The Fund's investment objective is to provide a high level of after-tax total return with an emphasis on current distributions paid to shareholders.
Under normal market conditions, the Fund invests at least 80% of its managed assets in MLP entities and invests at least 65% of its managed assets in equity securities of MLP entities. It is anticipated that a substantial portion of the MLP entities in which the Fund will invest will be engaged primarily in the energy, natural resources and real estate sectors. If this expectation is not realized, the Fund will have a larger corporate income tax expense than expected, which will result in less cash available to distribute to shareholders. While the Fund will generally seek to maximize the portion of the Fund’s distributions to Common Shareholders that will consist of tax-deferred return of capital, no assurance can be given in this regard. The Fund may also invest in the common stock of large-capitalization companies, including companies engaged primarily in the aforementioned sectors.
To seek to generate current income and gains, the Fund may employ an option strategy of writing (selling) covered call options on common stocks held in the Fund’s portfolio. The Fund may pursue this option strategy to a greater extent during the invest-up period of the Fund. The Fund may invest up to 40% of its managed assets in unregistered or otherwise restricted securities issued by public and non-public companies, including up to 20% of its managed assets in security issued by non-public companies. The Fund may also invest up to 25% of its managed assets in debt securities of MLP entities and non-MLP entity issuers, including securities rated below investment-grade.
The Fund anticipates that a substantial portion of the MLP entities in which the Fund invests will be engaged in the energy sector. As a result, the Fund will be more susceptible to adverse global and domestic economic or regulatory occurrences affecting the energy sector and additional risks including: commodity price volatility; the risk of supply and demand variances; interest-rate risk; catastrophic event risk; and the possibility of resource depletion. An additional risk to consider is that energy sector MLP entities owned by the Fund may depend on their ability to make acquisitions that increase adjusted operating surplus per unit in order to enhance distributions to unit holders.
The Fund’s concentration in the natural resources sector makes the Fund more susceptible to risks inherent in that sector including commodity price volatility, exchange rates, import controls, competition, environmental regulation and liability, resource depletion and the impact of inflation. The Fund’s concentration in the real estate sector makes the Fund more susceptible to risks inherent in that sector such as the impact of economic, legal, cultural, environmental or technological developments on real estate valuations and vacancies.
Investing in unregistered or restricted securities entails various risks. Such securities are often more difficult to evaluate and the sale of such securities often requires more time and results in higher selling expenses than does the sale of more liquid exchange-listed securities. Restrictions on the resale of such securities may result in an event where a considerable period of time may elapse between a decision to liquidate a security and the time when the Fund would be permitted to sell, during which time the Fund would bear additional market risks. The Fund’s potential investment in securities of below investment-grade quality involves special risks in addition to the risks associated with an investment in investment-grade securities. Lower-grade securities typically entail greater price volatility and may be less liquid than higher-rated securities. Lower-grade securities are commonly referred to as “junk bonds” because of their predominantly speculative characteristics with respect to the issuer’s capacity to pay interest and repay principal. These securities may also be more susceptible to adverse economic and competitive industry conditions than higher-rated securities.
For periodic shareholder reports and recent fund-specific filings, please visit the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) website via the following: http://www.sec.gov/cgi-bin/browse-edgar?action=getcompany&CIK=0001305197
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What are MLPs?
MLPs are a form of a publicly traded partnership. Although some units are traded on public exchanges some are nonpublic securities.
MLPs generally must distribute to unit holders a majority of their distributable cash flow on an annual basis.
MLPs must receive 90% of their income from qualified sources. Most MLPs are in the energy, timber or real estate business.
What is the difference between a limited partnership and an MLP?
A master limited partnership is a limited partnership that is publicly traded.
Does the Fund eliminate any of the complicated tax reporting generally associated with MLPs?
The Fund's tax information is provided on one 1099-DIV with single state tax reporting(versus individual MLPs which may require multiple K-1s and multiple state tax reporting.)
If K-1s generally aren’t sent out to holders of individual MLPs until March, how is the Fund able to disseminate that information to be reported on a Form 1099-DIV in a timely manner?
The Fund chose a fiscal year end of November 30. Taking this into consideration, a November 30 year end gives us the ability to distribute the Form 1099-Div in a timely manner.
How much of the portfolio can be invested in foreign securities?
The Fund may invest up to 25% of its assets in U.S. dollar-denominated foreign securities.
What is the frequency of the distributions?
The Fund will declare and pay its distributions on a quarterly basis.
Describe the differences between closed-end and open-end funds?
An open-end fund may be purchased or sold at NAV. An open-end fund will issue new shares when an investor wants to purchases shares in the fund and will sell assets to redeem shares when an investor wants to sell shares. When selling an open-end fund the price the seller receives is established at the close of the market when the NAV is calculated. Unlike the open-end fund, a closed-end fund has a limited number of shares outstanding and trades on an exchange at the market price based on supply and demand. An investor may purchase or sell shares at market price while the exchange is open. The common shares may trade at a discount or premium to the NAV.
What does the "Ex-Distribution" date refer to?
Every quarter the Fund pays distributions and those investors who purchase the Fund before the ex-distribution date will receive the next distribution. Investors who purchase on or after the ex-distribution date will not receive the next distribution. The value of the distribution is subtracted from the Fund's NAV on the ex-distribution date each quarter. So when the NAV is reported with an "ex-div" behind it, this means that the amount of the distribution has already been taken out of the NAV.
What is the DRIP and how does it work?
DRIP is the Distribution Reinvestment Plan. The number of shares of Common Stock distributed to participants in the Plan in lieu of a cash distribution is determined in the following manner. Whenever the market price per share of the Fund’s Common Stock is equal to or exceeds the net asset value per share on the valuation date, participants in the Plan will be issued new shares valued at the higher of net asset value or 95% of the then-current market value. Otherwise, the Administrator will buy shares of the Common Stock in the open market, on the NYSE or elsewhere.
Who is the auditor?
The auditor is Ernst & Young.
The Fund’s prospectus offers a more thorough discussion of the risks and considerations associated with an investment in the Fund. Such risks and considerations include, but are not limited to: Investment Risk, MLP Risk (specifically, there are tax risks associated with an investment in MLP units), Energy and Natural Resources Risk, Options Risk, Unregistered or Restricted Securities Risk, Lower-Grade Securities Risk, Financial Leverage, Affiliated Party Risk, Equity Securities Risk, Small Capitalization Risk, Cash Flow Risk, Liquidity Risk, Valuation Risk, Interest Rate Risk, Portfolio Turnover Risk, Foreign Securities, Royalty Trusts, Non-Diversified Status, Concentration Risk and Derivatives Risk. The Fund will be treated as a regular corporation, or “C” corporation, for U.S. federal income tax purposes. Accordingly, the Fund generally will be subject to U.S. federal income tax on its taxable income at the graduated rates applicable to corporations (currently at a maximum rate of 35%) as well as state income taxes, where applicable. However, it is anticipated that, due to the nature of MLP distributions, the majority of income received by the Fund will be classified as a nontaxable return of capital for tax purposes. Because of the Fund’s concentration in MLP investments, the Fund is not eligible to elect to be treated as a regulated investment company under the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the “Code”).
The FAMCO MLP team is dedicated to managing Master Limited Partnerships (MLPs) and energy infrastructure strategies for open and closed-end mutual funds, public and corporate pension plans, endowments and foundations and private wealth individuals. FAMCO MLP’s core philosophy is that investment decisions should always be guided by a disciplined, risk-aware strategy that seeks to add value in all market environments. This philosophy has served the FAMCO MLP team well as it has navigated through MLP cycles since 1995. FAMCO MLP is a division of Advisory Research, Inc. (“ARI”), a wholly owned subsidiary of Piper Jaffray Companies (“PJC”). In 2012, the FAMCO MLP team and its business was transferred from Fiduciary Asset Management Inc. to its affiliated investment adviser, Advisory Research, Inc.
FAMCO MLP Investment Team
James J. Cunnane Jr., CFA | Managing Director, Chief Investment Officer
Mr. Cunnane is the Managing Director and Chief Investment Officer of FAMCO MLP. He oversees the firm’s MLP and energy infrastructure product lines and chairs the Risk Management Committee. He joined the FAMCO MLP team in 1996 and currently serves as a portfolio manager for three publicly traded closed-end mutual funds: the Fiduciary/Claymore MLP Opportunity Fund, the MLP & Strategic Equity Fund, Inc. and the Nuveen Energy MLP Total Return Fund. He also serves as a portfolio manager for the FAMCO MLP & Energy Income Fund, an open-end mutual fund, as well as a privately offered open-end mutual fund. Mr. Cunnane holds a B.S. in finance from Indiana University and is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) charterholder. He serves on the finance council and investment committee of the Archdiocese of St. Louis and on the Board of Directors of St. Patrick’s Center.
