The Senior Loans in which the Fund will invest will primarily be rated below investment grade, but may also be unrated and of comparable credit quality. As a result, the risks associated with such Senior Loans are generally similar to the risks of other below investment grade fixed income instruments, although Senior Loans are senior and typically secured in contrast to other below investment grade fixed income instruments, which are often subordinated or unsecured. Investments in below investment grade Senior Loans are considered speculative because of the credit risk of the Borrowers. Such Borrowers are more likely than investment grade Borrowers to default on their payments of interest and principal owed to the Fund, and such defaults could reduce the Fund’s net asset value and income distributions. An economic downturn would generally lead to a higher non-payment rate, and a Senior Loan may lose significant market value before a default occurs. Moreover, any specific collateral used to secure a Senior Loan may decline in value or become illiquid, which would adversely affect the Senior Loan’s value. Senior Loans are subject to a number of risks described elsewhere in this prospectus, including liquidity risk and the risk of investing in below investment grade fixed income instruments.
Senior Loans are subject to the risk of non-payment of scheduled interest or principal. Such non-payment would result in a reduction of income to the Fund, a reduction in the value of the investment and a potential decrease in the net asset value of the Fund. There can be no assurance that the liquidation of any collateral securing a Senior Loan would satisfy the Borrower’s obligation in the event of non-payment of scheduled interest or principal payments, whether when due or upon acceleration, or that the collateral could be liquidated, readily or otherwise. In the event of bankruptcy or insolvency of a Borrower, the Fund could experience delays or limitations with respect to its ability to realize the benefits of the collateral, if any, securing a Senior Loan. The collateral securing a Senior Loan, if any, may lose all or substantially all of its value in the event of the bankruptcy or insolvency of a Borrower. Some Senior Loans are subject to the risk that a court, pursuant to fraudulent conveyance or other similar laws, could subordinate such Senior Loans to presently existing or future indebtedness of the Borrower or take other action detrimental to the holders of Senior Loans including, in certain circumstances, invalidating such Senior Loans or causing interest previously paid to be refunded to the Borrower. Additionally, a Senior Loan may be "primed" in bankruptcy, which reduces the ability of the holders of the Senior Loan to recover on the collateral. Priming takes place when a debtor in bankruptcy is allowed to incur additional indebtedness by the bankruptcy court and such indebtedness has a senior or pari passu lien with the debtor’s existing secured indebtedness, such as existing Senior Loans or secured Corporate Bonds.
There may be less readily available information about most Senior Loans and the Borrowers thereunder than is the case for many other types of securities, including securities issued in transactions registered under the Securities Act, or registered under the Exchange Act, and Borrowers subject to the periodic reporting requirements of Section 13 of the Exchange Act. Senior loans may be issued by companies that are not subject to SEC reporting requirements and these companies, therefore, do not file reports with the SEC that must comply with SEC form requirements and in addition are subject to a less stringent liability disclosure regime than companies subject to SEC reporting requirements. As a result, the Adviser will rely primarily on its own evaluation of a Borrower’s credit quality rather than on any available independent sources. Therefore, the Fund will be particularly dependent on the analytical abilities of the Adviser.
The secondary trading market for Senior Loans may be less liquid than the secondary trading market for registered investment grade debt securities. No active trading market may exist for certain Senior Loans, which may make it difficult to value them. Illiquidity and adverse market conditions may mean that the Fund may not be able to sell Senior Loans quickly or at a fair price. To the extent that a secondary market does exist for certain Senior Loans, the market for them may be subject to irregular trading activity, wide bid/ask spreads and extended trade settlement periods.
Senior Loans and other variable rate debt instruments are subject to the risk of payment defaults of scheduled interest or principal. Such payment defaults would result in a reduction of income to the Fund, a reduction in the value of the investment and a potential decrease in the net asset value of the Fund. Similarly, a sudden and significant increase in market interest rates may increase the risk of payment defaults and cause a decline in the value of these investments and in the Fund’s net asset value. Other factors (including, but not limited to, rating downgrades, credit deterioration, a large downward movement in stock prices, a disparity in supply and demand of certain securities or market conditions that reduce liquidity) can reduce the value of Senior Loans and other debt obligations, impairing the Fund’s net asset value.
Senior Loans are subject to legislative risk. If legislation or state or federal regulations impose additional requirements or restrictions on the ability of financial institutions to make loans, the availability of Senior Loans for investment by the Fund may be adversely affected. In addition, such requirements or restrictions could reduce or eliminate sources of financing for certain Borrowers. This would increase the risk of default. If legislation or federal or state regulations require financial institutions to increase their capital requirements this may cause financial institutions to dispose of Senior Loans that are considered highly levered transactions. Such sales could result in prices that, in the opinion of the Adviser, do not represent fair value. If the Fund attempts to sell a Senior Loan at a time when a financial institution is engaging in such a sale, the price the Fund could receive for the Senior Loan may be adversely affected.
The Fund expects to acquire Senior Loans primarily through assignments and, to a lesser extent, through participations. The purchaser of an assignment typically succeeds to all the rights and obligations of the assigning institution and becomes a lender under the credit agreement with respect to the debt obligation; however, the purchaser’s rights can be more restricted than those of the assigning institution, and the Fund may not be able to unilaterally enforce all rights and remedies under the loan and with regard to any associated collateral. In general, a participation is a contractual relationship only with the institution participating out the interest, not with the Borrower. Sellers of participations typically include banks, broker-dealers, other financial institutions and lending institutions. In purchasing participations, the Fund generally will have no right to enforce compliance by the Borrower with the terms of the loan agreement against the Borrower, and the Fund may not directly benefit from the collateral supporting the debt obligation in which it has purchased the participation. As a result, (i) the Fund will be exposed to the credit risk of both the Borrower and the institution selling the participation and (ii) both the Borrower and the institution selling the participation will be considered issuers for purposes of the Fund’s investment restriction concerning industry concentration. See "Investment Restrictions". Further, in purchasing participations in lending syndicates, the Fund may be more limited than it otherwise would be in its ability to conduct due diligence on the Borrower. In addition, as a holder of the participations, the Fund may not have voting rights or inspection rights that the Fund would otherwise have if it were investing directly in the Senior Loan, which may result in the Fund being exposed to greater credit or fraud risk with respect to the Borrower or the Senior Loan.