The Fund invests primarily in bonds of corporate and governmental issuers located in the U.S. and foreign countries, including emerging markets. Total return includes dividends, interest income, realized and unrealized capital gains and changes in net asset value.
The Subadviser relies on its own proprietary research and analysis to manage the Fund's portfolio. The Subadviser uses a top-down strategy to focus on broad factors and monetary conditions. These include:
The Subadviser selects securities that appear to be most undervalued relative to their risk and potential return characteristics. In analyzing the relative attractiveness of sectors, the Subadviser considers the narrowing or widening of yields compared with yields for government and other sectors.
Under normal market conditions, the Fund invests at least 80% of its net assets, plus borrowings for investment purposes, in a diversified portfolio of fixed income instruments, which may be represented by forwards or derivatives such as options, futures contracts or swap agreements (including currency swaps, interest rate swaps, total return swaps, credit default swaps and others, in which the Fund may be either the buyer or the seller). Fixed income instruments include bonds, debt securities and other similar instruments issued by various U.S. and non-U.S. public- or private-sector entities.
The Fund may invest up to 30% of its total assets in non-U.S. dollar-denominated securities and may invest without limit in U.S. dollar-denominated securities of foreign issuers. Foreign currency exposure (from non-U.S. dollar denominated securities or currencies) normally will be limited to 20% of the Fund's total assets. The Fund also may invest up to 15% of its total assets in securities of issuers based in countries with developing (emerging markets) economies. The Fund may invest up to 10% of its total assets in preferred stock, convertible securities and other equity related securities.
The Fund may invest, without limitation, in derivative instruments, such as options, futures contracts or swap agreements, or in mortgage- or asset-backed securities, subject to applicable law and any other restrictions described in the Fund's prospectus or Statement of Additional Information. The Fund may engage in short selling, which is the sale by the Fund of a borrowed security. Because the Fund is obligated to replace the borrowed security, the Fund would benefit from the short sale if the price of the security declines before it is replaced.
Credit Quality: The Fund invests primarily in investment-grade debt securities, but may invest up to 15% of its total assets in below investment-grade securities, commonly referred to as "high-yield" or "junk" bonds. For all securities other than mortgage-related securities, the Fund may invest in below investment-grade securities only if they are rated B or higher by Moody's, S&P or Fitch, or, if unrated, determined to be of comparable quality. For mortgage-related securities, the Fund may invest in securities of any credit quality, including those rated below B.
Duration: The Fund's average duration, as calculated by the Subadviser, is normally equal to that of its benchmark, plus or minus two years. The duration of the Barclays Aggregate (U.S.) Bond Index as of December 31, 2013 was 5.55 years. Average duration is a weighted average of all bond durations in the Fund's portfolio, and is an approximate measure of the sensitivity of the market value of the Fund's holdings to changes in interest rates. If the Fund's duration is longer than the market's duration, the Fund would experience a greater change in the value of its assets when interest rates are rising or falling than would the market as a whole. The average duration of the Fund's portfolio was 5.49 years as of December 31, 2013.
Interest rate risk: As interest rates rise, the values of fixed income securities held by the Fund are likely to decrease and reduce the value of the Fund's portfolio. Securities with longer durations tend to be more sensitive to changes in interest rates and are usually more volatile than securities with shorter durations. For example, a 5 year average duration generally means the fixed income security will decrease in value by 5% if interest rates rise by 1%. Interest rates in the U.S. are at, or near, historic lows, which may increase the Fund's exposure to risks associated with rising rates. Additionally, rising interest rates may lead to increased redemptions and decreased liquidity in the fixed income markets, making it more difficult for the Fund to sell its fixed income holdings when the Subadviser may wish to sell or must sell to meet redemptions.
Credit risk: The issuer of a security owned by the Fund could default on its obligation to pay principal or interest or its credit rating could be downgraded. Likewise, a counterparty to a derivative or other contractual instrument owned by the Fund could default on its obligation. This risk may be higher for below investment-grade securities.
Prepayment risk: When interest rates are declining, the issuer of a pass-through security, such as a mortgage-backed or an asset-backed security, may exercise its option to prepay principal earlier than scheduled, forcing the Fund to reinvest in lower yielding securities.
Selection risk: The Subadviser's judgment about the attractiveness, value and potential appreciation of a particular security may be incorrect.
Derivatives risk: The value of derivative instruments held by the Fund may not change in the manner expected by the Subadviser, which could result in disproportionately large losses to the Fund.
Leveraging risk: The Fund's use of certain investments, such as derivative instruments or reverse repurchase agreements, and certain transactions, such as securities purchased on a when-issued, delayed delivery or forward commitment basis, can give rise to leverage within the Fund's portfolio, which could cause the Fund's returns to be more volatile than if leverage had not been used.
Market and Issuer Risk: Securities markets are volatile and can decline significantly in response to adverse market, economic, political or regulatory developments, which may lower the value of securities held by the Fund, sometimes rapidly or unpredictably. Additionally, an adverse event or adverse economic conditions may depress the value of a particular issuer's securities or may increase the risk that issuers will not generate sufficient cash flow to service their debt obligations.
Foreign securities risk: Because the Fund may invest in securities of foreign issuers, an investment in the Fund is subject to special risks in addition to those of U.S. securities. These risks include heightened political and economic risks, greater volatility, currency fluctuations, higher transaction costs, delayed settlement, possible foreign controls on investment, and less stringent investor protection and disclosure standards of foreign markets. Foreign securities are sometimes less liquid and harder to value than securities of U.S. issuers. These risks are more significant for issuers in emerging market countries. Global economies and financial markets are becoming increasingly interconnected, and conditions and events in one country, region or financial market may adversely impact issuers in a different country, region or financial market.
Short sales risk: If the price of securities sold short increases, the Fund would be required to pay more to replace the borrowed securities than the Fund received on the sale of the securities. Because there is theoretically no limit to the amount of the increase in price of the borrowed securities, the Fund's risk of loss on a short sale is potentially unlimited.
Mortgage risk: Mortgage derivatives in the Fund's portfolio may have especially volatile prices because the embedded leverage can magnify the impact of the extension or contraction event on the underlying cash flow. There may be a greater risk that the Fund could lose money due to prepayment and extension risks because the Fund invests heavily at times in mortgage-related securities.
High-yield risk: There is a greater risk that the Fund will lose money because it invests in high-yield bonds. These securities are considered speculative because they have a higher risk of issuer default, are subject to greater price volatility and may be illiquid.