Quinn T. Kiley | Managing Director, Senior Portfolio Manager
Mr. Kiley is the Managing Director and Senior Portfolio Manager of FAMCO MLP and his responsibilities include portfolio management of various energy infrastructure assets and oversight of the energy infrastructure research process. He joined the FAMCO MLP team in 2005. Mr. Kiley serves as a portfolio manager for three publicly traded closed-end mutual funds: the Fiduciary/Claymore MLP Opportunity Fund, the MLP & Strategic Equity Fund, Inc. and the Nuveen Energy MLP Total Return Fund. He also serves as a portfolio manager for the FAMCO MLP & Energy Income Fund, an open-end mutual fund, as well as a privately offered open-end mutual fund. Prior to joining the FAMCO MLP team, Mr. Kiley served as Vice President of Corporate & Investment Banking at Banc of America Securities in New York. He was responsible for executing strategic advisory and financing transactions for clients in the Energy & Power sectors. Mr. Kiley holds a B.S. with Honors in Geology from Washington & Lee University, a M.S. in Geology from the University of Montana, a Juris Doctorate from Indiana University School of Law, and a M.B.A. from the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University. Mr. Kiley has been admitted to the New York State Bar.
William N. Adams, CFA | SeniorResearch Analyst
Mr. Adams is responsible for performing quantitative and qualitative research and analysis for Master Limited Partnership (MLP) portfolios. Prior to joining the FAMCO MLP team in 2004, Mr. Adams was a vice president in the Research Department at Banc of America Capital Management, specializing in the integrated oils, oil field services, oil and natural gas exploration, and refining and marketing industries. His previous coverage includes utilities, leisure, transportation, paper and forest products, and building industries. Mr. Adams received his B.S.B.A. and M.B.A. with a focus in finance from Washington University in St. Louis. Mr. Adams is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) charterholder and member of the St. Louis Society of Financial Analysts.
Gregory P. Westrich | Research Analyst
Mr. Westrich is responsible for performing quantitative and qualitative research and analysis for Master Limited Partnership (MLP) portfolios. He joined the FAMCO MLP team in September of 2008. Mr. Westrich served as an investment banking analyst in the Energy & Power group at A.G. Edwards & Sons, Inc. and Wachovia Capital Markets, LLC, focusing on equity capital markets transactions for master limited partnerships and exploration & production companies. In May 2006, he earned his B.S.B.A. with concentrations in Economics, Finance and Real Estate from the Robert J. Trulaske, Sr. College of Business at the University of Missouri.
Farah Alam | Research Analyst
Ms. Alam is responsible for performing quantitative and qualitative research and analysis for Master Limited Partnership (MLP) portfolios. Prior to joining the FAMCO MLP team in 2007, Ms. Alam was employed as an Associate with Chescor Capital FZ LLC – an international investment banking firm – in Dubai, UAE where she audited and developed financial models and conducted valuation for equity and debt raising projects in the infrastructure and IT industries in the Middle East. She also previously worked for three years as Manager – Research & Accounts with Chescor Capital Consultancy Services in Delhi, India with responsibilities in performing financial research, writing analytical reports and analyzing industry trends in diverse sectors such as Oil and Gas, Insurance, Offsets. In May 2007, she earned her M.B.A with a concentration in Finance from the Olin School of Business at Washington University in St. Louis. Ms. Alam holds a B.S. in Chemistry and M.S. in Chemistry from J.M.I. University.
FMO Investment Manager
8235 Forsyth Boulevard, Suite 700
St. Louis MO, 63105
RISKS AND OTHER CONSIDERATIONS
Not a Complete Investment Program. The Fund is intended for investors seeking a high level of after-tax total return, with an emphasis on current distributions paid to shareholders, over the long term. The Fund is not meant to provide a vehicle for those who wish to play short- term swings in the stock market. An investment in the Common Shares of the Fund should not be considered a complete investment program. Each Common Shareholder should take into account the Fund's investment objective as well as the Common Shareholder's other investments when considering an investment in the Fund.
Investment and Market Risk. An investment in the Fund is subject to investment risk, including the possible loss of the entire principal amount that you invest. An investment in the Common Shares of the Fund represents an indirect investment in the securities owned by the Fund. The value of those securities may fluctuate, sometimes rapidly and unpredictably. The value of the securities owned by the Fund will affect the value of the Common Shares. At any point in time, your Common Shares may be worth less than your original investment, including the reinvestment of Fund dividends and distributions.
Risks of Investing in MLP Units. An investment in MLP units involves risks that differ from a similar investment in equity securities, such as common stock, of a corporation. Holders of MLP units have the rights typically afforded to limited partners in a limited partnership. As compared to common shareholders of a corporation, holders of MLP units have more limited control and limited rights to vote on matters affecting the partnership. There are certain tax risks associated with an investment in MLP units. Additionally, conflicts of interest may exist between common unit holders, subordinated unit holders and the general partner of an MLP; for example a conflict may arise as a result of incentive distribution payments.
Tax Risks. Much of the benefit the Fund derives from its investment in equity securities of MLPs is a result of MLPs generally being treated as partnerships for U.S. federal income tax purposes. Partnerships do not pay U.S. federal income tax at the partnership level. Rather, each partner of a partnership, in computing its U.S. federal income tax liability, will include its allocable share of the partnership's income,gains, losses, deductions and expenses. A change in current tax law, or a change in the business of a given MLP, could result in an MLP being treated as a corporation for U.S. federal income tax purposes, which would result in such MLP being required to pay U.S. federal income tax on its taxable income. The classification of an MLP as a corporation for U.S. federal income tax purposes would also have the effect of reducing the amount of cash available for distribution by the MLP and causing such distributions received by the Fund to be taxed as dividend income to the extent of the MLP's current or accumulated earnings and profits (thus accelerating the recognition of taxable income). Thus, if any of the MLPs owned by the Fund were treated as corporations for U.S. federal income tax purposes, the after-tax return to the Fund with respect to its investment in such MLPs would be materially reduced, which could cause a substantial decline in the value of the Common Shares.
If the Fund invests in the equity securities of an MLP, the Fund will be a partner in such MLP. Accordingly, the Fund will be required to include in its taxable income the Fund's allocable share of the income, gains, losses, deductions and expenses recognized by each such MLP, regardless of whether the MLP distributes cash to the Fund. Historically, MLPs have been able to offset a significant portion of their income with tax deductions. The portion, if any, of a distribution received by the Fund from an MLP that exceeds the Fund's allocable share of the MLP's taxable income is essentially treated as return of capital. However, any such return of capital will decrease the Fund's adjusted basis in the equity securities of the MLP, which will result in an increase in the amount of gain (or decrease in the amount of loss) that will be recognized by the Fund for tax purposes on the sale of any such equity securities. In addition, the Fund will incur a current income tax liability on its allocable share of the portion of the MLP's income that is not offset by the MLP's tax deductions. The percentage of an MLP's income that is offset by the MLP's tax deductions will fluctuate over time. For example, new acquisitions by MLPs generate accelerated depreciation and other tax deductions, and therefore a decline in acquisition activity by the MLPs owned by the Fund could increase the Fund's current tax liability. A decline in the percentage of the MLPs' income that is offset by tax deductions or an increase in the Fund's portfolio turnover could increase the Fund's tax liability and reduce the portion of the distributions paid by the Fund that is treated as return of capital and/or capital gain, as the case may be, and increase the portion treated as taxable dividend income. This generally would result in lower after-tax distributions to shareholders.
Changes in tax laws or regulations, or future interpretations of such laws or regulations, could adversely affect the Fund or the MLP entities in which the Fund invests. In addition, the favorable U.S. federal tax treatment of certain qualified dividends is set to expire for taxable years beginning on or after January 1, 2013, unless further Congressional action is taken. If no action is taken, dividends paid by the Fund to certain non-corporate U.S. shareholders (including individuals) will be fully taxable at ordinary income rates. Long-term capital gains rates for certain non-corporate U.S. Shareholders (including individuals) are scheduled to increase to 20% for taxable years beginning after December 31, 2012.
Deferred Tax Risk. As a limited partner in the MLPs, the Fund includes its allocable share of the MLP's taxable income in computing its own taxable income. Because the Fund is treated as a regular corporation, or "C" corporation, for U.S. federal income tax purposes, the Fund will incur tax expenses. In calculating the Fund's net asset value, the Fund will account for its deferred tax liability and/or asset.
