Shares may be issued in advance of receipt by the Trust of all or a portion of the applicable Deposit Securities as described below. In these circumstances, the initial deposit may have a greater value than the NAV of the Shares on the date the order is placed in proper form because, in addition to the available Deposit Securities, cash must be deposited in an amount equal to the sum of (i) the Balancing Amount, plus (ii) up to 115% of the market value of the undelivered Deposit Securities (the “Additional Cash Deposit”). Additional amounts of cash may be required to be deposited with the Trust, pending delivery of the missing Deposit Securities to the extent necessary to maintain the Additional Cash Deposit with the Trust in an amount up to 115% of the daily mark-to-market value of the missing Deposit Securities. Authorized Participants will be liable to the Trust for the costs incurred by the Trust in connection with any such purchases. These costs will be deemed to include the amount by which the actual purchase price of the Deposit Securities exceeds the market value of such Deposit Securities on the day the purchase order was deemed received by the Distributor plus the brokerage and related transaction costs associated with such purchases. The Trust will return any unused portion of the Additional Cash Deposit once all of the missing Deposit Securities have been properly received by the Custodian or any sub-custodian or purchased by the Trust and deposited into the Trust. In addition, a Transaction Fee, as described below, will be charged in all cases. The delivery of Shares so purchased will occur no later than the third Business Day following the day on which the purchase order is deemed received by the Distributor.
XBT futures is a cash-settled contract that settles to a single, tradeable auction price. In designing XBT futures, Cboe leveraged its significant product development expertise to design an instrument that allows participants to implement trading strategies in a manner to which they are accustomed. The single price settlement process gives participants the option of using XBT futures to hedge their exposure in underlying bitcoin or gain exposure to traded bitcoin prices without holding bitcoin.
This Statement of Additional Information (“SAI”) is not a prospectus. It should be read in conjunction with the Prospectus of ProShares Trust (the “Trust”), dated October 1, 2017, the Prospectus dated November 16, 2017 for ProShares Decline of the Retail Store ETF, the Prospectus dated November 16, 2017 for ProShares Long Online/Short Stores ETF, the Prospectus dated , 2018 for ProShares Bitcoin Futures Strategy ETF, the Prospectus dated , 2018 for ProShares Short Bitcoin Futures Strategy ETF, the Prospectus dated , 2018 for ProShares Blockchain/Bitcoin Strategy ETF, and the Prospectus dated , 2018 for ProShares Bitcoin Futures/Equity Strategy ETF each as may be amended or supplemented, each of which incorporates this SAI by reference. A copy of the Prospectuses and a copy of the Annual Report to shareholders for the Funds that have completed a fiscal year are available, without charge, upon request to the address above, by telephone at the number above, or on the Trust’s website at www.ProShares.com. The Financial Statements and Notes contained in the Annual Report to Shareholders for the fiscal year ended May 31, 2017 are incorporated by reference into and are deemed part of this SAI. The principal U.S. national stock exchange on which all Funds (except those noted below) identified in this SAI are listed is NYSE Arca. The S&P MidCap 400 Dividend Aristocrats ETF, the Russell 2000 Dividend Growers ETF, the ProShares MSCI Emerging Markets Dividend Growers ETF, the ProShares S&P 500 Dividend Aristocrats ETF, the ProShares MSCI EAFE Dividend Growers ETF, the MSCI Europe Dividend Growers ETF, the Morningstar Alternatives Solution ETF, the Global Listed Private Equity ETF, the Large Cap Core Plus, the High Yield—Interest Rate Hedged, the Investment Grade—Interest Rate Hedged, the Short Term USD Emerging Markets Bond ETF, the ProShares Managed Futures Strategy ETF, the Merger ETF, K-1 Free Crude Oil Strategy ETF and the CDS Short North American HY Credit ETF are listed on the Bats BZX Exchange, Inc. The UltraPro Short QQQ®, the UltraShort Nasdaq Biotechnology, the UltraPro Short Nasdaq Biotechnology, the UltraPro QQQ®, the Ultra Nasdaq Biotechnology the UltraPro Nasdaq Biotechnology and the Equities for Rising Rates ETF are listed on The NASDAQ Stock Market.
its distribution requirements, and could affect the amount, timing or character of the income distributed to shareholders by the Fund. Investments by a Fund in a foreign subsidiary and shares of other investment companies could affect the amount, timing or character of the Fund’s distributions to shareholders relative to the Fund’s distributions had it invested directly in the securities held by such a foreign subsidiary or such other investment companies.
