Daily Rules, Proposed Rules, and Notices of the Federal Government
The following is a summary of the application. The complete application may be obtained via the Commission's Web site by searching for the file number, or an applicant using the Company name box, at
1. The Trust, a Delaware statutory trust, is registered under the Act as an open-end management investment company. The Trust is organized as a series investment company and currently consists of 27 series, one of which is advised by the Advisor.
2. Under the terms of each Advisory Agreement, the Advisor will provide the Funds with overall management services and as it deems appropriate, continuously review, supervise and administer each Fund's investment program, subject to the supervision of, and policies established by the Board. For the investment management services it will provide to each Fund, the Advisor will receive the fee specified in the Advisory Agreement from such Fund based on the average daily net assets of the Fund. The Advisory Agreement permits the Advisor, subject to the approval of the Board, to delegate certain responsibilities to one or more subadvisors (“Subadvisors”). The Advisor has entered into subadvisory agreements with various Subadvisors (“Subadvisory Agreements”) to provide investment advisory services to the Funds.
3. Applicants request an order to permit the Advisor, subject to Board approval, to select certain Subadvisors to manage all or a portion of the assets of a Fund or Funds pursuant to a Subadvisory Agreement and materially amend Subadvisory Agreements without obtaining shareholder approval. The requested relief will not extend to any Subadvisor that is an affiliated person, as defined in section 2(a)(3) of the Act, of the Trust or of the Advisor, other than by reason of serving as a subadvisor to one or more of the Funds (“Affiliated Subadvisor”).
4. Applicants also request an order exempting the Funds from certain disclosure provisions described below that may require the Applicants to disclose fees paid by the Advisor or a Fund to each Subadvisor. Applicants seek an order to permit the Trust to disclose for a Fund (as both a dollar amount and as a percentage of the Fund's net assets): (a) The aggregate fees paid to the Advisor and any Affiliated Subadvisor; and (b) the aggregate fees paid to Subadvisors other than Affiliated Subadvisors (collectively, “Aggregate Fee Disclosure”). Any Fund that employs an Affiliated Subadvisor will provide separate disclosure of any fees paid to the Affiliated Subadvisor.
1. Section 15(a) of the Act provides, in relevant part, that is unlawful for any person to act as an investment adviser to a registered investment company except pursuant to a written contract that has been approved by a vote of a majority of the company's outstanding voting securities. Rule 18f-2 under the Act provides that each series or class of stock in a series investment company affected by a matter must approve that matter if the Act requires shareholder approval.
2. Form N-1A is the registration statement used by open-end investment companies. Item 19(a)(3) of Form N-1A requires disclosure of the method and amount of the investment adviser's compensation.
3. Rule 20a-1 under the Act requires proxies solicited with respect to a registered investment company to comply with Schedule 14A under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (“1934 Act”). Items 22(c)(1)(ii), 22(c)(1)(iii), 22(c)(8) and 22(c)(9) of Schedule 14A, taken together, require a proxy statement for a shareholder meeting at which the advisory contract will be voted upon to include the “rate of compensation of the investment adviser,” the “aggregate amount of the investment adviser's fees,” a description of the “terms of the contract to be acted upon,” and, if a change in the advisory
4. Regulation S-X sets forth the requirements for financial statements required to be included as part of a registered investment company's registration statement and shareholder reports filed with the Commission. Sections 6-07(2)(a), (b), and (c) of Regulation S-X require a registered investment company to include in its financial statement information about investment advisory fees.
5. Section 6(c) of the Act provides that the Commission may exempt any person, security, or transaction or any class or classes of persons, securities, or transactions from any provisions of the Act, or from any rule thereunder, if such exemption is necessary or appropriate in the public interest and consistent with the protection of investors and the purposes fairly intended by the policy and provisions of the Act. Applicants state that the requested relief meets this standard for the reasons discussed below.
6. Applicants assert that the shareholders expect the Advisor subject to the review and approval of the Board, to select the Subadvisors who are best suited to achieve the Fund's investment objectives. Applicants assert that, from the perspective of the shareholder, the role of the Subadvisors is substantially equivalent to that of the individual portfolio managers employed by traditional investment company advisory firms. Applicants state that requiring shareholder approval of each Subadvisory Agreement would impose unnecessary delays and expenses on the Funds and may preclude the Funds from acting promptly when the Advisor and Board consider it appropriate to hire Subadvisors or amend Subadvisory Agreements. Applicants note that the Advisory Agreements and any Subadvisory Agreements with Affiliated Subadvisors will remain subject to the shareholder approval requirements of section 15(a) of the Act and rule 18f-2 under the Act.
