U.S.-listed bitcoin futures contracts may aid institutional investor participation and enable hedging while also potentially helping digital assets develop into an asset class of their own. Currently digital assets trade on platforms that lack proper execution mechanisms, governance, and standard financial industry practices. Futures contracts push trading volume towards regulated exchanges with proper governance, controls and state of the art execution mechanisms. Futures contracts also remove the arduous requirement for investors to custody “physical” bitcoin, which is a major obstacle. In some ways, bitcoin futures are an early attempt to integrate digital assets into the mainframe financial system. With such integration, regulators might also gain a greater understanding of and steadier grasp on digital assets. This may enable the creation of more explicit guidance and regulation around the space. While it is early innings for digital assets, U.S.-listed bitcoin futures may pave the way for a potentially safer, more reliable, and better governed digital asset space and regulated investment vehicles.
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.
Slippage is when the actual price we execute at is different from what we expect. In this case, a perfect market would let us sell the bitcoin and settle the future at precisely the same time and price. But in practice, market imperfections and Bitcoin volatility could lead to the price moving between the two trades, wiping out profits or putting you in the red.
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.
• Swap Agreements are agreements entered into primarily with major global financial institutions for a specified period ranging from a day to more than one year. In a standard “swap” transaction, two parties agree to exchange the return (or differentials in rates of return) earned or realized on particular predetermined investments or instruments.
The table below shows a performance example of a Short ProShares Fund that has an investment objective to correspond to the inverse (-1x) of the daily performance of an index. In the chart below, areas shaded lighter represent those scenarios where a Short ProShares Fund will return the same or outperform (i.e., return more than) the index performance; conversely, areas shaded darker represent those scenarios where a Short ProShares Fund will underperform (i.e., return less than) the index performance.
ProShare Advisors, pursuant to a separate Management Services Agreement, performs certain administrative services on behalf of the Funds, such as negotiating, coordinating and implementing the Trust’s contractual obligations with the Funds’ service providers; monitoring, overseeing and reviewing the performance of such service providers to ensure adherence to applicable contractual obligations; and preparing or coordinating reports and presentations to the Board of Trustees with respect to such service providers as requested or as deemed necessary. For these services, the Trust pays to ProShare Advisors a fee at the annual rate of 0.10% of average daily net assets for each of the Funds. ProShare Advisors has entered into an Advisory and Management Services Fee Waiver Agreement that waives this management services 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.
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. In addition, the securities held by the Fund may be traded in markets that close at a different time than the Exchange. Because the Fund generally values such securities as of its local market closing time, the daily net asset value (“NAV”) may vary from the market performance of the Fund as of the Exchange close (typically at [ ] p.m., Eastern Time). Furthermore, liquidity in such securities may be reduced after the applicable closing times. This may cause wider spreads and larger premium and discounts than would otherwise be the case if each market was open until the close of trading on the Exchange. 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.
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.