As discussed above in “Investment in a Subsidiary”, each of the Managed Futures Strategy ETF, the Crude Oil Strategy ETF the Bitcoin Futures Strategy ETF, the Short Bitcoin Futures Strategy ETF, the Blockchain/Bitcoin Strategy ETF, and the Bitcoin Futures/Equity Strategy ETF (each, a “Parent Fund”) intends to achieve commodity exposure through investment in a wholly-owned foreign subsidiary (each a “Subsidiary”). Each Subsidiary is classified as a corporation and is treated as a “controlled foreign corporation” (“CFC”) for U.S. federal income tax purposes. Each Parent Fund will limit its investments in its Subsidiary in the aggregate to 25% of the Parent Fund’s total assets. Each Parent Fund does not expect that income from its investment in its Subsidiary will be eligible to be treated as qualified dividend income or that distributions from its Subsidiary will be eligible for the corporate dividends-received deduction.
ProShares Ultra, Short and UltraShort FTSE China 50 and ProShares Ultra and UltraShort FTSE Developed Europe are not in any way sponsored, endorsed, sold or promoted by FTSE International Limited (“FTSE”) or by the London Stock Exchange Group Companies (“LSEG”) (together the “Licensor Parties”) and none of the Licensor Parties make any claim, prediction, warranty or representation whatsoever, expressly or impliedly, either as to the (i) results to be obtained from the use of the FTSE China 50 Index
A U.S. person, including a Fund, who owns (directly or indirectly) 10% or more of the total combined voting power of all classes of stock of a foreign corporation is a “U.S. Shareholder” for purposes of the CFC provisions of the Code. A CFC is a foreign corporation that, on any day of its taxable year, is owned (directly, indirectly, or constructively) more than 50% (measured by voting power or value) by U.S. Shareholders. Because of its investment in its Subsidiary, each Parent Fund is a U.S. Shareholder in a CFC. As a U.S. Shareholder, each Parent Fund is required to include in gross income for U.S. federal income tax purposes for each taxable year of the Fund its pro rata share of its CFC’s “subpart F income” for the CFC’s taxable year ending within the Fund’s taxable year whether or not such income is actually distributed by the CFC, provided that the foreign corporation has been a CFC for at least 30 uninterrupted days in its taxable year. Subpart F income generally includes interest, OID, dividends, net gains from the disposition of stocks or securities, net gains from transactions (including futures, forward, and similar transactions) in commodities, receipts with respect to securities loans, and net payments received with respect to equity swaps and similar derivatives. Subpart F income is treated as ordinary income, regardless of the character of the CFC’s underlying income. Net losses incurred by a CFC during a tax year do not flow through to an investing Fund and thus will not be available to offset income or capital gain generated from that Fund’s other investments. In addition, net losses incurred by a CFC during a tax year generally cannot be carried forward by the CFC to offset gains realized by it in subsequent taxable years. To the extent each Parent Fund invests in its Subsidiary and recognizes subpart F income in excess of actual cash distributions from such the Subsidiary, if any, it may be required to sell assets (including when it is not advantageous to do so) to generate the cash necessary to distribute as dividends to its shareholders all of its income and gains and therefore to eliminate any tax liability at the Fund level. Subpart F income also includes the excess of gains over losses from transactions (including futures, forward and other similar transactions) in commodities.
