|Closing Market Price||$8.60|
|52-week Average Premium/Discount||9.56%|
|Current Distribution Rate 1, 2||11.40%|
|Quarterly Distribution Per Share2||$0.24500|
|Common Shares Outstanding||7,088,154|
|52 Week High/Low Market Price||$28.90/$3.53|
|52 Week High/Low NAV||$31.25/$2.20|
|Intraday Trading Information||NYSE|
|Closing Market Price||$8.60|
|Total Managed Assets||$83,017,397|
|52-Week Average Premium/Discount||9.56%|
|Portfolio Manager||Tortoise Capital Advisors, L.L.C.|
|Investment Adviser||Guggenheim Funds Investment Advisors, LLC|
|Expense Ratio (Common Shares)4||3.38%|
|Portfolio Turnover Rate||27%|
|Inception Market Price||$100.00|
|1940 Act Asset Coverage Ratio||551.90%|
|Since Inception (12/22/04)||-8.52%||-7.12%|
Please note, NAV, price and certain other historical information has been modified to reflect a 1-for-5 reverse share split, effective on July 27, 2020.
Effective November 9, 2018 the Fund’s name was changed to Fiduciary/Claymore Energy Infrastructure Fund from Fiduciary/Claymore MLP Opportunity Fund and certain changes were made to the Fund’s non-fundamental investment policies. The Fund is no longer required to invest a specific percentage of its Managed Assets in master limited partnerships (“MLPs”) and MLP affiliates.
Performance data quoted represents past performance, which is no guarantee of future results, and current performance may be lower or higher than the figures shown. Since Inception returns assume a purchase of common shares at each Fund’s initial offering price for market price returns or the Fund’s initial net asset value (NAV) for NAV returns. Returns for periods of less than one year are not annualized. All distributions are assumed to be reinvested either in accordance with the dividend reinvestment plan (DRIP) for market price returns or NAV for NAV returns. Until the DRIP price is available from the Plan Agent, the market price returns reflect the reinvestment at the closing market price on the last business day of the month. Once the DRIP is available around mid-month, the market price returns are updated to reflect reinvestment at the DRIP price. All returns include the deduction of management fees, operating expenses and all other fund expenses, and do not reflect the deduction of brokerage commissions or taxes that investors may pay on distributions or the sale of shares. Please refer to the most recent annual or semi-annual report for additional information.
Distributions are not guaranteed and are subject to change.
1 Latest declared distribution per share annualized and divided by the current share price.
2 Distributions may be paid from sources of income other than ordinary income, such as short term capital gains, long term capital gains or return of capital. If a distribution consists of something other than ordinary income, a 19(a) notice detailing the anticipated source(s) of the distribution will be made available. The 19(a) notice will be posted to the Fund’s website and to the Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation so that brokers can distribute such notices to Shareholders of the Fund. Section 19(a) notices are provided for informational purposes only and not for tax reporting purposes. The Fund currently estimates that 100% of its distributions will be characterized as return of capital. The final determination of the source and tax characteristics of all distributions in a particular year will be made after the end of the year. This information is not legal or tax advice. Consult a professional regarding your specific legal or tax matters.
3 Represents the amount of financial leverage the Fund currently employs as a percentage of total Fund assets.
4 The expense ratio is annualized and reflects the fund’s expenses, including interest expense and excluding tax expense and tax benefits, as of the most recent annual or semi-annual report. The expense ratio excluding interest expense, tax expense, and tax benefits was 1.88%.
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 energy infrastructure MLPs and other energy infrastructure companies (“energy infrastructure entities”) and invests at least 65% of its managed assets in equity securities of energy infrastructure entities. It is anticipated that a substantial portion of the energy infrastructure entities in which the Fund will invest will be engaged primarily in the energy, natural resources and real estate sectors. The Fund anticipates that a significant portion of the distributions received by the Fund from the energy infrastructure entities in which it invests will consist of return of capital. 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 considers an “energy infrastructure” MLP or company to be an MLP or company (i) engaged in the development, construction, distribution, management, ownership, operation and/or financing of energy infrastructure assets, including, but not limited to, assets used in exploration, development, production, generation, transportation (including marine), transmission, terminal operation, storage, gathering, processing, refining, distribution, mining, or marketing of natural gas, natural gas liquids, crude oil, refined petroleum products (including biodiesel and ethanol), coal or electricity or power generation, or that provides energy-related equipment or services, and that has at least 50% of its assets, income, sales or profits committed to or derived from energy infrastructure related assets or activities or (ii) that have been given a third party industry or sector classification consistent with the energy infrastructure designation.
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, including securities rated below investment-grade.
The Fund is 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 infrastructure 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.
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: FMO SEC Filings.
The Fund considers an “energy infrastructure” MLP or company to be an MLP or company (i) engaged in the development, construction, distribution, management, ownership, operation and/or financing of energy infrastructure assets, including, but not limited to, assets used in exploration, development, production, generation, transportation (including marine), transmission, terminal operation, storage, gathering, processing, refining, distribution, mining, or marketing of natural gas, natural gas liquids, crude oil, refined petroleum products (including biodiesel and ethanol), coal or electricity or power generation, or that provides energy-related equipment or services, and that has at least 50% of its assets, income, sales or profits committed to or derived from energy infrastructure related assets or activities or (ii) that have been given a third party industry or sector classification consistent with the energy infrastructure designation.
A master limited partnership is a limited partnership that is publicly traded.
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).
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.
The Fund may invest up to 25% of its assets in U.S. dollar-denominated foreign securities.
The Fund intends to declare and pay its distributions on a quarterly basis.
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 often 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.
Every quarter the Fund intends to pay distributions and those investors who own Common Shares of the Fund before the ex-distribution date will receive the next distribution. Investors who purchase Common Shares 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.
DRIP is the Distribution Reinvestment Plan. The number 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 Shares is equal to or exceeds the NAV per share on the valuation date, participants in the Plan will be issued new Common Shares valued at the higher of NAV or 95% of the then-current market value. Otherwise, the Administrator will buy Common Shares in the open market, on the NYSE or elsewhere.
The auditor is Ernst & Young.
Guggenheim Funds Investment Advisors, LLC
227 West Monroe Street
Chicago, IL 60606
Tortoise Capital Advisors, L.L.C.
