Morgan Stanley Variable Insurance Fund, Inc.

Emerging Markets Debt Portfolio

Summary Prospectus   |   April 30, 2024 

Share Class and Ticker Symbols

Class I

MEMNX

Before you invest, you may want to review the Fund’s statutory prospectus (“Prospectus”), which contains more information about the Fund and its risks. You can find the Fund’s Prospectus and other information about the Fund, including the Statement of Additional Information (“SAI”) and the most recent Annual and Semi-Annual Reports to Shareholders (“Shareholder Reports”), online at www.morganstanley.com/im/MSVIFEmergingMarketsDebtI. You can also get this information at no cost by calling toll-free 1-866-414-6349 or by sending an e-mail request to orders@mysummaryprospectus.com. The Fund’s Prospectus and SAI, both dated  April 30, 2024 (as may be supplemented from time to time), are incorporated by reference into this Summary Prospectus.

Investment Objective

The Fund seeks high total return by investing primarily in fixed-income securities of government and government-related issuers and, to a lesser extent, of corporate issuers in emerging market countries.

Fees and Expenses

The table below describes the fees and expenses that you may pay if you buy, hold and sell Class I shares of the Fund. The Fund does not charge any sales loads or other fees when you purchase or redeem shares. The table and the example below do not reflect the impact of any charges by your insurance company. If they did, Total Annual Fund Operating Expenses would be higher. You may pay fees other than the fees and expenses of the Fund, such as brokerage commissions and other fees charged by financial intermediaries, which are not reflected in the tables and examples below.

Annual Fund Operating Expenses  (expenses that you pay each year as a percentage of the value of your investment)

Advisory Fee

0.75%

 

Distribution (12b-1) Fee

None

 

Other Expenses

0.57%

 

Total Annual Fund Operating Expenses*

1.32%

 

Fee Waiver and/or Expense Reimbursement *

0.22%

 

Total Annual Fund Operating Expenses After Fee Waiver and/or Expense Reimbursement *

1.10%

 

 


 

Morgan Stanley Variable Insurance Fund | Fund Summary 

Emerging Markets Debt Portfolio (Con’t) 

Example

The example below is intended to help you compare the cost of investing in the Fund with the cost of investing in other mutual funds.

The example assumes that you invest $10,000 in the Fund, your investment has a 5% return each year and that the Fund’s operating expenses remain the same (except that the example incorporates the fee waiver and/or expense reimbursement arrangement for only the first year). Although your actual costs may be higher or lower, based on these assumptions, your costs would be:

 

1 Year

3 Years

5 Years

10 Years

 

Class I

$ 112

$ 397

$ 702

$ 1,571

 

* The Fund’s “Adviser,” Morgan Stanley Investment Management Inc., has agreed to reduce its advisory fee and/or reimburse the Fund so that Total Annual Fund Operating Expenses, excluding acquired fund fees and expenses (as applicable), certain investment related expenses, taxes, interest and other extraordinary expenses (including litigation), will not exceed 1.10% for Class I. The fee waivers and/or expense reimbursements will continue for at least one year from the date of this Prospectus or until such time as the Company’s Board of Directors acts to discontinue all or a portion of such waivers and/or reimbursements when it deems such action is appropriate.

Portfolio Turnover

The Fund pays transaction costs, such as commissions, when it buys and sells securities (or “turns over” its portfolio). A higher portfolio turnover rate may indicate higher transaction costs. These costs, which are not reflected in Total Annual Fund Operating Expenses or in the example, affect the Fund’s performance. During the most recent fiscal year, the Fund’s portfolio turnover rate was 117% of the average value of its portfolio.

Principal Investment Strategies

Under normal circumstances, at least 80% of the Fund’s assets will be invested in debt securities of issuers located in emerging market or developing countries. This policy may be changed without shareholder approval; however, you would be notified upon 60 days’ in writing of any changes.

