Credit Risk. Credit risk refers to the possibility that the issuer of a security will be unable or unwilling to make interest payments and/or repay the principal on its debt. In the case of revenue bonds, notes or commercial paper, for example, the credit risk is the possibility that the user fees from a project or other specified revenue sources are insufficient to meet interest and/or principal payment obligations. Private activity bonds used to finance projects, such as industrial development and pollution control, may also be negatively impacted by the general credit of the user of the project.
Interest Rate Risk. Interest rate risk refers to fluctuations in the value of a fixed-income security resulting from changes in the general level of interest rates. When the general level of interest rates goes up, the prices of most fixed-income securities go down. When the general level of interest rates goes down, the prices of most fixed-income securities go up. Zero coupon securities are typically subject to greater price fluctuations than comparable securities that pay current interest.
Derivatives Risk. The performance of derivative instruments is tied to the performance of an underlying currency, security, index or other instrument. In addition to risks relating to their underlying instruments, the use of derivatives may include other, possibly greater, risks. Derivatives involve costs, may be volatile, and may involve a small initial investment relative to the risk assumed. Risks associated with the use of derivatives include counterparty, leverage, correlation, liquidity, tax, market, interest rate and management risks. Derivatives may also be more difficult to purchase, sell or value than other investments. The Fund may lose more than the cash amount invested on investments in derivatives. Investors should bear in mind that, while the Fund intends to use derivative strategies, it is not obligated to actively engage in these transactions, generally or in any particular kind of derivative, if the investment manager elects not to do so due to availability, cost, market conditions or other factors.
Lease Obligations. Leases and installment purchase or conditional sale contracts (which may provide for title to the leased asset to pass eventually to the issuer) have developed as a means for governmental issuers to acquire property and equipment without the necessity of complying with the constitutional and statutory requirements generally applicable for the issuance of debt. Certain lease obligations contain non-appropriation clauses that provide that the governmental issuer has no obligation to make future payments under the lease or contract unless money is appropriated for that purpose by the appropriate legislative body on an annual or other periodic basis. Consequently, continued lease payments on those lease obligations containing non-appropriation clauses are dependent on future legislative actions. If these legislative actions do not occur, the holders of the lease obligation may experience difficulty in exercising their rights, including disposition of the property.
Private Activity Bonds. The issuers of private activity bonds in which the Fund may invest may be negatively impacted by conditions affecting either the general credit of the user of the private activity project or the project itself. Conditions such as regulatory and environmental restrictions and economic downturns may lower the need for these facilities and the ability of users of the project to pay for the facilities. This could cause a decline in the Fund's value.
Inverse Floating Rate Municipal Obligations. The inverse floating rate municipal obligations in which the Fund may invest include derivative instruments such as residual interest bonds (RIBs) or tender option bonds (TOBs). Such instruments are typically created by a special purpose trust that holds long-term fixed rate bonds and sells two classes of beneficial interests: short-term floating rate interests, which are sold to third party investors, and inverse floating residual interests, which are purchased by the Fund. The short-term floating rate interests have first priority on the cash flow from the bond held by the special purpose trust and the Fund is paid the residual cash flow from the bond held by the special purpose trust. The interest rates on these obligations generally move in the reverse direction of market interest rates. If market interest rates fall, the interest rate on the obligations will increase and if market interest rates increase, the interest rate on the obligations will fall.
Alternative Minimum Tax. The Fund may invest up to 20% of its total assets in securities subject to the federal alternative minimum tax. Since some investors may have to pay tax on a Fund distribution of this income, the Fund may not be a suitable investment for them.
State-Specific Risks. The Fund is more susceptible to political, economic, regulatory or other factors affecting issuers of California municipal securities than a fund that does not limit its investments to such issuers.
High Yield Bond (Junk Bond) Risk. Junk bonds involve a greater risk of default or price changes due to changes in the credit quality of the issuer. The values of junk bonds fluctuate more than those of high-quality bonds in response to company, political, regulatory or economic developments. Values of junk bonds can decline significantly over short periods of time.
Municipal Securities Risk. Under normal market conditions, the Fund invests primarily in municipal securities. The yields of municipal securities may move differently and adversely compared to the yields of the overall debt securities markets. There could be changes in applicable tax laws or tax treatments that adversely affect the current federal or state tax status of municipal securities.
Synthetic Securities Risk. Fluctuations in the values of synthetic securities may not correlate perfectly with the instruments they are designed to replicate. Synthetic securities may be subject to interest rate changes, market price fluctuations, counterparty risk and liquidity risk.