The Fund will accrue a deferred income tax liability, at an assumed federal, state and local income tax rate, for its future tax liability associated with the capital appreciation of its investments and the distributions received by the Fund on equity securities of MLPs considered to be return of capital. Any deferred tax liability will reduce the Fund's net asset value. Upon the sale of an equity security in an MLP, the Fund generally will be liable for any previously deferred taxes. No assurance can be given that such taxes will not exceed the Fund's deferred tax assumptions for purposes of computing the Fund's net asset value per share, which would result in an immediate reduction of the Fund's net asset value per share.
The Fund will accrue a deferred tax asset which reflects an estimate of the Fund's future tax benefit associated with realized and unrealized net operating losses and capital losses. Any deferred tax asset will increase the Fund's net asset value. To the extent the Fund has a deferred tax asset, consideration is given as to whether or not a valuation allowance is required, which would offset the value of some or all of the deferred tax asset. The need to establish a valuation allowance for a deferred tax asset is assessed periodically by the Fund based on the criterion established by the Financial Accounting Standards Board, Accounting Standards Codification 740 (ASC 740) that it is more likely than not that some portion or all of the deferred tax asset will not be realized. In the assessment for a valuation allowance, consideration is given to all positive and negative evidence related to the realization of the deferred tax asset. This assessment considers, among other matters, the nature, frequency and severity of current and cumulative losses, forecasts of future profitability (which are highly dependent on future MLP cash distributions), the duration of statutory carryforward periods and the associated risk that operating loss carryforwards may expire unused. The Fund's deferred tax liability and/or asset is estimated using estimates of effective tax rates expected to apply to taxable income in the years such taxes are realized. For purposes of estimating the Fund's deferred tax liability and/or asset for financial statement reporting and determining its net asset value, the Fund will be required to rely, to some extent, on information provided by the MLPs in which it invests. Such information may not be received in a timely manner, with the result that the Fund's estimates regarding its deferred tax liability and/or asset could vary dramatically from the Fund's actual tax liability and, as a result, the determination of the Fund's actual tax liability may have a material impact on the Fund's net asset value. From time to time, the Fund may modify its estimates or assumptions regarding its deferred tax liability and/or asset as new information becomes available. Modifications of such estimates or assumptions or changes in applicable tax law could result in increases or decreases in the Fund's net asset value per share, which could be material.
Limitations on Use of Net Operating Losses. In the event that the Fund experiences an "ownership change" for purposes of Section 382 of the Code, which generally is any change in ownership of more than 50% of the Fund's common stock over a three-year period, the Fund's ability to use net operating loss and capital loss carryovers to offset future taxable income could be substantially limited. Although the Fund does not expect that the offering of Common Shares pursuant to the Fund's effective registration statement should cause an "ownership change" for purposes of Section 382 of the Code, it is possible that future issuances or sales of Common Shares or other securities or certain other direct or indirect changes in ownership when combined with this and prior issuances may result in an ownership change.
Affiliated Party Risk. Certain MLPs in which the Fund may invest depend upon their parent or sponsor entities for the majority of their revenues. Were their parent or sponsor entities to fail to make such payments or satisfy their obligations, the revenues and cash flows of such MLPs and ability of such MLPs to make distributions to unit holders, such as the Fund, would be adversely affected.
Equity Securities Risk. A substantial percentage of the Fund's assets will be invested in equity securities, including MLP common units, MLP subordinated units, MLP preferred units, equity securities of MLP Affiliates, including I-Shares, and common stocks of other issuers. Equity risk is the risk that MLP units or other equity securities held by the Fund will fall due to general market or economic conditions, perceptions regarding the industries in which the issuers of securities held by the Fund participate, changes in interest rates, and the particular circumstances and performance of particular companies whose securities the Fund holds. The price of an equity security of an issuer may be particularly sensitive to general movements in the stock market; or a drop in the stock market may depress the price of most or all of the equity securities held by the Fund. In addition, MLP units or other equity securities held by the Fund may decline in price if the issuer fails to make anticipated distributions or dividend payments because, among other reasons, the issuer experiences a decline in its financial condition.
MLP subordinated units typically are convertible to MLP common units at a one-toone ratio. The price of MLP subordinated units is typically tied to the price of the corresponding MLP common unit, less a discount. The size of the discount depends upon a variety of factors, including the likelihood of conversion, the length of time remaining until conversion and the size of the block of subordinated units being purchased or sold.
The Fund may invest in equity securities issued by MLP Affiliates, including general partners of MLPs. Such issuers may be organized and/or taxed as corporations and therefore may not offer the advantageous tax characteristics of MLP units. Investments in the MLP Affiliates would be expected by the Sub-Adviser to provide economic exposure to the MLP asset class; however, such investments may not exhibit precise price correlation to any particular MLP or the MLP asset class generally.
I-Shares represent an indirect investment in MLP I-units. Prices and volatilities of IShares tend to correlate to the price of common units, although the price correlation is not precise. I-Shares differ from MLP common units primarily in that instead of receiving cash distributions, holders of I-Shares will receive distributions of additional I-Shares, in an amount equal to the cash distributions received by common unit holders. I-Shares have limited voting rights. Holders of I-Shares are subject to the same risks as holders of MLP common units.
Concentration Risk. Because the Fund is focused in MLP entities in the energy, natural resources and real estate sectors of the economy, the Fund may be more susceptible to risks associated with such sectors. The Fund will concentrate its investments in the industry or group of industries that make up the energy sector. A downturn in the energy sector could have a larger impact on the Fund than on an investment company that does not concentrate in such sector. At times, the performance of securities of companies in the energy sector may lag the performance of other sectors or the broader market as a whole.
Energy Sector Risks. Many MLP entities operate within the energy sector. Therefore, the Fund will concentrate its investments in the industry or group of industries that make up the energy sector. As a result, the Fund will be more susceptible to adverse economic or regulatory occurrences affecting the energy sector. There are several risks associated with investments in MLP entities and other companies operating in the energy sector, including the following:
Commodity Price Risk. MLP entities and other companies operating in the energy sector may be affected by fluctuations in the prices of energy commodities, including, for example, natural gas, natural gas liquids, crude oil and coal, in the short- and longterm. Fluctuations in energy commodity prices may be influenced by changes in general economic conditions or political circumstances (especially of key energy producing and consuming countries); market conditions; weather patterns; domestic production levels; volume of imports; energy conservation; domestic and foreign governmental regulation; international politics; policies of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries ("OPEC"); taxation; tariffs; and the availability and costs of local, intrastate and interstate transportation methods. Companies engaged in crude oil and natural gas exploration, development or production, natural gas gathering and processing, crude oil refining and transportation and coal mining or sales may be directly affected by their respective natural resources commodity prices. The volatility of commodity prices may also indirectly affect certain companies engaged in the transportation, processing, storage or distribution of such commodities. Some companies that own the underlying commodities may be unable to effectively mitigate or manage direct margin exposureto commodity price levels. The energy sector as a whole may also be impacted by the perception that the performance of energy sector companies is directly linked to commodity prices.
Supply and Demand Risk. MLP entities and other companies operating in the energy sector may be impacted by the levels of supply and demand for energy commodities. MLP entities and other companies operating in the energy sector could be adversely affected by reductions in the supply of or demand for energy commodities. The volume of production of energy commodities and the volume of energy commodities available for transportation, storage, processing or distribution could be affected by a variety of factors, including depletion of resources; depressed commodity prices; catastrophic events; labor relations; increased environmental or other governmental regulation; equipment malfunctions and maintenance difficulties; import volumes; international politics, policies of OPEC; and increased competition from alternative energy sources. Alternatively, a decline in demand for energy commodities could result from factors such as adverse economic conditions (especially in key energy-consuming countries); increased taxation; increased environmental or other governmental regulation; increased fuel economy; increased energy conservation or use of alternative energy sources; legislation intended to promote the use of alternative energy sources; or increased commodity prices.
Depletion Risk. MLP entities and other energy companies engaged in the exploration, development, management or production of energy commodities face the risk that commodity reserves are depleted over time. Such companies seek to increase their reserves through expansion of their current businesses, acquisitions, further development of their existing sources of energy commodities, exploration of new sources of energy commodities or by entering into long-term contracts for additional reserves; however, there are risks associated with each of these potential strategies. If such companies fail to acquire additional reserves in a cost-effective manner and at a rate at least equal to the rate at which their existing reserves decline, their financial performance may suffer. Additionally, failure to replenish reserves could reduce the amount and affect the tax characterization of the distributions paid by such companies.
