As filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on February 23, 2021

Registration No. 333-253088

 

 

 

UNITED STATES

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

Washington, D.C. 20549

 

 

PRE-EFFECTIVE AMENDMENT NO. 1

to

FORM S-3

REGISTRATION STATEMENT

UNDER

THE SECURITIES ACT OF 1933

 

 

PROSHARES TRUST II

(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)

 

 

 

Delaware   6221   87-6284802
(State of Organization)  

(Primary Standard Industrial

Classification Code Number)

 

(I.R.S. Employer

Identification Number)

7501 Wisconsin Avenue

Suite 1000E

Bethesda, Maryland 20814

(240) 497-6400

(Address, including zip code, and telephone number, including area code, of registrant’s principal executive offices)

 

 

Michael L. Sapir

c/o ProShare Capital Management LLC

7501 Wisconsin Avenue

Suite 1000E

Bethesda, Maryland 20814

(240) 497-6400

(Name, address, including zip code, and telephone number, including area code, of agent for service)

 

 

Copies to:

 

Michael M. Philipp

c/o Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP

77 West Wacker Drive

Chicago, Illinois 60601

 

Richard F. Morris

c/o ProShare Capital Management LLC

7501 Wisconsin Avenue

Suite 1000E

Bethesda, MD 20814

 

 

Approximate date of commencement of proposed sale to the public:

As promptly as practicable after the effective date of this Registration Statement.

If the only securities being registered on this Form are being offered pursuant to dividend or interest reinvestment plans, please check the following box:  ☐

If any of the securities being registered on this Form are to be offered on a delayed or continuous basis pursuant to Rule 415 under the Securities Act of 1933, other than securities offered only in connection with dividend or interest reinvestment plans, check the following box.  ☒

If this Form is filed to register additional securities for an offering pursuant to Rule 462(b) under the Securities Act, please check the following box and list the Securities Act registration statement number of the earlier effective registration statement for the same offering.  ☐

If this Form is a post-effective amendment filed pursuant to Rule 462(c) under the Securities Act, check the following box and list the Securities Act registration statement number of the earlier effective registration statement for the same offering.  ☐

If this Form is a registration statement pursuant to General Instruction I.D. or a post-effective amendment thereto that shall become effective upon filing with the Commission pursuant to Rule 462(e) under the Securities Act, check the following box.  ☐

If this Form is a post-effective amendment to a registration statement filed pursuant to General Instruction I.D. filed to register additional securities or additional classes of securities pursuant to Rule 413(b) under the Securities Act, check the following box.  ☐

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, smaller reporting company, or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company,” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.

ProShares Ultra VIX Short Term Futures ETF

 

Large accelerated filer      Accelerated filer  
Non-accelerated filer   ☐  (Do not check if a smaller reporting company)    Smaller reporting company  

Emerging growth company

 

    

If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 7(a)(2)(B) of the Securities Act.  ☐

ProShares Short VIX Short-Term Futures ETF

 

Large accelerated filer      Accelerated filer  
Non-accelerated filer   ☐  (Do not check if a smaller reporting company)    Smaller reporting company  

Emerging growth company

 

    

If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 7(a)(2)(B) of the Securities Act.  ☐

ProShares VIX Short Term Futures ETF

 

Large accelerated filer      Accelerated filer  
Non-accelerated filer   ☐  (Do not check if a smaller reporting company)    Smaller reporting company  

Emerging growth company

 

    

If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 7(a)(2)(B) of the Securities Act   ☐

 

 

CALCULATION OF REGISTRATION FEE

 

 

Title of Securities to be Registered  

Proposed

Maximum

Aggregate

Offering Price(1)

 

Amount of

Registration Fee

ProShares Ultra VIX Short-Term Futures ETF Common Units of Beneficial Interest

 

$6,181,367,816(2)

 

$714,624(2)

ProShares Short VIX Short-Term Futures ETF Common Units of Beneficial Interest

 

$1,658,229,089(3)

 

$192,189(3)

ProShares VIX Short-Term Futures ETF Common Units of Beneficial Interest

 

$1,186,156,878(4)

 

$138,532(4)

TOTAL

 

$9,025,753,783

 

$1,045,345

 

 

(1)

Estimated solely for the purpose of calculating the registration fee in accordance with Rule 457(d) under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (“1933 Act”).

(2)

The Registrant initially filed this Registration Statement on Form S-3 (File No.: 333-253088) with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) on February 12, 2021 (the “Initial 2021 S-3 Registration Statement”). Pursuant to the provisions of Rule 415(a)(6) under the 1933 Act, the Registrant carries forward the value of the unsold Common Units of Beneficial Interest relating to ProShares Ultra VIX Short-Term Futures ETF from the Registration Statement on Form S-3, as amended (File No. 333-238175), which was initially filed with the SEC on May 11, 2020 and declared effective by the SEC on September 9, 2020 (the “Prior S-3 Registration Statement”) in the amount of $1,943,779,869 (the “Carryover Amount”) for which the issuer has paid the associated registration fees to the SEC ($252,303), resulting in a Proposed Maximum Aggregate Offering Price of Common Units of Beneficial Interest of $6,181,367,816, which includes the Carryover Amount plus an additional $2,037,587,947 of unsold Common Units of Beneficial Interest of ProShares Short VIX Short-Term Futures ETF carried forward from the Prior S-3 Registration Statement for which the issuer has paid the associated registration fees to the SEC ($222,301) as described in footnote (3) below, plus an additional $2,200,000,000 Common Units of Beneficial Interest for which $240,020 is being paid concurrently with the filing of this Pre-Effective Amendment No. 1 to the Initial 2021 S-3 Registration Statement to register such $2,200,000,000 Common Units of Beneficial Interest. The Initial 2021 S-3 Registration Statement erroneously indicated that the value of the unsold Common Units of Beneficial Interest carried forward was $4,492,466,130 and stated a Proposed Maximum Aggregate Offering Price of Common Units of Beneficial Interest relating to ProShares Ultra VIX Short-Term Futures ETF of $6,292,466,130. The associated registration fees of $346,807 and $543,187 indicated in the Initial 2021 S-3 Registration Statement, as well as the information with respect to the carry forward of unsold Common Units of Beneficial Interest of ProShares Short VIX Short-Term Futures ETF, were correct as of February 12, 2021. Pursuant to Rule 415(a)(6), the offering of the Unsold Securities of ProShares Ultra VIX Short-Term Futures ETF covered by the Prior S-3 Registration Statement will be deemed terminated as of the date of effectiveness of this Registration Statement.

(3)

Pursuant to the provisions of Rule 415(a)(6) under the 1933 Act, the Registrant carries forward the value of the unsold Common Units of Beneficial Interest relating to ProShares Short VIX Short-Term Futures ETF from the Prior S-3 Registration Statement ($1,658,229,089, the “Unsold Securities”), for which the issuer has paid the associated registration fees to the SEC ($192,189). No additional ProShares Short VIX Short-Term Futures ETF Common Units of Beneficial Interest are being registered concurrently with the filing of this Registration Statement. Pursuant to Rule 415(a)(6), the offering of the Unsold Securities of ProShares Short VIX Short-Term Futures ETF covered by the Prior S-3 Registration Statement will be deemed terminated as of the date of effectiveness of this Registration Statement. The Registrant is carrying forward the remaining value of the Unsold Securities for which the issuer has paid the associated registration fees in respect of the offering of Common Units of Beneficial Interest relating to ProShares Ultra VIX Short-Term Futures ETF, as set forth in footnote 2 above, and ProShares VIX Short-Term Futures ETF, as set forth in footnote 4 below.

(4)

Pursuant to the provisions of Rule 415(a)(6) under the 1933 Act, the Registrant carries forward the value of the unsold Common Units of Beneficial Interest relating to ProShares VIX Short-Term Futures ETF from the Prior S-3 Registration Statement in the amount of $611,756,878 (the “Carryover Amount”) for which the issuer has paid the associated registration fees to the SEC ($75,865), resulting in a Proposed Maximum Aggregate Offering Price of Common Units of Beneficial Interest of $1,186,156,878, which includes the Carryover Amount plus an additional $400,000,000 of unsold Common Units of Beneficial Interest of ProShares Short VIX Short-Term Futures ETF carried forward from the Prior S-3 Registration Statement for which the issuer has paid the associated registration fees to the SEC ($43,640) as described in footnote (3) above plus an additional $174,400,000 Common Units of Beneficial Interest for which $19,027 is being paid concurrently with the filing of this Pre-Effective Amendment No. 1 to the Initial 2021 S-3 Registration Statement to register such $174,400,000 Common Units of Beneficial Interest. The Initial 2021 S-3 Registration Statement erroneously indicated that the value of the unsold Common Units of Beneficial Interest carried forward was $1,104,027,518 and stated a Proposed Maximum Aggregate Offering Price of Common Units of Beneficial Interest relating to ProShares VIX Short-Term Futures ETF of $1,504,027,518. The associated registration fees of $87,027 and $130,667 indicated in the Initial 2021 S-3 Registration Statement, as well as the information with respect to the carry forward of unsold Common Units of Beneficial Interest of ProShares Short VIX Short-Term Futures ETF, were correct as of February 12, 2021. Pursuant to Rule 415(a)(6), the offering of the Unsold Securities of ProShares VIX Short-Term Futures ETF covered by the Prior S-3 Registration Statement will be deemed terminated as of the date of effectiveness of this Registration Statement.

 

 

Pursuant to Rule 429(b) under the 1933 Act, upon effectiveness, this Registration Statement shall constitute Post-Effective Amendment No. 1 to the registration statement on Form S-3 (File No. 333-238175), which post-effective amendment shall hereafter become effective concurrently with the effectiveness of this Registration Statement in accordance with Section 8(c) of the 1933 Act.

The registrant hereby amends this Registration Statement on such date or dates as may be necessary to delay its effective date until the registrant shall file a further amendment which specifically states that this Registration Statement shall thereafter become effective in accordance with Section 8(a) of the Securities Act of 1933 or until this Registration Statement shall become effective on such date as the Commission, acting pursuant to said Section 8(a), may determine.

 

 

EXPLANATORY NOTE

Deregistration of Securities from the Registration Statement on Form S-3 (File No. 333-238175)

ProShares Short VIX Short-Term Futures ETF previously registered its offering of Common Units of Beneficial Interest on the Prior S-3 Registration Statement with a maximum aggregate offering price of $3,858,229,089. ProShares Short VIX Short-Term Futures ETF is deregistering an aggregate of $2,437,587,947 value of the unsold Common Units of Beneficial Interest offered thereby pursuant to this Post-Effective Amendment No. 1 to the Prior S-3 Registration Statement. Pursuant to Rule 457(p) under the 1933 Act, the Registrant hereby offsets a portion of the registration fee due in connection with the registration of (i) $2,037,587,947 in additional value of Common Units of Beneficial Interest relating to ProShares Ultra VIX Short-Term Futures ETF by allocating the credit received from the registration fees previously paid ($222,301) in connection with such value of the unsold Common Units of Beneficial Interest relating to the Short VIX Fund and (ii) $400,000,000 in additional value of Common Units of Beneficial Interest relating to ProShares VIX Short-Term Futures ETF by allocating the credit received from the registration fees previously paid ($43,640) in connection with such value of the unsold Common Units of Beneficial Interest relating to the Short VIX Fund. See footnote 2 and footnote 4 above. The Prior S-3 Registration Statement is hereby amended, as appropriate, to reflect the deregistration of the securities referred to above.

 

 

 


PROSHARES TRUST II

Common Units of Beneficial Interest

Title of Securities to be Registered
Benchmark
Proposed
Maximum Aggregate
Offering Price
Per Fund
ProShares VIX Short-Term Futures ETF (VIXY)
S&P 500® VIX Short-Term Futures Index
$1,186,156,878
ProShares Ultra VIX Short-Term Futures ETF (UVXY)
S&P 500® VIX Short-Term Futures Index
$6,181,367,816
ProShares Short VIX Short-Term Futures ETF (SVXY)
S&P 500® VIX Short-Term Futures Index
$1,658,229,089
ProShares Trust II (the “Trust”) is a Delaware statutory trust organized into separate series. The Trust may from time to time offer to sell common units of beneficial interest (“Shares”) of any or all of the series of the Trust listed above (each, a “Fund” and collectively, the “Funds”) or other series of the Trust. Shares represent units of fractional undivided beneficial interest in and ownership of a series of the Trust. Each Fund’s Shares areoffered on a continuous basis. The Shares of each Fund are listed for trading on Cboe BZX Exchange, Inc. (the “Exchange”) under the ticker symbol shown above next to each Fund’s name. Please note that the Trust has series other than the Funds.
The ProShares VIX Short-Term Futures ETF (the “Matching Fund”) seeks investment results, before fees and expenses, that match the performance of the S&P 500 ® VIX Short-Term Futures Index (the “Index”). The ProShares Short VIX Short-Term Futures ETF (the “Short Fund”) seeks daily investment results, before fees and expenses, that correspond to one-half the inverse (-0.5x) of the performance of the Index for a single day, not for any other period. The ProShares Ultra VIX Short-Term Futures ETF (the “Ultra Fund”) seeks daily investment results, before fees and expenses, that correspond to one and one-half times (1.5x) the performance of the Index for a single day, not for any other period. The Short Fund and the Ultra Fund are sometimes referred to herein as the “Geared Funds.” A “single day” is measured from the time a Fund calculates its net asset value (“NAV”) to the time of the Fund’s next NAV calculation. The NAV calculation time for the Funds typically is 4:00 p.m. (Eastern Time). Please see the section entitled “Summary—Creation and Redemption Transactions” for additional details on the NAV calculation time for the Funds.
The Funds seek to achieve their respective investment objectives through the appropriate amount of exposure to the VIX futures contracts included in the Index. Each Fund also has the ability to engage in swap transactions, forward contracts, option contracts, and other instruments in order to achieve its investment objective, in the manner and to the extent described herein.
The Funds are not benchmarked to the widely referenced Cboe Volatility Index, commonly known as the “VIX.” The Index and the VIX are two separate indices and can be expected to perform very differently. As such, the Funds can be expected to perform very differently from the VIX or one and one-half times (1.5x) or one-half the inverse (-0.5x) of the performance of the VIX.

INVESTING IN THE SHARES INVOLVES SIGNIFICANT RISKS. PLEASE REFER TO “RISK FACTORS” BEGINNING ON PAGE 11.
THE FUNDS PRESENT SIGNIFICANT RISKS NOT APPLICABLE TO OTHER TYPES OF FUNDS, INCLUDING RISKS RELATING TO INVESTING IN AND SEEKING EXPOSURE TO VIX FUTURES CONTRACTS. THE FUNDS ARE NOT APPROPRIATE FOR ALL INVESTORS. THE ULTRA FUND USES LEVERAGE AND IS RISKIER THAN SIMILARLY BENCHMARKED EXCHANGE-TRADEDFUNDS THAT DO NOT USE LEVERAGE. AN INVESTOR SHOULD ONLY CONSIDER AN INVESTMENT IN THE ULTRA FUND OR THE SHORT FUND IF HE OR SHE UNDERSTANDS THE CONSEQUENCES OF SEEKING DAILY INVESTMENT RESULTS AND THE IMPACT OF COMPOUNDING ON GEARED FUND PERFORMANCE.

THE RETURN OF EACH OF THE ULTRA FUND AND THE SHORT FUND FOR A PERIOD LONGER THAN A SINGLE DAY IS THE RESULT OF ITS RETURN FOR EACH DAY COMPOUNDED OVER THE PERIOD AND USUALLY WILL DIFFER IN AMOUNT AND POSSIBLY EVEN DIRECTION FROM THE FUND’S STATED MULTIPLE TIMES THE RETURN OF THE INDEX FOR THE SAME PERIOD. THESE DIFFERENCES CAN BE SIGNIFICANT.
THE FUNDS’ INVESTMENTS MAY BE ILLIQUID AND/OR HIGHLY VOLATILE AND THE FUNDS MAY EXPERIENCE LARGE LOSSES FROM BUYING, SELLING OR HOLDING SUCH INVESTMENTS. AN INVESTOR IN ANY OF THE FUNDS COULD POTENTIALLY LOSE THE FULL PRINCIPAL VALUE OF HIS/HER INVESTMENT WITHIN A SINGLE DAY.
THE FUNDS GENERALLY ARE INTENDED TO BE USED ONLY FOR SHORT-TERM TIME HORIZONS. SHAREHOLDERS WHO INVEST IN THE FUNDS SHOULD ACTIVELY MANAGE AND MONITOR THEIR INVESTMENTS, AS FREQUENTLY AS DAILY.
An investor should only consider an investment in a Fund if he or she understands the consequences of seeking exposure to VIX futures contracts. The Funds are benchmarked to the S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures Index; the Funds are not benchmarked to the VIX. The S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures Index and the VIX are two separate indices and can be expected to perform very differently.
The VIX is a non-investable index that measures the implied volatility of the S&P 500. For these purposes, “implied volatility” is a measure of the expected volatility (i.e., the rate and magnitude of variations in performance) of the S&P 500 over the next 30 days. The VIX does not represent the actual volatility of the S&P 500. The VIX is calculated based on the prices of a constantly changing portfolio of S&P 500 put and call options. The S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures Index, the Index used by each Fund, consists of short-term VIX futures contracts. As such, the performance of the S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures Index can be expected to be very different from the actual volatility of the S&P 500, or the performance of the VIX, or one and one-half times (1.5x) or one-half the inverse (-0.5x) of the actual volatility of the S&P 500 or the performance of the VIX.
Unlike certain other asset classes that, in general, have historically increased in price over long periods of time, the volatility of the S&P 500 as measured by the VIX has historically reverted to a long-term average level over time. This means that the potential upside of an investment in a Fund may be limited. In addition, gains, if any, may be subject to significant and unexpected reversals. The Funds generally are intended to be used only for short-term investment horizons. Investors holding Shares of the Funds beyond short-term periods have an increased risk of losing all or a substantial portion of their investment.
The Ultra Fund seeks daily investment results, before fees and expenses, that correspond to one and one-half times (1.5x) the performance of the Index for a single day, not for any other period. The Short Fund seeks daily investment results, before fees and expenses, that correspond to one-half the inverse (-0.5x) of the performance of the Index for a single day, not for any other period. The return of each of the Ultra Fund and the Short Fund for a period longer than a single day is the result of its return for each day compounded over the period and usually will differ in amount and possibly even direction from the Fund’s stated multiple times the return of the Index for the same period. These differences can be significant. Daily compounding of the investment returns of each of the Ultra Fund and the Short Fund can dramatically and adversely affect its longer-term performance, especially during periods of high volatility. Volatility has a negative impact on Geared Fund performance and the volatility of the Index may be at least as important to the returns of the Ultra Fund and the Short Fund as the return of the Index. The Ultra Fund uses leverage and should produce returns for a single day that are more volatile than that of the Index. For example, the return for a single day of the Ultra Fund with its 1.5x multiple should be approximately one and one-half times as volatile for a single day as the return of a fund with an objective of matching the same Index.
Each Fund will distribute to shareholders a Schedule K-1 that will contain information regarding the income and expenses of the Fund.
NEITHER THE TRUST NOR ANY FUND IS A MUTUAL FUND OR ANY OTHER TYPE OF INVESTMENT COMPANY AS DEFINED IN THE INVESTMENT COMPANY ACT OF 1940, AS AMENDED (THE “1940 ACT”), AND NEITHER IS SUBJECT TO REGULATION THEREUNDER. SHAREHOLDERS DO NOT HAVE THE PROTECTIONS ASSOCIATED WITH OWNERSHIP OF SHARES IN AN INVESTMENT COMPANY REGISTERED UNDER THE 1940 ACT. SEE RISK FACTOR ENTITLED “SHAREHOLDERS DO NOT HAVE THE PROTECTIONS ASSOCIATED WITH OWNERSHIP OF SHARES IN AN

INVESTMENT COMPANY REGISTERED UNDER THE INVESTMENT COMPANY ACT OF 1940, AS AMENDED (THE “1940 ACT”)” IN PART ONE OF THIS PROSPECTUS FOR MORE INFORMATION.
Each Fund continuously offers and redeems Shares in blocks of 50,000 Shares (25,000 Shares with respect to the Matching Fund only) (each such block, a “Creation Unit”). Only Authorized Participants (as defined herein) may purchase and redeem Shares from a Fund and then only in Creation Units. An Authorized Participant is an entity that has entered into an Authorized Participant Agreement with the Trust and ProShare Capital Management LLC (the “Sponsor”). Shares are offered to Authorized Participants in Creation Units at each Fund’s respective NAV. Authorized Participants may then offer to the public, from time to time, Shares from any Creation Unit they create at a per-Share market price. The form of Authorized Participant Agreement and the related Authorized Participant Procedures Handbook set forth the terms and conditions under which an Authorized Participant may purchase or redeem a Creation Unit. Authorized Participants will not receive from any Fund, the Sponsor, or any of their affiliates, any fee or other compensation in connection with their sale of Shares to the public. An Authorized Participant may receive commissions or fees from investors who purchase Shares through their commission or fee-based brokerage accounts.
These securities have not been approved or disapproved by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) or any state securities commission nor has the SEC or any state securities commission passed upon the accuracy or adequacy of this Prospectus. Any representation to the contrary is a criminal offense.
THE COMMODITY FUTURES TRADING COMMISSION HAS NOT PASSED UPON THE MERITS OF PARTICIPATING IN THIS POOL NOR HAS THE COMMISSION PASSED ON THE ADEQUACY OR ACCURACY OF THIS DISCLOSURE DOCUMENT.

[February __, 2021]

The Shares are neither interests in nor obligations of the Sponsor, Wilmington Trust Company, or any of their respective affiliates. The Shares are not insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation or any other governmental agency.
This Prospectus has two parts: the offered series disclosure and the general pool disclosure. These parts are bound together and are incomplete if not distributed together to prospective participants.
COMMODITY FUTURES TRADING COMMISSION
RISK DISCLOSURE STATEMENT
YOU SHOULD CAREFULLY CONSIDER WHETHER YOUR FINANCIAL CONDITION PERMITS YOU TO PARTICIPATE IN A COMMODITY POOL. IN SO DOING, YOU SHOULD BE AWARE THAT COMMODITY INTEREST TRADING CAN QUICKLY LEAD TO LARGE LOSSES AS WELL AS GAINS. SUCH TRADING LOSSES CAN SHARPLY REDUCE THE NET ASSET VALUE OF THE POOL AND CONSEQUENTLY THE VALUE OF YOUR INTEREST IN THE POOL. IN ADDITION, RESTRICTIONS ON REDEMPTIONS MAY AFFECT YOUR ABILITY TO WITHDRAW YOUR PARTICIPATION IN THE POOL.
FURTHER, COMMODITY POOLS MAY BE SUBJECT TO SUBSTANTIAL CHARGES FOR MANAGEMENT, AND ADVISORY AND BROKERAGE FEES. IT MAY BE NECESSARY FOR THOSE POOLS THAT ARE SUBJECT TO THESE CHARGES TO MAKE SUBSTANTIAL TRADING PROFITS TO AVOID DEPLETION OR EXHAUSTION OF THEIR ASSETS. THIS DISCLOSURE DOCUMENT CONTAINS A COMPLETE DESCRIPTION OF EACH EXPENSE TO BE CHARGED TO THIS POOL, AT PAGES 49 THROUGH 51, AND A STATEMENT OF THE PERCENTAGE RETURN NECESSARY TO BREAK EVEN, THAT IS, TO RECOVER THE AMOUNT OF YOUR INITIAL INVESTMENT, AT PAGES 49 THROUGH 51.
THIS BRIEF STATEMENT CANNOT DISCLOSE ALL THE RISKS AND OTHER FACTORS NECESSARY TO EVALUATE YOUR PARTICIPATION IN THIS COMMODITY POOL. THEREFORE, BEFORE YOU DECIDE TO PARTICIPATE IN THIS

COMMODITY POOL, YOU SHOULD CAREFULLY STUDY THIS DISCLOSURE DOCUMENT, INCLUDING A DESCRIPTION OF THE PRINCIPAL RISK FACTORS OF THIS INVESTMENT, AT PAGES 11THROUGH 36.
YOU SHOULD ALSO BE AWARE THAT THIS COMMODITY POOL MAY TRADE FOREIGN FUTURES OR OPTIONS CONTRACTS. TRANSACTIONS ON MARKETS LOCATED OUTSIDE THE UNITED STATES, INCLUDING MARKETS FORMALLY LINKED TO A UNITED STATES MARKET, MAY BE SUBJECT TO REGULATIONS WHICH OFFER DIFFERENT OR DIMINISHED PROTECTION TO THE POOL AND ITS PARTICIPANTS. FURTHER, UNITED STATES REGULATORY AUTHORITIES MAY BE UNABLE TO COMPEL THE ENFORCEMENT OF THE RULES OF REGULATORY AUTHORITIES OR MARKETS IN NON-UNITED STATES JURISDICTIONS WHERE TRANSACTIONS FOR THE POOL MAY BE EFFECTED.
SWAPS TRANSACTIONS, LIKE OTHER FINANCIAL TRANSACTIONS, INVOLVE A VARIETY OF SIGNIFICANT RISKS. THE SPECIFIC RISKS PRESENTED BY A PARTICULAR SWAP TRANSACTION NECESSARILY DEPEND UPON THE TERMS OF THE TRANSACTION AND YOUR CIRCUMSTANCES. IN GENERAL, HOWEVER, ALL SWAPS TRANSACTIONS INVOLVE SOME COMBINATION OF MARKET RISK, CREDIT RISK, COUNTERPARTY CREDIT RISK, FUNDING RISK, LIQUIDITY RISK, AND OPERATIONAL RISK.
HIGHLY CUSTOMIZED SWAPS TRANSACTIONS IN PARTICULAR MAY INCREASE LIQUIDITY RISK, WHICH MAY RESULT IN A SUSPENSION OF REDEMPTIONS. HIGHLY LEVERAGED TRANSACTIONS MAY EXPERIENCE SUBSTANTIAL GAINS OR LOSSES IN VALUE AS A RESULT OF RELATIVELY SMALL CHANGES IN THE VALUE OR LEVEL OF AN UNDERLYING OR RELATED MARKET FACTOR. IN EVALUATING THE RISKS AND CONTRACTUAL OBLIGATIONS ASSOCIATED WITH A PARTICULAR SWAP TRANSACTION, IT IS IMPORTANT TO CONSIDER THAT A SWAP TRANSACTION MAY, IN CERTAIN INSTANCES, BE MODIFIED OR TERMINATED ONLY BY MUTUAL CONSENT OF THE ORIGINAL PARTIES AND SUBJECT TO AGREEMENT ON INDIVIDUALLY NEGOTIATED TERMS. THEREFORE, IT MAY NOT BE POSSIBLE FOR THE COMMODITY POOL OPERATOR TO MODIFY, TERMINATE, OR OFFSET THE POOL’S OBLIGATIONS OR THE POOL’S EXPOSURE TO THE RISKS ASSOCIATED WITH A TRANSACTION PRIOR TO ITS SCHEDULED TERMINATION DATE.

THIS PROSPECTUS DOES NOT INCLUDE ALL OF THE INFORMATION OR EXHIBITS IN THE REGISTRATION STATEMENT OF THE TRUST. INVESTORS CAN READ AND COPY THE ENTIRE REGISTRATION STATEMENT AT THE PUBLIC REFERENCE FACILITIES MAINTAINED BY THE SEC IN WASHINGTON, D.C.

