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Form N-CSR UNIFIED SERIES TRUST For: Aug 31

November 3, 2023 9:45 AM EDT

united states
securities and exchange commission
washington, d.c. 20549

 

form n-csr

certified shareholder report of registered management
investment companies

 

Investment Company Act file number   811-21237

 

Unified Series Trust
(Exact name of registrant as specified in charter)

 

225 Pictoria Drive, Suite 450

Cincinnati, OH 45246

(Address of principal executive offices)

(Zip code)

 

Zachary P. Richmond

Ultimus Fund Solutions, LLC

225 Pictoria Drive. Suite 450

Cincinnati, OH 45246

(Name and address of agent for service)

 

Registrant’s telephone number, including area code:   513-587-3400

 

Date of fiscal year end: 8/31

 

Date of reporting period: 8/31/23

 

Form N-CSR is to be used by management investment companies to file reports with the Commission not later than 10 days after the transmission to stockholders of any report that is required to be transmitted to stockholders under Rule 30e-1 under the Investment Company Act of 1940 (17 CFR 270.30e-1). The Commission may use the information provided on Form N-CSR in its regulatory, disclosure review, inspection and policymaking roles.

 

A registrant is required to disclose the information specified by Form N-CSR, and the Commission will make this information public. A registrant is not required to respond to the collection of information contained in Form N-CSR unless the Form displays a currently valid Office of Management and Budget (“OMB”) control number. Please direct comments concerning the accuracy of the information collection burden estimate and any suggestions for reducing the burden to Secretary, Securities and Exchange Commission, 450 Fifth Street, NW, Washington, DC 20549-0609. The OMB has reviewed this collection of information under the clearance requirements of 44 U.S.C. § 3507.

 

 

Item 1. Reports to Stockholders.

 

(a) 

 

 
 
 
 
 
Tactical Multi-Purpose Fund
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Annual Report
 
August 31, 2023
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Fund Adviser:
Fisher Asset Management, LLC
6500 International Parkway, Suite 2050
Plano, Texas 75093
(800) 550-1071

 

 

Tactical Multi-Purpose Fund
Management’s Discussion of Fund Performance
(Unaudited)

 

Dear Shareholder:

 

Market Commentary and Outlook

 

Last year, we expected an early grind with a rally late. But the negative drumbeat of war, inflation, interest rate hikes, political rancor and more dragged stocks down into a minor bear market. Usually, stocks move past such widely known factors quickly. But 2022’s constant drip of negatives created a year-long fog of uncertainty. Even when reality turned out to be better than feared—like second-half economic data—pessimists dismissed it, warning worse was still ahead, a classic sign of “the pessimism of disbelief.” However, markets appear to have reckoned with many of these concerns, and improvement on some—like inflation—made the last year a good one for global equities. Stocks rose +15.6% since a year ago and +28.0% since the October 12th 2022 low.

 

The Q2 2023 end closes a nearly picture-perfect example of the nine-month “Midterm Miracle.” This stretch is history’s most consistently positive, up 91.7% of the time and averaging +19.6% gains. On cue, the S&P 500 surged 25.7% from last September 30 through June. The Midterm Miracle might be over but the positivity party isn’t. In our view, gridlock should remain a tailwind for stocks in the second half—and into 2024. Third years’ second halves aren’t as consistently positive or strong as the first, but gains tend to continue.

 

Despite these positives, the bull market features a classic “wall of worry”—a barrage of investor fears tamping down sentiment as stocks climb higher. Nearly a year since stocks’ low, the rally is getting a bit more love, but not much. Some don’t acknowledge a new bull market. Many who do see little reason stocks can keep thriving. Today’s wide gulf between sentiment and reality is a classic early bull market feature. The “wall” has many bricks.

 

The springtime batch of regional bank failures is a big brick in this bull market’s worry wall. It bridged Q1 and Q2, from Silicon Valley Bank’s March failure through First Republic’s travails and sale to JPMorgan Chase in May. In between, headlines painted a dire picture akin to 2008. While lending has slowed—as we expected—it remains healthy at 5.8% y/y as of June 28. Emergency bank borrowing from the Fed has flattened, and new borrowings from the Discount Window—its traditional crisis facility—have tanked. As for the Bank Term Funding Program created early this year, use is up, but this doesn’t seem like a sign of systemic stress, given friendly collateral terms and rates banks can lock in for a year. While more small banks could fail or face profit headwinds and industry consolidation might loom, we think systemic crisis fears have, rightly, evaporated.

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Tactical Multi-Purpose Fund
Management’s Discussion of Fund Performance
(Unaudited) (continued)

 

Of all the drags on sentiment since early 2022, none has dug in quite like inflation. Companies might be coping relatively well, with robust profit margins and a 28.0% MSCI World return from last October’s low, but people are weary. The US inflation rate has slowed markedly since June 2022’s peak, yet many only noticed recently and complain core prices are still rising too fast. People see more stubborn prices in the UK and Europe, worrying stickier inflation there necessitates even more rate hikes, rendering a recession that infects the world. Yet on both sides of the Atlantic, there are many encouraging signs. Sentiment has fallen too far, vastly underrating improvements and creating a big inflation wall of worry.

 

As for short rates, again, central banks are unpredictable. But this rate hike cycle looks close to done. After slowing its rate hike pace to a quarter point in March and April, the Fed paused in June. This doesn’t preclude more hikes, a possibility many focus on. With inflation moderating, this seems rational.

 

Not that stocks need a rate pause or cuts, as many argue today. Pundits who focus on this are hyperventilating unnecessarily, considering there is ample evidence stocks already overcame rate hikes. The S&P 500 is up nicely since June 2022, despite most of the Fed’s rate hikes (and their biggest moves) occurring since then. The ECB started hiking last July. Eurozone stocks? Up double digits since then in euros and dollars. UK stocks were among the MSCI World’s best performers in 2022 despite the BoE starting its tightening cycle in December 2021. They hit all-time highs in February amid more hiking.

 

If all of these rate hikes didn’t prevent stocks from rising over the last year, it seems pretty clear rate hikes aren’t driving markets. It is also clear stocks aren’t waiting for pauses or rate cuts. They are doing what they always do, pricing in expected earnings over the next 3 – 30 months. Those will likely hinge on far more than interest rates.

 

Expectations for China’s economy were high entering Q2 2023. Fiscal and monetary stimulus was kicking in, the weather was warming up, and people were free to shop and travel. The stage seemed set for a newly reopened economy to roar back. Yet hope got a bit too lofty, and April and May economic data didn’t quite meet it—see widely watched retail sales and industrial production.

 

Retail sales illustrate the trend. After March’s sales beat expectations, many extrapolated red-hot growth forward. Yet April and May’s growth, while faster than March’s, missed forecasts. We suspect complicated year-over-year comparisons played a role here. April and May 2022 were when Shanghai and other major metro areas were locked down. Analysts rightly factored in a low base. But perhaps they underestimated how society

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Tactical Multi-Purpose Fund
Management’s Discussion of Fund Performance
(Unaudited) (continued)

 

had already learned to adapt to restrictions two years into the pandemic. Perhaps it was because the growth rates in those quarters had their own upward base-effect skew from 2021’s initial reopening boost. Regardless, the miss discouraged those with high hopes for China’s economy.

 

Tepid data drove fears of China lapsing into an unprecedented economic malaise, with high debt, prolonged property market weakness and poor demographics stymieing growth. However, it looks like China is returning to longer-term economic trends. Slower growth would also match the government’s long-term goal of transitioning away from heavy industry- and export-driven growth to a model buttressed by domestic demand and services—akin to major Western economies. Note, too, a decelerating China still contributes mightily to the global economy: Last year’s 3.0% annual real growth added nearly $490 billion to global GDP when measured in constant 2015 US dollars.

 

Performance Attribution

 

The Tactical Multi-Purpose Fund (the “Fund”) seeks positive total returns over the long-term regardless of market conditions in the U.S. and foreign equity markets. The Fund is designed to be used by the Adviser to facilitate moving groups of clients into and out of defensive and special situation investments efficiently, based on the Adviser’s perceptions of market risks and opportunities.

 

During the fiscal year ended August 31, 2023, the Adviser did not take a defensive position; therefore the Fund was limited in size, with its assets invested mostly in T-Bills and cash equivalents. The Fund returned +3.16% during the fiscal year ended August 31, 2023. During the same period, the Fund’s primary benchmark, the ICE BofA 3-month U.S. Treasury Bill Index, returned 4.28%.

 

The Fund’s relative underperformance is reflective of its modest investment in T-Bills and cash equivalents for the period, which generated minimal interest. Underperformance as compared to the index is also in part due to the Fund’s 1.00% expense ratio (the performance of the index does not reflect the deduction of expenses). Due to the size of the investment, the Fund maintained a sizeable portion of the investments in cash equivalents to meet expense obligations. However, T-Bills were purchased throughout the period to opportunistically benefit from changes by the Fed to short rates. It is anticipated that similar positioning will continue until the Adviser utilizes the Fund for defensive purposes or prevailing short-term interest rates meaningfully change.

 

Portfolio Shifts

 

No portfolio shifts have been made to the Fund.

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Investment Results (Unaudited)

 

Average Annual Total Returns(a)

as of August 31, 2023

 

          Since Inception
Fund/Index One Year   Five Year   (3/30/17)
Tactical Multi-Purpose Fund 3.16%   0.36%   0.17%
ICE BofA 3-Month U.S. Treasury Bill(b) 4.28%   1.66%   1.59%

 

Total annual operating expenses, as disclosed in the Tactical Multi-Purpose Fund (the “Fund”) prospectus dated December 29, 2022, were 644.33% of average daily net assets (1.14% after fee waivers/expense reimbursements). Fisher Asset Management, LLC, d/b/a Fisher Investments (the “Adviser”) is contractually obligated to limit the Fund’s total annual operating expenses to 1.00% of the Fund’s average daily net assets through December 31, 2027 (excluding portfolio transaction and other investment-related costs (including brokerage fees and commissions); taxes; borrowing costs (such as interest and dividend expenses on securities sold short); acquired fund fees and expenses; fees and expenses associated with investments in other collective investment vehicles or derivative instruments (including for example option and swap fees and expenses); any amounts payable pursuant to a distribution or service plan adopted in accordance with Rule 12b-1 under the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended, any administrative and/or shareholder servicing fees payable pursuant to a plan adopted by the Board of Trustees; expenses incurred in connection with any merger or reorganization; extraordinary expenses (such as litigation expenses, indemnification of Trust officers and Trustees and contractual indemnification of Fund service providers); and other expenses that the Trustees agree have not been incurred in the ordinary course of the Fund’s business). This expense cap may not be terminated prior to this date except by the Board of Trustees upon 60 days’ written notice to the Adviser. Each expense payment by the Adviser (but not management fee waiver) is subject to recoupment by the Adviser from the Fund in the three years following the date the particular expense payment occurred, but only if such recoupment can be achieved without exceeding the annual expense limitation in effect at the time of the expense payment and any expense limitation in effect at the time of recoupment. Additional information pertaining to the Fund’s expense ratios as of August 31, 2023 can be found in the financial highlights.

 

The performance quoted represents past performance, which does not guarantee future results. The investment return and principal value of an investment will fluctuate so that an investor’s shares, when redeemed, may be worth more or less than their original cost. The returns shown do not reflect deduction of taxes that a shareholder would pay on Fund distributions or the redemption of Fund shares. Current performance of the Fund may be lower or higher than the performance quoted. The Fund’s investment objective, risks, charges and expenses should be considered carefully before investing. Performance data current to the most recent month-end may be obtained by calling (800) 550-1071.

 

(a)Return figures reflect any change in price per share and assume the reinvestment of all distributions. The Fund’s returns reflect any fee reductions during the applicable periods. If such fee reductions had not occurred, the quoted performance would have been lower.

 

(b)The ICE BofA 3-Month U.S. Treasury Bill Index (the “Index”) is comprised of a single issue purchased at the beginning of the month and held for a full month. Each month the Index is rebalanced and the issue selected is the outstanding Treasury Bill that matures closest to, but not beyond, three months from the rebalancing date. The Index returns assume reinvestment of all distributions and do not reflect the deduction of taxes and fees. Individuals cannot invest directly in the Index. However, an individual may invest in exchange-traded funds or other investment vehicles that attempt to track the performance of a benchmark index.

4

 

Investment Results (Unaudited) (continued)

 

You should consider the Fund’s investment objective, risks, charges and expenses carefully before you invest. The Fund’s prospectus contains important information about the Fund’s investment objective, potential risks, management fees, charges and expenses, and other information and should be read carefully before investing. You may obtain a current copy of the Fund’s prospectus or performance data current to the most recent month-end by calling (800) 550-1071.

 

Comparison of the Growth of a $10,000 Investment in the Tactical Multi-Purpose Fund and the ICE BofA U.S. 3-Month Treasury Bill Index.

 

(LINE GRAPH)

 

This graph shows the value of a hypothetical initial investment of $10,000 made on March 30, 2017 (commencement of operations) and held through August 31, 2023. THE FUND’S RETURN REPRESENTS PAST PERFORMANCE AND DOES NOT GUARANTEE FUTURE RESULTS. The ICE BofA 3-Month U.S. Treasury Bill Index is an unmanaged index of Treasury securities that assumes reinvestment of all income. The returns shown do not reflect deduction of taxes that a shareholder would pay on Fund distributions or the redemption of Fund shares. Investment returns and principal values will fluctuate so that your shares, when redeemed, may be worth more or less than their original purchase price.

 

Current performance may be lower or higher than the performance data quoted. For more information on the Fund, and to obtain performance data current to the most recent month-end, or to request a prospectus, please call (800) 550-1071. You should carefully consider the investment objective, potential risks, management fees, and charges and expenses of the Fund before investing. The Fund’s prospectus contains this and other information about the Fund, and should be read carefully before investing.

 

The Fund is distributed by Ultimus Fund Distributors, LLC, Member FINRA/SIPC.

5

 

Fund Holdings (Unaudited)

 

Tactical Multi-Purpose Fund Holdings as of August 31, 2023*

 

(BAR GRAPH)

 

*As a percentage of net assets.

 

The investment objective of the Fund is to seek positive total returns over the long-term regardless of market conditions in the U.S. and foreign equity markets.

 

Availability of Portfolio Schedule (Unaudited)

 

The Fund files its complete schedule of portfolio holdings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) for the first and third quarters of each fiscal year as an exhibit to its reports on Form N-PORT. The Fund’s Form N-PORT reports are available on the SEC’s website at www.sec.gov.

6

 

Tactical Multi-Purpose Fund
Schedule of Investments
August 31, 2023

 

   Principal     
   Amount   Fair Value 
U.S. GOVERNMENT & AGENCIES — 54.58%          
United States Treasury Bill, 5.50%, 12/12/2023  $14,000   $13,790 
Total U.S. Government & Agencies (Cost $13,834)        13,790 
           
   Shares      
MONEY MARKET FUNDS - 57.05%          
First American Government Obligations Fund, Class X, 5.25%(a)   14,416    14,416 
Total Money Market Funds (Cost $14,416)        14,416 
Total Investments — 111.63% (Cost $28,250)        28,206 
Liabilities in Excess of Other Assets — (11.63)%        (2,939)
NET ASSETS — 100.00%       $25,267 

 

(a)Rate disclosed is the seven day effective yield as of August 31, 2023.

 

See accompanying notes which are an integral part of these financial statements.

7

 

Tactical Multi-Purpose Fund
Statement of Assets and Liabilities
August 31, 2023

 

Assets     
Investments in securities at fair value (cost $28,250)  $28,206 
Interest receivable   105 
Receivable from Adviser   9,115 
Prepaid expenses   2,191 
Total Assets   39,617 
Liabilities     
Payable to affiliates   2,788 
Other accrued expenses   11,562 
Total Liabilities   14,350 
Net Assets  $25,267 
Net Assets consist of:     
Paid-in capital  $24,520 
Accumulated earnings   747 
Net Assets  $25,267 
Shares outstanding (unlimited number of shares authorized, no par value)   2,500 
Net asset value, offering and redemption price per share  $10.11 

 

See accompanying notes which are an integral part of these financial statements.

8

 

Tactical Multi-Purpose Fund
Statement of Operations
For the year ended August 31, 2023

 

Investment Income     
Dividend income  $1,038 
Interest income   29 
Total investment income   1,067 
      
Expenses     
Fund accounting   30,002 
Administration   30,000 
Legal   22,990 
Trustee   16,636 
Compliance services   12,031 
Transfer agent   12,000 
Audit and tax   11,076 
Custodian   5,000 
Report printing   3,367 
Registration   391 
Adviser   62 
Miscellaneous   19,560 
Total expenses   163,115 
Fees waived and/or expenses reimbursed by Adviser   (156,166)
Fees reduced by Administrator   (6,701)
Net operating expenses   248 
Net investment income   819 
Net change in unrealized depreciation of investment securities   (42)
Net realized and change in unrealized loss on investments   (42)
Net increase in net assets resulting from operations  $777 

 

See accompanying notes which are an integral part of these financial statements.

9

 

Tactical Multi-Purpose Fund
Statements of Changes in Net Assets
August 31, 2023

 

   For the   For the 
   Year Ended   Year Ended 
   August 31,   August 31, 
   2023   2022 
Increase (Decrease) in Net Assets due to:          
Operations          
Net investment income (loss)  $819   $(108)
Net change in unrealized depreciation of investment securities   (42)   (2)
Net increase (decrease) in net assets resulting from operations   777    (110)
           
Capital Transactions          
Amount paid for shares redeemed       (10)
Net decrease in net assets resulting from capital transactions       (10)
Total Increase (Decrease) in Net Assets   777    (120)
           
Net Assets          
Beginning of year   24,490    24,610 
End of year  $25,267   $24,490 
           
Share Transactions          
Shares redeemed       (1)
Net decrease in shares       (1)

 

See accompanying notes which are an integral part of these financial statements.

