The Fund is classified as “non‐diversified” under the 1940 Act. As a result, it can invest a greater portion of its assets in obligations of a single issuer than a “diversified” fund. The Fund may therefore be more susceptible than a diversified fund to being adversely affected by any single corporate, economic, political or regulatory occurrence.
Emerging market countries often experience instability in their political and economic structures. Government actions could have a great effect on the economic conditions in these countries, which can affect the value and liquidity of the assets of a Fund. Specific risks that could decrease a Fund’s return include seizure of a company’s assets, restrictions imposed on payments as a result of blockages on foreign currency exchanges, expropriation, confiscatory taxation and unanticipated social or political occurrences. In addition, the ability of an emerging market government to make timely payments on its debt obligations will depend on the extent of its reserves, interest rate fluctuations and access to international credit and investments. A country with non‐diversified exports or that relies on specific imports will be subject to a greater extent to fluctuations in the pricing of those commodities. Failure to generate adequate earnings from foreign trade would make it difficult for an emerging market country to service foreign debt. Disruptions resulting from social and political factors may cause the securities markets of emerging market countries to close. If this were to occur, the liquidity and value of a Fund’s assets invested in corporate debt obligations of emerging market companies would decline. Foreign investment in debt securities of emerging market countries may be restricted or controlled to varying degrees. These restrictions can limit or preclude foreign investment in debt securities of certain emerging market countries. In addition, certain emerging market countries may also restrict investment opportunities in issuers in industries deemed important to national interests.
The Fund may directly purchase securities of foreign issuers. Investing in securities of foreign issuers involves special risks not typically associated with investing in securities of U.S. issuers. The risks include possible revaluation of currencies, the ability to repatriate funds, less complete financial information about companies and possible future adverse political and economic developments. Moreover, securities of many foreign issuers and their markets may be less liquid and their prices more volatile than those of securities of comparable U.S. issuers.
Changes in interest rates will affect the value of the Fund’s investments. In general, as interest rates rise, bond prices fall, and as interest rates fall, bond prices rise. Interest rate risk is generally greater for funds that invest a significant portion of their assets in high yield securities. However, funds that generally invest a significant portion of their assets in higher‐rated fixed income securities are also subject to this risk. The Fund also faces increased interest rate risk if it invests in fixed income securities paying no current interest (such as zero coupon securities and principal‐only securities), interest‐only securities and fixed income securities paying non‐cash interest in the form of other securities.
Many financial instruments use or may use a floating rate based on LIBOR, which is the offered rate for short‐term Eurodollar deposits between major international banks. On July 27, 2017, the head of the U.K.'s Financial Conduct Authority announced a desire to phase out the use of LIBOR by the end of 2021. At this time, there remains uncertainty regarding the future utilization of LIBOR and the nature of any replacement rate. The transition process away from LIBOR may lead to increased volatility and illiquidity in markets that currently rely on LIBOR to determine interest rates, and the eventual use of an alternative reference rate may adversely affect the Fund's performance. In addition, the usefulness of LIBOR may deteriorate in the period leading up to its discontinuation, which could adversely affect the liquidity or market value of securities that use LIBOR.
Credit risk is the risk that an issuer of, for example, a fixed income security or preferred stock, or the counterparty to a derivatives contract, will be unable to make interest, principal, dividend, or other payments when due. In general, lower rated securities carry a greater degree of credit risk. If rating agencies lower their ratings of securities in the Fund's portfolio, the value of those obligations could decline. In addition, the underlying revenue source for a fixed income security, a preferred stock or a derivatives contract may be insufficient to pay dividends, interest, principal or other required payments in a timely manner. Because a significant primary source of income for the Fund is the dividend, interest, principal and other payments on the fixed income securities, preferred stocks and derivatives in which it invests, any default by an issuer of such an instrument could have a negative effect on the Fund's ability to pay dividends on Common Shares and/or cause a decline in the value of Fund assets. Even if the issuer does not actually default, adverse changes in the issuer's financial condition may negatively affect its credit rating or presumed creditworthiness. These developments would adversely affect the market value of the issuer's obligations or the value of credit derivatives if the Fund has sold credit protection.
The value of securities may decline for a number of reasons that directly relate to the issuer, such as its financial strength, management performance, financial leverage and reduced demand for the issuer's goods and services, as well as the historical and prospective earnings of the issuer and the value of its assets.