THE TRUST WILL FILE QUARTERLY AND ANNUAL REPORTS WITH THE SEC. INVESTORS CAN READ AND COPY THESE REPORTS AT THE SEC PUBLIC REFERENCE FACILITIES IN WASHINGTON, D.C. PLEASE CALL THE SEC AT 1-800-SEC-0330 FOR FURTHER INFORMATION.
THE FILINGS OF THE TRUST ARE POSTED AT THE SEC WEBSITE AT WWW.SEC.GOV.
REGULATORY NOTICES
NO DEALER, SALESMAN OR ANY OTHER PERSON HAS BEEN AUTHORIZED TO GIVE ANY INFORMATION OR TO MAKE ANY REPRESENTATION NOT CONTAINED IN THIS PROSPECTUS, AND, IF GIVEN OR MADE, SUCH OTHER INFORMATION OR REPRESENTATION MUST NOT BE RELIED UPON AS HAVING BEEN AUTHORIZED BY THE TRUST, ANY OF THE FUNDS, THE SPONSOR, THE AUTHORIZED PARTICIPANTS OR ANY OTHER PERSON.
THIS PROSPECTUS DOES NOT CONSTITUTE AN OFFER OR SOLICITATION TO SELL OR A SOLICITATION OF AN OFFER TO BUY, NOR SHALL THERE BE ANY OFFER, SOLICITATION, OR SALE OF THE SHARES IN ANY JURISDICTION IN WHICH SUCH OFFER, SOLICITATION, OR SALE IS NOT AUTHORIZED OR TO ANY PERSON TO WHOM IT IS UNLAWFUL TO MAKE ANY SUCH OFFER, SOLICITATION, OR SALE.


AUTHORIZED PARTICIPANTS MAY BE REQUIRED TO DELIVER A PROSPECTUS WHEN TRANSACTING IN SHARES. SEE “PLAN OF DISTRIBUTION” IN PART TWO OF THIS PROSPECTUS.

PROSHARES TRUST II
Table of Contents
 
SUMMARY
4
Important Information About the Funds
4
Overview
5
The Matching Fund
5
The Ultra Fund
5
The Short Fund
6
All Funds
6
Purchases and Sales in the Secondary Market
6
Creation and Redemption Transactions
7
Breakeven Amounts
7
Important Tax Information
8
RISK FACTOR SUMMARY
9
Risks Specific to the Geared Funds
9
Risks Related to All Funds
9
RISK FACTORS
CAUTIONARY NOTE REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS
DESCRIPTION OF EACH FUND’S BENCHMARK
The S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures Index
Information about the Index Licensor
INVESTMENT OBJECTIVES AND PRINCIPAL INVESTMENT STRATEGIES
Investment Objectives
PERFORMANCE OF THE OFFERED COMMODITY POOLS OPERATED BYTHE COMMODITY POOL OPERATOR
MANAGEMENT’S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OFFINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS
CHARGES
Breakeven Table
MATERIAL U.S. FEDERAL INCOME TAX CONSIDERATIONS
Status of the Funds
U.S. Shareholders
-i-

 
Page
GENERAL POOL DISCLOSURE
PERFORMANCE OF THE OTHER COMMODITY POOLSOPERATED BY THE COMMODITY POOL OPERATOR
USE OF PROCEEDS
WHO MAY SUBSCRIBE
CREATION AND REDEMPTION OF SHARES
Creation Procedures
Redemption Procedures
Creation and Redemption Transaction Fee
Special Settlement
LITIGATION
DESCRIPTION OF THE SHARES; THE FUNDS; CERTAIN MATERIALTERMS OF THE TRUST AGREEMENT
Description of the Shares
Principal Office; Location of Records; Fiscal Year
The Funds
The Trustee
The Sponsor
Duties of the Sponsor
Ownership or Beneficial Interest in the Funds
Management; Voting by Shareholders
Recognition of the Trust and the Funds in Certain States
Possible Repayment of Distributions Received by Shareholders
Shares Freely Transferable
Book-Entry Form
Reports to Shareholders
Net Asset Value (“NAV”)
Indicative Optimized Portfolio Value (“IOPV”)
Termination Events
DISTRIBUTIONS
THE ADMINISTRATOR
THE CUSTODIAN
THE TRANSFER AGENT
THE DISTRIBUTOR
Description of SEI
THE SECURITIES DEPOSITORY; BOOK-ENTRY ONLY SYSTEM; GLOBAL SECURITY
SHARE SPLITS OR REVERSE SPLITS
CONFLICTS OF INTEREST
MATERIAL CONTRACTS
Administration and Accounting Agreement
Transfer Agency and Service Agreement
Custody Agreement
Distribution Agreement
PURCHASES BY EMPLOYEE BENEFIT PLANS
General
“Plan Assets”
Ineligible Purchasers
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Page
PLAN OF DISTRIBUTION
Buying and Selling Shares
Authorized Participants
Likelihood of Becoming a Statutory Underwriter
General
LEGAL MATTERS
EXPERTS
WHERE INVESTORS CAN FIND MORE INFORMATION
RECENT FINANCIAL INFORMATION AND ANNUAL REPORTS
PRIVACY POLICY
The Trust’s Commitment to Investors
The Information the Trust Collects About Investors
How the Trust Handles Investors’ Personal Information
How the Trust Safeguards Investors’ Personal Information
INCORPORATION BY REFERENCE OF CERTAIN DOCUMENTS
Litigation and Regulatory Disclosure Relating to FCMs
SWAP COUNTERPARTIES
Litigation and Regulatory Disclosure Relating to Swap Counterparties
APPENDIX A—GLOSSARY OF DEFINED TERMS
1
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PART ONE
OFFERED SERIES DISCLOSURE
SUMMARY
Investors should read the following summary together with the more detailed information in this Prospectus before investing in Shares of any of the Funds, including the information under the caption “Risk Factors,” and all exhibits to this Prospectus and the information incorporated by reference in this Prospectus, including the financial statements and the notes to those financial statements in the Trust’s Annual Report on Form 10-K, and the Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, and Current Reports, if any, on Form 8-K. Please see the section entitled “Incorporation by Reference of Certain Documents” in Part Two of this Prospectus.
For ease of reference, any references throughout this Prospectus to various actions taken by any or all of the Funds are actually actions taken by the Trust on behalf of such Funds.
The definitions of capitalized terms used in this Prospectus can be found in the Glossary of Defined Terms in Appendix A and throughout this Prospectus.
Important Information About the Funds
THE FUNDS PRESENT SIGNIFICANT RISKS NOT APPLICABLE TO OTHER TYPES OF FUNDS, INCLUDING RISKS RELATING TO INVESTING IN VIX FUTURES CONTRACTS. THE FUNDS ARE NOT APPROPRIATE FOR ALL INVESTORS. THE ULTRA FUND USES LEVERAGE AND IS RISKIER THAN SIMILARLY BENCHMARKED EXCHANGE-TRADED FUNDS THAT DO NOT USE LEVERAGE. AN INVESTOR SHOULD ONLY CONSIDER AN INVESTMENT IN A GEARED FUND IF HE OR SHE UNDERSTANDS THE CONSEQUENCES OF SEEKING DAILY INVESTMENT RESULTS AND THE IMPACT OF COMPOUNDING ON GEARED FUND PERFORMANCE.
THE RETURN OF A GEARED FUND FOR A PERIOD LONGER THAN A SINGLE DAY IS THE RESULT OF ITS RETURN FOR EACH DAY COMPOUNDED OVER THE PERIOD AND USUALLY WILL DIFFER IN AMOUNT AND POSSIBLY EVEN DIRECTION FROM THE GEARED FUND’S STATED MULTIPLE TIMES THE RETURN OF THE INDEX FOR THE SAME PERIOD. THESE DIFFERENCES CAN BE SIGNIFICANT.
THE FUNDS’ INVESTMENTS MAY BE ILLIQUID AND/OR HIGHLY VOLATILE AND THE FUNDS MAY EXPERIENCE LARGE LOSSES FROM BUYING, SELLING OR HOLDING SUCH INVESTMENTS. AN INVESTOR IN ANY OF THE FUNDS COULD POTENTIALLY LOSE THE FULL PRINCIPAL VALUE OF HIS/HER INVESTMENT WITHIN A SINGLE DAY.
SHAREHOLDERS WHO INVEST IN THE FUNDS SHOULD ACTIVELY MANAGE AND MONITOR THEIR INVESTMENTS,
AS FREQUENTLY AS DAILY.
All Funds
An investor should only consider an investment in a Fund if he or she understands the consequences of seeking exposure to VIX futures contracts. The Funds are benchmarked to the S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures Index; the Funds are not benchmarked to the VIX. The S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures Index and the VIX are two separate Indices and can be expected to perform very differently.
The VIX is a non-investable index that measures the implied volatility of the S&P 500. For these purposes, “implied volatility” is a measure of the expected volatility (i.e., the rate and magnitude of variations in performance) of the S&P 500 over the next 30 days. The VIX does not represent the actual volatility of the S&P 500. The VIX is calculated based on the prices of a constantly changing portfolio of S&P 500 put and call options. The S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures Index, the Index used by each Fund, consists of short-term VIX futures contracts. As such, the performance of the S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures Index, and therefore the performance of the Funds, can be expected to be very different from the actual volatility of the S&P 500 or the performance of the VIX. As a result, the performance of the Funds also can be expected to be very different from the actual volatility of the S&P 500, the performance of the VIX or one and one-half times (1.5x) or one-half the inverse (-0.5x) of the actual volatility of the S&P 500 or the performance of the VIX.
Unlike certain other asset classes that, in general, have historically increased in price over long periods of time, the volatility of the S&P 500 as measured by the VIX has historically reverted to a long-term average level over time. This means that the potential upside of an investment in a Fund may be limited. In addition, gains, if any, may be subject to significant and unexpected reversals. Investors holding Shares of the Funds beyond short-term periods have an increased risk of losing all or a substantial portion of their investment. The Funds generally are intended to be used only for short-term investment horizons. Shareholders who invest in the Funds should actively manage and monitor their investments, as frequently as daily.
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Geared Funds
The Ultra Fund and the Short Fund are referred to herein as “Geared Funds.” The Ultra Fund seeks daily investment results, before fees and expenses, that correspond to one and one-half times (1.5x) the performance of the Index for a single day, not for any other period. The Short Fund seeks daily investment results, before fees and expenses, that correspond to one-half the inverse (-0.5x) of the performance of the Index for a single day, not for any other period. The return of a Geared Fund for a period longer than a single day is the result of its return for each day compounded over the period and usually will differ in amount and possibly even direction from the Geared Fund’s stated multiple times the return of the Index for the same period. These differences can be significant. Daily compounding of a Geared Fund’s investment returns can dramatically and adversely affect its longer-term performance, especially during periods of high volatility. Volatility has a negative impact on Geared Fund performance and may be at least as important to a Geared Fund’s return for a period as the return of the Geared Fund’s underlying Index. The Ultra Fund uses leverage and should produce returns for a single day that are more volatile than that of the Index. For example, the return for a single day of the Ultra Fund with its 1.5x multiple should be approximately one and one-half times as volatile for a single day as the return of a fund with an objective of matching the same Index.
Overview
Fund Name
Index
ProShares VIX Short-Term Futures ETF
S&P 500® VIX Short-Term Futures Index
ProShares Ultra VIX Short-Term Futures ETF
S&P 500® VIX Short-Term Futures Index
ProShares Short VIX Short-Term Futures ETF
S&P 500® VIX Short-Term Futures Index
The Funds are benchmarked to the S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures Index (the “Index”), an investable index of VIX futures contracts. The Funds are not benchmarked to the VIX. The VIX is a non-investable index that measures the implied volatility of the S&P 500. The market’s current expectation of the possible rate and magnitude of movements in an index is commonly referred to as the “implied volatility” of the index. For these purposes, “implied volatility” is a measure of the expected volatility of the S&P 500 over the next 30 days. The VIX does not represent the actual or the realized volatility of the S&P 500. The VIX is calculated based on the prices of a constantly changing portfolio of S&P 500 put and call options. The Index consists of short-term VIX futures contracts.
THE PERFORMANCE OF THE INDEX AND THE FUNDS CAN BE EXPECTED TO BE VERY DIFFERENT FROM THE ACTUAL VOLATILITY OF THE S&P 500 OR THE PERFORMANCE OF THE VIX OR ONE AND ONE-HALF TIMES (1.5X) OR
ONE-HALF THE INVERSE (-0.5X) OF THE ACTUAL VOLATILITY OF THE S&P 500 OR THE PERFORMANCE OF THE VIX.
The Matching Fund
The Matching Fund seeks investment results, before fees and expenses, that over time, match the performance of the Index.
The Ultra Fund
The Ultra Fund seeks daily investment results, before fees and expenses, that correspond to one and one-half times (1.5x) the performance of the Index for a single day, not for any other period. A “single day” is measured from the time the Fund calculates its NAV to the time of the Fund’s next NAV calculation. The NAV calculation time for the Funds typically is 4:00 p.m. (Eastern Time).
The Ultra Fund seeks to engage in daily rebalancing to position its portfolio so that its exposure to the Index is consistent with its daily investment objective. The impact of changes to the value of the Index each day will affect whether the Ultra Fund’s portfolio needs to be rebalanced. For example, if the level of the Index has risen on a given day, net assets of the Ultra Fund should rise (assuming there were no Creation Units redeemed). As a result, long exposure will need to be increased. Conversely, if the level of the Index has fallen on a given day, net assets of the Ultra Fund should fall (assuming there were no Creation Units issued). As a result, long exposure will need to be decreased. The time and manner in which the Ultra Fund rebalances its portfolio may vary from day to day depending upon market conditions and other circumstances at the discretion of the Sponsor.
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DAILY REBALANCING AND THE COMPOUNDING OF EACH DAY’S RETURN OVER TIME MEANS THAT THE RETURN OF THE ULTRA FUND FOR A PERIOD LONGER THAN A SINGLE DAY WILL BE THE RESULT OF EACH DAY’S RETURNS COMPOUNDED OVER THE PERIOD, WHICH WILL VERY LIKELY DIFFER FROM ONE AND ONE-HALF TIMES (1.5X) THE RETURN OF THE INDEX FOR THE SAME PERIOD. THESE DIFFERENCES CAN BE SIGNIFICANT. THE ULTRA FUND WILL LOSE MONEY IF THE INDEX’S PERFORMANCE IS FLAT OVER TIME, AND THE FUND CAN LOSE MONEY REGARDLESS OF THE PERFORMANCE OF THE INDEX, AS A RESULT OF DAILY REBALANCING, THE INDEX’S
VOLATILITY, COMPOUNDING AND OTHER FACTORS.
The Short Fund
The Short Fund seeks daily investment results, before fees and expenses, that correspond to one-half the inverse (-0.5x) of the performance of the Index for a single day, not for any other period. The Short Fund does not seek to achieve its stated objective over a period greater than a single day. A “single day” is measured from the time the Fund calculates its NAV to the time of the Fund’s next NAV calculation. The NAV calculation time for the Funds typically is 4:00 p.m. (Eastern Time). Please see the section entitled “Summary—Creation and Redemption Transactions” for additional details on the NAV calculation time for the Funds.
The Short Fund seeks to engage in daily rebalancing to position its portfolio so that its exposure to the Index is consistent with its daily investment objective. The impact of changes to the value of the Index each day will affect whether the Short Fund’s portfolio needs to be rebalanced. For example, if the level of the Index has risen on a given day, net assets of the Short Fund should fall (assuming there were no Creation Units issued). As a result, inverse exposure will need to be decreased. Conversely, if the level of the Index has fallen on a given day, net assets of the Short Fund should rise (assuming there were no Creation Unit redemptions). As a result, inverse exposure will need to be increased. The time and manner in which the Short Fund rebalances its portfolio may vary from day to day depending upon market conditions and other circumstances at the discretion of the Sponsor.
DAILY REBALANCING AND THE COMPOUNDING OF EACH DAY’S RETURN OVER TIME MEANS THAT THE RETURN OF THE SHORT FUND FOR A PERIOD LONGER THAN A SINGLE DAY WILL BE THE RESULT OF EACH DAY’S RETURNS COMPOUNDED OVER THE PERIOD, WHICH WILL VERY LIKELY DIFFER FROM ONE-HALF THE INVERSE (-0.5X) OF THE RETURN OF THE INDEX FOR THE SAME PERIOD. THESE DIFFERENCES CAN BE SIGNIFICANT. THE SHORT FUND WILL LOSE MONEY IF THE INDEX’S PERFORMANCE IS FLAT OVER TIME, AND THE SHORT FUND CAN LOSE MONEY REGARDLESS OF THE PERFORMANCE OF THE INDEX, AS A RESULT OF DAILY REBALANCING, THE
INDEX’S VOLATILITY, COMPOUNDING AND OTHER FACTORS.
All Funds
Each of the Funds intends to invest in Financial Instruments to gain the appropriate exposure to the Index in the manner and to the extent described herein. “Financial Instruments” are instruments whose value is derived from the value of an underlying asset, rate or benchmark (such asset, rate or benchmark, a “Reference Asset”) and include futures contracts, swap agreements, forward contracts, option contracts, exchange-traded notes (“ETNs”) and other instruments. The Funds will not directly invest in the VIX.
In seeking to achieve the Funds’ investment objectives, the Sponsor uses a mathematical approach to investing. Using this approach, the Sponsor determines the type, quantity and mix of Financial Instruments that the Sponsor believes, in combination, should produce daily returns consistent with the Funds’ objectives.
The Funds are not actively managed by traditional methods (e.g., by effecting changes in the composition of a portfolio on the basis of judgments relating to economic, financial and market conditions with a view toward obtaining positive results under all market conditions). Each Fund seeks to remain fully invested at all times in Financial Instruments and money market instruments that, in combination, provide exposure to the Index consistent with its investment objective, even during periods in which the Index is flat or moving in a manner which causes the value of a Fund to decline.
The Sponsor has the authority to change a Fund’s investment objective, benchmark or investment strategy at any time, or to terminate the Trust or a Fund, in each case, without shareholder approval or advance notice, subject to applicable regulatory requirements.
ProShare Capital Management LLC, a Maryland limited liability company, serves as the Trust’s Sponsor and commodity pool operator. The principal office of the Sponsor and the Funds is located at 7501 Wisconsin Avenue, Suite 1000E, Bethesda, Maryland 20814. The telephone number of the Sponsor and each of the Funds is (240) 497-6400.
Purchases and Sales in the Secondary Market
The Shares of each Fund are listed on Cboe BZX Exchange, Inc. (the “Exchange”) under the ticker symbols shown on the front cover of this Prospectus. Secondary market purchases and sales of Shares are subject to ordinary brokerage commissions and charges.
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Creation and Redemption Transactions
Only an Authorized Participant may purchase (i.e., create) or redeem Shares with the Funds. Authorized Participants may create and redeem Shares only in blocks of 50,000 Shares (25,000 Shares with respect to the Matching Fund only) (each such block, a “Creation Unit”) in the Funds. An “Authorized Participant” is an entity that has entered into an Authorized Participant Agreement with the Trust and the Sponsor. Creation Units are offered to Authorized Participants at each Fund’s NAV. Creation Units in a Fund are expected to be created when there is sufficient demand for Shares in such Fund that the market price per Share is at a premium to the NAV per Share. Authorized Participants will likely sell such Shares to the public at prices that are expected to reflect, among other factors, the trading price of the Shares of such Fund and the supply of and demand for the Shares at the time of sale. Similarly, it is expected that Creation Units in a Fund will be redeemed when the market price per Share of such Fund is at a discount to the NAV per Share. The Sponsor expects that the exploitation of such arbitrage opportunities by Authorized Participants and their clients will tend to cause the public trading price of the Shares to track the NAV per Share of a Fund over time, though there can be no guarantees this will be the case. Retail investors seeking to purchase or sell Shares on any day effect such transactions in the secondary market at the market price per Share, rather than in connection with the creation or redemption of Creation Units.
A creation transaction, which is subject to acceptance by SEI Investments Distribution Co. (“SEI” or the “Distributor”), generally takes place when an Authorized Participant deposits a specified amount of cash (unless as provided otherwise in this Prospectus) in exchange for a specified number of Creation Units. Similarly, Shares can be redeemed only in Creation Units, generally for cash (unless as provided otherwise in this Prospectus). Except when aggregated in Creation Units, Shares are not redeemable. The prices at which creations and redemptions occur are based on the next calculation of the NAV after an order is received in proper form, as described in the Authorized Participant Agreement and the related Authorized Participant Procedures Handbook. From time to time the Sponsor, in its sole discretion, may impose limits on the number of Creation Units that may be created each day by each Authorized Participant, or on the total number of Creation Units that may be created by all Authorized Participants on such day, or may suspend the purchase and/or redemption of Creation Units altogether. For example, the Sponsor may impose such limits or suspension if it believes doing so would help a Fund manage its portfolio, such as by allowing a Fund to comply with counterparty or position limits, or to manage or otherwise comply with Share registration requirements, or in response to significant and/or rapid increases in the size of a Fund as a result of an increase in creation activity. The manner by which Creation Units are purchased and redeemed is governed by the terms of this Prospectus, the Authorized Participant Agreement and Authorized Participant Procedures Handbook. Creation and redemption orders are not effective until accepted by the Distributor and may be rejected or revoked. By placing a purchase order, an Authorized Participant agrees to deposit cash (unless as provided otherwise in this Prospectus) with The Bank of New York Mellon (“BNYM”, the “Custodian”, the “Transfer Agent” and the “Administrator”), acting in its capacity as custodian of the Funds.
Creation and redemption transactions must be placed each day with SEI by the create/redeem cut-off time (stated below) to receive that day’s NAV. The Sponsor may require orders to be placed earlier if, for example, the Exchange or other exchange material to the valuation or operation of such Fund closes before such cut-off time. Because the primary trading session for the commodities and/or futures contracts underlying certain of the Funds have different closing (or fixing) times than U.S. Equity markets, the create/redeem cut-off time and NAV calculation time for each Fund may differ. See the section entitled “Net Asset Value” for additional information about the NAV calculations.
Create/Redeem Cut-off
NAV Calculation Time
2:00 p.m. (Eastern Time)
4:00 p.m. (Eastern Time)
Breakeven Amounts
A Fund will be profitable only if returns from the Fund’s investments exceed its “breakeven amount.” Estimated breakeven amounts are set forth in the table below. The estimated breakeven amounts represent the estimated amount of trading income that each Fund would need to achieve during one year to offset the Fund’s estimated fees, costs and expenses, net of any interest income earned by the Fund on its investments. Estimated amounts do not represent actual results, which may be different. It is not possible to predict whether a Fund will break even at the end of the first twelve months of an investment or any other period. See “Charges—Breakeven Table,” beginning on page 49, for more detailed tables showing Breakeven Amounts.
Fund Name
Breakeven Amount
(% Per Annum of
Average
Daily NAV)*
Assumed
Selling
Price
Per Share*
Breakeven Amount
($ for the
Assumed Selling
Price Per Share)*
ProShares Ultra VIX Short-Term Futures ETF
1.71%
$10.00
$0.17
ProShares Short VIX Short-Term Futures ETF
1.15%
$40.00
$0.46
ProShares VIX Short-Term Futures ETF*
1.05%
$15.00
$0.16

*
The breakeven analysis set forth in this table assumes that the Shares have a constant NAV equal to the amount shown. The amount approximates the NAV of such shares based on recent NAV history as of December 31, 2020, rounded to the nearest $5. The actual NAV of each Fund differs and is likely to change on a daily basis. The numbers in this chart have been rounded to the nearest 0.01.
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Important Tax Information
Please note that each Fund will distribute to each shareholder a Schedule K-1 that will contain information regarding the shareholder’s share of income and expense items of the Fund. Schedule K-1 is a complex form and shareholders may find that preparing tax returns may require additional time or may require the assistance of an accountant or other tax preparer, at an additional expense to the shareholder.
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RISK FACTOR SUMMARY
Risks Specific to the Geared Funds
The use of leveraged or inverse positions increases risk and could result in the total loss of an investor’s investment within a single day.
Due to the compounding of daily returns, a Geared Fund’s returns over periods longer than a single day will likely differ in amount and possibly even direction from the Fund’s stated multiple times the return of its benchmark for such period.
Intraday price performance of Geared Fund shares will likely differ from the Fund’s stated daily multiple times the performance of its benchmark for such day.
Risks Related to All Funds
There is no guarantee that any Fund will achieve its investment objective.
The assets that the Funds invest in can be highly volatile and the Funds may experience sudden and large losses when buying, selling or holding such instruments; you can lose all of your investment within a single day.
The Funds generally are intended to be used as a trading tool for short-term investment horizons and investors holding shares of the Funds over longer-term periods may be subject to increased risk of loss.
The Funds are benchmarked to the Index. They are not benchmarked to the VIX. The Index and each Fund should be expected to perform very differently from the VIX over all periods of time.
The level of the VIX has historically reverted to a long-term mean (i.e., average) level and any increase or decrease in the level of the VIX may be subject to significant and unexpected reversals.
The value of the Shares of each Fund is based on the value of, and realized gain or loss from, the Financial Instruments and other assets held by the Fund. Fluctuations in the price of these Financial Instruments or assets could materially adversely affect an investment in shares of the Fund.
Each Fund seeks to achieve its investment objective even during periods when the performance of the Index is flat or when the Index is movingin a manner that may cause the value of the Fund to decline.
The potential negative impact from rolling futures positions; there have been extended periods in the past where the investment strategies utilized by the Funds have caused significant and sustained losses.
The number of underlying components included in a Fund’s benchmark may impact the volatility of such benchmark, which could adversely affect an investment in the shares.
Possible illiquid markets may cause or exacerbate losses; the large size of the positions the Funds may acquire increases these risks .
Changes implemented by the Index provider that affect the composition and valuation of the Index could negatively impact the performance of the Index and therefore the performance of the Funds .
The CBOE can make changes to the methodology and calculation of the VIX that could affect the value of VIX futures contracts and, consequently, the value of the Index and the Funds .
The Indexmay underperform other asset classes and may underperform other indices or benchmarks based upon the same underlying reference asset.
Financial markets, including the Index and the Financial Instruments used by a Fund, and Fund Shares may be subject to unusual trading activity, volatility, and potential fraud and/or manipulation by third parties, which could have a negative impact on the performance of the Index and the Fund or the liquidity and price of Fund Shares.
A Fund may change its investment objective, benchmark and investment strategies, and/or may terminate, at any time without shareholder approval.
There may be circumstances that could prevent or make it impractical for a Fund to operate in a manner consistent with its investment objective and investment strategies.
Historical correlation trends between the Index and other asset classes may not continue or may reverse, limiting or eliminating any potential diversification or other benefit from owning a Fund.
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Index changes and market transactions, including the daily rebalancing of futures contracts by the Funds, may have a significant impact on the trading, liquidity and price of the futures contracts underlying the Index and, in turn, a significant impact on the performance of the Index and the Funds and the trading, liquidity and price of Fund Shares.
The lack of active trading markets for the shares may result in losses upon the sale of such shares.
Investors may be adversely affected by redemption or creation orders that are subject to postponement, limits, suspension or rejection under certain circumstances.
Purchases of Creation Units by Authorized Participants may be limited or suspended by the Sponsor in its sole discretion. For example, the Sponsor may limit or suspend the purchase of Creation Units if it believes doing so would help a Fund manage its portfolio, such as by allowing a Fund to comply with counterparty or position limits, or to manage or otherwise comply with Share registration requirements, or in response to significant and/or rapid increases in the size of a Fund as a result of an increase in creation activity. This may , among other things, cause Fund Shares to trade at a premium to NAV or otherwise have a negative impact on the liquidity and trading of Fund shares.
The NAV per share may not correspond to the market price per share.
Investors may be adversely affected by an overstatement or understatement of a Fund’s NAV due to the valuation method employed or errors in the NAV calculation.
The liquidity of the shares may also be affected by the withdrawal from participation of authorized participants, which could adversely affect the market price of the shares.
Shareholders that are not Authorized Participants may only purchase or sell their Shares in secondary trading markets, and the conditions associated with trading in secondary markets may adversely affect investors’ investment in the Shares .
A Fund’s listing exchange may halt trading in the Shares of the Fund which would adversely impact investors’ ability to sell shares and could lead to investor losses .
Shareholders do not have the protections associated with ownership of shares in an investment company registered under the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended (the “1940 Act”).
Regulatory and exchange daily price limits, position limits and accountability levels may cause the Sponsor to restrict the creation of creation units, which could have a negative impact on the operation of each Fund, prevent a Fund from achieving its investment objective, and disrupt secondary market trading of Fund Shares .
Margin requirements and position limits applicable to futures contracts and the availability of and margin required by swap counterpartiesmay limit a Fund’s ability to achieve sufficient exposure and prevent a Fund from achieving its investment objective.
The insolvency of a futures commission merchant (“FCM”) or clearinghouse or the failure of an FCM or clearinghouse to properly segregate Fund assets held as margin on futures transactions may result in losses to the Funds.
A Fund’s performance could be adversely affected if an FCM reduces its internal risk limits for the Fund.
Derivatives may expose the Funds to counterparty credit risk, liquidity risk, and other risks, which could result in significant loss to the Funds. Options use may becostly and may not protect a Fund, and changes to options pricing and valuation models may adversely affect the Funds.
Investors in the Funds may be exposed to various tax risks, as described in further detail herein .
Natural disasters and public health disruptions, such as the COVID-19 virus, may have a significant negative impact on the performance of each Fund; the risks and other information described herein could become outdated as a result of such events .
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RISK FACTORS
Investing in the Funds involves significant risks not applicable to other types of investments. The Funds may be highly volatile and you could potentially lose the full principal value of your investment within a single day. Before you decide to purchase any Shares, you should consider carefully the risks described below together with all of the other information included in this Prospectus, as well as information found in documents incorporated by reference in this Prospectus. These risk factors may be amended, supplemented or superseded from time to time by risk factors contained in any periodic report, prospectus supplement, post-effective amendment or in other reports filed with the SEC in the future.
The Funds may be highly volatile and generally are intended for short-term investment purposes only.
Risks Specific to the Geared Funds
In addition to the risks described elsewhere in this “Risk Factors” section, the following risks apply to the Geared Funds.
The use of leveraged positions increases risk and could result in the total loss of an investor’s investment within a single day.
The Ultra Fund utilizes leverage in seeking to achieve its investment objective and will lose more money in market environments adverse to its daily investment objective than funds that do not employ leverage. The use of leveraged positions increases risk and could result in the total loss of an investor’s investment within a single day. The more the Ultra Fund invests in leveraged positions, the more this leverage will magnify any losses on those investments. The Ultra Fund’s investments in leveraged positions generally requires a small investment relative to the amount of investment exposure assumed. As a result, such investments may give rise to losses that far exceed the amount invested in those instruments.
For example, because the Ultra Fund includes a one and one-half times (1.5x) multiplier, a single-day movement in the Index approaching 66.7% at any point in the day could result in the total loss or almost total loss of an investment in the Fund if that movement is contrary to the investment objective of the UltraFund. This would be the case with downward single-day or intraday movements in the Index, even if the Index maintains a level greater than zero at all times and even if the Index subsequently moves in an opposite direction, eliminating all or a portion of the prior adverse movement. It is not possible to predict when sudden large changes in the daily movement of a benchmark may occur.
Due to the compounding of daily returns, a Geared Fund’s returns over periods longer than a single day will likely differ in amount and possibly even direction from the Fund’s stated multiple times the return of the Index for such period.
Each of the Geared Funds is “geared” which means that each has an investment objective to seek daily investment results, before fees and expenses, that correspond either to one and one-half times (1.5x) of the performance or one-half the inverse (-0.5x) of the performance of the Index for a single day, not for any other period. A single day is measured from the time a Fund calculates its NAV to the time of the Fund’s next NAV calculation. The NAV calculation time for the Funds is 4:00 p.m. (Eastern Time); please see the section entitled “Summary—Creation and Redemption Transactions” for additional details on the NAV calculation time for the Funds. The return of a Geared Fund for a period longer than a single day is the result of its return for each day compounded over the period and usually will differ from one and one-half times (1.5x) or one-half the inverse (-0.5x) of the return of the Index for the same period. Compounding is the cumulative effect of applying investment gains and losses and income to the principal amount invested over time. Gains or losses experienced over a given period will increase or reduce the principal amount invested from which the subsequent period’s returns are calculated. The effects of compounding will likely cause the performance of a Geared Fund to differ from the Geared Fund’s stated multiple times the return of the Index for the same period. The effect of compounding becomes more pronounced as index volatility and holding period increase. The impact of compounding will impact each shareholder differently depending on the period of time an investment in a Geared Fund is held and the volatility of the index during the holding period of an investment in the Geared Fund.
A Geared Fund will lose money if the Index’s performance is flat over time, and a Geared Fund can lose money regardless of the performance of the Index, as a result of daily rebalancing, the Index’s volatility, compounding and other factors. Longer holding periods, higher index volatility, inverse exposure and greater leverage each affect the impact of compounding on a Geared Fund’s returns. Daily compounding of a Geared Fund’s investment returns can dramatically and adversely affect performance, especially during periods of high volatility. Volatility has a negative impact on Geared Fund performance and the volatility of the Index may be at least as important to a Geared Fund’s return for a period as the return of the Index.
The Ultra Fund uses leverage and should produce returns for a single day that are more volatile than that of the Index. For example, the return for a single day of the Ultra Fund with its 1.5x multiple should be approximately one and one-half times as volatile for a single day as the return of a fund with an objective of matching the performance of the Index. The return for a single day of the Short Fund with a -0.5x multiple should be approximately half as volatile for a single day as the return of a fund with an objective of matching the performance of the Index.
The Geared Funds are not appropriate for all investors and present different risks than other funds. The Ultra Fund uses leverage and is riskier than similarly benchmarked exchange-traded funds that do not use leverage. An investor should only consider an investment in a Geared
-11-

