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Form 497 JP MORGAN FLEMING MUTUAL

August 8, 2022 2:49 PM EDT

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J.P. MORGAN MUTUAL FUNDS

 

JPMORGAN TRUST I

JPMorgan Access Funds

JPMorgan Access Balanced Fund

JPMorgan Access Growth Fund

J.P. Morgan Income Funds

JPMorgan Corporate Bond Fund

JPMorgan Emerging Markets Debt Fund

JPMorgan Emerging Markets Strategic Debt Fund

JPMorgan Floating Rate Income Fund

JPMorgan Global Bond Opportunities Fund

JPMorgan Income Fund

JPMorgan Managed Income Fund

JPMorgan Short Duration Core Plus Fund

JPMorgan Strategic Income Opportunities Fund

JPMorgan Total Return Fund

JPMorgan Unconstrained Debt Fund

J.P. Morgan International Equity Funds

JPMorgan Emerging Markets Equity Fund

JPMorgan Europe Dynamic Fund

JPMorgan International Equity Fund

JPMorgan International Focus Fund

JPMorgan International Value Fund

J.P. Morgan Funds

JPMorgan Global Allocation Fund

JPMorgan Income Builder Fund

J.P. Morgan Money Market Funds

JPMorgan 100% U.S. Treasury Securities

Money Market Fund

JPMorgan California Municipal Money Market Fund

JPMorgan Federal Money Market Fund

JPMorgan New York Municipal Money Market Fund

JPMorgan Prime Money Market Fund

JPMorgan Tax Free Money Market Fund

J.P. Morgan Municipal Bond Funds

JPMorgan California Tax Free Bond Fund

JPMorgan High Yield Municipal Fund

JPMorgan Intermediate Tax Free Bond Fund

JPMorgan New York Tax Free Bond Fund

J.P. Morgan Tax Aware Funds

JPMorgan Tax Aware Equity Fund

JPMorgan Tax Aware Real Return Fund

JPMorgan SmartRetirement Funds

JPMorgan SmartRetirement® Income Fund

JPMorgan SmartRetirement® 2020 Fund

JPMorgan SmartRetirement® 2025 Fund

JPMorgan SmartRetirement® 2030 Fund

JPMorgan SmartRetirement® 2035 Fund

JPMorgan SmartRetirement® 2040 Fund

JPMorgan SmartRetirement® 2045 Fund

JPMorgan SmartRetirement® 2050 Fund

JPMorgan SmartRetirement® 2055 Fund

JPMorgan SmartRetirement® 2060 Fund

JPMorgan SmartRetirement Blend Funds

JPMorgan SmartRetirement® Blend Income Fund

JPMorgan SmartRetirement® Blend 2020 Fund

JPMorgan SmartRetirement® Blend 2025 Fund

JPMorgan SmartRetirement® Blend 2030 Fund

JPMorgan SmartRetirement® Blend 2035 Fund

JPMorgan SmartRetirement® Blend 2040 Fund

JPMorgan SmartRetirement® Blend 2045 Fund

JPMorgan SmartRetirement® Blend 2050 Fund

JPMorgan SmartRetirement® Blend 2055 Fund

JPMorgan SmartRetirement® Blend 2060 Fund

J.P. Morgan U.S. Equity Funds

JPMorgan Diversified Fund

JPMorgan Equity Focus Fund

JPMorgan Hedged Equity Fund

JPMorgan Mid Cap Equity Fund

JPMorgan Small Cap Blend Fund

JPMorgan Small Cap Equity Fund

JPMorgan Small Cap Sustainable Leaders Fund

(formerly JPMorgan Small Cap Core Fund)

JPMorgan U.S. Applied Data Science Value Fund

(formerly JPMorgan Intrepid Value Fund)

JPMorgan U.S. Equity Fund

JPMorgan U.S. GARP Equity Fund

(formerly JPMorgan Intrepid Growth Fund)

JPMorgan U.S. Large Cap Core Plus Fund

JPMorgan U.S. Research Enhanced Equity Fund

 

 

SUP-MFSAIII-822


JPMorgan U.S. Small Company Fund

JPMorgan U.S. Sustainable Leaders Fund

JPMorgan U.S. Value Fund

JPMorgan Value Advantage Fund

J.P. Morgan Specialty Funds

JPMorgan Opportunistic Equity Long/Short Fund

JPMorgan Research Market Neutral Fund

JPMORGAN TRUST II

J.P. Morgan Income Funds

JPMorgan Core Bond Fund

JPMorgan Core Plus Bond Fund

JPMorgan Government Bond Fund

JPMorgan High Yield Fund

JPMorgan Limited Duration Bond Fund

JPMorgan Mortgage-Backed Securities Fund

JPMorgan Short Duration Bond Fund

J.P. Morgan Investor Funds

JPMorgan Investor Balanced Fund

JPMorgan Investor Conservative Growth Fund

JPMorgan Investor Growth Fund

JPMorgan Investor Growth & Income Fund

J.P. Morgan Money Market Funds

JPMorgan Liquid Assets Money Market Fund

JPMorgan Municipal Money Market Fund

JPMorgan U.S. Government Money Market Fund

JPMorgan U.S. Treasury Plus Money Market Fund

J.P. Morgan Municipal Bond Funds

JPMorgan Short-Intermediate Municipal Bond Fund

JPMorgan Sustainable Municipal Income Fund

JPMorgan Tax Free Bond Fund

J.P. Morgan U.S. Equity Funds

JPMorgan Equity Income Fund

JPMorgan Equity Index Fund

JPMorgan Large Cap Growth Fund

JPMorgan Large Cap Value Fund

JPMorgan Mid Cap Growth Fund

JPMorgan Small Cap Growth Fund

JPMorgan Small Cap Value Fund

JPMorgan SMID Cap Equity Fund

JPMORGAN TRUST IV

J.P. Morgan International Equity Funds

JPMorgan Emerging Markets Research Enhanced Equity Fund

JPMorgan International Hedged Equity Fund

JPMorgan SmartRetirement Blend Funds

JPMorgan SmartRetirement® Blend 2015 Fund

(formerly JPMorgan SmartSpendingSM 2015 Fund)

J.P. Morgan Income Funds

JPMorgan Preferred and Income Securities Fund

J.P. Morgan Money Market Funds

JPMorgan Institutional Tax Free Money Market Fund

JPMorgan Securities Lending Money Market Fund

J.P. Morgan Municipal Bond Funds

JPMorgan Ultra-Short Municipal Fund

J.P. Morgan SMA Funds

JPMorgan Core Focus SMA Fund

JPMorgan Municipal SMA Fund

J.P. Morgan Specialty Funds

JPMorgan Macro Opportunities Fund

J.P. Morgan U.S. Equity Funds

JPMorgan Equity Premium Income Fund

JPMorgan Hedged Equity 2 Fund

JPMorgan Hedged Equity 3 Fund

J.P. MORGAN FLEMING MUTUAL FUND GROUP, INC.

J.P. Morgan U.S. Equity Funds

JPMorgan Mid Cap Value Fund

 


J.P. MORGAN MUTUAL FUND INVESTMENT TRUST

J.P. Morgan U.S. Equity Funds

JPMorgan Growth Advantage Fund

UNDISCOVERED MANAGERS FUNDS

Undiscovered Managers Behavioral Value Fund

 

 

(All Share Classes)

Supplement dated August 8, 2022

to the Current Statements of Additional Information, as supplemented

The Statement of Additional Information Part II (SAI Part II) for the above J.P. Morgan Mutual Funds is replaced in its entirety with the attached SAI Part II.

 

INVESTORS SHOULD RETAIN THIS SUPPLEMENT

WITH THE STATEMENTS OF ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

FOR FUTURE REFERENCE


J.P. Morgan Funds
STATEMENT OF ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
PART II
Part II of this SAI describes policies and practices that apply to each of the J.P. Morgan Funds discussed in Part I of this SAI, which, precedes this Part II. This Part II is not a standalone document and must be read in conjunction with Part I. References in this Part II to a “Fund” mean each J.P. Morgan Fund, unless noted otherwise. Capitalized terms used and not otherwise defined in this Part II have the meanings given to them in Part I of this SAI.
As of August 8, 2022

Part II
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Part II - iv

INVESTMENT STRATEGIES AND POLICIES
As noted in the applicable Prospectuses for each of the Funds, in addition to the investment strategies and the investment risks described in the Prospectuses, each Fund may employ other investment strategies and may be subject to other risks, which are described below. Each Fund may engage in the practices described below to the extent consistent with its investment objectives, strategies, policies and restrictions. However, no Fund is required to engage in any particular transaction or purchase any particular type of securities or investment even if to do so might benefit the Fund. Because the following is a combined description of investment strategies of all of the Funds, (i) certain matters described herein may not apply to particular Funds and (ii) certain references to the Adviser may also include a Sub-Adviser, as the context requires.
An investment in a Fund or any other fund may not provide a complete investment program. The suitability of an investment in a Fund should be considered based on the investment objective, strategies and risks described in the Fund’s prospectus and this SAI, considered in light of all of the other investments in your portfolio, as well as your risk tolerance, financial goals and time horizons. You may want to consult with a financial advisor to determine if a Fund is suitable for you. The value of your investment in a Fund will fluctuate in response to movements in the market. Fund performance also will depend on the effectiveness of the Adviser’s research and the management team’s investment decisions. Tax considerations may limit a Fund’s ability to pursue an investment opportunity or influence portfolio management decisions for the Fund. Future legislative and regulatory determinations may adversely affect the overall market for an instrument in which a Fund may invest and the Fund itself. There is no assurance that any Fund investment can be successfully employed. An investment in a Fund involves risk of a total loss.
For a list of investment strategies and policies employed by each Fund, see “INVESTMENT PRACTICES” in Part I of this SAI.
Asset-Backed Securities
Asset-backed securities consist of securities secured by company receivables, home equity loans, truck and auto loans, leases, or credit card receivables. Asset-backed securities also include other securities backed by other types of receivables or other assets, including collateralized debt obligations (“CDOs”), asset-backed commercial paper (“ABCP”) and other similarly structured securities. CDOs include collateralized loan obligations (“CLOs”) and collateral bond obligations (“CBOs”). Such assets are generally securitized through the use of trusts or special purpose corporations. Asset-backed securities are backed by a pool of assets representing the obligations often of a number of different parties. Certain of these securities may be illiquid.
Asset-backed securities are generally subject to the risks of the underlying assets. In addition, asset-backed securities, in general, are subject to certain additional risks including depreciation, damage or loss of the collateral backing the security, failure of the collateral to generate the anticipated cash flow or in certain cases more rapid prepayment because of events affecting the collateral, such as accelerated prepayment of loans backing these securities or destruction of equipment subject to equipment trust certificates. In addition, the underlying assets (for example, underlying home equity loans) may be refinanced or paid off prior to maturity during periods of increasing or declining interest rates. During periods of declining interest rates, prepayment of loans underlying asset-backed securities can be expected to accelerate. Changes in prepayment rates can result in greater price and yield volatility. If asset-backed securities are pre-paid, a Fund may have to reinvest the proceeds from the securities at a lower rate. Potential market gains on a security subject to prepayment risk may be more limited than potential market gains on a comparable security that is not subject to prepayment risk. Under certain prepayment rate scenarios, a Fund may fail to recover additional amounts paid (i.e., premiums) for securities with higher interest rates, resulting in an unexpected loss.
A CBO is a trust or other special purpose entity (“SPE”) which is typically backed by a diversified pool of fixed income securities (which may include high risk, below investment grade securities). A CLO is a trust or other SPE that is typically collateralized by a pool of loans, which may include, among others, domestic and non-U.S. senior secured loans, senior unsecured loans, and subordinate corporate loans, including loans that may be rated below investment grade or equivalent unrated loans. While many CDOs may receive credit enhancement in the form of a senior-subordinate structure, over-collateralization or bond insurance, such enhancement may not always be present and may fail to protect a Fund against the risk of loss on default of the collateral. Certain CDOs may use derivatives contracts to create “synthetic”
Part II - 5

exposure to assets rather than holding such assets directly, which entails the risks of derivative instruments described elsewhere in this SAI. CDOs may charge management fees and administrative expenses, which are in addition to those of a Fund.
The cash flows for CDOs from the SPE usually are split into two or more portions, called tranches, varying in risk and yield. The riskiest portion is the “equity” tranche, which bears the first loss from defaults from the bonds or loans in the SPE and serves to protect the other, more senior tranches from default (though such protection is not complete). Since it is partially protected from defaults, a senior tranche from a CDO typically has higher ratings and lower yields than its underlying securities, and may be rated investment grade. Despite the protection from the equity tranche, CDO tranches can experience substantial losses due to actual defaults, downgrades of the underlying collateral by rating agencies, forced liquidation of the collateral pool due to a failure of coverage tests, increased sensitivity to defaults due to collateral default and disappearance of protecting tranches, market anticipation of defaults, as well as investor aversion to CDO securities as a class. Interest on certain tranches of a CDO may be paid in kind or deferred and capitalized (paid in the form of obligations of the same type rather than cash), which involves continued exposure to default risk with respect to such payments.
The risks of an investment in a CDO depend largely on the type of the collateral or securities and the class of the CDO in which a Fund invests. CDO tranches often have credit ratings and are typically issued in classes with various priorities. Normally, CDOs are privately offered and sold (that is, they are not registered under the securities laws), and may be subject to additional liquidity risks. However, an active dealer market may exist for CDOs, allowing a CDO to be sold pursuant to Rule 144A. In addition to the risks typically associated with fixed income securities and asset-backed securities generally discussed elsewhere in this SAI, CDOs carry additional risks including, but not limited to: (i) the possibility that distributions from collateral securities will not be adequate to make interest or other payments; (ii) the risk that the collateral may default or decline in value or be downgraded, if rated by a nationally recognized statistical rating organization (“NRSRO”); (iii) a Fund may invest in tranches of CDOs that are subordinate to other tranches; (iv) the structure and complexity of the transaction and the legal documents could lead to disputes among investors regarding the characterization of proceeds; (v) the investment return achieved by the Fund could be significantly different than those predicted by financial models; (vi) the lack of a readily available secondary market for CDOs; (vii) risk of forced “fire sale” liquidation due to technical defaults such as coverage test failures; (viii) values may be volatile; (ix) disputes with the issuer may produce unexpected results; and (x) the CDO’s manager may perform poorly.
Certain Funds may purchase ABCP that is issued by conduits sponsored by banks, mortgage companies, investment banking firms, finance companies, hedge funds, private equity firms and special purpose finance entities. ABCP typically refers to a debt security with an original term to maturity of up to 270 days, the payment of which is supported from underlying assets, or one or more liquidity or credit support providers, or both. Assets backing ABCP, which may be included in revolving pools of assets with large numbers of obligors, include credit card, car loan and other consumer receivables and home or commercial mortgages, including subprime mortgages. To protect investors from the risk of non-payment, ABCP programs are generally structured with various protections, such as credit enhancement, liquidity support, and commercial paper stop issuance and wind-down triggers. There can be no guarantee that these protections will be sufficient to prevent losses to investors in ABCP. The repayment of ABCP issued by a conduit depends primarily on the conduit’s ability to issue new ABCP, access to the liquidity or credit support and, to a lesser extent, cash collections received from the conduit’s underlying asset portfolio. There could be losses to a Fund’s investing in ABCP in the event that: (i) the Fund is unable to access the liquidity or credit support for the ABCP; (ii) the conduit is unable to issue new ABCP; (iii) there is credit or market deterioration in the conduit’s underlying portfolio; and (iv) there are mismatches in the timing of the cash flows of the underlying asset interests and the repayment obligations of maturing ABCP.
Some ABCP programs historically have provided for an extension of the maturity date of the ABCP if, on the related maturity date, the conduit is unable to access sufficient liquidity by issuing additional ABCP. This may delay the sale of the underlying collateral and a Fund may incur a loss if the value of the collateral deteriorates during the extension period. Alternatively, if collateral for ABCP deteriorates in value, the collateral may be required to be sold at inopportune times or at prices insufficient to repay the principal and interest on the ABCP. ABCP programs may provide for the issuance of subordinated notes as an additional form of credit enhancement. The subordinated notes are typically of a lower credit quality and have a higher risk of default. A Fund purchasing these subordinated notes will therefore have a higher likelihood of loss than investors in the senior notes.
Part II - 6

Total Annual Fund Operating Expenses set forth in the fee table and Financial Highlights section of each Fund’s Prospectuses do not include any expenses associated with any Fund investments in certain structured or synthetic products that may rely on the exception for the definition of “investment company” provided by Section 3(c)(1) or 3(c)(7) of the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended (the “1940 Act”).
Auction Rate Securities
Auction rate securities consist of auction rate municipal securities and auction rate preferred securities sold through an auction process issued by closed-end investment companies, municipalities and governmental agencies. For more information on risks associated with municipal securities, see “Municipal Securities” below.
Provided that the auction mechanism is successful, auction rate securities usually permit the holder to sell the securities in an auction at par value at specified intervals. The dividend is reset by “Dutch” auction in which bids are made by broker-dealers and other institutions for a certain amount of securities at a specified minimum yield. The dividend rate set by the auction is the lowest interest or dividend rate that covers all securities offered for sale. While this process is designed to permit auction rate securities to be traded at par value, there is the risk that an auction will fail due to insufficient demand for the securities. Failed auctions may adversely impact the liquidity of auction rate securities investments. There is no guarantee that a liquid market will exist for a Fund’s investments in auction rate securities at a time when the Fund wishes to dispose of such securities.
Dividends on auction rate preferred securities issued by a closed-end fund may be designated as exempt from federal income tax to the extent they are attributable to tax-exempt interest income earned by the closed-end fund on the securities in its portfolio and distributed to holders of the preferred securities. However, such designation may be made only if the closed-end fund treats preferred securities as equity securities for federal income tax purposes and the closed-end fund complies with certain requirements under the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the “Code”).
A Fund’s investment in auction rate preferred securities of closed-end funds is subject to limitations on investments in other U.S. registered investment companies, which limitations are prescribed under the 1940 Act. A Fund is generally prohibited from acquiring more than 3% of the voting securities of any other such investment company, and investing more than 5% of a Fund’s total assets in securities of any one such investment company or more than 10% of its total assets in securities of all such investment companies. A Fund will indirectly bear its proportionate share of any management fees paid by such closed-end funds in addition to the advisory fee payable directly by the Fund.
Bank Obligations
Bank obligations include bankers’ acceptances, certificates of deposit, bank notes and time deposits.
Bankers’ acceptances are negotiable drafts or bills of exchange typically drawn by an importer or exporter to pay for specific merchandise, which are “accepted” by a bank, meaning, in effect, that the bank unconditionally agrees to pay the face value of the instrument on maturity.
Certificates of deposit are negotiable certificates issued against funds deposited in a commercial bank or a savings and loan association for a definite period of time and earning a specified return. Certificates of deposit may also include those issued by foreign banks outside the United States (“U.S.”). Such certificates of deposit include Eurodollar and Yankee certificates of deposit. Eurodollar certificates of deposit are U.S. dollar-denominated certificates of deposit issued by branches of foreign and domestic banks located outside the U.S. Yankee certificates of deposit are certificates of deposit issued by a U.S. branch of a foreign bank denominated in U.S. dollars and held in the U.S. Certain Funds may also invest in obligations (including bankers’ acceptances and certificates of deposit) denominated in foreign currencies (see “Foreign Investments (including Foreign Currencies)”) herein. With regard to certificates of deposit issued by U.S. banks and savings and loan associations, to be eligible for purchase by a Fund, a certificate of deposit must be issued by (i) a domestic or foreign branch of a U.S. commercial bank which is a member of the Federal Reserve System or the deposits of which are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, or (ii) a domestic savings and loan association, the deposits of which are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.
Time deposits are interest-bearing non-negotiable deposits at a bank or a savings and loan association that have a specific maturity date. A time deposit earns a specific rate of interest over a definite period of time. Time deposits cannot be traded on the secondary market.
Part II - 7

The Funds will not invest in obligations for which the Adviser, or any of its affiliated persons, is the ultimate obligor or accepting bank, provided, however, that the Funds maintain demand deposits at their affiliated custodian, JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. (“JPMorgan Chase Bank”).
Subject to a Fund’s limitations on concentration in a particular industry, there is no limitation on the amount of a Fund’s assets which may be invested in obligations of banks which meet the conditions set forth herein.
Commercial Paper
Commercial paper is a short-term obligation, generally with a maturity from 1 to 270 days, issued by a bank or bank holding company, corporation or finance company. Although commercial paper is generally unsecured, the Funds may also purchase secured commercial paper. In the event of a default of an issuer of secured commercial paper, a Fund may hold the securities and other investments that were pledged as collateral even if it does not invest in such securities or investments. In such a case, the Fund would take steps to dispose of such securities or investments in a commercially reasonable manner. Commercial paper includes master demand obligations. See “Variable and Floating Rate Instruments” below.
Certain Funds may also invest in Canadian commercial paper, which is commercial paper issued by a Canadian corporation or a Canadian counterpart of a U.S. corporation, and in Europaper, which is U.S. dollar denominated commercial paper of a foreign issuer. See “Risk Factors of Foreign Investments” below. Certain Funds may purchase commercial paper that is issued by conduits, including ABCP. Additional information about ABCP is included under “Asset-Backed Securities.”
Convertible Securities
Certain Funds may invest in convertible securities. Convertible securities include any debt securities or preferred stock which may be converted into common stock or which carry the right to purchase common stock. Generally, convertible securities entitle the holder to exchange the securities for a specified number of shares of common stock, usually of the same company, at specified prices within a certain period of time.
The terms of any convertible security determine its ranking in a company’s capital structure. In the case of subordinated convertible debentures, the holders’ claims on assets and earnings are subordinated to the claims of other creditors, and are senior to the claims of preferred and common shareholders. In the case of convertible preferred stock, the holders’ claims on assets and earnings are subordinated to the claims of all creditors and are senior to the claims of common shareholders.
Convertible securities have characteristics similar to both debt and equity securities. Due to the conversion feature, the market value of convertible securities tends to move together with the market value of the underlying common stock. As a result, selection of convertible securities, to a great extent, is based on the potential for capital appreciation that may exist in the underlying stock. The value of convertible securities is also affected by prevailing interest rates, the credit quality of the issuer, and any call provisions. In some cases, the issuer may cause a convertible security to convert to common stock. In other situations, it may be advantageous for a Fund to cause the conversion of convertible securities to common stock. If a convertible security converts to common stock, a Fund may hold such common stock in its portfolio even if it does not ordinarily invest in common stock.
Certain Funds invest in contingent securities structured as contingent convertible securities also known as CoCos. Contingent convertible securities are typically issued by non-U.S. banks and are designed to behave like bonds in times of economic health yet absorb losses when a pre-determined trigger event occurs. A contingent convertible security is a hybrid debt security either convertible into equity at a predetermined share price or written down in value based on the specific terms of the individual security if a pre-specified trigger event occurs (the “Trigger Event”). Unlike traditional convertible securities, the conversion of a contingent convertible security from debt to equity is “contingent” and will occur only in the case of a Trigger Event. Trigger Events vary by instrument and are defined by the documents governing the contingent convertible security. Such Trigger Events may include a decline in the issuer’s capital below a specified threshold level, increase in the issuer’s risk weighted assets, the share price of the issuer falling to a particular level for a certain period of time and certain regulatory events.
Contingent convertible securities are subject to the credit, interest rate, high yield security, foreign security and markets risks associated with bonds and equities, and to the risks specific to convertible securities in general. Contingent convertible securities are also subject to additional risks specific to their
Part II - 8

structure including conversion risk. Because Trigger Events are not consistently defined among contingent convertible securities, this risk is greater for contingent convertible securities that are issued by banks with capital ratios close to the level specified in the Trigger Event.
In addition, coupon payments on contingent convertible securities are discretionary and may be cancelled by the issuer at any point, for any reason, and for any length of time. The discretionary cancellation of payments is not an event of default and there are no remedies to require re-instatement of coupon payments or payment of any past missed payments. Coupon payments may also be subject to approval by the issuer’s regulator and may be suspended in the event there are insufficient distributable reserves. Due to uncertainty surrounding coupon payments, contingent convertible securities may be volatile and their price may decline rapidly in the event that coupon payments are suspended.
Contingent convertible securities typically are structurally subordinated to traditional convertible bonds in the issuer’s capital structure. In certain scenarios, investors in contingent convertible securities may suffer a loss of capital ahead of equity holders or when equity holders do not. Contingent convertible securities are also subject to extension risk. Contingent convertible securities are perpetual instruments and may only be callable at pre-determined dates upon approval of the applicable regulatory authority. There is no guarantee that a Fund will receive return of principal on contingent convertible securities.
Convertible contingent securities are a newer form of instrument and the regulatory environment for these instruments continues to evolve. Because the market for contingent convertible securities is evolving, it is uncertain how the larger market for contingent convertible securities would react to a Trigger Event or coupon suspension applicable to a single issuer.
The value of contingent convertible securities is unpredictable and will be influenced by many factors such as: (i) the creditworthiness of the issuer and/or fluctuations in such issuer’s applicable capital ratios; (ii) supply and demand for contingent convertible securities; (iii) general market conditions and available liquidity; and (iv) economic, financial and political events that affect the issuer, its particular market or the financial markets in general.
Custodial Receipts
Certain Funds may acquire securities in the form of custodial receipts that evidence ownership of future interest payments, principal payments or both on certain U.S. Treasury notes or bonds in connection with programs sponsored by banks and brokerage firms. These are not considered U.S. government securities and are not backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government. These notes and bonds are held in custody by a bank on behalf of the owners of the receipts.
Debt Instruments
Below Investment Grade Securities. Securities that were rated investment grade at the time of purchase may subsequently be rated below investment grade (BB+ or lower by Standard & Poor’s Corporation (“S&P”) and Bal or lower by Moody’s Investors Service, Inc. (“Moody’s”)). Certain Funds that do not invest in below investment grade securities as a main investment strategy may nonetheless continue to hold such securities if the Adviser believes it is advantageous for the Fund to do so. The high degree of risk involved in these investments can result in substantial or total losses. These securities are subject to greater risk of loss, greater sensitivity to interest rate and economic changes, valuation difficulties, and a potential lack of a secondary or public market for securities. The market price of these securities also can change suddenly and unexpectedly.
Corporate Debt Securities. Corporate debt securities may include bonds and other debt securities of U.S. and non-U.S. issuers, including obligations of industrial, utility, banking and other corporate issuers. All debt securities are subject to the risk of an issuer’s inability to meet principal and interest payments on the obligation and may also be subject to price volatility due to such factors as market interest rates, market perception of the creditworthiness of the issuer and general market liquidity.
High Yield/High Risk Securities/Junk Bonds. Certain Funds may invest in high yield securities, to varying degrees. High yield, high risk bonds are securities that are generally rated below investment grade by the primary rating agencies (BB+ or lower by S&P and Bal or lower by Moody’s) or unrated but determined by the Adviser to be of comparable quality. Other terms used to describe such securities include “lower rated bonds,” “non-investment grade bonds,” “below investment grade bonds,” and “junk bonds.” These securities are considered to be high-risk investments.
Part II - 9

