|Closing Market Price||$17.54|
|52-week Average Premium/Discount||8.29%|
|Current Distribution Rate 1, 2||12.46%|
|Monthly Distribution Per Share2||$0.18210|
|Common Shares Outstanding||43,595,413|
|52 Week High/Low Market Price||$20.75/$11.82|
|52 Week High/Low NAV||$17.78/$14.24|
|Intraday Trading Information||NYSE|
|Closing Market Price||$17.08|
|Total Managed Assets||$862,732,582|
|52-Week Average Premium/Discount||8.36%|
|Investment Adviser||Guggenheim Funds Investment Advisors, LLC|
|Portfolio Manager/Sub-Adviser||Guggenheim Partners Investment Management, LLC|
|Expense Ratio (Common Shares)4||1.21%|
|Portfolio Turnover Rate||41%|
|Inception Market Price||$20.00|
|1940 Act Asset Coverage Ratio||511.79%|
|Since Inception (7/26/07)||10.38%||10.03%|
Performance data quoted represents past performance, which is no guarantee of future results, and current performance may be lower or higher than the figures shown. Since Inception returns assume a purchase of common shares at each Fund’s initial offering price for market price returns or the Fund’s initial net asset value (NAV) for NAV returns. Returns for periods of less than one year are not annualized. All distributions are assumed to be reinvested either in accordance with the dividend reinvestment plan (DRIP) for market price returns or NAV for NAV returns. Until the DRIP price is available from the Plan Agent, the market price returns reflect the reinvestment at the closing market price on the last business day of the month. Once the DRIP is available around mid-month, the market price returns are updated to reflect reinvestment at the DRIP price. All returns include the deduction of management fees, operating expenses and all other fund expenses, and do not reflect the deduction of brokerage commissions or taxes that investors may pay on distributions or the sale of shares. Please refer to the most recent annual or semi-annual report for additional information.
Distributions are not guaranteed and are subject to change.
1 Latest declared distribution per share annualized and divided by the current share price.
2 Distributions may be paid from sources of income other than ordinary income, such as short term capital gains, long term capital gains or return of capital. If a distribution consists of something other than ordinary income, a 19(a) notice detailing the anticipated source(s) of the distribution will be made available. The 19(a) notice will be posted to the Fund’s website and to the Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation so that brokers can distribute such notices to Shareholders of the Fund. Section 19(a) notices are provided for informational purposes only and not for tax reporting purposes. The final determination of the source and tax characteristics of all distributions in a particular year will be made after the end of the year. This information is not legal or tax advice. Consult a professional regarding your specific legal or tax matters.
3 Represents the amount of financial leverage the Fund currently employs as a percentage of total Fund assets.
4 Expense ratios are annualized and reflect the Fund’s operating expense, including interest expense, or in the case of a fund with a fee waiver, net operating expense, as of the most recent annual or semi-annual report. The expense ratio, based on common assets, excluding interest expense was 1.17%.
The Fund’s investment objective is to maximize total return through a combination of current income and capital appreciation. The Fund will pursue a relative value-based investment philosophy, which utilizes quantitative and qualitative analysis to seek to identify securities or spreads between securities that deviate from their perceived fair value and/or historical norms. The Fund’s sub-adviser seeks to combine a credit managed fixed-income portfolio with access to a diversified pool of alternative investments and equity strategies. The Fund’s investment philosophy is predicated upon the belief that thorough research and independent thought are rewarded with performance that has the potential to outperform benchmark indexes with both lower volatility and lower correlation of returns as compared to such benchmark indexes. The Fund cannot ensure investors that it will achieve its investment objective. The Fund may invest without limitation in fixed-income securities rated below investment grade (commonly referred to as "junk bonds"); the Fund may invest up to 20% of its total assets in non-U.S. dollar-denominated income securities of corporate and governmental issuers located outside the U.S., including up to 10% in emerging markets; the Fund may invest up to 50% of its total assets in common equity securities consisting of common stock; and the Fund may invest up to 30% of its total assets in investment funds that primarily hold (directly or indirectly) investments in which the Fund may invest directly. The Fund will seek to achieve its investment objective by investing in a wide range of fixed income and other debt and senior equity securities (“Income Securities”) selected from a variety of sectors and credit qualities, including, but not limited to, corporate bonds, loans and loan participations, structured finance investments, U.S. government and agency securities, mezzanine and preferred securities and convertible securities, and in common stocks, limited liability company interests, trust certificates and other equity investments (“Common Equity Securities”) that the Fund’s sub-adviser believes offer attractive yield and/or capital appreciation potential, including employing a strategy of writing (selling) covered call and put options on such equities.
For periodic shareholder reports and recent fund-specific filings, please visit the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) website via the following: GOF SEC Filings
Leveraged closed-end funds offer investors the opportunity to purchase shares of a fund whose dividend yields generally are designed to be higher than those of similar, unleveraged investments. At the same time, leverage introduces or heightens certain investment risks. As a result, understanding leverage, its benefits and risks, plays an important role in determining whether a leveraged Fund is the right investment. Leverage creates risks that may adversely affect the return for the holders of common shares, including: the likelihood of greater volatility of NAV and market price of the Fund’s common shares, fluctuations in the dividend rates, and possible increased operating costs, which may reduce the Fund’s total return.
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.
Every month the Fund pays dividends and those investors who purchase the Fund before the ex-dividend date will receive the next dividend distribution. Investors who purchase on or after the ex-dividend date will not receive the next dividend distribution. The value of the dividend is subtracted from the Fund's NAV on the ex-dividend date each month. So when the NAV is reported with an "ex-div" behind it, this means that the amount of the dividend has already been taken out of the NAV.
DRIP is the Dividend Reinvestment Plan. The DRIP price is the cost per share for all participants in the reinvestment plan. The DRIP price is determined by one of two scenarios. One, if the Common Shares are trading at a discount, the DRIP price is the weighted average cost to purchase the Common Shares from the NYSE or elsewhere. Lastly, if the Common Shares are trading at a premium, the DRIP price is the determined either the higher of the NAV or approximately 95% of the Common Share price.
Guggenheim Funds Investment Advisors, LLC
227 West Monroe Street
Chicago, IL 60606
Guggenheim Partners Investment Management, LLC
100 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 500
Santa Monica, CA 90401
Mr. Minerd is Chairman of Investments and Global Chief Investment Officer at Guggenheim. Mr. Minerd guides the firm’s investment strategies and oversees client accounts across a broad range of fixed-income and equity securities. Previously, Mr. Minerd was a Managing Director with Credit Suisse First Boston in charge of trading and risk management for the Fixed Income Credit Trading Group. In this position, he was responsible for the corporate bond, preferred stock, money markets, U.S. government agency and sovereign debt, derivatives securities, structured debt and interest rate swaps trading business units. Prior to that, Mr. Minerd was Morgan Stanley’s London based European Capital Markets Products Trading and Risk Manager responsible for Eurobonds, Euro-MTNs, domestic European Bonds, FRNs, derivative securities and money market products in 12 European currencies and Asian markets. Mr. Minerd has also held capital markets positions with Merrill Lynch and Continental Bank. Prior to that, he was a Certified Public Accountant and worked for the public accounting firm of Price Waterhouse. Mr. Minerd is a member of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s Investor Advisory Committee on Financial Markets, helping advise the NY Fed President and senior management at the bank about the current financial markets and ways the public and private sectors can better understand and mitigate systematic risks. Mr. Minerd also works with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), advising on research and analysis of private sector infrastructure investment, and is a contributing member of the World Economic Forum (WEF). He is a regularly featured guest and contributor to leading financial media outlets, including The Wall Street Journal, The Financial Times, Bloomberg, and CNBC, where he shares insights on today’s financial climate. Mr. Minerd holds a B.S. degree in Economics from the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, and has completed graduate work at the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business and the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.
Ms. Walsh joined Guggenheim in 2007 and is head of the Portfolio Construction Group (“PCG”) where she oversees more than $100 billion in fixed income investments including Agencies, Credit, Municipals, Residential Mortgage Backed Securities, Commercial Mortgage Backed Securities and Asset Backed Securities across several Guggenheim affiliates. The PCG is responsible for sector allocation, risk management and hedging strategies for client portfolios, and conveying Guggenheim’s macro-economic outlook to Portfolio Managers and fixed income Sector Specialists. Ms. Walsh specializes in liability driven portfolio management. With more than 29 years in the investment management industry, including roles as a money manager and as a selector of money managers, Ms. Walsh is well suited to understand the needs of institutional clients and how to address them. Prior to joining Guggenheim, Ms. Walsh served as Chief Investment Officer at Reinsurance Group of America, Incorporated, a recognized leader in the global life reinsurance industry. Prior to joining RGA 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. Brown joined Guggenheim in 2010 and is a part of the Portfolio Management team for Guggenheim’s Active Fixed Income and Total Return mandates. Mr. Brown is involved in all facets of portfolio management including working with the senior Portfolio Managers and CIOs to develop and apply the macro and sector level views at the individual portfolio level. Additionally he works closely with the sector teams and portfolio construction to implement trades and optimize portfolios. Prior to joining the portfolio management team in 2012 Mr. Brown worked in the non-mortgage asset backed securities group. His responsibilities on that team included trading, sourcing and evaluating investment opportunities and monitoring credits. Prior to joining Guggenheim Mr. Brown held roles within treasury services and structured products at ABN AMRO and Bank of America in Chicago and London. Mr. Brown earned a BS in Finance from Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business. He has earned the right to use the Chartered Financial Analyst® designation and is a member of the CFA Institute.
Mr. Bloch joined Guggenheim in 2012 and is a portfolio manager for Guggenheim’s Active Fixed Income and Total Return Mandates. Mr. Bloch works with the CIOs and other portfolio managers to develop portfolio strategy in line with the firm’s views. He oversees strategy implementation, working with research analysts and traders to generate trade ideas, hedge portfolios, and manage day-to-day risk. Prior to joining Guggenheim, he worked in Leveraged Finance at Bank of America Merrill Lynch in New York where he structured high-yield bonds and leveraged loans for leveraged buyouts, restructurings, and corporate refinancings across multiple industries. Mr. Bloch graduated with a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania.
Investors should consider the following risk factors and special considerations associated with investing in the Trust. Investors should be aware that in light of the current uncertainty, volatility and distress in economies, financial markets, and labor and health conditions over the world, the risks below are heightened significantly compared to normal conditions and therefore subject the Fund’s investments and a shareholder’s investment in the Fund to elevated investment risk, including the possible loss of the entire principal amount invested.
Not a Complete Investment Program
The Fund is intended for investors seeking a high level of after-tax total return, with an emphasis on current distributions paid to shareholders, over the long term. The Fund is not meant to provide a vehicle for those who wish to play short-term swings in the stock market. An investment in the Common Shares of the Fund should not be considered a complete investment program. Each Common Shareholder should take into account the Fund’s investment objective as well as the Common Shareholder’s other investments when considering an investment in the Fund.
