Before you invest in any registered investment company you should read its prospectus and any other available information about the investment. Below you’ll find descriptions of the different types of information these funds and variable contracts provide to investors.
Registered investment companies include:
- mutual funds,
- exchange-traded funds (ETFs),
- registered closed-end funds,
- unit investment trusts (UITs),
- variable annuity contracts, and
- variable life insurance contracts.
What funds or variable contracts have prospectuses?
All funds and variable contracts must provide investors with a prospectus.
What information is included in a prospectus?
A prospectus contains important information about a fund’s fees and expenses, investment objectives, investment strategies, risks, performance, pricing, and more. A UIT’s prospectus will also typically list the securities that the UIT holds. Some mutual funds and ETFs may provide you with a summary prospectus containing key information about the fund. Variable contracts may also provide summary prospectuses of the variable contract and any underlying mutual funds.
When will I get a prospectus?
When you purchase shares of a mutual fund, ETF, or UIT:
The fund must provide you with a prospectus. Depending on your preferences and the fund’s practices, this could mean delivery of a paper copy of the prospectus or e-delivery of the prospectus. If you receive a summary prospectus, the fund’s full prospectus will be available on its website. You can also always request a paper copy free of charge.
When you purchase shares of a registered closed-end fund during its initial public offering:
The fund must provide you with a prospectus. Depending on your preferences and the fund’s practices, this could mean delivery of a paper copy of the prospectus, e-delivery of the prospectus, or a notice indicating how the prospectus is available/can be obtained (often in the trade confirmation).
When you purchase shares of a registered closed-end fund on a securities exchange:
You may not receive a prospectus. This is because you are purchasing your shares from other investors rather than from the fund itself.
When you purchase a variable life or variable annuity contract:
The variable contract must generally provide you with prospectuses for the variable annuity and for any underlying mutual funds. Depending on your preferences and the insurance company’s practices, this could mean delivery of a paper copy of the prospectus or e-delivery of the prospectus. If you receive a summary prospectus for your contract, the contract’s full prospectus and a summary prospectus for each underlying mutual fund will be available on its website. You can also always request a paper copy free of charge.
Statement of Additional Information (SAI)
What funds or variable contracts have SAIs?
Mutual funds, ETFs, registered closed-end funds, and some variable contracts generally will have statements of additional information (SAIs).
What information is included in an SAI?
The SAI conveys additional information about the fund or variable contract that some investors find useful. The SAI may contain expanded discussions of the matters described in the prospectus. The SAI generally includes the fund’s financial statements and additional information about: the history of the fund; officers, directors and persons who control the fund; investment advisory and other services; brokerage commissions; and tax matters.
When will I get an SAI?
Funds and variable contracts are not required to deliver SAIs to investors unless investors request it. Some funds and variable contracts may not have separate SAIs because they are allowed to include in the prospectus the information required to be disclosed in the SAI.
What funds or variable contracts have shareholder reports?
A mutual fund, an ETF, and a registered closed-end fund must provide shareholders with annual and semi-annual reports. Some variable contracts also generally must provide contract holders with the annual and semi-annual reports of the underlying mutual funds.
What information is included in shareholder reports?
Shareholder reports generally contain financial information, performance, and other information. They also include a list of the fund’s underlying investments (portfolio holdings) for the second and fourth fiscal quarters. Reading the shareholder reports can help an investor determine how a fund has performed and pursued its investment strategies during the period covered in the report.
When will I get shareholder reports?
Beginning on January 1, 2021, funds may no longer have to mail paper copies of shareholder reports to investors, unless investors specifically request them. Instead, some funds can elect to post shareholder reports on their website. If you own a fund that elects to use this provision, you will be notified each time a report is posted and you will be provided with a link to the report. You can always request to receive paper copies free of charge. If you have already elected to receive shareholder reports electronically, you will not be affected by this change.
Mutual funds, ETFs, registered closed-end funds, and some variable contracts must file Form N-PORT and Form N-PX on the SEC’s EDGAR database.
What is Form N-PORT?
Funds file Form N-PORT with the Commission each month. This form includes detailed portfolio holdings data but only information contained in the report for the last month of each fund’s fiscal quarter is available to the public.
A list of the fund’s underlying investments (portfolio holdings) for the first and third fiscal quarters is disclosed to the public in an exhibit to a fund’s Form N-PORT.
What is Form N-PX?
Form N-PX is an annual report that funds file no later than August 31 each year. It identifies specific proposals on which the fund has voted portfolio securities and discloses how the fund voted. This disclosure enables fund shareholders to monitor their funds’ involvement in the governance activities of portfolio companies. Form N-PX may be available on a fund’s website or upon request, without charge.
How to Obtain These Documents
You can obtain these documents by:
- visiting the fund’s website;
- contacting the fund;
- contacting a broker that sells the fund’s shares; or
- accessing the SEC’s EDGAR database.
In addition, you may elect to receive shareholder reports and other communications from the fund electronically by contacting your financial intermediary (such as a broker-dealer or bank) or, if you invest directly with the fund, by contacting the fund.
Investor Bulletin: How to Read a Mutual Fund Prospectus Part 1 (Investment Objective, Strategies, and Risks), Part 2 (Fee Table and Performance), and Part 3 (Management, Shareholder Information, and Statement of Additional Information).
Investor Bulletin: How to Read a Mutual Fund Shareholder Report
Investor Publications: Mutual Fund Proxy Voting Records and Policies