High yield securities are regarded as predominately speculative. There is a greater risk that issuers of lower rated securities will default than issuers of higher rated securities. Issuers of lower rated securities generally are less creditworthy and may be highly indebted, financially distressed, or bankrupt. These issuers are more vulnerable to real or perceived economic changes, political changes or adverse industry developments. In addition, high yield securities are frequently subordinated to the prior payment of senior indebtedness. If an issuer fails to pay principal or interest, a Fund would experience a decrease in income and a decline in the market value of its investments. A Fund may also incur additional expenses in seeking recovery from the issuer.
The income and market value of lower rated securities may fluctuate more than higher rated securities. Non-investment grade securities are more sensitive to short-term corporate, economic and market developments. During periods of economic uncertainty and change, the market price of the investments in lower rated securities may be volatile. The default rate for high yield bonds tends to be cyclical, with defaults rising in periods of economic downturn.
It is often more difficult to value lower rated securities than higher rated securities. If an issuer’s financial condition deteriorates, accurate financial and business information may be limited or unavailable. The lower rated investments may be thinly traded and there may be no established secondary market. Because of the lack of market pricing and current information for investments in lower rated securities, valuation of such investments is much more dependent on the judgment of the Adviser than is the case with higher rated securities. In addition, relatively few institutional purchasers may hold a major portion of an issue of lower-rated securities at times. As a result, a Fund that invests in lower rated securities may be required to sell investments at substantial losses or retain them indefinitely even where an issuer’s financial condition is deteriorating.
Credit quality of non-investment grade securities can change suddenly and unexpectedly, and even recently issued credit ratings may not fully reflect the actual risks posed by a particular high-yield security.
Future legislation may have a possible negative impact on the market for high yield, high risk bonds. As an example, in the late 1980’s, legislation required federally-insured savings and loan associations to divest their investments in high yield, high risk bonds. New legislation, if enacted, could have a material negative effect on a Fund’s investments in lower rated securities.
Inflation-Linked Debt Securities. Inflation-linked securities include fixed and floating rate debt securities of varying maturities issued by the U.S. government, its agencies and instrumentalities, such as Treasury Inflation Protected Securities (“TIPS”), as well as securities issued by other entities such as corporations, municipalities, foreign governments and foreign issuers, including foreign issuers from emerging markets. See also “Foreign Investments (including Foreign Currencies).” Typically, such securities are structured as fixed income investments whose principal value is periodically adjusted according to the rate of inflation. The U.S. Treasury, among some other issuers, issues inflation-linked securities that accrue inflation into the principal value of the security and other issuers may pay out the Consumer Price Index (“CPI”) accruals as part of a semi-annual coupon. Other types of inflation-linked securities exist which use an inflation index other than the CPI.
Inflation-linked securities issued by the U.S. Treasury, such as TIPS, have maturities of approximately five, ten or thirty years, although it is possible that securities with other maturities will be issued in the future. Typically, TIPS pay interest on a semi-annual basis equal to a fixed percentage of the inflation-adjusted principal amount. For example, if a Fund purchased an inflation-indexed bond with a par value of $1,000 and a 3% real rate of return coupon (payable 1.5% semi-annually), and the rate of inflation over the first six months was 1%, the mid-year par value of the bond would be $1,010 and the first semi-annual interest payment would be $15.15 ($1,010 times 1.5%). If inflation during the second half of the year resulted in the whole year’s inflation of 3%, the end-of-year par value of the bond would be $1,030 and the second semi-annual interest payment would be $15.45 ($1,030 times 1.5%).
If the periodic adjustment rate measuring inflation falls, the principal value of inflation-indexed bonds will be adjusted downward, and consequently the interest payable on these securities (calculated with respect to a smaller principal amount) will be reduced. Repayment of the original bond principal upon maturity (as adjusted for inflation) is guaranteed in the case of TIPS, even during a period of deflation, although the inflation-adjusted principal received could be less than the inflation-adjusted principal that had accrued to the bond at the time of purchase. However, the current market value of the bonds is not guaranteed and will fluctuate. Other inflation-related bonds may not provide a similar guarantee. If a guarantee of principal is not provided, the adjusted principal value of the bond repaid at maturity may be less than the original principal.
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The value of inflation-linked securities is expected to change in response to changes in real interest rates. Real interest rates in turn are tied to the relationship between nominal interest rates and the rate of inflation. Therefore, if the rate of inflation rises at a faster rate than nominal interest rates, real interest rates might decline, leading to an increase in value of inflation-linked securities.
While inflation-linked securities are expected to be protected from long-term inflationary trends, short-term increases in inflation may lead to a decline in value. If interest rates rise due to reasons other than inflation (for example, due to changes in currency exchange rates), investors in these securities may not be protected to the extent that the increase is not reflected in the bond’s inflation measure.
The periodic adjustment of U.S. inflation-linked securities is tied to the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (“CPI-U”), which is not seasonally adjusted and which is calculated monthly by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The CPI-U is a measurement of changes in the cost of living, made up of components such as housing, food, transportation and energy. Inflation-linked securities issued by a foreign government are generally adjusted to reflect a comparable inflation index calculated by that government. There can be no assurance that the CPI-U or a foreign inflation index will accurately measure the real rate of inflation in the prices of goods and services. Moreover, there can be no assurance that the rate of inflation in a foreign country will be correlated to the rate of inflation in the U.S.
Any increase in the principal amount of an inflation-linked security will be considered taxable ordinary income, even though investors do not receive their principal until maturity.
Variable and Floating Rate Instruments. Certain obligations purchased by the Funds may carry variable or floating rates of interest, may involve a conditional or unconditional demand feature and may include variable amount master demand notes. Variable and floating rate instruments are issued by a wide variety of issuers and may be issued for a wide variety of purposes, including as a method of reconstructing cash flows.
Subject to their investment objective policies and restrictions, certain Funds may acquire variable and floating rate instruments. A variable rate instrument has terms that provide for the adjustment of its interest rate on set dates and which, upon such adjustment, can reasonably be expected to have a market value that approximates its par value. Certain Funds may purchase extendable commercial notes. Extendable commercial notes are variable rate notes which typically mature within a short period of time (e.g., 1 month) but which may be extended by the issuer for a maximum maturity of thirteen months.
A floating rate instrument has terms that provide for the adjustment of its interest rate whenever a specified interest rate changes and which, at any time, can reasonably be expected to have a market value that approximates its par value. Floating rate instruments are frequently not rated by credit rating agencies; however, unrated variable and floating rate instruments purchased by a Fund will be determined by the Fund’s Adviser to be of comparable quality at the time of purchase to rated instruments eligible for purchase under the Fund’s investment policies. In making such determinations, a Fund’s Adviser will consider the earning power, cash flow and other liquidity ratios of the issuers of such instruments (such issuers include financial, merchandising, bank holding and other companies) and will continuously monitor their financial condition. There may be no active secondary market with respect to a particular variable or floating rate instrument purchased by a Fund. The absence of such an active secondary market could make it difficult for the Fund to dispose of the variable or floating rate instrument involved in the event the issuer of the instrument defaulted on its payment obligations, and the Fund could, for this or other reasons, suffer a loss to the extent of the default. Variable or floating rate instruments may be secured by bank letters of credit or other assets. A Fund may purchase a variable or floating rate instrument to facilitate portfolio liquidity or to permit investment of the Fund’s assets at a favorable rate of return.
As a result of the floating and variable rate nature of these investments, the Funds’ yields may decline, and they may forego the opportunity for capital appreciation during periods when interest rates decline; however, during periods when interest rates increase, the Funds’ yields may increase, and they may have reduced risk of capital depreciation.
Past periods of high inflation, together with the fiscal measures adopted to attempt to deal with it, have seen wide fluctuations in interest rates, particularly “prime rates” charged by banks. While the value of the underlying floating or variable rate securities may change with changes in interest rates generally, the nature of the underlying floating or variable rate should minimize changes in value of the instruments. Accordingly, as interest rates decrease or increase, the potential for capital appreciation and the risk of potential capital depreciation is less than would be the case with a portfolio of fixed rate securities. A Fund’s portfolio may contain floating or variable rate securities on which stated minimum or maximum rates, or maximum rates set by state law limit the degree to which interest on such floating or variable rate
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securities may fluctuate; to the extent it does, increases or decreases in value may be somewhat greater than would be the case without such limits. Because the adjustment of interest rates on the floating or variable rate securities is made in relation to movements of the applicable banks’ “prime rates” or other short-term rate securities adjustment indices, the floating or variable rate securities are not comparable to long-term fixed rate securities. Accordingly, interest rates on the floating or variable rate securities may be higher or lower than current market rates for fixed rate obligations of comparable quality with similar maturities.
Variable Amount Master Notes. Variable amount master notes are notes, which may possess a demand feature, that permit the indebtedness to vary and provide for periodic adjustments in the interest rate according to the terms of the instrument. Variable amount master notes may not be secured by collateral. To the extent that variable amount master notes are secured by collateral, they are subject to the risks described under the section “Loans—Collateral and Subordination Risk.”
Because master notes are direct lending arrangements between a Fund and the issuer of the notes, they are not typically traded. Although there is no secondary market in the notes, a Fund may demand payment of principal and accrued interest. If the Fund is not repaid such principal and accrued interest, the Fund may not be able to dispose of the notes due to the lack of a secondary market.
While master notes are not typically rated by credit rating agencies, issuers of variable amount master notes (which are typically manufacturing, retail, financial, brokerage, investment banking and other business concerns) must satisfy the same criteria as those set forth with respect to commercial paper, if any, in Part I of this SAI under the heading “Credit Quality.” A Fund’s Adviser will consider the credit risk of the issuers of such notes, including its earning power, cash flow, and other liquidity ratios of such issuers and will continuously monitor their financial status and ability to meet payment on demand. In determining average weighted portfolio maturity, a variable amount master note will be deemed to have a maturity equal to the period of time remaining until the principal amount can be recovered from the issuer.
Variable Rate Instruments and Money Market Funds. Variable or floating rate instruments with stated maturities of more than 397 days may, under the SEC’s rule applicable to money market funds, Rule 2a-7 under the 1940 Act, be deemed to have shorter maturities (other than in connection with the calculation of dollar-weighted average life to maturity of a portfolio) as follows:
(1) Adjustable Rate Government Securities. A Government Security which is a variable rate security where the variable rate of interest is readjusted no less frequently than every 397 days shall be deemed to have a maturity equal to the period remaining until the next readjustment of the interest rate. A Government Security which is a floating rate security shall be deemed to have a remaining maturity of one day.
(2) Short-Term Variable Rate Securities. A variable rate security, the principal amount of which, in accordance with the terms of the security, must unconditionally be paid in 397 calendar days or less shall be deemed to have maturity equal to the earlier of the period remaining until the next readjustment of the interest rate or the period remaining until the principal amount can be recovered through demand.
(3) Long-Term Variable Rate Securities. A variable rate security, the principal amount of which is scheduled to be paid in more than 397 days, that is subject to a demand feature shall be deemed to have a maturity equal to the longer of the period remaining until the next readjustment of the interest rate or the period remaining until the principal amount can be recovered through demand.
(4) Short-Term Floating Rate Securities. A floating rate security, the principal amount of which, in accordance with the terms of the security, must unconditionally be paid in 397 calendar days or less shall be deemed to have a maturity of one day.
(5) Long-Term Floating Rate Securities. A floating rate security, the principal amount of which is scheduled to be paid in more than 397 days, that is subject to a demand feature, shall be deemed to have a maturity equal to the period remaining until the principal amount can be recovered through demand.
Limitations on the Use of Variable and Floating Rate Notes. Variable and floating rate instruments for which no readily available market exists will be purchased in an amount which, together with securities with legal or contractual restrictions on resale or for which no readily available market exists (including repurchase agreements providing for settlement more than seven days after notice), exceeds 5% of total assets for the J.P. Morgan Funds which are money market funds (the “Money Market Funds”) only if such instruments are subject to a demand feature that will permit the Fund to demand payment of the principal
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within seven days after demand by the Fund. Funds other than Money Market Funds may not invest in Illiquid Investments (defined herein) (including variable and floating rate notes that are determined to be Illiquid Investments) in excess of the 15% Illiquid Limit (defined herein). Please see the “Liquidity Risk Management Program” section for more details. There is no limit on the extent to which a Fund may purchase demand instruments that are not illiquid or deemed to be liquid in accordance with the Adviser’s liquidity determination procedures (except, with regard to the Money Market Funds, as provided under Rule 2a-7 under the 1940 Act). If not rated, such instruments must be found by the Adviser to be of comparable quality to instruments in which a Fund may invest. A rating may be relied upon only if it is provided by an NRSRO that is not affiliated with the issuer or guarantor of the instruments.
Zero-Coupon, Pay-in-Kind and Deferred Payment Securities. Zero-coupon securities are securities that are sold at a discount to par value and on which interest payments are not made during the life of the security. Upon maturity, the holder is entitled to receive the par value of the security. Pay-in-kind securities are securities that have interest payable by delivery of additional securities. Upon maturity, the holder is entitled to receive the aggregate par value of the securities. A Fund accrues income with respect to zero-coupon and pay-in-kind securities prior to the receipt of cash payments. Deferred payment securities are securities that remain zero-coupon securities until a predetermined date, at which time the stated coupon rate becomes effective and interest becomes payable at regular intervals. While interest payments are not made on such securities, holders of such securities are deemed to have received “phantom income.” Because a Fund will distribute “phantom income” to shareholders, to the extent that shareholders elect to receive dividends in cash rather than reinvesting such dividends in additional shares, the applicable Fund will have fewer assets with which to purchase income-producing securities. Zero-coupon, pay-in-kind and deferred payment securities may be subject to greater fluctuation in value and lesser liquidity in the event of adverse market conditions than comparably rated securities paying cash interest at regular interest payment periods.
Negative Interest Rates. In a low or negative interest rate environment, debt instruments may trade at negative yields, which means the purchaser of the instrument may receive at maturity less than the total amount invested. In addition, in a negative interest rate environment, if a bank charges negative interest, instead of receiving interest on deposits, a depositor must pay the bank fees to keep money with the bank. To the extent a Fund holds a negatively-yielding debt instrument or has a bank deposit with a negative interest rate, the Fund would generate a negative return on that investment.
If negative interest rates become more prevalent in the market and/or if low or negative interest rates persist for a sustained period of time, some investors may seek to reallocate assets to other income-producing assets, such as investment-grade and higher-yield debt instruments, or equity investments that pay a dividend, absent other market risks that may make such alternative investments unattractive. This increased demand for higher yielding assets may cause the price of such instruments to rise while triggering a corresponding decrease in yield over time, thus reducing the value of such alternative investments. In addition, a move to higher yielding investments may cause investors, including a Fund (to the extent permitted by its investment objective and strategies), to seek fixed-income investments with longer maturities and/or potentially reduced credit quality in order to seek the desired level of yield. These considerations may limit a Fund’s ability to locate fixed-income instruments containing the desired risk/return profile. Changing interest rates, including, but not limited to, rates that fall below zero, could have unpredictable effects on the markets and may expose fixed-income and related markets to heightened volatility and potential illiquidity.
For a Fund that operates as a money market fund and seeks to maintain a stable $1.00 price per share, a low or negative interest rate environment could impact the Fund’s ability to maintain a stable $1.00 share price. During a low or negative interest rate environment, such a Fund may reduce the number of shares outstanding on a pro rata basis through reverse stock splits, negative dividends or other mechanisms to seek to maintain a stable $1.00 price per share, to the extent permissible by applicable law and its organizational documents. Alternatively, the Fund may discontinue using the amortized cost method of valuation to maintain a stable $1.00 price per share and establish a fluctuating NAV per share rounded to four decimal places by using available market quotations or equivalents.
Impact of Market Conditions on the Risks associated with Debt Securities
Investments in certain debt securities will be especially subject to the risk that, during certain periods, the liquidity of particular issuers or industries, or all securities within a particular investment category, may shrink or disappear suddenly and without warning as a result of adverse economic, market or political events, or adverse investor perceptions, whether or not accurate.
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Current market conditions pose heightened risks for Funds that invest in debt securities given the current interest rate environment. Any future interest rate increases or other adverse conditions (e.g., inflation/deflation, increased selling of certain fixed-income investments across other pooled investment vehicles or accounts, changes in investor perception, or changes in government intervention in the markets) could cause the value of any Fund that invests in debt securities to decrease. As such, debt securities markets may experience heightened levels of interest rate and liquidity risk, as well as increased volatility. If rising interest rates cause a Fund to lose value, the Fund could also face increased shareholder redemptions, which would further impair the Fund’s ability to achieve its investment objectives.
The capacity for traditional dealers to engage in fixed-income trading for certain fixed income instruments has not kept pace with the growth of the fixed income market, and in some cases has decreased. As a result, because dealers acting as market makers provide stability to a market, the significant reduction in certain dealer inventories could potentially lead to decreased liquidity and increased volatility in the fixed income markets. Such issues may be exacerbated during periods of economic uncertainty or market volatility.
Debt market conditions are highly unpredictable and some parts of the market are subject to dislocations. In response to the outbreak of COVID-19, as with other serious economic disruptions, governmental authorities and regulators have enacted significant fiscal and monetary policy changes. These actions present heightened risks to debt instruments, and such risks could be even further heightened if these actions are unexpectedly or suddenly reversed or are ineffective in achieving their desired outcomes. In light of these actions and current conditions, the current environment is exposing debt markets to significant volatility and reduced liquidity for Fund investments.
Demand Features
Certain Funds may acquire securities that are subject to puts and standby commitments (“Demand Features”) to purchase the securities at their principal amount (usually with accrued interest) within a fixed period (usually seven days) following a demand by the Fund. Demand Features may be issued by the issuer of the underlying securities, a dealer in the securities or by another third party and may not be transferred separately from the underlying security. The underlying securities subject to a put may be sold at any time at market rates. To the extent that a Fund invests in such securities, the Fund expects that it will acquire puts only where the puts are available without the payment of any direct or indirect consideration. However, if determined by the Adviser to be advisable or necessary, a premium may be paid for put features. A premium paid will have the effect of reducing the yield otherwise payable on the underlying security. Demand Features provided by foreign banks involve certain risks associated with foreign investments. See “Foreign Investments (including Foreign Currencies)” for more information on these risks.
Under a “stand-by commitment,” a dealer would agree to purchase, at a Fund’s option, specified securities at a specified price. A Fund will acquire these commitments solely to facilitate portfolio liquidity and does not intend to exercise its rights thereunder for trading purposes. Stand-by commitments may also be referred to as put options.
The purpose of engaging in transactions involving puts is to maintain flexibility and liquidity to permit a Fund to meet redemption requests and remain as fully invested as possible.
Equity Securities, Warrants and Rights
Common Stock. Common stock represents a share of ownership in a company and usually carries voting rights and may earn dividends. Unlike preferred stock, common stock dividends are not fixed but are declared at the discretion of the issuer’s board of directors. Common stock occupies the most junior position in a company’s capital structure. As with all equity securities, the price of common stock fluctuates based on changes in a company’s financial condition, including those that result from management’s performance or changes to the business of the company, and overall market and economic conditions.
Common Stock Warrants and Rights. Common stock warrants entitle the holder to buy common stock from the issuer of the warrant at a specific price (the “strike price”) for a specific period of time. The market price of warrants may be substantially lower than the current market price of the underlying common stock, yet warrants are subject to similar price fluctuations. As a result, warrants may be more volatile investments than the underlying common stock. If a warrant is exercised, a Fund may hold common stock in its portfolio even if it does not ordinarily invest in common stock.
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Rights are similar to warrants but normally have a shorter duration and are typically distributed directly by the issuers to existing shareholders, while warrants are typically attached to new debt or preferred stock issuances.
Warrants and rights generally do not entitle the holder to dividends or voting rights with respect to the underlying common stock and do not represent any rights in the assets of the issuer. Warrants and rights will expire if not exercised on or prior to the expiration date.
Preferred Stock. Preferred stock is a class of stock that generally pays dividends at a specified rate and has preference over common stock in the payment of dividends and during a liquidation. Preferred stock generally does not carry voting rights. Outside of the United States, preferred stock may carry different rights or obligations. In some jurisdictions, preferred stocks may have different voting rights and there may be more robust trading markets and liquidity in preferred stock than the common or ordinary stock of the company. As with all equity securities, the price of preferred stock fluctuates based on changes in a company’s financial condition and on overall market and economic conditions. Because preferred stocks generally pay dividends only after the issuing company makes required payments to holders of its bonds and other debt, the value of preferred stocks is more sensitive than bonds and other debt to actual or perceived changes in the company’s financial condition or prospects. Similar to common stock rights described above, rights may also be issued to holders of preferred stock.
Initial Public Offerings (“IPOs”). Certain Funds may purchase securities in IPOs. These securities are subject to many of the same risks as investing in companies with smaller market capitalizations. Securities issued in IPOs have no trading history, and there may be limited information about the companies. The prices of securities sold in IPOs may be highly volatile. At any particular time or from time to time, a Fund may not be able to invest in securities issued in IPOs, or invest to the extent desired, because, for example, only a small portion (if any) of the securities being offered in an IPO may be made available to the Fund. In addition, under certain market conditions, a relatively small number of companies may issue securities in IPOs. Similarly, as the number of Funds to which IPO securities are allocated increases, the number of securities issued to any one Fund may decrease. The investment performance of a Fund during periods when it is unable to invest significantly or at all in IPOs may be lower than during periods when the Fund is able to do so. In addition, as a Fund increases in size, the impact of IPOs on the Fund’s performance will generally decrease.
Foreign Investments (including Foreign Currencies)
Some of the Funds may invest in certain obligations or securities of foreign issuers. For purposes of a non-Money Market Fund’s investment policies and unless described otherwise in a Fund’s prospectus, an issuer of a security will be deemed to be located in a particular country if: (i) the principal trading market for the security is in such country, (ii) the issuer is organized under the laws of such country or (iii) the issuer derives at least 50% of its revenues or profits from such country or has at least 50% of its total assets situated in such country. Possible investments include equity securities and debt securities (e.g., bonds and commercial paper) of foreign entities, obligations of foreign branches of U.S. banks and of foreign banks, including, without limitation, eurodollar certificates of deposit, eurodollar time deposits, eurodollar bankers’ acceptances, Canadian time deposits and yankee certificates of deposit, and investments in Canadian commercial paper, and europaper. Securities of foreign issuers may include sponsored and unsponsored American Depositary Receipts (“ADRs”), European Depositary Receipts (“EDRs”), and Global Depositary Receipts (“GDRs”). Sponsored ADRs are listed on the New York Stock Exchange; unsponsored ADRs are not. Therefore, there may be less information available about the issuers of unsponsored ADRs than the issuers of sponsored ADRs. Unsponsored ADRs are restricted securities. EDRs and GDRs are not listed on the New York Stock Exchange. As a result, it may be difficult to obtain information about EDRs and GDRs.
The Money Market Funds may only invest in U.S. dollar-denominated securities.
Risk Factors of Foreign Investments. The following is a summary of certain risks associated with foreign investments:
Political and Exchange Risks. Foreign investments may subject a Fund to investment risks that differ in some respects from those related to investments in obligations of U.S. domestic issuers. Such risks include potential future adverse political and economic developments, sanctions or other measures by the United States or other governments, possible imposition of withholding taxes on interest or other income, possible seizure, nationalization or expropriation of foreign deposits, possible establishment of exchange
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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.
Higher Transaction Costs. Foreign investments may entail higher custodial fees and sales commissions than domestic investments.
Accounting and Regulatory Differences. Foreign issuers of securities or obligations are often subject to accounting treatment and engage in business practices different from those of domestic issuers of similar securities or obligations. In addition, foreign issuers are usually not subject to the same degree of regulation as domestic issuers, and their securities may trade on relatively small markets, causing their securities to experience potentially higher volatility and more limited liquidity than securities of domestic issuers. Foreign branches of U.S. banks and foreign banks are not regulated by U.S. banking authorities and may be subject to less stringent reserve requirements than those applicable to domestic branches of U.S. banks. In addition, foreign banks generally are not bound by accounting, auditing, and financial reporting standards comparable to those applicable to U.S. banks. Dividends and interest paid by foreign issuers may be subject to withholding and other foreign taxes which may decrease the net return on foreign investments as compared to dividends and interest paid to a Fund by domestic companies.
Currency Risk. Foreign securities may be denominated in foreign currencies, although foreign issuers may also issue securities denominated in U.S. dollars. The value of a Fund’s investments denominated in foreign currencies and any funds held in foreign currencies will be affected by changes in currency exchange rates, the relative strength of those currencies and the U.S. dollar, and exchange-control regulations. Changes in the foreign currency exchange rates also may affect the value of dividends and interest earned, gains and losses realized on the sale of securities and net investment income and gains, if any, to be distributed to shareholders by a Fund. The exchange rates between the U.S. dollar and other currencies are determined by the forces of supply and demand in foreign exchange markets and the relative merits of investments in different countries, actual or anticipated changes in interest rates and other complex factors, as seen from an international perspective. Currency exchange rates may fluctuate significantly over short periods of time. Currency exchange rates also can be affected by intervention (or lack of intervention) by the United States or foreign governments or central banks or by currency controls or political developments in the United States or elsewhere.
Accordingly, the ability of a Fund that invests in foreign securities as part of its principal investment strategy to achieve its investment objective may depend, to a certain extent, on exchange rate movements. In addition, while the volume of transactions effected on foreign stock exchanges has increased in recent years, in most cases it remains appreciably below that of domestic securities exchanges. Accordingly, a Fund’s foreign investments may be less liquid and their prices may be more volatile than comparable investments in securities of U.S. companies. In buying and selling securities on foreign exchanges, purchasers normally pay fixed commissions that are generally higher than the negotiated commissions charged in the U.S. In addition, there is generally less government supervision and regulation of securities exchanges, brokers and issuers located in foreign countries than in the U.S.
Settlement Risk. The settlement periods for foreign securities and instruments are often longer than those for securities or obligations of U.S. issuers or instruments denominated in U.S. dollars. Delayed settlement may affect the liquidity of a Fund’s holdings. Certain types of securities and other instruments are not traded “delivery versus payment” in certain markets (e.g., government bonds in Russia) meaning that a Fund may deliver securities or instruments before payment is received from the counterparty. In such markets, the Fund may not receive timely payment for securities or other instruments it has delivered and may be subject to increased risk that the counterparty will fail to make payments when due or default completely. Foreign markets also have different clearance and settlement procedures, and in certain markets there have been times when settlements have been unable to keep pace with the volume of securities transactions, making it difficult to conduct such transactions. Such delays in settlement could result in temporary periods when a portion of the assets of a Fund remains uninvested and no return is earned on such assets. The inability of the Fund to make intended security purchases or sales due to settlement problems could result either in losses to the Fund due to subsequent declines in value of the portfolio securities, in the Fund deeming those securities to be illiquid, or, if the Fund has entered into a contract to sell the securities, in possible liability to the purchaser.
A Fund’s income and, in some cases, capital gains from foreign stocks and securities, will be subject to applicable taxation in certain of the countries in which it invests and treaties between the U.S. and such countries may not be available in some cases to reduce the otherwise applicable tax rates.
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Brady Bonds. Brady bonds are securities created through the exchange of existing commercial bank loans to public and private entities in certain emerging markets for new bonds in connection with debt restructurings. In light of the history of defaults of countries issuing Brady bonds on their commercial bank loans, investments in Brady bonds may be viewed as speculative and subject to the same risks as emerging market securities. Brady bonds may be fully or partially collateralized or uncollateralized, are issued in various currencies (but primarily the U.S. dollar) and are actively traded in over-the-counter (“OTC”) secondary markets. Incomplete collateralization of interest or principal payment obligations results in increased credit risk. Dollar-denominated collateralized Brady bonds, which may be either fixed-rate or floating rate bonds, are generally collateralized by U.S. Treasury securities.
Global Depositary Notes. Foreign securities and emerging markets securities include Global Depositary Notes (“GDNs”). A GDN is a debt instrument created by a bank that evidences ownership of local currency-denominated debt securities. GDNs reflect the terms of particular local currency-denominated bonds. GDNs trade, settle, and pay interest and principal in U.S. dollars but typically are restricted securities that do not trade on an exchange. Any distributions paid to the holders of GDNs are usually subject to a fee charged by the depositary bank. In addition to the risks associated with foreign investments, a Fund’s investments in GDNs is subject to the risks associated with the underlying local currency-denominated bond and derivative instruments including credit risk, default or similar event risk, counterparty risk, interest rate risk, leverage risk, liquidity risk, and management risk. Holders of GDNs may have limited rights, and investment restrictions in certain countries may adversely impact the value of GDNs because such restrictions may limit the ability to convert the bonds into GDNs and vice versa. Such restrictions may cause bonds of the underlying issuer to trade at a discount or premium to the market price of the GDN.
Obligations of Supranational Entities. Obligations of supranational entities include securities designated or supported by governmental entities to promote economic reconstruction or development of international banking institutions and related government agencies, such as the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development. Each supranational entity’s lending activities are limited to a percentage of its total capital (including “callable capital” contributed by its governmental members at the entity’s call), reserves and net income. There is no assurance that participating governments will be able or willing to honor their commitments to make capital contributions to a supranational entity.
Sukuk. Foreign securities and emerging market securities include sukuk. Sukuk are certificates, similar to bonds, issued by the issuer to obtain an upfront payment in exchange for an income stream. Sukuks are also known as Islamic financial certificates that are designed to comply with Islamic religious law commonly known as Sharia. Such income stream may or may not be linked to a tangible asset. For sukuk that are not linked to a tangible asset, the sukuk represents a contractual payment obligation of the issuer or issuing vehicle to pay income or periodic payments to the investor, and such contractual payment obligation is linked to the issuer or issuing vehicle and not from interest on the investor’s money for the sukuk. For sukuk linked to a tangible asset, the Fund will not have a direct interest in the underlying asset or pool of assets. The issuer also makes a contractual promise to buy back the certificate at a future date at par value. Even when the certificate is linked to the returns generated by certain assets of the issuer, the underlying assets are not pledged as security for the certificates, and the Fund (as the investor) is relying on the creditworthiness of the issuer for all payments required by the sukuk. The issuer may be a special purpose vehicle (“SPV”) with no other assets. Investors do not have direct legal ownership of any underlying assets. In the event of default, the process may take longer to resolve than conventional bonds. Changing interpretations of Islamic law by courts or prominent scholars may affect the free transferability of sukuk in ways that cannot now be foreseen. In such an event, the Fund may be required to hold its sukuk for longer than intended, even if their condition is deteriorating.
Issuers of sukuk may include international financial institutions, foreign governments and agencies of foreign governments. Underlying assets may include, without limitation, real estate (developed and undeveloped), lease contracts and machinery and equipment. Although the sukuk market has grown significantly in recent years, there may be times when the market is illiquid and where it is difficult for a Fund to make an investment in or dispose of sukuk at the Fund’s desired time. Furthermore, the global sukuk market is significantly smaller than conventional bond markets, and restrictions imposed by the Shariah board of the issuing entity may limit the number of investors who are interested in investing in particular sukuk. The unique characteristics of sukuk may lead to uncertainties regarding their tax treatment within a Fund.
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A Fund’s ability to pursue and enforce actions with respect to these payment obligations or to otherwise enforce the terms of the sukuk, restructure the sukuk, obtain a judgment in a court of competent jurisdiction, and/or attach assets of the obligor may be limited. Sukuk are also subject to the risks associated with developing and emerging market economies, which include, among others, the risk of sanctions and inconsistent accounting and legal principles.
Emerging Market Securities. Investing in companies domiciled in emerging market countries (i.e., emerging market securities) may be subject to potentially higher risks than investments in companies in developed countries. These risks include the risk that there is, or there may likely be: (i) less social, political, and economic stability; (ii) greater illiquidity and price volatility due to smaller or limited local capital markets for such securities, or low non-existent trading volumes; (iii) less scrutiny and regulation by local authorities of the foreign exchanges and broker-dealers; (iv) the seizure or confiscation by local governments of securities held by foreign investors, and the possible suspension or limiting by local governments of an issuer’s ability to make dividend or interest payments; (v) limiting or entirely restricting repatriation of invested capital, profits, and dividends by local governments; (vi) local taxation of capital gains, including on a retroactive basis; (vii) the attempt by issuers facing restrictions on dollar or euro payments imposed by local governments to make dividend or interest payments to foreign investors in the local currency; (viii) difficulty in enforcing legal claims related to the securities and/or local judges favoring the interests of the issuer over those of foreign investors; (ix) bankruptcy judgments being paid in the local currency; and (x) greater difficulty in determining market valuations of the securities due to limited public information regarding the issuer. Additionally, certain emerging market countries may be subject to less stringent requirements regarding accounting, auditing, financial reporting and record keeping and therefore, all material information may not be available or reliable. In addition, a Fund is limited in its ability to exercise its legal rights or enforce a counterparty's legal obligations in certain jurisdictions outside of the United States, in particular, in emerging market countries. In addition, due to jurisdictional limitations, U.S. regulators may be limited in their ability to enforce regulatory or legal obligations in emerging market countries. Also, U.S. regulators may not have sufficient access to adequately audit and oversee issuers. For example, the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (the “PCAOB”) is responsible for inspecting and auditing the accounting practices and products of U.S.-listed companies, regardless of the issuer’s domicile. However, certain emerging market countries, including China, do not provide sufficient access to the PCAOB to conduct its inspections and audits. As a result, U.S. investors, including the Funds, may be subject to risks associated with less stringent accounting oversight.
Emerging market securities markets are typically marked by a high concentration of market capitalization and trading volume in a small number of issuers representing a limited number of industries, as well as a high concentration of ownership of such securities by a limited number of investors. Although some emerging markets have become more established and issuers in such markets tend to issue securities of higher credit quality, the markets for securities in other emerging countries are in the earliest stages of their development, and these countries issue securities across the credit spectrum. Even the markets for relatively widely traded securities in emerging countries may not be able to absorb, without price disruptions, a significant increase in trading volume or trades of a size customarily undertaken by institutional investors in the securities markets of developed countries. The limited size of many of these securities markets can cause prices to be erratic for various reasons. For example, prices may be unduly influenced by traders who control large positions in these markets. Additionally, market making and arbitrage activities are generally less extensive in such markets, which may contribute to increased volatility and reduced liquidity of such markets. The limited liquidity of emerging country securities may also affect a Fund’s ability to accurately value its portfolio securities or to acquire or dispose of securities at the price and time it wishes to do so or in order to meet redemption requests.
Many emerging market countries suffer from uncertainty and corruption in their legal frameworks. Legislation may be difficult to interpret and laws may be too new to provide any precedential value. Laws regarding foreign investment and private property may be weak or non-existent. Sudden changes in governments may result in policies which are less favorable to investors, such as policies designed to expropriate or nationalize “sovereign” assets. In the past, some emerging market countries have expropriated large amounts of private property, in many cases with little or no compensation, and there can be no assurance that such expropriation will not occur in the future.
Foreign investment in certain emerging market securities is restricted or controlled to varying degrees, which may limit a Fund’s investment in such securities and may increase the expenses of the Fund. Certain countries require governmental approval prior to investments by foreign persons or limit investment by
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foreign persons to only a specified percentage of an issuer’s outstanding securities or to a specific class of securities, which may have less advantageous terms (including price) than securities of the company available for purchase by nationals.
Many emerging market countries lack the same social, political, and economic stability characteristics of the U.S. Political instability among emerging market countries can be common and may be caused by an uneven distribution of wealth, social unrest, labor strikes, civil wars, and religious oppression. Economic instability in emerging market countries may take the form of: (i) high interest rates; (ii) high levels of inflation, including hyperinflation; (iii) high levels of unemployment or underemployment; (iv) changes in government economic and tax policies, including confiscatory taxation; and (v) imposition of trade barriers.
Currencies of emerging market countries are subject to significantly greater risks than currencies of developed countries. Many emerging market countries have experienced steady declines or even sudden devaluations of their currencies relative to the U.S. dollar. Some emerging market currencies may not be internationally traded or may be subject to strict controls by local governments, resulting in undervalued or overvalued currencies.
Some emerging market countries have experienced balance of payment deficits and shortages in foreign exchange reserves. Governments have responded by restricting currency conversions. Future restrictive exchange controls could prevent or restrict a company’s ability to make dividend or interest payments in the original currency of the obligation (usually U.S. dollars). In addition, even though the currencies of some emerging market countries may be convertible into U.S. dollars, the conversion rates may be artificial to their actual market values.
In the past, governments within the emerging markets have become overly reliant on the international capital markets and other forms of foreign credit to finance large public spending programs which cause huge budget deficits. Often, interest payments have become too overwhelming for a government to meet, representing a large percentage of total gross domestic product (“GDP”). Some foreign governments were forced to seek a restructuring of their loan and/or bond obligations, have declared a temporary suspension of interest payments or have defaulted. These events have adversely affected the values of securities issued by foreign governments and corporations domiciled in emerging market countries and have negatively affected not only their cost of borrowing, but their ability to borrow in the future as well.
Sovereign Obligations. Sovereign debt includes investments in securities issued or guaranteed by a foreign sovereign government or its agencies, authorities or political subdivisions. An investment in sovereign debt obligations involves special risks not present in corporate debt obligations. The issuer of the sovereign debt or the governmental authorities that control the repayment of the debt may be unable or unwilling to repay principal or interest when due, and a Fund may have limited recourse in the event of a default. During periods of economic uncertainty, the market prices of sovereign debt may be more volatile than prices of U.S. debt obligations. In the past, certain emerging markets have encountered difficulties in servicing their debt obligations, withheld payments of principal and interest and declared moratoria on the payment of principal and interest on their sovereign debts.
A sovereign debtor’s willingness or ability to repay principal and pay interest in a timely manner may be affected by, among other factors, its cash flow situation, the extent of its foreign currency reserves, the availability of sufficient foreign exchange, the relative size of the debt service burden, the sovereign debtor’s policy toward principal international lenders and local political constraints. Sovereign debtors may also be dependent on expected disbursements from foreign governments, multilateral agencies and other entities to reduce principal and interest arrearages on their debt. The failure of a sovereign debtor to implement economic reforms, achieve specified levels of economic performance or repay principal or interest when due may result in the cancellation of third-party commitments to lend funds to the sovereign debtor, which may further impair such debtor’s ability or willingness to service its debts.
Foreign Currency Transactions. Certain Funds may engage in foreign currency transactions which include the following, some of which also have been described elsewhere in this SAI: options on currencies, currency futures, options on such futures, forward foreign currency transactions, forward rate agreements and currency swaps, caps and floors. Certain Funds may engage in such transactions in both U.S. and non-U.S. markets. To the extent a Fund enters into such transactions in markets other than in the U.S., the Fund may be subject to certain currency, settlement, liquidity, trading and other risks similar to those described in this SAI with respect to the Fund’s investments in foreign securities, including emerging markets securities. Certain Funds may engage in such transactions to hedge against currency risks as a substitute for securities in which the Fund invests, to increase or decrease exposure to a foreign currency,
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to shift exposure from one foreign currency to another, for risk management purposes or to increase income or gain to the Fund. To the extent that a Fund uses foreign currency transactions for hedging purposes (as described herein), the Fund may hedge either specific transactions or portfolio positions.
While a Fund’s use of hedging strategies is intended to reduce the volatility of the net asset value of Fund shares, the net asset value of the Fund will fluctuate. There can be no assurance that a Fund’s hedging transactions will be effective. Furthermore, a Fund may only engage in hedging activities from time to time and may not necessarily be engaging in hedging activities when movements in currency exchange rates occur.
Certain Funds are authorized to deal in forward foreign exchange between currencies of the different countries in which the Fund will invest and multi-national currency units as a hedge against possible variations in the foreign exchange rate between these currencies. This is accomplished through contractual agreements entered into in the interbank market to purchase or sell one specified currency for another currency at a specified future date (up to one year) and price at the time of the contract.
Transaction Hedging. Generally, when a Fund engages in foreign currency transaction hedging, it enters into transactions with respect to specific receivables or payables of the Fund generally arising in connection with the purchase or sale of its portfolio securities. A Fund may engage in transaction hedging when it desires to “lock in” the U.S. dollar price (or a non-U.S. dollar currency (“reference currency”)) of a security it has agreed to purchase or sell, or the U.S. dollar equivalent of a dividend or interest payment in a foreign currency. By transaction hedging, a Fund attempts to protect itself against a possible loss resulting from an adverse change in the relationship between the U.S. dollar or other reference currency and the applicable foreign currency during the period between the date on which the security is purchased or sold, or on which the dividend or interest payment is declared, and the date on which such payments are made or received.
A Fund may purchase or sell a foreign currency on a spot (or cash) basis at the prevailing spot rate in connection with the settlement of transactions in portfolio securities denominated in that foreign currency. Certain Funds reserve the right to purchase and sell foreign currency futures contracts traded in the U.S. and subject to regulation by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC”).
For transaction hedging purposes, a Fund may also purchase U.S. exchange-listed call and put options on foreign currency futures contracts and on foreign currencies. A put option on a futures contract gives a Fund the right to assume a short position in the foreign currency futures contract until expiration of the option. A put option on currency gives a Fund the right to sell a currency at an exercise price until the expiration of the option. A call option on a futures contract gives a Fund the right to assume a long position in the futures contract until the expiration of the option. A call option on currency gives a Fund the right to purchase a currency at the exercise price until the expiration of the option.
Position Hedging. When engaging in position hedging, a Fund will enter into foreign currency exchange transactions to protect against a decline in the values of the foreign currencies in which their portfolio securities are denominated or an increase in the value of currency for securities which the Adviser expects to purchase. In connection with the position hedging, the Fund may purchase or sell foreign currency forward contracts or foreign currency on a spot basis. A Fund may purchase U.S. exchange-listed put or call options on foreign currency and foreign currency futures contracts and buy or sell foreign currency futures contracts traded in the U.S. and subject to regulation by the CFTC.
The precise matching of the amounts of foreign currency exchange transactions and the value of the portfolio securities involved will not generally be possible because the future value of such securities in foreign currencies will change as a consequence of market movements in the value of those securities between the dates the currency exchange transactions are entered into and the dates they mature.
Forward Foreign Currency Exchange Contracts. Certain Funds may purchase forward foreign currency exchange contracts, sometimes referred to as “currency forwards” (“Forward Contracts”), which involve an obligation to purchase or sell a specific currency at a future date, which may be any fixed number of days from the date of the contract as agreed by the parties in an amount and at a price set at the time of the contract. 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. The contracts are traded in the interbank market conducted directly between currency traders (usually large commercial banks) and their customers, so no intermediary is required. A Forward Contract generally has no deposit requirement, and no commissions are charged at any stage for trades.
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At the maturity of a Forward Contract, a Fund may either accept or make delivery of the currency specified in the contract or, at or prior to maturity, enter into a closing transaction involving the purchase or sale of an offsetting contract. Closing transactions with respect to forward contracts are usually effected with the currency trader who is a party to the original forward contract. For forward foreign currency contracts (other than Non-Deliverable Forwards) that require physical settlement, under current SEC and staff requirements the Funds will segregate or earmark liquid assets equal to the current notional value of each contract. In calculating the notional value, the Funds may net long and short contracts with the same currency and the same settlement date. With respect to trades that do not settle through CLS Bank International, the Funds may only net long and short contracts if the contracts are with the same counterparty. Certain Funds may also engage in non-deliverable forwards which are cash settled and which do not involve delivery of the currency specified in the contract. For more information on Non-Deliverable Forwards, see “Non-Deliverable Forwards” below.
Foreign Currency Futures Contracts. Certain Funds may purchase foreign currency futures contracts. Foreign currency futures contracts traded in the U.S. are designed by and traded on exchanges regulated by the CFTC, such as the New York Mercantile Exchange. A Fund may enter into foreign currency futures contracts for hedging purposes and other risk management purposes as defined in CFTC regulations. Certain Funds may also enter into foreign currency futures transactions to increase exposure to a foreign currency, to shift exposure from one foreign currency to another or to increase income or gain to the Fund.
At the maturity of a futures contract, the Fund may either accept or make delivery of the currency specified in the contract, or at or prior to maturity enter into a closing transaction involving the purchase or sale of an offsetting contract. Closing transactions with respect to futures contracts are effected on a commodities exchange; a clearing corporation associated with the exchange assumes responsibility for closing out such contracts.
Positions in the foreign currency futures contracts may be closed out only on an exchange or board of trade which provides a secondary market in such contracts. There is no assurance that a secondary market on an exchange or board of trade will exist for any particular contract or at any particular time. In such event, it may not be possible to close a futures position; in the event of adverse price movements, the Fund would continue to be required to make daily cash payments of variation margin.
For more information on futures contracts, see “Futures Contracts” under the heading “Options and Futures Transactions” below.
Foreign Currency Options. Certain Funds may purchase and sell U.S. exchange-listed and OTC call and put options on foreign currencies. Such options on foreign currencies operate similarly to options on securities. When a Fund purchases a put option, the Fund has the right but not the obligation to exchange money denominated in one currency into another currency at a pre-agreed exchange rate on a specified date. When a Fund sells or writes a call option, the Fund has the obligation to exchange money denominated in one currency into another currency at a pre-agreed exchange rate if the buyer exercises option. Some of the Funds may also purchase and sell non-deliverable currency options (“Non-Deliverable Options”). Non-Deliverable Options are cash-settled, options on foreign currencies (each a “Option Reference Currency”) that are non-convertible and that may be thinly traded or illiquid. Non-Deliverable Options involve an obligation to pay an amount in a deliverable currency (such as U.S. Dollars, Euros, Japanese Yen, or British Pounds Sterling) equal to the difference between the prevailing market exchange rate for the Option Reference Currency and the agreed upon exchange rate (the “Non-Deliverable Option Rate”), with respect to an agreed notional amount. Options on foreign currencies are affected by all of those factors which influence foreign exchange rates and investments generally.
A Fund is authorized to purchase or sell listed foreign currency options and currency swap contracts as a short or long hedge against possible variations in foreign exchange rates, as a substitute for securities in which a Fund may invest, and for risk management purposes. Such transactions may be effected with respect to hedges on non-U.S. dollar denominated securities (including securities denominated in the Euro) owned by the Fund, sold by the Fund but not yet delivered, committed or anticipated to be purchased by the Fund, or in transaction or cross-hedging strategies. As an illustration, a Fund may use such techniques to hedge the stated value in U.S. dollars of an investment in a Japanese yen-dominated security. In such circumstances, the Fund may purchase a foreign currency put option enabling it to sell a specified amount of yen for dollars at a specified price by a future date. To the extent the hedge is successful, a loss in the value of the dollar relative to the yen will tend to be offset by an increase in the value of the put option. To offset, in whole or in part, the cost of acquiring such a put option, the Fund also may sell a call option which, if exercised, requires it to sell a specified amount of yen for dollars at a specified price by a future date (a technique called a “collar”). By selling the call option in this illustration, the Fund gives up the
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opportunity to profit without limit from increases in the relative value of the yen to the dollar. Certain Funds may also enter into foreign currency futures transactions for non-hedging purposes including to increase or decrease exposure to a foreign currency, to shift exposure from one foreign currency to another or to increase income or gain to the Fund.
Certain differences exist among these foreign currency instruments. Foreign currency options provide the holder thereof the right to buy or to sell a currency at a fixed price on a future date. Listed options are third-party contracts which are issued by a clearing corporation, traded on an exchange and have standardized strike prices and expiration dates. Performance of the parties’ obligations is guaranteed by an exchange or clearing corporation. OTC options are two-party contracts and have negotiated strike prices and expiration dates. Options on futures contracts are traded on boards of trade or futures exchanges. Currency swap contracts are negotiated two-party agreements entered into in the interbank market whereby the parties exchange two foreign currencies at the inception of the contract and agree to reverse the exchange at a specified future time and at a specified exchange rate.
The JPMorgan Emerging Markets Debt Fund may also purchase and sell barrier/“touch” options (“Barrier Options”), including knock-in options (“Knock-In Options”) and knock-out options (“Knock-Out Options”). A Barrier Option is a type of exotic option that gives an investor a payout once the price of the underlying currency reaches or surpasses (or falls below) a predetermined barrier. This type of option allows the buyer of the option to set the position of the barrier, the length of time until expiration and the payout to be received once the barrier is broken. It is possible for an investor to lose the premium paid for the option. There are two kinds of Knock-In Options, (i) “up and in” and (ii) “down and in”. With Knock-In Options, if the buyer has selected an upper price barrier, and the currency hits that level, the Knock-In Option turns into a more traditional option (“Vanilla Option”) whereby the owner has the right but not the obligation to exchange money denominated in one currency into another currency at a pre-agreed exchange rate on a specified date. This type of Knock-In Option is called “up and in”. The “down and in” Knock-In Option is the same as the “up and in”, except the currency has to reach a lower barrier. Upon hitting the chosen lower price level, the “down and in” Knock-In Option turns into a Vanilla Option. As in the Knock-In Option, there are two kinds of Knock-Out Options, ( i) “up and out” and (ii) “down and out”. However, in a Knock-Out Option, the buyer begins with a Vanilla Option, and if the predetermined price barrier is hit, the Vanilla Option is cancelled and the seller has no further obligation. If the option hits the upper barrier, the option is cancelled and the investor loses the premium paid, thus, “up and out”. If the option hits the lower price barrier, the option is cancelled, thus, “down and out”. Barrier Options usually call for delivery of the underlying currency.
The value of a foreign currency option is dependent upon the value of the foreign currency and the U.S. dollar and may have no relationship to the investment merits of a foreign security. Because foreign currency transactions occurring in the interbank market involve substantially larger amounts than those that may be involved in the use of foreign currency options, investors may be disadvantaged by having to deal in an odd lot market for the underlying foreign currencies at prices that are less favorable than those for round lots.
There is no systematic reporting of last sale information for foreign currencies and there is no regulatory requirement that quotations available through dealer or other market sources be firm or revised on a timely basis. Available quotation information is generally representative of very large transactions in the interbank market and thus may not reflect relatively smaller transactions (less than $1 million) where rates may be less favorable. The interbank market in foreign currencies is a global, around-the-clock market. To the extent that the U.S. options markets are closed while the markets for the underlying currencies remain open, significant price and rate movements may take place in the underlying markets that cannot be reflected in the options market.
The Funds may write call options on currencies as long as, under current SEC and staff requirements, the Fund segregates cash or liquid assets that, when added to the amounts deposited with a futures commission merchant or a broker as margin, equal the obligation under the call option (but not less than the strike price of the call option). The Funds may also cover a written call option by owning a separate call option permitting the Fund to purchase the reference currency at a price no higher than the strike price of the call option sold by the Fund. In addition, a Fund may write a non-deliverable call option if, under current SEC and staff requirements, the Fund segregates an amount equal to the current amount it is obligated to pay. Netting of long and short positions of a specific country (assuming long and short contracts are similar) is generally permitted. If there are securities or currency held in that specific country at least equal to the current notional value of the net currency positions, no segregation is required.
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Non-Deliverable Forwards. Some of the Funds may also invest in non-deliverable forwards (“NDFs”). NDFs are cash-settled, short-term forward contracts on foreign currencies (each a “Reference Currency”) that are non-convertible and that may be thinly traded or illiquid. NDFs involve an obligation to pay an amount (the “settlement amount”) equal to the difference between the prevailing market exchange rate for the Reference Currency and the agreed upon exchange rate (the “NDF Rate”), with respect to an agreed notional amount. NDFs have a fixing date and a settlement (delivery) date. The fixing date is the date and time at which the difference between the prevailing market exchange rate and the agreed upon exchange rate is calculated. The settlement (delivery) date is the date by which the payment of the settlement amount is due to the party receiving payment.
Although NDFs are similar to forward foreign currency exchange contracts, NDFs do not require physical delivery of the Reference Currency on the settlement date. Rather, on the settlement date, the only transfer between the counterparties is the monetary settlement amount representing the difference between the NDF Rate and the prevailing market exchange rate. NDFs typically may have terms from one month up to two years and are settled in U.S. dollars.
NDFs are subject to many of the risks associated with derivatives in general and forward currency transactions including risks associated with fluctuations in foreign currency and the risk that the counterparty will fail to fulfill its obligations. Under current SEC and staff requirements, the Funds will segregate or earmark liquid assets in an amount equal to the marked to market value of each NDF contract on a daily basis of the NDF. In calculating the mark-to-market value, the Funds may net opposing NDF contracts with the same currency and the same settlement date. With respect to trades that do not settle through CLS Bank International, the Funds may only net opposing NDF contracts if the contracts are with the same counterparty.
The Funds will typically use NDFs for hedging purposes, but may also, use such instruments to increase income or gain. The use of NDFs for hedging or to increase income or gain may not be successful, resulting in losses to the Fund, and the cost of such strategies may reduce the Funds’ respective returns.
NDFs are regulated as swaps and are subject to rules requiring central clearing and mandatory trading on an exchange or facility that is regulated by the CFTC for certain swaps. NDFs traded in the OTC market are subject to initial and variation margin requirements. Implementation of and on-going compliance with the regulations regarding clearing, mandatory trading and margining of NDFs may increase the cost to the Fund of hedging currency risk and, as a result, may affect returns to investors in the Fund.
Foreign Currency Conversion. Although foreign exchange dealers do not charge a fee for currency conversion, they do realize a profit based on the difference (the “spread”) between prices at which they are buying and selling various currencies. Thus, a dealer may offer to sell a foreign currency to a Fund at one rate while offering a lesser rate of exchange should the Fund desire to resell that currency to the dealer.
Other Foreign Currency Hedging Strategies. New options and futures contracts and other financial products, and various combinations thereof, continue to be developed, and certain Funds may invest in any such options, contracts and products as may be developed to the extent consistent with the Funds’ respective investment objectives and the regulatory requirements applicable to investment companies, and subject to the supervision of each Trust’s Board of Trustees.
Risk Factors in Foreign Currency Transactions. The following is a summary of certain risks associated with foreign currency transactions:
Imperfect Correlation. Foreign currency transactions present certain risks. In particular, the variable degree of correlation between price movements of the instruments used in hedging strategies and price movements in a security being hedged creates the possibility that losses on the hedging transaction may be greater than gains in the value of a Fund’s securities.
Liquidity. Hedging instruments may not be liquid in all circumstances. As a result, in volatile markets, the Funds may not be able to dispose of or offset a transaction without incurring losses. Although foreign currency transactions used for hedging purposes may reduce the risk of loss due to a decline in the value of the hedged security, at the same time the use of these instruments could tend to limit any potential gain which might result from an increase in the value of such security.
Leverage and Volatility Risk. Derivative instruments, including foreign currency derivatives, may sometimes increase or leverage a Fund’s exposure to a particular market risk. Leverage enhances the price volatility of derivative instruments held by a Fund.
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Strategy Risk. Certain Funds may use foreign currency derivatives for hedging as well as non-hedging purposes including to gain or adjust exposure to currencies and securities markets or to increase income or gain to a Fund. There is no guarantee that these strategies will succeed and their use may subject a Fund to greater volatility and loss. Foreign currency transactions involve complex securities transactions that involve risks in addition to direct investments in securities including leverage risk and the risks associated with derivatives in general, currencies, and investments in foreign and emerging markets.
Judgment of the Adviser. Successful use of foreign currency transactions by a Fund depends upon the ability of the Adviser to predict correctly movements in the direction of interest and currency rates and other factors affecting markets for securities. If the expectations of the Adviser are not met, a Fund would be in a worse position than if a foreign currency transaction had not been pursued. For example, if a Fund has hedged against the possibility of an increase in interest rates which would adversely affect the price of securities in its portfolio and the price of such securities increases instead, the Fund will lose part or all of the benefit of the increased value of its securities because it will have offsetting losses in its hedging positions. In addition, when utilizing instruments that require variation margin payments, if the Fund has insufficient cash to meet daily variation margin requirements, it may have to sell securities to meet such requirements.
Other Risks. A Fund may have to sell securities at a time when it is disadvantageous to do so. It is impossible to forecast with precision the market value of portfolio securities at the expiration or maturity of a forward contract or futures contract. Accordingly, a Fund may have to purchase additional foreign currency on the spot market (and bear the expense of such purchase) if the market value of the security or securities being hedged is less than the amount of foreign currency a Fund is obligated to deliver and if a decision is made to sell the security or securities and make delivery of the foreign currency. Conversely, it may be necessary to sell on the spot market some of the foreign currency received upon the sale of the portfolio security or securities if the market value of such security or securities exceeds the amount of foreign currency the Fund is obligated to deliver.
Transaction and position hedging do not eliminate fluctuations in the underlying prices of the securities which a Fund owns or expects to purchase or sell. Rather, the Adviser may employ these techniques in an effort to maintain an investment portfolio that is relatively neutral to fluctuations in the value of the U.S. dollar relative to major foreign currencies and establish a rate of exchange which one can achieve at some future point in time. Additionally, although these techniques tend to minimize the risk of loss due to a decline in the value of the hedged currency, they also tend to limit any potential gain which might result from the increase in the value of such currency. Moreover, it may not be possible for a Fund to hedge against a devaluation that is so generally anticipated that the Fund is not able to contract to sell the currency at a price above the anticipated devaluation level.
Insurance-Linked Securities
The JPMorgan Strategic Income Opportunities Fund and JPMorgan Total Return Fund may invest in debt instruments or equity securities structured as event-driven, event-linked or insurance-linked notes or catastrophe bonds (collectively, “catastrophe bonds”) and related instruments such as (re)insurance sidecars (collectively with catastrophe bonds, “Insurance-Linked Securities”). Insurance-Linked Securities are generally debt obligations or equity securities for which the return of principal and the payment of interest or dividends typically are contingent on the non-occurrence of a specific “trigger” event(s) that lead to economic and/or human loss, such as a hurricane of a specific category, earthquake of a particular magnitude, or other physical or weather-related phenomena. For some Insurance-Linked Securities, the magnitude of the effect of the trigger event on the security may be based on losses to a company or industry, modeled losses to a notional portfolio, industry indexes, readings of scientific instruments, or certain other parameters associated with a catastrophe rather than actual losses. If a trigger event, as defined within the terms of each Insurance-Linked Security, occurs, a Fund may lose a portion or all of its accrued interest, dividends and/or principal invested in such Insurance-Linked Security. In addition, if there is a dispute regarding a trigger event, there may be delays in the payment of principal, interest and dividends. A Fund is entitled to receive principal, interest and dividends payments so long as no trigger event occurs of the description and magnitude specified by the Insurance-Linked Security.
Insurance-Linked Securities may be sponsored by government agencies, insurance companies or reinsurers and issued by special purpose corporations or other off-shore or on-shore entities (such special purpose entities are created to accomplish a narrow and well-defined objective, such as the issuance of a note in connection with a specific reinsurance transaction). Typically, Insurance-Linked Securities are issued by off-shore entities including entities in emerging markets and may be non-dollar denominated. As a result, the Funds will be subject to currency and foreign and emerging markets risk including the risks
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described in Foreign Investments. Often, catastrophe bonds provide for extensions of maturity that are mandatory, or optional at the discretion of the issuer or sponsor, in order to process and audit loss claims in those cases where a trigger event has, or possibly has, occurred. An extension of maturity may increase volatility.
Industry loss warranties are a type of Insurance-Linked Securities that are designed to protect insurers or reinsurers from severe losses due to significant catastrophic events. The buyer pays the seller a premium at the inception of the contract, and in return the buyer can make a claim if losses due to a certain class of catastrophic event (for example, Florida hurricanes), as estimated by a third-party, exceed an agreed trigger level. Industry loss warranties have standard terms and conditions and are collateralized. These contracts are evaluated using detailed underwriting information on the applicable exposures provided by the reinsurers or their intermediaries.
Insurance-Linked Securities also may expose a Fund to certain unanticipated risks, including but not limited to issuer risk, credit risk, counterparty risk, adverse regulatory or jurisdictional interpretations, and adverse tax consequences. Additionally, Insurance-Linked Securities are subject to the risk that modeling used to calculate the probability of a trigger event may not be accurate and/or underestimate the likelihood of a trigger event. This may result in more frequent and greater than expected losses including loss of principal and/or interest with respect to catastrophic bonds and dividends with respect to (re)insurance sidecars.
Insurance-Linked Securities are relatively new types of financial instruments and have relatively a limited trading history. There can be no assurance that markets for these instruments will be liquid at all times, and lack of a liquid market may impose the risk of higher transaction costs and the possibility that a Fund may be forced to liquidate positions when it would not be advantageous to do so. Insurance-Linked Securities are generally rated below investment grade or the unrated equivalent and have the same or similar risks as high yield debt securities (also known as junk bonds).
Insurance-Linked Securities typically are restricted to qualified institutional buyers and, therefore, are not subject to registration with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) or any state securities commission, and generally are not listed on any national securities exchange. The amount of public information available with respect to Insurance-Linked Securities is generally less extensive than that which is available for exchange listed securities. There can be no assurance that future regulatory determinations will not adversely affect the overall market for Insurance-Linked Securities.
Inverse Floaters and Interest Rate Caps
Inverse floaters are instruments whose interest rates bear an inverse relationship to the interest rate on another security or the value of an index. The market value of an inverse floater will vary inversely with changes in market interest rates and will be more volatile in response to interest rate changes than that of a fixed rate obligation. Interest rate caps are financial instruments under which payments occur if an interest rate index exceeds a certain predetermined interest rate level, known as the cap rate, which is tied to a specific index. These financial products will be more volatile in price than securities which do not include such a structure.
Investments in inverse floaters and similar instruments expose a Fund to the same risks as investments in debt securities and derivatives, as well as other risks, including those associated with leverage and increased volatility. An investment in these securities typically will involve greater risk than an investment in a fixed rate security. Inverse floaters may be considered to be leveraged, including if their interest rates vary by a magnitude that exceeds the magnitude of a change in a reference rate of interest (typically a short-term interest rate), and the market prices of inverse floaters may as a result be highly sensitive to changes in interest rates and in prepayment rates on the underlying securities, and may decrease significantly when interest rates increase or prepayment rates change. Investments in inverse floaters and similar instruments that have asset-backed, mortgage-backed or mortgage-related securities underlying them will expose a Fund to the risks associated with those asset-backed, mortgage-backed and mortgage-related securities and the values of those investments may be especially sensitive to changes in prepayment rates on the underlying asset-backed, mortgage-backed or mortgage-related securities.
Investment Company Securities and Exchange-Traded Funds
Investment Company Securities. A Fund may acquire the securities of other investment companies (“acquired funds”) to the extent permitted under the 1940 Act and consistent with its investment objective and strategies. As a shareholder of another investment company, a Fund would bear, along with other shareholders, its pro rata portion of the other investment company’s expenses, including advisory fees.
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These expenses would be in addition to the advisory and other expenses that a Fund bears directly in connection with its own operations. Except as described below, the 1940 Act currently requires that, as determined immediately after a purchase is made, (i) not more than 5% of the value of a fund’s total assets will be invested in the securities of any one acquired fund, (ii) not more than 10% of the value of its total assets will be invested in the aggregate in securities of acquired funds as a group and (iii) not more than 3% of the outstanding voting stock of any one acquired fund will be owned by a fund.
In addition, Section 17 of the 1940 Act prohibits a Fund from investing in another J.P. Morgan Fund except as permitted by Section 12 of the 1940 Act, by rule, or by exemptive order.
The limitations described above do not apply to investments in money market funds subject to certain conditions. All of the J.P. Morgan Funds may invest in affiliated and unaffiliated money market funds without limit under Rule 12d1-1 under the 1940 Act subject to the acquiring fund’s investment policies and restrictions and the conditions of the Rule.
In addition, the 1940 Act’s limits and restrictions summarized above do not apply to J.P. Morgan Funds that invest in other J.P. Morgan Funds in reliance on Section 12(d)(1)(G) of the 1940 Act, SEC rule, or an exemptive order issued by the SEC (each, a “Fund of Funds”; collectively, “Funds of Funds”). Such Funds of Funds include JPMorgan Investor Funds (the “Investor Funds”), the JPMorgan SmartRetirement Funds and the JPMorgan SmartRetirement Blend Funds (collectively, the “JPMorgan SmartRetirement Funds”), JPMorgan Access Funds, JPMorgan Diversified Fund, and such other J.P. Morgan Funds that invest in other J.P. Morgan Funds in reliance on Section 12(d)(G) of the 1940 Act, Rule 12d1-4 or other rules issued Section 12.
Section 12(d)(1)(G) of the 1940 Act permits a fund to invest in acquired funds in the “same group of investment companies” (“affiliated funds”), government securities and short-term paper. In order to be an eligible investment under Section 12(d)(1)(G), an affiliated acquired fund must have a policy prohibiting it from investing in other registered open-end funds under Section 12(d)(1)(F) or (G) of the 1940 Act and, under certain circumstances, limit itself from investing in other investment companies and private funds.
Rule 12d1-4 allows a fund to acquire shares of an acquired fund in excess of the limitations currently imposed by the 1940 Act. Fund of funds arrangements relying on Rule 12d1-4 will be subject to several conditions, certain of which are specific to a fund’s position in the arrangement (i.e., as an acquiring or acquired fund). Notable conditions include those relating to: (i) control and voting that prohibit an acquiring fund, its investment adviser (or a sub-adviser) and their respective affiliates from beneficially owning more than 25% of the outstanding voting securities of an unaffiliated acquired fund; (ii) certain required findings relating to complexity, fees and undue influence (among other things); (iii) fund of funds investment agreements; and (iv) general limitations on an acquired fund’s investments in other investment companies and private funds to no more than 10% of the acquired fund’s asset, except in certain circumstances. The limitations placed on acquired funds under Rule 12d1-4 may impact the ability of a fund to invest in an acquired fund or may impact the investments made by the acquired fund.
Exchange-Traded Funds (“ETFs”). ETFs are pooled investment vehicles whose ownership interests are purchased and sold on a securities exchange. ETFs may be structured investment companies, depositary receipts or other pooled investment vehicles. As shareholders of an ETF, the Funds will bear their pro rata portion of any fees and expenses of the ETFs. Although shares of ETFs are traded on an exchange, shares of certain ETFs may not be redeemable by the ETF. In addition, ETFs may trade at a price below their net asset value (also known as a discount).
Certain Funds may use ETFs to gain exposure to various asset classes and markets or types of strategies and investments. By way of example, ETFs may be structured as broad based ETFs that invest in a broad group of stocks from different industries and market sectors; select sector; or market ETFs that invest in debt securities from a select sector of the economy, a single industry or related industries; or ETFs that invest in foreign and emerging markets securities. Other types of ETFs continue to be developed and the Fund may invest in them to the extent consistent with such Funds’ investment objectives, policies and restrictions. The ETFs in which the Funds invest are subject to the risks applicable to the types of securities and investments used by the ETFs (e.g., debt securities are subject to risks like credit and interest rate risks; emerging markets securities are subject risks like currency risks and foreign and emerging markets risk; derivatives are subject to leverage and counterparty risk).
ETFs may be actively managed or index-based. Actively managed ETFs are subject to management risk and may not achieve their objective if the ETF’s manager’s expectations regarding particular securities or markets are not met. Generally, an index based ETF’s objective is to track the performance of a specified index. Index based ETFs may invest in a securities portfolio that includes substantially all of the
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securities in substantially the same amount as the securities included in the designated index or a representative sample. Because passively managed ETFs are designed to track an index, securities may be purchased, retained and sold at times when an actively managed ETF would not do so. As a result, shareholders of a Fund that invest in such an ETF can expect greater risk of loss (and a correspondingly greater prospect of gain) from changes in the value of securities that are heavily weighted in the index than would be the case if ETF were not fully invested in such securities. This risk is increased if a few component securities represent a highly concentrated weighting in the designated index.
Unless permitted by the 1940 Act or an order or rule issued by the SEC (see “Investment Company Securities” above for more information), the Fund’s investments in unaffiliated ETFs that are structured as investment companies as defined in the 1940 Act are subject to certain percentage limitations of the 1940 Act regarding investments in other investment companies. ETFs that are not structured as investment companies as defined in the 1940 Act are not subject to these percentage limitations.
Loans
Some of the Funds may invest in fixed and floating rate loans (“Loans”). Loans may include senior floating rate loans (“Senior Loans”) and secured and unsecured loans, second lien or more junior loans (“Junior Loans”) and bridge loans or bridge facilities (“Bridge Loans”). Loans are typically arranged through private negotiations between borrowers in the U.S. or in foreign or emerging markets which may be corporate issuers or issuers of sovereign debt obligations (“Obligors”) and one or more financial institutions and other lenders (“Lenders”). Generally, the Funds invest in Loans by purchasing assignments of all or a portion of Loans (“Assignments”) or Loan participations (“Participations”) from third parties although certain Funds may originate Loans.
A Fund has direct rights against the Obligor on the Loan when it purchases an Assignment. Because Assignments are arranged through private negotiations between potential assignees and potential assignors, however, the rights and obligations acquired by a Fund as the purchaser of an Assignment may differ from, and be more limited than, those held by the assigning Lender. With respect to Participations, typically, a Fund will have a contractual relationship only with the Lender and not with the Obligor. The agreement governing Participations may limit the rights of a Fund to vote on certain changes which may be made to the Loan agreement, such as waiving a breach of a covenant. However, the holder of a Participation will generally have the right to vote on certain fundamental issues such as changes in principal amount, payment dates and interest rate. Participations may entail certain risks relating to the creditworthiness of the parties from which the participations are obtained.
A Loan is typically originated, negotiated and structured by a U.S. or foreign commercial bank, insurance company, finance company or other financial institution (the “Agent”) for a group of Loan investors. The Agent typically administers and enforces the Loan on behalf of the other Loan investors in the syndicate. The Agent’s duties may include responsibility for the collection of principal and interest payments from the Obligor and the apportionment of these payments to the credit of all Loan investors. The Agent is also typically responsible for monitoring compliance with the covenants contained in the Loan agreement based upon reports prepared by the Obligor. In addition, an institution, typically but not always the Agent, holds any collateral on behalf of the Loan investors. In the event of a default by the Obligor, it is possible, though unlikely, that the Fund could receive a portion of the borrower’s collateral. If the Fund receives collateral other than cash, any proceeds received from liquidation of such collateral will be available for investment as part of the Fund’s portfolio.
In the process of buying, selling and holding Loans, a Fund may receive and/or pay certain fees. These fees are in addition to interest payments received and may include facility fees, commitment fees, commissions and prepayment penalty fees. When a Fund buys or sells a Loan it may pay a fee. In certain circumstances, a Fund may receive a prepayment penalty fee upon prepayment of a Loan.
Additional Information concerning Senior Loans. Senior Loans typically hold the most senior position in the capital structure of the Obligor, are typically secured with specific collateral and have a claim on the assets and/or stock of the Obligor that is senior to that held by subordinated debtholders and shareholders of the Obligor. Collateral for Senior Loans may include (i) working capital assets, such as accounts receivable and inventory; (ii) tangible fixed assets, such as real property, buildings and equipment; (iii) intangible assets, such as trademarks and patent rights; and/or (iv) security interests in shares of stock of subsidiaries or affiliates.
Additional Information concerning Junior Loans. Junior Loans include secured and unsecured loans including subordinated loans, second lien and more junior loans, and bridge loans. Second lien and more junior loans (“Junior Lien Loans”) are generally second or further in line in terms of repayment priority. In
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addition, Junior Lien Loans may have a claim on the same collateral pool as the first lien or other more senior liens or may be secured by a separate set of assets. Junior Loans generally give investors priority over general unsecured creditors in the event of an asset sale.
Additional Information concerning Bridge Loans. Bridge Loans are short-term loan arrangements (e.g., 12 to 36 months) typically made by an Obligor in anticipation of intermediate-term or long-term permanent financing. Most Bridge Loans are structured as floating-rate debt with step-up provisions under which the interest rate on the Bridge Loan rises the longer the Loan remains outstanding. In addition, Bridge Loans commonly contain a conversion feature that allows the Bridge Loan investor to convert its Loan interest to senior exchange notes if the Loan has not been prepaid in full on or prior to its maturity date. Bridge Loans typically are structured as Senior Loans but may be structured as Junior Loans.
Additional Information concerning Unfunded Commitments. Unfunded commitments are contractual obligations pursuant to which the Fund agrees to invest in a Loan at a future date. Typically, the Fund receives a commitment fee for entering into the Unfunded Commitment.
Additional Information concerning Synthetic Letters of Credit. Loans include synthetic letters of credit. In a synthetic letter of credit transaction, the Lender typically creates a special purpose entity or a credit-linked deposit account for the purpose of funding a letter of credit to the borrower. When a Fund invests in a synthetic letter of credit, the Fund is typically paid a rate based on the Lender’s borrowing costs and the terms of the synthetic letter of credit. Synthetic letters of credit are typically structured as Assignments with the Fund acquiring direct rights against the Obligor.
Additional Information concerning Loan Originations. In addition to investing in loan assignments and participations, the Strategic Income Opportunities Fund, Global Bond Opportunities Fund, Unconstrained Debt Fund and Income Fund may originate Loans in which the Fund would lend money directly to a borrower by investing in limited liability companies or corporations that make loans directly to borrowers. The terms of the Loans are negotiated with borrowers in private transactions. Such Loans would be collateralized, typically with tangible fixed assets such as real property or interests in real property. Such Loans may also include mezzanine loans. Unlike Loans secured by a mortgage on real property, mezzanine loans are collateralized by an equity interest in an SPV that owns the real property.
Limitations on Investments in Loan Assignments and Participations. If a government entity is a borrower on a Loan, the Fund will consider the government to be the issuer of an Assignment or Participation for purposes of a Fund’s fundamental investment policy that it will not invest 25% or more of its total assets in securities of issuers conducting their principal business activities in the same industry (i.e., foreign government).
Limited Federal Securities Law Protections. Certain Loans may not be considered securities under the federal securities laws. In such circumstances, fewer legal protections may be available with respect to a Fund’s investment in those Loans. In particular, if a Loan is not considered a security under the federal securities laws, certain legal protections normally available to investors under the federal securities laws, such as those against fraud and misrepresentation, may not be available.
Multiple Lender Risk. There may be additional risks associated with Loans, including loan originations, when there are Lenders or other participants in addition to the Fund. For example, a Fund could lose the ability to consent to certain actions taken by the Borrower if certain conditions are not met. In addition, for example, certain governing agreements that provide the Fund with the right to consent to certain actions taken by a Borrower may provide that the Fund will no longer have the right to provide such consent if another Lender makes a subsequent advance to the Borrower.
Risk Factors of Loans. Loans are subject to the risks associated with debt obligations in general including interest rate risk, credit risk and market risk. When a Loan is acquired from a Lender, the risk includes the credit risk associated with the Obligor of the underlying Loan. The Fund may incur additional credit risk when the Fund acquires a participation in a Loan from another lender because the Fund must assume the risk of insolvency or bankruptcy of the other lender from which the Loan was acquired. To the extent that Loans involve Obligors in foreign or emerging markets, such Loans are subject to the risks associated with foreign investments or investments in emerging markets in general. The following outlines some of the additional risks associated with Loans.
High Yield Securities Risk. The Loans that a Fund invests in may not be rated by an NRSRO, will not be registered with the SEC or any state securities commission and will not be listed on any national securities exchange. To the extent that such high yield Loans are rated, they typically will be rated below investment grade and are subject to an increased risk of default in the payment of
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principal and interest as well as the other risks described under “High Yield/High Risk Securities/Junk Bonds.” Loans are vulnerable to market sentiment such that economic conditions or other events may reduce the demand for Loans and cause their value to decline rapidly and unpredictably.
