Form 497 GOLDMAN SACHS TRUST

December 14, 2020 5:29 PM

PART B

STATEMENT OF ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

DATED DECEMBER 27, 2019, AS SUPPLEMENTED DECEMBER 14, 2020

 

Fund

   Institutional Shares

GOLDMAN SACHS GLOBAL MANAGED BETA FUND

   GGMBX

71 South Wacker Drive

Chicago, Illinois 60606

This Statement of Additional Information (the “SAI”) is not a Prospectus. This SAI should be read in conjunction with the Prospectus for the Goldman Sachs Global Managed Beta Fund, dated December 27, 2019, as it may be amended and/or supplemented from time to time (the “Prospectus”). The Prospectus may be obtained without charge from Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC by calling the telephone number, or writing to one of the addresses, listed below or from institutions (“Intermediaries”) acting on behalf of their customers.

The audited financial statements and related report of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, independent registered public accounting firm for the Fund, contained in the Fund’s 2019 Annual Report are incorporated herein by reference in the section titled “FINANCIAL STATEMENTS.” No other portions of the Fund’s Annual Report are incorporated herein by reference. The Fund’s Annual Report may be obtained upon request and without charge by calling Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC toll-free at 1-800-621-2550.

GSAM® is a registered service mark of Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC.


TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

INTRODUCTION

     B-3  

INVESTMENT OBJECTIVE AND POLICIES

     B-3  

DESCRIPTION OF INVESTMENT SECURITIES AND PRACTICES

     B-3  

INVESTMENT RESTRICTIONS

     B-36  

TRUSTEES AND OFFICERS

     B-37  

MANAGEMENT SERVICES

     B-48  

POTENTIAL CONFLICTS OF INTEREST

     B-53  

PORTFOLIO TRANSACTIONS AND BROKERAGE

     B-65  

NET ASSET VALUE

     B-68  

SHARES OF THE TRUST

     B-70  

TAXATION

     B-72  

FINANCIAL STATEMENTS

     B-77  

PROXY VOTING

     B-77  

OTHER INFORMATION

     B-78  

CONTROL PERSONS AND PRINCIPAL HOLDERS OF SECURITIES

     B-81  

APPENDIX A DESCRIPTION OF SECURITIES RATINGS

     1-A  

APPENDIX B GSAM PROXY VOTING GUIDELINES SUMMARY

     1-B  


GOLDMAN SACHS ASSET MANAGEMENT, L.P.

Investment Adviser

200 West Street

New York, New York 10282

GOLDMAN SACHS & CO. LLC

Distributor

200 West Street

New York, New York 10282

GOLDMAN SACHS & CO. LLC

Transfer Agent

71 South Wacker Drive

Chicago, Illinois 60606

Toll free (in U.S.) 800-621-2550.

 

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INTRODUCTION

Goldman Sachs Trust (the “Trust”) is an open-end, management investment company. The Trust is organized as a Delaware statutory trust and was established by a Declaration of Trust dated January 28, 1997. The Trust is a successor to a Massachusetts business trust that was combined with the Trust on April 30, 1997. The following series of the Trust is described in this SAI: Goldman Sachs Global Managed Beta Fund (the “Fund”).

The Trustees of the Trust have authority under the Declaration of Trust to create and classify shares into separate series and to classify and reclassify any series or portfolio of shares into one or more classes without further action by shareholders. Pursuant thereto, the Trustees have created the Fund and other series. Additional series and classes may be added in the future from time to time. The Fund currently offers one class of shares: Institutional Shares. See “SHARES OF THE TRUST.”

Goldman Sachs Asset Management, L.P. (“GSAM” or the “Investment Adviser”), an affiliate of Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC (“Goldman Sachs”), serves as the investment adviser to the Fund. In addition, Goldman Sachs serves as the Fund’s distributor (the “Distributor”) and transfer agent (the “Transfer Agent”). The Fund’s custodian is State Street Bank and Trust Company (“State Street”).

The following information relates to and supplements the description of the Fund’s investment objective and policies contained in the Prospectus. See the Prospectus for a more complete description of the Fund’s investment objectives and policies. Investing in the Fund entails certain risks, and there is no assurance that the Fund will achieve its objective. Capitalized terms used but not defined herein have the same meaning as in the Prospectus.

INVESTMENT OBJECTIVE AND POLICIES

The Fund has a distinct investment objective and policies. There can be no assurance that the Fund’s investment objective will be achieved. The Fund is a diversified open-end management company as defined in the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended (the “Act”). The investment objective and policies of the Fund, and the associated risks of the Fund, are discussed in the Fund’s Prospectus, which should be read carefully before an investment is made. All investment objectives and investment policies not specifically designated as fundamental may be changed without shareholder approval. Additional information about the Fund, its policies, and the investment instruments it may hold is provided below.

The Fund’s share price will fluctuate with market, economic and, to the extent applicable, foreign exchange conditions, so that an investment in the Fund may be worth more or less when redeemed than when purchased. The Fund should not be relied upon as a complete investment program.

The Investment Adviser is subject to registration and regulation as a “commodity pool operator” under the Commodity Exchange Act with respect to its service as investment adviser to the Fund.

DESCRIPTION OF INVESTMENT SECURITIES AND PRACTICES

Asset-Backed Securities

The Fund may invest in asset-backed securities. Asset-backed securities represent participations in, or are secured by and payable from, assets such as motor vehicle installment sales, installment loan contracts, leases of various types of real and personal property, receivables from revolving credit (credit card) agreements and other categories of receivables. Such assets are securitized through the use of trusts and special purpose corporations. Payments or distributions of principal and interest may be guaranteed up to certain amounts and for a certain time period by a letter of credit or a pool insurance policy issued by a financial institution unaffiliated with the trust or corporation, or other credit enhancements may be present.

Such securities are often subject to more rapid repayment than their stated maturity date would indicate as a result of the pass-through of prepayments of principal on the underlying loans. During periods of declining interest rates, prepayment of loans underlying asset-backed securities can be expected to accelerate. Accordingly, the Fund’s ability to maintain positions in such securities will be affected by reductions in the principal amount of such securities resulting from prepayments, and its ability to reinvest the returns of principal at comparable yields is subject to generally prevailing interest rates at that time. To the extent that the Fund invests in asset-backed securities, the values of the Fund’s portfolio securities will vary with changes in market interest rates generally and the differentials in yields among various kinds of asset-backed securities.

Asset-backed securities present certain additional risks because asset-backed securities generally do not have the benefit of a security interest in collateral that is comparable to mortgage assets. Credit card receivables are generally unsecured and the debtors on such receivables are entitled to the protection of a number of state and federal consumer credit laws, many of which give such debtors the right to set-off certain amounts owed on the credit cards, thereby reducing the balance due. Automobile receivables generally are secured, but by automobiles rather than residential real property. Most issuers of automobile receivables permit the loan servicers to retain possession of the underlying obligations. If the servicer were to sell these obligations to another party, there is a risk that the

 

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purchaser would acquire an interest superior to that of the holders of the asset-backed securities. In addition, because of the large number of vehicles involved in a typical issuance and technical requirements under state laws, the trustee for the holders of the automobile receivables may not have a proper security interest in the underlying automobiles. Therefore, if the issuer of an asset-backed security defaults on its payment obligations, there is the possibility that, in some cases, the Fund will be unable to possess and sell the underlying collateral and that the Fund’s recoveries on repossessed collateral may not be available to support payments on these securities.

Asset Segregation

As an investment company registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”), the Fund must identify on its books (often referred to as “asset segregation”) liquid assets, or engage in other SEC- or SEC staff-approved or other appropriate measures, to “cover” open positions with respect to certain kinds of derivative instruments. In the case of swaps, futures contracts, options, forward contracts and other derivative instruments that do not cash settle, for example, the Fund must identify on its books liquid assets equal to the full notional amount of the instrument while the positions are open, to the extent there is not a permissible offsetting position or a contractual “netting” agreement with respect to swaps (other than credit default swaps where the Fund is the protection seller). However, with respect to certain swaps, futures contracts, options, forward contracts and other derivative instruments that are required to cash settle, the Fund may identify liquid assets in an amount equal to the Fund’s daily marked-to-market net obligations (i.e., the Fund’s daily net liability) under the instrument, if any, rather than its full notional amount. Forwards and futures contracts that do not cash settle may be treated as cash settled for asset segregation purposes when the Fund has entered into a contractual arrangement with a third party futures commission merchant (“FCM”) or other counterparty to off-set the Fund’s exposure under the contract and, failing that, to assign its delivery obligation under the contract to the counterparty. The Fund reserves the right to modify its asset segregation policies in the future in its discretion, consistent with the 1940 Act and SEC or SEC staff guidance. By identifying assets equal to only its net obligations under certain instruments, the Fund will have the ability to employ leverage to a greater extent than if the Fund was required to identify assets equal to the full notional amount of the instrument.

In November 2019, the SEC published a proposed rulemaking related to the use of derivatives and certain other transactions by registered investment companies that would, if adopted, for the most part rescind the guidance of the SEC and its staff regarding asset segregation and cover transactions. Instead of complying with current guidance, the Fund would need to trade derivatives and other transactions that create future payment or delivery obligations (except reverse repurchase agreements and similar financing transactions) subject to a value-at-risk (“VaR”) leverage limit, certain other derivatives risk management program and testing requirements and requirements related to board and SEC reporting. These new requirements would apply unless the Fund qualified as a “limited derivatives user,” as defined in the SEC’s proposal. If the Fund trades reverse repurchase agreements or similar financing transactions, it would need to aggregate the amount of indebtedness associated with the reverse repurchase agreements or similar financing transactions with the aggregate amount of any other senior securities representing indebtedness when calculating the Fund’s asset coverage ratio. Reverse repurchase agreements or similar financing transactions would not be included in the calculation of whether the Fund is a limited derivatives user. Any new requirements, if adopted, may increase the cost of the Fund’s investments and cost of doing business, which could adversely affect investors.

Bank Obligations

The Fund may invest in obligations issued or guaranteed by U.S. or foreign banks. Bank obligations, including without limitation time deposits, bankers’ acceptances and certificates of deposit, may be general obligations of the parent bank or may be limited to the issuing branch by the terms of the specific obligations or government regulation. Banks are subject to extensive but different governmental regulations which may limit both the amount and types of loans which may be made and interest rates which may be charged. In addition, the profitability of the banking industry is largely dependent upon the availability and cost of funds for the purpose of financing lending operations under prevailing money market conditions. General economic conditions as well as exposure to credit losses arising from possible financial difficulties of borrowers play an important part in the operation of this industry.

Certificates of deposit are certificates evidencing the obligation of a bank to repay funds deposited with it for a specified period of time at a specified rate. Certificates of deposit are negotiable instruments and are similar to saving deposits but have a definite maturity and are evidenced by a certificate instead of a passbook entry. Banks are required to keep reserves against all certificates of deposit. Fixed time deposits are bank obligations payable at a stated maturity date and bearing interest at a fixed rate. Fixed time deposits may be withdrawn on demand by the investor, but may be subject to early withdrawal penalties which vary depending upon market conditions and the remaining maturity of the obligation. The Fund may invest in deposits in U.S. and European banks satisfying the standards set forth above.

Commercial Paper and Other Short-Term Corporate Obligations

The Fund may invest in commercial paper and other short-term obligations issued or guaranteed by U.S. corporations, non-U.S. corporations or other entities. Commercial paper represents short-term unsecured promissory notes issued in bearer form by banks or bank holding companies, corporations and finance companies.

Convertible Securities

The Fund may invest in convertible securities. Convertible securities are bonds, debentures, notes, preferred stocks or other securities that may be converted into or exchanged for a specified amount of common stock (or other securities) of the same or different issuer within a particular period of time at a specified price or formula. A convertible security entitles the holder to receive interest that is generally paid or accrued on debt or a dividend that is paid or accrued on preferred stock until the convertible security matures or is redeemed, converted or exchanged. Convertible securities have unique investment characteristics, in that they generally (i) have higher yields than common stocks, but lower yields than comparable non-convertible securities, (ii) are less subject to fluctuation in value than the underlying common stock due to their fixed income characteristics and (iii) provide the potential for capital appreciation if the market price of the underlying common stock increases.

 

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The value of a convertible security is a function of its “investment value” (determined by its yield in comparison with the yields of other securities of comparable maturity and quality that do not have a conversion privilege) and its “conversion value” (the security’s worth, at market value, if converted into the underlying common stock). The investment value of a convertible security is influenced by changes in interest rates, with investment value normally declining as interest rates increase and increasing as interest rates decline. The credit standing of the issuer and other factors may also have an effect on the convertible security’s investment value. The conversion value of a convertible security is determined by the market price of the underlying common stock. If the conversion value is low relative to the investment value, the price of the convertible security is governed principally by its investment value. To the extent the market price of the underlying common stock approaches or exceeds the conversion price, the price of the convertible security will be increasingly influenced by its conversion value. A convertible security generally will sell at a premium over its conversion value by the extent to which investors place value on the right to acquire the underlying common stock while holding a fixed income security.

A convertible security may be subject to redemption at the option of the issuer at a price established in the convertible security’s governing instrument. If a convertible security held by the Fund is called for redemption, the Fund will be required to convert the security into the underlying common stock, sell it to a third party or permit the issuer to redeem the security. Any of these actions could have an adverse effect on the Fund’s ability to achieve its investment objective, which, in turn, could result in losses to the Fund.

Currency Swaps, Mortgage Swaps, Credit Swaps, Total Return Swaps, Equity Swaps, Index Swaps and Interest Rate Swaps, Options on Swaps and Caps, Floors and Collars

The Fund may enter into currency, mortgage, credit, total return, equity, index, interest rate and other swaps for hedging purposes, or to seek to increase total return. The Fund may also purchase and write (sell) options contracts on swaps, commonly referred to as swaptions.

The Fund may enter into swap transactions for hedging purposes or to seek to increase total return. As examples, the Fund may enter into swap transactions for the purpose of attempting to obtain or preserve a particular return or spread at a lower cost than obtaining a return or spread through purchases and/or sales of instruments in other markets, to protect against currency fluctuations, as a duration management technique, to protect against any increase in the price of securities the Fund anticipates purchasing at a later date, or to gain exposure to certain markets in an economical way.

In a standard “swap” transaction, two parties agree to exchange the returns, differentials in rates of return or some other amount earned or realized on particular predetermined investments or instruments, which may be adjusted for an interest factor. The gross returns to be exchanged or “swapped” between the parties are generally calculated with respect to a “notional amount,” i.e., the return on or increase in value of a particular dollar amount invested at a particular interest rate, in a particular foreign currency or security, or in a “basket” of securities representing a particular index. Bilateral swap agreements are two party contracts entered into primarily by institutional investors. Cleared swaps are transacted through FCMs that are members of central clearinghouses with the clearinghouse serving as a central counterparty similar to transactions in futures contracts. The Fund posts initial and variation margin by making payments to their clearing member FCMs.

Equity swap contracts may be structured in different ways. For example, as a total return swap where a counterparty may agree to pay the Fund the amount, if any, by which the notional amount of the equity swap contract would have increased in value had it been invested in the particular stocks (or a group of stocks), plus the dividends that would have been received on those stocks. In other cases, the counterparty and the Fund may each agree to pay the difference between the relative investment performances that would have been achieved if the notional amount of the equity swap contract had been invested in different stocks (or a group of stocks). Index swaps involve the exchange by the Fund with another party of payments based on a notional principal amount of a specified index or indices. Interest rate swaps involve the exchange by the Fund with another party of their respective commitments to pay or receive payments for floating rate payments based on interest rates at specified intervals in the future. Two types of interest rate swaps include “fixed-for-floating rate swaps” and “basis swaps.” Fixed-for-floating rate swaps involve the exchange of payments based on a fixed interest rate for payments based on a floating interest rate index. By contrast, basis swaps involve the exchange of payments based on two different floating interest rate indices.

Mortgage swaps are similar to interest rate swaps in that they represent commitments to pay and receive interest. The notional principal amount, however, is tied to a reference pool or pools of mortgages.

Currency swaps involve the exchange by the Fund with another party of their respective rights to make or receive payments in specified currencies. Written credit swaps (also referred to as credit default swaps) involve the receipt of floating or fixed rate payments in exchange for assuming potential credit losses of an underlying security, or pool of securities. Credit swaps give one party to a transaction the right to dispose of or acquire an asset (or group of assets), or the right to receive from or make a payment to the other party, upon the occurrence of specified credit events. Total return swaps are contracts that obligate a party to pay or receive interest in exchange for the payment by the other party of the total return generated by a security, a basket of securities, an index or an index component.

 

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A swaption is an option to enter into a swap agreement. Like other types of options, the buyer of a swaption pays a non-refundable premium for the option and obtains the right, but not the obligation, to enter into or modify an underlying swap or to modify the terms of an existing swap on agreed-upon terms. The seller of a swaption, in exchange for the premium, becomes obligated (if the option is exercised) to enter into or modify an underlying swap on agreed-upon terms, which generally entails a greater risk of loss than incurred in buying a swaption. The purchase of an interest rate cap entitles the purchaser, to the extent that a specified index exceeds a predetermined interest rate, to receive payment of interest on a notional principal amount from the party selling such interest rate cap. The purchase of an interest rate floor entitles the purchaser, to the extent that a specified index falls below a predetermined interest rate, to receive payments of interest on a notional principal amount from the party selling the interest rate floor. An interest rate collar is the combination of a cap and a floor that preserves a certain return within a predetermined range of interest rates.

A great deal of flexibility may be possible in the way swap transactions are structured. However, generally the Fund will enter into interest rate, total return, credit, mortgage, equity and index swaps on a net basis, which means that the two payment streams are netted out, with the Fund receiving or paying, as the case may be, only the net amount of the two payments. Interest rate, total return, credit, equity, index and mortgage swaps do not normally involve the delivery of securities, other underlying assets or principal. Accordingly, the risk of loss with respect to interest rate, total return, credit, equity, index and mortgage swaps is normally limited to the net amount of interest payments that the Fund is contractually obligated to make. If the other party to an interest rate, total return, credit, equity, index or mortgage swap defaults, the Fund’s risk of loss consists of the net amount of interest payments that the Fund is contractually entitled to receive, if any.

In contrast, currency swaps usually involve the delivery of a gross payment stream in one designated currency in exchange for the gross payment stream in another designated currency. Therefore, the entire payment stream under a currency swap is subject to the risk that the other party to the swap will default on its contractual delivery obligations.

If the other party to a bilateral swap agreement defaults, the Fund’s risk of loss consists of the net amount of payments that the Fund is contractually entitled to receive. However, certain swap transactions are currently subject to central clearing. Although central clearing is expected to decrease the counterparty risk involved in bi-laterally negotiated contracts because central clearing interposes the central clearinghouse as the counterparty to each participant’s swap, central clearing does not make swap transactions risk-free.

A credit swap may have as reference obligations one or more securities that may, or may not, be currently held by the Fund. The protection “buyer” in a credit swap is generally obligated to pay the protection “seller” an upfront or a periodic stream of payments over the term of the swap provided that no credit event, such as a default, on a reference obligation has occurred. If a credit event occurs, the seller generally must pay the buyer the “par value” (full notional value) of the swap in exchange for an equal face amount of deliverable obligations of the reference entity described in the swap, or the seller may be required to deliver the related net cash amount, if the swap is cash settled. The Fund may be either the protection buyer or seller in the transaction. If the Fund is a buyer and no credit event occurs, the Fund may recover nothing if the swap is held through its termination date. However, if a credit event occurs, the buyer generally may elect to receive the full notional value of the swap in exchange for an equal face amount of deliverable obligations of the reference entity whose value may have significantly decreased. As a seller, the Fund generally receives an upfront payment or a rate of income throughout the term of the swap provided that there is no credit event. As the seller, the Fund would effectively add leverage to its portfolio because, in addition to its total net assets, the Fund would be subject to investment exposure on the notional amount of the swap. If a credit event occurs, the value of any deliverable obligation received by the Fund as seller, coupled with the upfront or periodic payments previously received, may be less than the full notional value it pays to the buyer, resulting in a loss of value to the Fund.

As a result of recent regulatory developments, certain standardized swaps are currently subject to mandatory central clearing and some of these cleared swaps must be traded on an exchange or swap execution facility (“SEF”). A SEF is a trading platform in which multiple market participants can execute swap transactions by accepting bids and offers made by multiple other participants on the platform. Transactions executed on a SEF may increase market transparency and liquidity but may cause the Fund to incur increased expenses to execute swaps. Central clearing should decrease counterparty risk and increase liquidity compared to bilateral swaps because central clearing interposes the central clearinghouse as the counterparty to each participant’s swap. However, central clearing does not eliminate counterparty risk or liquidity risk entirely. In addition, depending on the size of the Fund and other factors, the margin required under the rules of a clearinghouse and by a clearing member may be in excess of the collateral required to be posted by the Fund to support its obligations under a similar bilateral swap. However, the CFTC and other applicable regulators have adopted rules imposing certain margin requirements, including minimums, on uncleared swaps which may result in the Fund and its counterparties posting higher margin amounts for uncleared swaps. Requiring margin on uncleared swaps may reduce, but not eliminate, counterparty credit risk.

To the extent that the Fund’s exposure in a transaction involving a swap, a swaption or an interest rate floor, cap or collar is covered by identifying cash or liquid assets on the Fund’s books or is covered by other means in accordance with SEC- or SEC staff-approved guidance or other appropriate measures, the Fund and the Investment Adviser believe that the transactions do not constitute senior securities under the Act and, accordingly, will not treat them as being subject to the Fund’s borrowing restrictions. For more information about these practices, see “Description of Investment Securities and Practices – Asset Segregation.”

 

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The use of swaps, swaptions and interest rate caps, floors and collars is a highly specialized activity which involves investment techniques and risks different from those associated with ordinary portfolio securities transactions. The use of a swap requires an understanding not only of the referenced asset, reference rate, or index but also of the swap itself, without the benefit of observing the performance of the swap under all possible market conditions. If the Investment Adviser is incorrect in its forecasts of market values, credit quality, interest rates and currency exchange rates, the investment performance of the Fund would be less favorable than it would have been if this investment technique were not used.

In addition, these transactions can involve greater risks than if the Fund had invested in the reference obligation directly because, in addition to general market risks, swaps are subject to liquidity risk, counterparty risk, credit risk and pricing risk. Regulators also may impose limits on an entity’s or group of entities’ positions in certain swaps. However, certain risks are reduced (but not eliminated) if the Fund invests in cleared swaps. Bilateral swap agreements are two party contracts that may have terms of greater than seven days. Moreover, the Fund bears the risk of loss of the amount expected to be received under a swap agreement in the event of the default or bankruptcy of a swap counterparty. Many swaps are complex and often valued subjectively. Swaps and other derivatives may also be subject to pricing or “basis” risk, which exists when the price of a particular derivative diverges from the price of corresponding cash market instruments. Under certain market conditions it may not be economically feasible to imitate a transaction or liquidate a position in time to avoid a loss or take advantage of an opportunity. If a swap transaction is particularly large or if the relevant market is illiquid, it may not be possible to initiate a transaction or liquidate a position at an advantageous time or price, which may result in significant losses.

Certain rules also require centralized reporting of detailed information about many types of cleared and uncleared swaps. This information is available to regulators and, to a more limited extent and on an anonymous basis, to the public. Reporting of swap data may result in greater market transparency, which may be beneficial to funds that use swaps to implement trading strategies. However, these rules place potential additional administrative obligations on these funds, and the safeguards established to protect anonymity may not function as expected.

The swap market has grown substantially in recent years with a large number of banks and investment banking firms acting both as principals and as agents utilizing standardized swap documentation. As a result, the swap market has become relatively liquid in comparison with the markets for other similar instruments which are traded in the interbank market. These and other factors discussed in the section below, entitled “Illiquid Investments,” may impact the liquidity of investments in swaps.

 

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Custodial Receipts and Trust Certificates

The Fund may invest in custodial receipts and trust certificates, which may be underwritten by securities dealers or banks, representing interests in securities held by a custodian or trustee. The securities so held may include U.S. Government Securities (as defined below), municipal securities or other types of securities in which the Fund may invest. The custodial receipts or trust certificates are underwritten by securities dealers or banks and may evidence ownership of future interest payments, principal payments or both on the underlying securities, or, in some cases, the payment obligation of a third party that has entered into an interest rate swap or other arrangement with the custodian or trustee. For certain securities laws purposes, custodial receipts and trust certificates may not be considered obligations of the U.S. government or other issuer of the securities held by the custodian or trustee. As a holder of custodial receipts and trust certificates, the Fund will bear its proportionate share of the fees and expenses charged to the custodial account or trust. The Fund may also invest in separately issued interests in custodial receipts and trust certificates.

Although under the terms of a custodial receipt or trust certificate the Fund would typically be authorized to assert its rights directly against the issuer of the underlying obligation, the Fund could be required to assert through the custodian bank or trustee those rights as may exist against the underlying issuers. Thus, in the event an underlying issuer fails to pay principal and/or interest when due, the Fund may be subject to delays, expenses and risks that are greater than those that would have been involved if the Fund had purchased a direct obligation of the issuer. In addition, in the event that the trust or custodial account in which the underlying securities have been deposited is determined to be an association taxable as a corporation, instead of a non-taxable entity, the yield on the underlying securities would be reduced in recognition of any taxes paid.

Certain custodial receipts and trust certificates may be synthetic or derivative instruments that have interest rates that reset inversely to changing short-term rates and/or have embedded interest rate floors and caps that require the issuer to pay an adjusted interest rate if market rates fall below or rise above a specified rate. Because some of these instruments represent relatively recent innovations, and the trading market for these instruments is less developed than the markets for traditional types of instruments, it is uncertain how these instruments will perform under different economic and interest-rate scenarios. Also, because these instruments may be leveraged, their market values may be more volatile than other types of fixed income instruments and may present greater potential for capital gain or loss. The possibility of default by an issuer or the issuer’s credit provider may be greater for these derivative instruments than for other types of instruments. In some cases, it may be difficult to determine the fair value of a derivative instrument because of a lack of reliable objective information and an established secondary market for some instruments may not exist. In many cases, the IRS has not ruled on the tax treatment of the interest or payments received on the derivative instruments and, accordingly, purchases of such instruments are based on the opinion of counsel to the sponsors of the instruments.

Dividend-Paying Investments

The Fund’s investments in dividend-paying securities could cause the Fund to underperform other funds that invest in similar asset classes but employ a different investment style. Securities that pay dividends, as a group, can fall out of favor with the market, causing such securities to underperform securities that do not pay dividends. Depending upon market conditions and political and legislative responses to such conditions, dividend-paying securities that meet the Fund’s investment criteria may not be widely available and/or may be highly concentrated in only a few market sectors. For example, in response to the outbreak of a novel strain of coronavirus (known as COVID-19), the U.S. Government passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act in March 2020, which established loan programs for certain issuers impacted by COVID-19. Among other conditions, borrowers under these loan programs are generally restricted from paying dividends. The adoption of new legislation could further limit or restrict the ability of issuers to pay dividends. To the extent that dividend-paying securities are concentrated in only a few market sectors, the Fund may be subject to the risks of volatile economic cycles and/or conditions or developments that may be particular to a sector to a greater extent than if its investments were diversified across different sectors. In addition, issuers that have paid regular dividends or distributions to shareholders may not continue to do so at the same level or at all in the future. A sharp rise in interest rates or an economic downturn could cause an issuer to abruptly reduce or eliminate its dividend. This may limit the ability of the Fund to produce current income.

 

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Foreign Securities

The Fund may invest in securities of foreign issuers, including securities quoted or denominated in a currency other than U.S. dollars. Investments in foreign securities may offer potential benefits not available from investments solely in U.S. dollar-denominated or quoted securities of domestic issuers. Such benefits may include the opportunity to invest in foreign issuers that appear, in the opinion of the Investment Adviser, to offer the potential for better long term growth of capital and income than investments in U.S. securities, the opportunity to invest in foreign countries with economic policies or business cycles different from those of the United States and the opportunity to reduce fluctuations in portfolio value by taking advantage of foreign securities markets that do not necessarily move in a manner parallel to U.S. markets. Investing in the securities of foreign issuers also involves, however, certain special risks, including those discussed in the Fund’s Prospectus and those set forth below, which are not typically associated with investing in U.S. dollar-denominated securities or quoted securities of U.S. issuers. Many of these risks are more pronounced for investments in emerging economies.

With respect to investments in certain foreign countries, there exist certain economic, political and social risks, including the risk of adverse political developments, nationalization, military unrest, social instability, war and terrorism, confiscation without fair compensation, expropriation or confiscatory taxation, limitations on the movement of funds and other assets between different countries, or diplomatic developments, any of which could adversely affect the Fund’s investments in those countries. Governments in certain foreign countries continue to participate to a significant degree, through ownership interest or regulation, in their respective economies. Action by these governments could have a significant effect on market prices of securities and dividend payments.

Many countries throughout the world are dependent on a healthy U.S. economy and are adversely affected when the U.S. economy weakens or its markets decline. Additionally, many foreign country economies are heavily dependent on international trade and are adversely affected by protective trade barriers and economic conditions of their trading partners. Protectionist trade legislation enacted by those trading partners could have a significant adverse effect on the securities markets of those countries. Individual foreign economies may differ favorably or unfavorably from the U.S. economy in such respects as growth of gross national product, rate of inflation, capital reinvestment, resource self-sufficiency and balance of payments position.

From time to time, certain of the companies in which the Fund may invest may operate in, or have dealings with, countries subject to sanctions or embargos imposed by the U.S. Government and the United Nations and/or countries identified by the U.S. Government as state sponsors of terrorism. For example, the United Nations Security Council has imposed certain sanctions relating to Iran and Sudan and both countries are embargoed countries by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) of the US Department of the Treasury.

In addition, from time to time, certain of the companies in which the Fund may invest may engage in, or have dealings with countries or companies that engage in, activities that may not be considered socially and/or environmentally responsible. Such activities may relate to human rights issues (such as patterns of human rights abuses or violations, persecution or discrimination), impacts to local communities in which companies operate and environmental sustainability. For a description of the Investment Adviser’s approach to responsible and sustainable investing, please see GSAM’s Statement on Responsible and Sustainable Investing at https://www.gsam.com/content/dam/gsam/pdfs/common/en/public/miscellaneous/GSAM_statement_on_respon_sustainable_investing.pdf.

As a result, a company may suffer damage to its reputation if it is identified as a company which engages in, or has dealings with countries or companies that engage in, the above referenced activities. As an investor in such companies, the Fund would be indirectly subject to those risks.

The Investment Adviser is committed to complying fully with sanctions in effect as of the date of this Statement of Additional Information and any other applicable sanctions that may be enacted in the future with respect to Sudan or any other country.

Investments in foreign securities often involve currencies of foreign countries. Accordingly, the Fund may be affected favorably or unfavorably by changes in currency rates and in exchange control regulations and may incur costs in connection with conversions between various currencies. The Fund may be subject to currency exposure independent of its securities positions. To the extent that the Fund is fully invested in foreign securities while also maintaining net currency positions, it may be exposed to greater combined risk. Currency exchange rates may fluctuate significantly over short periods of time. They generally are determined by the forces of supply and demand in the foreign exchange markets and the relative merits of investments in different countries, actual or anticipated changes in interest rates and other complex factors, as seen from an international perspective. Currency exchange rates also can be affected unpredictably by intervention (or the failure to intervene) by U.S. or foreign governments or central banks or by currency controls or political developments in the United States or abroad. To the extent that a portion of the Fund’s total assets, adjusted to reflect the Fund’s net position after giving effect to currency transactions, is denominated or quoted in the currencies of foreign countries, the Fund will be more susceptible to the risk of adverse economic and political developments within those countries. The Fund’s net currency positions may expose it to risks independent of its securities positions.

 

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Because foreign issuers generally are not subject to uniform accounting, auditing and financial reporting standards, practices and requirements comparable to those applicable to U.S. companies, there may be less publicly available information about a foreign company than about a U.S. company. Volume and liquidity in most foreign securities markets are less than in the United States and securities of many foreign companies are less liquid and more volatile than securities of comparable U.S. companies. The securities of foreign issuers may be listed on foreign securities exchanges or traded in foreign over-the-counter markets. Fixed commissions on foreign securities exchanges are generally higher than negotiated commissions on U.S. exchanges, although the Fund endeavors to achieve the most favorable net results on its portfolio transactions. There is generally less government supervision and regulation of foreign securities exchanges, brokers, dealers and listed and unlisted companies than in the United States, and the legal remedies for investors may be more limited than the remedies available in the United States. For example, there may be no comparable provisions under certain foreign laws to insider trading and similar investor protections that apply with respect to securities transactions consummated in the United States. Mail service between the United States and foreign countries may be slower or less reliable than within the United States, thus increasing the risk of delayed settlement of portfolio transactions or loss of certificates for portfolio securities.

Foreign markets also have different clearance and settlement procedures, and in certain markets there have been times when settlements have been unable to keep pace with the volume of securities transactions, making it difficult to conduct such transactions. Such delays in settlement could result in temporary periods when some of the Fund’s assets are uninvested and no return is earned on such assets. The inability of the Fund to make intended security purchases due to settlement problems could cause the Fund to miss attractive investment opportunities. Inability to dispose of portfolio securities due to settlement problems could result either in losses to the Fund due to subsequent declines in value of the portfolio securities or, if the Fund has entered into a contract to sell the securities, in possible liability to the purchaser.

The Fund may invest in foreign securities which take the form of sponsored and unsponsored American Depositary Receipts (“ADRs”), Global Depositary Receipts (“GDRs”), European Depositary Receipts (“EDRs”) or other similar instruments representing securities of foreign issuers (together, “Depositary Receipts”). ADRs represent the right to receive securities of foreign issuers deposited in a domestic bank or a correspondent bank. ADRs are traded on domestic exchanges or in the U.S. over-the-counter market and, generally, are in registered form. EDRs and GDRs are receipts evidencing an arrangement with a non-U.S. bank similar to that for ADRs and are designed for use in the non-U.S. securities markets. EDRs and GDRs are not necessarily quoted in the same currency as the underlying security. To the extent the Fund acquires Depositary Receipts through banks which do not have a contractual relationship with the foreign issuer of the security underlying the Depositary Receipts to issue and service such unsponsored Depositary Receipts, there is an increased possibility that the Fund will not become aware of and be able to respond to corporate actions such as stock splits or rights offerings involving the foreign issuer in a timely manner. In addition, the lack of information may result in inefficiencies in the valuation of such instruments. Investment in Depositary Receipts does not eliminate all the risks inherent in investing in securities of non-U.S. issuers. The market value of Depositary Receipts is dependent upon the market value of the underlying securities and fluctuations in the relative value of the currencies in which the Depositary Receipts and the underlying securities are quoted. However, by investing in Depositary Receipts, such as ADRs, which are quoted in U.S. dollars, the Fund may avoid currency risks during the settlement period for purchases and sales.

As described more fully below, the Fund may invest in countries with emerging economies or securities markets. Political and economic structures in many of such countries may be undergoing significant evolution and rapid development, and such countries may lack the social, political and economic stability characteristic of more developed countries. Certain of such countries have in the past failed to recognize private property rights and have at times nationalized or expropriated the assets of or ignored internationally accepted standards of due process against, private companies. In addition, a country may take these and other retaliatory actions against a specific private company, including the Fund or the Investment Adviser. There may not be legal recourse against these actions, which could arise in connection with the commercial activities of Goldman Sachs or its affiliates or otherwise, and the Fund could be subject to substantial losses. In addition, the Fund or the Investment Adviser may determine not to invest in, or may limit its overall investment in, a particular issuer, country or geographic region due to, among other things, heightened risks regarding repatriation restrictions, confiscation of assets and property, expropriation or nationalization. See “Investing in Emerging Countries,” below.

Foreign Government Obligations. Foreign government obligations include securities, instruments and obligations issued or guaranteed by a foreign government, its agencies, instrumentalities or sponsored enterprises. Investment in foreign government obligations can involve a high degree of risk. The governmental entity that controls the repayment of foreign government obligations may not be able or willing to repay the principal and/or interest when due in accordance with the terms of such debt. A governmental entity’s willingness or ability to repay principal and interest due in a timely manner may be affected by, among other factors, its cash flow situation, the extent of its foreign reserves, the availability of sufficient foreign exchange on the date a payment is due, the relative size of the debt service burden to the economy as a whole, the governmental entity’s policy towards the International Monetary Fund and the political constraints to which a governmental entity may be subject. Governmental entities may also be dependent on expected disbursements from foreign governments, multilateral agencies and others abroad to reduce principal and interest on their debt. The commitment on the part of these governments, agencies and others to make such disbursements may be conditioned on a governmental entity’s implementation of economic reforms and/or economic performance and the timely service of such debtor’s obligations. Failure

 

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to implement such reforms, achieve such levels of economic performance or repay principal or interest when due may result in the cancellation of such third parties’ commitments to lend funds to the governmental entity, which may further impair such debtor’s ability or willingness to service its debts in a timely manner. Consequently, governmental entities may default on their debt. Holders of foreign government obligations (including the Fund) may be requested to participate in the rescheduling of such debt and to extend further loans to governmental agencies.

Investing in Asia. Although many countries in Asia have experienced a relatively stable political environment over the last decade, there is no guarantee that such stability will be maintained in the future. As an emerging region, many factors may affect such stability on a country-by-country as well as on a regional basis – increasing gaps between the rich and poor, agrarian unrest and stability of existing coalitions in politically-fractionated countries – and may result in adverse consequences to the Fund. The political history of some Asian countries has been characterized by political uncertainty, intervention by the military in civilian and economic spheres, and political corruption. Such developments, if they continue to occur, could reverse favorable trends toward market and economic reform, privatization, and removal of trade barriers, and could result in significant disruption to securities markets.

The legal infrastructure in each of the countries in Asia is unique and often undeveloped. In most cases, securities laws are evolving and far from adequate for the protection of the public from serious fraud. Investment in Asian securities involves considerations and possible risks not typically involved with investment in other issuers, including changes in governmental administration or economic or monetary policy or changed circumstances in dealings between nations. The application of tax laws (e.g., the imposition of withholding taxes on dividend or interest payments) or confiscatory taxation may also affect investment in Asian securities. Higher expenses may result from investments in Asian securities than would from investments in other securities because of the costs that must be incurred in connection with conversions between various currencies and brokerage commissions that may be higher than more established markets. Asian securities markets also may be less liquid, more volatile and less subject to governmental supervision than elsewhere. Investments in countries in the region could be affected by other factors not present elsewhere, including lack of uniform accounting, auditing and financial reporting standards, inadequate settlement procedures and potential difficulties in enforcing contractual obligations.

Certain countries in Asia are especially prone to natural disasters, such as flooding, drought and earthquakes. Combined with the possibility of man-made disasters, the occurrence of such disasters may adversely affect companies in which the Fund is invested and, as a result, may result in adverse consequences to the Fund.

Many of the countries in Asia periodically have experienced significant inflation. Should the governments and central banks of the countries in Asia fail to control inflation, this may have an adverse effect on the performance of the Fund’s investments in Asian securities.

Several of the countries in Asia remain dependent on the U.S. economy as their largest export customer, and future barriers to entry into the U.S. market or other important markets could adversely affect the Fund’s performance. Intraregional trade is becoming an increasingly significant percentage of total trade for the countries in Asia. Consequently, the intertwined economies are becoming increasingly dependent on each other, and any barriers to entry to markets in Asia in the future may adversely affect the Fund’s performance.

Certain Asian countries may have managed currencies which are maintained at artificial levels to the U.S. dollar rather than at levels determined by the market. This type of system can lead to sudden and large adjustments in the currency which, in turn, can have a disruptive and negative effect on foreign investors. Certain Asian countries also may restrict the free conversion of their currency into foreign currencies, including the U.S. dollar. There is no significant foreign exchange market for certain currencies, and it would, as a result, be difficult to engage in foreign currency transactions designed to protect the value of the Fund’s interests in securities denominated in such currencies.

Although the Fund will generally attempt to invest in those markets which provide the greatest freedom of movement of foreign capital, there is no assurance that this will be possible or that certain countries in Asia will not restrict the movement of foreign capital in the future. Changes in securities laws and foreign ownership laws may have an adverse effect on the Fund.

Investing in Bangladesh. Recent confrontational tendencies in Bangladeshi politics, including violent protests, raise concerns about political stability and could weigh on business sentiment and capital investment. Inadequate investment in the power sector has led to electricity shortages which continue to hamper Bangladesh’s business environment. Many Bangladeshi industries are dependent upon exports and international trade and may demonstrate high volatility in response to economic conditions abroad.

Bangladesh is located in a part of the world that has historically been prone to natural disasters such as monsoons, earthquakes and typhoons, and is economically sensitive to environmental events. Any such event could result in a significant adverse impact on Bangladesh’s economy.

 

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Investing in Brazil. In addition to the risks listed above under “Foreign Securities” and “Investing in Emerging Countries” investing in Brazil presents additional risks.

Under current Brazilian law, the Fund may repatriate income received from dividends and interest earned on its investments in Brazilian securities. The Fund may also repatriate net realized capital gains from its investments in Brazilian securities. Additionally, whenever there occurs a serious imbalance in Brazil’s balance of payments or serious reasons to foresee the imminence of such an imbalance, under current Brazilian law the Monetary Council may, for a limited period, impose restrictions on foreign capital remittances abroad. Exchange control regulations may restrict repatriation of investment income, capital or the proceeds of securities sales by foreign investors.

Brazil suffers from chronic structural public sector deficits. In addition, disparities of wealth, the pace and success of democratization and capital market development, and ethnic and racial hostilities have led to social and labor unrest and violence in the past, and may do so again in the future.

Additionally, the Brazilian securities markets are smaller, less liquid and more volatile than domestic markets. The market for Brazilian securities is influenced by economic and market conditions of certain countries, especially emerging market countries in Central and South America. Brazil has historically experienced high rates of inflation and may continue to do so in the future. Appreciation of the Brazilian currency (the real) relative to the U.S. dollar may lead to a deterioration of Brazil’s current account and balance of payments as well as limit the growth of exports. Inflationary pressures may lead to further government intervention in the economy, including the introduction of government policies that may adversely affect the overall performance of the Brazilian economy, which in turn could adversely affect the Fund’s investments.

Investing in Central and South American Countries. The Fund may invest in issuers located in Central and South American countries. Securities markets in Central and South American countries may experience greater volatility than in other emerging countries. In addition, a number of Central and South American countries are among the largest emerging country debtors. There have been moratoria on, and reschedulings of, repayment with respect to these debts. Such events can restrict the flexibility of these debtor nations in the international markets and result in the imposition of onerous conditions on their economies.

Many of the currencies of Central and South American countries have experienced steady devaluation relative to the U.S. dollar, and major devaluations have historically occurred in certain countries. Any devaluations in the currencies in which the Fund’s portfolio securities are denominated may have a detrimental impact on the Fund. There is also a risk that certain Central and South American countries may restrict the free conversion of their currencies into other currencies. Some Central and South American countries may have managed currencies which are not free floating against the U.S. dollar. This type of system can lead to sudden and large adjustments in the currency that, in turn, can have a disruptive and negative effect on foreign investors. Certain Central and South American currencies may not be internationally traded and it would be difficult for the Fund to engage in foreign currency transactions designed to protect the value of the Fund’s interests in securities denominated in such currencies.

The emergence of the Central and South American economies and securities markets will require continued economic and fiscal discipline that has been lacking at times in the past, as well as stable political and social conditions. Governments of many Central and South American countries have exercised and continue to exercise substantial influence over many aspects of the private sector. The political history of certain Central and South American countries has been characterized by political uncertainty, intervention by the military in civilian and economic spheres and political corruption. Such developments, if they were to recur, could reverse favorable trends toward market and economic reform, privatization and removal of trade barriers.

International economic conditions, particularly those in the United States, as well as world prices for oil and other commodities may also influence the recovery of the Central and South American economies. Because commodities such as oil, gas, minerals and metals represent a significant percentage of the region’s exports, the economies of Central and South American countries are particularly sensitive to fluctuations in commodity prices. As a result, the economies in many of these countries can experience significant volatility.

Certain Central and South American countries have entered into regional trade agreements that would, among other things, reduce barriers among countries, increase competition among companies and reduce government subsidies in certain industries. No assurance can be given that these changes will result in the economic stability intended. There is a possibility that these trade arrangements will not be implemented, will be implemented but not completed or will be completed but then partially or completely unwound. It is also possible that a significant participant could choose to abandon a trade agreement, which could diminish its credibility and influence. Any of these occurrences could have adverse effects on the markets of both participating and non-participating countries, including share appreciation or depreciation of participant’s national currencies and a significant increase in exchange rate volatility, a resurgence in economic protectionism, an undermining of confidence in the Central and South American markets, an undermining of Central and South American economic stability, the collapse or slowdown of the drive toward Central and South American economic unity, and/or reversion of the attempts to lower government debt and inflation rates that were introduced in anticipation of such trade agreements. Such developments could have an adverse impact on the Fund’s investments in Central and South America generally or in specific countries participating in such trade agreements.

 

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Investing in Egypt. Historically, Egypt’s national politics have been characterized by periods of instability and social unrest. Poor living standards, disparities of wealth and limitations on political freedom have contributed to the unstable environment. Unanticipated or sudden political or social developments may result in sudden and significant investment losses.

Egypt has experienced acts of terrorism, internal political conflict, popular unrest associated with demands for improved political, economic and social conditions, strained international relations due to territorial disputes, regional military conflicts, internal insurgencies and other security concerns. These situations may cause uncertainty in the Egyptian market and may adversely affect the performance of the Egyptian economy.

Egypt’s economy is dependent on trade with certain key trading partners including the U.S. Reduction in spending by these economies on Egyptian products and services or negative changes in any of these economies may cause an adverse impact on Egypt’s economy. Trade may also be negatively affected by trade barriers, exchange controls, managed adjustments in relative currency values and other government imposed or negotiated protectionist measures.

Egypt and the U.S. have entered into a bilateral investment treaty, which is designed to encourage and protect U.S. investment in Egypt. However, there may be a risk of loss due to expropriation and/or nationalization of assets, confiscation of assets and property or the imposition of restrictions on foreign investments and on repatriation of capital invested. Other diplomatic developments could adversely affect investments in Egypt, particularly as Egypt is involved in negotiations for various regional conflicts.

The Egyptian economy is heavily dependent on tourism, export of oil and gas, and shipping services revenues from the Suez Canal. Tourism receipts are vulnerable to terrorism, spillovers from conflicts in the region, and potential political instability. As Egypt produces and exports oil and gas, any acts of terrorism or armed conflict causing disruptions of oil and gas exports could affect the Egyptian economy and, thus, adversely affect the financial condition, results of operations or prospects of companies in which the Fund may invest. Furthermore, any acts of terrorism or armed conflict in Egypt or regionally could divert demand for the use of the Suez Canal, thereby reducing revenues from the Suez Canal.

Investing in Emerging Countries. Under normal circumstances, the Fund intends to invest no more than 25% of its total assets in emerging markets equity securities. The securities markets of emerging countries are less liquid and subject to greater price volatility, and have a smaller market capitalization, than the U.S. securities markets. In certain countries, there may be fewer publicly traded securities and the market may be dominated by a few issuers or sectors. Issuers and securities markets in such countries are not subject to as extensive and frequent accounting, financial and other reporting requirements or as comprehensive government regulations as are issuers and securities markets in the U.S. In particular, the assets and profits appearing on the financial statements of emerging country issuers may not reflect their financial position or results of operations in the same manner as financial statements for U.S. issuers. Substantially less information may be publicly available about emerging country issuers than is available about issuers in the United States.

Emerging country securities markets are typically marked by a high concentration of market capitalization and trading volume in a small number of issuers representing a limited number of industries, as well as a high concentration of ownership of such securities by a limited number of investors. The markets for securities in certain emerging countries are in the earliest stages of their development. Even the markets for relatively widely traded securities in emerging countries may not be able to absorb, without price disruptions, a significant increase in trading volume or trades of a size customarily undertaken by institutional investors in the securities markets of developed countries. The limited size of many of these securities markets can cause prices to be erratic for reasons apart from factors that affect the soundness and competitiveness of the securities issuers. For example, prices may be unduly influenced by traders who control large positions in these markets. Additionally, market making and arbitrage activities are generally less extensive in such markets, which may contribute to increased volatility and reduced liquidity of such markets. The limited liquidity of emerging country securities may also affect the Fund’s ability to accurately value its portfolio securities or to acquire or dispose of securities at the price and time it wishes to do so or in order to meet redemption requests.

With respect to investments in certain emerging market countries, antiquated legal systems may have an adverse impact on the Fund. For example, while the potential liability of a shareholder in a U.S. corporation with respect to acts of the corporation is generally limited to the amount of the shareholder’s investment, the notion of limited liability is less clear in certain emerging market countries. Similarly, the rights of investors in emerging market companies may be more limited than those of shareholders of U.S. corporations.

Transaction costs, including brokerage commissions or dealer mark-ups, in emerging countries may be higher than in the United States and other developed securities markets. In addition, existing laws and regulations are often inconsistently applied. As legal systems in emerging countries develop, foreign investors may be adversely affected by new or amended laws and regulations. In circumstances where adequate laws exist, it may not be possible to obtain swift and equitable enforcement of the law.

 

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Custodial and/or settlement systems in emerging markets countries may not be fully developed. To the extent the Fund invests in emerging markets, Fund assets that are traded in such markets and which have been entrusted to such sub-custodians in those markets may be exposed to risks for which the sub-custodian will have no liability.

Foreign investment in the securities markets of certain emerging countries is restricted or controlled to varying degrees. These restrictions may limit the Fund’s investment in certain emerging countries and may increase the expenses of the Fund. Certain emerging countries require governmental approval prior to investments by foreign persons or limit investment by foreign persons to only a specified percentage of an issuer’s outstanding securities or a specific class of securities which may have less advantageous terms (including price) than securities of the company available for purchase by nationals.

The repatriation of investment income, capital or the proceeds of securities sales from emerging countries may be subject to restrictions which require governmental consents or prohibit repatriation entirely for a period of time, which may make it difficult for the Fund to invest in such emerging countries. The Fund could be adversely affected by delays in, or a refusal to grant, any required governmental approval for such repatriation. Even where there is no outright restriction on repatriation of capital, the mechanics of repatriation may affect certain aspects of the operation of the Fund. The Fund may be required to establish special custodial or other arrangements before investing in certain emerging countries.

Emerging countries may be subject to a substantially greater degree of economic, political and social instability and disruption than is the case in the United States, Japan and most Western European countries. This instability may result from, among other things, the following: (i) authoritarian governments or military involvement in political and economic decision making, including changes or attempted changes in governments through extra-constitutional means; (ii) popular unrest associated with demands for improved political, economic or social conditions; (iii) internal insurgencies; (iv) hostile relations with neighboring countries; (v) ethnic, religious and racial disaffection or conflict; and (vi) the absence of developed legal structures governing foreign private investments and private property. Such economic, political and social instability could disrupt the principal financial markets in which the Fund may invest and adversely affect the value of the Fund’s assets. The Fund’s investments can also be adversely affected by any increase in taxes or by political, economic or diplomatic developments.