Investment and Market RiskAn investment in the Fund is subject to investment risk, particularly under current economic, financial, labor and health conditions, including the possible loss of the entire principal amount that you invest. An investment in the Common Shares of the Fund represents an indirect investment in the securities owned by the Fund. The value of, or income generated by, the investments held by the Fund are subject to the possibility of rapid and unpredictable fluctuation. These movements may result from factors affecting individual companies, or from broader influences, including real or perceived changes in prevailing interest rates, changes in inflation or expectations about inflation, investor confidence or economic, political, social or financial market conditions, environmental disasters, governmental actions, public health emergencies (such as the spread of infectious diseases, pandemics and epidemics) and other similar events, that each of which may be temporary or last for extended periods. For example, the risks of a borrower’s default or bankruptcy or non-payment of scheduled interest or principal payments from senior floating rate interests held by the Fund are especially acute under these conditions. Furthermore, interest rates and bond yields may fall as a result of types of events, including responses by governmental entities to such events, which would magnify the Fund’s fixed-income instruments’ susceptibility to interest rate risk and diminish their yield and performance. Moreover, the Fund’s investments in asset-backed securities are subject to many of the same risks that are applicable to investments in securities generally, including interest rate risk, credit risk, foreign currency risk, below-investment grade securities risk, financial leverage risk, prepayment and regulatory risk, which would be elevated under the foregoing circumstances.
Different sectors, industries and security types may react differently to such developments and, when the market performs well, there is no assurance that the Fund’s investments will increase in value along with the broader markets. Volatility of financial markets, including potentially extreme volatility caused by the events described above, can expose the Fund to greater market risk than normal, possibly resulting in greatly reduced liquidity. Moreover, changing economic, political, social or financial market conditions in one country or geographic region could adversely affect the value, yield and return of the investments held by the Fund in a different country or geographic region because of the increasingly interconnected global economies and financial markets. The Adviser and Sub-Adviser potentially could be prevented from considering, managing and executing investment decisions at an advantageous time or price or at all as a result of any domestic or global market or other disruptions, particularly disruptions causing heightened market volatility and reduced market liquidity, such as the current conditions, which have also resulted in impediments to the normal functioning of workforces, including personnel and systems of the Fund’s service providers and market intermediaries.
At any point in time, your Common Shares may be worth less than your original investment, including the reinvestment of Fund dividends and distributions.
The Fund is subject to management risk because it is an actively managed portfolio. In acting as the Fund's sub-adviser, responsible for management of the Fund's portfolio securities, the Sub-Adviser will apply investment techniques and risk analyses in making investment decisions for the Fund, but there can be no guarantee that these will produce the desired results.
The income investors receive from the Fund is based primarily on the interest it earns from its investments in Income securities, which can vary widely over the short-and long-term. If prevailing market interest rates drop, investors’ income from the Fund could drop as well. The Fund’s income could also be affected adversely when prevailing short-term interest rates increase and the Fund is utilizing leverage, although this risk is mitigated to the extent the Fund invests in floating-rate obligations.
Dividends on common stock and other Common Equity Securities which the Fund may hold are not fixed but are declared at the discretion of an issuer’s board of directors. There is no guarantee that the issuers of the Common Equity Securities in which the Fund invests will declare dividends in the future or that, if declared, they will remain at current levels or increase over time. These circumstances may result from issuer-specific events, adverse economic or market developments, or legislative or regulatory changes or other developments that limit an issuer's ability to declare and pay dividends, which would affect the Fund’s performance and ability to generate income.
Income Securities Risk
In addition to the risks discussed above, Income securities, including high-yield bonds, are subject to certain risks, including:
Issuer Risk. The value of Income securities may decline for a number of reasons which directly relate to the issuer, such as management performance, financial leverage, reduced demand for the issuer’s goods and services, historical and projected earnings, and the value of its assets.
Spread Risk. Spread risk is the risk that the market price can change due to broad based movements in spreads, which is particularly relevant in the current low spread environment.
Credit Risk. Credit risk is the risk that one or more debt obligations in the Fund’s portfolio will decline in price, or fail to pay interest or principal when due, because the issuer of the obligation experiences a decline in its financial status, the risk of which is heightened under current conditions.
Interest Rate Risk. Interest rate risk is the risk that Income securities will decline in value because of changes in market interest rates. When market interest rates rise, the market value of Income securities generally will fall. These risks may be greater in the current market environment because interest rates recently have declined significantly below historical average rates, and the Federal Reserve has begun to raise the Federal Funds rate. Prevailing interest rates may be adversely impacted by market and economic factors, including the potential impact of tapering of “quantitative easing” by the Federal Reserve Board. If interest rates rise the markets may experience increased volatility, which may adversely affect the value and/or liquidity of certain of the Fund’s Investments. Increases in interest rates may adversely affect the Fund’s ability to achieve its investment objective.
The prices of longer-term securities fluctuate more than prices of shorter-term securities as interest rates change. The Fund’s use of leverage, as described below, will tend to increase common share interest rate risk. The Fund may utilize certain strategies, including taking positions in futures or interest rate swaps, for the purpose of reducing the interest rate sensitivity of credit securities held by the Fund and decreasing the Fund’s exposure to interest rate risk. The Fund is not required to hedge its exposure to interest rate risk and may choose not to do so. In addition, there is no assurance that any attempts by the Fund to reduce interest rate risk will be successful or that any hedges that the Fund may establish will perfectly correlate with movements in interest rates. The Fund may invest in variable and floating rate debt instruments, which generally are less sensitive to interest rate changes than fixed rate instruments, but generally will not increase in value if interest rates decline.
Current Fixed-Income and Debt Market Conditions. Fixed-income and debt market conditions are highly unpredictable and some parts of the market are subject to dislocations. In response to the crisis initially caused by the outbreak of COVID-19, as with other serious economic disruptions, governmental authorities and regulators are enacting significant fiscal and monetary policy changes, including providing direct capital infusions into companies, creating new monetary programs and lowering interest rates considerably. These actions present heightened risks to fixed-income and debt instruments, and such risks could be even further heightened if these actions are unexpectedly or suddenly reversed or are ineffective in achieving their desired outcomes. In light of these actions and current conditions, interest rates and bond yields in the United States and many other countries are at or near historic lows, and in some cases, such rates and yields are negative. The current very low or negative interest rates are magnifying the Fund’s susceptibility to interest rate risk and diminishing yield and performance. In addition, the current environment is exposing fixed-income and debt markets to significant volatility and reduced liquidity for Fund investments.
Reinvestment Risk. Reinvestment risk is the risk that income from the Fund’s portfolio will decline if the Fund invests the proceeds from matured, traded or called Income securities at market interest rates that are below the Fund portfolio’s current earnings rate. A decline in income could affect the Common Shares’ market price or the overall return of the Fund.
Prepayment Risk. During periods of declining interest rates, borrowers may exercise their option to prepay principal earlier than scheduled, forcing the Fund to reinvest in lower yielding securities. This is known as call or prepayment risk.
Liquidity Risk. The Fund may invest without limitation in Income securities for which there is no readily available trading market or which are otherwise illiquid, including certain high-yield bonds. The Fund may not be able to readily dispose of illiquid securities and obligations at prices that approximate those at which the Fund could sell such securities and obligations if they were more widely traded and, as a result of such illiquidity, the Fund may have to sell other investments or engage in borrowing transactions if necessary to raise cash to meet its obligations. In addition, limited liquidity could affect the market price of Income securities, thereby adversely affecting the Fund’s net asset value and ability to make distributions. Dislocations in certain parts of markets are resulting in reduced liquidity for certain investments. It is uncertain when financial markets will improve. Liquidity of financial markets may also be affected by government intervention.
Valuation of Certain Income Securities Risk. Because the secondary markets for certain investments may be limited, they may be difficult to value. Where market quotations are not readily available, valuation may require more research than for more liquid investments. In addition, elements of judgment may play a greater role in valuation in such cases than for investments with a more active secondary market because there is less reliable objective data available. A security that is fair valued may be valued at a price higher or lower than the value determined by other funds using their own fair valuation procedures. Prices obtained by the Fund upon the sale of such securities may not equal the value at which the Fund carried the investment on its books, which would adversely affect the net asset value of the Fund.
Duration and Maturity Risk. The Fund has no set policy regarding portfolio maturity or duration. Holding long duration and long maturity investments will expose the Fund to certain magnified risks. These risks include interest rate risk, credit risk and liquidity risks as discussed above. Generally speaking, the longer the duration of the Fund’s portfolio, the more exposure the Fund will have to interest rate risk described above.
Lower Grade Securities Risk
The Fund may invest in fixed-income securities rated below investment grade (that is, rated Ba or lower by Moody's; BB or lower by S&P; comparably rated by another statistical rating organization; or, if unrated, as determined by the Sub-Adviser to be of comparable credit quality), which are commonly referred to as "junk bonds." Investment in securities of below-investment grade quality involves substantial risk of loss, the risk of which is particularly acute under current conditions. Securities of below investment grade quality are predominantly speculative with respect to the issuer's capacity to pay interest and repay principal when due and therefore involve a greater risk of default or decline in market value due to adverse economic and issuer-specific developments. Securities of below investment grade quality display increased price sensitivity to changing interest rates and to a deteriorating economic environment. The market values for debt securities of below-investment grade quality tend to be more volatile and such securities tend to be less liquid than investment grade debt securities.
Structured Finance Investments Risk
The Fund’s structured finance investments may include residential and commercial mortgage-related and other asset-backed securities issued by governmental entities and private issuers. Holders of structured finance investments bear risks of the underlying investments, index or reference obligation and are subject to counterparty risk. The Fund may have the right to receive payments only from the structured product, and generally does not have direct rights against the issuer or the entity that sold the assets to be securitized. While certain structured finance investments enable the investor to acquire interests in a pool of securities without the brokerage and other expenses associated with directly holding the same securities, investors in structured finance investments generally pay their share of the structured product’s administrative and other expenses. Although it is difficult to predict whether the prices of indices and securities underlying structured finance investments will rise or fall, these prices (and, therefore, the prices of structured finance investments) will be influenced by the same types of political and economic events that affect issuers of securities and capital markets generally. If the issuer of a structured product uses shorter term financing to purchase longer term securities, the issuer may be forced to sell its securities at below market prices if it experiences difficulty in obtaining short-term financing, which may adversely affect the value of the structured finance investment owned by the Fund.
The Fund may invest in structured finance products collateralized by low grade or defaulted loans or securities. Investments in such structured finance products are subject to the risks associated with below investment grade securities. Such securities are characterized by high risk. It is likely that an economic recession could severely disrupt the market for such securities and may have an adverse impact on the value of such securities.
The Fund may invest in senior and subordinated classes issued by structured finance vehicles. The payment of cash flows from the underlying assets to senior classes take precedence over those of subordinated classes, and therefore subordinated classes are subject to greater risk. Furthermore, the leveraged nature of subordinated classes may magnify the adverse impact on such class of changes in the value of the assets, changes in the distributions on the assets, defaults and recoveries on the assets, capital gains and losses on the assets, prepayment on assets and availability, price and interest rates of assets.
Structured finance securities are typically privately offered and sold, and thus are not registered under the securities laws. As a result, investments in structured finance securities may be characterized by the Fund as illiquid securities; however, an active dealer market may exist which would allow such securities to be considered liquid in some circumstances.
Mortgage-Backed Securities Risk. Mortgage-backed securities represent an interest in a pool of mortgages. The risks associated with mortgage-backed securities include: (1) credit risk associated with the performance of the underlying mortgage properties and of the borrowers owning these properties; (2) adverse changes in economic conditions and circumstances, which are more likely to have an adverse impact on mortgage-backed securities secured by loans on certain types of commercial properties than on those secured by loans on residential properties; (3) prepayment risk, which can lead to significant fluctuations in the value of the mortgage-backed security; (4) loss of all or part of the premium, if any, paid; and (5) decline in the market value of the security, whether resulting from changes in interest rates, prepayments on the underlying mortgage collateral or perceptions of the credit risk associated with the underlying mortgage collateral. The value of mortgage-backed securities may be substantially dependent on the servicing of the underlying pool of mortgages.