Fund if he or she understands the consequences of seeking daily leveraged or daily inverse investment results for a single day. Shareholders who invest in the Geared Funds should actively manage and monitor their investments, as frequently as daily.
The hypothetical examples below illustrate how daily geared fund returns can behave for periods longer than a single day. Each involves a hypothetical fund XYZ that seeks one and one-half times (1.5x) the daily performance of index XYZ, before fees and expenses. On each day, fund XYZ performs in line with its objective (one and one-half times (1.5x) the index’s daily performance before fees and expenses). Notice that, in the first example (showing an overall index loss for the period), over the entire seven-day period, the fund’s total return is more than one and one-half times the loss of the period return of the index. For the seven-day period, index XYZ lost 3.26% while fund XYZ lost -5.08% (versus -4.89% (or 1.5 x -3.26%)).
 
Index XYZ
Fund XYZ
Level
Daily
Performance
Daily
Performance
Net Asset
Value
Start
100.00
 
 
$100.00
Day 1
97.00
-3.00%
-4.50%
$95.50
Day 2
99.91
3.00%
4.50%
$99.80
Day 3
96.91
-3.00%
-4.50%
$95.31
Day 4
99.82
3.00%
4.50%
$99.60
Day 5
96.83
-3.00%
-4.50%
$95.11
Day 6
99.73
3.00%
4.50%
$99.39
Day 7
96.74
-3.00%
-4.50%
$94.92
Total Return
 
-3.26%
-5.08%
 
Similarly, in another example (showing an overall index gain for the period), over the entire seven-day period, the fund’s total return is less than one and one-half times (1.5x) that of the period return of the index. For the seven-day period, index XYZ gained 2.72% while fund XYZ gained 3.87% (versus 4.08% (or 1.5 x 2.72%)).
 
Index XYZ
Fund XYZ
Level
Daily
Performance
Daily
Performance
Net Asset
Value
Start
100.00
 
 
$100.00
Day 1
103.00
3.00%
4.50%
$104.50
Day 2
99.91
-3.00%
-4.50%
$99.80
Day 3
102.91
3.00%
4.50%
$104.29
Day 4
99.82
-3.00%
-4.50%
$99.60
Day 5
102.81
3.00%
4.50%
$104.08
Day 6
99.73
-3.00%
-4.50%
$99.39
Day 7
102.72
3.00%
4.50%
$103.87
Total Return
 
2.72%
3.87%
 
These effects are caused by compounding, which exists in all investments, but has a more significant impact in geared funds. In general, during periods of higher Index volatility, compounding will cause the Ultra Fund’s returns for periods longer than a single day to be less than one and one-half times (1.5x) the return of the Index (or less than one-half the inverse (-0.5x) of the return of the Index for the Short Fund). This effect becomes more pronounced as volatility increases. Conversely, in periods of lower Index volatility (particularly when combined with higher Index returns), the Ultra Fund’s returns over longer periods can be greater than one and one-half times (1.5x) the return of the Index (or greater than one-half the inverse (-0.5x) of the return of the Index for the Short Fund). Actual results for a particular period are also dependent on the magnitude of the Index return in addition to the Index volatility. Similar effects exist for the Short Fund.
The graphs that follow illustrate this point. Each of the graphs shows a simulated hypothetical one-year performance of an index compared with the performance of a geared fund that perfectly achieves its geared daily investment objective. The graphs demonstrate that, for periods greater than a single day, a geared fund is likely to underperform or overperform (but not match) the index performance (or the inverse of the index performance) times the multiple stated as the daily fund objective. Investors should understand the consequences of holding daily rebalanced funds for periods longer than a single day and should actively manage and monitor their investments, as frequently as daily. A one-year period is used solely for illustrative purposes. Deviations from the index return (or the inverse of the index return) times the fund multiple can occur over periods as short as two days (each day as measured from NAV to NAV) and may also occur in periods of a single day or even intra-day. To isolate the impact of daily leveraged or daily inverse exposure, these graphs assume: a) no fund expenses or transaction costs; b) borrowing/lending rates of zero percent (to obtain required leveraged or inverse exposure) and cash reinvestment rates of zero percent; and c) the fund consistently maintaining perfect exposure (1.5x or -0.5x) as of the fund’s NAV time each day. If these assumptions were different, the fund’s performance would be different than that shown. If fund expenses, transaction costs and financing expenses greater than zero percent were included, the fund’s performance would also be different than shown. Each of the graphs also assumes a volatility rate of 77.10%, which is an approximate average of the five-year historical volatility rate of the Index as of December 31, 2020. An index’s volatility rate is a statistical measure of the magnitude of fluctuations in its returns.
-12-

HYPOTHETICAL PERFORMANCE RESULTS HAVE MANY INHERENT LIMITATIONS. NO REPRESENTATION IS BEING MADE THAT ANY INDEX OR FUND WILL OR IS LIKELY TO ACHIEVE GAINS OR LOSSES SIMILAR TO THOSE SHOWN OR WILL EXPERIENCE VOLATILITY SIMILAR TO THAT SHOWN. THE INFORMATION PROVIDED IN THE CHART BELOW IS FOR ILLUSTRATIVE PURPOSES ONLY.
One-Year Simulation; Benchmark Flat (0%)
(Annualized Benchmark Volatility 77%)
The graph above shows a scenario where the benchmark, which exhibits day-to-day volatility, is flat or trendless over the year (i.e., provides a return of 0% over the course of the year), but the Short Fund (-0.5x) is down.
HYPOTHETICAL PERFORMANCE RESULTS HAVE MANY INHERENT LIMITATIONS. NO REPRESENTATION IS BEING MADE THAT ANY INDEX OR FUND WILL OR IS LIKELY TO ACHIEVE GAINS OR LOSSES SIMILAR TO THOSE SHOWN OR WILL EXPERIENCE VOLATILITY SIMILAR TO THAT SHOWN. THE INFORMATION PROVIDED IN THE CHART BELOW IS FOR ILLUSTRATIVE PURPOSES ONLY.
One-Year Simulation; Benchmark Down 62%
(Annualized Benchmark Volatility 77%)
The graph above shows a scenario where the benchmark, which exhibits day-to-day volatility, is down over the year, but the Short Fund (-0.5x) is up less than one-half the inverse of the benchmark.
HYPOTHETICAL PERFORMANCE RESULTS HAVE MANY INHERENT LIMITATIONS. NO REPRESENTATION IS BEING MADE THAT ANY INDEX OR FUND WILL OR IS LIKELY TO ACHIEVE GAINS OR LOSSES SIMILAR TO THOSE SHOWN OR
-13-

WILL EXPERIENCE VOLATILITY SIMILAR TO THAT SHOWN. THE INFORMATION PROVIDED IN THE CHART BELOW IS FOR ILLUSTRATIVE PURPOSES ONLY.
One-Year Simulation; Benchmark Up 62%
(Annualized Benchmark Volatility 77%)
The graph above shows a scenario where the benchmark, which exhibits day-to-day volatility, is up over the year, but the Short Fund (-0.5x) is down more than one-half the inverse of the benchmark.
HYPOTHETICAL PERFORMANCE RESULTS HAVE MANY INHERENT LIMITATIONS. NO REPRESENTATION IS BEING MADE THAT ANY INDEX OR FUND WILL OR IS LIKELY TO ACHIEVE GAINS OR LOSSES SIMILAR TO THOSE SHOWN OR WILL EXPERIENCE VOLATILITY SIMILAR TO THAT SHOWN. THE INFORMATION PROVIDED IN THE CHART BELOW IS FOR ILLUSTRATIVE PURPOSES ONLY.
One-Year Simulation; Benchmark Flat (0%)
(Annualized Benchmark Volatility 77%)
The graph above shows a scenario where the benchmark, which exhibits day-to-day volatility, is flat or trendless over the year (i.e., provides a return of 0% over the course of the year), but the Ultra Fund (+1.5x) isdown.
HYPOTHETICAL PERFORMANCE RESULTS HAVE MANY INHERENT LIMITATIONS. NO REPRESENTATION IS BEING MADE THAT ANY INDEX OR FUND WILL OR IS LIKELY TO ACHIEVE GAINS OR LOSSES SIMILAR TO THOSE SHOWN OR WILL EXPERIENCE VOLATILITY SIMILAR TO THAT SHOWN. THE INFORMATION PROVIDED IN THE CHART BELOW IS FOR ILLUSTRATIVE PURPOSES ONLY.
-14-

One-Year Simulation; Benchmark Down 62%
(Annualized Benchmark Volatility 77%)
The graph above shows a scenario where the benchmark, which exhibits day-to-day volatility, is down over the year, but the Ultra Fund (+1.5x) is down less than one and one-half times thebenchmark.
HYPOTHETICAL PERFORMANCE RESULTS HAVE MANY INHERENT LIMITATIONS. NO REPRESENTATION IS BEING MADE THAT ANY INDEX OR FUND WILL OR IS LIKELY TO ACHIEVE GAINS OR LOSSES SIMILAR TO THOSE SHOWN OR WILL EXPERIENCE VOLATILITY SIMILAR TO THAT SHOWN. THE INFORMATION PROVIDED IN THE CHART BELOW IS FOR ILLUSTRATIVE PURPOSES ONLY.
One-Year Simulation; Benchmark Up 62%
(Annualized Benchmark Volatility 77%)
The graph above shows a scenario where the benchmark, which exhibits day-to-day volatility, is up over the year, but the Ultra Fund (+1.5x) is up less than one and one-half times thebenchmark.
The historical five year average volatility of the Index was approximately 77% as of December 31, 2020.
Historical average volatility does not predict future volatility, which may be significantly higher or lower than historical averages.
Fund performance for periods greater than a single day can be estimated given any set of assumptions for the following factors: a) benchmark volatility; b) benchmark performance; c) period of time; d) financing rates associated with leveraged exposure; and e) other Fund expenses. The tables below illustrate the impact of two factors that affect a geared fund’s performance, index volatility and index return. Index
-15-

volatility is a statistical measure of the magnitude of fluctuations in the returns of an index and is calculated as the standard deviation of the natural logarithms of one plus the index return (calculated daily), multiplied by the square root of the number of trading days per year (assumed to be 252). The tables show estimated fund returns for a number of combinations of index volatility and index return over a one-year period. To isolate the impact of daily leveraged or one-half inverse exposure, the tables assume: a) no fund expenses or transaction costs; b) borrowing/lending rates of zero percent (to obtain required leveraged or inverse exposure) and cash reinvestment rates of zero percent; and c) the fund consistently maintaining perfect exposure (1.5x or -0.5x) as of the fund’s NAV time each day. If these assumptions were different, the fund’s performance would be different than that shown. If fund expenses, transaction costs and financing expenses were included, the fund’s performance would be different that shown.
The first table below shows an example in which a geared fund has an investment objective to correspond (before fees and expenses) to one and one-half times (1.5x) the daily performance of an index. The geared fund could incorrectly be expected to achieve a 15% return on a yearly basis if the index return was 10%, absent the effects of compounding. However, as the table shows, with an index volatility of 40%, such a fund would return 8.7%. In the charts below, shaded areas represent those scenarios where a geared fund with the investment objective described will outperform (i.e., return more than) the index performance times the stated multiple in the fund’s investment objective; conversely, areas not shaded represent those scenarios where the fund will underperform (i.e., return less than) the index performance times the multiple stated as the daily fund objective.
HYPOTHETICAL PERFORMANCE RESULTS HAVE MANY INHERENT LIMITATIONS. NO REPRESENTATION IS BEING MADE THAT ANY INDEX OR FUND WILL OR IS LIKELY TO ACHIEVE GAINS OR LOSSES SIMILAR TO THOSE SHOWN OR WILL EXPERIENCE VOLATILITY SIMILAR TO THAT SHOWN. THE INFORMATION PROVIDED IN THE CHART BELOW IS FOR ILLUSTRATIVE PURPOSES ONLY.
Estimated Fund Return Over One Year When the Fund’s Objective is to Seek Daily Investment Results, Before Fees and Expenses, that Correspond to One-Half the Inverse (-0.5x) of the Performance of an Index For a Single Day.
One Year
Index
Performance
One-Half the
Invers (-0.5x)
One Year
Index
Performance
Index Volatility
0%
5%
10%
15%
20%
25%
30%
35%
40%
45%
50%
55%
60%
65%
70%
75%
-60%
30.0%
58.1%
58.0%
57.5%
56.8%
55.8%
54.5%
52.9%
51.0%
48.9%
46.6%
44.0%
41.2%
38.1%
34.9%
31.6%
28.0%
-55%
27.5%
49.1%
48.9%
48.5%
47.8%
46.9%
45.6%
44.1%
42.4%
40.4%
38.2%
35.7%
33.1%
30.2%
27.2%
24.0%
20.7%
-50%
25.0%
41.4%
41.3%
40.9%
40.2%
39.3%
38.1%
36.7%
35.1%
33.2%
31.1%
28.8%
26.3%
23.6%
20.7%
17.7%
14.5%
-45%
22.5%
34.8%
34.7%
34.3%
33.7%
32.8%
31.7%
30.4%
28.8%
27.0%
25.0%
22.8%
20.4%
17.8%
15.1%
12.2%
9.2%
-40%
20.0%
29.1%
29.0%
28.6%
28.0%
27.2%
26.1%
24.8%
23.3%
21.6%
19.7%
17.5%
15.3%
12.8%
10.2%
7.4%
4.5%
-35%
17.5%
24.0%
23.9%
23.6%
23.0%
22.2%
21.2%
19.9%
18.5%
16.8%
15.0%
12.9%
10.7%
8.4%
5.9%
3.2%
0.4%
-30%
15.0%
19.5%
19.4%
19.1%
18.5%
17.7%
16.8%
15.6%
14.2%
12.6%
10.8%
8.8%
6.7%
4.4%
2.0%
-0.5%
-3.2%
-25%
12.5%
15.5%
15.4%
15.0%
14.5%
13.8%
12.8%
11.6%
10.3%
8.7%
7.0%
5.1%
3.1%
0.9%
-1.4%
-3.9%
-6.5%
-20%
10.0%
11.8%
11.7%
11.4%
10.9%
10.1%
9.2%
8.1%
6.8%
5.3%
3.6%
1.8%
-0.2%
-2.3%
-4.6%
-7.0%
-9.5%
-15%
7.5%
8.5%
8.4%
8.1%
7.6%
6.9%
6.0%
4.9%
3.6%
2.1%
0.5%
-1.2%
-3.2%
-5.2%
-7.4%
-9.7%
-12.2%
-10%
5.0%
5.4%
5.3%
5.0%
4.5%
3.8%
3.0%
1.9%
0.7%
-0.7%
-2.3%
-4.0%
-5.9%
-7.9%
-10.0%
-12.3%
-14.6%
-5%
2.5%
2.6%
2.5%
2.2%
1.7%
1.1%
0.2%
-0.8%
-2.0%
-3.4%
-4.9%
-6.6%
-8.4%
-10.4%
-12.4%
-14.6%
-16.9%
0%
0.0%
0.0%
-0.1%
-0.4%
-0.8%
-1.5%
-2.3%
-3.3%
-4.5%
-5.8%
-7.3%
-8.9%
-10.7%
-12.6%
-14.7%
-16.8%
-19.0%
5%
-2.5%
-2.4%
-2.5%
-2.8%
-3.2%
-3.9%
-4.7%
-5.6%
-6.8%
-8.1%
-9.5%
-11.1%
-12.9%
-14.7%
-16.7%
-18.8%
-21.0%
10%
-5.0%
-4.7%
-4.7%
-5.0%
-5.5%
-6.1%
-6.9%
-7.8%
-8.9%
-10.2%
-11.6%
-13.2%
-14.9%
-16.7%
-18.6%
-20.7%
-22.8%
15%
-7.5%
-6.7%
-6.8%
-7.1%
-7.5%
-8.1%
-8.9%
-9.8%
-10.9%
-12.2%
-13.6%
-15.1%
-16.7%
-18.5%
-20.4%
-22.4%
-24.5%
20%
-10.0%
-8.7%
-8.8%
-9.1%
-9.5%
-10.1%
-10.8%
-11.7%
-12.8%
-14.0%
-15.4%
-16.9%
-18.5%
-20.2%
-22.1%
-24.0%
-26.1%
25%
-12.5%
-10.6%
-10.6%
-10.9%
-11.3%
-11.9%
-12.6%
-13.5%
-14.6%
-15.8%
-17.1%
-18.6%
-20.1%
-21.9%
-23.7%
-25.6%
-27.6%
30%
-15.0%
-12.3%
-12.4%
-12.6%
-13.0%
-13.6%
-14.3%
-15.2%
-16.2%
-17.4%
-18.7%
-20.1%
-21.7%
-23.4%
-25.1%
-27.0%
-29.0%
35%
-17.5%
-13.9%
-14.0%
-14.3%
-14.7%
-15.2%
-15.9%
-16.8%
-17.8%
-18.9%
-20.2%
-21.6%
-23.2%
-24.8%
-26.5%
-28.4%
-30.3%
40%
-20.0%
-15.5%
-15.6%
-15.8%
-16.2%
-16.7%
-17.4%
-18.3%
-19.3%
-20.4%
-21.7%
-23.0%
-24.5%
-26.2%
-27.9%
-29.7%
-31.6%
45%
-22.5%
-17.0%
-17.0%
-17.3%
-17.7%
-18.2%
-18.9%
-19.7%
-20.7%
-21.8%
-23.0%
-24.4%
-25.9%
-27.4%
-29.1%
-30.9%
-32.7%
50%
-25.0%
-18.4%
-18.4%
-18.7%
-19.0%
-19.6%
-20.2%
-21.1%
-22.0%
-23.1%
-24.3%
-25.7%
-27.1%
-28.7%
-30.3%
-32.1%
-33.9%
55%
-27.5%
-19.7%
-19.8%
-20.0%
-20.4%
-20.9%
-21.5%
-22.3%
-23.3%
-24.4%
-25.6%
-26.9%
-28.3%
-29.8%
-31.4%
-33.2%
-35.0%
60%
-30.0%
-20.9%
-21.0%
-21.2%
-21.6%
-22.1%
-22.8%
-23.6%
-24.5%
-25.5%
-26.7%
-28.0%
-29.4%
-30.9%
-32.5%
-34.2%
-36.0%
-16-