Liquidity Risk. Loans that are deemed to be liquid at the time of purchase may become illiquid or less liquid. No active trading market may exist for certain Loans and certain Loans may be subject to restrictions on resale or have a limited secondary market. Certain Loans may be subject to irregular trading activity, wide bid/ask spreads and extended trade settlement periods. The inability to dispose of certain Loans in a timely fashion or at a favorable price could result in losses to a Fund. Also, to the extent that a Fund needs to satisfy redemption requests or cover unanticipated cash shortfalls, the Fund may seek to engage in borrowing under a credit facility or enter into lending agreements under which the Fund would borrow money for temporary purposes directly from another J.P. Morgan Fund (please see “Interfund Lending”). Certain Money Market Funds also use an interest bearing deposit facility to set aside cash at a level estimated to meet the Money Market Fund’s next business day’s intraday redemption orders. See “Interest Bearing Deposit Facility” for more information.
Collateral and Subordination Risk. With respect to Loans that are secured, a Fund is subject to the risk that collateral securing the Loan will decline in value or have no value or that the Fund’s lien is or will become junior in payment to other liens. A decline in value of the collateral, whether as a result of market value declines, bankruptcy proceedings or otherwise, could cause the Loan to be under collateralized or unsecured. In such event, the Fund may have the ability to require that the Obligor pledge additional collateral. The Fund, however, is subject to the risk that the Obligor may not pledge such additional collateral or a sufficient amount of collateral. In some cases (for example, in the case of non-recourse Loans), there may be no formal requirement for the Obligor to pledge additional collateral. In addition, collateral may consist of assets that may not be readily liquidated, and there is no assurance that the liquidation of such assets would satisfy an Obligor’s obligation on a Loan. If the Fund were unable to obtain sufficient proceeds upon a liquidation of such assets, this could negatively affect Fund performance.
If an Obligor becomes involved in bankruptcy proceedings, a court may restrict the ability of the Fund to demand immediate repayment of the Loan by the Obligor or otherwise liquidate the collateral. A court may also invalidate the Loan or the Fund’s security interest in collateral or subordinate the Fund’s rights under a Senior Loan or Junior Loan to the interest of the Obligor’s other creditors, including unsecured creditors, or cause interest or principal previously paid to be refunded to the Obligor. If a court required interest or principal to be refunded, it could negatively affect Fund performance. Such action by a court could be based, for example, on a “fraudulent conveyance” claim to the effect that the Obligor did not receive fair consideration for granting the security interest in the Loan collateral to a Fund. For Senior Loans made in connection with a highly leveraged transaction, consideration for granting a security interest may be deemed inadequate if the proceeds of the Loan were not received or retained by the Obligor, but were instead paid to other persons (such as shareholders of the Obligor) in an amount which left the Obligor insolvent or without sufficient working capital. There are also other events, such as the failure to perfect a security interest due to faulty documentation or faulty official filings, which could lead to the invalidation of a Fund’s security interest in Loan collateral. If the Fund’s security interest in Loan collateral is invalidated or a Senior Loan were subordinated to other debt of an Obligor in bankruptcy or other proceedings, the Fund would have substantially lower recovery, and perhaps no recovery on the full amount of the principal and interest due on the Loan, or the Fund could have to refund interest. Lenders and investors in Loans can be sued by other creditors and shareholders of the Obligors. Losses can be greater than the original Loan amount and occur years after the principal and interest on the Loan have been repaid.
Agent Risk. Selling Lenders, Agents and other entities who may be positioned between a Fund and the Obligor will likely conduct their principal business activities in the banking, finance and financial services industries. Investments in Loans may be more impacted by a single economic, political or regulatory occurrence affecting such industries than other types of investments. Entities engaged in such industries may be more susceptible to, among other things, fluctuations in interest rates, changes in monetary policies, government regulations concerning such industries and concerning capital raising activities generally and fluctuations in the financial markets generally. An Agent, Lender or other entity positioned between a Fund and the Obligor may become insolvent or enter Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (“FDIC”) receivership or bankruptcy. The Fund might
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incur certain costs and delays in realizing payment on a Loan or suffer a loss of principal and/ or interest if assets or interests held by the Agent, Lender or other party positioned between the Fund and the Obligor are determined to be subject to the claims of the Agent’s, Lender’s or such other party’s creditors.
Regulatory Changes. To the extent that legislation or state or federal regulators that regulate certain financial institutions impose additional requirements or restrictions with respect to the ability of such institutions to make Loans, particularly in connection with highly leveraged transactions, the availability of Loans for investment may be adversely affected. Furthermore, such legislation or regulation could depress the market value of Loans held by the Fund.
Inventory Risk. Affiliates of the Adviser may participate in the primary and secondary market for Loans. Because of limitations imposed by applicable law, the presence of the Adviser’s affiliates in the Loan market may restrict a Fund’s ability to acquire some Loans, affect the timing of such acquisition or affect the price at which the Loan is acquired.
Information Risk. There is typically less publicly available information concerning Loans than other types of fixed income investments. As a result, a Fund generally will be dependent on reports and other information provided by the Obligor, either directly or through an Agent, to evaluate the Obligor’s creditworthiness or to determine the Obligor’s compliance with the covenants and other terms of the Loan Agreement. Such reliance may make investments in Loans more susceptible to fraud than other types of investments. In addition, because the Adviser may wish to invest in the publicly traded securities of an Obligor, it may not have access to material non-public information regarding the Obligor to which other Loan investors have access.
Junior Loan Risk. Junior Loans are subject to the same general risks inherent to any Loan investment. Due to their lower place in the Obligor’s capital structure and possible unsecured status, Junior Loans involve a higher degree of overall risk than Senior Loans of the same Obligor. Junior Loans that are Bridge Loans generally carry the expectation that the Obligor will be able to obtain permanent financing in the near future. Any delay in obtaining permanent financing subjects the Bridge Loan investor to increased risk. An Obligor’s use of Bridge Loans also involves the risk that the Obligor may be unable to locate permanent financing to replace the Bridge Loan, which may impair the Obligor’s perceived creditworthiness.
Mezzanine Loan Risk. In addition to the risk factors described above, mezzanine loans are subject to additional risks. Unlike conventional mortgage loans, mezzanine loans are not secured by a mortgage on the underlying real property but rather by a pledge of equity interests (such as a partnership or limited liability company membership) in the property owner or another company in the ownership structures that has control over the property. Such companies are typically structured as special purpose entities. Generally, mezzanine loans may be more highly leveraged than other types of Loans and subordinate in the capital structure of the Obligor. While foreclosure of a mezzanine loan generally takes substantially less time than foreclosure of a traditional mortgage, the holders of a mezzanine loan have different remedies available versus the holder of a first lien mortgage loan. In addition, a sale of the underlying real property would not be unencumbered, and thus would be subject to encumbrances by more senior mortgages and liens of other creditors. Upon foreclosure of a mezzanine loan, the holder of the mezzanine loan acquires an equity interest in the Obligor. However, because of the subordinate nature of a mezzanine loan, the real property continues to be subject to the lien of the mortgage and other liens encumbering the real estate. In the event the holder of a mezzanine loan forecloses on its equity collateral, the holder may need to cure the Obligor’s existing mortgage defaults or, to the extent permissible under the governing agreements, sell the property to pay off other creditors. To the extent that the amount of mortgages and senior indebtedness and liens exceed the value of the real estate, the collateral underlying the mezzanine loan may have little or no value.
Foreclosure Risk. There may be additional costs associated with enforcing a Fund’s remedies under a Loan including additional legal costs and payment of real property transfer taxes upon foreclosure in certain jurisdictions or legal costs and expenses associated with operating real property. As a result of these additional costs, the Fund may determine that pursuing foreclosure on the Loan collateral is not worth the associated costs. In addition, if the Fund incurs costs and the collateral loses value or is not recovered by the Fund in foreclosure, the Fund could lose more than its original investment in the Loan. Foreclosure risk is heightened for Junior Loans, including certain mezzanine loans.
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Covenant-Lite Obligations. A Fund may invest in or be exposed to floating rate loans and other similar debt obligations that are sometimes referred to as “covenant-lite” loans or obligations (“covenant-lite obligations”), which are loans or other similar debt obligations that lack financial maintenance covenants or possess fewer or contingent financial maintenance covenants and other financial protections for lenders and investors. A Fund may obtain exposure to covenant-lite obligations through investment in securitization vehicles and other structured products. In current market conditions, many new, restructured or reissued loans and similar debt obligations do not feature traditional financial maintenance covenants, which are intended to protect lenders and investors by imposing certain restrictions and other limitations on a borrower’s operations or assets and by providing certain information and consent rights to lenders. Covenant-lite obligations allow borrowers to exercise more flexibility with respect to certain activities that may otherwise be limited or prohibited under similar loan obligations that are not covenant-lite. In an investment with a traditional financial maintenance covenant, the borrower is required to meet certain regular, specific financial tests over the term of the investment; in a covenant-lite obligation, the borrower would only be required to satisfy certain financial tests at the time it proposes to take a specific action or engage in a specific transaction (e.g., issuing additional debt, paying a dividend, or making an acquisition) or at a time when another financial criteria has been met (e.g., reduced availability under a revolving credit facility, or asset value falling below a certain percentage of outstanding debt obligations). In addition, in a loan with traditional covenants, the borrower is required to provide certain periodic financial reporting that typically includes a detailed calculation of certain financial metrics; in a covenant-lite obligation, certain detailed financial information is only required to be provided when a financial metric is required to be calculated, which may result in more limited access to financial information, difficulty evaluating the borrower’s financial performance over time and delays in exercising rights and remedies in the event of a significant financial decline. In addition, in the event of default, covenant-lite obligations may exhibit diminished recovery values as the lender may not have the opportunity to negotiate with the borrower or take other measures intended to mitigate losses prior to default. Accordingly, a Fund may have fewer rights with respect to covenant-lite obligations, including fewer protections against the possibility of default and fewer remedies, and may experience losses or delays in enforcing its rights on covenant-lite obligations. As a result, investments in or exposure to covenant-lite obligations are generally subject to more risk than investments that contain traditional financial maintenance covenants and financial reporting requirements.
Miscellaneous Investment Strategies and Risks
Borrowings. A Fund may borrow for temporary purposes and/or for investment purposes. Such a practice will result in leveraging of a Fund’s assets and may cause a Fund to liquidate portfolio positions when it would not be advantageous to do so. This borrowing may be secured or unsecured. If a Fund utilizes borrowings, for investment purposes or otherwise, it may pledge up to 33 1/3% of its total assets to secure such borrowings. A Fund must maintain continuous asset coverage (that is, total assets including borrowings, less liabilities exclusive of borrowings) of at least 300% of the amount borrowed, with an exception for borrowings not in excess of 5% of the Fund’s total assets made for temporary administrative or emergency purposes. Any borrowings for temporary administrative purposes in excess of 5% of the Fund’s total assets must maintain continuous asset coverage. If the 300% asset coverage should decline as a result of market fluctuations or other reasons, a Fund may be required to sell some of its portfolio holdings within three days to reduce the debt and restore the 300% asset coverage, even though it may be disadvantageous from an investment standpoint to sell securities at that time. Borrowing will tend to exaggerate the effect on net asset value of any increase or decrease in the market value of a Fund’s portfolio. Money borrowed will be subject to interest costs which may or may not be recovered by appreciation of any securities that may have been purchased during the time of the borrowing. A Fund also may be required to maintain minimum average balances in connection with such borrowing or to pay a commitment or other fee to maintain a line of credit, either of which would increase the cost of borrowing over the stated interest rate.
Certain Trusts, on behalf of certain Funds (“Borrowers”) entered into a joint syndicated senior unsecured revolving credit facility totaling $1.5 billion, which terminates on August 9, 2022 unless otherwise extended or renewed (“Credit Facility”), with various lenders and The Bank of New York Mellon, as administrative agent for the lenders. This Credit Facility provides a source of funds to the Borrowers for temporary and emergency purposes, including the meeting of redemption requests that otherwise might require the untimely disposition of securities. Under the terms of the Credit Facility, a borrowing Fund must meet certain requirements, including a minimum adjusted net asset value amount and certain adjusted net asset coverage rations prior to and during the time in which any borrowings are outstanding. If a Fund does not comply with these requirements, the lenders may terminate the Credit
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Facility and declare any outstanding borrowings to be due and payable immediately. Interest associated with any borrowing under the Credit Facility is charged to the borrowing Fund at a variable rate. In addition, each participating Fund is charged an annual commitment fee, which is incurred on the unused portion of the Credit Facility and is allocated to all participating Funds pro rata based on their respective net assets.
Certain types of investments are considered to be borrowings under precedents issued by the SEC. Such investments are subject to the limitations as well as, under current SEC and staff requirements, asset segregation requirements. In addition, each Fund may enter into Interfund Lending Arrangements. Please see “Interfund Lending.”
LIBOR Discontinuance or Unavailability Risk. The London Interbank Offering Rate ("LIBOR") is intended to represent the rate at which contributing banks may obtain short-term borrowings from each other in the London interbank market. On March 5, 2021, the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority (“FCA”) publicly announced that (i) immediately after December 31, 2021, publication of the 1-week and 2-month U.S. Dollar LIBOR settings will permanently cease; (ii) immediately after June 30, 2023, publication of the overnight and 12-month U.S. Dollar LIBOR settings will permanently cease; and (iii) immediately after June 30, 2023, the 1-month, 3-month and 6-month U.S. Dollar LIBOR settings will cease to be provided or, subject to the FCA’s consideration of the case, be provided on a synthetic basis and no longer be representative of the underlying market and economic reality they are intended to measure and that representativeness will not be restored. There is no assurance that the dates announced by the FCA will not change or that the administrator of LIBOR and/or regulators will not take further action that could impact the availability, composition or characteristics of LIBOR or the currencies and/or tenors for which LIBOR is published, and we recommend that you consult your advisors to stay informed of any such developments. In addition, certain regulated entities ceased entering into most new LIBOR contracts in connection with regulatory guidance or prohibitions. Public and private sector industry initiatives are currently underway to implement new or alternative reference rates to be used in place of LIBOR. There is no assurance that any such alternative reference rate will be similar to or produce the same value or economic equivalence as LIBOR or that it will have the same volume or liquidity as did LIBOR prior to its discontinuance, unavailability or replacement, all of which may affect the value, volatility, liquidity or return on certain of a Fund’s loans, notes, derivatives and other instruments or investments comprising some or all of a Fund’s investments and result in costs incurred in connection with changing reference rates used for positions, closing out positions and entering into new trades. Certain of the Fund’s investments may transition from LIBOR prior to the dates announced by the FCA. The transition from LIBOR to alternative reference rates may result in operational issues for the Fund or its investments. No assurances can be given as to the impact of the LIBOR transition (and the timing of any such impact) on the Fund and its investments. These risks may also apply with respect to changes in connection with other interbank offering rates (e.g., Euribor) and a wide range of other index levels, rates and values that are treated as “benchmarks” and are the subject of recent regulatory reform.
Commodity-Linked Derivatives. Commodity-linked derivatives are derivative instruments the value of which is linked to the value of a commodity, commodity index or commodity futures contract. A Fund’s investment in commodity-linked derivative instruments may subject the Fund to greater volatility than investments in traditional securities, particularly if the instruments involve leverage. The value of commodity-linked derivative instruments may be affected by changes in overall market movements, commodity index volatility, changes in interest rates, or factors affecting a particular industry or commodity, such as drought, floods, weather, livestock disease, embargoes, tariffs and international economic, political and regulatory developments. Use of leveraged commodity-linked derivatives creates the possibility for greater loss (including the likelihood of greater volatility of the Fund’s net asset value), and there can be no assurance that a Fund’s use of leverage will be successful. Tax considerations may limit a Fund’s ability to pursue investments in commodity-linked derivatives.
Commodity-Related Pooled Investment Vehicles. Commodity-related pooled investment vehicles include ownership interests in grantor trusts and other pooled investment vehicles that hold tangible assets such as gold, silver or other commodities or invest in commodity futures. Grantor trusts are typically traded on an exchange.
Investors do not have the rights normally associated with ownership of other types of shares when they invest in pooled investment vehicles holding commodities or commodity futures, including those structured as limited partnerships or grantor trusts holding commodities. For example, the owners of these commodity-related grantor trusts or limited partnerships do not have the right to elect directors, receive dividends or take other actions normally associated with the ownership of shares of a corporation. Holders of a certain percentage of shares in a grantor trust may have the right to terminate the trust or exercise
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other rights which would not be available to small investors. If investors other than a Fund exercise their right to terminate, a Fund that wishes to invest in the underlying commodity through the pooled investment vehicle will have to find another investment and may not be able to find another vehicle that offers the same investment features. In the event that one or more participants holding a substantial interest in these pooled investment vehicles withdraw from participation, the liquidity of the pooled investment vehicle will likely decrease which could adversely affect the market price of the pooled investment vehicle and result in a Fund incurring a loss on its investments.
These pooled investment vehicles are not registered investment companies, and many are not commodity pools, and therefore, do not have the protections available to those types of investments under federal securities or commodities laws. For example, unlike registered investment companies, these vehicles are not subject to federal securities laws that limit transactions with affiliates, require redemption of shares, or limit sales load. Although shares of these vehicles may be traded on an exchange, there may be no active market for such shares and such shares may be highly illiquid.
These vehicles are subject to the risks associated with direct investments in commodities. The market price of shares of these vehicles will be as unpredictable as the price of the underlying commodity. Many factors can cause a decline in the prices of commodities including a change in economic conditions, such as a recession. This risk is magnified when the commodity is used in manufacturing. In addition, the prices of commodities may be adversely impacted by a change in the attitude of speculators and investors toward the applicable commodity, or a significant increase in commodity price hedging activity. In addition, the value of the shares will be adversely affected if the assets owned by the trust are lost, damaged or of inferior quality.
The commodities represented by shares of a grantor trust will decrease over the life of the trust due to sales of the underlying commodities necessary to pay trust fees and expenses, including expenses associated with indemnification of certain service providers to the pooled investment vehicle. Without increases in the price of the underlying commodity sufficient to compensate for that decrease, the price of the investment will decline and a Fund will incur a loss on its investment.
Commodity-related grantor trusts are passive investment vehicles. This means that the value of the investment in a grantor trust may be adversely affected by trust losses that, if the trust had been actively managed, it might have been possible to avoid. A Fund’s intention to qualify as a regulated investment company under Subchapter M of the Code may limit its ability to make investments in grantor trusts or limited partnerships that invest in commodities or commodity futures.
Cyber Security Risk. As the use of technology has become more prevalent in the course of business, the Funds have become more susceptible to operational and financial risks associated with cyber security, including: theft, loss, misuse, improper release, corruption and destruction of, or unauthorized access to, confidential or highly restricted data relating to a Fund and its shareholders; and compromises or failures to systems, networks, devices and applications relating to the operations of a Fund and its service providers. Cyber security risks may result in financial losses to a Fund and its shareholders; the inability of a Fund to transact business with its shareholders; delays or mistakes in the calculation of a Fund’s net asset value (“NAV”) or other materials provided to shareholders; the inability to process transactions with shareholders or other parties; violations of privacy and other laws; regulatory fines, penalties and reputational damage; and compliance and remediation costs, legal fees and other expenses. A Fund’s service providers (including, but not limited to, the Adviser, any sub-advisers, administrator, transfer agent, and custodian or their agents), financial intermediaries, companies in which a Fund invests and parties with which a Fund engages in portfolio or other transactions also may be adversely impacted by cyber security risks in their own businesses, which could result in losses to a Fund or its shareholders. While measures have been developed which are designed to reduce the risks associated with cyber security, there is no guarantee that those measures will be effective, particularly since the Funds do not directly control the cyber security defenses or plans of their service providers, financial intermediaries and companies in which they invest or with which they do business.
Volcker Rule Risk. Section 619 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (“Dodd-Frank”) and certain rules promulgated thereunder (known as the Volcker Rule) places restrictions on the activities of banking entities, including the Adviser and its affiliates, and may impact the long-term viability of a Fund. Under the Volcker Rule, if the Adviser or its affiliates own 25% or more of the ownership interests of a Fund outside of the permitted seeding time period, a Fund could be subject to restrictions on trading that would adversely impact a Fund’s ability to execute its investment strategy. Generally, the permitted seeding period is three years from the implementation of a Fund’s investment strategy. As a result, the Adviser and/or its affiliates may be required to reduce their ownership interests in
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a Fund at a time that is sooner than would otherwise be desirable. This may require the sale of Fund securities, which may result in losses, increased transaction costs and adverse tax consequences. In addition, the ongoing viability of a Fund may be adversely impacted by the anticipated or actual redemption of Fund shares owned by the Adviser and its affiliates and could result in a Fund’s liquidation.
Exchange-Traded Notes (“ETNs”) are senior, unsecured notes linked to an index. Like ETFs, they may be bought and sold like shares of stock on an exchange (e.g., the New York Stock Exchange) during normal trading hours. However, ETNs have a different underlying structure and may be held until their maturity. While ETF shares represent an interest in a portfolio of securities, ETNs are structured products that are an obligation of the issuing bank, whereby the bank agrees to pay a return based on the target index less any fees. Essentially, these notes allow individual investors to have access to derivatives linked to commodities and assets such as oil, currencies and foreign stock indexes. ETNs combine certain aspects of bonds and ETFs. At maturity, the issuer of a ETN pays to the investor a cash amount equal to principal amount, subject to the day’s index factor. ETN returns are based upon the performance of a market index minus applicable fees. ETNs do not make periodic coupon payments and provide no principal protection. The value of an ETN may be influenced by time to maturity, level of supply and demand for the ETN, volatility and lack of liquidity in underlying commodities markets, changes in the applicable interest rates, changes in the issuer’s credit rating and economic, legal, political or geographic events that affect the referenced commodity. The timing and character of income and gains derived from ETNs is under consideration by the U.S. Treasury and Internal Revenue Service and may also be affected by future legislation.
Impact of Large Redemptions and Purchases of Fund Shares. Shareholders of a Fund (which may include the Adviser or affiliates of the Adviser or accounts for which the Adviser or its affiliates serve as investment adviser or trustee or, for certain Funds, affiliated and/or non-affiliated registered investment companies that invest in a Fund) may make relatively large redemptions or purchases of Fund shares. In addition, certain circumstances that may cause a Fund to experience large redemptions include, but are not limited to: the occurrence of significant events affecting investor demand for securities or asset classes in which the Fund invests; changes in the eligibility criteria for the Fund or share class of the Fund or other J.P. Morgan Funds; personnel changes relating to the management of the Fund; index rebalancings; announced liquidations of the Fund; announced reorganizations of the Fund; or other announcements relating to the Fund, including changes in investment objectives, strategies, policies or risks. In addition, under applicable regulations, the Adviser or an affiliate of the Adviser may be required to reduce its seed investment or other ownership interest in a Fund at a time that is sooner than the Adviser or its affiliate otherwise would. Any large redemption and purchase transactions may cause a Fund to have to sell securities, or invest additional cash, as the case may be. While it is impossible to predict the overall impact of these transactions over time, there could be adverse effects on a Fund’s performance to the extent that the Fund is required to sell securities or invest cash at times when it would not otherwise do so, which may result in a loss to the Fund. These transactions may result in higher portfolio turnover, accelerate the realization of taxable income if sales of securities resulted in capital gains or other income (which particularly would impact shareholders who do not hold their Fund shares in an IRA, 401(k) plan or other tax-advantaged investment plan), and/or increase transaction costs, which may impact the Fund’s expense ratio. Additionally, a significant reduction in Fund assets would result in Fund expenses being spread over a small asset base, potentially causing an increase in the Fund’s expense ratio. To the extent that such transactions result in short-term capital gains, such gains will generally be taxed at the ordinary income tax rate for shareholders who hold Fund shares in a taxable account. In addition to the above information, the SAI includes disclosure of accounts holding more than 5% of a Fund’s voting securities.
Capital Gains. A Fund may sell securities and subsequently repurchase the same securities in an effort to manage capital gains distributions. This may occur if a Fund’s unrealized and/or realized capital gains represent a significant portion of its net assets. If this occurs, this will change the timing, amount and/or character of capital gains to be distributed and therefore the amount and timing of tax paid by Fund shareholders will change. In addition, shareholders may experience corresponding tax implications upon redemption as reinvested distributions will generally increase the cost basis of their Fund share position, potentially changing the amount of realized gain or loss. Accordingly, a redeeming shareholder’s total tax liability from distributions and redemptions for a year may be impacted by the character of the distributions and whether or not shares are redeemed in the same year. In addition, a Fund’s repurchased securities when subsequently sold may cause the Fund to realize short-term capital gains or losses rather than long-term capital gains or losses. Repurchases of substantially identical securities within 30 days before or after the securities are sold at a loss will result in the application of the wash sale rules. The Fund would incur additional transaction costs from the selling and repurchasing of securities, and the value of the securities sold may change. An increase or decrease in the value of securities sold prior to being
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repurchased may impact Fund performance. Additionally, unless otherwise disclosed in a Fund’s prospectus, the Funds are not managed to maximize after-tax returns or tax efficiency for taxable shareholder accounts. As a result, large redemptions could accelerate the realization of capital gains for a shareholder of those Funds. Investors should consider whether a Fund is an appropriate investment in light of their current financial position and retirement needs.
Government Intervention in Financial Markets. Events in the financial sector resulted in reduced liquidity in credit and fixed income markets and a higher degree of volatility in the financial markets, both domestically and internationally. While entire markets were, and may continue to be, impacted, issuers that have exposure to the real estate, mortgage and credit markets were, and may continue to be, particularly affected. Future market turbulence may have an adverse effect on the Funds’ investments.
Instability in the financial markets has previously led, and could lead, governments and regulators around the world to take a number of actions designed to support certain financial institutions and segments of the financial markets that have experienced extreme volatility, a lack of liquidity or other adverse conditions. Governments, their regulatory agencies, or self-regulatory organizations may take actions that affect the regulation of the instruments in which the Funds invest, or the issuers of such instruments, in ways that are unforeseeable. Legislation or regulation may also change the way in which the Funds themselves are regulated.  For instance, in 2016, the SEC adopted rules that regulate the Funds’ management of liquidity risk. Such legislation or regulation could limit or preclude a Fund’s ability to achieve its investment objective. Further, in response to the outbreak of COVID-19, a novel coronavirus disease, the U.S. Government passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) in March 2020, which established loan programs for certain issuers impacted by COVID-19. Among other conditions, borrowers under these loan programs are generally restricted from paying dividends. The adoption of any future legislation could further limit or restrict the ability of issuers to pay dividends. The ongoing effects of COVID-19 could result in continuing volatility in the market, which may negatively impact the performance of the Funds.
Governments or their agencies may also acquire distressed assets from financial institutions and acquire ownership interests in those institutions. The implications of government ownership and disposition of these assets are unclear, and such a program may have positive or negative effects on the liquidity, valuation and performance of a Fund’s portfolio holdings. Furthermore, volatile financial markets can expose the Funds to greater market and liquidity risk and potential difficulty in valuing portfolio instruments held by the Funds.
Interest Bearing Deposit Facility. As part of seeking to provide intraday liquidity, certain Money Market Funds generally set aside cash in an interest bearing deposit facility (“IBDF”) at a level estimated to meet the Money Market Fund’s next business day’s intraday redemption orders. Under the IBDF, each Money Market Fund expects to retain a balance (“designated balance”) overnight in its custodial cash deposit account with JPMorgan Chase Bank at a level estimated to meet its next business day’s intraday redemption orders. As redemption payments are processed for the Money Market Fund on the next business day, outgoing wires are debited from its account. At the end of that day, the Money Market Fund seeks to allocate cash to the account to restore the designated balance. A Money Market Fund receives interest overnight on the designated balance.
Interfund Lending. To satisfy redemption requests or to cover unanticipated cash shortfalls, a Fund may enter into lending agreements (“Interfund Lending Agreements”) under which the Fund would lend money and borrow money for temporary purposes directly to and from another J.P. Morgan Fund through a credit facility (“Interfund Loan”), subject to meeting the conditions of an SEC exemptive order granted to the Funds or other relief provided by the SEC or its staff permitting such interfund lending. No Fund may borrow more than the lesser of the amount permitted by Section 18 of the 1940 Act or the amount permitted by its investment limitations. All Interfund Loans will consist only of uninvested cash reserves that the Fund otherwise would invest in short-term repurchase agreements or other short-term instruments.
If a Fund has outstanding borrowings, any Interfund Loans to the Fund will (a) be at an interest rate equal to or lower than any outstanding bank loan, (b) be secured at least on an equal priority basis with at least an equivalent percentage of collateral to loan value as any outstanding bank loan that requires collateral, (c) have a maturity no longer than any outstanding bank loan (and in any event not over seven days) and (d) provide that, if an event of default occurs under any agreement evidencing an outstanding bank loan to the Fund, the event of default will automatically (without need for action or notice by the
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lending Fund) constitute an immediate event of default under an Interfund Lending Agreement entitling the lending Fund to call the Interfund Loan (and exercise all rights with respect to any collateral), and such call will be made if the lending bank exercises its right to call its loan under its agreement with the borrowing Fund.
A Fund may make an unsecured borrowing through the credit facility if its outstanding borrowings from all sources immediately after the interfund borrowing total 10% or less of its total assets; provided, that if the Fund has a secured loan outstanding from any other lender, including but not limited to another J.P. Morgan Fund, the Fund’s interfund borrowing will be secured on at least an equal priority basis with at least an equivalent percentage of collateral to loan value as any outstanding loan that requires collateral. If a Fund’s total outstanding borrowings immediately after an interfund borrowing would be greater than 10% of its total assets, the Fund may borrow through the credit facility on a secured basis only. A Fund may not borrow through the credit facility nor from any other source if its total outstanding borrowings immediately after the interfund borrowing would exceed the limits imposed by Section 18 of the 1940 Act.
No Fund may lend to another Fund through the interfund lending credit facility if the loan would cause its aggregate outstanding loans through the credit facility to exceed 15% of the lending Fund’s net assets at the time of the loan. A Fund’s Interfund Loans to any one Fund shall not exceed 5% of the lending Fund’s net assets. The duration of Interfund Loans is limited to the time required to receive payment for securities sold, but in no event may the duration exceed seven days. Loans effected within seven days of each other will be treated as separate loan transactions for purposes of this condition. Each Interfund Loan may be called on one business day’s notice by a lending Fund and may be repaid on any day by a borrowing Fund.
The limitations detailed above and the other conditions of the SEC exemptive order permitting interfund lending are designed to minimize the risks associated with interfund lending for both the lending fund and the borrowing fund. However, no borrowing or lending activity is without risk. When a Fund borrows money from another Fund, there is a risk that the loan could be called on one day’s notice or not renewed, in which case the Fund may have to borrow from a bank at higher rates if an Interfund Loan were not available from another Fund. A delay in repayment to a lending Fund could result in a lost opportunity or additional lending costs.
Master Limited Partnerships. Certain companies are organized as master limited partnerships (“MLPs”) in which ownership interests are publicly traded. MLPs often own several properties or businesses (or directly own interests) that are related to real estate development and oil and gas industries, but they also may finance motion pictures, research and development and other projects or provide financial services. Generally, an MLP is operated under the supervision of one or more managing general partners. Limited partners (like a Fund that invests in an MLP) are not involved in the day-to-day management of the partnership. They are allocated income and capital gains associated with the partnership project in accordance with the terms established in the partnership agreement.
The risks of investing in an MLP are generally those inherent in investing in a partnership as opposed to a corporation. For example, state law governing partnerships is often less restrictive than state law governing corporations. Accordingly, there may be fewer protections afforded investors in an MLP than investors in a corporation. Additional risks involved with investing in an MLP are risks associated with the specific industry or industries in which the partnership invests, such as the risks of investing in real estate, or oil and gas industries.
YieldCos. A YieldCo is a dividend growth-oriented company, created by a parent company (the “YieldCo Sponsor”), that bundles operating assets in order to generate systematic cash flows. YieldCos are not limited by asset or income composition, but they are generally tied to the energy industry, including, for example, renewable energy projects, that offer predictable cash flows. YieldCos generally serve a similar purpose as MLPs and REITs, which most energy companies cannot establish due to regulatory reasons.
The risks of investing in YieldCos involve risks that differ from investments in traditional operating companies, including risks related to the relationship between the YieldCo and the YieldCo Sponsor. A YieldCo is usually dependent on the management of the YieldCo Sponsor and may be impacted by the development capabilities and financial health of its YieldCo Sponsor. Additionally, a YieldCo Sponsor may have interests of its YieldCo and may retain control of the YieldCo through classes of stock held by the YieldCo Sponsor.
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A YieldCo’s share price is typically a multiple of its distributable cash flow. Therefore, any event that limits a YieldCo’s ability to maintain or grow its distributable cash flow would likely have a negative impact on the YieldCo’s share price. The share price of a YieldCo can be affected by fundamentals unique to the YieldCo, including the robustness and consistency of its earnings and its ability to meet debt obligations including the payment of interest and principle to creditors. A YieldCo may distribute all or substantially all of the cash available for distribution, which may limit new acquisitions and future growth. A YieldCo may finance its growth strategy with debt, which may increase the YieldCo’s leverage and the risk associated with the YieldCo. The ability of a YieldCo to maintain or grow its dividend distributions may depend on the YieldCo’s ability to minimize its tax liabilities through the use of accelerated depreciation schedule, tax loss carryforwards, and tax incentives. Changes to the current tax code could result in greater tax liabilities, which would reduce a YieldCo’s distributable cash flow.
New Financial Products. New options and futures contracts and other financial products, and various combinations thereof, including over-the-counter products, continue to be developed. These various products may be used to adjust the risk and return characteristics of certain Funds’ investments. These various products may increase or decrease exposure to security prices, interest rates, commodity prices, or other factors that affect security values, regardless of the issuer’s credit risk. If market conditions do not perform as expected, the performance of a Fund would be less favorable than it would have been if these products were not used. In addition, losses may occur if counterparties involved in transactions do not perform as promised. These products may expose the Fund to potentially greater return as well as potentially greater risk of loss than more traditional fixed income investments.
Private Placements, Restricted Securities and Other Unregistered Securities. Subject to its investment policies, a Fund may acquire investments such as obligations issued in reliance on the so-called “private placement” exemption from registration afforded by Section 4(a)(2) under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “1933 Act”), which cannot be offered for public sale in the U.S. without first being registered under the 1933 Act. These securities may be subject to liquidity risks and certain private placements may be determined to be Illiquid Investments under the Liquidity Risk Management Program applicable to the Funds (other than Money Market Funds).
A Fund is subject to a risk that should the Fund decide to sell such securities when a ready buyer is not available at a price the Fund deems representative of their value, the value of the Fund’s net assets could be adversely affected. In addition, information about the issuers whose securities are not publicly traded may not be subject to the disclosure and other investor protection requirements that may be applicable if their securities were publicly traded. As a result, prices of such securities may be difficult to value and highly volatile, which could impact the value of the Fund’s net assets. Where a security must be registered under the 1933 Act before it may be sold, a Fund may be obligated to pay all or part of the registration expenses, and a considerable period may elapse between the time of the decision to sell and the time the Fund may be permitted to sell a security under an effective registration statement. If, during such a period, adverse market conditions were to develop, a Fund might obtain a less favorable price than prevailed when it decided to sell.
The Funds may invest in commercial paper issued in reliance on the exemption from registration afforded by Section 4(a)(2) of the 1933 Act and other restricted securities (i.e., other securities subject to restrictions on resale). Section 4(a)(2) commercial paper (“4(a)(2) paper”) is restricted as to disposition under federal securities law and is generally sold to institutional investors, such as the Funds, that agree that they are purchasing the paper for investment purposes and not with a view to public distribution. Any resale by the purchaser must be in an exempt transaction. 4(a)(2) paper is normally resold to other institutional investors through or with the assistance of the issuer or investment dealers who make a market in 4(a)(2) paper, thus providing liquidity.
Certain investments in private placements may consist of direct investments and may include investments in smaller, less seasoned issuers, which may involve greater risks. These issuers may have limited product lines, markets or financial resources, or they may be dependent on a limited management group. In making investments in such securities, a Fund may obtain access to material non-public information, which may restrict the Fund’s ability to conduct portfolio transactions in such securities.
Securities Issued in Connection with Reorganizations and Corporate Restructuring. Debt securities may be downgraded and issuers of debt securities including investment grade securities may default in the payment of principal or interest or be subject to bankruptcy proceedings. In connection with reorganizing or restructuring of an issuer, an issuer may issue common stock or other securities to holders
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of its debt securities. A Fund may hold such common stock and other securities even though it does not ordinarily invest in such securities and such common stock or other securities may be denominated in currencies that a Fund may not ordinarily hold.
Stapled Securities. From time to time, the Funds may invest in stapled securities to gain exposure to companies. A stapled security is a security that is comprised of two or more parts that cannot be separated from one another. The resulting security is influenced by both parts, and must be treated as one unit at all times, such as when buying or selling a security. The value of stapled securities and the income derived from them may fall as well as rise. Stapled securities are not obligations of, deposits in, or guaranteed by, the Fund. The listing of stapled securities on a domestic or foreign exchange does not guarantee a liquid market for stapled securities.
Temporary Defensive Positions. To respond to unusual market conditions, all of the Funds may invest their assets in cash or cash equivalents. Cash equivalents are highly liquid, high quality instruments with maturities of three months or less on the date they are purchased (“Cash Equivalents”) for temporary defensive purposes. These investments may result in a lower yield than lower-quality or longer term investments and may prevent the Funds from meeting their investment objectives. The percentage of Fund’s total assets that a Fund may invest in cash or cash equivalents is described in the applicable Fund’s Prospectuses. They include securities issued by the U.S. government, its agencies, Government-Sponsored Enterprises (“GSEs”) and instrumentalities, repurchase agreements with maturities of 7 days or less, certificates of deposit, bankers’ acceptances, commercial paper, money market mutual funds, and bank deposit accounts. In order to invest in repurchase agreements with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York for temporary defensive purposes, certain Funds may engage in periodic “test” trading in order to assess operational abilities at times when the Fund would otherwise not enter into such a position. These exercises may vary in size and frequency.
Infectious Disease Risk. A worldwide outbreak of COVID-19 has negatively affected economies, markets and individual companies throughout the world. The effects of this COVID-19 pandemic to public health, and business and market conditions, including, among other things, reduced consumer demand and economic output, supply chain disruptions and increased government spending, may continue to have a significant negative impact on the performance of a Fund’s investments, increase a Fund’s volatility and exacerbate other pre-existing political, social and economic risks to the Funds.
The risk of further spreading of COVID-19 has led to significant uncertainty and volatility in the financial markets. The impacts of COVID-19, and other epidemics and pandemics that may arise in the future, could adversely affect the economies of many nations, particular regions, or the entire global economy, individual companies and investment products, and the market in general. The full extent of such impacts cannot necessarily be foreseen. The impacts may be short term or may last for an extended period of time, and may exacerbate other pre-existing political, social and economic risks. The value of a Fund and the securities in which a Fund invests may be adversely affected by impacts caused by COVID-19 and other epidemics and pandemics that may arise in the future. The impact of a pandemic may also negatively affect the liquidity of certain of a Fund’s portfolio holdings and may make it more difficult to value such holdings. Because epidemics and pandemics (such as COVID-19) impact broad segments of businesses and populations at the same time or in close succession, often in unpredictable and significant ways, they create the risk that a Fund’s operations may be interrupted, which may have a significant negative impact on investment performance. Governments, their regulatory agencies, or self-regulatory organizations have taken or may take actions that affect the instruments in which a Fund invests, or the issuers of such instruments, in ways that could also have a significant negative impact on a Fund’s investment performance. The duration and extent of COVID-19 and associated economic and market conditions and uncertainty over the long-term cannot be reasonably estimated at this time. The ultimate impact of COVID-19 and the extent to which the associated conditions impact a Fund will also depend on future developments, which are highly uncertain, difficult to accurately predict and subject to frequent changes.
Mortgage-Related Securities
Mortgages (Directly Held). Mortgages are debt instruments secured by real property. Unlike mortgage-backed securities, which generally represent an interest in a pool of mortgages, direct investments in mortgages involve prepayment and credit risks of an individual issuer and real property. Consequently, these investments require different investment and credit analysis by a Fund’s Adviser.
Directly placed mortgages may include residential mortgages, multifamily mortgages, mortgages on cooperative apartment buildings, commercial mortgages, and sale-leasebacks. These investments are backed by assets such as office buildings, shopping centers, retail stores, warehouses, apartment buildings
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and single-family dwellings. In the event that a Fund forecloses on any non-performing mortgage, and acquires a direct interest in the real property, such Fund will be subject to the risks generally associated with the ownership of real property. There may be fluctuations in the market value of the foreclosed property and its occupancy rates, rent schedules and operating expenses. There may also be adverse changes in local, regional or general economic conditions, deterioration of the real estate market and the financial circumstances of tenants and sellers, unfavorable changes in zoning, building, environmental and other laws, increased real property taxes, rising interest rates, reduced availability and increased cost of mortgage borrowings, the need for unanticipated renovations, unexpected increases in the cost of energy, environmental factors, acts of God and other factors which are beyond the control of a Fund or the Adviser. Hazardous or toxic substances may be present on, at or under the mortgaged property and adversely affect the value of the property. In addition, the owners of property containing such substances may be held responsible, under various laws, for containing, monitoring, removing or cleaning up such substances. The presence of such substances may also provide a basis for other claims by third parties. Costs of clean up or of liabilities to third parties may exceed the value of the property. In addition, these risks may be uninsurable. In light of these and similar risks, it may be impossible to dispose profitably of properties in foreclosure.
Mortgage-Backed Securities. A Fund may invest in mortgage-backed securities (“MBS”), which are securities that represent pools of mortgage loans assembled and/or securitized for sale to investors. MBS include mortgage pass-through securities and collateralized mortgage obligations (“CMOs”). MBS may be arranged by various governmental agencies, such as the Government National Mortgage Association (“Ginnie Mae”); government sponsored enterprises (“GSEs”), such as the Federal National Mortgage Association (“Fannie Mae”) and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (“Freddie Mac”); and private issuers, such as commercial banks, savings and loan institutions, mortgage bankers, and private mortgage insurance companies.
A mortgage pass-through security is a pro rata interest in a pool of mortgages where the cash flow generated from the mortgage collateral is passed through to the security holder after paying servicing and guarantee fees.
CMOs are debt securities that are fully collateralized by a portfolio of mortgages or MBS, or re-securitized or reorganized MBS. Unlike mortgage pass-through securities, CMOs may be organized in a variety of different ways to create customized cash flows in different tranches and may offer certain protections against prepayment risk, such as creating more definite maturities. CMOs may pay fixed or variable rates of interest, and certain CMOs have priority over others with respect to the receipt of prepayments. CMOs may be structured as Real Estate Mortgage Investment Conduits (“REMICs”) which are federally tax-exempt entities that may be organized as trusts, partnerships, corporations or other types of associations.
CMOs are also subject to cash flow uncertainty and price volatility. Stripped mortgage securities (a type of potentially high-risk CMO) are created by separating the interest and principal payments generated by a pool of MBS or a CMO to create additional classes of securities. CMOs are subject to principal prepayments on the underlying mortgages and, thus, may be retired earlier than scheduled.
MBS are subject to scheduled and unscheduled principal payments as homeowners pay down or prepay their mortgages. As these payments are received, they must be reinvested when interest rates may be higher or lower than on the original mortgage security. Therefore, these securities may not be an effective means of locking in long-term interest rates. In addition, when interest rates fall, the pace of mortgage prepayments increase, sometimes rapidly. These refinanced mortgages are paid off at face value (par), causing a loss for any investor who may have purchased the MBS at a price above par. In such an environment, this risk limits the potential price appreciation of these securities and can negatively affect a Fund’s NAV. When rates rise, the prices of mortgage-backed securities can be expected to decline, although historically these securities have experienced smaller price declines than comparable quality bonds. In addition, when rates rise and prepayments slow, the effective duration of MBS extends, resulting in increased volatility. A decline or flattening of housing values may cause delinquencies in the mortgages (especially sub-prime or non-prime mortgages) underlying MBS and thereby adversely affect the ability of the MBS issuer to make principal payments to MBS holders.
MBS issued by the U.S. government and its agencies and instrumentalities may be backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government or may be guaranteed as to principal and interest payments. There are a number of important differences among the agencies, GSEs and instrumentalities of the U.S. government that issue MBS and among the securities that they issue.
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Ginnie Mae Securities. MBS issued by Ginnie Mae include Ginnie Mae Mortgage Pass-Through Certificates and CMOs which are guaranteed as to the timely payment of principal and interest by Ginnie Mae. Ginnie Mae’s guarantee is backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government. Ginnie Mae is a wholly-owned U.S. government corporation within the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Ginnie Mae certificates also are supported by the authority of Ginnie Mae to borrow funds from the U.S. Treasury to make payments under its guarantee.
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Securities. MBS issued by Fannie Mae include Fannie Mae Guaranteed Mortgage Pass-Through Certificates which are solely the obligations of Fannie Mae and are not backed by or entitled to the full faith and credit of the U.S. government. Fannie Mae is a government-sponsored enterprise, which is chartered by Congress but owned by private shareholders. Fannie Mae Certificates are guaranteed as to timely payment of the principal and interest by Fannie Mae. MBS issued by Freddie Mac include Freddie Mac Mortgage Participation Certificates and CMOs. Like Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac is a government-sponsored enterprise, which is chartered by Congress but owned by private shareholders. Freddie Mac Certificates are not guaranteed by the U.S. government and do not constitute a debt or obligation of the U.S. government. Freddie Mac Certificates entitle the holder to timely payment of interest, which is guaranteed by Freddie Mac. Freddie Mac guarantees either ultimate collection or timely payment of all principal payments on the underlying mortgage loans. When Freddie Mac does not guarantee timely payment of principal, Freddie Mac may remit the amount due on account of its guarantee of ultimate payment of principal at any time after default on an underlying mortgage, but in no event later than one year after it becomes payable.
On June 3, 2019, under the FHFA’s “Single Security Initiative,” Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac began issuing uniform mortgage-backed securities (“UMBS”). UMBS are eligible for delivery into the TBA market. Each UMBS has a 55-day remittance cycle and can be used as collateral in either a Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac security or held for investment. Freddie Mac’s legacy TBA-eligible securities have a 45-day remittance cycle and will not be directly eligible for delivery in settlement of a UMBS trade. Freddie Mac will offer investors the opportunity to exchange outstanding legacy mortgage-backed securities for mirror UMBS with a 55-day remittance period. The exchange offer includes compensation for the 10-day delay in receipt of payments. A Fund’s ability to invest in UMBS to the same degree that the Fund currently invests in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac mortgage-backed securities is uncertain.
While Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have taken steps for a smooth transition to the issuance of UMBS, the effects of the issuance of UMBS on the MBS and TBA markets are uncertain and there may be factors that affect the timing of the transition to UMBS or the ability of market participants, including a Fund, to adapt to the issuance of UMBS. A Fund may need to consider the tax and accounting issues raised by investments in UMBS and/or the exchange of legacy Freddie Mac securities for UMBS. Additionally, there could be divergence in prepayment rates of UMBS issued by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which could lead to differences in the prices of Fannie Mae- and Freddie Mac-issued UMBS if Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac fail to align programs, policies and practices that affect prepayments. The initial effects of the issuance of UMBS on the market for mortgage-related securities have been relatively minimal, however the long-term effects are still uncertain.
For more information on recent events impacting Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac securities, see “Recent Events Regarding Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Securities” under the heading “Risk Factors of Mortgage-Related Securities” below.
CMOs and guaranteed REMIC pass-through certificates (“REMIC Certificates”) issued by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Ginnie Mae and private issuers are types of multiple class pass-through securities. Investors may purchase beneficial interests in REMICs, which are known as “regular” interests or “residual” interests. The Funds do not currently intend to purchase residual interests in REMICs. The REMIC Certificates represent beneficial ownership interests in a REMIC Trust, generally consisting of mortgage loans or Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac or Ginnie Mae guaranteed mortgage pass-through certificates (the “Mortgage Assets”). The obligations of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac or Ginnie Mae under their respective guaranty of the REMIC Certificates are obligations solely of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac or Ginnie Mae, respectively.
Fannie Mae REMIC Certificates. Fannie Mae REMIC Certificates are issued and guaranteed as to timely distribution of principal and interest by Fannie Mae. In addition, Fannie Mae will be obligated to distribute the principal balance of each class of REMIC Certificates in full, whether or not sufficient funds are otherwise available.
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Freddie Mac REMIC Certificates. Freddie Mac guarantees the timely payment of interest, and also guarantees the payment of principal as payments are required to be made on the underlying mortgage participation certificates (“PCs”). PCs represent undivided interests in specified residential mortgages or participation therein purchased by Freddie Mac and placed in a PC pool. With respect to principal payments on PCs, Freddie Mac generally guarantees ultimate collection of all principal of the related mortgage loans without offset or deduction. Freddie Mac also guarantees timely payment of principal on certain PCs referred to as “Gold PCs.”
Ginnie Mae REMIC Certificates. Ginnie Mae guarantees the full and timely payment of interest and principal on each class of securities (in accordance with the terms of those classes as specified in the related offering circular supplement). The Ginnie Mae guarantee is backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S.
REMIC Certificates issued by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and Ginnie Mae are treated as U.S. Government securities for purposes of investment policies.
CMOs and REMIC Certificates provide for the redistribution of cash flow to multiple classes. Each class of CMOs or REMIC Certificates, often referred to as a “tranche,” is issued at a specific adjustable or fixed interest rate and must be fully retired no later than its final distribution date. This reallocation of interest and principal results in the redistribution of prepayment risk across different classes. This allows for the creation of bonds with more or less risk than the underlying collateral exhibits. Principal prepayments on the mortgage loans or the Mortgage Assets underlying the CMOs or REMIC Certificates may cause some or all of the classes of CMOs or REMIC Certificates to be retired substantially earlier than their final distribution dates. Generally, interest is paid or accrues on all classes of CMOs or REMIC Certificates on a monthly basis.
The principal of and interest on the Mortgage Assets may be allocated among the several classes of CMOs or REMIC Certificates in various ways. In certain structures (known as “sequential pay” CMOs or REMIC Certificates), payments of principal, including any principal prepayments, on the Mortgage Assets generally are applied to the classes of CMOs or REMIC Certificates in the order of their respective final distribution dates. Thus, no payment of principal will be made on any class of sequential pay CMOs or REMIC Certificates until all other classes having an earlier final distribution date have been paid in full.
Additional structures of CMOs and REMIC Certificates include, among others, principal only structures, interest only structures, inverse floaters and “parallel pay” CMOs and REMIC Certificates. Certain of these structures may be more volatile than other types of CMO and REMIC structures. Parallel pay CMOs or REMIC Certificates are those which are structured to apply principal payments and prepayments of the Mortgage Assets to two or more classes concurrently on a proportionate or disproportionate basis. These simultaneous payments are taken into account in calculating the final distribution date of each class.
A wide variety of REMIC Certificates may be issued in the parallel pay or sequential pay structures. These securities include accrual certificates (also known as “Z-Bonds”), which only accrue interest at a specified rate until all other certificates having an earlier final distribution date have been retired and are converted thereafter to an interest-paying security, and planned amortization class (“PAC”) certificates, which are parallel pay REMIC Certificates which generally require that specified amounts of principal be applied on each payment date to one or more classes of REMIC Certificates (the “PAC Certificates”), even though all other principal payments and prepayments of the Mortgage Assets are then required to be applied to one or more other classes of the certificates. The scheduled principal payments for the PAC Certificates generally have the highest priority on each payment date after interest due has been paid to all classes entitled to receive interest currently. Shortfalls, if any, are added to the amount of principal payable on the next payment date. The PAC Certificate payment schedule is taken into account in calculating the final distribution date of each class of PAC. In order to create PAC tranches, one or more tranches generally must be created that absorb most of the volatility in the underlying Mortgage Assets. These tranches tend to have market prices and yields that are much more volatile than the PAC classes. The Z-Bonds in which the Funds may invest may bear the same non-credit-related risks as do other types of Z-Bonds. Z-Bonds in which the Fund may invest will not include residual interest.
Total Annual Fund Operating Expenses set forth in the fee table and Financial Highlights section of each Fund’s Prospectuses do not include any expenses associated with investments in certain structured or synthetic products that may rely on the exception for the definition of “investment company” provided by section 3(c)(1) or 3(c)(7) of the 1940 Act.
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GSE Credit Risk Transfer Securities and GSE Credit-Linked Notes. GSE Credit risk transfer securities are notes issued directly by a GSE, such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and GSE credit-linked notes are notes issued by a SPV sponsored by a GSE. Investors in these notes provide credit protection for the applicable GSE’s mortgage-related securities guarantee obligations. In this regard, a noteholder receives compensation for providing credit protection to the GSE and, when a specified level of losses on the relevant mortgage loans occurs, the principal balance and certain payments owed to the noteholder may be reduced. In addition, noteholders may receive a return of principal prior to the stated maturity date reflecting prepayment on the underlying mortgage loans and in any other circumstances that may be set forth in the applicable loan agreement. The notes may be issued in different tranches representing the issuance of different levels of credit risk protection to the GSE on the underlying mortgage loans and the notes are not secured by the reference mortgage loans. There are important differences between the structure of GSE credit risk transfer securities and GSE credit-linked notes.
GSE Credit Risk Transfer Securities Structure. In this structure, the GSE receives the note sale proceeds. The GSE pays noteholders monthly interest payments and a return of principal on the stated maturity date based on the initial investment amount, as reduced by any covered losses on the reference mortgage loans.
GSE Credit-Linked Notes Structure. In this structure, the SPV receives the note sale proceeds and the SPV’s obligations to the noteholder are collateralized by the note sale proceeds. The SPV invests the proceeds in cash or other short-term assets. The SPV also enters into a credit protection agreement with the GSE pursuant to which the GSE pays the SPV monthly premium payments and the SPV compensates the GSE for covered losses on the reference mortgage loans. The SPV pays noteholders monthly interest payments based on the premium payments paid by the GSE and the performance on the invested note sale proceeds. The noteholders also receive a return of principal on a stated maturity date based on the initial investment amount, as reduced by any covered losses on the reference mortgage loans paid by the SPV or the GSE.
Mortgage TBAs. A Fund may invest in mortgage pass-through securities eligible to be sold in the “to-be-announced” or TBA market (“Mortgage TBAs”). Mortgage TBAs provide for the forward or delayed delivery of the underlying instrument with settlement up to 180 days. The term TBA comes from the fact that the actual mortgage-backed security that will be delivered to fulfill a TBA trade is not designated at the time the trade is made, but rather is generally announced 48 hours before the settlement date. Mortgage TBAs are subject to the risks described in the “When-Issued Securities, Delayed Delivery Securities and Forward Commitments” section. Additionally, amendments to applicable rolls include certain mandatory margin requirements for the TBA market, which may require the Funds to pay collateral in connection with their TBA transactions. The required margin could increase the cost of the Funds and add additional complexity for Funds engaging in these transactions.
Mortgage Dollar Rolls. In a mortgage dollar roll transaction, one party sells mortgage-backed securities, principally Mortgage TBAs, for delivery in the current month and simultaneously contracts with the same counterparty to repurchase similar (same type, coupon and maturity) but not identical securities on a specified future date. When a Fund enters into TBAs/mortgage dollar rolls, under current SEC and staff requirements the Fund will segregate or earmark until the settlement date liquid assets, in an amount equal to the agreed-upon purchase price of each long and short position. Economically offsetting TBA positions with the same agency, coupon, and maturity date, are generally permitted to be netted if the short position settles on the same date or before the long position. During the period between the sale and repurchase in a mortgage dollar roll transaction, the Fund will not be entitled to receive interest and principal payments on securities sold. Losses may arise due to changes in the value of the securities or if the counterparty does not perform under the terms of the agreement. If the counterparty files for bankruptcy or becomes insolvent, the Fund’s right to repurchase or sell securities may be limited. Mortgage dollar rolls may be subject to leverage risks. In addition, mortgage dollar rolls may increase interest rate risk and result in an increased portfolio turnover rate which increases costs and may increase taxable gains. The benefits of mortgage dollar rolls may depend upon a Fund’s Adviser’s ability to predict mortgage prepayments and interest rates. There is no assurance that mortgage dollar rolls can be successfully employed. For purposes of diversification and investment limitations, mortgage dollar rolls are considered to be mortgage-backed securities.
Stripped Mortgage-Backed Securities. Stripped Mortgage-Backed Securities (“SMBS”) are derivative multi-class mortgage securities issued outside the REMIC or CMO structure. SMBS may be issued by agencies or instrumentalities of the U.S. Government, or by private originators of, or investors in, mortgage loans, including savings and loan associations, mortgage banks, commercial banks, investment banks and special purpose entities. SMBS are usually structured with two classes that receive different
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proportions of the interest and principal distributions from a pool of mortgage assets. A common type of SMBS will have one class receiving all of the interest from the mortgage assets (“IOs”), while the other class will receive all of the principal (“POs”). Mortgage IOs receive monthly interest payments based upon a notional amount that declines over time as a result of the normal monthly amortization and unscheduled prepayments of principal on the associated mortgage POs.
In addition to the risks applicable to Mortgage-Related Securities in general, SMBS are subject to the following additional risks:
Prepayment/Interest Rate Sensitivity. SMBS are extremely sensitive to changes in prepayments and interest rates. Even though these securities have been guaranteed by an agency or instrumentality of the U.S. government, under certain interest rate or prepayment rate scenarios, the Funds may lose money on investments in SMBS.
Interest Only SMBS. Changes in prepayment rates can cause the return on investment in IOs to be highly volatile. Under extremely high prepayment conditions, IOs can incur significant losses.
Principal Only SMBS. POs are bought at a discount to the ultimate principal repayment value. The rate of return on a PO will vary with prepayments, rising as prepayments increase and falling as prepayments decrease. Generally, the market value of these securities is unusually volatile in response to changes in interest rates.
Yield Characteristics. Although SMBS may yield more than other mortgage-backed securities, their cash flow patterns are more volatile and there is a greater risk that any premium paid will not be fully recouped. A Fund’s Adviser will seek to manage these risks (and potential benefits) by investing in a variety of such securities and by using certain analytical and hedging techniques.
Privately Issued Mortgage-Related Securities. Non-government issuers, including commercial banks, savings and loan institutions, private mortgage insurance companies, mortgage bankers and other secondary market issuers, also create pass-through pools of conventional residential mortgage loans. Such issuers may be the originators and/or servicers of the underlying mortgage loans as well as the guarantors of the mortgage-related securities. Mortgage pools created by non-governmental issuers generally offer a higher rate of interest than government and government-related pools because there are no direct or indirect government or agency guarantees of payments in the former pools. However, timely payment of interest and principal of these pools may be supported by various forms of insurance of guarantees, including individual loan, title, pool and hazard insurance and letters of credit, which may be issued by governmental entities or private insurers. Such insurance and guarantees and the creditworthiness of the issuers thereof may be considered in determining whether a mortgage-related security meets a Fund’s investment quality standards. There can be no assurance that insurers or guarantors can meet their obligations under the insurance policies or guarantee arrangements.
Privately issued mortgage-related securities may not be subject to the same underwriting requirements for the underlying mortgages that are applicable to those mortgage-related securities that have a government or government-sponsored entity guarantee. As a result, the mortgage loans underlying privately issued mortgage-related securities may have less favorable collateral, credit risk or other underwriting characteristics than government or government-sponsored mortgage-related securities and have wider variances in a number of terms including interest rate, term, size, purpose and borrower characteristics. Mortgage pools underlying privately issued mortgage-related securities may include second mortgages, high loan-to-value ratio mortgages where a government or government-sponsored entity guarantee is not available. The coupon rates and maturities of the underlying mortgage loans in a privately-issued mortgage-related securities pool may vary to a greater extent than those included in a government guaranteed pool, and the pool may include subprime mortgage loans. Subprime loans are loans made to borrowers with low credit ratings or other factors that increase the risk of default. For these reasons, the loans underlying these securities historically have had higher default rates than those loans that meet government underwriting requirements.
The risk of non-payment is greater for mortgage-related securities that are backed by loans that were originated under weak underwriting standards, including loans made to borrowers with limited means to make repayment. A level of risk exists for all loans, although, historically, the poorest performing loans have been those classified as subprime. Other types of privately issued mortgage-related securities, such as those classified as pay-option adjustable rate or Alt-A, at times, have also performed poorly. Even loans classified as prime may experience higher levels of delinquencies and defaults. A decline in real property
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values across the U.S. may exacerbate the level of losses that investors in privately issued mortgage-related securities have experienced. Market factors that may adversely affect mortgage loan repayment include adverse economic conditions, unemployment, a decline in the value of real property, or an increase in interest rates.
Privately issued mortgage-related securities are not traded on an exchange and there may be a limited market for these securities, especially when there is a perceived weakness in the mortgage and real estate market sectors. Without an active trading market, mortgage-related securities held in a Fund’s portfolio may be particularly difficult to value because of the complexities involved in assessing the value of the underlying mortgage loans.
The Funds may purchase privately issued mortgage-related securities that are originated, packaged and serviced by third party entities. Such third parties may have obligations to investors of mortgage-related securities under trust or other documents. For example, loan servicers may be liable to the holder of the mortgage-related securities for negligence or willful misconduct in carrying out their servicing duties. Similarly, loan originators/servicers may make certain representations and warranties regarding the quality of the mortgages and properties underlying a mortgage-related security, which if untrue, may trigger an obligation of the originator/service or its affiliates, as applicable, to repurchase the mortgages from the issuing trust. Although trust and other documents may include protective provisions, investors in certain mortgage-related securities have had limited success in enforcing terms or such agreements against such third parties. In addition, such third parties may have had interests that are in conflict with those holders of the mortgage-related.
For example, to the extent third party entities are involved in litigation relating to the securities, actions may be taken by such third parties that are adverse to the interest of the holders of the mortgage-related securities, including the Funds, such as withholding proceeds due to holders of the mortgage-related securities, to cover legal or related costs. Any such action could result in losses to the Funds.
In addition, certain mortgage-related securities, which may include loans that originally qualified under standards established by government-sponsored entities (for example, certain REMICs that include Fannie Mae mortgages), are not considered as government securities for purposes of a Fund’s investment strategies or policies and may be subject to the same risks as privately-issued mortgage-related securities. There is no government or government-sponsored guarantee for such privately issued investments.
Adjustable Rate Mortgage Loans. Certain Funds may invest in adjustable rate mortgage loans (“ARMs”). ARMs eligible for inclusion in a mortgage pool will generally provide for a fixed initial mortgage interest rate for a specified period of time. Thereafter, the interest rates (the “Mortgage Interest Rates”) may be subject to periodic adjustment based on changes in the applicable index rate (the “Index Rate”). The adjusted rate would be equal to the Index Rate plus a gross margin, which is a fixed percentage spread over the Index Rate established for each ARM at the time of its origination.
Adjustable interest rates can cause payment increases that some borrowers may find difficult to make. However, certain ARMs may provide that the Mortgage Interest Rate may not be adjusted to a rate above an applicable lifetime maximum rate or below an applicable lifetime minimum rate for such ARM. Certain ARMs may also be subject to limitations on the maximum amount by which the Mortgage Interest Rate may adjust for any single adjustment period (the “Maximum Adjustment”). Other ARMs (“Negatively Amortizing ARMs”) may provide instead or as well for limitations on changes in the monthly payment on such ARMs. Limitations on monthly payments can result in monthly payments which are greater or less than the amount necessary to amortize a Negatively Amortizing ARM by its maturity at the Mortgage Interest Rate in effect in any particular month. In the event that a monthly payment is not sufficient to pay the interest accruing on a Negatively Amortizing ARM, any such excess interest is added to the principal balance of the loan, causing negative amortization and will be repaid through future monthly payments. It may take borrowers under Negatively Amortizing ARMs longer periods of time to achieve equity and may increase the likelihood of default by such borrowers. In the event that a monthly payment exceeds the sum of the interest accrued at the applicable Mortgage Interest Rate and the principal payment which would have been necessary to amortize the outstanding principal balance over the remaining term of the loan, the excess (or “accelerated amortization”) further reduces the principal balance of the ARM. Negatively Amortizing ARMs do not provide for the extension of their original maturity to accommodate changes in their Mortgage Interest Rate. As a result, unless there is a periodic recalculation of the payment amount (which there generally is), the final payment may be substantially larger than the other payments. These limitations on periodic increases in interest rates and on changes in monthly payments protect borrowers from unlimited interest rate and payment increases.
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Certain ARMs may provide for periodic adjustments of scheduled payments in order to amortize fully the mortgage loan by its stated maturity. Other ARMs may permit their stated maturity to be extended or shortened in accordance with the portion of each payment that is applied to interest as affected by the periodic interest rate adjustments.
There are two main categories of indices which provide the basis for rate adjustments on ARMs: those based on U.S. Treasury securities and those derived from a calculated measure such as a cost of funds index or a moving average of mortgage rates. Commonly utilized indices include the one-year, three-year and five-year constant maturity Treasury bill rates, the three-month Treasury bill rate, the 180-day Treasury bill rate, rates on longer-term Treasury securities, the 11th District Federal Home Loan Bank Cost of Funds, the National Median Cost of Funds, the one-month, three-month, six-month or one-year LIBOR, the prime rate of a specific bank, or commercial paper rates. Some indices, such as the one-year constant maturity Treasury rate, closely mirror changes in market interest rate levels. Others, such as the 11th District Federal Home Loan Bank Cost of Funds index, tend to lag behind changes in market rate levels and tend to be somewhat less volatile. The degree of volatility in the market value of the Fund’s portfolio and therefore in the net asset value of the Fund’s shares will be a function of the length of the interest rate reset periods and the degree of volatility in the applicable indices.
In general, changes in both prepayment rates and interest rates will change the yield on Mortgage-Backed Securities. The rate of principal prepayments with respect to ARMs has fluctuated in recent years. As is the case with fixed mortgage loans, ARMs may be subject to a greater rate of principal prepayments in a declining interest rate environment. For example, if prevailing interest rates fall significantly, ARMs could be subject to higher prepayment rates than if prevailing interest rates remain constant because the availability of fixed rate mortgage loans at competitive interest rates may encourage mortgagors to refinance their ARMs to “lock-in” a lower fixed interest rate. Conversely, if prevailing interest rates rise significantly, ARMs may prepay at lower rates than if prevailing rates remain at or below those in effect at the time such ARMs were originated. As with fixed rate mortgages, there can be no certainty as to the rate of prepayments on the ARMs in either stable or changing interest rate environments. In addition, there can be no certainty as to whether increases in the principal balances of the ARMs due to the addition of deferred interest may result in a default rate higher than that on ARMs that do not provide for negative amortization.
Other factors affecting prepayment of ARMs include changes in mortgagors’ housing needs, job transfers, unemployment, mortgagors’ net equity in the mortgage properties and servicing decisions.
Risk Factors of Mortgage-Related Securities. The following is a summary of certain risks associated with Mortgage-Related Securities:
Guarantor Risk. There can be no assurance that the U.S. government would provide financial support to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac if necessary in the future. Although certain mortgage-related securities are guaranteed by a third party or otherwise similarly secured, the market value of the security, which may fluctuate, is not so secured.
Interest Rate Sensitivity. If a Fund purchases a mortgage-related security at a premium, that portion may be lost if there is a decline in the market value of the security whether resulting from changes in interest rates or prepayments in the underlying mortgage collateral. As with other interest-bearing securities, the prices of such securities are inversely affected by changes in interest rates. Although the value of a mortgage-related security may decline when interest rates rise, the converse is not necessarily true since in periods of declining interest rates the mortgages underlying the securities are prone to prepayment. For this and other reasons, a mortgage-related security’s stated maturity may be shortened by unscheduled prepayments on the underlying mortgages and, therefore, it is not possible to predict accurately the security’s return to the Fund. In addition, regular payments received in respect of mortgage-related securities include both interest and principal. No assurance can be given as to the return the Fund will receive when these amounts are reinvested.
Liquidity. The liquidity of certain mortgage-backed securities varies by type of security; at certain times the Fund may encounter difficulty in disposing of such investments. In the past, in stressed markets, certain types of mortgage-backed securities suffered periods of illiquidity when disfavored by the market. It is possible that the Fund may be unable to sell a mortgage-backed security at a desirable time or at the value the Fund has placed on the investment.
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Market Value. The market value of the Fund’s adjustable rate Mortgage-Backed Securities may be adversely affected if interest rates increase faster than the rates of interest payable on such securities or by the adjustable rate mortgage loans underlying such securities. Furthermore, adjustable rate Mortgage-Backed Securities or the mortgage loans underlying such securities may contain provisions limiting the amount by which rates may be adjusted upward and downward and may limit the amount by which monthly payments may be increased or decreased to accommodate upward and downward adjustments in interest rates. When the market value of the properties underlying the Mortgage-Backed Securities suffer broad declines on a regional or national level, the values of the corresponding Mortgage-Backed Securities or Mortgage-Backed Securities as a whole, may be adversely affected as well.
Prepayments. Adjustable rate Mortgage-Backed Securities have less potential for capital appreciation than fixed rate Mortgage-Backed Securities because their coupon rates will decline in response to market interest rate declines. The market value of fixed rate Mortgage-Backed Securities may be adversely affected as a result of increases in interest rates and, because of the risk of unscheduled principal prepayments, may benefit less than other fixed rate securities of similar maturity from declining interest rates. Finally, to the extent Mortgage-Backed Securities are purchased at a premium, mortgage foreclosures and unscheduled principal prepayments may result in some loss of the Fund’s principal investment to the extent of the premium paid. On the other hand, if such securities are purchased at a discount, both a scheduled payment of principal and an unscheduled prepayment of principal will increase current and total returns and will accelerate the recognition of income.
Yield Characteristics. The yield characteristics of Mortgage-Backed Securities differ from those of traditional fixed income securities. The major differences typically include more frequent interest and principal payments, usually monthly, and the possibility that prepayments of principal may be made at any time. Prepayment rates are influenced by changes in current interest rates and a variety of economic, geographic, social and other factors and cannot be predicted with certainty. As with fixed rate mortgage loans, adjustable rate mortgage loans may be subject to a greater prepayment rate in a declining interest rate environment. The yields to maturity of the Mortgage-Backed Securities in which the Funds invest will be affected by the actual rate of payment (including prepayments) of principal of the underlying mortgage loans. The mortgage loans underlying such securities generally may be prepaid at any time without penalty. In a fluctuating interest rate environment, a predominant factor affecting the prepayment rate on a pool of mortgage loans is the difference between the interest rates on the mortgage loans and prevailing mortgage loan interest rates taking into account the cost of any refinancing. In general, if mortgage loan interest rates fall sufficiently below the interest rates on fixed rate mortgage loans underlying mortgage pass-through securities, the rate of prepayment would be expected to increase. Conversely, if mortgage loan interest rates rise above the interest rates on the fixed rate mortgage loans underlying the mortgage pass-through securities, the rate of prepayment may be expected to decrease.
Recent Events Regarding Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Securities. On September 6, 2008, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (“FHFA”) placed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac into conservatorship. As the conservator, FHFA succeeded to all rights, titles, powers and privileges of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and of any stockholder, officer or director of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac with respect to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and the assets of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. In connection with the conservatorship, the U.S. Treasury entered into a Senior Preferred Stock Purchase Agreement (“SPA”) with each of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac pursuant to which the U.S. Treasury agreed to purchase 1,000,000 shares of senior preferred stock with an initial liquidation preference of $1 billion and obtained warrants and options to for the purchase of common stock of each of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Under the SPAs as currently amended, the U.S. Treasury has pledged to provide financial support to a GSE in any quarter in which the GSE has a net worth deficit as defined in the respective SPA. The SPAs contain various covenants that severely limit each enterprise’s operations.
The conditions attached to entering into the SPAs place significant restrictions on the activities of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae must obtain the consent of the U.S. Treasury to, among other things, (i) make any payment to purchase or redeem its capital stock or pay any dividend other than in respect of the senior preferred stock, (ii) issue capital stock of any kind, (iii) terminate the conservatorship of the FHFA except in connection with a receivership, or (iv) increase its debt beyond certain specified levels. Under a letter agreement entered into in January 2021, each enterprise is permitted to retain earnings and raise private capital to enable them to meet the minimum capital requirements under the FHFA’s Enterprise Regulatory Capital Framework. The letter agreement also permits each enterprise to develop a plan to exit conservatorship, but may not do so until litigation involving the conservatorships is resolved and each enterprise has the minimum capital required by FHFA’s rules. In addition, significant restrictions are placed on the maximum size of each of Freddie Mac’s
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and Fannie Mae’s respective portfolios of mortgages and MBS, and the purchase agreements entered into by Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae provide that the maximum size of their portfolios of these assets must decrease by a specified percentage each year. The future status and role of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae could be impacted by (among other things) the actions taken and restrictions placed on Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae by the FHFA in its role as conservator, the restrictions placed on Freddie Mac’s and Fannie Mae’s operations and activities as a result of the senior preferred stock investment made by the U.S. Treasury, market responses to developments at Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, and future legislative and regulatory action that alters the operations, ownership, structure and/or mission of these institutions, each of which may, in turn, impact the value of, and cash flows on, any MBS guaranteed by Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, including any such MBS held by a Fund.
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are continuing to operate as going concerns while in conservatorship and each remains liable for all of its obligations, including its guaranty obligations, associated with its mortgage-backed securities. The SPAs are intended to enhance each of Fannie Mae’s and Freddie Mac’s ability to meet its obligations. The FHFA has indicated that the conservatorship of each enterprise will end when the director of FHFA determines that FHFA’s plan to restore the enterprise to a safe and solvent condition has been completed. The FHFA recently announced plans to consider taking Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac out of conservatorship and has begun a multi-step process, including its first pricing review of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac products since 2015, to unwind the GSEs from government control. Should Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac be taken out of conservatorship, it is unclear whether the U.S. Treasury would continue to enforce its rights or perform its obligations under the Senior Preferred Stock Purchase Agreement. It is also unclear how the capital structure of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac would be constructed post-conservatorship, and what effects, if any, the privatization of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will have on their creditworthiness and guarantees of certain mortgage-backed securities. Accordingly, should the FHFA take Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac out of conservatorship, there could be an adverse impact on the value of their securities, which could cause a Fund’s investments to lose value.
Risks Related to GSE Credit Risk Transfer Securities and GSE Credit-Linked Notes. GSE Credit risk transfer securities are general obligations issued by a GSE and are unguaranteed and unsecured. GSE Credit-linked notes are similar, except that the notes are issued by an SPV, rather than by a GSE, and the obligations of the SPV are collateralized by the note proceeds as invested by the SPV, which are invested in cash or short-term securities. Although both GSE credit risk transfer securities and GSE credit-linked notes are unguaranteed, obligations of an SPV are also not backstopped by the Department of Treasury or an obligation of a GSE.
The risks associated with these investments are different than the risks associated with an investment in mortgage-backed securities issued by GSEs or a private issuer. For example, in the event of a default on the obligations to noteholders, noteholders such as the Funds have no recourse to the underlying mortgage loans. In addition, some or all of the mortgage default risk associated with the underlying mortgage loans is transferred to noteholders. As a result, there can be no assurance that losses will not occur on an investment in GSE credit risk transfer securities or GSE credit-linked notes and Funds investing in these instruments may be exposed to the risk of loss on their investment. In addition, these investments are subject to prepayment risk.
In the case of GSE credit-linked notes, if a GSE fails to make a premium or other required payment to the SPV, the SPV may be unable to pay a noteholder the entire amount of interest or principal payable to the noteholder. In the event of a default on the obligations to noteholders, the SPV’s principal and interest payment obligations to noteholders will be subordinated to the SPV’s credit protection payment obligations to the GSE. Payment of such amounts to noteholders depends on the cash available in the trust from the loan proceeds and the GSE’s premium payments.
Any income earned by the SPV on investments of loan proceeds is expected to be less than the interest payments amounts to be paid to noteholders of the GSE credit-linked notes and interest payments to noteholders will be reduced if the GSE fails to make premium payments to the SPV. An SPV’s investment of loan proceeds may also be concentrated in the securities of a few number of issuers. A noteholder bears any investment losses on the allocable portion of the loan proceeds.
An SPV that issues GSE credit-linked notes may fall within the definition of a “commodity pool” under the Commodity Exchange Act. Certain GSEs are not registered as commodity pool operators in reliance on CFTC no-action relief, subject to certain conditions similar to those under CFTC Rule 4.13(a)(3), which respect to the operation of the SPV. If the GSE or SPV fails to comply with such conditions, noteholders that are investment vehicles, such as the Funds, may need to register as a CPO, which could cause such a Fund to incur increased costs.
Part II - 47