Regulatory Risk. The energy sector is highly regulated. MLP entities and other companies operating in the energy sector are subject to significant regulation of nearly every aspect of their operations by federal, state and local governmental agencies. Examples of governmental regulations which impact MLP entities and other companies operating in the energy sector include regulation of the construction, maintenance and operation of facilities, environmental regulation, safety regulation, labor regulation, trade regulation and the regulation of the prices charged for products and services. Compliance with these regulations is enforced by numerous governmental agencies and authorities through administrative, civil and criminal penalties. Stricter laws or regulations or stricter enforcement policies with respect to existing regulations would likely increase the costs of regulatory compliance and could have an adverse effect on the financial performance of MLP entities and other companies operating in the energy sector. MLP entities may be adversely affected by additional regulatory requirements enacted in response to environmental disasters, which may impose additional costs or limit certain operations by MLPs operating in various sectors.
Environmental Risk. costs and liabilities due to the nature of their businesses and the substances they handle. For example, an accidental release from wells or gathering pipelines could subject
them to substantial liabilities for environmental cleanup and restoration costs, claims made by neighboring landowners and other third parties for personal injury and property damage, and fines or penalties for related violations of environmental laws or
regulations. Moreover, the possibility exists that stricter laws, regulations or
enforcement policies could significantly increase the compliance costs of MLPs, and the cost of any remediation that may become necessary. MLPs may not be able to recover these costs from insurance. Specifically, the operations of wells, gathering systems, pipelines, refineries and other facilities are subject to stringent and complex federal, state and local environmental laws and regulations. These include, for example: (i) the federal Clean Air Act and comparable state laws and regulations that impose obligations related to air emissions, (ii) the federal Clean Water Act and comparable state laws and regulations that impose obligations related to discharges of pollutants into regulated bodies of water, (iii) the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (â€œRCRAâ€) and comparable state laws and regulations that impose
requirements for the handling and disposal of waste from facilities; and (iv) the federal Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act of 1980 (â€œCERCLAâ€), also known as â€œSuperfund,â€ and comparable state laws and regulations that regulate the cleanup of hazardous substances that may have been released at properties currently or previously owned or operated by MLPs or at locations to which they have sent waste for disposal. Failure to comply with these laws and regulations may trigger a variety of administrative, civil and criminal enforcement measures, including the assessment of monetary penalties, the imposition of remedial requirements, and the issuance of orders enjoining future operations. Certain environmental statutes, including RCRA, CERCLA, the federal Oil Pollution Act and analogous state laws and regulations, impose strict, joint and several liability for costs required to clean up and restore sites where hazardous substances have been disposed been adopted or are being discussed both in the United States and worldwide to reduce emissions of "greenhouse gases" such as carbon dioxide, a by-product of burning fossil fuels, and methane, the major constituent of natural gas, which many scientists and policymakers believe contribute to global climate change. These measures and future measures could result in increased costs to certain companies in which the Fund may invest to operate and maintain facilities and administer and manage a greenhouse gas emissions program and may reduce demand for fuels that generate greenhouse gases and that are managed or produced by companies in which the Fund may invest. In the wake of a Supreme Court decision holding that the Environmental Protection Agency ("EPA") has some legal authority to deal with climate change under the Clean Air Act, the EPA and the Department of Transportation jointly wrote regulations to cut gasoline use and control greenhouse gas emissions from cars and trucks. These measures, and other programs addressing greenhouse gas emissions, could reduce demand for energy or raise prices, which may adversely affect the total return of certain of the Fund's investments.
Acquisition Risk. MLP entities owned by the Fund may depend on their ability to make acquisitions that increase adjusted operating surplus per unit in order to increase distributions to unit holders. The ability of such MLP entities to make future acquisitions is dependent on their ability to identify suitable targets, negotiate favorable purchase contracts, obtain acceptable financing and outbid competing potential acquirers. To the extent that MLP entities are unable to make future acquisitions, or such future acquisitions fail to increase the adjusted operating surplus per unit, their growth and ability to make distributions to unit holders will be limited. There are risks inherent in any acquisition, including erroneous assumptions regarding revenues, acquisition expenses, operating expenses, cost savings and synergies; assumption of liabilities; indemnification; customer losses; key employee defections; distraction from other business operations; and unanticipated difficulties in operating or integrating new product areas and geographic regions.
Interest Rate Risk. Rising interest rates could increase the costs of capital thereby increasing operating costs and reducing the ability of MLP entities and other companies operating in the energy sector to carry out acquisitions or expansions in a cost-effective manner. As a result, rising interest rates could negatively affect the financial performance of MLP entities and other companies operating in the energy sector in which the Fund invests. Rising interest rates may also impact the price of the securities of MLP entities and other companies operating in the energy sector as the yields on alternative investments increase.
Weather Risk. Weather plays a role in the seasonality of some MLP Entities' cash flows. MLP Entities in the propane industry, for example, rely on the winter season to generate almost all of their earnings. In an unusually warm winter season, propane MLP Entities experience decreased demand for their product. Although most MLP Entities can reasonably predict seasonal weather demand based on normal weather patterns, extreme weather conditions, such as the hurricanes that severely damaged cities along the Gulf Coast in recent years, demonstrate that no amount of preparation can protect an MLP Entity from the unpredictability of the weather. The damage done by extreme weather also may serve to increase many MLP Entities' insurance premiums.
Catastrophic Event Risk. MLP entities and other companies operating in the energy sector are subject to many dangers inherent in the production, exploration, management, transportation, processing and distribution of natural gas, natural gas liquids, crude oil, refined petroleum and petroleum products and other hydrocarbons. These dangers include leaks, fires, explosions, damage to facilities and equipment resulting from natural disasters, inadvertent damage to facilities and equipment and terrorist acts. Since the September 11th terrorist attacks, the U.S. government has issued warnings that energy assets, specifically U.S. pipeline infrastructure, may be targeted in future terrorist attacks. These dangers give rise to risks of substantial losses as a result of loss or destruction of commodity reserves; damage to or destruction of property, facilities and equipment; pollution and environmental damage; and personal injury or loss of life. Any occurrence of such catastrophic events could bring about a limitation, suspension or discontinuation of the operations of MLP entities and other companies operating in the energy sector. MLP entities and other companies operating in the energy sector may not be fully insured against all risks inherent in their business operations and therefore accidents and catastrophic events could adversely affect such companies' financial conditions and ability to pay distributions to shareholders.
Legislation Risk. There have been proposals in Congress to eliminate certain tax incentives widely used by oil and gas companies and to impose new fees on certain energy producers. The elimination of such tax incentives and imposition of such fees could adversely affect MLP entities and other companies operating in the energy sector in which the Fund invests and/or the energy sector generally.
Industry Specific Risks. MLP entities and energy companies are also subject to risks that are specific to the industry they serve.
Midstream. Midstream MLPs entities and energy companies that provide crude oil, refined product and natural gas services are subject to supply and demand fluctuations in the markets they serve which will be impacted by a wide range of factors including, fluctuating commodity prices, weather, increased conservation or use of alternative fuel sources, increased governmental or environmental regulation, depletion, rising interest rates, declines in domestic or foreign production, accidents or catastrophic events, and economic conditions, among others. Pipeline companies are subject to the demand for natural gas, natural gas liquids, crude oil or refined products in the markets they serve, changes in the availability of products for gathering, transportation, processing or sale due to natural declines in reserves and production in the supply areas serviced by the companies' facilities, sharp decreases in crude oil or natural gas prices that cause producers to curtail production or reduce capital spending for exploration activities, and environmental regulation. Demand for gasoline, which accounts for a substantial portion of refined product transportation, depends on price, prevailing economic conditions in the markets served, and demographic and seasonal factors. Companies that own interstate pipelines that transport natural gas, natural gas liquids, crude oil or refined petroleum products are subject to regulation by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission ("FERC") with respect to the tariff rates they may charge for transportation services. An adverse determination by FERC with respect to the tariff rates of such a company could have a material adverse effect on its business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows of those companies and their ability to pay cash distributions or dividends. In addition, FERC has a tax allowance policy, which permits such companies to include in their cost of service an income tax allowance to the extent that their owners have an actual or potential tax liability on the income generated by them. If FERC's income tax allowance policy were to change in the future to disallow a material portion of the income tax allowance taken by such interstate pipeline companies, it would adversely impact the maximum tariff rates that such companies are permitted to charge for their transportation services, which would in turn adversely affect the results of operations and cash flows of those companies and their ability to pay cash distributions or dividends to their unit holders or shareholders. Gathering and processing companies are subject to natural declines in the production of oil and natural gas fields, which utilize their gathering and processing facilities as a way to market their production, prolonged declines in the price of natural gas or crude oil, which curtails drilling activity and therefore production, and declines in the prices of natural gas liquids and refined petroleum products, which cause lower processing margins. In addition, some gathering and processing contracts subject the gathering or processing company to direct commodities price risk.
