|Closing Market Price||$21.26|
|52-week Average Premium/Discount||-1.19%|
|Current Distribution Rate1||10.23%|
|Monthly Dividend Per Share2||$0.18130|
|52 Week High/Low Market Price||$22.99/$17.48|
|52 Week High/Low NAV||$22.25/$18.41|
|Intraday Trading Information||NYSE|
|Closing Market Price||$21.26|
|Total Managed Assets||$215,554,444|
|Common Shares Outstanding||6,695,877|
|52-Week Average Premium/Discount||-1.19%|
|Expense Ratio (Common Shares)4||1.82%|
|Portfolio Turnover Rate||63%|
|Inception Market Price||$25.00|
|1940 Act Asset Coverage Ratio||323.80%|
|Since Inception (6/26/13)||5.51%||6.25%|
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 funds operating expense, excluding 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, including interest expense was 2.27%.
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.
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 Partners Investment Management, LLC an affiliate of Guggenheim Partners, LLC
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. Abrams joined Guggenheim in 2002. Mr. Abrams is a Senior Managing Director and Portfolio Manager in Guggenheim’s Corporate Credit Group. He is also a member of the Investment Committee overseeing Guggenheim’s corporate credit investing activities. Mr. Abrams’ prior roles at Guggenheim include covering the retail and consumer sectors as a senior analyst. He led an industry team focused on investing across the leveraged credit markets in a number of industries including financial institutions, retail, food and beverage and consumer products. Mr. Abrams has also focused on sourcing and structuring directly negotiated middle market debt investments. Prior to joining Guggenheim, Mr. Abrams worked in the Leveraged Finance Group at Bear Stearns where he focused on various leveraged debt transactions across multiple industries. Mr. Abrams received his B.A. in History and a BBA in Finance from Emory University.
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. Michal joined Guggenheim in 2008. He is dedicated to portfolio management for Guggenheim’s Total Return mandates. Mr. Michal is responsible for implementing macro and micro investment themes of the Chief Investment Officers, coordinating with sector heads and traders to determine credit trends and relative value, and for the day-to-day risk monitoring of the assets. Prior to joining Guggenheim, he was an Associate in Wachovia’s structured finance division. He focused on origination, marketing, structuring and execution of collateralized loan obligations for two years. Mr. Michal successfully contributed to a total of 11 completed transactions raising approximately $4.3 billion of capital. Prior to his time in structured credit products, he was an analyst in Wachovia’s corporate credit division focusing on portfolio management and loan syndications. Over two years, Mr. Michal underwrote a total of 12 syndicated transactions and managed the loan portfolio risk in the Integrated Electric Utility, Midstream Pipeline and Propane sectors. Mr. Michal earned a BSBA in Finance and International Business from Georgetown University.
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 Fund. 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 should not be considered a complete investment program. The Fund is intended for long-term investors seeking total return through a combination of current income and capital appreciation. The Fund is not meant to provide a vehicle for those who wish to play short-term swings in the stock market. 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.
An investment in Common Shares of 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 the securities owned by the Fund may fluctuate, sometimes rapidly and unpredictably, which will affect the net asset value and may affect the market price of the Common Shares. The value of securities owned by the Fund may decline due to general market conditions that are not specifically related to a particular issuer, such as real or perceived economic conditions, changes in interest or currency rates or changes in investor sentiment or market outlook generally. At any point in time, your Common Shares may be worth less than your original investment, including the reinvestment of Fund dividends and distributions.
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. 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 initial public offering price. This risk may be greater for investors expecting to sell their Common Shares soon after the completion of the public offering, as the net asset value of the Common Shares will be reduced immediately following the offering as a result of the payment of certain offering costs. 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 Fund is subject to management risk because it has an actively managed portfolio. The Adviser will apply investment techniques and risk analysis in making investment decisions for the Fund, but there can be no guarantee that these will produce the desired results. The Fund’s allocation of its investments across various segments of the credit securities market and various countries, regions, asset classes and sectors may vary significantly over time based on the Adviser’s analysis and judgment. As a result, the particular risks most relevant to an investment in the Fund, as well as the overall risk profile of the Fund’s portfolio, may vary over time. The Adviser employs an active approach to the Fund’s investment allocation based upon a relative value philosophy, but there is no guarantee that such allocation will produce the desired results. It is possible that the Fund will focus on an investment that performs poorly or underperforms other investments under various market conditions. The flexibility of the Fund’s investment policies and the discretion granted to the Adviser to invest the Fund’s assets across various segments, classes and geographic regions of the credit securities market and in credit securities with various maturities and durations means that the Fund’s ability to achieve its investment objective may be more dependent on the success of its investment adviser than other investment companies.
The income investors receive from the Fund is based in part on the interest it earns from its investments in credit 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.
Credit securities are subject to certain risks:
The value of securities in which the Fund invests 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.
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. To the extent the Fund invests in below investment grade securities, it will be exposed to a greater amount of credit risk than a fund which invests in investment grade securities. The prices of lower grade securities are more sensitive to negative developments, such as a decline in the issuer’s revenues or a general economic downturn, than are the prices of higher grade securities. 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. In addition, to the extent the Fund uses credit derivatives, such use will expose it to additional risks in the event that the bonds underlying the derivatives default.
Interest Rate risk
Interest rate risk is the risk that credit securities will decline in value because of changes in market interest rates. When market interest rates rise, the market value of credit securities generally will fall. These risks may be greater in the current market environment because interest rates are near 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 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 may utilize futures, interest rate swaps and other derivatives transactions to implement these strategies. 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 may decline in value in response to rising interest rates if, for example, the rates at which they pay interest do not rise as much, or as quickly, as market interest rates in general. Conversely, variable and floating rate instruments generally will not increase in value if interest rates decline. The Fund also may invest in inverse floating rate credit securities, which may decrease in value if interest rates increase, and which also may exhibit greater price volatility than fixed rate credit securities with similar credit quality. To the extent the Fund holds variable or floating rate instruments, a decrease (or, in the case of inverse floating rate securities, an increase) in market interest rates will adversely affect the income received from such securities, which may adversely affect the net asset value of the Common Shares.
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 securities at market interest rates that are below the portfolio’s current earnings rate. A decline in income could affect the Common Shares’ market price or the overall return of the Fund.
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. Below investment grade securities frequently have call features that allow the issuer to redeem the security at dates prior to its stated maturity at a specified price (typically greater than par) only if certain prescribed conditions are met (“call protection”). An issuer may redeem a below investment grade security if, for example, 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. For premium bonds (bonds acquired at prices that exceed their par or principal value) purchased by the Fund, prepayment risk may be enhanced given that the Fund would lose the potential value of the yield-to-maturity of the bonds in the event they are redeemed at the stated principal amount. Senior Loans and Second Lien Loans typically do not have call protection. The degree to which borrowers prepay Senior Loans and Second Lien Loans, whether as a contractual requirement or at their election, may be affected by general business conditions, the financial condition of the borrower and competitive conditions among Senior Loan and Second Lien Loan investors, among others. For these reasons, prepayments cannot be predicted with accuracy. Upon a prepayment, either in part or in full, the outstanding debt from which the Fund derives interest income will be reduced. The Fund may not be able to reinvest the proceeds received on terms as favorable as the prepaid investment.