5100 W. 115th Place
Leawood, KS 66211
The Tortoise Investment Team is dedicated to managing Master Limited Partnerships (MLPs) and energy infrastructure strategies for open-end and closed-end funds, public and corporate pension plans and private wealth individuals. The team’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 team well as it has navigated through MLP cycles since 1995.
Matt Sallee, CFA | President of Tortoise Platform
Mr. Sallee joined the firm in 2005 and is an Executive Committee member and a member of the Tortoise Development Committee and serves as President of the Tortoise platform. He oversees Tortoise’s energy investment team and Tortoise/Ecofin co-managed energy products. Mr. Sallee serves as president of the Tortoise Energy Infrastructure Corp. and Tortoise Midstream Energy Fund, Inc. closed-end funds, and is a member of the Investment Committee. He has more than 20 years of industry experience and regularly speaks on national media (CNBC). Previously, he served for five years as a senior financial analyst with Aquila, Inc., where he was responsible for analysis of capital allocation at the firm’s communications infrastructure subsidiary, Everest Connections. Mr. Sallee graduated magna cum laude from the University of Missouri with a degree in business administration. He is a CFA® charterholder.
Quinn Kiley | Managing Director and Senior Portfolio Manager
Mr. Kiley joined Advisory Research, now part of Tortoise, in 2005 and is a senior portfolio manager focused on Tortoise’s midstream energy portfolio. He previously served as Vice President of Corporate & Investment Banking at Banc of America Securities in New York and was responsible for executing strategic advisory and financing transactions for clients in the energy & power sectors. Mr. Kiley graduated from Washington & Lee University with a Bachelor of Science degree with honors in geology and also earned a Master of Science degree in geology from the University of Montana, and a Master of Business Administration degree from the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University. Additionally, he earned a Juris Doctorate from Indiana University School of Law and was admitted to the bar in New York. He serves on the finance committees of Rossman School and the Magic House.
Investors should consider the following risk factors and special considerations associated with investing in the Trust. Investors should be aware that in light of the current uncertainty, volatility and distress in economies, financial markets, and labor and health conditions over the world, the risks below are heightened significantly compared to normal conditions and therefore subject the Fund’s investments and a shareholder’s investment in the Fund to elevated investment risk, including the possible loss of the entire principal amount invested.
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, particularly under current economic, financial, labor and health conditions, 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, or income generated by, the investments held by the Fund are subject to the possibility of rapid and unpredictable fluctuation. These movements may result from factors affecting individual companies, or from broader influences, including real or perceived changes in prevailing interest rates, changes in inflation or expectations about inflation, investor confidence or economic, political, social or financial market conditions, environmental disasters, governmental actions, public health emergencies (such as the spread of infectious diseases, pandemics and epidemics) and other similar events, that each of which may be temporary or last for extended periods. For example, the risks of a borrower’s default or bankruptcy or non-payment of scheduled interest or principal payments from senior floating rate interests held by the Fund are especially acute under these conditions. Furthermore, interest rates and bond yields may fall as a result of types of events, including responses by governmental entities to such events, which would magnify the Fund’s fixed-income instruments’ susceptibility to interest rate risk and diminish their yield and performance. Moreover, the Fund’s investments in asset-backed securities are subject to many of the same risks that are applicable to investments in securities generally, including interest rate risk, credit risk, foreign currency risk, below-investment grade securities risk, financial leverage risk, prepayment and regulatory risk, which would be elevated under the foregoing circumstances.
Different sectors, industries and security types may react differently to such developments and, when the market performs well, there is no assurance that the Fund’s investments will increase in value along with the broader markets. Volatility of financial markets, including potentially extreme volatility caused by the events described above, can expose the Fund to greater market risk than normal, possibly resulting in greatly reduced liquidity. Moreover, changing economic, political, social or financial market conditions in one country or geographic region could adversely affect the value, yield and return of the investments held by the Fund in a different country or geographic region because of the increasingly interconnected global economies and financial markets. The Adviser and Sub-Adviser potentially could be prevented from considering, managing and executing investment decisions at an advantageous time or price or at all as a result of any domestic or global market or other disruptions, particularly disruptions causing heightened market volatility and reduced market liquidity, such as the current conditions, which have also resulted in impediments to the normal functioning of workforces, including personnel and systems of the Fund’s service providers and market intermediaries.
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
The Fund’s investments in MLP units expose the Fund to 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. To the extent a distribution received by the Fund from an MLP is treated as a return of capital, the Fund’s adjusted tax basis in the interests of the MLP may be reduced, which will result in an increase in an amount of income or gain (or decrease in the amount of loss) that will be recognized by the Fund for tax purposes upon the sale of any such interests or upon subsequent distributions in respect of such interests. Furthermore, any return of capital distribution received from the MLP may require the Fund to restate the character of its distributions and amend any shareholder tax reporting previously issued. 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.
The Fund is treated as a regular corporation for U.S. Federal income tax purposes and, as a result, unlike most investment companies, is subject to corporate income tax to the extent the Fund recognizes taxable income. 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 generally 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.
It is generally required that taxes, penalties, and interest associated with an audit of a partnership be assessed and collected at the partnership level. Accordingly, even if an MLP in which we invest were to remain classified as a partnership, it could be required to pay additional taxes, interest and penalties as a result of an audit adjustment, and we, as a direct or indirect partner of such MLP, could be required to bear the economic burden of those taxes, interest and penalties, which would reduce 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.
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 was signed into law on December 22, 2017. The long term impacts of this legislation on issuers in which the Fund may invest and the economy and securities markets of the United States is not yet certain.
Common Shareholders will receive a single Form 1099, while the Fund will receive Schedule K-1s from each MLP in which it is invested. However, the MLPs in which the Fund invests generally will not deliver their Schedule K-1s to the Fund until after the Fund must deliver Form 1099s to its Common Shareholders. If the Schedule K-1s received by the Fund show that the Fund’s estimates regarding its income attributable to such MLPs were incorrect, the Fund may have to send corrected Form 1099s to its Common Shareholders, which may result in a Common Shareholder being required to request an extension to file its tax return or to amend a previously filed tax return.
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 NAV, 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 NAV. 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 NAV per share, which would result in an immediate reduction of the Fund's NAV 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 NAV. 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 NAV, 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 NAV. 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 NAV per share, which could be material.
Affiliated Party Risk
Certain energy infrastructure MLPs and other energy infrastructure companies 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 entities and ability of such entities 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 and other equity securities of other energy infrastructure companies and 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. Equity securities are currently experiencing heightened volatility and therefore, the Fund’s investments in equity securities are subject to heightened risks related to volatility. 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-to-one 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 may not be 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.
