Investors should refer to the section entitled “Risk Factors” in the Prospectus for information on the risks associated with making an investment in this Sub-Funds.
It cannot be guaranteed that the applicable sector will continue to rise in the future. It is also possible that the Sub-Funds may not be able to identify sufficient high-quality investment opportunities. The value of the consumer sector may be affected by uncertainties such as international political developments, changes in government policies, changes in taxation, restrictions on foreign investment and currency repatriation, currency fluctuations and other developments in the laws and regulations of countries in which investments may be made. Political unrest, acts of war, terrorism, internal or external tensions and any future actions of governments in any country could each affect the value of consumer goods.
Whilst the Investment Manager will ascertain that all the necessary measures are taken, like in all investments a risk does exist that the fund does not achieve its investment objectives.
Funds Specific Risk Factors
The Sub-Funds may invest some or all of its assets in UCITS authorised according to the UCITS Directive or collective investment undertakings within the meaning of Article 50(1) of the UCITS Directive. The price and movement of an ETF designed to track an index may not track the underlying index and may result in a loss. In addition, ETFs traded on an exchange may trade at a price below their net asset value (i.e. at a discount).
The Sub-Funds may invest in ETFs which are leveraged, inverse or inverse-leveraged ETFs. ETFs that seek to provide investment results that are the inverse (or inverse-leveraged, meaning the ETF attempts to provide multiple of the inverse) of the performance of an underlying index are subject to the risk that the performance of such ETF will fall as the performance of the ETF’s benchmark rises – a result that is the opposite for traditional investment funds.
In addition, the ETFs held by the Sub-Funds may utilize leverage (i.e. borrowing) to acquire their underlying portfolio investments. The use of leverage involves special risks and an ETF that utilises leverage may be more volatile than an ETF that does not because leverage tends to exaggerate any effect on the value of the portfolio securities. Because leveraged, inverse or inverse-leveraged ETFs typically seek to obtain their objective on a daily basis, holding such ETFs for longer than a day will produce the result of the ETF’s return for each day compounded over the period, which usually will differ from the actual multiple (or inverse) of the return of the ETF’s index for the period (particularly when the benchmark index experiences large ups and downs).
Investments in REITs
The Sub-Funds will not be investing in Real-Estate directly. The Sub-Funds will through ETFs have exposure to Real-Estate Investment Risks. The Fund may invest in equity securities issued by companies which are principally engaged in the business of real estate, and REITs in particular, will subject the strategy to risks associated with the direct ownership of real estate.
These risks include, among others, possible declines in the value of real estate; risks related to general and local economic conditions; possible lack of availability of mortgage funds; overbuilding; extended vacancies of properties; increases in competition; property taxes and transaction, operating and foreclosure expenses; changes in zoning laws; costs resulting from the clean-up of, and liability to third parties for damages resulting from, environmental problems; casualty or condemnation losses; uninsured damages from floods, earthquakes or other natural disasters and acts of terrorism; limitations on and variations in rents; and changes in interest rates.
The value of REITs will also rise and fall in response to the management skill and creditworthiness of the issuer. In particular, the value of these securities may decline when interest rates rise and will also be affected by the real estate market and by the management of the underlying properties. REITs may be more volatile and/or more illiquid than other types of securities. A Sub-Funds and its shareholders will indirectly bear their proportionate share of expenses, including management fees, paid by each REIT in which they invest in addition to the expenses of the Sub-Funds.
Risks in relation to Investing in Debt Securities
Investing in debt securities such as bonds may be affected by credit quality considerations and changes to prevailing interest rates. The issuer of a bond or other debt security (including, but not limited to, governments and their agencies, state and provincial governmental entities, supranational bodies and companies) may default on its obligations by failing to make payments due, or repay principal and interest in a timely manner which will affect the value of debt securities held by the Sub-Funds. Debt securities are particularly susceptible to interest rate changes and may experience significant price volatility. If interest rates increase, the value of a Sub-Funds's investments generally declines. In a historically low interest environment, risks associated with rising interest rates are heightened. On the other hand, if interest rates fall, the value of the investments generally increases. Securities with greater interest rate sensitivity and longer maturities tend to produce higher yields, but are subject to greater fluctuations in value. Prospective investors should note that the Sub-Funds’s investments may include bonds and other debt securities that constitute subordinated obligations of such institutions. Upon the occurrence of any of the events outlined above the claims of any holder of such subordinated securities shall rank behind in priority to the claims of senior creditors of such institution. No payments will be made to the Sub-Funds in respect of any holdings of such subordinated bonds or debt securities until the claims of the senior creditors have been satisfied or provided for in full.
