Risks of Certain Investments for Private Bank and J.P. Morgan Securities
The types of investments below involve special risks that should be evaluated carefully before a decision is made to invest. Not all of the risks and other significant aspects of these investments are discussed here. Investors must also consider the objectives, risks, charges, and expenses associated with the investment product or strategy prior to making an investment decision. Investors are advised to consult with their own legal, tax, financial and accounting advisors to the extent deemed necessary and are expected to rely upon their own evaluation of information they receive when making investment decisions.
1. Over-the-Counter Derivatives
Most Over-the-Counter (“OTC”) Derivatives are contracts that take one of four basic forms, although the forms can be overlapping and one transaction can involve elements of all four forms. These basic forms are (1) swaps, (2) options, (3) forwards and (4) hybrid instruments (which are debt obligations or other securities with embedded swaps, options or forwards). OTC Derivatives may be structured to be settled in a variety of ways, including in cash or by physical delivery of property against cash. No matter what form is involved, a common feature of OTC Derivatives is that the obligations of one or both of the parties are based on the value or market price of one or more underlying financial or commodity markets, to which the transaction is linked. Investors should not enter into an OTC Derivative unless an investor understands, at a minimum:
- The fundamentals of the market underlying such OTC Derivative;
- The legal terms and conditions of the documentation for such OTC Derivative;
- The extent of the economic risk to which the investor is exposed as a result of such OTC Derivative;
- The tax treatment of such OTC Derivative; and
- The regulatory treatment of such OTC Derivative.
Investor’s must determine that such investment and its risk are suitable in the light of their financial circumstances and objectives.
The following points should be considered in deciding whether to enter into a particular OTC Derivative:
- Market Risk. To the extent the obligations or rights in respect of an OTC Derivative are linked to prices or values in a particular market, the investor will be exposed to a risk of loss as a result of price or value movements in that market.
- Credit Risk. JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. or one of its affiliates (a “Morgan Affiliate,” and together with JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A., “JPMCB”) will generally be the counterparty in an OTC Derivative arranged by any Morgan Affiliate, including J.P. Morgan Securities LLC (“JPMS”). Investor’s therefore will be dependent upon the financial capacity of JPMCB to meet its obligations under each OTC Derivative contract prior to settlement, and may be unsecured with respect to those obligations of JPMCB (as opposed to being a creditor of a central clearing corporation as may generally be the case with exchange traded futures and options). An OTC Derivative with JPMCB as counterparty will not represent a deposit or savings account, and the investor’s claim against JPMCB will not be insured by the FDIC or any other government entity.
- Non-Transferability and Non-Marketability. OTC Derivatives will not be registered under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “Securities Act”), or under the securities laws of any state or other country unless otherwise specified in writing. OTC Derivatives will ordinarily be sold and offered in a transaction that is intended to be exempt from registration under the Securities Act by virtue of Section 4(2) of the Securities Act and/or Regulation D thereunder. There will be no public market for OTC Derivatives. In this regard, investor’s will be required to represent that OTC Derivatives, or any securities underlying the OTC Derivatives, are being acquired for investment purposes only and not with a view to resale or distribution. OTC Derivatives generally cannot be assigned or transferred by a party without the prior written consent of the other party. JPMCB may, but is not obligated to, consent to the early termination of an OTC Derivative prior to its scheduled maturity at a negotiated price. It therefore may be impossible for the investor to liquidate a position in an OTC Derivative prior to maturity. Because OTC Derivatives are not standardized, engaging in another OTC Derivative transaction to offset an OTC Derivative the investor has entered into with JPMCB will not automatically close out those positions (as may be true in the case of exchange traded futures and options) and will not necessarily function as an effective hedge. Investor’s will continue to be obligated with respect to an OTC Derivative until it matures or is otherwise terminated.
- Option Risk. Option transactions can be very risky. The risk of selling (writing) options is considerably greater than the risk involved in buying options. If an investor buys an option, the investor cannot lose more than the premium. If an investor sells (writes) an option, the risk can be unlimited. Fluctuations in currency exchange rates may affect the value of any OTC Option on securities trading in or denominated in a foreign currency, as well as the value of any payment or delivery of securities in connection with such OTC Option. Fluctuations in currency exchange rates may affect the value of any payment or delivery of securities in connection with such OTC Option.
