Form 497K NORTHERN FUNDS
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Intermediate Tax-Exempt Fund
|Summary Prospectus | July 31, 2021, As Amended May 24, 2022||Shares Class: NOITX|
|Before you invest, you may want to review the Funds complete Prospectus, which contains more information about the Fund and its risks. You can find the Funds complete Prospectus, reports to shareholders, and other information about the Fund online at northerntrust.com/prospectus. You can also get this information at no cost by calling 800-595-9111 or by sending an e-mail request to [email protected] If you purchase shares of the Fund through a financial intermediary (such as a bank or a broker-dealer), the complete Prospectus and other information are also available from your financial intermediary. The Funds complete Prospectus and Statement of Additional Information, both dated July 31, 2021, as supplemented, are incorporated by reference into this summary prospectus and may be obtained, free of charge, at the website, phone number or e-mail address noted above.|
The Fund seeks to provide a high level of current income exempt from regular federal income tax by investing in municipal instruments.
FEES AND EXPENSES OF THE FUND
This table describes the fees and expenses that you may pay if you buy, hold, and sell shares of the Fund. You may be required to pay commissions and/or other forms of compensation to a financial intermediary for transactions in Shares Class shares, which are not reflected in the tables or the examples below.
|Shareholder Fees (fees paid directly from your investment)|
|Annual Fund Operating Expenses (expenses that you pay each year as a
percentage of the value of your investment)
Transfer Agent Fees
Other Operating Expenses
Acquired Fund Fees and Expenses(1)
Total Annual Fund Operating Expenses(1)
Total Annual Fund Operating Expenses After Expense Reimbursement(1)(2)
The Total Annual Fund Operating Expenses may not correlate to the ratio of expenses to average net assets as reported in the Financial Highlights section of the Prospectus, which reflects the operating expenses of the Fund and does not include Acquired Fund Fees and Expenses.
Northern Trust Investments, Inc. has contractually agreed to reimburse a portion of the operating expenses of the Fund (other than certain excepted expenses, i.e., Acquired Fund Fees and Expenses, the compensation paid to each Independent Trustee of the Trust, expenses of third party consultants engaged by the Board of Trustees, membership dues paid to the Investment Company Institute and Mutual Fund Directors Forum, expenses in connection with the negotiation and renewal of the revolving credit facility, extraordinary expenses and interest) to the extent the Total Annual Fund Operating Expenses exceed 0.45%. This contractual limitation may not be terminated before July 31, 2022 without the approval of the Board of Trustees.
The following Example is intended to help you compare the cost of investing in the Fund with the cost of investing in other mutual funds. The Example assumes that you invest $10,000 in the Fund for the time periods indicated and then redeem all of your shares at the end of those periods. The Example also assumes that your investment has a 5% return each year and that the Funds operating expenses remain the same (taking into account the expense reimbursement arrangement for one year). Although your actual costs may be higher or lower, based on these assumptions your costs would be:
|1 Year||3 Years||5 Years||10 Years|
PORTFOLIO TURNOVER. The Fund may incur transaction costs as it buys and sells securities (or turns over its portfolio). A higher portfolio turnover rate may indicate higher transaction costs and may result in higher taxes when Fund shares are held in a taxable account. These costs, which are not reflected in annual portfolio operating expenses or in the Example, affect the Funds performance. During the most recent fiscal year, the Funds portfolio turnover rate was 82.72% of the average value of its portfolio.
PRINCIPAL INVESTMENT STRATEGIES
In seeking high current income exempt from regular federal income tax, the Fund will invest in municipal instruments. A municipal instrument is a fixed-income obligation issued by a state, territory or possession of the United States (including the District of Columbia) or a political subdivision, agency or instrumentality thereof. Interest income received by holders of municipal instruments is often exempt from the federal income tax and from the income tax of the state in which they are issued, although municipal instruments issued for certain purposes may not be tax-exempt. The municipal instruments in which the Fund invests may include:
General obligation bonds secured by the issuers full faith, credit and taxing power;
Revenue obligation bonds payable from the revenues derived from a particular facility or class of facilities;
Industrial development bonds;
Moral obligation bonds;
Tax-exempt derivative instruments;
Stand-by commitments; and
Municipal instruments backed by letters of credit, insurance or other forms of credit enhancement issued by domestic or foreign banks, insurance companies and other financial institutions.
|NF SUM INTE (5/22)||SUMMARY PROSPECTUS||1||INTERMEDIATE TAX-EXEMPT FUND|
The Fund primarily invests in investment grade debt obligations (i.e., obligations rated within the top four rating categories by a Nationally Recognized Statistical Rating Organization (NRSRO) or of comparable quality as determined by the Funds investment adviser). However, it may invest up to 15% of its net assets in obligations that are rated below-investment grade (commonly referred to as junk bonds). Credit ratings are determined at the time of purchase.