10

 

Tactical Multi-Purpose Fund
Financial Highlights
(For a share outstanding during each year)

 

   For the   For the   For the   For the   For the 
   Year Ended   Year Ended   Year Ended   Year Ended   Year Ended 
   August 31,   August 31,   August 31,   August 31,   August 31, 
   2023   2022   2021   2020   2019 
Selected Per Share Data:                         
Net asset value, beginning of year  $9.80   $9.84   $9.93   $9.95   $9.93 
Investment operations:                         
Net investment income (loss)   0.33    (0.04)   (0.09)   (0.02)   0.02 
Net realized and unrealized loss   (0.02)    (a)        (a)    (a)
Total from investment operations   0.31    (0.04)   (0.09)   (0.02)   0.02 
                          
Net asset value, end of year  $10.11   $9.80   $9.84   $9.93   $9.95 
                          
Total Return(b)   3.16%   (0.41)%   (0.91)%   (0.20)%   0.20%
                          
Ratios and Supplemental Data:                         
Net assets, end of year (000 omitted)  $25   $24   $25   $25   $25 
Ratio of net expenses to average net assets   1.00%   1.00%   1.00%   1.00%   1.00%
Ratio of gross expenses to average net assets before waiver and reimbursement   657.38%   644.19%   635.29%   596.00%   589.45%
Ratio of net investment income (loss) to average net assets   3.30%   (0.44)%   (0.91)%   (0.20)%   0.15%
Portfolio turnover rate   0%   0%   0%   0%   0%

 

(a)Rounds to less than $0.005 per share.

 

(b)Total return represents the rate that the investor would have earned or lost on an investment in the Fund, assuming reinvestment of distributions.

 

See accompanying notes which are an integral part of these financial statements.

11

 

Tactical Multi-Purpose Fund
Notes to the Financial Statements

August 31, 2023

 

NOTE 1. ORGANIZATION

 

The Tactical Multi-Purpose Fund (the “Fund”) is registered under the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended (the “1940 Act”), as a non-diversified series of Unified Series Trust (the “Trust”) on November 14, 2016. The Trust is an open-end investment company established under the laws of Ohio by an Agreement and Declaration of Trust dated October 14, 2002, as amended (the “Trust Agreement”). The Trust Agreement permits the Board of Trustees of the Trust (the “Board”) to issue an unlimited number of shares of beneficial interest of separate series without par value. The Fund is one of a series of funds currently authorized by the Board. The Fund commenced operations on March 30, 2017. The investment adviser to the Fund is Fisher Asset Management, LLC, d/b/a Fisher Investments (the “Adviser”). The investment objective of the Fund is to seek positive total returns over the long-term regardless of market conditions in the U.S. and foreign equity markets.

 

NOTE 2. SIGNIFICANT ACCOUNTING POLICIES

 

The Fund is an investment company and follows accounting and reporting guidance under Financial Accounting Standards Board Accounting Standards Codification (“ASC”) Topic 946, “Financial Services-Investment Companies”, including Accounting Standards Update 2013-08. The following is a summary of significant accounting policies followed by the Fund in the preparation of its financial statements. These policies are in conformity with generally accepted accounting principles in the United States of America (“GAAP”).

 

Regulatory update – Tailored Shareholder Reports for Mutual Funds and Exchange-Traded Funds (“ETFs”) – Effective January 24, 2023, the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) adopted rule and form amendments to require mutual funds and ETFs to transmit concise and visually engaging streamlined annual and semiannual reports to shareholders that highlight key information. Other information, including financial statements, will no longer appear in a streamlined shareholder report but must be available online, delivered free of charge upon request, and filed on a semiannual basis on Form N-CSR. The rule and form amendments have a compliance date of July 24, 2024. At this time, management is evaluating the impact of these amendments on the shareholder reports for the Fund.

 

Estimates – The preparation of financial statements in conformity with GAAP requires management to make estimates and assumptions that affect the reported amounts of assets and liabilities and disclosure of contingent assets and liabilities at the date of the financial statements and the reported amounts of increases and decreases in net assets from operations during the reporting period. Actual results could differ from those estimates.

12

 

Tactical Multi-Purpose Fund
Notes to the Financial Statements (continued)
August 31, 2023

 

Federal Income Taxes – The Fund makes no provision for federal income or excise tax. The Fund has qualified and intends to qualify each year as a regulated investment company (“RIC”) under subchapter M of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, by complying with the requirements applicable to RICs and by distributing substantially all of its taxable income. The Fund also intends to distribute sufficient net investment income and net realized capital gains, if any, so that it will not be subject to excise tax on undistributed income and gains. If the required amount of net investment income or gains is not distributed, the Fund could incur a tax expense.

 

As of and during the fiscal year ended August 31, 2023, the Fund did not have any liabilities for any unrecognized tax benefits. The Fund recognizes interest and penalties, if any, related to unrecognized tax benefits as income tax expense in the Statement of Operations when incurred. During the year, the Fund did not incur any interest or penalties. Management of the Fund has reviewed tax positions taken in tax years that remain subject to examination by all major tax jurisdictions, including federal (i.e., the previous three tax year ends and the interim tax period since then, as applicable) and has concluded that no provision for unrecognized tax benefits or expenses is required in these financial statements and does not expect this to change over the next twelve months.

 

Expenses – Expenses incurred by the Trust that do not relate to a specific fund of the Trust are allocated to the individual funds of the Trust based on each fund’s relative net assets or another appropriate basis (as determined by the Board).

 

Security Transactions and Related Income – The Fund follows industry practice and records security transactions on the trade date for financial reporting purposes. The specific identification method is used for determining gains or losses for financial statement and income tax purposes. Dividend income is recorded on the ex-dividend date and interest income is recorded on an accrual basis.

 

Dividends and Distributions – The Fund intends to distribute its net investment income and net realized long-term and short-term capital gains, if any, at least annually. Dividends and distributions to shareholders, which are determined in accordance with income tax regulations, are recorded on the ex-dividend date. The treatment for financial reporting purposes of distributions made to shareholders during the period from net investment income or net realized capital gains may differ from their ultimate treatment for federal income tax purposes. These differences are caused primarily by differences in the timing of the recognition of certain components of income, expense or realized capital gain for federal income tax purposes. Where such differences are permanent in nature, they are reclassified among the components of net assets based on their ultimate characterization for federal income tax purposes. Any such reclassifications will have no effect on net assets, results of operations or net asset value (“NAV”) per share of the Fund.

13

 

Tactical Multi-Purpose Fund
Notes to the Financial Statements (continued)
August 31, 2023

 

NOTE 3. NON-DIVERSIFICATION RISK

 

The Fund is non-diversified, which means it may invest a greater percentage of its assets in a limited number of issuers as compared to other mutual funds that are more broadly diversified. As a result, the Fund’s share price may be more volatile than the share price of some other mutual funds, and the poor performance of an individual holding in the Fund’s portfolio may have a significant negative impact on the Fund’s performance.

 

NOTE 4. SECURITIES VALUATION AND FAIR VALUE MEASUREMENTS

 

The Fund values its portfolio securities at fair value as of the close of regular trading on the New York Stock Exchange (“NYSE”) (normally 4:00 p.m. Eastern Time) on each business day the NYSE is open for business. Fair value is defined as the price that the Fund would receive upon selling an investment in a timely transaction to an independent buyer in the principal or most advantageous market of the investment. GAAP establishes a three-tier hierarchy to maximize the use of observable market data and minimize the use of unobservable inputs and to establish classification of fair value measurements for disclosure purposes.

 

Inputs refer broadly to the assumptions that market participants would use in pricing the asset or liability, including assumptions about risk (the risk inherent in a particular valuation technique used to measure fair value including a pricing model and/or the risk inherent in the inputs to the valuation technique). Inputs may be observable or unobservable. Observable inputs are inputs that reflect the assumptions market participants would use in pricing the asset or liability developed based on market data obtained and available from sources independent of the reporting entity. Unobservable inputs are inputs that reflect the reporting entity’s own assumptions about the assumptions market participants would use in pricing the asset or liability developed based on the best information available in the circumstances.

 

Various inputs are used in determining the value of the Fund’s investments. These inputs are summarized in the three broad levels listed below.

 

Level 1 – unadjusted quoted prices in active markets for identical investments and/or registered investment companies where the value per share is determined and published and is the basis for current transactions for identical assets or liabilities at the valuation date

 

Level 2 – other significant observable inputs (including, but not limited to, quoted prices for an identical security in an inactive market, quoted prices for similar securities, interest rates, prepayment speeds, credit risk, etc.)

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Tactical Multi-Purpose Fund
Notes to the Financial Statements (continued)
August 31, 2023

 

Level 3 – significant unobservable inputs (including the Fund’s own assumptions in determining fair value of investments based on the best information available)

 

The inputs used to measure fair value may fall into different levels of the fair value hierarchy. In such cases, for disclosure purposes, the level in the fair value hierarchy which is reported is determined based on the lowest level input that is significant to the fair value measurement in its entirety.

 

Equity securities that are traded on any stock exchange are generally valued at the last quoted sale price on the security’s primary exchange. Lacking a last sale price, an exchange-traded security is generally valued at its last bid price. Securities traded in the Nasdaq over-the-counter market are generally valued at the Nasdaq Official Closing Price. When using market quotations and when the market is considered active, the security is classified as a Level 1 security. In the event that market quotations are not readily available or are considered unreliable due to market or other events, securities are valued in good faith by the Adviser, as Valuation Designee, under oversight of the Board’s Pricing & Liquidity Committee. The Adviser has adopted written policies and procedures for valuing securities and other assets in circumstances where market quotes are not readily available in conformity with guidelines adopted by the Board. In the event that market quotes are not readily available, and the security or asset cannot be valued pursuant to one of the valuation methods, the value of the security or asset will be determined in good faith by the Valuation Designee pursuant to its policies and procedures. Any fair value provided by the Valuation Designee, is subject to the ultimate review of the pricing methodology by the Pricing & Liquidity Committee of the Board on a quarterly basis. Under these policies, the securities will be classified as Level 2 or 3 within the fair value hierarchy, depending on the inputs used.

 

Investments in mutual funds, including money market mutual funds, are generally priced at the ending NAV provided by the service agent of the mutual funds. These securities are categorized as Level 1 securities.

 

Debt securities are valued by using the mean between the closing bid and ask prices provided by a pricing service. If the closing bid and ask prices are not readily available, the pricing service may provide a price determined by a matrix pricing method. Matrix pricing is a mathematical technique used to value fixed income securities without relying exclusively on quoted prices. Matrix pricing takes into consideration recent transactions, yield, liquidity, risk, credit quality, coupon, maturity, type of issue and any other factors or market data the pricing service deems relevant for the actual security being priced and for other securities with similar characteristics. These securities will generally be categorized as Level 2 securities. If the Valuation Designee decides that a price provided by the pricing service does not accurately reflect the fair value of the securities or when prices are not

15

 

Tactical Multi-Purpose Fund
Notes to the Financial Statements (continued)
August 31, 2023

 

readily available from a pricing service, securities are valued at fair value as determined by the Valuation Designee, in conformity with guidelines adopted by and subject to review of the Board through its Pricing & Liquidity Committee. These securities will generally be categorized as Level 3 securities.

 

In accordance with the Trust’s valuation policies and fair value determinations pursuant to Rule 2a-5 under the 1940 Act, the Valuation Designee is required to consider all appropriate factors relevant to the value of securities for which it has determined other pricing sources are not available or reliable as described above. No single method exists for determining fair value because fair value depends upon the circumstances of each individual case. As a general principle, the current fair value of a security being valued by the Valuation Designee would be the amount that the Fund might reasonably expect to receive upon the current sale. Methods that are in accordance with this principle may, for example, be based on (i) a multiple of earnings; (ii) a discount from market prices of a similar freely traded security (including a derivative security or a basket of securities traded on other markets, exchanges or among dealers); or (iii) yield to maturity with respect to debt issues, or a combination of these and other methods. Fair-value pricing is permitted if, in the Valuation Designee’s opinion, the validity of market quotations appears to be questionable based on factors such as evidence of a thin market in the security based on a small number of quotations, a significant event occurs after the close of a market but before the Fund’s NAV calculation that may affect a security’s value, or the Valuation Designee is aware of any other data that calls into question the reliability of market quotations. The Valuation Designee may obtain assistance from others in fulfilling its duties. For example, it may seek assistance from pricing services, fund administrators, sub-advisers, accountants, or counsel; it may also consult the Trust’s Fair Value Committee. The Valuation Designee, however, remains responsible for the final fair value determination and may not designate or assign that responsibility to any third party.

 

The following is a summary of the inputs used to value the Fund’s investments as of August 31, 2023:

 

       Valuation Inputs         
Assets  Level 1   Level 2   Level 3   Total 
U.S. Government & Agencies  $   $13,790   $   $13,790 
Money Market Funds   14,416            14,416 
Total  $14,416   $13,790   $   $28,206 

 

The Fund did not hold any investments at the end of the reporting period for which significant unobservable inputs (Level 3) were used in determining fair value; therefore,

16

 

Tactical Multi-Purpose Fund
Notes to the Financial Statements (continued)
August 31, 2023

 

no reconciliation of Level 3 securities is included for this reporting period. The Fund did not hold any derivative instruments during the reporting period.

 

NOTE 5. FEES AND OTHER TRANSACTIONS WITH AFFILIATES AND OTHER SERVICE PROVIDERS

 

The Adviser, under the terms of the management agreement (the “Agreement”) with the Trust with respect to the Fund, manages the Fund’s investments. As compensation for its management services, the Fund is obligated to pay the Adviser a management fee computed and accrued daily and paid monthly at an annual rate of 0.25% of the Fund’s average daily net assets. For the fiscal year ended August 31, 2023, the Adviser earned management fees of $62 from the Fund before the waiver and reimbursement described below.

 

The Adviser has contractually agreed to limit the Fund’s total annual operating expenses to 1.00% of the Fund’s average daily net assets through December 31, 2027 (excluding portfolio transaction and other investment-related costs (including brokerage fees and commissions); taxes; borrowing costs (such as interest and dividend expenses on securities sold short); acquired fund fees and expenses; fees and expenses associated with investments in other collective investment vehicles or derivative instruments (including for example option and swap fees and expenses); any administrative and/or shareholder servicing fees payable pursuant to a plan adopted by the Board; expenses incurred in connection with any merger or reorganization; extraordinary expenses (such as litigation expenses, indemnification of Trust officers and Trustees and contractual indemnification of Fund service providers); and other expenses that the Trustees agree have not been incurred in the ordinary course of the Fund’s business). This expense cap may not be terminated prior to this date except by the Board upon 60 days’ written notice to the Adviser.

 

Each expense payment by the Adviser (but not management fee waiver) is subject to recoupment by the Adviser from the Fund in the three years following the date the particular expense payment occurred, but only if such recoupment can be achieved without exceeding the annual expense limitation in effect at the time of the expense payment and any expense limitation in effect at the time of the recoupment. As of August 31, 2023, the Adviser may seek repayment of expense reimbursements in amounts as follows:

 

Recoverable Through    
August 31, 2024  $155,999 
August 31, 2025   155,959 
August 31, 2026   156,166 

17

 

Tactical Multi-Purpose Fund
Notes to the Financial Statements (continued)
August 31, 2023

 

Ultimus Fund Solutions, LLC (“Ultimus”) provides administration, fund accounting and transfer agent services to the Fund. The Fund pays Ultimus fees in accordance with the agreements for such services.

 

The Administrator has agreed to waive fees to the extent necessary that the Fund’s total annual operating expenses (excluding taxes, borrowing costs such as interest and dividend expenses on securities sold short, brokerage commissions, acquired fund fees and expenses, shareholder servicing fees paid to financial intermediaries, extraordinary expenses and expenses outside the normal course of business) do not exceed $156,000 annually, based on a twelve-month period commencing April 1 and ending March 31 (the “Annual Period”). The waiver will accrue on a monthly basis such that the Fund’s operating expenses for any month during the Annual Period will not exceed the sum of $13,000 (the “Monthly Expense Cap”), provided that Ultimus may recoup any fees waived by Ultimus in a prior month during the Annual Period to the extent of any unused amount of the Monthly Expense Cap in the current month. The waiver will be suspended and forfeited in any month that the Adviser is not the sole shareholder of the Fund. During the fiscal year ended August 31, 2023, the total amount waived by the Administrator was $6,701.

 

Northern Lights Compliance Services, LLC (“NLCS”), an affiliate of Ultimus, provides a Chief Compliance Officer to the Trust, as well as related compliance services, pursuant to a consulting agreement between NLCS and the Trust. Under the terms of such agreement, NLCS receives fees from the Fund, which are approved annually by the Board.

 

Under the terms of a Distribution Agreement with the Trust, Ultimus Fund Distributors, LLC (the “Distributor”) serves as principal underwriter to the Fund. The Distributor is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Ultimus. The Distributor is compensated by the Adviser (not the Fund) for acting as principal underwriter.

 

Certain officers of the Trust are also employees of Ultimus and such persons are not paid by the Fund for serving in such capacities. One Trustee is a former employee of Ultimus who is not currently paid by the Fund for serving in such capacity.

 

The Board supervises the business activities of the Trust. Each Trustee serves as a trustee until termination of the Trust unless the Trustee dies, resigns, retires, or is removed. The Chair of the Board and more than 75% of the Trustees are “Independent Trustees,” which means that they are not “interested persons” as defined in the 1940 Act. The Independent Trustees review and establish compensation at least annually. Each Independent Trustee of the Trust receives annual compensation, which is an established amount paid quarterly per fund in the Trust at the time of the regular quarterly Board meetings. The Chair of the Board receives the highest compensation, commensurate with his additional duties

18

 

Tactical Multi-Purpose Fund
Notes to the Financial Statements (continued)
August 31, 2023

 

and each Chair of a committee receives additional compensation as well. Independent Trustees also receive additional fees for attending any special meetings. In addition, the Trust reimburses Independent Trustees for out-of-pocket expenses incurred in conjunction with attendance at meetings.