- Leverage Risk. Certain derivatives can be structured to allow for significant leverage. The use of leverage may have the effect of magnifying an investor’s losses or gains and causing an investor to be highly exposed to risk with very little capital or cash investment. As a result, a relatively small, unexpected change in the notional amount of an investor’s position could have a much larger adverse impact on the principal amount invested.
- Collateral. Collateral may be required to support an investor’s obligations under OTC Derivatives. Additional collateral may be required after the investor has entered into an OTC Derivative. JPMCB and JPMS will not provide the collateral for any OTC Derivative transaction.
Investors should not rely upon J.P. Morgan for an understanding of the risks, terms and conditions of OTC Derivatives, and investor’s must review carefully the documentation for any OTC Derivative with a personal attorney or other adviser. J.P. Morgan will assume that when an investor enters into OTC Derivatives, the investor understands the characteristics and risk associated with such transactions.
2. Special Statement for Uncovered Option Writers
There are special risks associated with uncovered option writing which expose the investor to potentially significant loss. Therefore, this type of strategy may not be suitable for all customers approved for options transactions.
- The potential loss of uncovered call writing is unlimited. The writer of an uncovered call is in an extremely risky position, and may incur large losses if the value of the underlying instrument increases above the exercise price.
- As with writing uncovered calls, the risk of writing uncovered put options is substantial. The writer of an uncovered put option bears a risk of loss if the value of the underlying instrument declines below the exercise price. Such loss could be substantial if there is a significant decline in the value of the underlying instrument.
- Uncovered option writing is thus suitable only for the knowledgeable investor who understands the risks, has the financial capacity and willingness to incur potentially substantial losses, and has sufficient liquid assets to meet applicable margin requirements. In this regard, if the value of the underlying instrument moves against an uncovered writer’s options position, the investor’s broker may request significant additional margin payments. If an investor does not make such margin payments, the broker may liquidate stock or options positions in the investor’s account, with little or no prior notice in accordance with the investor’s margin agreement.
- For combination writing, where the investor writes both a put and a call on the same underlying instrument, the potential risk is unlimited.
- If a secondary market in options were to become unavailable, investors could not engage in closing transactions, and an option writer would remain obligated until expiration or assignment.
- The writer of an American-style option is subject to being assigned an exercise at any time after he has written the option until the option expires.
By contrast, the writer of a European-style option is subject to exercise assignment only during the exercise period.
NOTE: It is expected that you will read the booklet entitled CHARACTERISTICS AND RISKS OF STANDARDIZED OPTIONS available from your broker. In particular, your attention is directed to the chapter entitled “Risks of Buying and Writing Options.” This statement is not intended to enumerate all of the risks entailed in writing uncovered options.
3. Emerging Markets
Emerging markets securities and transactions involving emerging markets securities are subject to substantial risk arising from a number of factors including, but not limited to: (1) economic and political instability in the regions where emerging markets issuers conduct business, (2) significant volatility in the markets for emerging markets securities and the currencies in which they may be denominated and (3) the potential for loss of an investor’s entire investment as a result of insolvency, market or government action, or other similar factors which could render the securities valueless.
Generally less information is publicly available with respect to emerging markets issuers and obligors than is available with respect to United States companies. Many emerging markets companies are not subject to the uniform accounting and financial reporting requirements applicable to issuers and obligors in the United States; additionally, accounting, auditing, financial and other reporting standards in emerging markets jurisdictions are often not equivalent to the standards established in the United States and therefore disclosure of certain material information may not be made.
There may exist only small markets for certain emerging markets securities, resulting in low or non-existent volumes of trading in such assets, and therefore a lack of liquidity and price volatility of such assets. Settlement periods for transactions of emerging markets securities may also be longer than settlement times for assets of United States issuers, and settlement systems may be unreliable.