The Fund may invest in an ETF or other investment company. The Fund will be subject to the risks of the underlying securities in which the other investment company invests. In addition, as a shareholder in an ETF or other investment company, the Fund will bear its ratable share of that investment company's expenses, and would remain subject to payment of the Fund's investment management fees with respect to the assets so invested. Common Shareholders would therefore be subject to duplicative expenses to the extent the Fund invests in other investment companies. In addition, these other investment companies may use leverage, in which case an investment would subject the Fund to additional risks associated with leverage. The Fund may invest in other investment companies for which the Adviser or an affiliate serves as investment manager or with which the Adviser is otherwise affiliated. The relationship between the Adviser and any such other investment company could create a conflict of interest between the Adviser and the Fund.
The Fund’s investment objectives not only permit the Fund to purchase investment securities, they also allow the Fund to enter in various types of derivatives contracts. In doing so, the Fund will employ strategies in differing combinations to permit it to increase, decrease or change the level or types of exposure to market factors. Central to those strategies are features inherent to derivatives that may make them more attractive for this purpose than equity or debt securities: they require little or no initial cash investment; they can focus exposure on only certain selected risk factors; and they may not require the ultimate receipt or delivery of the underlying security (or securities) to the contract. This may allow the Fund to pursue its objectives more quickly and efficiently than if the Fund were to make direct purchases or sales of securities capable of effecting a similar response to market factors.
In instances where the Fund is using derivatives to decrease, or hedge, exposures to market risk factors for securities held by the Fund, there are also risks that those derivatives may not perform as expected resulting in losses for the combined or hedged positions.
Derivatives may have little or no initial cash investment relative to their market value exposure and therefore can produce significant gains or losses in excess of their cost. This use of embedded leverage allows the Fund to increase its market value exposure relative to its net assets and can substantially increase the volatility of the Fund’s performance.
Additional associated risks from investing in derivatives also exist and potentially could have significant effects on the valuation of the derivative and the Fund. Typically, the associated risks are not the risks that the Fund is attempting to increase or decrease exposure to, per its investment objectives, but are the additional risks from investing in derivatives. Examples of these associated risks are liquidity risk, which is the risk that the Fund will not be able to sell or close out the derivative in a timely manner, and counterparty credit risk, which is the risk that the counterparty will not fulfill its obligation to the Fund. Associated risks can be different for each type of derivative and are discussed by each derivative type below and in the notes that follow.
Derivatives are also subject to the risk of possible regulatory changes which could adversely affect the availability and performance of derivative securities, make them more costly and limit or restrict their use by the Fund, which could prevent the Fund from implementing its investment strategies and adversely affect returns.
Leverage creates risks for Common Shareholders, including the likelihood of greater volatility of NAV per share and market price of, and dividends paid on, the Common Shares. There is a risk that fluctuations in the interest rates on any Borrowings held by the Fund may adversely affect the return to the Common Shareholders. If the income from the securities purchased with the proceeds of leverage is not sufficient to cover the cost of leverage, the return on the Fund will be less than if leverage had not been used, and therefore the amount available for distribution to the Common Shareholders as dividends and other distributions will be reduced.
The Fund may choose not to use leverage at all times. The amount and composition of leverage used may vary depending upon a number of factors, including economic and market conditions in the relevant emerging market countries, the availability of relatively attractive investment opportunities not requiring leverage and the costs and risks that the Fund would incur as a result of leverage.
During periods in which the Fund is using leverage in the form of Borrowings or Preferred Shares, the fees paid by the Fund for investment advisory and administrative services will be higher than if the Fund did not use such leverage, as such fees will be calculated on the basis of the Fund's Total Managed Assets, which includes assets attributable to any Borrowings and to any Preferred Shares. In this regard, holders of debt or Preferred Shares do not bear such fees. Rather, Common Shareholders bear the portion of such fees attributable to the assets purchased with the proceeds of such leverage or the investment exposure obtained through such leverage, which means that Common Shareholders effectively bear the entirety of advisory and administrative fees.
When used for hedging purposes, the Fund is the buyer of a credit default swap contract. In that case, the Fund is entitled to receive the par (or other agreed upon) value of a referenced debt obligation, index or other investment from the counterparty to the contract in the event of a default by a third party, such as a U.S. or foreign issuer, on the referenced debt obligation. In return, the Fund pays to the counterparty a periodic stream of payments over the term of the contract provided that no event of default has occurred. If no event of default occurs, the Fund has spent the stream of payments and received no benefit from the contract. When the Fund is the seller of a credit default swap contract, the Fund receives the stream of payments but is obligated to pay upon default of the referenced debt obligation. As the seller, the Fund effectively adds leverage to its portfolio because, in addition to its total assets, the Fund is subject to investment exposure on the notional amount of the swap.