Municipal Securities
Municipal Securities are issued to obtain funds for a wide variety of reasons. For example, municipal securities may be issued to obtain funding for the construction of a wide range of public facilities such as:
1.
bridges;
2.
highways;
3.
roads;
4.
schools;
5.
waterworks and sewer systems; and
6.
other utilities.
Other public purposes for which Municipal Securities may be issued include:
1.
refunding outstanding obligations;
2.
obtaining funds for general operating expenses; and
3.
obtaining funds to lend to other public institutions and facilities.
In addition, certain debt obligations known as “Private Activity Bonds” may be issued by or on behalf of municipalities and public authorities to obtain funds to provide:
1.
water, sewage and solid waste facilities;
2.
qualified residential rental projects;
3.
certain local electric, gas and other heating or cooling facilities;
4.
qualified hazardous waste facilities;
5.
high-speed intercity rail facilities;
6.
governmentally-owned airports, docks and wharves and mass transportation facilities;
7.
qualified mortgages;
8.
student loan and redevelopment bonds; and
9.
bonds used for certain organizations exempt from Federal income taxation.
Certain debt obligations known as “Industrial Development Bonds” under prior Federal tax law may have been issued by or on behalf of public authorities to obtain funds to provide:
1.
privately operated housing facilities;
2.
sports facilities;
3.
industrial parks;
4.
convention or trade show facilities;
5.
airport, mass transit, port or parking facilities;
6.
air or water pollution control facilities;
7.
sewage or solid waste disposal facilities; and
8.
facilities for water supply.
Other private activity bonds and industrial development bonds issued to fund the construction, improvement, equipment or repair of privately-operated industrial, distribution, research, or commercial facilities may also be Municipal Securities, however the size of such issues is limited under current and prior Federal tax law. The aggregate amount of most private activity bonds and industrial development bonds is limited (except in the case of certain types of facilities) under Federal tax law by an annual “volume cap.” The volume cap limits the annual aggregate principal amount of such obligations issued by or on behalf of all governmental instrumentalities in the state.
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The two principal classifications of Municipal Securities consist of “general obligation” and “limited” (or revenue) issues. General obligation bonds are obligations involving the credit of an issuer possessing taxing power and are payable from the issuer’s general unrestricted revenues and not from any particular fund or source. The characteristics and method of enforcement of general obligation bonds vary according to the law applicable to the particular issuer, and payment may be dependent upon appropriation by the issuer’s legislative body. Limited obligation bonds are payable only from the revenues derived from a particular facility or class of facilities or, in some cases, from the proceeds of a special excise or other specific revenue source. Private activity bonds and industrial development bonds generally are revenue bonds and thus not payable from the unrestricted revenues of the issuer. The credit and quality of such bonds is generally related to the credit of the bank selected to provide the letter of credit underlying the bond. Payment of principal of and interest on industrial development revenue bonds is the responsibility of the corporate user (and any guarantor).
The Funds may also acquire “moral obligation” issues, which are normally issued by special purpose authorities, and in other tax-exempt investments including pollution control bonds and tax-exempt commercial paper. Each Fund that may purchase municipal bonds may purchase:
1.
Short-term tax-exempt General Obligations Notes;
2.
Tax Anticipation Notes;
3.
Bond Anticipation Notes;
4.
Revenue Anticipation Notes;
5.
Project Notes; and
6.
Other forms of short-term tax-exempt loans.
Such notes are issued with a short-term maturity in anticipation of the receipt of tax funds, the proceeds of bond placements, or other revenues. Project Notes are issued by a state or local housing agency and are sold by the Department of Housing and Urban Development. While the issuing agency has the primary obligation with respect to its Project Notes, they are also secured by the full faith and credit of the U.S. through agreements with the issuing authority which provide that, if required, the Federal government will lend the issuer an amount equal to the principal of and interest on the Project Notes.
There are, of course, variations in the quality of Municipal Securities, both within a particular classification and between classifications. Also, the yields on Municipal Securities depend upon a variety of factors, including:
1.
general money market conditions;
2.
coupon rate;
3.
the financial condition of the issuer;
4.
general conditions of the municipal bond market;
5.
the size of a particular offering;
6.
the maturity of the obligations; and
7.
the rating of the issue.
The ratings of Moody’s and S&P represent their opinions as to the quality of Municipal Securities. However, ratings are general and are not absolute standards of quality. Municipal Securities with the same maturity, interest rate and rating may have different yields while Municipal Securities of the same maturity and interest rate with different ratings may have the same yield. Subsequent to its purchase by a Fund, an issue of Municipal Securities may cease to be rated or its rating may be reduced below the minimum rating required for purchase by the Fund. The Adviser will consider such an event in determining whether the Fund should continue to hold the obligations.
Municipal Securities may include obligations of municipal housing authorities and single-family mortgage revenue bonds. Weaknesses in Federal housing subsidy programs and their administration may result in a decrease of subsidies available for payment of principal and interest on housing authority bonds. Economic developments, including fluctuations in interest rates and increasing construction and operating costs, may also adversely impact revenues of housing authorities. In the case of some housing authorities, inability to obtain additional financing could also reduce revenues available to pay existing obligations.
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Single-family mortgage revenue bonds are subject to extraordinary mandatory redemption at par in whole or in part from the proceeds derived from prepayments of underlying mortgage loans and also from the unused proceeds of the issue within a stated period which may be within a year from the date of issue.
Municipal leases are obligations issued by state and local governments or authorities to finance the acquisition of equipment and facilities. They may take the form of a lease, an installment purchase contract, a conditional sales contract, or a participation interest in any of the above.
Premium Securities. During a period of declining interest rates, many Municipal Securities in which the Funds invest likely will bear coupon rates higher than current market rates, regardless of whether the securities were initially purchased at a premium.
Risk Factors in Municipal Securities. The following is a summary of certain risks associated with Municipal Securities
Tax Risk. The Code imposes certain continuing requirements on issuers of tax-exempt bonds regarding the use, expenditure and investment of bond proceeds and the payment of rebates to the U.S. Failure by the issuer to comply subsequent to the issuance of tax-exempt bonds with certain of these requirements could cause interest on the bonds to become includable in gross income retroactive to the date of issuance.
Housing Authority Tax Risk. The exclusion from gross income for Federal income tax purposes for certain housing authority bonds depends on qualification under relevant provisions of the Code and on other provisions of Federal law. These provisions of Federal law contain requirements relating to the cost and location of the residences financed with the proceeds of the single-family mortgage bonds and the income levels of tenants of the rental projects financed with the proceeds of the multi-family housing bonds. Typically, the issuers of the bonds, and other parties, including the originators and servicers of the single-family mortgages and the owners of the rental projects financed with the multi-family housing bonds, covenant to meet these requirements. However, there is no assurance that the requirements will be met. If such requirements are not met:
the interest on the bonds may become taxable, possibly retroactively from the date of issuance;
the value of the bonds may be reduced;
you and other Shareholders may be subject to unanticipated tax liabilities;
a Fund may be required to sell the bonds at the reduced value;
it may be an event of default under the applicable mortgage;
the holder may be permitted to accelerate payment of the bond; and
the issuer may be required to redeem the bond.
In addition, if the mortgage securing the bonds is insured by the Federal Housing Administration (“FHA”), the consent of the FHA may be required before insurance proceeds would become payable.
Information Risk. Information about the financial condition of issuers of Municipal Securities may be less available than that of corporations having a class of securities registered under the SEC.
State and Federal Laws. An issuer’s obligations under its Municipal Securities are subject to the provisions of bankruptcy, insolvency, and other laws affecting the rights and remedies of creditors. These laws may extend the time for payment of principal or interest, or restrict the Fund’s ability to collect payments due on Municipal Securities. In addition, recent amendments to some statutes governing security interests (e.g., Revised Article 9 of the Uniform Commercial Code (“UCC”)) change the way in which security interests and liens securing Municipal Securities are perfected. These amendments may have an adverse impact on existing Municipal Securities (particularly issues of Municipal Securities that do not have a corporate trustee who is responsible for filing UCC financing statements to continue the security interest or lien).
Litigation and Current Developments. Litigation or other conditions may materially and adversely affect the power or ability of an issuer to meet its obligations for the payment of interest on and principal of its Municipal Securities. Such litigation or conditions may from time to time have the effect of introducing uncertainties in the market for tax-exempt obligations, or may materially affect the credit risk with respect
Part II - 50