The Adviser and the Fund’s “Sub-Adviser,” Morgan Stanley Investment Management Limited (“MSIM Limited”), seek high total return by investing primarily in fixed-income securities of government and government-related issuers and, to a lesser extent, of corporate issuers in emerging market or developing countries. The Fund’s securities will be denominated primarily in U.S. dollars. The Fund may invest, to a lesser extent, in securities denominated in currencies other than U.S. dollars. The Fund may invest in fixed-income securities that are rated below “investment grade” or are not rated, but are considered by the Adviser and/or Sub-Adviser, as applicable, to be of equivalent quality. These fixed-income securities are often referred to as “high yield securities” or “junk bonds.” High yield securities are fixed-income securities rated by one or more rating agencies below Baa3 by Moody’s Investors Service, Inc. (“Moody’s”), below BBB- by S&P Global Ratings Group, a division of S&P Global Inc. (“S&P”), below BBB- by Fitch Ratings, Inc. (“Fitch”), or the equivalent by another nationally recognized statistical rating organization (“NRSRO”), or, if unrated, considered by the Adviser and/or Sub-Adviser, as applicable, to be of equivalent quality.

The Adviser and/or the Sub-Adviser, as applicable, implement a top down assessment of the global economic environment and the sensitivity of emerging economies in general to worldwide events. In selecting the Fund’s investments, the Adviser and/or the Sub-Adviser, as applicable, analyze the ability of an emerging market country’s government to formulate and implement fiscal and economic policies; socio-political factors, including political risks, election calendars, human development and social stability; and exchange rate and interest rate valuation.

The Fund’s investment process incorporates information about environmental, social and governance issues (also referred to as ESG) via an integrated approach within the investment team’s fundamental investment analysis framework. The Adviser and/or the Sub-Adviser, as applicable, may engage with management of certain issuers regarding corporate governance practices as well as what the Adviser and/or the Sub-Adviser, as applicable, deem to be materially important environmental and/or social issues facing a company.

The Fund’s holdings may range in maturity from overnight to 30 years or more and will not be subject to any minimum credit rating standard.  The Adviser and/or the Sub-Adviser, as applicable, generally consider selling a portfolio holding when it determines that the holding no longer satisfies its investment criteria.

The Fund may, but it is not required to, use derivatives and similar instruments for a variety of purposes, including hedging, risk management, portfolio management or to seek to earn income. The Fund’s use of derivatives may involve the purchase and sale of derivative instruments such as futures, options, swaps, structured investments and other similar instruments and techniques. The Fund may utilize foreign currency forward exchange contracts, which are also derivatives, in connection with its investments in foreign securities. The Fund may also invest in restricted and illiquid securities. Derivative instruments used by the Fund will be counted toward the Fund’s 80% policy discussed above to the extent they have economic characteristics similar to the securities included within that policy.

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Morgan Stanley Variable Insurance Fund  |  Fund Summary 

Emerging Markets Debt Portfolio (Con’t) 

Principal Risks

There is no assurance that the Fund will achieve its investment objective, and you can lose money investing in this Fund. The principal risks of investing in the Fund include:

 

Fixed-Income Securities. Fixed-income securities are subject to the risk of the issuer’s inability to meet principal and interest payments on its obligations (i.e., credit risk) and are subject to price volatility resulting from, among other things, interest rate sensitivity (i.e., interest rate risk), market perception of the creditworthiness of the issuer and general market liquidity (i.e., market risk). The Fund may face a heightened level of interest rate risk in times of monetary policy change and/or uncertainty, such as when the Federal Reserve Board adjusts a quantitative easing program and/or changes rates. A changing interest rate environment increases certain risks, including the potential for periods of volatility, increased redemptions, shortened durations (i.e., prepayment risk) and extended durations (i.e., extension risk). Securities with longer durations are likely to be more sensitive to changes in interest rates, generally making them more volatile than securities with shorter durations. Lower rated fixed-income securities have greater volatility because there is less certainty that principal and interest payments will be made as scheduled. The Fund may be subject to certain liquidity risks that may result from the lack of an active market and the reduced number and capacity of traditional market participants to make a market in fixed-income securities.

