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Notice

Self-Regulatory Organizations; The NASDAQ Stock Market LLC; Notice of Filing of Proposed Rule Change Relating to the Listing and Trading of the Shares of the First Trust Strategic Floating Rate ETF of First Trust Exchange-Traded Fund IV

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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Start Preamble February 25, 2015.

Pursuant to Section 19(b)(1) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (“Act”),[1] and Rule 19b-4 thereunder,[2] notice is hereby given that on February 12, 2015, The NASDAQ Stock Market LLC (“Nasdaq” or the “Exchange”) filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“Commission”) the proposed rule change as described in Items I and II below, which Items have been prepared by Nasdaq. The Start Printed Page 11510Commission is publishing this notice to solicit comments on the proposed rule change from interested persons.

I. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement of the Terms of the Substance of the Proposed Rule Change

Nasdaq proposes to list and trade the shares of the First Trust Strategic Floating Rate ETF (the “Fund”) of the First Trust Strategic Floating Rate ETF (the “Fund”) of First Trust Exchange-Traded Fund IV (the “Trust”) under Nasdaq Rule 5735 (“Managed Fund Shares”).[3] The shares of the Fund are collectively referred to herein as the “Shares.”

The text of the proposed rule change is available at http://nasdaq.cchwallstreet.com/​, at Nasdaq's principal office, and at the Commission's Public Reference Room.

II. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement of the Purpose of, and Statutory Basis for, the Proposed Rule Change

In its filing with the Commission, Nasdaq included statements concerning the purpose of, and basis for, the proposed rule change. The text of these statements may be examined at the places specified in Item IV below. Nasdaq has prepared summaries, set forth in Sections A, B, and C below, of the most significant aspects of such statements.

A. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement of the Purpose of, and Statutory Basis for, the Proposed Rule Change

1. Purpose

The Exchange proposes to list and trade the Shares of the Fund under Nasdaq Rule 5735, which governs the listing and trading of Managed Fund Shares[4] on the Exchange. The Fund will be an actively-managed exchange-traded fund (“ETF”). The Shares will be offered by the Trust, which was established as a Massachusetts business trust on September 15, 2010.[5] The Trust is registered with the Commission as an investment company and has filed a registration statement on Form N-1A (“Registration Statement”) with the Commission.[6] The Fund will be a series of the Trust. The Fund intends to qualify each year as a regulated investment company (“RIC”) under Subchapter M of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended.

First Trust Advisors L.P. will be the investment adviser (“Adviser”) to the Fund. First Trust Portfolios L.P. (the “Distributor”) will be the principal underwriter and distributor of the Fund's Shares. The Bank of New York Mellon Corporation (“BNY”) will act as the administrator, accounting agent, custodian and transfer agent to the Fund.

Paragraph (g) of Rule 5735 provides that if the investment adviser to the investment company issuing Managed Fund Shares is affiliated with a broker-dealer, such investment adviser shall erect a “fire wall” between the investment adviser and the broker-dealer with respect to access to information concerning the composition and/or changes to such investment company portfolio.[7] In addition, paragraph (g) further requires that personnel who make decisions on the open-end fund's portfolio composition must be subject to procedures designed to prevent the use and dissemination of material, non-public information regarding the open-end fund's portfolio. Rule 5735(g) is similar to Nasdaq Rule 5705(b)(5)(A)(i); however, paragraph (g) in connection with the establishment of a “fire wall” between the investment adviser and the broker-dealer reflects the applicable open-end fund's portfolio, not an underlying benchmark index, as is the case with index-based funds. The Adviser is not a broker-dealer, although it is affiliated with the Distributor, a broker-dealer. The Adviser has implemented a fire wall with respect to its broker-dealer affiliate regarding access to information concerning the composition and/or changes to the portfolio. In addition, personnel who make decisions on the Fund's portfolio composition will be subject to procedures designed to prevent the use and dissemination of material non-public information regarding the Fund's portfolio. In the event (a) the Adviser becomes, or becomes newly affiliated with, a broker-dealer, or (b) any new adviser or sub-adviser is a registered broker-dealer or becomes affiliated with another broker-dealer, it will implement a fire wall with respect to its relevant personnel and/or such broker-dealer affiliate, as applicable, regarding access to information concerning the composition and/or changes to the portfolio and will be subject to procedures designed to prevent the use and dissemination of material non-public information regarding such portfolio. The Fund does not currently intend to use a sub-adviser.

First Trust Strategic Floating Rate ETF

The investment objective of the Fund will be to seek current income. To achieve its objective, the Fund will invest, under normal market Start Printed Page 11511conditions,[8] at least 80% of its net assets in a portfolio of the following types of floating-rate[9] debt instruments issued by U.S. and non-U.S. public- and private-sector entities: floating-rate corporate[10] and government bonds and notes; floating-rate agency securities;[11] floating-rate instruments of non-U.S. issuers; floating-rate privately-issued securities;[12] floating-rate asset-backed securities;[13] floating-rate mortgage-backed securities;[14] floating-rate loans;[15] and investment companies[16] (including investment companies advised by the Adviser) that invest primarily in the foregoing types of debt instruments[17] (collectively, “Floating Rate Debt Instruments”).

At least 65% of the Fund's net assets will be invested in Floating Rate Debt Instruments that are, at the time of purchase, investment grade. To be considered “investment grade,” under normal market conditions, rated Floating Rate Debt Instruments will carry, at the time of purchase, a rating in the highest four rating categories of at least one nationally recognized statistical ratings organization (“NRSRO”) (e.g., BBB- or higher by Standard & Poor's Ratings Services (“S&P”), and/or Fitch Ratings (“Fitch”), or Baa3 or higher by Moody's Investors Service, Inc. (“Moody's”).[18] For unrated securities to be considered “investment grade,” under normal market conditions, such securities will be determined, at the time of purchase, to be of comparable quality[19] by the Adviser. The Fund may invest up to 35% of its net assets in securities that are, at the time of investment, rated below investment grade by each NRSRO rating such securities (or securities that are unrated and determined by the Adviser to be of comparable quality), commonly referred to as “high yield” or “junk” bonds. If, subsequent to purchase by the Fund, a security held by the Fund experiences a decline in credit quality and falls below investment grade, the Fund may continue to hold the security, and it will not cause the Fund to violate the 35% investment limitation; however, the security will be taken into account for purposes of determining whether purchases of additional securities will cause the Fund to violate such limitation.

