(b) A majority of the Disinterested Trustees acting on the matter (provided that a majority of the Disinterested Trustees then in office act on the matter) or independent legal counsel in a written opinion shall determine, based upon a review of the readily available facts (as opposed to the facts available upon a full trial), that there is reason to believe that the recipient ultimately will be found entitled to indemnification.
Speculating and hedging bitcoin with futures has never been easier. Spot has lower leverage which means you have to risk more of your capital with exchanges. Margin fees are very expensive on Bitfinex and Kraken when you are borrowing funds and paying up to 0.1% per day to be in a position. Futures contracts on the other hand have no holding fees associated. You pay a fee to enter the contract, and you pay a fee to exit the contract. Your profit or loss comes from the change in the price you pay.
The Distribution and Service Plan and Distribution and Service Agreements will remain in effect for a period of one year and will continue in effect thereafter only if such continuance is specifically approved annually by a vote of the Trustees. All material amendments of the Distribution and Service Plan must also be approved by the Board. The Distribution and Service Plan may be terminated at any time by a majority of the Board or by a vote of a majority of the outstanding Shares, as defined under the 1940 Act, of the affected Fund. The Distribution and Service Agreements may be terminated at any time, without payment of any penalty, by vote of a majority of the Independent Trustees or by a vote of a majority of the outstanding Shares, as defined under the 1940 Act, of the affected Fund on not less than 60 days’ written notice to any other party to the Distribution and Service Agreements. The Distribution and Service Agreements shall terminate automatically if assigned. The Board has determined that, in its judgment, there is a reasonable likelihood that the Distribution and Service Plan will benefit the Funds and holders of Shares of the Funds. In the Board’s quarterly review of the Distribution and Service Plan and Distribution and Service Agreements, the Trustees will consider their continued appropriateness and the level of compensation and/or reimbursement provided therein.
3. Make loans to other persons, except that the acquisition of bonds, debentures or other corporate debt securities and investment in government obligations, commercial paper, pass-through instruments, certificates of deposit, bankers’ acceptances and repurchase agreements and purchase and sale contracts and any similar instruments shall not be deemed to be the making of a loan, and except, further, that the Fund may lend its portfolio securities, provided that the lending of portfolio securities may be made only in accordance with applicable law and the guidelines set forth in the Prospectus and this SAI, as they may be amended from time to time.
• Ownership of bitcoin is pseudonymous and the supply of accessible bitcoins is unknown. There is no registry showing which individuals or entities own bitcoin or the quantity of bitcoin that is owned by any particular person or entity. It is possible, that a small group of early bitcoin adopters hold a significant proportion of the bitcoin that has been thus far created. There are no regulations in place that would prevent a large holder of bitcoin from selling its bitcoins, which could depress the price of bitcoin and have an adverse effect on an investment in the Fund.
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.
• Non-Diversification Risk — The Fund is classified as “non-diversified” under the 1940 Act, and has the ability to invest a relatively high percentage of its assets in the securities of a small number of issuers susceptible to a single economic, political or regulatory event, or in financial instruments with a single counterparty or a few counterparties. This may increase the Fund’s volatility and cause performance of a relatively smaller number of issuers or the credit of one or a relatively smaller number of counterparties to have a greater impact on the Fund’s performance. This risk may be particularly acute if the Fund is comprised of a small number of securities. Notwithstanding the Fund’s status as a “non-diversified” investment company under the 1940 Act, the Fund intends to qualify as a “regulated investment company” accorded special tax treatment under the Internal Revenue Code, which imposes its own diversification requirements that are less restrictive than the requirements applicable to “diversified” investment companies under the 1940 Act.