 

Credit and Interest Rate Risk. Credit risk refers to the possibility that the issuer or guarantor of a security will be unable or unwilling or perceived to be unable or unwilling to make interest payments and/or repay the principal on its debt. In such instances, the value of the Fund could decline and the Fund could lose money. Interest rate risk refers to the decline 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. The Fund may invest in variable and floating rate loans and other variable and floating rate securities. Although these instruments are generally less sensitive to interest rate changes than fixed rate instruments, the value of variable and floating rate loans and other securities may decline if their interest rates do not rise as quickly, or as much, as general interest rates. The Fund may face a heightened level of interest rate risk in times of monetary policy change and/or uncertainty, such as when the Federal Reserve Board adjusts a quantitative easing program and/or changes rates. A changing interest rate environment increases certain risks, including the potential for periods of volatility, increased redemptions, shortened durations (i.e., prepayment risk) and extended durations (i.e., extension risk). For example, during periods when interest rates are low, the Fund’s yield (and total return) also may be low or otherwise adversely affected or the Fund may be unable to maintain positive returns. Credit ratings may not be an accurate assessment of liquidity or credit risk. Although credit ratings may not accurately reflect the true credit risk of an instrument, a change in the credit rating of an instrument or an issuer can have a rapid, adverse effect on the instrument’s liquidity and make it more difficult for the Fund to sell at an advantageous price or time.

 

Foreign Currency. The Fund’s investments in foreign securities may be denominated in foreign currencies. The value of foreign currencies may fluctuate relative to the value of the U.S. dollar. Since the Fund may invest in such non-U.S. dollar-denominated securities, and therefore may convert the value of such securities into U.S. dollars, changes in currency exchange rates can increase or decrease the U.S. dollar value of the Fund’s assets. Currency exchange rates may fluctuate significantly over short periods of time for a number of reasons, including changes in interest rates and the overall economic health of the issuer. Devaluation of a currency by a country’s government or banking authority also will have a significant impact on the value of any investments denominated in that currency. The Adviser and/or Sub-Adviser may use derivatives to seek to reduce this risk. The  Adviser and/or Sub-Adviser may in its discretion choose not to hedge against currency risk. In addition, certain market conditions may make it impossible or uneconomical to hedge against currency risk.

 

High Yield Securities (“Junk Bonds”). The Fund’s investments in high yield securities expose it to a substantial degree of credit risk. High yield securities may be issued by companies that are restructuring, are smaller and less  creditworthy or are more highly indebted than other companies, and therefore they may have more difficulty making scheduled payments of principal and interest. High yield securities are subject to greater risk of loss of income and principal than higher rated securities and are considered speculative. High yield securities may experience reduced liquidity, and sudden and substantial decreases in price. An economic downturn affecting an issuer of high yield securities may result in an increased incidence of default. In the event of a default, the Fund may incur additional expenses to seek recovery.

 

Foreign and Emerging Market Securities. Investments in foreign markets entail special risks such as currency, political (including geopolitical), economic and market risks. There also may be greater market volatility, less reliable financial information, less stringent investor protections and disclosure standards, higher transaction and custody costs, decreased market liquidity and less government and exchange regulation associated with investments in foreign markets. In addition, investments in certain foreign markets that have historically been considered stable may become more volatile and subject to increased risk due to developments and changing conditions in such markets. Moreover, the growing interconnectivity of global economies and financial markets has increased the probability that adverse developments and conditions in one country or region will affect the stability of economies and financial markets in other countries or regions. Certain foreign markets may rely heavily on particular industries or foreign capital and are more vulnerable to diplomatic developments, the imposition of economic sanctions against a particular country or countries, organizations, companies, entities and/or individuals, changes in international trading patterns, trade barriers and other protectionist or retaliatory measures. Investments in foreign markets may also be adversely affected by governmental actions such
 

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Morgan Stanley Variable Insurance Fund | Fund Summary 