This may also affect the liquidity and price volatility of emerging markets securities. The risks are significantly more pronounced in derivative instruments (options, swaps, futures, etc.) on emerging markets securities.
4. Non-Traditional Investment Strategies
Non-traditional, or alternative, investment strategies include investments in hedge funds, private equity funds, real estate funds, and funds comprised of such funds. Such funds are sometimes referred to as private investments because they are typically organized pursuant to exemptions from registration under federal securities laws and therefore are not offered to the general public. They are appropriate for certain qualified investors only. Such funds: (1) often engage in leveraging and other speculative investment practices that may increase the risk of the complete loss of the investment; (2) can be highly illiquid because of the absence of any trading market and restrictions on resale as a result of regulatory or contractual provisions; (3) are not required to provide periodic pricing or valuation information to investors; (4) may involve complex tax structures and delays in distributing important tax information; (5) are not subject to the same regulatory requirements as mutual funds; (6) often charge high fees; (7) may be exposed significantly to foreign currency and investment risk; and (8) may experience high return volatility. In addition, any number of conflicts of interest may exist in connection with the sale, distribution, management or operation of such funds.
Although interests in private investment funds sometimes may be resold in privately negotiated transactions, the prices realized on these sales could be less than the original investment. It is a condition of many fund investments offered through J.P. Morgan that investor’s maintain an investment management, trust, or custody/asset account at JPMCB or one of its affiliates for so long as the investor owns the investment. Private funds are offered only by confidential private placement memorandum or similar document (the “PPM”). The PPM provides important detailed information regarding fees, merits, risks, investment objectives, and other matters of interest, and must be read carefully before a decision is made on whether to invest. However, generally no PPM will be delivered to investor’s for whom JPMCB exercises investment discretion. JPMCB will provide a copy of the PPM to a discretionary client upon request.
Morgan Affiliates may provide advisory, management, administrative or other services to issuers of interests in these funds, and may be compensated separately for such functions. Morgan Affiliates may also be the issuer of interests in such funds. JPMS or other Morgan Affiliates act as placement agent for such interests and will earn fees from the fund sponsors or the funds for providing placement or other ongoing services to the fund, or both. The fees earned are a percentage of the fund’s management fees and, in some instances, a percentage of the fund’s performance fees. The fees earned by JPMS or another Morgan Affiliate are in addition to fees the Client pays in connection with purchasing an interest or in connection with the Client’s investment management, brokerage or custody account.
Investments in private funds entail the execution and delivery of a subscription agreement. If JPMCB is investing on behalf of a discretionary Client, JPMCB will complete and execute the subscription agreement on the Client’s behalf. The subscription agreement will require JPMCB to make certain representations and warranties relating to the Client. Such representations and warranties relate to, but are not limited to, the ’s status as an “accredited investor,” a “qualified purchaser,” a “qualified eligible person,” or “U.S. person” within the meaning of applicable securities laws; whether the Client or the Client’s account is subject to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (“ERISA”); organizational data if the Client is an entity; whether the Client is a regulated institution that is subject to legal or regulatory restrictions or limitations on the nature of its investments (such as a bank or an insurance company); whether the Client is restricted by rules of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority from participating in initial public offerings by reason of the Client’s association with any broker, dealer, bank or other securities business; and whether the Client falls into a category of person whose ability to do business with a financial institution is limited by laws intended to prevent money laundering and terrorist financing. JPMCB will rely on information provided to it by the Client in making all representations and warranties contained in a subscription agreement and may be liable to a fund if any such representation or warranty is untrue. In the event of such liability, the Client will be required to indemnify JPMCB and its affiliates for all loss and damage, including attorneys’ fees. Clients who invest in private funds through their self-directed brokerage accounts at JPMS will sign subscription agreements containing the same representations and warranties.
5. Complementary/Structured Strategies
Structured strategies are securities in which swaps, options, futures, forwards or other combinations or types of derivatives are embedded. Their returns typically are linked to the performance of one or more underlying U.S. or international securities, indices, rates, currencies, or commodities (please see Section 11 below for a discussion of the special risks of investing in commodities and Section 12 below for a discussion of the special risks of investing in currencies), and may incorporate leverage.