Non-Diversified Status (All Funds, except the S&P 500 Dividend Aristocrats ETF, the S&P MidCap 400 Dividend Aristocrats ETF, the Russell 2000 Dividend Growers ETF, the MSCI EAFE Dividend Growers ETF, the MSCI Europe Dividend Growers ETF, the MSCI Emerging Markets Dividend Growers ETF, the DJ Brookfield Global Infrastructure ETF, the Equities for Rising Rates ETF, the S&P 500 Ex-Energy ETF, the S&P 500 Ex-Financials ETF, the S&P 500 Ex-Health Care ETF, the S&P 500 Ex-Technology ETF, the High Yield—Interest Rate Hedged, the Investment Grade—Interest Rate Hedged and the Short Term USD Emerging Markets Bond ETF the ProShares Bitcoin Futures/Equity Strategy ETF, and the ProShares Bitcoin/Blockchain Strategy ETF)
• The bitcoin exchanges on which bitcoin trades are relatively new and, in most cases, largely unregulated and, therefore, may be more exposed to volatility, fraud and security breaches than established, regulated exchanges for other products. Over the past several years, a number of Bitcoin Exchanges have been closed due to fraud, failure, security breaches or governmental regulations. The nature of the assets held at Bitcoin Exchanges make them appealing targets for hackers and a number of Bitcoin Exchanges have been victims of cybercrimes. No Bitcoin Exchange is immune from these risks. Fraudulent activity can increase volatility and have an adverse effect on the price of bitcoin, the general acceptance of bitcoin as an investment or means of currency and could have a negative impact on the bitcoin futures contracts in which the Fund invests and the value of the Fund.
“Qualified dividend income” received by an individual is taxed at the rates applicable to net capital gain. In order for some portion of the dividends received by a Fund shareholder to be qualified dividend income, the Fund must meet holding period and other requirements with respect to some portion of the dividend-paying stocks in its portfolio and the shareholder must meet holding period and other requirements with respect to the Fund’s Shares. A dividend will not be treated as qualified dividend income (at either the Fund or shareholder level) (1) if the dividend is received with respect to any share of stock held for fewer than 61 days during the 121-day period beginning on the date which is 60 days before the date on which such share becomes ex-dividend with respect to such dividend (or, in the case of certain preferred stock, 91 days during the 181-day period beginning 90 days before such date), (2) to the extent that the recipient is under an obligation (whether pursuant to a short sale or otherwise) to make related payments with respect to positions in substantially similar or related property, (3) if the recipient elects to have the dividend income treated as investment income for purposes of the limitation on deductibility of investment interest, or (4) if the dividend is received from a foreign corporation that is (a) not eligible for the benefits of a comprehensive income tax treaty with the United States (with the exception of dividends paid on stock of such a foreign corporation that is readily tradable on an established securities market in the United States) or (b) treated as a passive foreign investment company. In general, distributions of investment income reported by a Fund as derived from qualified dividend income will be treated as qualified dividend income in the hands of a shareholder taxed as an individual, provided the shareholder meets the holding period and other requirements described above with respect to the Fund’s Shares.
Bitcoin relies on blockchain technology. “Blockchain” is a decentralized database. Transactions are grouped in blocks and then chained together through cryptographic links. Blockchain is designed so that the chain can be added to, but not edited. This structure is called a “distributed ledger.” Transactions in the distributed ledger are permanently recorded and can never disappear, although theft and loss of bitcoin can occur. While bitcoin has grown in popularity, it’s still not nearly as widely accepted as traditional currency.
The most common way to trade in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency derivatives today is through contract-for-difference (CFD) contracts. These CFD contracts are usually traded over the counter (OTC), meaning that they are not traded on exchanges but directly between participants. Due to the high volatility (exceeding 1.5-2x std from the mean) most of the OTC platforms do not provide leverage on bitcoin and other cryptos CFDs.
A Fund may invest in exchange-traded funds that are organized as trusts. An exchange-traded trust is a pooled trust that invests in assets, including physical commodities, and issues shares that are traded on a securities exchange. When the pool of assets is fixed, exchange traded trusts are treated as transparent for U.S. federal income tax purposes, and thus, the Fund will be treated as holding its share of an exchange traded trust’s assets, and the Fund’s sale of its interest in an exchange-traded trust will be treated as a sale of the underlying assets, for purpose of determining whether the Fund meets the 90 percent gross income test described above . As with investments in commodities and similar assets investments in exchange traded trusts may generate non-qualifying income for purposes of this test. As a result, a Fund’s investments in exchange traded trusts can be limited by the Fund’s intention to qualify as a RIC, and can bear adversely on the Fund’s ability to so qualify.
If you want to speculate on the price of a cryptocurrency then the use of a Contract for Difference (CFD) is an option to consider. You won’t actually own the cryptocurrency, which means you don’t face the hassle and hurdles of trying to buy via one of the unregulated exchanges. Instead, a CFD is a financial instrument which allows you to speculate on price movements.