When market interest rates decline, more mortgages are refinanced and the securities are paid off earlier than expected. Prepayments may also occur on a scheduled basis or due to foreclosure. When market interest rates increase, the market values of mortgage-backed securities decline. At the same time, however, mortgage refinancings and prepayments slow, which lengthens the effective maturities of these securities. As a result, the negative effect of the rate increase on the market value of mortgage-backed securities is usually more pronounced than it is for other types of debt securities. In addition, due to increased instability in the credit markets, the market for some mortgage-backed securities has experienced reduced liquidity and greater volatility with respect to the value of such securities, making it more difficult to value such securities. The Fund may invest in sub-prime mortgages or mortgage-backed securities that are backed by sub-prime mortgages.
Moreover, the relationship between prepayments and interest rates may give some high-yielding mortgage-related and asset-backed securities less potential for growth in value than conventional bonds with comparable maturities. In addition, in periods of falling interest rates, the rate of prepayments tends to increase. During such periods, the reinvestment of prepayment proceeds by the Fund will generally be at lower rates than the rates that were carried by the obligations that have been prepaid. Because of these and other reasons, mortgage-related and asset-backed securities’ total return and maturity may be difficult to predict precisely. To the extent that the Fund purchases mortgage-related and asset-backed securities at a premium, prepayments (which may be made without penalty) may result in loss of the Fund’s principal investment to the extent of premium paid.
Mortgage-backed securities generally are classified as either commercial mortgage-backed securities (“CMBS”) or residential mortgage-backed securities (“RMBS”), each of which are subject to certain specific risks.
Commercial Mortgage-Backed Securities Risk. The market for CMBS developed more recently and, in terms of total outstanding principal amount of issues, is relatively small compared to the market for residential single-family mortgage-related securities. CMBS are subject to particular risks, including lack of standardized terms, have shorter maturities than residential mortgage loans and provide for payment of all or substantially all of the principal only at maturity rather than regular amortization of principal. In addition, commercial lending generally is viewed as exposing the lender to a greater risk of loss than one-to-four family residential lending. Commercial lending typically involves larger loans to single borrowers or groups of related borrowers than residential one-to-four family mortgage loans. In addition, the repayment of loans secured by income producing properties typically is dependent upon the successful operation of the related real estate project and the cash flow generated therefrom. Net operating income of an income-producing property can be affected by, among other things: tenant mix, success of tenant businesses, property management decisions, property location and condition, competition from comparable types of properties, changes in laws that increase operating expense or limit rents that may be charged, any need to address environmental contamination at the property, the occurrence of any uninsured casualty at the property, changes in national, regional or local economic conditions and/or specific industry segments, declines in regional or local real estate values, declines in regional or local rental or occupancy rates, increases in interest rates, real estate tax rates and other operating expenses, change in governmental rules, regulations and fiscal policies, including environmental legislation, acts of God, terrorism, social unrest and civil disturbances. Consequently, adverse changes in economic conditions and circumstances are more likely to have an adverse impact on mortgage-related securities secured by loans on commercial properties than on those secured by loans on residential properties. Economic downturns and other events that limit the activities of and demand for commercial retail and office spaces (such as the current crisis) adversely impact the value of such securities. 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. These risks are elevated given the current distressed economic, market, health and labor conditions, notably, increased levels of unemployment, delays and delinquencies in payments of mortgage and rent obligations, and uncertainty regarding the effects and extent of government intervention with respect to mortgage payments and other economic matters.
Sub-Prime Mortgage Market Risk. The residential mortgage market in the United States has experienced difficulties that may adversely affect the performance and market value of certain mortgages and mortgage-related securities. Delinquencies and losses on residential mortgage loans (especially sub-prime and second-line mortgage loans) generally have increased recently and may continue to increase, and a decline in or flattening of housing values (as has recently been experienced and may continue to be experienced in many housing markets) may exacerbate such delinquencies and losses. Borrowers with adjustable rate mortgage loans are more sensitive to changes in interest rates, which affect their monthly mortgage payments, and may be unable to secure replacement mortgages at comparably low interest rates. Also, a number of residential mortgage loan originators have experienced serious financial difficulties or bankruptcy. Largely due to the foregoing, reduced investor demand for mortgage loans and mortgage-related securities and increased investor yield requirements have caused limited liquidity in the secondary market for mortgage-related securities, which can adversely affect the market value of mortgage-related securities. It is possible that such limited liquidity in such secondary markets could continue or worsen. If the economy of the United States deteriorates further, the incidence of mortgage foreclosures, especially sub-prime mortgages, may increase, which may adversely affect the value of any mortgage-backed securities owned by the Fund.
The significance of the mortgage crisis and loan defaults in residential mortgage loan sectors led to the enactment of numerous pieces of legislation relating to the mortgage and housing markets. These actions, along with future legislation or regulation, may have significant impacts on the mortgage market generally and may result in a reduction of available transactional opportunities for the Fund or an increase in the cost associated with such transactions and may adversely impact the value of RMBS.
During the mortgage crisis, a number of originators and servicers of residential and commercial mortgage loans, including some of the largest originators and servicers in the residential and commercial mortgage loan market, experienced serious financial difficulties. Such difficulties may affect the performance of non-agency RMBS and CMBS. There can be no assurance that originators and servicers of mortgage loans will not continue to experience serious financial difficulties or experience such difficulties in the future, including becoming subject to bankruptcy or insolvency proceedings, or that underwriting procedures and policies and protections against fraud will be sufficient in the future to prevent such financial difficulties or significant levels of default or delinquency on mortgage loans.
Asset-Backed Securities Risk. In addition to the general risks associated with credit securities discussed herein and the risks discussed under “Structured Finance Investments Risks,” ABS are subject to additional risks. ABS involve certain risks in addition to those presented by MBS. ABS do not have the benefit of the same security interest in the underlying collateral as MBS and are more dependent on the borrower’s ability to pay and may provide the Fund with a less effective security interest in the related collateral than do MBS. There is the possibility that recoveries on the underlying collateral may not, in some cases, be available to support payments on these securities. The collateral underlying ABS may constitute assets related to a wide range of industries and sectors, such as credit card and automobile receivables or other assets derived from consumer, commercial or corporate sectors. For example, ABS can be collateralized with credit card and automobile receivables. Credit card receivables are generally unsecured, and the debtors are entitled to the protection of a number of state and federal consumer credit laws, many of which give debtors the right to set off certain amounts owed on the credit cards, thereby reducing the balance due. These risks are elevated given the currently distressed economic, market, labor and health conditions.
Most issuers of automobile receivables permit the servicers to retain possession of the underlying obligations. If the servicer were to sell these obligations to another party, there is a risk that the purchaser would acquire an interest superior to that of the holders of the related automobile receivables. In addition, because of the large number of vehicles involved in a typical issuance and technical requirements under state laws, the trustee for the holders of the automobile receivables may not have an effective security interest in all of the obligations backing such receivables. If the economy of the United States deteriorates, defaults on securities backed by credit card, automobile and other receivables may increase, which may adversely affect the value of any ABS owned by the Fund. In recent years, certain automobile manufacturers have been granted access to emergency loans from the U.S. Government and have experienced bankruptcy. As a result of these events, the value of securities backed by receivables from the sale or lease of automobiles may be adversely affected.
If the economy of the United States deteriorates, defaults on securities backed by credit card, automobile and other receivables may increase, which may adversely affect the value of any ABS owned by the Fund. In addition, these securities may provide the Fund with a less effective security interest in the related collateral than do mortgage-related securities. Therefore, there is the possibility that recoveries on the underlying collateral may not, in some cases, be available to support payments on these securities.
ABS collateralized by other types of assets are subject to risks associated with the underlying collateral.
CLO, CDO and CBO Risk. In addition to the general risks associated with debt securities discussed herein, CLOs, collateralized debt obligations (“CDOs”), and collateralized bond obligations (“CBOs”) are subject to additional risks. CLOs, CDOs and CBOs are subject to risks associated with the possibility that distributions from collateral securities will not be adequate to make interest or other payments; the quality of the collateral may decline in value or default; and the complex structure of the security may not be fully understood at the time of investment and may produce disputes with the issuer or unexpected investment results. The credit quality of CLOs, CDOs, and CBOs depends primarily upon the quality of the underlying assets and the level of credit support and/or enhancement provided. The underlying assets (e.g., debt obligations) of CLOs, CDOs and CBOs are subject to prepayments, which shorten the weighted average maturity and may lower the return of the securities issued by the CLOs, CDOs, and CBOs. If the credit support or enhancement is exhausted, losses or delays in payment may result if the required payments of principal and interest are not made. The value of securities issued by CLOs, CDOs, and CBOs also may change because of changes in market value; changes in the market’s perception of the creditworthiness of the servicing agent for the pool, the originator of the pool, or the financial institution or fund providing the credit support or enhancement; loan performance and prices; broader sentiment and standing in the economic cycle, including expectations regarding future loan defaults; liquidity conditions; and supply and demand at the various tranche levels. Finally, CLOs, CDOs and CBOs are limited recourse and may not be paid in full and may be subject to up to 100% loss.
The Fund may invest in any portion of the capital structure of CLOs (including the subordinated, residual and deep mezzanine debt tranches). Investment in the subordinated tranche is subject to special risks. The subordinated tranche does not receive ratings and is considered the riskiest portion of the capital structure of a CLO. The subordinated tranche is junior in priority of payment to the more senior tranches of the CLO and is subject to certain payment restrictions. As a result, the subordinated tranche bears the bulk of defaults from the loans in the CLO. In addition, the subordinated tranche generally has only limited voting rights and generally does not benefit from any creditors’ rights or ability to exercise remedies under the indenture governing the CLO notes. Certain mezzanine tranches in which the Fund may invest may also be subject to certain risks similar to risks associated with investment in the subordinated tranche.
The subordinated tranche is unsecured and ranks behind all of the secured creditors, known or unknown, of the CLO issuer, including the holders of the secured notes it has issued. Consequently, to the extent that the value of the issuer’s portfolio of loan investments has been reduced as a result of conditions in the credit markets, defaulted loans, capital gains and losses on the underlying assets, prepayment or changes in interest rates, the value of the subordinated tranche realized at redemption could be reduced. Accordingly, the subordinated tranche may not be paid in full and may be subject to up to 100% loss. The leveraged nature of subordinated notes may magnify the adverse impact on the subordinated notes of changes in the market value of the investments held by the issuer, changes in the distributions on those investments, defaults and recoveries on those investments, capital gains and losses on those investments, prepayments on those investments and availability, prices and interest rates of those investments. Investments in the subordinated tranche of a CLO are generally less liquid than CLO debt tranches and subject to extensive transfer restrictions, and there may be no market for subordinated notes. Certain mezzanine tranches in which the Fund may invest may also be subject to certain risks similar to risks associated with investment in the subordinated tranche.
