Russell Investments Canada Limited
National Policy 11-203 Process for Exemptive Relief Applications in Multiple Jurisdictions -- Technical relief granted to mutual funds from Parts 9, 10 and 14 of NI 81-102 to facilitate the offering of exchange-traded series and conventional mutual fund series within same fund structure -- Relief permitting funds to treat exchange-traded series in a manner consistent with treatment of other ETF securities in continuous distribution in connection with their compliance with Parts 9, 10 and 14 of NI 81-102 -- Relief permitting funds to treat mutual fund series in a manner consistent with treatment of other conventional mutual fund securities in connection with their compliance with Parts 9, 10 and 14 of NI 81-102 -- National Instrument 81-102 Investment Funds -- relief granted from certain mutual fund requirements and restrictions on borrowing from custodian and, if necessary, provision of a security interest to the custodian to fund distributions payable under the fund's distribution policy.
Applicable Legislative Provisions
National Instrument 81-102 Mutual Funds, ss. 2.6(a), 9.1, 9.2, 9.3, 9.4, 10.1, 10.2, 10.3, 10.4, 10.5, 10.6, 14.1, 19.1.
February 27, 2019
IN THE MATTER OF THE SECURITIES LEGISLATION OF ONTARIO (the Jurisdiction) AND IN THE MATTER OF THE PROCESS FOR EXEMPTIVE RELIEF APPLICATIONS IN MULTIPLE JURISDICTIONS AND IN THE MATTER OF RUSSELL INVESTMENTS CANADA LIMITED (the Filer)
The principal regulator in the Jurisdiction has received an application from the Filer on behalf of the Russell Investments Global Infrastructure Pool (the Initial ETF Fund) and such other mutual funds as are managed by the Filer now or in the future and that are structured in the same manner as the Initial ETF Fund (the Future ETF Funds and together with the Initial ETF Fund, the ETF Funds and each, individually, an ETF Fund) for a decision under the securities legislation of the Jurisdiction (the Legislation) that grants exemptive relief to the Filer and each ETF Fund as set forth below:
(a) an exemption from section 2.6(a)(i) of National Instrument 81-102 Investment Funds (NI 81-102) (the Borrowing Requirement) to permit each ETF Fund and the Filer to borrow cash from the custodian of the ETF Fund (the Custodian) and, if required by the Custodian, to provide a security interest over any of its portfolio assets, as a temporary measure to fund the portion of any distribution payable to Securityholders (as defined below) that represents, in the aggregate, amounts that are owing to, but not yet been received by, the borrowing ETF Fund; and
(b) an exemption from the provisions of Parts 9, 10 and 14 of NI 81-102 (the Sales and Redemptions Requirements) to permit the Filer and each ETF Fund to treat its ETF Securities (as defined below) and its Mutual Fund Securities (as defined below) as if such securities were separate funds in connection with their compliance with the Sales and Redemptions Requirements,
(collectively, the Exemption Sought).
Under the Process for Exemptive Relief Applications in Multiple Jurisdictions (for a passport application):
(a) the Ontario Securities Commission is the principal regulator for this application; and
(b) 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 all of the provinces and territories of Canada other than Ontario (together with Ontario, the Jurisdictions).
Terms defined in National Instrument 14-101 Definitions, MI 11-102, and NI 81-102 have the same meaning if used in this decision, unless otherwise defined. In addition:
Affiliate Dealer means a registered dealer that is an affiliate of an Authorized Dealer or Designated Broker and that participates in the resale of Creation Units from time to time;
Authorized Dealer means a registered dealer that has entered, or intends to enter, into an agreement with the Filer, or an affiliate of the Filer, authorizing the registered dealer to subscribe for, purchase and redeem Creation Units from one or more ETF Funds on a continuous basis from time to time;
Basket of Securities means, in relation to the ETF Securities of an ETF Fund, a group of securities or assets representing the constituents of the ETF Fund;
Creation Units means newly issued ETF Securities of an ETF Fund;
Designated Broker means a registered dealer that has entered, or intends to enter, into an agreement with the Filer, or an affiliate of the Filer, on behalf of an ETF Fund to perform certain duties in relation to the ETF Securities of the ETF Fund, including the posting of a liquid two-way market for the trading of the ETF Fund's ETF Securities on the TSX or another Marketplace;
ETF Securities means securities of an exchange-traded series of an ETF Fund that are listed or will be listed on the TSX or another Marketplace and that will be distributed pursuant to a simplified prospectus prepared in accordance with NI 81-101 and Form 81-101F1;
Form 81-101F1 means Form 81-101F1 Contents of Simplified Prospectus;
Marketplace means a "marketplace" as defined in National Instrument 21-101 Marketplace Operation that is located in Canada;
Mutual Fund Securities means securities of a non-exchange-traded series of an ETF Fund that are or will be distributed pursuant to a simplified prospectus prepared in accordance with NI 81-101 and Form 81-101F1;
NI 81-101 means National Instrument 81-101 Mutual Fund Prospectus Disclosure;
Prescribed Number of ETF Securities means, in relation to an ETF Fund, the number of ETF Securities of the ETF Fund determined by the Filer from time to time for the purpose of subscription orders, exchanges, redemptions or for other purposes;
Prospectus Delivery Requirement means the requirement that a dealer, not acting as agent of the purchaser, who receives an order or subscription for a security offered in a distribution to which the prospectus requirement of the Legislation applies, send or deliver to the purchaser or its agent, unless the dealer has previously done so, the latest prospectus and any amendment either before entering into an agreement of purchase and sale resulting from the order or subscription, or not later than midnight on the second business day after entering into that agreement;
Securityholders means beneficial or registered holders of ETF Securities or Mutual Fund Securities, as applicable, of the ETF Fund; and
TSX means the Toronto Stock Exchange.