 

NOTE 6. INVESTMENT TRANSACTIONS

 

For the fiscal year ended August 31, 2023, there were no purchases or sales of investment securities, other than short-term investments.

 

There were no purchases or sales of long-term U.S. government obligations during the fiscal year ended August 31, 2023.

 

NOTE 7. BENEFICIAL OWNERSHIP

 

The beneficial ownership, either directly or indirectly, of more than 25% of the voting securities of a fund creates a presumption of control of a fund, under Section 2(a)(9) of the 1940 Act. As of August 31, 2023, the Adviser owned 100% of the Fund’s outstanding shares. As a result, the Adviser may be deemed to control the Fund.

 

NOTE 8. FEDERAL TAX INFORMATION

 

At August 31, 2023, the net unrealized appreciation (depreciation) and tax cost of investments for tax purposes was as follows:

 

Gross unrealized appreciation  $ 
Gross unrealized depreciation   (44)
Net unrealized depreciation on investments  $(44)
Tax cost of investments  $28,250 

 

At August 31, 2023, the components of accumulated earnings (deficit) on a tax basis were as follows:

 

Undistributed Ordinary Income  $791 
Unrealized depreciation on investments   (44)
Total accumulated earnings  $747 

 

For tax purposes no distributions were paid by the Fund for the fiscal years 2022 and 2023.

 

Certain capital losses and specified gains realized after October 31, and net investment losses realized after December 31 of the Fund’s fiscal year may be deferred and treated as occurring on the first business day of the Fund’s following taxable year. For the tax year

19

 

Tactical Multi-Purpose Fund
Notes to the Financial Statements (continued)
August 31, 2023

 

ended August 31, 2023, the Fund deferred qualified late year ordinary losses in the amount of $0.

 

NOTE 9. COMMITMENTS AND CONTINGENCIES

 

The Trust indemnifies its officers and Trustees for certain liabilities that may arise from their performance of their duties to the Trust or the Fund. Additionally, in the normal course of business, the Trust enters into contracts that contain a variety of representations and warranties which provide general indemnifications. The Trust’s maximum exposure under these arrangements is unknown, as this would involve future claims that may be made against the Trust that have not yet occurred.

 

NOTE 10. SUBSEQUENT EVENTS

 

Management of the Fund has evaluated the need for disclosures and/or adjustments resulting from subsequent events through the date at which these financial statements were issued. Based upon this evaluation, management has determined there were no items requiring adjustment of the financial statements or additional disclosure.

20

 

Report of Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm

 

To the Shareholders of Tactical Multi-Purpose Fund and
Board of Trustees of Unified Series Trust

 

Opinion on the Financial Statements

 

We have audited the accompanying statement of assets and liabilities, including the schedule of investments, of Tactical Multi-Purpose Fund (the “Fund”), a series of Unified Series Trust, as of August 31, 2023, the related statement of operations for the year then ended, the statements of changes in net assets for each of the two years in the period then ended, the related notes, and the financial highlights for each of the five years in the period then ended (collectively referred to as the “financial statements”). In our opinion, the financial statements present fairly, in all material respects, the financial position of the Fund as of August 31, 2023, the results of its operations for the year then ended, the changes in net assets for each of the two years in the period then ended, and the financial highlights for each of the five years in the period then ended, in conformity with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America.

 

Basis for Opinion

 

These financial statements are the responsibility of the Fund’s management. Our responsibility is to express an opinion on the Fund’s financial statements based on our audits. We are a public accounting firm registered with the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (United States) (“PCAOB”) and are required to be independent with respect to the Fund in accordance with the U.S. federal securities laws and the applicable rules and regulations of the Securities and Exchange Commission and the PCAOB.

 

We conducted our audits in accordance with the standards of the PCAOB. Those standards require that we plan and perform the audit to obtain reasonable assurance about whether the financial statements are free of material misstatement whether due to error or fraud.

 

Our audits included performing procedures to assess the risks of material misstatement of the financial statements, whether due to error or fraud, and performing procedures that respond to those risks. Such procedures included examining, on a test basis, evidence regarding the amounts and disclosures in the financial statements. Our procedures included confirmation of securities owned as of August 31, 2023, by correspondence with the custodian. Our audits also included evaluating the accounting principles used and significant estimates made by management, as well as evaluating the overall presentation of the financial statements. We believe that our audits provide a reasonable basis for our opinion.

 

We have served as the auditor of one or more investment companies advised by Fisher Asset Management, LLC since 2017.

 

(SIGNATURE)

 

COHEN & COMPANY, LTD.

Chicago, Illinois

October 27, 2023

21

 

Liquidity Risk Management Program (Unaudited)

 

The Trust has adopted and implemented a written liquidity risk management program (the “Program”) as required by Rule 22e-4 (the “Liquidity Rule”) under the 1940 Act. The Program is reasonably designed to assess and manage the Fund’s liquidity risk, taking into consideration, among other factors, the Fund’s investment strategy and the liquidity of its portfolio investments during normal and reasonably foreseeable stressed conditions; its short and long-term cash flow projections; and its cash holdings and access to other funding sources. The Board approved the appointment of the Liquidity Administrator Committee, comprising certain Trust officers and employees of the Adviser. The Liquidity Administrator Committee maintains Program oversight and reports to the Board on at least an annual basis regarding the Program’s operational effectiveness through a written report (the “Report”). The Program’s most recent Report, which was presented to the Board for consideration at its meeting held on August 14-15, 2023, outlined the operation of the Program and the adequacy and effectiveness of the Program’s implementation. During the review period, the Fund did not experience unusual stress or disruption to their operations related to purchase and redemption activity. Also, during the review period the Fund held adequate levels of cash and highly liquid investments to meet shareholder redemption activities in accordance with applicable requirements. The Report concluded that the Program is reasonably designed to prevent violation of the Liquidity Rule and has been effectively implemented.

22

 

Summary of Fund Expenses (Unaudited)

 

As a shareholder of the Fund, you incur two types of costs: (1) transaction and (2) ongoing costs, including management fees and other Fund expenses. These examples are intended to help you understand your ongoing costs (in dollars) of investing in the Fund and to compare these costs with the ongoing costs of investing in other funds. You may pay brokerage commissions on purchases and sales of exchange-traded fund shares, which are not reflected in the example. The example is based on an investment of $1,000 invested at the beginning of the period and held for the entire period from March 1, 2023 through August 31, 2023.

 

Actual Expenses

 

The first line of the table below provides information about actual account values and actual expenses. You may use the information in this line, together with the amount you invested, to estimate the expenses that you paid over the period. Simply divide your account value by $1,000 (for example, an $8,600 account value divided by $1,000 = 8.6), then multiply the result by the number in the first line under the heading “Expenses Paid During Period” to estimate the expenses you paid on your account during this period.

 

Hypothetical Example for Comparison Purposes

 

The second line of the table below provides information about hypothetical account values and hypothetical expenses based on the Fund’s actual expense ratio and an assumed rate of return of 5% per year before expenses, which is not the Fund’s actual return. The hypothetical account values and expenses may not be used to estimate the actual ending account balance or expenses you paid for the period. You may use this information to compare the ongoing costs of investing in the Fund and other funds. To do so, compare this 5% hypothetical example with the 5% hypothetical examples that appear in the shareholder reports of other funds.

 

Expenses shown in the table are meant to highlight your ongoing costs only and do not reflect any transactional costs. Therefore, the second line of the table below is useful in comparing ongoing costs only and will not help you determine the relative total costs of owning different funds. In addition, if transaction costs were included, your costs would have been higher.

 

     Beginning
Account
Value
March 1,
2023
   Ending
Account
Value
August 31,
2023
   Expenses
Paid
During
Period(a)
   Annualized
Expense
Ratio
  Actual  $1,000.00   $1,021.20   $5.10   1.00%
  Hypothetical(b)  $1,000.00   $1,020.15   $5.10   1.00%

 

(a)Expenses are equal to the Fund’s annualized expense ratios, multiplied by the average account value over the period, multiplied by 184/365 (to reflect the one-half year period).

 

(b)Hypothetical assumes 5% annual return before expenses.

23

 

Trustees and Officers (Unaudited)

 

GENERAL QUALIFICATIONS. The Board supervises the business activities of the Trust. Each Trustee serves as a trustee until termination of the Trust unless the Trustee dies, resigns, retires, or is removed. The Chair of the Board and more than 75% of the Trustees are “Independent Trustees”, which means that they are not “interested persons” (as defined in the 1940 Act) of the Trust or any adviser, sub-adviser or distributor of the Trust.

 

The following table provides information regarding the Independent Trustees.

 

Name, Address*, (Year of Birth),
Position with Trust**,
Term of Position with Trust
Principal Occupation During Past 5 Years and Other
Directorships
Daniel J. Condon (1950)
Chair, May 2022 to present; Chair of the Audit Committee; Chair of the Governance & Nominating Committee, May 2020 to May 2022; Independent Trustee, December 2002 to present
Current: Retired (2017 – present).

Previous: Peak Income Plus Fund (May 2022 – February 2023).
Kenneth G.Y. Grant (1949)
Chair of the Governance & Nominating Committee, May 2022 to present; Chair, January 2017 to May 2022; Independent Trustee, May 2008 to present
Current: Director, Standpoint Multi-Asset (Cayman) Fund, Ltd. (2019 – present); Director, Advisors Charitable Gift Fund (2020 – present), a Donor Advised Fund; Trustee. Trustee, Peak Income Plus Fund (May 2022 – present).

Previous: EVP, Benefit Plans Administrative Services, Inc., provider of retirement benefit plans administration (2019 – 2020); Director, Northeast Retirement Services (NRS) LLC, a transfer agent and fund administrator; and Director, Global Trust Company (GTC), a non-depository trust company sponsoring private investment products (2003 – 2019); EVP, NRS (2003 – 2019); GTC, EVP (2008 – 2019); EVP, Savings Banks Retirement Association (2003 – 2019), provider of qualified retirement benefit plans.
Ronald C. Tritschler (1952)
Chair of the Audit Committee, May 2022 to present; Independent Trustee, January 2007 to present; Interested Trustee, December 2002 to December 2006
Current: Chief Executive Officer, Director and Legal Counsel of The Webb Companies, a national real estate company, (2001– present); Director, Standpoint Multi- Asset (Cayman) Fund, Ltd. (2020 – present); Director of First State Bank of the Southeast (2000 – present).

Previous: Trustee, Peak Income Plus Fund (May 2022 – February 2023).
Catharine B. McGauley (1977)
Chair of the Pricing & Liquidity Committee, November 2022 to present; Independent Trustee, September 2022 to present
Current: Lead Portfolio Manager of Atlantic Charter Insurance, a workers’ compensation insurer, (2010 – present); Investment Advisor for a Family Office (2015 – present); Senior Analyst/Advisor for a Boston real estate company and related family (2010 – present).

Previous: Trustee, Peak Income Plus Fund (May 2022 – February 2023).
Freddie Jacobs, Jr. (1970)
Independent Trustee, September 2022 to present
Current: Chief Operating Officer and Chief Risk Officer Northeast Retirement Services LLC (NRS), and its subsidiary, Global Trust Company (GTC). NRS is a transfer agent and fund administrator, GTC is a non- depository trust company sponsoring private investment products (2021 – present); Chair, Board of Crispus Attucks Fund (2020 – present); Board Member of Camp Harbor View (2020 – present); Director, Sportsmen’s Tennis and Education Center (2019 – present).

Previous: SVP, Senior Risk Officer NRS (2013 – 2021); Trustee, Peak Income Plus Fund (May 2022 – February 2023); Trustee of Buckingham Browne & Nichols (2017 - June 2023).

 

*The address for each Trustee is 225 Pictoria Drive, Suite 450, Cincinnati, Ohio 45246.

 

**As of the date of this report, the Trust consists of 29 series.

24

 

Trustees and Officers (Unaudited) (continued)

 

The following table provides information regarding the Interested Trustees and Officers of the Trust.

 

Name, Address*, (Year of Birth),
Position with Trust,
Term of Position with Trust
Principal Occupation During Past 5 Years and Other
Directorships
David R. Carson (1958)
Interested Trustee, August 2020 to present; President, January 2016 to August 2021
Current: Retired (2023 – present); Interested Trustee, Mammoth Institutional Credit Access Fund and Mammoth Institutional Equity Access Fund (November 2022 – present); Interested Trustee, Peak Income Plus Fund (May 2022 – present).

Previous: Interested Trustee of Ultimus Managers Trust, (January 2021 – April 2023); Senior Vice President Client Strategies of Ultimus Fund Solutions, LLC, (2013 – April 2023).
Martin R. Dean (1963)
President, August 2021 to present; Vice President, November 2020 to August 2021; Chief Compliance Officer, April 2021 to August 2021; Assistant Chief Compliance Officer, January 2016 to April 2021
Current: President, Northern Lights Compliance Services (2023 – present).

Previous: Senior Vice President, Head of Fund Compliance of Ultimus Fund Solutions, LLC (2016 – January 2023).
Zachary P. Richmond (1980)
Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer, November 2014 to present
Current: Vice President, Director of Financial Administration for Ultimus Fund Solutions, LLC, (2015 – present).
Gweneth K. Gosselink (1955)
Chief Compliance Officer, August 2021 to present
Current: Assistant Vice President, Senior Compliance Officer of Ultimus Fund Solutions, LLC, since 2019.

Previous: Chief Operating Officer & CCO at Miles Capital, Inc. (2013 – 2019).
Elisabeth Dahl (1962)
Secretary, May 2017 to present; Assistant Secretary, March 2016 to May 2017
Current: Attorney, Ultimus Fund Solutions, LLC since March 2016.
Timothy J. Shaloo (1970)
AML Compliance Officer, August 2023 to present
Current: AVP, Compliance Officer (September 2023 – present).

Previous: Senior Compliance Analyst, Northern Lights Compliance Services, LLC (2021 – August 2023); Compliance Specialist, Ultimus Fund Solutions, LLC (2016 – 2020).

 

*The address for each Officer is 225 Pictoria Drive, Suite 450, Cincinnati, Ohio 45246.

 

Other Information (Unaudited)

 

The Fund’s Statement of Additional Information (“SAI”) includes additional information about the trustees and is available without charge, upon request. You may call toll-free at (800) 550-1071 to request a copy of the SAI or to make shareholder inquiries.

25

 

PRIVACY NOTICE

 

Rev: January 2020

 

FACTS WHAT DOES TACTICAL MULTI-PURPOSE FUND (THE “FUND”) DO WITH YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION?
   
Why? Financial companies choose how they share your personal information. Federal law gives consumers the right to limit some but not all sharing. Federal law also requires us to tell you how we collect, share, and protect your personal information. Please read this notice carefully to understand what we do.
   
What?

The types of personal information we collect and share depend on the product or service you have with us. This information can include:

 

■     Social Security number

 

■     account balances and account transactions

 

■     transaction or loss history and purchase history

 

When you are no longer our customer, we continue to share your information as described in this notice.

   
How? All financial companies need to share customers’ personal information to run their everyday business. In the section below, we list the reasons financial companies can share their customers’ personal information; the reasons the Fund chooses to share; and whether you can limit this sharing.

 

Reasons we can share your personal information Does the
Fund share?
Can you limit
this sharing?
For our everyday business purposes—
such as to process your transactions, maintain your account(s), respond to court orders and legal investigations, or report to credit bureaus
Yes No
For our marketing purposes—
to offer our products and services to you
No We don’t
share
For joint marketing with other financial companies No We don’t
share
For our affiliates’ everyday business purposes—
information about your transactions and experiences
No We don’t
share
For our affiliates’ everyday business purposes—
information about your creditworthiness
No We don’t
share
For nonaffiliates to market to you No We don’t
share

 

Questions? Call (800) 550-1071

26

 

Who we are
Who is providing this notice?

Tactical Multi-Purpose Fund

 

Ultimus Fund Distributors, LLC (Distributor)

 

Ultimus Fund Solutions, LLC (Administrator)

What we do
How does the Fund protect my
personal information?
To protect your personal information from unauthorized access and use, we use security measures that comply with federal law. These measures include computer safeguards and secured files and buildings. Our service providers are held accountable for adhering to strict policies and procedures to prevent any misuse of your nonpublic personal information.
How does the Fund collect my
personal information?

We collect your personal information, for example, when you

 

■      open an account or deposit money

 

■      make deposits or withdrawals from your account or provide account information

 

We also collect your personal information from other companies.

Why can’t I limit all sharing?

Federal law gives you the right to limit only

 

■      sharing for affiliates’ everyday business purposes — information about your creditworthiness

 

■      affiliates from using your information to market to you

 

■      sharing for nonaffiliates to market to you

 

State laws and individual companies may give you additional rights to limit sharing.

Definitions
Affiliates

Companies related by common ownership or control. They can be financial and nonfinancial companies.

 

■      Fisher Asset Management, LLC, d/b/a Fisher Investments, the investment adviser to the Fund, could be deemed to be an affiliate.

Nonaffiliates

Companies not related by common ownership or control. They can be financial and nonfinancial companies.

 

■      The Fund does not share your personal information with nonaffiliates so they can market to you

Joint marketing

A formal agreement between nonaffiliated financial companies that together market financial products or services to you.

 

■      The Fund does not jointly market.

