Principal Investment Risks
Investors should consider the following risk factors and special considerations associated with investing in the Fund, which may cause you to lose money.
Investment Risk. An investment in the Fund is subject to investment risk, including the possible loss of the entire principal amount that you invest.
Equity Risk. A principal risk of investing in the Fund is equity risk, which is the risk that the value of the securities held by the Fund will fall due to general market and economic conditions, perceptions regarding the industries in which the issuers of securities held by the Fund participate or factors relating to specific companies in which the Fund invests. For example, an adverse event, such as an unfavorable earnings report, may depress the value of equity securities of an issuer held by the Fund; the price of common stock of an issuer may be particularly sensitive to general movements in the stock market; or a drop in the stock market may depress the price of most or all of the common stocks and other equity securities held by the Fund. In addition, common stock of an issuer in the Fund's portfolio may decline in price if the issuer fails to make anticipated dividend payments because, among other reasons, the issuer of the security experiences a decline in its financial condition. Common stock is subordinated to preferred stocks, bonds and other debt instruments in a company's capital structure, in terms of priority to corporate income, and therefore will be subject to greater dividend risk than preferred stocks or debt instruments of such issuers. In addition, while broad market measures of common stocks have historically generated higher average returns than fixed income securities, common stocks have also experienced significantly more volatility in those returns.
Foreign Investment Risk. The Fund’s investments in non-U.S. issuers may involve unique risks compared to investing in securities of U.S. issuers, including, among others, greater market volatility than U.S. securities and less complete financial information than for U.S. issuers. In addition, adverse political, economic or social developments could undermine the value of the Fund’s investments or prevent the Fund from realizing the full value of its investments. Financial reporting standards for companies based in foreign markets differ from those in the United States. Finally, the value of the currency of the country in which the Fund has invested could decline relative to the value of the U.S. dollar, which may affect the value of the investment to U.S. investors.
Foreign Currency Transaction Risk. Foreign exchange transactions involve a significant degree of risk and the markets in which foreign exchange transactions are effected are highly volatile, highly specialized and highly technical. Significant changes, including changes in liquidity prices, can occur in such markets within very short periods of time, often within minutes. Foreign exchange trading risks include, but are not limited to, exchange rate risk, maturity gap, interest rate risk, and potential interference by foreign governments through regulation of local exchange markets, foreign investment or particular transactions in foreign currency. If the Fund utilizes foreign exchange transactions at an inappropriate time or judges market conditions, trends or correlations incorrectly, foreign exchange transactions may not serve their intended purpose of improving the correlation of the Fund’s return with the performance of its Underlying Index and may lower the Fund’s return. In addition, the Fund could incur transaction costs, including trading commissions, in connection with certain foreign currency transactions.
Non-Correlation Risk. The Fund’s return may not match the return of the Underlying Index for a number of reasons. For example, the Fund incurs a number of operating expenses not applicable to the Underlying Index, and incurs costs in buying and selling securities, especially when rebalancing the Fund’s securities holdings to reflect changes in the composition of the Underlying Index. In addition, the performance of the Fund and the Underlying Index may vary due to asset valuation differences and differences between the Fund’s portfolio and the Underlying Index resulting from legal restrictions. Tax withholdings imposed by foreign countries may also contribute to differences between the Fund’s return and the return of the Underlying Index.
Due to legal and regulatory rules and limitations imposed domestically or by certain countries in which securities in the Underlying Index trade, the Fund may not be able to invest in all securities included in the Underlying Index. The Fund may exclude certain securities included in the Underlying Index that are traded in certain countries due to issues such as trading restrictions, cost or liquidity constraints. For tax efficiency purposes, the Fund may sell certain securities to realize losses, causing it to deviate from the Underlying Index.
The Fund may not be fully invested at times, either as a result of cash flows into the Fund or reserves of cash held by the Fund to meet redemptions and expenses. If the Fund utilizes a sampling approach or otherwise does not hold all of the securities in the Underlying Index, its return may not correlate as well with the return on the Underlying Index, as would be the case if it purchased all of the securities in the Underlying Index with the same weightings as the Underlying Index.
To the extent the Fund calculates its NAV based on fair value prices and the value of the Underlying Index is based on securities closing prices on local foreign markets, (i.e. the value of the Underlying Index is not based on fair value prices) or the Fund otherwise calculates its NAV based on prices that differ from those used in calculating the Underlying Index, the Fund’s ability to track the Underlying Index may be adversely affected.
Replication Management Risk. Unlike many investment companies, the Fund is not "actively" managed. Therefore, it would not necessarily sell a security because the security's issuer was in financial trouble unless that security is removed from the Underlying Index.
Issuer-Specific Changes. The value of an individual security or particular type of security can be more volatile than the market as a whole and can perform differently from the value of the market as a whole.
Underlying Sector Risk. The Fund will be exposed to the additional risks associated with its investments in companies of each GICS sector of the Underlying Index. For more on these risks, see "Risks of Underlying Sectors" in this Prospectus.
High Dividend Yield Style Risk. While the Fund may hold securities of companies that have historically paid a high dividend yield, those companies may reduce or discontinue their dividends, thus reducing the yield of the Fund. Low priced securities in the Fund may be more susceptible to these risks. Past dividend payments are not a guarantee of future dividend payments. Also, the market return of high dividend yield securities, in certain market conditions, may be worse than the market return of other investment strategies or the overall stock market.