Estimated Fund Return Over One Year When the Fund’s Objective is to Seek Daily Investment Results, Before Fees and Expenses, that Correspond to One and One-Half Times (1.5x) the Performance of an Index For a Single Day.
One Year
Index
Performance
One and
One-Half
Times (1.5x)
One Year
Index
Performance
Index Volatility
0%
5%
10%
15%
20%
25%
30%
35%
40%
45%
50%
55%
60%
65%
70%
75%
-60%
-90.0%
-74.7%
-74.7%
-74.8%
-74.9%
-75.1%
-75.3%
-75.5%
-75.8%
-76.2%
-76.6%
-77.0%
-77.4%
-77.9%
-78.4%
-78.9%
-79.5%
-55%
-82.5%
-69.8%
-69.8%
-69.9%
-70.1%
-70.3%
-70.5%
-70.8%
-71.2%
-71.6%
-72.0%
-72.5%
-73.1%
-73.6%
-74.2%
-74.9%
-75.6%
-50%
-75.0%
-64.6%
-64.7%
-64.8%
-64.9%
-65.2%
-65.5%
-65.8%
-66.2%
-66.7%
-67.2%
-67.8%
-68.4%
-69.1%
-69.8%
-70.6%
-71.4%
-45%
-67.5%
-59.2%
-59.2%
-59.4%
-59.6%
-59.8%
-60.2%
-60.6%
-61.0%
-61.6%
-62.2%
-62.9%
-63.6%
-64.4%
-65.2%
-66.1%
-67.0%
-40%
-60.0%
-53.5%
-53.6%
-53.7%
-53.9%
-54.2%
-54.6%
-55.1%
-55.6%
-56.2%
-56.9%
-57.7%
-58.5%
-59.4%
-60.3%
-61.3%
-62.4%
-35%
-52.5%
-47.6%
-47.6%
-47.8%
-48.0%
-48.4%
-48.8%
-49.3%
-49.9%
-50.6%
-51.4%
-52.3%
-53.2%
-54.2%
-55.3%
-56.4%
-57.6%
-30%
-45.0%
-41.4%
-41.5%
-41.7%
-41.9%
-42.3%
-42.8%
-43.4%
-44.1%
-44.8%
-45.7%
-46.7%
-47.7%
-48.8%
-50.0%
-51.3%
-52.6%
-25%
-37.5%
-35.0%
-35.1%
-35.3%
-35.6%
-36.0%
-36.6%
-37.2%
-38.0%
-38.8%
-39.8%
-40.9%
-42.0%
-43.3%
-44.6%
-46.0%
-47.4%
-20%
-30.0%
-28.4%
-28.5%
-28.7%
-29.0%
-29.5%
-30.1%
-30.8%
-31.7%
-32.6%
-33.7%
-34.8%
-36.1%
-37.5%
-38.9%
-40.5%
-42.1%
-15%
-22.5%
-21.6%
-21.7%
-21.9%
-22.3%
-22.8%
-23.4%
-24.2%
-25.2%
-26.2%
-27.4%
-28.6%
-30.0%
-31.5%
-33.1%
-34.8%
-36.5%
-10%
-15.0%
-14.6%
-14.7%
-14.9%
-15.3%
-15.9%
-16.6%
-17.5%
-18.5%
-19.6%
-20.9%
-22.3%
-23.8%
-25.4%
-27.1%
-29.0%
-30.9%
-5%
-7.5%
-7.4%
-7.5%
-7.8%
-8.2%
-8.8%
-9.6%
-10.5%
-11.6%
-12.8%
-14.2%
-15.7%
-17.3%
-19.1%
-21.0%
-22.9%
-25.0%
0%
0.0%
0.0%
-0.1%
-0.4%
-0.8%
-1.5%
-2.3%
-3.3%
-4.5%
-5.8%
-7.3%
-8.9%
-10.7%
-12.6%
-14.7%
-16.8%
-19.0%
5%
7.5%
7.6%
7.5%
7.2%
6.7%
6.0%
5.1%
4.0%
2.8%
1.3%
-0.3%
-2.0%
-3.9%
-6.0%
-8.2%
-10.5%
-12.9%
10%
15.0%
15.4%
15.3%
14.9%
14.4%
13.7%
12.7%
11.5%
10.2%
8.7%
6.9%
5.0%
3.0%
0.8%
-1.5%
-4.0%
-6.6%
15%
22.5%
23.3%
23.2%
22.9%
22.3%
21.5%
20.5%
19.2%
17.8%
16.1%
14.3%
12.3%
10.1%
7.7%
5.3%
2.6%
-0.1%
20%
30.0%
31.5%
31.3%
31.0%
30.3%
29.5%
28.4%
27.1%
25.6%
23.8%
21.8%
19.7%
17.4%
14.9%
12.2%
9.4%
6.5%
25%
37.5%
39.8%
39.6%
39.2%
38.6%
37.7%
36.5%
35.1%
33.5%
31.6%
29.5%
27.2%
24.8%
22.1%
19.3%
16.3%
13.2%
30%
45.0%
48.2%
48.1%
47.7%
47.0%
46.0%
44.8%
43.3%
41.6%
39.6%
37.4%
35.0%
32.3%
29.5%
26.5%
23.3%
20.0%
35%
52.5%
56.9%
56.7%
56.3%
55.5%
54.5%
53.2%
51.7%
49.8%
47.7%
45.4%
42.8%
40.0%
37.0%
33.9%
30.5%
27.0%
40%
60.0%
65.7%
65.5%
65.0%
64.3%
63.2%
61.8%
60.2%
58.2%
56.0%
53.5%
50.8%
47.9%
44.7%
41.4%
37.8%
34.1%
45%
67.5%
74.6%
74.4%
73.9%
73.1%
72.0%
70.6%
68.8%
66.8%
64.4%
61.8%
59.0%
55.9%
52.6%
49.0%
45.3%
41.4%
50%
75.0%
83.7%
83.5%
83.0%
82.2%
81.0%
79.5%
77.6%
75.5%
73.0%
70.3%
67.3%
64.0%
60.5%
56.8%
52.9%
48.8%
55%
82.5%
93.0%
92.8%
92.3%
91.4%
90.1%
88.5%
86.6%
84.3%
81.7%
78.9%
75.7%
72.3%
68.6%
64.7%
60.6%
56.3%
60%
90.0%
102.4%
102.2%
101.6%
100.7%
99.4%
97.7%
95.7%
93.3%
90.6%
87.6%
84.3%
80.7%
76.8%
72.7%
68.4%
63.9%
The foregoing tables are intended to isolate the effect of benchmark volatility and benchmark performance on the return of leveraged or inverse funds. The Funds’ actual returns may be greater or less than the returns shown above.
Correlation and Performance Risks Specific to the Geared Funds.
While the Geared Funds seek to meet their investment objectives, there is no guarantee they will do so.
Factors that may affect a Geared Fund’s ability to meet its investment objective include: (1) the Sponsor’s ability to purchase and sell Financial Instruments in a manner that correlates to a Fund’s objective, including the Sponsor’s ability to enter into new positions and contracts to replace exposure that has been reduced or terminated by a counterparty or otherwise; (2) an imperfect correlation between the performance of the Financial Instruments held by a Fund and the performance of the Index; (3) bid-ask spreads on such Financial Instruments; (4) fees, expenses, transaction costs, financing costs and margin requirements associated with the use of Financial Instruments and commission costs; (5) holding or trading Financial Instruments in a market that has become illiquid or disrupted; (6) a Fund’s Share prices being rounded to the nearest cent and/or valuation methodologies; (7) changes to the Index that are not disseminated in advance; (8) the need to conform a Fund’s portfolio holdings to comply with investment restrictions or policies, position limits and accountability levels, and regulatory or tax law requirements; (9) early or unanticipated closings of the markets on which the holdings of a Fund trade, limiting or preventing the Fund from executing intended portfolio transactions; (10) accounting standards; (11) differences caused by a Fund obtaining exposure to only a representative sample of the components of the Index, overweighting or underweighting certain components of the Index or obtaining exposure to assets that are not included in the Index; (12) large movements of assets into and/or out of a Fund, particularly late in the day; (13) significant and/or rapid increases in the size of the Fund as a result of an increase in creation activity that cause the Fund to approach or reach Share registration limits, position or accountability limits or other portfolio limits; and (14) events such as natural disasters (including disease, epidemics and pandemics) that can be highly disruptive to economies, markets and companies including, but not limited to, the Sponsor and third party service providers.
In order to achieve a high degree of correlation with the Index, each Geared Fund seeks to rebalance its portfolio daily to keep exposure consistent with its investment objective. A Geared Fund’s ability to achieve or maintain such exposure may be limited by a number of factors. These risks are particularly acute for the Geared Funds due to the high degree of volatility in VIX futures contracts. For example, being materially under or overexposed to the Index may prevent a Geared Fund from achieving a high degree of correlation with the Index. Market disruptions or closures, large movements of assets into or out of a Geared Fund, regulatory restrictions, market volatility, illiquidity, margin requirements, accountability levels, position limits, and daily price fluctuation limits set by the exchanges and other factors will adversely affect a Geared Fund’s ability to adjust exposure to requisite levels. The target amount of a Fund’s portfolio exposure may be impacted by changes to the value of the Index each day. Other things being equal, more significant movement in the value of its benchmark, up or down, will require more significant adjustments to a Fund’s portfolio. Because of this, it is unlikely that a Geared Fund will be perfectly exposed (i.e., 1.5x or -0.5x,
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as applicable) at the end of each day, and the likelihood of being materially under- or overexposed is higher on days when the index levels are volatile at or near the close of the trading day.
The time and manner in which a Geared Fund rebalances its portfolio may vary from day to day at the discretion of the Sponsor depending upon market conditions and other circumstances. Unlike other funds that do not rebalance their portfolios as frequently, the Geared Funds may be subject to increased trading costs associated with daily portfolio rebalancings. The effects of these trading costs have been estimated and included in the Breakeven Table. See “Charges—Breakeven Table” below.
For general correlation risks applicable to each Fund, including the Matching Fund, please see the risk factor herein entitled “Several factors may affect a Fund’s ability to closely track the Index on a consistent basis.”
Intraday Price/Performance of Fund Shares Will Likely Differ from the Fund’s Stated Daily Multiple Times the Performance of its Benchmark for Such Day.
The intraday performance of Shares of a Fund traded in the secondary market generally will be different from the performance of the Fund when measured from one NAV calculation-time to the next. When Shares are bought intraday, the performance of such Shares relative to its benchmark until the Fund’s next NAV calculation likely will be greater than or less than the Fund’s stated daily multiple times the performance of its benchmark. These differences can be significant.
The amount of the discount or premium in the trading price of the Shares relative to their NAV may be influenced by non-concurrent trading hours between the Exchange (the exchange on which the Shares trade) and the exchanges on which futures contracts trade. While the Shares are expected to trade on the Exchange until 4:00 p.m. (Eastern time), liquidity in the markets for the futures contracts in which the Funds seek to invest is expected to be reduced whenever the principal markets for those contracts are closed. As a result, trading spreads, and the resulting premium or discount on Shares, may widen during these gaps in market trading hours and the value of the Fund’s holdings may vary, perhaps significantly. Whether Shares will trade above, below or at a price equal to the value of the Fund’s holdings cannot be predicted.
If an investor purchases Shares when a Fund’s secondary market price is higher than the Fund’s NAV, or sells Shares when a Fund’s secondary market price is lower than the Fund’s NAV, such investment may not be as profitable as the investment would have been if the secondary market price was equal to the Fund’s NAV.
Risks Applicable to Investing in VIX Futures Contracts
VIX futures contracts can be highly volatile and the Funds may experience sudden and large losses when buying, selling or holding such instruments; you can lose all or a portion of your investment within a single day.
Investments linked to equity market volatility, including VIX futures contracts, can be highly volatile and may experience sudden, large and unexpected losses. For example, in 2018 the Index, which is comprised of VIX futures contracts, had its largest one-day move ever of approximately 96%. In the future, the Index could have even larger single-day or intraday moves, up or down, that could cause investors to lose all or a substantial portion of their investment in a short period of time. VIX futures contracts are unlike traditional futures contracts and are not based on a tradable reference asset. The VIX is not directly investable, and the settlement price of a VIX futures contract is based on the calculation that determines the level of the VIX. As a result, the behavior of a VIX futures contract may be different from a traditional futures contract whose settlement price is based on a specific tradable asset and may differ from an investor’s expectations. The market for VIX futures contracts may fluctuate widely based on a variety of factors including changes in overall market movements, political and economic events and policies, wars, acts of terrorism, natural disasters (including disease, epidemics and pandemics), changes in interest rates or inflation rates. High volatility may have an adverse impact on the performance of the Funds. The UltraFund’s leverage factor (1.5x) increases the potential for loss on an investment in this Fund. An investor in any of the Funds could potentially lose the full principal of his or her investment within a single day.
Generally, a VIX of over 20 indicates a high degree of volatility. During February and March 2020, market volatility elevated to historic highs as measured by the VIX, which may be attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic. Although the VIX started the year at a level of 12.47 on January 2, 2020, it spiked to 82.69 on March 16, 2020. However, there is no certainty that such levels will persist even if the scope and duration of the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic is prolonged or if other economic or political developments contribute to volatility and investor uncertainty. Such performance is not typical and may not continue for a sustained period of time.
Index changes and market transactions, including the daily rebalancing of futures contracts by the Funds, may have a significant impact on the performance of the Index and the Funds and the trading, liquidity and price of Fund Shares .
Index changes and transactions by market participants in the futures contracts underlying the Index, including the daily rebalancing of such futures contracts by each Fund, may have a significant impact on the trading , liquidity and the price of such futures contracts and, in turn, a significant impact on the performance of the Index and the Funds . The trading activity associated with such transactions will contribute to the existing open interest and trading volume of the underlying futures contracts and could have a significant adverse impact on the trading and price of such contracts. This, in turn, could have a negative impact on the performance of the Index and each Fund. Each Fund has engaged, and may continue to engage, in futures transactions that may constitute holding a substantial portion (e.g., 50% or more) of the open interest and/or trading volume of the futures contracts underlying the Index. To the extent a Fund transacts in a relatively higher percentage of the open interest
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and/or trading volume of such futures contracts, the Fund’s activity may be more likely to have an impact, which could be significant, on the trading, liquidity and price of such contracts. This, in turn , could have a significant negative impact on the performance of the Index and the Funds, as well as the market for Fund shares, making it more difficult for investors to buy or sale Fund shares at the desired price, or at all .
The Funds generally are intended to be used as trading tools for short-term investment horizons and investors holding shares of the Fund over longer-term periods may be subject to increased risk of loss.
The Funds generally are intended to be used only for short-term investment horizons. An investor in the Funds can lose all or a substantial portion of his or her investment within a single day. The longer an investor’s holding period in these Funds, the greater the potential for loss.
The Funds are benchmarked to the Index. They are not benchmarked to the VIX; the performance of the Funds should be expected to vary from the performance of the VIX (or to any multiple thereof). As a result, the Index and each Fund should be expected to perform very differently from the VIX over all periods of time.
The performance of the Index is based on the value of the VIX short-term futures contracts (“VIX futures contracts”) that comprise the Index. While there is a relationship between the performance of the Index and future levels of the VIX, the performance of the Index is not directly linked to the performance of the VIX (or to any multiple thereof), to the realized volatility of the S&P500® or to the options that underlie the calculation of the VIX. As a result, the Index and each Fund should be expected to perform very differently from the VIX over all periods of time. In many cases, the Index (and thus the Funds) will underperform the VIX. Further, the performance of the Index and each Fund should not be expected to represent the realized volatility of the S&P500® or any multiple or inverse thereof.
The VIX seeks to measure the market’s current expectation of 30-day volatility of the S&P 500®Index, as reflected by the prices of near-term S&P500® options. The market’s current expectation of the possible rate and magnitude of movements in an index is commonly referred to as the “implied volatility” of the index. Because S&P500® options derive value from the possibility that the S&P500® may experience movement before such options expire, the prices of near-term S&P 500® options are used to calculate the implied volatility of the S&P 500®.
Unlike many indexes, the VIX is not an investable index. It is not practical to invest in the VIX as it is comprised of a constantly changing portfolio of options on the S&P500®. Rather, the VIX is designed to serve as a market volatility forecast. The Funds are not benchmarked to the performance of the VIX or the realized volatility of the S&P500® and, in fact, can be expected to perform very differently from the VIX and the realized volatility of the S&P500® over all periods of time.
The prices of futures contracts based on a non-investable index such as the VIX may behave differently from the prices of futures contracts whose settlement price is based on a tradeable asset.
As noted, each Fund is benchmarked against an underlying index of VIX short-term futures contracts. The value of a VIX futures contract is based on the expected value of the VIX at a future point in time, specifically the expiration date of the VIX futures contract. Therefore, a VIX futures contract represents the forward implied volatility of the VIX, and therefore the forward implied volatility of the S&P500®, over the 30-day period following the expiration of such contract. As a result, a change in the VIX today will not necessarily result in a corresponding movement in the price of VIX futures contracts since the price of the VIX futures contracts is based on expectations of the performance of the VIX at a future point in time. For example, a VIX futures contract purchased in March that expires in May, in effect, is a forward contract on what the level of the VIX, as a measure of 30-day implied volatility of the S& P500®, will be on the May expiration date. The forward volatility reading of the VIX may not correlate directly to the current volatility reading of the VIX because the implied volatility of the S&P500® at a future expiration date may be different from the current implied volatility of the S&P500®. As a result, the Index and each Fund should be expected to perform very differently from the VIX over all periods of time.
It has been reported that in 2018 various U.S. regulators commenced inquiries into whether the VIX Index has been manipulated by one or more financial firms and algorithmic traders, and that a number of private lawsuits have been filed against the Cboe alleging the manipulation of the VIX Index. The regulators have not yet made public any determinations. On January 27, 2020, a federal judge dismissed a private lawsuit with prejudice, but on May 19, 2020, the plaintiffs filed a notice of appeals to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. See In re Chicago Board Options Exchange Volatility Index Manipulation Antitrust Litigation, Northern District of Illinois, No. 18-04171. The Trust and the Sponsor cannot predict the outcome of these reported inquiries and private lawsuits. Any finding of manipulation of the VIX Index could materially adversely affect the Funds’ investments and their ability to continue to implement their trading strategy and achieve their investment objectives.
The level of the VIX has historically reverted to a long-term mean (i.e., average) and any increase or decrease in the level of the VIX may be subject to unexpected reversals.
In the past, the level of the VIX has typically reverted over the longer term to a historical mean, and its absolute level has been constrained within a band. As such, the potential upside of long or short exposure to VIX futures contracts may be limited as the performance of VIX reverts to its long-term average. In addition, any gains may be subject to significant and unexpected reversals as the VIX reverts to its long term mean.
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When economic uncertainty or other market risks increase, or are expected to increase, and there is an associated increase in expected volatility, the price of VIX futures contracts has historically tended to increase. Similarly, when economic uncertainty or other market risks recede, or are expected to recede, and there is an associated decrease in expected volatility, the price of VIX futures contracts has historically tended to decrease. Historically, each of these patterns have tended to reverse. These reversals may be significant and unexpected and have a negative impact on the performance of a Fund. During February and March 2020, market volatility elevated to historic highs as measured by the VIX. Although the VIX started the year at a level of 12.47 on January 2, 2020, it spiked to 82.69 on March 16, 2020. In recent months, the VIX has reached a higher level than the financial crisis of 2008 high of 80.86, and the higher levels may be attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, there is no certainty that such levels will persist even if the scope and duration of the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic is prolonged.
Potential negative impact from rolling futures positions; there have been extended periods in the past where the investment strategies utilized by the Funds have caused significant and sustained losses.
Each Fund intends to, or may, have exposure to VIX futures contracts and each Fund is subject to risks related to “rolling” such futures contracts, which is the process by which a Fund closes out a futures position prior to its expiration month and purchases an identical futures contract with a later expiration date. The Funds do not intend to hold futures contracts through expiration, but instead intend to “roll” their respective positions as they approach expiration. The contractual obligations of a buyer or seller holding a futures contract to expiration may be satisfied by settling in cash as designated in the contract specifications. As explained further below, the price of futures contracts further from expiration may be higher (a condition known as “contango”) or lower (a condition known as “backwardation”), which can impact the Funds’ returns.
When the market for these futures contracts is such that the prices are higher in the more distant delivery months than in the nearer delivery months, the sale during the course of the “rolling process” of the more nearby futures contract would take place at a price that is lower than the price of the more distant futures contract. This pattern of higher prices for longer expiration futures contracts is often referred to as “contango.” Alternatively, when the market for these futures contracts is such that the prices are higher in the nearer months than in the more distant months, the sale during the course of the “rolling process” of the more nearby futures contract would take place at a price that is higher than the price of the more distant futures contract. This pattern of higher prices for shorter expiration futures contracts is referred to as “backwardation.” The presence of contango in certain futures contracts at the time of rolling would be expected to adversely affect the Funds with long positions, and positively affect the Funds with short positions. Similarly, the presence of backwardation in certain futures contracts at the time of rolling such contracts would be expected to adversely affect the Funds with short positions and positively affect the Funds with long positions.
There have been extended periods in which contango or backwardation have existed in the VIX futures contract markets, and such periods can be expected to occur in the future. These extended periods have caused in the past, and may cause in the future, significant losses, and these periods can have as much or more impact over time than movements in the level of a Fund’s benchmark. Additionally, because of the frequency with which the Funds may roll futures contracts, the impact of such contango or backwardation on Fund performance may be greater than it would have been if the Funds rolled futures contracts less frequently. In April 2020, the market for crude oil futures contracts experienced a period of “extraordinary contango” that resulted in a negative price in the May 2020 WTI crude oil futures contract. It is possible that the futures contracts held by the Funds also may experience periods of extraordinary contango in the future.
The value of the Shares of each Fund relates directly to the value of, and realized gain or loss from, the Financial Instruments and other assets held by such Fund. Fluctuations in the price of these Financial Instruments or assets could materially adversely affect an investment in the Shares.
A number of factors may affect the price and/or liquidity of VIX futures contracts and other Financial Instruments, including, but not limited to
Prevailing market prices and forward volatility levels of the U.S. stock markets, the S&P 500, the equity securities included in the S&P 500 and prevailing market prices of options on the S&P 500, the VIX, options on the VIX, the relevant VIX futures contracts, or any other financial instruments related to the S&P 500 and the VIX or VIX futures contracts;
Interest rates and investors’ expectations concerning interest rates;
Inflation rates and investors’ expectations concerning inflation rates;
Economic, financial, political, regulatory, geographical, judicial and other events that affect the level of the Index or the market price or forward volatility of the U.S. stock markets, the equity securities included in the S&P 500, the S&P 500, the VIX or the relevant futures or option contracts on the VIX;
Supply and demand as well as hedging activities in the listed and over-the-counter (“OTC”) equity derivatives markets;
The level of margin requirements;
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The position and accountability limits imposed by futures exchanges and any position or risk limits imposed by FCMs or swap counterparties;
Disruptions in trading of the S&P 500, futures contracts on the S&P 500 or options on the S&P 500;
The level of contango or backwardation in the VIX futures contracts market;
Global or regional political, economic, or financial events and situations and investor expectations concerning such events;
Weather, natural disasters (including disease, epidemics and pandemics), and other environmental conditions; and
Investment and trading activities of mutual funds, hedge funds and other market participants, including the Funds .
Each of these factors could have a negative impact on the price and/or liquidity of VIX futures contracts and other Financial Instruments, the Index and the Funds. These factors interrelate in complex ways, and the effect of one factor on the market value of a Fund may offset or enhance the effect of another factor.
The Funds generally are intended to be used as a trading tool for short-term investment horizons and investors holding shares of the Funds over longer-term periods may be subject to increased risk of loss.
The Funds generally are intended to be used only for short-term investment horizons. An investor in a Fund can lose all or a substantial portion of his or her investment within a single day. The longer an investor’s holding period in a Fund, the greater the potential for loss.
Risks Related to All Funds
Natural Disasters and Public Health Disruptions, such as the COVID-19 Virus, May Have a Significant Negative Impact on the Performance of Each Fund.
Natural or environmental disasters, such as earthquakes, fires, floods, hurricanes, tsunamis and other severe weather-related phenomena generally, and widespread disease, including public health disruptions, pandemics and epidemics (for example, the novel coronavirus COVID-19), have been and may continue to be highly disruptive to economies and markets. These conditions have recently led, and may continue to lead, to increased or extreme market volatility, illiquidity and significant market losses. Such natural disaster and health crises could exacerbate political, social, and economic risks, and result in significant breakdowns, delays, shutdowns, social isolation, civil unrest, periods of high unemployment, shortages in and disruptions to the medical care and consumer goods and services industries, and other disruptions to important global, local and regional supply chains affected, with potential corresponding results on the operating performance of the Funds and their investments. For example, the U.S. federal government, along with state and local governments, have adopted various laws and regulations in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the effects and results of which are uncertain. A climate of uncertainty and panic, including the contagion of infectious viruses or diseases, may adversely affect global, regional, and local economies and reduce the availability of potential investment opportunities and accuracy of economic projections. Further, such events can be highly disruptive to economies and markets, significantly disrupt the operations of individual companies (including, but not limited to, the Funds, the Funds’ Sponsor and third party service providers), sectors, industries, markets, securities and commodity exchanges, currencies, interest and inflation rates, credit ratings, investor sentiment, and other factors affecting the value of the Funds’ investments. These factors can cause extreme market volatility, illiquidity, exchange trading suspensions and market closures. A widespread crisis, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, may also affect the global economy in ways that cannot necessarily be foreseen at the current time. How long such events will last and whether they will continue or recur cannot be predicted. Impacts from these events could have significant impact on a Fund’s performance, and the value of an investment in the Fund may decline significantly.
The COVID-19 pandemic has already had, and may continue to have, a significant negative and unpredictable impact on the U.S. and global economy. For example, equity and other markets have experienced extreme declines and volatility. During much of 2020, the unemployment rate in the U.S. has been extremely high by historical standards. Further, the global slowdown in the economy contributed to a significant oversupply in the crude oil market, resulting in historic shocks to, and extreme volatility in, the price of oil and related derivatives contracts. The global slowdown in the economy and other factors could further shocks to the crude oil market, as well as the markets for other commodities, such as natural gas, and related derivative contracts. It is not possible to predict when unemployment and market conditions will return to more normal levels.
Market downturns, disruptions or illiquidity as a result of, or related to, the COVID-19 pandemic can have a significant negative impact on the value of Fund portfolio investments, the operations of each Fund, the markets in which the Funds invest and the trading of Fund Shares in the secondary market. For example, market factors may adversely affect the price and liquidity of the Funds’ investments and potentially increase margin and collateral requirements in ways that have a significant negative impact on Fund performance or make it difficult, or impossible, for a Fund to achieve its investment objective. Under these circumstances, a Fund could have difficulty finding counterparties to transactions, entering or exiting positions at favorable prices and could incur significant losses. Further, Fund counterparties may close out positions with the Funds without notice, at unfavorable times or unfavorable prices, or may choose to transact on a more limited basis (or not at
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all). In such cases, it may be difficult or impossible for a Fund to achieve the desired investment exposure consistent with its investment objective. These conditions also can impact the ability of the Funds to complete creation and redemption transactions and disrupt Fund trading in the secondary market.
This outbreak of COVID-19 (including any variants), or any future epidemic or pandemic similar to COVID-19, SARS, H1N1, or MERS, could have a significant adverse impact on the Funds and their investments, could adversely affect the Funds’ ability to fulfill its investment objectives, and could result in significant losses to the Funds. The extent of the impact of any outbreak on the performance of the Funds and their investments depend on many factors, including the duration and scope of such outbreak, the development and distribution of treatments and vaccines for viruses such as COVID-19, the extent of any such outbreak’s disruption to important global, regional and local supply chains and economic markets, and the impact of such outbreak on overall supply and demand, investor liquidity, consumer confidence and levels of economic activity, all of which are highly uncertain and cannot be predicted.
Risk that Current Assumptions and Expectations Could Become Outdated As a Result of Global Economic Shocks.
The onset of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has caused significant shocks to global financial markets and economies, with many governments taking extreme actions in an attempt to slow and contain the spread of COVID-19. These actions have had, and likely will continue to have, a severe economic impact on global economies as economic activity in some instances has essentially ceased. Financial markets across the globe are experiencing severe distress at least equal to what was experienced during the global financial crisis in 2008. U.S. equity markets entered a bear market in the fastest such move in the history of U.S. financial markets in March 2020. During this time period, volatility elevated to historic highs as measured by the VIX, which started the year at a level of 12.47 on January 2, 2020 and spiked to 82.69 on March 16, 2020. In recent months, the VIX has reached a higher level than the financial crisis of 2008 high of 80.86. These and other global economic shocks as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic may cause the underlying assumptions and expectations concerning the investments, operations and performance of the Funds and secondary market trading of Fund Shares to become inaccurate or outdated quickly, resulting in significant and unexpected losses.
Each Fund seeks to achieve its investment objective even during periods when the performance of the Fund’s benchmark is flat or when the benchmark is moving in a manner that may cause the value of the Fund to decline.
The Funds are not actively managed by traditional methods (e.g., by effecting changes in the composition of a portfolio on the basis of judgments relating to economic, financial and market considerations with a view toward obtaining positive results under all market conditions). Each Fund seeks to remain fully invested at all times in Financial Instruments and money market instruments that, in combination, provide exposure to its benchmark consistent with its investment objective. This is the case even during periods in which the benchmark is flat or moving in a manner which causes the value of a Fund to decline. A Fund can lose money regardless of the performance of an underlying benchmark, due to the effects of daily rebalancing, volatility, compounding and other risk factors.
Correlation and Performance Risks.
While the Funds seek to meet their investment objectives, there is no guarantee they will do so. Factors that may affect a Fund’s ability to meet its investment objective include: (1) the Sponsor’s ability to purchase and sell Financial Instruments in a manner that correlates to a Fund’s objective, including the Sponsor’s ability to enter into new positions and contracts to replace exposure that has been reduced or terminated by a counterparty or otherwise; (2) an imperfect correlation between the performance of the Financial Instruments held by a Fund and the performance of the Index; (3) bid-ask spreads on such Financial Instruments; (4) fees, expenses, transaction costs, financing costs and margin requirements associated with the use of Financial Instruments and commission costs; (5) holding or trading Financial Instruments in a market that has become illiquid or disrupted; (6) a Fund’s Share prices being rounded to the nearest cent and/or valuation methodologies; (7) changes to the Index that are not disseminated in advance; (8) the need to conform a Fund’s portfolio holdings to comply with investment restrictions or policies, position limits and accountability levels, and regulatory or tax law requirements; (9) early or unanticipated closings of the markets on which the holdings of a Fund trade, limiting or preventing the Fund from executing intended portfolio transactions; (10) accounting standards; (11) differences caused by a Fund obtaining exposure to only a representative sample of the components of the Index, overweighting or underweighting certain components of the Index or obtaining exposure to assets that are not included in the Index; (12) large movements of assets into and/or out of a Fund, particularly late in the day; (13) significant and/or rapid increases in the size of the Fund as a result of an increase in creation activity that cause the Fund to approach or reach its Share registration limits, position or accountability limits or other portfolio limits; and (14) events such as natural disasters (including disease, epidemics and pandemics) that can be highly disruptive to economies, markets, and companies including, but not limited to, the Sponsor and third party service providers.