The Fund may seek investment opportunities within former “Eastern bloc” countries. Most of these countries had a centrally planned, socialist economy for a substantial period of time. The governments of many of these countries have more recently been implementing reforms directed at political and economic liberalization, including efforts to decentralize the economic decision-making process and move towards a market economy. However, business entities in Eastern European countries do not have an extended history of operating in a market-oriented economy, and the ultimate impact of these countries’ attempts to move toward more market-oriented economies is currently unclear. In addition, any change in the leadership or policies of these countries may halt the expansion of or reverse the liberalization of foreign investment policies now occurring and adversely affect existing investment opportunities.

The economies of emerging countries may differ unfavorably from the U.S. economy in such respects as growth of gross domestic product, rate of inflation, capital reinvestment, resources, self-sufficiency and balance of payments. Many emerging countries have experienced in the past, and continue to experience, high rates of inflation. In certain countries inflation has at times accelerated rapidly to hyperinflationary levels, creating a negative interest rate environment and sharply eroding the value of outstanding financial assets in those countries. Other emerging countries, on the other hand, have recently experienced deflationary pressures and are in economic recessions. The economies of many emerging countries are heavily dependent upon international trade and are accordingly affected by protective trade barriers and the economic conditions of their trading partners. In addition, the economies of some emerging countries are vulnerable to weakness in world prices for their commodity exports.

The Fund’s income and, in some cases, capital gains from foreign stocks and securities will be subject to applicable taxation in certain of the countries in which it invests, and treaties between the U.S. and such countries may not be available in some cases to reduce the otherwise applicable tax rates. See “TAXATION.”

Foreign markets also have different clearance and settlement procedures, and in certain markets there have been times when settlements have been unable to keep pace with the volume of securities transactions, making it difficult to conduct such transactions. Such delays in settlement could result in temporary periods when a portion of the assets of the Fund remain uninvested and no return is earned on such assets. The inability of the Fund to make intended security purchases or sales due to settlement problems could result either in losses to the Fund due to subsequent declines in value of the portfolio securities or, if the Fund has entered into a contract to sell the securities, could result in possible liability to the purchaser.

Investing in Europe. The Fund may operate in euros and/ or may hold euros and/or euro-denominated bonds and other obligations. The euro requires participation of multiple sovereign states forming the Euro zone and is therefore sensitive to the credit, general economic and political position of each such state, including each state’s actual and intended ongoing engagement with and/or support for the other sovereign states then forming the EU, in particular those within the Euro zone. Changes in these factors might materially adversely impact the value of securities that the Fund has invested in.

 

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European countries can be significantly affected by the tight fiscal and monetary controls that the European Economic and Monetary Union (“EMU”) imposes for membership. Europe’s economies are diverse, its governments are decentralized, and its cultures vary widely. Several EU countries, including Greece, Ireland, Italy, Spain and Portugal have faced budget issues, some of which may have negative long-term effects for the economies of those countries and other EU countries. There is continued concern about national-level support for the euro and the accompanying coordination of fiscal and wage policy among EMU member countries. Member countries are required to maintain tight control over inflation, public debt, and budget deficit to qualify for membership in the EMU. These requirements can severely limit the ability of EMU member countries to implement monetary policy to address regional economic conditions.

In a June 2016 referendum, citizens of the United Kingdom voted to leave the EU. In March 2017, the United Kingdom formally notified the European Council of its intention to withdraw from the EU (commonly known as “Brexit”) by invoking Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union, which triggered a two-year period of negotiations on the terms of Brexit. Brexit has resulted in volatility in European and global markets and may also lead to weakening in political, regulatory, consumer, corporate and financial confidence in the markets of the United Kingdom and throughout Europe. The longer term economic, legal, political, regulatory and social framework to be put in place between the United Kingdom and the EU remains unclear and may lead to ongoing political, regulatory and economic uncertainty and periods of exacerbated volatility in both the United Kingdom and in wider European markets for some time. Additionally, the decision made in the British referendum may lead to a call for similar referenda in other European jurisdictions, which may cause increased economic volatility in European and global markets. The mid-to long-term uncertainty may have an adverse effect on the economy generally and on the value of the Fund’s investments. This may be due to, among other things: fluctuations in asset values and exchange rates; increased illiquidity of investments located, traded or listed within the United Kingdom, the EU or elsewhere; changes in the willingness or ability of counterparties to enter into transactions at the price and terms on which the Fund is prepared to transact; and/or changes in legal and regulatory regimes to which certain of the Fund’s assets are or become subject. Fluctuations in the value of the British Pound and/or the Euro, along with the potential downgrading of the United Kingdom’s sovereign credit rating, may also have an impact on the performance of the Fund’s assets or investments economically tied to the United Kingdom or Europe.

The effects of Brexit will depend, in part, on agreements the United Kingdom negotiates to retain access to EU markets either during a transitional period or more permanently including, but not limited to, current trade and finance agreements. Brexit could lead to legal and tax uncertainty and potentially divergent national laws and regulations as the United Kingdom determines which EU laws to replace or replicate. The extent of the impact of the withdrawal negotiations in the United Kingdom and in global markets as well as any associated adverse consequences remain unclear, and the uncertainty may have a significant negative effect on the value of the Fund’s investments.

The withdrawal agreement between the United Kingdom and the EU, endorsed by the European Council on November 25, 2018, sets out the basis on which the United Kingdom will withdraw from the EU and includes certain transitional provisions which have the effect of preserving the application of European Union law in the United Kingdom until December 2020 (or such other later date as may be agreed). The withdrawal agreement, and the associated transitional provisions, will only become effective once approved by the United Kingdom parliament which approval has not yet happened and may not happen, meaning that the United Kingdom may leave the EU without any transitional period (a so-called “hard Brexit”). On October 28, 2019, the United Kingdom came to an agreement with the EU to delay the deadline for withdrawal. Unless the United Kingdom parliament approves the withdrawal agreement by January 31, 2020, it is expected that there will be a hard Brexit on that date absent any further agreements to delay the withdrawal. Consequently, due to this political uncertainty, it is not possible to anticipate, in the absence of an intervening action, when the United Kingdom will leave the EU and whether such departure will benefit from the terms of the withdrawal agreement and the transitional provisions. In the event of a “hard Brexit,” the relationship between the United Kingdom and the EU would be based on the World Trade Organization rules. While it is not currently possible to determine the extent of the impact a hard Brexit may have on the Fund’s investments, certain measures are being proposed and/or will be introduced, at the EU level or at the member state level, which are designed to minimize disruption in the financial markets. Notwithstanding the foregoing, the prolonged and continued uncertainty of the status of the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the EU could negatively impact current and future economic conditions in the United Kingdom which, in turn, could negatively impact the Fund’s investments.

Other economic challenges facing the region include high levels of public debt, significant rates of unemployment, aging populations, and heavy regulation in certain economic sectors. European policy makers have taken unprecedented steps to respond to the economic crisis and to boost growth in the region, which has increased the risk that regulatory uncertainty could negatively affect the value of the Fund’s investments. Certain countries have applied to become new member countries of the EU, and these candidate countries’ accessions may become more controversial to the existing EU members. Some member states may repudiate certain candidate countries joining the EU upon concerns about the possible economic, immigration and cultural implications. Also, Russia may be opposed to the expansion of the EU to members of the former Soviet bloc and may, at times, take actions that could negatively impact EU economic activity.

 

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Investing in Greater China. Investing in Greater China (Mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan) involves a high degree of risk and special considerations not typically associated with investing in other more established economies or securities markets. Such risks may include: (a) greater social, economic and political uncertainty (including the risk of armed conflict); (b) the risk of nationalization or expropriation of assets or confiscatory taxation; (c) dependency on exports and the corresponding importance of international trade; (d) the imposition of tariffs or other trade barriers by the U.S. or foreign governments on exports from Mainland China; (e) increasing competition from Asia’s other low-cost emerging economies; (f) greater price volatility and smaller market capitalization of securities markets; (g) decreased liquidity, particularly of certain share classes of Chinese securities; (h) currency exchange rate fluctuations (with respect to investments in Mainland China and Taiwan) and the lack of available currency hedging instruments; (i) higher rates of inflation; (j) controls on foreign investment and limitations on repatriation of invested capital and on the Fund’s ability to exchange local currencies for U.S. dollars; (k) greater governmental involvement in and control over the economy; (l) uncertainty regarding the People’s Republic of China’s commitment to economic reforms; (m) the fact that Chinese companies may be smaller, less seasoned and newly-organized companies; (n) the differences in, or lack of, auditing and financial reporting standards which may result in unavailability of material information about issuers; (o) the fact that statistical information regarding the economy of Greater China may be inaccurate or not comparable to statistical information regarding the U.S. or other economies; (p) less extensive, and still developing, legal systems and regulatory frameworks regarding the securities markets, business entities and commercial transactions; (q) the fact that the settlement period of securities transactions in foreign markets may be longer; (r) the fact that it may be more difficult, or impossible, to obtain and/or enforce a judgment than in other countries; and (s) the rapid and erratic nature of growth, particularly in the People’s Republic of China, resulting in inefficiencies and dislocations.

Mainland China. Investments in Mainland China are subject to the risks associated with greater governmental control over the economy, political and legal uncertainties and currency fluctuations or blockage. In particular, the Chinese Communist Party exercises significant control over economic growth in Mainland China through the allocation of resources, controlling payment of foreign currency-denominated obligations, setting monetary policy and providing preferential treatment to particular industries or companies.

Because the local legal system is still developing, it may be more difficult to obtain or enforce judgments with respect to investments in Mainland China. Chinese companies may not be subject to the same disclosure, accounting, auditing and financial reporting standards and practices as U.S. companies. Thus, there may be less information publicly available about Chinese companies than about most U.S. companies. Government supervision and regulation of Chinese stock exchanges, currency markets, trading systems and brokers may be more or less rigorous than that present in the U.S. The procedures and rules governing transactions and custody in Mainland China also may involve delays in payment, delivery or recovery of money or investments. The imposition of tariffs or other trade barriers by the U.S. or other foreign governments on exports from Mainland China may also have an adverse impact on Chinese issuers and China’s economy as a whole.

Foreign investments in Mainland China are somewhat restricted. Securities listed on the Shanghai and Shenzhen Stock Exchanges are divided into two classes of shares: A shares and B Shares. Ownership of A Shares is restricted to Chinese investors, Qualified Foreign Institutional Investors (“QFIIs”) who have obtained a QFII license, and participants in the Shanghai-Hong Kong and Shenzhen-Hong Kong Stock Connect programs (“Stock Connect”). B shares may be owned by Chinese and foreign investors.

As a result of investing in the People’s Republic of China, the Fund may be subject to withholding and various other taxes imposed by the People’s Republic of China. To date, a 10% withholding tax has been levied on cash dividends, distributions and interest payments from companies listed in the People’s Republic of China to foreign investors, unless the withholding tax can be reduced by an applicable income tax treaty.

As of November 17, 2014, foreign mutual funds, which qualify as QFIIs and/or RMB Qualified Foreign Institutional Investors (“RQFIIs”), are temporarily exempt from enterprise income tax on capital gains arising from securities trading in the People’s Republic of China. It is currently unclear when this preferential treatment would end. If the preferential treatment were to end, such capital gains would be subject to a 10% withholding tax in the People’s Republic of China. Meanwhile, the purchase and sale of publicly traded equities by a QFII/RQFII is exempt from value-added tax in the People’s Republic of China.

The tax law and regulations of the People’s Republic of China are constantly changing, and they may be changed with retrospective effect to the advantage or disadvantage of shareholders. The interpretation and applicability of the tax law and regulations by tax authorities may not be as consistent and transparent as those of more developed nations, and may vary from region to region. It should also be noted that any provision for taxation made by the Investment Adviser may be excessive or inadequate to meet final tax liabilities. Consequently, shareholders may be advantaged or disadvantaged depending upon the final tax liabilities, the level of provision and when they subscribed and/or redeemed their shares of the Fund.

Hong Kong. Hong Kong is a Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China. Since Hong Kong reverted to Chinese sovereignty in 1997, it has been governed by the Basic Law, a “quasi-constitution.” The Basic Law guarantees a high degree of autonomy in certain matters, including economic matters, until 2047. Attempts by the government of the People’s Republic of China to exert greater control over Hong Kong’s economic, political or legal structures or its existing social policy, could negatively affect investor confidence in Hong Kong, which in turn could negatively affect markets and business performance.

 

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In addition, the Hong Kong dollar trades within a fixed trading band rate to (or is “pegged” to) the U.S. dollar. This fixed exchange rate has contributed to the growth and stability of the economy, but could be discontinued. It is uncertain what affect any discontinuance of the currency peg and the establishment of an alternative exchange rate system would have on the Hong Kong economy.

Taiwan. The prospect of political reunification of the People’s Republic of China and Taiwan has engendered hostility between the two regions’ governments. This situation poses a significant threat to Taiwan’s economy, as heightened conflict could potentially lead to distortions in Taiwan’s capital accounts and have an adverse impact on the value of investments throughout Greater China.

Investing in India. In addition to the risks listed above under “Foreign Securities” and “Investing in Emerging Countries,” investing in India presents additional risks.

The value of the Fund’s investments in Indian securities may be affected by political and economic developments, changes in government regulation and government intervention, high rates of inflation or interest rates and withholding tax affecting India. The risk of loss may also be increased because there may be less information available about Indian issuers because they are not subject to the extensive accounting, auditing and financial reporting standards and practices which are applicable in the U.S. and other developed countries. There is also a lower level of regulation and monitoring of the Indian securities market and its participants than in other more developed markets.

The laws in India relating to limited liability of corporate shareholders, fiduciary duties of officers and directors, and the bankruptcy of state enterprises are generally less well developed than or different from such laws in the United States. It may be more difficult to obtain or enforce a judgment in the courts in India than it is in the United States. India also has less developed clearance and settlement procedures, and there have been times when settlements have been unable to keep pace with the volume of securities and have been significantly delayed. The Indian stock exchanges have in the past been subject to repeated closure and there can be no certainty that this will not recur. In addition, significant delays are common in registering transfers of securities and the Fund may be unable to sell securities until the registration process is completed and may experience delays in receipt of dividends and other entitlements.

Foreign investment in the securities of issuers in India is usually restricted or controlled to some degree. In India, “foreign portfolio investors” (“FPIs”) may predominately invest in exchange-traded securities (and securities to be listed, or those approved on the over-the-counter exchange of India) subject to the conditions specified in certain guidelines for direct foreign investment. FPIs have to apply for registration with a designated depository participant in India on behalf the Securities and Exchange Board of India (“SEBI”). The Fund’s continued ability to invest in India is dependent on its continuing to meet current and future requirements placed on FPIs by SEBI regulations. If the Fund were to fail to meet applicable requirements in the future, the Fund would no longer be permitted to invest directly in Indian securities, may not be able to pursue its principal strategy and may be forced to liquidate. FPIs are required to observe certain investment restrictions, including an account ownership ceiling of 10% of the total issued share capital of any one company. The shareholdings of all registered FPIs, together with the shareholdings of non-resident Indian individuals and foreign corporate bodies substantially owned by non-resident Indians, may not exceed a specified percentage of the issued share capital of any one company (subject to that company’s approval). Only registered FPIs that comply with certain statutory conditions may make direct portfolio investments in exchange-traded Indian securities. Under the current guidelines, income, gains and initial capital with respect to such investments are freely repatriable, subject to payment of applicable Indian taxes. However, the guidelines covering foreign investment are relatively new and evolving and there can be no assurance that these investment control regimes will not change in a way that makes it more difficult or impossible for the Fund to implement its investment objective or repatriate its income, gains and initial capital from India. Further, SEBI has recently, in September 2019, notified new regulations governing FPIs which among other amend the categories of FPIs, and issued operational guidelines which lay down the process to implement the new regulations. There can be no assurance that the Fund will continue to qualify for its FPI license. Loss of the FPI registration could adversely impact the ability of the Fund to make investments in India.

With effect from April 1, 2018, a tax of 10% plus surcharges is imposed on gains from sales of equities held more than one year, provided such securities were both acquired and sold on a recognized stock exchange in India. For shares acquired prior to February 1, 2018, a step-up in the cost of acquisition may be available in certain circumstances. A tax of 15% plus surcharges is currently imposed on gains from sales of equities held not more than one year and sold on a recognized stock exchange in India. Gains from sales of equity securities in other cases are taxed at a rate of 30% plus surcharges (for securities held not more than one year) and 10% (for securities held for more than one year). Securities transaction tax applies for specified transactions at specified rates. India generally imposes a tax on interest income on debt securities at a rate of 20% plus surcharges. In certain cases, the tax rate may be reduced to 5%. This tax is imposed on the investor. India imposes a tax on dividends paid by an Indian company at a rate of 15% plus surcharges (on a gross up basis). This tax is imposed on the company that pays the dividends. The Investment Adviser will take into account the effects of local taxation on investment returns. In the past, these taxes have sometimes been substantial.

The Indian population is composed of diverse religious, linguistic and ethnic groups. Religious and border disputes continue to pose problems for India. From time to time, India has experienced internal disputes between religious groups within the country. In addition, India has faced, and continues to face, military hostilities with neighboring countries and regional countries. These events could adversely influence the Indian economy and, as a result, negatively affect the Fund’s investments.

Investing in Indonesia. Indonesia has experienced currency devaluations, substantial rates of inflation, widespread corruption and economic recessions. The Indonesian government may exercise substantial influence over many aspects of the private sector and may own or control many companies. Indonesia’s securities laws are unsettled and judicial enforcement of contracts with foreign entities is inconsistent, often as a result of pervasive corruption. Indonesia has a history of political and military unrest including acts of terrorism, outbreaks of violence and civil unrest due to territorial disputes, historical animosities and domestic ethnic and religious conflicts.

 

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The Indonesian securities market is an emerging market characterized by a small number of company listings, high price volatility and a relatively illiquid secondary trading environment. These factors, coupled with restrictions on investment by foreigners and other factors, limit the supply of securities available for investment by the Fund. This will affect the rate at which the Fund is able to invest in Indonesian securities, the purchase and sale prices for such securities and the timing of purchases and sales. The limited liquidity of the Indonesian securities markets may also affect the Fund’s ability to acquire or dispose of securities at a price and time that it wishes to do so. Accordingly, in periods of rising market prices, the Fund may be unable to participate in such price increases fully to the extent that it is unable to acquire desired portfolio positions quickly; conversely the Fund’s inability to dispose fully and promptly of positions in declining markets will cause its net asset value to decline as the value of unsold positions is marked to lower prices.

The market for Indonesian securities is directly influenced by the flow of international capital, and economic and market conditions of certain countries. Adverse economic conditions or developments in other emerging market countries, especially in the Southeast Asia region, have at times significantly affected the availability of credit in the Indonesian economy and resulted in considerable outflows of funds and declines in the amount of foreign currency invested in Indonesia. Adverse conditions or changes in relationships with Indonesia’s major trading partners, including Japan, China, and the U.S., may also significantly impact on the Indonesian economy.

Indonesia is located in a part of the world that has historically been prone to natural disasters such as tsunamis, earthquakes, volcanoes, and typhoons, and is economically sensitive to environmental events. Any such event could result in a significant adverse impact on Indonesia’s economy.

Investing in Japan. Japan’s economy is heavily dependent upon international trade and is especially sensitive to any adverse effects arising from trade tariffs and other protectionist measures, as well as the economic condition of its trading partners. Japan’s high volume of exports has caused trade tensions with Japan’s primary trading partners, particularly with the United States. The relaxing of official and de facto barriers to imports, or hardships created by the actions of trading partners, could adversely affect Japan’s economy. Because the Japanese economy is so dependent on exports, any fall-off in exports may be seen as a sign of economic weakness, which may adversely affect Japanese markets.

In addition, Japan’s export industry, its most important economic sector, depends heavily on imported raw materials and fuels, including iron ore, copper, oil and many forest products. Japan has historically depended on oil for most of its energy requirements. Almost all of its oil is imported, the majority from the Middle East. In the past, oil prices have had a major impact on the domestic economy, but more recently Japan has worked to reduce its dependence on oil by encouraging energy conservation and use of alternative fuels. However, Japan remains sensitive to fluctuations in commodity prices, and a substantial rise in world oil or commodity prices could have a negative effect on its economy.

The Japanese yen has fluctuated widely during recent periods and may be affected by currency volatility elsewhere in Asia, especially Southeast Asia. In addition, the yen has had a history of unpredictable and volatile movements against the U.S. dollar. A weak yen is disadvantageous to U.S. shareholders investing in yen-denominated securities. A strong yen, however, could be an impediment to strong continued exports and economic recovery, because it makes Japanese goods sold in other countries more expensive and reduces the value of foreign earnings repatriated to Japan.

The performance of the global economy could have a major impact upon equity returns in Japan. As a result of the strong correlation with the economy of the U.S., Japan’s economy and its stock market are vulnerable to any unfavorable economic conditions in the U.S. and poor performance of U.S. stock markets. The growing economic relationship between Japan and its other neighboring countries in the Southeast Asia region, especially China, also exposes Japan’s economy to changes to the economic climates in those countries.

Like many developed countries, Japan faces challenges to its competitiveness. Growth slowed markedly in the 1990s and Japan’s economy fell into a long recession. After a few years of mild recovery in the mid-2000s, the Japanese economy fell into another recession in part due to the recent global economic crisis. This economic recession was likely compounded by an unstable financial sector, low domestic consumption, and certain corporate structural weaknesses, which remain some of the major issues facing the Japanese economy. Japan is reforming its political process and deregulating its economy to address this situation. However, there is no guarantee that these efforts will succeed in making the performance of the Japanese economy more competitive.

Japan has experienced natural disasters, such as earthquakes and tidal waves, of varying degrees of severity. The risks of such phenomena, and the resulting damage, continue to exist and could have a severe and negative impact on the Fund’s holdings in Japanese securities. Japan also has one of the world’s highest population densities. A significant percentage of the total population of Japan is concentrated in the metropolitan areas of Tokyo, Osaka, and Nagoya. Therefore, a natural disaster centered in or very near to one of these cities could have a particularly devastating effect on Japan’s financial markets. Japan’s recovery from the recession has been affected by economic distress resulting from the earthquake and resulting tsunami that struck northeastern Japan in March 2011 causing

 

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major damage along the coast, including damage to nuclear power plants in the region. Since the earthquake, Japan’s financial markets have fluctuated dramatically. The disaster caused large personal losses, reduced energy supplies, disrupted manufacturing, resulted in significant declines in stock market prices and resulted in an appreciable decline in Japan’s economic output. Although production levels are recovering in some industries as work is shifted to factories in areas not directly affected by the disaster, the timing of a full economic recovery is uncertain, and foreign business whose supply chains are dependent on production or manufacturing in Japan may decrease their reliance on Japanese industries in the future.

Investing in Mexico. Since the period of economic turmoil surrounding the devaluation of the peso in 1994, which triggered the worst recession in over 50 years, Mexico has experienced a period of general economic recovery. Economic and social concerns persist, however, with respect to low real wages, underemployment for a large segment of the population, inequitable income distribution and few advancement opportunities for the large impoverished population in the southern states. Mexico also has a history of high inflation and substantial devaluations of the peso, causing currency instabilities. These economic and political issues have caused volatility in the Mexican securities markets.

Mexico’s free market economy contains a mixture of modern and outmoded industry and agriculture, increasingly dominated by the private sector. Recent administrations have begun a process of privatization of certain entities and industries including seaports, railroads, telecommunications, electricity generation, natural gas distribution and airports. In some instances, however, newly privatized entities have suffered losses due to an inability to adjust quickly to a competitive environment or to changing regulatory and legal standards.

The Mexican economy is heavily dependent on trade with, and foreign investment from, the U.S. and Canada, which are Mexico’s principal trading partners. Any changes in the supply, demand, price or other economic components of Mexico’s imports or exports, as well as any reductions in foreign investment from, or changes in the economies of, the U.S. or Canada, may have an adverse impact on the Mexican economy. Mexico and the U.S. entered into the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in 1994 as well as a second treaty, the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America, in 2005. These treaties may impact the trading relationship between Mexico and the U.S. and further Mexico’s dependency on the U.S. economy. On November 30, 2018, the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, the successor to NAFTA, was signed and must now be ratified by all three countries.

Mexico is subject to social and political instability as a result of a recent rise in criminal activity, including violent crimes and terrorist actions committed by certain political and drug trade organizations. A general escalation of violent crime has led to uncertainty in the Mexican market and adversely affected the performance of the Mexican economy. Violence near border areas, as well as border-related political disputes, may lead to strained international relations.

Recent elections have been contentious and closely-decided, and changes in political parties or other political events may affect the economy and cause instability. Corruption remains widespread in Mexican institutions and infrastructure is underdeveloped. Mexico has historically been prone to natural disasters such as tsunamis, volcanoes, hurricanes and destructive earthquakes, which may adversely impact its economy.

Investing in Nigeria. Nigeria is endowed with vast resources of oil and gas, which provide strong potential for economic growth. However, dependence on oil revenues leaves Nigeria vulnerable to volatility in world oil prices and dependent on international trade. In addition, Nigeria suffers from poverty, marginalization of key regions, and ethnic and religious divides. Under-investment and corruption have slowed infrastructure development, leading to major electricity shortages, among other things. Electricity shortages have led many businesses to make costly private arrangements for generation of power. Excessive regulation, an unreliable justice system, government corruption, and high inflation are other risks faced by Nigerian companies.

Because Nigeria is heavily dependent upon international trade, its economy would be negatively affected by any trade barriers, exchange controls (including repatriation restrictions), managed adjustments in relative currency values or other protectionist measures imposed or negotiated by the countries with which it trades. Nigeria has imposed capital controls to varying degrees in the past, which may make it difficult for the Fund to invest in companies in Nigeria or repatriate investment income, capital or the proceeds of securities sales from Nigeria. The Fund could be adversely affected by delays in, or a refusal to grant, any required governmental approval for such repatriation. The Nigerian economy may also be adversely affected by economic conditions in the countries with which it trades.

Militancy in the Niger Delta region, which has had a significant impact on crude oil production in recent years, has subsided following a government amnesty initiative in 2009. However, political activism and violence in the Delta region, as well as religious riots in the north, continue to have an effect on the Nigerian economy. Religious tension, often fueled by politicians, may increase in the near future, especially as other African countries are experiencing similar religious and political discontent.

 

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Nigeria is also subject to the risks of investing in African countries generally. Many African countries historically have suffered from political, economic, and social instability. Political risks may include substantial government control over the private sector, corrupt leaders, expropriation and/or nationalization of assets, restrictions on and government intervention in international trade, confiscatory taxation, civil unrest, social instability as a result of religious, ethnic and/or socioeconomic unrest, suppression of opposition parties or fixed elections, terrorism, coups, and war. Certain African markets may face a higher concentration of market capitalization, greater illiquidity and greater price volatility than that found in more developed markets of Western Europe or the United States. Certain governments in Africa restrict or control to varying degrees the ability of foreign investors to invest in securities of issuers located or operating in those countries. Securities laws in many countries in Africa are relatively new and unsettled and, consequently, there is a risk of rapid and unpredictable change in laws regarding foreign investment, securities regulation, title to securities and shareholder rights. Accordingly, foreign investors may be adversely affected by new or amended laws and regulations.

Investing in Other N-11 Countries. In addition to the risks listed above under “Foreign Securities” and “Investing in Emerging Countries,” investments in N-11 countries present additional risks. The “N-11 countries” are countries that have been identified by the Goldman Sachs Global Economics, Commodities, and Strategy Research Team as the “Next Eleven” emerging countries (i.e., after Brazil, Russia, India and China) that share the potential to experience high economic growth and be important contributors to global gross domestic product (“GDP”) in the future. The N-11 countries are Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, South Korea, Turkey and Vietnam. The Fund will not invest in issuers organized under the laws of Iran, or domiciled in Iran, or in certain other issuers as necessary to comply with U.S. economic sanctions against Iran.

Investing in Pakistan. The Pakistani population is comprised of diverse religious, linguistic and ethnic groups which may sometimes be resistant to the central government’s control. Acts of terrorism and armed clashes between Pakistani troops, local tribesmen, the Taliban and foreign extremists have resulted in population displacement and civil unrest. Pakistan, a nuclear power, also has a history of hostility with neighboring countries, most notably with India, also a nuclear power. These hostilities sometimes result in armed conflict and acts of terrorism. Even in the absence of armed conflict, the potential threat of war with India may depress economic growth in Pakistan. Further, Pakistan’s geographic location between Afghanistan and Iran increases the risk that it may be involved in or affected by international conflicts. Pakistan’s economic growth is due in large part to high levels of foreign aid, loans and debt forgiveness. However, this support may be reduced or terminated in response to a change in the political leadership of Pakistan. Unanticipated political or social developments may affect the value of the Fund’s investments and the availability to the Fund of additional investments.

Pakistan’s economy is heavily dependent on exports. Pakistan’s key trading and foreign investment partner is the United States. Reduction in spending on Pakistani products and services, or changes in the U.S. economy, foreign policy, trade regulation or currency exchange rate may adversely impact the Pakistani economy.

The stock markets in the region are undergoing a period of growth and change, which may result in trading or price volatility and difficulties in the settlement and recording of transactions, and in interpreting and applying the relevant laws and regulations. The securities industries in Pakistan are comparatively underdeveloped. The Fund may be unable to sell securities where the registration process is incomplete and may experience delays in receipt of dividends. If trading volume is limited by operational difficulties, the ability of the Fund to invest its assets in Pakistan may be impaired. Settlement of securities transactions in Pakistan are subject to risk of loss, may be delayed and are generally less frequent than in the United States, which could affect the liquidity of the Fund’s assets. In addition, disruptions due to work stoppages and trading improprieties in these securities markets have caused such markets to close. If extended closings were to occur in stock markets where the Fund was heavily invested, the Fund’s ability to redeem Fund shares could become correspondingly impaired.

Pakistan is located in a part of the world that has historically been prone to natural disasters including floods and earthquakes and is economically sensitive to environmental events. Any such event could result in a significant adverse impact on Pakistan’s economy.

Investing in the Philippines. Investments in the Philippines may be negatively affected by slow or negative growth rates and economic instability in the Philippines and in Asia. The Philippines’ economy is heavily dependent on exports, particularly electronics and semiconductors. The Philippines’ reliance on these sectors makes it vulnerable to economic declines in the information technology sector. In addition, the Philippines’ dependence on exports ties the growth of its economy to those of its key trading partners, including the U.S., China, Japan and Singapore. Reduction in spending on products and services from the Philippines, or changes in trade regulations or currency exchange rates in any of these countries, may adversely impact the Philippine economy.

In the past, the Philippines has experienced periods of slow or negative growth, high inflation, significant devaluation of the peso, imposition of exchange controls, debt restructuring and electricity shortages and blackouts. From mid-1997 to 1999, the Asian economic crisis adversely affected the Philippine economy and caused a significant depreciation of the Peso and increases in interest rates. These factors had a material adverse impact on the ability of many Philippine companies to meet their debt-servicing obligations. While the Philippines has recovered from the Asian economic crisis, it continues to face a significant budget deficit, limited foreign currency reserves and a volatile Peso exchange rate.

 

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Political concerns, including uncertainties over the economic policies of the Philippine government, the large budget deficit and unsettled political conditions, could materially affect the financial and economic conditions of Philippine companies in which the Fund may invest. The Philippines has experienced a high level of debt and public spending, which may stifle economic growth or contribute to prolonged periods of recession. Investments in Philippine companies will also subject the Fund to risks associated with government corruption, including lack of transparency and contradictions in regulations, appropriation of assets, graft, excessive and/or unpredictable taxation, and an unreliable judicial system.

The Philippines has historically been prone to incidents of political and religious related violence and terrorism, and may continue to experience this in the future.

The Philippines is located in a part of the world that has historically been prone to natural disasters such as tsunamis, earthquakes, volcanoes, and typhoons and is economically sensitive to environmental events. Any such event could result in a significant adverse impact on the Philippines’ economy.

Investing in Russia. In addition to the risks listed above under “Foreign Securities” and “Investing in Emerging Countries,” investing in Russia presents additional risks. Investing in Russian securities is highly speculative and involves significant risks and special considerations not typically associated with investing in the securities markets of the U.S. and most other developed countries. Over the past century, Russia has experienced political, social and economic turbulence and has endured decades of communist rule under which tens of millions of its citizens were collectivized into state agricultural and industrial enterprises. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia’s government has been faced with the daunting task of stabilizing its domestic economy, while transforming it into a modern and efficient structure able to compete in international markets and respond to the needs of its citizens. However, to date, many of the country’s economic reform initiatives have floundered as the proceeds of International Monetary Fund and other economic assistance have been squandered or stolen. In this environment, there is always the risk that the nation’s government will abandon the current program of economic reform and replace it with radically different political and economic policies that would be detrimental to the interests of foreign investors. This could entail a return to a centrally planned economy and nationalization of private enterprises similar to what existed under the old Soviet Union.

Poor accounting standards, inept management, pervasive corruption, insider trading and crime, and inadequate regulatory protection for the rights of investors all pose a significant risk, particularly to foreign investors. In addition, there is the risk that the Russian tax system will not be reformed to prevent inconsistent, retroactive, and/or exorbitant taxation, or, in the alternative, the risk that a reformed tax system may result in the inconsistent and unpredictable enforcement of the new tax laws.

Compared to most national stock markets, the Russian securities market suffers from a variety of problems not encountered in more developed markets. There is little long-term historical data on the Russian securities market because it is relatively new and a substantial proportion of securities transactions in Russia are privately negotiated outside of stock exchanges. The inexperience of the Russian securities market and the limited volume of trading in securities in the market may make obtaining accurate prices on portfolio securities from independent sources more difficult than in more developed markets. Additionally, because of less stringent auditing and financial reporting standards that apply to U.S. companies, there is little solid corporate information available to investors. As a result, it may be difficult to assess the value or prospects of an investment in Russian companies. Stocks of Russian companies also may experience greater price volatility than stocks of U.S. companies.

Because of the relatively recent formation of the Russian securities market as well as the underdeveloped state of the banking and telecommunications systems, settlement, clearing and registration of securities transactions are subject to significant risks. Prior to 2013, there was no central registration system for share registration in Russia and registration was carried out by the companies themselves or by registrars located throughout Russia. These registrars were not necessarily subject to effective state supervision nor were they licensed with any governmental entity. In 2013, Russia implemented the National Settlement Depository (NSD) as a recognized central securities depository (CSD). Title to Russian equities is now based on the records of the NSD rather than the registrars. The implementation of the NSD is expected to enhance the efficiency and transparency of the Russian securities market and decrease risk of loss in connection with recording and transferring title to securities. The Fund also may experience difficulty in obtaining and/or enforcing judgments in Russia.

The Russian economy is heavily dependent upon the export of a range of commodities including most industrial metals, forestry products, oil, and gas. Accordingly, it is strongly affected by international commodity prices and is particularly vulnerable to any weakening in global demand for these products.

Foreign investors also face a high degree of currency risk when investing in Russian securities and a lack of available currency hedging instruments. In a surprise move in August 1998, Russia devalued the ruble, defaulted on short-term domestic bonds, and imposed a moratorium on the repayment of its international debt and the restructuring of the repayment terms. These actions negatively affected Russian borrowers’ ability to access international capital markets and had a damaging impact on the Russian economy. In addition, there is the risk that the government may impose capital controls on foreign portfolio investments in the event of extreme financial or political crisis. Such capital controls would prevent the sale of a portfolio of foreign assets and the repatriation of investment income and capital.

 

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Russia’s government has begun to take bolder steps, including use of the military, to re-assert its regional geo-political influence. These steps may increase tensions between its neighbors and Western countries, which may adversely affect its economic growth. These developments may continue for some time and create uncertainty in the region. Russia’s actions have induced the United States and other countries to impose economic sanctions and may result in additional sanctions in the future. Such sanctions, which impact many sectors of the Russian economy, may cause a decline in the value and liquidity of Russian securities and adversely affect the performance of the Fund or make it difficult for the Fund to achieve its investment objectives. In certain instances, sanctions could prohibit the Fund from buying or selling Russian securities, rendering any such securities held by the Fund unmarketable for an indefinite period of time. In addition, such sanctions, and the Russian government’s response, could result in a downgrade in Russia’s credit rating, devaluation of its currency and/or increased volatility with respect to Russian securities.

Investing in Turkey. Certain political, economic, legal and currency risks have contributed to a high level of price volatility in the Turkish equity and currency markets. Turkey has experienced periods of substantial inflation, currency devaluations and severe economic recessions, any of which may have a negative effect on the Turkish economy and securities market. Turkey has also experienced a high level of debt and public spending, which may stifle Turkish economic growth, contribute to prolonged periods of recession or lower Turkey’s sovereign debt rating.

Turkey has begun a process of privatization of certain entities and industries. In some instances, however, newly privatized entities have suffered losses due to an inability to adjust quickly to a competitive environment or to changing regulatory and legal standards. Privatized industries also run the risk of re-nationalization.

Historically, Turkey’s national politics have been unpredictable and subject to influence by the military, and its government may be subject to sudden change. Disparities of wealth, the pace and success of democratization and capital market development and religious and racial disaffection have also led to social and political unrest. Unanticipated or sudden political or social developments may result in sudden and significant investment losses.

Investing in Vietnam. While Vietnam has been experiencing a period of rapid economic growth, the country remains relatively poor, with under-developed infrastructure and a lack of sophisticated or high tech industries. Risks of investing in Vietnam include, among others, expropriation and/or nationalization of assets, political instability, including authoritarian and/or military involvement in governmental decision-making, and social instability as a result of religious, ethnic and/or socioeconomic unrest.

Vietnam has at times experienced a high inflation rate, at least partially as a result of the country’s large trade deficit. The inflation rate could return to a high level and economic stability could be threatened.

Vietnam may be heavily dependent upon international trade and, consequently, may have been and may continue to be, negatively affected by trade barriers, exchange controls, managed adjustments in relative currency values and other protectionist measures imposed or negotiated by the countries with which it trades. The economy of Vietnam also has been and may continue to be adversely affected by economic conditions in the countries with which it trades.

The Vietnamese economy also has suffered from excessive intervention by the Communist government. Many companies listed on the exchanges are still partly state-owned and have a degree of state influence in their operations. The government of Vietnam continues to hold a large share of the equity in privatized enterprises. State owned and operated companies tend to be less efficient than privately owned companies, due to lack of market competition.

The government of Vietnam may restrict or control to varying degrees the ability of foreign investors to invest in securities of issuers operating in Vietnam. These restrictions and/or controls may at times limit or prevent foreign investment in securities of issuers located in Vietnam. Moreover, governmental approval prior to investments by foreign investors may be required in Vietnam and may limit the amount of investments by foreign investors in a particular industry and/or issuer and may limit such foreign investment to a certain class of securities of an issuer that may have less advantageous rights than the classes available for purchase by domiciliaries of Vietnam and/or impose additional taxes on foreign investors. These factors make investing in issuers located in Vietnam significantly riskier than investing in issuers located in more developed countries, and could a cause a decline in the value of the Fund’s shares. In addition, the government of Vietnam may levy withholding or other taxes on dividend and interest income. Although a portion of these taxes may be recoverable, any non-recovered portion of foreign withholding taxes will reduce the income received from investments in such countries.

Investment in Vietnam may be subject to a greater degree of risk associated with governmental approval in connection with the repatriation of capital by foreign investors. In addition, there is the risk that if Vietnam’s balance of payments declines, Vietnam may impose temporary restrictions on foreign capital remittances. Consequently, the Fund could be adversely affected by delays in, or a refusal to grant, any required governmental approval for repatriation of capital, as well as by the application to the Fund of any restrictions on investments. Additionally, investments in Vietnam may require the Fund to adopt special procedures, seek local government approvals or take other actions, each of which may involve additional costs to the Fund.

 

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Current investment regulations in Vietnam require the Fund to execute trades of securities of Vietnamese companies through a single broker. As a result, the Adviser will have less flexibility to choose among brokers on behalf of the Fund than is typically the case for investment managers. In addition, because the process of purchasing securities in Vietnam requires that payment to the local broker occur prior to receipt of securities, failure of the broker to deliver the securities will adversely affect the applicable Fund.

Vietnam is also subject to certain environmental risks, including typhoons and floods, as well as rapid environmental degradation due to industrialization and lack of regulation.

Forward Foreign Currency Exchange Contracts.

The Fund may, to the extent consistent with its investment policies, enter into forward foreign currency exchange contracts for both hedging and non-hedging purposes and to seek to protect against anticipated changes in future foreign currency exchange rates. A forward foreign currency exchange contract involves an obligation to purchase or sell a specific currency at a future date, which may be any fixed number of days from the date of the contract agreed upon by the parties, at a price set at the time of the contract. These contracts are traded in the interbank market between currency traders (usually large commercial banks) and their customers. A forward contract generally has no deposit requirement, and no commissions are generally charged at any stage for trades.

At the maturity of a forward contract the Fund may either accept or make delivery of the currency specified in the contract or, at or prior to maturity, enter into a closing purchase transaction involving the purchase or sale of an offsetting contract. Closing purchase transactions with respect to forward contracts are often, but not always, effected with the currency trader who is a party to the original forward contract.

The Fund may, from time to time, engage in non-deliverable forward transactions to manage currency risk or to gain exposure to a currency without purchasing securities denominated in that currency. A non-deliverable forward is a transaction that represents an agreement between the Fund and a counterparty (usually a commercial bank) to pay the other party the amount that it would have cost based on current market rates as of the termination date to buy or sell a specified (notional) amount of a particular currency at an agreed upon foreign exchange rate on an agreed upon future date. If the counterparty defaults, the Fund will have contractual remedies pursuant to the agreement related to the transaction, but the Fund may be delayed or prevented from obtaining payments owed to it pursuant to non-deliverable forward transactions. Such non-deliverable forward transactions will be settled in cash.

The Fund may enter into forward foreign currency exchange contracts in several circumstances. First, when the Fund enters into a contract for the purchase or sale of a security denominated or quoted in a foreign currency, or when the Fund anticipates the receipt in a foreign currency of dividend or interest payments on such a security which it holds, the Fund may desire to “lock in” the U.S. dollar price of the security or the U.S. dollar equivalent of such dividend or interest payment, as the case may be. By entering into a forward contract for the purchase or sale, for a fixed amount of dollars, of the amount of foreign currency involved in the underlying transactions, the Fund will attempt to protect itself against an adverse change in the relationship between the U.S. dollar and the subject foreign currency during the period between the date on which the security is purchased or sold, or on which the dividend or interest payment is declared, and the date on which such payments are made or received.

Additionally, when the Investment Adviser believes that the currency of a particular foreign country may suffer a substantial decline against the U.S. dollar, it may enter into a forward contract to sell, for a fixed amount of U.S. dollars, the amount of foreign currency approximating the value of some or all of the Fund’s portfolio securities quoted or denominated in such foreign currency. The precise matching of the forward contract amounts and the value of the securities involved will not generally be possible because the future value of such securities in foreign currencies will change as a consequence of market movements in the value of those securities between the date on which the contract is entered into and the date it matures. Using forward contracts to protect the value of the Fund’s portfolio securities against a decline in the value of a currency does not eliminate fluctuations in the underlying prices of the securities. It simply establishes a rate of exchange, which the Fund can achieve at some future point in time. The precise projection of short-term currency market movements is not possible, and short-term hedging provides a means of fixing the U.S. dollar value of only a portion of the Fund’s foreign assets.

The Fund may engage in cross-hedging by using forward contracts in one currency to hedge against fluctuations in the value of securities quoted or denominated in a different currency. In addition, the Fund may enter into foreign currency transactions to seek a closer correlation between the Fund’s overall currency exposure and the currency exposure of the Fund’s performance benchmark.

The Fund is not required to post cash collateral with its non-U.S. counterparties in certain foreign currency transactions. Accordingly, the Fund may remain more fully invested (and more of the Fund’s assets may be subject to investment and market risk) than if it were required to post collateral with its counterparties (which is the case with U.S. counterparties). Because the Fund’s non-U.S. counterparties are not required to post cash collateral with the Fund, the Fund will be subject to additional counterparty risk.

 

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While the Fund may enter into forward contracts to seek to reduce currency exchange rate risks, transactions in such contracts involve certain other risks. Thus, while the Fund may benefit from such transactions, unanticipated changes in currency prices may result in a poorer overall performance for the Fund than if it had not engaged in any such transactions. Moreover, there may be imperfect correlation between the Fund’s portfolio holdings of securities quoted or denominated in a particular currency and forward contracts entered into by the Fund. Such imperfect correlation may cause the Fund to sustain losses which will prevent the Fund from achieving a complete hedge or expose the Fund to risk of foreign exchange loss.

Certain forward foreign currency exchange contracts and other currency transactions are not exchange traded or cleared. Markets for trading such foreign forward currency contracts offer less protection against defaults than is available when trading in currency instruments on an exchange. Such forward contracts are subject to the risk that the counterparty to the contract will default on its obligations. Since these contracts are not guaranteed by an exchange or clearinghouse, a default on a contract would deprive the Fund of unrealized profits, transaction costs or the benefits of a currency hedge or force the Fund to cover its purchase or sale commitments, if any, at the current market price. In addition, the institutions that deal in forward currency contracts are not required to continue to make markets in the currencies they trade and these markets can experience periods of illiquidity. To the extent that a portion of the Fund’s total assets, adjusted to reflect the Fund’s net position after giving effect to currency transactions, is denominated or quoted in the currencies of foreign countries, the Fund will be more susceptible to the risk of adverse economic and political developments within those countries.

These and other factors discussed in the section below, entitled “Illiquid Investments,” may impact the liquidity of investments in issuers of emerging country securities.

Futures Contracts and Options on Futures Contracts

The Fund may purchase and sell futures contracts and may also purchase and write call and put options on futures contracts. The Fund may purchase and sell futures contracts based on various securities, securities indices, foreign currencies and other financial instruments and indices. Financial futures contracts used by the Fund include interest rate futures contracts including, among others, Eurodollar futures contracts. Eurodollar futures contracts are U.S. dollar-denominated futures contracts that are based on the implied forward London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”) of a three-month deposit. The Fund will engage in futures and related options transactions in order to seek to increase total return or to hedge against changes in interest rates, securities prices or, to the extent the Fund invests in foreign securities, currency exchange rates, or to otherwise manage its term structure, sector selection and duration in accordance with its investment objective and policies. The Fund may also enter into closing purchase and sale transactions with respect to such contracts and options.

Futures contracts utilized by mutual funds have historically been traded on U.S. exchanges or boards of trade that are licensed and regulated by the CFTC or with respect to certain funds on foreign exchanges. More recently, certain futures may also be traded either over-the-counter or on trading facilities such as derivatives transaction execution facilities, exempt boards of trade or electronic trading facilities that are licensed and/or regulated to varying degrees by the CFTC. Also, certain single stock futures and narrow based security index futures may be traded either over-the-counter or on trading facilities such as contract markets, derivatives transaction execution facilities and electronic trading facilities that are licensed and/or regulated to varying degrees by both the CFTC and the SEC or on foreign exchanges.

Neither the CFTC, National Futures Association (“NFA”), SEC nor any domestic exchange regulates activities of any foreign exchange or boards of trade, including the execution, delivery and clearing of transactions, or has the power to compel enforcement of the rules of a foreign exchange or board of trade or any applicable foreign law. This is true even if the exchange is formally linked to a domestic market so that a position taken on the market may be liquidated by a transaction on another market. Moreover, such laws or regulations will vary depending on the foreign country in which the foreign futures or foreign options transaction occurs. For these reasons, the Fund’s investments in foreign futures or foreign options transactions may not be provided the same protections in respect of transactions on United States exchanges. In particular, persons who trade foreign futures or foreign options contracts may not be afforded certain of the protective measures provided by the CEA, the CFTC’s regulations and the rules of the NFA and any domestic exchange, including the right to use reparations proceedings before the CFTC and arbitration proceedings provided by the NFA or any domestic futures exchange. Similarly, those persons may not have the protection of the United States securities laws.

Futures Contracts. A futures contract may generally be described as an agreement between two parties to buy and sell particular financial instruments or currencies for an agreed price during a designated month (or to deliver the final cash settlement price, in the case of a contract relating to an index or otherwise not calling for physical delivery at the end of trading in the contract).

 

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When interest rates are rising or securities prices are falling, the Fund can seek through the sale of futures contracts to offset a decline in the value of its current portfolio securities. When interest rates are falling or securities prices are rising, the Fund, through the purchase of futures contracts, can attempt to secure better rates or prices than might later be available in the market when it effects anticipated purchases. Similarly, the Fund can purchase and sell futures contracts on a specified currency in order to seek to increase total return or to protect against changes in currency exchange rates. For example, the Fund may seek to offset anticipated changes in the value of a currency in which its portfolio securities, or securities that it intends to purchase, are quoted or denominated by purchasing and selling futures contracts on such currencies. As another example, the Fund may enter into futures transactions to seek a closer correlation between the Fund’s overall currency exposures and the currency exposures of the Fund’s performance benchmark.

Positions taken in the futures market are not normally held to maturity, but are instead liquidated through offsetting transactions which may result in a profit or a loss. While the Fund will usually liquidate futures contracts on securities or currency in this manner, the Fund may instead make or take delivery of the underlying securities or currency whenever it appears economically advantageous for the Fund to do so. A clearing corporation associated with the exchange on which futures on securities or currency are traded guarantees that, if still open, the sale or purchase will be performed on the settlement date.

Hedging Strategies Using Futures Contracts. Hedging, by use of futures contracts, seeks to establish with more certainty than would otherwise be possible the effective price, rate of return or currency exchange rate on portfolio securities or securities that the Fund owns or proposes to acquire. The Fund may, for example, take a “short” position in the futures market by selling futures contracts to seek to hedge against an anticipated rise in interest rates or a decline in market prices or foreign currency rates that would adversely affect the dollar value of the Fund’s portfolio securities. Similarly, the Fund may sell futures contracts on a currency in which its portfolio securities are quoted or denominated, or sell futures contracts on one currency to seek to hedge against fluctuations in the value of securities quoted or denominated in a different currency if there is an established historical pattern of correlation between the two currencies. If, in the opinion of the Investment Adviser, there is a sufficient degree of correlation between price trends for the Fund’s portfolio securities and futures contracts based on other financial instruments, securities indices or other indices, the Fund may also enter into such futures contracts as part of a hedging strategy. Although under some circumstances prices of securities in the Fund’s portfolio may be more or less volatile than prices of such futures contracts, the Investment Adviser may attempt to estimate the extent of this volatility difference based on historical patterns and compensate for any such differential by having the Fund enter into a greater or lesser number of futures contracts or by attempting to achieve only a partial hedge against price changes affecting the Fund’s portfolio securities. When hedging of this character is successful, any depreciation in the value of portfolio securities will be substantially offset by appreciation in the value of the futures position. On the other hand, any unanticipated appreciation in the value of the Fund’s portfolio securities would be substantially offset by a decline in the value of the futures position.

