UNITED STATES

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

Washington, D.C. 20549

 

 

SCHEDULE 14A INFORMATION

Proxy Statement Pursuant to Section 14(a) of the

Securities Exchange Act of 1934

 

 

Filed by the Registrant    ☒                                Filed by a Party other than the Registrant    ☐

 

Check the appropriate box:

  Preliminary Proxy Statement

  Confidential, for Use of the Commission Only (as permitted by Rule 14a-6(e)(2))

  Definitive Proxy Statement

  Definitive Additional Materials

  Soliciting Material Pursuant to § 240.14a-12

THE BLACKROCK STRATEGIC MUNICIPAL TRUST

BLACKROCK MUNIYIELD INVESTMENT QUALITY FUND

BLACKROCK MUNICIPAL INCOME INVESTMENT TRUST

BLACKROCK MUNICIPAL INCOME TRUST II

(Exact Name of Registrant as Specified in Charter)

(Name of Person(s) Filing Proxy Statement, if Other than the Registrant)

Payment of Filing Fee (Check the appropriate box):

 

  No fee required.
  Fee computed on table below per Exchange Act Rules 14a-6(i)(4) and 0-11.
  (1)  

Title of each class of securities to which transaction applies:

 

     

  (2)  

Aggregate number of securities to which transaction applies:

 

     

  (3)  

Per unit price or other underlying value of transaction computed pursuant to Exchange Act Rule 0-11 (set forth the amount on which the filing fee is calculated and state how it was determined):

 

     

  (4)  

Proposed maximum aggregate value of transaction:

 

     

  (5)  

Total fee paid:

 

     

  Fee paid previously with preliminary materials.
  Check box if any part of the fee is offset as provided by Exchange Act Rule 0-11(a)(2) and identify the filing for which the offsetting fee was paid previously. Identify the previous filing by registration statement number, or the Form or Schedule and the date of its filing.
  (1)  

Amount Previously Paid:

 

     

  (2)  

Form, Schedule or Registration Statement No.:

 

     

  (3)  

Filing Party:

 

     

  (4)  

Date Filed:

 

     


THE BLACKROCK STRATEGIC MUNICIPAL TRUST

BLACKROCK MUNIYIELD INVESTMENT QUALITY FUND

BLACKROCK MUNICIPAL INCOME INVESTMENT TRUST

BLACKROCK MUNICIPAL INCOME TRUST II

100 Bellevue Parkway

Wilmington, Delaware 19809

(800) 882-0052

November 4, 2020

Dear Preferred Shareholder:

You are cordially invited to attend a joint special shareholder meeting (the “Special Meeting”) of The BlackRock Strategic Municipal Trust (“BSD”), BlackRock MuniYield Investment Quality Fund (“MFT”), BlackRock Municipal Income Investment Trust (“BBF”) and BlackRock Municipal Income Trust II (“BLE” or the “Acquiring Fund” and collectively with BSD, MFT and BBF, the “Funds,” and each, a “Fund”), to be held on December 15, 2020 at 10:30 a.m. (Eastern time). Because of our concerns regarding the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, the Special Meeting will be held in a virtual meeting format only. Shareholders will not have to travel to attend the Special Meeting, but will be able to view the Special Meeting live and cast their votes by accessing a web link. Before the Special Meeting, I would like to provide you with additional background information and ask for your vote on important proposals affecting the Funds.

Preferred Shareholders of BSD: You and the common shareholders of BSD are being asked to vote as a single class on a proposal to approve an Agreement and Plan of Reorganization between BSD and the Acquiring Fund (the “BSD Reorganization Agreement”) and the transactions contemplated therein, including the termination of BSD’s registration under the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended (the “1940 Act”), and the dissolution of BSD under Delaware law (the “BSD Reorganization”). The Acquiring Fund has a similar investment objective and similar investment strategies, policies and restrictions as BSD, although there are some differences. In addition, you are also being asked to vote as a separate class on a proposal to approve the BSD Reorganization Agreement and the BSD Reorganization.

Preferred Shareholders of MFT: You and the common shareholders of MFT are being asked to vote as a single class on a proposal to approve an Agreement and Plan of Reorganization between MFT and the Acquiring Fund (the “MFT Reorganization Agreement”) and the transactions contemplated therein, including the termination of MFT’s registration under the 1940 Act and the dissolution of MFT under Massachusetts law (the “MFT Reorganization”). The Acquiring Fund has a similar investment objective and similar investment strategies, policies and restrictions as MFT, although there are some differences. In addition, you are being asked to vote as a separate class on a proposal to approve the MFT Reorganization Agreement and the MFT Reorganization.

Preferred Shareholders of BBF: You and the common shareholders of BBF are being asked to vote as a single class on a proposal to approve an Agreement and Plan of Reorganization between BBF and the Acquiring Fund (the “BBF Reorganization Agreement” and collectively with the BSD Reorganization Agreement and the MFT Reorganization Agreement, the “Reorganization Agreements”) and the transactions contemplated therein, including the termination of BBF’s registration under the 1940 Act and the dissolution of BBF under Delaware law (the “BBF Reorganization”). The Acquiring Fund has a similar investment objective and similar investment strategies, policies and restrictions as BBF, although there are some differences. In addition, you are being asked to vote as a separate class on a proposal to approve the BBF Reorganization Agreement and the BBF Reorganization.

Preferred Shareholders of the Acquiring Fund: You and the common shareholders of the Acquiring Fund are being asked to vote as a single class on a proposal to approve the issuance of additional common shares of the Acquiring Fund in connection with the BSD Reorganization, the MFT Reorganization and the BBF

 

- 1 -


Reorganization (each, a “Reorganization”). In addition, you are being asked to vote as a separate class on a proposal to approve each Reorganization Agreement and the transactions contemplated therein.

The enclosed Proxy Statement is only being delivered to the Funds’ preferred shareholders. The common shareholders of each Fund are also being asked to attend the Special Meeting and to vote with respect to the proposals described above that require the vote of the common shareholders and preferred shareholders as a single class. Each Fund is delivering to its common shareholders a separate joint proxy statement/prospectus with respect to the proposals described above.

The Board of Trustees of each Fund believes that the proposal that the preferred shareholders of its Fund are being asked to vote upon is in the best interests of its respective Fund and its shareholders and unanimously recommends that you vote “FOR” such proposal.

Your vote is important. Attendance at the Special Meeting will be limited to each Fund’s shareholders as of October 16, 2020, the record date for the Special Meeting.

If your shares in a Fund are registered in your name, you may attend and participate in the Special Meeting at www.meetingcenter.io/295614271 by entering the control number found in the shaded box on your proxy card and password BLK2020 on the date and time of the Special Meeting. You may vote during the Special Meeting by following the instructions that will be available on the Special Meeting website during the Special Meeting.

If you are a beneficial shareholder of a Fund (that is if you hold your shares of a Fund through a bank, broker, financial intermediary or other nominee) and want to attend the Special Meeting you must register in advance of the Special Meeting. To register, you must submit proof of your proxy power (legal proxy), which you can obtain from your financial intermediary or other nominee, reflecting your Fund holdings along with your name and email address to Georgeson LLC, each Fund’s tabulator. You may email an image of your legal proxy to shareholdermeetings@computershare.com. Requests for registration must be received no later than 5:00 p.m. (Eastern time) three business days prior to the Special Meeting date. You will receive a confirmation email from Georgeson LLC of your registration and a control number and security code that will allow you to vote at the Special Meeting.

Even if you plan to attend the Special Meeting, please promptly follow the enclosed instructions to submit voting instructions by telephone or via the Internet. Alternatively, you may submit voting instructions by signing and dating each proxy card or voting instruction form you receive, and if received by mail, returning it in the accompanying postage-paid return envelope.

We encourage you to carefully review the enclosed materials, which explain the proposals in more detail. As a shareholder, your vote is important, and we hope that you will respond today to ensure that your shares will be represented at the meeting. You may vote using one of the methods below by following the instructions on your proxy card or voting instruction form(s):

 

   

By touch-tone phone;

 

   

By internet;

 

   

By signing, dating and returning the enclosed proxy card or voting instruction form(s) in the postage-paid envelope; or

 

   

By participating at the Special Meeting as described above.

If you do not vote using one of the methods described above, you may be called by Georgeson LLC, the Funds’ proxy solicitor, to vote your shares.

 

- 2 -


If you have any questions about the proposals to be voted on or the virtual Special Meeting, please call Georgeson LLC, the firm assisting us in the solicitation of proxies, toll free at 1-866-767-8867.

As always, we appreciate your support.

Sincerely,

JOHN M. PERLOWSKI

President and Chief Executive Officer of the Funds

Please vote now. Your vote is important.

 

To avoid the wasteful and unnecessary expense of further solicitation(s), we urge you to indicate your voting instructions on the enclosed proxy card, date and sign it and return it promptly in the postage-paid envelope provided, or record your voting instructions by telephone or via the internet, no matter how large or small your holdings may be. If you submit a properly executed proxy but do not indicate how you wish your preferred shares to be voted, your preferred shares will be voted “FOR” the proposal. If your preferred shares are held through a broker, you must provide voting instructions to your broker about how to vote your preferred shares in order for your broker to vote your preferred shares as you instruct at the Special Meeting.

 

- 3 -


November 4, 2020

IMPORTANT NOTICE

TO PREFERRED SHAREHOLDERS OF

THE BLACKROCK STRATEGIC MUNICIPAL TRUST

BLACKROCK MUNIYIELD INVESTMENT QUALITY FUND

BLACKROCK MUNICIPAL INCOME INVESTMENT TRUST

BLACKROCK MUNICIPAL INCOME TRUST II

QUESTIONS & ANSWERS

Although we urge you to read the entire Proxy Statement, we have provided for your convenience a brief overview of some of the important questions concerning the joint special shareholder meeting (the “Special Meeting”) of The BlackRock Strategic Municipal Trust (“BSD”), BlackRock MuniYield Investment Quality Fund (“MFT”), BlackRock Municipal Income Investment Trust (“BBF” and together with BSD and MFT, the “Target Funds”) and BlackRock Municipal Income Trust II (“BLE” or the “Acquiring Fund” and collectively with BSD, MFT and BBF, the “Funds,” and each, a “Fund”) and the proposals to be voted on. It is expected that the effective dates (collectively, the “Closing Date”) of the Reorganizations will be sometime during the first quarter of 2021, but they may be at a different time as described in the Proxy Statement.

The enclosed Proxy Statement is being sent only to (i) the holders of Variable Rate Demand Preferred Shares (“VRDP Shares” and the holders thereof, “VRDP Holders”) of BBF and (ii) the holders of Variable Rate Muni Term Preferred Shares (“VMTP Shares” and the holders thereof, “VMTP Holders”) of BSD, MFT and the Acquiring Fund. Each of BBF, BSD, MFT and the Acquiring Fund is separately soliciting the votes of its holders of common shares of beneficial interest (together with the VRDP Shares or VMTP Shares of each Fund, as applicable, the “Shares”) through a separate joint proxy statement/prospectus.

 

Q:

Why is a shareholder meeting being held?

 

A:

Preferred Shareholders of The BlackRock Strategic Municipal Trust (NYSE Ticker: BSD): You and the common shareholders of BSD are being asked to vote as a single class on a proposal to approve an Agreement and Plan of Reorganization between BSD and the Acquiring Fund (the “BSD Reorganization Agreement”) and the transactions contemplated therein, including (i) the acquisition by the Acquiring Fund of substantially all of BSD’s assets and the assumption by the Acquiring Fund of substantially all of BSD’s liabilities in exchange solely for newly issued common shares and VMTP Shares of the Acquiring Fund, which will be distributed to the common shareholders (although cash may be distributed in lieu of fractional common shares) and VMTP Holders, respectively, of BSD, and which shall constitute the sole consideration to be distributed or paid to the common shareholders (although cash may be distributed in lieu of fractional common shares) and the VMTP Holders in respect of their common shares and VMTP Shares, respectively, and (ii) the termination by BSD of its registration under the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended (the “1940 Act”), and the liquidation, dissolution and termination of BSD in accordance with its Agreement and Declaration of Trust and Delaware law (the “BSD Reorganization”).

You are also being asked to vote as a separate class on a proposal to approve the BSD Reorganization Agreement and the BSD Reorganization.

Preferred Shareholders of BlackRock MuniYield Investment Quality Fund (NYSE Ticker: MFT): You and the common shareholders of MFT are being asked to vote as a single class on a proposal to approve an Agreement and Plan of Reorganization between MFT and the Acquiring Fund (the “MFT Reorganization Agreement”) and the transactions contemplated therein, including (i) the acquisition by the Acquiring Fund of substantially all of MFT’s assets and the assumption by the Acquiring Fund of substantially all of MFT’s

 

i


liabilities in exchange solely for newly issued common shares and VMTP Shares of the Acquiring Fund, which will be distributed to the common shareholders (although cash may be distributed in lieu of fractional common shares) and VMTP Holders, respectively, of MFT, and which shall constitute the sole consideration to be distributed or paid to the common shareholders (although cash may be distributed in lieu of fractional common shares) and the VMTP Holders in respect of their common shares and VMTP Shares, respectively, and (ii) the termination by MFT of its registration under the 1940 Act, and the liquidation, dissolution and termination of MFT in accordance with its Declaration of Trust and Massachusetts law (the “MFT Reorganization”).

You are also being asked to vote as a separate class on a proposal to approve the MFT Reorganization Agreement and the MFT Reorganization.

Preferred Shareholders of BlackRock Municipal Income Investment Trust (NYSE Ticker: BBF): You and the common shareholders of BBF are being asked to vote as a single class on a proposal to approve an Agreement and Plan of Reorganization between BBF and the Acquiring Fund (the “BBF Reorganization Agreement,” and collectively with the BSD Reorganization Agreement and the MFT Reorganization Agreement, the “Reorganization Agreements”) and the transactions contemplated therein, including (i) the acquisition by the Acquiring Fund of substantially all of BBF’s assets and the assumption by the Acquiring Fund of substantially all of BBF’s liabilities in exchange solely for newly issued common shares and VMTP Shares of the Acquiring Fund, which will be distributed to the common shareholders (although cash may be distributed in lieu of fractional common shares) and VMTP Holders, respectively, of BBF, and which shall constitute the sole consideration to be distributed or paid to the common shareholders (although cash may be distributed in lieu of fractional common shares) and the VMTP Holders in respect of their common shares and VMTP Shares, respectively, and (ii) the termination by BBF of its registration under the 1940 Act, and the liquidation, dissolution and termination of BAF in accordance with its Agreement and Declaration of Trust and Delaware law (the “BBF Reorganization” and collectively with the BSD Reorganization and the MFT Reorganization, the “Reorganizations”). If the BBF Reorganization Agreement is approved, prior to the Closing Date of the BBF Reorganization, it is expected that BBF will issue VMTP Shares, with terms substantially identical to the terms of the outstanding Acquiring Fund’s VMTP Shares and use the proceeds from such issuance to redeem all of BBF’s outstanding VRDP Shares (the “VRDP Refinancing”). If the VRDP Refinancing is not completed prior to the Closing Date of the BBF Reorganization, then the BBF Reorganization will not be consummated.

You are also being asked to vote as a separate class on a proposal to approve the BBF Reorganization Agreement and the BBF Reorganization.

Preferred Shareholders of BlackRock Municipal Income Trust II (NYSE Ticker: BLE): You and the common shareholders of the Acquiring Fund are being asked to vote as a single class on a proposal to approve the issuance of additional common shares of the Acquiring Fund in connection with each Reorganization Agreement (each, an “Issuance” and collectively, the “Issuances”).

You are also being asked to vote as a separate class on a proposal to approve each Reorganization Agreement and the transactions contemplated therein, including amendments to the Statement of Preferences of Variable Rate Muni Term Preferred Shares of the Acquiring Fund (the “BLE Statement of Preferences”) in connection with the issuance of additional Acquiring Fund VMTP Shares.

The term “Combined Fund” refers to the Acquiring Fund as the surviving Fund after the consummation of each of the Reorganizations.

The BBF Reorganization is contingent upon the completion of the VRDP Refinancing. If the VRDP Refinancing is not completed prior to the Closing Date of the BBF Reorganization, then the BBF Reorganization will not be consummated.

No Reorganization is contingent upon the approval of any other Reorganization. If a Reorganization is not consummated, the Fund for which such Reorganization(s) was not consummated would continue to exist and operate on a standalone basis.

 

ii


Q:

Why has each Fund’s Board recommended these proposals?

 

A:

The Board of Trustees (each, a “Board” and each member thereof, a “Board Member”) of each Fund has determined that its Reorganization(s) is in the best interests of its Fund and that the interests of existing common shareholders and preferred shareholders of its Fund will not be diluted with respect to net asset value (“NAV”) and liquidation preference, respectively, as a result of the Reorganization. The Reorganizations seek to achieve certain economies of scale and other operational efficiencies by combining four funds that have similar investment objectives and similar investment strategies, policies and restrictions and are managed by the same investment adviser, BlackRock Advisors, LLC (the “Investment Advisor”).

In light of these similarities, the Reorganizations are intended to reduce fund redundancies and create a single, larger fund that may benefit from anticipated operating efficiencies and economies of scale. The Reorganizations are intended to result in the following potential benefits to common shareholders:

 

  (i)

lower net total expenses per Common Share for common shareholders of each Fund (as common shareholders of the Combined Fund following the Reorganizations) due to economies of scale resulting from the larger size of the Combined Fund;

 

  (ii)

improved net earnings yield on NAV for common shareholders of each Fund;

 

  (iii)

improved secondary market trading of the common shares of the Combined Fund; and

 

  (iv)

operating and administrative efficiencies for the Combined Fund, including the potential for the following:

 

  (a)

greater investment flexibility and investment options;

 

  (b)

greater diversification of portfolio investments;

 

  (c)

the ability to trade portfolio securities in larger positions and more favorable transaction terms;

 

  (d)

additional sources of leverage or more competitive leverage terms and more favorable transaction terms;

 

  (e)

benefits from having fewer closed-end funds offering similar products in the market, including an increased focus by investors on the remaining funds in the market (including the Combined Fund) and additional research coverage; and

 

  (f)

benefits from having fewer similar funds in the same fund complex, including a simplified operational model and a reduction in risk of operational, legal and financial errors.

The Board of each Fund, including Board Members thereof who are not “interested persons” (as defined in the 1940 Act), approved its Reorganization Agreement(s) and the Issuances, as applicable, concluding that the Reorganization(s) is in the best interests of its Fund and that the interests of existing common shareholders and preferred shareholders of its Fund will not be diluted with respect to NAV and liquidation preference, respectively, as a result of the Reorganization(s). As a result of the Reorganizations, however, common and preferred shareholders of each Fund may hold a reduced percentage of ownership in the larger Combined Fund than they did in any of the individual Funds before the Reorganizations. Each Board’s conclusion was based on each Board Member’s business judgment after consideration of all relevant factors taken as a whole with respect to its Fund and the Fund’s common and preferred shareholders, although individual Board Members may have placed different weight on various factors and assigned different degrees of materiality to various factors.

Because the shareholders of each Fund will vote separately on the Fund’s respective Reorganization(s) or Issuances, as applicable, and the BBF Reorganization is contingent upon the completion of the VRDP Refinancing, there are multiple potential combinations of Reorganizations. To the extent one or more of the Reorganizations is not completed, any expected expense savings by the Combined Fund, or other potential benefits resulting from the Reorganizations, may be reduced.

 

iii


If a Reorganization is not consummated, then the Investment Advisor may, in connection with ongoing management of the Fund for which such Reorganization(s) was not consummated and its product line, recommend alternative proposals to the Board of that Fund.

 

Q:

How will holders of preferred shares be affected by the Reorganizations?

 

A:

As of the date of the enclosed Proxy Statement, BSD, MFT and the Acquiring Fund each have VMTP Shares outstanding and BBF has VRDP Shares outstanding. As of August 31, 2020, BSD had 429 Series W-7 VMTP Shares outstanding, MFT had 565 Series W-7 VMTP Shares outstanding, BBF had 520 Series W-7 VRDP Shares outstanding and the Acquiring Fund had 1,513 Series W-7 VMTP Shares outstanding. Pursuant to the VRDP Refinancing, it is expected that prior to the BBF Reorganization, all of the VRDP Shares of BBF will be refinanced into BBF VMTP Shares, with terms substantially identical to those of the Acquiring Fund’s VMTP Shares. In connection with the Reorganizations, and assuming that the VRDP Refinancing is completed prior to the Closing Date of the BBF Reorganization, the Acquiring Fund expects to issue 429 additional VMTP Shares to BSD VMTP Holders, 565 additional VMTP Shares to MFT VMTP Holders and 520 additional VMTP Shares to BBF VMTP Holders. Following the completion of the Reorganizations, the Combined Fund is expected to have 3,027 VMTP Shares outstanding. If the VRDP Refinancing is not completed prior to the Closing Date of the BBF Reorganization, then the BBF Reorganization will not be consummated.

Assuming all of the Reorganizations are approved by shareholders, and the VRDP Refinancing is completed prior to the Closing Date of the BBF Reorganization, upon the Closing Date of the Reorganizations, BSD, MFT and BBF VMTP Holders will receive on a one-for-one basis one newly issued Acquiring Fund VMTP Share, par value $0.001 per share and with a liquidation preference of $100,000 per share (plus any accumulated and unpaid dividends that have accrued on the BSD, MFT or BBF VMTP Shares up to and including the day immediately preceding the Closing Date of the Reorganizations if such dividends have not been paid prior to the Closing Date), in exchange for each BSD, MFT or BBF VMTP Share held by the BSD, MFT or BBF VMTP Holders immediately prior to the Closing Date. The newly issued Acquiring Fund VMTP Shares may be of the same series as the Acquiring Fund’s outstanding VMTP Shares or a substantially identical series. No fractional Acquiring Fund VMTP Shares will be issued. The terms of the Acquiring Fund VMTP Shares to be issued in connection with the Reorganizations will be substantially identical to the terms of the Acquiring Fund’s outstanding VMTP Shares and will rank on parity with the Acquiring Fund’s outstanding VMTP Shares as to the payment of dividends and the distribution of assets upon dissolution, liquidation or winding up of the affairs of the Acquiring Fund. The newly issued Acquiring Fund VMTP Shares will have the same term redemption date applicable to the outstanding Acquiring Fund VMTP Shares as of the Closing Date of the Reorganization. Such term redemption date is July 2, 2021, unless extended. The Reorganizations will not result in any changes to the terms of the Acquiring Fund’s VMTP Shares currently outstanding.

The newly issued Acquiring Fund VMTP Shares will have terms that are substantially identical to the terms of the currently outstanding BSD and MFT VMTP Shares and the BBF VMTP Shares to be issued in connection with the VRDP Refinancing, including the same term redemption date of July 2, 2021. None of the expenses of the Reorganizations are expected to be borne by the VMTP Holders or the VRDP Holders, as applicable, of the Funds.

Following the Reorganizations, the VMTP Holders of each Fund will be VMTP Holders of the larger Combined Fund that will have a larger asset base and more VMTP Shares outstanding than any Fund individually before the Reorganizations. With respect to matters requiring all preferred shareholders to vote separately or common and preferred shareholders to vote together as a single class, following the Reorganizations, VMTP Holders of the Combined Fund may hold a smaller percentage of the outstanding preferred shares of the Combined Fund as compared to their percentage holdings of outstanding preferred shares of their respective Fund prior to the Reorganizations.

 

iv


Q:

How similar are the Funds?

 

A:

The Funds have the same investment adviser, officers and trustees. BSD, BBF and the Acquiring Fund are each formed as a Delaware statutory trust and MFT is organized as a Massachusetts business trust. Because the Acquiring Fund is formed as a Delaware statutory trust, shareholders of MFT will become shareholders of a Delaware statutory trust rather than shareholders of a Massachusetts business trust if the MFT Reorganization is completed. A more detailed description of the differences between Delaware statutory trust law and Massachusetts business trust is contained in the Proxy Statement under the heading “Governing Law.”

Each of the Acquiring Fund, BSD, MFT and BBF has its common shares listed on the NYSE. The Acquiring Fund, BSD and MFT each has privately placed VMTP Shares outstanding. BBF has privately placed VRDP Shares outstanding. Each of BSD, MFT and BBF is managed by a team of investment professionals led by Theodore R. Jaeckel, Jr., CFA and Michael Perilli. The Acquiring Fund is managed by a team of investment professionals lead by Theodore R. Jaeckel, Jr., CFA and Walter O’Connor, CFA. Following the Reorganizations, it is expected that the Combined Fund will be managed by a team of investment professionals led by Theodore R. Jaeckel, Jr., CFA and Michael Perilli.

The investment objective, significant investment strategies and operating policies, and investment restrictions of the Combined Fund will be those of the Acquiring Fund, which are similar to those of BSD, MFT and BBF, although there are some differences.

Investment Objective:

 

BSD

  

MFT

  

BBF

  

Acquiring Fund (BLE)

The Fund’s investment objectives are to provide current income that is exempt from regular U.S. federal income tax; and to invest in Municipal Bonds (as defined below) that over time will perform better than the broader municipal bond market.    The Fund’s investment objective is to provide shareholders with as high a level of current income exempt from U.S. federal income taxes as is consistent with its investment policies and prudent investment management.    The Fund’s investment objective is to provide current income exempt from regular U.S. federal income tax and Florida intangible personal property tax.*    The Fund’s investment objective is to provide current income exempt from regular federal income taxes.

 

  *

The State of Florida repealed the Florida Intangible Tax as of January 2007. As a result, on September 12, 2008, the Board of BBF voted unanimously to approve BBF investing in municipal bonds regardless of geographic location. If Florida were to reinstate the Florida Intangible Tax or adopt a state income tax, however, BBF would be required to realign its portfolio such that at substantially all of its assets would be invested in Florida municipal bonds or obtain shareholder approval to amend BBF’s fundamental investment objective to remove references to the Florida Intangible Tax.

 

v


Municipal Bonds: Below is a comparison of each Fund’s investment policy with respect to municipal obligations issued by or on behalf of states, territories and possessions of the United States and their political subdivisions, agencies or instrumentalities (“Municipal Bonds”).

 

BSD

  

MFT

  

BBF

  

Acquiring Fund (BLE)

As a matter of fundamental policy, under normal conditions, the Fund will invest at least 80% of its managed assets in investments the income from which is exempt from federal income tax.    The Fund’s investment policies provide that it will invest, as a fundamental policy, at least 80% of an aggregate of the Fund’s net assets (including proceeds from the issuance of any preferred shares) and the proceeds of any borrowings for investment purposes, in a portfolio of municipal obligations the interest on which, in the opinion of bond counsel to the issuer, is excludable from gross income for federal income tax purposes (except that the interest may be includable in taxable income for purposes of the alternative minimum tax) and which enables shares of the Fund to be exempt from Florida intangible personal property taxes.*    The Fund seeks to achieve its investment objective by investing primarily in municipal bonds exempt from federal income taxes (except that the interest may be subject to the federal alternative minimum tax).    As a fundamental policy, under normal market conditions, the Fund will invest at least 80% of its managed assets in Municipal Bonds, the interest of which is exempt from regular federal income tax (except that the interest may be subject to the alternative minimum tax).

 

  *

The State of Florida repealed the Florida Intangible Tax as of January 2007. As a result, on September 12, 2008, the Board of MFT voted unanimously to approve MFT investing in Municipal Bonds regardless of geographic location. If Florida were to reinstate the Florida Intangible Tax or adopt a state income tax, however, MFT would be required to realign its portfolio such that substantially all of its assets would be invested in Florida Municipal Bonds or obtain shareholder approval to amend MFT’s fundamental investment objective to remove references to the Florida Intangible Tax.

 

vi


Investment Grade Securities: Below is a comparison of each Fund’s policy with respect to investment in investment grade quality securities. Investment grade quality means that such bonds are rated, at the time of investment, within the four highest grades (Baa or BBB or better by Moody’s Investor Service, Inc., S&P Global Ratings or Fitch Ratings) or are unrated but judged to be of comparable quality by the Investment Advisor.

 

BSD

  

MFT

  

BBF

  

Acquiring Fund (BLE)

The Fund’s investment policies provide that it will invest at least 80% of its total assets in investment grade quality securities.    The Fund’s investment policies provide that, under normal market conditions, the Fund expects to invest primarily in a portfolio of long-term Municipal Bonds that are commonly referred to as “investment grade” securities.    The Fund’s investment policies provide that, under normal market conditions, the Fund will invest at least 80% of its total assets in investment grade quality municipal bonds.    The Fund’s investment policies provide that, under normal market conditions, the Fund will invest at least 80% of its managed assets in investment grade quality Municipal Bonds.

Bond Maturity: Below is a comparison of each Fund’s policy with respect to bond maturity.

 

BSD

  

MFT

  

BBF

  

Acquiring Fund (BLE)

Same as the Acquiring Fund.    The average maturity of the Fund’s portfolio securities varies from time to time based upon an assessment of economic and market conditions by the Investment Advisor. The Fund’s portfolio at any given time may include long-term, intermediate-term and short-term Municipal Bonds.    The average maturity of the Fund’s portfolio securities varies from time to time based upon an assessment of economic and market conditions by the Investment Adviser. The Fund’s portfolio at any given time may include both long-term and intermediate-term municipal bonds.    The average maturity of the Fund’s portfolio securities varies from time to time based upon an assessment of economic and market conditions by the Investment Advisor. The Fund’s portfolio at any given time may include both long-term and intermediate-term Municipal Bonds.

Leverage: Each Fund utilizes leverage through the issuance of either VMTP Shares or VRDP Shares and TOBs. See “The Acquiring Fund’s Investments—Leverage;” “General Risks of Investing in the Acquiring Fund—Leverage Risk;” and “General Risks of Investing in the Acquiring Fund—Tender Option Bond Risk.” Each of BSD, MFT and the Acquiring Fund currently leverages its assets through the use of VMTP Shares and TOBs. BBF currently leverages its assets through the use of VRDP Shares and TOBs. The Acquiring Fund is expected to continue to leverage its assets after the Closing Date of the Reorganizations through the use of VMTP Shares and TOBs. Please see “Information about the Preferred Shares of the Funds” in the Proxy Statement for additional information about the preferred shares of each Fund.

 

vii


The annualized dividend rates for the preferred shares for each Fund’s most recent fiscal year end were as follows:

 

Fund

   Preferred
Shares
     Rate  

BSD

     VMTP Shares        2.18

MFT

     VMTP Shares        1.79

BBF

     VRDP Shares        1.70

Acquiring Fund (BLE)

     VMTP Shares        1.67

Please see below a comparison of certain important ratios related to (i) each Fund’s use of leverage as of August 31, 2020, (ii) the Combined Fund’s estimated use of leverage, assuming only the Reorganization of MFT into the Acquiring Fund had taken place as of August 31, 2020, which represents the combination of completed Reorganizations presented in the Proxy Statement that would result in the lowest asset coverage ratio for the Combined Fund, and (iii) the Combined Fund’s estimated use of leverage, assuming the Reorganizations of all the Funds had taken place as of August 31, 2020, which represents, in the Investment Advisor’s view, the most likely combination of the Reorganizations and the combination of completed Reorganizations that would result in the highest asset coverage ratio for the Combined Fund.

 

Ratios

   BSD     MFT     BBF     Acquiring Fund
(BLE)
    Pro forma
Combined Fund
(MFT into BLE)
    Pro forma
Combined Fund

(BSD, MFT and BBF
into BLE)
 

Asset Coverage Ratio

     343.5     312.3     374.8     330.2     325.3     336.4

Regulatory Leverage Ratio(1)

     29.0     32.0     26.7     30.3     30.7     29.7

Effective Leverage Ratio(2)

     40.9     41.3     37.7     39.3     39.9     39.6

 

  (1)

Regulatory leverage consists of preferred shares issued by the Fund, which is a part of the Fund’s capital structure. Regulatory leverage is sometimes referred to as “1940 Act Leverage” and is subject to asset coverage limits set forth in the 1940 Act.

  (2)

Effective leverage is a Fund’s effective economic leverage, and includes both regulatory leverage and the leverage effects of certain derivative investments in the Fund’s portfolio. Currently, the leverage effects of TOB inverse floater holdings, in addition to any regulatory leverage, are included in effective leverage ratios.

 

Q:

How will the Reorganizations be effected?

 

A:

Assuming a Reorganization receives the requisite shareholder approvals, as well as certain consents, confirmations and/or waivers from various third parties, including the liquidity provider with respect to the outstanding BBF VRDP Shares, and assuming the VRDP Refinancing is completed prior to the Closing Date of the BBF Reorganization, the Acquiring Fund will acquire substantially all of a Target Fund’s assets and assume substantially all of such Target Fund’s liabilities in exchange solely for newly issued common shares and VMTP Shares of the Acquiring Fund, which will be distributed to the shareholders of the Target Fund (although cash will be distributed in lieu of fractional common shares). A Target Fund will then terminate its registration under the 1940 Act and liquidate, dissolve and terminate in accordance with its respective Agreement and Declaration of Trust or Declaration of Trust, as applicable, and Delaware law or Massachusetts law, as applicable. If the VRDP Refinancing is not completed prior to the Closing Date of the BBF Reorganization, then the BBF Reorganization will not be consummated.

Shareholders of BSD, MFT and BBF will become shareholders of the Acquiring Fund. Common shareholders of BSD, MFT and BBF will receive newly issued common shares of the Acquiring Fund, par value $0.001 per share, the aggregate NAV (not the market value) of which will equal the aggregate NAV (not the market value) of the common shares of BSD, MFT and BBF such shareholders held immediately prior to the Closing Date (although common shareholders of BSD, MFT and BBF may receive cash for fractional common shares). The aggregate NAV of each Fund immediately prior to the applicable

 

viii


Reorganization will reflect accrued expenses associated with such Reorganization. The NAV of BSD, MFT and BBF common shares will not be diluted as a result of the Reorganizations. The common shareholders of each Fund have substantially similar voting rights and rights with respect to the payment of dividends and distribution of assets upon liquidation of their respective Fund and have no preemptive, conversion or exchange rights.

On the Closing Date of the Reorganizations, BSD, MFT and BBF VMTP Holders will receive on a one-for-one basis one newly issued Acquiring Fund VMTP Share, par value $0.001 per share and with a liquidation preference of $100,000 per share (plus any accumulated and unpaid dividends that have accrued on the BSD, MFT or BBF VRDP Shares up to and including the day immediately preceding the Closing Date of the Reorganizations if such dividends have not been paid prior to the Closing Date), in exchange for each BSD, MFT or BBF VMTP Share held by the BSD, MFT or BBF VMTP Holders immediately prior to the Closing Date. The newly issued Acquiring Fund VMTP Shares may be of the same series as the Acquiring Fund’s outstanding VMTP Shares or a substantially identical series. No fractional Acquiring Fund VMTP Shares will be issued. The terms of the Acquiring Fund VMTP Shares to be issued in connection with the Reorganizations will be substantially identical to the terms of the Acquiring Fund’s outstanding VMTP Shares and will rank on parity with the Acquiring Fund’s outstanding VMTP Shares as to the payment of dividends and the distribution of assets upon dissolution, liquidation or winding up of the affairs of the Acquiring Fund. The newly issued Acquiring Fund VMTP Shares will have the same term redemption date applicable to the outstanding Acquiring Fund VMTP Shares as of the Closing Date of the Reorganization. Such term redemption date is July 2, 2021, unless extended. The Reorganizations will not result in any changes to the terms of the Acquiring Fund’s VMTP Shares currently outstanding.

The newly issued Acquiring Fund VMTP Shares will have terms that are substantially identical to the terms of the currently outstanding BSD and MFT VMTP Shares and the BBF VMTP Shares to be issued in connection with the VRDP Refinancing, including the same term redemption date of July 2, 2021.

Shareholders of the Acquiring Fund will remain shareholders of the Acquiring Fund, which will have additional common shares and VMTP Shares outstanding after the Reorganizations.

 

Q:

Will I have to pay any U.S. federal income taxes as a result of the Reorganizations?

 

A:

Each Reorganization is intended to qualify as a “reorganization” within the meaning of Section 368(a) of the Code. If a Reorganization so qualifies, in general, shareholders of BSD, MFT and BBF will recognize no gain or loss for U.S. federal income tax purposes upon the exchange of their common shares for Acquiring Fund Shares pursuant to their Reorganization (except with respect to cash received in lieu of fractional common shares). Additionally, each of BSD, MFT and BBF will recognize no gain or loss for U.S. federal income tax purposes by reason of its Reorganization. Neither the Acquiring Fund nor its shareholders will recognize any gain or loss for U.S. federal income tax purposes pursuant to the Reorganizations.

As discussed above, shareholders of each Fund may receive distributions prior to, or after, the consummation of the Reorganizations, including distributions attributable to their proportionate share of each Fund’s undistributed net investment income declared prior to the consummation of the Reorganizations or the Combined Fund built-in gains, if any, recognized after the Reorganizations, when such income and gains are eventually distributed by the Combined Fund. To the extent that such a distribution is not an “exempt interest dividend” (as defined in the Code), the distribution may be taxable to shareholders for U.S. federal income tax purposes.

The Funds’ shareholders should consult their own tax advisers regarding the U.S. federal income tax consequences of the Reorganizations, as well as the effects of state, local and non-U.S. tax laws, including possible changes in tax laws.

 

ix


Q:

Will I have to pay any sales load, commission or other similar fees in connection with the Reorganizations?

 

A:

You will pay no sales loads or commissions in connection with the Reorganizations. Regardless of whether the Reorganizations are completed, however, the costs associated with the Reorganizations, including the costs associated with the Special Meeting, will be borne directly by each of the respective Funds incurring the expense as discussed more fully in the Proxy Statement.

Common shareholders of each Fund will indirectly bear all or a portion of the costs of the Reorganizations. Because of the expected expense savings and other anticipated benefits for BSD and BBF, the Investment Advisor recommended and the Board of each such Fund has approved that its respective Fund be responsible for its own reorganization expenses. The expenses of the Reorganizations of BSD and BBF into the Acquiring Fund are estimated to be approximately $209,600 and $281,100, respectively. For BBF, the costs of its Reorganization include estimated VRDP Refinancing costs of $65,000, which are expected to be amortized over one year by the Combined Fund. For MFT and the Acquiring Fund, the expenses of the applicable Reorganizations are estimated to be approximately, $209,700 and $303,800, respectively, of which the Investment Advisor will bear approximately $35,000 and $241,000, respectively. The actual costs associated with the Reorganizations may be more or less than the estimated costs discussed herein.

VMTP Holders and VRDP Holders, as applicable, are not expected to bear any costs of the Reorganizations.

Neither the Funds nor the Investment Advisor will pay any direct expenses of shareholders arising out of or in connection with the Reorganizations (e.g., expenses incurred by the shareholder as a result of attending the Special Meeting, voting on the Reorganizations or other action taken by the shareholder in connection with the Reorganizations).

 

Q:

What shareholder approvals are required to complete the Reorganizations?

 

A:

The BSD Reorganization is contingent upon the following approvals:

 

  1.

The approval of the BSD Reorganization Agreement and the transactions contemplated therein, including the termination of BSD’s registration under the 1940 Act and the dissolution of BSD under Delaware law, by BSD’s common shareholders and VMTP Holders voting as a single class;

 

  2.

The approval of the BSD Reorganization Agreement and the transactions contemplated therein, including the termination of BSD’s registration under the 1940 Act and the dissolution of BSD under Delaware law, by BSD’s VMTP Holders voting as a separate class;

 

  3.

The approval of the BSD Reorganization Agreement and the transactions contemplated therein, including amendments to BLE Statement of Preferences in connection with the issuance of additional Acquiring Fund VMTP Shares, by Acquiring Fund VMTP Holders voting as a separate class; and

 

  4.

The approval of the Issuance with respect to the BSD Reorganization by the Acquiring Fund’s common shareholders and Acquiring Fund VMTP Holders voting as a single class.

The MFT Reorganization is contingent upon the following approvals:

 

  1.

The approval of the MFT Reorganization Agreement and the transactions contemplated therein, including the termination of MFT’s registration under the 1940 Act and the dissolution of MFT under Massachusetts law, by MFT’s common shareholders and VMTP Holders voting as a single class;

 

  2.

The approval of the MFT Reorganization Agreement and the transactions contemplated therein, including the termination of MFT’s registration under the 1940 Act and the dissolution of MFT under Massachusetts law, by MFT’s VMTP Holders voting as a separate class;

 

  3.

The approval of the MFT Reorganization Agreement and the transactions contemplated therein, including amendments to the BLE Statement of Preferences in connection with the issuance of additional Acquiring Fund VMTP Shares, by Acquiring Fund VMTP Holders voting as a separate class; and

 

x


  4.

The approval of the Issuance with respect to the MFT Reorganization by the Acquiring Fund’s common shareholders and Acquiring Fund VMTP Holders voting as a single class.

The BBF Reorganization is contingent upon the following approvals:

 

  1.

The approval of the BBF Reorganization Agreement and the transactions contemplated therein, including the termination of BBF’s registration under the 1940 Act and the dissolution of BBF under Delaware law, by BBF’s common shareholders and VRDP Holders voting as a single class;

 

  2.

The approval of the BBF Reorganization Agreement and the transactions contemplated therein, including the termination of BBF’s registration under the 1940 Act and the dissolution of BBF under Delaware law, by BBF’s VRDP Holders voting as a separate class;

 

  3.

The approval of the BBF Reorganization Agreement and the transactions contemplated therein, including amendments to the BLE Statement of Preferences in connection with the issuance of additional Acquiring Fund VMTP Shares, by Acquiring Fund VMTP Holders voting as a separate class; and

 

  4.

The approval of the Issuance with respect to the BBF Reorganization by the Acquiring Fund’s common shareholders and Acquiring Fund VMTP Holders voting as a single class.

The BBF Reorganization is contingent upon the VRDP Refinancing. If the VRDP Refinancing is not completed prior to the Closing Date of the BBF Reorganization, then the BBF Reorganization will not be consummated.

No Reorganization is contingent upon the approval of any other Reorganization. If a Reorganization is not consummated, the Fund for which such Reorganization(s) was not consummated would continue to exist and operate on a standalone basis.

If the requisite shareholder approvals for a Reorganization are not obtained, the VRDP Refinancing is not completed or a Reorganization is not otherwise consummated, the Board of the Fund for which such Reorganization(s) was not consummated may take such actions as it deems in the best interests of the Fund, including conducting additional solicitations with respect to the Reorganization(s) or continuing to operate the Fund as a standalone Delaware statutory trust (or, with respect to MFT, a Massachusetts business trust) registered under the 1940 Act as a closed-end management investment company advised by the Investment Advisor. The Investment Advisor may, in connection with the ongoing management of the Fund and its product line, recommend alternative proposals to the Board of the Fund.

In order for the Reorganizations to occur, each Fund must obtain all requisite shareholder approvals with respect to the Reorganizations, as well as certain consents, confirmations and/or waivers from various third parties, including the liquidity provider with respect to the outstanding BBF VRDP Shares. Because the closing of each Reorganization is contingent upon the applicable Fund and the Acquiring Fund obtaining the requisite shareholder approvals and third-party consents and satisfying (or obtaining the waiver of) other closing conditions, it is possible that a Reorganization will not occur, or that only one of BSD, MFT or BBF will be reorganized into the Acquiring Fund, even if shareholders of a Fund entitled to vote on the Reorganization approve the Reorganization and such Fund satisfies all of its closing conditions, if the other Fund does not obtain its requisite shareholder approvals or satisfy its closing conditions.

The preferred shares were issued on a private placement basis to one or a small number of institutional holders. Please see “Information about the Preferred Shares of the Funds” for additional information. To the extent that one or more preferred shareholder of BSD, MFT, BBF or the Acquiring Fund owns, holds or controls, individually or in the aggregate, all or a significant portion of such Fund’s outstanding preferred shares, the preferred shareholder approval required for a Reorganization may turn on the exercise of voting rights by such particular preferred shareholder(s) and its (or their) determination as to the favorability of the Reorganization with respect to its (or their) interests. The Funds exercise no influence or control over the determinations of such preferred shareholder(s) with respect to the Reorganizations; there is no guarantee that such preferred shareholder(s) will approve the Reorganizations, over which it (or they) may exercise effective disposition power.

 

xi


Q:

Why is the vote of shareholders of the Acquiring Fund being solicited in connection with the Reorganizations?

 

A:

The rules of the New York Stock Exchange (on which the Acquiring Fund common shares are listed) require the Acquiring Fund’s shareholders to approve each Issuance with respect to a Reorganization. If the Issuance with respect to a Reorganization is not approved, then the corresponding Reorganization will not occur.

We are also seeking the approval of each Reorganization Agreement and the transactions contemplated therein, including amendments to the BLE Statement of Preferences in connection with the issuance of additional Acquiring Fund VMTP Shares, by the Acquiring Fund VMTP Holders voting as a separate class pursuant to the governing document of the Acquiring Fund VMTP Shares. If Acquiring Fund VMTP Holders do not approve a Reorganization Agreement as a separate class, then the corresponding Reorganization will not occur.

 

Q:

How does the Board of my Fund suggest that I vote?

 

A:

After careful consideration, the Board of your Fund unanimously recommends that you vote “FOR” the proposal(s) relating to your Fund.

 

Q:

When and where will the Special Meeting be held?

 

A:

The Special Meeting will be held on December 15, 2020, at 10:30 a.m. (Eastern time). Because of our concerns regarding the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, the Special Meeting will be held in virtual meeting format only. Shareholders will not have to travel to attend the Special Meeting, but will be able to view the Special Meeting live and cast their votes by accessing a web link.

 

Q:

How do I vote my proxy?

 

A:

Shareholders of record of each Fund as of the close of business on October 16, 2020 (the “Record Date”) are entitled to notice of and to vote at the Special Meeting or any adjournment or postponement thereof. You may cast your vote by mail, phone, internet or by participating at the Special Meeting as described below.

To vote by mail, please mark your vote on the enclosed proxy card and sign, date and return the card in the postage-paid envelope provided.

If you choose to vote by phone or internet, please refer to the instructions found on the proxy card accompanying the Proxy Statement. To vote by phone or internet, you will need the “control number” that appears on the proxy card. In addition, we ask that you please note the following:

If your shares in a Fund are registered in your name, you may attend and participate in the Special Meeting at www.meetingcenter.io/295614271 by entering the control number found in the shaded box in your proxy card and password BLK2020 on the date and timing of the Special Meeting. You may vote during the Special Meeting by following the instructions that will be available on the Special Meeting website during the Special Meeting.

Also, if you are a beneficial shareholder of a Fund, you will not be able to vote at the virtual Special Meeting unless you have registered in advance to attend the Special Meeting. To register, you must submit proof of your proxy power (legal proxy), which you can obtain from your financial intermediary or other nominee, reflecting your Fund holdings along with your name and email address to Georgeson LLC (“Georgeson”), each Fund’s tabulator. You may email an image of your legal proxy to shareholdermeetings@computershare.com. Requests for registration must be received no later than 5:00 p.m. (Eastern time) three business days prior to the Special Meeting date. You will receive a confirmation email from Georgeson of your registration and a control number and security code that will allow you to vote at the Special Meeting.

 

xii


Even if you plan to attend the Special Meeting, please promptly follow the enclosed instructions to submit voting instructions by telephone or via the Internet. Alternatively, you may submit voting instructions by signing and dating each proxy card you receive, and if received by mail, returning it in the accompanying postage-paid return envelope.

 

Q:

Whom do I contact for further information?

 

A:

You may contact your financial advisor for further information. You may also call Georgeson, the Funds’ proxy solicitor, at 1-866-767-8867.

 

Q:

Will anyone contact me?

 

A:

You may receive a call from Georgeson, the proxy solicitor hired by the Funds, to verify that you received your proxy materials, to answer any questions you may have about the proposals and to encourage you to vote your proxy.

We recognize the inconvenience of the proxy solicitation process and would not impose on you if we did not believe that the matters being proposed were important. Once your vote has been registered with the proxy solicitor, your name will be removed from the solicitor’s follow-up contact list.

Your vote is very important. We encourage you as a shareholder to participate by returning your vote as soon as possible. If enough shareholders fail to cast their votes, a Fund may not be able to hold the Special Meeting or the vote on the applicable proposals, and will be required to incur additional solicitation costs in order to obtain sufficient shareholder participation.

Important additional information about the Reorganizations is set forth

in the accompanying Proxy Statement.

Please read it carefully.

 

xiii


THE BLACKROCK STRATEGIC MUNICIPAL TRUST

BLACKROCK MUNIYIELD INVESTMENT QUALITY FUND

BLACKROCK MUNICIPAL INCOME INVESTMENT TRUST

BLACKROCK MUNICIPAL INCOME TRUST II

100 Bellevue Parkway

Wilmington, Delaware 19809

(800) 882-0052

NOTICE OF JOINT SPECIAL MEETING OF SHAREHOLDERS

TO BE HELD ON DECEMBER 15, 2020

Notice is hereby given that a joint special meeting of shareholders (the “Special Meeting”) of The BlackRock Strategic Municipal Trust (NYSE Ticker: BSD) (“BSD”), BlackRock MuniYield Investment Quality Fund (NYSE Ticker: MFT) (“MFT”), BlackRock Municipal Income Investment Trust (NYSE Ticker: BBF) (“BBF”) and BlackRock Municipal Income Trust II (NYSE Ticker: BLE) (“BLE” or the “Acquiring Fund,” and collectively with BSD, MFT and BBF, the “Funds,” and each, a “Fund”) will be held on December 15, 2020 at 10:30 a.m. (Eastern time) for the following purposes:

Proposal 1: The Reorganizations of the Funds

For Shareholders of BSD:

Proposal 1(A): The common shareholders and holders of Variable Rate Muni Term Preferred Shares (“VMTP Shares” and the holders thereof, “VMTP Holders”) of BSD are being asked to vote as a single class on a proposal to approve an Agreement and Plan of Reorganization between BSD and the Acquiring Fund (the “BSD Reorganization Agreement”) and the transactions contemplated therein, including (i) the acquisition by the Acquiring Fund of substantially all of BSD’s assets and the assumption by the Acquiring Fund of substantially all of BSD’s liabilities in exchange solely for newly issued common shares and VMTP Shares of the Acquiring Fund, which will be distributed to the common shareholders (although cash may be distributed in lieu of fractional common shares) and VMTP Holders, respectively, of BSD, and which shall constitute the sole consideration to be distributed or paid to the common shareholders (although cash may be distributed in lieu of fractional common shares) and the VMTP Holders in respect of their common shares and VMTP Shares, respectively, and (ii) the termination by BSD of its registration under the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended (the “1940 Act”), and the liquidation, dissolution and termination of BSD in accordance with its Agreement and Declaration of Trust and Delaware law (the “BSD Reorganization”).

Proposal 1(B): The VMTP Holders of BSD are being asked to vote as a separate class on a proposal to approve the BSD Reorganization Agreement and the BSD Reorganization.

For Shareholders of MFT:

Proposal 1(C): The common shareholders and VMTP Holders of MFT are being asked to vote as a single class on a proposal to approve an Agreement and Plan of Reorganization between MFT and the Acquiring Fund (the “MFT Reorganization Agreement”) and the transactions contemplated therein, including (i) the acquisition by the Acquiring Fund of substantially all of MFT’s assets and the assumption by the Acquiring Fund of substantially all of MFT’s liabilities in exchange solely for newly issued common shares and VMTP Shares of the Acquiring Fund, which will be distributed to the common shareholders (although cash may be distributed in lieu of fractional common shares) and VMTP Holders, respectively, of MFT, and which shall constitute the sole consideration to be distributed or paid to the common shareholders (although cash may be distributed in lieu of fractional common shares) and the VMTP Holders in respect of their common shares and VMTP Shares, respectively, and (ii) the termination by MFT of its registration under the 1940 Act, and the liquidation, dissolution and termination of MFT in accordance with its Declaration of Trust and Massachusetts law (the “MFT Reorganization”).

 

i


Proposal 1(D): The VMTP Holders of MFT are being asked to vote as a separate class on a proposal to approve the MFT Reorganization Agreement and the MFT Reorganization.

For Shareholders of BBF:

Proposal 1(E): The common shareholders and holders of Variable Rate Demand Preferred Shares (“VRDP Shares” and the holders thereof, “VRDP Holders”) of BBF are being asked to vote as a single class on a proposal to approve an Agreement and Plan of Reorganization between BBF and the Acquiring Fund (the “BBF Reorganization Agreement” and collectively with the BSD Reorganization Agreement and the MFT Reorganization Agreement, the “Reorganization Agreements”) and the transactions contemplated therein, including (i) the acquisition by the Acquiring Fund of substantially all of BBF’s assets and the assumption by the Acquiring Fund of substantially all of BBF’s liabilities in exchange solely for newly issued common shares and VMTP Shares of the Acquiring Fund, which will be distributed to the common shareholders (although cash may be distributed in lieu of fractional common shares) and VMTP Holders, respectively, of BBF, and which shall constitute the sole consideration to be distributed or paid to the common shareholders (although cash may be distributed in lieu of fractional common shares) and the VMTP Holders in respect of their common shares and VMTP Shares, respectively, and (ii) the termination by BBF of its registration under the 1940 Act, and the liquidation, dissolution and termination of BAF in accordance with its Agreement and Declaration of Trust and Delaware law (the “BBF Reorganization” and collectively with the BSD Reorganization and the MFT Reorganization, the “Reorganizations”). If the BBF Reorganization Agreement is approved, prior to the effective date of the BBF Reorganization (as defined below), it is expected that BBF will issue VMTP Shares, with terms substantially identical to the terms of the outstanding Acquiring Fund’s VMTP Shares and use the proceeds from such issuance to redeem all of BBF’s outstanding VRDP Shares (the “VRDP Refinancing”). If the VRDP Refinancing is not completed prior to the effective date of the BBF Reorganization, then the BBF Reorganization will not be consummated.

Proposal 1(F): The VRDP Holders of BBF are being asked to vote as a separate class on a proposal to approve the BBF Reorganization Agreement and the BBF Reorganization.

For Shareholders of the Acquiring Fund:

Proposal 1(G): The VMTP Holders of the Acquiring Fund are being asked to vote as a separate class on a proposal to approve the BSD Reorganization Agreement and the transactions contemplated therein, including amendments to the Statement of Preferences of Variable Rate Muni Term Preferred Shares of the Acquiring Fund (the “BLE Statement of Preferences”) in connection with the issuance of additional Acquiring Fund VMTP Shares.

Proposal 1(H): The VMTP Holders of the Acquiring Fund are being asked to vote as a separate class on a proposal to approve the MFT Reorganization Agreement and the transactions contemplated therein, including amendments to the BLE Statement of Preferences in connection with the issuance of additional Acquiring Fund VMTP Shares.

Proposal 1(I): The VMTP Holders of the Acquiring Fund are being asked to vote as a separate class on a proposal to approve the BBF Reorganization Agreement and the transactions contemplated therein, including amendments to the BLE Statement of Preferences in connection with the issuance of additional Acquiring Fund VMTP Shares.

Proposal 2: The Issuance of Additional Acquiring Fund Common Shares

Proposal 2(A): The common shareholders and VMTP Holders of the Acquiring Fund are being asked to vote as a single class on a proposal to approve the issuance of additional common shares of the Acquiring Fund in connection with the BSD Reorganization Agreement (the “BSD Issuance”).

 

ii


Proposal 2(B): The common shareholders and VMTP Holders of the Acquiring Fund are being asked to vote as a single class on a proposal to approve the issuance of additional common shares of the Acquiring Fund in connection with the MFT Reorganization Agreement (the “MFT Issuance”).

Proposal 2(C): The common shareholders and VMTP Holders of the Acquiring Fund are being asked to vote as a single class on a proposal to approve the issuance of additional common shares of the Acquiring Fund in connection with the BBF Reorganization Agreement (the “BBF Issuance” and collectively with the BSD Issuance and the MFT Issuance, the “Issuances”).

The BBF Reorganization is contingent upon the completion of the VRDP Refinancing. If the VRDP Refinancing is not completed prior to the Closing Date of the BBF Reorganization, then the BBF Reorganization will not be consummated.

No Reorganization is contingent upon the approval of any other Reorganization. If a Reorganization is not consummated, the Fund for which such Reorganization(s) was not consummated would continue to exist and operate on a standalone basis.

Shareholders of record of each Fund as of the close of business on October 16, 2020 are entitled to notice of and to vote at the Special Meeting or any adjournment or postponement thereof.

The Funds are soliciting the vote of their common shareholders on Proposal 1(A), Proposal 1(C), Proposal 1(E), Proposal 2(A), Proposal 2(B) and Proposal 2(C) through the joint proxy statement/prospectus.

Each Fund is separately soliciting the votes of its respective preferred shareholders on each proposal through a separate proxy statement and not through the joint proxy statement/prospectus.

Because of our concerns regarding the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, the Special Meeting will be held in a virtual meeting format only. Shareholders will not have to travel to attend the Special Meeting but will be able to view the meeting live and cast their votes by accessing a web link.

All shareholders are cordially invited to attend the Special Meeting. In order to avoid delay and additional expense for the Funds and to assure that your shares are represented, please vote as promptly as possible, regardless of whether or not you plan to attend the Special Meeting. You may vote by mail, by telephone or over the Internet. To vote by mail, please mark, sign, date and mail the enclosed proxy card or voting instruction form. No postage is required if mailed in the United States. To vote by telephone, please call the toll-free number located on your proxy card or voting instruction form and follow the recorded instructions. To vote over the Internet, go to the Internet address provided on your proxy card or voting instruction form and follow the instructions.

If your shares in a Fund are registered in your name, you may attend and participate in the Special Meeting at www.meetingcenter.io/295614271 by entering the control number found in the shaded box on your proxy card and password BLK2020 on the date and time of the Special Meeting. You may vote during the Special Meeting by following the instructions that will be available on the Special Meeting website during the Special Meeting.

If you are a beneficial shareholder of a Fund (that is if you hold your Fund shares through a bank, broker, financial intermediary or other nominee) and want to attend the Special Meeting you must register in advance of the Special Meeting. To register, you must submit proof of your proxy power (legal proxy), which you can obtain from your financial intermediary or other nominee, reflecting your Fund holdings along with your name and email address to Georgeson LLC, each Fund’s tabulator. You may email an image of your legal proxy to shareholdermeetings@computershare.com. Requests for registration must be received no later than 5:00 p.m. (Eastern time) three business days prior to the Special Meeting

 

iii


date. You will receive a confirmation email from Georgeson LLC of your registration and a control number and security code that will allow you to vote at the Special Meeting.

