|Closing Market Price||$20.49|
|52-week Average Premium/Discount||4.59%|
|Current Distribution Rate 1, 2||10.62%|
|Monthly Distribution Per Share2||$0.18130|
|Common Shares Outstanding||8,624,299|
|52 Week High/Low Market Price||$21.49/$19.71|
|52 Week High/Low NAV||$20.13/$18.94|
|Intraday Trading Information||NYSE|
|Closing Market Price||$20.49|
|Total Managed Assets||$204,186,785|
|52-Week Average Premium/Discount||4.59%|
|Investment Adviser||Guggenheim Funds Investment Advisors, LLC|
|Portfolio Manager/Sub-Adviser||Guggenheim Partners Investment Management, LLC|
|Expense Ratio (Common Shares)4||2.99%|
|Portfolio Turnover Rate||52%|
|Inception Market Price||$25.00|
|1940 Act Asset Coverage Ratio||544.80%|
|Since Inception (6/26/13)||6.40%||6.57%|
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 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 Expense ratios are annualized and reflect the Fund’s operating expense, including interest expense, or in the case of a fund with a fee waiver, net operating expense, as of the most recent annual or semi-annual report. The expense ratio, based on common assets, excluding interest expense was 1.77%.
The Fund’s investment objective is to seek total return through a combination of current income and capital appreciation. The Fund cannot assure investors that it will achieve its investment objective or be able to structure its investments as anticipated, and you could lose some or all of your investment.
Under normal market conditions, the Fund will invest at least 80% of its net assets, plus the amount of any borrowings for investment purposes, in fixed-income securities, debt securities and loans and investments with economic characteristics similar to fixed-income securities, debt securities and loans (collectively, “credit securities”). Credit securities in which the Fund may invest consist of corporate bonds, loans and loan participations, asset-backed securities (all or a portion of which may consist of collateralized loan obligations), mortgage-backed securities (both residential mortgage-backed securities and commercial mortgage-backed securities), U.S. Government and agency securities, mezzanine and preferred securities, convertible securities, commercial paper, municipal securities and sovereign government and supranational debt securities. The Fund will seek to achieve its investment objective by investing in a portfolio of credit securities selected from a variety of sectors and credit qualities. The Fund may invest in credit securities that are rated below investment grade, or, if unrated, determined to be of comparable quality (also known as “high yield securities” or “junk bonds”). The Fund may invest in credit securities of any duration or maturity. Credit securities in which the Fund may invest may pay fixed or variable rates of interest. The Fund may invest without limitation in securities of non-U.S. issuers, including issuers in emerging markets.
For periodic shareholder reports and recent fund-specific filings, please visit the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) website via the following: GGM SEC Filings
The Adviser will make investment selections based upon a relative value investment philosophy, which seeks to identify segments of the credit securities markets as well as individual credit securities whose current prices or spreads are undervalued relative to the Adviser’s view of their long-term values and/or historical norms. The Adviser analyzes segments of the credit securities markets based upon various factors, including economic and market conditions and outlooks, securities valuations, investment opportunities and risk analysis, and credit market trends, to identify those segments that the Adviser believes are undervalued or trading below historical norms. The Adviser also analyzes various individual credit securities to identify those securities whose current prices or spreads are believed to be undervalued. The Adviser has the flexibility to allocate the Fund’s assets across various segments of the credit securities market and may focus on particular countries, regions, asset classes and sectors to the exclusion of others at any time and from time to time. The Fund’s investment policy is predicated upon the belief that thorough and independent credit research combined with thoughtful credit allocation decisions are rewarded with the potential to outperform applicable benchmarks for long-term investors.
Credit securities in which the Fund may invest consist of: corporate bonds, loans and loan participations and assignments, asset-backed securities, mortgage-backed securities, U.S. Government and agency securities, mezzanine and preferred securities, convertible securities, commercial paper, municipal securities and sovereign government and supranational debt securities.
An open-end fund may be purchased or sold at NAV, plus sales charge in some cases. An open-end fund will issue new shares when an investor wants to purchases shares in the fund and will sell assets to redeem shares when an investor wants to sell shares. When selling an open-end fund the price the seller receives is established at the close of the market when the NAV is calculated. Unlike the open-end fund, a closed-end fund has a limited number of shares outstanding and trades on an exchange at the market price based on supply and demand. An investor may purchase or sell shares at market price while the exchange is open. The common shares may trade at a discount or premium to the NAV.
DRIP is the Dividend Reinvestment Plan. The DRIP price is the cost per share for all participants in the reinvestment plan. The DRIP price is determined by one of two scenarios. One, if the Common Shares are trading at a discount, the DRIP price is the weighted average cost to purchase the Common Shares from the NYSE or elsewhere. Lastly, if the Common Shares are trading at a premium, the DRIP price is the determined either the higher of the NAV or approximately 95% of the Common Share price.
Guggenheim Funds Investment Advisors, LLC
227 West Monroe Street
Chicago, IL 60606
Guggenheim Partners Investment Management, LLC
100 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 500
Santa Monica, CA 90401
Mr. Minerd is Chairman of Investments and Global Chief Investment Officer at Guggenheim. Mr. Minerd guides the firm’s investment strategies and oversees client accounts across a broad range of fixed-income and equity securities. Previously, Mr. Minerd was a Managing Director with Credit Suisse First Boston in charge of trading and risk management for the Fixed Income Credit Trading Group. In this position, he was responsible for the corporate bond, preferred stock, money markets, U.S. government agency and sovereign debt, derivatives securities, structured debt and interest rate swaps trading business units. Prior to that, Mr. Minerd was Morgan Stanley’s London based European Capital Markets Products Trading and Risk Manager responsible for Eurobonds, Euro-MTNs, domestic European Bonds, FRNs, derivative securities and money market products in 12 European currencies and Asian markets. Mr. Minerd has also held capital markets positions with Merrill Lynch and Continental Bank. Prior to that, he was a Certified Public Accountant and worked for the public accounting firm of Price Waterhouse. Mr. Minerd is a member of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s Investor Advisory Committee on Financial Markets, helping advise the NY Fed President and senior management at the bank about the current financial markets and ways the public and private sectors can better understand and mitigate systematic risks. Mr. Minerd also works with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), advising on research and analysis of private sector infrastructure investment, and is a contributing member of the World Economic Forum (WEF). He is a regularly featured guest and contributor to leading financial media outlets, including The Wall Street Journal, The Financial Times, Bloomberg, and CNBC, where he shares insights on today’s financial climate. Mr. Minerd holds a B.S. degree in Economics from the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, and has completed graduate work at the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business and the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.
Ms. Walsh joined Guggenheim in 2007 and is head of the Portfolio Construction Group (“PCG”) where she oversees more than $100 billion in fixed income investments including Agencies, Credit, Municipals, Residential Mortgage Backed Securities, Commercial Mortgage Backed Securities and Asset Backed Securities across several Guggenheim affiliates. The PCG is responsible for sector allocation, risk management and hedging strategies for client portfolios, and conveying Guggenheim’s macro-economic outlook to Portfolio Managers and fixed income Sector Specialists. Ms. Walsh specializes in liability driven portfolio management. With more than 29 years in the investment management industry, including roles as a money manager and as a selector of money managers, Ms. Walsh is well suited to understand the needs of institutional clients and how to address them. Prior to joining Guggenheim, Ms. Walsh served as Chief Investment Officer at Reinsurance Group of America, Incorporated, a recognized leader in the global life reinsurance industry. Prior to joining RG A in 2000, Ms. Walsh served as Vice President and Senior Investment Consultant for Zurich Scudder Investments. Earlier, she held roles at Lincoln Investment Management and American Bankers Insurance Group. Ms. Walsh received her BSBA and MBA from Auburn University and her J.D. from the University of Miami School of Law. She has earned the right to use the Chartered Financial Analyst® designation and is a member of the CFA Institute.
Mr. Gundersen joined Guggenheim in 2002. Mr. Gundersen is a Senior Managing Director and Portfolio Manager for Guggenheim’s Corporate Credit Strategies and is a member of the Investment Committee overseeing Guggenheim’s corporate credit investing activities. He has ten years’ experience in the high yield and leverage loan asset class. Since joining Guggenheim, Mr. Gundersen has been instrumental in the growth of the Corporate Credit business. During his career at the firm, Mr. Gundersen has been an analyst covering a variety of sectors, and subsequently led an industry team that focused on investing across the capital structure in the media, telecommunications and technology sectors. In addition, in his capacity as a senior analyst and as a team leader, Mr. Gundersen has sourced and structured directly negotiated middle market debt investments. Prior to joining Guggenheim, Mr. Gundersen worked at GeoTrust, a technology company focused on eCommerce security solutions. Mr. Gundersen received his A.B. from Harvard University. He has earned the right to use the Chartered Financial Analyst® designation and is a member of the CFA Institute.
Mr. Hauser joined Guggenheim in 2002 and is a member of Guggenheim’s Corporate Credit Group. He is also a member of the Investment Committee overseeing Guggenheim’s corporate credit investing activities. Prior to his role as a portfolio manager, Mr. Hauser led a team covering a variety of sectors including technology, media and telecom, education, metals and mining, homebuilding, healthcare, and energy and power. He has substantial experience in the high yield and leverage loan class. During his career at the firm, Mr. Hauser has been an analyst covering a variety of sectors, including the energy, power, transportation and chemical sectors. Mr. Hauser received his B.S. in Finance from St. Johns University.
Mr. de Wet joined Guggenheim Partners in March 2013 from PIMCO where he spent 6 years and was part of the team that established PIMCO’s New York Portfolio Management presence. He has more than 10 years of Investment Management experience across Multi-Sector Credit, Emerging Markets and Equities. Previously Mr. de Wet worked in Investment Banking at Lehman Brothers and Barclays Capital in Mergers and Acquisitions and Restructuring Advisory, and as an Assistant Vice President at the TCW Group. Mr. de Wet received a BBA in Finance and International Business from George Washington University and an MBA from Columbia Business School.