On other occasions, the Fund may take a “long” position by purchasing such futures contracts. This may be done, for example, when the Fund anticipates the subsequent purchase of particular securities when it has the necessary cash, but expects the prices or currency exchange rates then available in the applicable market to be less favorable than prices or rates that are currently available.

Options on Futures Contracts. The acquisition of put and call options on futures contracts will give the Fund the right (but not the obligation), for a specified price, to sell or to purchase, respectively, the underlying futures contract at any time during the option period. As the purchaser of an option on a futures contract, the Fund obtains the benefit of the futures position if prices move in a favorable direction but limits its risk of loss in the event of an unfavorable price movement to the loss of the premium and transaction costs.

The writing of a call option on a futures contract generates a premium which may partially offset a decline in the value of the Fund’s assets. By writing a call option, the Fund becomes obligated, in exchange for the premium, to sell a futures contract if the option is exercised, which may have a value higher than the exercise price. The writing of a put option on a futures contract generates a premium, which may partially offset an increase in the price of securities that the Fund intends to purchase. However, the Fund becomes obligated (upon the exercise of the option) to purchase a futures contract if the option is exercised, which may have a value lower than the exercise price. Thus, the loss incurred by the Fund in writing options on futures is potentially unlimited and may exceed the amount of the premium received. The Fund will incur transaction costs in connection with the writing of options on futures.

The holder or writer of an option on a futures contract may terminate its position by selling or purchasing an offsetting option on the same financial instrument. There is no guarantee that such closing transactions can be effected. The Fund’s ability to establish and close out positions on such options will be subject to the development and maintenance of a liquid market.

Other Considerations. The Fund will engage in transactions in futures contracts and related options transactions only to the extent such transactions are consistent with the requirements of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the “Code”) for maintaining its qualification as a regulated investment company for federal income tax purposes. Transactions in futures contracts and options on futures involve brokerage costs, require margin deposits and, in certain cases, require the Fund to identify on its books cash or liquid assets. The Fund may cover its transactions in futures contracts and related options by identifying on its books cash or liquid assets or by other means, in any manner permitted by applicable law. For more information about these practices, see “Description of Investment Securities and Practices – Asset Segregation.”

 

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While transactions in futures contracts and options on futures may reduce certain risks, such transactions themselves entail certain other risks. Thus, unanticipated changes in interest rates, securities prices or currency exchange rates may result in a poorer overall performance for the Fund than if it had not entered into any futures contracts or options transactions. When futures contracts and options are used for hedging purposes, perfect correlation between the Fund’s futures positions and portfolio positions may be impossible to achieve, particularly where futures contracts based on individual equity or corporate fixed income securities are currently not available. In the event of imperfect correlation between a futures position and a portfolio position which is intended to be protected, the desired protection may not be obtained and the Fund may be exposed to risk of loss. In addition, it is not possible for the Fund to hedge fully or perfectly against currency fluctuations affecting the value of securities quoted or denominated in foreign currencies because the value of such securities is likely to fluctuate as a result of independent factors unrelated to currency fluctuations. The profitability of the Fund’s trading in futures depends upon the ability of the Investment Adviser to analyze correctly the futures markets.

Illiquid Investments

Pursuant to Rule 22e-4 under the 1940 Act, the Fund may not acquire any “illiquid investment” if, immediately after the acquisition, the Fund would have invested more than 15% of its net assets in illiquid investments that are assets. An “illiquid investment” is any investment that the Fund reasonably expects cannot be sold or disposed of in current market conditions in seven calendar days or less without the sale or disposition significantly changing the market value of the investment. The Trust has implemented a liquidity risk management program and related procedures to categorize the Fund’s portfolio investments and identify illiquid investments pursuant to Rule 22e-4, and the Trustees have approved the designation of the Investment Adviser to administer the Trust’s liquidity risk management program and related procedures. In determining whether an investment is an illiquid investment, the Investment Adviser will take into account actual or estimated daily transaction volume of an investment, group of related investments or asset class and other relevant market, trading, and investment-specific considerations. In addition, in determining the liquidity of an investment, the Investment Adviser must determine whether trading varying portions of a position in a particular portfolio investment or asset class, in sizes that the Fund would reasonably anticipate trading, is reasonably expected to significantly affect its liquidity, and if so, the Fund must take this determination into account when classifying the liquidity of that investment or asset class.

In addition to actual or estimated daily transaction volume of an investment, group of related investments or asset class and other relevant market, trading, and investment-specific considerations, the following factors, among others, will generally impact the classification of an investment as an “illiquid investment”: (i) any investment that is placed on the Investment Adviser’s restricted trading list; and (ii) any investment that is delisted or for which there is a trading halt at the close of the trading day on the primary listing exchange at the time of classification (and in respect of which no active secondary market exists). Investments purchased by the Fund that are liquid at the time of purchase may subsequently become illiquid due to these and other events and circumstances. If one or more investments in the Fund’s portfolio become illiquid, the Fund may exceed the 15% limitation in illiquid investments. In the event that changes in the portfolio or other external events cause the Fund to exceed this limit, the Fund must take steps to bring its illiquid investments that are assets to or below 15% of its net assets within a reasonable period of time. This requirement would not force the Fund to liquidate any portfolio instrument where the Fund would suffer a loss on the sale of that instrument.

Investment in Unseasoned Companies

The Fund may invest in companies (including predecessors) which have operated less than three years. The securities of such companies may have limited liquidity, which can result in their being priced higher or lower than might otherwise be the case. In addition, investments in unseasoned companies are more speculative and entail greater risk than do investments in companies with an established operating record.

Lending of Portfolio Securities

The Fund may lend its portfolio securities to brokers, dealers and other institutions, including Goldman Sachs. By lending its securities, the Fund attempts to increase its net investment income.

Securities loans are required to be secured continuously by collateral in cash, cash equivalents, letters of credit or U.S. Government securities, which are obligations issued or guaranteed by the U.S. Government, its agencies, instrumentalities or sponsored enterprises (“U.S. Government Securities”) equal to at least 100% of the value of the loaned securities. This collateral must be valued, or “marked to market,” daily. Borrowers are required to furnish additional collateral to the Fund as necessary to fully cover their obligations.

With respect to loans that are collateralized by cash, the Fund may reinvest that cash in short-term investments and pay the borrower a pre-negotiated fee or “rebate” from any return earned on the investment. Investing the collateral subjects it to market depreciation or appreciation, and the Fund is responsible for any loss that may result from its investment of the borrowed collateral. Cash collateral may be invested in, among other things, other registered or unregistered funds, including private investing funds or money market funds that are managed by the Investment Adviser or its affiliates, and which pay the Investment Adviser or its affiliates for their services. If the Fund would receive non-cash collateral, the Fund receives a fee from the borrower equal to a negotiated percentage of the market value of the loaned securities.

For the duration of any securities loan, the Fund will continue to receive the equivalent of the interest, dividends or other distributions paid by the issuer on the loaned securities. The Fund will not have the right to vote its loaned securities during the period of the loan, but the Fund may attempt to recall a loaned security in anticipation of a material vote if it desires to do so. The Fund will have the right to terminate a loan at any time and recall the loaned securities within the normal and customary settlement time for securities transactions.

Securities lending involves certain risks. The Fund may lose money on its investment of cash collateral, resulting in a loss of principal, or may fail to earn sufficient income on its investment to cover the fee or rebate it has agreed to pay the borrower. The Fund may incur losses in connection with its securities lending activities that exceed the value of the interest income and fees received in connection with such transactions. Securities lending subjects the Fund to the risk of loss resulting from problems in the settlement and accounting process, and to additional credit, counterparty and market risk. These risks could be greater with respect to non-U.S. securities. Engaging in securities lending could have a leveraging effect, which may intensify the other risks associated with investments in the Fund. In addition, the Fund bears the risk that the price of the securities on loan will increase while they are on loan, or that the price of the collateral will decline in value during the period of the loan, and that the counterparty will not provide, or will delay in providing, additional collateral. The Fund also bears the risk that a borrower may fail to return securities in a timely manner or at all, either because the borrower fails financially or for other reasons. If a borrower of securities fails financially, the Fund may also lose its rights in the collateral. The Fund could experience delays and costs in recovering loaned securities or in gaining access to and liquidating the collateral, which could result in actual financial loss and which could interfere with portfolio management decisions or the exercise of ownership rights in the loaned securities. If the Fund is not able to recover the securities lent, the Fund may sell the collateral and purchase replacement securities in the market. However, the Fund will incur transaction costs on the purchase of replacement securities. These events could trigger adverse tax consequences for the Fund. In determining whether to lend securities to a particular borrower, and throughout the period of the loan, the creditworthiness of the borrower will be considered and monitored. Loans will only be made to firms deemed to be of good standing, and where the consideration that can be earned currently from securities loans of this type is deemed to justify the attendant risk. It is intended that the value of securities loaned by the Fund will not exceed one-third of the value of the Fund’s total assets (including the loan collateral).

The Fund will consider the loaned securities as assets of the Fund, but will not consider any collateral as the Fund asset except when determining total assets for the purpose of the above one-third limitation. Loan collateral (including any investment of the collateral) is not subject to the percentage limitations stated elsewhere in this SAI or in the Prospectuses regarding investing in fixed income securities and cash equivalents.

The Board of Trustees has approved the Fund’s participation in a securities lending program and has adopted policies and procedures relating thereto.

For its services, the securities lending agent may receive a fee from the Fund, including a fee based on the returns earned on the Fund’s investment of cash received as collateral for the loaned securities. In addition, the Fund may make brokerage and other payments to Goldman Sachs and its affiliates in connection with the Fund’s portfolio investment transactions. The Fund’s Board of Trustees periodically reviews reports on securities loan transactions for which a Goldman Sachs affiliate has acted as lending agent for compliance with the Fund’s securities lending procedures. Goldman Sachs may also be approved as a borrower under the Fund’s securities lending program, subject to certain conditions.

Options on Securities, Securities Indices and Foreign Currencies

Writing and Purchasing Call and Put Options on Securities and Securities Indices. The Fund may write (sell) call and put options on any securities in which it may invest or any securities index consisting of securities in which it may invest. The Fund may write such options on securities that are listed on national domestic securities exchanges or foreign securities exchanges or traded in the over-the-counter market. A call option written by the Fund obligates the Fund to sell specified securities to the holder of the option at a specified price if the option is exercised on or before the expiration date. Depending upon the type of call option, the purchaser of a call option either (i) has the right to any appreciation in the value of the security over a fixed price (the “exercise price”) on a certain date in the future (the “expiration date”) or (ii) has the right to any appreciation in the value of the security over the exercise price at any time prior to the expiration of the option. If the purchaser exercises the option, the Fund pays the purchaser the difference between the price of the security and the exercise price of the option. The premium, the exercise price and the market value of the security determine the gain or loss realized by the Fund as the seller of the call option. The Fund can also repurchase the call option prior to the expiration date, ending its obligation. In this case, the cost of entering into closing purchase transactions will determine the gain or loss realized by the Fund. All call options written by the Fund are covered, which means that the Fund will own the securities subject to the option so long as the option is outstanding or the Fund will use the other methods described below. The Fund’s purpose in writing call options is to realize greater income than would be realized on portfolio securities transactions alone. However, the Fund may forego the opportunity to profit from an increase in the market price of the underlying security.

 

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A put option written by the Fund obligates the Fund to purchase specified securities from the option holder at a specified price if the option is exercised on or before the expiration date. All put options written by the Fund would be covered, which means that the Fund will identify on its books cash or liquid assets with a value at least equal to the exercise price of the put option (less any margin on deposit) or will use the other methods described below. For more information about these practices, see “Description of Investment Securities and Practices – Asset Segregation.”

The purpose of writing such options is to generate additional income for the Fund. However, in return for the option premium, the Fund accepts the risk that it may be required to purchase the underlying securities at a price in excess of the securities’ market value at the time of purchase.

In the case of a call option, the option may be “covered” if the Fund owns the instrument underlying the call or has an absolute and immediate right to acquire that instrument without additional cash consideration (or, if additional cash consideration is required, liquid assets in such amount are identified on the Fund’s books) upon conversion or exchange of other instruments held by it. A call option may also be covered if the Fund holds a call on the same instrument as the option written where the exercise price of the option held is (i) equal to or less than the exercise price of the option written, or (ii) greater than the exercise price of the option written provided the Fund identifies liquid assets in the amount of the difference. A put option may also be covered if the Fund holds a put on the same security as the option written where the exercise price of the option held is (i) equal to or higher than the exercise price of the option written, or (ii) less than the exercise price of the option written provided the Fund identifies on its books liquid assets in the amount of the difference. The Fund may also cover options on securities by identifying cash or liquid assets, as permitted by applicable law, with a value, when added to any margin on deposit that is equal to the market value of the securities in the case of a call option. Identified cash or liquid assets may be quoted or denominated in any currency.

The Fund may terminate its obligations under an exchange-traded call or put option by purchasing an option identical to the one it has written. Obligations under over-the-counter options may be terminated only by entering into an offsetting transaction with the counterparty to such option. Such purchases are referred to as “closing purchase transactions.”

The Fund may also write (sell) call and put options on any securities index consisting of securities in which it may invest. Options on securities indices are similar to options on securities, except that the exercise of securities index options requires cash settlement payments and does not involve the actual purchase or sale of securities. In addition, securities index options are designed to reflect price fluctuations in a group of securities or segment of the securities market rather than price fluctuations in a single security.

The Fund may cover call options on a securities index by owning securities whose price changes are expected to be similar to those of the underlying index or by having an absolute and immediate right to acquire such securities without additional cash consideration (or if additional cash consideration is required, liquid assets in such amount are identified on the Fund’s books) upon conversion or exchange of other securities held by it. The Fund may also cover call and put options by identifying cash or liquid assets, as permitted by applicable law, with a value, when added to any margin on deposit, that is equal to the market value of the underlying securities in the case of a call option or the exercise price in the case of a put option or by owning offsetting options as described above.

The writing of options is a highly specialized activity which involves investment techniques and risks different from those associated with ordinary portfolio securities transactions. The use of options to seek to increase total return involves the risk of loss if the Investment Adviser is incorrect in its expectation of fluctuations in securities prices or interest rates. The successful use of options for hedging purposes also depends in part on the ability of the Investment Adviser to predict future price fluctuations and the degree of correlation between the options and securities markets. If the Investment Adviser is incorrect in its expectation of changes in securities prices or determination of the correlation between the securities indices on which options are written and purchased and the securities in the Fund’s investment portfolio, the investment performance of the Fund will be less favorable than it would have been in the absence of such options transactions. The writing of options could increase the Fund’s portfolio turnover rate and, therefore, associated brokerage commissions or spreads.

The Fund may also purchase put and call options on any securities in which it may invest or any securities index consisting of securities in which it may invest. In addition, the Fund may enter into closing sale transactions in order to realize gains or minimize losses on options it had purchased.

The Fund may purchase call options in anticipation of an increase, or put options in anticipation of a decrease (“protective puts”), in the market value of securities or other instruments of the type in which it may invest. The purchase of a call option would entitle the Fund, in return for the premium paid, to purchase specified securities or other instruments at a specified price during the option period. The Fund would ordinarily realize a gain on the purchase of a call option if, during the option period, the value of such securities exceeded the sum of the exercise price, the premium paid and transaction costs; otherwise the Fund would realize either no gain or a

 

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loss on the purchase of the call option. The purchase of a put option would entitle the Fund, in exchange for the premium paid, to sell specified securities or other instruments at a specified price during the option period. The purchase of protective puts is designed to offset or hedge against a decline in the market value of the Fund’s securities or other instruments. Put options may also be purchased by the Fund for the purpose of affirmatively benefiting from a decline in the price of securities or other instruments which it does not own. The Fund would ordinarily realize a gain if, during the option period, the value of the underlying securities or other instruments decreased below the exercise price sufficiently to cover the premium and transaction costs; otherwise the Fund would realize either no gain or a loss on the purchase of the put option. Gains and losses on the purchase of put options may be offset by countervailing changes in the value of the underlying portfolio securities or other instruments.

The Fund may purchase put and call options on securities indices for the same purposes as it may purchase options on securities. Options on securities indices are similar to options on securities, except that the exercise of securities index options requires cash payments and does not involve the actual purchase or sale of securities. In addition, securities index options are designed to reflect price fluctuations in a group of securities or segment of the securities market rather than price fluctuations in a single security.

Writing and Purchasing Call and Put Options on Currency. The Fund may write put and call options and purchase put and call options on foreign currencies in an attempt to protect against declines in the U.S. dollar value of foreign portfolio securities and against increases in the U.S. dollar cost of foreign securities to be acquired. The Fund may also use options on currency to cross-hedge, which involves writing or purchasing options on one currency to seek to hedge against changes in exchange rates for a different currency with a pattern of correlation. As with other kinds of option transactions, however, the writing of an option on foreign currency will constitute only a partial hedge, up to the amount of the premium received. If an option that the Fund has written is exercised, the Fund could be required to purchase or sell foreign currencies at disadvantageous exchange rates, thereby incurring losses. The purchase of an option on foreign currency may constitute an effective hedge against exchange rate fluctuations; however, in the event of exchange rate movements adverse to the Fund’s position, the Fund may forfeit the entire amount of the premium plus related transaction costs. Options on foreign currencies may be traded on U.S. and foreign exchanges or over-the-counter. In addition, the Fund may purchase call options on currency to seek to increase total return.

A currency call option written by the Fund obligates the Fund to sell specified currency to the holder of the option at a specified price if the option is exercised at any time before the expiration date. A currency put option written by the Fund obligates the Fund to purchase specified currency from the option holder at a specified price if the option is exercised at any time before the expiration date. The writing of currency options involves a risk that the Fund will, upon exercise of the option, be required to sell currency subject to a call at a price that is less than the currency’s market value or be required to purchase currency subject to a put at a price that exceeds the currency’s market value. Written put and call options on foreign currencies may be covered in a manner similar to written put and call options on securities and securities indices described under “Options on Securities and Securities Indices—Writing Covered Options” above.

The Fund may terminate its obligations under a written call or put option by purchasing an option identical to the one written. Such purchases are referred to as “closing purchase transactions.” The Fund may enter into closing sale transactions in order to realize gains or minimize losses on purchased options.

The Fund may purchase call options on foreign currency in anticipation of an increase in the U.S. dollar value of currency in which securities to be acquired by the Fund are denominated or quoted. The purchase of a call option would entitle the Fund, in return for the premium paid, to purchase specified currency at a specified price during the option period. The Fund would ordinarily realize a gain if, during the option period, the value of such currency exceeded the sum of the exercise price, the premium paid and transaction costs; otherwise, the Fund would realize either no gain or a loss on the purchase of the call option.

The Fund may purchase put options in anticipation of a decline in the U.S. dollar value of currency in which securities in its portfolio are denominated or quoted (“protective puts”). The purchase of a put option would entitle the Fund, in exchange for the premium paid, to sell specified currency at a specified price during the option period. The purchase of protective puts is usually designed to offset or hedge against a decline in the U.S. dollar value of the Fund’s portfolio securities due to currency exchange rate fluctuations. The Fund would ordinarily realize a gain if, during the option period, the value of the underlying currency decreased below the exercise price sufficiently to more than cover the premium and transaction costs; otherwise, the Fund would realize either no gain or a loss on the purchase of the put option. Gains and losses on the purchase of protective put options would tend to be offset by countervailing changes in the value of the underlying currency.

In addition to using options for the hedging purposes described above, the Fund may use options on currency to seek to increase total return. The Fund may write (sell) put and call options on any currency in an attempt to realize greater income than would be realized on portfolio securities transactions alone. However, in writing call options for additional income, the Fund may forego the opportunity to profit from an increase in the market value of the underlying currency. Also, when writing put options, the Fund accept, in return for the option premium, the risk that it may be required to purchase the underlying currency at a price in excess of the currency’s market value at the time of purchase.

 

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The Fund may purchase call options to seek to increase total return in anticipation of an increase in the market value of a currency. The Fund would ordinarily realize a gain if, during the option period, the value of such currency exceeded the sum of the exercise price, the premium paid and transaction costs. Otherwise the Fund would realize either no gain or a loss on the purchase of the call option. Put options may be purchased by the Fund for the purpose of benefiting from a decline in the value of currencies which they do not own. The Fund would ordinarily realize a gain if, during the option period, the value of the underlying currency decreased below the exercise price sufficiently to more than cover the premium and transaction costs. Otherwise, the Fund would realize either no gain or a loss on the purchase of the put option.

Special Risks Associated with Options on Currency. An exchange-traded option position may be closed out only on an options exchange that provides a secondary market for an option of the same series. Although the Fund will generally purchase or write only those options for which there appears to be an active secondary market, there is no assurance that a liquid secondary market on an exchange will exist for any particular option or at any particular time. For some options no secondary market on an exchange may exist. In such event, it might not be possible to effect closing transactions in particular options, with the result that the Fund would have to exercise its options in order to realize any profit and would incur transaction costs upon the sale of underlying securities pursuant to the exercise of its options. If the Fund as a call option writer is unable to effect a closing purchase transaction in a secondary market, it will not be able to sell the underlying currency (or security quoted or denominated in that currency), or dispose of the identified assets, until the option expires or it delivers the underlying currency upon exercise.

There is no assurance that higher-than-anticipated trading activity or other unforeseen events might not, at times, render certain of the facilities of the Options Clearing Corporation inadequate, and thereby result in the institution by an exchange of special procedures which may interfere with the timely execution of customers’ orders.

The Fund may purchase and write over-the-counter options. Trading in over-the-counter options is subject to the risk that the other party will be unable or unwilling to close out options purchased or written by the Fund.

The amount of the premiums that the Fund may pay or receive, may be adversely affected as new or existing institutions, including other investment companies, engage in or increase their option purchasing and writing activities.

Risks Associated with Options Transactions. There is no assurance that a liquid secondary market on a domestic or foreign options exchange will exist for any particular exchange-traded option or at any particular time. If the Fund is unable to effect a closing purchase transaction with respect to covered options it has written, the Fund will not be able to sell the underlying securities or dispose of the assets identified on its books to cover the position until the options expire or are exercised. Similarly, if the Fund is unable to effect a closing sale transaction with respect to options it has purchased, it will have to exercise the options in order to realize any profit and will incur transaction costs upon the purchase or sale of underlying securities.

Reasons for the absence of a liquid secondary market on an exchange include, but are not limited to, the following: (i) there may be insufficient trading interest in certain options; (ii) restrictions may be imposed by an exchange on opening or closing transactions or both; (iii) trading halts, suspensions or other restrictions may be imposed with respect to particular classes or series of options; (iv) unusual or unforeseen circumstances may interrupt normal operations on an exchange; (v) the facilities of an exchange or the Options Clearing Corporation may not at all times be adequate to handle current trading volume; or (vi) one or more exchanges could, for economic or other reasons, decide or be compelled at some future date to discontinue the trading of options (or a particular class or series of options), in which event the secondary market on that exchange (or in that class or series of options) would cease to exist although outstanding options on that exchange that had been issued by the Options Clearing Corporation as a result of trades on that exchange would continue to be exercisable in accordance with their terms.

There can be no assurance that higher trading activity, order flow or other unforeseen events will not, at times, render certain of the facilities of the Options Clearing Corporation or various exchanges inadequate. Such events have, in the past, resulted in the institution by an exchange of special procedures, such as trading rotations, restrictions on certain types of order or trading halts or suspensions with respect to one or more options. These special procedures may limit liquidity.

The Fund may purchase and sell both options that are traded on U.S. and foreign exchanges and options traded over-the-counter with broker-dealers and other types of institutions that make markets in these options. The ability to terminate over-the-counter options is more limited than with exchange-traded options and may involve the risk that the broker-dealers or financial institutions participating in such transactions will not fulfill their obligations.

Transactions by the Fund in options will be subject to limitations established by each of the exchanges, boards of trade or other trading facilities on which such options are traded governing the maximum number of options in each class which may be written or purchased by a single investor or group of investors acting in concert regardless of whether the options are written or purchased on the same or different exchanges, boards of trade or other trading facilities or are held in one or more accounts or through one or more brokers. Thus, the number of options which the Fund may write or purchase may be affected by options written or purchased by other investment advisory clients of the Investment Adviser. An exchange, board of trade or other trading facility may order the liquidation of positions found to be in excess of these limits, and it may impose certain other sanctions.

 

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The writing and purchase of options is a highly specialized activity which involves investment techniques and risks different from those associated with ordinary portfolio securities transactions. The use of options to seek to increase total return involves the risk of loss if the Investment Adviser is incorrect in its expectation of fluctuations in securities prices or interest rates. The successful use of options for hedging purposes also depends in part on the ability of the Investment Adviser to manage future price fluctuations and the degree of correlation between the options and securities (or currency) markets. If the Investment Adviser is incorrect in its expectation of changes in securities prices or determination of the correlation between the securities or securities indices on which options are written and purchased and the securities in the Fund’s investment portfolio, the Fund may incur losses that it would not otherwise incur. The writing of options could increase the Fund’s portfolio turnover rate and, therefore, associated brokerage commissions or spreads.

Participation Notes

The Fund may invest in participation notes. Some countries, especially emerging markets countries, do not permit foreigners to participate directly in their securities markets or otherwise present difficulties for efficient foreign investment. The Fund may use participation notes to establish a position in such markets as a substitute for direct investment. Participation notes are issued by banks or broker-dealers and are designed to track the return of a particular underlying equity or debt security, currency or market. When a participation note matures, the issuer of the participation note will pay to, or receive from, the Fund the difference between the nominal value of the underlying instrument at the time of purchase and that instrument’s value at maturity. Investments in participation notes involve the same risks associated with a direct investment in the underlying security, currency or market that they seek to replicate. In addition, participation notes are generally traded over-the-counter and are subject to counterparty risk. Counterparty risk is the risk that the broker-dealer or bank that issues them will not fulfill its contractual obligation to complete the transaction with the Fund. Participation notes constitute general unsecured contractual obligations of the banks or broker-dealers that issue them, and the Fund would be relying on the creditworthiness of such banks or broker-dealers and would have no rights under a participation note against the issuer of the underlying assets. In addition, participation notes may trade at a discount to the value of the underlying securities or markets that they seek to replicate.

Pooled Investment Vehicles

The Fund may invest in securities of pooled investment vehicles, including other investment companies and ETFs. The Fund will indirectly bear its proportionate share of any management fees and other expenses paid by pooled investment vehicles in which it invests, in addition to the management fees (and other expenses) paid by the Fund. The Fund’s investments in pooled investment vehicles are subject to statutory limitations prescribed by the Act, including in certain circumstances a prohibition on the Fund acquiring more than 3% of the voting shares of any other investment company, and a prohibition on investing more than 5% of the Fund’s total assets in securities of any one investment company or more than 10% of its total assets in the securities of all investment companies. Many ETFs, however, have obtained exemptive relief from the SEC to permit unaffiliated funds (such as the Fund) to invest in their shares beyond these statutory limits, subject to certain conditions and pursuant to contractual arrangements between the ETFs and the investing funds. The Fund may rely on these exemptive orders in investing in ETFs. Moreover, subject to applicable law and/or pursuant to an exemptive order obtained from the SEC or under an exemptive rule adopted by the SEC, the Fund may invest in investment companies, including ETFs and money market funds, for which the Investment Adviser, or any of its affiliates, serves as investment adviser, administrator and/or distributor. With respect to the Fund’s investments in money market funds, to the extent that the Fund invests in a money market fund for which the Investment Adviser or any of its affiliates acts as investment adviser, the management fees payable by the Fund to the Investment Adviser will, to the extent required by the SEC, be reduced by an amount equal to the Fund’s proportionate share of the management fees paid by such money market fund to its investment adviser. Although the Fund does not expect to do so in the foreseeable future, the Fund is authorized to invest substantially all of its assets in a single open-end investment company or series thereof that has substantially the same investment policies and fundamental restrictions as the Fund. Additionally, to the extent that the Fund serves as an “underlying Fund” to another Goldman Sachs Fund, the Fund may invest a percentage of its assets in other investment companies only if those investments are consistent with applicable law and/or exemptive relief obtained from the SEC.

The Fund may purchase shares of investment companies investing primarily in foreign securities, including “country funds.” Country funds have portfolios consisting primarily of securities of issuers located in specified foreign countries or regions.

ETFs are pooled investment vehicles issuing shares which are traded like traditional equity securities on a stock exchange. An ETF represents a portfolio of securities or other assets, which is often designed to track a particular market segment or index. An investment in an ETF, like one in any pooled investment vehicle, carries risks of its underlying securities or other assets. An ETF may fail to accurately track the returns of the market segment or index that it is designed to track, and the price of an ETF’s shares may fluctuate or lose money. In addition, because they, unlike other pooled investment vehicles, are traded on an exchange, ETFs are subject to the following risks: (i) the market price of the ETF’s shares may trade at a premium or discount to the ETF’s NAV; (ii) an active trading market for an ETF may not develop or be maintained; and (iii) there is no assurance that the requirements of the exchange necessary to maintain the listing of the ETF will continue to be met or remain unchanged. In the event substantial market or other disruptions affecting ETFs should occur in the future, the liquidity and value of the Fund’s shares could also be substantially and adversely affected.

 

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Portfolio Turnover

The Fund may engage in active short-term trading to benefit from price disparities among different issues of securities or among the markets for equity securities, or for other reasons. As a result of active management, it is anticipated that the portfolio turnover rate may vary greatly from year to year as well as within a particular year, and may be affected by changes in the holdings of specific issuers, changes in country and currency weightings, cash requirements for redemption of shares and by requirements which enable the Fund to receive favorable tax treatment. The Fund is not restricted by policy with regard to portfolio turnover and will make changes in their investment portfolio from time to time as business and economic conditions as well as market prices may dictate.

Preferred Securities

The Fund may invest in preferred securities. Unlike debt securities, the obligations of an issuer of preferred stock, including dividend and other payment obligations, may not typically be accelerated by the holders of preferred stock on the occurrence of an event of default (such as a covenant default or filing of a bankruptcy petition) or other non-compliance by the issuer with the terms of the preferred stock. Often, however, on the occurrence of any such event of default or non-compliance by the issuer, preferred stockholders will be entitled to gain representation on the issuer’s board of directors or increase their existing board representation. In addition, preferred stockholders may be granted voting rights with respect to certain issues on the occurrence of any event of default.

Pre-IPO Investments

Privately held companies typically have limited operating histories, narrower, less established product lines and smaller market shares than larger businesses, which tend to render them more vulnerable to competitors’ actions, market conditions and consumer sentiment in respect of their products or services, as well as general economic downturns. Such companies may experience operating losses, which may be substantial, and there can be no assurance when or if such companies will operate at a profit. At the time of the Fund’s investment, there is generally little publicly available information about these companies since they are primarily privately owned and the Fund may only have access to the company’s actual financial results as of and for the most recent quarter end or, in certain cases, the quarter end preceding the most recent quarter end. There can be no assurance that the information that the Fund does obtain with respect to any investment is reliable. Privately held companies may have limited financial resources and may be unable to meet their obligations under their existing credit facilities (to the extent that such facilities exist), which may lead to equity financings, possibly at discounted valuations, in which the Fund could be substantially diluted if the Fund does not or cannot participate, bankruptcy or liquidation and the corresponding reduction in value or loss of the Fund’s investment. Privately held companies are more likely to depend on the management talents and efforts of a small group of persons; therefore, the death, disability, resignation or termination of one or more of these persons could have a material adverse impact on the company and, in turn, on the Fund. Continued global economic uncertainty could also result in investors becoming more risk-averse, which in turn could reduce the amount of growth capital available to the companies from both existing and new investors, could adversely affect their operating performance, and could delay liquidity paths (for example, an IPO or strategic sale/merger) for the companies. It may be difficult for the Fund to sell these investments, subjecting the Fund to liquidity risk. Shares of privately held companies are less liquid (and may be illiquid) and difficult to value, and the inability of these portfolio companies to complete an IPO within the targeted time frame will extend the holding period of the Fund’s investments and may adversely affect the value of these investments.

Private Investment in Public Equities (“PIPEs”)

The Fund may elect to invest in PIPEs and other unregistered or otherwise restricted securities issued by public MLPs and similar entities, including unregistered MLP preferred units. The Investment Adviser expects most such private securities to be liquid within six to nine months of funding, but may also invest in other private securities with significantly longer or shorter restricted periods. PIPEs involve the direct placement of equity securities to a purchaser such as the Fund. Equity issued in this manner is often unregistered and therefore less liquid than equity issued through a public offering. Such private equity offerings provide issuers greater flexibility in structure and timing as compared to public offerings. The following highlights some of the reasons MLPs choose to issue equity through private placements:

Effective Acquisition Funding Vehicle. MLPs typically distribute all of their available cash at the end of each quarter, and therefore generally finance acquisitions through the issuance of additional equity and debt securities. PIPEs allow MLPs to structure the equity funding to close concurrently with an acquisition, thereby eliminating or reducing the equity funding risk. This avoids equity overhang issues (discussed below) and can ease rating agency concerns over interim excessive leverage associated with an acquisition.

 

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Eliminates or Reduces Equity Overhang Issues. Generally an MLP unit price declines when investors know the MLP will be issuing public equity in the near term. An example of this is when an MLP closes a sizeable acquisition funded under its credit facility or with another form of debt financing. In this situation, equity investors will typically wait for the public offering to provide additional liquidity, and therefore the demand for units is reduced, and the unit price falls. Issuing units through a PIPE in conjunction with the acquisition eliminates this equity overhang.

Broadens Investor Base. Public equity offerings for MLPs are typically allocated primarily to retail investors. Private placements allow issuers to access new pools of equity capital. In addition, institutional investors, such as the Fund, that participate in PIPEs are potential investors for future equity financings.

Greater Structural Flexibility. Certain acquisitions and organic development projects require a more structured form of equity. For example, organic projects that require significant capital expenditures that do not generate near-term cash flow may require a class of equity that does not pay a distribution for a certain period. The public equity market is generally not an efficient venue to raise this type of specialized equity. Given the significant number of organic projects that have been announced by MLPs, the private placement of PIPEs are believed by the Investment Adviser to be likely to remain an important funding component in the MLP sector.

Avoided Cost and Uncertainty of Public Equity Issuance. Some issuers prefer the certainty of a private placement at a specified fixed discount, compared to the uncertainty of a public offering. The underwriting costs of a public equity issuance in the MLP space can significantly reduce gross equity proceeds, and the unit price of the issuance can decline during the marketing of a public deal, resulting in increased cost to an issuer. The cost of a PIPE can be competitive with that of a public issuance while providing greater certainty of funding.

More Expedient Process with Limited Marketing Requirements. Unlike public equity offerings, private placements are typically more time efficient for management teams, with negotiations, due diligence and marketing required only for a small targeted group of sophisticated institutional investors.

Monetizations. Financial sponsors, founding partners and/or parent companies typically own significant stakes in MLPs in the form of subordinated units. As these units are not registered, monetization alternatives are limited. PIPEs provide liquidity in these situations.

Many MLPs rely on the private placement market as a source of equity capital. Given the limitations in raising equity from a predominantly retail investor base and the tax and administrative constraints to significant institutional participation, PIPEs have been a popular financing alternative with many MLPs.

Real Estate Investment Trusts

The Fund may invest in shares of real estate investment trusts (“REITs”). REITs are pooled investment vehicles which invest primarily in real estate or real estate related loans. REITs are generally classified as equity REITs, mortgage REITs or a combination of equity and mortgage REITs. Equity REITs invest the majority of their assets directly in real property and derive income primarily from the collection of rents. Equity REITs can also realize capital gains by selling properties that have appreciated in value. Mortgage REITs invest the majority of their assets in real estate mortgages and derive income from the collection of interest payments. Like regulated investment companies such as the Fund, REITs are not taxed on income distributed to shareholders provided they comply with certain requirements under the Code. The Fund will indirectly bear its proportionate share of any expenses paid by REITs in which it invests in addition to the expenses paid by the Fund.

Investing in REITs involves certain unique risks. Equity REITs may be affected by changes in the value of the underlying property owned by such REITs, while mortgage REITs may be affected by the quality of any credit extended. REITs are dependent upon management skills, are not diversified (except to the extent the Code requires), and are subject to the risks of financing projects. REITs are subject to heavy cash flow dependency, default by borrowers, self-liquidation, and the possibilities of failing to qualify for the exemption from tax for distributed income under the Code and failing to maintain their exemptions from the Act. REITs (especially mortgage REITs) are also subject to interest rate risks.

Repurchase Agreements

The Fund may enter into repurchase agreements with counterparties approved by the Investment Adviser pursuant to procedures approved by the Board of Trustees that furnish collateral at least equal in value or market price to the amount of their repurchase obligation. The collateral may consist of security (government or corporate) of any or no credit rating. The Fund may also enter into repurchase agreements involving obligations other than U.S. Government Securities (such as foreign government securities, commercial paper, corporate bonds, mortgage loans and equities), which may be subject to special risks and may not have the benefit of certain protections in the event of the counterparty’s insolvency. A repurchase agreement is an arrangement under which the Fund purchases securities and the seller agrees to repurchase the securities within a particular time and at a specified price. Custody of the securities is maintained by the Fund’s custodian (or subcustodian). The repurchase price may be higher than the purchase price, the difference being income to the Fund, or the purchase and repurchase prices may be the same, with interest at a stated rate due to the Fund together with the repurchase price on repurchase. In either case, the income to the Fund is unrelated to the interest rate on the security subject to the repurchase agreement.

 

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For purposes of the Act, and generally for tax purposes, a repurchase agreement is deemed to be a loan from the Fund to the seller of the security. For other purposes, it is not always clear whether a court would consider the security purchased by the Fund subject to a repurchase agreement as being owned by the Fund or as being collateral for a loan by the Fund to the seller. In the event of commencement of bankruptcy or insolvency proceedings with respect to the seller of the security before repurchase of the security under a repurchase agreement, the Fund may encounter delay and incur costs before being able to sell the security. Such a delay may involve loss of interest or a decline in value of the security. If the court characterizes the transaction as a loan and the Fund has not perfected a security interest in the security, the Fund may be required to return the security to the seller’s estate and be treated as an unsecured creditor of the seller. As an unsecured creditor, the Fund would be at risk of losing some or all of the principal and interest involved in the transaction.

Apart from the risk of bankruptcy or insolvency proceedings, there is also the risk that the seller may fail to repurchase the security. However, if the market value of the security subject to the repurchase agreement becomes less than the repurchase price (including accrued interest), the Fund will direct the seller of the security to deliver additional securities so that the market value of all securities subject to the repurchase agreement equals or exceeds the repurchase price. Certain repurchase agreements which provide for settlement in more than seven days can be liquidated before the nominal fixed term on seven days or less notice.

The Fund, together with other registered investment companies having management agreements with the Investment Adviser or its affiliates, may transfer uninvested cash balances into a single joint account, the daily aggregate balance of which will be invested in one or more repurchase agreements.

Restricted Securities

The Fund may purchase securities and other financial instruments that are not registered or that are offered in an exempt non-public offering (“Restricted Securities”) under the 1933 Act, including securities eligible for resale to “qualified institutional buyers” pursuant to Rule 144A under the 1933 Act. The purchase price and subsequent valuation of Restricted Securities may reflect a discount from the price at which such securities trade when they are not restricted, because the restriction makes them less liquid. The amount of the discount from the prevailing market price is expected to vary depending upon the type of security, the character of the issuer, the party who will bear the expenses of registering the Restricted Securities and prevailing supply and demand conditions. These and other factors discussed in the section above, entitled “Illiquid Investments,” may impact the liquidity of investments in Restricted Securities.

Risks of Qualified Financial Contracts

Regulations adopted by federal banking regulators under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (“Dodd-Frank”), which are scheduled to take effect throughout 2019, require that certain qualified financial contracts (“QFCs”) with counterparties that are part of U.S. or foreign global systemically important banking organizations be amended to include contractual restrictions on close-out and cross-default rights. QFCs include, but are not limited to, securities contracts, commodities contracts, forward contracts, repurchase agreements, securities lending agreements and swaps agreements, as well as related master agreements, security agreements, credit enhancements, and reimbursement obligations. If a covered counterparty of the Fund or certain of the covered counterparty’s affiliates were to become subject to certain insolvency proceedings, the Fund may be temporarily unable to exercise certain default rights, and the QFC may be transferred to another entity. These requirements may impact the Fund’s credit and counterparty risks.

Short Sales

The Fund may engage in short sales. Short sales are transactions in which the Fund sells a security it does not own in anticipation of a decline in the market value of that security. To complete such a transaction, the Fund must borrow the security to make delivery to the buyer. The Fund then is obligated to replace the security borrowed by purchasing it at the market price at the time of replacement. The price at such time may be more or less than the price at which the security was sold by the Fund. Until the security is replaced, the Fund is required to pay to the lender amounts equal to any dividend which accrues during the period of the loan. To borrow the security, the Fund also may be required to pay a premium, which would increase the cost of the security sold. There will also be other costs associated with short sales.

The Fund will incur a loss as a result of the short sale if the price of the security increases between the date of the short sale and the date on which the Fund replaces the borrowed security. The Fund will realize a gain if the security declines in price between those dates. This result is the opposite of what one would expect from a cash purchase of a long position in a security. The amount of any gain will be decreased, and the amount of any loss increased, by the amount of any premium or amounts in lieu of interest the Fund may be required to pay in connection with a short sale, and will be also decreased by any transaction or other costs.

 

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Until the Fund replaces a borrowed security in connection with a short sale, the Fund will (a) identify on its books cash or liquid assets at such a level that the identified assets plus any amount deposited as collateral will equal the current value of the security sold short or (b) otherwise cover its short position in accordance with applicable law.

There is no guarantee that the Fund will be able to close out a short position at any particular time or at an acceptable price. During the time that the Fund is short a security, it is subject to the risk that the lender of the security will terminate the loan at a time when the Fund is unable to borrow the same security from another lender. If that occurs, the Fund may be “bought in” at the price required to purchase the security needed to close out the short position, which may be a disadvantageous price.

Short Sales Against the Box. The Fund may engage in short sales against the box. As noted above, a short sale is made by selling a security the seller does not own. A short sale is “against the box” to the extent that the seller contemporaneously owns or has the right to obtain, at no added cost, securities identical to those sold short. The Fund may enter into a short sale against the box, for example, to lock in a sales price for a security the Fund does not wish to sell immediately. If the Fund sells securities short against the box, it may protect itself from loss if the price of the securities declines in the future, but will lose the opportunity to profit on such securities if the price rises. If the Fund effects a short sale of securities at a time when it has an unrealized gain on the securities, it may be required to recognize that gain as if it had actually sold the securities (as a “constructive sale”) on the date it effects the short sale. However, such constructive sale treatment may not apply if the Fund closes out the short sale with securities other than the appreciated securities held at the time of the short sale and if certain other conditions are satisfied. Uncertainty regarding the tax consequences of effecting short sales may limit the extent to which the Fund may effect short sales.

Special Note Regarding Operational, Cyber Security and Litigation Risks

An investment in the Fund may be negatively impacted because of the operational risks arising from factors such as processing errors and human errors, inadequate or failed internal or external processes, failures in systems and technology, changes in personnel, and errors caused by third-party service providers or trading counterparties. The use of certain investment strategies that involve manual or additional processing, such as over-the-counter derivatives, increases these risks. Although the Fund attempts to minimize such failures through controls and oversight, it is not possible to identify all of the operational risks that may affect the Fund or to develop processes and controls that completely eliminate or mitigate the occurrence of such failures. The Fund and its shareholders could be negatively impacted as a result.

The Fund is also susceptible to operational and information security risks resulting from cyber-attacks. In general, cyber-attacks result from deliberate attacks, but other events may have effects similar to those caused by cyber-attacks. Cyber-attacks include, among others, stealing or corrupting confidential information and other data that is maintained online or digitally for financial gain, denial-of-service attacks on websites causing operational disruption, and the unauthorized release of confidential information and other data. Cyber-attacks affecting the Fund or its Investment Adviser, sub-adviser, custodian, transfer agent, intermediary or other third-party service provider may adversely impact the Fund and its shareholders. These cyber-attacks have the ability to cause significant disruptions and impact business operations; to result in financial losses; to prevent shareholders from transacting business; to interfere with the Fund’s calculation of NAV and to lead to violations of applicable privacy and other laws, regulatory fines, penalties, reputational damage, reimbursement or other compensation costs and/or additional compliance costs. Similar to operational risk in general, the Fund and its service providers, including GSAM, have instituted risk management systems designed to minimize the risks associated with cyber security. However, there is a risk that these systems will not succeed (or that any remediation efforts will not be successful), especially because the Fund does not directly control the risk management systems of the service providers to the Fund, its trading counterparties or the issuers in which the Fund may invest. Moreover, there is a risk that cyber-attacks will not be detected.

The Fund may be subject to third-party litigation, which could give rise to legal liability. These matters involving the Fund may arise from its activities and investments and could have a materially adverse effect on the Fund, including the expense of defending against claims and paying any amounts pursuant to settlements or judgments. There can be no guarantee that these matters will not arise in the normal course of business. If the Fund were to be found liable in any suit or proceeding, any associated damages and/or penalties could have a materially adverse effect on the Fund’s finances, in addition to being materially damaging to its reputation.

Special Note Regarding Regulatory Changes and Other Market Events

Federal, state, and foreign governments, regulatory agencies, and self-regulatory organizations may take actions that affect the regulation of the Fund or the instruments in which the Fund invests, or the issuers of such instruments, in ways that are unforeseeable. Future legislation or regulation or other governmental actions could limit or preclude the Fund’s ability to achieve its investment objective or otherwise adversely impact an investment in the Fund. Furthermore, worsened market conditions, including as a result of U.S. government shutdowns or the perceived creditworthiness of the United States, could have a negative impact on securities markets.

 

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The Fund’s investments, payment obligations and financing terms may be based on floating rates, such as London Interbank Offer Rate (“LIBOR”), EURIBOR and other similar types of reference rates (each, a “Reference Rate”). On July 27, 2017, the Chief Executive of the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) which regulates LIBOR, announced that the FCA will no longer persuade nor compel banks to submit rates for the calculation of LIBOR and certain other Reference Rates after 2021. Such announcement indicates that the continuation of LIBOR and other Reference Rates on the current basis cannot and will not be guaranteed after 2021. This announcement and any additional regulatory or market changes may have an adverse impact on the Fund’s investments, performance or financial condition. Until then, the Fund may continue to invest in instruments that reference such rates or otherwise use such Reference Rates due to favorable liquidity or pricing.

In advance of 2021, regulators and market participants will seek to work together to identify or develop successor Reference Rates and how the calculation of associated spreads (if any) should be adjusted. Additionally, prior to 2021, it is expected that industry trade associations and participants will focus on the transition mechanisms by which the Reference Rates and spreads (if any) in existing contracts or instruments may be amended, whether through marketwide protocols, fallback contractual provisions, bespoke negotiations or amendments or otherwise. Nonetheless, the termination of certain Reference Rates presents risks to the Fund. At this time, it is not possible to exhaustively identify or predict the effect of any such changes, any establishment of alternative Reference Rates or any other reforms to Reference Rates that may be enacted in the United Kingdom or elsewhere. The elimination of a Reference Rate or any other changes or reforms to the determination or supervision of Reference Rates may affect the value, liquidity or return on certain Fund investments and may result in costs incurred in connection with closing out positions and entering into new trades, adversely impacting the Fund’s overall financial condition or results of operations. The impact of any successor or substitute Reference Rate, if any, will vary on an investment-by-investment basis, and any differences may be material and/or create material economic mismatches, especially if investments are used for hedging or similar purposes. In addition, although certain Fund investments may provide for a successor or substitute Reference Rate (or terms governing how to determine a successor or substitute Reference Rate) if the Reference Rate becomes unavailable, certain Fund investments may not provide such a successor or substitute Reference Rate (or terms governing how to determine a successor or substitute Reference Rate). Accordingly, there may be disputes as to: (i) any successor or substitute Reference Rate; or (ii) the enforceability of any Fund investment that does not provide such a successor or substitute Reference Rate (or terms governing how to determine a successor or substitute Reference Rate). The Investment Adviser, Goldman Sachs and/or their affiliates may have discretion to determine a successor or substitute Reference Rate, including any price or other adjustments to account for differences between the successor or substitute Reference Rate and the previous rate. The successor or substitute Reference Rate and any adjustments selected may negatively impact the Fund’s investments, performance or financial condition, including in ways unforeseen by the Investment Adviser, Goldman Sachs and/or their affiliates. In addition, any successor or substitute Reference Rate and any pricing adjustments imposed by a regulator or by counterparties or otherwise may adversely affect the Fund’s performance and/or NAV, and may expose the Fund to additional tax, accounting and regulatory risks.

In the aftermath of the 2007-2008 financial crisis, the financial sector experienced reduced liquidity in credit and other fixed income markets, and an unusually high degree of volatility, both domestically and internationally. While entire markets were impacted, issuers that had exposure to the real estate, mortgage and credit markets were particularly affected. The instability in the financial markets led the U.S. Government to take a number of unprecedented actions designed to support certain financial institutions and certain segments of the financial markets. For example, Dodd-Frank, which was enacted in 2010, provides for broad regulation of financial institutions, consumer financial products and services, broker-dealers, over-the-counter derivatives, investment advisers, credit rating agencies and mortgage lending.

Governments or their agencies may also acquire distressed assets from financial institutions and acquire ownership interests in those institutions. The implications of government ownership and disposition of these assets are unclear, and such ownership or disposition may have positive or negative effects on the liquidity, valuation and performance of the Fund’s portfolio holdings.

In addition, global economies and financial markets are becoming increasingly interconnected, and political, economic and other conditions and events (including, but not limited to, natural disasters, pandemics, epidemics, and social unrest) in one country, region, or financial market may adversely impact issuers in a different country, region or financial market. Furthermore, the occurrence of, among other events, natural or man-made disasters, severe weather or geological events, fires, floods, earthquakes, outbreaks of disease (such as COVID-19, avian influenza or H1N1/09), epidemics, pandemics, malicious acts, cyber-attacks, terrorist acts or the occurrence of climate change, may also adversely impact the performance of the Fund. Such events may result in, among other things, closing borders, exchange closures, health screenings, healthcare service delays, quarantines, cancellations, supply chain disruptions, lower consumer demand, market volatility and general uncertainty. Such events could adversely impact issuers, markets and economies over the short- and long-term, including in ways that cannot necessarily be foreseen. The Fund could be negatively impacted if the value of a portfolio holding were harmed by such political or economic conditions or events. Moreover, such negative political and economic conditions and events could disrupt the processes necessary for the Fund’s operations. See “Special Note Regarding Operational, Cyber Security and Litigation Risks” for additional information on operational risks.