Investments in structured strategies may not be suitable for all investors. These types of investments entail varying degrees of risk, and while some structured strategies offer full or partial principal protection, others can subject investor’s to the loss of the full amount invested. Structured strategies offered by J.P. Morgan (referred to herein as “Structures”) may be structured using unsecured and unsubordinated debt obligations of JPMorgan Chase & Co. or its affiliates (“JPM”) or various non-Morgan affiliate issuers, and may also take the form of deposits (which may or may not be insured or guaranteed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation or any other government authority), equity or partnership interests, certificates, warrants or interests in special purpose vehicles. Investor’s therefore will be dependent upon the issuer’s financial capacity to meet its obligations under a Structure. Structures may or may not be registered under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “Securities Act”), or under the securities laws of any state or other country and if not registered, will be sold and offered in a transaction that is intended to be exempt from registration under the Securities Act. Structures may or may not be publicly listed or traded on an exchange and therefore may be illiquid investments. Prior to maturity Structures issued by JPM may be repurchased by JPM only and only upon terms and conditions acceptable to it, and in most cases the Structures are not- transferable and are nonnegotiable.
In the event that JPM consents to early liquidation, the Investor will likely not fully participate in any benefits of the Structure, such as principal protection, buffers, or enhanced returns. Structures will be offered by prospectus, term sheet or offering memorandum (collectively, an “offering document”), and the offering document will provide more detailed information regarding the Structures. The applicable offering document must be read carefully before a decision is made to invest. However, generally no offering document will be delivered to an Investor for whom J.P. Morgan exercises investment discretion.
The issue price of a Structure will reflect the costs associated with issuing, selling, structuring and hedging a Structure and will include compensation to an issuer or its affiliate for structuring work involved in packaging a Structure as one instrument. Costs and compensation will vary with each Structure. A Structure may also include an annual fee embedded in an index or calculation, payable to the issuer or index sponsor (which may be JPMC or a non-Morgan affiliate issuer) for structuring or calculating a proprietary index or formula. In addition, the issue price of a Structure sold to a Client’s brokerage account will include a mark-up to compensate JPM for marketing and distributing the Structure. If a Structure has an early redemption feature and is redeemed prior to maturity, the compensation will not be prorated and limited to the period during which the Structure was outstanding and, in such event, the compensation will be higher.
The issuer or one of its affiliates, which may include JPM, also generally acts as calculation agent for Structures and determines the amount, if any, that will be paid to the investor’s at maturity. In performing its duties, the calculation agent may have interests adverse to the interest of the holders of the Structures, which may affect an investor’s return on a Structure, particularly where the calculation agent is entitled to exercise discretion.
If JPMCB invests in a Structure on behalf of an investor for whom it exercises investment discretion, JPMCB may be required to make certain representations and warranties relating to the investor. Such representations and warranties relate to, but are not limited to, the investor’s status as an “accredited investor” as defined by the Securities Act. JPMCB will rely on information provided to it by investors in making all required representations and warranties and may be liable to the issuer or the issuer’s placement agent if any such representation or warranty is untrue. In the event of such liability, investor’s will be required to indemnify JPMCB and its affiliates for all loss and damage, including attorneys’ fees.
6. Mutual Funds
Mutual funds are sold only by prospectus, and the prospectus contains important information regarding the fund’s investment objectives, merits, risks, charges, expenses and other matters of interest. Mutual funds may not be suitable for all investors and investors are advised to request the prospectus and read it carefully before deciding to invest.
However, no prospectus will be delivered to an investor prior to an investment if JPMCB is investing on behalf of the investor for whom it exercises investment discretion. JPMCB will provide a copy of the prospectus to discretionary clients upon request. Although most mutual funds available through J.P. Morgan will follow a traditional long-only investment strategy, some mutual funds may utilize investment strategies similar to those employed by private funds. Such funds may or may not have the liquidity of traditional mutual funds, provide periodic pricing or valuation information to investors, and are subject to the same regulatory requirements as traditional mutual funds, but they engage in leveraging and other speculative investment practices commonly used by hedge funds that may increase the risk of the complete loss of the investment. Such funds generally also charge higher fees than traditional mutual funds and have higher expenses. The use of leverage increases risk to a fund, and the more a fund invests in leveraged instruments, the more it could magnify gains or losses to those investments.
