• Subsidiary Investment Risk — Changes in the laws of the United States and/or the Cayman Islands, under which the Fund and the Subsidiary are organized, respectively, could result in the inability of the Fund to operate as intended and could negatively affect the Fund and its shareholders. The Subsidiary is not registered under the 1940 Act and is not subject to all the investor protections of the 1940 Act. Thus, the Fund, as an investor in the Subsidiary, will not have all the protections offered to investors in registered investment companies.
The Trustees, their birth date, term of office and length of time served, principal business occupations during the past five years and the number of portfolios in the Fund Complex overseen and other directorships, if any, held by each Trustee, are shown below. Unless noted otherwise, the addresses of each Trustee is: c/o ProShares Trust, 7501 Wisconsin Avenue, Suite 1000E, Bethesda, MD 20814.
The first decentralized cryptocurrency, bitcoin, was created in 2009 by pseudonymous developer Satoshi Nakamoto. It used SHA-256, a cryptographic hash function, as its proof-of-work scheme. In April 2011, Namecoin was created as an attempt at forming a decentralized DNS, which would make internet censorship very difficult. Soon after, in October 2011, Litecoin was released. It was the first successful cryptocurrency to use scrypt as its hash function instead of SHA-256. Another notable cryptocurrency, Peercoin was the first to use a proof-of-work/proof-of-stake hybrid. IOTA was the first cryptocurrency not based on a blockchain, and instead uses the Tangle. Many other cryptocurrencies have been created though few have been successful, as they have brought little in the way of technical innovation. On 6 August 2014, the UK announced its Treasury had been commissioned to do a study of cryptocurrencies, and what role, if any, they can play in the UK economy. The study was also to report on whether regulation should be considered.
Cryptocurrencies are a potential tool to evade economic sanctions for example against Russia, Iran, or Venezuela. In April 2018, Russian and Iranian economic representatives met to discuss how to bypass the global SWIFT system through decentralized blockchain technology. Russia also secretly supported Venezuela with the creation of the petro (El Petro), a national cryptocurrency initiated by the Maduro government to obtain valuable oil revenues by circumventing US sanctions.
• A decline in the adoption of bitcoin could have a negative effect on the price of bitcoin and bitcoin-related investments. Bitcoin’s adoption has been on a generally continuous climb since bitcoin first gained mass media attention in 2013. However, there can be no guarantees this growth will continue. Further, adoption of bitcoin as a means of payment has been limited when compared with the increase in the price of bitcoin, indicating that the majority of bitcoin’s use is for investment and speculative purposes. A lack of acceptance of bitcoin as a means of payment could negatively impact the price of the bitcoin futures contracts in which the Fund invests.
• Equity and Market Risk — 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 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.
The tax treatment of certain contracts (including regulated futures contracts and non-equity options) entered into by the Fund will be governed by Section 1256 of the Code (“Section 1256 contracts”). Gains (or losses) on these contracts generally are considered to be 60% long-term and 40% short-term capital gains or losses (“60/40”), although foreign currency gains or losses arising from certain Section 1256 contracts may be treated as ordinary in character (see “Foreign Currency Transactions” below). Also, section 1256 contracts held by a Fund at the end of each taxable year (and for purposes of the 4% excise tax, on certain other dates prescribed in the Code) are “marked-to-market” with the result that unrealized gains or losses are treated as though they were realized and the resulting gains or losses are treated as ordinary or 60/40 gains or losses, as appropriate.
Shareholders that are U.S. persons and own, directly or indirectly, more than 50% of a Fund could be required to report annually their “financial interest” in the Fund’s “foreign financial accounts,” if any, on FinCEN Form 114, Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (“FBAR”). Shareholders should consult a tax advisor, and persons investing in a Fund through an intermediary should contact their intermediary, regarding the applicability to them of this reporting requirement.
BitMEX is a derivatives exchange that offers leveraged contracts that are bought and sold in Bitcoin. This is a platform that provides trading in bitcoin derivatives. The derivative traded is a perpetual swap contract, which is a derivative product similar to a traditional Futures Contract. Swap contracts trade like spots, tracking the underlying assets.
When rolling futures contracts that are in contango, the Short Bitcoin Fund may buy the expiring bitcoin futures contract at a lower price and sell a longer-dated bitcoin futures contract at a higher price, resulting in a positive roll yield (i.e., a gain). When rolling futures contracts that are in backwardation, the Short Bitcoin Fund may buy the expiring bitcoin futures contract at a higher price and sell the longer-dated bitcoin futures contract at a lower price, resulting in a negative roll yield (i.e., a loss).