Risks Associated with Risk-Linked Securities. RLS are a form of derivative issued by insurance companies and insurance-related special purpose vehicles that apply securitization techniques to catastrophic property and casualty damages. Unlike other insurable low-severity, high-probability events (such as auto collision coverage), the insurance risk of which can be diversified by writing large numbers of similar policies, the holders of a typical RLS are exposed to the risks from high-severity, low-probability events such as that posed by major earthquakes or hurricanes. RLS represent a method of reinsurance, by which insurance companies transfer their own portfolio risk to other reinsurance companies and, in the case of RLS, to the capital markets. A typical RLS provides for income and return of capital similar to other fixed-income investments, but involves full or partial default if losses resulting from a certain catastrophe exceeded a predetermined amount. In essence, investors invest funds in RLS and if a catastrophe occurs that “triggers” the RLS, investors may lose some or all of the capital invested. In the case of an event, the funds are paid to the bond sponsor — an insurer, reinsurer or corporation — to cover losses. In return, the bond sponsors pay interest to investors for this catastrophe protection. RLS can be structured to pay-off on three types of variables—insurance-industry catastrophe loss indices, insure-specific catastrophe losses and parametric indices based on the physical characteristics of catastrophic events. Such variables are difficult to predict or model, and the risk and potential return profiles of RLS may be difficult to assess. Catastrophe-related RLS have been in use since the 1990s, and the securitization and risk-transfer aspects of such RLS are beginning to be employed in other insurance and risk-related areas. No active trading market may exist for certain RLS, which may impair the ability of the Fund to realize full value in the event of the need to liquidate such assets.
Risks Associated with Structured Notes. Investments in structured notes involve risks associated with the issuer of the note and the reference instrument. Where the Fund’s investments in structured notes are based upon the movement of one or more factors, including currency exchange rates, interest rates, referenced bonds and stock indices, depending on the factor used and the use of multipliers or deflators, changes in interest rates and movement of the factor may cause significant price fluctuations. Additionally, changes in the reference instrument or security may cause the interest rate on the structured note to be reduced to zero, and any further changes in the reference instrument may then reduce the principal amount payable on maturity. Structured notes may be less liquid than other types of securities and more volatile than the reference instrument or security underlying the note.
Senior Loans Risk
The Fund may invest in senior secured floating rate Loans made to corporations and other non-governmental entities and issuers (“Senior Loans”). Senior Loans typically hold the most senior position in the capital structure of the issuing entity, are typically secured with specific collateral and typically 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. The Fund’s investments in Senior Loans are typically below-investment grade and are considered speculative because of the credit risk of their issuers. The risks associated with Senior Loans of below-investment grade quality are similar to the risks of other lower grade Income securities, although Senior Loans are typically senior and secured in contrast to subordinated and unsecured Income securities. Senior Loans’ higher standing has historically resulted in generally higher recoveries in the event of a corporate reorganization. In addition, because their interest payments are adjusted for changes in short-term interest rates, investments in Senior Loans generally have less interest rate risk than other lower grade Income securities, which may have fixed interest rates.
Second Lien Loans Risk
The Fund may invest in “second lien” secured floating rate Loans made by public and private corporations and other non-governmental entities and issuers for a variety of purposes (“Second Lien Loans”). Second Lien Loans are second in right of payment to one or more Senior Loans of the related borrower. Second Lien Loans are subject to the same risks associated with investment in Senior Loans and other lower grade Income securities. However, Second Lien Loans are second in right of payment to Senior Loans and therefore are subject to the additional risk that the cash flow of the borrower and any property securing the Loan may be insufficient to meet scheduled payments after giving effect to the senior secured obligations of the borrower. Second Lien Loans are expected to have greater price volatility and exposure to losses upon default than Senior Loans and may be less liquid.
Subordinated Secured Loans Risk
Subordinated secured Loans generally are subject to similar risks as those associated with investment in Senior Loans, Second Lien Loans and below investment grade securities. However, such loans may rank lower in right of payment than any outstanding Senior Loans, Second Lien Loans or other debt instruments with higher priority of the Borrower and therefore are subject to additional risk that the cash flow of the Borrower and any property securing the loan may be insufficient to meet scheduled payments and repayment of principal in the event of default or bankruptcy after giving effect to the higher ranking secured obligations of the Borrower. Subordinated secured Loans are expected to have greater price volatility than Senior Loans and Second Lien Loans and may be less liquid.
Unsecured Loans Risk
Unsecured Loans generally are subject to similar risks as those associated with investment in Senior Loans, Second Lien Loans, subordinated secured Loans and below investment grade securities. However, because unsecured Loans have lower priority in right of payment to any higher ranking obligations of the Borrower and are not backed by a security interest in any specific collateral, they are subject to additional risk that the cash flow of the Borrower and available assets may be insufficient to meet scheduled payments and repayment of principal after giving effect to any higher ranking obligations of the Borrower. Unsecured Loans are expected to have greater price volatility than Senior Loans, Second Lien Loans and subordinated secured Loans and may be less liquid.
Loan Participations and Assignments Risk
The Fund may purchase Loans on a direct assignment basis from a participant in the original syndicate of lenders or from subsequent assignees of such interests. The Fund may also purchase, without limitation, participations in Loans. The purchaser of an assignment typically succeeds to all the rights and obligations of the assigning institution and becomes a lender under the credit agreement with respect to the debt obligation; however, the purchaser’s rights can be more restricted than those of the assigning institution, and, in any event, the Fund may not be able to unilaterally enforce all rights and remedies under the loan and with regard to any associated collateral. A participation typically results in a contractual relationship only with the institution participating out the interest, not with the Borrower. In purchasing participations, the Fund generally will have no right to enforce compliance by the Borrower with the terms of the loan agreement against the Borrower, and the Fund may not directly benefit from the collateral supporting the debt obligation in which it has purchased the participation. As a result, the Fund will be exposed to the credit risk of both the Borrower and the institution selling the participation. Further, in purchasing participations in lending syndicates, the Fund may not be able to conduct the same due diligence on the Borrower with respect to a Senior Loan that the Fund would otherwise conduct. In addition, as a holder of the participations, the Fund may not have voting rights or inspection rights that the Fund would otherwise have if it were investing directly in the Senior Loan, which may result in the Fund being exposed to greater credit or fraud risk with respect to the Borrower or the Senior Loan. Lenders selling a participation and other persons interpositioned between the lender and the Fund with respect to a participation will likely conduct their principal business activities in the banking, finance and financial services industries. Because the Fund may invest in participations, the Fund may be more susceptible to economic, political or regulatory occurrences affecting such industries.
Certain of the loan participations or assignments acquired by the Fund may involve unfunded commitments of the lenders, revolving credit facilities, delayed draw credit facilities or other investments under which a borrower may from time to time borrow and repay amounts up to the maximum amount of the facility. In such cases, the Fund would have an obligation to advance its portion of such additional borrowings upon the terms specified in the loan documentation. Such an obligation may have the effect of requiring the Fund to increase its investment in a company at a time when it might not be desirable to do so (including at a time when the company’s financial condition makes it unlikely that such amounts will be repaid). These commitments are generally subject to the borrowers meeting certain criteria such as compliance with covenants and certain operational metrics. The terms of the borrowings and financings subject to commitment are comparable to the terms of other loans and related investments in the Fund’s portfolio.
The Fund invests in or is exposed to loans and other similar debt obligations that are sometimes referred to as “covenant-lite” loans or obligations, which are generally subject to more risk than investments that contain traditional financial maintenance covenants and financial reporting requirements.
Mezzanine Investments Risk
The Fund may invest in certain lower grade securities known as “Mezzanine Investments,” which are subordinated debt securities that are generally issued in private placements in connection with an equity security (e.g., with attached warrants) or may be convertible into equity securities. Mezzanine Investments are subject to the same risks associated with investment in Senior Loans, Second Lien Loans and other lower grade Income securities. However, Mezzanine Investments may rank lower in right of payment than any outstanding Senior Loans and Second Lien Loans of the borrower, or may be unsecured (i.e., not backed by a security interest in any specific collateral), and are subject to the additional risk that the cash flow of the borrower and available assets may be insufficient to meet scheduled payments after giving effect to any higher ranking obligations of the borrower. Mezzanine Investments are expected to have greater price volatility and exposure to losses upon default than Senior Loans and Second Lien Loans and may be less liquid.
Distressed and Defaulted Securities Risk
Investments in the securities of financially distressed issuers involve substantial risks. These securities may present a substantial risk of default or may be in default at the time of investment. The Fund may incur additional expenses to the extent it is required to seek recovery upon a default in the payment of principal or interest on its portfolio holdings. In any reorganization or liquidation proceeding relating to a portfolio company, the Fund may lose its entire investment or may be required to accept cash or securities with a value less than its original investment. Among the risks inherent in investments in a troubled entity is the fact that it frequently may be difficult to obtain information as to the true financial condition of such issuer. The Adviser’s judgment about the credit quality of the issuer and the relative value and liquidity of its securities may prove to be wrong.
Convertible Securities Risk
The Fund may invest in convertible securities, which include bonds, debentures, notes, preferred stocks and other securities that entitle the holder to acquire common stock or other equity securities of the issuer. Convertible securities generally offer lower interest or dividend yields than non-convertible securities of similar quality. As with all Income Securities, the market values of convertible securities tend to decline as interest rates increase and, conversely, to increase as interest rates decline. Convertible securities also tend to reflect the market price of the underlying common stock in varying degrees, depending on the relationship of such market price to the conversion price in terms of the convertible security. Convertible securities rank senior to common stock in an issuer’s capital structure and consequently entail less risk than the issuer’s common stock.
Preferred Stock Risk
The Fund may invest in preferred stock, which represents the senior residual interest in the assets of an issuer after meeting all claims, with priority to corporate income and liquidation payments over the issuer’s common stock. As such, preferred stock is inherently more risky than the bonds and other debt instruments of the issuer, but less risky than its common stock. Preferred stocks may be significantly less liquid than many other securities, such as U.S. Government securities, corporate debt and common stock.
Foreign Securities Risk
The Fund may invest up to 20% of its total assets in non-U.S. dollar-denominated Income securities of foreign issuers. Investments in the securities of foreign issuers involve certain considerations and risks not ordinarily associated with investments in securities of domestic issuers. Foreign companies are not generally subject to uniform accounting, auditing and financial standards and requirements comparable to those applicable to U.S. companies. Foreign securities exchanges, brokers and listed companies may be subject to less government supervision and regulation that exists in the United States. Dividend and interest income may be subject to withholding and other foreign taxes, which may adversely affect the net return on such investments. There may be difficulty in obtaining or enforcing a court judgment abroad. In addition, it may be difficult to effect repatriation of capital invested in certain countries. In addition, with respect to certain countries, there are risks of expropriation, confiscatory taxation, political or social instability or diplomatic developments that could affect assets of the Fund held in foreign countries. These risks are heightened under the current conditions.
There may be less publicly available information about a foreign company than a U.S. company. Foreign securities markets may have substantially less volume than U.S. securities markets and some foreign company securities are less liquid than securities of otherwise comparable U.S. companies. Foreign markets also have different clearance and settlement procedures that could cause the Fund to encounter difficulties in purchasing and selling securities on such markets and may result in the Fund missing attractive investment opportunities or experiencing a loss. In addition, a portfolio that includes foreign securities can expect to have a higher expense ratio because of the increased transaction costs on non-U.S. securities markets and the increased costs of maintaining the custody of foreign securities.