Emerging Markets Debt Portfolio (Con’t) 

 

as the imposition of capital controls, nationalization of companies or industries, expropriation of assets or the imposition of punitive taxes. The governments of certain countries may prohibit or impose substantial restrictions on foreign investing in their capital markets or in certain sectors or industries. In addition, a foreign government may limit or cause delay in the convertibility or repatriation of its currency which would adversely affect the U.S. dollar value and/or liquidity of investments denominated in that currency. Certain foreign investments may become less liquid in response to market developments or adverse investor perceptions, or become illiquid after purchase by the Fund, particularly during periods of market turmoil. When the Fund holds illiquid investments, its portfolio may be harder to value. The risks of investing in emerging market countries are greater than the risks associated with investments in foreign developed countries. Certain emerging market countries may be subject to less stringent requirements regarding accounting, auditing, financial reporting and record keeping and therefore, material information related to an investment may not be available or reliable. In addition, the Fund is limited in its ability to exercise its legal rights or enforce a counterparty’s legal obligations in certain jurisdictions outside of the United States, in particular, in emerging market countries. In addition, the Fund’s investments in foreign issuers may be denominated in foreign currencies and therefore, to the extent unhedged, the value of those investments will fluctuate with U.S. dollar exchange rates. To the extent hedged by the use of foreign currency forward exchange contracts, the precise matching of the foreign currency forward exchange contract amounts and the value of the securities involved will not generally be possible because the future value of such securities in foreign currencies will change as a consequence of market movements in the value of those securities between the date on which the contract is entered into and the date it matures. There is additional risk that such transactions may reduce or preclude the opportunity for gain if the value of the currency should move in the direction opposite to the position taken and that foreign currency forward exchange contracts create exposure to currencies in which the Fund’s securities are not denominated. The use of foreign currency forward exchange contracts involves the risk of loss from the insolvency or bankruptcy of the counterparty to the contract or the failure of the counterparty to make payments or otherwise comply with the terms of the contract. Economic sanctions or other similar measures may be, and have been, imposed against certain countries, organizations, companies, entities and/or individuals. Economic sanctions and other similar measures could, among other things, effectively restrict or eliminate the Fund’s ability to purchase or sell securities, negatively impact the value or liquidity of  the Fund’s investments, significantly delay or prevent the settlement of the Fund’s securities transactions, force the Fund to sell or otherwise dispose of investments at inopportune times or prices, or impair the Fund’s ability to meet its investment objective or invest in accordance with its investment strategies.

 

Liquidity. The Fund may make investments that are illiquid or restricted or that may become illiquid or less liquid in response to overall economic conditions or adverse investor perceptions, and which may entail greater risk than investments in other types of securities. These investments may be more difficult to value or sell, particularly in times of market turmoil, and there may be little trading in the secondary market available for particular securities. Liquidity risk may be magnified in a market where credit spread and interest rate volatility is rising and where investor redemptions from fixed-income mutual funds may be higher than normal. If the Fund is forced to sell an illiquid or restricted security to fund redemptions or for other cash needs, it may be forced to sell the security at a loss or for less than its fair value and may be unable to sell the security at all.

 

Sovereign Debt Securities. Investing in sovereign debt securities will expose the Fund to the direct or indirect consequences of political, social or economic changes in the countries that issue the securities. The issuer or governmental authority that controls the repayment of sovereign debt may not be willing or able to repay the principal and/or pay interest when it becomes due, due to factors such as debt service burden, political constraints, cash flow problems and other national economic factors. In addition, foreign governments may default on their debt securities, which may require holders of such securities to participate in debt rescheduling or additional lending to defaulting governments. Moreover, there is no bankruptcy proceeding by which defaulted sovereign debt may be collected in whole or in part.