JPMCB, JPMS or their affiliates may provide administrative, custodial, sales, distribution or shareholder services to funds established, sponsored, advised, or managed by their affiliates as well as by third parties, and JPMCB, JPMS or their affiliates may be compensated for such services. Where J.P. Morgan chooses to contact investor’s about open-end mutual fund investment opportunities in a Brokerage Account, those opportunities are generally expected to be limited to open-end mutual funds established, sponsored, advised or managed by JPMCB, JPMS or their affiliates.
7. Municipal Bonds
Municipal bonds are offered by an official statement and may not be suitable for all investors. Investors should consult with an independent tax advisor regarding whether municipal bonds are appropriate for the investor’s particular situation.
JPMS or Morgan Affiliates may hold a position or act as market maker in the financial instruments of any issue the investor may invest in, or act as underwriter, placement agent, advisor, or lender to an issuer. If municipal bonds are sold prior to maturity, prices may be higher or lower than the original purchase price and actual yields may be higher or lower than the yields indicated at the time of an investor’s investment. Yield quotations and market values will thus fluctuate over time and in certain instances interest from some municipal bonds will be subject to the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT).
8. Real Estate
Real estate investments are likely to be risky, illiquid and long- term. Real estate ownership and the real estate industry in general are subject to many risks, including the burdens of ownership of real property; local, national and international economic conditions; supply and demand for properties; the financial condition of tenants, buyers and sellers; changes in interest rates and the availability of mortgage funds; changes in environmental laws and regulations, planning laws and other governmental rules and fiscal and monetary policies; claims arising out of undisclosed or unknown environmental problems or as to which inadequate reserves have been established; changes in real property tax rates; changes in energy prices; force majeure events; terrorist events; and underinsured or uninsurable losses. Real estate assets are subject to long term cycles that gives rise to significant volatility in values.
Illiquidity may result from the absence of an established market for the property. The possibility of partial or total loss of capital will exist and investors should not invest in real estate unless they can readily bear the consequences of such loss. Even if real estate investments are successful, they are unlikely to produce a realized return to the investors for a period of years.
Securities issued by real estate fund companies, including real estate investment trusts (“REITs”) are subject to the risks associated with the direct ownership of real estate as well as the risks associated with the fund company or REIT itself. Such companies carry the risks of possibly limited operating history, unspecified portfolios, uncertainties in calculating net asset value due to reliance upon appraisals, and restrictions on redemption arising out of the illiquidity of the underlying portfolio. REITs also carry the risk of the possible failure to qualify as a REIT under the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, which will have adverse tax consequences for investors.
9. Exchange Traded Funds and Index Mutual Funds
Exchange traded funds (ETFs) and index mutual funds are marketable securities that are interests in registered funds, and are designed to track, before fees and expenses, the performance or returns of a relevant basket of assets, usually an underlying index. Unlike mutual funds, an ETF trades like a common stock on a stock exchange. ETFs experience price changes throughout the day as they are bought and sold. ETFs typically have higher daily liquidity and lower fees than mutual fund shares. ETFs, including leveraged or inverse ETFs, may not be suitable for all investors.
Leveraged or inverse ETFs are highly complex financial instruments and, due to the effects of compounding, their performance over longer periods of time can differ significantly from their stated daily objective. Leveraged and inverse ETFs typically are designed to achieve their stated performance objectives on a daily basis. Some investors might invest in these ETFs with the expectation that the ETFs may meet their stated daily performance objectives over the long term as well. Investors should be aware that performance of these ETFs over a period longer than one day can differ significantly from their stated daily performance objectives. Leveraged and inverse ETFs may pursue a range of investment strategies through the use of swaps, futures contracts and other derivative instruments, and are inherently more volatile than their underlying benchmark or index. Additionally, leveraged ETFs positions will be subject to applicable maintenance margin requirements, which may be greater or differ from margin requirements on their non-leveraged counterparts.
