The Fund seeks to achieve its investment objective by investing under normal circumstances at least 80% of its net assets, plus borrowings for investment purposes, in a diversified portfolio of fixed income instruments of varying maturities, which may be represented by forwards or derivatives such as options, futures contracts, or swap agreements. The Fund intends to utilize various investment strategies in a broad array of fixed income sectors to achieve its investment objective. The Fund will not be constrained by management against an index. The average portfolio duration of this Fund will normally vary from negative three (-3.0) years to positive eight (8.0) years based on the Subadviser's forecast for interest rates.
The Fund may invest in both investment-grade securities and "high-yield" securities ("junk" bonds) subject to a maximum of 40% of its total assets in below investment-grade securities. The Fund may also invest without limitation in securities denominated in foreign currencies and in U.S. dollar-denominated securities of foreign issuers. In addition, the Fund may invest up to 50% of its total assets in securities and instruments that are economically tied to emerging market countries (this limitation does not apply to investment-grade sovereign debt denominated in the local currency with less than 1 year remaining to maturity). The Fund will normally limit its foreign currency exposure (from non-U.S. dollar-denominated securities or currencies) to 35% of its total assets. The Fund may also invest up to 10% of its total assets in preferred stocks.
The Fund may invest, without limitation, in derivative instruments, 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), 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 purchase or sell securities on a when-issued, delayed delivery or forward commitment basis and may engage in short selling, which is the sale by the Fund of a borrowed security. The Fund may, without limitation, seek to obtain market exposure to the securities in which it primarily invests by entering into a series of purchase and sale contracts or by using other investment techniques (such as buy backs or dollar rolls).
There is no guarantee that the investment objective of the Fund will be achieved. Fixed income securities fluctuate in price in response to various factors, including changes in interest rates, changes in market conditions and issuer-specific events, and the value of your investment in the Fund may go down. This means that you could lose money on your investment in the Fund or the Fund may not perform as well as other possible investments. Principal risks include:
Unconstrained strategy risk: Because the Subadviser employs an unconstrained investment approach, the Fund's portfolio may have significant exposure to certain types of securities and instruments, credit qualities, maturities, countries and regions that are not represented in a similar manner or in similar weightings as that of the Fund's benchmark index or other broad market domestic or foreign fixed income indices.
As a result, there is a significantly greater risk that the Fund may substantially underperform the Fund's benchmark index and other broad market fixed income indices for long periods of time if the Subadviser's judgment about the attractiveness of particular securities proves to be incorrect. In addition, because of this unconstrained approach, the Fund's performance may be significantly more volatile (that is, experience much greater and more frequent highs and lows) than the Fund's benchmark index and other broad market fixed income indices. Potential investors should only consider investing in this Fund if they understand and are willing to accept the heightened risks and volatility associated with this type of unconstrained investment approach.
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 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, increased volatility 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. Derivatives may also be more volatile than other instruments and may create a risk of loss greater than the amount invested. In addition, certain derivatives may be difficult to value and may be illiquid.
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, possible sanctions by governmental bodies of other countries 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.
Emerging market risk: Foreign securities risks are more significant in emerging market countries. These countries may have relatively unstable governments and less-established market economies than developed countries. Emerging markets may face greater social, economic, regulatory and political uncertainties. These risks make emerging market securities more volatile and less liquid than securities issued in more developed foreign countries.
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.
Equity risk: The values of equity or equity-related securities, such as preferred stocks, may decline due to general market conditions that are not specifically related to a particular company, such as real or perceived adverse economic conditions, changes in the general outlook for corporate earnings, changes in interest or currency rates or adverse investor sentiment generally. They may also decline due to factors that affect a particular industry or industries, such as labor shortages or increased production costs and competitive conditions within an industry. Equity securities generally have greater price volatility than fixed income securities.
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, regulatory or other 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.
Liquidity risk: A particular investment may be difficult to purchase or sell and the Fund may be unable to sell illiquid securities at an advantageous time or price or achieve its desired level of exposure to a certain sector. Liquidity risk may result from the lack of an active market, reduced number and capacity of traditional market participants to make a market in fixed income securities, and may be magnified in a rising interest rate environment or other circumstances where investor redemptions from fixed income mutual funds may be higher than normal, causing increased supply in the market due to selling activity.