Investors should consider the following risk factors and special considerations associated with investing in the Trust. An investment in the Trust is subject to 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, including the possible loss of the entire principal amount that you invest. An investment in the Common Shares of the Fund represents an indirect investment in the securities owned by the Fund. The value of those securities may fluctuate, sometimes rapidly and unpredictably. The value of the securities owned by the Fund will affect the value of the Common Shares. At any point in time, your Common Shares may be worth less than your original investment, including the reinvestment of Fund dividends and distributions.
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.
The income investors receive from the Fund is based primarily on the interest it earns from its investments in Income Securities, which can vary widely over the short- and long-term. If prevailing market interest rates drop, investors’ income from the Fund could drop as well. The Fund’s income could also be affected adversely when prevailing short-term interest rates increase and the Fund is utilizing leverage, although this risk is mitigated to the extent the Fund invests in floating-rate obligations.
Dividends on common stock and other Common Equity Securities which the Fund may hold are not fixed but are declared at the discretion of an issuer’s board of directors. There is no guarantee that the issuers of the Common Equity Securities in which the Fund invests will declare dividends in the future or that, if declared, they will remain at current levels or increase over time. The dividend income from the Fund’s investment in Common Equity Securities will be influenced by both general economic activity and issuer-specific factors. In the event of adverse changes in economic conditions or adverse events effecting a specific industry or issuer, the issuers of the Common Equity Securities held by the Fund may reduce the dividends paid on such securities.
Income Securities Risk
In addition to the risks discussed above, Income Securities, including high-yield bonds, are subject to certain risks, including:
Issuer Risk. The value of Income Securities may decline for a number of reasons which directly relate to the issuer, such as management performance, financial leverage, reduced demand for the issuer’s goods and services, historical and projected earnings, and the value of its assets.
Spread Risk. Spread risk is the risk that the market price can change due to broad based movements in spreads, which is particularly relevant in the current low spread environment.
Credit Risk. Credit risk is the risk that one or more debt obligations in the Fund’s portfolio will decline in price, or fail to pay interest or principal when due, because the issuer of the obligation experiences a decline in its financial status.
Interest Rate Risk. Interest rate risk is the risk that Income Securities will decline in value because of changes in market interest rates. When market interest rates rise, the market value of Income Securities generally will fall. These risks may be greater in the current market environment because interest rates are at historically low levels. The prices of longer-term securities fluctuate more than prices of shorter-term securities as interest rates change. The Fund’s use of leverage, as described below, will tend to increase common share interest rate risk. The Fund may utilize certain strategies, including taking positions in futures or interest rate swaps, for the purpose of reducing the interest rate sensitivity of credit securities held by the Fund and decreasing the Fund’s exposure to interest rate risk. The Fund is not required to hedge its exposure to interest rate risk and may choose not to do so. In addition, there is no assurance that any attempts by the Fund to reduce interest rate risk will be successful or that any hedges that the Fund may establish will perfectly correlate with movements in interest rates. The Fund may invest in variable and floating rate debt instruments, which generally are less sensitive to interest rate changes than fixed rate instruments, but generally will not increase in value if interest rates decline.
Reinvestment Risk. Reinvestment risk is the risk that income from the Fund’s portfolio will decline if the Fund invests the proceeds from matured, traded or called Income Securities at market interest rates that are below the Fund portfolio’s current earnings rate. A decline in income could affect the Common Shares’ market price or the overall return of the Fund.
Prepayment Risk. During periods of declining interest rates, borrowers may exercise their option to prepay principal earlier than scheduled, forcing the Fund to reinvest in lower yielding securities. This is known as call or prepayment risk. Income Securities frequently have call features that allow the issuer to repurchase the security prior to its stated maturity. An issuer may redeem an obligation if the issuer can refinance the debt at a lower cost due to declining interest rates or an improvement in the credit standing of the issuer.
Liquidity Risk. The Fund may invest without limitation in Income Securities for which there is no readily available trading market or which are otherwise illiquid, including certain high-yield bonds. The Fund may not be able to readily dispose of illiquid securities and obligations at prices that approximate those at which the Fund could sell such securities and obligations if they were more widely traded and, as a result of such illiquidity, the Fund may have to sell other investments or engage in borrowing transactions if necessary to raise cash to meet its obligations. In addition, limited liquidity could affect the market price of Income Securities, thereby adversely affecting the Fund’s net asset value and ability to make distributions.
Valuation of Certain Income Securities Risk. The Sub-Adviser may use the fair value method to value investments if market quotations for them are not readily available or are deemed unreliable, or if events occurring after the close of a securities market and before the Fund values its assets would materially affect net asset value. Because the secondary markets for certain investments may be limited, they may be difficult to value. Where market quotations are not readily available, valuation may require more research than for more liquid investments. In addition, elements of judgment may play a greater role in valuation in such cases than for investments with a more active secondary market because there is less reliable objective data available. A security that is fair valued may be valued at a price higher or lower than the value determined by other funds using their own fair valuation procedures. Prices obtained by the Fund upon the sale of such securities may not equal the value at which the Fund carried the investment on its books, which would adversely affect the net asset value of the Fund.
Duration and Maturity Risk. The Fund has no set policy regarding portfolio maturity or duration. Holding long duration and long maturity investments will expose the Fund to certain magnified risks. These risks include interest rate risk, credit risk and liquidity risks as discussed above. Generally speaking, the longer the duration of the Fund’s portfolio, the more exposure the Fund will have to interest rate risk described above.
Lower Grade Securities Risk
The Fund may invest in fixed-income securities rated below investment grade (that is, rated Ba or lower by Moody's; BB or lower by S&P; comparably rated by another statistical rating organization; or, if unrated, as determined by the Sub-Adviser to be of comparable credit quality), which are commonly referred to as "junk bonds." Investment in securities of below-investment grade quality involves substantial risk of loss. Securities of below investment grade quality are predominantly speculative with respect to the issuer's capacity to pay interest and repay principal when due and therefore involve a greater risk of default or decline in market value due to adverse economic and issuer-specific developments. Securities of below investment grade quality display increased price sensitivity to changing interest rates and to a deteriorating economic environment. The market values for debt securities of below-investment grade quality tend to be more volatile and such securities tend to be less liquid than investment grade debt securities.
Corporate Bond Risk
The market value of a corporate bond may be affected by factors directly related to the issuer, such as investors’ perceptions of the creditworthiness of the issuer, the issuer’s financial performance, perceptions of the issuer in the market place, performance of management of the issuer, the issuer’s capital structure and use of financial leverage and demand for the issuer’s goods and services. There is a risk that the issuers of corporate bonds may not be able to meet their obligations on interest or principal payments at the time called for by an instrument. Corporate bonds of below investment grade quality are often high risk and have speculative characteristics and may be particularly susceptible to adverse issuer-specific developments. Corporate bonds of below investment grade quality are subject to the risks described herein under “Risks—Below Investment Grade Securities Risk.”
Senior Loans Risk
The Fund may invest in senior secured floating rate Loans made to corporations and other non-governmental entities and issuers (“Senior Loans”). The risks associated with Senior Loans of below-investment grade quality are similar to the risks of other lower grade Income Securities, although Senior Loans are typically senior and secured in contrast to subordinated and unsecured Income Securities. Senior Loans’ higher standing has historically resulted in generally higher recoveries in the event of a corporate reorganization. In addition, because their interest payments are adjusted for changes in short-term interest rates, investments in Senior Loans generally have less interest rate risk than other lower grade Income Securities, which may have fixed interest rates. The Fund’s investments in Senior Loans are typically below-investment grade and are considered speculative because of the credit risk of their issuers. Such companies are more likely to default on their payments of interest and principal owed to the Fund, and such defaults could reduce the Fund’s net asset value and income distributions. An economic downturn generally leads to a higher non-payment rate, and a debt obligation may lose significant value before a default occurs. Moreover, any specific collateral used to secure a Senior Loan may decline in value or become illiquid, which would adversely affect the Senior Loan’s value.
Economic and other events (whether real or perceived) can reduce the demand for certain Senior Loans or Senior Loans generally, which may reduce market prices and cause the Fund’s net asset value per share to fall. The frequency and magnitude of such changes cannot be predicted.
Loans and other debt instruments are also subject to the risk of price declines due to increases in prevailing interest rates, although floating-rate debt instruments are substantially less exposed to this risk than fixed-rate debt instruments. Interest rate changes may also increase prepayments of debt obligations and require the Fund to invest assets at lower yields. No active trading market may exist for certain Senior Loans, which may impair the ability of the Fund to realize full value in the event of the need to liquidate such assets. Adverse market conditions may impair the liquidity of some actively traded Senior Loans.
Second Lien Loans Risk
The Fund may invest in “second lien” secured floating rate Loans made by public and private corporations and other non-governmental entities and issuers for a variety of purposes (“Second Lien Loans”). Second Lien Loans are second in right of payment to one or more Senior Loans of the related borrower. Second Lien Loans are subject to the same risks associated with investment in Senior Loans and other lower grade Income Securities. However, Second Lien Loans are second in right of payment to Senior Loans and therefore are subject to the additional risk that the cash flow of the borrower and any property securing the Loan may be insufficient to meet scheduled payments after giving effect to the senior secured obligations of the borrower. Second Lien Loans are expected to have greater price volatility and exposure to losses upon default than Senior Loans and may be less liquid.
Subordinated Secured Loans Risk
Subordinated secured Loans generally are subject to similar risks as those associated with investment in Senior Loans, Second Lien Loans and below investment grade securities. However, such loans may rank lower in right of payment than any outstanding Senior Loans, Second Lien Loans or other debt instruments with higher priority of the Borrower and therefore are subject to additional risk that the cash flow of the Borrower and any property securing the loan may be insufficient to meet scheduled payments and repayment of principal in the event of default or bankruptcy after giving effect to the higher ranking secured obligations of the Borrower. Subordinated secured Loans are expected to have greater price volatility than Senior Loans and Second Lien Loans and may be less liquid.
Unsecured Loans Risk
Unsecured Loans generally are subject to similar risks as those associated with investment in Senior Loans, Second Lien Loans, subordinated secured Loans and below investment grade securities. However, because unsecured Loans have lower priority in right of payment to any higher ranking obligations of the Borrower and are not backed by a security interest in any specific collateral, they are subject to additional risk that the cash flow of the Borrower and available assets may be insufficient to meet scheduled payments and repayment of principal after giving effect to any higher ranking obligations of the Borrower. Unsecured Loans are expected to have greater price volatility than Senior Loans, Second Lien Loans and subordinated secured Loans and may be less liquid.
