned or determined activities by the Chinese government could have a significant adverse effect on economic conditions in China, the economic prospects for, and the market prices and liquidity of, the securities of Chinese companies and the payments of dividends and interest by Chinese companies.

 

Equity Market Risk – Because the Fund may invest in equity securities, the Fund is subject to the risk that stock prices will fall over short or extended periods of time. Historically, the equity markets have moved in cycles, and the value of the Fund’s securities may fluctuate drastically from day to day. Individual companies may report poor results or be negatively affected by industry and/or economic trends and developments. The prices of securities issued by such companies may suffer a decline in response. The market as a whole may not favor the types of investments the Fund makes. Many factors can adversely affect a security’s performance, including both general financial market conditions and factors related to a specific company, industry or geographic region. In addition, the impact of any epidemic, pandemic or natural disaster, or widespread fear that such events may occur, could negatively affect the global economy, as well as the economies of individual countries, the financial performance of individual companies and sectors, 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, which in turn could negatively impact the Fund’s performance and cause losses on your investment in the Fund. Recent examples include pandemic risks related to COVID-19 and aggressive measures taken worldwide in response by governments, including closing borders, restricting international and domestic travel, and the imposition of prolonged quarantines of large populations, and by businesses, including changes to operations and reducing staff. The impact of the 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. During a general economic downturn in the securities markets, multiple asset classes may be negatively affected. In the case of foreign stocks, these fluctuations will reflect international economic and political events, as well as changes in currency valuations relative to the U.S. dollar. These factors contribute to price volatility, which is a principal risk of investing in the Fund.

 

Stock Connect Investing Risk – Fund purchases of China A Shares through Stock Connect involve ownership rights that are exercised differently than those involved in U.S. securities markets. When the Fund buys a Shanghai Stock Exchange-listed or Shenzhen Stock Exchange-listed stock through Stock Connect, the Fund is purchasing a security registered under the name of the Hong Kong Securities Clearing Company Limited (“HKSCC”) that acts as a nominee holder for the beneficial owner of the Shanghai Stock Exchange-listed or Shenzhen Stock Exchange-listed stock. The Fund as the beneficial owner of the Shanghai Stock Exchange-listed or Shenzhen Stock Exchange-listed stock can exercise its rights through its nominee HKSCC. However, due to the indirect nature of holding its ownership interest through a nominee holder, the Fund might encounter difficulty in exercising or timely exercising its rights as the beneficial owner when trading through HKSCC under Stock Connect, and such difficulty may expose the Fund to risk of loss.

 

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Foreign Securities/Emerging Markets Risk – Investments in securities of foreign companies (including direct investments as well as investments through ADRs) can be more volatile than investments in U.S. companies. Diplomatic, political, or economic developments, including nationalization or appropriation, could affect investments in foreign companies. Foreign securities markets generally have less trading volume and less liquidity than U.S. markets. In addition, the value of securities denominated in foreign currencies, and of dividends from such securities, can change significantly when foreign currencies strengthen or weaken relative to the U.S. dollar. Financial statements of foreign issuers are governed by different accounting, auditing, and financial reporting standards than the financial statements of U.S. issuers. Thus, there may be less information publicly available about foreign issuers than about most U.S. issuers. Some foreign governments levy withholding taxes against dividend and interest income. Although in some countries a portion of these taxes are recoverable, the non-recovered portion will reduce the income received from the securities comprising the Fund’s portfolio. Any spread of an infectious illness, public health threat or similar issue could reduce consumer demand or economic output, result in market closures, travel restrictions or quarantines, and generally have a significant impact on the economies of the affected country and other countries with which it does business, which in turn could adversely affect the Fund's investments in that country and other affected countries. These risks may be heightened with respect to emerging market countries since political turmoil and rapid changes in economic conditions are more likely to occur in these countries.

 

Foreign Currency Risk – As a result of the Fund's investments in securities or other investments denominated in, and/or receiving revenues in, foreign currencies, the Fund will be subject to currency risk. Currency risk is the risk that foreign currencies will decline in value relative to the U.S. dollar, in which case the dollar value of an investment in the Fund would be adversely affected. Currency exchange rates may fluctuate in response to, among other things, changes in interest rates, intervention (or failure to intervene) by U.S. or foreign governments, central banks or supranational entities, or by the imposition of currency controls or other political developments in the United States or abroad.

 

Large Capitalization Risk – If valuations of large capitalization companies appear to be greatly out of proportion to the valuations of small or medium capitalization companies, investors may migrate to the stocks of small and medium-sized companies. Additionally, larger, more established companies may be unable to respond quickly to new competitive challenges such as changes in technology and consumer tastes. Larger companies also may not be able to attain the high growth rates of successful smaller companies.

 

Small and Medium Capitalization Issuers Risk – Investing in equity securities of small and medium capitalization companies often involves greater risk than is customarily associated with investments in larger capitalization companies. This increased risk may be due to the greater business risks of smaller size companies, limited markets and financial resources, narrow product lines and the frequent lack of depth of management. Stock prices of smaller companies may be based in substantial part on future expectations rather than current achievements. The securities of smaller companies are often traded over-the-counter and, even if listed on a national securities exchange, may not be traded in volumes typical for that exchange. Consequently, the securities of smaller companies may be less liquid, may have limited market stability and may be subject to more severe, abrupt or erratic market movements than securities of larger, more established companies or the market averages in general. Further, smaller companies may have less publicly available information and, when available, it may be inaccurate or incomplete.

 

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Sector Focus Risk – Because the Fund may, from time to time, be more heavily invested in particular sectors, the value of its shares may be especially sensitive to factors and economic risks that specifically affect those sectors. As a result, the Fund’s share price may fluctuate more widely than the value of shares of a mutual fund that invests in a broader range of sectors.

 

Financials Sector Risk – A fund that focuses in the financials sector may be subject to greater risks than a portfolio without such a focus. Companies in the financials sector of an economy are subject to extensive governmental regulation and intervention, which may adversely affect the scope of their activities, the prices they can charge, the amount of capital they must maintain and, potentially, their size. Governmental regulation may change frequently and may have significant adverse consequences for companies in the financials sector, including effects not intended by such regulation. The impact of more stringent capital requirements, or recent or future regulation in various countries of any individual financial company or of the financials sector as a whole cannot be predicted. Certain risks may impact the value of investments in the financials sector more severely than those of investments outside this sector, including the risks associated with companies that operate with substantial financial leverage. Companies in the financials sector may also be adversely affected by increases in interest rates and loan losses, 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. The financials sector is particularly sensitive to fluctuations in interest rates. The financials sector is also a target for cyber attacks, and may experience technology malfunctions and disruptions. In recent years, cyber attacks and technology failures have become increasingly frequent in this sector and have reportedly caused losses to companies in this sector, which may negatively impact the Fund.

 

Consumer Discretionary Sector Risk – A fund that focuses in the consumer discretionary sector may be subject to greater risks than a portfolio without such a focus. Companies in the consumer discretionary sector can be significantly affected by the performance of the overall economy, interest rates, competition and consumer confidence. Success of these companies can depend heavily on disposable household income and consumer spending. Changes in demographics and consumer tastes can also affect the demand for, and success of, products of consumer discretionary companies. In addition, the impact of any epidemic, pandemic or natural disaster, or widespread fear that such events may occur, could negatively affect the global economy and, in turn, negatively affect companies in the consumer discretionary sector. Recent examples include pandemic risks related to COVID-19 and aggressive measures taken worldwide in response by governments, including closing borders, restricting international and domestic travel, and the imposition of prolonged quarantines of large populations, and by businesses, including changes to operations and reducing staff. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic may be short-term or may last for an extended period of time.

 

REIT Risk – REITs are trusts that invest primarily in commercial real estate or real estate-related loans. By investing in REITs indirectly through the Fund, shareholders will not only bear the proportionate share of the expenses of the Fund, but will also, indirectly, bear similar expenses of underlying REITs. The Fund may be subject to certain risks associated with the direct investments of the REITs. REITs may be affected by changes in the value of their underlying properties and by defaults by borrowers or tenants.

 

Some REITs may have limited diversification and may be subject to risks inherent in financing a limited number of properties. REITs depend generally on their ability to generate cash flow to make distributions to shareholders or unitholders, and may be subject to defaults by borrowers and to self-liquidations. In addition, a REIT may be affected by its failure to qualify for tax-free pass-through of income under the Code, or its failure to maintain exemption from registration under the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended (the “1940 Act”).

 

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Value Style Risk – Value investing focuses on companies with stocks that appear undervalued in light of factors such as the company’s earnings, book value, revenues or cash flow. If the Adviser’s assessment of market conditions, or a company’s value or its prospects for exceeding earnings expectations is inaccurate, the Fund could suffer losses or produce poor performance relative to other funds. In addition, “value stocks” may continue to be undervalued by the market for long periods of time.

 

American Depositary Receipts Risk – ADRs are alternatives to directly purchasing the underlying foreign securities in their national markets and currencies. However, ADRs are subject to many of the risks associated with investing directly in foreign securities, which are further described above.

 

Management Risk – The Fund is subject to the risk that the Adviser’s judgments about the attractiveness, value, or potential appreciation of the Fund’s investments may prove to be incorrect. In addition, the prices of common stocks move up and down in response to corporate earnings and developments, economic and market conditions and anticipated events. Individual issuers may report poor results or be negatively affected by industry and/or economic trends and developments. The Fund’s investment success depends on the skill of the Adviser in evaluating, selecting and monitoring the portfolio assets. If the Adviser’s conclusions about growth rates or securities values are incorrect, the Fund may not perform as anticipated.

 

Quantitative Investing Risk – A quantitative investment style generally involves the use of computers to implement a systematic or rules-based approach to selecting investments based on specific measurable factors. Due to the significant role technology plays in such strategies, they carry the risk of unintended or unrecognized issues or flaws in the design, coding, implementation or maintenance of the computer programs or technology used in the development and implementation of the quantitative strategy. These issues or flaws, which can be difficult to identify, may result in the implementation of a portfolio that is different from that which was intended, and could negatively impact investment returns. Such risks should be viewed as an inherent element of investing in an investment strategy that relies heavily upon quantitative models and computerization.

 

Derivatives Risk – The Fund’s use of futures is subject to derivatives risk. Derivatives are often more volatile than other investments and may magnify the Fund’s gains or losses. There are various factors that affect the Fund’s ability to achieve its objective with derivatives. Successful use of a derivative depends upon the degree to which prices of the underlying assets correlate with price movements in the derivatives the Fund buys or sells. The Fund could be negatively affected if the change in market value of its securities fails to correlate perfectly with the values of the derivatives it purchased or sold. The lack of a liquid secondary market for a derivative may prevent the Fund from closing its derivative positions and could adversely impact its ability to achieve its objective and to realize profits or limit losses. Since derivatives may be purchased for a fraction of their value, a relatively small price movement in a derivative may result in an immediate and substantial loss or gain to the Fund. Derivatives are often more volatile than other investments and the Fund may lose more in a derivative than it originally invested in it. There can be no assurance that the Adviser’s use of derivatives will be successful in achieving its intended goals.

 

Additionally, derivative instruments are subject to counterparty risk, meaning that the party that issues the derivative may experience a significant credit event and may be unwilling or unable to make timely settlement payments or otherwise honor its obligations.

 

Futures Contracts. Futures contracts provide for the future sale by one party and purchase by another party of a specified amount of a specific security or asset at a specified future time and at a specified price. The risks of futures include: (i) leverage risk; (ii) correlation risk and (iii) liquidity risk. Because futures require only a small initial investment in the form of a deposit or margin, they involve a high degree of leverage. Accordingly, the fluctuation of the value of futures in relation to the underlying assets upon which they are based is magnified. Thus, the Fund may experience losses that exceed losses experienced by funds that do not use futures contracts. There may be imperfect correlation, or even no correlation, between price movements of a futures contract and price movements of investments for which futures are used as a substitute, or which futures are intended to hedge.

 

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Lack of correlation (or tracking) may be due to factors unrelated to the value of the investments being substituted or hedged, such as speculative or other pressures on the markets in which these instruments are traded. Consequently, the effectiveness of futures as a security substitute or as a hedging vehicle will depend, in part, on the degree of correlation between price movements in the futures and price movements in underlying securities or assets. While futures contracts are generally liquid instruments, under certain market conditions they may become illiquid. Futures exchanges may impose daily or intra-day price change limits and/or limit the volume of trading. Additionally, government regulation may further reduce liquidity through similar trading restrictions. As a result, the Fund may be unable to close out its futures contracts at a time that is advantageous. The successful use of futures depends upon a variety of factors, particularly the ability of the Adviser to predict movements of the underlying securities markets, which requires different skills than predicting changes in the prices of individual securities. There can be no assurance that any particular futures strategy adopted will succeed.

 

ETF Risks — The Fund is an ETF and, as a result of this structure, it is exposed to the following risks:

 

Trading Risk — Although Fund shares are listed for trading on a listing exchange, there can be no assurance that an active trading market for such shares will develop or be maintained. Secondary market trading in the Fund’s shares may be halted by a listing exchange because of market conditions or for other reasons. In addition, trading in the Fund’s shares is subject to trading halts caused by extraordinary market volatility pursuant to “circuit breaker” rules. There can be no assurance that the requirements necessary to maintain the listing of the Fund’s shares will continue to be met or will remain unchanged.

 

Shares of the Fund may trade at, above or below their most recent NAV. The per share NAV of the Fund is calculated at the end of each business day and fluctuates with changes in the market value of the Fund’s holdings since the prior most recent calculation. The trading prices of the Fund’s shares will fluctuate continuously throughout trading hours based on market supply and demand. The trading prices of the Fund’s shares may deviate significantly from NAV during periods of market volatility. These factors, among others, may lead to the Fund’s shares trading at a premium or discount to NAV. However, given that shares can be created and redeemed only in Creation Units at NAV, the Adviser does not believe that large discounts or premiums to NAV will exist for extended periods of time. While the creation/redemption feature is designed to make it likely that the Fund’s shares normally will trade close to the Fund’s NAV, exchange prices are not expected to correlate exactly with the Fund’s NAV due to timing reasons as well as market supply and demand factors. In addition, disruptions to creations and redemptions or the existence of extreme volatility may result in trading prices that differ significantly from NAV. If a shareholder purchases at a time when the market price of the Fund is at a premium to its NAV or sells at time when the market price is at a discount to the NAV, the shareholder may sustain losses.

 

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

 

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Cash Transactions Risk — Like other ETFs, the Fund sells and redeems its shares only in large blocks called Creation Units and only to “Authorized Participants.” Unlike many other ETFs, however, the Fund expects to effect its creations and redemptions at least partially for cash, rather than in-kind securities. Thus, an investment in the Fund may be less tax-efficient than an investment in other ETFs as the Fund may recognize a capital gain that it could have avoided by making redemptions in-kind. As a result, the Fund may pay out higher capital gains distributions than ETFs that redeem in-kind. Further, paying redemption proceeds at least partially in cash rather than through in-kind delivery of portfolio securities may require the Fund to dispose of or sell portfolio investments to obtain the cash needed to distribute redemption proceeds at an inopportune time.

 

Limited Authorized Participants, Market Makers and Liquidity Providers Risk — Only an Authorized Participant may engage in creation or redemption transactions directly with the Fund. The Fund has a limited number of financial institutions that may act as Authorized Participants. In addition, there may be a limited number of market makers and/or liquidity providers in the marketplace. To the extent either of the following events occur, Fund shares may trade at a material discount to NAV and possibly face delisting: (i) Authorized Participants exit the business or otherwise become unable to process creation and/or redemption orders and no other Authorized Participants step forward to perform these services, or (ii) market makers and/or liquidity providers exit the business or significantly reduce their business activities and no other entities step forward to perform their functions. An active trading market for shares of the Fund may not develop or be maintained, and, particularly during times of market stress, Authorized Participants or market makers may step away from their respective roles in making a market in shares of the Fund and in executing purchase or redemption orders. This could, in turn, lead to variances between the market price of the Fund’s shares and the value of its underlying securities.

 

Investments in Investment Companies Risk – The Fund may purchase shares of investment companies. When the Fund invests in an investment company, it will bear a pro rata portion of the investment company’s expenses in addition to directly bearing the expenses associated with its own operations. Such expenses may make owning shares of an investment company more costly than owning the underlying securities directly. In part because of these additional expenses, the performance of an investment company may differ from the performance the Fund would achieve if it invested directly in the underlying investments of the investment company. In addition, while the risks of owning shares of an investment company generally reflect the risks of owning the underlying investments of the investment company, the Fund may be subject to additional or different risks than if the Fund had invested directly in the underlying investments.

 

ETFs – ETFs are pooled investment vehicles whose shares are listed and traded on U.S. and non-U.S. stock exchanges. To the extent that the Fund invests in ETFs, the Fund will be subject to substantially the same risks as those associated with the direct ownership of the securities in which the ETF invests, and the value of the Fund’s investment will fluctuate in response to the performance of the ETF’s holdings. ETFs typically incur fees that are separate from those of the Fund. Accordingly, the Fund’s investments in ETFs will result in the layering of expenses such that shareholders will indirectly bear a proportionate share of the ETFs’ operating expenses, in addition to paying Fund expenses. Because the value of ETF shares depends on the demand in the market, shares may trade at a discount or premium to their NAV and the Adviser may not be able to liquidate the Fund’s holdings at the most optimal time, which could adversely affect the Fund’s performance.

 

Information about Portfolio Holdings

 

A description of the Fund’s policies and procedures with respect to the circumstances under which the Fund discloses its portfolio holdings is available in the SAI.

 

Investment Adviser

 

Rayliant Investment Research, a California registered corporation doing business as Rayliant Asset Management, serves as the investment adviser to the Fund. The Adviser’s principal place of business is 11 Zephyr, Irvine, California 92602. The Adviser is wholly owned by Rayliant Global Advisors Limited (“RGA”), which was established in February 2012 as the Asian hub for Research Affiliates, LLC (“Research Affiliates”) under the name Research Affiliates Global Advisors, Ltd. As of September 30, 2020, the Adviser had approximately $176.5 million in assets under management.

 

The Adviser makes investment decisions for the Fund and continuously reviews, supervises and administers the Fund’s investment program. The Board supervises the Adviser and establishes policies that the Adviser must follow in its management activities. For its services to the Fund, the Adviser is entitled to a fee, which is calculated daily and paid monthly, at an annual rate of 0.60% of the average daily net assets of the Fund.

 

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Under the investment advisory agreement between the Trust, on behalf of the Fund, and the Adviser, the Adviser has agreed to pay all expenses incurred by the Fund except for the advisory fee, [interest, taxes, brokerage commissions and other expenses incurred in placing orders for the purchase and sale of securities and other investment instruments, acquired fund fees and expenses, extraordinary expenses, and distribution fees and expenses paid by the Fund under any distribution plan adopted pursuant to Rule 12b-1 under the 1940 Act.]

 

A discussion regarding the basis for the Board’s approval of the Fund’s investment advisory agreement will be available in the Fund’s first Annual or Semi-Annual Report to Shareholders.

 

Portfolio Managers

 

Jason Hsu, PhD has served as Chief Investment Officer at the Adviser since June 2017. He is also the founder and chairman of RGA. Previously, Mr. Hsu was Co-Founder and Vice Chairman of Research Affiliates from 2007 to 2018. He has 21 years of industry experience. He holds a BS from the California Institute of Technology, an MS from Stanford University and a PhD in finance from UCLA.

 

Vivek Viswanathan, PhD has served as Senior Managing Director and Global Head of Research at the Adviser since June 2017. Previously, he served as Vice President at Research Affiliates from 2006 to 2015. Mr. Viswanathan has 15 years of industry experience. He received a BA from the University of Chicago, a Master of Financial Engineering from the Anderson School of Management at UCLA and a PhD from the UC Irvine Merage School of Business. Mr. Viswanathan also holds CFA, CAIA and FRM designations.

 

Phillip Wool, PhD has served as Managing Director and Head of Investment Solutions at the Adviser since June 2017. Previously, he was an Assistant Professor of Finance at State University of New York in Buffalo from 2013 to 2017. Mr. Wool has 6 years of industry experience. He received a BA and a BSBA from Washington University in St. Louis and a PhD in finance from UCLA.

 

The SAI provides additional information about the portfolio managers’ compensation, other accounts managed, and ownership of Fund shares.

 

Purchasing and Selling Fund Shares

 

Shares of the Fund are listed for trading on the Exchange. When you buy or sell the Fund’s shares on the secondary market, you will pay or receive the market price. You may incur customary brokerage commissions and charges and may pay some or all of the spread between the bid and the offered price in the secondary market on each leg of a round trip (purchase and sale) transaction. The shares of the Fund will trade on the Exchange at prices that may differ to varying degrees from the daily NAV of such shares. A business day with respect to the Fund is any day on which the Exchange is open for business. The Exchange is generally open Monday through Friday and is closed on weekends and 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 Fund’s NAV is determined by dividing the total value of the Fund’s portfolio investments and other assets, less any liabilities, by the total number of shares outstanding. NAV is determined each business day, normally as of the close of regular trading of the New York Stock Exchange (ordinarily 4:00 p.m., Eastern time).

 

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In calculating NAV, the Fund generally values its investment portfolio at market price. If market prices are not readily available or the Fund reasonably believes that they are unreliable, such as in the case of a security value that has been materially affected by events occurring after the relevant market closes, the Fund is required to price those securities at fair value as determined in good faith using methods approved by the Board. Pursuant to the policies adopted by, and under the ultimate supervision of, the Board, these methods are implemented through the Trust’s Fair Value Pricing Committee, members of which are appointed by the Board. The Fund’s determination of a security’s fair value price often involves the consideration of a number of subjective factors, and is therefore subject to the unavoidable risk that the value that the Fund assigns to a security may be higher or lower than the security’s value would be if a reliable market quotation for the security was readily available.

 

With respect to non-U.S. securities held by the Fund, the Fund may take factors influencing specific markets or issuers into consideration in determining the fair value of a non-U.S. security. Foreign securities markets may be open on days when the U.S. markets are closed. In such cases, the value of any foreign securities owned by the Fund may be significantly affected on days when investors cannot buy or sell shares. In addition, due to the difference in times between the close of the foreign markets and the time as of which the Fund prices its shares, the value the Fund assigns to securities may not be the same as the quoted or published prices of those securities on their primary markets or exchanges. In determining fair value prices, the Fund may consider the performance of securities on their primary exchanges, foreign currency appreciation/depreciation, securities market movements in the United States, or other relevant information related to the securities.

 

There may be limited circumstances in which the Fund would price securities at fair value for stocks of U.S. companies that are traded on U.S. exchanges – for example, if the exchange on which a portfolio security is principally traded closed early or if trading in a particular security was halted during the day and did not resume prior to the time the Fund calculated its NAV. Fair value pricing involves subjective judgments and it is possible that a fair value determination for a security will materially differ from the value that could be realized upon the sale of the security.

 

[The Exchange (or market data vendors or other information providers) will disseminate, every fifteen seconds during the regular trading day, an intraday value of the Fund’s shares, also known as the “intraday indicative value,” or IIV. The IIV calculations are estimates of the value of the Fund’s NAV per share and are based on the current market value of the securities and/or cash required to be deposited in exchange for a Creation Unit. Premiums and discounts between the IIV and the market price may occur. The IIV does not necessarily reflect the precise composition of the current portfolio of securities held by the Fund at a particular point in time or the best possible valuation of the current portfolio. Therefore, it should not be viewed as a “real-time” update of the NAV per share of the Fund, which is calculated only once a day. The quotations of certain holdings of the Fund may not be updated during U.S. trading hours if such holdings do not trade in the United States. Neither the Fund, the Adviser nor any of their affiliates are involved in, or responsible for, the calculation or dissemination of the IIV and make no warranty as to its accuracy.]

 

Payments to Financial Intermediaries

 

The Fund and/or the Adviser may compensate financial intermediaries for providing a variety of services to the Fund and/or its shareholders. Financial intermediaries include affiliated or unaffiliated brokers, dealers, banks (including bank trust departments), trust companies, registered investment advisers, financial planners, retirement plan administrators, insurance companies, and any other institution having a service, administration, or any similar arrangement with the Fund, its service providers or their respective affiliates. This section briefly describes how financial intermediaries may be paid for providing these services. For more information, please see “Payments to Financial Intermediaries” in the SAI.

 

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Distribution Plan

 

The Fund has adopted a distribution plan pursuant to Rule 12b-1 under the 1940 Act that allows the Fund to pay distribution and/or service fees for the sale and distribution of Fund shares, and for services provided to shareholders. No Rule 12b-1 fees are currently paid by the Fund, and there are no plans to impose these fees. However, in the event Rule 12b-1 fees are charged in the future, because these fees are paid out of the Fund’s assets on an on-going basis, over time these fees will increase the cost of your investment and may cost you more than paying other types of sales charges. The maximum annual Rule 12b-1 fee is 0.25% of the average daily net assets of the Fund.

 

The implementation of any payments under the distribution plan must be approved by the Board prior to implementation.

 

Payments by the Adviser

 

From time to time, the Adviser and/or its affiliates, in their discretion, may make payments to certain affiliated or unaffiliated financial intermediaries to compensate them for the costs associated with distribution, marketing, administration and shareholder servicing support for the Fund. These payments are sometimes characterized as “revenue sharing” payments and are made out of the Adviser’s and/or its affiliates’ own legitimate profits or other resources, and may be in addition to any payments made to financial intermediaries by the Fund. A financial intermediary may provide these services with respect to Fund shares sold or held through programs such as retirement plans, qualified tuition programs, fund supermarkets, fee-based advisory or wrap fee programs, bank trust programs, and insurance (e.g., individual or group annuity) programs. In addition, financial intermediaries may receive payments for making shares of the Fund available to their customers or registered representatives, including providing the Fund with “shelf space,” placing it on a preferred or recommended fund list, or promoting the Fund in certain sales programs that are sponsored by financial intermediaries. To the extent permitted by SEC and Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”) rules and other applicable laws and regulations, the Adviser and/or its affiliates may pay or allow other promotional incentives or payments to financial intermediaries.

 

The level of payments made by the Adviser and/or its affiliates to individual financial intermediaries varies in any given year and may be negotiated on the basis of sales of Fund shares, the amount of Fund assets serviced by the financial intermediary or the quality of the financial intermediary’s relationship with the Adviser and/or its affiliates. These payments may be more or less than the payments received by the financial intermediaries from other mutual funds and may influence a financial intermediary to favor the sales of certain funds or share classes over others. In certain instances, the payments could be significant and may cause a conflict of interest for your financial intermediary. Any such payments will not change the NAV or price of the Fund’s shares. Please contact your financial intermediary for information about any payments it may receive in connection with the sale of Fund shares or the provision of services to Fund shareholders.

 

In addition to these payments, your financial intermediary may charge you account fees, commissions or transaction fees for buying or redeeming shares of the Fund, or other fees for servicing your account. Your financial intermediary should provide a schedule of its fees and services to you upon request.

 

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Other Policies

 

Excessive Trading Policies and Procedures

 

The Fund does not impose any restrictions on the frequency of purchases and redemptions of Creation Units; however, the Fund reserves the right to reject or limit purchases at any time as described in the SAI. When considering that no restriction or policy was necessary, the Board evaluated the risks posed by arbitrage and market timing activities, such as whether frequent purchases and redemptions would interfere with the efficient implementation of the Fund’s investment strategy, or whether they would cause the Fund to experience increased transaction costs. The Board considered that, unlike traditional mutual funds, shares of the Fund are issued and redeemed only in large quantities of shares known as Creation Units available only from the Fund directly to Authorized Participants, and that most trading in the Fund occurs on the Exchange at prevailing market prices and does not involve the Fund directly. Given this structure, the Board determined that it is unlikely that trading due to arbitrage opportunities or market timing by shareholders would result in negative impact to the Fund or its shareholders. In addition, frequent trading of the Fund’s shares by Authorized Participants and arbitrageurs is critical to ensuring that the market price remains at or close to NAV.

 

Dividends, Distributions and Taxes

 

Fund Distributions

 

The Fund distributes its net investment income, if any, and makes distributions of its net realized capital gains, if any, at least annually. If you own Fund shares on the Fund’s record date, you will be entitled to receive the distribution.

 

Dividend Reinvestment Service

 

Brokers may make available to their customers who own shares of the Fund the Depository Trust Company book-entry dividend reinvestment service. If this service is available and used, dividend distributions of both income and capital gains will automatically be reinvested in additional whole shares of the Fund purchased on the secondary market. Without this service, investors would receive their distributions in cash. To determine whether the dividend reinvestment service is available and whether there is a commission or other charge for using this service, consult your broker. Brokers may require the Fund’s shareholders to adhere to specific procedures and timetables.

 

Tax Information

 

The following is a summary of some important U.S. federal income tax issues that affect the Fund and its shareholders. The summary is based on current tax laws, which may be changed by legislative, judicial or administrative action. You should not consider this summary to be a comprehensive explanation of the tax treatment of the Fund, or the tax consequences of an investment in the Fund. More information about taxes is located in the SAI.

 

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

 

21 

 

You are urged to consult your tax adviser regarding specific questions as to federal, state and local income taxes.

 

Tax Status of the Fund

 

The Fund intends to qualify for the special tax treatment afforded to regulated investment companies under the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended. If the Fund maintains its qualification as a regulated investment company and meets certain minimum distribution requirements, then the Fund is generally not subject to tax at the fund level on income and gains from investments that are timely distributed to shareholders. However, if the Fund fails to qualify as a regulated investment company or to meet minimum distribution requirements it would result (if certain relief provisions were not available) in fund-level taxation and consequently a reduction in income available for distribution to shareholders.

 

Unless you are a tax-exempt entity or your investment in Fund shares is made through a tax-deferred retirement account, such as an individual retirement account, you need to be aware of the possible tax consequences when the Fund makes distributions, you sell Fund shares, and you purchase or redeem Creation Units (institutional investors only).

 

Tax Status of Distributions

 

The Fund intends to distribute for each year substantially all of its net investment income and net capital gains income.

 

Dividends and distributions are generally taxable to you whether you receive them in cash or reinvest them in additional shares.

 

The income dividends you receive from the Fund may be taxed as either ordinary income or “qualified dividend income.” Dividends that are reported by the Fund as qualified dividend income are generally taxable to non-corporate shareholders at a maximum tax rate currently set at 20% (lower rates apply to individuals in lower tax brackets). Qualified dividend income generally is income derived from dividends paid to the Fund by U.S. corporations or certain foreign corporations that are either incorporated in a U.S. possession or eligible for tax benefits under certain U.S. income tax treaties. In addition, dividends that the Fund receives in respect of stock of certain foreign corporations may be qualified dividend income if that stock is readily tradable on an established U.S. securities market. For such dividends to be taxed as qualified dividend income to a non-corporate shareholder, the Fund must satisfy certain holding period requirements with respect to the underlying stock and the non-corporate shareholder must satisfy holding period requirements with respect to his or her ownership of the Fund’s shares. Holding periods may be suspended for these purposes for stock that is hedged.

 

Distributions from the Fund’s short-term capital gains are generally taxable as ordinary income. Distributions from the Fund’s net capital gain (the excess of the Fund’s net long-term capital gains over its net short-term capital losses) are taxable as long-term capital gains regardless of how long you have owned your shares. For non-corporate shareholders, long-term capital gains are generally taxable at a maximum tax rate currently set at 20% (lower rates apply to individuals in lower tax brackets).

 

U.S. individuals with income exceeding $200,000 ($250,000 if married and filing jointly) are subject to a 3.8% Medicare contribution tax on all or a portion of their “net investment income,” which includes interest, dividends, and certain capital gains (including certain capital gain distributions and capital gains realized on the sale of shares of the Fund). This 3.8% tax also applies to all or a portion of the undistributed net investment income of certain shareholders that are estates and trusts.

 

22 

 

Corporate shareholders may be entitled to a dividends-received deduction for the portion of dividends they receive from the Fund that are attributable to dividends received by the Fund from U.S. corporations, subject to certain limitations.

 

Distributions paid in January but declared by the Fund in October, November or December of the previous year payable to shareholders of record in such a month may be taxable to you in the previous year.

 

You should note that if you purchase shares just before a distribution, the purchase price would reflect the amount of the upcoming distribution. In this case, you would be taxed on the entire amount of the distribution received, even though, as an economic matter, the distribution simply constitutes a return of your investment. This is known as “buying a dividend” and should be avoided by taxable investors.

 

The Fund (or your broker) will inform you of the amount of your ordinary income dividends, qualified dividend income, and net capital gain distributions shortly after the close of each calendar year.

 

Tax Status of Share Transactions

 

Each sale of Fund shares or redemption of Creation Units will generally be a taxable event. Any capital gain or loss realized upon a sale of Fund shares is generally treated as a long-term gain or loss if the shares have been held for more than twelve months. Any capital gain or loss realized upon a sale of Fund shares held for twelve months or less is generally treated as short-term gain or loss. Any capital loss on the sale of shares held for six months or less is treated as long-term capital loss to the extent distributions of long-term capital gain were paid (or treated as paid) with respect to such shares. Any loss realized on a sale will be disallowed to the extent shares of the Fund are acquired, including through reinvestment of dividends, within a 61-day period beginning 30 days before and ending 30 days after the disposition of shares. For tax purposes, an exchange of shares for shares of a different fund is the same as a sale.

 

A person who exchanges securities for Creation Units generally will recognize gain or loss from the exchange. The gain or loss will be equal to the difference between (i) the market value of the Creation Units at the time of the exchange plus any cash received in the exchange and (ii) the exchanger’s aggregate basis in the securities surrendered plus any cash paid for the Creation Units. A person who exchanges Creation Units for securities will generally recognize a gain or loss equal to the difference between (i) the exchanger’s basis in the Creation Units and (ii) the aggregate market value of the securities and the amount of cash received. The Internal Revenue Service, however, may assert that a loss that is realized upon an exchange of securities for Creation Units may not be currently deducted under the rules governing “wash sales” (for a person who does not mark-to-market their holdings), or on the basis that there has been no significant change in economic position.

 

The Fund may include cash when paying the redemption price for Creation Units in addition to, or in place of, the delivery of a basket of securities. The Fund may be required to sell portfolio securities in order to obtain the cash needed to distribute redemption proceeds. This may cause the Fund to recognize investment income and/or capital gains or losses that it might not have recognized if it had completely satisfied the redemption in-kind. As a result, the Fund may be less tax efficient if it includes such a cash payment than if the in-kind redemption process was used.

 

23 

 

To the extent the Fund invests in foreign securities, it may be subject to foreign withholding taxes with respect to dividends or interest the Fund received from sources in foreign countries. If more than 50% of the total assets of the Fund consist of foreign securities, the Fund will be eligible to elect to treat some of those taxes as a distribution to shareholders, which would allow shareholders to offset some of their U.S. federal income tax. The Fund (or your broker) will notify you if it makes such an election and provide you with the information necessary to reflect foreign taxes paid on your income tax return.

 

Non-U.S. Investors

 

If you are a nonresident alien individual or a foreign corporation, trust or estate, (i) the Fund’s ordinary income dividends will generally be subject to a 30% U.S. withholding tax, unless a lower treaty rate applies but (ii) gains from the sale or other disposition of shares of the Fund generally are not subject to U.S. taxation, unless you are a nonresident alien individual who is physically present in the U.S. for 183 days or more per year. The Fund may, under certain circumstances, report all or a portion of a dividend as an “interest-related dividend” or a “short-term capital gain dividend,” which would generally be exempt from this 30% U.S. withholding tax, provided certain other requirements are met. Different tax consequences may result if you are a foreign shareholder engaged in a trade or business within the United States or if you are a foreign shareholder entitled to claim the benefits of a tax treaty.

 

Backup Withholding

 

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

 

The foregoing discussion summarizes some of the consequences under current U.S. federal income tax law of an investment in the Fund. It is not a substitute for personal tax advice. Consult your personal tax advisor about the potential tax consequences of an investment in the Fund under all applicable tax laws.

 

More information about taxes is in the SAI.

 

Additional Information

 

Continuous Offering

 

The method by which Creation Units are purchased and traded may raise certain issues under applicable securities laws. Because new Creation Units are issued and sold by the Fund on an ongoing basis, at any point a “distribution,” as such term is used in the Securities Act of 1933 (the “Securities Act”), may occur. Broker-dealers and other persons are cautioned that some activities on their part may, depending on the circumstances, result in their being deemed participants in a distribution in a manner which could render them statutory underwriters and subject them to the Prospectus delivery 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 Units after placing an order with the Fund’s distributor, breaks them down into individual 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 of the Fund. 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 categorization as an underwriter.

 

24 

 

Broker-dealer firms should also note that dealers who are not “underwriters” but are effecting transactions in shares of the Fund, whether or not participating in the distribution of such 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 with respect to 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 shares of the Fund that are part of an “unsold allotment” 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 of the Fund are reminded that under Rule 153 under the Securities Act, a prospectus delivery obligation under Section 5(b)(2) of the Securities Act owed to an exchange member in connection with a sale on the Exchange is satisfied by the fact that the Fund’s Prospectus is available on the SEC’s electronic filing system. The prospectus delivery mechanism provided in Rule 153 is only available with respect to transactions on an exchange.

 

Premium/Discount Information

 

Information regarding how often the shares of the Fund traded on the Exchange at a price above (i.e., at a premium) or below (i.e., at a discount) the NAV of the Fund for various time periods can be found at www.rayliantfunds.com.

 

Contractual Arrangements

 

The Trust enters into contractual arrangements with various parties, including, among others, the Fund’s investment adviser, custodian, transfer agent, accountants, administrator and distributor, who provide services to the Fund. Shareholders are not parties to, or intended (or “third-party”) beneficiaries of, any of those contractual arrangements, and those contractual arrangements are not intended to create in any individual shareholder or group of shareholders any right to enforce the terms of the contractual arrangements against the service providers or to seek any remedy under the contractual arrangements against the service providers, either directly or on behalf of the Trust.

 

This prospectus and the SAI provide information concerning the Trust and the Fund that you should consider in determining whether to purchase shares of the Fund. The Fund may make changes to this information from time to time. Neither this prospectus, the SAI or any document filed as an exhibit to the Trust’s registration statement, is intended to, nor does it, give rise to an agreement or contract between the Trust or the Fund and any shareholder, or give rise to any contract or other rights in any individual shareholder, group of shareholders or other person other than any rights conferred explicitly by federal or state securities laws that may not be waived.

 

Financial Highlights

 

Because the Fund has not commenced operations as of the date of this prospectus, financial highlights are not available.

 

25 

 

The Advisors’ Inner Circle Fund III

 

Rayliant Quantamental China Equity ETF

 

Investment Adviser

 

Rayliant Investment Research, doing business as Rayliant Asset Management

Unit 1102

11 Zephyr

Irvine, California 92602

 

Distributor

 

SEI Investments Distribution Co.

One Freedom Valley Drive

Oaks, Pennsylvania 19456

 

Legal Counsel

 

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP

1701 Market Street

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19103

 

More information about the Fund is available, without charge, through the following:

 

Statement of Additional Information (“SAI”): The SAI, dated [Date], as it may be amended from time to time, includes detailed information about the Rayliant Quantamental China Equity ETF and The Advisors’ Inner Circle Fund III. The SAI is on file with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) and is incorporated by reference into this prospectus. This means that the SAI, for legal purposes, is a part of this prospectus.

 

Annual and Semi-Annual Reports: Once available, these reports will list the Fund’s holdings and contain information from the Adviser about investment strategies, and recent market conditions and trends and their impact on Fund performance. The reports also will contain detailed financial information about the Fund.

 

To Obtain an SAI, Annual or Semi-Annual Report (When Available), or More Information:

 

By Telephone:866-898-1688

 

By Mail:Rayliant Quantamental China Equity ETF

P.O. Box 219009

Kansas City, MO 64121-9009

 

By Internet:https://funds.rayliant.com

 

From the SEC: You can also obtain the SAI or the Annual and Semi-Annual Reports, as well as other information about The Advisors’ Inner Circle Fund III, from the EDGAR Database on the SEC’s website at: http://www.sec.gov. You may also obtain this information, upon payment of a duplicating fee, by e-mailing the SEC at the following address: publicinfo@sec.gov.

 

The Trust’s Investment Company Act registration number is 811-22920.

 

[Inventory Code]

 

 

 

SUBJECT TO COMPLETION

 

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 U.S. SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION IS EFFECTIVE. THIS STATEMENT OF ADDITIONAL INFORMATION IS NOT AN OFFER TO SELL THESE SECURITIES AND IS NOT SOLICITING AN OFFER TO BUY THESE SECURITIES IN ANY JURISDICTION WHERE THE OFFER OR SALE IS NOT PERMITTED.

 

PRELIMINARY STATEMENT OF ADDITIONAL INFORMATION DATED OCTOBER 16, 2020

 

STATEMENT OF ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

 

RAYLIANT QUANTAMENTAL CHINA EQUITY ETF

 

TICKER SYMBOL: [XXXXX]

 

Principal Listing Exchange: [           ]

 

a series of

THE ADVISORS’ INNER CIRCLE FUND III

 

[Date]

 

Investment Adviser:

RAYLIANT Investment research

doing business as

Rayliant Asset Management

 

This Statement of Additional Information (“SAI”) is not a prospectus. This SAI is intended to provide additional information regarding the activities and operations of The Advisors’ Inner Circle Fund III (the “Trust”) and the Rayliant Quantamental China Equity ETF (the “Fund”). This SAI is incorporated by reference into and should be read in conjunction with the Fund’s prospectus dated [Date], as it may be amended from time to time (the “Prospectus”). Capitalized terms not defined herein are defined in the Prospectus. Shareholders may obtain copies of the Prospectus or the Fund’s annual or semi-annual report, when available, free of charge by writing to the Fund at Rayliant Quantamental China Equity ETF, P.O. Box 219009, Kansas City, MO 64121-9009 (Express Mail Address: Rayliant Quantamental China Equity ETF, c/o DST Systems, Inc., 430 West 7th Street, Kansas City, MO 64105) or calling the Fund at 866-898-1688.

 

 

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

THE TRUST S-XX
DESCRIPTION OF PERMITTED INVESTMENTS S-XX
INVESTMENT LIMITATIONS S-XX
Exchange listing and trading S-XX
THE ADVISER S-XX
THE PORTFOLIO MANAGERs S-XX
THE ADMINISTRATOR S-XX
THE DISTRIBUTOR S-XX
PAYMENTS TO FINANCIAL INTERMEDIARIES S-XX
THE TRANSFER AGENT S-XX
THE CUSTODIAN S-XX
INDEPENDENT registered public accounting firm S-XX
LEGAL COUNSEL S-XX
Securities lending S-XX
TRUSTEES AND OFFICERS OF THE TRUST S-XX
BOOK ENTRY ONLY SYSTEM S-XX
PURCHASE AND REDEMPTION OF SHARES IN CREATION UNITS S-XX
DETERMINATION OF NET ASSET VALUE S-XX
DIVIDENDS AND DISTRIBUTIONS S-XX
FEDERAL INCOME TAXES S-XX
FUND TRANSACTIONS S-XX
PORTFOLIO HOLDINGS DISCLOSURE POLICIES AND PROCEDURES S-XX
DESCRIPTION OF SHARES S-XX
LIMITATION OF TRUSTEES’ LIABILITY S-XX
PROXY VOTING S-XX
codeS of ethics S-XX
Principal Shareholders and Control Persons S-XX
APPENDIX A – DESCRIPTION OF RATINGS A-1
APPENDIX B – PROXY VOTING POLICIES AND PROCEDURES B-1

 

[Date] [Inventory Code]

 

 

THE TRUST

 

General. The Fund is a separate series of the Trust. The Trust is an open-end investment management company established under Delaware law as a Delaware statutory trust under a Declaration of Trust dated December 4, 2013 (the “Declaration of Trust”). The Declaration of Trust permits the Trust to offer separate series (“funds”) of shares of beneficial interest (“shares”). The Trust reserves the right to create and issue shares of additional funds. Each fund is a separate mutual fund or exchange traded fund (“ETF”), and each share of each fund represents an equal proportionate interest in that fund. All consideration received by the Trust for shares of any fund, and all assets of such fund, belong solely to that fund and would be subject to any liabilities related thereto. Each fund of the Trust pays its (i) operating expenses, including fees of its service providers, expenses of preparing prospectuses, proxy solicitation material and reports to shareholders, costs of custodial services and registering its shares under federal and state securities laws, pricing and insurance expenses, brokerage costs, interest charges, taxes and organization expenses and (ii) pro rata share of the fund’s other expenses, including audit and legal expenses. Expenses attributable to a specific fund shall be payable solely out of the assets of that fund. Expenses not attributable to a specific fund are allocated across all of the funds on the basis of relative net assets. The other funds of the Trust are described in one or more separate statements of additional information.

 

Exchange Traded Fund Structure. The Fund operates as an ETF. Rayliant Investment Research, doing business as Rayliant Asset Management (the “Adviser” or “Rayliant”), serves as the investment adviser to the Fund. The investment objective of the Fund is to seek long-term capital appreciation.

 

As an ETF, the Fund offers and issues shares at their net asset value (“NAV”) only in aggregations of a specified number of shares (each, a “Creation Unit”). The Fund generally offers and issues shares in exchange for a basket of securities (“Deposit Securities”) together with the deposit of a specified cash payment (“Cash Component”). The Trust reserves the right to permit or require the substitution of a “cash in lieu” amount (“Deposit Cash”) to be added to the Cash Component to replace any Deposit Security. The Fund’s shares are listed on [ ] (the “Exchange”) and trade on the Exchange at market prices. These prices may differ from the Fund’s NAV per share. The Fund’s shares are redeemable only in Creation Unit aggregations, and generally in exchange for portfolio securities and a specified cash payment.

 

Voting Rights. Each shareholder of record is entitled to one vote for each share held on the record date for the meeting. The Fund will vote separately on matters relating solely to it. As a Delaware statutory trust, the Trust is not required, and does not intend, to hold annual meetings of shareholders. Approval of shareholders will be sought, however, for certain changes in the operation of the Trust and for the election of members of the Board of Trustees of the Trust (each, a “Trustee” and collectively, the “Trustees” or the “Board”) under certain circumstances. Under the Declaration of Trust, the Trustees have the power to liquidate the Fund without shareholder approval. While the Trustees have no present intention of exercising this power, they may do so if the Fund fails to reach a viable size within a reasonable amount of time or for such other reasons as may be determined by the Board.

 

In addition, a Trustee may be removed by the remaining Trustees or by shareholders at a special meeting called upon written request of shareholders owning at least 10% of the outstanding shares of the Trust. In the event that such a meeting is requested, the Trust will provide appropriate assistance and information to the shareholders requesting the meeting.

 

Any series of the Trust may reorganize or merge with one or more other series of the Trust or of another investment company. Any such reorganization or merger shall be pursuant to the terms and conditions specified in an agreement and plan of reorganization authorized and approved by the Trustees and entered into by the relevant series in connection therewith. In addition, such reorganization or merger may be authorized by vote of a majority of the Trustees then in office and, to the extent permitted by applicable law and the Declaration of Trust, without the approval of shareholders of any series.

 

 S-1

 

Non-Diversification. The Fund is non-diversified, as that term is defined under the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended (the “1940 Act”), which means that it may invest a greater percentage of its total assets in the securities of fewer issuers than a “diversified” fund, as that term is defined under the 1940 Act, which increases the risk that a change in the value of any one investment held by the Fund could affect the overall value of the Fund more than it would affect that of a “diversified” fund holding a greater number of investments. Accordingly, the value of the shares of the Fund may be more susceptible to any single economic, political or regulatory occurrence than the shares of a “diversified” fund would be. The Fund intends to satisfy the diversification requirements necessary to qualify as a regulated investment company ("RIC") under the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the “Code”). For more information, see “Taxes” below.