The Fund may invest without limitation in securities for which there is no readily available trading market or which are otherwise illiquid. Securities within any of the types of credit securities in which the Fund may invest may be unregistered, restricted or illiquid. The Fund may invest in privately issued securities of both public and private companies, which may be illiquid. Securities of below investment grade quality tend to be less liquid than investment grade debt securities, and securities of financial distressed or bankrupt issuers may be particularly illiquid. Loans typically are not registered with the SEC and are not listed on any securities exchange and may at times be illiquid. Loan investments through participations and assignments are typically illiquid. 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. The securities and obligations of foreign issuers, particular issuers in emerging markets, may be more likely to experience periods of illiquidity. Derivative instruments, particularly privately-negotiated or over-the-counter derivatives, may be illiquid, although can be no assurance that a liquid market will exist when the Fund seeks to close out an exchange traded derivative position. 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, market, credit and other events may affect the prices of securities with limited liquidity held by the Fund to a greater extent than such events affect more liquid securities, thereby adversely affecting the Fund’s net asset value and ability to make distributions.
Because the secondary markets for certain investments may be limited, they may be difficult to value. Where market quotations are not readily available or deemed unreliable, the Fund will value such securities in accordance with fair value procedures adopted by the Board of Trustees. Valuation of illiquid securities 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 maturity or duration of credit securities in which it may invest or of the Fund’s portfolio generally. The Adviser may seek to adjust the portfolio’s duration or maturity based on its assessment of current and projected market conditions and all factors that the Adviser deems relevant. Any decisions as to the targeted duration or maturity of any particular category of investments or of the Fund’s portfolio generally will be made based on all pertinent market factors at any given time. The Fund may incur costs in seeking to adjust the portfolio average duration or maturity. There can be no assurance that the Adviser’s assessment of current and projected market conditions will be correct or that any strategy to adjust the portfolio’s duration or maturity will be successful at any given time. Generally speaking, the longer the duration of the Fund’s portfolio, the more exposure the Fund will have to interest rate risk described above.
The Fund may invest in securities rated below investment grade or, if unrated, determined by the Adviser to be of comparable credit quality, which are commonly referred to as “high-yield” or “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. Issuers of below investment grade securities are not perceived to be as strong financially as those with higher credit ratings. These issuers are more vulnerable to financial setbacks and recession than more creditworthy issuers, which may impair their ability to make interest and principal payments. Securities of below investment grade quality display increased price sensitivity to changing interest rates and to a deteriorating economic environment. The market values for securities of below investment grade quality tend to be more volatile and such securities tend to be less liquid than investment grade debt securities. To the extent that a secondary market does exist for certain below investment grade securities, the market for them may be subject to irregular trading activity, wide bid/ask spreads and extended trade settlement periods. Because of the substantial risks associated with investments in below investment grade securities, you could have an increased risk of losing money on your investment in Common Shares, both in the short-term and the long-term.
The ratings of Moody’s, S&P, Fitch and other rating agencies represent their opinions as to the quality of the obligations which they undertake to rate. Ratings are relative and subjective and, although ratings may be useful in evaluating the safety of interest and principal payments, they do not evaluate the market value risk of such obligations. To the extent that the Fund invests in securities that have not been rated by a rating agency, the Fund’s ability to achieve its investment objectives will be more dependent on the Adviser’s credit analysis than would be the case when the Fund invests in rated securities.
The Fund may invest in securities rated in the lower rating categories (rated Caa1/CCC+ or below, or unrated but judged to be of comparable quality by the Adviser). For these securities, the risks associated with below investment grade instruments are more pronounced. Investments in the securities of financially distressed issuers involve substantial risks. The Fund may purchase stressed or distressed securities, including securities that are in default or the issuers of which are in bankruptcy, which involve heightened risks. See “Risks—Distressed and Defaulted Securities Risk.”
In addition to the risks associated with below investment grade securities generally, DIP financings are subject to additional risks. DIP financings are arranged when an entity seeks the protections of the bankruptcy court under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code and must be approved by the bankruptcy court. These financings allow the entity to continue its business operations while reorganizing under Chapter 11. DIP financings are typically fully secured by a lien on the debtor’s otherwise unencumbered assets or secured by a junior lien on the debtor’s encumbered assets (so long as the loan is fully secured based on the most recent current valuation or appraisal report of the debtor). DIP financings are often required to close with certainty and in a rapid manner in order to satisfy existing creditors and to enable the issuer to emerge from bankruptcy or to avoid a bankruptcy proceeding. There is a risk that the borrower will not emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings and be forced to liquidate its assets under Chapter 7 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. In the event of liquidation, the Fund’s only recourse will be against the property securing the DIP financing.
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 hold the most senior position in the capital structure of a business entity, are typically secured with specific collateral and have a claim on the assets and/or stock of the Borrower that is senior to that held by subordinated debt holders and stockholders of the Borrower. Senior Loans in which the Fund will invest are generally rated below investment grade or unrated but believed by the Adviser to be of below investment grade quality and are considered speculative because of the credit risk of their issuers.
There is less readily available, reliable information about most Senior Loans than is the case for many other types of securities. In addition, there is no minimum rating or other independent evaluation of a Borrower or its securities limiting the Fund’s investments, and the Adviser relies primarily on its own evaluation of a Borrower’s credit quality rather than on any available independent sources. As a result, the Fund is particularly dependent on the analytical abilities of the Adviser with respect to investments in Senior Loans. The Adviser’s judgment about the credit quality of a Borrower may be wrong.
Issuers of below investment grade Senior Loans are more likely to default on their payments of interest and principal owed to the Fund than issuers of investment grade Senior Loans, 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 Senior Loan 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. 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 sell a Senior Loan and which may make it difficult to value Senior Loans. Adverse market conditions may impair the liquidity of some actively traded Senior Loans, meaning that the Fund may not be able to sell them quickly at a desirable price. To the extent that a secondary market does exist for certain Senior Loans, the market may be subject to irregular trading activity, wide bid/ask spreads and extended trade settlement periods. Illiquid Senior Loans may also be difficult to value.
Although the Senior Loans in which the Fund will invest generally will be secured by specific collateral, there can be no assurance that liquidation of such collateral would satisfy the Borrower’s obligation in the event of non-payment of scheduled interest or principal or that such collateral could be readily liquidated. In the event of the bankruptcy of a Borrower, the Fund could experience delays or limitations with respect to its ability to realize the benefits of the collateral securing a Senior Loan. If the terms of a Senior Loan do not require the Borrower to pledge additional collateral in the event of a decline in the value of the already pledged collateral, the Fund will be exposed to the risk that the value of the collateral will not at all times equal or exceed the amount of the Borrower’s obligations under the Senior Loans. To the extent that a Senior Loan is collateralized by stock in the Borrower or its subsidiaries, such stock may lose all of its value in the event of the bankruptcy of the Borrower. Such Senior Loans involve a greater risk of loss. Some Senior Loans are subject to the risk that a court, pursuant to fraudulent conveyance or other similar laws, could subordinate the Senior Loans to presently existing or future indebtedness of the Borrower or take other action detrimental to lenders, including the Fund. Such court action could under certain circumstances include invalidation of Senior Loans.