The Fund may invest in equity securities of other energy infrastructure companies. Non-MLP energy infrastructure companies in which the Fund invests are generally taxed as corporations. Such companies thus pay corporate-level taxes on their net taxable income and may not offer certain other advantageous tax characteristics of MLP investments. The prices of equity securities are also sensitive to general movements in the stock market, so a drop in the stock market may depress the prices of equity securities in which the Fund invests. Equity securities are structurally subordinated to preferred stock, bonds and other debt instruments in a company’s capital structure in terms of priority to corporate income and are therefore inherently more risky and more experience significantly greater price volatility than preferred stock or debt instruments of such issuers.
Because the Fund is focused in companies in the energy sector of the economy, the Fund may be more susceptible to risks associated with such sector. 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
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, political, legislative or regulatory occurrences affecting the energy sector. Risks associated with investments in energy infrastructure entities and include the following:
Commodity Price Risk. Energy infrastructure entities 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 long-term. 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, among others. 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 exposure to 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. High commodity prices may drive further energy conservation efforts, and a slowing economy may adversely impact energy consumption, which may adversely affect the performance of energy infrastructure entities. Recently, oil prices have declined significantly and experienced greater volatility. This may adversely impact energy infrastructure entities. Such companies growth prospects and ability to pay high dividends may be negatively impacted, would could adversely impact the NAV of the Common Shares and the ability of the Fund to continue to pay dividends at current levels. Recent economic and market events have fueled concerns regarding potential liquidations of commodity futures and options positions.
Supply and Demand Risk. Energy infrastructure entities may be impacted by the levels of supply and demand for energy commodities. Energy infrastructure entities 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, among others. 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, and increased commodity prices, among others. Demand for energy commodities has recently declined. Reductions in production of oil and other energy commodities may lag decreases in demand or declines in commodity prices, resulting in global oversupply in such commodities.
Depletion Risk. Energy infrastructure entities 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. Energy infrastructure entities are subject to significant regulation of nearly every aspect of their operations by federal, state and local governmental agencies. Such regulation can change rapidly or over time in both scope and intensity. For example, a particular by-product or process, including hydraulic fracturing, may become subject to additional regulation or be declared hazardous sometimes retroactively, by a regulatory agency. Such actions could increase production costs and reduce supply, which may have an adverse impact on energy infrastructure entities that utilize such by-product on process and on energy infrastructure entities that rely on a supply of the impacted energy commodity. Examples of governmental regulations which impact energy infrastructure entities 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 and the permits issued under them is enforced by numerous governmental agencies and authorities through administrative, civil and criminal penalties including civil fines, injunctions or both. 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 energy infrastructure entities. Energy infrastructure 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 energy infrastructure entities operating in various sectors.
Environmental Risk. There is an inherent risk that energy infrastructure entities may incur environmental 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 energy infrastructure entities, and the cost of any remediation that may become necessary. Energy infrastructure entities 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 (“RCRA”) 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 (“CERCLA”), also known as “Superfund,” 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 energy infrastructure entities 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 of or otherwise released. Moreover, it is not uncommon for neighboring landowners and other third parties to file claims for personal injury and property damage allegedly caused by the release of hazardous substances or other waste products into the environment. There is an inherent risk that energy infrastructure entities may incur environmental 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 energy infrastructure entities. For example, hydraulic fracturing, a technique used in the completion of certain oil and gas wells, has become a subject of increasing regulatory scrutiny and may be subject in the future to more stringent, and more costly to comply with, requirements. Similarly, the implementation of more stringent environmental requirements could significantly increase the cost of any remediation that may become necessary. Energy infrastructure entities may not be able to recover these costs from insurance.
Voluntary initiatives and mandatory controls have 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. Such measures, including carbon taxes or further emission restrictions or regulations, 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 energy infrastructure entities. The potential for the imposition of such measures may negatively impact energy infrastructure entities generally. 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. The EPA has also taken action to require certain entities to measure and report greenhouse gas emissions and certain facilities may be required to control emissions of greenhouse gases pursuant to EPA air permitting and other regulatory programs. 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. Energy infrastructure entities in which the Fund invests may depend on the ability of such entities to make acquisitions that increase adjusted operating surplus per unit in order to increase distributions to unit holders. The ability of such energy infrastructure 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 energy infrastructure 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, among others.
Interest Rate Risk. Rising interest rates could increase the costs of capital thereby increasing operating costs and reducing the ability of energy infrastructure entities to carry out acquisitions or expansions in a cost-effective manner. As a result, rising interest rates could negatively affect the financial performance of energy infrastructure entities in which the Fund invests. Rising interest rates may also impact the price of the securities of energy infrastructure entities as the yields on alternative investments increase.
Weather Risk. Weather plays a role in the seasonality of some energy infrastructure entities’ cash flows. Energy infrastructure 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 energy infrastructure entities experience decreased demand for their product. Although most energy infrastructure 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 U.S. Gulf Coast in recent years, demonstrate that no amount of preparation can protect an energy infrastructure entity from the unpredictability of the weather or possible climate change. The damage done by extreme weather also may serve to increase many energy infrastructure entities’ insurance premiums and could adversely affect such companies’ financial condition and ability to pay distributions to shareholders.
Catastrophic Event Risk. Energy infrastructure entities 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 energy infrastructure entities. Energy infrastructure entities 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.
Cyclical Industry Risk. The energy industry is cyclical and from time to time may experience a shortage of drilling rigs, equipment, supplies, or qualified personnel, or due to significant demand, such services may not be available on commercially reasonable terms. An energy infrastructure entity’s ability to successfully and timely complete capital improvements to existing or other capital projects is contingent upon many variables. Should any such efforts be unsuccessful, an energy infrastructure entity could be subject to additional costs and/or the write-off of its investment in the project or improvement. The marketability of oil and gas production depends in large part on the availability, proximity and capacity of pipeline systems owned by third parties. Oil and gas properties are subject to royalty interests, liens and other burdens, encumbrances, easements or restrictions, all of which could impact the production of a particular energy infrastructure entity. Oil and gas MLP entities operate in a highly competitive and cyclical industry, with intense price competition. A significant portion of their revenues may depend on a relatively small number of customers, including governmental entities and utilities.