The existence of market makers (e.g., Virtu Financial) refutes a common assertion about futures—that there‘s always a loser for every winner, that it’s a zero-sum game. It’s true that derivatives like stock options and futures are created in matched pairs—a long and a short contract. If two speculators own those two contracts the profits on one side are offset by losses on the other but market makers are not speculators. In general, they’re not betting on the direction of the market. They act as intermediaries, selling to buyers at the higher ask price and buying from sellers at the lower bid price— collecting the difference.
Each of the Managed Futures Strategy ETF, the Crude Oil Strategy ETF, the Bitcoin Futures Strategy ETF, the Short Bitcoin Futures Strategy ETF, the Blockchain/Bitcoin Strategy ETF, and the Bitcoin Futures/Equity Strategy ETF (each, a “Parent Fund”) intends to achieve commodity exposure through investment in the ProShares Cayman Portfolio I, the ProShares Cayman Crude Oil Portfolio, the ProShares Cayman Bitcoin Futures Strategy Portfolio the ProShares Cayman Short Bitcoin Futures Strategy Portfolio, the ProShares Cayman Bitcoin Futures/Equity Strategy Portfolio and the ProShares Cayman Bitcoin/Blockchain Strategy Portfolio respectively, each a wholly-owned subsidiary of its respective Parent Fund (each, a “Subsidiary”) organized under the laws of the Cayman Islands. Each Parent Fund’s investment in its respective Subsidiary is intended to provide such Parent Fund with exposure to commodity and financial markets in accordance with applicable rules and regulations. Each Subsidiary may invest in derivatives, including futures, forwards, option and swap contracts, notes and other investments intended to serve as margin or collateral or otherwise support the Subsidiary’s derivatives positions. Neither Subsidiary is registered under the 1940 Act, and neither Subsidiary will have all of the protections offered to investors in RICs. The Board, however, has oversight responsibility for the investment activities of each Parent Fund, including its investment in its respective Subsidiary, and the Parent Fund’s role as the sole shareholder of the Subsidiary.
The equity markets are volatile, and the value of securities, swaps, futures, and other instruments correlated with the equity markets may fluctuate dramatically from day-to-day. Equity markets are subject to corporate, political, regulatory, market and economic developments, as well as developments that impact specific economic sectors, industries or segments of the market. Further, stocks in the Index may underperform other equity investments. Volatility in the markets and/or market developments may cause the value of an investment in the Fund to decrease.
A dividend or Capital Gain Dividend with respect to shares of a Fund held by a tax-deferred or qualified plan, such as an IRA, retirement plan, or corporate pension or profit sharing plan, generally will not be taxable to the plan. Distributions from such plans will be taxable to individual participants under applicable tax rules without regard to the character of the income earned by the qualified plan. Shareholders should consult their tax advisors to determine the suitability of shares of a Fund as an investment through such plans and the precise effect of an investment on their particular situation.
The Funds may be eligible to elect alternative tax treatment with respect to PFIC shares. Under an election that currently is available in some circumstances, a Fund generally would be required to include in its gross income its share of the earnings of a PFIC on a current basis, regardless of whether distributions were received from the PFIC in a given year. If this election were made, the special rules, discussed above, relating to the taxation of excess distributions, would not apply. Another election would involve marking to market a Fund’s PFIC shares at the end of each taxable year, with the result that unrealized gains would be treated and reported as though they were realized as ordinary income on the last day of the taxable year. Any mark-to-market losses and any loss from an actual disposition of PFIC shares would be deductible by the Fund as ordinary losses to the extent of any net mark-to-market gains included in income in prior years. Making either of these two elections may require a Fund to liquidate other investments (including when it is not advantageous to do so) to meet its distribution requirements, which also may accelerate the recognition of gain and affect the Fund’s total return. Dividends paid by PFICs will not be eligible to be treated as “qualified dividend income.” Because it is not always possible to identify a foreign corporation as a PFIC, the Fund may incur the tax and interest charges described above in some instances.
The term altcoin has various similar definitions. Stephanie Yang of The Wall Street Journal defined altcoins as "alternative digital currencies," while Paul Vigna, also of The Wall Street Journal, described altcoins as alternative versions of bitcoin. Aaron Hankins of the MarketWatch refers to any cryptocurrencies other than bitcoin as altcoins.