Risks in relation to Convertible Securities
A convertible security generally entitles the holder to receive interest paid or accrued on debt securities or the dividend paid on preferred stock until the convertible security matures or is redeemed, converted or exchanged. Before conversion, convertible securities generally have characteristics similar to both debt and equity securities. The value of convertible securities tends to decline as interest rates rise and, because of the conversion feature, tends to vary with fluctuations in the market value of the underlying securities. Convertible securities are usually subordinated to comparable nonconvertible securities. Convertible securities generally do not participate directly in any dividend increases or decreases of the underlying securities, although the market prices of convertible securities may be affected by any dividend changes or other changes in the underlying securities.
Risks in relation to High Yield Bonds
High Yield Bonds Investment in debt securities is subject to interest rate, sector, security and credit risks. Compared to investment grade bonds, high yield bonds are normally lower-rated securities and will usually offer higher yields to compensate for the reduced creditworthiness or increased risk of default that these securities carry.
Risks in relation to Equity Securities
The price of equity securities may rise or fall because of changes in the broad market or changes in a company’s financial condition, sometimes rapidly or unpredictably. These price movements may result from factors affecting individual companies, sectors or industries selected for a Sub-Funds’s portfolio or the securities market as a whole, such as changes in economic or political conditions. When the value of a Sub-Funds’s securities goes down, your investment in the Sub-Funds decreases in value. Equity securities generally have greater price volatility than fixed income securities.
Exposure to commodities, commodity-related securities and derivatives may subject the Fund to greater volatility than investments in traditional securities, particularly if the instruments involve leverage. The value of commodity- linked investments may be affected by changes in overall market movements, commodity index volatility, changes in interest rates, or factors affecting a particular industry or commodity.
Investment Company and Pooled Investment Vehicle Risk.
The Fund may invest in shares of other investment companies, including closed-end funds, ETFs and other pooled investment vehicles, including those holding commodities, infrastructure, currencies or commodity futures. Shareholders bear both their proportionate share of the Fund’s expenses and similar expenses of the investment company or pooled investment vehicle. ETFs and other investment companies or pooled investment vehicles that invest in commodities or currencies are subject to the risks associated with direct investments in commodities or currencies. The price and movement of an ETF, closed-end fund or pooled investment vehicle designed to track an index may not track the index and may result in a loss. In addition, closed-end funds that trade on an exchange often trade at a price below their net asset value (also known as a discount). Certain ETFs, closed-end funds or pooled investment vehicles traded on exchanges may be thinly traded and experience large spreads between the “ask” price quoted by a seller and the “bid” price offered by a buyer. There may be no active market for shares of certain closed-end funds or pooled investment vehicles (especially those not traded on exchanges) and such shares may be highly illiquid. Certain pooled investment vehicles do not have the protections applicable to other types of investments under federal securities or commodities laws and may be subject to counterparty or credit risk.
Risks in relation to Derivatives
Leverage component risk Since many derivative instruments have a leverage component, adverse changes in the value or level of the underlying asset, rate or index can result in a loss substantially greater than the amount invested in the derivative itself. Certain derivative instruments have the potential for unlimited loss regardless of the size of the initial investment. If there is default by the other party to any such transaction, there will be contractual remedies; however, exercising such contractual rights may involve delays or costs which could result in the value of the total assets of the related portfolio being less than if the transaction had not been entered.
Risks associated with futures, options and warrants
A Fund may from time to time use both exchange-traded and over-the-counter futures and options as part of its investment strategy or for hedging purposes. These instruments are highly volatile, involve certain special risks and expose investors to a high risk of loss. The low initial margin deposits normally required to establish a futures position permit a high degree of leverage. As a result, a relatively small movement in the price of a futures contract may result in a profit or a loss which is high in proportion to the amount of funds actually placed as initial margin and may result in unquantifiable further loss exceeding any margin deposited. Further, when used for hedging purposes there may be an imperfect correlation between these instruments and the investments or market sectors being hedged. Transactions in over-the-counter derivatives may involve additional risk as there is no exchange or market on which to close out an open position. It may be impossible to liquidate an existing position, to assess or value a position or to assess the exposure to risk. Warrants give a Fund the right to subscribe to or purchase securities in which a Fund may invest. The underlying security may be subject to market volatility thus rendering an investment in a warrant a higher risk than an investment in an equity security.