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 energy infrastructure entities and other companies operating in the energy sector in which the Fund invests and/or the energy sector generally.
Recent Developments Regarding the Energy Sector. Prices of oil and other energy commodities have declined significantly and experienced significant volatility during recent years and oil prices have recently approached ten year lows. 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 exposure to 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. As a result, many companies in which the Fund may invest have been and may continue to be adversely impacted by declines in, and volatility of, prices of energy commodities. Demand for energy commodities has recently declined. Reductions in production of oil and other energy commodities may lag decreases in demand or declines in commodity prices, resulting in global oversupply in such commodities. Slower global growth may lower demand for oil and other energy commodities and increased exports by Iran with the end of sanctions may increase supply, exacerbating oversupply of such commodities and further reducing commodity prices. Continued low prices for energy commodities, or continued volatility of such prices, could further erode such companies’ growth prospects and negatively impact such companies’ ability to sustain attractive distribution levels, which could adversely impact the NAV of the Common Shares and the ability of the Fund to continue to pay distributions on the Common Shares at current levels. Because the Fund is focused in energy infrastructure entities operating in the industry or group of industries that make up the energy sector of the economy, the Fund may be more susceptible to risks associated with energy commodity prices than an investment company that does not concentrate in such sector.
The Fund expects that a substantial portion of the cash flow it receives will be derived from its investments in equity securities of MLPs. The amount and tax characterization of cash available for distribution will depend upon the amount of cash generated by such MLP operations. Cash available for distribution may vary widely from quarter to quarter and is affected by various factors affecting the MLP operations. Recently, a number of MLPs have reduced, suspended or eliminated their distributions. Such distribution reductions could adversely impact the ability of the Fund to continue to pay distributions on the Common Shares at current levels.
Adverse developments in the energy sector may result in MLPs seeking to restructure debt or file for bankruptcy. Limited partners in such MLPs, such as the Fund, may owe taxes on debt that is forgiven in a bankruptcy or an out-of-court restructuring, as cancellation of debt income, which creates a tax liability for investors without an associated cash distribution. While an MLP facing a debt restructuring may seek to implement structures that would limit the tax liability associated with the debt restructuring, there can be no assurance that such structures could be successfully implemented or would not have other adverse impacts on the Fund as an investor in the MLP.
Industry Specific Risks
Energy infrastructure entities are also subject to risks that are specific to the industry they serve.
Pipelines. 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 these companies and their ability to pay cash distributions or dividends.
Midstream. Midstream energy infrastructure 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 may 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.
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.
Gathering and Processing. 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.
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, amont others.
Propane. Propane energy infrastructure 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. Energy infrastructure entities with coal assets are subject to supply and demand fluctuations in the markets they serve which may 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. Historically, the tanker markets have been volatile due to the many conditions and factors that may affect the supply and demand for tanker capacity. 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.
Fracturing Services. Changes in laws or government regulations regarding hydraulic fracturing could increase a company’s costs of doing business, limit the areas in which it can operate and reduce oil and natural gas production by the company. Congress has in recent legislative sessions considered legislation to amend the Safe Drinking Water Act, including legislation that would repeal the exemption for hydraulic fracturing from the definition of “underground injection” and require federal permitting and regulatory control of hydraulic fracturing, as well as legislative proposals to require disclosure of the chemical constituents of the fluids used in the fracturing process, were proposed in recent sessions of Congress. The U.S. Congress may consider similar SDWA legislation in the future. In addition, the EPA has asserted federal regulatory authority pursuant to the SDWA over certain hydraulic fracturing activities. If hydraulic fracturing becomes regulated at the federal level as a result of federal legislation or regulatory initiatives by the EPA, fracturing activities could become subject to additional permitting requirements, and also to attendant permitting delays and potential increases in cost, which could adversely affect a company’s business.
Small Capitalization Risk
The Fund may invest in securities of energy infrastructure entities 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 energy infrastructure 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.
Risk 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.
Unseasoned Companies Risk
The Fund may invest in companies that (together with their predecessors) have limited operating histories. The securities of such companies may have limited liquidity, which can result in their being priced higher or lower than might otherwise be the case. In addition, investments in unseasoned companies are more speculative and entail greater risk than investments in companies with an established operating record.
Risk 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 MLPs. The amount and tax characterization of cash available for distribution by an MLP depends upon the amount of cash generated by such entity's operations. Cash available for distribution by MLPs 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 has available for distribution in a given period. Reductions in distributions paid by energy infrastructure entities held by the Fund may reduce the value of such holdings, and as a result, the value of the Fund’s Common Shares. In addition, any such reductions in distributions paid by energy infrastructure entities may adversely impact the Fund’s ability to maintain its distribution rate.
Distribution RiskThe 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 distributions from other energy infrastructure companies, 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). To the extent that the Fund increases its investments in non-MLP energy infrastructure companies, a lesser percentage of future distributions by the Fund to holders of its Common Shares may be treated as a return of capital for U.S. federal income tax purposes and a greater percentage of future distributions may be treated as ordinary income.
ETNs are senior, unsecured, unsubordinated debt securities whose returns are linked to the performance of a particular market benchmark or strategy minus applicable fees. ETNs are traded on an exchange (e.g., the NYSE) during normal trading hours. ETNs are subject to credit risk, and the value of the ETN may drop due to a downgrade in the issuer’s credit rating, despite the underlying market benchmark or strategy remaining unchanged. The value of an ETN may also be influenced by time to maturity, level of supply and demand for the ETN, volatility and lack of liquidity in underlying assets, changes in the applicable interest rates, changes in the issuer’s credit rating and economic, legal, political or geographic events that affect the referenced underlying asset.
Liquidity RiskMLP common units and other equity securities in which the Fund invests 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. Dislocations in certain parts of markets are resulting in reduced liquidity for certain investments. It is uncertain when financial markets will improve. Liquidity of financial markets may also be affected by government intervention.
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 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.
Inflation risk is the risk that the value of assets or income from investment will be worth less in the future, as inflation decreases the value of money. As inflation increases, the real value of the Common Shares and distributions on those shares can decline. In addition, during any periods of rising inflation, interest rates on any borrowings by the Fund would likely increase, which would tend to further reduce returns to the holders of Common Shares. Deflation risk is the risk that prices throughout the economy decline over time, which may have an adverse effect on the market valuation of companies, their assets and revenues. In addition, deflation may have an adverse effect on the creditworthiness of issuers and may make issuer default more likely, which may result in a decline in the value of the Fund’s portfolio.