Temporary Investments

The Fund may, for temporary defensive purposes, invest up to 100% of its total assets in: U.S. Government Securities; commercial paper rated at least A-2 by Standard & Poor’s, P-2 by Moody’s or having a comparable rating by another NRSRO (or if unrated, determined by the Investment Adviser to be of comparable credit quality); certificates of deposit; bankers’ acceptances; repurchase agreements; non-convertible preferred stocks and non-convertible corporate bonds with a remaining maturity of less than one year; ETFs and other investment companies; and cash items. When the Fund’s assets are invested in such instruments, the Fund may not be achieving its investment objective.

U.S. Government Securities

The Fund may invest in U.S. Government Securities. Some U.S. Government Securities (such as Treasury bills, notes and bonds, which differ only in their interest rates, maturities and times of issuance) are supported by the full faith and credit of the United States. Others, such as obligations issued or guaranteed by U.S. Government agencies, instrumentalities or sponsored enterprises, are supported either by (i) the right of the issuer to borrow from the U.S. Treasury, (ii) the discretionary authority of the U.S. Government to purchase certain obligations of the issuer or (iii) the credit of the issuer. The U.S. Government is under no legal obligation, in general, to purchase the obligations of its agencies, instrumentalities or sponsored enterprises. No assurance can be given that the U.S. Government will provide financial support to the U.S. Government agencies, instrumentalities or sponsored enterprises in the future, and the U.S. Government may be unable to pay debts when due.

 

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U.S. Government Securities include (to the extent consistent with the Act) securities for which the payment of principal and interest is backed by an irrevocable letter of credit issued by the U.S. Government, or its agencies, instrumentalities or sponsored enterprises. U.S. Government Securities may also include (to the extent consistent with the Act) participations in loans made to foreign governments or their agencies that are guaranteed as to principal and interest by the U.S. Government or its agencies, instrumentalities or sponsored enterprises. The secondary market for certain of these participations is extremely limited. These and other factors discussed in the section above, entitled “Illiquid Investments,” may impact the liquidity of investments in these participations.

Warrants and Stock Purchase Rights

The Fund may invest in preferred stock, warrants or stock purchase rights (“rights”) (in addition to those acquired in units or attached to other securities) (“rights”). Preferred stocks are securities that represent an ownership interest providing the holder with claims on the issuer’s earnings and assets before common stock owners but after bond owners. Unlike debt securities, the obligations of an issuer of preferred stock, including dividends and other payment obligations, may not typically be accelerated by the holders of such preferred stock on the occurrence of an event of default (such as a covenant default or filing of a bankruptcy petition) or other non-compliance by the issuer with the terms of the preferred stock. Often, however, on the occurrence of any such event of default or non-compliance by the issuer, preferred stockholders will be entitled to gain representation on the issuer’s board of directors or increase their existing board representation. In addition, preferred stockholders may be granted voting rights with respect to certain issues on the occurrence of any event of default.

Warrants and other rights are options to buy a stated number of shares of common stock at a specified price at any time during the life of the warrant. The holders of warrants and rights have no voting rights, receive no dividends and have no rights with respect to the assets of the issuer.

INVESTMENT RESTRICTIONS

The investment restrictions set forth below have been adopted by the Trust as fundamental policies that cannot be changed with respect to the Fund without the affirmative vote of the holders of a majority of the outstanding voting securities (as defined in the Act) of the Fund. The investment objective of the Fund and all other investment policies or practices of the Fund are considered by the Trust not to be fundamental and accordingly may be changed without shareholder approval. For purposes of the Act, “majority” of the outstanding voting securities means the lesser of (i) 67% or more of the shares of the Trust or the Fund present at a meeting, if the holders of more than 50% of the outstanding shares of the Trust or the Fund are present or represented by proxy, or (ii) more than 50% of the outstanding shares of the Trust or the Fund.

For purposes of the following limitations (except for the asset coverage requirement with respect to borrowings, which is subject to different requirements under the Act), any limitation which involves a maximum percentage shall not be considered violated unless an excess over the percentage occurs immediately after, and is caused by, an acquisition or encumbrance of securities or assets of, or borrowings by, the Fund. In applying fundamental investment restriction number (1) below to derivative transactions or instruments, including, but not limited to, futures, swaps, forwards, options and structured notes, the Fund will look to the industry of the reference asset(s) and not to the counterparty or issuer. With respect to the Fund’s fundamental investment restriction number (2) below, in the event that asset coverage (as defined in the Act) at any time falls below 300%, the Fund, within three days thereafter (not including Sundays and holidays) or such longer period as the SEC may prescribe by rules and regulations, will reduce the amount of its borrowings to the extent required so that the asset coverage of such borrowings will be at least 300%.

Fundamental Investment Restrictions

As a matter of fundamental policy, the Fund may not:

 

  (1)

Invest more than 25% of its total assets in the securities of one or more issuers conducting their principal business activities in the same industry (for the purposes of this restriction, the U.S. Government, state and municipal governments and their agencies, authorities and instrumentalities are not deemed to be industries);

 

  (2)

Borrow money, except as permitted by the Act, or interpretations or modifications by the SEC, SEC staff or other authority with appropriate jurisdiction.

The following interpretation applies to, but is not part of, this fundamental policy: In determining whether a particular investment in portfolio instruments or participation in portfolio transactions is subject to this borrowing policy, the accounting treatment of such instrument or participation shall be considered, but shall not by itself be determinative. Whether a particular instrument or transaction constitutes a borrowing shall be determined by the Board, after consideration of all of the relevant circumstances;

 

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  (3)

Make loans, except through (a) the purchase of debt obligations, loan interests and other interests or obligations in accordance with the Fund’s investment objective and policies; (b) repurchase agreements with banks, brokers, dealers and other financial institutions; (c) loans of securities as permitted by applicable law or pursuant to an exemptive order granted under the Act; and (d) loans to affiliates of the Fund to the extent permitted by law;

 

  (4)

Underwrite securities issued by others, except to the extent that the sale of portfolio securities by the Fund may be deemed to be an underwriting;

 

  (5)

Purchase, hold or deal in real estate, although the Fund may purchase and sell securities that are secured by real estate or interests therein or that reflect the return of an index of real estate values, securities of issuers which invest or deal in real estate, securities of real estate investment trusts and mortgage-related securities and may hold and sell real estate it has acquired as a result of the ownership of securities;

 

  (6)

Invest in physical commodities, except that the Fund may invest in currency and financial instruments and contracts in accordance with its investment objective and policies, including, without limitation, structured notes, futures contracts, swaps, options on commodities, currencies, swaps and futures, ETFs, investment pools and other instruments, regardless of whether such instrument is considered to be a commodity; and

 

  (7)

Issue senior securities to the extent such issuance would violate applicable law.

The Fund may, notwithstanding any other fundamental investment restriction or policy, invest some or all of its assets in a single open-end investment company or series thereof with substantially the same fundamental investment restrictions and policies as the Fund.

For purposes of the Fund’s industry concentration policy, the Investment Adviser may analyze the characteristics of a particular issuer and instrument and may assign an industry classification consistent with those characteristics. The Investment Adviser may, but need not, consider industry classifications provided by third parties, and the classifications applied to Fund investments will be informed by applicable law.

TRUSTEES AND OFFICERS

The Trust’s Leadership Structure

The business and affairs of the Fund are managed under the direction of the Board of Trustees (the “Board”), subject to the laws of the State of Delaware and the Trust’s Declaration of Trust. The Trustees are responsible for deciding matters of overall policy and reviewing the actions of the Trust’s service providers. The officers of the Trust conduct and supervise the Fund’s daily business operations. Trustees who are not deemed to be “interested persons” of the Trust as defined in the Act are referred to as “Independent Trustees.” Trustees who are deemed to be “interested persons” of the Trust are referred to as “Interested Trustees.” The Board is currently composed of seven Independent Trustees and one Interested Trustee. The Board has selected an Independent Trustee to act as Chair, whose duties include presiding at meetings of the Board and acting as a focal point to address significant issues that may arise between regularly scheduled Board and Committee meetings. In the performance of the Chair’s duties, the Chair will consult with the other Independent Trustees and the Fund’s officers and legal counsel, as appropriate. The Chair may perform other functions as requested by the Board from time to time.

The Board meets as often as necessary to discharge its responsibilities. Currently, the Board conducts regular, in-person meetings at least six times a year, and holds special in-person or telephonic meetings as necessary to address specific issues that require attention prior to the next regularly scheduled meeting. In addition, the Independent Trustees meet at least annually to review, among other things, investment management agreements, distribution (Rule 12b-1) and/or service plans and related agreements, transfer agency agreements and certain other agreements providing for the compensation of Goldman Sachs and/or its affiliates by the Fund, and to consider such other matters as they deem appropriate.

The Board has established five standing committees — Audit, Governance and Nominating, Compliance, Valuation and Contract Review Committees. The Board may establish other committees, or nominate one or more Trustees to examine particular issues related to the Board’s oversight responsibilities, from time to time. Each Committee meets periodically to perform its delegated oversight functions and reports its findings and recommendations to the Board. For more information on the Committees, see the section “STANDING BOARD COMMITTEES,” below.

 

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The Trustees have determined that the Trust’s leadership structure is appropriate because it allows the Trustees to effectively perform their oversight responsibilities.

Trustees of the Trust

Information pertaining to the Trustees of the Trust as of March 27, 2020 is set forth below.

Independent Trustees

 

Name, Address and Age1

  

Position(s)

Held with the

Trust

  

Term of

Office and
Length of

Time Served2

  

Principal Occupation(s) During Past 5 Years

   Number of
Portfolios in Fund
Complex Overseen
by Trustee3
  

Other
Directorships
Held by
Trustee4

Jessica Palmer

Age: 71

   Chair of the Board of Trustees   

Since 2018

(Trustee since 2007)

  

Ms. Palmer is retired. She was formerly Consultant, Citigroup Human Resources Department (2007–2008); Managing Director, Citigroup Corporate and Investment Banking (previously, Salomon Smith Barney/Salomon Brothers) (1984–2006). Ms. Palmer was a Member of the Board of Trustees of Indian Mountain School (private elementary and secondary school) (2004–2009).

 

Chair of the Board of Trustees—Goldman Sachs Trust and Goldman Sachs Variable Insurance Trust.

   104    None

Dwight L. Bush

Age: 63

   Trustee    Since 2020   

Ambassador Bush is President and CEO of D.L. Bush & Associates (a financial advisory and private investment firm) (2002–2014 and 2017–present); and was formerly U.S. Ambassador to the Kingdom of Morocco (2014–2017) and a Member of the Board of Directors of Santander Bank, N.A. (2018–2019). Previously, Ambassador Bush served as an Advisory Board Member of Goldman Sachs Trust and Goldman Sachs Variable Insurance Trust (October 2019– January 2020).

 

Trustee—Goldman Sachs Trust and Goldman Sachs Variable Insurance Trust.

   104    None

Kathryn A. Cassidy

Age: 66

   Trustee    Since 2015   

Ms. Cassidy is retired. Formerly, she was Advisor to the Chairman (May 2014–December 2014); and Senior Vice President and Treasurer (2008–2014), General Electric Company & General Electric Capital Corporation (technology and financial services companies).

 

Trustee—Goldman Sachs Trust and Goldman Sachs Variable Insurance Trust.

   104    None

Diana M. Daniels

Age: 70

   Trustee    Since 2007   

Ms. Daniels is retired. Formerly, she was Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary, The Washington Post Company (1991–2006). Ms. Daniels is a Trustee Emeritus and serves as a Presidential Councillor of Cornell University (2013–Present); former Member of the Legal Advisory Board, New York Stock Exchange (2003–2006) and of the Corporate Advisory Board, Standish Mellon Management Advisors (2006–2007).

 

Trustee—Goldman Sachs Trust and Goldman Sachs Variable Insurance Trust.

   104    None

 

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Name, Address and Age1

  

Position(s)

Held with the

Trust

  

Term of

Office and
Length of

Time Served2

  

Principal Occupation(s) During Past 5 Years

   Number of
Portfolios in Fund
Complex Overseen
by Trustee3
  

Other
Directorships
Held by
Trustee4

Joaquin Delgado

Age: 60

   Trustee    Since 2020   

Dr. Delgado is retired. He is Director, Hexion Inc. (a specialty chemical manufacturer) (2019–present); and Director, Stepan Company (a specialty chemical manufacturer) (2011–present); and was formerly Executive Vice President, Consumer Business Group of 3M Company (July 2016–July 2019); and Executive Vice President, Health Care Business Group of 3M Company (October 2012–July 2016). Previously, Dr. Delgado served as an Advisory Board Member of Goldman Sachs Trust and Goldman Sachs Variable Insurance Trust (October 2019– January 2020).

 

Trustee—Goldman Sachs Trust and Goldman Sachs Variable Insurance Trust.

   104    Stepan Company (a specialty chemical manufacturer)
Roy W. Templin
Age: 59
   Trustee    Since 2013   

Mr. Templin is retired. He is Director, Armstrong World Industries, Inc. (a designer and manufacturer of ceiling, wall and suspension system solutions) (2016–Present); and was formerly Chairman of the Board of Directors, Con-Way Incorporated (a transportation, logistics and supply chain management service company) (2014–2015); Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, Whirlpool Corporation (an appliance manufacturer and marketer) (2004–2012). Previously, Mr. Templin served as an Advisory Board Member of Goldman Sachs Trust and Goldman Sachs Variable Insurance Trust (June 2013 – October 2013).

 

Trustee—Goldman Sachs Trust and Goldman Sachs Variable Insurance Trust.

   104    Armstrong World Industries, Inc. (a ceiling, wall and suspension systems solutions manufacturer)

Gregory G. Weaver

Age: 68

   Trustee    Since 2015   

Mr. Weaver is retired. He is Director, Verizon Communications Inc. (2015–Present); and was formerly Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Deloitte & Touche LLP (a professional services firm) (2001–2005 and 2012–2014); and Member of the Board of Directors, Deloitte & Touche LLP (2006–2012).

 

Trustee—Goldman Sachs Trust and Goldman Sachs Variable Insurance Trust.

   104    Verizon Communications Inc.

 

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Interested Trustee

 

Name, Address and Age1

  

Position(s)
Held with the

Trust

  

Term of

Office and
Length of

Time Served2

  

Principal Occupation(s) During Past 5 Years

   Number of
Portfolios in Fund
Complex Overseen
by Trustee3
  

Other
Directorships

Held by
Trustee4

James A. McNamara*

Age: 57

   President and Trustee    Since 2007   

Advisory Director, Goldman Sachs (January 2018–Present); Managing Director, Goldman Sachs (January 2000–December 2017); Director of Institutional Fund Sales, GSAM (April 1998–December 2000); and Senior Vice President and Manager, Dreyfus Institutional Service Corporation (January 1993–April 1998).

 

President and Trustee—Goldman Sachs Trust; Goldman Sachs Variable Insurance Trust; Goldman Sachs Trust II; Goldman Sachs MLP Income Opportunities Fund; Goldman Sachs MLP and Energy Renaissance Fund; Goldman Sachs ETF Trust; Goldman Sachs Credit Income Fund; and Goldman Sachs Real Estate Diversified Income Fund.

   169    None

 

* 

Mr. McNamara is considered to be an “Interested Trustee” because he holds positions with Goldman Sachs and owns securities issued by The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. Mr. McNamara holds comparable positions with certain other companies of which Goldman Sachs, GSAM or an affiliate thereof is the investment adviser, administrator and/or distributor.

1 

Each Trustee may be contacted by writing to the Trustee, c/o Goldman Sachs, 200 West Street, New York, New York, 10282, Attn: Caroline Kraus.

2 

Subject to such policies as may be adopted by the Board from time-to-time, each Trustee holds office for an indefinite term, until the earliest of: (a) the election of his or her successor; (b) the date the Trustee resigns or is removed by the Board or shareholders, in accordance with the Trust’s Declaration of Trust; or (c) the termination of the Trust. The Board has adopted policies which provide that (a) no Trustee shall hold office for more than 15 years and (b) a Trustee shall retire as of December 31st of the calendar year in which he or she reaches his or her 74th birthday, unless a waiver of such requirement shall have been adopted by a majority of the other Trustees. These policies may be changed by the Trustees without shareholder vote.

3 

The Goldman Sachs Fund Complex includes certain other companies listed above for each respective Trustee. As of March 27, 2020, Goldman Sachs Trust consisted of 91 portfolios (89 of which offered shares to the public); Goldman Sachs Variable Insurance Trust consisted of 13 portfolios; Goldman Sachs Trust II consisted of 19 portfolios (17 of which offered shares to the public); Goldman Sachs ETF Trust consisted of 42 portfolios (21 of which offered shares to the public); and Goldman Sachs MLP Income Opportunities Fund, Goldman Sachs MLP and Energy Renaissance Fund, Goldman Sachs Credit Income Fund and Goldman Sachs Real Estate Diversified Income Fund each consisted of one portfolio. Goldman Sachs Credit Income Fund and Goldman Sachs Real Estate Diversified Income Fund did not offer shares to the public.

4 

This column includes only directorships of companies required to report to the SEC under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (i.e., “public companies”) or other investment companies registered under the Act.

The significance or relevance of a Trustee’s particular experience, qualifications, attributes and/or skills is considered by the Board on an individual basis. Experience, qualifications, attributes and/or skills common to all Trustees include the ability to critically review, evaluate and discuss information provided to them and to interact effectively with the other Trustees and with representatives of the Investment Adviser and its affiliates, other service providers, legal counsel and the Fund’s independent registered public accounting firm, the capacity to address financial and legal issues and exercise reasonable business judgment, and a commitment to the representation of the interests of the Fund and its shareholders. The Governance and Nominating Committee’s charter contains certain other factors that are considered by the Governance and Nominating Committee in identifying and evaluating potential nominees to serve as Independent Trustees. Based on each Trustee’s experience, qualifications, attributes and/or skills, considered individually and with respect to the experience, qualifications, attributes and/or skills of other Trustees, the Board has concluded that each Trustee should serve as a Trustee. Below is a brief discussion of the experience, qualifications, attributes and/or skills of each individual Trustee as of March 27, 2020 that led the Board to conclude that such individual should serve as a Trustee.

 

B-40


Trustees

Jessica Palmer. Ms. Palmer has served as a Trustee since 2007 and Chair of the Board since 2018. Ms. Palmer worked at Citigroup Corporate and Investment Banking (previously, Salomon Smith Barney/Salomon Brothers) for over 20 years, where she was a Managing Director. While at Citigroup Corporate and Investment Banking, Ms. Palmer was Head of Global Risk Management, Chair of the Global Commitment Committee, Co-Chair of International Investment Banking (New York) and Head of Fixed Income Capital Markets. Ms. Palmer was also a member of the Management Committee and Risk Management Operating Committee of Citigroup, Inc. Ms. Palmer was also Assistant Vice President of the International Division at Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. Ms. Palmer was also a member of the Board of Trustees of a private elementary and secondary school. Based on the foregoing, Ms. Palmer is experienced with financial and investment matters.

Dwight L. Bush. Ambassador Bush has served as a Trustee since 2020. Ambassador Bush also serves as President and CEO of D.L. Bush & Associates, a financial advisory and private investment firm. From 2014 to 2017, he served as U.S. Ambassador to the Kingdom of Morocco. Prior to his service as U.S. Ambassador, he established and served as CEO of Urban Trust Bank and UTB Education Finance, LLC, an integrated provider of education credit services. Ambassador Bush was previously Vice President of Corporate Development for SLM Corporation (commonly known as Sallie Mae). He has served as a member of the Board of Directors of Santander Bank, N.A., JER Investors Trust, a specialty real estate finance company, and as Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors of CASI Pharmaceuticals (formerly Entremed, Inc.) where he was Chairman of the Audit Committee. He also serves as a member of the Board of Directors for several philanthropic organizations, including the Middle East Investment Initiative and the American Council of Young Political Leaders, and has served on the executive committee of Cornell University. Ambassador Bush previously served on the Trust’s Advisory Board. Based on the foregoing, Ambassador Bush is experienced with financial and investment matters.

Kathryn A. Cassidy. Ms. Cassidy has served as a Trustee since 2015. Previously, Ms. Cassidy held several senior management positions at General Electric Company (“GE”) and General Electric Capital Corporation (“GECapital”) and its subsidiaries, where she worked for 35 years, most recently as Advisor to the Chairman of GECapital and Senior Vice President and Treasurer of GE and GECapital. As Senior Vice President and Treasurer, Ms. Cassidy led capital markets and treasury matters of multiple initial public offerings. Ms. Cassidy was responsible for managing global treasury operations, including global funding, hedging, derivative accounting and execution, cash and liquidity management, cash operations and treasury services, and global regulatory compliance and reporting for liquidity, derivatives, market risk and counterparty credit risk. Ms. Cassidy also serves as a Director of buildOn, a not-for-profit organization, where she serves as Chair of the Finance Committee. Based on the foregoing, Ms. Cassidy is experienced with financial and investment matters.

Diana M. Daniels. Ms. Daniels has served as a Trustee since 2007. Ms. Daniels also serves as a Trustee Emeritus and Presidential Councillor of Cornell University. Ms. Daniels held several senior management positions at The Washington Post Company and its subsidiaries, where she worked for 29 years. While at The Washington Post Company, Ms. Daniels served as Vice President, General Counsel, Secretary to the Board of Directors and Secretary to the Audit Committee. Previously, Ms. Daniels served as Vice President and General Counsel of Newsweek, Inc. Ms. Daniels has also served as Vice Chair and Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees of Cornell University and as a member of the Corporate Advisory Board of Standish Mellon Management Advisors and of the Legal Advisory Board of New York Stock Exchange. Ms. Daniels is also a member of the American Law Institute and of the Advisory Council of the Inter-American Press Association. Based on the foregoing, Ms. Daniels is experienced with legal, financial and investment matters.

Joaquin Delgado. Dr. Delgado has served as a Trustee since 2020. Dr. Delgado is a member of the Board of Directors for Stepan Company, a publicly-traded specialty chemical manufacturer, and Hexion Inc., a privately held specialty chemical manufacturer. Previously, Dr. Delgado held several senior management positions at 3M Company, where he worked for over 30 years, most recently as Executive Vice President of 3M Company’s Consumer Business Group. As Executive Vice President, Vice President, and General Manager at 3M Company, Dr. Delgado directed mergers and acquisitions worldwide, and was responsible for managing global operations in specialized markets such as semiconductors, consumer electronics, communications, medical and office supplies and software. Dr. Delgado also serves as a Director of MacPhail Center for Music, a not-for-profit organization. Dr. Delgado previously served on the Trust’s Advisory Board. Based on the foregoing, Dr. Delgado is experienced with financial and investment matters.

Roy W. Templin. Mr. Templin has served as a Trustee since 2013. Mr. Templin is a member of the Board of Directors of Armstrong World Industries, Inc., a ceiling, wall and suspension system solutions manufacturer, where he serves as Chair of the Finance Committee and a member of the Nominating and Governance Committee, Management Development and Compensation Committee and Audit Committee. Previously, Mr. Templin served as Chairman of the Board of Directors of Con-Way Incorporated, a transportation, logistics and supply-chain management services company, prior to its sale to XPO Logistics, Inc. in 2015. Mr. Templin held a number of senior management positions at Whirlpool Corporation, an appliance manufacturer and marketer, including Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, Vice President and Corporate Controller there. At Whirlpool, Mr. Templin served on the Executive Committee and was responsible for all aspects of finance globally, including treasury, accounting, risk management, investor relations, internal auditing, tax and facilities. Prior to joining Whirlpool, Mr. Templin served in several roles at Kimball International, a furniture and electronic assemblies manufacturer, including Vice President of Finance and Chief Accounting Officer. Mr. Templin was also a Director of Corporate Finance for Cummins, Inc., a diesel engine manufacturer, a Director of Financial Development at NCR Corporation, a computer hardware and electronics company, and a member of the audit staff of Price Waterhouse (now PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP). Mr. Templin is a certified public accountant, a certified management accountant and a member of the Institute of Management Accountants Accounting Honor Society Advisory Board. Based on the foregoing, Mr. Templin is experienced with accounting, financial and investment matters.

Gregory G. Weaver. Mr. Weaver has served as a Trustee since 2015. Mr. Weaver has been designated as the Board’s “audit committee financial expert” given his extensive accounting and finance experience. Mr. Weaver also serves as a Director of Verizon Communications Inc., where he serves as Chair of the Audit Committee. Previously, Mr. Weaver was a partner with Deloitte & Touche LLP for 30 years. He was the firm’s first chairman and chief executive officer from 2001–2005, and was elected to serve a second term (2012–2014). While serving as chairman at Deloitte & Touche LLP, Mr. Weaver led the audit and enterprise risk services practice, overseeing all operations, strategic positioning, audit quality, and talent matters. Mr. Weaver also served as a member of the firm’s Board of Directors for six years where he served on the Governance Committee and Partner Earnings and Benefits Committee and was chairman of the Elected Leaders Committee and Strategic Investment Committee. Mr. Weaver is also a Board member and Audit Committee chair of the YMCA of Westfield, New Jersey. Mr. Weaver has also served as President of the Council of Boy Scouts of America in Long Rivers, Connecticut, President of A Better Chance in Glastonbury, Connecticut, as a member of the Financial Accounting Standards Advisory Council and as a board member of the Stan Ross Department of Accountancy, Baruch College. Based on the foregoing, Mr. Weaver is experienced with accounting, financial and investment matters.

 

B-41


James A. McNamara. Mr. McNamara has served as a Trustee and President of the Trust since 2007 and has served as an officer of the Trust since 2001. Mr. McNamara is an Advisory Director to Goldman Sachs. Prior to retiring as Managing Director at Goldman Sachs in 2017, Mr. McNamara was head of Global Third Party Distribution at GSAM and was previously head of U.S. Third Party Distribution. Prior to that role, Mr. McNamara served as Director of Institutional Fund Sales. Prior to joining Goldman Sachs, Mr. McNamara was Vice President and Manager at Dreyfus Institutional Service Corporation. Based on the foregoing, Mr. McNamara is experienced with financial and investment matters.

Officers of the Trust

Information pertaining to the officers of the Trust as of December 14, 2020 is set forth below.

 

Name, Age and Address

  

Position(s) Held

with the Trust

  

Term of Office and
Length of Time Served1

  

Principal Occupation(s)

During Past 5 Years

James A. McNamara

200 West Street

New York, NY 10282

Age: 58

  

Trustee and

President

   Since 2007   

Advisory Director, Goldman Sachs (January 2018 – Present); Managing Director, Goldman Sachs (January 2000 – December 2017); Director of Institutional Fund Sales, GSAM (April 1998 – December 2000); and Senior Vice President and Manager, Dreyfus Institutional Service Corporation (January 1993 – April 1998).

 

President and Trustee—Goldman Sachs Trust; Goldman Sachs Variable Insurance Trust; Goldman Sachs Trust II; Goldman Sachs MLP and Energy Renaissance Fund; Goldman Sachs ETF Trust; Goldman Sachs Credit Income Fund; and Goldman Sachs Real Estate Diversified Income Fund.

Joseph F. DiMaria

30 Hudson Street

Jersey City, NJ 07302

Age: 52

   Treasurer, Principal Financial Officer and Principal Accounting Officer    Since 2017 (Treasurer and Principal Financial Officer since 2019)   

Managing Director, Goldman Sachs (November 2015 – Present) and Vice President – Mutual Fund Administration, Columbia Management Investment Advisers, LLC (May 2010 – October 2015).

 

Treasurer, Principal Financial Officer and Principal Accounting Officer—Goldman Sachs Trust (previously Assistant Treasurer (2016)); Goldman Sachs Variable Insurance Trust (previously Assistant Treasurer (2016)); Goldman Sachs Trust II (previously Assistant Treasurer (2017)); Goldman Sachs MLP and Energy Renaissance Fund (previously Assistant Treasurer (2017)); Goldman Sachs ETF Trust (previously Assistant Treasurer (2017)); Goldman Sachs Credit Income Fund; and Goldman Sachs Real Estate Diversified Income Fund.

Julien Yoo

200 West Street

New York, NY 10282

Age: 49

   Chief Compliance Officer    Since 2019   

Managing Director, Goldman Sachs (January 2020–Present); Vice President, Goldman Sachs (December 2014–December 2019); and Vice President, Morgan Stanley Investment Management (2005–2010).

 

Chief Compliance Officer—Goldman Sachs Trust; Goldman Sachs Variable Insurance Trust; Goldman Sachs Trust II; Goldman Sachs BDC, Inc.; Goldman Sachs Private Middle Market Credit LLC; Goldman Sachs Private Middle Market Credit II LLC; Goldman Sachs Middle Market Lending Corp.; Goldman Sachs MLP and Energy Renaissance Fund; Goldman Sachs ETF Trust; Goldman Sachs Credit Income Fund; and Goldman Sachs Real Estate Diversified Income Fund.

Peter W. Fortner

30 Hudson Street Jersey City, NJ 07302

Age: 62

   Assistant Treasurer    Since 2000   

Vice President, Goldman Sachs (July 2000–Present); Principal Accounting Officer, Commerce Bank Mutual Fund Complex (2008–Present); and Treasurer of Goldman Sachs Philanthropy Fund (2019–Present).

 

Assistant Treasurer—Goldman Sachs Trust; Goldman Sachs Variable Insurance Trust; Goldman Sachs Trust II; Goldman Sachs MLP and Energy Renaissance Fund; Goldman Sachs ETF Trust; Goldman Sachs Credit Income Fund; and Goldman Sachs Real Estate Diversified Income Fund.

 

B-42


Name, Age and Address

  

Position(s) Held

with the Trust

  

Term of Office and
Length of Time Served1

  

Principal Occupation(s)

During Past 5 Years

Allison Fracchiolla

30 Hudson Street

Jersey City, NJ 07302

Age: 37

   Assistant Treasurer    Since 2014   

Vice President, Goldman Sachs (January 2013–Present).

 

Assistant Treasurer—Goldman Sachs Trust; Goldman Sachs Variable Insurance Trust; Goldman Sachs Trust II; and Goldman Sachs ETF Trust.

Tyler Hanks

222 S. Main St

Salt Lake City, UT 84101

Age: 38

   Assistant Treasurer    Since 2019   

Vice President, Goldman Sachs (January 2016—Present); and Associate, Goldman Sachs (January 2014—January 2016).

 

Assistant Treasurer—Goldman Sachs Trust; Goldman Sachs Variable Insurance Trust; Goldman Sachs Trust II; Goldman Sachs MLP and Energy Renaissance Fund; Goldman Sachs ETF Trust; Goldman Sachs Credit Income Fund; and Goldman Sachs Real Estate Diversified Income Fund.

Kirsten Frivold Imohiosen

200 West Street

New York, NY 10282

Age: 50

   Assistant Treasurer    Since 2019   

Managing Director, Goldman Sachs (January 2018–Present); and Vice President, Goldman Sachs (May 1999–December 2017).

 

Assistant Treasurer—Goldman Sachs Trust; Goldman Sachs Variable Insurance Trust; Goldman Sachs Trust II; Goldman Sachs MLP and Energy Renaissance Fund; Goldman Sachs BDC, Inc.; Goldman Sachs Private Middle Market Credit LLC; Goldman Sachs Private Middle Market Credit II LLC; Goldman Sachs Middle Market Lending Corp.; Goldman Sachs ETF Trust; Goldman Sachs Credit Income Fund; and Goldman Sachs Real Estate Diversified Income Fund.

Steven Z. Indich

30 Hudson Street

Jersey City, NJ 07302

Age: 51

   Assistant Treasurer    Since 2019   

Vice President, Goldman Sachs (February 2010 – Present).

 

Assistant Treasurer—Goldman Sachs Trust; Goldman Sachs Variable Insurance Trust; Goldman Sachs Trust II; Goldman Sachs MLP and Energy Renaissance Fund; Goldman Sachs BDC, Inc.; Goldman Sachs Private Middle Market Credit LLC; Goldman Sachs Private Middle Market Credit II LLC; Goldman Sachs Middle Market Lending Corp.; Goldman Sachs ETF Trust; Goldman Sachs Credit Income Fund; and Goldman Sachs Real Estate Diversified Income Fund.

Carol Liu

30 Hudson Street

Jersey City, NJ 07302

Age: 45

   Assistant Treasurer    Since 2019   

Vice President, Goldman Sachs (October 2017 – Present); Tax Director, The Raine Group LLC (August 2015 – October 2017); and Tax Director, Icon Investments LLC (January 2012 – August 2015).

 

Assistant Treasurer—Goldman Sachs Trust; Goldman Sachs Variable Insurance Trust; Goldman Sachs Trust II; Goldman Sachs MLP and Energy Renaissance Fund; Goldman Sachs BDC, Inc.; Goldman Sachs Private Middle Market Credit LLC; Goldman Sachs Private Middle Market Credit II LLC; Goldman Sachs Middle Market Lending Corp.; Goldman Sachs ETF Trust; Goldman Sachs Credit Income Fund; and Goldman Sachs Real Estate Diversified Income Fund.

 

B-43


Name, Age and Address

  

Position(s) Held

with the Trust

  

Term of Office and
Length of Time Served1

  

Principal Occupation(s)

During Past 5 Years

Christopher Bradford

30 Hudson Street

Jersey City, NJ 07302

Age: 39

   Vice President    Since 2020   

Vice President, Goldman Sachs (January 2014–Present).

 

Vice President—Goldman Sachs Trust; Goldman Sachs Variable Insurance Trust; Goldman Sachs Trust II; Goldman Sachs ETF Trust; Goldman Sachs MLP and Energy Renaissance Fund; Goldman Sachs Real Estate Diversified Income Fund; and Goldman Sachs Credit Income Fund.

Jesse Cole

71 South Wacker Drive

Chicago, IL 60606

Age: 57

   Vice President    Since 1998   

Managing Director, Goldman Sachs (December 2006 – Present); Vice President, GSAM (June 1998 – Present); and Vice President, AIM Management Group, Inc. (investment adviser) (April 1996 – June 1998).

 

Vice President—Goldman Sachs Trust; Goldman Sachs Variable Insurance Trust; and Goldman Sachs Trust II.

Miriam L. Cytryn

200 West Street

New York, NY 10282

Age: 62

   Vice President    Since 2008   

Vice President, GSAM (2008 – Present); Vice President of Divisional Management, Investment Management Division (2007 – 2008); Vice President and Chief of Staff, GSAM US Distribution (2003 – 2007); and Vice President of Employee Relations, Goldman Sachs (1996 – 2003).

 

Vice President—Goldman Sachs Trust; Goldman Sachs Variable Insurance Trust; and Goldman Sachs Trust II.

Frank Murphy

200 West Street

New York, NY 10282

Age: 46

   Vice President    Since 2019   

Managing Director, Goldman Sachs (2015 – Present); Vice President, Goldman Sachs (2003 – 2014); Associate, Goldman Sachs (2001 – 2002); and Analyst, Goldman Sachs (1999 – 2001).

 

Vice President—Goldman Sachs Trust; and Goldman Sachs Variable Insurance Trust.

Patrick Hyland

200 West Street

New York, NY 10282

Age: 46

   Vice President    Since 2019   

Vice President, Goldman Sachs (2010 – Present).

 

Vice President—Goldman Sachs Trust; and Goldman Sachs Variable Insurance Trust.

Emily Stecher

200 West Street

New York, NY 10282

Age: 33

   Vice President    Since 2020   

Managing Director, Goldman Sachs (January 2020–Present); Vice President, Goldman Sachs (January 2015–December 2019).

 

Vice President—Goldman Sachs Trust; Goldman Sachs Variable Insurance Trust; Goldman Sachs Trust II; Goldman Sachs ETF Trust; Goldman Sachs MLP and Energy Renaissance Fund; Goldman Sachs Real Estate Diversified Income Fund; and Goldman Sachs Credit Income Fund.

 

B-44


Name, Age and Address

  

Position(s) Held

with the Trust

  

Term of Office and
Length of Time Served1

  

Principal Occupation(s)

During Past 5 Years

Caroline L. Kraus

200 West Street

New York, NY 10282

Age: 43

   Secretary    Since 2012   

Managing Director, Goldman Sachs (January 2016–Present); Vice President, Goldman Sachs (August 2006–December 2015); Senior Counsel, Goldman Sachs (January 2020–Present); Associate General Counsel, Goldman Sachs (2012–December 2019); Assistant General Counsel, Goldman Sachs (August 2006–December 2011); and Associate, Weil, Gotshal & Manges, LLP (2002–2006).

 

Secretary—Goldman Sachs Trust (previously Assistant Secretary (2012)); Goldman Sachs Variable Insurance Trust (previously Assistant Secretary (2012)); Goldman Sachs Trust II; Goldman Sachs BDC, Inc.; Goldman Sachs Private Middle Market Credit LLC; Goldman Sachs Private Middle Market Credit II LLC; Goldman Sachs Middle Market Lending Corp.; Goldman Sachs MLP and Energy Renaissance Fund; Goldman Sachs ETF Trust; Goldman Sachs Credit Income Fund; and Goldman Sachs Real Estate Diversified Income Fund.

David A. Fishman

200 West Street
New York, NY 10282

Age: 56

   Assistant Secretary    Since 2001   

Managing Director, Goldman Sachs (December 2001 – Present); and Vice President, Goldman Sachs (1997 – December 2001).

 

Assistant Secretary—Goldman Sachs Trust; and Goldman Sachs Variable Insurance Trust.

Robert Griffith

200 West Street

New York, NY 10282

Age: 46

   Assistant Secretary    Since 2011   

Vice President, Goldman Sachs (August 2011 – Present); Associate General Counsel, Goldman Sachs (December 2014 – Present); Assistant General Counsel, Goldman Sachs (August 2011 – December 2014); Vice President and Counsel, Nomura Holding America, Inc. (2010 – 2011); and Associate, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP (2005 – 2010).

 

Assistant Secretary—Goldman Sachs Trust; Goldman Sachs Variable Insurance Trust; Goldman Sachs Trust II; Goldman Sachs MLP and Energy Renaissance Fund; Goldman Sachs ETF Trust; Goldman Sachs Credit Income Fund; and Goldman Sachs Real Estate Diversified Income Fund.

Shaun Cullinan

200 West Street

New York, NY 10282

Age: 40

   Assistant Secretary    Since 2018   

Managing Director, Goldman Sachs (2018 – Present); Vice President, Goldman Sachs (2009 – 2017); Associate, Goldman Sachs (2006 – 2008); Analyst, Goldman Sachs (2004 – 2005).

 

Assistant Secretary—Goldman Sachs Trust; Goldman Sachs Variable Insurance Trust; and Goldman Sachs Trust II.

 

1 

Officers hold office at the pleasure of the Board of Trustees or until their successors are duly elected and qualified. Each officer holds comparable positions with certain other companies of which Goldman Sachs, GSAM or an affiliate thereof is the investment adviser, administrator and/or distributor.

Standing Board Committees

The Audit Committee oversees the audit process and provides assistance to the Board with respect to fund accounting, tax compliance and financial statement matters. In performing its responsibilities, the Audit Committee selects and recommends annually to the Board an independent registered public accounting firm to audit the books and records of the Trust for the ensuing year, and reviews with the firm the scope and results of each audit. All of the Independent Trustees serve on the Audit Committee and Mr. Weaver serves as Chair of the Audit Committee. The Audit Committee held five meetings during the fiscal year ended August 31, 2019.

The Governance and Nominating Committee has been established to: (i) assist the Board in matters involving mutual fund governance, which includes making recommendations to the Board with respect to the effectiveness of the Board in carrying out its responsibilities in governing the Fund and overseeing its management; (ii) select and nominate candidates for appointment or election to serve as Independent Trustees; and (iii) advise the Board on ways to improve its effectiveness. All of the Independent Trustees serve on the Governance and Nominating Committee. The Governance and Nominating Committee held two meetings during the fiscal year ended August 31, 2019. As stated above, each Trustee holds office for an indefinite term until the occurrence of certain events. In filling Board vacancies, the Governance and Nominating Committee will consider nominees recommended by shareholders. Nominee recommendations should be submitted to the Trust at its mailing address stated in the Fund’s Prospectus and should be directed to the attention of the Goldman Sachs Trust Governance and Nominating Committee.

 

B-45


The Compliance Committee has been established for the purpose of overseeing the compliance processes: (i) of the Fund; and (ii) insofar as they relate to services provided to the Fund, of the Fund’s Investment Adviser, Distributor, administrator (if any), and Transfer Agent, except that compliance processes relating to the accounting and financial reporting processes, and certain related matters, are overseen by the Audit Committee. In addition, the Compliance Committee provides assistance to the full Board with respect to compliance matters. The Compliance Committee met five times during the fiscal year ended August 31, 2019. All of the Independent Trustees serve on the Compliance Committee.

The Valuation Committee is authorized to act for the Board in connection with the valuation of portfolio securities held by the Fund in accordance with the Trust’s Valuation Procedures. Messrs. McNamara and DiMaria serve on the Valuation Committee. The Valuation Committee met twelve times during the fiscal year ended August 31, 2019.

The Contract Review Committee has been established for the purpose of overseeing the processes of the Board for reviewing and monitoring performance under the Fund’s investment management, distribution, transfer agency, and certain other agreements with the Fund’s Investment Adviser and its affiliates. The Contract Review Committee is also responsible for overseeing the Board’s processes for considering and reviewing performance under the operation of the Fund’s distribution, service, shareholder administration and other plans, and any agreements related to the plans, whether or not such plans and agreements are adopted pursuant to Rule 12b-1 under the Act. The Contract Review Committee also provides appropriate assistance to the Board in connection with the Board’s approval, oversight and review of the Fund’s other service providers including, without limitation, the Fund’s custodian/fund accounting agent, sub-transfer agents, professional (legal and accounting) firms and printing firms. The Contract Review Committee met four times during the fiscal year ended August 31, 2019. All of the Independent Trustees serve on the Contract Review Committee.

Risk Oversight

The Board is responsible for the oversight of the activities of the Fund, including oversight of risk management. Day-to-day risk management with respect to the Fund is the responsibility of GSAM or other service providers (depending on the nature of the risk), subject to supervision by GSAM. The risks of the Fund include, but are not limited to, liquidity risk, investment risk, compliance risk, operational risk, reputational risk, credit risk and counterparty risk. Each of GSAM and the other service providers have their own independent interest in risk management and their policies and methods of risk management may differ from the Fund and each other’s in the setting of priorities, the resources available or the effectiveness of relevant controls. As a result, the Board recognizes that it is not possible to identify all of the risks that may affect the Fund or to develop processes and controls to eliminate or mitigate their occurrence or effects, and that some risks are simply beyond the control of the Fund or GSAM, its affiliates or other service providers.

The Board effectuates its oversight role primarily through regular and special meetings of the Board and Board committees. In certain cases, risk management issues are specifically addressed in reports, presentations and discussions. For example, on an annual basis, GSAM will provide the Board with a written report that addresses the operation, adequacy and effectiveness of the Trust’s liquidity risk management program, which is designed to assess and manage the Fund’s liquidity risk. GSAM also has a risk management team that assists GSAM in managing investment risk. Representatives from the risk management team meet regularly with the Board to discuss their analysis and methodologies. In addition, investment risk is discussed in the context of regular presentations to the Board on Fund strategy and performance. Other types of risk are addressed as part of presentations on related topics (e.g. compliance policies) or in the context of presentations focused specifically on one or more risks. The Board also receives reports from GSAM management on operational risks, reputational risks and counterparty risks relating to the Fund.

Board oversight of risk management is also performed by various Board committees. For example, the Audit Committee meets with both the Fund’s independent registered public accounting firm and GSAM’s internal audit group to review risk controls in place that support the Fund as well as test results, and the Compliance Committee meets with the CCO and representatives of GSAM’s compliance group to review testing results of the Fund’s compliance policies and procedures and other compliance issues. Board oversight of risk is also performed as needed between meetings through communications between GSAM and the Board. The Board may, at any time and in its discretion, change the manner in which it conducts risk oversight. The Board’s oversight role does not make the Board a guarantor of the Fund’s investments or activities.

 

B-46


Trustee Ownership of Fund Shares

The following table shows the dollar range of shares beneficially owned by each Trustee (then serving) in the Fund and other portfolios of the Goldman Sachs Fund Complex as of December 31, 2018, unless otherwise noted.

 

Name of Trustee

   Dollar Range of
Equity Securities in
the Fund1
   Aggregate Dollar
Range of Equity
Securities in All
Portfolios in Fund
Complex Overseen By
Trustee

Jessica Palmer

   None    Over $100,000

Kathryn A. Cassidy

   None    Over $100,000

Diana M. Daniels

   None    Over $100,000

James A. McNamara

   None    Over $100,000

Roy W. Templin

   None    Over $100,000

Gregory G. Weaver

   None    Over $100,000

 

1 

Includes the value of shares beneficially owned by each Trustee in the Fund.

As of December 1, 2019, the Trustees and Officers of the Trust as a group owned less than 1% of the outstanding shares of beneficial interest of each class of the Fund.

Board Compensation

Each Independent Trustee is compensated with a unitary annual fee for his or her services as a Trustee of the Trust and as a member of the Governance and Nominating Committee, Compliance Committee, Contract Review Committee, and Audit Committee. The Chair and “audit committee financial expert” receive additional compensation for their services. The Independent Trustees are also reimbursed for reasonable travel expenses incurred in connection with attending meetings. The Trust may also pay the reasonable incidental costs of a Trustee to attend training or other types of conferences relating to the investment company industry.

The following tables set forth certain information with respect to the compensation of each Trustee of the Trust (then serving) for the fiscal year ended August 31, 2019:

Trustee Compensation

 

Name of Trustee

   Aggregate Compensation from
the Fund for the Fiscal Year
Ended August 31, 2019
     Pension or Retirement
Benefits Accrued as Part
Of the Trust’s Expenses
     Total Compensation
From Fund Complex
(including the  Fund)4
 

Jessica Palmer1

   $ 4,160      $ 0      $ 493,000  

Kathryn A. Cassidy

     2,771        0        328,500  

Diana M. Daniels

     2,771        0        328,500  

James A. McNamara2

     —          —          —    

Roy W. Templin

     2,771        0        328,500  

Gregory G. Weaver3

     3,217        0        381,500  

 

1 

Includes compensation as Board Chair.

2 

Mr. McNamara is an Interested Trustee, and as such, receives no compensation from the Fund or the Goldman Sachs Fund Complex.

3 

Includes compensation as “audit committee financial expert,” as defined in Item 3 of Form N-CSR.

4 

Represents fees paid to each Trustee during the fiscal year ended August 31, 2019 from the Goldman Sachs Fund Complex. As of the most recent fiscal year end, neither the Fund nor the Fund Complex paid any fees to either of Ambassador Bush or Dr. Delgado, who were not yet serving as Trustees.

Miscellaneous

The Trust, its Investment Adviser and principal underwriter have adopted codes of ethics under Rule 17j-1 of the Act that permit personnel subject to their particular codes of ethics to invest in securities, including securities that may be purchased or held by the Fund.

 

B-47


MANAGEMENT SERVICES

As stated in the Fund’s Prospectus, GSAM, 200 West Street, New York, New York 10282, serves as Investment Adviser to the Fund. GSAM is an indirect, wholly-owned subsidiary of The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. and an affiliate of Goldman Sachs. See “Service Providers” in the Fund’s Prospectus for a description of the Investment Adviser’s duties to the Fund.

Founded in 1869, The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. is a publicly-held financial holding company and a leading global investment banking, securities and investment management firm. Goldman Sachs is a leader in developing portfolio strategies and in many fields of investing and financing, participating in financial markets worldwide and serving individuals, institutions, corporations and governments. Goldman Sachs is also among the principal market sources for current and thorough information on companies, industrial sectors, markets, economies and currencies, and trades and makes markets in a wide range of equity and debt securities 24 hours a day. The firm is headquartered in New York with offices in countries throughout the world. It has trading professionals throughout the United States, as well as in London, Frankfurt, Tokyo, Seoul, Sao Paulo and other major financial centers around the world. The active participation of Goldman Sachs in the world’s financial markets enhances its ability to identify attractive investments. Goldman Sachs has agreed to permit the Fund to use the name “Goldman Sachs” or a derivative thereof as part of the Fund’s name for as long as the Fund’s management agreement (the “Management Agreement”) is in effect.

The Investment Adviser oversees the provision of investment advisory and portfolio management services to the Fund, including developing the Fund’s investment program. The GPS Group is responsible for the Fund’s asset allocations. GPS utilizes a proprietary asset allocation model that provides estimations of medium- and long-term risks, returns, and correlations across a large number of asset classes and investment strategies as an input to its multi-asset class allocation work for a diverse set of clients globally. For all its clients, and with respect to the Fund, GPS applies a risk-based approach to asset allocation that draws from both fundamental and quantitative disciplines with the intention of dynamically accessing a diversified set of risks and returns in a market cycle aware manner.

The Management Agreement provides that GSAM, in its capacity as Investment Adviser, may render similar services to others so long as the services under the Management Agreement are not impaired thereby. The Fund’s Management Agreement was most recently approved by the Trustees of the Trust, including a majority of the Trustees of the Trust who are not parties to such agreement or “interested persons” (as such term is defined in the Act) of any party thereto (the “non-interested Trustees”) on June 11-12, 2019. A discussion regarding the Trustees’ basis for approving the Management Agreement is available in the Fund’s annual report for the fiscal year ended August 31, 2019.

The Management Agreement will remain in effect until June 30, 2020, and will continue in effect with respect to the Fund from year to year thereafter provided such continuance is specifically approved at least annually by (i) the vote of a majority of the Fund’s outstanding voting securities or a majority of the Trustees of the Trust, and (ii) the vote of a majority of the non-interested Trustees of the Trust, cast in person at a meeting called for the purpose of voting on such approval.

The Management Agreement will terminate automatically if assigned (as defined in the Act). The Management Agreement is also terminable at any time without penalty by the Trustees of the Trust or by vote of a majority of the outstanding voting securities of the Fund on 60 days’ written notice to the Investment Adviser or by the Investment Adviser on 60 days’ written notice to the Trust.

Pursuant to the Management Agreement, the Investment Adviser is entitled to receive the fees set forth below, payable monthly based on the Fund’s average daily net assets. Also included below are the actual management fee rates paid by the Fund (after reflection of any management fee waivers) for the fiscal year ended August 31, 2019. The Actual Rate may not correlate to the Contractual Rate as a result of any management fee waivers that may be in effect from time to time.