Loan Participations and Assignments Risk
The Fund may purchase Loans on a direct assignment basis from a participant in the original syndicate of lenders or from subsequent assignees of such interests. The Fund may also purchase, without limitation, participations in Loans. The purchaser of an assignment typically succeeds to all the rights and obligations of the assigning institution and becomes a lender under the credit agreement with respect to the debt obligation; however, the purchaser’s rights can be more restricted than those of the assigning institution, and, in any event, the Fund may not be able to unilaterally enforce all rights and remedies under the loan and with regard to any associated collateral. A participation typically results in a contractual relationship only with the institution participating out the interest, not with the Borrower. In purchasing participations, the Fund generally will have no right to enforce compliance by the Borrower with the terms of the loan agreement against the Borrower, and the Fund may not directly benefit from the collateral supporting the debt obligation in which it has purchased the participation. As a result, the Fund will be exposed to the credit risk of both the Borrower and the institution selling the participation. Further, in purchasing participations in lending syndicates, the Fund may not be able to conduct the same due diligence on the Borrower with respect to a Senior Loan that the Fund would otherwise conduct. In addition, as a holder of the participations, the Fund may not have voting rights or inspection rights that the Fund would otherwise have if it were investing directly in the Senior Loan, which may result in the Fund being exposed to greater credit or fraud risk with respect to the Borrower or the Senior Loan. Lenders selling a participation and other persons interpositioned between the lender and the Fund with respect to a participation will likely conduct their principal business activities in the banking, finance and financial services industries. Because the Fund may invest in participations, the Fund may be more susceptible to economic, political or regulatory occurrences affecting such industries.
Certain of the loan participations or assignments acquired by the Fund may involve unfunded commitments of the lenders, revolving credit facilities, delayed draw credit facilities or other investments under which a borrower may from time to time borrow and repay amounts up to the maximum amount of the facility. In such cases, the Fund would have an obligation to advance its portion of such additional borrowings upon the terms specified in the loan documentation. Such an obligation may have the effect of requiring the Fund to increase its investment in a company at a time when it might not be desirable to do so (including at a time when the company’s financial condition makes it unlikely that such amounts will be repaid). These commitments are generally subject to the borrowers meeting certain criteria such as compliance with covenants and certain operational metrics. The terms of the borrowings and financings subject to commitment are comparable to the terms of other loans and related investments in the Fund’s portfolio.
Mezzanine Investments Risk
The Fund may invest in certain lower grade securities known as “Mezzanine Investments,” which are subordinated debt securities that are generally issued in private placements in connection with an equity security (e.g., with attached warrants) or may be convertible into equity securities. Mezzanine Investments are subject to the same risks associated with investment in Senior Loans, Second Lien Loans and other lower grade Income Securities. However, Mezzanine Investments may rank lower in right of payment than any outstanding Senior Loans and Second Lien Loans of the borrower, or may be unsecured (i.e., not backed by a security interest in any specific collateral), and are subject to the additional risk that the cash flow of the borrower and available assets may be insufficient to meet scheduled payments after giving effect to any higher ranking obligations of the borrower. Mezzanine Investments are expected to have greater price volatility and exposure to losses upon default than Senior Loans and Second Lien Loans and may be less liquid.
Preferred Stock Risk
The Fund may invest in preferred stock, which represents the senior residual interest in the assets of an issuer after meeting all claims, with priority to corporate income and liquidation payments over the issuer’s common stock. As such, preferred stock is inherently more risky than the bonds and other debt instruments of the issuer, but less risky than its common stock. Certain preferred stocks contain provisions that allow an issuer under certain conditions to skip (in the case of “non-cumulative” preferred stocks) or defer (in the case of “cumulative” preferred stocks) dividend payments. Preferred stocks often contain provisions that allow for redemption in the event of certain tax or legal changes or at the issuer’s call. Preferred stocks typically do not provide any voting rights, except in cases when dividends are in arrears beyond a certain time period. There is no assurance that dividends on preferred stocks in which the Fund invests will be declared or otherwise made payable. If the Fund owns preferred stock that is deferring its distributions, the Fund may be required to report income for U.S. federal income tax purposes while it is not receiving cash payments corresponding to such income. When interest rates fall below the rate payable on an issue of preferred stock or for other reasons, the issuer may redeem the preferred stock, generally after an initial period of call protection in which the stock is not redeemable. Preferred stocks may be significantly less liquid than many other securities, such as U.S. Government securities, corporate debt and common stock.
Convertible Securities Risk
The Fund may invest in convertible securities, which include bonds, debentures, notes, preferred stocks and other securities that entitle the holder to acquire common stock or other equity securities of the issuer. Convertible securities generally offer lower interest or dividend yields than non-convertible securities of similar quality. As with all Income Securities, the market values of convertible securities tend to decline as interest rates increase and, conversely, to increase as interest rates decline. Convertible securities also tend to reflect the market price of the underlying common stock in varying degrees, depending on the relationship of such market price to the conversion price in terms of the convertible security. Convertible securities rank senior to common stock in an issuer’s capital structure and consequently entail less risk than the issuer’s common stock.
Distressed And Defaulted Securities Risk
Investments in the securities of financially distressed issuers involve substantial risks. These securities may present a substantial risk of default or may be in default at the time of investment. The Fund may incur additional expenses to the extent it is required to seek recovery upon a default in the payment of principal or interest on its portfolio holdings. In any reorganization or liquidation proceeding relating to a portfolio company, the Fund may lose its entire investment or may be required to accept cash or securities with a value less than its original investment. Among the risks inherent in investments in a troubled entity is the fact that it frequently may be difficult to obtain information as to the true financial condition of such issuer. The Adviser’s judgment about the credit quality of the issuer and the relative value and liquidity of its securities may prove to be wrong.
Structured Finance Investments Risk
The Fund’s structured finance investments may include residential and commercial mortgage-related and other asset-backed securities issued by governmental entities and private issuers. Holders of structured finance investments bear risks of the underlying investments, index or reference obligation and are subject to counterparty risk. The Fund may have the right to receive payments only from the structured product, and generally does not have direct rights against the issuer or the entity that sold the assets to be securitized. While certain structured finance investments enable the investor to acquire interests in a pool of securities without the brokerage and other expenses associated with directly holding the same securities, investors in structured finance investments generally pay their share of the structured product’s administrative and other expenses. Although it is difficult to predict whether the prices of indices and securities underlying structured finance investments will rise or fall, these prices (and, therefore, the prices of structured finance investments) will be influenced by the same types of political and economic events that affect issuers of securities and capital markets generally. If the issuer of a structured product uses shorter term financing to purchase longer term securities, the issuer may be forced to sell its securities at below market prices if it experiences difficulty in obtaining short-term financing, which may adversely affect the value of the structured finance investment owned by the Fund.
The Fund may invest in structured finance products collateralized by low grade or defaulted loans or securities. Investments in such structured finance products are subject to the risks associated with below investment grade securities. Such securities are characterized by high risk. It is likely that an economic recession could severely disrupt the market for such securities and may have an adverse impact on the value of such securities.
The Fund may invest in senior and subordinated classes issued by structured finance vehicles. The payment of cash flows from the underlying assets to senior classes take precedence over those of subordinated classes, and therefore subordinated classes are subject to greater risk. Furthermore, the leveraged nature of subordinated classes may magnify the adverse impact on such class of changes in the value of the assets, changes in the distributions on the assets, defaults and recoveries on the assets, capital gains and losses on the assets, prepayment on assets and availability, price and interest rates of assets.
Structured finance securities are typically privately offered and sold, and thus are not registered under the securities laws. As a result, investments in structured finance securities may be characterized by the Fund as illiquid securities; however, an active dealer market may exist which would allow such securities to be considered liquid in some circumstances.
Mortgage-Backed Securities Risk. Mortgage-backed securities represent an interest in a pool of mortgages. The risks associated with mortgage-backed securities include: (1) credit risk associated with the performance of the underlying mortgage properties and of the borrowers owning these properties; (2) adverse changes in economic conditions and circumstances, which are more likely to have an adverse impact on mortgage-backed securities secured by loans on certain types of commercial properties than on those secured by loans on residential properties; (3) prepayment risk, which can lead to significant fluctuations in the value of the mortgage-backed security; (4) loss of all or part of the premium, if any, paid; and (5) decline in the market value of the security, whether resulting from changes in interest rates, prepayments on the underlying mortgage collateral or perceptions of the credit risk associated with the underlying mortgage collateral. The value of mortgage-backed securities may be substantially dependent on the servicing of the underlying pool of mortgages.
When market interest rates decline, more mortgages are refinanced and the securities are paid off earlier than expected. Prepayments may also occur on a scheduled basis or due to foreclosure. When market interest rates increase, the market values of mortgage-backed securities decline. At the same time, however, mortgage refinancings and prepayments slow, which lengthens the effective maturities of these securities. As a result, the negative effect of the rate increase on the market value of mortgage-backed securities is usually more pronounced than it is for other types of debt securities. In addition, due to increased instability in the credit markets, the market for some mortgage-backed securities has experienced reduced liquidity and greater volatility with respect to the value of such securities, making it more difficult to value such securities. The Fund may invest in sub-prime mortgages or mortgage-backed securities that are backed by sub-prime mortgages.
Moreover, the relationship between prepayments and interest rates may give some high-yielding mortgage-related and asset-backed securities less potential for growth in value than conventional bonds with comparable maturities. In addition, in periods of falling interest rates, the rate of prepayments tends to increase. During such periods, the reinvestment of prepayment proceeds by the Fund will generally be at lower rates than the rates that were carried by the obligations that have been prepaid. Because of these and other reasons, mortgage-related and asset-backed securities’ total return and maturity may be difficult to predict precisely. To the extent that the Fund purchases mortgage-related and asset-backed securities at a premium, prepayments (which may be made without penalty) may result in loss of the Fund’s principal investment to the extent of premium paid.
Mortgage-backed securities generally are classified as either commercial mortgage-backed securities (“CMBS”) or residential mortgage-backed securities (“RMBS”), each of which are subject to certain specific risks.