Even if you plan to attend the Special Meeting, please promptly follow the enclosed instructions to submit voting instructions by telephone or via the Internet. Alternatively, you may submit voting instructions by signing and dating each proxy card or voting instruction form you receive, and if received by mail, returning it in the accompanying postage-paid return envelope.

The officers or trustees of each Fund named as proxies by shareholders may participate in the Special Meeting by remote communications, including, without limitation, by means of a conference telephone or similar communications equipment by means of which all persons participating in the Special Meeting can hear and be heard by each other, and the participation of such officers or trustees in the Special Meeting pursuant to any such communications system shall constitute presence at the Special Meeting.

THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES (EACH, A “BOARD”) OF EACH OF THE FUNDS RECOMMENDS THAT YOU VOTE YOUR SHARES BY INDICATING YOUR VOTING INSTRUCTIONS ON THE ENCLOSED PROXY CARD, DATING AND SIGNING SUCH PROXY CARD AND RETURNING IT IN THE ENVELOPE PROVIDED, WHICH IS ADDRESSED FOR YOUR CONVENIENCE AND NEEDS NO POSTAGE IF MAILED IN THE UNITED STATES, OR BY RECORDING YOUR VOTING INSTRUCTIONS BY TELEPHONE OR VIA THE INTERNET.

THE BOARD OF EACH FUND UNANIMOUSLY RECOMMENDS THAT YOU CAST YOUR VOTE FOR THE APPLICABLE REORGANIZATION AGREEMENT AND FOR THE ISSUANCE OF ADDITIONAL COMMON SHARES OF THE ACQUIRING FUND, AS APPLICABLE, IN EACH CASE, AS DESCRIBED IN THE JOINT PROXY STATEMENT/PROSPECTUS FOR COMMON SHAREHOLDERS OR THE PROXY STATEMENT FOR PREFERRED SHAREHOLDERS, AS APPLICABLE.

IN ORDER TO AVOID THE ADDITIONAL EXPENSE OF FURTHER SOLICITATION, WE ASK THAT YOU MAIL YOUR PROXY CARD OR RECORD YOUR VOTING INSTRUCTIONS BY TELEPHONE OR VIA THE INTERNET PROMPTLY.

For the Board of each Fund

JOHN M. PERLOWSKI

President and Chief Executive Officer of the Funds

November 4, 2020

 

YOUR VOTE IS IMPORTANT.

PLEASE VOTE PROMPTLY BY SIGNING AND RETURNING THE ENCLOSED PROXY CARD OR BY RECORDING YOUR VOTING INSTRUCTIONS BY TELEPHONE OR VIA THE INTERNET, NO MATTER HOW MANY SHARES YOU OWN.

IMPORTANT NOTICE REGARDING THE AVAILABILITY OF PROXY MATERIALS FOR THE JOINT SPECIAL MEETING OF SHAREHOLDERS TO BE HELD ON DECEMBER 15, 2020.

THE PROXY STATEMENT FOR THIS MEETING IS AVAILABLE AT:

HTTPS://WWW.PROXY-DIRECT.COM/BLK-31540

 

iv


PROXY STATEMENT

Dated November 4, 2020

THE BLACKROCK STRATEGIC MUNICIPAL TRUST

BLACKROCK MUNIYIELD INVESTMENT QUALITY FUND

BLACKROCK MUNICIPAL INCOME INVESTMENT TRUST

BLACKROCK MUNICIPAL INCOME TRUST II

100 Bellevue Parkway

Wilmington, Delaware 19809

(800) 882-0052

This Proxy Statement is furnished to you as a holder of (i) Variable Rate Muni Term Preferred Shares (“VMTP Shares” and the holders thereof, “VMTP Holders”) of The BlackRock Strategic Municipal Trust (NYSE Ticker: BSD) (“BSD”); and/or VMTP Shares of BlackRock MuniYield Investment Quality Fund (NYSE Ticker: MFT) (“MFT”); and/or Variable Rate Demand Preferred Shares (“VRDP Shares” and the holders thereof, “VRDP Holders”) of BlackRock Municipal Income Investment Trust (NYSE Ticker: BBF) (“BBF”); and/or VMTP Holders of BlackRock Municipal Income Trust II (NYSE Ticker: BLE) (“BLE” or the “Acquiring Fund” and collectively with BSD, MFT and BBF, the “Funds,” and each, a “Fund”) in connection with the solicitation of proxies by each Fund’s Board of Trustees (the “Board,” the members of which are referred to as “Board Members”). Each of BSD, MFT and BBF may be referred to herein individually as a “Target Fund” or collectively as the “Target Funds.” The proxies will be voted at the joint special meeting of the shareholders of each Fund and at any and all adjournments, postponements and delays thereof (the “Special Meeting”). The Special Meeting will be held on December 15, 2020 at 10:30 a.m. (Eastern time) to consider the proposals set forth below and discussed in greater detail elsewhere in this Proxy Statement. Because of our concerns regarding the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, the Special Meeting will be held in a virtual meeting format only. Shareholders will not have to travel to attend the Special Meeting, but will be able to view the meeting live and cast their votes by accessing a web link. If you are unable to attend the Special Meeting or any adjournment or postponement thereof, the Board of your Fund recommends that you vote your preferred shares, by completing and returning the enclosed proxy card or by recording your voting instructions by telephone or via the internet. The approximate mailing date of this Proxy Statement and accompanying form of proxy is November 4, 2020.

The purposes of the Special Meeting are:

Proposal 1: The Reorganizations of the Funds

For Shareholders of BSD:

Proposal 1(A): The common shareholders and VMTP Holders of BSD are being asked to vote as a single class on a proposal to approve an Agreement and Plan of Reorganization between BSD and the Acquiring Fund (the “BSD Reorganization Agreement”) and the transactions contemplated therein, including (i) the acquisition by the Acquiring Fund of substantially all of BSD’s assets and the assumption by the Acquiring Fund of substantially all of BSD’s liabilities in exchange solely for newly issued common shares and VMTP Shares of the Acquiring Fund, which will be distributed to the common shareholders (although cash may be distributed in lieu of fractional common shares) and VMTP Holders, respectively, of BSD, and which shall constitute the sole consideration to be distributed or paid to the common shareholders (although cash may be distributed in lieu of fractional common shares) and the VMTP Holders in respect of their common shares and VMTP Shares, respectively, and (ii) the termination by BSD of its registration under the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended (the “1940 Act”), and the liquidation, dissolution and termination of BSD in accordance with its Agreement and Declaration of Trust and Delaware law (the “BSD Reorganization”).

Proposal 1(B): The VMTP Holders of BSD are being asked to vote as a separate class on a proposal to approve the BSD Reorganization Agreement and the BSD Reorganization.

 

i


For Shareholders of MFT:

Proposal 1(C): The common shareholders and VMTP Holders of MFT are being asked to vote as a single class on a proposal to approve an Agreement and Plan of Reorganization between MFT and the Acquiring Fund (the “MFT Reorganization Agreement”) and the transactions contemplated therein, including (i) the acquisition by the Acquiring Fund of substantially all of MFT’s assets and the assumption by the Acquiring Fund of substantially all of MFT’s liabilities in exchange solely for newly issued common shares and VMTP Shares of the Acquiring Fund, which will be distributed to the common shareholders (although cash may be distributed in lieu of fractional common shares) and VMTP Holders, respectively, of MFT, and which shall constitute the sole consideration to be distributed or paid to the common shareholders (although cash may be distributed in lieu of fractional common shares) and the VMTP Holders in respect of their common shares and VMTP Shares, respectively, and (ii) the termination by MFT of its registration under the 1940 Act, and the liquidation, dissolution and termination of MFT in accordance with its Agreement and Declaration of Trust and Massachusetts law (the “MFT Reorganization” and collectively with the BSD Reorganization and MFT Reorganization, the “Reorganizations”).

Proposal 1(D): The VMTP Holders of MFT are being asked to vote as a separate class on a proposal to approve the MFT Reorganization Agreement and the MFT Reorganization.

For Shareholders of BBF:

Proposal 1(E): The common shareholders and VRDP Holders of BBF are being asked to vote as a single class on a proposal to approve an Agreement and Plan of Reorganization between BBF and the Acquiring Fund (the “BBF Reorganization Agreement,” and collectively with the BSD Reorganization Agreement and the MFT Reorganization Agreement, the “Reorganization Agreements”) and the transactions therein, including (i) the acquisition by the Acquiring Fund of substantially all of BBF’s assets and the assumption by the Acquiring Fund of substantially all of BBF’s liabilities in exchange solely for newly issued common shares and VMTP Shares of the Acquiring Fund, which will be distributed to the common shareholders (although cash may be distributed in lieu of fractional common shares) and VMTP Holders, respectively, of BBF, and (ii) the termination by BBF of its registration under the 1940 Act, and the liquidation, dissolution and termination of BAF in accordance with its Agreement and Declaration of Trust and Delaware law (the “BBF Reorganization” and collectively with the BSD Reorganization and the MFT Reorganization, the “Reorganizations”). If the BBF Reorganization Agreement is approved, prior to the Closing Date (as defined below) of the BBF Reorganization, it is expected that BBF will issue VMTP Shares, with terms substantially identical to the terms of the outstanding Acquiring Fund’s VMTP Shares and use the proceeds from such issuance to redeem all of BBF’s outstanding VRDP Shares (the “VRDP Refinancing”). If the VRDP Refinancing is not completed prior to the Closing Date of the BBF Reorganization, then the BBF Reorganization will not be consummated.

Proposal 1(F): The VRDP Holders of BBF are being asked to vote as a separate class on a proposal to approve the BBF Reorganization Agreement and the BBF Reorganization.

For Shareholders of the Acquiring Fund:

Proposal 1(G): The VMTP Holders of the Acquiring Fund are being asked to vote as a separate class on a proposal to approve the BSD Reorganization Agreement and the transactions contemplated therein, including amendments to the Statement of Preferences of Variable Rate Muni Term Preferred Shares of the Acquiring Fund (the “BLE Statement of Preferences”) in connection with the issuance of additional Acquiring Fund VMTP Shares.

Proposal 1(H): The VMTP Holders of the Acquiring Fund are being asked to vote as a separate class on a proposal to approve the MFT Reorganization Agreement and the transactions contemplated therein, including amendments to the BLE Statement of Preferences in connection with the issuance of additional Acquiring Fund VMTP Shares.

 

ii


Proposal 1(I): The VMTP Holders of the Acquiring Fund are being asked to vote as a separate class on a proposal to approve the BBF Reorganization Agreement and the transactions contemplated therein, including amendments to the BLE Statement of Preferences in connection with the issuance of additional Acquiring Fund VMTP Shares.

Proposal 2: The Issuance of Additional Acquiring Fund Common Shares

Proposal 2(A): The common shareholders and VMTP Holders of the Acquiring Fund are being asked to vote as a single class on a proposal to approve the issuance of additional common shares of the Acquiring Fund in connection with the BSD Reorganization Agreement (the “BSD Issuance”).

Proposal 2(B): The common shareholders and VMTP Holders of the Acquiring Fund are being asked to vote as a single class on a proposal to approve the issuance of additional common shares of the Acquiring Fund in connection with the MFT Reorganization Agreement (the “MFT Issuance”).

Proposal 2(C): The common shareholders and VMTP Holders of the Acquiring Fund are being asked to vote as a single class on a proposal to approve the issuance of additional common shares of the Acquiring Fund in connection with the BBF Reorganization Agreement (the “BBF Issuance” and collectively with the BSD Issuance and the MFT Issuance, the “Issuances”).

It is expected that the effective dates (collectively, the “Closing Date”) of the Reorganizations will be sometime during the first quarter of 2021, but they may be at a different time as described herein. The term “Combined Fund” refers to the Acquiring Fund as the surviving Fund after the consummation of each of the Reorganizations.

The BBF Reorganization is contingent upon the completion of the VRDP Refinancing. If the VRDP Refinancing is not completed prior to the Closing Date of the BBF Reorganization, then the BBF Reorganization will not be consummated.

No Reorganization is contingent upon the approval of any other Reorganization. If a Reorganization is not consummated, the Fund for which such Reorganization(s) was not consummated would continue to exist and operate on a standalone basis.

The Board of each Fund has determined that including these proposals applicable to preferred shareholders of the Funds in one Proxy Statement will reduce costs and is in the best interest of each Fund’s shareholders.

Distribution to the shareholders of this Proxy Statement and the accompanying materials will commence on or about November 4, 2020.

Shareholders of record of each Fund as of the close of business on October 16, 2020 (the “Record Date”) are entitled to notice of and to vote at the Special Meeting or any adjournment or postponement thereof.

Shareholders of each Fund are entitled to one vote for each common share or VMTP Share or VRDP Share, as applicable (each, a “Share”), held, with no Shares having cumulative voting rights. Preferred shareholders of each Fund will have equal voting rights with the common shareholders of such Fund with respect to the proposals that require the vote of the Fund’s VMTP Shares or VRDP Shares, as applicable, and common shares as a single class. The quorum and voting requirements for each Fund are described in the section herein entitled “Vote Required and Manner of Voting Proxies.”

This Proxy Statement is only being delivered to the preferred shareholders of each Fund. Each Fund is separately soliciting the votes of its respective common shareholders on each of the foregoing proposals that require the vote of the common shareholders and preferred shareholders as a single class through a separate joint proxy statement/prospectus and not through this Proxy Statement.

 

iii


BSD, BBF and the Acquiring Fund are each formed as a Delaware statutory trust. MFT is organized as a Massachusetts business trust. Each Fund is a diversified, closed-end management investment company registered under the 1940 Act. The Reorganizations seek to achieve certain economies of scale and other operational efficiencies by combining four funds that have similar investment objectives and similar investment strategies, policies and restrictions.

Assuming each of the Reorganizations receives the necessary approvals, the Acquiring Fund will acquire substantially all of the assets and assume substantially all of the liabilities of BSD, MFT and BBF in exchange solely for newly issued common shares and VMTP Shares of the Acquiring Fund in the form of book-entry interests. The Acquiring Fund will list the newly issued common shares on the New York Stock Exchange (“NYSE”). Such newly issued Acquiring Fund Shares will be distributed to BSD, MFT and BBF shareholders (although cash may be distributed in lieu of fractional common shares) and each of BSD, MFT and BBF will terminate its registration under the 1940 Act and liquidate, dissolve and terminate in accordance with its respective Agreement and Declaration of Trust or Declaration of Trust, as applicable, and Delaware law or Massachusetts law, as applicable. The Acquiring Fund will continue to operate after the Reorganizations as a registered, diversified, closed-end management investment company with the investment objective, investment strategies, investment policies and investment restrictions described in this Proxy Statement.

The Fund(s) in which you owned Shares on the Record Date is named on the proxy card. If you owned Shares in more than one Fund on the Record Date, you may receive more than one proxy card. Even if you plan to attend the Special Meeting, please sign, date and return EACH proxy card you receive or, if you provide voting instructions by telephone or via the Internet, please vote on each proposal affecting EACH Fund you own. If you vote by telephone or via the Internet, you will be asked to enter a unique code that has been assigned to you, which is printed on your proxy card(s). This code is designed to confirm your identity, provide access into the voting website and confirm that your voting instructions are properly recorded.

All properly executed proxies received prior to the Special Meeting will be voted in accordance with the instructions marked thereon or otherwise as provided therein. On any matter coming before the Special Meeting as to which a shareholder has specified a choice on that shareholder’s proxy, the Shares will be voted accordingly. If a proxy card is properly executed and returned and no choice is specified with respect to a proposal, the Shares will be voted “FOR” the proposal. Shareholders who execute proxies or provide voting instructions by telephone or via the Internet may revoke them with respect to a proposal at any time before a vote is taken on the proposal by filing with the applicable Fund a written notice of revocation (addressed to the Secretary of the Fund at the principal executive offices of the Fund at the New York address provided herein), by delivering a duly executed proxy bearing a later date or by attending the Special Meeting and voting by ballot, in all cases prior to the exercise of the authority granted in the proxy card. Merely attending the Special Meeting, however, will not revoke any previously executed proxy. If you hold Shares through a bank or other intermediary, please consult your bank or intermediary regarding your ability to revoke voting instructions after such instructions have been provided.

If your shares in a Fund are registered in your name, you may attend and participate in the Special Meeting at www.meetingcenter.io/295614271 by entering the control number found in the shaded box on your proxy card and password BLK2020 on the date and time of the Special Meeting. You may vote during the Special Meeting by following the instructions that will be available on the Special Meeting website during the Special Meeting.

If you are a beneficial shareholder of a Fund (that is if you hold your Fund shares through a bank, broker, financial intermediary or other nominee) and want to attend the Special Meeting you must register in advance of the Special Meeting. To register, you must submit proof of your proxy power (legal proxy), which you can obtain from your financial intermediary or other nominee, reflecting your Fund holdings along with your name and email address to Georgeson LLC, each Fund’s tabulator. You may email an image of your legal proxy to shareholdermeetings@computershare.com. Requests for registration

 

iv


must be received no later than 5:00 p.m. (Eastern time) three business days prior to the Special Meeting date. You will receive a confirmation email from Georgeson LLC of your registration and a control number and security code that will allow you to vote at the Special Meeting.

Even if you plan to attend the Special Meeting, please promptly follow the enclosed instructions to submit voting instructions by telephone or via the Internet. Alternatively, you may submit voting instructions by signing and dating each proxy card you receive, and if received by mail, returning it in the accompanying postage-paid return envelope.

For information regarding how to access the Special Meeting, please contact Georgeson LLC, the firm assisting us in the solicitation of proxies, toll free at 1-866-767-8867.

This Proxy Statement sets forth concisely the information that preferred shareholders of each Fund should know before voting on the proposals set forth herein. Please read it carefully and retain it for future reference. Copies of each Fund’s most recent annual report and semi-annual report can be obtained on a website maintained by BlackRock, Inc. (“BlackRock”) at www.blackrock.com. In addition, each Fund will furnish, without charge, a copy of its most recent annual report or semi-annual report to any shareholder upon request. Any such request should be directed to BlackRock by calling (800) 882-0052 or by writing to the respective Fund at 100 Bellevue Parkway, Wilmington, Delaware 19809. The annual and semi-annual reports of each Fund are available on the EDGAR Database on the SEC’s website at www.sec.gov. The address of the principal executive offices of the Funds is 100 Bellevue Parkway, Wilmington, Delaware 19809, and the telephone number is (800) 882-0052.

Each Fund is subject to the informational requirements of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the “Exchange Act”) and the 1940 Act and, in accordance therewith, file reports, proxy statements, proxy materials and other information with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”). Materials filed with the SEC can be downloaded from the SEC’s website at www.sec.gov. You may also request copies of these materials, upon payment at the prescribed rates of a duplicating fee, by electronic request to the SEC’s e-mail address (publicinfo@sec.gov). Reports, proxy statements and other information concerning the Funds may also be inspected at the offices of the NYSE, 20 Broad Street, New York, New York 10005.

BlackRock updates performance information and certain other data for the Funds on a monthly basis on its website in the “Closed-End Funds” section of www.blackrock.com as well as certain other material information as necessary from time to time. Investors and others are advised to check the website for updated performance information and the release of other material information about the Funds. References to BlackRock’s website are intended to allow investors public access to information regarding the Funds and do not, and are not intended to, incorporate BlackRock’s website in this Proxy Statement.

Please note that only one copy of shareholder documents, including annual or semi-annual reports and proxy materials, may be delivered to two or more shareholders of the Funds who share an address, unless the Funds have received instructions to the contrary. This practice is commonly called “householding” and it is intended to reduce expenses and eliminate duplicate mailings of shareholder documents. Mailings of your shareholder documents may be householded indefinitely unless you instruct us otherwise. To request a separate copy of any shareholder document or for instructions as to how to request a separate copy of these documents or as to how to request a single copy if multiple copies of these documents are received, shareholders should contact the respective Fund at the address and phone number set forth above.

The common shares of The BlackRock Strategic Municipal Trust are listed on the NYSE under the ticker symbol “BSD”, the common shares of BlackRock MuniYield Investment Quality Fund are listed on the NYSE under the ticker symbol “MFT,” and the common shares of BlackRock Municipal Income Investment Trust are listed on the NYSE under the ticker symbol “BBF.” The common shares of BlackRock Municipal Income Trust II are listed on the NYSE under the ticker symbol “BLE” and will continue to be so listed after the completion of the Reorganizations. The preferred shares of each Fund are not listed on any exchange and have not been

 

v


registered under the Securities Act of 1933 (the “Securities Act”), or any state securities laws, and unless so registered under the Securities Act, may not be offered, sold, assigned, transferred, pledged, encumbered or otherwise disposed of except pursuant to an exemption from, or in a transaction not subject to, the registration requirements of the Securities Act and applicable state securities laws. Accordingly, the VMTP Shares to be issued in the Reorganizations are expected to be issued only to holders of VMTP Shares of BBF that are “qualified institutional buyers” (as defined in Rule 144A under the Securities Act) in accordance with the exemption from the registration requirements of the Securities Act provided by Section 4(a)(2) of the Securities Act and are subject to restrictions on transfer.

 

vi


TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

SUMMARY

     9  

PROPOSAL 1—THE REORGANIZATIONS OF THE FUNDS

     20  

Description of the Reorganizations

     20  

The Board’s Recommendation

     21  

REASONS FOR THE REORGANIZATIONS

     23  

TERMS OF THE REORGANIZATION AGREEMENTS

     32  

APPRAISAL RIGHTS

     34  

U.S. FEDERAL INCOME TAX CONSEQUENCES OF THE REORGANIZATIONS

     35  

PROPOSAL 2—ISSUANCE OF ACQUIRING FUND COMMON SHARES

     38  

INFORMATION ABOUT THE PREFERRED SHARES OF THE FUNDS

     39  

Description of the VMTP Shares of the Acquiring Fund, BSD and MFT

     41  

Description of the VRDP Shares of BBF

     42  

RISK FACTORS AND SPECIAL CONSIDERATIONS

     46  

Comparison of Risks

     46  

A DESCRIPTION OF THE FUNDS

     76  

The Board of Trustees and Officers

     76  

Information Pertaining to the Officers

     81  

The Investment Advisor

     81  

Portfolio Management

     83  

Other Service Providers

     83  

Accounting Agent

     84  

Custody of Assets

     84  

Transfer Agent, Dividend Disbursing Agent and Registrar

     84  

VMTP Shares Redemption and Paying Agent; VRDP Shares Tender and Paying Agent

     84  

BBF VRDP Shares Liquidity Provider

     84  

BBF VRDP Shares Remarketing Agent

     84  

THE ACQUIRING FUND’S INVESTMENTS

     85  

Investment Objective and Policies

     85  

Leverage

     101  

Investment Restrictions

     106  

THE TARGET FUNDS’ INVESTMENT OBJECTIVES AND POLICIES

     107  

INFORMATION ABOUT THE COMMON SHARES OF THE FUNDS

     140  

General

     140  

Purchase and Sale of Common Shares

     140  

Common Share Price Data

     140  

Common Share Dividend History

     142  

Record Holders of Common Shares

     143  

EXPENSE TABLE FOR COMMON SHAREHOLDERS

     144  

CAPITALIZATION TABLE

     148  

FINANCIAL HIGHLIGHTS

     150  

FINANCIAL STATEMENTS

     158  

PRO FORMA FINANCIAL STATEMENTS

     158  

CERTAIN PROVISIONS OF THE DECLARATIONS OF TRUST AND BYLAWS

     162  

GOVERNING LAW

     164  

CONVERSION TO OPEN-END FUND

     166  

VOTE REQUIRED AND MANNER OF VOTING PROXIES

     167  

Record Date

     167  

Proxies

     167  

Voting Requirement for Proposal 1: The Reorganizations of the Funds

     169  

Voting Requirement for Proposal 2: The Issuance of Acquiring Fund Common Shares

     171  

 

7


ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

     172  

Expense of Proxy Solicitation

     174  

Privacy Principles of the Funds

     175  

Incorporation by Reference

     175  

 

Adjournments and Postponements

     175  

APPENDIX A

   FORM OF AGREEMENT AND PLAN OF REORGANIZATION      A-1  

APPENDIX B

   FUNDAMENTAL AND NON-FUNDAMENTAL INVESTMENT RESTRICTIONS      B-1  

APPENDIX C

   FORM OF AMENDMENT TO BLE STATEMENT OF PREFERENCES      C-1  

APPENDIX D

   RATINGS OF INVESTMENTS      D-1  

 

8


SUMMARY

The following is a summary of certain information contained elsewhere in this Proxy Statement and is qualified in its entirety by reference to the more complete information contained in this Proxy Statement. Shareholders should read the entire Proxy Statement carefully.

 

The Reorganizations

Assuming all of the Reorganizations receive the requisite shareholder approvals, and the VRDP Refinancing is completed prior to the Closing Date of the BBF Reorganization, as well as certain consents, confirmations and/or waivers from various third parties, including the liquidity provider with respect to the outstanding BBF VRDP Shares, the Acquiring Fund will acquire substantially all of the assets and assume substantially all of the liabilities of BSD, MFT and BBF in exchange solely for newly issued Acquiring Fund Shares in the form of book-entry interests. The Acquiring Fund will list the newly issued common shares on the NYSE. Such newly issued Acquiring Fund Shares will be distributed to BSD, MFT and BBF shareholders (although cash may be distributed in lieu of fractional common shares) and each of BSD, MFT and BBF will terminate its registration under the 1940 Act and liquidate, dissolve and terminate in accordance with its respective Agreement and Declaration of Trust or Declaration of Trust, as applicable, and Delaware law or Massachusetts law, as applicable. The Acquiring Fund will continue to operate after the Reorganizations as a registered, diversified, closed-end management investment company with the investment objective, investment strategies, investment policies and investment restrictions described in this Proxy Statement.

 

  If the BBF Reorganization Agreement is approved, prior to the Closing Date, it is expected that BBF will issue VMTP Shares with terms substantially identical to the terms of the outstanding Acquiring Fund’s VMTP Shares and use the proceeds from such issuance to redeem all of BBF’s outstanding VRDP Shares. If the VRDP Refinancing is not completed prior to the Closing Date of the BBF Reorganization, then the BBF Reorganization will not be consummated.

 

  On the Closing Date of the Reorganizations, each outstanding VMTP Share of BSD, MFT and BBF will, without any action on the part of the holder thereof, be exchanged for one newly issued VMTP Share of the Acquiring Fund. The terms of the Acquiring Fund VMTP Shares to be issued in connection with the Reorganizations will be substantially identical to the terms of the Acquiring Fund’s outstanding VMTP Shares and will rank on parity with the Acquiring Fund’s outstanding VMTP Shares as to the payment of dividends and the distribution of assets upon dissolution, liquidation or winding up of the affairs of the Acquiring Fund. The newly issued Acquiring Fund VMTP Shares will have the same term redemption date applicable to the outstanding Acquiring Fund VMTP Shares as of the Closing Date of the Reorganization. Such term redemption date is July 2, 2021, unless extended. The Reorganizations will not result in any changes to the terms of the Acquiring Fund’s VMTP Shares currently outstanding.

 

9


  The newly issued Acquiring Fund VMTP Shares will have terms that are substantially identical to the terms of the currently outstanding BSD and MFT VMTP Shares and the BBF VMTP Shares to be issued in connection with the VRDP Refinancing, including the same term redemption date of July 2, 2021.

 

  Subject to the requisite approval of the shareholders of each Fund with respect to its respective Reorganization and the completion of the VRDP Refinancing prior to the Closing Date of the BBF Reorganization, as well as certain consents, confirmations and/or waivers from various third parties, including the liquidity provider with respect to the outstanding VRDP Shares of BBF, it is expected that the Closing Date of the Reorganizations will be sometime during the first quarter of 2021, but it may be at a different time as described herein.

 

  The BBF Reorganization is contingent upon the completion of the VRDP Refinancing. If the VRDP Refinancing is not completed prior to the Closing Date of the BBF Reorganization, then the BBF Reorganization will not be consummated.

 

  No Reorganization is contingent upon the approval of any other Reorganization. If the requisite shareholder approvals for a Reorganization are not obtained, or a Reorganization is not otherwise consummated, the Board of the Fund for which such Reorganization(s) was not consummated may take such actions as it deems in the best interests of the Fund, including conducting additional solicitations with respect to the Reorganization(s) or continuing to operate the Fund as a standalone Delaware statutory trust or Massachusetts business trust, as applicable, registered under the 1940 Act as a closed-end management investment company advised by BlackRock Advisors, LLC (the “Investment Advisor”). The Investment Advisor may, in connection with the ongoing management of such Fund and its product line, recommend alternative proposals to the Board of such Fund.

 

Background and Reasons for the Reorganizations

The proposed Reorganizations seek to achieve certain economies of scale and other operational efficiencies by combining four funds that have similar investment objectives and similar investment strategies, policies and restrictions and are managed by the same investment adviser.

 

 

The proposed Reorganizations are intended to result in the following potential benefits to common shareholders: (i) lower net total expenses per Common Share for common shareholders of each Fund (as common shareholders of the Combined Fund following the Reorganizations) due to economies of scale resulting from the larger size of the Combined Fund; (ii) improved net earnings yield on NAV for common shareholders of each Fund; (iii) improved secondary market trading of the common shares of the Combined Fund; and (iv) operating and administrative efficiencies for the Combined Fund,

 

10


 

including the potential for the following: (a) greater investment flexibility and investment options; (b) greater diversification of portfolio investments; (c) the ability to trade in larger positions and more favorable transaction terms; (d) additional sources of leverage or more competitive leverage terms and more favorable transaction terms; (e) benefits from having fewer closed-end funds offering similar products in the market, including an increased focus by investors on the remaining funds in the market (including the Combined Fund) and additional research coverage; and (f) benefits from having fewer similar funds in the same fund complex, including a simplified operational model and a reduction in risk of operational, legal and financial errors.

 

  The Board of each Fund, including the Board Members who are not “interested persons” of each Fund (as defined in the 1940 Act) (“Independent Board Members”), has unanimously approved the Reorganizations, concluding that the Reorganizations are in the best interests of its Fund and that the interests of existing common shareholders and preferred shareholders of its Fund will not be diluted with respect to NAV and liquidation preference, respectively, as a result of the Reorganizations. As a result of the Reorganizations, however, common and preferred shareholders of each Fund may hold a reduced percentage of ownership in the larger Combined Fund than they did in any of the individual Funds before the Reorganizations. Each Board’s conclusion was based on each Board Member’s business judgment after consideration of all relevant factors taken as a whole with respect to its Fund and the Fund’s common and preferred shareholders, although individual Board Members may have placed different weight on various factors and assigned different degrees of materiality to various factors. Please see “Reasons for the Reorganizations” for additional information about the factors considered by each Board.

 

  Because the shareholders of each Fund will vote separately on the Fund’s respective Reorganization(s) or Issuances, as applicable, and the BBF Reorganization is contingent upon the completion of the VRDP Refinancing, there are multiple potential combinations of Reorganizations. To the extent that one or more Reorganizations is not completed, any expected expense savings by the Combined Fund, or other potential benefits resulting from the Reorganizations, may be reduced.

 

Net and Managed Assets

As of August 31, 2020, BSD had approximately $104.5 million in net assets and approximately $176.6 million in managed assets, MFT had approximately $119.9 million in net assets and approximately $204.0 million in managed assets, BBF had approximately $142.9 million in net assets and approximately $229.1 million in managed assets, and the Acquiring Fund had approximately $348.3 million in net assets and approximately $573.4 million in managed assets.

 

11


 

Preferred Shares

As of August 31, 2020, BSD had 429 Series W-7 VMTP Shares outstanding, MFT had 565 Series W-7 VMTP Shares outstanding, BBF had 520 Series W-7 VRDP Shares outstanding and the Acquiring Fund had 1,513 Series W-7 VMTP Shares outstanding.

 

  For the fiscal year ended April 30, 2020, the annualized dividend rate for the VMTP Shares of BSD was 2.18%.

 

  For the fiscal year ended July 31, 2020, the annualized dividend rates for the VMTP Shares or VRDP Shares, as applicable, of MFT and BBF were 1.79% and 1.70%, respectively.

 

  For the fiscal year ended August 31, 2020, the annualized dividend rate for the VMTP Shares of the Acquiring Fund was 1.67%.

 

  Prior to the Reorganizations, it is expected that all of the VRDP Shares of BBF will be refinanced into BBF VMTP Shares with terms substantially identical to those of the Acquiring Fund’s VMTP Shares. In connection with the Reorganizations, and assuming the VRDP Refinancing is completed prior to the Closing Date of the Reorganizations, the Acquiring Fund expects to issue 429 additional VMTP Shares to BSD VMTP Holders, 565 additional VMTP Shares to MFT VMTP Holders and 520 additional VMTP Shares to BBF VMTP Holders. Following the completion of the Reorganizations, the Combined Fund is expected to have 3,027 VMTP Shares outstanding. If the VRDP Refinancing is not completed prior to the Closing Date of the BBF Reorganization, then the BBF Reorganization will not be consummated.

 

 

Assuming all of the Reorganizations are approved by shareholders and the VRDP Refinancing is completed prior to the Closing Date of the Reorganizations, upon the Closing Date of the Reorganizations, BSD, MFT and BBF VMTP Holders will receive on a one-for-one basis one newly issued Acquiring Fund VMTP Share, par value $0.001 per share and with a liquidation preference of $100,000 per share (plus any accumulated and unpaid dividends that have accrued on the BSD, MFT or BBF VMTP Shares up to and including the day immediately preceding the Closing Date if such dividends have not been paid prior to the Closing Date), in exchange for each BSD, MFT and BBF VMTP Share held by the BSD, MFT or BBF VMTP Holders immediately prior to the Closing Date. The newly issued Acquiring Fund VMTP Shares may be of the same series as the Acquiring Fund’s outstanding VMTP Shares or a substantially identical series. No fractional Acquiring Fund VMTP Shares will be issued. The terms of the Acquiring Fund VMTP Shares to be issued in connection with the Reorganizations will be substantially identical to the terms of the Acquiring Fund’s outstanding VMTP Shares and will rank on parity with the Acquiring Fund’s outstanding VMTP Shares as to the payment of dividends and the distribution of assets upon dissolution, liquidation or winding up of the affairs of the Acquiring Fund. The newly issued Acquiring Fund VMTP Shares will have the same term redemption date applicable to the outstanding Acquiring

 

12


 

Fund VMTP Shares as of the Closing Date of the Reorganization. Such term redemption date is July 2, 2021, unless extended. The Reorganizations will not result in any changes to the terms of the Acquiring Fund’s VMTP Shares currently outstanding.

 

  The newly issued Acquiring Fund VMTP Shares will have terms that are substantially identical to the terms of the currently outstanding BSD and MFT VMTP Shares and the BBF VMTP Shares to be issued in connection with the VRDP Refinancing, including the same term redemption date of July 2, 2021.

 

  None of the expenses of the Reorganizations are expected to be borne by the VMTP Holders or the VRDP Holders, as applicable, of the Funds. See “Summary—Expenses of the Reorganizations” for additional information.

 

  Following the Reorganizations, the VRDP Holders of each Fund will be VMTP Holders of the larger Combined Fund that will have a larger asset base and more VMTP Shares outstanding than any Fund individually before the Reorganizations. With respect to matters requiring all preferred shareholders to vote separately or common and preferred shareholders to vote together as a single class, following the Reorganizations, VMTP Holders of the Combined Fund may hold a smaller percentage of the outstanding preferred shares of the Combined Fund as compared to their percentage holdings of outstanding preferred shares of their respective Fund prior to the Reorganizations.

 

  Please see “Information about the Preferred Shares of the Funds” for additional information.

 

Expenses of the Reorganizations

Common shareholders of each Fund will indirectly bear all or a portion of the costs of the Reorganizations. Because of the expected expense savings and other anticipated benefits for BSD and BBF, the Investment Advisor recommended and the Board of each such Fund has approved that its respective Fund be responsible for its own reorganization expenses. The expenses of the Reorganizations of BSD and BBF into the Acquiring Fund are estimated to be approximately $209,600 and $281,100, respectively. For BBF, the costs of its Reorganization include estimated VRDP Refinancing costs of $65,000, which are expected to be amortized over one year by the Combined Fund. For MFT and the Acquiring Fund, the expenses of the applicable Reorganizations are estimated to be approximately, $209,700 and $303,800, respectively, of which the Investment Advisor will bear approximately $35,000 and $241,000, respectively. The actual costs associated with the Reorganizations may be more or less than the estimated costs discussed herein.

 

Appraisal Rights

Preferred shareholders of BSD, BBF and the Acquiring Fund do not have appraisal rights for their respective preferred shares because such Funds are formed as Delaware statutory trusts, and each Fund’s respective Agreement and Declaration of Trust states that the

 

13


 

shareholders are not entitled to appraisal rights. The Declaration of Trust of MFT provides that shareholders are entitled to rights of appraisal to the same extent as a shareholder of a Massachusetts business corporation in respect of a merger, consolidation, sale or exchange of assets. However, rights of appraisal would not generally be available to a Massachusetts business corporation in respect of a transaction such as the Reorganization because the Reorganization is structured as an exchange of all or substantially all of the property of MFT followed by the dissolution of MFT and the distribution in cash and marketable securities, of substantially all of its net assets, in excess of a reasonable amount reserved, if any, to meet unknown claims.

 

U.S. Federal Income Tax Consequences of the Reorganizations

Each Reorganization is intended to qualify as a “reorganization” within the meaning of Section 368(a) of the Code. If a Reorganization so qualifies, in general, shareholders of BSD, MFT and BBF will recognize no gain or loss for U.S. federal income tax purposes upon the exchange of their common shares for Acquiring Fund Shares pursuant to their Reorganization (except with respect to cash received in lieu of fractional common shares). Additionally, each of BSD, MFT and BBF will recognize no gain or loss for U.S. federal income tax purposes by reason of its Reorganization. Neither the Acquiring Fund nor its shareholders will recognize any gain or loss for U.S. federal income tax purposes pursuant to the Reorganizations.

 

  As discussed above, shareholders of each Fund may receive distributions prior to, or after, the consummation of the Reorganizations, including distributions attributable to their proportionate share of each Fund’s undistributed net investment income (“UNII”) declared prior to the consummation of the Reorganizations or the Combined Fund built-in gains, if any, recognized after the Reorganizations, when such income and gains are eventually distributed by the Combined Fund. To the extent that such a distribution is not an “exempt interest dividend” (as defined in the Code), the distribution may be taxable to shareholders for U.S. federal income tax purposes.

 

  The Funds’ shareholders should consult their own tax advisers regarding the U.S. federal income tax consequences of the Reorganizations, as well as the effects of state, local and non-U.S. tax laws, including possible changes in tax laws.

 

General Information and History

BSD, BBF and the Acquiring Fund are each formed as a statutory trust under the laws of the State of Delaware. MFT is organized as a Massachusetts business trust. Each Fund is a diversified, closed-end management investment company registered under the 1940 Act.

 

  Each Fund’s principal office is located at 100 Bellevue Parkway, Wilmington, Delaware 19809, and its telephone number is (800) 882-0052.

 

14


  The Acquiring Fund has an August 31 fiscal year end. BSD has an April 30 fiscal year end. MFT and BBF have a July 31 fiscal year end.

 

  The Acquiring Fund common shares are listed on the NYSE as “BLE.”

 

  BSD common shares are listed on the NYSE as “BSD”

 

  MFT common shares are listed on the NYSE as “MFT.”

 

  BBF common shares are listed on the NYSE as “BBF.”

 

  Each of BSD, MFT and the Acquiring Fund has VMTP Shares outstanding and BBF has VRDP Shares outstanding. Each Fund’s preferred shares are not listed on a national stock exchange and have not been registered under the Securities Act or any state securities laws, and unless so registered, may not be offered, sold, assigned, transferred, pledged, encumbered or otherwise disposed of except pursuant to an exemption from, or in a transaction not subject to, the registration requirements of the Securities Act and applicable state securities laws.

 

Investment Objective and Policies

The investment objective, significant investment strategies and operating policies, and investment restrictions of the Combined Fund will be those of the Acquiring Fund, which are similar to those of BSD, MFT and BBF, although there are some differences.

 

  Investment Objective:
 

 

  BSD’s investment objectives are to provide current income that is exempt from regular U.S. federal income tax; and to invest in municipal obligations issued by or on behalf of states, territories and possessions of the United States and their political subdivisions, agencies or instrumentalities (“Municipal Bonds”) that over time will perform better than the broader municipal bond market.

 

  MFT’s investment objective is to provide shareholders with as high a level of current income exempt from U.S. federal income taxes as is consistent with its investment policies and prudent investment management.

 

  BBF’s investment objective is to provide current income exempt from regular U.S. federal income tax and Florida intangible personal property tax.1

 

  The Acquiring Fund’s investment objective is to provide current income exempt from regular U.S. federal income tax.

 

1 

The State of Florida repealed the Florida Intangible Tax as of January 2007. As a result, on September 12, 2008, the Board of the BBF voted unanimously to approve BBF investing in municipal bonds regardless of geographic location. If Florida were to reinstate the Florida Intangible Tax or adopt a state income tax, however, BBF would be required to realign its portfolio such that at substantially all of its assets would be invested in Florida municipal bonds or obtain shareholder approval to amend BBF’s fundamental investment objective to remove references to the Florida Intangible Tax.

 

15


  The investment objective of each of the Funds is a fundamental policy that may not be changed without a vote of a majority of the applicable Fund’s outstanding voting securities.

 

 Municipal Bonds:

 

  For BSD, as a matter of fundamental policy, under normal conditions, the Fund will invest at least 80% of its managed assets in investments the income from which is exempt from federal income tax.

 

  For MFT, the Fund’s investment policies provide that it will invest, as a fundamental policy, at least 80% of an aggregate of the Fund’s net assets (including proceeds from the issuance of any preferred shares) and the proceeds of any borrowings for investment purposes, in a portfolio of municipal obligations the interest on which, in the opinion of bond counsel to the issuer, is excludable from gross income for federal income tax purposes (except that the interest may be includable in taxable income for purposes of the alternative minimum tax) and which enables shares of the Fund to be exempt from Florida intangible personal property taxes.2

 

  For BBF, the Fund seeks to achieve its investment objective by investing primarily in municipal bonds exempt from federal income taxes (except that the interest may be subject to the federal alternative minimum tax).

 

  The Acquiring Fund, as a fundamental policy, under normal market conditions, the Fund will invest at least 80% of its managed assets in Municipal Bonds, the interest of which is exempt from regular federal income tax (except that the interest may be subject to the alternative minimum tax).

 

  Please see below a comparison of the approximate amount invested in municipal bonds as a percentage of total assets for (i) each Fund as of August 31, 2020, (ii) the Combined Fund, assuming only the Reorganization of BSD into the Acquiring Fund was consummated as of August 31, 2020, which represents the combination of completed Reorganizations presented in this Proxy Statement that would result in the lowest amount invested in municipal bonds, and (iii) the Combined Fund, assuming all of the Reorganizations were consummated as of August 31, 2020, which represents, in the Investment Advisor’s view, the most likely combination of the Reorganizations and the combination of completed Reorganizations

 

2 

The State of Florida repealed the Florida Intangible Tax as of January 2007. As a result, on September 12, 2008, the Board of MFT voted unanimously to approve MFT investing in Municipal Bonds regardless of geographic location. If Florida were to reinstate the Florida Intangible Tax or adopt a state income tax, however, MFT would be required to realign its portfolio such that substantially all of its assets would be invested in Florida Municipal Bonds or obtain shareholder approval to amend MFT’s fundamental investment objective to remove references to the Florida Intangible Tax.

 

16


 

that would result in the highest amount invested in municipal bonds for the Combined Fund.

 

BSD

   MFT   BBF   Acquiring
Fund

(BLE)
  Pro forma
Combined
Fund BSD

into BLE)
  Pro forma
Combined
Fund (BSD,
MFT and
BBF into
BLE)

99%

   99%   99%   99%   99%   99%

 

  Investment Grade Securities:

 

  For BSD, the Fund’s investment policies provide that it will invest at least 80% of its total assets in investment grade quality securities.

 

  For MFT, the Fund’s investment policies provide that, under normal market conditions, the Fund expects to invest primarily in a portfolio of long-term Municipal Bonds that are commonly referred to as “investment grade” securities.

 

  For BBF, the Fund’s investment policies provide that, under normal market conditions, the Fund will invest at least 80% of its total assets in investment grade quality municipal bonds.

 

  The Acquiring Fund’s investment policies provide that, under normal market conditions, the Fund will invest at least 80% of its managed assets in investment grade quality Municipal Bonds.

 

  Investment grade quality means that such bonds are rated, at the time of investment, within the four highest grades (Baa or BBB or better by Moody’s Investor Service, Inc. (“Moody’s”), S&P Global Ratings (“S&P”) or Fitch Ratings (“Fitch”)) or are unrated but judged to be of comparable quality by the Investment Advisor.

 

  Bond Maturity:

 

  For BSD, the average maturity of the Fund’s portfolio securities varies from time to time based upon an assessment of economic and market conditions by the Investment Advisor. The Fund’s portfolio at any given time may include both long- term and intermediate-term Municipal Bonds.

 

  For MFT and the Acquiring Fund, the average maturity of the Fund’s portfolio securities varies from time to time based upon an assessment of economic and market conditions by the Investment Advisor. The Fund’s portfolio at any given time may include long-term, intermediate-term and short-term Municipal Bonds.

 

  For BBF, the average maturity of the Fund’s portfolio securities varies from time to time based upon an assessment of economic and market conditions by the Investment Adviser. The Fund’s portfolio at any given time may include both long-term and intermediate-term municipal bonds.

 

17


  Leverage:

 

  Each Fund utilizes leverage through the issuance of either VMTP Shares or VRDP Shares and TOBs. See “The Acquiring Fund’s Investments—Leverage;” “General Risks of Investing in the Acquiring Fund—Leverage Risk;” and “General Risks of Investing in the Acquiring Fund—Tender Option Bond Risk.” Each of BSD, MFT and the Acquiring Fund currently leverages its assets through the use of VMTP Shares and TOBs. BBF currently leverages its assets through the use of VRDP Shares and TOBs. The Acquiring Fund is expected to continue to leverage its assets after the Closing Date of the Reorganizations through the use of VMTP Shares and TOBs. Please see “Information about the Preferred Shares of the Funds” for additional information about the preferred shares of each Fund.

 

  The annualized dividend rates for the preferred shares for each Fund’s most recent fiscal year end were as follows:

 

Fund

   Preferred
Shares
   Rate  
BSD    VMTP Shares      2.18
MFT    VMTP Shares      1.79
BBF    VRDP Shares      1.70
Acquiring Fund (BLE)    VMTP Shares      1.67

 

  Please see below a comparison of certain important ratios related to (i) each Fund’s use of leverage as of August 31, 2020, (ii) the Combined Fund’s estimated use of leverage, assuming only the Reorganization of MFT into the Acquiring Fund had taken place as of August 31, 2020, which represents the combination of completed Reorganizations presented in this Proxy Statement that would result in the lowest asset coverage ratio for the Combined Fund, and (iii) the Combined Fund’s estimated use of leverage, assuming the Reorganizations of all the Funds had taken place as of August 31, 2020, which represents, in the Investment Advisor’s view, the most likely combination of the Reorganizations and the combination of completed Reorganizations that would result in the highest asset coverage ratio for the Combined Fund.

 

Ratios

  BSD     MFT     BBF     Acquiring
Fund
(BLE)
    Pro forma
Combined

Fund
(MFT into
BLE)
    Pro forma
Combined

Fund
(BSD,
MFT and
BBF into
BLE)
 

Asset Coverage Ratio

    343.5     312.3     374.8     330.2     325.3     336.4

Regulatory Leverage Ratio(1)

    29.0     32.0     26.7     30.3     30.7     29.7

Effective Leverage Ratio(2)

    40.9     41.3     37.7     39.3     39.9     39.6

 

 

18


  (1)

Regulatory leverage consists of preferred shares issued by the Fund, which is a part of the Fund’s capital structure. Regulatory leverage is sometimes referred to as “1940 Act Leverage” and is subject to asset coverage limits set forth in the 1940 Act.

 
  (2)

Effective leverage is a Fund’s effective economic leverage, and includes both regulatory leverage and the leverage effects of certain derivative investments in the Fund’s portfolio. Currently, the leverage effects of TOB inverse floater holdings, in addition to any regulatory leverage, are included in effective leverage ratios.

 

Fund Management

The Board of each Fund is responsible for the overall supervision of the operations of its respective Fund and performs the various duties imposed on the trustees of investment companies by the 1940 Act and under applicable state law. Each Fund has the same Board Members and officers.

 

Investment Advisor

BlackRock Advisors, LLC serves as the investment adviser for each Fund and is expected to continue to serve as investment adviser for the Combined Fund.

 

Portfolio Management Team

Each of BSD, MFT and BBF is managed by a team of investment professionals led by Theodore R. Jaeckel, Jr., CFA and Michael Perilli. The Acquiring Fund is managed by a team of investment professionals lead by Theodore R. Jaeckel, Jr., CFA and Walter O’Connor, CFA. Following the Reorganizations, it is expected that the Combined Fund will be managed by a team of investment professionals led by Theodore R. Jaeckel, Jr., CFA and Michael Perilli.

 

Other Service Providers

The other professional service providers for the Funds are or will be as follows:

 

Service

  

Service Providers to the Funds

Accounting Agent    State Street Bank and Trust Company
Custodian    State Street Bank and Trust Company
Transfer Agent, Dividend Disbursing Agent and Registrar    Computershare Trust Company, N.A.
Liquidity Provider to BBF VRDP Shares    Bank of America, N.A.
Remarketing Agent to BBF VRDP Shares    BofA Securities, Inc.
Redemption and Paying Agent to BSD, MFT and Acquiring Fund VMTP Shares; Tender and Paying Agent to BBF VRDP Shares    The Bank of New York Mellon
Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm    Deloitte & Touche LLP
Fund Counsel    Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP
Counsel to the Independent Board Members    Debevoise & Plimpton LLP

 

19


PROPOSAL 1—THE REORGANIZATIONS OF THE FUNDS

The Reorganizations seek to combine four funds that have the same investment adviser, the same Board Members, and similar investment objectives and similar investment strategies, policies and restrictions.

Description of the Reorganizations

Each Reorganization Agreement (a form of which is attached as Appendix A) provides for the Acquiring Fund’s acquisition of substantially all of the assets of the applicable Target Fund and assumption of substantially all of the liabilities of the applicable Target Fund in exchange for newly issued Acquiring Fund common shares, with a par value $0.001 per share, and newly issued Acquiring Fund VMTP Shares, with a par value of $0.001 per share and liquidation preference of $100,000 per share (plus any accumulated and unpaid dividends that have accrued on the Target Fund VMTP Shares up to and including the day immediately preceding the Closing Date if such dividends have not been paid prior to the Closing Date). The Acquiring Fund will list the newly issued common shares on the NYSE. Each Target Fund will distribute Acquiring Fund Shares received by it pro rata to its shareholders (although cash may be paid in lieu of any fractional common shares). The newly-issued Acquiring Fund Shares will be issued in the form of book-entry interests. See “Terms of the Reorganization Agreements – Book-Entry Interests” below. Such distribution of Acquiring Fund Shares to Target Fund shareholders will be accomplished by opening new accounts on the books of the Acquiring Fund in the names of the Target Fund shareholders and transferring to those shareholder accounts Acquiring Fund Shares. Each newly-opened account on the books of the Acquiring Fund for BSD, MFT and BBF VMTP Holders would represent the number of Acquiring Fund VMTP Shares issued on a one-for-one basis for each such VMTP Holder’s holdings of BSD, MFT or BBF VMTP Shares.

If the BBF Reorganization Agreement is approved by BBF shareholders, prior to the Closing Date of the BBF Reorganization, it is expected that BBF will issue VMTP Shares with terms substantially identical to the terms of the outstanding Acquiring Fund VMTP Shares and use the proceeds from such issuance to redeem all of outstanding VRDP Shares of BBF. The BBF VMTP Shares that will be issued in connection with the VRDP Refinancing will have the same $100,000 liquidation preference per share, dividend period, dividend payment date, voting rights, redemption provisions, transfer restrictions and covenants with respect to effective leverage, asset coverage and eligible investments, mechanism for determining the applicable dividend rate and maximum rate, and the same redemption and paying agent as the outstanding Acquiring Fund VMTP Shares. If the VRDP Refinancing is not completed prior to the Closing Date of the BBF Reorganization then the BBF Reorganization will not be consummated.

Assuming all of the Reorganizations are approved by shareholders, and the VRDP Refinancing is completed prior to the Closing Date of the Reorganizations, upon the Closing Date of the Reorganizations, a Target Fund VMTP Holder will receive on a one-for-one basis one newly issued Acquiring Fund VMTP Share, par value $0.001 per share and with a liquidation preference of $100,000 per share (plus any accumulated and unpaid dividends that have accrued on the VMTP Shares of the applicable Target Fund up to and including the day immediately preceding the Closing Date of the Reorganizations if such dividends have not been paid prior to the Closing Date), in exchange for each Target Fund VMTP Share held by such Target Fund VMTP Holder immediately prior to the Closing Date. The newly issued Acquiring Fund VMTP Shares may be of the same series as the Acquiring Fund’s outstanding VMTP Shares or a substantially identical series. No fractional Acquiring Fund VMTP Shares will be issued. The terms of the Acquiring Fund VMTP Shares to be issued in connection with the Reorganizations will be substantially identical to the terms of the Acquiring Fund’s outstanding VMTP Shares and will rank on parity with the Acquiring Fund’s outstanding VMTP Shares as to the payment of dividends and the distribution of assets upon dissolution, liquidation or winding up of the affairs of the Acquiring Fund. The newly issued Acquiring Fund VMTP Shares will have the same term redemption date applicable to the outstanding Acquiring Fund VMTP Shares as of the Closing Date of the Reorganization. Such term redemption date is July 2, 2021, unless extended. The Reorganizations will not result in any changes to the terms of the Acquiring Fund’s VMTP Shares currently outstanding.

 

20


The newly issued Acquiring Fund VMTP Shares will have terms that are substantially identical to the terms of the currently outstanding BSD and MFT VMTP Shares and the BBF VMTP Shares to be issued in the VRDP Refinancing, including the same term redemption date of July 2, 2021.

Since the Acquiring Fund VMTP Shares would be issued at a liquidation preference and value per share equal to the liquidation preference and value per share of the VMTP Shares of BBF, BSD, and MFT, the interests of BBF, BSD, and MFT VMTP Holders will not be diluted as a result of the Reorganizations. If the BBF Reorganization is approved by the requisite shareholders and the VRDP Refinancing is completed, BBF VRDP Holders will have their VRDP Shares redeemed by BBF in connection with the VRDP Refinancing.

As a result of the Reorganizations, a common or preferred shareholder of any of the Funds may hold a reduced percentage of ownership in the Combined Fund than they did in BSD, MFT, BBF and the Acquiring Fund. No sales charge or fee of any kind will be charged to shareholders of BSD, MFT, and BBF in connection with their receipt of Acquiring Fund Shares in the Reorganizations.

As soon as practicable after the Closing Date for the Reorganizations, each of BSD, MFT, and BBF will deregister as an investment company under the 1940 Act and liquidate, dissolve and terminate in accordance with its respective Agreement and Declaration of Trust and Delaware law or Massachusetts law, as applicable. The Acquiring Fund will continue to operate after the Reorganizations as a registered, diversified, closed-end management investment company with the investment objective, investment strategies, investment policies and investment restrictions described in this Proxy Statement.

The BBF Reorganization is contingent upon the completion of the VRDP Refinancing. If the VRDP Refinancing is not completed prior to the Closing Date of the BBF Reorganization, then the BBF Reorganization will not be consummated.

No Reorganization is contingent upon the approval of any other Reorganization. If a Reorganization is not consummated, the Fund for which such Reorganization(s) was not consummated would continue to exist and operate on a standalone basis. Both the Target Fund and the Acquiring Fund will continue to be advised by the Investment Advisor. If a Reorganization is not consummated, the Investment Advisor may recommend alternative proposals to the Board of each Fund for which such Reorganization was not consummated.

The Board’s Recommendation

The Board of BSD recommends that VMTP Holders of BSD vote “FOR” the proposed BSD Reorganization Agreement at the Special Meeting.

The Board of MFT recommends that VMTP Holders of MFT vote “FOR” the proposed MFT Reorganization Agreement at the Special Meeting.

The Board of BBF recommends that VRDP Holders of BBF vote “FOR” the proposed BBF Reorganization Agreement at the Special Meeting.

The Board of the Acquiring Fund recommends that VMTP Holders of the Acquiring Fund vote “FOR” the proposed BSD Reorganization Agreement at the Special Meeting.

The Board of the Acquiring Fund recommends that VMTP Holders of the Acquiring Fund vote “FOR” the proposed MFT Reorganization Agreement at the Special Meeting.

The Board of the Acquiring Fund recommends that VMTP Holders of the Acquiring Fund vote “FOR” the proposed BBF Reorganization Agreement at the Special Meeting.

 

21


Shareholder approval of the BSD Reorganization Agreement requires (i) with respect to Proposal 1(A), the affirmative vote of the holders of a majority of the outstanding BSD common shares and BSD VMTP Shares voting as a single class, (ii) with respect to Proposal 1(B), the affirmative vote of the holders of a 1940 Act Majority (as defined below) of BSD VMTP Shares voting as a separate class and (iii) with respect to Proposal 1(G), the affirmative vote of the holders of 66 2/3% of the outstanding Acquiring Fund VMTP Shares voting as a separate class.

Shareholder approval of the MFT Reorganization Agreement requires (i) with respect to Proposal 1(C), the affirmative vote of the holders of a majority of outstanding MFT common shares and MFT VMTP Shares voting as a single class, (ii) with respect to Proposal 1(D), the affirmative vote of the holders of a 1940 Act Majority of MFT VMTP Shares voting as a separate class and (iii) with respect to Proposal 1(H), the affirmative vote of the holders of 66 2/3% of the outstanding Acquiring Fund VMTP Shares voting as a separate class.

Shareholder approval of the BBF Reorganization Agreement requires (i) with respect to Proposal 1(E), the affirmative vote of the holders of a majority of the outstanding BBF common shares and BBF VRDP Shares voting as a single class, (ii) with respect to Proposal 1(F), the affirmative vote of the holders of a 1940 Act Majority of BBF VRDP Shares voting as a separate class and (iii) with respect to Proposal 1(I), the affirmative vote of the holders of 66 2/3% of the outstanding Acquiring Fund VMTP Shares voting as a separate class. A “1940 Act Majority” means the affirmative vote of either (i) 67% or more of the voting securities present at the Special Meeting, if the holders of more than 50% of the outstanding voting securities of the Fund are present or represented by proxy or (ii) more than 50% of the outstanding voting securities of the Fund, whichever is less.