 

Fund

   Contractual
Management
Fee Annual
Rate
    Actual Rate for the
Fiscal Year Ended

August 31, 2019
 

Global Managed Beta Fund

     0.30     0.00

The Investment Adviser has agreed to waive all management fees payable by the Fund, except those management fees it earns from the Fund’s investments of cash collateral received in connection with securities lending transactions in affiliated funds. The management fee waiver will remain in effect through at least December 27, 2020 and prior to such date, the Investment Adviser may not terminate the arrangement without the approval of the Board of Trustees. The management fee waiver may be modified or terminated by the Investment Adviser at its discretion and without shareholder approval after such date, although the Investment Adviser does not presently intend to do so.

 

B-48


For the fiscal year ended August 31, 2019, the fiscal year ended August 31, 2018, the fiscal period November 1, 2016 through August 31, 2017 and the fiscal year ended October 31, 2016, the amounts of fees incurred by the Fund under the Management Agreement were as follows (with and without the fee limitations that were then in effect):

 

     Fiscal Year Ended
August 31, 2019
     Fiscal Year Ended
August 31, 2018
     Fiscal Period November 1, 2016
through August 31, 20171
     Fiscal Year Ended
October 31, 2016
 
   With Fee
Limitations
     Without Fee
Limitations
     With Fee
Limitations
     Without Fee
Limitations
     With Fee
Limitations
     Without Fee
Limitations
     With Fee
Limitations
     Without Fee
Limitations
 
Global Managed Beta Fund    $ 0      $ 3,495,293      $ 0      $ 2,467,849      $ 0      $ 1,021,334      $ 0      $ 424,841  

 

1 

Effective August 25, 2017, the Fund changed its fiscal year end from October 31 to August 31.

Unless required to be performed by others pursuant to agreements with the Fund, the Investment Adviser also performs certain administrative services for the Fund under the Management Agreement. Such administrative services include, subject to the general supervision of the Trustees of the Trust, (i) providing supervision of all aspects of the Fund’s non-investment operations; (ii) providing the Fund with personnel to perform such executive, administrative and clerical services as are reasonably necessary to provide effective administration of the Fund; (iii) arranging for, at the Fund’s expense, the preparation of all of the Fund’s required tax returns, the preparation and submission of reports to existing shareholders, the periodic updating of the Fund’s prospectus and statement of additional information, and the preparation of reports filed with the SEC and other regulatory authorities; (iv) maintaining all of the Fund’s records; and (v) providing the Fund with adequate office space and all necessary office equipment and services.

Legal Proceedings. On October 22, 2020, The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. announced a settlement of matters involving 1Malaysia Development Bhd. (1MDB), a Malaysian sovereign wealth fund, with the United States Department of Justice as well as criminal and civil authorities in the United Kingdom, Singapore and Hong Kong. Further information regarding the 1MDB settlement can be found at https://www.goldmansachs.com/media-relations/press-releases/current/goldman-sachs-2020-10-22.html. The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. previously entered into a settlement agreement with the Government of Malaysia and 1MDB to resolve all criminal and regulatory proceedings in Malaysia relating to 1MDB.

The Investment Adviser, Goldman Sachs and certain of their affiliates have received exemptive relief from the SEC to permit them to continue serving as investment adviser and principal underwriter for U.S.-registered investment companies.

Portfolio Managers – Other Accounts Managed by the Portfolio Managers

The following table discloses other accounts within each type of category listed below for which the portfolio managers are jointly and primarily responsible for day to day portfolio management as of August 31, 2019 unless otherwise noted.

For each portfolio manager listed below, the total number of accounts managed is a reflection of accounts within the strategy they oversee or manage, as well as accounts which participate in the sector in which they manage. There are multiple portfolio managers involved with each account.

 

    Number of Accounts Managed
and Total Assets by Account Type
    Number of Accounts and Total Assets for Which Advisory
Fee is Performance Based
 
  Registered Investment
Companies
    Other Pooled
Investment Vehicles
    Other Accounts     Registered Investment
Companies
    Other Pooled
Investment Vehicles
    Other Accounts  

Name of Portfolio Manager

  Number of
Accounts
    Assets
Managed
    Number of
Accounts
    Assets
Managed
    Number of
Accounts
    Assets
Managed
    Number of
Accounts
    Assets
Managed
    Number of
Accounts
    Assets
Managed
    Number of
Accounts
    Assets
Managed
 

Neill Nuttall

    23     $ 7,727.1       17     $ 6,184.9       68     $ 103,873.0       0     $ —         0     $ —         2     $ 4,724.9  

Kate El-Hillow

    3     $ 2,004.2       0     $ —         59     $ 98,057.9       0     $ —         0     $ —         1     $ 4,595.1  

Siwen Wu

    1     $ 3,594.3       5     $ 2,781.5       0     $ —         0     $ —         0     $ —         0     $ —    

Assets are preliminary, in millions of USD, unless otherwise noted.

Conflicts of Interest. The Investment Adviser’s portfolio managers are often responsible for managing the Fund as well as other accounts, including proprietary accounts, separate accounts and other pooled investment vehicles, such as unregistered hedge funds. A portfolio manager may manage a separate account or other pooled investment vehicle which may have materially higher fee arrangements than the Fund and may also have a performance-based fee. The side-by-side management of these funds may raise potential conflicts of interest relating to cross trading, the allocation of investment opportunities and the aggregation and allocation of trades.

The Investment Adviser has a fiduciary responsibility to manage all client accounts in a fair and equitable manner. It seeks to provide best execution of all securities transactions and aggregate and then allocate securities to client accounts in a fair and timely manner. To this end, the Investment Adviser has developed policies and procedures designed to mitigate and manage the potential conflicts of interest that may arise from side-by-side management. In addition, the Investment Adviser and the Fund have adopted policies limiting the circumstances under which cross-trades may be effected between the Fund and another client account. The Investment Adviser conducts periodic reviews of trades for consistency with these policies. For more information about conflicts of interests that may arise in connection with the portfolio manager’s management of the Fund’s investments and the investments of other accounts, see “POTENTIAL CONFLICTS OF INTEREST.”

 

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Portfolio Managers — Compensation

The GSAM compensation plan strives to evaluate performance on a multi-year basis, align interests with those of our clients/investors, encourage teamwork, and provide for the retention of proven talent. Within GSAM, Portfolio Managers responsible for the Fund are compensated through a package comprised of a base salary plus year-end discretionary variable compensation. The base salary is reviewed on an annual basis. The year-end discretionary variable compensation is primarily a function of each professional’s individual performance, his or her contribution to the overall performance of the group, the performance of their division, and the overall performance of the firm. The individual performance evaluation includes factors such as investment performance of products managed over multi-year periods, quality of research, due diligence, and portfolio construction, effective risk management, and teamwork and leadership.

As part of their year-end discretionary variable compensation and subject to certain eligibility requirements, portfolio managers may receive deferred equity-based and similar awards, in the form of: (1) shares of The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (restricted stock units); and, (2) for certain portfolio managers, performance-tracking (or “phantom”) shares of the Fund or multiple funds. Performance-tracking shares are designed to provide a rate of return (net of fees) equal to that of the Fund(s) that a portfolio manager manages, or one or more other eligible funds, as determined by senior management, thereby aligning portfolio manager compensation with fund shareholder interests. The awards are subject to vesting requirements, deferred payment and clawback and forfeiture provisions. GSAM, Goldman Sachs or their affiliates expect, but are not required to, hedge the exposure of the performance-tracking shares of a Fund by, among other things, purchasing shares of the relevant Fund(s).

Other Compensation—In addition to base salary and year-end discretionary variable compensation, the firm has a number of additional benefits in place including (1) a 401(k) program that enables employees to direct a percentage of their base salary and bonus income into a tax-qualified retirement plan; and (2) investment opportunity programs in which certain professionals may participate subject to certain eligibility requirements.

Portfolio Managers — Portfolio Managers’ Ownership of Securities in the Fund

The following table shows the portfolio managers’ ownership of shares, including those beneficially owned as well as those owned pursuant to the deferred compensation plan discussed above, of the Fund as of June 30, 2020.

 

Name of Portfolio Manager

   Dollar Range of Equity Securities Beneficially
Owned by the Portfolio Manager
 

Global Managed Beta Fund

  

Neill Nuttal

     $100,001-$500,000  

Kate El-Hillow

     $100,001-$500,000  

Siwen Wu

     $10,001-$50,000  

Distributor and Transfer Agent

Distributor: Goldman Sachs, 200 West Street, New York, New York 10282, serves as the exclusive distributor of shares of the Fund pursuant to a “best efforts” arrangement as provided by a distribution agreement with the Trust on behalf of the Fund. Shares of the Fund are offered and sold on a continuous basis by Goldman Sachs, acting as agent. Pursuant to the distribution agreement, after the Prospectus and periodic reports have been prepared, set in type and mailed to shareholders, Goldman Sachs will pay for the printing and distribution of copies thereof used in connection with the offering to prospective investors. Goldman Sachs will also pay for other supplementary sales literature and advertising costs.

Transfer Agent: Goldman Sachs, 71 South Wacker Drive, Chicago, IL 60606 serves as the Trust’s transfer and dividend disbursing agent. Under its transfer agency agreement with the Trust, Goldman Sachs has undertaken with the Trust with respect to the Fund to: (i) record the issuance, transfer and redemption of shares, (ii) provide purchase and redemption confirmations and quarterly statements, as well as certain other statements, (iii) provide certain information to the Trust’s custodian and the relevant sub-custodian in connection with redemptions, (iv) provide dividend crediting and certain disbursing agent services, (v) maintain shareholder accounts, (vi) provide certain state Blue Sky and other information, (vii) provide shareholders and certain regulatory authorities with tax related information, (viii) respond to shareholder inquiries, and (ix) render certain other miscellaneous services. For its transfer agency and dividend disbursing agent services, Goldman Sachs is entitled to receive a transfer agency fee equal, on an annualized basis, to 0.02% of average daily net assets of the Fund’s Institutional Shares. Goldman Sachs may pay to certain intermediaries who perform transfer agent services to shareholders a networking or sub-transfer agent fee. These payments will be made from the transfer agency fees noted above and in the Fund’s Prospectus.

 

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As compensation for services rendered to the Trust by Goldman Sachs as transfer and dividend disbursing agent and the assumption by Goldman Sachs of the expenses related thereto, Goldman Sachs received fees for the fiscal year ended August 31, 2019, the fiscal year ended August 31, 2018, the fiscal period November 1, 2016 through August 31, 2017 and for the fiscal year ended October 31, 2016 from the Fund as follows under the fee schedule then in effect:

 

     Fiscal Year ended
August 31, 2019
     Fiscal Year ended
August 31, 2018
     Fiscal Period November 1,
2016 through

August 31, 20171
     Fiscal Year ended
October 31, 2016
 

Global Managed Beta Fund

   $ 233,019      $ 164,523      $ 68,089      $ 28,323  

 

1 

Effective August 25, 2017, the Fund changed its fiscal year end from October 31 to August 31.

The Trust’s distribution and transfer agency agreements each provide that Goldman Sachs may render similar services to others so long as the services Goldman Sachs provides thereunder are not impaired thereby. Such agreements also provide that the Trust will indemnify Goldman Sachs against certain liabilities.

Expenses

The Trust, on behalf of the Fund, is responsible for the payment of the Fund’s expenses. The expenses include, without limitation, the fees payable to the Investment Adviser, service fees and shareholder administration fees paid to Intermediaries, the fees and expenses of the Trust’s custodian and subcustodians, transfer agent fees and expenses, pricing service fees and expenses, brokerage fees and commissions, filing fees for the registration or qualification of the Trust’s shares under federal or state securities laws, expenses of the organization of the Fund, fees and expenses incurred by the Trust in connection with membership in investment company organizations including, but not limited to, the Investment Company Institute, taxes, interest, costs of liability insurance, fidelity bonds or indemnification, any costs, expenses or losses arising out of any liability of, or claim for damages or other relief asserted against, the Trust for violation of any law, legal, tax and auditing fees and expenses (including the cost of legal and certain accounting services rendered by employees of Goldman Sachs or its affiliates with respect to the Trust), expenses of preparing and setting in type Prospectuses, SAIs, proxy materials, reports and notices and the printing and distributing of the same to the Trust’s shareholders and regulatory authorities, any expenses assumed by the Fund pursuant to its distribution and service plans, compensation and expenses of its Independent Trustees, the fees and expenses of pricing services, dividend expenses on short sales and extraordinary expenses, if any, incurred by the Trust. Except for fees and expenses under any service plan, shareholder administration plan or distribution and service plan applicable to a particular class and transfer agency fees and expenses, all Fund expenses are borne on a non-class specific basis.

Fees and expenses borne by the Fund relating to legal counsel, registering shares of the Fund, holding meetings and communicating with shareholders may include an allocable portion of the cost of maintaining an internal legal and compliance department. The Fund may also bear an allocable portion of the Investment Adviser’s costs of performing certain accounting services not being provided by the Fund’s custodian.

The imposition of the Investment Adviser’s fees, as well as other operating expenses, will have the effect of reducing the total return to investors. From time to time, the Investment Adviser may waive receipt of its fees and/or assume certain expenses of the Fund, which would have the effect of lowering the Fund’s overall expense ratio and increasing total return to investors at the time such amounts are waived or assumed, as the case may be.

The Investment Adviser has agreed to (i) reduce or limit “Other Expenses” (excluding acquired fund fees and expenses, transfer agency fees and expenses, taxes, interest, brokerage fees, expenses of shareholder meetings, litigation and indemnification, and extraordinary expenses) to 0.204% of the Fund’s average daily net assets and (ii) reduce or limit “Other Expenses” in an amount equal to any management fee it earns as the investment adviser to any of the affiliated money market funds in which the Fund invests. These arrangements will remain in effect through at least December 27, 2020, and prior to such date the Investment Adviser may not terminate the arrangements without the approval of the Board of Trustees. These expense limitations may be modified or terminated by the Investment Adviser at its discretion and without shareholder approval after such date, although the Investment Adviser does not presently intend to do so. The Fund’s “Other Expenses” may be further reduced by any custody and transfer agency fee credits received by the Fund

Such reductions or limits, if any, are calculated monthly on a cumulative basis during the Fund’s fiscal year.

Fees and expenses borne by the Fund relating to legal counsel, registering shares of the Fund, holding meetings and communicating with shareholders may include an allocable portion of the cost of maintaining an internal legal and compliance department. The Fund may also bear an allocable portion of the Investment Adviser’s costs of performing certain accounting services not being provided by the Fund’s custodian.

 

B-51


For the fiscal year ended August 31, 2019, the fiscal year ended August 31, 2018, the fiscal period November 1, 2016 through August 31, 2017 and the fiscal year ended October 31, 2016, the amount of certain “Other Expenses” of the Fund were reduced or otherwise limited by the Investment Adviser as follows under the expense limitations that were then in effect:

 

Fund

   Fiscal Year Ended
August 31, 2019
     Fiscal Year Ended
August 31, 2018
     Fiscal Period November 1,
2016 Through August 31,
20171
     Fiscal Year Ended
October 31, 2016
 

Global Managed Beta Fund

   $ 0      $ 0      $ 0      $ 18,457  

 

1 

Effective August 25, 2017, the Fund changed its fiscal year end from October 31 to August 31.

Custodian and Sub-Custodians

State Street, One Lincoln Street, Boston, Massachusetts 02111, is the custodian of the Fund’s portfolio securities and cash. The custodian also maintains the Fund’s accounting records. State Street may appoint domestic and foreign sub-custodians and use depositories from time to time to hold securities and other instruments purchased by the Trust in foreign countries and to hold cash and currencies for the Trust.

Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm

PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, 101 Seaport Boulevard, Suite 500, Boston, MA 02210, is the Fund’s independent registered public accounting firm. In addition to audit services, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP provides assistance on certain non-audit matters.

Securities Lending

Pursuant to an agreement between the Fund and the Bank of New York Mellon (“BNYM”), the Fund may lend its securities through BNYM as securities lending agent to certain qualified borrowers, including Goldman Sachs and its affiliates (the “Securities Agency Lending Agreement”). As securities lending agent of the Fund, BNYM administers the Fund’s securities lending program. These services include arranging the securities loans with approved borrowers and collecting fees and rebates due to the Fund from each borrower. BNYM also collects and maintains collateral intended to secure the obligations of each borrower and marks to market daily the value of loaned securities. If a borrower defaults on a loan, BNYM is authorized to exercise contractual remedies as securities lending agent to the Fund and, pursuant to the terms of the Securities Lending Agency Agreement, has agreed to indemnify the Fund for losses due to a borrower’s failure to return a lent security, which exclude losses associated with collateral reinvestment. BNYM may also, in its capacity as securities lending agent, invest cash received as collateral in pre-approved investments in accordance with the Securities Lending Agency Agreement. BNYM maintains records of loans made and income derived therefrom and makes available such records that the Fund deems necessary to monitor the securities lending program.

For the fiscal year ended August 31, 2019, the Fund earned income and incurred the following costs and expenses as a result of its securities lending activities:

 

Gross Income from Securities Lending Activities1

   $ 227,488  

Fees and/or Compensation for Securities Lending Activities and Related Services

  

Revenue Split2

     18,358  

Cash Collateral Management Fees3

     5,050  

Administrative Fees

     —    

Indemnification Fees

     —    

Rebates to Borrowers

     38,855  

Other Fees

     —    

Aggregate Fees/Compensation for Securities Lending Activities

     62,263  

Net Income from the Securities Lending Activities

     165,225  

 

1 

Gross income includes income from the reinvestment of cash collateral, premium income (i.e., rebates paid by the borrower to the lending Fund), loan fees paid by borrowers when collateral is noncash, management fees from a pooled cash collateral reinvestment vehicle that are deducted from the vehicle’s assets before income is distributed, and any other income.

2 

Revenue split represents the share of revenue generated by the securities lending program and paid to BNYM.

3 

Cash collateral management fees include the contractual management fees deducted from a pooled cash collateral reinvestment vehicle that are not included in the revenue split. The contractual management fees are derived from the pooled cash collateral reinvestment vehicle’s most recently available prospectus or offering memorandum. Actual fees incurred from a pooled cash collateral reinvestment vehicle may differ due to other expenses, fee waivers and expense reimbursements.

 

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Amount shown above may differ from amounts disclosed in the Fund’s Annual Report as a result of timing differences, reconciliations, and certain other adjustments.

POTENTIAL CONFLICTS OF INTEREST

General Categories of Conflicts Associated with the Fund

Goldman Sachs (which, for purposes of this “POTENTIAL CONFLICTS OF INTEREST” section, shall mean, collectively, The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc., the Investment Adviser and their affiliates, directors, partners, trustees, managers, members, officers and employees) is a worldwide, full-service investment banking, broker-dealer, asset management and financial services organization and a major participant in global financial markets. As such, it provides a wide range of financial services to a substantial and diversified client base that includes corporations, financial institutions, governments and individuals. Goldman Sachs acts as broker-dealer, investment adviser, investment banker, underwriter, research provider, administrator, financier, adviser, market maker, trader, prime broker, derivatives dealer, clearing agent, lender, counterparty, agent, principal, distributor, investor or in other commercial capacities for accounts or companies or affiliated or unaffiliated investment funds (including pooled investment vehicles and private funds). In those and other capacities, Goldman Sachs advises and deals with clients and third parties in all markets and transactions and purchases, sells, holds and recommends a broad array of investments, including securities, derivatives, loans, commodities, currencies, credit default swaps, indices, baskets and other financial instruments and products, for its own account and for the accounts of clients and of its personnel. In addition, Goldman Sachs has direct and indirect interests in the global fixed income, currency, commodity, equities, bank loan and other markets. In certain cases, the Investment Adviser causes the Fund to invest in products and strategies sponsored, managed or advised by Goldman Sachs or in which Goldman Sachs has an interest, either directly or indirectly, or otherwise restricts the Fund from making such investments, as further described herein. In this regard, Goldman Sachs’ activities and dealings with other clients and third parties may affect the Fund in ways that may disadvantage the Fund and/or benefit Goldman Sachs or other Accounts.

In addition, the Investment Adviser’s activities on behalf of certain other entities that are not investment advisory clients of the Investment Adviser create conflicts of interest between such entities, on the one hand, and Accounts (including the Fund), on the other hand, that are the same as or similar to the conflicts that arise between the Fund and other Accounts, as described herein. In managing conflicts of interest that arise as a result of the foregoing, the Investment Adviser generally will be subject to fiduciary requirements. For purposes of this “POTENTIAL CONFLICTS OF INTEREST” section, “Funds” shall mean, collectively, the Fund and any of the other Goldman Sachs Funds, and “Accounts” shall mean Goldman Sachs’ own accounts, accounts in which personnel of Goldman Sachs have an interest, accounts of Goldman Sachs’ clients, including separately managed accounts (or separate accounts), and investment vehicles that Goldman Sachs sponsors, manages or advises, including the Fund.

The conflicts herein do not purport to be a complete list or explanation of the conflicts associated with the financial or other interests the Investment Adviser or Goldman Sachs may have now or in the future. Additional information about potential conflicts of interest regarding the Investment Adviser and Goldman Sachs is set forth in the Investment Adviser’s Form ADV. A copy of Part 1 and Part 2A of the Investment Adviser’s Form ADV is available on the SEC’s website (www.adviserinfo.sec.gov).

The Sale of Fund Shares and the Allocation of Investment Opportunities

Sales Incentives and Related Conflicts Arising from Goldman Sachs’ Financial and Other Relationships with Intermediaries

Goldman Sachs and its personnel, including employees of the Investment Adviser, receive benefits and earn fees and compensation for services provided to Accounts (including the Funds) and in connection with the distribution of the Funds. Any such fees and compensation are generally paid directly or indirectly out of the fees payable to the Investment Adviser in connection with the management of such Accounts (including the Funds). Moreover, Goldman Sachs and its personnel, including employees of the Investment Adviser, have relationships (both involving and not involving the Funds, and including without limitation placement, brokerage, advisory and board relationships) with distributors, consultants and others who recommend, or engage in transactions with or for, the Funds. Such distributors, consultants and other parties may receive compensation from Goldman Sachs or the Funds in connection with such relationships. As a result of these relationships, distributors, consultants and other parties have conflicts that create incentives for them to promote the Funds.

To the extent permitted by applicable law, Goldman Sachs and the Funds have in the past made, and may in the future make, payments to authorized dealers and other financial intermediaries and to salespersons to promote the Funds. These payments may be made out of Goldman Sachs’ assets or amounts payable to Goldman Sachs. These payments create an incentive for such persons to highlight, feature or recommend the Funds.

Allocation of Investment Opportunities Among the Funds and Other Accounts

The Investment Adviser manages or advises multiple Accounts (including Accounts in which Goldman Sachs and its personnel have an interest) that have investment objectives that are the same or similar to the Funds and that seek to make or sell investments in the same securities or other instruments, sectors or strategies as the Funds. This creates potential conflicts, particularly in circumstances where the availability or liquidity of such investment opportunities is limited (e.g., in local and emerging markets, high yield securities, fixed income securities, regulated industries, small capitalization, direct or indirect investments in private investment funds, investments in master limited partnerships in the oil and gas industry and initial public offerings/new issues).

 

B-53


Accounts (including the Funds) may invest in other Accounts (including the Funds) at or near the establishment of such Accounts, which may facilitate the Accounts achieving a specified size or scale.

The Investment Adviser does not receive performance-based compensation in respect of its investment management activities on behalf of the Funds, but may simultaneously manage Accounts for which the Investment Adviser receives greater fees or other compensation (including performance-based fees or allocations) than it receives in respect of the Funds. The simultaneous management of Accounts that pay greater fees or other compensation and the Funds creates a conflict of interest as the Investment Adviser has an incentive to favor Accounts with the potential to receive greater fees when allocating resources, services, functions or investment opportunities among Accounts. For instance, the Investment Adviser will be faced with a conflict of interest when allocating scarce investment opportunities given the possibly greater fees from Accounts that pay performance-based fees. To address these types of conflicts, the Investment Adviser has adopted policies and procedures under which it will allocate investment opportunities in a manner that it believes is consistent with its obligations and fiduciary duties as an investment adviser. However, the availability, amount, timing, structuring or terms of an investment available to the Funds differ from, and performance may be lower than, the investments and performance of other Accounts in certain cases.

To address these potential conflicts, the Investment Adviser has developed allocation policies and procedures that provide that the Investment Adviser’s personnel making portfolio decisions for Accounts will make investment decisions for, and allocate investment opportunities among, such Accounts consistent with the Investment Adviser’s fiduciary obligations. These policies and procedures may result in the pro rata allocation (on a basis determined by the Investment Adviser) of limited opportunities across eligible Accounts managed by a particular portfolio management team, but in other cases such allocation may not be pro rata.

Allocation-related decisions for the Funds and other Accounts are made by reference to one or more factors. Factors may include: the Account’s portfolio and its investment horizons and objectives (including with respect to portfolio construction), guidelines and restrictions (including legal and regulatory restrictions affecting certain Accounts or affecting holdings across Accounts); client instructions; strategic fit and other portfolio management considerations, including different desired levels of exposure to certain strategies; the expected future capacity of the Funds and the applicable Accounts; limits on the Investment Adviser’s brokerage discretion; cash and liquidity needs and other considerations; the availability (or lack thereof) of other appropriate or substantially similar investment opportunities; and differences in benchmark factors and hedging strategies among Accounts. Suitability considerations, reputational matters and other considerations may also be considered.

In a case in which one or more Accounts are intended to be the Investment Adviser’s primary investment vehicles focused on, or to receive priority with respect to, a particular trading strategy, other Accounts (including the Funds) may not have access to such strategy or may have more limited access than would otherwise be the case. To the extent that such Accounts are managed by areas of Goldman Sachs other than the Investment Adviser, such Accounts will not be subject to the Investment Adviser’s allocation policies. Investments by such Accounts may reduce or eliminate the availability of investment opportunities to, or otherwise adversely affect, the Fund. Furthermore, in cases in which one or more Accounts are intended to be the Investment Adviser’s primary investment vehicles focused on, or receive priority with respect to, a particular trading strategy or type of investment, such Accounts have specific policies or guidelines with respect to Accounts or other persons receiving the opportunity to invest alongside such Accounts with respect to one or more investments (“Co-Investment Opportunities”). As a result, certain Accounts or other persons will receive allocations to, or rights to invest in, Co-Investment Opportunities that are not available generally to the Funds.

In addition, in some cases the Investment Adviser makes investment recommendations to Accounts that make investment decisions independently of the Investment Adviser. In circumstances in which there is limited availability of an investment opportunity, if such Accounts invest in the investment opportunity at the same time as, or prior to, a Fund, the availability of the investment opportunity for the Fund will be reduced irrespective of the Investment Adviser’s policies regarding allocations of investments.

The Investment Adviser, from time to time, develops and implements new trading strategies or seeks to participate in new trading strategies and investment opportunities. These strategies and opportunities are not employed in all Accounts or employed pro rata among Accounts where they are used, even if the strategy or opportunity is consistent with the objectives of such Accounts. Further, a trading strategy employed for a Fund that is similar to, or the same as, that of another Account may be implemented differently, sometimes to a material extent. For example, a Fund may invest in different securities or other assets, or invest in the same securities and other assets but in different proportions, than another Account with the same or similar trading strategy. The implementation of the Fund’s trading strategy depends on a variety of factors, including the portfolio managers involved in managing the trading strategy for the Account, the time difference associated with the location of different portfolio management teams, and the factors described above and in Item 6 (“PERFORMANCE-BASED FEES AND SIDE-BY-SIDE MANAGEMENT—Side-by-Side Management of Advisory Accounts; Allocation of Opportunities”) of the Investment Adviser’s Form ADV.

 

B-54


During periods of unusual market conditions, the Investment Adviser may deviate from its normal trade allocation practices. For example, this may occur with respect to the management of unlevered and/or long-only Accounts that are typically managed on a side-by-side basis with levered and/or long-short Accounts.

The Investment Adviser and the Funds may receive notice of, or offers to participate in, investment opportunities from third parties for various reasons. The Investment Adviser in its sole discretion will determine whether a Fund will participate in any such investment opportunities and investors should not expect that the Fund will participate in any such investment opportunities unless the opportunities are received pursuant to contractual requirements, such as preemptive rights or rights offerings, under the terms of the Fund’s investments. Some or all Funds may, from time to time, be offered investment opportunities that are made available through Goldman Sachs businesses outside of the Investment Adviser, including, for example, interests in real estate and other private investments. In this regard, a conflict of interest exists to the extent that Goldman Sachs controls or otherwise influences the terms and pricing of such investments and/or retains other benefits in connection therewith. However, Goldman Sachs businesses outside of the Investment Adviser are under no obligation or other duty to provide investment opportunities to the Funds, and generally are not expected to do so. Further, opportunities sourced within particular portfolio management teams within the Investment Adviser may not be allocated to Accounts (including the Funds) managed by such teams or by other teams. Opportunities not allocated (or not fully allocated) to the Funds or other Accounts managed by the Investment Adviser may be undertaken by Goldman Sachs (including the Investment Adviser), including for Goldman Sachs Accounts, or made available to other Accounts or third parties, and the Funds will not receive any compensation related to such opportunities. Additional information about the Investment Adviser’s allocation policies is set forth in Item 6 (“PERFORMANCE-BASED FEES AND SIDE-BY-SIDE MANAGEMENT—Side-by-Side Management of Advisory Accounts; Allocation of Opportunities”) of the Investment Adviser’s Form ADV.

As a result of the various considerations above, there will be cases in which certain Accounts (including Accounts in which Goldman Sachs and personnel of Goldman Sachs have an interest) receive an allocation of an investment opportunity at times that the Funds do not, or when the Funds receive an allocation of such opportunities but on different terms than other Accounts (which may be less favorable). The application of these considerations may cause differences in the performance of different Accounts that employ strategies the same or similar to those of the Funds.

Multiple Accounts (including the Funds) may participate in a particular investment or incur expenses applicable in connection with the operation or management of the Accounts, or otherwise may be subject to costs or expenses that are allocable to more than one Account (which may include, without limitation, research expenses, technology expenses, expenses relating to participation in bondholder groups, restructurings, class actions and other litigation, and insurance premiums). The Investment Adviser may allocate investment-related and other expenses on a pro rata or different basis. Certain Accounts are, by their terms or by determination of the Investment Adviser, on a case-by-case basis, not responsible for their share of such expenses, and, in addition, the Investment Adviser has agreed with certain Accounts to cap the amount of expenses (or the amount of certain types of expenses) borne by such Accounts, which results in such Accounts not bearing the full share of expenses they would otherwise have borne as described above. As a result, certain Accounts are responsible for bearing a different or greater amount of expenses, while other Accounts do not bear any, or do not bear their full share, of such expenses. The Investment Adviser may bear any such expenses on behalf of certain Accounts and not for others, as it determines in its sole discretion.

Accounts will generally incur expenses with respect to the consideration and pursuit of transactions that are not ultimately consummated (“broken-deal expenses”). Examples of broken-deal expenses include (i) research costs, (ii) fees and expenses of legal, financial, accounting, consulting or other advisers (including the Investment Adviser or its affiliates) in connection with conducting due diligence or otherwise pursuing a particular non-consummated transaction, (iii) fees and expenses in connection with arranging financing for a particular non-consummated transaction, (iv) travel, entertainment and overtime meal and transportation costs, (v) deposits or down payments that are forfeited in connection with, or amounts paid as a penalty for, a particular non-consummated transaction and (vi) other expenses incurred in connection with activities related to a particular non-consummated transaction.

The Investment Adviser has adopted a policy relating to the allocation of broken-deal expenses among Accounts (including the Funds) and other potential investors. Pursuant to the policy, broken-deal expenses generally will be allocated among Accounts in the manner that the Investment Adviser determines to be fair and equitable, which will be pro rata or on a different basis.

Goldman Sachs’ Financial and Other Interests May Incentivize Goldman Sachs to Promote the Sale of Fund Shares

Goldman Sachs and its personnel have interests in promoting sales of Fund shares, and the compensation from such sales may be greater than the compensation relating to sales of interests in other Accounts. Therefore, Goldman Sachs and its personnel may have a financial interest in promoting Fund shares over interests in other Accounts.

 

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Management of the Funds by the Investment Adviser

Considerations Relating to Information Held by Goldman Sachs

Goldman Sachs has established certain information barriers and other policies to address the sharing of information between different businesses within Goldman Sachs. As a result of information barriers, the Investment Adviser generally will not have access, or will have limited access, to certain information and personnel in other areas of Goldman Sachs relating to business transactions for clients (including transactions in investing, banking, prime brokerage and certain other areas), and generally will not manage the Funds with the benefit of information held by such other areas. Goldman Sachs, due to its access to and knowledge of funds, markets and securities based on its prime brokerage and other businesses, may make decisions based on information or take (or refrain from taking) actions with respect to interests in investments of the kind held (directly or indirectly) by the Funds in a manner that may be adverse to the Funds, and will not have any obligation or other duty to share information with the Investment Adviser.

In limited circumstances, however, including for purposes of managing business and reputational risk, and subject to policies and procedures, personnel on one side of an information barrier may have access to information and personnel on the other side of the information barrier through “wall crossings.” The Investment Adviser faces conflicts of interest in determining whether to engage in such wall crossings. Information obtained in connection with such wall crossings may limit or restrict the ability of the Investment Adviser to engage in or otherwise effect transactions on behalf of the Funds (including purchasing or selling securities that the Investment Adviser may otherwise have purchased or sold for an Account in the absence of a wall crossing). In managing conflicts of interest that arise as a result of the foregoing, the Investment Adviser generally will be subject to fiduciary requirements. Information barriers also exist between certain businesses within the Investment Adviser, and the conflicts described herein with respect to information barriers and otherwise with respect to Goldman Sachs and the Investment Adviser will also apply to the businesses within the Investment Adviser. There may also be circumstances in which, as a result of information held by certain portfolio management teams in the Investment Adviser, the Investment Adviser limits an activity or transaction for a Fund, including if the Fund is managed by a portfolio management team other than the team holding such information.

In addition, regardless of the existence of information barriers, Goldman Sachs will not have any obligation or other duty to make available for the benefit of the Funds any information regarding Goldman Sachs’ trading activities, strategies or views, or the activities, strategies or views used for other Accounts. Furthermore, to the extent that the Investment Adviser has access to fundamental analysis and proprietary technical models or other information developed by Goldman Sachs and its personnel, or other parts of the Investment Adviser, the Investment Adviser will not be under any obligation or other duty to effect transactions on behalf of Accounts (including the Funds) in accordance with such analysis and models. In the event Goldman Sachs elects not to share certain information with the Investment Adviser or personnel involved in decision-making for Accounts (including the Funds), the Funds may make investment decisions that differ from those they would have made if Goldman Sachs had provided such information, which may be disadvantageous to the Funds.

Different areas of the Investment Adviser and Goldman Sachs take views, and make decisions or recommendations, that are different than other areas of the Investment Adviser and Goldman Sachs. Different portfolio management teams within the Investment Adviser make decisions based on information or take (or refrain from taking) actions with respect to Accounts they advise in a manner different than or adverse to the Funds. Such teams may not share information with the Funds’ portfolio management teams, including as a result of certain information barriers and other policies, and will not have any obligation or other duty to do so.

Goldman Sachs operates a business known as Goldman Sachs Securities Services (“GSS”), which provides prime brokerage, administrative and other services to clients which may involve investment funds (including pooled investment vehicles and private funds) in which one or more Accounts invest (“Underlying Funds”) or markets and securities in which Accounts invest. GSS and other parts of Goldman Sachs have broad access to information regarding the current status of certain markets, investments and funds and detailed information about fund operators that is not available to the Investment Adviser. In addition, Goldman Sachs may act as a prime broker to one or more Underlying Funds, in which case Goldman Sachs will have information concerning the investments and transactions of such Underlying Funds that is not available to the Investment Adviser. As a result of these and other activities, parts of Goldman Sachs may be in possession of information in respect of markets, investments, investment advisers that are affiliated or unaffiliated with Goldman Sachs and Underlying Funds, which, if known to the Investment Adviser, might cause the Investment Adviser to seek to dispose of, retain or increase interests in investments held by Accounts or acquire certain positions on behalf of Accounts, or take other actions. Goldman Sachs will be under no obligation or other duty to make any such information available to the Investment Adviser or personnel involved in decision-making for Accounts (including the Funds).

Valuation of the Funds’ Investments

The Investment Adviser, while not the primary valuation agent of the Funds, performs certain valuation services related to securities and assets held in the Funds. The Investment Adviser performs such valuation services in accordance with its valuation policies. The Investment Adviser may value an identical asset differently than another division or unit within Goldman Sachs values the asset, including because such other division or unit has information or uses valuation techniques and models that it does not share

 

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with, or that are different than those of, the Investment Adviser. This is particularly the case in respect of difficult-to-value assets. The Investment Adviser may also value an identical asset differently in different Accounts, including because different Accounts are subject to different valuation guidelines pursuant to their respective governing agreements (e.g., in connection with certain regulatory restrictions applicable to different Accounts). Differences in valuation may also exist because different third-party vendors are hired to perform valuation functions for the Accounts, the Accounts are managed or advised by different portfolio management teams within the Investment Adviser that employ different valuation policies or procedures, or otherwise. The Investment Adviser will face a conflict with respect to valuations generally because of their effect on the Investment Adviser’s fees and other compensation. Furthermore, the application of particular valuation policies with respect to the Funds will, under certain circumstances, result in improved performance of the Funds.

Goldman Sachs’ and the Investment Adviser’s Activities on Behalf of Other Accounts

The Investment Adviser provides advisory services to the Funds. Goldman Sachs (including the Investment Adviser), the clients it advises, and its personnel have interests in and advise Accounts that have investment objectives or portfolios similar to, related to or opposed to those of the Funds. Goldman Sachs may receive greater fees or other compensation (including performance-based fees) from such Accounts than it does from the Funds, in which case Goldman Sachs is incentivized to favor such Accounts. In addition, Goldman Sachs (including the Investment Adviser), the clients it advises, and its personnel may engage (or consider engaging) in commercial arrangements or transactions with Accounts, and/or may compete for commercial arrangements or transactions in the same types of companies, assets securities and other instruments, as the Funds. Such arrangements, transactions or investments may adversely affect such Funds by, for example, limiting their ability to engage in such activity or affecting the pricing or terms of such arrangements, transactions or investments. Moreover, a particular Fund on the one hand, and Goldman Sachs or other Accounts, on the other hand, may vote differently on or take or refrain from taking different actions with respect to the same security, which may be disadvantageous to the Fund. Additionally, as described below, the Investment Adviser faces conflicts of interest arising out of Goldman Sachs’ relationships and business dealings in connection with decisions to take or refrain from taking certain actions on behalf of Accounts when doing so would be adverse to Goldman Sachs’ relationships or other business dealings with such parties.

Transactions by, advice to and activities of Accounts (including with respect to investment decisions, voting and the enforcement of rights) may involve the same or related companies, securities or other assets or instruments as those in which the Funds invest, and such Accounts may engage in a strategy while a Fund is undertaking the same or a differing strategy, any of which could directly or indirectly disadvantage the Fund (including its ability to engage in a transaction or other activities).

For example, Goldman Sachs may be engaged to provide advice to an Account that is considering entering into a transaction with a Fund, and Goldman Sachs may advise the Account not to pursue the transaction with the Fund, or otherwise in connection with a potential transaction provide advice to the Account that would be adverse to the Fund. Additionally, a Fund may buy a security and an Account may establish a short position in that same security or in similar securities. This short position may result in the impairment of the price of the security that the Fund holds or may be designed to profit from a decline in the price of the security. A Fund could similarly be adversely impacted if it establishes a short position, following which an Account takes a long position in the same security or in similar securities. In addition, Goldman Sachs (including the Investment Adviser) may make filings in connection with a shareholder class action lawsuit or similar matter involving a particular security on behalf of an Account (including a Fund), but not on behalf of a different Account (including a Fund) that holds or held the same security, or that is invested in or has extended credit to different parts of the capital structure of the same issuer. Accounts may also have different rights in respect of an investment with the same issuer, or invest in different classes of the same issuer that have different rights, including, without limitation, with respect to liquidity. The determination to exercise such rights by the Investment Adviser on behalf of such other Accounts may have an adverse effect on the Funds.

The Funds are expected to transact with a variety of counterparties. Some of these counterparties will also engage in transactions with other Accounts managed by the Investment Adviser or another Goldman Sachs entity. For example, a Fund may directly or indirectly purchase assets from a counterparty at the same time the counterparty (or an affiliate thereof) is also negotiating to purchase different assets from another Account. This creates potential conflicts of interest, particularly with respect to the terms and purchase prices of the sales. For example, Goldman Sachs may receive fees or other compensation in connection with the sale of assets by an Account, which creates an incentive to negotiate a higher purchase price for those assets in a transaction where the Fund is a purchaser. To address these potential conflicts the Investment Adviser implements in such situations policies and procedures to ensure that any transaction is consistent with the Investment Adviser’s fiduciary obligations.

Shareholders may be offered access to advisory services through several different Goldman Sachs businesses (including through Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC and the Investment Adviser). Different advisory businesses within Goldman Sachs manage Accounts according to different strategies and may also apply different criteria to the same or similar strategies and may have differing investment views in respect of an issuer or a security or other investment. Similarly, within the Investment Adviser, certain investment teams or portfolio managers may have differing or opposite investment views in respect of an issuer or a security, and the positions a

 

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Fund’s investment team or portfolio managers take in respect of the Fund may be inconsistent with, or adversely affected by, the interests and activities of the Accounts advised by other investment teams or portfolio managers of the Investment Adviser. Research, analyses or viewpoints may be available to clients or potential clients at different times. Goldman Sachs will not have any obligation or other duty to make available to the Funds any research or analysis at any particular time or prior to its public dissemination. The Investment Adviser is responsible for making investment decisions on behalf of the Funds, and such investment decisions can differ from investment decisions or recommendations by Goldman Sachs on behalf of other Accounts. The timing of transactions entered into or recommended by Goldman Sachs, on behalf of itself or its clients, including the Funds, may negatively impact the Funds or benefit certain other Accounts. For example, if Goldman Sachs, on behalf of one or more Accounts, implements an investment decision or strategy ahead of, or contemporaneously with, or behind similar investment decisions or strategies made for the Funds (whether or not the investment decisions emanate from the same research analysis or other information), it could result, due to market impact or other factors, in liquidity constraints or in certain Funds receiving less favorable investment or trading results or incurring increased costs. Similarly, Goldman Sachs may implement an investment decision or strategy that results in a purchase (or sale) of a security for one Fund that may increase the value of such security already held by another Account (or decrease the value of such security that such other Account intends to purchase), thereby benefitting such other Account.

Subject to applicable law, the Investment Adviser may cause the Funds to invest in securities, bank loans or other obligations of companies affiliated with or advised by Goldman Sachs or in which Goldman Sachs or Accounts have an equity, debt or other interest, or to engage in investment transactions that may result in other Accounts being relieved of obligations or otherwise divested of investments, which may enhance the profitability of Goldman Sachs’ or other Accounts’ investment in and activities with respect to such companies. The Investment Adviser, in its discretion and in certain circumstances, recommends that certain Funds have ongoing business dealings, arrangements or agreements with persons who are (i) former employees of Goldman Sachs, (ii) affiliates or other portfolio companies of Goldman Sachs or other Accounts, (iii) Goldman Sachs’ employees’ family members and/or relatives and/or certain of their portfolio companies or (iv) persons otherwise associated with an investor in an Account or a portfolio company or service provider of Goldman Sachs or an Account. The Funds may bear, directly or indirectly, the costs of such dealings, arrangements or agreements. These recommendations, and recommendations relating to continuing any such dealings, arrangements or agreements, pose conflicts of interest and may be based on differing incentives due to Goldman Sachs’ relationships with such persons. In particular, when acting on behalf of, and making decisions for, Accounts, the Investment Adviser may take into account Goldman Sachs’ interests in maintaining its relationships and business dealings with such persons. As a result, the Investment Adviser faces conflicts of interest arising out of Goldman Sachs’ relationships and business dealings in connection with decisions to take or refrain from taking certain actions on behalf of Accounts when doing so would be adverse to Goldman Sachs’ relationships or other business dealings with such parties.

When the Investment Adviser wishes to place an order for different types of Accounts (including the Funds) for which aggregation is not practicable, the Investment Adviser may use a trade sequencing and rotation policy to determine which type of Account is to be traded first. Under this policy, each portfolio management team may determine the length of its trade rotation period and the sequencing schedule for different categories of clients within this period provided that the trading periods and these sequencing schedules are designed to be reasonable. Within a given trading period, the sequencing schedule establishes when and how frequently a given client category will trade first in the order of rotation. The Investment Adviser may deviate from the predetermined sequencing schedule under certain circumstances, and the Investment Adviser’s trade sequencing and rotation policy may be amended, modified or supplemented at any time without prior notice to clients.

Potential Conflicts Relating to Follow-On Investments

From time to time, the Investment Adviser provides opportunities to Accounts (including potentially the Funds) to make investments in companies in which certain Accounts have already invested. Such follow-on investments can create conflicts of interest, such as the determination of the terms of the new investment and the allocation of such opportunities among Accounts (including the Funds). Follow-on investment opportunities may be available to the Funds notwithstanding that the Funds have no existing investment in the issuer, resulting in the assets of the Funds potentially providing value to, or otherwise supporting the investments of, other Accounts. Accounts (including the Funds) may also participate in releveraging, recapitalization, and similar transactions involving companies in which other Accounts have invested or will invest. Conflicts of interest in these and other transactions arise between Accounts (including the Funds) with existing investments in a company and Accounts making subsequent investments in the company, which may have opposing interests regarding pricing and other terms. The subsequent investments may dilute or otherwise adversely affect the interests of the previously-invested Accounts (including the Funds).

Diverse Interests of Shareholders

The various types of investors in and beneficiaries of the Funds, including to the extent applicable the Investment Adviser and its affiliates, may have conflicting investment, tax and other interests with respect to their interests in the Funds. When considering a potential investment for a Fund, the Investment Adviser will generally consider the investment objectives of the Fund, not the investment

 

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objectives of any particular investor or beneficiary. The Investment Adviser makes decisions, including with respect to tax matters, from time to time that may be more beneficial to one type of investor or beneficiary than another, or to the Investment Adviser and its affiliates than to investors or beneficiaries unaffiliated with the Investment Adviser. In addition, Goldman Sachs faces certain tax risks based on positions taken by the Funds, including as a withholding agent. Goldman Sachs reserves the right on behalf of itself and its affiliates to take actions adverse to the Funds or other Accounts in these circumstances, including withholding amounts to cover actual or potential tax liabilities.

Selection of Service Providers

The Funds expect to engage service providers (including attorneys and consultants) that in certain cases also provide services to Goldman Sachs and other Accounts. In addition, certain service providers to the Investment Adviser or Funds are also portfolio companies or other affiliates of the Investment Adviser or other Accounts (for example, a portfolio company of an Account may retain a portfolio company of another Account). To the extent it is involved in such selection, the Investment Adviser intends to select these service providers based on a number of factors, including expertise and experience, knowledge of related or similar products, quality of service, reputation in the marketplace, relationships with the Investment Adviser, Goldman Sachs or others, and price. These service providers may have business, financial, or other relationships with Goldman Sachs (including its personnel), which may influence the Investment Adviser’s selection of these service providers for the Funds. In such circumstances, there is a conflict of interest between Goldman Sachs (acting on behalf of the Funds) and the Funds or between Funds if the Funds determine not to engage or continue to engage these service providers.

The Investment Adviser may, in its sole discretion, determine to provide, or engage or recommend an affiliate of the Investment Adviser to provide, certain services to the Funds, instead of engaging or recommending one or more third parties to provide such services. Subject to the governance requirements of a particular Fund and applicable law, the Investment Adviser or its affiliates, as applicable, will receive compensation in connection with the provision of such services. As a result, the Investment Adviser faces a conflict of interest when selecting or recommending service providers for the Funds. Notwithstanding the foregoing, the selection or recommendation of service providers for the Funds will be conducted in accordance with the Investment Adviser’s fiduciary obligations to the Funds. The service providers selected or recommended by the Investment Adviser may charge different rates to different recipients based on the specific services provided, the personnel providing the services, the complexity of the services provided or other factors. As a result, the rates paid with respect to these service providers by a Fund, on the one hand, may be more or less favorable than the rates paid by Goldman Sachs, including the Investment Adviser, on the other hand. In addition, the rates paid by the Investment Adviser or the Funds, on the one hand, may be more or less favorable than the rates paid by other parts of Goldman Sachs or Accounts managed by other parts of Goldman Sachs, on the other hand. Goldman Sachs (including the Investment Adviser), its personnel, and/or Accounts may hold investments in companies that provide services to entities in which the Funds invest generally, and, subject to applicable law, the Investment Adviser may refer or introduce such companies’ services to entities that have issued securities held by the Funds.

Investments in Goldman Sachs Funds

To the extent permitted by applicable law, the Funds will, from time to time invest in money market and/or other funds sponsored, managed or advised by Goldman Sachs. In connection with any such investments, a Fund, to the extent permitted by the Act, will pay all advisory, administrative or Rule 12b-1 fees applicable to the investment. To the extent consistent with applicable law, certain Funds that invest in other funds sponsored, managed or advised by Goldman Sachs pay advisory fees to the Investment Adviser that are not reduced by any fees payable by such other funds to Goldman Sachs as manager of such other funds (i.e., there will be “double fees” involved in making any such investment, which would not arise in connection with the direct allocation of assets by investors in the Funds to such other funds). In such circumstances, as well as in all other circumstances in which Goldman Sachs receives any fees or other compensation in any form relating to the provision of services, no accounting or repayment to the Funds will be required.

Goldman Sachs May In-Source or Outsource

Subject to applicable law, Goldman Sachs, including the Investment Adviser, may from time to time and without notice to investors in-source or outsource certain processes or functions in connection with a variety of services that it provides to the Funds in its administrative or other capacities. Such in-sourcing or outsourcing may give rise to additional conflicts of interest.

Distributions of Assets Other Than Cash

With respect to redemptions from the Funds, the Funds will, in certain circumstances, have discretion to decide whether to permit or limit redemptions and whether to make distributions in connection with redemptions in the form of securities or other assets, and in such case, the composition of such distributions. In making such decisions, the Investment Adviser will sometimes have a potentially conflicting division of loyalties and responsibilities to redeeming investors and remaining investors.

 

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Goldman Sachs Will Act in a Capacity Other Than Investment Adviser to the Funds

Investments in and Advice Regarding Different Parts of an Issuer’s Capital Structure

In some cases, Goldman Sachs (including the Investment Adviser) or Accounts, on the one hand, and the Funds, on the other hand, invest in or extend credit to different parts of the capital structure of a single issuer. As a result, Goldman Sachs (including the Investment Adviser) or Accounts may take actions that adversely affect the Funds. In addition, in some cases, Goldman Sachs (including the Investment Adviser) advises Accounts with respect to different parts of the capital structure of the same issuer, or classes of securities that are subordinate or senior to securities, in which the Funds invest. Goldman Sachs (including the Investment Adviser) may pursue rights, provide advice or engage in other activities, or refrain from pursuing rights, providing advice or engaging in other activities, on behalf of itself or other Accounts with respect to an issuer in which the Funds have invested, and such actions (or refraining from action) may have a material adverse effect on the Funds.