27

 

Proxy Voting

 

A description of the policies and procedures that the Fund uses to determine how to vote proxies relating to portfolio securities and information regarding how the Fund voted those proxies during the most recent twelve month period ended June 30, are available (1) without charge upon request by calling the Fund at (800) 550-1071 and (2) in Fund documents filed with the SEC on the SEC’s website at www.sec.gov.

 

TRUSTEES INDEPENDENT REGISTERED PUBLIC ACCOUNTING FIRM
Daniel J. Condon, Chair Cohen & Company, Ltd.
David R. Carson 151 North Franklin Street, Suite 575
Kenneth G.Y. Grant Chicago, IL 60606
Freddie Jacobs, Jr.  
Catharine B. McGauley  
Ronald C. Tritschler  
   
OFFICERS LEGAL COUNSEL
Martin R. Dean, President Thompson Hine LLP
Gweneth K. Gosselink, Chief Compliance Officer 312 Walnut Street, 20th Floor
Zachary P. Richmond, Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer Cincinnati, OH 45202
   
INVESTMENT ADVISER CUSTODIAN
Fisher Asset Management, LLC U.S. Bank, N.A.
6500 International Parkway, Suite 2050 425 Walnut Street
Plano, TX 75093 Cincinnati, OH 45202
   
DISTRIBUTOR ADMINISTRATOR, TRANSFER AGENT AND FUND ACCOUNTANT
Ultimus Fund Distributors, LLC Ultimus Fund Solutions, LLC
225 Pictoria Drive, Suite 450 225 Pictoria Drive, Suite 450
Cincinnati, OH 45246 Cincinnati, OH 45246

 

This report is intended only for the information of shareholders or those who have received the Fund’s prospectus which contains information about the Fund’s management fee and expenses. Please read the prospectus carefully before investing.

 

Distributed by Ultimus Fund Distributors, LLC

 

Member FINRA/SIPC

 

 

 

FISHER INVESTMENTS INSTITUTIONAL

GROUP FUND FAMILY

 

 

 

 

 

Annual Report

 

August 31, 2023

 

 

 

 

 

Fisher Investments Institutional Group 

Stock Fund for Retirement Plans

 

Fisher Investments Institutional Group 

ESG Stock Fund for Retirement Plans

 

Fisher Investments Institutional Group 

Fixed Income Fund for Retirement Plans

 

Fisher Investments Institutional Group 

ESG Fixed Income Fund for Retirement Plans

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fund Adviser: 

Fisher Asset Management, LLC 

6500 International Parkway, Suite 2050 

Plano, Texas 75093 

(800) 851-8845

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Management Discussion of Fund Performance – (Unaudited)

 

Dear Shareholder:

 

Market Outlook

 

Developed world equities finished solidly positive in both Q2 and 2023’s first half. The main force behind the positive year-to-date return, in our view, is that reality exceeded expectations. We think equities are likely to end the year higher as that force is expected to continue.

 

Elevated inflation has dominated headlines over the past year, and the UK has been among the developed world’s hardest hit. Though the headline consumer price index (including owner occupiers’ housing costs, or CPI-H) sped up from 7.8% y/y to 7.9% in May, most worry centered on the reacceleration in core CPI-H (which excludes energy, food, alcohol and tobacco prices) to 6.5% y/y, its fastest rate in over 30 years. Separately, UK wage growth jumped 7.2% y/y in the three months through April. These developments spurred conversation that the Bank of England (BoE) has yet to tamp down inflation—and will need to keep hiking rates to do so, which many fear is a headwind for equities.

 

However, in our view, May’s core CPI acceleration appears tied largely to one-time developments, specifically, a big acceleration in recreation and culture prices related to some live music events and the release of a popular video game. These are one-off events, not permanent changes. We also think the theory that wages drive inflation is a misperception. Rather, the former trails the latter since employers typically factor in living costs when setting wages, making them a late-lagging price that responds to inflationary conditions. Data supports this notion lately in other major economies, including the US and Japan—and in our view, it isn’t any different in the UK.

 

UK equities have lagged the benchmark in Q2 and for the year, but in our view, their relative struggles appear tied to sentiment more than fundamentals. Several fears, from stubbornly high inflation to recession worries, have taken turns weighing on sentiment. However, we don’t think reality is as poor as perceived. Producer prices are close to a zero percent inflation rate, and broad money supply has contracted in five of the past seven months. These developments suggest inflation should broadly keep easing, regardless of whether the BoE hikes or not, and 13 straight BoE hikes haven’t halted GDP growth. That so many remain dour towards British equities despite this resilience is bullish, in our view.

 

In continental Europe, more recent data suggest the eurozone’s economic backdrop is mixed. The eurozone composite Purchasing Managers’ Index, which aggregates services and manufacturing, fell to 49.9 in late Q2—right below the level dividing expansion and contraction. However, by sector, services showed growth (52.0) while manufacturing stayed in contraction (43.4). This split has persisted throughout the year, and while heavy industry’s weakness weighs on growth, services comprise the majority of output in the eurozone—so the latter’s prospects have more sway on the region’s economy. Regarding prices, though June headline inflation slowed to 5.5% y/y from 6.1%, core CPI picked up

1

 

Management Discussion of Fund Performance – (Unaudited) 

(continued)

 

from 5.3% to 5.4% y/y, which was tied partly to a low base effect from a price assistance measure last year (e.g., German transport ticket discounts). However, the pickup in core inflation is consistent with the UK’s minor reacceleration, a reminder that inflation trends are global, and one month’s uptick doesn’t negate broader disinflationary trends.

 

Germany is another place where reality is not as poor as feared, in our view. Since late 2021, economists have been predicting a German recession, and that oft-forecast downturn appeared to manifest in revised GDP data. Q1 GDP was revised down from flat to -0.3% q/q. Following Q4 2022’s -0.5% q/q dip, the two straight quarterly dips meet one popular definition of recession. Some argue German equities outperformance since last September has been disconnected from fundamentals—and now they point to technical recession and other alleged headwinds (e.g., ongoing ECB rate hikes) to claim the outlook is negative. These worries are likely why German equities have lagged throughout Q2.

 

In our view, forward-looking equities have moved on from these developments, as recession discussion didn’t prevent Italy, Spain, France and even Germany from outperforming in late Q2. Now, it is always possible developments weigh on returns in the near term. For example, Dutch equities have been a top performer year to date but matched the benchmark in June. The cool down comes as Holland’s Information Technology sector only rose slightly, trailing the MSCI’s Information Technology sector in June, which we believe looks tied to minor political uncertainty. The Dutch government detailed export restrictions on machines that make advanced semiconductor processor chips, impacting Dutch semiconductor firm ASML—which comprises nearly all of the Netherlands’ Information Technology sector by market capitalization. We don’t think this restriction significantly disrupts ASML—the company said it did not expect restrictions to have a material impact on its financial outlook—but the news likely weighed on sentiment.

 

In Asia, sentiment toward Japanese markets still seems relatively optimistic—especially compared to Western Europe. Many high-profile investors have talked up Japanese markets’ prospects recently, pointing to Japanese firms’ cheap valuations and Q1 GDP improvement (1.9% annualized growth) as reasons to be bullish. But valuations aren’t predictive. Despite arguably being attractive for most of the last decade, Japan’s 12-month forward price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio was continuously lower than the broader index from 2014 – 2019.

 

Investors also point to Japan’s economic recovery, as growth looks stronger relative to other developed markets. For example, May retail sales rose 1.3% m/m, beating expectations, and have risen five of the past six months. In contrast, eurozone retail sales were flat on a monthly basis in May (latest data available). However, Japan’s recent growth is largely tied to its reopening-related boost and tourism recovery. In our view, that likely tapers off and the country will return to its pre-pandemic growth rates.

2

 

Management Discussion of Fund Performance – (Unaudited) 

(continued)

 

In Japanese politics, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida announced he won’t dissolve the National Diet nor call a snap election. Some observers thought PM Kishida may seek to take advantage of recent optimism by calling for an early election, with the goal of solidifying his power within the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). But some issues arose, including snags with the national ID card rollout and controversy surrounding a party hosted by PM Kishida’s son at the official residence. Those stories dented his popularity recently, so PM Kishida appears to be holding off from calling a snap vote—and for now, that reduces some political uncertainty. In our view, Japan remains a mixed bag, but sentiment still seems a bit more optimistic than warranted given ongoing headwinds on domestic demand, arguing for a selective approach.

 

Gridlock looks prevalent throughout the developed world, particularly in Europe—an underappreciated positive for equities, since it decreases the likelihood of major, uncertainty-inducing legislative changes. Another underappreciated eurozone development: cooling inflation. Eurozone inflation hit 6.1% y/y in May, down from April’s 7.0%, as prices continued to slow from October 2022’s 10.6% rate. Though eurozone inflation remains well above its pre-pandemic rate, the price pressures plaguing businesses and households over the past 12 months continue to ease. That said, over the longer term, broader economic and political conditions swamp country-specific issues—and in the eurozone’s case, even mild growth is likely to exceed low expectations, a bullish force for eurozone equities.

 

Several developed world central banks hiked rates in Q2. Some met expectations, including the 25 basis-point hikes from Sweden’s Riksbank, the ECB and the Swiss National Bank. Others, however, surprised. Norway’s Norges Bank and the BoE hiked by more than anticipated (50 bps instead of 25 bps). The Reserve Bank of Australia and Bank of Canada resumed rate increases after a pause, which caught observers off guard—the former hiked in May and June (25 bps each time) after an April break while the latter had been on hold since January.

 

For all the attention rate hikes receive, however, they don’t have a preset market impact. Yes, some countries’ markets are down in US dollar terms ever since their central banks began hiking, including Norway, Canada and Australia. Yet other markets are positive: See the eurozone, Switzerland, the UK and Sweden. In our view, this mixed bag illustrates that rate hikes aren’t automatically bad for equities. Monetary policy is just one factor, among many, that markets consider—worth keeping in mind given all the attention on monetary policy globally.

3

 

Management Discussion of Fund Performance – (Unaudited) 

(continued)

 

Fisher Investments Institutional Group Stock Fund for Retirement Plans Performance Attribution

 

The Fisher Investments Institutional Group Stock Fund for Retirement Plans outperformed the MSCI ACWI Investable Market Index for the period from September 1, 2022 through August 31, 2023. During this period, the Fund returned 25.75% while the Fund’s primary benchmark, the MSCI ACWI Investable Market Index, returned 13.32%. Country and sector allocation as well as equity selection contributed to relative return. An overweight to and selection within the United States was the largest contributor to relative return, driven by visual computing company Nvidia, pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly and Company and luxury residential designer Toll Brothers. Additionally, an overweight to and selection within Information Technology contributed to performance as enterprise software and computer hardware conglomerate Oracle, lithography equipment manufacturer ASML Holdings and digital marketing & media solutions provider Adobe outperformed relative to the Information Technology sector within the MSCI ACWI Investable Market Index. Conversely, an underweight to and selection within Japan was the largest detractor from relative returns, driven by computer systems manufacturer FANUC as well as industrial machinery manufacturers SMC Corporation and Daifuku. Further, selection within Industrials detracted from performance as online payroll and human resource technology provider Paycom, diesel and natural gas engine manufacturer Cummins and rail freight company Canadian Pacific Kansas City Limited underperformed other Industrials companies.

 

Portfolio Shifts

 

For the period from September 1, 2022 through August 31, 2023, we have increased the Fund’s exposure to the Financials sector. We believe the Financials sector is likely to perform in-line with global markets. Positively, cyclical categories like Financials should perform well in our view, as equities recover from last year’s bear market. Recent high-profile bank failures appear highly isolated in nature—the broader banking system remains robust, with underappreciated balance sheet strength. Banks, worldwide, broadly have the highest capital and liquidity buffers in modern history, providing ample ability to weather economic uncertainty ahead. The strong balance sheet position of banks today allows for continued loan growth and the ability to keep lending margins wide via low dependence on more expensive interest-bearing funding sources.

 

Similarly, we decreased the Fund’s exposure to the Health Care sector. Health Care is a traditionally defensive sector that tends to underperform in economic rebounds and early bull markets—the environment we anticipate moving forward. 

4

 

Management Discussion of Fund Performance – (Unaudited) 

(continued)

 

Fisher Investments Institutional Group ESG Stock Fund for Retirement Plans

 

Performance Attribution

 

The Fisher Investments Institutional Group ESG Stock Fund for Retirement Plans outperformed the MSCI ACWI Investable Market Index for the period from September 1, 2022 through August 31, 2023. During this period, the Fund returned 27.34% while the Fund’s primary benchmark, the MSCI ACWI Investable Market Index, returned 13.32%. Country and sector allocation as well as equity selection contributed to relative outperformance. An overweight to and selection within the United States was the largest contributor to relative outperformance, driven by visual computing company Nvidia, pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly and Company, and industrial manufacturer Lennox International. Additionally, an overweight to and selection within Information Technology contributed to performance as enterprise software and computer hardware conglomerate Oracle, lithography equipment manufacturer ASML Holdings, and cloud computing company Salesforce outperformed relative to the Information Technology sector within the MSCI ACWI Investable Market Index. Conversely, an underweight to and selection within Denmark was the largest detractor from relative return, driven by wind power plant company Vestas Wind Systems. Further, an underweight to and selection within Japan detracted from performance as computer systems manufacturer FANUC and industrial machinery manufacturer Daifuku underperformed relative to Japan within the MSCI ACWI Investable Market Index.

 

Portfolio Shifts

 

For the period from September 1, 2022 through August 31, 2023, we increased the Fund’s exposure to Industrials. Lack of qualified labor and rising wages in Emerging Markets, improving productivity in Developed Markets and secular demand for semiconductor manufacturing globally are contributing to increased demand for factory automation equipment and services. Demand for extraction equipment will likely remain strong alongside elevated prices for many metals, particularly those exposed to “green capex” including cobalt, nickel and lithium, benefitting mining equipment manufacturers. The Russian invasion of Ukraine and US-China tensions have driven companies to secure supply chains in their domestic or friendly countries’ markets—likely decreasing global trade but increasing domestic infrastructure investments. However, rising geopolitical tensions have also pulled forward some defense spending.

 

During the same period, we significantly decreased the Fund’s exposure to Information Technology. Governments around the world may increasingly use antitrust laws to reduce intellectual property royalties, as recently seen in Asia, as well as national security as a rationale to impede cross border M&A, as recently seen in the US. Further, calls for Tech regulation in the US are increasing, ranging from social media legal immunity, anti-competitive business practices and M&A investigations from the Department of Justice

5

 

Management Discussion of Fund Performance – (Unaudited)

(continued)

 

and FTC. Global competition between the US and China continues to have downstream impacts on the Technology sector.

 

Fisher Investments Institutional Group Fixed Income Fund for Retirement Plans Performance Attribution

 

The Fisher Investments Institutional Group Fixed Income Fund for Retirement Plans outperformed the ICE BofA U.S. Broad Market Index for the period from September 1, 2022 through August 31, 2023. During this period, the Fund returned -0.60% while the Fund’s primary benchmark, the ICE BofA U.S. Broad Market Index, returned -1.32%. A strategic lack of exposure to securitized/collateralized bonds was the largest contributor to relative outperformance as the category underperformed the broader benchmark. Additionally, an overweight to and selection within corporate bonds also contributed to performance. Conversely, a strategic lack of exposure to Quasi & Foreign Government bonds detracted from performance as the category outperformed the broader benchmark. Further, selection within Sovereign bonds also detracted from performance.

 

Portfolio Shifts

 

For the period from June 30, 2023 to August 31, 2023, we have increased the Fund’s exposure to sovereign bonds by 6.65%.

 

Fisher Investments Institutional Group ESG Fixed Income Fund for Retirement Plans

 

Performance Attribution

 

The Fisher Investments Institutional Group ESG Fixed Income Fund for Retirement Plans outperformed the ICE BofA U.S. Broad Market Index for the period from September 1, 2022 through August 31, 2023. During this period, the Fund returned -0.69% while the Fund’s primary benchmark, the ICE BofA U.S. Broad Market Index, returned -1.32%. A strategic lack of exposure to securitized/collateralized bonds was the largest contributor to relative outperformance as the category underperformed the broader benchmark. Additionally, an overweight to corporate bonds also contributed to performance. Conversely, selection within sovereign bonds was the largest detractor from relative return. Further, a strategic lack of exposure to Quasi & Foreign Government bonds detracted from performance as the category outperformed the broader benchmark.

 

Portfolio Shifts

 

For the period from June 30, 2023 to August 31, 2023, we have increased the Fund’s exposure to sovereign bonds by 4.85%. 

6

 

Investment Results (Unaudited)

 

Average Annual Total Returns as of August 31, 2023(a)

 

      Since
      Inception
  One Year Three Year (12/13/19)
Fisher Investments Institutional Group Stock Fund for Retirement Plans 25.75% 8.75% 11.31%
MSCI ACWI Investable Market Index(b) 13.32% 7.29% 7.42%
       
      Expense
      Ratios(c)
Gross     0.00%
With Applicable Waivers     0.00%

 

The performance quoted represents past performance, which does not guarantee future results. The investment return and principal value of an investment will fluctuate so that an investor’s shares, when redeemed, may be worth more or less than their original cost. The returns shown do not reflect deduction of taxes that a shareholder would pay on Fisher Investments Institutional Group Stock Fund for Retirement Plans (the “Fund”) distributions or the redemption of Fund shares. The Fund’s investment objective, risks, charges and expenses should be considered carefully before investing. Current performance may be lower or higher than the performance quoted. Performance data current to the most recent month-end may be obtained by calling (800) 851-8845.

 

(a)Return figures reflect any change in price per share and assume the reinvestment of all distributions.

 

(b)The MSCI ACWI Investable Market Index is designed to represent performance of the full opportunity set of large and mid-cap stocks across 23 developed markets and 24 emerging markets. Individuals cannot invest directly in an index; however, an individual can invest in exchange traded funds or other investment vehicles that attempt to track the performance of a benchmark index. Index returns assume reinvestment of dividends and do not reflect any fees or expenses.

