Fund Goal and Approach
The fund seeks to maximize total return consisting of capital appreciation and current income. To pursue its goal, the fund normally invests at least 80% of its net assets, plus any borrowings for investment purposes, in publicly-traded equity securities of companies principally engaged in the real estate sector. The fund considers a company to be "principally engaged" in the real estate sector if at least 50% of the company's total revenues or earnings are derived from or at least 50% of the market value of its assets are attributed to the development, ownership, construction, management or sale of real estate, as determined by Urdang Securities Management, Inc. (Urdang), the fund's sub-investment adviser. The fund invests principally in common stocks, but its equity investments also may include preferred stocks, convertible securities, warrants, equity interests in foreign investment funds or trusts, depositary receipts and other equity investments.
The fund normally invests in a global portfolio of equity securities of real estate companies, including real estate investment trusts (REITs) and real estate operating companies, with principal places of business located in, but not limited to, the developed markets of Europe, Australia, Asia and North America (including the United States). Under normal market conditions, the fund expects to invest at least 40% of its assets in companies whose principal place of business is located outside the United States, and will invest in at least 10 different countries (including the United States). Although the fund invests primarily in developed markets, it also may invest in equity securities of companies located in emerging market countries, and may invest in equity securities of companies of any market capitalization, including smaller companies. The fund's benchmark is the FTSE European Public Real Estate Association/National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts Developed Index (FTSE EPRA/NAREIT Developed Index), a market capitalization weighted index of exchange-listed real estate companies and REITs worldwide.
In selecting investments for the fund's portfolio, Urdang uses a proprietary approach to quantify investment opportunity from both a real estate and stock perspective. Generally, Urdang combines top-down real estate research and its relative value model securities valuation process. In conducting its bottom-up research, Urdang engages in an active analysis process that includes regular and direct contact with the companies in the fund's investable universe. These research efforts are supported with extensive sell side and independent research. Through the use of the proprietary relative value model, Urdang seeks to establish the validity of the price of a security relative to its peers by providing statistically significant solutions to business- and management-related uncertainties, such as the impact on value of:
* growth rate;
* market capitalization; and
* property type.
The relative value model process is based on arbitrage pricing theory and is used by Urdang to establish sector and company financial models which are used to evaluate the validity of a stock's premium or discount to net asset value relative to its peers.
Urdang develops a buy/sell price range for each security in its universe. Barring a shift in circumstances that would promote a change in the sale price, the company systematically sells securities that reach their price targets.
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 stocks, indexes, foreign currencies and interest rates) and forward contracts, as a substitute for investing directly in an underlying asset, to increase returns, to manage foreign 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 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.
* Real estate sector risk. The securities of issuers that are principally engaged in the real estate sector may be subject to risks similar to those associated with the direct ownership of real estate. These include: declines in real estate values, defaults by mortgagors or other borrowers and tenants, increases in property taxes and operating expenses, overbuilding, fluctuations in rental income, changes in interest rates, possible lack of availability of mortgage funds or financing, extended vacancies of properties, changes in tax and regulatory requirements (including zoning laws and environmental restrictions), losses due to costs resulting from the clean-up of environmental problems, liability to third parties for damages resulting from environmental problems, and casualty or condemnation losses. In addition, the performance of the economy in each of the regions and countries in which the real estate owned by a portfolio company is located affects occupancy, market rental rates and expenses and, consequently, has an impact on the income from such properties and their underlying values.
In addition to the risks which are linked to the real estate sector in general, REITs are subject to additional risks. Equity REITs, which invest a majority of their assets directly in real property and derive income primarily from the collection of rents and lease payments, may be affected by changes in the value of the underlying property owned by the trust, while mortgage REITs, which invest the majority of their assets in real estate mortgages and derive income primarily from the collection of interest payments, may be affected by the quality of any credit extended. Further, REITs are highly dependent upon management skill and often are not diversified. REITs also are subject to heavy cash flow dependency and to defaults by borrowers or lessees. In addition, REITs possibly could fail to qualify for favorable tax treatment under applicable U.S. or foreign law and/or to maintain exempt status under the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended (1940 Act). Certain REITs provide for a specified term of existence in their trust documents. Such REITs run the risk of liquidating at an economically disadvantageous time.
* 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 market risk. 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.
* Small and midsize company risk. Small and midsize companies carry additional risks because the operating histories of these companies tend to be more limited, their earnings and revenues less predictable (and some companies may be experiencing significant losses), and their share prices more volatile than those of larger, more established companies. The shares of smaller companies tend to trade less frequently than those of larger, more established companies, which can adversely affect the pricing of these securities and the fund's ability to sell these securities. These companies may have limited product lines, markets or financial resources, or may depend on a limited management group. Some of the fund's investments will rise and fall based on investor perception rather than economic factors.
* 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 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, may have greater exposure to liquidity risk than domestic securities. In addition, certain real estate investments are relatively illiquid and, therefore, the ability of real estate companies to vary their portfolios promptly in response to changes in economic or other conditions is limited.
In addition to the principal risks described above, the fund is subject to the following additional risks.
* 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 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.
* Leverage risk. The use of leverage, such as engaing in reverse repurchase agreements, 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.
At times, 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.
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.