In order for the Reorganizations to occur, each Fund must obtain all requisite shareholder approvals with respect to its Reorganization, as well as certain consents, confirmations and/or waivers from various third parties, including the liquidity provider with respect to the outstanding BBF VRDP Shares. Because the closing of the Reorganization with respect to BSD, MFT or BBF is contingent upon such Fund and the Acquiring Fund obtaining the requisite shareholder approvals and third-party consents and satisfying (or obtaining the waiver of) other closing conditions, it is possible that a Reorganization will not occur, even if shareholders of a Fund entitled to vote on the Reorganization approve the Reorganization and such Fund satisfies all of its closing conditions, if the other Fund in the Reorganization does not obtain its requisite shareholder approvals or satisfy its closing conditions. If the BBF Reorganization Agreement is approved, prior to the BBF Reorganization, it is expected that all of the VRDP Shares of BBF will be refinanced into BBF VMTP Shares with terms substantially identical to those of the Acquiring Fund’s VMTP Shares.

The BBF Reorganization is contingent upon the completion of the VRDP Refinancing. If the VRDP Refinancing is not completed prior to the Closing Date of the BBF Reorganization, then the BBF Reorganization will not be consummated.

No Reorganization is contingent upon the approval of any other Reorganization. If a Reorganization is not consummated, the Fund for which such Reorganization(s) was not consummated would continue to exist and operate on a standalone basis.

The preferred shares of the Funds were issued on a private placement basis to one or a small number of institutional holders. Please see “Information about the Preferred Shares of the Funds” for additional information. To the extent that one or more preferred shareholder of BSD, MFT, BBF or the Acquiring Fund owns, holds or controls, individually or in the aggregate, all or a significant portion of such Fund’s outstanding preferred shares, the preferred shareholder approval required for the Reorganizations may turn on the exercise of voting rights by such particular preferred shareholder(s) and its (or their) determination as to the favorability of the Reorganization with respect to its (or their) interests. The Funds exercise no influence or control over the determinations of such preferred shareholder(s) with respect to the Reorganization; there is no guarantee that such preferred shareholder(s) will approve the Reorganization, over which it (or they) may exercise effective disposition power.

 

22


Subject to the requisite approval of the shareholders of each Fund with respect to its respective Reorganization and the completion of the VRDP Refinancing prior to the Closing Date of the BBF Reorganization, as well as certain consents, confirmations and/or waivers from various third parties, including the liquidity provider with respect to the outstanding BBF VRDP Shares, it is expected that the Closing Date of the Reorganizations will be sometime during the first quarter of 2021, but it may be at a different time as described herein.

For additional information regarding voting requirements, see “Vote Required and Manner of Voting Proxies.”

REASONS FOR THE REORGANIZATIONS

The Board of each Fund, including the Independent Board Members, considered the Reorganizations at a meeting held on June 16, 2020. Each Board, including the Independent Board Members, has unanimously approved the applicable Reorganization Agreement(s) (the “Approval”). Based on the considerations below, the Board of each Fund, including the Independent Board Members, has determined that the Reorganizations are in the best interests of such Fund and that the interests of its existing common shareholders and preferred shareholders would not be diluted with respect to NAV and the liquidation preference, respectively, as a result of the Reorganizations. As a result of the Reorganizations, however, common shareholders and preferred shareholders of each Fund may hold a reduced percentage of ownership in the larger Combined Fund than they did in any of the individual Funds before the Reorganizations.

Each Board’s determination to approve the Reorganizations was made on the basis of each Board Member’s business judgment after consideration of all of the factors taken as a whole with respect to each Fund and its shareholders, although individual Board Members may have placed different weight and assigned different degrees of materiality to various factors. Because the shareholders of each Fund will vote separately on the Fund’s respective Reorganization(s) or Issuances, as applicable, and the BBF Reorganization is contingent upon the completion of the VRDP Refinancing, there are multiple potential combinations of Reorganizations. To the extent that one or more Reorganizations is not completed, any expected expense savings by the Combined Fund, or other potential benefits resulting from the Reorganizations, may be reduced. If a Reorganization is not consummated, then the Investment Advisor may, in connection with ongoing management of the Fund for which such Reorganization(s) was not consummated and its product line, recommend alternative proposals to the Board of that Fund. Before reaching these conclusions, the Board of each Fund, including the Independent Board Members, engaged in a thorough review process relating to the Reorganizations, as well as alternatives to the Reorganizations. The Board of each Fund also received a memorandum outlining, among other things, the legal standards and certain other considerations relevant to the Board’s deliberations.

The Board of each Fund considered the Reorganizations over a series of meetings. In preparation for the Approval, the Investment Advisor provided each Board with information regarding the Reorganizations, including the rationale therefor and alternatives considered to the Reorganizations.

Each Board considered a number of factors presented at the time of the Approval or prior meetings in reaching their determinations, including, but not limited to, the following, which are discussed in further detail below:

 

 

potential for improved economies of scale and a lower Total Expense Ratio with respect to each Fund;

 

 

the potential effects of the Reorganizations on the earnings and distributions of each Fund;

 

 

the potential effects of the Reorganizations on each Fund’s premium/discount to NAV of common shares;

 

 

the potential effects of the Reorganizations on each Fund’s preferred shares;

 

23


 

the compatibility of the Funds’ investment objectives, investment strategies and policies and related risks and risk profiles;

 

 

consistency of portfolio management and portfolio composition;

 

 

the potential for improved secondary market trading, including the potential for greater secondary market liquidity for the Combined Fund’s common shares, which may result in tighter bid-ask spreads and better trade execution for the Combined Fund’s common shareholders when purchasing or selling the Combined Fund’s common shares;

 

 

the potential for operating and administrative efficiencies for the Combined Fund, including the potential for the following benefits:

 

   

greater investment flexibility and investment options, greater diversification of portfolio investments, the ability to trade in larger positions, additional sources of leverage or more competitive leverage terms and more favorable transaction terms;

 

   

benefits from having fewer closed-end funds offering similar products in the market, including an increased focus by investors on the remaining funds in the market (including the Combined Fund) and additional research coverage; and

 

   

benefits from having fewer similar funds in the same fund complex, including a simplified operational model and a reduction in risk of operational, legal and financial errors;

 

 

the anticipated tax-free nature of the Reorganizations (except with respect to taxable distributions, if any, from any Fund prior to, or after, the consummation of the Reorganizations, and the receipt of cash in lieu of fractional Shares);

 

 

the potential effects on the Funds’ capital loss carryforwards;

 

 

the potential effects on each Fund’s undistributed net investment income;

 

 

the expected costs of the Reorganizations;

 

 

the terms of the Reorganizations and whether the Reorganizations would dilute the interests of shareholders of the Funds;

 

 

the effect of the Reorganizations on shareholder rights;

 

 

alternatives to the Reorganizations for each Fund; and

 

 

any potential benefits of the Reorganizations to the Investment Advisor and its affiliates.

Potential for Improved Economies of Scale and Potential for a Lower Expense Ratio. Each Board considered the fees and Total Operating Expenses of its Fund (including estimated expenses of the Combined Fund after the Reorganizations). For the 12-month period ended April 30, 2020, the Total Expense Ratio of BSD was 2.60%.    For the 12-month period ended July 31, 2020, the Total Expense Ratios of MFT and BBF were 2.30% and 2.19%, respectively. For the 12-month period ended August 31, 2020, the Total Expense Ratio of the Acquiring Fund was 2.03%. “Total Expenses” means a Fund’s total annual operating expenses (including interest expense). “Total Expense Ratio” means a Fund’s Total Expenses expressed as a percentage of its average net assets attributable to its common shares.

Each Fund and the Investment Advisor have entered into a fee waiver agreement (the “Fee Waiver Agreement”), pursuant to which the Investment Advisor has contractually agreed to waive its management fees by the amount of investment advisory fees each Fund pays to the Investment Advisor indirectly through its investment in money market funds managed by the Investment Advisor or its affiliates, through June 30, 2022 (the “Affiliated Money Market Fund Fee Waiver”). Prior to December 1, 2019, the Affiliated Money Market Fund Fee Waiver was voluntary. The Fee Waiver Agreement may be terminated at any time, without the payment of any penalty, only by the Funds (upon the vote of a majority of the Board Members who are not “interested persons” of the Fund (as defined in the 1940 Act) or a majority of the outstanding voting securities of each Fund, upon 90 days’ written notice by the Fund to the Investment Advisor.

 

24


In the Investment Advisor’s view, the most likely combination is the Reorganizations of all of the Funds, which is also expected to result in the lowest Total Expense Ratio for the Combined Fund. If the only Reorganization discussed in this Proxy Statement that is completed is the Reorganization of BSD into the Acquiring Fund, the Combined Fund would be expected to have a higher Total Expense Ratio than if any other combination of Reorganizations were completed. Any combination of Reorganizations is expected to result in a Total Expense Ratio for the Combined Fund that is lower than the Total Expense Ratio of each Target Fund.

As of April 30, 2020 for BSD, as of July 31, 2020 for MFT and BBF, and as of August 31, 2020 for the Acquiring Fund and the Combined Fund, the historical and pro forma Total Expense Ratios applicable to the Reorganizations are as follows:

 

BSD

   MFT     BBF     Acquiring
Fund
(BLE)
    Pro forma
Combined
Fund
(BSD into
BLE)
    Pro forma
Combined
Fund

(BSD,
MFT and
BBF into
BLE)
 

2.60%

     2.30     2.19 %1      2.03     1.98     1.97

 

1

After giving effect to the Affiliated Money Market Fund Fee Waiver, the Total Expense Ratio of BBF is 2.18%.

The Funds estimate that the completion of all of the Reorganizations would result in a Total Expense Ratio (including interest expense) for the Combined Fund of 1.97% on a historical and pro forma basis for the 12-month period ended August 31, 2020, representing a reduction in the Total Expense Ratio (including interest expense and, with respect to BBF, without giving effect to the Affiliated Money Market Fund Fee Waiver) for the common shareholders of BSD, MFT, BBF and the Acquiring Fund by 0.63%, 0.33%, 0.22% and 0.06%, respectively.

Each Fund’s Total Expenses include interest expense associated with such Fund’s VMTP Shares or VRDP Shares, as applicable. For the 12-month period ended April 30, 2020, the Total Expense Ratio (excluding interest expense) of BSD was 1.21%. For the 12-month period ended July 31, 2020, the Total Expense Ratios (excluding interest expense and, with respect to BBF, without giving effect to the Affiliated Money Market Fund Fee Waiver) of MFT and BBF were 1.07% and 1.13%, respectively. After giving effect to the Affiliated Money Market Fund Fee Waiver with respect to BBF, the Total Expense Ratios (excluding interest expense) of MFT and BBF for the 12-month period ended July 31, 2020 were 1.07% and 1.12%, respectively. For the 12-month period ended August 31, 2020, the Total Expense Ratio (excluding interest expense) of the Acquiring Fund for the 12-month period ended August 31, 2020 was 0.99%.

MFT, BBF, and the Acquiring Fund’s Total Expenses include Reorganization-related expenses which will not be incurred in the Combined Fund. For 12-month period ended July 31, 2020, the Total Expense Ratios (excluding interest expense and Reorganization-related expenses and, with respect to BBF, without giving effect to the Affiliated Money Market Fund Fee Waiver) of MFT and BBF were 1.03% and 1.10%, respectively. After giving effect to the Affiliated Money Market Fund Fee Waiver with respect to BBF, the Total Expense Ratios (excluding interest expense and Reorganization-related expenses) of MFT and BBF for the 12-month period ended July 31, 2020 were 1.03% and 1.09%, respectively. For the 12-month period ended August 31, 2020, the Total Expense Ratio (excluding interest expense and Reorganization-related expenses) of the Acquiring Fund for the 12-month period ended August 31, 2020 was 0.98%. For the 12-month period ended April 30, 2020, BSD did not accrue any Reorganization-related expenses.

The Funds estimate that the completion of all of the Reorganizations would result in a Total Expense Ratio (excluding interest expense) for the Combined Fund of 0.96% on a historical and pro forma basis for the 12-month period ended August 31, 2020, representing a reduction in the Total Expense Ratios (excluding interest

 

25


expense and Reorganization-related expenses and, with respect to BBF, without giving effect to the Affiliated Money Market Fund Fee Waiver) for the common shareholders of BSD, MFT, BBF and the Acquiring Fund by 0.25%, 0.07%, 0.14% and 0.02%, respectively. After giving effect to the Affiliated Money Market Fund Fee Waiver with respect to BBF, the Total Expense Ratios (excluding interest expense and Reorganization-related expenses) are expected to decrease by 0.25%, 0.07%, 0.13% and 0.02%, respectively.

BSD currently pays the Investment Advisor a monthly fee at an annual contractual investment management fee rate of 0.60% of its average weekly managed assets. BBF currently pays the Investment Advisor a monthly fee at an annual contractual investment management fee rate of 0.57% of its average weekly managed assets. The Acquiring Fund currently pays the Investment Advisor a monthly fee at an annual contractual investment management fee rate of 0.55% of its average weekly managed assets. “Managed assets” means the total assets of the relevant Fund (including any assets attributable to money borrowed) minus the sum of its accrued liabilities (other than money borrowed for investment purposes, including liabilities represented by tender option bond (“TOB”) leverage and the liquidation preference of the Fund’s VMTP Shares or VRDP Shares, as applicable). MFT currently pays the Investment Advisor a monthly fee at an annual contractual investment management fee rate of 0.50% of its average daily net assets. For purposes of calculating these fees, “net assets” mean the total assets of MFT minus the sum of its accrued liabilities (which does not include liabilities represented by tender option bond trusts (“TOB Trusts”) and the liquidation preference of any outstanding preferred shares). It is understood that the liquidation preference of any outstanding preferred shares (other than accumulated dividends) and TOB Trusts is not considered a liability in determining MFT’s NAV.

If the Reorganizations are consummated, the annual contractual investment management fee rate of the Acquiring Fund will be the annual contractual investment management fee rate of the Combined Fund, which will be 0.55% of the average weekly managed assets of the Combined Fund. The Combined Fund will have a lower annual contractual investment management fee rate than each of BSD and BBF, a higher annual contractual investment management fee rate than MFT and the same annual contractual investment management fee rate as the Acquiring Fund.

Based on a pro forma Broadridge peer expense universe for the Combined Fund, the estimated total annual fund expense ratio (excluding investment-related expenses and taxes) is expected to be in the third quartile and contractual investment management fee rate and actual investment management fee rate over total assets are each expected to be in the first quartile.

The level of expense savings (or increases) will vary depending on the combination of the Funds in the Reorganizations, and furthermore, there can be no assurance that future expenses will not increase or that any expense savings for any Fund will be realized as a result of any Reorganization.

Potential Effects of the Reorganizations on Earnings and Distributions. The Boards noted that the Combined Fund’s net earnings yield on NAV for common shareholders following the Reorganizations is expected to be potentially higher than each Fund’s current net earnings yield on NAV because the Combined Funds Total Expense Ratio is expected to be lower than that of each Fund. The distribution level of any fund is subject to change based upon a number of factors, including the current and projected level of the fund’s earnings, and may fluctuate over time; thus, subject to a number of other factors, including the fund’s distribution policy, a higher net earnings profile may potentially have a positive impact on such fund’s distribution level over time. A Fund’s earnings and net investment income are variables which depend on many factors, including its asset mix, portfolio turnover level, the amount of leverage utilized by the Fund, the costs of such leverage, the performance of its investments, the movement of interest rates and general market conditions. In addition, the Combined Fund’s future earnings will vary depending upon the combination of completed Reorganizations. There can be no assurance that the future earnings of a Fund, including the Combined Fund after the Reorganizations, will remain constant.

Potential Effects of the Reorganizations on Premium/Discount to NAV of Common Shares. Each Board noted that the common shares of its Fund have historically traded at both a premium and a discount. As of

 

26


August 31, 2020, the NAV per common share of BSD was $14.30 and the market price per common share of BSD was $13.48, representing a discount to NAV of 5.73%, the NAV per common share of MFT was $14.14 and the market price per common share of MFT was $13.73, representing a discount to NAV of 2.90%, the NAV per common share of BBF was $13.97 and the market price per common share of BBF was $13.02, representing a discount to NAV of 6.80% and the NAV per common share of the Acquiring Fund was $14.79 and the market price per common share of the Acquiring Fund was $14.83, representing a premium to NAV of 0.27%. The Boards of BSD, MFT and BBF noted that to the extent BSD’s, MFT’s and BBF’s common shares are trading at a wider discount (or a narrower premium) than the Acquiring Fund at the time of the Reorganizations, BSD’s, MFT’s and BBF’s common shareholders would have the potential for an economic benefit by the narrowing of the discount or widening of the premium. The Boards of BSD, MFT and BBF also noted that to the extent the BSD’s, MFT’s or BBF’s common shares are trading at a narrower discount (or wider premium) than the Acquiring Fund at the time of the Reorganizations, BSD’s, MFT’s and BBF’s common shareholders may be negatively impacted if its Reorganization is consummated. The Board of the Acquiring Fund noted that Acquiring Fund common shareholders would only benefit from a premium/discount perspective to the extent the post-Reorganization discount (or premium) of the Acquiring Fund common shares improves. There can be no assurance that, after the Reorganizations, common shares of the Combined Fund will trade at a narrower discount to NAV or wider premium to NAV than the common shares of any individual Fund prior to the Reorganizations. Upon consummation of the Reorganizations, the Combined Fund common shares may trade at a price that is less than the current market price of Acquiring Fund common shares. In the Reorganizations, common shareholders of BSD, MFT and BBF will receive Acquiring Fund common shares based on the relative NAVs (not the market values) of the respective Fund’s common shares. The market value of the common shares of the Combined Fund may be less than the market value of the common shares of each respective Fund prior to the Reorganizations.

Potential Effects of the Reorganizations on the Preferred Shares. The Board noted that each Fund has preferred shares outstanding. As of August 31, 2020, BSD had 429 Series W-7 VMTP Shares outstanding, MFT had 565 Series W-7 VMTP Shares outstanding, BBF had 520 Series W-7 VRDP Shares outstanding and the Acquiring Fund had 1,513 Series W-7 VMTP Shares outstanding. Prior to the BBF Reorganization it is expected that all of the VRDP Shares of BBF will be refinanced into VMTP Shares with terms substantially identical to those of the Acquiring Fund’s VMTP Shares. In connection with the Reorganizations, the Acquiring Fund expects to issue 429 additional VMTP Shares to BSD VMTP Holders, 565 additional VMTP Shares to MFT VMTP Holders and 520 additional VMTP Shares to BBF VMTP Holders. Following the completion of the Reorganizations, the Combined Fund is expected to have 3,027 VMTP Shares outstanding. If the VRDP Refinancing is not completed prior to the Closing Date of the BBF Reorganization, the BBF Reorganization will not be consummated.

The Board noted that, assuming all of the Reorganizations are approved by shareholders, and the VRDP Refinancing is completed prior to the Closing Date of the BBF Reorganization, upon the Closing Date of the Reorganizations, BSD, MFT and BBF VMTP Holders will receive on a one-for-one basis one newly issued Acquiring Fund VMTP Share, par value $0.001 per share and with a liquidation preference of $100,000 per share (plus any accumulated and unpaid dividends that have accrued on the BSD, MFT or BBF VMTP Shares up to and including the day immediately preceding the Closing Date if such dividends have not been paid prior to the Closing Date), in exchange for each BSD, MFT and BBF VMTP Share held by the BSD, MFT or BBF VMTP Holders immediately prior to the Closing Date. The newly issued Acquiring Fund VMTP Shares may be of the same series as the Acquiring Fund’s outstanding VMTP Shares or a substantially identical series. No fractional Acquiring Fund VMTP Shares will be issued. The terms of the Acquiring Fund VMTP Shares to be issued in connection with the Reorganizations will be substantially identical to the terms of the Acquiring Fund’s outstanding VMTP Shares and will rank on parity with the Acquiring Fund’s outstanding VMTP Shares as to the payment of dividends and the distribution of assets upon dissolution, liquidation or winding up of the affairs of the Acquiring Fund. The newly issued Acquiring Fund VMTP Shares will have the same term redemption date applicable to the outstanding Acquiring Fund VMTP Shares as of the Closing Date of the Reorganization. Such term redemption date is July 2, 2021, unless extended. The Reorganizations will not result in any changes to the terms of the Acquiring Fund’s VMTP Shares currently outstanding.

 

27


The newly issued Acquiring Fund VMTP Shares will have terms that are substantially identical to the terms of the currently outstanding BSD and MFT VMTP Shares and the BBF VMTP Shares to be issued in connection with the VRDP Refinancing, including the same term redemption date of July 2, 2021.

The Board noted that none of the expenses of the Reorganizations are expected to be borne by the VMTP Holders or the VRDP Holders, as applicable, of the Funds.

Following the Reorganizations, the VRDP Holders of each Fund will be VMTP Holders of the larger Combined Fund that will have a larger asset base and more VMTP Shares outstanding than any Fund individually before the Reorganizations. With respect to matters requiring all preferred shareholders to vote separately or common and preferred shareholders to vote together as a single class, following the Reorganizations, VMTP Holders of the Combined Fund may hold a smaller percentage of the outstanding preferred shares of the Combined Fund as compared to their percentage holdings of outstanding preferred shares of their respective Fund prior to the Reorganizations.

Compatibility of Investment Objectives, Investment Strategies and Policies and Related Risks and Risk Profiles. Each Board noted that its Fund’s shareholders will remain invested in an exchange-listed, closed-end management investment company registered under the 1940 Act that will have substantially greater net assets and the same (in the case of the Acquiring Fund), or similar (in the case of BSD, MFT and BBF) investment objective and the same (in the case of the Acquiring Fund) or similar (in the case of BSD, MFT and BBF) investment strategies, policies and restrictions. Under normal market conditions, BSD will invest at least 80% of its Managed Assets in investments the income from which is exempt from federal income tax. Under normal market conditions, MFT will invest, as a fundamental policy, at least 80% of an aggregate of the Fund’s net assets (including proceeds from the issuance of any preferred shares) and the proceeds of any borrowings for investment purposes, in a portfolio of municipal obligations the interest on which, in the opinion of bond counsel to the issuer, is excludable from gross income for federal income tax purposes (except that the interest may be includable in taxable income for purposes of the alternative minimum tax) and which enables shares of the Fund to be exempt from Florida intangible personal property taxes. Under normal market conditions, BBF will invest primarily in municipal bonds exempt from federal income taxes (except that the interest may be subject to the federal alternative minimum tax). The Acquiring Fund seeks to achieve its investment objective by investing at least 80% of its Managed Assets in Municipal Bonds, the interest of which is exempt from regular federal income tax (except that the interest may be subject to the alternative minimum tax). The risk/return profile of the Combined Fund is expected to remain comparable to those of each Fund before the Reorganizations because of the similarities in the investment policies of each Fund.

Consistency of Portfolio Management and Portfolio Composition. Each Board noted that each Fund has the same investment adviser and a common portfolio manager and that each Fund’s shareholders will benefit from the experience and expertise of the Combined Fund’s anticipated portfolio management team. Each of BSD, MFT and BBF is managed by a team of investment professionals led by Theodore R. Jaeckel, Jr., CFA and Michael Perilli. The Acquiring Fund is managed by a team of investment professionals lead by Theodore R. Jaeckel, Jr., CFA and Walter O’Connor, CFA. Following the Reorganizations, it is expected that the Combined Fund will be managed by a team of investment professionals lead by Theodore R. Jaeckel, Jr., CFA and Michael Perilli. Each Board also considered the portfolio composition of its Fund and the impact of the Reorganizations on the Fund’s portfolio. Each Board noted that it is not anticipated that there will be any significant disposition of the holdings in its Fund as a result of the Reorganizations because of the similarities among the portfolio guidelines of the Funds. For additional information, please see “Comparison of the Funds’ Investments” and “Risk Factors and Special Considerations.”

Potential for Improved Secondary Market Trading for Common Shares. While it is not possible to predict trading levels at the time the Reorganizations close, each Board considered that the Combined Fund may provide greater secondary market liquidity for its common shares as it would be larger than any of the Funds, which may result in tighter bid-ask spreads, better trade execution for the Combined Fund’s common shareholders when

 

28


purchasing or selling Combined Fund common shares. However, there can be no assurance that the Reorganizations will result in such benefits or that the common shares of the Combined Fund will trade at a narrower discount to NAV or wider premium to NAV than the common shares of any individual Fund prior to the Reorganizations. Upon consummation of the Reorganizations, the secondary market liquidity, bid-ask spreads, and trade execution with respect to the Combined Fund’s common shares may deteriorate. Furthermore, the Combined Fund common shares may trade at a price that is less than the current market price of Acquiring Fund common shares.

Potential for Operating and Administrative Efficiencies. Each Board noted that the Combined Fund may achieve certain operating and administrative efficiencies from its larger net asset size, including greater investment flexibility and investment options, greater diversification of portfolio investments, the ability to trade in larger positions, additional sources of leverage or more competitive leverage terms and more favorable transaction terms. Each Board also noted that the Combined Fund may experience potential benefits from having fewer closed-end funds offering similar products in the market, including an increased focus by investors on the remaining funds in the market (including the Combined Fund) and additional research coverage.

Each Board also noted that the Combined Fund may experience potential benefits from having fewer similar funds in the same fund complex, including a simplified operational model, the elimination of complexities involved with having duplicative funds, easier product differentiation for shareholders (including shareholders of the Combined Fund) and reduced risk of operational, legal and financial errors.

Anticipated Tax-Free Reorganizations. Each Board noted that it is anticipated that shareholders of its Fund will generally recognize no gain or loss for U.S. federal income tax purposes as a result of the Reorganizations (except with respect to cash received in lieu of fractional common shares), as each Reorganization is intended to qualify as a “reorganization” within the meaning of Section 368(a) of the Code.

Shareholders of each Fund may receive distributions prior to, or after, the consummation of the Reorganizations, including distributions attributable to their proportionate share of each Fund’s UNII declared prior to the consummation of the Reorganizations or the Combined Fund built-in gains, if any, recognized after the Reorganizations, when such income and gains are eventually distributed by the Combined Fund. To the extent that such a distribution is not an “exempt interest dividend” (as defined in the Code), the distribution may be taxable to shareholders for U.S. federal income tax purposes.

Capital Loss Carryforward Considerations. Each Board considered that capital loss carryforwards of the Combined Fund attributable to each Fund will be subject to tax loss limitation rules by reason of each Funds undergoing an “ownership change” in the Reorganizations. Each Board also noted that the Combined Fund’s capital loss carryforward loss on a per share basis is expected to be lower than MFTs and BBFs capital loss carryforward loss per share, but higher than BSDs and the Acquiring Funds capital loss carryforward loss per share. Each Board considered that the ability of its Fund to fully utilize its existing capital loss carryforwards depends on many variables and assumptions, including projected performance, and is, therefore, highly uncertain.

Potential Effects of the Reorganizations on Undistributed Net Investment Income. If the Reorganizations are approved by shareholders, then the greater of (1) substantially all of the undistributed net investment income (previously defined as “UNII”), if any, or (2) the monthly distribution of each Fund is expected to be declared to such Fund’s common shareholders prior to the Closing Date (the “Pre-Reorganization Declared UNII Distributions”). The declaration date, ex-dividend date (the “Ex-Dividend Date”) and record date of the Pre-Reorganization Declared UNII Distributions will occur prior to the Closing Date. However, all or a significant portion of the Pre-Reorganization Declared UNII Distributions may be paid in one or more distributions to common shareholders of the Funds entitled to such Pre-Reorganization Declared UNII Distributions after the Closing Date. Former BSD, MFT and BBF shareholders entitled to such Pre-Reorganization Declared UNII Distributions paid after the Closing Date will receive such distributions in cash for a partial month post-Reorganization.

 

29


Persons who purchase common shares of any of the Funds on or after the Ex-Dividend Date for the Pre-Reorganization Declared UNII Distributions should not expect to receive any distributions from any Fund until distributions, if any, are declared by the Board of the Combined Fund and paid to shareholders entitled to any such distributions. No such distributions are expected to be paid by the Combined Fund until at least approximately one month following the Closing Date.

Additionally, the Acquiring Fund, in order to seek to provide its common shareholders with distribution rate stability, may include in its Pre-Reorganization Declared UNII Distribution amounts in excess of its undistributed net investment income and net investment income accrued through the Closing Date; any such excess amounts are not expected to constitute a return of capital. This would result in the Acquiring Fund issuing incrementally more common shares in the Reorganizations since its NAV as of the Valuation Time would be lower relative to a scenario where such excess amounts were not included in the Acquiring Fund’s Pre-Reorganization Declared UNII Distribution.

The Combined Fund may retain a lower UNII balance after the Reorganizations than the Acquiring Fund prior to the Reorganizations. A lower UNII balance for the Combined Fund relative to the UNII balance of the Acquiring Fund poses risks for shareholders of the Combined Fund. UNII balances, in part, support the level of a fund’s regular distributions and provide a cushion in the event a fund’s net earnings for a particular distribution period are insufficient to support the level of its regular distribution for that period. If the Combined Fund’s net earnings are below the level of its current distribution rate, the Combined Fund’s UNII balance could be more likely to contribute to a determination to decrease the Combined Fund’s distribution rate, or could make it more likely that the Combined Fund will make distributions consisting in part of a return of capital to maintain the level of its regular distributions. Moreover, because a fund’s UNII balance, in part, supports the level of a fund’s regular distributions, the UNII balance of the Combined Fund could impact the trading market for the Combined Fund’s common shares and the magnitude of the trading discount to NAV of the Combined Fund’s common shares. However, the Combined Fund is anticipated to benefit from a lower expense ratio (compared to BSD, MFT and BBF), a potentially higher net earnings profile and other anticipated benefits of economies of scale as discussed herein. Each Fund, including the Combined Fund, reserves the right to change its distribution policy with respect to common share distributions and the basis for establishing the rate of its distributions for the common shares at any time and may do so without prior notice to common shareholders. The payment of any distributions by any Fund, including the Combined Fund, is subject to, and will only be made when, as, and if, declared by the Board of such Fund. There is no assurance the Board of any Fund, including the Combined Fund, will declare any distributions for such Fund.

To the extent any Pre-Reorganization Declared UNII Distribution is not an “exempt interest dividend” (as defined in the Code), the distribution may be taxable to shareholders for U.S. federal income tax purposes.

Expected Costs of the Reorganizations. Each Board considered the terms and conditions of the applicable Fund’s Reorganization Agreement(s), including the estimated costs associated with the Reorganizations, and the allocation of such costs among the Funds. Each Board noted, however, that the Investment Advisor anticipated that the projected costs of the Reorganizations may be recovered over time. Common shareholders of each Fund will indirectly bear the costs of the Reorganizations. Because of the expected expense savings and other anticipated benefits for BSD and BBF, the Investment Advisor recommended and the Board of each such Fund has approved that its respective Fund be responsible for its own reorganization expenses. The expenses of the Reorganizations of BSD and BBF into the Acquiring Fund are estimated to be approximately $209,600 and $281,100, respectively. For BBF, the costs of its Reorganization include estimated VRDP Refinancing costs of $65,000, which are expected to be amortized over one year by the Combined Fund. For MFT and the Acquiring Fund, the expenses of the applicable Reorganizations are estimated to be approximately, $209,700 and $303,800, respectively, of which the Investment Advisor will bear approximately $35,000 and $241,000, respectively.. The actual costs associated with the Reorganizations may be more or less than the estimated costs discussed herein. Each Board also noted that the VMTP Holders or VRDP Holders, as applicable, are not expected to bear any of the costs of the Reorganizations, while the common shareholders of the Funds will indirectly bear the costs of the Reorganizations.

 

30


Terms of the Reorganizations and Impact on Shareholders. Each Board noted that the aggregate NAV (not the market value) of the Acquiring Fund common shares that a Target Fund’s common shareholders will receive in the applicable Reorganization is expected to equal the aggregate NAV (not the market value) of the Target Fund common shares that the Target Fund’s common shareholders owned immediately prior to the Closing Date. The aggregate NAV of each Fund immediately prior to the applicable Reorganization will reflect accrued expenses associated with such Reorganization. The NAV of BSD’s, MFT’s and BBF’s common shares will not be diluted as a result of the Reorganizations. Fractional Acquiring Fund common shares will generally not be issued to BSD, MFT and BBF common shareholders in connection with the Reorganizations, and BSD, MFT and BBF common shareholders should expect to receive cash in lieu of such fractional common shares.

Each Board further noted that holders of BSD, MFT and BBF VMTP Shares will receive the same number of Acquiring Fund VMTP Shares as the BSD, MFT or BBF VMTP Shares held by such VMTP Holders immediately prior to the Closing Date. If the BBF Reorganization is approved by requisite shareholders and the VRDP Refinancing is completed, BBF VRDP Holders will have their VRDP Shares redeemed by BBF in connection with the VRDP Refinancing if the BBF Reorganization is approved by the requisite shareholders.

The newly issued Acquiring Fund VMTP Shares will have terms that are substantially identical to the terms of the currently outstanding BSD and MFT VMTP Shares and the BBF VMTP Shares to be issued in connection with the VRDP Refinancing, including the same term redemption date of July 2, 2021.

Effect on Shareholder Rights. Each Board noted that BSD, BBF and the Acquiring Fund are each formed as a Delaware statutory trust and that MFT is organized as a Massachusetts business trust. Each Board also noted that the common shareholders of each Fund have substantially similar voting rights and rights with respect to the payment of dividends and distribution of assets upon liquidation of their respective Fund and have no preemptive, conversion or exchange rights.

Each Board also noted that the terms of the Acquiring Fund VMTP Shares to be issued in connection with the Reorganizations will have terms that are substantially identical to the terms of the Acquiring Fund’s outstanding VMTP Shares and will rank on parity with the Acquiring Fund’s outstanding VMTP Shares as to the payment of dividends and the distribution of assets upon dissolution, liquidation or winding up of the affairs of the Acquiring Fund. The newly issued Acquiring Fund VMTP Shares will have the same term redemption date applicable to the outstanding Acquiring Fund VMTP Shares as of the Closing Date of the Reorganization. Such term redemption date is July 2, 2021, unless extended. The Reorganizations will not result in any changes to the terms of the Acquiring Fund’s VMTP Shares currently outstanding.

The newly issued Acquiring Fund VMTP Shares will have terms that are substantially identical to the terms of the currently outstanding BSD and MFT VMTP Shares and the BBF VMTP Shares to be issued in connection with the VRDP Refinancing, including the same term redemption date of July 2, 2021.

Alternatives to the Reorganizations. In reaching its decision to approve the Reorganizations, the Board considered alternatives to the Reorganizations, including continuing to operate each Fund as a separate Fund.

Potential Benefits to the Investment Advisor and its Affiliates. Each Board recognized that the Reorganizations may result in some benefits and economies of scale for the Investment Advisor and its affiliates. These may include, for example, administrative and operational efficiencies or a reduction in certain operational expenses as a result of the elimination of BSD, MFT and BBF as separate funds in the BlackRock Fixed-Income Complex.

Each Board noted that, if the Reorganizations are consummated, the annual contractual investment management fee rate of the Acquiring Fund will be the annual contractual investment management fee rate of the Combined Fund, which will be 0.55% of the average weekly managed assets of the Combined Fund. Each Board noted that the annual contractual investment management fee rate of the Combined Fund represents a five basis

 

31


point reduction in the annual contractual investment management fee rate for BSD, five basis point increase in the annual contractual investment management fee rate for MFT and a two basis point reduction in the annual contractual investment management fee rate for BBF.

Conclusion. Each Board, including the Independent Board Members, unanimously approved each Reorganization Agreement and each Issuance, as applicable, concluding that the Reorganizations are in the best interests of its Fund and that the interests of existing common shareholders and preferred shareholders of its Fund will not be diluted with respect to NAV and liquidation preference, respectively, as a result of the Reorganizations. This determination was made on the basis of each Board Member’s business judgment after consideration of all of the factors taken as a whole with respect to its Fund and the Fund’s common and preferred shareholders, although individual Board Members may have placed different weight on various factors and assigned different degrees of materiality to various factors.

Because the shareholders of each Fund will vote separately on the Fund’s respective Reorganization(s) or Issuances, as applicable, and the BBF Reorganization is contingent upon the completion of the VRDP Refinancing, there are multiple potential combinations of Reorganizations. To the extent that one or more Reorganizations is not completed, any expected expense savings by the Combined Fund, or other potential benefits resulting from the Reorganizations, may be reduced.

If a Reorganization is not consummated, then the Investment Advisor may, in connection with ongoing management of the Fund for which such Reorganization(s) was not consummated and its product line, recommend alternative proposals to the Board of that Fund.

TERMS OF THE REORGANIZATION AGREEMENTS

The following is a summary of the significant terms of each Reorganization Agreement. This summary is qualified in its entirety by reference to the Form of Agreement and Plan of Reorganization attached as Appendix A.

Valuation of Assets and Liabilities

The respective assets of each of the Funds will be valued on the business day prior to the Closing Date of the Reorganizations (the “Valuation Time”). The valuation procedures are the same for each Fund: the NAV per Common Share of each Fund will be determined after the close of business on the NYSE (generally, 4:00 p.m., Eastern time) at the Valuation Time. For the purpose of determining the NAV of a Common Share of each Fund, the value of the securities held by such Fund plus any cash or other assets (including interest accrued but not yet received) minus all liabilities (including accrued expenses) of such Fund is divided by the total number of common shares of such Fund outstanding at such time. Daily expenses, including the fees payable to the Investment Advisor, will accrue at the Valuation Time.

Dividends will accumulate on the BSD, MFT and BBF VMTP Shares up to and including the day immediately preceding the Closing Date. BSD, MFT and BBF VMTP Holders will receive on a one-for-one basis one newly issued VMTP Shares of the Acquiring Fund, par value $0.001 per share and with a liquidation preference of $100,000 per share (plus any accumulated and unpaid dividends that have accrued on the BSD, MFT or BBF VMTP Shares, as applicable, up to and including the day immediately preceding the Closing Date if such dividends have not been paid prior to Closing Date), in exchange for each BSD, MFT and BBF VMTP Share held by the BSD, MFT or BBF VMTP Holders immediately prior to the Closing Date. The newly issued Acquiring Fund VMTP Shares may be of the same series as the Acquiring Fund’s outstanding VMTP Shares or a substantially identical series. No fractional Acquiring Fund VMTP Shares will be issued.

The first dividend period for the Acquiring Fund VMTP Shares to be issued in the Reorganizations will commence on the Closing Date and end on the day immediately preceding the first dividend payment date for

 

32


such VMTP Shares, which will be the first business day of the month following the month in which the Closing Date occurs.

Amendments and Conditions

A Reorganization Agreement may be amended at any time prior to the Closing Date with respect to any of the terms therein upon mutual agreement. However, after adoption of the Reorganization Agreement and approval of the Reorganization, no amendment or modification may be made which by law requires further approval by shareholders without such further approval. The obligations of each Fund pursuant to a Reorganization Agreement are subject to various conditions, including a registration statement on Form N-14 being declared effective by the SEC, approval of the Reorganization Agreement by the shareholders of the applicable Target Fund and the VMTP Holders of the Acquiring Fund, certain third-party consents, the approval of each Issuance by the shareholders of the Acquiring Fund, receipt of an opinion of counsel as to tax matters, receipt of an opinion of counsel as to corporate and securities matters and the continuing accuracy of various representations and warranties of the Funds being confirmed by the respective parties.

The BBF Reorganization is contingent upon the completion of the VRDP Refinancing. If the VRDP Refinancing is not completed prior to the Closing Date of the BBF Reorganization, then the BBF Reorganization will not be consummated.

No Reorganization is contingent upon the approval of any other Reorganization. If a Reorganization is not consummated, the Fund for which such Reorganization(s) was not consummated would continue to exist and operate on a standalone basis.

Postponement; Termination

Under a Reorganization Agreement, the Board of any Fund that is a party to the Reorganization Agreement may cause the related Reorganization to be postponed or abandoned under certain circumstances should such Board determine that it is in the best interests of the shareholders of its respective Fund to do so. A Reorganization Agreement may be terminated, and the related Reorganization abandoned at any time (whether before or after adoption thereof by the shareholders of either of the Funds involved in the Reorganization) prior to the Closing Date, or the Closing Date may be postponed: (i) by mutual consent of the Boards of such Funds and (ii) by the Board of either such Fund if any condition to that Fund’s obligations set forth in the Reorganization Agreement has not been fulfilled or waived by such Board.

Book-Entry Interests

The Acquiring Fund will issue to BSD, MFT and BBF VMTP Holders book-entry interests for the Acquiring Fund VMTP Shares registered in the name of such BSD, MFT and BBF VMTP Holders on a one-for-one basis for each holder’s holdings of BSD, MFT or BBF VMTP Shares. Each Fund’s VMTP Shares were or will be issued in book-entry form as global securities, and such global securities were deposited with, or on behalf of, The Depository Trust Company (“DTC”) and registered in the name of Cede & Co., the nominee of DTC. Beneficial interests in the global securities are held only through DTC and any of its participants.

Expenses of the Reorganizations

Each Fund will bear expenses incurred in connection with its Reorganization(s). The expenses incurred in connection with the Reorganizations include but are not limited to, costs related to the preparation and distribution of materials distributed to each Fund’s Board, expenses incurred in connection with the preparation of the Reorganization Agreements, the registration statement on Form N-14 and this Proxy Statement to preferred shareholders, the printing and distribution of the joint proxy statement/prospectus delivered to common shareholders, this Proxy Statement delivered to preferred shareholders and any other materials required to be

 

33


distributed to shareholders, SEC and state securities commission filing fees, and legal and audit fees in connection with the Reorganizations, including fees incurred in obtaining the requisite consents of rating agencies, counterparties or service providers to the VMTP Shares or VRDP Shares, legal fees incurred in connection with amending the transaction documents for the VMTP Shares or VRDP Shares, which may include the legal fees of counterparties and service providers to the extent applicable, legal fees incurred preparing each Fund’s Board materials, attending each Fund’s Board meetings and preparing the minutes, rating agency fees associated with the ratings of the preferred shares in connection with the Reorganization, auditing fees associated with each Fund’s financial statements, stock exchange fees, transfer agency fees, rating agency fees, portfolio transfer taxes (if any), and any similar expenses incurred in connection with the Reorganizations, and with respect to BBF, the VRDP Refinancing, which will be borne directly by BBF.

Common shareholders of each Fund will indirectly bear the costs of the Reorganizations. Because of the expected expense savings and other anticipated benefits for BSD and BBF, the Investment Advisor recommended and the Board of each such Fund has approved that its respective Fund be responsible for its own reorganization expenses. The expenses of the Reorganizations of BSD and BBF into the Acquiring Fund are estimated to be approximately $209,600 and $281,100, respectively. For BBF, the costs of its Reorganization include estimated VRDP Refinancing costs of $65,000, which are expected to be amortized over on year by the Combined Fund. For MFT and the Acquiring Fund, the expenses of the applicable Reorganizations are estimated to be approximately, $209,700 and $303,800, respectively, of which the Investment Advisor will bear approximately $35,000 and $241,000, respectively.    The actual costs associated with the Reorganizations may be more or less than the estimated costs discussed herein. Each Board also noted that the VRDP Holders of the Funds are not expected to bear any of the costs of the Reorganizations, while the common shareholders of the Funds will indirectly bear the costs of the Reorganizations.

Neither the Funds nor the Investment Advisor will pay any direct expenses of shareholders arising out of or in connection with the Reorganizations (e.g., expenses incurred by the shareholder as a result of attending the Special Meeting, voting on the Reorganizations or other action taken by the shareholder in connection with the Reorganizations). The actual costs associated with the Reorganizations may be more or less than the estimated costs discussed herein.

APPRAISAL RIGHTS

Common shareholders of BSD, BBF and the Acquiring Fund do not have appraisal rights for their respective common shares because BSD, BBF and the Acquiring Fund are each formed as a Delaware statutory trust, and each Fund’s respective Agreements and Declarations of Trust states that the shareholders are not entitled to appraisal rights. The Declaration of Trust of MFT provides that shareholders are entitled to rights of appraisal to the same extent as a shareholder of a Massachusetts business corporation in respect of a merger, consolidation, sale or exchange of assets. However, rights of appraisal would not generally be available to a Massachusetts business corporation in respect of a transaction such as the Reorganization because the Reorganization is structured as an exchange of all or substantially all of the property of MFT followed by the dissolution of MFT and the distribution in cash and marketable securities, of substantially all of its net assets, in excess of a reasonable amount reserved, if any, to meet unknown claims.

 

34


U.S. FEDERAL INCOME TAX CONSEQUENCES OF THE REORGANIZATIONS

The following is a general summary of the U.S. federal income tax consequences of the Reorganizations to the U.S. holders of BSD, MFT or BBF shares. The discussion is based upon the Code, Treasury regulations, court decisions, published positions of the IRS and other applicable authorities, all as in effect on the date hereof and all of which are subject to change or differing interpretations (possibly with retroactive effect). The discussion is limited to U.S. persons who hold common shares or VMTP Shares or VRDP Shares, as applicable, of BSD, MFT or BBF as capital assets for U.S. federal income tax purposes (generally, assets held for investment). This summary does not address all of the U.S. federal income tax consequences that may be relevant to a particular shareholder or to shareholders who may be subject to special treatment under U.S. federal income tax laws. No ruling has been or will be obtained from the IRS regarding any matter relating to the Reorganizations. No assurance can be given that the IRS would not assert, or that a court would not sustain, a position contrary to any of the tax aspects described below. This summary of U.S. federal income tax consequences is for general information only. The Funds’ shareholders should consult their own tax advisers regarding the U.S. federal income tax consequences of the Reorganizations, as well as the effects of state, local and non-U.S. tax laws, including possible changes in tax laws.

It is a condition to the closing of the Reorganizations that each Fund receives an opinion from Willkie, dated as of the Closing Date, regarding the characterization of each Reorganization as a “reorganization” within the meaning of Section 368(a) of the Code. The opinion of Willkie will be based on U.S. federal income tax law in effect on the Closing Date. In rendering its opinion, Willkie will also rely upon certain representations of the management of each Fund and assume, among other things, that the Reorganizations will be consummated in accordance with each Reorganization Agreement and other operative documents and as described herein. An opinion of counsel is not binding on the IRS or any court.

As a reorganization, the U.S. federal income tax consequences of the Reorganizations can be summarized as follows:

 

 

No gain or loss will be recognized by a Fund by reason of the Reorganizations.

 

 

No gain or loss will be recognized by a shareholder of BSD, MFT and BBF who exchanges, as the case may be, all of its common shares solely for Acquiring Fund common shares or all of its BSD, MFT or BBF VMTP Shares solely for Acquiring Fund VMTP Shares pursuant to the Reorganizations (except with respect to cash received in lieu of a fractional Acquiring Fund Common Share, as discussed below).

 

 

The aggregate tax basis of Acquiring Fund shares received by a shareholder of BSD, MFT or BBF pursuant to the Reorganizations will be the same as the aggregate tax basis of the shareholder’s BSD, MFT or BBF shares surrendered in exchange therefor (reduced by any amount of tax basis allocable to a fractional Acquiring Fund Common Share for which cash is received).

 

 

The holding period of Acquiring Fund shares received by a shareholder of BSD, MFT and BBF pursuant to the Reorganizations will include the holding period of the shareholder’s shares surrendered in exchange therefor.

 

 

A shareholder of BSD, MFT and BBF that receives cash in lieu of a fractional Acquiring Fund Common Share in connection with the Reorganizations will be treated as having received cash in exchange for such fractional Acquiring Fund Common Share. A BSD, MFT or BBF shareholder that receives cash in lieu of a fractional Acquiring Fund Common Share will recognize capital gain or loss equal to the difference between the amount of cash deemed received for the fractional Acquiring Fund Common Share and BSD, MFT or BBF shareholder’s tax basis in BSD, MFT or BBF common shares allocable to the fractional Acquiring Fund Common Share. The capital gain or loss will be a long-term capital gain or loss if BSD, MFT or BBF shareholder’s holding period for BSD, MFT or BBF common shares is more than one year as of the date the Reorganizations are consummated.

 

 

The Acquiring Fund’s tax basis in BBF’s, BSD’s and MFT’s assets received by the Acquiring Fund pursuant to the Reorganizations will, in each instance, equal the tax basis of such assets in the hands of

 

35


 

BSD, MFT and BBF immediately prior to the Closing Date, and the Acquiring Fund’s holding period for such assets will, in each instance, include the period during which the assets were held by BSD, MFT or BBF.

The Acquiring Fund intends to continue to be taxed under the rules applicable to regulated investment companies as defined in Section 851 of the Code, which are the same rules currently applicable to each Fund and its shareholders.

None of the Funds intend to sell any assets in connection with the Reorganizations other than in the ordinary course of business. If, however, assets of BSD, MFT and BBF were to be sold in connection with the Reorganizations, or if such assets were required to be marked to market as a result of the termination of BBF’s, BSD’s and MFT’s taxable year or as a result of the transfer of certain assets in the Reorganizations, the tax impact of any such sales (or deemed sales) would depend on the difference between the price at which such portfolio assets are sold and BBF’s, BSD’s and MFT’s basis in such assets. Any capital gains recognized in these sales (or deemed sales) on a net basis will be distributed to BSD, MFT or BBF shareholders as capital gain dividends (to the extent of net realized long-term capital gains) and/or ordinary dividends (to the extent of net realized short-term capital gains) during or with respect to the year of sale (or deemed sale) and prior to or after the date of the Reorganizations, and such distributions will be taxable to BSD, MFT or BBF shareholders.

Prior to the Closing Date, each Fund will declare a distribution to its shareholders, which together with all previous distributions, will have the effect of distributing to the shareholders of such Fund all of the Fund’s (i) investment company income (computed without regard to the deduction for dividends paid), if any, through the Closing Date, (ii) net capital gains, if any, through the Closing Date, and (iii) net tax-exempt interest income, if any, through the Closing Date. To the extent that such a distribution is not an “exempt interest dividend” (as defined in the Code), the distribution may be taxable to shareholders for U.S. federal income tax purposes.

The Acquiring Fund will succeed to capital loss carryforwards (and certain unrealized built-in losses, if any) of BSD, MFT and BBF, which are expected to be subject to tax loss limitation rules because each Fund will undergo an “ownership change” for U.S. federal income tax purposes. Because each Fund will undergo an “ownership change,” the Code will generally limit the amount of pre-ownership change losses of each Fund that may be used to offset post-ownership change gains to a specific “annual loss limitation amount” (generally the product of (i) the fair market value of the stock of the Fund, with certain adjustments, immediately prior to the Reorganizations and (ii) a rate established by the IRS). Subject to certain limitations, any unused portion of these losses may be available in subsequent years, subject to the remaining portion of any applicable capital loss carryforward limit, as measured from the date of recognition.

Although the capital loss carryforwards of the Combined Fund attributable to BSD, MFT or BBF may be subject to tax loss limitation rules to the extent outlined above, it is currently expected that such tax loss limitation rules should not have a material adverse effect on the Combined Fund’s utilization of BSD, MFT or BBF’s capital loss carryforward as compared with what each Fund’s utilization of its own capital loss carryforward would be without the Reorganizations. The ability of each Fund (and the Combined Fund) to utilize any capital loss carryforwards now or in the future depends on many variables and assumptions, including but not limited to, projected performance of a Fund, the unrealized gain/loss position of a Fund, the types of securities held by a Fund, the current and future market environment (including the level of interest rates), portfolio turnover and applicable law, and is, therefore, highly uncertain. As of August 31, 2020, the Funds’ unused capital loss carryforwards, which have no expiration date and may be carried forward indefinitely, were as follows:

Capital Loss Carryforward Amount

 

BSD

   MFT    BBF    Acquiring Fund (BLE)

$2,895,240

   $8,188,514    $6,960,360    $12,422,377

 

36


Due to the operation of these tax loss limitation rules, it is possible that shareholders of BSD, MFT or BBF or the Acquiring Fund would receive taxable distributions of short-term and long-term capital gains earlier than they would have in the absence of the Reorganizations. Such taxable distributions will be treated either as ordinary income (and not as favorably taxed “qualified dividend income”) if such capital gains are short-term or as favorably taxed capital gain dividends if such capital gains are long-term. The actual financial effect of the loss limitation rules on a shareholder of BSD, MFT or BBF whose losses are subject to the loss limitation rules would depend on many variables, including BSD, MFT or BBF’s expected growth rate if the relevant Reorganization were not to occur (i.e., whether, in the absence of the Reorganizations, BSD, MFT or BBF would generate sufficient capital gains against which to utilize its capital loss carryforwards (and certain realized built-in losses), in excess of what would have been the “annual loss limitation amount” had the relevant Reorganizations occurred), the timing and amount of future capital gains recognized by the Combined Fund if the Reorganizations were to occur, and the timing of a historic BSD, MFT or BBF shareholder’s disposition of its Shares (the tax basis of which might, depending on the facts, reflect that shareholder’s share of such Fund’s capital losses). Shareholders of all of the Funds should consult their own tax advisors in this regard.

For five years beginning on the Closing Date of the Reorganizations, the Combined Fund will not be allowed to offset certain pre-Reorganization built-in gains attributable to a Fund that is a gain corporation with capital loss carryforwards (and certain built-in losses) attributable to another Fund.

 

37


PROPOSAL 2—ISSUANCE OF ACQUIRING FUND COMMON SHARES

In connection with the proposed Reorganizations described under “Proposal 1: Reorganizations of the Funds,” the common shareholders and the VMTP Holders of the Acquiring Fund are being asked to approve the issuance of additional Acquiring Fund common shares.

Please see “Information about the Common Shares of the Funds” for information about the Funds’ common shares.

In the Reorganization, the Acquiring Fund will acquire substantially all of the assets of the applicable Target Fund and assume substantially all of the liabilities of the applicable Target Fund in exchange for newly issued Acquiring Fund common shares, with a par value $0.001 per share, and newly issued Acquiring Fund VMTP Shares, with a par value of $0.001 per share and liquidation preference of $100,000 per share (plus any accumulated and unpaid dividends that have accrued on the Target Fund VMTP Shares up to and including the day immediately preceding the Closing Date if such dividends have not been paid prior to the Closing Date). The Acquiring Fund will list the newly issued common shares on the NYSE. Each Target Fund will distribute Acquiring Fund Shares received by it pro rata to its shareholders (although cash may be paid in lieu of any fractional common shares). The newly-issued Acquiring Fund Shares will be issued in the form of book-entry interests. Such distribution of Acquiring Fund Shares to Target Fund shareholders will be accomplished by opening new accounts on the books of the Acquiring Fund in the names of the Target Fund shareholders and transferring to those shareholder accounts Acquiring Fund Shares.

The Acquiring Fund will continue to operate after the Reorganizations as a registered, diversified, closed-end management investment company with the investment objective, investment strategies, investment policies and investment restrictions described in this Proxy Statement. As a result of the Reorganizations, however, a shareholder of each Fund may hold a reduced percentage of ownership in the larger Combined Fund than such shareholder did in any of the individual Funds before the Reorganizations.

If the Issuance with respect to a Fund’s Reorganization(s) is not approved, the Investment Advisor may, in connection with ongoing management of that Fund and its product line, recommend alternative proposals to the Board of that Fund.

The Board of the Acquiring Fund recommends that the Acquiring Fund VMTP Holders vote “FOR” each Issuance at the Special Meeting.

The affirmative vote of shareholders representing the holders of a majority of the outstanding Acquiring Fund common shares and Acquiring Fund VMTP Shares present at the Special Meeting or represented by proxy, voting together as a single class, is required to approve each Issuance. For additional information regarding voting requirements, see “Vote Required and Manner of Voting Proxies.”

Subject to the requisite approval of the shareholders of each Fund with respect to the Reorganization, as well as certain consents, confirmations and/or waivers from various third parties, including the liquidity provider with respect to the outstanding BBF VRDP Shares, it is expected that the Closing Date of the Reorganizations will be sometime during the first quarter of 2021, but it may be at a different time as described herein.

 

38


INFORMATION ABOUT THE PREFERRED SHARES OF THE FUNDS

BBF’s, BSD’s, MFT’s and the Acquiring Fund’s respective Agreement and Declaration of Trust authorizes the issuance of an unlimited number of shares, par value $.001 per share, all of which were initially classified as common shares. The Board of each Fund is authorized, however, to reclassify any unissued common shares to preferred shares without the approval of its common shareholders.

Upon the closing of the Reorganization, the Target Funds VMTP Holders will receive on a one-for-one basis one newly issued Acquiring Fund VMTP Share, par value $0.001 per share and with a liquidation preference of $100,000 per share (plus any accumulated and unpaid dividends that have accrued on such Target Fund VMTP Share up to and including the day immediately preceding the Closing Date if such dividends have not been paid prior to the Closing Date), in exchange for each Target Fund VMTP Share held by such Target Fund VMTP Holder immediately prior to the Closing Date. The newly issued Acquiring Fund VMTP Share may be of the same series as the Acquiring Fund’s outstanding VMTP Shares or a substantially identical series. No fractional Acquiring Fund VMTP Shares will be issued. The terms of the Acquiring Fund VMTP Shares to be issued in connection with the Reorganizations will be substantially identical to the terms of the Acquiring Fund’s outstanding VMTP Shares and will rank on parity with the Acquiring Fund’s outstanding VMTP Shares as to the payment of dividends and the distribution of assets upon dissolution, liquidation or winding up of the affairs of the Acquiring Fund. The newly issued Acquiring Fund VMTP Shares will have the same term redemption date applicable to the outstanding Acquiring Fund VMTP Shares as of the Closing Date of the Reorganization. Such term redemption date is July 2, 2021, unless extended. The Reorganizations will not result in any changes to the terms of the Acquiring Fund’s VMTP Shares currently outstanding.

The newly issued Acquiring Fund VMTP Shares will have terms that are substantially identical to the terms of the currently outstanding BSD and MFT VMTP Shares and the BBF VMTP Shares to be issued in connection with the VRDP Refinancing, including the same term redemption date of July 2, 2021.

In connection with the Reorganizations, and assuming that the VRDP Refinancing is completed prior to the Closing Date of the BBF Reorganization, the Acquiring Fund expects to issue 429 additional VMTP Shares to BSD VMTP Holders, 565 additional VMTP Shares to MFT VMTP Holders and 520 additional VMTP Shares to BBF VMTP Holders. Following the completion of the Reorganizations, the Combined Fund is expected to have 3,027 VMTP Shares outstanding. As a result of the Reorganizations, the Acquiring Fund’s Statement of Preferences will be amended to authorize an additional 1,514 VMTP Shares. A form of such amendment is attached as Appendix C.