Hey Will. Thanks for the helpful guide! I’ve just gotten into crypto and found this info extremely useful. Just a question regarding how you keep your alt coins safe. As far as I can tell, you can’t keep many of these alt coins on a Trezor hard wallet, so do you just use something like My Ether Wallet instead? Cheers mate! Here’s to a cracking 2018!!
Bitrex provides comprehensive vetting of new Cryptocurrency tokens and places a strong emphasis on user security. Hence has the reputation for being a secure wallet with a good security module. The platform trades vastly in Altcoin. Trading fees at the platform are 0.25 %. The minimum transaction fee of the blockchain governs the charge for deposit and withdrawal.
In general, dividends of net investment income received by corporate shareholders of a Fund may qualify for the 70% dividends-received deduction generally available to corporations to the extent of the amount of eligible dividends received by the Fund from domestic corporations for the taxable year. A dividend received by a Fund will not be treated as a dividend eligible for the dividends-received deduction (1) if it has been received with respect to any share of stock that the Fund has held for less than 46 days (91 days in the case of certain preferred stock) during the 91-day period beginning on the date which is 45 days before the date on which such share becomes ex-dividend with respect to such dividend (during the 181-day period beginning 90 days before such date in the case of certain preferred stock) or (2) to the extent that the Fund is under an obligation (pursuant to a short sale or otherwise) to make related payments with respect to positions in substantially similar or related property. Moreover, the dividends received deduction may otherwise be disallowed or reduced (1) if the corporate shareholder fails to satisfy the foregoing requirements with respect to its shares of the Fund or (2) by application of various provisions of the Code (for instance, the dividends-received deduction is reduced in the case of a dividend received on debt-financed portfolio stock (generally, stock acquired with borrowed funds)). The corporate alternative minimum tax may disallow the dividends received deduction in certain circumstances.
Certain Funds expect to invest in exchange-traded funds, including exchange-traded funds registered under the 1940 Act (“Underlying ETFs”). Some such Underlying ETFs will be treated as regulated investment companies for federal income tax purposes (each such Underlying ETF, an “Underlying RIC”). In such cases, a Fund’s income and gains will normally consist, in whole or part, of dividends and other distributions from the Underlying RICs and gains and losses on the disposition of shares of the Underlying RICs. The amount of income and capital gains realized by a Fund and in turn a Fund’s shareholders in respect of the Fund’s investments in Underlying RICs may be greater than such amounts would have been had the Fund invested directly in the investments held by the Underlying RICs, rather than in the shares of the Underlying RICs. Similarly, the character of such income and gains (e.g., long-term capital gain, eligibility for the dividends-received deduction, etc.) will not necessarily be the same as it would have been had the Fund invested directly in the investments held by the Underlying RICs.
Daily access to the PCF and IOPV file is permitted (i) to certain personnel of those service providers that are involved in portfolio management and providing administrative, operational, or other support to portfolio management, including Authorized Participants, and (ii) to other personnel of the Advisor and the Funds’ distributor, administrator, custodian and fund accountant who are involved in functions which may require such information to conduct business in the ordinary course.
Portfolio managers are generally responsible for multiple investment company accounts. As described below, certain inherent conflicts of interest arise from the fact that a portfolio manager has responsibility for multiple accounts, including conflicts relating to the allocation of investment opportunities. Listed below for each portfolio manager are the number and type of accounts managed or overseen by such portfolio manager as of May 31, 2017.
Louis M. Mayberg, President of ProShare Advisors from inception to April 2012 and ProFund Advisors LLC from April 1997 to April 2012. Mr. Mayberg co-founded National Capital Companies, L.L.C., an investment bank specializing in financial services companies mergers and acquisitions and equity underwritings in 1986, and managed its financial services hedge fund. He holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree with a major in Finance from The George Washington University.
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.
To assist the Advisor in its responsibility for voting proxies and the overall proxy voting process, the Advisor has retained Institutional Shareholder Services (“ISS”) as an expert in the proxy voting and corporate governance area. ISS is a subsidiary of Vestar Capital Partners VI, L.P., a leading U.S. middle market private equity firm specializing in management buyouts and growth capital investments. The services provided by ISS include in-depth research, global issuer analysis and voting recommendations as well as vote execution, reporting and record keeping. ISS issues quarterly reports for the Advisor to review to assure proxies are being voted properly. The Advisor and ISS also perform spot checks intra-quarter to match the voting activity with available shareholder meeting information. ISS’s management meets on a regular basis to discuss its approach to new developments and amendments to existing policies. Information on such developments or amendments in turn is provided to the Proxy Committee. The Proxy Committee reviews and, as necessary, may amend periodically the Guidelines to address new or revised proxy voting policies or procedures.