to particular bonds or notes. Adverse economic, business, legal or political developments might affect all or a substantial portion of a Fund’s Municipal Securities in the same manner. Given the recent bankruptcy-type proceedings by the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, risks associated with municipal obligations are heightened.
New Legislation. From time to time, proposals have been introduced before Congress for the purpose of restricting or eliminating the federal income tax exemption for interest on tax exempt bonds, and similar proposals may be introduced in the future. The Supreme Court has held that Congress has the constitutional authority to enact such legislation. It is not possible to determine what effect the adoption of such proposals could have on (i) the availability of Municipal Securities for investment by the Funds, and (ii) the value of the investment portfolios of the Funds.
Limitations on the Use of Municipal Securities. Certain Funds may invest in Municipal Securities if the Adviser determines that such Municipal Securities offer attractive yields. The Funds may invest in Municipal Securities either by purchasing them directly or by purchasing certificates of accrual or similar instruments evidencing direct ownership of interest payments or principal payments, or both, on Municipal Securities, provided that, in the opinion of counsel to the initial seller of each such certificate or instrument, any discount accruing on such certificate or instrument that is purchased at a yield not greater than the coupon rate of interest on the related Municipal Securities will to the same extent as interest on such Municipal Securities be exempt from federal income tax and state income tax (where applicable) and not be treated as a preference item for individuals for purposes of the federal alternative minimum tax. The Funds may also invest in Municipal Securities by purchasing from banks participation interests in all or part of specific holdings of Municipal Securities. Such participation interests may be backed in whole or in part by an irrevocable letter of credit or guarantee of the selling bank. The selling bank may receive a fee from a Fund in connection with the arrangement. Each Fund will limit its investment in municipal leases to no more than 5% of its total assets.
Options and Futures Transactions
A Fund may purchase and sell (a) exchange traded and OTC put and call options on securities, on indexes of securities and other types of instruments, and on futures contracts on securities and indexes of securities and other instruments such as interest rate futures and global interest rate futures and (b) futures contracts on securities and other types of instruments and on indexes of securities and other types of instruments. Each of these instruments is a derivative instrument as its value derives from the underlying asset or index.
Subject to its investment objective and policies, a Fund may use futures contracts and options for hedging and risk management purposes and to seek to enhance portfolio performance.
Options and futures contracts may be used to manage a Fund’s exposure to changing interest rates and/or security prices. Some options and futures strategies, including selling futures contracts and buying puts, tend to hedge a Fund’s investments against price fluctuations. Other strategies, including buying futures contracts and buying calls, tend to increase market exposure. Options and futures contracts may be combined with each other or with forward contracts in order to adjust the risk and return characteristics of a Fund’s overall strategy in a manner deemed appropriate by the Fund’s Adviser and consistent with the Fund’s objective and policies. Because combined options positions involve multiple trades, they result in higher transaction costs and may be more difficult to open and close out.
The use of options and futures is a highly specialized activity which involves investment strategies and risks different from those associated with ordinary portfolio securities transactions, and there can be no guarantee that their use will increase a Fund’s return. While the use of these instruments by a Fund may reduce certain risks associated with owning its portfolio securities, these techniques themselves entail certain other risks. If a Fund’s Adviser applies a strategy at an inappropriate time or judges market conditions or trends incorrectly, options and futures strategies may lower a Fund’s return. Certain strategies limit a Fund’s possibilities to realize gains, as well as its exposure to losses. A Fund could also experience losses if the prices of its options and futures positions were poorly correlated with its other investments, or if it could not close out its positions because of an illiquid secondary market. In addition, the Fund will incur transaction costs, including trading commissions and option premiums, in connection with its futures and options transactions, and these transactions could significantly increase the Fund’s turnover rate.
Certain Funds have filed a notice under the Commodity Exchange Act under Regulation 4.5 and are operated by a person that has claimed an exclusion from the definition of the term “commodity pool operator” under the Commodity Exchange Act and, therefore, is not subject to registration or regulation as a commodity pool operator under the Commodity Exchange Act. Certain other Funds may rely on no
Part II - 51