Commercial Mortgage-Backed Securities Risk. The market for CMBS developed more recently and, in terms of total outstanding principal amount of issues, is relatively small compared to the market for residential single-family mortgage-related securities. CMBS are subject to particular risks, including lack of standardized terms, have shorter maturities than residential mortgage loans and provide for payment of all or substantially all of the principal only at maturity rather than regular amortization of principal. In addition, commercial lending generally is viewed as exposing the lender to a greater risk of loss than one-to-four family residential lending. Commercial lending typically involves larger loans to single borrowers or groups of related borrowers than residential one-to-four family mortgage loans. In addition, the repayment of loans secured by income producing properties typically is dependent upon the successful operation of the related real estate project and the cash flow generated therefrom. Net operating income of an income-producing property can be affected by, among other things: tenant mix, success of tenant businesses, property management decisions, property location and condition, competition from comparable types of properties, changes in laws that increase operating expense or limit rents that may be charged, any need to address environmental contamination at the property, the occurrence of any uninsured casualty at the property, changes in national, regional or local economic conditions and/or specific industry segments, declines in regional or local real estate values, declines in regional or local rental or occupancy rates, increases in interest rates, real estate tax rates and other operating expenses, change in governmental rules, regulations and fiscal policies, including environmental legislation, acts of God, terrorism, social unrest and civil disturbances. Consequently, adverse changes in economic conditions and circumstances are more likely to have an adverse impact on mortgage-related securities secured by loans on commercial properties than on those secured by loans on residential properties. Additional risks may be presented by the type and use of a particular commercial property. Special risks are presented by hospitals, nursing homes, hospitality properties and certain other property types. Commercial property values and net operating income are subject to volatility, which may result in net operating income becoming insufficient to cover debt service on the related mortgage loan. The exercise of remedies and successful realization of liquidation proceeds relating to CMBS may be highly dependent on the performance of the servicer or special servicer. There may be a limited number of special servicers available, particularly those that do not have conflicts of interest.
Residential Mortgage-Backed Securities Risk. Credit-related risk on RMBS arises from losses due to delinquencies and defaults by the borrowers in payments on the underlying mortgage loans and breaches by originators and servicers of their obligations under the underlying documentation pursuant to which the RMBS are issued. The rate of delinquencies and defaults on residential mortgage loans and the aggregate amount of the resulting losses will be affected by a number of factors, including general economic conditions, particularly those in the area where the related mortgaged property is located, the level of the borrower’s equity in the mortgaged property and the individual financial circumstances of the borrower. If a residential mortgage loan is in default, foreclosure on the related residential property may be a lengthy and difficult process involving significant legal and other expenses. The net proceeds obtained by the holder on a residential mortgage loan following the foreclosure on the related property may be less than the total amount that remains due on the loan. The prospect of incurring a loss upon the foreclosure of the related property may lead the holder of the residential mortgage loan to restructure the residential mortgage loan or otherwise delay the foreclosure process.
Sub-Prime Mortgage Market Risk. The residential mortgage market in the United States has experienced difficulties that may adversely affect the performance and market value of certain mortgages and mortgage-related securities. Delinquencies and losses on residential mortgage loans (especially sub-prime and second-line mortgage loans) generally have increased recently and may continue to increase, and a decline in or flattening of housing values (as has recently been experienced and may continue to be experienced in many housing markets) may exacerbate such delinquencies and losses. Borrowers with adjustable rate mortgage loans are more sensitive to changes in interest rates, which affect their monthly mortgage payments, and may be unable to secure replacement mortgages at comparably low interest rates. Also, a number of residential mortgage loan originators have experienced serious financial difficulties or bankruptcy. Largely due to the foregoing, reduced investor demand for mortgage loans and mortgage-related securities and increased investor yield requirements have caused limited liquidity in the secondary market for mortgage-related securities, which can adversely affect the market value of mortgage-related securities. It is possible that such limited liquidity in such secondary markets could continue or worsen. If the economy of the United States deteriorates further, the incidence of mortgage foreclosures, especially sub-prime mortgages, may increase, which may adversely affect the value of any mortgage-backed securities owned by the Fund.
The significance of the mortgage crisis and loan defaults in residential mortgage loan sectors led to the enactment of numerous pieces of legislation relating to the mortgage and housing markets. These actions, along with future legislation or regulation, may have significant impacts on the mortgage market generally and may result in a reduction of available transactional opportunities for the Fund or an increase in the cost associated with such transactions and may adversely impact the value of RMBS.
During the mortgage crisis, a number of originators and servicers of residential and commercial mortgage loans, including some of the largest originators and servicers in the residential and commercial mortgage loan market, experienced serious financial difficulties. Such difficulties may affect the performance of non-agency RMBS and CMBS. There can be no assurance that originators and servicers of mortgage loans will not continue to experience serious financial difficulties or experience such difficulties in the future, including becoming subject to bankruptcy or insolvency proceedings, or that underwriting procedures and policies and protections against fraud will be sufficient in the future to prevent such financial difficulties or significant levels of default or delinquency on mortgage loans.
Asset-Backed Securities Risk. In addition to the general risks associated with credit securities discussed herein and the risks discussed under “Structured Finance Investments Risks,” ABS are subject to additional risks. ABS involve certain risks in addition to those presented by MBS. ABS do not have the benefit of the same security interest in the underlying collateral as MBS and are more dependent on the borrower’s ability to pay and may provide the Fund with a less effective security interest in the related collateral than do MBS. There is the possibility that recoveries on the underlying collateral may not, in some cases, be available to support payments on these securities. The collateral underlying ABS may constitute assets related to a wide range of industries and sectors, such as credit card and automobile receivables or other assets derived from consumer, commercial or corporate sectors. For example, ABS can be collateralized with credit card and automobile receivables. Credit card receivables are generally unsecured, and the debtors are entitled to the protection of a number of state and federal consumer credit laws, many of which give debtors the right to set off certain amounts owed on the credit cards, thereby reducing the balance due.
Most issuers of automobile receivables permit the servicers to retain possession of the underlying obligations. If the servicer were to sell these obligations to another party, there is a risk that the purchaser would acquire an interest superior to that of the holders of the related automobile receivables. In addition, because of the large number of vehicles involved in a typical issuance and technical requirements under state laws, the trustee for the holders of the automobile receivables may not have an effective security interest in all of the obligations backing such receivables. If the economy of the United States deteriorates, defaults on securities backed by credit card, automobile and other receivables may increase, which may adversely affect the value of any ABS owned by the Fund. In recent years, certain automobile manufacturers have been granted access to emergency loans from the U.S. Government and have experienced bankruptcy. As a result of these events, the value of securities backed by receivables from the sale or lease of automobiles may be adversely affected.
If the economy of the United States deteriorates, defaults on securities backed by credit card, automobile and other receivables may increase, which may adversely affect the value of any ABS owned by the Fund. In addition, these securities may provide the Fund with a less effective security interest in the related collateral than do mortgage-related securities. Therefore, there is the possibility that recoveries on the underlying collateral may not, in some cases, be available to support payments on these securities. ABS collateralized by other types of assets are subject to risks associated with the underlying collateral.
CLO, CDO and CBO Risk. In addition to the general risks associated with debt securities discussed herein, CLOs, collateralized debt obligations (“CDOs”), and collateralized bond obligations (“CBOs”) are subject to additional risks. CLOs, CDOs and CBOs are subject to risks associated with the possibility that distributions from collateral securities will not be adequate to make interest or other payments; the quality of the collateral may decline in value or default; and the complex structure of the security may not be fully understood at the time of investment and may produce disputes with the issuer or unexpected investment results. The credit quality of CLOs, CDOs, and CBOs depends primarily upon the quality of the underlying assets and the level of credit support and/or enhancement provided. The underlying assets (e.g., debt obligations) of CLOs, CDOs and CBOs are subject to prepayments, which shorten the weighted average maturity and may lower the return of the securities issued by the CLOs, CDOs, and CBOs. If the credit support or enhancement is exhausted, losses or delays in payment may result if the required payments of principal and interest are not made. The value of securities issued by CLOs, CDOs, and CBOs also may change because of changes in market value; changes in the market’s perception of the creditworthiness of the servicing agent for the pool, the originator of the pool, or the financial institution or fund providing the credit support or enhancement; loan performance and prices; broader sentiment and standing in the economic cycle, including expectations regarding future loan defaults; liquidity conditions; and supply and demand at the various tranche levels. Finally, CLOs, CDOs and CBOs are limited recourse and may not be paid in full and may be subject to up to 100% loss.
The Fund may invest in any portion of the capital structure of CLOs (including the subordinated, residual and deep mezzanine debt tranches). Investment in the subordinated tranche is subject to special risks. The subordinated tranche does not receive ratings and is considered the riskiest portion of the capital structure of a CLO. The subordinated tranche is junior in priority of payment to the more senior tranches of the CLO and is subject to certain payment restrictions. As a result, the subordinated tranche bears the bulk of defaults from the loans in the CLO. In addition, the subordinated tranche generally has only limited voting rights and generally does not benefit from any creditors’ rights or ability to exercise remedies under the indenture governing the CLO notes. Certain mezzanine tranches in which the Fund may invest may also be subject to certain risks similar to risks associated with investment in the subordinated tranche.
The subordinated tranche is unsecured and ranks behind all of the secured creditors, known or unknown, of the CLO issuer, including the holders of the secured notes it has issued. Consequently, to the extent that the value of the issuer’s portfolio of loan investments has been reduced as a result of conditions in the credit markets, defaulted loans, capital gains and losses on the underlying assets, prepayment or changes in interest rates, the value of the subordinated tranche realized at redemption could be reduced. Accordingly, the subordinated tranche may not be paid in full and may be subject to up to 100% loss. The leveraged nature of subordinated notes may magnify the adverse impact on the subordinated notes of changes in the market value of the investments held by the issuer, changes in the distributions on those investments, defaults and recoveries on those investments, capital gains and losses on those investments, prepayments on those investments and availability, prices and interest rates of those investments. Investments in the subordinated tranche of a CLO are generally less liquid than CLO debt tranches and subject to extensive transfer restrictions, and there may be no market for subordinated notes. Certain mezzanine tranches in which the Fund may invest may also be subject to certain risks similar to risks associated with investment in the subordinated tranche.
