Fund Facts  

Inception Date: Apr 5, 1999
As of Sep 30, 2016
Fund Net Assets ($millions) $10,932

Documents for Fund or Underlying Fund(s)  

Description

Objective  

The PLUS Fund’s investment objective is to seek to offer a competitive level of income consistent with providing capital preservation and meeting liquidity needs. Key goals are to seek to preserve capital, by limiting the risk of loss of principal and delivering stable returns, and to meet the liquidity needs of those who invest in the PLUS Fund.

Principal Investment Strategies  

The PLUS Fund invests in certain stable value investment contracts, described below, to seek to achieve, over the long run, returns higher than those of money market funds and short-term bank rates and relatively stable returns compared to short-to-intermediate term fixed income funds. The PLUS Fund generally will not track shorter-term interest rates as closely as money market mutual funds, due to its longer maturity, potential adverse market changes, and provisions in stable value contracts held by the PLUS Fund. In addition, while the PLUS Fund’s returns are generally expected to follow interest rate trends over time, they typically would do so on a lagged basis.

Investment Strategies — ICMA-RC employs a structured, multi-product, multi-manager approach in managing the PLUS Fund. The PLUS Fund invests primarily in a diversified and tiered portfolio of stable value investment contracts and in fixed income securities, fixed income mutual funds, and fixed income commingled trust funds (“fixed income assets”) that back certain stable value investment contracts. In addition, the PLUS Fund invests in cash and cash equivalents, including, short-term investment funds and money market mutual funds. The PLUS Fund’s portfolio may include different types of investments with a variety of negotiated terms and maturities and is diversified across sectors and issuers. The composition of the PLUS Fund’s portfolio and its allocations to various stable value investments and fixed income investment sectors, across the fund’s multiple tiers, is determined based on prevailing economic and capital market conditions, relative value analysis, liquidity needs, and other factors.

The PLUS Fund primarily invests in stable value investment contracts that allow Plan participants who invest in the PLUS Fund to make benefit withdrawals at book value, i.e., original book or contract value plus accrued interest, plus additional deposits less withdrawals, fees and expenses, and other adjustments.

The types of stable value investment contracts in which the PLUS Fund may invest are described below.

Traditional Guaranteed Investment Contracts (“GICs”) — contracts issued by insurance companies that guarantee (1) payments of interest at a fixed or floating rate and (2) repayments of principal. The amount invested by the PLUS Fund in each Traditional GIC becomes part of the insurance company’s general account assets, which are managed and invested as the insurance company deems appropriate. Payments of principal and interest under a GIC depend on the insurance company’s creditworthiness and ability to meet its obligations when they come due.

Separate Account GICs — contracts issued by insurance companies that are backed by fixed income assets held in a separate account at the insurance company that is held separate from the insurance company general account assets for the benefit of the PLUS Fund and any other contract holders in that separate account. The underlying fixed income assets are managed by either the insurance company, an affiliate of the insurance company, or a third-party manager.

Synthetic GICs — contracts issued by insurance companies, banks, or other financial institutions (a “Synthetic GIC issuer”) that are backed by fixed income assets owned by the PLUS Fund. The Synthetic GIC issuer contract, which provides for participant withdrawals at book value under certain conditions, is called a “wrap contract,” and the issuer may be referred to as a “wrap provider” or “wrapper.” The underlying fixed income assets are managed by fixed income managers hired or approved by ICMA-RC, additionally, certain fixed income assets are managed by ICMA-RC. Certain wrap providers require that they or an affiliate manage the portfolio that they wrap.

Bank Investment Contracts (“BICs”) — contracts that are similar but not identical to Traditional GICs and are issued by a bank as a benefit-responsive bank deposit.

Securities Lending — The PLUS Fund participates in a securities lending program under which its custodian is authorized to lend a limited amount of fixed income securities backing the Synthetic GICs. The fixed income securities that are on loan require cash or other forms of collateral at least equal to the market value of the securities loaned as provided for in a Securities Lending Agency Agreement with JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. The collateral received is reinvested into cash equivalents including money market funds. As with other extensions of credit, there are risks of delay in recovery of the securities on loan. In the event of default or insolvency of the borrower, the PLUS Fund will be indemnified by its custodian for the securities lending program conducted through the custodian if, at the time of a default by a borrower, some or all of the loaned securities have not been returned by the borrower.

Crediting Rate — Investors in the PLUS Fund receive a daily accrual to their accounts that seeks to approximate the PLUS Fund’s expected yield. The crediting rate is set monthly, at the end of the prior month, and seeks to approximate what the PLUS Fund’s actual earnings will be for the current month, increased or decreased to adjust for differences between actual and credited earnings in prior periods. This crediting rate is estimated taking into account current yields on the PLUS Fund’s holdings in GICs and money market funds and prior period performance of the securities underlying the Synthetic GICs held by the PLUS Fund. The PLUS Fund’s monthly crediting rate may not move in the same direction as prevailing interest rates over certain time periods.

The Trust Company reserves the right to change the PLUS Fund’s policies or fees at any time.

Principal Investment Risks  

Different risks are associated with the different types of stable value investment contracts in which the PLUS Fund invests. Generally, stable value investment contracts are illiquid and may not be assigned, transferred or sold to someone else without the permission of the issuing insurance company or bank. These contracts often include non-standard negotiated terms and do not trade in a secondary market.