 

DESCRIPTION OF PERMITTED INVESTMENTS

 

The Fund’s investment objective and principal investment strategies are described in the Prospectus. The following information supplements, and should be read in conjunction with, the Prospectus. The following are descriptions of the permitted investments and investment practices of the Fund and the associated risk factors. The Fund may invest in any of the following instruments or engage in any of the following investment practices unless such investment or activity is inconsistent with or is not permitted by the Fund’s stated investment policies, including those stated below.

 

American Depositary Receipts (“ADRs”)

 

ADRs, as well as other “hybrid” forms of ADRs, including European Depositary Receipts (“EDRs”) and Global Depositary Receipts (“GDRs”), are certificates evidencing ownership of shares of a foreign issuer. Depositary receipts are securities that evidence ownership interests in a security or a pool of securities that have been deposited with a “depository” and may be sponsored or unsponsored. These certificates are issued by depository banks and generally trade on an established market in the United States or elsewhere. The underlying shares are held in trust by a custodian bank or similar financial institution in the issuer’s home country. The depository bank may not have physical custody of the underlying securities at all times and may charge fees for various services, including forwarding dividends and interest and corporate actions. ADRs are alternatives to directly purchasing the underlying foreign securities in their national markets and currencies. However, ADRs continue to be subject to many of the risks associated with investing directly in foreign securities.

 

For ADRs, the depository is typically a U.S. financial institution and the underlying securities are issued by a foreign issuer. For other depositary receipts, the depository may be a foreign or a U.S. entity, and the underlying securities may have a foreign or a U.S. issuer. Depositary receipts will not necessarily be denominated in the same currency as their underlying securities. Generally, ADRs are issued in registered form, denominated in U.S. dollars, and designed for use in the U.S. securities markets. Other depositary receipts, such as GDRs and EDRs, may be issued in bearer form and denominated in other currencies, and are generally designed for use in securities markets outside the U.S. While the two types of depositary receipt facilities (unsponsored or sponsored) are similar, there are differences regarding a holder’s rights and obligations and the practices of market participants. A depository may establish an unsponsored facility without participation by (or acquiescence of) the underlying issuer; typically, however, the depository requests a letter of non-objection from the underlying issuer prior to establishing the facility. Holders of unsponsored depositary receipts generally bear all the costs of the facility. The depository usually charges fees upon deposit and withdrawal of the underlying securities, the conversion of dividends into U.S. dollars or other currency, the disposition of non-cash distributions, and the performance of other services.

 

Sponsored depositary receipt facilities are created in generally the same manner as unsponsored facilities, except that sponsored depositary receipts are established jointly by a depository and the underlying issuer through a deposit agreement. The deposit agreement sets out the rights and responsibilities of the underlying issuer, the depository, and the depositary receipt holders. With sponsored facilities, the underlying issuer typically bears some of the costs of the depositary receipts (such as dividend payment fees of the depository), although most sponsored depositary receipts agree to distribute notices of shareholders meetings, voting instructions, and other shareholder communications and information to the depositary receipt holders at the underlying issuer’s request. The depositary of an unsponsored facility frequently is under no obligation to distribute shareholder communications received from the issuer of the deposited security or to pass through, to the holders of the receipts, voting rights with respect to the deposited securities.

 

 S-2

 

For purposes of the Fund’s investment policies, investments in depositary receipts will be deemed to be investments in the underlying securities. Thus, a depositary receipt representing ownership of common stock will be treated as common stock. Depositary receipts do not eliminate all of the risks associated with directly investing in the securities of foreign issuers.

 

Investments in the securities of foreign issuers may subject the Fund to investment risks that differ in some respects from those related to investments in securities of U.S. issuers. Such risks include future adverse political and economic developments, possible imposition of withholding taxes on income, possible seizure, nationalization or expropriation of foreign deposits, possible establishment of exchange controls or taxation at the source or greater fluctuation in value due to changes in exchange rates. Foreign issuers of securities often engage in business practices different from those of domestic issuers of similar securities, and there may be less information publicly available about foreign issuers. In addition, foreign issuers may be subject to less government supervision and regulation and different accounting treatment than are those in the United States.

 

Convertible Securities

 

Convertible securities are bonds, debentures, notes, preferred stocks or other securities that may be converted or exchanged (by the holder or by the issuer) into shares of the underlying common stock (or cash or securities of equivalent value) at a stated exchange ratio. A convertible security may also be called for redemption or conversion by the issuer after a particular date and under certain circumstances (including a specified price) established upon issue. If a convertible security held by the Fund is called for redemption or conversion, the Fund could be required to tender it for redemption, convert it into the underlying common stock, or sell it to a third party.

 

Convertible securities generally have less potential for gain or loss than common stocks. Convertible securities generally provide yields higher than the underlying common stocks, but generally lower than comparable non-convertible securities. Because of this higher yield, convertible securities generally sell at a price above their “conversion value,” which is the current market value of the stock to be received upon conversion. The difference between this conversion value and the price of convertible securities will vary over time depending on changes in the value of the underlying common stocks and interest rates. When the underlying common stocks decline in value, convertible securities will tend not to decline to the same extent because of the interest or dividend payments and the repayment of principal at maturity for certain types of convertible securities. However, securities that are convertible other than at the option of the holder generally do not limit the potential for loss to the same extent as securities convertible at the option of the holder. When the underlying common stocks rise in value, the value of convertible securities may also be expected to increase. At the same time, however, the difference between the market value of convertible securities and their conversion value will narrow, which means that the value of convertible securities will generally not increase to the same extent as the value of the underlying common stocks. Because convertible securities may also be interest-rate sensitive, their value may increase as interest rates fall and decrease as interest rates rise. Convertible securities are also subject to credit risk, and are often lower-quality securities.

 

 S-3

 

Equity Securities

 

Equity securities represent ownership interests in a company or partnership and consist of common stocks, preferred stocks, warrants and rights to acquire common stock, securities convertible into common stock, and investments in master limited partnerships (“MLPs”). Investments in equity securities in general are subject to market risks that may cause their prices to fluctuate over time. Fluctuations in the value of equity securities in which the Fund invests will cause the net asset value of the Fund to fluctuate. The Fund may purchase equity securities traded on global securities exchanges or the over-the-counter market. Equity securities are described in more detail below:

 

Types of Equity Securities:

 

Common Stock. Common stock represents an equity or ownership interest in an issuer. In the event an issuer is liquidated or declares bankruptcy, the claims of owners of bonds and preferred stock take precedence over the claims of those who own common stock.

 

Preferred Stock. Preferred stock represents an equity or ownership interest in an issuer that pays dividends at a specified rate and that has precedence over common stock in the payment of dividends. In the event an issuer is liquidated or declares bankruptcy, the claims of owners of bonds take precedence over the claims of those who own preferred and common stock.

 

Alternative Entity Securities. Alternative entity securities are the securities of entities that are formed as limited partnerships, limited liability companies, business trusts or other non-corporate entities that are similar to common or preferred stock of corporations.

 

Exchange-Traded Funds (“ETFs”). An ETF is a fund whose shares are bought and sold on a securities exchange as if it were a single security. An ETF holds a portfolio of securities designed to track a particular market segment or index. Some examples of ETFs are SPDRs®, DIAMONDSSM, NASDAQ 100 Index Tracking StockSM (“QQQsSM”), and iShares®. The Fund could purchase an ETF to temporarily gain exposure to a portion of the U.S. or foreign market while awaiting an opportunity to purchase securities directly. Similarly, the Fund may establish a short position in an ETF to gain inverse exposure to a portion of the U.S. or foreign markets. The risks of owning an ETF generally reflect the risks of owning the securities comprising the index which an index ETF is designed to track or the other holdings of an active or index ETF, although lack of liquidity in an ETF could result in it being more volatile than the tracked index or underlying holdings, and ETFs have management fees that increase their costs versus the costs of owning the underlying holdings directly. See also “Securities of Other Investment Companies” below.

 

Rights and Warrants. A right is a privilege granted to existing shareholders of a corporation to subscribe to shares of a new issue of common stock before it is issued. Rights normally have a short life, usually two to four weeks, are freely transferable and entitle the holder to buy the new common stock at a lower price than the public offering price. Warrants are securities that are usually issued together with a debt security or preferred stock and that give the holder the right to buy proportionate amount of common stock at a specified price. Warrants are freely transferable and are traded on major exchanges. Unlike rights, warrants normally have a life that is measured in years and entitles the holder to buy common stock of a company at a price that is usually higher than the market price at the time the warrant is issued. Corporations often issue warrants to make the accompanying debt security more attractive.

 

An investment in warrants and rights may entail greater risks than certain other types of investments. Generally, rights and warrants do not carry the right to receive dividends or exercise voting rights with respect to the underlying securities, and they do not represent any rights in the assets of the issuer. In addition, their value does not necessarily change with the value of the underlying securities, and they cease to have value if they are not exercised on or before their expiration date. Investing in rights and warrants increases the potential profit or loss to be realized from the investment as compared with investing the same amount in the underlying securities.

 

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Micro, Small and Medium Capitalization Issuers. Investing in equity securities of micro, small and medium capitalization companies often involves greater risk than is customarily associated with investments in larger capitalization companies. This increased risk may be due to the greater business risks of smaller size, limited markets and financial resources, narrow product lines and frequent lack of depth of management. The securities of micro and smaller companies are often traded in the over-the-counter market and even if listed on a national securities exchange may not be traded in volumes typical for that exchange. Consequently, the securities of micro and smaller companies are less likely to be liquid, may have limited market stability, and may be subject to more abrupt or erratic market movements than securities of larger, more established growth companies or the market averages in general.

 

Initial Public Offerings (“IPOs”). The Fund may invest a portion of its assets in securities of domestic and foreign companies offering shares in IPOs. IPOs may have a magnified performance impact on a fund with a small asset base. The Fund may hold IPO shares for a very short period of time, which may increase the turnover of the Fund’s portfolio and may lead to increased expenses for the Fund, such as commissions and transaction costs. By selling IPO shares, the Fund may realize taxable gains it will subsequently distribute to shareholders. In addition, the market for IPO shares can be speculative and/or inactive for extended periods of time. The limited number of shares available for trading in some IPOs may make it more difficult for the Fund to buy or sell significant amounts of shares without an unfavorable impact on prevailing prices. Holders of IPO shares can be affected by substantial dilution in the value of their shares, by sales of additional shares and by concentration of control in existing management and principal shareholders.

 

The Fund’s investment in IPO shares may include the securities of unseasoned companies (companies with less than three years of continuous operations), which presents risks considerably greater than common stocks of more established companies. These companies may have limited operating histories and their prospects for profitability may be uncertain. These companies may be involved in new and evolving businesses and may be vulnerable to competition and changes in technology, markets and economic conditions. They may be more dependent on key managers and third parties and may have limited product lines.

 

The Fund’s investments in IPOs of foreign companies are subject to the risks set forth in “Risks of Foreign Securities” below.

 

General Risks of Investing in Stocks:

 

While investing in stocks allows investors to participate in the benefits of owning a company, such investors must accept the risks of ownership. Unlike bondholders, who have preference to a company’s earnings and cash flow, preferred stockholders, followed by common stockholders in order of priority, are entitled only to the residual amount after a company meets its other obligations. For this reason, the value of a company’s stock will usually react more strongly to actual or perceived changes in the company’s financial condition or prospects than its debt obligations. Stockholders of a company that fares poorly can lose money.

 

Stock markets tend to move in cycles with short or extended periods of rising and falling stock prices. The value of a company’s stock may fall because of:

 

Factors that directly relate to that company, such as decisions made by its management or lower demand for the company’s products or services;

 

Factors affecting an entire industry, such as increases in production costs; and

 

Changes in general financial market conditions that are relatively unrelated to the company or its industry, such as changes in interest rates, currency exchange rates or inflation rates.

 

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Because preferred stock is generally junior to debt securities and other obligations of the issuer, deterioration in the credit quality of the issuer will cause greater changes in the value of a preferred stock than in a more senior debt security with similar stated yield characteristics.

 

Real Estate Investment Trusts (“REITs”)

 

A REIT is a corporation or business trust (that would otherwise be taxed as a corporation) which meets the definitional requirements of the Code. The Code permits a qualifying REIT to deduct from taxable income the dividends paid, thereby effectively eliminating corporate level federal income tax and making the REIT a pass-through vehicle for federal income tax purposes. To meet the definitional requirements of the Code, a REIT must, among other things: invest substantially all of its assets in interests in real estate (including mortgages and other REITs), cash and government securities; derive most of its income from rents from real property or interest on loans secured by mortgages on real property; and distribute annually 90% or more of its otherwise taxable income to shareholders.

 

REITs are sometimes informally characterized as Equity REITs and Mortgage REITs. An Equity REIT invests primarily in the fee ownership or leasehold ownership of land and buildings; a Mortgage REIT invests primarily in mortgages on real property, which may secure construction, development or long-term loans.

 

REITs may be affected by changes in underlying real estate values, which may have an exaggerated effect to the extent that REITs in which the Fund invests may concentrate investments in particular geographic regions or property types. Certain REITs have relatively small market capitalization, which may tend to increase the volatility of the market price of securities issued by such REITs. Additionally, rising interest rates may cause investors in REITs to demand a higher annual yield from future distributions, which may in turn decrease market prices for equity securities issued by REITs. Rising interest rates also generally increase the costs of obtaining financing, which could cause the value of the Fund’s investments to decline. During periods of declining interest rates, certain Mortgage REITs may hold mortgages that the mortgagors elect to prepay, which prepayment may diminish the yield on securities issued by such Mortgage REITs. Equity and Mortgage REITs are also subject to heavy cash flow dependency, defaults by borrowers and self-liquidation. In addition, Mortgage REITs may be affected by the ability of borrowers to repay when due the debt extended by the REIT and Equity REITs may be affected by the ability of tenants to pay rent. The above factors may adversely affect a borrower’s or a lessee’s ability to meet its obligations to the REIT. In the event of default by a borrower or lessee, the REIT may experience delays in enforcing its rights as a mortgagee or lessor and may incur substantial costs associated with protecting its investments.

 

Furthermore, REITs are dependent upon specialized management skills, have limited diversification and are, therefore, subject to risks inherent in operating and financing a limited number of projects. By investing in REITs indirectly through the Fund, a shareholder will bear not only his proportionate share of the expenses of the Fund, but also, indirectly, similar expenses of the REITs. REITs depend generally on their ability to generate cash flow to make distributions to shareholders. In addition, REITs could possibly fail to qualify for tax free pass-through of income under the Code or to maintain their exemptions from registration under the 1940 Act.

 

Master Limited Partnerships

 

MLPs are limited partnerships or limited liability companies, whose partnership units or limited liability interests are listed and traded on a U.S. securities exchange, and are treated as publicly traded partnerships for federal income tax purposes. To qualify to be treated as a partnership for tax purposes, an MLP must receive at least 90% of its income from qualifying sources as set forth in Section 7704(d) of the Code. These qualifying sources include activities such as the exploration, development, mining, production, processing, refining, transportation, storage and marketing of mineral or natural resources. To the extent that an MLP’s interests are concentrated in a particular industry or sector, such as the energy sector, the MLP will be negatively impacted by economic events adversely impacting that industry or sector.

 

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MLPs that are formed as limited partnerships generally have two classes of owners, the general partner and limited partners, while MLPs that are formed as limited liability companies generally have two analogous classes of owners, the managing member and the members. For purposes of this section, references to general partners also apply to managing members and references to limited partners also apply to members.

 

The general partner is typically owned by a major energy company, an investment fund, the direct management of the MLP or is an entity owned by one or more of such parties. The general partner may be structured as a private or publicly traded corporation or other entity. The general partner typically controls the operations and management of the MLP through an equity interest of as much as 2% in the MLP plus, in many cases, ownership of common units and subordinated units. A holder of general partner interests can be liable under certain circumstances for amounts greater than the amount of the holder’s investment in the general partner interest. General partner interests are not publicly traded and generally cannot be converted into common units. The general partner interest can be redeemed by the MLP if the MLP unitholders choose to remove the general partner, typically with a supermajority vote by limited partner unitholders.

 

Limited partners own the remainder of the MLP through ownership of common units and have a limited role in the MLP’s operations and management. Common units are listed and traded on U.S. securities exchanges, with their value fluctuating predominantly based on prevailing market conditions and the success of the MLP. Unlike owners of common stock of a corporation, owners of common units have limited voting rights and have no ability annually to elect directors. In the event of liquidation, common units have preference over subordinated units, but not over debt or preferred units, to the remaining assets of the MLP.

 

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

 

Exchange-Traded Notes (“ETNs”)

 

ETNs are generally notes representing debt of the issuer, usually a financial institution. ETNs combine both aspects of bonds and ETFs. An ETN’s returns are based on the performance of one or more underlying assets, reference rates or indexes, minus fees and expenses. Similar to ETFs, ETNs are listed on an exchange and traded in the secondary market. However, unlike an ETF, an ETN can be held until the ETN’s maturity, at which time the issuer will pay a return linked to the performance of the specific asset, index or rate (“reference instrument”) to which the ETN is linked minus certain fees. Unlike regular bonds, ETNs do not make periodic interest payments, and principal is not protected. ETNs are not registered or regulated as investment companies under the 1940 Act.

 

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The value of an ETN may be influenced by, among other things, time to maturity, level of supply and demand for the ETN, volatility and lack of liquidity in underlying markets, changes in the applicable interest rates, the performance of the reference instrument, changes in the issuer’s credit rating and economic, legal, political or geographic events that affect the reference instrument. An ETN that is tied to a reference instrument may not replicate the performance of the reference instrument. ETNs also incur certain expenses not incurred by their applicable reference instrument. Some ETNs that use leverage can, at times, be relatively illiquid and, thus, they may be difficult to purchase or sell at a fair price. Levered ETNs are subject to the same risk as other instruments that use leverage in any form. While leverage allows for greater potential return, the potential for loss is also greater. Finally, additional losses may be incurred if the investment loses value because, in addition to the money lost on the investment, the loan still needs to be repaid.

 

Because the return on the ETN is dependent on the issuer’s ability or willingness to meet its obligations, the value of the ETN may change due to a change in the issuer’s credit rating, despite no change in the underlying reference instrument. The market value of ETN shares may differ from the value of the reference instrument. This difference in price may be due to the fact that the supply and demand in the market for ETN shares at any point in time is not always identical to the supply and demand in the market for the assets underlying the reference instrument that the ETN seeks to track.

 

There may be restrictions on the Fund’s right to redeem its investment in an ETN, which are generally meant to be held until maturity. The Fund’s decision to sell its ETN holdings may be limited by the availability of a secondary market. The Fund could lose some or all of the amount invested in an ETN.

 

Foreign Securities

 

Foreign securities include equity securities of foreign entities, obligations of foreign branches of U.S. banks and of foreign banks, including, without limitation, European Certificates of Deposit, European Time Deposits, European Bankers’ Acceptances, Canadian Time Deposits, Europaper and Yankee Certificates of Deposit, and investments in Canadian Commercial Paper and foreign securities. These instruments have investment risks that differ in some respects from those related to investments in obligations of U.S. domestic issuers. Such risks include future adverse political and economic developments, the possible imposition of withholding taxes on interest or other income, possible seizure, nationalization, or expropriation of foreign deposits, the possible establishment of exchange controls or taxation at the source, greater fluctuations in value due to changes in exchange rates, or the adoption of other foreign governmental restrictions which might adversely affect the payment of principal and interest on such obligations. Such investments may also entail higher custodial fees and sales commissions than domestic investments. Foreign issuers of securities or obligations are often subject to accounting treatment and engage in business practices different from those respecting domestic issuers of similar securities or obligations. Foreign branches of U.S. banks and foreign banks may be subject to less stringent reserve requirements than those applicable to domestic branches of U.S. banks.

 

Investments in Emerging Markets. Investing in emerging markets involves additional risks and special considerations not typically associated with investing in other more established economies or markets. Such risks may include (i) increased risk of nationalization or expropriation of assets or confiscatory taxation; (ii) greater social, economic and political uncertainty, including war; (iii) higher dependence on exports and the corresponding importance of international trade; (iv) greater volatility, less liquidity and smaller capitalization of markets; (v) greater volatility in currency exchange rates; (vi) greater risk of inflation; (vii) greater controls on foreign investment and limitations on realization of investments, repatriation of invested capital and on the ability to exchange local currencies for U.S. dollars; (viii) increased likelihood of governmental involvement in and control over the economy; (ix) governmental decisions to cease support of economic reform programs or to impose centrally planned economies; (x) differences in auditing and financial reporting standards which may result in the unavailability of material information about issuers; (xi) less extensive regulation of the markets; (xii) longer settlement periods for transactions and less reliable clearance and custody arrangements; (xiii) less developed corporate laws regarding fiduciary duties of officers and directors and the protection of investors; (xiv) certain considerations regarding the maintenance of the Fund’s securities with local brokers and securities depositories and (xv) the imposition of withholding or other taxes on dividends, interest, capital gains, other income or gross sale or disposition proceeds. The Fund defines the term “emerging market” to include those countries included or announced to be included in the MSCI Emerging Markets Index.

 

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Repatriation of investment income, assets and the proceeds of sales by foreign investors may require governmental registration and/or approval in some emerging market countries. The Fund could be adversely affected by delays in or a refusal to grant any required governmental registration or approval for such repatriation or by withholding taxes imposed by emerging market countries on interest or dividends paid on securities held by the Fund or gains from the disposition of such securities.

 

In emerging markets, there is often less government supervision and regulation of business and industry practices, stock exchanges, over-the-counter markets, brokers, dealers, counterparties and issuers than in other more established markets. Any regulatory supervision that is in place may be subject to manipulation or control. Some emerging market countries do not have mature legal systems comparable to those of more developed countries. Moreover, the process of legal and regulatory reform may not be proceeding at the same pace as market developments, which could result in investment risk. Legislation to safeguard the rights of private ownership may not yet be in place in certain areas, and there may be the risk of conflict among local, regional and national requirements. In certain cases, the laws and regulations governing investments in securities may not exist or may be subject to inconsistent or arbitrary appreciation or interpretation. Both the independence of judicial systems and their immunity from economic, political or nationalistic influences remain largely untested in many countries. The Fund may also encounter difficulties in pursuing legal remedies or in obtaining and enforcing judgments in local courts.

 

Sovereign Debt Obligations. Sovereign debt obligations are issued or guaranteed by foreign governments or their agencies. Sovereign debt may be in the form of conventional securities or other types of debt instruments such as loans or loan participations. Governmental entities responsible for repayment of the debt may be unable or unwilling to repay principal and pay interest when due, and may require renegotiation or reschedule of debt payments. In addition, prospects for repayment of principal and payment of interest may depend on political as well as economic factors. Although some sovereign debt, such as Brady Bonds, is collateralized by U.S. government securities, repayment of principal and payment of interest is not guaranteed by the U.S. government.

 

Foreign Agency Debt Obligations. The Fund may invest in uncollateralized bonds issued by agencies, subdivisions or instrumentalities of foreign governments. Bonds issued by these foreign government agencies, subdivisions or instrumentalities are generally backed only by the creditworthiness and reputation of the entities issuing the bonds and may not be backed by the full faith and credit of the foreign government. Moreover, a foreign government that explicitly provides its full faith and credit to a particular entity may be, due to changed circumstances, unable or unwilling to provide that support. A foreign agency’s operations and financial condition are influenced by the foreign government’s economic and other policies. Changes to the financial condition or credit rating of a foreign government may cause the value of debt issued by that particular foreign government’s agencies, subdivisions or instrumentalities to decline. During periods of economic uncertainty, the trading of foreign agency bonds may be less liquid while market prices may be more volatile than prices of other bonds. Additional risks associated with foreign agency investing include differences in accounting, auditing and financial reporting standards; adverse changes in investment or exchange control regulations; political instability; and potential restrictions on the flow of international capital.

 

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Obligations of Supranational Entities. Supranational entities are entities established through the joint participation of several governments, and include the Asian Development Bank, World Bank, African Development Bank, European Economic Community, European Investment Bank and the Nordic Investment Bank. The governmental members, or “stockholders,” usually make initial capital contributions to the supranational entity and, in many cases, are committed to make additional capital contributions if the supranational entity is unable to repay its borrowings. There is no guarantee that one or more stockholders of a supranational entity will continue to make any necessary additional capital contributions. If such contributions are not made, the entity may be unable to pay interest or repay principal on its debt securities, and the Fund may lose money on such investments.

 

Investment Funds. Some emerging countries currently prohibit direct foreign investment in the securities of their companies. Certain emerging countries, however, permit indirect foreign investment in the securities of companies listed and traded on their stock exchanges through investment funds that they have specifically authorized. Investments in these investment funds are subject to the provisions of the 1940 Act. If the Fund invests in such investment funds, shareholders will bear not only their proportionate share of the expenses (including operating expenses and the fees of the Adviser), but also will indirectly bear similar expenses of the underlying investment funds. In addition, these investment funds may trade at a premium over their net asset value.

 

Risks of Foreign Securities:

 

Foreign securities, foreign currencies, and securities issued by U.S. entities with substantial foreign operations may involve significant risks in addition to the risks inherent in U.S. investments.

 

Political and Economic Factors. Local political, economic, regulatory, or social instability, military action or unrest, or adverse diplomatic developments may affect the value of foreign investments. Listed below are some of the more important political and economic factors that could negatively affect an investment in foreign securities:

 

The economies of foreign countries may differ from the economy of the United States in such areas as growth of gross national product, rate of inflation, capital reinvestment, resource self-sufficiency, budget deficits and national debt;

 

Foreign governments sometimes participate to a significant degree, through ownership interests or regulation, in their respective economies. Actions by these governments could significantly influence the market prices of securities and payment of dividends;

 

The economies of many foreign countries are dependent on international trade and their trading partners and they could be severely affected if their trading partners were to enact protective trade barriers and economic conditions;

 

The internal policies of a particular foreign country may be less stable than in the United States. Other countries face significant external political risks, such as possible claims of sovereignty by other countries or tense and sometimes hostile border clashes; and

 

A foreign government may act adversely to the interests of U.S. investors, including expropriation or nationalization of assets, confiscatory taxation and other restrictions on U.S. investment. A country may restrict or control foreign investments in its securities markets. These restrictions could limit the Fund’s ability to invest in a particular country or make it very expensive for the Fund to invest in that country. Some countries require prior governmental approval or limit the types or amount of securities or companies in which a foreigner can invest. Other countries may restrict the ability of foreign investors to repatriate their investment income and capital gains.

 

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On June 23, 2016, the United Kingdom (the “UK”) voted in a referendum to leave the European Union (the “EU”) (commonly known as “Brexit”), which led to significant global market volatility, as well as political, economic, and legal uncertainty. On January 31, 2020, the UK left the EU and entered into a transition period scheduled to last until December 31, 2020. There is still considerable uncertainty regarding the potential consequences of Brexit, including with respect to the negotiations of new trade agreements during the transition period and whether Brexit will have a negative impact on the UK, the broader global economy or the value of the British pound sterling. UK businesses are increasingly preparing for a disorderly Brexit because of the risks that trade negotiations between the UK and the EU may not be completed by the end of the transition period or the outcomes of such negotiations may be undesirable. Brexit may cause both the British pound sterling and the Euro to depreciate in relation to the U.S. dollar, which could adversely affect the Fund’s investments denominated in British pound sterling or Euros that are not fully hedged, irrespective of the performance of the underlying issuer. As a result of Brexit, the UK may be less stable than it has been in recent years, and investments in the UK may be difficult to value or subject to greater or more frequent volatility. Brexit could adversely affect European or worldwide political, regulatory, economic or market conditions and could contribute to instability in global political institutions, regulatory agencies and financial markets. Brexit could also lead to legal uncertainty and politically divergent national laws and regulations while a new relationship between the UK and the EU is defined and the UK determines which EU laws to replace or replicate. Further, Brexit may cause additional member states to contemplate departing from the EU, which would likely perpetuate political and economic instability in the region and cause additional market disruption in global financial markets. The UK and European economies and the broader global economy could be significantly impacted during this period of uncertainty, which may result in increased volatility and illiquidity, and potentially lower economic growth in markets in the UK, Europe and globally that could potentially have an adverse effect on the value of the Fund’s investments.

 

Information and Supervision. There may be less publicly available information about foreign companies than companies based in the United States. For example, there are often no reports and ratings published about foreign companies comparable to the ones written about U.S. companies. Foreign companies may not be subject to uniform accounting, auditing and financial reporting standards, practices and requirements comparable to those applicable to U.S. companies. The lack of comparable information makes investment decisions concerning foreign companies more difficult and less reliable than those concerning domestic companies.

 

Stock Exchange and Market Risk. The Adviser anticipates that in most cases an exchange or over-the-counter market located outside of the United States will be the best available market for foreign securities. Foreign stock markets, while growing in volume and sophistication, are generally not as developed as the markets in the United States. Foreign stock markets tend to differ from those in the United States in a number of possible ways.

 

Foreign stock markets may:

 

Be generally more volatile than, and not as developed or efficient as, those in the United States;

 

Have substantially less volume;

 

Trade securities that tend to be less liquid and experience rapid and erratic price movements;

 

Have generally higher commissions and are subject to set minimum rates, as opposed to negotiated rates;

 

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Employ trading, settlement and custodial practices less developed than those in U.S. markets; and

 

Have different settlement practices, which may cause delays and increase the potential for failed settlements.

 

Foreign markets may offer less protection to shareholders than U.S. markets because:

 

Foreign accounting, auditing, and financial reporting requirements may render a foreign corporate balance sheet more difficult to understand and interpret than one subject to U.S. law and standards;

 

Adequate public information on foreign issuers may not be available, and it may be difficult to secure dividends and information regarding corporate actions on a timely basis;

 

There may be less overall governmental supervision and regulation of securities exchanges, brokers, and listed companies than in the United States;

 

Over-the-counter markets tend to be less regulated than stock exchange markets and, in certain countries, may be totally unregulated;

 

Economic or political concerns may influence regulatory enforcement and may make it difficult for shareholders to enforce their legal rights; and

 

Restrictions on transferring securities within the United States or to U.S. persons may make a particular security less liquid than foreign securities of the same class that are not subject to such restrictions.

 

Foreign Currency Risk. While the Fund denominates its net asset value in U.S. dollars, the securities of foreign companies are frequently denominated in foreign currencies. Thus, a change in the value of a foreign currency against the U.S. dollar will result in a corresponding change in value of securities denominated in that currency. Some of the factors that may impair the investments denominated in a foreign currency are:

 

It may be expensive to convert foreign currencies into U.S. dollars and vice versa;

 

Complex political and economic factors may significantly affect the values of various currencies, including the U.S. dollar, and their exchange rates;

 

Government intervention may increase risks involved in purchasing or selling foreign currency options, forward contracts and futures contracts, since exchange rates may not be free to fluctuate in response to other market forces;

 

There may be no systematic reporting of last sale information for foreign currencies or regulatory requirement that quotations available through dealers or other market sources be firm or revised on a timely basis;

 

Available quotation information is generally representative of very large round-lot transactions in the inter-bank market and thus may not reflect exchange rates for smaller odd-lot transactions (less than $1 million) where rates may be less favorable; and

 

The inter-bank market in foreign currencies is a global, around-the-clock market. To the extent that a market is closed while the markets for the underlying currencies remain open, certain markets may not always reflect significant price and rate movements.

 

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Taxes. Certain foreign governments levy withholding taxes on dividend and interest income. Although in some countries it is possible for the Fund to recover a portion of these taxes, the portion that cannot be recovered will reduce the income the Fund receives from its investments.

 

Risks of Investing in China and Hong Kong. In addition to the risks of investing in emerging markets discussed above, investing in securities listed and traded in China involves other specific risks. Such risks may include: (i) the risk of nationalization or expropriation of assets or confiscatory taxation; (ii) greater social, economic and political uncertainty; (iii) dependency on exports and the corresponding importance of international trade; (iv) increasing competition from Asia’s other low-cost emerging economies; (v) currency exchange rate fluctuations; (vi) higher rates of inflation; (vii) controls on foreign investment and limitations on repatriation of invested capital; (viii) greater governmental involvement in and control over the economy; (ix) the risk that the Chinese government may decide not to continue to support the economic reform programs implemented since 1978 and could return to the prior, completely centrally planned, economy; (x) the fact that Chinese companies, particularly those located in China, may be smaller, less seasoned and newly organized; (xi) the differences in, or lack of, auditing and financial reporting standards which may result in unavailability of material information about issuers, particularly in China; (xii) the fact that statistical information regarding the economy of China may be inaccurate or not comparable to statistical information regarding the U.S. or other economies; (xiii) the less extensive, and still developing, regulation of the securities markets, business entities and commercial transactions; (xiv) the willingness and ability of the Chinese government to support the Chinese and Hong Kong economies and markets is uncertain; (xv) the risk that it may be more difficult, or impossible, to obtain and/or enforce a judgment than in other countries; (xvi) the rapidity and erratic nature of growth, particularly in China, resulting in inefficiencies and dislocations; (xvii) the risk that, because of the degree of interconnectivity between the economies and financial markets of China and Hong Kong, any sizable reduction in the demand for goods from China, or an economic downturn in China, could negatively affect the economy and financial market of Hong Kong as well; and (xviii) the risk that certain companies in China may have dealings with countries subject to sanctions or embargoes imposed by the U.S. government or identified as state sponsors of terrorism.

 

The government of China maintains strict currency controls in support of economic, trade and political objectives and regularly intervenes in the currency market. The government’s actions in this respect may not be transparent or predictable. As a result, the value of Renminbi, and the value of securities designed to provide exposure to Renminbi, can change quickly and arbitrarily. Furthermore, it is difficult for foreign investors to directly access money market securities in China because of investment and trading restrictions. Major remaining barriers to foreign investment include opaque and inconsistently enforced laws and regulations and the lack of a rules-based legal infrastructure. These and other factors may decrease the value and liquidity of the Funds’ investments, and therefore the value and liquidity of an investment in the Funds. These and other factors could have a negative impact on the Funds’ performance.

 

The laws, government policies and political and economic climate in China may change with little or no advance notice. Any such change could adversely affect market conditions and the performance of the Chinese economy and, thus, the value of the Funds’ portfolio. After the formation of the Chinese socialist state in 1949, the Chinese government renounced various debt obligations and nationalized private assets without compensation. There can be no assurance that the Chinese government will not take similar actions in the future.

 

Over the past few decades, China loosened some of its controls with respect to foreign investment to permit private economic activity. Under the economic reforms implemented by the Chinese government, the Chinese economy has experienced tremendous growth. However, there is no guarantee that the Chinese government will continue its current economic reforms or that the growth of the Chinese economy will be sustained in the future. Economic growth in China has historically been accompanied by periods of high inflation. If measures adopted by the Chinese government to counter inflation do not succeed, and if inflation were to worsen, the Chinese economy could be adversely affected.

 

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The Chinese government continues to be an active participant in many economic sectors through ownership positions in Chinese companies and other forms of regulation. Certain government policies may result in the preferential treatment of particular sectors or companies and may have a significant effect on the Chinese economy. Exports and trade are integral to the Chinese economy. As a result, adverse changes to the economic conditions of China’s primary trading partners, such as the United States, Japan and South Korea, could adversely impact the Chinese economy.

 

China operates under a civil law system, in which court precedent is not binding. The law is controlled exclusively through written statutes. Because there is no binding precedent to interpret existing statutes, there is also uncertainty regarding the implementation of existing law.

 

Investments in Hong Kong are also subject to certain political risks. Following the establishment of the People’s Republic of China by the Communist Party in 1949, the Chinese government renounced various debt obligations incurred by China’s predecessor governments, which obligations remain in default, and expropriated assets without compensation. There can be no assurance that the Chinese government will not take similar action in the future. In 1997, Great Britain handed over control of Hong Kong to the Chinese mainland government. Since that time, Hong Kong has been governed by a semi-constitution known as the Basic Law, which guarantees a high degree of autonomy with regard to its political, legal and economic systems for a period of at least 50 years. China controls matters that relate to defense and foreign affairs. Hong Kong is able to participate in international organizations and agreements and it continues to function as an international financial center, with no exchange controls, free convertibility of the Hong Kong dollar and free inward and outward movement of capital.

 

Investments in China A Shares. The Fund may invest in A Shares of companies based in China through the Shanghai-Hong Kong Stock Connect program or Shenzhen-Hong Kong Stock Connect program (collectively, “Stock Connect”) subject to any applicable regulatory limits. Stock Connect is a securities trading and clearing linked program developed by Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited (“HKEx”), the Hong Kong Securities Clearing Company Limited (“HKSCC”), Shanghai Stock Exchange (“SSE”), Shenzhen Stock Exchange (“SZSE”) and China Securities Depository and Clearing Corporation Limited (“ChinaClear”) with the aim of achieving mutual stock market access between China and Hong Kong. This program allows foreign investors to trade certain SSE-listed or SZSE-listed China A Shares through their Hong Kong based brokers. All Hong Kong and overseas investors in Stock Connect will trade and settle SSE or SZSE securities in the offshore Renminbi (“CNH”) only. The Fund will be exposed to any fluctuation in the exchange rate between the U.S. Dollar and CNH in respect of such investments.

 

By seeking to invest in the domestic securities markets of China via Stock Connect the Fund is subject to the following additional risks:

 

General Risks. The relevant regulations are relatively untested and subject to change. There is no certainty as to how they will be applied, which could adversely affect the Fund. The program requires use of new information technology systems which may be subject to operational risk due to the program’s cross-border nature. If the relevant systems fail to function properly, trading in both Hong Kong and Chinese markets through the program could be disrupted.

 

Stock Connect will only operate on days when both the Chinese and Hong Kong markets are open for trading and when banks in both markets are open on the corresponding settlement days. There may be occasions when it is a normal trading day for the Chinese market but Stock Connect is not trading. As a result, the Fund may be subject to the risk of price fluctuations in China A Shares when the Fund cannot carry out any China A Shares trading.

 

 S-14

 

Foreign Shareholding Restrictions. The trading, acquisition, disposal and holding of securities under Stock Connect are subject at all times to applicable law, which imposes purchasing and holding limits. These limitations and restrictions may have the effect of restricting an investor’s ability to purchase, subscribe for or hold any China A Shares or to take up any entitlements in respect of such shares, or requiring an investor to reduce its holding in any securities, whether generally or at a particular point of time, and whether by way of forced sale or otherwise. As such, investors may incur loss arising from such limitations, restrictions and/or forced sale.

 

China A Shares Market Suspension Risk. China A Shares may only be bought from, or sold to, the Fund at times when the relevant China A Shares may be sold or purchased on the relevant Chinese stock exchange. SSE and SZSE typically have the right to suspend or limit trading in any security traded on the relevant exchange if necessary to ensure an orderly and fair market and that risks are managed prudently. In the event of the suspension, the Fund’s ability to access the Chinese market will be adversely affected.

 

Clearing and Settlement Risk. HKSCC and ChinaClear have established the clearing links and each will become a participant of each other to facilitate clearing and settlement of cross-boundary trades. For cross-boundary trades initiated in a market, the clearing house of that market will on one hand clear and settle with its own clearing participants and on the other hand undertake to fulfill the clearing and settlement obligations of its clearing participants with the counterparty clearing house.

 

In the event ChinaClear defaults, HKSCC’s liabilities under its market contracts with clearing participants may be limited to assisting clearing participants with claims. It is anticipated that HKSCC will act in good faith to seek recovery of the outstanding stocks and monies from ChinaClear through available legal channels or the liquidation of ChinaClear. Regardless, the process of recovery could be delayed and the Fund may not fully recover its losses or its Stock Connect securities.

 

Legal/Beneficial Ownership. Where securities are held in custody on a cross-border basis there are specific legal and beneficial ownership risks linked to the compulsory requirements of the local central securities depositaries, HKSCC and ChinaClear.

 

As in other emerging markets, the legislative framework is only beginning to develop the concept of legal/formal ownership and of beneficial ownership or interest in securities. In addition, HKSCC, as nominee holder, does not guarantee the title to Stock Connect securities held through it and is under no obligation to enforce title or other rights associated with ownership on behalf of beneficial owners. Consequently, the courts may consider that any nominee or custodian as registered holder of Stock Connect securities would have full ownership thereof, and that those Stock Connect securities would form part of the pool of assets of such entity available for distribution to creditors of such entities and/or that a beneficial owner may have no rights whatsoever in respect thereof. Consequently, neither the Fund nor its custodian can ensure that the Fund’s ownership of these securities or title thereto is assured.

 

To the extent that HKSCC is deemed to be performing safekeeping functions with respect to assets held through it, it should be noted that the Fund and its custodian will have no legal relationship with HKSCC and no direct legal recourse against HKSCC in the event that the Fund suffers losses resulting from the performance or insolvency of HKSCC. In the event that the Fund suffers losses due to the negligence, or willful default, or insolvency of HKSCC, the Fund may not be able to institute legal proceedings, file any proof of claim in any insolvency proceeding or take any similar action. In the event of the insolvency of HKSCC, the Fund may not have any proprietary interest in the PRC A-Shares traded through the Stock Connect program and may be an unsecured general creditor in respect of any claim the Fund may have in respect of them. Consequently, the value of the Fund’s investment in PRC A-Shares and the amount of its income and gains could be adversely affected.

 

 S-15

 

Operational Risk. The HKSCC provides clearing, settlement, nominee functions and other related services in respect of trades executed by Hong Kong market participants. Chinese regulations which include certain restrictions on selling and buying will apply to all market participants. Trading via Stock Connect may require pre-delivery or pre-validation of cash or shares to or by a broker. If the cash or shares are not in the broker’s possession before the market opens on the day of selling, the sell order will be rejected. As a result, the Fund may not be able to purchase and/or dispose of holdings of China A Shares in a timely manner.

 

Day Trading Restrictions. Day (turnaround) trading is not permitted through Stock Connect. Investors buying A Shares on day T can only sell the shares on and after day T+1 subject to any Stock Connect rules.

 

Quota Limitations. The Stock Connect program is subject to daily quota limitations which may restrict the Fund’s ability to invest in China A Shares through the program on a timely basis.

 

  Investor Compensation. The Fund will not benefit from Chinese local investor compensation schemes. Furthermore, the Fund’s investments through Stock Connect are currently not covered by the Hong Kong Investor Compensation Fund.

 

Tax within China. Uncertainties in Chinese tax rules governing taxation of income and gains from investments in A Shares via Stock Connect could result in unexpected tax liabilities for the Fund. The Fund’s investments in securities, including A Shares, issued by Chinese companies may cause the Fund to become subject to withholding and other taxes imposed by China.

 

If the Fund were considered to be a tax resident of China, it would be subject to Chinese corporate income tax at the rate of 25% on its worldwide taxable income. If the Fund were considered to be a non-resident enterprise with a “permanent establishment” in China, it would be subject to Chinese corporate income tax of 25% on the profits attributable to the permanent establishment. The Adviser intends to operate the Fund in a manner that will prevent it from being treated as a tax resident of China and from having a permanent establishment in China. It is possible, however, that China could disagree with that conclusion, or that changes in Chinese tax law could affect the Chinese corporate income tax status of the Fund.

 

China generally imposes withholding income tax at a rate of 10% on dividends, premiums, interest and capital gains originating in China and paid to a company that is not a resident of China for tax purposes and that has no permanent establishment in China. The withholding is in general made by the relevant Chinese tax resident company making such payments. In the event the relevant Chinese tax resident company fails to withhold the relevant Chinese withholding income tax or otherwise fails to pay the relevant withholding income tax to Chinese tax authorities, the competent tax authorities may, at their sole discretion, impose tax obligations on the Fund.

 

 S-16

 

The Ministry of Finance of China, the State Administration of Taxation of China and the China Securities Regulatory Commission issued Caishui No. 81 on October 31, 2014 (“Notice 81”), which states that the capital gain from disposal of China A Shares by foreign investors enterprises via Stock Connect will be temporarily exempt from withholding income tax. Notice 81 also states that the dividends derived from A Shares by foreign investors enterprises is subject to a 10% withholding income tax.

 

There is no indication of how long the temporary exemption will remain in effect and the Fund may be subject to such withholding income tax in the future. If, in the future, China begins applying tax rules regarding the taxation of income from investments through Stock Connect and/or begins collecting capital gains taxes on such investments, the Fund could be subject to withholding income tax liability if the Fund determines that such liability cannot be reduced or eliminated by applicable tax treaties. The Chinese tax authorities may in the future issue further guidance in this regard and with potential retrospective effect. The negative impact of any such tax liability on the Fund’s return could be substantial.

 

In light of the uncertainty as to how gains or income that may be derived from the Fund’s investments in China will be taxed, the Fund reserves the right to provide for withholding tax on such gains or income and withhold tax for the account of the Fund. Withholding tax may already be withheld at a broker/custodian level.

 

Any tax provision, if made, will be reflected in the net asset value of the Fund at the time the provision is used to satisfy tax liabilities. If the actual applicable tax levied by the Chinese tax authorities is greater than that provided for by the Fund so that there is a shortfall in the tax provision amount, the net asset value of the Fund may suffer as the Fund will have to bear additional tax liabilities. In this case, then existing and new shareholders in the Fund will be disadvantaged. If the actual applicable tax levied by Chinese tax authorities is less than that provided for by the Fund so that there is an excess in the tax provision amount, shareholders who redeemed Fund shares before the Chinese tax authorities’ ruling, decision or guidance may have been disadvantaged as they would have borne any loss from the Fund’s overprovision. In this case, the then existing and new shareholders in the Fund may benefit if the difference between the tax provision and the actual taxation liability can be returned to the account of the Fund as assets thereof. Any excess in the tax provision amount shall be treated as property of the Fund, and shareholders who previously transferred or redeemed their Fund shares will not be entitled or have any right to claim any part of the amount representing the excess.

 

Stamp duty under the Chinese laws generally applies to the execution and receipt of taxable documents, which include contracts for the sale of A Shares traded on Chinese stock exchanges. In the case of such contracts, the stamp duty is currently imposed on the seller but not on the purchaser, at the rate of 0.1%. The sale or other transfer by the Adviser of A Shares will accordingly be subject to Chinese stamp duty, but the Fund will not be subject to Chinese stamp duty when it acquires A Shares.

 

The Fund may also potentially be subject to Chinese value added tax at the rate of 6% on capital gains derived from trading of A Shares and interest income (if any). Existing guidance provides a temporary value added tax exemption for Hong Kong and overseas investors in respect of their gains derived from the trading of Chinese securities through Stock Connect. Because there is no indication how long the temporary exemption will remain in effect, the Fund may be subject to such value added tax in the future. In addition, urban maintenance and construction tax (currently at rates ranging from 1% to 7%), educational surcharge (currently at the rate of 3%) and local educational surcharge (currently at the rate of 2%) (collectively, the “surtaxes”) are imposed based on value added tax liabilities, so if the Fund were liable for value added tax it would also be required to pay the applicable surtaxes.

 

The Chinese rules for taxation of Stock Connect are evolving, and certain of the tax regulations to be issued by the State Administration of Taxation of China and/or Ministry of Finance of China to clarify the subject matter may apply retrospectively, even if such rules are adverse to the Fund and its shareholders. The imposition of taxes, particularly on a retrospective basis, could have a material adverse effect on the Fund’s returns. Before further guidance is issued and is well established in the administrative practice of the Chinese tax authorities, the practices of the Chinese tax authorities that collect Chinese taxes relevant to the Fund may differ from, or be applied in a manner inconsistent with, the practices with respect to the analogous investments described herein or any further guidance that may be issued. The value of the Fund’s investment in China and the amount of its income and gains could be adversely affected by an increase in tax rates or change in the taxation basis.