Risks Associated with Risk-Linked Securities. RLS are a form of derivative issued by insurance companies and insurance-related special purpose vehicles that apply securitization techniques to catastrophic property and casualty damages. Unlike other insurable low-severity, high-probability events (such as auto collision coverage), the insurance risk of which can be diversified by writing large numbers of similar policies, the holders of a typical RLS are exposed to the risks from high-severity, low-probability events such as that posed by major earthquakes or hurricanes. RLS represent a method of reinsurance, by which insurance companies transfer their own portfolio risk to other reinsurance companies and, in the case of RLS, to the capital markets. A typical RLS provides for income and return of capital similar to other fixed-income investments, but involves full or partial default if losses resulting from a certain catastrophe exceeded a predetermined amount. In essence, investors invest funds in RLS and if a catastrophe occurs that “triggers” the RLS, investors may lose some or all of the capital invested. In the case of an event, the funds are paid to the bond sponsor — an insurer, reinsurer or corporation — to cover losses. In return, the bond sponsors pay interest to investors for this catastrophe protection. RLS can be structured to pay-off on three types of variables—insurance-industry catastrophe loss indices, insure-specific catastrophe losses and parametric indices based on the physical characteristics of catastrophic events. Such variables are difficult to predict or model, and the risk and potential return profiles of RLS may be difficult to assess. Catastrophe-related RLS have been in use since the 1990s, and the securitization and risk-transfer aspects of such RLS are beginning to be employed in other insurance and risk-related areas. No active trading market may exist for certain RLS, which may impair the ability of the Fund to realize full value in the event of the need to liquidate such assets.
Risks Associated with Structured Notes. Investments in structured notes involve risks associated with the issuer of the note and the reference instrument. Where the Fund’s investments in structured notes are based upon the movement of one or more factors, including currency exchange rates, interest rates, referenced bonds and stock indices, depending on the factor used and the use of multipliers or deflators, changes in interest rates and movement of the factor may cause significant price fluctuations. Additionally, changes in the reference instrument or security may cause the interest rate on the structured note to be reduced to zero, and any further changes in the reference instrument may then reduce the principal amount payable on maturity. Structured notes may be less liquid than other types of securities and more volatile than the reference instrument or security underlying the note.
Foreign Securities Risk
The Fund may invest without limitation in securities of non-U.S. issuers, including issuers in emerging markets. Investments in the securities of foreign issuers 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 that exists in the United States. Dividend and interest income may be subject to withholding and other foreign taxes, which may adversely affect the net return on such investments. There may be difficulty in obtaining or enforcing a court judgment abroad. In addition, it may be difficult to effect repatriation of capital invested in certain countries. In addition, with respect to certain countries, there are risks of expropriation, confiscatory taxation, political or social instability or diplomatic developments that could affect assets of the Fund held in foreign countries.
There may be less publicly available information about a foreign company than a U.S. company. Foreign securities markets may have substantially less volume than U.S. securities markets and some foreign company securities are less liquid than securities of otherwise comparable U.S. companies. Foreign markets also have different clearance and settlement procedures that could cause the Fund to encounter difficulties in purchasing and selling securities on such markets and may result in the Fund missing attractive investment opportunities or experiencing a loss. In addition, a portfolio that includes foreign securities can expect to have a higher expense ratio because of the increased transaction costs on non-U.S. securities markets and the increased costs of maintaining the custody of foreign securities.
ADRs are receipts issued by United States banks or trust companies in respect of securities of foreign issuers held on deposit for use in the United States securities markets. While ADRs may not necessarily be denominated in the same currency as the securities into which they may be converted, many of the risks associated with foreign securities may also apply to ADRs. In addition, the underlying issuers of certain depositary receipts, particularly unsponsored or unregistered depositary receipts, are under no obligation to distribute shareholder communications to the holders of such receipts, or to pass through to them any voting rights with respect to the deposited securities.
Emerging Markets Risk
The Fund may invest in securities the issuers of which are located in countries considered to be emerging markets, and investments in such securities are considered speculative. Heightened risks of investing in emerging markets government debt include: smaller market capitalization of securities markets, which may suffer periods of relative illiquidity; significant price volatility; restrictions on foreign investment; and potential restrictions on repatriation of investment income and capital. Furthermore, foreign investors may be required to register the proceeds of sales and future economic or political crises could lead to price controls, forced mergers, expropriation or confiscatory taxation, seizure, nationalization or creation of government monopolies. The currencies of emerging market countries may experience significant declines against the U.S. dollar, and devaluation may occur subsequent to investments in these currencies by the Fund. Inflation and rapid fluctuations in inflation rates have had, and may continue to have, negative effects on the economies and securities markets of certain emerging market countries.
Foreign Currency Risk
The value of securities denominated or quoted in foreign currencies may be adversely affected by fluctuations in the relative currency exchange rates and by exchange control regulations. The Fund’s investment performance may be negatively affected by a devaluation of a currency in which the Fund’s investments are denominated or quoted. Further, the Fund’s investment performance may be significantly affected, either positively or negatively, by currency exchange rates because the U.S. dollar value of securities denominated or quoted in another currency will increase or decrease in response to changes in the value of such currency in relation to the U.S. dollar. Finally, the Fund’s distributions are paid in U.S. dollars, and to the extent the Fund’s assets are denominated in currencies other than the U.S. dollar, there is a risk that the value of any distribution from such assets may decrease if the currency in which such assets or distributions are denominated falls in relation to the value of the U.S. dollar. The Fund currently intends to seek to hedge its exposures to foreign currencies but may, at the discretion of the Investment Adviser, at any time limit or eliminate foreign currency hedging activity. To the extent the Fund does not hedge (or is unsuccessful in seeking to hedge) its foreign currency risk, the value of the Fund’s assets and income could be adversely affected by currency exchange rate movements.
Financial Leverage Risk
Although the use of Financial Leverage by the Fund may create an opportunity for increased after-tax total return for the Common Shares, it also results in additional risks and can magnify the effect of any losses. If the income and gains earned on securities purchased with Financial Leverage proceeds are greater than the cost of Financial Leverage, the Fund’s return will be greater than if Financial Leverage had not been used. Conversely, if the income or gains from the securities purchased with such proceeds does not cover the cost of Financial Leverage, the return to the Fund will be less than if Financial Leverage had not been used.
Financial Leverage involves risks and special considerations for shareholders, including the likelihood of greater volatility of net asset value, market price and dividends on the Common Shares than a comparable portfolio without leverage; the risk that fluctuations in interest rates on borrowings and short-term debt or in the dividend rates on any Financial Leverage that the Fund must pay will reduce the return to the Common Shareholders; and the effect of Financial Leverage in a declining market, which is likely to cause a greater decline in the net asset value of the Common Shares than if the Fund were not leveraged, which may result in a greater decline in the market price of the Common Shares.
It is also possible that the Fund will be required to sell assets, possibly at a loss, 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.
If the cost of leverage is no longer favorable, or if the Fund is otherwise required to reduce its leverage, the Fund may not be able to maintain distributions on Common Shares at historical levels and Common Shareholders will bear any costs associated with selling portfolio securities.
Equity Securities Risk
Common Equity Securities prices fluctuate for a number of reasons, including changes in investors’ perceptions of the financial condition of an issuer, the general condition of the relevant stock market and broader domestic and international political and economic events. The prices of Common Equity Securities are also sensitive to general movements in the stock market, so a drop in the stock market may depress the prices of Common Equity Securities to which the Fund has exposure. While broad market measures of common stocks have historically generated higher average returns than debt securities, common stocks have also experienced significantly more volatility in those returns. Common Equity Securities in which the Fund may invest 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 than preferred stock or debt instruments of such issuers. Dividends on Common Equity Securities which the Fund may hold are not fixed but are declared at the discretion of an issuer’s board of directors. There is no guarantee that the issuers of the Common Equity Securities in which the Fund invests will declare dividends in the future or that, if declared, they will remain at current levels or increase over time.
Mid-Cap And Small-Cap Company Risk
Investing in the securities of medium-sized or small market capitalizations (“mid-cap” and “small-cap” companies, respectively) presents some particular investment risks. Mid-cap and small-cap companies may have limited product lines and markets, as well as shorter operating histories, less experienced management and more limited financial resources than larger companies, and may be more vulnerable to adverse general market or economic developments. Securities of mid-cap and small-cap companies may be less liquid than those of larger companies, and may experience greater price fluctuations than larger companies. In addition, mid-cap or small-cap company securities may not be widely followed by investors, which may result in reduced demand.
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.
As the writer of a call option on a security held in the Fund’s portfolio (commonly known as a “covered” call option), the Fund forgoes, during the option’s life, the opportunity to profit from increases in the market value of the security covering the call option above the sum of the premium and the strike price of the call, but retains the risk of loss (net of premium received) should the price of the underlying security decline. As the Fund writes covered calls over more of its portfolio, its ability to benefit from capital appreciation becomes more limited.
As the writer of a call option on securities indices, exchange-traded funds (“ETFs”) and baskets of securities, which may include securities that are not held by the Fund, the Fund may be subject to additional risks than writing covered call options. The purchaser of an index option written by the Fund has the right to any appreciation in the cash value of the index over the strike price on the expiration date. The purchaser of an index option written by the Fund has the right to any appreciation in the cash value of the index over the strike price on the expiration date. Therefore, as the writer of a covered index call option, the Fund forgoes the opportunity to profit from increases in the index over the strike price of the option. However, the Fund has retained the risk of loss (net of premiums received) should the price of the index decline. Similarly, as the writer of a covered call option on a security or basket of securities held in the Fund’s portfolio, the Fund forgoes, during the option’s life, the opportunity to profit from increases in the market value of the security or securities covering the call option above the sum of the premium and the exercise price of the call but has retained the risk of loss (net of premiums received) should the price of the underlying security decline. As the writer of an uncovered call option, the Fund has no risk of loss should the price of the underlying security or index decline, but bears unlimited risk of loss should the price of the underlying security or index increase above the exercise price.