Set forth below is information about each Fund’s preferred shares as of August 31, 2020.

 

Fund

 

Title of Class

  Amount
Authorized
   

Amount

Authorized

Under Each

Series

  Amount
Held by
Fund
for its
Own
Account
    Amount
Outstanding
Exclusive of
Amount
Shown in
Previous
Column
    Issue Date   Mandatory/
Term
Redemption
Date
 

BSD

  VMTP Shares     429     Series W-7 –429     None       429     12/16/2011     7/2/2021  

MFT

  VMTP Shares     565     Series W-7 –565     None       565     12/16/2011     7/2/2021  

BBF

  VRDP Shares     520     Series W-7 –520     None       520     9/15/2011
and

5/16/2016

    10/1/2041  

Acquiring Fund (BLE)

  VMTP Shares     1,513     Series W-7 –1,513     None       1,513     12/16/2011     7/2/2021  

The outstanding preferred shares of each Fund are fully paid and non-assessable and have no preemptive or cumulative voting rights.

 

39


Below is a table that details, as of August 31, 2020, (i) each Fund’s current leverage attributable to preferred shares as a percentage of its total net assets, (ii) the Combined Fund’s leverage attributable to preferred shares on a pro forma basis as a percentage of its total net assets assuming only the BSD Reorganization was consummated as of August 31, 2020, and (iii) the Combined Fund’s leverage attributable to preferred shares on a pro forma basis as a percentage of its total net assets assuming all of the Reorganizations were consummated as of August 31, 2020.

 

Fund

  

Title of Class

   Shares
Outstanding
     Liquidation
Preference
Per Share
     Aggregate
Liquidation
Preference
     Total Managed
Assets
     As
Percentage
of Net
Assets
 

BSD

   VMTP Shares      429      $ 100,000      $ 42,900,000        176,637,803        24.3

MFT

   VMTP Shares      565      $ 100,000      $ 56,500,000        203,973,174        27.7

BBF

   VRDP Shares      520      $ 100,000      $ 52,000,000        229,143,93        22.7

Acquiring Fund (BLE)

   VMTP Shares      1,513      $ 100,000      $ 151,300,000        573,392,764        26.4

Pro forma Combined Fund (BSD into BLE)

   VMTP Shares      1,942      $ 100,000      $ 194,200,000        750,030,568        25.9

Pro forma Combined Fund (BSD, MFT and BBF into BLE)

   VMTP Shares      3,027      $ 100,000      $ 302,700,000        1,183,147,335        25.6

BBF has issued VRDP Shares, $100,000 liquidation value per share. The Acquiring Fund has issued, and following the VRDP Refinancing BBF will issue, VMTP Shares, $100,000 liquidation value per share, with substantially identical terms. Please see “—Description of the VMTP Shares of the Acquiring Fund, BSD and MFT,” “—Description of the VRDP Shares of BBF” for additional information.

BSD, MFT and the Acquiring Fund have each issued VMTP Shares, $100,000 liquidation value per share, with substantially identical terms, including the same term redemption date of July 2, 2021. BBF has issued VRDP Shares, $100,000 liquidation value per share, with a mandatory redemption date of October 1, 2041. The outstanding VRDP Shares of BBF are currently in a one year Special Rate Period that will end on April 15, 2021, unless extended. Please see “—Description of the VMTP Shares of the Acquiring Fund, BSD and MFT,” “—Description of the VRDP Shares of BBF” for additional information.

The VMTP Shares and VRDP Shares were offered to qualified institutional buyers in private transactions exempt from registration under the Securities Act.

The annualized dividend rates for the preferred shares for each Fund’s most recent fiscal year end were as follows:

 

Fund

   Rate  

BSD

     2.18

MFT

     1.79

BBBF

     1.70

Acquiring Fund (BLE)

     1.67

If the BBF Reorganization Agreement is approved by its shareholders, prior to the Closing Date of the Reorganizations, it is expected that BBF will issue VMTP Shares with terms substantially identical to the terms of the Acquiring Fund VMTP Shares and use the proceeds from such issuance to redeem all of outstanding VRDP Shares of BBF, respectively. The BBF VMTP Shares that will be issued in connection with the VRDP Refinancing will have the same $100,000 liquidation preference per share, dividend period, dividend payment

 

40


date, voting rights, redemption provisions, transfer restrictions and covenants with respect to effective leverage, asset coverage and eligible investments, mechanism for determining the applicable dividend rate and maximum rate, and the same redemption and paying agent as the outstanding Acquiring Fund VMTP Shares. If the VRDP Refinancing is not completed prior to the Closing Date of the BBF Reorganization, then the BBF Reorganization will not be consummated.

In connection with the Reorganizations, the Acquiring Fund expects to issue 429 additional VMTP Shares to BSD VMTP Holders, 565 additional VMTP Shares to MFT VMTP Holders and 520 additional VMTP Shares to BBF VMTP Holders. Following the completion of the Reorganizations, the Combined Fund is expected to have 3,027 VMTP Shares outstanding. Assuming all of the Reorganizations are approved by shareholders and the VRDP Refinancing is completed prior to the Closing Date of the BBF Reorganization, upon the Closing Date of the Reorganizations, BSD, MFT and BBF VMTP Holders will receive on a one-for-one basis one newly issued Acquiring Fund VMTP Share, par value $0.001 per share and with a liquidation preference of $100,000 per share (plus any accumulated and unpaid dividends that have accrued on the BSD, MFT or BBF VMTP Shares up to and including the day immediately preceding the Closing Date of the Reorganizations if such dividends have not been paid prior to the Closing Date), in exchange for each BSD, MFT or BBF VMTP Share held by the BSD, MFT or BBF VMTP Holders immediately prior to the Closing Date. The newly issued Acquiring Fund VMTP Shares will have terms that are substantially identical to the terms of the BBF VMTP Shares to be issued in connection with the VRDP Refinancing. The newly issued Acquiring Fund VMTP Shares may be of the same series as the Acquiring Fund’s outstanding VMTP Shares or a substantially identical series. No fractional Acquiring Fund VMTP Shares will be issued. The terms of the Acquiring Fund VMTP Shares to be issued in connection with the Reorganizations will be substantially identical to the terms of the Acquiring Fund’s outstanding VMTP Shares and will rank on parity with the Acquiring Fund’s outstanding VMTP Shares as to the payment of dividends and the distribution of assets upon dissolution, liquidation or winding up of the affairs of the Acquiring Fund. The newly issued Acquiring Fund VMTP Shares will have the same term redemption date applicable to the outstanding Acquiring Fund VMTP Shares as of the Closing Date of the Reorganization. Such term redemption date is July 2, 2021, unless extended. The Reorganizations will not result in any changes to the terms of the Acquiring Fund’s VMTP Shares currently outstanding.

The newly issued Acquiring Fund VMTP Shares will have terms that are substantially identical to the terms of the currently outstanding BSD and MFT VMTP Shares and the BBF VMTP Shares to be issued in the VRDP Refinancing, including the same term redemption date of July 2, 2021.

Description of the VMTP Shares of the Acquiring Fund, BSD and MFT

Each of the Acquiring Fund’s, BSD’s and MFT’s VMTP Shares may be redeemed, in whole or in part, at any time at the option of the Acquiring Fund, BSD or MFT, as applicable. The redemption price per VMTP Share is equal to the liquidation preference per share plus any outstanding unpaid dividends. Each of the Acquiring Fund, BSD and MFT is required to redeem its VMTP Shares on the term redemption date of the VMTP Shares, unless earlier redeemed or repurchased or unless extended. Such term redemption date is July 2, 2021, unless extended. Six months prior to the term redemption date of the VMTP Shares, each of the Acquiring Fund, BSD and MFT is required to begin to segregate liquid assets with such Fund’s custodian to fund the redemption. In addition, each of the Acquiring Fund, BSD and MFT is required to redeem certain of its outstanding VMTP Shares if it fails to comply with certain asset coverage, basic maintenance amount or leverage requirements.

Dividends on the Acquiring Fund’s, BSD’s and MFT’s VMTP Shares are declared daily and payable monthly at a variable rate set weekly at a fixed rate spread to 0.75% of the one-month LIBOR Rate. The fixed spread is determined based on the long-term preferred share rating assigned to the Acquiring Fund’s, BSD’s and MFT’s VMTP Shares by the ratings agencies then rating the Acquiring Fund’s, BSD’s and MFT’s VMTP Shares. At the date of issuance, the Acquiring Fund’s, BSD’s and MFT’s VMTP Shares were assigned long-term ratings of Aaa from Moody’s and AAA from Fitch. Subsequent to the issuance of the Acquiring Fund’s, BSD’s and

 

41


MFT’s VMTP Shares, Moody’s completed a review of its methodology for rating securities issued by registered closed-end funds. As of August 31, 2020, the Acquiring Fund’s VMTP Shares were assigned a long-term rating of Aa1 from Moody’s under its new rating methodology. The Acquiring Fund’s VMTP Shares continue to be assigned a long-term rating of AAA from Fitch. As of April 30, 2020, BSD’s VMTP Shares were assigned a long-term rating of Aa1 from Moody’s under its new rating methodology. BSD’s VMTP Shares continue to be assigned a long-term rating of AAA from Fitch. As of July 31, 2020, MFT’s VMTP Shares were assigned a long-term rating of Aa1 from Moody’s under its new rating methodology. MFT’s VMTP Shares continue to be assigned a long-term rating of AAA from Fitch. The dividend rate on the Acquiring Fund’s, BSD’s and MFT’s VMTP Shares is subject to a step-up spread if such Fund fails to comply with certain provisions, including, among other things, the timely payment of dividends, redemptions or gross-up payments, and complying with certain asset coverage and leverage requirements. For the fiscal year ended August 31, 2020, the annualized dividend rate for the VMTP Shares of the Acquiring Fund was 1.67%. For the fiscal year ended April 30, 2020, the annualized dividend rate for the VMTP Shares of BSD was 2.18%. For the fiscal year ended July 31, 2020, the annualized dividend rate for the VMTP Shares of MFT was 1.79%.

The Acquiring Fund’s, BSD’s and MFT’s VMTP Shares are subject to certain restrictions on transfer, and each of the Acquiring Fund, BSD and MFT may also be required to register its VMTP Shares for sale under the Securities Act under certain circumstances. In addition, amendments to the Acquiring Fund’s, BSD’s and MFT’s VMTP Shares’ governing documents generally require the consent of the holders of VMTP Shares.

For each of the Acquiring Fund, BSD and MFT, its VMTP Shares rank prior to such Fund’s common shares as to the payment of dividends by the Fund, and distribution of assets upon dissolution or liquidation of the Fund. For each of the Acquiring Fund, BSD and MFT, the 1940 Act prohibits the declaration of any dividend on the Fund’s common shares or the repurchase of the Fund’s common shares if the Fund fails to maintain asset coverage of at least 200% of the liquidation preference of the Fund’s outstanding VMTP Shares. In addition, pursuant to the VMTP Shares’ governing instruments, each of the Acquiring Fund, BSD and MFT are restricted from declaring and paying dividends on classes of shares ranking junior to or on parity with the such Fund’s VMTP Shares or repurchasing such shares if the Fund fails to declare and pay dividends on the VMTP Shares, redeem any VMTP Shares required to be redeemed under the VMTP Shares’ governing instruments or comply with the basic maintenance amount requirement of the ratings agencies rating the VMTP Shares.

For each of the Acquiring Fund, BSD and MFT, the holders of the Fund’s VMTP Shares have voting rights equal to the voting rights of the holders of the Fund’s common shares (one vote per share) and will vote together with holders of the Fund’s common shares (one vote per share) as a single class on certain matters. However, for each of the Acquiring Fund, BSD, and MFT, the VMTP Shareholders, voting as a separate class, are also entitled to elect two trustees to the Board of the Fund. For each of the Acquiring Fund, BSD and MFT, VMTP Shareholders are also entitled to elect the Fund’s full board of trustees if dividends on the VMTP Shares are not paid for a period of two years. VMTP Shareholders are also generally entitled to a separate class vote to amend the VMTP Shares’ governing documents. In addition, the 1940 Act requires the approval of the holders of a majority of any outstanding VMTP Shares, voting as a separate class, to (a) adopt any plan of reorganization that would adversely affect the VMTP Shares, (b) change the applicable Fund’s sub-classification as a closed-end investment company or change its fundamental investment restrictions or (c) change its business so as to cease to be an investment company.

Description of the VRDP Shares of BBF

If the BBF Reorganization Agreement is approved by BBF shareholders, prior to the Closing Date of the BBF Reorganization, it is expected that BBF will issue VMTP Shares with terms substantially identical to the terms of the outstanding Acquiring Fund VMTP Shares and use the proceeds from such issuance to redeem all of outstanding VRDP Shares of BBF.

BBF’s VRDP Shares have the benefit of an unconditional demand feature pursuant to a purchase agreement provided by Bank of America, N.A. acting as liquidity provider to ensure full and timely repayment of the

 

42


liquidation preference amount plus any accumulated and unpaid dividends to holders upon the occurrence of certain events (the “Liquidity Facility”). BBF entered into a fee agreement with the liquidity provider (the “Fee Agreement”) in connection with the Liquidity Facility that requires a per annum liquidity fee payable to the liquidity provider. The Fee Agreement between BBF and the liquidity provider is scheduled to expire, unless renewed or terminated in advance, on April 30, 2021.

The Liquidity Facility requires the liquidity provider to purchase all BBF’s VRDP Shares tendered for sale that were not successfully remarketed. BBF is required to redeem its VRDP Shares owned by the liquidity provider after six months of continuous, unsuccessful remarketing. Upon the occurrence of the first unsuccessful remarketing, BBF is required to segregate liquid assets to fund the redemption.

In the event the VRDP Shares Purchase Agreement (the “Purchase Agreement”) for BBF is not renewed, and BBF does not arrange for a Purchase Agreement with an alternate liquidity provider, BBF’s VRDP Shares will be subject to mandatory purchase by the liquidity provider prior to the termination of the Purchase Agreement. There is no assurance BBF will replace such redeemed VRDP Shares with any other preferred shares or other form of leverage.

Except during the Special Rate Period (as defined and described below), VRDP Holders have the right to give notice on any business day to tender BBF’s VRDP Shares for remarketing in seven days, the VRDP Shares are subject to a mandatory tender for remarketing upon the occurrence of certain events, and should a remarketing be unsuccessful, the dividend rate for such VRDP Shares will reset to a maximum rate as defined in the governing documents of the VRDP Shares. BBF’s VRDP Shares are also subject to certain restrictions on transfer outside of the remarketing process. Except during the Special Rate Period, BBF may incur remarketing fees at the annual rate of 0.10% on the aggregate principal amount of the VRDP Shares.

BBF is required to redeem its VRDP Shares on October 1, 2041, the mandatory redemption date for such VRDP Shares, unless earlier redeemed or repurchased. Six months prior to the mandatory redemption date, BBF is required to begin to segregate liquid assets with its custodian to fund the redemption. In addition, BBF is required to redeem certain of its outstanding VRDP Shares if it fails to maintain certain asset coverage, basic maintenance amount or leverage requirements.

Subject to certain conditions, BBF’s VRDP Shares may be redeemed, in whole or in part, at any time at the option of BBF. The redemption price per VRDP Share is equal to the liquidation value per VRDP Share plus any outstanding unpaid dividends, except that a redemption premium may be applicable during the Special Rate Period.

Except during the Special Rate Period, dividends on BBF’s VRDP Shares are payable monthly at a variable rate set weekly by the remarketing agent. Such dividend rates are generally based upon a spread over a base rate and cannot exceed a maximum rate. In the event of a failed remarketing, the dividend rate of the VRDP Shares will be reset to a maximum rate. The maximum rate is determined based on, among other things, the long-term preferred share rating assigned to the VRDP Shares and the length of time that the VRDP Shares fail to be remarketed. The maximum rate of the VRDP Shares will not exceed 15% per annum, exclusive of any applicable gross-up payments or increased dividend payment relating to the inclusion in any dividend of net capital gains or ordinary income taxable for regular U.S. federal income tax purposes. At the date of issuance, the VRDP Shares of BBF were assigned a long-term rating of Aaa from Moody’s and AAA from Fitch. Subsequent to the issuance of the VRDP Shares, Moody’s completed a review of its methodology for rating securities issued by registered closed-end funds. As of September 30, 2020, the VRDP Shares of BBF were assigned a long-term rating of Aa2 from Moody’s under its new ratings methodology. The VRDP Shares of BBF continue to be assigned a long-term rating of AAA from Fitch.

The short-term ratings on the VRDP Shares were withdrawn by Moody’s, Fitch and/or S&P at the commencement of the Special Rate Period, as described below. The short-term ratings on BBF’s VRDP Shares are directly related to the short-term ratings of the liquidity provider for such VRDP Shares. Changes in the

 

43


credit quality of the liquidity provider could cause a change in the short-term credit ratings of the VRDP Shares. Except during the Special Rate Period, a change in the short-term credit rating of the liquidity provider or the VRDP Shares may adversely affect the dividend rate paid on such VRDP Shares, although the dividend rate paid on the VRDP Shares is not directly related to the short-term rating. The liquidity provider may be terminated prior to the scheduled termination date if the liquidity provider fails to maintain short-term debt ratings in one of the two highest rating categories.

BBF’s VRDP Shares are senior in priority to BBF’s common shares as to the payment of dividends and the distribution of assets upon dissolution, liquidation or winding up of the affairs of such Fund. The VRDP Shares will rank on parity with other preferred shares of BBF as to the payment of dividends and the distribution of assets upon dissolution, liquidation or winding up of the affairs of BBF. The 1940 Act prohibits the declaration of any dividend on BBF’s common shares or the repurchase of BBF’s common shares if BBF fails to maintain the asset coverage of at least 200% of the liquidation preference of the outstanding VRDP Shares. In addition, pursuant to the VRDP Shares’ governing instruments, BBF is restricted from declaring and paying dividends on classes of shares ranking junior to or on parity with the VRDP Shares or repurchasing such shares if BBF fails to declare and pay dividends on the VRDP Shares, redeem any VRDP Shares required to be redeemed under the VRDP Shares’ governing instruments or comply with the basic maintenance amount requirement of the agencies rating the VRDP Shares.

The VRDP Holders have voting rights equal to BBF’s common shareholders (one vote per Share) and will vote together with such common shareholders (one vote per Share) as a single class. However, the VRDP Holders, voting as a separate class, are also entitled to elect two Board Members for BBF. In addition, the 1940 Act requires that along with approval by shareholders that might otherwise be required, the approval of a 1940 Act Majority of the VRDP Holders of BBF, voting separately as a class, would be required to (a) adopt any plan of reorganization that would adversely affect the VRDP Shares of BBF, (b) change BBF’s sub-classification as a closed-end management investment company or change its fundamental investment restrictions or (c) change its business so as to cease to be an investment company.

On October 22, 2015, BBF commenced a special rate period ending April 18, 2018 with respect to its VRDP Shares (the “Special Rate Period”). This Special Rate Period was extended and is currently set to expire on April 15, 2021. The VRDP Holders and BBF may mutually agree to extend the Special Rate Period prior to the expiration of the Special Rate Period. If the Special Rate Period is not extended, the VRDP Shares will revert to remarketable securities upon the termination of the Special Rate Period and will be remarketed and available for purchase by qualified institutional investors. The Liquidity Facility remains in effect for the duration of the Special Rate Period and the VRDP Shares are still subject to mandatory redemption by BBF on their respective mandatory redemption date. However, the VRDP Shares will not be remarketed or subject to optional or mandatory tender events during such time. The short-term ratings of the VRDP Shares were withdrawn by Moody’s, Fitch and/or S&P upon the commencement of the Special Rate Period. Short-term ratings may be re-assigned upon the termination of the Special Rate Period.

During the Special Rate Period, BBF is required to maintain the same asset coverage, basic maintenance amount and leverage requirements for the VRDP Shares as was required prior to the Special Rate Period.

During the Special Rate Period, BBF will pay no fees to the liquidity provider and remarketing agent, but will instead pay dividends monthly based on the sum of 0.75% of the one-month LIBOR Rate and a percentage per annum based on the long-term ratings assigned to the VRDP Shares. As of September 30, 2020, the BBF VRDP Shares were assigned long-term ratings of Aa2 from Moody’s and AAA from Fitch. The annualized dividend rate of the BBF VRDP Shares as of July 31, 2020 was as follows:

 

Fund

   Rate  

BBF

     1.70

 

44


The Ratings Spread will increase in the event the VRDP Shares are rated below Aaa/AAA by all of the rating agencies rating the VRDP Shares at the time such Ratings Spread is determined, up to a maximum of 4.00% in the event the VRDP Shares are either rated below Baa3/BBB- by at least one of the rating agencies then rating the VRDP Shares or not rated by any rating agency.

Under BBF’s Fee Agreement with the liquidity provider, to the extent the liquidity provider together with certain affiliates individually or in the aggregate own at least 20% of the outstanding VRDP Shares and BBF has not failed to pay dividends on the VRDP Shares for two years, the liquidity provider agreed to enter into and maintain a voting trust agreement and convey into the voting trust the right to vote all of its VRDP Shares owned by it or such affiliates, with respect to: (i) the election of the two members of the Board for which VRDP Holders are entitled to vote under the 1940 Act and all other rights given to VRDP Holders with respect to the election of the Board; (ii) the conversion of BBF from a closed-end management investment company to an open-end fund, or to change BBF’s classification from diversified to non-diversified; (iii) the deviation from a policy in respect of concentration of investments in any particular industry or group of industries as recited in BBF’s registration statement; and (iv) borrowing money, issuing senior securities, underwriting securities issued by other persons, purchasing or selling real estate or commodities or making loans to other persons other than in accordance with the recitals of policy with respect thereto in BBF’s registration statement.

If the Special Rate Period is not extended, the VRDP Shares will revert back to remarketable securities and will be remarketed and available for purchase by qualified institutional investors. There is no assurance that the VRDP Shares will be remarketed or purchased by investors after the termination of the Special Rate Period. If the VRDP Shares are not remarketed or purchased, then a failed remarketing will occur. As described above, in the event of a failed remarketing, the dividend rate of the VRDP Shares will be reset to the maximum rate and the VRDP Shares that have not been remarketed are required to be purchased by the liquidity provider and subject to redemption by BBF after six months of continuous, unsuccessful remarketing.

 

45


RISK FACTORS AND SPECIAL CONSIDERATIONS

Comparison of Risks

Because of their similar investment objectives and similar investment strategies, each Fund is subject to similar investment risks. With respect to the differences in risks, those risks of BSD, MFT and/or BBF that are not shared with the Acquiring Fund are generally as a result of differences in the Funds’ principal investment strategies described above under “Summary—Investment Objective and Policies.”

Each Fund utilizes leverage through the issuance of either VMTP Shares or VRDP Shares and TOBs. See “The Acquiring Fund’s Investments—Leverage;” “General Risks of Investing in the Acquiring Fund—Leverage Risk;” and “General Risks of Investing in the Acquiring Fund—Tender Option Bond Risk.” Each of BSD, MFT and the Acquiring Fund currently leverages its assets through the use of VMTP Share and TOBs. BBF currently leverages its assets through the use of VRDP Shares and TOBs. The Acquiring Fund is expected to continue to leverage its assets after the Closing Date of the Reorganizations through the use of VMTP Shares and TOBs. Please see “Information about the Preferred Shares of the Funds” for additional information about the preferred shares of each Fund.

In the normal course of business, each Fund invests in securities and enters into transactions where risks exist due to fluctuations in the market (market risk) or failure of the issuer of a security to meet all its obligations (issuer credit risk). The value of securities held by the Funds may decline in response to certain events, including those directly involving the issuers whose securities are owned by the Funds; conditions affecting the general economy; overall market changes; pandemics, epidemics and other global health events; local, regional or global political, social or economic instability; and currency and interest rate and price fluctuations. Similar to issuer credit risk, the Funds may be exposed to counterparty credit risk, or the risk that an entity with which the Funds have unsettled or open transactions may fail to or be unable to perform on its commitments.

The Combined Fund will be managed in accordance with the same investment objective, investment strategies and investment policies, and subject to the same risks, as the Acquiring Fund. Risk is inherent in all investing. An investment in the Acquiring Fund should not be considered a complete investment program. Each shareholder should take into account the Acquiring Fund’s investment objective as well as the shareholder’s other investments when considering an investment in the Acquiring Fund. You may lose part or all of your investment in the Acquiring Fund or your investment may not perform as well as other similar investments.

BBF VRDP Shares will be subject to the same risks that currently apply to the Acquiring Fund VMTP Shares and will apply to the Acquiring Fund VMTP Shares, assuming the Acquiring Fund VRDP Refinancing is completed.

General Risks of Investing in the Acquiring Fund

Municipal Bond Market Risk. Economic exposure to the municipal securities market involves certain risks. The Acquiring Fund’s economic exposure to municipal securities includes municipal securities in the Acquiring Fund’s portfolio and municipal securities to which the Acquiring Fund is exposed through the ownership of residual interests in municipal TOBs (“TOB Residuals”). The municipal market is one in which dealer firms make markets in bonds on a principal basis using their proprietary capital, and during the financial crisis of 2007-2009 these firms’ capital was severely constrained. As a result, some firms were unwilling to commit their capital to purchase and to serve as a dealer for municipal securities. Certain municipal securities may not be registered with the SEC or any state securities commission and will not be listed on any national securities exchange. The amount of public information available about the municipal securities to which the Acquiring Fund is economically exposed is generally less than that for corporate equities or bonds, and the investment performance of the Acquiring Fund may therefore be more dependent on the analytical abilities of the Investment Advisor than would be a fund investing solely in stocks or taxable bonds. The secondary market for municipal

 

46


securities, particularly the below investment grade securities to which the Acquiring Fund may be economically exposed, also tends to be less well-developed or liquid than many other securities markets, which may adversely affect the Acquiring Fund’s ability to sell such securities at attractive prices or at prices approximating those at which the Acquiring Fund currently values them.

In addition, many state and municipal governments that issue securities are under significant economic and financial stress and may not be able to satisfy their obligations. The ability of municipal issuers to make timely payments of interest and principal may be diminished during general economic downturns and as governmental cost burdens are reallocated among federal, state and local governments. The taxing power of any governmental entity may be limited by provisions of state constitutions or laws and an entity’s credit will depend on many factors, including the entity’s tax base, the extent to which the entity relies on federal or state aid, and other factors which are beyond the entity’s control. In addition, laws enacted in the future by Congress or state legislatures or referenda could extend the time for payment of principal and/or interest, or impose other constraints on enforcement of such obligations or on the ability of municipalities to levy taxes. Issuers of municipal securities might seek protection under the bankruptcy laws. In the event of bankruptcy of such an issuer, holders of municipal securities could experience delays in collecting principal and interest and such holders may not, in all circumstances, be able to collect all principal and interest to which they are entitled. To enforce its rights in the event of a default in the payment of interest or repayment of principal, or both, the Acquiring Fund may take possession of and manage the assets securing the issuer’s obligations on such securities, which may increase the Acquiring Fund’s operating expenses. Any income derived from the Acquiring Fund’s ownership or operation of such assets may not be tax-exempt or may fail to generate qualifying income for purposes of the income tests applicable to regulated investment companies (“RICs”).

Taxable Municipal Securities Risk. Build America Bonds involve similar risks as municipal bonds, including credit and market risk. In particular, should a Build America Bond’s issuer fail to continue to meet the applicable requirements imposed on the bonds as provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (“ARRA”), it is possible that such issuer may not receive federal cash subsidy payments, impairing the issuer’s ability to make scheduled interest payments. The Build America Bond program expired on December 31, 2010 and no further issuance is permitted unless Congress renews the program. As a result, the number of available Build America Bonds is limited, which may negatively affect the value of the Build America Bonds. In addition, there can be no assurance that Build America Bonds will be actively traded. It is difficult to predict the extent to which a market for such bonds will continue, meaning that Build America Bonds may experience greater illiquidity than other municipal obligations. The Build America Bonds outstanding as of December 31, 2010 will continue to be eligible for the federal interest rate subsidy, which continues for the life of the Build America Bonds; however, no bonds issued following expiration of the Build America Bond program will be eligible for the U.S. federal tax subsidy.

Municipal Securities Risks. Municipal securities risks include the ability of the issuer to repay the obligation, the relative lack of information about certain issuers of municipal securities, and the possibility of future legislative changes which could affect the market for and the value of municipal securities. These risks include:

General Obligation Bonds Risks. General obligation bonds are typically secured by the issuer’s pledge of its faith, credit and taxing power for the repayment of principal and the payment of interest. The taxing power of any governmental entity may be limited, however, by provisions of its state constitution or laws, and an entity’s creditworthiness will depend on many factors, including potential erosion of its tax base due to population declines, natural disasters, declines in the state’s industrial base or inability to attract new industries, economic limits on the ability to tax without eroding the tax base, state legislative proposals or voter initiatives to limit ad valorem real property taxes and the extent to which the entity relies on federal or state aid, access to capital markets or other factors beyond the state’s or entity’s control. Accordingly, the capacity of the issuer of a general obligation bond as to the timely payment of interest and the repayment of principal when due is affected by the issuer’s maintenance of its tax base.

 

47


Revenue Bonds Risks. Revenue or special obligation bonds are typically payable only from the revenues derived from a particular facility or class of facilities or, in some cases, from the proceeds of a special excise tax or other specific revenue sources such as payments from the user of the facility being financed. Accordingly, the timely payment of interest and the repayment of principal in accordance with the terms of the revenue or special obligation bond is a function of the economic viability of such facility or such revenue source. Revenue bonds issued by state or local agencies to finance the development of low-income, multi-family housing involve special risks in addition to those associated with municipal securities generally, including that the underlying properties may not generate sufficient income to pay expenses and interest costs. Such bonds are generally non-recourse against the property owner, may be junior to the rights of others with an interest in the properties, may pay interest that changes based in part on the financial performance of the property, may be prepayable without penalty and may be used to finance the construction of housing developments which, until completed and rented, do not generate income to pay interest. Increases in interest rates payable on senior obligations may make it more difficult for issuers to meet payment obligations on subordinated bonds.

Private Activity Bonds Risks. The Acquiring Fund may invest in certain tax-exempt securities classified as “private activity bonds.” These bonds may subject certain investors in the Acquiring Fund to the federal alternative minimum tax.

Moral Obligation Bonds Risks. Municipal bonds may also include “moral obligation” bonds, which are normally issued by special purpose public authorities. If an issuer of moral obligation bonds is unable to meet its obligations, the repayment of such bonds becomes a moral commitment but not a legal obligation of the state or municipality in question.

Municipal Notes Risks. Municipal notes are shorter term municipal debt obligations. They may provide interim financing in anticipation of tax collection, bond sales or revenue receipts. If there is a shortfall in the anticipated proceeds, repayment on the note may be delayed or the note may not be fully repaid, and the Acquiring Fund may lose money.

Municipal Lease Obligations Risks. Also included within the general category of municipal bonds are certificates of participation (“COPs”) issued by government authorities or entities to finance the acquisition or construction of equipment, land and/or facilities. COPs represent participations in a lease, an installment purchase contract or a conditional sales contract (hereinafter collectively called “lease obligations”) relating to such equipment, land or facilities. Municipal leases, like other municipal debt obligations, are subject to the risk of non-payment. Although lease obligations do not constitute general obligations of the issuer for which the issuer’s unlimited taxing power is pledged, a lease obligation is frequently backed by the issuer’s covenant to budget for, appropriate and make the payments due under the lease obligation. However, certain lease obligations contain “non-appropriation” clauses which provide that the issuer has no obligation to make lease or installment purchase payments in future years unless money is appropriated for such purpose on a yearly basis. Although “non-appropriation” lease obligations are secured by the leased property, disposition of the property in the event of foreclosure might prove difficult and the value of the property may be insufficient to issue lease obligations. Certain investments in lease obligations may be illiquid.

The ability of issuers of municipal leases to make timely lease payments may be adversely impacted in general economic downturns and as relative governmental cost burdens are allocated and reallocated among federal, state and local governmental units. Such non-payment would result in a reduction of income to the Acquiring Fund, and could result in a reduction in the value of the municipal lease experiencing non-payment and a potential decrease in the NAV of the Acquiring Fund. Issuers of municipal lease obligations might seek protection under the bankruptcy laws. In the event of bankruptcy of such an issuer, the Acquiring Fund could experience delays and limitations with respect to the collection of principal and interest on such municipal leases and the Acquiring Fund may not, in all circumstances, be able to collect all principal and interest to which it is entitled. To enforce its rights in the event of a default in lease payments, the Acquiring Fund might take possession of and manage the assets securing the issuer’s obligations on such securities, which may increase the

 

48


Acquiring Fund’s operating expenses and adversely affect the NAV of the Acquiring Fund. When the lease contains a non-appropriation clause, however, the failure to pay would not be a default and the Acquiring Fund would not have the right to take possession of the assets. Any income derived from the Acquiring Fund’s ownership or operation of such assets may not be tax-exempt or may fail to generate qualifying income for purposes of the income tests applicable to regulated investment companies. In addition, the Acquiring Fund’s intention to qualify as a regulated investment company under the Code, may limit the extent to which the Acquiring Fund may exercise its rights by taking possession of such assets, because as a regulated investment company the Acquiring Fund is subject to certain limitations on its investments and on the nature of its income.

Liquidity of Investments. Certain municipal securities in which the Acquiring Fund invests may lack an established secondary trading market or are otherwise considered illiquid. Liquidity of a security relates to the ability to easily dispose of the security and the price to be obtained and does not generally relate to the credit risk or likelihood of receipt of cash at maturity. Illiquid securities may trade at a discount from comparable, more liquid investments.

The financial markets in general, and certain segments of the municipal securities markets in particular, have in recent years experienced periods of extreme secondary market supply and demand imbalance, resulting in a loss of liquidity during which market prices were suddenly and substantially below traditional measures of intrinsic value. During such periods some securities could be sold only at arbitrary prices and with substantial losses. Periods of such market dislocation may occur again at any time.

Tax-Exempt Status Risk. In making investments, the Acquiring Fund and the Investment Advisor will rely on the opinion of issuers’ bond counsel and, in the case of derivative securities, sponsors’ counsel, on the tax-exempt status of interest on municipal obligations and payments under tax-exempt derivative securities. Neither the Acquiring Fund nor the Investment Advisor will independently review the bases for those tax opinions. If any of those tax opinions are ultimately determined to be incorrect or if events occur after the security is acquired that impact the security’s tax-exempt status, the Acquiring Fund and its shareholders could be subject to substantial tax liabilities. An assertion by the Internal Revenue Service (the “IRS”) that a portfolio security is not exempt from U.S. federal income tax (contrary to indications from the issuer) could affect the Acquiring Fund’s and its shareholders’ income tax liability for the current or past years and could create liability for information reporting penalties. In addition, an IRS assertion of taxability may cause the Acquiring Fund to be ineligible to pay exempt-interest dividends or may impair the liquidity and the fair market value of the securities.

Taxability Risk. The Acquiring Fund intends to minimize the payment of taxable income to shareholders by investing in tax-exempt or municipal securities in reliance at the time of purchase on an opinion of bond counsel to the issuer that the interest paid on those securities will be excludable from gross income for U.S. federal income tax purposes. Such securities, however, may be determined to pay, or have paid, taxable income subsequent to the Acquiring Fund’s acquisition of the securities. In that event, the IRS may demand that the Acquiring Fund pay U.S. federal income taxes on the affected interest income, and, if the Acquiring Fund agrees to do so, the Acquiring Fund’s yield could be adversely affected. In addition, the treatment of dividends previously paid or to be paid by the Acquiring Fund as “exempt interest dividends” could be adversely affected, subjecting the Acquiring Fund’s shareholders to increased U.S. federal income tax liabilities. In addition, future laws, regulations, rulings or court decisions may cause interest on municipal securities to be subject, directly or indirectly, to U.S. federal income taxation or interest on state municipal securities to be subject to state or local income taxation, or the value of state municipal securities to be subject to state or local intangible personal property tax, or may otherwise prevent the Acquiring Fund from realizing the full current benefit of the tax-exempt status of such securities. Any such change could also affect the market price of such securities, and thus the value of an investment in the Acquiring Fund.

Alternative Minimum Tax Risk. The Acquiring Fund expects that a portion of the interest or income it produces will be includable in alternative minimum taxable income. Exempt interest dividends also are likely to

 

49


be subject to state and local income taxes. Distributions of any capital gain or other taxable income will be taxable to shareholders. The Acquiring Fund may not be a suitable investment for investors who are subject to the federal alternative minimum tax or who would become subject to such tax by purchasing shares of the Acquiring Fund. The suitability of an investment in the Acquiring Fund will depend upon a comparison of the after tax yield likely to be provided from the Acquiring Fund with that from comparable tax-exempt investments not subject to the alternative minimum tax, and from comparable fully taxable investments, in light of each such investor’s tax position. Special considerations apply to corporate investors.

Nonpayment Risk. Municipal bonds, like other debt obligations, are subject to the risk of nonpayment. The ability of issuers of municipal securities to make timely payments of interest and principal may be adversely impacted in general economic downturns and as relative governmental cost burdens are allocated and reallocated among federal, state and local governmental units. Such nonpayment would result in a reduction of income to the Acquiring Fund and could result in a reduction in the value of the municipal security experiencing nonpayment and a potential decrease in the net asset value of the Acquiring Fund.

Fixed Income Securities Risks. Fixed income securities in which the Acquiring Fund may invest are generally subject to the following risks:

Interest Rate Risk. The market value of bonds and other fixed-income securities changes in response to interest rate changes and other factors. Interest rate risk is the risk that prices of bonds and other fixed-income securities will increase as interest rates fall and decrease as interest rates rise. The Acquiring Fund may be subject to a greater risk of rising interest rates due to the current period of historically low interest rates, including the Federal Reserve’s recent lowering of the target for the federal funds rate to a range of 0%-0.25% as part of its efforts to ease the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic. The magnitude of these fluctuations in the market price of bonds and other fixed- income securities is generally greater for those securities with longer maturities. Fluctuations in the market price of the Acquiring Fund’s investments will not affect interest income derived from instruments already owned by the Acquiring Fund, but will be reflected in the Acquiring Fund’s NAV. The Acquiring Fund may lose money if short-term or long-term interest rates rise sharply in a manner not anticipated by the Acquiring Fund’s management. To the extent the Acquiring Fund invests in debt securities that may be prepaid at the option of the obligor (such as mortgage-related securities), the sensitivity of such securities to changes in interest rates may increase (to the detriment of the Acquiring Fund) when interest rates rise. Moreover, because rates on certain floating rate debt securities typically reset only periodically, changes in prevailing interest rates (and particularly sudden and significant changes) can be expected to cause some fluctuations in the NAV of the Acquiring Fund to the extent that it invests in floating rate debt securities. These basic principles of bond prices also apply to U.S. Government securities. A security backed by the “full faith and credit” of the U.S. Government is guaranteed only as to its stated interest rate and face value at maturity, not its current market price. Just like other fixed-income securities, government-guaranteed securities will fluctuate in value when interest rates change.

The Acquiring Fund’s use of leverage, as described below, will tend to increase the Acquiring Fund’s interest rate risk. The Acquiring Fund may utilize certain strategies, including taking positions in futures or interest rate swaps, for the purpose of reducing the interest rate sensitivity of fixed income securities held by the Acquiring Fund and decreasing the Acquiring Fund’s exposure to interest rate risk. The Acquiring Fund is not required to hedge its exposure to interest rate risk and may choose not to do so. In addition, there is no assurance that any attempts by the Acquiring Fund to reduce interest rate risk will be successful or that any hedges that the Acquiring Fund may establish will perfectly correlate with movements in interest rates.

The Acquiring Fund may invest in variable and floating rate debt instruments, which generally are less sensitive to interest rate changes than longer duration fixed rate instruments, but may decline in value in response to rising interest rates if, for example, the rates at which they pay interest do not rise as much, or as quickly, as market interest rates in general. Conversely, variable and floating rate instruments generally will not increase in value if interest rates decline. The Acquiring Fund also may invest in inverse floating rate debt securities, which

 

50


may decrease in value if interest rates increase, and which also may exhibit greater price volatility than fixed rate debt obligations with similar credit quality.

Issuer Risk. The value of fixed income securities may decline for a number of reasons which directly relate to the issuer, such as management performance, financial leverage, reduced demand for the issuer’s goods and services, historical and prospective earnings of the issuer and the value of the assets of the issuer.

Credit Risk. Credit risk is the risk that one or more fixed income securities in the Acquiring Fund’s portfolio will decline in price or fail to pay interest or principal when due because the issuer of the security experiences a decline in its financial status. Credit risk is increased when a portfolio security is downgraded or the perceived creditworthiness of the issuer deteriorates. To the extent the Acquiring Fund invests in below investment grade securities, it will be exposed to a greater amount of credit risk than a fund which only invests in investment grade securities. In addition, to the extent the Acquiring Fund uses credit derivatives, such use will expose it to additional risk in the event that the bonds underlying the derivatives default. The degree of credit risk depends on the issuer’s financial condition and on the terms of the securities. If rating agencies lower their ratings of municipal securities in the Acquiring Fund’s portfolio, the value of those securities could decline, which could jeopardize rating agencies’ ratings of Acquiring Fund VMTP Shares. Because a significant source of income for the Acquiring Fund is the interest and principal payments on the municipal securities in which it invests, any default by an issuer of a municipal security could have a negative impact on the Acquiring Fund’s ability to pay dividends on common shares or any VMTP Shares then outstanding and could result in the redemption of some or all of any VMTP Shares then outstanding.

Prepayment Risk. During periods of declining interest rates, borrowers may exercise their option to prepay principal earlier than scheduled. For fixed rate securities, such payments often occur during periods of declining interest rates, forcing the Acquiring Fund to reinvest in lower yielding securities, resulting in a possible decline in the Acquiring Fund’s income and distributions to shareholders. This is known as prepayment or “call” risk. Below investment grade securities frequently have call features that allow the issuer to redeem the security at dates prior to its stated maturity at a specified price (typically greater than par) only if certain prescribed conditions are met (“call protection”). For premium bonds (bonds acquired at prices that exceed their par or principal value) purchased by the Acquiring Fund, prepayment risk may be enhanced.

Reinvestment Risk. Reinvestment risk is the risk that income from the Acquiring Fund’s portfolio will decline if the Acquiring Fund invests the proceeds from matured, traded or called fixed income securities at market interest rates that are below the Acquiring Fund portfolio’s current earnings rate.

Duration and Maturity Risk. The Investment Advisor may seek to adjust the portfolio’s duration or maturity based on its assessment of current and projected market conditions and all factors that the Investment Advisor deems relevant. In comparison to maturity (which is the date on which the issuer of a debt instrument is obligated to repay the principal amount), duration is a measure of the price volatility of a debt instrument as a result in changes in market rates of interest, based on the weighted average timing of the instrument’s expected principal and interest payments. Specifically, duration measures the anticipated percentage change in NAV that is expected for every percentage point change in interest rates. The two have an inverse relationship. Duration can be a useful tool to estimate anticipated price changes to a fixed pool of income securities associated with changes in interest rates. For example, a duration of five years means that a 1% decrease in interest rates will increase the NAV of the portfolio by approximately 5%; if interest rates increase by 1%, the NAV will decrease by 5%. However, in a managed portfolio of fixed income securities having differing interest or dividend rates or payment schedules, maturities, redemption provisions, call or prepayment provisions and credit qualities, actual price changes in response to changes in interest rates may differ significantly from a duration-based estimate at any given time. Actual price movements experienced by a portfolio of fixed income securities will be affected by how interest rates move (i.e., changes in the relationship of long-term interest rates to short-term interest rates and in the relationship of interest rates for highly rated securities and rates for below investment grade securities), the magnitude of any move in interest rates, actual and anticipated prepayments of principal through call or

 

51


redemption features, the extension of maturities through restructuring, the sale of securities for portfolio management purposes, the reinvestment of proceeds from prepayments on and from sales of securities, and credit quality-related considerations whether associated with financing costs to lower credit quality borrowers or otherwise, as well as other factors. Accordingly, while duration maybe a useful tool to estimate potential price movements in relation to changes in interest rates, investors are cautioned that duration alone will not predict actual changes in the net asset or market value of the Acquiring Fund’s shares and that actual price movements in the Acquiring Fund’s portfolio may differ significantly from duration-based estimates. Duration differs from maturity in that it takes into account a security’s yield, coupon payments and its principal payments in addition to the amount of time until the security finally matures. As the value of a security changes over time, so will its duration. Prices of securities with longer durations tend to be more sensitive to interest rate changes than securities with shorter durations. In general, a portfolio of securities with a longer duration can be expected to be more sensitive to interest rate changes than a portfolio with a shorter duration. Any decisions as to the targeted duration or maturity of any particular category of investments or of the Acquiring Fund’s portfolio generally will be made based on all pertinent market factors at any given time. The Acquiring Fund may incur costs in seeking to adjust the portfolio’s average duration or maturity. There can be no assurances that the Investment Advisor’s assessment of current and projected market conditions will be correct or that any strategy to adjust the portfolio’s duration or maturity will be successful at any given time.

Leverage Risk. The use of leverage creates an opportunity for increased common share net investment income dividends, but also creates risks for the common shareholders. The Acquiring Fund cannot assure you that the use of leverage, if employed, will result in a higher yield on the common shares. Any leveraging strategy the Acquiring Fund employs may not be successful. Leverage involves risks and special considerations for common shareholders, including:

 

 

the likelihood of greater volatility of NAV, market price and dividend rate of the common shares than a comparable portfolio without leverage;

 

 

the risk that fluctuations in interest rates or dividend rates on any leverage that the Acquiring Fund must pay will reduce the return to the common shareholders;

 

 

the effect of leverage in a declining market, which is likely to cause a greater decline in the NAV of the common shares than if the Acquiring Fund were not leveraged, which may result in a greater decline in the market price of the common shares;

 

 

when the Acquiring Fund uses financial leverage, the investment advisory fee payable to the Investment Advisor will be higher than if the Acquiring Fund did not use leverage; and

 

 

leverage may increase operating costs, which may reduce total return.

Any decline in the NAV of the Acquiring Fund’s investments will be borne entirely by the common shareholders. Therefore, if the market value of the Acquiring Fund’s portfolio declines, leverage will result in a greater decrease in NAV to the common shareholders than if the Acquiring Fund were not leveraged. This greater NAV decrease will also tend to cause a greater decline in the market price for the common shares. Changes in the future direction of interest rates are very difficult to predict accurately. If the Acquiring Fund were to reduce any outstanding leverage based on a prediction about future changes to interest rates, and that prediction turned out to be incorrect, the reduction in any outstanding leverage would likely operate to reduce the income and/or total returns to common shareholders relative to the circumstance where the Acquiring Fund had not reduced any of its outstanding leverage. The Acquiring Fund may decide that this risk outweighs the likelihood of achieving the desired reduction to volatility in income and share price if the prediction were to turn out to be correct, and determine not to reduce any of its outstanding leverage as described above.

The Acquiring Fund currently utilizes leverage through the issuance of VMTP Shares (see “Information about the Preferred Shares of the Funds”) and investments in TOB Residuals (see “—Tender Option Bond Risk”). The use of TOB Residuals may require the Acquiring Fund to segregate or designate on its books and

 

52


records assets to cover its obligations. While the segregated or earmarked assets may be invested in liquid assets, they may not be used for other operational purposes. Consequently, the use of leverage may limit the Acquiring Fund’s flexibility and may require that the Acquiring Fund sell other portfolio investments to pay Fund expenses, to maintain assets in an amount sufficient to cover the Acquiring Fund’s leveraged exposure or to meet other obligations at a time when it may be disadvantageous to sell such assets.

Certain types of leverage used by the Acquiring Fund may result in the Acquiring Fund being subject to covenants relating to asset coverage and portfolio composition requirements. The Acquiring Fund may be subject to certain restrictions on investments imposed by guidelines of one or more rating agencies, which issue ratings for the VMTP Shares issued by the Acquiring Fund or the governing instrument for the Acquiring Fund VMTP Shares. These guidelines may impose asset coverage or portfolio composition requirements that are more stringent than those imposed by the 1940 Act. The Investment Advisor does not believe that these covenants or guidelines will impede it from managing the Acquiring Fund’s portfolio in accordance with the Acquiring Fund’s investment objective and policies.

While there are any preferred shares of the Acquiring Fund outstanding, the Acquiring Fund may not declare any cash dividend or other distribution on its common shares, unless at the time of such declaration, (i) all accrued preferred shares dividends have been paid and (ii) the value of the Acquiring Fund’s total assets (determined after deducting the amount of such dividend or other distribution), less all liabilities and indebtedness of the Acquiring Fund, is at least 200% (as required by the 1940 Act) of the liquidation preference of the outstanding preferred shares (expected to equal the aggregate original purchase price of the outstanding preferred shares plus any accrued and unpaid dividends thereon, whether or not earned or declared on a cumulative basis). This limitation on the Acquiring Fund’s ability to make distributions on its common shares could in certain circumstances impair the ability of the Acquiring Fund to maintain its qualification for taxation as a regulated investment company under the Code. The Acquiring Fund may, however, to the extent possible, purchase or redeem preferred shares from time to time to maintain compliance with such asset coverage requirements and may pay special dividends to the holders of the preferred shares in certain circumstances in connection with any such impairment of the Acquiring Fund’s status as a regulated investment company under the Code.

In addition to the foregoing, the use of leverage treated as indebtedness of the Acquiring Fund for U.S. federal income tax purposes may reduce the amount of Acquiring Fund dividends that are otherwise eligible for the dividends received deduction in the hands of corporate shareholders.

The Acquiring Fund may utilize leverage through investment derivatives. The use of certain derivatives will require the Acquiring to segregate assets to cover its obligations. While the segregated assets may be invested in liquid assets, they may not be used for other operational purposes. Consequently, the use of leverage may limit the Acquiring Fund’s flexibility and may require that the Acquiring Fund sell other portfolio investments to pay Acquiring Fund expenses, to maintain assets in an amount sufficient to cover the Acquiring Fund’s leveraged exposure or to meet other obligations at a time when it may be disadvantageous to sell such assets.

The Acquiring Fund may invest in the securities of other investment companies. Such investment companies may also be leveraged, and will therefore be subject to the leverage risks described above. This additional leverage may in certain market conditions reduce the NAV of the Acquiring Fund’s common shares and the returns to the common shareholders.

Tender Option Bond Risk. The Acquiring Fund currently leverages its assets through the use of TOB Residuals, which are derivative interests in municipal bonds. The TOB Residuals in which the Acquiring Fund may invest pay interest or income that, in the opinion of counsel to the issuer of such TOB Residuals, is exempt from regular U.S. federal income tax. No independent investigation will be made to confirm the tax-exempt status of the interest or income paid by TOB Residuals held by the Acquiring Fund. There is no assurance that the Acquiring Fund’s strategy of using TOB Residuals to leverage its assets will be successful.

 

53


TOB Residuals represent beneficial interests in a special purpose trust formed for the purpose of holding municipal bonds contributed by one or more funds (a “TOB Trust”). A TOB Trust typically issues two classes of beneficial interests: short-term floating rate interests (“TOB Floaters”), which are sold to third-party investors, and TOB Residuals, which are generally issued to the fund(s) that transferred municipal bonds to the TOB Trust. TOB Floaters may have first priority on the cash flow from the municipal bonds held by the TOB Trust and are enhanced with a liquidity support arrangement provided by a third-party bank or other financial institution (the “TOBs Liquidity Provider”) which allows holders to tender their position at par (plus accrued interest). The Acquiring Fund, as a holder of TOB Residuals, is paid the residual cash flow from the TOB Trust. As result, distributions on TOB Residuals will bear an inverse relationship to short-term municipal bond interest rates. Distributions on the TOB Residuals paid to the Acquiring Fund will be reduced or, in the extreme, eliminated as short-term municipal interest rates rise and will increase when short-term municipal interest rates fall. The amount of such reduction or increase is a function, in part, of the amount of TOB Floaters sold by the TOB Trust relative to the amount of the TOB Residuals that it sells. The greater the amount of TOB Floaters sold relative to the TOB Residuals, the more volatile the distributions on the TOB Residuals will be. Short-term interest rates are at historic lows and may be more likely to rise in the current market environment.

The municipal bonds transferred to a TOB Trust typically are high grade municipal bonds. In certain cases, when municipal bonds transferred are lower grade municipal bonds, the TOB Trust transaction includes a credit enhancement feature that provides for the timely payment of principal and interest on the bonds to the TOB Trust by a credit enhancement provider. The TOB Trust would be responsible for the payment of the credit enhancement fee and the Acquiring Fund, as a TOB Residual holder, would be responsible for reimbursement of any payments of principal and interest made by the credit enhancement provider.

Any economic leverage achieved through the Acquiring Fund’s investment in TOB Residuals will increase the possibility that common share long-term returns will be diminished if the cost of the TOB Floaters issued by a TOB Trust exceeds the return on the securities in the TOB Trust. If the income and gains earned on municipal securities owned by a TOB Trust that issues TOB Residuals to the Acquiring Fund are greater than the payments due on the TOB Floaters issued by the TOB Trust, the Acquiring Fund’s returns will be greater than if it had not invested in the TOB Residuals.

Although the Acquiring Fund generally would unwind a TOB transaction rather than try to sell a TOB Residual, if it did try to sell a TOB Residual, its ability to do so would depend on the liquidity of the TOB Residual. TOB Residuals have varying degrees of liquidity based, among other things, upon the liquidity of the underlying securities deposited in the TOB Trust. The market price of TOB Residuals is more volatile than the underlying municipal bonds due to leverage.

The leverage attributable to the Acquiring Fund’s use of TOB Residuals may be “called away” on relatively short notice and therefore may be less permanent than more traditional forms of leverage. The TOB Trust may be collapsed without the consent of the Acquiring Fund upon the occurrence of termination events, as defined in the TOB Trust agreements. Upon the occurrence of a termination event, a TOB Trust would be liquidated with the proceeds applied first to any accrued fees owed to the trustee of the TOB Trust, the remarketing agent of the TOB Floaters and the TOBs Liquidity Provider. Upon certain termination events, the holders of the TOB Floaters would be paid before the TOB Residual holders (i.e., the Acquiring Fund) whereas in other termination events, the holders of TOB Floaters and the TOB Residual holders would be paid pro rata.

The Acquiring Fund may invest in a TOB Trust on either a non-recourse or recourse basis. If the Acquiring Fund invests in a TOB Trust on a recourse basis, it will typically enter into a reimbursement agreement with the TOBs Liquidity Provider pursuant to which the Acquiring Fund is required to reimburse the TOBs Liquidity Provider the balance, if any, of the amount owed under the liquidity facility over the liquidation proceeds (the “Liquidation Shortfall”). As a result, if the Acquiring Fund invests in a recourse TOB Trust, the Acquiring Fund will bear the risk of loss with respect to any Liquidation Shortfall.

 

54


The use of TOB Residuals will require the Acquiring Fund to earmark or segregate liquid assets in an amount equal to any TOB Floaters, plus any accrued but unpaid interest due on the TOB Floaters, issued by TOB Trusts sponsored by, or on behalf of, the Acquiring Fund that are not owned by the Acquiring Fund. The use of TOB Residuals may also require the Acquiring Fund to earmark or segregate liquid assets in an amount equal to loans provided by the TOBs Liquidity Provider to the TOB Trust to purchase tendered TOB Floaters. While the segregated assets may be invested in liquid securities, they may not be used for other operational purposes. Consequently, the use of leverage through TOB Residuals may limit the Acquiring Fund’s flexibility and may require that the Acquiring Fund sell other portfolio investments to pay the Acquiring Fund’s expenses, to maintain assets in an amount sufficient to cover the Acquiring Fund’s leveraged exposure or to meet other obligations at a time when it may be disadvantageous to sell such assets. Future regulatory requirements or SEC guidance may necessitate more onerous contractual or regulatory requirements, which may increase the costs or reduce the degree of potential economic benefits of TOB Trust transactions or limit the Acquiring Fund’s ability to enter into or manage TOB Trust transactions.

The Acquiring Fund structures and “sponsors” the TOB Trusts in which it holds TOB Residuals and has certain duties and responsibilities, which may give rise to certain additional risks including, but not limited to, compliance, securities law and operational risks.

The SEC and various federal banking and housing agencies adopted credit risk retention rules for securitizations (the “Risk Retention Rules”). The Risk Retention Rules require the sponsor of a TOB Trust to retain at least 5% of the credit risk of the underlying assets supporting the TOB Trust’s municipal bonds. The Risk Retention Rules may adversely affect the Acquiring Fund’s ability to engage in TOB Trust transactions or increase the costs of such transactions in certain circumstances.

TOB Trusts constitute an important component of the municipal bond market. Any modifications or changes to the rules governing TOB Trusts may adversely impact the municipal market and the Acquiring Fund, including through reduced demand for and liquidity of municipal bonds and increased financing costs for municipal issuers. The ultimate impact of any potential modifications on the TOB market and the overall municipal market is not yet certain.

Please see “The Acquiring Fund’s Investments—Leverage—Tender Option Bonds” for additional information.

Insurance Risk. With respect to an insured municipal security, insurance guarantees that interest payments on the municipal security will be made on time and that the principal will be repaid when the security matures. Insurance is expected to protect the Acquiring Fund against losses caused by a municipal security issuer’s failure to make interest and principal payments. However, insurance does not protect the Acquiring Fund or its shareholders against losses caused by declines in a municipal security’s value. Also, the Acquiring Fund cannot be certain that any insurance company will make the payments it guarantees. Certain significant providers of insurance for municipal securities incurred significant losses as a result of exposure to sub-prime mortgages and other lower credit quality investments that experienced defaults or otherwise suffered extreme credit deterioration during the financial crisis of 2007-2009. These losses have reduced the insurers’ capital and called into question their continued ability to perform their obligations under such insurance if they are called upon to do so in the future. While an insured municipal security will typically be deemed to have the rating of its insurer, if the insurer of a municipal security suffers a downgrade in its credit rating or the market discounts the value of the insurance provided by the insurer, the rating of the underlying municipal security will be more relevant and the value of the municipal security would more closely, if not entirely, reflect such rating. The Acquiring Fund may lose money on its investment if the insurance company does not make payments it guarantees. If a municipal security’s insurer fails to fulfill its obligations or loses its credit rating, the value of the security could drop.