Exchange traded funds are sold by prospectus. The prospectus contains important information regarding the investment objectives of the ETF, its merits, risks, charges, expenses and other matters of interest, and must be read carefully before a decision is made to invest. However, no prospectus will be delivered to an investor prior to an investment if JPMCB makes the investment on the investor’s behalf pursuant to a discretionary portfolio mandate. JPMCB will provide a copy of the prospectus to a discretionary client upon request.
ETFs and index mutual funds do not fully replicate their underlying indices and may hold securities different from those included in their underlying indices. Physical replication and synthetic replication are two of the most common structures used in the construction of ETFs and index mutual funds. Physically replicated ETFs and index mutual funds buy all or a representative portion of the underlying securities in the index that they track. In contrast, some ETFs and index mutual funds do not purchase the underlying assets, but gain exposure to them by use of swaps or other derivative instruments.
In addition to the general risks of investing in funds, there are specific risks to consider with respect to an investment in these passive investment vehicles. ETF and index mutual fund performance may differ from the performance of the applicable index for a variety of reasons. For example, ETFs and index mutual funds incur operating expenses and portfolio transaction costs not incurred by the benchmark index, may not be fully invested in the securities of their indices at all times, or may hold securities not included in their indices. In addition, corporate actions with respect to the equity securities underlying ETFs and index mutual funds (such as mergers and spin-offs) may impact the variance between the performances of the funds and applicable indices. Passive investing differs from active investing in that managers are not seeking to outperform their benchmark. As a result, managers may hold securities that are components of their underlying index, regardless of the current or projected performance of the specific security or market sector. Passive managers do not attempt to take defensive positions based upon market conditions, including declining markets. This approach could cause a passive vehicle’s performance to be lower than if it employed an active strategy.
With respect to ETFs, shares are bought and sold in the secondary market at market prices. Although ETFs are required to calculate their net asset values (NAV) on a daily basis, at times the market price of an ETF’s shares may be more than the NAV (trading at a premium) or less than the NAV (trading at a discount). Given the differing nature of the relevant secondary markets for ETFs, certain ETFs may trade at a larger premium or discount to NAV than shares of other ETFs depending on the markets where such ETFs are traded. The risk of deviation from NAV for ETFs generally is heightened in times of market volatility or periods of steep market declines. For example, during periods of market volatility, securities underlying ETFs may be unavailable in the secondary market, market participants may be unable to calculate accurately the NAV per share of such ETFs, and the liquidity of such ETFs may be adversely affected. This kind of market volatility may also disrupt the ability of market participants to create and redeem shares in ETFs. Further, market volatility may adversely affect, sometimes materially, the prices at which market participants are willing to buy and sell shares of ETFs. As a result, under these circumstances, the market value of shares of an ETF may vary substantially from the NAV per share of such ETF, and investor’s may incur significant losses from the sale of its ETF shares. In addition, for all of the foregoing reasons, the performance of any ETF may not correlate with the performance of its underlying index as well as the NAV per share of such ETF.
Trading in the shares of one or more ETFs may be halted due to market conditions or for reasons that, in the view of the exchange on which such shares are traded, make trading in such shares inadvisable. In addition, trading in the shares of ETFs may be subject to trading halts caused by extraordinary market volatility pursuant to the relevant exchange’s “circuit breaker” rules. If a trading halt or unanticipated early closing of an exchange occurs, it may not be possible to purchase or sell shares of an ETF. There can be no assurance that the requirements of an exchange necessary to maintain the listing of an ETF will continue to be met or will remain unchanged. While shares of ETFs are generally listed on an exchange, there can be no assurance that active trading markets for the shares of any ETF will be maintained.