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 NAV 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 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. The likelihood that payments on principal will occur at a slower rate or later than expected is heightened under the current conditions.
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 NAV 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.
Current Fixed-Income and Debt Market Conditions
Fixed-income and debt market conditions are highly unpredictable and some parts of the market are subject to dislocations. In response to the crisis initially caused by the outbreak of COVID-19, as with other serious economic disruptions, governmental authorities and regulators are enacting significant fiscal and monetary policy changes, including providing direct capital infusions into companies, creating new monetary programs and lowering interest rates considerably. These actions present heightened risks to fixed-income and debt instruments, and such risks could be even further heightened if these actions are unexpectedly or suddenly reversed or are ineffective in achieving their desired outcomes. In light of these actions and current conditions, interest rates and bond yields in the United States and many other countries are at or near historic lows, and in some cases, such rates and yields are negative. The current very low or negative interest rates are magnifying the Fund’s susceptibility to interest rate risk and diminishing yield and performance. In addition, the current environment is exposing fixed-income and debt markets to significant volatility and reduced liquidity for Fund investments.
Lower Grade Securities RiskThe 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, the risk of which is particularly acute under current conditions. 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 SecuritiesInvesting in securities of foreign issuers may involve certain considerations and risks not ordinarily associated with investments in securities of domestic issuers. Foreign companies are not generally subject to uniform accounting, auditing and financial standards and requirements comparable to those applicable to U.S. companies. Foreign securities exchanges, brokers and listed companies may be subject to less government supervision and regulation than exists in the United States. As a result, many foreign securities may be less liquid and more volatile than U.S. securities. These risks are heightened under the current conditions. 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.
Risks Associated with the Fund’s Covered Call Option Strategy
The ability of the Fund to achieve its investment objective is partially dependent on the successful implementation of its covered call option strategy. There are significant differences between the securities and options markets that could result in an imperfect correlation between these markets, causing a given transaction not to achieve its objectives. 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.
The Fund may write call options on individual securities. The buyer of an option acquires the right to buy (a call option) or sell (a put option) a certain quantity of a security (the underlying security) or instrument, at a certain price up to a specified point in time or on expiration, depending on the terms. The seller or writer of an option is obligated to sell (a call option) or buy (a put option) the underlying instrument. A call option is “covered” if the Fund owns the security underlying the call or has an absolute right to acquire the security without additional cash consideration (or, if additional cash consideration is required, cash or cash equivalents in such amount are segregated by the Fund’s custodian). As a seller of covered call options, the Fund faces the risk that it will forgo the opportunity to profit from increases in the market value of the security covering the call option during an option’s life. As the Fund writes covered calls over more of its portfolio, its ability to benefit from capital appreciation becomes more limited. For certain types of options, the writer of the option will have no control over the time when it may be required to fulfill its obligation under the option. There can be no assurance that a liquid market will exist if and when the Fund seeks to close out an option position. 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.
The Fund may write exchange-listed and over-the-counter (“OTC”) options. Options written by the Fund with respect to non-U.S. securities generally will be OTC options. OTC options differ from exchange-listed options in that they are entered into directly with the buyer of the option and not through an exchange or clearing organization that is interposed between the Fund and the counterparty. In an OTC option transaction exercise price, premium and other terms are negotiated between buyer and seller. OTC options are subject to heightened counterparty, credit, liquidity and valuation risks.
Derivatives Transactions Risk
In addition to the covered call option strategy described above, the Fund may, but is not required to, utilize other derivatives, including futures contracts and other strategic transactions, to seek to earn income, facilitate portfolio management and mitigate risks. Participation in derivatives markets transactions 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 writing strategy and put option writing strategy). If the Sub-Adviser is incorrect about its expectations of market conditions, the use of derivatives could also result in a loss, which in some cases may be unlimited. Risks inherent in the use of derivatives include:
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 NAV 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. Recent developments regarding the energy sector and investor perception regarding the energy sector generally may adversely impact the market for the Common Shares and increase the likelihood that the Common Shares will trade 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.
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 NAV, 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 NAV 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.
Certain types of Borrowings subject the Fund to covenants in credit agreements relating to asset coverage and portfolio composition requirements. Certain Borrowings issued by the Fund also may subject the Fund to certain restrictions on investments imposed by guidelines of one or more rating agencies, which may issue ratings for such Borrowings. Such guidelines may impose asset coverage or portfolio composition requirements that are more stringent than those imposed by the 1940 Act. It is not anticipated that these covenants or guidelines will impede the Sub-Adviser from managing the Fund’s portfolio in accordance with the Fund’s investment objective and policies.
Reverse repurchase agreements involve the risks that the interest income earned on the investment of the proceeds will be less than the interest expense and Fund expenses associated with the repurchase agreement, that the market value of the securities sold by the Fund may decline below the price at which the Fund is obligated to repurchase such securities and that the securities may not be returned to the Fund. There is no assurance that reverse repurchase agreements can be successfully employed. In connection with reverse repurchase agreements, the Fund will also be subject to counterparty risk with respect to the purchaser of the securities. If the broker/dealer to whom the Fund sells securities becomes insolvent, the Fund’s right to purchase or repurchase securities may be restricted.
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.
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.
Affiliated Transaction Restrictions Risks
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 co-investments 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.