action relief issued by the CFTC. For Funds that cannot rely on an exclusion from the definition of commodity pool operator, or no action relief from the CFTC, the Adviser is subject to regulation as a commodity pool operator.
Purchasing Put and Call Options. By purchasing a put option, a Fund obtains the right (but not the obligation) to sell the instrument underlying the option at a fixed strike price. In return for this right, a Fund pays the current market price for the option (known as the option premium). Options have various types of underlying instruments, including specific securities, indexes of securities, indexes of securities prices, and futures contracts. A Fund may terminate its position in a put option it has purchased by allowing it to expire or by exercising the option. A Fund may also close out a put option position by entering into an offsetting transaction, if a liquid market exists. If the option is allowed to expire, a Fund will lose the entire premium it paid. If a Fund exercises a put option on a security, it will sell the instrument underlying the option at the strike price. If a Fund exercises an option on an index, settlement is in cash and does not involve the actual purchase or sale of securities. If an option is American style, it may be exercised on any day up to its expiration date. A European style option may be exercised only on its expiration date.
The buyer of a typical put option can expect to realize a gain if the value of the underlying instrument falls substantially. However, if the price of the instrument underlying the option does not fall enough to offset the cost of purchasing the option, a put buyer can expect to suffer a loss (limited to the amount of the premium paid, plus related transaction costs).
The features of call options are essentially the same as those of put options, except that the purchaser of a call option obtains the right to purchase, rather than sell, the instrument underlying the option at the option’s strike price. A call buyer typically attempts to participate in potential price increases of the instrument underlying the option with risk limited to the cost of the option if security prices fall. At the same time, the buyer can expect to suffer a loss if security prices do not rise sufficiently to offset the cost of the option.
Selling (Writing) Put and Call Options on Securities. When a Fund writes a put option on a security, it takes the opposite side of the transaction from the option’s purchaser. In return for the receipt of the premium, a Fund assumes the obligation to pay the strike price for the security underlying the option if the other party to the option chooses to exercise it. A Fund may seek to terminate its position in a put option it writes before exercise by purchasing an offsetting option in the market at its current price. If the market is not liquid for a put option a Fund has written, however, it must continue to be prepared to pay the strike price while the option is outstanding, regardless of price changes, and must continue to post margin as discussed below. If the market value of the underlying securities does not move to a level that would make exercise of the option profitable to its holder, the option will generally expire unexercised, and the Fund will realize as profit the premium it received.
If the price of the underlying securities rises, a put writer would generally expect to profit, although its gain would be limited to the amount of the premium it received. If security prices remain the same over time, it is likely that the writer will also profit, because it should be able to close out the option at a lower price. If security prices fall, the put writer would expect to suffer a loss. This loss should be less than the loss from purchasing and holding the underlying security directly, however, because the premium received for writing the option should offset a portion of the decline.
Writing a call option obligates a Fund to sell or deliver the option’s underlying security in return for the strike price upon exercise of the option. The characteristics of writing call options are similar to those of writing put options, except that writing calls generally is a profitable strategy if prices remain the same or fall. Through receipt of the option premium a call writer offsets part of the effect of a price decline. At the same time, because a call writer must be prepared to deliver the underlying instrument in return for the strike price, even if its current value is greater, a call writer gives up some ability to participate in security price increases.
When a Fund writes an exchange traded put or call option on a security, it will be required to deposit cash or securities or a letter of credit as margin and to make mark to market payments of variation margin as the position becomes unprofitable.
Certain Funds will usually sell covered call options or cash-secured put options on securities. A call option is covered if the writer either owns the underlying security (or comparable securities satisfying the cover requirements of the securities exchanges) or has the right to acquire such securities. Alternatively, a Fund will segregate or earmark liquid assets (i) in an amount equal to the Fund’s obligation under the contract with respect to call options or (ii) an amount greater of the market value of the instrument
Part II - 52