ADRs are receipts issued by United States banks or trust companies in respect of securities of foreign issuers held on deposit for use in the United States securities markets. While ADRs may not necessarily be denominated in the same currency as the securities into which they may be converted, many of the risks associated with foreign securities may also apply to ADRs. In addition, the underlying issuers of certain depositary receipts, particularly unsponsored or unregistered depositary receipts, are under no obligation to distribute shareholder communications to the holders of such receipts, or to pass through to them any voting rights with respect to the deposited securities.
Emerging Markets Risk
The Fund may invest up to 10% of its total assets in Income securities the issuers of which are located in countries considered to be emerging markets, and investments in such securities are considered speculative. Heightened risks of investing in emerging markets, which are elevated under current conditions, include: smaller market capitalization of securities markets, which may suffer periods of relative illiquidity; significant price volatility; restrictions on foreign investment; and potential restrictions on repatriation of investment income and capital.
Foreign Currency Risk
The value of securities denominated or quoted in foreign currencies may be adversely affected by fluctuations in the relative currency exchange rates and by exchange control regulations. The Fund’s investment performance may be negatively affected by a devaluation of a currency in which the Fund’s investments are denominated or quoted. Further, the Fund’s investment performance may be significantly affected, either positively or negatively, by currency exchange rates because the U.S. dollar value of securities denominated or quoted in another currency will increase or decrease in response to changes in the value of such currency in relation to the U.S. dollar.
Sovereign Debt Risk
Investments in sovereign debt involve special risks. Foreign governmental issuers of debt or the governmental authorities that control the repayment of the debt may be unable or unwilling to repay principal or pay interest when due. In the event of default, there may be limited or no legal recourse in that, generally, remedies for defaults must be pursued in the courts of the defaulting party. Political conditions, especially a sovereign entity’s willingness to meet the terms of its debt obligations, are of considerable significance. The ability of a foreign sovereign issuer, especially an emerging market country, to make timely payments on its debt obligations will also be strongly influenced by the sovereign issuer’s balance of payments, including export performance, its access to international credit facilities and investments, fluctuations of interest rates and the extent of its foreign reserves.
UK Departure from EU (“Brexit”) Risk
On January 31, 2020, the United Kingdom officially withdrew from the European Union (“EU”) and the two sides entered into a transition phase, scheduled to conclude on December 31, 2020, where the United Kingdom effectively remains in the EU from an economic perspective, but no longer has any political representation in the EU parliament. During this transition phase, which could be extended beyond December of 2020, the United Kingdom is expected to negotiate a new trade deal with the EU. Due to political uncertainty, it is not possible to anticipate whether the United Kingdom and the EU will be able to agree and implement a new trade agreement or what the nature of such trade arrangement will be. Throughout the withdrawal process and afterward, the impact on the United Kingdom and Economic and Monetary Union and the broader global economy is unknown but could be significant and could result in increased volatility and illiquidity and potentially lower economic growth. The political divisions surrounding Brexit within the United Kingdom, as well as those between the UK and the EU, may also have a destabilizing impact on the economy and currency of the United Kingdom and the EU. Any further exits from member states of the EU, or the possibility of such exits, would likely cause additional market disruption globally and introduce new legal and regulatory uncertainties.
Risks associated with the outcome of the Referendum include short and long term market volatility and currency volatility, macroeconomic risk to the UK and European economies, impetus for further disintegration of the EU and related political stresses (including those related to sentiment against cross border capital movements and activities of investors like the Trust), prejudice to financial services businesses that are conducting business in the EU and which are based in the UK, legal uncertainty regarding achievement of compliance with applicable financial and commercial laws and regulations in view of the expected steps to be taken pursuant to or in contemplation of Brexit.
The result of the Referendum, the progression of the European debt crisis and the possibility of one or more Eurozone countries exiting the EMU, or even the collapse of the euro as a common currency, has created significant volatility in currency and financial markets generally. The effects of the collapse of the euro, or of the exit of one or more countries from the EMU, on the U.S. and global economies and securities markets are impossible to predict and any such events could have a significant adverse impact on the value and risk profile of the Fund’s portfolio. Any partial or complete dissolution of the EMU could have significant adverse effects on currency and financial markets, and on the values of the Fund’s portfolio investments. If one or more EMU countries were to stop using the euro as its primary currency, the Fund’s investments in such countries may be redenominated into a different or newly adopted currency. As a result, the value of those investments could decline significantly and unpredictably. In addition, securities or other investments that are redenominated may be subject to foreign currency risk, liquidity risk and valuation risk to a greater extent than similar investments currently denominated in euros. To the extent a currency used for redenomination purposes is not specified in respect of certain EMU-related investments, or should the euro cease to be used entirely, the currency in which such investments are denominated may be unclear, making such investments particularly difficult to value or dispose of. The Fund may incur additional expenses to the extent it is required to seek judicial or other clarification of the denomination or value of such securities.
Common Equity Securities Risk
The Fund may invest up to 50% of its total assets in Common Equity 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. The prices of Common Equity Securities are also sensitive to general movements in the stock market, so a drop in the stock market may depress the prices of Common Equity Securities to which the Fund has exposure. While broad market measures of Common Equity Securities have historically generated higher average returns than Income securities, Common Equity Securities have also experienced significantly more volatility in those returns. Equity securities are currently experiencing heightened volatility and therefore, the Fund’s investments in equity securities are subject to heightened risks related to volatility. 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.
Risks Associated with the Fund’s Covered Call Option Strategy
The ability of the Fund to achieve its investment objective is partially dependent on the successful implementation of its covered call option strategy. There are significant differences between the securities and options markets that could result in an imperfect correlation between these markets, causing a given transaction not to achieve its objectives. A decision as to whether, when and how to use options involves the exercise of skill and judgment, and even a well-conceived transaction may be unsuccessful to some degree because of market behavior or unexpected events.
The Fund may write call options on individual securities, securities indices, exchange-traded funds (“ETFs”) and baskets of securities. The buyer of an option acquires the right to buy (a call option) or sell (a put option) a certain quantity of a security (the underlying security) or instrument, at a certain price up to a specified point in time or on expiration, depending on the terms. The seller or writer of an option is obligated to sell (a call option) or buy (a put option) the underlying instrument. A call option is “covered” if the Fund owns the security underlying the call or has an absolute right to acquire the security without additional cash consideration (or, if additional cash consideration is required, cash or cash equivalents in such amount are segregated by the Fund’s custodian). As a seller of covered call options, the Fund faces the risk that it will forgo the opportunity to profit from increases in the market value of the security covering the call option during an option’s life. As the Fund writes covered calls over more of its portfolio, its ability to benefit from capital appreciation becomes more limited. For certain types of options, the writer of the option will have no control over the time when it may be required to fulfill its obligation under the option. There can be no assurance that a liquid market will exist if and when the Fund seeks to close out an option position. Once an option writer has received an exercise notice, it cannot effect a closing purchase transaction in order to terminate its obligation under the option and must deliver the underlying security at the exercise price.
The Fund may write exchange-listed and over-the-counter (“OTC”) options. Options written by the Fund with respect to non-U.S. securities, 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 are subject to heightened counterparty, credit, liquidity and valuation risks.
Risks of Real Property Asset Companies
The Fund may invest in Income securities and Common Equity Securities issued by Real Property Asset Companies. Because of the Fund’s ability to make indirect investments in real estate and in the securities of companies in the real estate industry, it is subject to risks associated with the direct ownership of real estate, including declines in the value of real estate; general and local economic conditions; increased competition; and changes in interest rates.
Because of the Fund’s ability to make indirect investments in natural resources and physical commodities, and in Real Property Asset Companies engaged in oil and gas exploration and production, gold and other precious metals, steel and iron ore production, energy services, forest products, chemicals, coal, alternative energy sources and environmental services, as well as related transportation companies and equipment manufacturers, the Fund is subject to risks associated with such real property assets, including supply and demand risk, depletion risk, regulatory risk and commodity pricing risk.
Risks of Personal Property Asset Companies
The Fund may invest in Income securities and Common Equity Securities issued by Personal Property Asset Companies which invest in personal property such as special situation transportation assets (e.g., railcars, airplanes and ships) and collectibles (e.g., antiques, wine and fine art). The risks of special situation transportation assets include cyclicality of supply and demand for transportation assets and risk of decline in the value of transportation assets and rental values. The risks of collectible assets include the difficulty in valuing collectible assets, the relative illiquidity of collectible assets, the prospects of forgery or the inability to assess the authenticity of collectible assets and the high transaction and related costs of purchasing, selling and safekeeping collectible assets.
Private Securities Risk
The Fund may invest in privately issued Income securities and Common Equity Securities of both public and private companies. Private 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 Sub-Adviser’s ability to obtain and evaluate applicable information concerning such companies’ creditworthiness and other investment considerations. Certain Private Securities may be illiquid. Because there is often no readily available trading market for Private 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. Private Securities are also more difficult to value. Private Securities that are debt securities generally are of below-investment grade quality, frequently are unrated and present many of the same risks as investing in below-investment grade public debt securities.
Investment Funds Risk
As an alternative to holding investments directly, the Fund may also obtain investment exposure to Income securities and Common Equity Securities by investing up to 30% of its total assets in Investment Funds. Investments in Investment Funds present certain special considerations and risks not present in making direct investments in Income securities and Common Equity Securities. Investments in Investment Funds involve operating expenses and fees that are in addition to the expenses and fees borne by the Fund. Such expenses and fees attributable to the Fund’s investment in another Investment Fund are borne indirectly by Common Shareholders. Accordingly, investment in such entities involves expense and fee layering. To the extent management fees of Investment Funds are based on total gross assets, it may create an incentive for such entities’ managers to employ financial leverage, thereby adding additional expense and increasing volatility and risk. A performance-based fee arrangement may create incentives for an adviser or manager to take greater investment risks in the hope of earning a higher profit participation. Investments in Investment Funds frequently expose the Fund to an additional layer of financial leverage.
On December 19, 2018, the SEC published a proposed rule that, if adopted, would change the regulation of fund of funds arrangements. The SEC is currently seeking public comments on numerous aspects of the proposed rule, and as a result the nature of any final regulations is uncertain at this time. Such regulations could permit closed-end funds to invest in other investment companies in excess of the limits of section 12(d)(1), including those described above. The Adviser cannot predict the effects of these regulations on the Fund’s portfolio. The Adviser intends to monitor developments and seeks 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.
Synthetic Investments Risk
The Fund may be exposed to certain additional risks to the extent the Sub-Adviser uses derivatives as a means to synthetically implement the Fund’s investment strategies. If the Fund enters into a derivative instrument whereby it agrees to receive the return of a security or financial instrument or a basket of securities or financial instruments, it will typically contract to receive such returns for a predetermined period of time. During such period, the Fund may not have the ability to increase or decrease its exposure. In addition, such customized derivative instruments will likely be highly illiquid, and it is possible that the Fund will not be able to terminate such derivative instruments prior to their expiration date or that the penalties associated with such a termination might impact the Fund’s performance in a material adverse manner. Furthermore, derivative instruments typically contain provisions giving the counterparty the right to terminate the contract upon the occurrence of certain events. If a termination were to occur, the Fund’s return could be adversely affected as it would lose the benefit of the indirect exposure to the reference securities and it may incur significant termination expenses.
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.