The Fund is an actively managed exchange traded fund. The Fund seeks to achieve its investment objective by investing substantially all of its assets in a combination of (i) the equity securities of blockchain technology companies, (ii) bitcoin futures, options and swap contracts that provide exposure to the price movements of bitcoin (“Bitcoin Derivatives”) and (iii) bitcoin related securities, such as bitcoin linked exchange traded notes (“ETNs”), funds and trusts (“Bitcoin Securities”) (collectively, with Bitcoin Securities, “Bitcoin Investments”). The Fund targets a minimum of 30% exposure to Bitcoin Investments. The Fund’s other assets will be invested in the equity securities of blockchain technology companies — companies that the Fund’s investment advisor determines are well-positioned to benefit from blockchain technology. The securities of blockchain technology companies may be listed on U.S. or non-U.S. exchanges and must meet certain minimum capitalization and liquidity requirements. The Fund intends to concentrate its investment in blockchain technology companies and/or technology companies.
• Large-Cap Company Investment Risk —The Fund invests in stocks of large-cap companies. Although returns on investments in large-cap companies are often perceived as being less volatile than the returns of companies with smaller market capitalizations, the return on large-cap securities could trail the returns on investments in smaller and mid-sized companies for a number of reasons. For example, large-cap companies may be unable to respond quickly to new competitive challenges, such as changes in technology, and also may not be able to attain the high growth rate of successful smaller companies.
Municipal notes with maturities of three years or less are usually given note ratings (designated SP-1 or SP-2) to distinguish more clearly the credit quality of notes as compared to bonds. Notes rated SP-1 have a very strong or strong capacity to pay principal and interest. Those issues determined to possess overwhelming safety characteristics are given the designation of SP-1+. Notes rated SP-2 have a satisfactory capacity to pay principal and interest.
Transaction fees for cryptocurrency depend mainly on the supply of network capacity at the time, versus the demand from the currency holder for a faster transaction. The currency holder can choose a specific transaction fee, while network entities process transactions in order of highest offered fee to lowest. Cryptocurrency exchanges can simplify the process for currency holders by offering priority alternatives and thereby determine which fee will likely cause the transaction to be processed in the requested time.
The Distribution and Service Plan is intended to permit the financing of a broad array of distribution-related activities and services, as well as shareholder services, for the benefit of investors. These activities and services are intended to make the Shares an attractive investment alternative, which may lead to increased assets, increased investment opportunities and diversification, and reduced per share operating expenses. There are currently no plans to impose distribution fees.
• Interest Rate Risk — The Fund intends to invest a substantial portion of its assets in U.S. Treasury securities and is subject to interest rate risk. Interest rate risk is the risk that debt securities may fluctuate in value due to changes in interest rates. Commonly, investments subject to interest rate risk will decrease in value when interest rates rise and increase in value when interest rates decline. The value of securities with longer maturities may fluctuate more in response to interest rate changes than securities with shorter maturities. A wide variety of factors can cause interest rates to rise (e.g., central bank monetary policies, inflation rates, general economic conditions, etc.). This risk may be elevated under current economic conditions because interest rates are at historically low levels. Returns on investment in debt instruments may trail the returns on other investment options, including investments in equity securities.
Bitcoin’s adoption has been on a generally continuous climb since bitcoin first gained mass media attention in 2013. Businesses are starting to accept bitcoin as payment, either directly or, more commonly, through an intermediary service which converts bitcoin payments into local currency. The adoption of bitcoin as a means of payment, however, has been limited when compared with the increase in the price of bitcoin as determined by the Bitcoin Exchange Market, indicating that the majority of bitcoin’s use is for investment and speculative purposes. The continued adoption of bitcoin will require growth in its usage as a means of payment and in the Bitcoin Blockchain for various applications.
These are fundraising mechanisms for newly launched cryptocurrencies. Investors in ICOs receive tokens in the new venture. Investors have poured billions of dollars into more than 1,000 ICOs over the past year. While many ICOs are legitimate, the vast majority have no real business plans or technology behind them. Many get launched with nothing more than a whitepaper by individuals with no technology or industry experience.