Yield and Ratings Risk. The yields on debt obligations are dependent on a variety of factors, including general market conditions, conditions in the particular market for the obligation, the financial condition of the

 

55


issuer, the size of the offering, the maturity of the obligation and the ratings of the issue. The ratings of Moody’s, S&P and Fitch, which are described in Appendix D, represent their respective opinions as to the quality of the obligations which they undertake to rate. Ratings, however, are general and are not absolute standards of quality. Consequently, obligations with the same rating, maturity and interest rate may have different market prices. Subsequent to its purchase by the Acquiring Fund, a rated security may cease to be rated. The Investment Advisor will consider such an event in determining whether the Acquiring Fund should continue to hold the security.

Ratings are relative and subjective and, although ratings may be useful in evaluating the safety of interest and principal payments, they do not evaluate the market value risk of such obligations. Although these ratings may be an initial criterion for selection of portfolio investments, the Investment Advisor also will independently evaluate these securities and the ability of the issuers of such securities to pay interest and principal. To the extent that the Acquiring Fund invests in lower grade securities that have not been rated by a rating agency, the Acquiring Fund’s ability to achieve its investment objective will be more dependent on the Investment Advisor’s credit analysis than would be the case when the Acquiring Fund invests in rated securities.

“High Yield” Securities Risk. Subject to its investment policies, the Acquiring Fund may invest in securities rated, at the time of investment, below investment grade quality such as those rated Ba or below by Moody’s, BB or below by S&P or Fitch, or securities comparably rated by other rating agencies or in unrated securities determined by the Investment Advisor to be of comparable quality. Such securities, sometimes referred to as “high yield” or “junk” bonds, are predominantly speculative with respect to the capacity to pay interest and repay principal in accordance with the terms of the security and generally involve greater price volatility than securities in higher rating categories. Often the protection of interest and principal payments with respect to such securities may be very moderate and issuers of such securities face major ongoing uncertainties or exposure to adverse business, financial or economic conditions which could lead to inadequate capacity to meet timely interest and principal payments.

Lower grade securities, though high yielding, are characterized by high risk. They may be subject to certain risks with respect to the issuing entity and to greater market fluctuations than certain lower yielding, higher rated securities. The secondary market for lower grade securities may be less liquid than that of higher rated securities. Adverse conditions could make it difficult at times for the Acquiring Fund to sell certain securities or could result in lower prices than those used in calculating the Acquiring Fund’s NAV.

The prices of fixed-income securities generally are inversely related to interest rate changes; however, the price volatility caused by fluctuating interest rates of securities also is inversely related to the coupons of such securities. Accordingly, below investment grade securities may be relatively less sensitive to interest rate changes than higher quality securities of comparable maturity because of their higher coupon. The investor receives this higher coupon in return for bearing greater credit risk. The higher credit risk associated with below investment grade securities potentially can have a greater effect on the value of such securities than may be the case with higher quality issues of comparable maturity.

Lower grade securities may be particularly susceptible to economic downturns. It is likely that an economic recession could severely disrupt the market for such securities and may have an adverse impact on the value of such securities. In addition, it is likely that any such economic downturn could adversely affect the ability of the issuers of such securities to repay principal and pay interest thereon and increase the incidence of default for such securities. The ratings of Moody’s, S&P, Fitch and other rating agencies represent their opinions as to the quality of the obligations which they undertake to rate. Ratings are relative and subjective and, although ratings may be useful in evaluating the safety of interest and principal payments, they do not evaluate the market value risk of such obligations. Although these ratings may be an initial criterion for selection of portfolio investments, the Investment Advisor also will independently evaluate these securities and the ability of the issuers of such securities to pay interest and principal. To the extent that the Acquiring Fund invests in lower grade securities that have not been rated by a rating agency, the Acquiring Fund’s ability to achieve its investment objective will

 

56


be more dependent on the Investment Advisor’s credit analysis than would be the case when the Acquiring Fund invests in rated securities.

Unrated Securities Risk. Because the Acquiring Fund may purchase securities that are not rated by any rating organization, the Investment Advisor may, after assessing their credit quality, internally assign ratings to certain of those securities in categories similar to those of rating organizations. Some unrated securities may not have an active trading market or may be difficult to value, which means the Acquiring Fund might have difficulty selling them promptly at an acceptable price. To the extent that the Acquiring Fund invests in unrated securities, the Acquiring Fund’s ability to achieve its investment objective will be more dependent on the Investment Advisor’s credit analysis than would be the case when the Acquiring Fund invests in rated securities.

Zero-Coupon Securities Risk. Municipal bonds may include zero-coupon bonds. Zero-coupon securities are bonds that are sold at a discount to par value and do not pay interest during the life of the security. The discount approximates the total amount of interest the security will accrue and compound over the period until maturity at a rate of interest reflecting the market rate of the security at the time of issuance. Upon maturity, the holder of a zero-coupon security is entitled to receive the par value of the security.

While interest payments are not made on zero-coupon securities, holders of such securities are deemed to have received income (“phantom income”) annually, notwithstanding that cash may not be received currently. The effect of owning instruments that do not make current interest payments is that a fixed yield is earned not only on the original investment but also, in effect, on all discount accretion during the life of the obligations. This implicit reinvestment of earnings at a fixed rate eliminates the risk of being unable to invest distributions at a rate as high as the implicit yield on the zero-coupon bond, but at the same time eliminates the holder’s ability to reinvest at higher rates in the future. For this reason, some of these securities may be subject to substantially greater price fluctuations during periods of changing market interest rates than are comparable securities that pay interest currently. Longer term zero-coupon bonds are more exposed to interest rate risk than shorter term zero-coupon bonds. These investments benefit the issuer by mitigating its need for cash to meet debt service, but also require a higher rate of return to attract investors who are willing to defer receipt of cash.

The Acquiring Fund accrues income with respect to these securities for U.S. federal income tax and accounting purposes prior to the receipt of cash payments. Zero-coupon securities may be subject to greater fluctuation in value and less liquidity in the event of adverse market conditions than comparably rated securities that pay cash interest at regular intervals.

Further, to maintain its qualification for pass-through treatment under the federal tax laws, the Acquiring Fund is required to distribute income to its shareholders and, consequently, may have to dispose of other, more liquid portfolio securities under disadvantageous circumstances or may have to leverage itself by borrowing in order to generate the cash to satisfy these distributions. The required distributions may result in an increase in the Acquiring Fund’s exposure to zero-coupon securities.

In addition to the above-described risks, there are certain other risks related to investing in zero-coupon securities. During a period of severe market conditions, the market for such securities may become even less liquid. In addition, as these securities do not pay cash interest, the Acquiring Fund’s investment exposure to these securities and their risks, including credit risk, will increase during the time these securities are held in the Acquiring Fund’s portfolio.

Variable Rate Demand Obligations Risk. Variable rate demand obligations (“VRDOs”) are floating rate securities that combine an interest in a long-term municipal bond with a right to demand payment before maturity from a bank or other financial institution. If the bank or financial institution is unable to pay, the Acquiring Fund may lose money.

Indexed and Inverse Securities Risk. Investments in inverse floaters, residual interest TOBs and similar instruments expose the Acquiring Fund to the same risks as investments in fixed income securities and

 

57


derivatives, as well as other risks, including those associated with leverage and increased volatility. An investment in these securities typically will involve greater risk than an investment in a fixed rate security. Distributions on inverse floaters, residual interest TOBs and similar instruments will typically bear an inverse relationship to short-term interest rates and typically will be reduced or, potentially, eliminated as interest rates rise. Inverse floaters, residual interest TOBs and similar instruments will underperform the market for fixed rate securities in a rising interest rate environment. Inverse floaters may be considered to be leveraged to the extent that their interest rates vary by a magnitude that exceeds the magnitude of the change in a reference rate of interest (typically a short-term interest rate). The leverage inherent in inverse floaters is associated with greater volatility in their market values. Investments in inverse floaters, residual interest TOBs and similar instruments that have fixed income securities underlying them will expose the Acquiring Fund to the risks associated with those fixed income securities and the values of those investments may be especially sensitive to changes in prepayment rates on the underlying fixed income securities.

When-Issued, Forward Commitment and Delayed Delivery Transactions Risk. The Acquiring Fund may purchase securities on a when-issued basis (including on a forward commitment or “TBA” (to be announced) basis) and may purchase or sell those securities for delayed delivery. When-issued and delayed delivery transactions occur when securities are purchased or sold by the Acquiring Fund with payment and delivery taking place in the future to secure an advantageous yield or price. Securities purchased on a when-issued or delayed delivery basis may expose the Acquiring Fund to counterparty risk of default as well as the risk that securities may experience fluctuations in value prior to their actual delivery. The Acquiring Fund will not accrue income with respect to a when-issued or delayed delivery security prior to its stated delivery date. Purchasing securities on a when-issued or delayed delivery basis can involve the additional risk that the price or yield available in the market when the delivery takes place may not be as favorable as that obtained in the transaction itself.

Repurchase Agreements Risk. Repurchase agreements typically involve the acquisition by the Acquiring Fund of fixed income securities from a selling financial institution such as a bank, savings and loan association or broker-dealer. The agreement provides that the Acquiring Fund will sell the securities back to the institution at a fixed time in the future. The Acquiring Fund does not bear the risk of a decline in the value of the underlying security unless the seller defaults under its repurchase obligation. In the event of the bankruptcy or other default of a seller of a repurchase agreement, the Acquiring Fund could experience both delays in liquidating the underlying securities and losses, including possible decline in the value of the underlying security during the period in which the Acquiring Fund seeks to enforce its rights thereto; possible lack of access to income on the underlying security during this period; and expenses of enforcing its rights. While repurchase agreements involve certain risks not associated with direct investments in fixed income securities, the Acquiring Fund follows procedures approved by the Board that are designed to minimize such risks. The value of the collateral underlying the repurchase agreement will be at least equal to the repurchase price, including any accrued interest earned on the repurchase agreement. In the event of a default or bankruptcy by a selling financial institution, the Acquiring Fund generally will seek to liquidate such collateral. However, the exercise of the Acquiring Fund’s right to liquidate such collateral could involve certain costs or delays and, to the extent that proceeds from any sale upon a default of the obligation to repurchase were less than the repurchase price, the Acquiring Fund could suffer a loss.

Reverse Repurchase Agreements Risk. Reverse repurchase agreements involve the risks that the interest income earned on the investment of the proceeds will be less than the interest expense of the Acquiring Fund, that the market value of the securities sold by the Acquiring Fund may decline below the price at which the Acquiring Fund is obligated to repurchase the securities and that the securities may not be returned to the Acquiring Fund. There is no assurance that reverse repurchase agreements can be successfully employed.

Securities Lending Risk. The Acquiring Fund may lend securities to financial institutions. Securities lending involves exposure to certain risks, including operational risk (i.e., the risk of losses resulting from problems in the settlement and accounting process), “gap” risk (i.e., the risk of a mismatch between the return on cash collateral reinvestments and the fees the Acquiring Fund has agreed to pay a borrower), and credit, legal,

 

58


counterparty and market risk. If a securities lending counterparty were to default, the Acquiring Fund would be subject to the risk of a possible delay in receiving collateral or in recovering the loaned securities, or to a possible loss of rights in the collateral. In the event a borrower does not return the Acquiring Fund’s securities as agreed, the Acquiring Fund may experience losses if the proceeds received from liquidating the collateral do not at least equal the value of the loaned security at the time the collateral is liquidated, plus the transaction costs incurred in purchasing replacement securities. This event could trigger adverse tax consequences for the Acquiring Fund. The Acquiring Fund could lose money if its short-term investment of the collateral declines in value over the period of the loan. Substitute payments for dividends received by the Acquiring Fund for securities loaned out by the Acquiring Fund will generally not be considered qualified dividend income. The securities lending agent will take the tax effects on shareholders of this difference into account in connection with the Acquiring Fund’s securities lending program. Substitute payments received on tax-exempt securities loaned out will generally not be tax-exempt income.

Restricted and Illiquid Securities Risk. The Acquiring Fund may invest in illiquid or less liquid investments or investments in which no secondary market is readily available or which are otherwise illiquid, including private placement securities. The Acquiring Fund may not be able to readily dispose of such investments at prices that approximate those at which the Acquiring Fund could sell such investments if they were more widely-traded and, as a result of such illiquidity, the Acquiring Fund may have to sell other investments or engage in borrowing transactions if necessary to raise cash to meet its obligations. Limited liquidity can also affect the market price of investments, thereby adversely affecting the Acquiring Fund’s NAV and ability to make dividend distributions. The financial markets in general, and certain segments of the mortgage related securities markets in particular, have in recent years experienced periods of extreme secondary market supply and demand imbalance, resulting in a loss of liquidity during which market prices were suddenly and substantially below traditional measures of intrinsic value. During such periods, some investments could be sold only at arbitrary prices and with substantial losses. Periods of such market dislocation may occur again at any time. Privately issued debt securities are often of below investment grade quality, frequently are unrated and present many of the same risks as investing in below investment grade public debt securities.

Restricted securities are securities that may not be sold to the public without an effective registration statement under the Securities Act, or that may be sold only in a privately negotiated transaction or pursuant to an exemption from registration. For example, Rule 144A under the Securities Act provides an exemption from the registration requirements of the Securities Act for the resale of certain restricted securities to qualified institutional buyers, such as the Acquiring Fund. However, an insufficient number of qualified institutional buyers interested in purchasing the Rule 144A-eligible securities that the Acquiring Fund holds could affect adversely the marketability of certain Rule 144A securities, and the Acquiring Fund might be unable to dispose of such securities promptly or at reasonable prices. When registration is required to sell a security, the Acquiring Fund may be obligated to pay all or part of the registration expenses and considerable time may pass before the Acquiring Fund is permitted to sell a security under an effective registration statement. If adverse market conditions develop during this period, the Acquiring Fund might obtain a less favorable price than the price that prevailed when the Acquiring Fund decided to sell. The Acquiring Fund may be unable to sell restricted and other illiquid investments at opportune times or prices.

Investment Companies Risk. Subject to the limitations set forth in the 1940 Act and the Acquiring Fund’s governing documents or as otherwise permitted by the SEC, the Acquiring Fund may acquire shares in other affiliated and unaffiliated investment companies, including exchange-traded funds (“ETFs”) and business development companies (“BDCs”). The market value of the shares of other investment companies may differ from their NAV. As an investor in investment companies, including ETFs or BDCs, the Acquiring Fund would bear its ratable share of that entity’s expenses, including its investment advisory and administration fees, while continuing to pay its own advisory and administration fees and other expenses. As a result, shareholders will be absorbing duplicate levels of fees with respect to investments in other investment companies, including ETFs or BDCs.

 

59


The securities of other investment companies, including ETFs or BDCs, in which the Acquiring Fund may invest may be leveraged. As a result, the Acquiring Fund may be indirectly exposed to leverage through an investment in such securities. An investment in securities of other investment companies, including ETFs or BDCs, that use leverage may expose the Acquiring Fund to higher volatility in the market value of such securities and the possibility that the Acquiring Fund’s long-term returns on such securities (and, indirectly, the long-term returns of the Acquiring Fund’s common shares) will be diminished.

ETFs are generally not actively managed and may be affected by a general decline in market segments relating to its index. An ETF typically invests in securities included in, or representative of, its index regardless of their investment merits and does not attempt to take defensive positions in declining markets.

Strategic Transactions and Derivatives Risk. The Acquiring Fund may engage in various derivative transactions or portfolio strategies (“Strategic Transactions”) for duration management and other risk management purposes, including to attempt to protect against possible changes in the market value of the Acquiring Fund’s portfolio resulting from trends in the securities markets and changes in interest rates or to protect the Acquiring Fund’s unrealized gains in the value of its portfolio securities, to facilitate the sale of portfolio securities for investment purposes or to establish a position in the securities markets as a temporary substitute for purchasing particular securities or to enhance income or gain. Derivatives are financial contracts or instruments whose value depends on, or is derived from, the value of an underlying asset, reference rate or index (or relationship between two indices). The Acquiring Fund also may use derivatives to add leverage to the portfolio and/or to hedge against increases in the Acquiring Fund’s costs associated with any leverage strategy that it may employ. The use of Strategic Transactions to enhance current income may be particularly speculative.

Strategic Transactions involve risks. The risks associated with Strategic Transactions include (i) the imperfect correlation between the value of such instruments and the underlying assets, (ii) the possible default of the counterparty to the transaction, (iii) illiquidity of the derivative instruments, and (iv) high volatility losses caused by unanticipated market movements, which are potentially unlimited. Although both over-the-counter (“OTC”) and exchange-traded derivatives markets may experience a lack of liquidity, OTC non-standardized derivative transactions are generally less liquid than exchange-traded instruments. The illiquidity of the derivatives markets may be due to various factors, including congestion, disorderly markets, limitations on deliverable supplies, the participation of speculators, government regulation and intervention, and technical and operational or system failures. In addition, daily limits on price fluctuations and speculative position limits on exchanges on which the Acquiring Fund may conduct its transactions in derivative instruments may prevent prompt liquidation of positions, subjecting the Acquiring Fund to the potential of greater losses. Furthermore, the Acquiring Fund’s ability to successfully use Strategic Transactions depends on the Investment Advisor’s ability to predict pertinent securities prices, interest rates, currency exchange rates and other economic factors, which cannot be assured. The use of Strategic Transactions may result in losses greater than if they had not been used, may require the Acquiring Fund to sell or purchase portfolio securities at inopportune times or for prices other than current market values, may limit the amount of appreciation the Acquiring Fund can realize on an investment or may cause the Acquiring Fund to hold a security that it might otherwise sell. Additionally, segregated or earmarked liquid assets, amounts paid by the Acquiring Fund as premiums and cash or other assets held in margin accounts with respect to Strategic Transactions are not otherwise available to the Acquiring Fund for investment purposes.

Exchange-traded derivatives and OTC derivative transactions submitted for clearing through a central counterparty are also subject to minimum initial and variation margin requirements set by the relevant clearinghouse, as well as possible SEC- or Commodity Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC”) mandated margin requirements. The CFTC and federal banking regulators also have imposed margin requirements on non-cleared OTC derivatives, and the SEC has proposed (but not yet finalized) such non-cleared margin requirements. As applicable, margin requirements will increase the overall costs for the Acquiring Fund.

Many OTC derivatives are valued on the basis of dealers’ pricing of these instruments. However, the price at which dealers value a particular derivative and the price that the same dealers would actually be willing to pay

 

60


for such derivative should the Acquiring Fund wish or be forced to sell such position may be materially different. Such differences can result in an overstatement of the Acquiring Fund’s NAV and may materially adversely affect the Acquiring Fund in situations in which the Acquiring Fund is required to sell derivative instruments.

While hedging can reduce or eliminate losses, it can also reduce or eliminate gains. Hedges are sometimes subject to imperfect matching between the derivative and the underlying security, and there can be no assurances that the Acquiring Fund’s hedging transactions will be effective.

Derivatives may give rise to a form of leverage and may expose the Acquiring Fund to greater risk and increase its costs. Recent legislation calls for new regulation of the derivatives markets. The extent and impact of the regulation is not yet known and may not be known for some time. New regulation may make derivatives more costly, may limit the availability of derivatives, or may otherwise adversely affect the value or performance of derivatives.

In November 2019, the SEC proposed new regulations governing the use of derivatives by registered investment companies. If adopted as proposed, new Rule 18f-4 would impose limits on the amount of derivatives a fund could enter into, eliminate the asset segregation framework currently used by funds to comply with Section 18 of the 1940 Act, treat derivatives as senior securities so that a failure to comply with the proposed limits would result in a statutory violation and require funds whose use of derivatives is more than a limited specified exposure amount to establish and maintain a comprehensive derivatives risk management program and appoint a derivatives risk manager.

The Acquiring Fund’s use of derivative instruments involves risks different from, and possibly greater than, the risks associated with investing directly in securities and other traditional investments. Derivatives are subject to a number of risks such as credit risk, currency risk, leverage risk, liquidity risk, correlation risk, index risk and volatility as described below:

 

   

Credit Risk—the risk that the counterparty in a derivative transaction will be unable to honor its financial obligation to the Acquiring Fund, or the risk that the reference entity in a derivative will not be able to honor its financial obligations. In particular, derivatives traded in over-the-counter (“OTC”) markets often are not guaranteed by an Exchange (as defined herein) or clearing corporation and often do not require payment of margin, and to the extent that the Acquiring Fund has unrealized gains in such instruments or has deposited collateral with its counterparties, the Acquiring Fund is at risk that its counterparties will become bankrupt or otherwise fail to honor their obligations.

 

   

Currency Risk—the risk that changes in the exchange rate between two currencies will adversely affect the value (in U.S. dollar terms) of an investment.

 

   

Leverage Risk—the risk associated with certain types of investments or trading strategies (such as, for example, borrowing money to increase the amount of investments) that relatively small market movements may result in large changes in the value of an investment. Certain transactions in derivatives (such as futures transactions or sales of put options) involve substantial leverage risk and may expose the Acquiring Fund to potential losses that exceed the amount originally invested by the Acquiring Fund. When the Acquiring Fund engages in such a transaction, the Acquiring Fund will deposit in a segregated account, or earmark on its books and records, liquid assets with a value at least equal to the Acquiring Fund’s exposure, on a mark-to-market basis, to the transaction (as calculated pursuant to requirements of the SEC). Such segregation or earmarking will ensure that the Acquiring Fund has assets available to satisfy its obligations with respect to the transaction, but will not limit the Acquiring Fund’s exposure to loss.

 

 

Liquidity Risk—the risk that certain securities may be difficult or impossible to sell at the time that the Acquiring Fund would like or at the price that the Acquiring Fund as seller believes the security is currently worth. There can be no assurances that, at any specific time, either a liquid secondary market will exist for a derivative or the Acquiring Fund will otherwise be able to sell such instrument at an acceptable price. It may, therefore, not be possible to close a position in a derivative without incurring substantial losses, if at

 

61


 

all. The absence of liquidity may also make it more difficult for the Acquiring Fund to ascertain a market value for such instruments. Although both OTC and exchange-traded derivatives markets may experience a lack of liquidity, certain derivatives traded in OTC markets, including indexed securities, swaps and OTC options, involve substantial illiquidity risk. The illiquidity of the derivatives markets may be due to various factors, including congestion, disorderly markets, limitations on deliverable supplies, the participation of speculators, government regulation and intervention, and technical and operational or system failures. In addition, the liquidity of a secondary market in an exchange-traded derivative contract may be adversely affected by “daily price fluctuation limits” established by the exchanges which limit the amount of fluctuation in an exchange-traded contract price during a single trading day. Once the daily limit has been reached in the contract, no trades may be entered into at a price beyond the limit, thus preventing the liquidation of open positions. Prices have in the past moved beyond the daily limit on a number of consecutive trading days. If it is not possible to close an open derivative position entered into by the Acquiring Fund, the Acquiring Fund would continue to be required to make daily cash payments of variation margin in the event of adverse price movements. In such a situation, if the Acquiring Fund has insufficient cash, it may have to sell portfolio securities to meet daily variation margin requirements at a time when it may be disadvantageous to do so.

 

 

Correlation Risk—the risk that changes in the value of a derivative will not match the changes in the value of the portfolio holdings that are being hedged or of the particular market or security to which the Acquiring Fund seeks exposure through the use of the derivative. There are a number of factors which may prevent a derivative instrument from achieving the desired correlation (or inverse correlation) with an underlying asset, rate or index, such as the impact of fees, expenses and transaction costs, the timing of pricing, and disruptions or illiquidity in the markets for such derivative instrument.

 

 

Index Risk—if the derivative is linked to the performance of an index, it will be subject to the risks associated with changes in that index. If the index changes, the Acquiring Fund could receive lower interest payments or experience a reduction in the value of the derivative to below the price that the Acquiring Fund paid for such derivative. Certain indexed securities, including inverse securities (which move in an opposite direction to the index), may create leverage, to the extent that they increase or decrease in value at a rate that is a multiple of the changes in the applicable index.

 

   

Volatility Risk—the risk that the Acquiring Fund’s use of derivatives may reduce income or gain and/or increase volatility. Volatility is defined as the characteristic of a security, an index or a market to fluctuate significantly in price over a defined time period. The Acquiring Fund could suffer losses related to its derivative positions as a result of unanticipated market movements, which losses are potentially unlimited.

When a derivative is used as a hedge against a position that the Acquiring Fund holds, any loss generated by the derivative generally should be substantially offset by gains on the hedged investment, and vice versa. While hedging can reduce or eliminate losses, it can also reduce or eliminate gains. Hedges are sometimes subject to imperfect matching between the derivative and the underlying security, and there can be no assurances that the Acquiring Fund’s hedging transactions will be effective. The Acquiring Fund could also suffer losses related to its derivative positions as a result of unanticipated market movements, which losses are potentially unlimited. The Investment Advisor may not be able to predict correctly the direction of securities prices, interest rates and other economic factors, which could cause the Acquiring Fund’s derivatives positions to lose value. In addition, some derivatives are more sensitive to interest rate changes and market price fluctuations than other securities. The possible lack of a liquid secondary market for derivatives and the resulting inability of the Acquiring Fund to sell or otherwise close a derivatives position could expose the Acquiring Fund to losses and could make derivatives more difficult for the Acquiring Fund to value accurately.

When engaging in a hedging transaction, the Acquiring Fund may determine not to seek to establish a perfect correlation between the hedging instruments utilized and the portfolio holdings being hedged. Such an imperfect correlation may prevent the Acquiring Fund from achieving the intended hedge or expose the Acquiring Fund to a risk of loss. The Acquiring Fund may also determine not to hedge against a particular risk

 

62


because it does not regard the probability of the risk occurring to be sufficiently high as to justify the cost of the hedge or because it does not foresee the occurrence of the risk. It may not be possible for the Acquiring Fund to hedge against a change or event at attractive prices or at a price sufficient to protect the assets of the Acquiring Fund from the decline in value of the portfolio positions anticipated as a result of such change. The Acquiring Fund may also be restricted in its ability to effectively manage the portion of its assets that are segregated or earmarked to cover its obligations. In addition, it may not be possible to hedge at all against certain risks.

If the Acquiring Fund invests in a derivative instrument it could lose more than the principal amount invested. Moreover, derivatives raise certain tax, legal, regulatory and accounting issues that may not be presented by investments in securities, and there is some risk that certain issues could be resolved in a manner that could adversely impact the performance of the Acquiring Fund.

The Acquiring Fund is not required to use derivatives or other portfolio strategies to seek to increase return or to seek to hedge its portfolio and may choose not to do so. Also, suitable derivative transactions may not be available in all circumstances and there can be no assurances that the Acquiring Fund will engage in these transactions to reduce exposure to other risks when that would be beneficial. Although the Investment Advisor seeks to use derivatives to further the Acquiring Fund’s investment objective, there is no assurance that the use of derivatives will achieve this result.

Options Risk. There are several risks associated with transactions in options on securities and indexes. For example, there are significant differences between the securities and options markets that could result in an imperfect correlation between these markets, causing a given transaction not to achieve its objective. In addition, a liquid secondary market for particular options, whether traded OTC or on a recognized securities exchange (e.g., NYSE), separate trading boards of a securities exchange or through a market system that provides contemporaneous transaction pricing information (an “exchange”) may be absent for reasons which include the following: there may be insufficient trading interest in certain options; restrictions may be imposed by an exchange on opening transactions or closing transactions or both; trading halts, suspensions or other restrictions may be imposed with respect to particular classes or series of options or underlying securities; unusual or unforeseen circumstances may interrupt normal operations on an exchange; the facilities of an exchange or the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (“OCC”) may not at all times be adequate to handle current trading volume; or one or more exchanges could, for economic or other reasons, decide or be compelled at some future date to discontinue the trading of options (or a particular class or series of options), in which event the secondary market on that exchange (or in that class or series of options) would cease to exist, although outstanding options that had been issued by the OCC as a result of trades on that exchange would continue to be exercisable in accordance with their terms.

Futures Transactions and Options Risk. The primary risks associated with the use of futures contracts and options are (a) the imperfect correlation between the change in market value of the instruments held by the Acquiring Fund and the price of the futures contract or option; (b) possible lack of a liquid secondary market for a futures contract and the resulting inability to close a futures contract when desired; (c) losses caused by unanticipated market movements, which are potentially unlimited; (d) the Investment Advisor’s inability to predict correctly the direction of securities prices, interest rates, currency exchange rates and other economic factors; and (e) the possibility that the counterparty will default in the performance of its obligations.

Investment in futures contracts involves the risk of imperfect correlation between movements in the price of the futures contract and the price of the security being hedged. The hedge will not be fully effective when there is imperfect correlation between the movements in the prices of two financial instruments. For example, if the price of the futures contract moves more or less than the price of the hedged security, the Acquiring Fund will experience either a loss or gain on the futures contract which is not completely offset by movements in the price of the hedged securities. To compensate for imperfect correlations, the Acquiring Fund may purchase or sell futures contracts in a greater dollar amount than the hedged securities if the volatility of the hedged securities is historically greater than the volatility of the futures contracts. Conversely, the Acquiring Fund may purchase or

 

63


sell fewer futures contracts if the volatility of the price of the hedged securities is historically lower than that of the futures contracts.

The particular securities comprising the index underlying a securities index financial futures contract may vary from the securities held by the Acquiring Fund. As a result, the Acquiring Fund’s ability to hedge effectively all or a portion of the value of its securities through the use of such financial futures contracts will depend in part on the degree to which price movements in the index underlying the financial futures contract correlate with the price movements of the securities held by the Acquiring Fund. The correlation may be affected by disparities in the average maturity, ratings, geographical mix or structure of the Acquiring Fund’s investments as compared to those comprising the securities index and general economic or political factors. In addition, the correlation between movements in the value of the securities index may be subject to change over time as additions to and deletions from the securities index alter its structure. The correlation between futures contracts on U.S. Government securities and the securities held by the Acquiring Fund may be adversely affected by similar factors and the risk of imperfect correlation between movements in the prices of such futures contracts and the prices of securities held by the Acquiring Fund may be greater. The trading of futures contracts also is subject to certain market risks, such as inadequate trading activity, which could at times make it difficult or impossible to liquidate existing positions.

The Acquiring Fund may liquidate futures contracts it enters into through offsetting transactions on the applicable contract market. There can be no assurances, however, that a liquid secondary market will exist for any particular futures contract at any specific time. Thus, it may not be possible to close out a futures position. In the event of adverse price movements, the Acquiring Fund would continue to be required to make daily cash payments of variation margin. In such situations, if the Acquiring Fund has insufficient cash, it may be required to sell portfolio securities to meet daily variation margin requirements at a time when it may be disadvantageous to do so. The inability to close out futures positions also could have an adverse impact on the Acquiring Fund’s ability to hedge effectively its investments in securities. The liquidity of a secondary market in a futures contract may be adversely affected by “daily price fluctuation limits” established by commodity exchanges which limit the amount of fluctuation in a futures contract price during a single trading day. Once the daily limit has been reached in the contract, no trades may be entered into at a price beyond the limit, thus preventing the liquidation of open futures positions. Prices have in the past moved beyond the daily limit on a number of consecutive trading days. The Acquiring Fund will enter into a futures position only if, in the judgement of the Investment Advisor, there appears to be an actively traded secondary market for such futures contracts.

The successful use of transactions in futures and related options also depends on the ability of the Investment Advisor to forecast correctly the direction and extent of interest rate movements within a given time frame. To the extent interest rates remain stable during the period in which a futures contract or option is held by the Acquiring Fund or such rates move in a direction opposite to that anticipated, the Acquiring Fund may realize a loss on the Strategic Transaction which is not fully or partially offset by an increase in the value of portfolio securities. As a result, the Acquiring Fund’s total return for such period may be less than if it had not engaged in the Strategic Transaction.

Because of low initial margin deposits made upon the opening of a futures position, futures transactions involve substantial leverage. As a result, relatively small movements in the price of the futures contracts can result in substantial unrealized gains or losses. There is also the risk of loss by the Acquiring Fund of margin deposits in the event of bankruptcy of a broker with which the Acquiring Fund has an open position in a financial futures contract. Because the Acquiring Fund will engage in the purchase and sale of futures contracts for hedging purposes or to seek to enhance the Acquiring Fund’s return, any losses incurred in connection therewith may, if the strategy is successful, be offset in whole or in part by increases in the value of securities held by the Acquiring Fund or decreases in the price of securities the Acquiring Fund intends to acquire.

The amount of risk the Acquiring Fund assumes when it purchases an option on a futures contract is the premium paid for the option plus related transaction costs. In addition to the correlation risks discussed above,

 

64


the purchase of an option on a futures contract also entails the risk that changes in the value of the underlying futures contract will not be fully reflected in the value of the option purchased.

Counterparty Risk. The Acquiring Fund will be subject to credit risk with respect to the counterparties to the derivative contracts purchased by the Acquiring Fund. Because derivative transactions in which the Acquiring Fund may engage may involve instruments that are not traded on an exchange or cleared through a central counterparty but are instead traded between counterparties based on contractual relationships, the Acquiring Fund is subject to the risk that a counterparty will not perform its obligations under the related contracts. If a counterparty becomes bankrupt or otherwise fails to perform its obligations due to financial difficulties, the Acquiring Fund may experience significant delays in obtaining any recovery in bankruptcy or other reorganization proceedings. The Acquiring Fund may obtain only a limited recovery, or may obtain no recovery, in such circumstances. Although the Acquiring Fund intends to enter into transactions only with counterparties that the Investment Advisor believes to be creditworthy, there can be no assurances that, as a result, a counterparty will not default and that the Acquiring Fund will not sustain a loss on a transaction. In the event of the counterparty’s bankruptcy or insolvency, the Acquiring Fund’s collateral may be subject to the conflicting claims of the counterparty’s creditors, and the Acquiring Fund may be exposed to the risk of a court treating the Acquiring Fund as a general unsecured creditor of the counterparty, rather than as the owner of the collateral.

The counterparty risk for cleared derivatives is generally lower than for uncleared OTC derivative transactions since generally a clearing organization becomes substituted for each counterparty to a cleared derivative contract and, in effect, guarantees the parties’ performance under the contract as each party to a trade looks only to the clearing organization for performance of financial obligations under the derivative contract. However, there can be no assurances that a clearing organization, or its members, will satisfy its obligations to the Acquiring Fund, or that the Acquiring Fund would be able to recover the full amount of assets deposited on its behalf with the clearing organization in the event of the default by the clearing organization or the Acquiring Fund’s clearing broker. In addition, cleared derivative transactions benefit from daily marking-to-market and settlement, and segregation and minimum capital requirements applicable to intermediaries. Uncleared OTC derivative transactions generally do not benefit from such protections. This exposes the Acquiring Fund to the risk that a counterparty will not settle a transaction in accordance with its terms and conditions because of a dispute over the terms of the contract (whether or not bona fide) or because of a credit or liquidity problem, thus causing the Acquiring Fund to suffer a loss. Such “counterparty risk” is accentuated for contracts with longer maturities where events may intervene to prevent settlement, or where the Acquiring Fund has concentrated its transactions with a single or small group of counterparties.

In addition, the Acquiring Fund is subject to the risk that issuers of the instruments in which it invests and trades may default on their obligations under those instruments, and that certain events may occur that have an immediate and significant adverse effect on the value of those instruments. There can be no assurances that an issuer of an instrument in which the Acquiring Fund invests will not default, or that an event that has an immediate and significant adverse effect on the value of an instrument will not occur, and that the Acquiring Fund will not sustain a loss on a transaction as a result.

Swaps Risk. Swaps are a type of derivative. Swap agreements involve the risk that the party with which the Acquiring Fund has entered into the swap will default on its obligation to pay the Acquiring Fund and the risk that the Acquiring Fund will not be able to meet its obligations to pay the other party to the agreement. In order to seek to hedge the value of the Acquiring Fund’s portfolio, to hedge against increases in the Acquiring Fund’s cost associated with interest payments on any outstanding borrowings or to seek to increase the Acquiring Fund’s return, the Acquiring Fund may enter into swaps, including interest rate swap, total return swap and/or credit default swap transactions. In interest rate swap transactions, there is a risk that yields will move in the direction opposite of the direction anticipated by the Acquiring Fund, which would cause the Acquiring Fund to make payments to its counterparty in the transaction that could adversely affect Acquiring Fund performance. In addition to the risks applicable to swaps generally (including counterparty risk, high volatility, liquidity risk and credit risk), credit default swap transactions involve special risks because they are difficult to value, are highly

 

65


susceptible to liquidity and credit risk, and generally pay a return to the party that has paid the premium only in the event of an actual default by the issuer of the underlying obligation (as opposed to a credit downgrade or other indication of financial difficulty).

Historically, swap transactions have been individually negotiated non-standardized transactions entered into in OTC markets and have not been subject to the same type of government regulation as exchange-traded instruments. However, since the global financial crisis, the OTC derivatives markets have recently become subject to comprehensive statutes and regulations. In particular, in the United States, the Dodd-Frank Act requires that certain derivatives with U.S. persons must be executed on a regulated market and a substantial portion of OTC derivatives must be submitted for clearing to regulated clearinghouses. As a result, swap transactions entered into by the Acquiring Fund may become subject to various requirements applicable to swaps under the Dodd-Frank Act, including clearing, exchange-execution, reporting and recordkeeping requirements, which may make it more difficult and costly for the Acquiring Fund to enter into swap transactions and may also render certain strategies in which the Acquiring Fund might otherwise engage impossible or so costly that they will no longer be economical to implement. Furthermore, the number of counterparties that may be willing to enter into swap transactions with the Acquiring Fund may also be limited if the swap transactions with the Acquiring Fund are subject to the swap regulation under the Dodd-Frank Act.

Credit default and total return swap agreements may effectively add leverage to the Acquiring Fund’s portfolio because, in addition to its Managed Assets, the Acquiring Fund would be subject to investment exposure on the notional amount of the swap. Total return swap agreements are subject to the risk that a counterparty will default on its payment obligations to the Acquiring Fund thereunder. The Acquiring Fund is not required to enter into swap transactions for hedging purposes or to enhance income or gain and may choose not to do so. In addition, the swaps market is subject to a changing regulatory environment. It is possible that regulatory or other developments in the swaps market could adversely affect the Acquiring Fund’s ability to successfully use swaps.

Over-the-Counter Trading Risk. The derivative instruments that may be purchased or sold by the Acquiring Fund may include instruments not traded on an exchange. The risk of nonperformance by the counterparty to an instrument may be greater than, and the ease with which the Acquiring Fund can dispose of or enter into closing transactions with respect to an instrument may be less than, the risk associated with an exchange traded instrument. In addition, significant disparities may exist between “bid” and “asked” prices for derivative instruments that are not traded on an exchange. Derivative instruments not traded on exchanges also are not subject to the same type of government regulation as exchange traded instruments, and many of the protections afforded to participants in a regulated environment may not be available in connection with the transactions. Because derivatives traded in OTC markets generally are not guaranteed by an exchange or clearing corporation, to the extent that the Acquiring Fund has unrealized gains in such instruments or has deposited collateral with its counterparties, the Acquiring Fund is at risk that its counterparties will become bankrupt or otherwise fail to honor its obligations.

Certain derivatives traded in OTC markets, including indexed securities, swaps and OTC options, involve substantial liquidity risk. The absence of liquidity may make it difficult or impossible for the Acquiring Fund to sell such instruments promptly at an acceptable price. The absence of liquidity may also make it more difficult for the Acquiring Fund to ascertain a market value for such instruments. The Acquiring Fund will, therefore, acquire illiquid OTC instruments (i) if the agreement pursuant to which the instrument is purchased contains a formula price at which the instrument may be terminated or sold, or (ii) for which the Investment Advisor anticipates the Acquiring Fund can receive on each business day at least two independent bids or offers, unless a quotation from only one dealer is available, in which case that dealer’s quotation may be used. Because derivatives traded in OTC markets are not guaranteed by an exchange or clearing corporation and generally do not require payment of margin, to the extent that the Acquiring Fund has unrealized gains in such instruments or has deposited collateral with its counterparties the Acquiring Fund is at risk that its counterparties will become bankrupt or otherwise fail to honor its obligations. The Acquiring Fund will attempt to minimize these risks by

 

66


engaging in transactions in derivatives traded in OTC markets only with financial institutions that have substantial capital or that have provided the Acquiring Fund with a third-party guaranty or other credit enhancement.

Dodd-Frank Act Risk. Title VII of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 (the “Dodd-Frank Act”) (the “Derivatives Title”) imposed a substantially new regulatory structure on derivatives markets, with particular emphasis on swaps (which were subject to oversight by the CFTC) and security-based swaps (which were subject to oversight by the SEC). The regulatory framework covers a broad range of swap market participants, including banks, non-banks, credit unions, insurance companies, broker-dealers and investment advisers. Prudential regulators were granted authority to regulate margining of swaps and security-based swaps of banks and bank-related entities.

Although the CFTC and the prudential regulators have adopted and have begun implementing required regulations, the SEC rules were not finalized until December 2019 and firms have until October 2021 to come into compliance.

Current regulations for swaps require the mandatory central clearing and mandatory exchange trading of particular types of interest rate swaps and index credit default swaps (together, “Covered Swaps”). The Fund is required to clear its Covered Swaps through a clearing broker, which requires, among other things, posting initial margin and variation margin to the Fund’s clearing broker in order to enter into and maintain positions in Covered Swaps.

Covered Swaps generally are required to be executed through a swap execution facility (“SEF”), which can involve additional transaction fees.

Additionally, under the Dodd-Frank Act, swaps (and both swaps and security-based swaps entered into with banks) are subject to margin requirements and swap dealers are required to collect margin from the Fund and post variation margin to the Fund with respect to such derivatives. Specifically, regulations are now in effect that require swap dealers to post and collect variation margin (comprised of specified liquid instruments and subject to a required haircut) in connection with trading of OTC swaps with the Fund. Shares of investment companies (other than certain money market funds) may not be posted as collateral under these regulations. Requirements for posting of initial margin in connection with OTC swaps (as well as security-based swaps in addition to OTC swaps where the dealer is a bank or subsidiary of a bank holding company) will be phased-in through September 2021. The CFTC has not yet adopted capital requirements for swap dealers. As uncleared capital requirements for swap dealers and uncleared capital and margin requirements for security-based swaps are phased in and implemented, such requirements may make certain types of trades and/or trading strategies more costly. There may be market dislocations due to uncertainty during the implementation period of any new regulation and the Investment Advisor cannot know how the derivatives market will adjust to the CFTC’s new capital regulations and to the new SEC regulations governing security-based swaps.

In addition, regulations adopted by global prudential regulators that are now in effect require certain bank- regulated counterparties and certain of their affiliates to include in “qualified financial contracts,” including many derivatives contracts as well as repurchase agreements and securities lending agreements, terms that delay or restrict the rights of counterparties to terminate such contracts, foreclose upon collateral, exercise other default rights or restrict transfers of affiliate credit enhancements (such as guarantees) in the event that the bank-regulated counterparty and/or its affiliates are subject to certain types of resolution or insolvency proceedings.

Legal and Regulatory Risk. At any time after the date hereof, legislation or additional regulations may be enacted that could negatively affect the assets of the Acquiring Fund. Changing approaches to regulation may have a negative impact on the securities in which the Acquiring Fund invests. Legislation or regulation may also change the way in which the Acquiring Fund itself is regulated. There can be no assurance that future legislation, regulation or deregulation will not have a material adverse effect on the Acquiring Fund or will not impair the

 

67


ability of the Acquiring Fund to achieve its investment objective. In addition, as new rules and regulations resulting from the passage of the Dodd-Frank Act are implemented and new international capital and liquidity requirements are introduced under the Basel III Accords, the market may not react the way the Investment Advisor expects. Whether the Acquiring Fund achieves its investment objective may depend on, among other things, whether the Investment Advisor correctly forecasts market reactions to this and other legislation. In the event the Investment Advisor incorrectly forecasts market reaction, the Acquiring Fund may not achieve its investment objective.

Regulation as a “Commodity Pool.” The CFTC subjects advisers to registered investment companies to regulation by the CFTC if a fund that is advised by the investment adviser either (i) invests, directly or indirectly, more than a prescribed level of its liquidation value in CFTC-regulated futures, options and swaps (“CFTC Derivatives”), or (ii) markets itself as providing investment exposure to such instruments. To the extent the Acquiring Fund uses CFTC Derivatives, it intends to do so below such prescribed levels and will not market itself as a “commodity pool” or a vehicle for trading such instruments. Accordingly, the Investment Advisor has claimed an exclusion from the definition of the term “commodity pool operator” under the Commodity Exchange Act (“CEA”) pursuant to Rule 4.5 under the CEA. The Investment Advisor is not, therefore, subject to registration or regulation as a “commodity pool operator” under the CEA in respect of the Acquiring Fund.

Failure of Futures Commission Merchants and Clearing Organizations. The Acquiring Fund is required to deposit funds to margin open positions in cleared derivative instruments (both futures and swaps) with a clearing broker registered as a “futures commission merchant” (“FCM”). The CEA requires an FCM to segregate all funds received from customers with respect to any orders for the purchase or sale of U.S. domestic futures contracts and cleared swaps from the FCM’s proprietary assets. Similarly, the CEA requires each FCM to hold in a separate secure account all funds received from customers with respect to any orders for the purchase or sale of foreign futures contracts and segregate any such funds from the funds received with respect to domestic futures contracts. However, all funds and other property received by an FCM from its customers are held by an FCM on a commingled basis in an omnibus account and amounts in excess of assets posted to the clearing organization may be invested by an FCM in certain instruments permitted under the applicable regulation. There is a risk that assets deposited by the Acquiring Fund with any FCM as margin for futures contracts or commodity options may, in certain circumstances, be used to satisfy losses of other clients of the Acquiring Fund’s FCM. In addition, the assets of the Acquiring Fund posted as margin against both swaps and futures contracts may not be fully protected in the event of the FCM’s bankruptcy.

Legal, Tax and Regulatory Risks. Legal, tax and regulatory changes could occur that may have material adverse effects on the Acquiring Fund. For example, the regulatory and tax environment for derivative instruments in which the Acquiring Fund may participate is evolving, and such changes in the regulation or taxation of derivative instruments may have material adverse effects on the value of derivative instruments held by the Acquiring Fund and the ability of the Acquiring Fund to pursue its investment strategies.

To qualify for the favorable U.S. federal income tax treatment generally accorded to RICs, the Acquiring Fund must, among other things, derive in each taxable year at least 90% of its gross income from certain prescribed sources and distribute for each taxable year at least 90% of its “investment company taxable income” (generally, ordinary income plus the excess, if any, of net short-term capital gain over net long-term capital loss) and at least 90% of its net tax-exempt interest income, if any. If for any taxable year the Acquiring Fund does not qualify as a RIC, all of its taxable income for that year (including its net capital gain) would be subject to tax at regular corporate rates without any deduction for distributions to shareholders, and such distributions would be taxable as ordinary dividends to the extent of the Acquiring Fund’s current and accumulated earnings and profits.

The current presidential administration has called for, and in certain instances has begun to implement, significant changes to U.S. fiscal, tax, trade, healthcare, immigration, foreign, and government regulatory policy. In this regard, there is significant uncertainty with respect to legislation, regulation and government policy at the federal level, as well as the state and local levels. Recent events have created a climate of heightened uncertainty

 

68


and introduced new and difficult-to-quantify macroeconomic and political risks with potentially far-reaching implications. There has been a corresponding meaningful increase in the uncertainty surrounding interest rates, inflation, foreign exchange rates, trade volumes and fiscal and monetary policy. To the extent the U.S. Congress or the current presidential administration implements changes to U.S. policy, those changes may impact, among other things, the U.S. and global economy, international trade and relations, unemployment, immigration, corporate taxes, healthcare, the U.S. regulatory environment, inflation and other areas. Some particular areas identified as subject to potential change, amendment or repeal include the Dodd-Frank Act, including the Volcker Rule and various swaps and derivatives regulations, credit risk retention requirements and the authorities of the Federal Reserve, the Financial Stability Oversight Council and the SEC. Although the Acquiring Fund cannot predict the impact, if any, of these changes to the Acquiring Fund’s business, they could adversely affect the Acquiring Fund’s business, financial condition, operating results and cash flows. Until the Acquiring Fund knows what policy changes are made and how those changes impact the Acquiring Fund’s business and the business of the Acquiring Fund’s competitors over the long-term, the Acquiring Fund will not know if, overall, the Acquiring Fund will benefit from them or be negatively affected by them.

The risks and uncertainties associated with these policy proposals are heightened by the 2018 U.S. federal election, which has resulted in different political parties controlling the U.S. House of Representatives, on the one hand, and the U.S. Senate and the Executive Branch, on the other hand. Additional risks arising from the differences in expressed policy preferences among the various constituencies in these branches of the U.S. government has led in the past, and may lead in the future, to short-term or prolonged policy impasses, which could, and has, resulted in shutdowns of the U.S. federal government. U.S. federal government shutdowns, especially prolonged shutdowns, could have a significant adverse impact on the economy in general and could impair the ability of issuers to raise capital in the securities markets. Any of these effects could have an adverse impact on companies in the Acquiring Fund’s portfolio and consequently on the value of their securities and the Acquiring Fund’s NAV.

The rules dealing with U.S. federal income taxation are constantly under review by persons involved in the legislative process and by the IRS and the U.S. Treasury Department. The Acquiring Fund cannot predict how any changes in the tax laws might affect its investors or the Acquiring Fund itself. New legislation, U.S. Treasury regulations, administrative interpretations or court decisions, with or without retroactive application, could significantly and negatively affect the Acquiring Fund’s ability to qualify as a RIC or the U.S. federal income tax consequences to its investors and itself of such qualification, or could have other adverse consequences. You are urged to consult with your tax advisor with respect to the status of legislative, regulatory or administrative developments and proposals and their potential effect on an investment in the Acquiring Fund’s shares.

1940 Act Regulation. The Acquiring Fund is a registered closed-end management investment company and as such is subject to regulations under the 1940 Act. Generally speaking, any contract or provision thereof that is made, or where performance involves a violation of the 1940 Act or any rule or regulation thereunder is unenforceable by either party unless a court finds otherwise.

Legislation Risk. At any time after the date of this Proxy Statement, legislation may be enacted that could negatively affect the assets of the Acquiring Fund. Legislation or regulation may change the way in which the Acquiring Fund itself is regulated. The Investment Advisor cannot predict the effects of any new governmental regulation that may be implemented and there can be no assurance that any new governmental regulation will not adversely affect the Acquiring Fund’s ability to achieve its investment objective.

LIBOR Risk. The Acquiring Fund may be exposed to financial instruments that are tied to the London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”) to determine payment obligations, financing terms, hedging strategies or investment value. The Acquiring Fund’s investments may pay interest at floating rates based on LIBOR or may be subject to interest caps or floors based on LIBOR. The Acquiring Fund may also obtain financing at floating rates based on LIBOR. Derivative instruments utilized by the Acquiring Fund may also reference LIBOR.

 

69


In 2017, the head of the United Kingdom’s Financial Conduct Authority announced a desire to phase out the use of LIBOR by the end of 2021, and it is expected that LIBOR will cease to be published after that time. The Acquiring Fund may have investments linked to other interbank offered rates, such as the Euro Overnight Index Average (“EONIA”), which may also cease to be published. Various financial industry groups have begun planning for the transition away from LIBOR, but there are challenges to converting certain securities and transactions to a new reference rate (e.g., the Secured Overnight Financing Rate (“SOFR”), which is intended to replace the U.S. dollar LIBOR).

Neither the effect of the LIBOR transition process nor its ultimate success can yet be known. The transition process might lead to increased volatility and illiquidity in markets for, and reduce the effectiveness of new hedges placed against, instruments whose terms currently include LIBOR. While some existing LIBOR-based instruments may contemplate a scenario where LIBOR is no longer available by providing for an alternative rate-setting methodology, there may be significant uncertainty regarding the effectiveness of any such alternative methodologies to replicate LIBOR. Not all existing LIBOR-based instruments may have alternative rate-setting provisions and there remains uncertainty regarding the willingness and ability of issuers to add alternative rate-setting provisions in certain existing instruments. In addition, a liquid market for newly issued instruments that use a reference rate other than LIBOR still may be developing. There may also be challenges for the Acquiring Fund to enter into hedging transactions against such newly issued instruments until a market for such hedging transactions develops. All of the aforementioned may adversely affect the Acquiring Fund’s performance or NAV.

Risks Associated with Recent Market Events. Stresses associated with the 2008 financial crisis in the United States and global economies peaked approximately a decade ago, but periods of unusually high volatility in the financial markets and restrictive credit conditions, sometimes limited to a particular sector or a geography, continue to recur. Some countries, including the United States, have adopted and/or are considering the adoption of more protectionist trade policies, a move away from the tighter financial industry regulations that followed the financial crisis, and/or substantially reducing corporate taxes. The exact shape of these policies is still being considered, but the equity and debt markets may react strongly to expectations of change, which could increase volatility, especially if the market’s expectations are not borne out. A rise in protectionist trade policies, and the possibility of changes to some international trade agreements, could affect the economies of many nations in ways that cannot necessarily be foreseen at the present time. In addition, geopolitical and other risks, including environmental and public health, may add to instability in world economies and markets generally. Economies and financial markets throughout the world are becoming increasingly interconnected. As a result, whether or not the Fund invests in securities of issuers located in or with significant exposure to countries experiencing economic, political and/or financial difficulties, the value and liquidity of the Fund’s investments may be negatively affected by such events.

An outbreak of respiratory disease caused by a novel coronavirus was first detected in China in December 2019 and has now developed into a global pandemic. The pandemic has resulted in closing borders, enhanced health screenings, healthcare service preparation and delivery, quarantines, cancellations, disruptions to supply chains and customer activity, as well as general concern and uncertainty. The impact of this pandemic, and other pandemics and epidemics that may arise in the future, could affect the economies of many nations, individual companies and the market in general in ways that cannot necessarily be foreseen at the present time. In addition, the impact of infectious diseases in developing or emerging market countries may be greater due to less established health care systems. Health crises caused by the novel coronavirus pandemic may exacerbate other pre-existing political, social and economic risks in certain countries. The impact of the pandemic may last for an extended period of time.

Market Disruption and Geopolitical Risk. The occurrence of events similar to those in recent years, such as the aftermath of the war in Iraq, instability in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Egypt, Libya, Syria, Russia, Ukraine and the Middle East, new and ongoing epidemics and pandemics of infectious diseases and other global health events, natural/environmental disasters, terrorist attacks in the United States and around the world, social and political

 

70


discord, debt crises (such as the Greek crisis), sovereign debt downgrades, increasingly strained relations between the United States and a number of foreign countries, including traditional allies, such as certain European countries, and historical adversaries, such as North Korea, Iran, China and Russia, and the international community generally, new and continued political unrest in various countries, such as Venezuela and Spain, the exit or potential exit of one or more countries from the European Union (the “EU”) or the European Monetary Union (the “EMU”), continued changes in the balance of political power among and within the branches of the U.S. government, among others, may result in market volatility, may have long-term effects on the U.S. and worldwide financial markets, and may cause further economic uncertainties in the United States and worldwide. The coronavirus pandemic has led to illiquidity and volatility in the municipal bond markets and may lead to downgrades in the credit quality of certain municipal issuers.

China and the United States have each recently imposed tariffs on the other country’s products. These actions may trigger a significant reduction in international trade, the oversupply of certain manufactured goods, substantial price reductions of goods and possible failure of individual companies and/or large segments of China’s export industry, which could have a negative impact on the Acquiring Fund’s performance. U.S. companies that source material and goods from China and those that make large amounts of sales in China would be particularly vulnerable to an escalation of trade tensions. Uncertainty regarding the outcome of the trade tensions and the potential for a trade war could cause the U.S. dollar to decline against safe haven currencies, such as the Japanese yen and the euro. Events such as these and their consequences are difficult to predict and it is unclear whether further tariffs may be imposed or other escalating actions may be taken in the future.

The decision made in the British referendum of June 23, 2016 to leave the EU, an event widely referred to as “Brexit,” has led to volatility in the financial markets of the United Kingdom and more broadly across Europe and may also lead to weakening in consumer, corporate and financial confidence in such markets. The formal notification to the European Council required under Article 50 of the Treaty on EU was made on March 29, 2017, following which the terms of exit were negotiated. Pursuant to an agreement between the United Kingdom and the EU, the United Kingdom left the EU on January 31, 2020, subject to a transition period ending December 31, 2020. The longer term economic, legal, political and social framework to be put in place between the United Kingdom and the EU are unclear at this stage and are likely to lead to ongoing political and economic uncertainty and periods of exacerbated volatility in both the United Kingdom and in wider European markets for some time. In particular, the decision made in Brexit may lead to a call for similar referendums in other European jurisdictions which may cause increased economic volatility in the European and global markets. This mid- to long-term uncertainty may have an adverse effect on the economy generally and on the ability of the Acquiring Fund to execute its strategies and to receive attractive returns. In particular, currency volatility may mean that the returns of the Acquiring Fund and its investments are adversely affected by market movements and may make it more difficult, or more expensive, for the Acquiring Fund to execute prudent currency hedging policies. Potential decline in the value of the British Pound and/or the Euro against other currencies, along with the potential downgrading of the United Kingdom’s sovereign credit rating, may also have an impact on the performance of portfolio companies or investments located in the United Kingdom or Europe. In light of the above, no definitive assessment can currently be made regarding the impact that Brexit will have on the Acquiring Fund, its investments or its organization more generally.

The occurrence of any of these above events could have a significant adverse impact on the value and risk profile of the Acquiring Fund’s portfolio. The Acquiring Fund does not know how long the securities markets may be affected by similar events and cannot predict the effects of similar events in the future on the U.S. economy and securities markets. There can be no assurance that similar events and other market disruptions will not have other material and adverse implications.

Regulation and Government Intervention Risk. The U.S. Government and the Federal Reserve, as well as certain foreign governments, recently have taken unprecedented actions designed to support certain financial institutions and segments of the financial markets that have experienced extreme volatility, such as implementing stimulus packages, providing liquidity in fixed-income, commercial paper and other markets, and providing tax

 

71


breaks, among other actions. The reduction or withdrawal of Federal Reserve or other U.S. or non-U.S. governmental support could negatively affect financial markets generally and reduce the value and liquidity of certain securities. Additionally, with the cessation of certain market support activities, the Acquiring Fund may face a heightened level of interest rate risk as a result of a rise or increased volatility in interest rates.

Federal, state, and other governments, their regulatory agencies or self-regulatory organizations may take actions that affect the regulation of the issuers in which the Acquiring Fund invests. Legislation or regulation may also change the way in which the Acquiring Fund is regulated. Such legislation or regulation could limit or preclude the Acquiring Fund’s ability to achieve its investment objective.