If a Fund were a QIE, under a special “look-through” rule, any distributions by the Fund to a foreign shareholder (including, in certain cases, distributions made by the Fund in redemption of its shares) attributable directly or indirectly to (i) distributions received by the Fund from a lower-tier RIC or REIT that the Fund is required to treat as USRPI gain in its hands and (ii) gains realized on the disposition of USRPIs by the Fund would retain their character as gains realized from USRPIs in the hands of the Fund’s foreign shareholders and would be subject to U.S. tax withholding. In addition, such distributions could result in the foreign shareholder being required to file a U.S. tax return and pay tax on the distributions at regular U.S. federal income tax rates. The consequences to a foreign shareholder, including the rate of such withholding and character of such distributions (e.g., as ordinary income or USRPI gain), would vary depending upon the extent of the foreign shareholder’s current and past ownership of the Fund.
In a possible lead-up to its plans on becoming an ATS, on March 26, 2018, San Francisco-based Coinbase announced it was adding support for ERC20 into all its trading platforms. ERC20 is the Ethereum technical standard that the majority of ICO tokens are based on. “This paves the way for supporting ERC20 assets across Coinbase products in the future, though we aren’t announcing support for any specific assets or features at this time,” Coinbase said in a blog post.
Bitcoin futures contracts are a new type of futures contract that began trading in December 2017. Unlike the established futures markets for traditional physical commodities, the market for bitcoin futures contracts is in the developmental stage and has very limited volume, trading and operational history. Bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies are a new and developing asset class subject to both developmental and regulatory uncertainty. As such, bitcoin futures contracts and the market for bitcoin futures contracts may be riskier, less liquid, more volatile and more vulnerable to economic, market, industry, regulatory and other changes than more established futures contracts and futures markets. There is no assurance that a liquid market will emerge or be sustained for bitcoin futures contracts. The liquidity of the market for bitcoin futures contracts will depend on, among other things, the supply and demand for bitcoin futures contracts, the adoption of bitcoin and the commercial and speculative interest in the market for bitcoin futures contracts and the potential ability to hedge against the price of bitcoin with exchange-traded bitcoin futures contracts. Additionally, if market participants executing trades in bitcoin futures contracts face constraints, including capital constraints, security risks, or high execution costs, the price of bitcoin futures contracts may fail to capture price movements in the underlying price of bitcoin.
The Trust has adopted a policy regarding the disclosure of information about each Fund’s portfolio holdings, which is reviewed on an annual basis. The Board of Trustees must approve all material amendments to this policy. A complete schedule of each Fund’s portfolio holdings as of the end of each fiscal quarter will be filed with the SEC (and publicly available) within 60 days of the end of the first and third fiscal quarters and within 70 days of the end of the second and fourth fiscal quarters. In addition, each Fund’s portfolio holdings will be publicly disseminated each day the Funds are open for business via the Funds’ website at www.ProShares.com.
In certain circumstances, the securities delivery cycles currently practicable for transferring portfolio securities to redeeming investors, coupled with foreign market holiday schedules, will require a delivery process longer than seven calendar days. The holidays applicable to various countries during such periods are listed below, as are instances where more than seven days will be needed to deliver redemption proceeds. Although certain holidays may occur on different dates in subsequent years, the number of days required to deliver redemption proceeds in any given year is not expected to exceed the maximum number of days listed below for each Fund. The proclamation of new holidays, the treatment by market participants of certain days as “informal holidays” (e.g., days on which no or limited securities transactions occur, as a result of substantially shortened trading hours), the elimination of existing holidays, or changes in local securities delivery practices, could affect the information set forth herein.