Senior Loans are subject to legislative risk. If legislation or state or federal regulations impose additional requirements or restrictions on the ability of financial institutions to make loans, the availability of Senior Loans for investment by the Fund may be adversely affected. In addition, such requirements or restrictions could reduce or eliminate sources of financing for certain Borrowers. This would increase the risk of default. If legislation or federal or state regulations require financial institutions to increase their capital requirements this may cause financial institutions to dispose of Senior Loans that are considered highly levered transactions. Such sales could result in prices that, in the opinion of the Adviser, do not represent fair value. If the Fund attempts to sell a Senior Loan at a time when a financial institution is engaging in such a sale, the price the Fund could receive for the Senior Loan may be adversely affected.
The Fund may purchase Senior 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 Senior 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.
The Fund’s investments in Senior Loans may be subject to lender liability risk. Lender liability refers to a variety of legal theories generally founded on the premise that a lender has violated a duty of good faith, commercial reasonableness and fair dealing, or a similar duty owed to the Borrower or has assumed an excessive degree of control over the Borrower resulting in the creation of a fiduciary duty owed to the Borrower or its other creditors or shareholders. Because of the nature of its investments, the Fund may be subject to allegations of lender liability. In addition, under common law principles that in some cases form the basis for lender liability claims, in which a court may elect to subordinate the claim of the offending lender or bondholder to the claims of the disadvantaged creditor or creditors.
Economic exposure to Senior Loans through the use of derivatives transactions may involve greater risks than if the Fund had invested in the Senior Loan interest directly during a primary distribution or through assignments or participations in a loan acquired in secondary markets since, in addition to the risks described above, derivatives transactions to gain exposure to Senior Loans may be subject to leverage risk and greater illiquidity risk, counterparty risk, valuation risk and other risks associated with derivatives discussed herein.
Second Lien Loans generally are subject to similar risks as those associated with investments in Senior Loans and below investment grade securities. Because Second Lien Loans are subordinated and thus lower in priority of payment to Senior Loans or other debt instruments with higher priority of the related Borrower, they are subject to the additional risk that the cash flow of the Borrower and property securing the loan or debt, if any, may be insufficient to meet scheduled payments and repayment of principal after giving effect to the senior secured obligations of the Borrower. This risk is generally higher for subordinated loans or debt which are not backed by a security interest in any specific collateral. Second Lien Loans generally have greater price volatility than Senior Loans and may be less liquid. Second Lien Loans share the same risks as other below investment grade securities.
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 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.
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 generally subject to similar risks associated with investment in Senior Loans, Second Lien Loans and other below investment grade securities. However, Mezzanine Investments may rank lower in right of payment than any outstanding Senior Loans, Second Lien Loans and other debt instruments with higher priority 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 and repayment of principal 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.
There are special risks associated with investing in preferred securities:
Preferred securities may contain provisions that permit the issuer, at its discretion, to defer distributions for a stated period without any adverse consequences to the issuer. If the Fund owns a preferred security that is deferring its distributions, the Fund may be required to report income for tax purposes although it has not yet received such income.
Preferred securities are subordinated to bonds and other debt instruments in a company’s capital structure in terms of having priority to corporate income and liquidation payments, and therefore will be subject to greater credit risk than more senior debt instruments.
Preferred securities may be substantially less liquid than many other securities, such as common stocks or U.S. Government securities.
Limited voting rights
Generally, preferred security holders (such as the Fund) have no voting rights with respect to the issuing company unless preferred dividends have been in arrears for a specified number of periods, at which time the preferred security holders may elect a number of directors to the issuer’s board. Generally, once all the arrearages have been paid, the preferred security holders no longer have voting rights. In the case of trust preferred securities, holders generally have no voting rights, except if (i) the issuer fails to pay dividends for a specified period of time or (ii) a declaration of default occurs and is continuing.
Special redemption rights
In certain varying circumstances, an issuer of preferred securities may redeem the securities prior to a specified date. For instance, for certain types of preferred securities, a redemption may be triggered by certain changes in U.S. federal income tax or securities laws. As with call provisions, a special redemption by the issuer may negatively impact the return of the security held by the Fund.
New types of securities
From time to time, preferred securities, including hybrid-preferred securities, have been, and may in the future be, offered having features other than those described herein. The Fund reserves the right to invest in these securities if the Adviser believes that doing so would be consistent with the Fund’s investment objective and policies. Since the market for these instruments would be new, the Fund may have difficulty disposing of them at a suitable price and time. In addition to limited liquidity, these instruments may present other risks, such as high price volatility.
Convertible securities generally offer lower interest or dividend yields than non-convertible securities of similar quality. As with all credit securities, the market values of convertible securities tend to decline as interest rates increase and, conversely, to increase as interest rates decline. However, when the market price of the common stock underlying a convertible security exceeds the conversion price, the convertible security tends to reflect the market price of the underlying common stock. As the market price of the underlying common stock declines, the convertible security tends to trade increasingly on a yield basis and thus may not decline in price to the same extent as the underlying common stock. Convertible securities rank senior to common stock in an issuer’s capital structure and consequently entail less risk than the issuer’s common stock.
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.
The Fund’s structured finance investments may include RMBS and CMBS issued by governmental entities and private issuers, other ABS and CLOs, CDOs and CBOs, structured notes, credit-linked notes and other types of structured finance securities. Holders of structured finance securities 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 issuer of the structured finance security, 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 securities generally pay their share of the structured finance security issuer’s administrative and other expenses. The prices of indices and securities underlying structured finance securities, and, therefore, the prices of structured finance securities, will be influenced by, and will rise and fall in response to, the same types of political and economic events that affect issuers of securities and capital markets generally. If the issuer of a structured finance security 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 securities owned by the Fund. Certain structured finance securities may be thinly traded or have a limited trading market.
The Fund may invest in structured finance securities collateralized by low grade or defaulted loans or securities. Investments in such structured finance securities 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.
MBS represent an interest in a pool of mortgages. MBS are subject to certain risks: credit risk associated with the performance of the underlying mortgage properties and of the borrowers owning these properties; risks associated with their structure and execution (including the collateral, the process by which principal and interest payments are allocated and distributed to investors and how credit losses affect the return to investors in such MBS); risks associated with the servicer of the underlying mortgages; adverse changes in economic conditions and circumstances, which are more likely to have an adverse impact on MBS secured by loans on certain types of commercial propertiesthan on those secured by loans on residential properties; prepayment risk, which can lead to significant fluctuations in the value of the MBS; loss of all or part of the premium, if any, paid; and 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. In addition, the Fund’s level of investment in MBS of a particular type or in MBS issued or guaranteed by affiliated obligors, serviced by the same servicer or backed by underlying collateral located in a specific geographic region, may subject the Fund to additional risk.
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 MBS 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 MBS is usually more pronounced than it is for other types of debt securities. The Fund may invest in sub-prime mortgages or MBS that are backed by sub-prime mortgages.
Moreover, the relationship between prepayments and interest rates may give some high-yielding MBS less potential for growth in value than conventional bonds with comparable maturities. During periods of falling interest rates, 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, total return and maturity of MBS may be difficult to predict precisely. To the extent that the Fund purchases MBS 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.