The Fund will limit its investments in asset-backed securities (excluding agency mortgage-backed securities) and non-agency mortgage-backed securities (in the aggregate) to 20% of its net assets.[20] In addition, the Fund will limit its investments in junior loans to 20% of its net assets.

The Fund will hold debt securities (including, in the aggregate, Floating Rate Debt Instruments and the fixed-rate debt securities described below) of at least 13 non-affiliated issuers.Start Printed Page 11512

Other Investments

Under normal market conditions, the Fund will invest primarily in the Floating Rate Debt Instruments described above to meet its investment objective. In addition, the Fund may invest up to 20% of its net assets in the following types of fixed-rate debt securities: corporate[21] and government bonds and notes; agency securities;[22] instruments of non-U.S. issuers in developed markets; privately-issued securities;[23] asset-backed securities;[24] mortgage-backed securities;[25] municipal bonds; money market securities;[26] and investment companies[27] (including investment companies advised by the Adviser) that invest primarily in the foregoing types of debt securities.

Further, to pursue its investment objective, the Fund may invest up to 20% of the value of its net assets in exchange-listed options on U.S. Treasury securities, exchange-listed options on U.S. Treasury futures contracts and exchange-listed U.S. Treasury futures contracts.[28] The use of these derivative transactions may allow the Fund to obtain net long or short exposures to selected interest rates. These derivatives may also be used to hedge risks, including interest rate risks and credit risks, associated with the Fund's portfolio investments. The Fund's investments in derivative instruments will be consistent with the Fund's investment objective and the 1940 Act and will not be used to seek to achieve a multiple or inverse multiple of an index.

Investment Restrictions

The Fund will not invest 25% or more of the value of its total assets in securities of issuers in any one industry. This restriction does not apply to (a) obligations issued or guaranteed by the U.S. government, its agencies or instrumentalities or (b) securities of other investment companies.[29]

The Fund may hold up to an aggregate amount of 15% of its net assets in illiquid assets (calculated at the time of investment), including Rule 144A securities deemed illiquid by the Adviser.[30] The Fund will monitor its portfolio liquidity on an ongoing basis to determine whether, in light of current circumstances, an adequate level of liquidity is being maintained, and will consider taking appropriate steps in order to maintain adequate liquidity if, through a change in values, net assets, or other circumstances, more than 15% of the Fund's net assets are held in illiquid assets. Illiquid assets include securities subject to contractual or other restrictions on resale and other instruments that lack readily available markets as determined in accordance with Commission staff guidance.[31]

The Fund will not invest in non-U.S. equity securities.

Creation and Redemption of Shares

The Fund will issue and redeem Shares on a continuous basis at net asset value (“NAV”) [32] only in large blocks of Shares (“Creation Units”) in transactions with authorized participants, generally including broker-dealers and large institutional investors (“Authorized Participants”). Creation Units generally will consist of 50,000 Shares, although this may change from time to time. Creation Units, however, are not expected to consist of less than 50,000 Shares. As described in the Registration Statement and consistent with the Exemptive Relief, the Fund will issue and redeem Creation Units in exchange for an in-kind portfolio of instruments and/or cash in lieu of such instruments (the “Creation Basket”). In addition, if there is a difference between the NAV attributable to a Creation Unit and the market value of the Creation Basket exchanged for the Creation Unit, the party conveying instruments with the lower value will pay to the other an amount in cash equal to the difference (referred to as the “Cash Component”).

Creations and redemptions must be made by or through an Authorized Participant that has executed an agreement that has been agreed to by the Distributor and BNY with respect to creations and redemptions of Creation Units. All standard orders to create Creation Units must be received by the transfer agent no later than the closing time of the regular trading session on the New York Stock Exchange (ordinarily 4:00 p.m., Eastern Time) (the “Closing Time”) in each case on the date such order is placed in order for the creation of Creation Units to be effected based on the NAV of Shares as next determined on such date after receipt of the order in proper form. Shares may be redeemed only in Creation Units at their NAV next determined after receipt not later than the Closing Time of a redemption request in proper form by the Fund through the transfer agent and only on a business day.

The Fund's custodian, through the National Securities Clearing Corporation, will make available on each business day, prior to the opening of business of the Exchange, the list of the names and quantities of the instruments comprising the Creation Basket, as well as the estimated Cash Component (if any), for that day. The published Creation Basket will apply until a new Creation Basket is announced on the following business day prior to commencement of trading in the Shares.Start Printed Page 11513

Net Asset Value

The Fund's NAV will be determined as of the close of trading (normally 4:00 p.m., Eastern Time) on each day the New York Stock Exchange is open for business. NAV will be calculated for the Fund by taking the market price of the Fund's total assets, including interest or dividends accrued but not yet collected, less all liabilities, and dividing such amount by the total number of Shares outstanding. The result, rounded to the nearest cent, will be the NAV per Share. All valuations will be subject to review by the Board of Trustees of the Trust (“Trust Board”) or its delegate.

The Fund's investments will be valued daily at market value or, in the absence of market value with respect to any investment, at fair value, in each case in accordance with valuation procedures (which may be revised from time to time) adopted by the Trust Board (the “Valuation Procedures”) and in accordance with the 1940 Act. A market valuation generally means a valuation (i) obtained from an exchange, an independent pricing service (“Pricing Service”), or a major market maker (or dealer) or (ii) based on a price quotation or other equivalent indication of value supplied by an exchange, a Pricing Service, or a major market maker (or dealer). The information summarized below is based on the Valuation Procedures as currently in effect; however, as noted above, the Valuation Procedures are amended from time to time and, therefore, such information is subject to change.