7. If a new Subadvisor is retained in reliance on the requested order, the Funds will inform shareholders of the hiring of a new Subadvisor pursuant to the following procedures (“Modified Notice and Access Procedures”): (a) Within 90 days after a new Subadvisor is hired for any Fund, that Fund will send its shareholders either a Multi-manager Notice or a Multi-manager Notice and Multi-manager Information Statement;
A “Multi-manager Information Statement” will meet the requirements of Regulation 14C, Schedule 14C and Item 22 of Schedule 14A under the Exchange Act for an information statement, except as modified by the requested order to permit Aggregate Fee Disclosure. Multi-manager Information Statements will be filed electronically with the Commission via the EDGAR system.
8. Applicants assert that the requested disclosure relief will benefit shareholders of the Funds because it will improve the Advisor's ability to negotiate the fees paid to Subadvisors. Applicants state that the Advisor may be able to negotiate rates that are below a Subadvisor's “posted” amounts if the Advisor is not required to disclose the Subadvisors' fees to the public.
Applicants agree that any order granting the requested relief will be subject to the following conditions:
1. Before a Fund may rely on the order requested in the application, the operation of the Fund in the manner described in the application will be approved by a majority of the Fund's outstanding voting securities, as defined in the Act, or, in the case of a Fund whose public shareholders purchase shares on the basis of a prospectus containing the disclosure contemplated by condition 2 below, by the sole initial shareholder before offering the Fund's shares to the public.
2. The prospectus for each Fund will disclose the existence, substance, and effect of any order granted pursuant to the application. Each Fund will hold itself out to the public as employing the manager of managers structure described in the application. The prospectus will prominently disclose that the Advisor has ultimate responsibility (subject to oversight by the Board) to oversee the Subadvisors and recommend their hiring, termination, and replacement.
3. Funds will inform shareholders of the hiring of a new Subadvisor within 90 days after the hiring of the new Subadvisor pursuant to the Modified Notice and Access Procedures.
4. The Advisor will not enter into a Subadvisory Agreement with any Affiliated Subadvisor without that agreement, including the compensation to be paid thereunder, being approved by the shareholders of the applicable Fund.
5. At all times, at least a majority of the Board will be Independent Trustees, and the nomination and selection of new or additional Independent Trustees will be placed within the discretion of the then-existing Independent Trustees.
6. When a Subadvisor change is proposed for a Fund with an Affiliated Subadvisor, the Board, including a majority of the Independent Trustees, will make a separate finding, reflected in the applicable Board minutes, that such change is in the best interests of the Fund and its shareholders and does not involve a conflict of interest from which the Advisor or the Affiliated Subadvisor derives an inappropriate advantage.
7. Independent legal counsel, as defined in rule 0-1(a)(6) under the Act, will be engaged to represent the Independent Trustees. The selection of such counsel will be within the discretion of the then existing Independent Trustees.
8. Each Advisor will provide the Board, no less frequently than quarterly, with information about the profitability of the Advisor on a per-Fund basis. The information will reflect the impact on profitability of the hiring or termination of any Subadvisor during the applicable quarter.
9. Whenever a Subadvisor is hired or terminated, the Advisor will provide the Board with information showing the expected impact on the profitability of the Advisor.
10. The Advisor will provide general management services to each Fund, including overall supervisory responsibility for the general management and investment of the Fund's assets and, subject to review and approval of the Board, will (i) set each Fund's overall investment strategies; (ii) evaluate, select and recommend Subadvisors to manage all or part of a Fund's assets; (iii) when appropriate,
11. No trustee or officer of the Trust, or of a Fund, or director or officer of the Advisor, will own directly or indirectly (other than through a pooled investment vehicle that is not controlled by such person) any interest in a Subadvisor, except for (a) ownership of interests in the Advisor or any entity that controls, is controlled by, or is under common control with the Advisor; or (b) ownership of less than 1% of the outstanding securities of any class of equity or debt of a publicly traded company that is either a Subadvisor or an entity that controls, is controlled by, or is under common control with a Subadvisor.
12. Each Fund will disclose in its registration statement the Aggregate Fee Disclosure.
13. In the event the Commission adopts a rule under the Act providing substantially similar relief to that in the order requested in the application, the requested order will expire on the effective date of that rule.
For the Commission, by the Division of Investment Management, under delegated authority.