With respect to exchange-traded options, there can be no assurance that a liquid market will exist when the Fund seeks to close out an option position on an options exchange. If the Fund were unable to close out a covered call option that it had written on a security, it would not be able to sell the underlying security unless the option expired without exercise.
The Fund may also write (sell) over-the-counter options (“OTC options”). Options written by the Fund with respect to non-U.S. securities, indices or sectors 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 generally do not have as much market liquidity as exchange-listed options.
When the Fund writes covered put options, it bears the risk of loss if the value of the underlying stock declines below the exercise price minus the put premium. If the option is exercised, the Fund could incur a loss if it is required to purchase the stock underlying the put option at a price greater than the market price of the stock at the time of exercise plus the put premium the Fund received when it wrote the option. While the Fund’s potential gain in writing a covered put option is limited to distributions earned on the liquid assets securing the put option plus the premium received from the purchaser of the put option, the Fund risks a loss equal to the entire exercise price of the option minus the put premium.
Sovereign Debt Risk
Investments in sovereign debt involve special risks. Foreign governmental issuers of debt or the governmental authorities that control the repayment of the debt may be unable or unwilling to repay principal or pay interest when due. In the event of default, there may be limited or no legal recourse in that, generally, remedies for defaults must be pursued in the courts of the defaulting party. Political conditions, especially a sovereign entity’s willingness to meet the terms of its debt obligations, are of considerable significance. The ability of a foreign sovereign issuer, especially an emerging market country, to make timely payments on its debt obligations will also be strongly influenced by the sovereign issuer’s balance of payments, including export performance, its access to international credit facilities and investments, fluctuations of interest rates and the extent of its foreign reserves. The cost of servicing external debt will also generally be adversely affected by rising international interest rates, as many external debt obligations bear interest at rates which are adjusted based upon international interest rates. Also, there can be no assurance that the holders of commercial bank loans to the same sovereign entity may not contest payments to the holders of sovereign debt in the event of default under commercial bank loan agreements. In addition, there is no bankruptcy proceeding with respect to sovereign debt on which a sovereign has defaulted and the Fund may be unable to collect all or any part of its investment in a particular issue. Foreign investment in certain sovereign debt is restricted or controlled to varying degrees, including requiring governmental approval for the repatriation of income, capital or proceeds of sales by foreign investors. These restrictions or controls may at times limit or preclude foreign investment in certain sovereign debt and increase the costs and expenses of the Fund.
Real Estate Risk
To the extent that the Fund invests in real estate related investments, including real estate investment trusts (“REITs”), mortgage related securities, such as MBS, or real-estate linked derivative instruments, it will be subject to the risks associated with owning real estate and with the real estate industry generally. Real estate related investments may be subject to difficulties in valuing and disposing of real estate, the possibility of declines in the value of real estate, risks related to general and local economic conditions, the possibility of adverse changes in the climate for real estate, environmental liability risks, the risk of increases in property taxes and operating expenses, possible adverse changes in zoning laws, the risk of casualty or condemnation losses, limitations on rents, the possibility of adverse changes in interest rates and in the credit markets and the possibility of borrowers paying off mortgages sooner than expected, which may lead to reinvestment of assets at lower prevailing interest rates. To the extent that the Fund invests in REITs, it will also be subject to the risk that a REIT may default on its obligations or go bankrupt. By investing in REITs indirectly through the Fund, a shareholder will bear not only his or her proportionate share of the expenses of the Fund, but also, indirectly, similar expenses of the REITs. The Fund’s investments in REITs could cause the Fund to recognize income in excess of cash received from those securities and, as a result, the Fund may be required to sell portfolio securities, including when it is not advantageous to do so, in order to make distributions. In addition, mortgage REITs must satisfy highly technical and complex requirements in order to qualify for the favorable tax treatment accorded to REITs under the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the “Code”), and to maintain their exemption from the 1940 Act.. No assurances can be given that a mortgage REIT in which the Fund invests will be able to continue to qualify as a REIT or that complying with the REIT requirements under the Code will not adversely affect such REIT’s ability to execute its business plan.
Inflation risk is the risk that the value of assets or income from investments 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 can decline. In addition, during any periods of rising inflation, the dividend rates or borrowing costs associated with the Fund’s use of Financial Leverage would likely increase, which would tend to further reduce returns to Common Shareholders. Deflation risk is the risk that prices throughout the economy decline over time—the opposite of inflation. 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.
Privately Issued Securities Risk
The Fund may invest in privately issued securities of both public and private companies. Privately issued securities have additional risk considerations than investments in comparable public investments. Whenever the Fund invests in companies that do not publicly report financial and other material information, it assumes a greater degree of investment risk and reliance upon the Adviser’s ability to obtain and evaluate applicable information concerning such companies’ creditworthiness and other investment considerations. Certain privately issued securities may be illiquid. If there is no readily available trading market for privately issued securities, the Fund may not be able to readily dispose of such investments at prices that approximate those at which the Fund could sell them if they were more widely traded. Privately issued securities are also more difficult to value. Privately issued debt securities are often of below investment grade quality, frequently are unrated and present many of the same risks as investing in below investment grade public debt securities.
Investment Funds Risk
As an alternative to holding investments directly, the Fund may also obtain investment exposure to credit securities and common equity securities by investing up to 20% of its total assets in Investment Funds. Investments in Investment Funds present certain special considerations and risks not present in making direct investments in credit securities and common equity securities. Investments in Investment Funds involve operating expenses and fees that are in addition to the expenses and fees borne by the Fund. Such expenses and fees attributable to the Fund’s investment in another Investment Fund are borne indirectly by Common Shareholders. Accordingly, investment in such entities involves expense and fee layering. Fees charged by other Investment Funds in which the Fund invests may be similar to the fees charged by the Fund and can include asset-based management fees and administrative fees payable to such entities’ advisers and managers, thus resulting in duplicative fees. To the extent management fees of Investment Funds are based on total gross assets, it may create an incentive for such entities’ managers to employ financial leverage, thereby adding additional expense and increasing volatility and risk. Fees payable to advisers and managers of Investment Funds may include performance-based incentive fees calculated as a percentage of profits. Such incentive fees directly reduce the return that otherwise would have been earned by investors over the applicable period. A performance-based fee arrangement may create incentives for an adviser or manager to take greater investment risks in the hope of earning a higher profit participation. Investments in Investment Funds frequently expose the Fund to an additional layer of financial leverage. Investments in Investment Funds expose the Fund to additional management risk. The success of the Fund’s investments in Investment Funds will depend in large part on the investment skills and implementation abilities of the advisers or managers of such entities. Decisions made by the advisers or managers of such entities may cause the Fund to incur losses or to miss profit opportunities. While the Sub-Adviser will seek to evaluate managers of Investment Funds and where possible independently evaluate the underlying assets, a substantial degree of reliance on such entities’ managers is nevertheless present with such investments.
Derivatives Transactions Risk
In addition to the covered call option strategy described above, the risks of which are described above, the Fund may, but is not required to, utilize futures contracts, options and over-the-counter derivatives contracts, among other Strategic Transactions, for purposes such as to seek to earn income, facilitate portfolio management and mitigate risks. Participation in options or futures 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). If the Sub-Adviser's prediction of movements in the direction of the securities and interest rate markets is inaccurate, the consequences to the Fund may leave the Fund in a worse position than if it had not used such strategies. Risks inherent in the use of options, futures contracts and options on futures contracts and securities indices include:
Futures Transactions Risk
The Fund may invest in futures contracts. Futures and options on futures entail certain risks, including but not limited to the following:
The Fund will be subject to credit risk with respect to the counterparties to the derivative contracts purchased by the Fund. If a counterparty becomes bankrupt or otherwise fails to perform its obligations under a derivative contract due to financial difficulties, the Fund may experience significant delays in obtaining any recovery under the derivative contract in bankruptcy or other reorganization proceedings. The Fund may obtain only a limited recovery or may obtain no recovery in such circumstances. If a counterparty’s credit becomes significantly impaired, multiple requests for collateral posting in a short period of time could increase the risk that the Fund may not receive adequate collateral.
Risks Associated with Options on Securities
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. There can be no assurance that a liquid market will exist when the Fund seeks to close out an option position. The Fund’s ability to terminate over-the-counter options is more limited than with exchange-traded options and may involve the risk that broker-dealers participating in such transactions will not fulfill their obligations. The hours of trading for options may not conform to the hours during which the underlying securities are traded. The Fund’s options transactions will be subject to limitations established by each of the exchanges, boards of trade or other trading facilities on which such options are traded. To the extent that the Fund writes covered put options, the Fund will bear the risk of loss if the value of the underlying stock declines below the exercise price. If the option is exercised, the Fund could incur a loss if it is required to purchase the stock underlying the put option at a price greater than the market price of the stock at the time of exercise. While the Fund’s potential gain in writing a covered put option is limited to the interest earned on the liquid assets securing the put option plus the premium received from the purchaser of the put option, the Fund risks a loss equal to the entire value of the stock. To the extent that the Fund writes covered call option, the Fund forgoes, during the option’s life, the opportunity to profit from increases in the market value of the security covering the call option above the sum of the premium and the strike price of the call, but has retained the risk of loss should the price of the underlying security decline. The writer of an option has no control over the time when it may be required to fulfill its obligation as a writer of the option. Once an option writer has received an exercise notice, it cannot effect a closing purchase transaction in order to terminate its obligation under the option and must deliver the underlying security at the exercise price. Thus, the use of options may require the Fund to sell portfolio securities at inopportune times or for prices other than current market values, may limit the amount of appreciation the Fund can realize on an investment or may cause the Fund to hold a security that it might otherwise sell.
Swap transactions are subject to market risk, risk of default by the other party to the transaction and risk of imperfect correlation between the value of derivative instruments and the underlying assets and may involve commissions or other costs. Swaps generally do not involve the delivery of securities, other underlying assets or principal. Accordingly, the risk of loss with respect to swaps generally is limited to the net amount of payments that the Fund is contractually obligated to make, or in the case of the other party to a swap defaulting, the net amount of payments that the Fund is contractually entitled to receive. Total return swaps may effectively add leverage to the Fund’s portfolio because the Fund would be subject to investment exposure on the full notional amount of the swap. Total return swaps are subject to the risk that a counterparty will default on its payment obligations to the Fund thereunder.