Upstream. Exploration, development and production companies are particularly vulnerable to declines in the demand for and prices of crude oil and natural gas. Reductions in prices for crude oil and natural gas can cause a given reservoir to become uneconomic for continued production earlier than it would if prices were higher, resulting in the plugging and abandonment of, and cessation of production from, that reservoir. In addition, lower commodity prices not only reduce revenues but also can result in substantial downward adjustments in reserve estimates. The accuracy of any reserve estimate is a function of the quality of available data, the accuracy of assumptions regarding future commodity prices and future exploration and development costs and engineering and geological interpretations and judgments. Different reserve engineers may make different estimates of reserve quantities and related revenue based on the same data. Actual oil and gas prices, development expenditures and operating expenses will vary from those assumed in reserve estimates, and these variances may be significant. Any significant variance from the assumptions used could result in the actual quantity of reserves and future net cash flow being materially different from those estimated in reserve reports. In addition, results of drilling, testing and production and changes in prices after the date of reserve estimates may result in downward revisions to such estimates. Substantial downward adjustments in reserve estimates could have a material adverse effect on a given exploration and production company's financial position and results of operations. In addition, due to natural declines in reserves and production, exploration and production companies must economically find or acquire and develop additional reserves in order to maintain and grow their revenues and distributions.0
Oil and Gas Production. In addition to other risks described herein, companies involved in the transportation, gathering, processing, exploration, development or production of crude oil, natural gas and/or refined petroleum products are subject to supply and demand fluctuations in the markets they serve which will be impacted by a wide range of factors including, fluctuating commodity prices, weather, increased conservation or use of alternative fuel sources, increased governmental or environmental regulation, depletion, rising interest rates, declines in domestic or foreign production, accidents or catastrophic events and economic conditions, among others. In addition the oil and gas industries may be adversely affected by increased regulations, increased operating costs and reductions in the supply of and/or demand for crude oil, natural gas and refined petroleum products as a result of accidents or catastrophic events and the reactions thereto.
Propane. Propane MLP entities are subject to earnings variability based upon weather conditions in the markets they serve, fluctuating commodity prices, increased use of alternative fuels, increased governmental or environmental regulation, and accidents or catastrophic events, among others.
Coal. MLPs entities and energy companies with coal assets are subject to supply and demand fluctuations in the markets they serve which will be impacted by a wide range of factors including, fluctuating commodity prices, the level of their customers' coal stockpiles, weather, increased conservation or use of alternative fuel sources, increased governmental or environmental regulation, depletion, rising interest rates, declines in domestic or foreign production, mining accidents or catastrophic events, health claims and economic conditions, among others. They are also subject to supply variability based on geological conditions that reduce the productivity of mining operations, the availability of regulatory permits for mining activities and the availability of coal that meets the standards of the Clean Air Act.
Marine Transportation. Marine transportation companies are exposed to the highly cyclical nature of the tanker industry and may be subject to volatile changes in charter rates and vessel values, which may adversely affect the earnings of tanker companies. Fluctuations in charter rates and vessel values result from changes in the supply and demand for tanker capacity and changes in the supply and demand for oil and oil products. Changes in demand for transportation of oil over longer distances and the supply of tankers to carry that oil may materially affect the revenues, profitability and cash flows of tanker companies. The successful operation of vessels in the charter market depends upon, among other things, obtaining profitable spot charters and minimizing time spent waiting for charters and traveling unladen to pick up cargo. The value of tanker vessels may fluctuate and could adversely affect the value of tanker company securities in the Fund's portfolio. Declining tanker values could affect the ability of tanker companies to raise cash by limiting their ability to refinance their vessels, thereby adversely impacting tanker company liquidity. Tanker company vessels are at risk of damage or loss because of events such as mechanical failure, collision, human error, war, terrorism, piracy, cargo loss and bad weather. In addition,changing economic, regulatory and political conditions in some countries, including political and military conflicts, have from time to time resulted in attacks on vessels, mining of waterways, piracy, terrorism, labor strikes, boycotts and government requisitioning of vessels. These sorts of events could interfere with shipping lanes and result in market disruptions and a significant loss of tanker company earnings.
Other Sector Risks. The Fund also may invest in securities of MLP entities in the natural resources sector and the real estate sector, among other sectors, which may subject the Fund to additional risks associated with investments in those sectors.
Natural Resources Sector Risks. The natural resources sector includes companies principally engaged in owning or developing non-energy natural resources (including timber and minerals) and industrial materials, or supplying goods or services to such companies. The Fund's investments in MLP entities and other companies operating in the natural resources sector will be subject to the risk that prices of these securities may fluctuate widely in response to the level and volatility of commodity prices; exchange rates; import controls; domestic and global competition; environmental regulation and liability for environmental damage; mandated expenditures for safety or pollution control; the success of exploration projects; depletion of resources; tax policies; and other governmental regulation. Investments in the natural resources sector can be significantly affected by changes in the supply of or demand for various natural resources. The value of investments in the natural resources sector may be adversely affected by a change in inflation.
Real Estate Sector Risks. The Fund may invest in MLP entities or other companies operating in the real estate sector, which may develop land; own or manage residential, commercial and undeveloped properties; own mortgage securities; and provide financing to owners and developers of multi-family housing or other real estate or building ventures. To the extent that the Fund invests in securities of MLP entities and other companies operating in the real estate sector, the Fund's performance may be linked to the performance of the real estate markets. Property values may fall due to increasing vacancies or declining rents resulting from economic, legal, cultural or technological developments. Changes in interest rates or inflation may adversely affect the value of investments in the real estate sector. Other factors such as catastrophic events, lack of adequate insurance; and environmental issues may contribute to the risks of a real estate investment.
Small Capitalization Risk. The Fund may invest in securities of MLP entities and other issuers that have comparatively smaller capitalizations relative to issuers whose securities are included in major benchmark indices, which present unique investment risks. These companies often have limited product lines, markets, distribution channels or financial resources; and the management of such companies may be dependent upon one or a few key people. The market movements of equity securities issued by MLP entities with smaller capitalizations may be more abrupt or erratic than the market movements of equity securities of larger, more established companies or the stock market in general. Historically, smaller capitalization companies have sometimes gone through extended periods when they did not perform as well as larger companies. In addition, equity securities of smaller capitalization companies generally are less liquid than those of larger companies. This means that the Fund could have greater difficulty selling such securities at the time and price that the Fund would like.
Restricted Securities Risk. The Fund may invest in unregistered or otherwise restricted securities. The term "restricted securities" refers to securities that are unregistered, held by control persons of the issuer or are subject to contractual restrictions on their resale. Restricted securities are often purchased at a discount from the market price of unrestricted securities of the same issuer reflecting the fact that such securities may not be readily marketable without some time delay. Such securities are often more difficult to value and the sale of such securities often requires more time and results in higher brokerage charges or dealer discounts and other selling expenses than does the sale of liquid securities trading on national securities exchanges or in the over-the-counter markets. Contractual restrictions on the resale of securities result from negotiations between the issuer and purchaser of such securities and therefore vary substantially in length and scope. To dispose of a restricted security that the Fund has a contractual right to sell, the Fund may first be required to cause the security to be registered. A considerable period may elapse between a decision to sell the securities and the time when the Fund would be permitted to sell, during which time the Fund would bear market risks.
Risks Associated with an Investment in Initial Public Offerings. Securities purchased in initial public offerings ("IPOs") are often subject to the general risks associated with investments in companies with small market capitalizations, and typically to a heightened degree. Securities issued in IPOs have no trading history, and information about the companies may be available for very limited periods. In addition, the prices of securities sold in an IPO may be highly volatile. At any particular time or from time to time, the Fund may not be able to invest in IPOs, or to invest to the extent desired, because, for example, only a small portion (if any) of the securities being offered in an IPO may be available to the Fund. In addition, under certain market conditions, a relatively small number of companies may issue securities in IPOs. The Fund's investment performance during periods when it is unable to invest significantly or at all in IPOs may be lower than during periods when it is able to do so. IPO securities may be volatile, and the Fund cannot predict whether investments in IPOs will be successful.
Risks Associated with a Private Investment in Public Equity Transactions. Investors in private investment in public equity ("PIPE") transactions purchase securities directly from a publicly traded company in a private placement transaction, typically at a discount to the market price of the company's common stock. Because the sale of the securities is not registered under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the "Securities Act"), the securities are "restricted" and cannot be immediately resold by the investors into the public markets. Until the Fund can sell such securities into the public markets, its holdings will be less liquid and any sales will need to be made pursuant to an exemption under the Securities Act.