underlying the option or the strike price of the contract with respect to call options. A call option is also covered if a Fund (i) acquires a call option on the same security with a strike price equal to or lower than the strike price of the written call or (ii) acquires a call option on the same security with a strike price higher than the strike price of the written call and segregates liquid assets in an amount equal to the difference between the strike price of the two options. As the writer of a covered call option, the Fund foregoes, during the option’s life, the opportunity to profit from increases in the market value of the security covering the call option above the sum of the premium and the strike price of the call, but has retained the risk of loss should the price of the underlying security decline. As the Fund writes covered calls over more of its portfolio, its ability to benefit from capital appreciation becomes more limited. The writer of an option has no control over the time when it may be required to fulfill its obligation, but may terminate its position by entering into an offsetting option. Once an option writer has received an exercise notice, it cannot effect an offsetting transaction in order to terminate its obligation under the option and must deliver the underlying security at the exercise price.
A put option is cash-secured if the writer segregates cash, high-grade short-term debt obligations, or other permissible collateral equity to the exercise price. Alternatively, a put option is covered if a Fund (i) acquires a put option on the same security with a strike price equal to or higher than the strike price of written put or (ii) acquires a put option on the same security with a strike price lower than the strike price of the written put and segregates liquid assets in the amount equal to the difference between the strike price of the two options. When the Fund writes cash-secured put options, it bears the risk of loss if the value of the underlying stock declines below the exercise price minus the put premium. If the option is exercised, the Fund could incur a loss if it is required to purchase the stock underlying the put option at a price greater than the market price of the stock at the time of exercise plus the put premium the Fund received when it wrote the option. While the Fund’s potential gain in writing a cash-secured put option is limited to distributions earned on the liquid assets securing the put option plus the premium received from the purchaser of the put option, the Fund risks a loss equal to the entire exercise price of the option minus the put premium.
Engaging in Straddles and Spreads. In a straddle transaction, a Fund either buys a call and a put or sells a call and a put on the same security. In a spread, a Fund purchases and sells a call or a put. A Fund will sell a straddle when the Fund’s Adviser believes the price of a security will be stable. The Fund will receive a premium on the sale of the put and the call. A spread permits a Fund to make a hedged investment that the price of a security will increase or decline.
Options on Indexes. Certain Funds may purchase and sell options on securities indexes and other types of indexes. Options on indexes are similar to options on securities, except that the exercise of index options may be settled by cash payments (or in some instances by a futures contract) and does not involve the actual purchase or sale of securities or the instruments in the index. In addition, these options are designed to reflect price fluctuations in a group of securities or instruments or segment of the securities’ or instruments’ market rather than price fluctuations in a single security or instrument. A Fund, in purchasing or selling index options, is subject to the risk that the value of its portfolio may not change as much as an index because a Fund’s investments generally will not match the composition of an index. Unlike call options on securities, index options are cash settled, or settled with a futures contract in some instances, rather than settled by delivery of the underlying index securities or instruments.
Certain Funds purchase and sell credit options which are options on indexes of derivative instruments such as credit default swap indexes. Like other index options, credit options can be cash settled or settled with a futures contract in some instances. In addition, credit options can also be settled in some instances by delivery of the underlying index instrument. Credit options may be used for a variety of purposes including hedging, risk management such as positioning a portfolio for anticipated volatility or increasing income or gain to a Fund. There is no guarantee that the strategy of using options on indexes or credit options in particular will be successful.
Under current SEC and staff requirements, Funds that sell (write) call and put options on indexes are required to segregate or earmark liquid assets in the amount equal to the market value of the obligation. Alternatively, written call options on indexes may be covered if a Fund (i) acquires a call option for the same securities indexes with a strike price equal to or lower than the strike price of the written call or (ii) acquires a call option on the same securities indexes with a strike price higher than the strike price of the written call and segregates liquid assets in an amount equal to the difference between the strike price of the two options. Written put options on indexes may be covered if a Fund (i) acquires a put option for the same
Part II - 53

securities indexes with a strike price equal to or higher than the strike price of the written put or (ii) acquires a put option on the same securities indexes with a strike price lower than the strike price of the written put and segregates liquid assets in the amount equal to the difference between the strike price of the two options.
For a number of reasons, a liquid market may not exist and thus a Fund may not be able to close out an option position that it has previously entered into. When a Fund purchases an OTC option (as defined below), it will be relying on its counterparty to perform its obligations and the Fund may incur additional losses if the counterparty is unable to perform.
Exchange-Traded and OTC Options. All options purchased or sold by a Fund will be traded on a securities exchange or will be purchased or sold by securities dealers (“OTC options”) that meet the Fund’s creditworthiness standards. While exchange-traded options are obligations of the Options Clearing Corporation, in the case of OTC options, a Fund relies on the dealer from which it purchased the option to perform if the option is exercised. Thus, when a Fund purchases an OTC option, it relies on the dealer from which it purchased the option to make or take delivery of the underlying securities. Failure by the dealer to do so would result in the loss of the premium paid by a Fund as well as loss of the expected benefit of the transaction. Accordingly, these OTC options are subject to heightened credit risk, as well as liquidity and valuation risk depending upon the type of OTC options in which the Fund invests.
Futures Contracts. When a Fund purchases a futures contract, it agrees to purchase a specified quantity of an underlying instrument at a specified future date or, in the case of an index futures contract, to make a cash payment based on the value of a securities index. When a Fund sells a futures contract, it agrees to sell a specified quantity of the underlying instrument at a specified future date or, in the case of an index futures contract, to receive a cash payment based on the value of a securities index. The price at which the purchase and sale will take place is fixed when a Fund enters into the contract. Futures can be held until their delivery dates or the position can be (and normally is) closed out before then. There is no assurance, however, that a liquid market will exist when the Fund wishes to close out a particular position.
When a Fund purchases a futures contract, the value of the futures contract tends to increase and decrease in tandem with the value of its underlying instrument. Therefore, purchasing futures contracts will tend to increase a Fund’s exposure to positive and negative price fluctuations in the underlying instrument, much as if it had purchased the underlying instrument directly. When a Fund sells a futures contract, by contrast, the value of its futures position will tend to move in a direction contrary to the value of the underlying instrument. Selling futures contracts, therefore, will tend to offset both positive and negative market price changes, much as if the underlying instrument had been sold.
The purchaser or seller of a futures contract is not required to deliver or pay for the underlying instrument unless the contract is held until the delivery date. However, when a Fund buys or sells a futures contract, it will be required to deposit “initial margin” with a futures commission merchant (“FCM”). Initial margin deposits are typically equal to a small percentage of the contract’s value. If the value of either party’s position declines, that party will be required to make additional “variation margin” payments equal to the change in value on a daily basis.
The party that has a gain may be entitled to receive all or a portion of this amount. A Fund may be obligated to make payments of variation margin at a time when it is disadvantageous to do so. Furthermore, it may not always be possible for a Fund to close out its futures positions. Until it closes out a futures position, a Fund will be obligated to continue to pay variation margin. Initial and variation margin payments do not constitute purchasing on margin for purposes of a Fund’s investment restrictions. In the event of the bankruptcy of an FCM that holds margin on behalf of a Fund, the Fund may be entitled to return of margin owed to it only in proportion to the amount received by the FCM’s other customers, potentially resulting in losses to the Fund. Under current SEC and staff requirements for cash-settled futures, the Fund will segregate or earmark liquid assets in an amount equal to the mark-to-market value. For physically settled futures, the Funds generally will earmark or segregate liquid assets in an amount equal to the notional value. Futures contracts will be treated as cash-settled for asset segregation purposes when a Fund and/or its Cayman subsidiary have entered into a contractual arrangement (each, a “side letter”) with a third party FCM or other counterparty to off-set the Fund’s or Subsidiary’s exposure under the contract and, failing that, to assign its delivery obligation under the contract to the FCM or counterparty. In calculating the segregation amount, netting of similar contracts is generally permitted. Such assets cannot be sold while the futures contract or option is outstanding unless they are replaced with other suitable assets. By setting aside assets equal only to its net obligation under cash-settled futures or under physically-settled futures for which a Fund and/or its Cayman subsidiary have entered into a side letter, a Fund will have the ability to have exposure to such instruments to a greater extent than if a Fund
Part II - 54