 

(c)The expense ratios are from the Fund’s prospectus dated December 29, 2022. Fisher Asset Management, LLC, d/b/a Fisher Investments (the “Adviser”) has contractually agreed to pay all of the operating expenses of the Fund except portfolio transaction and other investment related costs (including brokerage fees and commissions, and fees and expenses associated with investments in derivative instruments, such as option and swap fees and expenses), taxes, borrowing costs (such as interest and dividend expense on securities sold short), extraordinary expenses, and any indirect expenses (such as fees and expenses associated with investment in acquired funds and other collective investment vehicles). The Fund is available only to eligible retirement plans receiving the Adviser’s managed account or other services. The Fund does not pay a management fee to the Adviser. Retirement plans, plan sponsors and/or plan participants pay a separate fee for the Adviser’s services and also pay fees to record keepers and administrators. If paid from plan assets, these fees will reduce the net return to plan participants but are not reflected in net fund performance.

 

The Fund’s investment objective, strategies, risks, charges and expenses should be considered carefully before investing. The Fund’s prospectus contains this and other important information about the Fund and may be obtained by calling (800) 851-8845. Please read it carefully before investing.

7

 

Investment Results (Unaudited) (continued)

 

Comparison of the Growth of a $10,000 Investment in the Fisher Investments Institutional Group Stock Fund for Retirement Plans and the MSCI ACWI Investable Market Index (Unaudited)

 

(LINE GRAPH)

 

This graph shows the value of a hypothetical initial investment of $10,000 made on December 13, 2019 (commencement of operations) and held through August 31, 2023. The MSCI ACWI Investable Market Index is designed to represent performance of the full opportunity set of large and mid-cap stocks across 23 developed and 24 emerging markets. THE FUND’S RETURN REPRESENTS PAST PERFORMANCE AND DOES NOT GUARANTEE OR PREDICT FUTURE RESULTS. The returns shown do not reflect deduction of taxes that a shareholder would pay on Fund distributions or the redemption of Fund shares. Investment returns and principal values will fluctuate so that an investor’s shares, when redeemed, may be worth more or less than their original cost.

 

Current performance may be lower or higher than the performance data quoted. For more information on the Fund, and to obtain performance data current to the most recent month-end, or to request a prospectus, please call (800) 851-8845. You should carefully consider the investment objective, risks, charges and expenses of the Fund before investing. The Fund’s prospectus contains this and other information about the Fund and should be read carefully before investing.

 

The Fund is distributed by Ultimus Fund Distributors, LLC, member FINRA/SIPC.

8

 

Investment Results (Unaudited) (continued)

 

Average Annual Total Returns as of August 31, 2023(a)

 

      Since
      Inception
  One Year Three Year (12/13/19)
Fisher Investments Institutional Group ESG Stock Fund for Retirement Plans 27.34% 9.18% 11.66%
MSCI ACWI Investable Market Index(b) 13.32% 7.29% 7.42%
       
      Expense
      Ratios(c)
Gross     0.00%
With Applicable Waivers     0.00%

 

The performance quoted represents past performance, which does not guarantee future results. The investment return and principal value of an investment will fluctuate so that an investor’s shares, when redeemed, may be worth more or less than their original cost. The returns shown do not reflect deduction of taxes that a shareholder would pay on Fisher Investments Institutional Group ESG Stock Fund for Retirement Plans (the “Fund”) distributions or the redemption of Fund shares. The Fund’s investment objective, risks, charges and expenses should be considered carefully before investing. Current performance may be lower or higher than the performance quoted. Performance data current to the most recent month-end may be obtained by calling (800) 851-8845.

 

(a)Return figures reflect any change in price per share and assume the reinvestment of all distributions.

 

(b)The MSCI ACWI Investable Market Index is designed to represent performance of the full opportunity set of large and mid-cap stocks across 23 developed markets and 24 emerging markets. Individuals cannot invest directly in an index; however, an individual can invest in exchange traded funds or other investment vehicles that attempt to track the performance of a benchmark index. Index returns assume reinvestment of dividends and do not reflect any fees or expenses.

 

(c)The expense ratios are from the Fund’s prospectus dated December 29, 2022. Fisher Asset Management, LLC, d/b/a Fisher Investments (the “Adviser”) has contractually agreed to pay all of the operating expenses of the Fund except portfolio transaction and other investment related costs (including brokerage fees and commissions, and fees and expenses associated with investments in derivative instruments, such as option and swap fees and expenses), taxes, borrowing costs (such as interest and dividend expense on securities sold short), extraordinary expenses, and any indirect expenses (such as fees and expenses associated with investment in acquired funds and other collective investment vehicles). The Fund is available only to eligible retirement plans receiving the Adviser’s managed account or other services. The Fund does not pay a management fee to the Adviser. Retirement plans, plan sponsors and/or plan participants pay a separate fee for the Adviser’s services and also pay fees to record keepers and administrators. If paid from plan assets, these fees will reduce the net return to plan participants but are not reflected in net fund performance.

 

The Fund’s investment objective, strategies, risks, charges and expenses should be considered carefully before investing. The Fund’s prospectus contains this and other important information about the Fund and may be obtained by calling (800) 851-8845. Please read it carefully before investing. 

9

 

Investment Results (Unaudited) (continued)

 

Comparison of the Growth of a $10,000 Investment in the Fisher Investments Institutional Group ESG Stock Fund for Retirement Plans and the MSCI ACWI Investable Market Index (Unaudited) 

 

(LINE GRAPH) 

 

This graph shows the value of a hypothetical initial investment of $10,000 made on December 13, 2019 (commencement of operations) and held through August 31, 2023. The MSCI ACWI Investable Market Index is designed to represent performance of the full opportunity set of large and mid-cap stocks across 23 developed and 24 emerging markets. THE FUND’S RETURN REPRESENTS PAST PERFORMANCE AND DOES NOT GUARANTEE OR PREDICT FUTURE RESULTS. The returns shown do not reflect deduction of taxes that a shareholder would pay on Fund distributions or the redemption of Fund shares. Investment returns and principal values will fluctuate so that an investor’s shares, when redeemed, may be worth more or less than their original cost.

 

Current performance may be lower or higher than the performance data quoted. For more information on the Fund, and to obtain performance data current to the most recent month-end, or to request a prospectus, please call (800) 851-8845. You should carefully consider the investment objective, risks, charges and expenses of the Fund before investing. The Fund’s prospectus contains this and other information about the Fund and should be read carefully before investing.

 

The Fund is distributed by Ultimus Fund Distributors, LLC, member FINRA/SIPC.

10

 

Investment Results (Unaudited) (continued)

 

Average Annual Total Returns as of August 31, 2023(a)

 

      Since
      Inception
  One Year Three Year (12/13/19)
Fisher Investments Institutional Group Fixed Income Fund for Retirement Plans (0.60)% (3.81)% (1.73)%
ICE BofA U.S. Broad Market Index(b) (1.32)% (4.47)% (1.91)%
       
      Expense
      Ratios(c)
Gross     0.01%
With Applicable Waivers     0.01%

 

The performance quoted represents past performance, which does not guarantee future results. The investment return and principal value of an investment will fluctuate so that an investor’s shares, when redeemed, may be worth more or less than their original cost. The returns shown do not reflect deduction of taxes that a shareholder would pay on Fisher Investments Institutional Group Fixed Income Fund for Retirement Plans (the “Fund”) distributions or the redemption of Fund shares. The Fund’s investment objective, risks, charges and expenses should be considered carefully before investing. Current performance may be lower or higher than the performance quoted. Performance data current to the most recent month-end may be obtained by calling (800) 851-8845.

 

(a)Return figures reflect any change in price per share and assume the reinvestment of all distributions.

 

(b)The ICE BofA U.S. Broad Market Index measures the performance of U.S. dollar-denominated, investment grade debt securities, including U.S. Treasury notes and bonds, quasi-government securities, corporate securities, residential and commercial mortgage-backed securities and asset-backed securities. Individuals cannot invest directly in an index; however, an individual can invest in exchange traded funds or other investment vehicles that attempt to track the performance of a benchmark index. Index returns assume reinvestment of dividends and do not reflect any fees or expenses.

 

(c)The expense ratios are from the Fund’s prospectus dated December 29, 2022 and represent acquired fund fees and expenses. Fisher Asset Management, LLC, d/b/a Fisher Investments (the “Adviser”) has contractually agreed to pay all of the operating expenses of the Fund except portfolio transaction and other investment related costs (including brokerage fees and commissions, and fees and expenses associated with investments in derivative instruments, such as option and swap fees and expenses), taxes, borrowing costs (such as interest and dividend expense on securities sold short), extraordinary expenses, and any indirect expenses (such as fees and expenses associated with investment in acquired funds and other collective investment vehicles). The Fund is available only to eligible retirement plans receiving the Adviser’s managed account or other services. The Fund does not pay a management fee to the Adviser. Retirement plans, plan sponsors and/or plan participants pay a separate fee for the Adviser’s services and also pay fees to record keepers and administrators. If paid from plan assets, these fees will reduce the net return to plan participants but are not reflected in net fund performance.

 

The Fund’s investment objective, strategies, risks, charges and expenses should be considered carefully before investing. The Fund’s prospectus contains this and other important information about the Fund and may be obtained by calling (800) 851-8845. Please read it carefully before investing.

11

 

Investment Results (Unaudited) (continued)

 

Comparison of the Growth of a $10,000 Investment in the Fisher Investments Institutional Group Fixed Income Fund for Retirement Plans and the ICE BofA U.S. Broad Market Index (Unaudited)

 

(LINE GRAPH)

 

This graph shows the value of a hypothetical initial investment of $10,000 made on December 13, 2019 (commencement of operations) and held through August 31, 2023. The ICE BofA U.S. Broad Market Index measures the performance of U.S. dollar-denominated, investment grade debt securities, including U.S. Treasury notes and bonds, quasi-government securities, corporate securities, residential and commercial mortgage-backed securities, and asset-backed securities. THE FUND’S RETURN REPRESENTS PAST PERFORMANCE AND DOES NOT GUARANTEE OR PREDICT FUTURE RESULTS. The returns shown do not reflect deduction of taxes that a shareholder would pay on Fund distributions or the redemption of Fund shares. Investment returns and principal values will fluctuate so that an investor’s shares, when redeemed, may be worth more or less than their original cost.

 

Current performance may be lower or higher than the performance data quoted. For more information on the Fund, and to obtain performance data current to the most recent month-end, or to request a prospectus, please call (800) 851-8845. You should carefully consider the investment objective, risks, charges and expenses of the Fund before investing. The Fund’s prospectus contains this and other information about the Fund and should be read carefully before investing.

 

The Fund is distributed by Ultimus Fund Distributors, LLC, member FINRA/SIPC.

12

 

Investment Results (Unaudited) (continued)

 

Average Annual Total Returns as of August 31, 2023(a)

 

      Since
      Inception
  One Year Three Year (12/13/19)
Fisher Investments Institutional Group ESG Fixed Income Fund for Retirement Plans (0.69)% (4.07)% (1.92)%
ICE BofA U.S. Broad Market Index(b) (1.32)% (4.47)% (1.91)%
       
      Expense
      Ratios(c)
Gross     0.02%
With Applicable Waivers     0.02%

 

The performance quoted represents past performance, which does not guarantee future results. The investment return and principal value of an investment will fluctuate so that an investor’s shares, when redeemed, may be worth more or less than their original cost. The returns shown do not reflect deduction of taxes that a shareholder would pay on Fisher Investments Institutional Group ESG Fixed Income Fund for Retirement Plans (the “Fund”) distributions or the redemption of Fund shares. The Fund’s investment objective, risks, charges and expenses should be considered carefully before investing. Current performance may be lower or higher than the performance quoted. Performance data current to the most recent month-end may be obtained by calling (800) 851-8845.

 

(a)Return figures reflect any change in price per share and assume the reinvestment of all distributions.

 

(b)The ICE BofA U.S. Broad Market Index measures the performance of U.S. dollar-denominated, investment grade debt securities, including U.S. Treasury notes and bonds, quasi-government securities, corporate securities, residential and commercial mortgage-backed securities and asset-backed securities. Individuals cannot invest directly in an index; however, an individual can invest in exchange traded funds or other investment vehicles that attempt to track the performance of a benchmark index. Index returns assume reinvestment of dividends and do not reflect any fees or expenses.

 

(c)The expense ratios are from the Fund’s prospectus dated December 29, 2022 and represent acquired fund fees and expenses. Fisher Asset Management, LLC, d/b/a Fisher Investments (the “Adviser”) has contractually agreed to pay all of the operating expenses of the Fund except portfolio transaction and other investment related costs (including brokerage fees and commissions, and fees and expenses associated with investments in derivative instruments, such as option and swap fees and expenses), taxes, borrowing costs (such as interest and dividend expense on securities sold short), extraordinary expenses, and any indirect expenses (such as fees and expenses associated with investment in acquired funds and other collective investment vehicles). The Fund is available only to eligible retirement plans receiving the Adviser’s managed account or other services. The Fund does not pay a management fee to the Adviser. Retirement plans, plan sponsors and/or plan participants pay a separate fee for the Adviser’s services and also pay fees to record keepers and administrators. If paid from plan assets, these fees will reduce the net return to plan participants but are not reflected in net fund performance.

 

The Fund’s investment objective, strategies, risks, charges and expenses should be considered carefully before investing. The Fund’s prospectus contains this and other important information about the Fund and may be obtained by calling (800) 851-8845. Please read it carefully before investing. 

13

 

Investment Results (Unaudited) (continued)

 

Comparison of the Growth of a $10,000 Investment in the Fisher Investments Institutional Group ESG Fixed Income Fund for Retirement Plans and the ICE BofA U.S. Broad Market Index (Unaudited)

 

(LINE GRAPH)

 

This graph shows the value of a hypothetical initial investment of $10,000 made on December 13, 2019 (commencement of operations) and held through August 31, 2023. The ICE BofA U.S. Broad Market Index measures the performance of U.S. dollar-denominated, investment grade debt securities, including U.S. Treasury notes and bonds, quasi-government securities, corporate securities, residential and commercial mortgage-backed securities, and asset-backed securities. THE FUND’S RETURN REPRESENTS PAST PERFORMANCE AND DOES NOT GUARANTEE OR PREDICT FUTURE RESULTS. The returns shown do not reflect deduction of taxes that a shareholder would pay on Fund distributions or the redemption of Fund shares. Investment returns and principal values will fluctuate so that an investor’s shares, when redeemed, may be worth more or less than their original cost.

 

Current performance may be lower or higher than the performance data quoted. For more information on the Fund, and to obtain performance data current to the most recent month-end, or to request a prospectus, please call (800) 851-8845. You should carefully consider the investment objective, risks, charges and expenses of the Fund before investing. The Fund’s prospectus contains this and other information about the Fund and should be read carefully before investing.

 

The Fund is distributed by Ultimus Fund Distributors, LLC, member FINRA/SIPC. 

14

 

Fund Holdings (Unaudited)

 

Fisher Investments Institutional Group Stock Fund for Retirement Plans Holdings as of August 31, 2023.*

 

 (BAR CHART)

 

*As a percentage of net assets.

 

The Fisher Investments Institutional Group Stock Fund for Retirement Plans seeks to outperform, net of fees and expenses, the return of the MSCI ACWI Investable Market Index as its investment objective.

15

 

Fund Holdings (Unaudited) (continued)

 

Fisher Investments Institutional Group ESG Stock Fund for Retirement Plans Holdings as of August 31, 2023.*

 

(BAR CHART) 

 

*As a percentage of net assets.

 

The Fisher Investments Institutional Group ESG Stock Fund for Retirement Plans seeks to outperform, net of fees and expenses, the return of the MSCI ACWI Investable Market Index as its investment objective.

16

 

Fund Holdings (Unaudited) (continued)

 

Fisher Investments Institutional Group Fixed Income Fund for Retirement Plans Holdings as of August 31, 2023.*

 

(BAR CHART)

 

*As a percentage of net assets.

 

The Fisher Investments Institutional Group Fixed Income Fund for Retirement Plans seeks to outperform, net of fees and expenses, the return of the ICE BofA U.S. Broad Market Index as its investment objective.

17

 

Fund Holdings (Unaudited) (continued)

 

Fisher Investments Institutional Group ESG Fixed Income Fund for Retirement Plans Holdings as of August 31, 2023.*

 

(BAR CHART)

 

*As a percentage of net assets.

 

The Fisher Investments Institutional Group ESG Fixed Income Fund for Retirement Plans seeks to outperform, net of fees and expenses, the return of the ICE BofA U.S. Broad Market Index as its investment objective.

 

Availability of Portfolio Schedule – (Unaudited)

 

The Funds file their complete schedule of portfolio holdings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) for the first and third quarters of each fiscal year as an exhibit to their reports on Form N-PORT. The Funds’ Form N-PORT reports are available on the SEC’s website at www. sec.gov. 

