If the Fund holds the foregoing kinds of securities, it may be required to pay out as an income distribution each year an amount which is greater than the total amount of cash interest the Fund actually received. Such distributions may be made from the cash assets of the Fund or, if necessary, by disposition of portfolio securities including at a time when it may not be advantageous to do so. These dispositions may cause the Fund to realize higher amounts of short-term capital gains (generally taxed to shareholders at ordinary income tax rates) and, in the event the Fund realizes net capital gains from such transactions, its shareholders may receive a larger Capital Gain Dividend than if the Fund had not held such securities.
Some Funds focus their investments in particular foreign geographical regions or countries. In addition to the risks of investing in foreign securities discussed above, the investments of such Funds may be exposed to special risks that are specific to the country or region in which the investments are focused. Furthermore, Funds with such a focus may be subject to additional risks associated with events in nearby countries or regions or those of a country’s principal trading partners. Additionally, some Funds have an investment focus in a foreign country or region that is an emerging market and, therefore, are subject to heightened risks relative to Funds that focus their investments in more developed countries or regions.
A Bitcoin futures contract is exactly what you would expect from the example above, replacing pork bellies with Bitcoin. It is a contract that enables you to buy Bitcoin at a predetermined price at a specific point in the future. For example, if today’s Bitcoin price is 8,000 USD per BTC and you expect it to rise to 10,000 USD per BTC in 4 weeks, then entering a contract which allows you to buy Bitcoin at 9,000 USD in 4 weeks is highly attractive.
When a Fund purchases or sells a futures contract, or buys or sells an option thereon, the Fund “covers” its position. To cover its position, a Fund may enter into an offsetting position, earmark or segregate with its custodian bank or on the official books and records of the Fund cash or liquid instruments (marked-to-market on a daily basis) that, when added to any amounts deposited with a futures commission merchant as margin, are equal to the market value of the futures contract or otherwise “cover” its position. When required by law, a Fund will segregate liquid assets in an amount equal to the value of the Fund’s total assets committed to the consummation of such futures contracts. Obligations under futures contracts so covered will not be considered senior securities for purposes of a Fund’s investment restriction concerning senior securities.
• Lack of regulation. Digital commodities and their associated platforms are largely unregulated, and the regulatory environment is rapidly evolving. As a result, blockchain companies may be exposed to adverse regulatory action, fraudulent activity or even failure. Blockchain companies may face political or legal challenges from competitors, industry groups or local and national governments. New regulations may have a negative impact on blockchain technology and blockchain technology companies.
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.
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.
• Compounding Risk — In the course of managing the Fund’s investments, ProShare Advisors will need to periodically adjust the Fund’s holdings in order to maintain investment exposure approximately equivalent to the Fund’s assets. This process entails obtaining additional inverse exposure as the Fund experiences gains, and reducing inverse exposure as the Fund experiences losses. The higher the volatility of the bitcoin futures contracts in which the Fund invests, the more such rebalancing can adversely affect the Fund’s performance.
Decentralized cryptocurrency is produced by the entire cryptocurrency system collectively, at a rate which is defined when the system is created and which is publicly known. In centralized banking and economic systems such as the Federal Reserve System, corporate boards or governments control the supply of currency by printing units of fiat money or demanding additions to digital banking ledgers. In case of decentralized cryptocurrency, companies or governments cannot produce new units, and have not so far provided backing for other firms, banks or corporate entities which hold asset value measured in it. The underlying technical system upon which decentralized cryptocurrencies are based was created by the group or individual known as Satoshi Nakamoto.
Example: If the futures contract price is $400, then you can buy 0.5btc worth of this and if the price of bitcoin goes up to $450 the futures contract price will go up, and the value increases from 0.5 BTC and you can just sell for a profit. Trading a synthetic derivative rather than spot bitcoin allows you to use margin leverage to more easily buy and sell -- the contracts are just a facilitation of the value.
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.
