The Fund seeks to track the performance of a broad, market-weighted bond index.
Principal Investment Strategies
The Fund employs an indexing investment approach designed to track the performance of the Bloomberg Barclays U.S. Aggregate Float Adjusted Index. This Index represents a wide spectrum of public, investment-grade, taxable, fixed income securities in the United States – including government, corporate, and international dollar-denominated bonds, as well as mortgage-backed and asset-backed securities – all with maturities of more than 1 year.
The Fund invests by sampling the Index, meaning that it holds a broadly diversified collection of securities that, in the aggregate, approximates the full Index in terms of key risk factors and other characteristics. All of the Fund’s investments will be selected through the sampling process, and at least 80% of the Fund’s assets will be invested in bonds held in the Index. The Fund maintains a dollar-weighted average maturity consistent with that of the Index, which generally ranges between 5 and 10 years.
An investment in the Fund could lose money over short or even long periods. You should expect the Fund's share price and total return to fluctuate within a wide range, like the fluctuations of the overall bond market. The Fund is subject to the following risks, which could affect the Fund's performance:
- Interest rate risk, which is the chance that bond prices will decline because of rising interest rates. Interest rate risk should be moderate for the Fund because it invests primarily in short- and intermediate-term bonds, whose prices are less sensitive to interest rate changes than are the prices of long-term bonds.
- Income risk, which is the chance that the Fund's income will decline because of falling interest rates. Income risk is generally high for short-term bond funds and moderate for intermediate-term bond funds, so investors should expect the Fund’s monthly income to fluctuate accordingly.
- Call risk, which is the chance that during periods of falling interest rates, issuers of callable bonds may call (redeem) securities with higher coupon rates or interest rates before their maturity dates. The Fund would then lose any price appreciation above the bond’s call price and would be forced to reinvest the unanticipated proceeds at lower interest rates, resulting in a decline in the Fund's income. Call risk should be moderate for the Fund because it invests only a portion of its assets in callable bonds.
- Prepayment risk, which is the chance that during periods of falling interest rates, homeowners will refinance their mortgages before their maturity dates, resulting in prepayment of mortgage-backed securities held by the Fund. The Fund would then lose any price appreciation above the mortgage’s principal and would be forced to reinvest the unanticipated proceeds at lower interest rates, resulting in a decline in the Fund’s income. Prepayment risk is moderate for the Fund.
- Extension risk, which is the chance that during periods of rising interest rates, certain debt obligations will be paid off substantially more slowly than originally anticipated, and the value of those securities may fall. For funds that invest in mortgage-backed securities, extension risk is the chance that during periods of rising interest rates, homeowners will prepay their mortgages at slower rates. Extension risk is generally moderate for intermediate-term bond funds.
- Credit risk, which is the chance that a bond issuer will fail to pay interest or principal in a timely manner or that negative perceptions of the issuer's ability to make such payments will cause the price of that bond to decline. Credit risk should be low for the Fund because it purchases only bonds that are of investment-grade quality.
- Index sampling risk, which is the chance that the securities selected for the Fund, in the aggregate, will not provide investment performance matching that of the Fund's target index. Index sampling risk for the Fund should be low.
- Liquidity risk, which is the chance that the Fund may not be able to sell a security in a timely manner at a desired price.
An investment in the Fund is not a deposit of a bank and is not insured or guaranteed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation or any other government agency.