The Emerging Markets Portfolio seeks long-term capital appreciation.
The Emerging Markets Portfolio is an international fund. The Portfolio generally invests in equity securities of companies organized in, having a majority of their assets in, or deriving a majority of their operating income from, emerging countries. Equity securities include, but are not limited to, common stocks, preferred stocks, convertible securities, certain nontraditional equity securities, and warrants. To the extent that this Portfolio invests in convertible debt securities, those securities will be purchased on the basis of their equity characteristics, and ratings of those securities, if any, will not be an important factor in their selection.
Under normal circumstances, the Portfolio will invest at least 80% of its net assets in investments of emerging market issuers (80% Policy). The Portfolio's 80% Policy may be changed without shareholder approval. However, shareholders will be given notice at least 60 days prior to any such change. Under normal circumstances, the Portfolio will invest at least 40% of its total assets in securities of non-U.S. issuers. This policy is in addition to the 80% Policy.
The Portfolio considers an "emerging country" to be any country that is generally recognized to be an emerging or developing country by the international financial community, including the World Bank and the International Finance Corporation, as well as countries that are classified by the United Nations as developing. In addition, any country that is included in the International Finance Corporation Free Index or MSCI Emerging Markets Index will be considered to be an "emerging country." There are more than 130 countries that are generally considered to be emerging or developing countries by the international financial community, approximately 40 of which currently have stock markets. Almost every nation in the world is included within this group of developing or emerging countries except the United States, Canada, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and nations located in Western Europe.
The Portfolio will focus its investments in those emerging countries where the Portfolio's sub-advisor, Mondrian Investment Partners, Limited (Sub-advisor), considers the economies to be developing strongly and where the markets are becoming more sophisticated. Currently, investing in many other emerging countries is not feasible, or may, in the Sub-advisor's opinion, involve unacceptable political risks. The Sub-advisor believes that investment opportunities may result from an evolving long-term international trend favoring more market-oriented economies, a trend that may particularly benefit certain countries having developing markets. This trend may be facilitated by local or international political, economic, or financial developments that could benefit the capital markets in such countries.
In considering possible emerging countries in which the Portfolio may invest, the Sub-advisor will place particular emphasis on factors such as economic conditions (including growth trends, inflation rates, and trade balances), regulatory and currency controls, accounting standards, and political and social conditions.The Sub-advisor currently anticipates that the countries in which the Portfolio may invest will include, among others, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, China, Colombia, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Egypt, Estonia, Ghana, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Israel, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, Morocco, Pakistan, Panama, Peru, the Philippines, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovenia, South Africa, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, Venezuela, Vietnam, and Zimbabwe. As markets in other emerging countries develop, the Sub-advisor expects to expand and further diversify the countries in which the Portfolio invests.
Although this is not an exclusive list, the Sub-advisor considers an emerging country equity security to be one that is issued by a company that exhibits one or more of the following characteristics: (1) its principal securities trading market is in an emerging country, as defined above; (2) while traded in any market, alone or on a consolidated basis, the company derives 50% or more of its annual revenues from either goods produced, sales made or services performed in emerging countries; or (3) it is organized under the laws of, and has a principal office in, an emerging country. The Sub-advisor will determine eligibility based on publicly available information and inquiries made of the companies.
Up to 35% of the Portfolio's net assets may be invested in debt securities issued by emerging country companies, and foreign governments, their agencies, instrumentalities, or political subdivisions, all of which may be high yield, high-risk fixed income securities rated lower than BBB- by Standard & Poor's and Baa3 by Moody's Investors Service, Inc. or, if unrated, considered to be of equivalent quality. The Portfolio may also invest in zero-coupon bonds. The Portfolio may invest in securities issued in any currency and may hold foreign currency. Securities of issuers within a given country may be denominated in the currency of another country or in multinational currency units, including the euro. For temporary defensive purposes, the Portfolio may invest all or a substantial portion of its assets in high-quality debt instruments.
Currency considerations carry a special risk for a portfolio of international securities. The Sub-advisor uses a purchasing power parity approach to evaluate currency risk. In this regard, the Portfolio may actively carry on hedging activities, and may invest in forward foreign currency exchange contracts to hedge currency risks associated with the purchase of individual securities denominated in a particular currency.