In the aftermath of the global financial crisis, there appears to be a renewed popular, political and judicial focus on finance related consumer protection. Financial institution practices are also subject to greater scrutiny and criticism generally. In the case of transactions between financial institutions and the general public, there may be a greater tendency toward strict interpretation of terms and legal rights in favor of the consuming public, particularly where there is a real or perceived disparity in risk allocation and/or where consumers are perceived as not having had an opportunity to exercise informed consent to the transaction. In the event of conflicting interests between retail investors holding common shares of a closed-end investment company such as the Acquiring Fund and a large financial institution, a court may similarly seek to strictly interpret terms and legal rights in favor of retail investors. The Acquiring Fund may be affected by governmental action in ways that are not foreseeable, and there is a possibility that such actions could have a significant adverse effect on the Acquiring Fund and its ability to achieve its investment objective.

Potential Conflicts of Interest of the Investment Advisor and Others. The investment activities of BlackRock, Inc. (“BlackRock”), the ultimate parent company of the Investment Advisor, and its affiliates (including BlackRock and its subsidiaries (collectively, the “Affiliates”)), and their respective directors, officers or employees, in the management of, or their interest in, their own accounts and other accounts they manage, may present conflicts of interest that could disadvantage the Acquiring Fund and its shareholders. BlackRock and its Affiliates provide investment management services to other funds and discretionary managed accounts that may follow investment programs similar to that of the Acquiring Fund. Subject to the requirements of the 1940 Act, BlackRock and its Affiliates intend to engage in such activities and may receive compensation from third parties for their services. Neither BlackRock nor any Affiliate is under any obligation to share any investment opportunity, idea or strategy with the Acquiring Fund. As a result, BlackRock and its Affiliates may compete with the Acquiring Fund for appropriate investment opportunities. The results of the Acquiring Fund’s investment activities, therefore, may differ from those of an Affiliate and of other accounts managed by BlackRock or an Affiliate and it is possible that the Acquiring Fund could sustain losses during periods in which one or more Affiliates and other accounts achieve profits on their trading for proprietary or other accounts. BlackRock has adopted policies and procedures designed to address potential conflicts of interests.

Market and Selection Risk. Market risk is the possibility that the market values of securities owned by the Acquiring Fund will decline. There is a risk that equity and/or bond markets will go down in value, including the possibility that such markets will go down sharply and unpredictably.

Stock markets are volatile, and the price of equity securities fluctuates based on changes in a company’s financial condition and overall market and economic conditions. An adverse event, such as an unfavorable earnings report, may depress the value of a particular common stock held by the Acquiring Fund. Also, the price of common stocks is sensitive to general movements in the stock market and a drop in the stock market may depress the price of common stocks to which the Acquiring Fund has exposure. Common stock prices fluctuate for several reasons, including changes in investors’ perceptions of the financial condition of an issuer or the general condition of the relevant stock market, or when political or economic events affecting the issuers occur.

The prices of fixed income securities tend to fall as interest rates rise, and such declines tend to be greater among fixed income securities with longer maturities. Market risk is often greater among certain types of fixed

 

72


income securities, such as zero-coupon bonds that do not make regular interest payments but are instead bought at a discount to their face values and paid in full upon maturity. As interest rates change, these securities often fluctuate more in price than securities that make regular interest payments and therefore subject the Acquiring Fund to greater market risk than a fund that does not own these types of securities.

When-issued and delayed delivery transactions are subject to changes in market conditions from the time of the commitment until settlement, which may adversely affect the prices or yields of the securities being purchased. The greater the Acquiring Fund’s outstanding commitments for these securities, the greater the Acquiring Fund’s exposure to market price fluctuations.

Selection risk is the risk that the securities that the Acquiring Fund’s management selects will underperform the equity and/or bond market, the market relevant indices or other funds with similar investment objectives and investment strategies.

Defensive Investing Risk. For defensive purposes, the Acquiring Fund may allocate assets into cash or short-term fixed income securities. In doing so, the Acquiring Fund may succeed in avoiding losses but may otherwise fail to achieve its investment objective. Further, the value of short-term fixed income securities may be affected by changing interest rates and by changes in credit ratings of the investments. If the Acquiring Fund holds cash uninvested it will be subject to the credit risk of the depository institution holding the cash.

Decision-Making Authority Risk. Investors have no authority to make decisions or to exercise business discretion on behalf of the Acquiring Fund, except as set forth in the Acquiring Fund’s governing documents. The authority for all such decisions is generally delegated to the Board, which in turn, has delegated the day-to-day management of the Acquiring Fund’s investment activities to the Investment Advisor, subject to oversight by the Board.

Management Risk. The Acquiring Fund is subject to management risk because it is an actively managed investment portfolio. The Investment Advisor and the individual portfolio managers will apply investment techniques and risk analyses in making investment decisions for the Acquiring Fund, but there can be no guarantee that these will produce the desired results. The Acquiring Fund may be subject to a relatively high level of management risk because the Acquiring Fund may invest in derivative instruments, which may be highly specialized instruments that require investment techniques and risk analyses different from those associated with equities and bonds.

Valuation Risk. The Acquiring Fund is subject to valuation risk, which is the risk that one or more of the securities in which the Acquiring Fund invests are valued at prices that the Acquiring Fund is unable to obtain upon sale due to factors such as incomplete data, market instability or human error. The Investment Advisor may use an independent pricing service or prices provided by dealers to value securities at their market value. Because the secondary markets for certain investments may be limited, such instruments may be difficult to value. When market quotations are not available, the Investment Advisor may price such investments pursuant to a number of methodologies, such as computer-based analytical modeling or individual security evaluations. These methodologies generate approximations of market values, and there may be significant professional disagreement about the best methodology for a particular type of financial instrument or different methodologies that might be used under different circumstances. In the absence of an actual market transaction, reliance on such methodologies is essential, but may introduce significant variances in the ultimate valuation of the Acquiring Fund’s investments. Technological issues and/or errors by pricing services or other third-party service providers may also impact the Acquiring Fund’s ability to value its investments and the calculation of the Acquiring Fund’s NAV.

When market quotations are not readily available or are deemed to be inaccurate or unreliable, the Acquiring Fund values its investments at fair value as determined in good faith pursuant to policies and procedures approved by the Board. Fair value is defined as the amount for which assets could be sold in an orderly disposition over a reasonable period of time, taking into account the nature of the asset. Fair value pricing

 

73


may require determinations that are inherently subjective and inexact about the value of a security or other asset. As a result, there can be no assurance that fair value priced assets will not result in future adjustments to the prices of securities or other assets, or that fair value pricing will reflect a price that the Acquiring Fund is able to obtain upon sale, and it is possible that the fair value determined for a security or other asset will be materially different from quoted or published prices, from the prices used by others for the same security or other asset and/or from the value that actually could be or is realized upon the sale of that security or other asset. For example, the Acquiring Fund’s NAV could be adversely affected if the Acquiring Fund’s determinations regarding the fair value of the Acquiring Fund’s investments were materially higher than the values that the Acquiring Fund ultimately realizes upon the disposal of such investments. Where market quotations are not readily available, valuation may require more research than for more liquid investments.    In addition, elements of judgment may play a greater role in valuation in such cases than for investments with a more active secondary market because there is less reliable objective data available. The Acquiring Fund prices its shares daily and therefore all assets, including assets valued at fair value, are valued daily.

Reliance on the Investment Advisor Risk. The Acquiring Fund is dependent upon services and resources provided by the Investment Advisor, and therefore the Investment Advisor’s parent, BlackRock. The Investment Advisor is not required to devote its full time to the business of the Acquiring Fund and there is no guarantee or requirement that any investment professional or other employee of the Investment Advisor will allocate a substantial portion of his or her time to the Acquiring Fund. The loss of one or more individuals involved with the Investment Advisor could have a material adverse effect on the performance or the continued operation of the Acquiring Fund.

Reliance on Service Providers Risk. The Acquiring Fund must rely upon the performance of service providers to perform certain functions, which may include functions that are integral to the Acquiring Fund’s operations and financial performance. Failure by any service provider to carry out its obligations to the Acquiring Fund in accordance with the terms of its appointment, to exercise due care and skill or to perform its obligations to the Acquiring Fund at all as a result of insolvency, bankruptcy or other causes could have a material adverse effect on the Acquiring Fund’s performance and returns to common shareholders. The termination of the Acquiring Fund’s relationship with any service provider, or any delay in appointing a replacement for such service provider, could materially disrupt the business of the Acquiring Fund and could have a material adverse effect on the Acquiring Fund’s performance and returns to common shareholders.

Information Technology Systems Risk. The Acquiring Fund is dependent on the Investment Advisor for certain management services as well as back-office functions. The Investment Advisor depends on information technology systems in order to assess investment opportunities, strategies and markets and to monitor and control risks for the Acquiring Fund. It is possible that a failure of some kind which causes disruptions to these information technology systems could materially limit the Investment Advisor’s ability to adequately assess and adjust investments, formulate strategies and provide adequate risk control. Any such information technology-related difficulty could harm the performance of the Acquiring Fund. Further, failure of the back-office functions of the Investment Advisor to process trades in a timely fashion could prejudice the investment performance of the Acquiring Fund.

Cyber Security Risk. With the increased use of technologies such as the Internet to conduct business, the Acquiring Fund is susceptible to operational, information security and related 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 (e.g., through “hacking” or malicious software coding) 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 (i.e., efforts to make network services unavailable to intended users). Cyber security failures by or breaches of the Investment Advisor and other service providers (including, but not limited to, fund accountants, custodians, transfer agents and administrators), and the issuers of securities in which the Acquiring Fund invests, have the ability to cause disruptions and impact business operations, potentially resulting in financial losses, interference with the Acquiring Fund’s ability to calculate its NAV, impediments to trading, the inability of shareholders to transact business, violations of applicable privacy and other laws, regulatory fines,

 

74


penalties, reputational damage, reimbursement or other compensation costs, or additional compliance costs. In addition, substantial costs may be incurred in order to prevent any cyber incidents in the future. While the Acquiring Fund has established business continuity plans in the event of, and risk management systems to prevent, such cyber-attacks, there are inherent limitations in such plans and systems including the possibility that certain risks have not been identified. Furthermore, the Acquiring Fund cannot control the cyber security plans and systems put in place by service providers to the Acquiring Fund and issuers in which the Acquiring Fund invests. As a result, the Acquiring Fund or its shareholders could be negatively impacted.

Misconduct of Employees and of Service Providers Risk. Misconduct or misrepresentations by employees of the Investment Advisor or the Acquiring Fund’s service providers could cause significant losses to the Acquiring Fund. Employee misconduct may include binding the Acquiring Fund to transactions that exceed authorized limits or present unacceptable risks and unauthorized trading activities, concealing unsuccessful trading activities (which, in any case, may result in unknown and unmanaged risks or losses) or making misrepresentations regarding any of the foregoing. Losses could also result from actions by the Acquiring Fund’s service providers, including, without limitation, failing to recognize trades and misappropriating assets. In addition, employees and service providers may improperly use or disclose confidential information, which could result in litigation or serious financial harm, including limiting the Acquiring Fund’s business prospects or future marketing activities. Despite the Investment Advisor’s due diligence efforts, misconduct and intentional misrepresentations may be undetected or not fully comprehended, thereby potentially undermining the Investment Advisor’s due diligence efforts. As a result, no assurances can be given that the due diligence performed by the Investment Advisor will identify or prevent any such misconduct.

Inflation Risk. Inflation risk is the risk that the value of assets or income from investment will be worth less in the future, as inflation decreases the value of money. As inflation increases, the real value of the common shares and distributions on those shares can decline. In addition, during any periods of rising inflation, interest rates on any borrowings by the Acquiring Fund would likely increase, which would tend to further reduce returns to the common shareholders.

Deflation Risk. Deflation risk is the risk that prices throughout the economy decline over time, which may have an adverse effect on the market valuation of companies, their assets and their revenues. In addition, deflation may have an adverse effect on the creditworthiness of issuers and may make issuer default more likely, which may result in a decline in the value of the Acquiring Fund’s portfolio.

Portfolio Turnover Risk. The Acquiring Fund’s annual portfolio turnover rate may vary greatly from year to year, as well as within a given year. Portfolio turnover rate is not considered a limiting factor in the execution of investment decisions for the Acquiring Fund. A higher portfolio turnover rate results in correspondingly greater brokerage commissions and other transactional expenses that are borne by the Acquiring Fund. High portfolio turnover may result in an increased realization of net short-term capital gains by the Acquiring Fund which, when distributed to common shareholders, will be taxable as ordinary income. Additionally, in a declining market, portfolio turnover may create realized capital losses.

Anti-Takeover Provisions Risk. The Agreement and Declaration of Trust and Bylaws of the Acquiring Fund include provisions that could limit the ability of other entities or persons to acquire control of the Acquiring Fund or convert the Acquiring Fund to open-end status or to change the composition of the Board.

 

75


A DESCRIPTION OF THE FUNDS

BSD, BBF and the Acquiring Fund are each formed as a Delaware statutory trust pursuant to an Agreement and Declaration of Trust governed by the laws of the State of Delaware. MFT is organized as a Massachusetts business trust pursuant to its Declaration of Trust governed by the laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Each Fund is a diversified, closed-end management investment company registered under the 1940 Act. Each Fund’s principal office is located at 100 Bellevue Parkway, Wilmington, Delaware 19809, and each Fund’s telephone number is (800) 882-0052.

BSD was formed as a Delaware statutory trust pursuant to an Agreement and Declaration of Trust governed by the laws of the State of Delaware on June 17, 1999, and commenced operations on August 24, 1999.

MFT was organized as Massachusetts business trust pursuant to an Agreement and Declaration of Trust governed by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts on August 24, 1992, and commenced operations on October 30, 1992.

BBF was formed as a Delaware statutory trust pursuant to an Agreement and Declaration of Trust governed by the laws of the State of Delaware on March 30, 2001, and commenced operations on July 27, 2001.

The Acquiring Fund was formed as a Delaware statutory trust pursuant to an Agreement and Declaration of Trust governed by the laws of the State of Delaware on June 21, 2002, and commenced operations on July 30, 2002.

The Acquiring Fund common shares are listed on the NYSE as “BLE.” BSD’s common shares are listed on the NYSE as “BSD.” MFT’s common shares are listed on the NYSE as “MFT.” BBF’s common shares are listed on the NYSE as “BBF.”

The Acquiring Fund has an August 31 fiscal year end. BSD has an April 30 fiscal year end. MFT and BBF have a July 31 fiscal year end.

Each of BSD, MFT and the Acquiring Fund has VMTP Shares outstanding and BBF has VRDP Shares outstanding. Each Fund’s preferred shares are not listed on a national stock exchange and have not been registered under the Securities Act, or any state securities laws, and unless so registered, may not be offered, sold, assigned, transferred, pledged, encumbered or otherwise disposed of except pursuant to an exemption from, or in a transaction not subject to, the registration requirements of the Securities Act and applicable state securities laws. Please see “Information about the Preferred Shares of the Funds” for additional information.

The Board of Trustees and Officers

The Board of Trustees (the “Board”) of each Fund currently consists of ten individuals (each, a “Board Member”), eight of whom are not “interested persons” of each Fund as defined in the 1940 Act (the “Independent Board Members”). The registered investment companies advised by the Investment Advisor or its affiliates (the “BlackRock-Advised Funds”) are organized into one complex of closed-end funds and open-end non-index fixed-income funds (the “BlackRock Fixed-Income Complex”), one complex of open-end equity, multi-asset, index and money market funds (the “BlackRock Multi-Asset Complex”) and one complex of exchange-traded funds (each, a “BlackRock Fund Complex”). Each Fund is included in the BlackRock Fixed-Income Complex. The Board Members also oversee as Board members the operations of the other closed-end registered investment companies included in the BlackRock Fixed-Income Complex.

Certain biographical and other information relating to the Board Members and officers of each Fund is set forth below, including their year of birth, their principal occupation for at least the last five years, the length of time served, the total number of investment companies overseen in the BlackRock Fund Complexes and any public directorships or trusteeships.

 

76


Please refer to the below table which identifies the Board Members and sets forth certain biographical information about the Board Members for each Fund.

 

Name and Year of
Birth(1)

 

Position(s)
Held
(Length of
Service) (3)

 

Principal Occupation(s) During Past Five Years

 

Number of
BlackRock-
Advised
Registered
Investment
Companies
(“RICs”)
Consisting of
Investment
Portfolios
(“Portfolios”)
Overseen(4)

  Other Public
Company or
Investment
Company
Directorships
Held During
Past Five
Years(5)
Independent Board Members(2)      
Richard E. Cavanagh
1946
  Co-Chair of the Board and Board Member (Since 2007)   Director, The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America since 1998; Board Chair, Volunteers of America (a not-for-profit organization) from 2015 to 2018 (board member since 2009); Director, Arch Chemicals (chemical and allied products) from 1999 to 2011; Trustee, Educational Testing Service from 1997 to 2009 and Chairman thereof from 2005 to 2009; Senior Advisor, The Fremont Group since 2008 and Director thereof since 1996; Faculty Member/Adjunct Lecturer, Harvard University since 2007 and Executive Dean from 1987 to 1995; President and Chief Executive Officer, The Conference Board, Inc. (global business research organization) from 1995 to 2007.   86 RICs consisting of 110 Portfolios   None
Karen P. Robards
1950
  Co-Chair of the Board and Board Member (Since 2007)   Principal of Robards & Company, LLC (consulting and private investing) since 1987; Co-founder and Director of the Cooke Center for Learning and Development (a not-for-profit organization) since 1987; Director of Enable Injections, LLC (medical devices) since 2019; Investment Banker at Morgan Stanley from 1976 to 1987.   86 RICs consisting of 110 Portfolios   Greenhill &
Co., Inc.;
AtriCure,
Inc.
(medical
devices)
from 2000
until 2017

 

77


Name and Year of
Birth(1)

 

Position(s)
Held
(Length of
Service) (3)

 

Principal Occupation(s) During Past Five Years

 

Number of
BlackRock-
Advised
Registered
Investment
Companies
(“RICs”)
Consisting of
Investment
Portfolios
(“Portfolios”)
Overseen(4)

 

Other Public
Company or
Investment
Company
Directorships
Held During
Past Five
Years(5)

Michael J. Castellano
1946
  Board Member (Since 2011)   Chief Financial Officer of Lazard Group LLC from 2001 to 2011; Chief Financial Officer of Lazard Ltd from 2004 to 2011; Director, Support Our Aging Religious (non-profit) from 2009 to June 2015 and from 2017 to September 2020; Director, National Advisory Board of Church Management at Villanova University since 2010; Trustee, Domestic Church Media Foundation since 2012; Director, CircleBlack Inc. (financial technology company) from 2015 to July 2020.   86 RICs consisting of 110 Portfolios   None
Cynthia L. Egan
1955
  Board Member (Since 2016)   Advisor, U.S. Department of the Treasury from 2014 to 2015; President, Retirement Plan Services, for T. Rowe Price Group, Inc. from 2007 to 2012; executive positions within Fidelity Investments from 1989 to 2007.   86 RICs consisting of 110 Portfolios   Unum (insurance); The Hanover Insurance Group (insurance); Envestnet (investment platform) from 2013 until 2016
Frank J. Fabozzi
1948
  Board Member (Since 2007)   Editor of The Journal of Portfolio Management since 1986; Professor of Finance, EDHEC Business School (France) since 2011; Visiting Professor, Princeton University for the 2013 to 2014 academic year and Spring 2017 semester; Professor in the Practice of Finance, Yale University School of Management from 1994 to 2011 and currently a Teaching Fellow in Yale’s Executive Programs; Board Member, BlackRock Equity-Liquidity Funds from 2014 to 2016; affiliated professor Karlsruhe Institute of Technology from 2008 to 2011; Visiting Professor Rutgers University for the Spring 2019 semester; Visiting Professor, New York University for the 2019 academic year.   87 RICs consisting of 111 Portfolios   None

 

78


Name and Year of
Birth(1)

 

Position(s)
Held
(Length of
Service) (3)

 

Principal Occupation(s) During Past Five Years

 

Number of
BlackRock-
Advised
Registered
Investment
Companies
(“RICs”)
Consisting of
Investment
Portfolios
(“Portfolios”)
Overseen(4)

 

Other Public
Company or
Investment
Company
Directorships
Held During
Past Five
Years(5)

R. Glenn Hubbard
1958
  Board Member (Since 2007)   Dean, Columbia Business School from 2004 to 2019; Faculty member, Columbia Business School since 1988.   86 RICs consisting of 110 Portfolios   ADP (data and information services); Metropolitan Life Insurance Company (insurance); KKR Financial Corporation (finance) from 2004 until 2014
W. Carl Kester
1951
  Board Member (Since 2007)   George Fisher Baker Jr. Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School since 2008; Deputy Dean for Academic Affairs from 2006 to 2010; Chairman of the Finance Unit, from 2005 to 2006; Senior Associate Dean and Chairman of the MBA Program from 1999 to 2005; Member of the faculty of Harvard Business School since 1981.   87 RICs consisting of 111 Portfolios   None
Catherine A. Lynch
1961
  Board Member (Since 2016)   Chief Executive Officer, Chief Investment Officer and various other positions, National Railroad Retirement Investment Trust from 2003 to 2016; Associate Vice President for Treasury Management, The George Washington University from 1999 to 2003; Assistant Treasurer, Episcopal Church of America from 1995 to 1999.   87 RICs consisting of 111 Portfolios   None

 

79


Name and Year of
Birth(1)

 

Position(s)
Held
(Length of
Service) (3)

 

Principal Occupation(s) During Past Five Years

 

Number of
BlackRock-
Advised
Registered
Investment
Companies
(“RICs”)
Consisting  of
Investment
Portfolios
(“Portfolios”)
Overseen(4)

 

Other Public
Company or
Investment
Company
Directorships
Held During
Past Five
Years(5)

Interested Board Members(5)      

Robert Fairbairn

1965

  Board Member (Since 2018)   Vice Chairman of BlackRock, Inc. since 2019; Member of BlackRock’s Global Executive and Global Operating Committees; Co-Chair of BlackRock’s Human Capital Committee; Senior Managing Director of BlackRock, Inc. from 2010 to 2019; oversaw BlackRock’s Strategic Partner Program and Strategic Product Management Group from 2012 to 2019; Member of the Board of Managers of BlackRock Investments, LLC from 2011 to 2018; Global Head of BlackRock’s Retail and iShares® businesses from 2012 to 2016.   119 RICs consisting of 266 Portfolios   None
John M. Perlowski 1964   Board Member (Since 2015), President and Chief Executive Officer (Since 2010)   Managing Director of BlackRock, Inc. since 2009; Head of BlackRock Global Accounting and Product Services since 2009; Advisory Director of Family Resource Network (charitable foundation) since 2009.   120 RICs consisting of 267 Portfolios   None

 

(1)

The address of each Board Member is c/o BlackRock, Inc., 55 East 52nd Street, New York, NY 10055.

(2)

Each Independent Board Member holds office until his or her successor is elected and qualifies, or until his or her earlier death, resignation, retirement or removal, or until December 31 of the year in which he or she turns 75. Board Members who are “interested persons,” as defined in the 1940 Act, serve until their successor is elected and qualifies or until their earlier death, resignation, retirement or removal as provided by each Fund’s bylaws or statute, or until December 31 of the year in which they turn 72. The Board may determine to extend the terms of Independent Board Members on a case-by-case basis, as appropriate.

(3)

Date shown is the earliest date a person has served for the Funds covered by this Proxy Statement. Following the combination of Merrill Lynch Investment Managers, L.P. (“MLIM”) and BlackRock, Inc. in September 2006, the various legacy MLIM and legacy BlackRock fund boards were realigned and consolidated into three new fund boards in 2007. Certain Independent Board Members first became members of the boards of other legacy MLIM or legacy BlackRock funds as follows: Richard E. Cavanagh, 1994; Frank J. Fabozzi, 1988; R. Glenn Hubbard, 2004; W. Carl Kester, 1995; and Karen P. Robards, 1998. Certain other Independent Board Members became members of the boards of the closed-end funds in the BlackRock Fixed-Income Complex as follows: Michael J. Castellano, 2011; Cynthia L. Egan, 2016; and Catherine A. Lynch, 2016.

(4)

Dr. Fabozzi, Dr. Kester, Ms. Lynch and Mr. Perlowski are also trustees of the BlackRock Credit Strategies Fund.

(5)

Mr. Fairbairn and Mr. Perlowski are both “interested persons,” as defined in the 1940 Act, of each Fund based on their positions with BlackRock, Inc. and its affiliates. Mr. Fairbairn and Mr. Perlowski are also board members of the BlackRock Multi-Asset Complex.

 

80


Information Pertaining to the Officers

Certain biographical and other information relating to the officers of the Funds who are not Board Members is set forth below, including their address and year of birth, principal occupations for at least the last five years and length of time served. With the exception of the Chief Compliance Officer (“CCO”), executive officers receive no compensation from the Funds. The Acquiring Fund compensates the CCO for his services as its CCO.

Each executive officer is an “interested person” of the Funds (as defined in the 1940 Act) by virtue of that individual’s position with BlackRock or its affiliates described in the table below.

 

Name, Address(1),(2) and
Year of Birth

  

Position(s) Held (Length
of Service)

  

Principal Occupations(s)
During Past Five Years

Jonathan Diorio

1980

  

Vice President

(Since 2015)

   Managing Director of BlackRock since 2015; Director of BlackRock, Inc. from 2011 to 2015.

Neal J. Andrews

1966

  

Chief Financial Officer

(Since 2007)

   Chief Financial Officer of the iShares® exchange traded funds from 2019 to 2020; Managing Director of BlackRock, Inc. since 2006

Jay M. Fife

1970

  

Treasurer

(Since 2007)

   Managing Director of BlackRock, Inc. since 2007.

Charles Park

1967

  

Chief Compliance Officer

(Since 2014)

   Anti-Money Laundering Compliance Officer for certain BlackRock-advised Funds from 2014 to 2015; Chief Compliance Officer of BlackRock Advisors, LLC and the BlackRock-advised Funds in the BlackRock Multi-Asset Complex and the BlackRock Fixed-Income Complex since 2014; Principal of and Chief Compliance Officer for iShares® Delaware Trust Sponsor LLC since 2012 and BlackRock Fund Advisors (“BFA”) since 2006; Chief Compliance Officer for the BFA-advised iShares® exchange traded funds since 2006; Chief Compliance Officer for BlackRock Asset Management International Inc. since 2012.

Janey Ahn

1975

  

Secretary

(Since 2012)

   Managing Director of BlackRock, Inc. since 2018; Director of BlackRock, Inc. from 2009 to 2017.

 

(1)

The address of each executive officer is c/o BlackRock, Inc., 55 East 52nd Street, New York, NY 10055.

(2)

Officers of the Funds service at the pleasure of the Board.

The Investment Advisor

BlackRock Advisors, LLC serves as the investment adviser for each Fund and is expected to continue to serve as investment adviser for the Combined Fund. The Investment Advisor is responsible for the management of each Fund’s portfolio and provides the necessary personnel, facilities, equipment and certain other services necessary to the operations of each Fund.

Each Fund entered into an Investment Management Agreement with the Investment Advisor to provide investment advisory services. For such services, BSD currently pays the Investment Advisor a monthly fee at an annual contractual investment management fee rate of 0.60% of its average weekly managed assets. BBF currently pays the Investment Advisor a monthly fee at an annual contractual investment management fee rate of 0.57% of its average weekly managed assets. The Acquiring Fund currently pays the Investment Advisor a monthly fee at an annual contractual investment management fee rate of 0.55% of its average weekly managed assets. “Managed assets” means the total assets of the relevant Fund (including any assets attributable to money borrowed) minus the sum of its accrued liabilities (other than money borrowed for investment purposes, including liabilities represented by tender option bond (TOB) leverage and the liquidation preference of the

 

81


Fund’s VMTP Shares or VRDP Shares, as applicable). MFT currently pays the Investment Advisor a monthly fee at an annual contractual investment management fee rate of 0.50% of its average daily net assets. For purposes of calculating these fees, “net assets” mean the total assets of MFT minus the sum of its accrued liabilities (which does not include liabilities represented by tender option bond trusts (TOB Trusts) and the liquidation preference of any outstanding preferred shares). It is understood that the liquidation preference of any outstanding preferred shares (other than accumulated dividends) and TOB Trusts is not considered a liability in determining MFT’s NAV.

Each Fund and the Investment Advisor have entered into the Fee Waiver Agreement, pursuant to which the Investment Advisor has contractually agreed to waive the management fee with respect to any portion of each Fund’s assets attributable to investments in any equity and fixed-income mutual funds and ETFs managed by the Investment Advisor or its affiliates that have a contractual fee, through June 30, 2022. In addition, effective December 1, 2019, pursuant to the Fee Waiver Agreement, the Investment Advisor has contractually agreed to waive its management fees by the amount of investment advisory fees each Fund pays to the Investment Advisor indirectly through its investment in money market funds advised by the Investment Advisor or its affiliates, through June 30, 2022. The Fee Waiver Agreement may be continued from year to year thereafter, provided that such continuance is specifically approved by the Investment Advisor and each Fund (including by a majority of each Fund’s Independent Board Members). Neither the Investment Advisor nor the Funds are obligated to extend the Fee Waiver Agreement. The Fee Waiver Agreement may be terminated at any time, without the payment of any penalty, only by each Fund (upon the vote of a majority of the Independent Board Members or a majority of the outstanding voting securities of each Fund), upon 90 days’ written notice by each Fund to the Investment Advisor.

If the Reorganizations are consummated, the annual contractual investment management fee rate of the Acquiring Fund will be the annual contractual investment management fee rate of the Combined Fund, which will be 0.55% of the average weekly managed assets of the Combined Fund. The Combined Fund will have a lower annual contractual investment management fee rate than each of BSD and BBF, a higher annual contractual investment management fee rate than MFT and the same annual contractual investment management fee rate as the Acquiring Fund.

Based on a pro forma Broadridge peer expense universe for the Combined Fund, the estimated total annual fund expense ratio (excluding investment-related expenses and taxes) is expected to be in the third quartile and contractual investment management fee rate and actual investment management fee rate over total assets are each expected to be in the first quartile.

The level of expense savings (or increases) will vary depending on the combination of the Funds in the Reorganizations, and furthermore, there can be no assurance that future expenses will not increase or that any expense savings for any Fund will be realized as a result of any Reorganization.

A discussion regarding the basis for the approval of the Investment Management Agreement by the Board of each Fund is provided in such Fund’s Form N-CSR for BSD’s semi-annual fiscal period ended October 31, 2019, for MFT’s and BBF’s fiscal year ended July 31, 2020 and for the Acquiring Fund’s fiscal year ended August 31, 2020 available at www.sec.gov or by visiting www.blackrock.com.

The Investment Advisor is located at 100 Bellevue Parkway, Wilmington, Delaware 19809 and is a wholly owned subsidiary of BlackRock. BlackRock is one of the world’s largest publicly-traded investment management firms. As of September 30, 2020, BlackRock’s assets under management were approximately $7.808 trillion. BlackRock has over 25 years of experience managing closed-end products and, as of September 30, 2020, advised a registered closed-end family of 70 exchange-listed active funds with approximately $52 billion in assets.

BlackRock is a global leader in investment management, risk management and advisory services for institutional and retail clients. BlackRock helps clients meet their goals and overcome challenges with a range of products that include separate accounts, mutual funds, iShares® (exchange-traded funds), and other pooled investment vehicles. BlackRock also offers risk management, advisory and enterprise investment system services

 

82


to a broad base of institutional investors through BlackRock Solutions®. Headquartered in New York City, as of September 30, 2020, the firm had approximately 16,000 employees in more than 39 countries and a major presence in key global markets, including North and South America, Europe, Asia, Australia and the Middle East and Africa.

Portfolio Management

Each of BSD, MFT and BBF is managed by a team of investment professionals led by Theodore R. Jaeckel, Jr., CFA and Michael Perilli. Messrs. Jaeckel and Perilli are each BSD’s, MFT’s and BBF’s portfolio managers and are responsible for the day-to-day management of each Fund’s portfolio and the selection of its investments. Messrs. Jaeckel and Perilli have been members of BSD’s, MFT’s and BBF’s Fund’s portfolio management team since 2006 and 2016, respectively.

The Acquiring Fund is managed by a team of investment professionals lead by Theodore R. Jaeckel, Jr., CFA and Walter O’Connor, CFA. Messrs. Jaeckel and O’Connor are the Acquiring Fund’s portfolio managers and are responsible for the day-to-day management of the Acquiring Fund’s portfolio and the selection of its investments. Messrs. Jaeckel and O’Connor have been members of the Acquiring Fund’s portfolio management team since 2006.

The biography of each portfolio manager of the Funds are set forth below:

 

Portfolio Manager    Biography
Michael Perilli, CFA    Vice President of BlackRock since 2014; Associate of BlackRock from 2008 to 2014.
Theodore R. Jaeckel, Jr., CFA    Managing Director of BlackRock since 2006; Managing Director of Merrill Lynch Investment Managers, L.P. (“MLIM”) from 2005 to 2006; Director of MLIM from 1997 to 2005.
Walter O’Connor, CFA    Managing Director of BlackRock since 2006; Managing Director of MLIM from 2003 to 2006; Director of MLIM from 1998 to 2003.

Following the Reorganizations, it is expected that the Combined Fund will be managed by a team of investment professionals lead by Theodore R. Jaeckel, Jr., CFA and Michael Perilli.

Other Service Providers

The professional service providers for the Funds are or will be as follows:

 

Service    Service Providers to the Funds
Accounting Agent    State Street Bank and Trust Company
Custodian    State Street Bank and Trust Company
Transfer Agent, Dividend Disbursing Agent and Registrar    Computershare Trust Company, N.A.
Redemption and Paying Agent to BSD, MFT and Acquiring Fund VMTP Shares; Tender and Paying Agent to BBF VRDP Shares    The Bank of New York Mellon
Liquidity Provider to BBF VRDP Shares    Bank of America, N.A.
Remarketing Agent to BBF VRDP Shares    BofA Securities, Inc.
Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm    Deloitte & Touche LLP
Fund Counsel    Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP
Counsel to the Independent Board Members    Debevoise & Plimpton LLP

 

83


It is not anticipated that the Reorganizations will result in any change in the organizations providing services to the Acquiring Fund as set forth above. As a result of the Reorganizations, the service providers to the Acquiring Fund are anticipated to be the service providers to the Combined Fund.

Accounting Agent

State Street Bank and Trust Company provides certain administration and accounting services to the Funds pursuant to an Administration and Fund Accounting Services Agreement (the “Administration Agreement”). Pursuant to the Administration Agreement, State Street Bank and Trust Company provides the Funds with, among other things, customary fund accounting services, including computing each Fund’s NAV and maintaining books, records and other documents relating to each Fund’s financial and portfolio transactions, and customary fund administration services, including assisting the Funds with regulatory filings, tax compliance and other oversight activities. For these and other services it provides to the Funds, State Street Bank and Trust Company is paid a monthly fee from the Funds at an annual rate ranging from 0.0075% to 0.015% of each Fund’s Managed Assets, along with an annual fixed fee ranging from $0 to $10,000 for the services it provides to the Funds.

Custody of Assets

The custodian of the assets of each Fund is State Street Bank and Trust Company, 225 Franklin Street, Boston, Massachusetts 02110. The custodian is responsible for, among other things, receipt of and disbursement of funds from each Fund’s accounts, establishment of segregated accounts as necessary, and transfer, exchange and delivery of Fund portfolio securities.

Transfer Agent, Dividend Disbursing Agent and Registrar

Computershare Trust Company, N.A., 150 Royall Street, Canton, Massachusetts 02021, serves as each Fund’s transfer agent with respect to such Fund’s common shares.

VMTP Shares Redemption and Paying Agent; VRDP Shares Tender and Paying Agent

The Bank of New York Mellon, One Wall Street, New York, New York 10286, acts as the tender agent, transfer agent and registrar, dividend disbursing agent and paying agent and/or redemption price disbursing agent with respect to the Acquiring Fund, BSD and BFT VMTP Shares and the BBF VRDP Shares, as applicable, and will serve in such capacity with respect to the BBF VMTP Shares to be issued in connection with the VRDP Refinancing and the VMTP Shares of the Combined Fund.

BBF VRDP Shares Liquidity Provider

Bank of America, N.A. New York, New York 10036, serves as the liquidity provider for the BBF VRDP Shares.

BBF VRDP Shares Remarketing Agent

BofA Securities Inc. New York, New York 10036, serves as the remarketing agent for the BBF VRDP Shares.

 

84


THE ACQUIRING FUND’S INVESTMENTS

Investment Objective and Policies

The Acquiring Fund’s investment objective is to provide current income exempt from regular federal income taxes. As a fundamental policy, under normal market conditions, the Acquiring Fund will invest at least 80% of its Managed Assets in Municipal Bonds, the interest of which is exempt from regular federal income tax (except that the interest may be subject to the alternative minimum tax). The Acquiring Fund cannot change its investment objectives or the foregoing fundamental policy without the approval of the holders of a majority of the outstanding common shares and the outstanding preferred shares, including the VMTP Shares, voting together as a single class, and of the holders of a majority of the outstanding preferred shares, including the VMTP Shares, voting as a separate class. A majority of the outstanding means (1) 67% or more of the shares present at a meeting, if the holders of more than 50% of the outstanding shares are present or represented by proxy, or (2) more than 50% of the outstanding shares, whichever is less. See “Description of VMTP Shares—Voting Rights” for additional information with respect to the voting rights of holders of VMTP Shares.

The Acquiring Fund’s investment policies provide that, under normal market conditions, the Acquiring Fund will invest at least 80% of its Managed Assets in investment grade quality Municipal Bonds. Investment grade quality means that such bonds are rated, at the time of investment, within the four highest grades (Baa or BBB or better by Moody’s, S&P or Fitch) or are unrated but judged to be of comparable quality by the Investment Advisor. Municipal Bonds rated Baa by Moody’s are investment grade, but Moody’s considers Municipal Bonds rated Baa to have speculative characteristics. Changes in economic conditions or other circumstances are more likely to lead to a weakened capacity for issuers of Municipal Bonds that are rated BBB or Baa (or that have equivalent ratings) to make principal and interest payments than is the case for issues of higher grade Municipal Bonds. In the case of short-term notes, the investment grade rating categories are SP-1+ through SP-2 for S&P, MIG-1 through MIG-3 for Moody’s and F-1+ through F-3 for Fitch. In the case of tax exempt commercial paper, the investment grade rating categories are A-1+ through A-3 for S&P, Prime-1 through Prime-3 for Moody’s and F-1+ through F-3 for Fitch. Obligations ranked in the lowest investment grade rating category (BBB, SP-2 and A-3 for S&P; Baa, MIG-3 and Prime-3 for Moody’s and BBB and F-3 for Fitch), while considered “investment grade,” may have certain speculative characteristics. There may be sub-categories or gradations indicating relative standing within the rating categories set forth above. In assessing the quality of Municipal Bonds with respect to the foregoing requirements, the Investment Advisor takes into account the nature of any letters of credit or similar credit enhancement to which particular Municipal Bonds are entitled and the creditworthiness of the financial institution that provided such credit enhancement.

The Acquiring Fund may invest up to 20% of its Managed Assets in Municipal Bonds that are rated, at the time of investment, Ba/BB or B by Moody’s, S&P or Fitch or that are unrated but judged to be of comparable quality by the Investment Advisor. Bonds of below investment grade quality (Ba/BB or below) are commonly referred to as “junk bonds.” Bonds of below investment grade quality are regarded as having predominantly speculative characteristics with respect to the issuer’s capacity to pay interest and repay principal. Such securities, sometimes referred to as “high yield” or “junk” bonds, are predominantly speculative with respect to the capacity to pay interest and repay principal in accordance with the terms of the security and generally involve a greater volatility of price than securities in higher rating categories. Below investment grade securities and comparable unrated securities involve substantial risk of loss, are considered speculative with respect to the issuer’s ability to pay interest and any required redemption or principal payments and are susceptible to default or decline in market value due to adverse economic and business developments.

The foregoing credit quality policies apply only at the time a security is purchased, and the Acquiring Fund is not required to dispose of a security if a rating agency downgrades its assessment of the credit characteristics of a particular issue. In determining whether to retain or sell a security that a rating agency has downgraded, the Investment Advisor may consider such factors as the Investment Advisor’s assessment of the credit quality of the issuer of the security, the price at which the security could be sold and the rating, if any, assigned to the security

 

85


by other rating agencies. Appendix D contains a general description of Moody’s, S&P’s and Fitch’s ratings of municipal bonds. In the event that the Acquiring Fund disposes of a portfolio security subsequent to its being downgraded, the Acquiring Fund may experience a greater risk of loss than if such security had been sold prior to such downgrade.

The Acquiring Fund may also invest in securities of other open- or closed-end investment companies that invest primarily in Municipal Bonds of the types in which the Acquiring Fund may invest directly and in tax-exempt preferred shares that pay dividends that are exempt from regular federal income tax. See “—Other Investment Companies,” and “— Tax-Exempt Preferred Shares.” In addition, the Acquiring Fund may purchase Municipal Bonds that are additionally secured by insurance, bank credit agreements or escrow accounts. The credit quality of companies which provide these credit enhancements will affect the value of those securities. Although the insurance feature reduces certain financial risks, the premiums for insurance and the higher market price paid for insured obligations may reduce the Acquiring Fund’s income. The insurance feature does not guarantee the market value of the insured obligations or the net asset value of the common shares. The Acquiring Fund may purchase insured bonds and may purchase insurance for bonds in its portfolio.

The Acquiring Fund may invest in certain tax exempt securities classified as “private activity bonds” (or industrial development bonds, under pre-1986 law) (in general, bonds that benefit non-governmental entities) that may subject certain investors in the Acquiring Fund to an alternative minimum tax. See “Certain U.S. Federal Income Tax Considerations.” The percentage of the Acquiring Fund’s total assets invested in private activity bonds will vary from time to time. The Acquiring Fund has not established any limit on the percentage of its portfolio that may be invested in Municipal Bonds subject to the alternative minimum tax provisions of federal tax law, and the Acquiring Fund expects that a portion of the income it produces will be includable in alternative minimum taxable income. VMTP Shares therefore would not ordinarily be a suitable investment for investors who are subject to the federal alternative minimum tax or who would become subject to such tax by purchasing VMTP Shares. The suitability of an investment in VMTP Shares will depend upon a comparison of the after-tax yield likely to be provided from the Acquiring Fund with that from comparable tax-exempt investments not subject to the alternative minimum tax, and from comparable fully taxable investments, in light of each such investor’s tax position. Special considerations may apply to corporate investors.

The average maturity of the Acquiring Fund’s portfolio securities varies from time to time based upon an assessment of economic and market conditions by the Investment Advisor. The Acquiring Fund’s portfolio at any given time may include both long- term and intermediate-term Municipal Bonds.

The Acquiring Fund’s stated expectation is that it will invest in Municipal Bonds that, in the Investment Advisor’s opinion, are underrated or undervalued. Underrated Municipal Bonds are those whose ratings do not, in the opinion of the Investment Advisor, reflect their true higher creditworthiness. Undervalued Municipal Bonds are bonds that, in the opinion of the Investment Advisor, are worth more than the value assigned to them in the marketplace. The Investment Advisor may at times believe that bonds associated with a particular municipal market sector (for example, but not limited to electric utilities), or issued by a particular municipal issuer, are undervalued. The Investment Advisor may purchase those bonds for the Acquiring Fund’s portfolio because they represent a market sector or issuer that the Investment Advisor considers undervalued, even if the value of those particular bonds appears to be consistent with the value of similar bonds. Municipal Bonds of particular types (for example, but not limited to hospital bonds, industrial revenue bonds or bonds issued by a particular municipal issuer) may be undervalued because there is a temporary excess of supply in that market sector, or because of a general decline in the market price of Municipal Bonds of the market sector for reasons that do not apply to the particular Municipal Bonds that are considered undervalued. The Acquiring Fund’s investment in underrated or undervalued Municipal Bonds will be based on the Investment Advisor’s belief that their yield is higher than that available on bonds bearing equivalent levels of interest rate risk, credit risk and other forms of risk, and that their prices will ultimately rise, relative to the market, to reflect their true value. Any capital appreciation realized by the Acquiring Fund will generally result in capital gain distributions subject to federal capital gains taxation.

 

86


The Acquiring Fund ordinarily does not intend to realize significant investment income not exempt from federal income tax. From time to time, the Acquiring Fund may realize taxable capital gains.

Federal tax legislation has limited the types and volume of bonds the interest on which qualifies for a federal income tax exemption. As a result, this legislation and legislation that may be enacted in the future may affect the availability of Municipal Bonds for investment by the Acquiring Fund.

Description of Municipal Bonds

Set forth below is a detailed description of the Municipal Bonds in which the Acquiring Fund invests. Information with respect to ratings assigned to tax-exempt obligations that the Acquiring Fund may purchase is set forth in Appendix D. Obligations are included within the term Municipal Bonds if the interest paid thereon is excluded from gross income for federal income tax purposes in the opinion of bond counsel to the issuer.

Municipal Bonds include debt obligations issued to obtain funds for various public purposes, including the construction of a wide range of public facilities, refunding of outstanding obligations and obtaining funds for general operating expenses and loans to other public institutions and facilities. In addition, certain types of PABs are issued by or on behalf of public authorities to finance various privately owned or operated facilities, including among other things, airports, public ports, mass commuting facilities, multi-family housing projects, as well as facilities for water supply, gas, electricity, sewage or solid waste disposal and other specialized facilities. Other types of PABs, the proceeds of which are used for the construction, equipment or improvement of privately operated industrial or commercial facilities, may constitute Municipal Bonds. The interest on Municipal Bonds may bear a fixed rate or be payable at a variable or floating rate. The two principal classifications of Municipal Bonds are “general obligation” bonds and “revenue” bonds, which latter category includes PABs and, for bonds issued on or before August 15, 1986, industrial development bonds. Municipal Bonds typically are issued to finance public projects, such as roads or public buildings, to pay general operating expenses or to refinance outstanding debt. Municipal Bonds may also be issued for private activities, such as housing, medical and educational facility construction, or for privately owned industrial development and pollution control projects. General obligation bonds are backed by the full faith and credit, or taxing authority, of the issuer and may be repaid from any revenue source. Revenue bonds may be repaid only from the revenues of a specific facility or source. Municipal Bonds may be issued on a long-term basis to provide permanent financing. The repayment of such debt may be secured generally by a pledge of the full faith and credit taxing power of the issuer, a limited or special tax, or any other revenue source, including project revenues, which may include tolls, fees and other user charges, lease payments and mortgage payments. Municipal Bonds may also be issued to finance projects on a short-term interim basis, anticipating repayment with the proceeds of the later issuance of long-term debt.

The Municipal Bonds in which the Acquiring Fund invests pay interest or income that, in the opinion of bond counsel to the issuer, is exempt from regular Federal income tax. The Investment Advisor does not conduct its own analysis of the tax status of the interest paid by Municipal Bonds held by the Acquiring Fund, but will rely on the opinion of counsel to the issuer of each such instrument. The Acquiring Fund may also invest in Municipal Bonds issued by United States Territories (such as Puerto Rico or Guam) that are exempt from regular Federal income tax. In addition to the types of Municipal Bonds described in this Proxy Statement, the Acquiring Fund may invest in other securities that pay interest or income that is, or make other distributions that are, exempt from regular Federal income tax and/or state and local personal taxes, regardless of the technical structure of the issuer of the instrument. The Acquiring Fund treats all of such tax-exempt securities as Municipal Bonds.

The yields on Municipal Bonds are dependent on a variety of factors, including prevailing interest rates and the condition of the general money market and the Municipal Bond market, the size of a particular offering, the maturity of the obligation and the rating of the issue. The market value of Municipal Bonds will vary with changes in interest rate levels and as a result of changing evaluations of the ability of bond issuers to meet interest and principal payments.

 

87


The Acquiring Fund has not established any limit on the percentage of its portfolio that may be invested in PABs. The Acquiring Fund may not be a suitable investment for investors who are already subject to the federal alternative minimum tax or who would become subject to the federal alternative minimum tax as a result of an investment in the Acquiring Fund’s common shares.

General Obligation Bonds. General obligation bonds are typically secured by the issuer’s pledge of its faith, credit and taxing power for the repayment of principal and the payment of interest. The taxing power of any governmental entity may be limited, however, by provisions of its state constitution or laws, and an entity’s creditworthiness will depend on many factors, including potential erosion of its tax base due to population declines, natural disasters, declines in the state’s industrial base or inability to attract new industries, economic limits on the ability to tax without eroding the tax base, state legislative proposals or voter initiatives to limit ad valorem real property taxes and the extent to which the entity relies on federal or state aid, access to capital markets or other factors beyond the state’s or entity’s control. Accordingly, the capacity of the issuer of a general obligation bond as to the timely payment of interest and the repayment of principal when due is affected by the issuer’s maintenance of its tax base.

Revenue Bonds. Revenue or special obligation bonds are typically payable only from the revenues derived from a particular facility or class of facilities or, in some cases, from the proceeds of a special excise tax or other specific revenue sources such as payments from the user of the facility being financed. Accordingly, the timely payment of interest and the repayment of principal in accordance with the terms of the revenue or special obligation bond is a function of the economic viability of such facility or such revenue source. Revenue bonds issued by state or local agencies to finance the development of low-income, multi-family housing involve special risks in addition to those associated with municipal securities generally, including that the underlying properties may not generate sufficient income to pay expenses and interest costs. Such bonds are generally non-recourse against the property owner, may be junior to the rights of others with an interest in the properties, may pay interest that changes based in part on the financial performance of the property, may be prepayable without penalty and may be used to finance the construction of housing developments which, until completed and rented, do not generate income to pay interest. Increases in interest rates payable on senior obligations may make it more difficult for issuers to meet payment obligations on subordinated bonds.

Municipal Notes. Municipal notes are shorter term municipal debt obligations. They may provide interim financing in anticipation of tax collection, bond sales or revenue receipts. If there is a shortfall in the anticipated proceeds, repayment on the note may be delayed or the note may not be fully repaid, and the Acquiring Fund may lose money.

Municipal Commercial Paper. Municipal commercial paper is generally unsecured and issued to meet short-term financing needs. The lack of security presents some risk of loss to the Acquiring Fund since, in the event of an issuer’s bankruptcy, unsecured creditors are repaid only after the secured creditors out of the assets, if any, that remain.

PABs. The Acquiring Fund may purchase Municipal Bonds classified as PABs. Interest received on certain PABs is treated as an item of “tax preference” for purposes of the federal alternative minimum tax and may impact the overall tax liability of certain investors in the Acquiring Fund. PABs, formerly referred to as industrial development bonds, are issued by, or on behalf of, states, municipalities or public authorities to obtain funds to provide privately operated housing facilities, airport, mass transit or port facilities, sewage disposal, solid waste disposal or hazardous waste treatment or disposal facilities and certain local facilities for water supply, gas or electricity. Other types of PABs, the proceeds of which are used for the construction, equipment, repair or improvement of privately operated industrial or commercial facilities, may constitute Municipal Bonds, although the federal tax laws may place substantial limitations on the size of such issues. Such bonds are secured primarily by revenues derived from loan repayments or lease payments due from the entity which may or may not be guaranteed by a parent company or otherwise secured. PABs generally are not secured by a pledge of the taxing power of the issuer of such bonds. Therefore, an investor should be aware that repayment of such bonds

 

88


generally depends on the revenues of a private entity and be aware of the risks that such an investment may entail. The continued ability of an entity to generate sufficient revenues for the payment of principal and interest on such bonds will be affected by many factors including the size of the entity, capital structure, demand for its products or services, competition, general economic conditions, government regulation and the entity’s dependence on revenues for the operation of the particular facility being financed.

Moral Obligation Bonds. Municipal Bonds may also include “moral obligation” bonds, which are normally issued by special purpose public authorities. If an issuer of moral obligation bonds is unable to meet its obligations, the repayment of such bonds becomes a moral commitment but not a legal obligation of the state or municipality in question.

Municipal Lease Obligations. Also included within the general category of Municipal Bonds are certificates of participation (“COPs”) issued by government authorities or entities to finance the acquisition or construction of equipment, land and/or facilities. COPs represent participations in a lease, an installment purchase contract or a conditional sales contract (hereinafter collectively called “lease obligations”) relating to such equipment, land or facilities. Municipal leases, like other municipal debt obligations, are subject to the risk of non-payment. Although lease obligations do not constitute general obligations of the issuer for which the issuer’s unlimited taxing power is pledged, a lease obligation is frequently backed by the issuer’s covenant to budget for, appropriate and make the payments due under the lease obligation. However, certain lease obligations contain “non-appropriation” clauses which provide that the issuer has no obligation to make lease or installment purchase payments in future years unless money is appropriated for such purpose on a yearly basis. Although “non-appropriation” lease obligations are secured by the leased property, disposition of the property in the event of foreclosure might prove difficult and the value of the property may be insufficient to issue lease obligations. Certain investments in lease obligations may be illiquid.

The ability of issuers of municipal leases to make timely lease payments may be adversely impacted in general economic downturns and as relative governmental cost burdens are allocated and reallocated among federal, state and local governmental units. Such non-payment would result in a reduction of income to the Acquiring Fund, and could result in a reduction in the value of the municipal lease experiencing non-payment and a potential decrease in the NAV of the Acquiring Fund. Issuers of municipal lease obligations might seek protection under the bankruptcy laws. In the event of bankruptcy of such an issuer, the Acquiring Fund could experience delays and limitations with respect to the collection of principal and interest on such municipal leases and the Acquiring Fund may not, in all circumstances, be able to collect all principal and interest to which it is entitled. To enforce its rights in the event of a default in lease payments, the Acquiring Fund might take possession of and manage the assets securing the issuer’s obligations on such securities, which may increase the Acquiring Fund’s operating expenses and adversely affect the NAV of the Acquiring Fund. When the lease contains a non-appropriation clause, however, the failure to pay would not be a default and the Acquiring Fund would not have the right to take possession of the assets. Any income derived from the Acquiring Fund’s ownership or operation of such assets may not be tax-exempt or may fail to generate qualifying income for purposes of the income tests applicable to regulated investment companies. In addition, the Acquiring Fund’s intention to qualify as a regulated investment company under the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, may limit the extent to which the Acquiring Fund may exercise its rights by taking possession of such assets, because as a regulated investment company the Acquiring Fund is subject to certain limitations on its investments and on the nature of its income.

Zero-Coupon Bonds. Municipal Bonds may include zero-coupon bonds. Zero-coupon bonds are securities that are sold at a discount to par value and do not pay interest during the life of the security. The discount approximates the total amount of interest the security will accrue and compound over the period until maturity at a rate of interest reflecting the market rate of the security at the time of issuance. Upon maturity, the holder of a zero-coupon bond is entitled to receive the par value of the security.

While interest payments are not made on such securities, holders of such securities are deemed to have received income (“phantom income”) annually, notwithstanding that cash may not be received currently. The

 

89


effect of owning instruments that do not make current interest payments is that a fixed yield is earned not only on the original investment but also, in effect, on all discount accretion during the life of the obligations. This implicit reinvestment of earnings at a fixed rate eliminates the risk of being unable to invest distributions at a rate as high as the implicit yield on the zero-coupon bond, but at the same time eliminates the holder’s ability to reinvest at higher rates in the future. For this reason, some of these securities may be subject to substantially greater price fluctuations during periods of changing market interest rates than are comparable securities that pay interest currently. Longer term zero-coupon bonds are more exposed to interest rate risk than shorter term zero-coupon bonds. These investments benefit the issuer by mitigating its need for cash to meet debt service, but also require a higher rate of return to attract investors who are willing to defer receipt of cash.

The Acquiring Fund accrues income with respect to these securities for U.S. federal income tax and accounting purposes prior to the receipt of cash payments. Zero-coupon bonds may be subject to greater fluctuation in value and less liquidity in the event of adverse market conditions than comparably rated securities that pay cash interest at regular intervals.

Further, to maintain its qualification for pass-through treatment under the federal tax laws, the Acquiring Fund is required to distribute income to its shareholders and, consequently, may have to dispose of other, more liquid portfolio securities under disadvantageous circumstances or may have to leverage itself by borrowing in order to generate the cash to satisfy these distributions. The required distributions may result in an increase in the Acquiring Fund’s exposure to zero-coupon bonds.

In addition to the above-described risks, there are certain other risks related to investing in zero-coupon bonds. During a period of severe market conditions, the market for such securities may become even less liquid. In addition, as these securities do not pay cash interest, the Acquiring Fund’s investment exposure to these securities and their risks, including credit risk, will increase during the time these securities are held in the Acquiring Fund’s portfolio.

Pre-Refunded Municipal Securities. The principal of, and interest on, pre-refunded municipal securities are no longer paid from the original revenue source for the securities. Instead, the source of such payments is typically an escrow fund consisting of U.S. Government securities. The assets in the escrow fund are derived from the proceeds of refunding bonds issued by the same issuer as the pre-refunded municipal securities. Issuers of municipal securities use this advance refunding technique to obtain more favorable terms with respect to securities that are not yet subject to call or redemption by the issuer. For example, advance refunding enables an issuer to refinance debt at lower market interest rates, restructure debt to improve cash flow or eliminate restrictive covenants in the indenture or other governing instrument for the pre-refunded municipal securities.

However, except for a change in the revenue source from which principal and interest payments are made, the pre-refunded municipal securities remain outstanding on their original terms until they mature or are redeemed by the issuer.

Special Taxing Districts. Special taxing districts are organized to plan and finance infrastructure developments to induce residential, commercial and industrial growth and redevelopment. The bond financing methods such as tax increment finance, tax assessment, special services district and Mello-Roos bonds (a type of municipal security established by the Mello-Roos Community Facilities Act of 1982), are generally payable solely from taxes or other revenues attributable to the specific projects financed by the bonds without recourse to the credit or taxing power of related or overlapping municipalities. They often are exposed to real estate development-related risks and can have more taxpayer concentration risk than general tax-supported bonds, such as general obligation bonds. Further, the fees, special taxes, or tax allocations and other revenues that are established to secure such financings are generally limited as to the rate or amount that may be levied or assessed and are not subject to increase pursuant to rate covenants or municipal or corporate guarantees. The bonds could default if development failed to progress as anticipated or if larger taxpayers failed to pay the assessments, fees and taxes as provided in the financing plans of the districts.