 

 S-17

 

The above information is only a general summary of the potential Chinese tax consequences that may be imposed on the Fund and its shareholders either directly or indirectly and should not be taken as a definitive, authoritative or comprehensive statement of the relevant matter. Shareholders should seek their own tax advice on their tax position with regard to their investment in the Fund.

 

The Chinese government has implemented a number of tax reform policies in recent years. The current tax laws and regulations may be revised or amended in the future. Any revision or amendment in tax laws and regulations may affect the after-taxation profit of Chinese companies and foreign investors in such companies, such as the Fund.

 

Money Market Securities

 

Money market securities include short-term U.S. government securities; custodial receipts evidencing separately traded interest and principal components of securities issued by the U.S. Treasury; commercial paper rated in the highest short-term rating category by a nationally recognized statistical ratings organization (“NRSRO”), such as Standard & Poor’s Rating Services (“S&P”) or Moody’s Investor Services, Inc. (“Moody’s”), or determined by the Adviser to be of comparable quality at the time of purchase; short-term bank obligations (certificates of deposit, time deposits and bankers’ acceptances) of U.S. commercial banks with assets of at least $1 billion as of the end of their most recent fiscal year; and repurchase agreements involving such securities. Each of these money market securities are described below. For a description of ratings, see “Appendix A – Description of Ratings” to this SAI.

 

U.S. Government Securities

 

The Fund may invest in U.S. government securities. Securities issued or guaranteed by the U.S. government or its agencies or instrumentalities include U.S. Treasury securities, which are backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. Treasury and which differ only in their interest rates, maturities, and times of issuance. U.S. Treasury bills have initial maturities of one-year or less; U.S. Treasury notes have initial maturities of one to ten years; and U.S. Treasury bonds generally have initial maturities of greater than ten years. U.S. Treasury notes and bonds typically pay coupon interest semi-annually and repay the principal at maturity. Certain U.S. government securities are issued or guaranteed by agencies or instrumentalities of the U.S. government including, but not limited to, obligations of U.S. government agencies or instrumentalities such as the Federal National Mortgage Association (“Fannie Mae”), the Government National Mortgage Association (“Ginnie Mae”), the Small Business Administration, the Federal Farm Credit Administration, the Federal Home Loan Banks, Banks for Cooperatives (including the Central Bank for Cooperatives), the Federal Land Banks, the Federal Intermediate Credit Banks, the Tennessee Valley Authority, the Export-Import Bank of the United States, the Commodity Credit Corporation, the Federal Financing Bank, the Student Loan Marketing Association, the National Credit Union Administration and the Federal Agricultural Mortgage Corporation (“Farmer Mac”).

 

Some obligations issued or guaranteed by U.S. government agencies and instrumentalities, including, for example, Ginnie Mae pass-through certificates, are supported by the full faith and credit of the U.S. Treasury. Other obligations issued by or guaranteed by federal agencies, such as those securities issued by Fannie Mae, are supported by the discretionary authority of the U.S. government to purchase certain obligations of the federal agency. Additionally, some obligations are issued by or guaranteed by federal agencies, such as those of the Federal Home Loan Banks, which are supported by the right of the issuer to borrow from the U.S. Treasury. While the U.S. government provides financial support to such U.S. government-sponsored federal agencies, no assurance can be given that the U.S. government will always do so, since the U.S. government is not so obligated by law. Guarantees of principal by U.S. government agencies or instrumentalities may be a guarantee of payment at the maturity of the obligation so that in the event of a default prior to maturity there might not be a market and thus no means of realizing on the obligation prior to maturity. Guarantees as to the timely payment of principal and interest do not extend to the value or yield of these securities nor to the value of the Fund’s shares.

 

 S-18

 

On September 7, 2008, the U.S. Treasury announced a federal takeover of Fannie Mae and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (“Freddie Mac”), placing the two federal instrumentalities in conservatorship. Under the takeover, the U.S. Treasury agreed to acquire $1 billion of senior preferred stock of each instrumentality and obtained warrants for the purchase of common stock of each instrumentality (the “Senior Preferred Stock Purchase Agreement” or “Agreement”). Under the Agreement, the U.S. Treasury pledged to provide up to $200 billion per instrumentality as needed, including the contribution of cash capital to the instrumentalities in the event their liabilities exceed their assets. This was intended to ensure that the instrumentalities maintain a positive net worth and meet their financial obligations, preventing mandatory triggering of receivership. On December 24, 2009, the U.S. Treasury announced that it was amending the Agreement to allow the $200 billion cap on the U.S. Treasury’s funding commitment to increase as necessary to accommodate any cumulative reduction in net worth through the end of 2012. The unlimited support the U.S. Treasury extended to the two companies expired at the beginning of 2013 – Fannie Mae’s support is now capped at $125 billion and Freddie Mac has a limit of $149 billion.

 

On August 17, 2012, the U.S. Treasury announced that it was again amending the Agreement to terminate the requirement that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac each pay a 10% annual dividend. Instead, the companies will transfer to the U.S. Treasury on a quarterly basis all profits earned during a quarter that exceed a capital reserve amount. The capital reserve amount was $3 billion in 2013, and decreased by $600 million in each subsequent year through 2017. It is believed that the new amendment puts Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in a better position to service their debt because the companies no longer have to borrow from the U.S. Treasury to make fixed dividend payments. As part of the new terms, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac also will be required to reduce their investment portfolios over time. On December 21, 2017, the U.S. Treasury announced that it was again amending the Agreement to reinstate the $3 billion capital reserve amount.

 

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are the subject of several continuing class action lawsuits and investigations by federal regulators over certain accounting, disclosure or corporate governance matters, which (along with any resulting financial restatements) may adversely affect the guaranteeing entities. Importantly, the future of the entities is in serious question as the U.S. government reportedly is considering multiple options, ranging from nationalization, privatization, consolidation, or abolishment of the entities.

 

U.S. Treasury Obligations. U.S. Treasury obligations consist of direct obligations of the U.S. Treasury, including Treasury bills, notes and bonds, and separately traded interest and principal component parts of such obligations, including those transferable through the Federal book-entry system known as Separate Trading of Registered Interest and Principal of Securities (“STRIPS”). The STRIPS program lets investors hold and trade the individual interest and principal components of eligible Treasury notes and bonds as separate securities. Under the STRIPS program, the principal and interest components are separately issued by the U.S. Treasury at the request of depository financial institutions, which then trade the component parts separately.

 

Municipal Securities

 

Municipal securities, including municipal bonds and municipal notes, consist of: (i) debt obligations issued by or on behalf of public authorities to obtain funds to be used for various public facilities, for refunding outstanding obligations, for general operating expenses and for lending such funds to other public institutions and facilities, and (ii) certain private activity and industrial development bonds issued by or on behalf of public authorities to obtain funds to provide for the construction, equipment, repair or improvement of privately operated facilities.

 

 S-19

 

Municipal bonds are debt obligations issued to obtain funds for various public purposes. Municipal bonds include general obligation bonds, revenue or special obligation bonds, private activity and industrial development bonds, moral obligation bonds and participation interests in municipal bonds. General obligation bonds are backed by the taxing power of the issuing municipality. Revenue or special obligation bonds are backed by the revenues of a project or facility, such as tolls from a toll bridge. Private activity or industrial development bonds are issued by or on behalf of public authorities to raise money to finance various privately-owned or -operated facilities for business and manufacturing, housing, sports and pollution control. These bonds are also used to finance public facilities such as airports, mass transit systems, ports, parking or sewage or solid waste disposal facilities and certain other facilities. The payment of the principal and interest on such bonds is dependent solely on the ability of the facility’s user to meet its financial obligations and the pledge, if any, of real and personal property financed as security for such payment. Moral obligation bonds are normally issued by special purpose authorities. Moral obligation bonds are not backed by the full faith and credit of the issuing municipality, but are generally backed by the agreement of the issuing authority to request appropriations from the municipality’s legislative body. Certificates of participation represent an interest in an underlying obligation or commitment, such as an obligation issued in connection with a leasing arrangement.

 

Municipal notes consist of general obligation notes, tax anticipation notes (notes sold to finance working capital needs of the issuer in anticipation of receiving taxes on a future date), revenue anticipation notes (notes sold to provide needed cash prior to receipt of expected non-tax revenues from a specific source), bond anticipation notes, tax and revenue anticipation notes, certificates of indebtedness, demand notes and construction loan notes. The maturities of the instruments at the time of issue will generally range from three months to one year.

 

Commercial Paper

 

Commercial paper is the term used to designate unsecured short-term promissory notes issued by corporations and other entities. Maturities on these issues vary from a few to 270 days.

 

Obligations of Domestic Banks, Foreign Banks and Foreign Branches of U.S. Banks

 

The Fund may invest in obligations issued by banks and other savings institutions. Investments in bank obligations include obligations of domestic branches of foreign banks and foreign branches of domestic banks. Such investments in domestic branches of foreign banks and foreign branches of domestic banks may involve risks that are different from investments in securities of domestic branches of U.S. banks. These risks may include future unfavorable political and economic developments, possible withholding taxes on interest income, seizure or nationalization of foreign deposits, currency controls, interest limitations, or other governmental restrictions which might affect the payment of principal or interest on the securities held by the Fund. Additionally, these institutions may be subject to less stringent reserve requirements and to different accounting, auditing, reporting and recordkeeping requirements than those applicable to domestic branches of U.S. banks. Bank obligations include the following:

 

Time Deposits. Time deposits are non-negotiable receipts issued by a bank in exchange for the deposit of funds. Like a certificate of deposit, it earns a specified rate of interest over a definite period of time; however, it cannot be traded in the secondary market. Time deposits with a withdrawal penalty or that mature in more than seven days are considered to be illiquid investments.

 

Unsecured Bank Promissory Notes. Promissory notes are generally debt obligations of the issuing entity and are subject to the risks of investing in the banking industry.

 

 S-20

 

Investment Grade Fixed Income Securities

 

Fixed income securities are considered investment grade if they are rated in one of the four highest rating categories by an NRSRO, or, if not rated, are determined to be of comparable quality by the Adviser. See “Appendix A – Description of Ratings” for a description of the bond rating categories of several NRSROs. Ratings of each NRSRO represent its opinion of the safety of principal and interest payments (and not the market risk) of bonds and other fixed income securities it undertakes to rate at the time of issuance. Ratings are not absolute standards of quality and may not reflect changes in an issuer’s creditworthiness. Fixed income securities rated BBB- or Baa3 lack outstanding investment characteristics, and have speculative characteristics as well. Securities rated Baa3 by Moody’s or BBB- by S&P or higher are considered by those rating agencies to be “investment grade” securities, although Moody’s considers securities rated in the Baa category to have speculative characteristics. While issuers of bonds rated BBB by S&P are considered to have adequate capacity to meet their financial commitments, adverse economic conditions or changing circumstances are more likely to lead to a weakened capacity to pay interest and principal for debt in this category than debt in higher rated categories. In the event a security owned by the Fund is downgraded below investment grade, the Adviser will review the situation and take appropriate action with regard to the security, including the actions discussed below.

 

Debt Securities

 

Corporations and governments use debt securities to borrow money from investors. Most debt securities promise a variable or fixed rate of return and repayment of the amount borrowed at maturity. Some debt securities, such as zero coupon bonds, do not pay current interest and are purchased at a discount from their face value.

 

Corporate Bonds. Corporations issue bonds and notes to raise money for working capital or for capital expenditures such as plant construction, equipment purchases and expansion. In return for the money loaned to the corporation by investors, the corporation promises to pay investors interest, and repay the principal amount of the bond or note.

 

Mortgage-Backed Securities. Mortgage-backed securities are interests in pools of mortgage loans that various governmental, government-related and private organizations assemble as securities for sale to investors. Unlike most debt securities, which pay interest periodically and repay principal at maturity or on specified call dates, mortgage-backed securities make monthly payments that consist of both interest and principal payments. In effect, these payments are a “pass-through” of the monthly payments made by the individual borrowers on their mortgage loans, net of any fees paid to the issuer or guarantor of such securities. Since homeowners usually have the option of paying either part or all of the loan balance before maturity, the effective maturity of a mortgage-backed security is often shorter than is stated.

 

Governmental entities, private insurers and mortgage poolers may insure or guarantee the timely payment of interest and principal of these pools through various forms of insurance or guarantees, including individual loan, title, pool and hazard insurance and letters of credit. The Adviser will consider such insurance and guarantees and the creditworthiness of the issuers thereof in determining whether a mortgage-related security meets its investment quality standards. It is possible that the private insurers or guarantors will not meet their obligations under the insurance policies or guarantee arrangements.

 

Although the market for such securities is becoming increasingly liquid, securities issued by certain private organizations may not be readily marketable.

 

Risks of Mortgage-Backed Securities. Yield characteristics of mortgage-backed securities differ from those of traditional debt securities in a variety of ways. The most significant differences of mortgage-backed securities are: 1) payments of interest and principal are more frequent (usually monthly) and 2) falling interest rates generally cause individual borrowers to pay off their mortgage earlier than expected, which results in prepayments of principal on the securities, thus forcing the Fund to reinvest the money at a lower interest rate. In addition to risks associated with changes in interest rates, a variety of economic, geographic, social and other factors, such as the sale of the underlying property, refinancing or foreclosure, can cause investors to repay the loans underlying a mortgage-backed security sooner than expected. When prepayment occurs, the Fund may have to reinvest its principal at a rate of interest that is lower than the rate on existing mortgage-backed securities.

 

 S-21

 

Commercial Banks, Savings and Loan Institutions, Private Mortgage Insurance Companies, Mortgage Bankers and other Secondary Market Issuers. Commercial banks, savings and loan institutions, private mortgage insurance companies, mortgage bankers and other secondary market issuers also create pass-through pools of conventional mortgage loans. In addition to guaranteeing the mortgage-related security, such issuers may service and/or have originated the underlying mortgage loans. Pools created by these issuers generally offer a higher rate of interest than pools created by Ginnie Mae, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac because they are not guaranteed by a government agency.

 

Other Asset-Backed Securities. These securities are interests in pools of a broad range of assets other than mortgages, such as automobile loans, computer leases and credit card receivables. Like mortgage-backed securities, these securities are pass-through. In general, the collateral supporting these securities is of shorter maturity than mortgage loans and is less likely to experience substantial prepayments with interest rate fluctuations, but may still be subject to prepayment risk.

 

Asset-backed securities present certain risks that are not presented by mortgage-backed securities. Primarily, these securities may not have the benefit of any security interest in the related assets, which raises the possibility that recoveries on repossessed collateral may not be available to support payments on these securities. For example, credit card receivables are generally unsecured and the debtors are entitled to the protection of a number of state and federal consumer credit laws, many of which allow debtors to reduce their balances by offsetting certain amounts owed on the credit cards. Most issuers of asset-backed securities backed by automobile receivables permit the servicers of such receivables to retain possession of the underlying obligations. If the servicer were to sell these obligations to another party, there is a risk that the purchaser would acquire an interest superior to that of the holders of the related asset-backed securities. Due to the quantity of vehicles involved and requirements under state laws, asset-backed securities backed by automobile receivables may not have a proper security interest in all of the obligations backing such receivables.

 

To lessen the effect of failures by obligors on underlying assets to make payments, the entity administering the pool of assets may agree to ensure that the receipt of payments on the underlying pool occurs in a timely fashion (“liquidity protection”). In addition, asset-backed securities may obtain insurance, such as guarantees, policies or letters of credit obtained by the issuer or sponsor from third parties, for some or all of the assets in the pool (“credit support”). Delinquency or loss more than that anticipated or failure of the credit support could adversely affect the return on an investment in such a security.

 

The Fund may also invest in residual interests in asset-backed securities, which consist of the excess cash flow remaining after making required payments on the securities and paying related administrative expenses. The amount of residual cash flow resulting from a particular issue of asset-backed securities depends in part on the characteristics of the underlying assets, the coupon rates on the securities, prevailing interest rates, the amount of administrative expenses and the actual prepayment experience on the underlying assets.

 

Bank Loans. Bank loans typically are arranged through private negotiations between a borrower and several financial institutions or a group of lenders which are represented by one or more lenders acting as agent. The agent is often a commercial bank that originates the loan and invites other parties to join the lending syndicate. The agent will be primarily responsible for negotiating the loan agreement and will have responsibility for the documentation and ongoing administration of the loan on behalf of the lenders after completion of the loan transaction. The Fund can invest in a bank loan either as a direct lender or through an assignment or participation.

 

 S-22

 

When the Fund acts as a direct lender, it will have a direct contractual relationship with the borrower and may participate in structuring the loan, may enforce compliance by the borrower with the terms of the loan agreement and may have voting, consent and set-off rights under the loan agreement.

 

Loan assignments are investments in all or a portion of certain bank loans purchased from the lenders or from other third parties. The purchaser of an assignment typically will acquire direct rights against the borrower under the loan. While the purchaser of an assignment typically succeeds to all the rights and obligations of the assigning lender under the loan agreement, because assignments are arranged through private negotiations between potential assignees and assignors, or other third parties whose interests are being assigned, the rights and obligations acquired by the Fund may differ from and be more limited than those held by the assigning lender.

 

A holder of a loan participation typically has only a contractual right with the seller of the participation and not with the borrower or any other entities interpositioned between the seller of the participation and the borrower. As such, the purchaser of a loan participation assumes the credit risk of the seller of the participation, and any intermediary entities between the seller and the borrower, in addition to the credit risk of the borrower. When the Fund holds a loan participation, it will have the right to receive payments of principal, interest and fees to which it may be entitled only from the seller of the participation and only upon receipt of the seller of such payments from the borrower or from any intermediary parties between the seller and the borrower. Additionally, the Fund generally will have no right to enforce compliance by the borrower with the terms of the loan agreement, will have no voting, consent or set-off rights under the loan agreement and may not directly benefit from the collateral supporting the loan although lenders that sell participations generally are required to distribute liquidation proceeds received by them pro rata among the holders of such participations. In the event of the bankruptcy or insolvency of the borrower, a loan participation may be subject to certain defenses that can be asserted by the borrower as a result of improper conduct by the seller or intermediary. If the borrower fails to pay principal and interest when due, the Fund may be subject to greater delays, expenses and risks than those that would have been involved if the Fund had purchased a direct obligation of such borrower.

 

Direct loans, assignments and loan participations may be considered liquid, as determined by the Adviser based on criteria approved by the Board.

 

The Fund may have difficulty disposing of bank loans because, in certain cases, the market for such instruments is not highly liquid. The lack of a highly liquid secondary market may have an adverse impact on the value of such instruments and on the Fund’s ability to dispose of the bank loan in response to a specific economic event, such as deterioration in the creditworthiness of the borrower. Furthermore, transactions in many loans settle on a delayed basis, and the Fund may not receive the proceeds from the sale of a loan for a substantial period of time after the sale. As a result, those proceeds will not be available to make additional investments or to meet the Fund’s redemption obligations. To the extent that extended settlement creates short-term liquidity needs, the Fund may satisfy these needs by holding additional cash or selling other investments (potentially at an inopportune time, which could result in losses to the Fund).

 

Bank loans may not be considered “securities,” and purchasers, such as the Fund, therefore may not be entitled to rely on the anti-fraud protections of the federal securities laws.

 

The Adviser may from time to time have the opportunity to receive material, non-public information (“Confidential Information”) about the borrower, including financial information and related documentation regarding the borrower that is not publicly available. Pursuant to applicable policies and procedures, the Adviser may (but is not required to) seek to avoid receipt of Confidential Information from the borrower so as to avoid possible restrictions on its ability to purchase and sell investments on behalf of the Fund and other clients to which such Confidential Information relates (e.g., publicly traded securities issued by the borrower). In such circumstances, the Fund (and other clients of the Adviser) may be disadvantaged in comparison to other investors, including with respect to the price the Fund pays or receives when it buys or sells a bank loan. Further, the Adviser’s abilities to assess the desirability of proposed consents, waivers or amendments with respect to certain bank loans may be compromised if it is not privy to available Confidential Information. The Adviser may also determine to receive such Confidential Information in certain circumstances under its applicable policies and procedures. If the Adviser intentionally or unintentionally comes into possession of Confidential Information, it may be unable, potentially for a substantial period of time, to purchase or sell publicly traded securities to which such Confidential Information relates.

 

 S-23

 

Repurchase Agreements

 

The Fund may enter into repurchase agreements with financial institutions. A repurchase agreement is an agreement under which the Fund acquires a fixed income security (generally a security issued by the U.S. government or an agency thereof, a banker’s acceptance, or a certificate of deposit) from a commercial bank, broker, or dealer, and simultaneously agrees to resell such security to the seller at an agreed upon price and date (normally, the next business day). Because the security purchased constitutes collateral for the repurchase obligation, a repurchase agreement may be considered a loan that is collateralized by the security purchased. The acquisition of a repurchase agreement may be deemed to be an acquisition of the underlying securities as long as the obligation of the seller to repurchase the securities is collateralized fully. The Fund follows certain procedures designed to minimize the risks inherent in such agreements. These procedures include effecting repurchase transactions only with creditworthy financial institutions whose condition will be continually monitored by the Adviser. The repurchase agreements entered into by the Fund will provide that the underlying collateral at all times shall have a value at least equal to 102% of the resale price stated in the agreement and consist only of securities permissible under Section 101(47)(A)(i) of the Bankruptcy Code (the Adviser monitors compliance with this requirement). Under all repurchase agreements entered into by the Fund, the custodian or its agent must take possession of the underlying collateral. In the event of a default or bankruptcy by a selling financial institution, the Fund will seek to liquidate such collateral. However, the exercising of the Fund’s right to liquidate such collateral could involve certain costs or delays and, to the extent that proceeds from any sale upon a default of the obligation to repurchase were less than the repurchase price, the Fund could suffer a loss. The Fund may also enter into “tri-party” repurchase agreements. In “tri-party” repurchase agreements, an unaffiliated third party custodian maintains accounts to hold collateral for the Fund and its counterparties and, therefore, the Fund may be subject to the credit risk of those custodians. The investments of the Fund in repurchase agreements, at times, may be substantial when, in the view of the Adviser, liquidity or other considerations so warrant.

 

Reverse Repurchase Agreements

 

Reverse repurchase agreements are transactions in which the Fund sells portfolio securities to financial institutions, such as banks and broker-dealers, and agrees to repurchase them at a mutually agreed-upon date and price that is higher than the original sale price. Reverse repurchase agreements are similar to a fully collateralized borrowing by the Fund. At the time the Fund enters into a reverse repurchase agreement, it will earmark on the books of the Fund or place in a segregated account cash or liquid securities having a value equal to the repurchase price (including accrued interest) and will subsequently monitor the account to ensure that such equivalent value is maintained.

 

Reverse repurchase agreements involve risks. Reverse repurchase agreements are a form of leverage, and the use of reverse repurchase agreements by the Fund may increase the Fund’s volatility. Reverse repurchase agreements are also subject to the risk that the other party to the reverse repurchase agreement will be unable or unwilling to complete the transaction as scheduled, which may result in losses to the Fund. Reverse repurchase agreements also involve the risk that the market value of the securities sold by the Fund may decline below the price at which it is obligated to repurchase the securities. In addition, when the Fund invests the proceeds it receives in a reverse repurchase transaction, there is a risk that those investments may decline in value. In this circumstance, the Fund could be required to sell other investments in order to meet its obligations to repurchase the securities.

 

 S-24

 

Securities of Other Investment Companies

 

The Fund may invest in shares of other investment companies, to the extent permitted by applicable law and any applicable exemptive relief, subject to certain restrictions. These investment companies typically incur fees that are separate from those fees incurred directly by the Fund. The Fund’s purchase of such investment company securities results in the layering of expenses, such that shareholders would indirectly bear a proportionate share of the operating expenses of such investment companies, including advisory fees, in addition to paying the Fund’s expenses. Unless an exception is available, Section 12(d)(1)(A) of the 1940 Act prohibits a fund from (i) acquiring more than 3% of the voting shares of any one investment company, (ii) investing more than 5% of its total assets in any one investment company, and (iii) investing more than 10% of its total assets in all investment companies combined, including its ETF investments.

 

For hedging or other purposes, the Fund may invest in investment companies that seek to track the composition and/or performance of specific indexes or portions of specific indexes. Certain of these investment companies, known as ETFs, are traded on a securities exchange. (See “Exchange-Traded Funds” above). The market prices of index-based investments will fluctuate in accordance with changes in the underlying portfolio securities of the investment company and also due to supply and demand of the investment company’s shares on the exchange upon which the shares are traded. Index-based investments may not replicate or otherwise match the composition or performance of their specified index due to transaction costs, among other things.

 

Pursuant to orders issued by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) to certain ETFs and procedures approved by the Board, the Fund may invest in such ETFs in excess of the 3% limitation prescribed by Section 12(d)(1)(A) described above, provided that the Fund otherwise complies with the conditions of the applicable SEC order, as it may be amended, and any other applicable investment limitations. Neither such ETFs nor their investment advisers make any representations regarding the advisability of investing in the ETFs.

 

The Fund may invest in investment companies that are not registered with the SEC or in privately placed securities of investment companies (which may or may not be registered), such as hedge funds and offshore funds. Unregistered funds are largely exempt from the regulatory requirements that apply to registered investment companies. As a result, unregistered funds may have a greater ability to make investments, or use investment techniques, that offer a higher potential investment return (for example, leveraging), but which may carry high risk. Unregistered funds, while not regulated by the SEC like registered funds, may be indirectly supervised by the financial institutions (e.g., commercial and investment banks) that may provide them with loans or other sources of capital. Investments in unregistered funds may be difficult to sell, which could cause the Fund to lose money when selling an interest in an unregistered fund. For example, many hedge funds require their investors to hold their investments for at least one year.

 

Derivatives

 

Derivatives are financial instruments whose value is based on an underlying asset (such as a stock or a bond), an underlying economic factor (such as an interest rate) or a market benchmark. Unless otherwise stated in the Prospectus, the Fund may use derivatives for a number of purposes including managing risk, gaining exposure to various markets in a cost-efficient manner, reducing transaction costs, remaining fully invested and speculating. The Fund may also invest in derivatives with the goal of protecting itself from broad fluctuations in market prices, interest rates or foreign currency exchange rates (a practice known as “hedging”). When hedging is successful, the Fund will have offset any depreciation in the value of its portfolio securities by the appreciation in the value of the derivative position. Although techniques other than the sale and purchase of derivatives could be used to control the exposure of the Fund to market fluctuations, the use of derivatives may be a more effective means of hedging this exposure. In the future, to the extent such use is consistent with the Fund’s investment objective and is legally permissible, the Fund may use instruments and techniques that are not presently contemplated, but that may be subsequently developed.

 

 S-25

 

There can be no assurance that a derivative strategy, if employed, will be successful. Because many derivatives have a leverage or borrowing component, adverse changes in the value or level of the underlying asset, reference rate or index can result in a loss substantially greater than the amount invested in the derivative itself. Certain derivatives have the potential for unlimited loss, regardless of the size of the initial investment. Accordingly, certain derivative transactions may be considered to constitute borrowing transactions for purposes of the 1940 Act. Such a derivative transaction will not be considered to constitute the issuance of a “senior security” by the Fund, and therefore such transaction will not be subject to the 300% asset coverage requirement otherwise applicable to borrowings by the Fund, if the Fund covers the transaction or segregates sufficient liquid assets (or such assets are “earmarked” on the Fund’s books) in accordance with the requirements and interpretations of the SEC and its staff. Futures contracts, forward contracts and other applicable securities and instruments that settle physically, and written options on such contracts, will be treated as cash settled for asset segregation purposes when the Fund has entered into a contractual arrangement with a third party futures commission merchant or other counterparty to off-set the Fund’s exposure under the contract and, failing that, to assign its delivery obligation under the contract to the counterparty.

 

Pursuant to rules adopted under the Commodity Exchange Act (“CEA”) by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC”), the Fund must either operate within certain guidelines and restrictions with respect to the Fund’s use of futures, options on such futures, commodity options and certain swaps, or the Adviser will be subject to registration with the CFTC as a “commodity pool operator” (“CPO”).

 

Consistent with the CFTC’s regulations, the Trust, on behalf of the Fund, has filed a notice of exclusion from the definition of the term CPO under the CEA pursuant to CFTC Rule 4.5 and, therefore, the Fund is not subject to registration or regulation as a CPO under the CEA. As a result, the Fund will be limited in its ability to use futures, options on such futures, commodity options and certain swaps. Complying with the limitations may restrict the Adviser’s ability to implement the Fund’s investment strategies and may adversely affect the Fund’s performance.

 

Types of Derivatives:

 

Futures. A futures contract is an agreement between two parties whereby one party agrees to sell and the other party agrees to buy a specified amount of a financial instrument at an agreed upon price and time. The financial instrument underlying the contract may be a stock, stock index, bond, bond index, interest rate, foreign exchange rate or other similar instrument. Agreeing to buy the underlying financial instrument is called buying a futures contract or taking a long position in the contract. Likewise, agreeing to sell the underlying financial instrument is called selling a futures contract or taking a short position in the contract.

 

Futures contracts are traded in the United States on commodity exchanges or boards of trade (known as “contract markets”) approved for such trading and regulated by the CFTC. These contract markets standardize the terms, including the maturity date and underlying financial instrument, of all futures contracts.

 

Unlike other securities, the parties to a futures contract do not have to pay for or deliver the underlying financial instrument until some future date (the “delivery date”). Contract markets require both the purchaser and seller to deposit “initial margin” with a futures broker, known as a futures commission merchant or custodian bank, when they enter into the contract. Initial margin deposits are typically equal to a percentage of the contract’s value. Initial margin is similar to a performance bond or good faith deposit on a contract and is returned to the depositing party upon termination of the futures contract if all contractual obligations have been satisfied. After they open a futures contract, the parties to the transaction must compare the purchase price of the contract to its daily market value. If the value of the futures contract changes in such a way that a party’s position declines, that party must make additional “variation margin” payments so that the margin payment is adequate. On the other hand, the value of the contract may change in such a way that there is excess margin on deposit, possibly entitling the party that has a gain to receive all or a portion of this amount. This process is known as “marking to the market.” Variation margin does not represent a borrowing or loan by a party but is instead a settlement between the party and the futures broker of the amount one party would owe the other if the futures contract terminated. In computing daily net asset value, each party marks to market its open futures positions.

 

 S-26

 

Although the terms of a futures contract call for the actual delivery of and payment for the underlying security, in many cases the parties may close the contract early by taking an opposite position in an identical contract. If the sale price upon closing out the contract is less than the original purchase price, the party closing out the contract will realize a loss. If the sale price upon closing out the contract is more than the original purchase price, the party closing out the contract will realize a gain. Conversely, if the purchase price upon closing out the contract is more than the original sale price, the party closing out the contract will realize a loss. If the purchase price upon closing out the contract is less than the original sale price, the party closing out the contract will realize a gain.

 

The Fund may incur commission expenses when it opens or closes a futures position.

 

Options. An option is a contract between two parties for the purchase and sale of a financial instrument for a specified price (known as the “strike price” or “exercise price”) at any time during the option period. Unlike a futures contract, an option grants a right (not an obligation) to buy or sell a financial instrument. Generally, a seller of an option can grant a buyer two kinds of rights: a “call” (the right to buy the security) or a “put” (the right to sell the security). Options have various types of underlying instruments, including specific securities, indices of securities prices, foreign currencies, interest rates and futures contracts. Options may be traded on an exchange (exchange-traded options) or may be customized agreements between the parties (over-the-counter or “OTC” options). Like futures, a financial intermediary, known as a clearing corporation, financially backs exchange-traded options. However, OTC options have no such intermediary and are subject to the risk that the counterparty will not fulfill its obligations under the contract. The principal factors affecting the market value of an option include supply and demand, interest rates, the current market value of the underlying instrument relative to the exercise price of the option, the volatility of the underlying instrument, and the time remaining until the option expires.

 

Purchasing Put and Call Options

 

When the Fund purchases a put option, it buys the right to sell the instrument underlying the option at a fixed strike price. In return for this right, the Fund pays the current market price for the option (known as the “option premium”). The Fund may purchase put options to offset or hedge against a decline in the market value of its securities (“protective puts”) or to benefit from a decline in the price of securities that it does not own. The Fund would ordinarily realize a gain if, during the option period, the value of the underlying securities decreased below the exercise price sufficiently to cover the premium and transaction costs. However, if the price of the underlying instrument does not fall enough to offset the cost of purchasing the option, a put buyer would lose the premium and related transaction costs.

 

Call options are similar to put options, except that the Fund obtains the right to purchase, rather than sell, the underlying instrument at the option’s strike price. The Fund would normally purchase call options in anticipation of an increase in the market value of securities it owns or wants to buy. The Fund would ordinarily realize a gain if, during the option period, the value of the underlying instrument exceeded the exercise price plus the premium paid and related transaction costs. Otherwise, the Fund would realize either no gain or a loss on the purchase of the call option.

 

 S-27

 

The purchaser of an option may terminate its position by:

 

Allowing it to expire and losing its entire premium;

 

Exercising the option and either selling (in the case of a put option) or buying (in the case of a call option) the underlying instrument at the strike price; or

 

Closing it out in the secondary market at its current price.

 

Selling (Writing) Put and Call Options

 

When the Fund writes a call option it assumes an obligation to sell specified securities to the holder of the option at a fixed strike price if the option is exercised at any time before the expiration date. Similarly, when the Fund writes a put option it assumes an obligation to purchase specified securities from the option holder at a fixed strike price if the option is exercised at any time before the expiration date. The Fund may terminate its position in an exchange-traded put option before exercise by buying an option identical to the one it has written. Similarly, the Fund may cancel an OTC option by entering into an offsetting transaction with the counterparty to the option.

 

The Fund could try to hedge against an increase in the value of securities it would like to acquire by writing a put option on those securities. If security prices rise, the Fund would expect the put option to expire and the premium it received to offset the increase in the security’s value. If security prices remain the same over time, the Fund would hope to profit by closing out the put option at a lower price. If security prices fall, the Fund may lose an amount of money equal to the difference between the value of the security and the premium it received. Writing covered put options may deprive the Fund of the opportunity to profit from a decrease in the market price of the securities it would like to acquire.

 

The characteristics of writing call options are similar to those of writing put options, except that call writers expect to profit if prices remain the same or fall. The Fund could try to hedge against a decline in the value of securities it already owns by writing a call option. If the price of that security falls as expected, the Fund would expect the option to expire and the premium it received to offset the decline of the security’s value. However, the Fund must be prepared to deliver the underlying instrument in return for the strike price, which may deprive it of the opportunity to profit from an increase in the market price of the securities it holds.

 

The Fund is permitted to write only “covered” options. At the time of selling a call option, the Fund may cover the option by owning, among other things:

 

The underlying security (or securities convertible into the underlying security without additional consideration), index, interest rate, foreign currency or futures contract;

 

A call option on the same security or index with the same or lesser exercise price;

 

A call option on the same security or index with a greater exercise price, provided that the Fund also segregates cash or liquid securities in an amount equal to the difference between the exercise prices;

 

Cash or liquid securities equal to at least the market value of the optioned securities, interest rate, foreign currency or futures contract; or

 

In the case of an index, the portfolio of securities that corresponds to the index.

 

 S-28

 

At the time of selling a put option, the Fund may cover the option by, among other things:

 

Entering into a short position in the underlying security;

 

Purchasing a put option on the same security, index, interest rate, foreign currency or futures contract with the same or greater exercise price;

 

Purchasing a put option on the same security, index, interest rate, foreign currency or futures contract with a lesser exercise price and segregating cash or liquid securities in an amount equal to the difference between the exercise prices; or

 

Maintaining the entire exercise price in liquid securities.

 

Options on Securities Indices

 

Options on securities indices are similar to options on securities, except that the exercise of securities index options requires cash settlement payments and does not involve the actual purchase or sale of securities. In addition, securities index options are designed to reflect price fluctuations in a group of securities or segment of the securities market rather than price fluctuations in a single security.

 

Options on Credit Default Swaps

 

An option on a credit default swap (“CDS”) gives the holder the right to enter into a CDS at a specified future date and under specified terms in exchange for a purchase price or premium. The writer of the option bears the risk of any unfavorable move in the value of the CDS relative to the market value on the exercise date, while the purchaser may allow the option to expire unexercised.

 

Options on Futures

 

An option on a futures contract provides the holder with the right to buy a futures contract (in the case of a call option) or sell a futures contract (in the case of a put option) at a fixed time and price. Upon exercise of the option by the holder, the contract market clearing house establishes a corresponding short position for the writer of the option (in the case of a call option) or a corresponding long position (in the case of a put option). If the option is exercised, the parties will be subject to the futures contracts. In addition, the writer of an option on a futures contract is subject to initial and variation margin requirements on the option position. Options on futures contracts are traded on the same contract market as the underlying futures contract.

 

The buyer or seller of an option on a futures contract may terminate the option early by purchasing or selling an option of the same series (i.e., the same exercise price and expiration date) as the option previously purchased or sold. The difference between the premiums paid and received represents the trader’s profit or loss on the transaction.

 

The Fund may purchase put and call options on futures contracts instead of selling or buying futures contracts. The Fund may buy a put option on a futures contract for the same reasons it would sell a futures contract. It also may purchase such a put option in order to hedge a long position in the underlying futures contract. The Fund may buy a call option on a futures contract for the same purpose as the actual purchase of a futures contract, such as in anticipation of favorable market conditions.

 

The Fund may write a call option on a futures contract to hedge against a decline in the prices of the instrument underlying the futures contracts. If the price of the futures contract at expiration were below the exercise price, the Fund would retain the option premium, which would offset, in part, any decline in the value of its portfolio securities.

 

 S-29

 

The writing of a put option on a futures contract is similar to the purchase of the futures contracts, except that, if the market price declines, the Fund would pay more than the market price for the underlying instrument. The premium received on the sale of the put option, less any transaction costs, would reduce the net cost to the Fund.

 

Options on Foreign Currencies

 

A put option on a foreign currency gives the purchaser of the option the right to sell a foreign currency at the exercise price until the option expires. A call option on a foreign currency gives the purchaser of the option the right to purchase the currency at the exercise price until the option expires. The Fund may purchase or write put and call options on foreign currencies for the purpose of hedging against changes in future currency exchange rates.

 

The Fund may use foreign currency options given the same circumstances under which it could use forward foreign currency exchange contracts. For example, a decline in the U.S. dollar value of a foreign currency in which the Fund’s securities are denominated would reduce the U.S. dollar value of the securities, even if their value in the foreign currency remained constant. In order to hedge against such a risk, the Fund may purchase a put option on the foreign currency. If the value of the currency then declined, the Fund could sell the currency for a fixed amount in U.S. dollars and thereby offset, at least partially, the negative effect on its securities that otherwise would have resulted. Conversely, if the Fund anticipates a rise in the U.S. dollar value of a currency in which securities to be acquired are denominated, the Fund may purchase call options on the currency in order to offset, at least partially, the effects of negative movements in exchange rates. If currency exchange rates do not move in the direction or to the extent anticipated, the Fund could sustain losses on transactions in foreign currency options.

 

Combined Positions

 

The Fund may purchase and write options in combination with each other, or in combination with futures or forward contracts or swap agreements, to adjust the risk and return characteristics of the overall position. For example, the Fund could construct a combined position whose risk and return characteristics are similar to selling a futures contract by purchasing a put option and writing a call option on the same underlying instrument. Alternatively, the Fund could write a call option at one strike price and buy a call option at a lower price to reduce the risk of the written call option in the event of a substantial price increase. Because combined options positions involve multiple trades, they result in higher transaction costs and may be more difficult to open and close out.

 

Forward Foreign Currency Exchange Contracts. A forward foreign currency contract involves an obligation to purchase or sell a specific amount of currency at a future date or date range at a specific price. In the case of a cancelable forward contract, the holder has the unilateral right to cancel the contract at maturity by paying a specified fee. Forward foreign currency exchange contracts differ from foreign currency futures contracts in certain respects. Unlike futures contracts, forward contracts:

 

Do not have standard maturity dates or amounts (i.e., the parties to the contract may fix the maturity date and the amount);

 

Are typically traded directly between currency traders (usually large commercial banks) and their customers in the inter-bank markets, as opposed to on exchanges regulated by the CFTC (note, however, that under new definitions adopted by the CFTC and SEC, many non-deliverable foreign currency forwards will be considered swaps for certain purposes, including determination of whether such instruments must be traded on exchanges and centrally cleared);

 

Do not require an initial margin deposit; and

 

May be closed by entering into a closing transaction with the currency trader who is a party to the original forward contract, as opposed to with a commodities exchange.

 

 S-30

 

Foreign Currency Hedging Strategies

 

A “settlement hedge” or “transaction hedge” is designed to protect the Fund against an adverse change in foreign currency values between the date a security is purchased or sold and the date on which payment is made or received. Entering into a forward contract for the purchase or sale of the amount of foreign currency involved in an underlying security transaction for a fixed amount of U.S. dollars “locks in” the U.S. dollar price of the security. The Fund may also use forward contracts to purchase or sell a foreign currency when it anticipates purchasing or selling securities denominated in foreign currency, even if it has not yet selected the specific investments.

 

The Fund may use forward contracts to hedge against a decline in the value of existing investments denominated in foreign currency. Such a hedge, sometimes referred to as a “position hedge,” would tend to offset both positive and negative currency fluctuations, but would not offset changes in security values caused by other factors. The Fund could also hedge the position by selling another currency expected to perform similarly to the currency in which the Fund’s investment is denominated. This type of hedge, sometimes referred to as a “proxy hedge,” could offer advantages in terms of cost, yield, or efficiency, but generally would not hedge currency exposure as effectively as a direct hedge into U.S. dollars. Proxy hedges may result in losses if the currency used to hedge does not perform similarly to the currency in which the hedged securities are denominated.

 

Transaction and position hedging do not eliminate fluctuations in the underlying prices of the securities that the Fund owns or intends to purchase or sell. They simply establish a rate of exchange that one can achieve at some future point in time. Additionally, these techniques tend to minimize the risk of loss due to a decline in the value of the hedged currency and to limit any potential gain that might result from the increase in value of such currency.

 

The Fund may enter into forward contracts to shift its investment exposure from one currency into another. Such transactions may call for the delivery of one foreign currency in exchange for another foreign currency, including currencies in which its securities are not then denominated. This may include shifting exposure from U.S. dollars to a foreign currency, or from one foreign currency to another foreign currency. This type of strategy, sometimes known as a “cross-hedge,” will tend to reduce or eliminate exposure to the currency that is sold, and increase exposure to the currency that is purchased. Cross-hedges may protect against losses resulting from a decline in the hedged currency but will cause the Fund to assume the risk of fluctuations in the value of the currency it purchases. Cross-hedging transactions also involve the risk of imperfect correlation between changes in the values of the currencies involved.

 

It is difficult to forecast with precision the market value of portfolio securities at the expiration or maturity of a forward or futures contract. Accordingly, the Fund may have to purchase additional foreign currency on the spot (cash) market if the market value of a security it is hedging is less than the amount of foreign currency it is obligated to deliver. Conversely, the Fund may have to sell on the spot market some of the foreign currency it received upon the sale of a security if the market value of such security exceeds the amount of foreign currency it is obligated to deliver.

 

Participation Notes (“P-Notes”). P-Notes are participation interest notes that are issued by banks or broker-dealers and are designed to offer a return linked to a particular underlying equity, debt, currency or market. When purchasing a P-Note, the posting of margin is not required because the full cost of the P-Note (plus commission) is paid at the time of purchase. When the P-Note matures, the issuer will pay to, or receive from, the purchaser the difference between the nominal value of the underlying instrument at the time of purchase and that instrument’s value at maturity. Investments in P-Notes involve the same risks associated with a direct investment in the underlying foreign companies or foreign securities markets that they seek to replicate.

 

 S-31

 

In addition, there can be no assurance that the trading price of P-Notes will equal the underlying value of the foreign companies or foreign securities markets that they seek to replicate. The holder of a P-Note that is linked to a particular underlying security is entitled to receive any dividends paid in connection with an underlying security or instrument. However, the holder of a P-Note does not receive voting rights as it would if it directly owned the underlying security or instrument. P-Notes are generally traded over-the-counter. P-Notes constitute general unsecured contractual obligations of the banks or broker-dealers that issue them. There is also counterparty risk associated with these investments because the Fund is relying on the creditworthiness of such counterparty and has no rights under a P-Note against the issuer of the underlying security. In addition, the Fund will incur transaction costs as a result of investment in P-Notes.

 

Swap Agreements. A swap agreement is a financial instrument that typically involves the exchange of cash flows between two parties on specified dates (settlement dates), where the cash flows are based on agreed-upon prices, rates, indices, etc. The nominal amount on which the cash flows are calculated is called the notional amount. Swap agreements are individually negotiated and structured to include exposure to a variety of different types of investments or market factors, such as interest rates, foreign currency rates, mortgage securities, corporate borrowing rates, security prices or inflation rates.

 

Swap agreements may increase or decrease the overall volatility of the investments of the Fund and its share price. The performance of swap agreements may be affected by a change in the specific interest rate, currency, or other factors that determine the amounts of payments due to and from the Fund. If a swap agreement calls for payments by the Fund, the Fund must be prepared to make such payments when due. In addition, if the counterparty’s creditworthiness declined, the value of a swap agreement would be likely to decline, potentially resulting in losses.

 

Generally, swap agreements have a fixed maturity date that will be agreed upon by the parties. The agreement can be terminated before the maturity date under certain circumstances, such as default by one of the parties or insolvency, among others, and can be transferred by a party only with the prior written consent of the other party. The Fund may be able to eliminate its exposure under a swap agreement either by assignment or by other disposition, or by entering into an offsetting swap agreement with the same party or a similarly creditworthy party. If the counterparty is unable to meet its obligations under the contract, declares bankruptcy, defaults or becomes insolvent, the Fund may not be able to recover the money it expected to receive under the swap agreement. The Fund will not enter into any swap agreement unless the Adviser believes that the counterparty to the transaction is creditworthy.

 

A swap agreement can be a form of leverage, which can magnify the Fund’s gains or losses. In order to reduce the risk associated with leveraging, the Fund may cover its current obligations under swap agreements according to guidelines established by the SEC. If the Fund enters into a swap agreement on a net basis, it will segregate assets with a daily value at least equal to the excess, if any, of the Fund’s accrued obligations under the swap agreement over the accrued amount the Fund is entitled to receive under the agreement. If the Fund enters into a swap agreement on other than a net basis, it will segregate assets with a value equal to the full amount of the Fund’s accrued obligations under the swap agreement.

 

Equity Swaps

 

In a typical equity swap, one party agrees to pay another party the return on a stock, stock index or basket of stocks in return for a specified interest rate. By entering into an equity index swap, for example, the index receiver can gain exposure to stocks making up the index of securities without actually purchasing those stocks. Equity index swaps involve not only the risk associated with investment in the securities represented in the index, but also the risk that the performance of such securities, including dividends, will not exceed the return on the interest rate that the Fund will be committed to pay.

 

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Total Return Swaps

 

Total return swaps are contracts in which one party agrees to make payments of the total return from a reference instrument—which may be a single asset, a pool of assets or an index of assets—during a specified period, in return for payments equal to a fixed or floating rate of interest or the total return from another underlying reference instrument. The total return includes appreciation or depreciation on the underlying asset, plus any interest or dividend payments. Payments under the swap are based upon an agreed upon principal amount but, since the principal amount is not exchanged, it represents neither an asset nor a liability to either counterparty, and is referred to as notional. Total return swaps are marked to market daily using different sources, including quotations from counterparties, pricing services, brokers or market makers. The unrealized appreciation or depreciation related to the change in the valuation of the notional amount of the swap is combined with the amount due to the Fund at termination or settlement. The primary risks associated with total return swaps are credit risks (if the counterparty fails to meet its obligations) and market risk (if there is no liquid market for the swap or unfavorable changes occur to the underlying reference instrument).