Conflicts of Interest Risk
Guggenheim Partners is a global asset management and investment advisory organization. Guggenheim Partners and its affiliates advise clients in various markets and transactions and purchase, sell, hold and recommend a broad array of investments for their own accounts and the accounts of clients and of their personnel and the relationships and products they sponsor, manage and advise. Accordingly, Guggenheim Partners and its affiliates may have direct and indirect interests in a variety of global markets and the securities of issuers in which the Fund may directly or indirectly invest. These interests may cause the Fund to be subject to regulatory limits, and in certain circumstances, these various activities may prevent the Fund from participating in an investment decision. As a result, activities and dealings of Guggenheim Partners and its affiliates may affect the Fund in ways that may disadvantage or restrict the Fund or be deemed to benefit Guggenheim Partners and its affiliates. From time to time, conflicts of interest may arise between a portfolio manager’s management of the investments of the Fund on the one hand and the management of other registered investment companies, pooled investment vehicles and other accounts (collectively, “other accounts”) on the other. The other accounts might have similar investment objectives or strategies as the Fund or otherwise hold, purchase, or sell securities that are eligible to be held, purchased or sold by the Fund. In certain circumstances, and subject to its fiduciary obligations under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 (the “Advisers Act”) and the requirements of the 1940 Act, the Adviser may have to allocate a limited investment opportunity among its clients. The other accounts might also have different investment objectives or strategies than the Fund. In addition, the Fund may be limited in its ability to invest in, or hold securities of, any companies that the Adviser or its affiliates (or other accounts managed by the Adviser or its affiliates) control, or companies in which the Adviser or its affiliates have interests or with whom they do business. For example, affiliates of the Adviser may act as underwriter, lead agent or administrative agent for loans or otherwise participate in the market for loans. Because of limitations imposed by applicable law, the presence of the Adviser’s affiliates in the markets for loans may restrict the Fund’s ability to acquire some loans or affect the timing or price of such acquisitions. To address these conflicts, the Fund and Guggenheim Partners and its affiliates have established various policies and procedures that are reasonably designed to detect and prevent such conflicts and prevent the Fund from being disadvantaged
Delay in Investing the Proceeds of this Offering Risk
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 energy infrastructure entities 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 energy infrastructure entities. 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 Risk
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 energy infrastructure entities and securities of issuers other than energy infrastructure 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.
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
The aftermath of the war in Iraq, instability in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Egypt, Libya, Syria, Russia, Ukraine, and the Middle East, possible terrorist attacks in the United States and around the world, growing social and political discord in the United States, the European debt crisis, the response of the international community—through economic sanctions and otherwise—to Russia’s annexation of the Crimea region of Ukraine and posture vis-a-vis Ukraine, increasingly strained relations between the United States and a number of foreign countries, including traditional allies, such as certain European countries, and historical adversaries, such as North Korea, Iran, China and Russia, and the international community generally, new and continued political unrest in various countries, such as Venezuela and Spain, the United Kingdom’s pending withdrawal from the EU and the resulting profound and uncertain impacts on the economic and political future of the United Kingdom, the exit or potential exit of one or more countries from the EU or the European Monetary Union ("EMU"), the EU and global financial markets, further downgrade of U.S. Government securities, the change in the U.S. president and the new administration and other similar events, may have long-term effects on the United States and worldwide financial markets and may cause further economic uncertainties in the United States and worldwide. The Fund does not know and cannot predict how long the securities markets may be affected by these events and the effects of these and similar events in the future on the U.S. economy and securities markets. The Fund may be adversely affected by abrogation of international agreements and national laws which have created the market instruments in which the Fund may invest, failure of the designated national and international authorities to enforce compliance with the same laws and agreements, failure of local, national and international organization to carry out their duties prescribed to them under the relevant agreements, revisions of these laws and agreements which dilute their effectiveness or conflicting interpretation of provisions of the same laws and agreements. The Fund may be adversely affected by uncertainties such as terrorism, international political developments, and changes in government policies, taxation, restrictions on foreign investment and currency repatriation, currency fluctuations and other developments in the laws and regulations of the countries in which it is invested and the risks associated with financial, economic, health, labor and other global market developments and disruptions.
The Fund and its service providers are currently impacted by quarantines and similar measures being enacted by governments in response to COVID-19, which are obstructing the regular functioning of business workforces (including requiring employees to work from external locations and their homes). Accordingly, certain risks described above are heightened under current conditions.
Recent Market Developments Risk
Global and domestic financial markets have experienced periods of unprecedented turmoil. During the recession of 2007-2009 and for a period thereafter, the debt and equity capital markets in the United States were negatively impacted by significant write-offs in the financial services sector relating to sub-prime mortgages, the re-pricing of credit risk broadly syndicated market, the failure of major financial institutions, the deterioration of the housing market and the resulting United States federal government actions. These events led to worsening general economic conditions, which 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.
The outbreak of COVID-19 is causing materially reduced consumer demand and economic output, disrupting supply chains, resulting in market closures, travel restrictions and quarantines, and adversely impacting local and global economies. As with other serious economic disruptions, governmental authorities and regulators are responding to this crisis with significant fiscal and monetary policy changes, including by providing direct capital infusions into companies, introducing new monetary programs and considerably lowering interest rates, which, in some cases resulted in negative interest rates. These actions, including their possible unexpected or sudden reversal or potential ineffectiveness, could further increase volatility in securities and other financial markets, reduce market liquidity, heighten investor uncertainty and adversely affect the value of the Fund’s investments and the performance of the Fund.
A return to unfavorable economic conditions or sustained economic slowdown could adversely impact the Fund’s portfolio. Worsening economic conditions may increase the volatility of the value of securities owned by the Fund, may make it more difficult for the Fund to accurately value its securities or to sell its securities on a timely basis and may adversely affect the ability of the Fund to borrow for investment purposes and increase the cost of such borrowings, which would reduce returns to common shareholders. Worsening economic conditions may also adversely affected the broader economy, which in turn may adversely affect issuers of securities owned by the Fund, which may reduce the value of securities owned by the Fund and adversely affect the NAV of the common shares. Financial market conditions, as well as various social and political tensions in the United States and around the world, may contribute to increased market volatility and may have long-term effects and cause economic uncertainties or deterioration in the United States and worldwide. Global economies and financial markets are also becoming increasingly interconnected, which increases the possibilities that conditions in one country or region might adversely impact issuers in a different country or region. Federal Reserve policy, including with respect to certain interest rates, may adversely affect the value, volatility and liquidity of dividend- and interest-paying securities.
Increasing Government and other Public Debt Risk
Government and other public debt, including municipal obligations in which the Fund invests, can be adversely affected by large and sudden changes in local and global economic conditions that result in increased debt levels. Although high levels of government and other public debt do not necessarily indicate or cause economic problems, high levels of debt may create certain systemic risks if sound debt management practices are not implemented. A high debt level may increase market pressures to meet an issuer’s funding needs, which may increase borrowing costs and cause a government or public or municipal entity to issue additional debt, thereby increasing the risk of refinancing. A high debt level also raises concerns that the issuer may be unable or unwilling to repay the principal or interest on its debt, which may adversely impact instruments held by the Fund that rely on such payments. Governmental and quasigovernmental responses to the current economic situation are increasing government and other public debt, which heighten these risks. Unsustainable debt levels can decline the valuation of currencies, and can prevent a government from implementing effective counter-cyclical fiscal policy during economic downturns or can generate or contribute to an economic downturn.