With the increased use of technologies such as the Internet and the dependence on computer systems to perform necessary business functions, the Funds and the digital assets that underline the bitcoin futures contracts in which the Funds invest are susceptible to operational and information security risk. The digital nature of bitcoins and the irreversible nature of bitcoin transactions makes bitcoin an attractive target for theft, hacking and other cyber-attacks. In general, cyber incidents can result from deliberate attacks or unintentional events. Cyber-attacks include, but are not limited to gaining unauthorized access to digital systems for purposes of misappropriating assets such as bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies or gaining access to sensitive information, corrupting data, or causing operational disruption. Cyber-attacks may also be carried out in a manner that does not require gaining unauthorized access, such as causing denial-of-service attacks on websites. Such events have historically correlated with a drop in the price of bitcoin, which may adversely affect your investment in a Fund. Cyber security failures or breaches of a Fund’s third party service provider (including, but not limited to, index providers, the administrator and transfer agent) or the issuers of the bitcoin futures contracts in which the Funds invest, have the ability to cause disruptions and impact business operations, potentially resulting in financial losses, the inability of a Fund’s shareholders to transact business, violations of applicable privacy and other laws, regulatory fines, penalties, reputational damage, reimbursement or other compensation costs, and/or additional compliance costs. In addition, substantial costs may be incurred in order to prevent any cyber incidents in the future. The Funds their service providers, counterparties and other market participants on which the Funds rely could be negatively impacted as a result. While the Funds have established business continuity plans and systems to prevent such cyber-attacks, there are inherent limitations in such plans and systems including the possibility that certain risks have not been identified.
Each Fund, from time to time, in the ordinary course of business, may purchase securities on a when-issued or delayed-delivery basis (i.e., delivery and payment can take place between 30 and 120 days after the date of the transaction). These securities are subject to market fluctuations and no interest accrues to the purchaser during this period. At the time a Fund makes the commitment to purchase securities on a when-issued or delayed-delivery basis, the Fund will record the transaction and thereafter reflect the value of the securities, each day, in determining the Fund’s NAV. Each Fund will not purchase securities on a when-issued or delayed-delivery basis if, as a result, it determines that more than 15% of the Fund’s net assets would be invested in illiquid securities. At the time of delivery of the securities, the value of the securities may be more or less than the purchase price.
Under certain circumstances, a Fund may recognize gain from a constructive sale of an “appreciated financial position” it holds if it enters into a short sale, forward contract or other transaction that substantially reduces the risk of loss with respect to the appreciated position. In that event, the Fund would be treated as if it had sold and immediately repurchased the property and would be taxed on any gain (but would not recognize any loss) from the constructive sale. The character of gain from a constructive sale would depend upon each Fund’s holding period in the property. Appropriate adjustments would be made in the amount of any gain or loss subsequently realized on the position to reflect the gain recognized on the constructive sale. Loss from a constructive sale would be recognized when the property was subsequently disposed of, and its character would depend on the Fund’s holding period and the application of various loss deferral provisions of the Code. Constructive sale treatment does not generally apply to a transaction if such transaction is closed on or before the end of the 30th day after the close of the Fund’s taxable year and the Fund holds the appreciated financial position throughout the 60-day period beginning with the day such transaction closed. The term “appreciated financial position” excludes any position that is “marked-to-market.”
There are also tax risks associated with investments in MLPs. While there are benefits to MLPs that are treated as partnerships for federal income tax purposes, a change to current tax law or in the underlying business of a given MLP could result in the MLP being treated as a corporation for federal income tax purposes. If the MLP were treated as a corporation, the MLP would be required to pay federal income tax on its taxable income, which would reduce the amount of cash available for distribution by the MLP. In addition, because MLPs generally conduct business in multiple states, the Fund may be subject to income or franchise tax in each of the states in which the partnership does business. The additional cost of preparing and filing the tax returns and paying related taxes may adversely impact the Fund’s return.
The Funds may invest directly or indirectly in residual interests in real estate mortgage conduits (“REMICs”) (including by investing in residual interests in collateralized mortgage obligations (“CMOs”) with respect to which an election to be treated as a REMIC is in effect) or taxable mortgage pools (“TMPs”). Under a Notice issued by the IRS in October 2006 and Treasury regulations that have yet to be issued but may apply retroactively, a portion of a Fund’s income (including income allocated to the Fund from a REIT or other pass-through entity) that is attributable to a residual interest in a REMIC or an equity interest in a TMP (referred to in the Code as an “excess inclusion”) will be subject to federal income tax in all events. This Notice also provides, and the regulations are expected to provide, that excess inclusion income of a RIC will be allocated to shareholders of the RIC in proportion to the dividends received by such shareholders, with the same consequences as if the shareholders held the related interest directly. As a result, Funds investing in such interests may not be a suitable investment for charitable remainder trusts (see Unrelated Business Taxable Income, below).