18

 

Fisher Investments Institutional Group Stock Fund For Retirement Plans
Schedule of Investments
August 31, 2023

 

COMMON STOCKS — 98.73%  Shares   Fair Value 
Australia — 0.67%          
Materials — 0.67%          
BHP Group Ltd.   26   $756 
Rio Tinto Ltd.   10    732 
         1,488 
Total Australia        1,488 
           
Brazil — 0.22%          
Materials — 0.22%          
Vale SA - ADR   38    500 
           
Total Brazil        500 
           
Canada — 1.95%          
Industrials — 0.71%          
Canadian Pacific Kansas City Ltd.   20    1,588 
           
Materials — 1.24%          
Hudbay Minerals, Inc.   232    1,153 
Lundin Mining Corp.   208    1,613 
         2,766 
Total Canada        4,354 
           
China — 0.95%          
Communications — 0.45%          
Tencent Holdings Ltd. - ADR   24    994 
           
Consumer Discretionary — 0.25%          
Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. - ADR(a)   6    557 
           
Health Care — 0.25%          
Sino Biopharmaceutical Ltd. - ADR   75    549 
Total China        2,100 
           
France — 3.36%          
Consumer Discretionary — 0.84%          
Kering SA - ADR   35    1,876 
           
Energy — 0.73%          
TotalEnergies SE   26    1,638 
           
Financials — 0.67%          
BNP Paribas SA   23    1,490 
           
Health Care — 0.43%          
Sanofi   9    963 
           
Technology — 0.69%          
Dassault Systems SE   39    1,549 
Total France        7,516 
           
Germany — 4.03%          
Consumer Discretionary — 2.28%          
adidas AG   12    2,401 

 

See accompanying notes which are an integral part of these financial statements.

19

 

Fisher Investments Institutional Group Stock Fund For Retirement Plans
Schedule of Investments (continued)
August 31, 2023

 

COMMON STOCKS — 98.73% - continued  Shares   Fair Value 
Germany — 4.03% - continued          
Consumer Discretionary — 2.28% - continued          
Mercedes-Benz Group AG   28   $2,052 
Sixt SE   6    641 
         5,094 
Industrials — 1.75%          
MTU Aero Engines AG   8    1,873 
Siemens AG   13    1,959 
Siemens Energy AG(a)   4    57 
         3,889 
Total Germany        8,983 
           
India — 0.51%          
Technology — 0.51%          
Infosys Ltd. - ADR   65    1,129 
Total India        1,129 
           
Italy — 1.33%          
Energy — 0.52%          
Eni SpA   75    1,162 
           
Financials — 0.81%          
Intesa Sanpaolo SpA   672    1,802 
Total Italy        2,964 
           
Japan — 2.67%          
Industrials — 2.67%          
Daifuku Co. Ltd. - ADR   85    781 
FANUC Corp. - ADR   99    1,405 
SMC Corp. - ADR   98    2,389 
Yaskawa Electric Corp. - ADR   18    1,410 
         5,985 
Total Japan        5,985 
           
Korea (Republic of) — 2.08%          
Financials — 0.38%          
KB Financial Group, Inc.   21    858 
           
Technology — 1.70%          
Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. - GDR   3    3,789 
Total Korea (Republic of)        4,647 
           
Netherlands — 2.95%          
Financials — 0.59%          
ING Groep NV   93    1,322 
           
Technology — 2.36%          
ASML Holding NV   8    5,276 
Total Netherlands        6,598 

 

See accompanying notes which are an integral part of these financial statements.

20

 

Fisher Investments Institutional Group Stock Fund For Retirement Plans
Schedule of Investments (continued)
August 31, 2023

 

COMMON STOCKS — 98.73% - continued  Shares   Fair Value 
Spain — 1.72%          
Financials — 1.72%          
Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria SA   250   $1,971 
Banco Santander SA   479    1,872 
         3,843 
Total Spain        3,843 
           
Switzerland — 0.59%          
Health Care — 0.59%          
Novartis AG   13    1,314 
Total Switzerland        1,314 
           
Taiwan Province of China — 2.85%          
Technology — 2.85%          
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd. - ADR   68    6,363 
Total Taiwan Province of China        6,363 
           
United Kingdom — 2.60%          
Consumer Staples — 0.08%          
Haleon PLC   44    180 
           
Energy — 1.76%          
BP PLC   248    1,532 
Shell PLC   77    2,386 
         3,918 
Health Care — 0.76%          
AstraZeneca PLC   8    1,081 
GSK PLC   35    616 
         1,697 
Total United Kingdom        5,795 
           
United States — 70.25%          
Communications — 5.49%          
Alphabet, Inc., Class A(a)   53    7,217 
Meta Platforms, Inc., Class A(a)   11    3,255 
Netflix, Inc.(a)   3    1,301 
Walt Disney Co. (The)(a)   6    502 
         12,275 
Consumer Discretionary — 9.20%          
Amazon.com, Inc.(a)   40    5,521 
Autoliv, Inc.   19    1,854 
Capri Holdings Ltd.(a)   37    1,942 
General Motors Co.   47    1,575 
Home Depot, Inc. (The)   8    2,643 
Starbucks Corp.   13    1,267 
Toll Brothers, Inc.   38    3,113 
Wynn Resorts Ltd.   26    2,636 
         20,551 
Consumer Staples — 4.63%          
Costco Wholesale Corp.   6    3,295 

 

See accompanying notes which are an integral part of these financial statements.

21

 

Fisher Investments Institutional Group Stock Fund For Retirement Plans
Schedule of Investments (continued)
August 31, 2023

 

COMMON STOCKS — 98.73% - continued  Shares   Fair Value 
United States — 70.25% - continued          
Consumer Staples — 4.63% - continued          
PepsiCo, Inc.   13   $2,313 
Procter & Gamble Co. (The)   17    2,624 
Walmart, Inc.   13    2,114 
         10,346 
Energy — 2.66%          
Chevron Corp.   15    2,416 
Exxon Mobil Corp.   21    2,335 
Marathon Oil Corp.   45    1,186 
         5,937 
Financials — 10.79%          
American Express Co.   13    2,054 
Bank of America Corp.   67    1,921 
BlackRock, Inc.   4    2,802 
Citigroup, Inc.   42    1,734 
Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (The)   5    1,639 
Invesco Ltd.   52    828 
Jefferies Financial Group, Inc.   25    892 
JPMorgan Chase & Co.   14    2,049 
MasterCard, Inc., Class A   5    2,063 
Morgan Stanley   29    2,469 
Paycom Software, Inc.   7    2,064 
T. Rowe Price Group, Inc.   10    1,122 
Visa, Inc., Class A   10    2,457 
         24,094 
Health Care — 9.85%          
Abbott Laboratories   9    926 
Danaher Corp.   5    1,325 
Eli Lilly & Co.   8    4,433 
Exact Sciences Corp.(a)   14    1,171 
Intuitive Surgical, Inc.(a)   9    2,815 
Johnson & Johnson   13    2,102 
Merck & Co., Inc.   21    2,288 
PTC Therapeutics, Inc.(a)   15    593 
Sarepta Therapeutics, Inc.(a)   5    605 
Stryker Corp.   6    1,701 
Thermo Fisher Scientific, Inc.   3    1,671 
UnitedHealth Group, Inc.   5    2,383 
         22,013 
Industrials — 7.14%          
A.O. Smith Corp.   23    1,668 
AeroVironment, Inc.(a)   17    1,650 
Boeing Co. (The)(a)   10    2,240 
Carrier Global Corp.   6    345 
Cummins, Inc.   8    1,840 
Deere & Co.   4    1,644 
IDEX Corp.   7    1,585 

 

See accompanying notes which are an integral part of these financial statements.

22

 

Fisher Investments Institutional Group Stock Fund For Retirement Plans
Schedule of Investments (continued)
August 31, 2023

 

COMMON STOCKS — 98.73% - continued  Shares   Fair Value 
United States — 70.25% - continued          
Industrials — 7.14% - continued          
Lennox International, Inc.   7   $2,637 
Otis Worldwide Corp.   3    257 
Raytheon Technologies Corp.   6    516 
Rockwell Automation, Inc.   5    1,560 
         15,942 
Materials — 0.96%          
Cleveland-Cliffs, Inc.(a)   69    1,055 
Materion Corp.   10    1,088 
         2,143 
Technology — 19.53%          
Adobe, Inc.(a)   5    2,796 
Advanced Micro Devices, Inc.(a)   29    3,066 
Apple, Inc.   55    10,333 
Autodesk, Inc.(a)   6    1,332 
Intuit, Inc.   2    1,084 
Microsoft Corp.   27    8,849 
NVIDIA Corp.   21    10,364 
Oracle Corp.   22    2,648 
salesforce.com, Inc.(a)   9    1,993 
ServiceNow, Inc.(a)   2    1,178 
         43,643 
Total United States        156,944 
Total Common Stocks — (Cost $166,424)        220,523 
           
MONEY MARKET FUNDS — 1.12%          
First American Government Obligations Fund, Class X, 5.25%(b)   2,501    2,501 
           
Total Money Market Funds (Cost $2,501)        2,501 
           
Total Investments — 99.85% (Cost $168,925)        223,024 
           
Other Assets in Excess of Liabilities — 0.15%        335 
           
NET ASSETS — 100.00%       $223,359 

 

(a)Non-income producing security.

 

(b)Rate disclosed is the seven day effective yield as of August 31, 2023.

 

ADR - American Depositary Receipt

 

GDR - Global Depositary Receipt

 

See accompanying notes which are an integral part of these financial statements.

23

 

Fisher Investments Institutional Group ESG Stock Fund For Retirement Plans
Schedule of Investments
August 31, 2023

 

COMMON STOCKS — 98.34%  Shares   Fair Value 
Canada — 0.69%          
Materials — 0.69%          
Hudbay Minerals Inc.   158   $786 
Lundin Mining Corp.   100    775 
         1,561 
Total Canada        1,561 
           
China — 0.85%          
Communications — 0.35%          
Tencent Holdings Ltd. - ADR   19    787 
           
Consumer Discretionary — 0.25%          
Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. - ADR(a)   6    557 
           
Health Care — 0.25%          
Sino Biopharmaceutical Ltd. - ADR   76    556 
Total China        1,900 
           
Denmark — 0.87%          
Industrials — 0.87%          
Vestas Wind Systems A/S(a)   85    1,966 
Total Denmark        1,966 
           
France — 3.12%          
Consumer Discretionary — 0.78%          
Kering SA - ADR   33    1,769 
           
Financials — 1.06%          
BNP Paribas SA   37    2,397 
           
Health Care — 0.52%          
Sanofi   11    1,177 
           
Technology — 0.76%          
Dassault Systems SE   43    1,708 
Total France        7,051 
           
Germany — 3.72%          
Consumer Discretionary — 2.69%          
adidas AG   13    2,600 
Mercedes-Benz Group AG   39    2,857 
Sixt SE   6    641 
         6,098 
Industrials — 1.03%          
Siemens AG   15    2,260 
Siemens Energy AG(a)   4    57 
         2,317 
Total Germany        8,415 

 

See accompanying notes which are an integral part of these financial statements.

24

 

Fisher Investments Institutional Group ESG Stock Fund For Retirement Plans
Schedule of Investments (continued)
August 31, 2023

 

COMMON STOCKS — 98.34% - continued  Shares   Fair Value 
India — 0.36%          
Technology — 0.36%          
Infosys Ltd. - ADR   47   $816 
Total India        816 
           
Italy — 1.71%          
Energy — 0.84%          
Eni SpA   123    1,906 
           
Financials — 0.87%          
Intesa Sanpaolo SpA   730    1,958 
Total Italy        3,864 
           
Japan — 1.78%          
Industrials — 1.78%          
Daifuku Co. Ltd. - ADR   64    588 
FANUC Corp. - ADR   92    1,305 
Yaskawa Electric Corp. - ADR   27    2,115 
         4,008 
Total Japan        4,008 
           
Korea (Republic of) — 1.54%          
Financials — 0.42%          
KB Financial Group, Inc.   23    939 
           
Technology — 1.12%          
Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. - GDR   2    2,526 
Total Korea (Republic of)        3,465 
           
Netherlands — 2.33%          
Technology — 2.33%          
ASML Holding NV   8    5,276 
Total Netherlands        5,276 
           
Norway — 1.08%          
Energy — 1.08%          
Equinor ASA   79    2,439 
Total Norway        2,439 
           
Spain — 1.72%          
Financials — 1.72%          
Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria SA   266    2,097 
Banco Santander SA   457    1,786 
         3,883 
Total Spain        3,883 
           
Switzerland — 0.69%          
Industrials — 0.69%          
ABB Ltd.   41    1,564 
Total Switzerland        1,564 
           

See accompanying notes which are an integral part of these financial statements.

25

 

Fisher Investments Institutional Group ESG Stock Fund For Retirement Plans
Schedule of Investments (continued)
August 31, 2023

 

COMMON STOCKS — 98.34% - continued  Shares   Fair Value 
Taiwan Province of China — 2.77%          
Technology — 2.77%          
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd. - ADR   67   $6,269 
Total Taiwan Province of China        6,269 
           
United Kingdom — 5.10%          
Consumer Staples — 0.59%          
Unilever PLC   26    1,332 
           
Energy — 2.41%          
BP PLC   479    2,959 
Shell PLC   81    2,474 
         5,433 
Health Care — 0.60%          
AstraZeneca PLC   10    1,351 
           
Materials — 1.50%          
Anglo American PLC   55    1,463 
Antofagasta PLC   105    1,927 
         3,390 
Total United Kingdom        11,506 
           
United States — 70.01%          
Communications — 3.94%          
Alphabet, Inc., Class A(a)   49    6,672 
Netflix, Inc.(a)   4    1,735 
Walt Disney Co. (The)(a)   6    502 
         8,909 
Consumer Discretionary — 7.82%          
Amazon.com, Inc.(a)   39    5,383 
Autoliv, Inc.   21    2,050 
Capri Holdings Ltd.(a)   36    1,890 
General Motors Co.   58    1,944 
Home Depot, Inc. (The)   8    2,643 
NIKE, Inc., Class B   8    814 
Toll Brothers, Inc.   36    2,949 
         17,673 
Consumer Staples — 4.20%          
Costco Wholesale Corp.   5    2,746 
PepsiCo, Inc.   16    2,847 
Procter & Gamble Co. (The)   20    3,087 
Walmart, Inc.   5    813 
         9,493 
Energy — 1.04%          
Schlumberger Ltd.   40    2,358 
           
Financials — 12.37%          
American Express Co.   14    2,212 
Bank of America Corp.   68    1,950 
BlackRock, Inc.   4    2,802 

 

See accompanying notes which are an integral part of these financial statements.

26

 

Fisher Investments Institutional Group ESG Stock Fund For Retirement Plans
Schedule of Investments (continued)
August 31, 2023

 

COMMON STOCKS — 98.34% - continued  Shares   Fair Value 
United States — 70.01% - continued          
Financials — 12.37% - continued          
Citigroup, Inc.   61   $2,518 
Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (The)   5    1,639 
Invesco Ltd.   124    1,974 
Jefferies Financial Group, Inc.   20    714 
JPMorgan Chase & Co.   14    2,049 
MasterCard, Inc., Class A   7    2,888 
Morgan Stanley   26    2,213 
Paycom Software, Inc.   6    1,769 
T. Rowe Price Group, Inc.   14    1,571 
Visa, Inc., Class A   15    3,686 
         27,985 
Health Care — 12.48%          
Abbott Laboratories   9    926 
Danaher Corp.   5    1,325 
Eli Lilly & Co.   13    7,204 
Exact Sciences Corp.(a)   17    1,422 
Intuitive Surgical, Inc.(a)   9    2,815 
Johnson & Johnson   16    2,587 
Merck & Co., Inc.   25    2,725 
PTC Therapeutics, Inc.(a)   14    553 
Sarepta Therapeutics, Inc.(a)   5    605 
Stryker Corp.   6    1,701 
Thermo Fisher Scientific, Inc.   4    2,228 
UnitedHealth Group, Inc.   5    2,383 
Vertex Pharmaceuticals, Inc.(a)   5    1,742 
         28,216 
Industrials — 8.40%          
A.O. Smith Corp.   29    2,103 
Cummins, Inc.   10    2,300 
Deere & Co.   5    2,055 
HEICO Corp.   15    2,531 
Lennox International, Inc.   9    3,391 
Rockwell Automation, Inc.   9    2,809 
Union Pacific Corp.   7    1,544 
Xylem, Inc.   22    2,278 
         19,011 
Technology — 19.76%          
Adobe, Inc.(a)   5    2,797 
Advanced Micro Devices, Inc.(a)   31    3,277 
Apple, Inc.   53    9,957 
Autodesk, Inc.(a)   7    1,554 
Intuit, Inc.   2    1,084 
Microsoft Corp.   28    9,176 
NVIDIA Corp.   23    11,353 
Oracle Corp.   21    2,528 
salesforce.com, Inc.(a)   8    1,772 
           

See accompanying notes which are an integral part of these financial statements.

27

 

Fisher Investments Institutional Group ESG Stock Fund For Retirement Plans
Schedule of Investments (continued)
August 31, 2023

 

COMMON STOCKS — 98.34% - continued  Shares   Fair Value 
United States — 70.01% - continued          
Technology — 19.76% - continued          
ServiceNow, Inc.(a)   2   $1,178 
         44,676 
Total United States        158,321 
Total Common Stocks — (Cost $166,097)        222,304 
           
PREFERRED STOCKS — 0.69%  Shares   Fair Value 
Australia — 0.69%          
Materials — 0.69%          
Fortescue Metals Group Ltd.   113    1,569 
Total Australia        1,569 
Total Preferred Stocks — (Cost $1,554)        1,569 
           
MONEY MARKET FUNDS — 0.81%          
First American Government Obligations Fund, Class X, 5.25%(b)   1,830    1,830 
           
Total Money Market Funds (Cost $1,830)        1,830 
           
Total Investments — 99.84% (Cost $169,481)        225,703 
           
Other Assets in Excess of Liabilities — 0.16%        360 
           
NET ASSETS — 100.00%       $226,063 

 

(a)Non-income producing security.

 

(b)Rate disclosed is the seven day effective yield as of August 31, 2023.

 

ADR - American Depositary Receipt

 

GDR - Global Depositary Receipt

 

See accompanying notes which are an integral part of these financial statements.