UK Departure from EU (“Brexit”) Risk
On January 31, 2020, the United Kingdom officially withdrew from the European Union (“EU”) and the two sides entered into a transition phase, scheduled to conclude on December 31, 2020, where the United Kingdom effectively remains in the EU from an economic perspective, but no longer has any political representation in the EU parliament. During this transition phase, which could be extended beyond December of 2020, the United Kingdom is expected to negotiate a new trade deal with the EU. Due to political uncertainty, it is not possible to anticipate whether the United Kingdom and the EU will be able to agree and implement a new trade agreement or what the nature of such trade arrangement will be. Throughout the withdrawal process and afterward, the impact on the United Kingdom and Economic and Monetary Union and the broader global economy is unknown but could be significant and could result in increased volatility and illiquidity and potentially lower economic growth. The political divisions surrounding Brexit within the United Kingdom, as well as those between the UK and the EU, may also have a destabilizing impact on the economy and currency of the United Kingdom and the EU. Any further exits from member states of the EU, or the possibility of such exits, would likely cause additional market disruption globally and introduce new legal and regulatory uncertainties.
Risks associated with the outcome of the Referendum include short and long term market volatility and currency volatility, macroeconomic risk to the UK and European economies, impetus for further disintegration of the EU and related political stresses (including those related to sentiment against cross border capital movements and activities of investors like the Trust), prejudice to financial services businesses that are conducting business in the EU and which are based in the UK, legal uncertainty regarding achievement of compliance with applicable financial and commercial laws and regulations in view of the expected steps to be taken pursuant to or in contemplation of Brexit.
The result of the Referendum, the progression of the European debt crisis and the possibility of one or more Eurozone countries exiting the EMU, or even the collapse of the euro as a common currency, has created significant volatility in currency and financial markets generally. The effects of the collapse of the euro, or of the exit of one or more countries from the EMU, on the U.S. and global economies and securities markets are impossible to predict and any such events could have a significant adverse impact on the value and risk profile of the Fund’s portfolio. Any partial or complete dissolution of the EMU could have significant adverse effects on currency and financial markets, and on the values of the Fund’s portfolio investments. If one or more EMU countries were to stop using the euro as its primary currency, the Fund’s investments in such countries may be redenominated into a different or newly adopted currency. As a result, the value of those investments could decline significantly and unpredictably. In addition, securities or other investments that are redenominated may be subject to foreign currency risk, liquidity risk and valuation risk to a greater extent than similar investments currently denominated in euros. To the extent a currency used for redenomination purposes is not specified in respect of certain EMU-related investments, or should the euro cease to be used entirely, the currency in which such investments are denominated may be unclear, making such investments particularly difficult to value or dispose of. The Fund may incur additional expenses to the extent it is required to seek judicial or other clarification of the denomination or value of such securities.
Legislation and Regulation Risk
At any time after the date hereof, legislation may be enacted that could negatively affect the assets of the Fund or the issuers of such assets. 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.
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; the creation of a process designed to ensure financial system stability and the resolution of potentially insolvent financial firms; the enactment of 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 the enactment of new federal requirements for residential mortgage loans. The regulation of various types of derivative instruments pursuant to the Dodd-Frank Act may adversely affect the Fund and its counterparties.
In late November 2019, the SEC published a proposed rulemaking related to the use of derivatives and certain other transactions by registered investment companies that would, if adopted, for the most part rescind the SEC’s asset segregation and coverage rules and guidance. Instead of complying with current requirements, funds would need to trade derivatives and other transactions that potentially create senior securities (except reverse repurchase agreements) subject to a value-at-risk (“VaR”) leverage limit, certain other testing requirements and requirements related to board reporting. These new requirements would apply unless a fund qualified as a “limited derivatives user,” as defined in the SEC’s proposal. Reverse repurchase agreements would be subject to asset coverage requirements, and a fund trading reverse repurchase agreements would need to aggregate the amount of indebtedness associated with the reverse repurchase agreements or similar financing transactions with the aggregate amount of any other senior securities representing indebtedness when calculating the fund’s asset coverage ratio. Reverse repurchase agreements would not be included in the calculation of whether a fund is a limited derivatives user, but for funds subject to the VaR testing, reverse repurchase agreements and similar financing transactions would be included for purposes of such testing.
The current presidential administration has called for, and in certain instances has begun to implement, significant changes to U.S. fiscal, tax, trade, healthcare, immigration, foreign, and government regulatory policy. In this regard, there is significant uncertainty with respect to legislation, regulation and government policy at the federal level, as well as the state and local levels. Recent events have created a climate of heightened uncertainty and introduced new and difficult-to-quantify macroeconomic and political risks with potentially far-reaching implications. There has been a corresponding meaningful increase in the uncertainty surrounding interest rates, inflation, foreign exchange rates, trade volumes and fiscal and monetary policy. To the extent the U.S. Congress or the current presidential administration implements changes to U.S. policy, those changes may impact, among other things, the U.S. and global economy, international trade and relations, unemployment, immigration, corporate taxes, healthcare, the U.S. regulatory environment, inflation and other areas. Some particular areas identified as subject to potential change, amendment or repeal include the Dodd-Frank Act, including the Volcker Rule and various swaps and derivatives regulations, credit risk retention requirements and the authorities of the Federal Reserve, the Financial Stability Oversight Council and the SEC. Although the Fund cannot predict the impact, if any, of these changes to the Fund’s business, they could adversely affect the Fund’s business, financial condition, operating results and cash flows. Until the Fund knows what policy changes are made and how those changes impact the Fund’s business and the business of the Fund’s competitors over the long term, the Fund will not know if, overall, the Fund will benefit from them or be negatively affected by them.
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 made substantial changes to the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the “Code”). Among those changes were a significant permanent reduction in the generally applicable corporate tax rate, changes in the taxation of individuals and other non-corporate taxpayers that generally but not universally reduce their taxes on a temporary basis subject to “sunset” provisions, the elimination or modification of various previously allowed deductions (including substantial limitations on the deductibility of interest and, in the case of individuals, the deduction for personal state and local taxes), certain additional limitations on the deduction of net operating losses, certain preferential rates of taxation on certain dividends and certain business income derived by non-corporate taxpayers in comparison to other ordinary income recognized by such taxpayers, and significant changes to the international tax rules. The effect of these, and the many other, changes made in this legislation is highly uncertain, both in terms of their direct effect on the taxation of an investment in our common shares and their indirect effect on the value of our assets or our common shares or market conditions generally. There also may be future legislation proposed amending these changes, the effect of which cannot be predicted and may be adverse to the Fund or its shareholders.
