The Fund invests primarily in a diversified portfolio of debt securities. These include debt obligations issued or guaranteed by the U.S. Government and foreign governments and their agencies and instrumentalities, debt securities issued by U.S. and foreign companies, collateralized mortgage obligations, and U.S. and foreign mortgage-backed and asset-backed debt securities. The Fund may invest up to 60% of its total assets in non-U.S. dollar securities, and may engage in currency hedging. Brandes Investment Partners, L.P., the investment advisor to the Fund (the “Advisor”), generally uses the principles of value investing to analyze and select debt securities for the Fund’s investment portfolio. As part of this process, the Advisor reviews such measures as the issuer’s free cash flow, debt-to-equity ratio, earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (“EBITDA”)-to-interest ratio, debt-to-EBITDA ratio, or other measures of credit worthiness in evaluating the securities of a particular issuer.
The Fund may invest in debt instruments of any maturity or with no maturity and it may invest in both investment-grade securities and non-investment grade securities (also known as “high-yield bonds” or “junk bonds”). (Up to 60% of the Fund’s total debt securities may be in junk bonds.) The Fund invests in debt securities that can be purchased at prices or yield premiums over U.S. Treasury securities (or other relatively risk free securities) which the Advisor believes to be attractive based on the Advisor’s assessment of each security’s intrinsic value. The Advisor will typically sell a security from the Fund’s portfolio when the Advisor’s research process identifies a significantly better investment opportunity. The Advisor may also sell certain portfolio securities from time to time in order to adjust the average maturity, duration or yield of the Fund’s portfolio or to meet requirements for redemption of Fund shares.
Because the values of the Fund's investments will fluctuate with market conditions, so will the value of your investment in the Fund. You could lose money on your investment in the Fund, or the Fund could underperform other investments. As with most fixed income funds, the income on and value of your shares in the Fund will fluctuate along with interest rates. When interest rates rise, the market prices of the debt securities the Fund owns usually decline. When interest rates fall, the prices of these securities usually increase. Generally, the longer the Fund's average portfolio maturity and the lower the average quality of its portfolio, the greater the price fluctuation. The price of any security owned by the Fund may also fall in response to events affecting the issuer of the security, such as its ability to continue to make principal and interest payments or its credit rating. Below investment grade debt securities are speculative and involve a greater risk of default and price change due to changes in the issuer's creditworthiness. The market prices of these debt securities may fluctuate more than the market prices of investment grade debt securities and may decline significantly in periods of general economic difficulty. The Fund may hold illiquid securities which may reduce the return of the Fund because it may be unable to sell such illiquid securities at an advantageous time or price. Illiquid securities may also be difficult to value. The Fund is actively managed, and may frequently buy and sell securities. Frequent trading increases a Fund’s portfolio turnover rate and may increase transaction costs, such as brokerage commissions and taxes, which in turn could detract from the Fund’s performance.
Investing in foreign securities poses additional risks. The performance of foreign securities can be adversely affected by the different political, regulatory and economic environments and other overall economic conditions in the countries where the Fund invests. Emerging country markets involve greater risk and volatility than more developed markets. Some emerging markets countries may have fixed or managed currencies that are not free-floating against the U.S. dollar. Certain of these currencies may experience substantial fluctuations or steady devaluation relative to the U.S. dollar. Mortgage-related securities are subject to certain additional risks. Rising interest rates tend to extend the duration of mortgage-related securities, making them more sensitive to changes in interest rates. As a result, when holding mortgage-related securities in a period of rising interest rates, a Fund may exhibit additional volatility. In addition, mortgage-related securities are subject to prepayment risk. When interest rates decline, borrowers may pay off their mortgages sooner than expected. This can reduce the returns of a Fund because it will have to reinvest that money at the lower prevailing interest rates.
† Shareholders pay any management fees, advisory fees or expenses at the wrap account level. The Fund does not pay any management fees, advisory fees or expenses to the Advisor or affiliates of the Advisor. Shareholders pay any ordinary expenses at the wrap account level. The Fund does not pay any ordinary expenses.
Investors in the Fund must be clients of “wrap account” programs sponsored by broker-dealers which have agreements with the Advisor, or certain other persons or entities. Investors pay management fees and other expenses at the wrap account level. See the “Shareholder Information” section of the SMART Prospectus. The Advisor has contractually agreed to indefinitely pay or reimburse all expenses of the Fund.
The Bloomberg U.S. Aggregate Bond Index is a broad-based benchmark that measures the investment-grade, U.S. dollar-denominated, fixed-rate taxable bond market. This index is a total return index which reflects the price changes and interest of each bond in the index.
It is not possible to invest directly in an index.
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The Morningstar RatingTM for funds, or "star rating", is calculated for managed products (including mutual funds, variable annuity and variable life subaccounts, exchange-traded funds, closed-end funds, and separate accounts) with at least a three-year history. Exchange-traded funds and open-ended mutual funds are considered a single population for comparative purposes. It is calculated based on a Morningstar Risk-Adjusted Return measure that accounts for variation in a managed product's monthly excess performance, placing more emphasis on downward variations and rewarding consistent performance. The top 10% of products in each product category receive 5 stars, the next 22.5% receive 4 stars, the next 35% receive 3 stars, the next 22.5% receive 2 stars, and the bottom 10% receive 1 star. The Overall Morningstar Rating for a managed product is derived from a weighted average of the performance figures associated with its three-, five-, and 10-year (if applicable) Morningstar Rating metrics. The weights are: 100% three-year rating for 36-59 months of total returns, 60% five-year rating/40% three-year rating for 60-119 months of total returns, and 50% 10-year rating/30% five-year rating/20% three-year rating for 120 or more months of total returns. While the 10-year overall star rating formula seems to give the most weight to the 10-year period, the most recent three-year period actually has the greatest impact because it is included in all three rating periods. Ratings for other share classes may differ. For current performance, please view the Performance page of the web site or call 800.395.3807.