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
U.S. government securities include U.S. Treasury securities, which are backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. Treasury and which differ only in their interest rates, maturities, and times of issuance: U.S. Treasury bills, which have initial maturities of one year or less; U.S. Treasury notes, which have initial maturities of one to ten years; and U.S. Treasury bonds, which generally have initial maturities of greater than ten years. In addition, U.S. government securities include Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (“TIPS”). TIPS are inflation-protected public obligations of the U.S. Treasury. These securities are designed to provide inflation protection to investors. TIPS are income generating instruments whose interest and principal payments are adjusted for inflation – a sustained increase in prices that erodes the purchasing power of money. The inflation adjustment, which is typically applied monthly to the principal of the bond, follows a designated inflation index such as the Consumer Price Index. A fixed-coupon rate is applied to the inflation-adjusted principal so that as inflation rises, both the principal value and the interest payments increase. This can provide investors with a hedge against inflation, as it helps preserve the purchasing power of an investment. Because of the inflation-adjustment feature, inflation-protected bonds typically have lower yields than conventional fixed-rate bonds. In addition, TIPS decline in value when real interest rates rise. However, in certain interest rate environments, such as when real interest rates are rising faster than nominal interest rates, TIPS may experience greater losses than other fixed income securities with similar duration.
Shares may be redeemed only in Creation Units at their NAV next determined after receipt of a redemption request in proper form by the Distributor on any Business Day. The Trust will not redeem Shares in amounts less than Creation Units. Beneficial owners also may sell Shares in the secondary market, but must accumulate enough Shares to constitute a Creation Unit in order to have such Shares redeemed by the Trust. There can be no assurance, however, that there will be sufficient liquidity in the public trading market at any time to permit assembly of a Creation Unit of Shares. Investors should expect to incur brokerage and other costs in connection with assembling a sufficient number of Shares to constitute a redeemable Creation Unit.
Although forward currency contracts may be used by the Funds to try to manage currency exchange risks, unanticipated changes in currency exchange rates could result in poorer performance than if a Fund had not entered into these transactions. Even if the Advisor correctly predicts currency exchange rate movements, a hedge could be unsuccessful if changes in the value of a Fund’s position do not correspond to changes in the value of the currency in which its investments are denominated. This lack of correlation between a Fund’s forwards and currency positions may be caused by differences between the futures and currency markets.
If an investor gets the timing of the oscillations right, they can make money at every point along the way, going long when the market goes up and short when it drops. However, it is also difficult to come across any reliable strategy that has thus far been able to predict which events influence the price of bitcoin to which extent. The initial calling off of the Segwit2x fork is a good example of that. Shortly after the news broke, the market appeared to be divided into two camps – those who saw less value because they would not receive the equivalent amount of their holdings in the new currency (“dividends”), and those who saw the news as a consolidation of bitcoin’s strength. The two camps pushed the price in opposite directions in a way that made it hard to predict which side would have the upper hand at which point in time.
Each Fund may invest in real estate investment trusts (“REITs”). Equity REITs invest primarily in real property, while mortgage REITs invest in construction, development and long-term mortgage loans. Their value may be affected by changes in the value of the underlying property of the REIT, the creditworthiness of the issuer, property taxes, interest rates, and tax and regulatory requirements, such as those relating to the environment. REITs are dependent upon management skill, are not diversified and are subject to heavy cash flow dependency, default by borrowers, self-liquidation and the possibility of failing to qualify for tax-free pass-through of income under the Code and failing to maintain exempt status under the 1940 Act.
An Authorized Participant who exchanges securities for Creation Units generally will recognize a gain or a loss. The gain or loss will be equal to the difference between the market value of the Creation Units at the time and the sum of the exchanger’s aggregate basis in the securities surrendered plus the amount of cash paid for such Creation Units. An Authorized Participant who redeems Creation Units will generally recognize a gain or loss equal to the difference between the exchanger’s basis in the Creation Units and the sum of the aggregate market value of any securities received plus the amount of any cash received for such Creation Units. The IRS, however, may assert that a loss realized upon an exchange of securities for Creation Units cannot be deducted currently under the rules governing “wash sales,” or on the basis that there has been no significant change in economic position. Persons purchasing or redeeming Creation Units should consult their own tax advisors with respect to the tax treatment of any creation or redemption transaction.