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 MBS. CMBS are subject to particular risks. CBS are subject to risks associated with lack of standardized terms, shorter maturities than residential mortgage loans and 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 residential lending. Commercial lending typically involves larger loans to single borrowers or groups of related borrowers than residential 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 MBS 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.
MBS issued by FNMA or FHLMC are guaranteed as to timely payment of principal and interest by FNMA or FHLMC, but are not backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. Government. In 2008, the FHFA, a new independent regulatory agency, placed FNMA and FHLMC into conservatorship, a statutory process designed to stabilize a troubled institution with the objective of returning the entity to normal business operations. Under the Federal Housing Finance Regulatory Reform Act of 2008 (the “Reform Act”), which was included as part of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008, FHFA, as conservator or receiver, has the power to repudiate any contract entered into by FNMA or FHLMC prior to FHFA’s appointment as conservator or receiver, as applicable, if FHFA determines, in its sole discretion, that performance of the contract is burdensome and that repudiation of the contract promotes the orderly administration of FNMA’s or FHLMC’s affairs. FHFA, in its capacity as conservator, has indicated that it has no intention to repudiate the guaranty obligations of FNMA or FHLMC. Further, in its capacity as conservator or receiver, FHFA has the right to transfer or sell any asset or liability of FNMA or FHLMC without any approval, assignment or consent. Although FHFA has stated that it has no present intention to do so, if FHFA, as conservator or receiver, were to transfer any such guaranty obligation to another party, holders of FNMA or FHLMC MBS would have to rely on that party for satisfaction of the guaranty obligation and would be exposed to the credit risk of that party.
Legal risks associated with RMBS can arise as a result of the procedures followed in connection with the origination of the mortgage loans or the servicing thereof, which may be subject to various federal and state laws (including, without limitation, predatory lending laws), public policies and principles of equity that regulate interest rates and other charges, require certain disclosures, require licensing of originators, prohibit discriminatory lending practices, regulate the use of consumer credit information and debt collection practices and may limit the servicer’s ability to collect all or part of the principal of or interest on a residential mortgage loan, entitle the borrower to a refund of amounts previously paid by it or subject the servicer to damages and sanctions.
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 MBS. Delinquencies and losses on residential mortgage loans (especially sub-prime and second-lien 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 MBS and increased investor yield requirements caused limited liquidity in the secondary market for certain MBS, which can adversely affect the market value of MBS. 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 MBS owned by the Fund.
Any increase in prevailing market interest rates, which are currently near historical lows, may result in increased payments for borrowers who have adjustable rate mortgages. Moreover, with respect to hybrid mortgage loans after their initial fixed rate period, interest-only products or products having a lower rate, and with respect to mortgage loans with a negative amortization feature which reach their negative amortization cap, borrowers may experience a substantial increase in their monthly payment even without an increase in prevailing market interest rates. Increases in payments for borrowers may result in increased rates of delinquencies and defaults on residential mortgage loans underlying the RMBS.
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.
Stripped MBS risk
Stripped MBS may be subject to additional risks. One type of stripped MBS pays to one class all of the interest from the mortgage assets (the interest only or IO class), while the other class will receive all of the principal (the principal only or PO class). The yield to maturity on an IO class is extremely sensitive to the rate of principal payments (including prepayments) on the underlying mortgage assets, and a rapid rate of principal payments may have a material adverse effect on the Fund’s yield to maturity from these securities. If the assets underlying the IO class experience greater than anticipated prepayments of principal, the Fund may fail to recoup fully, or at all, its initial investment in these securities. Conversely, PO class securities tend to decline in value if prepayments are slower than anticipated.
There are certain risks associated specifically with CMOs. CMOs are debt obligations collateralized by mortgage loans or mortgage pass-through securities. The average life of a CMO is determined using mathematical models that incorporate prepayment assumptions and other factors that involve estimates of future economic and market conditions. Actual future results may vary from these estimates, particularly during periods of extreme market volatility. Further, under certain market conditions, such as those that occurred during the recent downturn in the mortgage markets, the weighted average life of certain CMOs may not accurately reflect the price volatility of such securities. For example, in periods of supply and demand imbalances in the market for such securities and/or in periods of sharp interest rate movements, the prices of CMOs may fluctuate to a greater extent than would be expected from interest rate movements alone. CMOs issued by private entities are not obligations issued or guaranteed by the U.S. Government, its agencies or instrumentalities and are not guaranteed by any government agency, although the securities underlying a CMO may be subject to a guarantee. Therefore, if the collateral securing the CMO, as well as any third party credit support or guarantees, is insufficient to make payments when due, the holder could sustain a loss. Inverse floating rate CMOs are typically more volatile than fixed or floating rate tranches of CMOs. Many inverse floating rate CMOs have coupons that move inversely to a multiple of an index. The effect of the coupon varying inversely to a multiple of an applicable index creates a leverage factor. Inverse floaters based on multiples of a stated index are designed to be highly sensitive to changes in interest rates and can subject the holders thereof to extreme reductions of yield and loss of principal. The markets for inverse floating rate CMOs with highly leveraged characteristics at times may be very thin. The Fund’s ability to dispose of its positions in such securities will depend on the degree of liquidity in the markets for such securities. It is impossible to predict the amount of trading interest that may exist in such securities, and therefore the future degree of liquidity.
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.
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.
In addition to the general risks associated with debt securities discussed herein, CLOs, CDOs and 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 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 transaction documents relating to the issuance of CLOs, CDOs and CBOs may impose eligibility criteria on the assets of the issuing SPV, restrict the ability of the investment manager to trade investments and impose certain portfolio-wide asset quality requirements. These criteria, restrictions and requirements may limit the ability of the SPV’s investment manager to maximize returns on the CLOs, CDOs and CBOs. In addition, other parties involved in CLOs, CDOs and CBOs, such as third party credit enhancers and investors in the rated tranches, may impose requirements that have an adverse effect on the returns of the various tranches of CLOs, CDOs and CBOs. Furthermore, CLO, CDO and CBO transaction documents generally contain provisions that, in the event that certain tests are not met (generally interest coverage and over-collateralization tests at varying levels in the capital structure), proceeds that would otherwise be distributed to holders of a junior tranche must be diverted to pay down the senior tranches until such tests are satisfied. Failure (or increased likelihood of failure) of a CLO, CDO or CBO to make timely payments on a particular tranche will have an adverse effect on the liquidity and market value of such tranche.
Payments to holders of CLOs, CDOs and CBOs may be subject to deferral. If cash flows generated by the underlying assets are insufficient to make all current and, if applicable, deferred payments on the CLOs, CDOs and CBOs, no other assets will be available for payment of the deficiency and, following realization of the underlying assets, the obligations of the issuer to pay such deficiency will be extinguished.
The value of securities issued by CLOs, CDOs and CBOs also may change because of changes in market value, that is 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. Finally, CLOs, CDOs and CBOs are limited recourse and may not be paid in full and may be subject to up to 100% loss.
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 used as a reference for payments required on the note, including currency exchange rates, interest rates, referenced bonds or stock indices, depending on the use of multipliers or deflators, changes in the applicable factors 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.