 

Interest Rate Swaps

 

Interest rate swaps are financial instruments that involve the exchange of one type of interest rate for another type of interest rate cash flow on specified dates in the future. Some of the different types of interest rate swaps are “fixed-for-floating rate swaps,” “termed basis swaps” and “index amortizing swaps.” Fixed-for-floating rate swaps involve the exchange of fixed interest rate cash flows for floating rate cash flows. Termed basis swaps entail cash flows to both parties based on floating interest rates, where the interest rate indices are different. Index amortizing swaps are typically fixed-for-floating rate swaps where the notional amount changes if certain conditions are met.

 

As with a traditional investment in a debt security, the Fund could lose money by investing in an interest rate swap if interest rates change adversely. For example, if the Fund enters into a swap where it agrees to exchange a floating rate of interest for a fixed rate of interest, the Fund may have to pay more money than it receives. Similarly, if the Fund enters into a swap where it agrees to exchange a fixed rate of interest for a floating rate of interest, the Fund may receive less money than it has agreed to pay.

 

Currency Swaps

 

A currency swap is an agreement between two parties in which one party agrees to make interest rate payments in one currency and the other promises to make interest rate payments in another currency. The Fund may enter into a currency swap when it has one currency and desires a different currency. Typically, the interest rates that determine the currency swap payments are fixed, although occasionally one or both parties may pay a floating rate of interest. Unlike an interest rate swap, however, the principal amounts are exchanged at the beginning of the agreement and returned at the end of the agreement. Changes in foreign exchange rates and changes in interest rates, as described above, may negatively affect currency swaps.

 

Inflation Swaps

 

Inflation swaps are fixed-maturity, over-the-counter derivatives where one party pays a fixed rate in exchange for payments tied to an inflation index, such as the Consumer Price Index. The fixed rate, which is set by the parties at the initiation of the swap, is often referred to as the “breakeven inflation” rate and generally represents the current difference between treasury yields and Treasury Inflation Protected Securities yields of similar maturities at the initiation of the swap agreement. Inflation swaps are typically designated as “zero coupon,” where all cash flows are exchanged at maturity. The value of an inflation swap is expected to fluctuate in response to changes in the relationship between nominal interest rates and the rate of inflation. An inflation swap can lose value if the realized rate of inflation over the life of the swap is less than the fixed market implied inflation rate (the breakeven inflation rate) the investor agreed to pay at the initiation of the swap.

 

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Credit Default Swaps

 

A credit default swap is an agreement between a “buyer” and a “seller” for credit protection. The credit default swap agreement may have as reference obligations one or more securities that are not then held by the Fund. The protection buyer is generally obligated to pay the protection seller an upfront payment and/or a periodic stream of payments over the term of the agreement until a credit event on a reference obligation has occurred. If no default occurs, the seller would keep the stream of payments and would have no payment obligations. If a credit event occurs, the seller generally must pay the buyer the full notional amount (the “par value”) of the swap.

 

Caps, Collars and Floors

 

Caps and floors have an effect similar to buying or writing options. In a typical cap or floor agreement, one party agrees to make payments only under specified circumstances, usually in return for payment of a fee by the other party. For example, the buyer of an interest rate cap obtains the right to receive payments to the extent that a specified interest rate exceeds an agreed-upon level. The seller of an interest rate floor is obligated to make payments to the extent that a specified interest rate falls below an agreed-upon level. An interest rate collar combines elements of buying a cap and selling a floor.

 

Risks of Derivatives:

 

While transactions in derivatives may reduce certain risks, these transactions themselves entail certain other risks. For example, unanticipated changes in interest rates, securities prices or currency exchange rates may result in a poorer overall performance of the Fund than if it had not entered into any derivatives transactions. Derivatives may magnify the Fund’s gains or losses, causing it to make or lose substantially more than it invested.

 

When used for hedging purposes, increases in the value of the securities the Fund holds or intends to acquire should offset any losses incurred with a derivative. Purchasing derivatives for purposes other than hedging could expose the Fund to greater risks.

 

Use of derivatives involves transaction costs, which may be significant, and may also increase the amount of taxable income to shareholders.

 

Correlation of Prices. The Fund’s ability to hedge its securities through derivatives depends on the degree to which price movements in the underlying index or instrument correlate with price movements in the relevant securities. In the case of poor correlation, the price of the securities the Fund is hedging may not move in the same amount, or even in the same direction as the hedging instrument. The Adviser will try to minimize this risk by investing in only those contracts whose behavior it expects to correlate with the behavior of the portfolio securities it is trying to hedge. However, if the Adviser’s prediction of interest and currency rates, market value, volatility or other economic factors is incorrect, the Fund may lose money, or may not make as much money as it expected.

 

Derivative prices can diverge from the prices of their underlying instruments, even if the characteristics of the underlying instruments are very similar to the derivative. Listed below are some of the factors that may cause such a divergence:

 

Current and anticipated short-term interest rates, changes in volatility of the underlying instrument, and the time remaining until expiration of the contract;

 

A difference between the derivatives and securities markets, including different levels of demand, how the instruments are traded, the imposition of daily price fluctuation limits or discontinued trading of an instrument; and

 

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Differences between the derivatives, such as different margin requirements, different liquidity of such markets and the participation of speculators in such markets.

 

Derivatives based upon a narrower index of securities, such as those of a particular industry group, may present greater risk than derivatives based on a broad market index. Since narrower indices are made up of a smaller number of securities, they are more susceptible to rapid and extreme price fluctuations because of changes in the value of those securities.

 

While currency futures and options values are expected to correlate with exchange rates, they may not reflect other factors that affect the value of the investments of the Fund. A currency hedge, for example, should protect a yen-denominated security from a decline in the yen, but will not protect the Fund against a price decline resulting from deterioration in the issuer’s creditworthiness. Because the value of the Fund’s foreign-denominated investments changes in response to many factors other than exchange rates, it may not be possible to match the amount of currency options and futures to the value of the Fund’s investments precisely over time.

 

Lack of Liquidity. Before a futures contract or option is exercised or expires, the Fund can terminate it only by entering into a closing purchase or sale transaction. Moreover, the Fund may close out a futures contract only on the exchange the contract was initially traded. Although the Fund intends to purchase options and futures only where there appears to be an active market, there is no guarantee that such a liquid market will exist. If there is no secondary market for the contract, or the market is illiquid, the Fund may not be able to close out its position. In an illiquid market, the Fund may:

 

Have to sell securities to meet its daily margin requirements at a time when it is disadvantageous to do so;

 

Have to purchase or sell the instrument underlying the contract;

 

Not be able to hedge its investments; and/or

 

Not be able to realize profits or limit its losses.

 

Derivatives may become illiquid (i.e., difficult to sell at a desired time and price) under a variety of market conditions. For example:

 

An exchange may suspend or limit trading in a particular derivative instrument, an entire category of derivatives or all derivatives, which sometimes occurs because of increased market volatility;

 

Unusual or unforeseen circumstances may interrupt normal operations of an exchange;

 

The facilities of the exchange may not be adequate to handle current trading volume;

 

Equipment failures, government intervention, insolvency of a brokerage firm or clearing house or other occurrences may disrupt normal trading activity; or

 

Investors may lose interest in a particular derivative or category of derivatives.

 

Management Risk. Successful use of derivatives by the Fund is subject to the ability of the Adviser to forecast stock market and interest rate trends. If the Adviser incorrectly predicts stock market and interest rate trends, the Fund may lose money by investing in derivatives. For example, if the Fund were to write a call option based on the Adviser’s expectation that the price of the underlying security would fall, but the price were to rise instead, the Fund could be required to sell the security upon exercise at a price below the current market price. Similarly, if the Fund were to write a put option based on the Adviser’s expectation that the price of the underlying security would rise, but the price were to fall instead, the Fund could be required to purchase the security upon exercise at a price higher than the current market price.

 

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Pricing Risk. At times, market conditions might make it hard to value some investments. For example, if the Fund has valued its securities too high, shareholders may end up paying too much for Fund shares when they buy into the Fund. If the Fund underestimates its price, shareholders may not receive the full market value for their Fund shares when they sell.

 

Margin. Because of the low margin deposits required upon the opening of a derivative position, such transactions involve an extremely high degree of leverage. Consequently, a relatively small price movement in a derivative may result in an immediate and substantial loss (as well as gain) to the Fund and it may lose more than it originally invested in the derivative.

 

If the price of a futures contract changes adversely, the Fund may have to sell securities at a time when it is disadvantageous to do so to meet its minimum daily margin requirement. The Fund may lose its margin deposits if a broker-dealer with whom it has an open futures contract or related option becomes insolvent or declares bankruptcy.

 

Volatility and Leverage. The Fund’s use of derivatives may have a leveraging effect. Leverage generally magnifies the effect of any increase or decrease in value of an underlying asset and results in increased volatility, which means the Fund will have the potential for greater gains, as well as the potential for greater losses, than if the Fund does not use derivative instruments that have a leveraging effect. The prices of derivatives are volatile (i.e., they may change rapidly, substantially and unpredictably) and are influenced by a variety of factors, including:

 

Actual and anticipated changes in interest rates;

 

Fiscal and monetary policies; and

 

National and international political events.

 

Most exchanges limit the amount by which the price of a derivative can change during a single trading day. Daily trading limits establish the maximum amount that the price of a derivative may vary from the settlement price of that derivative at the end of trading on the previous day. Once the price of a derivative reaches that value, the Fund may not trade that derivative at a price beyond that limit. The daily limit governs only price movements during a given day and does not limit potential gains or losses. Derivative prices have occasionally moved to the daily limit for several consecutive trading days, preventing prompt liquidation of the derivative.

 

Government Regulation. The regulation of derivatives markets in the U.S. is a rapidly changing area of law and is subject to modification by government and judicial action. In particular, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, signed into law in 2010, grants significant new authority to the SEC and the CFTC to impose comprehensive regulations on the over-the-counter and cleared derivatives markets. These regulations include, but are not limited to, mandatory clearing of certain derivatives and requirements relating to disclosure, margin and trade reporting. The new law and regulations may negatively impact the Fund by increasing transaction and/or regulatory compliance costs, limiting the availability of certain derivatives or otherwise adversely affecting the value or performance of the derivatives the Fund trades. . In addition, in November 2019, the SEC published a proposed rulemaking related to the use of derivatives and certain other transactions by registered investment companies that would, if adopted, for the most part rescind the guidance of the SEC and its staff regarding asset segregation and cover transactions. Instead of complying with current guidance, the Fund would need to trade derivatives and other instruments that create future payment or delivery obligations (other than reverse repurchase agreements and similar financing transactions) subject to a value-at-risk (“VaR”) leverage limit, certain other derivatives risk management program and testing requirements, and requirements related to board and SEC reporting. These new requirements would apply unless the Fund qualifies as a “limited derivatives user,” as defined in the SEC’s proposal. If the Fund trades reverse repurchase agreements or similar financing transactions, it would need to aggregate the amount of indebtedness associated with the reverse repurchase agreements or similar financing transactions with the aggregate amount of any other senior securities representing indebtedness when calculating the Fund’s asset coverage ratio. Reverse repurchase agreements or similar financing transactions would not be included in the calculation of whether the Fund is a limited derivatives user, but if the Fund is subject to the VaR testing, reverse repurchase agreements and similar financing transactions would be included for purposes of such testing. Any new requirements, if adopted, may increase the cost of the Fund’s investments and cost of doing business, which could adversely affect investors. Other potentially adverse regulatory obligations can develop suddenly and without notice.

 

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Illiquid Investments

 

Illiquid investments are investments 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. Because of their illiquid nature, illiquid investments must be priced at fair value as determined in good faith pursuant to procedures approved by the Board. Despite such good faith efforts to determine fair value prices, the Fund’s illiquid investments are subject to the risk that the investment’s fair value price may differ from the actual price which the Fund may ultimately realize upon its sale or disposition. Difficulty in selling illiquid investments may result in a loss or may be costly to the Fund. Under the supervision of the Board, the Adviser determines the liquidity of the Fund’s investments. The Fund may not acquire an illiquid investment if, immediately after the acquisition, the Fund would have invested more than 15% of its net assets in illiquid investments that are assets.

 

Securities Lending

 

The Fund may lend portfolio securities to brokers, dealers and other financial organizations that meet capital and other credit requirements or other criteria established by the Board. These loans, if and when made, may not exceed 33 1/3% of the total asset value of the Fund (including the loan collateral). The Fund will not lend portfolio securities to the Adviser or its affiliates unless permissible under the 1940 Act and the rules and promulgations thereunder. Loans of portfolio securities will be fully collateralized by cash, letters of credit or U.S. government securities, and the collateral will be maintained in an amount equal to at least 100% of the current market value of the loaned securities by marking to market daily. Any gain or loss in the market price of the securities loaned that might occur during the term of the loan would be for the account of the Fund.

 

The Fund may pay a part of the interest earned from the investment of collateral, or other fee, to an unaffiliated third party for acting as the Fund’s securities lending agent, but will bear all of any losses from the investment of collateral.

 

By lending its securities, the Fund may increase its income by receiving payments from the borrower that reflect the amount of any interest or any dividends payable on the loaned securities as well as by either investing cash collateral received from the borrower in short-term instruments or obtaining a fee from the borrower when U.S. government securities or letters of credit are used as collateral. Investing cash collateral subjects the Fund to market risk. The Fund remains obligated to return all collateral to the borrower under the terms of its securities lending arrangements, even if the value of investments made with the collateral decline. Accordingly, if the value of a security in which the cash collateral has been invested declines, the loss would be borne by the Fund, and the Fund may be required to liquidate other investments in order to return collateral to the borrower at the end of the loan. The Fund will adhere to the following conditions whenever its portfolio securities are loaned: (i) the Fund must receive at least 100% cash collateral or equivalent securities of the type discussed above from the borrower; (ii) the borrower must increase such collateral whenever the market value of the securities rises above the level of such collateral; (iii) the Fund must be able to terminate the loan on demand; (iv) the Fund must receive reasonable interest on the loan, as well as any dividends, interest or other distributions on the loaned securities and any increase in market value; (v) the Fund may pay only reasonable fees in connection with the loan (which fees may include fees payable to the lending agent, the borrower, the Fund’s administrator and the custodian); and (vi) voting rights on the loaned securities may pass to the borrower, provided, however, that if a material event adversely affecting the investment occurs, the Fund must terminate the loan and regain the right to vote the securities. In such instances, the Adviser will vote the securities in accordance with its proxy voting policies and procedures. The Board has adopted procedures reasonably designed to ensure that the foregoing criteria will be met. Loan agreements involve certain risks in the event of default or insolvency of the borrower, including possible delays or restrictions upon the Fund’s ability to recover the loaned securities or dispose of the collateral for the loan, which could give rise to loss because of adverse market action, expenses and/or delays in connection with the disposition of the underlying securities.

 

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Restricted Securities

 

The Fund may purchase restricted securities. Restricted securities are securities that may not be sold freely to the public absent registration under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “1933 Act”) or an exemption from registration. This generally includes securities that are unregistered that can be sold to qualified institutional buyers in accordance with Rule 144A under the 1933 Act or securities that are exempt from registration under the 1933 Act, such as commercial paper. Institutional markets for restricted securities have developed as a result of the promulgation of Rule 144A under the 1933 Act, which provides a “safe harbor” from 1933 Act registration requirements for qualifying sales to institutional investors. When Rule 144A restricted securities present an attractive investment opportunity and meet other selection criteria, the Fund may make such investments whether or not such investments are “illiquid” depending on the market that exists for the particular security. The Board has delegated the responsibility for determining the liquidity of Rule 144A restricted securities that the Fund may invest in to the Adviser.

 

Short Sales

 

The Fund may engage in short sales that are either “uncovered” or “against the box.” A short sale is “against the box” if at all times during which the short position is open, the Fund owns at least an equal amount of the securities or securities convertible into, or exchangeable without further consideration for, securities of the same issue as the securities that are sold short. A short sale against the box is a taxable transaction to the Fund with respect to the securities that are sold short.

 

Uncovered short sales are transactions under which the Fund sells a security it does not own. To complete such a transaction, the Fund must borrow the security to make delivery to the buyer. The Fund then is obligated to replace the security borrowed by purchasing the security at the market price at the time of the replacement. The price at such time may be more or less than the price at which the security was sold by the Fund. Until the security is replaced, the Fund is required to pay the lender amounts equal to any dividends or interest that accrue during the period of the loan. To borrow the security, the Fund also may be required to pay a premium, which would increase the cost of the security sold. The proceeds of the short sale will be retained by the broker, to the extent necessary to meet margin requirements, until the short position is closed out.

 

Until the Fund closes its short position or replaces the borrowed security, the Fund may: (a) segregate cash or liquid securities at such a level that the amount segregated plus the amount deposited with the broker as collateral will equal the current value of the security sold short; or (b) otherwise cover the Fund’s short position.

 

 S-38

 

When-Issued, Delayed–Delivery and Forward-Delivery Transactions

 

A when-issued security is one whose terms are available and for which a market exists, but which has not been issued. In a forward-delivery transaction, the Fund contracts to purchase securities for a fixed price at a future date beyond customary settlement time. “Delayed-delivery” refers to securities transactions on the secondary market where settlement occurs in the future. In each of these transactions, the parties fix the payment obligation and the interest rate that they will receive on the securities at the time the parties enter the commitment; however, they do not pay money or deliver securities until a later date. Typically, no income accrues on securities the Fund has committed to purchase before the securities are delivered, although the Fund may earn income on securities it has in a segregated account to cover its position. The Fund will only enter into these types of transactions with the intention of actually acquiring the securities, but may sell them before the settlement date.

 

The Fund may use when-issued, delayed-delivery and forward-delivery transactions to secure what it considers an advantageous price and yield at the time of purchase. When the Fund engages in when-issued, delayed-delivery or forward-delivery transactions, it relies on the other party to consummate the sale. If the other party fails to complete the sale, the Fund may miss the opportunity to obtain the security at a favorable price or yield.

 

When purchasing a security on a when-issued, delayed-delivery, or forward-delivery basis, the Fund assumes the rights and risks of ownership of the security, including the risk of price and yield changes. At the time of settlement, the market value of the security may be more or less than the purchase price. The yield available in the market when the delivery takes place also may be higher than those obtained in the transaction itself. Because the Fund does not pay for the security until the delivery date, these risks are in addition to the risks associated with its other investments.

 

The Fund will segregate cash or liquid securities equal in value to commitments for the when-issued, delayed-delivery or forward-delivery transactions. The Fund will segregate additional liquid assets daily so that the value of such assets is equal to the amount of the commitments.

 

Special Risks of Cyber-attacks

 

As with any entity that conducts business through electronic means in the modern marketplace, the Fund, and its service providers, may be susceptible to operational and information security risks resulting from cyber-attacks. Cyber-attacks include, among other behaviors, stealing or corrupting data maintained online or digitally, denial of service attacks on websites, the unauthorized monitoring, release, misuse, loss, destruction or corruption of confidential information, unauthorized access to relevant systems, compromises to networks or devices that the Fund and its service providers use to service the Fund’s operations, ransomware, operational disruption or failures in the physical infrastructure or operating systems that support the Fund and its service providers, or various other forms of cyber security breaches. Cyber-attacks affecting the Fund or the Adviser, the Fund’s distributor, custodian, or any other of the Fund’s intermediaries or service providers may adversely impact the Fund and its shareholders, potentially resulting in, among other things, financial losses or the inability of Fund shareholders to transact business. For instance, cyber-attacks may interfere with the processing of shareholder transactions, impact the Fund’s ability to calculate its net asset value, cause the release of private shareholder information or confidential business information, impede trading, subject the Fund to regulatory fines or financial losses and/or cause reputational damage. The Fund may also incur additional costs for cyber security risk management purposes designed to mitigate or prevent the risk of cyber-attacks. Such costs may be ongoing because threats of cyber-attacks are constantly evolving as cyber attackers become more sophisticated and their techniques become more complex. Similar types of cyber security risks are also present for issuers of securities in which the Fund may invest, which could result in material adverse consequences for such issuers and may cause the Fund’s investments in such companies to lose value. There can be no assurance that the Fund, the Fund’s service providers, or the issuers of the securities in which the Fund invests will not suffer losses relating to cyber-attacks or other information security breaches in the future.

 

 S-39

 

LIBOR Replacement Risk

 

The London Inter-Bank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”), which is used extensively in the U.S. and globally as a benchmark or reference rate for various commercial and financial contracts, is expected to be discontinued. The elimination of LIBOR may adversely affect the interest rates on, and value of, certain Fund investments for which the value is tied to LIBOR. Such investments may include bank loans, derivatives, floating rate securities, and other assets or liabilities tied to LIBOR. On July 27, 2017, the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority announced that it intends to stop compelling or inducing banks to submit LIBOR rates after 2021. However, it remains unclear if LIBOR will continue to exist in its current, or a modified, form. Actions by regulators have resulted in the establishment of alternative reference rates to LIBOR in most major currencies. The U.S. Federal Reserve, based on the recommendations of the New York Federal Reserve’s Alternative Reference Rate Committee (comprised of major derivative market participants and their regulators), has begun publishing a Secured Overnight Financing Rate (“SOFR”), which is intended to replace U.S. dollar LIBOR. Alternative reference rates for other currencies have also been announced or have already begun publication. Markets are slowly developing in response to these new rates. Questions around liquidity impacted by these rates, and how to appropriately adjust these rates at the time of transition, remain a concern for the Fund. The effect of any changes to, or discontinuation of, LIBOR on the Funds will vary depending on, among other things, (1) existing fallback or termination provisions in individual contracts and (2) whether, how, and when industry participants develop and adopt new reference rates and fallbacks for both legacy and new products and instruments. The expected discontinuation of LIBOR could have a significant impact on the financial markets in general and may also present heightened risk to market participants, including public companies, investment advisers, other investment companies, and broker-dealers. The risks associated with this discontinuation and transition will be exacerbated if the work necessary to effect an orderly transition to an alternative reference rate is not completed in a timely manner. Accordingly, it is difficult to predict the full impact of the transition away from LIBOR on the Fund until new reference rates and fallbacks for both legacy and new products, instruments and contracts are commercially accepted.

 

General Market Risk

 

An outbreak of respiratory disease caused by a novel coronavirus 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 have 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 has negatively affected the economic environment. These impacts also have caused significant volatility and declines in global financial markets, which have caused losses for investors. 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. Health crises caused by viral or bacterial outbreaks, such as the COVID-19 outbreak, may exacerbate other pre-existing political, social, economic, market and financial risks. The impact of this outbreak, and other epidemics and pandemics that may arise in the future, could negatively affect the global economy, as well as the economies of individual countries, the financial performance of individual companies and sectors, 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, which in turn could negatively impact the Fund’s performance and cause losses on your investment in the Fund.

 

 S-40

 

INVESTMENT LIMITATIONS

 

Fundamental Policies

 

The following investment limitations are fundamental, which means that the Fund cannot change them without approval by the vote of a majority of the outstanding shares of the Fund. The phrase “majority of the outstanding shares” means the vote of (i) 67% or more of the Fund’s shares present at a meeting, if more than 50% of the outstanding shares of the Fund are present or represented by proxy, or (ii) more than 50% of the Fund’s outstanding shares, whichever is less.

 

1.The Fund may not concentrate investments in a particular industry or group of industries, as concentration is defined under the 1940 Act, the rules and regulations thereunder or any exemption therefrom, as such statute, rules or regulations may be amended or interpreted from time to time, except that the Fund may invest without limitation in securities issued or guaranteed by the U.S. government, its agencies or instrumentalities and repurchase agreements involving such securities or tax-exempt obligations of state or municipal governments and their political subdivisions.

 

2.The Fund may borrow money or issue senior securities (as defined under the 1940 Act), except as prohibited under the 1940 Act, the rules and regulations thereunder or any exemption therefrom, as such statute, rules or regulations may be amended or interpreted from time to time.

 

3.The Fund may make loans, except as prohibited under the 1940 Act, the rules and regulations thereunder or any exemption therefrom, as such statute, rules or regulations may be amended or interpreted from time to time.

 

4.The Fund may purchase or sell commodities or real estate, except as prohibited under the 1940 Act, the rules and regulations thereunder or any exemption therefrom, as such statute, rules or regulations may be amended or interpreted from time to time.

 

5.The Fund may underwrite securities issued by other persons, except as prohibited under the 1940 Act, the rules and regulations thereunder or any exemption therefrom, as such statute, rules or regulations may be amended or interpreted from time to time.

 

Non-Fundamental Policies

 

The Fund’s investment objective as well as the following investment limitations of the Fund are non-fundamental and may be changed by the Board without shareholder approval.

 

1.The Fund may not invest in unmarketable interests in real estate limited partnerships or invest directly in real estate. For the avoidance of doubt, the foregoing policy does not prevent the Fund from, among other things, purchasing marketable securities of companies that deal in real estate or interests therein (including REITs).

 

2.The Fund may purchase or sell financial and physical commodities, commodity contracts based on (or relating to) physical commodities or financial commodities and securities and derivative instruments whose values are derived from (in whole or in part) physical commodities or financial commodities.

 

The following descriptions of certain provisions of the 1940 Act may assist investors in understanding the above policies and restrictions:

 

Diversification. Under the 1940 Act and the rules, regulations and interpretations thereunder, a “diversified company,” as to 75% of its total assets, may not purchase securities of any issuer (other than obligations of, or guaranteed by, the U.S. government or its agencies, or instrumentalities or securities of other investment companies) if, as a result, more than 5% of its total assets would be invested in the securities of such issuer, or more than 10% of the issuer’s voting securities would be held by the fund.

 

 S-41

 

Concentration. The 1940 Act requires that every investment company have a fundamental investment policy regarding concentration. The SEC has defined concentration as investing 25% or more of an investment company’s total assets in any particular industry or group of industries, with certain exceptions. For purposes of the Fund’s concentration policy, the Fund may classify and re-classify companies in a particular industry and define and re-define industries in any reasonable manner, consistent with SEC and SEC staff guidance.

 

Borrowing. The 1940 Act presently allows an investment company to borrow from any bank in an amount up to 33 1/3% of its total assets (including the amount borrowed) and to borrow for temporary purposes in an amount not exceeding 5% of the value of its total assets.

 

Lending. Under the 1940 Act, an investment company may only make loans if expressly permitted by its investment policies.

 

Senior Securities. Senior securities may include any obligation or instrument issued by a fund evidencing indebtedness. The 1940 Act generally prohibits funds from issuing senior securities, although it does not treat certain transactions as senior securities, such as certain derivatives, short sales, reverse repurchase agreements, firm commitment agreements and standby commitments, with appropriate earmarking or segregation of assets to cover such obligation.

 

Real Estate and Commodities. The 1940 Act does not directly restrict an investment company’s ability to invest in real estate or commodities, but does require that every investment company have a fundamental investment policy governing such investments.

 

Underwriting. Under the 1940 Act, underwriting securities involves an investment company purchasing securities directly from an issuer for the purpose of selling (distributing) them or participating in any such activity either directly or indirectly. Under the 1940 Act, a diversified fund may not make any commitment as underwriter, if immediately thereafter the amount of its outstanding underwriting commitments, plus the value of its investments in securities of issuers (other than investment companies) of which it owns more than 10% of the outstanding voting securities, exceeds 25% of the value of its total assets.

 

Except with respect to the Fund’s policy concerning borrowing, if a percentage restriction is adhered to at the time of an investment, a later increase or decrease in percentage resulting from changes in values or assets will not constitute a violation of such restriction. With respect to the limitation on borrowing, in the event that a subsequent change in net assets or other circumstances cause the Fund to exceed its limitation, the Fund will take steps to bring the aggregate amount of borrowing back within the limitations within three days thereafter (not including Sundays and holidays).

 

EXCHANGE LISTING AND TRADING

 

A discussion of exchange listing and trading matters associated with an investment in the Fund is contained in the Prospectus. The discussion below supplements, and should be read in conjunction with, the Prospectus.

 

The shares of the Fund are approved for listing and trading on the Exchange. The Fund’s shares trade on the Exchange at prices that may differ to some degree from its NAV. 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.

 

 S-42

 

[The Exchange will consider the suspension of trading in, and will initiate delisting procedures of, the shares of the Fund under any of the following circumstances: (1) if the Exchange becomes aware that the Fund is no longer eligible to operate in reliance on Rule 6c-11 under the 1940 Act; (2) if any of the continued listing requirements set forth in the Exchange’s rules are not continuously maintained; (3) following the initial twelve-month period beginning upon the commencement of trading of the Fund, there are fewer than 50 record and/or beneficial holders of the shares of the Fund; or (4) such other event occurs or condition exists that, in the opinion of the Exchange, makes further dealings on the Exchange inadvisable. In addition, the Exchange will remove the shares from listing and trading upon termination of the Trust or the Fund.]

 

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

 

As in the case of other publicly traded securities, brokers’ commissions on transactions will be based on negotiated commission rates at customary levels.

 

The base and trading currencies of the Fund is the U.S. dollar. The base currency is the currency in which the Fund’s NAV per share is calculated and the trading currency is the currency in which shares of the Fund are listed and traded on the Exchange.

 

THE ADVISER

 

General. Rayliant Investment Research, a California registered corporation doing business as Rayliant Asset Management (the “Adviser” or “Rayliant”), serves as the investment adviser to the Fund. The Adviser’s principal place of business is 11 Zephyr, Irvine, California 92602. The Adviser is wholly owned by Rayliant Global Advisors Limited (“RGA”), which was established in February 2012 as the Asian hub for Research Affiliates, LLC (“Research Affiliates”) under the name Research Affiliates Global Advisors, Ltd. As of September 30, 2020, the Adviser had approximately $176.5 million in assets under management.

 

The Adviser makes investment decisions for the Fund and continuously reviews, supervises and administers the Fund’s investment program. The Board supervises the Adviser and establishes policies that the Adviser must follow in its management activities.

 

Advisory Agreement. The Trust and the Adviser have entered into an investment advisory agreement (the “Advisory Agreement”) with respect to the Fund. Under the Advisory Agreement, the Adviser serves as the investment adviser and makes investment decisions for the Fund and continuously reviews, supervises and administers the investment program of the Fund, subject to the supervision of, and policies established by, the Board.

 

After the initial two-year term, the continuance of the Advisory Agreement must be specifically approved at least annually: (i) by the vote of the Trustees or by a vote of the majority of the outstanding voting securities of the Fund; and (ii) by the vote of a majority of the Trustees who are not parties to the Advisory Agreement or “interested persons” of any party thereto, cast in person at a meeting called for the purpose of voting on such approval. The Advisory Agreement will terminate automatically in the event of its assignment, and is terminable at any time without penalty by the Trustees or by a majority of the outstanding voting securities of the Fund on at least 30 days’ written notice to the Adviser, or, by the Adviser, on not more than 60 days’ nor less than 30 days’ written notice to the Trust. As used in the Advisory Agreement, the terms “majority of the outstanding voting securities,” “interested persons” and “assignment” have the same meaning as such terms in the 1940 Act.

 

 S-43

 

Advisory Fees Paid to the Adviser. For its services under the Advisory Agreement, the Adviser is entitled to a fee, which is calculated daily and paid monthly, at an annual rate of 0.60% of the Fund’s average daily net assets.

 

Under the Advisory Agreement, the Adviser has agreed to pay all expenses incurred by the Fund except for the advisory fee, [interest, taxes, brokerage commissions and other expenses incurred in placing orders for the purchase and sale of securities and other investment instruments, acquired fund fees and expenses, extraordinary expenses, and distribution fees and expenses paid by the Fund under any distribution plan adopted pursuant to Rule 12b-1 under the 1940 Act.]

 

THE PORTFOLIO MANAGERS

 

This section includes information about the Fund’s portfolio managers, including information about other accounts they manage, the dollar range of Fund shares they own and how they are compensated.

 

Compensation. The Adviser’s professional staff receive a combination of base salary and discretionary bonuses. Discretionary bonus is related to meeting performance key performance indicators (“KPIs”), which depend on efforts and outputs which the Adviser believes drive the long-term success of its clients. The Adviser does not tie performance compensation to noisy short-term portfolio performance which it cannot attribute and claim credit for. The Adviser is majority employee-owned, and each member of the Adviser’s executive team is financially aligned with the firm and its investors through meaningful purchases of company stock (the firm is approximately 70% employee-owned, with additional employees participating in the firm’s board-approved employee stock option plan).

 

Fund Shares Owned by the Portfolio Managers. The Fund is required to show the dollar amount range of each portfolio manager’s “beneficial ownership” of shares of the Fund as of the end of the most recently completed fiscal year. Dollar amount ranges disclosed are established by the SEC. “Beneficial ownership” is determined in accordance with Rule 16a-1(a)(2) under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “1934 Act”). Because the Fund is new, as of the date of this SAI, the portfolio managers did not beneficially own shares of the Fund.

 

Other Accounts. In addition to the Fund, the portfolio managers may also be responsible for the day-to-day management of certain other accounts, as indicated by the following table. [None of the accounts included below are subject to a performance based advisory fee.] The information below is provided as of September 30, 2020.

 

Name

Registered

Investment Companies

Other Pooled

Investment Vehicles

Other Accounts
Number of Accounts Total Assets

Number of

Accounts

Total Assets Number of Accounts Total Assets (in millions)
Jason Hsu 0 $0 0 $0 6 $176.5
Vivek Viswanathan 0 $0 0 $0 6 $176.5
Phillip Wool 0 $0 0 $0 6 $176.5

 

Conflicts of Interest. The Adviser’s portfolio managers’ management of other accounts may give rise to potential conflicts of interest in connection with their management of the Fund’s investments, on the one hand, and the investments of the other accounts, on the other. The other accounts might have similar investment objectives as the Fund or hold, purchase or sell securities that are eligible to be held, purchased or sold by the Fund. While the portfolio managers’ management of other accounts may give rise to the following potential conflicts of interest, the Adviser does not believe that the conflicts, if any, are material or, to the extent any such conflicts are material, the Adviser believes that it has designed policies and procedures to manage those conflicts in an appropriate way.

 

 S-44

 

THE ADMINISTRATOR

 

General. SEI Investments Global Funds Services (the “Administrator”), a Delaware statutory trust, has its principal business offices at One Freedom Valley Drive, Oaks, Pennsylvania 19456. SEI Investments Management Corporation (“SIMC”), a wholly-owned subsidiary of SEI Investments Company (“SEI Investments”), is the owner of all beneficial interest in the Administrator. SEI Investments and its subsidiaries and affiliates, including the Administrator, are leading providers of funds evaluation services, trust accounting systems, and brokerage and information services to financial institutions, institutional investors, and money managers. The Administrator and its affiliates also serve as administrator or sub-administrator to other mutual funds.

 

Administration Agreement with the Trust. The Trust and the Administrator have entered into an administration agreement, dated February 12, 2014, as amended (the “Administration Agreement”). Under the Administration Agreement, the Administrator provides the Trust with administrative services, including regulatory reporting and all necessary office space, equipment, personnel and facilities.

 

The Administration Agreement provides that the Administrator shall not be liable for any error of judgment or mistake of law or for any loss suffered by the Trust in connection with the matters to which the Administration Agreement relates, except a loss resulting from willful misfeasance, bad faith or gross negligence on the part of the Administrator in the performance of its duties or from reckless disregard by it of its duties and obligations thereunder.

 

Administration Fees Paid to the Administrator. For its services under the Administration Agreement, the Administrator is paid a fee, which varies based on the average daily net assets of the Fund, subject to certain minimums.

 

THE DISTRIBUTOR

 

The Trust and SEI Investments Distribution Co. (the “Distributor”), a wholly-owned subsidiary of SEI Investments, and an affiliate of the Administrator, are parties to a distribution agreement dated February 12, 2014, as amended (the “Distribution Agreement”), whereby the Distributor acts as a principal underwriter for the Trust’s shares and distributes the shares of the Fund. Shares of the Fund are continuously offered for sale by the Distributor only in Creation Units. The Distributor will not distribute shares of the Fund in amounts less than a Creation Unit. The principal business address of the Distributor is One Freedom Valley Drive, Oaks, Pennsylvania 19456.

 

Under the Distribution Agreement, the Distributor, as agent for the Trust, will solicit orders for the purchase of shares of the Fund, provided that any subscriptions and orders will not be binding on the Trust until accepted by the Trust. The Distributor will deliver prospectuses and, upon request, Statements of Additional Information, to persons purchasing Creation Units and will maintain records of orders placed with it. The Distributor is a broker-dealer registered under the Exchange Act and a member of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”).

 

 S-45

 

The Distributor also may enter into agreements with securities dealers (“Soliciting Dealers”) who will solicit purchases of Creation Units of shares of the Fund. Such Soliciting Dealers also may be Authorized Participants (as discussed in “Procedures for Creation of Creation Units” below) or DTC participants (as defined below).

 

The continuance of the Distribution Agreement must be specifically approved at least annually (i) by the vote of the Trustees or by a vote of the majority of the outstanding voting securities of the Trust and (ii) by the vote of a majority of the Trustees who are not “interested persons” of the Trust and have no direct or indirect financial interest in the operations of the Distribution Agreement or any related agreement, cast in person at a meeting called for the purpose of voting on such approval. The Distribution Agreement will terminate automatically in the event of its assignment (as such term is defined in the 1940 Act), and is terminable at any time without penalty by the Board or by a majority of the outstanding voting securities of the Trust, or by the Distributor, upon not less than 60 days’ written notice to the other party.

 

[The Distributor also may provide trade order processing services pursuant to a services agreement.]

 

PAYMENTS TO FINANCIAL INTERMEDIARIES

 

Distribution Plan. The Trust has adopted a Distribution Plan applicable to the Fund in accordance with the provisions of Rule 12b-1 under the 1940 Act, which regulates circumstances under which an investment company may directly or indirectly bear expenses relating to the distribution of its shares. Continuance of the Plan must be approved annually by a majority of the Trustees and by a majority of the Trustees who are not interested persons (as defined in the 1940 Act) of the Trust and have no direct or indirect financial interest in the Plan or in any agreements related to the Plan (“Qualified Trustees”). The Plan requires that quarterly written reports of amounts spent under the Plan and the purposes of such expenditures be furnished to and reviewed by the Trustees. The Plan may not be amended to increase materially the amount that may be spent thereunder without approval by a majority of the outstanding shares of the Fund. All material amendments of the Plan will require approval by a majority of the Trustees and of the Qualified Trustees.

 

The Plan provides a method of paying for distribution and shareholder services, which may help the Fund grow or maintain asset levels to provide operational efficiencies and economies of scale, provided by the Distributor or other financial intermediaries that enter into agreements with the Distributor. The Fund may make payments to financial intermediaries, such as banks, savings and loan associations, insurance companies, investment counselors, broker-dealers, mutual fund “supermarkets” and the Distributor’s affiliates and subsidiaries, as compensation for services, reimbursement of expenses incurred in connection with distribution assistance or provision of shareholder services. The Distributor may, at its discretion, retain a portion of such payments to compensate itself for distribution services and distribution related expenses such as the costs of preparation, printing, mailing or otherwise disseminating sales literature, advertising, and prospectuses (other than those furnished to current shareholders of the Fund), promotional and incentive programs, and such other marketing expenses that the Distributor may incur.

 

Under the Plan, the Distributor or financial intermediaries may receive up to 0.25% of the average daily net assets of Fund shares as compensation for distribution and shareholder services. The Plan is characterized as a compensation plan since the distribution fee will be paid to the Distributor without regard to the distribution or shareholder service expenses incurred by the Distributor or the amount of payments made to financial intermediaries. The Trust intends to operate the Plan in accordance with its terms and with FINRA rules concerning sales charges.

 

 S-46

 

No Rule 12b-1 fees are currently paid by the Fund, and there are no plans to impose these fees. Because Rule 12b-1 fees are paid out of the Fund’s assets, and over time, these fees increase the cost of your investment and they may cost you more than certain other types of sales charges.

 

Payments by the Adviser. The Adviser and/or its affiliates, in their discretion, may make payments from their own resources and not from Fund assets to affiliated or unaffiliated brokers, dealers, banks (including bank trust departments), trust companies, registered investment advisers, financial planners, retirement plan administrators, insurance companies, and any other institution having a service, administration, or any similar arrangement with the Fund, its service providers or their respective affiliates, as incentives to help market and promote the Fund and/or in recognition of their distribution, marketing, administrative services, and/or processing support.

 

These additional payments may be made to financial intermediaries that sell Fund shares or provide services to the Fund, the Distributor or shareholders of the Fund through the financial intermediary’s retail distribution channel and/or fund supermarkets. Payments may also be made through the financial intermediary’s retirement, qualified tuition, fee-based advisory, wrap fee bank trust, or insurance (e.g., individual or group annuity) programs. These payments may include, but are not limited to, placing the Fund in a financial intermediary’s retail distribution channel or on a preferred or recommended fund list; providing business or shareholder financial planning assistance; educating financial intermediary personnel about the Fund; providing access to sales and management representatives of the financial intermediary; promoting sales of Fund shares; providing marketing and educational support; maintaining share balances and/or for sub-accounting, administrative or shareholder transaction processing services. A financial intermediary may perform the services itself or may arrange with a third party to perform the services.

 

The Adviser and/or its affiliates also may make payments from their own resources to financial intermediaries for costs associated with the purchase of products or services used in connection with sales and marketing, participation in and/or presentation at conferences or seminars, sales or training programs, client and investor entertainment and other sponsored events. The costs and expenses associated with these efforts may include travel, lodging, sponsorship at educational seminars and conferences, entertainment and meals to the extent permitted by law.

 

Revenue sharing payments may be negotiated based on a variety of factors, including the level of sales, the amount of Fund assets attributable to investments in the Fund by financial intermediaries’ customers, a flat fee or other measures as determined from time to time by the Adviser and/or its affiliates. A significant purpose of these payments is to increase the sales of Fund shares, which in turn may benefit the Adviser through increased fees as Fund assets grow.

 

Investors should understand that some financial intermediaries may also charge their clients fees in connection with purchases of shares or the provision of shareholder services.

 

 S-47

 

THE TRANSFER AGENT

 

Brown Brothers Harriman & Co. (in its capacity as transfer agent, the “Transfer Agent”), located at 40 Water Street, Boston, Massachusetts 02109, serves as the transfer agent of the Fund.

 

THE CUSTODIAN

 

Brown Brothers Harriman & Co., 40 Water Street, Boston, Massachusetts 02109 (the “Custodian”), acts as the custodian of the Fund. The Custodian holds cash, securities and other assets of the Fund as required by the 1940 Act.

 

INDEPENDENT REGISTERED PUBLIC ACCOUNTING FIRM

 

[_____], [_____], serves as independent registered public accounting firm for the Fund.

 

LEGAL COUNSEL

 

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP, 1701 Market Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19103-2921, serves as legal counsel to the Trust.

 

SECURITIES LENDING

 

Because the Fund is new, as of the date of this SAI, the Fund has not engaged in securities lending activities.

 

TRUSTEES AND OFFICERS OF THE TRUST

 

Board Responsibilities. The management and affairs of the Trust and its series, including the Fund described in this SAI, are overseen by the Trustees. The Board has approved contracts, as described above, under which certain companies provide essential management services to the Trust.

 

Like most mutual funds, the day-to-day business of the Trust, including the management of risk, is performed by third party service providers, such as the Adviser, the Distributor and the Administrator. The Trustees are responsible for overseeing the Trust’s service providers and, thus, have oversight responsibility with respect to risk management performed by those service providers. Risk management seeks to identify and address risks, i.e., events or circumstances that could have material adverse effects on the business, operations, shareholder services, investment performance or reputation of the funds. The funds and their service providers employ a variety of processes, procedures and controls to identify various possible events or circumstances, to lessen the probability of their occurrence and/or to mitigate the effects of such events or circumstances if they do occur. Each service provider is responsible for one or more discrete aspects of the Trust’s business (e.g., the Adviser is responsible for the day-to-day management of the Fund’s portfolio investments) and, consequently, for managing the risks associated with that business. The Board has emphasized to the Fund’s service providers the importance of maintaining vigorous risk management.

 

The Trustees’ role in risk oversight begins before the inception of a fund, at which time certain of the fund’s service providers present the Board with information concerning the investment objectives, strategies and risks of the fund as well as proposed investment limitations for the fund. Additionally, the fund’s adviser provides the Board with an overview of, among other things, its investment philosophy, brokerage practices and compliance infrastructure. Thereafter, the Board continues its oversight function as various personnel, including the Trust’s Chief Compliance Officer, as well as personnel of the adviser and other service providers, such as the fund’s independent accountants, make periodic reports to the Audit Committee or to the Board with respect to various aspects of risk management. The Board and the Audit Committee oversee efforts by management and service providers to manage risks to which the funds may be exposed.

 

 S-48

 

The Board is responsible for overseeing the nature, extent and quality of the services provided to the funds by the adviser and receives information about those services at its regular meetings. In addition, on an annual basis, in connection with its consideration of whether to renew the advisory agreement with the adviser, the Board meets with the adviser to review such services. Among other things, the Board regularly considers the adviser’s adherence to the funds’ investment restrictions and compliance with various fund policies and procedures and with applicable securities regulations. The Board also reviews information about the funds’ investments, including, for example, reports on the adviser’s use of derivatives in managing the funds, if any, as well as reports on the funds’ investments in other investment companies, if any.

 

The Trust’s Chief Compliance Officer reports regularly to the Board to review and discuss compliance issues and fund and adviser risk assessments. At least annually, the Trust’s Chief Compliance Officer provides the Board with a report reviewing the adequacy and effectiveness of the Trust’s policies and procedures and those of its service providers, including the adviser. The report addresses the operation of the policies and procedures of the Trust and each service provider since the date of the last report; any material changes to the policies and procedures since the date of the last report; any recommendations for material changes to the policies and procedures; and any material compliance matters since the date of the last report.

 

The Board receives reports from the funds’ service providers regarding operational risks and risks related to the valuation and liquidity of portfolio securities. The Trust’s Fair Value Pricing Committee makes regular reports to the Board concerning investments for which market quotations are not readily available. Annually, the independent registered public accounting firm reviews with the Audit Committee its audit of the funds’ financial statements, focusing on major areas of risk encountered by the funds and noting any significant deficiencies or material weaknesses in the funds’ internal controls. Additionally, in connection with its oversight function, the Board oversees fund management’s implementation of disclosure controls and procedures, which are designed to ensure that information required to be disclosed by the Trust in its periodic reports with the SEC are recorded, processed, summarized, and reported within the required time periods. The Board also oversees the Trust’s internal controls over financial reporting, which comprise policies and procedures designed to provide reasonable assurance regarding the reliability of the Trust’s financial reporting and the preparation of the Trust’s financial statements.

 

From their review of these reports and discussions with the adviser, the Chief Compliance Officer, the independent registered public accounting firm and other service providers, the Board and the Audit Committee learn in detail about the material risks of the funds, thereby facilitating a dialogue about how management and service providers identify and mitigate those risks.

 

The Board recognizes that not all risks that may affect the funds can be identified and/or quantified, that it may not be practical or cost-effective to eliminate or mitigate certain risks, that it may be necessary to bear certain risks (such as investment-related risks) to achieve the funds’ goals, and that the processes, procedures and controls employed to address certain risks may be limited in their effectiveness. Moreover, reports received by the Trustees as to risk management matters are typically summaries of the relevant information. Most of the funds’ investment management and business affairs are carried out by or through the funds’ advisers and other service providers, each of which has an independent interest in risk management but whose policies and the methods by which one or more risk management functions are carried out may differ from the funds’ and each other’s in the setting of priorities, the resources available or the effectiveness of relevant controls. As a result of the foregoing and other factors, the Board’s ability to monitor and manage risk, as a practical matter, is subject to limitations.