For example, in the event that Goldman Sachs (including the Investment Adviser) or an Account holds loans, securities or other positions in the capital structure of an issuer that ranks senior in preference to the holdings of a Fund in the same issuer, and the issuer experiences financial or operational challenges, Goldman Sachs (including the Investment Adviser), acting on behalf of itself or the Account, may seek a liquidation, reorganization or restructuring of the issuer, or terms in connection with the foregoing, that may have an adverse effect on or otherwise conflict with the interests of the Fund’s holdings in the issuer. In connection with any such liquidation, reorganization or restructuring, the Fund’s holdings in the issuer may be extinguished or substantially diluted, while Goldman Sachs (including the Investment Adviser) or another Account may receive a recovery of some or all of the amounts due to them. In addition, in connection with any lending arrangements involving the issuer in which Goldman Sachs (including the Investment Adviser) or an Account participates, Goldman Sachs (including the Investment Adviser) or the Account may seek to exercise its rights under the applicable loan agreement or other document, which may be detrimental to the Fund. In situations in which Goldman Sachs (including the Investment Adviser) holds positions in multiple parts of the capital structure of an issuer across Accounts (including the Funds), the Investment Adviser may not pursue actions or remedies that may be available to the Fund, as a result of legal and regulatory requirements or otherwise.

These potential issues are examples of conflicts that Goldman Sachs (including the Investment Adviser) will face in situations in which the Funds, and Goldman Sachs (including the Investment Adviser) or other Accounts, invest in or extend credit to different parts of the capital structure of a single issuer. Goldman Sachs (including the Investment Adviser) addresses these issues based on the circumstances of particular situations. For example, Goldman Sachs (including the Investment Adviser) may determine to rely on information barriers between different Goldman Sachs (including the Investment Adviser) business units or portfolio management teams. Goldman Sachs (including the Investment Adviser) may determine to rely on the actions of similarly situated holders of loans or securities rather than, or in connection with, taking such actions itself on behalf of the Funds.

As a result of the various conflicts and related issues described above and the fact that conflicts will not necessarily be resolved in favor of the interests of the Funds, the Funds could sustain losses during periods in which Goldman Sachs (including the Investment Adviser) and other Accounts (including Accounts sponsored, managed or advised by the Investment Adviser) achieve profits generally or with respect to particular holdings in the same issuer, or could achieve lower profits or higher losses than would have been the case had the conflicts described above not existed. The negative effects described above may be more pronounced in connection with transactions in, or the Funds’ use of, small capitalization, emerging market, distressed or less liquid strategies.

Principal and Cross Transactions

When permitted by applicable law and the Investment Adviser’s policies, the Investment Adviser, acting on behalf of certain Funds (for example, those employing taxable fixed income, municipal bond fixed income and structured investment strategies), may enter into transactions in securities and other instruments with or through Goldman Sachs or in Accounts managed by the Investment Adviser or its affiliates, and may (but is under no obligation or other duty to) cause the Funds to engage in transactions in which the Investment Adviser acts as principal on its own behalf (principal transactions), advises both sides of a transaction (cross transactions) and acts as broker for, and receives a commission from, the Funds on one side of a transaction and a brokerage account on the other side of the transaction (agency cross transactions). There are potential conflicts of interest, regulatory issues or restrictions contained in the Investment Adviser’s internal policies relating to these transactions which could limit the Investment Adviser’s determination to engage in these transactions for Accounts (including the Funds). In certain circumstances such as when Goldman Sachs is the only or one of a few participants in a particular market or is one of the largest such participants, such limitations may eliminate or reduce the availability of certain investment opportunities to Accounts (including the Funds) or impact the price or terms on which transactions relating to such investment opportunities may be effected.

 

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Goldman Sachs will have a potentially conflicting division of loyalties and responsibilities to the parties in such transactions. The Investment Adviser has developed policies and procedures in relation to such transactions and conflicts. Cross transactions may disproportionately benefit some Accounts relative to other Accounts, including the Funds, due to the relative amount of market savings obtained by the Accounts, and cross transactions may be effected at different prices for different Accounts due to differing legal and/or regulatory requirements applicable to such Accounts. Principal, cross or agency cross transactions will be effected in accordance with fiduciary requirements and applicable law (which may include disclosure and consent).

Goldman Sachs Acting in Multiple Commercial Capacities

To the extent permitted by applicable law, an issuer in which a Fund has an interest may hire Goldman Sachs to provide underwriting, merger advisory, other financial advisory, placement agency, foreign currency hedging, research, asset management services, brokerage services or other services to the issuer. Furthermore, Goldman Sachs may sponsor, manage, advise or provide services to affiliated Underlying Funds (or their personnel) in which the Funds invest. Goldman Sachs may be entitled to compensation in connection with the provision of such services, and the Funds will not be entitled to any such compensation. Goldman Sachs will have an interest in obtaining fees and other compensation in connection with such services that are favorable to Goldman Sachs, and in connection with providing such services takes commercial steps in its own interest, or advises the parties to which it is providing services, or takes other actions. Such actions may benefit Goldman Sachs. For example, Goldman Sachs may require repayment of all or part of a loan from a company in which an Account (including a Fund) holds an interest, which could cause the company to default or be required to liquidate its assets more rapidly, which could adversely affect the value of the company and the value of the Funds invested therein. Goldman Sachs may also advise such a company to make changes to its capital structure the result of which would be a reduction in the value or priority of a security held (directly or indirectly) by one or more Funds. In addition, underwriters, placement agents or managers of initial public offerings, including Goldman Sachs, may require the Funds who hold privately placed securities of a company to execute a lock-up agreement prior to such company’s initial public offering restricting the resale of the securities for a period of time before and following the IPO. As a result, the Investment Adviser may be restricted from selling the securities in such Funds at a more favorable price. Actions taken or advised to be taken by Goldman Sachs in connection with other types of transactions may also result in adverse consequences for the Funds. Goldman Sachs faces conflicts of interest in providing and selecting services for the Funds because Goldman Sachs provides many services and has many commercial relationships with companies and affiliated and unaffiliated Underlying Funds (or their applicable personnel). Providing services to the Funds and companies (or their personnel) in which the Funds invest enhances Goldman Sachs’ relationships with various parties, facilitates additional business development and enables Goldman Sachs to obtain additional business and/or generate additional revenue. The Funds will not be entitled to compensation related to any such benefit to businesses of Goldman Sachs. In addition, such relationships may adversely impact the Funds, including, for example, by restricting potential investment opportunities, as described below, incentivizing the Investment Adviser to take or refrain from taking certain actions on behalf of the Funds when doing so would be adverse to such business relationships, and/or influencing the Investment Adviser’s selection or recommendation of certain investment products and/or strategies over others.

Goldman Sachs’ activities on behalf of its clients may also restrict investment opportunities generally that may be available to the Funds. For example, Goldman Sachs is often engaged by companies as a financial advisor, or to provide financing or other services, in connection with commercial transactions that may be potential investment opportunities for the Funds. There may be circumstances in which the Funds are precluded from participating in such transactions as a result of Goldman Sachs’ engagement by such companies. Goldman Sachs reserves the right to act for these companies in such circumstances, notwithstanding the potential adverse effect on the Funds. Goldman Sachs (including the Investment Adviser) also represents creditor or debtor companies in proceedings under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code (and equivalent non-U.S. bankruptcy laws) or prior to these filings. From time to time, Goldman Sachs (including the Investment Adviser) serves on creditor or equity committees. These actions, for which Goldman Sachs may be compensated, may limit or preclude the flexibility that the Funds may otherwise have to buy or sell securities issued by those companies, as well as certain other assets. Please also see “—Management of the Funds by the Investment Adviser—Considerations Relating to Information Held by Goldman Sachs” above and “—Potential Limitations and Restrictions on Investment Opportunities and Activities of Goldman Sachs and the Funds” below.

Subject to applicable law, the Investment Adviser may cause the Funds to invest in securities, bank loans or other obligations of companies affiliated with or advised by Goldman Sachs or in which Goldman Sachs or Accounts have an equity, debt or other interest, or to engage in investment transactions that may result in Goldman Sachs or other Accounts being relieved of obligations or otherwise divested of investments. For example, subject to applicable law a Fund may acquire securities or indebtedness of a company affiliated with Goldman Sachs directly or indirectly through syndicate or secondary market purchases, or may make a loan to, or purchase securities from, a company that uses the proceeds to repay loans made by Goldman Sachs. These activities by a Fund may enhance the profitability of Goldman Sachs or other Accounts with respect to their investment in and activities relating to such companies. The Fund will not be entitled to compensation as a result of this enhanced profitability.

To the extent permitted by applicable law, Goldman Sachs (including the Investment Adviser) creates, writes, sells, issues, invests in or acts as placement agent or distributor of derivative instruments related to the Funds, or with respect to underlying securities or assets of the Funds, or which may be otherwise based on or seek to replicate or hedge the performance of the Funds. Such derivative transactions, and any associated hedging activity, may differ from and be adverse to the interests of the Funds.

 

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Goldman Sachs may make loans to, or enter into margin, asset-based or other credit facilities or similar transactions with, clients, companies or individuals that may (or may not) be secured by publicly or privately held securities or other assets, including a client’s Fund shares as described above. Some of these borrowers are public or private companies, or founders, officers or shareholders in companies in which the Funds (directly or indirectly) invest, and such loans may be secured by securities of such companies, which may be the same as, pari passu with, or more senior or junior to, interests held (directly or indirectly) by the Funds. In connection with its rights as lender, Goldman Sachs may act to protect its own commercial interest and may take actions that adversely affect the borrower, including by liquidating or causing the liquidation of securities on behalf of a borrower or foreclosing and liquidating such securities in Goldman Sachs’ own name. Such actions may adversely affect the Funds (e.g., if a large position in a security is liquidated, among the other potential adverse consequences, the value of such security may decline rapidly and the Funds may in turn decline in value or may be unable to liquidate their positions in such security at an advantageous price or at all). In addition, Goldman Sachs may make loans to shareholders or enter into similar transactions that are secured by a pledge of, or mortgage over, a shareholder’s Fund shares, which would provide Goldman Sachs with the right to redeem such Fund shares in the event that such shareholder defaults on its obligations. These transactions and related redemptions may be significant and may be made without notice to the shareholders.

Code of Ethics and Personal Trading

Each of the Funds and Goldman Sachs, as each Fund’s Investment Adviser and Distributor, has adopted a Code of Ethics (the “Code of Ethics”) in compliance with Section 17(j) of the Act designed to provide that personnel of the Investment Adviser, and certain additional Goldman Sachs personnel who support the Investment Adviser, comply with applicable federal securities laws and place the interests of clients first in conducting personal securities transactions. The Code of Ethics imposes certain restrictions on securities transactions in the personal accounts of covered persons to help avoid conflicts of interest. Subject to the limitations of the Code of Ethics, covered persons may buy and sell securities or other investments for their personal accounts, including investments in the Funds, and may also take positions that are the same as, different from, or made at different times than, positions taken (directly or indirectly) by the Funds. The Codes of Ethics are available on the EDGAR Database on the SEC’s Internet site at http://www.sec.gov. Copies may also be obtained after paying a duplicating fee by electronic request to publicinfo@sec.gov. Additionally, all Goldman Sachs personnel, including personnel of the Investment Adviser, are subject to firm-wide policies and procedures regarding confidential and proprietary information, information barriers, private investments, outside business activities and personal trading.

Proxy Voting by the Investment Adviser

The Investment Adviser has implemented processes designed to prevent conflicts of interest from influencing proxy voting decisions that it makes on behalf of advisory clients, including the Funds, and to help ensure that such decisions are made in accordance with its fiduciary obligations to its clients. Notwithstanding such proxy voting processes, proxy voting decisions made by the Investment Adviser in respect of securities held by the Funds may benefit the interests of Goldman Sachs and/or Accounts other than the Funds. For a more detailed discussion of these policies and procedures, see the section of this SAI entitled “PROXY VOTING.”

Potential Limitations and Restrictions on Investment Opportunities and Activities of Goldman Sachs and the Funds

The Investment Adviser may restrict its investment decisions and activities on behalf of the Funds in various circumstances, including as a result of applicable regulatory requirements, information held by the Investment Adviser or Goldman Sachs, Goldman Sachs’ roles in connection with other clients and in the capital markets (including in connection with advice it may give to such clients or commercial arrangements or transactions that may be undertaken by such clients or by Goldman Sachs), Goldman Sachs’ internal policies and/or potential reputational risk in connection with Accounts (including the Funds). The Investment Adviser might not engage in transactions or other activities for, or enforce certain rights in favor of, one or more Funds due to Goldman Sachs’ activities outside the Funds (e.g., the Investment Adviser may refrain from making investments for the Funds that would cause Goldman Sachs to exceed position limits or cause Goldman Sachs to have additional disclosure obligations and may limit purchases or sales of securities in respect of which Goldman Sachs is engaged in an underwriting or other distribution) and regulatory requirements, policies and reputational risk assessments.

In addition, in certain circumstances, the Investment Adviser restricts, limits or reduces the amount of a Fund’s investment, or restricts the type of governance or voting rights it acquires or exercises, where the Fund (potentially together with Goldman Sachs and other Accounts) exceeds a certain ownership interest, or possesses certain degrees of voting or control or has other interests. For example, such limitations may exist if a position or transaction could require a filing or license or other regulatory or corporate consent, which could, among other things, result in additional costs and disclosure obligations for, or impose regulatory restrictions on, Goldman Sachs, including the Investment Adviser, or on other Accounts, or where exceeding a threshold is prohibited or may result in regulatory or other restrictions. In certain cases, restrictions and limitations will be applied to avoid approaching such threshold. Circumstances in which such restrictions or limitations may arise include, without limitation: (i) a prohibition against owning more than a certain percentage of an issuer’s securities; (ii) a “poison pill” that could have a dilutive impact on the holdings of the Fund should a threshold be exceeded; (iii) provisions that would cause Goldman Sachs to be considered an “interested

 

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stockholder” of an issuer; (iv) provisions that may cause Goldman Sachs to be considered an “affiliate” or “control person” of the issuer; and (v) the imposition by an issuer (through charter amendment, contract or otherwise) or governmental, regulatory or self-regulatory organization (through law, rule, regulation, interpretation or other guidance) of other restrictions or limitations. In addition, due to regulatory restrictions, certain Accounts are prohibited from, or are subject to certain restrictions when, trading with or through Goldman Sachs, engaging Goldman Sachs as a service provider or purchasing investments issued or managed by Goldman Sachs.

When faced with the foregoing limitations, Goldman Sachs will generally avoid exceeding the threshold because exceeding the threshold could have an adverse impact on the ability of the Investment Adviser or Goldman Sachs to conduct its business activities. The Investment Adviser may also reduce a Fund’s interest in, or restrict a Fund from participating in, an investment opportunity that has limited availability or where Goldman Sachs has determined to cap its aggregate investment in consideration of certain regulatory or other requirements so that other Accounts that pursue similar investment strategies may be able to acquire an interest in the investment opportunity. The Investment Adviser may determine not to engage in certain transactions or activities which may be beneficial to the Funds because engaging in such transactions or activities in compliance with applicable law would result in significant cost to, or administrative burden on, the Investment Adviser or create the potential risk of trade or other errors.

The Investment Adviser generally is not permitted to use material non-public information in effecting purchases and sales in transactions for the Funds that involve public securities. The Investment Adviser may limit an activity or transaction (such as a purchase or sale transaction) which might otherwise be engaged in by the Funds, including as a result of information held by Goldman Sachs (including the Investment Adviser or its personnel). For example, directors, officers and employees of Goldman Sachs may take seats on the boards of directors of, or have board of directors observer rights with respect to, companies in which Goldman Sachs invests on behalf of the Funds. To the extent a director, officer or employee of Goldman Sachs were to take a seat on the board of directors of, or have board of directors observer rights with respect to, a public company, the Investment Adviser (or certain of its investment teams) may be limited and/or restricted in its or their ability to trade in the securities of the company. In addition, any such director, officer or employee of Goldman Sachs that is a member of the board of directors of a portfolio company may have duties in his or her capacity as a director that conflict with the Investment Adviser’s duties to Accounts, and may act in a manner that disadvantages or otherwise harms a Fund and/or Goldman Sachs. In the event the Investment Adviser declines access to, or otherwise does not receive, material non-public information regarding an issuer, the Investment Adviser may base investment decisions with respect to securities of such issuer solely on public information, thereby limiting the amount of information available to the Investment Adviser in connection with such investment decisions.

Different areas of Goldman Sachs may come into possession of material non-public information regarding an issuer of securities held by an Underlying Fund in which an Account invests. In the absence of information barriers between such different areas of Goldman Sachs or under certain other circumstances, the Account may be prohibited, including by internal policies, from trading such security or redeeming from such Underlying Fund during the period such material non-public information is held by such other part of Goldman Sachs, which period may be substantial. As a result, the Account may not be permitted to redeem from an Underlying Fund in whole or in part during periods when it otherwise would have been able to do so, which could adversely affect the Account. Other investors in the Underlying Fund that are not subject to such restrictions may be able to redeem from the Underlying Fund during such periods.

In addition, the Investment Adviser’s clients may partially or fully fund a new Account with in-kind securities in which the Investment Adviser may be restricted. In such circumstances, the Investment Adviser will sell any such securities at the next available trading window, subject to operational and technological limitations (unless such securities are subject to another express arrangement). As a result, such Accounts may be required to dispose of investments at an earlier or later date and/or at a less favorable price than would otherwise have been the case had the Investment Adviser not been so restricted. Accounts will be responsible for all tax liabilities that result from any such sale transactions.

The Investment Adviser operates a program reasonably designed to ensure compliance generally with economic and trade sanctions-related obligations applicable directly to its activities (although such obligations are not necessarily the same obligations that the Funds may be subject to). Such economic and trade sanctions may prohibit, among other things, transactions with and the provision of services to, directly or indirectly, certain countries, territories, entities and individuals. These economic and trade sanctions, and the application by the Investment Adviser of its compliance program in respect thereof, may restrict or limit the Funds’ investment activities.

The Investment Adviser may determine to limit or not engage at all in transactions and activities on behalf of the Funds for reputational or other reasons. Examples of when such determinations may be made include, but are not limited to, where Goldman Sachs is providing (or may provide) advice or services to an entity involved in such activity or transaction, where Goldman Sachs or an Account is or may be engaged in the same or a related activity or transaction to that being considered on behalf of the Funds, where Goldman Sachs or an Account has an interest in an entity involved in such activity or transaction, where there are political, public relations, or other reputational considerations relating to counterparties or other participants in such activity or transaction or where such activity or transaction on behalf of or in respect of the Funds could affect in tangible or intangible ways Goldman Sachs, the Investment Adviser, an Account or their activities.

 

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In order to engage in certain transactions on behalf of a Fund, the Investment Adviser will also be subject to (or cause the Fund to become subject to) the rules, terms and/or conditions of any venues through which it trades securities, derivatives or other instruments. This includes, but is not limited to, where the Investment Adviser and/or the Fund are required to comply with the rules of certain exchanges, execution platforms, trading facilities, clearinghouses and other venues, or are required to consent to the jurisdiction of any such venues. The rules, terms and/or conditions of any such venue may result in the Investment Adviser and/or the Fund being subject to, among other things, margin requirements, additional fees and other charges, disciplinary procedures, reporting and recordkeeping, position limits and other restrictions on trading, settlement risks and other related conditions on trading set out by such venues.

From time to time, a Fund, the Investment Adviser or its affiliates and/or their service providers or agents are required, or may determine that it is advisable, to disclose certain information about the Fund, including, but not limited to, investments held by the Fund, and the names and percentage interest of beneficial owners thereof (and the underlying beneficial owners of such beneficial owners), to third parties, including local governmental authorities, regulatory organizations, taxing authorities, markets, exchanges, clearing facilities, custodians, brokers and trading counterparties of, or service providers to, the Investment Adviser or the Fund. The Investment Adviser generally expects to comply with requests to disclose such information as it so determines including through electronic delivery platforms; however, the Investment Adviser may determine to cause the sale of certain assets for the Fund rather than make certain required disclosures, and such sale may be at a time that is inopportune from a pricing or other standpoint. In addition, the Investment Adviser may provide third parties with aggregated data regarding the activities of, or certain performance or other metrics associated with the Accounts, and the Investment Adviser may receive compensation from such third parties for providing them such information.

Goldman Sachs may become subject to additional restrictions on its business activities that could have an impact on the Funds’ activities. In addition, the Investment Adviser may restrict its investment decisions and activities on behalf of the Funds and not other Accounts, including Accounts sponsored, managed or advised by the Investment Adviser.

Brokerage Transactions

The Investment Adviser often selects U.S. and non-U.S. broker-dealers (including affiliates of the Investment Adviser) that furnish the Investment Adviser, the Funds, Investment Adviser affiliates and other Goldman Sachs personnel with proprietary or third-party brokerage and research services (collectively, “brokerage and research services”) that provide, in the Investment Adviser’s view, appropriate assistance to the Investment Adviser in the investment decision-making process. These brokerage and research services may be bundled with the trade execution, clearing or settlement services provided by a particular broker-dealer and, subject to applicable law, the Investment Adviser may pay for such brokerage and research services with client commissions (or “soft dollars”). There are instances or situations in which such practices are subject to restrictions under applicable law. For example, the EU’s Markets in Financial Instruments Directive II (“MiFID II”) restricts EU domiciled investment advisers from receiving research and other materials that do not qualify as “acceptable minor non-monetary benefits” from broker-dealers unless the research or materials are paid for by the investment advisers from their own resources or from research payment accounts funded by and with the agreement of their clients.

Accounts differ with regard to whether and to what extent they pay for brokerage and research services through commissions and, subject to applicable law, brokerage and research services may be used to service the Funds and any or all other Accounts throughout the Investment Adviser, including Accounts that do not pay commissions to the broker-dealer relating to the brokerage and research service arrangements. As a result, brokerage and research services (including soft dollar benefits) may disproportionately benefit other Accounts relative to the Funds based on the relative amount of commissions paid by the Funds and in particular those Accounts that do not pay for brokerage and research services or do so to a lesser extent, including in connection with the establishment of maximum budgets for research costs (and switching to execution-only pricing when maximums are met). The Investment Adviser does not attempt to allocate soft dollar benefits proportionately among clients or to track the benefits of brokerage and research services to the commissions associated with a particular Account or group of Accounts.

Aggregation of Orders by the Investment Adviser

The Investment Adviser follows policies and procedures pursuant to which it may (but is not required to) combine or aggregate purchase or sale orders for the same security or other instrument for multiple Accounts (including Accounts in which Goldman Sachs or personnel of Goldman Sachs have an interest) (sometimes referred to as “bunching”), so that the orders can be executed at the same time and block trade treatment of any such orders can be elected when available. The Investment Adviser aggregates orders when the Investment Adviser considers doing so to be operationally feasible and appropriate and in the interests of its clients and may elect block trade treatment when available. In addition, under certain circumstances orders for the Funds may be aggregated with orders for Accounts that contain Goldman Sachs assets.

 

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When a bunched order or block trade is completely filled, or if the order is only partially filled, at the end of the day, the Investment Adviser generally will allocate the securities or other instruments purchased or the proceeds of any sale pro rata among the participating Accounts, based on the Funds’ relative sizes. If an order is filled at several different prices, through multiple trades (whether at a particular broker-dealer or among multiple broker-dealers), generally all participating Accounts will receive the average price and pay the average commission, however, this may not always be the case (due to, e.g., odd lots, rounding, market practice or constraints applicable to particular Accounts).

Although it may do so in certain circumstances, the Investment Adviser does not always bunch or aggregate orders for different Funds, elect block trade treatment or net buy and sell orders for the same Fund, if portfolio management decisions relating to the orders are made by different portfolio management teams or if different portfolio management processes are used for different account types, if bunching, aggregating, electing block trade treatment or netting is not appropriate or practicable from the Investment Adviser’s operational or other perspective, or if doing so would not be appropriate in light of applicable regulatory considerations. For example, time zone differences, trading instructions, cash flows, separate trading desks or portfolio management processes may, among other factors, result in separate, non-aggregated, non-netted executions, with orders in the same instrument being entered for different Accounts at different times or, in the case of netting, buy and sell trades for the same instrument being entered for the same Account. The Investment Adviser may be able to negotiate a better price and lower commission rate on aggregated orders than on orders for Funds that are not aggregated, and incur lower transaction costs on netted orders than orders that are not netted. The Investment Adviser is under no obligation or other duty to aggregate or net for particular orders. Where orders for a Fund are not aggregated with other orders, or not netted against orders for the Fund or other Accounts, the Fund will not benefit from a better price and lower commission rate or lower transaction cost that might have been available had the orders been aggregated or netted. Aggregation and netting of orders may disproportionately benefit some Accounts relative to other Accounts, including a Fund, due to the relative amount of market savings obtained by the Accounts. The Investment Adviser may aggregate orders of Accounts that are subject to MiFID II (“MiFID II Advisory Accounts”) with orders of Accounts not subject to MiFID II, including those that generate soft dollar commissions (including the Funds) and those that restrict the use of soft dollars. All Accounts included in an aggregated order with MiFID II Advisory Accounts pay (or receive) the same average price for the security and the same execution costs (measured by rate). However, MiFID II Advisory Accounts included in an aggregated order may pay commissions at “execution-only” rates below the total commission rates paid by Accounts included in the aggregated order that are not subject to MiFID II.

PORTFOLIO TRANSACTIONS AND BROKERAGE

The Investment Adviser is responsible for decisions to buy and sell securities for the Fund, the selection of brokers and dealers to effect the transactions and the negotiation of brokerage commissions, if any. Purchases and sales of securities may be executed internally by a broker-dealer, effected on an agency basis in a block transaction, or routed to competing market centers for execution. The compensation paid to the broker for providing execution services generally is negotiated and reflected in either a commission or a “net” price. Executions provided on a net price basis, with dealers acting as principal for their own accounts without a stated commission, usually include a profit to the dealer. In underwritten offerings, securities are purchased at a fixed price which includes an amount of compensation to the underwriter, generally referred to as the underwriter’s concession or discount. On occasion, certain money market instruments may be purchased directly from an issuer, in which case no commissions or discounts are paid.

In placing orders for portfolio securities or other financial instruments of the Fund, the Investment Adviser is generally required to give primary consideration to obtaining the most favorable execution and net price available. This means that the Investment Adviser will seek to execute each transaction at a price and commission, if any, which provides the most favorable total cost or proceeds reasonably attainable in the circumstances. As permitted by Section 28(e) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (“Section 28(e)”), the Fund may pay a broker which provides brokerage and research services to the Fund an amount of disclosed commission in excess of the commission which another broker would have charged for effecting that transaction. Such practice is subject to a good faith determination that such commission is reasonable in light of the services provided and to such policies as the Trustees may adopt from time to time. While the Investment Adviser generally seeks reasonably competitive spreads or commissions, the Fund will not necessarily be paying the lowest spread or commission available. Within the framework of this policy, the Investment Adviser will consider research and investment services provided by brokers or dealers who effect or are parties to portfolio transactions of the Fund, the Investment Adviser and its affiliates, or their other clients. Such research and investment services are those which brokerage houses customarily provide to institutional investors and include research reports on particular industries and companies; economic surveys and analyses; recommendations as to specific securities; research products including quotation equipment and computer related programs; advice concerning the value of securities, the advisability of investing in, purchasing or selling securities and the availability of securities or the purchasers or sellers of securities; analyses and reports concerning issuers, industries, securities, economic factors and trends, portfolio strategy and performance of accounts; services relating to effecting securities transactions and functions incidental thereto (such as clearance and settlement); and other lawful and appropriate assistance to the Investment Adviser in the performance of its decision-making responsibilities.

Such services are used by the Investment Adviser in connection with all of its investment activities, and some of such services obtained in connection with the execution of transactions for the Fund may be used in managing other investment accounts. Conversely, brokers furnishing such services may be selected for the execution of transactions of such other accounts, whose aggregate assets may be larger than those of the Fund, and the services furnished by such brokers may be used by the Investment Adviser in providing management services for the Trust. The Investment Adviser may also participate in so-called “commission sharing arrangements” and “client commission arrangements” under which the Investment Adviser may execute transactions through a broker-dealer and request that the broker-dealer allocate a portion of the commissions or commission credits to another firm that provides research to the Investment Adviser. The Investment Adviser excludes from use under these arrangements those products and services that are not fully eligible under applicable law and regulatory interpretations—even as to the portion that would be eligible if accounted for separately.

The research services received as part of commission sharing and client commission arrangements will comply with Section 28(e) and may be subject to different legal requirements in the jurisdictions in which the Investment Adviser does business. Participating in commission sharing and client commission arrangements may enable the Investment Adviser to consolidate payments for research through one or more channels using accumulated client commissions or credits from transactions executed through a particular broker-dealer to obtain research provided by other firms. Such arrangements also help to ensure the continued receipt of research services while facilitating best execution in the trading process. The Investment Adviser believes such research services are useful in its investment decision-making process by, among other things, ensuring access to a variety of high quality research, access to individual analysts and availability of resources that the Investment Adviser might not be provided access to absent such arrangements.

 

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On occasions when the Investment Adviser deems the purchase or sale of a security or other financial instruments to be in the best interest of the Fund as well as its other customers (including any other fund or other investment company or advisory account for which the Investment Adviser acts as investment adviser or sub-investment adviser), the Investment Adviser, to the extent permitted by applicable laws and regulations, may aggregate the securities to be sold or purchased for the Fund with those to be sold or purchased for such other customers in order to obtain the best net price and most favorable execution under the circumstances. In such event, allocation of the securities so purchased or sold, as well as the expenses incurred in the transaction, will be made by the Investment Adviser in the manner it considers to be equitable and consistent with its fiduciary obligations to the Fund and such other customers. In some instances, this procedure may adversely affect the price and size of the position obtainable for the Fund.

The Fund may participate in a commission recapture program. Under the program, participating broker-dealers rebate a percentage of commissions earned on Fund portfolio transactions to the Fund from which the commissions were generated. The rebated commissions are expected to be treated as realized capital gains of the Fund.

Subject to the above considerations, the Investment Adviser may use Goldman Sachs or an affiliate as a broker for the Fund. In order for Goldman Sachs or an affiliate acting as agent to effect any portfolio transactions for the Fund, the commissions, fees or other remuneration received by Goldman Sachs or an affiliate must be reasonable and fair compared to the commissions, fees or other remuneration received by other brokers in connection with comparable transactions involving similar securities or futures contracts. Furthermore, the Trustees, including a majority of the Independent Trustees, have adopted procedures which are reasonably designed to provide that any commissions, fees or other remuneration paid to Goldman Sachs are consistent with the foregoing standard. Brokerage transactions with Goldman Sachs are also subject to such fiduciary standards as may be imposed upon Goldman Sachs by applicable law.

Commission rates in the U.S. are established pursuant to negotiations with the broker based on the quality and quantity of execution services provided by the broker in the light of generally prevailing rates. The allocation of orders among brokers and the commission rates paid are reviewed periodically by the Trustees. The amount of brokerage commissions paid by the Fund may vary substantially from year to year because of differences in shareholder purchase and redemption activity, portfolio turnover rates and other factors.

During the fiscal year ended August 31, 2019, the Fund paid brokerage commissions as follows:

 

Fiscal Year Ended

August 31, 2019

   Total Brokerage
Commissions
Paid
     Total Brokerage
Commissions Paid to
Goldman Sachs1
    Total Amount of
Transactions on which
Commissions Paid2
    Amount of
Transactions
Effected
through Brokers
Providing
Proprietary

Research3
     Total Brokerage
Commissions
Paid

For Proprietary
Research3
 

Global Managed Beta Fund

   $ 316,556      $ (0%)    $ 1,042,212,310  (0%)    $ 0      $ 0  

During the fiscal year ended August 31, 2018, the Fund paid brokerage commissions as follows:

 

Fiscal Year Ended

August 31, 2018

   Total Brokerage
Commissions
Paid
     Total Brokerage
Commissions Paid to
Goldman Sachs1
    Total Amount of
Transactions on which
Commissions Paid2
    Amount of
Transactions
Effected
through Brokers
Providing
Proprietary

Research3
     Total Brokerage
Commissions
Paid

For Proprietary
Research3
 

Global Managed Beta Fund

   $ 139,407      $ 0 (0%)    $ 892,687,891 (0%)    $ 0      $ 0  

 

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During the fiscal period November 1, 2016 through August 31, 2017, the Fund paid brokerage commissions as follows:

 

Fiscal Period November 1, 2016 through

August 31, 2017*

   Total Brokerage
Commissions
Paid
     Total Brokerage
Commissions Paid to
Goldman Sachs1
    Total Amount of
Transactions on which
Commissions Paid2
    Amount of
Transactions
Effected
through Brokers
Providing
Proprietary

Research3
     Total Brokerage
Commissions
Paid

For Proprietary
Research3
 

Global Managed Beta Fund

   $ 23,980      $ (0%)    $ 553,030,743  (0%)    $ 0      $ 0  

During the fiscal year ended October 31, 2016, the Fund paid brokerage commissions as follows:

 

Fiscal Year Ended

October 31, 2016

   Total Brokerage
Commissions
Paid
     Total Brokerage
Commissions Paid to
Goldman Sachs1
    Total Amount of
Transactions on which
Commissions Paid2
    Amount of
Transactions
Effected
through Brokers
Providing
Proprietary

Research3
     Total Brokerage
Commissions
Paid

For Proprietary
Research3
 

Global Managed Beta Fund

   $ 0      $ (0%)    $ 235,921,618  (0%)    $ 0      $ 0  

 

* 

Effective August 25, 2017, the Fund changed its fiscal year end from October 31 to August 31.

1 

Percentages refer to percentage of total commissions paid to Goldman Sachs.

2 

Percentages refer to percentage of total amount of transactions involving the payment of commissions effected through Goldman Sachs.

3 

The information above reflects the full commission amounts paid to brokers that provide research to the Investment Adviser. Only a portion of such commission pays for research and the remainder of such commission is to compensate the broker for execution services, commitment of capital and other services related to the execution of brokerage transactions.

The Fund’s Investments in Regular Broker-Dealers

During the fiscal year ended August 31, 2019, the Trust’s regular “broker-dealers,” as defined in Rule 10b-1 under the Act, were: Barclays Capital Inc., BMO Capital Markets Corp., Cowen and Company, LLC, International Strategy & Investment Group LLC, J.P. Morgan Securities LLC, Jefferies LLC, Liquidnet, Inc., Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC, National Financial Services LLC, and Sanford C. Bernstein & Co., LLC.

As of August 31, 2019, the Fund held the following amounts in securities of its regular broker-dealers:

 

Broker-Dealer

   Amount  

Barclays Capital Inc.

   $ 2,053,560  

BMO Capital Markets Corp.

   $ 0  

Cowen and Company, LLC

   $ 0  

International Strategy & Investment Group LLC

   $ 0  

J.P. Morgan Securities LLC

   $ 4,156,540  

Jefferies LLC

   $ 0  

Liquidnet, Inc.

   $ 0  

Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC

   $ 4,630,070  

National Financial Services LLC

   $ 0  

Sanford C. Bernstein & Co., LLC

   $ 0  

 

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NET ASSET VALUE

In accordance with procedures adopted by the Trustees, the NAV per share of each class of the Fund is calculated by determining the value of the net assets attributed to each class of the Fund and dividing by the number of outstanding shares of that class. All securities are generally valued on each Business Day as of the close of regular trading on the New York Stock Exchange (normally, but not always, 4:00 p.m. Eastern time) or such other time as the New York Stock Exchange or National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotations System (“NASDAQ”) market may officially close. The term “Business Day” means any day the New York Stock Exchange is open for trading, which is Monday through Friday except for holidays. The New York Stock Exchange is closed on the following observed holidays: New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Washington’s Birthday, Good Friday, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas.

The time at which transactions and shares are priced and the time by which orders must be received may be changed in case of an emergency or if regular trading on the New York Stock Exchange is stopped at a time other than its regularly scheduled closing time. The Trust reserves the right to reprocess purchase (including dividend reinvestments), redemption and exchange transactions that were processed at a NAV that is subsequently adjusted, and to recover amounts from (or distribute amounts to) shareholders accordingly based on the official closing NAV, as adjusted. The Trust reserves the right to advance the time by which purchase and redemption orders must be received for same business day credit as otherwise permitted by the SEC. In addition, the Fund may compute its NAV as of any time permitted pursuant to any exemption, order or statement of the SEC or its staff.

For the purpose of calculating the NAV per share of the Fund, investments are valued under valuation procedures established by the Trustees. Portfolio securities of the Fund for which accurate market quotations are readily available are generally valued as follows: (i) equity securities listed on any U.S. or foreign stock exchange or on the NASDAQ will be valued at the last sale price or the official closing price on the exchange or system in which they are principally traded on the valuation date. If there is no sale or official closing price on the valuation date, equity securities may be valued at the closing bid price for long positions or the closing ask price for short positions at the time closest to, but no later than, the NAV calculation time. If the relevant exchange or system has not closed by the above-mentioned time for determining the Fund’s NAV, the securities will be valued at the last sale price or official closing price, or if not available at the bid price at the time the NAV is determined; (ii) over-the-counter equity securities not quoted on NASDAQ will be valued at the last sale price on the valuation day or, if no sale occurs, at the last bid price for long positions or the last ask price for short positions, at the time closest to, but no later than, the NAV calculation time; (iii) equity securities for which no prices are obtained under sections (i) or (ii), including those for which a pricing service supplies no exchange quotation or a quotation that is believed by the Investment Adviser to not represent fair value, will be valued through the use of broker quotes, if possible; (iv) fixed income securities will be valued via electronic feeds from independent pricing services to the administrator using evaluated prices provided by a recognized pricing service and dealer-supplied quotations. Fixed income securities for which a pricing service either does not supply a quotation or supplies a quotation that is believed by the Investment Adviser to not represent fair value, will be valued through the use of broker quotes, if possible; (v) fixed income securities for which accurate market quotations are not readily available will be valued by the Investment Adviser based on Board-approved fair valuation policies that incorporate matrix pricing or valuation models, which utilize certain inputs and assumptions, including, but not limited to, yield or price with respect to comparable fixed income securities and various other factors; (vi) investments in open-end registered investment companies (excluding investments in ETFs) and investments in private funds are valued based on the NAV of those registered investment companies or private funds (which may use fair value pricing as discussed in their prospectus or offering memorandum); (vii) spot foreign exchange rates will be valued using a pricing service at the time closest to, but no later than, the NAV calculation time, and forward foreign currency contracts will be valued by adding forward points provided by an independent pricing service to the spot foreign exchange rates and interpolating based upon maturity dates of each contract or by using outright forward rates, where available (if quotations are unavailable from a pricing service or, if the quotations by the Investment Adviser are believed to be inaccurate, the contracts will be valued by calculating the mean between the last bid and ask quotations supplied by at least one dealer in such contracts); (viii) exchange-traded futures contracts will be valued at the last published settlement price on the exchange where they are principally traded (or, if a sale occurs after the last published settlement price but before the NAV calculation time, at the last sale price at the time closest to, but no later than, the NAV calculation time); (ix) exchange-traded options contracts with settlement prices will be valued at the last published settlement price on the exchange where they are principally traded (or, if a sale occurs after the last published settlement price but before the NAV calculation time, at the last sale price at the time closest to, but no later than, the NAV calculation time); (x) exchange-traded options contracts without settlement prices will be valued at the midpoint of the bid and ask prices on the exchange where they are principally traded (or, in the absence of two-way trading, at the last bid price for long positions and the last ask price for short positions at the time closest to, but no later than, the NAV calculation time); (xi) over-the-counter derivatives, including, but not limited to, interest rate swaps, credit default swaps, total return index swaps, put/call option combos, total return basket swaps, index volatility and FX variance swaps, will be valued at their fair market value as determined using counterparty supplied valuations, an independent pricing service or valuation models which use market data inputs supplied by an independent pricing service; and (xii) all other instruments, including those for which a pricing service supplies no exchange quotation/price or a quotation that is believed by the Investment Adviser to be inaccurate, will be valued in accordance with the valuation procedures approved by the Board of Trustees. Securities may also be valued at fair value in accordance with procedures approved by the Board of Trustees where the Fund’s fund accounting agent is unable for other reasons to facilitate pricing of individual securities or calculate the Fund’s NAV, or if the Investment Adviser believes that such quotations do not accurately reflect fair value. Fair values determined in accordance with the valuation procedures approved by the Board of Trustees may be based on subjective judgments and it is possible that the prices resulting from such valuation procedures may differ materially from the value realized on a sale.

 

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The value of all assets and liabilities expressed in foreign currencies will be converted into U.S. dollar values at current exchange rates of such currencies against U.S. dollars as of the close of regular trading on the New York Stock Exchange (normally, but not always, 4:00 p.m. Eastern time). If such quotations are not available, the rate of exchange will be determined in good faith under procedures established by the Board of Trustees.

Generally, trading in securities on European, Asian and Far Eastern securities exchanges and on over-the-counter markets in these regions is substantially completed at various times prior to the close of business on each Business Day in New York (i.e., a day on which the New York Stock Exchange is open for trading). In addition, European, Asian or Far Eastern securities trading generally or in a particular country or countries may not take place on all Business Days in New York. Furthermore, trading takes place in various foreign markets on days which are not Business Days in New York and days on which the Fund’s NAVs are not calculated. Such calculation does not take place contemporaneously with the determination of the prices of the majority of the portfolio securities used in such calculation. For investments in foreign equity securities, “fair value” prices will be provided by an independent third-party pricing (fair value) service (if available), in accordance with fair value procedures approved by the Trustees. Fair value prices are used because many foreign markets operate at times that do not coincide with those of the major U.S. markets. Events that could affect the values of foreign portfolio holdings may occur between the close of the foreign market and the time of determining the NAV, and would not otherwise be reflected in the NAV. If the independent third-party pricing (fair value) service does not provide a fair value for a particular security or if the value does not meet the established criteria for the Fund, the most recent closing price for such a security on its principal exchange will generally be its fair value on such date.

The Investment Adviser, consistent with its procedures and applicable regulatory guidance, may (but need not) determine to make an adjustment to the previous closing prices of either domestic or foreign securities in light of significant events, to reflect what it believes to be the fair value of the securities at the time of determining the Fund’s NAV. Significant events that could affect a large number of securities in a particular market may include, but are not limited to: situations relating to one or more single issuers in a market sector; significant fluctuations in U.S. or foreign markets; market dislocations; market disruptions or unscheduled market closings; equipment failures; natural or man made disasters or acts of God; armed conflicts; governmental actions or other developments; as well as the same or similar events which may affect specific issuers or the securities markets even though not tied directly to the securities markets. Other significant events that could relate to a single issuer may include, but are not limited to: corporate actions such as reorganizations, mergers and buy-outs; corporate announcements, including those relating to earnings, products and regulatory news; significant litigation; ratings downgrades; bankruptcies; and trading limits or suspensions.

In general, fair value represents a good faith approximation of the current value of an asset and may be used when there is no public market or possibly no market at all for an asset. A security that is fair valued may be valued at a price higher or lower than actual market quotations or the value determined by other funds using their own fair valuation procedures or by other investors. The fair value of an asset may not be the price at which that asset is ultimately sold.

The proceeds received by the Fund and each other series of the Trust from the issue or sale of its shares, and all net investment income, realized and unrealized gain and proceeds thereof, subject only to the rights of creditors, will be specifically allocated to such Fund or particular series and constitute the underlying assets of that Fund or series. The underlying assets of the Fund will be segregated on the books of account, and will be charged with the liabilities in respect of such Fund and with a share of the general liabilities of the Trust. Expenses of the Trust with respect to the Fund and the other series of the Trust are generally allocated in proportion to the NAVs of the respective Fund or series except where allocations of expenses can otherwise be fairly made.

The Fund relies on various sources to calculate its NAV. The ability of the Fund’s fund accounting agent to calculate the NAV per share of each share class of the Fund is subject to operational risks associated with processing or human errors, systems or technology failures, cyber attacks and errors caused by third party service providers, data sources, or trading counterparties. Such failures may result in delays in the calculation of the Fund’s NAV and/or the inability to calculate NAV over extended time periods. The Fund may be unable to recover any losses associated with such failures. In addition, if the third party service providers and/or data sources upon which the Fund directly or indirectly relies to calculate its NAV or price individual securities are unavailable or otherwise unable to calculate the NAV correctly, it may be necessary for alternative procedures to be utilized to price the securities at the time of determining the Fund’s NAV.

Errors and Corrective Actions

The Investment Adviser will report to the Board of Trustees any material breaches of investment objective, policies or restrictions and any material errors in the calculation of the NAV of the Fund or the processing of purchases and redemptions. Depending on the nature and size of an error, corrective action may or may not be required. Corrective action may involve a prospective correction of the NAV only, correction of any erroneous NAV and compensation to the Fund, or correction of any erroneous NAV, compensation

 

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to the Fund and reprocessing of individual shareholder transactions. The Trust’s policies on errors and corrective action limit or restrict when corrective action will be taken or when compensation to the Fund or its shareholders will be paid, and not all mistakes will result in compensable errors. As a result, neither the Fund nor its shareholders who purchase or redeem shares during periods in which errors accrue or occur may be compensated in connection with the resolution of an error. Shareholders will generally not be notified of the occurrence of a compensable error or the resolution thereof absent unusual circumstances.

As discussed in more detail under “NET ASSET VALUE,” the Fund’s portfolio securities may be priced based on quotations for those securities provided by pricing services. There can be no guarantee that a quotation provided by a pricing service will be accurate.

SHARES OF THE TRUST

The Fund is a series of Goldman Sachs Trust, a Delaware statutory trust established by an Agreement and Declaration of Trust dated January 28, 1997. The fiscal year end for the Fund is August 31.

The Trustees have authority under the Trust’s Declaration of Trust to create and classify shares of beneficial interest in separate series, without further action by shareholders. The Trustees also have authority to classify and reclassify any series of shares into one or more classes of shares. As of the date of this SAI, the Trustees have authorized the issuance of one class of shares of the Fund: Institutional Shares. Additional series and classes may be added in the future.

Each Institutional Share of the Fund represents a proportionate interest in the assets belonging to the applicable class of the Fund and all expenses of the Fund are borne at the same rate by each class of shares. With limited exceptions, Institutional Shares may only be exchanged for shares of the same or an equivalent class of another series. See “Shareholder Guide” in the Prospectus. In addition, the fees and expenses set forth below for Institutional Shares may be subject to fee waivers or reimbursements, as discussed more fully in the Fund’s Prospectus.

Institutional Shares may be purchased at NAV without a sales charge for accounts in the name of an investor or institution that is not compensated by the Fund for services provided to the institution’s customers.

Certain aspects of the shares may be altered after advance notice to shareholders if it is deemed necessary in order to satisfy certain tax regulatory requirements.

When issued for the consideration described in the Fund’s Prospectus, shares are fully paid and non-assessable. The Trustees may, however, cause shareholders, or shareholders of a particular series or class, to pay certain custodian, transfer agency, servicing or similar charges by setting off the same against declared but unpaid dividends or by reducing share ownership (or by both means). In the event of liquidation, shareholders are entitled to share pro rata in the net assets of the applicable class of the Fund available for distribution to such shareholders. All shares are freely transferable and have no preemptive, subscription or conversion rights. The Trustees may require Shareholders to redeem Shares for any reason under terms set by the Trustees.

The Act requires that where more than one series of shares exists, each series must be preferred over all other series in respect of assets specifically allocated to such series. In addition, Rule 18f-2 under the Act provides that any matter required to be submitted by the provisions of the Act or applicable state law, or otherwise, to the holders of the outstanding voting securities of an investment company such as the Trust shall not be deemed to have been effectively acted upon unless approved by the holders of a majority of the outstanding shares of each series affected by such matter. Rule 18f-2 further provides that a series shall be deemed to be affected by a matter unless the interests of each series in the matter are substantially identical or the matter does not affect any interest of such series. However, Rule 18f-2 exempts the selection of independent public accountants, the approval of principal distribution contracts and the election of trustees from the separate voting requirements of Rule 18f-2.

The Trust is not required to hold annual meetings of shareholders and does not intend to hold such meetings. In the event that a meeting of shareholders is held, each share of the Trust will be entitled, as determined by the Trustees without the vote or consent of the shareholders, either to one vote for each share or to one vote for each dollar of net asset value represented by such share on all matters presented to shareholders including the election of Trustees (this method of voting being referred to as “dollar based voting”). However, to the extent required by the Act or otherwise determined by the Trustees, series and classes of the Trust will vote separately from each other. Shareholders of the Trust do not have cumulative voting rights in the election of Trustees. Meetings of shareholders of the Trust, or any series or class thereof, may be called by the Trustees, certain officers or upon the written request of holders of 10% or more of the shares entitled to vote at such meetings. The Trustees will call a special meeting of shareholders for the purpose of electing Trustees, if, at any time, less than a majority of Trustees holding office at the time were elected by shareholders. The shareholders of the Trust will have voting rights only with respect to the limited number of matters specified in the Declaration of Trust and such other matters as the Trustees may determine or may be required by law.

 

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The Declaration of Trust provides for indemnification of Trustees, officers, employees and agents of the Trust unless the recipient is adjudicated (i) to be liable by reason of willful misfeasance, bad faith, gross negligence or reckless disregard of the duties involved in the conduct of such person’s office or (ii) not to have acted in good faith in the reasonable belief that such person’s actions were in the best interest of the Trust. The Declaration of Trust provides that, if any shareholder or former shareholder of any series is held personally liable solely by reason of being or having been a shareholder and not because of the shareholder’s acts or omissions or for some other reason, the shareholder or former shareholder (or the shareholder’s heirs, executors, administrators, legal representatives or general successors) shall be held harmless from and indemnified against all loss and expense arising from such liability. The Trust, acting on behalf of any affected series, must, upon request by such shareholder, assume the defense of any claim made against such shareholder for any act or obligation of the series and satisfy any judgment thereon from the assets of the series.

The Declaration of Trust permits the termination of the Trust or of any series or class of the Trust (i) by a majority of the affected shareholders at a meeting of shareholders of the Trust, series or class; or (ii) by a majority of the Trustees without shareholder approval if the Trustees determine, in their sole discretion, that such action is in the best interest of the Trust, such series, such class or their respective shareholders. The Trustees may consider such factors as they, in their sole discretion, deem appropriate in making such determination, including (i) the inability of the Trust or any series or class to maintain its assets at an appropriate size; (ii) changes in laws or regulations governing the Trust, series or class or affecting assets of the type in which it invests; or (iii) economic developments or trends having a significant adverse impact on the business or operations of the Trust or series.

