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.
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.
• Credit Risk — The Fund could lose money if the issuer or guarantor of a fixed-income instrument or a counterparty to a derivatives transaction or other transaction is, or is perceived to be, unable or unwilling to pay interest, repay principal on time, or defaults. The value of an investment in the Fund may change quickly and without warning as a result of issuer defaults or actual or perceived changes in the credit ratings of the Fund’s portfolio investments or to an issuer’s financial strength.
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.
Under an investment advisory agreement between ProShare Advisors and the Trust, on behalf of each Fund (the “Agreement” or “Advisory Agreement”), each Fund (other than the Morningstar Alternatives Solution ETF, the Global Listed Private Equity ETF, the Short Term USD Emerging Markets Bond ETF, the Inflation Expectations ETF and the CDS Short North American HY Credit ETF) pays ProShare Advisors a fee at an annualized rate, based on its average daily net assets, of 0.75%. ProShare Advisors has entered into an Advisory Fee Waiver Agreement for each of these Funds that reduces the annualized rate based on its average daily net assets, as follows: 0.75% of the first $4.0 billion of average daily net assets of the Fund; 0.70% of the average daily net assets of the Fund over $4.0 billion to $5.5 billion; 0.65% of the average daily net assets of the Fund over $5.5 billion to $7.0 billion; 0.60% of the average daily net assets of the Fund over $7.0 billion to $8.5 billion; and 0.55% of the average daily net assets of the Fund over $8.5 billion. The fee waiver arrangement will remain in effect through at least September 30, 2018 and prior to such date ProShare Advisors may not terminate the arrangement without the approval of the Board.
The ICON technology (ICX) is incredibly exciting because it aims to harbor the single largest decentralized global network. It aims to provide its users a certain degree of connectivity between countries and cultures around the world that’s currently just not possible or non-existent. This network gives way to businesses and individuals to communicate, transfer, deposit, and in many different ways cooperate with each other in a never seen before way. ICON shows extraordinary potential for the future, but it’s already boasting a large community made of reputable security institutions, banks, hospitals, insurances, universities and institutions in many other sectors. Crucially, ICON is NOT yet tradable in South Korea – when that changes I expect this coin to moon.
The Fund generally does not expect to invest directly in futures contracts, option contracts and swap agreements (“Bitcoin Instruments”). The Fund expects to gain exposure to these investments by investing a portion of its assets in the ProShares Cayman Bitcoin/Blockchain Strategy Portfolio, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Fund organized under the laws of the Cayman Islands (the “Subsidiary”). The Subsidiary is advised by ProShare Advisors, the Fund’s investment advisor, and invests directly in Bitcoin Instruments. Unlike the Fund, the Subsidiary is not an investment company registered under the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended (the “1940 Act”). The Fund’s investment in the Subsidiary is intended to provide the Fund with exposure to commodity markets related to bitcoin in accordance with applicable rules and regulations. The Fund will invest up to 25% of its total assets in the Subsidiary. Except as otherwise noted, references to the Fund’s investment strategies and risks include the investment strategies and risks of the Subsidiary.
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Institutional markets for restricted securities have developed as a result of the promulgation of Rule 144A under the 1933 Act, which provides a safe harbor from 1933 Act registration requirements for qualifying sales to institutional investors. When Rule 144A securities present an attractive investment opportunity and otherwise meet selection criteria, a Fund may make such investments. Whether or not such securities are illiquid depends on the market that exists for the particular security. The staff of the SEC has taken the position that the liquidity of Rule 144A restricted securities is a question of fact for a board of trustees to determine, such determination to be based on a consideration of the readily-available trading markets and the review of any contractual restrictions.
In order to make sure that you actually have money in your margin account to settle the difference with Mortimer every day, you are required to put up an initial margin at the beginning of the contract. A lower sum, the so-called minimum margin or maintenance margin, is also defined by the broker. If the money in your margin account falls from the initial margin to the maintenance margin, it triggers a margin call: The broker requests you to fill up your margin account to at least the initial margin (of course, you may also put up more).
Individual shares of the Fund will be 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. ProShare Advisors cannot predict whether the Fund’s shares will trade above, below or at a price equal to the value of the Fund’s holdings. Differences between secondary market prices and NAV, the value of the Fund’s holdings, may be due largely to supply and demand forces in the secondary market, which may not be the same forces as those influencing prices for securities or financial instruments held by the Fund at a particular time. Given the fact that the Fund’s shares can be created and redeemed in Creation Units, ProShare Advisors believes that large discounts or premiums to the value of the Fund’s holdings should not be sustained.
At the expiration of the contract you are trading, all positions get closed out and settled. Different exchanges use different anchors to settle against. To avoid manipulation, most of them use an index. OKCoin uses a custom 6-exchange index (3 chinese, 3 Western), while BitMEX, Deribit, Coinpit, and CryptoFacilities use a multi-spot-exchange Index to settle all of its contracts at expiration. This minimizes the risk of any manipulation if contracts settled on a single exchange's price, but it also makes it more difficult to manage your hedges since there's no way to "buy" or "sell" an index. No system is perfect, and each one offers different unique pro's and con's, just like your selection of contract type and length. So depending on your case you may want something different than someone else.
Each Fund intends to use, on a regular basis, leveraged investment techniques in pursuing its investment objective. Leverage exists when a Fund achieves the right to a return on a capital base that exceeds the Fund’s assets. Utilization of leverage involves special risks and should be considered to be speculative. Specifically, leverage creates the potential for greater gains to Fund shareholders during favorable market conditions and the risk of magnified losses during adverse market conditions. Leverage is likely to cause higher volatility of the NAVs of these Funds’ Shares. Leverage may also involve the creation of a liability that does not entail any interest costs or the creation of a liability that requires the Fund to pay interest which would decrease the Fund’s total return to shareholders. If these Funds achieve their investment objectives, during adverse market conditions, shareholders should experience a loss greater than they would have incurred had these Funds not been leveraged.
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.
By now you may ask yourself, “If I think that the price of an asset is going to rise, why should I buy a call option and not the asset itself?” The answer is this: Options give you leverage. That means that with a limited amount of capital, you can profit much more by buying options than assets – but also lose much more. This is because a small difference in the price of the underlying asset immediately leads to a substantial change in the price of the derivative. For example, when pork belly prices rise from 1,000 USD to 1,100 USD (an increase of 10%), call options for 1,000 USD suddenly become much more valuable – their prices may rise from 10.5 USD to 105 USD. Thus, if you have invested all of your capital in pork bellies, you will win 10% – if you have invested in pork belly call options, you will pocket a 1,000% profit.