This decision is based on the following facts represented by the Filer:
1. The Filer is a corporation incorporated under the laws of the Province of Ontario with its head office located in Toronto, Ontario.
2. The Filer is registered in each Jurisdiction in the categories of investment fund manager, portfolio manager and exempt market dealer. The Filer also is registered in Ontario as a commodity trading manager and as a mutual fund dealer exempt from membership in the Mutual Funds Dealer Association of Canada. The Filer also is registered in Manitoba as an advisor (commodities).
3. The Filer is the investment fund manager of and portfolio adviser to each ETF Fund. Other portfolio managers may be sub-advisers to the ETF Funds.
4. The Filer is not in default of securities legislation in any of the Jurisdictions.
5. Each ETF Fund:
(a) is, or will be, established either as a trust governed by the laws of Ontario or as a class of shares of a mutual fund corporation; and
(b) is, or will be, a reporting issuer in one or more Jurisdictions in which its securities are distributed.
6. Subject to any exemptions therefrom that have been, or may be, granted by the applicable securities regulatory authorities, each ETF Fund is, or will be, subject to NI 81-102 and its Securityholders will have the right to vote at a meeting of Securityholders in respect of the matters prescribed by NI 81-102.
7. Each ETF Fund offers, or will offer, Mutual Fund Securities and ETF Securities.
8. The Initial ETF Fund currently offers series A, B, E, F, O and P units. These Mutual Fund Securities are currently distributed under a simplified prospectus dated June 29, 2018. On or before May 30, 2019, a preliminary prospectus in respect of the ETF Securities of the Initial ETF Fund, or an amended and restated prospectus in respect of the Mutual Fund Securities and ETF Securities of the Initial ETF Fund, will be filed with the securities regulatory authorities in each of the Jurisdictions.
9. The Filer will apply to list the ETF Securities of each ETF Fund on the TSX or another Marketplace. The Filer will not file a final prospectus for any ETF Fund in respect of its ETF Securities until the TSX or other applicable Marketplace has conditionally approved the listing of such ETF Securities.
10. Mutual Fund Securities of an ETF Fund may be subscribed for or purchased by investors directly from the ETF Fund through appropriately registered dealers.
11. ETF Securities of an ETF Fund will be distributed on a continuous basis in one or more of the Jurisdictions under a prospectus. A Prescribed Number of ETF Securities may generally only be subscribed for or purchased directly from the ETF Funds by Authorized Dealers or Designated Brokers. Generally, subscriptions or purchases may only be placed for a Prescribed Number of ETF Securities (or a multiple thereof) on any day when there is a trading session on the TSX or other Marketplace. Authorized Dealers or Designated Brokers subscribe for Creation Units for the purpose of facilitating investor purchases of ETF Securities on the TSX or another Marketplace.
12. In addition to subscribing for and reselling Creation Units, Authorized Dealers, Designated Brokers and Affiliate Dealers will also generally be engaged in purchasing and selling ETF Securities of the same class or series as the Creation Units in the secondary market.
13. Each Designated Broker or Authorized Dealer that subscribes for Creation Units must deliver, in respect of each Prescribed Number of ETF Securities to be issued, a Basket of Securities and/or cash in an amount sufficient so that the value of the Basket of Securities and/or cash delivered is equal to the net asset value of the ETF Securities subscribed for next determined following the receipt of the subscription order. In the discretion of the Filer, an ETF Fund may also accept subscriptions for Creation Units in cash only, in securities other than Baskets of Securities and/or in a combination of cash and securities other than Baskets of Securities, in an amount equal to the net asset value of the ETF Securities subscribed for next determined following the receipt of the subscription order.
14. The Designated Brokers and Authorized Dealers will not receive any fees or commissions in connection with the issuance of Creation Units to them. On the issuance of Creation Units, the Filer or the ETF Fund may, in the Filer's discretion, charge a fee to a Designated Broker or an Authorized Dealer to offset the expenses incurred in issuing the Creation Units.
15. Each ETF Fund will appoint a Designated Broker to perform certain other functions, which include standing in the market with a bid and ask price for its ETF Securities for the purpose of maintaining liquidity for the ETF Securities.
16. Except for Authorized Dealer and Designated Broker subscriptions for Creation Units, as described above, and other distributions that are exempt from the Prospectus Delivery Requirement under the Legislation, ETF Securities generally will not be able to be purchased directly from an ETF Fund. Investors are generally expected to purchase and sell ETF Securities, directly or indirectly, through dealers executing trades through the facilities of the TSX or another Marketplace. ETF Securities may also be issued directly to Securityholders upon a reinvestment of distributions of income or capital gains.
