Fund Goal and Approach
The fund seeks long-term growth of capital. This objective may be changed by the fund's board, upon 60 day's prior notice to shareholders. To pursue its goal, the fund normally invests at least 80% of its net assets, plus any borrowings for investment purposes, in equity securities of companies that are located in the foreign countries represented in the (MSCI EAFE«) Index and Canada. The fund invests principally in common stocks, but its equity investments also may include preferred stocks and convertible securities, including those purchased in initial public offerings (IPOs) or shortly thereafter. The fund also may invest up to 20% of its net assets in high grade fixed-income securities (i.e., rated A or better or the unrated equivalent) of any maturity or duration.
The fund intends to invest in a broad range of (and in any case at least five different) countries. The fund is not required to invest in every country represented in, or to match the country weightings of, the MSCI EAFE Index. The MSCI EAFE Index is a free float adjusted, market capitalization weighted index designed to measure the performance of publicly-traded stocks issued by companies in developed markets, excluding the United States and Canada. The fund may invest up to 20% of its assets in securities of issuers located in emerging market countries, but no more than 5% of its assets may be invested in issuers located in any one emerging market country.
The fund invests in stocks that appear to be undervalued (as measured by their price/earnings ratios) and that may have value and/or growth characteristics. The portfolio managers employ a bottom-up investment approach which emphasizes individual stock selection. The portfolio managers consider:
* Stock selection. The portfolio managers use proprietary quantitative models and traditional qualitative analysis to identify attractive stocks with low relative price multiples and positive trends in earnings forecasts.
* Country allocations. The portfolio managers seek to allocate country weights generally in accordance with the MSCI EAFE Index, but deviations from the MSCI EAFE Index country weightings may occur.
* Sector and industry allocations. The portfolio managers group stocks into micro-universes of similar companies within each country to facilitate comparisons. The portfolio managers use the sector allocations of the MSCI EAFE Index as a guide, but allocations may differ from those of the MSCI EAFE Index.
The fund's stock selection process is designed to produce a diversified portfolio that, relative to the MSCI EAFE Index, has a below-average price/earnings ratio and an above-average earnings growth trend. As of December 31, 2013, the MSCI EAFE Index consisted of the following developed market country indices: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.
The portfolio managers typically sell a security when the fund's computer modeling techniques no longer rank the security favorably within its sector. The portfolio managers also generally will sell securities when they believe that there has been a negative change in the company's fundamentals, the company has lost favor in the current market or economic environment or a more attractive opportunity has been identified.
Although not a principal investment strategy, the fund may, but is not required to, use derivatives, such as options, futures and options on futures (including those relating to securities, indexes, foreign currencies and interest rates) and forward contracts, as a substitute for investing directly in an underlying asset, to increase returns, to manage currency risk or as part of a hedging strategy.
An investment in the fund is not a bank deposit. It is not insured or guaranteed by the FDIC or any other government agency. It is not a complete investment program. The value of your investment in the fund will fluctuate, sometimes dramatically, which means you could lose money.
* Risks of stock investing. Stocks generally fluctuate more in value than bonds and may decline significantly over short time periods. There is the chance that stock prices overall will decline because stock markets tend to move in cycles, with periods of rising prices and falling prices. The market value of a stock may decline due to general market conditions that are not related to the particular company, such as real or perceived adverse economic conditions, changes in the general outlook for corporate earnings, changes in interest or currency rates, or adverse investor sentiment generally. A security's market value also may decline because of factors that affect a particular industry, such as labor shortages or increased production costs and competitive conditions within an industry, or factors that affect a particular company, such as management performance, financial leverage, and reduced demand for the company's products or services.
* Foreign investment risk. To the extent the fund invests in foreign securities, the fund's performance will be influenced by political, social and economic factors affecting investments in foreign issuers. Special risks associated with investments in foreign issuers include exposure to currency fluctuations, less liquidity, less developed or less efficient trading markets, lack of comprehensive company information, political and economic instability and differing auditing and legal standards. Investments denominated in foreign currencies are subject to the risk that such currencies will decline in value relative to the U.S. dollar and affect the value of these investments held by the fund. Emerging markets tend to be more volatile and less liquid than the markets of more mature economies, and generally have less diverse and less mature economic structures and less stable political systems than those of developed countries.
* Foreign currency risk. Investments in foreign currencies are subject to the risk that those currencies will decline in value relative to the U.S. dollar or, in the case of hedged positions, that the U.S. dollar will decline relative to the currency being hedged. Currency exchange rates may fluctuate significantly over short periods of time. Foreign currencies are also subject to risks caused by inflation, interest rates, budget deficits and low savings rates, political factors and government intervention and controls.
* Liquidity risk. When there is little or no active trading market for specific types of securities, it can become more difficult to sell the securities in a timely manner at or near their perceived value. In such a market, the value of such securities and the fund's share price may fall dramatically. Investments in foreign securities, particularly those of issuers located in emerging markets, tend to have greater exposure to liquidity risk than domestic securities.