28

 

Fisher Investments Institutional Group Fixed Income Fund For Retirement Plans
Schedule of Investments
August 31, 2023

 

   Principal     
CORPORATE BONDS — 29.66%  Amount   Fair Value 
Communications — 3.36%          
Comcast Corp., 3.55%, 5/1/2028  $100,000   $94,443 
           
Consumer Staples — 3.79%          
Procter & Gamble Co. (The), 5.50%, 2/1/2034   100,000    106,481 
           
Financials — 6.71%          
BlackRock, Inc., 3.25%, 4/30/2029   100,000    92,492 
JPMorgan Chase & Co., 4.13%, 12/15/2026   100,000    96,320 
         188,812 
Health Care — 2.46%          
Bristol-Myers Squibb Co., 4.55%, 2/20/2048   78,000    69,215 
           
Industrials — 2.78%          
Southwest Airlines Co., 7.38%, 3/1/2027   75,000    78,203 
           
Real Estate — 4.32%          
Omega Healthcare Investors, Inc., 3.38%, 2/1/2031   150,000    121,389 
           
Technology — 6.24%          
International Business Machines Corp., 4.25%, 5/15/2049   100,000    82,701 
Oracle Corp., 3.25%, 11/15/2027   100,000    92,701 
         175,402 
Total Corporate Bonds (Cost $969,023)        833,945 
           
U.S. GOVERNMENT & AGENCIES — 34.61%          
United States Treasury Note, 1.50%, 9/30/2024   109,700    105,322 
United States Treasury Note, 1.50%, 2/15/2025   254,000    241,191 
United States Treasury Note, 2.63%, 2/15/2029   301,100    277,271 
United States Treasury Note, 4.50%, 2/15/2036   334,000    349,551 
           
Total U.S. Government & Agencies (Cost $1,109,455)        973,335 
           
EXCHANGE-TRADED FUNDS — 31.90%  Shares   Fair Value 
iShares Broad USD High Yield Corporate Bond ETF   11,815    418,842 
iShares MBS ETF   5,201    477,972 
Total Exchange-Traded Funds (Cost $986,642)        896,814 
           
MONEY MARKET FUNDS — 3.42%          
First American Government Obligations Fund, Class X, 5.25%(a)   96,178    96,178 
           
Total Money Market Funds (Cost $96,178)        96,178 
           
Total Investments — 99.59% (Cost $3,161,298)        2,800,272 
           
Other Assets in Excess of Liabilities — 0.41%        11,482 
           
NET ASSETS — 100.00%       $2,811,754 

 

(a)Rate disclosed is the seven day effective yield as of August 31, 2023.

 

See accompanying notes which are an integral part of these financial statements.

29

 

Fisher Investments Institutional Group ESG Fixed Income Fund for Retirement Plans
Schedule of Investments
August 31, 2023

 

   Principal     
CORPORATE BONDS — 29.14%  Amount   Fair Value 
Communications — 3.38%          
Comcast Corp., 3.55%, 5/1/2028  $100,000   $94,443 
           
Consumer Staples — 3.81%          
Procter & Gamble Co. (The), 5.50%, 2/1/2034   100,000    106,481 
           
Financials — 6.77%          
BlackRock, Inc., 3.25%, 4/30/2029   100,000    92,492 
JPMorgan Chase & Co., 4.13%, 12/15/2026   100,000    96,320 
         188,812 
Health Care — 2.48%          
Bristol-Myers Squibb Co., 4.55%, 2/20/2048   78,000    69,215 
           
Industrials — 2.80%          
Southwest Airlines Co., 7.38%, 3/1/2027   75,000    78,203 
           
Real Estate — 3.62%          
Omega Healthcare Investors, Inc., 3.38%, 2/1/2031   125,000    101,158 
           
Technology — 6.28%          
International Business Machines Corp., 4.25%, 5/15/2049   100,000    82,701 
Oracle Corp., 3.25%, 11/15/2027   100,000    92,701 
         175,402 
Total Corporate Bonds (Cost $948,591)        813,714 
           
U.S. GOVERNMENT & AGENCIES — 36.37%          
United States Treasury Note, 1.50%, 9/30/2024   109,900    105,514 
United States Treasury Note, 1.50%, 2/15/2025   311,000    295,316 
United States Treasury Note, 2.63%, 2/15/2029   286,700    264,010 
United States Treasury Note, 4.50%, 2/15/2036   335,000    350,599 
           
Total U.S. Government & Agencies (Cost $1,149,653)        1,015,439 
           
EXCHANGE-TRADED FUNDS — 32.38%  Shares   Fair Value 
iShares MBS ETF   5,156    473,837 
Nuveen ESG High Yield Corporate Bond ETF   20,911    430,369 
Total Exchange-Traded Funds (Cost $1,006,044)        904,206 
           
MONEY MARKET FUNDS — 1.70%          
First American Government Obligations Fund, Class X, 5.25%(a)   47,526    47,526 
           
Total Money Market Funds (Cost $47,526)        47,526 
           
Total Investments — 99.59% (Cost $3,151,814)        2,780,885 
           
Other Assets in Excess of Liabilities — 0.41%        11,357 
           
NET ASSETS — 100.00%       $2,792,242 

 

(a)Rate disclosed is the seven day effective yield as of August 31, 2023.

 

See accompanying notes which are an integral part of these financial statements.

30

 

Fisher Investments Institutional Group Fund Family
Statements of Assets and Liabilities
August 31, 2023

 

   Fisher Investments Institutional Group 
               ESG Fixed 
   Stock   ESG Stock   Fixed Income   Income 
   Fund for   Fund for   Fund for   Fund for 
   Retirement   Retirement   Retirement   Retirement 
   Plans   Plans   Plans   Plans 
Assets                    
Investments in securities at value (cost $168,925, $169,481, $3,161,298 and $3,151,814, respectively)  $223,024   $225,703   $2,800,272   $2,780,885 
Foreign currencies, at value (cost $-, $12, $- and $-, respectively)       12         
Dividends and interest receivable   335    348    11,482    11,357 
Total Assets   223,359    226,063    2,811,754    2,792,242 
                     
Net Assets  $223,359   $226,063   $2,811,754   $2,792,242 
Net Assets consist of:                    
Paid-in capital  $158,148   $157,696   $3,224,384   $3,222,897 
Accumulated earnings (deficits)   65,211    68,367    (412,630)   (430,655)
Net Assets  $223,359   $226,063   $2,811,754   $2,792,242 
Shares outstanding (unlimited number of shares authorized, no par value)   15,645    15,610    323,178    323,110 
Net asset value (“NAV”) and offering price per share  $14.28   $14.48   $8.70   $8.64 
                     

See accompanying notes which are an integral part of these financial statements.

31

 

Fisher Investments Institutional Group Fund Family
Statements of Operations
For the year ended August 31, 2023

 

   Fisher Investments Institutional Group 
               ESG Fixed 
   Stock   ESG Stock   Fixed Income   Income 
   Fund for   Fund for   Fund for   Fund for 
   Retirement   Retirement   Retirement   Retirement 
   Plans   Plans   Plans   Plans 
Investment Income                    
Dividend income  $3,415   $3,384   $40,979   $41,333 
Interest income           50,812    50,112 
Foreign dividend taxes withheld   (376)   (313)        
Total investment income   3,039    3,071    91,791    91,445 
                     
Net investment income   3,039    3,071    91,791    91,445 
                     
Net Realized and Change in Unrealized Gain (Loss) on Investments                    
Net realized gain (loss) on investment securities transactions   10,898    12,074    (94,286)   (95,211)
Net realized gain (loss) on foreign currency translations   (5)   8         
Net change in unrealized appreciation (depreciation) of investment securities and foreign currency translations   31,766    33,469    (13,808)   (15,731)
Net realized and change in unrealized gain (loss) on investments and foreign currency   42,659    45,551    (108,094)   (110,942)
Net increase (decrease) in net assets resulting from operations  $45,698   $48,622   $(16,303)  $(19,497)
                     

See accompanying notes which are an integral part of these financial statements.

32

 

Fisher Investments Institutional Group Fund Family
Statements of Changes in Net Assets

 

   Fisher Investments   Fisher Investments 
   Institutional Group Stock   Institutional Group ESG Stock 
   Fund for Retirement Plans   Fund for Retirement Plans 
   For the Year   For the Year   For the Year   For the Year 
   Ended August   Ended August   Ended August   Ended August 
   31, 2023   31, 2022   31, 2023   31, 2022 
Increase (Decrease) in Net Assets due to:                    
Operations                    
Net investment income  $3,039   $2,846   $3,071   $2,846 
Net realized gain (loss) on investment securities transactions and foreign currency translations   10,893    (837)   12,082    (715)
Net change in unrealized appreciation (depreciation) of investment securities and foreign currency translations   31,766    (53,752)   33,469    (52,521)
Net increase (decrease) in net assets resulting from operations   45,698    (51,743)   48,622    (50,390)
Distributions From:                    
Earnings   (3,263)   (2,617)   (2,881)   (2,359)
Total distributions   (3,263)   (2,617)   (2,881)   (2,359)
                     
Capital Transactions                    
Reinvestment of distributions   3,263    2,617    2,881    2,359 
Amount paid for shares redeemed       (14)       (13)
Net increase in net assets resulting from capital transactions   3,263    2,603    2,881    2,346 
Total Increase (Decrease) in Net Assets   45,698    (51,757)   48,622    (50,403)
                     
Net Assets                    
Beginning of year   177,661    229,418    177,441    227,844 
End of year  $223,359   $177,661   $226,063   $177,441 
                     
Share Transactions                    
Shares issued in reinvestment of distributions   290    174    255    157 
Shares redeemed       (1)       (1)
Net increase in shares outstanding   290    173    255    156 

 

See accompanying notes which are an integral part of these financial statements.

33

 

Fisher Investments Institutional Group Fund Family
Statements of Changes in Net Assets (continued)

 

   Fisher Investments   Fisher Investments 
   Institutional Group Fixed   Institutional Group ESG Fixed 
   Income Fund for Retirement   Income Fund for Retirement 
   Plans   Plans 
   For the Year   For the Year   For the Year   For the Year 
   Ended August   Ended August   Ended August   Ended August 
   31, 2023   31, 2022   31, 2023   31, 2022 
Increase (Decrease) in Net Assets due to:                    
Operations                    
Net investment income  $91,791   $57,359   $91,445   $57,021 
Net realized loss on investment securities transactions and foreign currency translations   (94,286)   (22,424)   (95,211)   (20,538)
Net change in unrealized depreciation of investment securities and foreign currency translations   (13,808)   (442,415)   (15,731)   (451,545)
Net decrease in net assets resulting from operations   (16,303)   (407,480)   (19,497)   (415,062)
                     
Distributions From:                    
Earnings   (67,327)   (56,411)   (68,072)   (53,329)
Total distributions   (67,327)   (56,411)   (68,072)   (53,329)
                     
Capital Transactions                    
Reinvestment of distributions   67,327    56,411    68,072    53,329 
Amount paid for shares redeemed       (9)       (9)
Net increase in net assets resulting from capital transactions   67,327    56,402    68,072    53,320 
Total Decrease in Net Assets   (16,303)   (407,489)   (19,497)   (415,071)
                     
Net Assets                    
Beginning of year   2,828,057    3,235,546    2,811,739    3,226,810 
End of year  $2,811,754   $2,828,057   $2,792,242   $2,811,739 
                     
Share Transactions                    
Shares issued in reinvestment of distributions   7,828    5,569    7,962    5,275 
Shares redeemed       (1)       (1)
Net increase in shares outstanding   7,828    5,568    7,962    5,274 

 

See accompanying notes which are an integral part of these financial statements.

34

 

Fisher Investments Institutional Group Stock Fund for Retirement Plans
Financial Highlights
 
(For a share outstanding during each period)

 

               For the 
   For the   For the   For the   Period 
   Year Ended   Year Ended   Year Ended   Ended 
   August 31,   August 31,   August 31,   August 31, 
   2023   2022   2021   2020(a) 
Selected Per Share Data:                    
Net asset value, beginning of period  $11.57   $15.11   $11.58   $10.00 
                     
Investment operations:                    
Net investment income   0.19    0.18    0.17    0.10 
Net realized and unrealized gain (loss)   2.73    (3.55)   3.51    1.48 
Total from investment operations   2.92    (3.37)   3.68    1.58 
                     
Less distributions to shareholders from:                    
Net investment income   (0.18)   (0.17)   (0.15)    
Net realized gains   (0.03)            
Total distributions   (0.21)   (0.17)   (0.15)    
                     
Net asset value, end of period  $14.28   $11.57   $15.11   $11.58 
                     
Total Return(b)   25.75%   (22.55)%   32.06%   15.80(c)
                     
Ratios and Supplemental Data:                    
Net assets, end of period (000 omitted)  $223   $178   $229   $174 
Ratio of net investment income to average net assets   1.56%   1.37%   1.27%   1.44(d)
Portfolio turnover rate   25%   11%   1%   12(c)

 

(a)For the period December 13, 2019 (commencement of operations) to August 31, 2020.

 

(b)Total return represents the rate that the investor would have earned or lost on an investment in the Fund, assuming reinvestment of distributions.

 

(c)Not annualized.

 

(d)Annualized.

 

See accompanying notes which are an integral part of these financial statements.

35

 

Fisher Investments Institutional Group ESG Stock Fund for Retirement Plans
Financial Highlights
 
(For a share outstanding during each period)

 

               For the 
   For the   For the   For the   Period 
   Year Ended   Year Ended   Year Ended   Ended 
   August 31,   August 31,   August 31,   August 31, 
   2023   2022   2021   2020(a) 
Selected Per Share Data:                    
Net asset value, beginning of period  $11.56   $14.98   $11.58   $10.00 
                     
Investment operations:                    
Net investment income   0.20    0.19    0.16    0.12 
Net realized and unrealized gain (loss)   2.91    (3.45)   3.40    1.46 
Total from investment operations   3.11    (3.26)   3.56    1.58 
                     
Less distributions to shareholders from:                    
Net investment income   (0.19)   (0.16)   (0.16)    
Total distributions   (0.19)   (0.16)   (0.16)    
                     
Net asset value, end of period  $14.48   $11.56   $14.98   $11.58 
                     
Total Return(b)   27.34%   (22.03)%   31.07%   15.80(c)
                     
Ratios and Supplemental Data:                    
Net assets, end of period (000 omitted)  $226   $177   $228   $174 
Ratio of net investment income to average net assets   1.56%   1.37%   1.23%   1.64(d)
Portfolio turnover rate   30%   10%   1%   15(c)
                     
(a)For the period December 13, 2019 (commencement of operations) to August 31, 2020.

 

(b)Total return represents the rate that the investor would have earned or lost on an investment in the Fund, assuming reinvestment of distributions.

 

(c)Not annualized.

 

(d)Annualized.

 

See accompanying notes which are an integral part of these financial statements.

36

 

Fisher Investments Institutional Group Fixed Income Fund for Retirement Plans
Financial Highlights
 
(For a share outstanding during each period)

 

               For the 
   For the   For the   For the   Period 
   Year Ended   Year Ended   Year Ended   Ended 
   August 31,   August 31,   August 31,   August 31, 
   2023   2022   2021   2020(a) 
Selected Per Share Data:                    
Net asset value, beginning of period  $8.97   $10.44   $10.53   $10.00 
                     
Investment operations:                    
Net investment income   0.28    0.18    0.21    0.18 
Net realized and unrealized gain (loss)   (0.34)   (1.47)   0.04    0.35 
Total from investment operations   (0.06)   (1.29)   0.25    0.53 
                     
Less distributions to shareholders from:                    
Net investment income   (0.21)   (0.18)   (0.27)    
Net realized gains        (b)   (0.07)    
Total distributions   (0.21)   (0.18)   (0.34)    
                     
Net asset value, end of period  $8.70   $8.97   $10.44   $10.53 
                     
Total Return(c)   (0.60)%   (12.54)%   2.38%   5.30(d)
                     
Ratios and Supplemental Data:                    
Net assets, end of period (000 omitted)  $2,812   $2,828   $3,236   $3,160 
Ratio of net investment income to average net assets   3.30%   1.89%   2.00%   2.51(e)
Portfolio turnover rate   14%   32%   46%   0(d)
                     
(a)For the period December 13, 2019 (commencement of operations) to August 31, 2020.

 

(b)Rounds to less than $0.005 per share.

 

(c)Total return represents the rate that the investor would have earned or lost on an investment in the Fund, assuming reinvestment of distributions.

 

(d)Not annualized.

 

(e)Annualized.

 

See accompanying notes which are an integral part of these financial statements.

37

 

Fisher Investments Institutional Group ESG Fixed Income Fund for Retirement Plans
Financial Highlights
 
(For a share outstanding during each period)

 

               For the 
   For the   For the   For the   Period 
   Year Ended   Year Ended   Year Ended   Ended 
   August 31,   August 31,   August 31,   August 31, 
   2023   2022   2021   2020(a) 
Selected Per Share Data:                    
Net asset value, beginning of period  $8.92   $10.41   $10.54   $10.00 
                     
Investment operations:                    
Net investment income   0.29    0.18    0.21    0.18 
Net realized and unrealized gain (loss)   (0.35)   (1.50)    (b)   0.36 
Total from investment operations   (0.06)   (1.32)   0.21    0.54 
                     
Less distributions to shareholders from:                    
Net investment income   (0.22)   (0.17)   (0.27)    
Net realized gains        (b)   (0.07)    
Total distributions   (0.22)   (0.17)   (0.34)    
                     
Net asset value, end of period  $8.64   $8.92   $10.41   $10.54 
                     
Total Return(c)   (0.69)%   (12.85)%   2.02%   5.40(d)
                     
Ratios and Supplemental Data:                    
Net assets, end of period (000 omitted)  $2,792   $2,812   $3,227   $3,162 
Ratio of net investment income to average net assets   3.31%   1.88%   1.99%   2.46(e)
Portfolio turnover rate   14%   33%   46%   0(d)
                     
(a)For the period December 13, 2019 (commencement of operations) to August 31, 2020.