Synthetic Investment Risk
As an alternative to holding investments directly, the Fund may also obtain investment exposure to Income Securities and Common Equity Securities through the use of customized derivative instruments (including swaps, options, forwards, notional principal contracts or other financial instruments) to replicate, modify or replace the economic attributes associated with an investment in Income Securities and Common Equity Securities (including interests in Investment Funds). The Fund may be exposed to certain additional risks to the extent the Sub-Adviser uses derivatives as a means to synthetically implement the Fund’s investment strategies. If the Fund enters into a derivative instrument whereby it agrees to receive the return of a security or financial instrument or a basket of securities or financial instruments, it will typically contract to receive such returns for a predetermined period of time. During such period, the Fund may not have the ability to increase or decrease its exposure. In addition, such customized derivative instruments will likely be highly illiquid, and it is possible that the Fund will not be able to terminate such derivative instruments prior to their expiration date or that the penalties associated with such a termination might impact the Fund’s performance in a material adverse manner. Furthermore, derivative instruments typically contain provisions giving the counterparty the right to terminate the contract upon the occurrence of certain events. If a termination were to occur, the Fund’s return could be adversely affected as it would lose the benefit of the indirect exposure to the reference securities and it may incur significant termination expenses.
Event-Linked Securities Risk
Event-linked securities (“ELS”) are a form of derivative issued by insurance companies and insurance-related special purpose vehicles that apply securitization techniques to catastrophic property and casualty damages. Unlike other insurable low-severity, high-probability events (such as auto collision coverage), the insurance risk of which can be diversified by writing large numbers of similar policies, the holders of a typical ELS are exposed to the risks from high-severity, low-probability events such as that posed by major earthquakes or hurricanes. A typical ELS provides for income and return of capital similar to other fixed-income investments, but involves full or partial default if losses resulting from a certain catastrophe exceeded a predetermined amount. No active trading market may exist for certain ELS, which may impair the ability of the Fund to realize full value in the event of the need to liquidate such assets.
Inflation-Indexed Securities Risk
Inflation-indexed debt securities are subject to the effects of changes in market interest rates caused by factors other than inflation, such as real interest rates. In general, the value of an inflation-indexed security, including Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (“TIPS”), tends to decrease when real interest rates increase and can increase when real interest rates decrease. Thus generally, during periods of rising inflation, the value of inflation-indexed securities will tend to increase and during periods of deflation, their value will tend to decrease. Interest payments on inflation-indexed securities are unpredictable and will fluctuate as the principal and interest are adjusted for inflation. There can be no assurance that the inflation index used (i.e., the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (“CPI”)) will accurately measure the real rate of inflation in the prices of goods and services. Increases in the principal value of TIPS due to inflation are considered taxable ordinary income for the amount of the increase in the calendar year. Any increase in the principal amount of an inflation-indexed debt security will be considered taxable ordinary income, even though the Fund will not receive the principal until maturity. In order to receive the special treatment accorded to “regulated investment companies” (“RICs”) and their shareholders under the Code and to avoid U.S. federal income and/or excise taxes at the Fund level, the Fund may be required to distribute this income to shareholders in the tax year in which the income is recognized (without a corresponding receipt of cash). Therefore, the Fund may be required to pay out as an income distribution in any such tax year an amount greater than the total amount of cash income the Fund actually received, and to sell portfolio securities, including at potentially disadvantageous times or prices, to obtain cash needed for these income distributions.
Municipal Securities Risk
The amount of public information available about municipal securities is generally less than that for corporate equities or bonds, and the investment performance of the Fund’s municipal securities investments may therefore be more dependent on the analytical abilities of the Adviser. The secondary market for municipal securities, particularly below investment grade municipal securities, also tends to be less well-developed or liquid than many other securities markets, which may adversely affect the Fund’s ability to sell such securities at prices approximating those at which the Fund may currently value them.
In addition, many state and municipal governments that issue securities are under significant economic and financial stress and may not be able to satisfy their obligations. The ability of municipal issuers to make timely payments of interest and principal may be diminished during general economic downturns and as governmental cost burdens are reallocated among federal, state and local governments. Issuers of municipal securities might seek protection under bankruptcy laws. In the event of bankruptcy of such an issuer, holders of municipal securities could experience delays in collecting principal and interest and such holders may not be able to collect all principal and interest to which they are entitled. The Fund may invest in taxable municipal securities, which consist primarily of Build America Bonds (“BABs”). The issuance of BABs was discontinued on December 31, 2010. Under the sequestration process under the Budget Control Act of 2011, automatic spending cuts that became effective on March 1, 2013 reduced the federal subsidy for BABs.
UK Departure from EU Risk
On Thursday June 23, 2016, voters in the United Kingdom referendum (the “Referendum”) on the question of whether to remain or leave the European Union (the “EU”) voted in a majority in favor of leaving the EU (“Brexit”). In March 2017, the British Parliament passed a bill authorizing the British Government to invoke Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union – the formal process of withdrawing from the EU. Invoking Article 50 gave the United Kingdom two years to negotiate a separation with the other members of the EU. Withdrawal was expected to occur on March 29, 2019, but in January 2019, a plan to implement Brexit was rejected by the British Parliament and the EU subsequently agreed to a postponement until October 31, 2019. Further postponements are possible. This historic event is widely expected to have consequences that are both profound and uncertain for the economic and political future of the United Kingdom and the EU, and financial markets generally.
The ongoing negotiations surrounding Brexit have yet to provide clarity on what the outcome will be for the UK or Europe. The UK remains a member of the EU until the legally established departure date and, until such date, all existing EU-derived laws and regulations continue to apply in the UK. Those laws may continue to apply for a transitional period, depending on whether an exit deal is struck and, if so, what that deal is. In any event, the UK’s on-shoring of EU legislation currently envisages no policy changes to EU law. However, the EU has not yet provided any material cushion from the effects of Brexit for financial services as a matter of EU law. In addition to the effects on the Fund's investments in European issuers, the unavoidable uncertainties and events related to Brexit could negatively affect the value and liquidity of the Fund's other investments, increase taxes and costs of business and cause volatility in currency exchange rates and interest rates. Brexit could adversely affect the performance of contracts in existence at the date of Brexit and European, UK or worldwide political, regulatory, economic or market conditions and could contribute to instability in political institutions, regulatory agencies and financial markets. Brexit could also lead to legal uncertainty and politically divergent national laws and regulations as a new relationship between the UK and EU is defined and as the UK determines which EU laws to replace or replicate. In addition, Brexit could lead to 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 Fund), 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 Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union and negotiations undertaken under Article 218 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, and the unavailability of timely information as to expected legal, tax and other regimes. Any of these effects of Brexit, and others that cannot be anticipated, could adversely affect the Fund's business, results of operations and financial condition.
The result of Brexit, 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.
U.S. Government Securities Risk
U.S. Government securities historically have not involved the credit risks associated with investments in other types of debt securities, although, as a result, the yields available from U.S. Government debt securities are generally lower than the yields available from other securities. Like other debt securities, however, the values of U.S. Government securities change as interest rates fluctuate. In 2011, each of S&P, Moody’s and Fitch lowered its long-term sovereign credit rating on the U.S. to “AA+” from “AAA.” Any further downgrades of the U.S. credit rating could increase volatility in both stock and bond markets, result in higher interest rates and higher Treasury yields and increase the costs of all kinds of debt. These events could have significant adverse effects on the economy generally and could result in significant adverse impacts on securities issuers and the Fund. The Adviser cannot predict the effects of these or similar events in the future on the U.S. economy and securities markets or on the Fund’s portfolio.
Legislation and Regulation Risk
At any time after the date hereof, legislation may be enacted that could negatively affect the issuers in which the Fund invests. Changing approaches to regulation may also have a negative impact on issuers in which the Fund invests. In addition, legislation or regulation may change the way in which the Fund is regulated. There can be no assurance that future legislation, regulation or deregulation will not have a material adverse effect on the Fund or will not impair the ability of the Fund 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 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 or its counterparties.
On December 11, 2015, the SEC published a proposed rule that, if adopted, would change the regulation of the use of derivative instruments and financial commitment transactions by registered investment companies. The SEC sought public comments on numerous aspects of the proposed rule, and as a result the nature of any final regulations is uncertain at this time. Such regulations could limit the implementation of the Fund's use of derivatives, and reverse repurchase agreement transactions and impose additional compliance costs on the Fund, which could have an adverse impact on the Fund. The Adviser and the Sub-Adviser cannot predict the effects of these regulations on the Fund's portfolio. The Adviser and the Sub-Adviser intend to monitor developments and seek to manage the Fund's portfolio in a manner consistent with achieving the Fund's investment objective, but there can be no assurance that they will be successful in doing so.
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 (the “TCJA”), enacted on December 22, 2017, made substantial changes to the Code, most of which went into effect on January 1, 2018. Among those changes are 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 changes to the manner in which depreciation deductions are calculated and 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, changes that affect the timing of the recognition of certain items of income and significant changes to the international tax rules. The effect of these, and the many other, changes made in the TCJA remains 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 Common Shares or market conditions generally. Furthermore, many of the provisions of the TCJA still require guidance through the issuance of Treasury regulations in order to assess their effect. There may be a substantial delay before such regulations are promulgated, increasing the uncertainty as to the ultimate effect of the statutory amendments on us. Technical corrections legislation also may be proposed with respect to the TCJA, the effect of which cannot be predicted.
The Fund's investments and payment obligations may be based on floating rates, such as London Interbank Offer Rate (“LIBOR”), Euro Interbank Offered Rate and other similar types of reference rates (each, a “Reference Rate”). On July 27, 2017, the Chief Executive of the UK Financial Conduct Authority (“FCA”), which regulates LIBOR, announced that the FCA will no longer persuade nor require banks to submit rates for the calculation of LIBOR and certain other Reference Rates after 2021. Such announcement indicates that the continuation of LIBOR and other Reference Rates on the current basis cannot and will not be guaranteed after 2021. This announcement and any additional regulatory or market changes may have an adverse impact on a Fund or its investments.
