The Subadviser primarily uses proprietary, fundamental research to seek to identify companies for investment that can exhibit sustained, above-average growth with attractive financial characteristics, such as superior profit margins and returns on invested capital. The Subadviser normally evaluates these characteristics over a three to five year time horizon. The Subadviser may, from time to time and at its discretion, seek to hedge the value of a portion of the Fund's foreign currency exposure to attempt to preserve the value of the Fund's investments in U.S. dollar terms. However, the Subadviser does not normally expect to hedge the Fund's foreign currency exposure.
When evaluating individual companies for investment, the Subadviser normally focuses on the following:
The Subadviser may sell or reduce the Fund's investment in a portfolio security if the Subadviser detects a material diminution to either the company's growth opportunity or in the level of confidence the Subadviser has in company management's ability to exploit that opportunity. This may occur as a result of a new technological or competitive threat to the company or industry or an unexpected change in strategic direction from company management. The Subadviser also regularly considers the company's valuation, and whether the current stock price has risen to a level that better reflects the Subadviser's view of the company's future growth potential. However, the Subadviser does not normally trade based upon short-term price movements, as it considers such moves to be poor predictors of long-term results.
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 growth potential of a particular security may be incorrect. The Subadviser potentially will be prevented from executing investment decisions at an advantageous time or price as a result of any domestic or global market disruptions, particularly disruptions causing heightened market volatility and reduced market liquidity, as well as increased or changing regulations. Thus, investments that the Subadviser believes represent an attractive opportunity or in which the Fund seeks to obtain exposure may be unavailable entirely or in the specific quantities or prices sought by the Subadviser and the Fund may need to obtain the exposure through less advantageous or indirect investments or forgo the investment at the time.
Foreign securities risk: Because the Fund invests primarily 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. The securities markets of many foreign countries are relatively small, with a limited number of companies representing a small number of industries. If foreign securities are denominated and traded in a foreign currency, the value of the Fund's foreign holdings can be affected by currency exchange rates and exchange control regulations. The Fund's investments in foreign securities may also be subject to foreign withholding taxes.
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 countries. Securities exchanges in emerging markets may suspend listed securities from trading for substantially longer periods of time than exchanges in developed markets, including for periods of a year or longer. If the Fund is holding a suspended security, that security would become completely illiquid as the Fund would not be able to dispose of the security until the suspension is lifted. In such instances, it can also be difficult to determine an appropriate valuation for the security because of a lack of trading and uncertainty as to when trading may resume.