Forward exchange contract risk
A Fund may enter into currency exchange transactions by buying currency exchange forward contracts for the purposes of hedging against currency exposure or for investment purposes. A Fund may enter into forward contracts to hedge against a change in currency exchange rates that would cause a decline in the value of the existing investments denominated or principally traded in a currency other than the Base Currency of that Fund. To do this, the Fund would enter into a forward contract to sell the currency in which the investment is denominated or principally traded in exchange for the Base Currency of the Fund. Although these transactions are intended to minimise the risk of loss due to a decline in the value of the hedged currency, at the same time they limit any potential gain that might be realised should the value of the hedged currency increase. The precise matching of the forward contract amounts and the value of the securities involved will not generally be possible because the future value of such securities will change as a consequence of market movements in the value of such securities between the date when the forward contract is entered into and the date when it matures. The successful execution of a hedging strategy which matches exactly the profile of the investments of a Fund cannot be assured.
In emerging and less developed markets, in which the Sub-Funds may invest, the legal, judicial and regulatory infrastructure is still developing but there is much legal uncertainty both for local market participants and their overseas counterparts. Some markets may carry higher risks for investors who should therefore ensure that, before investing, they understand the risks involved and are satisfied that an investment is suitable as part of their portfolio. Investments in emerging and less developed markets should be made only by investors who are able to consider and weigh the various risks presented by such investments, and have the financial resources necessary to bear the substantial risk of loss of investment in such investments.
Countries with emerging and less developed markets include, but are not limited to (1) countries that have an emerging stock market in a developing economy as defined by the International Finance Corporation, (2) countries that have low or middle income economies according to the World Bank, and (3) countries listed by the World Bank as developing countries. The list of emerging and less developed markets is subject to continuous change; broadly they include any country or region other than the United States of America, Canada, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and Western Europe. The following statements are intended to illustrate the risks which in varying degrees are present when investing in emerging and less developed markets. Investors should note that the statements do not offer any form of advice.
A. Political and Economic Risks Economic and/or political instability (including civil conflicts and war) could lead to legal, fiscal and regulatory changes or the reversal of legal / fiscal / regulatory / market reforms. Assets could be compulsorily re-acquired without adequate compensation. Administrative risks may result in the imposition of restrictions on the free movement of capital. A country’s external debt position could lead to sudden imposition of taxes or exchange controls. High interest and inflation rates can mean that businesses have difficulty in obtaining working capital. Local management may be inexperienced in operating companies in free market conditions. A country may be heavily dependent on its commodity and natural resource exports and is therefore vulnerable to weaknesses in world prices for these products. In adverse social and political circumstances, governments may enter into policies of expropriation and nationalisation, sanctions or other measures by governments and international bodies.
B. Legal Environment
The interpretation and application of decrees and legislative acts can be often contradictory and uncertain particularly in respect of matters relating to taxation. Legislation could be imposed retrospectively or may be issued in the form of internal regulations not generally available to the public. Judicial independence and political neutrality cannot be guaranteed. State bodies and judges may not adhere to the requirements of the law and the relevant contract. There is no certainty that investors will be compensated in full or at all for any damage incurred. Recourse through the legal system may be lengthy and protracted.
C. Accounting Practices
The accounting, auditing and financial reporting system may not be in accord with international standards. Even when reports have been brought into line with international standards, they may not always contain correct information. Obligations on companies to publish financial information may also be limited.
D. Shareholder Risk
Existing legislation may not yet be adequately developed to protect the rights of minority shareholders. There may be no concept of any fiduciary duty to shareholders on the part of management. Liability for violation of what shareholder rights there are, may be limited.