CryptoFacilities, Coinpit, and BitMEX has a realtime profit realisation, while OKCoin and Deribit has weekly rebalancing scheduled for all contract lengths. It's important to note that on all of these exchanges, all the futures and forwards are non-deliverable and have expiration at various times. Despite this, OKCoin uses "delivery" as their term for expiration settlement of a contract, and "settlement" for the weekly rebalancing of the Pnl for higher length contracts. Since we are stuck with this unprofessional Chinese exchange being the dominant market player in futures, we have to focus on their use of the terminology, but BitMEX and CryptoFacilities have very impressive and professional setups that use well documented procedures. Always read the documentation of any exchange you're using and the contract specifications of the individual product you're using.
The right of redemption may be suspended or the date of payment postponed with respect to any Fund (1) for any period during which the Exchange is closed (other than customary weekend and holiday closings); (2) for any period during which trading on the Exchange is suspended or restricted; (3) for any period during which an emergency exists as a result of which disposal of the shares of the Fund’s portfolio securities or determination of its NAV is not reasonably practicable; (4) in such other circumstance as is permitted by the SEC; or (5) for up to 14 calendar days for any of the Global Funds or Short or Ultra International ProShares Funds during an international local holiday, as described below in “Other Information”.
Let’s say Larry owns one bitcoin and the current price is $16,600, be believes the price is overdone to the upside for a short period of time. This is a fictional example, so don’t beat me up on the outlook, you can criticize Larry, but he’s made up too. Larry has a futures account and sees that he can sell short a January XBT Future at $17,600. He decides to do this and is now short 1 January XBT Future at $17,600.
Don’t FOMO. This is a spot that people most frequently lose money on. A dash of manipulation, two tablespoons of media hype, a cup of CME and CBOE announcements, and a generous handful of FOMO drove Bitcoin prices from $10,000 to $20,000 in December. Since that time, Bitcoin fell to a low of $9,000 and is currently sitting at around $11,000. It’s easy to look back and say, “if only I waited one month, then I could’ve bought at $9,000 instead of waiting for Bitcoin to hit $20,000 again for me to break even.” But the reality is, the combination of 1) being greedy, 2) investing blindly, and 3) FOMO were likely large contributors to the purchase at an all-time-high. Even in the crazy world of cryptocurrency, if a coin pumps that quickly, it will correct — it’s a matter of time. Speculative pumps are almost always followed by dips. While trying to jump onto a train going full speed sounds like something straight out of a James Bond movie, I’m sure most of us can agree we would probably save some limbs if we just waited for it at the next stop.
Purchasers of Shares in Creation Units are responsible for the costs of transferring the securities constituting the Deposit Securities to the account of the Trust. Investors will also bear the costs of transferring securities from the Fund to their account or on their order. Investors who use the services of a broker or other such intermediary may be charged a fee for such services.
As of September 16, 2017, the Trustees and officers of the Trust, as a group, owned outstanding shares that entitled them to give voting instructions with respect to less than one percent of the shares of any series of the Trust; except that Mr. Michael L. Sapir owned more than 25% of the outstanding shares of ProShares S&P 500 Ex-Financials ETF and ProShares S&P 500 Ex-Health Care ETF.
Because a Fund invests in cash instruments denominated in foreign currencies, it may hold foreign currencies pending investment or conversion into U.S. dollars. Although the Fund values its assets daily in U.S. dollars, it does not convert its holdings of foreign currencies into U.S. dollars on a daily basis. The Fund will convert its holdings from time to time, however, and incur the costs of currency conversion. Foreign exchange dealers may realize a profit based on the difference between the prices at which they buy and sell various currencies. Thus, a dealer may offer to sell a foreign currency to the Fund at one rate, and offer to buy the currency at a lower rate if the Fund tries to resell the currency to the dealer.
If, in any taxable year, a Fund were to fail to meet the 90% gross income, diversification or distribution test described above, the Fund could in some cases cure such failure, including by paying a Fund-level tax, paying interest, making additional distributions, or disposing of certain assets. If a Fund were ineligible to or did not cure such a failure for any taxable year, or otherwise failed to qualify as a RIC accorded special tax treatment under the Code, the Fund would be subject to tax on its taxable income at corporate rates, and all distributions from earnings and profits, including distributions of net tax-exempt income and net long-term capital gain (if any), would be taxable to shareholders as dividend income. In such a case, distributions from the Fund would not be deductible by the Fund in computing its taxable income. In addition, in order to requalify for taxation as a RIC, the Fund may be required to recognize unrealized gains, pay substantial taxes and interest, and make certain distributions.