 

Members of the Board. There are five members of the Board, four of whom are not interested persons of the Trust, as that term is defined in the 1940 Act (“independent Trustees”). Mr. Doran, an interested person of the Trust, serves as Chairman of the Board. Mr. Hunt, an independent Trustee, serves as the lead independent Trustee. The Trust has determined its leadership structure is appropriate given the specific characteristics and circumstances of the Trust. The Trust made this determination in consideration of, among other things, the fact that the independent Trustees constitute more than three-quarters of the Board, the fact that the chairperson of each Committee of the Board is an independent Trustee, the amount of assets under management in the Trust, and the number of funds (and classes of shares) overseen by the Board. The Board also believes that its leadership structure facilitates the orderly and efficient flow of information to the independent Trustees from fund management.

 

 S-49

 

The Board has two standing committees: the Audit Committee and the Governance Committee. The Audit Committee and the Governance Committee are chaired by an independent Trustee and composed of all of the independent Trustees. In addition, the Board has a lead independent Trustee.

 

In his role as lead independent Trustee, Mr. Hunt, among other things: (i) presides over Board meetings in the absence of the Chairman of the Board; (ii) presides over executive sessions of the independent Trustees; (iii) along with the Chairman of the Board, oversees the development of agendas for Board meetings; (iv) facilitates communication between the independent Trustees and management, and among the independent Trustees; (v) serves as a key point person for dealings between the independent Trustees and management; and (vi) has such other responsibilities as the Board or independent Trustees determine from time to time.

 

Set forth below are the names, years of birth, position with the Trust and length of time served, and the principal occupations and other directorships held during at least the last five years of each of the persons currently serving as a Trustee. There is no stated term of office for the Trustees. Nevertheless, an independent Trustee must retire from the Board as of the end of the calendar year in which such independent Trustee first attains the age of seventy-five years; provided, however, that, an independent Trustee may continue to serve for one or more additional one calendar year terms after attaining the age of seventy-five years (each calendar year a “Waiver Term”) if, and only if, prior to the beginning of such Waiver Term: (1) the Governance Committee (a) meets to review the performance of the independent Trustee; (b) finds that the continued service of such independent Trustee is in the best interests of the Trust; and (c) unanimously approves excepting the independent Trustee from the general retirement policy set out above; and (2) a majority of the Trustees approves excepting the independent Trustee from the general retirement policy set out above. Unless otherwise noted, the business address of each Trustee is SEI Investments Company, One Freedom Valley Drive, Oaks, Pennsylvania 19456.

 

Name and Year of Birth Position with Trust and Length of Time Served

Principal Occupations

in the Past 5 Years

Other Directorships Held in the Past 5 Years
Interested Trustee

William M. Doran

(Born: 1940)

Chairman of the Board of Trustees1

(since 2014)

Self-Employed Consultant since 2003. Partner at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP (law firm) from 1976 to 2003. Counsel to the Trust, SEI Investments, SIMC, the Administrator and the Distributor. Secretary of SEI Investments since 1978.

Current Directorships: Trustee of Gallery Trust, Schroder Series Trust, Schroder Global Series Trust, Delaware Wilshire Private Markets Master Fund, Delaware Wilshire Private Markets Fund, Delaware Wilshire Private Markets Tender Fund, SEI Daily Income Trust, SEI Institutional International Trust, SEI Institutional Investments Trust, SEI Institutional Managed Trust, SEI Asset Allocation Trust, SEI Tax Exempt Trust, Adviser Managed Trust, New Covenant Funds, SEI Insurance Products Trust and SEI Catholic Values Trust. Director of SEI Investments, SEI Investments (Europe), Limited, SEI Investments—Global Funds Services, Limited, SEI Investments Global, Limited, SEI Investments (Asia), Limited, SEI Global Nominee Ltd., SEI Investments – Unit Trust Management (UK) Limited and SEI Investments Co. Director of the Distributor.

 

Former Directorships: Trustee of O’Connor EQUUS (closed-end investment company) to 2016. Trustee of SEI Liquid Asset Trust to 2016. Trustee of Winton Series Trust to 2017. Trustee of The Advisors’ Inner Circle Fund, The Advisors’ Inner Circle Fund II, Bishop Street Funds, The KP Funds and Winton Diversified Opportunities Fund (closed-end investment company) to 2018.

 

 S-50

 

Name and Year of Birth Position with Trust and Length of Time Served

Principal Occupations

in the Past 5 Years

Other Directorships Held in the Past 5 Years
Independent Trustees

Jon C. Hunt

(Born: 1951)

Trustee and Lead Independent Trustee

(since 2014)

Retired since 2013. Consultant to Management, Convergent Capital Management, LLC (“CCM”) from 2012 to 2013. Managing Director and Chief Operating Officer, CCM from 1998 to 2012.

Current Directorships: Trustee of City National Rochdale Funds, Gallery Trust, Schroder Series Trust, Schroder Global Series Trust, Delaware Wilshire Private Markets Master Fund, Delaware Wilshire Private Markets Fund and Delaware Wilshire Private Markets Tender Fund.

 

Former Directorships: Trustee of O’Connor EQUUS (closed-end investment company) to 2016. Member of Independent Committee of Nuveen Commodities Asset Management to 2016. Trustee of Winton Series Trust to 2017. Trustee of Winton Diversified Opportunities Fund (closed-end investment company) to 2018.

 

 S-51

 

Name and Year of Birth Position with Trust and Length of Time Served

Principal Occupations

in the Past 5 Years

Other Directorships Held in the Past 5 Years

Thomas P. Lemke

(Born: 1954)

Trustee

(since 2014)

Retired since 2013. Executive Vice President and General Counsel, Legg Mason, Inc. from 2005 to 2013.

Current Directorships: Trustee of Gallery Trust, Schroder Series Trust, Schroder Global Series Trust, Delaware Wilshire Private Markets Master Fund, Delaware Wilshire Private Markets Fund, Delaware Wilshire Private Markets Tender Fund, JP Morgan Active Exchange-Traded Funds (33 Portfolios) and Symmetry Panoramic Trust (8 Portfolios).

 

Former Directorships: Trustee of Munder Funds to 2014. Trustee of Victory Funds to 2015. Trustee of O’Connor EQUUS (closed-end investment company) to 2016. Trustee of Winton Series Trust and AXA Premier VIP Trust to 2017. Trustee of Winton Diversified Opportunities Fund (closed-end investment company) to 2018.

Jay C. Nadel

(Born: 1958)

Trustee

(since 2016)

Self-Employed Consultant since 2004. Executive Vice President, Bank of New York Broker Dealer from 2002 to 2004. Partner/Managing Director, Weiss Peck & Greer/Robeco from 1986 to 2001.

Current Directorships: Trustee of City National Rochdale Funds, Gallery Trust, Schroder Series Trust, Schroder Global Series Trust, Delaware Wilshire Private Markets Master Fund, Delaware Wilshire Private Markets Fund and Delaware Wilshire Private Markets Tender Fund.

 

Former Directorships: Trustee of Winton Series Trust to 2017. Director of Lapolla Industries, Inc. to 2017. Trustee of Winton Diversified Opportunities Fund (closed-end investment company) to 2018.

Randall S. Yanker

(Born: 1960)

Trustee

(since 2014)

Co-Founder and Senior Partner, Alternative Asset Managers, L.P. since 2004.

Current Directorships: Trustee of Gallery Trust, Schroder Series Trust, Schroder Global Series Trust, Delaware Wilshire Private Markets Master Fund, Delaware Wilshire Private Markets Fund and Delaware Wilshire Private Markets Tender Fund. Independent Non-Executive Director of HFA Holdings Limited.

 

Former Directorships: Trustee of O’Connor EQUUS (closed-end investment company) to 2016. Trustee of Winton Series Trust to 2017. Trustee of Winton Diversified Opportunities Fund (closed-end investment company) to 2018.

 

1Mr. Doran may be deemed to be an “interested” person of the Fund as that term is defined in the 1940 Act by virtue of his affiliation with the Distributor and/or its affiliates.

 

 S-52

 

Individual Trustee Qualifications

 

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

 

The Trust has concluded that Mr. Doran should serve as Trustee because of the experience he gained serving as a Partner in the Investment Management and Securities Industry Practice of a large law firm, his experience in and knowledge of the financial services industry, and the experience he has gained serving on other mutual fund boards.

 

The Trust has concluded that Mr. Hunt should serve as Trustee because of the experience he gained in a variety of leadership roles with different investment management institutions, his experience in and knowledge of the financial services industry, and the experience he has gained as a board member of open-end, closed-end and private funds investing in a broad range of asset classes, including alternative asset classes.

 

The Trust has concluded that Mr. Lemke should serve as Trustee because of the extensive experience he gained in the financial services industry, including experience in various senior management positions with financial services firms and multiple years of service with a regulatory agency, his background in controls, including legal, compliance and risk management, and his service as general counsel for several financial services firms.

 

The Trust has concluded that Mr. Nadel should serve as Trustee because of the experience he gained in a variety of leadership roles with an audit firm and various financial services firms, his experience in and knowledge of the financial services industry, and the experience he has gained serving on other mutual fund and operating company boards.

 

The Trust has concluded that Mr. Yanker should serve as Trustee because of the experience he gained in a variety of leadership roles with the alternative asset management divisions of various financial services firms, his experience in and knowledge of the financial services industry, and the experience he has gained advising institutions on alternative asset management.

 

 S-53

 

In its periodic assessment of the effectiveness of the Board, the Board considers the complementary individual skills and experience of the individual Trustees primarily in the broader context of the Board’s overall composition so that the Board, as a body, possesses the appropriate (and appropriately diverse) skills and experience to oversee the business of the funds.

 

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

 

Audit Committee. The Board has a standing Audit Committee that is composed of each of the independent Trustees. The Audit Committee operates under a written charter approved by the Board. The principal responsibilities of the Audit Committee include: (i) recommending which firm to engage as each fund’s independent registered public accounting firm and whether to terminate this relationship; (ii) reviewing the independent registered public accounting firm’s compensation, the proposed scope and terms of its engagement, and the firm’s independence; (iii) pre-approving audit and non-audit services provided by each fund’s independent registered public accounting firm to the Trust and certain other affiliated entities; (iv) serving as a channel of communication between the independent registered public accounting firm and the Trustees; (v) reviewing the results of each external audit, including any qualifications in the independent registered public accounting firm’s opinion, any related management letter, management’s responses to recommendations made by the independent registered public accounting firm in connection with the audit, reports submitted to the Committee by the internal auditing department of the Administrator that are material to the Trust as a whole, if any, and management’s responses to any such reports; (vi) reviewing each fund’s audited financial statements and considering any significant disputes between the Trust’s management and the independent registered public accounting firm that arose in connection with the preparation of those financial statements; (vii) considering, in consultation with the independent registered public accounting firm and the Trust’s senior internal accounting executive, if any, the independent registered public accounting firms’ reports on the adequacy of the Trust’s internal financial controls; (viii) reviewing, in consultation with each fund’s independent registered public accounting firm, major changes regarding auditing and accounting principles and practices to be followed when preparing each fund’s financial statements; and (ix) other audit related matters. Mr. Hunt, Mr. Lemke, Mr. Nadel and Mr. Yanker currently serve as members of the Audit Committee. Mr. Nadel serves as the Chairman of the Audit Committee. The Audit Committee meets periodically, as necessary, and met four (4) times during the most recently completed fiscal year.

 

Governance Committee. The Board has a standing Governance Committee that is composed of each of the independent Trustees. The Governance Committee operates under a written charter approved by the Board. The principal responsibilities of the Governance Committee include: (i) considering and reviewing Board governance and compensation issues; (ii) conducting a self-assessment of the Board’s operations; (iii) selecting and nominating all persons to serve as independent Trustees and considering proposals of and making recommendations for “interested” Trustee candidates to the Board; and (iv) reviewing shareholder recommendations for nominations to fill vacancies on the Board if such recommendations are submitted in writing and addressed to the Committee at the Trust’s office. Mr. Hunt, Mr. Lemke, Mr. Nadel and Mr. Yanker currently serve as members of the Governance Committee. Mr. Lemke serves as the Chairman of the Governance Committee. The Governance Committee meets periodically, as necessary, and met two (2) times during the most recently completed fiscal year.

 

Fair Value Pricing Committee. The Board has also established a standing Fair Value Pricing Committee that is composed of various representatives of the Trust’s service providers, as appointed by the Board. The Fair Value Pricing Committee operates under procedures approved by the Board. The principal responsibility of the Fair Value Pricing Committee is to determine the fair value of securities for which current market quotations are not readily available. The Fair Value Pricing Committee’s determinations are reviewed by the Board.

 

 S-54

 

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

 

Name

Dollar Range of Fund Shares

(Fund)1

Aggregate Dollar Range of Shares

(All Funds in the Family of Investment Companies)1,2

Interested Trustee
William M. Doran None None
Independent Trustees
Jon C. Hunt None None
Thomas P. Lemke None None
Jay C. Nadel None None
Randall S. Yanker None None

 

1Valuation date is December 31, 2019.
2The Fund is the only fund in the family of investment companies.

 

Board Compensation. The Trust paid the following fees to the Trustees during the Fund’s most recently completed fiscal year ended December 31, 2019.

 

Name Aggregate Compensation from the Trust Pension or Retirement Benefits Accrued as Part of Fund Expenses

Estimated

Annual Benefits Upon Retirement

Total Compensation from the Trust and Fund Complex1
Interested Trustee
William M. Doran $0 N/A N/A $0 for service on one (1) board
Independent Trustees
Jon C. Hunt $82,875 N/A N/A $82,875 for service on one (1) board
Thomas P. Lemke $82,875 N/A N/A $82,875 for service on one (1) board
Jay C. Nadel $82,875 N/A N/A $82,875 for service on one (1) board
Randall S. Yanker $82,875 N/A N/A $82,875 for service on one (1) board

 

1All funds in the Fund Complex are series of the Trust.

 

Trust Officers. Set forth below are the names, years of birth, position with the Trust and length of time served, and the principal occupations for the last five years of each of the persons currently serving as executive officers of the Trust. There is no stated term of office for the officers of the Trust. Unless otherwise noted, the business address of each officer is SEI Investments Company, One Freedom Valley Drive, Oaks, Pennsylvania 19456. The Chief Compliance Officer is the only officer who receives compensation from the Trust for his services.

 

Certain officers of the Trust also serve as officers of one or more mutual funds for which SEI Investments or its affiliates act as investment manager, administrator or distributor.

 

 S-55

 

Name and Year of Birth Position with Trust and Length of Time Served Principal Occupations in Past 5 Years

Michael Beattie

(Born: 1965)

President

(since 2014)

Director of Client Service, SEI Investments, since 2004.

James Bernstein

(Born: 1962)

Vice President

(since 2017)

 

Secretary

(since 2020)

Attorney, SEI Investments, since 2017.

 

Prior Positions: Self-employed consultant, 2017. Associate General Counsel & Vice President, Nationwide Funds Group and Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company, from 2002 to 2016. Assistant General Counsel & Vice President, Market Street Funds and Provident Mutual Insurance Company, from 1999 to 2002.

John Bourgeois

(Born: 1973)

Assistant Treasurer

(since 2017)

Fund Accounting Manager, SEI Investments, since 2000.

Stephen Connors

(Born: 1984)

Treasurer, Controller and Chief Financial Officer

(since 2015)

Director, SEI Investments, Fund Accounting, since 2014. Audit Manager, Deloitte & Touche LLP, from 2011 to 2014.

Russell Emery

(Born: 1962)

Chief Compliance Officer

(since 2014)

Chief Compliance Officer of SEI Structured Credit Fund, LP since 2007. Chief Compliance Officer of The Advisors’ Inner Circle Fund, The Advisors’ Inner Circle Fund II, Bishop Street Funds, The KP Funds, Frost Family of Funds, The Advisors’ Inner Circle Fund III, Gallery Trust, Schroder Series Trust, Schroder Global Series Trust, Delaware Wilshire Private Markets Master Fund, Delaware Wilshire Private Markets Fund, Delaware Wilshire Private Markets Tender Fund, SEI Institutional Managed Trust, SEI Asset Allocation Trust, SEI Institutional International Trust, SEI Institutional Investments Trust, SEI Daily Income Trust, SEI Tax Exempt Trust, Adviser Managed Trust, New Covenant Funds, SEI Insurance Products Trust and SEI Catholic Values Trust. Chief Compliance Officer of O’Connor EQUUS (closed-end investment company) to 2016. Chief Compliance Officer of SEI Liquid Asset Trust to 2016. Chief Compliance Officer of Winton Series Trust to 2017. Chief Compliance Officer of Winton Diversified Opportunities Fund (closed-end investment company) to 2018.

Eric C. Griffith

(Born: 1969)

Vice President and Assistant Secretary

(since 2020)

Counsel at SEI Investments since 2019. Vice President and Assistant General Counsel, JPMorgan Chase & Co., from 2012 to 2018.

 

 S-56

 

Name and Year of Birth Position with Trust and Length of Time Served Principal Occupations in Past 5 Years

Matthew M. Maher

(Born: 1975)

Vice President and Assistant Secretary

(since 2018)

Counsel at SEI Investments since 2018. Attorney, Blank Rome LLP, from 2015 to 2018. Assistant Counsel & Vice President, Bank of New York Mellon, from 2013 to 2014. Attorney, Dilworth Paxson LLP, from 2006 to 2013.

Alexander F. Smith

(Born: 1977)

Vice President and Assistant Secretary

(since 2020)

Counsel at SEI Investments since 2020. Associate Counsel & Manager, Vanguard, 2012 to 2020. Attorney, Stradley Ronon Stevens & Young, LLP, 2008 to 2012.

Robert Morrow

(Born: 1968)

Vice President

(since 2017)

Account Manager, SEI Investments, since 2007.

Bridget E. Sudall

(Born: 1980)

Privacy Officer

(since 2015)

 

Anti-Money Laundering Officer

(since 2015)

Senior Associate and AML Officer, Morgan Stanley Alternative Investment Partners, from 2011 to 2015. Investor Services Team Lead, Morgan Stanley Alternative Investment Partners, from 2007 to 2011.

 

BOOK ENTRY ONLY SYSTEM

 

Depository Trust Company (“DTC”) acts as securities depositary for the Fund’s shares. Shares of the Fund are represented by securities registered in the name of DTC or its nominee, Cede & Co., and deposited with, or on behalf of, DTC. Except in limited circumstances set forth below, certificates will not be issued for shares.

 

DTC is a limited-purpose trust company that 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 of the Fund is limited to DTC Participants, Indirect Participants, and persons holding interests through DTC Participants and Indirect Participants. Ownership of beneficial interests in shares of the Fund (owners of such beneficial interests are referred to herein as “Beneficial Owners”) is shown on, and the transfer of ownership is effected only through, records maintained by DTC (with respect to DTC Participants) and on the records of DTC Participants (with respect to Indirect Participants and Beneficial Owners that are not DTC Participants). Beneficial Owners will receive from or through the DTC Participant a written confirmation relating to their purchase of shares of the Fund. The Trust recognizes DTC or its nominee as the record owner of all shares of the Fund for all purposes. Beneficial Owners of shares of the Fund are not entitled to have such shares registered in their names, and will not receive or be entitled to physical delivery of share certificates. Each Beneficial Owner must rely on the procedures of DTC and any DTC Participant and/or Indirect Participant through which such Beneficial Owner holds its interests, to exercise any rights of a holder of shares of the Fund.

 

 S-57

 

Conveyance of all notices, statements, and other communications to Beneficial Owners is effected as follows. DTC will make available to the Trust upon request and for a fee a listing of shares of the Fund held by each DTC Participant. The Trust shall obtain from each such DTC Participant the number of Beneficial Owners holding shares of the Fund, 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 Participant a fair and reasonable amount as reimbursement for the expenses attendant to such transmittal, all subject to applicable statutory and regulatory requirements.

 

Share distributions shall be made to DTC or its nominee, Cede & Co., as the registered holder of all shares of the Fund. DTC or its nominee, upon receipt of any such distributions, shall credit immediately DTC Participants’ accounts with payments in amounts proportionate to their respective beneficial interests in the Fund as shown on the records of DTC or its nominee. Payments by DTC Participants to Indirect Participants and Beneficial Owners of shares of the Fund 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 the Fund’s shares, or for maintaining, supervising, or reviewing any records relating to such beneficial ownership interests, or for any other aspect of the relationship between DTC and the DTC Participants or the relationship between such DTC Participants and the Indirect Participants and Beneficial Owners owning through such DTC Participants.

 

DTC may determine to discontinue providing its service with respect to the Fund at any time by giving reasonable notice to the Fund and discharging its responsibilities with respect thereto under applicable law. Under such circumstances, the Fund shall take action either to find a replacement for DTC to perform its functions at a comparable cost or, if such replacement is unavailable, to issue and deliver printed certificates representing ownership of shares of the Fund, unless the Trust makes other arrangements with respect thereto satisfactory to the Exchange.

 

PURCHASE AND REDEMPTION OF SHARES IN CREATION UNITS

 

The Fund issues and redeems its shares on a continuous basis, at NAV, only in a large specified number of shares called a “Creation Unit,” either principally in-kind for securities or in cash for the value of such securities. The NAV of the Fund’s shares is determined once each business day, as described below under “Determination of Net Asset Value.” The Creation Unit size may change. Authorized Participants will be notified of such change.

 

 S-58

 

[CUSTOM BASKETS. The basket is generally representative of the Fund’s portfolio, and together with a cash balancing amount, is equal to the NAV of the Fund shares comprising the Creation Unit. However, Rule 6c-11 of the 1940 Act permits the Fund to utilize “custom baskets” provided the conditions of the rule are met. 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 the Fund’s portfolio holdings; or (iii) changes due to a rebalancing or reconstitution of the index the performance of which the Fund seeks to track, if applicable. Second, if different baskets are used in transactions on the same business day (as defined below), each basket after the initial basket would constitute a custom basket. For example, if the Fund 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 the Fund substitutes cash in lieu of a portion of basket assets for a single Authorized Participant, that basket would be a custom basket.]

 

PURCHASE (CREATION). The Trust issues and sells shares of the Fund only: (i) in Creation Units on a continuous basis through the Distributor, without a sales load (but subject to transaction fees), at their NAV per share next determined after receipt of an order, on any business day, in proper form pursuant to the terms of the Authorized Participant Agreement (“Participant Agreement”); or (ii) pursuant to the Dividend Reinvestment Service (defined below). The Fund will not issue fractional Creation Units. A business day is, generally, any day on which the Exchange is open for business.

 

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

 

Together, the Deposit Securities or Deposit Cash, as applicable, and the Cash Component constitute the “Fund Deposit,” which represents the minimum initial and subsequent investment amount for a Creation Unit of the Fund. The “Cash Component” is an amount equal to the difference between the NAV of the shares of the Fund (per Creation Unit) and the market value of the Deposit Securities or Deposit Cash, as applicable. If the Cash Component is a positive number (i.e., the NAV per Creation Unit exceeds the market value of the Deposit Securities or Deposit Cash, as applicable), the Cash Component shall be such positive amount. If the Cash Component is a negative number (i.e., the NAV per Creation Unit is less than the market value of the Deposit Securities or Deposit Cash, as applicable), the Cash Component shall be such negative amount and the creator will be entitled to receive cash in an amount equal to the Cash Component. The Cash Component serves the function of compensating for any differences between the NAV per Creation Unit and the market value of the Deposit Securities or Deposit Cash, as applicable. Computation of the Cash Component excludes any stamp duty or other similar fees and expenses payable upon transfer of beneficial ownership of the Deposit Securities, if applicable, which shall be the sole responsibility of the Authorized Participant (as defined below).

 

 S-59

 

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

 

The identity and number of shares of the Deposit Securities or the amount of Deposit Cash, as applicable, required for the Fund Deposit for the Fund changes as rebalancing adjustments and corporate action events are reflected from time to time by the Adviser with a view to the investment objective of the Fund. The composition of the Deposit Securities may also change in response to adjustments to the weighting or composition of the component securities of the index the performance of which the Fund seeks to track, if applicable.

 

The Trust reserves the right to permit or require the substitution of Deposit Cash to replace any Deposit Security, which shall be added to the Cash Component, including, without limitation, in situations where the Deposit Security: (i) may not be available in sufficient quantity for delivery; (ii) may not be eligible for transfer through the systems of DTC for corporate securities and municipal securities or the Federal Reserve System for U.S. Treasury securities; (iii) may not be eligible for trading by an Authorized Participant (as defined below) or the investor for which it is acting; (iv) would be restricted under the securities laws or where the delivery of the Deposit Security to the Authorized Participant would result in the disposition of the Deposit Security by the Authorized Participant becoming restricted under the securities laws; or (v) in certain other situations (collectively, “custom orders”). The Trust also reserves the right to (i) permit or require the substitution of Deposit Securities in lieu of Deposit Cash; and (ii) include or remove Deposit Securities from the basket in anticipation of or implementation of rebalancing changes in the index the performance of which the Fund seeks to track, if applicable. The adjustments described above will reflect changes, known to the Adviser on the date of announcement to be in effect by the time of delivery of a Fund Deposit, in the composition of the index the performance of which the Fund seeks to track, if applicable, or resulting from certain corporate actions.

 

CASH PURCHASE METHOD. The Trust may at its discretion permit full or partial cash purchases of Creation Units of the Fund. When full or partial cash purchases of Creation Units are available or specified for the Fund, they will be effected in essentially the same manner as in-kind purchases thereof. In the case of a full or partial cash purchase, the Authorized Participant must pay the cash equivalent of the Deposit Securities it would otherwise be required to provide through an in-kind purchase, plus the same Cash Component required to be paid by an in-kind purchaser together with a creation transaction fee and non-standard charges, as may be applicable.

 

PROCEDURES FOR PURCHASE OF CREATION UNITS. To be eligible to place orders with the Distributor to purchase a Creation Unit of the Fund, an entity must be (i) a “Participating Party”, i.e., a broker-dealer or other participant in the clearing process through the Continuous Net Settlement System of the NSCC (the “Clearing Process”), a clearing agency that is registered with the SEC; or (ii) a DTC Participant (see “BOOK ENTRY ONLY SYSTEM”). In addition, each Participating Party or DTC Participant (each, an “Authorized Participant”) must execute a Participant Agreement that has been agreed to by the Distributor, and that has been accepted by the Transfer Agent and the Trust, with respect to purchases and redemptions of Creation Units. Each Authorized Participant will agree, pursuant to the terms of a Participant Agreement, on behalf of itself or any investor on whose behalf it will act, to certain conditions, including that it will pay to the Trust, an amount of cash sufficient to pay the Cash Component together with the creation transaction fee and any other applicable fees, taxes, and additional variable charges. The Adviser may retain all or a portion of the creation transaction fee to the extent the Adviser bears the expenses that otherwise would be borne by the Trust in connection with the purchase of a Creation Unit, which the creation transaction fee is designed to cover.

 

 S-60

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 S-61

 

The order shall be deemed to be received on the business day on which the order is placed provided that the order is placed in proper form prior to the applicable cut-off time and the federal funds in the appropriate amount are deposited by 2:00 p.m., Eastern time, with the Custodian on the Settlement Date. If the order is not placed in proper form as required, or federal funds in the appropriate amount are not received by 2:00 p.m. Eastern time on the Settlement Date, then the order may be deemed to be rejected and the Authorized Participant shall be liable to the applicable Fund for losses, if any, resulting therefrom. A creation request is considered to be in “proper form” if all procedures set forth in the Participant Agreement, AP Handbook, order form, and this SAI are properly followed.

 

ISSUANCE OF A CREATION UNIT. Except as provided herein, Creation Units will not be issued until the transfer of good title to the Trust of the Deposit Securities or payment of Deposit Cash, as applicable, and the payment of the Cash Component have been completed. When the subcustodian has confirmed to the Custodian that the required Deposit Securities (or the cash value thereof) have been delivered to the account of the relevant subcustodian or subcustodians, the Distributor and the Adviser shall be notified of such delivery, and the Trust will issue and cause the delivery of the Creation Units. The delivery of Creation Units so created generally will occur no later than the second business day following the day on which the purchase order is deemed received by the Distributor. However, the Fund reserves the right to settle Creation Unit transactions on a basis other than the second business day following the day on which the purchase order is deemed received by the Distributor in order to accommodate foreign market holiday schedules, to account for different treatment among foreign and U.S. markets of dividend record dates and ex-dividend dates (that is the last day the holder of a security can sell the security and still receive dividends payable on the security), and in certain other circumstances. The Authorized Participant shall be liable to the Fund for losses, if any, resulting from unsettled orders.

 

Creation Units may be purchased in advance of receipt by the Trust of all or a portion of the applicable Deposit Securities as described below. In these circumstances, the initial deposit will have a value greater than the NAV of the shares of the Fund on the date the order is placed in proper form since in addition to available Deposit Securities, cash must be deposited in an amount equal to the sum of (i) the Cash Component, plus (ii) an additional amount of cash equal to a percentage of the market value as set forth in the Participant Agreement, of the undelivered Deposit Securities (the “Additional Cash Deposit”), which shall be maintained in a separate non-interest bearing collateral account. The Authorized Participant must deposit with the Custodian the Additional Cash Deposit, as applicable, by the time set forth in the Participant Agreement on the Settlement Date. If the Fund or its agents do not receive the Additional Cash Deposit in the appropriate amount, by such time, then the order may be deemed rejected and the Authorized Participant shall be liable to the Fund for losses, if any, resulting therefrom. An additional amount of cash shall be required to be deposited with the Trust, pending delivery of the missing Deposit Securities to the extent necessary to maintain the Additional Cash Deposit with the Trust in an amount at least equal to the applicable percentage, as set forth in the Participant Agreement, of the daily marked to market value of the missing Deposit Securities. The Trust may use such Additional Cash Deposit to buy the missing Deposit Securities at any time. Authorized Participants will be liable to the Trust for all costs, expenses, dividends, income, and taxes associated with missing Deposit Securities, including the costs incurred by the Trust in connection with any such purchases. These costs will be deemed to include the amount by which the actual purchase price of the Deposit Securities exceeds the value of such Deposit Securities on the day the purchase order was deemed received by the Distributor plus the brokerage and related transaction costs associated with such purchases. The Trust will return any unused portion of the Additional Cash Deposit once all of the missing Deposit Securities have been properly received by the Custodian or purchased by the Trust and deposited into the Trust. In addition, a creation transaction fee as set forth below under “Creation Transaction Fee” may be charged and an additional variable charge may also apply. The delivery of Creation Units so created generally will occur no later than the Settlement Date.

 

 S-62

 

ACCEPTANCE OF ORDERS OF CREATION UNITS. The Trust reserves the absolute right to reject an order for Creation Units transmitted to it by the Distributor in respect of the Fund including, without limitation, if (a) the order is not in proper form; (b) the Deposit Securities or Deposit Cash, as applicable, delivered by the Participant are not as disseminated through the facilities of the NSCC for that date by the Custodian; (c) the investor(s), upon obtaining the shares ordered, would own 80% or more of the currently outstanding shares of the Fund; (d) acceptance of the Deposit Securities would have certain adverse tax consequences to the Fund; (e) the acceptance of the Fund Deposit would, in the opinion of counsel, be unlawful; (f) the acceptance of the Fund Deposit would otherwise, in the discretion of the Trust or the Adviser, have an adverse effect on the Trust or the rights of beneficial owners; (g) the acceptance or receipt of the order for a Creation Unit would, in the opinion of counsel to the Trust, be unlawful; or (h) circumstances outside the control of the Trust, the Custodian, the Transfer Agent and/or the Adviser make it for all practical purposes not feasible to process orders for Creation Units.

 

Examples of such circumstances include acts of God or public service or utility problems such as fires, floods, extreme weather conditions and power outages resulting in telephone, telecopy and computer failures; market conditions or activities causing trading halts; systems failures involving computer or other information systems affecting the Trust, the Distributor, the Custodian, a sub-custodian, the Transfer Agent, DTC, NSCC, Federal Reserve System, or any other participant in the creation process, and other extraordinary events. The Distributor shall notify a prospective creator of a Creation Unit and/or the Authorized Participant acting on behalf of the creator of a Creation Unit of its rejection of the order of such person. The Trust, 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 Fund Deposits nor shall either of them incur any liability for the failure to give any such notification. The Trust, the Transfer Agent, the Custodian and the Distributor shall not be liable for the rejection of any purchase order for Creation Units.

 

 S-63

 

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

 

CREATION TRANSACTION FEE. A fixed purchase (i.e., creation) transaction fee may be imposed for the transfer and other transaction costs associated with the purchase of Creation Units (“Creation Order Costs”). The standard creation transaction fee for the Fund, regardless of the number of Creation Units created in the transaction, is set forth in the table below.

 

Fund Creation Transaction Fee
Rayliant Quantamental China Equity ETF [$XXX]

 

The Fund may adjust the creation transaction fee from time to time. The creation transaction fee may be waived on certain orders if the Custodian has determined to waive some or all of the Creation Order Costs associated with the order or another party, such as the Adviser, has agreed to pay such fee.

 

In addition, a variable fee may be imposed for cash purchases, non-standard orders, or partial cash purchases of Creation Units. The variable fee is primarily designed to cover non-standard charges, e.g., brokerage, taxes, foreign exchange, execution, market impact, and other costs and expenses, related to the execution of trades resulting from such transaction. In all cases, such fees will be limited in accordance with the requirements of the SEC applicable to management investment companies offering redeemable securities. The Fund may determine not to charge a variable fee on certain orders when the Adviser has determined that doing so is in the best interests of Fund shareholders, e.g., for creation orders that facilitate the rebalance of the Fund’s portfolio in a more efficient manner than could have been achieved without such order.

 

Investors who use the services of an Authorized Participant, broker or other such intermediary may be charged a fee for such services which may include an amount for the creation transaction fee and non-standard charges. Investors are responsible for the costs of transferring the securities constituting the Deposit Securities to the account of the Trust. The Adviser may retain all or a portion of the Transaction Fee to the extent the Adviser bears the expenses that otherwise would be borne by the Trust in connection with the issuance of a Creation Unit, which the Transaction Fee is designed to cover.

 

RISKS OF PURCHASING CREATION UNITS. There are certain legal risks unique to investors purchasing Creation Units directly from the Fund. Because the Fund’s shares may be issued on an ongoing basis, a “distribution” of shares could be occurring at any time. Certain activities that a shareholder performs as a dealer could, depending on the circumstances, result in the shareholder being deemed a participant in the distribution in a manner that could render the shareholder a statutory underwriter and subject to the prospectus delivery and liability provisions of the 1933 Act. For example, a shareholder could be deemed a statutory underwriter if it purchases Creation Units from the Fund, breaks them down into the constituent shares, and sells those shares directly to customers, or if a shareholder chooses to couple the creation of a supply of new shares with an active selling effort involving solicitation of secondary-market demand for shares. Whether a person is an underwriter depends upon all of the facts and circumstances pertaining to that person’s activities, and the examples mentioned here should not be considered a complete description of all the activities that could cause you to be deemed an underwriter.

 

 S-64

 

Dealers who are not “underwriters” but are participating in a distribution (as opposed to engaging in ordinary secondary-market transactions), and thus dealing with the Fund’s shares as part of an “unsold allotment” within the meaning of Section 4(a)(3)(C) of the 1933 Act, will be unable to take advantage of the prospectus delivery exemption provided by Section 4(a)(3) of the 1933 Act.

 

REDEMPTION. Shares of the Fund may be redeemed only in Creation Units at their NAV next determined after receipt of a redemption request in proper form by the Fund through the Transfer Agent and only on a business day. EXCEPT UPON LIQUIDATION OF THE FUND, THE TRUST WILL NOT REDEEM SHARES IN AMOUNTS LESS THAN CREATION UNITS. Investors must accumulate enough shares of the Fund in the secondary market to constitute a Creation Unit in order to have such shares redeemed by the Trust. There can be no assurance, however, that there will be sufficient liquidity in the public trading market at any time to permit assembly of a Creation Unit. Investors should expect to incur brokerage and other costs in connection with assembling a sufficient number of shares to constitute a redeemable Creation Unit.

 

With respect to the Fund, the Custodian, through the NSCC, makes available prior to the opening of business on the Exchange (currently 9:30 a.m. Eastern time) on each business day, the list of the names and share quantities of the Fund’s portfolio securities that will be applicable (subject to possible amendment or correction) to redemption requests received in proper form (as defined below) on that day (“Fund Securities”). Fund Securities received on redemption may not be identical to Deposit Securities.

 

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

 

CASH REDEMPTION METHOD. Although the Trust does not ordinarily permit full or partial cash redemptions of Creation Units of the Fund, when full or partial cash redemptions of Creation Units are available or specified for the Fund, they will be effected in essentially the same manner as in-kind redemptions thereof. In the case of full or partial cash redemptions, the Authorized Participant receives the cash equivalent of the Fund Securities it would otherwise receive through an in-kind redemption, plus the same Cash Redemption Amount to be paid to an in-kind redeemer.

 

 S-65

 

REDEMPTION TRANSACTION FEE. A fixed redemption transaction fee may be imposed for the transfer and other transaction costs associated with the redemption of Creation Units (“Redemption Order Costs”). The standard redemption transaction fee for the Fund, regardless of the number of Creation Units redeemed in the transaction, is set forth in the table below.

 

Fund Redemption Transaction Fee
Rayliant Quantamental China Equity ETF [$XXX]

 

The Fund may adjust the redemption transaction fee from time to time. The redemption transaction fee may be waived on certain orders if the Custodian has determined to waive some or all of the Redemption Order Costs associated with the order or another party, such as the Adviser, has agreed to pay such fee.

 

In addition, a variable fee, payable to the Fund, may be imposed for cash redemptions, non-standard orders, or partial cash redemptions for the Fund. The variable fee is primarily designed to cover non-standard charges, e.g., brokerage, taxes, foreign exchange, execution, market impact, and other costs and expenses, related to the execution of trades resulting from such transaction. In all cases, such fees will be limited in accordance with the requirements of the SEC applicable to management investment companies offering redeemable securities. The Fund may determine not to charge a variable fee on certain orders when the Adviser has determined that doing so is in the best interests of Fund shareholders, e.g., for redemption orders that facilitate the rebalance of the Fund’s portfolio in a more tax efficient manner than could be achieved without such order.

 

Investors who use the services of an Authorized Participant, broker or other such intermediary may be charged a fee for such services, which may include an amount for the redemption transaction fees and non-standard charges. Investors are responsible for the costs of transferring the securities constituting the Fund Securities to the account of the Trust. The non-standard charges are payable to the Fund as it incurs costs in connection with the redemption of Creation Units, the receipt of Fund Securities and the Cash Redemption Amount and other transactions costs. The Adviser may retain all or a portion of the redemption transaction fee to the extent the Adviser bears the expenses that otherwise would be borne by the Trust in connection with the redemption of a Creation Unit, which the redemption transaction fee is designed to cover.

 

PROCEDURES FOR REDEMPTION OF CREATION UNITS. Orders to redeem Creation Units must be submitted in proper form to the Transfer Agent prior to the time as set forth in the Participant Agreement. A redemption request is considered to be in “proper form” if (i) an Authorized Participant has transferred or caused to be transferred to the Trust’s Transfer Agent the Creation Unit(s) being redeemed through the book-entry system of DTC so as to be effective by the time as set forth in the Participant Agreement and (ii) a request in form satisfactory to the Trust is received by the Transfer Agent from the Authorized Participant on behalf of itself or another redeeming investor within the time periods specified in the Participant Agreement. If the Transfer Agent does not receive the investor’s shares of the Fund through DTC’s facilities by the times and pursuant to the other terms and conditions set forth in the Participant Agreement, the redemption request shall be rejected, unless, to the extent contemplated by the Participant Agreement, collateral is posted in an amount equal to a percentage of the value of the missing shares of that Fund as specified in the Participant Agreement (and marked to market daily).

 

 S-66

 

The Authorized Participant must transmit the request for redemption, in the form required by the Trust, to the Transfer Agent in accordance with procedures set forth in the Participant Agreement. Investors should be aware that their particular broker may not have executed a Participant Agreement, and that, therefore, requests to redeem Creation Units may have to be placed by the investor’s broker through an Authorized Participant who has executed a Participant Agreement. Investors making a redemption request should be aware that such request must be in the form specified by such Authorized Participant. Investors making a request to redeem Creation Units should allow sufficient time to permit proper submission of the request by an Authorized Participant and transfer of the shares of the Fund to the Trust’s Transfer Agent; such investors should allow for the additional time that may be required to effect redemptions through their banks, brokers or other financial intermediaries if such intermediaries are not Authorized Participants.

 

ADDITIONAL REDEMPTION PROCEDURES. In connection with taking delivery of shares of Fund Securities upon redemption of Creation Units, a redeeming shareholder or Authorized Participant acting on behalf of such shareholder must maintain appropriate custody arrangements with a qualified broker-dealer, bank or other custody providers in each jurisdiction in which any of the Fund’s securities are customarily traded, to which account such Fund Securities will be delivered. Deliveries of redemption proceeds generally will be made within two business days of the trade date. However, due to the schedule of holidays in certain countries, the different treatment among foreign and U.S. markets of dividend record dates and dividend ex-dates (that is the last date the holder of a security can sell the security and still receive dividends payable on the security sold), and in certain other circumstances, the delivery of in-kind redemption proceeds may take longer than two business days after the day on which the redemption request is received in proper form. If neither the redeeming shareholder nor the Authorized Participant acting on behalf of such redeeming shareholder has appropriate arrangements to take delivery of the Fund Securities in the applicable foreign jurisdiction and it is not possible to make other such arrangements, or if it is not possible to effect deliveries of the Fund Securities in such jurisdiction, the Trust may, in its discretion, exercise its option to redeem such shares in cash, and the redeeming shareholders will be required to receive redemption proceeds in cash.

 

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

 

Pursuant to the Participant Agreement, an Authorized Participant submitting a redemption request is deemed to make certain representations to the Trust regarding the Authorized Participant’s ability to tender for redemption the requisite number of shares of the Fund. The Trust reserves the right to verify these representations at its discretion, but will typically require verification with respect to a redemption request from the Fund in connection with higher levels of redemption activity and/or short interest in the Fund. If the Authorized Participant, upon receipt of a verification request, does not provide sufficient verification of its representations as determined by the Trust, the redemption request will not be considered to have been received in proper form and may be rejected by the Trust.

 

 S-67

 

Redemptions of shares for Fund Securities will be subject to compliance with applicable federal and state securities laws and the Fund (whether or not it otherwise permits cash redemptions) reserves the right to redeem Creation Units for cash to the extent that the Trust could not lawfully deliver specific Fund Securities upon redemptions or could not do so without first registering the Fund Securities under such laws. An Authorized Participant or an investor for which it is acting subject to a legal restriction with respect to a particular security included in the Fund Securities applicable to the redemption of Creation Units may be paid an equivalent amount of cash. The Authorized Participant may request the redeeming investor of the shares of the Fund to complete an order form or to enter into agreements with respect to such matters as compensating cash payment. Further, an Authorized Participant that is not a “qualified institutional buyer,” (“QIB”) as such term is defined under Rule 144A of the 1933 Act, will not be able to receive Fund Securities that are restricted securities eligible for resale under Rule 144A. An Authorized Participant may be required by the Trust to provide a written confirmation with respect to QIB status in order to receive Fund Securities.

 

Because the portfolio securities of the Fund may trade on the relevant exchange(s) on days that the Exchange is closed or are otherwise not business days for the Fund, shareholders may not be able to redeem their shares, or to purchase or sell shares on the Exchange, on days when the NAV of the Fund could be significantly affected by events in the relevant foreign markets.

 

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

 

DETERMINATION OF NET ASSET VALUE

 

General Policy. The Fund adheres to Section 2(a)(41), and Rule 2a-4 thereunder, of the 1940 Act with respect to the valuation of portfolio securities. In general, securities for which market quotations are readily available are valued at current market value, and all other securities are valued at fair value in accordance with procedures adopted by the Board. In complying with the 1940 Act, the Trust relies on guidance provided by the SEC and by the SEC staff in various interpretive letters and other guidance.

 

Equity Securities. Securities listed on a securities exchange, market or automated quotation system for which quotations are readily available (except for securities traded on NASDAQ), including securities traded over the counter, are valued at the last quoted sale price on an exchange or market (foreign or domestic) on which they are traded on the valuation date (or at approximately 4:00 p.m. Eastern Time if such exchange is normally open at that time), or, if there is no such reported sale on the valuation date, at the most recent quoted bid price. For securities traded on NASDAQ, the NASDAQ Official Closing Price will be used. If such prices are not available or determined to not represent the fair value of the security as of the Fund’s pricing time, the security will be valued at fair value as determined in good faith using methods approved by the Board.

 

Money Market Securities and other Debt Securities. If available, money market securities and other debt securities are priced based upon valuations provided by recognized independent, third-party pricing agents. Such values generally reflect the last reported sales price if the security is actively traded. The third-party pricing agents may also value debt securities by employing methodologies that utilize actual market transactions, broker-supplied valuations, or other methodologies designed to identify the market value for such securities. Such methodologies generally consider such factors as security prices, yields, maturities, call features, ratings and developments relating to specific securities in arriving at valuations. Money market securities and other debt securities with remaining maturities of sixty days or less may be valued at their amortized cost, which approximates market value. If such prices are not available or determined to not represent the fair value of the security as of the Fund’s pricing time, the security will be valued at fair value as determined in good faith using methods approved by the Board.

 

 S-68

 

Foreign Securities. The prices for foreign securities are reported in local currency and converted to U.S. dollars using currency exchange rates. Exchange rates are provided daily by recognized independent pricing agents.

 

Derivatives and Other Complex Securities. Exchange traded options on securities and indices purchased by the Fund generally are valued at their last trade price or, if there is no last trade price, the last bid price. Exchange traded options on securities and indices written by the Fund generally are valued at their last trade price or, if there is no last trade price, the last asked price. In the case of options traded in the over-the-counter market, if the OTC option is also an exchange traded option, the Fund will follow the rules regarding the valuation of exchange traded options. If the OTC option is not also an exchange traded option, the Fund will value the option at fair value in accordance with procedures adopted by the Board.

 

Futures and swaps cleared through a central clearing house (“centrally cleared swaps”) are valued at the settlement price established each day by the board of the exchange on which they are traded. The daily settlement prices for financial futures are provided by an independent source. On days when there is excessive volume or market volatility, or the future or centrally cleared swap does not end trading by the time the Fund calculates net asset value, the settlement price may not be available at the time at which the Fund calculates its net asset value. On such days, the best available price (which is typically the last sales price) may be used to value the Fund’s futures or centrally cleared swaps position.

 

Foreign currency forward contracts are valued at the current day’s interpolated foreign exchange rate, as calculated using the current day’s spot rate, and the thirty, sixty, ninety and one-hundred eighty day forward rates provided by an independent source.

 

If available, non-centrally cleared swaps, collateralized debt obligations, collateralized loan obligations and bank loans are priced based on valuations provided by an independent third party pricing agent. If a price is not available from an independent third party pricing agent, the security will be valued at fair value as determined in good faith using methods approved by the Board.

 

Use of Third-Party Independent Pricing Agents and Independent Brokers. Pursuant to contracts with the Administrator, prices for most securities held by the Fund are provided daily by third-party independent pricing agents that are approved by the Board. The valuations provided by third-party independent pricing agents are reviewed daily by the Administrator.