The Fund may invest without limitation in securities of non-U.S. issuers, including issuers in emerging markets. Investing in foreign issuers may involve certain risks not typically associated with investing in securities of U.S. issuers due to increased exposure to foreign economic, political and legal developments, including favorable or unfavorable changes in currency exchange rates, exchange control regulations (including currency blockage), expropriation or nationalization of assets, imposition of withholding taxes on payments, and possible difficulty in obtaining and enforcing judgments against foreign entities. Furthermore, issuers of foreign securities and obligations are subject to different, often less comprehensive, accounting, reporting and disclosure requirements than domestic issuers. The securities and obligations of some foreign companies and foreign markets are less liquid and at times more volatile than comparable U.S. securities, obligations and markets. Securities markets in foreign countries often are not as developed, efficient or liquid as securities markets in the United States, and therefore, the prices of foreign securities can be more volatile. Certain foreign countries may impose restrictions on the ability of issuers to make payments of principal and interest to investors located outside the country. In the event of nationalization, expropriation or other confiscation, the Fund could lose its entire investment in a foreign security. Foreign brokerage commissions and other fees are also generally higher than in the United States. There are also special tax considerations which apply to securities and obligations of foreign issuers and securities and obligations principally traded overseas. These risks may be more pronounced to the extent that the Fund invests a significant amount of its assets in companies located in one country or geographic region, in which case the Fund may be more exposed to regional economic risks, and to the extent that the Fund invests in securities of issuers in emerging markets. The Fund may also invest in U.S. dollar-denominated securities of foreign issuers, which are subject to many of the risks described above regarding securities of foreign issuers denominated in foreign currencies.
Investments in securities the issuers of which are located in countries considered to be emerging markets are subject to heightened risks relative to foreign investing generally and are considered speculative. “Emerging market” countries generally include every nation in the world except developed countries, that is, the United States, Canada, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and most countries located in Western Europe. Compared to developed countries, emerging market countries may have relatively unstable governments, economies based on only a few industries and securities markets that trade a small number of securities. Securities issued by companies located in emerging market countries tend to be especially volatile and may be less liquid than securities traded in developed countries. In the past, securities in these countries have been characterized by greater potential loss than securities of companies located in developed countries. Foreign investment in certain emerging market countries may be restricted or controlled to varying degrees. These restrictions or controls may at times limit or preclude foreign investment in certain emerging market issuers and increase the costs and expenses of the Fund. Certain emerging market countries require governmental approval prior to investments by foreign persons in a particular issuer, limit the amount of investment by foreign persons in a particular issuer, limit the investment by foreign persons only to a specific class of securities of an issuer that may have less advantageous rights than the classes available for purchase by domiciliaries of the countries and/or impose additional taxes on foreign investors.
Investments in issuers located in emerging markets pose a greater degree of systemic risk. The inter-relatedness of institutions within a country and among emerging market economies has increased in recent years. Institutional failures or economic difficulties may spread throughout a country, region or emerging market countries throughout the world, which may limit the ability of the Fund to manage risk through geographic diversification. Bankruptcy law and creditor reorganization processes may differ substantially from those in the United States, resulting in greater uncertainty as to the rights of creditors, the enforceability of such rights, reorganization timing and the classification, seniority and treatment of claims.
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. Foreign currency rates may fluctuate significantly over short periods of time for various reasons, including changes in interest rates, inflation, balance of payments, governmental surpluses or deficits, intervention or non-intervention by U.S. or foreign governments, central banks or supranational entities, the imposition of currency controls and political developments in the U.S. and abroad. The Adviser may, but is not required to, elect for the Fund to seek to protect itself from changes in currency exchange rates through hedging transactions depending on market conditions. There can be no assurance that such strategies will be available or will be used by the Fund or, if used, will be successful.
Certain countries, particularly emerging market countries, may impose foreign currency exchange controls or other restrictions on the repatriation, transferability or convertibility of currency.
The Fund initially expects to employ Financial Leverage through the issuance of Indebtedness and/or the use of reverse repurchase agreements. The Adviser anticipates that the use of Financial Leverage may result in higher income to Common Shareholders over time; however, there can be no assurance that the Adviser’s expectations will be realized or that a leveraging strategy will be successful in any particular time period. Use of Financial Leverage creates an opportunity for increased income and capital appreciation but, at the same time, creates special risks. Leverage is a speculative technique that exposes the Fund to greater risk and increased costs than if it were not implemented. There can be no assurance that a leveraging strategy will be utilized or will be successful.
The use of leverage by the Fund will cause the net asset value, and possibly the market price, of the Fund’s Common Shares to fluctuate significantly in response to changes in interest rates and other economic indicators. As a result, the net asset value and market price and dividend rate of the Common Shares of the Fund is likely to be more volatile than those of a closed-end management investment company that is not exposed to leverage. In a declining market the use of leverage may result in a greater decline in the net asset value of the Common Shares than if the Fund were not leveraged.
Financial Leverage will increase operating costs, which may reduce total return. The Fund will have to pay interest on its Indebtedness, if any, which may reduce the Fund’s return. This interest expense may be greater than the Fund’s return on the underlying investment, which would negatively affect the performance of the Fund. Increases in interest rates that the Fund must pay on its Indebtedness will increase the cost of leverage and may reduce the return to Common Shareholders. This risk may be greater in the current market environment because interest rates are near historically low levels.
Certain types of Indebtedness subject the Fund to covenants in credit agreements relating to asset coverage and portfolio composition requirements. Certain Indebtedness issued by the Fund also may be subject to certain restrictions on investments imposed by guidelines of one or more rating agencies, which may issue ratings for such Indebtedness. These 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 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. Dollar roll transactions involve the risk that the market value of the securities the Fund is required to purchase may decline below the agreed upon repurchase price of those securities. Successful use of dollar rolls may depend upon the Adviser’s ability to correctly predict interest rates and prepayments. There is no assurance that dollar rolls can be successfully employed. In connection with reverse repurchase agreements and dollar rolls, 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.
The Fund may have Financial Leverage outstanding during a shorter-term period during which such Financial Leverage may not be beneficial to the Fund if the Fund believes that the long-term benefits to Common Shareholders of such Financial Leverage would outweigh the costs and portfolio disruptions associated with redeeming and reissuing such Financial Leverage. However, there can be no assurance that the Fund’s judgment in weighing such costs and benefits will be correct.
During the time in which the Fund is utilizing Financial Leverage, the amount of the fees paid to the Adviser for investment advisory services will be higher than if the Fund did not utilize Financial Leverage because the fees paid will be calculated based on the Fund’s Managed Assets, including proceeds of Financial Leverage. This may create a conflict of interest between the Adviser and the Common Shareholders, as holders of Indebtedness, Preferred Shares or other forms of Financial Leverage do not bear the investment advisory fee. Rather, Common Shareholders bear the portion of the investment advisory fee attributable to the assets purchased with the proceeds of Financial Leverage, which means that Common Shareholders effectively bear the entire advisory fee. In order to manage this conflict of interest, the Board of Trustees will receive regular reports from the Adviser regarding the Fund’s use of Financial Leverage and the effect of Financial Leverage on the management of the Fund’s portfolio and the performance of the Fund.