The Declaration of Trust authorizes the Trustees, without shareholder approval, to cause the Trust, or any series thereof, to merge or consolidate with any corporation, association, trust or other organization or sell or exchange all or substantially all of the property belonging to the Trust or any series thereof. In addition, the Trustees, without shareholder approval, may adopt a master-feeder structure by investing all or a portion of the assets of a series of the Trust in the securities of another open-end investment company with substantially the same investment objective, restrictions and policies.

The Declaration of Trust permits the Trustees to amend the Declaration of Trust without a shareholder vote. However, shareholders of the Trust have the right to vote on any amendment (i) that would adversely affect the voting rights of shareholders; (ii) that is required by law to be approved by shareholders; (iii) that would amend the provisions of the Declaration of Trust regarding amendments and supplements thereto; or (iv) that the Trustees determine to submit to shareholders.

The Trustees may appoint separate Trustees with respect to one or more series or classes of the Trust’s shares (the “Series Trustees”). Series Trustees may, but are not required to, serve as Trustees of the Trust or any other series or class of the Trust. To the extent provided by the Trustees in the appointment of Series Trustees, the Series Trustees may have, to the exclusion of any other Trustees of the Trust, all the powers and authorities of Trustees under the Declaration of Trust with respect to such Series or Class, but may have no power or authority with respect to any other series or class.

Shareholder and Trustee Liability

Under Delaware Law, the shareholders of the Fund are not generally subject to liability for the debts or obligations of the Trust. Similarly, Delaware law provides that a series of the Trust will not be liable for the debts or obligations of any other series of the Trust. However, no similar statutory or other authority limiting statutory trust shareholder liability exists in other states. As a result, to the extent that a Delaware statutory trust or a shareholder is subject to the jurisdiction of courts of such other states, the courts may not apply Delaware law and may thereby subject the Delaware statutory trust shareholders to liability. To guard against this risk, the Declaration of Trust contains an express disclaimer of shareholder liability for acts or obligations of a series. Notice of such disclaimer will normally be given in each agreement, obligation or instrument entered into or executed by a series of the Trust. The Declaration of Trust provides for indemnification by the relevant series for all loss suffered by a shareholder as a result of an obligation of the series. The Declaration of Trust also provides that a series shall, upon request, assume the defense of any claim made against any shareholder for any act or obligation of the series and satisfy any judgment thereon. In view of the above, the risk of personal liability of shareholders of a Delaware statutory trust is remote.

In addition to the requirements under Delaware law, the Declaration of Trust provides that shareholders of a series may bring a derivative action on behalf of the series only if the following conditions are met: (a) shareholders eligible to bring such derivative action under Delaware law who hold at least 10% of the outstanding shares of the series, or 10% of the outstanding shares of the class to which such action relates, shall join in the request for the Trustees to commence such action; and (b) the Trustees must be afforded a reasonable amount of time to consider such shareholder request and to investigate the basis of such claim. The Trustees will be entitled to retain counsel or other advisers in considering the merits of the request and may require an undertaking by the shareholders making such request to reimburse the series for the expense of any such advisers in the event that the Trustees determine not to bring such action.

The Declaration of Trust further provides that the Trustees will not be liable for errors of judgment or mistakes of fact or law, but nothing in the Declaration of Trust protects a Trustee against liability to which he or she would otherwise be subject by reason of willful misfeasance, bad faith, gross negligence, or reckless disregard of the duties involved in the conduct of his or her office.

 

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TAXATION

The following are certain additional U.S. federal income tax considerations generally affecting the Fund and the purchase, ownership and disposition of shares of the Fund that are not described in the Prospectus. The discussions below and in the Prospectus are only summaries and are not intended as substitutes for careful tax planning. They do not address special tax rules applicable to certain classes of investors, such as tax-exempt entities, insurance companies and financial institutions. Each prospective shareholder is urged to consult his or her own tax adviser with respect to the specific federal, state, local and foreign tax consequences of investing in the Fund. The summary is based on the laws in effect on December 27, 2019 which are subject to change. Future changes in tax laws may adversely impact the Fund and its shareholders.

Fund Taxation

The Fund is treated as a separate taxable entity and has elected to be treated and intends to qualify for each of its taxable years as a regulated investment companies under Subchapter M of Subtitle A, Chapter 1, of the Code.

There are certain tax requirements that the Fund must follow if it is to avoid federal taxation. In its efforts to adhere to these requirements, the Fund may have to limit its investment activities in some types of instruments. Qualification as a regulated investment company under the Code requires, among other things, that (i) the Fund derive at least 90% of its gross income for each taxable year from dividends, interest, payments with respect to securities loans, gains from the sale or other disposition of stocks or securities or foreign currencies, net income from qualified publicly traded partnerships or other income (including but not limited to gains from options, futures, and forward contracts) derived with respect to the Fund’s business of investing in stocks, securities or currencies (the “90% gross income test”); and (ii) the Fund diversify its holdings so that, in general, at the close of each quarter of its taxable year, (a) at least 50% of the fair market value of the Fund’s total (gross) assets is comprised of cash, cash items, U.S. Government Securities, securities of other regulated investment companies and other securities limited in respect of any one issuer to an amount not greater in value than 5% of the value of the Fund’s total assets and to not more than 10% of the outstanding voting securities of such issuer, and (b) not more than 25% of the value of its total (gross) assets is invested in the securities of any one issuer (other than U.S. Government Securities and securities of other regulated investment companies), two or more issuers controlled by the Fund and engaged in the same, similar or related trades or businesses, or certain publicly traded partnerships.

For purposes of the 90% gross income test, income that the Fund earns from equity interests in certain entities that are not treated as corporations or as qualified publicly traded partnerships for U.S. federal income tax purposes (e.g., partnerships or trusts) will generally have the same character for the Fund as in the hands of such an entity; consequently, the Fund may be required to limit its equity investments in any such entities that earn fee income, rental income, or other nonqualifying income. In addition, future Treasury regulations could provide that qualifying income under the 90% gross income test will not include gains from foreign currency transactions that are not directly related to the Fund’s principal business of investing in stock or securities or options and futures with respect to stock or securities. Using foreign currency positions or entering into foreign currency options, futures and forward or swap contracts for purposes other than hedging currency risk with respect to securities in the Fund’s portfolio or anticipated to be acquired may not qualify as “directly-related” under these tests.

If the Fund complies with the foregoing provisions, then in any taxable year in which the Fund distributes, in compliance with the Code’s timing and other requirements, an amount at least equal to the sum of 90% of its “investment company taxable income” (which includes dividends, taxable interest, taxable accrued original issue discount and market discount income, income from securities lending, any net short-term capital gain in excess of net long-term capital loss, certain net realized foreign exchange gains and any other taxable income other than “net capital gain,” as defined below, and is reduced by deductible expenses), plus 90% of the excess of its gross tax-exempt interest income (if any) over certain disallowed deductions, the Fund (but not its shareholders) will be relieved of federal income tax on any income of the Fund, including long-term capital gains, distributed to shareholders. If, instead, the Fund retains any investment company taxable income or net capital gain (the excess of net long-term capital gain over net short-term capital loss), it will be subject to a tax at regular corporate rates on the amount retained. Because there are some uncertainties regarding the computation of the amounts deemed distributed to Fund shareholders for these purposes — including, in particular, uncertainties regarding the portion, if any, of amounts paid in redemption of Fund shares that should be treated as such distributions — there can be no assurance that the Fund will avoid corporate-level tax in each year.

The Fund generally intends to distribute for each taxable year to its shareholders all or substantially all of its investment company taxable income, net capital gain and any tax-exempt interest. Exchange control or other foreign laws, regulations or practices may restrict repatriation of investment income, capital or the proceeds of securities sales by foreign investors and may therefore make it more difficult for the Fund to satisfy the distribution requirements described above, as well as the excise tax distribution requirements described below. The Fund generally expects, however, to be able to obtain sufficient cash to satisfy those requirements, from new investors, the sale of securities or other sources. If for any taxable year the Fund does not qualify as a regulated investment company, it will be taxed on all of its taxable income and net capital gain at corporate rates, and its distributions to shareholders will generally be taxable as ordinary dividends to the extent of its current and accumulated earnings and profits.

 

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If the Fund retains any net capital gain, the Fund may designate the retained amount as undistributed capital gains in a notice to its shareholders who (1) if subject to U.S. federal income tax on long-term capital gains, will be required to include in income for federal income tax purposes, as long-term capital gain, their shares of that undistributed amount, and (2) will be entitled to credit their proportionate shares of the tax paid by the Fund against their U.S. federal income tax liabilities, if any, and to claim refunds to the extent the credit exceeds those liabilities. For U.S. federal income tax purposes, the tax basis of shares owned by a shareholder of the Fund will be increased by the amount of any such undistributed net capital gain included in the shareholder’s gross income and decreased by the federal income tax paid by the Fund on that amount of net capital gain.

To avoid a 4% federal excise tax, the Fund must generally distribute (or be deemed to have distributed) by December 31 of each calendar year an amount at least equal to the sum of 98% of its taxable ordinary income (taking into account certain deferrals and elections) for the calendar year, 98.2% of the excess of its capital gains over its capital losses (generally computed on the basis of the one-year period ending on August 31 of such year), and all taxable ordinary income and the excess of capital gains over capital losses for all previous years that were not distributed for those years and on which the Fund paid no federal income tax. For federal income tax purposes, dividends declared by the Fund in October, November or December to shareholders of record on a specified date in such a month and paid during January of the following year are taxable to such shareholders, and deductible by the Fund, as if paid on December 31 of the year declared. The Fund anticipates that it will generally make timely distributions of income and capital gains in compliance with these requirements so that it will generally not be required to pay the excise tax.

For federal income tax purposes, the Fund is generally permitted to carry forward a net capital loss in any taxable year to offset its own capital gains, if any, during the eight taxable years following the year of the loss. Capital loss carryforwards arising on taxable years of the Fund beginning after December 22, 2010 are generally able to be carried forward indefinitely. These amounts are available to be carried forward to offset future capital gains to the extent permitted by the Code and applicable tax regulations. As of August 31, 2018, the Fund did not have any capital loss carryforwards.

Gains and losses on the sale, lapse, or other termination of options and futures contracts, options thereon and certain forward contracts (except certain foreign currency options, forward contracts and futures contracts) will generally be treated as capital gains and losses. Certain of the futures contracts, forward contracts and options held by the Fund will be required to be “marked-to-market” for federal tax purposes — that is, treated as having been sold at their fair market value on the last day of the Fund’s taxable year (or, for excise tax purposes, on the last day of the relevant period). These provisions may require the Fund to recognize income or gains without a concurrent receipt of cash. Any gain or loss recognized on actual or deemed sales of these futures contracts, forward contracts, or options will (except for certain foreign currency options, forward contracts, and futures contracts) be treated as 60% long-term capital gain or loss and 40% short-term capital gain or loss. As a result of certain hedging transactions entered into by the Fund, it may be required to defer the recognition of losses on futures contracts, forward contracts, and options or underlying securities or foreign currencies to the extent of any unrecognized gains on related positions held by the Fund, and the characterization of gains or losses as long-term or short-term may be changed. The tax provisions described in this paragraph may affect the amount, timing and character of the Fund’s distributions to shareholders. The application of certain requirements for qualification as a regulated investment company and the application of certain other tax rules may be unclear in some respects in connection with certain investment practices such as dollar rolls, or investments in certain derivatives, including interest rate swaps, floors, caps and collars, currency swaps, total return swaps, mortgage swaps, index swaps, forward contracts and structured notes. As a result, the Fund may therefore be required to limit its investments in such transactions and it is also possible that the IRS may not agree with the Fund’s tax treatment of such transactions. In addition, the tax treatment of derivatives, and certain other investments, may be affected by future legislation, Treasury Regulations and guidance issued by the IRS that could affect the timing, character and amount of the Fund’s income and gains and distributions to shareholders. Certain tax elections may be available to the Fund to mitigate some of the unfavorable consequences described in this paragraph.

Section 988 of the Code contains special tax rules applicable to certain foreign currency transactions and instruments, which may affect the amount, timing and character of income, gain or loss recognized by the Fund. Under these rules, foreign exchange gain or loss realized with respect to foreign currencies and certain futures and options thereon, foreign currency-denominated debt instruments, foreign currency forward contracts, and foreign currency-denominated payables and receivables will generally be treated as ordinary income or loss, although in some cases elections may be available that would alter this treatment. If a net foreign exchange loss treated as ordinary loss under Section 988 of the Code were to exceed the Fund’s investment company taxable income (computed without regard to that loss) for a taxable year, the resulting loss would not be deductible by the Fund or its shareholders in future years. Net loss, if any, from certain foreign currency transactions or instruments could exceed net investment income otherwise calculated for accounting purposes, with the result being either no dividends being paid or a portion of the Fund’s dividends being treated as a return of capital for tax purposes, nontaxable to the extent of a shareholder’s tax basis in his shares and, once such basis is exhausted, generally giving rise to capital gains.

The Fund’s investment, if any, in zero coupon securities, deferred interest securities, certain structured securities or other securities bearing original issue discount or, if the Fund elects to include market discount in income currently, market discount, as well as any “marked-to-market” gain from certain options, futures or forward contracts, as described above, will in many cases cause the

 

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Fund to realize income or gain before the receipt of cash payments with respect to these securities or contracts. For the Fund to obtain cash to enable the Fund to distribute any such income or gain, to maintain its qualification as a regulated investment company and to avoid federal income and excise taxes, the Fund may be required to liquidate portfolio investments sooner than it might otherwise have done.

Investments in lower-rated securities may present special tax issues for the Fund to the extent actual or anticipated defaults may be more likely with respect to those kinds of securities. Tax rules are not entirely clear about issues such as when an investor in such securities may cease to accrue interest, original issue discount, or market discount; when and to what extent deductions may be taken for bad debts or worthless securities; how payments received on obligations in default should be allocated between principal and income; and whether exchanges of debt obligations in a workout context are taxable. These and other issues will generally need to be addressed by the Fund, in the event it invests in such securities, so as to seek to eliminate or to minimize any adverse tax consequences.

If the Fund acquires stock (including, under proposed regulations, an option to acquire stock such as is inherent in a convertible bond) in certain foreign corporations that receive at least 75% of their annual gross income from passive sources (such as interest, dividends, rents, royalties or capital gain) or hold at least 50% of their assets in investments producing such passive income (“passive foreign investment companies”), the Fund could be subject to federal income tax and additional interest charges on “excess distributions” received from such companies or gain from the sale of stock in such companies, even if all income or gain actually received by the Fund is timely distributed to its shareholders. The Fund will not be able to pass through to its shareholders any credit or deduction for such a tax. In some cases, elections may be available that will ameliorate these adverse tax consequences, but those elections will require the Fund to include each year certain amounts as income or gain (subject to the distribution requirements described above) without a concurrent receipt of cash. The Fund may attempt to limit and/or to manage its holdings in passive foreign investment companies to minimize its tax liability or maximize its return from these investments.

If the Fund invests in certain REITs or in REMIC residual interests, a portion of the Fund’s income may be classified as “excess inclusion income.” A shareholder that is otherwise not subject to tax may be taxable on their share of any such excess inclusion income as “unrelated business taxable income.” In addition, tax may be imposed on the Fund on the portion of any excess inclusion income allocable to any shareholders that are classified as disqualified organizations.

Taxable U.S. Shareholders – Distributions

For U.S. federal income tax purposes, distributions by the Fund, whether reinvested in additional shares or paid in cash, generally will be taxable to shareholders who are subject to tax. Shareholders receiving a distribution in the form of newly issued shares will be treated for U.S. federal income tax purposes as receiving a distribution in an amount equal to the amount of cash they would have received had they elected to receive cash and will have a cost basis in each share received equal to such amount divided by the number of shares received.

In general, distributions from investment company taxable income for the year will be taxable as ordinary income. However, distributions to noncorporate shareholders attributable to dividends received by the Fund from U.S. and certain foreign corporations will generally be taxed at the long-term capital gain rate (described below), as long as certain other requirements are met. For these lower rates to apply, the noncorporate shareholders must have owned their Fund shares for at least 61 days during the 121-day period beginning 60 days before the Fund’s ex-dividend date and the Fund must also have owned the underlying stock for this same period beginning 60 days before the ex-dividend date for the stock. The amount of the Fund’s distributions that otherwise qualify for these lower rates may be reduced as a result of the Fund’s hedging activities, securities lending activities or a high portfolio turnover rate.

Distributions reported to shareholders as derived from the Fund’s dividend income, if any, that would be eligible for the dividends received deduction if the Fund were not a regulated investment company may be eligible for the dividends received deduction for corporate shareholders. The dividends received deduction, if available, is reduced to the extent the shares with respect to which the dividends are received are treated as debt-financed under federal income tax law and is eliminated if the shares are deemed to have been held for less than a minimum period, generally 46 days. The dividends received deduction also may be reduced as a result of the Fund’s hedging activities, securities lending activities or a high portfolio turnover rate. The dividend may, if it is treated as an “extraordinary dividend” under the Code, reduce a shareholder’s tax basis in its shares of the Fund. Capital gain dividends (i.e., dividends from net capital gain), if reported as such to shareholders, will be taxed to shareholders as long-term capital gain regardless of how long shares have been held by shareholders, but are not eligible for the dividends received deduction for corporations. The maximum individual rate applicable to long-term capital gains is generally either 15% or 20%, depending on whether the individual’s income exceeds certain threshold amounts. Distributions, if any, that are in excess of the Fund’s current and accumulated earnings and profits will first reduce a shareholder’s tax basis in his shares and, after such basis is reduced to zero, will generally constitute capital gains to a shareholder who holds his shares as capital assets.

 

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Under recent tax legislation, individuals and certain other noncorporate entities are generally eligible for a 20% deduction with respect to ordinary dividends received from REITs (“qualified REIT dividends”) and certain taxable income from publicly traded partnerships. The IRS has recently issued proposed regulations permitting a RIC to pass through to its shareholders qualified REIT dividends eligible for the 20% deduction. However, the proposed regulations do not provide a mechanism for a RIC to pass through to its shareholders income from publicly traded partnerships that would be eligible for such deduction.

Different tax treatment, including penalties on certain excess contributions and deferrals, certain pre-retirement and post-retirement distributions and certain prohibited transactions, is accorded to accounts maintained as qualified retirement plans. Shareholders should consult their tax advisers for more information.

Taxable U.S. Shareholders - Sale of Shares

When a shareholder’s shares are sold, redeemed or otherwise disposed of in a transaction that is treated as a sale for tax purposes, the shareholder will generally recognize gain or loss equal to the difference between the shareholder’s adjusted tax basis in the shares and the cash, or fair market value of any property, received. (To aid in computing that tax basis, a shareholder should generally retain its account statements for the period that it holds shares.) If the shareholder holds the shares as a capital asset at the time of sale, the character of the gain or loss should be capital, and treated as long-term if the shareholder’s holding period is more than one year and short-term otherwise, subject to the rules below. Shareholders should consult their own tax advisers with reference to their particular circumstances to determine whether a redemption (including an exchange) or other disposition of Fund shares is properly treated as a sale for tax purposes, as is assumed in this discussion.

Certain special tax rules may apply to a shareholder’s capital gains or losses on Fund shares. If a shareholder receives a capital gain dividend with respect to shares and such shares have a tax holding period of six months or less at the time of a sale or redemption of such shares, then any loss the shareholder realizes on the sale or redemption will be treated as a long-term capital loss to the extent of such capital gain dividend. Additionally, any loss realized upon the sale or exchange of Fund shares with a tax holding period of six months or less may be disallowed to the extent of any distributions treated as exempt-interest dividends with respect to such shares. All or a portion of any sales load paid upon the purchase of shares of the Fund will generally not be taken into account in determining gain or loss on the redemption or exchange of such shares within 90 days after their purchase to the extent the redemption proceeds are reinvested, or the exchange is effected, on or before January 31 of the calendar year following the calendar year in which the original stock is disposed of without payment of an additional sales load pursuant to the reinvestment or exchange privilege. The load not taken into account will be added to the tax basis of the newly acquired shares. Additionally, any loss realized on a sale or redemption of shares of the Fund may be disallowed under “wash sale” rules to the extent the shares disposed of are replaced with other shares of the same Fund within a period of 61 days beginning 30 days before and ending 30 days after the shares are disposed of, such as pursuant to a dividend reinvestment in shares of such Fund. If disallowed, the loss will be reflected in an adjustment to the basis of the shares acquired.

Backup Withholding

The Fund may be required to withhold, as “backup withholding,” federal income tax, currently at a 24% rate, from dividends (including capital gain dividends) and share redemption and exchange proceeds to individuals and other non-exempt shareholders who fail to furnish the Fund with a correct taxpayer identification number (“TIN”) certified under penalties of perjury, or if the IRS or a broker notifies the Fund that the payee is subject to backup withholding as a result of failing properly to report interest or dividend income to the IRS or that the TIN furnished by the payee to the Fund is incorrect, or if (when required to do so) the payee fails to certify under penalties of perjury that it is not subject to backup withholding. The Fund may refuse to accept an application that does not contain any required TIN or certification that the TIN provided is correct. If the backup withholding provisions are applicable, any such dividends and proceeds, whether paid in cash or reinvested in additional shares, will be reduced by the amounts required to be withheld. Any amounts withheld may be credited against a shareholder’s U.S. federal income tax liability. If a shareholder does not have a TIN, it should apply for one immediately by contacting the local office of the Social Security Administration or the IRS. Backup withholding could apply to payments relating to a shareholder’s account while the shareholder is awaiting receipt of a TIN. Special rules apply for certain entities. For example, for an account established under a Uniform Gifts or Transfer to Minors Act, the TIN of the minor should be furnished.

Medicare Tax

An additional 3.8% Medicare tax is imposed on certain net investment income (including ordinary dividends and capital gain distributions received from the Fund and net gains from redemptions or other taxable dispositions of Fund shares) of U.S. individuals, estates and trusts to the extent that such person’s “modified adjusted gross income” (in the case of an individual) or “adjusted gross income” (in the case of an estate or trust) exceeds certain threshold amounts.

 

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Foreign Taxes

The Fund anticipates that it may be subject to foreign taxes on income (possibly including, in some cases, capital gains) from foreign securities. Tax conventions between certain countries and the United States may reduce or eliminate those foreign taxes in some cases. If more than 50% of the Fund’s total assets at the close of a taxable year consists of stock or securities of foreign corporations, the Fund may file an election with the IRS pursuant to which the shareholders of the Fund will be required (1) to report as dividend income (in addition to taxable dividends actually received) their pro rata shares of foreign income taxes paid by the Fund that are treated as income taxes under U.S. tax regulations (which excludes, for example, stamp taxes, securities transaction taxes, and similar taxes) even though not actually received by those shareholders, and (2) to treat those respective pro rata shares as foreign income taxes paid by them, which they can claim either as a foreign tax credit, subject to applicable limitations, against their U.S. federal income tax liability or as an itemized deduction. (Shareholders who do not itemize deductions for federal income tax purposes will not, however, be able to deduct their pro rata portion of foreign taxes paid by the Fund, although those shareholders will be required to include their share of such taxes in gross income if the foregoing election is made by the Fund.)

If a shareholder chooses to take credit for the foreign taxes deemed paid by such shareholder as a result of any such election by the Fund, the amount of the credit that may be claimed in any year may not exceed the same proportion of the U.S. tax against which such credit is taken which the shareholder’s taxable income from foreign sources (but not in excess of the shareholder’s entire taxable income) bears to his entire taxable income. For this purpose, distributions from long-term and short-term capital gains or foreign currency gains by the Fund will generally not be treated as income from foreign sources. This foreign tax credit limitation may also be applied separately to certain specific categories of foreign-source income and the related foreign taxes. As a result of these rules, which have different effects depending upon each shareholder’s particular tax situation, certain shareholders of the Fund may not be able to claim a credit for the full amount of their proportionate share of the foreign taxes paid by the Fund even if the election is made by the Fund.

Shareholders who are not liable for U.S. federal income taxes, including retirement plans, other tax-exempt shareholders and non-U.S. shareholders, will ordinarily not benefit from the foregoing Fund election with respect to foreign taxes. Each year, if any, that the Fund files the election described above, shareholders will be notified of the amount of (1) each shareholder’s pro rata share of qualified foreign taxes paid by the Fund and (2) the portion of Fund dividends that represents income from foreign sources. If the Fund cannot or does not make this election, it may deduct its foreign taxes in computing the amount it is required to distribute.

Non-U.S. Shareholders

The discussion above relates solely to U.S. federal income tax law as it applies to “U.S. persons” subject to tax under such law.

Except as discussed below, distributions to shareholders who, as to the United States, are not “U.S. persons,” (i.e., are nonresident aliens, foreign corporations, fiduciaries of foreign trusts or estates or other non-U.S. investors) generally will be subject to U.S. federal withholding tax at the rate of 30% on distributions treated as ordinary income unless the tax is reduced or eliminated pursuant to a tax treaty or the distributions are effectively connected with a U.S. trade or business of the shareholder; but distributions of net capital gain (the excess of any net long-term capital gains over any net short-term capital losses) including amounts retained by the Fund which are designated as undistributed capital gains, to such a non-U.S. shareholder will not be subject to U.S. federal income or withholding tax unless the distributions are effectively connected with the shareholder’s trade or business in the United States or, in the case of a shareholder who is a nonresident alien individual, the shareholder is present in the United States for 183 days or more during the taxable year and certain other conditions are met. Non-U.S. shareholders may also be subject to U.S. federal withholding tax on deemed income resulting from any election by the Fund to treat qualified foreign taxes it pays as passed through to shareholders (as described above), but may not be able to claim a U.S. tax credit or deduction with respect to such taxes.

Non-U.S. shareholders generally are not subject to U.S. federal income tax withholding on certain distributions of interest income and/or short-term capital gains that are designated by the Fund. It is expected that the Fund will generally make designations of short-term gains, to the extent permitted, but the Fund does not intend to make designations of any distributions attributable to interest income. Therefore, all distributions of interest income will be subject to withholding when paid to non-U.S. investors.

Any capital gain realized by a non-U.S. shareholder upon a sale or redemption of shares of the Fund will not be subject to U.S. federal income or withholding tax unless the gain is effectively connected with the shareholder’s trade or business in the U.S., or in the case of a shareholder who is a nonresident alien individual, the shareholder is present in the U.S. for 183 days or more during the taxable year and certain other conditions are met.

Non-U.S. persons who fail to furnish the Fund with the proper IRS Form W-8 (i.e., W-8BEN, W-8BEN-E, W-8ECI, W-8IMY or W-8EXP), or an acceptable substitute, may be subject to backup withholding at a 24% rate on dividends (including capital gain dividends) and on the proceeds of redemptions and exchanges. Also, non-U.S. shareholders of the Fund may be subject to U.S. estate tax with respect to their Fund shares.

The Fund is required to withhold U.S. tax (at a 30% rate) on payments of dividends made to certain non-U.S. entities that fail to comply (or be deemed compliant) with extensive new reporting and withholding requirements designed to inform the U.S. Department of the Treasury of U.S.-owned foreign investment accounts. Shareholders may be requested to provide additional information to the Fund to enable the Fund to determine whether withholding is required.

 

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Each shareholder who is not a U.S. person should consult his or her tax adviser regarding the U.S. and non-U.S. tax consequences of ownership of shares of, and receipt of distributions from, the Fund.

State and Local Taxes

The Fund may be subject to state or local taxes in jurisdictions in which the Fund is deemed to be doing business. In addition, in those states or localities that impose income taxes, the treatment of the Fund and its shareholders under those jurisdictions’ tax laws may differ from the treatment under federal income tax laws, and investment in the Fund may have tax consequences for shareholders that are different from those of a direct investment in the Fund’s portfolio securities. Shareholders should consult their own tax advisers concerning state and local tax matters.

FINANCIAL STATEMENTS

The audited financial statements and related report of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, independent registered public accounting firm, contained in the Fund’s 2019 Annual Report, are hereby incorporated herein by reference. The audited financial statements in the Fund’s Annual Report have been incorporated herein by reference in reliance upon such report given upon the authority of such firm as experts in accounting and auditing. No other parts of any Annual Report are incorporated by reference herein. A copy of the Fund’s 2019 Annual Report may be obtained upon request and without charge by writing Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC, P.O Box 06050, Chicago, Illinois 60606 or by calling Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC, at the telephone number on the back cover of the Fund’s Prospectus.

PROXY VOTING

The Trust, on behalf of the Fund, has delegated the voting of portfolio securities to the Investment Adviser. For client accounts for which the Investment Adviser has voting discretion, the Investment Adviser has adopted policies and procedures (the “Proxy Voting Policy”) for the voting of proxies. Under the Proxy Voting Policy, the Investment Adviser’s guiding principles in performing proxy voting are to make decisions that favor proposals that in the Investment Adviser’s view tend to maximize a company’s shareholder value and are not influenced by conflicts of interest. To implement these guiding principles for investments in publicly-traded equities, the Investment Adviser has developed customized proxy voting guidelines (the “Guidelines”) that it generally applies when voting on behalf of client accounts. Attached as Appendix B is a summary of the Guidelines. These Guidelines address a wide variety of individual topics, including, among other matters, shareholder voting rights, anti-takeover defenses, board structures, the election of directors, executive and director compensation, reorganizations, mergers, issues of corporate social responsibility and various shareholder proposals. The Guidelines embody the positions and factors the Investment Adviser generally considers important in casting proxy votes.

The Proxy Voting Policy, including the Guidelines, is reviewed periodically to ensure that it continues to be consistent with the Investment Adviser’s guiding principles.

The Investment Adviser has retained a third-party proxy voting service (“Proxy Service”), currently Institutional Shareholder Services, to assist in the implementation and administration of certain proxy voting-related functions including, without limitation, operational, recordkeeping and reporting services. The Proxy Service also prepares a written analysis and recommendation (a “Recommendation”) of each proxy vote that reflects the Proxy Service’s application of the Guidelines to particular proxy issues. While it is the Investment Adviser’s policy generally to follow the Guidelines and Recommendations from the Proxy Service, the Investment Adviser’s portfolio management teams (“Portfolio Management Teams”) may on certain proxy votes seek approval to diverge from the Guidelines or a Recommendation by following an “override” process. Such decisions are subject to a review and approval process, including a determination that the decision is not influenced by any conflict of interest. A Portfolio Management Team that receives approval through the override process to cast a proxy vote that diverges from the Guidelines and/or a Recommendation may vote differently than other Portfolio Management Teams that did not seek to override that vote. In forming their views on particular matters, the Portfolio Management Teams are also permitted to consider applicable regional rules and practices, including codes of conduct and other guides, regarding proxy voting, in addition to the Guidelines and Recommendations. The Investment Adviser may hire other service providers to replace or supplement the Proxy Service with respect to any of the services the Investment Adviser currently receives from the Proxy Service.

GSAM conducts periodic due diligence meetings with the Proxy Service which include, but are not limited to, a review of the Proxy Service’s general organizational structure, new developments with respect to research and technology, work flow improvements and internal due diligence with respect to conflicts of interest.

From time to time, the Investment Adviser may face regulatory, compliance, legal or logistical limits with respect to voting securities that it may purchase or hold for client accounts, which can affect the Investment Adviser’s ability to vote such proxies, as well as the desirability of voting such proxies. Among other limits, federal, state and foreign regulatory restrictions or company specific ownership limits, as well as legal matters related to consolidated groups, may restrict the total percentage of an issuer’s voting securities that the Investment Adviser can hold for clients and the nature of the Investment Adviser’s voting in such securities. The Investment Adviser’s ability to vote proxies may also be affected by, among other things: (i) late receipt of meeting notices; (ii) requirements to

 

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vote proxies in person: (iii) restrictions on a foreigner’s ability to exercise votes; (iv) potential difficulties in translating the proxy; (v) requirements to provide local agents with unrestricted powers of attorney to facilitate voting instructions; and (vi) requirements that investors who exercise their voting rights surrender the right to dispose of their holdings for some specified period in proximity to the shareholder meeting.

The Investment Adviser has adopted policies and procedures designed to prevent conflicts of interest from influencing its proxy voting decisions that the Investment Adviser makes on behalf of a client account. These policies and procedures include the Investment Adviser’s use of the Guidelines and Recommendations from the Proxy Service, the override approval process previously discussed, and the establishment of information barriers between the Investment Adviser and other businesses within The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. Notwithstanding such proxy voting policies and procedures, actual proxy voting decisions of the Investment Adviser may have the effect of benefitting the interests of other clients or businesses of other divisions or units of Goldman Sachs and/or its affiliates.

Voting decisions with respect to fixed income securities and the securities of privately held issuers generally will be made by the Fund’s managers based on their assessment of the particular transactions or other matters at issue.

Information regarding how the Fund voted proxies relating to portfolio securities during the most recent 12-month period ended June 30 is available on or through the Fund’s website at www.gsam.com/content/gsam/us/en/advisors/resources/client-service/proxy-voting.html without charge and on the SEC’s website at www.sec.gov.

OTHER INFORMATION

Selective Disclosure of Portfolio Holdings Information and Portfolio Characteristics Information

The Board of Trustees of the Trust and the Investment Adviser have adopted a policy on the selective disclosure of portfolio holdings information and portfolio characteristics information. The policy seeks to (1) ensure that the disclosure of portfolio holdings information and portfolio characteristics information is in the best interest of Fund shareholders; and (2) address the conflicts of interest associated with the disclosure of portfolio holdings information and portfolio characteristics information. The policy provides that neither the Fund nor the Trust’s officers or Trustees, nor the Investment Adviser, Distributor or any agent, or any employee thereof (“Fund Representative”), will disclose the Fund’s portfolio holdings information or portfolio characteristics information to any person other than in accordance with the policy. For purposes of the policy, “portfolio holdings information” means the Fund’s actual portfolio holdings, as well as non-public information about its trading strategies or pending transactions. Portfolio holdings information does not include summary or statistical information which is derived from (but does not include) individual portfolio holdings (“portfolio characteristics information”).

Under the policy, neither the Fund nor any Fund Representative may solicit or accept any compensation or other consideration in connection with the disclosure of portfolio holdings information or portfolio characteristics information. The Fund Representative may generally provide portfolio holdings information and material portfolio characteristics information to third parties if such information has been included in the Fund’s public filings with the SEC or is disclosed on the Fund’s publicly accessible website or is otherwise publicly available.

Portfolio Holdings Information. Portfolio holdings information that is not filed with the SEC or disclosed on the Fund’s publicly available website may be provided to third parties (including, without limitation, individuals, institutional investors, intermediaries that sell shares of the Fund, consultants and third-party data providers) only for legitimate business purposes and only if the third-party recipients are required to keep all such portfolio holdings information confidential and are prohibited from trading on the information they receive in violation of the federal securities laws. Disclosure to such third parties must be approved in advance by the Investment Adviser’s legal or compliance department. Disclosure to providers of auditing, custody, proxy voting and other similar services; rating and ranking organizations; lenders and other third-party service providers that may obtain access to such information in the performance of their contractual duties to the Fund will generally be permitted. In general, each recipient of non-public portfolio holdings information must sign a confidentiality agreement and agree not to trade on the basis of such information in violation of the federal securities laws, although this requirement will not apply when the recipient is otherwise subject to a duty of confidentiality.

In accordance with the policy, the identity of those recipients who receive non-public portfolio holdings information on an ongoing basis is as follows: the Investment Adviser and its affiliates, the Fund’s independent registered public accounting firm, the Fund’s custodian, the Fund’s legal counsel—Dechert LLP, the Fund’s tax service provider—Deloitte & Touche LLP, the Fund’s financial printer—Donnelley Financial Solutions Inc., the Fund’s proxy voting service—ISS, and the Fund’s class action processing service provider—Financial Recovery Technologies, LLC. KPMG LLP, an investor in the Fund, also receives certain non-public portfolio holdings information on an ongoing basis in order to facilitate compliance with the auditor independence requirements to which it is subject. In addition, certain Goldman Sachs Fixed Income Funds provide non-public portfolio holdings information to Standard & Poor’s to allow such Funds to be rated by it, and certain Goldman Sachs Equity Funds provide non-public portfolio holdings information to FactSet, a provider of global financial and economic information. These entities are obligated to keep such information confidential. Third-party providers of custodial services to the Fund may release non-public portfolio holdings information of the Fund only with the permission of certain Fund Representatives. From time to time portfolio holdings information may be provided to broker-dealers, prime brokers, FCMs or derivatives clearing merchants in connection with the Fund’s portfolio trading activities. Complete portfolio holdings information is provided to these select broker-dealers at least quarterly with no lag required between the date of the information and the date on which the information is disclosed. As of July 29, 2020, the broker-dealers receiving this information were as follows: 280 Securities, Barclays Capital Inc., BB&T Capital Markets, Belle Haven Instruments, BofA Securities Inc. Futures, Brean Capital, LLC, Brownstone, Cabrera Capital Markets, LLC, Caprok Capital, Citigroup Global Markets, Inc., Credit Suisse Securities (USA) LLC, Crews & Associates, Inc., DA Davidson & Co., Dougherty & Company, LLC, George K. Baum & Company, Headlands Tech Global Markets, LLC, Herbert J. Sims & Co., Inc., Hutchinson Shockey Erley & Co., Janney Montgomery Scott, Inc., Jeffries & Company, JP Morgan Securities, Keybanc, Loop Capital Corp., Merrill Lynch Pierce Fenner & Smith, Inc., Mesirow, Morgan Stanley, M.R. Beal & Company, Oppenheimer Funds, Inc., Piper Jaffray, PNC Capital Markets LLC, Ramirez & Co., Inc., Raymond James Financial Services Inc., RBC Capital Markets, R. Seelaus & Co., Inc., Hilltop Securities (a.k.a. Southwest Securities, Inc.), Stephens Inc., Stifel Nicolaus & Company, TD Securities, LLC, Tradeweb Markets, LLC, US Bancorp, Virtus Capital Markets LLC and Ziegler Capital. In providing this information, reasonable precautions, including, but not limited to, the execution of a non-disclosure agreement and limitations on the scope of the portfolio holdings information disclosed, are taken to avoid any potential misuse of the disclosed information. All marketing materials prepared by the Trust’s principal underwriter are reviewed by Goldman Sachs’ Compliance department for consistency with the policy.

The Fund currently intends to publish complete portfolio holdings on the Trust’s website (http://www.gsamfunds.com) as of the end of each fiscal quarter, subject to a 60 day lag between the date of the information and the date on which the information is disclosed. The Fund may publish on the website complete portfolio holdings information more frequently if it has a legitimate business purpose for doing so. Operational disruptions and other systems disruptions may delay the posting of this information on the Trust’s website.

The Fund files portfolio holdings information within 60 days after the end of each fiscal quarter on Form N-PORT. Portfolio holdings information for the third month of each fiscal quarter will be publicly available on the SEC’s website at http://www.sec.gov. The Fund’s complete schedule of portfolio holdings for the second and fourth quarters of each fiscal year is included in its semi-annual and annual reports to shareholders, respectively, and is filed with the SEC on Form N-CSR. A semi-annual or annual report for the Fund will become available to investors within 60 days after the period to which it relates. The Fund’s Forms N-PORT and Forms N-CSR are available on the SEC’s website listed above.

Portfolio Characteristics Information. Material portfolio characteristics information that is not publicly available (e.g., information that is not filed with the SEC or disclosed on the Fund’s publicly available website) or calculated from publicly available information may be provided to third parties only if the third-party recipients are required to keep all such portfolio characteristics information confidential and are prohibited from trading on the information they receive in violation of the federal securities laws. Disclosure to such third parties must be approved in advance by the Investment Adviser’s legal or compliance department, who must first determine that the Fund has a legitimate business purpose for doing so. In general, each recipient of material, non-public portfolio characteristics information must sign a confidentiality agreement and agree not to trade on the basis of such information in violation of the federal securities laws, although this requirement will not apply when the recipient is otherwise subject to a duty of confidentiality.

However, upon request, the Fund will provide certain non-public portfolio characteristics information to any (i) shareholder or (ii) non-shareholder (including, without limitation, individuals, institutional investors, intermediaries that sell shares of the Fund, consultants and third-party data providers) whose request for such information satisfies and/or serves a legitimate business purpose for the Fund. Examples of portfolio characteristics information include, but are not limited to, statistical information about the Fund’s portfolio. Portfolio characteristics information that is made available upon request would normally include:

 

 

Asset Allocation Information – The allocation of the Fund’s portfolio among asset classes, regions, countries, industries, sub-industries, sectors, sub-sectors, strategies or subadvisers; credit quality ratings; and weighted average market capitalization ranges.

 

 

Financial Characteristics Information – The financial characteristics of the Fund’s portfolio, such as alpha; beta; R-squared; Sharpe ratio; information ratio; standard deviation; tracking error; various earnings and price based ratios (e.g., price-to-earnings and price-to-book); value at risk (VaR); duration information; weighted-average maturity/life; portfolio turnover; attribution; and other aggregated risk statistics (e.g., aggregate liquidity classification information).

In accordance with the policy, this type of portfolio characteristics information that is made available upon request will be disclosed in accordance with, and subject to the time lag indicated in, the schedule below. This portfolio characteristics information may be requested by calling Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC toll-free at 1-800-526-7384 (for Class A, Class C, Class R and Investor Shareholders) or 1-800-621-2550 (for Institutional, Service, Administration, Separate Account Institutional, Class R6 and Class P Shareholders). Portfolio characteristics information that is otherwise publicly available may be disclosed without these time lags.

 

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The type and volume of portfolio characteristics information that is made available upon request will vary among the Goldman Sachs Funds (depending on the investment strategies and the portfolio management team of the applicable Fund). If portfolio characteristics information is disclosed to one recipient, it must also be disclosed to all other eligible recipients requesting the same information. However, under certain circumstances, the volume of portfolio characteristics information provided to one recipient may differ from the volume of portfolio characteristics information provided to other recipients.

 

Type of Information

  

When Available Upon Request

Portfolio Characteristics Information

(Except for Aggregate Liquidity Classification Information)

  

Prior to 15 Business Days After Month-End: Cannot disclose without (i) a confidentiality agreement; (ii) an agreement not to trade on the basis of non-public information in violation of the federal securities laws; and (iii) legal or compliance approval.

 

15 Business Days After Month-End: May disclose to (i) shareholders and (ii) any non-shareholder whose request satisfies and/or serves a legitimate business purpose for the applicable Fund.

Aggregate Liquidity Classification Information   

Prior to 90 Calendar Days After Month-End: Cannot disclose without (i) a confidentiality agreement; (ii) an agreement not to trade on the basis of non-public information in violation of the federal securities laws; and (iii) legal or compliance approval.

 

90 Calendar Days After Month-End: May disclose to (i) shareholders and (ii) any non-shareholder whose request satisfies and/or serves a legitimate business purpose for the applicable Fund.

In addition, the Fund currently intends to publish certain portfolio characteristics information on the Trust’s website (http://www.gsamfunds.com) as of the end of each month or fiscal quarter, and such information will generally be subject to a 15 day lag. Operational disruptions and other systems disruptions may delay the posting of this information on the Trust’s website or the availability of this information by calling Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC at the toll-free numbers listed above.

Oversight of the Policy. Under the policy, Fund Representatives will periodically supply the Board of the Trustees with a list of third parties who receive non-public portfolio holdings information and material, non-public portfolio characteristics information pursuant to an ongoing arrangement subject to a confidentiality agreement and agreement not to trade on the basis of such information in violation of the federal securities laws. In addition, the Board receives information, on a quarterly basis, on such arrangements that were permitted during the preceding quarter. Under the policy, the Investment Adviser’s legal and compliance personnel authorize the disclosure of portfolio holdings information and portfolio characteristics information.

Disclosure of Current NAV Per Share

The Fund’s current NAV per share is available through the Fund’s website at www.gsamfunds.com without charge or by contacting the Fund at 1-800-526-7384.

Miscellaneous

The Fund will redeem shares solely in cash up to the lesser of $250,000 or 1% of the net asset value of the Fund during any 90-day period for any one shareholder. The Fund, however, reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to pay redemptions by a distribution in-kind of securities (instead of cash) if (i) the redemption exceeds the lesser of $250,000 or 1% of the net asset value of the Fund at the time of redemption; or (ii) with respect to lesser redemption amounts, the redeeming shareholder requests in writing a distribution in-kind of securities instead of cash. The securities distributed in-kind would be valued for this purpose using the same method employed in calculating the Fund’s net asset value per share. See “NET ASSET VALUE.” If a shareholder receives redemption proceeds in-kind, the shareholder should expect to incur transaction costs upon the disposition of the securities received in the redemption. In addition, if you receive redemption proceeds in-kind, you will be subject to market gains or losses upon the disposition of those securities.

The right of a shareholder to redeem shares and the date of payment by the Fund may be suspended for more than seven days for any period during which the New York Stock Exchange is closed, other than the customary weekends or holidays, or when trading on such Exchange is restricted as determined by the SEC; or during any emergency, as determined by the SEC, as a result of which it is not reasonably practicable for the Fund to dispose of securities owned by it or fairly to determine the value of its net assets; or for such other period as the SEC may by order permit for the protection of shareholders of the Fund. (The Trust may also suspend or postpone the recordation of the transfer of shares upon the occurrence of any of the foregoing conditions.)

As stated in the Prospectus, the Trust may authorize Intermediaries and other institutions that provide recordkeeping, reporting and processing services to their customers to accept on the Trust’s behalf purchase, redemption and exchange orders placed by or on behalf of their customers and, if approved by the Trust, to designate other intermediaries to accept such orders. These institutions may receive payments from the Trust or Goldman Sachs for their services. Certain Intermediaries or other institutions may enter into sub-transfer agency agreements with the Trust or Goldman Sachs with respect to their services.

In the interest of economy and convenience, the Trust does not issue certificates representing the Fund’s shares. Instead, the Transfer Agent maintains a record of each shareholder’s ownership. Each shareholder receives confirmation of purchase and redemption orders from the Transfer Agent. Fund shares and any distributions paid by the Fund are reflected in account statements from the Transfer Agent.

The Prospectus and this SAI do not contain all the information included in the Registration Statement filed with the SEC under the 1933 Act with respect to the securities offered by the Prospectus. Certain portions of the Registration Statement have been omitted from the Prospectus and this SAI pursuant to the rules and regulations of the SEC.

 

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Statements contained in the Prospectus or in this SAI as to the contents of any contract or other document referred to are not necessarily complete, and, in each instance, reference is made to the copy of such contract or other document filed as an exhibit to the Registration Statement of which the Prospectus and this SAI form a part, each such statement being qualified in all respects by such reference.

Line of Credit

As of August 31, 2019, the Fund participated in a $580,000,000 committed, unsecured revolving line of credit facility together with other funds of the Trust and registered investment companies having management agreements with GSAM or its affiliates. This facility is to be used for temporary emergency purposes or to allow for an orderly liquidation of securities to meet redemption requests. The interest rate on borrowings is based on the federal funds rate. The facility also requires a fee to be paid by the Fund based on the amount of the commitment that has not been utilized. During the fiscal year ended August 31, 2019, the Fund did not have any borrowings under the facility.

Large Trade Notifications

The Transfer Agent may from time to time receive notice that an Intermediary has received a purchase, redemption or exchange order for a large trade in the Fund’s shares. The Fund may determine to enter into portfolio transactions in anticipation of that order, even though the order may not have been processed at the time the Fund entered into such portfolio transactions. This practice provides for a closer correlation between the time shareholders place large trade orders and the time the Fund enters into portfolio transactions based on those orders, and may permit the Fund to be more fully invested in investment securities, in the case of purchase orders, and to more orderly liquidate its investment positions, in the case of redemption orders. The Intermediary may not, however, ultimately process the order. In this case, (i) if the Fund enters into portfolio transactions in anticipation of an order for a large redemption of Fund shares; or (ii) if the Fund enters into portfolio transactions in anticipation of an order for a large purchase of Fund shares and such portfolio transactions occur on the date on which the Intermediary indicated that such order would occur, the Fund will bear any borrowing, trading overdraft or other transaction costs or investment losses resulting from such portfolio transactions. Conversely, the Fund would benefit from any earnings and investment gains resulting from such portfolio transactions.

Corporate Actions

From time to time, the issuer of a security held in the Fund’s portfolio may initiate a corporate action relating to that security. Corporate actions relating to equity securities may include, among others, an offer to purchase new shares, or to tender existing shares, of that security at a certain price. Corporate actions relating to debt securities may include, among others, an offer for early redemption of the debt security, or an offer to convert the debt security into stock. Certain corporate actions are voluntary, meaning that the Fund may only participate in the corporate action if it elects to do so in a timely fashion. Participation in certain corporate actions may enhance the value of the Fund’s investment portfolio.

In cases where the Fund or its Investment Adviser receives sufficient advance notice of a voluntary corporate action, the Investment Adviser will exercise its discretion, in good faith, to determine whether the Fund will participate in that corporate action. If the Fund or its Investment Adviser does not receive sufficient advance notice of a voluntary corporate action, the Fund may not be able to timely elect to participate in that corporate action. Participation or lack of participation in a voluntary corporate action may result in a negative impact on the value of the Fund’s investment portfolio.

 

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CONTROL PERSONS AND PRINCIPAL HOLDERS OF SECURITIES

Principal Holders

As of December 6, 2019, the following shareholders were shown in the Trust’s records as owning more than 5% of the Fund’s Institutional Shares. Except as listed below, the Trust does not know of any other person who owns of record or beneficially 5% or more of the Fund’s Institutional Shares:

 

Class

  

Name/Address

   Percentage
of Class
 

Institutional

   Goldman Sachs Asset Management LP, Christian School Pension TR Fund, 3350 East Paris Avenue S.E., Grand Rapids, MI 49512-3054      23.82

Institutional

   Goldman Sachs Asset Management LP, Sprint Master Trust, 6200 Sprint Parkway, #HF0202-2BDTX, Overland Park, KS 66251-6117      22.94

Institutional

   Goldman Sachs Asset Management LP, Valvoline LLC, Defined Benefit Trust, 100 Valvoline Way, Lexington, KY 40509-2714      17.23

Institutional

   Goldman Sachs Asset Management LP, KPMG Pension Plan, 3 Chestnut Ridge Road, Montvale, NJ 07645-1842      12.26

Institutional

   Goldman Sachs Asset Management LP, M&T Directed Trustee Retirement Plan of Crouse Hospital, 736 Irving Avenue, Syracuse, NY 13210-1687      5.61

 

B-81


APPENDIX A

DESCRIPTION OF SECURITIES RATINGS

Short-Term Credit Ratings

An S&P Global Ratings short-term issue credit rating is a forward-looking opinion about the creditworthiness of an obligor with respect to a specific financial obligation having an original maturity of no more than 365 days. The following summarizes the rating categories used by S&P Global Ratings for short-term issues:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Local Currency and Foreign Currency Ratings – S&P Global Ratings’ issuer credit ratings make a distinction between foreign currency ratings and local currency ratings. An issuer’s foreign currency rating will differ from its local currency rating when the obligor has a different capacity to meet its obligations denominated in its local currency, vs. obligations denominated in a foreign currency.