A Fund’s ability to achieve or maintain such exposure may be limited by a number of factors. For example, being materially under- or overexposed to the Index may prevent such Funds from achieving a high degree of correlation with the Index. Market disruptions or closures, large movements of assets into or out of the Funds, regulatory restrictions, market volatility, illiquidity, margin requirements, accountability levels, position limits, and daily price fluctuation limits set by the exchanges and other factors will adversely affect a Fund’s ability to adjust exposure to requisite levels and maintain a high degree of correlation.
Additional factors may impact a Geared Fund’s ability to achieve a high correlation to the Index, see “Correlation and Performance Risks Specific to the Geared Funds” herein.
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The number of underlying components included in the Index may impact volatility, which could adversely affect an investment in the Shares.
The Index for the Funds is concentrated solely in VIX futures contracts. Investors should be aware that other volatility indexes may be more diversified in terms of both the number and variety of instruments included or in terms of the volatility exposure offered. Investors should be aware that other benchmarks are more diversified in terms of both the number and variety of investments included. Concentration in fewer components may result in a greater degree of volatility in an index and the Fund which corresponds to that index under specific market conditions and over time.
Possible illiquid markets may cause or exacerbate losses.
Financial Instruments and/or markets may be illiquid. In such cases and during such times it may be difficult or impossible to buy or sell a position at the desired price. For example, it may be difficult to execute a trade at a specific price when there is a relatively small volume of buy and sell orders in a market. Market disruptions or volatility can also make it difficult for a Fund to buy or sell a position or find a swap or forward contract counterparty willing to transact at a reasonable price and sufficient size. Illiquid markets and/or Financial Instruments may cause losses, which could be significant, for the Funds. The large size of the positions which the Funds may acquire increases the risk of illiquidity by both making their positions more difficult to liquidate and increasing the losses incurred while trying to do so. Any type of disruption or illiquidity will potentially be exacerbated due to the fact that each Fund typically invests in Financial Instruments related to a single benchmark, which is highly concentrated. Limits imposed by counterparties, exchanges or other regulatory organizations, such as accountability levels, position limits and daily price fluctuation limits, may contribute to a lack of liquidity with respect to some Financial Instruments and have a negative impact on Fund performance. During periods of market illiquidity, including periods of market disruption and volatility, it may be difficult or impossible for a Fund to buy or sell futures contracts or other Financial Instruments or for investors to buy or sell Fund Shares at desired prices or at all .
Fees are charged regardless of a Fund’s returns and may result in depletion of assets.
The Funds are subject to the fees and expenses described herein which are payable irrespective of a Fund’s returns, as well as the effects of commissions, trading spreads, and embedded financing, borrowing costs and fees associated with swaps, forwards, futures contracts, and costs relating to the purchase of U.S. Treasury securities or similar high credit quality, short-term fixed-income or similar securities. Additional charges may include other fees as applicable. These fees and expenses have a negative impact on Fund returns.
The policies of S&P and the Chicago Board Options Exchange (the “Cboe”) and changes implemented by the Index provider that affect the composition and valuation of the S&P 500, the VIX or the Index could negatively impact the performance of the Funds.
The Funds are linked to the Index, which is maintained by a third-party provider that is unaffiliated with the Funds or the Sponsor. There can be no guarantee or assurance that the methodology used by such third-party provider to create the Index will result in a Fund achieving high, or even positive, returns. The policies implemented by the Index provider concerning the calculation or the composition of the Index could affect the value of the Index and, therefore, the value of a Fund’s Shares. The Index provider may change the composition of the Index, or make other methodological changes that could change the value of the Index. Additionally, the Index provider may alter, discontinue or suspend calculation or dissemination of the Index. Any of these actions could adversely affect the value of Shares of a Fund using the Index. There is no guarantee that the methodology underlying the Index will be free from error. Index providers have no obligation to consider Fund shareholder interests in calculating or revising an index. Each of these factors could have a negative impact on the performance of the Funds.
The policies of S&P and the Cboe concerning the calculation of the level of the S&P 500, the VIX and the Index, and any additions, deletions or substitutions of equity securities, options or futures contracts in the above indexes, respectively, and the manner in which changes affecting the equity securities, options contracts or futures contracts are reflected in the indexes outlined above, could affect the level of such indexes and, therefore, the value of the Shares. The Cboe can make methodological changes to the calculation of the VIX that could affect the value of VIX futures contracts and, consequently, the value of the each Fund’s Shares. There can be no assurance that Cboe will not change the VIX calculation methodology in a way which may affect the value of each Fund’s Shares. The Cboe may also alter, discontinue or suspend calculation or dissemination of the VIX and/or exercise settlement value. It is also possible that third parties may attempt to manipulate the value of the VIX. Any of these actions could adversely affect the value of each Fund’s Shares.
S&P can add, delete or substitute the equity securities underlying the S&P 500 or make other methodological changes that could change the level of the S&P 500. S&P can also add, delete or substitute the futures contracts underlying the Index or make other methodological changes that could change the level of the Index. The changing of equity securities included in the S&P 500 may affect the S&P 500, as a newly added equity security may perform better or worse than the equity security or securities it replaces. Such a change may also affect the value of the put and call options used to calculate the level of the VIX. The changing of the futures contracts underlying the Index may affect the performance of the Index in similar ways. Additionally, S&P may alter, discontinue or suspend calculation or dissemination of the S&P 500 or the Index. S&P has no obligation to consider shareholder interests in calculating or revising the S&P 500 or the Index. Any of these actions could adversely affect the value of each Fund’s Shares.
Calculation of the Index may not be possible or feasible under certain events or circumstances that are beyond the reasonable control of the Sponsor, which in turn may adversely impact both the Index and/or the Shares, as applicable. Additionally, Index calculations are subject to
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error and may be disrupted by rollover disruptions, rebalancing disruptions and/or market emergencies, which may have a negative impact on the performance of the Funds.
The Index may underperform other asset classes and may underperform other indices or benchmarks based upon VIX futures contracts.
The Funds are linked to an Index maintained by a third-party provider unaffiliated with the Funds or the Sponsor. There can be no guarantee or assurance that the methodology used by the third-party provider to create the Index will result in a Fund achieving high, or even positive, returns. Further, there can be no guarantee that the methodology underlying the Index or the daily calculation of the Index will be free from error. It is also possible that the value of the Index or the VIX may be subject to intentional manipulation by third-party market participants. The Index may underperform other asset classes and may underperform other indices or benchmarks based upon the VIX futures contracts. Each of these factors could have a negative impact on the performance of a Fund.
Financial markets, including the Financial Instruments used by a Fund, and Fund Shares may be subject to unusual trading activity, volatility, and potential fraud and/or manipulation by third parties.
Financial markets, including the Financial Instruments in which the Funds invest, and Fund Shares can be highly volatile and the Funds may experience sudden and large movements in price. Unusual trading activity that is unrelated to economic fundamentals, including activity that is considered market fraud and/or manipulation or excessive speculation, or significant and/or rapid increases in the size of a Fund as a result of an increase in creation activity,can potentially lead to unusual movements in the prices of the Financial Instruments in which the Funds invest, as well as the price of Fund Shares , and increase the risk of investing in such Financial Instruments and in Fund Shares . Market fraud and/or manipulation and other fraudulent trading practices (such as the intentional dissemination of false or misleading information (e.g., false rumors)) can, among other things, lead to disruption of the orderly functioning of markets, lead to significant market volatility and cause the value of a Fund and/or the Financial Instruments held by a Fund to fluctuate quickly and without warning. Such fluctuations could be significant and could be temporary or last for longer periods of time. High volatility may have an adverse impact on the performance of the Funds. The widespread demand for a commodity, currency, or security may cause price increases in the commodity, currency, or security, which could result in an increased demand for Shares. The Ultra Fund experienced significantly higher than normal creation activity in February of 2021. Each Fund potentially could experience similar creation activity in the future. The offering of each Fund’s Shares is registered with the SEC. If a Fund issues all of its currently remaining registered Shares before a registration statement regarding additional, new Shares is declared effective, the Fund will not be able to issue additional Shares. A Fund experiencing significant and rapid growth could potentially experience difficulty in registering additional Shares in a timely manner in response to a high demand for Shares, or difficulty achieving appropriate exposure in response to significant increases in Fund assets, each of which could cause a Fund to limit or suspend purchases of Creation Units. Any limitation or suspension of Creation Units, among other things, could cause Fund Shares to trade at a premium, widen trading spreads or otherwise disrupt secondary market trading in Fund Shares. Increases in the price of Financial Instruments and Fund Shares as a result of the conditions described above are subject to significant and unexpected reversals. An investor in any of the Funds could potentially lose the full principal value of his or her investment within a single day.
A Fund may change its investment objective, benchmark and investment strategies, and/or may terminate, at any time without shareholder approval.
The Sponsor has the authority to change a Fund’s investment objective, benchmark or investment strategy at any time, or to terminate the Trust or a Fund, in each case, without shareholder approval or advance notice, subject to applicable regulatory requirements. Although such changes may be subject to applicable regulatory approvals, the Sponsor may determine to operate a Fund in accordance with its new investment objective, benchmark or investment strategy while the applicable approvals, if any, are pending. Such changes may expose shareholders to losses on their investments in a Fund. When a Fund’s assets are sold as part of the Fund’s termination, the resulting proceeds distributed to shareholders may be less than those that could have been realized in a sale outside of a termination context.
There may be circumstances that could prevent or make it impractical for a Fund to operate in a manner consistent with its investment objective and investment strategies.
There may be circumstances outside the control of the Sponsor and/or a Fund that could prevent or make it impractical to rebalance such Fund’s portfolio investments, to process purchase or redemption orders, or to otherwise operate the Fund in a manner consistent with its investment objective and investment strategies. Examples of such circumstances include: market disruptions; significant or extreme market volatility, particularly late in the trading day; difficulty in registering additional Shares in a timely manner in response to a high demand for Shares, or difficulty achieving appropriate exposure in response to significant increases in Fund assets; natural disasters (including disease, epidemics and pandemics); public service disruptions or utility problems such as those caused by fires, floods, extreme weather conditions, and power outages resulting in telephone, telecopy, and computer failures; market conditions or activities causing trading halts; systems failures involving computer or other information systems affecting the aforementioned parties, as well as the Depository Trust Company (“DTC”), the National Securities Clearing Corporation (“NSCC”), or any other participant in the trading or operations of a Fund; and similar extraordinary events.
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While the Sponsor has implemented and tested a business continuity plan and a disaster recovery plan designed to address circumstances such as those above, these and other circumstances may prevent a Fund from being operated in a manner consistent with its investment objective and/or investment strategies and could cause significant losses to the Funds.
The Funds use investment techniques that may be considered aggressive.
Some investment techniques of the Funds, such as their use of Financial Instruments, may be considered aggressive. Risks associated with Financial Instruments include potentially dramatic price changes (losses) in the value of the instruments and imperfect correlations between the price of the contract and the underlying Reference Asset. The use of Financial Instruments may increase the volatility of a Fund and may involve a small investment of cash relative to the magnitude of the risk assumed.
Historical correlation trends between Fund benchmarks and other asset classes may not continue or may reverse, limiting or eliminating any potential diversification or other benefit from owning a Fund.
To the extent that an investor purchases a Fund seeking diversification benefits based on the historic correlation (whether positive or negative) between the returns of the Fund or its underlying benchmark and other asset classes, such historic correlation may not continue or may reverse itself. In this circumstance, the diversification or other benefits sought may be limited or non-existent. The diversification or other benefits sought by an investor in a Fund may also become limited or cease to exist if the Sponsor determines to change the Fund’s benchmark or otherwise modify the Fund’s investment objective or investment strategy.
The lack of active trading markets for the Shares may result in losses upon the sale of such Shares.
Although the Shares are publicly listed and traded on the Exchange, there can be no guarantee that an active trading market for the Shares will develop or be maintained. If investors need to sell their Shares at a time when an active market for such Shares does not exist, the price investors receive for their Shares, assuming that investors are able to sell them at all, likely will be lower than the price that investors would receive if an active market did exist.
Investors may be adversely affected by redemption or creation orders that are subject to postponement, suspension or rejection under certain circumstances.
In respect of any Fund, the Sponsor may, in its sole discretion, limit or suspend the right of creation or redemption or may postpone the redemption or purchase settlement date. For example, the Sponsor may limit or suspend purchases or postpone settlement for (1) any period during which the Exchange or any other exchange, marketplace or trading center, deemed to affect the normal operations (e.g., valuation) of such Fund, is closed, or when trading is restricted or suspended on such exchanges in any of the Funds’ Financial Instruments or underlying Reference Assets, (2) any period during which an emergency exists as a result of which the fulfillment of a purchase order or the redemption distribution is not reasonably practicable, or (3) such other period as the Sponsor determines, in its sole discretion, to be appropriate for the protection of the Fund, the shareholders of the Fund or otherwise in the interest of such Fund (for example, in response to, or anticipation of, a period of significant and/or rapid increases in the size of a Fund as a result of an increase in creation activity). In addition, a Fund will reject a redemption order if the order is not in proper form as described in the Authorized Participant Agreement or if the fulfillment of the order might be unlawful. Any such limitation, postponement, suspension or rejection could adversely affect a redeeming Authorized Participant. For example, the resulting delay may adversely affect the value of the Authorized Participant’s redemption proceeds if the NAV of a Fund declines during the period of delay. The Funds disclaim any liability for any loss or damage that may result from any such limitation, postponement,suspension or rejection. Investors should be aware that during any period where creations or redemptions have been limited, postponed, suspended or rejected, the public trading price per Share of a Fund may be materially different from the NAV per Share of the Fund (i.e., the secondary market price may trade at a material premium or discount to NAV), the bid-ask spreads on a Fund’s Shares may widen, and/or the number of Shares on which quotes may be available could decrease. These events could increase the trading costs to investors, cause a Fund to not perform consistent with its investment objective, and otherwise result in significant losses for investors .
Purchases of a Fund’s Creation Units may be limited or suspended to prevent a Fund from issuing all of its currently remaining registered Shares or to allow a Fund to achieve appropriate exposure.
The offering of each Fund’s Shares is registered with the SEC in accordance with the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “1933 Act”). If a Fund issues all of its currently remaining registered shares before a registration statement regarding additional, new shares is declared effective, the Fund will not be able to issue additional shares. In such event, Authorized Participants would be unable to purchase new Creation Units of that Fund until such time as the registration statement for the additional shares has been declared effective by the SEC. In situations where a Fund is approaching or has reached its registered share amount, or in situations where a Fund may have difficulty achieving, or be unable to achieve, appropriate exposure in response to significant increases, or anticipated significant increases in Fund assets, a Fund may place upper limits or other restrictions on the number of Creation Units Authorized Participants may purchase or may suspend purchases of Creation Units altogether. The Funds disclaim any liability for any loss or damage that may result from any such suspension or limits. The Sponsor expects that such limits or suspensions will not impact the ability of Authorized Participants to redeem Creation Units during such period .
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As a result of such limits or suspension, secondary market trading of Fund Shares may be halted or disrupted. Investors should be aware that during periods in which the purchase of Creation Units is suspended or limited, the public trading price per Share of a Fund may be materially different from the NAV per Share of the Fund (i.e., the secondary market price may trade at a material premium or discount to NAV), the bid-ask spreads on a Fund’s Shares may widen, and/or the number of Shares on which quotes may be available could decrease. These events could increase the trading costs to investors, could cause a Fund’s trading price to not perform consistent with its investment objective and otherwise lead to significant losses for the Fund and investors. These conditions could reverse suddenly and without warning when the suspension or limitation on Authorized Participants’ ability to purchase Creation Units is lifted or modified, causing losses for Fund investors.
The NAV per Share may not correspond to the market price per Share.
The NAV per Share of a Fund changes as fluctuations occur in the market value of the Fund’s portfolio. Investors should be aware that the public trading price per Share of a Fund may be substantially different from the NAV per Share of the Fund (i.e., the secondary market price may trade at a substantial premium or discount to NAV). The price at which an investor may be able to sell Shares at any time, especially in times of market volatility, may be significantly less than the NAV per Share of the Fund at the time of sale. Consequently, an Authorized Participant may be able to create or redeem a Creation Unit of a Fund at a discount or a premium to the public trading price per Share of that Fund.
Authorized Participants or their customers may have an opportunity to realize a profit if they can purchase a Creation Unit at a discount to the public trading price of the Shares of a Fund or can redeem a Creation Unit at a premium over the public trading price of the Shares of a Fund. The Sponsor expects that the exploitation of such arbitrage opportunities by Authorized Participants and their clients and customers will tend to cause the public trading price to track the NAV per Share of the Funds closely over time.
Investors who purchase Fund Shares in the secondary market and pay a premium purchase price over a Fund’s indicative optimized portfolio value (“IOPV”) could incur significant losses in the event such investor sells such Fund Shares at a time when such premium is no longer present in the marketplace.
The value of a Share may be influenced by non-concurrent trading hours between the Exchange and the market in which the Financial Instruments (or related Reference Assets) held by a Fund are traded. The Shares of each Fund trade on the Exchange from 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. (Eastern Time). The VIX futures contracts in which the Funds invest may be traded throughout the day, including between 4:30 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. (Eastern Time). As a result, during the time when the Exchange is closed for trading but before the determination of NAV, there could be market developments or other events that cause or exacerbate the difference between the price of the Shares of a Fund in the secondary market and the NAV of such Shares or otherwise have a negative impact on the value of an investment in the Shares.
Investors may be adversely affected by an overstatement or understatement of a Fund’s NAV due to the valuation method employed or errors in the NAV calculation.
Under normal circumstances, the NAV of a Fund reflects the value of the Financial Instruments held by the Fund, as of the time the NAV is calculated. The NAV of the Funds includes, in part, any unrealized profits or losses on open Financial Instrument positions. In certain circumstances (e.g., if the Sponsor believes market quotations do not accurately reflect fair value of an investment, or a trading halt closes an exchange or market early), the Sponsor may, in its sole discretion, choose to determine a fair value price as the basis for determining the market value of such position for such day. The fair value of an investment determined by the Sponsor may be different from other value determinations of the same investment. Such fair value prices generally would be determined based on available inputs about the current value of the underlying Reference Assets and would be based on principles that the Sponsor deems fair and equitable. A swap counterparty may have the right to close out a Fund’s position due to the occurrence of certain events (for example, if the counterparty is unable to hedge its obligations to the Fund, or if the Fund defaults on certain terms of the swap agreement, or if there is a material decline in the Fund’s benchmark on a particular day) and request immediate payment of amounts owed by the Fund under the agreement. If the level of a Fund’s benchmark has a dramatic intraday move, the terms of the swap agreement may permit the counterparty to immediately close out a transaction with the Fund at a price set by the counterparty, which may not represent fair market value. A swap counterparty may also have the right to close out a Fund’s position for no reason, in some cases with same day notice. The valuation method used to calculate NAV or errors in calculation of a Fund’s NAV may cause the Fund’s NAV to be overstated or understated and may affect the performance of the Fund and the value of an investment in the Shares.
Trading on exchanges outside the United States is generally not subject to U.S. regulation and may result in different or diminished investor protections.
To the extent that a Fund places trades on exchanges outside the United States, trading on such exchanges is generally not regulated by any U.S. governmental agency and may involve certain risks not applicable to trading on U.S. exchanges, including different or diminished investor protections. In trading contracts denominated in currencies other than U.S. dollars, the Shares are subject to the risk of adverse exchange rate movements between the dollar and the functional currencies of such contracts. Investors could incur substantial losses from trading on foreign exchanges which such investors would not have otherwise been subject had the Funds’ trading been limited to U.S. markets.
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Competing claims of intellectual property rights may adversely affect the Funds and an investment in the Shares.
The Sponsor believes that it has obtained all required licenses or the appropriate consent of all necessary parties with respect to the intellectual property rights necessary to operate the Funds. However, other third parties could allege ownership as to such rights and may bring legal action asserting their claims. The expenses in litigating, negotiating, cross-licensing or otherwise settling such claims may adversely affect the Funds. Additionally, as a result of such action, a Fund could potentially change its investment objective, benchmark or investment strategies. Each of these factors could have a negative impact on the performance of the Funds.
The liquidity of the Shares may also be affected by the withdrawal from participation of Authorized Participants, which could adversely affect the market price of the Shares.
In the event that one or more Authorized Participants which have substantial interests in the Shares withdraw from participation, the liquidity of the Shares will likely decrease, which could adversely affect the market price of the Shares and result in investors incurring a loss on their investment.
Shareholders that are not Authorized Participants may only purchase or sell their Shares in secondary trading markets, and the conditions associated with trading in secondary markets may adversely affect investors’ investment in the Shares.
Only Authorized Participants may create or redeem Creation Units. All other investors that desire to purchase or sell Shares must do so through the Exchange or in other markets, if any, in which the Shares may be traded. Shares may trade at a premium or discount to NAV per Share.
The Exchange may halt trading in the Shares of a Fund which would adversely impact investors’ ability to sell Shares.
Trading in Shares of a Fund may be halted by the Exchange due to market conditions or, in light of the applicable Exchange rules and procedures. In addition, trading is subject to trading halts caused by market volatility pursuant to “circuit breaker” rules that require trading to be halted for a specified period based on a specified decline or rise in a market index (e.g., the Dow Jones Industrial Average) or in the price of a Fund’s Shares. There can be no assurance that the requirements necessary to maintain the listing of the Shares of a Fund will continue to be met or will remain unchanged.
Shareholders do not have the protections associated with ownership of shares in an investment company registered under the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended (the “1940 Act”).
The Funds are not subject to registration or regulation under the 1940 Act. Consequently, shareholders do not have the regulatory protections provided to investors in investment companies registered under the 1940 Act. These protections include, but are not limited to, provisions in the 1940 Act that limit transactions with affiliates, prohibit the suspension of redemptions (except under limited circumstances), require a board of directors that must include disinterested directors, limit leverage, impose a fiduciary duty on the fund’s manager with respect to the receipt of compensation for services, require shareholder approval for certain fundamental changes, limit sales loads, and require proper valuation of fund assets.
The value of the Shares will be adversely affected if the Funds are required to indemnify Wilmington Trust Company (the “Trustee”) and/or the Sponsor.
Under the Trust Agreement, the Trustee and the Sponsor each has the right to be indemnified for any liability or expense incurred without gross negligence or willful misconduct. That means the Sponsor may require the assets of a Fund to be sold in order to cover losses or liability suffered by it or by the Trustee. Any such sale would decrease the value of an investment in an impacted Fund.
Although the Shares are limited liability investments, certain circumstances, such as the bankruptcy of a Fund could increase a shareholder’s liability.
The Shares are limited liability investments; investors may not lose more than the amount that they invest plus any gains or income recognized on their investment. However, shareholders could be required, as a matter of bankruptcy law, to return to the estate of a Fund any distribution they received at a time when such Fund was in fact insolvent or in violation of the Trust Agreement.
A court could potentially conclude that the assets and liabilities of one Fund are not segregated from those of another series of the Trust and may thereby potentially expose assets in a Fund to the liabilities of another series of the Trust.
Each series of the Trust is a separate series of a Delaware statutory trust and not itself a separate legal entity. Section 3804(a) of the Delaware Statutory Trust Act, as amended (the “DSTA”), provides that if certain provisions are in the formation and governing documents of a statutory trust organized in series, and if separate and distinct records are maintained for any series and the assets associated with that series are held in separate and distinct records (directly or indirectly, including through a nominee or otherwise) and accounted for in such separate and distinct records separately from the other assets of the statutory trust, or any series thereof, then the debts, liabilities, obligations and expenses
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incurred, contracted for or otherwise existing with respect to a particular series are enforceable against the assets of such series only, and not against the assets of the statutory trust generally or any other series thereof, and none of the debts, liabilities, obligations and expenses incurred, contracted for or otherwise existing with respect to the statutory trust generally or any other series thereof shall be enforceable against the assets of such series. The Sponsor is not aware of any court case that has interpreted Section 3804(a) of the DSTA or provided any guidance as to what is required for compliance. The Sponsor maintains separate and distinct records for each series and accounts for them separately, but it is possible a court could conclude that the methods used did not satisfy Section 3804(a) of the DSTA and thus potentially expose assets of a Fund to the liabilities of another series of the Trust.
Due to the increased use of technologies, intentional and unintentional cyber-attacks pose operational and information security risks.
With the increased use of technologies such as the Internet and the dependence on computer systems to perform necessary business functions, the Funds and their service providers are susceptible to operational and information security risks. In general, cyber incidents can result from deliberate attacks or unintentional events. Cyber-attacks include, but are not limited to gaining unauthorized access to digital systems for purposes of misappropriating assets or sensitive information, corrupting data, or causing operational disruption. Cyber-attacks may also be carried out in a manner that does not require gaining unauthorized access, such as causing denial-of-service attacks on websites. Cyber security failures or breaches of a Fund’s third party service provider (including, but not limited to, index providers, the administrator and transfer agent) or the issuers of securities in which the Funds invest, have the ability to cause disruptions and impact business operations, potentially resulting in financial losses, the inability of Fund shareholders to transact business, violations of applicable privacy and other laws, regulatory fines, penalties, reputational damage, reimbursement or other compensation costs, and/or additional compliance costs. In addition, substantial costs may be incurred in order to prevent any cyber incidents in the future. The Funds and their shareholders could be negatively impacted as a result. While the Funds have established business continuity plans and systems to prevent such cyber-attacks, there are inherent limitations in such plans and risk management systems including the possibility that certain risks have not been identified. Furthermore, the Funds cannot control the cyber security plans and systems of each Fund’s service providers, market makers, Authorized Participants or issuers of securities in which each Fund invests.
Investors cannot be assured of the Sponsor’s continued services, the discontinuance of which may be detrimental to the Funds.
Investors cannot be assured that the Sponsor will be able to continue to service the Funds for any length of time. If the Sponsor discontinues its activities on behalf of the Funds, the Funds may be adversely affected, as there may be no entity servicing the Funds for a period of time. If the Sponsor’s registrations with the CFTC or memberships in the National Futures Association (the “NFA”) were revoked or suspended, the Sponsor would no longer be able to provide services and/or to render advice to the Funds. If the Sponsor were unable to provide services and/or advice to the Funds, the Funds would be unable to pursue their investment objectives unless and until the Sponsor’s ability to provide services and advice to the Funds was reinstated or a replacement for the Sponsor as commodity pool operator could be found. Such an event could result in termination of the Funds.
It may not be possible to gain exposure to the benchmarks using exchange-traded Financial Instruments in the future.