• Market Price Variance Risk — Fund shares are listed for trading on the [ ] Exchange and can be bought and sold in the secondary market at market prices. The market price of shares will fluctuate in response to changes in the value of the Fund’s holdings, supply and demand for shares and other market factors. ProShare Advisors cannot predict whether shares will trade above, below or at a price equal to the value of the Fund’s holdings. Given the fact that shares can be created and redeemed in Creation Units, as defined below, ProShare Advisors believes that large discounts or premiums to the value of the Fund’s holdings should not be sustained. The Fund’s investment results are measured based upon the daily NAV of the Fund. Investors purchasing and selling shares in the secondary market may not experience investment results consistent with those experienced by Authorized Participants creating and redeeming directly with the Fund. To the extent that exchange specialists, market makers, Authorized Participants, or other participants are unavailable or unable to trade the Fund’s shares and/or create or redeem Creation Units, trading spreads and the resulting premium or discount on the Fund’s shares may widen and the Fund’s shares may possibly be subject to trading halts and/or delisting.
When cash markets are not functioning well, cash and carry arbitrage (and its reverse) futures markets may make the underlying asset accessible to more people. It is possible that A is bullish on bitcoin, but does not wish to go through the hassles of creating a wallet and storing it safely. At the same time, B might be comfortable with bitcoin wallets, but might be unwilling to take bitcoin price risk. Then B can buy bitcoin spot and sell cash settled bitcoin futures to A; the result is that A obtains exposure to bitcoin without creating a bitcoin wallet, while B obtains a risk free investment (a synthetic T-bill). Similarly, suppose C wishes to bet against bitcoin, but does not have the ability to short it; while D has no views on bitcoin, but has sufficient access to the cash market to be able to short bitcoin. Then D can take a risk free position by shorting bitcoin in the cash market and buying bitcoin futures from C who obtains a previously unavailable short position.
William E. Seale, Ph.D., Chief Economist of ProShare Advisors since inception and ProFund Advisors LLC since 2005. Dr. Seale has more than 30 years of experience in the financial markets. His background includes a five-year presidential appointment as a commissioner of the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission and an appointment as Chairman of the Department of Finance at The George Washington University. He earned his degrees at the University of Kentucky.
Investment income and gains received by a Fund from foreign investments may be subject to foreign withholding and other taxes, which could decrease the Fund’s return on those investments. The effective rate of foreign taxes to which a Fund will be subject depends on the specific countries in which its assets will be invested and the extent of the assets invested in each such country and, therefore, cannot be determined in advance. If more than 50% of a Fund’s assets at year end consists of the securities of foreign corporations, the Fund may elect to permit shareholders to claim a credit or deduction on their income tax returns for their pro rata portions of qualified taxes paid by the Fund to foreign countries in respect of foreign securities that the Fund has held for at least the minimum period specified in the Code. In such a case, shareholders will include in gross income from foreign sources their pro rata shares of such taxes paid by the Fund. A shareholder’s ability to claim an offsetting foreign tax credit or deduction in respect of foreign taxes paid by the Fund is subject to certain limitations imposed by the Code, which may result in the shareholder’s not receiving a full credit or deduction (if any) for the amount of such taxes. Shareholders who do not itemize on their U.S. federal income tax returns may claim a credit (but not a deduction) for such foreign taxes. Even if a Fund were eligible to make such an election for a given year, it may determine not to do so. Shareholders that are not subject to U.S. federal income tax, and those who invest in a Fund through tax-advantaged accounts (including those who invest through individual retirement accounts or other tax-advantaged retirement plans), generally will receive no benefit from any tax credit or deduction passed through by the Fund.
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Trader A is a producer of pork bellies. In order to insure herself against a price drop in pork bellies in the future, she enters a futures contract with Trader B. Trader B uses these pork bellies to manufacture sliced breakfast bacon. Thus, he is not worried that prices might fall in the future – his worry is that prices will go up. Both traders agree that Trader A will sell a metric ton of pork bellies for 1,000 USD 3 months from now. This increases security for both of their businesses. Because a futures contract is a binding contract between two parties, neither party can drop out of the contract: Even if the price for pork bellies is 1,200 USD at the time of execution, trader A is still contractually obliged to sell for 1,000 USD.