Certain securities, including Floating Rate Debt Instruments, in which the Fund may invest will not be listed on any securities exchange or board of trade. Such securities will typically be bought and sold by institutional investors in individually negotiated private transactions that function in many respects like an over-the-counter secondary market, although typically no formal market makers will exist. Certain securities, particularly debt securities, will have few or no trades, or trade infrequently, and information regarding a specific security may not be widely available or may be incomplete. Accordingly, determinations of the fair value of debt securities may be based on infrequent and dated information. Because there is less reliable, objective data available, elements of judgment may play a greater role in valuation of debt securities than for other types of securities. Typically, Floating Rate Debt Instruments and other debt securities in which the Fund may invest (other than those described below) will be valued using information provided by a Pricing Service. Debt securities having a remaining maturity of 60 days or less when purchased will be valued at cost adjusted for amortization of premiums and accretion of discounts, provided the Adviser's pricing committee (the “Pricing Committee”) has determined that the use of amortized cost is an appropriate reflection of fair value given market and issuer-specific conditions existing at the time of the determination. Overnight repurchase agreements will be valued at cost and term repurchase agreements (i.e., those whose maturity exceeds seven days) will be valued at the average of the bid quotations obtained daily from at least two recognized dealers.

Asset-backed and mortgage-backed securities will generally be valued by using a Pricing Service. If a Pricing Service does not cover a particular asset-backed or mortgage-backed security, or discontinues covering a particular asset-backed or mortgage-backed security, the security will be priced using broker quotes generally provided by brokers that make or participate in markets in the security. To derive values, Pricing Services and broker-dealers may use matrix pricing and valuation models, as well as recent market transactions for the same or similar assets. As it deems appropriate, the Pricing Committee may determine that a Pricing Service price does not represent an accurate value of an asset-backed or mortgage-backed security, based on broker quotes it receives, a recent trade in the security by the Fund, information from a portfolio manager, or other market information. In the event that the Pricing Committee determines that the Pricing Service price is unreliable or inaccurate based on such other information, broker quotes may be used. Additionally, if the Pricing Committee determines that the price of an asset-backed or mortgage-backed security obtained from a Pricing Service and available broker quotes is unreliable or inaccurate due to market conditions or other reasons, or if a Pricing Service price or broker quote is unavailable, the security will be valued using fair value pricing, as described below.

Equity securities listed on any exchange other than the Exchange will be valued at the last sale price on the exchange on which they are principally traded on the business day as of which such value is being determined. Equity securities listed on the Exchange will be valued at the official closing price on the business day as of which such value is being determined. If there has been no sale on such day, or no official closing price in the case of securities traded on the Exchange, the securities will be valued using fair value pricing, as described below. Equity securities traded on more than one securities exchange will be valued at the last sale price or official closing price, as applicable, on the business day as of which such value is being determined at the close of the exchange representing the principal market for such securities.

Exchange-traded options and futures contracts will be valued at the closing price in the market where such contracts are principally traded.

Certain securities, including Floating Rate Debt Instruments, in which the Fund will invest will not be able to be priced by pre-established pricing methods. Such securities may be valued by the Trust Board or its delegate at fair value. The use of fair value pricing by the Fund will be governed by the Valuation Procedures and conducted in accordance with the provisions of the 1940 Act. Valuing the Fund's securities using fair value pricing will result in using prices for those securities that may differ from current market valuations or official closing prices on the applicable exchange.

Availability of Information

The Fund's Web site (www.ftportfolios.com), which will be publicly available prior to the public offering of Shares, will include a form of the prospectus for the Fund that may be downloaded. The Web site will include the Shares' ticker, CUSIP and exchange information along with additional quantitative information updated on a daily basis, including, for the Fund: (1) Daily trading volume, the prior business day's reported NAV and closing price, mid-point of the bid/ask spread at the time of calculation of such NAV (the “Bid/Ask Price”),[33] and a calculation of the premium and discount of the Bid/Ask Price against the NAV; and (2) data in chart format displaying the frequency distribution of discounts and premiums of the daily Bid/Ask Price against the NAV, within appropriate ranges, for each of the four previous calendar quarters. On each business day, before commencement of trading in Shares in the Regular Market Session [34] on the Exchange, the Fund Start Printed Page 11514will disclose on its Web site the identities and quantities of the portfolio of securities, and other assets (the “Disclosed Portfolio” as defined in Nasdaq Rule 5735(c)(2)) held by the Fund that will form the basis for the Fund's calculation of NAV at the end of the business day.[35] The Fund's disclosure of derivative positions in the Disclosed Portfolio will include information that market participants can use to value these positions intraday. On a daily basis, the Fund will disclose on the Fund's Web site the following information regarding each portfolio holding, as applicable to the type of holding: Ticker symbol, CUSIP number or other identifier, if any; a description of the holding (including the type of holding), the identity of the security or other asset or instrument underlying the holding, if any; for options, the option strike price; quantity held (as measured by, for example, par value, notional value or number of shares, contracts or units); maturity date, if any; coupon rate, if any; effective date, if any; market value of the holding; and percentage weighting of the holding in the Fund's portfolio. The Web site information will be publicly available at no charge.

In addition, for the Fund, an estimated value, defined in Rule 5735(c)(3) as the “Intraday Indicative Value,” that reflects an estimated intraday value of the Fund's Disclosed Portfolio, will be disseminated. Moreover, the Intraday Indicative Value, available on the NASDAQ OMX Information LLC proprietary index data service,[36] will be based upon the current value for the components of the Disclosed Portfolio and will be updated and widely disseminated by one or more major market data vendors and broadly displayed at least every 15 seconds during the Regular Market Session. The Intraday Indicative Value will be based on quotes and closing prices from the securities' local market and may not reflect events that occur subsequent to the local market's close. Premiums and discounts between the Intraday Indicative Value and the market price may occur. This should not be viewed as a “real time” update of the NAV per Share of the Fund, which is calculated only once a day.

The dissemination of the Intraday Indicative Value, together with the Disclosed Portfolio, will allow investors to determine the value of the underlying portfolio of the Fund on a daily basis and will provide a close estimate of that value throughout the trading day.

