Each of the Funds expects to distribute at least annually to its shareholders all or substantially all of its investment company taxable income (computed without regard to the dividends-paid deduction) and its net capital gain (that is, the excess of its net long-term capital gains over its net short-term capital losses, in each case determined with reference to any loss carryforwards). Investment company taxable income that is retained by a Fund will be subject to tax at regular corporate rates. If a Fund retains any net capital gain, it will be subject to tax at regular corporate rates on the amount retained, but it may designate the retained amount as undistributed capital gains in a notice mailed within 60 days of the close of the Fund’s taxable year to its shareholders who, in turn, (i) will be required to include in income for federal income tax purposes, as long-term capital gain, their shares of such undistributed amount, and (ii) will be entitled to credit their proportionate shares of the tax paid by the Fund on such undistributed amount against their federal income tax liabilities, if any, and to claim refunds on a properly filed U.S. tax return to the extent the credit exceeds such liabilities. If a Fund makes this designation, for federal income tax purposes, the tax basis of Shares owned by a shareholder of a Fund will be increased by an amount equal to the difference between the amount of undistributed capital gains included in the shareholder’s gross income under clause (i) of the preceding sentence and the tax deemed paid by the shareholder under clause (ii) of the preceding sentence. The funds are not required to, and there can be no assurance that a Fund will, make this designation if it retains all or a portion of its net capital gain in a taxable year.
Fundamental securities analysis is not used by ProShare Advisors in seeking to correlate a Matching Fund’s investment returns with its index. Rather, ProShare Advisors primarily uses a passive or mathematical approach to determine the investments a Matching Fund makes and techniques it employs. While ProShare Advisors attempts to minimize any “tracking error,” certain factors tend to cause a Matching Fund’s investment results to vary from a perfect correlation to its index, as applicable. See “Special Considerations” below for additional details.
The Funds may invest in foreign issuers, securities traded principally in securities markets outside the United States, U.S.-traded securities of foreign issuers and/or securities denominated in foreign currencies (together “foreign securities”). Also, each Fund may seek exposure to foreign securities by investing in Depositary Receipts (discussed below). Foreign securities may involve special risks due to foreign economic, political and legal developments, including unfavorable changes in currency exchange rates, exchange control regulation (including currency blockage), expropriation or nationalization of assets, confiscatory taxation, taxation of income earned in foreign nations, withholding of portions of interest and dividends in certain countries and the possible difficulty of obtaining and enforcing judgments against foreign entities. Default in foreign government securities, political or social instability or diplomatic developments could affect investments in securities of issuers in foreign nations. In addition, in many countries there is less publicly available information about issuers than is available in reports about issuers in the United States. Foreign companies are not generally subject to uniform accounting, auditing and financial reporting standards, and auditing practices and requirements may differ from those applicable to U.S. companies. Further, the growing interconnectivity of global economies and financial markets has increased the possibilities that conditions in any one country or region could have an adverse impact on issuers of securities in a different country or region.
A Fund’s current obligations under most swap agreements (total return swaps, equity/index swaps, interest rate swaps) will be accrued daily (offset against any amounts owed to the Fund) and any accrued but unpaid net amounts owed to a swap counterparty will be covered by segregating or earmarking cash or other assets determined to be liquid, but typically no payments will be made until the settlement date. In connection with CDS in which a Fund is a “buyer”, the Fund will segregate or earmark cash or assets determined to be liquid by the Advisor, with a value at least equal to the Fund’s maximum potential exposure under the swap (e.g., any accrued but unpaid net amounts owed by the Fund to any clearinghouse counterparty). In connection with CDS in which a Fund is a “seller”, however, the Fund will segregate or earmark cash or assets determined to be liquid by the Advisor, with a value at least equal to the full notional amount of the swap (minus any variation margin or amounts owed to the Fund under an offsetting cleared transaction). This segregation or earmarking is intended to ensure that a Fund has assets available to satisfy its potential obligations with respect to the transaction. Each Fund reserves the right to modify its asset segregation policies in the future, including modifications to comply with any changes in the positions articulated by the SEC or its staff regarding asset segregation. Swap agreements that cannot be terminated in the ordinary course of business within seven days at approximately the amount a Fund has valued the asset may be considered to be illiquid for purposes of the Fund’s illiquid investment limitations.
Do you remember, like, two weeks ago, when people were talking about how the launch of bitcoin futures at Cboe Global Markets Inc. and CME Group Inc. would allow for efficient short-selling of bitcoin and finally deflate the bubble? Smart hedge-fund money was lining up to bet against bitcoin, the thinking went, but had no convenient way to do it on the actual bitcoin exchanges. The only people trading bitcoin were the true believers, so of course it kept going up, but once it was opened up to normal financial players that would end. "The futures reduce the frictions of going short more than they do of going long, so it’s probably net bearish," said Craig Pirrong.
Bitcoin is pseudonymous rather than anonymous in that the cryptocurrency within a wallet is not tied to people, but rather to one or more specific keys (or "addresses"). Thereby, bitcoin owners are not identifiable, but all transactions are publicly available in the blockchain. Still, cryptocurrency exchanges are often required by law to collect the personal information of their users.