In addition, the Fund may engage in certain derivatives transactions that have economic characteristics similar to leverage. To the extent the terms of any such transaction obligate the Fund to make payments, the Fund intends to earmark or segregate cash or liquid securities in an amount at least equal to the current value of the amount then payable by the Fund under the terms of such transactions or otherwise cover such transactions in accordance with applicable interpretations of the staff of the SEC. To the extent the terms of any such transaction obligate the Fund to deliver particular securities to extinguish the Fund’s obligations under such transactions, the Fund may “cover” its obligations under such transaction by either (i) owning the securities or collateral underlying such transactions or (ii) having an absolute and immediate right to acquire such securities or collateral without additional cash consideration(or, if additional cash consideration is required, having earmarked or segregated cash or liquid securities). Securities so segregated or designated as “cover” will be unavailable for sale by the Adviser (unless replaced by other securities qualifying for segregation or cover requirements), which may adversely affect the ability of the Fund to pursue its investment objective.
Recent economic and market events have contributed to severe market volatility and caused severe liquidity strains in the credit markets. If dislocations in the credit markets continue, the Fund’s Financial Leverage costs may increase and there is a risk that the Fund may not be able to renew or replace existing Financial Leverage on favorable terms or at all. If the cost of Financial Leverage is no longer favorable, or if the Fund is otherwise required to reduce its Financial 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.
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. They may also decline due to factors which affect a particular industry or industries, such as labor shortages or increased production costs and competitive conditions within an industry. The value of a particular common stock held by the Fund may decline for a number of other reasons which directly relate to the issuer, such as management performance, financial leverage, the issuer’s historical and prospective earnings, the value of its assets and reduced demand for its goods and services. In addition, common stock prices may be particularly sensitive to rising interest rates, as the cost of capital rises and borrowing costs increase. 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 stocks and other 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.
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 the 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.
There are special risks associated with uncovered option writing (i.e. writing options on securities not held in the Fund’s portfolio, on indices or on exchange traded funds comprised of such securities or that track such indices), which expose the Fund to potentially significant loss. 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.
The value of options written by the Fund, which will be priced daily, will be affected by, among other factors, changes in the value of underlying securities (including those comprising an index), changes in the dividend rates of underlying securities, changes in interest rates, changes in the actual or perceived volatility of the stock market and underlying securities and the remaining time to an option’s expiration. The value of an option also may be adversely affected if the market for the option is reduced or becomes less liquid.
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. To the extent that there is a lack of correlation between the index options written by the Fund and the Fund’s portfolio securities, movements in the indexes underlying the options positions may result in losses to the Fund, which may more than offset any gains received by the Fund from options premiums. In these and other circumstances, the Fund may be required to sell portfolio securities to satisfy its obligations as the writer of an index call option, when it would not otherwise choose to do so, or may choose to sell portfolio securities to realize gains to supplement Fund distributions. Such sales would involve transaction costs borne by the Fund and may also result in realization of taxable capital gains, including short-term capital gains taxed at ordinary income tax rates, and may adversely impact the Fund’s after-tax returns.
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. An absence of a liquid secondary market on an exchange may arise because: (i) there may be insufficient trading interest in certain options; (ii) restrictions may be imposed by an exchange on opening transactions or closing transactions or both; (iii) trading halts, suspensions or other restrictions may be imposed with respect to particular classes or series of options; (iv) unusual or unforeseen circumstances may interrupt normal operations on an exchange; (v) the facilities of an exchange or The Options Clearing Corporation (the “OCC”) may not at all times be adequate to handle current trading volume; or (vi) one or more exchanges could, for economic or other reasons, decide or be compelled at some future date to discontinue the trading of options (or a particular class or series of options). If trading were discontinued, the secondary market on that exchange (or in that class or series of options) would cease to exist. However, outstanding options on that exchange that had been issued by the OCC as a result of trades on that exchange would continue to be exercisable in accordance with their terms. In the event that the Fund were unable to close out a call option that it had written on a portfolio security, it would not be able to sell the underlying security unless the option expired without exercise. To the extent that the Fund owns unlisted (or “over-the-counter”) options, the Fund’s ability to terminate these options may be more limited than with exchange-traded options and may involve enhanced risk that counterparties 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 for such options are traded. To the extent that the options markets close before the markets for the underlying securities, significant price and rate movements can take place in the underlying markets that cannot be reflected in the options markets. Additionally, the exercise price of an option may be adjusted downward before the option’s expiration as a result of the occurrence of certain corporate events affecting the underlying securities, such as extraordinary dividends, stock splits, mergers or other extraordinary distributions or events. A reduction in the exercise price of an option might reduce the Fund’s capital appreciation potential on underlying securities held by the Fund.
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 the options are traded. These limitations govern the maximum number of options in each class which may be written or purchased by a single investor or group of investors acting in concert, regardless of whether the options are written or purchased on the same or different exchanges, boards of trade or other trading facilities or are held or written in one or more accounts or through one or more brokers. Thus, the number of options which the Fund may write or purchase may be affected by options written or purchased by other investment advisory clients of the Adviser. An exchange, board of trade or other trading facility may order the liquidation of positions found to be in excess of these limits, and it may impose other sanctions.
Major exchanges on which options and futures are traded have established limits on how much an option or futures contract may decline over various periods of time. If the price of an option increases or decreases more than the established limit, trading in the contract may be suspended for set periods of time. If trading is suspended, the Fund may be unable to purchase or sell options or futures contracts at times that may be desirable or advantageous for the Fund to do so. Trading suspensions may limit the Fund’s ability to achieve its investment objective. The Fund also may be required, in these instances, to “fair-value” any options and futures contracts that it currently owns.
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. The counterparties to these transactions typically will be major international banks, broker-dealers and financial institutions. The Fund may be required to treat as illiquid securities being used to cover certain written OTC options. The OTC options written by the Fund will not be issued, guaranteed or cleared by the OCC. In addition, the Fund’s ability to terminate the OTC options may be more limited than with exchange-traded options. Banks, broker-dealers or other financial institutions participating in such transaction may fail to settle a transaction in accordance with the terms of the option as written. In the event of default or insolvency of the counterparty, the Fund may be unable to liquidate an OTC option position.
Income from options on individual stocks written by the Fund will not be recognized by the Fund for tax purposes until an option is exercised, lapses or is subject to a “closing transaction” (as defined by applicable regulations) pursuant to which the Fund’s obligations with respect to the option are otherwise terminated. If the option lapses without exercise or is otherwise subject to a closing transaction, the premiums received by the Fund from the writing of such options will generally be characterized as short-term capital gain. If an option written by the Fund is exercised, the Fund may recognize taxable gain depending on the exercise price of the option, the option premium, and the fair market value of the security underlying the option. The character of any gain on the sale of the underlying security as short-term or long-term capital gain will depend on the holding period of the Fund in the underlying security. In general, distributions received by shareholders of the Fund that are attributable to short-term capital gains recognized by the Fund from its option writing activities will be taxed to such shareholders as ordinary income and will not be eligible for the reduced tax rate applicable to qualified dividend income.