Market Discount Risk
Shares of closed-end management investment companies frequently trade at a discount from their net asset value, which is a risk separate and distinct from the risk that the Fund’s net asset value could decrease as a result of its investment activities. The Fund cannot predict whether the Common Shares will trade in the future at a premium or discount to net asset value. If the Common Shares are trading at a premium to net asset value at the time you purchase Common Shares, the net asset value per share of the Common Shares purchased will be less than the purchase price paid. Shares of closed-end investment companies frequently trade at a discount from net asset value, but in some cases have traded above net asset value.
The Fund’s net asset value will be reduced immediately following an offering of the Common Shares due to the costs of such offering, which will be borne entirely by the Fund. The sale of Common Shares by the Fund (or the perception that such sales may occur) may have an adverse effect on prices of Common Shares in the secondary market. An increase in the number of Common Shares available may put downward pressure on the market price for Common Shares. The Fund may, from time to time, seek the consent of Common Shareholders to permit the issuance and sale by the Fund of Common Shares at a price below the Fund’s then current net asset value, subject to certain conditions, and such sales of Common Shares at price below net asset value, if any, may increase downward pressure on the market price for Common Shares. These sales, if any, also might make it more difficult for the Fund to sell additional Common Shares in the future at a time and price it deems appropriate.
Whether a Common Shareholder will realize a gain or loss upon the sale of Common Shares depends upon whether the market value of the Common Shares at the time of sale is above or below the price the Common Shareholder paid, taking into account transaction costs for the Common Shares, and is not directly dependent upon the Fund’s net asset value. Because the market value of the Common Shares will be determined by factors such as the relative demand for and supply of the shares in the market, general market conditions and other factors outside the Fund’s control, the Fund cannot predict whether the Common Shares will trade at, below or above net asset value, or at, below or above the public offering price for the Common Shares. Common Shares of the Fund are designed primarily for long-term investors; investors in Common Shares should not view the Fund as a vehicle for trading purposes.
The voting power of current Common Shareholders will be diluted to the extent that current Common Shareholders do not purchase Common Shares in any future offerings of Common Shares or do not purchase sufficient Common Shares to maintain their percentage interest. If the Fund is unable to invest the proceeds of such offering as intended, the Fund’s per Common Share distribution may decrease and the Fund may not participate in market advances to the same extent as if such proceeds were fully invested as planned. If the Fund sells Common Shares at a price below net asset value pursuant to the consent of Common Shareholders, shareholders will experience a dilution of the aggregate net asset value per Common Share because the sale price will be less than the Fund’s then-current net asset value per Common Share. Similarly, were the expenses of the offering to exceed the amount by which the sale price exceeded the Fund’s then current net asset value per Common Share, shareholders would experience a dilution of the aggregate net asset value per Common Share. This dilution will be experienced by all shareholders, irrespective of whether they purchase Common Shares in any such offering.
Financial Leverage Risk
Although the use of Financial Leverage by the Fund may create an opportunity for increased after-tax total return for the Common Shares, it also results in additional risks and can magnify the effect of any losses. If the income and gains earned on securities purchased with Financial Leverage proceeds are greater than the cost of Financial Leverage, the Fund’s return will be greater than if Financial Leverage had not been used. Conversely, if the income or gains from the securities purchased with such proceeds does not cover the cost of Financial Leverage, the return to the Fund will be less than if Financial Leverage had not been used.
Financial Leverage involves risks and special considerations for shareholders, including the likelihood of greater volatility of net asset value, market price and dividends on the Common Shares than a comparable portfolio without leverage; the risk that fluctuations in interest rates on borrowings and short-term debt or in the dividend rates on any Financial Leverage that the Fund must pay will reduce the return to the Common Shareholders; and the effect of Financial Leverage in a declining market, which is likely to cause a greater decline in the net asset value of the Common Shares than if the Fund were not leveraged, which may result in a greater decline in the market price of the Common Shares.
It is also possible that the Fund will be required to sell assets, possibly at a loss, in order to redeem or meet payment obligations on any leverage. Such a sale would reduce the Fund's net asset value and also make it difficult for the net asset value to recover. The Fund in its best judgment nevertheless may determine to continue to use Financial Leverage if it expects that the benefits to the Fund's shareholders of maintaining the leveraged position will outweigh the current reduced return.
Certain types of Borrowings subject the Fund to covenants in credit agreements relating to asset coverage and portfolio composition requirements. Certain Borrowings issued by the Fund also may subject the Fund to certain restrictions on investments imposed by guidelines of one or more rating agencies, which may issue ratings for such Borrowings. Such guidelines may impose asset coverage or portfolio composition requirements that are more stringent than those imposed by the 1940 Act. It is not anticipated that these covenants or guidelines will impede the Sub-Adviser from managing the Fund’s portfolio in accordance with the Fund’s investment objective and policies.
Reverse repurchase agreements involve the risks that the interest income earned on the investment of the proceeds will be less than the interest expense and Fund expenses associated with the repurchase agreement, that the market value of the securities sold by the Fund may decline below the price at which the Fund is obligated to repurchase such securities and that the securities may not be returned to the Fund. There is no assurance that reverse repurchase agreements can be successfully employed. In connection with reverse repurchase agreements, the Fund will also be subject to counterparty risk with respect to the purchaser of the securities. If the broker/dealer to whom the Fund sells securities becomes insolvent, the Fund’s right to purchase or repurchase securities may be restricted.
Because the fees received by the Adviser and Sub-Adviser are based on the Managed Assets of the Fund (including the proceeds of any Financial Leverage), the Adviser and Sub-Adviser have a financial incentive for the Fund to utilize Financial Leverage, which may create a conflict of interest between the Adviser and the Sub-Adviser and the Common Shareholders. There can be no assurance that a leveraging strategy will be successful during any period during which it is employed.
If the cost of leverage is no longer favorable, or if the Fund is otherwise required to reduce its leverage, the Fund may not be able to maintain distributions on Common Shares at historical levels and Common Shareholders will bear any costs associated with selling portfolio securities.
Derivatives Transactions Risk
In addition to the covered call option strategy described above, the Fund may, but is not required to, utilize other derivatives, including futures contracts and other Strategic Transactions, to seek to earn income, facilitate portfolio management and mitigate risks. Participation in derivatives markets transactions involves investment risks and transaction costs to which the Fund would not be subject absent the use of these strategies (other than its covered call writing strategy). If the Sub-Adviser is incorrect about its expectations of market conditions, the use of derivatives could also result in a loss, which in some cases may be unlimited. Risks inherent in the use of derivatives include:
Futures Transactions Risk
The Fund may invest in futures contracts. Futures and options on futures entail certain risks, including but not limited to the following:
The Fund will be subject to credit risk with respect to the counterparties to the derivative contracts purchased by the Fund. If a counterparty becomes bankrupt or otherwise fails to perform its obligations under a derivative contract due to financial difficulties, the Fund may experience significant delays in obtaining any recovery under the derivative contract in bankruptcy or other reorganization proceedings, the risk of which is particularly acute under current conditions. The Fund may obtain only a limited recovery or may obtain no recovery in such circumstances.
Risks Associated with Options on Securities
There are significant differences between the securities and options markets that could result in an imperfect correlation between these markets, causing a given transaction not to achieve its objectives. A decision as to whether, when and how to use options involves the exercise of skill and judgment, and even a well-conceived transaction may be unsuccessful to some degree because of market behavior or unexpected events. There can be no assurance that a liquid market will exist when the Fund seeks to close out an option position. The Fund’s ability to terminate over-the-counter options is more limited than with exchange-traded options and may involve the risk that broker-dealers participating in such transactions will not fulfill their obligations. The hours of trading for options may not conform to the hours during which the underlying securities are traded. The Fund’s options transactions will be subject to limitations established by each of the exchanges, boards of trade or other trading facilities on which such options are traded. To the extent that the Fund writes covered put options, the Fund will bear the risk of loss if the value of the underlying stock declines below the exercise price. If the option is exercised, the Fund could incur a loss if it is required to purchase the stock underlying the put option at a price greater than the market price of the stock at the time of exercise. While the Fund’s potential gain in writing a covered put option is limited to the interest earned on the liquid assets securing the put option plus the premium received from the purchaser of the put option, the Fund risks a loss equal to the entire value of the stock. To the extent that the Fund writes covered call option, the Fund forgoes, during the option’s life, the opportunity to profit from increases in the market value of the security covering the call option above the sum of the premium and the strike price of the call, but has retained the risk of loss should the price of the underlying security decline. The writer of an option has no control over the time when it may be required to fulfill its obligation as a writer of the option. Once an option writer has received an exercise notice, it cannot effect a closing purchase transaction in order to terminate its obligation under the option and must deliver the underlying security at the exercise price. Thus, the use of options may require the Fund to sell portfolio securities at inopportune times or for prices other than current market values, may limit the amount of appreciation the Fund can realize on an investment or may cause the Fund to hold a security that it might otherwise sell.
Swap transactions are subject to market risk, risk of default by the other party to the transaction and risk of imperfect correlation between the value of derivative instruments and the underlying assets and may involve commissions or other costs. Swaps generally do not involve the delivery of securities, other underlying assets or principal. Accordingly, the risk of loss with respect to swaps generally is limited to the net amount of payments that the Fund is contractually obligated to make, or in the case of the other party to a swap defaulting, the net amount of payments that the Fund is contractually entitled to receive. Total return swaps may effectively add leverage to the Fund’s portfolio because the Fund would be subject to investment exposure on the full notional amount of the swap. Total return swaps are subject to the risk that a counterparty will default on its payment obligations to the Fund thereunder.
Portfolio Turnover Risk
The Fund’s annual portfolio turnover rate may vary greatly from year to year. Portfolio turnover rate is not considered a limiting factor in the execution of investment decisions for the Fund. A higher portfolio turnover rate results in correspondingly greater brokerage commissions and other transactional expenses that are borne by the Fund. High portfolio turnover may result in an increased realization of net short-term capital gains by the Fund which, when distributed to Common Shareholders, will be taxable as ordinary income. Additionally, in a declining market, portfolio turnover may create realized capital losses.
U.S. Government Securities Risk
U.S. Government securities historically have not involved the credit risks associated with investments in other types of debt securities, although, as a result, the yields available from U.S. Government debt securities are generally lower than the yields available from other securities. Like other debt securities, however, the values of U.S. Government securities change as interest rates fluctuate. In 2011, each of S&P, Moody’s and Fitch lowered its long-term sovereign credit rating on the U.S. to “AA+” from “AAA.” Any further downgrades of the U.S. credit rating could increase volatility in both stock and bond markets, result in higher interest rates and higher Treasury yields and increase the costs of all kinds of debt. These events could have significant adverse effects on the economy generally and could result in significant adverse impacts on securities issuers and the Fund. The Adviser cannot predict the effects of these or similar events in the future on the U.S. economy and securities markets or on the Fund’s portfolio.
Legislation and Regulation Risk
At any time after the date hereof, legislation may be enacted that could negatively affect the assets of the Fund or the issuers of such assets. Legislation or regulation may change the way in which the Fund itself is regulated. The Adviser and the Sub-Adviser cannot predict the effects of any new governmental regulation that may be implemented, and there can be no assurance that any new governmental regulation will not adversely affect the Fund’s ability to achieve its investment objective.