The value of the bitcoin futures contracts is generally based on the expected value of bitcoin at a future point in time, specifically, the expiration date of the bitcoin futures contracts. Other factors, such as cost of mining, storing and securing bitcoin may affect the value of bitcoin futures. A change in the price of bitcoin today (sometimes referred to as the “spot” price) will not necessarily result in a corresponding movement in the price of the bitcoin futures contracts since the price of the bitcoin futures contracts is based on expectations of the price of bitcoin at a future point in time. Additionally, there is no one centralized source for pricing bitcoin and pricing from one bitcoin exchange to the next can vary widely. Therefore, the value of the bitcoin futures contracts held by the Fund should not be expected to track the price of bitcoin on the Bitcoin Exchange Market.
Since the introduction of futures, the price of bitcoin has gone up, suggesting that there were more As -- people who wanted to be long bitcoin synthetically -- than Cs -- people who wanted to be short synthetically -- though again it is still early. Crudely speaking, the arbitrage spread suggests that there are also more As than Bs: There are a lot of people who want to be long bitcoin without owning bitcoin, but not so many people who want to own bitcoin without being long bitcoin. (Which makes sense! If you bought a bitcoin and sold a futures contract when Cboe launched its futures last week, you could have locked in a risk-free arbitrage profit of something like $1,200. But if you had just bought a bitcoin, you'd be up about $3,000 by now.) The costs of trading actual bitcoins on bitcoin exchanges -- in terms of blockchain transaction costs, exchange withdrawal limits, etc. -- are significant enough that people who want bitcoin exposure are willing to pay about 2 percent to avoid them.
The Guidelines are maintained and implemented by ISS and are an extensive list of common proxy voting issues with recommended voting actions based on the overall goal of achieving maximum shareholder value and protection of shareholder interests. Generally, proxies are voted in accordance with the voting recommendations contained in the Guidelines. If necessary, the Advisor will be consulted by ISS on non-routine issues. Proxy issues identified in the Guidelines include but are not limited to:
Changes in the laws of the United States and/or the Cayman Islands, under which the Parent Funds and the Subsidiaries are organized, respectively, could result in the inability of a Parent Fund and/or its respective Subsidiary to operate as described in this SAI and could negatively affect a Parent Fund and its shareholders. For example, the Cayman Islands does not currently impose any income, corporate or capital gains tax, estate duty, inheritance tax, gift tax or withholding tax on the Subsidiaries. If Cayman Islands law changes such that a Subsidiary must pay Cayman Islands taxes, Parent Fund shareholders would likely suffer decreased investment returns. See “Taxation” below for more information.
INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO, LOSS OF PROFITS, TRADING LOSSES, LOST TIME OR GOODWILL, EVEN IF THEY HAVE BEEN ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES, WHETHER IN CONTRACT, TORT, STRICT LIABILITY, OR OTHERWISE. THERE ARE NO THIRD PARTY BENEFICIARIES OF ANY AGREEMENTS OR ARRANGEMENTS BETWEEN S&P DOW JONES INDICES AND PROSHARES, OTHER THAN THE LICENSORS OF S&P DOW JONES INDICES.
There may be circumstances outside the control of the Advisor, Trust, Administrator (as defined below), transfer agent, Custodian (as defined below), any sub-custodian, Distributor (as defined below), and/or a Fund that make it, for all practical purposes, impossible to re-position such Fund and/or to process a purchase or redemption order. Examples of such circumstances include: natural disasters; public service disruptions or utility problems such as those caused by fires, floods, extreme weather conditions, and power outages resulting in telephone, telecopy, and computer failures; market conditions or activities causing trading halts; systems failures involving computer or other information systems affecting the aforementioned parties, as well as the DTC, the NSCC, or any other participant in the purchase process; and similar extraordinary events. Accordingly, while the Advisor has implemented and tested a business continuity plan that transfers functions of any disrupted facility to another location and has effected a disaster recovery plan, circumstances, such as those above, may prevent a Fund from being operated in a manner consistent with its investment objective and/or principal investment strategies.
EDIT: #10 Bonus (Suggested by @kerstenwirth ) — always check the ticker symbol. Ticker symbols are not universal, and may vary from exchange to exchange in rare cases. Those cases, though, can come back to bite you. For example, Bitcoin Cash trades on some exchanges as BCH, while it trades on others as BCC. BCC is also the ticker symbol for BitConnect, which was recently outted as a Ponzi Scheme. If you bought BCC under the impression was Bitcoin Cash, you would’ve lost a lot of money.
• Changes in the Bitcoin Network could have an adverse effect on the operation and value of bitcoin, which could have an adverse effect on the value of Bitcoin Futures Contracts and the value of Fund Shares. The open source nature of the Bitcoin protocol permits any developer to review the underlying code and suggest changes to it via “Bitcoin Improvement Proposals”, or “BIPs.” If accepted by a sufficient number of miners, BIPs may result in substantial changes to the Bitcoin Network, including changes that result in “forks.” Such changes may influence the price of Bitcoin and Bitcoin Futures Contracts. In particular, it is possible that the price of the Bitcoin Futures Contracts subsequent to a “fork” may be linked to the price of bitcoin on only one of the resulting Bitcoin Networks, rather than the aggregate price of bitcoin on all resulting Bitcoin Networks. The CBOE Futures Exchange (“CFE”) and Chicago Mercantile Exchange (“CME”) have announced different protocols for addressing forks.
