As with any mutual fund investment, there is a risk that you could lose money by investing in the Fund. The success of the Fund’s investment strategy depends largely upon the Adviser’s skill in selecting securities for purchase and sale by the Fund and there is no assurance that the Fund will achieve its investment objective. Because of the types of securities in which the Fund invests and the investment techniques the Adviser uses, the Fund is designed for investors who are investing for the long term. The Fund may not be appropriate for use as a complete investment program. The principal risks of an investment in the Fund are generally described below.
Stock Market Risk – The return on and value of an investment in the Fund will fluctuate in response to stock market movements. Stocks are subject to market risks, such as a rapid increase or decrease in a stock’s value or liquidity, fluctuations in price due to earnings, economic conditions and other factors beyond the control of the Adviser. A company’s share price may decline if a company does not perform as expected, if it is not well managed, if there is a decreased demand for its products or services, or during periods of economic uncertainty or stock market turbulence, among other conditions. In a declining stock market, stock prices for all companies (including those in the Fund’s portfolio) may decline, regardless of their long-term prospects. During periods of market volatility, stock prices can change drastically, and you could lose money over short or long term periods.
Management Style Risk – The portfolio manager’s method of security selection may not be successful and the Fund may underperform relative to other mutual funds that employ similar investment strategies. In addition, the Adviser may select investments that fail to perform as anticipated. The ability of the Fund to meet its investment objective is directly related to the success of the Adviser’s investment process and there is no guarantee that the Adviser’s judgments about the attractiveness, value, dividend-paying and potential appreciation of a particular investment for the Fund will be correct or produce the desired results. Although the Adviser has investment management experience, the Adviser has no experience as an investment adviser to a mutual fund prior to the Fund’s inception.
Investment Style Risk – Returns from dividend-paying stocks may underperform the returns from the overall stock market. Since the Fund invests primarily in dividend-paying stocks, the Fund’s performance may at times be better or worse than the performance of the mutual funds that focus on other types of strategies.
Large-Capitalization Company Risk – Large-capitalization companies are generally more mature and may be unable to respond as quickly as smaller companies to new competitive challenges, such as changes in technology and consumer tastes, and also may not be able to attain the high growth rate of successful smaller companies, especially during extended periods of economic expansion.
Small- and Mid-Capitalization Company Risk – Investments in small-cap and mid-cap companies often involve higher risks than large-cap companies because these companies may lack the management experience, financial resources, product diversification and competitive strengths of larger companies. Therefore, the securities of small- and mid- cap companies may be more susceptible to market downturns and other events, and their prices may be subject to greater price fluctuation. In addition, the securities of small- and mid-cap companies may trade less frequently and carry less volume than that of larger companies. Because small- and mid-cap companies normally have fewer shares outstanding than larger companies, it may be difficult to buy or sell significant amounts of such shares without an unfavorable impact on prevailing prices. Small-cap and mid-cap companies are typically subject to greater changes in earnings and business prospects than larger, more established companies and also may not be widely followed by investors, which can lower the demand for their stock.
Foreign Securities Risk – Investments in foreign securities involve risks that may be different from those of U.S. securities. Foreign securities may not be subject to uniform audit, financial reporting, or disclosure standards, practices, or requirements comparable to those found in the United States. Foreign securities are also subject to the risk of adverse changes in investment or exchange control regulations or currency exchange rates, expropriation or confiscatory taxation, limitations on the removal of funds or other assets, political or social instability and nationalization of companies or industries. In addition, the dividend and interest payable on certain of the Fund’s foreign securities may be subject to foreign withholding taxes. Foreign securities also involve currency risk, which is the risk that the value of a foreign security will decrease due to changes in the relative value of the U.S. dollar and the security’s underlying foreign currency. ADRs and ETFs investing in foreign securities are subject to risks similar to those associated with direct investments in foreign securities.
Currency Risk – Changes in foreign currency exchange rates will affect the value of the Fund’s foreign securities. Generally, when the value of the U.S. dollar raises relative to a foreign currency, securities valued in that foreign currency lose value in terms of U.S. dollars since that foreign currency is worth fewer U.S. dollars. Currency exchange rates can fluctuate for a number reasons, including the economic stability of a country, changes in interest rates, devaluation of a currency by a country’s government or central banking authority, and overall demand for a currency or lack thereof. Exchange rates can change significantly over short periods.
