The Sponsor has selected closed-end funds for the portfolio believed to have the best potential to achieve the Trust’s investment objective. The closed-end funds’ portfolios consist primarily of income-producing securities, including: high-yield bonds, convertible bonds, preferred securities, REITs, corporate bonds, government bonds, international bonds and equities.
When selecting closed-end funds for inclusion in the portfolio the Sponsor looks at numerous factors. These factors include, but are not limited to:
- Investment Objective. The Sponsor favors funds that have a clear investment objective in line with the Trust’s objective and, based upon a review of publicly available information, appear to be maintaining it.
- Premium/Discount. The Sponsor favors funds that are trading at a discount relative to their peers and relative to their long-term average.
- Consistent Dividend. The Sponsor favors funds that have a history of paying a consistent and competitive dividend which, in the opinion of the Sponsor, can be maintained.
- Performance. The Sponsor favors funds that have a history of strong relative performance (based on market price and net asset value) when compared to their peers and an applicable index.
Risks and Other Considerations
As with all investments, you may lose some or all of your investment in the Trust. No assurance can be given that the Trust’s investment objective will be achieved. The Trust also might not perform as well as you expect. This can happen for reasons such as these:
- Securities prices can be volatile. The value of your investment may fall over time. Market value fluctuates in response to various factors. These can include stock market movements, purchases or sales of securities by the Trust, government policies, litigation, and changes in interest rates, inflation, the financial condition of the securities’ issuer or even perceptions of the issuer. Units of the Trust are not deposits of any bank and are not insured or guaranteed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation or any other government agency.
- Due to the current state of the economy, the value of the securities held by the Trust may be subject to steep declines or increased volatility due to changes in performance or perception of the issuers. Starting in December 2007, economic activity declined across all sectors of the economy, and the United States experienced increased unemployment. The economic crisis affected the global economy with European and Asian markets also suffering historic losses. Standard & Poor’s Rating Services recently lowered its long-term sovereign credit rating on the United States to “AA+” from “AAA,” which could lead to increased interest rates and volatility. Extraordinary steps have been taken by the governments of several leading countries to combat the economic crisis; however, the impact of these measures is not yet fully known and cannot be predicted.
- The Trust includes closed-end funds. Closed-end funds are actively managed investment companies that invest in various types of securities. Closed-end funds issue common shares that are traded on a securities exchange. Closed-end funds are subject to various risks, including management’s ability to meet the closed-end fund’s investment objective and to manage the closed-end fund’s portfolio during periods of market turmoil and as investors’ perceptions regarding closed-end funds or their underlying investments change. Closed-end funds are not redeemable at the option of the shareholder and they may trade in the market at a discount to their net asset value. Closed-end funds may also employ the use of leverage which increases risk and volatility. Instability in the auction rate preferred shares market may affect the volatility of closed-end funds that use such instruments to provide leverage.
- The value of the fixed-income securities in the closed-end funds will generally fall if interest rates, in general, rise. Typically, fixed-income securities with longer periods before maturity are more sensitive to interest rate changes.
- A closed-end fund or an issuer of securities held by a closed-end fund may be unwilling or unable to make principal payments and/or to declare distributions in the future, may call a security before its stated maturity, or may reduce the level of distributions declared. This may result in a reduction in the value of your units.
- The financial condition of a closed-end fund or an issuer of securities held by a closed-end fund may worsen, resulting in a reduction in the value of your units. This may occur at any point in time, including during the primary offering period.
- Certain closed-end funds held by the Trust invest in preferred securities. Preferred securities are typically subordinated to bonds and other debt instruments in a company’s capital structure in terms of priority to corporate income and therefore will be subject to greater credit risk than those debt instruments.
- Certain closed-end funds held by the Trust invest in bonds that are rated below investment-grade and are considered to be “junk” securities. Below investment-grade obligations are considered to be speculative and are subject to greater market and credit risks, and accordingly, the risk of non-payment or default is higher than with investment-grade securities. In addition, such securities may be more sensitive to interest rate changes and more likely to receive early returns of principal.
- Certain closed-end funds held by the Trust may invest in bonds that are rated as investment-grade by only one rating agency. As a result, such split-rated securities may have more speculative characteristics and are subject to a greater risk of default than securities rated as investment-grade by more than one rating agency.
- Certain closed-end funds held by the Trust invest in convertible securities. Convertible securities generally offer lower interest or dividend yields than non-convertible fixed-income securities of similar credit quality because of the potential for capital appreciation. The market values of convertible securities tend to decline as interest rates increase and, conversely, to increase as interest rates decline. However, a convertible security’s market value also tends to reflect the market price of the common stock of the issuing company, particularly when that stock price is greater than the convertible security’s “conversion price.” Convertible securities fall below debt obligations of the same issuer in order of preference or priority in the event of a liquidation and are typically unrated or rated lower than such debt obligations.