 

90


Indexed and Inverse Floating Rate Securities. The Acquiring Fund may invest in Municipal Bonds (and Non-Municipal Tax-Exempt Securities) that yield a return based on a particular index of value or interest rates. For example, the Acquiring Fund may invest in Municipal Bonds that pay interest based on an index of Municipal Bond interest rates. The principal amount payable upon maturity of certain Municipal Bonds also may be based on the value of the index. To the extent the Acquiring Fund invests in these types of Municipal Bonds, the Acquiring Fund’s return on such Municipal Bonds will be subject to risk with respect to the value of the particular index. Interest and principal payable on the Municipal Bonds may also be based on relative changes among particular indices. Also, the Acquiring Fund may invest in so-called “inverse floating rate bonds” or “residual interest bonds” on which the interest rates vary inversely with a short-term floating rate (which may be reset periodically by a Dutch auction, a remarketing agent, or by reference to a short-term tax-exempt interest rate index). The Acquiring Fund may purchase synthetically created inverse floating rate bonds evidenced by custodial or trust receipts. Generally, income on inverse floating rate bonds will decrease when short-term interest rates increase, and will increase when short-term interest rates decrease. Such securities have the effect of providing a degree of investment leverage, since they may increase or decrease in value in response to changes, as an illustration, in market interest rates at a rate which is a multiple (typically two) of the rate at which fixed rate long-term tax-exempt securities increase or decrease in response to such changes. As a result, the market values of such securities will generally be more volatile than the market values of fixed rate tax-exempt securities. To seek to limit the volatility of these securities, the Acquiring Fund may purchase inverse floating rate bonds with shorter-term maturities or limitations on the extent to which the interest rate may vary. Certain investments in such obligations may be illiquid. See “The Acquiring Fund’s Investments—Leverage—Tender Option Bond Transactions.”

When-Issued Securities, Delayed Delivery Securities and Forward Commitments. The Acquiring Fund may purchase or sell securities that it is entitled to receive on a when-issued basis. The Acquiring Fund may also purchase or sell securities on a delayed delivery basis. The Acquiring Fund may also purchase or sell securities through a forward commitment. These transactions involve the purchase or sale of securities by the Acquiring Fund at an established price with payment and delivery taking place in the future. The purchase will be recorded on the date the Acquiring Fund enters into the commitment and the value of the securities will thereafter be reflected in the Acquiring Fund’s NAV. The Acquiring Fund has not established any limit on the percentage of its assets that may be committed in connection with these transactions. At the time the Acquiring Fund enters into a transaction on a when-issued basis, it will segregate or designate on its books and records cash or liquid assets with a value not less than the value of the when-issued securities.

There can be no assurance that a security purchased on a when-issued basis will be issued or that a security purchased or sold through a forward commitment will be delivered. A default by a counterparty may result in the Acquiring Fund missing the opportunity of obtaining a price considered to be advantageous. The value of securities in these transactions on the delivery date may be more or less than the Acquiring Fund’s purchase price. The Acquiring Fund may bear the risk of a decline in the value of the security in these transactions and may not benefit from an appreciation in the value of the security during the commitment period.

If deemed advisable as a matter of investment strategy, the Acquiring Fund may dispose of or renegotiate a commitment after it has been entered into, and may sell securities it has committed to purchase before those securities are delivered to the Acquiring Fund on the settlement date. In these cases the Acquiring Fund may realize a taxable capital gain or loss.

When the Acquiring Fund engages in when-issued, delayed delivery or forward commitment transactions, it relies on the other party to consummate the trade. Failure of such party to do so may result in the Acquiring Fund’s incurring a loss or missing an opportunity to obtain a price considered to be advantageous.

The market value of the securities underlying a commitment to purchase securities, and any subsequent fluctuations in their market value, is taken into account when determining the market value of the Acquiring Fund starting on the day the Acquiring Fund agrees to purchase the securities. The Acquiring Fund does not earn interest on the securities it has committed to purchase until they are paid for and delivered on the settlement date.

 

91


Yields. Yields on Municipal Bonds are dependent on a variety of factors, including the general condition of the money market and of the Municipal Bond market, the size of a particular offering, the financial condition of the issuer, the maturity of the obligation and the rating of the issue. The ability of the Acquiring Fund to achieve its investment objective is also dependent on the continuing ability of the issuers of the securities in which the Acquiring Fund invests to meet their obligations for the payment of interest and principal when due. There are variations in the risks involved in holding Municipal Bonds, both within a particular classification and between classifications, depending on numerous factors. Furthermore, the rights of owners of Municipal Bonds and the obligations of the issuer of such Municipal Bonds may be subject to applicable bankruptcy, insolvency and similar laws and court decisions affecting the rights of creditors generally and to general equitable principles, which may limit the enforcement of certain remedies.

“High Yield” or “Junk” Bonds. The Acquiring Fund may invest up to 20% of its Managed Assets in Municipal Bonds that are rated, at the time of investment, Ba/BB or B by Moody’s, S&P or Fitch or that are unrated but judged to be of comparable quality by the Investment Advisor. Information with respect to ratings assigned to tax-exempt obligations that the Acquiring Fund may purchase is set forth in Appendix D. Municipal Bonds of below investment grade quality (“Ba/BB” or below) are commonly known as “junk bonds.” Securities rated below investment grade are judged to have speculative characteristics with respect to their interest and principal payments. Such securities may face major ongoing uncertainties or exposure to adverse business, financial or economic conditions which could lead to inadequate capacity to meet timely interest and principal payments.

Other Investment Companies

The Acquiring Fund may invest up to 10% of its total assets in securities of other open- or closed-end investment companies that invest primarily in Municipal Bonds of the types in which the Acquiring Fund may invest directly, subject to the Eligible Assets requirements of the Statement of Preferences which limit the Acquiring Fund’s investment in such securities to 5% of its Managed Assets at the time of investment. The Acquiring Fund generally expects to invest in other investment companies either during periods when it has large amounts of uninvested cash or during periods when there is a shortage of attractive, high-yielding Municipal Bonds available in the market. As a shareholder in an investment company, the Acquiring Fund will bear its ratable share of that investment company’s expenses, and would remain subject to payment of the Acquiring Fund’s advisory and other fees and expenses with respect to assets so invested. The Investment Advisor will take expenses into account when evaluating the investment merits of an investment in an investment company relative to available municipal bond investments. In addition, the securities of other investment companies may be leveraged and will therefore be subject to leverage risks. The net asset value and market value of leveraged shares will be more volatile and the yield to shareholders will tend to fluctuate more than the yield generated by unleveraged shares. Investment companies may have investment policies that differ from those of the Acquiring Fund. In addition, to the extent that the Acquiring Fund invests in other investment companies, the Acquiring Fund will be dependent upon the investment and research abilities of persons other than the Investment Advisor. The Acquiring Fund treats its investments in such open- or closed-end investment companies as investments in Municipal Bonds.

Tax-Exempt Preferred Shares

The Acquiring Fund may invest up to 15% of its total assets in preferred interests of other investment funds that pay dividends that are exempt from regular federal income tax, subject to the Eligible Assets requirements of the Statement of Preferences which limit the Acquiring Fund’s investment in such securities to 5% of its Managed Assets at the time of investment. A portion of such dividends may be capital gain distributions subject to federal capital gains tax. Such funds in turn invest in Municipal Bonds and other assets that pay interest or make distributions that are exempt from regular federal income tax, such as revenue bonds issued by state or local agencies to fund the development of low-income, multi-family housing. Investment in such tax-exempt preferred shares involves many of the same issues as investing in other open- or closed-end investment companies as discussed above. These investments also have additional risks, including liquidity risk, the absence

 

92


of regulation governing investment practices, capital structure and leverage, affiliated transactions and other matters, and concentration of investments in particular issuers or industries. Revenue bonds issued by state or local agencies to finance the development of low-income, multi-family housing involve special risks in addition to those associated with Municipal Bonds generally, including that the underlying properties may not generate sufficient income to pay expenses and interest costs. Such bonds are generally non-recourse against the property owner, may be junior to the rights of others with an interest in the properties, may pay interest that changes based in part on the financial performance of the property, may be prepayable without penalty and may be used to finance the construction of housing developments which, until completed and rented, do not generate income to pay interest. Increases in interest rates payable on senior obligations may make it more difficult for issuers to meet payment obligations on subordinated bonds. The Acquiring Fund will treat investments in tax-exempt preferred shares as investments in Municipal Bonds.

Temporary Investments

During temporary defensive periods (e.g., times when, in the Investment Advisor’s opinion, temporary imbalances of supply and demand or other temporary dislocations in the tax-exempt bond market adversely affect the price at which long-term or intermediate-term Municipal Bonds are available), and in order to keep cash on hand fully invested, the Acquiring Fund may invest up to 100% of its total assets in liquid, short-term investments including high quality, short-term securities which may be either tax-exempt or taxable and securities of other open- or closed-end investment companies that invest primarily in Municipal Bonds of the type in which the Acquiring Fund may invest directly. The Acquiring Fund intends to invest in taxable short-term investments only in the event that suitable tax-exempt temporary investments are not available at reasonable prices and yields. The Acquiring Fund’s stated expectation is that it will invest only in taxable temporary investments which are U.S. government securities or securities rated within the highest grade by Moody’s, S&P or Fitch, and which mature within one year from the date of purchase or carry a variable or floating rate of interest (such short-term obligations being referred to herein as “Temporary Investments”). Temporary Investments of the Acquiring Fund may include certificates of deposit issued by U.S. banks with assets of at least $1 billion, commercial paper or corporate notes, bonds or debentures with a remaining maturity of one year or less, or repurchase agreements. See “Repurchase Agreements.” To the extent the Acquiring Fund invests in Temporary Investments, the Acquiring Fund will not at such times be in a position to achieve its investment objective of tax-exempt income.

Short-term taxable fixed income investments include, without limitation, the following:

(1) U.S. Government securities, including bills, notes and bonds differing as to maturity and rates of interest that are either issued or guaranteed by the U.S. Treasury or by U.S. Government agencies or instrumentalities. U.S. Government securities include securities issued by (a) the Federal Housing Administration, Farmers Home Administration, Export-Import Bank of the United States, Small Business Administration, and the Government National Mortgage Association, whose securities are supported by the full faith and credit of the United States; (b) the Federal Home Loan Banks, Federal Intermediate Credit Banks, and the Tennessee Valley Authority, whose securities are supported by the right of the agency to borrow from the U.S. Treasury; (c) the Federal National Mortgage Association, whose securities are supported by the discretionary authority of the U.S. Government to purchase certain obligations of the agency or instrumentality; and (d) the Student Loan Marketing Association, whose securities are supported only by its credit. While the U.S. Government provides financial support to such U.S. Government-sponsored agencies or instrumentalities, no assurance can be given that it always will do so since it is not so obligated by law. The U.S. Government, its agencies and instrumentalities do not guarantee the market value of their securities. Consequently, the value of such securities may fluctuate.

(2) Certificates of deposit issued against funds deposited in a bank or a savings and loan association. Such certificates are for a definite period of time, earn a specified rate of return, and are normally negotiable. The issuer of a certificate of deposit agrees to pay the amount deposited plus interest to the bearer of the certificate on the date specified thereon. Certificates of deposit purchased by the Acquiring Fund may not be fully insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.

 

93


(3) Repurchase agreements, which involve purchases of debt securities. At the time the Acquiring Fund purchases securities pursuant to a repurchase agreement, it simultaneously agrees to resell and redeliver such securities to the seller, who also simultaneously agrees to buy back the securities at a fixed price and time. This assures a predetermined yield for the Acquiring Fund during its holding period, since the resale price is always greater than the purchase price and reflects an agreed-upon market rate. Such actions afford an opportunity for the Acquiring Fund to invest temporarily available cash. The Acquiring Fund may enter into repurchase agreements only with respect to obligations of the U.S. Government, its agencies or instrumentalities; certificates of deposit; or bankers’ acceptances in which the Acquiring Fund may invest. Repurchase agreements may be considered loans to the seller, collateralized by the underlying securities. The risk to the Acquiring Fund is limited to the ability of the seller to pay the agreed-upon sum on the repurchase date; in the event of default, the repurchase agreement provides that the Acquiring Fund is entitled to sell the underlying collateral. If the value of the collateral declines after the agreement is entered into, and if the seller defaults under a repurchase agreement when the value of the underlying collateral is less than the repurchase price, the Acquiring Fund could incur a loss of both principal and interest. The Investment Advisor monitors the value of the collateral at the time the action is entered into and at all times during the term of the repurchase agreement. The Investment Advisor does so in an effort to determine that the value of the collateral always equals or exceeds the agreed-upon repurchase price to be paid to the Acquiring Fund. If the seller were to be subject to a federal bankruptcy proceeding, the ability of the Acquiring Fund to liquidate the collateral could be delayed or impaired because of certain provisions of the bankruptcy laws.

(4) Commercial paper, which consists of short-term unsecured promissory notes, including variable rate master demand notes issued by corporations to finance their current operations. Master demand notes are direct lending arrangements between the Acquiring Fund and a corporation. There is no secondary market for such notes. However, they are redeemable by the Acquiring Fund at any time. The Investment Advisor will consider the financial condition of the corporation (e.g., earning power, cash flow and other liquidity ratios) and will continuously monitor the corporation’s ability to meet all of its financial obligations, because the Acquiring Fund’s liquidity might be impaired if the corporation were unable to pay principal and interest on demand. The Acquiring Fund’s stated expectation is that its investments in commercial paper will be limited to commercial paper rated in the highest categories by a major rating agency and which mature within one year of the date of purchase or carry a variable or floating rate of interest.

Tax-exempt temporary investments include various obligations issued by state and local governmental issuers, such as tax-exempt notes (bond anticipation notes, tax anticipation notes and revenue anticipation notes or other such Municipal Bonds maturing in three years or less from the date of issuance) and municipal commercial paper. Short-term tax-exempt fixed income securities include, without limitation, the following:

Bond Anticipation Notes (“BANs”) are usually general obligations of state and local governmental issuers which are sold to obtain interim financing for projects that will eventually be funded through the sale of long-term debt obligations or bonds. The ability of an issuer to meet its obligations on its BANs is primarily dependent on the issuer’s access to the long-term municipal bond market and the likelihood that the proceeds of such bond sales will be used to pay the principal and interest on the BANs.

Tax Anticipation Notes (“TANs”) are issued by state and local governments to finance the current operations of such governments. Repayment is generally to be derived from specific future tax revenues. TANs are usually general obligations of the issuer. A weakness in an issuer’s capacity to raise taxes due to, among other things, a decline in its tax base or a rise in delinquencies could adversely affect the issuer’s ability to meet its obligations on outstanding TANs.

Revenue Anticipation Notes (“RANs”) are issued by governments or governmental bodies with the expectation that future revenues from a designated source will be used to repay the notes. In general, they also constitute general obligations of the issuer. A decline in the receipt of projected revenues, such as anticipated revenues from another level of government, could adversely affect an issuer’s ability to meet its obligations on

 

94


outstanding RANs. In addition, the possibility that the revenues would, when received, be used to meet other obligations could affect the ability of the issuer to pay the principal and interest on RANs.

Construction Loan Notes are issued to provide construction financing for specific projects. Frequently, these notes are redeemed with funds obtained from the Federal Housing Administration.

Bank Notes are notes issued by local government bodies and agencies to commercial banks as evidence of borrowings. The purposes for which the notes are issued are varied but they are frequently issued to meet short-term working capital or capital-project needs. These notes may have risks similar to the risks associated with TANs and RANs.

Tax-Exempt Commercial Paper (“municipal paper”) represents very short-term unsecured, negotiable promissory notes, issued by states, municipalities and their agencies. Payment of principal and interest on issues of municipal paper may be made from various sources, to the extent the funds are available therefrom. Maturities on municipal paper generally will be shorter than the maturities of TANs, BANs or RANs. There is a limited secondary market for issues of municipal paper.

Certain Municipal Bonds may carry variable or floating rates of interest whereby the rate of interest is not fixed but varies with changes in specified market rates or indices, such as a bank prime rate or tax-exempt money market indices.

While the various types of notes described above as a group represent the major portion of the tax-exempt note market, other types of notes are available in the marketplace and the Acquiring Fund may invest in such other types of notes to the extent permitted under its investment objective, policies and limitations. Such notes may be issued for different purposes and may be secured differently from those mentioned above.

Strategic Transactions and Other Management Techniques

The Acquiring Fund may use a variety of other investment management techniques and instruments. The Acquiring Fund may purchase and sell futures contracts, enter into various interest rate transactions and may purchase and sell exchange- listed and over-the-counter put and call options on securities, financial indices and futures contracts (collectively, “Strategic Transactions”). These Strategic Transactions may be used for duration management and other risk management to attempt to protect against possible changes in the market value of the Acquiring Fund’s portfolio resulting from trends in the debt securities markets and changes in interest rates, to protect the Acquiring Fund’s unrealized gains in the value of its portfolio securities, to facilitate the sale of such securities for investment purposes, to establish a position in the securities markets as a temporary substitute for purchasing particular securities and to enhance income or gain. There is no particular strategy that requires use of one technique rather than another as the decision to use any particular strategy or instrument is a function of market conditions and the composition of the portfolio. The Strategic Transactions are described below. The ability of the Acquiring Fund to use them successfully will depend on the Investment Advisor’s ability to predict pertinent market movements as well as sufficient correlation among the instruments, which cannot be assured. Inasmuch as any obligations of the Acquiring Fund that arise from the use of Strategic Transactions will be covered by segregated liquid high grade assets or offsetting transactions, the Acquiring Fund and the Investment Advisor believes such obligations do not constitute senior securities and, accordingly, will not treat them as being subject to its borrowing restrictions. Certain provisions of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 may restrict or affect the ability of the Acquiring Fund to engage in Strategic Transactions. In addition, the use of certain Strategic Transactions may give rise to taxable income and have certain other consequences.

Interest Rate Transactions. The Acquiring Fund may enter into interest rate swaps and the purchase or sale of interest rate caps and floors. The Acquiring Fund expects to enter into these transactions primarily to preserve a return or spread on a particular investment or portion of its portfolio as a duration management technique or to protect against any increase in the price of securities the Acquiring Fund anticipates purchasing at a later date.

 

95


The Acquiring Fund will ordinarily use these transactions as a hedge or for duration or risk management although it is permitted to enter into them to enhance income or gain. The Acquiring Fund may not sell interest rate caps or floors that it does not own. Interest rate swaps involve the exchange by the Acquiring Fund with another party of their respective commitments to pay or receive interest, e.g., an exchange of floating rate payments for fixed rate payments with respect to a notional amount of principal. The purchase of an interest rate cap entitles the purchaser, to the extent that a specified index exceeds a predetermined interest rate, to receive payments of interest on a notional principal amount from the party selling such interest rate cap. The purchase of an interest rate floor entitles the purchaser, to the extent that a specified index falls below a predetermined interest rate, to receive payments of interest on a notional principal amount from the party selling such interest rate floor.

The Acquiring Fund may enter into interest rate swaps, caps and floors on either an asset-based or liability-based basis, and will usually enter into interest rate swaps on a net basis, i.e., the two payment streams are netted out, with the Acquiring Fund receiving or paying, as the case may be, only the net amount of the two payments on the payment dates. The Acquiring Fund will accrue the net amount of the excess, if any, of the Acquiring Fund’s obligations over its entitlements with respect to each interest rate swap on a daily basis and will segregate with a custodian an amount of cash or liquid high grade securities having an aggregate net asset value at all times at least equal to the accrued excess. The Acquiring Fund may not enter into any interest rate swap, cap or floor transaction unless the unsecured senior debt or the claims-paying ability of the other party thereto is rated in the highest rating category of at least one nationally recognized statistical rating organization at the time of entering into such transaction. If there is a default by the other party to such a transaction, the Acquiring Fund will have contractual remedies pursuant to the agreements related to the transaction. The swap market has grown substantially in recent years with a large number of banks and investment banking firms acting both as principals and as agents utilizing standardized swap documentation. Caps and floors are more recent innovations for which standardized documentation has not yet been developed and, accordingly, they are less liquid than swaps.

Credit Default Swap Agreements. The Acquiring Fund may enter into credit default swap agreements for hedging purposes or to seek to increase its return. The credit default swap agreement may have as reference obligations one or more securities that are not currently held by the Acquiring Fund. The protection “buyer” in a credit default contract may be obligated to pay the protection “seller” an upfront or a periodic stream of payments over the term of the contract, provided that no credit event on a reference obligation has occurred. If a credit event occurs, the seller generally must pay the buyer the “par value” (full notional value) of the swap in exchange for an equal face amount of deliverable obligations of the reference entity described in the swap, or the seller may be required to deliver the related net cash amount (the difference between the market value of the reference obligation and its par value), if the swap is cash settled. The Acquiring Fund may be either the buyer or seller in the transaction. If the Acquiring Fund is a buyer and no credit event occurs, the Acquiring Fund may recover nothing if the swap is held through its termination date. However, if a credit event occurs, the buyer generally may elect to receive the full notional value of the swap in exchange for an equal face amount of deliverable obligations of the reference entity whose value may have significantly decreased. As a seller, the Acquiring Fund generally receives an upfront payment or a fixed rate of income throughout the term of the swap, which typically is between six (6) months and three years, provided that there is no credit event. If a credit event occurs, generally the seller must pay the buyer the full notional value of the swap in exchange for an equal face amount of deliverable obligations of the reference entity whose value may have significantly decreased. As the seller, the Acquiring Fund would effectively add leverage to its portfolio because, in addition to its total net assets, the Acquiring Fund would be subject to investment exposure on the notional amount of the swap.

Credit default swap agreements involve greater risks than if the Acquiring Fund had invested in the reference obligation directly since, in addition to general market risks, credit default swaps are subject to illiquidity risk, counterparty risk and credit risks. The Acquiring Fund expects to enter into credit default swap agreements only with counterparties who are rated investment grade quality by at least one nationally recognized statistical rating organization at the time of entering into such transaction or whose creditworthiness is believed by the Investment Advisor to be equivalent to such rating. A buyer generally also will lose its investment and recover nothing should no credit event occur and the swap is held to its termination date. If a credit event were to

 

96


occur, the value of any deliverable obligation received by the seller, coupled with the upfront or periodic payments previously received, may be less than the full notional value it pays to the buyer, resulting in a loss of value to the seller. A seller of a credit default swap or similar instrument is exposed to many of the same risks of leverage since, if a credit event occurs, the seller may be required to pay the buyer the full notional value of the contract net of any amounts owed by the buyer related to its delivery of deliverable obligations. The Acquiring Fund’s obligations under a credit default swap agreement will be accrued daily (offset against any amounts owing to the Acquiring Fund). The Acquiring Fund will at all times segregate with its custodian in connection with each such transaction liquid securities or cash with a value at least equal to the Acquiring Fund’s exposure (any accrued but unpaid net amounts owed by the Acquiring Fund to any counterparty), on a marked-to-market basis (as calculated pursuant to requirements of the SEC). Such segregation will ensure that the Acquiring Fund has assets available to satisfy its obligations with respect to the transaction and will avoid any potential leveraging of the Acquiring Fund’s portfolio. Such segregation will not limit the Acquiring Fund’s exposure to loss.

Futures Contracts and Options on Futures Contracts. The Acquiring Fund may also enter into contracts for the purchase or sale for future delivery (“futures contracts”) of debt securities, aggregates of debt securities or indices or prices thereof, other financial indices and U.S. government debt securities or options on the above. The Acquiring Fund will ordinarily engage in such transactions only for bona fide hedging, risk management (including duration management) and other portfolio management purposes. However, the Acquiring Fund is also permitted to enter into such transactions for non-hedging purposes to enhance income or gain, in accordance with the rules and regulations of the CFTC, which currently provide that no such transaction may be entered into if at such time more than 5% of the Acquiring Fund’s net assets would be posted as initial margin and premiums with respect to such non-hedging transactions.

Calls on Securities Indices and Futures Contracts. The Acquiring Fund may sell or purchase call options (“calls”) on Municipal Bonds and indices based upon the prices of future contracts and debt securities that are traded on U.S. and foreign securities exchanges and in the over-the-counter markets. A call gives the purchaser of the option the right to buy, and obligates the seller to sell, the underlying security, futures contract or index at the exercise price at any time or at a specified time during the option period. All such calls sold by the Acquiring Fund must be “covered” as long as the call is outstanding (i.e., the Acquiring Fund must own the securities or futures contract subject to the call or other securities acceptable for applicable escrow requirements). A call sold by the Acquiring Fund exposes the Acquiring Fund during the term of the option to possible loss of opportunity to realize appreciation in the market price of the underlying security, index or futures contract and may require the Acquiring Fund to hold a security of futures contract which it might otherwise have sold. The purchase of a call gives the Acquiring Fund the right to buy a security, futures contract or index at a fixed price. Calls on futures on Municipal Bonds must also be covered by deliverable securities or the futures contract or by liquid high grade debt securities segregated to satisfy the Acquiring Fund’s obligations pursuant to such instruments.

Puts on Securities, Indices and Futures Contracts. The Acquiring Fund may purchase put options (“puts”) that relate to Municipal Bonds (whether or not it holds such securities in its portfolio), indices or futures contracts. The Acquiring Fund may also sell puts on Municipal Bonds, indices or futures contracts on such securities if the Acquiring Fund’s contingent obligations on such puts are secured by segregated assets consisting of cash or liquid high grade debt securities having a value not less than the exercise price. The Acquiring Fund may not sell puts if, as a result, more than 50% of the Acquiring Fund’s assets would be required to cover its potential obligations under its hedging and other investment transactions. In selling puts, there is a risk that the Acquiring Fund may be required to buy the underlying security at a price higher than the current market price.

Municipal Market Data Rate Locks. The Acquiring Fund may purchase and sell Municipal Market Data Rate Locks (“MMD Rate Locks”). An MMD Rate Lock permits the Acquiring Fund to lock in a specified municipal interest rate for a portion of its portfolio to preserve a return on a particular investment or a portion of its portfolio as a duration management technique or to protect against any increase in the price of securities to be purchased at a later date. The Acquiring Fund will ordinarily use these transactions as a hedge or for duration or risk management although it is permitted to enter into them to enhance income or gain. An MMD Rate Lock is a

 

97


contract between the Acquiring Fund and an MMD Rate Lock provider pursuant to which the parties agree to make payments to each other on a notional amount, contingent upon whether the Municipal Market Data AAA General Obligation Scale is above or below a specified level on the expiration date of the contract. For example, if the Acquiring Fund buys an MMD Rate Lock and the Municipal Market Data AAA General Obligation Scale is below the specified level on the expiration date, the counterparty to the contract will make a payment to the Acquiring Fund equal to the specified level minus the actual level, multiplied by the notional amount of the contract. If the Municipal Market Data AAA General Obligation Scale is above the specified level on the expiration date, the Acquiring Fund will make a payment to the counterparty equal to the actual level minus the specified level multiplied by the notional amount of the contract. In entering into MMD Rate Locks, there is a risk that municipal yields will move in the direction opposite of the direction anticipated by the Acquiring Fund. The Acquiring Fund may not enter into MMD Rate Locks if, as a result, more than 50% of its total assets would be required to cover its potential obligations under its hedging and other investment transactions.

Short Sales

The Acquiring Fund may make short sales of Municipal Bonds. A short sale is a transaction in which the Acquiring Fund sells a security it does not own in anticipation that the market price of that security will decline. The Acquiring Fund may make short sales to hedge positions, for duration and risk management, in order to maintain portfolio flexibility or to enhance income or gain.

When the Acquiring Fund makes a short sale, it must borrow the security sold short and deliver it to the broker-dealer through which it made the short sale as collateral for its obligation to deliver the security upon conclusion of the sale. The Acquiring Fund may have to pay a fee to borrow particular securities and is often obligated to pay over any payments received on such borrowed securities.

The Acquiring Fund’s obligation to replace the borrowed security are required to be secured by collateral deposited with the broker-dealer, usually cash, U.S. government securities or other liquid securities. The Acquiring Fund will also be required to segregate similar collateral with its custodian to the extent, if any, necessary so that the aggregate collateral value is at all times at least equal to the current market value of the security sold short. Depending on arrangements made with the broker-dealer from which it borrowed the security regarding payment over of any payments received by the Acquiring Fund on such security, the Acquiring Fund may not receive any payments (including interest) on its collateral deposited with such broker-dealer.

If the price of the security sold short increases between the time of the short sale and the time the Acquiring Fund replaces the borrowed security, the Acquiring Fund will incur a loss; conversely, if the price declines, the Acquiring Fund will realize a gain. Any gain will be decreased, and any loss increased, by the transaction costs described above. Although the Acquiring Fund’s gain is limited to the price at which it sold the security short, its potential loss is theoretically unlimited.

The Acquiring Fund may not make a short sale if, after giving effect to such sale, the market value of all securities sold short exceeds 25% of the value of its total assets or the Acquiring Fund’s aggregate short sales of a particular class of securities exceeds 25% of the outstanding securities of that class. The Acquiring Fund may also make short sales “against the box” without respect to such limitations. In this type of short sale, at the time of the sale, the Acquiring Fund owns or has the immediate and unconditional right to acquire at no additional cost the identical security.

VRDOs

VRDOs are tax-exempt obligations that contain a floating or variable interest rate adjustment formula and right of demand on the part of the holder thereof to receive payment of the unpaid principal balance plus accrued interest upon a short notice period not to exceed seven days. There is, however, the possibility that because of default or insolvency the demand feature of VRDOs may not be honored. The interest rates are adjustable at intervals (ranging from daily to up to one year) to some prevailing market rate for similar investments, such

 

98


adjustment formula being calculated to maintain the market value of the VRDOs, at approximately the par value of the VRDOs on the adjustment date. The adjustments typically are based upon the SIFMA or some other appropriate interest rate adjustment index. The Acquiring Fund may invest in all types of tax exempt instruments currently outstanding or to be issued in the future which satisfy its short-term maturity and quality standards. VRDOs that contain an unconditional right of demand to receive payment of the unpaid principal balance plus accrued interest on a notice period exceeding seven days may be deemed to be illiquid securities.

Restricted and Illiquid Securities

Certain of the Acquiring Fund’s investments may be illiquid. Illiquid securities are subject to legal or contractual restrictions on disposition or lack an established secondary trading market. The sale of restricted and illiquid securities often requires more time and results in higher brokerage charges or dealer discounts and other selling expenses than does the sale of securities eligible for trading on national securities exchanges or in the over-the-counter markets. Restricted securities may sell at a price lower than similar securities that are not subject to restrictions on resale.

Repurchase Agreements

As temporary investments, the Acquiring Fund may invest in repurchase agreements. A repurchase agreement is a contractual agreement whereby the seller of securities agrees to repurchase the same security at a specified price on a future date agreed upon by the parties. The agreed-upon repurchase price determines the yield during the Acquiring Fund’s holding period. Repurchase agreements are considered to be loans collateralized by the underlying security that is the subject of the repurchase contract. The Acquiring Fund may only enter into repurchase agreements with registered securities dealers or domestic banks that, in the opinion of the Investment Advisor, present minimal credit risk. The risk to the Acquiring Fund is limited to the ability of the issuer to pay the agreed-upon repurchase price on the delivery date; however, although the value of the underlying collateral at the time the transaction is entered into always equals or exceeds the agreed-upon repurchase price, if the value of the collateral declines there is a risk of loss of both principal and interest. In the event of default, the collateral may be sold but the Acquiring Fund might incur a loss if the value of the collateral declines, and might incur disposition costs or experience delays in connection with liquidating the collateral. In addition, if bankruptcy proceedings are commenced with respect to the seller of the security, realization upon the collateral by the Acquiring Fund may be delayed or limited. The Investment Advisor will monitor the value of the collateral at the time the transaction is entered into and at all times subsequent during the term of the repurchase agreement in an effort to determine that such value always equals or exceeds the agreed-upon repurchase price. In the event the value of the collateral declines below the repurchase price, the Investment Advisor will demand additional collateral from the issuer to increase the value of the collateral to at least that of the repurchase price, including interest.

Reverse Repurchase Agreements

The Acquiring Fund may enter into reverse repurchase agreements with respect to its portfolio investments subject to the investment restrictions set forth herein. Reverse repurchase agreements involve the sale of securities held by the Acquiring Fund with an agreement by the Acquiring Fund to repurchase the securities at an agreed upon price, date and interest payment. At the time the Acquiring Fund enters into a reverse repurchase agreement, it may establish and maintain a segregated account with the custodian containing liquid instruments having a value not less than the repurchase price (including accrued interest). If the Acquiring Fund establishes and maintains such a segregated account, a reverse repurchase agreement will not be considered a borrowing by the Acquiring Fund; however, under certain circumstances in which the Acquiring Fund does not establish and maintain such a segregated account, such reverse repurchase agreement will be considered a borrowing for the purpose of the Acquiring Fund’s limitation on borrowings. The use by the Acquiring Fund of reverse repurchase agreements involves many of the same risks of leverage since the proceeds derived from such reverse repurchase agreements may be invested in additional securities. Reverse repurchase agreements involve the risk that the market value of the securities acquired in connection with the reverse repurchase agreement may decline below

 

99


the price of the securities the Acquiring Fund has sold but is obligated to repurchase. Also, reverse repurchase agreements involve the risk that the market value of the securities retained in lieu of sale by the Acquiring Fund in connection with the reverse repurchase agreement may decline in price.

If the buyer of securities under a reverse repurchase agreement files for bankruptcy or becomes insolvent, such buyer or its trustee or receiver may receive an extension of time to determine whether to enforce the Acquiring Fund’s obligation to repurchase the securities, and the Acquiring Fund’s use of the proceeds of the reverse repurchase agreement may effectively be restricted pending such decision. Also, the Acquiring Fund would bear the risk of loss to the extent that the proceeds of the reverse repurchase agreement are less than the value of the securities subject to such agreement.

Borrowings

The Acquiring Fund reserves the right to borrow funds to the extent permitted as described under the below caption “Investment Restrictions.” The proceeds of borrowings may be used for any valid purpose including, without limitation, liquidity, investments and repurchases of shares of the Acquiring Fund. Borrowing is a form of leverage and, in that respect, entails risks comparable to those associated with the issuance of Preferred Shares.

Lending of Securities

The Acquiring Fund may lend portfolio securities to certain borrowers determined to be creditworthy by the Investment Advisor, including to borrowers affiliated with the Investment Advisor. The borrowers provide collateral that is maintained in an amount at least equal to the current market value of the securities loaned. No securities loan will be made on behalf of the Acquiring Fund if, as a result, the aggregate value of all securities loans of the Acquiring Fund exceeds one-third of the value of the Acquiring Fund’s total assets (including the value of the collateral received). The Acquiring Fund may terminate a loan at any time and obtain the return of the securities loaned. The Acquiring Fund receives the value of any interest or cash or non-cash distributions paid on the loaned securities.

With respect to loans that are collateralized by cash, the borrower may be entitled to receive a fee based on the amount of cash collateral. The Acquiring Fund is compensated by the difference between the amount earned on the reinvestment of cash collateral and the fee paid to the borrower. In the case of collateral other than cash, the Acquiring Fund is compensated by a fee paid by the borrower equal to a percentage of the market value of the loaned securities. Any cash collateral received by the Acquiring Fund for such loans, and uninvested cash, may be invested, among other things, in a private investment company managed by an affiliate of the Investment Advisor or in registered money market funds advised by the Investment Advisor or its affiliates; such investments are subject to investment risk.

The Acquiring Fund conducts its securities lending pursuant to an exemptive order from the SEC permitting it to lend portfolio securities to borrowers affiliated with the Acquiring Fund and to retain an affiliate of the Acquiring Fund as lending agent. To the extent that the Acquiring Fund engages in securities lending, BlackRock Investment Management, LLC (“BIM”), an affiliate of the Investment Advisor, acts as securities lending agent for the Acquiring Fund, subject to the overall supervision of the Investment Advisor. BIM administers the lending program in accordance with guidelines approved by the Board. Pursuant to the current securities lending agreement, BIM may lend securities only when the difference between the borrower rebate rate and the risk free rate exceeds a certain level (such securities, the “specials only securities”).

To the extent that the Acquiring Fund engages in securities lending, the Acquiring Fund retains a portion of securities lending income and remits a remaining portion to BIM as compensation for its services as securities lending agent.

Securities lending income is equal to the total of income earned from the reinvestment of cash collateral (and excludes collateral investment expenses as defined below), and any fees or other payments to and from

 

100


borrowers of securities. As securities lending agent, BIM bears all operational costs directly related to securities lending. The Acquiring Fund is responsible for expenses in connection with the investment of cash collateral received for securities on loan in a private investment company managed by an affiliate of the Investment Advisor (the “collateral investment expenses”), however, BIM has agreed to cap the collateral investment expenses the Acquiring Fund bears to an annual rate of 0.04% of the daily net assets of such private investment company. In addition, in accordance with the exemptive order, the investment adviser to the private investment company will not charge any advisory fees with respect to shares purchased by the Acquiring Fund. Such shares also will not be subject to a sales load, redemption fee, distribution fee or service fee.

Pursuant to the current securities lending agreement, the Acquiring Fund retains 82% of securities lending income (which excludes collateral investment expenses).

In addition, commencing the business day following the date that the aggregate securities lending income earned across the BlackRock Fixed-Income Complex in a calendar year exceeds the breakpoint dollar threshold applicable in the given year set forth in the securities lending agreement, the Acquiring Fund, pursuant to the current securities lending agreement, will receive for the remainder of that calendar year securities lending income in an amount equal to 85% of securities lending income (which excludes collateral investment expenses).

Leverage

The Acquiring Fund currently leverages its assets through the use of preferred shares and tender option bonds. The Acquiring Fund currently does not intend to borrow money or issue debt securities. Although it has no present intention to do so, the Acquiring Fund reserves the right to borrow money from banks or other financial institutions, or issue debt securities, in the future if it believes that market conditions would be conducive to the successful implementation of a leveraging strategy through borrowing money or issuing debt securities or preferred shares. Any such leveraging will not be fully achieved until the proceeds resulting from the use of leverage have been invested in accordance with the Acquiring Fund’s investment objective and policies.

The use of leverage can create risks. When leverage is employed, the NAV and market price of the common shares and the yield to holders of common shares will be more volatile than if leverage were not used. Changes in the value of the Acquiring Fund’s portfolio, including securities bought with the proceeds of leverage, will be borne entirely by the holders of common shares. If there is a net decrease or increase in the value of the Acquiring Fund’s investment portfolio, leverage will decrease or increase, as the case may be, the NAV per common share to a greater extent than if the Acquiring Fund did not utilize leverage. A reduction in the Acquiring Fund’s NAV may cause a reduction in the market price of its shares. During periods in which the Acquiring Fund is using leverage, the fee paid to the Investment Advisor for advisory services will be higher than if the Acquiring Fund did not use leverage, because the fees paid will be calculated on the basis of the Acquiring Fund’s managed assets, which includes the proceeds from leverage. Any leveraging strategy the Acquiring Fund employs may not be successful. See “Risks—Leverage Risk.” The Acquiring Fund currently leverages its assets through tender option bonds transactions. See “RisksTender Option Bond Risk” for details about the risks associated with the Acquiring Fund’s use of TOB Residuals.

Certain types of leverage the Acquiring Fund may use may result in the Acquiring Fund being subject to covenants relating to asset coverage and portfolio composition requirements. The Acquiring Fund may be subject to certain restrictions on investments imposed by one or more lenders or by guidelines of one or more rating agencies, which may issue ratings for any short-term debt securities or preferred shares issued by the Acquiring Fund. The terms of any borrowings or rating agency guidelines may impose asset coverage or portfolio composition requirements that are more stringent than those imposed by the 1940 Act. The Investment Advisor does not believe that these covenants or guidelines will impede it from managing the Acquiring Fund’s portfolio in accordance with its investment objective and policies if the Acquiring Fund were to utilize leverage.

Under the 1940 Act, the Acquiring Fund is not permitted to issue senior securities if, immediately after the issuance of such senior securities, the Acquiring Fund would have an asset coverage ratio (as defined in the 1940

 

101


Act) of less than 300% with respect to senior securities representing indebtedness (i.e., for every dollar of indebtedness outstanding, the Acquiring Fund is required to have at least three dollars of assets) or less than 200% with respect to senior securities representing preferred shares (i.e., for every dollar of preferred shares outstanding, the Acquiring Fund is required to have at least two dollars of assets). The 1940 Act also provides that the Acquiring Fund may not declare distributions or purchase its stock (including through tender offers) if, immediately after doing so, it will have an asset coverage ratio of less than 300% or 200%, as applicable. Under the 1940 Act, certain short-term borrowings (such as for cash management purposes) are not subject to these limitations if (i) repaid within 60 days, (ii) not extended or renewed and (iii) not in excess of 5% of the total assets of the Acquiring Fund.

Effects of Leverage

Assuming that leverage will represent approximately 39.2% of the Combined Fund’s total managed assets and that the Combined Fund will bear expenses relating to that leverage at an average annual rate of 1.01%, the income generated by the Combined Fund’s portfolio (net of estimated expenses) must exceed 0.40% in order to cover the expenses specifically related to the Combined Fund’s estimated use of leverage. Of course, these numbers are merely estimates used for illustration. Actual leverage expenses will vary frequently and may be significantly higher or lower than the rate estimated above.

The following table is furnished in response to requirements of the SEC. It is designed to illustrate the effect of leverage on Common Share total return, assuming investment portfolio total returns (comprised of income and changes in the value of securities held in the Combined Fund’s portfolio) of (10)%, (5)%, 0%, 5% and 10%. These assumed investment portfolio returns are hypothetical figures and are not necessarily indicative of the investment portfolio returns experienced or expected to be experienced by the Combined Fund. The table further reflects the use of leverage representing 39.2% of the Combined Fund’s total managed assets and the Combined Fund’s currently projected annual leverage expenses of 1.01%.

 

Assumed Portfolio Total Return (net of expenses)

     (10 )%      (5 )%      0     5      10

Common Share Total Return

     (17.10 )%      (8.88 )%      (0.65 )%      7.57      15.80

Common Share total return is composed of two elements: the Common Share dividends paid by the Combined Fund (the amount of which is largely determined by the net investment income of the Combined Fund) and gains or losses on the value of the securities the Combined Fund owns. As required by SEC rules, the table assumes that the Combined Fund is more likely to suffer capital losses than to enjoy capital appreciation. For example, a total return of 0% assumes that the tax-exempt interest the Combined Fund receives on its municipal bonds investments is entirely offset by losses in the value of those securities.

Preferred Shares

The Acquiring Fund has leveraged its portfolio by issuing VMTP Shares. Under the 1940 Act, the Acquiring Fund is not permitted to issue preferred shares if, immediately after such issuance, the liquidation value of the Acquiring Fund’s outstanding preferred shares exceeds 50% of its assets (including the proceeds from the issuance) less liabilities other than borrowings (i.e., the value of the Acquiring Fund’s assets must be at least 200% of the liquidation value of its outstanding preferred shares). In addition, the Acquiring Fund would not be permitted to declare any cash dividend or other distribution on its common shares unless, at the time of such declaration, the value of the Acquiring Fund’s assets less liabilities other than borrowings is at least 200% of such liquidation value. Please see “Information about the Preferred Shares of the Funds” for a description of the Acquiring Fund’s VMTP Shares.

For tax purposes, the Acquiring Fund is currently required to allocate tax-exempt interest income, net capital gain and other taxable income, if any, between its common shares and preferred shares outstanding in proportion to total dividends paid to each class for the year in which or with respect to which tax-exempt income,

 

102


the net capital gain or other taxable income is paid. If net capital gain or other taxable income is allocated to preferred shares, instead of solely tax-exempt income, the Acquiring Fund will likely have to pay higher total dividends to preferred shareholders or make special payments to preferred shareholders to compensate them for the increased tax liability. This would reduce the total amount of dividends paid to the common shareholders, but would increase the portion of the dividend that is tax-exempt. If the increase in dividend payments or the special payments to preferred shareholders are not entirely offset by a reduction in the tax liability of, and an increase in the tax-exempt dividends received by, the common shareholders, the advantage of the Acquiring Fund’s leveraged structure to common shareholders will be reduced.

Tender Option Bonds

The Acquiring Fund currently leverages its assets through the use of TOB Residuals, which are derivative interests in municipal bonds. The TOB Residuals in which the Acquiring Fund will invest pay interest or income that, in the opinion of counsel to the issuer of such TOB Residuals, is exempt from regular U.S. federal income tax. No independent investigation will be made to confirm the tax-exempt status of the interest or income paid by TOB Residuals held by the Acquiring Fund. Although volatile, TOB Residuals typically offer the potential for yields exceeding the yields available on fixed rate municipal bonds with comparable credit quality.

TOB Residuals represent beneficial interests in a TOB Trust formed for the purpose of holding municipal bonds contributed by one or more funds. A TOB Trust typically issues two classes of beneficial interests: TOB Floaters, which are sold to third-party investors, and TOB Residuals, which are generally issued to the fund(s) that transferred municipal bonds to the TOB Trust. The Fund may invest in both TOB Floaters and TOB Residuals. TOB Floaters may have first priority on the cash flow from the municipal bonds held by the TOB Trust and are enhanced with a liquidity support arrangement from a third-party TOBs Liquidity Provider (defined below) which allows holders to tender their position at par (plus accrued interest). The Acquiring Fund, as a holder of TOB Residuals, is paid the residual cash flow from the TOB Trust. The Acquiring Fund contributes municipal bonds to the TOB Trust and is paid the cash received by the TOB Trust from the sale of the TOB Floaters, less certain transaction costs, and typically will invest the cash to purchase additional municipal bonds or other investments permitted by its investment policies. If the Acquiring Fund ever purchases all or a portion of the TOB Floaters sold by the TOB Trust, it may surrender those TOB Floaters together with a proportionate amount of TOB Residuals to the TOB Trust in exchange for a proportionate amount of the municipal bonds owned by the TOB Trust.

Other registered investment companies advised by the Investor Advisor or its affiliates (“BlackRock-advised Funds”) may contribute municipal bonds to a TOB Trust into which the Acquiring Fund has contributed municipal bonds. If multiple BlackRock-advised Funds participate in the same TOB Trust, the economic rights and obligations under the TOB Residual will generally be shared among the funds ratably in proportion to their participation in the TOB Trust.

The municipal bonds transferred to a TOB Trust typically are high grade municipal bonds. In certain cases, when municipal bonds transferred are lower grade municipal bonds, the TOB Trust transaction includes a credit enhancement feature that provides for the timely payment of principal and interest on the bonds to the TOB Trust by a credit enhancement provider. The TOB Trust would be responsible for the payment of the credit enhancement fee and the Acquiring Fund, as a TOB Residual holder, would be responsible for reimbursement of any payments of principal and interest made by the credit enhancement provider.

The TOB Residuals held by the Acquiring Fund generally provide the Acquiring Fund with the right to cause the holders of a proportional share of the TOB Floaters to tender their notes to the TOB Trust at par plus accrued interest. Thereafter, the Acquiring Fund may withdraw a corresponding share of the municipal bonds from the TOB Trust. As a result, a tender option bond transaction, in effect, creates exposure for the Acquiring Fund to the entire return of the municipal bonds in the TOB Trust, with a net cash investment by the Acquiring Fund that is less than the value of the municipal bonds in the TOB Trust. This multiplies the positive or negative impact of the municipal bonds’ return within the Acquiring Fund (thereby creating leverage). The leverage

 

103


within a TOB Trust depends on the value of the municipal bonds deposited in the TOB Trust relative to the value of the TOB Floaters it issues.

The Acquiring Fund may invest in highly leveraged TOB Residuals. A TOB Residual generally is considered highly leveraged if the principal amount of the TOB Floaters issued by the related TOB Trust exceeds 75% of the principal amount of the municipal bonds owned by the TOB Trust.

The leverage attributable to the Acquiring Fund’s use of TOB Residuals may be “called away” on relatively short notice and therefore may be less permanent than more traditional forms of leverage. The TOB Trust may be collapsed without the consent of the Acquiring Fund upon the occurrence of termination events, as defined in the TOB Trust agreements. Upon the occurrence of a termination event, a TOB Trust would be liquidated with the proceeds applied first to any accrued fees owed to the trustee of the TOB Trust, the remarketing agent of the TOB Floaters and the TOBs Liquidity Provider. Upon certain termination events, the holders of the TOB Floaters would be paid before the TOB Residual holders (i.e., the Acquiring Fund) whereas in other termination events, the holders of TOB Floaters and the TOB Residual holders would be paid pro rata.

TOB Trusts are typically supported by a liquidity facility provided by a TOBs Liquidity Provider that allows the holders of the TOB Floaters to tender their TOB Floaters in exchange for payment of par plus accrued interest on any business day (subject to the non-occurrence of a termination event). The tendered TOB Floaters are remarketed by a remarketing agent. In the event of a failed remarketing, the TOB Trust may draw upon a loan from the TOBs Liquidity Provider to purchase the tendered TOB Floaters. Any loans made by the TOBs Liquidity Provider will be secured by the purchased TOB Floaters held by the TOB Trust and will be subject to an increased interest rate based on number of days the loan is outstanding.

The Acquiring Fund may invest in a TOB Trust on either a non-recourse or recourse basis. When the Acquiring Fund invests in TOB Trusts on a non-recourse basis, and the TOBs Liquidity Provider is required to make a payment under the liquidity facility, the TOBs Liquidity Provider will typically liquidate all or a portion of the municipal bonds held in the TOB Trust and then fund the balance, if any, of the Liquidation Shortfall. If the Acquiring Fund invests in a TOB Trust on a recourse basis, it will typically enter into a reimbursement agreement with the TOBs Liquidity Provider pursuant to which the Acquiring Fund is required to reimburse the TOBs Liquidity Provider the amount of any Liquidation Shortfall. As a result, if the Acquiring Fund invests in a recourse TOB Trust, the Acquiring Fund will bear the risk of loss with respect to any Liquidation Shortfall. If multiple BlackRock-advised Funds participate in any such TOB Trust, these losses will be shared ratably, in proportion to their participation in the TOB Trust.

Under accounting rules, Municipal Bonds of the Acquiring Fund that are deposited into a TOB Trust are investments of the Acquiring Fund and are presented on the Acquiring Fund’s Schedule of Investments and outstanding TOB Floaters issued by a TOB Trust are presented as liabilities in the Acquiring Fund’s Statement of Assets and Liabilities. Interest income from the underlying Municipal Bonds is recorded by the Acquiring Fund on an accrual basis. Interest expense incurred on the TOB Floaters and other expenses related to remarketing, administration, trustee and other services to a TOB Trust are reported as expenses of the Acquiring Fund. In addition, under accounting rules, loans made to a TOB Trust sponsored by the Acquiring Fund may be presented as loans of the Acquiring Fund in the Acquiring Fund’s financial statements even if there is no recourse to the Acquiring Fund’s assets.

For TOB Floaters, generally, the interest rate earned will be based upon the market rates for municipal bonds with maturities or remarketing provisions that are comparable in duration to the periodic interval of the tender option. Since the tender option feature has a shorter term than the final maturity or first call date of the underlying municipal bonds deposited in the TOB Trust, the holder of the TOB Floaters relies upon the terms of the agreement with the financial institution furnishing the liquidity facility as well as the credit strength of that institution. The perceived reliability and creditworthiness, of many major financial institutions, some of which sponsor and/or provide liquidity support to TOB Trusts increases the risk associated with TOB Floaters. This in turn may reduce the desirability of TOB Floaters as investments, which could impair the viability or availability of TOB Trusts.

 

104


The use of TOB Residuals will require the Acquiring Fund to earmark or segregate liquid assets in an amount equal to any TOB Floaters, plus any accrued but unpaid interest due on the TOB Floaters, issued by TOB Trusts sponsored by, or on behalf of, the Acquiring Fund that are not owned by the Acquiring Fund. The use of TOB Residuals may also require the Acquiring Fund to earmark or segregate liquid assets in an amount equal to loans provided by the TOBs Liquidity Provider to the TOB Trust to purchase tendered TOB Floaters. The Acquiring Fund reserves the right to modify its asset segregation policies in the future to the extent that such changes are in accordance with applicable regulations or interpretations. Future regulatory requirements or SEC guidance may necessitate more onerous contractual or regulatory requirements, which may increase the costs or reduce the degree of potential economic benefits of TOB Trust transactions or limit the Acquiring Fund’s ability to enter into or manage TOB Trust transactions.

See “Risk Factors and Special Considerations—General Risks of Investing in the Acquiring Fund—Tender Option Bond Risk” for a description of the risks involved with a TOB issuer.

Credit Facility

The Acquiring Fund is permitted to leverage its portfolio by entering into one or more credit facilities. If the Acquiring Fund enters into a credit facility, the Acquiring Fund may be required to prepay outstanding amounts or incur a penalty rate of interest upon the occurrence of certain events of default. The Acquiring Fund would also likely have to indemnify the lenders under the credit facility against liabilities they may incur in connection therewith. In addition, the Acquiring Fund expects that any credit facility would contain covenants that, among other things, likely would limit the Acquiring Fund’s ability to pay distributions in certain circumstances, incur additional debt, change certain of its investment policies and engage in certain transactions, including mergers and consolidations, and require asset coverage ratios in addition to those required by the 1940 Act. The Acquiring Fund may be required to pledge its assets and to maintain a portion of its assets in cash or high-grade securities as a reserve against interest or principal payments and expenses. The Acquiring Fund expects that any credit facility would have customary covenant, negative covenant and default provisions. There can be no assurance that the Acquiring Fund will enter into an agreement for a credit facility, or one on terms and conditions representative of the foregoing, or that additional material terms will not apply. In addition, if entered into, a credit facility may in the future be replaced or refinanced by one or more credit facilities having substantially different terms or by the issuance of preferred shares.

Derivatives

The Acquiring Fund may enter into derivative transactions that have economic leverage embedded in them. Derivative transactions that the Acquiring Fund may enter into and the risks associated with them are described elsewhere in this Proxy Statement and are also referred to as “Strategic Transactions.” The Acquiring Fund cannot assure you that investments in derivative transactions that have economic leverage embedded in them will result in a higher return on its common shares.

To the extent the terms of such transactions obligate the Acquiring Fund to make payments, the Acquiring Fund may earmark or segregate cash or liquid assets in an amount at least equal to the current value of the amount then payable by the Acquiring Fund under the terms of such transactions or otherwise cover such transactions in accordance with applicable interpretations of the staff of the SEC. If the current value of the amount then payable by the Acquiring Fund under the terms of such transactions is represented by the notional amounts of such investments, the Acquiring Fund would segregate or earmark cash or liquid assets having a market value at least equal to such notional amounts, and if the current value of the amount then payable by the Acquiring Fund under the terms of such transactions is represented by the market value of the Acquiring Fund’s current obligations, the Acquiring Fund would segregate or earmark cash or liquid assets having a market value at least equal to such current obligations. To the extent the terms of such transactions obligate the Acquiring Fund to deliver particular securities to extinguish the Acquiring Fund’s obligations under such transactions the Acquiring Fund may “cover” its obligations under such transactions by either (i) owning the securities or collateral underlying such transactions or (ii) having an absolute and immediate right to acquire such securities or

 

105


collateral without additional cash consideration (or, if additional cash consideration is required, having earmarked or segregated an appropriate amount of cash or liquid assets). Such earmarking, segregation or cover is intended to provide the Acquiring Fund with available assets to satisfy its obligations under such transactions. As a result of such earmarking, segregation or cover, the Acquiring Fund’s obligations under such transactions will not be considered senior securities representing indebtedness for purposes of the 1940 Act, or considered borrowings subject to the Acquiring Fund’s limitations on borrowings discussed above, but may create leverage for the Acquiring Fund. To the extent that the Acquiring Fund’s obligations under such transactions are not so earmarked, segregated or covered, such obligations may be considered “senior securities representing indebtedness” under the 1940 Act and therefore subject to the 300% asset coverage requirement.

These earmarking, segregation or cover requirements can result in the Acquiring Fund maintaining securities positions it would otherwise liquidate, segregating or earmarking assets at a time when it might be disadvantageous to do so or otherwise restrict portfolio management.

Temporary Borrowings

The Acquiring Fund may also borrow money as a temporary measure for extraordinary or emergency purposes, including the payment of dividends and the settlement of securities transactions which otherwise might require untimely dispositions of Acquiring Fund securities.

Investment Restrictions

Each Fund has adopted certain investment restrictions that are “fundamental,” meaning such investment restrictions cannot be changed without approval by holders of a “majority of the Fund’s outstanding voting securities” as defined in the 1940 Act. As defined in the 1940 Act, this phrase means the vote of (1) 67% or more of the voting securities present at a meeting, if the holders of more than 50% of the outstanding voting securities are present or represented by proxy, or (2) more than 50% of the outstanding voting securities, whichever is less. Each Fund has also adopted certain non-fundamental investment restrictions. The investment restrictions of the Funds are similar, although there are some differences, and are set forth in Appendix B to this Proxy Statement.

Each Fund is currently classified as a diversified fund under the 1940 Act. This means that each Fund may not purchase securities of an issuer (other than (i) obligations issued or guaranteed by the U.S. government, its agencies or instrumentalities and (ii) securities of other investment companies) if, with respect to 75% of its total assets, (a) more than 5% of the Fund’s total assets would be invested in securities of that issuer or (b) the Fund would hold more than 10% of the outstanding voting securities of that issuer. With respect to the remaining 25% of its total assets, each Fund can invest more than 5% of its assets in one issuer. Under the 1940 Act, a fund cannot change its classification from diversified to non-diversified without shareholder approval.

To the extent that a Fund assumes large positions in the securities of a small number of issuers, its yield may fluctuate to a greater extent than that of a diversified company as a result of changes in the financial condition or in the market’s assessment of the issuers.

Each Fund’s VMTP Shares or VRDP Shares, as applicable, are assigned long-term ratings by Moody’s and Fitch. In order to maintain the required ratings, each Fund is required to comply with certain investment quality, diversification and other guidelines established by Moody’s and Fitch. Such guidelines may be more restrictive than the restrictions set forth above. Each Fund does not anticipate that such guidelines would have a material adverse effect on its ability to achieve its investment objective. Moody’s and Fitch receive fees in connection with their ratings issuances. Each Fund is also subject to certain covenants and requirements under the terms of the VMTP Shares or VRDP Shares, as applicable and related documents, including the terms of the liquidity facility supporting the VMTP Shares or VRDP Shares. Such requirements may be more restrictive than the restrictions set forth above. Each Fund does not anticipate that such requirements would have a material adverse effect on its ability to achieve its investment objective. Please see “Information about the Preferred Shares of the Funds” for additional information.

 

106


THE TARGET FUNDS’ INVESTMENT OBJECTIVES AND POLICIES

BSD’s Investment Objective and Policies

BSD’s investment objectives are:

 

   

to provide current income exempt from regular federal income tax; and

 

   

to invest in Municipal Bonds that over time will perform better than the broader municipal bond market.