Options on indices of securities and sectors of securities that qualify as “section 1256 contracts” will generally be “marked-to-market” for U.S. federal income tax purposes. As a result, the Fund will generally recognize gain or loss on the last day of each taxable year equal to the difference between the value of the option on that date and the adjusted basis of the option. The adjusted basis of the option will consequently be increased by such gain or decreased by such loss. Any gain or loss with respect to options on indices and sectors that qualify as “section 1256 contracts” will be treated as short-term capital gain or loss to the extent of 40% of such gain or loss and long-term capital gain or loss to the extent of 60% of such gain or loss. Because the mark-to-market rules may cause the Fund to recognize gain in advance of the receipt of cash, the Fund may be required to dispose of investments in order to meet its distribution requirements. “Mark-to-market” losses may be suspended or otherwise limited if such losses are part of a straddle or similar transaction.
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.
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.
To the extent that the Fund invests in real estate related investments, including 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 Code. 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. Mortgage REITs are also required to comply with certain requirements to maintain their exemption from the 1940 Act. Complying with these requirements may limit the investments a mortgage REIT may make and failure to comply with these requirements could cause the REIT to register as an investment company, which would adversely affect the value of the Fund’s investment in the REIT and may force the Fund to sell such investment at an inopportune time.
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.
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.
Investments in other investment companies present certain special considerations and risks not present in making direct investments in securities in which the Fund may invest. Investments in other investment companies 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 investments in other investment companies are borne indirectly by Common Shareholders. Accordingly, investment in such entities involves expense and fee layering. Investments in other investment companies may expose the Fund to an additional layer of financial leverage. To the extent management fees of other investment companies 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. Investments in other investment companies also expose the Fund to additional management risk; the success of the Fund’s investments in other investment companies 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. To the extent the Fund invests in exchange-traded funds or other investment companies that seek to track a specified index, such investments will be subject to tracking error risk.
The Fund may engage in various derivatives transactions for hedging and risk management purposes, to facilitate portfolio management and to earn income or enhance total return. The use of derivatives transactions to earn income or enhance total return may be particularly speculative. Derivatives transactions involve risks. There may be imperfect correlation between the value of such instruments and the underlying assets. Derivatives transactions may be subject to risks associated with the possible default of the other party to the transaction. Derivative instruments may be illiquid. Certain derivatives transactions may have economic characteristics similar to leverage, in that relatively small market movements may result in large changes in the value of an investment. Certain derivatives transactions that involve leverage can result in losses that greatly exceed the amount originally invested. Furthermore, the Fund’s ability to successfully use derivatives transactions depends on the Adviser’s ability to predict pertinent market movements, which cannot be assured. The use of derivatives transactions may result in losses greater than if they had not been used, may require the Fund to sell or purchase 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. Derivatives transactions involve risks of mispricing or improper valuation. The documentation governing a derivative instrument or transaction may be unfavorable or ambiguous. Derivatives transactions may involve commissions and other costs, which may increase the Fund’s expenses and reduce its return. Various legislative and regulatory initiatives may impact the availability, liquidity and cost of derivative instruments, limit or restrict the ability of the Fund to use certain derivative instruments or transact with certain counterparties as a part of its investment strategy, increase the costs of using derivative instruments or make derivative instruments less effective.
In connection with certain derivatives transactions, the Fund may be required to segregate liquid assets or otherwise cover such transactions and/or to deposit amounts as premiums or to be held in margin accounts. Such amounts may not otherwise be available to the Fund for investment purposes. The Fund may earn a lower return on its portfolio than it might otherwise earn if it did not have to segregate assets in respect of, or otherwise cover, its derivatives transactions positions. To the extent the Fund’s assets are segregated or committed as cover, it could limit the Fund’s investment flexibility. Segregating assets and covering positions will not limit or offset losses on related positions.
A CLN is a derivative instrument. It is a synthetic obligation between two or more parties where the payment of principal and/or interest is based on the performance of some obligation (a reference obligation). In addition to the credit risk of the reference obligations and interest rate risk, the buyer/seller of the CLN is subject to counterparty risk.
The Fund may enter into swap transactions, including credit default swaps, total return swaps, index swaps, currency swaps, commodity swaps and interest rate swaps, as well as options thereon, and may purchase or sell interest rate caps, floors and collars. If the Adviser is incorrect in its forecasts of market values, interest rates or currency exchange rates, the investment performance of the Fund may be less favorable than it would have been if these investment techniques were not used. Such 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 such 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.
The swap market has grown substantially in recent years with a large number of banks and investment banking firms acting both as principals and as agents utilizing standardized swap documentation. As a result, the swap market has become relatively liquid. Caps, floors and collars are more recent innovations for which standardized documentation has not yet been fully developed and, accordingly, they are less liquid than swaps. Swaps are subject to new federallegislation that is being implemented through rulemaking by the SEC and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission which may adversely impact the swap market generally or the Fund’s ability to use swaps.
Credit default swap risk
Credit default swap agreements may involve greater risks than if the Fund had invested in the reference obligation directly. When the Fund acts as a seller of a credit default swap agreement with respect to a debt security, it is subject to the risk that an adverse credit event may occur with respect to the debt security and the Fund may be required to pay the buyer the full notional value of the debt security under the swap net of any amounts owed to the Fund by the buyer under the swap (such as the buyer’s obligation to deliver the debt security to the Fund). As a result, the Fund bears the entire risk of loss due to a decline in value of a referenced debt security on a credit default swap it has sold if there is a credit event with respect to the security. If the Fund is a buyer of a credit default swap and no credit event occurs, the Fund may recover nothing if the swap is held through its termination date. However, if a credit event occurs, the Fund generally may elect to receive the full notional value of the swap in exchange for an equal face amount of deliverable obligations of the reference entity whose value may have significantly decreased. The Fund may exit its obligations under a credit default swap only by terminating the contract and paying applicable breakage fees, or by entering into an offsetting credit default swap position, which may cause the Fund to incur more losses.
The Fund will be subject to credit risk with respect to the counterparties to the derivative contracts entered into 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 proceeding. The Fund may obtain only a limited recovery or may obtain no recovery in such circumstances. Concerns about, or a default by, one large market participant could lead to significant liquidity problems for other participants. 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.
The counterparty risk for cleared derivatives is generally lower than for uncleared over-the-counter derivatives transactions since generally a clearing organization becomes substituted for each counterparty to a cleared derivative contract and, in effect, guarantees the parties’ performance under the contract as each party to a trade looks only to the clearing organization for performance of financial obligations under the derivative contract. However, there can be no assurance that a clearing organization, or its members, will satisfy its obligations to the Fund.
The Fund may be exposed to certain additional risks should the Adviser uses derivatives transactions as a means to synthetically implement the Fund’s investment strategies. 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 materially adverse manner. Synthetic investments may be imperfectly correlated to the investment the Adviser is seeking to replicate. There can be no assurance that the Adviser’s judgments regarding the correlation of any particular synthetic investment will be correct. The Fund may be exposed to certain additional risks associated with derivatives transactions should the Adviser use derivatives as a means to synthetically implement the Fund’s investment strategies. The Fund would be subject to counterparty risk in connection with such transactions. 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, such as a decline in the value of the reference securities and material violations of the terms of the contract or the portfolio guidelines as well as other events determined by the counterparty. 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.