Investors will also be able to obtain the Fund's Statement of Additional Information (“SAI”), the Fund's annual and semi-annual reports (together, “Shareholder Reports”), and its Form N-CSR and Form N-SAR, filed twice a year. The Fund's SAI and Shareholder Reports will be available free upon request from the Fund, and those documents and the Form N-CSR and Form N-SAR may be viewed on-screen or downloaded from the Commission's Web site at www.sec.gov. Information regarding market price and trading volume of the Shares will be continually available on a real-time basis throughout the day on brokers' computer screens and other electronic services. Information regarding the previous day's closing price and trading volume information for the Shares will be published daily in the financial section of newspapers. Quotation and last sale information for the Shares will be available via Nasdaq proprietary quote and trade services, as well as in accordance with the Unlisted Trading Privileges and the Consolidated Tape Association (“CTA”) plans for the Shares. Quotation and last sale information for the other ETFs in which the Fund will invest will be available via the quote and trade services of their respective primary exchanges, as well as in accordance with the Unlisted Trading Privileges and the CTA plans, as applicable. Quotation and last sale information for exchange-traded options will be available via the Options Price Reporting Authority. Intraday executable price quotations on Floating Rate Debt Instruments and other assets not traded on an exchange will be available from major broker-dealer firms or market data vendors, as well as from automated quotation systems, published or other public sources, or online information services. Additionally, the Trade Reporting and Compliance Engine (“TRACE”) of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”) will be a source of price information for corporate bonds, privately-issued securities, mortgage-backed securities and asset-backed securities to the extent transactions in such securities are reported to TRACE.[37] For exchange-traded assets, intraday pricing information will be available directly from the applicable listing exchange.

Additional information regarding the Fund and the Shares, including investment strategies, risks, creation and redemption procedures, fees, Fund holdings disclosure policies, distributions and taxes will be included in the Registration Statement.

Initial and Continued Listing

The Shares will be subject to Rule 5735, which sets forth the initial and continued listing criteria applicable to Managed Fund Shares. The Exchange represents that, for initial and/or continued listing, the Fund must be in compliance with Rule 10A-3 [38] under the Act. A minimum of 100,000 Shares will be outstanding at the commencement of trading on the Exchange. The Exchange will obtain a representation from the issuer of the Shares that the NAV per Share will be calculated daily and that the NAV and the Disclosed Portfolio will be made available to all market participants at the same time.

Trading Halts

With respect to trading halts, the Exchange may consider all relevant factors in exercising its discretion to halt or suspend trading in the Shares of the Fund. Nasdaq will halt trading in the Shares under the conditions specified in Nasdaq Rules 4120 and 4121, including the trading pauses under Nasdaq Rules 4120(a)(11) and (12). Trading may be halted because of market conditions or for reasons that, in the view of the Exchange, make trading in the Shares inadvisable. These may include: (1) The extent to which trading is not occurring in the securities and/or the other assets constituting the Disclosed Portfolio of the Fund; or (2) whether other unusual conditions or circumstances detrimental to the maintenance of a fair and orderly market are present. Trading in the Shares also will be subject to Rule 5735(d)(2)(D), which sets forth circumstances under which Shares of the Fund may be halted.

Trading Rules

Nasdaq deems the Shares to be equity securities, thus rendering trading in the Shares subject to Nasdaq's existing rules Start Printed Page 11515governing the trading of equity securities. Nasdaq will allow trading in the Shares from 4:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m., Eastern Time. The Exchange has appropriate rules to facilitate transactions in the Shares during all trading sessions. As provided in Nasdaq Rule 5735(b)(3), the minimum price variation for quoting and entry of orders in Managed Fund Shares traded on the Exchange is $0.01.

Surveillance

The Exchange represents that trading in the Shares will be subject to the existing trading surveillances, administered by both Nasdaq and also FINRA on behalf of the Exchange, which are designed to detect violations of Exchange rules and applicable federal securities laws.[39] The Exchange represents that these procedures are adequate to properly monitor Exchange trading of the Shares in all trading sessions and to deter and detect violations of Exchange rules and applicable federal securities laws.

The surveillances referred to above generally focus on detecting securities trading outside their normal patterns, which could be indicative of manipulative or other violative activity. When such situations are detected, surveillance analysis follows and investigations are opened, where appropriate, to review the behavior of all relevant parties for all relevant trading violations.

FINRA, on behalf of the Exchange, will communicate as needed regarding trading in the Shares and the exchange-traded securities and instruments held by the Fund with other markets and other entities that are members of ISG,[40] and FINRA may obtain trading information regarding trading in the Shares and the exchange-traded securities and instruments held by the Fund from such markets and other entities. In addition, the Exchange may obtain information regarding trading in the Shares and the exchange-traded securities and instruments held by the Fund from markets and other entities that are members of ISG, which includes securities and futures exchanges, or with which the Exchange has in place a comprehensive surveillance sharing agreement. Moreover, FINRA, on behalf of the Exchange, will be able to access, as needed, trade information for certain Floating Rate Debt Instruments and other debt securities held by the Fund reported to FINRA's TRACE.

All of the Fund's net assets that are invested in exchange-traded equity securities will be invested in securities that trade in markets that are members of ISG or are parties to a comprehensive surveillance sharing agreement with the Exchange. At least 90% of the Fund's net assets that are invested in exchange-traded derivative instruments will be invested in instruments that trade in markets that are members of ISG or are parties to a comprehensive surveillance sharing agreement with the Exchange.

In addition, the Exchange also has a general policy prohibiting the distribution of material, non-public information by its employees.

Information Circular

Prior to the commencement of trading, the Exchange will inform its members in an Information Circular of the special characteristics and risks associated with trading the Shares. Specifically, the Information Circular will discuss the following: (1) The procedures for purchases and redemptions of Shares in Creation Units (and that Shares are not individually redeemable); (2) Nasdaq Rule 2111A, which imposes suitability obligations on Nasdaq members with respect to recommending transactions in the Shares to customers; (3) how information regarding the Intraday Indicative Value is disseminated; (4) the risks involved in trading the Shares during the Pre-Market and Post-Market Sessions when an updated Intraday Indicative Value will not be calculated or publicly disseminated; (5) the requirement that members deliver a prospectus to investors purchasing newly issued Shares prior to or concurrently with the confirmation of a transaction; and (6) trading information. The Information Circular will also discuss any exemptive, no-action and interpretive relief granted by the Commission from any rules under the Act.

Additionally, the Information Circular will reference that the Fund is subject to various fees and expenses described in the Registration Statement. The Information Circular will also disclose the trading hours of the Shares of the Fund and the applicable NAV Calculation Time for the Shares. The Information Circular will disclose that information about the Shares of the Fund will be publicly available on the Fund's Web site.