The Funds intend to utilize exchange-traded Financial Instruments. It may not be possible to gain exposure to the benchmarks with these Financial Instruments in the future. If these Financial Instruments cease to be traded on regulated exchanges, they may be replaced with Financial Instruments traded on trading facilities that are subject to lesser degrees of regulation or, in some cases, no substantive regulation. As a result, trading in such Financial Instruments, and the manner in which prices and volumes are reported by the relevant trading facilities, may not be subject to the provisions of, and the protections afforded by, the CEA, or other applicable statutes and related regulations that govern trading on regulated U.S. futures exchanges, or similar statutes and regulations that govern trading on regulated U.K. futures exchanges. In addition, many electronic trading facilities have only recently initiated trading and do not have significant trading histories. As a result, the trading of contracts on such facilities, and the inclusion of such contracts in a benchmark, may be subject to certain risks not presented by U.S. or U.K. exchange-traded futures contracts, including risks related to the liquidity and price histories of the relevant contracts.
Regulatory changes or actions, including the implementation of new legislation, may alter the operations and profitability of the Funds.
The U.S. derivatives markets and market participants have been subject to comprehensive regulation, not only by the CFTC but also by self-regulatory organizations, including the NFA and the exchanges on which the derivatives contracts are traded and/or cleared. The regulation of commodity interest transactions and markets, including under the Dodd-Frank Act, is a rapidly changing area of law and is subject to ongoing modification by governmental and judicial action. In particular, the Dodd-Frank Act has expanded the regulation of markets, market participants and financial instruments. The regulatory regime under the Dodd-Frank Act has imposed additional compliance and legal burdens on participants in the markets for futures and other commodity interests. For example, under the Dodd-Frank Act new capital and risk requirements have been imposed on market intermediaries. Those requirements may cause the cost of trading to increase for market participants, like the Funds, that must interact with those intermediaries to carry out their trading activities. These increased costs can detract from the Funds’ performance.
As with any regulated activity, changes in regulations may have unexpected results. For example, changes in the amount or quality of the collateral that traders in derivatives contracts are required to provide to secure their open positions, or in the limits on number or size of positions
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that a trader may have open at a given time, may adversely affect the ability of the Funds to enter into certain transactions that could otherwise present lucrative opportunities. Considerable regulatory attention has been focused on non-traditional investment pools which are publicly distributed in the United States. There is a possibility of future regulatory changes altering, perhaps to a material extent, the nature of an investment in the Funds or the ability of the Funds to continue to implement their investment strategies.
In November 2019, the SEC issued proposed regulations limiting the purchase and sale of funds like the Geared Funds. Instead of adopting these regulations, in October 2020, the SEC directed its staff to conduct a review of the existing regulatory framework related to the purchase and sale of funds like the Geared Funds. Although it is impossible to predict the outcome of such review, its impact could be adverse to the Geared Funds.
In addition, the SEC, CFTC and the exchanges are authorized to take extraordinary actions in the event of a market emergency, including, for example, the retroactive implementation of speculative position limits or higher margin requirements, the establishment of daily price limits and the suspension of trading. The regulation of swaps, forwards and futures transactions in the United States is a rapidly changing area of law and is subject to modification by government and judicial action. The effect of any future regulatory change on the Funds is impossible to predict, but could be substantial and adverse.
In particular, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (the “Dodd-Frank Act”) has made and will continue to make sweeping changes to the way in which the U.S. financial system is supervised and regulated. Title VII of the Dodd Frank Act sets forth a legislative framework for OTC derivatives, including certain Financial Instruments, such as swaps, in which certain of the Funds may invest. Title VII of the Dodd-Frank Act makes broad changes to the OTC derivatives market, grants significant new authority to the SEC and the CFTC to regulate OTC derivatives and market participants, and, pursuant to regulations that have been and will continue to be adopted by the regulators, requires the clearing and exchange trading of many types of OTC derivatives transactions.
Pursuant to regulations adopted by the CFTC, swap dealers are required to be registered and are subject to various regulatory requirements, including, but not limited to, margin, recordkeeping, reporting and various business conduct requirements, as well as minimum financial capital requirements.
Pursuant to the Dodd-Frank Act, regulations adopted by the CFTC and the federal banking regulators that are now in effect require swap dealers to post and collect margin (comprised of specified liquid instruments and subject to a required haircut) in connection with a Fund’s trading of swaps that are not traded on an exchange or cleared by a clearinghouse. These requirements may increase the amount of collateral the Funds are required to provide and the costs associated with providing such collateral.
Swap agreements submitted for clearing are subject to minimum margin requirements set by the relevant clearinghouse, as well as margin requirements mandated by the CFTC, SEC and/or federal banking regulators. Swap dealers also typically demand the unilateral ability to increase a Fund’s collateral requirements for swap agreements that are cleared by a clearinghouse beyond any regulatory and clearinghouse minimums. Such requirements may make it more difficult and costly for investment funds, such as the Funds, to enter into customized transactions. They may also render certain investment strategies in which a Fund might otherwise engage impossible or so costly that they will no longer be economical to implement. If a Fund decides to execute swap agreements through an exchange or swap execution facility, the Fund would be subject to the rules of the exchange or swap execution facility, which would bring additional risks and liabilities, and potential requirements under applicable regulations and under rules of the relevant exchange or swap execution facility.
With respect to cleared OTC derivatives, a Fund will not face a clearinghouse directly but rather will do so through a swap dealer that is registered with the CFTC or SEC and that acts as a clearing member. A Fund may face the indirect risk of the failure of another clearing member customer to meet its obligations to its clearing member. This risk could arise due to a default by the clearing member on its obligations to the clearinghouse triggered by a customer’s failure to meet its obligations to the clearing member.
Swap dealers also are required to post margin to the clearinghouses through which they clear their swaps with customers instead of using such margin in their operations, as was widely permitted before Dodd-Frank. This has increased and will continue to increase swap dealers’ costs, and these increased costs are generally passed through to other market participants such as the Funds in the form of higher upfront and mark-to-market margin, less favorable trade pricing, and the imposition of new or increased fees, including clearing account maintenance fees.
While certain regulations have been promulgated and are already in effect, the full impact of the Dodd-Frank Act on any of the Funds remains uncertain. The legislation and the related regulations that have been and may be promulgated in the future may negatively impact a Fund’s ability to meet its investment objective either through limits on its investments or requirements imposed on it or any of its counterparties. In particular, new requirements, including capital requirements and mandatory clearing of OTC derivatives transactions, which may increase derivative counterparties’ costs and are expected to generally be passed through to other market participants in the form of higher upfront and mark-to-market margin, less favorable trade pricing, and the imposition of new or increased fees, including clearinghouse account maintenance fees, may increase the cost of a Fund’s investments and the cost of doing business, which could adversely affect investors.
Regulatory bodies outside the U.S. have also passed or proposed, or may propose in the future, legislation similar to that proposed by Dodd-Frank or other legislation containing other restrictions that could adversely impact the liquidity of and increase costs of participating in the commodities markets. For example, the European Union Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (Directive 2014/65/EU) and Markets in Financial Instruments Regulation (Regulation (EU) No 600/2014) (together “MiFID II”), which has applied since January 3, 2018, governs the
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provision of investment services and activities in relation to, as well as the organized trading of, financial instruments such as shares, bonds, units in collective investment schemes and derivatives. In particular, MiFID II requires European Union (the “EU”) Member States to apply position limits to the size of a net position which a person can hold at any time in commodity derivatives traded on EU trading venues and in “economically equivalent” OTC contracts. By way of further example, the European Market Infrastructure Regulation (Regulation (EU) No 648/2012, as amended) (“EMIR”) introduced certain requirements in respect of OTC derivatives including: (i) the mandatory clearing of OTC derivative contracts declared subject to the clearing obligation; (ii) risk mitigation techniques in respect of OTC derivative contracts that are not cleared by a clearinghouse, including the mandatory margining of such contracts; and (iii) reporting and recordkeeping requirements in respect of all derivatives contracts. In the event that the requirements under EMIR and MiFID II apply, these are expected to increase the cost of transacting derivatives.
In addition, regulations adopted by U.S. federal banking regulators will require certain bank-regulated swap dealer counterparties and certain of their affiliates and subsidiaries, including swap dealers, to include in certain financial contracts, including many derivatives contracts, such as swap agreements, terms that delay or restrict the rights of counterparties, such as a Fund, to terminate such contracts, foreclose upon collateral, exercise other default rights or restrict transfers of credit support in the event that the counterparty and/or its affiliates are subject to certain types of resolution or insolvency proceedings. Similar regulations and laws have been adopted in the UK and the EU that apply to the Funds’ counterparties located in those jurisdictions. It is possible that these new requirements could adversely affect the Funds’ ability to terminate existing derivatives agreements or to realize amounts to be received under such agreements.
CFTC rules do not apply to all of the physically settled forward contracts entered into by the Funds. Investors, therefore, may not receive the protection of CFTC regulation or the statutory scheme of the CEA in connection with each Fund’s physically settled forward contracts. The lack of regulation in these markets could expose investors to significant losses under certain circumstances, including in the event of trading abuses or financial failure by participants.
Regulatory and exchange daily price limits, position limits and accountability levels may have a negative impact on the operation and performance of each Fund.
Many U.S. futures exchanges limit the amount of fluctuation permitted in futures contract prices during a single trading day by regulations referred to as “daily price fluctuation limits” or “daily limits.” Once the daily limit has been reached in a particular contract, no trades may be made that day at a price beyond that limit or trading may be suspended for specified periods during the trading day. Derivatives contract prices could move to a limit for several consecutive trading days with little or no trading thereby preventing prompt liquidation of or entry into derivatives positions and potentially subjecting the Fund to substantial losses or periods in which the Fund does not create additional Creation Units.
In addition, the CFTC, U.S. futures exchanges and certain non-U.S. exchanges have established limits referred to as “speculative position limits” or “accountability levels” on the maximum net long or short futures positions that any person may hold or control in futures contracts traded on U.S. and certain non-U.S. exchanges. The CFTC’s rules require that all accounts owned or managed by an entity that is responsible for such accounts’ trading decisions, their principals and their affiliates be aggregated for position limits. The CFTC amended these aggregation rules in December 2016.
In connection with these limits, the Dodd-Frank Act amended the Commodity Exchange Act, and as a result, the CFTC has adopted regulations establishing speculative position limits applicable to regulated futures and OTC derivatives and impose aggregate speculative position limits across regulated U.S. futures, OTC positions and certain futures contracts traded on non-U.S. exchanges. The CFTC has sought to amend its position limits rules for several years and on October 15, 2020 the CFTC adopted rules on position limits with respect to the 25 physical delivery commodity futures contracts and options on futures, as well as to swaps that are economically equivalent to such contracts and futures and options thereon that are directly or indirectly linked to the price of such contracts or to the same commodity underlying such contracts (e.g., cash-settled look-a-like futures).
Exchanges may establish accountability levels applicable to futures contracts instead of position limits. An accountability level is not a strict limit, but when a person holds or controls a position in excess of a position accountability level, the relevant exchange may convert the accountability level to a limit based on information that it collects from the person as to the person’s investment intentions and strategy as part of the position accountability process and market conditions. In addition, the relevant exchange may order a person who holds or controls a position in excess of a position accountability level not to further increase its position, to comply with any prospective limit that exceeds the size of the position owned or controlled, or to reduce any open position that exceeds the position accountability level if the exchange determines that such action is necessary to maintain an orderly market. Position accountability levels could adversely affect each of the Fund’s ability to establish and maintain positions in commodity futures contracts to which such levels apply, if the Funds were to trade in such contracts. Such an outcome could adversely affect each of the Fund’s ability to pursue its investment objective.
Currently, the Sponsor and the Funds are subject to position limits and accountability levels established by the CFTC and exchanges. Accordingly, the Sponsor and the Funds may be required to reduce the size of outstanding positions or be restricted from entering into new positions that would otherwise be taken for the Fund or not trade in certain markets on behalf of the Fund in order to comply with those limits or any future limits established by the CFTC and the relevant exchanges. These restrictions, if implemented, could limit the ability of each Fund to
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invest in additional futures contracts, add to existing positions in the desired amount, or create additional Creation Units and could otherwise have a significant negative impact on Fund operations.
In addition, the Sponsor may be required to liquidate certain open positions in order to ensure compliance with the speculative position limits at unfavorable prices, which may result in substantial losses for the relevant Funds. There also can be no assurance that the Sponsor will liquidate positions held on behalf of all the Sponsor’s accounts, including any proprietary accounts, in a proportionate manner. In the event the Sponsor chooses to liquidate a disproportionate number of positions held on behalf of any of the Funds at unfavorable prices, such Funds may incur substantial losses and the value of the Shares may be adversely affected.
A person is generally required by CFTC or exchange rules, as applicable, to aggregate all positions in accounts as to which the person has 10% or greater ownership or control. However, CFTC and exchange rules provide certain exemptions from this requirement. For example, a person is not required to aggregate positions in multiple accounts that it owns or controls if that person is able to satisfy the requirements of an exemption from aggregation of those accounts, including, where available, the independent account controller exemption. Any failure to comply with the independent account controller exemption or another exemption from the aggregation requirement could obligate the Sponsor to aggregate positions in multiple accounts under its control, which could include the Funds and other commodity pools or accounts under the Sponsor’s control. In such a scenario, the Funds may not be able to obtain exposure to one or more Financial Instruments necessary to pursue their investment objectives, or they may be required to liquidate existing futures contract positions in order to comply with a limit. Such an outcome could adversely affect each of the Fund’s ability to pursue its investment objective or achieve favorable performance.
The Funds are currently subject to position limits and accountability levels and may be subject to new or more restrictive position limits or accountability levels in the future. If the Funds reached a position limit or accountability level or became subject to a daily limit, their ability to issue new Creation Units or reinvest income in additional commodity futures contracts may be limited to the extent these restrictions limit its ability to establish new futures positions, add to existing positions, or otherwise transact in futures. For example, a Fund may reach a position limit or accountability level or became subject to a daily limit as a result of significant and/or rapid increases in the size of the Fund as a result of an increase in creation activity. Limiting or suspending the purchase of Creation Units, or restricting the Funds’ futures trading, could adversely affect the Funds’ ability to pursue its investment objective and disrupt secondary market trading of Fund Shares .
The Trust or the Sponsor may apply to the CFTC or to the relevant exchanges for relief from certain position limits. If the Trust or Sponsor is unable to obtain such relief, a Fund’s ability to issue new Creation Units, or the Fund’s ability to reinvest income in additional futures contracts, may be limited to the extent these activities cause the Trust to exceed applicable position limits. Limiting the size of a Fund may affect the correlation between the price of the Shares, as traded on an exchange, and the net asset value of the Fund. Accordingly, the inability to create additional Creation Units or add to existing positions in the desired amount could result in Shares trading at a premium or discount to NAV.
The Funds and the Sponsor are subject to extensive legal and regulatory requirements.
The Funds are subject to a comprehensive scheme of regulation under the federal commodity futures trading and securities laws, as well as futures exchange rules and the rules and listing standards for their Shares. Each Fund and the Sponsor could each be subject to sanctions for a failure to comply with those requirements, which could adversely affect the Fund’s financial performance and its ability to pursue its investment objectives. Each Fund is subject to significant disclosure, internal control, governance, and financial reporting requirements because its Shares are publicly traded.
For example, the Funds are responsible for establishing and maintaining internal controls over financial reporting. Under this requirement, the Funds must adopt, implement and maintain an internal control system designed to provide reasonable assurance to its management regarding the preparation and fair presentation of published financial statements. The Funds are also required to adopt, implement, and maintain disclosure controls and procedures that are designed to ensure information required to be disclosed by the Funds in reports that they file or submit to the SEC is recorded, processed, summarized and reported within the time periods specified by the SEC. There is a risk that the Funds’ internal controls over financial reporting and disclosure controls and procedures could fail to operate as designed or otherwise fail to satisfy SEC requirements. Such a failure could result in the reporting or disclosure of incorrect information or a failure to report information on a timely basis. Such a failure could be to the disadvantage of shareholders and could expose the Funds to penalties or otherwise adversely affect each of the Fund’s status under the federal securities laws and SEC regulations. Any internal control system, no matter how well designed, has inherent limitations. Therefore, even those systems determined to be effective may provide only reasonable assurance with respect to financial statement preparation and presentation and other disclosure matters.
In addition, the SEC, CFTC, and exchanges are empowered to intervene in their respective markets in response to extreme market conditions. Those interventions could adversely affect the Funds’ ability to pursue their investment objectives and could lead to losses for the Funds and their shareholders.
The discontinuance of the U.S. dollar London interbank offered rate (LIBOR) could cause or contribute to market volatility and could affect the market value and/or liquidity of the Funds’ investments.
Shareholders should be aware that (i) relevant regulatory announcements about the phase out of LIBOR, (ii) the possibility of changes being made to the basis on which LIBOR is calculated and published (or its ceasing to be published), (iii) uncertainty as to whether or how any alternative reference rate may replace LIBOR, (iv) the ability of the Funds’ third-party service providers and/or counterparties to support and
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process the Funds’ investments based on an alternative reference rate, and (v) any other actions taken by the ICE Benchmark Administration, the Financial Conduct Authority (the “FCA”) or any other entity with respect to LIBOR or its replacement (if any), could cause or contribute to market volatility and could negatively affect the market value, availability and/or liquidity of the Funds’ investments. The unavailability or replacement of LIBOR may affect the valuation of certain Fund investments. Any pricing adjustments to a Fund’s investments resulting from a substitute reference rate may also adversely affect the Fund’s performance and/or NAV. However, it is not possible at this time to predict or ascertain what precise impact these will have on the Funds.
The use of futures contracts may expose the Funds to liquidity and other risks, which could result in significant loss to the Funds.
Risks of futures contracts include: (i) an imperfect correlation between the value of the futures contract and the underlying commodity or commodity index; (ii) possible lack of a liquid secondary market; (iii) the inability to close a futures contract when desired; (iv) losses caused by unanticipated market movements, which may be significant; (v) an obligation for a Fund to make daily cash payments to maintain its required margin, particularly at times when the Fund may have insufficient cash or must sell investments to meet those margin requirements; (vi) the possibility that a failure to close a position may result in a Fund receiving an illiquid commodity; (vii) unfavorable execution prices from rapid selling; and (viii) inability to achieve desired exposure because of position limits or accountability levels. The use of futures contracts exposes a Fund to risks associated with “rolling” as described herein, including the possibility that contango or backwardation can occur. In addition, futures contracts may be subject to contractual or other restrictions on resale and may lack readily available markets for resale.
Margin requirements and position limits applicable to futures contracts may limit a Fund’s ability to achieve sufficient exposure and prevent a Fund from achieving its investment objective.
Each Fund may enter into written agreements with one or more FCMs governing the terms of the Fund’s futures transactions cleared by such FCM. Because futures contracts typically require only a relatively small initial investment, they may involve a high degree of leverage. A Fund must provide margin when it invests in a futures contract. Such margin requirements are subject to change suddenly and without warning at any time during the term of the contract and could be substantial in the event of adverse price movements or volatility. High margin requirements could prevent a Fund from obtaining sufficient exposure to futures contracts and may prevent or have a significant adverse impact on a Fund’s ability to achieve its investment objective. If a margin call is not met within a reasonable time, an FCM may close out a Fund’s position which may prevent the Fund from achieving its investment objective. If a Fund has insufficient cash to meet daily margin requirements, it may need to sell Financial Instruments at a time when such sales are disadvantageous. An FCM’s failure to return required margin to a Fund on a timely basis may cause the Fund to delay redemption settlement dates and/or restrict, postpone or limit the right of redemption and could also have a negative impact on a Fund’s ability to achieve its investment objective. Exchanges impose futures contract position limits and accountability levels on the Funds and the Funds may be subject to new or more restrictive position limits or accountability levels in the future. If a Fund reaches a position limit or accountability level or becomes subject to a daily limit, its ability to issue new Creation Units or reinvest in additional commodity futures contracts may be limited to the extent these restrictions limit its ability to establish new futures positions, add to existing positions, or otherwise transact in futures. Certain of the FCMs utilized by the Funds may impose their own “position limits”, or risk limits, on the Funds. Any such risk limits restrict the amount of exposure to futures contracts that a Fund can obtain through such FCMs. These risk limits may, for example, be imposed as a result of significant and/or rapid increases in the size of the Fund as a result of an increase in creation activity. As a result, a Fund may need to transact through a number of FCMs in order to achieve its investment objective. If enough FCMs are not willing to transact with a Fund, or if the risk limits imposed by such FCMs do not provide sufficient exposure, the Fund may not be able to achieve its investment objective. Futures markets are highly volatile, and may become more volatile during periods of general market and/or economic volatility, and the use of or exposure to futures contracts may increase volatility of a Fund’s NAV.
VIX futures contracts in particular have been subject to periods of sudden and extreme volatility. As a result, margin requirements for VIX futures contracts are higher than those for most other types of futures contracts. In addition, the FCMs utilized by the Funds may impose margin requirements in addition to those imposed by the clearinghouse. Margin requirements are subject to change, and may be raised in the future by either or both of the clearinghouse and the FCMs. High margin requirements could prevent a Fund from obtaining sufficient exposure to VIX futures contracts and may adversely affect a Fund’s ability to achieve its investment objective. An FCM’s failure to return required margin to a Fund on a timely basis may cause such Fund to delay redemption settlement dates and/or restrict, postpone or limit the right of redemption.
The insolvency of an FCM or clearinghouse or the failure of an FCM or clearinghouse to properly segregate Fund assets held as margin on futures transactions may result in losses to the Funds.
The CEA requires FCMs to segregate client assets received as margin on futures transactions from their own proprietary assets. However, in the event of the FCM’s bankruptcy or if an FCM fails to properly segregate Fund assets deposited as margin, a Fund may not be able to recover any assets held by the FCM, or may recover only a limited portion of such assets.
Furthermore, customer funds held at a clearinghouse in connection with any futures contracts are permitted to be held in a commingled omnibus account that does not identify the name of the clearing member’s individual customers. A clearinghouse may use assets held in such accounts to satisfy payment obligations of a defaulting customer of the FCM to the clearinghouse. As a result, in the event of a default of one or
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more of the FCM’s other clients together with the bankruptcy or insolvency of the FCM, a Fund may not be able to recover the assets deposited by the FCM on behalf of the Fund with the clearing organization.
In the event of a bankruptcy or insolvency of any exchange or a clearinghouse, a Fund could experience a loss of the funds deposited through its FCM as margin with the clearinghouse, a loss of any profits on its open positions on the exchange, and the loss of unrealized profits on its closed positions on the exchange.
A Fund’s performance could be adversely affected if an FCM reduces its internal risk limits for the Fund.
CFTC rules require clearing member FCMs to establish risk-based limits on position and order size. As a result, the Trust’s FCMs may be required or may choose to reduce their internal limits on the size of the positions they will execute or clear for the Funds, and the Funds’ ability to transact in futures contracts could be reduced or eliminated. Under these circumstances, the Trust may seek to use additional FCMs, which may increase the costs for the Funds, make the Funds’ trading less efficient or more prone to error, or adversely affect the value of the Shares. If enough FCMs are not willing to transact with a Fund, it may not be possible for the Fund to transact in futures contracts or to invest in other Financial Instruments necessary to achieve the desired exposure consistent with the Fund’s investment objective.
The use of swap agreements may expose the Funds to liquidity risk, counterparty credit risk and other risks, which could result in significant loss to the Funds.
Swaps are contracts between two parties who agree to exchange the returns on, among other things, a particular predetermined security, commodity, interest rate or index for a fixed or floating rate of return with reference to a predetermined notional amount of money. The Funds trade swaps that are not cleared by a clearinghouse. There are no limitations on the percentage of its assets a Fund may invest in swaps with a particular counterparty. A swap counterparty or affiliate thereof may be an Authorized Participant or shareholder of one or more Funds. Swap agreements do not have uniform terms. A swap counterparty may have the right to close out a Fund’s position due to the occurrence of certain events (for example, if a counterparty is unable to hedge its obligations to a Fund, or if the Fund defaults on certain terms of the swap agreement, or if there is a material decline in the Fund’s benchmark on a particular day) and request immediate payment of amounts owed by the Fund under the agreement. If the level of a Fund’s benchmark has a dramatic intraday move, the terms of the swap agreement may permit the counterparty to immediately close out a transaction with the Fund at a price set by the counterparty, which may not represent fair market value. A swap counterparty may also have the right to close out a Fund’s position for no reason, in some cases with same day notice. The valuation method used to calculate NAV or errors in calculation of a Fund’s NAV may cause the Fund’s NAV to be overstated or understated and may affect the performance of the Fund and the value of an investment in the Shares.
Because a swap counterparty may stop trading with a Fund, in some cases with same day notice, a Fund may need to transact through a number of swap counterparties in order to achieve its investment objective. If enough swap counterparties are not willing to transact with a Fund, it may not be possible for the Fund to enter into another swap or to invest in other Financial Instruments necessary to achieve the desired exposure consistent with the Fund’s objective. This, in turn, may prevent the Fund from achieving its investment objective, particularly if the level of the Fund’s benchmark reverses all or part of an intraday move by the end of the day.
The Funds have sought to mitigate these risks by typically entering into transactions only with major, global financial institutions, generally requiring that swap counterparties agree to post collateral for the benefit of the Fund, marked to market daily, subject to certain minimum thresholds. Notwithstanding the use of collateral arrangements, to the extent any collateral provided to such Fund is insufficient or there are delays in accessing the collateral, the Fund will be exposed to possibly significant costs and delays in recovering such amounts. The swap counterparty’s failure to return collateral to such Fund on a timely basis may cause the Fund to delay redemption settlement dates and/or restrict, postpone or limit the right of redemption. If the swap counterparty becomes bankrupt or otherwise fails to perform its obligations due to financial difficulties or other reasons, such Fund could suffer significant losses on these contracts and the value of an investor’s investment in the Fund may decline.
Margin requirements for swaps may limit a Fund’s ability to achieve sufficient exposure and prevent a Fund from achieving its investment objective.
Margin requirements imposed by a swap counterparty are subject to change and could be substantial, especially in the event of adverse price movements. High margin requirements could prevent a Fund from obtaining sufficient exposure to swap agreements and may adversely affect a Fund’s ability to achieve its investment objective. If a Fund has insufficient cash to meet its margin requirements, the Fund may need to sell Financial Instruments at a time when such sales are disadvantageous. A Fund’s use of swaps involves counterparty credit risk – i.e., the risk that a counterparty is or is perceived to be unwilling or unable to make timely payments or otherwise meet its contractual obligations. Regulators impose margin requirements applicable to swaps that are not cleared by a clearinghouse relating to the amount of initial margin, the timing of margin transfers, and the calculation of margin requirements. Although a Fund is not directly subject to these requirements, when a Fund’s counterparty is subject to these requirements, the swaps between the Fund and that counterparty are subject to these margin requirements, and collateral is required to be exchanged between the Fund and the counterparty to account for any changes in the value of such swaps. It is possible that in the future these rules could apply to the Funds, may result in significant operational burdens and costs to a Fund, and may impair the Fund’s ability to achieve its investment objective.
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The use of derivatives, such as swap agreements and forward contracts, exposes the Funds to counterparty credit risks.
Each Fund may use derivatives such as swap agreements and forward contracts (collectively referred to herein as “derivatives”) in the manner described herein as a means to achieve their respective investment objectives. Use of derivatives exposes the Funds to the credit risk of the counterparty to a derivative transaction.
Derivative transactions may be “cleared” or “uncleared.” In the case of derivatives that are not cleared by a clearinghouse, the Funds will be subject to the credit risk of the counterparty to the transaction – typically a single bank or financial institution. If a counterparty becomes bankrupt or otherwise fails to perform its obligations due to financial difficulties or other reasons, a Fund could suffer significant losses on these contracts and the value of an investor’s investment in a Fund may decline.