 

If a security price cannot be obtained from an independent, third-party pricing agent, the Administrator shall seek to obtain a bid price from at least one independent broker.

 

Fair Value Procedures. Securities for which market prices are not “readily available” or which cannot be valued using the methodologies described above are valued in accordance with Fair Value Procedures established by the Board and implemented through the Fair Value Pricing Committee. The members of the Fair Value Pricing Committee report, as necessary, to the Board regarding portfolio valuation determinations. The Board, from time to time, will review these methods of valuation and will recommend changes which may be necessary to assure that the investments of the Fund are valued at fair value.

 

 S-69

 

Some of the more common reasons that may necessitate a security being valued using Fair Value Procedures include: the security’s trading has been halted or suspended; the security has been de-listed from a national exchange; the security’s primary trading market is temporarily closed at a time when under normal conditions it would be open; the security has not been traded for an extended period of time; the security’s primary pricing source is not able or willing to provide a price; trading of the security is subject to local government-imposed restrictions; or a significant event with respect to a security has occurred after the close of the market or exchange on which the security principally trades and before the time the Fund calculates net asset value. When a security is valued in accordance with the Fair Value Procedures, the Fair Value Pricing Committee will determine the value after taking into consideration relevant information reasonably available to the Fair Value Pricing Committee.

 

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, if any, are declared and paid annually by the Fund. Distributions of net realized capital gains, if any, generally are declared and paid once a year, but the Fund may make distributions on a more frequent basis to improve index tracking, if applicable, or to comply with the distribution requirements of the Internal Revenue Code, in all events in a manner consistent with the provisions of the 1940 Act.

 

Dividends and other distributions on shares of the Fund 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.

 

The Fund makes additional distributions to the extent necessary (i) to distribute the entire annual taxable income of the Fund, plus any net capital gains and (ii) to avoid the imposition of the excise tax imposed by Section 4982 of the Internal Revenue Code. Management of the Trust reserves the right to declare special dividends by the Fund if, in its reasonable discretion, such action is necessary or advisable to preserve the Fund’s eligibility for treatment as a RIC or to avoid imposition of income or excise taxes on undistributed income.

 

Dividend Reinvestment Service. The Trust will not make the DTC book-entry dividend reinvestment service available for use by Beneficial Owners for reinvestment of their cash proceeds, but certain individual broker-dealers may make available the DTC book-entry Dividend Reinvestment Service for use by Beneficial Owners of the Fund through DTC Participants for reinvestment of their dividend distributions. Investors should contact their brokers to ascertain the availability and description of these services. Beneficial Owners should be aware that each broker may require investors to adhere to specific procedures and timetables in order to participate in the dividend reinvestment service and investors should ascertain from their brokers such necessary details. If this service is available and used, dividend distributions of both income and realized gains will be automatically reinvested in additional whole shares issued by the Trust of the Fund at NAV per share. Distributions reinvested in additional shares of the Fund will nevertheless be taxable to Beneficial Owners acquiring such additional shares to the same extent as if such distributions had been received in cash.

 

 S-70

 

FEDERAL INCOME TAXES

 

The following is a summary of certain additional U.S. federal income tax considerations generally affecting the Fund and its shareholders that supplements the summary in the Prospectus. No attempt is made to present a comprehensive explanation of the federal, state, local or foreign tax treatment of the Fund or its shareholders, and the discussion here and in the Prospectus is not intended to be a substitute for careful tax planning. The summary is very general, and does not address investors subject to special rules, such as investors who hold shares through an individual retirement account (“IRA”), 401(k) or other tax-advantaged account.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 S-71

 

If the Fund fails to satisfy the 90% Test or the Asset Test, the Fund may be eligible for relief provisions if the failures are due to reasonable cause and not willful neglect and if a penalty tax is paid with respect to each failure to satisfy the applicable requirements. Additionally, relief is provided for certain de minimis failures of the Asset Test where the Fund corrects the failure within a specified period of time. In order to be eligible for the relief provisions with respect to a failure to meet the Asset Test, the Fund may be required to dispose of certain assets. If these relief provisions are not available to the Fund and it fails to qualify for treatment as a RIC for a taxable year, all of its taxable income would be subject to tax at the regular corporate income tax rate (which the Tax Act reduced to 21%) without any deduction for distributions to shareholders, and its distributions (including capital gains distributions) generally would be taxable as ordinary income dividends to its shareholders, subject to the dividends-received deduction for corporate shareholders and the lower tax rates on qualified dividend income received by noncorporate shareholders. In addition, the Fund could be required to recognize unrealized gains, pay substantial taxes and interest, and make substantial distributions before requalifying as a RIC. If the Fund determines that it will not qualify for treatment as a RIC, the Fund will establish procedures to reflect the anticipated tax liability in the Fund’s NAV.

 

Although the Fund intends to distribute substantially all of its net investment income and may distribute its capital gains for any taxable year, the Fund will be subject to federal income taxation to the extent any such income or gains are not distributed.

 

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

 

 S-72

 

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

 

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

 

Taxation of Shareholders. The Fund receives income generally in the form of dividends and interest on investments. This income, plus net short-term capital gains, if any, less expenses incurred in the operation of the Fund, constitutes the Fund’s net investment income from which dividends may be paid to you. Any distributions by the Fund from such income will be taxable to you as ordinary income or at the lower capital gains rates that apply to individuals receiving qualified dividend income, whether you take them in cash or in additional shares.

 

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

 

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Distributions by the Fund of its net short-term capital gains will be taxable as ordinary income. Capital gains distributions consisting of the Fund’s net capital gains will be taxable as long-term capital gains for individual shareholders currently set at a maximum rate of 20% regardless of how long you have held your shares in the Fund.

 

In the case of corporate shareholders, the Fund’s distributions (other than capital gain distributions) generally qualify for the dividends-received deduction to the extent such distributions are so reported and do not exceed the gross amount of qualifying dividends received by the Fund for the year. Generally, and subject to certain limitations (including certain holding period limitations), a dividend will be treated as a qualifying dividend if it has been received from a domestic corporation.

 

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

 

Although dividends generally will be treated as distributed when paid, any dividend declared by the Fund in October, November or December and payable to shareholders of record in such a month that is paid during the following January will be treated for U.S. federal income tax purposes as received by shareholders on December 31 of the calendar year in which it was declared. A taxable shareholder may wish to avoid investing in the Fund shortly before a dividend or other distribution, because the distribution will generally be taxable even though it may economically represent a return of a portion of the shareholder’s investment.

 

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

 

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

 

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Sales, Exchanges or Redemptions. A sale of shares or redemption of Creation Units in the Fund may give rise to a gain or loss. In general, any gain or loss realized upon a taxable disposition of shares will be treated as capital gain or loss if the shares are capital assets in the shareholder’s hands, and will be long-term capital gain or loss if the shares have been held for more than 12 months, and short-term capital gain or loss if the shares are held for 12 months or less. However, if shares on which a shareholder has received a long-term capital gain distribution are subsequently sold, exchanged, or redeemed and such shares have been held for six months or less, any loss recognized will be treated as a long-term capital loss to the extent of the long-term capital gain distribution. In addition, the loss realized on a sale or other disposition of shares will be disallowed to the extent a shareholder repurchases (or enters into a contract or option to repurchase) shares within a period of 61 days (beginning 30 days before and ending 30 days after the disposition of the shares). This loss disallowance rule will apply to shares received through the reinvestment of dividends during the 61-day period. In such a case, the basis of the newly purchased shares will be adjusted to reflect the disallowed loss.

 

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

 

Any gain or loss realized upon the creation of Creation Units will generally be treated as long-term capital gain or loss if the securities exchanged for such Creation Units have been held for more than one year and were held as capital assets in the hands of the exchanging Authorized Participant. Any capital gain or loss realized upon the redemption of Creation Units will generally be treated as long-term capital gain or loss if the shares comprising the Creation Units have been held for more than one year. Otherwise, such capital gains or losses will be treated as short-term capital gains or losses. Any loss realized upon a redemption of Creation Units held for six months or less should be treated as a long-term capital loss to the extent of any amounts treated as distributions to the applicable Authorized Participant of long-term capital gains with respect to the Creation Units (including any amounts credited to the Authorized Participant as undistributed capital gains).

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

If the Fund acquires any equity interest in certain foreign investment entities (i) that receive at least 75% of their annual gross income from passive sources (such as interest, dividends, certain rents and royalties, or capital gains) or (ii) where at least 50% of the corporation’s assets (computed based on average fair market value) either produce or are held for the production of passive income (“passive foreign investment companies” or “PFICs”), the Fund will generally be subject to one of the following special tax regimes: (i) the Fund may be liable for U.S. federal income tax, and an additional interest charge, on a portion of any “excess distribution” from such foreign entity or any gain from the disposition of such shares, even if the entire distribution or gain is paid out by the Fund as a dividend to its shareholders; (ii) if the Fund were able and elected to treat a PFIC as a “qualified electing fund” or “QEF,” the Fund would be required each year to include in income, and distribute to shareholders in accordance with the distribution requirements set forth above, the Fund’s pro rata share of the ordinary earnings and net capital gains of the PFIC, whether or not such earnings or gains are distributed to the Fund; or (iii) the Fund may be entitled to mark-to-market annually shares of the PFIC, and in such event would be required to distribute to shareholders any such mark-to-market gains in accordance with the distribution requirements set forth above. Pursuant to recently issued Treasury regulations, amounts included in income each year by the Fund arising from a QEF election, will be “qualifying income” under the 90% Test (as described above) even if not distributed to the Fund, if the Fund derives such income from its business of investing in stock, securities or currencies. The Fund intends to make the appropriate tax elections, if possible, and take any additional steps that are necessary to mitigate the effect of these rules. The Fund may limit and/or manage its holdings in passive foreign investment companies to limit its tax liability or maximize its return from these investments.

 

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The Fund may be subject to withholding and other taxes imposed by foreign countries, including taxes on interest, dividends and capital gains with respect to any investments in those countries. Any such taxes would, if imposed, reduce the yield on or return from those investments. Tax conventions between certain countries and the U.S. may reduce or eliminate such taxes in some cases. If more than 50 percent of the value of the Fund’s total assets at the close of its taxable year consists of stock or securities of foreign corporations, then the Fund will be eligible to and intends to file and election with the IRS that may enable shareholders, in effect, to receive either the benefit of a foreign tax credit, or a deduction from such taxes, with respect to any foreign and U.S. possessions income taxes paid by the Fund, subject to certain limitations. Pursuant to the election, the Fund will treat those taxes as dividends paid to its shareholders. Each such shareholder will be required to include a proportionate share of those taxes in gross income as income received from a foreign source and must treat the amount so included as if the shareholder had paid the foreign tax directly. The shareholder may then either deduct the taxes deemed paid by him or her in computing his or her taxable income or, alternatively, use the foregoing information in calculating any foreign tax credit they may be entitled to use against the shareholders’ federal income tax. If the Fund makes the election, the Fund (or its administrative agent) will report annually to its shareholders the respective amounts per share of the Fund’s income from sources within, and taxes paid to, foreign countries and U.S. possessions.

 

Backup Withholding. The Fund will be required in certain cases to withhold (as “backup withholding”) at a 24% withholding rate and remit to the U.S. Treasury the withheld amount of dividends paid to any shareholder who: (1) fails to provide a correct taxpayer identification number certified under penalty of perjury; (2) is subject to backup withholding by the IRS for failure to properly report all payments of interest or dividends; (3) fails to provide a certified statement that he or she is not subject to backup withholding; or (4) fails to provide a certified statement that he or she is a U.S. person (including a U.S. resident alien). The backup withholding rate is 24%.

 

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

 

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Unless certain non-U.S. entities that hold Fund shares comply with IRS requirements that generally require them to report information regarding U.S. persons investing in, or holding accounts with, such entities, a 30% withholding tax may apply to Fund distributions payable to such entities. A non-U.S. shareholder may be exempt from the withholding described in this paragraph under an applicable intergovernmental agreement between the U.S. and a foreign government, provided that the shareholder and the applicable foreign government comply with the terms of the agreement. A beneficial holder of shares who is a foreign person may be subject to foreign, state and local tax and to the U.S. federal estate tax in addition to the federal income tax consequences referred to above. If a shareholder is eligible for the benefits of a tax treaty, any effectively connected income or gain will generally be subject to U.S. federal income tax on a net basis only if it is also attributable to a permanent establishment or fixed base maintained by the shareholder in the United States.

 

Tax-Exempt Shareholders. Certain tax-exempt shareholders, including qualified pension plans, individual retirement accounts, salary deferral arrangements, 401(k)s, and other tax-exempt entities, generally are exempt from federal income taxation except with respect to their unrelated business taxable income (“UBTI”). Tax-exempt entities are not permitted to offset losses from one trade or business against the income or gain of another trade or business. Certain net losses incurred prior to January 1, 2018 are permitted to offset gain and income created by an unrelated trade or business, if otherwise available. Under current law, the Fund generally serves to block UBTI from being realized by its tax-exempt shareholders. However, notwithstanding the foregoing, a tax-exempt shareholder could realize UBTI by virtue of an investment in the Fund where, for example: (i) the Fund invests in residual interests of Real Estate Mortgage Investment Conduits (“REMICs”), (ii) the Fund invests in a REIT that is a taxable mortgage pool (“TMP”) or that has a subsidiary that is a TMP or that invests in the residual interest of a REMIC, or (iii) shares in the Fund constitute debt-financed property in the hands of the tax-exempt shareholder within the meaning of section 514(b) of the Internal Revenue Code. Charitable remainder trusts are subject to special rules and should consult their tax advisor. The IRS has issued guidance with respect to these issues and prospective shareholders, especially charitable remainder trusts, are strongly encouraged to consult their tax advisors regarding these issues.

 

The Fund’s shares held in a tax-qualified retirement account will generally not be subject to federal taxation on income and capital gains distributions from the Fund until a shareholder begins receiving payments from their retirement account.

 

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

 

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

 

State Taxes. Depending upon state and local law, distributions by the Fund to its shareholders and the ownership of such shares may be subject to state and local taxes. Rules of state and local taxation of dividend and capital gains distributions from RICs often differ from the rules for federal income taxation described above. It is expected that the Fund will not be liable for any corporate excise, income or franchise tax in Delaware if it qualifies as a RIC for federal income tax purposes.

 

The foregoing discussion is based on U.S. federal tax laws and regulations which are in effect on the date of this SAI. Such laws and regulations may be changed by legislative or administrative action. Shareholders are advised to consult their tax advisors concerning their specific situations and the application of federal, state, local and foreign taxes.

 

FUND TRANSACTIONS

 

Brokerage Transactions. Generally, equity securities, both listed and over-the-counter, are bought and sold through brokerage transactions for which commissions are payable. Purchases from underwriters will include the underwriting commission or concession, and purchases from dealers serving as market makers will include a dealer’s mark-up or reflect a dealer’s mark-down. Money market securities and other debt securities are usually bought and sold directly from the issuer or an underwriter or market maker for the securities. Generally, the Fund will not pay brokerage commissions for such purchases. When a debt security is bought from an underwriter, the purchase price will usually include an underwriting commission or concession. The purchase price for securities bought from dealers serving as market makers will similarly include the dealer’s mark up or reflect a dealer’s mark down. When the Fund executes transactions in the over-the-counter market, it will generally deal with primary market makers unless prices that are more favorable are otherwise obtainable.

 

In addition, the Adviser may place a combined order for two or more accounts it manages, including the Fund, engaged in the purchase or sale of the same security if, in its judgment, joint execution is in the best interest of each participant and will result in best price and execution. Transactions involving commingled orders are allocated in a manner deemed equitable to each account or fund. Although it is recognized that, in some cases, the joint execution of orders could adversely affect the price or volume of the security that a particular account or the Fund may obtain, it is the opinion of the Adviser that the advantages of combined orders outweigh the possible disadvantages of combined orders.

 

Brokerage Selection. The Trust does not expect to use one particular broker or dealer, and when one or more brokers is believed capable of providing the best combination of price and execution, the Adviser may select a broker based upon brokerage or research services provided to the Adviser. The Adviser may pay a higher commission than otherwise obtainable from other brokers in return for such services only if a good faith determination is made that the commission is reasonable in relation to the services provided.

 

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Section 28(e) of the 1934 Act permits the Adviser, under certain circumstances, to cause the Fund to pay a broker or dealer a commission for effecting a transaction in excess of the amount of commission another broker or dealer would have charged for effecting the transaction in recognition of the value of brokerage and research services provided by the broker or dealer. In addition to agency transactions, the Adviser may receive brokerage and research services in connection with certain riskless principal transactions, in accordance with applicable SEC guidance. Brokerage and research services include: (1) furnishing advice as to the value of securities, the advisability of investing in, purchasing or selling securities, and the availability of securities or purchasers or sellers of securities; (2) furnishing analyses and reports concerning issuers, industries, securities, economic factors and trends, portfolio strategy, and the performance of accounts; and (3) effecting securities transactions and performing functions incidental thereto (such as clearance, settlement, and custody). In the case of research services, the Adviser believes that access to independent investment research is beneficial to its investment decision-making processes and, therefore, to the Fund.

 

To the extent that research services may be a factor in selecting brokers, such services may be in written form or through direct contact with individuals and may include information as to particular companies and securities as well as market, economic, or institutional areas and information which assists in the valuation and pricing of investments. Examples of research-oriented services for which the Adviser might utilize Fund commissions include research reports and other information on the economy, industries, sectors, groups of securities, individual companies, statistical information, political developments, technical market action, pricing and appraisal services, credit analysis, risk measurement analysis, performance and other analysis. The Adviser may use research services furnished by brokers in servicing all client accounts and not all services may necessarily be used by the Adviser in connection with the Fund or any other specific client account that paid commissions to the broker providing such services. Information so received by the Adviser will be in addition to and not in lieu of the services required to be performed by the Adviser under the Advisory Agreement. Any advisory or other fees paid to the Adviser are not reduced as a result of the receipt of research services.

 

In some cases the Adviser may receive a service from a broker that has both a “research” and a “non-research” use. When this occurs, the Adviser makes a good faith allocation, under all the circumstances, between the research and non-research uses of the service. The percentage of the service that is used for research purposes may be paid for with client commissions, while the Adviser will use its own funds to pay for the percentage of the service that is used for non-research purposes. In making this good faith allocation, the Adviser faces a potential conflict of interest, but the Adviser believes that its allocation procedures are reasonably designed to ensure that it appropriately allocates the anticipated use of such services to their research and non-research uses.

 

From time to time, the Adviser may purchase new issues of securities for clients, including the Fund, in a fixed price offering. In these situations, the seller may be a member of the selling group that will, in addition to selling securities, provide the Adviser with research services. FINRA has adopted rules expressly permitting these types of arrangements under certain circumstances. Generally, the seller will provide research “credits” in these situations at a rate that is higher than that which is available for typical secondary market transactions. These arrangements may not fall within the safe harbor of Section 28(e).

 

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

 

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Securities of “Regular Broker-Dealers.” The Fund is required to identify any securities of its “regular brokers and dealers” (as such term is defined in the 1940 Act) that the Fund held during its most recent fiscal year. Because the Fund is new, as of the date of this SAI, the Fund did not hold any securities of its “regular brokers or dealers.”

 

Portfolio Turnover Rate. Portfolio turnover is calculated by dividing the lesser of total purchases or sales of portfolio securities for the fiscal year by the monthly average value of portfolio securities owned during the fiscal year. Excluded from both the numerator and denominator are amounts relating to securities whose maturities at the time of acquisition were one year or less. Instruments excluded from the calculation of portfolio turnover generally would include the futures contracts in which the Fund may invest since such contracts generally have remaining maturities of less than one year. The Fund may at times hold investments in other short-term instruments, such as repurchase agreements, which are excluded for purposes of computing portfolio turnover.

 

PORTFOLIO HOLDINGS DISCLOSURE POLICIES AND PROCEDURES

 

The Board has adopted a policy regarding the disclosure of information about the Fund’s security holdings. The Fund’s entire portfolio holdings are publicly disseminated each day the Fund is open for business through financial reporting and news services including publicly available internet websites, as well as through the following website: www.rayliantfunds.com. In addition, the composition of the in-kind creation basket and the in-kind redemption basket is publicly disseminated daily prior to the opening of the Exchange via the NSCC.

 

Greater than daily access to information concerning the Fund’s portfolio holdings will be permitted (i) to certain personnel of service providers to the Fund involved in portfolio management and providing administrative, operational, risk management, or other support to portfolio management, and (ii) to other personnel of the Fund’s service providers who deal directly with, or assist in, functions related to investment management, administration, custody and fund accounting, as may be necessary to conduct business in the ordinary course in a manner consistent with agreements with the Fund, and the terms of the Trust’s current registration statement. From time to time, and in the ordinary course of business, such information may also be disclosed (i) to other entities that provide services to the Fund, including pricing information vendors, and third parties that deliver analytical, statistical or consulting services to the Fund and (ii) generally after it has been disseminated to the NSCC.

 

The Fund will disclose its complete portfolio holdings in public filings with the SEC on a quarterly basis, based on the Fund’s fiscal year-end, within 60 days of the end of the quarter, and will provide that information to shareholders, as required by federal securities laws and regulations thereunder.

 

No person is authorized to disclose any of the Fund’s portfolio holdings or other investment positions (whether in writing, by fax, by e-mail, orally, or by other means) except in accordance with this policy. The Trust’s Chief Compliance Officer may authorize disclosure of portfolio holdings. The Board reviews the implementation of this policy on a periodic basis.

 

DESCRIPTION OF SHARES

 

The Declaration of Trust authorizes the issuance of an unlimited number of funds and shares of each fund, each of which represents an equal proportionate interest in that fund with each other share. Shares are entitled upon liquidation to a pro rata share in the net assets of the fund. Shareholders have no preemptive rights. The Declaration of Trust provides that the Trustees may create additional series or classes of shares. All consideration received by the Trust for shares of any additional fund and all assets in which such consideration is invested would belong to that fund and would be subject to the liabilities related thereto. Share certificates representing shares will not be issued. The Fund’s shares, when issued, are fully paid and non-assessable.

 

 S-81

 

LIMITATION OF TRUSTEES’ LIABILITY

 

The Declaration of Trust provides that a Trustee shall be liable only for his or her own willful misfeasance, bad faith, gross negligence or reckless disregard of the duties involved in the conduct of the office of Trustee, and shall not be liable for errors of judgment or mistakes of fact or law. The Trustees shall not be responsible or liable in any event for any neglect or wrongdoing of any officer, agent, employee, investment adviser or principal underwriter of the Trust, nor shall any Trustee be responsible for the act or omission of any other Trustee. The Declaration of Trust also provides that the Trust shall indemnify each person who is, or has been, a Trustee, officer, employee or agent of the Trust, and any person who is serving or has served at the Trust’s request as a Trustee, officer, employee or agent of another organization in which the Trust has any interest as a shareholder, creditor or otherwise to the extent and in the manner provided in the By-Laws. However, nothing in the Declaration of Trust shall protect or indemnify a Trustee against any liability for his or her willful misfeasance, bad faith, gross negligence or reckless disregard of the duties involved in the conduct of the office of Trustee. Nothing contained in this section attempts to disclaim a Trustee’s individual liability in any manner inconsistent with the federal securities laws.

 

PROXY VOTING

 

The Board has delegated the responsibility for decisions regarding proxy voting for securities held by the Fund to the Adviser. The Adviser will vote such proxies in accordance with its proxy voting policies and procedures, which are included in Appendix B to this SAI.

 

The Trust is required to disclose annually the Fund’s complete proxy voting record during the most recent 12-month period ended June 30 on Form N-PX. This voting record will be available: (i) without charge, upon request, by calling 866-898-1688; and (ii) on the SEC’s website at http://www.sec.gov.

 

CODES OF ETHICS

 

The Board, on behalf of the Trust, has adopted a Code of Ethics pursuant to Rule 17j-1 under the 1940 Act. In addition, the Adviser, the Administrator and the Distributor have adopted Codes of Ethics pursuant to Rule 17j-1. These Codes of Ethics apply to the personal investing activities of trustees, officers and certain employees (“Access Persons”). Rule 17j-1 and the Codes of Ethics are designed to prevent unlawful practices in connection with the purchase or sale of securities by Access Persons. Under each Code of Ethics, Access Persons are permitted to invest in securities, including securities that may be purchased or held by the Fund, but are required to report their personal securities transactions for monitoring purposes. In addition, certain Access Persons are required to obtain approval before investing in initial public offerings or private placements or are prohibited from making such investments. Copies of these Codes of Ethics are on file with the SEC, and are available to the public.

 

Principal Shareholders and Control Persons

 

Because the Fund is new, as of the date of this SAI, the Fund did not have any principal shareholders or control persons to report.

 

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APPENDIX A

 

DESCRIPTION OF RATINGS

 

Description of Ratings

 

The following descriptions of securities ratings have been published by Moody’s Investors Services, Inc. (“Moody’s”), Standard & Poor’s (“S&P”), and Fitch Ratings (“Fitch”), respectively.

 

Description of Moody's Global Ratings

 

Ratings assigned on Moody’s global long-term and short-term rating scales are forward-looking opinions of the relative credit risks of financial obligations issued by non-financial corporates, financial institutions, structured finance vehicles, project finance vehicles, and public sector entities. Long-term ratings are assigned to issuers or obligations with an original maturity of one year or more and reflect both on the likelihood of a default or impairment on contractual financial obligations and the expected financial loss suffered in the event of default or impairment. Short-term ratings are assigned to obligations with an original maturity of thirteen months or less and reflect both on the likelihood of a default or impairment on contractual financial obligations and the expected financial loss suffered in the event of default or impairment.

 

Description of Moody’s Global Long-Term Ratings

 

Aaa Obligations rated Aaa are judged to be of the highest quality, subject to the lowest level of credit risk.

 

Aa Obligations rated Aa are judged to be of high quality and are subject to very low credit risk.

 

A Obligations rated A are judged to be upper-medium grade and are subject to low credit risk.

 

Baa Obligations rated Baa are judged to be medium-grade and subject to moderate credit risk and as such may possess certain speculative characteristics.

 

Ba Obligations rated Ba are judged to be speculative and are subject to substantial credit risk.

 

B Obligations rated B are considered speculative and are subject to high credit risk.

 

Caa Obligations rated Caa are judged to be speculative of poor standing and are subject to very high credit risk.

 

Ca Obligations rated Ca are highly speculative and are likely in, or very near, default, with some prospect of recovery of principal and interest.

 

C Obligations rated C are the lowest rated and are typically in default, with little prospect for recovery of principal or interest.

 

Note: Moody’s appends numerical modifiers 1, 2, and 3 to each generic rating classification from Aa through Caa. The modifier 1 indicates that the obligation ranks in the higher end of its generic rating category; the modifier 2 indicates a mid-range ranking; and the modifier 3 indicates a ranking in the lower end of that generic rating category.

 

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Hybrid Indicator (hyb)

 

The hybrid indicator (hyb) is appended to all ratings of hybrid securities issued by banks, insurers, finance companies, and securities firms. By their terms, hybrid securities allow for the omission of scheduled dividends, interest, or principal payments, which can potentially result in impairment if such an omission occurs. Hybrid securities may also be subject to contractually allowable write-downs of principal that could result in impairment. Together with the hybrid indicator, the long-term obligation rating assigned to a hybrid security is an expression of the relative credit risk associated with that security.

 

Description of Moody’s Global Short-Term Ratings

 

P-1 Issuers (or supporting institutions) rated Prime-1 have a superior ability to repay short-term debt obligations.

 

P-2 Issuers (or supporting institutions) rated Prime-2 have a strong ability to repay short-term debt obligations.

 

P-3 Issuers (or supporting institutions) rated Prime-3 have an acceptable ability to repay short-term obligations.

 

NP Issuers (or supporting institutions) rated Not Prime do not fall within any of the Prime rating categories.

 

Description of Moody’s U.S. Municipal Short-Term Obligation Ratings

 

The Municipal Investment Grade (“MIG”) scale is used to rate U.S. municipal bond anticipation notes of up to five years maturity. Municipal notes rated on the MIG scale may be secured by either pledged revenues or proceeds of a take-out financing received prior to note maturity. MIG ratings expire at the maturity of the obligation, and the issuer’s long-term rating is only one consideration in assigning the MIG rating. MIG ratings are divided into three levels—MIG 1 through MIG 3—while speculative grade short-term obligations are designated SG.

 

Moody’s U.S. municipal short-term obligation ratings are as follows:

 

MIG 1 This designation denotes superior credit quality. Excellent protection is afforded by established cash flows, highly reliable liquidity support, or demonstrated broad-based access to the market for refinancing.

 

MIG 2 This designation denotes strong credit quality. Margins of protection are ample, although not as large as in the preceding group.

 

MIG 3 This designation denotes acceptable credit quality. Liquidity and cash-flow protection may be narrow, and market access for refinancing is likely to be less well-established.

 

SG This designation denotes speculative-grade credit quality. Debt instruments in this category may lack sufficient margins of protection.

 

Description of Moody’s Demand Obligation Ratings

 

In the case of variable rate demand obligations (“VRDOs”), a two-component rating is assigned: a long or short-term debt rating and a demand obligation rating. The first element represents Moody’s evaluation of risk associated with scheduled principal and interest payments. The second element represents Moody’s evaluation of risk associated with the ability to receive purchase price upon demand (“demand feature”). The second element uses a rating from a variation of the MIG scale called the Variable Municipal Investment Grade (“VMIG”) scale.

 

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Moody’s demand obligation ratings are as follows:

 

VMIG 1 This designation denotes superior credit quality. Excellent protection is afforded by the superior short-term credit strength of the liquidity provider and structural and legal protections that ensure the timely payment of purchase price upon demand.

 

VMIG 2 This designation denotes strong credit quality. Good protection is afforded by the strong short-term credit strength of the liquidity provider and structural and legal protections that ensure the timely payment of purchase price upon demand.

 

VMIG 3 This designation denotes acceptable credit quality. Adequate protection is afforded by the satisfactory short-term credit strength of the liquidity provider and structural and legal protections that ensure the timely payment of purchase price upon demand.

 

SG This designation denotes speculative-grade credit quality. Demand features rated in this category may be supported by a liquidity provider that does not have an investment grade short-term rating or may lack the structural and/or legal protections necessary to ensure the timely payment of purchase price upon demand.

 

Description of S&P’s Issue Credit Ratings

 

An S&P issue credit rating is a forward-looking opinion about the creditworthiness of an obligor with respect to a specific financial obligation, a specific class of financial obligations, or a specific financial program (including ratings on medium-term note programs and commercial paper programs). It takes into consideration the creditworthiness of guarantors, insurers, or other forms of credit enhancement on the obligation and takes into account the currency in which the obligation is denominated. The opinion reflects S&P’s view of the obligor’s capacity and willingness to meet its financial commitments as they come due, and this opinion may assess terms, such as collateral security and subordination, which could affect ultimate payment in the event of default.

 

Issue credit ratings can be either long-term or short-term. Short-term ratings are generally assigned to those obligations considered short-term in the relevant market. Short-term ratings are also used to indicate the creditworthiness of an obligor with respect to put features on long-term obligations. Medium-term notes are assigned long-term ratings.

 

Issue credit ratings are based, in varying degrees, on S&P’s analysis of the following considerations:

 

• The likelihood of payment—the capacity and willingness of the obligor to meet its financial commitments on a financial obligation in accordance with the terms of the obligation;

 

• The nature of and provisions of the financial obligation; and the promise S&P imputes; and

 

• The protection afforded by, and relative position of, the financial obligation in the event of bankruptcy, reorganization, or other arrangement under the laws of bankruptcy and other laws affecting creditors’ rights.

 

An issue rating is an assessment of default risk but may incorporate an assessment of relative seniority or ultimate recovery in the event of default. Junior obligations are typically rated lower than senior obligations, to reflect lower priority in bankruptcy, as noted above. (Such differentiation may apply when an entity has both senior and subordinated obligations, secured and unsecured obligations, or operating company and holding company obligations.)

 

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NR indicates that a rating has not been assigned or is no longer assigned.

 

Description of S&P’s Long-Term Issue Credit Ratings*

 

AAA An obligation rated ‘AAA’ has the highest rating assigned by S&P. The obligor’s capacity to meet its financial commitments on the obligation is extremely strong.

 

AA An obligation rated ‘AA’ differs from the highest-rated obligations only to a small degree. The obligor’s capacity to meet its financial commitments on the obligation is very strong.

 

A An obligation rated ‘A’ is somewhat more susceptible to the adverse effects of changes in circumstances and economic conditions than obligations in higher-rated categories. However, the obligor’s capacity to meet its financial commitments on the obligation is still strong.

 

BBB An obligation rated ‘BBB’ exhibits adequate protection parameters. However, adverse economic conditions or changing circumstances are more likely to weaken the obligor’s capacity to meet its financial commitments on the obligation.

 

BB; B; CCC; CC; and C Obligations rated ‘BB’, ‘B’, ‘CCC’, ‘CC’, and ‘C’ are regarded as having significant speculative characteristics. ‘BB’ indicates the least degree of speculation and ‘C’ the highest. While such obligations will likely have some quality and protective characteristics, these may be outweighed by large uncertainties or major exposure to adverse conditions.

 

BB An obligation rated ‘BB’ is less vulnerable to nonpayment than other speculative issues. However, it faces major ongoing uncertainties or exposure to adverse business, financial, or economic conditions that could lead to the obligor's inadequate capacity to meet its financial commitments on the obligation.

 

B An obligation rated ‘B’ is more vulnerable to nonpayment than obligations rated ‘BB’, but the obligor currently has the capacity to meet its financial commitments on the obligation. Adverse business, financial, or economic conditions will likely impair the obligor's capacity or willingness to meet its financial commitments on the obligation.

 

CCC An obligation rated ‘CCC’ is currently vulnerable to nonpayment and is dependent upon favorable business, financial, and economic conditions for the obligor to meet its financial commitments on the obligation. In the event of adverse business, financial, or economic conditions, the obligor is not likely to have the capacity to meet its financial commitments on the obligation.

 

CC An obligation rated ‘CC’ is currently highly vulnerable to nonpayment. The ‘CC’ rating is used when a default has not yet occurred but S&P expects default to be a virtual certainty, regardless of the anticipated time to default.

 

C An obligation rated ‘C’ is currently highly vulnerable to nonpayment, and the obligation is expected to have lower relative seniority or lower ultimate recovery compared with obligations that are rated higher.

 

D An obligation rated ‘D’ is in default or in breach of an imputed promise. For non-hybrid capital instruments, the ‘D’ rating category is used when payments on an obligation are not made on the date due, unless S&P believes that such payments will be made within five business days in the absence of a stated grace period or within the earlier of the stated grace period or 30 calendar days. The ‘D’ rating also will be used upon the filing of a bankruptcy petition or the taking of similar action and where default on an obligation is a virtual certainty, for example due to automatic stay provisions. An obligation's rating is lowered to ‘D’ if it is subject to a distressed exchange offer.

 

*Ratings from ‘AA’ to ‘CCC’ may be modified by the addition of a plus (+) or minus (-) sign to show relative standing within the rating categories.

 

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Description of S&P’s Short-Term Issue Credit Ratings

 

A-1 A short-term obligation rated ‘A-1’ is rated in the highest category by S&P. The obligor’s capacity to meet its financial commitments on the obligation is strong. Within this category, certain obligations are designated with a plus sign (+). This indicates that the obligor's capacity to meet its financial commitments on these obligations is extremely strong.

 

A-2 A short-term obligation rated ‘A-2’ is somewhat more susceptible to the adverse effects of changes in circumstances and economic conditions than obligations in higher rating categories. However, the obligor’s capacity to meet its financial commitments on the obligation is satisfactory.

 

A-3 A short-term obligation rated ‘A-3’ exhibits adequate protection parameters. However, adverse economic conditions or changing circumstances are more likely to weaken an obligor’s capacity to meet its financial commitments on the obligation.

 

B A short-term obligation rated ‘B’ is regarded as vulnerable and has significant speculative characteristics. The obligor currently has the capacity to meet its financial commitments; however, it faces major ongoing uncertainties that could lead to the obligor's inadequate capacity to meet its financial commitments.

 

C A short-term obligation rated ‘C’ is currently vulnerable to nonpayment and is dependent upon favorable business, financial, and economic conditions for the obligor to meet its financial commitments on the obligation.

 

D A short-term obligation rated ‘D’ is in default or in breach of an imputed promise. For non-hybrid capital instruments, the ‘D’ rating category is used when payments on an obligation are not made on the date due, unless S&P believes that such payments will be made within any stated grace period. However, any stated grace period longer than five business days will be treated as five business days. The ‘D’ rating also will be used upon the filing of a bankruptcy petition or the taking of a similar action and where default on an obligation is a virtual certainty, for example due to automatic stay provisions. An obligation's rating is lowered to ‘D’ if it is subject to a distressed exchange offer.

 

Description of S&P’s Municipal Short-Term Note Ratings

 

An S&P U.S. municipal note rating reflects S&P’s opinion about the liquidity factors and market access risks unique to the notes. Notes due in three years or less will likely receive a note rating. Notes with an original maturity of more than three years will most likely receive a long-term debt rating. In determining which type of rating, if any, to assign, S&P’s analysis will review the following considerations:

 

• Amortization schedule—the larger the final maturity relative to other maturities, the more likely it will be treated as a note; and

 

• Source of payment—the more dependent the issue is on the market for its refinancing, the more likely it will be treated as a note.

 

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S&P’s municipal short-term note ratings are as follows:

 

SP-1 Strong capacity to pay principal and interest. An issue determined to possess a very strong capacity to pay debt service is given a plus (+) designation.

 

SP-2 Satisfactory capacity to pay principal and interest, with some vulnerability to adverse financial and economic changes over the term of the notes.

 

SP-3 Speculative capacity to pay principal and interest.

 

D ‘D’ is assigned upon failure to pay the note when due, completion of a distressed exchange offer, or the filing of a bankruptcy petition or the taking of similar action and where default on an obligation is a virtual certainty, for example due to automatic stay provisions.

 

Description of Fitch’s Credit Ratings

 

Fitch’s credit ratings relating to issuers are an opinion on the relative ability of an entity to meet financial commitments, such as interest, preferred dividends, repayment of principal, insurance claims or counterparty obligations. Credit ratings relating to securities and obligations of an issuer can include a recovery expectation. Credit ratings are used by investors as indications of the likelihood of receiving the money owed to them in accordance with the terms on which they invested.

 

The terms “investment grade” and “speculative grade” have established themselves over time as shorthand to describe the categories ‘AAA’ to ‘BBB’ (investment grade) and ‘BB’ to ‘D’ (speculative grade). The terms investment grade and speculative grade are market conventions, and do not imply any recommendation or endorsement of a specific security for investment purposes. Investment grade categories indicate relatively low to moderate credit risk, while ratings in the speculative categories either signal a higher level of credit risk or that a default has already occurred.

 

For the convenience of investors, Fitch may also include issues relating to a rated issuer that are not and have not been rated on its webpage. Such issues are denoted ‘NR.’

 

Fitch’s credit ratings do not directly address any risk other than credit risk. In particular, ratings do not deal with the risk of a market value loss on a rated security due to changes in interest rates, liquidity and other market considerations. However, in terms of payment obligation on the rated liability, market risk may be considered to the extent that it influences the ability of an issuer to pay upon a commitment. Ratings nonetheless do not reflect market risk to the extent that they influence the size or other conditionality of the obligation to pay upon a commitment (for example, in the case of index-linked bonds).

 

In the default components of ratings assigned to individual obligations or instruments, the agency typically rates to the likelihood of non-payment or default in accordance with the terms of that instrument’s documentation. In limited cases, Fitch may include additional considerations (i.e. rate to a higher or lower standard than that implied in the obligation’s documentation).

 

Note: The modifiers “+” or “-” may be appended to a rating to denote relative status within major rating categories. Such suffixes are not added to the ‘AAA’ ratings and ratings below the ‘CCC’ category. For the short-term rating category of ‘F1’, a ‘+’ may be appended.

 

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Description of Fitch’s Long-Term Corporate Finance Obligations Ratings

 

AAA Highest credit quality. ‘AAA’ ratings denote the lowest expectation of credit risk. They are assigned only in cases of exceptionally strong capacity for payment of financial commitments. This capacity is highly unlikely to be adversely affected by foreseeable events.

 

AA Very high credit quality. ‘AA’ ratings denote expectations of very low credit risk. They indicate very strong capacity for payment of financial commitments. This capacity is not significantly vulnerable to foreseeable events.

 

A High credit quality. ‘A’ ratings denote expectations of low credit risk. The capacity for payment of financial commitments is considered strong. This capacity may, nevertheless, be more vulnerable to adverse business or economic conditions than is the case for higher ratings.

 

BBB Good credit quality. ‘BBB’ ratings indicate that expectations of credit risk are currently low. The capacity for payment of financial commitments is considered adequate, but adverse business or economic conditions are more likely to impair this capacity.

 

BB Speculative. ‘BB’ ratings indicate an elevated vulnerability to credit risk, particularly in the event of adverse changes in business or economic conditions over time; however, business or financial alternatives may be available to allow financial commitments to be met.

 

B Highly speculative. ‘B’ ratings indicate that material credit risk is present.

 

CCC Substantial credit risk. ‘CCC’ ratings indicate that substantial credit risk is present.

 

CC Very high levels of credit risk. ‘CC’ ratings indicate very high levels of credit risk.

 

C Exceptionally high levels of credit risk. ‘C’ ratings indicate exceptionally high levels of credit risk.

 

Ratings in the categories of ‘CCC’, ‘CC’ and ‘C’ can also relate to obligations or issuers that are in default. In this case, the rating does not opine on default risk but reflects the recovery expectation only.

 

Defaulted obligations typically are not assigned ‘RD’ or ‘D’ ratings, but are instead rated in the ‘CCC’ to ‘C’ rating categories, depending on their recovery prospects and other relevant characteristics. This approach better aligns obligations that have comparable overall expected loss but varying vulnerability to default and loss.

 

Description of Fitch’s Short-Term Ratings

 

A short-term issuer or obligation rating is based in all cases on the short-term vulnerability to default of the rated entity and relates to the capacity to meet financial obligations in accordance with the documentation governing the relevant obligation. Short-term deposit ratings may be adjusted for loss severity. Short-Term Ratings are assigned to obligations whose initial maturity is viewed as “short term” based on market convention. Typically, this means up to 13 months for corporate, sovereign, and structured obligations, and up to 36 months for obligations in U.S. public finance markets.

 

Fitch’s short-term ratings are as follows:

 

F1 Highest short-term credit quality. Indicates the strongest intrinsic capacity for timely payment of financial commitments; may have an added “+” to denote any exceptionally strong credit feature.

 

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F2 Good short-term credit quality. Good intrinsic capacity for timely payment of financial commitments.

 

F3 Fair short-term credit quality. The intrinsic capacity for timely payment of financial commitments is adequate.

 

B Speculative short-term credit quality. Minimal capacity for timely payment of financial commitments, plus heightened vulnerability to near term adverse changes in financial and economic conditions.

 

C High short-term default risk. Default is a real possibility.

 

RD Restricted default. Indicates an entity that has defaulted on one or more of its financial commitments, although it continues to meet other financial obligations. Typically applicable to entity ratings only.

 

D Default. Indicates a broad-based default event for an entity, or the default of a short-term obligation.

 

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APPENDIX B

 

PROXY VOTING POLICY AND PROCEDURES

 

 

RAYLIANT GLOBAL ADVISORS LIMITED

 

PROXY VOTING AND GOVERNANCE POLICY

 

Owner: Investment Operations, Vicky Wan

 

Version: 2.0

 

Edited Date: Aug. 3, 2020

 

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Table of Content

 

Contents

 

I.   Introduction 3
II.   Applicable Entities 3
III.   Proxy Voting Guidelines 3
  A Board and Director Proposal   3
  B Compensation Proposal 6
  C Capital Changes and Anti-Takeover Proposals 9
  D Auditor Proposal 12
  E Shareholder Access and Voting Proposals 13
  F Environmental, Social and Disclosure Proposals 14
IV.   Avoiding Conflicts of Interest 16
  A Introduction 16
  B Adherence to Stated Proxy Voting Policies   16
  C Disclosure of Conflicts   16
V.   Proxy Voting Procedures 17
  A Vote Administration   17
  B Share Blocking 17
  C Loaned Securities   17
APPENDIX   Proxy Voting Committee Members 18
APPENDIX   Proxy Voting Form 19
APPENDIX   Statement of Policy Regarding Responsible Investment 20

 

 

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I.INTRODUCTION

Rayliant Global Advisors Limited (“RGA”) and its subsidiaries (collectively “Rayliant” or the “Firm”) have a fiduciary duty to make investment decisions that are in our clients’ best interests by maximizing the value of their shares.

 

This Proxy Voting and Governance Policy (“Proxy Voting and Governance Policy” or “Policy”), which outlines our policies for proxy voting and includes a wide range of issues that often appear on proxies globally. We apply the principles in this policy to our proxy decisions.

 

We have a Proxy Voting Committee (“Proxy Voting Committee” or “Committee”), which provides oversight and includes senior investment professionals from Portfolio Management, Research, Compliance, and Investment Operations personnel. It is the responsibility of the Committee to review issues not covered by these guidelines, and to review the Policy at least on annual basis. For the members of committee, please refer to Appendix A.

 

We believe a company’s environmental, social and governance (“ESG”) practices may have a significant effect on the value of the company, and we take these factors into consideration when voting. We sometimes manage accounts where proxy voting is directed by clients or newly acquired subsidiary companies. In these cases, voting decisions may deviate from this Policy.

 

II.APPLICABLE ENTITIES

This policy shall apply to Rayliant Investment Research (“RIR).

 

III.PROXY VOTING GUIDELINES

Our proxy voting guidelines are both principles-based and rules-based. We generally vote proposals in accordance with these guidelines but, consistent with our “principles-based” approach to proxy voting, we may deviate from the guidelines if warranted by the specific facts and circumstances of the situation (i.e., if, under the circumstances, we believe that deviating from our stated policy is necessary to help maximize long-term shareholder value).

 

In addition, these guidelines are not intended to address all issues that may appear on all proxy ballots. We will evaluate on a case-by-case basis any proposal not specifically addressed by these guidelines, whether submitted by management or shareholders, always keeping in mind our fiduciary duty to make voting decisions that, by maximizing long-term shareholder value, are in our clients’ best interests.

 

A. BOARD AND DIRECTOR PROPOSALS

 

1. Board Diversity (SHP i.e. Shareholder primacy)

 

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Board diversity is increasingly an important topic. We believe a diversity of ethnicity, gender and experience is an important consideration. We expect boards to be comprised of a diverse selection of individuals who bring their personal and professional experiences. Hence, we generally will support proposals.

 

2. Changes in Board Structure and Amending the Articles of Incorporation

Companies may propose various provisions with respect to the structure of the board of directors, including changing the manner in which board vacancies are filled, directors are nominated and the number of directors. Such proposals may require amending the charter or by-laws. We generally will oppose proposals without seeking shareholder approval and/or restricting or diminishing shareholder rights.

 

3. Classified Boards

A classified board typically is divided into three separate classes. Each class holds office for a term of two or three years. Only a portion of the board can be elected or replaced each year. Because this type of proposal has fundamental antitakeover implications, we generally will oppose the adoption of classified boards unless there is a justifiable financial reason or an adequate sunset provision exists. However, where a classified board already exists, we will not oppose directors who sit on such boards for that reason. We also will vote against directors that fail to implement shareholder approved proposals to declassify boards that we previously supported.

 

4. Director Liability and Indemnification

Some companies argue that increased indemnification and decreased liability for directors are important to ensure the continued availability of competent directors. However, others argue that the risk of such personal liability minimizes the propensity for corruption and recklessness.