Except in extraordinary circumstances, at least 80% of the Funds net assets will be invested in debt instruments that pay interest that is exempt from regular federal income tax. Alternative minimum tax (AMT) obligations (also known as private activity bonds), which pay interest that may be treated as an item of tax preference to shareholders under the federal AMT, will not be deemed to be eligible debt instruments for the purposes of determining whether the Fund meets this policy. For shareholders subject to AMT, a portion of the Funds dividends may be subject to federal tax.
In buying and selling securities for the Fund, the Funds investment adviser uses a relative value approach. This approach involves an analysis of general economic and market conditions. It also involves the use of models that analyze and compare expected returns and assumed risks. Under the relative value approach, the Funds investment adviser will emphasize particular securities and types of securities (such as general obligation bonds, corporate-backed municipal bonds and revenue obligation bonds) that the Funds investment adviser believes will provide a favorable return in light of these risks.
The Funds dollar-weighted average maturity, under normal circumstances, will range between three and ten years.
In seeking to achieve its investment objective, the Fund may make significant investments in structured securities and also may invest, to a lesser extent, in futures contracts, options and swaps, all of which are considered to be derivative instruments, for both hedging and non-hedging purposes.
The Funds investment adviser may engage in active trading, and will not consider portfolio turnover a limiting factor in making decisions for the Fund.
As with any investment, you could lose all or part of your investment in the Fund, and the Funds performance could trail that of other investments. The Fund is subject to certain risks, including the principal risks noted below, any of which may adversely affect the Funds net asset value (NAV), yield, total return and ability to meet its investment objective. Each risk noted below is considered a principal risk of investing in the Fund, regardless of the order in which it appears. The significance of each risk factor below may change over time and you should review each risk factor carefully.
MARKET RISK is the risk that the value of the Funds investments may increase or decrease in response to expected, real or perceived economic, political or financial events in the U.S. or global markets. The frequency and magnitude of such changes in value cannot be predicted. Certain securities and other investments held by the Fund may experience increased volatility, illiquidity, or other potentially adverse effects in response to changing market conditions, inflation, changes in interest rates, lack of liquidity in the bond or equity markets, volatility in the equity markets, market disruptions caused by local or regional events such as war, acts of terrorism, the spread of infectious illness (including epidemics and pandemics) or other public health issues, recessions or other events or adverse investor sentiment or other political, regulatory, economic and social developments, and developments that impact specific economic sectors, industries or segments of the market. These risks may be magnified if certain events or developments adversely interrupt the global supply chain; in these and other circumstances, such risks might affect companies worldwide due to increasingly interconnected global economies and financial markets.
MUNICIPAL INVESTMENTS RISKS The risk of a municipal security generally depends on the financial and credit status of the issuer. Constitutional amendments, legislative enactments, executive orders, administrative regulations, voter initiatives, and the issuers regional economic conditions may affect the municipal securitys value, interest payments, repayment of principal and the Funds ability to sell the security. The Fund may be more sensitive to adverse economic, business, political or public health developments if it focuses its assets in municipal bonds that are issued to finance similar projects (such as those relating to education, health care, housing, transportation, and utilities), industrial development bonds, in particular types of municipal securities (such as general obligation bonds, private activity bonds and moral obligation bonds), or in municipal securities of a particular state or territory. While income earned on municipal securities is generally not subject to federal tax, the failure of a municipal security issuer to comply with applicable tax requirements may make income paid thereon taxable, resulting in a decline in the securitys value. In addition, there could be changes in applicable tax laws or tax treatments that reduce or eliminate the current federal income tax exemption on municipal securities or otherwise adversely affect the current federal or state tax status of municipal securities.
The secondary market for municipal obligations also tends to be less well-developed and less liquid than many other securities markets, which may limit the Funds ability to sell its municipal obligations at attractive prices. Further, inventories of municipal securities held by brokers and dealers have decreased in recent years, lessening their ability to make a market in these securities, which has resulted in increased municipal security price volatility and trading costs, particularly during periods of economic or market stress.
CREDIT (OR DEFAULT) RISK is the risk that the inability or unwillingness of an issuer or guarantor of a fixed-income security, or a counterparty to a repurchase or other transaction, to meet its principal or interest payments or other financial obligations will adversely affect the value of the Funds investments and its returns. The credit quality of a debt security or of the issuer of a debt security held by the Fund could deteriorate rapidly, which may impair the Funds liquidity or cause a deterioration in the Funds NAV. The Fund could also be delayed or hindered in its enforcement of rights against an issuer, guarantor or counterparty.