- Certain closed-end funds held by the Trust invest in call options. The call writing portion of the investment strategy of the closed-end funds may not be successful in that the closed-end funds may not realize the full appreciation of stocks on which the closed-end funds have written call options. The ability to successfully implement the closed-end fund’s investment strategy depends on the closed-end fund’s adviser’s ability to predict pertinent market movements, which cannot be assured.
- The value of a call option held by a closed-end fund may be adversely affected if the market for the option becomes less liquid or smaller. The value of an option will be affected by changes in the value and dividend rates of the stock subject to the option, an increase in interest rates, a change in the actual and perceived volatility of the stock market and the common stock, and the remaining time to expiration.
- Certain closed-end funds held by the Trust invest in foreign securities. Investment in foreign securities presents additional risk. Foreign risk is the risk that foreign securities will be more volatile than U.S. securities due to such factors as adverse economic, currency, political, social or regulatory developments in a country, including government seizure of assets, excessive taxation, limitations on the use or transfer of assets, the lack of liquidity or regulatory controls with respect to certain industries or differing legal and/or accounting standards.
- Certain closed-end funds held by the Trust invest in securities issued by companies headquartered or incorporated in countries considered to be emerging markets. Emerging markets are generally defined as countries with low per capita income in the initial stages of their industrialization cycles. Risks of investing in developing or emerging countries include the possibility of investment and trading limitations, liquidity concerns, delays and disruptions in settlement transactions, political uncertainties and dependence on international trade and development assistance. Companies headquartered in emerging market countries may be exposed to greater volatility and market risk.
- Certain closed-end funds held by the Trust invest in REITs and other real estate securities. REITs may concentrate their investments in specific geographic areas or in specific property types, such as hotels, shopping malls, residential complexes and office buildings. The value of the REIT and the ability of the REIT to distribute income may be adversely affected by several factors, including: rising interest rates; changes in the national, state and local economic climate and real estate conditions; perceptions of prospective tenants about the safety, convenience and attractiveness of the properties; the ability of the owner to provide adequate management, maintenance and insurance; the cost of complying with the Americans with Disabilities Act; increased competition from new properties; the impact of present or future environmental legislation and compliance with environmental laws; changes in real estate taxes and other operating expenses; adverse changes in governmental rules and fiscal policies; adverse changes in zoning laws; declines in the value of real estate; the downturn in the subprime mortgage lending market and the real estate markets in the United States; and other factors beyond the control of the issuer of the REIT.
- Certain closed-end funds held by the Trust invest in common stocks. Common stocks represent a proportional share of ownership in a company. Common stock prices fluctuate for several reasons including changes in investors’ perceptions of the financial condition of an issuer, changes in the general condition of the relevant stock market, such as the market volatility recently exhibited, or when political or economic events affect the issuers. Common stock prices may also be particularly sensitive to rising interest rates, as the cost of capital rises and borrowing costs increase.
- Certain closed-end funds held by the Trust may invest in senior loans. Borrowers under senior loans may default on their obligations to pay principal or interest when due. This nonpayment would result in a reduction of income to the applicable closed-end fund, a reduction in the value of the senior loan experiencing non-payment and a decrease in the net asset value of the closed-end fund. Although senior loans in which the closed-end funds invest may be secured by specific collateral, there can be no assurance that liquidation of collateral would satisfy the borrower’s obligation in the event of non-payment of scheduled principal or interest or that such collateral could be readily liquidated.
Senior loans in which the closed-end funds invest:
In addition, the amount of public information available on senior loans generally is less extensive than that available for other types of assets.
- generally are of below investment-grade credit quality;
- may be unrated at the time of investment;
- generally are not registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) or any state securities commission; and
- generally are not listed on any securities exchange.
- Current economic conditions may lead to limited liquidity and greater volatility. The markets for fixed-income securities, such as those held by the closed-end funds, may experience periods of illiquidity and volatility. General market uncertainty and consequent repricing risk have led to market imbalances of sellers and buyers, which in turn have resulted in significant valuation uncertainties in a variety of fixed-income securities. These conditions resulted, and in many cases continue to result in, greater volatility, less liquidity, widening credit spreads and a lack of price transparency, with many debt securities remaining illiquid and of uncertain value. These market conditions may make valuation of some of the securities held by a closed-end fund uncertain and/or result in sudden and significant valuation increases or declines in its holdings.
- Inflation may lead to a decrease in the value of assets or income from investments.
- The Sponsor does not actively manage the portfolio. The Trust will generally hold, and may, when creating additional units, continue to buy, the same securities even though a security’s outlook, market value or yield may have changed.
- Please note that the Sponsor may be engaged as a service provider to certain closed-end funds held by the Trust and therefore certain fees paid by the Trust to such closed-end funds will be paid to the Sponsor for it services to such closed-end funds.
- In addition to the expenses of the units of the Trust, the Trust is subject to various expenses of the closed-end fund.