E. Market and Settlement Risks
The securities markets in some countries lack the liquidity, efficiency and regulatory and supervisory controls of more developed markets. Lack of liquidity may adversely affect the ease of disposal of assets. The absence of reliable pricing information in a particular security held by the Sub-Funds may make it difficult to assess reliably the market value of assets. The share register may not be properly maintained and the ownership or interest may not be (or remain) fully protected. Certain emerging markets may not afford the same level of investor protection or investor disclosure as would apply in more developed jurisdictions. Registration of securities may be subject to delay and during the period of delay it may be difficult to prove beneficial ownership of the securities. The provision for custody of assets may be less developed than in other more mature markets and thus provides an additional level of risk for the Sub-Funds. Settlement procedures may be less developed and still be in physical as well as in dematerialised form. Investment may carry risks associated with failed or delayed settlement.
F. Price Movement and Performance
Factors affecting the value of securities in some markets cannot easily be determined. Investment in securities in some markets carries a high degree of risk and the value of such investments may decline or be reduced to zero.
G. Currency Risk
Conversion into foreign currency or transfer from some markets of proceeds received from the sale of securities cannot be guaranteed. Investors might be exposed to currency risk when investing in Share Classes that are not hedged to the investor’s reference currency. Exchange rate fluctuations may also occur between the trade date for a transaction and the date on which the currency is acquired to meet settlement obligations.
Investors should note in particular that the proceeds from the sale of securities in some markets or the receipt of any dividends and other income may be or may become subject to tax, levies, duties or other fees or charges imposed by the authorities in that market, including taxation levied by withholding at source. Tax law and practice in certain countries into which the Fund invests or may invest in the future (in particular Russia, China and other emerging markets) is not clearly established. It is therefore possible that the current interpretation of the law or understanding of practice might change, or that the law might be changed with retrospective effect. As a result, the Fund could become subject to additional taxation in such countries that is not anticipated either at the date of this Prospectus or when investments are made, valued or disposed of. Investors should be aware that there is a Brazilian Presidential Decree in force, as amended from time to time, detailing the current IOF tax rate (Tax on Financial Operations), that applies to foreign exchange inflows and outflows. The Brazilian government may change the applicable rate at any time and without prior notification. The application of the IOF tax will reduce the Net Asset Value per share.
I. Execution and Counterparty Risk
In some markets there may be no secure method of delivery against payment which would minimise the exposure to counterparty risk. It may be necessary to make payment on a purchase or delivery on a sale before receipt of the securities or, as the case may be, sale proceeds.
J. Nomineeship / Custody
The legislative framework in some markets is only beginning to develop the concept of legal/formal ownership and of beneficial ownership or interest in securities. Consequently the courts in such markets may consider that any nominee or custodian/depositary as registered holder of securities would have full ownership thereof and that a beneficial owner may have no rights whatsoever in respect thereof.
K. Investment in the People’s Republic of China (PRC)
The Sub-Funds will not be investing in the PRC directly. The Sub-Funds will through ETFs have exposure to the PRC Risks. Investing in the PRC is subject to the risks of investing in emerging markets (please refer above to the section entitled "Appendix IV – Investment in Emerging and Less Developed Markets) and additionally risks which are specific to the PRC market. The economy of the PRC is in a state of transition from a planned economy to a more market oriented economy and investments may be sensitive to changes in law and regulation together with political, social or economic policy which includes possible government intervention. In extreme circumstances, the Sub-Funds may incur losses due to limited investment capabilities, or may not be able to fully implement or pursue its investment objectives or strategy, due to local investment restrictions, illiquidity of the Chinese domestic securities market, and/or delay or disruption in execution and settlement of trades. All Hong Kong and overseas investors in the Shanghai-Hong Kong Stock Connect will trade and settle SSE Securities in CNH (offshore RMB) only. Such Sub-Fundss and Share Classes will be exposed to any fluctuation in the exchange rate between the Reference Currency of the relevant Sub-Funds and CNY (onshore RMB) or CNH (offshore RMB) in respect of such investments.
L. Investment in Russia
The Sub-Funds will not be investing in Russia directly. The Sub-Funds may through ETFs have exposure to Russia Risks. The relative infancy of the Russian governmental and regulatory framework may expose investors to various political (including civil conflicts and war) and economic risks. The Russian Securities Market from time to time may also suffer from a lack of market efficiency and liquidity which may cause higher price volatility and market disruptions. Investments in Russia are currently subject to certain heightened risks with regard to the ownership and custody of securities, and counterparty exposure. In addition, Russian securities have an increased custodial risk associated with them as such securities are, in accordance with market practice, held in custody with Russian institutions which may not have adequate insurance coverage to cover loss due to theft, destruction or default.