Risk Factors

The liquidity of the Shares and the Net Asset Value of the Fund may be affected generally by changes in policies and laws of the local government (including exchange rates and controls), interest rates and taxation, social and religious instability and political, economic or other developments in the emerging markets. Generally, emerging market regulatory standards and disclosure standards are less stringent than standards in developed countries and there may therefore be less publicly available information about emerging market companies than is regularly available about companies located in developed countries. Accounting standards and requirements in emerging markets differ significantly from those applicable to companies in developed countries. Emerging markets have experienced substantial fluctuations in the prices of listed securities. The emerging market stock exchanges have been subjected to broker defaults, failed trades and settlement delays and local regulators can impose restrictions on trading in certain securities, limitations on price movements and margin requirements.

 

The increased volume of trading in the emerging markets as a result of the inflow of foreign investment has caused severe settlement difficulties resulting in significant delays in the settling of trades and registering of transfers of securities. The emerging stock markets are more volatile than the stock markets of developed countries. Emerging markets are exposed to the risks of radical, political or economic change which could adversely affect the value of the Fund’s investments. India has experienced natural calamities such as earthquakes, a tsunami, floods and drought in the past few years. In addition, hostilities in emerging markets may have a material adverse effect on the market for securities. Hostilities have been experienced between neighboring countries such as India and Pakistan. In recent years, military confrontations between India and Pakistan have occurred in Kashmir and along the India. There have also been terrorist attacks in various parts of India, including in cities of Mumbai and New Delhi. Military activity or terrorist attacks in the future could influence the economies by disrupting communications and making travel more difficult and such political tensions could create a greater perception that investments in emerging companies involve higher degrees of risk. Events of this nature in the future, as well as social and civil unrest within other countries in Asia, could influence the economies and could have a material adverse effect on the market for securities. The longstanding dispute with Pakistan over the bordering Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, a majority of whose population is Muslim, remains unresolved. The Indian population is comprised of diverse religious, linguistic and ethnic groups, and from time to time, India has experienced internal disputes between religious groups within the country. The Indian government has confronted separatist movements in several Indian states. These factors are extremely difficult, if not impossible, to predict and take into account with respect to the Fund’s investments. Political instability or changes in the Government could impact on the liberalization of the emerging economies and adversely affect economic conditions. Recent government corruption scandals and protests against privatization could slow down the pace of liberalization and deregulation. A significant change in economic liberalization and deregulation policies could disrupt business and economic conditions. Investments in India may offer higher potential for losses than investments in developed markets of the world. Political and economic structures in India generally lack the social, political and economic stability of more developed nations. The share prices of companies in India tend to be volatile and there is a significant possibility of loss. Governmental actions can have a significant effect on the economic conditions in India, which could adversely affect the value and liquidity of the Fund’s investments. Although the government of India has recently begun to institute economic reform policies, there can be no assurance that it will continue to pursue such policies or, if it does, that such policies will succeed. The laws of India relating to limited liability of corporate shareholders, fiduciary duties of officers and directors and the bankruptcy of state enterprises are generally less well developed or different from such laws in the United States. The risk of loss may also be increased because there may be less information available about Indian issuers since they are not subject to the extensive accounting, auditing and financial reporting standards and practices which are applicable in the United States. There is also a lower level of regulation and monitoring of the Indian securities market and its participants than in other more developed markets. It may be more difficult to obtain or enforce a judgment in the courts of India than it is in the United States. In addition, unanticipated political and social developments may adversely affect the value of the Fund’s investments in India and the availability to the Fund of additional investments. Monsoons and other natural disasters also can adversely affect the value of Fund investments. The growing inter-connectivity of global economies and financial markets has increased the possibilities that conditions in one country or region might adversely impact the issuers of securities in a different country or region. In particular, the adoption or continuation of protectionist trade policies by one or more countries, or a slowdown in the U.S. economy, could lead to a decrease in demand for Indian products and reduced flows of private capital to the Indian economy. The political, economic and social structures of many developing countries, including India, may be less stable and more volatile than those in the U.S. investments in these countries may be subject to the risks of internal and external conflicts, currency devaluations, foreign ownership limitations and tax increases. It is possible that a government may take over the assets or operations of a company or impose restrictions on the exchange or export of currency or other assets. Some countries also may have different legal systems that may make it difficult for the Fund to vote proxies, exercise shareholder rights and pursue legal remedies with respect to its foreign investments. Diplomatic and political developments, including rapid and adverse political changes, social instability, regional conflicts, terrorism and war, could affect the economies, industries, securities and currency markets, and the value of the Fund’s investments, in non-U.S. countries. Religious and border disputes persist in India, and India has from time to time experienced civil unrest and hostilities with countries such as Pakistan. The stock markets in India are undergoing a period of growth and change, which may result in trading or price volatility and difficulties in the settlement and recording of transactions and in interpreting and applying the relevant laws and regulations. The securities industry in India is comparatively underdeveloped, and stockbrokers and other intermediaries may not perform as well as their counterparts in the United States and other more developed securities markets. If trading volume is limited by operational difficulties, the ability of the Fund to invest its assets may be impaired. A high proportion of the securities of many Indian issuers are held by a limited number of persons or entities, which may limit the number of shares available for investment by the Fund. Sales of securities by such issuers, major shareholders, or the perception that such sales may occur, may also significantly and adversely affect the market price of such securities and, in turn, the Fund’s investment. A limited number of issuers represent a disproportionately large percentage of market capitalization and trading value.