The Fund invests primarily in equity securities, principally common and preferred stocks, of small cap companies. We define small cap companies as those with market capitalizations that fall within the range of the Russell 2000® Growth Index, provided that if the upper end of the capitalization range of that Index falls below $2.5 billion, we will continue to define those companies with market capitalizations between the upper end of the range of the Index and $2.5 billion as small cap companies. As of December 31, 2015, the range of the Index was $19 million to $6.5 billion, but it is expected to change frequently.
The Subadviser's investment strategy focuses on identifying rapidly growing small cap companies that are in an early or transitional stage of their development, before their full potential is discovered by the market. The Subadviser utilizes bottom-up, fundamental research involving both quantitative and qualitative aspects to identify companies for investment. The Subadviser uses quantitative analysis to identify potential companies for growth characteristics, such as:
The Subadviser assesses the attractiveness of the valuation of these growth companies by analyzing a variety of valuation metrics, such as enterprise values relative to earnings and free cash flows, and price-to-earnings ratios, among others. The Subadviser then uses detailed qualitative analysis to further identify companies that possess the following characteristics:
The Subadviser may sell a holding if the price target for the company is reached, the investment thesis for the company has fundamentally changed, the Subadviser becomes less comfortable with the company's management team and/or the Subadviser identifies more attractive investment opportunities.
Under normal market conditions, the Fund expects to invest in approximately 80 to 100 companies with at least 80% of its net assets, plus borrowings for investment purposes, in a diversified portfolio of equity securities of small cap companies.
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, such as an unfavorable earnings report, may depress the value of a particular issuer's stock.
Growth style risk: Over time, a growth oriented investing style may go in and out of favor, which may cause the Fund to underperform other equity funds that use different investing styles.
Selection risk: The Subadviser's judgment about the attractiveness, value and potential appreciation of a particular security may be incorrect.
Small cap risk: The Fund's performance may be more volatile because it invests primarily in small cap stocks. Smaller companies may have limited product lines, markets and financial resources. They are usually less stable in price and less liquid than those of larger, more established companies. Additionally, small cap stocks may fall out of favor relative to mid or large cap stocks, which may cause the Fund to underperform other equity funds that focus on mid or large cap stocks.