INTEREST RATE RISK is the risk that during periods of rising interest rates, the Funds yield (and the market value of its securities) will tend to be lower than prevailing market rates; in periods of falling interest rates, the Funds yield (and the market value of its securities) will tend to be higher. In general, securities with longer maturities or durations are more sensitive
|INTERMEDIATE TAX-EXEMPT FUND||2||SUMMARY PROSPECTUS|
to interest rate changes. Risks associated with rising interest rates are heightened given that interest rates in the U.S. are currently at historically low levels. Changing interest rates, including rates that fall below zero, may have unpredictable effects on the markets and the Funds investments, may result in heightened market volatility, may impact the liquidity of fixed-income securities and of the Fund, and may detract from Fund performance. A low or negative interest rate environment could cause the Funds earnings to fall below the Funds expense ratio, resulting in a low or negative yield and a decline in the Funds share price. A general rise in interest rates may cause investors to move out of fixed income securities on a large scale, which could adversely affect the price and liquidity of fixed income securities and could also result in increased redemptions for the Fund.
HIGH-YIELD RISK is the risk that the Funds below-investment grade fixed-income securities, sometimes known as junk bonds, will be subject to greater credit risk, price volatility and risk of loss than investment grade securities, which can adversely impact the Funds return and NAV. High yield securities are considered highly speculative and are subject to increased risk of an issuers inability to make principal and interest payments.
STRUCTURED SECURITIES RISK is the risk that structured securities may be more volatile, less liquid and more difficult to price accurately than less complex securities due to their derivative nature. As a result, investments in structured securities may adversely affect the Funds NAV. In some cases, it is possible that the Fund may suffer a total loss on its investment in a structured security. In addition, the performance and payment of principal and interest of a structured security is tied to that of a reference obligation. Accordingly, risks of structured securities also include those risks associated with the underlying reference obligation including, but not limited to, market risk, interest rate risk, credit risk, default risk and foreign currency risk.
ALTERNATIVE MINIMUM TAX RISK A portion of the Funds otherwise tax-exempt income may be taxable to those shareholders subject to the federal alternative minimum tax.
MANAGEMENT RISK is the risk that a strategy used by the Funds investment adviser may fail to produce the intended results or that imperfections, errors or limitations in the tools and data used by the investment adviser may cause unintended results
DEBT EXTENSION RISK is the risk that when interest rates rise an issuer will exercise its right to pay principal on certain debt securities held by the Fund later than expected. This will cause the value of the security, and the Funds NAV, to decrease, and the Fund may lose opportunities to invest in higher yielding securities.
PORTFOLIO TURNOVER RISK is the risk that high portfolio turnover, including investments made on a shorter-term basis or instruments with a maturity of one year or less at the time of acquisition, may lead to increased Fund expenses that may result in lower investment returns. High portfolio turnover may also result in higher short-term capital gains taxable to shareholders.
PREPAYMENT (OR CALL) RISK is the risk that an issuer could exercise its right to pay principal on callable debt securities held by the Fund earlier than expected. Issuers may be more likely to prepay when interest rates fall, when credit spreads change, or when an issuers credit quality improves. If this happens, the Fund will not benefit from the rise in the market price of the securities that normally accompanies a decline in interest rates, and will be forced to reinvest prepayment proceeds in lower yielding securities, which may reduce the Funds returns. The Fund may also lose any premium it paid to purchase the securities.
As with any mutual fund, it is possible to lose money on an investment in the Fund. An investment in the Fund is not a deposit of any bank and is not insured or guaranteed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, any other government agency, or The Northern Trust Company, its affiliates, subsidiaries or any other bank.
The bar chart and table that follow provide an indication of the risks of investing in the Fund by showing (A) changes in the performance of the Fund from year to year, and (B) how the average annual total returns of the Fund compare to those of a broad-based securities market index.
The Funds past performance, before and after taxes, is not necessarily an indication of how the Fund will perform in the future.
Updated performance information for the Fund is available and may be obtained on the Funds website at northerntrust.com/funds or by calling 800-595-9111.
CALENDAR YEAR TOTAL RETURN*
* Year to date total return for the six months ended June 30, 2021 is 0.40%. For the periods shown in the bar chart above, the highest quarterly return was 3.47% in the third quarter of 2011, and the lowest quarterly return was (3.19)% in the fourth quarter of 2016.
AVERAGE ANNUAL TOTAL RETURN
(For the periods ended December 31, 2020)
Returns before taxes
Returns after taxes on distributions
Returns after taxes on distributions and sale of Fund shares
Bloomberg Municipal 1 - 15 Year Index (reflects no deduction for fees, expenses or taxes)*
Bloomberg Intermediate Municipal Bond Index (reflects no deduction for fees, expenses, or taxes)
After-tax returns are calculated using the historical highest individual federal marginal income tax rates and do not reflect the impact of state and local taxes. Actual after-tax returns depend on an investors
|SUMMARY PROSPECTUS||3||INTERMEDIATE TAX-EXEMPT FUND|
tax situation and may differ from those shown. After-tax returns shown are not relevant to investors who hold their shares through tax-advantaged arrangements, such as 401(k) plans or individual retirement accounts.