2. Statutory Basis

Nasdaq believes that the proposal is consistent with Section 6(b) of the Act in general and Section 6(b)(5) of the Act in particular in that it is designed to prevent fraudulent and manipulative acts and practices, to promote just and equitable principles of trade, to foster cooperation and coordination with persons engaged in facilitating transactions in securities, and to remove impediments to and perfect the mechanism of a free and open market and, in general, to protect investors and the public interest.

The Exchange believes that the proposed rule change is designed to prevent fraudulent and manipulative acts and practices in that the Shares will be listed and traded on the Exchange pursuant to the initial and continued listing criteria in Nasdaq Rule 5735. The Exchange represents that trading in the Shares will be subject to the existing trading surveillances, administered by both Nasdaq and also FINRA on behalf of the Exchange, which are designed to detect violations of Exchange rules and applicable federal securities laws.

The Adviser is not a broker-dealer, although it is affiliated with the Distributor, a broker-dealer, and is required to implement a “fire wall” with respect to such broker-dealer affiliate regarding access to information concerning the composition and/or changes to the Fund's portfolio. In addition, paragraph (g) of Nasdaq Rule 5735 further requires that personnel who make decisions on the open-end fund's portfolio composition must be subject to procedures designed to prevent the use and dissemination of material non-public information regarding the open-end fund's portfolio.

FINRA, on behalf of the Exchange, will communicate as needed regarding trading in the Shares and the exchange-traded securities and instruments held by the Fund with other markets and other entities that are members of ISG, and FINRA may obtain trading information regarding trading in the Shares and the exchange-traded securities and instruments held by the Fund from such markets and other entities. In addition, the Exchange may obtain information regarding trading in the Shares and the exchange-traded securities and instruments held by the Fund from markets and other entities that are members of ISG, which includes securities and futures exchanges, or with which the Exchange has in place a comprehensive surveillance sharing agreement. Moreover, FINRA, on behalf of the Exchange, will be able to access, as needed, trade information for certain Start Printed Page 11516Floating Rate Debt Instruments and other debt securities held by the Fund reported to FINRA's TRACE.

All of the Fund's net assets that are invested in exchange-traded equity securities will be invested in securities that trade in markets that are members of ISG or are parties to a comprehensive surveillance sharing agreement with the Exchange. At least 90% of the Fund's net assets that are invested in exchange-traded derivative instruments will be invested in instruments that trade in markets that are members of ISG or are parties to a comprehensive surveillance sharing agreement with the Exchange.

The investment objective of the Fund will be to seek current income. To achieve its objective, the Fund will invest, under normal market conditions, at least 80% of its net assets in a portfolio of Floating Rate Debt Instruments. In addition, the Fund may invest up to 20% of its net assets in certain fixed-rate debt securities. The Fund may invest up to 20% of the value of its net assets in exchange-listed options on U.S. Treasury securities, exchange-listed options on U.S. Treasury futures contracts and exchange-listed U.S. Treasury futures contracts. The Fund's investments in derivative instruments will be consistent with the Fund's investment objective and the 1940 Act and will not be used to seek to achieve a multiple or inverse multiple of an index. At least 65% of the Fund's net assets will be invested in Floating Rate Debt Instruments that are, at the time of purchase, investment grade. The Fund will limit its investments in asset-backed securities (excluding agency mortgage-backed securities) and non-agency mortgage-backed securities (in the aggregate) to 20% of its net assets. In addition, the Fund will limit its investments in junior loans to 20% of its net assets. The Fund may hold up to an aggregate amount of 15% of its net assets in illiquid assets (calculated at the time of investment), including Rule 144A securities deemed illiquid by the Adviser. The Fund will monitor its portfolio liquidity on an ongoing basis to determine whether, in light of current circumstances, an adequate level of liquidity is being maintained, and will consider taking appropriate steps in order to maintain adequate liquidity if, through a change in values, net assets, or other circumstances, more than 15% of the Fund's net assets are held in illiquid assets. Illiquid assets include securities subject to contractual or other restrictions on resale and other instruments that lack readily available markets as determined in accordance with Commission staff guidance.

The proposed rule change is designed to promote just and equitable principles of trade and to protect investors and the public interest in that the Exchange will obtain a representation from the issuer of the Shares that the NAV per Share will be calculated daily and that the NAV and the Disclosed Portfolio will be made available to all market participants at the same time. In addition, a large amount of information will be publicly available regarding the Fund and the Shares, thereby promoting market transparency. Moreover, the Intraday Indicative Value, available on the NASDAQ OMX Information LLC proprietary index data service, will be widely disseminated by one or more major market data vendors and broadly displayed at least every 15 seconds during the Regular Market Session. On each business day, before commencement of trading in Shares in the Regular Market Session on the Exchange, the Fund will disclose on its Web site the Disclosed Portfolio that will form the basis for the Fund's calculation of NAV at the end of the business day. Information regarding market price and trading volume of the Shares will be continually available on a real-time basis throughout the day on brokers' computer screens and other electronic services, and quotation and last sale information for the Shares will be available via Nasdaq proprietary quote and trade services, as well as in accordance with the Unlisted Trading Privileges and the CTA plans for the Shares. Quotation and last sale information for the other ETFs in which the Fund will invest will be available via the quote and trade services of their respective primary exchanges, as well as in accordance with the Unlisted Trading Privileges and the CTA plans, as applicable. Quotation and last sale information for exchange-traded options will be available via the Options Price Reporting Authority. Intraday executable price quotations on Floating Rate Debt Instruments and other assets not traded on an exchange will be available from major broker-dealer firms or market data vendors, as well as from automated quotation systems, published or other public sources, or online information services. Additionally, FINRA's TRACE will be a source of price information for corporate bonds, privately-issued securities, mortgage-backed securities and asset-backed securities to the extent transactions in such securities are reported to TRACE. For exchange-traded assets, intraday pricing information will be available directly from the applicable listing exchange.