The Fund may seeks to hedge against currency exposure, such as investing in forward foreign currency exchange contracts, to attempt to reduce the effect of currency fluctuations and deviations. However, the Fund’s use of currency hedging may not be successful and the use of such strategy may lower the Fund’s potential returns.
Forward Currency Exchange Contract Risk – Forward Currency Exchange Contracts (“Forex Contracts”) are individually negotiated and privately traded agreements to buy or sell a specific currency at a future date and at a price set at the time of the transaction. Although Forex Contracts may reduce the risk of loss from a change in value of a currency, they also limit any potential gains, are subject to the creditworthiness of the counterparty, do not protect against fluctuations in the value of the underlying security, and are subject to additional risk of loss or depreciation due to: unanticipated adverse changes in interest rates, indices, and currency exchange rates; the inability to close out a position; default by the counterparty; imperfect correlation between a forward and the underlying currency; and tax constraints on closing out positions. The loss on Forex Contracts may substantially exceed the amount invested in these instruments.
ETF Risk – Investments in ETFs are subject to the risk that the market price of an ETF’s shares may differ from its net asset value (“NAV”). This difference in price may be due to the fact that the supply and demand in the market for ETF shares at any point in time is not always identical to the supply and demand in the market for the underlying basket of securities. Accordingly, there may be times when an ETF trades at a premium (creating the risk that the Fund pays more than NAV for an ETF when making a purchase) or discount (creating the risks that the NAV is reduced for undervalued ETFs it holds, and that the Fund receives less than NAV when selling an ETF). Investments in index-based ETFs are also subject to the risk that the ETF may not be able to replicate exactly the performance of the indices it tracks because the total return generated by the securities will be reduced by transaction costs incurred in adjusting the actual balance of the securities. In addition, the index-based ETFs in which the Fund invests may incur expenses not incurred by their applicable indices. Certain securities comprising the indices tracked by index-based ETFs may, from time to time, temporarily be unavailable, which may further impede the ETFs’ ability to track their applicable indices or match their performance. To the extent that the Fund invests in ETFs, the Fund would bear its pro-rata portion of such ETF’s advisory fees and operational expenses.
MLP Risk – Investments in MLPs are generally subject to many of the risks that apply to investments in partnerships, such as limited control and limited voting rights and fewer corporate protections than afforded investors in a corporation. MLPs that concentrate in a particular industry or region are subject to risks associated with such industry or region. Investing in MLPs also involves certain risks related to investing in the underlying assets of the MLPs and risks associated with pooled investment vehicles, such as adverse economic conditions, an increase in the market price of the underlying commodity, higher taxes or other regulatory actions that increase costs, a shift in consumer demand or conflicts of interest with the general partner. The benefit derived from the Fund’s investment in MLPs is largely dependent on the MLPs being treated as partnerships for federal income tax purposes, so any change to this status would adversely affect its value. The Fund’s investment in MLPs may result in the layering of expenses such that shareholders will indirectly bear a proportionate share of the MLP’s operating expenses in addition to paying Fund expenses.
MLP Tax Risk – MLPs generally do not pay U.S. federal income tax at the partnership level. Rather, each partner in an MLP is allocated a share of the MLP’s income, gains, losses, deductions and expenses. A change in current tax law, or a change in the underlying business mix of a given MLP, could result in an MLP being treated as a corporation for U.S. federal income tax purposes, which would result in such MLP being required to pay U.S. federal income tax purposes, which would result in such MLP being required to pay U.S. federal income tax on its taxable income, and could result in lower income to the Fund and a reduction in the value of the Fund’s investment in the MLP. Additionally, open- end mutual funds seeking to be taxed as regulated investment companies, such as the Fund, are limited in their ability to invest in MLPs by current federal tax rules. If a mutual fund invests more than 25% of the value of its total assets in MLP securities, it will be subject to federal corporate income tax, currently at a maximum rate of 35%. For more information about the Fund’s tax status, please see “Dividends, Distributions and Taxes” in this Prospectus.