In calculating the federal income taxes due on redemptions, capital gains taxes resulting from redemptions are subtracted from the redemption proceeds and the tax benefits from capital losses resulting from the redemptions are added to the redemption proceeds.
* Effective February 1, 2022, the benchmark for the Fund changed from the Bloomberg Intermediate Municipal Bond Index (formerly known as the Bloomberg Barclays Intermediate Municipal Bond Index) to the Bloomberg Municipal 1 - 15 Year Index to better align the Funds benchmark with the Funds current portfolio objectives and composition.
INVESTMENT ADVISER AND PORTFOLIO MANAGERS. Northern Trust Investments, Inc. (NTI), an indirect subsidiary of Northern Trust Corporation, serves as the investment adviser of the Intermediate Tax-Exempt Fund. Timothy T.A. McGregor, Senior Vice President of NTI, and Nate Miller, Vice President of NTI, have been managers of the Fund since November 2000 and October 2018, respectively. The Northern Trust Company, an affiliate of NTI, serves as transfer agent, custodian and sub-administrator to the Fund.
PURCHASE AND SALE OF FUND SHARES
You may purchase Shares Class shares of the Fund by opening an account directly with Northern Funds (the Trust) with a minimum initial investment of $2,500 in the Fund ($500 for an IRA; $250 under the Automatic Investment Plan; and $500 for employees of Northern Trust and its affiliates). The minimum subsequent investment is $50 (except for reinvestments of distributions for which there is no minimum). The Fund reserves the right to waive these minimums. You may also purchase Shares Class shares of the Fund through an account at Northern Trust (or an affiliate) or an authorized intermediary.
If you purchase, sell (redeem) or exchange Shares Class shares through an authorized intermediary, you may be required to pay a commission and/or other forms of compensation to the intermediary. In addition, an authorized intermediary may impose different investment minimums than those set forth above. The Fund is not responsible for any investment minimums imposed by authorized intermediaries or for notifying shareholders of any changes to them.
On any business day, you may sell (redeem) or exchange shares through your account by contacting your Northern Trust account representative or authorized intermediary. If you purchase shares directly from the Trust, you may sell (redeem) or exchange your shares in one of the following ways:
By Mail Send a written request to: Northern Funds, P.O. Box 75986, Chicago, Illinois 60675-5986.
By Telephone Authorize the telephone privilege on your New Account Application. Call 800-595-9111 to use the telephone privilege.
By Wire Authorize wire redemptions on your New Account Application and have proceeds sent by federal wire transfer to a previously designated bank account (the minimum redemption amount by this method is $250). You will be charged $15 for each wire redemption unless the designated bank account is maintained at Northern Trust or an affiliated bank. Call 800-595-9111 for instructions.
By Systematic Withdrawal If you own shares of the Fund with a minimum value of $10,000, you may elect to have a fixed sum redeemed at regular intervals and distributed in cash or reinvested in one or more other funds of the Trust. Call 800-595-9111 for an application form and additional information. The minimum amount is $250 per withdrawal.
By Exchange Complete the Exchange Privilege section of your New Account Application to exchange shares of one fund in the Trust for shares of another fund in the Trust. Shares being exchanged must have a value of at least $1,000 ($2,500 if a new account is being established by the exchange, $500 if the new account is an IRA). Call 800-595-9111 for more information.
By Internet You may initiate transactions between Northern Trust banking and Fund accounts by using Northern Trust Private Passport. For details and to sign up for this service, go to northerntrust.com/funds or contact your Relationship Manager.
The Funds distributions primarily will be exempt interest dividends that are generally exempt from regular federal income tax. In certain instances, dividends paid by the Fund, while exempt from regular federal income tax, may be subject to the federal AMT. State and local income taxes may apply to all or a portion of exempt-interest dividends paid by the Fund. The Fund also may make distributions taxable as ordinary income or capital gains. Tax-exempt institutions, IRAs and other tax advantaged retirement accounts will not gain an additional benefit through investment in the Fund because such investors are already tax-exempt.
PAYMENTS TO BROKERS-DEALERS AND OTHER FINANCIAL INTERMEDIARIES
If you purchase the Fund through a broker-dealer or other financial intermediary (such as a bank), the Fund and its related companies may pay the intermediary for the sale of Fund shares and related services. These payments may create a conflict of interest by influencing the broker-dealer or other intermediary and your salesperson to recommend the Fund over another investment. Ask your salesperson or visit your financial intermediarys website for more information.
|INTERMEDIATE TAX-EXEMPT FUND||4||SUMMARY PROSPECTUS|
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