National Policy 11-203 Process for Exemptive Relief Applications in Multiple Jurisdictions -- Relief granted from sections 2.5(2)(a) and (c) of National Instrument 81-102 Mutual Funds to permit mutual funds to invest up to 10% of net assets in leveraged ETFs, inverse ETFs, gold ETFs and leveraged gold ETFs traded on Canadian or US stock exchanges, subject to certain conditions.
Applicable Legislative Provisions
National Instrument 81-102 Mutual Funds, ss. 2.5(2)(a), 2.5(2)(c), 19.1.
June 11, 2010
IN THE MATTER OF
THE SECURITIES LEGISLATION OF
IN THE MATTER OF
THE PROCESS FOR EXEMPTIVE RELIEF
APPLICATIONS IN MULTIPLE JURISDICTIONS
IN THE MATTER OF
AGF FUNDS INC.
The principal regulator in the Jurisdiction has received an application from the Filer for a decision under the securities legislation of the Jurisdiction of the principal regulator (the Legislation) for:
(a) an exemption (the ETF Exemption) relieving the existing and future mutual funds managed by the Filer or an affiliate of the Filer that are subject to National Instrument 81-102 Mutual Funds (NI 81-102), other than AGF Precious Metals Fund and money market funds as defined in NI 81-102 (the Existing Funds and the Future Funds, respectively, together, the Funds and individually, a Fund), from the prohibitions contained in paragraphs 2.5(2)(a) and (c) of NI 81-102, to permit each Fund to purchase and hold securities of
(i) exchange-traded funds (ETFs) that seek to provide daily results that replicate the daily performance of a specified widely-quoted market index (the ETF's Underlying Index) by a multiple of 200% (Leveraged Bull ETFs) or an inverse multiple of 200% (Leveraged Bear ETFs, which together with Leveraged Bull ETFs are referred to collectively in this decision as Leveraged ETFs);
(ii) ETFs that seek to provide daily results that replicate the daily performance of their Underlying Index by an inverse multiple of 100% (Inverse ETFs);
(iii) ETFs that seek to replicate the performance of gold or the value of a specified derivative the underlying interest of which is gold on an unlevered basis (Gold ETFs); and
(iv) ETFs that seek to provide daily results that replicate the daily performance of gold or the value of a specified derivative the underlying interest of which is gold on an unlevered basis (the ETF's Underlying Gold Interest), by a multiple of 200% (Leveraged Gold ETFs).
(Leveraged ETFs, Inverse ETFs, Gold ETFs, and Leveraged Gold ETFs are referred to collectively in this decision as the Underlying ETFs), and
(b) revocation of the Decision Document granted by the principal regulator on February 24, 2009 (the Previous Decision), insofar as the Previous Decision applied to the Filer and the Funds (other than AGF Precious Metals Fund) (the Revocation Relief).
The ETF Exemption and the Revocation Relief are collectively, the Exemption Sought.
Under the Process for Exemptive Relief Applications in Multiple Jurisdictions (for a passport application):
1. the Ontario Securities Commission is the Principal Regulator for this application; and
2. the Filer has provided notice that section 4.7(1) of Multilateral Instrument 11-102 Passport System (MI 11-102) is intended to be relied upon in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador, Northwest Territories, Yukon Territories and Nunavut (collectively with the Jurisdiction, the Jurisdictions).
Defined terms contained in National Instrument 14-101 Definitions and MI 11-102 have the same meaning in this decision unless otherwise defined.
This decision is based on the following facts represented by the Filer:
The Filer and the Funds
1. The Filer is a corporation organized under the laws of the province of Ontario and is registered as an adviser in the appropriate categories to provide discretionary advisory services in all provinces and territories of Canada. The Filer is also registered as a mutual fund dealer, limited market dealer and commodity trading manager in Ontario and as a mutual fund dealer in British Columbia.
2. The head office of the Filer is located in Ontario.
3. The Filer or an affiliate of the Filer is the manager of each of the Existing Funds, and will be the manager of each of the Future Funds. The Filer or an affiliate of the Filer is the portfolio manager of, or has appointed a portfolio manager for, each of the Existing Funds, and will be the portfolio manager of, or will appoint a portfolio manager for, each of the Future Funds.