17. Securityholders that are not Designated Brokers or Authorized Dealers that wish to dispose of their ETF Securities may generally do so by selling their ETF Securities on the TSX or other Marketplace, through a registered dealer, subject only to customary brokerage commissions. A Securityholder that holds a Prescribed Number of ETF Securities or multiple thereof may exchange such ETF Securities for Baskets of Securities and/or cash in the discretion of the Filer. Securityholders may also redeem ETF Securities for cash at a redemption price equal to 95% of the closing price of the ETF Securities on the TSX or other Marketplace on the date of redemption, subject to a maximum redemption price of the applicable net asset value per ETF Security.
18. Paragraph 2.6(a)(i) of NI 81-102 prevents a mutual fund from borrowing cash or providing a security interest over its portfolio assets unless the transaction is a temporary measure to accommodate redemption requests or to settle portfolio transactions and does not exceed five percent of the net assets of the mutual fund. As a result, paragraph 2.6(a)(i) prohibits an ETF Fund from borrowing from its Custodian to fund distributions under its Distribution Policy (as defined below).
19. Each ETF Fund will make distributions on a monthly, quarterly or annual basis or at such frequency as the Filer may, in its discretion, determine appropriate and, in each taxation year, will distribute sufficient net income and net realized capital gains so that it will not be liable to pay income tax under Part I of the Income Tax Act (Canada) (the Distribution Policy).
20. Amounts included in the calculation of net income and net realized capital gains of an ETF Fund for a taxation year that must be distributed in accordance with its Distribution Policy sometimes include amounts that are owing to but have not yet been received by the ETF Fund from the issuers of securities held in the ETF Fund's portfolio (Issuers).
21. While it is possible for an ETF Fund to maintain a portion of its assets in cash or to dispose of securities in order to obtain any cash necessary to make a distribution in accordance with its Distribution Policy, maintaining such a cash position or making such a disposition (which generally would be followed by an acquisition of the same securities once the cash is received from the Issuer) will impact the ETF Fund's performance. Maintaining assets in cash, or disposing and reacquiring the same securities, means that a portion of the net asset value of the ETF Fund is not invested in accordance with its investment objective.
22. The Filer is of the view that it is in the interests of each ETF Fund to have the ability to borrow cash from its Custodian and, if required by the Custodian, to provide a security interest over its portfolio assets, as a temporary measure to fund the portion of any distribution payable to Securityholders that represents, in the aggregate, amounts that are owing to, but have not yet been received by, the ETF Fund from Issuers. While such borrowing will have a cost, the Filer expects that such costs will be less than the reduction to the ETF Fund's performance if the ETF Fund had to hold cash instead of securities in order to fund the distribution.
Sales and Redemptions Requirements
23. Parts 9, 10 and 14 of NI 81-102 do not contemplate both Mutual Fund Securities and ETF Securities being offered in a single mutual fund structure. Accordingly, without the Sales and Redemptions Relief, the Filer and the ETF Funds would not be able to technically comply with those parts of NI 81-102.
24. The Exemption Sought will permit the Filer and each ETF Fund to treat its ETF Securities and Mutual Fund Securities as if such securities were separate funds in connection with its compliance with Parts 9, 10 and 14 of NI 81-102. The Exemption Sought will enable each ETF Fund to comply with Parts 9, 10 and 14 of NI 81-102 as appropriate for the type of security being offered.
The principal regulator is satisfied that the decision meets the test set out in the Legislation for the principal regulator to make the decision.
1. The decision of the principal regulator is that the Exemption Sought from the Borrowing Requirement is granted, provided that the ETF Fund will be in compliance with the following conditions:
(a) the borrowing by the ETF Fund in respect of a distribution does not exceed the portion of the distribution that represents, in the aggregate, amounts that are payable to the ETF Fund but have not been received by the ETF Fund from the Issuers and, in any event, does not exceed five percent of the net assets of the ETF Fund;
(b) the borrowing is not for a period longer than 45 days;
(c) any security interest in respect of the borrowing is consistent with industry practice for the type of borrowing and is only in respect of amounts owing as a result of the borrowing;
(d) the ETF Fund does not make any distribution to Securityholders where the distribution would impair the ETF Fund's ability to repay any borrowing to fund distributions; and
(e) the final prospectus of the ETF Fund discloses the potential borrowing, the purpose of the borrowing and the risks associated with the borrowing.
2. The decision of the principal regulator under the Legislation is that the Exemption Sought from the Sales and Redemptions Requirements is granted, provided that the ETF Fund will be in compliance with the following conditions:
(a) with respect to its Mutual Fund Securities, each ETF Fund complies with the provisions of Parts 9, 10 and 14 of NI 81-102 that apply to mutual funds that are not exchange-traded mutual funds; and
(b) with respect to its ETF Securities, each ETF Fund complies with the provisions of Parts 9 and 10 of NI 81-102 that apply to exchange-traded mutual funds.