 

Derivatives. Derivatives and other similar instruments that create synthetic exposure often are subject to risks similar to those of the underlying asset or instrument, including market risk, and may be subject to additional risks, including imperfect correlation between the value of the derivative and the underlying asset, risks of default by the counterparty to certain transactions, magnification of losses incurred due to changes in the market value of the securities, instruments, indices or interest rates to which the derivative instrument relates, risks that the transactions may not be liquid, risks arising from margin and payment requirements, risks arising from mispricing or valuation complexity and operational and legal risks. Certain derivative transactions may give rise to a form of leverage. Leverage magnifies the potential for gain and the risk of loss. Investments in currency derivatives may substantially change the Fund’s exposure to currency exchange rates and could result in losses to the Fund if currencies do not perform as the Adviser expects. Foreign currency forward exchange contracts and currency futures and options contracts create exposure to currencies in which the Fund’s securities are not denominated.

 

Non-Diversification. The Fund is non-diversified, which means that the Fund may invest a greater percentage of its assets in a smaller number of issuers than a diversified fund. Because the Fund is non-diversified, it may be more susceptible to an adverse event affecting a single issuer or portfolio investment than a diversified portfolio and a decline in the value of that issuer’s securities or that portfolio investment may cause the Fund’s overall value to decline to a greater degree than a diversified portfolio.

 

Leverage. The Fund may borrow money for investment purposes. Borrowing for investment purposes is a speculative activity that creates leverage. Leverage will magnify the effect of increases and decreases in prices of portfolio securities.
 

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Morgan Stanley Variable Insurance Fund  |  Fund Summary 

Emerging Markets Debt Portfolio (Con’t) 

 

Market and Geopolitical Risk. The value of your investment in the Fund is based on the values of the Fund’s investments, which change due to economic and other events that affect markets generally, as well as those that affect particular regions, countries, industries, companies or governments. These events may be sudden and unexpected, and could adversely affect the liquidity of the Fund’s investments, which may in turn impact valuation, the Fund’s ability to sell securities and/or its ability to meet redemptions. The risks associated with these developments may be magnified if certain social, political, economic and other conditions and events (such as war, natural disasters, epidemics and pandemics, terrorism, conflicts, social unrest, recessions, inflation, interest rate changes and supply chain disruptions) adversely interrupt the global economy and financial markets. It is difficult to predict when events affecting the U.S. or global financial markets may occur, the effects that such events may have and the duration of those effects (which may last for extended periods). These events may negatively impact broad segments of businesses and populations and have a significant and rapid negative impact on the performance of the Fund’s investments, adversely affect and increase the volatility of the Fund’s share price and exacerbate pre-existing risks to the Fund.

 

Portfolio Turnover. Consistent with its investment policies, the Fund will purchase and sell securities without regard to the effect on portfolio turnover. Higher portfolio turnover will cause the Fund to incur additional transaction costs.

 

Active Management Risk. In pursuing the Fund’s investment objective, the Adviser has considerable leeway in deciding which investments to buy, hold or sell on a day-to-day basis, and which trading strategies to use. For example, the Adviser, in its discretion, may determine to use some permitted trading strategies while not using others. The success or failure of such decisions will affect the Fund’s performance.
 

Shares of the Fund are not bank deposits and are not guaranteed or insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation or any other government agency.

Performance Information

The following bar chart and table provide some indication of the risks of investing in the Fund by showing changes in the Fund’s Class I shares’ performance from year-to-year and by showing how the Fund’s Class I shares’ average annual returns for the past one, five and 10 year periods compare with those of one or more indexes intended to measure broad market performance.  This performance information does not include the impact of any charges deducted by your insurance company. If it did, returns would be lower. The Fund’s past performance is not necessarily an indication of how the Fund will perform in the future.  