As a matter of fundamental policy, under normal conditions, BSD will invest at least 80% of its Managed Assets in investments the income from which is exempt from federal income tax. BSD cannot change its investment objectives or the foregoing fundamental policy without the approval of the holders of a majority of the outstanding common shares and the outstanding preferred shares, including the VMTP Shares, voting together as a single class, and of the holders of a majority of the outstanding preferred shares, including the VMTP Shares, voting as a separate class. A majority of the outstanding means (1) 67% or more of the shares present at a meeting, if the holders of more than 50% of the outstanding shares are present or represented by proxy, or (2) more than 50% of the outstanding shares, whichever is less. See “Description of VMTP Shares—Voting Rights” for additional information with respect to the voting rights of holders of VMTP Shares.

BSD’s investment policies provide that it will invest at least 80% of its total assets in investment grade quality securities. Investment grade quality means that such securities are rated, at the time of investment, within the four highest grades (Baa or BBB or better by Moody’s, S&P or Fitch) or are unrated but judged to be of comparable quality by the Investment Advisor. Municipal Bonds rated Baa by Moody’s are investment grade, but Moody’s considers Municipal Bonds rated Baa to have speculative characteristics. Changes in economic conditions or other circumstances are more likely to lead to a weakened capacity for issuers of Municipal Bonds that are rated BBB or Baa (or that have equivalent ratings) to make principal and interest payments than is the case for issues of higher grade Municipal Bonds. In the case of short-term notes, the investment grade rating categories are SP-1+ through SP-2 for S&P, MIG-1 through MIG-3 for Moody’s and F-1+ through F-3 for Fitch. In the case of tax exempt commercial paper, the investment grade rating categories are A-1+ through A-3 for S&P, Prime-1 through Prime-3 for Moody’s and F-1+ through F-3 for Fitch. Obligations ranked in the lowest investment grade rating category (BBB, SP-2 and A-3 for S&P; Baa, MIG-3 and Prime-3 for Moody’s and BBB and F-3 for Fitch), while considered “investment grade,” may have certain speculative characteristics. There may be sub- categories or gradations indicating relative standing within the rating categories set forth above. In assessing the quality of Municipal Bonds with respect to the foregoing requirements, the Investment Advisor takes into account the nature of any letters of credit or similar credit enhancement to which particular Municipal Bonds are entitled and the creditworthiness of the financial institution that provided such credit enhancement.

BSD may invest up to 20% of its total assets in securities that are rated, at the time of investment, Ba/BB or B by Moody’s, S&P or Fitch or that are unrated but judged to be of comparable quality by the Investment Advisor. Bonds of below investment grade quality are regarded as having predominantly speculative characteristics with respect to the issuer’s capacity to pay interest and repay principal. Such securities, sometimes referred to as “high yield” or “junk” bonds, are predominantly speculative with respect to the capacity to pay interest and repay principal in accordance with the terms of the security and generally involve a greater volatility of price than securities in higher rating categories. Below investment grade securities and comparable unrated securities involve substantial risk of loss, are considered speculative with respect to the issuer’s ability to pay interest and any required redemption or principal payments and are susceptible to default or decline in market value due to adverse economic and business developments.

The foregoing credit quality policies apply only at the time a security is purchased, and BSD is not required to dispose of a security if a rating agency downgrades its assessment of the credit characteristics of a particular issue. In determining whether to retain or sell a security that a rating agency has downgraded, the Investment Advisor may consider such factors as the Investment Advisor’s assessment of the credit quality of the issuer of

 

107


the security, the price at which the security could be sold and the rating, if any, assigned to the security by other rating agencies. Appendix D contains a general description of Moody’s, S&P’s and Fitch’s ratings of municipal bonds. In the event that BSD disposes of a portfolio security subsequent to its being downgraded, BSD may experience a greater risk of loss than if such security had been sold prior to such downgrade.

BSD may also invest in securities of other open- or closed-end investment companies that invest primarily in Municipal Bonds of the types in which BSD may invest directly and in tax-exempt preferred shares that pay dividends that are exempt from regular federal income tax. See “—Other Investment Companies,” and “—Tax-Exempt Preferred Shares.” In addition, BSD may purchase Municipal Bonds that are additionally secured by insurance, bank credit agreements or escrow accounts. The credit quality of companies which provide these credit enhancements will affect the value of those securities. Although the insurance feature reduces certain financial risks, the premiums for insurance and the higher market price paid for insured obligations may reduce BSD’s income. The insurance feature does not guarantee the market value of the insured obligations or the net asset value of the common shares. BSD may purchase insured bonds and may purchase insurance for bonds in its portfolio.

BSD may invest in certain tax exempt securities classified as “private activity bonds” (or industrial development bonds, under pre-1986 law) (“PABs”) (in general, bonds that benefit non-governmental entities) that may subject certain investors in BSD to an alternative minimum tax. See “Certain U.S. Federal Income Tax Considerations.” The percentage of BSD’s total assets invested in PABs will vary from time to time. BSD has not established any limit on the percentage of its portfolio that may be invested in Municipal Bonds subject to the federal alternative minimum tax provisions of federal tax law, and BSD expects that a portion of the income it produces will be includable in alternative minimum taxable income. VMTP Shares therefore would not ordinarily be a suitable investment for investors who are subject to the federal alternative minimum tax or who would become subject to such tax by purchasing VMTP Shares. The suitability of an investment in VMTP Shares will depend upon a comparison of the after-tax yield likely to be provided from BSD with that from comparable tax-exempt investments not subject to the alternative minimum tax, and from comparable fully taxable investments, in light of each such investor’s tax position. Special considerations may apply to corporate investors.

The average maturity of BSD’s portfolio securities varies from time to time based upon an assessment of economic and market conditions by the Investment Advisor. BSD’s portfolio at any given time may include both long- term and intermediate-term Municipal Bonds.

BSD’s stated expectation is that it will invest in Municipal Bonds that, in the Investment Advisor’s opinion, are underrated or undervalued. Underrated Municipal Bonds are those whose ratings do not, in the opinion of the Investment Advisor, reflect their true higher creditworthiness. Undervalued Municipal Bonds are bonds that, in the opinion of the Investment Advisor, are worth more than the value assigned to them in the marketplace. The Investment Advisor may at times believe that bonds associated with a particular municipal market sector (for example, but not limited to electric utilities), or issued by a particular municipal issuer, are undervalued. The Investment Advisor may purchase those bonds for BSD’s portfolio because they represent a market sector or issuer that the Investment Advisor considers undervalued, even if the value of those particular bonds appears to be consistent with the value of similar bonds. Municipal Bonds of particular types (for example, but not limited to hospital bonds, industrial revenue bonds or bonds issued by a particular municipal issuer) may be undervalued because there is a temporary excess of supply in that market sector, or because of a general decline in the market price of Municipal Bonds of the market sector for reasons that do not apply to the particular Municipal Bonds that are considered undervalued. BSD’s investment in underrated or undervalued Municipal Bonds will be based on the Investment Advisor’s belief that their yield is higher than that available on bonds bearing equivalent levels of interest rate risk, credit risk and other forms of risk, and that their prices will ultimately rise, relative to the market, to reflect their true value. Any capital appreciation realized by BSD will generally result in capital gain distributions subject to federal capital gains taxation.

 

108


BSD ordinarily does not intend to realize significant investment income not exempt from federal income tax. From time to time, BSD may realize taxable capital gains.

Federal tax legislation has limited the types and volume of bonds the interest on which qualifies for a federal income tax exemption. As a result, this legislation and legislation that may be enacted in the future may affect the availability of Municipal Bonds for investment by BSD.

Description of Municipal Bonds

Please see “The Acquiring Fund’s Investments—Description of Municipal Bonds” for additional information regarding the types of Municipal Bonds in which BSD invests.

When-Issued, Delayed Delivery Securities and Forward Commitment Securities

BSD may purchase Municipal Bonds on a “when-issued” basis and may purchase or sell Municipal Bonds on a “forward commitment” basis or on a “delayed delivery basis.” When such transactions are negotiated, the price, which is generally expressed in yield terms, is fixed at the time the commitment is made, but delivery and payment for the securities take place at a later date. When-issued and forward commitment securities may be sold prior to the settlement date, but BSD will enter into when-issued and forward commitment securities only with the intention of actually receiving or delivering the securities, as the case may be. If BSD disposes of the right to acquire a when-issued security prior to its acquisition or disposes of its right to deliver or receive against a forward commitment, it can incur a gain or loss. At the time BSD entered into a transaction on a when-issued or forward commitment basis, it will segregate with its custodian cash or other liquid high grade debt securities with a value not less than the value of the when-issued or forward commitment securities. The value of these assets will be monitored daily to ensure that their marked to market value will at all times equal or exceed the corresponding obligations of BSD. There is always a risk that the securities may not be delivered and that BSD may incur a loss. Settlements in the ordinary course are not treated by BSD as when-issued or forward commitment transactions and accordingly are not subject to the foregoing restrictions.

Other Investment Companies

BSD may invest up to 10% of its total assets in securities of other open- or closed-end investment companies that invest primarily in Municipal Bonds of the types in which BSD may invest directly, subject to the Eligible Assets requirements of the Statement of Preferences which limit BSD’s investment in such securities to 5% of its Managed Assets at the time of investment. BSD generally expects to invest in other investment companies either during periods when it has large amounts of uninvested cash or during periods when there is a shortage of attractive, high-yielding Municipal Bonds available in the market. As a shareholder in an investment company, BSD will bear its ratable share of that investment company’s expenses, and would remain subject to payment of BSD’s advisory and other fees and expenses with respect to assets so invested. The Investment Advisor will take expenses into account when evaluating the investment merits of an investment in an investment company relative to available Municipal Bond investments. In addition, the securities of other investment companies may be leveraged and will therefore be subject to leverage risks. The net asset value and market value of leveraged shares will be more volatile and the yield to shareholders will tend to fluctuate more than the yield generated by unleveraged shares. Investment companies may have investment policies that differ from those of BSD. In addition, to the extent that BSD invests in other investment companies, BSD will be dependent upon the investment and research abilities of persons other than the Investment Advisor. BSD treats its investments in such open- or closed-end investment companies as investments in Municipal Bonds.

Tax-Exempt Preferred Shares

BSD may invest up to 15% of its total assets in preferred interests of other investment funds that pay dividends that are exempt from regular federal income tax, subject to the Eligible Assets requirements of the Statement of Preferences which limit BSD’s investment in such securities to 5% of its Managed Assets at the time of investment. A portion of such dividends may be capital gain distributions subject to federal capital gains

 

109


tax. Such funds in turn invest in Municipal Bonds and other assets that pay interest or make distributions that are exempt from regular federal income tax, such as revenue bonds issued by state or local agencies to fund the development of low-income, multi-family housing. Investment in such tax-exempt preferred shares involves many of the same issues as investing in other open- or closed-end investment companies as discussed above. These investments also have additional risks, including liquidity risk, the absence of regulation governing investment practices, capital structure and leverage, affiliated transactions and other matters, and concentration of investments in particular issuers or industries. Revenue bonds issued by state or local agencies to finance the development of low-income, multi-family housing involve special risks in addition to those associated with Municipal Bonds generally, including that the underlying properties may not generate sufficient income to pay expenses and interest costs. Such bonds are generally non-recourse against the property owner, may be junior to the rights of others with an interest in the properties, may pay interest that changes based in part on the financial performance of the property, may be prepayable without penalty and may be used to finance the construction of housing developments which, until completed and rented, do not generate income to pay interest. Increases in interest rates payable on senior obligations may make it more difficult for issuers to meet payment obligations on subordinated bonds. BSD will treat investments in tax-exempt preferred shares as investments in Municipal Bonds.

Temporary Investments

During temporary defensive periods (e.g., times when, in the Investment Advisor’s opinion, temporary imbalances of supply and demand or other temporary dislocations in the tax-exempt bond market adversely affect the price at which long-term or intermediate-term Municipal Bonds are available), and in order to keep cash on hand fully invested, BSD may invest up to 100% of its total assets in liquid, short-term investments including high quality, short-term securities which may be either tax-exempt or taxable and securities of other open- or closed-end investment companies that invest primarily in Municipal Bonds of the type in which BSD may invest directly. BSD intends to invest in taxable short-term investments only in the event that suitable tax-exempt temporary investments are not available at reasonable prices and yields. BSD’s stated expectation is that it will invest only in taxable temporary investments which are U.S. government securities or securities rated within the highest grade by Moody’s, S&P or Fitch, and which mature within one year from the date of purchase or carry a variable or floating rate of interest (such short-term obligations being referred to herein as “Temporary Investments”). Temporary Investments of BSD may include certificates of deposit issued by U.S. banks with assets of at least $1 billion, commercial paper or corporate notes, bonds or debentures with a remaining maturity of one year or less, or repurchase agreements. See “Repurchase Agreements.” To the extent BSD invests in Temporary Investments, BSD will not at such times be in a position to achieve its investment objective of tax-exempt income.

Short-term taxable fixed income investments include, without limitation, the following:

(1) U.S. Government securities, including bills, notes and bonds differing as to maturity and rates of interest that are either issued or guaranteed by the U.S. Treasury or by U.S. Government agencies or instrumentalities. U.S. Government securities include securities issued by (a) the Federal Housing Administration, Farmers Home Administration, Export-Import Bank of the United States, Small Business Administration, and the Government National Mortgage Association, whose securities are supported by the full faith and credit of the United States; (b) the Federal Home Loan Banks, Federal Intermediate Credit Banks, and the Tennessee Valley Authority, whose securities are supported by the right of the agency to borrow from the U.S. Treasury; (c) the Federal National Mortgage Association, whose securities are supported by the discretionary authority of the U.S. Government to purchase certain obligations of the agency or instrumentality; and (d) the Student Loan Marketing Association, whose securities are supported only by its credit. While the U.S. Government provides financial support to such U.S. Government-sponsored agencies or instrumentalities, no assurance can be given that it always will do so since it is not so obligated by law. The U.S. Government, its agencies and instrumentalities do not guarantee the market value of their securities. Consequently, the value of such securities may fluctuate.

 

110


(2) Certificates of deposit issued against funds deposited in a bank or a savings and loan association. Such certificates are for a definite period of time, earn a specified rate of return, and are normally negotiable. The issuer of a certificate of deposit agrees to pay the amount deposited plus interest to the bearer of the certificate on the date specified thereon. Certificates of deposit purchased by BSD may not be fully insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.

(3) Repurchase agreements, which involve purchases of debt securities. At the time BSD purchases securities pursuant to a repurchase agreement, it simultaneously agrees to resell and redeliver such securities to the seller, who also simultaneously agrees to buy back the securities at a fixed price and time. This assures a predetermined yield for BSD during its holding period, since the resale price is always greater than the purchase price and reflects an agreed-upon market rate. Such actions afford an opportunity for BSD to invest temporarily available cash. BSD may enter into repurchase agreements only with respect to obligations of the U.S. Government, its agencies or instrumentalities; certificates of deposit; or bankers’ acceptances in which BSD may invest. Repurchase agreements may be considered loans to the seller, collateralized by the underlying securities. The risk to BSD is limited to the ability of the seller to pay the agreed-upon sum on the repurchase date; in the event of default, the repurchase agreement provides that BSD is entitled to sell the underlying collateral. If the value of the collateral declines after the agreement is entered into, and if the seller defaults under a repurchase agreement when the value of the underlying collateral is less than the repurchase price, BSD could incur a loss of both principal and interest. The Investment Advisor monitors the value of the collateral at the time the action is entered into and at all times during the term of the repurchase agreement. The Investment Advisor does so in an effort to determine that the value of the collateral always equals or exceeds the agreed-upon repurchase price to be paid to BSD. If the seller were to be subject to a federal bankruptcy proceeding, the ability of BSD to liquidate the collateral could be delayed or impaired because of certain provisions of the bankruptcy laws.

(4) Commercial paper, which consists of short-term unsecured promissory notes, including variable rate master demand notes issued by corporations to finance their current operations. Master demand notes are direct lending arrangements between BSD and a corporation. There is no secondary market for such notes. However, they are redeemable by BSD at any time. The Investment Advisor will consider the financial condition of the corporation (e.g., earning power, cash flow and other liquidity ratios) and will continuously monitor the corporation’s ability to meet all of its financial obligations, because BSD’s liquidity might be impaired if the corporation were unable to pay principal and interest on demand. BSD’s stated expectation is that its investments in commercial paper will be limited to commercial paper rated in the highest categories by a major rating agency and which mature within one year of the date of purchase or carry a variable or floating rate of interest.

Tax-exempt temporary investments include various obligations issued by state and local governmental issuers, such as tax-exempt notes (bond anticipation notes, tax anticipation notes and revenue anticipation notes or other such Municipal Bonds maturing in three years or less from the date of issuance) and municipal commercial paper. Short-term tax-exempt fixed income securities include, without limitation, the following:

Bond Anticipation Notes (“BANs”) are usually general obligations of state and local governmental issuers which are sold to obtain interim financing for projects that will eventually be funded through the sale of long-term debt obligations or bonds. The ability of an issuer to meet its obligations on its BANs is primarily dependent on the issuer’s access to the long-term municipal bond market and the likelihood that the proceeds of such bond sales will be used to pay the principal and interest on the BANs.

Tax Anticipation Notes (“TANs”) are issued by state and local governments to finance the current operations of such governments. Repayment is generally to be derived from specific future tax revenues. TANs are usually general obligations of the issuer. A weakness in an issuer’s capacity to raise taxes due to, among other things, a decline in its tax base or a rise in delinquencies could adversely affect the issuer’s ability to meet its obligations on outstanding TANs.

 

111


Revenue Anticipation Notes (“RANs”) are issued by governments or governmental bodies with the expectation that future revenues from a designated source will be used to repay the notes. In general, they also constitute general obligations of the issuer. A decline in the receipt of projected revenues, such as anticipated revenues from another level of government, could adversely affect an issuer’s ability to meet its obligations on outstanding RANs. In addition, the possibility that the revenues would, when received, be used to meet other obligations could affect the ability of the issuer to pay the principal and interest on RANs.

Construction Loan Notes are issued to provide construction financing for specific projects. Frequently, these notes are redeemed with funds obtained from the Federal Housing Administration.

Bank Notes are notes issued by local government bodies and agencies to commercial banks as evidence of borrowings. The purposes for which the notes are issued are varied but they are frequently issued to meet short-term working capital or capital-project needs. These notes may have risks similar to the risks associated with TANs and RANs.

Tax-Exempt Commercial Paper (“municipal paper”) represents very short-term unsecured, negotiable promissory notes, issued by states, municipalities and their agencies. Payment of principal and interest on issues of municipal paper may be made from various sources, to the extent the funds are available therefrom. Maturities on municipal paper generally will be shorter than the maturities of TANs, BANs or RANs. There is a limited secondary market for issues of municipal paper.

Certain Municipal Bonds may carry variable or floating rates of interest whereby the rate of interest is not fixed but varies with changes in specified market rates or indices, such as a bank prime rate or tax-exempt money market indices.

While the various types of notes described above as a group represent the major portion of the tax-exempt note market, other types of notes are available in the marketplace and BSD may invest in such other types of notes to the extent permitted under its investment objective, policies and limitations. Such notes may be issued for different purposes and may be secured differently from those mentioned above.

Strategic Transactions and Other Management Techniques

BSD may use a variety of other investment management techniques and instruments. BSD may purchase and sell futures contracts, enter into various interest rate transactions and may purchase and sell exchange- listed and over-the-counter put and call options on securities, financial indices and futures contracts (collectively, “Strategic Transactions”). These Strategic Transactions may be used for duration management and other risk management to attempt to protect against possible changes in the market value of BSD’s portfolio resulting from trends in the debt securities markets and changes in interest rates, to protect BSD’s unrealized gains in the value of its portfolio securities, to facilitate the sale of such securities for investment purposes, to establish a position in the securities markets as a temporary substitute for purchasing particular securities and to enhance income or gain. There is no particular strategy that requires use of one technique rather than another as the decision to use any particular strategy or instrument is a function of market conditions and the composition of the portfolio. The Strategic Transactions are described below. The ability of BSD to use them successfully will depend on the Investment Advisor’s ability to predict pertinent market movements as well as sufficient correlation among the instruments, which cannot be assured. Inasmuch as any obligations of BSD that arise from the use of Strategic Transactions will be covered by segregated liquid high grade assets or offsetting transactions, BSD and the Investment Advisor believe such obligations do not constitute senior securities and, accordingly, will not treat them as being subject to its borrowing restrictions. Certain provisions of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 may restrict or affect the ability of BSD to engage in Strategic Transactions. In addition, the use of certain Strategic Transactions may give rise to taxable income and have certain other consequences.

Interest Rate Transactions. BSD may enter into interest rate swaps and the purchase or sale of interest rate caps and floors. BSD expects to enter into these transactions primarily to preserve a return or spread on a

 

112


particular investment or portion of its portfolio as a duration management technique or to protect against any increase in the price of securities BSD anticipates purchasing at a later date. BSD will ordinarily use these transactions as a hedge or for duration or risk management although it is permitted to enter into them to enhance income or gain. BSD may not sell interest rate caps or floors that it does not own. Interest rate swaps involve the exchange by BSD with another party of their respective commitments to pay or receive interest, e.g., an exchange of floating rate payments for fixed rate payments with respect to a notional amount of principal. The purchase of an interest rate cap entitles the purchaser, to the extent that a specified index exceeds a predetermined interest rate, to receive payments of interest on a notional principal amount from the party selling such interest rate cap. The purchase of an interest rate floor entitles the purchaser, to the extent that a specified index falls below a predetermined interest rate, to receive payments of interest on a notional principal amount from the party selling such interest rate floor.

BSD may enter into interest rate swaps, caps and floors on either an asset-based or liability-based basis, and will usually enter into interest rate swaps on a net basis, i.e., the two payment streams are netted out, with BSD receiving or paying, as the case may be, only the net amount of the two payments on the payment dates. BSD will accrue the net amount of the excess, if any, of BSD’s obligations over its entitlements with respect to each interest rate swap on a daily basis and will segregate with a custodian an amount of cash or liquid high grade securities having an aggregate net asset value at all times at least equal to the accrued excess. BSD may not enter into any interest rate swap, cap or floor transaction unless the unsecured senior debt or the claims-paying ability of the other party thereto is rated in the highest rating category of at least one nationally recognized statistical rating organization at the time of entering into such transaction. If there is a default by the other party to such a transaction, BSD will have contractual remedies pursuant to the agreements related to the transaction. The swap market has grown substantially in recent years with a large number of banks and investment banking firms acting both as principals and as agents utilizing standardized swap documentation. Caps and floors are more recent innovations for which standardized documentation has not yet been developed and, accordingly, they are less liquid than swaps.

Credit Default Swap Agreements. BSD may enter into credit default swap agreements for hedging purposes or to seek to increase its return. The credit default swap agreement may have as reference obligations one or more securities that are not currently held by BSD. The protection “buyer” in a credit default contract may be obligated to pay the protection “seller” an upfront or a periodic stream of payments over the term of the contract, provided that no credit event on a reference obligation has occurred. If a credit event occurs, the seller generally must pay the buyer the “par value” (full notional value) of the swap in exchange for an equal face amount of deliverable obligations of the reference entity described in the swap, or the seller may be required to deliver the related net cash amount (the difference between the market value of the reference obligation and its par value), if the swap is cash settled. BSD may be either the buyer or seller in the transaction. If BSD is a buyer and no credit event occurs, BSD may recover nothing if the swap is held through its termination date. However, if a credit event occurs, the buyer generally may elect to receive the full notional value of the swap in exchange for an equal face amount of deliverable obligations of the reference entity whose value may have significantly decreased. As a seller, BSD generally receives an upfront payment or a fixed rate of income throughout the term of the swap, which typically is between six (6) months and three years, provided that there is no credit event. If a credit event occurs, generally the seller must pay the buyer the full notional value of the swap in exchange for an equal face amount of deliverable obligations of the reference entity whose value may have significantly decreased. As the seller, BSD would effectively add leverage to its portfolio because, in addition to its total net assets, BSD would be subject to investment exposure on the notional amount of the swap.

Credit default swap agreements involve greater risks than if BSD had invested in the reference obligation directly since, in addition to general market risks, credit default swaps are subject to illiquidity risk, counterparty risk and credit risks. BSD expects to enter into credit default swap agreements only with counterparties who are rated investment grade quality by at least one nationally recognized statistical rating organization at the time of entering into such transaction or whose creditworthiness is believed by the Investment Advisor to be equivalent to such rating. A buyer generally also will lose its investment and recover nothing should no credit event occur

 

113


and the swap is held to its termination date. If a credit event were to occur, the value of any deliverable obligation received by the seller, coupled with the upfront or periodic payments previously received, may be less than the full notional value it pays to the buyer, resulting in a loss of value to the seller. A seller of a credit default swap or similar instrument is exposed to many of the same risks of leverage since, if a credit event occurs, the seller may be required to pay the buyer the full notional value of the contract net of any amounts owed by the buyer related to its delivery of deliverable obligations. BSD’s obligations under a credit default swap agreement will be accrued daily (offset against any amounts owing to BSD). BSD will at all times segregate with its custodian in connection with each such transaction liquid securities or cash with a value at least equal to BSD’s exposure (any accrued but unpaid net amounts owed by BSD to any counterparty), on a marked-to-market basis (as calculated pursuant to requirements of the SEC). Such segregation will ensure that BSD has assets available to satisfy its obligations with respect to the transaction and will avoid any potential leveraging of BSD’s portfolio. Such segregation will not limit BSD’s exposure to loss.

Futures Contracts and Options on Futures Contracts. BSD may also enter into contracts for the purchase or sale for future delivery (“futures contracts”) of debt securities, aggregates of debt securities or indices or prices thereof, other financial indices and U.S. government debt securities or options on the above. BSD will ordinarily engage in such transactions only for bona fide hedging, risk management (including duration management) and other portfolio management purposes. However, BSD is also permitted to enter into such transactions for non-hedging purposes to enhance income or gain, in accordance with the rules and regulations of the CFTC, which currently provide that no such transaction may be entered into if at such time more than 5% of BSD’s net assets would be posted as initial margin and premiums with respect to such non-hedging transactions.

Calls on Securities Indices and Futures Contracts. BSD may sell or purchase call options (“calls”) on Municipal Bonds and indices based upon the prices of future contracts and debt securities that are traded on U.S. and foreign securities exchanges and in the over-the-counter markets. A call gives the purchaser of the option the right to buy, and obligates the seller to sell, the underlying security, futures contract or index at the exercise price at any time or at a specified time during the option period. All such calls sold by BSD must be “covered” as long as the call is outstanding (i.e., BSD must own the securities or futures contract subject to the call or other securities acceptable for applicable escrow requirements). A call sold by BSD exposes BSD during the term of the option to possible loss of opportunity to realize appreciation in the market price of the underlying security, index or futures contract and may require BSD to hold a security of futures contract which it might otherwise have sold. The purchase of a call gives BSD the right to buy a security, futures contract or index at a fixed price. Calls on futures on Municipal Bonds must also be covered by deliverable securities or the futures contract or by liquid high grade debt securities segregated to satisfy BSD’s obligations pursuant to such instruments.

Puts on Securities, Indices and Futures Contracts. BSD may purchase put options (“puts”) that relate to Municipal Bonds (whether or not it holds such securities in its portfolio), indices or futures contracts. BSD may also sell puts on Municipal Bonds, indices or futures contracts on such securities if BSD’s contingent obligations on such puts are secured by segregated assets consisting of cash or liquid high grade debt securities having a value not less than the exercise price. BSD may not sell puts if, as a result, more than 50% of BSD’s assets would be required to cover its potential obligations under its hedging and other investment transactions. In selling puts, there is a risk that BSD may be required to buy the underlying security at a price higher than the current market price.

Municipal Market Data Rate Locks. BSD may purchase and sell Municipal Market Data Rate Locks (“MMD Rate Locks”). An MMD Rate Lock permits BSD to lock in a specified municipal interest rate for a portion of its portfolio to preserve a return on a particular investment or a portion of its portfolio as a duration management technique or to protect against any increase in the price of securities to be purchased at a later date. BSD will ordinarily use these transactions as a hedge or for duration or risk management although it is permitted to enter into them to enhance income or gain. An MMD Rate Lock is a contract between BSD and an MMD Rate Lock provider pursuant to which the parties agree to make payments to each other on a notional amount, contingent upon whether the Municipal Market Data AAA General Obligation Scale is above or below a

 

114


specified level on the expiration date of the contract. For example, if BSD buys an MMD Rate Lock and the Municipal Market Data AAA General Obligation Scale is below the specified level on the expiration date, the counterparty to the contract will make a payment to BSD equal to the specified level minus the actual level, multiplied by the notional amount of the contract. If the Municipal Market Data AAA General Obligation Scale is above the specified level on the expiration date, BSD will make a payment to the counterparty equal to the actual level minus the specified level multiplied by the notional amount of the contract. In entering into MMD Rate Locks, there is a risk that municipal yields will move in the direction opposite of the direction anticipated by BSD. BSD may not enter into MMD Rate Locks if, as a result, more than 50% of its total assets would be required to cover its potential obligations under its hedging and other investment transactions.

Short Sales

BSD may make short sales of Municipal Bonds. A short sale is a transaction in which BSD sells a security it does not own in anticipation that the market price of that security will decline. BSD may make short sales to hedge positions, for duration and risk management, in order to maintain portfolio flexibility or to enhance income or gain.

When BSD makes a short sale, it must borrow the security sold short and deliver it to the broker-dealer through which it made the short sale as collateral for its obligation to deliver the security upon conclusion of the sale. BSD may have to pay a fee to borrow particular securities and is often obligated to pay over any payments received on such borrowed securities.

BSD’s obligation to replace the borrowed security are required to be secured by collateral deposited with the broker-dealer, usually cash, U.S. government securities or other liquid securities. BSD will also be required to segregate similar collateral with its custodian to the extent, if any, necessary so that the aggregate collateral value is at all times at least equal to the current market value of the security sold short. Depending on arrangements made with the broker-dealer from which it borrowed the security regarding payment over of any payments received by BSD on such security, BSD may not receive any payments (including interest) on its collateral deposited with such broker-dealer.

If the price of the security sold short increases between the time of the short sale and the time BSD replaces the borrowed security, BSD will incur a loss; conversely, if the price declines, BSD will realize a gain. Any gain will be decreased, and any loss increased, by the transaction costs described above. Although BSD’s gain is limited to the price at which it sold the security short, its potential loss is theoretically unlimited.

BSD may not make a short sale if, after giving effect to such sale, the market value of all securities sold short exceeds 25% of the value of its total assets or BSD’s aggregate short sales of a particular class of securities exceeds 25% of the outstanding securities of that class. BSD may also make short sales “against the box” without respect to such limitations. In this type of short sale, at the time of the sale, BSD owns or has the immediate and unconditional right to acquire at no additional cost the identical security.

VRDOs

VRDOs are tax-exempt obligations that contain a floating or variable interest rate adjustment formula and right of demand on the part of the holder thereof to receive payment of the unpaid principal balance plus accrued interest upon a short notice period not to exceed seven days. There is, however, the possibility that because of default or insolvency the demand feature of VRDOs may not be honored. The interest rates are adjustable at intervals (ranging from daily to up to one year) to some prevailing market rate for similar investments, such adjustment formula being calculated to maintain the market value of the VRDOs, at approximately the par value of the VRDOs on the adjustment date. The adjustments typically are based upon SIFMA or some other appropriate interest rate adjustment index. BSD may invest in all types of tax exempt instruments currently outstanding or to be issued in the future which satisfy its short-term maturity and quality standards. VRDOs that contain an unconditional right of demand to receive payment of the unpaid principal balance plus accrued interest on a notice period exceeding seven days may be deemed to be illiquid securities.

 

115


Restricted and Illiquid Securities

Certain of BSD’s investments may be illiquid. Illiquid securities are subject to legal or contractual restrictions on disposition or lack of an established secondary trading market. The sale of restricted and illiquid securities often requires more time and results in higher brokerage charges or dealer discounts and other selling expenses than does the sale of securities eligible for trading on national securities exchanges or in the over-the- counter markets. Restricted securities may sell at a price lower than similar securities that are not subject to restrictions on resale.

Repurchase Agreements

As temporary investments, BSD may invest in repurchase agreements. A repurchase agreement is a contractual agreement whereby the seller of securities agrees to repurchase the same security at a specified price on a future date agreed upon by the parties. The agreed-upon repurchase price determines the yield during BSD’s holding period. Repurchase agreements are considered to be loans collateralized by the underlying security that is the subject of the repurchase contract. BSD may only enter into repurchase agreements with registered securities dealers or domestic banks that, in the opinion of the Investment Advisor, present minimal credit risk. The risk to BSD is limited to the ability of the issuer to pay the agreed-upon repurchase price on the delivery date; however, although the value of the underlying collateral at the time the transaction is entered into always equals or exceeds the agreed-upon repurchase price, if the value of the collateral declines there is a risk of loss of both principal and interest. In the event of default, the collateral may be sold but BSD might incur a loss if the value of the collateral declines, and might incur disposition costs or experience delays in connection with liquidating the collateral. In addition, if bankruptcy proceedings are commenced with respect to the seller of the security, realization upon the collateral by BSD may be delayed or limited. The Investment Advisor will monitor the value of the collateral at the time the transaction is entered into and at all times subsequent during the term of the repurchase agreement in an effort to determine that such value always equals or exceeds the agreed-upon repurchase price. In the event the value of the collateral declines below the repurchase price, the Investment Advisor will demand additional collateral from the issuer to increase the value of the collateral to at least that of the repurchase price, including interest.

Reverse Repurchase Agreements

BSD may enter into reverse repurchase agreements with respect to its portfolio investments subject to the investment restrictions set forth herein. Reverse repurchase agreements involve the sale of securities held by BSD with an agreement by BSD to repurchase the securities at an agreed upon price, date and interest payment. At the time BSD enters into a reverse repurchase agreement, it may establish and maintain a segregated account with the custodian containing liquid instruments having a value not less than the repurchase price (including accrued interest). If BSD establishes and maintains such a segregated account, a reverse repurchase agreement will not be considered a borrowing by BSD; however, under certain circumstances in which BSD does not establish and maintain such a segregated account, such reverse repurchase agreement will be considered a borrowing for the purpose of BSD’s limitation on borrowings. The use by BSD of reverse repurchase agreements involves many of the same risks of leverage since the proceeds derived from such reverse repurchase agreements may be invested in additional securities. Reverse repurchase agreements involve the risk that the market value of the securities acquired in connection with the reverse repurchase agreement may decline below the price of the securities BSD has sold but is obligated to repurchase. Also, reverse repurchase agreements involve the risk that the market value of the securities retained in lieu of sale by BSD in connection with the reverse repurchase agreement may decline in price.

If the buyer of securities under a reverse repurchase agreement files for bankruptcy or becomes insolvent, such buyer or its trustee or receiver may receive an extension of time to determine whether to enforce BSD’s obligation to repurchase the securities, and BSD’s use of the proceeds of the reverse repurchase agreement may effectively be restricted pending such decision. Also, BSD would bear the risk of loss to the extent that the proceeds of the reverse repurchase agreement are less than the value of the securities subject to such agreement.

 

116


Borrowings

BSD reserves the right to borrow funds to the extent permitted as described under the below caption “—Investment Restrictions.” The proceeds of borrowings may be used for any valid purpose including, without limitation, liquidity, investments and repurchases of shares of BSD. Borrowing is a form of leverage and, in that respect, entails risks comparable to those associated with the issuance of Preferred Shares.

Lending of Securities

See “The Acquiring Fund’s Investments—Lending of Securities” for a discussion of the securities lending arrangements applicable to BSD.

MFT’s Investment Objective and Policies

MFT’s investment objective is to provide shareholders with as high a level of current income exempt from Federal income taxes as is consistent with its investment policies and prudent investment management. MFT’s investment policies provide that it will invest, as a fundamental policy, at least 80% of an aggregate of MFT’s net assets (including proceeds from the issuance of any preferred shares) and the proceeds of any borrowings for investment purposes, in a portfolio of municipal obligations the interest on which, in the opinion of bond counsel to the issuer, is excludable from gross income for federal income tax purposes (except that the interest may be includable in taxable income for purposes of the alternative minimum tax) and which enables shares of MFT to be exempt from Florida intangible personal property taxes (“Florida Municipal Bonds”). MFT also may invest in municipal obligations issued by or on behalf of states, territories and possessions of the United States and their political subdivisions, agencies or instrumentalities, each of which pays interest that is excludable from gross income for Federal income tax purposes, in the opinion of bond counsel to the issuer, but do not enable shares of MFT to be exempt from Florida intangible personal property taxes (“Municipal Bonds”). In general, MFT does not intend for its investments to earn a large amount of interest income that is includable in gross income for Federal income tax purposes. There can be no assurance that MFT’s investment objective will be realized. Unless otherwise noted, the term “Municipal Bonds” also includes Florida Municipal Bonds.

MFT’s investment objective and its policy of investing at least 80% of an aggregate of MFT’s net assets (including proceeds from the issuance of any preferred stock) and the proceeds of any borrowings for investment purposes, in Municipal Bonds are fundamental policies that may not be changed without the approval of the holders of a majority of the outstanding common shares and the outstanding preferred shares, including the VMTP Shares, voting together as a single class, and of the holders of a majority of the outstanding preferred shares, including the VMTP Shares, voting as a separate class. A majority of the outstanding means (1) 67% or more of the shares present at a meeting, if the holders of more than 50% of the outstanding shares are present or represented by proxy, or (2) more than 50% of the outstanding shares, whichever is less. See “Description of VMTP Shares— Voting Rights” for additional information with respect to the voting rights of holders of VMTP Shares.

MFT’s investment policies provide that, under normal market conditions, MFT expects to invest primarily in a portfolio of long-term Municipal Bonds that are commonly referred to as “investment grade” securities, which are obligations rated at the time of purchase within the four highest quality ratings as determined by either Moody’s Investors Service, Inc. (“Moody’s”) (currently Aaa, Aa, A and Baa), Standard & Poor’s (“S&P”) (currently AAA, AA, A and BBB) or Fitch Ratings (“Fitch”) (currently AAA, AA, A and BBB). In the case of short-term notes, the investment grade rating categories are SP-1+ through SP-2 for S&P, MIG-1 through MIG-3 for Moody’s and F-1+ through F-3 for Fitch. In the case of tax exempt commercial paper, the investment grade rating categories are A-1+ through A-3 for S&P, Prime-1 through Prime-3 for Moody’s and F-1+ through F-3 for Fitch. Obligations ranked in the lowest investment grade rating category (BBB, SP-2 and A-3 for S&P; Baa, MIG-3 and Prime-3 for Moody’s and BBB and F-3 for Fitch), while considered “investment grade,” may have certain speculative characteristics. There may be sub-categories or gradations indicating relative standing within the rating categories set forth above. In assessing the quality of Municipal Bonds with respect to the foregoing

 

117


requirements, the Investment Advisor takes into account the Municipal Bond insurance as well as the nature of any letters of credit or similar credit enhancement to which particular Municipal Bonds are entitled and the creditworthiness of the financial institution that provided such Municipal Bond insurance or credit enhancement. If unrated, such securities will possess creditworthiness comparable, in the opinion of the Investment Advisor, to other obligations in which MFT may invest.

MFT may invest up to 20% of its managed assets in securities that are rated below investment grade, or are considered by MFT’s investment adviser to be of comparable quality, at the time of purchase, subject to MFT’s other investment policies. Bonds of below investment grade quality (Ba/BB or below) are commonly referred to as “junk bonds.” Bonds of below investment grade quality are regarded as having predominantly speculative characteristics with respect to the issuer’s capacity to pay interest and repay principal. Such securities, sometimes referred to as “high yield” or “junk” bonds, are predominantly speculative with respect to the capacity to pay interest and repay principal in accordance with the terms of the security and generally involve a greater volatility of price than securities in higher rating categories. Below investment grade securities and comparable unrated securities involve substantial risk of loss, are considered speculative with respect to the issuer’s ability to pay interest and any required redemption or principal payments and are susceptible to default or decline in market value due to adverse economic and business developments.

The foregoing credit quality policies apply only at the time a security is purchased, and MFT is not required to dispose of a security if a rating agency downgrades its assessment of the credit characteristics of a particular issue. In determining whether to retain or sell a security that a rating agency has downgraded, the Investment Advisor may consider such factors as the Investment Advisor’s assessment of the credit quality of the issuer of the security, the price at which the security could be sold and the rating, if any, assigned to the security by other rating agencies. Appendix D contains a general description of Moody’s, S&P’s and Fitch’s ratings of municipal bonds. In the event that MFT disposes of a portfolio security subsequent to its being downgraded, MFT may experience a greater risk of loss than if such security had been sold prior to such downgrade.

MFT may also purchase Municipal Bonds that are additionally secured by insurance, bank credit agreements or escrow accounts. The credit quality of companies which provide these credit enhancements will affect the value of those securities. Although the insurance feature reduces certain financial risks, the premiums for insurance and the higher market price paid for insured obligations may reduce MFT’s income. The insurance feature does not guarantee the market value of the insured obligations or the net asset value of the common shares. MFT may purchase insured bonds and may purchase insurance for bonds in its portfolio.

MFT may invest in certain tax exempt securities classified as “private activity bonds” (or industrial development bonds, under pre-1986 law) (in general, bonds that benefit non-governmental entities) that may subject certain investors in MFT to an alternative minimum tax. See “Certain U.S. Federal Income Tax Considerations.” The percentage of MFT’s total assets invested in private activity bonds will vary from time to time. MFT has not established any limit on the percentage of its portfolio that may be invested in Municipal Bonds subject to the alternative minimum tax provisions of federal tax law, and MFT expects that a portion of the income it produces will be includable in alternative minimum taxable income. VMTP Shares therefore would not ordinarily be a suitable investment for investors who are subject to the federal alternative minimum tax or who would become subject to such tax by purchasing VMTP Shares. The suitability of an investment in VMTP Shares will depend upon a comparison of the after-tax yield likely to be provided from MFT with that from comparable tax-exempt investments not subject to the alternative minimum tax, and from comparable fully taxable investments, in light of each such investor’s tax position. Special considerations may apply to corporate investors.

The average maturity of MFT’s portfolio securities varies from time to time based upon an assessment of economic and market conditions by the Investment Advisor. MFT’s portfolio at any given time may include long-term, intermediate-term and short-term Municipal Bonds.

 

118


MFT’s stated expectation is that it will invest in Municipal Bonds that, in the Investment Advisor’s opinion, are underrated or undervalued. Underrated Municipal Bonds are those whose ratings do not, in the opinion of the Investment Advisor, reflect their true higher creditworthiness. Undervalued Municipal Bonds are bonds that, in the opinion of the Investment Advisor, are worth more than the value assigned to them in the marketplace. The Investment Advisor may at times believe that bonds associated with a particular municipal market sector (for example, but not limited to electric utilities), or issued by a particular municipal issuer, are undervalued. The Investment Advisor may purchase those bonds for MFT’s portfolio because they represent a market sector or issuer that the Investment Advisor considers undervalued, even if the value of those particular bonds appears to be consistent with the value of similar bonds. Municipal Bonds of particular types (for example, but not limited to hospital bonds, industrial revenue bonds or bonds issued by a particular municipal issuer) may be undervalued because there is a temporary excess of supply in that market sector, or because of a general decline in the market price of Municipal Bonds of the market sector for reasons that do not apply to the particular Municipal Bonds that are considered undervalued. MFT’s investment in underrated or undervalued Municipal Bonds will be based on the Investment Advisor’s belief that their yield is higher than that available on bonds bearing equivalent levels of interest rate risk, credit risk and other forms of risk, and that their prices will ultimately rise, relative to the market, to reflect their true value. Any capital appreciation realized by MFT will generally result in capital gain distributions subject to federal capital gains taxation.

MFT ordinarily does not intend to realize significant investment income not exempt from federal income tax. From time to time, MFT may realize taxable capital gains.

Federal tax legislation has limited the types and volume of bonds the interest on which qualifies for a federal income tax exemption. As a result, this legislation and legislation that may be enacted in the future may affect the availability of Municipal Bonds for investment by MFT.

The State of Florida repealed the Florida Intangible Tax as of January 2007. As a result, on September 12, 2008, the Board of Trustees of MFT voted unanimously to approve MFT investing in Municipal Bonds regardless of geographic location. If Florida were to reinstate the Florida Intangible Tax or adopt a state income tax, however, MFT would be required to realign its portfolio such that substantially all of its assets would be invested in Florida Municipal Bonds or obtain shareholder approval to amend MFT’s fundamental investment objective to remove references to the Florida Intangible Tax. There can be no assurance that the State of Florida will not reinstate the Florida Intangible Tax or adopt a state income tax in the future. There can also be no assurance that the reinstatement of the Florida Intangible Tax or the adoption of a state income tax will not have a material adverse effect on MFT or will not impair the ability of MFT to achieve its investment objectives.

Description of Municipal Bonds

See “The Acquiring Fund’s Investments—Description of Municipal Bonds” for additional information regarding the types of Municipal Bonds in which MFT invests.

When-Issued, Delayed Delivery Securities and Forward Commitment Securities

MFT may purchase Municipal Bonds on a “when-issued” basis and may purchase or sell Municipal Bonds on a “forward commitment” basis or on a “delayed delivery basis.” When such transactions are negotiated, the price, which is generally expressed in yield terms, is fixed at the time the commitment is made, but delivery and payment for the securities take place at a later date. When-issued and forward commitment securities may be sold prior to the settlement date, but MFT will enter into when-issued and forward commitment securities only with the intention of actually receiving or delivering the securities, as the case may be. If MFT disposes of the right to acquire a when-issued security prior to its acquisition or disposes of its right to deliver or receive against a forward commitment, it can incur a gain or loss. At the time MFT entered into a transaction on a when-issued or forward commitment basis, it will segregate with its custodian cash or other liquid high grade debt securities with a value not less than the value of the when-issued or forward commitment securities. The value of these assets will be monitored daily to ensure that their marked to market value will at all times equal or exceed the

 

119


corresponding obligations of MFT. There is always a risk that the securities may not be delivered and that MFT may incur a loss. Settlements in the ordinary course are not treated by MFT as when-issued or forward commitment transactions and accordingly are not subject to the foregoing restrictions.

Temporary Investments

During temporary defensive periods (e.g., times when, in the Investment Advisor’s opinion, temporary imbalances of supply and demand or other temporary dislocations in the tax-exempt bond market adversely affect the price at which long-term or intermediate-term Municipal Bonds are available), and in order to keep cash on hand fully invested, MFT may invest up to 100% of its total assets in liquid, short-term investments including high quality, short-term securities which may be either tax-exempt or taxable and securities of other open- or closed-end investment companies that invest primarily in Municipal Bonds of the type in which MFT may invest directly. MFT intends to invest in taxable short-term investments only in the event that suitable tax-exempt temporary investments are not available at reasonable prices and yields. MFT’s stated expectation is that it will invest only in taxable temporary investments which are U.S. government securities or securities rated within the highest grade by Moody’s, S&P or Fitch, and which mature within one year from the date of purchase or carry a variable or floating rate of interest (such short-term obligations being referred to herein as “Temporary Investments”). Temporary Investments of MFT may include certificates of deposit issued by U.S. banks with assets of at least $1 billion, commercial paper or corporate notes, bonds or debentures with a remaining maturity of one year or less, or repurchase agreements. See “Repurchase Agreements.” To the extent MFT invests in Temporary Investments, MFT will not at such times be in a position to achieve its investment objective of tax-exempt income.

Short-term taxable fixed income investments include, without limitation, the following:

(1) U.S. Government securities, including bills, notes and bonds differing as to maturity and rates of interest that are either issued or guaranteed by the U.S. Treasury or by U.S. Government agencies or instrumentalities. U.S. Government securities include securities issued by (a) the Federal Housing Administration, Farmers Home Administration, Export-Import Bank of the United States, Small Business Administration, and the Government National Mortgage Association, whose securities are supported by the full faith and credit of the United States; (b) the Federal Home Loan Banks, Federal Intermediate Credit Banks, and the Tennessee Valley Authority, whose securities are supported by the right of the agency to borrow from the U.S. Treasury; (c) the Federal National Mortgage Association, whose securities are supported by the discretionary authority of the U.S. Government to purchase certain obligations of the agency or instrumentality; and (d) the Student Loan Marketing Association, whose securities are supported only by its credit. While the U.S. Government provides financial support to such U.S. Government-sponsored agencies or instrumentalities, no assurance can be given that it always will do so since it is not so obligated by law. The U.S. Government, its agencies and instrumentalities do not guarantee the market value of their securities. Consequently, the value of such securities may fluctuate.

(2) Certificates of deposit issued against funds deposited in a bank or a savings and loan association. Such certificates are for a definite period of time, earn a specified rate of return, and are normally negotiable. The issuer of a certificate of deposit agrees to pay the amount deposited plus interest to the bearer of the certificate on the date specified thereon. Certificates of deposit purchased by MFT may not be fully insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.

(3) Repurchase agreements, which involve purchases of debt securities. At the time MFT purchases securities pursuant to a repurchase agreement, it simultaneously agrees to resell and redeliver such securities to the seller, who also simultaneously agrees to buy back the securities at a fixed price and time. This assures a predetermined yield for MFT during its holding period, since the resale price is always greater than the purchase price and reflects an agreed-upon market rate. Such actions afford an opportunity for MFT to invest temporarily available cash. MFT may enter into repurchase agreements only with respect to obligations of the U.S. Government, its agencies or instrumentalities; certificates of deposit; or bankers’ acceptances in which MFT may

 

120


invest. Repurchase agreements may be considered loans to the seller, collateralized by the underlying securities. The risk to MFT is limited to the ability of the seller to pay the agreed-upon sum on the repurchase date; in the event of default, the repurchase agreement provides that MFT is entitled to sell the underlying collateral. If the value of the collateral declines after the agreement is entered into, and if the seller defaults under a repurchase agreement when the value of the underlying collateral is less than the repurchase price, MFT could incur a loss of both principal and interest. The Investment Advisor monitors the value of the collateral at the time the action is entered into and at all times during the term of the repurchase agreement. The Investment Advisor does so in an effort to determine that the value of the collateral always equals or exceeds the agreed-upon repurchase price to be paid to MFT. If the seller were to be subject to a federal bankruptcy proceeding, the ability of MFT to liquidate the collateral could be delayed or impaired because of certain provisions of the bankruptcy laws.

(4) Commercial paper, which consists of short-term unsecured promissory notes, including variable rate master demand notes issued by corporations to finance their current operations. Master demand notes are direct lending arrangements between MFT and a corporation. There is no secondary market for such notes. However, they are redeemable by MFT at any time. The Investment Advisor will consider the financial condition of the corporation (e.g., earning power, cash flow and other liquidity ratios) and will continuously monitor the corporation’s ability to meet all of its financial obligations, because MFT’s liquidity might be impaired if the corporation were unable to pay principal and interest on demand. MFT’s stated expectation is that its investments in commercial paper will be limited to commercial paper rated in the highest categories by a major rating agency and which mature within one year of the date of purchase or carry a variable or floating rate of interest.

Tax-exempt temporary investments include various obligations issued by state and local governmental issuers, such as tax-exempt notes (bond anticipation notes, tax anticipation notes and revenue anticipation notes or other such Municipal Bonds maturing in three years or less from the date of issuance) and municipal commercial paper. Short-term tax-exempt fixed income securities include, without limitation, the following:

Bond Anticipation Notes (“BANs”) are usually general obligations of state and local governmental issuers which are sold to obtain interim financing for projects that will eventually be funded through the sale of long-term debt obligations or bonds. The ability of an issuer to meet its obligations on its BANs is primarily dependent on the issuer’s access to the long-term municipal bond market and the likelihood that the proceeds of such bond sales will be used to pay the principal and interest on the BANs.

Tax Anticipation Notes (“TANs”) are issued by state and local governments to finance the current operations of such governments. Repayment is generally to be derived from specific future tax revenues. TANs are usually general obligations of the issuer. A weakness in an issuer’s capacity to raise taxes due to, among other things, a decline in its tax base or a rise in delinquencies could adversely affect the issuer’s ability to meet its obligations on outstanding TANs.

Revenue Anticipation Notes (“RANs”) are issued by governments or governmental bodies with the expectation that future revenues from a designated source will be used to repay the notes. In general, they also constitute general obligations of the issuer. A decline in the receipt of projected revenues, such as anticipated revenues from another level of government, could adversely affect an issuer’s ability to meet its obligations on outstanding RANs. In addition, the possibility that the revenues would, when received, be used to meet other obligations could affect the ability of the issuer to pay the principal and interest on RANs.

Construction Loan Notes are issued to provide construction financing for specific projects. Frequently, these notes are redeemed with funds obtained from the Federal Housing Administration.

Bank Notes are notes issued by local government bodies and agencies to commercial banks as evidence of borrowings. The purposes for which the notes are issued are varied but they are frequently issued to meet short-term working capital or capital-project needs. These notes may have risks similar to the risks associated with TANs and RANs.

 

121


Tax-Exempt Commercial Paper (“municipal paper”) represents very short-term unsecured, negotiable promissory notes, issued by states, municipalities and their agencies. Payment of principal and interest on issues of municipal paper may be made from various sources, to the extent the funds are available therefrom. Maturities on municipal paper generally will be shorter than the maturities of TANs, BANs or RANs. There is a limited secondary market for issues of municipal paper.

VRDOs are tax-exempt obligations that contain a floating or variable interest rate adjustment formula and right of demand on the part of the holder thereof to receive payment of the unpaid principal balance plus accrued interest upon a short notice period not to exceed seven days. There is, however, the possibility that because of default or insolvency the demand feature of VRDOs may not be honored. The interest rates are adjustable at intervals (ranging from daily to up to one year) to some prevailing market rate for similar investments, such adjustment formula being calculated to maintain the market value of the VRDOs, at approximately the par value of the VRDOs on the adjustment date. The adjustments typically are based upon SIFMA or some other appropriate interest rate adjustment index. MFT may invest in all types of tax exempt instruments currently outstanding or to be issued in the future which satisfy its short-term maturity and quality standards. VRDOs that contain an unconditional right of demand to receive payment of the unpaid principal balance plus accrued interest on a notice period exceeding seven days may be deemed to be illiquid securities.

Certain Municipal Bonds may carry variable or floating rates of interest whereby the rate of interest is not fixed but varies with changes in specified market rates or indices, such as a bank prime rate or tax-exempt money market indices.

While the various types of notes described above as a group represent the major portion of the tax-exempt note market, other types of notes are available in the marketplace and MFT may invest in such other types of notes to the extent permitted under its investment objective, policies and limitations. Such notes may be issued for different purposes and may be secured differently from those mentioned above.

MFT’s investment policies provide that the Temporary Investments and VRDOs in which MFT may invest will be in the following rating categories at the time of purchase: MIG-1/VMIG-1 through MIG- 3/VMIG-3 for notes and VRDOs and Prime-1 through Prime-3 for commercial paper (as determined by Moody’s), SP-1 through SP-2 for notes and A-1 through A-3 for VRDOs and commercial paper (as determined by S&P), or F- 1 through F-3 for notes, VRDOs and commercial paper (as determined by Fitch). Temporary Investments, if not rated, must be of comparable quality in the opinion of the Investment Advisor. In addition, MFT reserves the right to invest temporarily a greater portion of its assets in Temporary Investments for defensive purposes, when, in the judgment of the Investment Advisor, market conditions warrant.

Strategic Transactions and Other Management Techniques

MFT may use a variety of other investment management techniques and instruments. MFT may purchase and sell futures contracts, enter into various interest rate transactions and may purchase and sell exchange-listed and over-the-counter put and call options on securities, financial indices and futures contracts (collectively, “Strategic Transactions”). These Strategic Transactions may be used for duration management and other risk management to attempt to protect against possible changes in the market value of MFT’s portfolio resulting from trends in the debt securities markets and changes in interest rates, to protect MFT’s unrealized gains in the value of its portfolio securities, to facilitate the sale of such securities for investment purposes, to establish a position in the securities markets as a temporary substitute for purchasing particular securities and to enhance income or gain. There is no particular strategy that requires use of one technique rather than another as the decision to use any particular strategy or instrument is a function of market conditions and the composition of the portfolio. The Strategic Transactions are described below. The ability of MFT to use them successfully will depend on the Investment Advisor’s ability to predict pertinent market movements as well as sufficient correlation among the instruments, which cannot be assured. Inasmuch as any obligations of MFT that arise from the use of Strategic Transactions will be covered by segregated liquid high grade assets or offsetting transactions, MFT and the

 

122


Investment Advisor believes such obligations do not constitute senior securities and, accordingly, will not treat them as being subject to its borrowing restrictions. Certain provisions of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 may restrict or affect the ability of MFT to engage in Strategic Transactions. In addition, the use of certain Strategic Transactions may give rise to taxable income and have certain other consequences.

Interest Rate Transactions. MFT may enter into interest rate swaps and the purchase or sale of interest rate caps and floors. MFT expects to enter into these transactions primarily to preserve a return or spread on a particular investment or portion of its portfolio as a duration management technique or to protect against any increase in the price of securities MFT anticipates purchasing at a later date. MFT will ordinarily use these transactions as a hedge or for duration or risk management although it is permitted to enter into them to enhance income or gain. MFT may not sell interest rate caps or floors that it does not own. Interest rate swaps involve the exchange by MFT with another party of their respective commitments to pay or receive interest, e.g., an exchange of floating rate payments for fixed rate payments with respect to a notional amount of principal. The purchase of an interest rate cap entitles the purchaser, to the extent that a specified index exceeds a predetermined interest rate, to receive payments of interest on a notional principal amount from the party selling such interest rate cap. The purchase of an interest rate floor entitles the purchaser, to the extent that a specified index falls below a predetermined interest rate, to receive payments of interest on a notional principal amount from the party selling such interest rate floor.

MFT may enter into interest rate swaps, caps and floors on either an asset-based or liability-based basis, and will usually enter into interest rate swaps on a net basis, i.e., the two payment streams are netted out, with MFT receiving or paying, as the case may be, only the net amount of the two payments on the payment dates. MFT will accrue the net amount of the excess, if any, of MFT’s obligations over its entitlements with respect to each interest rate swap on a daily basis and will segregate with a custodian an amount of cash or liquid high grade securities having an aggregate net asset value at all times at least equal to the accrued excess. If there is a default by the other party to such a transaction, MFT will have contractual remedies pursuant to the agreements related to the transaction. The swap market has grown substantially in recent years with a large number of banks and investment banking firms acting both as principals and as agents utilizing standardized swap documentation. Caps and floors are more recent innovations for which standardized documentation has not yet been developed and,