We generally will support proposals adopting indemnification for directors with respect to acts conducted in the normal course of business. We will also support proposals that expand coverage for directors and officers where, despite an unsuccessful legal defense, we believe the director or officer acted in good faith and in the best interests of the company.

 

However, we will oppose proposals to indemnify auditors.

 

5. Disclose CEO Succession Plan (SHP)

Proposals like these are often suggested by shareholders of companies with long-tenured CEOs and/or high employee turnover rates. Even though some markets might not require the disclosure of a CEO succession plan, we do think it is good business practice and will support these proposals.

 

6. Election of Directors

The election of directors is an important vote. We expect directors to represent shareholder interests at the company and maximize shareholder value. We generally will vote in favor of the management-proposed slate of directors while considering a number of factors, including the market best practice. We believe companies should

 

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have a majority of independent directors and independent key committees.

 

In addition:

 

We believe that directors have a duty to respond to shareholder actions that have received significant shareholder support. We will vote against directors (or withhold votes for directors if plurality voting applies) who fail to act on key issues.

 

We will abstain or vote against (depending on a company’s history of disclosure in this regard) directors of issuers where there is insufficient information about the nominees disclosed in the proxy statement.

 

We will vote against directors for unilateral bylaw amendments that diminish shareholder rights.

 

a. Controlled Company Exemption

We generally will not oppose that company’s directors simply because the board does not include a majority of independent members. And as defined by the U.S. stock exchanges, we will only vote against insiders or affiliates who sit on the audit committee, but not other key committees.

 

b. Voting for Director Nominees in a Contested Election

On occasion, directors are forced to compete for election against outside director nominees (contested elections). As we believe that strong management creates longterm shareholder value, we generally will vote in support of management of companies in which the funds invested and place the persuasive burden on the nominee or the proposing shareholder to prove that they are better suited to serve on the board than management's nominees. We may abstain or oppose proposals if we have concerns on followings:

 

• Management’s track record and strategic plan for enhancing shareholder value;

• The qualifications of the nominees.

 

7. Independent Lead Director (SHP)

We support shareholder proposals that request a company to amend its by-laws to establish an independent lead director, if the position of chairman is non-independent. If a company has such an independent lead director in place, we will generally oppose a proposal to require an independent board chairman, barring any additional board leadership concerns.

 

8. Limit Term of Directorship (SHP)

These proposals seek to limit the term during which a director may serve on a board to a set number of years. When these proposals are not controversial or discriminatory, we generally will vote for the proposals.

 

Where boards find that age limits or term limits are the most efficient and objective mechanism for ensuring periodic board refreshment, we generally defer to the board’s determination in setting such limits.

 

9. Majority of Independent Directors (SHP)

 

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Each company’s board of directors have a duty to act in the best interest of the company’s shareholders at all times. We believe that these interests are best served by having directors who bring objectivity to the company and are free from potential conflicts of interests. Accordingly, we will support proposals seeking a majority of independent directors on the board while taking into consideration local market regulation and corporate governance codes.

 

10. Majority of Independent Directors on Key Committees (SHP)

In order to ensure that those who evaluate management’s performance, recruit directors and set management’s compensation are free from conflicts of interests, we believe that the audit , nominating/governance, and compensation committees should be composed of a majority of independent directors while taking into consideration local market regulation, corporate governance codes, and controlled company status. And pursuant to the SEC rules, adopted pursuant to the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, as of October 31, 2004, each U.S. listed issuer must have a fully independent audit committee. Therefore, we generally will support proposals.

 

11. Majority Votes for Directors (SHP)

We believe that good corporate governance requires shareholders to have a meaningful voice in the affairs of the company. This objective is strengthened if directors are elected by a majority of votes cast at an annual meeting rather than by the plurality method commonly used. With plurality voting a director could be elected by a single affirmative vote even if the rest of the votes were withheld. We further believe that majority voting provisions will lead to greater director accountability. Therefore, we will support proposals.

 

12. Removal of Directors Without Cause (SHP)

Company by-laws sometimes define cause very narrowly, including only conditions of criminal indictment, final adverse adjudication that fiduciary duties were breached or incapacitation, while also providing shareholders with the right to remove directors only upon “cause”. We believe that the circumstances under which shareholders have the right to remove directors should not be limited to those traditionally defined by companies as “cause”. We also believe that shareholders should have the right to conduct a vote to remove directors who fail to perform in a manner consistent with their fiduciary duties or representative of shareholders’ best interests. Hence, we generally will support proposals that would provide shareholders with the right to remove directors without cause.

 

13. Require Independent Board Chairman (SHP)

We believe there can be benefits to an executive chairman and to having the positions of chairman and CEO combined as well as split. Hence, generally we will support a strong independent lead director. But, for companies with smaller market capitalizations, separate chairman and CEO positions may not be practical and we will defer to boards to designate the most appropriate leadership structure to ensure adequate balance and independence.

 

B. COMPENSATION PROPOSALS

 

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14. Equity Compensation Plan (SHP)

We encourage the use of reasonably designed equity compensation plan, and we believe the equity compensation plans should align the interest of management with incentives to increase long-term shareholder value. Hence, we generally will support proposal.

 

However, we will oppose plans if they contain “evergreen” provisions, which allow for the unlimited increase of shares reserved without requiring further shareholder approval after a reasonable time period. We also generally will oppose plans that allow for repricing without shareholder approval. We will also oppose plans that provide for the acceleration of vesting of equity awards even in situations where an actual change of control may not occur.

 

15. Adopt Policies to Prohibit any Death Benefits to Senior Executives (SHP)

We view these bundled proposals as too restrictive and conclude that blanket restrictions on any and all such benefits, including the payment of life insurance premiums for senior executives, could put a company at a competitive disadvantage. Hence, we generally will oppose proposal.

 

16. Advisory Vote to Ratify Directors’ Compensation (SHP)

Similar to advisory votes on executive compensation, shareholders may request a nonbinding advisory vote to approve compensation given to board members. We generally will support this item.

 

17. Amend Executive Compensation Plan Tied to Performance (SHP)

These proposals seek to force a company to amend executive compensation plans such that compensation awards tied to performance are deferred for shareholder specified and extended periods of time. As a result, awards may be adjusted downward if performance goals achieved during the vesting period are not sustained during the added deferral period. We believe that most companies have adequate vesting schedules and claw-backs in place. Under such circumstances, we will oppose these proposals.

 

18. Approve Remuneration for Directors and Auditors

The key purpose of remuneration is to attract, retain and reward key personnel who are fundamental to the long-term success of the company. The remuneration of executive directors should be determined by independent Remuneration Committees and fully disclosed to shareholders. Hence, we generally will support proposals.

 

19. Approve Retirement Bonuses for Directors (Japan and South Korea)

Retirement bonuses are customary in Japan and South Korea. Companies seek approval to give the board authority to grant retirement bonuses for directors and/or auditors and to leave the exact amount of bonuses to the board’s discretion. We will generally support proposals. However, when the details of the retirement bonus are inadequate or undisclosed, we will abstain or vote against.

 

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20. Disclose Executive and Director Pay (SHP)

The United States Securities and Exchange Commissions (“SEC”) has adopted rules requiring increased and/or enhanced compensation-related and corporate governance-related disclosure in proxy statements and Forms 10-K. Similar steps have been taken by regulators in foreign jurisdictions. We believe the rules enacted by the SEC and various foreign regulators generally ensure more complete and transparent disclosure. Therefore, we generally vote against shareholder proposals seeking additional disclosure of executive and director compensation.

 

21. Executive and Employee Compensation Plans, Policies and Reports

Compensation plans (“Compensation Plans”) usually are a major corporate expense. Where disclosure relating to the details of Compensation Plans is inadequate or provided without sufficient information or time for us to consider our vote, we will abstain or vote against.

 

We will oppose plans that contain “evergreen” provisions, which allow for the unlimited increase of shares reserved without requiring further shareholder approval after a reasonable time period. We will also generally oppose plans that allow for repricing without shareholder approval. We will also oppose plans that provide for the acceleration of vesting of equity awards even in situations where an actual change of control may not occur.

 

22. Limit Executive Pay (SHP)

We believe that management and directors, within reason, should be given latitude in determining the mix and types of awards offered to executive officers. Hence, we generally will oppose shareholder proposals seeking to limit executive pay. Depending on our analysis of the specific circumstances, we are generally against requiring a company to adopt a policy prohibiting tax gross up payments to senior executives.

 

23. Mandatory Holding Periods (SHP)

We generally will vote against shareholder proposals asking companies to require a company’s executives to hold stock for a specified period of time after acquiring that stock by exercising company-issued stock options (i.e., precluding “cashless” option exercises), unless we believe implementing a mandatory holding period is necessary to help resolve underlying problems at a company that have hurt, and may continue to hurt, shareholder value. We are generally in favor of reasonable stock ownership guidelines for executives.

 

24. Performance-Based Stock Option Plans (SHP)

These shareholder proposals require a company to adopt a policy that all or a portion of future stock options granted to executives be performance-based. Performance-based options usually take the form of indexed options (where the option sale price is linked to the company’s stock performance versus an industry index), premium priced options (where the strike price is significantly above the market price at the time of the grant) or performance vesting options (where options vest when the company’s stock price exceeds a specific target). We generally will support proposals unless:

 

·Pricing: We believe that options should be priced at fair market value on the date they are granted. We generally oppose options priced at a discount.

 

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·Re-pricing: An “out-of-the-money” (or underwater) option has an exercise price that is higher than the current price of the stock. We generally oppose the repricing of underwater options because it is not consistent with a policy of offering options as a form of long-term compensation.

 

25. Prohibit Relocation Benefits to Senior Executives (SHP)

We do not consider such perquisites to be problematic pay practices as long as they are properly disclosed. Therefore, we will oppose shareholder proposals asking to prohibit relocation benefits.

 

26. Recovery of Performance-Based Compensation (SHP)

We generally will support shareholder proposals requiring the board to seek recovery of performance-based compensation awards to senior management and directors in the event of a fraud or other reasons that resulted in the detriment to shareholder value and/or company reputation due to gross ethical lapses.

 

27. Submit Golden Parachutes/Severance Plans to a Shareholder Vote (SHP)

Golden Parachutes assure key officers of a company lucrative compensation packages if the company is acquired and/or if the new owners terminate such officers. We recognize that offering generous compensation packages that are triggered by a change in control may help attract qualified officers. However, such compensation packages cannot be so excessive that they are unfair to shareholders or make the company unattractive to potential bidders, thereby serving as a constructive antitakeover mechanism. Accordingly, we will support proposals to submit severance plans (including supplemental retirement plans), to a shareholder vote. And we generally will oppose proposals to ratify golden parachutes where the arrangement includes an excise tax gross-up provision; single trigger for cash incentives.

 

28. Submit Golden Parachutes/Severance Plans to a Shareholder Vote Prior to Their Being Negotiated by Management (SHP) CASE-BY-CASE

We believe that in order to attract qualified employees, companies must be free to negotiate compensation packages without shareholder interference. However, shareholders must be given an opportunity to analyze a compensation plan’s final, material terms in order to ensure it is within acceptable limits. Accordingly, we evaluate proposals that require submitting severance plans and/or employment contracts for a shareholder vote prior to being negotiated by management on a case-by-case basis.

 

29. Submit Survivor Benefit Compensation Plan to Shareholder Vote (SHP)

We generally will support shareholder proposals as we recognize that offering generous compensation packages that are triggered by the passing of senior executives may help attract qualified officers.

 

C. CAPITAL CHANGES AND ANTI-TAKEOVER PROPOSALS

 

30. Amend Exclusive Forum Bylaw (SHP)

We will generally oppose proposals that ask the board to repeal the company’s

 

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exclusive forum bylaw. Such bylaws require certain legal action against the company to take place in the state of the company’s incorporation. The courts within the state of incorporation are considered best suited to interpret that state’s laws.

 

31. Amend Net Operating Loss (“NOL”) Rights Plans

NOL Rights Plans are established to protect a company’s net operating loss carry forwards and tax credits, which can be used to offset future income. We believe this is a reasonable strategy for a company to employ. Accordingly, we will vote in favor of NOL Rights Plans.

 

32. Authorize Share Repurchase

We generally will support share repurchase proposals that are part of a well-articulated and well-conceived capital strategy. Furthermore, we would generally support the use of derivative instruments (e.g., put options and call options) as part of a share repurchase plan absent a compelling reason to the contrary. Also, absent a specific concern at the company, we will generally support a repurchase plan that could be continued during a takeover period.

 

33. Blank Check Preferred Stock

Blank check preferred stock proposals authorize the issuance of certain preferred stock at some future point in time and allow the board to establish voting, dividend, conversion and other rights at the time of issuance. While blank check preferred stock can provide a corporation with the flexibility needed to meet changing financial conditions, it also may be used as the vehicle for implementing a “poison pill” defense or some other entrenchment device. We are concerned that, once this stock has been authorized, shareholders have no further power to determine how or when it will be allocated. Accordingly, we generally will oppose this type of proposal.

 

34. Corporate Restructurings, Merger Proposals and Spin-Offs CASE-BY-CASE

Proposals requesting shareholder approval of corporate restructurings, merger proposals and spin-offs are determined on a case-by-case basis. In evaluating these proposals and determining our votes, we are singularly focused on meeting our goal of maximizing long-term shareholder value.

 

35. Elimination of Preemptive Rights CASE-BY-CASE

Preemptive rights allow the shareholders of the company to buy newly issued shares before they are offered to the public in order to maintain their percentage ownership. We believe that, because preemptive rights are an important shareholder right, careful scrutiny must be given to management’s attempts to eliminate them. However, because preemptive rights can be prohibitively expensive to widely held companies, the benefit of such rights will be weighed against the economic effect of maintaining them.

 

36. Expensing Stock Options (SHP)

US generally accepted accounting principles require companies to expense stock options, as do the accounting rules in many other jurisdictions (including those jurisdictions that have adopted IFRS -- international financial reporting standards). Hence, we will support shareholder proposals requiring this practice and disclosing

 

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information about it.

 

37. Fair Price Provisions

A fair price provision in the company's charter or by laws is designed to ensure that each shareholder's securities will be purchased at the same price if the corporation is acquired under a plan not agreed to by the board. In most instances, the provision requires that any tender offer made by a third party must be made to all shareholders at the same price. Hence, we generally will support it.

 

38. Increase Authorized Common Stock

Generally, we will support proposals to increase the number of shares of common stock authorized for issuance, and generally support proposals to increase the number of shares of preferred stock as long as they are not inadequate or undisclosed.

 

39. Issuance of Equity Without Preemptive Rights

We are generally in favor of issuances of equity without preemptive rights unless there is concern that the issuance will be used in a manner that could hurt shareholder value (e.g., issuing the equity at a discount from the current market price or using the equity to help create a “poison pill” mechanism).

 

40. Multi Class Equity Structures

The one share, one vote principle – stating that voting power should be proportional to an investor’s economic ownership – is generally preferred in order to hold the board accountable to shareholders. We will vote for resolutions that seek to maintain or convert to a one-share, one-vote capital structure. We will vote against requests for the creation or continuation of dual-class capital structures or the creation of new or additional super voting shares.

 

41. Net Long Position Requirement

We will support proposals that require the ownership level needed to call a special meeting to be based on the net long position of a shareholder or shareholder group. This standard ensures that a significant economic interest accompanies the voting power.

 

42. Reincorporation

These guidelines are designed to protect shareholders’ value in the companies in which our funds invest. To the extent a company’s management is committed and incentivized to maximize shareholder value, we generally will vote in favor of proposals. We may vote against where a proposal is overly dilutive to shareholders value or other interests.

 

43. Reincorporation to Another Jurisdiction to Permit Majority Voting or Other Changes in Corporate Governance (SHP)

If a shareholder proposes that a company move to a jurisdiction where majority voting (among other shareholder-friendly conditions) is permitted, we will generally oppose the move notwithstanding the fact that we favor majority voting for directors. Our rationale is that the legal costs, taxes, other expenses and other factors, such as business disruption, in almost all cases would be material and outweigh the benefit of

 

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majority voting. If, however, we should find that these costs are not material and/or do not outweigh the benefit of majority voting, we will vote in favor of this kind of proposal. We will evaluate similarly proposals that would require reincorporation in another state to accomplish other changes in corporate governance.

 

44. Stock Splits

Stock splits are intended to increase the liquidity of a company’s common stock by lowering the price, thereby making the stock seem more attractive to small investors. We generally will vote in favor of stock split proposals.

 

45. Submit Company’s Shareholder Rights Plan to Shareholder Vote (SHP)

Most shareholder rights plans (also known as “poison pills”) permit the shareholders of a target company involved in a hostile takeover to acquire shares of the target company, the acquiring company, or both, at a substantial discount once a “triggering event” occurs. A triggering event is usually a hostile tender offer or the acquisition by an outside party of a certain percentage of the target company's stock. A shareholder rights plan is designed to discourage potential acquirers from acquiring shares to make a bid for the issuer. Hence, we will support shareholder proposals that seek to require the company to submit a shareholder rights plan to a shareholder vote.

 

46. Transferrable Stock Options

These programs allow stock options to be transferred to third parties in exchange for cash or stock. In effect, management becomes insulated from the downside risk of holding a stock option, while the ordinary shareholder remains exposed to downside risk. This insulation may unacceptably remove management’s exposure to downside risk, which significantly misaligns management and shareholder interests. Accordingly, we generally will vote against these.

 

D. AUDITOR PROPOSALS

 

47. Appointment of Auditors

We believe that the company is in the best position to choose its accounting firm, and

we generally will support management's recommendation. However, we generally will vote against the auditor if we find the conflict of interests. In addition, we generally will vote against authorizing the audit committee to set the remuneration of such auditors. We will also vote against or abstain due to a lack of disclosure of the name of the auditor while taking into account local market practice.

 

48. Approval of Financial Statements

In some markets, companies are required to submit their financial statements for shareholder approval. This is generally a routine item and, as such, we will vote for the approval of financial statements. We will vote against if the information is not available in advance of the meeting.

 

49. Approval of Internal Statutory Auditors

Some markets (e.g., Japan) require the annual election of internal statutory auditors.

 

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Internal statutory auditors have a number of duties, including supervising management, ensuring compliance with the articles of association and reporting to a company’s board on certain financial issues. In most cases, the election of internal statutory auditors is a routine item and we will support management’s nominee.

 

50. Separating Auditors and Consultants (SHP)

We believe that a company serves its shareholders’ interests by avoiding potential conflicts of interest that might interfere with an auditor’s independent judgment. SEC rules adopted as a result of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 attempted to address these concerns by prohibiting certain services by a company’s independent auditors and requiring additional disclosure of other services. Hence, we will vote for proposals requesting the company to separate auditors and consultants.

 

E. SHAREHOLDER ACCESS AND VOTING PROPOSALS

 

51. A Shareholder’s Right to Call Special Meetings (SHP)

 

We recognize the importance of the right of shareholders to remove poorly performing directors, respond to takeover offers and take other actions without having to wait for the next annual meeting. We also believe that encouraging active share ownership among shareholders generally is beneficial to shareholders and helps maximize shareholder value. Accordingly, we will generally support a proposal to call a special meeting.

 

52. Adopt Cumulative Voting (SHP)

 

We believe that a majority vote standard is in the best long-term interest of shareholders. It ensures director accountability via the requirement to be elected by more than half of the votes cast. As such, we will generally oppose proposals requesting the adoption of cumulative voting, which may disproportionately aggregate votes on certain issues or director candidates.

 

53. Adopt Cumulative Voting in Dual Shareholder Class Structures (SHP)

As explained above, we will generally oppose proposals requesting the adoption of cumulative voting.

 

54. Early Disclosure of Voting Results (SHP)

These proposals seek to require a company to disclose votes sooner than is required by the local market. In the US, the SEC requires disclosure in the first periodic report filed after the company’s annual meeting which we believe is reasonable. We generally do not support this request.

 

55. Limiting a Shareholder’s Right to Call Special Meetings

Companies contend that limitations on shareholders’ rights to call special meetings are needed to prevent minority shareholders from taking control of the company's agenda. However, such limits also have anti-takeover implications because they prevent a shareholder or a group of shareholders who have acquired a significant stake in the company from forcing management to address urgent issues, such as the

 

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potential sale of the company. Because most states prohibit shareholders from abusing this right, we see no justifiable reason for management to eliminate this fundamental shareholder right. Accordingly, we generally will vote against such proposals. In addition, if the board of directors, without shareholder consent, raises the ownership threshold a shareholder must reach before the shareholder can call a special meeting, we will vote against those directors.

 

56. Permit a Shareholder’s Right to Act by Written Consent (SHP)

Action by written consent enables a large shareholder or group of shareholders to initiate votes on corporate matters prior to the annual meeting. We believe this is a fundamental shareholder right and, accordingly, will support shareholder proposals seeking to restore this right.

 

57. Proxy Access for Annual Meetings (SHP) (Management)

These proposals allow “qualified shareholders” to nominate directors. We generally will vote in favor of management and shareholder proposal.

We will vote against proposals that use requirements including implementation restrictions and against individual board members, or entire boards, who exclude from their ballot properly submitted shareholder proxy access proposals or compete against shareholder proxy access proposals with stricter management proposals on the same ballot.

 

58. Reduce Meeting Notification

A reduced notice period expedites the process of obtaining shareholder approval of additional financing needs and other important matters. Accordingly, we generally will support these proposals.

 

59. Shareholder Proponent Engagement Process (SHP)

We believe that proper corporate governance requires that proposals receiving support from a majority of shareholders be considered and implemented by the company. Accordingly, we will support establishing an engagement process between shareholders and management to ensure proponents of majority-supported proposals, have an established means of communicating with management.

 

60. Supermajority Vote Requirements

A supermajority vote requirement is a charter or by-law requirement that, when implemented, raises the percentage (higher than 50%, generally between 60~90%) of shareholder votes needed to approve certain proposals, such as mergers, changes of control, or proposals to amend or repeal a portion of the Articles of Incorporation. We generally will oppose these proposals and support shareholder proposals that seek to reinstate the simple majority vote requirement.

 

F. ENVIRONMENTAL, SOCIAL AND DISCLOSURE PROPOSALS

 

61. Animal Welfare (SHP)

 

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These proposals may include reporting requests or policy adoption on items such as pig gestation crates and animal welfare in the supply chain. We generally will support shareholder proposals if proposed information has no negative impacts on benefit to shareholders.

 

62. Climate Change (SHP)

Climate change increasingly receives investor attention as a potentially critical and material risk to the sustainability of a wide range of business-specific activities. These proposals may include emissions standards or reduction targets, quantitative goals, and impact assessments. We generally will support these proposals if proposed information has no negative impacts on benefit to shareholders.

 

63. Charitable Contributions (SHP) (MGMT)

Proposals relating to charitable contributions may be sponsored by either management or shareholders. Management proposals may ask to approve the amount for charitable contributions. We generally will support shareholder proposals if proposed information has no negative impacts on benefit to shareholders.

 

64. Environmental Proposals (SHP)

These proposals can include reporting and policy adoption requests in a wide variety of areas, including, but not limited to, (nuclear) waste, deforestation, packaging and recycling, renewable energy, toxic material, palm oil and water. We generally will support proposals if proposed information has no negative impacts on benefit to shareholders.

 

65. Genetically Altered or Engineered Food and Pesticides (SHP)

These proposals may include reporting requests on pesticides monitoring/use and Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) as well as GMO labeling. We generally will support shareholder proposals.

 

66. Health Proposals (SHP)

These proposals may include reports on pharmaceutical pricing, antibiotic use in the meat supply, and tobacco products. We generally will support shareholder proposals.

 

67. Human Rights Policies and Reports (SHP)

These proposals may include reporting requests on human rights risk assessment, humanitarian engagement and mediation policies, working conditions, adopting policies on supply chain worker fees and expanding existing policies in these areas. We recognize that many companies have complex supply chains which have led to increased awareness of supply chain issues as an investment risk. We generally will support shareholder proposals.

 

68. Include Sustainability as a Performance Measure (SHP)

We recognize that Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) factors can affect investment performance, expose potential investment risks and provide an indication of management excellence and leadership. We generally will support proposals.

 

69. Lobbying and Political Spending (SHP)

 

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We generally will vote in favor of proposals requesting increased disclosure of political contributions and lobbying expenses, including those paid to trade organizations and political action committees, whether at the federal, state, or local level. These proposals may increase transparency. Accordingly, we generally will support proposals.

 

70. Other Business

In certain jurisdictions, these proposals allow management to act on issues that shareholders may raise at the annual meeting. Because it is impossible to know what issues may be raised, we will vote against these proposals.

 

71. Reimbursement of Shareholder Expenses (SHP)

These shareholder proposals would require companies to reimburse the expenses of shareholders who submit proposals that receive a majority of votes cast or the cost of proxy contest expenses. We generally will vote against these proposals.

 

72. Sustainability Report (SHP)

We generally will support shareholder proposals calling for reports.

 

73. Work Place: Diversity (SHP)

We generally will support shareholder proposals and support proposals requiring a company to amend its Equal Employment Opportunity policies to prohibit workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender ID.

 

74. Work Place: Gender Pay Equity (SHP)

We generally will support proposals requiring gender pay metrics.

 

IV. AVOIDING CONFLICTS OF INTEREST

 

A. INTRODUCTION

We always must act in our clients’ best interests and attempt to avoid any perceived or actual conflicts of interest.

 

B. ADHERENCE TO STATED PROXY VOTING POLICIES

We take the responsibility to vote share in our clients’ best interests by maximizing the value of their shares. Votes generally are cast in accordance with this policy.

 

C. CONCLUSION

RGA has been driven by two fundamental values: 1) putting the long-term interests of our customers and fund shareholders first; and 2) investing in companies that share our approach to creating value over the long-term. With these fundamental principles as guideposts, the funds are managed to provide the greatest possible return to shareholders consistent with governing laws and the investment guidelines and objectives of each fund. We believe that there is a strong correlation between sound corporate governance and enhancing shareholder value. We, through the implementation of these guidelines, puts this belief into action through consistent

 

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engagement with portfolio companies on matters contained in these guidelines, and, ultimately, through the exercise of voting rights by the funds.

 

V. PROXY VOTING PROCEDURES

 

A. VOTE ADMINISTRATION

Generally, issuers initially send the proxy information to the custodians of our client accounts. When applicable, before voting, an email alert will be sent to clientserices@rayliant.com and the Investment Operations. The Client Services and the Investment Operations are responsible for monitoring the alert and completing the voting by following the Policy.

 

In case of issue not covered by the guidelines outlined in the Policy, the Client Services or the Investment Operations should escalate and propose the decision by sending the Proxy Voting Form (Appendix B) to the Committee. The Committee should review the form and provide the sign-off or other comments timely so the Client Services or the Investment Operations can complete the voting accordingly.

 

The Client Services or the Investment Operations use ProxyEdge (www.proxyedge.com) to vote. ProxyEdge is a proxy voting platform provided by our custodian bank. Our voting records will be kept in electronically in ProxyEdge for at least 7 years unless there’s special requirement from regulators and customers. The main contact for all issues related to ProxyEdge is ICS.APAC@broadridge.com.

 

B. SHARE BLOCKING

Proxy voting in certain countries requires “share blocking.” Shareholders wishing to vote their proxies must deposit their shares shortly before the date of the meeting (usually one week) with a designated depositary. During this blocking period, shares that will be voted at the meeting cannot be sold until the meeting has taken place and the shares are returned to the clients’ custodian banks. In cases where we want to retain the ability to trade shares, we will abstain from voting those shares.

 

We seek to vote all proxies for securities which we have proxy voting authority. However, in some markets administrative issues beyond our control may sometimes prevent us from voting such proxies. For example, we may receive meeting notices after the cut-off date for voting or without enough time to fully consider the proxy. Similarly, proxy materials for some issuers may not contain disclosure sufficient to arrive at a voting decision, in which cases we will abstain from voting.

 

C. LOANED SECURITIES

We will not be able to vote securities that are on loan under these types of arrangements. However, under rare circumstances, for voting issues that may have a significant impact on the investment, we will request to recall securities that are on loan if we determine that the benefit of voting outweighs the costs and lost revenue to the fund.

 

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APPENDIX A - PROXY VOTING COMMITTEE MEMBERS

 

It is the responsibility of the Proxy Voting Committee to approve the Proxy Voting and Governance Policy and review it at least on annual basis.

 

In case of issue not covered by the guidelines outlined in the Policy, the Client Services or the Investment Operations should escalate it by sending the completed Proxy Voting Form (Appendix B) to the Committee. The Committee should review the form and provide sign-off or comments.

 

The Committee include:

 

Fan Chen – Trading / Portfolio Management
Phillip Wool – Investment Solutions
Vivek Viswanathan – Research
Wei-Kien Ooi – Compliance
Matthew Bowers – Legal
Vicky Wan – Investment Operations

 

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APPENDIX B - PROXY VOTING FORM

 

To: Proxy Voting Committee

 

Name of Security:    
Date of Shareholder Meeting:    

 

1. Short Descriptions of the Proxy Voting (client, mutual fund distributor, etc.): 

 
 
 
 
 

   

2. Proposed Voting Decision:

[  ] for

[  ] against

[  ] abstain

 

Is there an evidence that proposed voting decision is against our view of maximizing longterm shareholder value?

Yes/or No

  

Committee sign-off :   Date:    

I hereby confirm that the proxy voting decision referenced on this form is reasonable.

  

Compliance sign-off:   Date:    

 

*Compliance sign-off is required only if the proposed voting decision is against our view of shareholder value.
*Email sign-off is acceptable.

 

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APPENDIX C - STATEMENT OF POLICY REGARDING RESPONSIBLE INVESTMENT

 

PRINCIPLES FOR RESPONSIBLE INVESTMENT, ESG AND SOCIALLY RESPONSIBLE INVESTMENT

 

1. Introduction

Rayliant Investment Research (“RIR” or “we”) is appointed by our clients as an investment manager with a fiduciary responsibility to help them achieve their investment objectives over the long term. We have long recognized that environmental, social and governance (“ESG”) issues can impact the performance of investment portfolios. Accordingly, we have sought to integrate ESG factors into our investment process to the extent that the integration of such factors is consistent with our fiduciary duty to help our clients achieve their investment objectives and protect their economic interests.

 

Approach to ESG

Our experience in ESG applications has mostly been in integrating specific ESG principles into the design of an investment strategy. Our engagements generally include incorporating ESG elements selected by our partners who have specific ESG directives. This work is done by our research team in close collaboration with our clients. We first determine our clients’ ESG objectives and then configure our multi-factor quantamental approach to provide the highest possible risk-adjusted returns while fulfilling their stated ESG portfolio purpose.

 

Often our clients provide negative and/or positive stock screens to the targeted investment universes. In addition, desired ESG factors could be incorporated into our investment process at the signal generation or portfolio construction levels. Our goal is to provide client solutions that deliver the highest possible risk-adjusted returns whilst fulfilling clients’ ESG obligations.

 

One area of responsible investment that is a mainstay of our investment strategies is our attention to governance factors that represent accounting and investment conservatism. For example, we look at accounting conservatism which seeks to uncover firms that engage in accounting manipulation and fraud. Another factor we incorporate into our investment process is investment conservatism. This assessment leads to removing or underweighting firms whose management are engaging in unproductive empire building at the expense of the best long-term growth opportunities of the company.

 

2. Commitment to the PRI (Principles for Responsible Investment)

In recent years, we have gained greater clarity on how the PRI initiative, and We acknowledge these developments and are working towards becoming a PRI signatory.

  

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PART C: OTHER INFORMATION

 

ITEM 28. EXHIBITS:

 

(a)(1) The Advisors’ Inner Circle Fund III’s (the “Registrant”) Certificate of Trust, dated December 4, 2013, is incorporated herein by reference to Exhibit (a)(1) of the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form N-1A (File No. 333-192858), filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) via EDGAR Accession No. 0001135428-13-000669 on December 13, 2013.

 

(a)(2) Registrant’s Agreement and Declaration of Trust, dated December 4, 2013, is incorporated herein by reference to Exhibit (a)(2) of the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form N-1A (File No. 333-192858), filed with the SEC via EDGAR Accession No. 0001135428-13-000669 on December 13, 2013.

 

(b)(1) Registrant’s Amended and Restated By-Laws, dated September 18, 2014, is incorporated herein by reference to Exhibit (b) of Post-Effective Amendment No. 73 to the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form N-1A (File No. 333-192858), filed with the SEC via EDGAR Accession No. 0001135428-16-001760 on September 28, 2016.

 

(b)(2) Amendment No. 1, dated June 25, 2020, to the Registrant’s Amended and Restated By-Laws is incorporated herein by reference to Exhibit (b)(2) of Post-Effective Amendment No. 242 to the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form N-1A (File No. 333-192858), filed with the SEC via EDGAR Accession No. 0001398344-20-014043 on July 20, 2020.

 

(c) See Article III and Article V of the Agreement and Declaration of Trust, which has been incorporated by reference in Exhibit (a)(2) to this Registration Statement.

 

(d)(1)(i) Investment Advisory Agreement, dated December 5, 2016, between the Registrant and Fiera Capital Inc. (“Fiera”), relating to the Fiera Capital Diversified Alternatives Fund, is incorporated herein by reference to Exhibit (d)(1)(iii) of Post-Effective Amendment No. 83 to the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form N-1A (File No. 333-192858), filed with the SEC via EDGAR Accession No. 0001135428-16-001937 on December 28, 2016.

 

(d)(1)(ii) Investment Advisory Agreement, dated September 15, 2017, between the Registrant and MetLife Investment Management, LLC (“MetLife”), relating to the MetLife Core Plus Fund and MetLife Multi-Sector Fixed Income Fund (together, the “MetLife Funds”), is incorporated herein by reference to Exhibit (d)(1)(iv) of Post-Effective Amendment No. 120 to the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form N-1A (File No. 333-192858), filed with the SEC via EDGAR Accession No. 0001135428-18-000054 on January 26, 2018.

 

(d)(1)(iii) Amendment, dated July 1, 2019, to the Investment Advisory Agreement, dated September 15, 2017, between the Registrant and MetLife, relating to the MetLife Funds, is incorporated herein by reference to Exhibit (d)(1)(iii) of Post-Effective Amendment No. 204 to the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form N-1A (File No. 333-192858), filed with the SEC via EDGAR Accession No. 0001398344-19-016580 on September 13, 2019.

 

(d)(1)(iv) Investment Advisory Agreement, dated February 26, 2015, between the Registrant and Knights of Columbus Asset Advisors LLC (“Knights of Columbus Asset Advisors”), relating to the Knights of Columbus Core Bond Fund (formerly, Catholic Investor Core Bond Fund), Knights of Columbus Limited Duration Fund (formerly, Catholic Investor Limited Duration Fund), Knights of Columbus Large Cap Growth Fund (formerly, Catholic Investor Large Cap Growth Fund), Knights of Columbus Large Cap Value Fund (formerly, Catholic Investor Large Cap Value Fund), Knights of Columbus Small Cap Fund (formerly, Catholic Investor Small Cap Fund) and Knights of Columbus International Equity Fund (formerly, Catholic Investor International Equity Fund), is incorporated herein by reference to Exhibit (d)(1)(v) of Post-Effective Amendment No. 24 to the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form N-1A (File No. 333-192858), filed with the SEC via EDGAR Accession No. 0001135428-15-000079 on February 26, 2015.

 

 

 

(d)(1)(v) Amended Schedule A, dated September 4, 2019, to the Investment Advisory Agreement, dated February 26, 2015, between the Registrant and Knights of Columbus Asset Advisors, relating to the Knights of Columbus Core Bond Fund (formerly, Catholic Investor Core Bond Fund), Knights of Columbus Limited Duration Fund (formerly, Catholic Investor Limited Duration Fund), Knights of Columbus Large Cap Growth Fund (formerly, Catholic Investor Large Cap Growth Fund), Knights of Columbus Large Cap Value Fund (formerly, Catholic Investor Large Cap Value Fund), Knights of Columbus Small Cap Fund (formerly, Catholic Investor Small Cap Fund), Knights of Columbus International Equity Fund (formerly, Catholic Investor International Equity Fund), Knights of Columbus Long/Short Equity Fund (formerly, Catholic Investor Long/Short Equity Fund), Knights of Columbus U.S. All Cap Index Fund (formerly, Catholic Investor U.S. All Cap Index Fund) and Knights of Columbus Real Estate Fund (formerly, Knights of Columbus Global Real Estate Fund) (the “Knights of Columbus Funds”), is incorporated herein by reference to Exhibit (d)(1)(v) of Post-Effective Amendment No. 208 to the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form N-1A (File No. 333-192858), filed with the SEC via EDGAR Accession No. 0001398344-19-017246 on September 27, 2019.

 

(d)(1)(vi) Investment Advisory Agreement, dated February 28, 2020, between the Registrant and Chiron Investment Management, LLC (“Chiron”), relating to the Chiron SMid Opportunities Fund and Chiron Capital Allocation Fund (the “Chiron Funds”), is incorporated herein by reference to Exhibit (d)(1)(vi) of Post-Effective Amendment No. 235 to the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form N-1A (File No. 333-192858), filed with the SEC via EDGAR Accession No. 0001398344-20-008819 on April 29, 2020.

 

(d)(1)(vii) Investment Advisory Agreement, dated October 30, 2015, between the Registrant and PineBridge Investments LLC (“PineBridge”), relating to the PineBridge Dynamic Asset Allocation Fund, is incorporated herein by reference to Exhibit (d)(1)(viii) of Post-Effective Amendment No. 64 to the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form N-1A (File No. 333-192858), filed with the SEC via EDGAR Accession No. 0001135428-15-000935 on December 23, 2015.

 

(d)(1)(viii) Investment Advisory Agreement, dated September 22, 2016, between the Registrant and Strategic Global Advisors, LLC (“Strategic Global Advisors”), relating to the SGA International Equity Fund, SGA International Equity Plus Fund, SGA International Small-Mid Cap Equity Fund (formerly, SGA International Small Cap Equity Fund) and SGA Global Equity Fund (together, the “Strategic Global Advisors Funds”), is incorporated herein by reference to Exhibit (d)(1)(viii) of Post-Effective Amendment No. 73 to the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form N-1A (File No. 333-192858), filed with the SEC via EDGAR Accession No. 0001135428-16-001760 on September 28, 2016.

 

(d)(1)(ix) Investment Advisory Agreement, dated November 1, 2016, between the Registrant and RWC Asset Advisors (US) LLC (“RWC”), relating to the RWC Global Emerging Equity Fund, is incorporated herein by reference to Exhibit (d)(1)(ix) of Post-Effective Amendment No. 83 to the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form N-1A (File No. 333-192858), filed with the SEC via EDGAR Accession No. 0001135428-16-001937 on December 28, 2016.

 

(d)(1)(x) Investment Advisory Agreement, dated December 15, 2016, between the Registrant and GQG Partners LLC (“GQG Partners”), relating to the GQG Partners Emerging Markets Equity Fund, is incorporated herein by reference to Exhibit (d)(1)(xi) of Post-Effective Amendment No. 83 to the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form N-1A (File No. 333-192858), filed with the SEC via EDGAR Accession No. 0001135428-16-001937 on December 28, 2016.

 

 

 

(d)(1)(xi) Amended Schedule A, dated March 31, 2020, to the Investment Advisory Agreement, dated December 15, 2016, between the Registrant and GQG Partners, relating to the GQG Partners Emerging Markets Equity Fund, GQG Partners US Select Quality Equity Fund and GQG Partners Global Quality Equity Fund (the “GQG Funds”), is incorporated herein by reference to Exhibit (d)(1)(xi) of Post-Effective Amendment No. 235 to the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form N-1A (File No. 333-192858), filed with the SEC via EDGAR Accession No. 0001398344-20-008819 on April 29, 2020.

 

(d)(1)(xii) Investment Advisory Agreement, dated March 31, 2020, between the Registrant and Ninety One North America, Inc. (“Ninety One”), relating to the Ninety One Global Franchise Fund (formerly, Investec Global Franchise Fund) and Ninety One Emerging Markets Equity Fund (formerly, Investec Emerging Markets Equity Fund) (the “Ninety One Funds”), is incorporated herein by reference to Exhibit (d)(1)(xii) of Post-Effective Amendment No. 235 to the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form N-1A (File No. 333-192858), filed with the SEC via EDGAR Accession No. 0001398344-20-008819 on April 29, 2020.

 

(d)(1)(xiii) Investment Advisory Agreement, dated May 18, 2018, between the Registrant and Penn Mutual Asset Management, LLC (“PMAM”), relating to the Penn Mutual AM Strategic Income Fund (formerly, Penn Mutual AM Unconstrained Bond Fund), is incorporated herein by reference to Exhibit (d)(1)(xvii) of Post-Effective Amendment No. 130 to the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form N-1A (File No. 333-192858), filed with the SEC via EDGAR Accession No. 0001398344-18-007885 on May 22, 2018.

 

(d)(1)(xiv) Amended Schedule A, dated May 1, 2019, to the Investment Advisory Agreement, dated May 18, 2018, between the Registrant and PMAM, relating to the Penn Mutual AM Strategic Income Fund (formerly, Penn Mutual AM Unconstrained Bond Fund), is incorporated herein by reference to Exhibit (d)(1)(xvii) of Post-Effective Amendment No. 183 to the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form N-1A (File No. 333-192858), filed with the SEC via EDGAR Accession No. 0001398344-19-007372 on April 30, 2019.

 

(d)(1)(xv) Amended Schedule A, dated July 29, 2020, to the Investment Advisory Agreement, dated May 18, 2018, between the Registrant and Penn Mutual Asset Management, LLC (“PMAM”), relating to the Penn Mutual AM Strategic Income Fund and the Penn Mutual AM 1847 Income Fund (together, the “Penn Mutual Funds”), is incorporated herein by reference to Exhibit (d)(1)(xv) of Post-Effective Amendment No. 243 to the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form N-1A (File No. 333-192858), filed with the SEC via EDGAR Accession No. 0001398344-20-014613 on July 29, 2020.

 

(d)(1)(xvi) Investment Advisory Agreement, dated September 21, 2018, between the Registrant and KBI Global Investors (North America) Ltd (“KBI”), relating to the KBI Global Investors Aquarius Fund, is incorporated herein by reference to Exhibit (d)(1)(xix) of Post-Effective Amendment No. 148 to the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form N-1A (File No. 333-192858), filed with the SEC via EDGAR Accession No. 0001398344-18-013996 on September 26, 2018.

 

(d)(1)(xvii) Investment Advisory Agreement, dated November 16, 2018, between the Registrant and Mesirow Financial Investment Management, Inc. (“MFIM”), relating to the Mesirow Financial Enhanced Core Plus Fund (formerly, Mesirow Financial Core Bond Fund), Mesirow Financial High Yield Fund and Mesirow Financial Small Cap Value Sustainability Fund (formerly, Mesirow Financial Small Cap Value Fund) (together, the “Mesirow Financial Funds”), is incorporated herein by reference to Exhibit (d)(1)(xx) of Post-Effective Amendment No. 159 to the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form N-1A (File No. 333-192858), filed with the SEC via EDGAR Accession No. 0001398344-18-017044 on November 27, 2018.

 

 

 

(d)(1)(xviii) Amended Schedule A, dated July 10, 2019, to the Investment Advisory Agreement, dated November 16, 2018, between the Registrant and MFIM, relating to the Mesirow Financial Funds, is incorporated herein by reference to Exhibit (d)(1)(xxi) of Post-Effective Amendment No. 196 to the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form N-1A (File No. 333-192858), filed with the SEC via EDGAR Accession No. 0001398344-19-013145 on July 30, 2019.

 

(d)(1)(xix) Third Amended and Restated Investment Advisory Agreement, dated December 13, 2019, between the Registrant and Aperture Investors, LLC (“Aperture”), relating to the Aperture New World Opportunities Fund, Aperture Endeavour Equity Fund and Aperture Discover Equity Fund, is incorporated herein by reference to Exhibit (d)(1)(xx) of Post-Effective Amendment No. 225 to the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form N-1A (File No. 333-192858), filed with the SEC via EDGAR Accession No. 0001398344-19-022972 on December 23, 2019.

 

(d)(1)(xx) Schedule D, dated July 14, 2020, to the Third Amended and Restated Investment Advisory Agreement, dated December 13, 2019, between the Registrant and Aperture, relating to the Aperture International Equity Fund (together with the Aperture New World Opportunities Fund, Aperture Endeavour Equity Fund and Aperture Discover Equity Fund, the “Aperture Funds”), is incorporated herein by reference to Exhibit (d)(1)(xx) of Post-Effective Amendment No. 249 to the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form N-1A (File No. 333-192858), filed with the SEC via EDGAR Accession No. 0001398344-20-017803 on August 31, 2020.

 

(d)(1)(xxi) Investment Advisory Agreement, dated January 3, 2019, between the Registrant and Nicholas Investment Partners, L.P. (“Nicholas”), relating to the Nicholas Partners Small Cap Growth Fund, is incorporated herein by reference to Exhibit (d)(1)(xxii) of Post-Effective Amendment No. 171 to the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form N-1A (File No. 333-192858), filed with the SEC via EDGAR Accession No. 0001398344-19-000717 on January 16, 2019.

 

(d)(1)(xxii) Investment Advisory Agreement, dated March 14, 2019, between the Registrant and Aegon USA Investment Management, LLC (“Aegon”), relating to the Aegon Emerging Markets Debt Fund, Aegon Market Neutral Income Fund and Aegon Short Duration High Yield Fund (together, the “Aegon Funds”), is incorporated herein by reference to Exhibit (d)(1)(xxv) of Post-Effective Amendment No. 189 to the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form N-1A (File No. 333-192858), filed with the SEC via EDGAR Accession No. 0001398344-19-010094 on June 5, 2019.

 

(d)(1)(xxiii) Investment Advisory Agreement, dated October 1, 2019, between the Registrant and Levin Easterly Partners LLC (“Levin Easterly”), relating to the Levin Easterly Value Opportunities Fund, is incorporated herein by reference to Exhibit (d)(1)(xxv) of Post-Effective Amendment No. 214 to the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form N-1A (File No. 333-192858), filed with the SEC via EDGAR Accession No. 0001398344-19-018143 on October 18, 2019.

 

(d)(1)(xxiv) Investment Advisory Agreement, dated July 10, 2020, between the Registrant and Rayliant Asset Management (“Rayliant”), relating to the Rayliant Quantamental China Equity Fund, is incorporated herein by reference to Exhibit (d)(1)(xxiv) of Post-Effective Amendment No. 249 to the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form N-1A (File No. 333-192858), filed with the SEC via EDGAR Accession No. 0001398344-20-017803 on August 31, 2020.

 

(d)(1)(xxv) Amended Schedule A, dated [XX], to the Investment Advisory Agreement, dated July 10, 2020, between the Registrant and Rayliant, relating to the Rayliant Quantamental China Equity Fund and Rayliant Quantamental China Equity ETF (together, the “Rayliant Funds”), to be filed by amendment.

 

 

 

(d)(1)(xxvi) Investment Advisory Agreement, dated [XX], between the Registrant and Chevy Chase Trust Company (“CCT”), relating to the CCT Thematic Equity Fund, to be filed by amendment.

 

(d)(1)(xxvii) Investment Advisory Agreement, dated [XX], between the Registrant and Reflection Asset Management, LLC (“Reflection”), relating to the Bleu 75 Political Contributions ETF, to be filed by amendment.

 

(d)(1)(xxviii) Investment Advisory Agreement, dated [XX], between the Registrant and SouthernSun Asset Management, LLC (“SouthernSun”), relating to the SouthernSun Small Cap Fund and SouthernSun U.S. Equity Fund (together, the “SouthernSun Funds”), to be filed by amendment.