In advance of 2021, regulators and market participants will work together to identify or develop successor Reference Rates. Additionally, prior to 2021, it is expected that market participants will focus on the transition mechanisms by which the Reference Rates in existing contracts or instruments may be amended, whether through market wide protocols, fallback contractual provisions, bespoke negotiations or amendments or otherwise. Nonetheless, the termination of certain Reference Rates presents risks to the Fund. At this time, it is not possible to completely identify or predict the effect of any such changes, any establishment of alternative Reference Rates or any other reforms to Reference Rates that may be enacted in the UK or elsewhere. The elimination of a Reference Rate or any other changes or reforms to the determination or supervision of Reference Rates could have an adverse impact on the market for or value of any securities or payments linked to those Reference Rates and other financial obligations held by the Fund or on its overall financial condition or results of operations. In addition, any substitute Reference Rate and any pricing adjustments imposed by a regulator or by counterparties or otherwise may adversely affect the Fund's performance and/or NAV.
Recent Market Developments Risk
Periods of market volatility remain, and may continue to occur in the future, in response to various political, social and economic events both within and outside of the United States. These conditions have resulted in, and in many cases continue to result in, greater price volatility, less liquidity, widening credit spreads and a lack of price transparency, with many securities remaining illiquid and of uncertain value. Such market conditions may adversely affect the Fund, including by making valuation of some of the Fund’s securities uncertain and/or result in sudden and significant valuation increases or declines in the Fund’s holdings. If there is a significant decline in the value of the Fund’s portfolio, this may impact the asset coverage levels for the Fund’s outstanding leverage.
Risks resulting from any future debt or other economic crisis could also have a detrimental impact on the global economic recovery, the financial condition of financial institutions and the Fund’s business, financial condition and results of operation. Market and economic disruptions have affected, and may in the future affect, consumer confidence levels and spending, personal bankruptcy rates, levels of incurrence and default on consumer debt and home prices, among other factors. To the extent uncertainty regarding the U.S. or global economy negatively impacts consumer confidence and consumer credit factors, the Fund’s business, financial condition and results of operations could be significantly and adversely affected. Downgrades to the credit ratings of major banks could result in increased borrowing costs for such banks and negatively affect the broader economy. Moreover, Federal Reserve policy, including with respect to certain interest rates, may also adversely affect the value, volatility and liquidity of dividend- and interest-paying securities. Market volatility, rising interest rates and/or unfavorable economic conditions could impair the Fund’s ability to achieve its investment objective.
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 European Union (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 (the “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.
Market Discount Risk
Shares of closed-end management investment companies frequently trade at a discount from their net asset value, which is a risk separate and distinct from the risk that the Fund’s net asset value could decrease as a result of its investment activities. Although the value of the Fund’s net assets is generally considered by market participants in determining whether to purchase or sell Common Shares, whether investors will realize gains or losses upon the sale of Common Shares will depend entirely upon whether the market price of Common Shares at the time of sale is above or below the investor’s purchase price for Common Shares.
The Fund’s net asset value 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 Common Shareholders to permit the issuance and sale by the Fund of Common Shares at a price below the Fund’s then current net asset value, subject to certain conditions, and such sales of Common Shares at price below net asset value, 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 net asset value. Because the market price of Common Shares will be determined by factors such as net asset value, dividend and distribution levels (which are dependent, in part, on expenses), supply of and demand for Common Shares, stability of dividends or distributions, trading volume of Common Shares, general market and economic conditions and other factors beyond the control of the Fund, the Fund cannot predict whether Common Shares will trade at, below or above net asset value or at, below or above the public offering price for the Common Shares. Common Shares of the Fund are designed primarily for long-term investors; investors in Common Shares should not view the Fund as a vehicle for trading purposes.
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 net asset value pursuant to the consent of Common Shareholders, shareholders will experience a dilution of the aggregate net asset value per Common Share because the sale price will be less than the Fund’s then-current net asset value per Common Share. Similarly, were the expenses of the offering to exceed the amount by which the sale price exceeded the Fund’s then current net asset value per Common Share, shareholders would experience a dilution of the aggregate net asset value per Common Share. This dilution will be experienced by all shareholders, irrespective of whether they purchase Common Shares in any such offering.
Portfolio Turnover Risk
The Fund’s annual portfolio turnover rate may vary greatly from year to year. Portfolio turnover rate is not considered a limiting factor in the execution of investment decisions for the Fund. A higher portfolio turnover rate results in correspondingly greater brokerage commissions and other transactional expenses that are borne by the Fund. High portfolio turnover may result in an increased realization of net short-term capital gains by the Fund which, when distributed to Common Shareholders, will be taxable as ordinary income. Additionally, in a declining market, portfolio turnover may result in realized capital losses.
When-Issued and Delayed Delivery Transactions Risk
Securities purchased on a when-issued or delayed delivery basis may expose the Fund to counterparty risk of default as well as the risk that securities may experience fluctuations in value prior to their actual delivery. The Fund generally will not accrue income with respect to a when-issued or delayed delivery security prior to its stated delivery date. Purchasing securities on a when-issued or delayed delivery basis can involve the additional risk that the price or yield available in the market when the delivery takes place may not be as favorable as that obtained in the transaction itself.
Short Sales Risk
The Fund may make short sales of securities. A short sale is a transaction in which the Fund sells a security it does not own. If the price of the security sold short increases between the time of the short sale and the time the Fund replaces the borrowed security, the Fund will incur a loss; conversely, if the price declines, the Fund will realize a capital gain. Any gain will be decreased, and any loss will be increased, by the transaction costs incurred by the Fund, including the costs associated with providing collateral to the broker-dealer (usually cash and liquid securities) and the maintenance of collateral with its custodian. Although the Fund’s gain is limited to the price at which it sold the security short, its potential loss is theoretically unlimited. The Fund may have to pay a premium to borrow the securities and must pay any dividends or interest payable on the securities until they are replaced, which will be expenses of the Fund.
Repurchase Agreement Risk
A repurchase agreement exposes the Fund to the risk that the party that sells the security may default on its obligation to repurchase it. The Fund may lose money because it cannot sell the security at the agreed-upon time and price or the security loses value before it can be sold.
The Fund may accept a wide variety of underlying securities as collateral for repurchase agreements entered into by the Fund. Rule 5b-3 under the 1940 Act, stipulates that if a repurchase agreement entered into by a fund is “collateralized fully,” the repurchase agreement is deemed a transaction in the underlying securities and not a separate security issued to the fund by the selling institution. In order for the repurchase agreement to qualify as “collateralized fully,” the collateral must consist solely of cash items, government securities, securities that are rated in the highest rating category by at least two NRSROs (or one NRSRO, if that is the only such NRSRO which has issued a rating on the security) or unrated securities which the Adviser deems to be of comparable quality. However, the Fund may accept collateral in respect of repurchase agreements which do not meet the above criteria, and in such event the repurchase agreement will not be considered “collateralized fully” for purposes of Rule 5b-3. Accepting collateral beyond the criteria of Rule 5b-3 exposes the Fund to two categories of risks. First, because the Fund’s repurchase agreements which are secured by such collateral are not “collateralized fully” under Rule 5b-3, the repurchase agreement is considered a separate security issued by the selling institution to the Fund. Accordingly, in addition to the risks of a default or bankruptcy of the selling institution, the Fund must include repurchase agreements that are not “collateralized fully” under Rule 5b-3 in its calculations of securities issued by the selling institution held by the Fund for purposes of various diversification and concentration requirements applicable to the Fund. In particular, to the extent a selling institution is a “securities related business” for purposes of Section 12(d)(3) of the 1940 Act and Rule 12d3-1 thereunder, the Fund would not be permitted to hold more than 5% of its total assets in securities issued by the selling institution, including repurchase agreements that are not “collateralized fully” under Rule 5b-3. While this limitation (as well as other applicable limitations arising under concentration and diversification requirements) limits the Fund’s exposure to each such selling institution, the Fund will be required to monitor its holdings of such securities and ensure that it complies with the applicable limitations. Second, the collateral underlying a repurchase agreement that is not “collateralized fully” under Rule 5b-3 may not qualify as permitted or appropriate investments for the Fund under the Fund’s investment strategies and limitations. Accordingly, if a selling institution defaults and the Fund takes possession of such collateral, the Fund may need to promptly dispose of such collateral (or other securities held by the Fund, if the Fund exceeds a limitation on a permitted investment by virtue of taking possession of the collateral). In cases of market turmoil (which may be associated with a default or bankruptcy of a selling institution), the Fund may have more difficulty than anticipated in selling such securities and/or in avoiding a loss on the sale of such securities. This risk may be more acute in the case of a selling institution’s insolvency or bankruptcy, which may restrict the Fund’s ability to dispose of collateral received from the selling institution. The Adviser follows various procedures to monitor the liquidity and quality of any collateral received under a repurchase agreement (as well as the credit quality of each selling institution) designed to minimize these risks, but there can be no assurance that the procedures will be successful in doing so.
Securities Lending Risk
The Fund may lend its portfolio securities to banks or dealers which meet the creditworthiness standards established by the Board of Trustees. Securities lending is subject to the risk that loaned securities may not be available to the Fund on a timely basis and the Fund may therefore lose the opportunity to sell the securities at a desirable price. Any loss in the market price of securities loaned by the Fund that occurs during the term of the loan would be borne by the Fund and would adversely affect the Fund’s performance. Also, there may be delays in recovery, or no recovery, of securities loaned or even a loss of rights in the collateral should the borrower of the securities fail financially while the loan is outstanding.
Risk of Failure to Qualify as a RIC
To qualify for the favorable U.S. federal income tax treatment generally accorded to RICs, the Fund must, among other things, derive in each taxable year at least 90% of its gross income from certain prescribed sources, meet certain asset diversification tests and distribute for each taxable year at least 90% of its “investment company taxable income” (generally, ordinary income plus the excess, if any, of net short-term capital gain over net long-term capital loss). If for any taxable year the Fund does not qualify as a RIC, all of its taxable income for that year (including its net capital gain) would be subject to tax at regular corporate rates without any deduction for distributions to shareholders, and such distributions would be taxable as ordinary dividends to the extent of the Fund’s current and accumulated earnings and profits.
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.
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 net asset value; 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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