In addition to the principal risks described above, the fund is subject to the following additional risks.
* Market sector risk. The fund may significantly overweight or underweight certain companies, industries or market sectors, which may cause the fund's performance to be more or less sensitive to developments affecting those companies, industries or sectors.
* Growth and value stock risk. By investing in a mix of growth and value companies, the fund assumes the risks of both. Investors often expect growth companies to increase their earnings at a certain rate. If these expectations are not met, investors can punish the stocks inordinately, even if earnings do increase. In addition, growth stocks may lack the dividend yield that may cushion stock prices in market downturns. Value stocks involve the risk that they may never reach their expected full market value, either because the market fails to recognize the stock's intrinsic worth, or the expected value was misgauged. They also may decline in price even though in theory they are already undervalued.
* IPO risk. The prices of securities purchased in IPOs can be very volatile. The effect of IPOs on the fund's performance depends on a variety of factors, including the number of IPOs the fund invests in relative to the size of the fund and whether and to what extent a security purchased in an IPO appreciates or depreciates in value. As a fund's asset base increases, IPOs often have a diminished effect on such fund's performance.
* Derivatives risk. A small investment in derivatives could have a potentially large impact on the fund's performance. The use of derivatives involves risks different from, or possibly greater than, the risks associated with investing directly in the underlying assets. Derivatives can be highly volatile, illiquid and difficult to value, and there is the risk that changes in the value of a derivative held by the fund will not correlate with the underlying instruments or the fund's other investments. Derivative instruments, such as forward contracts and over-the-counter options, also involve the risk that a loss may be sustained as a result of the failure of the counterparty to the derivative instruments to make required payments or otherwise comply with the derivative instruments' terms. Many of the regulatory protections afforded participants on organized exchanges for futures contracts and exchange-traded options, such as the performance guarantee of an exchange clearing house, are not available in connection with over-the-counter derivative transactions. Certain types of derivatives, including swap agreements, forward contracts and other over-the-counter transactions, involve greater risks than the underlying obligations because, in addition to general market risks, they are subject to illiquidity risk, counterparty risk, credit risk and pricing risk. Because many derivatives have a leverage component, adverse changes in the value or level of the underlying asset, reference rate or index can result in a loss substantially greater than the amount invested in the derivative itself. Certain derivatives have the potential for unlimited loss, regardless of the size of the initial investment. The fund may be required to segregate liquid assets, or otherwise cover its obligations, relating to the fund's transactions in derivatives. These requirements assume the obligation is for full payment of the value of the underlying instrument, in cash or by physical delivery, at the settlement date; thus, the fund must set aside liquid assets equal to such derivatives contract's full notional value (generally, the total numerical value of the asset underlying a derivatives contract at the time of valuation) while the positions are open. If the derivatives contract provides for periodic cash settlement during the term of the transaction or cash payment of the gain or loss under the transaction at the settlement date, the fund may segregate liquid assets in an amount equal to the fund's daily marked-to-market net obligation (i.e., the fund's daily net liability) under the contract, if any. By setting aside assets equal to only its net obligations, the fund may employ leverage to a greater extent than if the fund were required to segregate assets equal to the full notional value of such contracts. Future rules and regulations of the Securities and Exchange Commission may impact the fund's operations as described in this prospectus.
* Leverage risk. The use of leverage, such as lending portfolio securities, entering into futures contracts or forward currency contracts and engaging in forward commitment transactions, may magnify the fund's gains or losses.
* Other potential risks. The fund may lend its portfolio securities to brokers, dealers and other financial institutions. In connection with such loans, the fund will receive collateral from the borrower equal to at least 100% of the value of loaned securities. If the borrower of the securities fails financially, there could be delays in recovering the loaned securities or exercising rights to the collateral.
Under adverse market conditions, the fund could invest some or all of its assets in U.S. Treasury securities and money market securities. Although the fund would do this for temporary defensive purposes, it could reduce the benefit from any upswing in the market. During such periods, the fund may not achieve its investment objective. Under adverse market conditions, the fund also may invest more than 20% of its assets in the securities of U.S. issuers.
The fund may engage in short-term trading, which could produce higher transaction costs and taxable distributions and lower the fund's after-tax performance.
An investment in fixed-income securities will be subject primarily to interest rate and credit risks. Prices of bonds tend to move inversely with changes in interest rates. Typically, a rise in rates will adversely affect bond prices and, to the extent the fund invests in bonds, the fund's share price. The longer the effective maturity and duration of these investments, the more likely the fund's share price will react to changes in interest rates. Credit risk is the risk that the issuer of the security will fail to make timely interest or principal payments, and includes the possibility that any of the fund's fixed-income investments will have its credit rating downgraded. The lower a bond's credit rating, the greater the chance ┐ in the rating agency's opinion ┐ that the bond issuer will default or fail to meet its payment obligations.
Investors should consider the investment objectives, risks, charges, and expenses of the fund carefully before investing. Download a prospectus, or a summary prospectus, if available, that contains this and other information about the fund, and read it carefully before investing.