In the case of derivatives that are cleared by a clearinghouse, the Funds will have credit risk to the clearinghouse in a similar manner as the Funds would for futures contracts. The counterparty risk for these derivatives transactions is generally lower than for derivatives transactions that are not cleared by a clearinghouse. Once a transaction is cleared, the clearinghouse is substituted and is the Fund’s counterparty for the derivative transaction. The clearinghouse guarantees the performance of the other side of the derivative transaction. Nevertheless, some risk remains, as there is no assurance that the clearinghouse, or its members, will satisfy their obligations to a Fund.
The use of options strategies may expose the Funds to significant loss and liquidity, counterparty and other risks.
Options transactions may be considered speculative in nature and may be highly leveraged. Certain options transactions may subject the writer (seller) to unlimited risk of loss in the event of an increase in the price of the contract to be purchased or delivered. The value of a Fund’s options transactions, if any, will be affected by, among other things, changes in the value of a Fund’s underlying benchmark relative to the strike price, changes in interest rates, changes in the actual and implied volatility of the Fund’s underlying benchmark, and the remaining time to until the options expire, or any combination thereof. The value of the options should not be expected to increase or decrease at the same rate as the level of the Fund’s underlying benchmark, which may contribute to tracking error. Options may be less liquid than certain other securities. A Fund’s ability to trade options will be dependent on the willingness of counterparties to trade such options with the Fund. In a less liquid market for options, a Fund may have difficulty closing out certain option positions at desired times and prices. A Fund may experience substantial downside from specific option positions and certain option positions may expire worthless. Over-the-counter options generally are not assignable except by agreement between the parties concerned, and no party or purchaser has any obligation to permit such assignments. The over-the-counter market for options is relatively illiquid, particularly for relatively small transactions. The use of options transactions exposes a Fund to liquidity risk and counterparty credit risk, and in certain circumstances may expose the Fund to unlimited risk of loss. The Funds may buy and sell options on futures contracts, which may present even greater volatility and risk of loss.
Use of options strategies may be costly and may not be successful .
Each Fund may buy and sell options in order to achieve exposure to the markets. An option is a contract that gives the buyer the right, but not the obligation, to buy or sell a specified quantity of a commodity or other instrument at a specific (or strike) price within a specified period of time, regardless of the market price of that instrument. As the buyer of a call or put option, a Fund may lose the entire premium paid for the option if the value of the security underlying the option does not rise above the call strike price, or fall below the put strike price, which means the option will expire worthless. As a seller (writer) of a call or put option, a Fund will tend to lose money if the value of the underlying security rises above the call strike price or falls below the put strike price. A Fund’s losses are potentially large in written put or call transactions. In addition to futures contracts, the principal futures exchanges offer a number of listed options on futures contracts. Options on futures contracts offer market participants another type of Financial Instrument to use in managing exposure to the relevant commodity market. A Fund may purchase options on futures contracts on these exchanges in pursuing its investment objective. Further, in addition to Financial Instruments such as futures contracts and options on futures contracts, there also exists an active nonexchange-traded market in derivatives tied to various commodities.
In addition, each Fund may, but is not required to, seek to use options strategies that limit losses (i.e., have “floors”) or are otherwise designed to prevent the Fund’s net asset value from going to or below zero. Use of such options strategies will not prevent a Fund from losing value, and their use may not prevent the Fund’s NAV from going to or below zero. Rather, it is intended to allow a Fund to preserve a small portion of its value in the event of significant movements in its benchmark or Financial Instruments based on its benchmark. There can be no guarantee that use of such options strategies will be successful. Each Fund will incur additional costs as a result of using such options strategies. Use of options strategies designed to limit losses may also place “caps” or “ceilings” on performance and could significantly limit Fund gains, could cause a Fund to perform in a manner not consistent with its investment objective, and could otherwise have a significant impact on Fund performance.
A Fund will incur additional transaction, compliance and other costs as a result of using options strategies. The use of options may be considered aggressive, may not prevent a Fund from losing value, and may not prevent a Fund’s NAV from decreasing to or below zero. There can be no guarantee that a Fund will be able to implement options strategies, continue to use options strategies, or that options strategies will be successful. Use of an options strategy could cause a Fund to perform in a manner not consistent with its investment objective and could otherwise have a negative impact on Fund performance.
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Changes to options pricing and valuation models may adversely affect the Funds.
In April 2020 CME changed its method of pricing and valuing options in order to accommodate negative prices in futures contacts and to allow for the listing of option contracts with negative strikes for specified energy contracts. On August 13, 2020, the CME announced that it would revert to its previous options pricing and valuation methodology, effective as of the August 31, 2020 trade date. Whether or how the change to the original options pricing and valuation method will impact options contracts or the related futures contracts cannot be predicted. Impacts from this change could have significant impact on a Fund’s performance and the value of an investment in a Fund may decline significantly.
Concentration Risk.
The Funds will typically concentrate their investments in first- and second-month VIX futures contracts. Investors should be aware that other volatility investments may be more diversified both in terms of the number and variety of instruments included and of the volatility exposure offered. Concentration exclusively in first- and second-month futures contracts may result in a greater degree of volatility and adverse performance of the Fund under specific market conditions and over time. Concentration in fewer futures contracts as opposed to exposure to a broader set of futures contracts may increase the risk of the Fund’s trading activity affecting such futures contracts and this may adversely affect the performance of the Fund. For example, such concentration and the large size of the positions the Funds may take (including positions resulting from significant and/or rapid increases in the size of the Fund as a result of an increase in creation activity or for any other reason) may cause the daily rolling or rebalancing of the Fund’s portfolio to adversely impact the market price of its concentrated portfolio of futures contracts and in turn the level of the Index and the performance of the Fund.
Shareholders’ tax liability may exceed cash distributions on the Shares.
Shareholders of each Fund may be subject to U.S. federal income taxation and, in some cases, state, local, or foreign income taxation on their share of the Fund’s taxable income, whether or not they receive cash distributions from the Fund. Each Fund does not currently expect to make distributions with respect to capital gains or ordinary income. Accordingly, shareholders of a Fund will not receive cash distributions equal to their share of the Fund’s taxable income or the tax liability that results from such income. A Fund’s income, gains, losses and deductions are allocated to shareholders on a monthly basis. If you own Shares in a Fund at the beginning of a month and sell them during the month, you are generally still considered a shareholder through the end of that month.
The U.S. Internal Revenue Service (the “IRS”) could adjust or reallocate items of income, gain, deduction, loss and credit with respect to the Shares if the IRS does not accept the assumptions or conventions utilized by the Fund.
U.S. federal income tax rules applicable to partnerships, which each Fund is anticipated to be treated as under the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the “Code”), are complex and their application is not always clear. Moreover, the rules generally were not written for, and in some respects are difficult to apply to, publicly traded interests in partnerships. The Funds apply certain assumptions and conventions intended to comply with the intent of the rules and to report income, gain, deduction, loss and credit to shareholders in a manner that reflects the shareholders’ economic gains and losses, but these assumptions and conventions may not comply with all aspects of the applicable Regulations (as defined below). It is possible therefore that the IRS will successfully assert that these assumptions or conventions do not satisfy the technical requirements of the Code or the Treasury regulations promulgated thereunder (the “Regulations”) and will require that items of income, gain, deduction, loss and credit be adjusted or reallocated in a manner that could be adverse to investors.
Shareholders will receive partner information tax returns on Schedule K-1, which could increase the complexity of tax returns.
The partner information tax returns on Schedule K-1, which the Funds will distribute to shareholders, will contain information regarding the income items and expense items of the Funds. If you have not received Schedules K-1 from other investments, you may find that preparing your tax return may require additional time, or it may be necessary for you to retain an accountant or other tax preparer, at an additional expense to you, to assist you in the preparation of your return.
Shareholders of each Fund may recognize significant amounts of ordinary income and short-term capital gain.
Due to the investment strategy of the Funds, the Funds may realize and pass through to shareholders significant amounts of ordinary income and short-term capital gains as opposed to long-term capital gains, the latter of which are generally taxed at a preferential rate. A Fund’s income, gains, losses and deductions are allocated to shareholders on a monthly basis. If you own Shares in a Fund at the beginning of a month and sell them during the month, the Fund will generally still consider you a shareholder through the end of that month.
A Fund may be liable for U.S. federal income tax on any “imputed underpayment” of tax resulting from an adjustment as a result of an IRS audit. The amount of the imputed underpayment generally includes increases in allocations of items of income or gains to any shareholder and decreases in allocations of items of deduction, loss, or credit to any shareholder without any offset for any corresponding reductions in allocations of items of income or gain to any shareholder or increases in allocations of items of deduction, loss, or credit to any shareholder. If a Fund is required to pay any U.S. federal income taxes on any imputed underpayment, the resulting tax liability would reduce the net assets of the Fund and would likely have an adverse impact on the value of the Shares. Under certain circumstances, a Fund may be eligible to make an
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election to cause the shareholders to take into account the amount of any imputed underpayment, including any interest and penalties. However, there can be no assurance that such election will be made or effective. If the election is made, the Fund would be required to provide shareholders who owned beneficial interests in the Shares in the year to which the adjusted allocations relate with a statement setting forth their proportionate shares of the adjustment (“Adjustment Statements”). Those shareholders would be required to take the adjustment into account in the taxable year in which the Adjustment Statements are issued.
A Fund could be treated as a corporation for federal income tax purposes, which may substantially reduce the value of its Shares.
Each Fund has received an opinion of counsel that, under current U.S. federal income tax laws, such will be treated as a partnership that is not taxable as a corporation for U.S. federal income tax purposes, provided that, inter alia, (i) at least 90 percent of such Fund’s annual gross income will be derived from qualifying income which includes dividends, interest, capital gains from the sale or other disposition of stocks and debt instruments and, in the case of a partnership a principal activity of which is the buying and selling of commodities or certain positions with respect to commodities, income and gains derived from certain swap agreements or regulated futures or forward contracts with respect to commodities, (ii) such Fund is organized and operated in accordance with its governing agreements and applicable law and (iii) such Fund does not elect to be taxed as a corporation for federal income tax purposes. Although the Sponsor anticipates that each Fund has satisfied and will continue to satisfy the “qualifying income” requirement for all of its taxable years, such result cannot be assured. The Funds have not requested and will not request any ruling from the IRS with respect to their classification that each Fund is treated as a partnership not taxable as a corporation for federal income tax purposes. If the IRS were to successfully assert that a Fund is taxable as a corporation for federal income tax purposes in any taxable year, rather than passing through its income, gains, losses and deductions proportionately to shareholders, such Fund would be subject to tax on its net income for the year at the 21% corporate tax rate. In addition, although each Fund does not currently intend to make distributions with respect to Shares, any distributions would be taxable to shareholders as dividend income. Taxation of a Fund as a corporation could materially reduce the after-tax return on an investment in Shares and could substantially reduce the value of the Shares.
PROSPECTIVE INVESTORS ARE STRONGLY URGED TO CONSULT THEIR OWN TAX ADVISORS AND COUNSEL WITH RESPECT TO THE POSSIBLE TAX CONSEQUENCES TO THEM OF AN INVESTMENT IN THE SHARES OF A FUND; SUCH TAX CONSEQUENCES MAY DIFFER IN RESPECT OF DIFFERENT INVESTORS.
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CAUTIONARY NOTE REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS
This Prospectus and the documents incorporated by reference in this Prospectus contain “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of Section 27A of the 1933 Act and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “1934 Act”), that are subject to risks and uncertainties. Investors can identify these forward-looking statements by the use of expressions such as “may,” “will,” “expect,” “anticipate,” “believe,” “intend,” “plan,” “project,” “should,” “estimate,” “seek” or any negative or other variations on such expression. These forward-looking statements are based on information currently available to the Sponsor and are subject to a number of risks, uncertainties and other factors, both known, such as those described in “Risk Factors” and elsewhere in this Prospectus and the documents incorporated by reference in this Prospectus, and unknown, that could cause the actual results, performance, prospects or opportunities of the Funds to differ materially from those expressed in, or implied by, these forward-looking statements.
Except as expressly required by federal securities laws, the Trust assumes no obligation to update publicly any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. Investors should not place undue reliance on any forward-looking statements.
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DESCRIPTION OF EACH FUND’S BENCHMARK
The S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures Index
The Funds seek to offer exposure to forward equity market volatility by obtaining exposure to the Index. The S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures Index is an investable index based on publicly traded VIX futures contracts. The Index is intended to reflect the returns that are potentially available through an unleveraged investment in the VIX futures contracts comprising the Index.
The Index employs rules for selecting the VIX futures contracts comprising the Index and a formula to calculate a level for the Index from the prices of these VIX futures contracts (these rules and the formula may be changed from time to time, and without notice, by S&P). Currently, the VIX futures contracts comprising the Index represent the prices of two near-term VIX futures contracts, replicating a position that rolls the nearest month VIX futures to the next month VIX futures on a daily basis in equal fractional amounts. This results in a constant weighted average maturity of one month.
The level of the Index will be published by Bloomberg Finance L.P. in real time and at the close of trading on each Index business day under the Bloomberg ticker symbol: SPVXSPID.
The performance of the Index is influenced by the performance of the S&P 500 (and options thereon) and the performance of the VIX Index. A description of VIX futures contracts, the VIX and the S&P 500 follows.
VIX Futures Contracts
The Index is comprised of VIX futures contracts. VIX futures contracts were first launched for trading by the Cboe in 2004. VIX futures contracts allow investors to invest based on their view of the forward implied market volatility of the S&P 500. Investors that believe the forward implied market volatility of the S&P 500 will increase may buy VIX futures contracts. Conversely, investors that believe that the forward implied market volatility of the S&P 500 will decline may sell VIX futures contracts.
While the VIX represents a measure of the current expected volatility of the S&P 500 over the next 30 days, the prices of VIX futures contracts are based on the current expectation of the expected 30-day volatility of the S&P 500 on the expiration date of the futures contract. Since the VIX and VIX futures contracts are two distinctly different measures, the VIX and VIX futures contracts generally behave quite differently.
An important consequence of the spot/forward relationship between the VIX and VIX futures contracts (and therefore between the VIX and the Funds) that investors should understand is that the price of a VIX futures contract can be lower, equal to or higher than the VIX, depending on whether the market expects volatility to be lower, equal to or higher in the 30-day forward period covered by the VIX futures contract than in the 30-day spot period covered by the VIX. Therefore the performance of VIX Futures contracts should be expected to be very different than the performance of the VIX as there is no direct relationship between the two measures. As a result, since the performance of the Funds is linked to the performance of the VIX futures contracts included in the Index, the Funds should be expected to perform very differently from the VIX.
The VIX
The VIX is an index designed to measure the implied volatility of the S&P 500 over 30 days in the future. The VIX is calculated based on the prices of certain put and call options on the S&P 500. The VIX is reflective of the premium paid by investors for certain options linked to the level of the S&P 500.
During periods of rising investor uncertainty, including periods of market instability, the implied level of volatility of the S&P 500 typically increases and, consequently, the prices of options linked to the S&P 500 typically increase (assuming all other relevant factors remain constant or have negligible changes). This, in turn, causes the level of the VIX to increase.
During periods of declining investor uncertainty, the implied level of volatility of the S&P 500 typically decreases and, consequently, the prices of options linked to the S&P 500 typically decrease (assuming all other relevant factors remain constant or have negligible changes). This, in turn, causes the level of the VIX to decrease.
Volatility, and the level of the VIX, can increase (or decrease) without warning. The performance of the VIX has historically had a negative correlation to the performance of the S&P 500. The VIX was developed by the Cboe and is calculated, maintained and published by the Cboe. The Cboe may change the methodology used to determine the VIX and has no obligation to continue to publish, and may discontinue the publication of, the VIX. The VIX is reported by Bloomberg Finance L.P. under the ticker symbol “VIX.”
The S&P 500
The S&P 500 is an index that measures large-cap U.S. stock market performance. It is a float-adjusted market capitalization weighted index of 500 U.S. operating companies and real estate investment trusts selected by the S&P U.S. Index Committee through a non-mechanical process that factors in criteria such as domicile, investible weight factor, liquidity, market capitalization and financial viability. Changes to index
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composition are made on an as-needed basis. There is no scheduled reconstitution. Rather, changes in response to corporate actions and market developments can be made at any time. S&P publishes the S&P 500. The daily calculation of the current value of the S&P 500 is based on the relative value of the aggregate market value of the common stocks of 500 companies as of a particular time compared to the aggregate average initial market value of the common stocks of 500 similar companies at the time of the inception of the S&P 500. The 500 companies are not the 500 largest publicly traded companies and not all 500 companies are listed on the Exchange. Constituent selection is at the discretion of the Index Committee and is based on the eligibility criteria. The index has a fixed constituent company count of 500. Sector balance, as measured by a comparison of each GICS sector’s weight in an index with its weight in the S&P Total Market Index, in the relevant market capitalization range, is also considered in the selection of companies for the indices. S&P may from time to time, in its sole discretion, add companies to, or delete companies from, the S&P 500 to achieve the objectives stated above. Relevant criteria employed by S&P include the viability of the particular company, the extent to which that company represents the industry group to which it is assigned, the extent to which the company’s common stock is widely held and the market value and trading activity of the common stock of that company.
Information about the Index Licensor
PROSHARES ULTRA VIX SHORT-TERM FUTURES ETF, PROSHARES SHORT VIX SHORT-TERM FUTURES ETF AND PROSHARES VIX SHORT-TERM FUTURES ETF (THE FUNDS) ARE NOT SPONSORED, ENDORSED, SOLD OR PROMOTED BY S&P AND ITS AFFILIATES OR CBOE. S&P AND CBOE MAKE NO REPRESENTATION, CONDITION OR WARRANTY, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, TO THE OWNERS OF THE FUNDS OR ANY MEMBER OF THE PUBLIC REGARDING THE ADVISABILITY OF INVESTING IN SECURITIES GENERALLY OR IN THE FUNDS PARTICULARLY OR THE ABILITY OF THE INDEX TO TRACK MARKET PERFORMANCE AND/OR OF GROUPS OF ASSETS OR ASSET CLASSES AND/OR TO ACHIEVE ITS STATED OBJECTIVE AND/OR TO FORM THE BASIS OF A SUCCESSFUL INVESTMENT STRATEGY, AS APPLICABLE. S&P’S AND CBOE’S ONLY RELATIONSHIP TO PROSHARES TRUST II ON BEHALF OF ITS APPLICABLE SERIES AND PROSHARE CAPITAL MANAGEMENT LLC IS THE LICENSING OF CERTAIN TRADEMARKS AND TRADE NAMES AND OF THE INDEX WHICH ARE DETERMINED, COMPOSED AND CALCULATED BY S&P WITHOUT REGARD TO PROSHARES TRUST II ON BEHALF OF ITS APPLICABLE SERIES AND PROSHARE CAPITAL MANAGEMENT LLC OR THE FUNDS. S&P HAS NO OBLIGATION TO TAKE THE NEEDS OF PROSHARES TRUST II ON BEHALF OF ITS APPLICABLE SERIES AND PROSHARE CAPITAL MANAGEMENT LLC OR THE OWNERS OF THE FUNDS INTO CONSIDERATION IN DETERMINING, COMPOSING OR CALCULATING THE INDEX. S&P AND CBOE ARE NOT ADVISORS TO THE FUNDS AND ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR AND HAVE NOT PARTICIPATED IN THE DETERMINATION OF THE PRICES AND AMOUNT OF THE FUNDS OR THE TIMING OF THE ISSUANCE OR SALE OF THE FUNDS OR IN THE DETERMINATION OR CALCULATION OF THE EQUATION BY WHICH THE FUND SHARES ARE TO BE CONVERTED INTO CASH. S&P AND CBOE HAVE NO OBLIGATION OR LIABILITY IN CONNECTION WITH THE ADMINISTRATION, MARKETING, OR TRADING OF THE FUNDS.
NEITHER S&P DOW JONES INDICES NOR THIRD PARTY LICENSOR GUARANTEES THE ADEQUACY, ACCURACY, TIMELINESS, AND/OR THE COMPLETENESS OF THE S&P 500 VIX SHORT-TERM FUTURES ER MCAP INDEX OR ANY DATA RELATED THERETO OR ANY COMMUNICATION INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO, ORAL OR WRITTEN COMMUNICATION, (INCLUDING ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATIONS) WITH RESPECT THERETO. NEITHER S&P DOW JONES INDICES NOR CBOE SHALL BE SUBJECT TO ANY DAMAGES OR LIABILITY FOR ANY ERRORS, OMISSIONS, OR DELAYS THEREIN. S&P DOW JONES INDICES AND CBOE MAKES NO EXPRESS OR IMPLIED WARRANTIES, AND EXPRESSLY DISCLAIMS ALL WARRANTIES, OF MERCHANTABILITY OR FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE OR USE AS TO RESULTS TO BE OBTAINED BY PROSHARES TRUST II, ON BEHALF OF ITS APPLICABLE SERIES, AND PROSHARE CAPITAL MANAGEMENT LLC, OWNERS OF THE FUND, OR ANY OTHER PERSON OR ENTITY FROM THE USE OF THE S&P 500 VIX SHORT-TERM FUTURES ER MCAP INDEX OR WITH RESPECT TO ANY DATA RELATED THERETO. IN NO EVENT WHATSOEVER SHALL S&P DOW JONES INDICES OR CBOE, BE LIABLE FOR ANY INDIRECT, SPECIAL, INCIDENTAL, PUNITIVE, OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO, LOSS OF PROFITS, TRADING LOSSES, LOST TIME OR GOODWILL, EVEN IF THEY HAVE BEEN ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES, WHETHER IN CONTRACT, TORT, STRICT LIABILITY, OR OTHERWISE. THERE ARE NO THIRD PARTY BENEFICIARIES OF ANY AGREEMENTS OR ARRANGEMENTS BETWEEN S&P DOW JONES INDICES AND PROSHARES TRUST II, ON BEHALF OF ITS APPLICABLE SERIES, OR PROSHARES CAPITAL MANAGEMENT LLC, OTHER THAN THE LICENSORS OF S&P DOW JONES INDICES.
INVESTMENT OBJECTIVES AND PRINCIPAL INVESTMENT STRATEGIES
Investment Objectives
Investment Objective of the “Matching Fund”: The Matching Fund seeks investment results, before fees and expenses, that over time, match the performance of the Index. If the Matching Fund is successful in meeting its objective, its value, before fees and expenses, should gain approximately as much on a percentage basis as the level of the Index when the Index rises. Conversely, its value, before fees and expenses, should lose approximately as much on a percentage basis as the level of the Index when the Index declines. The Matching Fund acquires exposure through VIX futures contracts.
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Investment Objective of the “Ultra Fund”: The Ultra Fund seeks daily investment results, before fees and expenses, that correspond to one and one-half times (1.5x) the performance of the Index for a single day. The Ultra Fund does not seek to achieve its stated objective over a period greater than a single day. A “single day” is measured from the time the Ultra Fund calculates its NAV to the time of the Ultra Fund’s next NAV calculation.
If the Ultra Fund is successful in meeting its objective, its value on a given day, before fees and expenses, should gain approximately one and one-half times as much on a percentage basis as the level of the Index when the Index rises. Conversely, its value on a given day, before fees and expenses, should lose approximately one and one-half times as much on a percentage basis as the level of the Index when the Index declines. The Ultra Fund acquires long exposure through any one of or combinations of Financial Instruments, such that the Ultra Fund typically has exposure intended to approximate one and one-half times (1.5x) the Index at the time of its NAV calculation.
Investment Objective of the “Short Fund”: The Short Fund seeks daily investment results, before fees and expenses, that correspond to one-half the inverse (-0.5x) of the performance of the Index for a single day. The Short Fund does not seek to achieve its stated objective over a period greater than a single day. A “single day” is measured from the time the Short Fund calculates its NAV to the time of the Short Fund’s next NAV calculation.
If the Short Fund is successful in meeting its objective, its value on a given day, before fees and expenses, should gain approximately one-half as much on a percentage basis as the level of the Index when the Index declines. Conversely, its value on a given day, before fees and expenses, should lose approximately one-half as much on a percentage basis as the level of the Index when the Index rises. The Short Fund acquires one-half inverse exposure through any one of or combinations of Financial Instruments, such that the Short Fund typically has exposure intended to approximate one-half the inverse (-0.5x) of the Index at the time of its NAV calculation.
There can be no assurance that a Fund will achieve its investment objective or avoid substantial losses. The Geared Funds do not seek to achieve their stated investment objectives over a period of time greater than a single day because mathematical compounding prevents the Geared Funds from achieving such results. Results for the Geared Funds over periods of time greater than a single day should not be expected to be a simple one and one-half (1.5x) or one-half inverse (-0.5x) of the period return of the Index. Geared Fund returns will likely differ in amount and possibly even direction from the Fund’s stated multiple times the return of the Index over time. These differences can be significant. A Geared Fund will lose money if the Index’s performance is flat over time, and the Geared Funds can lose money regardless of the performance of the Index, as a result of daily rebalancing, the Index’s volatility, compounding and other factors. Daily compounding of a Geared Fund’s investment returns can dramatically and adversely affect its longer-term performance, especially during periods of high volatility. Volatility has a negative impact on Geared Fund performance and may be at least as important to a Geared Fund’s return for a period as the return of the Index. The Matching Fund seeks to achieve its stated investment objective over time, not just for a single day.
The Funds are benchmarked to the Index, which is comprised of VIX futures contracts and seeks to offer exposure to market volatility through publicly traded futures markets. The Funds are not benchmarked to the VIX, which is calculated based on the prices of put and call options on the S&P 500. The VIX is a theoretical calculation and cannot be traded on a spot basis. As such, the Funds can be expected to perform very differently from the VIX (in the case of the Matching Fund) or one and one-half times (1.5x) or one-half the inverse (-0.5x) of the VIX (in the case of the Geared Funds).
Principal Investment Strategies
In seeking to achieve the Funds’ investment objectives, the Sponsor uses a mathematical approach to investing. Using this approach, the Sponsor determines the type, quantity and mix of investment positions that the Sponsor believes, in combination, should produce daily returns consistent with the Funds’ objectives.
Each Fund seeks to remain fully invested at all times in Financial Instruments and money market instruments that, in combination, provide exposure to the Index consistent with its investment objective without regard to market conditions, trends or direction. Each Fund intends to meet its investment objective by taking positions in VIX futures contracts, but may invest in Financial Instruments to gain the appropriate exposure to the Index. The Ultra Fund and the Matching Fund each intends to take long positions in VIX futures contracts in seeking to meet their investment objectives. The Short Fund intends to take short positions in VIX futures contracts in seeking to meet its investment objective.
The Sponsor may cause a Fund to obtain exposure to the Index through swaps referencing the Index, particular VIX futures contracts comprising the Index or swaps on ETNs or funds that seek to track the performance of the Index. For example, a Fund may utilize swap transactions in the event accountability rules, price limits, position limits, margin limits or other exposure limits are reached with respect to VIX futures contracts. The Fund may also invest in swaps if the market for a specific futures contract experiences emergencies (e.g., natural disaster, terrorist attack or an act of God) or disruptions (e.g., a trading halt or a flash crash) or in situations where the Sponsor deems it impractical or inadvisable to buy or sell futures contracts (such as during periods of market volatility or illiquidity or during periods of significant and/or rapid increases in the size of the Fund as a result of an increase in creation activity ).
Each Fund may, but is not required to, seek to use options strategies that limit losses (i.e., have “floors”) or are otherwise designed to prevent the Fund’s net asset value from going to or below zero. Use of such options strategies will not prevent a Fund from losing value, and
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their use may not prevent the Fund’s NAV from going to or below zero. Rather, it is intended to allow a Fund to preserve a small portion of its value in the event of significant movements in its benchmark or Financial Instruments based on its benchmark. Each Fund will also hold cash or cash equivalents such as U.S. Treasury securities or other high credit quality, short-term fixed-income or similar securities (such as shares of money market funds) as collateral for Financial Instruments and pending investment in Financial Instruments.
The Funds are not actively managed by traditional methods (e.g., by effecting changes in the composition of a portfolio on the basis of judgments relating to economic, financial and market conditions with a view toward obtaining positive results under all market conditions).
Each Fund seeks to position its portfolio so that its exposure to the Index is consistent with its investment objective. The time and manner in which a Fund rebalances its portfolio may vary from day to day depending upon market conditions and other circumstances at the discretion of the Sponsor. The impact of the Index’s movements each day will affect whether a Geared Fund’s portfolio needs to be rebalanced and the amount of such rebalance.
For example, if the level of the Index has risen on a given day, net assets of the Short Fund should fall (assuming there were no Creation Units issued). As a result, inverse exposure will need to be decreased. Conversely, if the level of the Index has fallen on a given day, net assets of the Short Fund should rise (assuming there were no Creation Unit redemptions). As a result, inverse exposure will need to be increased.
For the Ultra Fund, the Fund’s long exposure will need to be increased on days when the Index rises (assuming there were no Creation Unit redemptions) and decreased on days when the Index falls (assuming there were no Creation Units issued) .
Daily rebalancing and the compounding of each day’s return over time means that the return of each Geared Fund for a period longer than a single day will be the result of each day’s returns compounded over the period, which will very likely differ in amount and possibly even direction from one and one-half times (1.5x) or one-half the inverse (-0.5x) of the return of the Index for the same period. These differences can be significant. A Geared Fund will lose money if the Index’s performance is flat over time, and the Geared Fund can lose money regardless of the performance of the Index, as a result of daily rebalancing, the Index’s volatility and compounding.
The amount of exposure each Fund has to a specific combination of Financial Instruments differs with each particular Fund and may be changed without shareholder approval or advance notice at any given time. Currently, the Funds anticipate that, under normal course of business and absent any unforeseen circumstances, they will be exposed to the specific Financial Instruments below as follows:
 