Lawrence Pines is a Princeton University graduate with more than 25 years of experience as an equity and foreign exchange options trader for multinational banks and proprietary trading groups. Mr. Pines has traded on the NYSE, CBOE and Pacific Stock Exchange. In 2011, Mr. Pines started his own consulting firm through which he advises law firms and investment professionals on issues related to trading, and derivatives. Lawrence has served as an expert witness in a number of high profile trials in US Federal and international courts.
Each Fund may provide redemptions in portfolio securities or cash at the Advisor’s discretion. With respect to the Matching and Ultra ProShares Funds, the Index Receipt Agent makes available through the NSCC immediately prior to the opening of business on the Exchange on each day that the Exchange is open for business the portfolio securities that will be applicable (subject to possible amendment or correction) to redemption requests received in proper form (as defined below) on that day (“Fund Securities”). These securities, at times, may not be identical to Deposit Securities which are applicable to a purchase of Creation Units. The Fund may also, in its sole discretion, upon request of a shareholder, provide such redeeming shareholder a portfolio of securities which differs from the exact composition of the Fund Securities but does not differ in NAV.
A Bitcoin (spot or futures) exchange (like any online trading firm) charges its clients a fee to carry out trading activities. As exchanges face the risk of hacking and theft, it is wise not to trust an exchange with all your coins. You should split and keep part of them in other devices or cold storage. Now with bitcoin futures being offered by some of the most prominent marketplaces, investors, traders and speculators are all bound to benefit. These centralized marketplaces will facilitate trade based on a trader’s outlook for bitcoin prices, gain exposure to bitcoin prices or hedge their existing bitcoin positions. Overall, the launching of bitcoin futures by Cboe and CME will facilitate price discovery and price transparency, enable risk-management via a regulated bitcoin product and give a further push to bitcoin as an accepted asset class. (For more, see: The Risks Of Buying Bitcoins.)
Banks may not provide banking services, or may cut off banking services, to businesses that provide bitcoin-related services or that accept bitcoin as payment, which could damage the public perception of bitcoin and the utility of bitcoin as a payment system and could decrease the price of bitcoin and the Bitcoin Instruments and adversely affect an investment in the Funds.
ProShare Advisors is also responsible for the general management and administration of each Subsidiary, pursuant to separate investment advisory and management agreements. Under those advisory and management agreements, ProShare Advisors provides each Subsidiary with the same type of services under essentially the same terms (except at no cost to such Subsidiary) as are provided for its respective Parent Fund.
• Liquidity Risk — In certain circumstances, such as the disruption of the orderly markets for the bitcoin futures contracts in which the Fund invests, the Fund might not be able to acquire or dispose of certain holdings quickly or at prices that represent true market value in the judgment of ProShare Advisors. Markets may be disrupted by a number of events, including but not limited to cyber-attacks, economic crises, natural disasters, new legislation, or regulatory changes inside or outside the U.S.
The Trust has entered into an agreement with Foreside Management Services, LLC (“Foreside”), pursuant to which Foreside provides the Trust with the services of an individual to serve as the Trust’s Principal Financial Officer and Treasurer. Neither Foreside nor the Treasurer have a role in determining the investment policies of the Trust or Funds, or which securities are to be purchased or sold by the Trust or a Fund. The Trust pays Foreside an annual flat fee of $100,000 per year and an additional annual flat fee of $3,500 per Fund, and will reimburse Foreside for certain out-of-pocket expenses incurred by Foreside in providing services to the Trust. For the fiscal years ended May 31, 2015, May 31, 2016 and May 31, 2017, the Trust paid $533,544, $533,860, and $481,869, respectively, to Foreside for services pursuant to its agreement. Foreside is located at Three Canal Plaza, Suite 100, Portland, ME 04101.
The dates for the period October 1, 2017 through September 30, 2018 in which the regular holidays affecting the relevant securities markets of the below listed countries. Please note these holiday schedules are subject to potential changes in the relevant securities markets. In certain countries (for example, China) some exchanges may have holidays not found in the other exchanges.
Now, what if the Bitcoin price is rising? For example, if 1 BTC is worth 5,500 USD, you don’t want to fulfill this contract any more and sell cheap for 5,000 USD. In order to still make things fair for both participants, the exchange (here CME) will make sure that you can sell for the current market price of 5,500 USD if you so wish, but they will compensate your contract partner for this. How? They will take the difference – 500 USD – out of your so-called margin account and give it to Mortimer. This kind of settlement is not only performed on the fulfilment date of the futures contract, but on every trading day, according to the current price of the asset.