Each Fund may invest directly in foreign currencies or hold financial instruments that provide exposure to foreign currencies, including “hard currencies,” or may invest in securities that trade in, or receive revenues in, foreign currencies. “Hard currencies” are currencies in which investors have confidence and are typically currencies of economically and politically stable industrialized nations. To the extent that a Fund invests in such currencies, that Fund will be subject to the risk that those currencies will decline in value relative to the U.S. dollar. Currency rates in foreign countries may fluctuate significantly over short periods of time. Fund assets that are denominated in foreign currencies may be devalued against the U.S. dollar, resulting in a loss. Additionally, recent issues associated with the euro may have adverse effects on non-U.S. investments generally and on currency markets. A U.S. dollar investment in Depositary Receipts or ordinary shares of foreign issuers traded on U.S. exchanges may be affected differently by currency fluctuations than would an investment made in a foreign currency on a foreign exchange in shares of the same issuer. Foreign currencies are also subject to risks caused by inflation, interest rates, budget deficits and low savings rates, political factors and government control.
To seek to achieve its investment objective, as a cash reserve, for liquidity purposes, or as cover for positions it has taken, each Fund may invest all or part of its assets in cash or cash equivalents, which include, but are not limited to, short-term money market instruments, U.S. government securities, certificates of deposit, bankers acceptances, or repurchase agreements secured by U.S. government securities.
As discussed in more detail below, FATCA (as defined below) generally imposes a reporting and 30% withholding tax regime with respect to certain U.S.-source income (“withholdable payments”) paid to “foreign financial institutions” and certain other non-U.S. entities when those entities fail to satisfy the applicable account documentation, information reporting, withholding, registration, certification and/or other requirements applicable to their status under FATCA. A Subsidiary will be subject to the 30% withholding tax in respect of any withholdable payment it receives if it fails to satisfy these requirements, as may be applicable to the Subsidiary. Each Subsidiary expects to satisfy these requirements, as may be applicable to it, so as to avoid this additional 30% withholding. See “Certain Additional Reporting and Withholding Requirements” below for more discussion of these rules.
Let's not even go into the paradigm shift that this development implies. The growth of a bitcoin futures market positions it even more as a commodity than a currency (in the US, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission regulates futures markets). And even more as an investment asset than a technology that has the potential to change the plumbing of finance.
The rules regarding the extent to which such subpart F inclusions will be treated as “qualifying income” for purposes of the 90% gross income requirement described above are unclear and currently under consideration. In the absence of further guidance, each Parent Fund will seek to ensure that it satisfies the 90% gross income requirement, including but not limited to by ensuring that its Subsidiary timely distributes to it an amount equal to the Subsidiary’s subpart F income by the end of the Subsidiary’s taxable year. In order to make such distributions, the Subsidiary may be required to sell investments, including at a time when it may be disadvantageous to do so. If a Parent Fund were to fail to qualify as a RIC accorded special tax treatment in any taxable year, it would be subject to tax on its taxable income at corporate rates, and all distributions from earnings and profits, including any distributions of net tax-exempt income and net long-term capital gains, would be taxable to shareholders as ordinary income. In addition, the Parent Fund could be required to pay substantial taxes, penalties and interest, and to make substantial distributions, in order to re-qualify for such special treatment.
Options give the holder of the option the right to buy (or to sell) a position in a security or in a contract to the writer of the option, at a certain price. There may be imperfect correlation, or even no correlation, between price movements of an options contract and price movements of investments underlying an options contract. Lack of correlation (or tracking) may be due to factors unrelated to the value of the investments being hedged, such as speculative or other pressures on the markets in which these instruments are traded. Consequently, the effectiveness of bitcoin options in providing exposure to the price movements of options will depend, in part, on the degree of correlation between price movements in the derivatives and price movements in underlying bitcoin markets. Exchanges can limit the number of positions that can be held or controlled by the Fund or the Sub-Adviser, thus limiting the ability to implement the Fund’s strategies. Options are also particularly subject to leverage risk and can be subject to liquidity risk.
The Morningstar Alternatives Solution ETF pays ProShare Advisors a fee at an annualized rate based on its average daily net assets of 0.07%. ProShare Advisors has entered into an Advisory and Management Services Fee Waiver Agreement that waives this investment advisory fee for the Morningstar Alternatives Solution ETF through at least October 31, 2018. Prior to this date, ProShare Advisors may not terminate the arrangement without the approval of the Board.
For example, you can enter a Bitcoin futures contract with Mortimer Duke saying that you will sell him 1 BTC on March 30, 2018, for the price of 5,000 USD per BTC. (In the actual CME futures contracts, the limit for one contract is 5 BTC, but we will stick with 1 BTC now for the purposes of easy explanation.) You enter into this contract on an exchange like CME.