4. Each Existing Fund is, and each Future Fund will be: (a) an open-ended mutual fund established under the laws of the province of Ontario, (b) a reporting issuer under the laws of some or all of the provinces and territories of Canada, and (c) governed by the provisions of NI 81-102.
5. Securities of each Existing Fund are, and securities of each Future Fund will be, qualified for distribution in some or all of the provinces and territories of Canada under a simplified prospectus and annual information form prepared in accordance with National Instrument 81-101 Mutual Fund Prospectus Disclosure (NI 81-101) and filed with and receipted by the securities regulators in the applicable jurisdiction(s).
6. Neither the Filer nor any of the Existing Funds is in default of securities legislation in the Jurisdictions.
7. Upon obtaining the Exemption Sought, the Funds will not rely on the Previous Decision.
The Underlying ETFs
8. Each Leveraged ETF will be rebalanced daily to ensure that its performance and exposure to its Underlying Index will not exceed +/-200% of the corresponding daily performance of its Underlying Index.
9. Each Inverse ETF will be rebalanced daily to ensure that its performance and exposure to its Underlying Index will not exceed -100% of the corresponding daily performance of its Underlying Index.
10. Each Leveraged Gold ETF will be rebalanced daily to ensure that its performance and exposure to its Underlying Gold Interest will not exceed +200% of the corresponding daily performance of its Underlying Gold Interest.
Investment in IPUs and the Underlying ETFs
11. Each Existing Fund is, and each Future Fund will be, permitted, in accordance with its investment objectives and investment strategies, to invest in ETFs.
12. In addition to investing in securities of ETFs that are "index participation units" as defined in NI 81-102 (IPUs), the Funds propose to have the ability to invest in the Underlying ETFs, whose securities are not IPUs.
13. The amount of the loss that can result from an investment by a Fund in an Underlying ETF will be limited to the amount invested by the Fund in securities of the Underlying ETF.
14. The Underlying ETFs are attractive investments for the Funds, as they provide an efficient and cost effective means of achieving diversification and exposure.
15. But for the ETF Exemption, paragraph 2.5(2)(a) would prohibit a Fund from purchasing or holding a security of an Underlying ETF, because the Underlying ETFs are not subject to both NI 81-102 and NI 81-101.
16. But for the ETF Exemption, paragraph 2.5(2)(c) would prohibit a Fund from purchasing or holding securities of some Underlying ETFs, because some Underlying ETFs will not be qualified for distribution in the local jurisdiction.
17. An investment by a Fund in securities of an Underlying ETF will represent the business judgment of responsible persons uninfluenced by considerations other than the best interest of the Fund.
The principal regulator is satisfied that the decision meets the test set out in the Legislation for the principal regulator to make the decision.
The decision of the principal regulator under the Legislation is that the Exemption Sought is granted provided that:
(a) the investment by a Fund in securities of an Underlying ETF is in accordance with the fundamental investment objectives of the Fund;
(b) a Fund does not short sell securities of an Underlying ETF;
(c) the securities of the Underlying ETFs are traded on a stock exchange in Canada or the United States;
(d) the securities of the Underlying ETFs are treated as specified derivatives for the purposes of Part 2 of NI 81-102;
(e) a Fund does not purchase securities of an Underlying ETF if, immediately after the purchase, more than 10% of the net assets of the Fund in aggregate, taken at market value at the time of the purchase, would consist of securities of Underlying ETFs;
(f) a Fund does not enter into any transaction if, immediately after the transaction, more than 20% of the net assets of the Fund, taken at market value at the time of the transaction, would consist of, in aggregate, securities of Underlying ETFs and all securities sold short by the Fund; and
(g) the prospectus of each Fund discloses, or will disclose the next time it is renewed after the date hereof, (i) in the Investment Strategy section of the prospectus, the fact that the Fund has obtained relief to invest in the Underlying ETFs together with an explanation of what each Underlying ETF is, and (ii) the risks associated with investments in the Underlying ETFs.