10. High Yield Fixed Income Securities
High yield fixed income securities come in many forms. Common ones are high yield bonds, asset-backed securities, mortgage-backed securities, mezzanine securities, and collateralized bond obligations (“CBOs”). High yield bonds (sometimes known as “junk” bonds) are non- investment grade bonds of varying maturities. They generally will be in the lower rating categories of the major rating agencies or may be unrated. High yield bonds typically pay more interest than other bonds because they involve a greater risk that the issuer will default in the timely payment of interest and principal. Issuers of high yield bonds may have a lot of debt. During an economic downturn, a period of rising interest rates or a recession, high yield issuers with a lot of debt may experience financial problems leading to a default, and high yield bonds tend to fall in price during such periods. They also may have other creditors with the right to be paid before the high yield bond holder. High yield bonds fluctuate more widely in price and yield than investment grade bonds and are not as liquid.
Asset-backed securities are bonds backed by a pool of assets, usually loans such as installment sale contracts or credit card receivables. The loans underlying asset-backed securities may be unsecured, with no collateral to seize if the underlying borrower defaults. Asset-backed securities may be prepaid at any time, which will reduce their yield and market value. When interest rates fall, prepayment rates rise as borrowers pay off existing debt and refinance at new lower rates. As a result, reinvestment of the prepayment proceeds generally will be at a lower rate of return than the return on the assets that were prepaid. Mortgage-backed securities are subject to the same risks as asset-backed securities except that the underlying loans generally will be secured by real property.
Mezzanine investments are subordinated debt securities which receive payments of interest and principal after more senior secured creditors are paid. They generally are issued in private placements in connection with an investment in an equity security. They carry the risk that the issuer will default on payment of interest and principal and that the equity securities purchased with the proceeds of mezzanine investments will lose value. CBOs are securities backed by a diversified pool of high yield securities and are subject to the same risks as the high yield securities in the pool.
(a) In General, Commodities include hard assets, such as agricultural products, metals, or petroleum as well as securities futures based on common stock, certain exchange traded funds and American Depositary Receipts, and securities indices.
Commodity futures contracts can be used for speculation, hedging, and risk management. Commodity futures contracts are not appropriate investments for all investors. When they are used for speculation, it is possible to realize substantial profits in a short period of time, but it is also possible to incur substantial losses in a short period of time. Such losses may be larger than the initial commitment of capital because futures trading is highly leveraged. Because of the leverage involved and the nature of futures contract transactions, losses may be felt immediately because gains and losses are credited or debited to the investor’s account, at a minimum, on a daily basis. The purchase or sale of a futures contract requires the investor to make an initial deposit of money, known as margin. Margin, in the context of futures trading, is different than the margin involved in the purchase of stocks. The purchase of stocks on margin involves a cash down payment and credit extended by the broker for the purchase. The margin required to buy or sell a futures contract is a deposit of money that can be drawn on by the broker to cover any daily losses. If movements in the markets for futures contracts or the underlying commodity decrease the value of the investor’s positions in futures contracts, the investor may be required to deposit additional funds in his or her account as margin. If an account is under the minimum margin requirements set by the exchange or the investor’s broker, the position may be liquidated at a loss, and the investor will be liable for any deficit in the account. Minimum margin requirements for a particular futures contract at a particular time are set by the exchange on which the contract is traded and are subject to modification based on market conditions. An increase in market volatility and the range of daily price movements is frequently a reason for raising margins.
Futures contracts cannot be sold like stocks or bonds. They generally must be liquidated by the investor entering into an equivalent but opposite position in another contract month, on another market, or in the underlying commodity. If a position in a futures contract cannot be liquidated, the investor may not be able to realize a gain in the value of the position or prevent losses from mounting. An inability to liquidate could occur, for example, if trading is halted due to unusual trading activity in either the futures contract or the underlying commodity; if trading is halted due to recent news events involving the issuer of the underlying commodity; if systems failures occur on an exchange or at the investor’s broker; or if the position is on an illiquid market. An exchange may set a maximum daily limit on market price increases and decreases, and will halt trading when the limit is reached.
In the event prices have risen or fallen by the maximum daily limit, and there is no trading in the contract permitted (known as a “lock limit” market), it may not be possible to execute an order at any price. Markets may be lock limit for more than one day, resulting in substantial losses to futures investors who may find it impossible to liquidate losing futures positions.