The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (the “Dodd-Frank Act”), which was signed into law in July 2010, has resulted in significant revisions to the U.S. financial regulatory framework. The Dodd-Frank Act covers a broad range of topics, including, among many others: a reorganization of federal financial regulators; the creation of a process designed to ensure financial system stability and the resolution of potentially insolvent financial firms; the enactment of new rules for derivatives trading; the creation of a consumer financial protection watchdog; the registration and regulation of managers of private funds; the regulation of credit rating agencies; and the enactment of new federal requirements for residential mortgage loans. The regulation of various types of derivative instruments pursuant to the Dodd-Frank Act may adversely affect the Fund and its counterparties.
In late November 2019, the SEC published a proposed rulemaking related to the use of derivatives and certain other transactions by registered investment companies that would, if adopted, for the most part rescind the SEC’s asset segregation and coverage rules and guidance. Instead of complying with current requirements, funds would need to trade derivatives and other transactions that potentially create senior securities (except reverse repurchase agreements) subject to a value-at-risk (“VaR”) leverage limit, certain other testing requirements and requirements related to board reporting. These new requirements would apply unless a fund qualified as a “limited derivatives user,” as defined in the SEC’s proposal. Reverse repurchase agreements would be subject to asset coverage requirements, and a fund trading reverse repurchase agreements would need to aggregate the amount of indebtedness associated with the reverse repurchase agreements or similar financing transactions with the aggregate amount of any other senior securities representing indebtedness when calculating the fund’s asset coverage ratio. Reverse repurchase agreements would not be included in the calculation of whether a fund is a limited derivatives user, but for funds subject to the VaR testing, reverse repurchase agreements and similar financing transactions would be included for purposes of such testing.
The current presidential administration has called for, and in certain instances has begun to implement, significant changes to U.S. fiscal, tax, trade, healthcare, immigration, foreign, and government regulatory policy. In this regard, there is significant uncertainty with respect to legislation, regulation and government policy at the federal level, as well as the state and local levels. Recent events have created a climate of heightened uncertainty and introduced new and difficult-to-quantify macroeconomic and political risks with potentially far-reaching implications. There has been a corresponding meaningful increase in the uncertainty surrounding interest rates, inflation, foreign exchange rates, trade volumes and fiscal and monetary policy. To the extent the U.S. Congress or the current presidential administration implements changes to U.S. policy, those changes may impact, among other things, the U.S. and global economy, international trade and relations, unemployment, immigration, corporate taxes, healthcare, the U.S. regulatory environment, inflation and other areas. Some particular areas identified as subject to potential change, amendment or repeal include the Dodd-Frank Act, including the Volcker Rule and various swaps and derivatives regulations, credit risk retention requirements and the authorities of the Federal Reserve, the Financial Stability Oversight Council and the SEC. Although the Fund cannot predict the impact, if any, of these changes to the Fund’s business, they could adversely affect the Fund’s business, financial condition, operating results and cash flows. Until the Fund knows what policy changes are made and how those changes impact the Fund’s business and the business of the Fund’s competitors over the long term, the Fund will not know if, overall, the Fund will benefit from them or be negatively affected by them.
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (the “TCJA”) made substantial changes to the Code. Among those changes were a significant permanent reduction in the generally applicable corporate tax rate, changes in the taxation of individuals and other non-corporate taxpayers that generally but not universally reduce their taxes on a temporary basis subject to “sunset” provisions, the elimination or modification of various previously allowed deductions (including changes to the manner in which depreciation deductions are calculated and substantial limitations on the deductibility of interest and, in the case of individuals, the deduction for personal state and local taxes), certain additional limitations on the deduction of net operating losses, changes that affect the timing of the recognition of certain items of income and significant changes to the international tax rules. The effect of these, and the many other, changes made in the TCJA is uncertain, both in terms of their direct effect on the taxation of an investment in our Common Shares and their indirect effect on the value of our Common Shares or market conditions generally. There also may be future legislation proposed amending these changes, the effect of which cannot be predicted.
Instruments in which the Fund invests may pay interest at floating rates based on LIBOR or may be subject to interest caps or floors based on LIBOR. The Fund and issuers of instruments in which the Fund invests may also obtain financing at floating rates based on LIBOR. Derivative instruments utilized by the Fund and/or issuers of instruments in which the Fund may invest may also reference LIBOR. The Fund utilizes leverage or borrowings primarily based on LIBOR. Regulators and law-enforcement agencies from a number of governments, including entities in the United States, Japan, Canada and the United Kingdom, have conducted or are conducting civil and criminal investigations into whether the banks that contribute to the British Bankers’ Association, or the “BBA,” in connection with the calculation of daily LIBOR may have been manipulating or attempting to manipulate LIBOR. Several financial institutions have reached settlements with the CFTC, the U.S. Department of Justice Fraud Section and the United Kingdom Financial Conduct Authority in connection with investigations by such authorities into submissions made by such financial institutions to the bodies that set LIBOR and other interbank offered rates. Additional investigations remain ongoing with respect to other major banks. There can be no assurance that there will not be additional admissions or findings of rate-setting manipulation or that manipulations of LIBOR or other similar interbank offered rates will not be shown to have occurred. ICE Benchmark Administration Limited assumed the role of LIBOR administrator from the BBA on February 1, 2014. Any new administrator of LIBOR may make methodological changes to the way in which LIBOR is calculated or may alter, discontinue or suspend calculation or dissemination of LIBOR.
In July 2017, the head of the United Kingdom Financial Conduct Authority announced the desire to phase out the use of LIBOR by the end of 2021. There is currently no definitive information regarding the future utilization of LIBOR or of any particular replacement rate. Abandonment of or modifications to LIBOR could have adverse impacts on newly issued financial instruments and existing financial instruments which reference LIBOR. While some instruments may contemplate a scenario where LIBOR is no longer available by providing for an alternative rate setting methodology, not all instruments may have such provisions and there is significant uncertainty regarding the effectiveness of any such alternative methodologies. Abandonment of or modifications to LIBOR could lead to significant short-term and long-term uncertainty and market instability. It remains uncertain how such changes would be implemented and the effects such changes would have on the Fund, issuers of instruments in which the Fund invests and financial markets generally.
The transition process might lead to increased volatility and illiquidity in markets for instruments with terms tied to LIBOR. It could also lead to a reduction in the interest rates on, and the value of, some LIBOR-based investments and reduce the effectiveness of hedges mitigating risk in connection with LIBOR-based investments. Although some LIBOR-based instruments may contemplate a scenario where LIBOR is no longer available by providing for an alternative rate-setting methodology and/or increased costs for certain LIBOR-related instruments or financing transactions, others may not have such provisions and there may be significant uncertainty regarding the effectiveness of any such alternative methodologies. Additionally, because such provisions may differ across instruments (e.g., hedges versus cash positions hedged), LIBOR’s cessation may give rise to basis risk and render hedges less effective. As the usefulness of LIBOR as a benchmark could deteriorate during the transition period, these effects and related adverse conditions could occur prior to the end of 2021. There also remains uncertainty and risk regarding the willingness and ability of issuers to include enhanced provisions in new and existing contracts or instruments, notwithstanding significant efforts by the industry to develop robust LIBOR replacement clauses. The effect of any changes to, or discontinuation of, LIBOR on the Fund will vary depending, among other things, on (1) existing fallback or termination provisions in individual contracts and the possible renegotiation of existing contracts and (2) whether, how, and when industry participants develop and adopt new reference rates and fallbacks for both legacy and new products and instruments. Fund investments may also be tied to other interbank offered rates and currencies, which also will face similar issues.
Certain classes of instruments invested in by the Fund may be more sensitive to LIBOR cessation than others. For example, certain asset classes such as floating rate notes may not contemplate a LIBOR cessation and/or might freeze a last-published or last-used LIBOR rate for all future payment dates upon a discontinuation of LIBOR. Also, for example, syndicated and other business loans tied to LIBOR may not provide a clear roadmap for LIBOR’s replacement, leaving any future adjustments to the determination of a quantum of lenders. Securitizations and other asset-backed transactions may experience disruption as a result of inconsistencies between when collateral assets shift from LIBOR and what rate those assets replace LIBOR with, on the one hand, and when the securitization notes shift from LIBOR and what rate the securitization notes replace LIBOR with.
Recent Market Developments Risk
Periods of market volatility remain, and may continue to occur in the future, in response to various political, social and economic events both within and outside of the United States. These conditions have resulted in, and in many cases continue to result in, greater price volatility, less liquidity, widening credit spreads and a lack of price transparency, with many securities remaining illiquid and of uncertain value. Such market conditions may adversely affect the Fund, including by making valuation of some of the Fund’s securities uncertain and/or result in sudden and significant valuation increases or declines in the Fund’s holdings. If there is a significant decline in the value of the Fund’s portfolio, this may impact the asset coverage levels for the Fund’s outstanding leverage.
Risks resulting from any future debt or other economic crisis could also have a detrimental impact on the global economic recovery, the financial condition of financial institutions and the Fund’s business, financial condition and results of operation. Market and economic disruptions have affected, and may in the future affect, consumer confidence levels and spending, personal bankruptcy rates, levels of incurrence and default on consumer debt and home prices, among other factors. To the extent uncertainty regarding the U.S. or global economy negatively impacts consumer confidence and consumer credit factors, the Fund’s business, financial condition and results of operations could be significantly and adversely affected. Downgrades to the credit ratings of major banks could result in increased borrowing costs for such banks and negatively affect the broader economy. Moreover, Federal Reserve policy, including with respect to certain interest rates, may also adversely affect the value, volatility and liquidity of dividend- and interest-paying securities. Market volatility, rising interest rates and/or unfavorable economic conditions could impair the Fund’s ability to achieve its investment objective.
The outbreak of COVID-19 is causing materially reduced consumer demand and economic output, disrupting supply chains, resulting in market closures, travel restrictions and quarantines, and adversely impacting local and global economies. As with other serious economic disruptions, governmental authorities and regulators are responding to this crisis with significant fiscal and monetary policy changes, including by providing direct capital infusions into companies, introducing new monetary programs and considerably lowering interest rates, which, in some cases resulted in negative interest rates. These actions, including their possible unexpected or sudden reversal or potential ineffectiveness, could further increase volatility in securities and other financial markets, reduce market liquidity, heighten investor uncertainty and adversely affect the value of the Fund’s investments and the performance of the Fund.
Increasing Government and other Public Debt Risk
Government and other public debt, including municipal obligations in which the Fund invests, can be adversely affected by large and sudden changes in local and global economic conditions that result in increased debt levels. Although high levels of government and other public debt do not necessarily indicate or cause economic problems, high levels of debt may create certain systemic risks if sound debt management practices are not implemented. A high debt level may increase market pressures to meet an issuer’s funding needs, which may increase borrowing costs and cause a government or public or municipal entity to issue additional debt, thereby increasing the risk of refinancing. A high debt level also raises concerns that the issuer may be unable or unwilling to repay the principal or interest on its debt, which may adversely impact instruments held by the Fund that rely on such payments. Governmental and quasigovernmental responses to the current economic situation are increasing government and other public debt, which heighten these risks. Unsustainable debt levels can decline the valuation of currencies, and can prevent a government from implementing effective counter-cyclical fiscal policy during economic downturns or can generate or contribute to an economic downturn.
When-Issued and Delayed Delivery Transactions Risk
Securities purchased on a when-issued or delayed delivery basis may expose the Fund to counterparty risk of default as well as the risk that securities may experience fluctuations in value prior to their actual delivery. The Fund generally will not accrue income with respect to a when-issued or delayed delivery security prior to its stated delivery date. Purchasing securities on a when-issued or delayed delivery basis can involve the additional risk that the price or yield available in the market when the delivery takes place may not be as favorable as that obtained in the transaction itself.