Cash Flow Risk. The Fund expects that a substantial portion of the cash flow it receives will be derived from its investments in equity securities of MLP entities. The amount and tax characterization of cash available for distribution by an MLP entity depends upon the amount of cash generated by such entity's operations. Cash available for distribution by MLP entities will vary widely from quarter to quarter and is affected by various factors affecting the entity's operations. In addition to the risks described herein, operating costs, capital expenditures, acquisition costs, construction costs, exploration costs and borrowing costs may reduce the amount of cash that an MLP entity has available for distribution in a given period.
Distribution Risk. The Fund will seek to maximize the portion of the Fund's distributions to Common Shareholders that will consist of return of capital. To the extent that the Fund's cash flow is derived primarily from MLP distributions that consist of return of capital, the Fund's anticipates that a significant portion of the Fund's distributions to Common Shareholders will consist of return of capital. However, to the extent that the Fund's cash flow is derived from distributions of the Fund's share of an MLP's taxable income, or from other amounts that are attributable to taxable income, such as income or gain on the sale of portfolio securities or in connection with derivatives transactions, the portion of the Fund's distributions to Common Shareholders treated as taxable dividend income could be increased. In addition, if the Fund generates current earnings and profits (as determined for U.S. federal income tax purposes) in a particular taxable year, a distribution by the Fund to its shareholders in that year will be wholly or partially taxable even if the Fund has an overall deficit in its accumulated earnings and profits and/or net operating loss or capital loss carryforwards that reduce or eliminate corporate income taxes in that taxable year. There can be no assurance as to what portion of any future distribution will consist of return of capital (as opposed to taxable dividend income). For example, for the taxable year ended November 30, 2011, 74% of the distributions made by the Fund to the holders of Common Shares constituted taxable dividend income and 26% constituted return of capital.
Risks Associated with Options on Securities. There are several risks associated with transactions in options on securities. A decision as to whether, when and how to use options involves the exercise of skill and judgment, and even a well-conceived transaction may be unsuccessful to some degree because of market behavior or unexpected events. As the writer of a covered call option, the Fund forgoes, during the option's life, the opportunity to profit from increases in the market value of the security covering the call option above the sum of the premium and the strike price of the call, but has retained the risk of loss should the price of the underlying security decline. The writer of an option has no control over the time when it may be required to fulfill its obligation as a writer of the option. Once an option writer has received an exercise notice, it cannot effect a closing purchase transaction in order to terminate its obligation under the option and must deliver the underlying security at the exercise price. There can be no assurance that a liquid market will exist when the Fund seeks to close out an option position. If trading were suspended in an option purchased by the Fund, the Fund would not be able to close out the option. If the Fund were unable to close out a covered call option that it had written on a security, it would not be able to sell the underlying security unless the option expired without exercise.
Liquidity Risk. MLP common units and equity securities of MLP Affiliates, including I-Shares, and other issuers often trade on national securities exchanges, including the NYSE, the AMEX and the NASDAQ. However, certain securities, including those of issuers with smaller capitalizations, may trade less frequently. The market movements of such securities with limited trading volumes may be more abrupt or erratic. As a result of the limited liquidity of such securities, the Fund could have greater difficulty selling such securities at the time and price that the Fund would like and may be limited in its ability to make alternative investments.
Valuation Risk. Market prices generally will be unavailable for some of the Fund's investments, including MLP subordinated units, direct ownership of general partner interests and restricted or unregistered securities of certain MLP entities and private companies. The value of such securities will be determined by fair valuations determined by the Board of Trustees or its designee in accordance with procedures governing the valuation of portfolio securities adopted by the Board of Trustees. Proper valuation of such securities may require more reliance on the judgment of the Sub- Adviser than for valuation of securities for which an active trading market exists.\
Interest Rate Risk. Interest rate risk is the risk that fixed income securities, such as preferred and debt securities, and certain equity securities will decline in value because of a rise in market interest rates. When market interest rates rise, the market value of such securities generally will fall. The net asset value and market price of the Common Shares will tend to decline as a result of the Fund's investment in such securities if market interest rates rise.
During periods of declining interest rates, the issuer of a fixed-income security may exercise its option to prepay principal earlier than scheduled, forcing the Fund to reinvest in lower yielding securities. This is known as call or prepayment risk. Preferred and debt securities frequently have call features that allow the issuer to repurchase the security prior to its stated maturity. An issuer may redeem such a security if the issuer can refinance it at a lower cost due to declining interest rates or an improvement in the credit standing of the issuer. During periods of rising interest rates, the average life of certain types of securities may be extended because of a lower likelihood of prepayments. This may lock in a below market interest rate, increase the security's duration and reduce the value of the security. This is known as extension risk.
In typical interest rate environments, prices of fixed income securities with longer maturities generally fluctuate more in response to changes in interest rates than do the prices of fixed income securities with shorter- term maturities. Because the Fund may invest a portion of its assets in fixed-income securities without regard to their maturities, to the extent the Fund invests in fixed income securities with longer maturities, the net asset value and market price of the Common Shares would fluctuate more in response to changes in interest rates than if the Fund were to invest such portion of its assets in shorter-term fixed income securities.
Market interest rates for investment grade fixed income securities in which the Fund may invest are significantly below historical average rates for such securities. Interest rates below historical average rates may result in increased risk that these rates will rise in the future (which would cause the value of the Fund's net assets to decline) and may increase the degree to which asset values may decline in such events.
Lower Grade Securities Risk. The Fund may invest in fixed-income securities rated below investment grade (that is, rated Ba or lower by Moody's; BB or lower by S&P; comparably rated by another statistical rating organization; or, if unrated, as determined by the Sub-Adviser to be of comparable credit quality), which are commonly referred to as "junk bonds." Investment in securities of below-investment grade quality involves substantial risk of loss. Securities of below investment grade quality are predominantly speculative with respect to the issuer's capacity to pay interest and repay principal when due and therefore involve a greater risk of default or decline in market value due to adverse economic and issuer-specific developments. Securities of below investment grade quality display increased price sensitivity to changing interest rates and to a deteriorating economic environment. The market values for debt securities of below-investment grade quality tend to be more volatile and such securities tend to be less liquid than investment grade debt securities.
Portfolio Turnover Risk. The Fund's portfolio turnover rate may vary greatly from year to year. The Fund cannot predict its annual portfolio turnover rate with accuracy; however, under normal market conditions it is not expected to exceed 30%. Portfolio turnover rate will not be considered as a limiting factor in the execution of the Fund's investment decisions. High portfolio turnover may result in the Fund's recognition of gains that will be taxable at the Fund level and may increase the Fund's current and accumulated earnings and profits, which will result in a greater portion of distributions to Common Shareholders being treated as dividends. Additionally, high portfolio turnover results in correspondingly higher brokerage commissions and transaction costs borne by the Fund.
Foreign Securities. Investing in securities of foreign companies (or foreign governments) may involve certain risks not typically associated with investing in domestic companies. The prices of foreign securities may be affected by factors not present with securities traded in the U.S. markets, including, political and economic conditions, less stringent regulation and higher volatility. As a result, many foreign securities may be less liquid and more volatile than U.S. securities. Dividend and interest income may be subject to withholding and other foreign taxes, which may adversely affect the net return on such investments. The Fund's investments in securities of foreign issuers may consist of investments in ADRs. ADRs are certificates evidencing ownership of shares of a foreign issuer that are issued by depositary banks and generally trade on an established market, in the United States or elsewhere. Although ADRs are alternatives to directly purchasing the underlying foreign securities in their national markets and currencies, they continue to be subject to many of the risks associated with investing directly in foreign securities.
Derivatives Risk. In addition to the risks associated with the covered call option option strategy described above, the Fund may participate in certain derivative transactions. Such transactions entail certain execution, market, liquidity, hedging and tax risks. Participation in the options or futures markets involves investment risks and transaction costs to which the Fund would not be subject absent the use of these strategies (other than its covered call option writing strategy and put option writing strategy). If the Sub- Adviser's prediction of movements in the direction of the securities and interest rate markets is inaccurate, the consequences to the Fund may leave the Fund in a worse position than if it had not used such strategies.