The Fund's Web site will include a form of the prospectus for the Fund and additional data relating to NAV and other applicable quantitative information. Trading in Shares of the Fund will be halted under the conditions specified in Nasdaq Rules 4120 and 4121 or because of market conditions or for reasons that, in the view of the Exchange, make trading in the Shares inadvisable, and trading in the Shares will be subject to Nasdaq Rule 5735(d)(2)(D), which sets forth circumstances under which Shares of the Fund may be halted. In addition, as noted above, investors will have ready access to information regarding the Fund's holdings, the Intraday Indicative Value, the Disclosed Portfolio, and quotation and last sale information for the Shares.

The Fund's investments will be valued daily at market value or, in the absence of market value with respect to any investment, at fair value, in each case in accordance with the Valuation Procedures and the 1940 Act.

The proposed rule change is designed to perfect the mechanism of a free and open market and, in general, to protect investors and the public interest in that it will facilitate the listing and trading of an additional type of actively-managed exchange-traded product that will enhance competition among market participants, to the benefit of investors and the marketplace. As noted above, FINRA, on behalf of the Exchange, will communicate as needed regarding trading in the Shares and the exchange-traded securities and instruments held by the Fund with other markets and other entities that are members of ISG, and FINRA may obtain trading information regarding trading in the Shares and the exchange-traded securities and instruments held by the Fund from such markets and other entities. In addition, the Exchange may obtain information regarding trading in the Shares and in the exchange-traded securities and instruments held by the Fund from markets and other entities that are members of ISG, which includes securities and futures exchanges, or with which the Exchange has in place a comprehensive surveillance sharing agreement. Furthermore, as noted above, investors will have ready access to information regarding the Fund's holdings, the Intraday Indicative Value, the Disclosed Portfolio, and quotation and last sale information for the Shares.

For the above reasons, Nasdaq believes the proposed rule change is consistent with the requirements of Section 6(b)(5) of the Act. Start Printed Page 11517

B. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement on Burden on Competition

The Exchange does not believe that the proposed rule change will impose any burden on competition that is not necessary or appropriate in furtherance of the purposes of the Act. The Exchange believes that the proposed rule change will facilitate the listing and trading of an additional type of actively-managed exchange-traded fund that will enhance competition among market participants, to the benefit of investors and the marketplace.

C. Self-Regulatory Organization's Statement on Comments on the Proposed Rule Change Received From Members, Participants, or Others

Written comments were neither solicited nor received.

III. Date of Effectiveness of the Proposed Rule Change and Timing for Commission Action

Within 45 days of the date of publication of this notice in the Federal Register or within such longer period up to 90 days (i) as the Commission may designate if it finds such longer period to be appropriate and publishes its reasons for so finding or (ii) as to which the Exchange consents, the Commission shall: (a) By order approve or disapprove such proposed rule change, or (b) institute proceedings to determine whether the proposed rule change should be disapproved.

IV. Solicitation of Comments

Interested persons are invited to submit written data, views, and arguments concerning the foregoing, including whether the proposed rule change is consistent with the Act. Comments may be submitted by any of the following methods:

Electronic Comments

Paper Comments

  • Send paper comments in triplicate to Brent J. Fields, Secretary, Securities and Exchange Commission, 100 F Street NE., Washington, DC 20549-1090.

All submissions should refer to File Number SR-NASDAQ-2015-011. This file number should be included on the subject line if email is used. To help the Commission process and review your comments more efficiently, please use only one method. The Commission will post all comments on the Commission's Internet Web site (http://www.sec.gov/​rules/​sro.shtml). Copies of the submission, all subsequent amendments, all written statements with respect to the proposed rule change that are filed with the Commission, and all written communications relating to the proposed rule change between the Commission and any person, other than those that may be withheld from the public in accordance with the provisions of 5 U.S.C. 552, will be available for Web site viewing and printing in the Commission's Public Reference Room, 100 F Street NE., Washington, DC 20549 on official business days between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. Copies of such filing also will be available for inspection and copying at the principal office of the Exchange. All comments received will be posted without change; the Commission does not edit personal identifying information from submissions. You should submit only information that you wish to make available publicly. All submissions should refer to File Number SR-NASDAQ-2015-011, and should be submitted on or before March 24, 2015.

Start Signature

For the Commission, by the Division of Trading and Markets, pursuant to delegated authority.[41]

Jill M. Peterson,

Assistant Secretary.

End Signature End Preamble

Footnotes

3.  The Commission approved Nasdaq Rule 5735 in Securities Exchange Act Release No. 57962 (June 13, 2008), 73 FR 35175 (June 20, 2008) (SR-NASDAQ-2008-039). There are already multiple actively-managed funds listed on the Exchange; see, e.g., Securities Exchange Act Release Nos. 69464 (April 26, 2013), 78 FR 25774 (May 2, 2013) (SR-NASDAQ-2013-036) (order approving listing and trading of First Trust Senior Loan Fund); 68972 (February 22, 2013), 78 FR 13721 (February 28, 2013) (SR-NASDAQ-2012-147) (order approving listing and trading of First Trust High Yield Long/Short ETF); 66489 (February 29, 2012), 77 FR 13379 (March 6, 2012) (SR-NASDAQ-2012-004) (order approving listing and trading of WisdomTree Emerging Markets Corporate Bond Fund). The Exchange believes the proposed rule change raises no significant issues not previously addressed in those prior Commission orders.

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4.  A Managed Fund Share is a security that represents an interest in an investment company registered under the Investment Company Act of 1940 (15 U.S.C. 80a-1) (the “1940 Act”) organized as an open-end investment company or similar entity that invests in a portfolio of securities selected by its investment adviser consistent with its investment objectives and policies. In contrast, an open-end investment company that issues Index Fund Shares, listed and traded on the Exchange under Nasdaq Rule 5705, seeks to provide investment results that correspond generally to the price and yield performance of a specific foreign or domestic stock index, fixed income securities index or combination thereof.

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5.  The Commission has issued an order, upon which the Trust may rely, granting certain exemptive relief under the 1940 Act. See Investment Company Act Release No. 30029 (April 10, 2012) (File No. 812-13795) (the “Exemptive Relief”). In addition, the Commission has issued no-action relief, upon which the Trust may rely, pertaining to the Fund's ability to invest in derivatives notwithstanding certain representations in the application for the Exemptive Relief. See Commission No-Action Letter (December 6, 2012).