In addition to the risks applicable to derivatives generally, credit default swaps involve special risks because they may be difficult to value, are highly susceptible to liquidity and credit risk and generally pay a return to the counterparty only in the event of an actual default by the issuer of the underlying obligation, as opposed to a credit downgrade or other indication of financial difficulty.
The Fund is subject to credit risk with respect to the counterparties to the derivative contracts (whether a clearing corporation in the case of cleared instruments or another third party in the case of uncleared instruments) and other instruments entered into by the Fund or held by special purpose or structured vehicles in which the Fund invests. In the event that the Fund enters into a derivative transaction with a counterparty that subsequently becomes insolvent or becomes the subject of a bankruptcy case, the derivative transaction may be terminated in accordance with its terms and the Fund's ability to realize its rights under the derivative instrument and its ability to distribute the proceeds could be adversely affected. To the extent the Fund's claim is unsecured, the Fund will be treated as a general creditor of such counterparty, and will not have any claim with respect to the underlying security. If a counterparty becomes bankrupt or otherwise fails to perform its obligations under a derivative contract due to financial difficulties, the Fund may experience significant delays in obtaining any recovery under the derivative contract in a dissolution, assignment for the benefit of creditors, liquidation, winding-up, bankruptcy or other analogous reorganization proceeding. The Fund may obtain only a limited recovery or may obtain no recovery in such circumstances.
Frequently, shares of closed-end investment companies, such as the Fund, trade at a price below their NAV, commonly referred to as a "discount." The Fund cannot predict whether, or to what extent, its Common Shares will trade at a discount to their NAV. Before making an investment decision, a prospective investor should consider the suitability of this investment with respect to the investor's investment objectives and personal situation.
Liquidity risk exists when particular investments are difficult to purchase or sell at the time that the Fund would like or at the price that the Fund believes such investments are currently worth. Certain of the Fund’s investments may be illiquid. Illiquid securities may become harder to value, especially in changing markets. The Fund’s investments in illiquid securities may reduce the returns of the Fund because it may be unable to sell the illiquid securities at an advantageous time or price or possibly require the Fund to dispose of other investments at unfavorable times or prices in order to satisfy its obligations, which could prevent the Fund from taking advantage of other investment opportunities.
Additionally, the market for certain investments may become illiquid under adverse market or economic conditions independent of any specific adverse changes in the conditions of a particular issuer. Derivatives, securities that involve substantial interest rate or credit risk and bank loans tend to involve greater liquidity risk. In addition, liquidity risk tends to increase to the extent the Fund invests in securities whose sale may be restricted by law or by contract, such as Rule 144A and Regulation S securities.
When prices are not readily available, or are determined not to reflect fair value, such as when the value of a security has been significantly affected by events after the close of the exchange or market on which the security is principally traded, but before the Fund calculates its net asset value, the Fund may value these investments at fair value as determined in accordance with the procedures approved by the Fund’s Board.
With the increased use of technologies such as the Internet and the dependence on computer systems to perform necessary business functions, the Fund and its service providers are susceptible to operational and information security risks. In general, cyber incidents can result from deliberate attacks or unintentional events. Cyber attacks include, but are not limited to, gaining unauthorized access to digital systems for purposes of misappropriating assets or sensitive information, corrupting data, or causing operational disruption. Cyber attacks may also be carried out in a manner that does not require gaining unauthorized access, such as causing denial of service attacks on websites. Cyber security and other operational and technology failures or breaches of the Fund’s service providers (including, but not limited to, the Adviser, the administrator, the transfer agent and the custodian) or the issuers of securities in which the Fund invests, have the ability to cause disruptions and impact business operations, potentially resulting in financial losses, the inability of Fund shareholders to transact business, delays or mistakes in the calculation of the Fund’s NAV or other materials provided to shareholders, violations of applicable privacy and other laws, regulatory fines, penalties, reputational damage, reimbursement or other compensation costs, and/or additional compliance costs. The Adviser does not control the cyber security plans and systems put in place by third party service providers, and such third party service providers may have limited indemnification obligations to the Adviser or the Fund. In addition, substantial costs may be incurred in order to prevent any cyber incidents in the future. The Fund and its shareholders could be negatively impacted as a result. While the Fund has established business continuity plans and systems designed to prevent such cyber attacks, there are inherent limitations in such plans and systems including the possibility that certain risks have not been identified. Furthermore, the Fund cannot control the cyber security plans and systems put in place by its service providers, financial intermediaries and issuers in which the Fund invests.