Market Discount Risk. The Fund's Common Shares have a limited trading history and have traded both at a premium and at a discount in relation to NAV. The Fund cannot predict whether the Common Shares will trade in the future at a premium or discount to NAV. The Fund's Common Shares have recently traded at a substantial premium to NAV per share, which may not be sustainable. If the Common Shares are trading at a premium to net asset value at the time you purchase Common Shares, the NAV per share of the Common Shares purchased will be less than the purchase price paid. Shares of closed-end investment companies frequently trade at a discount from NAV, but in some cases have traded above NAV. Continued development of alternative vehicles for investment in securities of MLP entities may contribute to reducing or eliminating any premium or may result in the Common Shares trading at a discount. The risk of the Common Shares trading at a discount is a risk separate from the risk of a decline in the Fund's NAV as a result of the Fund's investment activities. The Fund's NAV will be reduced immediately following an offering of the Common Shares due to the costs of such offering, which will be borne entirely by the Fund. The sale of Common Shares by the Fund (or the perception that such sales may occur) may have an adverse effect on prices of Common Shares in the secondary market. An increase in the number of Common Shares available may put downward pressure on the market price for Common Shares. The Fund may, from time to time, seek the consent of holders of Common Shares to permit the issuance and sale by the Fund of Common Shares at a price below the Fund's then current NAV, subject to certain conditions, and such sales of Common Shares at price below NAV, if any, may increase downward pressure on the market price for Common Shares. These sales, if any, also might make it more difficult for the Fund to sell additional Common Shares in the future at a time and price it deems appropriate.
Whether Common Shareholder will realize a gain or loss upon the sale of Common Shares depends upon whether the market value of the Common Shares at the time of sale is above or below the price the Common Shareholder paid, taking into account transaction costs for the Common Shares, and is not directly dependent upon the Fund's NAV. Because the market value of the Common Shares will be determined by factors such as the relative demand for and supply of the shares in the market, general market conditions and other factors outside the Fund's control, the Fund cannot predict whether the Common Shares will trade at, below or above NAV, or at, below or above the public offering price for the Common Shares.
Dilution Risk. The voting power of current Common Shareholders will be diluted to the extent that current Common Shareholders do not purchase Common Shares in any future offerings of Common Shares or do not purchase sufficient Common Shares to maintain their percentage interest. If the Fund is unable to invest the proceeds of such offering as intended, the Fund's per Common Share distribution may decrease and the Fund may not participate in market advances to the same extent as if such proceeds were fully invested as planned. If the Fund sells Common Shares at a price below NAV pursuant to the consent of holders of Common Shares, shareholders will experience a dilution of the aggregate NAV per Common Share because the sale price will be less than the Fund's then-current NAV per Common Share. This dilution will be experienced by all shareholders, irrespective of whether they purchase Common Shares in any such offering. See "Description of Capital Structure—Common Shares— Issuance of Additional Common Shares."
Other Investment Companies Risk. The Fund may invest in securities of other open- or closed-end investment companies, including exchange-traded funds. As a stockholder in an investment company, the Fund would bear its ratable share of that investment company's expenses, and would remain subject to payment of the Fund's investment management fees with respect to the assets so invested. Common Shareholders would therefore be subject to duplicative expenses to the extent the Fund invests in other investment companies. In addition, the securities of other investment companies may also be leveraged and will therefore be subject to the same leverage risks described in this Prospectus.
Royalty Trust Risk. Royalty trusts are, in some respects, similar to certain MLPs and include risks similar to those MLPs, including commodity price volatility risk, cash flow risk and depletion risk.
Financial Leverage Risk. Although the use of Financial Leverage by the Fund may create an opportunity for increased after-tax total return for the Common Shares, it also results in additional risks and can magnify the effect of any losses. If the income and gains earned on securities purchased with Financial Leverage proceeds are greater than the cost of Financial Leverage, the Fund's return will be greater than if Financial Leverage had not been used. Conversely, if the income or gains from the securities purchased with such proceeds does not cover the cost of Financial Leverage, the return to the Fund will be less than if Financial Leverage had not been used.
Financial Leverage involves risks and special considerations for shareholders, including the likelihood of greater volatility of net asset value, market price and dividends on the Common Shares than a comparable portfolio without leverage; the risk that fluctuations in interest rates on borrowings and short-term debt or in the dividend rates on any Financial Leverage that the Fund must pay will reduce the return to the Common Shareholders; and the effect of Financial Leverage in a declining market, which is likely to cause a greater decline in the net asset value of the Common Shares than if the Fund were not leveraged, which may result in a greater decline in the market price of the Common Shares.
It is also possible that the Fund will be required to sell assets, possibly at a loss (or at a gain which could give rise to corporate level tax), in order to redeem or meet payment obligations on any leverage. Such a sale would reduce the Fund's net asset value and also make it difficult for the net asset value to recover. The Fund in its best judgment nevertheless may determine to continue to use Financial Leverage if it expects that the benefits to the Fund's shareholders of maintaining the leveraged position will outweigh the current reduced return.
Because the fees received by the Adviser and Sub-Adviser are based on the Managed Assets of the Fund (including the proceeds of any Financial Leverage), the Adviser and Sub-Adviser have a financial incentive for the Fund to utilize Financial Leverage, which may create a conflict of interest between the Adviser and the Sub-Adviser and the Common Shareholders. There can be no assurance that a leveraging strategy will be successful during any period during which it is employed.
Recent economic and market event have contributed to severe market volatility and caused severe liquidity strains in the credit markets. If dislocations in the credit markets continue, the Fund's leverage costs may increase and there is a risk that the Fund may not be able to renew or replace existing leverage on favorable terms or at all. If the cost of leverage is no longer favorable, or if the Fund is otherwise required to reduce its leverage, the Fund may not be able to maintain distributions on common shares at historical levels and common shareholders will bear any costs associated with selling portfolio securities.
Competition Risk. Since the time of the Fund's initial public offering a number of alternative vehicles for investment in a portfolio of MLPs and their affiliates, including other publicly traded investment companies and private funds, have emerged. In addition, recent tax law changes have increased the ability of regulated investment companies or other institutions to invest in MLPs. These competitive conditions may adversely impact the Fund's ability to meet its investment objective, which in turn could adversely impact its ability to make dividend payments.
Legislation Risk. At any time after the date of this Prospectus, legislation may be enacted that could negatively affect the assets of the Fund or the issuers of such assets. Changing approaches to regulation may have a negative impact on entities in which the Fund invests. There can be no assurance that future legislation, regulation or deregulation will not have a material adverse effect on the Fund or will not impair the ability of the issuers of the assets held in the Fund to achieve their business goals, and hence, for the Fund to achieve its investment objective.
Affiliated Transaction Restrictions. From time to time, the Fund may "control" or may be an "affiliate", each as defined in the 1940 Act, of one or more portfolio companies. In general, under the 1940 Act, the Fund would "control" a portfolio company if it owned 25% or more of its outstanding voting securities and would be an "affiliate" of a portfolio company if it owned 5% or more of its outstanding voting securities. The 1940 Act contains prohibitions and restrictions relating to transactions between investment companies and their affiliates (including the Adviser and Sub-Adviser), principal underwriters and affiliates of those affiliates or underwriters. Under these restrictions, the Fund and any portfolio company that the Fund controls are generally prohibited from knowingly participating in a joint transaction, including coinvestments in a portfolio company, with an affiliated person, including any trustees or officers of the Fund, the Adviser or Sub-Adviser or any entity controlled or advised by any of them. These restrictions also generally prohibit the Fund's affiliates, principal underwriters and affiliates of those affiliates or underwriters from knowingly purchasing from or selling to the Fund or any portfolio company controlled by the Fund certain securities or other property and from lending to and borrowing from the Fund or any portfolio company controlled by the Fund monies or other properties. The Fund and its affiliates may be precluded from co-investing in private placements of securities, including in any portfolio companies controlled by the Fund. The Fund, its affiliates and portfolio companies controlled by the Fund may from time to time engage in certain joint transactions, purchases, sales and loans in reliance upon and in compliance with the conditions of certain positions promulgated by the SEC. There can be no assurance that the Fund would be able to satisfy these conditions with respect to any particular transaction. As a result of these prohibitions, restrictions may be imposed on the size of positions or the type of investments that the Fund could make.
Potential Conflicts of Interest of the Adviser and Sub-Adviser. The Adviser and Sub- Adviser provide a wide array of portfolio management and other asset management services to a mix of clients and may engage in ordinary course activities in which their respective interests or those of their clients may compete or conflict with those of the Fund. For example, the Sub-Adviser may provide investment management services to other funds and accounts that follow investment objectives similar to that of the Fund.
In certain circumstances, and subject to its fiduciary obligations under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940, the Sub-Adviser may have to allocate a limited investment opportunity among its clients, which includeclosed-end funds, open-end funds, other commingled funds and other accounts. The Adviser and Sub-Adviser have adopted policies and procedures designed to address such situations and other potential conflicts of interests.