 

(d)(1)(xxix) Investment Advisory Agreement, dated [XX], between the Registrant and Brookmont Capital Management, LLC (“Brookmont”), relating to the First Foundation Fixed Income Fund and First Foundation Total Return Fund (together, the “First Foundation Funds”), to be filed by amendment.

 

(d)(1)(xxx) Investment Advisory Agreement, dated [XX], between the Registrant and Chiron Capital Allocation Fund Ltd., relating to the Chiron Capital Allocation Fund, to be filed by amendment.

 

(d)(1)(xxxi) Investment Advisory Agreement, dated [XX], between the Registrant and Legal & General Investment Management America, Inc. (“LGIMA”), relating to the Legal & General Retirement Income 2040 Fund, Legal & General Global Developed Equity Index Fund, Legal & General Cash Flow Matched Bond Fund, Legal & General Long Duration U.S. Credit Fund and Legal & General U.S. Credit Fund (together, the “LGIMA Funds”), to be filed by amendment.

 

(d)(2)(i) Investment Sub-Advisory Agreement, dated September 10, 2019, between Knights of Columbus Asset Advisors and L2 Asset Management, LLC (“L2”), is incorporated herein by reference to Exhibit (d)(2)(iii) of Post-Effective Amendment No. 208 to the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form N-1A (File No. 333-192858), filed with the SEC via EDGAR Accession No. 0001398344-19-017246 on September 27, 2019.

 

(d)(2)(ii) Investment Sub-Advisory Agreement, dated July 24, 2019, between Knights of Columbus Asset Advisors and Ranger Global Real Estate Advisors, LLC (“Ranger”), is incorporated herein by reference to Exhibit (d)(2)(iv) of Post-Effective Amendment No. 208 to the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form N-1A (File No. 333-192858), filed with the SEC via EDGAR Accession No. 0001398344-19-017246 on September 27, 2019.

 

(d)(2)(iii) Investment Sub-Advisory Agreement, dated September 12, 2019, between Fiera and Larch Lane Partners LLC (“Larch Lane”), is incorporated herein by reference to Exhibit (d)(2)(v) of Post-Effective Amendment No. 220 to the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form N-1A (File No. 333-192858), filed with the SEC via EDGAR Accession No. 0001398344-19-021470 on November 27, 2019.

 

(d)(2)(iv) Investment Sub-Advisory Agreement, dated January 24, 2020, between Fiera and Asset Management One USA Inc. (“AMO USA”), is incorporated herein by reference to Exhibit (d)(2)(v) of Post-Effective Amendment No. 231 to the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form N-1A (File No. 333-192858), filed with the SEC via EDGAR Accession No. 0001398344-20-004731 on February 28, 2020.

 

(d)(2)(v) Investment Sub-Advisory Agreement, dated [XX], between Reflection and Exchange Traded Concepts, LLC (“ETC”), to be filed by amendment.

 

(d)(2)(vi) Investment Sub-Advisory Agreement, dated [XX], between Brookmont and First Foundation Advisors (“First Foundation”), to be filed by amendment.

 

 

 

(d)(3)(i) Expense Limitation Agreement, dated December 6, 2016, between the Registrant and Fiera, relating to the Fiera Capital Diversified Alternatives Fund, is incorporated herein by reference to Exhibit (d)(3)(iv) of Post-Effective Amendment No. 85 to the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form N-1A (File No. 333-192858), filed with the SEC via EDGAR Accession No. 0001135428-17-000062 on January 27, 2017.

 

(d)(3)(ii) Expense Limitation Agreement, dated September 15, 2017, between the Registrant and MetLife, relating to the MetLife Funds, is incorporated herein by reference to Exhibit (d)(3)(iv) of Post-Effective Amendment No. 123 to the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form N-1A (File No. 333-192858), filed with the SEC via EDGAR Accession No. 0001398344-18-003034 on February 28, 2018.

 

(d)(3)(iii) Amended and Restated Expense Limitation Agreement, dated December 31, 2019, between the Registrant and Knights of Columbus Asset Advisors, relating to the Knights of Columbus Funds, is incorporated herein by reference to Exhibit (d)(3)(iii) of Post-Effective Amendment No. 235 to the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form N-1A (File No. 333-192858), filed with the SEC via EDGAR Accession No. 0001398344-20-008819 on April 29, 2020.

 

(d)(3)(iv) Amended Schedule A, dated July 20, 2020, to the Amended and Restated Expense Limitation Agreement, dated December 31, 2019, between the Registrant and Knights of Columbus Asset Advisors, relating to the Knights of Columbus Funds, is incorporated herein by reference to Exhibit (d)(3)(iv) of Post-Effective Amendment No. 249 to the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form N-1A (File No. 333-192858), filed with the SEC via EDGAR Accession No. 0001398344-20-017803 on August 31, 2020.

 

(d)(3)(v) Expense Limitation Agreement, dated October 30, 2015, between the Registrant and Chiron, relating to the Chiron Capital Allocation Fund, is incorporated herein by reference to Exhibit (d)(3)(vii) of Post-Effective Amendment No. 61 to the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form N-1A (File No. 333-192858), filed with the SEC via EDGAR Accession No. 0001135428-15-000852 on November 23, 2015.

 

(d)(3)(vi) Amended and Restated Schedule A, dated February 28, 2018, to the Expense Limitation Agreement, dated October 30, 2015, between the Registrant and Chiron, relating to the Chiron Funds, is incorporated herein by reference to Exhibit (d)(3)(viii) of Post-Effective Amendment No. 123 to the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form N-1A (File No. 333-192858), filed with the SEC via EDGAR Accession No. 0001398344-18-003034 on February 28, 2018.

 

(d)(3)(vii) Expense Limitation Agreement, dated December 23, 2015, between the Registrant and PineBridge, relating to the PineBridge Dynamic Asset Allocation Fund, is incorporated herein by reference to Exhibit (d)(3)(viii) of Post-Effective Amendment No. 64 to the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form N-1A (File No. 333-192858), filed with the SEC via EDGAR Accession No. 0001135428-15-000935 on December 23, 2015.

 

(d)(3)(viii) Amended Schedule A, dated April 26, 2019, to the Expense Limitation Agreement, dated December 23, 2015, between the Registrant and PineBridge, relating to the PineBridge Dynamic Asset Allocation Fund, is incorporated herein by reference to Exhibit (d)(3)(ix) of Post-Effective Amendment No. 184 to the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form N-1A (File No. 333-192858), filed with the SEC via EDGAR Accession No. 0001398344-19-007386 on April 30, 2019.

 

(d)(3)(ix) Expense Limitation Agreement, dated September 22, 2016, between the Registrant and Strategic Global Advisors, relating to the Strategic Global Advisors Funds, is incorporated herein by reference to Exhibit (d)(3)(ix) of Post-Effective Amendment No. 73 to the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form N-1A (File No. 333-192858), filed with the SEC via EDGAR Accession No. 0001135428-16-001760 on September 28, 2016.

 

 

 

(d)(3)(x) Expense Limitation Agreement, dated November 1, 2016, between the Registrant and RWC, relating to the RWC Global Emerging Equity Fund, is incorporated herein by reference to Exhibit (d)(3)(x) of Post-Effective Amendment No. 83 to the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form N-1A (File No. 333-192858), filed with the SEC via EDGAR Accession No. 0001135428-16-001937 on December 28, 2016.

 

(d)(3)(xi) Expense Limitation Agreement, dated December 15, 2016, between the Registrant and GQG Partners, relating to the GQG Partners Emerging Markets Equity Fund, is incorporated herein by reference to Exhibit (d)(3)(xii) of Post-Effective Amendment No. 83 to the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form N-1A (File No. 333-192858), filed with the SEC via EDGAR Accession No. 0001135428-16-001937 on December 28, 2016.

 

(d)(3)(xii) Amended Schedule A, dated March 31, 2020, to the Expense Limitation Agreement, dated December 15, 2016, between the Registrant and GQG Partners, relating to the GQG Funds, is incorporated herein by reference to Exhibit (d)(3)(xi) of Post-Effective Amendment No. 235 to the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form N-1A (File No. 333-192858), filed with the SEC via EDGAR Accession No. 0001398344-20-008819 on April 29, 2020.

 

(d)(3)(xiii) Expense Limitation Agreement, dated July 17, 2017, between the Registrant and Ninety One, relating to the Ninety One Global Franchise Fund (formerly, Investec Global Franchise Fund), is incorporated herein by reference to Exhibit (d)(3)(xx) of Post-Effective Amendment No. 114 to the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form N-1A (File No. 333-192858), filed with the SEC via EDGAR Accession No. 0001135428-17-000992 on September 29, 2017.

 

(d)(3)(xiv) Amended Schedule A, dated March 1, 2019, to the Expense Limitation Agreement, dated July 17, 2017, between the Registrant and Ninety One, relating to the Ninety One Funds, is incorporated herein by reference to Exhibit (d)(3)(xvii) of Post-Effective Amendment No. 189 to the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form N-1A (File No. 333-192858), filed with the SEC via EDGAR Accession No. 0001398344-19-010094 on June 5, 2019.

 

(d)(3)(xv) Expense Limitation Agreement, dated May 18, 2018, between the Registrant and PMAM, relating to the Penn Mutual AM Strategic Income Fund (formerly, Penn Mutual AM Unconstrained Bond Fund), is incorporated herein by reference to Exhibit (d)(3)(xx) of Post-Effective Amendment No. 130 to the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form N-1A (File No. 333-192858), filed with the SEC via EDGAR Accession No. 0001398344-18-007885 on May 22, 2018.

 

(d)(3)(xvi) Amended Schedule A, dated July 29, 2020 to the Expense Limitation Agreement, dated December 31, 2019, between the Registrant and PMAM, relating to the Penn Mutual Funds, is incorporated herein by reference to Exhibit (d)(3)(xvi) of Post-Effective Amendment No. 243 to the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form N-1A (File No. 333-192858), filed with the SEC via EDGAR Accession No. 0001398344-20-014613 on July 29, 2020.

 

(d)(3)(xvii) Expense Limitation Agreement, dated September 21, 2018, between the Registrant and KBI, relating to the KBI Global Investors Aquarius Fund, is incorporated herein by reference to Exhibit (d)(3)(xxiii) of Post-Effective Amendment No. 148 to the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form N-1A (File No. 333-192858), filed with the SEC via EDGAR Accession No. 0001398344-18-013996 on September 26, 2018.

 

 

 

(d)(3)(xviii) Expense Limitation Agreement, dated November 16, 2018, between the Registrant and MFIM, relating to the Mesirow Financial Funds, is incorporated herein by reference to Exhibit (d)(3)(xxii) of Post-Effective Amendment No. 159 to the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form N-1A (File No. 333-192858), filed with the SEC via EDGAR Accession No. 0001398344-18-017044 on November 27, 2018.

 

(d)(3)(xix) Amended Schedule A, dated July 10, 2019, to the Expense Limitation Agreement, dated November 16, 2018, between the Registrant and MFIM relating to the Mesirow Financial Funds, is incorporated herein by reference to Exhibit (d)(3)(xxii) of Post-Effective Amendment No. 196 to the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form N-1A (File No. 333-192858), filed with the SEC via EDGAR Accession No. 0001398344-19-013145 on July 30, 2019.

 

(d)(3)(xx) Expense Limitation Agreement, dated December 26, 2018, between the Registrant and Aperture, relating to the Aperture New World Opportunities Fund, is incorporated herein by reference to Exhibit (d)(3)(xxiii) of Post-Effective Amendment No. 167 to the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form N-1A (File No. 333-192858), filed with the SEC via EDGAR Accession No. 0001398344-18-018671 on December 28, 2018.

 

(d)(3)(xxi) Amended Schedule A, dated December 13, 2019, to the Expense Limitation Agreement, dated December 26, 2018, between the Registrant and Aperture, relating to the Aperture New World Opportunities Fund, Aperture Endeavour Equity Fund and Aperture Discover Equity Fund, is incorporated herein by reference to Exhibit (d)(3)(xx) of Post-Effective Amendment No. 225 to the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form N-1A (File No. 333-192858), filed with the SEC via EDGAR Accession No. 0001398344-19-022972 on December 23, 2019.

 

(d)(3)(xxii) Expense Limitation Agreement, dated January 3, 2019, between the Registrant and Nicholas, relating to the Nicholas Partners Small Cap Growth Fund, is incorporated herein by reference to Exhibit (d)(3)(xxiv) of Post-Effective Amendment No. 171 to the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form N-1A (File No. 333-192858), filed with the SEC via EDGAR Accession No. 0001398344-19-000717 on January 16, 2019.

 

(d)(3)(xxiii) Expense Limitation Agreement, dated March 14, 2019, between the Registrant and Aegon, relating to the Aegon Funds, is incorporated herein by reference to Exhibit (d)(3)(xxvi) of Post-Effective Amendment No. 189 to the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form N-1A (File No. 333-192858), filed with the SEC via EDGAR Accession No. 0001398344-19-010094 on June 5, 2019.

 

(d)(3)(xxiv) Expense Limitation Agreement, dated October 1, 2019, between the Registrant and Levin Easterly, related to the Levin Easterly Value Opportunities Fund, is incorporated herein by reference to Exhibit (d)(3)(xxiv) of Post-Effective Amendment No. 214 to the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form N-1A (File No. 333-192858), filed with the SEC via EDGAR Accession No. 0001398344-19-018143 on October 18, 2019.

 

(d)(3)(xxv) Expense Limitation Agreement, dated July 10, 2020, between the Registrant and Rayliant, related to the Rayliant Quantamental China Equity Fund, is incorporated herein by reference to Exhibit (d)(3)(xxv) of Post-Effective Amendment No. 257 to the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form N-1A (File No. 333-192858), filed with the SEC via EDGAR Accession No. 0001398344-20-019746 on October 6, 2020.

 

(d)(3)(xxvi) Expense Limitation Agreement, dated [XX], between the Registrant and CCT, related to the CCT Thematic Equity Fund, to be filed by amendment.

 

 

 

(d)(3)(xxvii) Expense Limitation Agreement, dated [XX], between the Registrant and SouthernSun, related to the SouthernSun Funds, to be filed by amendment.

 

(d)(3)(xxviii) Expense Limitation Agreement, dated [XX], between the Registrant and Brookmont, related to the First Foundation Funds, to be filed by amendment.

 

(d)(3)(xxix) Expense Limitation Agreement, dated [XX], between the Registrant and LGIMA, related to the LGIMA Funds, to be filed by amendment.

 

(e)(1)(i) Distribution Agreement, dated February 12, 2014, between the Registrant and SEI Investments Distribution Co. (“SIDCO”), is incorporated herein by reference to Exhibit (e) of the Registrant’s Pre-Effective Amendment No. 2 (File No. 333-192858), filed with the SEC via EDGAR Accession No. 0001135428-14-000199 on March 18, 2014.

 

(e)(1)(ii) Amendment No. 1, dated December 7, 2017, to the Distribution Agreement, dated February 12, 2014, between the Registrant and SIDCO, is incorporated herein by reference to Exhibit (e)(1)(ii) of Post-Effective Amendment No. 120 to the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form N-1A (File No. 333-192858), filed with the SEC via EDGAR Accession No. 0001135428-18-000054 on January 26, 2018.

 

(e)(2) Form of Authorized Participant Agreement to be filed by amendment.

 

(f) Not Applicable.

 

(g)(1)(i) Custodian Agreement, dated February 19, 2014, between the Registrant and MUFG Union Bank, N.A. (formerly known as Union Bank, N.A.) is incorporated herein by reference to Exhibit (g) of the Registrant’s Pre-Effective Amendment No. 2 (File No. 333-192858), filed with the SEC via EDGAR Accession No. 0001135428-14-000199 on March 18, 2014.

 

(g)(1)(ii) Amended Schedule I, dated October 1, 2014, to the Custodian Agreement, dated February 19, 2014, between the Registrant and MUFG Union Bank, N.A. (formerly known as Union Bank, N.A.) is incorporated herein by reference to Exhibit (g)(1)(ii) of Post-Effective Amendment No. 15 to the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form N-1A (File No. 333-192858), filed with the SEC via EDGAR Accession No. 001135428-14-000692 on November 4, 2014.

 

(g)(2)(i) Custodian Agreement, dated November 25, 2014, between the Registrant and Brown Brothers Harriman & Co. is incorporated herein by reference to Exhibit (g)(3) of Post-Effective Amendment No. 45 to the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form N-1A (File No. 333-192858), filed with the SEC via EDGAR Accession No. 0001135428-15-000464 on July 14, 2015.

 

(g)(2)(ii) Amendment, dated October 30, 2018, to the Custodian Agreement, dated November 25, 2014, between the Registrant and Brown Brothers Harriman & Co., is incorporated herein by reference to Exhibit (g)(2)(vii) of Post-Effective Amendment No. 158 to the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form N-1A (File No. 333-192858), filed with the SEC via EDGAR Accession No. 0001398344-18-016867 on November 21, 2018.

 

(g)(2)(iii) Appendix A, dated [XX], to the Custodian Agreement, dated November 25, 2014, between the Registrant and Brown Brothers Harriman & Co. to be filed by amendment.

 

(g)(2)(iv) Appendix A, dated [XX], to the Custodian Agreement, dated November 25, 2014, between the Registrant and Brown Brothers Harriman & Co. to be filed by amendment.

 

 

 

(g)(3)(i) Custodian Agreement, dated November 16, 2018, between the Registrant and State Street Bank and Trust Company, is incorporated herein by reference to Exhibit (g)(3)(i) of Post-Effective Amendment No. 171 to the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form N-1A (File No. 333-192858), filed with the SEC via EDGAR Accession No. 0001398344-19-000717 on January 16, 2019.

 

(g)(3)(ii) Amended Appendix A, dated December 31, 2019, to the Custodian Agreement, dated November 16, 2018, between the Registrant and State Street Bank and Trust Company, is incorporated herein by reference to Exhibit (g)(3)(iii) of Post-Effective Amendment No. 228 to the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form N-1A (File No. 333-192858), filed with the SEC via EDGAR Accession No. 0001398344-20-001402 on January 28, 2020.

 

(g)(3)(iii) Amended Appendix A, dated December 31, 2019, to the Custodian Agreement, dated November 16, 2018, between the Registrant and State Street Bank and Trust Company, is incorporated herein by reference to Exhibit (g)(3)(iii) of Post-Effective Amendment No. 243 to the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form N-1A (File No. 333-192858), filed with the SEC via EDGAR Accession No. 0001398344-20-014613 on July 29, 2020.

 

(h)(1)(i) Amended and Restated Administration Agreement, dated November 16, 2018, between the Registrant and SEI Investments Global Funds Services (“SEI GFS”), is incorporated herein by reference to Exhibit (h)(1)(i) of Post-Effective Amendment No. 160 to the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form N-1A (File No. 333-192858), filed with the SEC via EDGAR Accession No. 0001398344-18-017157 on November 28, 2018.

 

(h)(2)(i) Agency Agreement, dated March 12, 2014, between the Registrant and DST Systems, Inc., is incorporated herein by reference to Exhibit (h)(4) of the Registrant’s Pre-Effective Amendment No. 2 (File No. 333-192858), filed with the SEC via EDGAR Accession No. 0001135428-14-000199 on March 18, 2014.

 

(h)(2)(i)(a) Amendment No. 1, dated April 30, 2018, to the Agency Agreement, dated March 12, 2014, between the Registrant and DST Systems, Inc., is incorporated herein by reference to Exhibit (h)(2)(i)(a) of Post-Effective Amendment No. 160 to the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form N-1A (File No. 333-192858), filed with the SEC via EDGAR Accession No. 0001398344-18-017157 on November 28, 2018.

 

(h)(2)(i)(b) Amendment, dated June 19, 2018, to the Agency Agreement, dated March 12, 2014, between the Registrant and DST Systems, Inc., is incorporated herein by reference to Exhibit (h)(2)(i)(b) of Post-Effective Amendment No. 160 to the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form N-1A (File No. 333-192858), filed with the SEC via EDGAR Accession No. 0001398344-18-017157 on November 28, 2018.

 

(h)(2)(i)(c) Amendment, dated June 26, 2018, to the Agency Agreement, dated March 12, 2014, between the Registrant and DST Systems, Inc., is incorporated herein by reference to Exhibit (h)(2)(i)(c) of Post-Effective Amendment No. 160 to the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form N-1A (File No. 333-192858), filed with the SEC via EDGAR Accession No. 0001398344-18-017157 on November 28, 2018.

 

(h)(2)(i)(d) Advisor Complex Schedule relating to the Fiera Capital Diversified Alternatives Fund, dated July 25, 2014, to the Agency Agreement, dated March 12, 2014, between the Registrant and DST Systems, Inc., is incorporated herein by reference to Exhibit (h)(2)(i)(b) of Post-Effective Amendment No. 53 to the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form N-1A (File No. 333-192858), filed with the SEC via EDGAR Accession No. 0001135428-15-000574 on August 26, 2015.

 

 

 

(h)(2)(i)(e) Advisor Complex Schedule relating to the MetLife Funds, dated December 18, 2014, to the Agency Agreement, dated March 12, 2014, between the Registrant and DST Systems, Inc., is incorporated herein by reference to Exhibit (h)(2)(i)(d) of Post-Effective Amendment No. 53 to the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form N-1A (File No. 333-192858), filed with the SEC via EDGAR Accession No. 0001135428-15-000574 on August 26, 2015.

 

(h)(2)(i)(f) Advisor Complex Schedule relating to the Knights of Columbus Funds, dated January 21, 2015, to the Agency Agreement, dated March 12, 2014, between the Registrant and DST Systems, Inc., is incorporated herein by reference to Exhibit (h)(2)(i)(e) of Post-Effective Amendment No. 88 to the Registration Statement on Form N-1A (File No. 333-192858), filed with the SEC via EDGAR Accession No. 001135428-17-000150 on February 28, 2017.

 

(h)(2)(i)(g) Advisor Complex Schedule relating to the Strategic Global Advisors Funds, dated September 30, 2016, to the Agency Agreement, dated March 12, 2014, between the Registrant and DST Systems, Inc., is incorporated herein by reference to Exhibit (h)(2)(i)(f) of Post-Effective Amendment No. 77 to the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form N-1A (File No. 333-192858), filed with the SEC via EDGAR Accession No. 0001135428-16-001808 on October 28, 2016.

 

(h)(2)(i)(h) Advisor Complex Schedule relating to the RWC Global Emerging Equity Fund, dated December 30, 2016, to the Agency Agreement, dated March 12, 2014, between the Registrant and DST Systems, Inc., is incorporated herein by reference to Exhibit (h)(2)(i)(g) of Post-Effective Amendment No. 85 to the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form N-1A (File No. 333-192858), filed with the SEC via EDGAR Accession No. 0001135428-17-000062 on January 27, 2017.

 

(h)(2)(i)(i) Advisor Complex Schedule relating to the GQG Funds, dated December 28, 2016, to the Agency Agreement, dated March 12, 2014, between the Registrant and DST Systems, Inc., is incorporated herein by reference to Exhibit (h)(2)(i)(h) of Post-Effective Amendment No. 85 to the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form N-1A (File No. 333-192858), filed with the SEC via EDGAR Accession No. 0001135428-17-000062 on January 27, 2017.

 

(h)(2)(i)(j) Advisor Complex Schedule relating to the Ninety One Funds, dated December 11, 2017, to the Agency Agreement, dated March 12, 2014, between the Registrant and DST Systems, Inc., is incorporated herein by reference to Exhibit (h)(2)(i)(h) of Post-Effective Amendment No. 123 to the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form N-1A (File No. 333-192858), filed with the SEC via EDGAR Accession No. 0001398344-18-003034 on February 28, 2018.

 

(h)(2)(i)(k) Advisor Complex Schedule relating to the Penn Mutual AM Strategic Income Fund (formerly, Penn Mutual AM Unconstrained Bond Fund), dated July 2, 2018, to the Agency Agreement, dated March 12, 2014, between the Registrant and DST Systems, Inc., is incorporated herein by reference to Exhibit (h)(2)(i)(j) of Post-Effective Amendment No. 148 to the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form N-1A (File No. 333-192858), filed with the SEC via EDGAR Accession No. 0001398344-18-013996 on September 26, 2018.

 

(h)(2)(i)(l) Advisor Complex Schedule relating to the Penn Mutual AM 1847 Income Fund, dated July 2, 2018, to the Agency Agreement, dated March 12, 2014, between the Registrant and DST Systems, Inc., is incorporated herein by reference to Exhibit (h)(2)(i)(l) of Post-Effective Amendment No. 243 to the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form N-1A (File No. 333-192858), filed with the SEC via EDGAR Accession No. 0001398344-20-014613 on July 29, 2020.

 

(h)(2)(i)(m) Advisor Complex Schedule relating to the Mesirow Financial Funds, dated December 3, 2018, to the Agency Agreement, dated March 12, 2014, between the Registrant and DST Systems, Inc., is incorporated herein by reference to Exhibit (h)(2)(i)(m) of Post-Effective Amendment No. 171 to the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form N-1A (File No. 333-192858), filed with the SEC via EDGAR Accession No. 0001398344-19-000717 on January 16, 2019.

 

 

 

(h)(2)(i)(n) Advisor Complex Schedule relating to the Aperture Funds, dated March 18, 2019, to the Agency Agreement, dated March 12, 2014, between the Registrant and DST Systems, Inc., is incorporated herein by reference to Exhibit (h)(2)(i)(m) of Post-Effective Amendment No. 204 to the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form N-1A (File No. 333-192858), filed with the SEC via EDGAR Accession No. 0001398344-19-016580 on September 13, 2019.

 

(h)(2)(i)(o) Advisor Complex Schedule relating to the Nicholas Partners Small Cap Growth Fund, dated January 16, 2019, to the Agency Agreement, dated March 12, 2014, between the Registrant and DST Systems, Inc., is incorporated herein by reference to Exhibit (h)(2)(i)(o) of Post-Effective Amendment No. 183 to the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form N-1A (File No. 333-192858), filed with the SEC via EDGAR Accession No. 0001398344-19-007372 on April 30, 2019.

 

(h)(2)(i)(p) Advisor Complex Schedule relating to the Aegon Funds, dated June 14, 2019, to the Agency Agreement, dated March 12, 2014, between the Registrant and DST Systems, Inc., is incorporated herein by reference to Exhibit (h)(2)(i)(o) of Post-Effective Amendment No. 220 to the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form N-1A (File No. 333-192858), filed with the SEC via EDGAR Accession No. 0001398344-19-021470 on November 27, 2019.

 

(h)(2)(i)(q) Advisor Complex Schedule relating to the Levin Easterly Value Opportunities Fund, dated October 18, 2019, to the Agency Agreement, dated March 12, 2014, between the Registrant and DST Systems, Inc., is incorporated herein by reference to Exhibit (h)(2)(i)(p) of Post-Effective Amendment No. 220 to the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form N-1A (File No. 333-192858), filed with the SEC via EDGAR Accession No. 0001398344-19-021470 on November 27, 2019.

 

(h)(2)(i)(r) Form of Advisor Complex Schedule relating to the Rayliant Quantamental China Equity Fund, dated [XX], to the Agency Agreement, dated March 12, 2014, between the Registrant and DST Systems, Inc., is incorporated herein by reference to Exhibit (h)(2)(i)(r) of Post-Effective Amendment No. 249 to the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form N-1A (File No. 333-192858), filed with the SEC via EDGAR Accession No. 0001398344-20-017803 on August 31, 2020.

 

(h)(2)(i)(s) Advisor Complex Schedule relating to the LGIMA Funds, dated [XX], to the Agency Agreement, dated March 12, 2014, between the Registrant and DST Systems, Inc., to be filed by amendment.

 

(h)(2)(ii) Transfer Agency Services Agreement, dated August 18, 2015, between the Registrant and Atlantic Shareholder Services, LLC, is incorporated herein by reference to Exhibit (h)(2)(ii) of Post-Effective Amendment No. 53 to the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form N-1A (File No. 333-192858), filed with the SEC via EDGAR Accession No. 0001135428-15-000574 on August 26, 2015.

 

(h)(2)(ii)(a) Amendment, dated November 3, 2015, to the Transfer Agency Services Agreement, dated August 18, 2015, between the Registrant and Atlantic Shareholder Services, LLC, is incorporated herein by reference to Exhibit (h)(2)(ii)(a) of Post-Effective Amendment No. 61 to the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form N-1A (File No. 333-192858), filed with the SEC via EDGAR Accession No. 0001135428-15-000852 on November 23, 2015.

 

(h)(2)(ii)(b) Amendment No. 2, dated October 2016, to the Transfer Agency Services Agreement, dated August 18, 2015, between the Registrant and Atlantic Shareholder Services, LLC, is incorporated herein by reference to Exhibit (h)(2)(ii)(b) of Post-Effective Amendment No. 77 to the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form N-1A (File No. 333-192858), filed with the SEC via EDGAR Accession No. 0001135428-16-001808 on October 28, 2016.

 

 

 

(h)(2)(ii)(c) Amendment No. 3, dated February 22, 2017, to the Transfer Agency Services Agreement, dated August 18, 2015, between the Registrant and Atlantic Shareholder Services, LLC, is incorporated herein by reference to Exhibit (h)(2)(ii)(c) of Post-Effective Amendment No. 90 to the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form N-1A (File No. 333-192858), filed with the SEC via EDGAR Accession No. 0001135428-17-000186 on March 6, 2017.

 

(h)(2)(ii)(d) Amendment No. 4, dated May 3, 2017, to the Transfer Agency Services Agreement, dated August 18, 2015, between the Registrant and Atlantic Shareholder Services, LLC, is incorporated herein by reference to Exhibit (h)(2)(ii)(d) of Post-Effective Amendment No. 100 to the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form N-1A (File No. 333-192858), filed with the SEC via EDGAR Accession No. 0001135428-17-000529 on May 19, 2017.

 

(h)(2)(ii)(e) Amendment No. 5, dated July 11, 2017, to the Transfer Agency Services Agreement, dated August 18, 2015, between the Registrant and Atlantic Shareholder Services, LLC, is incorporated herein by reference to Exhibit (h)(2)(ii)(e) of Post-Effective Amendment No. 160 to the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form N-1A (File No. 333-192858), filed with the SEC via EDGAR Accession No. 0001398344-18-017157 on November 28, 2018.

 

(h)(2)(ii)(f) Amendment No. 6, dated September 20, 2017, to the Transfer Agency Services Agreement, dated August 18, 2015, between the Registrant and Atlantic Shareholder Services, LLC, is incorporated herein by reference to Exhibit (h)(2)(ii)(e) of Post-Effective Amendment No. 112 to the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form N-1A (File No. 333-192858), filed with the SEC via EDGAR Accession No. 0001135428-17-000965 on September 27, 2017.

 

(h)(2)(ii)(g) Amendment No. 7, dated February 23, 2018, to the Transfer Agency Services Agreement, dated August 18, 2015, between the Registrant and Atlantic Shareholder Services, LLC, is incorporated herein by reference to Exhibit (h)(2)(ii)(g) of Post-Effective Amendment No. 160 to the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form N-1A (File No. 333-192858), filed with the SEC via EDGAR Accession No. 0001398344-18-017157 on November 28, 2018.

 

(h)(2)(ii)(h) Amendment No. 8, dated September 24, 2018, to the Transfer Agency Services Agreement, dated August 18, 2015, between the Registrant and Atlantic Shareholder Services, LLC, is incorporated herein by reference to Exhibit (h)(2)(ii)(f) of Post-Effective Amendment No. 148 to the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form N-1A (File No. 333-192858), filed with the SEC via EDGAR Accession No. 0001398344-18-013996 on September 26, 2018.

 

(h)(2)(ii)(i) Amendment No. 9, dated September 30, 2020, to the Transfer Agency Services Agreement, dated August 18, 2015, between the Registrant and Atlantic Shareholder Services, LLC, is incorporated herein by reference to Exhibit (h)(2)(ii)(i) of Post-Effective Amendment No. 255 to the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form N-1A (File No. 333-192858), filed with the SEC via EDGAR Accession No. 0001398344-20-019356 on September 30, 2020.

 

(h)(2)(ii)(j) Amendment No. 10, dated [XX], to the Transfer Agency Services Agreement, dated August 18, 2015, between the Registrant and Atlantic Shareholder Services, LLC, to be filed by amendment.

 

(h)(2)(iii) Transfer Agency Services Agreement, dated [XX], between the Brown Brothers Harriman & Co. to be filed by amendment.

 

 

 

(h)(3)(i) Amended and Restated Shareholder Services Plan, dated December 10, 2015, is incorporated herein by reference to Exhibit (h)(3) of Post-Effective Amendment No. 68 to the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form N-1A (File No. 333-192858), filed with the SEC via EDGAR Accession No. 0001135428-16-001068 on February 26, 2016.

 

(h)(3)(ii) Amended Exhibit A, dated June 25, 2020 to the Amended and Restated Shareholder Services Plan, dated December 10, 2015, is incorporated herein by reference to Exhibit (h)(3)(ii) of Post-Effective Amendment No. 249 to the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form N-1A (File No. 333-192858), filed with the SEC via EDGAR Accession No. 0001398344-20-017803 on August 31, 2020.

 

(h)(3)(iii) Amended Exhibit A, dated [XX], to the Amended and Restated Shareholder Services Plan, dated December 10, 2015, to be filed by amendment.

 

(h)(4) License Agreement, dated December 5, 2019, between the Registrant and Knights of Columbus Asset Advisors, relating to the Knights of Columbus U.S. All Cap Index Fund, is incorporated herein by reference to Exhibit (h)(4) of Post-Effective Amendment No. 231 to the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form N-1A (File No. 333-192858), filed with the SEC via EDGAR Accession No. 0001398344-20-004731 on February 28, 2020.

 

(i) Opinion and Consent of Counsel, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP, to be filed by amendment.

 

(j) Not Applicable.

 

(k) Not Applicable.

 

(l) Initial Capital Agreement, dated March 4, 2014, is incorporated herein by reference to Exhibit (l) of the Registrant’s Pre-Effective Amendment No. 2 (File No. 333-192858), filed with the SEC via EDGAR Accession No. 0001135428-14-000199 on March 18, 2014.

 

(m)(1) Amended and Restated Distribution Plan, dated March 3, 2015, is incorporated herein by reference to Exhibit (m)(1) of the Registrant’s Post-Effective Amendment No. 45 (File No. 333-192858), filed with the SEC via EDGAR Accession No. 0001135428-15-000464 on July 14, 2015.

 

(m)(2) Amended Schedule A, dated September 12, 2019, to the Amended and Restated Distribution Plan, dated March 3, 2015, is incorporated herein by reference to Exhibit (m)(2) of Post-Effective Amendment No. 220 to the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form N-1A (File No. 333-192858), filed with the SEC via EDGAR Accession No. 0001398344-19-021470 on November 27, 2019.

 

(m)(3) Amended Schedule A, dated [XX], to the Amended and Restated Distribution Plan, dated March 3, 2015, to be filed by amendment.

 

(m)(4) Amended Schedule A, dated [XX], to the Amended and Restated Distribution Plan, dated March 3, 2015, to be filed by amendment.

 

(n)(1) Registrant’s Amended and Restated Rule 18f-3 Multiple Class Plan, dated February 12, 2014, including Schedules and Certificates of Class Designation thereto, is incorporated herein by reference to Exhibit (n) of Post-Effective Amendment No. 12 to the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form N-1A (File No. 333-192858), filed with the SEC via EDGAR Accession No. 0001135428-14-000655 on October 7, 2014.

 

 

 

(n)(2) Amended and Restated Schedule D and Certificates of Class Designation to the Registrant’s Amended and Restated Rule 18f-3 Plan, dated February 12, 2014, relating to the Knights of Columbus Funds, is incorporated herein by reference to Exhibit (n)(3) of Post-Effective Amendment No. 208 to the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form N-1A (File No. 333-192858), filed with the SEC via EDGAR Accession No. 0001398344-19-017246 on September 27, 2019.

 

(n)(3) Schedule F and Certificates of Class Designation to the Registrant’s Amended and Restated Rule 18f-3 Plan, dated February 12, 2014, relating to the PineBridge Dynamic Asset Allocation Fund, is incorporated herein by reference to Exhibit (n)(4) of Post-Effective Amendment No. 64 to the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form N-1A (File No. 333-192858), filed with the SEC via EDGAR Accession No. 0001135428-15-000935 on December 23, 2015.

 

(n)(4) Schedule G and Certificates of Class Designation to the Registrant’s Amended and Restated Rule 18f-3 Plan, dated February 12, 2014, relating to the Strategic Global Advisors Funds, is incorporated herein by reference to Exhibit (n)(4) of Post-Effective Amendment No. 73 to the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form N-1A (File No. 333-192858), filed with the SEC via EDGAR Accession No. 0001135428-16-001760 on September 28, 2016.

 

(n)(5) Schedule H and Certificates of Class Designation to the Registrant’s Amended and Restated Rule 18f-3 Plan, dated February 12, 2014, relating to the RWC Global Emerging Equity Fund, is incorporated herein by reference to Exhibit (n)(5) of Post-Effective Amendment No. 76 to the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form N-1A (File No. 333-192858), filed with the SEC via EDGAR Accession No. 0001135428-16-001783 on October 21, 2016.

 

(n)(6) Amended and Restated Schedule I and Certificates of Class Designation to the Registrant’s Amended and Restated Rule 18f-3 Plan, dated February 12, 2014, relating to the GQG Funds, is incorporated herein by reference to Exhibit (n)(6) of Post-Effective Amendment No. 181 to the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form N-1A (File No. 333-192858), filed with the SEC via EDGAR Accession No. 0001398344-19-005735 on March 28, 2019.

 

(n)(7) Schedule M and Certificates of Class Designation to the Registrant’s Amended and Restated Rule 18f-3 Plan, dated February 12, 2014, relating to the KBI Global Investors Aquarius Fund, is incorporated herein by reference to Exhibit (n)(10) of Post-Effective Amendment No. 148 to the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form N-1A (File No. 333-192858), filed with the SEC via EDGAR Accession No. 0001398344-18-013996 on September 26, 2018.

 

(n)(8) Amended and Restated Schedule L and Certificates of Class Designation to the Registrant’s Amended and Restated Rule 18f-3 Plan, dated February 12, 2014, relating to the Ninety One Funds, is incorporated herein by reference to Exhibit (n)(11) of Post-Effective Amendment No. 158 to the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form N-1A (File No. 333-192858), filed with the SEC via EDGAR Accession No. 0001398344-18-016867 on November 21, 2018.

 

(n)(9) Schedule N and Certificates of Class Designation to the Registrant’s Amended and Restated Rule 18f-3 Plan, dated February 12, 2014, relating to the Mesirow Financial Funds, is incorporated herein by reference to Exhibit (n)(12) of Post-Effective Amendment No. 159 to the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form N-1A (File No. 333-192858), filed with the SEC via EDGAR Accession No. 0001398344-18-017044 on November 27, 2018.

 

(n)(10) Schedule O and Certificates of Class Designation to the Registrant’s Amended and Restated Rule 18f-3 Plan, dated February 12, 2014, relating to the Nicholas Partners Small Cap Growth Fund, is incorporated herein by reference to Exhibit (n)(13) of Post-Effective Amendment No. 171 to the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form N-1A (File No. 333-192858), filed with the SEC via EDGAR Accession No. 0001398344-19-000717 on January 16, 2019.

 

 

 

(n)(11) Schedule P and Certificates of Class Designation to the Registrant’s Amended and Restated Rule 18f-3 Plan, dated February 12, 2014, relating to the Aegon Funds, is incorporated herein by reference to Exhibit (n)(12) of Post-Effective Amendment No. 189 to the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form N-1A (File No. 333-192858), filed with the SEC via EDGAR Accession No. 0001398344-19-010094 on June 5, 2019.

 

(n)(12) Amended and Restated Schedule Q and Certificates of Class Designation to the Registrant’s Amended and Restated Rule 18f-3 Plan, dated February 12, 2014, relating to the Aperture New World Opportunities Fund, Aperture Endeavour Equity Fund and Aperture Discover Equity Fund, is incorporated herein by reference to Exhibit (n)(13) of Post-Effective Amendment No. 225 to the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form N-1A (File No. 333-192858), filed with the SEC via EDGAR Accession No. 0001398344-19-022972 on December 23, 2019.

 

(n)(13) Amended and Restated Schedule Q and Certificates of Class Designation to the Registrant’s Amended and Restated Rule 18f-3 Plan, dated February 12, 2014, relating to the Aperture International Equity Fund, is incorporated herein by reference to Exhibit (n)(13) of Post-Effective Amendment No. 249 to the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form N-1A (File No. 333-192858), filed with the SEC via EDGAR Accession No. 0001398344-20-017803 on August 31, 2020.

 

(n)(14) Schedule R and Certificates of Class Designation to the Registrant’s Amended and Restated Rule 18f-3 Plan, dated February 12, 2014, relating to the Levin Easterly Value Opportunities Fund, is incorporated herein by reference to Exhibit (n)(16) of Post-Effective Amendment No. 214 to the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form N-1A (File No. 333-192858), filed with the SEC via EDGAR Accession No. 0001398344-19-018143 on October 18, 2019.

 

(n)(15) Schedule S and Certificates of Class Designation to the Registrant’s Amended and Restated Rule 18f-3 Plan, dated February 12, 2014, relating to the Rayliant Quantamental China Equity Fund, is incorporated herein by reference to Exhibit (n)(15) of Post-Effective Amendment No. 249 to the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form N-1A (File No. 333-192858), filed with the SEC via EDGAR Accession No. 0001398344-20-017803 on August 31, 2020.

 

(n)(16) Schedule T and Certificates of Class Designation to the Registrant’s Amended and Restated Rule 18f-3 Plan, dated February 12, 2014, relating to the LGIMA Funds, to be filed by amendment.

 

(n)(17) Schedule U and Certificates of Class Designation to the Registrant’s Amended and Restated Rule 18f-3 Plan, dated February 12, 2014, relating to the SouthernSun Funds, to be filed by amendment.

 

(n)(18) Schedule V and Certificates of Class Designation to the Registrant’s Amended and Restated Rule 18f-3 Plan, dated February 12, 2014, relating to the First Foundation Funds, to be filed by amendment.

 

(o) Not Applicable.

 

(p)(1) Registrant’s Code of Ethics is incorporated herein by reference to Exhibit (p)(1) of the Registrant’s Pre-Effective Amendment No. 1 (File No. 333-192858), filed with the SEC via EDGAR Accession No. 0001135428-14-000079 on February 20, 2014.

 

(p)(2) SIDCO Code of Ethics, dated November 26, 2018, is incorporated herein by reference to Exhibit (p)(2) of Post-Effective Amendment No. 220 to the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form N-1A (File No. 333-192858), filed with the SEC via EDGAR Accession No. 0001398344-19-021470 on November 27, 2019.

 

 

 

(p)(3) SEI GFS Code of Ethics, dated January 2019, is incorporated herein by reference to Exhibit (p)(3) of Post-Effective Amendment No. 220 to the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form N-1A (File No. 333-192858), filed with the SEC via EDGAR Accession No. 0001398344-19-021470 on November 27, 2019.

 

(p)(4) Fiera Code of Ethics, dated December 2017, is incorporated herein by reference to Exhibit (p)(5) of Post-Effective Amendment No. 160 to the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form N-1A (File No. 333-192858), filed with the SEC via EDGAR Accession No. 0001398344-18-017157 on November 28, 2018.

 

(p)(5) MetLife Code of Ethics, dated April 30, 2007, as amended March 16, 2017, is incorporated herein by reference to Exhibit (p)(8) of Post-Effective Amendment No. 123 to the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form N-1A (File No. 333-192858), filed with the SEC via EDGAR Accession No. 0001398344-18-003034 on February 28, 2018.

 

(p)(6) Knights of Columbus Asset Advisors Code of Ethics, dated October 1, 2019, is incorporated herein by reference to Exhibit (p)(6) of Post-Effective Amendment No. 235 to the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form N-1A (File No. 333-192858), filed with the SEC via EDGAR Accession No. 0001398344-20-008819 on April 29, 2020.

 

(p)(7) Chiron Code of Ethics, dated February 2018, is incorporated herein by reference to Exhibit (p)(11) of Post-Effective Amendment No. 160 to the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form N-1A (File No. 333-192858), filed with the SEC via EDGAR Accession No. 0001398344-18-017157 on November 28, 2018.

 

(p)(8) PineBridge Code of Ethics, dated July 2017, is incorporated herein by reference to Exhibit (p)(14) of Post-Effective Amendment No. 114 to the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form N-1A (File No. 333-192858), filed with the SEC via EDGAR Accession No. 0001135428-17-000992 on September 29, 2017.

 

(p)(9) Strategic Global Advisors Code of Ethics, dated January 25, 2018, is incorporated herein by reference to Exhibit (p)(13) of Post-Effective Amendment No. 160 to the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form N-1A (File No. 333-192858), filed with the SEC via EDGAR Accession No. 0001398344-18-017157 on November 28, 2018.

 

(p)(10) RWC Code of Ethics, dated August 2016, is incorporated herein by reference to Exhibit (p)(11) of Post-Effective Amendment No. 228 to the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form N-1A (File No. 333-192858), filed with the SEC via EDGAR Accession No. 0001398344-20-001402 on January 28, 2020.

 

(p)(11) GQG Partners Code of Ethics, dated October 3, 2018, is incorporated herein by reference to Exhibit (p)(14) of Post-Effective Amendment No. 181 to the Registrant’s Registration Statement of Form N-1A (File No. 333-192858), filed with the SEC via EDGAR Accession No. 0001398344-19-005735 on March 28, 2019.

 

(p)(12) Ninety One Code of Ethics, dated October 2019, is incorporated herein by reference to Exhibit (p)(12) of Post-Effective Amendment No. 231 to the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form N-1A (File No. 333-192858), filed with the SEC via EDGAR Accession No. 0001398344-20-004731 on February 28, 2020.

 

 

 

(p)(13) PMAM Code of Ethics, dated February 22, 2017, is incorporated herein by reference to Exhibit (p)(22) of Post-Effective Amendment No. 130 to the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form N-1A (File No. 333-192858), filed with the SEC via EDGAR Accession No. 0001398344-18-007885 on May 22, 2018.

 

(p)(14) KBI Code of Ethics, dated November 2017, is incorporated herein by reference to Exhibit (p)(22) of Post-Effective Amendment No. 148 to the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form N-1A (File No. 333-192858), filed with the SEC via EDGAR Accession No. 0001398344-18-013996 on September 26, 2018.

 

(p)(15) MFIM Code of Ethics, dated July 2, 2018, is incorporated herein by reference to Exhibit (p)(23) of Post-Effective Amendment No. 159 to the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form N-1A (File No. 333-192858), filed with the SEC via EDGAR Accession No. 0001398344-18-017044 on November 27, 2018.

 

(p)(16) Aperture Code of Ethics is incorporated herein by reference to Exhibit (p)(16) of Post-Effective Amendment No. 235 to the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form N-1A (File No. 333-192858), filed with the SEC via EDGAR Accession No. 0001398344-20-008819 on April 29, 2020.

 

(p)(17) Nicholas Code of Ethics, dated August 1, 2019, is incorporated herein by reference to Exhibit (p)(18) of Post-Effective Amendment No. 225 to the Registrant’s Registration Statement on Form N-1A (File No. 333-192858), filed with the SEC via EDGAR Accession No. 0001398344-19-022972 on December 23, 2019.

 

(p)(18) Aegon Code of Ethics is incorporated herein by reference to Exhibit (p)(23) of Post-Effe