Swaps
Futures
Options
 
Low
High
Low
High
Low
High
ProShares Ultra VIX Short-Term Futures ETF
0%
25%
125%
150%
 
0%
ProShares Short VIX Short-Term Futures ETF
 
0%
 
-50%
 
0%
ProShares VIX Short-Term Futures ETF
 
0%
 
100%
 
0%
The amount of each Fund’s exposure should be expected to change from time to time at the discretion of the Sponsor based on market conditions and other factors.
In addition, the Sponsor has the authority to change a Fund’s investment objective, benchmark or investment strategy at any time, or to terminate the Trust or a Fund, in each case, without shareholder approval or advance notice, subject to applicable regulatory requirements.
Swap Agreements
Each Fund may enter into swaps on the Index, swaps on the particular VIX futures contracts comprising the Index and swaps on ETNs or funds that seek to track the performance of the Index. Swaps are contracts that have traditionally been entered into primarily by institutional investors in OTC markets for a specified period ranging from a day to many years. Certain types of swaps may be cleared, and certain types are, in fact, required to be cleared. The types of swaps that may be cleared are generally limited to only swaps where the most liquidity exists and a clearinghouse is willing to clear the trade on standardized terms. Swaps with customized terms or those of which significant market liquidity does not exist are generally not able to be cleared.
In a standard swap transaction, the parties agree to exchange the returns on, among other things, a particular predetermined security, commodity, interest rate, or index for a fixed or floating rate of return (the “interest rate leg,” which will also include the cost of borrowing for short swaps) in respect of a predetermined notional amount. The notional amount of the swap reflects the basis upon which the returns are exchanged (i.e., the returns are calculated by multiplying the reference rates or prices, as applicable, by the specific notional amount). In the case of indexes on which futures contracts are based, such as those used by the Funds, the reference interest rate typically is zero, although a financing spread or fee is generally still applied. Transaction or commission costs are reflected in the benchmark level at which the transaction is entered into. The gross returns to be exchanged are calculated with respect to the notional amount and the benchmark returns to which the swap is linked. Swaps are usually closed out on a net basis, i.e., the two payment streams are netted out in a cash settlement on the payment date specified in the agreement, with the parties receiving or paying, as the case may be, only the net amount of the two payments. Thus, while the notional amount reflects the amount on which a Fund’s total investment exposure under the swap is based (i.e., the entire face amount or principal of a swap), the net amount is a Fund’s current obligations (or rights) under the swap that is the amount to be paid or received under the agreement based on the relative values of the positions held by each party to the agreement on any given termination date.
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Swaps may also expose the Funds to liquidity risk. Although a Fund and the swap counterparty has the ability to terminate a swap at any time and, under certain other circumstances, doing so may subject the Fund to certain early termination charges. In addition, there may not be a liquid market within which to dispose of an outstanding swap even if a permitted disposal might avoid an early termination charge. Swap agreements that are not traded on an exchange or cleared by a clearinghouse generally are not assignable except by agreement between the parties to the swap, and generally no party or purchaser has any obligation to permit such assignments.
Swaps involve, to varying degrees, elements of market risk and exposure to loss in excess of the amount which would be reflected on a Fund’s Statement of Financial Condition. In addition to market risk and other risks, the use of swaps also comes with counterparty credit risk – i.e., the inability of a counterparty to a swap to perform its obligations. Each Fund that invests in swaps bears the risk of loss of the net amount, if any, expected to be received under a swap agreement in the event of the default or bankruptcy of a swap counterparty. Each such Fund enters or intends to enter into swaps only with major, global financial institutions. However, there are no limitations on the percentage of its assets a Fund may invest in swaps with a particular counterparty.
Each Fund that invests in swaps may use various techniques to minimize counterparty credit risk. Each Fund that invests in swaps generally enters into arrangements with its counterparties whereby both sides exchange collateral on a mark-to-market basis. In addition, such Fund may post margin to counterparties in swaps. Such collateral serves as protection for the counterparty in the event of a failure by a Fund and is in addition to any mark-to-market collateral that (i.e., the Fund may post margin to the counterparty even where the counterparty would owe money to the Fund if the swap were to be terminated). The amount of margin posted by a Fund may vary depending on the risk profile of the swap. The collateral, whether for mark-to-market or for margin purposes, generally consists of cash and/or securities.
Collateral posted by a Fund to a counterparty in connection with derivatives transactions that are not cleared by a clearinghouse is generally held for the benefit of the counterparty in a segregated tri-party account at the Custodian to protect the counterparty against non-payment by the Fund. In the event of a default by a Fund, and the counterparty is owed money in the transaction, such counterparty will seek withdrawal of this collateral from the segregated account.
Collateral posted by the counterparty to a Fund is typically held for the benefit of the Fund in a segregated tri-party account at a third-party custodian. In the event of a default by the counterparty, and the Fund is owed money in the transaction, such Fund will seek withdrawal of this collateral from the segregated account. A Fund may incur certain costs exercising its right with respect to the collateral.
Notwithstanding the use of collateral arrangements, to the extent any collateral provided to a Fund is insufficient or there are delays in accessing the collateral, such Fund will be exposed to counterparty credit risk as described above, including possible delays in recovering amounts as a result of bankruptcy proceedings
Futures Account Agreements
Each Fund has entered into a written agreement (each, a “Futures Account Agreement”) with one or more FCMs governing the terms of futures transactions of the Fund cleared by such FCM. Each FCM has its own agreement and other documentation used for establishing customer relationships. As such, the terms of the Futures Account Agreement and other documentation that a Fund has with a particular FCM may differ in material respects from that with another FCM.
Most Futures Account Agreements do not require the FCM to enter into new transactions or maintain existing transactions with a Fund. In general, each FCM is permitted to terminate its agreement with a Fund at any time in its sole discretion. In addition, an FCM generally will have the discretion to set margin requirements and/or position limits that would be in addition to any margin requirements and/or position limits required by applicable law or set by the clearinghouse that clears, or the exchange that offers for trading, the futures contracts in which the Fund transacts. As a result, a Fund’s ability to engage in futures contracts or maintain open positions in such contracts will be dependent on the willingness of its FCMs to continue to accept or maintain such transactions on terms that are economically appropriate for the Fund’s investment strategy.
When a Fund has an open futures contract position, it is subject to daily margin calls by an FCM that could be substantial in the event of adverse price movements. Because futures contracts require only a small initial investment in the form of a deposit or margin, they involve a high degree of leverage. A Fund with open positions is subject to margin on its open positions. If a Fund has insufficient cash to meet daily margin requirements, it may need to sell Financial Instruments at a time when such sales are disadvantageous. Futures markets are highly volatile and the use of or exposure to futures contracts may increase volatility of a Fund’s NAV.
Margin posted by a Fund to an FCM typically will be held by relevant exchange’s clearinghouse (in the case of clearinghouse-required margin) or the FCM (in the case of “house” margin requirements of the FCM). In the event that market movements favorable to a Fund result in the Fund having posted more margin than is required, the Fund typically would have a right to return of margin from the FCM. However, the timing of such return may be uncertain. As a result, it is possible that a Fund may face liquidity constraints including potential delays in its ability to pay redemption proceeds, where margin is not immediately returned by an FCM.
In the event that a Fund fails to comply with its obligations under a Futures Account Agreement (including, for example, failing to deliver the margin required by an FCM on a timely basis), the Futures Account Agreement typically will provide the FCM with broad discretion to take remedial action against the Fund. Among other things, the FCM typically will have the right, upon the occurrence of such a failure by the Fund,
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to terminate any or all futures contracts in the Fund’s account with that FCM, to sell the collateral posted as margin by the Fund, to close out any open positions of the Fund in whole or in part, and to cancel any or all pending transactions with the Fund. Futures Account Agreements typically provide that a Fund will remain liable for paying to the relevant FCM, on demand, the amount of any deficiency in such Fund’s account with that FCM.
The Futures Account Agreement between a Fund and an FCM generally requires the Fund to indemnify and hold harmless the FCM, its directors, officers, employees, agents and affiliates (collectively, “indemnified persons”) from and against all claims, damages, losses and costs (including reasonable attorneys’ fees) incurred by the indemnified persons, in connection with: (1) any failure by the Fund to perform its obligations under the Futures Account Agreement and the FCM’s exercise of its rights and remedies thereunder; (2) any failure by a Fund to comply with applicable law; (3) any action reasonably taken by the indemnified persons pursuant to the Futures Account Agreement to comply with applicable law; and (4) any actions taken by the FCM in reliance on instructions, notices and other communications that the FCM and its relevant personnel, as applicable, reasonably believes to originate from a person authorized to act on behalf of the Fund.
To the extent that the Funds trade in futures contracts on U.S. exchanges, the assets deposited by the Funds with the FCMs as margin must be segregated pursuant to the regulations of the CFTC. Such segregated funds may be invested only in a limited range of instruments—principally U.S. government obligations.
Each Fund currently uses BofA Securities, Inc. (“BofAS”), RBC Capital Markets, LLC (“RBC”), ED&F Man Capital Markets (“Man”), Deutsche Bank Securities Inc. (“DBSI”), SG Americas Securities, LLC (“SGAS”) Barclays Capital Inc. (“BCI”), Credit Suisse Securities USA LLC (“CSS”), and Goldman Sachs & Co., LLC (“GS”) as an FCM. The FCMs used by a Fund may change from time to time. The above discussion relating to BofAS, RBC, Man, DBSI, SGAS, BCI, CSS and GS also would apply to other firms that serve as an FCM to the Funds in the future. Each of BofAS, RBC, Man, DBSI, SGAS, BCI, CSS and GS in its capacity as a registered FCM, serves as a clearing broker to the Trust and the Funds and certain other funds of the Trust and as such arranges for the execution and clearing of the Funds’ futures transactions. All of BofAS, RBC, Man, DBSI, SGAS, BCI, CSS and GS acts as clearing broker for many other funds and individuals. A variety of executing brokers may execute futures transactions on behalf of the Funds. The executing brokers will give-up all such transactions to BofAS, RBC, Man, DBSI, SGAS, BCI, CSS or GS as applicable. Each of BofAS, RBC, Man, DBSI, SGAS, BCI, CSS and GS is registered as an FCM with the CFTC and is a member of the NFA. BofAS, RBC, Man, DBSI, SGAS, BCI, CSS and GS are clearing members of the CBOT, CME, NYMEX, and all other major U.S. futures exchanges. None of BofAS, RBC, Man, DBSI, SGAS, BCI, CSS or GS is affiliated with or acts as a supervisor of the Trust, the Funds, the Sponsor, the Trustee or BNYM. (the Administrator, Transfer Agent and the Custodian). None of BofAS, RBC, Man, DBSI, SGAS, BCI, CSS or GS in its capacity as FCM, is acting as an underwriter or sponsor of the offering of the Shares, or has passed upon the merits of participating in this offering. None of BofAS, RBC, Man, DBSI, SGAS, BCI, CSS or GS has passed upon the adequacy of this Prospectus or on the accuracy of the information contained herein. None of BofAS, RBC, Man, DBSI, SGAS, BCI, CSS or GS provides any commodity trading advice regarding the Funds’ trading activities. Investors should not rely upon BofAS, RBC, Man, DBSI, SGAS, BCI, CSS or GS in deciding whether to invest in the Funds or retain their interests in the Funds. Prospective investors should also note that the Sponsor may select additional clearing brokers or replace BofAS, RBC, Man, DBSI, SGAS, BCI, CSS and/or GS as the Funds’ clearing broker.
To the extent, if any, that a Fund enters into trades in futures on markets other than regulated U.S. futures exchanges, funds deposited to margin positions held on such exchanges are invested in bank deposits or in instruments of a credit standing generally comparable to those authorized by the CFTC for investment of “customer segregated funds,” although applicable CFTC rules prohibit funds employed in trading on foreign exchanges from being deposited in “customer segregated fund accounts” for trading on domestic exchanges. Instead, funds employed in trading on foreign exchanges are deposited in “customer secured amount accounts”.
Forward Contracts
A forward contract is a contractual obligation to purchase or sell a specified quantity of a particular underlying asset at or before a specified date in the future at a specified price and, therefore, is economically similar to a futures contract. Unlike futures contracts, however, forward contracts are typically traded in the OTC markets and are not standardized contracts. Forward contracts for a given commodity or currency are generally available for various amounts and maturities and are subject to individual negotiation between the parties involved. Moreover, there is generally no direct means of offsetting or closing out a forward contract by taking an offsetting position as one would a futures contract on a U.S. exchange. If a trader desires to close out a forward contract position, he generally will establish an opposite position in the contract but will settle and recognize the profit or loss on both positions simultaneously on the delivery date. Thus, unlike in the futures contract market where a trader who has offsetting positions will recognize profit or loss immediately, in the forward market a trader with a position that has been offset at a profit will generally not receive such profit until the delivery date, and likewise a trader with a position that has been offset at a loss will generally not have to pay money until the delivery date. In recent years, however, the terms of forward contracts have become more standardized, and in some instances such contracts now provide a right of offset or cash settlement as an alternative to making or taking delivery of the underlying commodity or currency. The primary risks associated with the use of forward contracts arise from the inability of the counterparty to perform.
Each Fund that invests in forward contracts generally collateralizes forward contracts that are not cleared on an exchange with cash and/or certain securities. Such collateral is generally held for the benefit of the counterparty in a segregated tri-party account at the Custodian to protect the counterparty against non-payment by the Fund. The counterparty also may collateralize such forward contracts with cash and/or certain securities, which collateral is typically held for the benefit of the Fund in a segregated tri-party account at a third-party custodian. In the event of
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a default by the counterparty, and the Fund is owed money in the forward transaction, such Fund will seek withdrawal of this collateral from the segregated account and may incur certain costs exercising its right with respect to the collateral. These Funds remain subject to credit risk with respect to the amount it expects to receive from OTC counterparties.
The Funds have sought to mitigate these risks with respect to such forwards by generally requiring that the counterparties for each Fund agree to post collateral for the benefit of the Fund, marked to market daily, subject to certain minimum thresholds; however, there are no limitations on the percentage of its assets each Fund may invest in forward contracts with a particular counterparty. To the extent any such collateral is insufficient or there are delays in accessing the collateral, the Funds will be exposed to counterparty credit risk as described above, including possible delays in recovering amounts as a result of bankruptcy proceedings.
The forward markets provide what has typically been a highly liquid market for foreign exchange trading, and in certain cases the prices quoted for foreign exchange forward contracts may be more favorable than the prices for foreign exchange futures contracts traded on U.S. exchanges. Forward contracts have traditionally not been cleared or guaranteed by a third party. As a result of the Dodd-Frank Act, the CFTC now regulates non-deliverable forwards (including deliverable forwards where the parties do not take delivery). Certain non-deliverable forward contracts, such as non-deliverable foreign exchange forwards, may be subject to regulation as swap agreements and subject to certain requirements under the Dodd-Frank Act. Changes in the forward markets may entail increased costs and result in burdensome reporting requirements.
Commercial banks participating in trading OTC foreign exchange forward contracts often do not require margin deposits, but rely upon internal credit limitations and their judgments regarding the creditworthiness of their counterparties. In recent years, however, many OTC market participants in foreign exchange trading have begun to require that their counterparties post margin.
Futures Contracts and Options
A futures contract is a standardized contract traded on, or subject to the rules of, an exchange that calls for the future delivery of a specified quantity and type of a particular underlying asset at a specified time and place or alternatively may call for cash settlement. Futures contracts are traded on a wide variety of underlying assets, including bonds, interest rates, agricultural products, stock indexes, currencies, energy, metals, economic indicators and statistical measures. The notional size and calendar term futures contracts on a particular underlying asset are identical and are not subject to any negotiation, other than with respect to price and the number of contracts traded between the buyer and seller. Each Fund generally deposits cash and/or securities with an FCM for its open positions in futures contracts, which may, in turn, transfer such deposits to the clearinghouse to protect the clearinghouse against non-payment by the Fund. The clearinghouse becomes substituted for each counterparty to a futures contract, and, in effect, guarantees performance. In addition, the FCM may require the Funds to deposit collateral in excess of the clearinghouse’s margin requirements for the FCM’s own protection.
Certain futures contracts, including VIX futures contracts, stock index contracts and certain commodity futures contracts, settle in cash, reflecting the difference between the contract purchase/sale price and the contract settlement price. The cash settlement amount reflects the difference between the contract purchase/sale price and the contract settlement price. The cash settlement mechanism avoids the potential for either counterparty to be required to deliver the underlying asset. For other futures contracts, the contractual obligations of a buyer or seller may generally be satisfied by taking or making physical delivery of the underlying asset or by making an offsetting sale or purchase of an identical futures contract on the same or linked exchange before the designated date of delivery. The difference between the price at which the futures contract is purchased or sold and the price paid for the offsetting sale or purchase, after allowance for brokerage commissions, constitutes the profit or loss to the trader.
Futures contracts involve, to varying degrees, elements of market risk and exposure to loss in excess of the amounts of margin, which are the amounts of cash that the Funds agree to pay to or receive from FCMs equal to the daily fluctuation in the value of a futures contract. Additional risks associated with the use of futures contracts are imperfect correlation between movements in the price of the futures contracts and the level of the underlying benchmark and the possibility of an illiquid market for a futures contract. With futures contracts, there is minimal but some counterparty credit risk to the Funds since futures contracts are exchange traded and the exchange’s clearinghouse, as counterparty to all exchange-traded futures contracts, effectively guarantees futures contracts against default. Many futures exchanges limit the amount of fluctuation permitted in futures contract prices during a single trading day. Once the daily limit has been reached in a particular contract, no trades may be made that day at a price beyond that limit or trading may be suspended for specified times during the trading day. Futures contracts prices could move to the limit for several consecutive trading days with little or no trading, thereby preventing prompt liquidation of futures positions and potentially subjecting a Fund to substantial losses. If trading is not possible or if a Fund determines not to close a futures position in anticipation of adverse price movements, the Fund may be required to make daily cash payments of margin.
An option is a contract that gives the buyer the right, but not the obligation, to buy or sell a specified quantity of a commodity or other instrument at a specific (or strike) price within a specified period of time, regardless of the market price of that instrument.
There are two types of options: calls and puts. A call option conveys to the option buyer the right to purchase a particular futures contract at a stated price at any time during the life of the option. A put option conveys to the option buyer the right to sell a particular futures contract at a stated price at any time during the life of the option. Options written by a Fund may be wholly or partially covered (meaning that the Fund holds an offsetting position) or uncovered. In the case of the purchase of an option, the risk of loss of an investor’s entire investment (i.e., the
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premium paid plus transaction charges) reflects the nature of an option as a wasting asset that may become worthless when the option expires. Where an option is written or granted (i.e., sold) uncovered, the seller may be liable to pay substantial additional margin, and the risk of loss is unlimited, as the seller will be obligated to deliver, or take delivery of, an asset at a predetermined price which may, upon exercise of the option, be significantly different from the market value.
Money Market Instruments
Money market instruments are short-term debt instruments that have a remaining maturity of 397 days or less and exhibit high quality credit profiles. Money market instruments may include U.S. government securities, securities issued by governments of other developed countries and repurchase agreements.
Exchange Traded Funds and Notes
Each Fund may invest in exchange traded funds and notes (collectively, exchange traded products or ETPs) that seek to track the performance of the Index. Exchange traded notes are similar to bonds and are unsecured debt notes issued by an institution and, as such, are subject to subject to issuer and fixed-income risk.
Investing in ETPs generally reflects the risks of owning the underlying instruments it is designed to track. When a Fund invests in ETPs it will indirectly bear its proportionate share of any fees and expenses payable directly by the other investment vehicle. These expenses may be in addition to similar expenses of the Fund that shareholders bear directly. Investments in ETPs involve certain inherent risks generally associated with investments in a portfolio of investment instruments, including risks that: (1) the general level of market prices may decline, thereby adversely affecting the value of each unit of the ETP or other instrument; (2) an indexed ETP may not fully replicate the performance of its benchmark index because of the temporary unavailability of certain index instruments in the secondary market or discrepancies between the ETP and the index with respect to the weightings of instruments or number of instruments held; (3) an ETP may also be adversely affected by the performance of the specific index, market sector or group of industries on which it is based; (4) an ETPs shares may trade at a market price that is above or below their net asset value; (5) an active trading market for an ETP’s shares may not develop or be maintained; and (6) trading of an ETP’s shares may be halted if the listing exchange’s officials deem such action appropriate, the shares are de-listed from the exchange, or the activation of market-wide “circuit breakers” (which are tied to large decreases in stock prices) halts stock trading generally.
U.S. Derivatives Exchanges
Derivatives exchanges, including swap execution facilities that are required under the Dodd-Frank Act, provide centralized market facilities for trading derivatives in which multiple persons have the ability to execute or trade contracts by accepting bids and offers from multiple participants. Members of, and trades executed on, a particular exchange are subject to the rules of that exchange. Among the principal exchanges in the United States are those operated by the Cboe Group (which includes the Cboe Futures Exchange (the “CFE”)), those operated by the CME Group (which includes, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (“CME”), the Chicago Board of Trade (“CBOT”),and the New York Mercantile Exchange ( the “NYMEX”) and the Intercontinental Exchange (“ICE”) (which includes ICE Futures U.S.).
Each derivatives exchange in the United States has an associated “clearinghouse.” Clearinghouses provide services designed to transfer credit risk and ensure the integrity of trades. Once trades between members of an exchange have been confirmed and/or cleared, the clearinghouse becomes substituted for each buyer and each seller of contracts traded on the exchange and, in effect, becomes the other party to each trader’s open position in the market. Thereafter, each party to a trade looks only to the clearinghouse for performance. The clearinghouse generally establishes some sort of security or guarantee fund to which all clearing members of the exchange must contribute. This fund acts as an emergency buffer which is intended to enable the clearinghouse to meet its obligations with regard to the other side of an insolvent clearing member’s contracts. Furthermore, clearinghouses require margin deposits and continuously mark positions to market to provide some assurance that their members will be able to fulfill their contractual obligations. Thus, customers effecting derivatives transactions on an organized exchange or clearing an OTC derivatives transaction through a clearinghouse do not bear the risk of the insolvency of the party on the opposite side of the trade; their credit risk is limited to the respective solvencies of their commodity broker and the clearinghouse. The clearinghouse “guarantee” of performance on open positions does not run to customers of a clearinghouse firm. If a member firm goes bankrupt, customers could lose money.
If a Fund decides to execute derivatives transactions through such derivatives exchanges–and especially if it decides to become a direct member of one or more exchanges or swap execution facilities–a Fund would be subject to the rules of the exchange or swap executive facility, which would bring additional risks and liabilities, and potential additional regulatory requirements.
Regulations
Derivatives exchanges in the United States are subject to regulation under the CEA, by the CFTC, the governmental agency having responsibility for regulation of derivatives exchanges and trading on those exchanges. Following the adoption of the Dodd-Frank Act, the CFTC also has authority to regulate certain OTC derivatives markets, including certain OTC foreign exchange markets.
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The CFTC has exclusive authority to designate exchanges for the trading of specific futures contracts and options on futures contracts and to prescribe rules and regulations governing such exchanges. The CFTC also regulates the activities of “commodity pool operators” and the CFTC has adopted regulations with respect to certain of such persons’ activities. Pursuant to its authority, the CFTC requires a commodity pool operator, such as the Sponsor, to keep accurate, current and orderly records with respect to each pool it operates. The CFTC may suspend, modify or terminate the registration of any registrant for failure to comply with CFTC rules or regulations. Suspension, restriction or termination of the Sponsor’s registration as a commodity pool operator would prevent it, until such time (if any) as such registration were to be reinstated, from managing, and might result in the termination of, the Funds. If the Sponsor were unable to provide services and/or advice to the Funds, the Funds would be unable to pursue their investment objectives unless and until the Sponsor’s ability to provide services and advice to the Funds was reinstated or a replacement for the Sponsor as commodity pool operator could be found. Such an event could result in termination of the Funds.
The CEA requires all FCMs to meet and maintain specified fitness and financial requirements, segregate customer funds from proprietary funds and account separately for all customers’ funds and positions, and to maintain specified books and records open to inspection by the staff of the CFTC. See “Risk Factors—Failure of the FCMs to segregate assets may increase losses in the Funds.”
The CEA also gives the states certain powers to enforce its provisions and the regulations of the CFTC.
Under certain circumstances, the CEA grants shareholders the right to institute a reparations proceeding before the CFTC against the Sponsor (as a registered commodity pool operator), an FCM, as well as those of their respective employees who are required to be registered under the CEA. Shareholders may also be able to maintain a private right of action for certain violations of the CEA.
Pursuant to authority in the CEA, the NFA has been formed and registered with the CFTC as a registered futures association. At the present time, the NFA is the only self-regulatory organization for derivatives professionals other than exchanges. As such, the NFA promulgates rules governing the conduct of derivatives professionals and disciplines those professionals that do not comply with such standards. The CFTC has delegated to the NFA responsibility for the registration of commodity pool operators, FCMs, swap dealers, commodity trading advisors, introducing brokers and their respective associated persons and floor brokers. The Sponsor is a member of the NFA (the Funds themselves are not required to become members of the NFA). As an NFA member, the Sponsor is subject to NFA standards relating to fair trade practices, financial condition, and consumer protection. The CFTC is prohibited by statute from regulating trading on foreign futures exchanges and markets.
The CEA and CFTC regulations prohibit market abuse and generally require that all futures exchange-based trading be conducted in compliance with rules designed to ensure the integrity of market prices and without any intent to manipulate prices. CFTC regulations and futures exchange rules also impose limits on the size of the positions that a person may hold or control as well as standards for aggregating certain positions. The rules of the CFTC and the futures exchanges also authorize special emergency actions to halt, suspend or limit trading overall or to restrict, halt, suspend or limit the trading of an individual trader or to otherwise impose special reporting or margin requirements.
Each Fund’s investments in Financial Instruments will be subject to regulation under the CEA and traded pursuant to CFTC and applicable exchange regulations.
Non-U.S. Derivatives Exchanges
Foreign derivatives exchanges differ in certain respects from their U.S. counterparts. Non-U.S. derivatives exchanges are generally not subject to regulation by the CFTC. In contrast to U.S. exchanges, certain foreign exchanges are “principals’ markets,” where trades remain the liability of the traders involved, and the exchange or an affiliated clearinghouse, if any, does not become substituted for any party. Therefore, participants in such markets must often satisfy themselves as to the creditworthiness of their counterparty. Additionally, in the event of the insolvency or bankruptcy of a non-U.S. market or broker, the rights of market participants are likely to be more limited than the rights afforded by the U.S. derivatives exchanges. The Sponsor does not anticipate that the Funds will hold futures traded on foreign exchanges.
Daily Limits
Most U.S. futures exchanges (but generally not foreign exchanges or banks or dealers in the cases of forward contracts, swap agreements and options on forward contracts) limit the amount of fluctuation in some futures contract or options on futures contract prices during a single day by regulations. These regulations specify what are referred to as “daily price fluctuation limits” or more commonly “daily limits.” Once the daily limit has been reached in a particular futures contract, no trades may be made at a price beyond that limit.
Margin
Initial margin is the minimum dollar amount that a counterparty to a derivatives contract that is cleared on an exchange must deposit with its commodity broker in order to establish an open position. Variation margin is the amount (generally less than initial margin) to which a Fund’s account may decline before the Fund must deliver additional margin so as to maintain open positions. A margin deposit is like a cash performance bond. It helps assure each Fund’s performance of the futures contracts that it purchases or sells. The minimum amount of margin required in connection with a particular futures contract is set by the clearinghouse that clears the futures contract and is subject to change at any
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time during the term of the contract. Futures contracts are customarily bought and sold on margins that typically represent a small percentage of the aggregate purchase or sales price of the contract.
Brokerage firms may require higher amounts of margin than exchange minimums. These requirements may change without warning.
Margin requirements are computed at least each day by an FCM and the relevant clearinghouse. At the close of each trading day, each open futures contract is marked-to-market, that is, the gain or loss on the position is calculated from the prior day’s close. When the market value of a particular open futures contract position changes to a point where the margin on deposit does not satisfy maintenance margin requirements, a margin call is made by the FCM. If the margin call is not met within a reasonable time, the FCM may close out the customer’s position.
PERFORMANCE OF THE OFFERED COMMODITY POOLS OPERATED BY
THE COMMODITY POOL OPERATOR
The following performance information is presented in accordance with CFTC regulations. The performance of each Fund, which is presented herein, will differ materially from the performance of the other series of the Trust (the “Other Funds”) which is included in the section entitled “Performance of the Other Commodity Pools Operated by the Commodity Pool Operator” in Part Two of this Prospectus.
All summary performance information is as of December 31, 2020. Performance information is set forth, in accordance with CFTC regulations, since each Fund’s inception of trading.
Name of Pool:
ProShares Short VIX Short-Term Futures ETF
Type of Pool:
Public, Exchange-listed Commodity Pool
Date of Inception of Trading:
October 3, 2011
Aggregate Gross Capital Subscriptions1 as of December 31, 2020
$13,926,289,509
Aggregate Net Capital Subscriptions2 as of December 31, 2020
$676,470,239
Net Asset Value as of December 31, 2020
$409,371,468
Net Asset Value per Share3 as of December 31, 2020
$41.42
Worst Monthly Loss:4
-89.59% (February 2018)
Worst Peak-to-Valley Loss:5
-93.91% (December 2017-March 2020)
PAST PERFORMANCE IS NOT NECESSARILY INDICATIVE OF FUTURE RESULTS.
Rate of Return:6
2016
2017
2018
2019
2020
January
-22.30%
29.23%
-6.82%
13.90%
-4.78%
February
-6.58%
4.35%
-89.59%
6.11%
-17.55%
March
37.26%
14.69%
-6.11%
2.17%
-39.79%
April
2.22%
3.04%
6.43%
6.59%
6.11%