 

(b)Rounds to less than $0.005 per share.

 

(c)Total return represents the rate that the investor would have earned or lost on an investment in the Fund, assuming reinvestment of distributions.

 

(d)Not annualized.

 

(e)Annualized.

 

See accompanying notes which are an integral part of these financial statements.

38

 

Fisher Investments Institutional Group Fund Family
Notes to the Financial Statements
August 31, 2023
 

NOTE 1. ORGANIZATION

 

Fisher Investments Institutional Group Stock Fund for Retirement Plans (the “Stock Fund”), Fisher Investments Institutional Group ESG Stock Fund for Retirement Plans (the “ESG Stock Fund”), Fisher Investments Institutional Group Fixed Income Fund for Retirement Plans (the “Fixed Income Fund”) and the Fisher Investments Institutional Group ESG Fixed Income Fund for Retirement Plans (the “ESG Fixed Income Fund”) (each a “Fund” and collectively the “Funds”) were each registered under the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended (the “1940 Act”), as a diversified series of Unified Series Trust (the “Trust”) on November 12, 2018. The Trust is an open-end investment company established under the laws of Ohio by an Agreement and Declaration of Trust dated October 14, 2002, as amended (the “Trust Agreement”). The Trust Agreement permits the Board of Trustees of the Trust (the “Board”) to issue an unlimited number of shares of beneficial interest of separate series without par value. Each Fund is one of a series of funds currently authorized by the Board. The Funds commenced operations on December 13, 2019. The investment adviser to the Funds is Fisher Asset Management, LLC, d/b/a Fisher Investments (the “Adviser”). The investment objective of the Stock Fund and ESG Stock Fund is to seek to outperform, net of fees and expenses, the return of the MSCI ACWI Investable Market Index. The investment objective of the Fixed Income Fund and ESG Fixed Income Fund is to seek to outperform, net of fees and expenses, the return of the ICE BofA U.S. Broad Market Index.

 

NOTE 2. SIGNIFICANT ACCOUNTING POLICIES

 

The Funds are investment companies and follow accounting and reporting guidance under Financial Accounting Standards Board Accounting Standards Codification (“ASC”) Topic 946, “Financial Services-Investment Companies”, including Accounting Standards Update 2013-08. The following is a summary of significant accounting policies followed by the Funds in the preparation of their financial statements. These policies are in conformity with generally accepted accounting principles in the United States of America (“GAAP”).

 

Regulatory update – Tailored Shareholder Reports for Mutual Funds and Exchange-Traded Funds (“ETFs”) – Effective January 24, 2023, the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) adopted rule and form amendments to require mutual funds and ETFs to transmit concise and visually engaging streamlined annual and semiannual reports to shareholders that highlight key information. Other information, including financial statements, will no longer appear in a streamlined shareholder report but must be available online, delivered free of charge upon request, and filed on a semiannual basis on Form N-CSR. The rule and form amendments have a compliance date of July 24, 2024. At this time, management is evaluating the impact of these amendments on the shareholder reports for the Fund.

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Fisher Investments Institutional Group Fund Family
Notes to the Financial Statements (continued)
August 31, 2023
 

Estimates – The preparation of financial statements in conformity with GAAP requires management to make estimates and assumptions that affect the reported amounts of assets and liabilities and disclosure of contingent assets and liabilities at the date of the financial statements and the reported amounts of increases and decreases in net assets from operations during the reporting period. Actual results could differ from those estimates.

 

Foreign Currency Translation – The accounting records of the Funds are maintained in U.S. dollars. Foreign currency amounts are translated into U.S. dollars at the current rate of exchange each business day to determine the value of investments, and other assets and liabilities. Purchases and sales of foreign securities, and income and expenses, are translated at the prevailing rate of exchange on the respective date of these transactions. The Funds do not isolate that portion of the results of operations resulting from changes in foreign exchange rates on investments from fluctuations arising from changes in market prices of securities held. These fluctuations are included with the realized and unrealized gain or loss from investments. Net realized gain (loss) on foreign currency translations on the Statements of Operations represents currency gains (losses) realized between the trade and settlement dates on securities transactions, and the difference between the amount of investment income and foreign withholding taxes recorded on the Funds’ books and the U.S. dollar equivalent amounts actually received or paid. The net change in unrealized currency gains (losses) on foreign currency translations for the period is reflected in the Statements of Operations.

 

Federal Income Taxes – The Funds make no provision for federal income or excise tax. Each Fund has qualified and intends to qualify each year as a regulated investment company (“RIC”) under subchapter M of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, by complying with the requirements applicable to RICs and by distributing substantially all of its taxable income. Each Fund also intends to distribute sufficient net investment income and net capital gains, if any, so that it will not be subject to excise tax on undistributed income and gains. If the required amount of net investment income or gains is not distributed, the Funds could incur a tax expense.

 

As of and during the fiscal year ended August 31, 2023, the Funds did not have any liabilities for any unrecognized tax benefits. The Funds recognize interest and penalties, if any, related to unrecognized tax benefits as income tax expense in the Statements of Operations when incurred. During the year, the Funds did not incur any interest or penalties. Management of the Funds has reviewed tax positions taken in tax years that remain subject to examination by all major tax jurisdictions, including federal (i.e., the previous three tax year ends and the interim tax period since then, as applicable) and has concluded that no provision for unrecognized tax benefits or expenses is required in these financial statements and does not expect this to change over the next twelve months.

40

 

Fisher Investments Institutional Group Fund Family
Notes to the Financial Statements (continued)
August 31, 2023
 

Expenses – Expenses incurred by the Trust that do not relate to a specific Fund are allocated to the individual funds of the Trust based on each Fund’s relative net assets or another appropriate basis (as determined by the Board).

 

Security Transactions and Related Income – The Funds follow industry practice and record security transactions on the trade date for financial reporting purposes. The specific identification method is used for determining gains or losses for financial statement and income tax purposes. Dividend income is recorded on the ex-dividend date and interest income is recorded on an accrual basis.

 

Dividends and Distributions – Each Fund intends to distribute its net investment income and net realized long-term and short-term capital gains, if any, at least annually. Dividends and distributions to shareholders, which are determined in accordance with income tax regulations, are recorded on the ex-dividend date. The treatment for financial reporting purposes of distributions made to shareholders during the period from net investment income or net realized capital gains may differ from their ultimate treatment for federal income tax purposes. These differences are caused primarily by differences in the timing of the recognition of certain components of income, expense or realized capital gain for federal income tax purposes. Where such differences are permanent in nature, they are reclassified among the components of the net assets based on their ultimate characterization for federal income tax purposes. Any such reclassifications will have no effect on net assets, results of operations or net asset value (“NAV”) per share of the Funds.

 

NOTE 3. SECURITIES VALUATION AND FAIR VALUE MEASUREMENTS

 

Each Fund values its portfolio securities at fair value as of the close of regular trading on the New York Stock Exchange (“NYSE”) (normally 4:00 p.m. Eastern Time) on each business day the NYSE is open for business. Fair value is defined as the price that a Fund would receive upon selling an investment in a timely transaction to an independent buyer in the principal or most advantageous market of the investment. GAAP establishes a three-tier hierarchy to maximize the use of observable market data and minimize the use of unobservable inputs and to establish classification of fair value measurements for disclosure purposes.

 

Inputs refer broadly to the assumptions that market participants would use in pricing the asset or liability, including assumptions about risk (the risk inherent in a particular valuation technique used to measure fair value including a pricing model and/or the risk inherent in the inputs to the valuation technique). Inputs may be observable or unobservable. Observable inputs are inputs that reflect the assumptions market participants would use in pricing the asset or liability developed based on market data obtained and available from sources independent of the reporting entity. Unobservable inputs are inputs that reflect the

41

 

Fisher Investments Institutional Group Fund Family
Notes to the Financial Statements (continued)
August 31, 2023
 

reporting entity’s own assumptions about the assumptions market participants would use in pricing the asset or liability developed based on the best information available in the circumstances.

 

Various inputs are used in determining the value of each Fund’s investments. These inputs are summarized in the three broad levels listed below.

 

Level 1 – unadjusted quoted prices in active markets for identical investments and/or registered investment companies where the value per share is determined and published and is the basis for current transactions for identical assets or liabilities at the valuation date

 

Level 2 – other significant observable inputs (including, but not limited to, quoted prices for an identical security in an inactive market, quoted prices for similar securities, interest rates, prepayment speeds, credit risk, etc.)

 

Level 3 – significant unobservable inputs (including the Funds’ own assumptions in determining fair value of investments based on the best information available)

 

The inputs used to measure fair value may fall into different levels of the fair value hierarchy. In such cases, for disclosure purposes, the level in the fair value hierarchy which is reported is determined based on the lowest level input that is significant to the fair value measurement in its entirety.

 

Equity securities that are traded on any stock exchange are generally valued at the last quoted sale price on the security’s primary exchange. Lacking a last sale price, an exchange-traded security is generally valued at its last bid price. Securities traded in the Nasdaq over-the-counter market are generally valued at the Nasdaq Official Closing Price. When using market quotations and when the market is considered active, the security is classified as a Level 1 security. In the event that market quotations are not readily available or are considered unreliable due to market or other events, securities are valued in good faith by the Adviser, as Valuation Designee, under the oversight of the Board’s Pricing & Liquidity Committee. The Adviser has adopted written policies and procedures for valuing securities and other assets in circumstances where market quotes are not readily available in conformity with guidelines adopted by the Board. In the event that market quotes are not readily available, and the security or asset cannot be valued pursuant to one of the valuation methods, the value of the security or asset will be determined in good faith by the Valuation Designee pursuant to its policies and procedures. Any fair value provided by the Valuation Designee is subject to the ultimate review of the pricing methodology by the Pricing & Liquidity Committee of the Board on a quarterly basis. Under these policies,

42

 

Fisher Investments Institutional Group Fund Family
Notes to the Financial Statements (continued)
August 31, 2023
 

the securities will be classified as Level 2 or 3 within the fair value hierarchy, depending on the inputs used.

 

With respect to foreign equity securities that are principally traded on a market outside the United States, the Board has approved the utilization of an independent fair value pricing service to evaluate the effect of market fluctuations on these securities after the close of trading in that foreign market. To the extent that securities are valued using this service, they will be classified as Level 2 securities.

 

Debt securities are valued by using the mean between the closing bid and ask prices provided by a pricing service. If the closing bid and ask prices are not readily available, the pricing service may provide a price determined by a matrix pricing method. Matrix pricing is a mathematical technique used to value fixed income securities without relying exclusively on quoted prices. Matrix pricing takes into consideration recent transactions, yield, liquidity, risk, credit quality, coupon, maturity, type of issue and any other factors or market data the pricing service deems relevant for the actual security being priced and for other securities with similar characteristics. These securities will generally be categorized as Level 2 securities. If the Valuation Designee, decides that a price provided by the pricing service does not accurately reflect the fair value of the securities or when prices are not readily available from a pricing service, securities are valued at fair value as determined by the Valuation Designee, in conformity with guidelines adopted by and subject to review of the Board through its Pricing & Liquidity Committee. These securities will generally be categorized as Level 3 securities.

 

Investments in mutual funds, including money market mutual funds, are generally priced at the ending NAV provided by the service agent of the mutual funds. These securities are categorized as Level 1 securities.

 

In accordance with the Trust’s valuation policies and fair value determinations pursuant to Rule 2a-5 under the 1940 Act, the Valuation Designee is required to consider all appropriate factors relevant to the value of securities for which it has determined other pricing sources are not available or reliable as described above. No single method exists for determining fair value because fair value depends upon the circumstances of each individual case. As a general principle, the current fair value of a security being valued by the Valuation Designee would be the amount that a Fund might reasonably expect to receive upon the current sale. Methods that are in accordance with this principle may, for example, be based on (i) a multiple of earnings; (ii) a discount from market prices of a similar freely traded security (including a derivative security or a basket of securities traded on other markets, exchanges or among dealers); or (iii) yield to maturity with respect to debt issues, or a combination of these and other methods. Fair-value pricing is permitted if, in the Valuation Designee’s opinion, the validity of market quotations appears to be questionable based

43

 

Fisher Investments Institutional Group Fund Family
Notes to the Financial Statements (continued)
August 31, 2023
 

on factors such as evidence of a thin market in the security based on a small number of quotations, a significant event occurs after the close of a market but before a Fund’s NAV calculation that may affect a security’s value, or the Valuation Designee is aware of any other data that calls into question the reliability of market quotations. The Valuation Designee may obtain assistance from others in fulfilling its duties. For example, it may seek assistance from pricing services, fund administrators, sub-advisers, accountants, or counsel; it may also consult the Trust’s Fair Value Committee. The Valuation Designee, however, remains responsible for the final fair value determination and may not designate or assign that responsibility to any third party.

 

The following is a summary of the inputs used to value the Funds’ investments as of August 31, 2023:

 

Stock Fund  Valuation Inputs     
Assets  Level 1   Level 2   Level 3   Total 
Common Stocks(a)  $219,974   $549   $   $220,523 
Money Market Funds   2,501            2,501 
Total  $222,475   $549   $   $223,024 
                     
ESG Stock Fund  Valuation Inputs     
Assets  Level 1   Level 2   Level 3   Total 
Common Stocks(a)  $219,274   $3,030   $   $222,304 
Preferred Stocks   1,569            1,569 
Money Market Funds   1,830            1,830 
Total  $222,673   $3,030   $   $225,703 
                     
Fixed Income Fund  Valuation Inputs     
Assets  Level 1   Level 2   Level 3   Total 
Corporate Bonds(a)  $   $833,945   $   $833,945 
U.S. Government & Agencies       973,335        973,335 
Exchange-Traded Funds   896,814            896,814 
Money Market Funds   96,178            96,178 
Total  $992,992   $1,807,280   $   $2,800,272 
                     
ESG Fixed Income Fund  Valuation Inputs     
Assets  Level 1   Level 2   Level 3   Total 
Corporate Bonds(a)  $   $813,714   $   $813,714 
U.S. Government & Agencies       1,015,439        1,015,439 
Exchange-Traded Funds   904,206            904,206 
Money Market Funds   47,526            47,526 
Total  $951,732   $1,829,153   $   $2,780,885 

 

(a)Refer to Schedule of Investments for sector classifications.

 

The Funds did not hold any investments at the end of the reporting period in which significant unobservable inputs (Level 3) were used in determining fair value; therefore, no reconciliation of Level 3 securities is included for this reporting period.

44

 

Fisher Investments Institutional Group Fund Family
Notes to the Financial Statements (continued)
August 31, 2023
 

NOTE 4. FEES AND OTHER TRANSACTIONS WITH AFFILIATES AND OTHER SERVICE PROVIDERS

 

The Adviser, under the terms of the management agreement with the Trust with respect to the Funds, manages the Funds’ investments. The Adviser pays all of the operating expenses of the Funds except portfolio transaction and other investment related costs (including brokerage fees and commissions, and fees and expenses associated with investments in derivative instruments, such as option and swap fees and expenses), taxes, borrowing costs (such as interest and dividend expense on securities sold short), extraordinary expenses, and any indirect expenses (such as fees and expenses associated with investment in acquired funds and other collective investment vehicles). In this regard, it should be noted that most investment companies pay their own operating expenses directly, while the Funds’ expenses, except those specified above, are paid by the Adviser. The Funds do not pay a management fee to the Adviser. Retirement plans, plan sponsors and/or plan participants pay a separate fee for the Adviser’s services and also pay fees to record keepers and administrators.

 

Ultimus Fund Solutions, LLC (“Ultimus”) provides administration, fund accounting and transfer agent services to the Funds. The Funds pay Ultimus fees in accordance with the agreements for such services.

 

Northern Lights Compliance Services, LLC (“NLCS”), an affiliate of Ultimus, provides a Chief Compliance Officer to the Trust, as well as related compliance services, pursuant to a consulting agreement between NLCS and the Trust. Under the terms of such agreement, NLCS receives fees from the Funds, which are approved annually by the Board.

 

Under the terms of a Distribution Agreement with the Trust, Ultimus Fund Distributors, LLC (the “Distributor”) serves as principal underwriter to the Funds. The Distributor is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Ultimus. The Distributor is compensated by the Adviser (not the Funds) for acting as principal underwriter.

 

Certain officers of the Trust are also employees of Ultimus and such persons are not paid by the Funds for serving in such capacities. One Trustee is a former employee of Ultimus who is not currently paid by the Funds for serving in such capacity.

 

The Board supervises the business activities of the Trust. Each Trustee serves as a trustee until termination of the Trust unless the Trustee dies, resigns, retires, or is removed. The Chair of the Board and more than 75% of the Trustees are “Independent Trustees”, which means that they are not “interested persons” as defined in the 1940 Act. The Independent Trustees review and establish compensation at least annually. Each Independent Trustee of the Trust receives annual compensation, which is an established amount paid quarterly

45

 

Fisher Investments Institutional Group Fund Family
Notes to the Financial Statements (continued)
August 31, 2023
 

per fund in the Trust at the time of the regular quarterly Board meetings. The Chair of the Board receives the highest compensation, commensurate with his additional duties and each Chair of a committee receives additional compensation as well. Independent Trustees also receive additional fees for attending any special meetings. In addition, the Trust reimburses Independent Trustees for out-of-pocket expenses incurred in conjunction with attendance at meetings.

 

NOTE 5. INVESTMENT TRANSACTIONS

 

For the fiscal year ended August 31, 2023, purchases and sales of investment securities, other than short-term investments, were as follows:

 

       ESG Stock   Fixed Income   ESG Fixed