Additional risks of investing in the PLUS Fund include, but are not limited to: failure of the issuers of GICs, BICs, Separate Account GICs, or Synthetic GICs to meet their obligations to the PLUS Fund; failure of ICMA-RC to meet its objectives or obligations, as investment adviser for the PLUS Fund; default or downgrade of the fixed income assets that back Separate Account GICs and Synthetic GICs; failure of the third-party fixed income managers of the portfolios underlying the Separate Account GICs and Synthetic GICs to meet their investment objectives or their obligations to the PLUS Fund; loss of value or failure to redeem shares or allow withdrawals on a timely basis by one or more of the commingled investment vehicles in which the PLUS Fund invests, which may include short-term investment funds or other mutual funds.

There is no guarantee that the Fund will achieve its investment objective. You may lose money by investing in the Fund. The Fund’s principal investment risks include: Interest Rate Risk, Credit Risk, Issuer Risk, Liquidity Risk, Reinvestment Risk, Call Risk, Mortgage-Backed Securities Risk, Asset-Backed Securities Risk, Securities Lending Risk, Derivative Instruments Risk. Please see the Risk Glossary for additional information about the Fund’s risks.

Please note that there are transfer restrictions that apply to the PLUS Fund.
Please refer to the “Trading Restrictions” tab.

 

Performance & Expenses

Standard Performance As of Sep 30, 2016
Fund/Benchmark Name QtrYTD1-Yr3-Yr5-Yr10-YrSince Inception
VT PLUS Funda,b1.74%1.70%1.70%1.78%2.01%2.97%N/A
BofA ML US 3-Mo. T-Bill Index (Annualized)0.38%0.32%0.27%0.11%0.10%0.92%N/A

Fund past performance, as shown, is no guarantee of how the Fund will perform in the future. The performance shown has been annualized for periods greater than one year. Investment returns and principal value will fluctuate, so that an investor's shares, when redeemed, may be worth more or less than their original cost. For current performance, visit www.icmarc.org.

Fund performance is shown comparing it to a "benchmark" which may be a (i) broad-based securities market index (ii) a group of mutual funds with similar investment objectives, or (iii) a short term government backed debt obligation such as a U.S. Treasury Bill. An index is not available for direct investment, is unmanaged, and does not reflect the costs of portfolio management or trading. A fund's portfolio may differ from the securities held in an index.

Total Expenses  (estimated)
Total Expenses   0.81%

 

a. VT PLUS Fund return is annualized for all periods.

b. ICMA-RC and your employer may negotiate a different fund management or service fee for your Plan that would lower the total expense ratio. The performance and total expense ratio shown do not reflect any such alternative fee arrangements.

Characteristics

Allocation of Assets As of Sep 30, 2016
Allocation of AssetsPercent
Tier 2 - Shorter Duration Focus8.1%
Tier 3 - Laddered Maturity Focus23.4%
Tier 4 - Total Return Focus58.9%
Tier 1 - Cash Buffer9.7%

Due to rounding, percentages shown may not add up to 100%.

 
 

Statistics

Portfolio Statistics   As of Sep 30, 2016
StatisticValue
Traditional, Separate Account and Synthetic GIC Issuers10
Traditional, Separate Account and Synthetic GIC Contracts64
Weighted Average Duration3.07
Weighted Average Credit Rating
(Calculated based on Moody’s rating scale)
Aa2
Weighted Average Credit Rating
(Calculated based on S&P’s rating scale)
AA-

Weighted Average Credit Rating is calculated by ICMA-RC and is only one factor that may be considered in assessing the risks of a fixed income portfolio, and it does not provide a complete picture of the credit risks or the dispersion of those risks within a portfolio. ICMA-RC calculates the average based on the Moody’s, S&P’s, Fitch’s or a combination of the three credit ratings of the underlying securities or wrap providers. Moody’s, S&P, and Fitch are Nationally Recognized Statistical Rating Organizations and are not affiliated with ICMA-RC.

 

Trading Restrictions

Purchase, Sale, and Transfer Restrictions

 

Direct transfers from the PLUS Fund to competing funds are restricted. Competing funds include, but are not limited to, the following types of investment options: (1) cash funds (like the VT Cash Management Fund), money market mutual funds, bank collective short-term investment funds, bank accounts or certificates of deposit (such as the VT CD Account option), stable value funds or substantially similar investment options that offer guarantees of principal or income, such as guaranteed annuity contracts or similar arrangements with financial institutions; (2) short-term bond funds that invest in fixed income securities and seek to maintain or have an average portfolio duration of less than three years; (3) any investment option that invests 80% or more of its assets in (i) fixed income securities or funds with a duration of less than three years, or (ii) instruments that seek to provide capital preservation such as stable value funds, bank certificates of deposit or bank accounts, and cash or cash equivalents; and (4) a self-directed brokerage account. To transfer money from the PLUS Fund to a competing fund, you must first transfer the amount to a non-competing fund for a period of at least 90 days. For example, if you want to transfer money from the PLUS Fund to the VT Cash Management Fund, you will first need to transfer the money to a non-competing fund and then, 90 days later or any time thereafter, transfer that amount of money to the VT Cash Management Fund.

 

Footnotes

1.

Please read Making Sound Investment Decisions: A Retirement Investment Guide and the accompanying VantageTrust Fund Fees and Expenses document ("Guide") carefully for a complete summary of all fees, expenses, investment objectives and strategies, and risks before investing. For a current Guide, contact ICMA-RC by calling 800-669-7400 or log into your account at www.icmarc.org.