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. ELS represent a method of reinsurance, by which insurance companies transfer their own portfolio risk to other reinsurance companies and, in the case of ELS, to the capital markets. 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. In essence, investors in ELS may lose some or all of their invested capital if a catastrophe occurs that “triggers” the ELS. In the case of a triggering event, the invested capital is 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. ELS can be structured to pay-off on three types of variables—insurance-industry catastrophe loss indices, insurer-specific catastrophe losses and parametric indices, in which events are covered on a pre-defined basis agreed upon prior to occurrence of an insured event based on physical characteristics of catastrophic events (for example, rainfall exceeding a certain threshold will trigger a pre-determined payment formula). Such variables are difficult to predict or model, and the risk and potential return profiles of ELS may be difficult to assess. Catastrophe-related ELS have been in use since the 1990s, and the securitization and risk-transfer aspects of such ELS are beginning to be employed in other insurance and risk-related areas. 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 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 involve certain risks. 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 securities, also tends to be less well-developed orliquid 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. The taxing power of any governmental entity may be limited by provisions of state constitutions or laws and an entity’s credit will depend on many factors, including the entity’s tax base, the extent to which the entity relies on federal or state aid and other factors which are beyond the entity’s control. In addition, laws enacted in the future by Congress or state legislatures or referenda could extend the time for payment of principal and/or interest, or impose other constraints on enforcement of such obligations or on the ability of municipalities to levy taxes. 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 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 will reduce the federal subsidy for BABs and other subsidized taxable municipal bonds by 5.3%. In order to meet such reduction, subsidy payments to issuers through September 30, 2013 will be reduced 8.7%.
Global and domestic financial markets have experienced periods of unprecedented turmoil. The debt and equity capital markets in the United States have been negatively impacted by significant write-offs in the financial services sector relating to sub-prime mortgages and the re-pricing of credit risk, among other things. These events, along with the deterioration of the housing market, the failure of major financial institutions and the resulting United States federal government actions led to worsening general economic conditions, which materially and adversely impacted the broader financial and credit markets and reduced the availability of debt and equity capital for the market as a whole and financial firms in particular. Such market conditions may increase the volatility of the value of securities owned by the Fund, may make it more difficult for the Fund to accurately value its securities or to sell its securities on a timely basis and may adversely affect the ability of the Fund to borrow for investment purposes and increase the cost of such borrowings, which would reduce returns to the holders of Common Shares. These developments adversely affected the broader economy, and may continue to do so, which in turn may adversely affect issuers of securities owned by the Fund. Such developments could, in turn, reduce the value of securities owned by the Fund and adversely affect the net asset value of the Fund’s Common Shares.
Instability in the financial markets led the U.S. Government and other governments around the world to take a number of unprecedented actions designed to support certain financial institutions and segments of the financial markets that experienced extreme volatility, and in some cases a lack of liquidity. The long-term implications of government ownership and disposition of distressed assets and interests in financial institutions are unclear.
Recently markets have witnessed more stabilized economic activity as expectations for an economic recovery increased. However, risks to a robust resumption of growth persist. A return to unfavorable economic conditions or sustained economic slowdown could adversely impact the Fund’s portfolio. Financial market conditions, as well as various social and political tensions in the United States and around the world, have contributed to increased market volatility and may have long-term effects on the U.S. and worldwide financial markets and cause further economic uncertainties or deterioration in the United States and worldwide. The Adviser does not know how long the financial markets will continue to be affected by these events and cannot predict the effects of these or similar events in the future on the U.S. and global economies and securities markets in the Fund’s portfolio. The Adviser intends 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.
Continuing uncertainty as to the status of the Euro and the European Monetary Union (the “EMU”) has created significant volatility in currency and financial markets generally. Investing in Euro-denominated securities entails risk of being exposed to a currency that may not fully reflect the strengths and weaknesses of the disparate European economies. In addition, it is possible that the Euro could be abandoned in the future by countries that have adopted its use. The effects of the collapse of the Euro, or of the exit of one or more countries from the EMU, on the United States and global economy and securities markets could have a significant adverse impact on the value and risk profile of the Fund’s 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 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. On August 5, 2011, S&P 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.
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 a significant revision of 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. The ultimate impact of the Dodd-Frank Act, and any resulting regulation, is not yet certain and issuers of securities in which the Fund invests may also be affected by the new legislation and regulation in ways that are currently unknown and unforeseeable.
In connection with an ongoing review by the SEC and its staff of the regulation of investment companies’ use of derivatives, on August 31, 2011, the SEC issued a concept release to seek public comment on a wide range of issues raised by the use of derivatives by investment companies. The SEC noted that it intends to consider the comments to help determine whether regulatory initiatives or guidance are needed to improve the current regulatory regime for investment companies and, if so, the nature of any such initiatives or guidance. While the nature of any such regulations is uncertain at this time, it is possible that such regulations could limit the implementation of the Fund’s options strategy or other uses of derivatives, which could have an adverse impact on the Fund. The Adviser cannot predict the effects of these regulations on the Fund’s portfolio. The Adviser intends 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. According to various reports, certain financial institutions, commencing as early as 2005 and throughout the global financial crisis, routinely made artificially low submissions in the LIBOR rate setting process. In June 2012, one such financial institution was fined a significant amount by various financial regulators in connection with allegations of manipulation of LIBOR rates. Other financial institutions in various countries are being investigated for similar actions. These developments may have adversely affected the interest rates on securities whose interest payments were determined by reference to LIBOR. Any future similar developments could, in turn, reduce the value of such securities owned by the Fund.
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.
The Fund may purchase credit securities on a when-issued basis and may purchase or sell those securities for delayed delivery. When-issued and delayed delivery transactions occur when securities are purchased or sold by the Fund with payment and delivery taking place in the future to secure an advantageous yield or price. 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.
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.
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. In the event of the bankruptcy or other default of a seller of a repurchase agreement, the Fund could experience both delays in liquidating the underlying securities and losses. In such an event, the Fund would subject to risks associated with possible decline in the value of the underlying security during the period in which the Fund seeks to enforce its rights thereto, possible lack of access to income on the underlying security during this period, and expenses of enforcing its rights. In addition, the exercise of the Fund’s right to liquidate the collateral underlying the repurchase agreement could involve certain costs or delays and, to the extent that proceeds from any sale upon a default of the obligation to repurchase were less than the repurchase price, the Fund could suffer a loss.
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 nationally recognized statistical rating organizations (“NRSRO”) (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.
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.
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.
The Adviser and its affiliates provide a wide array of portfolio management and other asset management services to a mix of clients and may engage in ordinary course activities in which their interests or those of their clients may compete or conflict with those of the Fund. The Adviser and its affiliates may provide investment management services to other funds that follow investment objectives similar to those of the Fund. In certain circumstances, and subject to its fiduciary obligations under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 (the “Advisers Act”), the Adviser may have to allocate a limited investment opportunity among its clients. The Adviser and its affiliates have adopted policies and procedures designed to address such and other potential conflicts of interests.
Instability in the Middle East and Africa and terrorist attacks in the United States and around the world have contributed to increased market volatility, may have long-term effects on the U.S. and worldwide financial markets and may cause further economic uncertainties or deterioration in the United States and worldwide. The Adviser does not know how long the financial markets will continue to be affected by these events and cannot predict the effects of these or similar events in the future on the U.S. and global economies and securities markets.
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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