Moody’s Investors Service (“Moody’s”) short-term ratings are forward-looking opinions of the relative credit risks of financial obligations with an original maturity of thirteen months or less and reflect both on the likelihood of a default on contractually promised payments and the expected financial loss suffered in the event of default.

Moody’s employs the following designations to indicate the relative repayment ability of rated issuers:

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

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

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

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

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

The following summarizes the rating categories used by Fitch for short-term obligations:

“F1” – Securities possess the highest short-term credit quality. This designation indicates the strongest intrinsic capacity for timely payment of financial commitments; may have an added “+” to denote any exceptionally strong credit feature.

 

1-A


“F2” – Securities possess good short-term credit quality. This designation indicates good intrinsic capacity for timely payment of financial commitments.

“F3” – Securities possess fair short-term credit quality. This designation indicates that the intrinsic capacity for timely payment of financial commitments is adequate.

“B” – Securities possess speculative short-term credit quality. This designation indicates minimal capacity for timely payment of financial commitments, plus heightened vulnerability to near term adverse changes in financial and economic conditions.

“C” – Securities possess high short-term default risk. Default is a real possibility.

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

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

“NR” – This designation indicates that Fitch does not publicly rate the associated issuer or issue.

“WD” – This designation indicates that the rating has been withdrawn and is no longer maintained by Fitch.

DBRS® Ratings Limited (“DBRS”) short-term debt rating scale provides an opinion on the risk that an issuer will not meet its short-term financial obligations in a timely manner. Ratings are based on quantitative and qualitative considerations relevant to the issuer and the relative ranking of claims. The “R-1” and “R-2” rating categories are further denoted by the sub-categories “(high)”, “(middle)”, and “(low)”.

The following summarizes the ratings used by DBRS for commercial paper and short-term debt:

“R-1 (high)” – Short-term debt rated “R-1 (high)” is of the highest credit quality. The capacity for the payment of short-term financial obligations as they fall due is exceptionally high. Unlikely to be adversely affected by future events.

“R-1 (middle)” – Short-term debt rated “R-1 (middle)” is of superior credit quality. The capacity for the payment of short-term financial obligations as they fall due is very high. Differs from “R-1 (high)” by a relatively modest degree. Unlikely to be significantly vulnerable to future events.

“R-1 (low)” – Short-term debt rated “R-1 (low)” is of good credit quality. The capacity for the payment of short-term financial obligations as they fall due is substantial. Overall strength is not as favorable as higher rating categories. May be vulnerable to future events, but qualifying negative factors are considered manageable.

“R-2 (high)” – Short-term debt rated “R-2 (high)” is considered to be at the upper end of adequate credit quality. The capacity for the payment of short-term financial obligations as they fall due is acceptable. May be vulnerable to future events.

“R-2 (middle)” – Short-term debt rated “R-2 (middle)” is considered to be of adequate credit quality. The capacity for the payment of short-term financial obligations as they fall due is acceptable. May be vulnerable to future events or may be exposed to other factors that could reduce credit quality.

“R-2 (low)” – Short-term debt rated “R-2 (low)” is considered to be at the lower end of adequate credit quality. The capacity for the payment of short-term financial obligations as they fall due is acceptable. May be vulnerable to future events. A number of challenges are present that could affect the issuer’s ability to meet such obligations.

“R-3” – Short-term debt rated “R-3” is considered to be at the lowest end of adequate credit quality. There is a capacity for the payment of short-term financial obligations as they fall due. May be vulnerable to future events and the certainty of meeting such obligations could be impacted by a variety of developments.

“R-4” – Short-term debt rated “R-4” is considered to be of speculative credit quality. The capacity for the payment of short-term financial obligations as they fall due is uncertain.

“R-5” – Short-term debt rated “R-5” is considered to be of highly speculative credit quality. There is a high level of uncertainty as to the capacity to meet short-term financial obligations as they fall due.

“D” – Short-term debt rated “D” is assigned when the issuer has filed under any applicable bankruptcy, insolvency or winding up statute or there is a failure to satisfy an obligation after the exhaustion of grace periods, a downgrade to “D” may occur. DBRS may also use “SD” (Selective Default) in cases where only some securities are impacted, such as the case of a “distressed exchange”.

 

2-A


Long-Term Credit Ratings

The following summarizes the ratings used by S&P Global Ratings for long-term issues:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“NR” – This indicates that no rating has been requested, or that there is insufficient information on which to base a rating, or that S&P Global Ratings does not rate a particular obligation as a matter of policy.

Plus (+) or minus (-) – The ratings from “AA” to “CCC” may be modified by the addition of a plus (+) or minus (-) sign to show relative standing within the major rating categories.

Local Currency and Foreign Currency Ratings – S&P Global Ratings’ issuer credit ratings make a distinction between foreign currency ratings and local currency ratings. An issuer’s foreign currency rating will differ from its local currency rating when the obligor has a different capacity to meet its obligations denominated in its local currency, vs. obligations denominated in a foreign currency.

Moody’s long-term ratings are forward-looking opinions of the relative credit risks of financial obligations with an original maturity of one year or more and reflect both on the likelihood of a default on contractually promised payments and the expected financial loss suffered in the event of default. The following summarizes the ratings used by Moody’s for long-term debt:

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

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

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

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

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

 

3-A


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

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

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

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

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

The following summarizes long-term ratings used by Fitch:

“AAA” – Securities considered to be of the highest credit quality. “AAA” ratings denote the lowest expectation of credit risk. They are assigned only in cases of exceptionally strong capacity for payment of financial commitments. This capacity is highly unlikely to be adversely affected by foreseeable events.

“AA” – Securities considered to be of very high credit quality. “AA” ratings denote expectations of very low credit risk. They indicate very strong capacity for payment of financial commitments. This capacity is not significantly vulnerable to foreseeable events.

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

“BBB” – Securities considered to be of good credit quality. “BBB” ratings indicate that expectations of credit risk are currently low. The capacity for payment of financial commitments is considered adequate, but adverse business or economic conditions are more likely to impair this capacity.

“BB” – Securities considered to be speculative. “BB” ratings indicate an elevated vulnerability to credit risk, particularly in the event of adverse changes in business or economic conditions over time; however, business or financial alternatives may be available to allow financial commitments to be met.

“B” – Securities considered to be highly speculative. “B” ratings indicate that material credit risk is present.

“CCC” – A “CCC” rating indicates that substantial credit risk is present.

“CC” – A “CC” rating indicates very high levels of credit risk.

“C” – A “C” rating indicates exceptionally high levels of credit risk.

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

Plus (+) or minus (-) may be appended to a rating to denote relative status within major rating categories. Such suffixes are not added to the “AAA” category or to categories below “CCC”.

“NR” – Denotes that Fitch does not publicly rate the associated issue or issuer.

“WD” – Indicates that the rating has been withdrawn and is no longer maintained by Fitch.

The DBRS long-term rating scale provides an opinion on the risk of default. That is, the risk that an issuer will fail to satisfy its financial obligations in accordance with the terms under which an obligation has been issued. Ratings are based on quantitative and qualitative considerations relevant to the issuer, and the relative ranking of the claims. All rating categories other than “AAA” and “D” also contain subcategories “(high)” and “(low)”. The absence of either a “(high)” or “(low)” designation indicates the rating is in the middle of the category. The following summarizes the ratings used by DBRS for long-term debt:

“AAA” – Long-term debt rated “AAA” is of the highest credit quality. The capacity for the payment of financial obligations is exceptionally high and unlikely to be adversely affected by future events.

“AA” – Long-term debt rated “AA” is of superior credit quality. The capacity for the payment of financial obligations is considered high. Credit quality differs from “AAA” only to a small degree. Unlikely to be significantly vulnerable to future events.

 

4-A


“A” – Long-term debt rated “A” is of good credit quality. The capacity for the payment of financial obligations is substantial, but of lesser credit quality than “AA.” May be vulnerable to future events, but qualifying negative factors are considered manageable.

“BBB” – Long-term debt rated “BBB” is of adequate credit quality. The capacity for the payment of financial obligations is considered acceptable. May be vulnerable to future events.

“BB” Long-term debt rated “BB” is of speculative , non-investment grade credit quality. The capacity for the payment of financial obligations is uncertain. Vulnerable to future events.

“B” – Long-term debt rated “B” is of highly speculative credit quality. There is a high level of uncertainty as to the capacity to meet financial obligations.

“CCC”, “CC” and “C” – Long-term debt rated in any of these categories is of very highly speculative credit quality. In danger of defaulting on financial obligations. There is little difference between these three categories, although “CC” and “C” ratings are normally applied to obligations that are seen as highly likely to default, or subordinated to obligations rated in the “CCC” to “B” range. Obligations in respect of which default has not technically taken place but is considered inevitable may be rated in the “C” category.

“D” A security rated “D” is assigned when the issuer has filed under any applicable bankruptcy, insolvency or winding up statute or there is a failure to satisfy an obligation after the exhaustion of grace periods, a downgrade to “D” may occur. DBRS may also use “SD” (Selective Default) in cases where only some securities are impacted, such as the case of a “distressed exchange”.

Municipal Note Ratings

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

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

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

Note rating symbols are as follows:

“SP-1” – A municipal note rated “SP-1” exhibits a strong capacity to pay principal and interest. An issue determined to possess a very strong capacity to pay debt service is given a plus (+) designation.

“SP-2” – A municipal note rated “SP-2” exhibits a satisfactory capacity to pay principal and interest, with some vulnerability to adverse financial and economic changes over the term of the notes.

“SP-3” – A municipal note rated “SP-3” exhibits a speculative capacity to pay principal and interest.

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

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

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

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

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

 

5-A


In the case of variable rate demand obligations (“VRDOs”), a two-component rating is assigned; a long- or short-term debt rating and a demand obligation rating. The first element represents Moody’s evaluation of risk associated with scheduled principal and interest payments. The second element represents Moody’s evaluation of risk associated with the ability to receive purchase price upon demand (“demand feature”). The second element uses a rating from a variation of the MIG scale called the Variable Municipal Investment Grade (“VMIG”) scale. The rating transitions on the VMIG scale differ from those on the Prime scale to reflect the risk that external liquidity support generally will terminate if the issuer’s long-term rating drops below investment grade.

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

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

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

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

“NR” – Is assigned to an unrated obligation.

Fitch uses the same ratings for municipal securities as described above for other short-term credit ratings.

About Credit Ratings

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

Moody’s credit ratings must be construed solely as statements of opinion and not statements of fact or recommendations to purchase, sell or hold any securities.

Fitch’s credit ratings relating to issuers are an opinion on the relative ability of an entity to meet financial commitments, such as interest, preferred dividends, repayment of principal, insurance claims or counterparty obligations. Fitch credit ratings are used by investors as indications of the likelihood of receiving the money owed to them in accordance with the terms on which they invested. Fitch’s credit ratings cover the global spectrum of corporate, sovereign financial, bank, insurance and public finance entities (including supranational and sub-national entities) and the securities or other obligations they issue, as well as structured finance securities backed by receivables or other financial assets.

Credit ratings provided by DBRS are forward-looking opinions about credit risk which reflect the creditworthiness of an issuer, rated entity, and/or security. Credit ratings are not statements of fact. While historical statistics and performance can be important considerations, credit ratings are not based solely on such; they include subjective considerations and involve expectations for future performance that cannot be guaranteed. To the extent that future events and economic conditions do not match expectations, credit ratings assigned to issuers and/or securities can change. Credit ratings are also based on approved and applicable methodologies, models and criteria (“Methodologies”), which are periodically updated and when material changes are deemed necessary, this may also lead to rating changes.

Credit ratings typically provide an opinion on the risk that investors may not be repaid in accordance with the terms under which the obligation was issued. In some cases, credit ratings may also include consideration for the relative ranking of claims and recovery, should default occur. Credit ratings are meant to provide opinions on relative measures of risk and are not based on expectations of any specific default probability, nor are they meant to predict such.

The data and information on which DBRS bases its opinions is not audited or verified by DBRS, although DBRS conducts a reasonableness review of information received and relied upon in accordance with its Methodologies and policies.

DBRS uses rating symbols as a concise method of expressing its opinion to the market but there are a limited number of rating categories for the possible slight risk differentials that exist across the rating spectrum and DBRS does not assert that credit ratings in the same category are of “exactly” the same quality.

 

6-A


APPENDIX B

GSAM PROXY VOTING GUIDELINES SUMMARY

Effective February 2019

The following is a summary of the material GSAM Proxy Voting Guidelines (the “Guidelines”), which form the substantive basis of GSAM’s Policy and Procedures on Proxy Voting for Investment Advisory Clients (the “Policy”). As described in the main body of the Policy, one or more GSAM Portfolio Management Teams may diverge from the Guidelines and a related Recommendation on any particular proxy vote or in connection with any individual investment decision in accordance with the Policy.

 

A.

  US proxy items:   

1.

  Operational Items      page 2-B    

2.

  Board of Directors      page 2-B    

3.

  Executive Compensation      page 4-B    

4.

  Director Nominees and Proxy Access      page 6-B    

5.

  Shareholder Rights and Defenses      page 6-B    

6.

  Mergers and Corporate Restructurings      page 7-B    

7.

  State of Incorporation      page 7-B    

8.

  Capital Structure      page 7-B    

9.

  Environmental, Social, Governance (ESG) Issues      page 8-B    

B.

  Non-U.S. proxy items:   

1.

  Operational Items      page 10-B  

2.

  Board of Directors      page 11-B  

3.

  Compensation      page 12-B  

4.

  Board Structure      page 13-B  

5.

  Capital Structure      page 13-B  

6.

  Mergers and Corporate Restructurings & Other      page 14-B  

7.

  Environmental, Social, Governance (ESG) Issues      page 15-B  

 

 

1-B


A. U.S. Proxy Items

The following section is a summary of the Guidelines, which form the substantive basis of the Policy with respect to U.S. public equity investments.

1. Operational Items

Auditor Ratification

Vote FOR proposals to ratify auditors, unless any of the following apply within the last year:

 

   

An auditor has a financial interest in or association with the company, and is therefore not independent;

 

   

There is reason to believe that the independent auditor has rendered an opinion that is neither accurate nor indicative of the company’s financial position;

 

   

Poor accounting practices are identified that rise to a serious level of concern, such as: fraud; misapplication of GAAP; or material weaknesses identified in Section 404 disclosures; or

 

   

Fees for non-audit services are excessive (generally over 50% or more of the audit fees).

Vote CASE-BY-CASE on shareholder proposals asking companies to prohibit or limit their auditors from engaging in non-audit services or asking for audit firm rotation.

2. Board of Directors

The board of directors should promote the interests of shareholders by acting in an oversight and/or advisory role; the board should consist of a majority of independent directors and should be held accountable for actions and results related to their responsibilities.

When evaluating board composition, GSAM believes a diversity of ethnicity, gender and experience is an important consideration.

Classification of Directors

Where applicable, the New York Stock Exchange or NASDAQ Listing Standards definition is to be used to classify directors as inside directors, affiliated outside directors, or independent outside directors.

Additionally, GSAM will consider compensation committee interlocking directors to be affiliated (defined as CEOs who sit on each other’s compensation committees).

Voting on Director Nominees in Uncontested Elections

Vote on director nominees should be determined on a CASE-BY-CASE basis.

Vote AGAINST or WITHHOLD from individual directors who:

 

   

Attend less than 75% of the board and committee meetings without a disclosed valid excuse ;

 

   

Sit on more than five public operating and/or holding company boards;

 

   

Are CEOs of public companies who sit on the boards of more than two public companies besides their own—withhold only at their outside boards.

Other items considered for an AGAINST vote include specific concerns about the individual or the company, such as criminal wrongdoing or breach of fiduciary responsibilities, sanctions from government or authority, violations of laws and regulations, the presence of inappropriate related party transactions, or other issues related to improper business practices.

Vote AGAINST or WITHHOLD from the Chair of the Nominating Committee if:

 

   

The board does not have at least one woman director and

 

   

The board has not had a female director in the last three years

Vote AGAINST or WITHHOLD from inside directors and affiliated outside directors (per the Classification of Directors above) in the case of operating and/or holding companies when:

 

   

The inside director or affiliated outside director serves on the Audit, Compensation or Nominating Committees; and

 

2-B


   

The company lacks an Audit, Compensation or Nominating Committee so that the full board functions as such committees and inside directors or affiliated outside directors are participating in voting on matters that independent committees should be voting on.

Vote AGAINST or WITHHOLD from members of the appropriate committee (or only the independent chairman or lead director as may be appropriate in situations such as where there is a classified board and members of the appropriate committee are not up for re-election or the appropriate committee is comprised of the entire board ) for the below reasons. Extreme cases may warrant a vote against the entire board.

 

   

Material failures of governance, stewardship, or fiduciary responsibilities at the company;

 

   

Egregious actions related to the director(s)’ service on other boards that raise substantial doubt about his or her ability to effectively oversee management and serve the best interests of shareholders at any company;

 

   

At the previous board election, any director received more than 50% withhold/against votes of the shares cast and the company has failed to address the underlying issue(s) that caused the high withhold/against vote (members of the Nominating or Governance Committees);

 

   

The board failed to act on a shareholder proposal that received approval of the majority of shares cast for the previous two consecutive years (a management proposal with other than a FOR recommendation by management will not be considered as sufficient action taken); an adopted proposal that is substantially similar to the original shareholder proposal will be deemed sufficient; (vote against members of the committee of the board that is responsible for the issue under consideration). If GSAM did not support the shareholder proposal in both years, GSAM will still vote against the committee member(s).

 

   

The average board tenure exceeds 15 years, and there has not been a new nominee in the past 5 years.

Vote AGAINST or WITHHOLD from the members of the Audit Committee if:

 

   

The non-audit fees paid to the auditor are excessive (generally over 50% or more of the audit fees);

 

   

The company receives an adverse opinion on the company’s financial statements from its auditor and there is not clear evidence that the situation has been remedied;

 

   

There is persuasive evidence that the Audit Committee entered into an inappropriate indemnification agreement with its auditor that limits the ability of the company, or its shareholders, to pursue legitimate legal recourse against the audit firm; or

 

   

No members of the Audit Committee hold sufficient financial expertise.

Vote CASE-BY-CASE on members of the Audit Committee and/or the full board if poor accounting practices, which rise to a level of serious concern are identified, such as fraud, misapplication of GAAP and material weaknesses identified in Section 404 disclosures.

Examine the severity, breadth, chronological sequence and duration, as well as the company’s efforts at remediation or corrective actions, in determining whether negative vote recommendations are warranted against the members of the Audit Committee who are responsible for the poor accounting practices, or the entire board.

See section 3 on executive and director compensation for reasons to withhold from members of the Compensation Committee.

In limited circumstances, GSAM may vote AGAINST or WITHHOLD from all nominees of the board of directors (except from new nominees who should be considered on a CASE-BY-CASE basis and except as discussed below) if:

 

   

The company’s poison pill has a dead-hand or modified dead-hand feature for two or more years. Vote against/withhold every year until this feature is removed; however, vote against the poison pill if there is one on the ballot with this feature rather than the director;

 

   

The board adopts or renews a poison pill without shareholder approval, does not commit to putting it to shareholder vote within 12 months of adoption (or in the case of an newly public company, does not commit to put the pill to a shareholder vote within 12 months following the IPO), or reneges on a commitment to put the pill to a vote, and has not yet received a withhold/against recommendation for this issue;

 

   

The board failed to act on takeover offers where the majority of the shareholders tendered their shares;

 

   

If in an extreme situation the board lacks accountability and oversight, coupled with sustained poor performance relative to peers.

Shareholder proposal regarding Independent Chair (Separate Chair/CEO)

Vote on a CASE-BY-CASE basis.

GSAM will generally recommend a vote AGAINST shareholder proposals requiring that the chairman’s position be filled by an independent director, if the company satisfies 3 of the 4 following criteria:

 

   

Designated lead director, elected by and from the independent board members with clearly delineated and comprehensive duties;

 

3-B


   

Two-thirds independent board;

 

   

All independent “key” committees (audit, compensation and nominating committees); or

 

   

Established, disclosed governance guidelines.

Shareholder proposal regarding board declassification

GSAM will generally vote FOR proposals requesting that the board adopt a declassified structure in the case of operating and holding companies.

Majority Vote Shareholder Proposals

GSAM will vote FOR proposals requesting that the board adopt majority voting in the election of directors provided it does not conflict with the state law where the company is incorporated. GSAM also looks for companies to adopt a post-election policy outlining how the company will address the situation of a holdover director.

Cumulative Vote Shareholder Proposals

GSAM will generally support shareholder proposals to restore or provide cumulative voting in the case of operating and holding companies unless:

   

The company has adopted (i) majority vote standard with a carve-out for plurality voting in situations where there are more nominees than seats and (ii) a director resignation policy to address failed elections.

3. Executive Compensation

Pay Practices

Good pay practices should align management’s interests with long-term shareholder value creation. Detailed disclosure of compensation criteria is preferred; proof that companies follow the criteria should be evident and retroactive performance target changes without proper disclosure is not viewed favorably. Compensation practices should allow a company to attract and retain proven talent. Some examples of poor pay practices include: abnormally large bonus payouts without justifiable performance linkage or proper disclosure, egregious employment contracts, excessive severance and/or change in control provisions, repricing or replacing of underwater stock options/stock appreciation rights without prior shareholder approval, and excessive perquisites. A company should also have an appropriate balance of short-term vs. long-term metrics and the metrics should be aligned with business goals and objectives.

If the company maintains problematic or poor pay practices, generally vote:

 

   

AGAINST Management Say on Pay (MSOP) Proposals; or

 

   

AGAINST an equity-based incentive plan proposal if excessive non-performance-based equity awards are the major contributor to a pay-for-performance misalignment.

 

   

If no MSOP or equity-based incentive plan proposal item is on the ballot, vote AGAINST/WITHHOLD from compensation committee members.

Equity Compensation Plans

Vote CASE-BY-CASE on equity-based compensation plans. Evaluation takes into account potential plan cost, plan features and grant practices. While a negative combination of these factors could cause a vote AGAINST, other reasons to vote AGAINST the equity plan could include the following factors:

 

   

The plan permits the repricing of stock options/stock appreciation rights (SARs) without prior shareholder approval; or

 

   

There is more than one problematic material feature of the plan, which could include one of the following: unfavorable change-in-control features, presence of gross ups and options reload.

Advisory Vote on Executive Compensation (Say-on-Pay, MSOP) Management Proposals

Vote FOR annual frequency and AGAINST all proposals asking for any frequency less than annual.

Vote CASE-BY-CASE on management proposals for an advisory vote on executive compensation. For U.S. companies, consider the following factors in the context of each company’s specific circumstances and the board’s disclosed rationale for its practices.

 

4-B


Factors Considered Include:

 

   

Pay for Performance Disconnect;

 

   

GSAM will consider there to be a disconnect based on a quantitative assessment of the following: CEO pay vs. TSR (“Total Shareholder Return”) and peers, CEO pay as a percentage of the median peer group or CEO pay vs. shareholder return over time.

 

   

Long-term equity-based compensation is 100% time-based;

 

   

Board’s responsiveness if company received 70% or less shareholder support in the previous year’s MSOP vote;

 

   

Abnormally large bonus payouts without justifiable performance linkage or proper disclosure;

 

   

Egregious employment contracts;

 

   

Excessive perquisites or excessive severance and/or change in control provisions;

 

   

Repricing or replacing of underwater stock options without prior shareholder approval;

 

   

Excessive pledging or hedging of stock by executives;

 

   

Egregious pension/SERP (supplemental executive retirement plan) payouts;

 

   

Extraordinary relocation benefits;

 

   

Internal pay disparity; and

 

   

Lack of transparent disclosure of compensation philosophy and goals and targets, including details on short-term and long-term performance incentives.

Other Compensation Proposals and Policies

Employee Stock Purchase Plans — Non-Qualified Plans

Vote CASE-BY-CASE on nonqualified employee stock purchase plans taking into account the following factors:

 

   

Broad-based participation;

 

   

Limits on employee contributions;

 

   

Company matching contributions; and

 

   

Presence of a discount on the stock price on the date of purchase.

Option Exchange Programs/Repricing Options

Vote CASE-BY-CASE on management proposals seeking approval to exchange/reprice options, taking into consideration:

 

   

Historic trading patterns—the stock price should not be so volatile that the options are likely to be back “in-the-money” over the near term;

 

   

Rationale for the re-pricing;

 

   

If it is a value-for-value exchange;

 

   

If surrendered stock options are added back to the plan reserve;

 

   

Option vesting;

 

   

Term of the option—the term should remain the same as that of the replaced option;

 

   

Exercise price—should be set at fair market or a premium to market;

 

   

Participants—executive officers and directors should be excluded.

Vote FOR shareholder proposals to put option repricings to a shareholder vote.

Other Shareholder Proposals on Compensation

Advisory Vote on Executive Compensation (Frequency on Pay)

Vote FOR annual frequency.

Stock retention holding period

Vote FOR shareholder proposals asking for a policy requiring that senior executives retain a significant percentage of shares acquired through equity compensation programs if the policy requests retention for two years or less following the termination of their employment (through retirement or otherwise) and a holding threshold percentage of 50% or less.

Also consider:

 

   

Whether the company has any holding period, retention ratio, or officer ownership requirements in place and the terms/provisions of awards already granted.

 

5-B


Elimination of accelerated vesting in the event of a change in control

Vote AGAINST shareholder proposals seeking a policy eliminating the accelerated vesting of time-based equity awards in the event of a change-in-control.

Performance-based equity awards and pay-for-superior-performance proposals

Generally support unless there is sufficient evidence that the current compensation structure is already substantially performance-based. GSAM considers performance-based awards to include awards that are tied to shareholder return or other metrics that are relevant to the business.

Say on Supplemental Executive Retirement Plans (SERP)

Generally vote AGAINST proposals asking for shareholder votes on SERP.

4. Director Nominees and Proxy Access

Voting for Director Nominees (Management or Shareholder)

Vote CASE-BY-CASE on the election of directors of operating and holding companies in contested elections, considering the following factors:

 

   

Long-term financial performance of the target company relative to its industry;

 

   

Management’s track record;

 

   

Background of the nomination, in cases where there is a shareholder nomination;

 

   

Qualifications of director nominee(s);

 

   

Strategic plan related to the nomination and quality of critique against management;

 

   

Number of boards on which the director nominee already serves; and

 

   

Likelihood that the board will be productive as a result.

Proxy Access

Vote CASE-BY-CASE on shareholder or management proposals asking for proxy access.

GSAM may support proxy access as an important right for shareholders of operating and holding companies and as an alternative to costly proxy contests and as a method for GSAM to vote for directors on an individual basis, as appropriate, rather than voting on one slate or the other. While this could be an important shareholder right, the following factors will be taken into account when evaluating the shareholder proposals:

 

   

The ownership thresholds, percentage and duration proposed (GSAM generally will not support if the ownership threshold is less than 3%);

 

   

The maximum proportion of directors that shareholders may nominate each year (GSAM generally will not support if the proportion of directors is greater than 25%); and

 

   

Other restricting factors that when taken in combination could serve to materially limit the proxy access provision.

GSAM will take the above factors into account when evaluating proposals proactively adopted by the company or in response to a shareholder proposal to adopt or amend the right. A vote against governance committee members could result if provisions exist that materially limit the right to proxy access.

Reimbursing Proxy Solicitation Expenses

Vote CASE-BY-CASE on proposals to reimburse proxy solicitation expenses. When voting in conjunction with support of a dissident slate, vote FOR the reimbursement of all appropriate proxy solicitation expenses associated with the election.

5. Shareholders Rights and Defenses

Shareholder Ability to Act by Written Consent

In the case of operating and holding companies, generally vote FOR shareholder proposals that provide shareholders with the ability to act by written consent, unless:

 

   

The company already gives shareholders the right to call special meetings at a threshold of 25% or lower; and

 

   

The company has a history of strong governance practices.

Shareholder Ability to Call Special Meetings

In the case of operating and holding companies, generally vote FOR management proposals that provide shareholders with the ability to call special meetings.

 

6-B


In the case of operating and holding companies, generally vote FOR shareholder proposals that provide shareholders with the ability to call special meetings at a threshold of 25% or lower if the company currently does not give shareholders the right to call special meetings. However, if a company already gives shareholders the right to call special meetings at a threshold of at least 25%, vote AGAINST shareholder proposals to further reduce the threshold.

Advance Notice Requirements for Shareholder Proposals/Nominations

In the case of operating and holding companies, vote CASE-BY-CASE on advance notice proposals, giving support to proposals that allow shareholders to submit proposals/nominations reasonably close to the meeting date and within the broadest window possible, recognizing the need to allow sufficient notice for company, regulatory and shareholder review.

Poison Pills

Vote FOR shareholder proposals requesting that the company submit its poison pill to a shareholder vote or redeem it, unless the company has:

 

   

a shareholder-approved poison pill in place; or

 

   

adopted a policy concerning the adoption of a pill in the future specifying certain shareholder friendly provisions.

Vote FOR shareholder proposals calling for poison pills to be put to a vote within a time period of less than one year after adoption.

Vote CASE-BY-CASE on management proposals on poison pill ratification, focusing on the features of the shareholder rights plan.

In addition, the rationale for adopting the pill should be thoroughly explained by the company. In examining the request for the pill, take into consideration the company’s existing governance structure, including: board independence, existing takeover defenses, and any problematic governance concerns.

6. Mergers and Corporate Restructurings

Vote CASE-BY-CASE on mergers and acquisitions taking into account the following based on publicly available information:

 

   

Valuation;

 

   

Market reaction;

 

   

Strategic rationale;

 

   

Management’s track record of successful integration of historical acquisitions;

 

   

Presence of conflicts of interest; and

 

   

Governance profile of the combined company.

7. State of Incorporation

Reincorporation Proposals

GSAM may support management proposals to reincorporate as long as the reincorporation would not substantially diminish shareholder rights. GSAM may not support shareholder proposals for reincorporation unless the current state of incorporation is substantially less shareholder friendly than the proposed reincorporation, there is a strong economic case to reincorporate or the company has a history of making decisions that are not shareholder friendly.

Exclusive venue for shareholder lawsuits

Generally vote FOR on exclusive venue proposals, taking into account:

 

   

Whether the company has been materially harmed by shareholder litigation outside its jurisdiction of incorporation, based on disclosure in the company’s proxy statement;

 

   

Whether the company has the following good governance features:

 

   

Majority independent board;

 

   

Independent key committees;

 

   

An annually elected board;

 

   

A majority vote standard in uncontested director elections;

 

   

The absence of a poison pill, unless the pill was approved by shareholders; and/or

 

   

Separate Chairman CEO role or, if combined, an independent chairman with clearly delineated duties.

8. Capital Structure

Common and Preferred Stock Authorization

Generally vote FOR proposals to increase the number of shares of common stock authorized for issuance.

 

7-B


Generally vote FOR proposals to increase the number of shares of preferred stock, as long as there is a commitment to not use the shares for anti-takeover purposes.

9. Environmental, Social, Governance (ESG) Issues

Overall Approach

GSAM recognizes that Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) factors can affect investment performance, expose potential investment risks and provide an indication of management excellence and leadership. When evaluating ESG proxy issues, GSAM balances the purpose of a proposal with the overall benefit to shareholders.

Shareholder proposals considered under this category could include, among others, reports on:

 

1)

employee labor and safety policies;

 

2)

impact on the environment of the company’s production or manufacturing operations;

 

3)

societal impact of products manufactured;

 

4)

risks throughout the supply chain or operations including labor practices, animal treatment practices within food production and conflict minerals; and

 

5)

overall board structure, including diversity.

When evaluating environmental and social shareholder proposals, the following factors are generally considered:

 

   

The company’s current level of publicly available disclosure, including if the company already discloses similar information through existing reports or policies;

 

   

If the company has implemented or formally committed to the implementation of a reporting program based on the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board’s (SASB) materiality standards or a similar standard;

 

   

Whether adoption of the proposal is likely to enhance or protect shareholder value;

 

   

Whether the information requested concerns business issues that relate to a meaningful percentage of the company’s business;

 

   

The degree to which the company’s stated position on the issues raised in the proposal could affect its reputation or sales, or leave it vulnerable to a boycott or selective purchasing;

 

   

Whether the company has already responded in some appropriate manner to the request embodied in the proposal;

 

   

What other companies in the relevant industry have done in response to the issue addressed in the proposal;

 

   

Whether the proposal itself is well framed and the cost of preparing the report is reasonable;

 

   

Whether the subject of the proposal is best left to the discretion of the board;

 

   

Whether the company has material fines or violations in the area and if so, if appropriate actions have already been taken to remedy going forward;

 

   

Whether providing this information would reveal proprietary or confidential information that would place the company at a competitive disadvantage.

Environmental Sustainability, climate change reporting

Generally vote FOR proposals requesting the company to report on its policies, initiatives and oversight mechanisms related to environmental sustainability, or how the company may be impacted by climate change. The following factors will be considered:

 

   

The company’s current level of publicly available disclosure including if the company already discloses similar information through existing reports or policies;

 

   

If the company has formally committed to the implementation of a reporting program based on the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board’s (SASB) materiality standards or a similar standard within a specified time frame;

 

   

If the company’s current level of disclosure is comparable to that of its industry peers; and

 

   

If there are significant controversies, fines, penalties, or litigation associated with the company’s environmental performance.

Establishing goals or targets for emissions reduction

Vote CASE-BY-CASE on the following shareholder proposals if relevant to the company:

 

   

Seeking information on the financial, physical, or regulatory risks a company faces related to climate change on its operations and investment, or on how the company identifies, measures and manages such risks;

 

   

Calling for the reduction of Greenhouse Gas (“GHG”) emissions;

 

   

Seeking reports on responses to regulatory and public pressures surrounding climate change, and for disclosure of research that aided in setting company policies around climate change;

 

   

Requesting a report/disclosure of goals on GHG emissions from company operations and/or products;

 

   

Requesting a company report on its energy efficiency policies; and

 

   

Requesting reports on the feasibility of developing renewable energy resources.

 

8-B


Political Contributions and Trade Association Spending/Lobbying Expenditures and Initiatives

GSAM generally believes that it is the role of boards and management to determine the appropriate level of disclosure of all types of corporate political activity. When evaluating these proposals, GSAM considers the prescriptive nature of the proposal and the overall benefit to shareholders along with a company’s current disclosure of policies, practices and oversight.

Generally vote AGAINST proposals asking the company to affirm political nonpartisanship in the workplace so long as:

 

   

There are no recent, significant controversies, fines or litigation regarding the company’s political contributions or trade association spending; and

 

   

The company has procedures in place to ensure that employee contributions to company-sponsored political action committees (PACs) are strictly voluntary and prohibits coercion.

Vote AGAINST proposals requesting increased disclosure of a company’s policies with respect to political contributions, lobbying and trade association spending as long as:

 

   

There is no significant potential threat or actual harm to shareholders’ interests;

 

   

There are no recent significant controversies or litigation related to the company’s political contributions or governmental affairs; and

 

   

There is publicly available information to assess the company’s oversight related to such expenditures of corporate assets.

GSAM generally will vote AGAINST proposals asking for detailed disclosure of political contributions or trade association or lobbying expenditures.

Vote AGAINST proposals barring the company from making political contributions. Businesses are affected by legislation at the federal, state, and local level and barring political contributions can put the company at a competitive disadvantage.

Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation

A company should have a clear, public Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) statement and/or diversity policy. Generally vote FOR proposals seeking to amend a company’s EEO statement or diversity policies to additionally prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity.

Generally vote FOR proposals requesting reports on a company’s efforts to diversify the board, unless:

 

   

The gender and racial minority representation of the company’s board is reasonably inclusive in relation to companies of similar size and business; and

 

   

The board already reports on its nominating procedures and gender and racial minority initiatives on the board.

Gender Pay Gap

Generally vote CASE-BY-CASE on proposals requesting reports on a company’s pay data by gender, or a report on a company’s policies and goals to reduce any gender pay gap, taking into account:

 

   

The company’s current policies and disclosure related to both its diversity and inclusion policies and practices and its compensation philosophy and fair and equitable compensation practices;

 

   

Whether the company has been the subject of recent controversy, litigation or regulatory actions related to gender pay gap issues; and

 

   

Whether the company’s reporting regarding gender pay gap policies or initiatives is lagging its peers.

Labor and Human Rights Standards

Generally vote FOR proposals requesting a report on company or company supplier labor and/or human rights standards and policies, or on the impact of its operations on society, unless such information is already publicly disclosed considering:

 

   

The degree to which existing relevant policies and practices are disclosed;

 

   

Whether or not existing relevant policies are consistent with internationally recognized standards;

 

   

Whether company facilities and those of its suppliers are monitored and how;

 

   

Company participation in fair labor organizations or other internationally recognized human rights initiatives;

 

   

Scope and nature of business conducted in markets known to have higher risk of workplace labor/human rights abuse;

 

   

Recent, significant company controversies, fines, or litigation regarding human rights at the company or its suppliers;

 

   

The scope of the request; and

 

   

Deviation from industry sector peer company standards and practices.

 

9-B


B. Non-U.S. Proxy Items

The following section is a broad summary of the Guidelines, which form the basis of the Policy with respect to non-U.S. public equity investments. Applying these guidelines is subject to certain regional and country-specific exceptions and modifications and is not inclusive of all considerations in each market.

1. Operational Items

Financial Results/Director and Auditor Reports

Vote FOR approval of financial statements and director and auditor reports, unless:

 

   

There are concerns about the accounts presented or audit procedures used; or

 

   

The company is not responsive to shareholder questions about specific items that should be publicly disclosed.

Appointment of Auditors and Auditor Fees

Vote FOR the re-election of auditors and proposals authorizing the board to fix auditor fees, unless:

 

   

There are serious concerns about the accounts presented, audit procedures used or audit opinion rendered;

 

   

There is reason to believe that the auditor has rendered an opinion that is neither accurate nor indicative of the company’s financial position;

 

   

Name of the proposed auditor has not been published;

 

   

The auditors are being changed without explanation;

 

   

Non-audit-related fees are substantial or are in excess of standard annual audit-related fees; or

 

   

The appointment of external auditors if they have previously served the company in an executive capacity or can otherwise be considered affiliated with the company.

Appointment of Statutory Auditors

Vote FOR the appointment or re-election of statutory auditors, unless:

 

   

There are serious concerns about the statutory reports presented or the audit procedures used;

 

   

Questions exist concerning any of the statutory auditors being appointed; or

 

   

The auditors have previously served the company in an executive capacity or can otherwise be considered affiliated with the company.

Allocation of Income

Vote FOR approval of the allocation of income, unless:

 

   

The dividend payout ratio has been consistently low without adequate explanation; or

 

   

The payout is excessive given the company’s financial position.

Stock (Scrip) Dividend Alternative

Vote FOR most stock (scrip) dividend proposals.

Vote AGAINST proposals that do not allow for a cash option unless management demonstrates that the cash option is harmful to shareholder value.

Amendments to Articles of Association

Vote amendments to the articles of association on a CASE-BY-CASE basis.

Change in Company Fiscal Term

Vote FOR resolutions to change a company’s fiscal term unless a company’s motivation for the change is to postpone its annual general meeting.

Lower Disclosure Threshold for Stock Ownership

Vote AGAINST resolutions to lower the stock ownership disclosure threshold below 5% unless specific reasons exist to implement a lower threshold.

Amend Quorum Requirements

Vote proposals to amend quorum requirements for shareholder meetings on a CASE-BY-CASE basis.

Transact Other Business

Vote AGAINST other business when it appears as a voting item.

 

10-B


2. Board of Directors

Director Elections

Vote FOR management nominees taking into consideration the following:

 

   

Adequate disclosure has not been provided in a timely manner; or

 

   

There are clear concerns over questionable finances or restatements; or

 

   

There have been questionable transactions or conflicts of interest; or

 

   

There are any records of abuses against minority shareholder interests; or

 

   

The board fails to meet minimum corporate governance standards; or

 

   

There are reservations about:

 

   

Director terms

 

   

Bundling of proposals to elect directors

 

   

Board independence

 

   

Disclosure of named nominees

 

   

Combined Chairman/CEO

 

   

Election of former CEO as Chairman of the board

 

   

Overboarded directors

 

   

Composition of committees

 

   

Director independence

 

   

Number of directors on the board

 

   

Specific concerns about the individual or company, such as criminal wrongdoing or breach of fiduciary responsibilities; or

 

   

Repeated absences at board meetings have not been explained (in countries where this information is disclosed); or

 

   

Unless there are other considerations which may include sanctions from government or authority, violations of laws and regulations, or other issues related to improper business practice, failure to replace management, or egregious actions related to service on other boards.

Vote on a CASE-BY-CASE basis in contested elections of directors, e.g., the election of shareholder nominees or the dismissal of incumbent directors, determining which directors are best suited to add value for shareholders.

The analysis will generally be based on, but not limited to, the following major decision factors:

 

   

Company performance relative to its peers;

 

   

Strategy of the incumbents versus the dissidents;

 

   

Independence of board candidates;

 

   

Experience and skills of board candidates;

 

   

Governance profile of the company;

 

   

Evidence of management entrenchment;

 

   

Responsiveness to shareholders;

 

   

Whether a takeover offer has been rebuffed;

 

   

Whether minority or majority representation is being sought.

Vote FOR employee and/or labor representatives if they sit on either the audit or compensation committee and are required by law to be on those committees.

Vote AGAINST employee and/or labor representatives if they sit on either the audit or compensation committee, if they are not required to be on those committees.

Classification of directors

Executive Director

 

   

Employee or executive of the company;

 

   

Any director who is classified as a non-executive, but receives salary, fees, bonus, and/or other benefits that are in line with the highest-paid executives of the company.

Non-Independent Non-Executive Director (NED)

 

   

Any director who is attested by the board to be a non-independent NED;

 

   

Any director specifically designated as a representative of a significant shareholder of the company;

 

   

Any director who is also an employee or executive of a significant shareholder of the company;

 

11-B


   

Beneficial owner (direct or indirect) of at least 10% of the company’s stock, either in economic terms or in voting rights (this may be aggregated if voting power is distributed among more than one member of a defined group, e.g., family members who beneficially own less than 10% individually, but collectively own more than 10%), unless market best practice dictates a lower ownership and/or disclosure threshold (and in other special market-specific circumstances);

 

   

Government representative;

 

   

Currently provides (or a relative provides) professional services to the company, to an affiliate of the company, or to an individual officer of the company or of one of its affiliates in excess of $10,000 per year;

 

   

Represents customer, supplier, creditor, banker, or other entity with which company maintains transactional/commercial relationship (unless company discloses information to apply a materiality test);

 

   

Any director who has conflicting or cross-directorships with executive directors or the chairman of the company;

 

   

Relative of a current employee of the company or its affiliates;

 

   

Relative of a former executive of the company or its affiliates;

 

   

A new appointee elected other than by a formal process through the General Meeting (such as a contractual appointment by a substantial shareholder);

 

   

Founder/co-founder/member of founding family but not currently an employee;

 

   

Former executive (5 year cooling off period);

 

   

Years of service is generally not a determining factor unless it is recommended best practice in a market and/or in extreme circumstances, in which case it may be considered; and

 

   

Any additional relationship or principle considered to compromise independence under local corporate governance best practice guidance.

Independent NED

 

   

No material connection, either directly or indirectly, to the company other than a board seat.

Employee Representative

 

   

Represents employees or employee shareholders of the company (classified as “employee representative” but considered a non-independent NED).

Discharge of Directors

Generally vote FOR the discharge of directors, including members of the management board and/or supervisory board, unless there is reliable information about significant and compelling controversies that the board is not fulfilling its fiduciary duties warranted by:

 

   

A lack of oversight or actions by board members which invoke shareholder distrust related to malfeasance or poor supervision, such as operating in private or company interest rather than in shareholder interest; or

 

   

Any legal issues (e.g., civil/criminal) aiming to hold the board responsible for breach of trust in the past or related to currently alleged actions yet to be confirmed (and not only the fiscal year in question), such as price fixing, insider trading, bribery, fraud, and other illegal actions; or

 

   

Other egregious governance issues where shareholders may bring legal action against the company or its directors; or

 

   

Vote on a CASE-BY-CASE basis where a vote against other agenda items are deemed inappropriate.

3. Compensation

Director Compensation

Vote FOR proposals to award cash fees to non-executive directors unless the amounts are excessive relative to other companies in the country or industry.

Vote non-executive director compensation proposals that include both cash and share-based components on a CASE-BY-CASE basis.

Vote proposals that bundle compensation for both non-executive and executive directors into a single resolution on a CASE-BY-CASE basis.

Vote AGAINST proposals to introduce retirement benefits for non-executive directors.

Compensation Plans

Vote compensation plans on a CASE-BY-CASE basis.

 

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Director, Officer, and Auditor Indemnification and Liability Provisions

Vote proposals seeking indemnification and liability protection for directors and officers on a CASE-BY-CASE basis.

Vote AGAINST proposals to indemnify auditors.

4. Board Structure

Vote AGAINST the introduction of classified boards and mandatory retirement ages for directors.

Vote AGAINST proposals to alter board structure or size in the context of a fight for control of the company or the board.

Chairman CEO combined role (for applicable markets)

GSAM will generally recommend a vote AGAINST shareholder proposals requiring that the chairman’s position be filled by an independent director, if the company satisfies 3 of the 4 following criteria:

 

   

Two-thirds independent board, or majority in countries where employee representation is common practice;

 

   

A designated, or a rotating, lead director, elected by and from the independent board members with clearly delineated and comprehensive duties;

 

   

Fully independent key committees; and/or

 

   

Established, publicly disclosed, governance guidelines and director biographies/profiles.

5. Capital Structure

Share Issuance Requests

General Issuances:

Vote FOR issuance requests with preemptive rights to a maximum of 100% over currently issued capital.

Vote FOR issuance requests without preemptive rights to a maximum of 20% of currently issued capital.

Specific Issuances:

Vote on a CASE-BY-CASE basis on all requests, with or without preemptive rights.

Increases in Authorized Capital

Vote FOR non-specific proposals to increase authorized capital up to 100% over the current authorization unless the increase would leave the company with less than 30% of its new authorization outstanding.

Vote FOR specific proposals to increase authorized capital to any amount, unless:

 

   

The specific purpose of the increase (such as a share-based acquisition or merger) does not meet guidelines for the purpose being proposed; or

 

   

The increase would leave the company with less than 30% of its new authorization outstanding after adjusting for all proposed issuances.

Vote AGAINST proposals to adopt unlimited capital authorizations.

Reduction of Capital

Vote FOR proposals to reduce capital for routine accounting purposes unless the terms are unfavorable to shareholders.

Vote proposals to reduce capital in connection with corporate restructuring on a CASE-BY-CASE basis.

Capital Structures

Vote FOR resolutions that seek to maintain or convert to a one-share, one-vote capital structure.

Vote AGAINST requests for the creation or continuation of dual-class capital structures or the creation of new or additional super voting shares.

Preferred Stock

Vote FOR the creation of a new class of preferred stock or for issuances of preferred stock up to 50% of issued capital unless the terms of the preferred stock would adversely affect the rights of existing shareholders.

Vote FOR the creation/issuance of convertible preferred stock as long as the maximum number of common shares that could be issued upon conversion meets guidelines on equity issuance requests.

 

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Vote AGAINST the creation of a new class of preference shares that would carry superior voting rights to the common shares.

Vote AGAINST the creation of blank check preferred stock unless the board clearly states that the authorization will not be used to thwart a takeover bid.

Vote proposals to increase blank check preferred authorizations on a CASE-BY-CASE basis.

Debt Issuance Requests

Vote non-convertible debt issuance requests on a CASE-BY-CASE basis, with or without preemptive rights.

Vote FOR the creation/issuance of convertible debt instruments as long as the maximum number of common shares that could be issued upon conversion meets guidelines on equity issuance requests.

Vote FOR proposals to restructure existing debt arrangements unless the terms of the restructuring would adversely affect the rights of shareholders.

Increase in Borrowing Powers

Vote proposals to approve increases in a company’s borrowing powers on a CASE-BY-CASE basis.

Share Repurchase Plans

GSAM will generally recommend FOR share repurchase programs taking into account whether:

 

   

The share repurchase program can be used as a takeover defense;

 

   

There is clear evidence of historical abuse;

 

   

There is no safeguard in the share repurchase program against selective buybacks;

 

   

Pricing provisions and safeguards in the share repurchase program are deemed to be unreasonable in light of market practice.

Reissuance of Repurchased Shares

Vote FOR requests to reissue any repurchased shares unless there is clear evidence of abuse of this authority in the past.

Capitalization of Reserves for Bonus Issues/Increase in Par Value

Vote FOR requests to capitalize reserves for bonus issues of shares or to increase par value.

6. Mergers and Corporate Restructurings and Other

Reorganizations/Restructurings

Vote reorganizations and restructurings on a CASE-BY-CASE basis.

Mergers and Acquisitions

Vote CASE-BY-CASE on mergers and acquisitions taking into account the following based on publicly available information:

 

   

Valuation;

 

   

Market reaction;

 

   

Strategic rationale;

 

   

Management’s track record of successful integration of historical acquisitions;

 

   

Presence of conflicts of interest; and

 

   

Governance profile of the combined company.

Antitakeover Mechanisms

Generally vote AGAINST all antitakeover proposals, unless they are structured in such a way that they give shareholders the ultimate decision on any proposal or offer.

Reincorporation Proposals

Vote reincorporation proposals on a CASE-BY-CASE basis.

Related-Party Transactions

Vote related-party transactions on a CASE-BY-CASE basis, considering factors including, but not limited to, the following:

 

   

The parties on either side of the transaction;

 

   

The nature of the asset to be transferred/service to be provided;

 

   

The pricing of the transaction (and any associated professional valuation);

 

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The views of independent directors (where provided);

 

   

The views of an independent financial adviser (where appointed);

 

   

Whether any entities party to the transaction (including advisers) is conflicted; and

 

   

The stated rationale for the transaction, including discussions of timing.

Shareholder Proposals

Vote all shareholder proposals on a CASE-BY-CASE basis.

Vote FOR proposals that would improve the company’s corporate governance or business profile at a reasonable cost.

Vote AGAINST proposals that limit the company’s business activities or capabilities or result in significant costs being incurred with little or no benefit.

7. Environmental, Social, Governance (ESG) Issues

Please refer to page 9-B for our current approach to these important topics.

 

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Categories

SEC Filings