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6.  See Post-Effective Amendment No. 104 to Registration Statement on Form N-1A for the Trust, dated January 29, 2015 (File Nos. 333-174332 and 811-22559). The descriptions of the Fund and the Shares contained herein are based, in part, on information in the Registration Statement.

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7.  An investment adviser to an open-end fund is required to be registered under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 (the “Advisers Act”). As a result, the Adviser and its related personnel are subject to the provisions of Rule 204A-1 under the Advisers Act relating to codes of ethics. This Rule requires investment advisers to adopt a code of ethics that reflects the fiduciary nature of the relationship to clients as well as compliance with other applicable securities laws. Accordingly, procedures designed to prevent the communication and misuse of non-public information by an investment adviser must be consistent with Rule 204A-1 under the Advisers Act. In addition, Rule 206(4)-7 under the Advisers Act makes it unlawful for an investment adviser to provide investment advice to clients unless such investment adviser has (i) adopted and implemented written policies and procedures reasonably designed to prevent violation, by the investment adviser and its supervised persons, of the Advisers Act and the Commission rules adopted thereunder; (ii) implemented, at a minimum, an annual review regarding the adequacy of the policies and procedures established pursuant to subparagraph (i) above and the effectiveness of their implementation; and (iii) designated an individual (who is a supervised person) responsible for administering the policies and procedures adopted under subparagraph (i) above.

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8.  The term “under normal market conditions” as used herein includes, but is not limited to, the absence of adverse market, economic, political or other conditions, including extreme volatility or trading halts in the fixed income markets or the financial markets generally; operational issues causing dissemination of inaccurate market information; or force majeure type events such as systems failure, natural or man-made disaster, act of God, armed conflict, act of terrorism, riot or labor disruption or any similar intervening circumstance. For temporary defensive purposes, during the initial invest-up period and during periods of high cash inflows or outflows, the Fund may depart from its principal investment strategies; for example, it may hold a higher than normal proportion of its assets in cash. During such periods, the Fund may not be able to achieve its investment objective. The Fund may adopt a defensive strategy when the Adviser believes securities in which the Fund normally invests have elevated risks due to political or economic factors and in other extraordinary circumstances.

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9.  For the avoidance of doubt, the term “floating-rate” shall also include similar terms, such as “variable-rate” and “adjustable-rate.”

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10.  The Adviser expects that, under normal market conditions, generally, for a corporate bond to be considered as an eligible investment, after taking into account such an investment, at least 75% of the Fund's net assets that are invested in floating-rate corporate bonds and, as described below, fixed-rate corporate bonds (in the aggregate), will be comprised of corporate bonds that have, at the time of original issuance, $100 million or more par amount outstanding.

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11.  “Agency securities” for these purposes generally includes securities issued by the following entities: Government National Mortgage Association (Ginnie Mae), Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae), Federal Home Loan Banks (FHLBanks), Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac), Farm Credit System (FCS) Farm Credit Banks (FCBanks), Student Loan Marketing Association (Sallie Mae), Resolution Funding Corporation (REFCORP), Financing Corporation (FICO), and the Farm Credit System (FCS) Financial Assistance Corporation (FAC). Agency securities can include, but are not limited to, mortgage-backed securities.

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12.  “Privately-issued securities” for these purposes generally includes Rule 144A securities other than mortgage-backed Rule 144A securities. Under normal market conditions, privately-issued securities will have, at the time of original issuance, $100 million or more principal amount outstanding to be considered eligible investments.

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13.  Asset-backed securities are securities that are backed by a pool of assets. The Fund currently intends to invest in asset-backed securities that are consumer asset-backed securities.

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14.  Mortgage-backed securities, which are securities that directly or indirectly represent a participation in, or are secured by and payable from, mortgage loans on real property, will consist of: (1) residential mortgage-backed securities (“RMBS”); (2) commercial mortgage-backed securities (“CMBS”); (3) stripped mortgage-backed securities (“SMBS”), which are mortgage-backed securities where mortgage payments are divided between paying the loan's principal and paying the loan's interest; (4) collateralized mortgage obligations (“CMOs”) and real estate mortgage investment conduits (“REMICs”), which are mortgage-backed securities that are divided into multiple classes, with each class being entitled to a different share of the principal and interest payments received from the pool of underlying assets.

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15.  The floating-rate loans in which the Fund will invest will represent amounts borrowed by companies or other entities from banks and other lenders and a significant portion of such floating-rate loans may be rated below investment grade or unrated. Floating-rate loans held by the Fund may be senior or subordinate obligations of the borrower and may or may not be secured by collateral. First lien senior secured floating-rate loans are referred to herein as “senior loans.” Floating-rate loans that are not senior loans (i.e., unsecured floating-rate loans and secured floating-rate loans that are not first lien floating-rate loans) are referred to herein as “junior loans.” The Fund will generally invest in floating-rate loans that the Adviser deems to be liquid with readily available prices; notwithstanding the foregoing, the Fund may invest in floating-rate loans that are deemed illiquid so long as the Fund complies with the 15% limitation on investments of its net assets in illiquid assets described below under “Investment Restrictions.”

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16.  The Fund currently anticipates investing only in registered open-end investment companies that are listed and traded in the U.S. on registered exchanges (i.e., other ETFs). An ETF is an investment company registered under the 1940 Act that holds a portfolio of securities. Many ETFs are designed to track the performance of a securities index, including industry, sector, country and region indexes. The Fund may invest in the securities of ETFs in excess of the limits imposed under the 1940 Act pursuant to exemptive orders obtained by other ETFs and their sponsors from the Commission. In addition, the Fund may invest in the securities of certain investment companies in excess of the limits imposed under the 1940 Act pursuant to an exemptive order obtained by the Trust and the Adviser from the Commission. See Investment Company Act Release No. 30377 (February 5, 2013) (File No. 812-13895). The ETFs in which the Fund may invest include Index Fund Shares (as described in Nasdaq Rule 5705), Portfolio Depository Receipts (as described in Nasdaq Rule 5705), and Managed Fund Shares (as described in Nasdaq Rule 5735). While the Fund may invest in inverse ETFs, the Fund will not invest in leveraged or inverse leveraged (e.g., 2X or −3X) ETFs.