Instruments in which the Fund invests may pay interest at floating rates based on LIBOR or may be subject to interest caps or floors based on LIBOR. The Fund and issuers of instruments in which the Fund invests may also obtain financing at floating rates based on LIBOR. Derivative instruments utilized by the Fund and/or issuers of instruments in which the Fund may invest may also reference LIBOR. The Fund utilizes leverage or borrowings primarily based on LIBOR. Regulators and law-enforcement agencies from a number of governments, including entities in the United States, Japan, Canada and the United Kingdom, have conducted or are conducting civil and criminal investigations into whether the banks that contribute to the British Bankers’ Association, or the “BBA,” in connection with the calculation of daily LIBOR may have been manipulating or attempting to manipulate LIBOR. Several financial institutions have reached settlements with the CFTC, the U.S. Department of Justice Fraud Section and the United Kingdom Financial Conduct Authority in connection with investigations by such authorities into submissions made by such financial institutions to the bodies that set LIBOR and other interbank offered rates. Additional investigations remain ongoing with respect to other major banks. There can be no assurance that there will not be additional admissions or findings of rate-setting manipulation or that manipulations of LIBOR or other similar interbank offered rates will not be shown to have occurred. ICE Benchmark Administration Limited assumed the role of LIBOR administrator from the BBA on February 1, 2014. Any new administrator of LIBOR may make methodological changes to the way in which LIBOR is calculated or may alter, discontinue or suspend calculation or dissemination of LIBOR.
In July 2017, the head of the United Kingdom Financial Conduct Authority announced the desire to phase out the use of LIBOR by the end of 2021. There is currently no definitive information regarding the future utilization of LIBOR or of any particular replacement rate. Abandonment of or modifications to LIBOR could have adverse impacts on newly issued financial instruments and existing financial instruments which reference LIBOR. While some instruments may contemplate a scenario where LIBOR is no longer available by providing for an alternative rate setting methodology, not all instruments may have such provisions and there is significant uncertainty regarding the effectiveness of any such alternative methodologies. Abandonment of or modifications to LIBOR could lead to significant shortterm and long-term uncertainty and market instability. It remains uncertain how such changes would be implemented and the effects such changes would have on the Fund, issuers of instruments in which the Fund invests and financial markets generally.
The transition process might lead to increased volatility and illiquidity in markets for instruments with terms tied to LIBOR. It could also lead to a reduction in the interest rates on, and the value of, some LIBOR-based investments and reduce the effectiveness of hedges mitigating risk in connection with LIBOR-based investments. Although some LIBOR-based instruments may contemplate a scenario where LIBOR is no longer available by providing for an alternative rate-setting methodology and/or increased costs for certain LIBOR-related instruments or financing transactions, others may not have such provisions and there may be significant uncertainty regarding the effectiveness of any such alternative methodologies. Additionally, because such provisions may differ across instruments (e.g., hedges versus cash positions hedged), LIBOR’s cessation may give rise to basis risk and render hedges less effective. As the usefulness of LIBOR as a benchmark could deteriorate during the transition period, these effects and related adverse conditions could occur prior to the end of 2021. There also remains uncertainty and risk regarding the willingness and ability of issuers to include enhanced provisions in new and existing contracts or instruments, notwithstanding significant efforts by the industry to develop robust LIBOR replacement clauses. The effect of any changes to, or discontinuation of, LIBOR on the Fund will vary depending, among other things, on (1) existing fallback or termination provisions in individual contracts and the possible renegotiation of existing contracts and (2) whether, how, and when industry participants develop and adopt new reference rates and fallbacks for both legacy and new products and instruments. Fund investments may also be tied to other interbank offered rates and currencies, which also will face similar issues.
Certain classes of instruments invested in by the Fund may be more sensitive to LIBOR cessation than others. For example, certain asset classes such as floating rate notes may not contemplate a LIBOR cessation and/or might freeze a last-published or last-used LIBOR rate for all future payment dates upon a discontinuation of LIBOR. Also, for example, syndicated and other business loans tied to LIBOR may not provide a clear roadmap for LIBOR’s replacement, leaving any future adjustments to the determination of a quantum of lenders. Securitizations and other asset-backed transactions may experience disruption as a result of inconsistencies between when collateral assets shift from LIBOR and what rate those assets replace LIBOR with, on the one hand, and when the securitization notes shift from LIBOR and what rate the securitization notes replace LIBOR with.
As the use of Internet technology has become more prevalent, the Fund and its service providers and markets generally have become more susceptible to potential operational risks related to intentional and unintentional events that may cause the Fund or a service provider to lose proprietary information, suffer data corruption or lose operational capacity. There can be no guarantee that any risk management systems established by the Fund, its service providers, or issuers of the securities in which the Fund invests to reduce technology and cyber security risks will succeed, and the Fund cannot control such systems put in place by service providers, issuers or other third parties whose operations may affect the Fund.
Cyber Security Risk
The Fund and its service providers are susceptible to cyber security risks that include, among other things, theft, unauthorized monitoring, release, misuse, loss, destruction or corruption of confidential and highly restricted data; denial of service attacks; unauthorized access to relevant systems, compromises to networks or devices that the Fund and its service providers use to service the Fund’s operations; or operational disruption or failures in the physical infrastructure or operating systems that support the Fund and its service providers. Cyber-attacks against or security breakdowns of the Fund or its service providers may adversely impact the Fund and its stockholders, potentially resulting in, among other things, financial losses; the inability of Fund stockholders to transact business and the Fund to process transactions; inability to calculate the Fund’s NAV; violations of applicable privacy and other laws; regulatory fines, penalties, reputational damage, reimbursement or other compensation costs; and/or additional compliance costs. The Fund may incur additional costs for cyber security risk management and remediation purposes. In addition, cyber security risks may also impact issuers of securities in which the Fund invests, which may cause the Fund’s investment in such issuers to lose value. There can be no assurance that the Fund or its service providers will not suffer losses relating to cyber-attacks or other information security breaches in the future.
Guggenheim Investments represents the investment management business of Guggenheim Partners, LLC ("Guggenheim"). Guggenheim Funds Distributors, LLC is an affiliate of Guggenheim.
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