Short Sales Risk
The Fund may make short sales of securities. A short sale is a transaction in which the Fund sells a security it does not own. If the price of the security sold short increases between the time of the short sale and the time the Fund replaces the borrowed security, the Fund will incur a loss; conversely, if the price declines, the Fund will realize a capital gain. Any gain will be decreased, and any loss will be increased, by the transaction costs incurred by the Fund, including the costs associated with providing collateral to the broker-dealer (usually cash and liquid securities) and the maintenance of collateral with its custodian. Although the Fund’s gain is limited to the price at which it sold the security short, its potential loss is theoretically unlimited. The Fund may have to pay a premium to borrow the securities and must pay any dividends or interest payable on the securities until they are replaced, which will be expenses of the Fund.
Repurchase Agreement Risk
A repurchase agreement exposes the Fund to the risk that the party that sells the security may default on its obligation to repurchase it. The Fund may lose money because it cannot sell the security at the agreed-upon time and price or the security loses value before it can be sold.
The Fund may accept a wide variety of underlying securities as collateral for repurchase agreements entered into by the Fund. Rule 5b-3 under the 1940 Act, stipulates that if a repurchase agreement entered into by a fund is “collateralized fully,” the repurchase agreement is deemed a transaction in the underlying securities and not a separate security issued to the fund by the selling institution. In order for the repurchase agreement to qualify as “collateralized fully,” the collateral must consist solely of cash items, government securities, securities that are rated in the highest rating category by at least two NRSROs (or one NRSRO, if that is the only such NRSRO which has issued a rating on the security) or unrated securities which the Adviser deems to be of comparable quality. However, the Fund may accept collateral in respect of repurchase agreements which do not meet the above criteria, and in such event the repurchase agreement will not be considered “collateralized fully” for purposes of Rule 5b-3. Accepting collateral beyond the criteria of Rule 5b-3 exposes the Fund to two categories of risks. First, because the Fund’s repurchase agreements which are secured by such collateral are not “collateralized fully” under Rule 5b-3, the repurchase agreement is considered a separate security issued by the selling institution to the Fund. Accordingly, in addition to the risks of a default or bankruptcy of the selling institution, the Fund must include repurchase agreements that are not “collateralized fully” under Rule 5b-3 in its calculations of securities issued by the selling institution held by the Fund for purposes of various diversification and concentration requirements applicable to the Fund. In particular, to the extent a selling institution is a “securities related business” for purposes of Section 12(d)(3) of the 1940 Act and Rule 12d3-1 thereunder, the Fund would not be permitted to hold more than 5% of its total assets in securities issued by the selling institution, including repurchase agreements that are not “collateralized fully” under Rule 5b-3. While this limitation (as well as other applicable limitations arising under concentration and diversification requirements) limits the Fund’s exposure to each such selling institution, the Fund will be required to monitor its holdings of such securities and ensure that it complies with the applicable limitations. Second, the collateral underlying a repurchase agreement that is not “collateralized fully” under Rule 5b-3 may not qualify as permitted or appropriate investments for the Fund under the Fund’s investment strategies and limitations. Accordingly, if a selling institution defaults and the Fund takes possession of such collateral, the Fund may need to promptly dispose of such collateral (or other securities held by the Fund, if the Fund exceeds a limitation on a permitted investment by virtue of taking possession of the collateral). In cases of market turmoil (which may be associated with a default or bankruptcy of a selling institution), the Fund may have more difficulty than anticipated in selling such securities and/or in avoiding a loss on the sale of such securities. This risk may be more acute in the case of a selling institution’s insolvency or bankruptcy, which may restrict the Fund’s ability to dispose of collateral received from the selling institution. The Adviser follows various procedures to monitor the liquidity and quality of any collateral received under a repurchase agreement (as well as the credit quality of each selling institution) designed to minimize these risks, but there can be no assurance that the procedures will be successful in doing so.
Securities Lending Risk
The Fund may lend its portfolio securities to banks or dealers which meet the creditworthiness standards established by the Board of Trustees. Securities lending is subject to the risk that loaned securities may not be available to the Fund on a timely basis and the Fund may therefore lose the opportunity to sell the securities at a desirable price. Any loss in the market price of securities loaned by the Fund that occurs during the term of the loan would be borne by the Fund and would adversely affect the Fund’s performance. Also, there may be delays in recovery, or no recovery, of securities loaned or even a loss of rights in the collateral should the borrower of the securities fail financially while the loan is outstanding.
Risk of Failure to Qualify as a RIC
To qualify for the favorable U.S. federal income tax treatment generally accorded to RICs, the Fund must, among other things, derive in each taxable year at least 90% of its gross income from certain prescribed sources, meet certain asset diversification tests and distribute for each taxable year at least 90% of its “investment company taxable income” (generally, ordinary income plus the excess, if any, of net short-term capital gain over net long-term capital loss). If for any taxable year the Fund does not qualify as a RIC, all of its taxable income for that year (including its net capital gain) would be subject to tax at regular corporate rates without any deduction for distributions to shareholders, and such distributions would be taxable as ordinary dividends to the extent of the Fund’s current and accumulated earnings and profits.
Conflicts of Interest Risk
Guggenheim Partners is a global asset management and investment advisory organization. Guggenheim Partners and its affiliates advise clients in various markets and transactions and purchase, sell, hold and recommend a broad array of investments for their own accounts and the accounts of clients and of their personnel and the relationships and products they sponsor, manage and advise. Accordingly, Guggenheim Partners and its affiliates may have direct and indirect interests in a variety of global markets and the securities of issuers in which the Fund may directly or indirectly invest. These interests may cause the Fund to be subject to regulatory limits, and in certain circumstances, these various activities may prevent the Fund from participating in an investment decision. As a result, activities and dealings of Guggenheim Partners and its affiliates may affect the Fund in ways that may disadvantage or restrict the Fund or be deemed to benefit Guggenheim Partners and its affiliates. From time to time, conflicts of interest may arise between a portfolio manager’s management of the investments of the Fund on the one hand and the management of other registered investment companies, pooled investment vehicles and other accounts (collectively, “other accounts”) on the other. The other accounts might have similar investment objectives or strategies as the Fund or otherwise hold, purchase, or sell securities that are eligible to be held, purchased or sold by the Fund. In certain circumstances, and subject to its fiduciary obligations under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 (the “Advisers Act”) and the requirements of the 1940 Act, the Adviser may have to allocate a limited investment opportunity among its clients. The other accounts might also have different investment objectives or strategies than the Fund. In addition, the Fund may be limited in its ability to invest in, or hold securities of, any companies that the Adviser or its affiliates (or other accounts managed by the Adviser or its affiliates) control, or companies in which the Adviser or its affiliates have interests or with whom they do business. For example, affiliates of the Adviser may act as underwriter, lead agent or administrative agent for loans or otherwise participate in the market for loans. Because of limitations imposed by applicable law, the presence of the Adviser’s affiliates in the markets for loans may restrict the Fund’s ability to acquire some loans or affect the timing or price of such acquisitions. To address these conflicts, the Fund and Guggenheim Partners and its affiliates have established various policies and procedures that are reasonably designed to detect and prevent such conflicts and prevent the Fund from being disadvantaged. For additional information about potential conflicts of interest, and the way in which the Adviser and its affiliates address such conflicts, please see “Management of the Fund—Potential Conflicts of Interest” in the SAI.
Geopolitical and Market Disruption Risk
The aftermath of the war in Iraq, instability in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Egypt, Libya, Syria, Russia, Ukraine and the Middle East, possible terrorist attacks in the United States and around the world, growing social and political discord in the United States, the European debt crisis, the response of the international community—through economic sanctions and otherwise—to Russia’s annexation of the Crimea region of Ukraine and posture vis-a-vis Ukraine, increasingly strained relations between the United States and a number of foreign countries, including traditional allies, such as certain European countries, and historical adversaries, such as North Korea, Iran, China and Russia, and the international community generally, new and continued political unrest in various countries, such as Venezuela and Spain, the United Kingdom’s pending withdrawal from the European Union (the “EU”) and the resulting profound and uncertain impacts on the economic and political future of the United Kingdom, the exit or potential exit of one or more countries from the EU or the European Monetary Union (the “EMU”), the EU and global financial markets, further downgrade of U.S. Government securities, the change in the U.S. president and the new administration and other similar events, may have long-term effects on the United States and worldwide financial markets and may cause further economic uncertainties in the United States and worldwide. The Fund does not know and cannot predict how long the securities markets may be affected by these events and the effects of these and similar events in the future on the U.S. economy and securities markets. The Fund may be adversely affected by abrogation of international agreements and national laws which have created the market instruments in which the Fund may invest, failure of the designated national and international authorities to enforce compliance with the same laws and agreements, failure of local, national and international organization to carry out their duties prescribed to them under the relevant agreements, revisions of these laws and agreements which dilute their effectiveness or conflicting interpretation of provisions of the same laws and agreements. The Fund may be adversely affected by uncertainties such as terrorism, international political developments, and changes in government policies, taxation, restrictions on foreign investment and currency repatriation, currency fluctuations and other developments in the laws and regulations of the countries in which it is invested and the risks associated with financial, economic, health, labor and other global market developments and disruptions.
The Fund and its service providers are currently impacted by quarantines and similar measures being enacted by governments in response to COVID-19, which are obstructing the regular functioning of business workforces (including requiring employees to work from external locations and their homes). Accordingly, certain risks described above are heightened under current conditions.
As the use of Internet technology has become more prevalent, the Fund and its service providers and markets generally have become more susceptible to potential operational risks related to intentional and unintentional events that may cause the Fund or a service provider to lose proprietary information, suffer data corruption or lose operational capacity. There can be no guarantee that any risk management systems established by the Fund, its service providers, or issuers of the securities in which the Fund invests to reduce technology and cyber security risks will succeed, and the Fund cannot control such systems put in place by service providers, issuers or other third parties whose operations may affect the Fund.
Cyber Security Risk
The Fund and its service providers are susceptible to cyber security risks that include, among other things, theft, unauthorized monitoring, release, misuse, loss, destruction or corruption of confidential and highly restricted data; denial of service attacks; unauthorized access to relevant systems, compromises to networks or devices that the Fund and its service providers use to service the Fund’s operations; or operational disruption or failures in the physical infrastructure or operating systems that support the Fund and its service providers. Cyber-attacks against or security breakdowns of the Fund or its service providers may adversely impact the Fund and its stockholders, potentially resulting in, among other things, financial losses; the inability of Fund stockholders to transact business and the Fund to process transactions; inability to calculate the Fund’s net asset value; violations of applicable privacy and other laws; regulatory fines, penalties, reputational damage, reimbursement or other compensation costs; and/or additional compliance costs. The Fund may incur additional costs for cyber security risk management and remediation purposes. In addition, cyber security risks may also impact issuers of securities in which the Fund invests, which may cause the Fund’s investment in such issuers to lose value. There can be no assurance that the Fund or its service providers will not suffer losses relating to cyber-attacks or other information security breaches in the future.
The Fund’s Governing Documents include provisions that could limit the ability of other entities or persons to acquire control of the Fund or convert the Fund to an open-end fund.
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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• Not FDIC Insured • No Bank Guarantee • May Lose Value
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