Delay in Investing the Proceeds of this Offering. Although the Fund currently intends to invest the proceeds from any sale of the Common Shares offered hereby as soon as practicable following the completion of such offering, such investments may be delayed if suitable investments are unavailable at the time. The trading market and volumes for MLP entities and energy company shares may at times be less liquid than the market for other securities. Prior to the time the proceeds of this offering are invested, such proceeds may be invested in cash, cash equivalents or other securities, pending investment in MLP entities or energy company securities. Income received by the Fund from these securities would subject the Fund to corporate tax before any payment of distributions to Common Shareholders. As a result, the return and yield on the Common Shares following any offering pursuant to this Prospectus may be lower than when the Fund is fully invested in accordance with its objective and policies. See "Use of Proceeds."
Non-Diversified Status. The Fund is a non-diversified investment company under the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended (the "1940 Act") and will not elect to be treated as a regulated investment company under the Code. As a result, there are no regulatory requirements under the 1940 Act or the Code that limit the proportion of the Fund's assets that may be invested in securities of a single issue. Accordingly, the Fund may invest a greater portion of its assets in a more limited number of issuers than a diversified fund. There are a limited number of publicly traded MLPs. The Fund will select its investments in MLPs from this small pool of issuers together with securities issued by any newly public MLPs, and will invest in securities of other MLP entities and securities of issuers other than MLP entities, consistent with its investment objective and policies. An investment in the Fund may present greater risk to an investor than an investment in a diversified portfolio because changes in the financial condition or market assessment of a single issuer may cause greater fluctuations in the value of the Fund's Common Shares.
Management Risk. The Fund is subject to management risk because it is an actively managed portfolio. In acting as the Fund's sub-adviser, responsible for management of the Fund's portfolio securities, the Sub-Adviser will apply investment techniques and risk analyses in making investment decisions for the Fund, but there can be no guarantee that these will produce the desired results.
Market Disruption and Geopolitical Risk. Continuing U.S. military operations in Iraq and Afganistan, instability in the Middle East and terrorist attacks in the United States and around the world have contributed to increased market volatility, may have longterm effects on the U.S. and worldwide financial markets and may cause further economic uncertainties or deterioration in the United States and worldwide. The Adviser and Sub-Adviser do not know how long the financial markets will continue to be affected by these events and cannot predict the effects of these or similar events in the future on the U.S. and global economies and securities markets. Global political and economic instability could affect the operations of MLP entities and other companies in the energy and natural resources sectors in unpredictable ways, including through disruptions of natural resources supplies and markets and the resulting volatility in commodity prices. Recent political and military instability in a variety of countries throughout the Middle East and North Africa has heightened these risks.
Recent Market and Economic Developments. Global financial markets have experienced periods of unprecedented turmoil. The debt and equity capital markets in the United States were negatively impacted by significant write-offs in the financial services sector relating to subprime mortgages and the re-pricing of credit risk in the broader market, among other things. These events, along with the deterioration of the housing market, the failure of major financial institutions and the concerns that other financial institutions as well as the global financial system were also experiencing severe economic distress materially and adversely impacted the broader financial and credit markets and reduced the availability of debt and equity capital for the market as a whole and financial firms in particular. These events contributed to severe market volatility and caused severe liquidity strains in the credit markets. Volatile financial markets can expose the Fund to greater market and liquidity risk and potential difficulty in valuing portfolio instruments held by the Fund.
Recently markets have witnessed more stabilized economic activity as expectations for an economic recovery increased. However, risks to a robust resumption of growth persist. However, risks to a robust resumption of growth persist. Several European Union ("EU") countries, including Greece, Ireland, Italy, Spain, and Portugal, have begun to face 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 European Economic and Monetary Union member countries. A return to unfavorable economic conditions or sustained economic slowdown may place downward pressure on oil and natural gas prices and may adversely affect the ability of MLPs to sustain their historical distribution levels, which in turn, may adversely affect the Fund. MLPs that have historically relied heavily on outside capital to fund their growth have been impacted by the contraction in the capital markets. The continued recovery of the MLP sector is dependent on several factors, including the recovery of the financial sector, the general economy and the commodity markets.
The current financial market situation, as well as various social, political, and psychological tensions in the United States and around the world, may continue to contribute to increased market volatility, may have long-term effects on the U.S. and worldwide financial markets; and may cause further economic uncertainties or deterioration in the United States and worldwide. The prolonged continuation or further deterioration of the current U.S. and global economic downturn could adversely impact the Fund's portfolio. Neither the Adviser nor the Sub-Adviser knows how long the financial markets will continue to be affected by these events and cannot predict the effects of these or similar events in the future on the U.S. economy and securities markets in the Fund's portfolio. The Adviser and the Sub-Adviser intend to monitor developments and seek to manage the Fund's portfolio in a manner consistent with achieving the Fund's investment objective, but there can be no assurance that they will be successful in doing so. Given the risks described above, an investment in Common Shares may not be appropriate for all prospective investors. A prospective investor should carefully consider his or her ability to assume these risks before making an investment in the Fund.
Legal and Regulatory Risks; Government Intervention. The instability in the financial markets discussed above has led the U.S. Government to take a number of unprecedented actions designed to support certain financial institutions and segments of the financial markets that have experienced extreme volatility, and in some cases a lack of liquidity. Federal, state, and other governments, their regulatory agencies, or self regulatory organizations may take actions that affect the regulation of the instruments in which the Fund invests, or the issuers of such instruments. Governments or their agencies may also acquire distressed assets from financial institutions and acquire ownership interests in those institutions. The long-term implications of government ownership and disposition of these assets are unclear, and may have positive or negative effects on the liquidity, valuation and performance of the Fund's portfolio holdings.
The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (the "Dodd-Frank Act"), which was signed into law in July 2010, has resulted in significant revisions to the U.S. financial regulatory framework. The Dodd-Frank Act covers a broad range of topics, including, among many others, a reorganization of federal financial regulators; a process designed to ensure financial system stability and the resolution of potentially insolvent financial firms; new rules for derivatives trading; the creation of a consumer financial protection watchdog; the registration and regulation of managers of private funds; the regulation of credit rating agencies; and new federal requirements for residential mortgage loans. The regulation of various types of derivative instruments pursuant to the Dodd-Frank Act may adversely affect MLPs and other issuers in which the Fund invests that utilize derivatives strategies for hedging or other purposes. The ultimate impact of the Dodd-Frank Act, and resulting regulation, is not yet certain and issuers in which the Fund invests may also be affected by the new legislation and regulation in ways that are currently unforeseeable.
In connection with an ongoing review by the SEC and its staff of the regulation of investment companies' use of derivatives, on August 31, 2011, the SEC issued a concept release to seek public comment on a wide range of issues raised by the use of derivatives by investment companies. The SEC noted that it intends to consider the comments to help determine whether regulatory initiatives or guidance are needed to improve the current regulatory regime for investment companies and, if so, the nature of any such initiatives or guidance. While the nature of any such regulations is uncertain at this time, it is possible that such regulations could limit the implementation of the Fund's use of derivatives, which could have an adverse impact on the Fund. Neither the Adviser nor the Sub-Adviser can predict the effects of these regulations on the Fund's portfolio. The Adviser and the Sub-Adviser intend to monitor developments and seek to manage the Fund's portfolio in a manner consistent with achieving the Fund's investment objective, but there can be no assurance that they will be successful in doing so.
On February 9, 2012, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission ("CFTC") adopted amendments to its rules that, once effective, may affect the ability of the Adviser to continue to claim an exclusion from the definition of the term "commodity pool operator" under the Commodity Exchange Act ("CEA") with respect to the Fund. In order to claim the exclusion, the Fund would be limited in its ability to use futures or options on futures or engage in swaps transactions. If the Fund did not continue to claim the exclusion, the Adviser and/or Sub-Adviser would become subject to registration and regulation as a commodity pool operator with respect to the Fund, which would subject the Fund to additional registration and regulatory requirements and increased operating expenses. Certain rules related to these amendments have not yet been finalized or proposed and as a result the impact of the rule changes on the operations of the Fund and the Adviser and Sub-Adviser is not fully known at this time.
Certain lawmakers support an increase in federal revenue as a component of a plan to address the growing federal budget deficit. Also, comprehensive federal tax reform is the subject of political attention. There can be no assurance that any change in federal tax law will not adversely affect MLPs and other issuers in which the Fund invests or the Fund itself.
At any time after the date of this Prospectus, legislation may be enacted that could negatively affect the assets of the Fund. Legislation or regulation may change the way in which the Fund itself is regulated. The Adviser and the Sub-Adviser cannot predict the effects of any new governmental regulation that may be implemented, and there can be no assurance that any new governmental regulation will not adversely affect the Fund's ability to achieve its investment objective.