Even if the investor can liquidate the position, it may be at a price that involves a large loss. For the same reasons, it may also be difficult or impossible to manage risk from open futures positions by entering into offsetting positions.
An alternative method of participating in futures trading is through a commodity pool, which is a pooled investment vehicle that invests in commodities (and, typically, securities as well). A commodity pool participant will not have an individual trading account. Instead, the funds of all pool participants are combined and traded as a single account. Each investor shares in the profits or losses of the pool in proportion to his or her investment in the pool. Although commodity pools can offer benefits such as greater diversification among commodities than an investor might obtain in an individual trading account, the absence of margin calls, and a limitation on losses to the amount invested, the risks a pool incurs in any given futures transaction are no different than the risks incurred by an individual trader.
The pool still trades in futures contracts which are highly leveraged and in markets that can be highly volatile. And like an individual trader, the pool can suffer substantial losses as well as realize substantial profits.
(b) Securities Futures
Trading in security futures contracts requires knowledge of both the securities and the futures markets. Under certain market conditions, the prices of security futures contracts may not maintain their customary or anticipated relationships to the prices of the underlying security or index. These pricing disparities could occur, for example, when the market for the security futures contract is illiquid, when the primary market for the underlying security is closed, or when the reporting of transactions in the underlying security has been delayed. For index products, it could also occur when trading is delayed or halted in some or all of the securities that make up the index. The investor may be required to settle certain security futures contracts with physical delivery of the underlying security. If a position in a physically settled security futures contract is held until the end of the last trading day prior to expiration, the investor will be obligated to make or take delivery of the underlying securities, which could involve additional costs.
The actual settlement terms may vary from contract to contract and exchange to exchange.
Although security futures contracts share some characteristics with options on securities (options contracts), these products are also different in a number of ways.
The purchaser of an options contract has the right, but not the obligation, to buy or sell a security prior to the expiration date. The seller of an options contract has the obligation to buy or sell a security prior to the expiration date. By contrast, if an investor has a position in a security futures contract (either long or short), the investor has both the right and the obligation to buy or sell a security at a future date. The only way to avoid the obligation incurred by the security futures contract is to liquidate the position with an offsetting contract.
A person purchasing an options contract runs the risk of losing the purchase price (premium) for the option contract. Because it is a wasting asset, the purchaser of an options contract who neither liquidates the options contract in the secondary market nor exercises it at or prior to expiration will necessarily lose his or her entire investment in the options contract. However, a purchaser of an options contract cannot lose more than the amount of the premium. Conversely, the seller of an options contract receives the premium and assumes the risk that he or she will be required to buy or sell the underlying security on or prior to the expiration date, in which event his or her losses may exceed the amount of the premium received. Although the seller of an options contract is required to deposit margin to reflect the risk of its obligation, he or she may lose many times his or her initial margin deposit. By contrast, the purchaser and seller of a security futures contract each enter into an agreement to buy or sell a specific quantity of shares in the underlying security.
Based upon the movement in prices of the underlying security, a person who holds a position in a security futures contract can gain or lose many times his or her initial margin deposit. In this respect, the benefits of a security futures contract are similar to the benefits of purchasing an option, while the risks of entering into a security futures contract are similar to the risks of selling an option.
12. Currencies and Foreign Exchange
Foreign currencies or baskets of currencies may be very volatile and may experience significant drops in value over a short period of time. The value of a foreign currency will depend, among other economic indicators, on movements in exchange rates. Risks and special considerations with respect to foreign currencies include, but are not limited to, economic uncertainties, currency devaluations, political and social uncertainties, exchange control regulations, high rates of interest, a history of government and private sector defaults, significant government influence on the economy, less rigorous regulatory and accounting standards than in the United States, relatively less developed financial and other systems and limited liquidity and higher price volatility of the related securities markets.
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“J.P. Morgan Securities” is a marketing name for a wealth management business conducted by JPMorgan Chase & Co. and certain subsidiaries.
Securities are offered by J.P. Morgan Securities LLC, member FINRA and SIPC. J.P. Morgan Securities LLC is an affiliate of JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A.
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