The primary risks associated with the use of futures contracts are imperfect correlation between movements in the price of the futures and the market value of the underlying assets, and the possibility of an illiquid market for a futures contract. Although each Fund intends to sell futures contracts only if there is an active market for such contracts, no assurance can be given that a liquid market will exist for any particular contract at any particular time. Many futures exchanges and boards of trade limit the amount of fluctuation permitted in futures contract prices during a single trading day. Once the daily limit has been reached in a particular contract, no trades may be made that day at a price beyond that limit or trading may be suspended for specified periods during the day. Futures contract prices could move to the limit for several consecutive trading days with little or no trading, thereby preventing prompt liquidation of futures positions and potentially subjecting a Fund to substantial losses. If trading is not possible, or if a Fund determines not to close a futures position in anticipation of adverse price movements, the Fund will be required to make daily cash payments of variation margin. The risk that the Fund will be unable to close out a futures position will be minimized by entering into such transactions on a national exchange with an active and liquid secondary market. In addition, although the counterparty to a futures contract is often a clearing organization, backed by a group of financial institutions, there may be instances in which the counterparty could fail to perform its obligations, causing significant losses to a Fund.
In the event an order is cancelled, the Authorized Participant will be responsible for reimbursing the Fund for all costs associated with cancelling the order, including costs for repositioning the portfolio, provided the Authorized Participant shall not be responsible for such costs if the order was cancelled for reasons outside the Authorized Participant’s control or the Authorized Participant was not otherwise responsible or at fault for such cancellation. Upon written notice to the Distributor, such cancelled order may be resubmitted the following Business Day, with a newly constituted Portfolio Deposit or Fund Securities to reflect the next calculated NAV.
SEI Investments Distribution Co. (“SEI”) serves as the distributor and principal underwriter in all fifty states and the District of Columbia. SEI is located at One Freedom Valley Drive, Oaks, PA 19456. The Distributor has no role in determining the investment policies of the Trust or any of the Funds, or which securities are to be purchased or sold by the Trust or any of the Funds. For the fiscal years ended May 31, 2015, May 31, 2016 and May 31, 2017, ProShare Advisors paid $1,858,542, $787,325, and $769,839 respectively, to the Distributor as compensation for services.
In general, a foreign corporation that is not engaged in and is not treated as engaged in a U.S. trade or business is nonetheless subject to tax at a flat rate of 30% (or lower tax treaty rate), generally payable through withholding, on the gross amount of certain U.S.-source income that is not effectively connected with a U.S. trade or business. There is presently no tax treaty in force between the United States and the jurisdiction in which any Subsidiary is (or would be) resident that would reduce this rate of withholding tax. Income subject to such a flat tax is of a fixed or determinable annual or periodic nature and includes dividends and interest income. Certain types of income are specifically exempted from the 30% tax and thus withholding is not required on payments of such income to a foreign corporation. The 30% tax generally does not apply to capital gains (whether long-term or short-term) or to interest paid to a foreign corporation on its deposits with U.S. banks. The 30% tax also does not apply to interest which qualifies as “portfolio interest.” Very generally, the term portfolio interest includes U.S.-source interest (including OID) on an obligation in registered form, and with respect to which the person, who would otherwise be required to deduct and withhold the 30% tax, received the required statement that the beneficial owner of the obligation is not a U.S. person within the meaning of the Code.
The tables below show performance examples of an UltraPro and UltraPro Short ProShares Fund that have investment objectives to correspond to three times (3x) and three times the inverse (-3x) of, respectively, the daily performance of an index. In the charts below, areas shaded lighter represent those scenarios where a Fund will return the same as or outperform (i.e., return more than) the index performance times the stated multiple in the Fund’s investment objective; conversely, areas shaded darker represent those scenarios where the Fund will underperform (i.e., return less than) the index performance times the stated multiple in the Fund’s investment objective.
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.
Because of the wide range of types and maturities of corporate debt securities, as well as the range of creditworthiness of its issuers, corporate debt securities have widely varying potentials for return and risk profiles. For example, commercial paper issued by a large established domestic corporation that is rated investment-grade may have a modest return on principal, but carries relatively limited risk. On the other hand, a long-term corporate note issued by a small foreign corporation from an emerging market country that has not been rated may have the potential for relatively large returns on principal, but carries a relatively high degree of risk.
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.
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.
There's a lot of ins and outs which can get confusing in arbitrage trading. We won't go into the technicals of why futures contracts trade at a premium to spot price. You can read a full explanation here. If it's not of interest to you, all you need to know is that there's a tendency, the further out in time the futures contract expires, for the premium to spot to be higher and higher in nominal percentage terms.