A Fund will incur a loss as a result of a short sale if the price of the security increases between the date of the short sale and the date on which the Fund replaces the borrowed security. A Fund will realize a gain if the price of the security declines in price between those dates. The amount of any gain will be decreased, and the amount of any loss will be increased, by the amount of the premium, dividends or interest a Fund may be required to pay, if any, in connection with a short sale.
Upon a sale, exchange or other disposition of shares of a Fund, a shareholder will generally realize a taxable gain or loss depending upon his or her basis in the shares. A gain or loss will be treated as capital gain or loss if the shares are capital assets in the shareholder’s hands, and generally will be long-term or short-term capital gain or loss depending upon the shareholder’s holding period for the shares. Any loss realized on a sale, exchange or other disposition will be disallowed to the extent the shares disposed of are replaced (including through reinvestment of dividends) within a period of 61 days beginning 30 days before and ending 30 days after the shares are disposed of. In such a case, the basis of the shares acquired will be adjusted to reflect the disallowed loss. Any loss realized by a shareholder on the disposition of a Fund’s Shares held by the shareholder for six months or less will be treated for tax purposes as a long-term capital loss to the extent of any distributions of Capital Gain Dividends received or treated as having been received by the shareholder with respect to such shares.
ADRs represent the right to receive securities of foreign issuers deposited in a domestic bank or a correspondent bank. ADRs are an alternative to purchasing the underlying securities in their national markets and currencies. For many foreign securities, U.S. dollar-denominated ADRs, which are traded in the United States on exchanges or over-the-counter (“OTC”), are issued by domestic banks. In general, there is a large, liquid market in the United States for many ADRs. Investments in ADRs have certain advantages over direct investment in the underlying foreign securities because: (i) ADRs are U.S. dollar-denominated investments that are easily transferable and for which market quotations are readily available, and (ii) issuers whose securities are represented by ADRs are generally subject to auditing, accounting and financial reporting standards similar to those applied to domestic issuers. ADRs do not eliminate all risk inherent in investing in the securities of foreign issuers. By investing in ADRs rather than directly in the stock of foreign issuers outside the U.S., however, the Funds may avoid certain risks related to investing in foreign securities on non-U.S. markets.
Investment in mortgage-backed securities poses several risks, including among others, prepayment, market and credit risk. Prepayment risk reflects the risk that borrowers may prepay their mortgages faster than expected, thereby affecting the investment’s average life and perhaps its yield. Whether or not a mortgage loan is prepaid is almost entirely controlled by the borrower. Borrowers are most likely to exercise prepayment options at the time when it is least advantageous to investors, generally prepaying mortgages as interest rates fall, and slowing payments as interest rates rise. Besides the effect of prevailing interest rates, the rate of prepayment and refinancing of mortgages may also be affected by appreciation in home values, ease of the refinancing process and local economic conditions. Market risk reflects the risk that the price of a security may fluctuate over time. The price of mortgage-backed securities may be particularly sensitive to prevailing interest rates, the length of time the security is expected to be outstanding, and the liquidity of the issue. In a period of unstable interest rates, there may be decreased demand for certain types of mortgage-backed securities, and each Fund invested in such securities wishing to sell them may find it difficult to find a buyer, which may in turn decrease the price at which they may be sold. Credit risk reflects the risk that a Fund may not receive all or part of its principal because the issuer or credit enhancer has defaulted on its obligations. Obligations issued by U.S. government-related entities are guaranteed as to the payment of principal and interest, but are not backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government. The performance of private label mortgage-backed securities, issued by private institutions, is based on the financial health of those institutions. With respect to GNMA certificates, although GNMA guarantees timely payment even if homeowners delay or default, tracking the “pass-through” payments may, at times, be difficult.
In traditional financial markets, derivatives are used as speculation objects as well as insurance against losses. The latter is known as hedging. One popular variety of derivatives used for hedging are called futures. A future is a contract between two parties in which one party agrees to pay the other a predetermined amount of money for an underlying asset at a specific point in time.