were required to set aside assets equal to the full notional value of such contracts. There is a possibility that earmarking and reservation of a large percentage of a Fund’s assets could impede portfolio management or a Fund’s ability to meet redemption requests or other current obligations.
The Funds only invest in futures contracts on securities to the extent they could invest in the underlying securities directly. Certain Funds may also invest in index futures where the underlying securities or instruments are not available for direct investments by the Funds.
Cash Equitization. The objective where equity futures are used to “equitize” cash is to match the notional value of all futures contracts to a Fund’s cash balance. The notional values of the futures contracts and of the cash are monitored daily. As the cash is invested in securities and/or paid out to participants in redemptions, the Adviser simultaneously adjusts the futures positions. Through such procedures, a Fund not only gains equity exposure from the use of futures, but also benefits from increased flexibility in responding to client cash flow needs. Additionally, because it can be less expensive to trade a list of securities as a package or program trade rather than as a group of individual orders, futures provide a means through which transaction costs can be reduced. Such non-hedging risk management techniques involve leverage, and thus present, as do all leveraged transactions, the possibility of losses as well as gains that are greater than if these techniques involved the purchase and sale of the securities themselves rather than their synthetic derivatives.
Options on Futures Contracts. Futures contracts obligate the buyer to take and the seller to make delivery at a future date of a specified quantity of a financial instrument or an amount of cash based on the value of a securities or other index. Currently, futures contracts are available on various types of securities, including but not limited to U.S. Treasury bonds, notes and bills, Eurodollar certificates of deposit and on indexes of securities. Unlike a futures contract, which requires the parties to buy and sell a security or make a cash settlement payment based on changes in a financial instrument or securities or other index on an agreed date, an option on a futures contract entitles its holder to decide on or before a future date whether to enter into such a contract. If the holder decides not to exercise its option, the holder may close out the option position by entering into an offsetting transaction or may decide to let the option expire and forfeit the premium thereon. The purchaser of an option on a futures contract pays a premium for the option but makes no initial margin payments or daily payments of cash in the nature of “variation margin” payments to reflect the change in the value of the underlying contract as does a purchaser or seller of a futures contract. The seller of an option on a futures contract receives the premium paid by the purchaser and may be required to pay initial margin.
Combined Positions. Certain Funds may purchase and write options in combination with futures or forward contracts, to adjust the risk and return characteristics of the overall position. For example, a Fund may purchase a put option and write a call option on the same underlying instrument, in order to construct a combined position whose risk and return characteristics are similar to selling a futures contract. Another possible combined position would involve writing a call option at one strike price and buying a call option at a lower price, in order 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.
Correlation of Price Changes. Because there are a limited number of types of exchange-traded options and futures contracts, it is likely that the standardized options and futures contracts available will not match a Fund’s current or anticipated investments exactly. A Fund may invest in futures and options contracts based on securities or instruments with different issuers, maturities, or other characteristics from the securities in which it typically invests, which involves a risk that the options or futures position will not track the performance of a Fund’s other investments.
Options and futures contracts prices can also diverge from the prices of their underlying instruments, even if the underlying instruments match the Fund’s investments well. Options and futures contracts prices are affected by such factors as current and anticipated short term interest rates, changes in volatility of the underlying instrument, and the time remaining until expiration of the contract, which may not affect security prices the same way. Imperfect correlation may also result from differing levels of demand in the options and futures markets and the securities markets, from structural differences in how options and futures and securities are traded, or from imposition of daily price fluctuation limits or trading halts. A Fund may purchase or sell options and futures contracts with a greater or lesser value than the securities it wishes to hedge or intends to purchase in order to attempt to compensate for differences in volatility between the contract and the securities, although this may not be successful in all cases. If price changes in a Fund’s options or futures positions are poorly correlated with its other investments, the positions may fail to produce anticipated gains or result in losses that are not offset by gains in other investments.
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Liquidity of Options and Futures Contracts. There is no assurance that a liquid market will exist for any particular option or futures contract at any particular time even if the contract is traded on an exchange. In addition, exchanges may establish daily price fluctuation limits for options and futures contracts and may halt trading if a contract’s price moves up or down more than the limit in a given day. On volatile trading days when the price fluctuation limit is reached or a trading halt is imposed, it may be impossible for a Fund to enter into new positions or close out existing positions. If the market for a contract is not liquid because of price fluctuation limits or otherwise, it could prevent prompt liquidation of unfavorable positions, and could potentially require a Fund to continue to hold a position until delivery or expiration regardless of changes in its value. As a result, a Fund’s access to other assets held to cover its options or futures positions could also be impaired. (See “Exchange-Traded and OTC Options” above for a discussion of the liquidity of options not traded on an exchange.)
Foreign Investment Risk. Certain Funds may buy and sell options on interest rate futures including global interest rate futures in which the reference interest rate is tied to currencies other than the U.S. dollar. Such investments are subject to additional risks including the risks associated with foreign investment and currency risk. See “Foreign Investments (including Foreign Currencies)” in this SAI Part II.
Position Limits. Futures exchanges can limit the number of futures and options on futures contracts that can be held or controlled by an entity. If an adequate exemption cannot be obtained, a Fund or the Fund’s Adviser may be required to reduce the size of its futures and options positions or may not be able to trade a certain futures or options contract in order to avoid exceeding such limits.
Asset Coverage for Futures Contracts and Options Positions. A Fund will comply with currently applicable guidelines established by the SEC with respect to coverage of options and futures contracts by mutual funds, and if the guidelines so require, will set aside or earmark appropriate liquid assets in the amount prescribed. For cash settled futures contracts and options on futures contracts, a Fund will segregate an amount equal to the mark-to-market value of the obligation. For physically settled futures contracts and options on futures contracts, a Fund will segregate an amount equal to the current notional value of the contract or underlying futures contracts, as applicable. Netting is generally permitted of similar contracts. Such assets cannot be sold while the futures contract or option is outstanding, unless they are replaced with other suitable assets. As a result, there is a possibility that the reservation of a large percentage of a Fund’s assets could impede portfolio management or a Fund’s ability to meet redemption requests or other current obligations. The Funds may also enter into offsetting transactions on futures contracts and options on futures in accordance with guidelines established by the SEC, similar to the transactions as described above in “Selling (Writing) Put and Call Options on Securities.”
Real Estate Investment Trusts (“REITs”)
Certain of the Funds may invest in equity interests or debt obligations issued by REITs. REITs are pooled investment vehicles which invest primarily in income producing real estate or real estate related loans or interest. REITs are generally classified as equity REITs, mortgage REITs or a combination of equity and mortgage REITs. Equity REITs invest the majority of their assets directly in real property and derive income primarily from the collection of rents. Equity REITs can also realize capital gains by selling property that has appreciated in value. Mortgage REITs invest the majority of their assets in real estate mortgages and derive income from the collection of interest payments. Similar to investment companies, REITs are not taxed on income distributed to shareholders provided they comply with several requirements of the Code. A Fund will indirectly bear its proportionate share of expenses incurred by REITs in which a Fund invests in addition to the expenses incurred directly by a Fund.
Investing in REITs involves certain unique risks in addition to those risks associated with investing in the real estate industry in general. Equity REITs may be affected by changes in the value of the underlying property owned by the REITs, while mortgage REITs may be affected by the quality of any credit extended. REITs are dependent upon management skills and on cash flows, are not diversified, and are subject to default by borrowers and self-liquidation. REITs are also subject to the possibilities of failing to qualify for tax free pass-through of income under the Code and failing to maintain their exemption from registration under the 1940 Act.
REITs (especially mortgage REITs) are also subject to interest rate risks. When interest rates decline, the value of a REIT’s investment in fixed rate obligations can be expected to rise. Conversely, when interest rates rise, the value of a REIT’s investment in fixed rate obligations can be expected to decline. In
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contrast, as interest rates on adjustable rate mortgage loans are reset periodically, yields on a REIT’s investment in such loans will gradually align themselves to fluctuate less dramatically in response to interest rate fluctuations than would investments in fixed rate obligations.
Investment in REITs involves risks similar to those associated with investing in small capitalization companies. These risks include:
limited financial resources;
infrequent or limited trading; and
more abrupt or erratic price movements than larger company securities.
In addition, small capitalization stocks, such as certain REITs, historically have been more volatile in price than the larger capitalization stocks included in the S&P 500 Index.
Recent Events Relating to the Overall Economy
The U.S. Government, the Federal Reserve, the Treasury, the SEC, the FDIC and other governmental and regulatory bodies have taken actions to address the 2008-2009 financial crisis and the recent disruption to economies and markets due to the COVID-19 pandemic. These actions included, in part, the enactment by the United States Congress of the “Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act,” which was signed into law on July 21, 2010 and imposed a new regulatory framework over the U.S. financial services industry and the consumer credit markets in general, and proposed and final regulations by the SEC. Given the broad scope, sweeping nature, and relatively recent enactment of some of these regulatory measures, the potential impact they could have on securities held by the Funds is unknown. There can be no assurance that these measures will not have an adverse effect on the value or marketability of securities held by the Funds. Furthermore, no assurance can be made that the U.S. Government or any U.S. regulatory body (or other authority or regulatory body) will not continue to take further legislative or regulatory action, and the effect of such actions, if taken, cannot be known. However, current efforts by the U.S. Government to reduce the impact of regulations on the U.S. financial services industry could lead to the repeal of certain elements of the regulatory framework.
Additionally, COVID-19 has resulted in a global pandemic and major disruption to economies and markets around the world, including the United States. Financial markets have experienced extreme volatility and severe losses, and trading in many instruments has been disrupted. Liquidity for many instruments has been greatly reduced for periods of time. Some interest rates are very low and in some cases yields are negative. Some sectors of the economy and individual issuers have experienced particularly large losses. These circumstances may continue for an extended period of time, and may continue to affect adversely the value and liquidity of a Fund’s investments. The ultimate economic fallout from the pandemic, and the long-term impact on economies, markets, industries and individual issuers, are not known. Governments and central banks, including the Federal Reserve in the U.S., have taken extraordinary and unprecedented actions to support local and global economies and the financial markets. The impact of these measures, and whether they will be effective to mitigate the economic and market disruption, will not be known for some time.
Derivatives
In October 2020, the SEC adopted a final rule related to the use of derivatives, short sales, reverse repurchase agreements and certain other transactions by registered investment companies that will rescind and withdraw the guidance of the SEC and its staff regarding asset segregation and cover transactions discussed herein. The final rule requires the Funds to trade derivatives and other transactions that create future payment or delivery obligations (except reverse repurchase agreements and similar financing transactions) subject to a value-at-risk (“VaR”) leverage limit and certain derivatives risk management program and reporting requirements. Generally, these requirements apply unless a Fund qualifies as a “limited derivatives user,” as defined in the final rule. Under the final rule, when a Fund trades reverse repurchase agreements or similar financing transactions, including certain tender option bonds, it needs 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 or treat all such transactions as derivatives transactions. Reverse repurchase agreements or similar financing transactions aggregated with other indebtedness do not need to be included in the calculation of whether a Fund is a limited derivatives user, but for Funds subject to the VaR testing, reverse repurchase agreements and similar financing transactions must be included for purposes of such testing whether treated as derivatives transactions or not. Compliance with
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these new requirements will be required by August 19, 2022. Following the compliance date, these requirements may limit the ability of a Fund to use derivatives and reverse repurchase agreements and similar financing transactions as part of its investment strategies. These requirements may increase the cost of a Fund’s investments and cost of doing business, which could adversely affect investors.
Repurchase Agreements
Repurchase agreements may be entered into with brokers, dealers or banks or other entities that meet the Adviser’s credit guidelines. A Fund will enter into repurchase agreements only with member banks of the Federal Reserve System and securities dealers or other entities believed by the Adviser to be creditworthy. The Adviser may consider the collateral received and any applicable guarantees in making its determination. In a repurchase agreement, a Fund buys a security from a seller that has agreed to repurchase the same security at a mutually agreed upon date and price. The resale price normally is in excess of the purchase price, reflecting an agreed upon interest rate. This interest rate is effective for the period of time a Fund is invested in the agreement and is not related to the coupon rate on the underlying security. A repurchase agreement may also be viewed as a fully collateralized loan of money by a Fund to the seller. The maximum maturity permitted for a non-“putable” repurchase agreement will be (i) 95 days for a Money Market Fund for certain counterparties and 45 days for others and (ii) 190 days for any Fund that is not a Money Market Fund. The maximum notice period permitted for a “putable” or “open” repurchase agreement (i.e., where the Fund has a right to put the repurchase agreement to the counterparty or terminate the transaction at par plus accrued interest at a specified notice period) will be (i) 95 days for a Money Market Fund for certain counterparties and 45 days for others and (ii) 190 days for any Fund that is not a Money Market Fund. The securities which are subject to repurchase agreements, however, may have maturity dates in excess of 190 days from the effective date of the repurchase agreement. In addition, the maturity of a “putable” or “open” repurchase agreement may be in excess of 190 days. A Fund will always receive securities as collateral during the term of the agreement whose market value is at least equal to 100% of the dollar amount invested by the Fund in each agreement plus accrued interest. The repurchase agreements further authorize the Fund to demand additional collateral in the event that the dollar value of the collateral falls below 100%. A Fund will make payment for such securities only upon physical delivery or upon evidence of book entry transfer to the account of the custodian. Repurchase agreements are considered under the 1940 Act to be loans collateralized by the underlying securities.
All of the Funds that are permitted to invest in repurchase agreements may engage in repurchase agreement transactions that are collateralized fully as defined in Rule 5b-3(c)(1) of the 1940 Act (except that Rule 5b-3(c)(1)(iv)(C) under the 1940 Act shall not apply for the Money Market Funds), which has the effect of enabling a Fund to look to the collateral, rather than the counterparty, for determining whether its assets are “diversified” for 1940 Act purposes. With respect to the Money Market Funds, in accordance with Rule 2a-7 under the 1940 Act, the Adviser evaluates the creditworthiness of each counterparty. The Adviser may consider the collateral received and any applicable guarantees in making its determination. Certain Funds may, in addition, engage in repurchase agreement transactions that are collateralized by money market instruments, debt securities, loan participations, equity securities or other securities including securities that are rated below investment grade by the requisite NRSROs or unrated securities of comparable quality. For these types of repurchase agreement transactions, the Fund would look to the counterparty, and not the collateral, for determining such diversification.
A repurchase agreement is subject to the risk that the seller may fail to repurchase the security. In the event of default by the seller under a repurchase agreement construed to be a collateralized loan, the underlying securities would not be owned by the Fund, but would only constitute collateral for the seller’s obligation to pay the repurchase price. Therefore, a Fund may suffer time delays and incur costs in connection with the disposition of the collateral. The collateral underlying repurchase agreements may be more susceptible to claims of the seller’s creditors than would be the case with securities owned by the Fund.
Under existing guidance from the SEC, certain Funds may transfer uninvested cash balances into a joint account, along with cash of other Funds and certain other accounts. These balances may be invested in one or more repurchase agreements and/or short-term money market instruments.
Reverse Repurchase Agreements
In a reverse repurchase agreement, a Fund sells a security and agrees to repurchase the same security at a mutually agreed upon date and price reflecting the interest rate effective for the term of the agreement. For purposes of the 1940 Act, a reverse repurchase agreement is considered borrowing by a Fund and, therefore, a form of leverage. Leverage may cause any gains or losses for a Fund to be magnified. The
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Funds will invest the proceeds of borrowings under reverse repurchase agreements. In addition, except for liquidity purposes, a Fund will enter into a reverse repurchase agreement only when the expected return from the investment of the proceeds is greater than the expense of the transaction. A Fund will not invest the proceeds of a reverse repurchase agreement for a period which exceeds the duration of the reverse repurchase agreement. A Fund would be required to pay interest on amounts obtained through reverse repurchase agreements, which are considered borrowings under federal securities laws. The repurchase price is generally equal to the original sales price plus interest. Reverse repurchase agreements are usually for seven days or less and cannot be repaid prior to their expiration dates. Each Fund will earmark and reserve Fund assets, in cash or liquid securities, in an amount at least equal to its purchase obligations under its reverse repurchase agreements. Reverse repurchase agreements involve the risk that the market value of the portfolio securities transferred may decline below the price at which a Fund is obliged to purchase the securities. All forms of borrowing (including reverse repurchase agreements) are limited in the aggregate and may not exceed 33 13% of a Fund’s total assets, except as permitted by law.
Securities Lending
To generate additional income, certain Funds may lend up to 33 13% of such Fund’s total assets pursuant to agreements requiring that the loan be continuously secured by collateral equal to at least 100% of the market value plus accrued interest on the securities lent. The Funds use Citibank, N.A. (“Citibank”) as their securities lending agent. Pursuant to a Third Party Securities Lending Rider to the Custody Agreement between JPMorgan Chase Bank, Citibank and the Funds (the “Third Party Securities Lending Rider”) approved by the Board of Trustees, Citibank compensates JPMorgan Chase Bank for certain custodial services provided by JPMorgan Chase Bank in connection with the Funds’ use of Citibank as securities lending agent.
Pursuant to the Global Securities Lending Agency Agreement approved by the Board of Trustees between Citibank and the Trust on behalf of the applicable Funds, severally and not jointly (the “Securities Lending Agency Agreement”), collateral for loans will consist only of cash. The Funds receive payments from the borrowers equivalent to the dividends and interest that would have been earned on the securities lent. For loans secured by cash, the Funds seek to earn interest on the investment of cash collateral in investments permitted by the Securities Lending Agency Agreement. Under the Securities Lending Agency Agreement, cash collateral may be invested in IM Shares of JPMorgan Prime Money Market Fund, JPMorgan U.S. Government Money Market Fund, and Class Agency SL Shares of the JPMorgan Securities Lending Money Market Fund.
Under the Securities Lending Agency Agreement, Citibank marks to market the loaned securities on a daily basis. In the event the cash received from the borrower is less than 102% of the value of the loaned securities (105% for non-U.S. securities), Citibank requests additional cash from the borrower so as to maintain a collateralization level of at least 102% of the value of the loaned securities plus accrued interest (105% for non-U.S. securities) subject to certain de minimis amounts. Loans are subject to termination by a Fund or the borrower at any time, and are therefore not considered to be illiquid investments. The Fund does not have the right to vote proxies for securities on loans over a record date of such proxies. However, if the Fund’s Adviser has notice of the proxy in advance of the record date, a Fund’s Adviser may terminate a loan in advance of the record date if the Fund’s Adviser determines the vote is considered material with respect to an investment.
Securities lending involves counterparty risk, including the risk that the loaned securities may not be returned or returned in a timely manner and/or a loss of rights in the collateral if the borrower or the lending agent defaults or fails financially. This risk is increased when a Fund’s loans are concentrated with a single or limited number of borrowers. The earnings on the collateral invested may not be sufficient to pay fees incurred in connection with the loan. Also, the principal value of the collateral invested may decline and may not be sufficient to pay back the borrower for the amount of collateral posted. There are no limits on the number of borrowers a Fund may use and a Fund may lend securities to only one or a small group of borrowers. In addition, loans may be made to affiliates of Citibank. Funds participating in securities lending bear the risk of loss in connection with investments of the cash collateral received from the borrowers, which do not trigger additional collateral requirements from the borrower.
To the extent that the value or return of a Fund’s investments of the cash collateral declines below the amount owed to a borrower, the Fund may incur losses that exceed the amount it earned on lending the security. In situations where the Adviser does not believe that it is prudent to sell the cash collateral investments in the market, a Fund may borrow money to repay the borrower the amount of cash collateral
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owed to the borrower upon return of the loaned securities. This will result in financial leverage, which may cause the Fund to be more volatile because financial leverage tends to exaggerate the effect of any increase or decrease in the value of the Fund’s portfolio securities.
Short Selling
In short selling transactions, a Fund sells a security it does not own in anticipation of a decline in the market value of the security. To complete the transaction, a Fund must borrow the security to make delivery to the buyer. A Fund is obligated to replace the security borrowed by purchasing it subsequently at the market price at the time of replacement. The price at such time may be more or less than the price at which the security was sold by a Fund, which may result in a loss or gain, respectively. Unlike taking a long position in a security by purchasing the security, where potential losses are limited to the purchase price, short sales have no cap on maximum losses, and gains are limited to the price of the security at the time of the short sale.
Short sales of forward commitments and derivatives do not involve borrowing a security. These types of short sales may include futures, options, contracts for differences, forward contracts on financial instruments and options such as contracts, credit linked instruments, and swap contracts.
A Fund may not always be able to borrow a security it wants to sell short. A Fund also may be unable to close out an established short position at an acceptable price and may have to sell long positions at disadvantageous times to cover its short positions. The value of your investment in a Fund will fluctuate in response to movements in the market. Fund performance also will depend on the effectiveness of the Adviser’s research and the management team’s investment decisions. The SEC and financial industry regulatory authorities in other countries may impose prohibitions, restrictions or other regulatory requirements on short sales, which could inhibit the ability of the Adviser to sell securities short on behalf of the Fund. For example, in September 2008, in response to spreading turmoil in the financial markets, the SEC temporarily banned short selling in the stocks of numerous financial services companies, and also promulgated new disclosure requirements with respect to short positions held by investment managers. The SEC’s temporary ban on short selling of such stocks has since expired, but should similar restrictions and/or additional disclosure requirements be promulgated, especially if market turmoil occurs, a Fund may be forced to cover short positions more quickly than otherwise intended and may suffer losses as a result. Such restrictions may also adversely affect the ability of a Fund (especially if a Fund utilizes short selling as a significant portion of its investment strategy) to execute its investment strategies generally.
Short sales also involve other costs. A Fund must repay to the lender an amount equal to any dividends or interest that accrues while the loan is outstanding. To borrow the security, a Fund may be required to pay a premium. A Fund also will incur transaction costs in effecting short sales. The amount of any ultimate gain for a Fund resulting from a short sale will be decreased and the amount of any ultimate loss will be increased by the amount of premiums, interest or expenses a Fund may be required to pay in connection with the short sale. Until a Fund closes the short position, it will earmark and reserve Fund assets, in cash or liquid securities, in amount at least equal to the current market value of the securities sold short unless the Fund holds the securities sold short. Realized gains from short sales are typically treated as short-term gains/losses.
Certain of a Fund’s service providers may have agreed to waive fees and reimburse expenses to limit the Fund’s operating expenses in the amount and for the time period specified in the Fund’s prospectuses. The expense limitation does not include certain expenses including, to the extent indicated in the Fund’s prospectuses, dividend and interest expense on short sales. In calculating the interest expense on short sales for purposes of this exclusion, the Fund will recognize all economic elements of interest costs, including premium and discount adjustments.
Short-Term Funding Agreements
Short-term funding agreements issued by insurance companies are sometimes referred to as Guaranteed Investment Contracts (“GICs”), while those issued by banks are referred to as Bank Investment Contracts (“BICs”). Pursuant to such agreements, a Fund makes cash contributions to a deposit account at a bank or insurance company. The bank or insurance company then credits to the Fund on a monthly basis guaranteed interest at either a fixed, variable or floating rate. These contracts are general obligations of the issuing bank or insurance company (although they may be the obligations of an insurance company separate account) and are paid from the general assets of the issuing entity.
Generally, there is no active secondary market in short-term funding agreements. Therefore, short-term funding agreements may be considered by a Fund to be illiquid investments.
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Special Purpose Acquisition Companies
A Fund may invest in stocks, warrants, rights, debt and other securities of special purpose acquisition companies (“SPACs”) or similar special purpose entities in a private placement transaction or as part of a public offering. A SPAC is a publicly traded company that raises investment capital for the purpose of acquiring or merging with an existing company. The shares of a SPAC are typically issued in “units.” Units include one share of common stock and one right or warrant (or partial right or warrant) conveying the right to purchase additional shares of common stock. At a specified time, the rights and warrants may be separated from the common stock at the election of the holder, after which each security typically is freely tradeable. An alternative to private companies making an initial public offering (“IPO”) can be combining with a SPAC, which permits the private company to go public by taking the SPAC's place on an exchange. Until an acquisition or merger is completed, a SPAC generally invests its assets, less a portion retained to cover expenses, in U.S. government securities, money market securities and cash and does not typically pay dividends in respect of its common stock. In addition, a Fund may elect not to participate in a proposed SPAC transaction or may be required to divest its interests in the SPAC due to regulatory or other considerations. As a result, it is possible that an investment in a SPAC may lose value.
If an acquisition or merger that meets the requirements of the SPAC is not completed within a pre-established period of time (typically, two years), the funds invested in the SPAC (less any permitted expenses and any losses experienced by the SPAC) are returned to its shareholders. Any warrants or other rights with respect to a SPAC held by a Fund may expire worthless or may be repurchased or retired by the SPAC.
Because SPACs and similar entities are blank check companies and do not have any operating history or ongoing business other than seeking acquisitions, the value of their securities is particularly dependent on the ability of the SPAC’s management to identify a merger target and complete an acquisition. Some SPACs pursue acquisitions only within certain industries or regions, which may increase the volatility of their prices and the risks associated with these investments. In addition, the securities issued by a SPAC may be classified as illiquid and/or be subject to restrictions on resale, which may be for an extended time, and may only be traded in the over-the-counter market. If there is no market for the shares of the SPAC or only a thinly traded market for shares or interests in the SPAC develops, a Fund may not be able to sell its interest in a SPAC or to sell its interest only at a price below what the Fund believes is the SPAC interest's value. If not subject to a restriction on resale, a Fund may sell its investments in a SPAC at any time, including before, at or after the time of an acquisition or merger.
An investment in a SPAC may be diluted by additional, later offerings of securities by the SPAC or by other investors exercising existing rights to purchase securities of the SPAC. Generally, SPACs provide the opportunity for common shareholders to have some or all of their shares of common stock redeemed by the SPAC at or around the time of a proposed acquisition or merger. An investment in a SPAC is subject to the risks that any proposed acquisition or merger may not obtain the requisite approval of SPAC shareholders or that an acquisition or merger may prove unsuccessful and lose value. An investment in a SPAC is also subject to the risk that a significant portion of the funds raised by the SPAC may be expended during the search for a target acquisition or merger. The values of investments in SPACs may be highly volatile and may depreciate over time.
In addition, investments in SPACs may be subject to the risks of investing in an IPO. These risks include risks associated with companies that have little or no operating history as public companies, unseasoned trading and small number of shares available for trading and limited information about the issuer. Additionally, investments in SPACs may be subject to the risks inherent in those sectors of the market where these new issuers operate. The market for IPO issuers may be volatile, and share prices of newly-public companies have fluctuated significantly over short periods of time. Although some IPOs may produce high, double-digit returns, such returns are highly unusual and may not be sustainable.
Structured Investments
A structured investment is a security having a return tied to an underlying index or other security or asset class. Structured investments generally are individually negotiated agreements and may be traded over-the-counter. Structured investments are organized and operated to restructure the investment characteristics of the underlying security. This restructuring involves the deposit with or purchase by an entity, such as a corporation or trust, or specified instruments (such as commercial bank loans) and the issuance by that entity or one or more classes of securities (“structured securities”) backed by, or representing interests in, the underlying instruments. The cash flow on the underlying instruments may be apportioned among the newly issued structured securities to create securities with different investment
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characteristics, such as varying maturities, payment priorities and interest rate provisions, and the extent of such payments made with respect to structured securities is dependent on the extent of the cash flow on the underlying instruments. Because structured securities typically involve no credit enhancement, their credit risk generally will be equivalent to that of the underlying instruments. Investments in structured securities are generally of a class of structured securities that is either subordinated or unsubordinated to the right of payment of another class. Subordinated structured securities typically have higher yields and present greater risks than unsubordinated structured securities. Structured instruments include structured notes. In addition to the risks applicable to investments in structured investments and debt securities in general, structured notes bear the risk that the issuer may not be required to pay interest on the structured note if the index rate rises above or falls below a certain level. Structured securities are typically sold in private placement transactions, and there currently is no active trading market for structured securities. Investments in government and government-related restructured debt instruments are subject to special risks, including the inability or unwillingness to repay principal and interest, requests to reschedule or restructure outstanding debt and requests to extend additional loan amounts. Structured investments include a wide variety of instruments including, without limitation, CDOs, credit linked notes, and participation notes and participatory notes. Additional information including risk information is included under Asset-Backed Securities.
Total Annual Fund Operating Expenses set forth in the fee table and Financial Highlights section of each Fund’s Prospectuses do not include any expenses associated with investments in certain structured or synthetic products that may rely on the exception for the definition of “investment company” provided by section 3(c)(1) or 3(c)(7) of the 1940 Act.
Credit Linked Notes. Certain Funds may invest in structured instruments known as credit linked securities or credit linked notes (“CLNs”). CLNs are typically issued by a limited purpose trust or other vehicle (the “CLN trust”) that, in turn, invests in a derivative or basket of derivatives instruments, such as credit default swaps, interest rate swaps and/or other securities, in order to provide exposure to certain high yield, sovereign debt, emerging markets, or other fixed income markets. Generally, investments in CLNs represent the right to receive periodic income payments (in the form of distributions) and payment of principal at the end of the term of the CLN. However, these payments are conditioned on the CLN trust’s receipt of payments from, and the CLN trust’s potential obligations, to the counterparties to the derivative instruments and other securities in which the CLN trust invests. For example, the CLN trust may sell one or more credit default swaps, under which the CLN trust would receive a stream of payments over the term of the swap agreements provided that no event of default has occurred with respect to the referenced debt obligation upon which the swap is based. If a default were to occur, the stream of payments may stop and the CLN trust would be obligated to pay the counterparty the par (or other agreed upon value) of the referenced debt obligation. This, in turn, would reduce the amount of income and principal that a Fund would receive as an investor in the CLN trust.
Certain Funds may enter into CLNs structured as “First-to-Default” CLNs. In a First-to-Default CLN, the CLN trust enters into a credit default swap on a portfolio of a specified number of individual securities pursuant to which the CLN trust sells protection to a counterparty. The CLN trust uses the proceeds of issuing investments in the CLN trust to purchase securities, which are selected by the counterparty and the total return of which is paid to the counterparty. Upon the occurrence of a default or credit event involving any one of the individual securities, the credit default swaps terminate and the Fund’s investment in the CLN trust is redeemed for an amount equal to “par” minus the amount paid to the counterparty under the credit default swap.
Certain Funds may also enter in CLNs to gain access to sovereign debt and securities in emerging market particularly in markets where the Fund is not able to purchase securities directly due to domicile restrictions or tax restrictions or tariffs. In such an instance, the issuer of the CLN may purchase the reference security directly and/or gain exposure through a credit default swap or other derivative.
A Fund’s investments in CLNs is subject to the risks associated with the underlying reference obligations and derivative instruments, including, among others, credit risk, default or similar event risk, counterparty risk, interest rate risk, leverage risk and management risk.
Equity-Linked Notes. Certain funds may invest in structured investments known as equity-linked notes (“ELNs”). ELNs are hybrid derivative-type instruments that are designed to combine the characteristics of one or more reference securities (e.g., a single stock, a stock index or a basket of stocks (“underlying securities”)) and a related equity derivative. ELNs are structured as notes that are issued by
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counterparties, including banks, broker-dealers or their affiliates, and are designed to offer a return linked to the underlying securities within the ELN. ELNs can provide a Fund with an efficient investment tool that may be less expensive than investing directly in the underlying securities and the related equity derivative.
Generally, when purchasing an ELN, a Fund pays the counterparty the current value of the underlying securities plus a commission. Upon the maturity of the note, the Fund generally receives the par value of the note plus a return based on the appreciation of the underlying securities. If the underlying securities have depreciated in value or if their price fluctuates outside of a preset range, depending on the type of ELN in which the Fund invested, the Fund may receive only the principal amount of the note, or may lose the principal invested in the ELN entirely.
ELNs are available with an assortment of features, such as periodic coupon payments (e.g., monthly, quarterly or semiannually), varied participation rates (the rate at which a Fund participates in the appreciation of the underlying securities), limitations on the appreciation potential of the underlying securities by a maximum payment or call right, and different protection levels on a Fund’s principal investment. In addition, when the underlying securities are foreign securities or indices, an ELN may be priced with or without currency exposure. A Fund may engage in all types of ELNs, including those that: (1) provide for protection of the Fund’s principal in exchange for limited participation in the appreciation of the underlying securities, and (2) do not provide for such protection and subject the Fund to the risk of loss of the Fund’s principal investment.
Investing in ELNs may be more costly to a Fund than if the Fund had invested in the underlying instruments directly. Investments in ELNs often have risks similar to the underlying instruments, which include market risk and, as applicable, foreign securities and currency risk. In addition, since ELNs are in note form, ELNs are also subject to certain debt securities risks, such as credit or counterparty risk. Should the prices of the underlying instruments move in an unexpected manner, a Fund may not achieve the anticipated benefits of an investment in an ELN, and may realize losses, which could be significant and could include the entire principal investment. Investments in ELNs are also subject to liquidity risk, which may make ELNs difficult to sell and value. A lack of liquidity may also cause the value of the ELN to decline. In addition, ELNs may exhibit price behavior that does not correlate with the underlying securities.
ELN investments are subject to the risk that issuers and/or counterparties will fail to make payments when due or default completely. Prices of these investments may be adversely affected if any of the issuers or counterparties it is invested in are subject to an actual or perceived deterioration in their credit quality.
If the ELN is held to maturity, the issuer would pay to the purchaser the underlying instrument’s value at maturity with any necessary adjustments. The holder of an ELN that is linked to a particular underlying security or instrument may be entitled to receive dividends paid in connection with that underlying equity security, but typically does not receive voting rights as it would if it directly owned the underlying equity security. In addition, there can be no assurance that there will be a trading market for an ELN or that the trading price of the ELN will equal the underlying value of the instruments that it seeks to replicate. Unlike a direct investment in equity securities, ELNs typically involve a term or expiration date, potentially increasing the Fund’s turnover rate, transaction costs and tax liability.
Participation Notes and Participatory Notes. Certain Funds may invest in instruments that have similar economic characteristics to equity securities, such as participation notes (also known as participatory notes (“P-notes”)) or other structured instruments that may be developed from time to time (“structured instruments”). Structured instruments are notes that are issued by banks, broker-dealers or their affiliates and are designed to offer a return linked to a particular underlying equity or market.
If the structured instrument were held to maturity, the issuer would pay to the purchaser the underlying instrument’s value at maturity with any necessary adjustments. The holder of a structured instrument that is linked to a particular underlying security or instrument may be entitled to receive dividends paid in connection with that underlying security or instrument, but typically does not receive voting rights as it would if it directly owned the underlying security or instrument. Structured instruments have transaction costs. In addition, there can be no assurance that there will be a trading market for a structured instrument or that the trading price of a structured instrument will equal the underlying value of the security, instrument or market that it seeks to replicate. Unlike a direct investment in equity securities, structured instruments typically involve a term or expiration date, potentially increasing the Fund’s turnover rate, transaction costs and tax liability.
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Due to transfer restrictions, the secondary markets on which a structured instrument is traded may be less liquid than the market for other securities, or may be completely illiquid, which may expose the Fund to risks of mispricing or improper valuation. Structured instruments typically constitute general unsecured contractual obligations of the banks, broker-dealers or their relevant affiliates that issue them, which subjects the Fund to counterparty risk (and this risk may be amplified if the Fund purchases structured instruments from only a small number of issuers). Structured instruments also have the same risks associated with a direct investment in the underlying securities, instruments or markets that they seek to replicate.
Swaps and Related Swap Products
Swap transactions may include, but are not limited to, interest rate swaps, currency swaps, cross-currency interest rate swaps, forward rate agreements, contracts for differences, total return swaps, index swaps, basket swaps, specific security swaps, fixed income sectors swaps, commodity swaps, asset-backed swaps (ABX), commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS) and indexes of CMBS (CMBX), credit default swaps, interest rate caps, price lock swaps, floors and collars and swaptions (collectively defined as “swap transactions”).
A Fund may enter into swap transactions for any legal purpose consistent with its investment objective and policies, such as for the purpose of attempting to obtain or preserve a particular return or spread at a lower cost than obtaining that return or spread through purchases and/or sales of instruments in cash markets, to protect against currency fluctuations, to protect against any increase in the price of securities a Fund anticipates purchasing at a later date, or to gain exposure to certain markets in the most economical way possible.
Swap agreements are two-party contracts entered into primarily by institutional counterparties for periods ranging from a few weeks to several years. They may be bilaterally negotiated between the two parties (referred to as OTC swaps) or traded over an exchange. In a standard swap transaction, two parties agree to exchange the returns (or differentials in rates of return) that would be earned or realized on specified notional investments or instruments. The gross returns to be exchanged or “swapped” between the parties are calculated by reference to a “notional amount,” i.e., the return on or increase in value of a particular dollar amount invested at a particular interest rate, in a particular foreign currency or commodity, or in a “basket” of securities representing a particular index. The purchaser of an interest rate cap or floor, upon payment of a fee, has the right to receive payments (and the seller of the cap or floor is obligated to make payments) to the extent a specified interest rate exceeds (in the case of a cap) or is less than (in the case of a floor) a specified level over a specified period of time or at specified dates. The purchaser of an interest rate collar, upon payment of a fee, has the right to receive payments (and the seller of the collar is obligated to make payments) to the extent that a specified interest rate falls outside an agreed upon range over a specified period of time or at specified dates. The purchaser of an option on an interest rate swap, also known as a “swaption,” upon payment of a fee (either at the time of purchase or in the form of higher payments or lower receipts within an interest rate swap transaction) has the right, but not the obligation, to initiate a new swap transaction of a pre-specified notional amount with pre-specified terms with the seller of the swaption as the counterparty.
The “notional amount” of a swap transaction is the agreed upon basis for calculating the payments that the parties have agreed to exchange. For example, one swap counterparty may agree to pay a floating rate of interest (e.g., 3 month LIBOR) calculated based on a $10 million notional amount on a quarterly basis in exchange for receipt of payments calculated based on the same notional amount and a fixed rate of interest on a semi-annual basis. In the event a Fund is obligated to make payments more frequently than it receives payments from the other party, it will incur incremental credit exposure to that swap counterparty. This risk may be mitigated somewhat by the use of swap agreements which call for a net payment to be made by the party with the larger payment obligation when the obligations of the parties fall due on the same date. Under most swap agreements entered into by a Fund, payments by the parties will be exchanged on a “net basis,” and a Fund will receive or pay, as the case may be, only the net amount of the two payments.
The amount of a Fund’s potential gain or loss on any swap transaction is not subject to any fixed limit. Nor is there any fixed limit on a Fund’s potential loss if it sells a cap or collar. If a Fund buys a cap, floor or collar, however, the Fund’s potential loss is limited to the amount of the fee that it has paid. When measured against the initial amount of cash required to initiate the transaction, which is typically zero in the case of most conventional swap transactions, swaps, caps, floors and collars tend to be more volatile than many other types of instruments.
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The use of swap transactions, caps, floors and collars involves investment techniques and risks that are different from those associated with portfolio security transactions. If a Fund’s Adviser is incorrect in its forecasts of market values, interest rates, and other applicable factors, the investment performance of the Fund will be less favorable than if these techniques had not been used. These instruments are typically not traded on exchanges. Accordingly, there is a risk that the other party to certain of these instruments will not perform its obligations to a Fund or that a Fund may be unable to enter into offsetting positions to terminate its exposure or liquidate its position under certain of these instruments when it wishes to do so. Such occurrences could result in losses to a Fund. A Fund’s Adviser will consider such risks and will enter into swap and other derivatives transactions only when it believes that the risks are not unreasonable.
A Fund will earmark and reserve Fund assets, in cash or liquid securities, in an amount sufficient at all times to cover its current obligations under its swap transactions, caps, floors and collars. If a Fund enters into a swap agreement on a net basis, it will earmark and reserve assets with a daily value at least equal to the excess, if any, of a Fund’s accrued obligations under the swap agreement over the accrued amount a Fund is entitled to receive under the agreement. If a Fund enters into a swap agreement on other than a net basis, or sells a cap, floor or collar, it will earmark and reserve assets with a daily value at least equal to the full amount of a Fund’s accrued obligations under the agreement. A Fund will not enter into any swap transaction, cap, floor, or collar, unless the counterparty to the transaction is deemed creditworthy by the Fund’s Adviser. If a counterparty defaults, a Fund may have contractual remedies pursuant to the agreements related to the transaction. The swap markets in which many types of swap transactions are traded have grown substantially in recent years, with a large number of banks and investment banking firms acting both as principals and as agents utilizing standardized swap documentation. As a result, the markets for certain types of swaps (e.g., interest rate swaps) have become relatively liquid. The markets for some types of caps, floors and collars are less liquid.
The liquidity of swap transactions, caps, floors and collars will be as set forth in guidelines established by a Fund’s Adviser and approved by the Trustees which are based on various factors, including: (1) the availability of dealer quotations and the estimated transaction volume for the instrument, (2) the number of dealers and end users for the instrument in the marketplace, (3) the level of market making by dealers in the type of instrument, (4) the nature of the instrument (including any right of a party to terminate it on demand) and (5) the nature of the marketplace for trades (including the ability to assign or offset a Fund’s rights and obligations relating to the instrument). Such determination will govern whether the instrument will be deemed within the applicable liquidity restriction on investments in securities that are not readily marketable.
During the term of a swap, cap, floor or collar, changes in the value of the instrument are recognized as unrealized gains or losses by marking to market to reflect the market value of the instrument. When the instrument is terminated, a Fund will record a realized gain or loss equal to the difference, if any, between the proceeds from (or cost of) the closing transaction and a Fund’s basis in the contract.
The federal income tax treatment with respect to swap transactions, caps, floors, and collars may impose limitations on the extent to which a Fund may engage in such transactions.
Under the Dodd-Frank Act, certain swaps that were historically traded OTC must now be traded on an exchange or facility regulated by the CFTC and/or centrally cleared (central clearing interposes a central clearing house to each participant’s swap). Exchange trading and central clearing are intended to reduce counterparty credit risk and increase liquidity and transparency, but they do not make swap transactions risk-free. Moving trading to an exchange-type system may increase market transparency and liquidity but may require Funds to incur increased expenses to access the same types of cleared and uncleared swaps. Moreover, depending on the size of a Fund and other factors, the margin required under the clearinghouse rules and by a clearing member may be in excess of the collateral required to be posted by the Fund to support its obligations under a similar uncleared swap. But applicable regulators have also adopted rules imposing margin requirements, including minimums, on uncleared swaps, which may result in a Fund and its counterparties posting higher margin amounts for uncleared swaps as well. Recently adopted rules also require centralized reporting of detailed information about many types of cleared and uncleared swaps. Swaps data reporting may result in greater market transparency, but may subject a Fund to additional administrative burdens, and the safeguards established to protect trader anonymity may not function as expected. Implementing these new exchange trading, central clearing, margin and data reporting regulations may increase Fund’s cost of hedging risk and, as a result, may affect returns to Fund investors.
Credit Default Swaps. As described above, swap agreements are two party contracts entered into primarily by institutional investors for periods ranging from a few weeks to more than one year. In the case of a credit default swap (“CDS”), the contract gives one party (the buyer) the right to recoup the economic
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value of a decline in the value of debt securities of the reference issuer if the credit event (a downgrade or default) occurs. This value is obtained by delivering a debt security of the reference issuer to the party in return for a previously agreed payment from the other party (frequently, the par value of the debt security). CDS include credit default swaps, which are contracts on individual securities, and credit default swap indices (“CDX”), which are contracts on baskets or indices of securities.
Credit default swaps may require initial premium (discount) payments as well as periodic payments (receipts) related to the interest leg of the swap or to the default of a reference obligation. Under current SEC and staff requirements, in cases where a Fund is a seller of a CDS contract including a CDX contract, the Fund will segregate or earmark liquid assets equal the notional amount of the contract. Furthermore, a Fund will segregate or earmark liquid assets to cover any accrued payment obligations when it is the buyer of a CDS including CDX. In calculating the amount to be segregated for this purpose, the Fund is not considered to have an accrued payment obligation when it is the buyer of a CDS including a CDX when the contract is in a gain position as no additional amounts are owed to the counterparty. In cases where a Fund is a buyer of a CDS contract including a CDX contract, the Fund will segregate or earmark liquid assets equal to the mark-to-market value when the contract is in a loss position.
If a Fund is a seller of protection under a CDS contract, the Fund would be required to pay the par (or other agreed upon) value of a referenced debt obligation to the counterparty in the event of a default or other credit event by the reference issuer, such as a U.S. or foreign corporate issuer, with respect to such debt obligations. In return, a Fund would receive from the counterparty a periodic stream of payments over the term of the contract provided that no event of default has occurred. If no default occurs, a Fund would keep the stream of payments and would have no payment obligations. As the seller, a Fund would be subject to investment exposure on the notional amount of the swap.
If a Fund is a buyer of protection under a CDS contract, the Fund would have the right to deliver a referenced debt obligation and receive the par (or other agreed-upon) value of such debt obligation from the counterparty in the event of a default or other credit event (such as a downgrade in credit rating) by the reference issuer, such as a U.S. or foreign corporation, with respect to its debt obligations. In return, the Fund would pay the counterparty a periodic stream of payments over the term of the contract provided that no event of default has occurred. If no default occurs, the counterparty would keep the stream of payments and would have no further obligations to the Fund.
The use of CDSs, like all swap agreements, is subject to certain risks. If a counterparty’s creditworthiness declines, the value of the swap would likely decline. Moreover, there is no guarantee that a Fund could eliminate its exposure under an outstanding swap agreement by entering into an offsetting swap agreement with the same or another party. In addition to general market risks, CDSs involve liquidity, credit and counterparty risks. The recent increase in corporate defaults further raises these liquidity and credit risks, increasing the possibility that sellers will not have sufficient funds to make payments. As unregulated instruments, CDSs are difficult to value and are therefore susceptible to liquidity and credit risks. Counterparty risks also stem from the lack of regulation of CDSs. Collateral posting requirements are individually negotiated between counterparties and there is no regulatory requirement concerning the amount of collateral that a counterparty must post to secure its obligations under a CDS. Because they are unregulated, there is no requirement that parties to a contract be informed in advance when a CDS is sold. As a result, investors may have difficulty identifying the party responsible for payment of their claims.
If a counterparty’s credit becomes significantly impaired, multiple requests for collateral posting in a short period of time could increase the risk that the Fund may not receive adequate collateral. There is no readily available market for trading out of CDS contracts. In order to eliminate a position it has taken in a CDS, the Fund must terminate the existing CDS contract or enter into an offsetting trade. The Fund may only exit its obligations under a CDS contract by terminating the contract and paying applicable breakage fees, which could result in additional losses to the Fund. Furthermore, the cost of entering into an offsetting CDS position could cause the Fund to incur losses.
Under the Dodd-Frank Act, certain CDS indices are subject to mandatory central cleaning and exchange trading, which may reduce counterparty credit risk and increase liquidity compared to other credit default swap or CDS index transactions.
Synthetic Variable Rate Instruments
Synthetic variable rate instruments generally involve the deposit of a long-term tax exempt bond in a custody or trust arrangement and the creation of a mechanism to adjust the long-term interest rate on the bond to a variable short-term rate and a right (subject to certain conditions) on the part of the purchaser to
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tender it periodically to a third party at par. A Fund’s Adviser reviews the structure of synthetic variable rate instruments to identify credit and liquidity risks (including the conditions under which the right to tender the instrument would no longer be available) and will monitor those risks. In the event that the right to tender the instrument is no longer available, the risk to the Fund will be that of holding the long-term bond. In the case of some types of instruments credit enhancement is not provided, and if certain events occur, which may include (a) default in the payment of principal or interest on the underlying bond, (b) downgrading of the bond below investment grade or (c) a loss of the bond’s tax exempt status, then the put will terminate and the risk to the Fund will be that of holding a long-term bond.
Total Annual Fund Operating Expenses set forth in the fee table and Financial Highlights section of each Fund’s Prospectuses do not include any expenses associated with investments in certain structured or synthetic products that may rely on the exception for the definition of “investment company” provided by section 3(c)(1) or 3(c)(7) of the 1940 Act.
Treasury Receipts
A Fund may purchase interests in separately traded interest and principal component parts of U.S. Treasury obligations that are issued by banks or brokerage firms and are created by depositing U.S. Treasury notes and U.S. Treasury bonds into a special account at a custodian bank. Receipts include Treasury Receipts (“TRs”), Treasury Investment Growth Receipts (“TIGRs”), and Certificates of Accrual on Treasury Securities (“CATS”). Receipts in which an entity other than the government separates the interest and principal components are not considered government securities unless such securities are issued through the Treasury Separate Trading of Registered Interest and Principal of Securities (“STRIPS”) program.
Trust Preferred Securities
Certain Funds may purchase trust preferred securities, also known as “trust preferreds,” which are preferred stocks issued by a special purpose trust subsidiary backed by subordinated debt of the corporate parent. An issuer creates trust preferred securities by creating a trust and issuing debt to the trust. The trust in turn issues trust preferred securities. Trust preferred securities are hybrid securities with characteristics of both subordinated debt and preferred stock. Such characteristics include long maturities (typically 30 years or more), early redemption by the issuer, periodic fixed or variable interest payments, and maturities at face value. In addition, trust preferred securities issued by a bank holding company may allow deferral of interest payments for up to 5 years. Holders of trust preferred securities have limited voting rights to control the activities of the trust and no voting rights with respect to the parent company.
U.S. Government Obligations
U.S. government obligations may include direct obligations of the U.S. Treasury, including Treasury bills, notes and bonds, all of which are backed as to principal and interest payments by the full faith and credit of the U.S., and separately traded principal and interest component parts of such obligations that are transferable through the Federal book-entry system known as STRIPS and Coupons Under Book Entry Safekeeping (“CUBES”). The Funds may also invest in TIPS. U.S. government obligations are subject to market risk, interest rate risk and credit risk.
The principal and interest components of U.S. Treasury bonds with remaining maturities of longer than ten years are eligible to be traded independently under the STRIPS program. 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. The interest component of STRIPS may be more volatile than that of U.S. Treasury bills with comparable maturities.
Other obligations include those issued or guaranteed by U.S. government agencies, GSEs or instrumentalities. These obligations may or may not be backed by the “full faith and credit” of the U.S. Securities which are backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. include obligations of the Government National Mortgage Association, the Farmers Home Administration, and the Export-Import Bank. In the case of securities not backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S., the Funds must look principally to the federal agency issuing or guaranteeing the obligation for ultimate repayment and may not be able to assert a claim against the U.S. itself in the event the agency or instrumentality does not meet its commitments. Securities in which the Funds may invest that are not backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. include, but are not limited to: (i) obligations of the Tennessee Valley Authority, the Federal Home Loan Banks and the U.S. Postal Service, each of which has the right to borrow from the U.S. Treasury to meet its obligations; (ii) securities issued by Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, which are supported only by the credit
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of such securities, but for which the Secretary of the Treasury has discretionary authority to purchase limited amounts of the agency’s obligations; and (iii) obligations of the Federal Farm Credit System and the Student Loan Marketing Association, each of whose obligations may be satisfied only by the individual credits of the issuing agency.
The total public debt of the United States and other countries around the globe as a percent of gross domestic product has grown rapidly since the beginning of the 2008 financial downturn and has accelerated in connection with the U.S. government's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Although high debt levels do not necessarily indicate or cause economic problems, they may create certain systemic risks if sound debt management practices are not implemented. A high national debt level may increase market pressures to meet government funding needs, which may drive debt cost higher and cause a country to sell additional debt, thereby increasing refinancing risk. A high national debt also raises concerns that a government will not be able to make principal or interest payments when they are due. Unsustainable debt levels can cause devaluations of currency, prevent a government from implementing effective counter-cyclical fiscal policy in economic downturns, and contribute to market volatility. In addition, the high and rising national debt may adversely impact the U.S. economy and securities in which the Fund may invest. From time to time, uncertainty regarding the status of negotiations in the U.S. government to increase the statutory debt ceiling could: increase the risk that the U.S. government may default on payments on certain U.S. government securities; cause the credit rating of the U.S. government to be downgraded or increase volatility in both stock and bond markets; result in higher interest rates; reduce prices of U.S. Treasury securities; and/or increase the costs of certain kinds of debt.
In the past, U.S. sovereign credit has experienced downgrades and there can be no guarantee that it will not experience further downgrades in the future by rating agencies. The market prices and yields of securities supported by the full faith and credit of the U.S. Government may be adversely affected by a rating agency’s decision to downgrade the sovereign credit rating of the United States.
When-Issued Securities, Delayed Delivery Securities and Forward Commitments
Securities may be purchased on a when-issued or delayed delivery basis. For example, delivery of and payment for these securities can take place a month or more after the date of the purchase commitment. The purchase price and the interest rate payable, if any, on the securities are fixed on the purchase commitment date or at the time the settlement date is fixed. The value of such securities is subject to market fluctuation, and for money market instruments and other fixed income securities, no interest accrues to a Fund until settlement takes place. At the time a Fund makes the commitment to purchase securities on a when-issued or delayed delivery basis, it will record the transaction, reflect the value each day of such securities in determining its NAV and, if applicable, calculate the maturity for the purposes of average maturity from that date. At the time of settlement, a when-issued security may be valued at less than the purchase price. To facilitate such acquisitions, each Fund will earmark and reserve Fund assets, in cash or liquid securities, in an amount at least equal to such commitments. On delivery dates for such transactions, each Fund will meet its obligations from maturities or sales of the securities earmarked and reserved for such purpose and/or from cash flow. If a Fund chooses to dispose of the right to acquire a when-issued security prior to its acquisition, it could, as with the disposition of any other portfolio obligation, incur a gain or loss due to market fluctuation. Also, a Fund may be disadvantaged if the other party to the transaction defaults.
Forward Commitments. Securities may be purchased for delivery at a future date, which may increase their overall investment exposure and involves a risk of loss if the value of the securities declines prior to the settlement date. In order to invest a Fund’s assets immediately, while awaiting delivery of securities purchased on a forward commitment basis, short-term obligations that offer same-day settlement and earnings will normally be purchased. When a Fund makes a commitment to purchase a security on a forward commitment basis, cash or liquid securities equal to the amount of such Fund’s commitments will be reserved for payment of the commitment. For the purpose of determining the adequacy of the securities reserved for payment of commitments, the reserved securities will be valued at market value. If the market value of such securities declines, additional cash, cash equivalents or highly liquid securities will be reserved for payment of the commitment so that the value of the Fund’s assets reserved for payment of the commitments will equal the amount of such commitments purchased by the respective Fund.
Purchases of securities on a forward commitment basis may involve more risk than other types of purchases. Securities purchased on a forward commitment basis and the securities held in the respective Fund’s portfolio are subject to changes in value based upon the public’s perception of the issuer and changes, real or anticipated, in the level of interest rates. Purchasing securities on a forward commitment basis can involve the risk that the yields available in the market when the delivery takes place may actually
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be higher or lower than those obtained in the transaction itself. On the settlement date of the forward commitment transaction, the respective Fund will meet its obligations from then-available cash flow, sale of securities reserved for payment of the commitment, sale of other securities or, although it would not normally expect to do so, from sale of the forward commitment securities themselves (which may have a value greater or lesser than such Fund’s payment obligations). The sale of securities to meet such obligations may result in the realization of capital gains or losses. Purchasing securities on a forward commitment basis can also involve the risk of default by the other party on its obligation, delaying or preventing the Fund from recovering the collateral or completing the transaction.
To the extent a Fund engages in forward commitment transactions, it will do so for the purpose of acquiring securities consistent with its investment objective and policies and not for the purpose of investment leverage.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION REGARDING FUND INVESTMENT PRACTICES
ESG Integration
Certain Funds disclose in their prospectuses that the adviser integrates financially material environmental, social, and governance (“ESG”) factors as part of the Fund’s investment process (“ESG Integration”). ESG Integration is the systematic inclusion of ESG issues in investment analysis and investment decisions. ESG Integration does not change a Fund’s investment objective, exclude specific types of companies or constrain a Fund’s investable universe. Environmental issues are defined as issues related to the quality and function of the natural environment and natural systems. Some examples include greenhouse gas emissions, climate change resilience, pollution (air, water, noise, and light), biodiversity/habitat protection and waste management. Social issues are defined as issues related to the rights, wellbeing and interests of people and communities. Some examples include workplace safety, cybersecurity and data privacy, human rights, local stakeholder relationships, and discrimination prevention. Governance issues are issues related to the way companies are managed and overseen. Some examples include independence of chair/board, fiduciary duty, board diversity, executive compensation and bribery and corruption. These examples of ESG issues are provided for illustrative purposes only and are not exhaustive. In addition, as ESG Integration focuses on financial materiality, not all ESG factors are relevant to a particular investment, asset class, or Fund.
ESG Integration for a Fund is dependent upon the availability of sufficient ESG information on the Fund’s investment universe. In addition, in order for a Fund to be considered ESG integrated, JPMIM requires: (1) portfolio management teams to consider proprietary research on the financial materiality of ESG issues on the Fund’s investments; (2) documentation of the adviser’s research views and methodology throughout the investment process; and (3) appropriate monitoring of ESG considerations in ongoing risk management and portfolio monitoring. ESG determinations may not be conclusive and securities of companies /issuers may be purchased and retained, without limit, by the adviser regardless of potential ESG impact. The impact of ESG Integration on a Fund’s performance is not specifically measurable as investment decisions are discretionary regardless of ESG considerations.
Investments in the Asia Pacific Region
The economies in the Asia Pacific region are in all stages of economic development and may be intertwined. The small size of securities markets and the low trading volume in some countries in the Asia Pacific region may lead to a lack of liquidity. The share prices of companies in the region tend to be volatile and there is a significant possibility of loss. Many of the countries in the region are developing, both politically and economically, and as a result companies in the region may be subject to risks like nationalization or other forms of government interference, and/or may be heavily reliant on only a few industries or commodities. Investments in the region may also be subject to currency risks, such as restrictions on the flow of money in and out of the country, extreme volatility relative to the U.S. dollar, and devaluation, all of which could decrease the value of a Fund.
Investments in the European Market
Some of the Funds may invest in securities in the European Market. A Fund’s performance will be affected by political, social and economic conditions in Europe, such as growth of the economic output (the gross national product), the rate of inflation, the rate at which capital is reinvested into European economies, the success of governmental actions to reduce budget deficits, the resource self-sufficiency of European countries and interest and monetary exchange rates between European countries. European financial markets may experience volatility due to concerns about high government debt levels, credit
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rating downgrades, rising unemployment, the future of the euro as a common currency, possible restructuring of government debt and other government measures responding to those concerns, and fiscal and monetary controls imposed on member countries of the European Union. The risk of investing in Europe may be heightened due to steps taken by the United Kingdom to exit the European Union. On January 31, 2020, the United Kingdom officially withdrew from the European Union. On December 30, 2020, the European Union and the United Kingdom signed the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement (“TCA”), an agreement on the terms governing certain aspects of the European Union’s and the United Kingdom’s relationship, many of which are still to be determined, including those related to financial services. Notwithstanding the TCA, significant uncertainty remains in the market regarding the ramifications of the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union. The impact on the United Kingdom and European economies and the broader global economy could be significant, resulting in increased volatility and illiquidity, currency fluctuations, impacts on arrangements for trading and on other existing cross-border cooperation arrangements (whether economic, tax, fiscal, legal, regulatory or otherwise), and in potentially lower growth for companies in the United Kingdom, Europe and globally, which could have an adverse effect on the value of a Fund’s investments. In addition, if one or more other countries were to exit the European Union or abandon the use of the euro as a currency, the value of investments tied to those countries or the euro could decline significantly and unpredictably.
Investments in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico
The Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and certain of its instrumentalities are currently experiencing financial difficulties, including persistent government budget deficits, significant debt service obligations, underfunded government retirement systems, a high unemployment rate and tax erosion from significant out-migration. Since 2017, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico has received bankruptcy-like protections from debt and unfunded pension obligations. In addition, Puerto Rico is prone to severe weather events and natural disasters. In September 2017, Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico, causing major damage to its water, power, and telecommunications infrastructure. Hurricane Maria and other severe weather events or natural disasters that may occur in the future could have a significant and long-lasting adverse impact on Puerto Rico’s economy.
The COVID-19 pandemic and the related governmental and public responses have had, and may continue to have, an adverse effect on Puerto Rico’s economy. Preventative or protective actions that governments have taken, and may continue to take, as a result of the pandemic has resulted in, and may continue to result in, periods of business disruption and reduced or disrupted operations, which could have long-term negative economic effects on Puerto Rico’s economy and Puerto Rico and local government budgets. Although vaccines for COVID-19 have been approved for emergency use, the timing of the administration of vaccines and the continued risk of variants or mutations of COVID-19, among other factors, make it impossible to predict the timing of an end to the pandemic.
A Fund’s investments in municipal securities may be affected by political and economic developments within the applicable municipality and by the financial condition of the municipality. Certain of the issuers in which a Fund may invest have recently experienced, or may experience, significant financial difficulties. For example, Puerto Rico, in particular, has been experiencing significant financial difficulties and has entered bankruptcy-like proceedings allowing it to halt debt payments pending the restructuring of its debt. A default by issuers of Puerto Rico municipal securities on their obligations under securities held by a Fund may adversely affect the Fund and cause the Fund to lose the value of its investment in such securities.
An insolvent municipality may take steps to reorganize its debt, which might include extending debt maturities, reducing the amount of principal or interest, refinancing the debt or taking other measures that may significantly affect the rights of creditors and the value of the securities issued by the municipality and the value of a Fund’s investments in those securities. Pursuant to Chapter 9 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code, certain municipalities that meet specific conditions may be provided protection from creditors while they develop and negotiate plans for reorganizing their debts. The U.S. Bankruptcy Code provides that individual U.S. states are not permitted to pass their own laws purporting to bind non-consenting creditors to a restructuring of a municipality’s indebtedness, and thus all such restructurings must be pursuant to Chapter 9 of the Bankruptcy Code.
Municipal bankruptcies are relatively rare, and certain provisions of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code governing such bankruptcies are unclear and remain untested. Although Puerto Rico is a U.S. Territory, neither Puerto Rico nor its subdivisions or agencies are eligible to file under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code in order to seek protection from creditors or restructure their debt. In June 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Puerto Rico legislation that would have allowed certain Puerto Rico public corporations to seek
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protection from creditors and to restructure their debt was unconstitutional. In the same month, the U.S. Congress passed the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management and Economic Stability Act (“PROMESA”), which established a federally-appointed fiscal oversight board (“Oversight Board”) to oversee Puerto Rico’s financial operations and possible debt restructuring. On May 3, 2017, the Oversight Board filed a debt restructuring petition in the U.S. District Court in Puerto Rico to seek bankruptcy-like protections from, at the time of the filing, approximately $74 billion in debt and approximately $48 billion in unfunded pension obligations. In addition to the debt restructuring petition filed on behalf of Puerto Rico, in May 2017, the Oversight Board separately filed debt restructuring petitions for certain Puerto Rico instrumentalities, including the Puerto Rico Highways and Transportation Authority (“HTA”), Puerto Rico Sales Tax Financing Corporation (“COFINA”), Puerto Rico Electric and Power Authority (“PREPA”) and Employee Retirement System. In February 2019, a federal judge approved a Plan of Adjustment reducing COFINA debt from $18 billion to $6 billion. More recently, on January 18, 2022, a federal judge approved a Plan of Adjustment under which the largest portion of Puerto Rico’s debt would be reduced from $33 billion to $7.4 billion. There continue to be ongoing efforts to restructure the debt of certain Puerto Rico instrumentalities, including $6 billion of HTA debt and $9 billion of PREPA debt. There can be no assurances that these debt restructuring efforts will be effective or that Puerto Rico will be able to service debt payments following the completion of the debt restructuring. In addition, any restructurings approved by a federal court could be appealed and overturned. The mediation process and certain litigation is ongoing with respect to certain municipal securities issued by Puerto Rico and its political subdivisions, instrumentalities and authorities. It is not presently possible to predict the results of this mediation and litigation, but such outcomes will have a significant impact on bondholders of those municipal securities. Further legislation by the U.S. Congress, or actions by the oversight board established by PROMESA, or court approval of an unfavorable debt restructuring deal could have a negative impact on the marketability, liquidity or value of certain investments held by a Fund and could reduce a Fund’s performance.
Investments in the Greater China Region
Investing in Mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan (collectively, “the China Region”) involves a high degree of risk and special considerations not typically associated with investing in other more established economies or securities markets. Such risks may include: (a) the risk of nationalization or expropriation of assets or confiscatory taxation; (b) greater social, economic and political uncertainty (including the risk of war); (c) dependency on exports and the corresponding importance of international trade; (d) the increasing competition from Asia’s other low-cost emerging economies; (e) greater price volatility and significantly smaller market capitalization of securities markets, particularly in Mainland China; (f) substantially less liquidity, particularly of certain share classes of Mainland Chinese securities; (g) currency exchange rate fluctuations and the lack of available currency hedging instruments; (h) higher rates of inflation; (i) controls on foreign investment and limitations on repatriation of invested capital and on a Fund’s ability to exchange local currencies for U.S. dollars; (j) greater governmental involvement in and control over the economy; (k) the risk that the Mainland 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; (l) the fact that China Region companies, particularly those located in Mainland China, may be smaller, less seasoned and newly organized companies; (m) the difference in, or lack of, auditing and financial reporting standards which may result in unavailability of material information about issuers, particularly in Mainland China; (n) the fact that statistical information regarding the economy of Mainland China may be inaccurate or not comparable to statistical information regarding the U.S. or other economies; (o) the less extensive, and still developing, regulation of the securities markets, business entities and commercial transactions; (p) the fact that the settlement period of securities transactions in foreign markets may be longer; (q) the willingness and ability of the Mainland Chinese government to support the Mainland Chinese and Hong Kong economies and markets is uncertain; (r) the risk that it may be more difficult, or impossible, to obtain and/or enforce a judgment than in other countries; (s) the rapidity and erratic nature of growth, particularly in Mainland China, resulting in inefficiencies and dislocations; (t) the risk of embargoes, sanctions, investment restrictions and other trade limitations, including that certain securities are, or may in the future, become restricted, and a Fund may be forced to sell such restricted security and incur a loss as a result; and (u) the risk that, because of the degree of interconnectivity between the economies and financial markets of Mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan, any sizable reduction in the demand for goods from Mainland China, or an economic downturn in Mainland China, could negatively affect the economies and financial markets of Hong Kong and Taiwan, as well.
Investment in the China Region is subject to certain political risks. Following the establishment of the People’s Republic of China (“PRC”) by the Communist Party in 1949, the Mainland Chinese government renounced various debt obligations incurred by Mainland China’s predecessor governments, which
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obligations remain in default, and expropriated assets without compensation. There can be no assurance that the Mainland Chinese government will not take similar action in the future. An investment in a Fund involves risk of a total loss. The political reunification of Mainland China and Taiwan is a highly problematic issue and is unlikely to be settled in the near future. This situation poses a threat to Taiwan’s economy and could negatively affect its stock market. Mainland China has committed by treaty to preserve Hong Kong’s autonomy and its economic, political and social freedoms for fifty years from the July 1, 1997 transfer of sovereignty from Great Britain to Mainland China. However, if Mainland China would exert its authority so as to alter the economic, political or legal structures or the existing social policy of Hong Kong, investor and business confidence in Hong Kong could be negatively affected, which in turn could negatively affect markets and business performance.
As with all transition economies, Mainland China’s ability to develop and sustain a credible legal, regulatory, monetary, and socioeconomic system could influence the course of outside investment. Hong Kong is closely tied to Mainland China, economically and through China’s 1997 acquisition of the country as a Special Autonomous Region (SAR). Hong Kong’s success depends, in large part, on its ability to retain the legal, financial, and monetary systems that allow economic freedom and market expansion. In addition to the risks inherent in investing in the emerging markets, the risks of investing in Mainland China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan merit special consideration.
People’s Republic of China. The government of the PRC is dominated by the one-party rule of the Chinese Communist Party.
Mainland China’s economy has transitioned from a rigidly central-planned state-run economy to one that has been only partially reformed by more market-oriented policies. Although the Mainland Chinese government has implemented economic reform measures, reduced state ownership of companies and established better corporate governance practices, a substantial portion of productive assets in Mainland China are still owned by the Mainland Chinese government. The government continues to exercise significant control over regulating industrial development and, ultimately, control over Mainland China’s economic growth through the allocation of resources, controlling payment of foreign currency denominated obligations, setting monetary policy and providing preferential treatment to particular industries or companies.
Following years of steady growth, the pace of growth of Mainland China’s economy has relatively slowed, partly as a result of the government’s attempts to shift the economy away from export manufacturing and towards domestic consumption and to prevent the overheating of certain sectors. The slow down subjects Mainland China’s economy to significant risks, including economic, social, and political risks. Additionally, Mainland China’s economy remains heavily dependent on exports. The imposition of tariffs or other trade barriers or a downturn in the economy of a significant trading partner could adversely impact Mainland Chinese companies. Over the long term, Mainland China’s major challenges include dealing with its aging infrastructure, worsening environmental conditions and rapidly widening urban and rural income gap.
As with all transition economies, Mainland China’s ability to develop and sustain a credible legal, regulatory, monetary, and socioeconomic system could influence the course of outside investment. The Mainland Chinese legal system, in particular, constitutes a significant risk factor for investors. The Mainland Chinese legal system is based on statutes. Since the late 1970s, Chinese legislative bodies have promulgated laws and regulations dealing with various economic matters such as foreign investment, corporate organization and governance, commerce, taxation, and trade. However, despite the expanding body of law in Mainland China, legal precedent and published court decisions based on these laws are limited and non-binding. The interpretation and enforcement of these laws and regulations are uncertain.
Hong Kong. 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 in certain matters until 2047, while defense and foreign affairs are the responsibility of the central government in Beijing. The chief executive of Hong Kong is appointed by the Mainland Chinese government. 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. The Basic Law guarantees existing freedoms, including free speech and assembly, press, religion, and the right to strike and travel. Business ownership, private property, the right of inheritance and foreign investment are also protected by law. Mainland China has committed by treaty to preserve Hong Kong’s autonomy until 2047. However, as of July 2020, the Chinese Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress enacted the law of the PRC on Safeguarding National Security in the Hong Kong Special
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Administrative Region. As of the same month, Hong Kong is no longer afforded preferential economic treatment by the United States under U.S. law, and there is uncertainty as to how the economy of Hong Kong will be affected. If Mainland China were to exert its authority so as to alter the economic, political, or legal structures or the existing social policy of Hong Kong, investor and business confidence in Hong Kong could be negatively affected, which in turn could negatively affect markets and business performance.
Taiwan. For decades, a state of hostility has existed between Taiwan and the PRC. Beijing has long deemed Taiwan a part of the “one China” and has made a nationalist cause of recovering it. In the past, Mainland China has staged frequent military provocations off the coast of Taiwan and made threats of full-scale military action. Foreign trade has been the engine of rapid growth in Taiwan and has transformed the island into one of Asia’s great exporting nations. However, investing in Taiwan involves the possibility of the imposition of exchange controls, such as restrictions on the repatriation of Fund investments or on the conversion of local currency into foreign currencies. As an export-oriented economy, Taiwan depends on an open world trade regime and remains vulnerable to downturns in the world economy. Taiwanese companies continue to compete mostly on price, producing generic products or branded merchandise on behalf of multinational companies. Accordingly, these businesses can be particularly vulnerable to currency volatility and increasing competition from neighboring lower-cost countries. Moreover, many Taiwanese companies are heavily invested in Mainland China and other countries throughout Southeast Asia, making them susceptible to political events and economic crises in these parts of the region.
Mainland Chinese operating companies sometimes rely on variable interest entity (“VIE”) structures to raise capital from non-Chinese investors. In a VIE structure, a Mainland China-based operating company establishes an entity (typically offshore) that enters into service and other contracts with the Mainland Chinese company designed to provide economic exposure to the company. The offshore entity then issues exchange-traded shares that are sold to the public, including non-Chinese investors (such as a Fund). Shares of the offshore entity are not equity ownership interests in the Mainland Chinese operating company and therefore the ability of the offshore entity to control the activities at the Mainland Chinese company are limited and the Mainland Chinese company may engage in activities that negatively impact investment value. The VIE structure is designed to provide the offshore entity (and in turn, investors in the entity) with economic exposure to the Mainland Chinese company that replicates equity ownership, without actual equity ownership. VIE structures are used due to Mainland Chinese government prohibitions on foreign ownership of companies in certain industries and it is not clear that the contracts are enforceable or that the structures will otherwise work as intended.
On December 24, 2021, the China Securities Regulatory Commission (“CSRC”) published for consultation the Provisions of the State Council on the Administration of Overseas Securities Offering and Listing by Domestic Companies (Draft for Comments) and Administrative Measures for the Filing of Overseas Securities Offering and Listing by Domestic Companies (Draft for Comments) (together, the “Draft Rules”), which, in effect, require Chinese companies that pursue listings outside of Mainland China, including those that do so using the VIE structure, to make a filing with the CSRC. The Draft Rules propose that companies that are already listed using an existing VIE structure will be grandfathered. Although the Draft Rules effectively signal the CSRC’s acknowledgment of the VIE structure, they are not an endorsement. Further, there is no guarantee that the Draft Rules will ultimately be enacted in their current form and the final version of the Draft Rules may set out more stringent requirements that interfere with the operation of VIE structures by listed Chinese companies. Finally, it is unclear how the Draft Rules, and other laws and regulations promulgated by the CSRC and other government authorities from time to time, might impact Chinese companies that are currently using VIE structures, including how companies operating in "prohibited industries" will be affected, as well as investor appetite for such companies. Despite the Draft Rules and the CSRC’s publications that they do not object to the use of VIE structures for Mainland Chinese companies to raise capital from non-Chinese investors, there is no guarantee that the Mainland Chinese government or a Mainland Chinese regulator will not otherwise interfere with the operation of VIE structures.
Intervention by the Mainland Chinese government with respect to VIE structures could adversely affect the Mainland Chinese operating company’s performance, the enforceability of the offshore entity’s contractual arrangements with the Mainland Chinese company and the value of the offshore entity’s shares. Further, if the Mainland Chinese government determines that the agreements establishing the VIE structure do not comply with Mainland Chinese law and regulations, including those related to prohibitions on foreign ownership, the Mainland Chinese government could subject the Mainland Chinese company to penalties, revocation of business and operating licenses or forfeiture of ownership interests. The offshore entity’s control over the Mainland Chinese company may also be jeopardized if certain legal
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formalities are not observed in connection with the agreements, if the agreements are breached or if the agreements are otherwise determined not to be enforceable. If any of the foregoing were to occur, the market value of a Fund’s associated portfolio holdings would likely fall, causing substantial investment losses for the Fund.
In addition, Mainland Chinese companies listed on U.S. exchanges, including ADRs and companies that rely on VIE structures, may be delisted if they do not meet U.S. accounting standards and auditor oversight requirements. Delisting could significantly decrease the liquidity and value of the securities of these companies, decrease the ability of a Fund to invest in such securities and increase the cost of the Fund if it is required to seek alternative markets in which to invest in such securities.
Securities are listed on either the Shanghai and/or Shenzhen stock exchanges. Securities listed on these exchanges are divided into two classes, A shares, which are mostly limited to domestic investors, and B shares, which are allocated for both international and domestic investors. A Fund’s exposure to securities listed on either the Shanghai or Shenzhen exchanges will initially be through B shares. The government of Mainland China has announced plans to exchange B shares for A shares and to merge the two markets. Such an event may produce greater liquidity and stability for the combined markets. However, it is uncertain whether or the extent to which these plans will be implemented. In addition to B shares, a Fund may also invest in Hong Kong listed H shares, Hong Kong listed Red chips (which are companies owned by Mainland China enterprises, but are listed in Hong Kong), and companies that meet one of the following categories: the company is organized under the laws of, or has a principal office in China (including Hong Kong and Macau) or Taiwan; the principal securities market for the issuer is Mainland China or Taiwan; the issuer derives at least 50% of its total revenues or profits from goods that are produced or sold, investments made, or services performed in Mainland China or Taiwan; or at least 50% of the issuer’s assets are located in Mainland China or Taiwan.
Shanghai-Hong Kong Stock Connect and Shenzhen-Hong Kong Stock Connect. The Funds may invest in certain China A-Shares through the Shanghai-Hong Kong Stock Connect program or the Shenzhen-Hong Kong Stock Connect Program (the “Programs”). The Programs are securities trading and clearing linked programs 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 an objective to achieve mutual stock market access between Mainland China and Hong Kong. The Programs will allow foreign investors to trade certain SSE and SZSE listed China A-Shares through Hong Kong based brokers.
Trading through the Programs are subject to various risks described below, including liquidity risk, currency risk, legal and regulatory uncertainty risk, execution risk, operational risk, tax risk, counterparty risk and credit risk.
Securities purchased under each Program generally may not be sold, purchased or otherwise transferred other than through that Program in accordance with applicable rules. While each Program is not subject to individual investment quotas, daily investment quotas apply to all Program participants, which may restrict or preclude the Fund’s ability to purchase particular securities at a particular time. In addition, securities purchased through the Programs are subject to Mainland Chinese securities regulations that restrict the levels of foreign ownership in local securities which could require a Fund to sell securities if ownership of the securities exceeds applicable quotas. Furthermore, additional restrictions may preclude a Fund from being eligible to invest in certain securities traded through a Program. Because all trades in the Programs must be settled in Renminbi (“RMB”), the Mainland Chinese currency, investors must have timely access to a reliable supply of offshore RMB, which cannot be guaranteed. Trades through each Program are subject to certain requirements prior to trading which may limit the number of brokers that a Fund may use. This may affect the quality of execution received by a Fund. In addition, applicable laws may, under certain circumstances, require an investor to return profits obtained from the purchase and sale of shares.
The HKSCC provides clearing, settlement, nominee functions and other related services of the trades executed by Hong Kong market participants through an arrangement with ChinaClear. The PRC regulations, which include certain restrictions on selling and buying, will apply to all market participants. In the case of a sale, brokers must have access to certain information about the transaction prior to execution. Because of the various requirements and restrictions applicable to the Programs, a Fund may not be able to purchase and/or dispose of holdings of China A-Shares in a timely manner.
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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 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.
The Shanghai-Hong Kong Stock Connect Program began operation in November 2014 and the Shenzhen-Hong Kong Stock Connect Program began operation in December 2016. The relevant regulations relating to the Programs are untested and subject to change. There is no certainty as to how they will be applied which could adversely affect a Fund. The Programs require use of new information technology systems which may be subject to operational risk due to its cross-border nature. If the relevant systems fail to function properly, trading in the Shanghai and Shenzhen markets through the Programs could be disrupted.
As in other emerging and less developed markets, the legislative framework is only beginning to develop the concept of legal/formal ownership and of beneficial ownership or interest in securities in Mainland China. Consequently the applicable courts may consider that any nominee or custodian as registered holder of securities would have full ownership thereof and that a beneficial owner may have no rights whatsoever in respect thereof and may be limited in its ability to pursue claims against the issuer of a security. Additionally, the securities that a Fund may invest in through the Programs may present illiquidity and price volatility concerns and difficulty in determining market valuations of securities due to limited public information on issuers. Such securities may also be subject to limited regulatory oversight and an increased risk of being delisted or suspended. Suspensions or delistings may become widespread, and the length of suspension may be significant and difficult to predict. The Programs utilize an omnibus clearing structure, and a Fund’s shares will be registered in its custodian’s, subcustodian’s or clearing broker’s name on the HKSCC system and in HKSCC’s name on the ChinaClear system. This may limit a Fund’s adviser’s or subadviser’s ability to effectively manage a Fund, and may expose a Fund to the credit risk of its custodian or subcustodian or to greater risk of expropriation.