Annual Total Returns—Calendar Years  (Class I)
Commenced operations on  June 16, 1997

High Quarter

06/30/20

12.29%

Low Quarter

03/31/20

-14.19%

Average Annual Total Returns  (Class I)
(for the calendar periods ended  December 31, 2023)

 

Past One
Year

Past Five
Years

Past Ten
Years

Class I

Return before Taxes

11.84%

1.43%

2.12%

J.P. Morgan Emerging Markets Bond Global Diversified Index (reflects no deduction for fees, expenses or taxes)1

11.09%

1.67%

3.22%

Emerging Markets Debt Blended Index (reflects no deduction for fees, expenses or taxes)2

11.09%

1.56%

2.86%

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Morgan Stanley Variable Insurance Fund | Fund Summary 

Emerging Markets Debt Portfolio (Con’t) 

1 The J.P. Morgan Emerging Markets Bond Global Diversified Index tracks total returns for U.S. dollar-denominated debt instruments issued by emerging markets sovereign and quasi-sovereign entities: Brady Bonds, loans, Eurobonds and local market instruments for emerging market countries but limits the weights of countries with larger debt stocks by only including a specified portion of these countries’ eligible current face amounts of debt outstanding. It is not possible to invest directly in an index.
2 The Emerging Markets Debt Blended Index is a performance linked benchmark of old and new benchmark of the Fund. Old benchmark represented by J.P. Morgan Emerging Markets Bond Global Index (a benchmark that tracks total returns for U.S. dollar-denominated debt instruments issued by emerging markets sovereign and quasi-sovereign entities: Brady Bonds, loans, Eurobonds and local market instruments for emerging market countries) from the Fund’s inception to December 31, 2019, and the new benchmark represented by J.P. Morgan Emerging Markets Bond Global Diversified Index for periods thereafter. It is not possible to invest directly in an index.

Fund Management

Adviser. Morgan Stanley Investment Management Inc.

Sub-Adviser. Morgan Stanley Investment Management  Limited.

Portfolio Managers. The Fund is managed by members of the Emerging Markets Debt team. Information about the members primarily responsible for the day-to-day management of the Fund is shown below:

Name

Title with Adviser/Sub-Adviser

Date Began Managing Fund

Sahil Tandon

Managing Director of MSIM Limited

October 2015

Akbar Causer

Managing Director of the Adviser

July 2022

Kyle Lee

Managing Director of the Adviser

July 2022

Federico Sequeda

Executive Director of the Adviser

July 2022

Purchase and Sale of Fund Shares

The Prospectus offers Class I shares of the Fund. The Company also offers Class II shares of the Fund through a separate prospectus. Class II shares are subject to higher expenses due to the imposition of a 12b-1 fee. For eligibility information, contact your insurance company or qualified pension or retirement plan.

The Fund offers its shares only to insurance companies (either directly or indirectly through other variable insurance funds) for separate accounts that they establish to fund variable life insurance and variable annuity contracts, and to other entities under qualified pension and retirement plans. An insurance company purchases or redeems shares of the Fund based on, among other things, the amount of net contract premiums or purchase payments allocated to a separate account investment division, transfers to or from a separate account investment division, contract loans and repayments, contract withdrawals and surrenders, and benefit payments. The contract prospectus describes how contract owners may allocate, transfer and withdraw amounts to, and from, separate accounts.

For more information, please refer to the section of the Prospectus entitled “Shareholder Information—Purchasing and Selling Fund Shares.”

Tax Information

Special tax rules apply to life insurance companies, variable annuity contracts and variable life insurance contracts. For information on federal income taxation of a life insurance company with respect to its receipt of distributions from the Fund and federal income taxation of owners of variable annuity or variable life insurance  contracts, refer to the contract prospectus.

For more information, please refer to the section of the Prospectus entitled “Shareholder Information—Taxes.”

Payments to Insurance Companies and Other Financial Intermediaries

The Adviser and/or the Fund’s “Distributor,” Morgan Stanley Distribution, Inc., may pay insurance companies or their affiliates in connection with Fund-related administrative services that the insurance companies provide in connection with the issuance of their variable annuity contracts. These payments, which may be significant in amount, may create a conflict of interest by influencing the insurance company to recommend one variable annuity or variable life insurance contract over another or be a factor in an insurance company’s decision to include the Fund as an underlying investment option in its variable annuity or variable life insurance contracts. Ask your salesperson or visit your insurance company’s web site for more information.

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