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17.  The liquidity of a security, especially in the case of asset-backed and mortgage-backed securities, will be a substantial factor in the Fund's security selection process. Consistent with the discussion below under “Investment Restrictions,” the Fund will not purchase any Floating Rate Debt Instruments (including asset-backed securities and mortgage-backed securities) that, in the Adviser's opinion, are illiquid if, as a result, more than 15% of the value of the Fund's net assets will be invested in illiquid assets.

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18.  For the avoidance of doubt, if a security is rated by multiple NRSROs and receives different ratings, the Fund will treat the security as being rated in the highest rating category received from an NRSRO.

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19.  Comparable quality of unrated securities will be determined by the Adviser based on fundamental credit analysis of the unrated security and comparable NRSRO-rated securities. On a best efforts basis, the Adviser will attempt to make a rating determination based on publicly available data. In making a “comparable quality” determination, the Adviser may consider, for example, whether the issuer of the security has issued other rated securities, the nature and provisions of the relevant security, whether the obligations under the relevant security are guaranteed by another entity and the rating of such guarantor (if any), relevant cash flows, macroeconomic analysis, and/or sector or industry analysis.

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20.  For the avoidance of doubt, there is no limitation on the Fund's investments in agency mortgage-backed securities.

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21.  See footnote 10 above.

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22.  See footnote 11 above.

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23.  See footnote 12 above.

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24.  See footnote 13 above.

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25.  See footnote 14 above.

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26.  “Money market securities” for these purposes generally includes: short-term high-quality obligations issued or guaranteed by the U.S. Treasury or the agencies or instrumentalities of the U.S. government; short-term high-quality securities issued or guaranteed by non-U.S. governments, agencies and instrumentalities; repurchase agreements; commercial paper (both asset-backed and non-asset-backed); and deposits and other obligations of U.S. and non-U.S. banks and financial institutions.

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27.  See footnote 16 above.

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28.  At least 90% of the Fund's net assets that are invested in exchange-traded derivative instruments will be invested in instruments that trade in markets that are members of the Intermarket Surveillance Group (“ISG”) (see footnote 40 below) or are parties to a comprehensive surveillance sharing agreement with the Exchange.

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29.  See Form N-1A, Item 9. The Commission has taken the position that a fund is concentrated if it invests more than 25% of the value of its total assets in any one industry. See, e.g., Investment Company Act Release No. 9011 (October 30, 1975), 40 FR 54241 (November 21, 1975).

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30.  In reaching liquidity decisions, the Adviser may consider the following factors: the frequency of trades and quotes for the security; the number of dealers wishing to purchase or sell the security and the number of other potential purchasers; dealer undertakings to make a market in the security; and the nature of the security and the nature of the marketplace in which it trades (e.g., the time needed to dispose of the security, the method of soliciting offers and the mechanics of transfer).

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31.  The Commission has stated that long-standing Commission guidelines have required open-end funds to hold no more than 15% of their net assets in illiquid securities and other illiquid assets. See Investment Company Act Release No. 28193 (March 11, 2008), 73 FR 14618 (March 18, 2008), footnote 34. See also Investment Company Act Release No. 5847 (October 21, 1969), 35 FR 19989 (December 31, 1970) (Statement Regarding “Restricted Securities”); Investment Company Act Release No. 18612 (March 12, 1992), 57 FR 9828 (March 20, 1992) (Revisions of Guidelines to Form N-1A). A fund's portfolio security is illiquid if it cannot be disposed of in the ordinary course of business within seven days at approximately the value ascribed to it by the fund. See Investment Company Act Release No. 14983 (March 12, 1986), 51 FR 9773 (March 21, 1986) (adopting amendments to Rule 2a-7 under the 1940 Act); Investment Company Act Release No. 17452 (April 23, 1990), 55 FR 17933 (April 30, 1990) (adopting Rule 144A under the Securities Act of 1933).

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32.  The NAV of the Fund's Shares generally will be calculated once daily Monday through Friday as of the close of regular trading on the New York Stock Exchange, generally 4:00 p.m., Eastern Time (the “NAV Calculation Time”). NAV per Share will be calculated by dividing the Fund's net assets by the number of Fund Shares outstanding. For more information regarding the valuation of Fund investments in calculating the Fund's NAV, see the Registration Statement.

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33.  The Bid/Ask Price of the Fund will be determined using the mid-point of the highest bid and the lowest offer on the Exchange as of the time of calculation of the Fund's NAV. The records relating to Bid/Ask Prices will be retained by the Fund and its service providers.

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34.  See Nasdaq Rule 4120(b)(4) (describing the three trading sessions on the Exchange: (1) Pre-Market Session from 4 a.m. to 9:30 a.m., Eastern Time; (2) Regular Market Session from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. or 4:15 p.m., Eastern Time; and (3) Post-Market Session from 4 p.m. or 4:15 p.m. to 8 p.m., Eastern Time).

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35.  Under accounting procedures to be followed by the Fund, trades made on the prior business day (“T”) will be booked and reflected in NAV on the current business day (“T+1”). Accordingly, the Fund will be able to disclose at the beginning of the business day the portfolio that will form the basis for the NAV calculation at the end of the business day.

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36.  Currently, the NASDAQ OMX Global Index Data Service (“GIDS”) is the NASDAQ OMX global index data feed service, offering real-time updates, daily summary messages, and access to widely followed indexes and Intraday Indicative Values for ETFs. GIDS provides investment professionals with the daily information needed to track or trade NASDAQ OMX indexes, listed ETFs, or third-party partner indexes and ETFs.

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37.  Broker-dealers that are FINRA member firms have an obligation to report transactions in specified debt securities to TRACE to the extent required under applicable FINRA rules. Generally, such debt securities will have at issuance a maturity that exceeds one calendar year.

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39.  FINRA surveils trading on the Exchange pursuant to a regulatory services agreement. The Exchange is responsible for FINRA's performance under this regulatory services agreement.

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40.  For a list of the current members of ISG, see www.isgportal.org. The Exchange notes that not all components of the Disclosed Portfolio may trade on markets that are members of ISG or with which the Exchange has in place a comprehensive surveillance sharing agreement.

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[FR Doc. 2015-04334 Filed 3-2-15; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 8011-01-P