First Trust Advisors L.P. (“FTA”) announced today that shareholders of First Trust Horizon Managed Volatility Small/Mid ETF (NYSE Arca: HSMV), a series of First Trust Exchange-Traded Fund III (the “Trust”), voted to approve a new investment sub-advisory agreement with Horizon Investments, LLC (“Horizon”). FTA also announced today that the special shareholder meeting for First Trust Horizon Managed Volatility Domestic ETF (NYSE Arca: HUSV) and First Trust Horizon Managed Volatility Developed International ETF (NYSE Arca: HDMV), both series of the Trust, has been adjourned in order to allow shareholders additional time to vote to approve a new Investment Sub-Advisory Agreement for each of HUSV and HDMV and to permit additional solicitation of shareholders. The special shareholder meeting for HUSV and HDMV will reconvene on Tuesday, January 11, 2022 at 12:00 p.m. Central time at the offices of FTA at 120 East Liberty Drive, Suite 400 in Wheaton, Illinois. Each of HSMV, HUSV and HDMV is referred to as a “Fund” and, collectively the “Funds”.
ACP Horizon Holdings, L.P., an entity affiliated with Altamont Capital Partners, a private investment firm located in Palo Alto, California, acquired a majority ownership interest in Horizon (the “Transaction”), which closed in November 2021 (the “Closing”). The Closing operated as an “assignment” (as defined in the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended) of each Fund’s applicable existing investment sub-advisory agreement with Horizon (each a “Current Sub-Advisory Agreement” and collectively, the “Current Sub-Advisory Agreements”), which resulted in the automatic termination of the Current Sub-Advisory Agreements in accordance with their respective terms. The Board previously approved a new investment sub-advisory agreement (the “New Sub-Advisory Agreement”) among the Trust, on behalf of each Fund, FTA and Horizon. There can be no assurance that the shareholders of HUSV and HDMV will vote to approve the New Sub-Advisory Agreement for their Fund. In addition, to avoid any interruption of investment sub-advisory services for a Fund, the Board approved interim investment sub-advisory agreements with Horizon which were effective upon the Closing and will remain in effect for a maximum period of 150 days.
As the investment sub-advisor to the Funds, Horizon is responsible for the selection and ongoing monitoring of the securities in each Fund’s investment portfolio. The Transaction did not impact the day-to-day operations of the Funds, and the portfolio managers of each Fund remain the same. Horizon was formed in 1995 and serves as investment advisor to investment portfolios with approximately $6.96 billion in assets which it managed as of September 30, 2021. Horizon provides investment advisory services to mutual funds, collective investment trusts, other investment advisory accounts, including separately managed accounts (SMAs), unified managed accounts (UMAs) and wrap platforms and ERISA and other retirement plan assets.
FTA is a federally registered investment advisor and serves as each Fund’s investment advisor. FTA and its affiliate, First Trust Portfolios L.P. (“FTP”), a FINRA registered broker-dealer, are privately-held companies that provide a variety of investment services. FTA has collective assets under management or supervision of approximately $216 billion as of November 30, 2021 through unit investment trusts, exchange-traded funds, closed-end funds, mutual funds and SMAs. FTA is the supervisor of the First Trust unit investment trusts, while FTP is the sponsor. FTP is also a distributor of mutual fund shares and exchange-traded fund creation units. FTA and FTP are based in Wheaton, Illinois.
This press release contains certain forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. Forward-looking statements include statements regarding the goals, beliefs, plans or current expectations of FTA and/or Horizon and their respective representatives, taking into account the information currently available to them. Forward-looking statements include all statements that do not relate solely to current or historical fact. For example, forward-looking statements include the use of words such as “anticipate,” “estimate,” “intend,” “expect,” “believe,” “plan,” “may,” “should,” “would,” “will” or other words that convey uncertainty of future events or outcomes. Forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause the actual results, performance or achievements of a Fund to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements. When evaluating the information included in this press release, you are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which reflect the judgment of FTA and/or Horizon and their respective representatives only as of the date hereof. No obligation will be undertaken to publicly revise or update these forward-looking statements to reflect events and circumstances that arise after the date hereof.
In connection with the solicitation of proxies to approve the New Sub-Advisory Agreement, the Trust filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) a joint proxy statement on behalf of the Funds. Because the joint proxy statement contains important information, and each Fund’s shareholders are urged to read the joint proxy statement and accompanying materials carefully. Each Fund’s shareholders may also obtain copies of these documents by calling FTA toll-free at 800-621-1675. The joint proxy statement also is available free of charge at the SEC’s website, www.sec.gov. This press release does not constitute an offer to sell, nor a solicitation of an offer to buy, shares of any Fund, nor is it a solicitation of any proxy. The Trust, the Funds, FTA, Horizon and certain of their respective directors/trustees, officers and affiliates may be deemed under the rules of the SEC to be participants in the solicitation of proxies from shareholders in connection with the matters described above. Information about the trustees and officers of the Trust may be found in the Funds’ annual reports previously filed with the SEC.
Each Fund’s daily closing price and net asset value per share as well as other information can be found at www.ftportfolios.com.
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