Fixed Income Risk. When the Fund invests in fixed income securities, the value of your investment in the Fund will fluctuate with changes in interest rates. Typically, a rise in interest rates causes a decline in the value of fixed income securities owned by the Fund. In general, the market price of fixed income securities with longer maturities will increase or decrease more in response to changes in interest rates than shorter-term securities. Other risk factors include credit risk (the debtor may default), extension risk (an issuer may exercise its right to repay principal on a fixed rate obligation held by the Fund later than expected), and prepayment risk (the debtor may pay its obligation early, reducing the amount of interest payments). These risks could affect the value of a particular investment by the Fund, possibly causing the Fund’s share price and total return to be reduced and fluctuate more than other types of investments.
Municipal Securities Risk. The municipal securities market could be significantly affected by adverse political and legislative changes, as well as uncertainties related to taxation or the rights of municipal security holders. Changes in the financial health of a municipality or other issuer, or an insurer of municipal securities, may make it difficult for it to pay interest and principal when due and may affect the overall municipal securities market. To the extent that the Fund invests a significant portion of its assets in the municipal securities of a particular state or U.S. territory or possession, there is greater risk that political, regulatory, economic or other developments within that jurisdiction may have a significant impact on the Fund’s investment performance. Declines in real estate prices and general business activity may reduce the tax revenues of state and local governments. Municipal issuers have on occasion defaulted on obligations, been downgraded, or commenced insolvency proceedings.
The governments of Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands are subject to the PROMES Act which provides that any bankruptcy restructuring regarding these territories is to be overseen by a financial oversight and control board, instead of a bankruptcy court. Accordingly, the Fund may not receive the same treatment in a bankruptcy overseen by the financial oversight and control board as it would in a bankruptcy proceeding overseen by a court.
- Puerto Rico. Because the Fund invests a substantial percentage of its assets in municipal bonds issued by Puerto Rico, the Fund is susceptible to economic, political, regulatory or other factors adversely affecting issuers in Puerto Rico.
- Guam. Guam’s economy is heavily dependent upon support from the U.S. Treasury and tourism, particularly from Japan, which makes Guam’s economy sensitive to fluctuations in Japan’s economy.
- U.S. Virgin Islands. The economy of the U.S. Virgin Islands is driven by tourism, which typically accounts for a substantial portion of gross domestic product and a significant share of employment. The U.S. Virgin Islands government carries a large public sector payroll and taxes continue account for a significant share of government revenues and had numerous years of budget imbalances.
High-Yield Bond Risk. Lower-quality fixed income securities, known as “high yield” or “junk” bonds, present greater risk than bonds of higher quality, including an increased risk of default. These securities are considered speculative. An economic downturn or period of rising interest rates could adversely affect the market for these bonds and reduce the Fund’s ability to sell its bonds. The lack of a liquid market for these bonds could decrease the Fund’s share price. Defaulted securities or those subject reorganization proceeding may become worthless and are illiquid.
Interest Rate Risk.The risk that fixed income securities will decline in value because of an increase in interest rates; a fund with a longer average portfolio duration will be more sensitive to changes than a fund with a shorter average portfolio duration.